Saddam's Death, 153 (december 2019)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 152: november 2019 and Page 154: dec 2019, part 2

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 - Jeremy Corbyn & Jewish Witch Hunt

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

"No petit bourgeois politics"

Saddam Hussein and his ideologists sought to fuse a connection between the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations in Iraq to Arab nationalism by claiming that the Babylonians and ancient Assyrians are the ancestors of the Arabs. Thus, Saddam Hussein and his supporters claim that there is no conflict between Mesopotamian heritage and Arab nationalism.
Saddam Hussein based his political views and ideology upon the views of Michel Aflaq, Ba'athism's key founder. Saddam was also an avid reader of topics on moral and material forces in international politics. His government was critical of orthodox Marxism, opposing the orthodox Marxist concepts of class conflict, the dictatorship of the proletariat and atheism; it opposed Marxism–Leninism's claim that non-Marxist–Leninist parties are automatically bourgeois in nature, claiming that the Ba'ath Party was a popular revolutionary movement and the people rejected petit bourgeois politics. (Wikipedia info)

"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)

China: Xi offers congratulations on observance
of int'l day of solidarity with Palestinian people
Xinhua News, 29-11-2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday extended congratulations on the United Nations' observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
In his congratulatory message, Xi said the issue of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East issue.
It is in the interest of the international community to find a comprehensive and just resolution for the Palestinian issue, and to help Palestine and Israel achieve peaceful coexistence and common development, he said
The international community should safeguard fairness and justice, and uphold relevant UN resolutions as well as the "land-for-peace" principle and the two-state solution, so as to create an atmosphere conducive to the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, Xi noted.
China, as a good friend, partner and brother of the Palestinian people, is a staunch supporter of Palestine-Israel peace, the president stressed.
China supports the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights, and supports Palestine in building an independent and fully sovereign state on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, Xi said.
China is ready to work with the international community to push forward the Palestine-Israel peace talks and strive for an early realization of comprehensive, just and sustained peace in the Middle East, said the president.

UN commemorates International Day of
Solidarity with the Palestinian People
UN News, 27 November 2019

Senior officials joined ambassadors and other representatives from the international community in New York on Wednesday to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, officially observed each year on 29 November.
Established in 1977, it marks the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State.
Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most intractable challenges facing the international community, UN Secretary-General António Guterres observed in his message for the day.
As there is no viable alternative to the two-State solution, he called on both sides, and their supporters, to work towards restoring faith in the process.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his people have endured more than 70 years of tragedies and crises, yet remain steadfast.
Despite decades of disappointment and setbacks, we remain committed to a multilateral order that respects and ensures respect for international law,” he said in a message read by Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour.
The roughly eight million Palestinians live primarily in territory occupied by Israel, but also across the Middle East in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Henry Kissinger Gets It…
US ‘Exceptionalism’ Is Over
Strategic Culture Editorial, November 29, 2019

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made prudent remarks recently when he said the United States is no longer a uni-power and that it must recognize the reality of China as an equal rival.
Speaking publicly in New York on November 14, the veteran diplomat urged the US and China to resolve their ongoing economic tensions cooperatively and mutually, adding: “It is no longer possible to think that one side can dominate the other.”
A key remark made by Kissinger was the following: “So those countries that used to be exceptional and used to be unique, have to get used to the fact that they have a rival.”
In other words, he is negating the erroneous consensus held in Washington which asserts that the US is somehow “exceptional”, a “uni-power” and the “indispensable nation”.
This consensus has grown since the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the US viewed itself as the sole super-power. That morphed into a virulent ideology of “full-spectrum dominance”.
Thence, the past three decades of unrelenting US criminal wars and regime-change operations across the planet, throwing the whole world into chaos.

Kissinger’s frank assessment is a breath of fresh air amid the stale and impossibly arrogant self-regard held by too many American politicians who view their nation as an unparalleled power which brooks no other.
Kissinger was and is a practitioner of “realpolitik” which views international relations through a pragmatic lens.
Another realpolitik US state planner was the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, who died in 2017 at the age of 89. Both advocated a policy of detente with the Soviet Union and China...
For all their faults, at least people like Kissinger and Brzezinski were motivated by practical goal-orientated policy. They were willing to engage with adversaries to find some modus vivendi.
Such an attitude is too often missing in recent Washington administrations which seem to be guided by an ideology of unipolar dominance by the US over the rest of the world.
The current Washington consensus is one of hyper-ideological unrealism and hubris, which leads to a zero-sum mentality of antagonism towards China and Russia....
China and Russia have continually urged for a multipolar world order for cooperation and partnership in development.
But the present and recent US governments refuse to contemplate any other order other than a presumed unipolar dominance. Hence the ongoing US trade strife with China and Washington’s relentless demonization of Russia.
This “exceptional” ideological mantra of the US is leading to more tensions, and ultimately is a path to the abyss.

Six European countries to join INSTEX
Tehran Times, November 29, 2019

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden issued a joint statement on Friday, announcing becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).
“In light of the continuous European support for the agreement and the ongoing efforts to implement the economic part of it and to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran, we are now in the process of becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) subject to completion of national procedures.
INSTEX was established by France, Germany and the United Kingdom in January 2019,” read the statement, published by the Foreign Ministry of Finland.
It added, “The nuclear agreement was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council and is as a key instrument for the global non-proliferation regime and a major contribution to stability in the region.”

Abbas Araghchi: "Very valuanble"
Tehran Times, Iran, November 30, 2019

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi said on Saturday that he hopes the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) would become operational as six more European countries join the financial mechanism.
“The fact that the European countries are serious about having INSTEX as a business mechanism to keep economic relations with Iran and finding a way in order for Iran to have economic interaction with Europeans despite the United States’ sanctions is very valuable,” said Araqchi.
Araqchi served as a senior negotiator in crafting the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA, with the other parties, which includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, Russia, Britain, France, and the U.S.) Germany and the European Union.
However, the U.S., under President Donald Trump, abandoned the deal and reinstituted sanctions on Iran. In response, Germany, France and the UK created the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX).
“I believe even in state of sanctions, INSTEX can cover almost 20 percent of Iran’s economic relations,” Araqchi stated.

Iraqi PM Abdul Mahdi submits resignation to parliament
Al-Jazeera News, 30-11-2019

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has submitted his resignation to parliament amid ongoing anti-government protests in the capital Baghdad and in southern Iraq.
The prime minister had announced on Friday he would hand in his resignation amid mounting pressure a day after more than 40 demonstrators were killed by security forces.
The formal resignation came after an emergency cabinet session on Saturday in which ministers approved the document and the resignation of key staffers, including Abdul Mahdi's chief of staff.

Baghdad protesters want a new constitution
Tom Westcott, Middle East Eye, 30-11-2019

Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, occupied for weeks by protesters, exploded back into life on Friday evening as hundreds flocked there to celebrate Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s resignation and Iraq’s football victory in a match against the UAE.

Mahdi’s resignation followed weeks of protests in central and southern Iraq against poverty, scant job opportunities, endemic corruption and the failures of Iraq’s current government to affect meaningful change on the ground...
For most protesters, the beleaguered PM’s resignation is just the first step towards more radical changes they are demanding...
“Mahdi’s resignation is not the solution. We want early elections under a new electoral committee working to international standards, a new parliament and a new constitution,” oil engineer Hussein Abdulrahman, 25, told MEE.
“We’re 39 million in a country that should be rich, but just one million people in positions of power are taking everything while everyone else has absolutely nothing. I’m okay because I work in the private sector, but I see the desperate situation for my family and friends and that’s why I’m here.”
“Mahdi’s not the problem and he’s nothing compared to others before, like [former prime minister] Maliki, who gave us the Islamic State (IS), but everyone running the country since 2003 have been corrupt and should all be judged by the courts of law,” said Haidar Abdulrahman al-Reidi, a 45 year-old from Baghdad’s Sadr City suburb...
Saddam’s name was to be heard in several quarters, especially among the predominantly Shia residents of Sadr City.
I didn’t support Saddam but, actually, he gave the Iraqi people their rights, compared with what we have now and, when he killed people, there was usually a reason for it. He didn’t kill people arbitrarily, which is what’s happening here,” said store-owner Mohamed.
Iraq was better before 2003 and we need a presidential system with only one person running the country, only one person in charge,” said law student Aimen, 23.
“If we stay like this, as a republic, nothing will change and our problems will continue.”

Liberman: Netanyahu sold the secular public out
Arutz Sheva Staff, Israel, 1-12-2019

Yisrael Beyteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman responded Sunday to a Facebook post about attacks on him this morning by MK Yaakov Asher and Minister Aryeh Deri, who called his recent messages "fake and misleading."
"This morning I once again received a heaping dose of compliments and pardons from Minister Deri and MK Ya'akov Asher," Liberman began, "but the real problem is not them, but Binyamin Netanyahu, who sold out the secular and irreligious public in favor of his strategic alliance with the haredim."

Are Israelis Turning Away From Their Medieval Religious Maniacs?
Haaretz, 13-9-2019

"In all the important issues for this public, ie public transportation on Saturday, civil marriage, recruitment of yeshiva students, conversion by municipal rabbis, the Western Wall, etc., Netanyahu has clearly and clearly sided with the haredim. Issues which Netanyahu himself supported and even passed in the government, he completely withdrew following the pressure of the haredi parties," he said.
"The government approved the Western Wall outline and later cancelled it. He established the Nisim Committee for conversion, but there was a complete rejection on [Netanyahu's] part to approve the report in the government, And of course, he approved the Recruitment Law for its first reading, alongside his statement that the law was fair and balanced, before folding during the second and third ruling.
He said that leaders of both Likud and Blue and White pander to the haredi parties.
"The leaders of Blue and White also behaved similarly. Remember Benny Gantz's appeal to the haredi parties following the elections for the 21st Knesset: 'I send you a blank page, signed by Benny Gantz, you fill two thirds with what you want, leave me a third,. and the promises given to Shas last month for four ministerial positions and two deputy ministries."
"So, when asked over and over again, what does Liberman want?
My answer has always been clear and transparent: a unity government based on the three parties, Blue and White, Likud and Yisrael Beyteinu.
Only in such a government can real moves be made and the influence of the haredi parties can be neutralized," he concluded.

Settler Leader: 'Right-wing government is in danger'
Hezki Baruch, Arutz Sheva [Israel], 03/12/2019

Yossi Dagan: “Thank God, the people are nationalist and we helped wake them up from the media-imposed stupor in the nick of time...” (Times of Israel, 20-5-2019)

[Settler leader] Yossi Dagan on Tuesday called on the Likud party to hold new primaries in order to ensure that the right-religious camp will win the expected third round of elections.
"Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is one of the greatest leaders Israel has had, a step above many of the prime ministers who served before him," Dagan said. "However, today, we have an obligation to remember that the government of the entire nationalist camp is in real danger."
"Our central purpose is to continue leading the State of Israel with a Zionist and moral government, and today - 26 years after Oslo - it is clear that this can only mean a government based on the nationalist camp. In the reality that has been created, and since it seems that there is no possibility of forming a govenrment, we must hold primaries for the movement's leadership."
Dagan, who serves as chairman of the "My Likud" group, did not express official support for MK Gideon Sa'ar (Likud), but said that he is more than worthy to run in Likud's primaries against Netanyahu.
"Gideon Sa'ar is a moral and worthy leader, one of the pillars of the nationalist camp, who has proven himself in recent years to protect the Land of Israel, Zionist values, and the nation. It is extremely appropriate that he should run in primaries for the movement's leadership prior to the next elections....

Meet Gideon Sa’ar, the right-wing
ideologue embraced by the Israeli left
By Naomi Niddam , 972 Magazine, December 2, 2019

Over the past two months the left-wing and centrist “anyone but Netanyahu” coalition has had a new face: that of Gideon Sa’ar, senior Likudnik and longtime rival of the prime minister. For many, Sa’ar is the antithesis to Netanyahu: he has a good relationship with the media, a statesmanlike demeanor, and keeps things moving in the face of Netanyahu’s antics.
But before heaving a sigh of relief, it’s worth revisiting some of his policies and public statements as a minister in order to gauge where he might lead Israel if elected prime minister.
Sa’ar, 52, has been a right-wing ideologue since his days as a youth in Tehiya, an ultranationalist party that protested against the 1982 evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Sinai following the Camp David Accords.

The primary goal of Tehiya was to stop the withdrawal from the Sinai, and it acted to prevent the implementation of the peace agreement with Egypt. In general, it opposed any territorial concession, and demanded extensive settlement in Judea and Samaria and the annexation of those territories to Israel. It also took an aggressive stance vis-a-vis the Arab world in general, and the Palestinians in particular. (Israel Democracy Institute Info)

He is diligently opposed to a Palestinian state and supports annexation of the West Bank — especially Area C and the existing settlements, arguing a few years ago that such a move needs to be “official Likud policy,” and that the party needed to “formally abandon the idea of two states.”
Sa’ar has since clarified his intention to take practical steps toward realizing Israeli sovereignty in the occupied territories, including increased settlement-building. He also believes, according to a statement he made three years ago, that “the most urgent and important national task is ensuring a Jewish majority in united Jerusalem,” adding that the construction of Jewish settlements throughout the city was “insufficient.”

Sa’ar is known to be media-friendly, and enjoys personal relationships with several high-profile journalists at newspapers and television channels across the political spectrum.
“He has a deep understanding of the media environment, from when he briefly worked as a journalist and commentator,” says Ronit Vardi, a journalist and political commentator.
If Netanyahu’s media strategy is aggressive and top-down — launching the far-right Channel 20, allegedly intervening in the reporting of Israel Hayom and the Walla! news website, and constant unwillingness to be interviewed — Sa’ar, by contrast, has managed to appease political reporters from the left and the right without taming his opinions...

Despite propaganda to the contrary,
Israel is not a democracy
Alain Gabon, Middle East Eye, 29 November 2019

As an integral part its ongoing propaganda, Israel, along with its fervent supporters, zealously repeats and disseminates - in the media, on university campuses, in blogs and comment sections, at conferences and more - the same old, tired Zionist myths...
By far the most common Zionist myth is the notion that Israel is the “only democracy” in the region - one that some even describe as a liberal, egalitarian, Western-style democracy...
Repeating a lie multiple times does not make it true, although Israel’s agents clearly think it does. Israel is no democracy, and certainly not a “liberal, egalitarian” state.
Two cold, hard facts can easily debunk this myth.

-Firstly, there is the acquisition of Israeli nationality and citizenship through religion.
The Law of Return allows any Jew, anywhere in the world, to emigrate to Israel and obtain full Israeli citizenship, whether or not they have ever set foot there or have any relatives living there. A privileged, royal path to citizenship is reserved exclusively for Jews, while being denied to members of other religions. Religious discrimination is thus institutionalised as official policy...
-Secondly, there is the issue of marriage.
Given the massive pro-Israeli propaganda machine, coupled with the silent complicity of our Western media and governments, many people might be unaware that in Israel, only religious authorities are allowed to officiate marriages. Civil, non-religious marriages are not permitted.
Even worse, inter-religious, mixed marriages are also forbidden by law, forcing inter-religious couples to marry abroad. When they return, the non-Jewish partner often receives second-class citizen treatment by the state.

Similar to the Law of Return, the “settlements” in the occupied West Bank are exclusively reserved for Jews.
Israel invests considerable resources there on infrastructure and social services, but non-Jews are not allowed to live in the settlements - even though they are often built on confiscated land privately owned by Palestinians.
These settlers live among a population of more than three million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem... Another two million Palestinians live in Gaza. None have a right to vote in Israeli elections.

During its half-century of illegal occupation and annexation Israel has wilfully and knowingly violated almost every major international law convention, treaty and UN resolution, including the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter, the 1947 Partition Plan, the Camp David and Oslo accords, and so on.
Such lawless behaviour has given Israel the distinct honour of being among the countries that for decades have been, and continue to be, regularly condemned by all major human rights organisations out there, and by the UN itself.

Dr Alain Gabon is an associate professor of French based in the United States and the head of the French Department at Wesleyan College in Virginia.

On the occasion of Christmas, al-Hwash town in Homs countryside lighted the Christmas tree amid a popular festival at the courtyard of Mar Elias Church. Bishop Aliasha Khaisha said in a speech that Christmas is a day for Peace, Joy and amity, affirming that Syria is the cradle of religions and human civilizations. (Syrian Arab News Agency, 3 December 2019)

Israel - Haifa Christmas Market 2019 - View of the templar renovated neighborhood and the Bahai temple (YouTube video, 2-1-2019).

In 2019 the Bahai movement celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab (born on October 20, 1819, in Shiraz, Persia) , a Messenger of God who announced in 1844 that humanity was entering a new era. He encouraged people to let go of superstition, dogma and dependence on clergy, and to view their fellow human beings as beautiful creations of God, worthy of respect (Bahai info)

Principal Beliefs of the Bahá'í Faith:
Oneness of Humanity (equality of men and women, elimination of prejudices, elimination of economic inequalities, universal education)
Oneness of Religion (Progressive revelation of the same one religion of God, according to the needs and capacities of humanity at that time. Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed are recognized as Messengers.
Oneness of God (One God, revealed through the world's religions)

To be a Baha’i simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.” Abdu'l-Bahá

The establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 put an end to the organized, systematic activities of the Bahai faith in that country.
After the Shah left Iran on January 16, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returned on February 1, 1979 and started the process of creating a new government. During an interview before returning to Iran with Professor James Cockroft, Khomeini stated that Bahá'ís would not have religious freedom:

Cockroft: Will there be either religious or political freedom for the Bahá'ís under the Islamic government?
Khomeini: They are a political faction; they are harmful. They will not be accepted.
Cockroft: How about their freedom of religion– religious practice?
Khomeini: No (Wikipedia: Persecution of Bahai's)

"Baha’is believe that religion should not be inherited or accepted blindly, but should be a conscious personal choice, made after an independent search for the truth." Rebecca Sherry Eshraghi

"Every nation is holding to its traditional religious forms. The light of reality is obscured.
Were these various nations to investigate reality, there is no doubt they would attain to it. As reality is one, all nations would then become as one nation. So long as they adhere to various imitations and are deprived of reality, strife and warfare will continue and rancor and sedition prevail." Abdu’l-Baha

Dane Rudhyar: At the Gates of the New Age

The fundamental twelve principles of the New Order proclaimed by Bahalu'llah are:
(1) the oneness of mankind; (2) independent investigation of truth; (3) the foundation of all religions is one; (4) religion must be the cause of unity; (5) religion must be in accord with science and reason; (6) equality between men and women; (7) prejudice of all kinds must be forgotten; (8) universal peace; (9) universal education; (10) spiritual solution of the economic problem; (11) a universal language; (12) an international tribunal.

"Becoming a Baha’i changed my life in every way
and gave me a new concept of the relationship between God and man.."
Dizzy Gillespie

Iran calls int’l Criminal Court
to remain independent, impartial
Tehran, Dec 4, 2019, IRNA

The eighteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened Monday 2 december at the World Forum Convention Center in The Hague,
The Islamic Republic of Iran's representative at the 18th International Criminal Court (ICC) Assembly in The Hague, Reza Pourmand Tehrani, emphasized the need to maintain independence, impartiality, and avoidance of political susceptibility of this international body.
He condemned the recent threats by the US officials against the International Criminal Court and its judges, prosecutors, and staff...

Statement by the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Hague, 2 -7 December 2019

Since its establishment, the International Criminal Court has strived to preserve its professional status and credibility in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of 1998, based on the principles of independence, impartiality and fair trial.
However, the Court has been encountered by some challenges such as selective behavior and application of double standards.
Failure to observe such principles will cause the Court to be abused by State's political goals and undermine the Court's credibility.
We have not yet forgotten the destructive and squandering positions and threats of some governmental officials of a certain state against the International Criminal Court last year. The remarks by some of the officials the United States of America raised deep concerns about the Court's efficiency in the implementation of justice.
This approach will make the perpetrators of international crimes immune and in safe haven, as we are still witnessing the recurrence of international crimes around the world.
Accordingly, the independence of the Court from external influence is essential to its identity, credibility, and legitimacy. [..]
I would like to reiterate that the raison d'étre of the ICC is to guarantee lasting respect for and enforcement of international justice without which peace and development cannot be achieved for the global community.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, Sharia and the ICC
Hirad Abtahi, Journal of International Criminal Justice, July 2005

Like many states, Iran has an ambivalent position towards the Statute of the International Criminal Court (‘Statute’), ranging from enthusiastic support to open scepticism.
On account of its experience in the Iraq–Iran war, Iran is interested in exploring the Court's jurisdiction over aggression and war crimes; in addition, it sees the possible adoption of provisions on the crime of aggression as a tool against greater powers’ domination.
Major issues for Iran are, however, some of the penalties provided for under Iranian criminal law, including capital punishment as well as whipping, stoning and the sectioning of limbs as well as the treatment of minorities and gender.
Another problem may be the presence of non-Muslim Judges at the Court, who, it is feared, may not be familiar with and sensitive to Shari'a principles; in addition, under theological principles, Muslims may not be judged by non-Muslim Judges.
This question paradoxically constitutes an incentive for Iran to consider ratification of the Statute. So far, Iran has signed but not ratified the Statute.
Problems of conflict between some provisions of the Statute and the principles of Shari'a law may arise if the Statute is ratified.

Haftar Condemns Turkey-Tripoli's GNA Maritime Accord
Albawaba News, December 5th, 2019

Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, strongly condemned on Wednesday the maritime accord reached by Turkey and Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA).
He urged the United Nations Security Council to intervene to “confront and thwart Turkish plots that are aimed at restoring its destructive influence in the region.”
In a statement, he described the GNA as “brain dead”, saying it does not enjoy the mandate to sign such agreements, therefore, rendering them null and void.
Moreover, he deemed the Turkey-GNA accord as an “act of aggression that threatens international peace and security and marine navigation”.
Turkey has become a direct threat to the interests of the Libyan people,” Haftar warned.
Meanwhile, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez announced Wednesday that Ankara will soon begin oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, in line with the deal signed with the GNA.
The accord has thwarted attempts to eliminate Turkey from the eastern Mediterranean, he added, stressing that it adheres to international maritime law.
The accord between Turkey and the GNA, which mapped out a sea area between the two countries, was signed on November 27. It has drawn criticism from Egypt, Tunisia, Greece, Cyprus and Europe.

Russia calls on GNA & Turkey
to refrain from actions destabilizing Libya
Libyan Address Journal, 4 December 2019

Russia has called on Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) refrain from actions that could further destabilize Libya and the Mediterranean region. Speaking to reporters, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that a legal evaluation of the memorandum of understanding was not possible until the text has been examined. “However, we have seen quite a strong reaction to the signing [of the agreement] from a number of Mediterranean states, primarily Greece, Cyprus and Egypt,” she said.
Furthermore, Zakharova said a deal between the two countries on security and military cooperation “gave the basis for allegations of Turkey’s attempt to legalize its military support to the government in Tripoli in its confrontation with the Libyan National Army, including through an open violation of the arms embargo.”

Emir of Qatar meets with GNA Interior Minister in Doha
LAJ, 4 December 2019

DOHA – Qatar’s Emir Tamim Al Thani met Wednesday with Interior Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fathi Bashagha, to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan arena.
According to the Qatar News Agency, Bashagha expressed his happiness and appreciation to the Emir for Qatar’s support to GNA.
Bashagha met earlier with the Qatari Prime Minister and Interior Minister Abdullah bin Nasser Al Khalifa.
In a statement, GNA Ministry of Interior pointed out that the visit comes within the framework of exchanging views and consultations on ways and aspects of cooperation and issues of common concern.

flashback 2011-2012: qatar as a mediator between islamists and nato
The Call for Jihad

Israel Bans Entry of Malaysia Diplomats to Palestine
Palestine Chronicle, December 4, 2019

Israel has banned Malay officials from crossing its border and access the occupied Palestinian territories in apparent retaliation for anti-occupation remarks made by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
"Israel barring Malaysian ‘Embassy to Palestine’ because of antisemitism..", the Jerusalem Post reported (December 2, 2019)
Malaysia is a state headed by an anti-Semitic leader,” a senior official said, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
In late October, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed announced that his country is to open an accredited embassy to Palestine.

Flashback: Israel and interventions from external powers
root cause of world instability, says Dr M
By Bernama, New Straits Times, May 1, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad once again described Israel as a terrorist nation and the root cause of instability in the world.
Addressing youths at the Al Sharq Annual Conference 2019 here, the majority of whom are from Middle East countries, the 93-year old leader stressed that the time had come for the international community to stand together and end Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
“Apartheid, genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and all the evil that mankind can inflict on others can be compiled in Palestine - courtesy of the barbaric, arrogant, terrorist nation called Israel.
“Until and unless the international community is committed to finding a solution to bring an end to the occupation of the land belonging to the Palestinians, the region and the rest of the world will not have much of a chance for stability and order,” he said in his keynote address before opening the conference, held the first time in Malaysia.
His statement led to overwhelming applause from the 1,000-odd participants.
Describing Palestine as the core of all tragedies, he said the world was not stable and neither did it look like to be so in the near future.
Dr Mahathir said the senseless murder of innocent people continued in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by the US-led coalition in 2001/2003 which had seen more tumult than stability in the region before the Arab Springs came about.
“Nations like Syria, Libya and Yemen today provide images of a human tragedy while the rest of the world watch helplessly.
Their sufferings did not originate from internal strife but rather interference and interventions from external powers which obviously were doing it out of self-interest, disguised under the veil of democracy and human rights,” he said.
The prime minister said that ancient civilisations or rather these cradles of civilisation were pummelled to pulp by present day powers that have styled themselves as the leaders of modern-day civilisation.
“There is nothing civilised in their actions or behaviour. The only thing they can showcase is technology capable of producing weaponry that are extremely efficient in maiming, killing and murdering people by the thousands,” he said.

"If I were British I would vote Corbyn"
Gideon Levy, Middle East Eye, 2 December 2019

Jeremy Corbyn is our hope for a new discourse on Israel, the Palestinians, the occupation, and peace and justice in the Middle East.
No Western leader who embraces positions on the conflict like his has ever been elected to lead a country. Today, Britain’s Labour Party leader is evidently the only prominent statesman who understands that the time for hollow rhetoric - rather than action - about this Middle East conflict must come to an end.
Corbyn understands that anyone who wants to the Israeli occupation and all its associated crimes must adopt precisely the same determined policy adopted by the West towards the first apartheid state, South Africa. What worked vis-a-vis South Africa should also work vis-a-vis Israel. There remains no other way.
Despite the uncertain prospects, and of course nothing guarantees that Corbyn - if elected - will translate his promises into action, still he offers a ray of hope rarely available today.
This Corbyn-inspired hope is the nightmare of the Israeli government and its propaganda machinery, fully integrated with the Jewish and Zionist establishment in Britain. Hence the decision was made a long time ago to do a targeted political takedown of Corbyn.

How to combat Corbyn?
There is one demonstrably effective new method that has proven successful in the last few years in both Europe and the United States. The new strategy employed by Israel and the Zionist establishment is to immediately label any criticism of Israel as antisemitism.
So, now he is a branded antisemite.
British Jewry’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, went so far as to pen an article for The Times urging people not to vote for Labour and asserting that Corbyn is unfit to be prime minister.
Meanwhile Corbyn wants to put an end to precisely the Israeli policies that fuel antisemitism. And for that, he is disqualified by the Jews.
If I were British, whether Jewish or not, I would vote Corbyn, with great enthusiasm.

Climate, not conflict, drove
many Syrian refugees to Lebanon
The Conversation, December 3, 2019

People who fled Syria in recent years are often viewed as war refugees because of the violence that has engulfed much of the country since 2011.
But those from the northern and northeastern parts of Syria may more accurately be viewed as climate refugees, fleeing not a worsening conflict but an increasingly severe drought.

Syrians prayed for rain in Damascus after Bashar al-Assad called for citizens to make their personal pleas. The Guardian, 2-3-2015

Recent interviews with Syrian refugees who now live in Lebanon reveal that climate is a major obstacle for many people when they consider returning to their homeland.
In Syria, most farming relies on rain, not irrigation, which makes it vulnerable to climate change. Many refugees from the Raqqa region tell a similar story: As one told me, “The land has been giving less and less.”

Historically, northern Syria has been a productive agricultural area.. An estimated 75 percent of Syria’s wheat production is in northern and northeastern parts of the country: Al Haksa, Ar-Raqqa, Aleppo and Dayr Az Zawr provinces.
Usually, there is enough rain to support rain-fed farming and pastureland for sheep and goat herders. Rainfall decreases farther east and south in the country.
In the last few centuries, the country’s drought cycle has become more frequent, from having a drought once every 55 years, to every 27 years, to every 13. Now, droughts happen every seven or eight years...
As the severe drought of 2006 to 2011 hit, the number of emigrants rose.
A 2011 study found that Syrian households had lost 19.5% of their income as a result of droughts and other environmental factors..
The vast majority of Syrians who left northern and northeastern Syria are farmers and unskilled workers. Many of them were drawn, on a permanent or seasonal basis, to the Bekaa Valley, a large agricultural area in eastern Lebanon.
In 2011, before the Syrian civil war broke out, up to one million Syrians were believed to be working in Lebanon.
When the violence started, those established settlers drew in relatives and neighbors.
Official numbers say there are close to a million Syrian refugees also in Lebanon now, in addition to the million workers there before the war. The Lebanese government and U.N. officials believe the actual number is closer to one and a half million refugees.
Many refugees told me that even if their home region became physically safe to return to, they would not go back. They feared they would be unable to eke out a living from the increasingly arid land.

US-Qatar military co-operation key to regional security
By Hassan al-Obeidi, Al-Mashareq News, 4-12-2019

Al-Mashareq is a website sponsored by the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM)

The relationship between the US Army and the Qatari Emiri Land Forces is continuing to strengthen, as the two sides recently participated in military drills aimed at enhancing regional security.
The latest Eastern Action exercises opened October 31st and concluded November 18th. More than 100 service members with US and Qatari forces participated in the training.
"The US partnership with the Qatari Emiri Land Forces is an important component of deterring aggression from regional adversaries," said US Army Brig. Gen. Steven T. King, a Task Force Spartan deputy commanding general.
The goal of Eastern Action is to strengthen relationships between the two militaries while assessing capabilities, according to the US National Guard.
Earlier this year, US and Qatari air forces participated in the Joint Air Defence Exercise (JADEX) at al-Udeid air base in Doha.
Al-Udeid air base hosts thousands of US troops participating in the international coalition battling state and non-state actors.
Pompeo on January 13th signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatar regarding the expansion and renovation of the air base.

Flashback: Qatar linked Libyans on the terror list
Al-Bawaba, Saturday 10-06-2017

Cairo, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain listed 59 individuals and 12 entities, on Thursday June 8, 2017, linked to Qatar on a terrorist list.
The list includes five Libyans who played an escalating role in the division of Libya under Qatari support, since the beginning of the Libyan Civil War that toppled long-time Libyan, leader Muammar Gaddafi: Ali al-Salabi [Qatari Muslim Brotherhood leader, close associate of Qaradawi], Ismail al-Salabi, Belhadj, Mahdi al-Harati and Sadiq Abdul Rahman Ali Ghariani..
Ghariana is called Libya's "Mufti of Terrorism," due to his issuance of fatwas inciting fighting and bloodshed in Libya. Al-Qaeda, on several occasions, valued his positions about events in Libya.
During the Libyan Civil War of 2011, he declared a "jihad" against Muammar Gadhaffi during a televised address. Ghariani was later appointed as the Grand Mufti of Libya in February 2012 by the National Transitional Council.

Russian FM Lavrov: We are not siding
with anyone in the Libya conflict:
By Sami Zaptia, Libya Herald, 5 December 2019

Putin: A Medieval Crusade
Pravda, 21-3-2011

Vladimir Putin stated on March 21 that the resolution of the UN Security Council on Libya was flawed. "The Security Council resolution is deficient and flawed; it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade.." "It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state.." "This U.S. policy is becoming a stable trend," Putin said.. "Now it's Libya's turn - under the pretext of protecting civilians.." "Where is the logic and conscience? There is neither."

In a general interview in Rome today by journalists Orietta Moscatelli and Cristina Giuliano of, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said on Libya:
‘‘Russia is conducting exclusively responsible politics in Libya. It is devoid of a geopolitical dimension and it puts Libyan interests at the forefront.
We are not siding with anyone in this conflict. Our approaches to resolving crises – be it in the Middle East or other regions of the world – invariably rely on the principle of an all-encompassing national dialogue aimed at finding trade-offs based on international law and corresponding UN Security Council resolutions.
We have more than once confirmed this position in public, including during international conferences on Libya.
Our goal is to help the Libyans overcome the chaos into which their country was plunged eight years ago as a result of NATO’s illegitimate intervention, and to restore peace and security that are essential for sustainable development throughout its territory. I think this is how the future of Libya is seen not only by us, but the entire international community as well.
We presume that the uncompromising war on terrorism, which can only be eradicated through a collective effort based on the UN Charter, remains the most important component in stabilising the situation in this North African state and the entire Middle East’’.

Doha will never forget Tehran’s help: Qatari FM
Tehran Times, Iran, December 7, 2019

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani has said that Doha will never forget Tehran's help when Qatar was besieged by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain from land, sea and air.
"When we were under blockade, Iran opened its airspace to us and we will never forget it," the Mehr news agency quoted him as saying on Saturday in an interview with Arabic RT.
He also said, "Iran is our neighbor and Qatar is committed to the principle of good neighborliness. Doha makes efforts to have good relations with Tehran."
In June of 2017, Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and closed land, sea and air routes to the country. The severing of relations also included withdrawing ambassadors and imposing trade and travel bans on Doha.
The Islamic Republic opened its airspace to about 100 more Qatari flights a day during the blockade.

General Assembly Adopts 5 Resolutions on Middle East
including Text Urging States Not to Recognize Changes
on Status of Jerusalem. United Nations News, 3-12-2019

The General Assembly today adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.
Through the terms of the text titled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” (document A/74/L.15) — adopted by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 13 abstentions — the Assembly called on Member States to ensure that agreements with Israel do not imply recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territories it occupied in 1967.
The Assembly reiterates its call for the achievement of a just, lasting peace in the Middle East and an end to the Israeli occupation, while calling on Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with international law..

The Division for Palestinian Rights serves as the Secretariat of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) UN infosite
The Assembly also adopted by recorded vote three resolutions dealing with the United Nations system’s own provision of support to the Palestinian people.
The first — titled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (document A/74/L.14) — requests the Committee to exert all efforts to promote the right to self‑determination of Palestinians and to support the achievement of an end to Israeli occupation.
In the second of those texts titled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat” (document A/74/L.16), the Assembly requests the Division to continue to monitor developments relevant to the question of Palestine.
Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil and Colombia voted against the resolution. Those countries previously had abstained on the vote.

The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said that international support for the Palestinian people has not wavered despite Israel’s attempts to destroy a two-State formula.. Failure to hold Israel accountable for its crimes has led it to believe it is a State above the law.
The representative of Israel, voicing opposition to the five resolutions, said the international community has fully embraced the Palestinian perspective and thereby stands in the way of ending the conflict by encouraging Palestinians to refuse any proposed solution...
The representative of the United States echoed Israel’s sentiment that the resolutions are biased against Israel, adding that such a one-sided approach undermines trust.

US anti-Semitism envoy:
'Under Trump's leadership we will defeat rise of anti-Semitism'
Arutz Sheva Staff, 08/12/2019

thank you mr. president...

US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr spoke on Saturday night at the 2019 Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit being held in Miami, Florida.
Carr said that President Trump had made the fight against anti-Semitism a "top priority" for the US government.
He spoke of his meetings with leaders in Germany and Britain to discuss efforts to combat anti-Semitism in those countries and of America's role in the passage of the resolution recognizing ani-Zionism as a modern form of anti-Semitism by the French National Assembly last week.
"We are simultaneously confronting far-right ethnic supremacy, radical-left Israel hatred, and militant Islam.
And with the Trump Administration's continued leadership, I am hopeful that we will roll back this rise of anti-Semitsm both here and abroad."

2003 US invasion|occupation of Iraq

Wikipedia info: Elan Sherod Carr (born November 25, 1968) is an American attorney, appointed on February 5, 2019 by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to serve as the Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism.Carr is of mixed Iraqi Jewish and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
During Carr's Iraq War service, he led U.S soldiers in lighting a Hanukkah menorah in Saddam Hussein's presidential palace.

Iran president unveils draft
'budget of resistance' to counter sanctions
Press TV, Iran, Sunday, 08 December 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has submitted a draft state budget to the parliament..
He gave the value of the draft budget at about 4,845 trillion rials ($38.8 billion at the free market rate) for the next Iranian year which starts on March 20, 2020.
"Next year, similar to the current year, our budget is a budget of resistance and perseverance against sanctions," he told the parliament in Tehran on Sunday. "This budget announces to the world that despite sanctions, we will manage the country, especially in terms of oil," he added.
The budget, he said, has taken the US "maximum pressure" campaign against the Islamic Republic into account. “This is a budget to resist sanctions ... with the least possible dependence on oil.”
The president stressed that the enemies have failed in their plot to wreck Iran’s economy and that the government has taken big steps toward prosperity and progress.
"Our enemies - the US and the Zionist regime - thought that with severe sanctions they would make the nation unable to build the country and the government impotent to enforce the law and budget, but they have been disappointed to this day and will continue to be so."
President Rouhani submitted the new budget after deciding last month to raise gasoline prices by 50 percent. The president expressed hope Sunday that the measure would help Iran's nascent self-sufficiency in gasoline continue. By March, he said, gasoline production in Iran will reach 110 million liters per day, twice the volume the country produced six years ago when his administration took office.
Iran has been smarting under the most draconian American sanctions which aim to bring the country's oil exports down to zero.

Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants
The National, UAE, 8-12-2019

Saudi Arabia has abolished rules requiring restaurants to provide separate entrances and areas for women and families and for male patrons dining alone.
The decision was announced on Sunday by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, in the latest step towards overturning gender restrictions.
The ministry said it was “removing a requirement by restaurants to have an entrance for single men and another for families”, and that restaurants no longer need to “specify private spaces”.
Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major western chains such as Starbucks, are segregated into "family" sections for women on their own or accompanied by male relatives, and “singles” sections for just men.
Many also have separate entrances for women and partitioned areas or rooms for families where they are not visible to single men. In smaller restaurants or cafes with no space for segregation, women were not allowed in.

'Egypt rejects the agreement between Libya’s
Al-Sarraj and Turkey': Parliamentary speaker
Gamal Essam El-Din, Ahram online [Egypt], 9 Dec 2019

Egypt’s Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said on Monday that Egypt will not stand idly by as any foreign country may pose a threat to its western borders with Libya.
Egypt will not be idle about the reckless agreement signed between Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and Turkey,” said Abdel-Aal, adding that “Egypt will strongly stand against these reckless practices. The madness of some people might push him to pose a threat to Egypt, and I want to inform everyone that Egypt has all the means to strongly stand up to such irresponsible and mad figures,” said Abdel-Aal.
Abdel-Aal said Egypt is strongly in solidarity with the Libyan national parliament led by Aqila Saleh.
“We also firmly support the Libyan army that is currently leading a ferocious battle against terrorism in Libya,” said Abdel-Aal.
“Egypt utterly rejects Al-Sarraj’s agreement with Turkey. To all the mad people who might think they can harm Egypt’s western air, land or sea borders, you will never be allowed to do so, and you will be vanquished.”

Abdel-Aal’s words came in response to an “urgent statement” delivered by independent MP Mostafa Bakri who said in a plenary session on Monday morning that the deal between the Tripoli government in Libya, led by Al-Sarraj, and Turkey is in violation of the Sokhairat agreement which does not allow Al-Sarraj to sign treaties with foreign parties.
Hani El-Hennawi, an independent MP, described Al-Sarraj as a traitor who decided to sell off his country’s interests and wealth to Turkey. “The agreement is a threat to Arab national security and allows Turkey to occupy Libya and plunder its oil resources,” he said.
El-Hennawi said that much like Iran, Turkey’s intervention in the affairs of Arab countries such as Libya, Syria and Iraq poses a grave threat to Arab national security.
“Turkey gives logistical and military support to terrorist groups, particularly to the ruling militias in Tripoli, and I think that all Arab countries and the Arab League should move quickly to stand up to Turkey’s bullying practices in the Arab world,” said El-Hennawi.

saleh (hor) - serraj (gna) - haftar (lna)

Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and GNA prime minister Fayez Al-Serraj signed two MoUs on security and maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean.

Erdogan: Turkey, Libya could
conduct exploration in Mediterranean
A-Jazeera News, 10-12-2019

"With this new agreement between Turkey and Libya, we can hold joint exploration operations in these exclusive economic zones that we determined. There is no problem," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"Other international actors cannot carry out exploration operations in these areas Turkey drew [up] with this accord without getting permission. Greek Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel cannot establish a gas transmission line without first getting permission from Turkey," he added.
Greece and Turkey are at odds over a host of issues, ranging from mineral rights in the Aegean Sea to the island of Cyprus, which is divided into the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state, in the south.
Aside from the maritime accord, Turkey and Libya also signed an expanded security and military cooperation agreement.
Erdogan said the military accord granted Turkey the right to deploy troops in Libya if the Tripoli government requests it, adding that this would not violate a UN arms embargo on Libya, which is plagued by factional conflict.
"In the event of such a call coming, it is Turkey's decision what kind of initiative it will take here. We will not seek the permission of anyone on this," he said.

Libya: HoR Defense Committee calls for confronting
Turkey in Libya and activating the joint Arab defense agreement
The Libyan Address Journal, 10 December 2019

The Libyan Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee condemned the statements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding his intention to send troops to Libya if the Fayez al-Sarraj government in Tripoli requests it.
The defense committee said that it condemns “in the strongest terms” the Turkish president’s statements on Libya, asking the Arab League to activate the joint Arab defense agreement as Libya is a member of the League.

“Libya will not be a gateway for the return of the Ottoman Empire to the Arab World,” the defense committee said in its statement, calling on the Arab League for “an urgent session to take a stand to confront a Turkish invasion to Libya.”

Tribes play key role as Iraqis protest against government
Middle East Online, Tuesday 10/12/2019

Iraqi protesters have clashed with police and torched government offices, a premier has resigned and precious blood spilt. As modern institutions collapse, a centuries-old force is making a comeback: Iraq's tribes.
With their own hierarchies, moral and justice codes, not to mention huge arms caches, tribes have once again become among the most powerful actors in Iraq's rural and oil-rich south.
They have a history of revolt, turning against the British colonising forces in a major boost to the 1920 uprising that led to the country's independence.

A century later, revolution has hit Iraq again. Baghdad and the Shiite-majority region have been rocked by two months of the worst unrest since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Anti-regime protesters have burned state headquarters and party offices in outrage at corruption, poor public services and Iran's perceived political interference.
It has been the perfect storm in which Iraq's tribes could reassert their leadership, said Phillip Smyth of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
In recent years, many Shiites had "become more urbanised and have loosened up their identity when it comes to being tribal," he said. Youth, which make up 60 percent of Iraq's 40 million people, were particularly prone to look outward and shed their tribal identities.
"But the reason the tribes have a lot more strength now is that you have a very weak central government and an outside power -- the Iranians -- that is viewed as being complicit with this government," Smyth told AFP news agency.
"These guys are looking at this and saying, let's revert back to sources of power that we know," he added.

"It was the tribes that found a solution to the crisis while the politicians did nothing," said Qaysar al-Husseinawi, a leading figure in Nasiriyah's Husseinat tribe.
Influential clan structures have so far intervened to end bloodshed but if they choose to take up arms, many in the south expect full-blown conflict.
One police officer said he'd rather desert than fight them. "The state could never protect its own men against tribal law," he said.
"The social bargain of any tribe is that the sheikh is a river to his people," providing them with work, justice and stability, said Nicholas Heras of the Center for a New American Security, a think-tank in Washington. So naturally, the widespread upheaval in recent weeks over unemployment and poor services touched tribes, too.
"Tribal anger is directed at leaders in Baghdad that are viewed as having not kept their part of the social bargain," Heras said.
The government may seek to appease tribes with offers of more jobs or services, but there is no guarantee they could keep their support for long. "You can never buy tribal groupings... ", said Smyth. "They're for rent."

Tribes Under Saddam
Global Security Website

Following the 1968 Baathist coup, close family, clan, and tribal ties bound Iraq's ruling Sunni elite.
Most notable in this regard was the emergence of Tikritis Sunni Arabs from the town of Tikrit northwest of Baghdad related to President Ahmad Hasan al Bakr. Saddam Hussein, a key leader behind the scenes, was a Tikriti and a relative of al Bakr.
The Iraq government was a family enterprise. It was run by family members, tribal members, second cousins, their sons, their nephews.
It is a tribal system that runs the country and family relations is the most sure to loyalty, in the system and a guarantor of having no coups...
Rather than eliminate the tribal sheik as a socio-political power, Saddam Hussein bought their loyalty.
Throughout the 1990s, Baghdad explicitly encouraged the reconstruction of clans and tribal extended families where they existed. Tribal customs began to permeate the state's legal system.
The tribal roots of Baath Party leaders were emphasized. Tribal honor has motivated foreign policy decisions.
By moving his family and tribe to the capital city and making them its rulers, Saddam Hussein himself acted in classical tribal fashion.

For the impoverished tribes, military and government service was a respectable and profitable livelihood as well as a vehicle for upward mobility.
Saddam Hussein also rewarded the villages of loyal tribesmen by providing roads, electricity, and water systems. Cooperating tribal leaders could rely on the government to provide jobs and perks to their members...
Because of a weakened economy and the severely reduced ability of the state to provide social services, many Iraqis increasingly turned to their tribes for support.
The renewed alliance between state and tribe created a new symbiosis: the state advances the favored tribes and the favored tribes protect the state.
In the late 1980s, this state-tribe alliance became official. The regime has continued to portray tribes as a symbol of patriotism, broadcasting popular forms of tribal war poetry and stressing tribal values.

Arab Strategy Forum: “progress” is
the best model for Arab states to adopt
Jumana Khamis, Arab News, 10-12-2019

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia came in for high praise at the Arab Strategy Forum, an annual event in Dubai attended by prominent scholars, diplomats, strategists and media professionals with the aim to forecast the events and trends for the next 10 years.
Taking part in a panel discussion on Monday with the theme “Future of Islamism in the Next Decade,” Ed Husain, a co-founder of UK’s counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam, drew attention to the ongoing reforms in the Kingdom.
Describing the changes as positive yet “unanticipated,” he praised the Kingdom’s efforts. “These reforms are not just about Saudi Arabia, they affect the whole region...” he said.
Since the announcement of the Vision 2030 reform plans in 2016, Saudi Arabia has witnessed steady progress in women’s empowerment....
Besides praising Saudi Arabia, Husain described the UAE as a country with “an almost ideal model,” where people are “privately pious and realise it is the state and not the mosque that is responsible for solving your social and economic issues.”

In his comments on “mosque and state,” Omar Saif Ghobash, assistant minister for cultural affairs at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said there is a need to redefine what it means to be a Muslim Arab today.
Ghobash said the definition is needed because it is no longer exceptional in the region to be creative, progressive and economically driven.
If one looks at history, the religious class carried a great deal of authority in how cities operated, he said. But with advances in knowledge and the creation of various specializations, “the clerical class” can no longer claim to have the ability to answer all questions that may fall under topics such as transport policies, logistics and demographic challenges.

Husain ascribed the stigma connected with secularism in the region to the absence of a native, authentic and relevant definition that Arabs could identity with.
Under the circumstance, “the failure to articulate a strong Arab identity will create a vacuum for extreme Islamism,” said Husain...
Criticizing political parties and organizations with an extremist agenda... He suggested “progress” as the best model for Arab states to adopt, pointing out that a desire to overthrow the government — as seen in the Arab Spring revolts since 2011— does not result in a “utopian” system.
We are still suffering from the revolutions since 2011... The overthrowing of a government didn’t work, doesn’t work and will not work.”

US & Nato: NO to any 'Arab' identity

Russian military enters Raqqa city
By Al-Masdar News Desk, 10-12-2019

Russian military delivers humanitarian aid to Raqqa
RT Russia, 10-12-2019

Russian military forces have delivered food and provided medical assistance to the residents of Raqqa in the first such humanitarian mission aimed at helping civilians who are struggling to survive in the city scarred by war.
The first column of Russian military trucks loaded with food and medical supplies entered the capital of Syria's northern province on Monday.

Once designated as the unofficial capital of the notorious Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), the city was recaptured by the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in 2017 after spending three years under extremist rule.
However, what was hailed as "liberation" in the West turned into misery for the locals, as two-thirds of Raqqa was virtually destroyed in a massive bombing campaign...
"In 2017, the social and economic infrastructure of Raqqa was totally destroyed in a US-led coalition's operation aimed at liberating it," Vladimir Varnavsky, an officer with the Russian Reconciliation Center, who arrived in Raqqa with the convoy, told journalists.
He also drew attention to the fact that debris clearing and demining works have still not been finished in the city more than two years after it was freed from terrorists. Food, clean water and medical supplies are lacking as well.
Russia plans to coordinate its efforts with the Syrian government to restore infrastructure in this city, as has already happened in Damascus and Aleppo.

Iraq: Poll reveals the dynamics
and ideas of the demonstrators in Iraq
Shafaq News, 11-12-2019

Iraq’s recent demonstrations are among the bloodiest protests in its modern history.
In an attempt to get a better understanding of these protests’ dynamics and how protesters’ grievances can be addressed, a research group (Al Mustakilla) conducted a face-to-face poll of around 1,250 interviews with protesters in Baghdad and all main cities in the south of Iraq from Nov. 24 through Dec. 1.
While there was no way to do a random probability representative sample, they targeted those participating in the protests with a purposive sample.

"Democracy consolidates relations among people, and its main strength is respect."
Saddam Hussein, in: 'On democracy'

The question of democracy is an extremely complicated one. It needs your great concern.”

"Pay attention to citizens’ demands and grievances and do not feel weary or bored by the persistence of these demands, because if you save a wronged person, partially or totally, you will be doing a great service to the people and the principles of your Party.
The sense of injustice is a serious thing. There is nothing more dangerous than a human being who feels he is wronged, because he will turn into a huge explosive force when he feels that no one in the State or in society is on his side to redress the injustice."

One of the most powerful findings of the survey was the overwhelming importance to protesters of the need to feel significant.
In a nationwide poll conducted earlier this year, 3 of 4 respondents said they felt their lives had lost all meaning, while 80 percent said they felt depressed at least one time during the previous six months.
But participating in these demonstrations appears to have changed those feelings. Almost 94 percent of the protesters said that these demonstrations made them feel like an important person.
Almost the same percentage said that participation in these protests made them feel as if they had a voice in the future of Iraq. And 97 percent mentioned that going to protests made them more proud of being Iraqis.
Almost 90 percent said these protests made them feel that they are challenging the current system. This challenge can be summarized in the main slogan of these protests: Coming to grab my right.

The protesters are demanding deep changes to the political system in general — and not just to the present government...
A great problem for any lasting solution is the profound lack of trust in the current political players.
Except for Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, who enjoys the trust of 60 percent of the protesters, all other state players (legislative, executive and even judicial branch) are trusted by less than 5 percent of Iraqis...
Outside international players receive a low level of trust as well. Iran is trusted by 1 percent of those interviewed, while the United States is trusted by 7 percent, the European Union by 25 percent and the United Nations by 30 percent.

The digital revolution and government corruption have severely undermined the ability of traditional institutions — like schools, religious authorities and families — to control young Iraqis’ behavior. Since 2004, the percentage of Iraqis who have mobile phones jumped from 1 percent to almost 100 percent — and more than 80 percent have smartphones with Internet access. By 2018 (at the latest), Iraqis used the Internet as their main source of information.

The Western press sanitizes the radical,
Revisionist Zionism of the Likud
Juan Cole, 12/12/2019

The Israeli parliament has voted to dissolve itself and go to new elections, as the attempts by prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz to form a government failed.
The Jewish-majority parties in Israel refused to allow the Joint List, largely representing Israelis of Palestinian heritage, into the government.
As a result, no party could form a coalition of 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset or parliament...
Israel is like the Jim Crow Old South, where African-Americans were de facto excluded from high public office.
Although Israel’s political stalemate is a direct result of the exclusion of a fifth of the population from high office, no major news outlets will report it that way.

The Western press has so deeply imbibed the racist premises of the Israeli Establishment that the focus is solely on Netanyahu and Gantz.
In fact, the Western press sanitizes the radical, Revisionist Zionism of the Likud by speaking about it as though it were merely a form of conservatism.
In fact, it most resembles far-right parties like UKIP in Britain and the AfD in Germany in its heated populism and frank racism.
Netanyahu is a poster boy for racist rhetoric, which makes it darkly humorous that he has deployed massive Israeli government resources to manipulate clueless Americans into thinking it is racist (“anti-Semitic”) to so much as criticize his Likud regime...

The Israeli government not only rules some 6.7 million Jewish Israelis, but also another 1.9 million Israelis of Palestinian heritage. In addition, it militarily Occupies 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank of Palestine, and 2 million Palestinians in Gaza.
The 5 million Occupied Palestinians are stateless and lack basic human rights under Israeli Occupation law.
They can be arrested and detained with no charges for years, that is, they have no right of habeas corpus, one of the most basic principles of democracy.
Although Israeli elections determine the fate of the Occupied Palestinians, they have no vote in them, what with lacking citizenship in a state and all.
The 6.9 inhabitants of Palestinian heritage between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean slightly outnumber the Jewish residents, but the Jews have all the political and military power...

Trump's antisemitism decree tramples
on free speech rights, advocates say
By Ali Harb, Middle East Eye, 11 December 2019

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” ( IHRA's definition)

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order adopting a controversial definition of antisemitism that free speech advocates say will stifle Palestinian rights activism on college campuses.
The executive order, signed by the president on Wednesday afternoon, extends current anti-discrimination civil rights laws at the Department of Education to cover Judaism. It also orders the department to adopt the working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) of antisemitism when considering claims of antisemitic abuse.

Palestinian rights advocates have long rejected IHRA's definition, saying that it could be employed to censor speech critical of Israel's political policies.
The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a Washington-based advocacy group, called the decree a "clear instrument of repression targeting activism for freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people on college campuses".
On Wednesday, Trump stated in no ambiguous terms that the executive order targets the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which seeks to pressure Israel economically and politically to end its abuses against Palestinians.
"We forcefully condemn this antisemitic campaign against Israel," he said of BDS.
IHRA's definition does not mention BDS, but it lists saying the "State of Israel is a racist endeavor" as one example of antisemitic behaviour.
Before signing the decree, Trump directly threatened to withhold funding from universities.
Trump, who has been accused by critics of pursuing staunchly pro-Israel policies to satisfy his conservative Christian base that favours Israel for theological reasons, invited an evangelical leader to speak before signing the antisemitism decree. The US president touted the amount of support he enjoys among evangelicals.

IHRA: Israel is a Jewish state,
so criticism of Israeli policy is antisemitism

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a civil rights group, slammed Trump's decree, vowing to organise and push back against the measure.
"It is intended to silence the growing peace movement on college campuses aimed at crushing the debate around peace, Palestinian rights, and an end to Israeli aggression and occupation," ADC said in a statement.
Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish-American pro-Israel group, welcomed the resolution..

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