Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003
A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.
"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked: ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.
There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”
"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people.
(Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
The United States on Friday halted all funding to a UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees in a decision further heightening tensions between the Palestinian leadership and the Trump administration. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the decision as “a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of UN resolutions.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the business model and fiscal practices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) made it an “irredeemably flawed operation.”
“The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA,” she said in a statement.
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness voiced the agency’s “deep regret and disappointment” at the decision, which he said was surprising given that a December US funding agreement had acknowledged UNRWA’s successful management.
“We reject in the strongest possible terms the criticism that UNRWA’s schools, health centers, and emergency assistance programs are ‘irredeemably flawed,’” Gunness added in a series of Twitter posts. The 68-year-old agency says it provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of people who were driven out of their homes or fled the fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.
Gunness told Reuters earlier in August that UNRWA’s support would be needed as long as the parties failed to reach an agreement to end the crisis.
“UNRWA does not perpetuate the conflict, the conflict perpetuates UNRWA,” he said. “It is the failure of the political parties to resolve the refugee situation which perpetuates the continued existence of UNRWA.”
US President Donald Trump and his aides say they want to improve the Palestinians’ plight, as well as start negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
But under Trump, Washington has taken a number of actions that have alienated the Palestinians.
The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a reversal of longtime US policy and led the Palestinian leadership to boycott the Washington peace efforts being led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law.
In Gaza, the Islamist group Hamas condemned the US-move as a “grave escalation against the Palestinian people.”
“The American decision aims to wipe out the right of return and is a grave escalation against the Palestinian people,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. He told Reuters the “US-leadership has become an enemy of our people and of our nation and we will not surrender before such unjust decisions.”
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, mourning the destruction of the Second Temple at the Chabad synagogue in Washington D.C. (Arutz Sheva, 2-8-2017)
President Donald Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner has “disqualified himself” from overseeing US Middle East peace efforts because he has adopted Israel’s positions in the dispute, PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said on Thursday.
She also castigated Kushner for voicing doubts about whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved.
“Of course he’s not qualified because he disqualifies himself,” Ashrawi told The Jerusalem Post two days after a private talk Kushner gave in Washington was leaked.
In the talk, Kushner agreed with the Israeli view that the recent Temple Mount crisis was a result of Palestinian incitement. He said the history of the conflict should not be focused on and mused that “there may be no solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
“His talk was really problematic. It betrays not just deep bias but a lack of knowledge of the history itself and therefore of the needs and requirements for a solution,” Ashrawi said.
“If you don’t know the significance of the holy places and the fact that Israel is changing not just the status quo but religious responsibility there, and you don’t know the impact of offending people’s spiritual commitments and feelings, then you don’t know anything about the solution itself,” Ashrawi said. “There are two things you cannot do if you want to have a real solution,” she added.
“Firstly, you cannot approach things with a negative attitude that maybe it can’t be done. You need a very positive and determined attitude.
Secondly, you can’t approach this having wholeheartedly adopted the position of one party, in violation of international law and the rights of the other party.
Asked whether Kushner is qualified to be the American point man on Middle East peace, Ashrawi said: “The facts speak for themselves. Look at his statements, attitude, long-standing friendship with Netanyahu and his family, and his ideological language when it comes to Israel-Palestine. He demonstrates clearly where he stands. Of course he’s not qualified because he disqualifies himself.”
Chabad: For a Jew, the Land of Israel is more than a place. It is a body for the soul of a people. "The land upon which the eyes of G-d your G-d constantly gaze…" (Deuteronomy 11:12)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a ceremony with Chabad rabbis and representatives, prepares to pen a letter in a Sefer Torah honoring soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces.
The prime minister took part in what he called an especially moving ceremony, and said of the upcoming press conference: “There, I will do again what the Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory) told me to do decades ago — to light a small candle in the great darkness of lies that surrounds us.”
Netanyahu revealed that on Shabbat during the ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza, “the only time that I have a few minutes with my family, we read the weekly Torah portion at the end of our Shabbat meal together, and this gives us a lot of strength.”
Today, we honor the life and legacy of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a widely respected scholar and leader of faith who believed in the potential of all persons and sought to empower young people through education, character development, and civic pride.
Throughout his long and distinguished life, Rabbi Schneerson inspired millions of people, across multiple generations, through his example of compassion, wisdom, and courage in the face of oppression.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe believed that even in the darkest place, “the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.”
In 2013, top Obama Administration officials described their policy in the Syrian War as one of keeping the war going. The administration wanted a big seat at the table for a political settlement, which officials clarified meant ensuring that the war kept going so that there was never a clear victor.
The Trump Administration seems to be slipping into that same destructive set of priorities in Syria. The Washington Post this week quoted an unnamed Administration official..
“Right now, our job is to help create quagmires [for Russia and the Syrian regime] until we get what we want,” says one administration official, explaining the effort to resist an Idlib onslaught.
As ever, what the US really wants is to have a dominant position in post-war negotiations, so they can dictate the form that post-war Syria takes. This means ensuring that the Syrian government doesn’t win the war outright.
That’s not as realistic as it once was, with the Assad government, backed by Russia, having retaken virtually all of the rebel-held territory except for a far north bastion in Idlib, dominated by al-Qaeda.
This means the US now has to save al-Qaeda to keep the war going, which if we’re being honest has been a recurring undercurrent in US policy in Syria for years... The Syrian War has been nearing its endgame for months now, with Israeli officials conceding it is all but over as far as they are concerned (while vowing not to honor any post-war deals).
When a war is lost and a plan has failed, however, the US government is often the last to know, and that has them determined to drag the war on as long as possible.
DM: Israel Won’t Honor Deals Reached on Post-War Syria
Lieberman says Israel considers international deals 'irrelevant'
Jason Ditz, Posted on August 30, 2018
Speaking on Thursday during a visit to the border with Lebanon, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that Israel will not be bound by any international deals reached on post-war Syria, and will not honor any such agreements.
Lieberman says Israel considers all agreements and understandings reached to be irrelevant, and that policy will strictly be based on Israel’s own military priorities.
"The US administration's decision to terminate all funding to UNRWA is a cruel and irresponsible move targeting the most vulnerable segment of Palestinian society,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said on Saturday.
She added, “The Palestinian refugees are already the victims, who have lost their homes, livelihoods and security as a result of the creation of Israel, and once again, they are being victimized by the US administration in support of Israel's decades-long military occupation and impunity.”
The senior Palestinian official further noted that UNRWA provides 5.3 million Palestinian refugees residing in 58 refugee camps in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria “with a sense of hope and security through its vital services, support and opportunities for work, growth and development.”
“It also provides protection for the Palestinian refugees to ensure that their rights under international law are protected and promoted,” she added....
“Until the plight of the Palestinian refugees is resolved in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions, including United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (III), we call on all members of the international community to shoulder their responsibilities towards Palestinian refugees and provide the necessary support and financial assistance UNRWA needs to fulfill its mandate,” Ashrawi concluded.
Former US presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who both defeated John McCain in their White House contests, said Saturday at the late senator’s funeral that he made them “better.”
Hailing his friend as “an extraordinary man,” warrior and patriot who embodied what is best in America, Democrat Obama said McCain “made us better presidents -- just as he made the Senate better, just as he made the country better.”
He was echoing similar sentiments expressed minutes earlier by Republican Bush, who defeated McCain in a “hard fought” Republican primary battle in 2000, only to see that bitter rivalry melt away into a lasting friendship. “He also made me better,” Bush said.
Barely 24 hours after the first Allied air strikes, President Obama’s high-flying Libyan adventure is losing altitude.
The smoke hadn’t cleared from the first air strikes when the head of the Arab League complained that “what happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives. What we want is civilians’ protection...”
Russia and China, who abstained at the Security Council, are already getting restless. There’s trouble on the horizon. Initially skeptical of intervention in Libya’s civil war, the President reportedly bowed to pressure from a triumvirate of women in his administration: Hillary Clinton, National Security Council director of “multilateral affairs” Samantha Power, and UN ambassador Susan Rice.
Obama's Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya
Robert Dreyfuss March 19, 2011
We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it. The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration, such as John Kerry. The rode roughshod over the realists in the administration.
The American media and political establishment are in the middle of a five-day exercise in moral hypocrisy, cant and myth-making surrounding the death of Republican Senator John McCain.
On Thursday, a ceremony was held in Arizona featuring speeches by former Vice President Joe Biden and others, concluding with the playing of Frank Sinatra’s, “My Way.” From there, McCain’s body was flown by military aircraft to Washington, where it lay in state in the rotunda of the Capitol building yesterday, a distinction accorded to only 30 other people. McCain’s casket was placed on the wooden catafalque originally built for President Abraham Lincoln after his assassination in 1865 — only one of the many political obscenities associated with the affair.
Friday was dedicated to speeches from the assembled congressmen, politicians and military officials. McCain was a “generational leader” (Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell); “one of the bravest souls our nation ever produced” (House Speaker Paul Ryan); one of those “who put country first, who prize service ahead of self, who summon idealism from a cynical age” (Vice President Mike Pence). The attitude of the media was summed up by CNN “journalist” Dana Bash who commented, after it happened to rain as McCain’s coffin was brought up to the US Capitol: “The angels were crying.”
What can one say about such absurdities? It is with the unbridled use of military force that McCain is most closely associated. He was among the most vociferous and earliest backers of the 2003 Iraq war, the Obama administration’s war against Libya and the CIA-backed operation in Syria.'
As he travels to preach at small country churches across Alabama, former State Baptist Convention President John Killian hears a lot of talk about President Donald Trump. "I see overwhelming support," Killian said.
Exit polls in 2016 showed that about 80% of white evangelical Christians voted for Trump. That support is still solid, said Killian, a former pastor and now director of Baptist missions for Fayette County.
But why? Trump is twice divorced, and his attorney claimed to have paid adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about having an affair with Trump. He's been caught on tape speaking in foul-mouthed terms about women. His character flaws could have derailed almost any other politician trying to court the religious right.
"Everybody knows if Barack Obama had done one of these things, he would have been skewered by these folks as unfit for office," said church historian Bill Leonard. But major evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. defend Trump and see him as an ally in the culture wars. "Issues matter more than a person's personal life," Killian said. "The two issues that come up are pro-life - appointment of judges (who oppose abortion), and support for Israel."
Alabama Pastor John Kilpatrick compares Trump to King David, who committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. God is using Trump for his own purposes, Kilpatrick said. "The president has taken a stand for life. Second, the president has taken up for Israel and has declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Third, he has chosen Supreme Court justices - that's going to turn this nation around.
Those three things are why the spirit of Jezebel hates him and wants him out. We may be on the verge of the greatest revival this world has ever seen." Kilpatrick believes the 2016 election was miraculous.
"I have to believe it was the Holy Spirit that turned it," Kilpatrick said. "If the Lord put him in an office, the Lord will sustain him in an office. You better be careful that you don't lay a hand on him."
That's a reference to Psalm 105:15, "Touch not my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm."
Jezebel’s story is found in 1 and 2 Kings. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre/Sidon and priest of the cult of Baal. Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel and led the nation into Baal worship (1 Kings 16:31).
According to the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible, Jezebel incited her husband King Ahab to abandon the worship of Yahweh and encourage worship of the deities Baal and Asherah instead. (The Jezebel Spirit)
Historicity: Israel Finkelstein says that the inconsistencies and anachronisms in the biblical stories of Jezebel and Ahab mean that they must be considered "more of a historical novel than an accurate historical chronicle."
The compilers of the biblical accounts of Jezebel and her family were writing centuries after the events from a perspective of strict monolatry. These writers considered the polytheism of the members of the Omride dynasty to be sinful. In addition, they were hostile to the northern kingdom and its history, as its center of Samaria was a rival to Jerusalem. (Wikipedia)
At Reviving Herstory we are dedicated to reviving and retelling lost women's tales—biblical, historical, and otherwise.
“Jezebel has come to be associated with promiscuity. In modern usage, the name of Jezebel is sometimes used as a synonym for sexually promiscuous and/or controlling women.” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Jezebel)
The thing is, Jezebel was more than a name. She was a woman—historical or legendary—and only by unearthing her story can we begin to understand how her name was taken from her—and used against us.
Throughout her tale in 1 and 2 Kings, Jezebel does not commit adultery or any sexually deviant acts. And while she is certainly the active figure in her story, she does not act alone. So, if she was not a sexually promiscuous controlling woman, what did she do to earn—and share with us—her scathing reputation?
“When Jezebel comes to [live in] Israel [as a queen], she brings her foreign gods and goddesses... with her... This is why she is vilified... She represents a view of womanhood that is the opposite of the one extolled in characters... [who surrender their] identity... Jezebel steadfastly remains true to her own beliefs.” (biblicalarchaeology.org)
As her story unfolds, we learn that Jezebel, in bringing her own religious and cultural identity to her new marriage and homeland, seriously pisses off the religious zealots of her day.
They go to war with her, and she loses, but this is not enough for the men who curse her very name. So one of them goes to her castle and demands that she be thrown to death from her own tower:
“‘Throw her down!’ Jehu said. So they threw her down, and... her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot... But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. [Thus fulfilling the prophecy that] dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh.” (2 Kings 9:33-36, New International Version)
Jezebel's murder has been immortalized in literature and art. Take a moment to ponder the painting below, "Queen Jezabel being punished by Jehu," for example. "Punished" is a bit of an understatement. What you're looking at there is Jezebel's murdered body, dead on the ground, her flesh being eaten by dogs.
Treason. Murder. Brutal dismemberment. Thrown from a tower and trampled by horses. Eaten by dogs until nothing but her feet, head, and hands were left to identify her disfigured corpse. This was the punishment Jezebel apparently deserved for being a woman who stood up for what she believed in.
And, if that weren't enough, let her name be forever tainted and used to keep women in their place, lest they become strong like Jezebel.
“Jezebel is characterized as totally evil in the biblical text and beyond it: in the New Testament her name is a generic catchword for a whoring, non-believing female adversary (Rev 2:20); in Judeo-Christian traditions, she is evil incarnate.” (jwa.org)
Why did the myth that arose around Jezebel change her from an egalitarian queen to a promiscuous harlot? Because there has never been anything as scary as an independent and powerful woman.
If you want to vilify a woman's beliefs, slut-shame her. It happens in 2014, and it's been happening at least since the 6th century B.C.E. Now every one of us is a Jezebel, when we are strong and opinionated. When we speak up. When we own our own bodies and do with them as we please. And the name—her name—is meant to crush us.
But “knowledge is a better weapon than a sword.” Knowing Jezebel's story can help you change the world in small but meaningful ways. You can give her back her name, to start. And you can take back her name, too.
Reframe the discussion. Be strong like Jezebel. Pick up your knowledge—your weapon of choice—and arm yourself...
The Ministry of Agriculture began a campaign against the use of chickens for the kaparot ritual, saying it is doing so for the benefit of the public and to protect animal rights. Kaparot is a traditional prayer said during the day before the Yom Kippur fast begins in which a person circles his head with a chicken, symbolizing that they are substitutes for him and are to be punished for his sins..
In recent years, there has been a brouhaha about the use of chickens in the prayer.
The ministry released a video promoting the use of money instead of animals for the kaparot ritual. "This year, we're doing Kaparot with money and helping needy people." says a voiceover. The use of livestock has come increasingly under fire, as cities both within Israel and abroad have banned it on grounds that waving the chickens constitutes cruelty to animals.
Last year, the central city of Petach Tikva announced that the ritual was strictly forbidden, and promised that police would crack down on people slaughtering chickens in the streets, which has been done in years past. The move comes after Tel Aviv and Rishon Letzion banned the practice in 2016. The custom has also faced opposition in the United States. In 2016, a Los Angeles judge issued a temporary restraining order against performing the ritual in any format in the city of Irvine, California.
'modern' jews, glorifying old time temple practices
According to a recent archeological report (Journal of Archeological Science, 2013), the ancient temple in Jerusalem was a slaughterhouse that powered the local economy.
The animals sacrificed came from both near and far away, which “confirms visions of the temple depicted in historical Jewish texts and suggests the economic heart of the city was its slaughtering operation.”
"The study shows that there is a major interprovincial market that enables the transfer of vast numbers of animals that are used for sacrifice and feasting in Jerusalem..," said study co-author Gideon Hartman, a researcher at the University of Connecticut. According to the Talmud, a Jewish religious text, the Temple was the only place where Israelites could sacrifice animals as offerings to God.
Parts of the animal that weren't sacrificed as a burnt offering were often left for people to feast on. Some passages in the text depict priests wading up to their knees in blood...
The ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also describes an enormous slaughtering operation, a practice that went on almost continually....
US President Donald Trump’s Middle East advisers proposed the formation of a confederacy between Palestine and Jordan in a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas as a possible solution to the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he revealed on Sunday. A confederacy is the idea that states can join together but retain their own sovereignty.
In a meeting with several Israeli lawmakers and an Israeli NGO in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, the Palestinian leader said Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt asked him what his views were towards a "confederation with Jordan", according to anti-settlement group Peace Now. "I was asked if I believe in a federation with Jordan," Mr Abbas said of talks held with Mr Kushner and Mr Greenblatt, Peace Now reported. "I answered: Yes, I want a confederation with Jordan and Israel. I have asked the Israelis if they would agree to such an offer," the statement quoted Mr Abbas as telling those present at Sunday's meeting. Jordanian officials shot down the proposal late Sunday.
In a statement to local news media, Minister of Media and government spokesperson Jumana Ghunaimat highlighted the Jordanian king's frequent remarks stressing that “there is no alternative to the two-state solution”, and that “the proposal of a confederation is not open for discussion”.
“The Jordanian position on the Palestinian cause is firm and clear: it is based on a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1968 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Ms Ghunaimat said.
The proposal represents the first time that the idea of a Palestinian-Jordanian confederacy has been talked about publicly by the Palestinian leader.
His condition that Israel be party to any confederation arrangement effectively closes the door on the idea, since Israel is unlikely to accept.
A 'state' without the Gaza strip.
Settlements would remain in place..
The Israeli plan that was discussed with envoys of U.S. President Donald Trump and presented to Abdullah calls for Jordanian security forces to be in charge of protecting the West Bank (excluding Jerusalem) and the border between Israel and the confederation.
The confederation agreement, which would be signed by the West Bank and Jordan, would not specify whether a joint parliament and constitution would be established or whether the Palestinian component would have the status of a state.
It’s possible that Israel would be willing to recognize a Palestinian state, but only as part of the confederation and without the Gaza Strip, whose security would be assumed by Egypt. The settlements would remain in place, under the direct civil and security control of Israel. (Haaretz 3-9-2018)
PA: "A two-state solution is a prerequisite"
Palestinian Authority spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah said the idea of a confederation with Jordan has been on the Palestinian leadership's agenda since the 1980s. A two-state solution, however, is a prerequisite for any future shared arrangement with Jordan, he added.
A Palestinian-Jordan confederation has long been favoured by some on the Israeli right as a way to avoid granting full state status to the Palestinians for now. In such an arrangement, Israel could also avoid taking responsibility for the some 3.5 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
Jordan annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, before losing the territories to Israel in 1967. (The New Arab, 3-9-2018)
Hamas rejects Palestine-Jordan confederation proposal
MENAFN, 3 september 2018
Hamas claimed that the purpose of the US plan to set up a confederation between Palestine and Jordan was to liquidate the Palestinian crisis.
In a statement issued on Monday, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem stressed "confederation means usurping Jerusalem, abolishing the right of return and liquidation of UNRWA."
The statement has come in response of a Palestine-Jordanian confederation proposal presented by Trump's aide Jared Kushner and US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt to Palestine's leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Jordan King Abdullah on Wednesday said that Jordan’s position on the Palestinian cause is unalterable, based on the conviction that there is no alternative to the two-state formula and an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as a solution to the decades-old Mideast conflict. He said that Jordan has proved firm and unrelenting on this issue as “all are aware”.
Commenting in the resurfacing proposal of a confederation between Palestine and Jordan, King Abdullah told the retired officers: “Every year we hear a renewed talk of confederation. I say: “Confederation with whom?
This is a red line for Jordan and all know Jordan’s firm and courageous stand on this. I am not worried regarding this matter”.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said this week that US officials working on a Middle East peace plan had asked about forming a confederation with Jordan. Amman responded immediately that the option was “not on the table”.
At the meeting, the King underlined improvements in the situation of the borders with both Syria and Iraq, saying “I think, God willing, that the northern border will be re-opened very soon,” while there is ongoing coordination with the Iraqis regarding the situation at the border with the eastern neighbour.
Netanyahu: All they can get is a
'state-minus' (limited self-rule) in Judea & Samaria
Israel is not behind what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said was a US-backed peace plan based on a Palestinian confederation with Jordan, senior Israeli diplomatic officials clarified Monday.
The clarification came after reports claimed the idea of a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation – which Abbas told a Peace Now delegation was raised in a conversation he had with US envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt – was an Israeli proposal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position remains that an agreement must be directly negotiated between the sides and include a demilitarized Palestinian entity – which he has referred to it as a “state-minus” – with Israeli security control west of the Jordan River, the official said. That position, which Netanyahu has articulated numerous time, “has not changed,” the official added. (Jerusalem Post, 3-9-2018)
Flashback 2017: Israel Will Stay in Judea and Samaria Forever
netanyahu & 'leaders of judea and samaria'
"Israel will never withdraw from any Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said t at a ceremony marking 50 years of Jewish settlement in Samaria.
“This is the land of our fathers, this is our land. We are here to stay, for ever,” Netanyahu said at the event held at the Barkan industrial park. “There will be no uprooting of communities in the Land of Israel.” (Breaking Israel News, 29-8-2017)
“What I’m willing to give the Palestinians,” prime minister Netanyahu said in a weekly meeting, “is not exactly a state with full authority, rather a state minus. This is why the Palestinians do not agree.” (Times of Israel, 22-1-2017)
"[I’m] praying at the Western Wall. What power and strength this place has! Shabbat Shalom!” Nir Barkat, 23-3-2018
Jerusalem's Israeli mayor Nir Barkat on Monday vowed to expel the UN's Palestinian refugee agency from Jerusalem, just days after the United States halted all funding for the agency.
"Removing UNRWA will reduce the incitement and terror, will improve the services to residents, will increase the Israelization of the east of the city, and will contribute to the sovereignty and unity of Jerusalem," Barkat said at a conference organised by Israel's Channel 2 news.
Barkat said he had instructed city officials to prepare a plan to replace all of UNRWA's functions in Jerusalem with municipal services.
"UNRWA is a foreign and unnecessary entity that has failed utterly, and I intend to remove it from Jerusalem," Barkat said. "Every aspect of UNRWA is dysfunctional and failing."
The refugee camp is home to some 30,000 refugees, the majority of whom are descendants of Palestinians expelled from the Old City during the 1967 war.
The refugee camp is located beyond Israel's separation wall in an area of land called the 'seam zone', home to 120,000 Palestinians.
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi slammed Barkat's plan to expel UNRWA from East Jerusalem.
"Barkat's pledge to expel UNRWA from occupied Jerusalem and shut down its services and programmes is arrogant and outrageous," she said in a statement.
"Israel is responsible for creating the Palestinian refugee problem, and it has no right to alter the mandate, duties and responsibilities of UNRWA as defined by the United Nations."
Shuafat refugee camp was built by the Jordanians in 1966 for refugees from villages from the Jerusalem area, such as Nataf, Deir Yasin, Lifta and El-Bureij, who had earlier settled in a refugee camp in the abandoned Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem.
After the Six Day War, the camp was annexed to Israel and was included in the newly drawn municipal borders of Jerusalem.
During the early 2000s, as part of an effort to separate Israel from the West Bank by a security barrier, the government decided to construct the segment of the wall around Jerusalem and to cut off the camp from the rest of the city. However, the camp and the adjacent neighborhoods – Ras Khamis, Ras Shehadeh and Dahiyat as-Salam – are considered part of Jerusalem. The tall gray walls that surround the neighborhoods from three directions leave them wide open to the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority in the east, and Palestinians enter them freely.
Since the wall was built, the area has suffered from a lack of essential services from Israeli authorities, whose workers most of the time refrain from crossing the checkpoint – for security reasons, they say.
Local residents complain about constant water and electricity shortages, the lack of a proper sewage system and garbage removal, and say that municipal officials are seen in the area only rarely...
But above all stands the lack of any police presence in the area, which leads to a high level of crime and a high murder rate, according to residents.
The lack of proper police supervision in the camp and the surrounding area, combined with the fact that these Jerusalem neighborhoods are open to the Palestinian territories, has attracted fugitives from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and residents say that the weapons possession level in the camp is extremely high.
According to residents, the lack of a police presence and deterrence lead to a situation in which murders occur frequently.
The municipality said in response to this article that the security-related reality created in the Shuafat refugee camp and its surrounding neighborhoods since the construction of the security barrier makes it hard for civil bodies – including the municipality itself – to operate there.
“This is mainly due to the need to be accompanied by security forces. However, in recent years there has been growing cooperation between the local community administration and the municipality, which is working to improve the quality of life of the residents.
“The municipality has invested tens of millions of shekels to improve the quality of life of the residents of the neighborhoods. It has paved new roads, built new youth community centers which operate afternoon activities and have approved a new and improved tender for garbage removal.”
Motti Yogev: Israel should annex Judea and Samaria [Area C of the West Bank] in stages, starting with the settlements. I’m opposed to a Palestinian state. There needs to be international understanding that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. (Jerusalem Post 2013)
A right-wing Israeli MK taunted a Palestinian Israeli delegation headed for Europe at Ben Gurion airport on Monday, urging them to leave for good. While waiting for a group of new immigrants, MK Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home party told the delegation that Israel “is not your country”.
The Palestinian Israeli members of parliament were leaving for Europe to meet officials and urge them to oppose the controversial nation-state law passed on 19 July.
The nation-state law casts Israel as "the national home of the Jewish people," making no mention of equality or democracy and implying that the country's Jewish character takes precedence over Palestinians, Druze and Circassians.
“We congratulate you for leaving Israel. This is what you want,” Yogev told the delegation comprised of MKs Ahmad Tibi, Yousef Jabareen and Talab Abu Arar. “This land will always be the Land of Israel and all the traitors should leave,” he added.
Yogev told the delegation that all of Palestine will become Israel: “Even Ramallah will be part of Israel. Go to Paris, go to Britain, go to your anti-Semitic friends, go to whomever you want. Your place is in the departure lounge,” he said.
Israel's nation-state law has been forcefully condemned by Israel’s Palestinian citizens, who make up about 20 percent of the population, as well as by the country's Druze minority, many of whom serve in the Israeli military.
In the wake of an anticipated attack on Idlib, Turkey has been working with rebel leaders to isolate the former al-Qaeda affiliate Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) from other rebel groups in the province to prevent a potential massacre and yet another massive influx of refugees.
The head of the Istanbul-based Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Abdulrahman Mustafa, told Middle East Eye that opposition groups in Idlib were trying to entice members of HTS - which is officially a coalition, although dominated by former al-Qaeda fighters - to leave the organisation.
“We are trying to have all the groups in the HTS to shift to the National Front for Liberation (NFL) and dissolve HTS. We will see what will happen next," he said. The NFL is an umbrella group of rebel forces backed by Turkey.
Mustafa, who was elected head of the SNC in May, said that the emergence of "terror" groups in Syria had undermined the uprising launched in 2011 and provided Bashar al-Assad an excuse to paint all rebel forces as terrorists.
"We have only lost since these terror groups emerged, and Assad has always been the winner thanks to terror groups," he explained.
Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, leader of HTS, has publicly warned rebel groups against relying on Turkish mediation.
In a video on Facebook on 21 August he said "the weapons of the revolution and jihad ... are a red line on which concessions are unacceptable, and they will never be put on the negotiation table," and warned the rebels in Idlib “not to rely on Turkey’s monitoring posts because the political positions may change at any moment.” [..] Although Mustafa expressed a desire to dissolve HTS, he said that if it were not possible to do so, rebel groups would not fight against HTS and would join them in fighting against Russian and government forces.
“We are against all terror groups but when we are all under threat, how can we fight against any other group?" he said.
Mustafa said Idlib should be kept as a de-escalation zone since there was nowhere left to flee.
Abdulrahman Mustafa was the president of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly, which he has represented in the SNC since 2014. Mustafa was a businessman and did not have any political career before the revolution.
He is he child of a middle class Turkmen family from Jarablus, Aleppo. He studied at Aleppo University, majoring in economics, and worked in the field of business and financial management for 24 years. The Turkmens are a Turkic ethnic group that have lived in Syria, mainly concentrated in the north, in the Turkmen Mountain area in Lattakia close to the Turkish border, as well as in Aleppo, Idleb, Homs, Tartus and the Damascus region. The Turkmen population, however, is small. Most estimates give the figure of 500,000 in Syria. Supported by Turkey, a staunch foe of President Bashar al-Assad, they took up arms against the regime soon after the start of the uprising in 2011. (Syrian Observer, may 2018)
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told reporters that the situation surrounding the militant-controlled Syrian province of Idlib will be one of the main items on the agenda at the talks between the Russian, Turkish and Iranian presidents in Tehran later this week.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Peskov said that the unmanned aerial vehicles launched by terrorists in Idlib pose a danger to Russia’s bases in Syria. “This represents a significant threat to our temporary bases, and the Russian president has spoken about this. It is from [Idlib] that various unmanned aerial vehicles are being sent which pose a threat to our temporary bases,” he said. According to Peskov, Idlib today serves as a ‘hotbed of terrorism’ which destabilizes Syria as a whole.
“The situation in Idlib continues to be a subject of particular concern to Moscow, Damascus, Ankara, and Tehran. The fact is that there is a hotbed of terrorism there, a fairly large group of terrorists has settled there. Of course, this leads to general destabilization. This undermines attempts to re-introduce political and diplomatic regulation,” Peskov told reporters.
Moscow, Peskov said, is confident that the situation in Idlib must be dealt with.
“It’s undoubtedly necessary to deal with this problem [of terrorists in Idlib]. We know that the Syrian Armed Forces are preparing to solve this problem,” he noted.
Commenting on President Trump’s recent tweet warning Damascus and its allies not to “recklessly attack Idlib Province,” Peskov commented that “making some warnings without paying attention to the very dangerous, negative potential for the situation in Syria in general is probably not a complete, not a comprehensive approach.”
A new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward claiming to offer insight into a tumultuous Trump White House revealed the tense atmosphere during the lead-up to the US missile strikes against Syria in April 2017.
According to Woodward, following the alleged chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun on April 4, 2017, which Syrian and Russian officials slammed as a false flag attack aimed at discrediting the Syrian government, President Trump was so furious that he wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Assad. In a telephone call with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Trump allegedly said the following, according to Woodward: “Let’s f***ing kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the f***ing lot of them.”
Telling the president that he would deal with it, Mattis hung up the phone and instead allegedly told an aide: “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.” Three days later, following internal consultations, but before the alleged chemical attack could be properly investigated, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat air base, in what Washington claimed was a direct response to the Khan Shaykhun “attack.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the US aggression a violation of international law...
The White House has yet to comment on the contents of Woodward’s book, or the authenticity of the quotes the journalist has ascribed to the president or General Mattis.
The 448-page opus from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, "Fear: Trump in the White House," is slated for public release on September 11. CNN obtained a copy of the book, which Woodward says is drawn from hundreds of hours of background interviews with dozens of firsthand sources, including people in Trump's inner circle.
Yes, it's as bad as you thought it was. Maybe worse. That's the unmistakable message about President Donald Trump and his administration from the early pieces of Bob Woodward's chronicle -- titled "Fear: Trump in the White House" -- of the first year of the billionaire businessman's presidency. The image Woodward casts of Trump is of a petulant child, deeply insecure about, well, everything.
His staffers -- from Defense Secretary James Mattis to chief of staff John Kelly and on down -- spend most of their time a) keeping Trump in the dark for, in their estimation, the good of the country and b) running him down in meetings he isn't in. Trump seems, by turns, annoyed by being left out of the loop and indifferent to it. And most importantly, the President seems entirely unaware of how incredibly out of his depth he actually is...
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly frequently lost his temper, telling colleagues he thought the president was “unhinged,” according to Woodward. In one meeting, Kelly reportedly said Trump was “an idiot,” and it was “pointless to try to convince him of anything.”
“He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had,” Kelly said, according to the book.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders responded Tuesday with this statement: "This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad."
President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed Bob Woodward’s bombshell tell-all — which depicted an administration in chaos and the president as clueless on many major issues.
“It’s just another bad book. He’s had a lot of credibility problems,” Trump told the conservative website The Daily Caller about the famed Watergate journalist, who has written books about several presidents and who said he had hundreds of hours of recordings of his interviews.
“I probably would have preferred to speak to him, but maybe not. I think it probably wouldn’t have made a difference in the book. He wanted to write the book a certain way,” he continued.
“It’s just nasty stuff. I never spoke to him.
Trump denied that top aides, including former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, took papers from his desk to keep him from pulling out of NAFTA and a trade deal with South Korea. “That’s false” and “it’s just made up,” he said, adding that “there was nobody taking anything from me.”
The president guessed that the criticism in the book could have come from “disgruntled employees or just made up by the author.”
Trump on Twitter:: The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2018
Statements from Mattis and Kelly
The statement from Mr Mattis describes the book as "a product of someone's rich imagination" and adds: "The contemptuous words about the president attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence."
The statement from Mr Kelly says: "The idea I ever called the president an idiot is not true... He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS... This is a pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump." (BBC News, 5-9-2018)
Donald Trump has reacted with fury to an anonymous account written by a current Trump administration official claiming an internal White House resistance is working to “frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations” until he leaves – or can be removed from – office.
The anonymous author describes Trump as amoral, “anti-trade and anti-democratic” and prone to making “half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions”. The writer claims aides had explored the possibility of removing Trump from office via the 25th amendment, a complex constitutional mechanism to allow for the replacement of a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”, but had decided against it.
“So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until – one way or another – it’s over,” the author writes. “We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous,” the author writes. "[We] have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office”.
Trump responded to the article at the White House late on Wednesday, deriding it as “anonymous, meaning gutless” and describing the author as “some anonymous source within the administration probably who is failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons”. In a tweet on Wednesday evening, Trump went further and simply asked “TREASON?”
In a follow up tweet, he insisted: “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”
The op-ed was unusually published as an anonymous submission by the New York Times, which described the author as “a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure”.
I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
We always have Senator McCain as an example.. New York Times, 5-9-2018
"Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.
Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations..
Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation. We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue...
In a discussion on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360°, former Trump aide Michael Caputo completely lost his temper.
"I gotta tell you, this scares the living daylights out of me," said Caputo. "This is the New York Times, who really talked a lot about and discussed and published the Pentagon Papers...
There is somebody working for the President of the United States at a very senior level who is trying to destroy him. And of course, you might call it a witch hunt, I'd call it something very similar that rhymes with that."
"But this is really disturbing," he continued. "You don't take the coin of the realm and then betray the trust of the President of the United States. I'm furious about this... And I think that this anonymous op-ed writer must be found, must be fired, must be investigated. And if they've leaked classified information or something in the past, they must be prosecuted and jailed!"
The United States shares Moscow’s concerns over the presence of terrorists in Syria’s Idlib Governorate and is ready to work on solving this issue, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday. Pompeo agreed with Russia’s remarks that terrorists are based in Idlib. "That is a true statement. We share their concern about terrorism emanating from northern, northwest Syria.
We absolutely agree with them [Russia] there are terrorists in those locations and they need to be taken care of such that they don’t export terror around the world," he said.
"We’re happy to work on the terrorism issue in this place," Pompeo stressed.
Pompeo noted that he has seen "the reports of the Russian bombing and the Syrian bombing," which was allegedly carried out in Idlib. He discussed the situation around Idlib with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
"We are hoping that this can be resolved diplomatically."
"It is not the way to do that to put the lives of all these innocent civilians at risk and create a humanitarian crisis," he noted.
On August 30, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said after talks with Lavrov that Syria would push ahead with its efforts for retaking Idlib regardless of whether Washington and its allies might deliver strikes against it under the pretext Damascus had used chemical weapons.
It is appalling to be British and observe the circus of hysterical, ridiculous accusations being flung at Jeremy Corbyn by the Jewish Board of Deputies and their Conservative and Labour cohorts.
There is a simple question to be asked here: “Is Jeremy Corbyn racist?” Well, the answer to that is so self evident that those who accuse him wouldn’t dare ask it. Jeremy Corbyn has a long history of standing up for truth, justice and for all of those who find themselves under attack through social injustice and poverty. It goes without saying that the Palestinians he is defending are also of the Semitic race. So who are the real anti-semites here?
The word anti-semitic has been highjacked, distorted and shrunk to make it into a little word that only applies to one people.
Is the suffering of one people greater than the suffering of other people? Suffering is a condition that is relevant to all of us by virtue of our being human. Although, rather than shrink the experience of ‘suffering’ to one people I would say that where and when it occurs, suffering can be felt throughout all of the natural world.
However, that leads us into a much broader discussion so I will return to: ‘Who are the real anti-semites here?’
We have here in Britain a largely privileged group who are shielding their unfounded attacks on Jeremy Corbyn behind a claim of being Jewish. So what if they are Jewish. This doesn’t give them the right to make such wild accusations, to speak for other Jews — and certainly not all British Jews — as they falsely make claim.
I would say that brandishing this shield of their individual Jewishness is intimidating and exploitative. In a metaphorical sense they are using innocent Jews as human shields.
Human shield is a military and political term describing the deliberate placement of non-combatants in or around combat targets to deter the enemy from attacking these combat targets.
It may also refer to the use of persons to literally shield combatants during attacks, by forcing them to march in front of the combatants.
Using this tactic is considered a war crime by nations that are parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and the 1998 Rome Statute. (Wikipedia info)
Russia has stressed that it will continue to fight terrorist forces in Syria until “their total elimination,” as a full-scale liberation operation against remaining militants concentrated in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib draws close.
“We consider it Russia’s duty to strictly adhere to the agreements [concerning the de-escalation zone in Idlib], and it will continue the fight against terrorists until their ultimate and total elimination,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a press conference in the capital, Moscow, on Wednesday, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
Zakharova’s comments came a few hours after the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that its fighter jets had bombed the positions of the Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group — formerly known as al-Nusra Front — in Idlib. It also dismissed allegations that the strikes had struck civilian areas.
Zakharova, too, stressed that the airstrikes were hitting terrorist positions only.
“The Russian Aerospace Forces are conducting strikes on Idlib not for ‘aggressive’ purposes, but for exterminating terrorist objects that are used in the increasing attacks on the Syrian army’s positions and the civilian population, as well as in the attacks on the Russian military, whose presence in Syria is requested by the lawful government of the country,” she said...
Elsewhere in her Wednesday remarks, Zakharova said Moscow found the calls to suspend the offensive on terrorists in Idlib for an unspecified amount of time “unacceptable.”
“All this imploring comes down to this: leaving the terrorists holding millions of people hostage in Idlib... indefinitely, and it is unacceptable,” she said, stressing that there could be no “peace” as long as terrorists were still in Idlib. Terrorists “cannot be allowed the opportunity to export terror across the region and the whole world, while remaining in safety,” Zakharova said.
Israel reportedly armed and funded at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria to prevent Iranian-sponsored insurgents affiliated with Islamic State from becoming embedded near the Golan, according to a report in Foreign Policy magazine.
Testimonies from more than 20 commanders in Foreign Policy noted that Israel supplied the weapons and cash to rebel groups throughout “Operation Good Neighbor” – launched in 2016 and shut down in July once the Assad regime regained control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights – to keep troops belonging to Hezbollah and Iran away from the border of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
In addition to allocating funds for Syrian insurgents to purchase arms on the Syrian black market, Israel reportedly paid $75 monthly per soldier, according to testimonies from journalists and rebel fighters in Syria.
Through Operation Good Neighbor, the Israeli military provided more than 1,524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, 21 generators, 24,900 palettes of medical equipment and medicine.
John Kerry characterized two Syrian rebel groups, Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham,
as "subgroups" of ISIS and Nusra. (BI,12-7-2016)
Reports first surfaced of Israel providing arms and cash to rebel groups several years ago. The regime of Bashar Assad claimed Israel was providing arms to terrorist groups, and that its forces regularly seized arms and munitions stamped in Hebrew.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Israel had been arming at least seven different rebel groups in Syria’s Golan Heights, including the Fursan al-Joulan rebel group which had around 400 fighters and was given an estimated $5,000 per month by Israel.
“Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” the group’s spokesperson, Moatasem al-Golani, told the The Wall Street Journal in a January 2017 report. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”
Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah announced Friday that after the Quneitra operation Hezbollah was no longer concerned with the so-called "rules of engagement" with the Israeli enemy in any coming battle or assault, and clarified that the resistance will be responding to any violation in the time and place that it chose.
Explaining the Quneitra operation, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that "on Sunday, Israeli aircrafts targeted two vehicles carrying seven brothers and killed them all while they were in an inspection tour in Quneitra.
Falsifying all the Israeli claims that this group was present in Quneitra to wage an attack on Israel or to prepare for an attack, Sayyed Nasrallah asked: "Thousands of "Nusra Front" fighters are present with their weapons in Golan. What is Nusra Front? It is the Syrian version of Al-Qaeda, the organization labeled as terrorist by the entire world and it has a wide military presence in the Golan. How come Netanyahu is not worried about that?...
How come Yaalon is not worried about that, and is instead protecting them, opening hospitals for them, and paying them visits?
Sayyed Nasrallah reassured that the armed Takfiri groups, specifically those in Golan, are allies to Israel and they are similar to Lahad Army that was in south Lebanon...
Flashback 2014: Al-Nusra Front captures Syrian Golan Heights crossing. Middle East Eye, 27 August 2014
Syrian opposition fighters, including the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, have taken control of the Syrian crossing of the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.
"Al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups took the Quneitra crossing, and heavy fighting with the Syrian army is continuing in the surrounding area," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The capture is thought to be the result of a coordinated attack by the Al-Nusra Front - designated a terrorist organisation by the US, UK and Saudi Arabia - and Ahrar al-Sham, a leading member of the Saudi-supported Islamic Front.
US President Donald Trump confirmed that recent cuts in funding for Palestinians are intended to pressure their leaders to make political concessions, reported CBS News. Speaking in a “conference call with Jewish faith leaders and rabbis”, Trump said he would not give money to Palestinians until they agree to make a peace deal.
“I stopped massive amounts of money that we were paying to the Palestinians and the Palestinian leaders. We were – the United States was paying them tremendous amounts of money,” he said.
“And I’d say, you’ll get money, but we’re not paying you until we make a deal. If we don’t make a deal, we’re not paying.”
Trump’s comments come a week after his administration ceased all funding for Palestinian refugee agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a serious blow for an agency that has received nearly 30 per cent of its budget from the US...
Responding to the president’s remarks, Palestinian diplomat Husam Zomlot told CBS News that “by weaponising the US humanitarian and financial aid to Palestine to bully Palestinians to the negotiating table, Trump has undermined US leadership beyond repair.” “Trying to twist our arm vis-a-vis money is not only amoral, it doesn’t work with us...”
There is “lots of evidence” that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new US adviser for Syria said on Thursday, as he warned of the risks of an offensive on the country’s last big rebel enclave.
“I am very sure that we have very, very good grounds to be making these warnings,” said Jim Jeffrey, who was named on Aug. 17 as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s special adviser on Syria...
“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation,” Jeffrey told a few reporters in his first interview on the situation in Syria since his appointment. “There is lots of evidence that chemical weapons are being prepared.”
Jeffrey described the situation in Idlib as “very dangerous” and said Turkey was trying to avoid an all-out Syrian government offensive.
He said the United States had repeatedly asked Russia whether it could “operate” in Idlib to eliminate the last holdouts of Islamic State and other extremist groups. Asked whether that would include US air strikes, Jeffrey said: “That would be one way.”
James Jeffrey: Iran is the enemy
James Jeffrey served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration, with a special focus on Iran.
"Iran’s behavior is now too dangerous to ignore. Tehran has facilitated Bashar al-Assad’s scorched-earth policy, encouraged Russia to intervene in Syria, and abetted the rise of the Islamic State by allowing Assad and its clients in Iraq to oppress Sunni Arabs to the point of embracing the jihadist organization..." (Foreign Policy, 8-9-2017)
New York, SANA – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed that Syria is fighting terrorism on behalf of the entire world and it will not bow down to political blackmail or threats of a direct military attack by the US, Britain and France.
Al-Jaafari’s made his remarks at the UN Security Council session held today.
“The language of threat doesn’t work at this council. We are diplomats and our mission is to prevent wars and threats and to find diplomatic solutions to international crises,” said al-Jaafari, adding that the governments of some permanent member states at the UNSC have given up their responsibilities and become politically and legally ineligible to defend international peace and security as they are ready to exploit the UN Security Council, the UN and other international bodies to make political gains at the expense of maintaining international peace and security.
The Syrian diplomat added that the party which covers up and protects the Israeli nuclear, biological and chemical arsenal and invents false pretexts to keep its chemical arsenal, and the one which previously destroyed Iraq over Weapons of Mass Destruction Lies, withdrew from the international agreement with Iran, cut funding for UNRWA, withdrew from UNESCO and which continues to put pressure on the United Nations and threatens of withdrawing from the world Trade Organization does not have the right to accuse Syria of using chemical weapons...
He stressed that Syria has fulfilled its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention and destroyed all chemical weapon production facilities...
“Why would Syria use an internationally banned weapon, which it originally does not have and which achieves no military viability, but provides the pretext for the three aggressor forces to launch military action after another?
Why are the three aggressors able to predict where and when the alleged chemical attack will take place and which kind of chemical weapons is to be used in Syria? Why do the Security Council and the OPCW remain unable to deal with information put forward by Syria in 156 official letters regarding the delivery of toxic chemical materials to terrorist groups in Syria to be used against civilians with the purpose of accusing the Syrian Arab army?” wondered al-Jaafari.
He made clear that some parties do not want to solve the crisis in Syria, rather, they seek investing in terrorism.
Speaking at the session, Russia’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, refuted rumours about Syria’s possession of chemical weapons as baseless, pointing out that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) destroyed Syria’s stockpile of these weapons in accordance with the UN resolution No. 2118.
At the end of the Tehran Tripartite Summit, the Iranian, Turkish and Russian presidents issued a joint statement, reaffirming their determination to continue cooperation until the eradication of terrorist groups in Syria.
In the statement, Rouhani, Putin and Erdogan "reaffirmed their determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate Daesh/ISIL, al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with al-Qaeda or Daesh/ISIL, as they have been designated as terrorists by the UN Security Council."
"They underlined that, in the fight against terrorism, separation between the above-mentioned terrorist groups and the armed opposition groups that had joined or would join the ceasefire regime, would be of utmost importance including with respect to preventing civilian casualties," it added.
The Presidents emphasized their strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and highlighted that they should be respected by all.
They rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighbouring countries.
Ankara, Moscow and Tehran are guarantors of the Astana process, a track of negotiations which have resulted in the return of a succession of militant bastions to the government fold and movement of civilians to safe zones.
The three presidents have previously held summits in the Russian resort city of Sochi in November 2017 and in the Turkish capital Ankara in April 2018.
At the request of Damascus, Iran has been offering advisory military assistance to the Syrian army. Tehran says it will continue its anti-terror mission as long as the legitimate government in Damascus wants it to do so.
Russia has also been providing air cover to Syrian army operations. It has also military advisors in the Arab country and runs a number of military bases there. The Tehran summit was held as Syria is preparing for a large-scale operation to liberate Idlib Province, the last major militant stronghold.
Libya remains a lawless land, with rival militias fighting battles in the streets of Tripoli and over 1 million people in need of aid. But the West's 'liberal interventionists' aren't interested in the catastrophe they created.
If you think the situation in Syria is complicated, you haven't been paying much attention to Libya. As a BBC article this week acknowledged: "Libya has faced continuing chaos since NATO-backed militia forces, some of them rivals, overthrew long-serving ruler Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011."
Libya has rival governments but even they don't control the majority of the country. There is no 'rule of law', only the rule of the gun. Libya's regression from the country with the highest Human Development Index figure in the whole of Africa just ten years ago, to a fragmented and very dangerous failed state, is hard to take in. Last year, the UN Agency IOM reported that slave markets had returned to the country....
As I argued in a previous op-ed, the Western assault on Libya was an even worse crime than the invasion of Iraq because it came later. There was really no excuse for anyone, seeing how the 'regime change' operation of 2003 had turned out, supporting a similar venture in North Africa.
Yet, those responsible for what happened have faced no comeback. The UK Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, is blamed for Brexit (by Remainers), but not for what he did to Libya and the claims he made to justify the military action. This is despite a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report concluding, five years later, that "the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence." Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President in 2011, faces a trial (or trials) in relation to three different investigations, including accepting money from Gaddafi to help his election campaign, but he has not yet been prosecuted for his role in the war. Bernard-Henri Levy, the philosopher considered by some to be the intellectual godfather of the Western intervention - and who boasted "we are the first to say that Qaddafi is no longer the legal representative," is performing a one-man anti-Brexit play, as the country he helped 'liberate' burns.
In 'liberal' circles across the West, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lionised for not being Donald Trump, but what the duo did to Libya is far worse than anything Trump has done up to now.
And the British Home Secretary under whose watch control orders on members of the anti-Gaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were lifted, one Theresa May, is now Prime Minister, and trying to take the moral high ground against Russia.
To add insult to injury, it is a politician who opposed the NATO action in 2011, Jeremy Corbyn, who is under constant media attack and painted as beyond the pale. Just how wrong is that?
We've had a lot of debate this summer in Britain about Israel's 'right to exist'- and whether challenging this makes one 'anti-Semitic' but the reality is that Libya - as a modern, functioning state - has ceased to exist. And no one in elite, establishment circles seems the least bit bothered.
Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday sentenced Muslim Brotherhood members Mohamed al-Beltagy, Safwat Higazi, Essam al-Erian and 72 others to death.
The court also sentenced 47 defendants to life imprisonment, most notably the Supreme Guide of the terrorist group Mohamed Badia, former Supply Minister Basem Ouda and Asam Sultan, while 612 other defendants received prison terms ranging from five to 15 years.
The court sentenced Osama, son of Former President Mohamed Morsi, to 10 years in prison.
The court ordered that the defendants repay the damage done during the dispersal and managed their money except for minors. Following their sentences the defendants would also be subjected to police surveillance for 5 years.
Those sentenced on Saturday are accused of security-related offences, including incitement to violence and organising illegal protests. On August 14, 2013, police dispersed a mass sit-in protest in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.
The security forces killed more than 600 people in a matter of hours, in what Human Rights Watch (HRW) concluded "likely amounted to crimes against humanity".
Government forces moved in with armoured vehicles, bulldozers, and hundreds of security forces in the early hours of the day. According to HRW, about 85,000 protesters joined the sit-in, which extended for over 45 days and grew larger and more organised with time. The protest was staged by supporters of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first elected president and Muslim Brotherhood leader, who was overthrown by the military a few weeks earlier.
Egypt's interim premier, Hazem El-Beblawi, addressed the Egyptian nation Wednesday evening in what he called "a word from the heart," describing the decision to disperse the two main sit-ins held by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo and Giza as a difficult one.
"As a government, we respect the right of peaceful protesting. But in all countries of the world those, rights are respected as long as there is a respect for others' rights, and this is achieved through a state of law," said El-Beblawi.
"We respected the feelings of the Egyptians in Ramadan and Eid, but then the state had to intervene in order to restore the security of Egyptians," said El-Beblawi. "The dispersing of the sit-ins had to happen," he added...
El-Beblawi further stated that the interim government was moving forward in the roadmap and wishes to accomplish the drafting of a constitution that would brings about a state that was neither religious nor military-based.
The Egyptian government vowed on Saturday to fight “terrorism and radicalism,” saying Muslim Brotherhood loyalists have engaged in violence and not peaceful protests, a presidential official said in a press conference. Mustafa Hijazi, who is a political advisor to Egypt’s interim government, urged protesters, who are calling for the re-instatement of deposed President Mohammed Mursi, to “go back to their rational senses.” He said “war has been declared” against Egypt by “extremist forces” to foil the country’s aim of forming a civil state.
He stated that “burning churches, schools, museums, random firing on civilians sitting in their homes, random killing, burning of public and private properties , targeting government edifices and police,” were all forms of “terrorism.” Egyptians, who “are more united than before,” will be protected from “religious fascism,” he added. “The constitution will be for all Egyptians by all Egyptians,” he said...
Gulf states, except Qatar, back Egypt’s new leaders
By Wissam Keyrouz, Middle East Online 21-8-2013
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are backing Egypt's new leaders because they see the political Islam espoused by ousted president Mohamed Morsi as a threat to their rule, experts say.
In a strong message to the European Union, which meets Wednesday to discuss measures against Egypt over its deadly crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protests, Saudi Arabia has said Arab nations will step in to cover any cut in foreign aid to Egypt.
"To those who have announced they are cutting their aid to Egypt, or threatening to do that, (we say that) Arab and Muslim nations are rich... and will not hesitate to help Egypt," Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Monday.
Prince Saud said on Wednesday that the kingdom has urged the international community, "not to take measures that could hamper the efforts of Egypt's government to stabilise" the Arab nation.
DAMASCUS - Abu Abdo eases himself into the driver's seat, itching to try out freshly laid train tracks between two suburbs of Syria's capital, Damascus. "I've been waiting for this day for six years," the 42-year-old says, drumming excitedly on the train's control board.
He prepares for a test drive on a stretch of tracks leading from Qadam station -- until May a pocket of Islamic State group resistance -- to grounds hosting the annual Damascus International Fair.
After seven years of war, the government is now back in control of nearly two thirds of Syria's territory, after seizing large swathes back from myriad rebel and jihadist groups.
The Syrian government views reviving the railways as crucial to its reconstruction policy. The week-long fair, which started on Thursday, is being serviced by 28 trains each day, according to state media.
Of the 2,450 kilometres of train tracks that cross Syria, some 1,800 kilometres will be repaired, according to the transport ministry. Routes that will be revived include those running north-south between Damascus, Homs and Aleppo, as well as lines between the coast and the country's east, bordering Iraq.
"Some tracks were stolen and others were damaged because of the war," says Radwan Tikriti, the railway chief for the Damascus region. He has worked with locomotives for 30 years and once lived near Qadam station, where he grew accustomed to waking each morning to the sound of train whistles.
That changed in early 2013, when rebels overran the district and Tikriti fled, ahead of Qadam then falling into ISIS' clutches. "We're working now to link the cities (back) together," Tikriti tells AFP. "We're in a race against time to rehabilitate the railway. We all really want to hear the sounds of trains" again... In July, President Bashar al-Assad earmarked rebuilding Syria as his "top priority," and reviving the railways is a big part of that task.
The authorities aim to have most lines back up and running by the end of the year, says Transport Minister Ali Hammud. "The railways will play an essential role in reconstruction," Hammud tells AFP.
Repairing the railways could also revitalise land trade and jump-start Syria's collapsed economy, Hammud says. "The objective is to link Syrian ports to neighbouring countries," he adds, referring to the maritime posts at Tartus and Latakia. "We're going to reconnect all the borders."
For driver Abu Abdo, the railway's revival is personal. The lifelong driver comes from Idlib in the northwest, the only province still in rebel hands and the next military target for regime forces. "I hope the day will come when I can go back to my hometown," he says. "Only then can we say that Syria has become what it was before the war."
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in a statement confirmed the Saturday missile strikes against the headquarters of Kurdistan Democratic Party – Iran (KDP-I) terrorist group in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, vowing harsher response if terrorist attacks continue.
The statement said on Sunday that the missile strikes were launched after the terrorist group launched attacks on bordering areas in Iran, fomented insecurity and conducted sabotage acts in West Azarbaijan, Kurdistan and Kermanshah provinces in Western Iran.
The statement underlined that the missile attacks were launched after the ringleaders of the terrorist groups neglected the serious warnings of the Iraqi Kurdistan region officials about the Islamic Republic's determination to remove their bases and end their aggressive and terrorist acts against Iran.
It underlined the Iranian security and Armed Forces' vigilance to safeguard the country's territories, warning the terrorist groups that there will be more crushing response if they risk to resume attacks on the Islamic Republic.
On Saturday morning, Iranian missiles targeted the headquarters of the KDP-I and the Democratic Party of the Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) terrorist groups in Koya. The missiles specifically targeted the KDP-I’s political bureau, the PDKI’s training center, and a Peshmerga complex.
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), also known as the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), is an armed leftist ethnic party of Kurds in Iran, exiled in northern Iraq. It is banned in Iran and thus not able to operate openly. It calls for self-determination of Kurdish people and has been described as seeking either separatism or autonomy within a federal system.
Since 1979, KDPI has waged a persistent yet thus far unsuccessful guerrilla war against the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran, during 1979–1983 Kurdish insurgency, its 1989–1996 insurgency and recent clashes in 2016. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials have called the party a terrorist organization. Allies: USA (since 2000) and Saudi-Arabia (since 2010). (Wikipedia info)
Flashback 2016: The New Anti-Iran Coalition
KDPI leader describes Iran as a Shiite ISIS By Rudaw, 23-8-2016
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iran has left no breathing space for the country’s several million Kurds through repressions, disregarding all cultural and political rights and seeing everything through a security lens, said Mustafa Hejri, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) in Erbil on Monday; therefore it is time to confront Tehran which is as dangerous as the Islamic State (ISIS)...
Hejri said that dealing with Iran for almost four decades including a unilateral ceasefire has shown them and the world that Tehran does not believe in giving the Kurds or the country’s other minorities any of their rights...
He went on to describe the Iranian government as a Shiite Daesh, the local term for the Islamic State (ISIS) which he said was as dangerous as the extremist Sunni group. [...]
“Our purpose behind resuming the armed struggle is for our fighters to be inside the cities, boost people’s morale, learn the terrain and encourage them to get involved in this struggle,” Hejri said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed last week to get his Russian and Iranian counterparts to support his desperate bid for a cease-fire in Idlib, the stronghold of the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, as well as other radical Salafi and armed gangs based in the northwestern Syrian province. Turkey, which already hosts some 3.5 million Syrian refugees, seeks to avoid another massive inflow of Syrians displaced by conflict, but has been unable to convince non-terrorist armed groups to withdraw and distance themselves from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham...
That Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is digging in, rather than getting out, should come as no surprise. The UN-designated terrorist group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, which controls about 60% of Idlib province, is unlikely to throw in the towel even while the international community seems to be throwing it a lifeline.
De Mistura estimates there are 10,000 Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Idlib alone, which are embedded with tens of thousands of fighters from other armed groups, including radical Salafis such as Ahrar al-Sham, as well remnants of the US- and Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its jihadi brothers-in-arms do not share the international community’s concern about the consequences of an attack by the Syrian regime and its backers. The bloodier the better, in their score, as it increases pressure on Syria and Russia to end the fighting and allow the jihadis to keep their enclave.
Those in Idlib who would be inclined to take up the Turkish offer to prevent the slaughter don’t stand a chance. The Washington Post reported that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its Salafi partners have erected gallows around Idlib province for public execution of traitors — that is, those who want to negotiate an exit, as well as opponents of their brutal style of Islamic law.
“Several groups monitoring the situation confirmed the existence of detention facilities across a network of basements and caves,” the Post reports. The paper said the group JAN Violations, which records allegations of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham abuses, reported that the "group had at least five prisons in the province, several of them notorious for torture.” JAN stands for Jabhat al-Nusra.
The atrocities committed by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists and other jihadi groups in Idlib has been well covered by Al-Monitor, which was one of the few media outlets to highlight the 2016 Amnesty International publication "Torture was my punishment: Abductions, torture and summary killings under armed groups in Aleppo and Idleb, Syria."
Conditions for civilians under the rule of these terrorists and armed gangs has only gotten worse the past two years.
President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview o the local newspaper al-Thawra, in which he claimed that his opponents have “used up all their tools” and failed to overthrow his regime.
The Treasury Department announced today, 10-11-2016, that Abdallah Muhammad Bin Sulayman al Muhaysini and three other jihadists have been added to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. “As of late 2015,” Muhaysini “was an accepted member of al Nusrah Front’s inner leadership circle.” He has served as Nusrah’s “religious advisor” and “represented” the group “in an Idlib Province, Syria, military operations room” as of July 2015. Muhaysini has been a prolific recruiter for Nusrah and has helped to form a new jihadi “state” in northern Syria, Treasury reports. (Thomas Joscelyn, 2016)
Interviewer: Mr President. You first stated that what is happening in Syria is not a revolution... What made you say that it was not a revolution from the inception?
President Assad: From a historical perspective, any genuine revolution is purely internal and cannot be linked externally by any means, as manifested by the Russian, French and even the Iranian revolutions. Real revolutions are intrinsic, spontaneous, and are led by intellectual and ideological elites. What occurred in Syria since the outset of the crisis was flagrant external interference. There were attempts to hide this, but it has become absolutely clear.
Secondly, the real revolution of 1963 was a revolution that empowered the country, society and human values. It promoted science and knowledge by building thousands of schools, it brought light to the Urban and rural areas of Syria by building electricity lines and networks, it strengthened the economy by providing job opportunities according to competencies. It supported the wider foundations of society including farmers, labourers and skilled-workers. ...
Revolutions are about building countries and societies, not about destroying them; so how can we call what is happening in Syria a revolution? Attempts to package the events on the ground as a part of a revolution have been futile from the beginning. ....
"Anyone who thinks that the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are campaigning against Syria for the cause of reform is living in a dream world.
Every wild accusation made by activists and dutifully reported by the media is grist to their mill. They don't want the violence to end. They want it continue until the Syrian government is destroyed.... In their grey suits and pastel ties, these people are as crazy as any fascist in a brown uniform." Jeremy Salt, 16-1-2012
The United States will shut the Palestine Liberation Organisation's diplomatic office in Washington, DC, over the Palestinian government's refusal to enter into US-led negotiations with Israel.
"We have been notified by a US official of their decision to close the Palestinian mission to the US," PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in a statement on Monday.
"This is yet another affirmation of the Trump administration's policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people, including by cutting financial support for humanitarian services including health and education."
According to a draft text of a speech seen by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, will also reportedly threaten the International Criminal Court (ICC) with sanctions if it carries out investigations into the US and Israel.
"The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel," Bolton is expected to say in his speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group, in Washington, DC.
If such a probe proceeds, the Trump administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the US, put sanctions on any funds they have in the US financial system and prosecute them in US courts.
"We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us," the draft text said.
The action against the PLO, which serves as the main entity representing the Palestinian people, is the latest in a series of measures by the Trump administration against the Palestinian leadership.
According to Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and analyst who served as a legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team from 2000 to 2005, Monday's decision is part of a list of requests the Israeli government made to the Trump administration last year. "The US was handed a wishlist by Israel, and that wishlist has everythig the Netanyahu government wants the Trump government to do," Buttu told Al Jazeera.
"Slowly, piece by piece, the Trump administration is checking off everything that is on this list."
"First we saw the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in May," Buttu said.
"Then we saw the limiting of the number of refugees and stop funding for UNRWA last week, and lastly there not allowing the Palestinians to have official representation in the US, which is what happened now." According to Buttu, the US is rewarding Israel for "bad and illegal behaviour", while at the same time punishing Palestinians living under occupation.
According to Buttu, Monday's decision will not affect the peace process, which, she says, does not exist. "The fact that we're still talking about a peace process is laughable," she told Al Jazeera.
"All they are doing is keep talking about this "deal of the century", but they haven't presented anything yet and I think it is just an attempt to bring Palestinians to their knees," Buttu added.
The whole “peace process” is premised on a fundamental rejection of the applicability of international law. Instead, the idea has always been to compel the Palestinians through violence and other means of coercion into accepting Israel’s demands that they surrender their rights.
DebkaFile: "Israeli website, trading in rumors"
Noah Shachtman wrote in 2001 that "the DebkaFile-site is unabashedly in the hawkish camp of Israeli politics". Yediot Achronot investigative reporter Ronen Bergman states that the site relies on information from sources with an agenda, such as neo-conservative elements of the US Republican Party, "whose worldview is that the situation is bad and is only going to get worse," and that Israeli intelligence officials do not consider even 10 percent of the site's content to be reliable. Cornell Law professor Michael C. Dorf calls Debka his "favorite alarmist Israeli website trading in rumors."
In November 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush, visiting Europe for a NATO summit, declared that "should Iraqi President Saddam Hussein choose not to disarm, the United States will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him." The Bush administration briefly used "coalition of the willing" to refer to the countries who supported, militarily or politically, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent military presence in post-invasion Iraq.
Amid reports that the German Defense Ministry is considering getting involved in the Syrian conflict, SPD leader Andrea Nahles, a coalition partner of Angela Merkel, has completely ruled out supporting any such intervention.
With the Syrian government, backed by Russian airstrikes, set to crack down on Islamist rebels in the province of Idlib, Nahles said on Monday that she would not support German intervention, even if Bashar Assad’s government uses chemical weapons.
“The SPD will agree neither in the government nor in parliament, a participation of Germany in the war in Syria,” read a statement from Nahles. Her statement comes after Merkel’s government revealed on Monday that it has been in talks with its allies regarding possible military intervention in Syria. The US had earlier asked Merkel to join the coalition, reported German newspaper Bild. The German Defense Ministry and the US had reportedly discussed various options for German involvement, ranging from simple reconnaissance flights and damage analysis, to a possible engagement in combat missions.
Intervening now would set Germany up for possible confrontation with Russia, an ally of the Syrian government. Russian jets have been pounding terrorist positions in Idlib in an effort to wipe out the country’s remaining jihadists. The Russian Ministry of Defense warned on Sunday that terrorist groups, including Jabhat Al-Nusra and the infamous White Helmets, are preparing to stage a chemical attack to give the Western coalition a pretext to strike Assad again.
Russia has repeatedly issued the same warning over the past weeks, and has submitted what Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says are “concrete facts” about an impending false-flag chemical attack to the US government, the UN, and the OPCW (Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons).
The Russian government claims that chlorine gas canisters have already been put in place in Idlib for use in the attack.
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