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)
If missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is found to be murdered, it will harm not only Saudi Arabia's relations with Turkey but also Riyadh's relations with the world, two Turkish senior ruling party members told Al Jazeera.
The already sensitive relations between the two regional rivals have suffered a new blow after Khashoggi disappeared during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, entered the consulate on October 2 to obtain some documents required for his forthcoming wedding, but never came out, Turkish authorities and his friends say. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that Saudi Arabia explain what happened to Khashoggi, whom he called a "friend". Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Erdogan and also a friend of Khashoggi's, told Al Jazeera that they were trying to keep the hope that the dissident writer was still alive. "And thus we are hoping that our relations with Saudi Arabia gets affected as minimum as possible," Aktay said... "If he is really murdered, it is not only Saudi-Turkish relations that will suffer, but the world's relations with Saudi Arabia will get significantly harmed..."
Encouraged by the state-controlled media, many Saudis have been rallying round their leadership. There is even a popular rumour that what happened in Istanbul is all a plot by Qatar and Turkey to discredit the blameless Saudi kingdom.
But privately, others are now questioning whether the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the man once hailed as a visionary saviour of Saudi Arabia, has gone too far.
He has pitched his country into a costly and seemingly unwinnable war in Yemen. He is embroiled in a damaging dispute with neighbouring Qatar. He has quarrelled with Canada over human rights, and he has locked up dozens for peaceful protest while alienating many in royal and business circles.
Is this the end of Saudi prince's honeymoon?
"Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty
until proven innocent. I don’t like that’", Donald Trump, 17-10-2018
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized rapidly mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the mystery of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning of a rush to judgment and echoing the Saudis’ request for patience.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”
The Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He spoke by phone a day earlier with King Salman. After speaking with the king, Trump floated the idea that “rogue killers” may have been responsible for the disappearance.
The president told the AP on Tuesday that that description was informed by his “feeling” from his conversation with Salman and that the king did not use the term. “It sounded to me, maybe these could have been rogue killers,” Trump said.
"Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty
until proven innocent. I don’t like that", Donald Trump, 17-10-2018
douma boy telling the truth
Bashar al Assad has reacted to being called "Animal Assad" by US President Donald Trump with a phrase usually heard in school playgrounds. The Syrian President declared: "What you say is what you are."
Mr Trump had insulted his counterpart in an 8 April tweet following a suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma.
He wrote: "Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price..."
In an interview with Russia Today, Mr Assad said he did not have a nickname or insult for Mr Trump: "This is not my language, so, I cannot use similar language. This is his language. It represents him.
"I think there is a very known principle, that what you say is what you are. So, he wanted to represent what he is, and that's normal." Joint airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities were carried out by the US, UK and France following the alleged poison gas attack.
Mr Assad denied attacking his own people and said the attack would not have been in the government's interest: "They told a story, they told a lie, and the public opinion around the world and in the West didn't buy their story, but they couldn't withdraw... So, they had to do something, even on a smaller scale."
The New York Times Wednesday cited Turkey as identifying four associates of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) as suspected of being present at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul during the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after Oct. 2. They were among the 15 Saudi officers Turkey claimed had arrived at the consulate and were seen departing the country a few hours later.
One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston and the United Nations.
Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi crown prince’s security detail.
A fifth is a forensic doctor who holds senior positions in the Saudi Interior Ministry and medical establishment, a figure of such stature that he could be directed only by a high-ranking Saudi authority.
If, as the Turkish authorities say, these men were present at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where Mr. Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2, they might provide a direct link between what happened and Prince Mohammed. That would undercut any suggestion that Mr. Khashoggi died in a rogue operation unsanctioned by the crown prince.
Good nicknames have the amazing ability to capture the essence of a person’s life better than any well-written biography...
With the nickname “father of the bullet”, while growing up in Riyadh, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared destined for notoriety.
The account of how he acquired this title brings into sharp focus the psyche of a mob prince whose first two years as Crown Prince has been tainted by death, destruction and, perhaps the most grisly murder ever to be carried out in a foreign embassy.
The account reported in the New Yorker begins with Mohammed Bin Salman, also known as MBS, demanding that a Saudi land registry official help him appropriate a property. After the official refused, he received an envelope with a single bullet inside. It earned him the name “Abu Rasasa,” the father of the bullet.
In the two years since becoming Crown Prince, MBS has done little to dispel people’s early impression of him as the spoilt, power hungry megalomaniac. Instead the “father of bullets” has cemented his childhood reputation by growing into his new role as the “prince of chaos”.
With his brutal war in Yemen where 13 million people are at risk of starvation; the decision to impose a blockade on neighbouring Qatar; rounding up fellow princes and businessmen and holding them on charges of corruption; putting the Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri under house arrest in Riyadh; imprisoning women’s rights campaigners and overreacting when Canada calls for the release of the women, by cancelling diplomatic relations with Ottawa and ordering 10,000 Saudi students to abandon their studies in Canada; and surrendering the plight of the Palestinians, the “prince of chaos” has sent the entire region into a tail spin.
None of these blunders, though serious and catastrophic in their own right, has attracted global attention to the mob like ruthlessness of the “father of bullets” as the killing of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The horrific details of the killing have exposed what the west along with major global corporations have ignored; that Saudi Arabia under MBS is becoming a mafia state.
The new US administration, if Michael Wolff’s account of the White House in the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency is to be believed, “was basically grooming Mohammed bin Salman”.
Trump’s full backing of the young prince was seen to be a reflection of the US President’s political philosophy. Trump, according to Mohammed Cherkaoui, a professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University “wants to deal with individuals, not institutions and not governments, so it’s a one-to-one”. In MBS, the Trump family had clearly found their man. Young, ambitious and ruthless, he ticked all the right boxes as far as they were concerned.
In the coming days the Saudis with their American godfather will try to undo the damage caused by one of their “rogue killers”.
A face saving statement which distances MBS from the killing of Kashoggi is likely to be issued. It will be designed in such a way that those, for whom “the father of bullets” and the “prince of chaos” is their favourite client, can continue with business as usual.
This will be a big mistake nearly as grave as the one to pay no attention to the thousands dying and millions starving in Yemen.
A lengthy profile on Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in The New Yorker reveals what the powerful millennial was like as a teenager.
MbS, as the crown prince is known, “brazenly used his status to enrich himself” as he was growing up in Saudi Arabia, according to New Yorker reporter Dexter Filkins.
One reported example involved MbS and a Saudi land-registry official. The crown prince reportedly demanded that the official “help him appropriate a property,” and when the official refused, he received an envelope that contained a single bullet.
MbS was apparently given the name “Abu Rasasa” by the people of Saudi Arabia. The nickname translates to “father of the bullet” in English. A friend of the crown prince told The New Yorker that the story was true, but that MbS “realizes that he went too far toward some people in those days,” and “has tried to make amends.”
Another example of the crown prince’s seemingly arrogant behavior in his younger days involved him pressuring a number of wealthy businessmen to put money directly into his personal investment fund. He reportedly raised up to $30 million in just a few weeks.
SOON, the drama of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey will come to an end. Truly this is nothing but a comedy act that turned to international media and was orchestrated by haters and ill-wishers in Qatar who were working day and night to come up with this skit.
With this drama coming to a near end, signs of fear are visible on the faces on the producers, writers, actors and directors, while at the same time, Saudis will be laughing and recording a new victory. Saudis will stress the fact that their country is a great nation in the region and a leader of the Islamic world and is not shaken by these malicious acts. As for their opponents, they are nothing more than small parasites with a very short life cycle. [...]
All these groups are exposed and they will achieve no results... Saudis will have the last laugh at the end of this comedy act and Saudi Arabia will get out from this stronger while striking fear in the hearts of its enemies. We need in-house cleaning from these parasites who were exposed by the Khashoggi incident.
With this drama coming to a near end, signs of fear are visible on the faces on the producers, writers, actors and directors, while at the same time, Saudis will be laughing and recording a new victory.
UNDER the cybercrimes law in the Kingdom, those who produce and spread false news that negatively affect public order and exchange them through social networking websites will be sentenced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to SR3 million.
This law is good for the nation and its citizens but not good for anyone who forwards false news through social media without verifying its accuracy and posts tweets and Facebook comments unaware of the punishments.
This illiteracy cannot be tackled merely by circulating awareness messages by the public prosecutor through social media. The real solution and treatment of legal illiteracy lies in handing out deterrent punishments.
However this will not be effective unless the authorities punish celebrities and well-known people who violate the law by posting such messages. And the punishment must quickly follow the violation.
In my opinion this is the best way to educate people and prevent them from violating regulations. This punitive system is significant at a time when the majority of people are unaware of the consequences of spreading lies and rumors through social media...
Has the Qatari-Muslim Brotherhood media won against Saudi media and against the media that loves Saudi Arabia in the Khashoggi battle?
It became clear in the Jamal Khashoggi fuss during the past few days that the Qatari-Brotherhood fuss was the loudest.
There are the Al Jazeera platforms and its employees, the Brotherhood “mujahideen” in the world and the sensitive and caring people who are concerned about human rights and freedom of expression but are among the supporters of the Khomeinist Iran! There is also the left journalists in the West, in the US and other countries.
All these harnessed their efforts to promote their own narrative about Jamal Khashoggi. They pulled out their swords, wielded their spears and directed their arrows, and they thought and estimated, hence, their black dust obscured the eyes.
This is all true but there are also people who directed their anger at the Saudi media, especially on prominent outlets, both audiovisual and print media. They said: Where is the voice of Saudi journalists?
Others said the supporters of the Brotherhood, Iran and the left succeeded in solidifying their story, and this is due to lack of freedom of expression or the dominance of emotional enthusiasm over “professionalism” on some of us...
This is wrong. Al Jazeera is so far from professionalism, as much as street singer Sha’bola is far from reading Beethoven’s notes. There’s nothing great about Al Jazeera and its sisters!
Does this mean that our media is fine and does not need a new vision, a different approach and qualitative tools? The answer is 'of course not', as it actually needs that. The purpose of the previous remarks is to disagree with the false diagnosis.
Israel’s decision to block news channel Al Jazeera because it claims the network “supports terrorism” has been condemned as an “undemocratic” attack on press freedom. The Israeli government claimed the broadcaster was “a tool" of Isis, and also Iran...
Al Jazeera reported on its website that it had been prevented from attending the news conference at which the announcement was made. Israel’s communications minister Ayoub Kara said it would block all the Qatar-based station's Arabic and English channels and remove the press credentials of its journalists.
“Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that Al Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalisation," Mr Kara said.
"And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that Al Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State [Isis], Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that, then something delusional is happening here."
Despite the vast amount invested in Holocaust education and in spite of the fact that the Holocaust is the only compulsory subject in the British national history curriculum, British pupils seem not to follow the message of the rigid topic.
"Critical mindset: Refusing to provide simple ‘lessons from history’, we encourage students to explore the complexity of the past and construct meaning for themselves.
This is a deep learning process, as it challenges stereotypes, myths and misconceptions; enables students to ask their own questions and follow their own lines of enquiry; and develops a critical mindset that will foster a humane, reasonable, and enlightened way of interpreting the world. (CHE)
UCL’s Centre for Holocaust Education has recently interviewed over 8,000 pupils aged 11-18 in England. Andy Pearce who work as a researcher at the centre told the Tablet that apparently 25-30 years of Holocaust education “is failing to make an impact.”
Pearce reports that when students were asked who was responsible for the Holocaust, “Hitler dominated the answer.” This is presumably a ‘wrong answer.’
Pearce continues, “Incredibly when we asked them to tell us who the Nazis were, students responded by saying they were ‘Hitler’s minions’ and ‘Hitler’s paratroopers.’” Pearce wasn’t happy with this answer either.
“There was no reference to the Nazi Party as a political movement. Students also told the researchers that most Jews were killed in Germany. There was no understanding of collaborating regimes and many believed that mass killing began in 1933.”
Pearce inadvertently provided some crucial insights into the systematic failure of ‘holocaust education.’
While Heidegger taught us that to educate is to teach others how to learn, indoctrination is a very different exercise. It teaches how to produce the ‘right’ answers. The Holocaust, as taught and preached, falls into the domain of indoctrination. It is not a subject matter that is open to discussion or revision.
The Holocaust as a subject does not accommodate dilemma or confusion. It is treated like a religious text with a rigid structure that doesn’t allow deviation.
For history to be relevant it must contain a dynamic discourse with present day, historical and contextual connotations.
If the Holocaust is to be a vibrant topic that is engaging and enlightening for young enthusiastic minds, then the Holocaust must be placed into a context, such as comparing Auschwitz to Gaza. Nuremberg laws must be juxtaposed with the Israeli National Bill and the Israeli Law of Return.
For the Holocaust to win our kids’ attention they must try to address the most difficult of questions: How and why was it that just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the newly born Jewish State ethnically cleansed the vast majority of the indigenous Palestinians? For the Holocaust to garner universal interest, it must carry a universal message!
The UCL team also examined what teachers hope to achieve by teaching the Holocaust. “There is a belief that if we study the Holocaust it will stop it happening again.”
The truth of the matter is that there is more than one holocaust happening at the moment: Palestine, Libya, Syria just to mention a few. The Holocaust will become a meaningful lesson when it is finally emancipated from the primacy of Jewish suffering and when we return to empathy and compassion as a basic tenet of our culture.
Unfortunately I do not see the Holocaust Education Trust leading us in such a direction.
Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and author of the forthcoming book “Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine,” spoke with The Intercept to discuss the ethical and political implications of military legal scholarship, particularly around the justifications for Israel’s targeted killings in the occupied Palestinian territories and beyond.
How have the Israeli government and military lawyers employed international law to justify the use of targeted killings?
During the Second Intifada, Israel created an entirely new set of laws of war to govern their relationship with the Palestinians.
As Daniel Reisner, former head of the [Israel Defense Forces]’s International Law Department, himself stated in this article, Israel developed the concept of “armed conflict, short of war” to give itself the ability to legally justify its targeted killing policies in the occupied territories.
The issue is that there exists a body of international law that dealt with situations of guerrilla warfare, namely the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II, which Israel has simply refused to recognize. The whole reason they needed to create these new legal concepts is because they were rejecting existing laws that were created during the 20th century, specifically to regulate this kind of irregular combat.
To avoid either recognizing Palestinians as a nascent sovereign nation or a people subject to apartheid within Israel, Israeli military lawyers came up with an entirely new concept of “armed conflict short of war,” a new category of legal reasoning that never existed before. They didn’t want to call their conflict with the Palestinians a “war”, since that would recognize the inevitability of a Palestinian state and trigger a number of requirements under the laws of war. But they also didn’t want call it an “occupation,” since then they would be subject to the laws that govern occupiers. Among other things, occupation law would mandate them to use policing powers instead of offensive military tactics like targeted killing. So to avoid doing either, they simply created a new and unprecedented legal category that is, in effect, a new law for colonial dominance.
Israeli military lawyers are right to point out that their situation is unprecedented; there is no other occupation that has lasted over five decades. No other state has invoked the concept of “armed conflict, short of war” in any other scenario, which Israel’s military lawyers admit they made up. Israel wants to be an occupying power in the Palestinian territories, but also claim that those territories are not occupied as a matter of law so that it can facilitate its settler-colonial territorial expansion.
That is why Israel has remained in the territories for so long — it has never intended on withdrawing from them. And now it is invoking the law of self-defense to use force to protect its colonial holdings.
But a state cannot invoke self-defense to wage war on a people [whose land] it already occupies, while insisting that those people are neither a nascent sovereign nation nor a population under its control.
Saudi Arabia admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul, saying he died in brawl but made no mention of where his body is.
Preliminary results of investigations showed the dissident writer died after a fight broke out inside the building shortly after he entered, the official SPA press agency said on Saturday.
Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said Khashoggi died after "discussions" at the consulate devolved into an altercation.
"Discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him … at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death..." the attorney general said in a statement.
"The investigations are still under way and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested." Royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri were fired from their positions, the statement said. It remains unclear where Khashoggi's body is following his killing.
"I have to tell you, you know, the laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years, they've been made to protect the criminal. Totally made to protect the criminal." (ABC News, 28-7-2017)
US President Donald Trump said he found Saudi Arabia's explanation about Khashoggi's credible.
"It's early, we haven't finished our review or investigation, but … I think it's a very important first step," he said.
He said he does not want to cancel a multibillion-dollar arms deal with the Saudis in response to the admission of guilt. "I would prefer, if there is going to be some form of sanction or what we may determine to do, if anything ... that we don't use as retribution cancelling $110bn worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs," he said. Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security, said she was "surprised" by the Saudis' story about Khashoggi's death.
"They knew they had to come up with a story, and this is what they think is the best story for their purposes. It's at the very least insufficient, but it's also insulting. It's 'here's our story and we're sticking to it'." Aaron David Miller, Middle East analyst at the Wilson Center in Washington, told Al Jazeera the Saudi announcement was an effort to protect the powerful crown prince.
"Part of this is unprecedented. For an intel operation, for renditions and kidnappings, which they have done all the time, they have never disclosed or assumed any responsibility. And they've done it in response to pressure," said Miller. "They are creating this cover story that his death occurred during a fist fight. It's another step in a big kabuki theatre." A Saudi official familiar with the investigation told the Reuters news agency the crown prince had no knowledge of the Khashoggi operation.
"There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "MBS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody.
Bashar al-Assad: "I believe that Syria [..] is exposed to a new colonization-attempt by all means and methods. There’s an attempt to invade Syria with forces coming from abroad from different nationalities, even though it’s following a new tactic.., and there’s also an attempt to occupy Syria, culturally: an intellectual invasion in 2 directions either by taking Syria into subservience and submission by major powers, specifically the West or in another direction which is submission (of Syria) to the dark and Takfiri forces." (17-4-2013)
- Q: “You were in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. How do you describe currently the importance of Saudi Arabia to the United States?”
- Pompeo: “They have been a strategic ally of ours since the early 1930s and recently have been even more important. They have assisted us in pushing back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
They’ve been a great counterterrorism partner during our administration. We have economic ties with them that are deep and important, a broad spectrum of strategic relationships between the United States and Saudi Arabia."
- Q: “If the investigator turns out, if the investigation that’s on going that the Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman) or the King (Salman) had deeper involvement that’s being suspect or people are saying in the media that its determined to be that. What can the United States do or what should it do in light of the fact of its strategic importance?”
- Pompeo: “Well the president has said that it’ll have to be some response in the event that the fact turn out the way that you hypothesized that they will turn out. I’m not going to get into what those responses might be. We’ll certainly consider a wide range of potential responses, but I think the important thing to do is that the facts come out.
When I traveled to Saudi Arabia, I met with the king, I met with the crown prince at great length. I met with Foreign Minister (Adel el-)Jubeir, and I made very clear to them that the United States takes this matter very seriously. That we don’t approve of extrajudicial killings. That we don’t approve of that kind of activity. That it’s not something consistent with American values, and that it is their responsibility as this incident happened in the consulate. It’s their responsibility to get to the bottom of this, to put the facts out clearly, accurately, completely, transparently, in a way that the whole world can see.
And once we’ve identified the fact set, then they have the responsibility and the first instance to hold accountable those inside the country that may have been involved in any wrong doing.”
The Saudi administration used an "army of Twitter trolls" to silence critics and slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was one of the targets, the New York Times said in a report.
In its report, titled Saudis' Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider, the daily claimed that the Saudi administration is conducting operations on the social media platform Twitter to silence opposing names abroad and inside Saudi Arabia.
The report is based on interviews with seven people involved in those activities or "briefed on them; activists and experts who have studied them; and American and Saudi officials, along with messages seen by The New York Times that described the inner workings of the troll farm."
It said that dictated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "Saudi operatives have mobilized to harass critics on Twitter", which became especially popular since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2010. "Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed who was fired on Saturday in the fallout from Mr. Khashoggi's killing, was the strategist behind the operation, according to United States and Saudi officials, as well as activist organizations," the report said.
Whipping the country's journalists into submission, promising to smite the enemies of his masters and peddling fake news, a Saudi royal spin doctor close to young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to be reading straight from Steve Bannon's handbook. On Friday August 18, Saud al-Qahtani aka Mr. Hashtag, a media advisor to the royal court (born in Riyadh on June 7, 1978), launched on Twitter a McCarthyist appeal to Saudis to compile a blacklist containing the names and identities of anyone showing sympathy with Qatar under the Arabic hashtag #TheBlacklist.
Qahtani vowed to "follow" every name reported via the social media site, and tweeted that anyone who "conspires" against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain, all of which are imposing an unlawful blockade on Qatar, would be unable to escape "trial".
Many Saudis on Twitter then began adding the names of dissidents and activists who had expressed solidarity with Qatar. Anwar Gargash, the UAE's state minister for foreign affairs, was one of the first to express support for the blacklist, tweeting: "Saud al-Qahtani is an important voice ... and his tweet on the 'blacklist' is extremely important." The sinister and disturbing nature of these statements cannot be over-emphasised, especially as Qahtani himself suggests they reflect official Saudi policy.
Responding to a tweet questioning his actions, Saud al-Qahtani stated: “Do you think I make this stuff up or are these orders from my liege? To whom I am a loyal and obedient servant?"
Little known by Western media circles, Qahtani quickly gained notoriety in the Arabic twittersphere with the coup by Mohammed bin Salman against his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef.
Curiously, the royal reshuffle was engineered to coincide with the campaign against Qatar, and Qahtani was instrumental in selling MBS to the Saudi public as well as leading the smear campaign against Doha and justifying the draconian measures against its people.
He was officially appointed to the royal court in December 2015 as adviser with the rank of minister by King Salman... Before his installation in King Salman and his son's court, Qahtani had a stint as a 'journalist' in Saudi outlet Elaph, and contributed to pro-government newspaper Al-Riyadh.
The Qatar 'Blacklist' is only the most recent shenanigan by Qahtani, a man who has since his rise to prominence garnered a special reputation for crude and dishonest tactics... With direct access to MBS, his name has reportedly become synonymous with fear among Saudi journalists as MBS's personal enforcer.
Intimidatory messages to journalists and newspaper editors mentioned on many occasions that ‘these were the orders of His Royal Highness’. Saudi journalists and editors say in private meetings that they have been called up by Qahtani, bullying them to take down an article, toe MBS's line and/or join the anti-Qatar campaign, complete with threats and insults. They say he even dictated the soundbites and hashtags to them.
Saudi writer Turki al-Ruqi, the founder of Al-Wi’am newspaper, accused al-Qahtani of acting like an internet troll, launching social media campaigns against selected targets to terrify dissenters.
Al-Ruqi said: “The man has transgressed a lot. Many of the country’s young men have been his victims. He has provoked tension in the relations between decision makers and the country’s citizens. He has undermined the immunity that is supposed to be enjoyed by ministers and statesmen.”
Qahtani is said to have established a dedicated social media surveillance unit, producing daily reports on dissidents, and has been linked to the so-called Saudi Twitter robot army.
As if posting his vitriol under his name publicly wasn't enough, Qahtani also writes poetry under the name of Dari. Like his tweets, his poetry is obscene and vulgar, and even contains racist slurs.
Said al-Arabi is a pseudonym. The author resides in a jurisdiction where the publication of their identity may create a security or freedom of movement issue.
The entirely legitimate shock and outrage over the disappearance and likely murder of the prominent Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi have so far largely prevented an examination of his views. [..]
A recent Washington Post report on how Khashoggi spent the days before his disappearance provides a noteworthy clue by repeatedly citing Khashoggi’s "friend" Azzam Tamimi, who is also cited in the NYT article.
Tamimi has praised HAMAS as "defenders of the truth" who "made sacrifices for the good of all Muslims." He’s stated that he considers it "a great honor to be close to Hamas," and that "all the leaders of Hamas are my friends." For Khashoggi, the "struggle against Israel" was a critical part of the Islamist agenda he embraced.
Middle East Monitor reported last February that Khashoggi called on Muslims "to visit Jerusalem" because "we need to remind the Israelis that Jerusalem is ours," and again signaled his unequivocal support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Speaking in Istanbul, Khashoggi dismissed Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s "talk about moderate Islam," asserting that MBS "does not have the answer to what moderate Islam means." Khashoggi insisted that "It was the Muslim Brotherhood’s contemporary scholars like Sheikh Ali Tantawi and Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi that introduced the term moderate Islam.
Bin Salman is confused about the proper choice for moderation […] The Muslim Brotherhood are moderates, but he does not want to admit that."
qaradawi: enemy of secularism
It is rather shocking to see Khashoggi promoting the notorious Yusuf Qaradawi as an example of a scholar who should be credited for "moderate Islam."
Western security experts are more likely to regard Qaradawi as "one of the most public figureheads of the radical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood," and the cleric who infamously gave religious legitimation to suicide bombings. Qaradawi has been banned from entering numerous countries, including Arab states as well as the U.S., the UK and France...
Given that Khashoggi saw the "struggle against Israel" as central, his promotion of Qaradawi as a paragon of "moderate Islam" seems all the more alarming.
Khashoggi’s own intense hatred for Israel is clearly reflected in some of his Al Hayat columns published by the Monitor in English translation.
In "Palestine, the occupation and the resistance for beginners," Khashoggi made the chilling claim that Israel’s "existence is outside the context of history and logic […] it came into being by force, it will live by force and it will die by force."
Sheikh Ali Al-Tantawi contested the elections to the first post-independence Syrian parliament in 1947. Despite his strong appeal, he did not win a seat... That was the only time he stood for parliamentary elections, but he was always concerned with political developments. He spoke out on any issue that was of importance to the people, or that touched on Islamic principles. Whenever free elections were held, he spoke out in favor of returning an Islamically oriented parliament.
In 1954 he issued a statement calling on people to elect only suitable candidates; stating unequivocally that it was forbidden in Islam to elect a member of parliament who belonged to the Communist, Ba’ath, or Syrian Nationalist parties.
That made him a target for attack by all three parties and their papers, but he stood up to all their concerted attacks with the courage of a firm believer. In the early 1950s, a girls school organized a dance which was attended by the then Prime Minister, Khalid Al-Azm. Al-Tantawi launched a scathing attack on the organizers of the party and those in government who gave them their support, describing the latter as morally corrupt.
As it was a personal attack on the prime minister himself, there was a furor. The government wanted to punish him, but dared not for fear of provoking a popular uprising. After leaving Syria in 1963, Al-Tantawi spent the rest of his life in Saudi Arabia. In 1990, he was awarded the King Faisal International Prize for service to the cause of Islam.
Will Trump recognize Jerusalem also as capital of 'Palestine?'
Growing concern in Israel that Trump could include 'East J'lem'
as capital of Palestinian state in peace proposal. Arutz Sheva Staff, 21/10/2018
A senior Israeli political source estimates to a Yediot Aharonot reporter that if the results of the midterm elections in the US lead to a weakening of the Republicans, the pressure on US President Donald Trump to reach a political settlement between Israel and the PA will increase.
The Israeli concern, he says, includes the possibility that Jerusalem will be included in the American political proposal. This could mean defining “East Jerusalem” as the capital of a future Palestinian state parallel to the recognition already given to “West Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel. "Trump wants a deal and he's very serious," says the source. As far as the Americans are concerned, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is relatively easy to solve and is ‘ripe fruit.’" Netanyahu would not be able to agree to such a plan which includes Jerusalem, so he would likely seek to postpone publication until after the elections in Israel, so that the matter doesn’t lead to a coalition crisis with his government partners. The Israeli goal is to leave the PA and Abbas in the position of the refuser, since Trump is expected to exert most of the pressure on the party which rejects his proposal.
According to Yediot Aharonot, the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and other officials will work with the American president to prevent the publication of a plan that includes the inclusion of Jerusalem in the proposed political settlement.
The spokesperson of the General Command of the Khalifa Hafter-led Libyan National Army (LNA), Brigadier General Ahmed Mesmari, reported today that the Cairo meetings of the unification committees of the Libyan army continued under the patronage of Egypt.
He said that the meeting confirmed what had been agreed in previous meetings, namely that the LNA General Command, led by Haftar, is, what he called, “the main facade of the Libyan National Army”. Mesmari did not elaborate what this entails in practice.
Mesmari also said that the formation of the three Command Councils: the National Security Council; the Supreme Defence Council and the General Command Council, was were all agreed upon at the Cairo meeting.
He also said that the Cairo meeting had reached agreement on the organizational structure, tasks and duties assigned to each of the three councils.
Moreover, without elaborating on details, Mesmari also said that the meeting made “some proposals to address the problem of armed militias deployed in the western region”.
Finally, he refuted media claims that Egypt had attempted to impose its own initiative at the meeting, saying that “no new developments or initiatives have been discussed by the Egyptian side, such as what is rumored in the media...”.
At the time of writing there has been no confirmation of this alleged progress from other sources present at the Cairo talks. However, if what Mesmari is claiming is accurate, it would constitute major positive movement in the attempts to reunify Libya’s military institutions and doing away with its militias.
The Syrian-Iranian Businessmen Forum on Saturday kicked off in Tehran with the participation of a delegation of Syrian businessmen that comprises 50 businessmen headed by Secretary General of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce Mohammad Hamshou.
In a speech during the opening of the Forum, Hamshou underlined the necessity of upgrading economic, trade and investment relations between Syria and Iran...
Hamshou said that cooperation between Syria and Iran in different domains “foils the embargo imposed on the two states,” reiterating that the participation of Syria in the Forum clearly proves keenness on overcoming the unilateral coercive measures imposed on the peoples of the two countries and the obstacles facing the process of joint cooperation.
For his part, Masour Khansari (Chairman of Tehran Chamber of Commerce) stressed that Iran will continue to stand by Syria and to provide full support to it, saying “Iran stood by the Syrian people during the war on terrorism and it will stand by them in the reconstruction.”
Syria’s Ambassador to Iran Dr. Adnan Mahmoud said that Syria’s victory over terrorism formed a suitable basis for launching the reconstruction process.
He affirmed that the Syrian Government has given priority to the allied countries in the war against terrorism to participate in the reconstruction of the infrastructure and in the building of the productive sectors and developmental projects.
He indicated that the door is open to Iranian businessmen, private companies and public sector to actively participate in the reconstruction and to make investments in the economic, industrial and productive projects in Syria and to benefit from the potentials in a way that serves the interests of the two friendly countries...
On sidelines of the Forum, delegation of Syrian businessmen discussed with Danaiefar and Khansari mechanisms of strategic cooperation in the economic, trade and investment spheres.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that he does not believe in the possibility of reaching a long-term ceasefire arrangement with Hamas...
"Nothing less than than striking Hamas with the hardest and heaviest blow will help us in Gaza.
It has not worked in the past, it does not work now, and it will not work in the future," the defense minister said referring to the Egypt-mediated indirect talks regarding an arrangement between Israeli government and Gaza’s rulers.
Speaking at the onset of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Lieberman also added that Israel has exhausted all options and a military operation in the strip is the only solution the country has left.
“The State of Israel does not have the luxury of conducting wars when there is an alternative, but we have reached a point where there isn’t one. We have exhausted all options and now a decision has to be made,” he vented.
Lieberman also elaborated on the mechanism behind the organization of the weekly border riots.
"The border protests are an act of institutionalized violence initiated by Hamas. Thousands of people arrive on buses and for each bus Hamas pays thousands of shekels—3,000 for someone being killed, 500 for seriously wounded and 250 for those wounded moderately or lightly,” concluded the defense minister.
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 17-10-2018: "Since March, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire in anti-occupation protests along Gaza border.
Demonstrators demand an end to Israel's 12-year Gaza blockade and the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Palestinian terror group Hamas is a greater threat than in the past, but added that it “fully understands” the messages Israel sends to it.
“We are dealing with a theological junta that has taken control of two million people,” Netanyahu said, referring to Hamas...
“They numbered 3,000 people before the wretched, mistaken and tragic disengagement, while now they are 65,000 armed people,” he said, taking a jab at the 2005 evacuation by former premier Ariel Sharon of all Israeli settlements in Gaza, which also saw the Jewish state end its military presence in the Strip.
“They are committed to our destruction and therefore are not partners for conversation in the diplomatic sense, but they fully understand our other messages and we won’t let them continue (with their violence),” the prime minister warned.
The past weekend saw a significant decrease in the amount of violence along the Gaza security fence compared to previous weeks, both in terms of the number of people participating in border riots and the intensity of the clashes..
Israeli officials believe Hamas has changed its policies regarding the clashes and was working toward curbing violence at the rallies, which have become a near-daily occurrence, Hadashot TV news reported Friday. Amid the relative calm, the cabinet has reportedly been briefed on an emerging UN- and Egyptian-mediated agreement for a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, that would see Qatar pay for the Gaza Strip’s fuel, as well as fund the salaries of civil servants in the enclave.
While Israel believes such an accord would likely lead the Palestinian Authority to further cut funds to Gaza, it may retaliate by deducting any cuts from tax revenues it transfers annually to the PA.
“Iran has to make a decision whether it is a nation state or a revolution. If it’s a nation state it should act like one, and be a rational actor, that countries can deal with. If it is a revolution, it will be very difficult - if not impossible - to deal with them because revolutions have no logic…” Adel al-Jubeir, 9-6-2016
US President Donald Trump has criticised Saudi Arabia's handling of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying authorities staged the "worst cover-up ever".
Asked by a reporter in the White House how the Khashoggi killing could have happened, Trump said on Tuesday: "They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups. "There should have never been an execution or a cover-up, because it should have never happened. I would say it was a total fiasco from day one."
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday that Washington has identified some of the individuals responsible for Khashoggi's killing and is planning punishments.
"We are taking appropriate actions," Pompeo said on Tuesday, saying this including possible visa revocations and applying individual sanctions under human rights laws. He noted some of those identified work for ministries and the royal court.
Trump, who sent his CIA director to Turkey to discuss the issue, said he expected to have a report soon.
He added that he would defer to the US Congress on a response to Saudi Arabia: "In terms of what we ultimately do [..], I'm going to leave it up to Congress," Trump said.
What is there left to say about the terrible murder of moderate Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its aftermath? Only one thing, and I have said it before, but I feel it even more strongly now: In the midterm elections, vote for a Democrat...
I don’t say that because I’m particularly liberal and want to shift the whole country to the liberal agenda. I say that because I’m particularly American and I want to put the best of American values back at the center of our diplomacy and politics...
There is a basic respect for truth, science and decency in the Democratic caucus and because I know that two more years of the G.O.P. holding every lever of power and blindly following Trump’s basic disrespect for truth, science and decency will make it impossible to elevate America’s best values.
You see, I can write that it is vitally important for global stability and the protection of journalists everywhere that those who executed and ordered the murder of Khashoggi be punished. But if Democrats do not control either the House or the Senate, I fear Trump will try to avoid any meaningful U.S. censure of Riyadh or its top leaders, if they are proven culpable.
I can write that the president, by telling us that we must weigh a $110 billion Saudi arms purchase against taking a moral stand on Khashoggi’s murder, is literally telling us the price of our values — about $333.33 for every American. But if you think, as I do, that countries that sell out their core values for financial gain suffer in the long run or if you think that such a country is not the America you want us to be, and that the world needs us to be, then you need to vote for a Democrat for the House and the Senate.
I could write that one reason the Saudis probably thought they could cross a red line with their depraved murder of Khashoggi was that Trump never appointed an ambassador to Riyadh — relying instead on his and his son-in-law’s personal contacts with the Saudi ruler — and because Trump regularly denounced journalists as purveyors of fake news. Why Trump never sent an ambassador to Saudi Arabia needs to be investigated, but it won’t if Democrats do not control the House or the Senate.
In sum, words today are not enough, investigative journalism is not enough, television special reports are not enough, documentaries are not enough, endless columns and editorials calling out Trump are not enough — even an audiotape of Khashoggi being killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul may not be enough — because the truth is just not enough today — not as long as we have a president who has no shame, who is backed by party that has no spine, that controls the House, the Senate, the White House, the Supreme Court and, indirectly, a major television network that has no integrity.
So, this year: No third party, no Green Party, no throwing up our hands and saying, “They’re all bad.” All of that’s for another day. For today, in these midterm elections, vote for a Democrat... It’s the only hope to make America America again.
"Respect for Truth, Science and Decency"
To be or not to be - or: "is a democrat really a democrat? - that is the question
"To die. To sleep... Who would tolerate the whips and scorns of time; the tyrant’s offences against us; the contempt of proud men; the pain of rejected love; the insolence of officious authority; and the advantage that the worst people take of the best, when one could just release oneself with a naked blade?" (No Sweat Shakespeare)
Since Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (widely known as MBS) took over power after an operation in which he swept aside his dissidents and opponents, relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia have changed in a positive way.
The crown prince has repeatedly signaled that the two countries may initiate a new page in their relations as certain goals of the two on the Middle East intersect. Therefore Israel has remained silent over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
“In my opinion, it’s time to eliminate Assad.” After cutting off what he described as “the snake’s tail,” then “we’ll be able to get to its head, which sits in Tehran.” Yoav Gallant, 16-5-2017
It has been proven that the journalist was murdered inside the consulate... The international outrage has been increasing as several European countries have decided to revise their relations with Saudi Arabia while Germany made a call to suspend arms sales. Despite the fact that the crown prince and U.S. President Donald Trump have good relations, even the U.S. has decided to revoke the Saudi officials' visas.
Yet, Israel remains insistently silent on an official level while many articles in Israeli media demonize Khashoggi and defend Saudi Arabia.
Similarly Saud Arabia had remained silent against the U.S.' decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and when Israel killed hundreds of people in Gaza in the past months. MBS is known for his soft stance toward Israel. The two countries, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia, consider Iran the biggest threat to themselves.
Saudi Arabia believes Iran funds certain groups in Yemen as well as in Syria and Iraq while Israel claims Iran and its proxies or supporting groups, like Hezbollah, are existential threats to its soil. Israel and Saudi Arabia agree that Iran must be stopped and its power must be curbed at any price.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia considers Hamas as dangerous as Israel since it believes the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates are a direct threat to it. Similarly when Saudi Arabia forced Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign last year, Israel had made no comment criticizing the move. In sum the two countries have two common enemies: Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
BAGHDAD - The Iraqi parliament approved 14 new cabinet ministers Thursday proposed by prime minister-designate Adel Abdel Mahdi, even as key portfolios such as defence and interior affairs remained unassigned, an official said.
A total of 220 lawmakers out of 329 elected in May to a deeply divided parliament, approved Abdel Mahdi's 14 picks, including for the ministries of foreign affairs, finances, and oil. After elections in May, new President Barham Saleh handed Abdel Mahdi the task of forming a new government, with several coalitions jockeying for preeminence.
A veteran of Iraqi politics and an economist by training, Abdel Mahdi, 76, is regarded as sufficiently independent to be able to assemble a government despite fractures in the ruling elites. The former oil minister has support from both Tehran and Washington, a necessary consensus in a country caught between two major allies, each the enemy of the other.
The new government faces an immense task in rebuilding a country ravaged by three years of Islamic State occupation and fierce fighting. It will also have to deal with the scourges of corruption, power shortages, and decaying public services.
Previous Vice-President Adel Abdul Mahdi considered on April 25 (2013), that the Iraqi Government “has failed” on the level of politics, security and services. He qualified the different categories of citizens as “hostages” to violence, vengeance and hatred as a result to this failure.
“We all have become hostages, required to be wise in a world void of any wisdom. The Sunnis are hostages; they cannot support the policies of authorities that weaken them in their regions and threaten them in other regions. The Shias are also hostages. They stand helpless before daily killings and menacing threats while they find themselves unable to discuss failing policies related to their security, politics and services..."
“Fighting terrorism can be done by winning over and protecting Shias, Sunnis and all the people”, he added. “Some invest in the same tactics adopted by terroristic groups to mobilize their followers, but this only resulted in turning us all into hostages to terrorism, angriness and chaos, for which we pay twice: once when we commit them and once when we back out”, he noted.
We should fight criminals, not Baathists
Of course we worry about Shiite Baathists and Sunni Baathists and Kurdish Baathists. There were thousands of Kurdish Baathists. Of course, that was a party that dominated Iraq, all its parts, all its institutions - it had Kurds, Shiite, Sunnis, so it’s not against Sunnis. It will be a big mistake if we have policies against Sunnis. More than that we will commit a big mistake if we consider any Baathists an enemy... We should fight criminals: Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Islamists, secularists, Baathists, whatever they are. (Christian Science Monitor,16-9-2009)
Iraq's new prime minister began moving his offices out of Baghdad's highly secure Green Zone on the first day of his term Thursday, saying he wanted to bring his government closer to the people. Adel Abdul-Mahdi held his first news conference in a rehabilitated government compound opposite Baghdad's iconic central railway station, near the city center. "We want to consider all of Iraq a Green Zone," said Abdul-Mahdi.
The U.S. established the Green Zone in 2003 to secure its embassy and Iraqi government institutions. But the zone has become a symbol of the country's aggressive inequality and fueled the perception among Iraqis that their government is out of touch. The new location, approximately 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the Green Zone, used to contain the offices of Parliament under president Saddam Hussein. Access is tightly controlled by security forces, who guard the main gate with armored vehicles.
A former oil and finance minister and an ex-vice president, the 76-year-old Abdul-Mahdi is seen as a political independent and is Iraq's first prime minister from outside the Dawa party in 12 years. One of his first challenges will be to develop a coherent Iraqi position on tight U.S. sanctions on neighboring Iran, which will go into effect Nov. 2.
Flashback - Iraq 2003
Dr. Sa’doun Hammadi: "Do your work in a professional and honest way"
Maintaining that Iraq had always cooperated with the weapons inspectors despite misgivings of some of them, Mr. Hammadi said all that his country wanted was for them to do their work in a professional and honest way.
“They should respect the integrity of Iraq and not interfere in our internal affairs.”
Countering America's propaganda against Iraq, the Speaker said the main reason for the prolonged situation was America's desire to control Iraq's oil reserves - the lone such source out of direct or indirect US control. (Iraq Daily, 27-1-2003)
Sadoun Hammadi was born in Karbala (22-6-1930) and was a Shi'ite. He joined the Ba'ath Party during the 1940s.
Hammadi previously served a stint as Iraqi Oil Minister and was the Foreign Minister from 1974 until 1983. He also served as the Speaker of the National Assembly of Iraq from 1983 until 1990 and from 1996 until the Fall of Baghdad in 2003.
Flashback 2003: LOOKOUT by Naomi Klein
"Their country has been sold out from under them"
In April 6 (2003), Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz spelled it out: There will be no role for the United Nations in setting up an interim government in Iraq. The US-run regime will last at least six months, "probably...longer than that."
And by the time the Iraqi people have a say in choosing a government, the key economic decisions about their country's future will have been made by their occupiers.
The country is being treated as a blank slate on which the most ideological Washington neoliberals can design their dream economy: fully privatized, foreign-owned and open for business. ...
A people, starved and sickened by sanctions, then pulverized by war, is going to emerge from this trauma to find that their country has been sold out from under them... (The Nation 10-4-2003)
The Palestine Liberation Organization's central council has announced that it is suspending its recognition of the state of Israel.
In the decision, announced after a meeting late Monday, the PLO said it will halt all its commitments to the "occupation authorities" until Israel recognises a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
That includes security cooperations and trade agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
While the central council's decisions are not binding, it advises the PA on future policy decisions. PA President Mahmoud Abbas was present at the meeting.
The council has tasked Abbas and the PLO Executive Committee with following up on Monday's decisions. The council also explicitly rebuked the Donald Trump-led peace process and his "Deal of the Century" plan to end the conflict.
"The committee lauded the efforts of the president (Abbas) ... in continuing to reject the so-called Deal of the Century and confronting it in all available means to defeat it, as well as deeming the US administration a partner of the Israeli occupation government and a part of the problem, not the solution," official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
The council also hit out at Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, accusing the Islamist group of failing to live up to its commitment and the unity agreement that was signed in October of last year.
Abbas appeared to endorse Monday's decisions, saying the time has come to put into actions previous measures approved by the central council.
According to a statement published by WAFA, Abbas called on Palestinians to unite behind the PLO as the "sole legitimate representatives" of the Palestinian people.
Amid mounting pressure from Washington to end Palestinian Authority's public assistance to the families of prisoners and people killed by Israeli forces, Abbas said: "The allocations for our families and martyrs and the wounded are a red line; we cannot negotiate over their rights.
The Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has moved to fully withdraw from the Oslo Accord on Monday, announcing that they are ending their commitment to the deal, and halting all security coordination with Israel. The 1993 Oslo Accord was intended to increase cooperation during a brief transition period leading to Palestinian statehood.
With Israel’s far-right leadership having long insisted that the Palestinians will never have an independent state, many in the PLO have argued that security cooperation was just making the permanent Israeli occupation cheaper and giving them legal cover to do things in violation of international law in the occupied territories.
The collapse of the Oslo Accord could greatly increase the cost of the occupation for Israel, because under international law they are obliged to provide certain specific services to the Palestinians, and if the PLO is no longer voluntarily providing them with foreign donated funds, they’ll be on the hook to do it themselves.
The search for Jamal Khashoggi’s body is over.
After one month of extensive investigations, Turkey’s attorney general has finally concluded that the body was dissolved in acid and disposed of in a well. Forensic samples from a well in the Counsel’s residence and nearby sewage drains confirm this. None of Khashoggi’s killers have been indicted or extradited to Turkey, despite persistent demands from Ankara, yet his murder is set to impact on the future of the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia will emerge substantially weaker with its image and credibility in tatters. With a leadership that is universally mistrusted and ridiculed, the Kingdom’s ability to lead regional affairs has been drastically curtailed.
Naturally, this situation paves the way for other regional powers, notably Turkey, to extend their leverage.
Initially, Khashoggi’s murder provoked a diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and Turkey being the principal actors. Then, as the grisly nature of the crime unfolded the US, European Union and international media all joined in. Now that the Saudis have admitted to the murder things can never be the same again.
The murder of Khashoggi has been nothing but a national disaster and a humiliating embarrassment for Saudi Arabia.
With the support of Israel and the Trump administration, the discredited Crown Prince may just cling onto power. But there will be a price. For a start he will have to pump more oil into the market and ensure that prices do not exceed the levels fixed by Washington.
Additionally, he will have to accelerate the normalisation process with Israel and give unconditional support to the Trump ‘deal of the century’, which calls for a surrender of all Palestinian national rights. And, to add insult to injury, he would be ordered to end the war in Yemen and restore diplomatic ties with Qatar.
For all their worth these measures can never be a substitute for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for the planning and murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Moreover, failure to conduct a credible trial in a properly constituted court will encourage the perpetrators to continue their murderous campaign against dissidents at home and abroad.
Clearly, if Saudi officials have the nerve to do what they did to Khashoggi in a foreign country, it is inconceivable what they will do inside the Kingdom where they are a law unto themselves.
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