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)
US President Donald Trump’s Middle East policies, especially his unbridled support for Israel, are likely to hurt Jews worldwide, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
“Outside Israel, the only people who are pro-Israel are those who stand against justice and support racism,” said Pappe, director of the European Center for Palestine Studies at the UK’s Exeter University. “It’s good for Israel to have Trump, but he’s very bad for Jews all over the world,” he added.
“I tell the Israeli Jews: Now you think Zionism is good for you because you are the privileged ones,” Pappe said. “But in the long run, it will be bad for you.”
Since assuming the presidency in 2016, Trump and his administration have made several decisions seemingly inimical to Arab and Palestinian interests.
Regarding Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century”, a backchannel US Mideast peace plan, Pappe said: “Trump has driven the last nail into the coffin of the two-state solution".
“Some people, especially those in the occupied West Bank, wrongly believe that a two-state solution would end Israel’s control over the land,” Pappe said. “But they will soon realize this isn’t the case,” he added. “We’re dealing with an apartheid state [i.e., Israel] all over historical Palestine.”
Regarding last month’s elections in Israel, in which Benjamin Netanyahu secured a fifth term as prime minister and leftist parties performed worse than expected, Pappe said: “You cannot be a leftist and a Zionist.”
He added: “This is the inevitable outcome of the Zionist idea. You can’t be a leftist and a Zionist; you can’t be a leftist and a colonizer. You’re either an oppressor and colonizer or you’re not.”
In the April 9 poll, Israel’s leading leftist parties — Labor and Meretz — only managed to capture 10 out of 120 seats in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament).
Pappe believes the recent ascension of right-wing extremist parties in Israel has revealed “the true face of the [Zionist] project embraced by the majority of Israeli Jews”.
“Unfortunately, most of them believe it’s better to be a racist ethnic state than a democratic one,” he said. “The notion of a [two-state solution] was totally defeated in this election.”
“We no longer hear anything about ‘liberal Zionists’ or ‘Jewish democracy’, which don’t really exist,” the historian added. Israel, Pappe continued, “has nothing to do with ‘Jewish values’. It’s an ideological ethnic state based on power and oppression”.
Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and political activist. Much of Pappe's academic work has focused on the 1948 expulsion of 700,000-800,000 Palestinians from their homes in what became the State of Israel. Ma'an recently conducted an interview with him...
- What is the state of the publishing industry with regards to opinions critical of Zionism, in your opinion? How is it similar or different to the climates in academic institutions? Can you tell us a little bit about the obstacles you faced while working in an Israeli university?
- In academia and the publishing world, and other cultural media like this, there are certain invisible red lines that you know there are there only when you cross them...
Critique of Zionism as a pastime or political activity (provided you are a Jewish citizen of course) is somehow tolerated. But if you claim that Zionism as an ideology is morally corrupt and that its policies are war crimes on the basis of your professional credentials, for instance as a historian trained in the history of Israel and Palestine, you have crossed a red line...
Similarly, if you accuse your own reference group as being part of the oppression you have crossed a red line, and of course it is worse if you believe it should be boycotted for its complacency.
Finally, if you critique not the state policies, but its very nature and doubt publicly its moral justification and basis your out of the "legitimate" boundaries and if you dare drawing comparisons with the darkest moments in Jewish and European history to the current realities you will not be tolerated. I have crossed all the red lines and the result was that I could not work any more in an Israeli academic institution, which instead of being bastions of freedom of expression are bastions of censoring expression.
Freedom of academic expression in Israel is a bit like the idea of a Israel being a Jewish democracy. You take a universal concept only with one condition: that the universality does not include critique on Zionism and that the democracy would always ensure Jewish majority whatever the demographic and geographical realities are.
AIN ISSA, Syria — Kurdish leaders invited Arab tribal heads from across northern and eastern Syria for a clan forum on May 3 to shore up strained relations as the self-administered region faces an existential crisis now that their common enemy of the Islamic State (ISIS) no longer binds them together.
Representatives Syrian clans and tribes descended on Ain Issa, 50 kilometres north of Raqqa, for a day of talks at the invitation of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to local media outlet ANHA.
The SDF is an umbrella force led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Under its bright yellow flag, Kurds and Arabs received military support from the US-led international coalition and territorially defeated ISIS in northern Syria. In doing so, the SDF assumed control of roughly a third of the country, including the cities of Kobane, Qamishli, and Raqqa, the oil fields of Deir ez-Zor, national infrastructure like Tishreen Dam, and the agricultural lands of Hasakah...
Some tribal leaders boycotted the forum. For those who attended, their prime concerns were lack of security and basic services.
"As tribal leaders, we first demand security, then agriculture, and the provision of fuel," one tribal leader told Rudaw in Ain Issa.
A couple hundred kilometres away from where the forum was held, Deir ez-Zor province has seen recent demonstrations by angry protesters who accused the Kurdish administration of racism. “SDF prisoners are 100% Arabs,” read one sign carried by protesters.
Pro-Hizbollah and pro-regime newspaper al-Quds Arabia reported that there are “constant” protests by Arabs against the Kurdish administration, with demonstrators complaining of violation of their rights, arbitrary arrests, and corruption.
Some Arab leaders have broached talks with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to reports.
“Yes, I am ready to shake Assad’s hand,” Sheikh Humaydi Daham al-Hadi, head of the Shammar tribe, told Al-Monitor in March.
The SDC has also opened its own door to negotiations with Damascus, though it has not seen any progress yet.
An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that the so-called “Syrian clans conference” which was held on Friday in the city of Ein Issa, which is under the control of militias affiliated with the United States, has been a failure as most Syrian clans boycotted it.
The source said that the boycotting of clans have prompted the organizers to change the name to “meeting” instead of conference, adding “the least that could be said about it is that it is a meeting of treason, treachery, and subjugation.”
The source said that such gatherings show without any doubt the treason of its organizers regardless of their political, ethnic, or racial affiliations, and that they do not express any of the true national components of Syria...
The source said that as Syria views with contempt such meetings, it calls on the Western states that support them to adhere to the Security Council resolutions which assert the unity of Syria’s territory and people and its sovereignty and independence...
A statement issued by the clans in Aleppo and its countryside said that “Members of the clans and tribes in Aleppo province and its countryside condemn and denounce the presence of the US and Turkish forces and their mercenaries and terrorist organizations in Syria,”
The statement affirmed that whoever attended the so-called “Ein Issa Forum” which had been held by the US forces, is considered a traitor to the homeland and Arabism and those who attended represent only themselves...
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies are preparing to launch a limited offensive along the Hama-Idlib axis in the coming days, marking the first time this year that they have conducted any type of military offensive in this part of the country.
Despite some claims that the Syrian Army offensive will target the entire Idlib Governorate, a source from the military told Al-Masdar News this past week that the primary objective of this operation will be to expel all jihadist and rebel forces from the demilitarized zone area that stretches from the Al-Ghaab Plain to the Abu Dhuhour Crossing.
In particular, the Syrian Armed Forces will target the remaining areas under jihadist control in the Hama part of the Al-Ghaab Plain, the militant-held points near the government strongholds of Mhardeh and Al-Sqaylabiyeh, and the southern Idlib towns inside the demilitarized zone. The Syrian military currently has no plans to expand past the demilitarized zone as this would require a much larger force and cooperation between Turkey and Russia.
Leading the Syrian Arab Army’s offensive will be the elite Tiger Forces, Republican Guard, and 4th Armored Division; these military units will operate at separate axes along the demilitarized zone. The aforementioned units will also be joined by the 5th Corps, 11th Tank Division, National Defense Forces (NDF), and Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). On the rebel side, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham [ Salafist jihadist militant group], the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front, and the locally-based Jaysh Al-Izza forces ['Free' Syrian Army] will lead the defense against the Syrian military.
The four main foreign entities that will influence the outcome of this operation will be Turkey, Iran, Russia, and Qatar.
Russia will provide the primary support to the Syrian military as they are currently entrenched with them at several axes in northwestern Syria. Iran will mostly provide logistical support to the Syrian military, but unlike Russia, they do not have much of a presence in northwestern Syria.
On the opposition’s side, Qatar has been one of the largest financial backers of the rebel forces; they do not have any physical presence in Syria, but they do provide support to the opposition via Turkey. Turkey is the major foreign entity entrenched with the rebel forces in northwestern Syria. The Turkish military currently has 12 observation posts that stretch between the Latakia, Idlib, Aleppo, and Hama governorates. While Turkey, Iran, and Qatar are in a de facto alliance in the Middle East against Saudi Arabia and their allies, they support opposing forces inside of Syria.
Formed in January 2017, Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham is a coalition of Islamist Sunni anti-government armed groups, led by the group previously known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham or Jabhat al-Nusra.
In March 2017, the group claimed a twin bombing in Damascus that killed at least 40 people, the majority of them Iraqi Shia pilgrims. The US and Turkey in 2018 designated the group a foreign terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda, while the United Nations sanctioned it the same year. Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham has denied affiliation with al-Qaeda. Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham is widely acknowledged to be the main anti-government group operating in northwest Syria.
The group defeated the other major anti-government group, Ahrar al-Sham, in July 2017, and thus cemented its territorial and military control over most of those parts of Idlib, Hama, and Aleppo governorates that had been under anti-government control. In January 2019, it established control over most remaining anti-government areas. As of October 2018, Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham had a fighting force of 12,000 to 15,000, one-third of them non-Syrian, according to the CSIS Transnational Threats Project. The group is led by Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, a Syrian who played a leading role in the creation and leadership of Jabhat al-Nusra.
Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham apparently funds its activities primarily through taxes and tariffs on residents in areas under its control. It has also applied tariffs on incoming arms and other weaponry provided to other non-state armed actors, according to the Counter Extremism Project. The project also reported that the group receives donations from private individuals in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, and has received millions of dollars for releasing prisoners through Qatar-mediated negotiations.
Turkey has engaged with Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham on stabilizing the northwestern part of Syria. Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham has accepted observation points set up by Turkey near areas the group controls. In addition to its militant front, Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham has attempted to create several civilian bodies, including the Syrian Salvation Government, a governance body formed in November 2017 that is responsible for its civilian functions. Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham also has an extensive prison system and has created its own court system.
By October 2017, in parallel with its military successes, Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham had taken control of all other courts in the region. Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham’s court system applies Sharia law. The judges who operate these courts do not have formal legal training, and in some cases may not even be trained in the application of Sharia law.
A fresh flare-up of violence in the Gaza Strip caused by deadly Israeli airstrikes and retaliatory Palestinian rocket attacks has entered its third day, prompting the United Nations to raise alarm at the “dangerous escalation.” Tensions erupted on Friday following the killing of four Palestinians, two in an Israeli air raid on southern Gaza and two during the regime’s live fire at anti-occupation protesters near a fence separating the blockaded coastal enclave from the occupied territories. The Israeli military claimed that its initial aerial assault had come in response to the wounding of two of its soldiers by Palestinian gunfire near the Gaza fence.
The latest rocket fire from Gaza killed a 60-year-old Israeli man. A total of some 83 Israelis have also been wounded.
The Tel Aviv regime says about 430 rockets have been fired at the occupied lands over the past few days. The Israeli army says its warplanes have targeted some 180 sites in the Gaza Strip.
A building housing the offices of the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency in Gaza has also been targeted by Israel. The bombing of the premises has been condemned by the Turkish government.
gaza, may 2019
In a press release on Sunday, Hamas said Israel was to blame for the violence.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum held “the Israeli occupation responsible for any repercussions of its crimes, violations, and rejection to implement the ceasefire understandings.”
Separately, the Gaza Joint Chamber of Military Operations, which comprises various Palestinian resistance factions, said that the groups had “decided to respond to the occupation’s crimes in the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented way.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, said later on Sunday that he had ordered the army to “continue the massive attacks” against targets in Gaza and boost “ground, armored, and artillery forces” around there.
Netanyahu said he held Hamas responsible, not just for its actions, “but also for the actions of [the] Islamic Jihad [movement].”
The UN’s Middle East envoy said he was “deeply concerned by yet another dangerous escalation in Gaza,” adding that the world body and Egypt were attempting to broker an end to the fighting.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has strongly condemned the Israeli aggression on Gaza.
“The silence toward Israel’s crimes and violations of international law encourages it to continue committing more crimes against our Palestinian people,” he said in a press statement.
GAZA: Palestinian leaders in Gaza agreed a cease-fire with Israel on Monday to end a deadly two-day escalation in violence that threatened to widen into war, officials with knowledge of the deal said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the deal, but there appeared to have been no rocket fire or Israeli strikes after it was due to take effect, an AFP correspondent in Gaza said. Egypt brokered the agreement to cease hostilities, an official from the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas and another from its allied group Islamic Jihad said on condition of anonymity.
The deal came after the most serious flare-up in violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.
Israel faced pressure to seek to restore calm and put an end to the rocket fire hitting communities in the country’s south.
It commemorates its Memorial and Independence Days later this week and is due to host the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv from May 14-18, which is expected to draw thousands to Israel.
On the Gazan side, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is set to begin. Palestinian officials in Gaza accused Israel of not taking steps to ease its blockade as promised under previous cease-fire deals.
The Islamic Jihad official said the new truce agreement was again based on Israel easing its blockade. Among the steps, he said, were the relaxing of limits on fishing and improvements in Gaza’s electricity and fuel situation.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said in a statement on Sunday night that “returning to a state of calm is possible” if Israel committed to a “complete cease-fire.”
Without it, “the arena could face many rounds of confrontation,” he said.
Russia has vowed to expand cooperation with Iran, including in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy, despite US threats of sanctions. "No threat of new sanctions will stop our legitimate and mutually beneficial cooperation with Iran," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik on Sunday.
Referring to US sanctions that have been in place against Russia since 2012, Ryabkov said, “It is clear that over this period there has been a serious adaptation to this illegal trick by the United States.”
He said Tehran has an even bigger experience on how to live under the US sanctions.
"Therefore, we perceive threats of this kind calmly; we do not succumb to blackmail and we will systematically expand and develop our cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, including in the atomic energy sector in full compliance with international law and the national legislation of our countries, regardless of what US colleagues are undertaking, realizing, as they believe, their right to the extraterritorial application of their national legislation," Ryabkov stressed.
His remarks came after the US Department of State warned Friday that sanctions would be imposed on countries that provided assistance to expanding Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant.
In 1992, Iran reached a deal with Russia on the first phase of the Bushehr project. The two sides signed a number of documents in November 2014, expanding cooperation in the field of peaceful use of atomic energy and opening the possibility of construction in Iran of up to eight power units.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:55 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s long-awaited offensive in northwestern Syria is underway, with several units storming the militant defenses around the Hama-Idlib axis.
According to a report from the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army has captured two towns from the militants after overrunning their positions in northern Hama this morning. The report says the Tiger Forces have captured the towns of Al-Bana and Al-Janabra, which are near the Kafr Naboudeh axis in northern Hama.
The Syrian Arab Army is also working to secure the key hilltop of Tal Uthman, which overlooks many areas in this part of the Hama Governorate.
A source near the front-lines stated that the heaviest clashes are taking place near the Kafr Naboudeh front; however, he also pointed out that intense firefights have broken out along the Qal’at Al-Madiq axis. Leading today’s charge is the elite Tiger Forces; they are fighting alongside several Syrian Army units and paramilitary groups, including the National Defense Forces (NDF).
Syrian rebels backed by Turkey said on Monday that Moscow and Damascus were trying to wrest control of two major highways in their last enclave in the north-west of the country in a bid to shore up the sanction-hit economy.
The sixth day of the campaign by government forces saw heavy aerial attacks targeting the city of Jisr Al Shughour and the Al Ghab plain, as well as the towns of Al Latamenah and Maarat Al Numan in the south of Idlib province, the rebels said.
Taking those areas would bring President Bashar Al Assad close to regaining control over the strategic M5 and M4 highways from Aleppo to Hama and Latakia on the Mediterranean coast, two of Syria's most important pre-war arteries... Russia says Turkey has not done enough to evict militants from the buffer zone or to open the M5 and M4 highways that link cities held by the government and run from Syria's southern tip near the border with Jordan to the northern border with Turkey. Opening the commercial and passenger routes through Idlib province would reassert the state's control over a fragmented economy that sprung up during eight years of conflict and now facing US and EU sanctions, economic experts say.
The Syrian opposition seeking to topple Mr Assad accuse Moscow of using the jihadists as a pretext to step up attacks on civilian areas and put pressure on Turkey.
"There has long been a Russian aim to capture these highways. This is rejected as a princple of our revolution and it would have meant the displacement of tens of thousands of people who live in the area and refuse to be under Russian (rule)," said Major Yousef Hamoud, spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Army. The loss of opposition control over the highways would mean the loss of a financial asset for the rebels, as well as be a sign of their weakening hold on their last enclave. It would also undermine a sphere of influence that Turkey has carved out in recent years in Syria.
A landmark UN report has laid bare humanity's devastating impact on the natural world, detailing unprecedented rates of decline in biodiversity and nature on land, in the seas and in the sky.
Published on Monday by the UN's Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the sweeping 1,800-page study drew on the work of 145 scientists and 15,000 source materials.
But at its core, IPBES chair Robert Watson said, the report contained one simple message: "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever."
"We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide," he added, with rampant consumption and pollution the primary drivers behind nature's decline.
Amid the findings documenting the natural world's decline, the authors of the study called for people to create "transformative change" to halt the widespread damage.
"We need to change the way we think about what a good life is, we need to change the social narrative that puts an emphasis on a good life depending on a high consumption and quick disposal," said Sandra Diaz, one of the report's co-chairs. "We need to change the stories in our heads, because they are the ones that are now enacted in decisions all the way from the individual up to government."
As part of this, IPBES said, humanity ought to shift beyond using traditional economic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) towards more long-term and holistic considerations concerning economic success and quality of life.
Muammar Gaddafi: Earth is your mother
Truly, the earth is your mother; she gave birth to you from her insides. She is the one who nursed you and fed you.
Do not be disobedient to your mother -- and do not shear her hair, cut off her limbs, rip her flesh, or wound her body.
You must only trim her nails, make her body clean of dirt or filth. Give her medicine to cure any disease. Do not place great weights above her breast, weights of mud or stone above her ribs. Respect her, and remember that if you are too harsh with her, you will not find another.
Sweep the accumulated iron, mud, and stone from her back. Relieve her of the burdens that others have placed on her unfairly. Revere the cradle in which you grew up, the lap in which you lay. Do not destroy your final resting-place, your place of refuge, or you are the losers and you shall truly regret it.. (The Green Book)
News reports give the impression that Israel is under siege; Gaza is threatening to destroy it.
Twitter has already suggested “Eva’s Story on the Gaza Border” – a play on the social media campaign about the Holocaust... Everything is completely disconnected from context and reality, intentionally and willfully... Gaza is a ghetto and what’s happening in the south is a ghetto uprising. There's no other way to describe it.
You can make claims against Hamas but you can’t make any claims against Gaza. It’s fighting for its freedom and no struggle is more just than its struggle, and Hamas is its leader.
The countdown to Hamas’ death has already begun: Only seven more months until the UN report, until Gaza is unfit for human habitation. But Israel yawns and its spokespeople only know how to tout “deterrence,” that monster we’ve created to justify every killing, closure and bout of destruction, as we lie ourselves to death that there’s something to deter 2 million unemployed, desperate, humiliated people, some of whom are hungry or dying for lack of medical care, and all of whom are locked up. No one in Israel can imagine life in Gaza over the past 12 years...
A country that is established on the memory of the ghettos, which only a few days ago sanctified that memory, hides its face from the much larger ghetto that it built with its own hands and doesn’t want to see, one hour from the center of that country.
A country that was established in a bloody struggle will not recognize the justness of the struggle of another people and wonders whether that people even exists. (This article was originally published by "Haaretz" )
The reporting on the fighting between Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Israelis the past few days, as usual, has mostly lacked context and proportionality.
Number of Gaza Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers in past year: 304. Number of Gaza Palestinians injured by Israeli snipers in past year: 31,691
Number of Israelis killed by Gaza Palestinians in past year: 6. Number of Israelis injured by Gaza Palestinians in past year: 250
It is noteworthy that Israeli airstrikes caused extensive damage to 310 residential buildings, fishing ports, and two universities across Gaza, and completely destroyed 18 residential buildings and family homes, a mosque, several schools, three media offices, and three ambulances.
Secretary General of Islamic Jihad Palestinian resistance movement Ziad Nakhale stressed that the ‘great battle’ with the Zionist entity is coming, noting that just few hours had kept the resistance apart from striking Tel Aviv in the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza.
In an interview with Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV channel, Nakhale said: “The great battle with the Zionist enemy is certainly coming and the Palestinian resistance is fully ready to this battle.”
“Few hours kept us apart from striking Tel Aviv,” he said, referring to the ceasefire brokered by Egypt in a bid to end the aggression on the besieged enclave.
“The latest escalation was just a drill with live ammunition in preparation for the great battle.”
“Israel targeted civilians in Great March of Return protests intentionally, prompting us to snipe Israeli soldiers.”
Nakhale noted that there are implied agreements between the Palestinian factions to retaliate for any Israeli aggression, revealing that both Islamic Jihad and Hamas resistance movements agreed in Cairo to activate the joint operations room in a bid to hit back at the Zionist attacks.
In this context, the Islamic Jihad’s S.G. thanked Hamas movement’s chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar over the full cooperation in confronting the Israeli aggression. On the Return marches, Nakhale stressed that the border protests will go ahead, warning the Israeli enemy that its way of dealing with Palestinian protesters will determine the nature of the Palestinian resistance reaction towards the occupation.
On the relation with Iran, Nakhle said the movement had no contact with the Islamic Republic... He added that the Palestinian resistance group holds regular meetings with Hezbollah officials and figures.
Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett this morning addressed the annual International Bible Quiz in Jerusalem, which takes place each year on Israel's Independence Day...
Bennett: "Humanity, Judaism and nationalism do not contradict each other..."
Minister Bennett spoke of the urgency of the situation "The State of Israel has experienced the most prosperous and successful era it has known, but during these very days, one of the greatest disasters in the history of the Jewish people is taking place - we are losing millions of our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. Like an iceberg melting away, so many of our people are slipping away before our eyes."
"The State of Israel must act, without delay, with all our strength, creativity, and determination, in order to save our brothers and sisters, members of the Jewish People around the world, from assimilation and antisemitism.
For seventy years the State of Israel was the project of the Jewish People. It is now our turn to look out for them: it is our duty to ensure the Jewish People will be the project of the State of Israel.
Whenever we needed financial or political assistance, the Jews of the world mobilized to help. Our central principle, that "all Jews are responsible for one another" does not end at Ben-Gurion Airport Customs."
"Israel is making great efforts and taking important steps in this direction, but it is still far from enough. What we will do, the Government of Israel, the Israel people, in the coming years, will shape the future of our people for hundreds of years to come."
Speaking about Israel and Israeli society, the Minister said, "Israel is now in its eighth decade. If Israel were to be torn apart again from the inside, if brothers were to again raise their hands against each other, we will not get another chance. Now is our great moment to show how the State of Israel stands forever as a model Jewish state..."
A strong State of Israel needs all three schools of thought – the religious, nationalism and universalism. This is our greatness as a people, as a state. Humanity, Judaism and nationalism do not contradict each other...
bible quiz, 9-5-2019
The winner of the 2019 International Bible Quiz for Jewish Youth is Yonatan Weissman, 18, a resident of Jerusalem from the Degel Yerushalayim Yeshiva in Nachalim. Benjamin Colchamiro, 15, a New Jersey resident from the Kushner Yeshiva in Livingston, United States, came in second. The event took place at the Jerusalem Theater in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog. (Arutz Sheva News)
The International Bible Quiz is an annual event that brings together dozens of Jewish youth aged 14-18 from around the world. Focusing on the importance of the Bible within their Jewish identity, the contestants meet in Israel for a two-and-a-half week Bible Camp...
Finally peaking on Israel’s Independence Day, the contestants' are tested on their knowledge of the Bible in the International Bible Quiz broadcast on state television. Together with several government ministries and other non-profit organizations, the Jewish Agency promotes the International Bible Quiz in all Jewish communities around the world... (Jewish Agency website)
Faiez Serraj, head of Libya’s Presidency Council and Government of National Accord told French President Emmanuel Macron that he no longer considers Khalifa Hafter, commander of the (mainly eastern-based) Libyan National Army (LNA), and Ageela Saleh, head of the internationally-recognized House of Representatives, possible partners in Libya’s future political dialogue. Serraj was in Paris after having visited Berlin and Rome as part of his Europe-wide diplomatic drive to get the international community to condemn and reverse Hafter’s attack on Tripoli launched on 4 April.
During the talks Serraj also stressed his firm position to confront Hafter’s ‘‘aggressor forces’’ in defence of the capital and to protect the people. He insisted that ceasefire calls must be accompanied by the withdrawal and return of the ‘‘aggressor troops’’ to their point of origin...’’.
Serraj also added that the basis of negotiations for a Libyan political solution had now changed after the Tripoli attack. He demanded that the Libya’s eastern region, who Hafter and Saleh represent, should choose new political representatives in order to return to the political path – instead of Haftar or Saleh.
On France’s position, Serraj refrained from directly accusing France of supporting Hafter but referred to ‘‘successive reports of a French intervention in support of the aggressor forces’’.
Macron was said to have ‘‘understood’’ Serraj’s ‘‘position’’....
CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed Egypt’s support for the Libyan National Army (LNA) with its commander Khalifa Haftar on Thursday. El-Sisi confirmed Egypt’s support for efforts to counter terrorism and militias in order to achieve safety and stability in Libya, a presidential spokesman said.
Last month, Haftar’s forces, which are loyal to the administration based in Eastern Libya, launched an offensive against the capital Tripoli which is held by a rival government. The country has been divided since the downfall of Muammar Qaddafi, and Egypt has supported Haftar as a bulwark against extremist forces in Libya.
During Thursday’s meeting at the Ittihadiya presidential palace, Haftar explained Libyan efforts to address foreign interference in the country, which he said aims to smuggle weapons, fighters and foreign terrorists into Libya. Haftar has accused Turkey and Libya of backing hardline militias in the country.
Earlier, the head of Libya’s Tripoli-based government met British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in London. Fayez Al-Sarraj, whose government is backed by the UN, has been in Europe this week seeking support against Haftar’s Tripoli offensive.
Zionist propaganda depends on the promulgation of two major fallacies:
First, it ahistorically equates Zionism and Judaism as interconnected since biblical days, instead of correctly presenting Zionism as a modern European movement with Christian roots.
Second, Zionists claim and appropriate Jewish victimhood and suffering, presenting them as exceptional.
Zionists have weaponized the exceptionalisation of Jewish victimhood in concert with the false and manifestly anti-Semitic equation between Zionism and Judaism as an extremely effective one-two punch against critique of Israeli criminality.
Israeli propaganda frames the Nazi Holocaust as a particularly savage genocide in history, which entitles its primary targets – Jews – with a special status among victims.
According to this rationale, as exceptional victims, Jews deserve certain privileges, discounts and allowances. Notably, Zionist revisionism often omits and devalues Nazi crimes against other groups, such as communists and socialists, Roma, disabled individuals, LGBTQI, and African-Germans.
As the supposed “Jewish state”, Israel has been the beneficiary of these favors and special relationships, which always come at the expense of Palestinians.
In addition, the Nazi Holocaust facilitated the Zionist project by vitalizing Jewish immigration to Palestine, thus providing manpower to fight the British mandate and the Palestinian “demographic threat”. Today, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu continues to exploit and revise the memory of the Holocaust for propaganda purposes.
Donald Trump has learned from fascistic movements, including Zionism.
He effectively energizes his racist base with revisionist tales of exceptional American victimhood, which supersede, marginalize and propagate the oppression and targeting of immigrants, Indigenous people, Black and Brown groups, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQI and others... Both Trump and Netanyahu use exceptionality of victimhood as a cudgel to beat down progressive agendas and opponents, while promoting their capitalist and expansionist goals.
Relations between Iran and the US have been patchy ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but they took a turn for worse after the United States withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and re-instated crippling economic sanctions against Iran last year.
Tehran has laughed off Washington's claims that it posed a threat to the US forces deployed in the Middle East, saying that the Trump administration is using 'fake intelligence'.
"These are all allegations which are being produced by the same people who, in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, did the same," Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran's Ambassador to the UN, said in an interview with NBC News on Saturday.
His remark came in an apparent dig at Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, who worked in the US State Department at a time when the United States invaded Iraq under the pretext that Saddam Hussein was building and using weapons of mass destruction (a claim that has never been supported by any credible evidence).
"So we do not accept such an allegation. And all of these (allegations) are fake intelligence," Ravanchi was quoted as saying.
The US deployed an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force near Iran late last week to discourage the Islamic Republic from any potential attacks on the interests of the United States or its allies. Days later, the Pentagon ordered the deployment of more missile defence systems to the Middle East.
The move was reportedly based on new intelligence indicating that Iran and its proxies could be planning attacks both on land and at sea. "We have information that you don't want to know about," US President Donald Trump said at a news conference at the White House. "They were very threatening and we have to have great security for this country and many other places."
netanyahu: the bible is at our side
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has not ruled out that the ongoing confrontation could spiral into a military conflict. He made the case that Trump does not have an interest in another war in the Middle East, but assumed that some of his advisers and foreign allies were dragging Washington into another war.
Syria: Military parade marking victory over Nazism
held at Hmeimim airbase (SANA, 10-5-2019)
National Security Advisor John Bolton’s announcement this week that the U.S. is deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region seemed perfectly framed to put America on a war footing with Iran.
Claiming that the decision was made in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” Bolton declared that “the United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime.” But, he added, “we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”
In a statement made to reporters on his way to Baghdad, Pompeo declared that “it is absolutely the case that we have seen escalatory actions from the Iranians, and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests.” He added, “If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy—a militia group, Hezbollah—we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”
But the reality is that the deployment of American military forces and the diversion of the secretary of state to Baghdad is little more than grand theater. This is being done in support of a policy dictated by Israeli intelligence and passed to Bolton during a meeting on April 16, 2019 at the White House, where, according to Bolton, they discussed “Iranian malign activity and other destabilizing actors in the Middle East and around the world.”
The intelligence, derived from analysis conducted by the Mossad, consisted of “scenarios” regarding what Iran “might” be planning.
According to an Israeli official, “It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing U.S. pressure campaign against them, and they are considering retaliating against U.S. interests in the Gulf.” Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has derided Bolton’s statements as directed by what he derisively termed the “B-team,” which includes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Zarif accuses Bolton, in concert with the rest of the “B-team,” of trying to push President Trump “into a confrontation he doesn’t want.”
By purposefully escalating tensions with Iran using manufactured intelligence about an all too real threat, Bolton is setting the country up for a war it is not prepared to fight and most likely cannot win... That Israel is behind the scenes supplying the intelligence and motivation makes Bolton’s actions even more questionable. It shows that it is John Bolton, not Iran, who poses the greatest threat to American national security today.
Dear Mister President
John Bolton, Elliot Abrams, Mike Pompeo
"We urge you to (..) turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts.
Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf.
In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.
We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.
Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky,
Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr. Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Robert B. Zoellick
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists marched through London on Saturday, calling to “free Palestine” and for an end to “unprecedented attacks” on Palestinians by Israel.
Marchers — who chanted “Palestine will be free” and demanded a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, the Guardian reported — were commemorating the 71st anniversary of the “Nakba,” or disaster, as Palestinians call the events surrounding the formation of the State of Israel....
Ahead of the protests Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed his support.
“We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of rights and justice to the Palestinian people,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “The Labour Party is united in condemning the ongoing human rights abuses by Israeli forces, including the shooting of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza… demanding their rights.” He accused the British government of deafening silence... [He] also criticized the anticipated US peace plan and reiterated Labour’s pledge to recognize a Palestinian state.
“If President Trump’s Middle East plan is, as expected, an attempt to bury the Palestinians’ right to a viable state alongside Israel, we will call on our government and the international community to reject it decisively. No peace plan can succeed at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people. That’s why a Labour government will recognise a Palestinian state and press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations, aimed at achieving a lasting settlement based on UN resolutions, international law and justice that has been too long denied.”
Flashback: Jeremy Corbyn & Tony Blair
Al-Ahram Weekly, 11-17 juli 2002
Jeremy Corbyn is a dissenter whose mission is, as he likes to describe it, to give a voice to the voiceless. For this to happen, the 51-year-old Corbyn has championed the causes of the oppressed, the underdogs and the colonised. It was no surprise, therefore, to find him as the main speaker at almost every rally held in the British capital to defend Palestinian rights. In Corbyn's view, Israeli arrogance and aggression should be met by imposing sanctions on Israel.
"The international community should intervene to force Israel to implement the UN resolutions, or else it should impose sanctions -- economic, trade and even military," he told the Weekly. Corbyn agrees that British foreign policy at present, particularly with regard to the Middle East, is not "ethical".
"I am very critical of the British government's foreign policy," he says, "particularly with regard to the Middle East, and including the continuing punitive sanctions against Iraq, the continued bombing campaigns, the refusal to initiate dialogue with the Iraqis, and above all allowing the Palestinian people to be murdered by the Israeli army."
Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of Blair's Middle East policy has been the appointment of Lord Levy as Special Middle East Advisor. Levy, a shadowy figure, has a son who works in the Israeli Justice Ministry, and he maintains close contacts within Israel.
Corbyn describes this as "a ludicrous position", recalling an incident when Palestinian Authority representative Afif Safiya was at Downing Street in the company of the prominent Palestinian lawyer Micheal Abdel-Messih. Abdel-Messih posed the following question to Blair: "Prime Minister, could I act as your Middle East advisor?"
Blair responded by saying that this could cause problems.
Abdel-Messih replied that the appointment of Levy had apparently not caused problems, pointing out that Levy's appointment was at least as controversial.
"Blair does not understand that the image Lord Levy presents is extremely damaging in the Arab world," Corbyn comments. "But why should the prime minister have a Middle East advisor in the first place? What is the Foreign Office for?"
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NBC that Iran is an active threat to US interests and “sowing chaos” in the Middle East.
It strikes me that exactly the opposite is true... The United States has sown enormous amounts of chaos in the Middle East just in the past 20 years.
The Bush administration probably had to try to overthrow the Taliban, given that that organization in Afghanistan shelted al-Qaeda, which hit the US on 9/11/01. But instead of putting the Northern Alliance in charge and withdrawing, the Bush administration unwisely attempted to establish a long term foreign military presence...
This year, US and US-backed forces in Afghanistan killed more innocent civilian bystanders than did the Taliban. Now that is sowing chaos. Bush also invaded and occupied Iraq, an action Trump himself ran against, but which current National Security Adviser John Bolton supported so strongly he lied to get it.
The American war on that country displaced 4 million people from their homes (out of then 26 million), killed hundreds of thousands, wounded millions and left millions widowed and orphaned. Sowing chaos. As a result of US policies in Iraq favoring the Shiites, Sunnis were alienated from the new order. Fringe groups like the so-called Islamic State in Iraq grew up, and ultimately it became the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant– Daesh or ISIL, and took over 40 percent of Iraqi territory in 2014. Many Iraqi Sunnis were taken hostage by the well-armed, well-funded group, and ISIL took over 40% of Iraq. Sowing chaos, indeed.
USA & the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (previously the party was known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI) is an Iraqi Shia Islamist Iraqi political party. Prior to his assassination in August 2003, SCIRI was led by Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim; afterwards it was led by the Ayatollah's brother, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.
The al-Hakims are close to Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, successor to Khomeini as Supreme Leader in Iran. SCIRI cooperated with the CIA and participated in forming the Iraqi National congress (INC) and was rewarded with 15 out of 65 seats on the provisional governing council formed at the Iraqi opposition meetings in London in December 2002 three months before the US invasion of Iraq. Key SCIRI figures also attended US State Department planning meetings on overthrowing Saddam, and made press statements about their negotiations with the office of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about a role for the Badr Brigade to fight alongside US troops during the invasion.
Since the Bush administration had earlier labeled SCIRI’s backers in Iran as part of the ‘axis of evil’, Rumsfeld’s open and ready willingness to cooperate with the allegedly evil Iran against Iraq, a former US ally and war enemy of Iran, was mind-boggling in its cynicism. (Henry Liu, 2007)
The Obama administration Syria policy was a mess, but John Kerry admitted to having seen ISIL take over northeast Syria and to having done nothing because he thought it would put pressure on Bashar al-Assad, who Washington wanted to step down. Ash Carter later used leftist Kurdish militias to defeat ISIL in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces, a huge revolution in Syrian affairs since it empowered the Kurds. Turkey is still furious. While Defense supported the Kurds, the CIA sent money and arms through Saudi intelligence to 40 “vetted” guerrilla groups aiming to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. The Lord knows to whom the Saudis gave the money, but we know they backed the hard line Salafi Army of Islam (Sayf al-Islam). Some of the CIA-backed groups had links to al-Qaeda or had al-Qaeda-linked groups as battlefield allies. The US almost certainly prolonged the Syrian Civil War and made the war more deadly by its split-personality policies there. On several occasions the Pentagon proxies fought a battle with the CIA proxies. The Syrian Civil War displaced 11 million people and left hundreds of thousands dead.
Trump in breaching the 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed with members of the UN Security Council and Iran has destabilized the whole region in a bid to vastly weaken or destroy the Islamic Republic. That is not a status quo action leading to calm. The completely one-sided support of the US for the right wing government of Israel in their occupation and human rights abuses against the Palestinians has destabilized the Levant.
Trump’s unilateral recognition of all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel contains the kernel of decades of turbulence.
BRUSSELS: The European Union fully supports the international nuclear accord with Iran and wants rival powers to avoid any further escalation over the issue, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday.
“We will continue to support it as much as we can with all our instruments and all our political will,” Mogherini told reporters before a meeting with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, who are signatories to the deal.
Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt also warned of the risks of an unintended conflict between the US and Iran over the unraveling nuclear deal.
“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended,” Hunt told reporters in Brussels, adding that it was crucial not to put Iran back on the path of re-nuclearisation.
European countries said last week they wanted to preserve Iran’s nuclear deal and rejected “ultimatums” from Tehran, after Iran relaxed restrictions on its nuclear program and threatened moves that might breach the 2015 international pact.
“We in Europe agree that this treaty is necessary for our security,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Brussels. “Nobody wants Iran to get possession of an atomic bomb and that’s been achieved so far.”
Unsatisfied with the direction of U.S. foreign policy? You’re not alone.
The Washington Post describes a “frustrated” Donald Trump who feels he has been “misled” about how easy it would be to oust Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
“The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires,” the Post reported on May 8.
Channeling pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, Trump may be beginning to recognize that his administration’s stance toward Iran is crazy and that Tehran should call him, maybe. “What they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down; we can make a deal, a fair deal. …We’re not looking to hurt Iran,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I want them to be strong and great and have a great economy. But they should call, and if they do, we’re open to talk to them.”
Trump dismissed a New York Times report that the White House was reviewing a plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East—”military plans against Iran, in echoes of Iraq war”—as “fake news.”
“It used to be that the staff around the president were the counterweight to some of his more aggressive impulses. Now it seems as if the situation has reversed itself,” former Trump official Fernando Cutz told the Washington Examiner. “The president is the counterweight to some of his more hawkish staff members, particularly Bolton.”
Trump has said as much himself. “I actually temper John,” he recently advised reporters. “I have John Bolton and I have other people that are a little more dovish than him and ultimately I make the decision.”
Who are these doves? And when will the president of the United States make a decision that overrides a rogue national security team ideologically committed to policies that are nearly the opposite the ones he campaigned on in 2016?
Those are the fateful questions that could determine the course of a presidency—and the country.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited Turkey on Wednesday and met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss bilateral issues and the fight against terrorism, in a bid to further strengthen bilateral relations.
The two leaders discussed the fight against terrorism, reconstruction works in Iraq and steps to be taken to enhance cooperation between Iraq and Turkey, especially in the areas of trade and energy, during their meeting at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara.
In a joint news conference after dinner, Erdoğan said Turkey and Iraq had signed a mutually beneficial military cooperation and trust agreement.
"We agreed on rebuilding Iraq, developing areas affected by Daesh occupation and establishing a trade corridor to the south of Iraq," Erdoğan said.
He added that the defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Turkey and Iraq would meet soon to discuss further details of the agreements. Erdoğan went on to say that Turkey and Iraq are on the same page regarding Syria's territorial integrity.
On the energy front, the Iraqi and Turkish leaders highlighted the importance of reopening the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline which has been vandalized by the Daesh [Islamic State] terror group.
The Palestinians’ perseverance and resilience have not broken or wavered, even though it has been 71 years since the Palestinian Nakba, and it continues to grow and intensify.
The Palestinians insist on freedom, independence, the restoration of their confiscated rights, and on returning to their homeland and their determination grows and is handed down to generation after generation. The Great March of Return continues despite the obstacles, pitfalls, and conspiracies accompanying it.
Over the past seven decades the number of Palestinians has multiplied by 9, amounting to over 13 million Palestinians. Half of the Palestinian population is inside Palestine, and the other half is outside. The Palestinian struggle to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes has continued nonstop.
In 1947 and 1948, Zionist gangs committed more than seventy massacres in the historic cities and villages of Palestine, killing more than 15,000 Palestinian martyrs. Moreover, they displaced more than 800,000 Palestinians inside and outside Palestine and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages and communities. Israel has now usurped over 85 per cent of historical Palestine, amounting to 27,000 square kilometres and about 7 million Israeli occupiers live there.
The Zionist project is not yet complete in historic Palestine, because this occupation project aims to confiscate all of Palestine, establish a Jewish nation-state, and expel all the Palestinians from their land and property.
The comprehensive Palestinian war on the Palestinian people is moving in three directions: geographic, demographic, and financial/economic direction, but the goal is one: to uproot the Palestinians from their land. The process of confiscating and stealing Palestinian land across occupied Palestine, with a focus on occupied Jerusalem. All that is left for the Palestinians are tiny cantons surrounded by Jewish settlements and Separation Walls.
As for the demographic war, which constitutes the real engine of the Israeli occupation’s terror, the occupation managed to plant over 700,000 Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
The settlement attack continues with unprecedented ruthlessness to control more Palestinian territories and plant settlements in them. All of this is accompanied by a financial and economic siege imposed by the Israeli authorities and the American Zionist administration on the Palestinian people...
The Palestinian people are facing a new Nakba within the next three months, known as the deal of the century.
This Nakba began implementation last year, but the next three months will witness the continuation of the new Nakba’s chapters, which aim to completely liquidate the Palestinian cause, in cooperation and direct coordination between the Israeli occupation and the American Zionist administration, headed by Trump, and the complicity of others.
Wikipedia info: The Middle East Monitor (MEMO) is a not-for-profit press monitoring organisation, founded on 1 July 2009. MEMO is largely focused on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, but writes about other issues in the Middle East as well. It has been characterized as a pro-Hamas publication by the BBC. According to Israeli scholar Ehud Rosen, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, MEMO generally supports Islamist positions within Palestinian politics.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a year ago was the fulfillment of a key promise of his election campaign.
“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,” Trump said in a celebratory tweet highlighting the move.
“Our beautiful embassy stands as a proud reminder of our strong relationship with Israel and of the importance of keeping a promise and standing for the truth.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the anniversary by attending a ceremony at a Jerusalem hotel, organized by Mike Evans, a prominent U.S. Christian evangelical pro-Israel activist who founded the Friends of Zion Museum in the Israeli city.
Speaking to an audience that included U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Netanyahu reiterated his view that Israel has had “no better friend in the White House” than Trump.
Referring to Trump having broken the international consensus on Jerusalem, Netanyahu said: “Nobody moves the embassy, and nobody recognizes Jerusalem until someone comes, [someone] who is politically incorrect, brash and unabashed, and one day, out of the blue, says, ‘that's right. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and I recognize it’. And that is what President Donald Trump did.”
Israeli leaders had expressed hope that more countries would follow the Trump administration in transferring their embassies to Jerusalem, but only Guatemala has done so and kept its mission in the city. Paraguay moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018 but withdrew it in September.
Flashback In Dallas, 1,100 Christian Zionist leaders gathered with Dr. Mike Evans, the founder of the FOZ Museum, to celebrate Israel’s 70th year of statehood.
Last week, in Jerusalem, Evans granted the Friends of Zion Award to the US’s Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
The award is given to world leaders whom have gone “above and beyond” for the State of Israel. (Jerusalem Post, 22-5-2018)
In 1980, Evans began working closely with then-prime minister Menachem Begin to build relationships between Christian Zionists and Israel, as well as advocating for strong US-Israel relations. In 2015 Mike Evans founded the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, with Shimon Peres as its first chairman.
Evans wanted to showcase the men and women who believed and fought for the Jewish people and for the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. His goal has been to activate, through the institutions he runs, a latent mass of Christian-Zionist allies of Israel who can be the linchpin of efforts to roll back anti- Zionist sentiments taking root in universities and in the mainstream globally. For Evans, the most critical objective today for the Christian-Zionist movement is to recruit the millions of Evangelicals and other Protestants to fight alongside Israel in the forum of world-wide opinion and activism.
After President Donald Trump declared his intention to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Evans announced that he would give an award to all world leaders who move their country’s embassy to Jerusalem.
The UN Security Council convened a few weeks ago for a periodic discussion on the Middle East, during which Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, delivered a speech detailing the rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. In his speech, Danon presented the "four pillars" that link Judaism to the land of Israel and even read a chapter from the Bible in Hebrew while wearing a kippah (skullcap).
Genesis 17:7: I'm establishing my covenant between me and you, and with your descendants who come after you, generation after generation, as an eternal covenant, to be your God and your descendants' God after you.
Danon mentioned the Balfour Declaration and the story of the tribe of Judah to illustrate the Jewish people's historical connection to Israel. He also referred to the UN Charter and international law, saying that they too recognize the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.
A few days after the UN debate, websites around the world began to cover the speech extensively, calling it the "Biblical speech"... The video of the speech also gained momentum among the Evangelical Christian community worldwide.
When US national security adviser John Bolton demanded military plans to oust the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Trump demurred, reportedly saying Bolton was trying to pull him “into a war.”
When Bolton demanded “regime change” in Iran and the Pentagon produced a plan to put 120,000 troops into the region, Trump demurred again.
“He is not comfortable with all this ‘regime change’ talk,’ which to his ears echoes the discussion of removing Iraqi president Saddam Hussein before the 2003 US invasion,” one unnamed official told The Washington Post... The White House national security adviser wants war, but his boss doesn’t want to be a war president.
Trump’s combination of bluster (“bomb the shit out of them”) and anti-war rhetoric (“Bush lied”) is a political asset he doesn’t want to squander.
Bolton’s job isn’t in any danger, because to Trump, tough talk is good politics. Insults, threats, sanctions, and covert operations are fine – as long as they don’t lead to an actual shooting war.
The problem for the war-wary Trump is threefold. First, Bolton is, objectively speaking, a warmonger. He has favored attacking Iran and North Korea, just as he favored attacking Iraq in 2003. The disastrous consequences of that invasion have had no effect on his impermeable thinking. He doesn’t want any advice on his schemes, and he doesn’t get any. If the policy doesn’t work, he changes the subject, not directions. Second, because Bolton’s policies are developed in private, without the usual input from other sectors of the government, especially the military, they are under-informed and unsustainable. In Venezuela, Bolton failed to understand the political realities in the South American country, leaving talk of military intervention as the only face-saving option. Third, and most important, Trump’s regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are also seeking to goad the US into taking action against Iran, their regional rival.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought authority to attack Iran in 2011, only to be thwarted by the opposition of Obama and his own security cabinet. Now Obama is gone and Trump has given Netanyahu everything he wanted: an embassy in Jerusalem and recognition of the Golan Heights. Why not a unilateral attack on Iran to degrade its infrastructure? Saudi Arabia is openly calling for war. After four oil tankers last week suffered damage from some kind of attack, the United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran. An Iranian parliamentary spokesman described the attacks as “Israeli mischief.” To date, there is no conclusive evidence about who was responsible.
Nonetheless, the Arab News, a Saudi outlet owned by the brother of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), is now calling for “surgical strikes” on Iran.
On December 14, 2008, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw
both of his shoes at United States President George W. Bush
It is one thing for Trump to rebuke Bolton privately. If and when Netanyahu and MBS ask for war, Trump will have more difficulty saying no – which is what Bolton is counting on. It is no exaggeration to say Bolton is the most dangerous man in the world. It is a title he will only lose if Trump wants it.
"You may be sure that the Americans will commit
all the stupidities they can think of, plus some
that are beyond imagination. Charles de Gaulle
French President Charles de Gaulle stepped down 50 years ago this week after his proposals for constitutional reform were defeated in a national referendum.
Charles de Gaulle had come out of retirement in 1958 to try and save his country for a third time. He had fought in the trenches in World War I. He had led the anti-Nazi Free French in World War II. Then, at the age of 67, he answered the call to solve the grave crisis of confidence facing the Fourth Republic. Commonly regarded as a conservative figure, economically de Gaulle was a man of the left.
He believed in a 'dirigiste' economy with a high level of public ownership. He didn't kowtow to the bankers and international finance capital.
"He was a man who did not care for those who owned wealth; he despised the bourgeois and hated capitalism" was the verdict of his French biographer Jean Lacouture. De Gaulle combined left-wing economic policies with moderate social conservatism, a winning left-right mix with voters because it's where the real center of public opinion actually is.
That's forgotten today, by politicians of the right who embrace finance capital-friendly neoliberalism even though it corrodes society and creates enormous inequalities, and those on the left who believe identity politics, social liberalism and an excessive political correctness trumps all other concerns (no pun intended). It's the absence of 'Gaullism' from the options available that helps explain the rise of the far-right. When de Gaulle was around, such groups were marginalized. The General was a patriot but he was also an anti-imperialist. He took France out of Algeria. He pulled his country out of NATO's military command. He fiercely criticized the US' involvement in the Vietnam war, denouncing "the bombing of a small people by a very large one." He was one of the first, if not the first, Western leaders to criticize Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. He supported detente with the Soviet Union, talking in 1966 of a 'new alliance of France and Russia,' and believed in a Europe of nation states that stretched to the Urals.
"He refused the division of the world into two blocs, the world he said was too rich for that, and Paris would play its full part in developing new relationships," writes biographer Jonathan Fenby.
Can we seriously imagine de Gaulle accepting directions from hawks in Washington which were clearly injurious to the economic interests of his country? If the Americans had threatened to impose secondary sanctions on French companies for doing business with Iran in the General's time, he would have taken the next flight to Tehran with French business leaders to set up new deals.
Relations between Israel and France began to cool with the accession of Charles de Gaulle as president of France’s Fifth Republic (1958-1969). At the same time, Israel’s relations with the United States began improving. Lyndon B. Johnson, became the most pro-Israel president up to that time, substantially opening America’s arsenal to Israel. The breaking point for De Gaulle was Israel’s launching of the 1967 war against Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
He had urgently implored Israel not to attack. But Israel ignored him and attacked on June 5. As late as May 24, President De Gaulle had prophetically warned Foreign Minister Abba Eban: “Don’t make war. You will be considered the aggressor by the world and by me. You will cause the Soviet Union to penetrate more deeply into the Middle East, and Israel will suffer the consequences. You will create a Palestinian nationalism, and you will never get rid of it.”
On the day of Israel’s attack, France announced a total arms embargo on the Middle East. By that time, however, Israel was receiving its major weapons from the United States and the embargo had little effect.
De Gaulle also quietly ended France’s support of Israel’s nuclear program. He reveals in his memoirs that “...French cooperation in the construction of a factory near Beersheva [Dimona, Israel’s nuclear facility] for the transformation of uranium into plutonium—from which, one fine day, atomic bombs might emerge—was brought to an end.” Israel’s program, however, was so far advanced that it no longer needed France. De Gaulle voiced his pique at Israel in his public remarks in late 1967, when he called Jews dominating and Israel expansionist.
The remarks brought Ben-Gurion’s response, accusing De Gaulle of using “surprising, harsh and wounding expressions..:
"You spoke of the changing of a sincere desire into burning and conquering ambition, a lack of modesty, the Israeli state warlike and bent on expansion..."
There’s been a lot of focus on US Ambassador David Friedman saying at a ceremony in Jerusalem Tuesday that Israel “is on the side of God,” as the New York Times reported.
Friedman spoke at an event on May 14, marking the first anniversary of the opening of the US embassy in the city, the day in 2018 that saw the killing of more than 60 Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
'god is on our side'
Here are religious excerpts of Friedman’s speech.
- "I think we’ve done something that has not been done in some time, we have created a new shrine in the ancient city of Jerusalem and we’re extremely proud of it. [Applause]… What I get perhaps the greatest satisfaction from… [are] the tourists who come to visit the embassy… I kid you not, people got on their knees and they prayed to god that they had seen this day, that this day had arose..."
When people say the embassy move was “just symbolic,” Friedman disagrees.
- "That just cannot be further from the truth. The move of the embassy was a validation by the strongest nation in the world, not just strong militarily, strong economically, but strong morally, strong ethically, with a bedrock of Judeo-Christian values that govern every citizen’s attachment to this country. That country recognized the unbreakable, historical truthful connection between the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. That is not symbolic. That is the farthest thing from symbolic..."
Friedman then hinted that the U.S. would go further and recognize Israeli sovereignty in portions of the West Bank.
- ":Now is that enough? Should we be resting on our laurels?… I think the answer is No. With this administration of Mike Pence, and Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and Jared Kusher, Jason [Greenblatt] and me…
Here is the Godly Israel reference.
- Is Israel getting stronger? Look, Israel is growing stronger for two reasons. The most important one, is how strong is its relationship with the United States... And that keeps growing and growing and getting stronger and stronger and stronger.
And the second is, Israel has one secret weapon that not a lot of countries have. Israel is on the side of God, and we don’t underestimate that.
The Jewish News Service reports that Friedman responded yesterday to controversy over his remarks by doubling down on the religion:
- “Most of the prophecies are about the return of the nation of Israel to their land. And it is happening in our lifetime...; just being in this room is evidence that the prophecy of Ezekiel and others have come true.” “So where am I off in saying that God is on the side of Israel?” “The fact that God has fulfilled his prophecies and delivered the people of Israel to their land is demonstrably true.”
"This is beyond a lie; Iran support for for al-Qaeda is Goebbels-style Big Lie, on which UAE’s Alarabiya did a propaganda ‘documentary,’ so Pompeo could go to war". Juan Cole, May 11, 2019
The militant group al-Qaeda has a strong connection to Iran, the United States has claimed as part of its recent push towards war with the country.
Flashback 2012: "Why are they establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons. Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a hearing in April that the militant group operates in Iran and has contacts with the government in Tehran.
"There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda. Period. Full stop," Pompeo contended. "The factual question with respect to Iran's connections to al-Qaeda is very real. They have hosted al-Qaeda. They have permitted al-Qaeda to transit their country," he added...
Some observers have raised concerns that hawkish members of President Donald Trump's administration are attempting to use an unproven connection between al-Qaeda and Iran to go to war.
Under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), a law that was passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, such a connection may allow the White House to militarily confront Iran without Congressional approval.
But the purported link between Iran and al-Qaeda has been described as flimsy, unsubstantiated and even a "Big Lie", depending on whom you ask... Nelly Lahoud, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and author of a book on al-Qaeda and Iran, said that she did not find any evidence of such an alliance: 'In none of the documents did I find references pointing to collaboration between al-Qaeda and Iran to carry out terrorism'
Instead, Lahoud said she found evidence of anger between the two. "Explicit hostile references to Iran are consistent throughout, displaying the mistrust of bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders towards Iranian authorities," she wrote.
Moreover, at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, Osama bin Laden's own "references to Iran were marginal, and consistently negative", Lahoud said.
"The ongoing saber-rattling inches us closer and closer to conflict, borrowing from the same playbook that launched us into the failed invasion of Iraq, and endangering our national security, jeopardising our diplomatic interests and alarming our allies," Democratic Senator Tom Udall, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said in a statement.
Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-e Ravanchi has warned that continued terrorist presence in the Syrian territory is endangering civilian lives.
“Should the government allow these internationally designated terrorist groups continue their control over its territory? Should the international community allow such terrorist groups to take a large number of civilians as their hostage?” he said during a United Nations Security Council meeting held on Friday over a recent surge in fighting in northwestern Syria.
The meeting was held amid a recent escalation in clashes in the province after the Syrian Arab Army launched an operation to counter numerous flagrant terrorist violations of an earlier de-escalation agreement.
Under the agreement, which was signed between Russia and Turkey last year, Takfiri groups in Idlib had to withdraw from areas bordering Syrian government-controlled territory, which they refused to do.
Speaking on Friday, Takht-e Ravanchi said that Iran continued to support the Idlib de-escalation agreement, saying that the deal was necessary to protect civilian lives but warned that it should not become a pretext to create a safe haven for terrorists.
The deal "does not limit the right of the Syrian government to fight Security Council-designated terrorists, which of course have to be carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law," he said.
The Iranian envoy described the current situation in Idlib saying that the terrorist groups are using "over two million civilians as human shields".
"This is in contradiction with the objective of the Idlib de-escalation area’s creation. We should be vigilant enough not to confuse the protection of civilians with the protection of terrorists," he added.
Takht-e Ravanchi concluded that any solution for the Syrian crisis had to be reached through a "Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process", as agreed in a joint statement issued by Iran, Russia, and Turkey in April.
BEIJING, May 16 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at the opening of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations on Wednesday has been echoed by many as his vision inspires hope for a brighter future for Asia and humanity.
At the grand gathering, Xi said that "the intensifying global challenges humanity are facing now require concerted efforts from countries across the world," highlighting the role of culture and civilization to cope with common challenges.
In his keynote speech, the Chinese president raised a four-point proposal to consolidate the "cultural foundation" of a community with a shared future for Asia and humanity: treating each other with respect and as equals; appreciating the beauty of all civilizations; adhering to openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning; and keeping pace with the times.
"It is foolish to believe that one's race and civilization are superior to that of others, and it is disastrous to willfully reshape or even replace other civilizations..."
Xi said that various civilizations are not destined to clash as long as people are able to appreciate the beauty of all civilizations, which became a hot topic after his speech.
"History tells that pursuing the superiority of one's own people and culture causes great tragedies to mankind," Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a business-led international digital association in Brussels, said.
"The principles of mutual respect and equal treatment should be adhered to by all to address our common challenges." Peter Frankopan, a professor at Oxford University, said that "it's important that we live in a world where we work out how to listen to each other's opinions. We work out to collaborate closer together." "What we've been hearing in this conference again and again is about the need for mutual respect," he added.
"Increasing reciprocal openness and working on people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning" can help strengthen cultural ties between civilizations, said Fabio Massimo Parenti, a professor of international studies at the International Institute Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, Italy. Such an approach "can work only if we all reject superiority attitudes," he added. "Clashes of civilization will only happen if people expect it to happen. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy," Ole Doring, a German expert with the Berlin Institute of Global Health, said. "I don't think it's even called a theory, it's just a wrong prediction."
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