Saddam's Death, 150 (october 2019-part 2)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 149: oct 2019 - part 1
and Page 151: november 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 - Pompeo & Christian leadership

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)

Uri Avnery - The Original Sin
Avnery-News, 27-11-2010

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)

Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren wants
US combat troops to ‘get out’ of Middle East
The New Arab, 16 October, 2019

US Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren called for the country's troops to "get out" of the Middle East, signalling her support to end a decades-long US military presence in the region.
Warren, who is among the frontrunners to become the Democratic candidate in 2020, said: "I think that we ought to get out of the Middle East", during Tuesday's Democratic primary debate.
The bold remark was later clarified by Warren’s campaign team, who said she was talking about combat troops only, not those in support and non-combat roles.
"She believes we need to end the endless wars. That means working to responsibly remove US troops from combat in the Middle East, and using diplomacy to work with allies and partners to end conflicts and suffering in the region," said the senator’s spokesperson Alexis Krieg.

Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who has gained notoriety for her perceived sympathy for Syria's [president] Bashar al-Assad, came under fire for calling Syria eight-year-long conflict a "regime change war".
"The slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime change war that we've been waging in Syria," the Iraq War veteran declared in the debate.

US forces, including air and naval forces, have been based in the Middle East for decades, in part to ensure a free flow of oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia that have long been a vital energy source to many Western countries.
The US Navy's 5th Fleet, for example, is headquartered in Bahrain, and the Air Force operates aircraft, including fighter jets, bombers and intelligence-gathering planes, at bases in Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait.
The US also has about 5,200 non-combat troops in Iraq to support Iraqi security forces who were overrun by the Islamic State group in 2014.
The number of US troops in Syria has shrunk this year from about 2,000 to about 1,000, and Trump last week directed the remaining soldiers to leave.
Warren has long argued that the US military is overcommitted in the Middle East and mired in conflicts that sap America's strength.

Flashback 2016: Tulsi Gabbard 'Under Serious
Consideration' for Trump Cabinet
By Shushannah Walshe, Nov 21, 2016

"I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives"

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a high-profile Bernie Sanders supporter during the Democratic primaries, is “under serious consideration” for various Cabinet positions in President-elect Donald Trump's administration..
She met with him this morning in his New York City offices at Trump Tower. The Trump transition source said that their sit-down was a “terrific meeting” and that the Trump team sees her as very impressive.

In the House she has broken with Democrats on the Syrian civil war (she supports keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power) and Syrian refugees (she voted for a GOP bill last year to conduct stricter background checks on refugees).
This afternoon she released a long statement on her meeting with Trump...
"I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the president-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government...", adding that she would not let politics get in the way of meeting with the president-elect.
"We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people."

Iranian President Calls for Referendum
to ‘Clarify Political Track’
Asharq Al-Awsat News, 17 October, 2019

"Pfff folks, you really can't be a holy man all the time..."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday called for a referendum to clarify his country’s political course amid mounting calls for change.
"If we fail to find solutions to the issues we have been discussing for more than 40 years, we must demand a referendum," Rouhani was quoted as saying by the German news agency.
He was referring to the period since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
The president said the "strategic differences" between the conservative and reformist political forces in the country should be clarified through a vote, according to a government statement quoted by the agency.
Forty years have passed since the referendum, which abolished the monarchy and established the republic.
Rouhani noted that his country “should not distance itself from the outside world and take into account the realities of the 21st century.”

Trump's letter to Erdogan
Dmitry Peskov: "Highly unusual"
By Ragip Soylu, Middle East Eye, 17 October 2019

A leaked letter written by US President Donald Trump to Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning his Turkish counterpart not to be a “fool” has sent shockwaves around Turkey due to its lack of protocol and seriousness.
Dated 9 October, the day Erdogan launched an offensive in northeastern Syria against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, the letter aimed to make a deal between Turkey and the SDF, and included an open economic sanctions threat.

Trump's letter to Erdogan

Dear Mr President,
Let's work out a good deal! You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy - and I will. I’ve already given you a little sample with respect to Pastor Brunson.
I have worked hard to solve some of your problems. Don't let the world down. You can make a great deal.
General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past. I am confidentially enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.
History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!

The leak comes at a particularly sensitive time, with US Vice President Mike Pence touching down in Ankara on Thursday in a bid to seek a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdish-led SDF.
Russia on Thursday questioned the tone of the letter, describing it as "highly unusual".
"You don't often encounter such language in correspondence between heads of state. It's a highly unusual letter," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Since Washington’s surprise announcement that US personnel were leaving Syria Trump has veered wildly between soft and hard stances on Turkey.
Tweets threatening to ruin Turkey’s economy have been followed by more sympathetic ones, such as a post on Wednesday saying the PKK, the Kurdish militant group Ankara says the SDF is an extension of, is worse than IS.
Erdogan earlier this week complained that he doesn’t understand what Trump wants anymore. “We can no longer follow Trump’s tweets. We cannot track them..."

Mazlum Abdi [General Mazloum]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ferhat Abdi Şahin, better known by his noms de guerre Mazlum Abdi and Mazlum Kobanê is a Syrian Kurdish military leader, serving as the commander-in-chiefof the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Abdi first served with the Kurdistan Workers' Party within Syria and was detained several times by the Syrian authorities.
He joined the PKK in Turkey and conducted militant activities in rural areas of Şemdinli (Hakkâri Province) in 1996.
He later left to Europe where he was engaged in political work, later travelling to Iraq where he was again involved in military work
In August 2014 he was in charge of the negotiations the People's Protection Units (YPG) held in Sulaymaniya with Iran and the United States in order to form an effective alliance against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), after which an alliance with the US was agreed to.
Mazlum Kobanê has stated that he is open to work together with the Syrian government within a federal system that includes the existing de facto autonomous Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

In the wake of the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, Abdi has stated his willingness to ally with the Syrian regime in order to protect the local Kurdish as well as the Armenian and Assyrian population of Northern Syria from Turkish and Islamist aggression.
As part of a deal with the SDF, Syrian government troops have been given permission to occupy the towns of Manbij and Kobanî in the hopes of deterring further Turkish aggression.

Turkey: Russia promised to keep 'YPG elements'
away from Turkey-Syria border, Çavuşoğlu says
Daily Sabah [Turkey], 17-10-2019

Russia "promised that the PKK or YPG will not be on the other side of the border," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with the BBC. "If Russia, accompanied by the Syrian [Arab] army, removes YPG elements from the region, we will not oppose this."
Earlier Thursday, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the Assad government should get control over its border with Turkey as part of any settlement of the conflict in the region, as Ankara pressed on with its anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın held talks Thursday with a Russian delegation led by Alexander Lavrentyev, Moscow's envoy for Syria.
The talks focused on Turkey's Operation Peace Spring as well as the latest situation in Idlib and Manbij. The parties agreed to continue their cooperation in order to tackle the threat to Syria's territorial integrity poised by terrorist groups.
Talks with the Russians come as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and State Secretary Mike Pompeo visit Ankara to discuss the Turkish operation.

Turkey and US agree ceasefire with Syria Kurds
Robert Edwards, Rudaw News [Kurdistan Region], 17-10-2019

Turkey and the United States have agreed to a Turkish ceasefire in northern Syria, US Vice President Mike Pence told a press conference in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday evening.
Under the 13-point agreement, Turkish military operations will be paused for 120 hours to allow US forces to facilitate the safe withdrawal of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the 20-mile-wide ‘safe zone’ along the shared border, Pence told reporters. “All military operations, under Operation Peace Spring, will be paused and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on the completion of the withdrawal,” Pence said.
“This also includes an agreement by Turkey to engage in no military action against the community of Kobane, and in addition, the United States and Turkey have both mutually committed to a peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone, working on an international basis to ensure that peace and security defines this border region of Syria,” the VP added.

Speaking at a separate press conference moments after Pence spoke, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “We got what we wanted.” Claiming the safe zone will be under the control of Turkish forces, Cavusoglu said. “This means that the US has approved the legitimacy of our operations and aims.”
Cavusoglu said the ceasefire agreement also includes the disarmament of the YPG and the destruction of the group’s bases. Mazloum Kobane Abdi, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said: “We have accepted the agreement, and we will do what is necessary to help it succeed.”
In comments run by the SDF-affiliated Ronahi TV, Abdi contradicted the Turkish foreign minister, pointing out “the Pence-Erdogan agreement [only] covers the area from Sari Kani to Tel Abyad”.
“The agreement doesn’t cover the rest of the Northern Syria areas, and it will be discussed later,” Abdi said. “The area should not be changed, and Turkey’s goals in occupying our land should not be achieved. The demographics of the area should not be altered and people need to return to their areas.”

Mahor consession to Turkey
Huffington Post, 17-10-2019

The deal represents a major concession to Turkey by agreeing that the country will take over a significant swath of Syria. And it sets up further complications with the Syrian Kurdish forces, known as the YPG, as it agrees they should surrender their heavy weapons. Ankara is wary of the group because of its ties to a rebel group that’s fought the Turkish state called the PKK.
The deal is almost certain to fail, said Brett McGurk, who until the end of last year served as Trump’s top envoy to U.S. partners fighting ISIS.
“The US just ratified Turkey’s plan to effectively extend its border 30km into Syria with no ability to meaningfully influence facts on the ground,” McGurk tweeted..
"Turkey says it’s the entire border from the Euphrates to Iraq (450x30km) to be controlled by its military forces. Non-implementable." (Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 17, 2019)

US-statement: Turkey is a NATO member
Anadolu Agency [Turkey]. 17.10.2019

Turkey-Qatar-backed MB-leader
Yusuf Qaradawi: a NATO-man?

Following the meetings between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish-U.S. delegations in Ankara, the two sides reached 13-article agreement on northeast Syria.
Turkey and the U.S. "reaffirmed the relationship as fellow members of NATO", and "the U.S. side understands Turkey's security concerns on its southern border," according to the statement.
With an understanding of "one for all and all for one," they also remain committed to protecting NATO territories and NATO populations against all threats.

Remaining articles of the "Joint Turkish-U.S. Statement on Northeast Syria"..
6. Turkey and the U.S. agree that counter-terrorism operations must target only terrorists and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles and equipment.
7. The Turkish side expressed its commitment to ensure safety and well-being of residents of all population centers in the safe zone controlled by the Turkish Forces (safe zone) and reiterated that maximum care will be exercised in order not to cause harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.
8. Both countries reiterate their commitment to the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and UN-led political process, which aims at ending the Syrian conflict in accordance with UNSCR 2254.
10. The safe zone will be primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces and the two sides will increase their cooperation in all dimensions of its implementation.

The UN 2254 resolution

The resolution demands that all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilian targets, it urges all Member States to support efforts to achieve a ceasefire and requests the U.N. to convene the parties to engage in formal negotiations in early January 2016.
Groups seen as "terrorist groups" by the U.N. Security Council, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the al-Nusra Front, are excluded.
Offensive and defensive actions against such groups will continue. A mechanism to monitor the ceasefire will be set up.
Free and fair elections will be held under U.N. supervision. The political transition will be Syrian-led.

The UN Resolution 2254 was invoked by Iran, Russia, and Turkey as the legal basis for the political process required to solve the Syrian conflict, at the first round of the Astana Talks in January 2017."

Flashback: Mr. Erdogan became the Brotherhood’s only « godfather »
Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network 15-6-2015

From the first days of the Arab Spring, the AKP (Justice and Development Party) supported Islamist parties: Rached Ghannouchi in Tunisia, Mahmoud Jibril in Libya and Mohamed Morsi in Egypt.
The party furnished the Muslim Brotherhood with specialists in political communication and advised them in order to impose their common vision of Islam in their respective societies.
In September 2011, as a sign of this alliance, Mr. Erdogan helped to create the Syrian National Council in Istanbul, which was slated to become the Syrian government in exile - an instance which was entirely under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2012, Mr. Erdogan welcomed to the AKP congress leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood (the Egyptian Mohamed Morsi and the Palestinian Khaled Meschal). He also organised a conference for the Brotherhood on the 10th July 2013...
When, in September 2014, Qatar avoided war with Saudi Arabia by inviting the Muslim Brotherhood to leave the Emirate, Mr. Erdogan seized the opportunity and he became the Brotherhood’s only « godfather » on the international stage...

The Arab Spring strengthens Turkey’s position
Ibrahim Kalin [Erdogan's spokesman], May 23, 2011:

Despite setbacks in Libya, Yemen, and Syria, the democratic wave has already begun to change the Middle East’s political landscape.
The Arab Spring strengthens rather than weakens Turkey’s position in the Arab world, and vindicates the new strategic thrust of Turkish foreign policy.
Turkish officials have stated on various occasions that change in the Arab world is inevitable...
"Simply put, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Nahda Movement in Tunisia, and Hamas in Palestine will all play important and legitimate roles in the political future of their respective countries.
This means that Americans and Europeans will need to engage these groups publicly and directly, as Turkey has done, not secretly or indirectly, as they have in the past. After all, they are now part of the emerging political order in the Arab world.."

Hillary Clinton says Russia is grooming
Gabbard to be a third-party candidate
Daniel Strauss, Politico, 18-10-2019

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a podcast interview that Russia sees Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard as a potential third-party candidate who could spoil the 2020 presidential election for Democrats.
Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee, made the comments on the podcast hosted by David Plouffe, who managed former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Clinton also mentioned Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee in 2016, as another American politician favored by Russia
“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and they’re grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said in an interview for Plouffe’s Campaign HQ podcast.
She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up because she’s also a Russian asset.”
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed that the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard.

Gabbard, who has previously said she would not run as a third-party candidate, fired back on Twitter.

"Thank you @HillaryClinton," Gabbard tweeted. "You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.
From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why.
Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose."

Flashback 2011 - Putin: "a medieval crusade"
by Lidia Okorokova, 28-4-2011

Russia toughened its opposition to Western military intervention in Libya this week as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin deployed his strongest criticism yet of NATO airstrikes in the country.
On Tuesday, speaking during a news conference in Copenhagen, Putin said the North African country was being illegally destroyed by “so-called civilised society” and that NATO was going beyond the UN mandate when it dropped guided bombs on embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli. “What kind of no-fly zone is this if they are striking palaces every night?” Putin said. “What do they need to bomb palaces for? To drive out the mice?”
The premier’s comments came after he earlier likened the UN Security Council resolution to enforce a no-fly zone in the country to a “call to a medieval crusade”.

Turkey: Erdogan to discuss Syrian deployment
in 'safe zone' with Putin
Reuters|Ahram online, Saturday 19 Oct 2019

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he would discuss the deployment of Syrian government forces in a planned "safe zone" in northern Syria during talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin next week, but warned Ankara would "implement its own plans" if a solution was not reached.
Turkey agreed with the United States on Thursday to pause its military offensive in northeastern Syria for five days while Kurdish fighters withdrew from a "safe zone". Erdogan will visit Sochi for emergency talks with Putin on what steps to take next.
Speaking at an opening ceremony in the central Turkish province of Kayseri, Erdogan also said Turkey would "crush the heads" of Kurdish militants in northern Syria if they did not withdraw from the area during the 120-hour period.

Aleppo, al-Saqatiyah souk

Syria: Centuries-old al-Saqatiyah souk re-opens
Syrian Arab News Agency, 19 October 2019

A centuries-old al-Saqatiyah souk (market) was re-opened recently in the old city of Aleppo after the completion of restoration works and repairing the damages caused to its shops due to terrorism.
Re-opening of this souk means the return of former way of life and for traders and shoppers, being back in the al-Saqatiyah souk represents a partial return to their old lives.
The souk includes more than 53 shops dedicated to the sale of desserts and nuts. It is considered as the main center of the markets of the old city of Aleppo.
A number of institutions participated in the restoration works of this important souk, including the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, the Governorate and Aleppo City Council, the Syrian Trust for Development and the Agha Khan Cultural Foundation.

Saudi Arabia vows to promote moderate values
Ibrahim bin Suleiman Al-Turki, Arab News, 20 October 2019

New York: At a UN specialized sub-committee meeting Saudi Arabia stressed its keenness, through its media, to consolidate the approach of moderation, respect for rights and justice, reduce hate speech and combat extremism, and not allow terrorist and extremist groups to use media platforms to spread hatred and violence.
Ibrahim bin Suleiman Al-Turki, a member of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN, talked about moderation enhancement and combating terrorism, as well as other issues concerning respecting rights and justice.
Al-Turki noted that the Kingdom’s government works through its media to highlight its economic, cultural and social mission and confirm to the whole world that Saudi citizens accept others and desire an intercultural dialogue.
He said: “My country hopes that the UN exerts more effort to carry out its responsibilities toward media outlets that incite hatred, extremism, violence and sabotage, strike to disturb security and stability, spread false reports, insult human dignity and abuse human rights.

Mohammed Bin-Salman & Hate Preacher al-Arifi

Breaking with the past?

Flashback 2012: "Dependence on foreign support is a disaster"
Seumas Milne,, 7-8-2012

For Syrians who want dignity and democracy in a free country, the rapidly mushrooming dependence of their uprising on foreign support is a disaster – even more than was the case in Libya.
After all, it is now officials of the dictatorial and sectarian Saudi regime who choose which armed groups get funding, not Syrians.
And it is intelligence officials from the US, which sponsors the Israeli occupation of Syrian territory and dictatorships across the region, who decide which rebel units get weapons....

Al-Arabya, 25-6-2014: Controversial Saudi preacher Mohammad al-Arifi has been banned from entering the United Kingdom. This week, the cleric was accused by the British media of radicalizing three young British citizens allegedly now fighting in Syria.

Trump: Hillary Clinton ‘Crazy’ To Claim
Tulsi Gabbard Is Russia’s ‘Favorite’
Joshua Caplan, Breitbart, 20 Oct 2019

President Donald Trump slammed failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for claiming, without evidence, that 2020 White House hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is “the favorite of the Russians.”
Trump tweeted, “So now Crooked Hillary is at it again! She is calling Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard “a Russian favorite,” and Jill Stein “a Russian asset...”
“As you may have heard, I was called a big Russia lover also (actually, I do like Russian people. I like all people!). Hillary’s gone Crazy!” (@realDonaldTrump, October 20, 2019)

The president’s defense of Gabbard comes after Clinton smeared Gabbard in a recent interview as “the favorite of the Russians,” who was being “groomed” by the Kremlin as a potential third-party candidate.
Of the entire 2020 Democrat primary field, only technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang and New Age author Marianne Williamson defended Gabbard against Clinton’s loaded accusations.
Williamson wrote: “The Democratic establishment has got to stop smearing women it finds inconvenient! The character assassination of women who don’t toe the party line will backfire. Stay strong @TulsiGabbard. You deserve respect and you have mine.”

Marianna Williamson (Born 8-7-1952, SUN in Cancer, MOON in Capricorn) is an American author, spiritual leader, politician, and activist. She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a volunteer food delivery program that serves home-bound people with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. She is also the co-founder of the Peace Alliance, a nonprofit education and advocacy organization supporting peace-building projects.
Williamson on Jesus: "Jesus was a human being who while on earth completely self-actualized and fulfilled in all ways the potential glory that lies within us all.
He became one with the Essence and Christ Spirit that is in all of us. In that sense, he is our evolutionary elder brother.
He demonstrated our destiny. He displayed for all to see the destination of this journey that we are on. The only thing lacking in any situation is our own awareness of love, and Jesus realized and taught that..."

PKK chief tells Syria Kurds: Keep fighting
Fazel Hawramy, Rudaw News [Kurdistan Region], 20-10-2019

Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Cemil Bayik released a video on Sunday warning Syria’s Kurds not to trust the motives of the United States or Russia and to continue fighting the Turkish invasion.
You should not leave your areas. Let them kill and wound as many as they want,” Bayik said in the video, published by the PKK-affiliated ANF news agency.
“If you get out, you won’t be able to go back to your hamlets, to your land and to your houses. That would be the death of the Kurds,” Bayik added.
On Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Ankara and secured a ceasefire deal with Erdogan. Under the agreement, Kurdish fighters were given five days to withdraw from the border area under US supervision.
In his video statement on Sunday morning, PKK chief Bayik told Syria’s Kurds not to trust the deal brokered by the US and Turkey.
“Continue your struggle until the Turkish occupying forces leave,” Bayik said. “You have no other option because withdrawing means the death of the Kurds. You should not become someone else’s soldier. Do not lean on America.”
Bayik railed against Iran, Russia, and America for colluding with Erdogan against the Kurds. “For every person killed or wounded, America and Russia and the international community are responsible,” Bayik said.

Wanted, Information that brings to justice: Cemil Bayik
Rewards for Justice

Cemil Bayik is an Executive Committee Member, founding member and senior leader of the PKK.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), also known as Kongra-Gel is a regionally active terrorist organization and a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
The PKK has targeted Turkish government officials, police and security forces and indiscriminately injured and killed civilians.
PKK uses its network and criminal activities across Europe to obtain weapons and materials. The PKK has used suicide bombers, vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), and other indiscriminate terror tactics. The PKK also recruits and indoctrinates youths, sometimes by abduction, and employs them as militants.
In 2015 and 2016, the PKK expanded attacks across Turkey, metropolitan centers, and tourist destinations on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coast.
Since 2015, the group has been responsible for the deaths of over 1,200 Turkish security officials and civilians.

The U.S. Department of State’s Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, was established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism. Administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, RFJ’s goal is to bring international terrorists to justice...

US troops leave Raqqa, bolster presence in Iraq
Rudaw News [Kurdistan Region], 20-10-2019

A day after US. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the transfer of US troops stationed in Syria to Iraq, a large number of US troops left Raqqa towards Hasaka province, making preparations for a final withdrawal from the war-ravaged country. More than 70 American military vehicles and Humvees withdraw from Sirni military base in Raqqa, headed for Iraq.
Retreating American troops were escorted by helicopters, while 100 truck loaders entered Syria's Qamishli from Iraq in an apparent move to transfer heavy US weaponry, according to the Rudaw reporters.
Esper said on Saturday that their troops are going to western Iraq, adding that they would number about 1,000.
The additional US troops would add to the more than 5,000 American troops already based in the country, training Iraqi forces and helping to ensure ISIS extremists do not regroup.

US forces bombed their base and landing strip
RT News [Russia], 20-10-2019

A ‘military challenge edition’ of the Bible and a replica of the “Come and Take It” flag, discovered among the rubble. The historic flag was the symbol of the Texan Revolution of 1835-36.

Retreating US troops have bombed their base and landing strip near the town of Tell Tamer in northern Syria, and destroyed equipment at another one.
The airfield in Syria’s Hasaka Province, located at the Turkish border, was capable of accepting large military transport planes and helicopters, SANA news agency reported. Well, not anymore, as the Americans blew the airstrip up.
The Americans have also reportedly blown up a radar on Mount Abdulaziz as well as some of their facilities in Hasaka, before heading out towards the Syrian border with Iraq.
While leaving another base near Manbij the US troops did their best to destroy what they couldn’t bring with them...

Tulsi Gabbard Declares War on Hillary Clinton
and Democrat Party Establishment
Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart, 20 Oct 2019

Tulsi Gabbard: "This Madness must end. We must stop arming terrorists" Russia Today, 9 Dec, 2016

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is taking the fight to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment after a spat Friday in which the party’s 2016 presidential nominee claimed Gabbard was a Russian puppet.
In a video released Sunday on Twitter, Gabbard talks about the origins of her long-simmering feud with Democratic leaders, dating back to her support for the insurgent campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016.
Gabbard resigned from her post within the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in protest at the way then-chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was treating Sanders.
In Sunday’s video, Gabbard recalls: “People warned me in 2016 that my endorsement of Bernie Sanders would be the end of my ‘political career.’ They said, ‘Clinton will never forget,’ that ‘she and her rich and powerful friends, her allies in politics and the media, will make sure that you are destroyed.'”
Gabbard then refers to the “countless hit pieces” against her in the mainstream media, the most recent of which was an Oct. 11 article in the New York Times painting Gabbard as a right-wing extremist.
In her video, Gabbard goes on to say that the message of the party establishment is that “if you stand up against Hillary and the party power brokers, if you stand up to the rich and powerful elite and the war machine, they will destroy you and discredit your message.”
“They will not intimidate us,” she declares. “They will not silence us.”
Gabbard has come under fire in recent years for her opposition to U.S. military involvement in Syria — a position she has pursued, in part, through a controversial visit to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in 2017.

Bernie Sanders: "Every great religion in the world — Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism — essentially comes down to:
‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ (The Golden Rule)
And that I have believed in my whole life — I believed it when I was a 22-year-old kid getting arrested in Chicago fighting segregation — I’ve believed it in my whole life.”

Read more: Bernie Sanders: Not a great fan of Netanyahu - Bernie Sanders:& The Golden Rule

Israel-Lapid: Netanyahu's talk about unity is fake
Ben Ariel, Arutz Sheva, 20/10/2019

MK Yair Lapid (Blue and White) on Sunday joined in on the criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud), after the Prime Minister posted a video to social media entitled "Gantz, Lapid and Liberman's Secret Plan."
In the video, Netanyahu warned that Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz could form a narrow left-wing government that relies on external support of the Joint List.
Lapid shared the video Netanyahu had posted on his Facebook page and added, "I am sharing Netanyahu's post here, just to make clear how false and fake all his talk about 'unity' is."
“This is what the page of a person who doesn't care about the public looks like. This is what a person who is doing everything to push for elections again looks like," added Lapid.
Benny Gantz earlier on Sunday responded to the video as well and called on Netanyahu to immediately return the mandate for forming a government to President Reuven Rivlin.
"Netanyahu, the election campaign ended on September 17. You have failed again to establish a government. Instead of wasting time on videos, give the mandate back to the President and let us establish a liberal unity government that will take care of Israeli citizens. A government that will act wisely, in a statesmanlike manner and responsibly," said Gantz.

Netanyahu: A dangerous government is on the way to Israel
Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, 18/10/2019

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday accused Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz of planning to form a minority government with outside support from the Joint List.
“The only government that can be formed in light of the election results is a broad [meaning: ultra-right-wing-dominated] national unity government..
Gantz refuses unity. Gantz, Lapid and Liberman are reluctant to pledge that they will not form a minority government with the support of the members of the Joint List,” Netanyahu wrote in a post on Facebook.

The leaders and prominent members of the Joint List repeatedly expressed support for terrorism, admiration for terrorists, and refused to condemn harm to Israeli soldiers and civilians,” he continued.

Yasser Arafat - Nobel Prize Speech

Ahmed Tibi, one of the leaders of the Joint List, was Yasser Arafat's former adviser. He refuses to see Hamas as a terrorist organization, justified the kidnapping of IDF soldiers by Hezbollah, and in a speech at a PA conference he expressed admiration for the ‘shaheeds.’”
Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, sees himself as part of the Palestinian national resistance against Israel and refuses to condemn the harming of IDF soldiers. Under his leadership, his Hadash party issued a firm condemnation of the declaration of the Gulf states and the Arab League that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.”
“How will the State of Israel be able to act against the terrorist organizations, with its government dependent on the voices of Tibi, Odeh and Yazbak?

Can the 1998 Adana Agreement
be a Way Forward for Turkey and Syria?
Albawaba News, October 22nd, 2019

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently said: “The Adana agreement between Turkey and Syria — still valid — can be the better path to achieve security. Iran can help bring together the Syrian Kurds, the Syrian government and Turkey so that the Syrian Army, together with Turkey, can guard the border.”
With references to a possible renegotiation of the terms of an agreement between Turkey and Syria becoming widespread, experts say it may pave the way for reopening diplomatic channels between the two neighbors.
The 1998 Adana deal allows the Turkish military to enter 15 km into Syria to combat “terrorist activities,” and was used by Ankara to justify its latest operation. But the “safe zone” proposed by Turkey extends a further 15 km into Syrian territory.
Egypt and Iran are guarantors of the Adana deal, under which Damascus ended its support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hasan Unal, a professor at Istanbul Maltepe University, said any renegotiation of the Adana deal would require talks between Ankara and Damascus.
“Should these negotiations lead to normalization (of relations) between Turkey and Syria, it would be a major step forward in terms of putting an end to the war in Syria and stabilizing the region,” he said.
Unal said the Adana deal bound the Syrian government to fight the PKK on its soil, and to cooperate with Turkey on all related issues, including exchanging intelligence. The deal “created such a positive atmosphere that for more than a decade the two countries moved closer,” he added.

erdogan and assad, before the ultra right wing muslim brotherhood revolution

Unal said the deal needs to be renegotiated to give Ankara greater advantages in its struggle against the PKK and the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), while legalizing the Turkish troop presence in Syria.
Dr. Kerim Has, a Moscow-based analyst on Russian-Turkish relations, said: “Full implementation of the agreement requires direct and open dialogue between Ankara and Damascus.”
This, he said, “would reduce tensions and hostilities in the region, prevent a new conflict between the Turkish and Syrian armies, and strengthen the legitimacy of the Assad regime.”

Flashback: Syria says Turkey must stop
supporting rebels to revive the Adana security pact
Middle East Eye, 26-1-2019

Syria said on Saturday it was ready to revive a landmark security deal with Turkey that normalized ties for two decades before the 2011 conflict...
In a foreign ministry statement, Syria said it was committed to the 1998 Adana accord, which forced Damascus to stop harbouring the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an armed insurgency against the Turkish state for decades...

By the terms of the agreement, Syria for the first time acknowledged that the PKK was a terrorist organization.
Further, Syria agreed to do the following: (1) expel PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan from Syria, where he had taken refuge since the early 1980s; (2) arrest PKK militants active in Syria and uproot the PKK camps there; (3) cease providing weapons and logistical it to use Syrian soil for commercial benefit or propaganda activities against Turkey; and finally, (4) extend cooperation with Turkey against the PKK well into the future. To this end Syria agreed, although with reservations, to establish "certain mechanisms" that would aid in implementing all these measures "in the most effective and transparent way."

In a speech on Friday, Erdogan did not disavow the Adana agreement, saying it gave Turkey the right to enter Syrian territory when it faces threats, AFP said.
Turkey argues the protocol provides Ankara with the legal grounds to intervene in Syria against the PKK and its affiliates, because of the Syrian government's failure to act against them

turkey-backed "kill assad"-rebels 2012 (fsa, turkmen, al-qaeda)

Democrats Helped Cultivate the Barbarism of ISIS
by Jonathan Cook,, October 22, 2019

There is something profoundly deceitful in the way the Democratic Party and the corporate media are framing Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria.
One does not need to defend Trump’s actions or ignore the dangers posed to the Kurds, at least in the short term, by the departure of US forces from northern Syria to understand that the coverage is being crafted in such a way as to entirely overlook the bigger picture.
The problem is neatly illustrated in this line from a report by the Guardian newspaper of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s meeting this week with Trump, who is described as having had a “meltdown”. Explaining why she and other senior Democrats stormed out, the paper writes that “it became clear the president had no plan to deal with a potential revival of ISIS in the Middle East”.
Hang on a minute! Let’s pull back a little, and not pretend – as the media and Democratic party leadership wish us to – that the last 20 years did not actually happen. Many of us lived through those events. Our memories are not so short.

Islamic State, or ISIS, didn’t emerge out of nowhere. It was entirely a creation of two decades of US interference in the Middle East.
And I’m not even referring to the mountains of evidence that US officials backed their Saudi allies in directly funding and arming ISIS – just as their predecessors in Washington, in their enthusiasm to oust the Soviets from the region, assisted the jihadists who went on to become al-Qaeda.
No, I’m talking about the fact that in destroying three key Arab states – Iraq, Libya and Syria – that refused to submit to the joint regional hegemony of Saudi Arabia and Israel, Washington’s local client states, the US created a giant void of governance at the heart of the Middle East.
They knew that that void would be filled soon enough by religious extremists like Islamic State – and they didn’t care...

The bigger picture – the one no one appears to want us thinking about – is that the US intentionally sought to destroy these states with no obvious plan for the day after....
The recalcitrant states would be made an example of, broken apart, asset-stripped of their resources and eventually remade as new dependent markets for US goods. That was what George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Halliburton really meant when they talked about building a New Middle East and exporting democracy...
The barely veiled aim of the attacks on Iraq, Libya and Syria was to destroy the institutions and structures that held these societies together, however imperfectly.
Though no one likes to mention it nowadays, these states – deeply authoritarian though they were – were also secular, and had well-developed welfare states that ensured high rates of literacy and some of the region’s finest public health services...

Ibn Taymiyyah represented the Hanbali school of thought. The Hanbali school was seen as the most traditional school out of the four legal systems (Hanafi, Maliki and Shafii) because it was "suspicious of the Hellenist disciplines of philosophy and speculative theology. Aspects of his teachings had a profound influence on Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of the Hanbali reform movement practiced in Saudi Arabia known as Wahhabism. Ibn Taymiyyah's controversial fatwa allowing jihad against other Muslims, is referenced to by Al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups.

After Rove and Cheney had had their fill playing around with reality, nature got on with honoring the maxim that it always abhors a vacuum. Islamic State filled the vacuum Washington’s policy had engineered.
The clue, after all, was in the name. With the US and Gulf states using oil money to wage a proxy war against Assad, ISIS saw its chance to establish a state inspired by a variety of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist dogma. ISIS needed territory for their planned state, and the Saudis and US obliged by destroying Syria.
This barbarian army, one that murdered other religious groups as infidels and killed fellow Sunnis who refused to bow before their absolute rule, became the west’s chief allies in Syria. Directly and covertly, we gave them money and weapons to begin building their state on parts of Syria....

Trump now appears to be ending part of that policy. He may be doing so for the wrong reasons. But very belatedly – and possibly only temporarily – he is seeking to close a small chapter in a horrifying story of western-sponsored barbarism in the Middle East, one intimately tied to Islamic State....
ISIS was made in Washington as much as it was in Riyadh. For that reason, the only certain strategy for preventing the revival of Islamic State is preventing the US and the Gulf states from interfering in Syria again...
Nancy Pelosi’s purported worries about ISIS reviving because of Trump’s Syria withdrawal are simply crocodile fears.
If she is really so worried about Islamic State, then why did she and other senior Democrats stand silently by as the US under Barack Obama spent years spawning, cultivating and financing ISIS to destroy Syria...
Pelosi and most of the Democratic leadership don’t care about Syria, or its population’s welfare. They don’t care about Assad, or ISIS.
They care only about the maintenance and expansion of American power – and the personal wealth and influence it continues to bestow on them...

Gantz ‘optimistic’ ahead of receiving mandate to form government
The Times of Israel, 22-10-2019

L'Chaim - To Life
Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz said Tuesday morning that he was optimistic about his chances of forming a government, shortly before he was to become the first person in more than a decade other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be tasked with that challenge.
“The feeling is terrific,” a cheerful Gantz told reporters, as he left his home in Rosh Ha’ayin. “We finished a morning workout and will now go for the day’s work..."

"Everything is okay. We are always optimistic; it is a way of life."

Netanyahu announced Monday that he would return the mandate — the opportunity to put together a government — to President Reuven Rivlin ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, blaming his failure on Gantz, Blue and White deputy head Yair Lapid, and Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman....
Liberman has called for a secular unity government comprising Likud, Blue and White and his own party. But Netanyahu has refused to abandon his ultra-Orthodox partners Shas and United Torah Judaism. And Gantz has hitherto refused to partner Likud so long as Netanyahu is facing possible indictment in three corruption cases.
Prosecution officials said last week that they hoped to reach a final decision on whether to indict the premier in the three cases by the end of the year, and possibly by next month...

The Menorah: "Tree of Life"

goddess inanna & the tree of life

The seven branched candelabra (menorah) was created in 'the wilderness' and later transferred to the temple in Jerusalem. By the time the temple was destroyed in 70 C.E., the menorah had been a Jewish symbol for several years.
The use of replicas of the menorah for religious purposes was prohibited for many years. Eventually, menorahs began to appear as symbols in mosaic designs on synagogue floors, walks and tombstones. Later, they were displayed in synagogues. Over centuries, the seven branches of the menorah came to symbolize the seven heavenly bodies (the planets-astrology) and the seven days of Creation.
The shape, a central shaft with three branches on either side, suggests a tree.
The "tree of life" theme is common in Jewish thought , and the menorah, like the Torah, is sometimes referred to as a "tree of life."

Rabbi Hillel said: "Be of the students of Aaron"

Rabbi Burt Jacobson: Hillel’s ideal was not Moses, for he was neither a liberator, nor a prophet, nor a warrior. His model of leadership was Moses’ brother, Aaron.
Hillel’s great legal opponent was the sage, Shammai. Tales portray Shammai as angry, arrogant and judgmental. They reveal Shammai as having been a social conservative who focused on the rigid application of the law...
Hillel held Aaron up as an example. Aaron was an ideal priest of the people, far more beloved for his kindly ways than was Moses.
While Moses was stern and uncompromising, brooking no wrong, Aaron went about as peacemaker, reconciling man and wife when he saw them estranged, or a man with his neighbor when they quarreled, and winning evil-doers back into the right way by his friendly intercourse.
The mourning of the people at Aaron's death was greater, therefore, than at that of Moses; for whereas, when Aaron died the whole house of Israel wept, including the women, Moses was bewailed by "the sons of Israel" only.

Hillel the Helder (born according to tradition in Babylon c. 110 BCE, died 10 CE in Jerusalem) was a Jewish religious leader, sage and scholar associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud and the founder of the House of Hillel school of tannaim.
He is popularly known as the author of two sayings: (1) "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?"and (2) the expression of the ethic of reciprocity, or "Golden Rule":

"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."

The same idea is found spoken by Jesus in Matthew 7:12 when he says “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Human Journey: Historical Jesus)

Turkey, Russia strike deal to remove
Kurdish fighters from Syria border
Karwan Faidhi Dri, Rudaw News, 22-10-2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced late Tuesday that he has struck a deal with his Russian counterpart to remove Kurdish fighters from the Turkey-Syria border and carry out joint operations to halt “infiltration of terrorist elements”.
“Starting from October 23, 12 noon, within 150 hours, YPG [People’s Protection Units] terrorists and their weapons will be removed from an area within 30 km depth and the fortifications of the organization will be destroyed,” Erdogan told a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
When the deadline expires, Russia and Turkey will start joint patrols in the east and west areas of Operation Peace Spring within a depth of 10 km, excluding Qamishli, he said.
All YPG elements and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat,” reads the Turkey-Russia agreement. “Both sides will take necessary measures to prevent infiltration of terrorist elements.”
How the Syrian Arab Army fits in with the deal is not clear. However, Putin said Turkey and Syrian government must negotiate. “Turkey and Syria have to join efforts. This is why they need to respect each other and to engage in cooperation,” the Russian president told the joint press conference.
Regarding the fate of Kurds in Syria, Putin said: “We need to launch a broad dialogue between Kurds and the Syrian government.” “The Kurds are part of the Syrian nation.”
Turkey plans to resettle millions of Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey on a strip of land along the Syrian side of the shared border. The agreement says these refugees have to be moved to the region in a “safe and voluntary manner”.
Mazloum Kobani Abdi, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces, announced that he doesn’t trust Trumps administration and Russia... "Russia is an ally of the Syrian regime and has no intention of protecting Kurds", he added.

Lavrov: Implementation of the deal
will undermine any separatist games"
Sputnik News [Russia], 22-10-2019

In the press-conference that followed the talks between the Russian and Turkish presidents on Syria, Vladimir Putin stated that foreign forces currently deployed unlawfully in the Arab Republic must leave in order for the country to return to stability. He added that Turkey shares this vision, as well as that the idea that the Arab Republic's integrity must be preserved.
Separately, he advocated that the Syrian government and Kurdish forces need to hold broad talks in order to take into account the interests of all the religious confessions that exist in the country.
Putin noted that Russia shares Turkey’s concerns about separatist sentiments in Syria, which, as the Russian president said, have been stimulated from outside the country.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed in this regard that the implementation of the joint memorandum, signed by the two presidents as a result of the talks, will undermine "any separatist games" being conducted on Syrian territory.
In the joint memorandum of the two presidents, both countries pledged to work towards finding a lasting political solution for Syria within the Astana Mechanism and promised to assist the Constitutional Committee in this endeavour.

Syrian Army’s Idlib offensive to begin at any moment
By Al-Masdar News Desk, 22-10-2019

Retired Brigadier General Ali Maqsoud, a Syrian military expert, said that the completion of the Idlib operation by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies may begin at any moment after President Assad returns from his visit to the southern province to his headquarters in Damascus.
On Tuesday morning, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad visited the army stationed on the front lines in the southern countryside of Idlib.

Brigadier General Maqsoud said, “President Assad stressed that the chaos in Syria can be eliminated only by eliminating the remaining terrorists in Idlib, which means the end of this terrorist war on Syria and the declaration of a decisive Syrian victory through a military operation that might neutralize the last of these remnants of gangs.”
He pointed out, “when Turkey withdrew the remnants of the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ from the terrorist gangs that had allied with the ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’ to fight in northeastern Syria, Nusra was stripped and exposed to the army’s strength.”
President al-Assad, during his tour accompanied by Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub, said: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a tool in the hands of the Americans and a thief that has robbed Syria of wheat, oil and laboratories...
President al-Assad stressed that the Idlib Front is very important, especially as it is an outpost for terrorism...

Flashback: Intervention in Syria has been
the greatest policy failure in Turkey’s history
By Jeremy Salt, Palestine Chronicle, 18-2-2016

As the Syrian army seals off supply routes to the armed gangs inside Aleppo, no surprise that there is another spike in the propaganda war, this time directed against Russia.
Frustration and anger is driving Turkish cross-border shelling of Kurdish and Syrian army positions. Yet in many respects Turkey only has itself to blame.

aleppo 2012: investing in plunder & robbery

In helping to destroy the authority of the Syrian government, Turkey created a power vacuum that was filled in the north by takfiri armed groups and the Kurds.
Had Turkey not joined the effort to destroy the government in Damascus it would not be in this position. It thus therefore shares the responsibility for what it is now calling a threat to Turkey’s security...
The ascendancy of the Syrian Kurds is only part of a spectacularly bad picture for Turkey. Whether Erdogan and Davutoglu were badly advised, whether they ignored the advice they were given five years ago, or whether this policy was all their own idea, intervention in Syria has been the greatest policy failure in Turkey’s history.

Assad: "Full support for the results of the work"
Press TV [Iran], Oct 22, 2019

Speaking in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin late on Tuesday, Bashar al-Assad thanked the Russian leader for reaching an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to establish "a safe-zone" in northeastern Syria and conduct joint patrols in the area after marathon talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The Syrian president also “expressed his full support for the results of the work, as well as the readiness of the Syrian border guards, together with the Russian military police, to reach the Syrian-Turkish border.”
Putin, for his part, briefed Assad on the results of his talks with Erdogan, and highlighted that the main provision of the memorandum of understanding agreed upon during the meeting was to restore the territorial integrity of Syria and to continue joint efforts concerning Syria’s political settlement, especially the work within the framework of the country’s constitutional committee....
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned Washington’s “changeable and contradictory” position on Syria, stating that the US-led military coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh terrorist group is illegally present on the Syrian soil.
The coalition that the United States lead is illegally on the Syrian territory. It is well known. I hope that those seedlings of understanding among some of the members of the coalition that the policy should be changed, that there is need to cooperate with the Syrian government, I hope those seedlings rise,” Lavrov said in Sochi.
He added, “The Russian Federation, represented by its military police, together with the Turkish forces will patrol this territory (Syria-Turkey border from the Syrian side outside of Operation Peace Spring area) a week after the memorandum comes into force, tomorrow noon.

Erdogan: "It does not matter what race or religion
the terrorist comes from. A terrorist is a terrorist."
Daily Sabah [Turkey], 23-10-2019

Turkey aims to set up the safe zone in northeastern Syria as soon as possible to facilitate the voluntary return of refugees with the support of international actors while it respects and upholds the territorial integrity of the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi on Wednesday.
The president was addressing reporters a day after Turkey and Russia reached a groundbreaking deal to establish a safe zone in northern Syria.
"Around 1 million people can be resettled in the area that will be made a 'safe zone' under the scope of Operation Peace Spring," President Erdoğan said, adding that the number can reach 2 million with the inclusion of Raqqa and Deir el-Zour provinces.
However, the president noted that this is not something that Turkey can handle alone and the country needs international support.
"We worked out the costs, made necessary plans, and prepared our projects regarding the matter. We even presented booklets to some 17 leaders whom I talked to at the United Nations General Assembly," Erdoğan said.
The president noted that Turkey expects this issue to be discussed at a meeting of international donors in Geneva, where the first meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee will be held on Oct. 29-30.

Regarding the Syrian city of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, referred to as a so-called canton by the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), Erdoğan said Russia has always supported Turkey's involvement, contrary to the U.S. stance.
He criticized the Obama administration for dropping weapons, ammunition and other supplies to YPG terrorists there.
"If Turkey is hosting 350,000 people from Kobani, the Obama administration holds the main responsibility for this," Erdoğan said, as he dismissed claims about Turkey not hosting Kurdish refugees.
He continued by saying that Turkey is also hosting Yazidi and other Syrian refugees and does not discriminate against any of the 3.6 million Syrians in the country.
The president highlighted that the Syrians are the real owners of the area and Turkey is only in the region to ensure this.
The president expressed Turkey's frustration about the term "Kurds" used by its allies to refer to YPG terrorists.
"Kurds this, Kurds that... We have no problems with the Kurds there. Our problem is only with YPG terrorists," Erdoğan said, as he noted that both Russians and the Americans refer to YPG as Kurds.
"I told them last night that this is disrespectful to our Kurdish brothers and sisters. Please don't use this. We are fighting against the PKK and YPG terrorists," Erdoğan said and added: "It does not matter what race or religion the terrorist comes from. A terrorist is a terrorist."

Donald Trump, Imperialism,
Media-Hypocrisy & the Kurds
By As`ad AbuKhalil, Consortium News, October 23, 2019

Among Arabs sympathy for the Kurds diminished because Kurdish political leaders have aligned themselves with enemies of the Arabs (the U.S. and Israel at various points).
When an ethnic minority aligns itself with the major enemy of the majority (Israel, which has been an ally of the Barzani clan in Iraq since the 1970s at least) it should not expect that sympathy for its cause would grow among its fellow citizens.
The repressed ethnic minority when it sets a foreign policy which runs counter to the public mood of the majority population will encounter resentment and anger....
The Kurds deserve recognition of their religious, cultural and even political rights but the question of independence does not receive support from the non-Kurds who live in and around areas where Kurds live.
It is easy for Western countries to make generous offers of territorial independence to Kurds when the lands are not Western-owned.
And the U.S. and other Western countries in the 21st century don’t handle demands for independence kindly in their own countries (whether it is Spain or France).
Some leftists in the West support the YPG simply because it is a leftist party. But the leftism of the YPG should count against it, not for it.
Why and how does a leftist party align itself with a government with a long record of staunch anti-communism, in the U.S. and around the world?
What is the leftist argument for aligning with U.S. imperialism?
If the justification invokes self-preservation, this clearly has not worked: not in Iraq when the Barazanis aligned with the U.S. in the 1970s only to be betrayed; and not in Syria today, where the U.S. is abandoning the Kurds and allowing the Turkish government to attack them. [Until a Russia-Turkey deal on Tuesday].
The notion that there is a progressive force in Syria named the Syrian Democratic Forces is an American invention which the media was more than pleased to promote to further the cause of U.S. military intervention in Syria and the Arab world.
But a U.S. general, Raymond Thomas, at the Aspen Institute told the truth in 2017 when he admitted that he slapped the name SDF on the YPG in order to allay Turkish fears.
The U.S. was in Syria for reasons that have nothing to do with the Kurds, and the U.S. media exhibit great hypocrisy when they again feign humanitarian concern for people in Syria — Arabs or Kurdish.
U.S. media have warned against “unreliable” and brutal Syrian rebels fighting with Turkey: but those are none other than the Free Syrian Army which U.S. politicians and journalists alike had promoted.

Donald Tump is facing a revolt from his military-intelligence apparatus and from the foreign policy establishment over his attempt to fulfill campaign promises to end U.S. wars started by his predecessors.
The U.S. media are proving to be more eager for war and military intervention than the military establishment itself.
They exhibit great concern for the plight of empire precisely because they are an actual arm of empire.
But the media and foreign policy establishment should not worry too much; Trump announced that he planned to maintain a U.S.military force in Syria to protect an oil field...
If that does not count as humanitarianism what will...?

As’ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus.

Russia demands Syrian gov’t gets back all its oil fields
By Al-Masdar News Desk, 23-10-2019

The Syrian government should get back control of all oil facilities in the north-east of the country, the RIA Novosti news agency cited Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying on Wednesday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov also said Moscow hoped that the Syrian Kurds would provide a guarantee that they would pull out from the border zone, according to RIA.
Currently, the U.S. military occupies several Syrian oil fields, including one of the largest in the country.
The U.S. authorities have refused to return these oil fields to the Syrian government; instead, they have kept control of them to intensify their blockade on the country.

Sanctions Against Syria
US Office of Foreign Assets Control

The Syria sanctions program implemented by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) began in 2004, when Executive Order (“E.O.”) 13338 was issued to deal with the Government of Syria’s policies in supporting terrorism, continuing its occupation of Lebanon, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, and undermining U.S. and international efforts to stabilize Iraq.
Following events in Syria beginning in March 2011, subsequent Executive orders have been issued in response to the ongoing violence and human rights abuses taking place in Syria.
The Syria sanctions program is one of the most comprehensive sanctions programs currently implemented by OFAC.
In 2012 additional actions have been taken to ease certain aspects of the sanctions program to support the Syrian opposition.

Syria - Al-Qaeda in Aleppo - 2012

SDF chief thanks Russia
for saving Syria Kurds from 'scourge' of war
The New Arab, 24-10-2019

The head of the Kurd-led Syrian Democratic Forces has thanked Moscow for saving his people from the "scourge" of war after Russia struck a deal with Ankara ending its weeks-long Syria offensive.
In a phone call with Russia's defence minister and military chief, Mazlum Abdi "expressed his thanks to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their keenness on defusing the war in our region and sparing civilians its scourge," the SDF said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The Commander-in-Chief also expressed reservations about some points of the agreement, which require further discussions and dialogue," it added.
Under the deal signed in Sochi on Tuesday, Turkey will remain fully deployed in an Arab-majority area that was the main target of its two-week offensive in northern Syria.
It also requires Kurdish forces to pull back to a line 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the border along its entire length (440 kilometres), forcing them to surrender some of their main towns and crushing their dreams of autonomy.

Israel: The Israel Defense Forces is
becoming ‘God’s army,’ warns Lieberman
Jewish News Syndicate, October 24, 2019

The Israel Defense Forces is becoming an organ of the country’s Chief Rabbinate, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday.
His comments, which he posted on Facebook, came in reaction to a booklet authored by senior rabbinical figures, among them military rabbis, with instructions for religious Jewish soldiers on how to avoid interactions with women forbidden by Jewish law.
“This … booklet for religious soldiers on the halachic laws of modesty, written by military rabbis … with the support of senior rabbinical figures, is yet another proof of the growing radicalization of religious Zionism that is being led by the ultra-Orthodox wing,” wrote Lieberman, warning that the IDF was becoming “Hashem’s army” (God’s army).

“This attempt to turn the IDF into the ‘army of Hashem,’ with conduct resembling that of a haredi [ultra-Orthodox] kollel, is part of the same messianic worldview that has penetrated Israeli society and which seeks to damage the fabric of life and the status quo on religion and state issues,” wrote Lieberman.
He concluded the post with a call for the booklet to be banned and rabbis that endorsed it to be barred from IDF service.
“The distribution of this booklet to IDF soldiers must be forbidden,” wrote Lieberman, and “the rabbis who sign it prevented from serving in reserves or lecturing to soldiers.”
Lieberman has repeatedly attacked the haredi parties as part of his ongoing rift with the Israeli right, warning that the ultra-Orthodox politicians want to promote legislation that would place heavy religious prohibitions on various activities, severely undermining secular Israelis’ way of life.

Iran authorities amputate man’s hand as punishment for thefts
Amnesty: "An abhorrent form of torture”
Mohammed Rwanduzy, Rudaw News, 25-10-2019

An Iranian man charged with 28 counts of theft had his hand amputated at a prison in the northern province of Mazandaran on Thursday, the local judiciary announced.
A judicial statement from Mazandaran said the gruesome punishment had been carried out at Sari Prison in the northern Iranian province under Article 198 of the Islamic Republic’s Penal Code, according to Fars News Agency, an outlet close to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The man was also charged with possession and sale of drugs as well as selling stolen property. The judicial statement claimed the man had robbed 28 houses in the city of Mahmudabad.

Al-Qaeda in Aleppo, 2014: "We will bring back Sharia Law to Syria"

Iran has been controlled by a strict Islamic theocracy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Amputation of hands is a prescribed punishment for thieves in Islam’s holy book, the Quran.
Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia also implements such medieval punishments. Most modern Islamic countries, however, have justice systems compatible with international human rights law.
According to the Iran Human Rights Monitor, at least 215 amputation sentences have been issued in Iran between 2007 and 2017. At least 125 of these sentences have been carried out – six of them in public.
Some of Iran’s hardliners want to see more of the sentences carried out: “Unfortunately, so as not be condemned of human rights issues in the United Nations, we have abandoned some of the divine laws,” Mohammed Jafar Montazeri, Iran’s [ultra-conservative] Attorney-General, said on January 17, 2019, according to Iran Human Rights Monitor.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director Saleh Higazi condemned Thursday’s amputation. “By carrying out this unspeakably cruel punishment, the Iranian authorities have committed torture which is a crime under international law.
Premeditated maiming and mutilation of individuals is not justice. It is a harrowing assault against human dignity.
It is shameful that the authorities would attempt to present this punishment as anything other than what it is: an abhorrent form of torture,” Higazi added.

Montazeri's 'Divine' Punishments
Radio Free Europe, 18-1-2019

Salafists call for Islamic Law, Egypt 2012
"One of the mistakes we have is that we are worried about propaganda under the excuse of human rights -- that they say we treat thieves with violence," Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri said on January 16, 2019, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
He added that the Koran prescribes that any man or woman caught stealing and meeting certain Islamic criteria must have their hand chopped off.
"But, unfortunately, to avoid being condemned for human rights issues by the United Nations, we stopped implementing some divine punishments," he said.
But Montazeri appears to have quickly walked back his comments. Quoted elsewhere on the sidelines of the same conference, Montazeri said human rights concerns will not compel the powerful Judiciary branch into leniency when implementing religiously prescribed punishments.
"We do not retreat from the implementation, or moderate treatment, of our punishments," another semiofficial agency, ISNA, quoted Montazeri as saying...
Once the decision is made by a judge, the Judiciary "is not wary of implementing the law."

Trump still committed to regime change
Nebojsa Malic, RT [Russia], 24 Oct, 2019

Donald Trump: "We want to keep the oil, and we'll work something out with the Kurds so that they have some money, have some cashflow. Maybe we'll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly..." (Press TV, 25-10-2019)

US President Donald Trump’s baffling comments about keeping some troops in Syria to “secure the oil” suggest a confused, contradictory – and ultimately self-defeating – policy.

Flashback 2016: GOP hawks declare war on Trump
Earlier this month, Trump appeared to have used the impending Turkish invasion to deftly cut the Gordian knot of US presence in Syria, citing it as a pretext for pulling out troops that weren’t supposed to be there to begin with – and had long since completed their mission in any case.
He stood by that decision even as the Washington establishment shrieked about “betrayal” of allied Kurdish militias, and was vindicated when a deal worked out by Moscow and Ankara created a solution that benefited everyone – except those in the US still committed to regime change in Damascus...
While Trump has not officially renounced the “Assad must go” policy of his predecessor, the pullout was supposed to be the end of it in practice.
The sudden talk about Syrian oil fields, however, suggests that someone from the “swamp” managed to persuade the president to keep one foot in the endless foreign wars he has pledged to end.
“We want to keep the oil,” Trump said this week, to the confusion of everybody. Attempting to explain on Thursday, he said the oil fields were “held by [Islamic State] until the United States took them over with the help of the Kurds. We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!”
Except there is no sign of IS getting reconstituted or rising from the ashes – and the Syrians rightly regard any US attempt to seize the oil fields as theft and piracy.

Graham and Fox News expert showed Trump
a map to change his mind about Syria withdrawal
Courtney Kube|Carol E. Lee, NBC News, 22-10-2019

WASHINGTON — In the days after President Donald Trump paved the way for Turkey to invade Syria, Jack Keane and Lindsey Graham went to the White House to try to change his mind, according to four people familiar with the meetings.
Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a Fox News analyst, first walked the president through a map showing Syria, Turkey and Iraq on Oct. 8, pointing out the locations of oil fields in northern Syria that have been under the control of the United States and its Kurdish allies, two people familiar with the discussion said. That oil, they said Keane explained, would fall into Iran's hands if Trump withdrew all U.S. troops from the country.
Keane went through the same exercise with Trump again Oct. 14, this time with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at his side, according to four people familiar with the meeting. Keane displayed a map showing that almost three quarters of Syria's oil fields are in the parts of the country where U.S. troops are deployed, the people familiar with the meeting said. They said that Graham and Keane told the president that Iran is preparing to move toward the oil fields and could seize the air space above them once the U.S. leaves...
The focus on Iran in trying to convince Trump to keep a contingent of U.S. troops in northern Syria is in part because the president has appeared more likely to be persuaded by proposals aimed at countering Iran than Russia, according to one former U.S. official.
Keane declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Graham.

"Keane, who retired from military service in 2003, has maintained his stature in the Trump era. He is in many ways the sort of interventionist the president campaigned against. A key architect of the Iraq surge along with American Enterprise Institute scholar Frederick Kagan, Keane advised President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Gen. David Petraeus on its implementation.
Currently the chairman of the board of the Institute for the Study of War, Keane has served as an adviser for several other high-profile political figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and he is in frequent contact with Foggy Bottom’s current leader, Mike Pompeo. (Politico, 7-2-2019)

Flashback: Sic Semper Tyrannis, 26 April 2018
Neocon Jack Keane wants a permanent US presence in Syria

Jack Keane retired from military service in 2003. He now works as a national security analyst for Fox News. He has served an advisory role in the management of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, as a member of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee. General Keane is a close associate of the Kagans, Victoria Nuland, Petraeus and the like...
On Varney's show Keane pushed for a US policy in Syria that would establish a "security zone" in Syria east of the Euphrates and in the Kurdish areas east of Manbij. He was clear that he believes that this "security zone" should be held indefinitely, in other words, permanently.
He said that such a zone would prevent the western expansion of Iran through northern Iraq and then Syria westward to the Mediterranean thus completing the dreaded Shia Crescent.
Toward the end of his discourse, Keane came to the crux of his argument. He said that a war is coming, in which Iran, Hizbullah and the Syrian government will fight Israel, and that the US must be in a position in Syria to defend Israel when that happens.

Soros: Elizabeth Warren the most qualified to be president
Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, 25/10/2019

American billionaire George Soros said in an interview on Friday that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is “the most qualified to be president.” Warren “emerged as the clear-cut person to beat,” Soros said in an interview with The New York Times, as quoted by JTA.
“I don’t take a public stance, but I do believe that she is the most qualified to be president,” said Soros, who is a major donor to the Democratic Party. “I’m not endorsing anybody because I want to work with whoever,” he stressed. “I don’t express my views generally because I have to live with whoever the electorate chooses.”
Soros also expressed confidence that his own liberal worldview will win out over Trump’s brand of nationalism. He predicted that Trump will lose the 2020 election.
“[Trump] is an aberration, and he is clearly putting his personal interests ahead of the national interests,” he said. “I think it will contribute to his demise next year. So I am slightly predicting that things will turn around.”
In the past, Warren has called on the Israeli government to respect the rights of Palestinian Arab protesters on the Gaza border. Warren also voted in favor of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and skipped Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to Congress in which he spoke out against the agreement.
Shortly after she announced her presidential bid, Warren said that the United States should be pushing Israel and the Palestinian Authority toward a two-state solution.
Just last week, she suggested that the US should withhold aid to Israel as a means to pressure it to stop “settlement construction”.

George Soros & The Open Society
The Guardian, 6-7-2018

Unlike most of the members of the billionaire class, who speak in platitudes and remain withdrawn from serious engagement with civic life, George Soros is an intellectual. And the person who emerges from his books and many articles is not an out-of-touch plutocrat, but a provocative and consistent thinker committed to pushing the world in a cosmopolitan direction in which racism, income inequality, American empire, and the alienations of contemporary capitalism would be things of the past.
Today, Soros is one of the richest men in the world and, along with Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, one of the US’s most politically influential philanthropists. But unlike Gates and Zuckerberg, Soros has long pointed to academic philosophy as his source of inspiration.
Soros’s thought and philanthropic career are organised around the idea of the “open society,” a term developed and popularised by Karl Popper in his classic work 'The Open Society and Its Enemies'.
According to Popper, open societies guarantee and protect rational exchange, while closed societies force people to submit to authority, whether that authority is religious, political or economic.
For Soros, the goal of contemporary human existence is to establish a world defined not by sovereign states, but by a global community whose constituents understand that everyone shares an interest in freedom, equality and prosperity. In his opinion, the creation of such a global open society is the only way to ensure that humanity overcomes the existential challenges of climate change and nuclear proliferation.
According to Soros, the dogmatic mode of thinking that characterised closed societies made it impossible for them to accommodate to the changing vicissitudes of history.
Instead, “as actual conditions change”, people in closed societies were forced to abide by an atavistic ideology that was increasingly unpersuasive.
When this dogma finally became too obviously disconnected from reality, Soros claimed, a revolution that overturned the closed society usually occurred.
By contrast, open societies were dynamic and able to correct course whenever their dogmas strayed too far from reality.

In Soros’s opinion, the only way to save capitalism from itself was to establish a “global system of political decision-making” that heavily regulated international finance.
Yet as early as 1998 Soros acknowledged that the US was the primary opponent of global institutions.
By this point in time, Americans had refused to join the International Court of Justice; had declined to sign the Ottawa treaty on banning landmines; and had unilaterally imposed economic sanctions when and where they saw fit...

US-occupation & ‘International State Banditism'
Sputnik News [Russia], 26-10-2019

Commenting on US Defence Secretary Mark T. Esper's statement that a group of US troops will remain in eastern Syria, allegedly to prevent Daesh from accessing the oil fields, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said the statement should not be a surprise.
In a statement, Igor Konashenkov, noted that the US' stated goal of protecting Syrian oil fields from Daesh* fighters could not be farther from the truth.
What Washington does now – the capture and holding under its armed control of oil fields in Eastern Syria - is, simply speaking, an international state banditism,” he said, adding that Syrian oil reserves and other mineral resources belong solely to the Syrian Arab Republic, not to Daesh terrorists or to “American protectors from Daesh terrorists”.
Neither international law, nor the American legislation itself can justify the US troops’ goal to guard Syrian hydrocarbon reserves from Syria itself and its people,” the statement reads.
Citing intelligence obtained via Russian Defence Ministry surveillance satellites, both before and after the Daesh defeat north of the Euphrates, Syrian oil was being actively extracted and smuggled to other countries, while being guarded by US soldiers.
The oil was smuggled in tanker truck convoys, guarded both by US servicemen and the mercenaries of private military contractors (PMCs), the ministry spokesman said.
“Meanwhile, Washington imposed sanctions on shipping hydrocarbons to Syria, which spans not only US companies, but everyone else,” the statement says.
Despite that, oil extraction is being conducted using equipment provided by "leading Amercian corporations", Konashenkov said. According to the statement, oil extraction was conducted by a US-controlled company, created under the so-called “Autonomous Administration of East Syria”.
The smuggling revenue went through intermediary companies to US intelligence agency and PMC bank accounts, he said.
“Considering one barrel of Syrian oil costs $38, the monthly revenue of this ‘private enterprise’ of US intelligence agencies is more than $30 million,” the statement reads

Syria: ISIS leader al-Baghdadi killed in Idlib
RT [Russia], 27 Oct, 2019

US President Donald Trump has announced that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during a US military raid in northwest Syria, confirming an avalanche of rumors on the terrorist’s death.
Al-Baghdadi has been killed… in a daring nighttime raid,” Donald Trump said in a live address from the White House.
Military choppers and even drones provided air cover as US special forces engaged targets on the ground in Idlib province – the last major terrorist stronghold in the country.
Al-Baghdadi escaped to a tunnel dug under his hideout and took three of his young children. He was chased by the dogs and when he reached the dead end the terrorist detonated the suicide vest he was wearing.
The US forces suffered no casualties during the two-hour-long raid, with only a dog, which chased the terrorist into the tunnel, being hurt. Meanwhile, “many” of al-Baghdadi’s fighters and associates were killed. Washington also obtained “highly sensitive materials,” which will reveal a lot about IS activities and future plans, Trump said.
The president praised the “great cooperation” with Russia during the op as Moscow opened up the airspace under its control in Syria to American planes when Washington asked for it.

1) rebels 2014, 2) caliph 2016, 3) crucifying gay-people

The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leader’s whereabouts were unknown for years. He made public appearances only a handful of times since founding his “worldwide caliphate” in 2014.
At the height of its power, al-Baghdadi’s terrorist group controlled vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.
The Syrian Army, aided by Iran and Russia, has nearly eradicated the group from its territory.

Russian defense ministry: "We know nothing about
any assistance to the flight of US aircrafts in Idlib"
TASS Russian News Agency, 27-10-2019

"Russia’s defense ministry has no reliable information about an operation by US forces in the Turkey-controlled part of the Idlib de-escalation zone aimed at another extermination of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," the ministry’s spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said.
"We know nothing about any assistance to the flight of US aircrafts to the Idlib de-escalation zone’s airspace in the course of this operation."
Yet another report about the extermination of al-Baghdadi can hardly influence the situation in Syria, Konashenkov said.

Idlib: Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham ("Organization for the Liberation of the Levant")

"After Islamic State was ultimately defeated by the Syrian government army with support of the Russia aerospace forces in early 2018, another ‘death’ of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will have no impact either on the situation in Syria or on the actions of terrorists staying in Idlib," he said.

The White House released a photo
showing US President Trump watching...
TASS, 27-10-2019

The White House released a photo showing US President Trump and a number of US officials allegedly watching as US Special Operations forces approach the compound of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday evening.
“President @realDonaldTrump watches as US Special Operations forces close in on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” the White House tweeted. ​In the photo, Trump is seen surrounded by a number of top US officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Defence Secretary Mark T. Esper and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.
The photo evokes memories of a similar picture from 2011 showing US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and others watching the US Navy Seal Team 6 raid on Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Shafaaq News (Iraq), 27-10-2019:
A statement by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service said, "After a continuous follow-up and the formation of a specialized team for a whole year, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service was able, according to accurate information, to identify the hideout where the head of ISIS terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and those with him are in the Syrian province of Idlib. Then an American force in coordination with the Iraqi National Intelligence Service conducted a military operation that led to the killing of the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and those with him.

Trump versus International Law
Daily Sabah|Reuters, 28.10.2019

U.S. President Donald Trump's suggestion on Sunday that Exxon Mobil or another U.S. oil company operate Syrian oil fields drew rebukes from legal and energy experts.
"What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly ... and spread out the wealth," Trump said during a news conference about the U.S. special forces operation that led to the death of Daesh terrorist group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp, the two largest U.S. oil companies operating in the Middle East, declined to comment on his remarks.
"International law seeks to protect against exactly this sort of exploitation," said Laurie Blank, an Emory Law School professor and director of its Center for International and Comparative Law.
"It is not only a dubious legal move, it sends a message to the whole region and the world that America wants to steal the oil," said Bruce Riedel, a former national security advisor and now senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think-tank.
Syria produced around 380,000 barrels of oil per day before the country's civil war erupted. An International Monetary Fund working paper in 2016 estimated that production had declined to just 40,000 barrels per day.
Robert O'Brien, a U.S. National Security advisor to the president, said a U.S. military presence will be required to protect the Syrian oilfields...
"We're going to be there for a period of time to maintain control of those and make sure that there is not a resurgence of ISIS and make sure that the Kurds have some revenue from those oil fields," O'Brien said.

United States and state terrorism

Several scholars have accused the United States of conducting state terrorism. They have written about the liberal democracies' use of state terrorism, particularly in relation to the Cold War. According to them, state terrorism is used to protect the interest of capitalist elites, and the U.S. organized a neo-colonial system of client states, co-operating with regional elites to rule through terror.
This work has proved controversial with mainstream scholars of both state and non-state terrorism, which is often omitted from their work, along with any mention that Western liberal democracies, as former imperial powers, frequently used terrorism in the invasions and occupations of their colonies. (Wikipedia info)

After Baghdadi Raid, Syria Villagers Tell of
Abu Mohammad, 'a quiet neighbor'
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 28-10-2019

In the middle of the night amid the olive trees of northwest Syria, Abu Ahmad heard soldiers "speaking a foreign language" attack the home next door. The 55-year-old said he had repeatedly tried and failed to befriend his discreet neighbor in the village of Barisha in Idlib province.
But now, after President Donald Trump said Sunday a U.S. special operation killed jihadist supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the village, Abu Ahmad was left wondering about who his neighbor was harboring.
"We have shared nothing with this man except greetings," Abu Ahmad said of his mysterious neighbor, who claimed to be a merchant from the province of Aleppo.
Standing outside the ruined house, Abu Ahmad said his neighbor used to leave early in the morning and return late at night.
"We used to invite him to our house but he would never come," said Abu Ahmad, who has been living in Barisha for the past two years. He never saw any women or children at the house, he said, and never got familiar with the inhabitants. "Even during holidays, we tried to build a relationship but it didn't work
Abu Ahmad was a few dozen meters away, he said, when he saw an "attacking force", with gunfire ringing out as warplanes whooshed overhead.
Someone speaking in Arabic called on his neighbor -- apparently named Abu Mohammad -- to hand himself over, before the forces moved in. The operation lasted for nearly three hours, he said.
Another resident, who identified himself as Ahmed Mohammad, said he lived half a kilometer (a third of a mile) away from the targeted home. He said he was Abu Mohammad's internet provider, "visiting his house regularly" to fix connection problems.
"I have known this man personally for two years. He is a merchant," he said. "I did not have the impression that he was anything but a civilian."

The hunt for the Islamic State leader had lasted years
until Iraqi officials got a break last month
by Martin Chulov, The Guardian, 28-10-2019

Iraqi officials say that in mid-September they identified a Syrian man who had been used to smuggle the wives of two of Baghdadi’s brothers, Ahmad and Jumah, to Idlib province via Turkey.
The same smuggler had earlier helped move Baghdadi’s children from Iraq. Iraqi intelligence officers say they were able to co-opt the man and a woman believed to be his wife, as well as one of Baghdadi’s nephews, into providing information about the route he used and the destination of the people travelling with him. It was a break like no other, and was soon passed to the CIA...
Iraqi officials say they provided updated real-time information to Washington as Baghdadi moved about in Idlib.
By early last week, US and Iraqi officials were growing more confident that Baghdadi was indeed in Idlib province, moving between homes in a hamlet named Barisha, not far from the Turkish border.
At this point Washington’s technical capabilities took over, establishing who he was with and where he was staying. One man was Abu Mohammed al-Halabi, the leader of a rival Salafi jihadi group, Hurras al-Dein, and an unlikely bedfellow for the leader of Isis; only weeks before, Hurras al-Dein members had been rounding up and executing people they had suspected of being Isis sympathisers.
According to regional officials, the house al-Halabi was staying in was built early last year above a tunnel complex . It was an ideal hideout for a fugitive and it would require a formidable force to assault it.
The attack force arrived just after 1am and faced a barrage of gunfire from the ground. In the fierce clashes that followed, at least nine members of Isis were killed in addition to Baghdadi, many of them family members.
The landlord al-Halabi was among those to die, as were two of Baghdadi’s wives, who were both believed to have detonated suicide vests.

Hurras al-Din ("Guardians of the Religion") is a jihadi group based in the northwest of Syria and ideologically loyal to al-Qa'ida and its leader Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri. Hurras al-Din originated as a break-off from Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, which declares that it has broken its ties with al-Qa'ida.

Al-Baghdadi's successor &
Turkey's support for extremist groups
Ryan Bohl, The National [UAE], 28-10-2019

How a US prison camp helped create ISIS (New York Post, may 2015)
By the time Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was killed by US troops in Idlib province in north-western Syria, he was already more a leader-in-waiting than an actual mastermind.
The ISIS leader had already taken the step of naming his successor in August: Abdullah Qardash, an Iraqi of Turkmen origin and a former Saddam Hussein-era military officer from Tal Afar near Mosul.
Details are scant on his background, except that he was appointed by Al Baghdadi to head ISIS’s Muslim affairs unit in August and apparently spent time in Camp Bucca in Iraq under US custody during the war.
Al Baghdadi himself was held in the camp, where he developed close ties to the men who would eventually form much of the core of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (later ISIS).

Idlib & Turkey

Al Baghdadi was found in a town not far from the Turkish border, in Idlib province, under rebel control but where Turkey has observation posts.
Although it is unlikely that Turkey supported his movements, Al Baghdadi’s choice to go to Idlib rather than Iraq and move so close to Turkey is a potential indictment of Ankara’s Syrian policies, which do not view extremist organisations like ISIS and Hayat Tahrir Al Sham in the same way that the US does.
Turkey has focused on its proxy war with Bashar Al Assad's army, supporting militias and groups in Syria with ties to extremism and tolerating the influence of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir Al Sham in Idlib, a frontline of contention between Turkey and Damascus.
The decision is largely based on expediency: these groups are effective fighters. But the final outcome is that Ankara's bid for influence in Idlib province as a whole ends up producing an environment in which extremists are able to take root.

Syrian Kurds fully back Sochi agreements
TASS Russian News Agency, 27-10-2019

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, making up between 5 and 10 percent of the Syrian population. They live mostly in the north of the country, close to the border with Turkey, alongside Arabs and other ethnic groups.
The Syrian Democratic Forces coalition, led by the Kurdish militias, has fully supported the terms of a deal that Russia and Turkey reached in Sochi, and has started withdrawing forces from the Syrian-Turkish border, Firat News Agency has reported.
The SDF coalition said in a statement that it "agrees to implement the Russian initiative" on halting the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria. The decision was made after intensive consultations with Russia, it noted.
The statement says that the SDF has called on Russia to "meet its commitments and ensure constructive dialogue between the Syrian Kurds and the central government in Damascus."
News broke almost simultaneously with the coalition’s statement that the Kurdish militias started withdrawing their forces from the positions located in direct proximity to the Syrian-Turkish border.
Under the Sochi deal, these Kurdish units are to be pulled back from the border between the two countries at the distance of 32 km.

Syria welcomes withdrawal of armed groups
to depth of 30 km in northern Syria
Syria Arab News Agency, 27 October 2019

Syria has welcomed the withdrawal of armed groups in northern Syria to a depth of 30 km through the direct coordination with the Syrian Arab Army.
An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that ” The Syrian Arab Republic affirms that this withdrawal ends the basic pretext of the brutal Turkish aggression on its territories, and at the same time it affirms that Syria is a nation for all people in a way that guarantees the security and safety of the diverse national fabric with regard to the rights and duties.”
The source affirmed that Syria will work on embracing its citizens and providing the aid for them in a way that would guarantee their integration into the Syrian society again and would open the door for all to return to the Syrian national unity as a land and people.

Lebanon PM Saad Hariri announces resignation 'to fix crisis'
The New Arab, 29-10-2019

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Tuesday he would submit his resignation to the president, bowing to pressure from the mass protests that have brought the country to a standstill for almost two weeks.
"It has become necessary for us to make a great shock to fix the crisis. I am going to the Baabda Palace to give my resignation," Hariri said in a televised speech.
Hariri has been among the main targets of mass protests which have put Lebanon on lockdown for almost two weeks and issued demands for radical political and economic overhaul.
Prime Minister Hariri issued a reform bill last week in an attempt to quell the protests, but the proposals - which include cutting minister salaries and a privatisation drive - have failed to defuse popular anger and rallies have continued to swell.
Since the outbreak of the rallies, protesters have demanded the resignation of the whole government amid accusations of rampant corruption among the political elite facilitated by a sectarian power-sharing agreement.
Hariri himself was embroiled in a financial scandal earlier this month after court documents revealed he "gifted" more than $16 million to a 20-year-old South African bikini model he met on holiday in the Seychelles.
Many Lebanese reacted with outrage at the allegations, especially in light of the fact that many employees of Hariri's business empire had gone unpaid for months because of lack of funds. [...]
As prime minister, Hariri headed Lebanon’s power-sharing government, along with [president] Aoun and Shia Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. Aoun refused to step down. Berri has criticized the protests and reiterated his support for the government, making no mention of resigning.

Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh on Monday said the country - one of the world's most highly indebted nations, with public debt at more than 150 percent of GDP - needed a solution to the crisis within days to avoid a financial collapse.
"The only real way forward for Lebanon is to appoint a government that can move on from the disruption of this revolution and restore the confidence with the people and the international community," Nader said.

External actors want to use chaos
for weakening pro-Iran factions
Moon of Alabama, 29-10-2019

The current political systems make any change extremely difficult.... To call for resignations is thereby not the way to achieve change.
The best strategy for the legitimate protesters is to press the current governments for reform. The governments in Iraq and in Lebanon both already agreed to make certain changes. The protesters should accept those and pull back.
Unfortunately there are external actors with lots of money who want to prevent that. They want to throw both countries into utter chaos or even civil wars because they hope that it will weaken those factions that have good relations with Iran.
In Lebanon there was some violence by followers of the Shia Amal movement against a protesters tent camp. 'Western' media falsely attributed the violence to Hizbullah.
In Iraq the guards of a government building in Karbala shot at protesters who tried to breach its gate. Some 'western' media falsely alleged that those shooters were Iranians.
But external actors have made such bets before only to fail to achieve the wanted results.

Sayyed Nasrallah's Speech, October 25th, 2019
"The demands are no longer the demands of the good-hearted people"
Alahed News, Lebanon

There is management, coordination and funding. No one should pretend that there is no funding... Do you agree that this is coming from the poor people? Of course not.
There are certain parties that are funding. Who are they? I am not accusing anyone. But I hope from those who consider themselves to be leaders in the protest movement, let them explain to us just as they are requesting transparency.
Huge sums of money are being spent in some squares. There are some poor squares. But there are other squares where we have lavish spending and very excellent opportunities.
So, go tell the people clearly that we have a funder X from country X or from embassy X or this rich person X or this institution X to see whether these people and embassies of countries who are spending money care for the interests of the Lebanese people...
The demands that are being referred today are no longer the demands of the good-hearted people, the people who took to the streets spontaneously. Now we are hearing about toppling the regime. What does it mean toppling the regime in Lebanon?
If you asked people on the streets, do you want power vacuum? They would say no. We want to eat. We want to live. We want medicine. We want job opportunities. We want a clean environment. We don't want anyone to humiliate us. We want a fair and just judiciary. We want security, stability and social justice. These are the demands.
So, they took the demands to another place, reaching up to using some of the squares to describe the resistance as terrorists and to also take aim at the resistance’s weapons.
Regardless of whether these demands are rightful or not, these are not the demands which were expressed by the people.

The Grievances Underlying Lebanon's Protests
by Naharnet Newsdesk [Lebanon], 30-10-2019

Electric wires connected to a generator which runs when the national power grid is down in one of Tripoli's heavily populated neighbourhoods, north Lebanon, The National, 30 July 2018
Economic grievances that have spurred exasperated Lebanese to protest.
- Poor services - Residents in Lebanon complain of unmaintained roads and inadequate public transport, as well as endless power cuts. Consultancy firm McKinsey ranked the country's electricity supply fourth from bottom in the world, following Haiti, Nigeria and Yemen, in a report covering 2017 and 2018. Reforms to the electricity sector have not been implemented since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.
- Poverty and unemployment - More than 25 percent of Lebanon lives in poverty, the World Bank says. Unemployment stood at 10 percent in 2012, according to official figures, though many claim the real number is higher.
In the northern city of Tripoli, which has emerged as a nerve center of the protests, 57 percent of the population live at or below the poverty line, according to a 2015 study by the United Nations. More than a quarter of the city's residents suffer extreme poverty, it said.
- Inequality - Inequality has been a major rallying call of the protesters. The top one percent of the population make nearly 25 percent of national income while the bottom 50 percent make little more than 10 percent, according to the World Inequality Database.
- Corruption - Lebanon ranked 138th out of 175 countries in Transparency International's 2018 corruption index, with different sectarian leaders accused of running demi-fiefdoms.
- Colossal debt - Economists are deeply concerned by the country's crippling debt of $86 billion. This equates to roughly 150 percent of gross domestic product, one of the highest rates worldwide.
- Blocked aid - Lebanon has received only part of the aid promised at several previous conferences, after it failed to honor its promises to bring about substantial economic change.

Pentagon releases images, video from raid that killed Baghdadi
Press TV [Iran]. Wed Oct 30, 2019

The United States has released a number of declassified images and video from the raid that left Daesh chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dead. The Central Command’s release on Wednesday followed doubts about the reality of the raid on Baghdadi’s compound in Syria’s Idlib province.
General Frank McKenzie, the CENTCOM commander, told reporters that four men and two women had been killed in the raid adding that the two children killed alongside Baghdadi were probably "under 12."
McKenzie asserted that a DNA analysis showed "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that the man who died there was Baghdadi.
According to US Central Command, the Takfiri leader’s remains were "buried at sea in accordance with the Law of Armed conflict within 24 hours of his death."

Syrian President gives rare in-depth interview:
Syrian Arab News Agency, 31-10-2019

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad sat down for an interview with Al-Ikhbariya and Al-Sourya TV on Thursday to discuss several developments across the country...

- Journalist: The United States announced a few days ago that the leader of the terrorist organization ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed. If Baghdadi has actually been killed, does it mean the end of his organization...
- President Assad: First, Baghdadi represents ISIS, and ISIS represents a type of doctrine, which is the extremist Wahhabi doctrine. This type of thought is more than two centuries old. As long as this thought is alive and has not receded, this means that the death of Baghdadi, or even the death of ISIS as a whole, will have no effect on this extremist thought.
Regarding Baghdadi as an individual, it is well-known that he was in American prisons in Iraq, and that they let him out in order to play this role.
American politics are no different from Hollywood; it relies on the imagination. Not even science fiction, just mere imagination... So, Baghdadi will be recreated under a different name, a different individual, or ISIS in its entirety might be reproduced as needed under a different name but with the same thought and the same purpose. The director of the whole scenario is the same, the Americans.

- Journalist: Questions have been raised about the Russian-Turkish agreement... What some people understood from this was that it legitimized the Turkish occupation... What is your response to that?
- President Assad: In the short term, it is a good agreement.... Through this agreement, the Russians reigned in the Turks, outmaneuvered the Americans and aborted the call for internationalization which was proposed by the Germans. That is why this agreement is a positive step.

- Journalist: But Turkey, as we have known it, does not abide by agreements.
- President Assad: We must remember that Erdogan aimed, from the beginning of the war, to create a problem between the Syrian people and the Turkish people, to make it an enemy...
At the beginning of the war, the Turkish Army supported the Syrian Army and cooperated with us to the greatest possible extent, until Erdogan’s coup against the Army. Therefore, we must continue in this direction, and ensure that Turkey does not become an enemy state.
Erdogan and his [Muslim Brotherhood] group are enemies, but until now most of the political forces in Turkey are against Erdogan’s policies. So, we must ensure not to turn Turkey into an enemy, and here comes the role of friends – the Russian role and the Iranian role.

- Journalist: You said repeatedly that Erdogan’s objective, or creating the buffer zone, was Erdogan’s main objective from day one of the war on Syria. President Obama refused to accept this buffer zone, while today we are seeing certain actions on the ground. Does this mean that Obama was better than Trump?
- President Assad: We should not bet on any American President. As for Trump, you might ask me a question and I give you an answer that might sound strange. I say that [Trump] is the best American President, not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president.
All American presidents perpetrate all kinds of political atrocities and all crimes and yet still win the Nobel Prize and project themselves as defenders of human rights and noble and unique American values, or Western values in general.
Trump talks transparently...: "We want to get rid of such and such a person" or "we want to offer a service in return for money". This is the reality of American policy. What more do we need than a transparent opponent?

- Journalist: After everything that happened, are we as Syrians able to live with the Kurds once again?
- President Assad: Among the Kurds there were people who were American agents or proxies. This is true, but among the Arabs there were similar cases in the Jazeera area and in other areas in Syria. This applies to most segments of Syrian society.
As for the Kurds themselves, most of them had good relations with the Syrian state, and they were always in contact with us and proposed genuine patriotic ideas. So, yes, very simply, we can live once again with each other. If the answer were no, it means that Syria will never be stable again.

- Journalist: returning to politics, and to the United States, in particular, President Donald Trump announced his intention to keep a limited number of his troops in Syria... What is your position in this regard...
- President Assad: Regardless of these statements, the reality is that the Americans are occupiers, whether they are in the east, the north or the south, the result is the same... [But] I am not going to indulge in heroics and say that we will send the army to face the Americans. We are talking about a super power.
The natural role of the state in this case is to provide all the necessary conditions and necessary support to any popular resistance against the occupier. We should try to reformulate the patriotic state of the Syrian society – to restore patriotism.. I think this is the right solution.

- Journalist: Last week, you made a tour of the front lines in Idlib.. Was there a link between your visit to Idlib and the meeting which took place on the same day between Turkey and Russia? Your statements gave the impression that it was a preemptive rejection or something against the meeting.
- President Assad: The fact is that I was not angry, and my statements against Erdogan are continuous. I said that he was a thief, and from the first days he started stealing everything related to Syria. So, he is a thief.
I was not calling him names; I was describing him. This is an adjective and this description is true. What do you call somebody who steals factories, crops and finally land? A benefactor? Previously in my speech before the People’s Assembly, I said that he is a political thug. He exercises this political thuggery on the largest scale. He lies to everyone, blackmails everyone. He is a hypocrite and publicly so.
As to the agreement, as I said a while ago, we believe that Russian involvement anywhere is in our interest, because our principles are the same and our battle is one
Contrary to what you said, we were happy with this summit, and we are happy with the Russian-Turkish relationship in general...

- Journalist: Concerning the terrorists in Idlib, how are they going to be handled? Are they going to be deported? Would the Turks accept the terrorists to be deported to Turkey...?
- President Assad: If they do not go to Turkey, they have two options: either return to the Syrian state and resolve their issues or face war. There is no other choice, neither for us nor for them. These are the two only options.

- Journalist: Are you prepared today to sit with the Turks?
- President Assad: If a meeting would achieve results, I would say that everything done in the national interest should be done. This is the responsibility of the state. I do not expect a meeting to produce any results unless circumstances change for the Turks. And because the Erdogan-type Turks are opportunists and belong to an opportunist organization and an opportunist ideology, they will produce results according to changing circumstances...

- Journalist: The sensitive question in this regard is: the Turks are occupiers, exactly like Israelis, so it would be possible to meet the Israelis. This is a sensitive issue, but it is being raised.
- President Assad: The difference between them and Israel is that we do not recognize the legitimacy of its existence as a state. We don’t recognize the existence of the Israeli people.
There is no Israeli people except the one that existed for several centuries BC. Now they are a diaspora who came and occupied land and evicted its people.
Even when we negotiated with Israel in the 1990s, we did not recognize it. We negotiated in order to achieve peace. If this was achieved and the rights were returned, we would recognize it...
The comparison is invalid. Turkey will continue to exist and the Turks should remain a brotherly people.

Turkey - CHP leader Kilicdaroglu:
Erdogan hasn’t adopted national policies
Syrian Arab News Agency, 3 November 2019

Chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu affirmed that the policies of the President of the Turkish Regime Recep Tayyip Erdogan towards Syria and the Middle East in general have failed because he hasn’t adopted national policies, but he has been usually serving the interests of Washington in framework of the “Greater Middle East” project.
Kilicdaroglu asserted that solving the problems between Syria and Turkey entails a direct coordination and cooperation with the Syrian government with all of its legitimate institutions.

Flashback: Why is Turkey in a quarrel with once-friend Syria?
Hürriyet Daily News, October 08, 2019

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Oct. 8 slammed the government’s Syria policy, questioning why the relations have turned “hostile” from amicable.
“Why are we at loggerheads with Syria, which was our friend once? Who was saying you should meddle in Syria’s domestic affairs?” Kılıçdaroğlu said, while addressing seven questions to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
From the very start, we said [to the government] do not enter the Middle East swamp.
[We said] let’s be friends with Syria and the Middle East; that there is no point in having a quarrel...”
"Turkey has cultural, religious and kinship bonds with Syria...“
"We can bring peace into the Middle East by gathering around with Syria, Iraq and Iran..."

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