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)
"Our message to the entire world is clear — there is no place for dark ideology in our faith, Islam, a religion of mercy and tolerance that has long affirmed values of love and the protection of human life.
Therefore, we will continue to work with our partners within a holistic approach to counter extremist thought; unify our counter-narrative against this destructive, dark ideology; and combat hate speech, exclusionism, and the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia." Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein (King of Jordan), 1-6-2019
The United Arab Emirates is steadily upping engagement with government-held Syria, deploying its soft power in the form of humanitarian aid and investment in the local entertainment industry.
The past weeks of Ramadan saw packages of food distributed in Marjeh Square in central Damascus bearing the emblem of the United Arab Emirates.
The truck transporting the aid had a sign reading: “Donation from Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, wife of the Crown Prince of Al Fujairah” — one of the seven Emirates of the UAE.
As the truck drove slowly through the congested roundabout, people appeared on balconies and rooftops, watching with interest. Some whistled; others clapped. They were relieved that an eight-year crisis with the UAE was now coming to a quiet end, six months after Abu Dhabi re-opened its embassy in Damascus.
The humanitarian aid was the first Emirati initiative in Damascus since November 2011, when the Arab League suspended the Syrian government’s membership over its crackdown against demonstrators. Now, the Emirates has changed course, aiming to attract hearts — and empty stomachs. The UAE is also looking to influence minds — in Syria and beyond — bankrolling two Syrian soap operas this Ramadan airing exclusively on Abu Dhabi TV.
The first Maqamat al-Asheq tells the story of a renowned Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi, who lived in Damascus centuries ago and is buried on the slopes of Mount Qassioun overlooking the city.
The second, Al-Asheq (The Impassioned), is the tale of the Abbasid-era Sufi philosopher al-Hallaj.
Both preach a version of Islam that both the UAE and Syria are trying to promote, and which radical groups like the Islamic State tried to eradicate over the course of the war in Syria and other territories it seized.
Sufism is an order of peaceful mystics that once prevailed in Damascus under Ottoman rule. Sufi scholars have wide authority to interpret religious issues and take action based on judgement, unless otherwise mentioned in the Quran. Connectivity with God takes different forms, in addition to prayer, and can be achieved through spiritual dancing or religious hymns — two acts that radical groups like ISIS consider un-Islamic. When ISIS overran the city of Mayadeen in eastern Syria, its militants raided the homes of Sufis, arresting, flogging and often killing members of their order. Because Sufism appeals to Muslims, ISIS saw this brand of the religion as a threat to its power base, more than Christianity, for example.
Sufi clerics like Ibn Arabic and al-Hallaj, portrayed in the new Emirati-funded dramas, in contrast strictly banned the killing of any member of the monotheistic religions.
Like all Muslims, Sufis too believe in a caliphate. But any caliph, they say, needs to come “through brotherly love and fluttering hearts” — in the words of Ibn Arabi — rather than by the sword.
"Do not praise your own faith exclusively so that you disbelieve all the rest. If you do this you will miss much good. Nay, you will miss the whole truth of the matter. God, the Omniscient and the Omnipresent, cannot be confined to any one creed, for He says in the Quran, wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah. Everybody praises what he knows. His God is his own creature, and in praising it, he praises himself. Which he would not do if he were just, for his dislike is based on ignorance." Ibn Arabi
A third show, also produced by the UAE this Ramadan, tells a contemporary fictional story based on real events, about a Syrian cleric affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed by both Abu Dhabi and Damascus.
Set at the backdrop of the second Gulf War in 1990, it portrays the Brotherhood as having secret ties with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Abu Dhabi also accuses the Brotherhood of trying to destabilize the UAE, and it suspended relations with Qatar in 2017 over their support for the Egyptian Brotherhood. For Damascus and Abu Dhabi, the promotion of political Islam has provided a common enemy. Gulf money can help with propaganda efforts against the Brotherhood brand of Islam.
When the Islamic State stormed the city of al-Mayadeen in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zour along the Euphrates River, they struck with particular vengeance at the homes of Syrian Sufis. Members of the Sufi order were arrested; their clerics were flogged, their spiritual corners torn down. Sufism, after all, is the exact opposite of ISIS and its distorted interpretation of Sunni Islam.
Both are Muslims of course, just like Hitler and Churchill were Christians. If allowed to run society, Syrian and Iraqi Sufis can probably rally millions, crafting a wide power base for themselves that exposes the religious flaws and deficiencies of ISIS. Only Sufis have the religious tools, intellectual skills, and political cunning to dismantle ISIS. That is precisely why they are excommunicated by ISIS.
Sufism is an order of peaceful mystics that once reigned in both Damascus and Baghdad during Ottoman times. It discards ISIS Salafism as un-Islamic. Throughout history Damascus and Baghdad were the breeding ground for Sufism. Because of their Sufi past, neither city produced fanatic clerics and nor did they absorb Salafi Islam or its offspring, Wahabism.
During Ottoman times, the Sufi clerics of Damascus mentored Sultan Abdulhamid II. So influenced were the Ottomans by Sufism that they toyed with the idea of elevating it into an official sect of Islam and making it the official hallmark of the Ottoman State.
Damascus was once home to two extremes — the spiritual founder of Salafism Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) and the “Great Teacher” of Sufism, Ibn Arabi (1165-124).
Both figures are iconic to their religious following and both were buried in Damascus. ISIS holds Ibn Taymiyya in high esteem; the Damascenes speak very little of him. No street is named in his honor, certainly no neighborhood. Ibn Arabi was seemingly tailor-fit for the Damascenes, peaceful, spiritual, practical, and non-violent.
Unable to find a wide audience in Damascus, Ibn Taymiyya’s influence traveled to the desert, where it survived the harsh winds of Arabia and laid foundations of the modern Saudi Kingdom.
His words were rough and rigid, just like the desert. The Sufis were soft and flexible, just like Damascus.
There are 15 million Sufis worldwide, with Damascus and its Grand Umayyad Mosque as their capital. They need to be promoted at schools and mosque pulpits, given prime access to television networks worldwide.
The Israeli justice system should adhere to religious Jewish law, MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URWP) has insisted, doubling down on his position despite drawing rebuke, and asserting that the country should aspire to run itself as “in the days of King David.”
“We want the justice portfolio because we want to restore the Torah justice system,” Smotrich said Sunday evening at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, hours after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was fired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yair Lapid, co-leader of the centrist Blue and White party, responded to Smotrich on Twitter. “No, no, we won’t let this pass. There won’t be a state here ruled by halacha,” he said, using the Hebrew term for Jewish religious law.
Smotrich doubled down on his position on Monday morning, telling Kan public radio that “the Jewish people is a special people that needs to live according to the Torah.” ...
“When we talk about Torah laws there are many things. I think the Torah’s monetary laws are much better [than ours]. We need to grant the rabbinical courts a higher status.”
"I want the State of Israel to conduct itself according to Torah laws. That will happen when the nation wants it, and I am confident that it will want it when it sees how Torah law is just and humane.”
He said Israel should “go back to conducting itself the way it did in the days of King David, while adjusting that for life in 2019.”
On Sunday, Netanyahu fired Shaked, along with her fellow New Right party member Education Minister Naftali Bennett — both, until this past campaign season, colleagues of Smotrich in the Jewish Home party — in a reshuffle of his interim government.
Elaborate, skillful ideological constructs
produced by priestly circles
Almost everything about King David and Solomon and their empire is exaggerated, to such as extent that it is best to consider the entire edifice to be legend and myth, except that for a while, a hebrew king did rule a sparsely populated disparate Judah...
David and Solomon are two of the towering figures of the Hebrew texts. The central characters in these nationalistic stories had to be both commanders of armies and builders of great nations, so that the present generation could follow their example, and work for the good of the fledging state. With this aim in mind, the stories written about David and Solomon did not disappoint - well, not until archaeologists went in search of the evidence of their great empires.
Prof. Victor J. Stenger (2007): “There is no mention of either king in Egyptian or Mesopotamian texts.
No physical evidence has been found for David's conquests or his empire. Archaeological support for Solomon's great temple in Jerusalem or other building projects there and in other locales is nonexistent.
At a recent meeting in Rome, archaeologist Niels Peter Lemche declared, "Archaeological data have now definitely confirmed that the empire of David and Solomon never existed. [...] Almost certainly, the Jewish kingdom was far more modest than described in the Bible..."
Shlomo Sand (in: "The Invention of the Jewish People", 2009): “Excavations in Jerusalem [...] undermined the fantasies about the glorious past [and] failed to find any traces of an important tenth-century kingdom, the presumed time of David and Solomon. No vestige was ever found of monumental structures, walls or grand palaces, and the pottery found there was scanty and quite simple...
Indeed, no trace has been found of the existence of that legendary king, whose wealth is described in the Bible as almost matching that of the imperial rulers of Babylonia or Persia. [...]
Finkelstein & Silberman (in: "The Bible Unearthed", 2002): “Many of the archaeological props that once bolstered the historical basis of the David and Solomon narratives have recently been called into question.
The actual extent of the Davidic empire is hotly debated. Digging in Jerusalem has failed to produce evidence that it was a great city in David or Solomon's time. And the monuments ascribed to Solomon are now most plausibly connected with other kings." (Source)
Not a man of 'the law'
King David was bisexual
"And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul..." (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
"And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul." (1 Samuel 20:17)
"O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: they love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women". (2 Samuel 1:25-26)
Sources close to Netanyahu said Monday night that Smotrich “can forget about the justice portfolio now.
After those statements, Netanyahu won’t allow him to be justice minister,” the Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper reported. Those remarks were reiterated Tuesday morning by MK Miki Zohar of Likud.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, also of Likud, in a closed faction meeting Monday said “Smotrich’s statements are causing damage to Likud and helping Liberman,” Yedioth reported. Avigdor Liberman also condemned Smotrich’s comments Monday: “These are no longer comments coming from a delusional hilltop youth, but a statement of intent,” he said, referring to ultra-nationalists in the West Bank. “We will prevent that, we won’t lend those efforts a hand. Jewish law is an important and critical part of the Israeli justice system, but Israeli law cannot be Torah law.”
Likud’s position on the secular-religious status quo took another blow Monday after a draft of its coalition agreement with the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party was leaked to the Kan public broadcaster, showing it stated that the new government would amend laws to enable the segregation of men and woman in public services and events.
While ultra-Orthodox groups favor segregation due to modesty considerations, opponents consider it discrimination against women.
The draft agreement, which Likud claimed was never signed, drew condemnation from Blue and White party No. 2 Yair Lapid, who accused Netanyahu of turning Israel into a theocracy.
“The fact that Bibi surrendered to the demands of United Torah Judaism to introduce a law on segregating men and women in public spaces is nothing short of madness,” Lapid tweeted.
“The man who has been speaking out against Iran for 20 years now wants to import it,” he said, referring to Tehran’s strict Islamic theocracy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday confirmed loyalist Amir Ohana [LIkud] as justice minister in the run-up to elections on the September 17.
Ayelet Shaked formally departed from the Justice Ministry on Tuesday, two days after she was fired by Netanyahu in a cabinet reshuffle that also targeted her political ally education minister Naftali Bennett. The move was widely seen as a bid to prevent the once-popular right-wing duo from using their cabinet positions to bolster their campaigns ahead of the new national vote.
Ohana is a lawyer by training who became the first openly gay MK in a right-wing party when he was elected to the Knesset in 2015. Ohana is among the only senior members of Likud to have publicly backed Netanyahu’s drive to secure immunity from prosecution in the cases against him.
Netanyahu is suspected of corruption — including one count of bribery — in three cases, one of which involves gifts from wealthy associates, with the other two involving potential quid pro quo deals for regulatory favors in exchange for positive media coverage. The prime minister has long accused police, the media, judicial officials and the political left of conducting a witch hunt against him, and has denied any wrongdoing.
“I am here as the son of Meir and Esther Ohana, who emigrated from Morocco to build a country. I am here with my other half, Alon, my true love.
I am here as the father of the children Elah and David. And like [the biblical] David who defeated Goliath in the Valley of Elah, I am here against all the odds.
I am here with all of who I am and what I am, what I’ve chosen and what I haven’t, and am proud of it all: Jewish, Israeli, Mizrahi, gay, Likudnik, a security hawk, a liberal, and a man of the free market,” Ohana said in his first Knesset speech.
Last night, sources close to the head of the Jewish Home Party, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, backed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to appoint Amir Ohana as justice minister instead of MK Bezalel Smotrich - chairman of the National Union.
The sources close to Rabbi Peretz, who will receive the education portfolio in the coming days, said that "The first choice is that of the prime minister, and he explicitly offered Peretz the education portfolio because Netanyhu sees Peretz as the leader of religious Zionism.”
"The prime minister has full confidence in the chairman of the Jewish Home to hold the education portfolio and membership in the cabinet, as the replacement of Naftali Bennett in the leadership of religious Zionism.
"The prime minister determined that religious Zionism continues to hold the education portfolio and membership in the cabinet. That was the mission and the mission was completed," the sources close to Peretz added.
Rafael "Rafi" Peretz (born 7 January 1956) is an Israeli Orthodox rabbi. A former military officer who served as the Chief Military Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, he is currently leader of the Jewish Home party and a member of the Knesset for the United Right alliance. Peretz replaced Education Minister Naftali Bennett who broke away from Habayit Hayehudi [Jewish Home] to form a new party with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Peretz is considered much more conservative than Bennett, who stressed that Habayit Hayehudi was not only for the Orthodox. Peretz has been defined by one member of the Habayit Hayehudi Central Committee as “clearly nationalist ultra-Orthodox.”
Dozens of rabbis and rebbetzins (a rabbi's wife or other woman leader) demanded Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologize for statements regarding Likud MK Amir Ohana's appointment as temporary Justice Minister. After appointing Ohana, who is openly gay, to the Justice Ministry, the Likud said, "There went a state of Jewish law."
The comment comes after Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman continuously claimed that the religious parties wanted to create a "state of Jewish law" and United Right MK Bezalel Smotrich said he "wants to return the Torah to its foundation."
"Even in the midst of a stormy political discussion, we expect a Jewish-Zionist party to respect Israel's Torah, and certainly not to disparage it freely as spokesperson Mr. Yonatan Orich did. We call on you to distance yourself personally from statements such as these, which are against halacha (Jewish law) and which were said just prior to the holiday when we celebrate the giving of the Torah, which we all attended, all of us at the foot of Mount Sinai 'as one man with one heart' (Rashi on Exodus 19:2). Not everything is politics," the signatories wrote.
Israel's Association of Community Rabbis told Arutz Sheva: "We are sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu will order his spokesperson to apologize in his name. Such statements do not reflect the deep identity of Likud members, who we know personally. 'Our nation is not a nation without its Torah' (Rabbi Saadia Gaon)."
It's essential to know when to keep away from cases when aspiration for totality is destructive.
It happens to us today more and more, when we become so entrenched in radicalized positions that lead to internal clashes and fierce hostility. These create deep rifts in our society, and I fear that unless we hit the emergency break, we'll fall into the abyss similar to the one that brought us the destruction of the Second Temple. Then, too, it began with extremism and dogmatism...
Those not accustomed to reading the texts dealing with the deep circumstances of the destruction of the temple might be surprised to read the Talmudic holding that Jerusalem was destroyed because "they judged Torah law therein."
That isn't a mistake: essentially, the destruction came to us because of the faulty norm of compliance with the law word for word. The entire idea of "ex gratia" was foreign to them; there were no shades of grey, just black and white.
('Ex Gratia': used to describe something that is done or given freely rather than because it is required by a law).
Instead of our Torah being a living Torah and being a source for guidance, the prevailing spirit was to be "by the book," without taking into consideration the special circumstances and the reality that requires broad discretion. We beard an unbearably high price for that extremism and literalism.
Paul (New Testament) versus Legalism
John Piper (Bethlehem Baptist Church Minnesota)
When PAUL says in a NEW TESTAMENT verse that "all who rely on works of the law are under a curse," it reminds us of 1:7, 8, where he says, "There are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ."
Evidently, Paul believed that there was a teaching among the churches of Galatia which was so destructive to people and so dishonoring to God that it merited a divine curse.
It was a teaching propagated not by secular humanists from Athens but by God-fearing Jewish "Christian" church members from Jerusalem.
The reason the book of Galatians has such a radical, life-changing message is that it pronounces a curse from God not on atheistic or agnostic outsiders but on professing Christians who try to serve God in a way that diminishes his grace and cultivates their own pride.
When verse 10 says that "those who rely on works of the law are under a curse," it means that they are without the Holy Spirit (Reason, Gnosis, Wisdom).
The fast of the 5th month happens on the 9ih day of the month. The reason why the Jews fast on this day are thus given by Maimonides :
" On the ninth of Av, five things happened...
...5th. On that day, devoted to punishment, the wicked Turnus Rufus [Quintus Tineius Rufus, Roman governor posted in Judea during first half of the second century C.E] ploughed up the sanctuary and the parts about, to fulfil that which was said, Zion shall be ploughed as a field.'" (Mich. iii. 12.) (Jad Ilachasakah. Hilchoth Taanith., c. 5.)
there never was a jewish temple on top of the roman fort antonia
Russia blocked a UN Security Council draft statement on Idlib on Monday. The statement, jointly sponsored by Belgium, Germany and Kuwait, condemned the ongoing offensive on civilians and infrastructure in the northwestern Syrian city.
The statement read: “The members of the Security Council condemned the loss of innocent civilian lives, and expressed their alarm at the displacement of over 270,000 persons as a result of the recent escalation, as well as the targeting of densely populated areas and civilian infrastructure.” Russia's UN mission responded on Twitter: “We don’t agree that the situation in the #NorthWest can be viewed separately from [the] situation in other regions.”
"Moreover, the draft document completely ignored the fact that Idlib is controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham [HTS] terrorist group," the mission added, continuing, "We regret that our colleagues in the UN Security Council have chosen a biased approach to the developments in Syria. The so-called humanitarian 'troika' did not express concerns when the coalition illegally operating in Syria destroyed Khadjin or Baguz. The 'liberated' Raqqa still lies in ruins.”
Russia is interested in helping President Bashar al-Assad retake control of all Syrian territory, including Idlib and the northeast. This, however, doesn't mean Moscow is happy about doing so militarily.
Initially, the standoff over Idlib presented Moscow an opportunity to play a big-picture foreign policy game with Turkey. Such a game would bring Moscow and Ankara closer on other issues, such as bilateral and military-technical cooperation. In September 2018, Putin had Erdogan sign the Sochi agreement on Idlib and assume some serious commitments, including fixing the HTS problem. Yet, from the outset, these commitments were hard to deliver in full.
Now that Turkey has largely failed to separate its loyal opposition forces from terrorist groups, and with Erdogan in a post-election cycle, Moscow has pressed harder for more robust action. Moscow feels the situation in Idlib is spinning out of control, as HTS consolidates its positions. The Russians themselves are under pressure from the Syrians — and the Iranians, to a lesser extent — because Turkey has failed to do what it promised.
syria, raqqa 2018
At the official level, however, Moscow seeks every opportunity to engage Turkey on Idlib, making it clear that the situation is "about the two," meaning it should, could and will be settled by Russia and Turkey. No third party — especially the Americans or the Europeans — should be putting additional pressure on the Idlib situation, hence Russia’s rejection of the UN statement.
“Look, everyone is playing their own game here,” a senior Russian diplomat told Al-Monitor. “Americans are now seeking every opportunity to drive a wedge between us and the Turks. Erdogan’s statements look reassuring when it comes to the delivery of S-400, but things are uncertain on other potential military contracts, so the disputes we may be having with Ankara work well for them.”
He continued, “As for the Europeans, they want to create an impression they are still in the game and care. But for the lack of any better constructive options, all they can do is make statements and propose papers to oblige us with moral responsibility over the fight in Idlib. We are fighting terrorists there, and they should first take the plank out of their own eye before telling us to remove the speck from our eyes.”
idlib-syria: hayat tahrir al-sham
The only way to settle the crisis, is to have Turkey adhere to the Sochi accords. “Russia maintains cooperation with Turkey, which is responsible for preventing attacks [by terrorists] from Idlib," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Iran has reportedly added some 2,000 new police units to its morality task force, implementing a pilot program in order to monitor women's wearing of headscarves amid an apparent rise in protest against the Islamic Republic's laws that mandate women wear a veil in public spaces.
The British Telegraph reported Friday that the pilot program, with units in the northern Gilan province comprised of six women each, will act as "resistance groups for verbal and practical response to bad-hijabi women.
Officers in the new units will be authorized to arrest women considered in violation of the strict Islamic dress code. Violators are typically fined and given up to two months in prison.
Under the Islamic dress code of Iran, women can only show their face, hands and feet in public, and they are supposed to wear modest colors.
Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh was sentenced last month to seven years in prison for defending women protesting the hijab laws.
iran - elections
Meanwhile, police in Tehran conducted a 10-day campaign over the last week and a half, shutting down 547 restaurants and cafes in which Islamic principles were not observed...
Businesses were found in violation for several infractions, including "unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery," according to the report.
Also on Saturday, the head of Tehran's guidance court, which deals with "cultural crimes and social and moral corruption", called on Tehran citizens to report cases of "immoral behavior" by texting a designated phone number.
The Curse of the Law
orthodoxy is about 'holy' stereotypes and 'immoral' reality
In social psychology, a stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people.
Stereotypes are generalized because one assumes that the stereotype is true for each individual person in the category. While such generalizations may be useful when making quick decisions, they may be erroneous when applied to particular individuals. Stereotypes encourage prejudice and discrimination. (Wikipedia)
The New York Times has announced it will no longer include daily political cartoons in its international edition...
A cartoon, published in April, prompted an uproar within the Jewish community, with Israel’s ambassador to the UN likening the drawing to the content of Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Sturmer. The cartoon depicted Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind US President Donald Trump — who was wearing a kippah, or a Jewish skullcap.
Editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to cease running political cartoons in the international print version of the Times, in line with the US edition.
Patrick Chappatte, one of the paper’s leading cartoonists, said the decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon. He condemned the publication of the caricature at the center of the controversy but said he was concerned that media outlets were increasingly buckling under political pressure and criticism from “moralistic mobs” on social media.
“Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists… lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying,” Chappatte wrote on his personal website. New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger announced in May that the editor who published the cartoon would be disciplined.
"Can a blind man lead a blind man?" Luke, 6:39
"The blind leading the blind" is an idiom and a metaphor in the form of a parallel phrase, it is used to describe a situation where a person who knows nothing is getting advice and help from another person who knows almost nothing. It can be traced back to the Upanishads, which were written between 800 BCE and 200 BCE.
"Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind." Katha Upanishad
Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman asserted Tuesday that the next government would be a "haredi government" that would act for religious coercion.
"The current election campaign revolves around one issue: Will the rightist bloc become a haredi bloc, with Yisrael Beytenu outside the coalition, or will a national, right and liberal government be formed with Yisrael Beytenu?" Liberman said.
"Netanyahu's starting five are: Litzman, Gafni, Deri, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir - without Yisrael Beytenu and without Avigdor Liberman. This is not what I say, these are Netanyahu's public statements, every day in ‘Netanyahu Hayom,’” he added, in a jab at the Israel Hayom newspaper perceived as staunchly pro-Netanyahu.
chabad, the rebbe, netanyahu & jared kushner
"The only one that can stop this madness is Yisrael Beytenu. Only we can prevent a situation in which a right-wing government is being blackmailed by messianic haredim."
He added: "Anyone who wants to see the State of Israel continue on the path of sanity and a responsible and liberal policy, first and foremost with regard to matters of religion and state, must vote for Yisrael Beytenu. We will not allow the continuation of religious coercion and the attempt to change the status quo."
Those who think that the foreign policy of the United States should be the product of serious discussion embracing a variety of viewpoints to come to a conclusion that benefits the American people should perhaps take note of what has been going on in the President Donald Trump administration.
The use of unrelenting pressure to include threats of military intervention rather than negotiation has been noted by many, but the media predictably has failed to discuss the implications of having a team in place making decisions relating to the volatile Middle East and beyond that consists overwhelmingly of Orthodox Jews and Christian Zionists.
To recap, Trump’s A-team in the Middle East is headed by his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner [Chabad-nik] who is being personally advised by a group of Orthodox Jews. David Friedman, the U.S. (sic) Ambassador to Israel is also an Orthodox Jew and a former bankruptcy lawyer with no diplomatic or foreign policy credentials. He is a passionate supporter and even a funder of the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank and on the Golan Heights... Friedman’s top adviser is Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who is described by the Embassy as an expert in “Jewish education and pro-Israel advocacy.”
Pre-government in 2014, Lightstone founded and headed Silent City, a Jewish advocacy group supported by extreme right-wing money that opposed the Iran nuclear agreement and also worked to combat the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Trump’s chief “international negotiator” for the Middle East is yet another Orthodox Jew Jason Greenblatt, the former Trump Organization lawyer...
Greenblatt uniquely claims that Israel’s illegal settlements are “not an obstacle to peace” and he is very upset because some naysayers are actually putting part of the blame for the human catastrophe in Gaza on Israel.
The other key pro-Israel players in the foreign policy establishment are nominally Christian, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both of whom are Christian Zionists...
The final component of the Zionist line-up is National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has been a recipient of the “Defender of Israel Award” as well as an outspoken advocate of war with Iran.
Not exactly a model of diversity, is it?
Well, there was one piece missing and that was the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, which has been vacant for the past fourteen months due to failure of the Senate to approve the candidate proposed by Trump, one David Schenker...
Schenker has spent most of his time in Washington at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think-tank that supports the Israeli government.., founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington. He served in the George W. Bush Pentagon, which was a hot bed of neocon subversion featuring Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith.
When news of the Senate’s confirmation vote came through, WINEP Executive Director Robert Satloff enthused that “David Schenker’s career has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of U.S. Middle East policy.."
It is expected that Schenker will not hesitate to get tough with the Arabs. In a September 2017 interview he emphasized the threat posed by “Hezbollah’s tunnels under the Israel-Lebanon border.” And he believes that a future war between Israel and Hezbollah is “not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’” There is little doubt which side Schenker will be on, even if Benjamin Netanyahu starts the war...
David Friedman’s nomination as President Trump’s ambassador to Israel raised a lot of eyebrows last year — not only due to Friedman’s harsh condemnations of liberal Jewish groups and his financial support for Israeli settlements, but also because his background was in bankruptcy law and not international relations or diplomacy, as was true of all ambassadors before him. Friedman’s choice of Aryeh Lightstone as a senior adviser drew less attention a few months later..
The choice underscores Friedman’s and the rest of the Trump administration’s unprecedented, unequivocal support for the current Israeli government and their frequent decisions to draw advisers on Israel policy from a narrow pool of Orthodox Jewish New Yorkers, even when those people lack traditional credentials and experience.
Lightstone frequently gave lectures at Friedman’s synagogue in his 2006-2013 capacity as Long Island and then New York regional director of the Orthodox Union’s youth movement, NCSY; Lightstone’s daughter went to Jewish day school a few blocks from Friedman’s grandkids; Lightstone’s wife graduated a year ahead of Friedman’s daughter-in-law from Stern College, Yeshiva University’s women’s institution. Lightstone also in 2011 worked with Ivanka Trump, who judged high school students’ proposals to improve Israel advocacy through a youth initiative of Lightstone’s called the Jewish Unity Mentoring Program. The winners of the previous year’s contest received a $2,500 check from Donald Trump, whose bankruptcy lawyer was David Friedman.
2016: Senator Ted Cruz spoke before Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.
Lightstone first gained notice in the mainstream Jewish press for co-hosting a local fundraising event for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas during the 2016 presidential primaries along with other Jewish business machers like Elliott Broidy... The defense of Israel has been both a personal and professional obligation for Lightstone. He worked for many years for a low-profile pro-Israel political advocacy organization called Shining City, though the timeline of his work there is a bit murky...
There’s no question that Lightstone will work to strengthen his country’s ties with the Israeli government...
Cairo University President Mohamed Othman Al-Khisht tells Gamal Essam El-Din his main job is to spread the message of enlightenment and religious reform to every part of Egypt
The reform of religious discourse in Egypt and the Islamic world has become an urgent necessity, says Mohamed Othman Al-Khisht, the president of Cairo University. “It is a matter of life and death, of to be or not to be. Muslims desperately need to understand Islam in a new, modern way.
“Muslims around the world need a comprehensive and ongoing process of religious reform that leads towards an understanding of their religion as a force for reconstruction and progress and not of destruction and fanaticism.
“Political and militant Islamist movements have hijacked Islam since the mid-1970s and managed to spread their version of extremism and jihadism.
For major education institutions the big challenge is to change this message to one advocating liberalism, enlightenment and free enterprise,” said Al-Khisht.
“Muslims need a movement of religious reform like the one initiated by Martin Luther in Germany in the 16th century,” he says.
“Luther challenged the Roman Catholic Church, insisting that ordinary people can read the Bible by themselves and that they can worship God without mediation.
We are in urgent need of these Lutheran beliefs since political Islamist movements, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood, began to claim that in order to be a true Muslim it is necessary to join a group that will help the individual understand Islam and obey God in a correct way.
“Political Islam managed to recruit a lot of people based on this perverted interpretation of Islam, and to use them as forces of darkness and extremism.
“These movements turned themselves into mediators between the individual and God. Yet Islam states that Muslims are free and can worship God directly and without mediators, be they clerics or representatives of Islamist movements.”..
The history of Islam is replete with moderate clerics who tried their best to spread a message of tolerance, enlightenment, reason and reformation, says Al-Khisht, “including Sheikh Mohamed Abdou [1849-1905] who stated religious clerics have no authority over Muslims. “The only authority they have is to preach sermons on the moderate teachings and message of Islam.
Muḥammad 'Abduh (1849 – 11 July 1905) was an Egyptian Islamic jurist, religious scholar and liberal reformer, regarded as one of the key founding figures of Islamic Modernism, sometimes called Neo-Mu’tazilism after the medieval Islamic school of theology based on rationalism, Muʿtazila.
Abduh was dedicated to reforming all aspects of Egyptian society and believed that education was the best way to achieve this goal. He was in favor of a good religious education, which would strengthen a child’s morals, and a scientific education, which would nurture a child’s ability to reason. In his articles he criticized corruption, superstition, and the luxurious lives of the rich.
He also wrote, among other things, "Treatise on the Oneness of God" [Tawheed], and a commentary on the Qur'an.
In a May 30 statement, a day after the Knesset voted to disband, Netanyahu ridiculed Liberman for “suddenly” adopting a tough stance against the ultra-Orthodox parties.
“Which Liberman, our Liberman?” Netanyahu asked sarcastically. “He has been making deals with the ultra-Orthodox for 20 years.” He elaborated,
“In 2009, Liberman supported the position of Shas advocating an increase in child allowances. In 2012, Liberman supported all the Shas appointments of municipal rabbis. In 2013, Liberman made a deal with Shas over their candidate for chief rabbi. In 2018, he sealed a deal with Shas and Yahadut HaTorah to prevent the secular candidate Ofer Berkowitch from being elected mayor of Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu hit a nerve. Unlike Yair Lapid, the head of the centrist Yesh Atid party who adopted an anti-clerical line from the day he entered politics (he has since moderated his views but refuses to renounce his tough line), Liberman has a rich history of cooperation with Israel’s ultra-Orthodox sector — and not only in political horse-trading. Liberman might be Israel’s most ultra-Orthodox secular politician. His broad network includes dozens of friends from the ultra-Orthodox community, the most famous of them Shas' chair, Knesset member Aryeh Deri, in a relationship that spans several decades and includes their families...
On the other hand, Liberman has never gotten along with leaders of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox community (except for Deri).
In 2009, the spiritual leader of Shas, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, said voting for Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party would be like voting for Satan...
On June 11, Shas issued an interesting statement: “Liberman was for decades considered a close friend of the ultra-Orthodox factions, mostly of Shas, cooperating on hundreds of political matters, on a local and national level. Liberman is not against the ultra-Orthodox. He is a man without principles.”
One of Liberman’s close friends told Al-Monitor that Liberman has nothing against the ultra-Orthodox as a group, and contrary to what people say, there is no hate in him. He is friends with many of them and has discreet friendships with some rabbis.
He does have a problem with the ultra-Orthodox' conduct in politics and he advocates the separation of religion from state... He honors religion and tradition on a personal, intimate level, but claims the state should be secular in nature and demands equality in terms of the military draft.” [..]
Seasoned political analyst Shimon Breitkopf told Al-Monitor that Liberman will try to build himself up with moves perceived as being against the ultra-Orthodox. After the elections, we will see Liberman far more placated. He will go back to dealing with the ultra-Orthodox much faster than people think.”
Idolatry literally means the worship of an "idol", also known as a worship cult image, in the form of a physical image, such as a statue. In Abrahamic religions, namely Christianity, Islam and Judaism, idolatry connotes the worship of something or someone other than God as if it were God. (Wikipedia)
Shas leader and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri welcomed the results of the American elections Thursday and said that the Reform Jews in America had suffered a "bitter blow".
"We should thank God that all the desecrators of the covenant and impersonators of Judaism who wished to take control of the Land of Israel and introduce their destructive reforms received a significant blow."
"Their influence and threats came from their connection to the administration in America, they realize that they have lost this power and we can, God willing, continue to strengthen the traditional religion which we received from previous generations.
"Many Jews said over the last few days that if such a miracle occurs, it must mean we have reached the days prior to the advent of the Messiah.
We must truly be in Messianic times when everything turns out favorably for the people of Israel."
Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. ...
The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15).
The world after the messiah comes is often referred to in Jewish literature as Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH), the World to Come. In English, we commonly use the term "messianic age" to refer specifically to the time of the messiah. In the Olam Ha-Ba, the whole world will recognize the Jewish G-d as the only true G-d, and the Jewish religion as the only true religion (Isaiah 2:3; 11:10; Micah 4:2-3; Zechariah 14:9).
We believe that in that future time, everyone will simply know what the truth is, in the same way that we know that 2+2=4, and there will no longer be any reason to argue about it.
Jews do not believe that Jesus was the mashiach. He simply did not fulfill the mission of the mashiach as it is described in the biblical passages cited above. Jesus did not do any of the things that the scriptures said the messiah would do.
On the contrary, another Jew born about a century later came far closer to fulfilling the messianic ideal than Jesus did. His name was Shimeon ben Kosiba, known as Bar Kokhba (son of a star), and he was a charismatic, brilliant, but brutal warlord.
Bar Kokhba fought a war against the Roman Empire, catching the Tenth Legion by surprise and retaking Jerusalem. He resumed sacrifices at the site of the Temple and made plans to rebuild the Temple. He established a provisional government and began to issue coins in its name. This is what the Jewish people were looking for in a mashiach....
Some European governments have refused to back the US allegations that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers ( Panama-registered Kokuka Courageous and Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, owned by Norway's Frontline) in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June.
The Pentagon earlier released a video, claiming to show an Iranian patrol boat removing a mine from the side one of the tankers targeted in the Gulf of Oman.
Meanwhile, the president of the Japanese company operating the tanker Kokuka Courageous, Yutaka Katada, has fended off the US narrative in comments to local media, saying that the vessel's crew spotted a flying object before the explosion occurred:
"I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship", Katada said.
While some European nations try to distance themselves from Washington's version of events, the UK government has backed up the US assessment, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated as a terrorist group by the Trump administration, was "almost certainly" behind the incident. Hunt as well called on Iran to "cease all forms of destabilising activity". Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed Washington's allegations as part of "sabotage diplomacy", while the Iranian mission to the UN has called on the United States and its regional allies to stop "warmongering" and cease false flag operations in the Middle East.
The state-run news agency IRNA also reported that Iranian boats had helped to evacuate the tankers' crews, taking them to the port of Jask after the incident.
A video posted by the website of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) shows crewmembers of the Front Altair tanker, hit earlier on Thursday by a suspicious blast in the Sea of Oman, after they are rescued by Iranian relief teams. The video refutes false reports by some media outlets claiming that Iran avoided helping the sailors working on the vessel.
The video described the crew as 11 Russians, 11 Filipinos, and one Georgian national, adding that they were all rescued by an Iranian vessel and were in “full health.”
The second tanker had loaded a cargo of methanol in Saudi Arabia and its crewmembers were rescued by a Dutch vessel, it concluded... (Press TV, 13-6-2019)
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the British government of heightening the possibility of a military conflict in the Persian Gulf, after the country’s foreign minister said Iran was culpable for this week’s attack on a pair of oil tankers.
“Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement,” Corbyn tweeted Friday.
The comments by Corbyn came after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that an independent assessment had concluded that Iran was “almost certainly” responsible for the latest Gulf tanker attacks.
Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement on Friday praised Iran for saving Russian sailors from the distressed tanker in Sea of Oman, inforos.ru reported.
"First of all, we would like to thank the Iranian authorities for assistance in rescuing eleven Russian mariners, crewmembers of one of the tankers (Front Altair)," the ministry said. "All of them were promptly evacuated from the burning vessel and taken to the port of Jask."
"Moscow resolutely condemns the attacks whoever might be behind them," the ministry stressed. "We think it necessary to refrain from quick conclusions. It is inadmissible to place responsibility for the incident on anyone until a thorough and unbiased international investigation is over."
"We are worried about the tensions in the Gulf of Oman. We take note of deliberate efforts to whip up tensions, which are largely encouraged by the United States’ Iranophobic policy," the ministry noted. "We call on all the parties to show restraint."
The ministry emphasized that there is no alternative to dialogue to prevent further degradation of the situation in the [Persian] Gulf region."
A Saudi diplomatic delegation, led by Saudi Minister of Persian Gulf Affairs Thamer Al-Sabhan, met with the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the Syrian Democratic Council in eastern Deir Ezzor this week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) first reported, later confirmed by pro-SDF media.
According to the report, the Saudi delegation met with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Levant Affairs Joel Rayburn and former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain William Roebuck in the eastern countryside of the Deir Ezzor Governorate.
Also participating in the meeting were the co-chairs of the Deir Ezzor Civil Administration, Qassan Al-Yousef and Leili Al-Hassan; they represented the Syrian Democratic Council.
Another meeting was reportedly held between the Deir Ezzor tribes and the Saudi-U.S. officials at the Al-Umar Base. The primary purpose of this meeting was to ease tensions between the tribes and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
A Saudi minister has asked support for the YPG/PKK terror group from Arab tribes in areas occupied by the terrorist group in Syria, according to local sources. Thamer al-Sabhan, Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs, visited YPG/PKK-held areas in Syria, along with U.S. envoy to the international coalition against Daesh, William Robak.
Al-Sabhan also met with representatives of Arab tribes in Al-Omar oilfield, northeast of Deir ez-Zor province in eastern Syria.
During the meeting, the Saudi minister asked for supporting YPG/PKK terror group, in exchange for support for Arabs in the area and help against Daesh terrorist group, the source said. The Saudi minister warned Arab tribes against approaching Turkey and Qatar...
The activities of the YPG/PKK terrorist group, PKK's Syria branch in northern Syria, have been a major security concern for Ankara... Turkish leaders have long warned their U.S. counterparts that one cannot rely on a terrorist organization in the fight against another terrorist group.
Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, relies on a small core group of advisers, none more provocative than Thamer al-Sabhan, the fiercely anti-Iran government official whose fingerprints were on the hurried and ultimately unsuccessful resignation of Lebanon's prime minister earlier this month.
As Saudi minister for Gulf affairs, al-Sabhan has a hand in helping shape the kingdom's high-stakes gambles to counter rival Iran.
Al-Sabhan travelled in March to Washington with Mohammed bin Salman, who in July was named crown prince and heir to the Saudi throne. It was a pivotal visit that would cement Riyadh's relationship with the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump. The 32-year-old Saudi crown prince's hawkish policies toward Iran are largely embodied and amplified in al-Sabhan.
Nowhere is that spelled out more clearly than on Twitter, where al-Sabhan has referred to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah — which means "Party of God" in Arabic — as the "Party of Satan."
On Twitter, al-Sabhan has openly tried to call the shots in Lebanon, demanding that Hezbollah be kicked out of the government and calling on the Lebanese to confront the militant group. He even got into a Twitter spat with Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
In one of his speeches the Hezbollah leader described al-Sabhan as "zaatout," a derogatory Arabic term that means variously "little monkey with lots of hair" or an "adult who behaves like a child."
Al-Sabhan responded with a tweet of his own. "If an incompetent man criticizes me, this is proof that I am a whole man," he wrote. Former Lebanese Cabinet Minister Wiam Wahhab, a Hezbollah ally, described al-Sabhan in a television interview as a "monster on the loose."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday inaugurated a new settlement in the occupied Golan Heights, in honour of his key ally US President Donald Trump. Netanyahu unveiled a "Trump Heights" sign to mark the site of the new settlement.
The ceremony comes after the US president in late March recognised Israeli sovereignty over the part of the strategic plateau it seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day war. Israel later annexed the area in a move never recognised by the international community.
"The Golan is Israeli and will remain so always", Netanyahu declared. Trump is "a very great friend of Israel who has taken a decision that has never before been taken", he added.
Surrounding a large table, Israel's cabinet met under a tent in the north of the Golan to name the settlement. Its construction is planned in an area currently occupied by four settler families.
Mohamed Morsi has died after he fainted during a trial and was taken to the hospital on 17 June, Egyptian Al-Ahram Gate reported.
Morsi, one of the top members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party, ruled the country between June 2012 and July 2013.
Morsi came to power following the 2011 uprising that saw long-serving President Hosni Mubarak removed from office.
Morsi won the 2012 presidential elections and was sworn in on 30 June the same year, but his presidency lasted just over a year as he was deposed after numerous marches of multimillions of protesters across the country in June 2013.
The incident happened during the adjournment of the court session, when Morsi reportedly suffered a heart attack.
"He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died", one of the sources in court told the AFP. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid tribute to “martyr” Morsi upon receiving news of the former Egyptian president's death, with whom he established good relations and whose ouster he harshly condemned. "May Allah rest our Morsi brother, our martyr's soul in peace", Erdogan said.
Participants of the Libyan National Forces conference held in Cairo have expressed appreciation for efforts exerted by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to thwart the plans of terror groups targeting Egypt and the region.
Coordinator of the meeting Abdel-Kabir Al-Fakhry praised the Egyptian people for supporting the Libyans in their efforts to stand up to the powers of extremism and terrorism, pointing out that Libya's tribal leaders have helped fight extremism.
Dr Mostafa El-Zaydy, the secretary-general of the Libyan National Movement, said that Egypt’s June 30 (2013) Revolution put an end to the power of extremism and terrorism and praised the courage of the Libyan Armed Forces in combating terrorism.
The participants of the meeting, which kicked off in Cairo Monday, expressed their rejection of the interference by Qatar and Turkey in Libya's internal affairs.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Libyan parliament speaker Aguila Saleh spoke about the role of the African Union and the Arab League in finding a political solution to the Libya crisis.
"Decision makers are not conscious of the realities; many have no idea about the nature of the Libyan people.
From the early beginning of the conflict, President El-Sisi has maintained a crystal clear stance siding with the legitimacy, the national army and parliament," Saleh said during the interview.
"President El-Sisi always stresses the importance of upholding Libya's sovereignty and the unity of its territories, while rejecting all forms of [outside] interference."
“The Libyans reject all that is imposed on them from abroad. We are a united people and a cohesive social fabric, but foreign interference is distorting this cohesion.”
When asked about his relationship with UN envoy Ghassan Salame, Saleh emphasised that he was biased to the GNA, “which is not considered as a party to dialogue.” “The parliament has already rejected this government and has not given it its confidence,” he added.
Bahaa Anwar, spokesman for Egypt's Shia citizenship, says that over 100,000 have signed the Rebel campaign that aims to depose President Morsi in early elections. In a statement released Saturday, Anwar said that exactly 100,253 Egyptian Shia signed the petition — some who live in Egypt and others who live abroad.
The fast-growing Rebel campaign, which officially opened 1 May, has gained around seven million signatures so far, according to organisers. The initiative has been backed by a large number of political parties and high-profile political figures.
Anwar said that Egypt's Shias are against "religious rule," in reference to Morsi who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, the group opposition critics believe is the de facto governing body of Egypt.
"We are looking forward to a contemporary civic state," he said in his statement. "Theocratic or military rule results only in destruction."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has attended a prayer service in Istanbul for former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who collapsed and died during a court session in Cairo on Monday.
At Istanbul's Fatih mosque, where thousands joined in prayers, Erdogan called Morsi a "martyr" and blamed Egypt's "tyrants" for his death, adding that he doesn't believe that Morsi died of natural causes. "I don't believe that this was a normal death," Erdogan, a key supporter of Morsi, said.
The Turkish president also denounced the Egyptian authorities for burying Morsi discreetly, with only a small number of family members and confidants present. He was buried in eastern Cairo alongside other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Family members were permitted to attend the funeral.
A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood group, Morsi won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012, a year after an uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
His term in office was short-lived, however, as he was overthrown and imprisoned in a July 2013 military coup led by Egypt's then-defence minister and current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Turkey's ruling AK Party supported Morsi's government and many Brotherhood members and supporters have fled to Turkey since its activities were banned in Egypt in 2013.
"There are Arab dissidents and journalists who have been residing in Turkey since the Arab Spring began and people are here to give support for Morsi's cause," Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul's Fatih Mosque, said.
In our world today where the issue of racial and religious profiling of people is skyrocketing, there is an urgent need to revisit the Prophet’s attitude with the non Muslims who were residing in the city of Medinah. The uproaring voices of extremism which call for the killing of non Muslims or approve of confiscating their properties and jeopardizing their safety is nothing but a mere aberration of the teachings of Islam both in letter and spirit.
The covenant of Medinah speaks volumes of the nature of the relationship between Muslims and non Muslims who were co-citizens in the city of Medinah.
In the newly born state of Medinah, non Muslims enjoyed freedom of religious belief and religious independence; a fact which was emphatically highlighted in the Covenant of Medinah which was ratified and signed by both Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the people of Medinah who happened to be from different religious affiliations and ethnic backgrounds. Having a closer look at the Covenant of Medinah, we find that the legal framework in dealing with different religious sects was based on the principles of justice, equality and respecting the other party.
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood,
Pushing For A Military Coup
(By Hassan Hassan | March 13, 2013)
"The Syrian people decided to rely on God... They refuse the continuity Assad's rule under any circumstances and whatever the sacrifices, Assad’s survival in power is the worst solution.."
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Leader, Mohammad Riad al-Shaqfa (6-8-2014)
Since the uprising erupted on March 15, 2011, the Brotherhood has moved adroitly to seize the reins of power of the opposition’s political and military factions.
By the winter of 2011, the Brotherhood had greatly expanded its influence. It was not only strong in the SNC — it had won supporters within the ranks of military defectors and the Local Coordination Committees inside Syria.
Before the September conference, around 100 young activists traveled to Turkey, where the Brotherhood gave them media training and provided them with equipment. When the trainees returned to Syria, according to one of the organizers of the opposition meetings, they formed coordinating committees in dozens of small towns and cities to support the movement.
Brotherhood members also met with early defectors from the regime’s army. As one military defector told me, the Brotherhood asked for their loyalty, and in return, the group promised to pressure Turkey to create a buffer zone along its border with Syria.
The effort was unsuccessful, but the Brotherhood won the loyalty of Col. Riad al-Asaad, who formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA), replacing the secular-leaning Free Officers Movement. After the formation of the FSA, new brigades began to take religious names, instead of names of national figures or areas.
Syria does not want to see fighting with Turkey, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, after Ankara said one of its posts in Syria's Idlib region was attacked from an area controlled by Syrian government forces.
"We hope that our military and the Turkish military do not fight. This is our principled stance," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told reporters in Beijing, standing alongside the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi.
"What we are fighting is terrorists, especially in Idlib, which is Syrian territory - part of our country," al-Moualem said in Arabic comments translated into Mandarin.
The dominant force in the Idlib region is Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a former wing of al-Qaeda until 2016 when it renounced its affiliation. Others, including some with Turkish backing, also have a presence.
"The question now is: what does Turkey want to do in Syria? Turkey is occupying part of Syrian soil, and has a military presence in certain parts of Syria," al-Moualem added.
"This question needs to be asked of Turkey: What are their actual aims? We are fighting those terrorist groups and organisations. The whole world believes those people we are fighting are terrorists." Damascus and Moscow want HTS out of Idlib and disarmed, and keep pressuring Ankara to make that happen.
China has long urged that a diplomatic resolution to the eight-year Syrian civil war be found and has hosted Syrian government and opposition figures.
State Councillor Wang Yi said China will continue to support Syria in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity and fight against "terrorism", and will help with Syria's economic reconstruction efforts.
As soon as news broke of the sudden death of ousted president Mohamed Morsi during a court hearing on 17 June, Brotherhood officials and activists in Europe, Turkey and some Gulf countries lashed out at Cairo for causing his death. Experts agree that the group’s latest actions conform to its long-standing habit of “manufacturing victimhood”.
An important component of the victimhood discourse is the propaganda campaign launched through social media platforms using hashtags such as “martyred president”.
Also important are funeral rites. Funerals have long served as chapter headings in the Brotherhood’s narrative of victimhood. In this case, the group sees funeral and commemorative activities for Morsi as a means to re-establish its presence in the street and demonstrate that the organisation is still alive in Egypt.
In 2014 Egypt accused the Muslim Brotherhood of creating a military wing to attack security forces.
Some analysts predict that the “Special Apparatus” (mb's paramilitary wing), currently headed by Mahmoud Ezzat, will plot to avenge Morsi.
Dr. Mahmud Ezzat, the deputy supreme guide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (born August 13, 1944), is wanted by Egyptian authorities in connection with the death of anti-MB protesters outside the movement’s headquarters in the Muquttam district of Cairo on June 30, 2013 (Al-Monitor, August 21, 2013).
Ezzat was among five Egyptians added to the terrorist list of the Arab Quartet (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates).
Known as a “hardliner,” Ezzat’s long membership at senior levels of the MB has given him an insider’s knowledge of the movement’s organization and finances, much of which is directed by him. Narrow, sharp features and a reputation for organizational skills have led Ezzat to be known as “the Brotherhood Fox” (Al-Monitor, August 21, 2013).
Formed in Isma’iliya by Hassan al-Banna in 1928, the MB is a religious organization intended to advance political Islamism through social work and political agitation.
The movement has had a difficult relationship with the state since a young MB member tried to assassinate the Egyptian prime minister in 1948.
The movement was banned by President Gamal Abd al-Nasser in 1954. When another Brother tried to kill Nasser in October 1954, a massive crackdown followed that put thousands of Ikhwan behind bars, including revolutionary ideologue Sayyid Qutb, whose works deeply influenced the young Ezzat.
Qutb believed that an Islamic administration could only be imposed by a vanguard of believers (tali’a mu’mina) who would lead the masses to Islam through revolutionary activity. Qutbist ideology was influential among the movement’s leaders serving long prison terms, a group that included Ezzat and Badi’e.
Nonetheless, the efficiency of Mubarak’s security machine forced Ezzat and other Qutbists to acknowledge the temporary futility of a direct challenge to the state, and the movement shifted back to emphasizing religious education and social assistance as the means of expanding the MB’s influence.
Ezzat explained the movement’s outreach efforts by saying Islam provided “a religion for Muslims and a civilization for non-Muslims.”
By the time of the 2011 revolution, the movement was firmly in the hands of a conservative trend embodied by Ezzat, al-Shater and MB spokesman Mahmud Ghuzlan.
Reformers began to flow out of the movement, a process accelerated by the events of the revolution and the uncertain response of the Brotherhood’s leadership. Mubarak’s overthrow allowed the MB to form a political party for the first time in June 2011, the Freedom and Justice Party – FJP.
Despite efforts to portray the FJP as an autonomous political party, the Guidance Bureau’s importance became clear when Mursi and two other FJP leaders began to meet weekly with MB deputy supreme guides Ezzat, al-Shater, Ghuzlan and secretary general Mahmud al-Hussein to “coordinate” political activities.
Following days of public protest, the July 3, 2013 military coup d’état brought an end to Mursi’s administration and yet another wave of anti-Ikhwan repression.
With supreme guide Muhammad Badi’e and deputy guides al-Shater and Rashad al-Bayumi in prison, Ezzat became the movement’s acting supreme guide in August 2013 (al-Arabiya, August 20, 2013).
Still insisting on the legitimacy of Mursi’s FJP government, Ezzat released a public letter in August 2017 urging an escalation of violence against the al-Sisi regime. Admitting that the organization was “in pain,” Ezzat called for “victory and sovereignty or death and joy” (Egypt Today, August 14, 2017).
The letter may have been designed to undercut the appeal to Ikhwan youth of the more militant Kamal faction of the Brotherhood that emerged after the military coup.
In early 2017 the Kamal faction announced that it would begin publishing internal assessments of the mistakes made by the movement’s leadership.
Though this initiative of the MB’s youth wing was supported by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the movement’s Qatari-based spiritual leader, the Brotherhood’s “old guard” was alarmed by the announcement.
The Kamal faction followed up with a report in March 2017 that was highly critical of the reaction of Ezzat and the movement’s “old guard” to the 2011 revolution, accusing the Brotherhood’s senior leaders of adopting a cautious and conservative stance rather than adhering to the revolutionary principles of MB founder Hassan al-Banna (Mada Masr, March 22, 2017).
MEMO, 4 october 2016: Mohamed Kamal, a senior leader within the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has been killed in a gun battle, the country’s Interior Ministry claimed.
In a statement issued early this morning, the ministry said that its forces killed Kamal in a shootout the previous day. The ministry has said sad that Kamal was responsible for the Brotherhoods ‘armed wing’ though the organisation itself maintains that it operates in exclusively peaceful terms.
Israel's Arab parties this week announced the return of the joint list on which they ran during the 2015 elections. The four parties - Balad, Hadash, Ra'am and Ta'al - made the decision during a meeting held Wednesday.
"Most of the Arab citizens want a joint list," the parties said in a statement. "As such, we have put in the effort to come together as one party instead of splitting into two (lists)."
In the April elections, the four parties ran as two lists – Ra'am with Balad and Hadash with Ta'al. Both lists won enough seats to enter the Knesset, but the Ra'am-Balad list narrowly squeaked past the threshold with four seats. Hadash-Ta'al got six seats, bringing the total number of Knesset members for the Arab community to 10. In the 2015 elections, however, the joint list of all four parties won 13 seats. The parties said that a joint list was no less important today than it was in 2015, especially in light of the "racist, colonial Nation-State Law and its consequences; discriminatory policies; the siege (on Gaza); land confiscation; the struggle to find housing in the Arab community; the establishment's effort to strip our citizenship of all meaning; and our will to battle increased crime and violence."
Ta'al Chairman Ayman Odeh said after the decision was announced: "Our forces are unified, we have similar pasts, similar visions for our future, and from today, a joint list. We will fight for Arab rights in the country, peace, and democracy for all the citizens of Israel."
TEHRAN – In addition to waging “economic terrorism” against Iran, the United States is now invading the Iranian territory, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Friday.
The tweet by Zarif came after the U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone violated the Iranian airspace early on Thursday and was shot down by the IRGC Air Force in the southern coastal province of Hormozgan. Zarif said, “We don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters.”
In a statement on Thursday, the IRGC said the spy drone had flown from one of the American bases in the southern parts of the Persian Gulf region at 00:14 a.m. local time, with its identification transponders off in breach of all international aviation rules.
The drone had stealthily continued on the route from the Strait of Hormuz towards Iran’s port city of Chabahar, the IRGC said.
The United States has claimed that the drone was operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. However, Zarif refuted the claim, saying, “We'll take this new aggression to the UN and show that the U.S. is lying about international waters.” The foreign minister said Iran has found parts of the downed drone in its territorial waters.
“We've retrieved sections of the U.S. military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down,” Zarif explained.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines economic warfare or economic war as involving "an economic strategy based on the use of measures (e.g. blockade) of which the primary effect is to weaken the economy of another state".
In military operations, economic warfare aims to capture or otherwise control the supply of critical economic resources so that the military and intelligence agencies can operate at full efficiency or deprive enemy forces of those resources so that they cannot function properly. (Wikipedia info)
As we approach the Democratic primary season and the 2020 election, President Trump and the GOP seem intent on politicizing support for Israel and using it as a wedge to pull voters away from the Democratic party.
The conventional wisdom behind these attacks — the notion that criticism of Israeli policy is a political liability or that voters oppose a more balanced approach to disputes between Israel and the Palestinians — is badly out of touch with the actual views of the Democratic electorate.
J Street’s new polling demonstrates that Democratic voters have nuanced views on these issues and are comfortable with candidates who support Israel but express disagreements with many of the policies pursued by the Netanyahu government.
Who we are: We advocate for policies that advance shared US and Israeli interests as well as Jewish and democratic values, leading to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
J Street is a radical organization that misleadingly labels itself as “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace” while promoting policies and falsehoods that endanger Israel’s existence, damage American support for the Jewish state, and poison young vulnerable minds against their Jewish brethren.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz summed it up best when he stated: “J Street is one of the most virulent anti-Israel organizations in the history of Zionism and Judaism.”
Flashback: Zionist Organization of America gives
John Bolton ‘Defender of Israel’ award (Times of Israel, 6-11-2018)
US National Security Adviser John Bolton was presented with the Defender of Israel Award at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual Brandeis Award dinner, held Sunday night in New York.
Of course, we know that the primary obstacle to enduring peace and stability in the Middle East is none other than the murderous Iranian dictatorship in Tehran.
The ayatollahs steal from their people to fund their worldwide campaign of chaos, destruction, and bloodshed. The regime has long been the world’s central banker for terrorism, and it remains the leading state sponsor of terror to this day. Over the decades, Iran has kidnapped, tortured, and murdered American and Israeli citizens. It has attacked our embassies, and targeted our service members.
The mullahs proudly chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” At least we are in good company....
Under this administration, we will make certain Iran understands the consequences of targeting American and Israeli citizens. As I said at the United Nations in September, if the Iranian regime continues to lie, cheat, and deceive; if it threatens the United States and our allies; if it harms our citizens, there will indeed be HELL to PAY.
In case there is any doubt, I meant what I said.
For this reason, earlier this year President Trump withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran Nuclear Deal. This deal was by far the worst diplomatic fiasco in American history...
The 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal failed to permanently block all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb. Further, its negotiators failed to secure any restrictions on Iran’s other destabilizing activities, including the regime’s ballistic missile development and proliferation...
Unsurprisingly, since this horrible deal was reached, the Iranian regime’s aggression has only increased... As the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran also remains the primary patron of numerous terrorist proxies and militias, including Hezbollah and Hamas.
The Trump administration on Saturday unveiled a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal intended to be the economic engine to power its much-anticipated but still unreleased Middle East peace plan.
The scheme, which calls for a mix of public and private financing and intends to create at least a million new jobs for Palestinians, was posted to the White House website ahead of a two-day conference in Bahrain that is being held amid heavy skepticism about its viability and outright opposition from the Palestinians.
Palestinian officials denounced the US economic peace plan that was unveiled by the White House as an attempt to bribe the Palestinian people, saying that without addressing Palestinian demands for a state, there could be no progress.
“First lift the siege of Gaza, stop the Israeli theft of our land, resources and funds, give us our freedom of movement and control over our borders, airspace, territorial waters etc. Then watch us build a vibrant prosperous economy as a free & sovereign people,” tweeted Hanan Ashrawi a longtime aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee. “The plan cannot pass because it ends the Palestinian cause,” Abbas said on Saturday, hours before the White House release. “We are not going to attend this workshop, the reason is that the economic situation should not be discussed before a political situation, so long as there is no political situation, we do not deal with any economic situation.”
Arab Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh also slammed the proposal: “Somebody has to explain to Trump that not everything can be bought for money, certainly not the just national aspirations of the Palestinian people,” he tweeted.
In Gaza Hamas also dismissed the plan: “The American administration continues to dream that the Palestinian people will give up their rights and holy sites in return for economic projects and money,” the Gaza-ruling group said,
President Trump defended his decision to not strike Iran, calling himself a man with common sense, in a media availability Saturday morning. Trump called Iranians "high quality people" and he is not interested in killing any "unless it's absolutely necessary."
The president touted crippling sanctions on the country and said he hopes to make Iran a wealthy nation [..] if they give up their nuclear weapons program.
"Is a possible strike off the table?" a reporter asked.
"Well, we'll see what is it with Iran," Trump answered. "Everybody was saying I'm a warmonger and now they say I am a dove... I think I'm neither if you want to know the truth.
I'm a man with common sense and what we need in this country is common sense.
I didn't like the idea of them knowingly shooting down an unmanned drone then we kill 150 people. I didn't like that."
"If the leadership of Iran behaves badly then it's going to be a very, very bad day for them but hopefully they're smart..." Trump added.
"I know a lot about nuclear. And let me just tell you, they're not going to have a nuclear weapon... They're not going to have a nuclear weapon and when they agree to that they are going to have a wealthy country. They are going to be so happy. And I am going to be their best friend..."
Trump was also asked about Tucker Carlson's criticism of John Bolton and other advisors around the president who are hawkish.
"Your National Security Advisor came under some harsh criticism by Tucker Carlson and others for pushing too hard on Iran. You said you're not a warmonger, but do you have confidence in the judgment of your National Security Advisor John Bolton?" a reporter asked.
"Yes, I do because I have John Bolton who I would definitely say is a hawk," Trump responded. "And I have other people that are on the other side of the equation. Ultimately I make the decisions so it doesn't matter."
"I disagreed very much with John Bolton, his attitude on the Middle East and going into Iraq," he said. "I think that was a big mistake, I think I have been proven right, but I have been against that war forever.
John Bolton is doing a very good job. But he takes it generally a tough posture. But I have other people who don't take that posture."
"The only one that matters is me because I will listen to everybody and I want people on both sides," the president said. "Having people on both sides to me is very important."
Turkey on Saturday said it is "hypocritical" to call Fetullah Gülen a "Muslim cleric and political figure" in a report released by the U.S. State Department.
"This description of the head of the terrorist organization that massacred our 251 citizens means ignoring or supporting the treacherous July 15 coup attempt," Hami Aksoy, the spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.
The U.S. State Department had released the International Religious Freedom Report for 2018 on Friday.
"It is a hypocritical […] approach that those who claim that they are the defenders of democracy in the world call those who attempted a blow to democracy in an allied country as innocent clergy," it added.
The FETÖ orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. Turkey accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Once, it was democracy that brought Gülen and Erdoğan together.
The two religious men wanted to change the Turkish Republic through the ballot box, and, in 2002, they did just that. Gülen wanted to practice Islam his own way, inspired by Said Nursî, a Kurdish military commander who fought, like Ataturk, to create a Turkish state. But Nursî later turned against Ataturk’s secular project.
Gülen’s movement, Hizmet, didn’t seek to confront the secular state.
Instead of fighting the White Turks, Hizmet wanted to replace them. The movement thus founded some 4,000 tutoring centers, which prepared 1.2 million students for the exams they would need to pass in order to enter the police and judiciary.
Many Hizmet members formed their own news outlets, opening papers such as Zaman, to counter a traditionally secular media landscape.
That strategy paid off in 2002, as the AKP won a historic election with widespread support. Hizmet backed the AKP directly, and its influence —through thousands of schools and some of the country’s biggest banks, TV stations, newspapers, and trade associations— was felt in the party’s appeal across ethnic and political lines.
The AKP captured not only religious conservatives but also leftists, secularists fed up with the previous government’s illiberal methods, and Kurdish and Alevi minority groups. The AKP relied on Gülen’s extensive network of media outlets, prosecutors, and judges to expose opponents in the armed forces and bring cases against them.
But the AKP-Gülen alliance didn’t last. Confident that it had most of the population’s support, the AKP at once set about realizing its dream of political Islam.
Qaradawi's Political Islam 2012, supported by Turkey, Qatar & NATO
In his latest provocative election campaign spot, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman has taken another swipe at Prime Minister Netanyahu and the haredi political parties by again promising to exclude them from the next government.
At the same time, Liberman also promised to exclude Meretz, Labor, the Arab parties, and the far right parties if enough people vote for Yisrael Beytenu.
A Yisrael Beytenu video posted to Twitter shows a picture of Netanyahu and declares “Voting for him? You’ll get them,” bringing up pictures of the leaders of the haredi and hardline national-religious parties.
Equally, the video warns against voting for Blue and White and its party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, warning that a vote for them means a vote for the left-wing and Arab parties, and the haredi parties into the bargain.
Liberman has warned on several occasions that Blue and White would, like a government led by the right-wing, also capitulate to haredi demands on matters of religious life...
“Vote for him [Liberman] and you’ll get a national, liberal government without the haredim,” promises Yisrael Beyetnu’s video at its conclusion, concluding with Liberman’s new mantra of “Yes to a Jewish state, no to a halachic state.”
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