Saddam's Death, 148 (september 2019)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 147: august-sept 2019
and Page 149: october 2019

Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple
Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003 - Trump & the Pisces Messiah - Kennedy Speech 1961 - Eisenhower's Social Gospel - "I Have, I Rule and I will Destroy" - Iran & the dialogue of civilizations - Netanyahu & Infantilization of Israel - Jesus & Pophet Muhammed: "Be a stranger in the world" - Ideological Warfare Center - Jewish fundamentalism in the State of Palestine - Palestinian Martyrs and Jewish Heroes - The Balfour Declaration - Trump's move on Jerusalem (2017) - Abbas & Trump's "slap of the century" - John Bolton, prominent war hawk, National Security Adviser to President Trump - Lies & Provocations: France, UK and USA show their dark face - Trump, the 'deal-breaker' - Explaining America’s economic might - Netanyahu & The Survival of the Fittest - Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Is Now Pence’s ‘Wolf Pack of Rogue States’ - Mike Pence & antisemitism - Amnesia of the US Foreign Policy Establishment - Israeli Elections 2019 - Was Jesus a Palestinian? - Labor disappears from Knesset - Settlers from the White House - NO to International Law - Israel & The Three Central Dilemmas - Netanyahu & Neo-Zionism - Secularism & 'Jewish' identity

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.”

Saadi Shirazi
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)

Jews must ditch Zionism, now
Middle East Robert Cohen, Mondoweis, April 8, 2018

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)

Choseness is what binds Zionists together.

To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity.
To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy. Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy....
I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to make them ‘people like all other people.’
Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison, but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement.
The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours. (Gilad Atzmon, 24-6-2019)

Index Page

"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)

Yemeni drone attacks halve Saudi oil,
gas production; US pins blame on Iran
Press TV, Sun Sep 15, 2019

Yemeni drones have hit two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia's state oil giant Aramco in the country's east, causing huge fires before dawn Saturday.
Riyadh has admitted that the drone strikes on Saudi Arabia’s key oil facilities have shut down about 50 percent of the kingdom’s crude and gas production, with the United States rushing to point the finger at Iran for the raids without providing any evidence.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Sunday, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman acknowledged that the attacks on Aramco refineries in Abqaiq and Khurais, east of Saudi Arabia, had cut the state oil giant’s crude oil supply by around 5.7 million barrels per day, or about 50 percent of its output. He added, however, that parts of the reduction would be compensated for through drawing from Aramco’s oil stocks.
The minister noted that the attacks had also led to a halt in gas production that will reduce the supply of ethane and natural gas liquids by 50 percent.

Arab News: "drones attacked Saudi Aramco installations"

Yemen used 10 drones for Saturday’s operation, which was one of their largest retaliatory attacks ever inside the kingdom.
Yemen’s armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e has even warned that operations will “expand” and be “more painful” as long as Saudi Arabia continues its military aggression.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to put the blame for Saturday’s operation on Iran, claiming:
“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” he tweeted, “We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression”
Pompeo’s tweet was, however, met with a wave of criticism on Twitter. Replying to Pompeo, US Democratic senator Chris Murphy tweeted, “This is such irresponsible simplification and it’s how we get into dumb wars of choice.” "The Saudis and Houthis are at war. The Saudis attack the Houthis and the Houthis attack back. Iran is backing the Houthis and has been a bad actor, but it’s just not as simple as Houthis=Iran."
Brecht Jonkers Michael, a historian and journalist from Belgium said the Saudis actually underestimated the Yemenis and did not take into account the nation’s “popular will” to respond to the kingdom’s indiscriminate bombing campaign. “I think that one of the major mistakes that the Saudis made is the age-old problem of underestimating the enemy...", he said.

Blaming Iran won't end disaster, says Zarif to Pompeo
Mehr News Agency, TEHRAN, Sep. 15, 2019

"Blaming Iran won't end disaster," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in reaction to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's accusing of Iran of having been behind the Yemeni drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.
"US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of the illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory," Zarif added, referring to the Saudi-led Western-backed military aggression against Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, destroyed the country’s infrastructure and led to a massive humanitarian crisis since March 2015.
Zarif went on to add, "Blaming Iran won't end disaster. Accepting our April '15 proposal to end war & begin talks may."

Flashback: Yemeni forces used
domestically-built drones
Press TV, 16-5-2019

In a rare interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, said Yemeni forces used domestically-built drones...
He said Ansarullah forces have been defending the country against the Saudi-led invasion for four years, and that they were not acting “on behalf of Iran.”
Houthi further said that the retaliatory missile attacks against Saudi targets would be halted in case the Saudi-led military coalition ends its acts of aggression against the impoverished country.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, retired Jordanian air force general Mamour al-Nowar said an un-stealthy aircraft was able to fly for several hours deep into Saudi Arabia, and was not detected and intercepted in a time of war, adding, this will ring alarm bells.
Their air defense system completely failed to handle such attacks” and the Houthis now have the ability “to reach Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” potentially paralyzing the country “if they hit desalination water pumping stations or the [almost built] nuclear plant in Abu Dhabi.”
Deputy Yemeni Minister of Information, Fahmi al-Yusufi, said: the drone strikes carry a clear message to Saudis. “They are within the range of our attacks, and US battle ships cannot rescue them.
The Yemeni army, which previously did not even have Kalashnikov rifles in inventory, can now produce drones that infiltrate into Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he added.

US defense failure…
Why Washington has to blame Iran over Saudi attacks
Finian Cunningham, RT [Russia], 16 Sep, 2019

The devastating blitz on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry has led to a flurry of accusations from US officials blaming Iran. The reason for the finger-pointing is simple: Washington’s spectacular failure to protect its Saudi ally.
The Trump administration needs to scapegoat Iran for the latest military assault on Saudi Arabia because to acknowledge that the Houthi rebels mounted such an audacious assault on the oil kingdom’s heartland would be an admission of American inadequacy.
Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars in recent years purchasing US Patriot missile defense systems and supposedly cutting-edge radar technology from the Pentagon. If the Yemeni rebels can fly combat drones up to 1,000 kilometers into Saudi territory and knock out the linchpin production sites in the kingdom’s oil industry, then that should be a matter of huge embarrassment for US “protectors.”
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Saudi Arabia has the world’s third biggest military budget, behind the US and China.... Most of the Saudi arms are sourced from the US, with Patriot missile systems in particular being a recent big-ticket item.
Yet for all that financial largesse and the finest American military technology, the oil kingdom just witnessed a potentially crippling wave of air assaults on its vital oil industry...

Flashback: Yemen’s Huthi Movement
in the Wake of the Arab Spring
Lucas Winter, CTC Sentinel, August 2012

Since February 2011, the Huthi movement has played an important though largely overlooked role in Yemen’s political transition.
The group has responded to the “Arab Spring” and in particular to the slow, negotiated toppling of Ali Abdullah Salih in Yemen.

The Huthis (who officially refer to themselves as “Ansar Allah”) are named after their former leader, Husayn al-Huthi, who was killed by Yemeni government forces in 2004.

Zayd ibn 'Alī (695–740) was the son of Ali ibn Husayn, and great-grandson of Ali. He advised people to obey the Holy Qur'an, sunna; and wage jihad against tyranny and support the poor.
All schools of Islam, Sunnis and Shias, regard Zayd Ibn Ali as a righteous martyr (Shaheed) against what was regarded as the corrupt leadership of an unjust Caliph. Zaydis believe that he was a rightful Caliph and their sect is named after him.

Husayn al-Huthi combined Zaydi revivalism with sharp political criticism of both local and international actors, crafting a historically rooted discourse of justice and empowerment that resonated throughout the region.
Zaydism is a branch of Shi`a Islam that arose around the figure of Zayd ibn Ali, who was killed in battle in 740 AD in an attempted uprising against the ruling Umayyad dynasty.
Husayn al-Huthi was able to create a strong network of devoted followers in Yemen’s north, where Zaydism remained strong despite the overthrow of Yemen’s Zaydi Imamate in 1962.
The group transformed from a grassroots Zaydi revivalist network under Husayn al-Huthi’s leadership to a strong insurgent fighting force under the leadership of Husayn’s younger half-brother, Abdul Malik.
In 2009, an aura of invincibility surrounded Huthi fighters as they pushed the fighting beyond Yemen’s borders.
In November 2009, the Saudi Arabian military intervened to support the Yemeni government in its fight with the Huthis. Three months later, the Huthis accepted a Qatari-negotiated cease-fire.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, the Huthis have managed to seize control of parts of Sa`da Province.
In Sa`da Province, the Huthis are believed to have replaced the government as the main power-brokers in several parts of the province, most importantly the provincial capital. The important question is not whether they will play a role in Yemen’s future, but rather what that role will be.

Although the exact start date of Yemen’s Arab Spring is disputed, mass nationwide protests began in February 2012 and eventually toppled longtime president Ali Abdullah Salih.
The Huthis, unlike the opposition [Saudi-Arabia-backed] al-Islah Party, were quick to publicly support the protest movement and openly call for the downfall of the regime.
[Wikipedia info: The al-Islah party is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. However, since the civil war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has forged closer relations with Al-Islah.]

When the GCC unveiled its plan to transition from the rule of Ali Abdullah Salih, the Huthis and rejected its legitimacy. Furthermore, they refused to recognize the agreement that Salih finally signed on November 23, 2011.
The Huthis, along with revolutionary youth groups and the Southern Movement (Hiraak), boycotted the one-man elections for Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi.

The GCC, and Saudi Arabia in particular, has played an important role in Yemen’s transition away from Ali Abdullah Salih.
The Huthis could be of concern to Saudi Arabia for reasons that include fears of Iranian influence, enmity from Huthi cross-border raids and Saudi Arabia’s military response in 2009, and general concern with having a religiously motivated non-state actor in control of areas across the border from a province that has not fit comfortably in the Saudi Kingdom.

The Huthis accuse Saudi Arabia of meddling, although these attacks are often to justify actions driven by events on the ground.
The Huthis themselves suffer from accusations from Saudi Arabian and Yemeni opposition media of ideological and material support from Iran.
These charges are ongoing since at least the early 2000s. The charge of ideological links to the Iranian Shi`a is sensitive, as it undermines a basic tenet of the Huthis’ ideological project, namely the idea that they represent an indigenous form of Islam.
The Zaydi revival of the 1990s, which paved the way for the rise of the Huthis, was largely a reaction to the influx of Wahhabism into Yemen’s Zaydi heartland.
The growing sectarian discourse, in particular between Salafists and Huthis, has created the potential for regional or international events to play a greater role in shaping the conflict.
In late 2011 and early 2012, the Huthi blockade of a Salafist religious school (Dar al-Hadith) located near Sa`da city, part of the group’s steps to consolidate control over the province, threatened to explode into sectarian war.
Similar spikes in violence have occurred against the backdrop of an ongoing “soft war” for influence in the region, pitting the militant egalitarian puritanism of Salafism against Husayn al-Huthi’s message of nationalism, political justice and divine rights.

Assad, Putin's special envoy discuss
Ankara's tripartite summit on Syria
Xinhua [China], 16-9-2019

DAMASCUS, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received Russian president's Special Envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and discussed with him the tripartite summit that will take place Monday in Ankara, according to the Syrian presidential media office.
Lavrentiev informed Assad about the work schedule of the tripartite summit that will take place among Turkey, Russia, and Iran.
The discussion also touched upon the Russian efforts to surpass obstacles placed by "some countries in the region and abroad that aim to prolong the Syrian war."
The Russian official also underscored his country's willingness to continue working with Damascus on countering terrorism and liberating all Syrian areas.

Earlier in the day, the pro-government al-Watan newspaper said that the formation of a Syrian constitutional committee is still under deliberation as the UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen awaits the decision of the Syrian government and guarantor states.
Citing Western diplomatic sources, the newspaper said that information suggests that Pedersen is still unable to declare the formation of a constitutional committee, which will be tasked with revising and amending the Syrian constitution, as he awaits the deliberations between the Syrian government and Russia as well as the consensus between the guarantor states.
The newspaper said that the tripartite summit will discuss the situation in Syria's Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, as well as the formation of the constitutional committee among other issues such as the situation in the Kurdish-controlled areas in eastern Syria.
The launch of a Syrian constitutional committee has become the centerpiece of UN peace efforts in the country, intending to hold elections to end the eight-year devastating war.

Flashback: Sharia-fighters or a constitutional referendum?
Tarek Al-Abed, As-Safir, 8-5-2014

Yesterday [May 7], Syria’s Daraa province witnessed three events.
* 1: First, battles broke out in the western countryside and militants started advancing toward the province.
* 2: Second, a march was staged in support of the regime, near the location where armed confrontations were underway.
* 3: Third, tension between Jabhat al-Nusra and other armed groups escalated in the south..

1: Militants announced their control of the hills of Matouq al-Kabir and Matouq al-Saghir and the town of Kharbat Fadi, in addition to a military checkpoint in the vicinity of the village of Ankhel, south of Daraa.
The sources added, “The battle was fought with the participation of al-Mathna Islamic Movement and the Islamic Front — Ahrar al-Sham in particular — in addition to many brigades affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), such as the Hamza Battalion, the 69 Special Forces group, the Yarmouk group, the Ghuraba Houran Brigade, al-Muhajireen Brigade, al-Ansar Brigade and the al-Madfaiya First Regiment.”

Carrying out any political activity or forming any political parties or groupings on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color may not be undertaken (Syria Constitution 2012, article 8)
2: People took to the streets in support of the army and armed forces in the city of Azraa in the countryside of Daraa, 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the location of the battle.
SANA news agency reported, “The residents of the city took to the streets in support of national principles and a constitutional referendum.” The participation of state officials in the march for the first time in this region, such as Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, was worth noting.

3: In Deir el-Zour, clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on one hand, and Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front and FSA-affiliated factions on the other, continued...
The fighting zones witnessed a heavy displacement of residents, especially after all parties carried out field executions upon entering the region. This has instilled fear among residents and led them to flee their homes to more secure regions, if there are any.

Although most of the Daraa governorate is under the control of various armed groups, the army controls around 60 percent of the city of Daraa. Out of 135 cities, villages, and towns in the governorate, the army controls 30 directly and 10 indirectly, meaning that the army can stop militants from seizing them.
The rest is under the control of al-Nusra Front and factions affiliated to the Islamic Front, and what is left of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as well as a new group called the Army of Mohammad, which has started to operate in the western areas of the governorate and the eastern countryside of the adjacent Quneitra governorate.
Security sources here told us that more than two-thirds of the militants are radical Islamists, with a significant number of non-Syrians in their ranks. (Al-Akhbar, 3-4-2014)

Al-Ansar (”The supporters’ brigade”), a Salafi faction, is the single largest group in Homs city. The group was formed in Homs in March 2012, and quickly distinguished itself from the rebel mainstream for the stridently religious tone of its propaganda material. (2013)

aleppo, syria, 2013

24-9-2013 Aleppo: Statement by 11 brigades, read by Abdel Aziz Salamah, commander of the al-Tawheed brigade, providing a brief explanation of their views on unity and the external opposition.

1. All Signatories call for all civilian and armed groups to unite under a clear Islamic framework, established on shariah, the sole source of legislation;
2. All signatories are not represented by, and do not recognize, Syrian exile groups, specifically the SNC and the proposed government;

Signatories to the statement are: ◦Jabhat al-Nusra - Islamic Ahrar al-Sham Movement -al-Tawheed Brigade - al-Islam Brigade - Suqour al-Sham Brigades - al-Fajr al-Islamiyah Movement - al-Nur al-Islamiyah Movement - Noureddin al-Zenki Battalions - Fastaqim Kama Ummirat Gathering - 19th Division - al-Ansar Brigade.

Syria's fighters: An interview with Jabhat al-Nusra
"No one committed is too radical"
May 23rd 2013, by

Flashback: New Syria Constitution, 2012

The document was issued on 15 February 2012 as a result of four months' work by a committee established by President Assad. Significantly,it omitted the existing constitution's reference to the Baath party as the "leader of the nation and society". It was approved in a referendum on 26 February, 2012.

Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation.
The Syrian Arab Republic considers international peace and security a key objective and a strategic choice, and it works on achieving both of them under the International Law and the values of right and justice....

Article 2: "no individual or group may claim sovereignty"

The system of governance in the state shall be a republican system; Sovereignty is an attribute of the people; and no individual or group may claim sovereignty.
Sovereignty shall be based on the principle of the rule of the people by the people and for the people; The People shall exercise their sovereignty within the aspects and limits prescribed in the Constitution.

Ignorant Iran ‘experts’, just the beginning
of Washington’s foreign policy troubles
Nebojsa Malic, senior writer at RT [Russia], 16 Sep, 2019

An explosive essay calling out the lack of legitimate expertise about Iran ought to be a wake-up call for the US foreign policy field. Yet the same problem also affects Washington’s analysis of Russia, China and many other places.
Imagine a field of study in which less than a third of the experts had related doctorates, half of them could not read, speak or write the language required, and just as many have never set foot inside the relevant country. Preposterous, you might say – yet scientific observation has shown that this is precisely what the US expertise on Iran looks like, according to an essay by political anthropologist Negar Razavi, recently published in the journal Jadaliyya.
Razavi describes the think-tank culture of DC as “a wider system of knowledge production in Washington – one which has consistently rewarded ungrounded, ideologically driven assessments of the Islamic Republic at the expense of qualified, in-depth, and evidence-based analysis.”
This is her conclusion after two years of “ethnographic fieldwork” in the US capital, attending hundreds of events, following the writings and presentations of think-tank experts, and interviewing over 180 people between 2014 and 2016. In other words, this was a serious academic study.
This culture of “expert impunity” when it comes to Iran has combined with historical and contemporary US grievances against Tehran to produce the current policy of confrontation, in which allegations are treated as unquestioned facts while any nuanced assessments are dismissed as the work of “regime apologists,” according to Razavi.
The examples are legion. Razavi herself mentions (though not by name) “Heshmat Alavi,” a supposed expert on Iran who recently turned out to be a construct – an online persona operated by the Iranian exile group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). This is an outfit that seeks regime change in Tehran, and has been endorsed by former National Security Advisor John Bolton and President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani....
Her essay reveals how actual experts and scholars – who warned against things like the 2003 invasion of Iraq or ‘Russiagate’ – have been been sidelined or smeared time and again, while the think-tank factories churned out false expertise on cable channels and social media. Their takes would then find their way into official papers at the State Department and the Pentagon, morphing along the way into facts that “everybody knows” and no one is allowed to question.
The result of this unholy alliance of tanks and think-tanks has been decades of mis-shapen US foreign policy, with arguably disastrous results – from trillions in squandered treasure to millions of deaths around the world.

Negar Razavi is a political anthropologist whose work examines the intersections of security, expertise, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. She was born in Tehran from Kurdish background.

Dissertation: Secured Expertise, Washington Policy Experts, the "Middle East", and U.S. Foreign Policy in an Age of Counterterror.
Citation: "Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork and analysis in Washington DC, my dissertation evaluates the culture and politics of "security expertise" in the context of U.S. policy debates on the “Middle East” (and Iran and Egypt specifically) since 2001.
Looking primarily at experts working at Washington-based think tanks, I examine how these epistemic-political actors collectively help identify and interpret different regional “threats” for the U.S. security state and ultimately legitimate policy responses to such threats."

Iran and the Poisonous Fruits of ‘Maximum Pressure’
By Barbara Slavin, American Conservative, 18-9-2019

When President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, he said he was doing so because the agreement was too weak and did not limit the Iranians’ “other malign behavior…in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world.”
Allegedly in search of a “better” deal, the U.S. began re-imposing economic sanctions on Iran that had been suspended under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This culminated in May 2019 in a decision to slap a complete embargo on the export of Iranian oil.
The U.S. also imposed sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the first time the military of a foreign country has been so designated, as well as on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, a principal negotiator of the JCPOA.
The results of this “maximum pressure” campaign are now clear: growing instability in the Persian Gulf, including an unprecedented attack on Saudi oil installations that caused a bigger disruption of world oil markets than the Iranian Revolution, and an incremental but steady resumption by Iran of nuclear activities proscribed by the JCPOA.
Iran has refused to negotiate a new agreement and has rebuffed repeated overtures by President Trump for a bilateral encounter on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. European efforts to salvage the JCPOA are in limbo....

Flashback: 'Peace is possible': US, Iran hail progress in Yemen talks. Al-Jazeera News, 14-12-2018

So what should the Trump administration do?
It may be too hard for the president to admit that quitting the JCPOA unilaterally was a giant mistake. However, the Trump administration could start by restoring waivers for limited Iranian oil exports or by green-lighting a French plan to extend Iran a $15 billion credit for purchases of food and medicine.
Trump could also give up his fantasy of a handshake with Rouhani at the UN and appoint a new Iran envoy with a proven track record of successful talks under a Republican administration—for example, former ambassador to Iraq and Lebanon Ryan Crocker, or Jim Dobbins, who worked with Zarif to create the first post-Taliban government in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Trump should also encourage Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to accept Iran’s offer to negotiate a political solution to the hideous and unwinnable war in Yemen.
The reckless decision of de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to begin bombing Yemen in 2015 has failed to defeat the Houthis, driven them into the arms of Tehran, and killed tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians.
The Emiratis have recently had the good sense to withdraw from this catastrophe and the Saudis should be the next to look for an exit ramp.

Rouhani: "Igniting wars has always been your policy"
Press TV, Wed Sep 18, 2019

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has advised the warmongering states to recognize the rising power of regional nations and stop the blame game against certain governments.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani recalled the Saudi-led coalition’s years-long carnage of Yemeni people and its bombardment of the Arab state’s civilian infrastructure and said the enemies launch wars in the region but are surprised to see nations rising up and responding to their aggression.
On Saturday, Yemeni armed forces conducted a large-scale drone operation on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities... The US, a major sponsor of the Saudi war on Yemen, used the opportunity to swiftly blame Iran for the attack, a claim sharply rejected by both Iran and Yemen.
Tehran dismisses Washington's claim of involvement in the recent Yemeni drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities, saying the accusation is part of a new campaign of deceit.
The ill-wishers of people in the region “need to start to believe the power of nations” instead of constantly attempting to level accusations against governments, said Rouhani.

Rouhani also noted that it was not the Yemeni nation, but Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the US and the Israeli regime that initiated the war, which has gripped the region for more than four years, and destroyed Yemen.
“Igniting wars has always been your policy. You have brought insecurity to the region, over the past 19 years, wherever you have entered, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the Persian Gulf region,” Rouhani said.
He also expressed Iran’s keenness to establish friendly relations with its southern neighbors just as it has with the states located to its north.

Trump, Europeans push to keep space
for Iran diplomacy after Saudi attacks
Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor, 18-9-2019

Flashback 2014: US Neocons demand US back war to topple Syria’s Assad. Bill Van Auken, World Socialist Website, 8-10-2014

Resisting pressure from hawks to respond with force to the weekend attacks in Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump said today he was ordering more economic sanctions on Iran.
Yet he also said he believes that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation should be allowed to come to the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
Trump’s comments expressing his desire to avoid an escalation come as European diplomats forge ahead with efforts to get the parties to the table at the UN to reduce tensions and avoid war with Iran.
We definitely need to start a new phase where people will sit at the table and try to resolve issues,” a senior European diplomat at the UN said today. “We are actively pushing to make sure that reasonable decisions could be taken in the days, weeks, months to come. We would encourage all sides to change course of action and be reasonable.”
“If it was up to me, I would let them come,” Trump told reporters traveling with him on Air Force One in California today, when asked if Rouhani should come to the UN next week: “I’ve always felt the United Nations is very important. I would certainly not want to keep people out if they want to come.”

Donald Trump ribbed Republican ally Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who suggested the Iranians had been emboldened to carry out drone and cruise missile attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia because Trump had not responded with force to the Iranian downing of an unmanned US drone in June. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks in the kingdom over the weekend, while Iran has denied involvement.
“Ask Lindsey, how did going into the Middle East, how did that work out? And how did going into Iraq work out?” Trump continued, in language similar to the kind he used to mock John Bolton last week, when he asked him to resign as national security adviser. “So, we have a disagreement on that. And we have plenty of time to do some dastardly things.” “It’s very easy to start,” Trump said, of military action. “We’ll see what happens.”

'A very soft target'
How the Houthis overturned the chessboard
By Pepe Escobar, Information Clearing House", 18-9-2019

'We are the Houthis and we’re coming to town.' With the spectacular attack on Abqaiq, Yemen’s Houthis have overturned the geopolitical chessboard in Southwest Asia.
Houthi striking capability – from drone swarms to ballistic missile attacks – has been improving remarkably for the past year or so. It’s not by accident that the UAE saw which way the geopolitical and geoeconomic winds were blowing: Abu Dhabi withdrew from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s vicious war against Yemen and now is engaged in what it describes as a “peace-first” strategy.

Marandi 2012: "Obviously the media has been completely one-sided and every massacre that were taking place in Syria before even any evidence being provided, the Western media would immediately blame the [Syrian] government. ... Not only is the Western media completely biased and providing a one sided story but they are also helping atrocities being carried out by blaming the [Syrian] government for things they have no information about and for, basically, keeping silent about atrocities carried out by the opponents of the government." (Press TV 13-8-2012)

Houthi armed forces duly claimed responsibility for Abqaiq: “This operation is one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depth of Saudi Arabia, and it came after an accurate intelligence operation and advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free men within the Kingdom.”
Notice the key concept: “cooperation” from inside Saudi Arabia – which could include the whole spectrum from Yemenis to that Eastern province Shiites.
Even more relevant is the fact that massive American hardware deployed in Saudi Arabia inside out and outside in – satellites, AWACS, Patriot missiles, drones, battleships, jet fighters – didn’t see a thing, or certainly not in time. The sighting of three “loitering” drones by a Kuwaiti bird hunter arguably heading towards Saudi Arabia is being invoked as “evidence”.

My conversations with sources in Tehran over the past two years have ascertained that the Houthis’ new drones and missiles are essentially copies of Iranian designs assembled in Yemen itself with crucial help from Hezbollah engineers.
US intel insists that 17 drones and cruise missiles were launched in combination from southern Iran.
In theory, Patriot radar would have picked that up and knocked the drones/missiles from the sky. So far, absolutely no record of this trajectory has been revealed.
Blindly blaming Iran, with no evidence, does not cut it...
Professor Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran, who has very close relations with the Foreign Ministry, is adamant: “It didn’t come from Iran. If it did, it would be very embarrassing for the Americans, showing they are unable to detect a large number of Iranian drones and missiles. That doesn’t make sense.”
Marandi additionally stresses, “Saudi air defenses are not equipped to defend the country from Yemen but from Iran.
The Yemenis have been striking against the Saudis, they are getting better and better, developing drone and missile technology for four and a half years, and this was a very soft target.”
A soft – and unprotected – target: the US PAC-2 and PAC-3 systems in place are all oriented towards the east, in the direction of Iran.
Neither Washington nor Riyadh knows for sure where the drone swarm/missiles really came from.

Yemeni Army Displays Images of Aramco Oil Facilities
FARS News Agency [Iran], 19-9-2019

Spokesman of Yemen's Armed Forces Yahya Saree in a press conference displayed images taken by the Yemeni drones before and after the Saturday attacks against the Saudi Aramco oil facilities.
During the press conference in Sana'a on Wednesday, General Saree highlighted that aerial photographs, taken by Yemeni reconnaissance drones in the wake and aftermath of the operation, show the extent of damage caused on the two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, stating that it was launched following a careful intelligence collection process.

“The destruction of the targeted facilities is far greater than what has been announced. Americans sought to publish fabricated pictures of the operation aftermaths as part of attempts to downplay it. The blaze lasted for several hours and authorities in the state of aggression (Saudi Arabia) could not contain it,” the high-ranking Yemeni military official pointed out.
Saree went on to say that various kinds of combat drones were used in the Second Deterrent Balance Operation, noting that they were launched from three different locations according to their flight endurance and designated targets.
He underlined that the third generation of domestically-designed and -manufactured Qasef (Striker) combat drones, long-endurance Sammad-3 (Invincible-3) drones – which have an operational range of 1,500 kilometers to 1,700 kilometers and newly-developed drones equipped with jet engines.
Saree said each of the new drones can carry four precision-guided bombs with fissionable heads every time, and can monitor and hit their targets from several angles.
“Other aircraft were also used so the main combat drones could hide in their shadow without being detected, and signal jamming devices effectively disabled the enemy’s air missile defense systems,” he said...
“Our forces have reached a high level of efficiency and ability. They can manufacture various types of unmanned aerial vehicles in record time. The Second Deterrent Balance Operation, which targeted Saudi oil installations, is a perfect example of the capabilities of our forces in terms of planning and implementation,” he said.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday displayed what it claimed as Iranian drones and cruise missiles that it said were used in an attack against Aramco facilities at the weekend.
The attacks were “unquestionably” sponsored by Iran but investigations are still underway to pinpoint the exact launch location, defense ministry spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said at a news conference in Riyadh. He also claimed that the strikes came from North of the targets and not from Yemen.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the Saturday drone attacks by the Yemeni army against Saudi Arabia's oil installations on Iran claiming on Twitter that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen”.

Israel elections 2019
Updated tally shows Blue and White
increasing its lead over Likud to 33-31
The Times of Israel, 19-9-2019

Benny Gantz’s Blue and White centrist party has opened a two-seat lead over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, according to updated voting results Thursday morning from the Central Election Committee.
With some 96.5 percent of all votes in Tuesday’s elections having been counted, Blue and White had 33 seats to Likud’s 31.
Third was the Joint List alliance of Arab-majority parties at 13, followed by the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas with nine and United Torah Judaism with eight. Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu also has eight, Yamina has seven, Labor-Gesher has six and the Democratic Camp has five.
The center-left bloc, including the predominantly Arab Joint List — which has never been a member of the government — has increased its power to 57 seats, with the right-wing and religious bloc at 55.
The rival parties are no closer to forming a majority coalition, raising the possibility of negotiations for a unity government.

Netanyahu: 'Benny, we must establish a broad unity government'
Hezki Baruch, Arutz Sheva, 19/09/2019

Netanyahu & his ultra right wing bloc: "Join Us!"

Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday called on Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz to establish a broad unity government with him.
“During the elections, I called for the establishment of the right-wing government. But unfortunately the election results show that this is not possible. The people did not decide between the two blocs. Therefore, there is no choice but to form a broad unity government, as broad as possible, made up of all the factions to whom the State of Israel is dear,” Netanyahu said.
“Yesterday, I met with my friends in the right-wing parties and we agreed that we were going as one bloc with one joint delegation into negotiations.
“Now I call on you, MK Benny Gantz: Benny, we must establish a broad unity government today. The people expect us, both of us, to show responsibility and work for cooperation.
“That's why I call on you - Benny, let's meet today, any hour, any time, to kick-start this move which is the order of the day. We are not allowed to reach, and there is no reason for, a third election - I am against it.
The order of the day - a broad unity government, today.”

All right-wing, religious parties finish signing
pledge of allegiance to Netanyahu
in effort to foil secular unity government

The leaders of all the parties in the right-wing religious bloc have signed a document pledging to recommend Benjamin Netanyahu as the next prime minister and vowing to enter a coalition only as a single unit, as the premier called on Blue and White chief Benny Gantz to join a “unity government” that includes those parties.
Gantz during the election spoke of his interest in forming a “secular unity government” ostensibly void of the Haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism as well as the more hardline members of the Yamina party. (Times of Israel info)

Majority of public want unity govt with no ultra-Orthodox parties
By Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post, 19-8-2019

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz have said they want a national unity government. Netanyahu, however, said that he wants such a government to include his ultra-Orthodox and religious-Zionist allies, which Gantz and his party oppose.

Support for a national unity government without the ultra-Orthodox parties is actually widespread, with some two-thirds of the Jewish Israeli public backing such a coalition, including half of all Likud voters.
According to a poll conducted by the Smith Polling Institute in August, 64% of Israeli Jews favor excluding the ultra-Orthodox parties from the next government, with 36% opposed to such a notion.
The question posed to those polled stated: “In most coalitions over the last decades, haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties were part of coalition and enjoyed great influence in the realm of religion and state, including the current government. Do you support or oppose that the next coalition not include the haredi parties?”
Some 51% of Likud voters backed excluding the ultra-Orthodox, as did 90% of Blue and White voters, 71% of Labor-Gesher voters, 94% of Yisrael Beytenu voters, 93% of Democratic Union voters, and 75% of undecideds.
Unsurprisingly, 92% of ultra-Orthodox voters opposed the idea, as did 67% of Yamina voters.

The poll also asked whether voters would be more or less likely to vote for a party which “committed to the principles of religious freedom and equality” regarding civil marriage and divorce, public transportation on Shabbat, ultra-Orthodox army enlistment, and similar issues.
Of those polled who described themselves as secular, 74% said it would make them more likely to vote for such a party, along with 70% of so-called “traditional” Israelis. The poll was conducted between August 6 and 11 on a sample of 753 adults, with a margin of error of 3.6%.

Gantz rejects coalition led by right
Lapid: 'If PM steps aside, we’ll have a unity government'
By Times of Israel staff , 19 September 2019

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz on Thursday dismissed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer of a unity government that includes all the religious right-wing parties...

Netanyahu: Prisoner of Jewish Messianism?
Earlier in the day, after the leaders of all the parties in the right-wing religious bloc signed a document pledging to recommend Netanyahu as the next prime minister and vowing to enter a coalition only as a single unit. Netanyahu called on Gantz to join a government that includes those parties, pressuring him to drop his demand for a “secular” unity government with Likud.
At a faction meeting Thursday afternoon, Gantz responded to the proposal: “Blue and White won the elections, Blue and White is the biggest party....”
Hitting back at Netanyahu’s offer, Gantz said: “We won’t succumb to any imposition. To form a unity government, one doesn’t come with political blocs and spin but with seriousness and responsibility.”

Speaking immediately after Gantz, the party’s No. 2, Yair Lapid, took a more combative approach.
“Netanyahu is trying to drag the country to a third election,” he charged. “He’s simply unwilling to accept the results of the election. One person is preventing the formation of a liberal unity government. One person.
“That’s the aim of the bloc of extortionists and extremists he created yesterday,” he said. “That’s the aim of all the spin he’s throwing around in the last few hours. The public didn’t give him their support, so he’s trying to replace the public.
“If Netanyahu steps aside, we’ll have a unity government,” Lapid added. “A government with all those who believe we need civil marriage and public transportation on Shabbat. Without indictments and without corruption..."

Trump Got ‘Played’ By Benjamin Netanyahu
And Israeli Officials, Says Rex Tillerson
By Mary Papenfuss, Huffington Post, 20-9-2019

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Israeli officials “played” Donald Trump during talks, using “misinformation” to manipulate the president.
He warned that a “healthy amount of skepticism” is necessary when dealing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘we’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys,’” Tillerson said at a panel discussion Tuesday at Harvard University.
“We later exposed it to the president so he understood: ‘You’ve been played,’” Tillerson added. “It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us.”
Tillerson did not detail specific situations when he believed the president was “played.”
In “dealing with Bibi, it’s always useful to carry a healthy amount of skepticism in your discussions with him,” said Tillerson, who was fired by Trump via tweet last year. He described Netanyahu as “an extraordinarily skilled” politician and diplomat, but also called him “a bit Machiavellian.”
Tillerson said he supported a two-state solution involving Palestinians, which Netanyahu opposes.
“I did believe that we were at a moment in time where perhaps we could chart a way where the Arab world could support an outcome that the Palestinians might not think was perfect ... but with enough encouragement, pressure from the Arab world, that we could get it close enough that the Palestinians would finally agree,” he said. “In my view, it was a two-state solution.”
But Tillerson said his plans were thwarted when Trump put his son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of drafting a Middle East peace plan.

Netanyahu’s office tweeted in response to Tillerson’s revelations that Israel “is the good guy.”
Secretary Tillerson, Israel *is* the good guy — PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) September 19, 2019

Tillerson also explained his very un-Trump-like view of negotiating: “Every successful negotiation is defined as both parties leaving with an acceptable outcome. If you ever think about a negotiation as a win/lose, you’re going to have a terrible experience, you’re going to be very dissatisfied, and not very many people are going to want to deal with you.”

Iraq: Abdul Mahdi arrives in China
Shafaq News, 19-9-2019

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived to Héféi city in China on Thursday morning at the head of a large delegation.
He is accompanied by 55 high ranking individuals, including ministers, officials, and provincial governors and will remain in China until Sept. 24.
"We want this visit to be a quality leap in relations between the two countries," Abdul Mahdi said in a statement, adding; "We have been accompanied by a delegation of senior executives, including a number of important ministers and senior officials, including conservatives from all over Iraq."
“Iraq has been working for some time to develop strategic framework relations with the People's Republic of China, known for its economic and technical capabilities and long contributions to the reconstruction of its sprawling country..."
"China has been able to overcome the factors of poverty, underdevelopment and disintegration that it had suffered a few decades ago, and provided the world with examples of the possibility of moving quickly and steadily from the economy of a backward tertiary economy to a country today that is at the forefront of countries, not in terms of wealth, but also human, cultural, health, sports, artistic, social, scientific and security terms,” The statement added.
"Therefore, in our visit today, we are seeking to form a framework for strategic partnership in order for Iraq to rebuild its infrastructure, economy and society, and make tangible progress in getting rid of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment.
Today, Iraq seeks to deepen its relations with the East and the Asian countries by virtue of thousands of years of historical relations and similar experiences that allow it to benefit from its rich experience and expertise in this field that joined the "Belt and Road" initiative, where we seek to connect the Near East to the Far East, with what has historically been known as the Silk Road, which was also the spice route,” The statement went on.
"Time does not allow long waits and missed opportunities..."

Pompeo for 'peaceful resolution' to Gulf crisis
Middle East Online, Friday 20/09/2019

The US wants a peaceful solution to the crisis sparked by attacks on Saudi oil installations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.
Pompeo has blamed Iran for the dramatic weekend assault on two facilities, condemning an "act of war" which knocked out half the kingdom's oil production.
The rhetoric has raised the risk of an unpredictable escalation in a tinderbox region where Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a decades-old struggle for dominance. But Pompeo said the US was intent on finding a way out of the confrontation.
"We'd like a peaceful resolution. I think we've demonstrated that," he told reporters. "I hope the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it the same way."

Yemen's Houthis say will stop all attacks on Saudi Arabia
Al-Jazeera, 20-9-2019

An official with the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen has said it will stop aiming missile and drone attacks at Saudi Arabia, warning that a continuation of the war could lead to "dangerous developments".
The announcement was made on Friday night by Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthi's supreme political council, which controls the rebel-held areas in Yemen.
"We declare ceasing to target the Saudi Arabian territory with military drones, ballistic missiles and all other forms of weapons, and we wait for a reciprocal move from them," Mashat said on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV.
"We reserve the right to respond if they fail to reciprocate positively to this initiative," he said, adding that the continuation of the Yemen war "will not benefit any side".
"I call on all parties from different sides of the war to engage seriously in genuine negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive national reconciliation that does not exclude anyone," said Mashat.
He added a major goal of the ceasfire was to "preserve the blood of Yemenis and achieve a general amnesty".
The Saudi-led military coalition did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Houthi announcement.
The Yemen conflict is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Tehran seeks to ‘divide the world,’
says Saudi Arabia’s Adel Al-Jubeir
Arab News, September 21, 2019

Attacks last week on Saudi oil facilities were “an attack against all mankind” and Iran was trying to divide the world, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs said on Saturday.
Adel Al-Jubeir said the attacks were undertaken with Iranian weapons and it was for this reason that Iran should be held accountable for the incident, adding: “We are certain that the attacks did not come from Yemen but from the north. Investigations will prove that.”
“The Iranian position is to try to divide the world and in that it is not succeeding, he said.
In a press conference held in the Saudi capital, Al-Jubeir also said that the attacks on Aramco facilities were also targeting global energy security and that Saudi Arabia would take appropriate steps to respond if investigations confirm that Iran is responsible.
Saudi Arabia has taken a defensive stance, as opposed to Iran which has fired 260 Iranian-made ballistic missiles through its militias, and more than 150 drones.
The Kingdom, unlike Iran, has not fired a missile, a drone or a bullet toward Iran. This demonstrates that we seek good while they seek evil.
Saudi Arabia has rejected claims from Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthis that they carried out the strikes, the largest-ever assault on Saudi oil facilities in the world’s top oil exporter.
The US this week imposed more sanctions on Iran and approved the sending of American troops to the region.

Flashback: Western backed opposition in Syria & the CIA

As of 2017, the Martyr Ahmed Al Abdo rebel group claimed to have 2,000 fighters, including 500 defected soldiers and 30 officers from the Syrian Armed Forces. The head of the group is the "joint command council", led by Captain Ahmed Tamer.
Fighters in the group typically operate in groups of 10. Its main equipment are Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Hilux gun trucks mounted with various weaponry including autocannons, heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, and multiple rocket launchers. It also operate at least 1 T-62 and 2 T-55s.[7]
The group received BGM-71 TOW missiles as one of the first rebel groups to do so in May 2014 and is also in possession of Chinese HJ-8 and Russian 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missiles paid by Qatar and supplied from Sudan.

TOWs are guided missiles that are capable of thoroughly damaging or destroying tanks, armored carriers, and other vehicles that the Assad regime might send into the field. And, unlike other projectiles used against armored targets, such as RPGs, TOW missiles can be used from a considerable distance.
These weapons have helped decimate Syrian armor...
For instance, on October 8, 2015, a Syrian armored offensive suffered massive casualties as, rebels armed "with US-made TOW missiles … [and] other guided rockets ... caused the destruction … of over 15 armored cars, vehicles, and tanks," according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

The (Western-backed) Battle of Idlib (2015)

CIA: a jihadist group?

Jeremy Bender, Business Insider, 2015:
The groups that the CIA currently (20-10-2015) allows munitions to be shared with are:

13th Division (Forqat 13), 101st Division Infantry (Forqat 101 Masha'a), Knights of Justice Brigade (Liwa' Fursan al-Haqq), Falcons of the Mountain Brigade (Liwa' Suqour al-Jabal), Grouping of the Falcons of Al-Ghab (Tajamuu Suqour al-Ghab), 1st Coastal Division (Forqat Awwal al-Sahli), Gathering of Dignity (Tajammu al-Izza'), Central Division (Al-Forqat al-Wasti), 46th Division (Forqat 46), Sultan Murad Brigade (Liwa' Sultan Murad), Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki), Mujahideen Army/Army of Holy Warriors (Jaish al-Mujahideen), Revolutionaries of al-Sham Brigades (Kata'eb Thuwar al-Sham), 1st Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal), Ahmed al-Abdo Martyrs' Force (Quwwat al-Shaheed Ahmad al-Abdo), Al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq al-Rahman), Martyrs of Islam Brigade (Liwa' Shuhadah al-Islam), Yarmouk Army (Jaish al-Yarmouk), Lions of Sunnah Division (Forqat Usood al-Sunnah), the 18th March Division (Forqat 18 Adhar), Southern Tawhid Brigade (Liwa' Tawhid al-Junoub), Hamza Division (Forqat al-Hamza), 1 st Artillery Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal Madfa'a), Syria Revolutionaries Front - Southern Sector (Jabhat Thuwar Souriya), The First Corps (Faylaq al-Awwal), The Dawn of Unity Division (Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid), Salah al-Din Division (Forqat Salah al-Din), Omari Brigades (Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari), Unity Battalions of Horan Brigade (Liwa' Tawhid Kata'eb Horan), Youth of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa' Shabbab al-Sunnah), Moataz Billah Brigade (Liwa' Moataz Billah), Sword of al-Sham Brigades (Alwiyat Saif al-Sham), Dawn of Islam Division (Forqat Fajr al-Islam), Supporters of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa' Ansar al-Sunnah), Horan Column Division (Forqat Amoud Horan), Emigrants and Supporters Brigade (Liwa' Muhajireen wal Ansar), Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan, United Sham Front (Jabhat al-Sham Muwahidda), 69 th Special Forces Division (Forqat 69 Quwwat al-Khassa), 11 th Special Forces Division (Forqat 11 Quwwat al-Khassa), Partisans of Islam Front (Jabhat Ansar al-Islam), Al-Furqan Brigades (Alwiyat al-Furqan)

UN urges Saudi Arabia to seize opportunity
as Yemen offers ceasefire, Press TV, sep 22, 2019

The United Nations has welcomed a proposal by Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement to halt strikes on Saudi Arabia in return for an end to the Saudi-led coalition attacks on Yemen.
In a statement issued on Saturday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths stressed “the importance of taking advantage of this opportunity and moving forward with all necessary steps to reduce violence, military escalation and unhelpful rhetoric.”
On Friday, Mahdi al-Mashat, the head of the Houthi supreme political council, said the group would end all attacks on Saudi Arabia provided that the kingdom and its allies ended their attacks on Yemen. He hoped that “the gesture would be answered by a stronger gesture” from the Saudis.
Griffiths emphasized that the implementation of the proposal by the Houthis “in good faith could send a powerful message of the will to end the war.”
He called on all parties to the Yemen conflict to “respect international humanitarian law, exercise restraint, and to spare Yemen from being drawn further into regional tensions, for the benefit of the Yemeni people."
Saudi Arabia has so far refused to accept the offer.
We judge other parties by their deeds, actions and not by their words, so we will see,” said Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.

Israel’s Mossad chief prepares to become Netanyahu’s successor
Middle East Monitor, September 21, 2019

Chief of Israeli Mossad, Yossi Cohen, is preparing to succeed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the head of the Likud party, Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported on Friday.
In the past, Netanyahu has hinted to Cohen as a possible replacement for him, among other figures of Likud.
According to the Hebrew Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Al-Quds Al-Arabi stated that Cohen had examined the seriousness of Netanyahu’s intention years ago.
After the countdown had commenced for Netanyahu, Cohen mentioned that he had started to receive calls asking whether he intended to accept a position as successor.
Cohen explained “yes, I am naturally attracted to leadership in politics, diplomacy and strategic issues. This might push me to think of something like this [leading Likud].”
Cohen’s term as Mossad leader ends in 2020, and he has disclosed that he would consider this option after completing his term, noting that he has received thousands of positive recommendations after publicising the issue of succeeding Netanyahu.

Flashback: Incoming Mossad chief:
Iran is our most substantial menace
DEBKAfile January 6, 2016

In the view of the new Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, Iran has become the most substantial threat facing Israel since signing a nuclear accord with the six powers.
Tehran still calls for Israel’s annihilation regardless, while upgrading its military capabilities and deepening its grip on the region, he said. “The tools Iran uses to achieve its ends are tentacles of terror.”
Cohen takes over from Tamir Pardo who ends his five-year term as head of the Mossad. The new director is a veteran of Israel's external security service, having risen through the ranks after joining the Mossad at the age of 22. More recently, he served as national security adviser to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Cohen: Israel, Israel, Israel
Times of Israel, 8-12-2015

Cohen, a 54-year-old father of four, was born to a modern Orthodox family in Jerusalem, and lived near the Netanyahus. His father, a seventh-generation Jerusalemite, was a veteran of the pre-state Irgun paramilitary force.
In the Mossad, Cohen was the only religious candidate in the organization’s case-officer course. As a Mossad case officer, he was charged with recruiting and handling spies — the very heart of the clandestine organization. “The Mossad wasn’t necessarily part of my dreams. The Mossad came to me, and in simpler words they enlisted me to their ranks,” he said.
Cohen, who no longer wears a skullcap, rose up through those ranks, commanding the Tzomet department, in charge of all case officers; and serving as the deputy head from 2011-2013, when he left for the National Security Council. One of his operational nicknames was “the model” for his famously stylish and immaculate appearance.
“I am a Jerusalemite. I am from Rehavia, not far from where the prime minister grew up, I grew up, next door to one another, more or less. I remember the family, the Netanyahus,” he said.
Cohen praised the Or Etzion Yeshiva high school, a religious academy runned by rabbi and former MK Haim Druckman.
“This yeshiva brings about outstanding Zionism. Rabbi Haim Druckman, who I knew as head of the yeshiva, always spoke about three things: the Torah of Israel, the state of Israel and the land of Israel — and sometimes that order was reversed. On that triumvirate we grew up...”

Haim Druckman played a leading role
in the establishment of Gush Emunim
messianic, fundamentalist, theocratic and right-wing

Gush Emunim (bloc [of the] faithful) was an Israeli messianic, right-wing activist movement committed to establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.
While not formally established as an organization until 1974 in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, Gush Emunim sprang out of the conquests of the Six-Day War in 1967, encouraging Jewish settlement of the land based on the belief that, according to the Torah, God gave it to the Jewish people.
The ideological outlook of Gush Emunim has been described as messianic, fundamentalist, theocratic and right-wing.
Its beliefs were based heavily on the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, who taught that secular Zionists, through their conquests of Eretz Israel, had unwittingly brought about the beginning of the Messianic Age. (Wikipedia info)

Israeli Culture Minister slams Academy of Film and Television
The Times of Israel, 23-9-2019

“Incitement,” a film about about the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin viewed through the eyes of his killer, won Best Picture at the 2019 Ophir Awards, drawing immediate criticism from Israel’s culture minister, who said it libeled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Despite the film being well reviewed, Culture Minister Miri Regev renewed her long-running feud with the Academy of Film and Television and slammed the choice of “Incitement,” saying there is “no place” in Israel for such a film and charging that it maligned Netanyahu, who has been accused of incitement in the lead-up the the November 4, 1995, murder.
“Yigal Amir is a murderer..,” said Regev. “There is no place for a film that tries to understand him or his motivations, or to hint or accuse others of being behind his heinous act.”

Regev in particular took umbrage at the way that Netanyahu was portrayed.
“The creators did not miss an opportunity to assign Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a part in the incitement campaign,” she said, calling such a portrayal “a distortion and an attempt to mislead the public, which was completely detached from reality.”
Rabin was murdered by Amir, an extremist, ultra-nationalist Jew who was opposed to the Oslo Accords and the handing over of control of parts of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians as part of the landmark peace agreement.
In the weeks before the assassination, Netanyahu, then head of the opposition, and other senior Likud members attended a right-wing political rally in Jerusalem where protesters branded Rabin a “traitor,” “murderer” and “Nazi” for signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians earlier that year.
Regev conceded in her comments that she had not in fact watched the film and accused the Ophir Awards of “again legitimizing groups that seek to widen the chasms in Israeli society.”
The film stars Yehuda Nahari as Amir and follows him for the roughly two years that led up to the murder of Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Nahari has said he was so traumatized delving into the mind of the killer he had to seek therapy.

Miri Regev - Wikipedia info:
In her position as Minister of Culture, Miri Regev frequently equates artistic Freedom of Expression with the power of the government to withdraw its funding, using the term "Freedom of Funding".
Regev also argued that state-funded artists or organisations must show "loyalty" to the Israeli [i.e. Jewish- Zionist] state. She has called this a "Loyalty in Culture" initiative, and has proposed legislation making "support for a cultural institution dependent on its loyalty to the state of Israel".
She has said the group Breaking the Silence "hurts Israel's image" and accused a gallery that had hosted a talk by the group of "holding political activities".
At the closing ceremony of the 2017 Maccabiah Games on July 18, 2017, Regev passed the Maccabiah torch to a number of Maccabiah athletes.

Maccabiah Games: A show of pure racism
Yakir Elkariv, YNet Opinion, 18-7-2013

The most irritating thing today is the idea of a sports enterprise in which participation is based on the athletes' race. After all, if an event of a similar scale would be held abroad exclusively for Christian or Muslim athletes, and the participation of a Jew would be banned because of his or her race – the earth would move, and rightfully so. But we, who still live under the fake ethos of a small nation surrounded by enemies, are allowed to do whatever we want.

The Maccabees: Heroes or Fanatics?

Machabees were a group of Jewish rebel warriors [religious zealots] who took control of Judea, which at the time was part of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty. They reasserted the Jewish religion, partly by forced conversion, expanded the boundaries of Judea by conquest and they reduced the influence of Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism.
Jewish Hellenists wanted to move beyond separatism and assimilate the positive aspects of Greek culture into Judaism.

Religious Zionists & Haredi parties back Netanyahu
Yair Lapid still 'the evil one'
By TOI staff and Raoul Wootliff, 23-9-2019

The religious-right United Torah Judaism and Yamina parties on Monday met President Reuven Rivlin and told him they recommend Benjamin Netanyahu as the next prime minister, officially confirming that the incumbent leader has the support of 55 MKs — one more than his rival Benny Gantz.
At 10 a.m., leaders of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party came to the President’s Residence and recommended Netanyahu, as they have repeatedly said they would do, adding that they would not sit with Blue and White’s Yair Lapid.
“As we promised, the United Torah Judaism faction is recommending Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister,” the party’s No. 2, Moshe Gafni, told Rivlin.
This election campaign was focused on the ultra-Orthodox public; wild incitement and lies were spread against us..”, he added, referring to secularist campaigns by the Yisrael Beytenu party and Blue and White, both of which vowed to form a government without the ultra-Orthodox.
UTJ leader Yaakov Litzman made similar remarks: “I have never seen such a campaign of hatred against the ultra-Orthodox... We do not know why we and the citizens of this state are punished like this.”
Asked whether he would agree to sit in the same government with nemesis Lapid, Litzman said: “I represent a community that has been boycotted by Lapid; therefore we won’t lift the veto.”

Rivlin began his consultations with political parties on Sunday, meeting with the five largest parties to receive their recommendations on the candidate who should be tasked with assembling the next coalition.
During the talks, Blue and White and the [Arab-Israeli] Joint List backed Gantz, Likud and Shas nominated Netanyahu, and Yisrael Beytenu refrained from endorsing either candidate

Who is Yair Lapid and his party called Yesh Atid
Chava Stein, Kehila News, Feb 13, 2019

The charisma and charm of Yair Lapid is well-known to Israeli audiences. He is the son of Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, who was best remembered for being a prolific journalist, sharp-tongued political pundit and critic. It wasn’t until his later years that he gained even more notoriety for leading the centrist “Shinui” party.
Yet the young and strikingly handsome Yair took a decidedly different direction, forging his own way as an actor, talk-show moderator, author of 8 books, writer of a weekly column for decades, successful entertainer and, finally, evening news anchor known to every Israeli household.
It was then, surprising to many, that in 2012 he decided to leave a budding career to enter the fiercely competitive world of Israeli politics, establishing his own party called “Yesh Atid” (“There is a Future”).

Lapid is convinced that he is the man to unseat Netanyahu, and part of the reason is his belief that he has clearly understood the many frustrations of the country’s 70% secular Israelis who, for a long time, have been seeking a more centrist leader, one willing to break with the religious orthodox establishment.
For that majority sector of the Israeli population, they long for a leader who will bring about a more pluralistic and equitable government, taking into account their rights and desires which they feel have been trampled on by the small but powerful minority of ultra-religious who have managed to hold onto the reins for too many years.
Lapid’s goal is to build a governmental coalition which would not include any religious parties, thereby taking away all the power that they have wielded for decades.

Erdoğan, Graham meet in New York
Daily Sabah [Turkey], 22-9-2019

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday met with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in New York, where he arrived Saturday for the 74th U.N. General Assembly.
Following the meeting at the Peninsula Hotel, Graham told reporters the discussion with the Turkish president had gone well and expressed hope for a more strategic relationship between Ankara and Washington.
"I am hopeful we can get a more strategic relationship with Turkey [...] try to get them back in F-35 program, maybe talk about free trade program," said Graham. "Because Turkey is a very important ally, not just when it comes to Syria, really for whole region."

Graham praised Turkey as "indispensable to keeping Syria together" and its assistance in northeastern Syria to prevent re-emergence of Daesh terror group.
"Most importantly, Turkey is protecting 4 million people from slaughter," he added, referring to Syrian civilians living in the Idlib region of northern Syria.

hts, idlib-syria

Turkey and Russia inked a deal for a buffer zone in September 2018 in Sochi. The Syrian regime intensified its attacks starting April 26, under the pretext of fighting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants holed up in Idlib.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.

Bashar al-Assad: Position of most European countries
about events in Syria was detached from reality
Syrian Arab News Agency, 22-9-2019

President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a delegation of Italian MPs and politicians headed by Senator Paolo Romani.
Talks during the meeting touched on the latest developments in Syria as the members of the delegation raised several queries related to situation on the ground, the political track, and the reconstruction.
President al-Assad said that there are a number of positive developments despite the fact that the countries which fueled the war – mainly Turkey and the United States and its pawns – are still continuing their policies by hindering the full elimination of terrorism, making progress on the political track, and preventing the return of Syrians to their homeland.
President al-Assad affirmed that the position of most European countries on what was happening in Syria was detached from reality since the beginning, and they continued down that path despite the major changes witnessed during the years of the war...
For their part, members of the delegation said that the unrealistic narrative promoted by media outlets to depict the events in Syria since the beginning of the war began to lose its effect gradually on the European public opinion, which in turn requires European governments to adopt a different policy based on reality, and not on what is promoted by the media.

Rouhani: Tehran has "reason and logic" and its enemies do not
Al-Monitor Staff September 23, 2019

Avicenna: "An ignorant doctor is the
aide-de-camp of death"

President Hassan Rouhani and an Iranian delegation departed Iran’s Mehrabad airport on Monday morning for New York to attend the 74th meeting United Nations General Assembly.
“It is an opportunity to state and explain the views of nations, especially the great nation of Iran,” Rouhani told reporters. “Unjust and oppressive actions that have taken place against Iran today will be explained to the people and countries of the world.”
Rouhani said that the UNGA trip is necessary “so that we speak at different levels of the UN," adding that Tehran has "reason and logic" and its enemies do not.
“The secretary of state Mike Pompeo continuously makes illogical statements and unfortunately, so far I have not seen the secretary of state speak with logic. This situation is nothing but a wonder of history for a secretary of state to keep saying things that are incorrect and untrue.”
On US efforts to guarantee the safety of Saudi oil facilities with anti-aircraft weapons after the Houthi attacks shut major parts of production, Rouhani said, “This fight doesn’t have anything to do with us and concerns the US, China and others. They are taking advantage of this [crisis] to sign billion-dollar defense system contracts.”
Rouhani added that despite talk of war and military strikes against Iran, the “US has other goals” that are rooted primarily in its desire to maintain a presence in the region.

Ilan Pappe warns UK Labour against supporting
Israel's Blue and White 'charade'
By Joe Gill, Middle East Eye Net, 23-9-2019

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has warned the UK Labour Party against embracing the Israeli opposition alliance that could replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following last week's elections.
Speaking at a packed venue outside Labour’s annual conference, Pappe said that Israel’s Blue and White coalition led by former general Benny Gantz was no different from Likud in its treatment of Palestinians.
"Its main ideological stance is it doesn’t like Netanyahu. Neither do I, but that’s not enough as a vision for the future."
"These people are not different from Netanyahu when it comes to the Palestinians, and this is the main issue," Pappe said.
Pappe also criticised the British media over its coverage of long-running controversy around antisemitism in the Labour Party, which has dogged Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership since he was elected in 2015.
"Every minute the British media waste reporting on alleged institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party is a minute they should have used to report to the people what is being done to the Palestinians in Area C and everywhere else in Palestine," he said, referring to a section of the occupied West Bank.
Pappe was applauded as he disavowed Zionism and settler colonialism.
"It is important for me as an Israeli citizen not to put the Israeli flag on the day of independence because the flag represents oppression, colonisation, racism," he said.
"I cannot identify with the flag of a state that oppresses another people, and the flag of Palestine is for me the flag of justice, and I proudly wave it."

Likud minister: 'There will be no Palestinian state here'
Hezki Baruch, Arutz Sheva (Israel), 14/01/2019

Aliyah and Integration Minister Yoav Galant, a member of the Political-Security Cabinet, visited the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council on Sunday. During the visit, Galant toured the communities of Beit Aryeh, Neve Tzuf, Eli and Shilo.
"I came here to tell the Israeli public, and especially the residents of Judea and Samaria, that we will not allow the establishment of more than one state west of the Jordan River.
A Palestinian state will not be established here," Galant said.
Up until several weeks ago, Galant served as Housing Minister on behalf of Kulanu, before he left Kulanu and joined the Likud, resigning from the Knesset and from his ministerial position.
Last week, he was appointed Aliyah and Integration Minister and was officially welcomed to the Likud by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Mateh Binyamin Regional Council is a regional council covering 42 Israeli settlements and outposts in the southern Samarian hills of the West Bank. The seat of the council is Psagot.
The council is named for the ancient Israelite tribe of Benjamin, whose territory roughly corresponds to that of the council. The region in which the Binyamin settlements are located is referred to as the Binyamin Region.

The international community considers Israeli settlements to be illegal, and this applies to all communities under the administration of Mateh Binyamin. (Wikipedia)

The anti-blue-and-white-tribes

Judah (Lion) and Benjamin (Wolf) are the two tribes where (according to Jewish tradition) the Jewish State of Israel is build on.
The ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel are: Asher, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph [2 tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh], Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun. Those tribes 'disappeared' (are called 'The Lost Tribes).

Judah is a lion's whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?" (Genesis 49:9 )
The tribe of Judah is assigned to the Zodiac sign of LEO (color:orange). The lion is perceived as the kingly beast of the planet. Leo represents triumph, power, courage and leadership.
Benjamin, 'ravening as a wolf, devouring his prey by morning, dividing the spoil at night' (Gen.49:27), is ARIES (color:red), a sign ruled by the planet Mars: warrior, agressor, etc..).
Aries is the sign that is most apt to be a “lone wolf,” to be anti-social and to be personally radical, due to their tendency to isolation. They don’t like working for others and need to be their own boss if at all possible.

orange - red art

Blue & White: Color symbolism

"So we stand unshaken, clear in our mind and vision as to truth against falsehood, the colour black, which represents darkness, wickedness and aberration, as opposed to the colour white which represents truth, justice, fairness, purity, virtue, adherence to principles and defending these principles against those who abandoned them..., blind in both heart and conscience." Saddam Hussein, 16-11-2002

The Color Blue: A Giver, Not a Taker

This color is one of trust, responsibility, honesty and loyalty. It is sincere, reserved and quiet, and doesn't like to make a fuss or draw attention. It hates confrontation, and likes to do things in its own way.
This is a color that seeks peace and tranquility above everything else, promoting both physical and mental relaxation.
It reduces stress, creating a sense of calmness, relaxation and order - wecertainly feel a sense of calm if we lie on our backs and look into a bright blue cloudless sky. It slows the metabolism. The paler the blue the more freedom we feel.
In the meaning of colors, blue relates to one-to-one communication, especially communication using the voice - speaking the truth through verbal self-expression - it is the teacher, the public speaker.
The color blue is idealistic, enhancing self-expression and our ability to communicate our needs and wants. It inspires higher ideals.
Blue's wisdom comes from its higher level of intelligence, a spiritual perspective.
Blue is the helper, the rescuer, the friend in need. It's success is defined by the quality and quantity of its relationships. It is a giver, not a taker.

The Color White: The Color of Equality

The color white is color at its most complete and pure, the color of perfection. The psychological meaning of white is purity, innocence, wholeness and completion.
In color psychology white is the color of new beginnings, of wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn't stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive
Its basic feature is equality, implying fairness and impartiality, neutrality and independence.
White is a color of protection and encouragement, offering a sense of peace and calm, comfort and hope, helping alleviate emotional upsets. It creates a sense of order and efficiency, a great help if you need to declutter your life.

UN Sets Constitution Committee for Syria
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 24-9-2019

The United Nations announced Monday the long-awaited creation of a constitution-writing committee on Syria that will include the government and opposition.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hailed the committee as the first step toward finding a political settlement to the conflict.
"I firmly believe that the launching of a Syrian-organized and Syrian-led Constitutional Committee can be the beginning of a political path towards a solution," Guterres told reporters.
He said on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly in New York that his envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, would bring the committee together in the coming weeks.
The committee is to include 150 members -- a third picked by the regime, an equal number by the opposition, and the remaining third by the United Nations.

"While much work remains to be done, this is an encouraging step toward reaching a political solution to the Syrian conflict," the US State Department said.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini welcomed the announcement and said it "gives back hope to the Syrians."
Pedersen told reporters in Damascus Monday that he had held "successful" talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on forming the committee.
The UN diplomat also said he had "good discussions" with Nasr al-Hariri, the head of the Syrian Negotiation Commission opposition grouping.
However, the Kurdish administration, that controls northeast Syria, decried its exclusion from the committee as "unjust," saying it undermined the principles of democracy.
It is unclear what the committee might achieve. Damascus hoped to amend the current constitution, while the opposition wants to write a new one from scratch.

Assad: Syrian constitutional committee
created thanks to Russia, Syria, Iran
TASS Russian News Agency, 24-9-2019

The Syrian Constitutional Committee has been formed as a result of cooperation between Moscow, Tehran and Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said...
"Syrian-Iranian-Russian coordination led to the realization of the committee for discussing the constitution despite all obstacles and hurdles that other sides which support terrorism tried to impose," the SANA news agency quotes al-Assad as saying. "Despite the barriers, we have managed to come to a final agreement on the format of the committee’s work," he said.
The Syrian leader added that the US and Western states "lost their hope in achieving the goals they had planned for before" in Syria, which is why they are applying the policy of "depleting resources" against Syria, as they do in Iran.
The decision to set up a constitutional committee was made during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian resort city of Sochi on January 31, 2018.

Israel: Why did so many members of Chabad
vote for the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party?
Judy Maltz, Haaretz, 25.09.2019

It is one of the best-known exports of the Jewish world: Chabad.

No to Blue & White

"It is by Torah’s authority that the land belongs to the Jewish people, and it is only there that all the laws of the Torah can be fulfilled." (Menachem Schneerson - 'the Rebbe')

The movement seeks to bring Jews closer to Judaism — a distinctly Orthodox version of it, some would argue — and has thousands of emissaries, active in more than 100 countries worldwide...
Chabad rabbis like to say they accept all Jews, regardless of affiliation or lack thereof, and are not prone to judgment like other, more insular, Hasidic sects.
Yet a look at last week’s election results shows that Israeli followers of the movement disproportionately supported a party whose political message is anything but inclusive.
Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power” in English), a far-right, anti-Arab party, founded by followers of the late Meir Kahane, had its best showing in towns and communities with relatively large concentrations of Chabad Hasidim...

Located in central Israel and known for its full-scale replica of Chabad headquarters in Crown Heights, Kfar Chabad is the largest Lubavitcher community in the country with nearly 6,500 residents.
Otzma Yehudit won nearly 22 percent of the vote in the town last week, finishing only behind United Torah Judaism, the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi party.
Other Israeli towns where the Kahanist party captured a relatively large chunk of the vote, and where Chabad is known to have a significant presence, were Safed (nearly 8 percent) and Kiryat Malakhi (6 percent).
But it was over the Green Line (Israel’s internationally recognized border) where the party had its best showing by far.

In Hebron, where Chabad runs a large center that provides meals and other services to soldiers deployed in this key flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Otzma Yehudit picked up 37 percent of the vote, coming in second behind the right-wing religious party Yamina.
Baruch Marzel, a former aide to Kahane and member of Otzma Yehudit, lives in Hebron and is known for his close ties to Chabad.
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a controversial rabbi with close ties to radical fringes of the settler movement, is considered deeply influential in certain Lubavitch circles. A resident of Kfar Chabad, he serves as president of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the radical settlement of Yitzhar. Otzma Yehudit won 58 percent of the vote here — more than any other party.
It also won 35 percent in Bat Ayin, a settlement founded by followers of Ginsburgh. In Itamar, the Kahanist party picked up nearly 27 percent of the vote; in Shiloh 26.5 percent; in Mitzpeh Yeriho 25 percent; in Elon Moreh 19 percent; in Susya and Otniel 17 percent; and in Immanuel 13 percent.
Chabad is a relatively small movement in Israel with an estimated 130,000 local followers. But coincidentally or not, it has a presence on all of these settlements.

un (blue & white): enemy of the messiah, enemy of thora-law

David Biale, a distinguished professor of Jewish history at UC Davis in California and co-author of a recently published anthology on Hasidism, is not surprised by the results.
“This is probably true of all Hasidic groups, but certainly Chabad: That among their followers there are definitely racial ideas about non-Jews, a sort of racial hierarchy that sees Jews as different from goyim,” he says.
Like most ultra-Orthodox movements, it subscribes to the view that any Jewish state that comes into being must be a theocracy... But in contrast to other Haredi movements, Chabad embraces a very strong and radical position on territorial concessions.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh and last Chabad rebbe, ruled that it is against Jewish law to give up even “one inch” of the land.
Shabtay Bendet, a former settler, spent many years in the Chabad movement. It is a widespread misconception that Chabad is an apolitical movement, he says. “Considering that they believe any territorial compromise is illegitimate, I would definitely call it an extremist movement,” he says.

Asked to comment on the relatively large number of Israeli Chabadniks who voted for Otzma Yehudit, local Chabad spokesman Menachem Brod said: “The numbers are not so large. Most Chabadniks voted for United Torah Judaism, Shas, Yamina and Likud [all right-wing parties]. Only 20 percent voted for Otzma Yehudit.”

Astrology, Cancer (Moon) & the Color White

White is clarity, newness, and innocence. Associated mainly with the air signs and with Cancer, white connects to higher consciousness and is used to depict angels and saints, and also clouds, stars, and other "heavenly" elements.
Bright white and silver connect Cancer with its intuition and provide a clean, clear slate. Like the glistening surface of water or the shining face of the Moon, silver and white are colors of intuition and purity. They increase Cancer’s sensitivity and understanding, allowing love to flow at its deepest level.

Abraham & the Color White (Moon Religion)

Abraham was born and raised in Ur of the Chaldees, which is in modern Iraq, near Nasiriyah in the southeastern part of the country. Joshua 24:2 says that Abraham and his father worshiped idols.
We can make some educated guesses about their religion by looking at the history and religious artifacts from that period.
Ur of the Chaldees was an ancient city that flourished until about 300 BC. The great ziggurat of Ur was built by Ur-Nammu around 2100 BC and was dedicated to Nanna, the moon god.
The moon was worshiped as the power that controlled the heavens and the life cycle on earth. To the Chaldeans, the phases of the moon represented the natural cycle of birth, growth, decay, and death and also set the measurement of their yearly calendar.
Among the pantheon of Mesopotamian gods, Nanna was supreme, because he was the source of fertility for crops, herds, and families. Prayers and offerings were offered to the moon to invoke its blessing.

When God (the God of Ezra & Joshua) called Abraham in Genesis 12:1, He told Abraham to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house. Everything familiar was to be left behind, and that included his [Moon] religion.

The Ziggurat (or Great Ziggurat) of Ur is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat in what was the city of Ur near Nasiriyah, in present-day Dhi Qar Province, Iraq.
The structure was built during the Early Bronze Age (21st century BCE) but had crumbled to ruins by the 6th century BCE of the Neo-Babylonian period, when it was restored by King Nabonidus.
Its remains were excavated in the 1920s and 1930s by Sir Leonard Woolley.
Under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, they were encased by a partial reconstruction of the façade and the monumental staircase.
The ziggurat was a piece in a temple complex that served as an administrative center for the city, and which was a shrine of the moon god Nanna, the patron deity of Ur.

Lapid, Gantz & the Moon

According to astrological tradition some people are strongly influenced by the Moon, especially those people with Sun, Moon or ascendant in Cancer, or the Moon on a strong position in their horoscope.
Moon is considered by astrologers to be the most influential planet, as it governs mind and emotions, temperament, behavior, mood, instincts, emotional makeup, and feelings.

Yair Lapid is born on 5 november 1963: Sun in the Water-sign Scorpio, Moon in the Water-sign Cancer.
Benny Gantz, born on 9 june 1959, Sun in the Air-sign Gemini, Moon in the Water-sign Cancer.

Cancer Moon

Of all the moon signs, Cancer is the most subjective position. The Moon rules Cancer, so it is "at home" here - the Moon is the natural ruler of this sign.

Cancer Moons have deep, empathetic emotions. With the Moon at home in the sign of Cancer, people with this sign are very in touch with the emotions of both themselves and others.
They feel emotionally fulfilled when they protect, support, and nurture the people around them, as well as when their family and home matters are secure. The strong empathy of a Cancer Moon makes them easily influenced by the feelings of others, however, so it is important for a Cancer Moon to discern their own feelings and needs from those of others.
Being a water sign, Cancer Moons tend to be sensitive and driven by emotions. Similar to the ocean’s waves, their feelings ebb and flow, making them a bit moody at times.
Like the Crab, this sign may hide their emotions from others until they are comfortable enough to come out of their shell.
One of the best traits of a Cancer Moon is their almost uncanny sense for the needs of others. They have a very strong intuition and can usually tell how someone is feeling without them explicitly stating it.
With the maternal instincts of Cancer, this moon sign is very good at making others feel secure!

President Michel Aoun at the UN:
"Principles, logic and justice are lost"
Al Manar News [Lebanon], 25-9-2019

Your Excellency Mr. Antonio Guterres,
Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ladies and gentlemen,

If Lebanon strives hard to face a difficult economic situation in cooperation with the concerned international institutions, this also urges me to call on all the world leaders to work for the safe return of the displaced to Syria
. Addressing this crisis is certainly not the sole responsibility of Lebanon, but rather a shared international responsibility that makes it imperative for all of us to collaborate together to urgently find solutions thereof.
Indeed, the international community cannot content itself with providing minimum assistance to the displaced and refugees in their regions of displacement only, while excluding programs for their safe and dignified return.
The conditions of such return have become available: in fact, as per international reports, the security situation on most of the Syrian territories has become stable, the military confrontations have become confined to the Idlib region, and the Syrian State has officially declared, time and again, that it welcomes the return of its displaced citizens.
To date, around 370.000 displaced have left Lebanon, more than 250.000 of whom having returned to Syria; and there is no feedback which states that they have been subject to persecution or mistreatment.
On the other hand, we have many question marks about the positions of some active States and concerned international organizations, trying to hinder this return, the allegations that the security situation in Syria is dangerous, and sowing fear among the displaced, which clearly indicates the political postulates through which the displacement crisis is being tackled, as if the displaced have become hostages in an international game...

Mr. President, Ladies and gentlemen,
The Middle East crisis which has been lingering for decades is becoming more complicated because all the solution approaches and all the Israeli practices contradict the founding principles of the United Nations.
Indeed, the judaization of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the methodic colonial policy, the legislations that contradict human rights, the recognition of the annexation of lands that were occupied by force, as in the case of the Golan Heights, the electoral promises to annex new lands, with all what leaks about “the Deal of the Century” from removing the borders of some States and striking their territorial unity, to liquidating the Palestinian cause, keeping the Palestinians where they are, the subsequent damage that Lebanon will suffer because it hosts a large number of refugees,… all the above undermines any chance for peace in the Middle East and points undoubtedly to a dark unknown future because the rights of the peoples remain alive as long as it takes.

Mr. President, Esteemed audience,
As Lebanon embarks on the preparations to celebrate the centenary of “Greater Lebanon”, you celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations which was founded on 24/10/1945.
Ever since, the world has known many wars and conflicts, especially in the Middle East, the constant flashpoint where temperature rises or drops but never cools down, and our peoples always pay the price, with their security, stability, peace, economy and even demographic diversity.
The core of the problem is the same: contradiction between the interest of the strong and the right of the weak; thus principles, logic and justice are lost, and solutions are diluted...
We hope that the UN will promote today the general principles, the international law and the charters as they are the only reference to safeguard the rights, for no justice shall rise, no right shall be consecrated and no peace will be established, as long as the principle prevailing in our world is: I am strong, then I am right!
Thank you.

Ex-French President Chirac, who opposed Iraq invasion, dies at 86
The Arab Weekly, Thursday 26/09/2019

Jacques Chirac, a two-term French president who defiantly opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, died Thursday at age 86.
As president from 1995-2007 he was a consummate global diplomat even if at home he failed to reform the economy or defuse tensions between police and minority youths that exploded into riots across France in 2005.

attacked by the uk-right-wing media

While he won a convincing mandate for his pro-Europe agenda at home, Chirac's outspoken opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 rocked relations with France's top ally...
The United States invaded anyway, yet Chirac gained international support from other war critics.
As president, he embodied the fierce independence so treasured in France: He championed the United Nations and multipolarism as a counterweight to US global dominance, and defended agricultural subsidies over protests by the European Union.
Chirac ultimately became one of the French's favourite political figures, often praised for his down-to-earth human touch rather than his political achievements.

Jacques Chirac — Arab world’s fast friend in Europe
Ranvir S. Nayar, Arab News, September 27, 2019

In the death of Jacques Chirac, the two-time President of France, the Arab world has lost a dear friend.

MR. Tony Blair sent a personal note to President George W. Bush on July 28, 2002, a full eight months before the Iraq campaign with the opening lines “I will be with, whatever…”, basically throwing in his full support behind an American-led invasion – were it to go ahead, which it did. (Daily Star 2016)

Even before he took charge of France, Chirac had long been in love with the region and had developed strong and long-lasting relationships with all the rulers in the region...
In 1992, during a speech in Cairo in April, Chirac had reintroduced vigor to the French policy to the Arab world in general, but Palestine in particular... No wonder, Yasser Arafat referred to him as “Doctor Chirac” and the closest friend that he had in Europe, or indeed the entire Western world.
One of the landmark policies and decisions that would mark Chirac’s second term and indeed French policy in the Middle East was his rejection of the US-led invasion of Iraq in the second Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Unlike his British counterpart, Prime Minister Tony Blair, who merrily joined the misplaced campaign against “weapons of mass destruction” that Saddam was supposed to have possessed, Chirac firmly led the opposition to an intervention in Iraq.
It proved immensely popular in France and indeed the rest of Europe, in sharp contrast with Blair, whose legacy was dragged in mud for taking Britain into the war.
Chirac played a key role in modulating the policies of the EU towards the Middle East and especially its consistent support to the Palestinian cause and the two-state solution.
Besides Iraq, Chirac also played an important role in the EU policy toward Iran, one of cautious engagement with the regime, in sharp contrast with the policy of the current US President Donald Trump.

Separation of religion and state in Israel.
Most Israelis want Orthodox parties out of government
By Ben Sales, The Jerusalem Post, 27-9-2019

A majority of Jewish voters is clear on one thing: They want their next government to be less religious than it is now.
A new survey by Hiddush, an Israeli organization that supports religious pluralism, shows that 57 percent of the Jewish Israeli electorate does not want the incoming governing coalition to include or depend on parties that are haredi Orthodox, commonly referred to as ultra-Orthodox in the United States. That 57 percent majority also wants the coalition to support religious freedom in Israel.
Thirty-four percent of Israeli Jews want the Orthodox parties in the coalition and are happy with current government policy, which gives Orthodox Judaism significant influence over Israeli law.
Nearly all of those who voted for Blue and White, the centrist party led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, want a secular governing coalition.
Most voters for Netanyahu’s Likud Party (56 percent) support a coalition with Orthodox parties, while 44 percent favor a secular coalition.

The elections have unfolded in a way that so clearly points to the concern that Israelis feel with the unholy alliance of religion and state,” said Uri Regev, Hiddush’s founder.
The survey follows an annual one by Hiddush on religion in Israel. That survey, like past ones, shows that a solid majority of Israeli Jews wants government policy to be far less influenced by Orthodox law than it is now.
64 percent of respondents want there to be separation of religion and state in Israel. 64 percent do not want any religious body to have governmental authority in Israel. At present, Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate controls marriage, divorce, burial and other affairs in Israel.

Secularism & the problem of 'Jewish' identiy
Knesset website: The State of Israel as a Jewish State

In a theocracy you're a Jew when you obey and respect the clergy. In a racist state you're a Jew when you have the DNA of a Jew. What happens when you want to be a free man (a 'Mensch') in a 'Jewish' state?

Jesus, enemy of Jewish Law

"You are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" (Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew, 23)

There is in Israel a fierce debate surrounding the question of “Who is a Jew”, and by extension, who is eligible to make aliyah under the Law of Return.
At present, the definition is based on Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws: the right of Return is granted to any individual with one Jewish grandparent, or who is married to someone with one Jewish grandparent. As a result, thousands of people with no meaningful connection to the Jewish (i.e. religious) people theoretically have the right to immigrate.
To make matters more complicated, the Israeli Rabbinate, a purely Orthodox body, is far more stringent about its definition of who is a Jew, leaving thousands of “Jewish” immigrants ineligible for marriage and unrecognized by the state authorities.

For more then fifty years, the question of Jewish identity has been one of the most complex and volatile issues facing the state, as well as a major source of controversy and division among world Jewry.
It is generally understood that the Law of Return was drafted by David Ben-Gurion “in the shadow of the Holocaust” in order that “whomever the Nazis called a Jew [..] was to be offered refuge in the newly established State of Israel.”
However, Ben-Gurion failed to define who, exactly, qualified as a Jew.

Well known cases in the Israeli Supreme Court debating the question of “Who is a Jew?” include: Brother Daniel v. the state of Israel, 1962; and the Shalit Case, 1969 (also known as the “Who Is a Jew?” case).
In the Brother Daniel case, a man who converted to Catholicism is considered Jewish halachically (according to traditional Jewish law) because his mother was Jewish, while as a result of his conversion, he is not considered Jewish under Israeli civil law.
In the Shalit case, the Shalit children of an Israeli father and non-Jewish mother are considered Jewish according to civil law, but because of their mothers non-Jewish status, they are not considered Jewish according to Halacha. Here the tension in definitions and the contention between religious and secular becomes clear.

Orthodox Jews trace the Jewish blood line through the mother (matrilineal descent) while Reform Jews also accept Jewish parentage on the father’s side (patrilineal descent) as valid, so long as the child is “raised Jewish.” They demand that the Law of Return be amended to correspond to the halachic definition of who is a Jew.
The secular parties would like to see the creation in Israel of a civil status independent of the religious authorities.
In particular, they argue for the institution of civil marriage that would allow the resolution of the problem of mixed marriages. Here it may be objected that such a step would endanger the Jewish character of the State of Israel.

The Curse of the Law
Paul (New Testament) versus Legalism

The Nuremberg Laws
Jews cannot be citizens

On November 14, 1935, the Nazi government officially defined who was a German and who was a Jew through an additional decree called the First Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law. It stated:

All subjects of German or kindred blood, who possessed the right to vote in the Reichstag elections at the time the [Nuremberg] Citizenship Law came into effect, shall for the time being possess the rights of Reich citizens.
A Jew cannot be a citizen of the Reich. He has no right to vote in political affairs and he cannot occupy public office.
The affairs of religious organizations will not be affected. The conditions of service of teachers in Jewish public schools remain unchanged until new regulations for the Jewish school systems are issued.

A Jew is anyone who is descended from at least three grandparents who are racially full Jews.
A Jew is also one who is descended from two full Jewish parents, if (a) he belonged to the Jewish religious community at the time this law was issued, or joined the community later, (b) he was married to a Jewish person, at the time the law was issued, or married one subsequently, (c) he is the offspring of a marriage with a Jew, (d) he is the offspring of an extramarital relationship with a Jew...

Israel: Talks between Likud, Blue and White
end with no progress, blame-trading
Times of Israel, 27-9-2019

Negotiating teams for Likud and Blue and White met Friday morning for ongoing talks over a potential unity government between the two parties, but made little headway..
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin of Likud refused to back down from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge that Likud would only form a government with a bloc of 55 seats, headed by Netanyahu, that includes the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties. “None of the 55 will remain outside,” he said....

Speaking at a Likud event in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu urged Gantz to “show leadership,” and join a Likud-led alliance of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties.
“Benny, the ball is in your court,” he said, “I know you have all sorts of advisers telling you various things, but sometimes the right thing to do is also the simple thing. Stand up, show leadership, and come to a unity government.”
For its part, Blue and White said in a statement that it was concerned with “principles and values” as “the foundation of any negotiation” while Likud was chiefly concerned with Netanyahu’s remaining prime minister.

Lavrov: West subverts international law to suit its needs
UN News, 27 September 2019

While crediting the United Nations for preventing ‘World War III’, the Foreign Minister of Russia lamented to the General Assembly on Friday that the number of conflicts on the planet has not declined, nor has enmity weakened.
Sergei Lavrov was of the view that the reason for the world’s current state lies “first and foremost”, in the unwillingness of the self-proclaimed winners of the Cold War to reckon with “the legitimate interests of other States”.

Sergei Lavrov Addresses General Debate, 74th Session

It is hard for the West to put up with its weakening centuries-long dominance in world affairs”, even though new economic centres and political influences have emerged, he said.
Mr. Lavrov maintained that “leading Western countries are trying to impede the development of the polycentric world, to recover their privileged positions and impose their standards of conduct on others.
Moreover, he said that the West has been increasingly loathe to recall international law, saying that instead it “dwells on” a rules-based order aimed to position itself as the only “indisputable source of legitimacy”.
Instead of working collectively, formats “outside of legitimate multilateral frameworks” are decided behind closed doors and declared multilateral agreements, he continued.
Attacks on international law are looming large”, the Foreign Minister stated, pointing the United States withdrawal from the UN-endorsed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal.
And the US has “set a hard line” towards eroding UN resolutions on the international legal framework of the Middle East peace process.
“It suggests waiting for some ‘deal of the century’, meanwhile it has taken unilateral decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights”, endangering the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, he spelled out.
Russia’s Foreign Minister underscored that universal conventions together with the UN Security Council resolutions “are an integral part of international law”, and yet the West would like to substitute them for its own rules.

Iraq to open border-crossing with Syria
Reuters|Arab News, 28 September 2019

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has approved the reopening on Monday of the Qaim border-crossing with Syria, state news agency INA said, the latest sign of normalization between Baghdad and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.
The crossing will be reopened for travelers and trade, INA reported on Friday, citing Iraq’s border agency chief.
The western Anbar province town of Qaim, 300 kilometers west of Baghdad, was recaptured from Daesh in November 2017 and was the group’s last bastion in Iraq to fall.
It borders the Syrian town of Albu Kamal, which was also a Daesh stronghold. The towns lie on a strategic supply route and the crossing between them had only been open for government or military traffic.
Daesh [IS] in 2014 seized vast swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria, declaring a caliphate across both countries.
Iraq declared victory over the group in 2017 and it lost its last territory in Syria earlier this year.
Iraq’s government recently called for the reinstatement of Syria’s membership of the Arab League, which was suspended in 2011...

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

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

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

The decision made by the Arab League (AL) to suspend Syria will lead to division in Syria and across the Arab world, a political analyst tells Press TV.
Professor Daoud Khairallah of Georgetown University, Washington, said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday that the Arab League is seeking to “create more discord within Syria, encouraging certain parts against others.”
The Arab organization wants to “promote some kind of confessional sectarian strife inside the Syrian society,” Khairallah added.
On Saturday (12-11-2011), the Arab League announced the suspension of Syria and called for sanctions to be imposed on the country.
“The decision of the Arab League is basically against the charter and is in violation of the express provisions of the charter,” Khairallah said.
Article 8 of the charter of the Arab League prohibits any member country from interfering in the internal affairs [of other member states] especially with respect to regime change or form of government change,” the political analyst further explained.
Professor Jamal al-Rifai from the Cairo-based Ein Shams University stressed that the conspiracy hatched against Syria is very tightened and aims at undermining the last fortress of pan-Arabism in the region.

Will a 'Safe Zone' Be Set Up in Northern Syria?
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 28-8-2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes a new "safe zone" in northern Syria will kill two birds with one stone -- easing the refugee burden and pushing Kurdish militants away from his southern border.
The US and Turkey have already launched joint patrols this month with the aim of establishing the "safe zone". But analysts say the scheme is unrealistic.

- What is the 'safe zone'? -
In his speech at the UN General Assembly this week, Erdogan unveiled a chart showing ambitious plans for the zone, that would be 30 kilometres deep and run 480 kilometres (300 miles) along the north of Syria.
He said it could eventually allow two to three million Syrian refugees to return to their country.
That has become a priority for Erdogan, who has faced a growing popular backlash over the presence of 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey -- the highest number in the world.
Turkish broadcaster TRT said Friday that the first stage of the plan envisioned one million Syrians being resettled in 140 villages and 10 towns.
The plan would also create a buffer against Syrian Kurdish militants, who control much of the region. The "safe zone" was first publicly mooted earlier this year by President Donald Trump as a way to stop Turkey attacking the YPG, as Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to do.

- Will it happen? -
Experts are sceptical that the plan will come together, despite joint air and ground patrols by the US and Turkey this month.
"Even if efforts to create a 'buffer zone' succeed -- and there is no sign that they will -- the underlying source of tension will remain and with it, the potential for a Turkish military response to Ankara's perceived YPG threat," Dareen Khalifa, of the International Crisis Group, told AFP.
She also said the US has made it clear that Washington has "not signed off on any agreement that would entail involuntary relocation of Syrians to the northeast".

- Will refugees return? -
According to Syria expert Fabrice Balanche, it is not possible to send three million people to the proposed region. "The liveable area is limited since the majority of the space is semi-desert," he said, and the region east of the Euphrates river is "very under-developed".
It would also mean major demographic change, since the area is mostly Kurdish and 90 percent of Syrian refugees in Turkey are Arab.
Hasan Unal, foreign policy analyst at Istanbul's Maltepe University, said it would be difficult for both sides. "Are all these people from that part of Syria? If not, they might say: 'We don't want to go to somebody else's land,'" said Unal.
According to Unal, the best way to repatriate Syrians would be in cooperation with the Syrian government following a normalisation of relations between Ankara and Damascus.
"As far as international law is concerned, you can't force them to move."

Walid Al-Moalem: The security of one country cannot come
at the expense of the security of neighbouring countries
Syrian Arab News Agency, 29-9-2019

Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Al-Moalem, in the statement of the Syrian Arab Republic at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, said that any agreement about any part of Syria without the consent of the Syrian government is condemned and rejected in form and in substance...

"The United States and Turkey maintain an illegal military presence in Northern Syria.
They have been so arrogant to the point of holding discussions and reaching agreements on the creation of a so-called ‘safe zone’ inside Syria, as if they were planning to establish this zone on American or Turkish soil!
This is a violation of international law and the UN Charter. Any agreement about any part of Syria without the consent of the Syrian government is condemned and rejected in form and in substance.
Any foreign forces operating in our territories without our authorization are occupying forces and must withdraw immediately. If they refuse, we have the right to take any and all countermeasures authorized under international law.
In this regard, I would like to refer quickly to the criminal and oppressive practices implemented by the secessionist militias known as SDF against Syrians in the governorates of Hasaka, Raqqa, Deir Ez-Zor, and Aleppo.
With the support of the United States and coalition forces, they seek to impose a new reality that serves American and Israeli agendas in the region and prolongs the war terrorists are waging against Syria."

"Turkey’s policies, whether in Idlib or in Northern Syria and its political maneuvers may undermine all the achievements made in Astana.
Turkey cannot claim to uphold Syria’s unity and territorial integrity while at the same time being the first to undermine them.
If Turkey is truly committed to the security of its borders and the unity of Syria, as it claims, it must choose whether to respect the Astana understandings and the bilateral agreements on counter-terrorism to secure the borders and to withdraw its forces from Syria, or to be the aggressor and the occupier – and to face the consequences.
The safety of the borders of one country cannot come at the expense of the security, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of neighboring countries."

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