Saddam's Death, 154 (december 2019)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 153: dec 2019, part 1 and Page 155: jan 2020

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)

Johnson's Conservatives win majority in UK elections
Associated Press|Daily Sabah, 13-12-2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party has won a solid majority of seats in Britain's Parliament. With just over 600 of the 650 seats declared, the Conservatives reached the 326 mark, guaranteeing their majority.
The victory will likely make Johnson the most electorally successful Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher, another politician who was loved and loathed in almost equal measure.
It was a disaster for left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faced calls for his resignation even as the results rolled in. The party looked set to gain around 200 seats.
The result this time looked set to be the biggest Tory majority since Thatcher's 1980s' heyday, and Labour's lowest number of seats since 1935.
The Conservatives took a swathe of seats in post-industrial northern England towns that were long Labour strongholds. Labour's vote held up better in London, where the party managed to grab the Putney seat from the Conservatives.

Speaking at the election count in his Uxbridge constituency in suburban London, Johnson said the "historic" election "gives us now, in this new government, the chance to respect the democratic will of the British people to change this country for the better and to unleash the potential of the entire people of this country."
That message appears to have had strong appeal for Brexit-supporting voters, who turned away from Labour in the party's traditional heartlands and embraced Johnson's promise that the Conservatives would "get Brexit done."
"I think Brexit has dominated, it has dominated everything by the looks of it," said Labour economy spokesman John McDonnell. "We thought other issues could cut through and there would be a wider debate, from this evidence there clearly wasn't."
Labour, which is largely but ambiguously pro-EU, faced competition for anti-Brexit voters from the centrist Liberal Democrats, Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties, and the Greens.

Boris Johnson & the Middle East - Flashback

London’s mayor: ‘Don’t arm maniacs’
Zohra Bensemra, 17-6-2013

Arming the Syrian rebels would be “pressing weapons into the hands of maniacs and Al-Qaeda thugs,” London’s mayor has warned. His is the latest call in a wave of rhetoric urging the UK prime minister not to provide the Syrian rebels with weapons.
Writing for British publication The Telegraph, Boris Johnson wrote that the UK must not use Syria as “an arena for muscle flexing.” “We can’t use Syria as an arena for geopolitical point-scoring or muscle-flexing, and we won’t get a ceasefire by pressing weapons into the hands of maniacs,” wrote Johnson.

'Blair has finally gone mad’: London mayor
Alalam, 16-6-2014

London Mayor Boris Johnson has launched a stinging attack on former British prime minister Tony Blair over his claims that the current conflict in Iraq is not linked to the West's 2003 invasion.
Johnson’s strong condemnation is a reaction to the arguments made in the former British Prime Minister’s piece entitled 'Iraq, Syria and the Middle East,' where claims range from placing blame on the Iraqi government to Syria for allowing the recent attack on Mosul to take place from within its borders, to explain why militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have launched major attack on Iraqi cities.
But perhaps the most off-the-wall remark that has sent everyone over the edge was Blair’s claim that Britain should be thanked, not blamed, for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Lashing out at the former Prime Minister, Johnson wrote for The Telegraph on Sunday that “I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad.”
His essay “struck me as unhinged in its refusal to face facts....
When it comes to the question of why the Iraq invasion happened in the first place, the London mayor says that the former British leader’s whole campaign arose out of a desire to achieve personal “grandeur.”

Boris Johnson: "We cannot make the world a better place
unless we are at least honest about our failures..."
The Telegraph 15-6-2014

The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next. As one senior British general has put it to me, “we snipped the spinal cord” without any plan to replace it...
That is the truth, and it is time Tony Blair accepted it. When we voted for that war – and I did, too – we did so with what now looks like the hopelessly naive assumption that the British and American governments had a plan for the aftermath; that there was a government waiting in the wings; that civic institutions would be preserved and carried on in the post-Saddam era...
I fondly imagined that there would be a plan for the transition... I felt so nervous (and so guilty) about this assumption, that I went to Baghdad in the week after the fall of Saddam, to see if I was right. I was not.

It would be wrong and self-defeating to conclude that because we were wrong over Iraq, we must always be wrong to try to make the world a better place. But we cannot make this case unless we are at least honest about our failures...

Boris Johnson: "There is a need to be realistic"
RT (Russia News) 26-1-2017

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Britain has changed its stance and now believes Syrian President Bashar Assad could potentially be allowed to run for president if there was a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
There is a need to be “realistic about the way the landscape has changed” and to take a fresh look at the situation, Johnson said.
“We are getting to the stage where some sort of democratic resolution has got to be introduced,” he added.
Johnson stressed that cooperation with Russia would most certainly mean cooperation with Iran, Syria’s ally, which is likely to be “a good thing.”
“We think that trying to improve relations with Iran through this deal, and it’s a pretty cautious thing, is on the whole a good thing and we regard that as one of the achievements of the (former US President Barack) Obama administration.”
On the other hand, the foreign minister said that they “do not want to see a further extension of Iranian policy and influence in the region.”

British FM blasts 'arch-terrorist' Assad
Middle East Online, 16-4-2017

Maqsoud 2012Higazi 2012higazi 2009
Muslim Brotherhood 2012:
"It Is an Obligation to Kill Bashar Al-Assad"

LONDON - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is an "arch-terrorist" and it is time Russia realised he is "literally and metaphorically toxic", British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Sunday.
Johnson said Assad's ally Moscow still had time to be on the "right side of the argument", in a Sunday Telegraph newspaper article.
"Assad uses chemical weapons because they are not only horrible and indiscriminate. They are also terrifying," Johnson wrote.
"In that sense he is himself an arch-terrorist, who has caused such an unquenchable thirst for revenge that he can never hope to govern his population again. "He is literally and metaphorically toxic, and it is time Russia awoke to that fact. They still have time to be on the right side of the argument."

Responding to British Prime Minister Theresa May's claim that Russia is on the “wrong side of the argument” when it comes to Syria, Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said “the opposite is true.”
He noted that there is no moderate opposition alternative to the present government in Syria, referring to a similar statement made earlier by a former British ambassador to the Middle East state, Peter Ford. That’s why there is an “urgent need for lasting ceasefire and political process among the Syrians, so that they can decide for themselves.”
“It seems that our Western partners don't like this approach and want to decide for the Syrians who will take part in the political process and who shall not," he told the Daily Mail. (RT Russia, 17-4-2017)

"It was Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood that started an Islamic revolution in 2011, which created a domino effect, extending into Syria and across the globe.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, empowered by the revolution in Egypt, rose to establish an Islamic order in Syria, attempting to eliminate Assad, as their counterpart did to Mubarak in Egypt. Assad’s loyal ally Russia came to his defense, while the US government under President Barack Obama threw Mubarak under the bus.
Time and time again, Obama stood shoulder to shoulder with Islamic radicals...
9/11 ringleader Muhammad Atta, the head of Al-Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Islamic State head Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi were all members of the Brotherhood. Osama Bin Laden was a member of the Saudi branche of the Muslim Brotherhood. (The Saudi MB doesn't allow its members to weaponize foreign fighters, that's why Bin Laden was expelled from the organisation.)
Today, President Donald Trump must make it clear to foreign leaders that there is a new sheriff in town, and we will not tolerate those who engage in, or support, Islamic terrorism." Brigitte Gabriel (Breitbart, 17 April 2017)

"From day one the Muslim Brotherhood
has served as a Trojan horse"

PM candidate Johnson: I would not back
U.S. military action against Iran
Reuters, 15-7-2019

The leading candidate to become Britain’s next Prime Minister, lawmaker Boris Johnson, said on Monday he would not currently back the United States if it took military action against Iran.
Were I to be prime minister now, would I be supporting military action against Iran? Then the answer is no,” Johnson told a leadership debate organised by the Sun newspaper and TalkRadio.
U.S.-Iranian tensions have escalated since U.S. President Donald Trump decided last year to abandon the nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curtail its atomic programme in return for relief from economic sanctions crippling its economy.
Foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he did not think the United States was looking for war with Iran, nor Tehran looking for war with Washington.
“The risk we have is something different, which is an accidental war, because something happens in a very tense and volatile situation,” Hunt told the same debate.

Israel lawmakers gush over Johnson victory
Labor-Gesher MK : “I never imagined that
I would be so pleased by a Labour defeat.”
Middle East Monitor, December 13, 2019

Israeli lawmakers have expressed relief over the defeat of UK Labour Party in yesterday’s general election as Britain’s minorities prepare for what is expected to be a tumultuous five years ahead.
The resounding victory of the Tories was met with huge cheers in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the first leaders to applaud his British counterpart.
“Congratulations my friend Boris Johnson on your historic victory. This is a great day for the people of Great Britain and for the friendship between us,” tweeted the embattled Prime Minster who is fighting to protect his political legacy with a criminal charge looming.
Netanyahu’s remarks reflected a palpable sigh of relief for Israeli politicians who voiced deep anxieties over a possible Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn on the day of the election.
“This [election] very much troubles us,” Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Ynet TV. “It is true that we as a country cannot say we support this-or-that candidate, but Corbyn is a real danger to Israel-Britain relations, and I know British Jewry are very worried about this possibility.”
Hotovely, a vocal proponent of a complete annexation of the occupied West Bank also encouraged British Jews to flee to Israel.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Johnson’s victory is “not just political. It is first and foremost a victory of values.” Describing the UK as “a close and important friend of Israel” he called for the deepening of partnership between the two countries.
Likud politician Gideon Sa’ar, who last week denounced the EU as “lacking morality” for insisting on the labelling of Israeli goods produced on the illegal settlements, congratulated Johnson and the Conservative Party “on an impressive electoral victory” while also denouncing Labour saying that “under Corbyn, Labour has cosied up to Israel’s enemies and anti-Semites, and his failure will be a great relief to the British Jewish community.”
Labour’s Israeli counterpart, Labor-Gesher, MK Itzik Shmuli tweeted: “I never imagined that I would be so pleased by a Labour defeat.”

Ken Livingstone: "The Jewish vote wasn't very helpful"
By Mikey Smith, Mirror News, 13-12-2019

Ken Livingstone said tonight's brutal election result is "the end" for Jeremy Corbyn - and appeared to blame "the Jewish vote" for contributing to the losses.
The former Labour MP and Mayor of London, said his friend and ally Jeremy Corbyn had paid the price for several aspects of his campaign, including not taking more action against anti-semitism.
"The Jewish vote wasn't very helpful," Mr Livingstone said "Jeremy should have tackled that issue far earlier than he did.
"It looks like the end for Jeremy, which is disappointing for me since I'm a close ally. I'm sure he'll have to resign..."
While Mr Corbyn was criticised for Labour's radical election platform, Mr Livingstone said he would have preferred the party to have been even bolder.

Left Wing Criticism

Ken Livingstone: 'Creation of Israel was fundamentally wrong'
Ynetnews, 7-5-2016

Ken Livingstone has described the creation of the State of Israel as "a great catastrophe" and said Jewish people should have been resettled in the UK and America after the Second World War.
In an interview broadcast in Arabic by TV station Al Ghad Al Arabi on Wednesday, and posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), he said the creation of Israel had been "fundamentally wrong."
“The creation of the state of Israel was a great catastrophe,” he repeated. “We should have absorbed the post-World War II Jewish refugees in Britain and America. They could all have been resettled, whereas 70 years later, the situation is still very tense, and there is potential for many more wars....”

Prior to the creation of the Jewish state, he said, “there were large Jewish communities that never suffered threats or attacks. They lived in peace alongside their Arab neighbors. But all of this was destroyed with the establishment of the State of Israel, and all the Israeli communities in the Arab world were deported to Israel.”
The veteran politician also blamed Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians for global terrorism...
“I have always believed that the failure to resolve the (Palestinian) problem fuels the terrorist attacks,” he said. “The West must deal with the injustice, or will continue to fuel terrorism.”

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

Thanks to the massive support of the Zionist leadership, the “national-religious” camp grew in Israel at a dizzying pace.
Ben Gurion set up a special branch of the educational system for them, which grew more extremist by the year, as did the national-religious youth movement, Bnei Akiva.
Members of one generation of the national-religious community became the teachers of the next, which guaranteed an inbuilt process of radicalization.

Likud united with Messianic Right-Wing Orthodoxy
With the beginning of the occupation, they created Gush Emunim (“the Bloc of the Faithful’), the ideological core of the settlement movement. Nowadays this camp is directed by Rabbis whose teachings emit a strong odor of Fascism.
This would not be so terrible if the two opposing religious factions neutralized each other, as was indeed the case 50 years ago. But since then, the opposite has happened.
There are now three religious educational systems – the national-religious, the “independent” one of the Orthodox, and “el-Hama’ayan (“to the source”) of Shas. All three are financed by the state..
The differences between them are small, compared to their similarities. All teach their pupils the history of the Jewish people only (based, of course, on the religious myths), nothing about the history of the world, of other peoples, not to mention other religions. The Koran and the New Testament are the kernel of evil and not to be touched.
The typical alumni of these systems know that the Jews are the chosen (and vastly superior) people, that all Goyim are vicious anti-Semites, that God promised us this country and that no one else has a right to one square inch of its land.
From this point of view, there is no longer any difference between the Orthodox and the national-religious, between Ashkenazim and Sephardim.

netanyahu: "the weak are erased from history..."

The source of all this evil is, of course, the original sin of the State of Israel: the non-separation between state and religion, based on the non-separation between nation and religion.

Jewishness Is Not a Nationality
"According to Trump Hitler was right"
Sheldon Richman,, 11-12-2019

Having failed at one attempt to suppress pro-Palestinian advocacy and activism on American college campuses, the Trump administration will try a new tack: defining Jewishness as a nationality or race.
The New York Times reported this week: "President Trump plans to sign an executive order targeting what he sees as anti-Semitism on college campuses... The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion..."
The Times notes that “prominent Democrats have joined Republicans in promoting such a policy change to combat anti-Semitism as well as the boycott-Israel movement.”

Nazi 'apartheid' laws
The point here is that, according to Trump and Kenneth Marcus, who heads the office for civil rights at the Education Department, Hitler was right: Jews constitute a separate racial group. It’s in their blood. Once a Jew always a Jew.
Hitler wasn’t the first to take this position, and Zionist leaders agreed with him. It was the view of pre-20th-century European rulers who confined Jews to ghettos (with rabbinic endorsement), treating them as mere members of a corporate entity rather than as individual citizens with rights. (Napoleon broke up this system and emancipated the Jews for a time.)
The problem for Trump and Marcus is that the 1964 Civil Rights Act doesn’t list religion as a forbidden discrimination category.
It “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.”
That being the case, how can the Trump administration claim that colleges and campus groups act illegally when they allow or put on programs designed to bring attention to the Palestinians...?

Liberal Jewish groups are protesting what Trump’s up to, which is good. But in fact Israel itself defines Jews as constituting a nationality or race.
When fans of Israel point out that Palestinians are citizens, they ignore the fact that those citizens are not Israeli nationals and that it is nationality, not citizenship, that matters when it comes to Israeli policy regarding access to resources and services.
Remember, Israel exists for the benefit of Jews – everywhere – and not for all of its citizens regardless of religion or religious background...
Declaring that Jews (including nonbelievers who have Jewish mothers) are members of a separate national and racial group is the essence of anti-Semitism. The only problem for many Trump critics is that it’s also the position of Israel and its apologists.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute, senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at

Christmas carnival roams Damascus streets
Syrian Arab News Agency, 15-12-2019

It’s time for the international community
to stop ‘recognising’ Hadi’s ‘government’
Omar Ahmed, Middle East Monitor, 14-12-2019

In spite of having no substantial physical political presence in Yemen, and no formal armed forces on the ground, the media is insistent on running with the same, tired expression of “the internationally recognised legitimate government” of the fugitive president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has apparently been running the country from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, since he fled Yemen in 2015.
It has now been over a month since the signing of the Riyadh Agreement, which was hailed as ushering in peace in the south, not only among the warring factions of Hadi’s forces, which largely consists of Islamist, Islah [Muslim Brotherhood dominated] militia and Sudanese mercenaries..., but it was also hoped to simmer down the tension between the patrons of these two parties, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) respectively, both partners in the anti-Houthi coalition in the north, but backing opposing sides in the south.
A month ago I argued that this agreement will fall flat in its objectives, namely due to the fact that Hadi doesn’t have any concrete authority in Yemen, and the real political legitimacy lies with the National Salvation Government (NSG), which has been ruling the capital Sanaa since 2014.
Its power-base was formed from of an alliance between the Ansar Allah [Houthi] movement, the Yemeni military and remnants of the General People’s Congress political party, misleadingly called: “Houthi rebels” or “Iranian proxies”, following Tehran’s orders...
Essentially, this agreement stalled the inevitability that the Saudis, and the wider international community, will have to accept the reality that the NSG (“Houthis”) are the legitimate government in Yemen. I am using the past-tense here because the agreement is void and no longer exists...

It would now appear that the Trump administration has done an ‘about-face’ on its policy on Yemen, having once framed the conflict as being an Iranian proxy war, they are now trying to downplay Iran’s involvement.
Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, went from declaring in September that Iran was “controlling and deploying” the Houthis as a “terror front”, to now stating that “Iran clearly does not speak for the Houthis.”

The National Salvation Government is not only arguably the legitimate government of Yemen. The Yemeni armed forces and its alliance with AnsarAllah has proven that they are indeed the most powerful entity in the country, with an ever-developing arsenal...
As the Riyadh Agreement gradually fades into obscurity, and the Saudis and its allies begin to sue for peace and pay for the damage that they caused, in the realisation that it is the Houthi government which is the legitimate power and authority in the country, it is high time that the international community start recognising this too, at the expense of the puppet government based in Riyadh headed by Hadi..

Egyptian President: "Let the people live"
Ahram Online, Sunday 15 Dec 2019

Green became the national color of Libya under Gaddafi. It symbolized the predominant religion of Islam as well as Gaddafi’s “Third Universal Theory” as expounded in his Green Book, his book of political writings, published in 1975.

"Nationalism is the basis for the survival of nations. Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin. Minorities, which are one of the main political problems in the world, are the outcome. They are nations whose nationalism has been destroyed and which are thus torn apart." (SD, page 45)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Sunday that the developments in the Libya have harmed Egypt, and that hundreds of thousands of Egyptian youth working in Libya have returned to Egypt due to the conflict in the neighbouring country.
The president made the comments on the second day of the World Youth Forum, the 3rd edition of which is being held in Sharm El-Sheikh.
During the session, the Egyptian president tackled several issues including illegal immigration and the situations in Syria and Lebanon.
"Immigration has many reasons, including terrorism, but there are other reasons like the desertification, which forces people to internally migrate," he said.

Concerning Syria, El-Sisi stated that instead of wasting time, the focus should be on restoring stability the country.
"Millions of Syrian refugees in all countries will return to Syria, let the people live," he said.
Concerning Lebanon, the Egyptian president warned of escalation in the country’s political situation. "What happened in Lebanon was the result of a certain situation, and if [the situation in Lebanon] escalates, the crisis will not just be in Syria, but also in Lebanon, and it will be a bigger problem," he said.
During the session, the president demanded the restoration of the "nation-state" in the Arab world and the restoration of countries that have lost their “national sovereignty.”
"The national armies are responsible for stability and security inside their countries, the only country that survived in the region was Egypt because of its army," El-Sisi said.

Militias hold Libyan gov’t 'hostage'
Samy Magdy, Associated Press, 15-12-2019

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in televised comments that the Government of National Accord “is not able to have a free and real will because they have been taken hostage by armed and terrorist militias there.”
The GNA is backed by Egypt's regional rivals Turkey and Qatar and Egypt’s relations with the two countries have been strained since 2013.
That's when el-Sissi, as defense minister, led the military overthrow of elected but divisive Islamist President Muhammad Morsi amid mass protests against his brief rule. Morsi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Tripoli-based government is supported by a Libyan affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which Cairo designated as a terrorist organization in 2013. Turkey and Qatar are also staunch backers of the Brotherhood.

Aboul Gheit: Absence of National States
Whet Iran, Turkey’s Appetite in Arab World
Asharq al-Awsat, 16 December, 2019

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday the absence of national states in the Arab world has encouraged Turkey and Iran to seek to pursue their interests in the region.
Speaking at the World Youth Forum in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, he rejected referring to the anti-government protests and uprisings that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s as the “Arab Spring.”
He blamed the revolts and the 2003 invasion of Iraq for destabilizing the region and weakening of national states. This left the region prey to Iran and Turkey.
He also addressed Ethiopia’s construction of the renaissance dam, saying that amid such tumult in the Arab world, some neighbors have sought to seize water supplies.
He also criticized Israel, saying it has taken advantage of the unrest in the Arab world to shirk its commitments to the peaceful settlement of its conflict with the Palestinians....
Held under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the third edition of the World Youth Forum kicked off on Saturday. Around 7,000 individuals are taking part in the forum, which concludes on Tuesday. They will attend 24 sessions and 14 workshops.

Saleh: We back political solution,
but after Tripoli liberation
Libyan Address Jourbal, 15 December 2019

Turkey has taken advantage of the situation in our country and attempted to seize our state resources,” Speaker of the Libyan parliament Aguila Saleh charged. “The international community understands our position.”
Asked about the upcoming international conference on Libya set for Berlin, Saleh said: “The meeting is aimed at unifying the European stance on the Libyan crisis, not imposing solutions on the people from abroad.”
He confirmed that he had received an invitation to visit Washington, predicting that it will likely take place in January.
This reveals its recognition of the legitimacy of the parliament,” said Saleh, adding that he will discuss with American officials means to restore the authority of the state and build its institutions.
On the Presidential Council, which is headed by GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj, Saleh said the body is illegal because it was never approved by the parliament...
Saleh said that the first step towards reaching a political solution in Libya lies in liberating Tripoli from the clutches of militias and foreign mercenaries. This will then be followed by dialogue.
He revealed that the parliament had formed a committee to hold Libyan dialogue that will draft the political solution “because the people will not accept foreign solutions.”
“We back the political path and reconciliation, but only after Tripoli’s liberation,” he stressed.

Bashar al-Assad: "Dialogue with the Chinese government
on how Syria can become part of the Belt and Road Initiative
Syrian Arab News Agency, 16 December 2019

Journalist: Mr. President, on behalf of the Chinese television channel Phoenix I would like to thank you for giving us this interview.
President Assad: You are welcome.

Question: Where will you begin the reconstruction of Syria?
President Assad: In fact, we are not waiting for the end of a particular stage of the war in order to start reconstruction; reconstruction starts immediately after the liberation of any area, whether it is big or small, a village or a city.
Reconstruction has stages, the first of which is rebuilding the infrastructure, particularly in the areas of water and electricity. Later, the state shifts its focus to schools, health centers and hospitals.
However, the most important stage in reconstruction, which comes later and constitutes the most serious challenge for us, is restoring daily activity especially economic livelihood.
This requires a great deal of effort and is affected by internal factors and the external environment – namely the embargo imposed by Western countries on Syria, which has a negative affect and slows the process down.
So, reconstruction has already started, but we need more investments from within and outside the country in order to scale it up.

Question: Mr. President, I would like to ask you about the Belt and Road Initiative. How do you see this initiative in general?
President Assad: From a strategic perspective, it constitutes a worldwide transformation, a transformation in the nature of international relations.
If we look at the current situation in the world, we see that it is governed by Western attempts of domination, particularly on the part of the United States.
In the past during the Cold War, there was a period of conflict among states. This conflict was based on the degree of dominance of each pole, particularly the Western pole over a group of states, in order to achieve its interests against the other pole.
Before that, World War II and the preceding period of full colonialization; states occupied other nations and wherever they did so, they defined the interests of those peoples under their domination. In most cases there were no mutual interests; those peoples were enslaved by the more powerful states.
Today, we see that there is a superpower – China, trying to strengthen its influence in the world. But what kind of influence?
It is not the negative influence we have become accustomed to, but rather an influence in the sense of relying on friends and an influence based on mutual interests. When we in Syria think about being part of the Silk Road and Syria is a small country – by international, geographic, demographic, economic and military standards…
Intervention: But historically, it is on the Silk Road.
President Assad: It is exactly on the Silk Road, but what is more important is that this new approach is derived from history but is suitable for the 21st century; it is an approach built on parity. When we are part of this Road, China treats us as equals and not as a superpower dealing with a small country. There are mutual interests: it is beneficial to China, Syria and all the countries on this Road.
Another aspect, is that it is not limited to China’s bilateral relations with these countries but rather it is a relationship among all the countries on this axis.
So, it is a relationship of culture and civilization which ultimately leads to greater prosperity and investment, and the improvement of the social, economic and security conditions in these countries. This means more stability in the world, which is contrary to what we have known in our modern and recent history.
This is what we see in the Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative): stability and prosperity.

Question Syria, for its part, expressed its desire to take part in the Belt and Road Initiative. Are there any developments in this regard?
President Assad: During the previous period, and especially in the early years of the war due to the instability, it wasn’t our priority. Perhaps because it didn’t make sense to talk about infrastructure when you are in a state of life or death, not as individuals but as a homeland, as a nation – Syria.
Now that we have overcome this stage and with the increased stability and the improvement of the economic cycle in Syria, we have started this year a serious dialogue with the Chinese government on how Syria can become part of the Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative).

Question: Mr. President, I would like to ask you about the situation in America. The United States holds presidential elections next year. If Trump is not reelected for a new presidential term, would that failure, in your opinion, be useful to Syria or not?
President Assad: We need to realise that the American political system is not a state system in the sense that we understand. It is a system comprised of lobbies.
The rulers of America are the money lobbies, whether in the form of oil, weapons, banks, or others. These lobbies control all parts of American politics. When Trump tried to be independent, albeit in a very limited degree, the attack against him started.
We are now witnessing the impeachment process aimed at bringing the President back into line with the lobbies.
All the presidents we have dealt with in Syria, from Nixon in 1974 – when relations with America were restored, up to Trump today are controlled by these lobbies.
No matter how much good will any president has, he cannot act outside the policies of these lobbies.
Therefore, betting on the change of presidents is misplaced and unrealistic and I don’t think that this American policy will change in the next few years.

Question: Mr. President, what is the number of the remaining American troops on Syrian territories now?
President Assad: The funny thing in American politics is that they announce the number between thousands and hundreds. When they say thousands: it is to make the the pro-war lobby – particularly the arms companies, happy that they are in a state of war. When they say hundreds: they are addressing the people who oppose the war by saying that they are only “a few hundred.”
In actual fact, both figures are incorrect for a simple reason; even if these figures were correct, they are based on the number of American soldiers and not the number of individuals fighting with the American army.
The American regime relies significantly in its wars on private firms like Blackwater in Iraq and others.
So even if they had a few hundred American soldiers in Syria, they still also have thousands – maybe tens of thousands, of civilians working for such companies and fighting in Syria. That’s why it is difficult to know the real number, but it is certainly in the thousands...

'Deeply damaging': Anger as Boris Johnson plans 'anti-BDS' law
By Anealla Safdar, Al Jazeera News, 17-12-2019

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to ban public bodies from boycotting foreign products from countries including Israel, a move seen as targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Lord Eric Pickles, Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues and a former Conservative MP, confirmed the move, saying: "BDS is an organisation devoted to boycotting and removing investment from Israel, one of our key allies. We're going to ensure that public sector, places like councils and health authorities, can't work against Israel, can't prejudice Israel."
"BDS is just a thin disguise for ant-Semitism and we as Conservatives should always tackle racial discrimination. BDS is one of the worst, wink wink, nudge nudge, piece of racialism that we know."

His message, posted in a video on the Conservative Friends of Israel lobby group's Twitter feed, has stirred concerns among experts and activists who see BDS as a non-violent protest movement aimed at pressuring Israel to comply with international law and stop oppressing Palestinians.
Specifically, BDS seeks to break down Israel's illegal wall and settlements. Its supporters demand equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and call for the rights of Palestinian refugees to be upheld.
Hilary Aked, whose PhD thesis investigated opposition to BDS, told Al Jazeera: "Labelling the Palestinian-led BDS movement 'anti-Semitic' is deeply damaging to the cause of anti-racism, both in terms of fighting genuine anti-Semitism and opposing the apartheid system Israel imposes on Palestinians.
"The Conservative government's renewed talk of outlawing BDS is the result of having lost the moral argument and, like supporters of Israel everywhere, needing to resort to repression and smears to stop ethical boycott and divestment initiatives."
Johnson, who scooped a large parliamentary for his Conservative Party in a December 12 election, has previously described himself as a "passionate Zionist".

Israeli Jews must learn Arabic for the sake of society
Michael Milstein, YNet News Opinion, 12.17.2019

The relations between Israel's Jewish and Arab communities is changing.
On the one hand, the interaction between both communities is growing - with primarily young Arabs participating more in all aspects of Israeli life, such as on university campuses, in the finance industry, the public sector, the media, entertainment, culture, and civil society.
On the other hand, the rift between communities appears to be growing due to the venomous attacks on Arab politicians by the right-wing.
An overwhelming number of Arab citizens (92%) have some command of the Hebrew language, understand Jewish cultural codes and participate in some form in Jewish society.
Jews, are for the most part ignorant of the Arab spoken language, are unable to read Arab literature or newspapers and unable to engage in the community's social media discourse.
Ten percent of Jews understand some Arabic but only 2.6% are able to read and understand Arabic-language media.
This is a considerable impediment to the promotion of direct, personal relations between the two sectors, and especially the ability of Jews to understand their Arab neighbors and be familiar with their culture. This is felt in all aspects of our lives - from politics to basic one-on-one interactions.
When Jews are asked about their reluctance to study Arabic, they have a number of explanations, beginning with fear for their personal safety, doubt about the importance of engaging and even condescension towards Arab culture. Jews also report they are reluctant to enter Arab cities or neighborhoods.
Language is crucial to ensuring the fabric of society is kept whole...
It remains unclear when a permanent government will be formed and what its makeup will be, but any government would be wise to legislate Arabic-language studies starting in primary schools.
Unless these lessons are required by law, Israel's Jewish and Arab societies will continue to grow apart and co-existence will remain elusive.

What do we mean by “Arab”?
Arab Language Blog, 23-5-2011

This term is as hard to define exactly as the term “American”.
Arabs were the people living in the Arabian Peninsula before Islam. They included pagans, Jews and Christians.
With the rise of Islam, lots and lots of Muslims emigrated and settled down in different parts of the Islamic empire that extended from the Atlantic Ocean and Southern Europe in the west to India and China in the Far East and down to Central Africa.
Some countries adopted the Arabic Language as their first language and most of their populations converted to Islam, while some other countries maintained their own tongue and learnt Arabic only for Islamic and religious rituals and studies.
The countries in North Africa and the Middle East have Arabic as their first language and have a majority population of Muslims. You can still see other religious minorities (Christians & Jews) in some parts of the Arab World like in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon and Syria.
So, Arabs started mainly in the Arabian Peninsula but emigrated to different parts, melted in other cultures, affected and were affected by these cultures.
Hence, comes the difficulty of defining the term “Arab”. It is easier to specify what an Arab is not rather than what he/she is.
Arab is not a race, religion, or nationality. For easiness, we are going to adopt the following definition: "Anyone who speaks Arabic as his/her own language and consequently feels as an Arab..."

The strength of Arabism lies in its diversity
Bashar al-Assad, speech 10-1-2012

The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam.
Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ...
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions.
It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness.
Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. ...
The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component.
Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.

Lebanon: University professor
Hassan Diab nominated to be PM
BBC News, 19-12-2019

Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah movement and its allies have nominated university professor and former education minister Hassan Diab to be prime minister.
Mr Diab reportedly failed to secure the backing of the main Sunni-led bloc, which could make it difficult to form a new government and secure Western aid. He emerged as a candidate when outgoing PM Saad Hariri withdrew on Wednesday.
On Thursday, President Michel Aoun held formal consultations with members of parliament on who to name as prime minister - a post that must go to a Sunni Muslim under Lebanon's complex confessional power-sharing system.
Mr Diab was nominated by the biggest Shia Muslim factions, Hezbollah and Amal, as well as Mr Aoun's Maronite Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). Together the groups control a majority of the seats in the 128-member parliament.
The second-placed candidate was Nawwaf Salam, a former judge at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Mr Hariri's Sunni-led Future Movement did not nominate anyone and told the president that it would not participate in the next government.
Mr Diab, 60, has a PhD in computer engineering from the University of Bath in the UK and has taught the subject at the American University of Beirut since 1985. In 2006, he was appointed AUB's vice-president of Regional External Programs (REP), the university's consulting and professional development arm. Mr Diab served as education minister between 2011 and 2014, under then-Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Hassan Diab: My Vision
Re-humanizing humanity

My vision is nothing less than changing the world but I realize that the first step is to change oneself.
I believe that education is the prime mover for change in today’s complex world. Confucius said: “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.”
As I reiterate in many of my keynote speeches, “Education goes beyond career development to the development of students’ mental capacities, including their ability to distinguish facts from opinions, be creative and critical, appreciate diversity, believe in equality, and embrace others.”
Accordingly, education should not only provide pedagogical instruction but also influence attitudinal reform. It should connect language, culture, and moral values to reshape the learner’s identity, encourage free thinking and responsible citizenship, thus facilitating social unity and preparing the new generations for the social, political, and economic development of their countries.
During my lifetime, I have lived through many wars. However, I believe that if there must be a war, it should be against exclusion, against lack of dignity, and against human degradation, of which we are oftentimes passive eyewitnesses.

I believe that two things will define you in life: your determination when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything....
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; rather they just make the best of everything. Using the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”..
In my humble opinion, what the world needs today is re-humanizing humanity, as people have lost so much of the values that are at the core of our humanity such as love, compassion, and passion...

Erdogan: Cooperation with
Malaysia, Qatar, Iran will continue
Ibrahim Altay, Daily Sabah, 21.12.2019

Turkey will continue its cooperation with Malaysia, Qatar and Iran over both regional and international issues President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday, underlining the importance of unity in the Islamic world.
"(During the Kuala Lumpur summit) we had the chance to discuss the challenges that the Islamic world faces with the participation of the presidents of Turkey, Malaysia, Qatar and Iran as well as many other high-level representatives from various countries," Erdoğan told Turkish media representatives before returning to Turkey, in Kuala Lumpur.
Underlining that the issues of development, research and improvement, science and technology, entrepreneurship and the defense industry were particularly discussed during the summit, the president said that "hopefully" the cooperation between the aforementioned countries will continue with similar summits on the way.

The Kuala Lumpur Summit held from Dec. 18 to Dec. 21 was a global platform for dialogue that brought together Muslim leaders, intellectuals and scholars to produce solutions to problems faced by Muslims.
It focused on issues such as development and sovereignty, integrity and good governance, culture and identity, justice and freedom, peace, security and defense, and technology and internet governance.
Expressing that the four leaders outlined goals during the event, Erdoğan said this will not be a process that is only being made up of this summit but will see further action as well.

Regarding the absence of Pakistan and Indonesia at the summit, the president said he would have liked to have seen them present as well.
When it comes to the abscence of Saudi Arabia's and United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Erdoğan stated that this is not a first for the countries since they have the tendency to put pressure on other countries in doing or not doing things.
[The Saudi prince, Sattam bin Khaled Al Saud, said earlier that any summit not led by Saudi Arabia "fails before it begins." news1 info]

As far as the developments in Syria and Libya are concerned, Erdoğan said both issues were some of the main topics in the summit.
Underlining that Turkey will maintain its stance in both Libya and Syria, Erdoğan said the upcoming process will also be the one that has no place for a stance like "let sleeping dogs lie," as it was before.
The president also responded to criticism questioning Turkey's involvement in the Syrian and Libyan crises, saying that no one has questioned what coalition powers were doing in Iraq or what the UAE was doing in Libya.
"As you know, Haftar is not a legitimate politician. There are still some that are trying to provide him some legitimacy.
Sarraj, on the other hand, is a legitimate leader, legitimate representative. They also try to overlook him," Erdoğan explained, detailing the international involvement in Libya and indicating that the main countries involved in these issues were Egypt, the UAE, France and "even" Italy.

Erdoğan also mentioned Russia as a country that, although it does not have a presence itself, uses a company, Wagner, to handle its business in Libya.
"As you know, the U.S. has many similar companies. For instance, in Afghanistan, there are companies founded by former U.S. soldiers. They are highly paid and as a result, they come and lead the war in Afghanistan in an illegitimate manner," Erdoğan stressed.
Referring to Wagner, Erdoğan said the company works as if it is a "mercenary" of Haftar.
"The ones who pay for (this company) are obvious. In the face of such circumstances, it is not right for us (Turkey) to be a mere spectator of that. We have done what we can do so far, and we will continue to do so," he said, adding that Turkey's actions in Libya are appreciated by Libyans as well...

Russia concerned by prospect of
Turkey sending troops to Libya
Reuters , Friday 20 Dec 2019

Russia on Friday said it was very concerned by Turkey potentially sending troops to Libya and that a security deal between the two nations raised many questions, the Interfax news agency cited a source at Russia's foreign ministry.
Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli said on Thursday it had ratified a security and military cooperation deal with Turkey, in an effort to end a months-long offensive by the eastern-based National Libyan Army (LNA), which is led by Commander Khalifa Haftar.

Sarraj Appeals to ‘Friendly’ Countries
to Counter Haftar Advance on Tripoli
Asharq al-Awsat, 21 December, 2019

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) appealed on Friday to five "friendly countries" to implement military deals as it seeks to repel the forces of the Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, to seize the capital.
The call came a day after the GNA approved the activation of such a deal with Ankara, paving the way for a bigger Turkish role eight months into Haftar's offensive.
Tripoli-based GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj sent letters to the leaders of the United States, Britain, Italy, Algeria and Turkey, urging them to "activate security cooperation deals", his office said in a statement.
The aim is to help the GNA "face aggression against the Libyan capital... by any armed group operating outside the legitimacy of the state, to preserve social peace and achieve stability in Libya," he said.
On Friday, the LNA issued a statement demanding that the Misrata militias, which are fighting on behalf of the GNA, withdraw from both Tripoli and the coastal city of Sirte.
Friday's LNA statement warned that if the militias do not withdraw, their town Misrata will continue to be targeted “every day, non stop and in an unprecedentedly intensive way.” It gave them a three-day deadline to pull out.
The warning came shortly after an LNA airstrike targeted sites where Turkish weapons and military equipment had been stored, said the statement...

US blasts 'provocative' Turkey-Libya deal
The National [UAE], Dec 22, 2019

The United States has criticised a maritime and security deal between Turkey and Libya that could see Ankara deploy troops to the North African conflict as “unhelpful,” “provocative” and a concern for Washington.
"Now with the maritime boundaries, you're drawing in Greece and Cyprus... From the United States' perspective, this is a concern," a senior US State Department official on Saturday. "It's not the time to be provoking more instability in the Mediterranean."
Turkey's parliament on Saturday approved the security and military cooperation deal signed with Libya's internationally recognised government last month, state media reported.
Turkey has been backing the Libyan government led by Fayez Al Serraj as it fights off a months-long offensive by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army based in the east of the country.
Ankara has already sent military supplies to Libya in violation of a United Nations arms embargo, according to a report by UN experts seen by Reuters last month.

Jewish Human Rights Watch:
Amnesty International 'obsessed, anti-Semitic'
Gary Willig, Arutz Sheva [Israel]. 22/12/2019

David Collier:
"I am 100% a Zionist"
Amnesty International has become a tool for spreading institutionalized and anti-Semitic hatred against Israel and promoting policies consistent with the goals of the BDS movement, according to a new study by David Collier of Jewish Human Rights Watch, The study, titled 'Amnesty International, From Bias to Obsession,' will be reviewed by UK law enforcement agencies to see if the organization's activities do not violate British law.
According to Collier, Amnesty's "targets are not chosen for their actions but rather for their identity... Attacking Israel is top of the list.
"Amnesty’s activity is inherently racist. When directed towards Israel, the cumulative obsession can clearly be labelled anti-Semitic," he said. Collier further noted that that Amnesty knowingly employs anti-Israel and pro-BDS activists in its activities related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, creating a one-sided, biased narrative against Israel. The organization even employs activists who openly support terrorism against the State of Israel.... "There is a clear racist and antisemitic element to much of their activity."

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) is a UK-based pro-Israel organisation founded by Emmanuel Weiss in February 2015. Its aim is to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. Weiss' name appeared on a list dubbed Netanyahu's Millionaires compiled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and team to map out potential donors.

Netanyahu's 'list of millionaires'
Ynet News [Israel], 10.22.2010

Prime minister's foreign legion revealed: Benjamin Netanyahu's list of potential donors, which was prepared ahead of the 2007 primary elections, was published Friday by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.
One of the documents, which includes comments in Netanyahu's handwriting, provides a peek into his fundraising industry in the United States.
The then-opposition leader erased from the list people he believed would not give him money for the Likud primary elections. He divided the others into four categories according to whether contacting them is "worth the effort."
The first group includes the foreigners worthwhile of contacting, and only one name – of a person who does not donate to the Right – was erased by Netanyahu. The numbers 3 and 4 were marked next to the names of millionaires with a small chance of donating.
Those who agreed to donate are mainly American citizens, and few British and French people, including extreme rightists and people who got in trouble with the law. According to estimates, 98% of the funds donated to Netanyahu came from abroad.
One of the men on the list, Kenneth S. Abramowitz (Chairman of American Friends of Likud and the founder of SaveTheWest), is convinced that concessions are futile and that the crises between Israel and the US will continue until the Obama administration is "thrown out." He referred to the members of the leftist J Street lobby as "in need of psychiatric care."

ICC to probe 'war crimes' in Palestinian territories
Netanyahu describes court as 'political tool' against Israel
By AFP|Jordan Times - Dec 21,2019

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor said on Friday she wanted to open a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories, sparking a furious reaction from Israel and condemnation from the United States.
"I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine," ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.
"We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of Washington's top ally in the region.
The Palestinians welcomed the move by the ICC as a "long overdue step" following a nearly five-year preliminary probe by the prosecutor into the situation since the 2014 war in Gaza.
Benjamin Netanyahu however lashed out at what he called a "dark day for truth and justice".
"The ICC prosecutor's decision has turned the International Criminal Court into a political tool to delegitimise the State of Israel," he said...
The issue is highly sensitive, with former White House national security adviser John Bolton threatening last year to arrest ICC judges if they moved against Israel or the United States.
Both countries have refused to sign up to the court, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world's worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bensouda launched a preliminary probe in January 2015 into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Palestinian territories, in the wake of the 2014 Gaza war. A full ICC investigation could possibly lead to charges against individuals. States cannot be charged by the ICC.

UN to publish blacklist of companies
operating in settlements next month
Itamar Eichner | YNet News [Israel], 12.22.2019

The UN Commission on Human Rights is expected to publish at the end of January the much-delayed “blacklist” of Israeli business operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, sources in Jerusalem said Sunday.
In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution to collect a "blacklist" of Israeli and international companies operating in the settlements, which would then be made public.
In addition, the European Union is targeting companies that operate in the West Bank, with a recent ruling from its courts requiring all member states to label products made in the settlements.
The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is believed to have been encouraged to publish the list by the ICC prosecutor’s decision to open a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories...

The U.S. government, including congressmen from both Republican and Democratic parties, have been working behind the scenes to try and postpone the publication of the list, applying pressure on the commissioner and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The Americans have apparently implied that the Trump administration will take strong action against the UN Commission on Human Rights if the so-called blacklist harms the U.S. companies which are set to make the list.
A number of prominent Israeli and international companies - among them Coca Cola and Teva - have been threatened with inclusion on a United Nations blacklist over their operations in Israeli settlements.

Netanyahu: Possible ICC investigation akin to
persecution of Jews 2,000 years ago
Itamar Eichner, Nina Fuchs | Arutz Sheva 12.22.2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared the decision by the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor to investigate possible war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, to the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV, calling the ICC decision anti-Semitic.
"We light candles in protest of historic and modern anti-Semitic decrees," said Netanyahu at a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
"Just like we fought against anti-Semitic decrees 2,000 years ago, we have now learned of new decrees against the Jewish people brought by the International Criminal Court, that told us we have no right to live here," Netanyahu said and vowed, "we will not bow our heads, we will fight with every means at our disposal."

At the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said “While we are moving forward in new areas of hope and peace with our Arab neighbors, the ICC in The Hague has taken a step backward, it finally became a weapon in the political war against the State of Israel,” said the prime minister. “The prosecutor’s decision against Israel is absurd.” [...]
“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East....”

Antiochus IV: Friend of the Hellenized Jews

According to the authors of the Books of the Maccabees, while Antiochus was busy in Egypt, a rumor spread that he had been killed. In Judea, the deposed High Priest Jason gathered a force of 1000 soldiers and made a surprise attack on the city of Jerusalem.
Menelaus, the High Priest appointed by Antiochus, was forced to flee Jerusalem during a riot. King Antiochus returned from Egypt in 168 BC, enraged by his defeat; he attacked Jerusalem and restored Menelaus..
Traditionally, as expressed in the First and Second Books of the Maccabees, the Maccabean Revolt was painted as a national resistance to a foreign political and cultural oppression.
In modern times scholars have argued that the king was instead intervening in a civil war between the traditionalist Jews in the country and the Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem. (Wikipedia info)

The Maccabees: Heroes or Fanatics?
By Michele Alperin (My Jewish Learning)

Although celebrated as heroes who saved Jewish practice and Torah law from suppression and abrogation by the Syrian Greeks, the Maccabees are portrayed in the First Book of Maccabees as religious zealots, murdering coreligionists who had chosen the path of Hellenism.

Central to any assessment of the Maccabees is an evaluation of the role of Hellenism, an ideology whose universalistic outlook was based on Greek ideas and athletic prowess.
Following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Hellenism became a political tool used by the Syrian Greeks to consolidate their power among the wealthy bourgeoisie.
In turn, the aristocratic elites who embraced Hellenism gained access to the social and economic perquisites flowing to citizens of a Greek polis, including the right to mint coins, to take part in international Hellenistic events, and to receive protection from the city’s founding ruler.
But Hellenism encompassed more than a pragmatic relationship between the ruler and local economic elites; Hellenism represented an "enlightened" worldview considered by many to be the way of the future.
Nations who shut themselves off and did not confront the challenge of Hellenism were falling by the wayside. Because it was viewed as the wave of the future, the pressure to acculturate to Hellenism was quite intense in Judea.
The Jewish Hellenists chose the reform path; they wanted to move beyond separatism and assimilate the positive aspects of Greek culture into Judaism.

As First Maccabees recounts, "In those days there emerged in Israel lawless men [Jewish Hellenists] who persuaded many, saying, ‘Let us go and make a covenant with the nations that are around us; for since we separated ourselves from them, many evils have come upon us’" (I Maccabees 1:11).

Hellenism & Old Fashioned Judaism
By Mary Anne Cronican (Journey to Wisdom)

Hellenism is the term used to describe the assimilation of Greek culture into other nations and peoples.
The Greek influence in other nations and cultures is referred to as Hellenistic, especially after the time of the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.
The word “Hellenism” means “becoming like Greeks” and is derived from the Greek Hellas Isles (Helles meaning Greek in the Greek language.)
All aspects of life were affected by Hellenism and this applied to the Diaspora Jews in Egypt and Palestine. Within 100 years, Hellenism was dominant throughout the Eastern Mediterranean territory including Palestine/Syria.

Many Jews felt their ways to be old-fashioned and were embarrassed by their religious practices in contrast to the sophisticated culture of the Greeks. Consequently, they enthusiastically embraced the Greek ways.

Jews in Palestine were forced by Syrian Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes to publically violate Jewish law in 168 BC. It was at that time that the Maccabees rose up under the leadership of Mattathias..

Syria increases control over Idlib
Middle East Online, 22/12/2019

Regime forces have seized dozens of towns and villages in northwest Syria from jihadists following days of violent clashes, fuelling an exodus of civilians, a war monitor said Sunday.
The fresh advances in Idlib province bring regime loyalists closer to capturing one of the largest urban centres in Syria's last major opposition bastion, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "This push is an attempt to get closer to Maaret al-Numan," Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman said.
Residents of the southern Idlib town flooded out of the area fearing further advances, a correspondent there said. The jihadist-dominated Idlib region hosts some three million people including many displaced by years of violence in other parts of Syria.
The Damascus regime has repeatedly vowed to take back the area and bombardment has continued despite a ceasefire announced in August.
Heightened regime and Russian bombardment on the Maaret al-Numan region since December 16 has forced tens of thousands of vulnerable people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.
Damascus loyalists have since Thursday been locked in battles with jihadists and allied rebels, seizing a total of 25 towns and villages from their control, according to the Observatory.
The Idlib region is controlled by the country's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Khamenei marks birth anniversary of Jesus Christ
Tehran Times, Iran, December 25, 2019

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has marked the birthday anniversary of Jesus Christ (PBUH), calling for adherence to the teachings of the prophet.
“The honor Muslims attribute to Jesus Christ (pbuh) is no less than his position and merit in the eyes of the Christian believers in Christianity,” a post on Ayatollah Khamenei’s official Twitter account read.
Today, many who claim to follow Jesus Christ, take a different path than that of him.
The guidance of Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon our Prophet and her) is guidance towards worshiping God and confronting the Pharaohs and tyrants,” another tweet by the Leader said.
“Following Jesus Christ requires adherence to righteousness and abhorrence of anti-righteous powers, and it is hoped that Christians and Muslims in every part of the world will adhere to this great lesson from Jesus (pbuh) in their lives and deeds.”

Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated generally on December 25 as a religious and cultural holiday by millions of people around the world.
President Hassan Rouhani also wished his Christian counterparts and heads of states a happy Christmas and New Year. “Establishment of peace and tranquility is the long-awaited aspiration of mankind and the prerequisite for human prosperity,” he said in a message, Tasnim reported.
Rouhani also sent a congratulatory message to the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.. In his letter, the president described Jesus Christ as a 'harbinger of freedom and dignity'.

Iran, Russia, China launch joint drills in Indian Ocean
Press TV, Iran, 27 December 2019

Second Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said that the drills, dubbed as the Marine Security Belt exercise, will begin with the three countries' vessels leaving Iran's Chabahar port in the Gulf of Oman and deploying across the northern areas of the Indian Ocean.
The drills will cover 17,000 square kilometers and will consist of "various tactical exercises", such as target practicing and rescuing ships from assault and incidents such as fires, Tahani said. "َAmong the objectives of this exercise are improving the security of international maritime trade, countering maritime piracy and terrorism, exchanging information regarding rescue operations and operational and tactical experience," he added.
Tahani said that one of the most important achievements of the drills are the message that Iran "can not be isolated".
He further stated that the joint drills signal that relations between Tehran, Moscow and Beijing have reached a "meaningful" level and that such a trend will continue in the future.
Iran's joint drills with the Chinese and Russian forces come amid the United States’ ongoing efforts to pressure and isolate Tehran by coupling robust sanctions and regional military deployments as part of a campaign of "maximum pressure".

"Haftar is a terrorist leader "
Ozan Ceyhun, adviser to president Erdogan
Daily Sabah [Turkey], 25-12-2019

When elections or referendums are being conducted in Turkey Turkey so-called "Turkey Experts" of European newspapers will write opinions against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and in support of certain opposition names... Names that have been rolled out against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are often polished to be glorified and in this manner, the European public opinion is misinformed...
Similarly, in order to tarnish Turkey's war against terror, the lies stating that the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian extension PYD/YPG "is not a terrorist organization and is fighting against Daesh" took place in the comments so many times that European public opinion eventually believed these lies...
Now it is time for Libya!
Again, as always, opinions penned from a single center but with different signatures, are attempting to tarnish Turkey's cooperation with Libya.
European "writers," that we know very well, in recent articles are almost applauding the situation that "Turkey and Russia have differing policies regarding Libya"..
They are almost celebrating the fact that Russia is supporting the terrorist Haftar..
Turkey, which is supporting the Libyan (GNA) government is actually fighting to not let Libya fall into the hands of terrorists.
To allow the terrorist leader Hafter – who used to "participate in every kind of foul play" under the command of Gadhafi – to succeed is to let Libya be seized by terrorists!
Italy, which is able to realize this reality since it is close enough to Libya to analyze the situation, is supporting Libyan President Fayez al-Sarraj, similar to Turkey.
Despite this, France is making a huge mistake by supporting the Wagner Group which consists of UAE, Egyptian and Russian legionnaires together with Haftar and his terrorists...
Countries like the UAE and Egypt, who are not democratic, have no democratic concerns regarding Libya. Turkey is by the side of those who are wishing for democracy in Libya...

turkey backed (islamist) misrata militia, 2019

Egypt's Sisi stresses support for Libyan National Army
Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Dec 2019

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed in a phone call with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Thursday Cairo’s firm stance on supporting the eastern-based Libyan National Army led by commander Khalifa Haftar.
“The Egyptian president stressed his country’s firm stance on supporting the Libyan National Army’ efforts to combat terrorism and eliminate terrorist organisations, which not only threaten Libya’s security, but regional and Mediterranean security as well,” Egypt’s presidential spokesperson said. El-Sisi also stressed Egypt's rejection of "any form of intervention in Libya’s internal affairs," the statement added.
Earlier this month, President El-Sisi warned against attempts "to control" neighbouring Libya after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey was ready to send troops to Libya if asked by the country's Government of National Accord (GNA).
Tensions between Egypt and Libya's UN-backed government have escalated after its head Fayez Al-Serraj signed an agreement with Turkey on maritime borders and security last month.

Flashback: Generals vs Islamists in Libya
by Jonathan Spyer, The Jerusalem Post, April 24, 2019

Haftar's forces are associated with the rival governing authority of the House of Representatives based in Tobruk, in eastern Libya. Haftar launched his offensive on April 4. The Tripoli-based government announced a counteroffensive it called Operation Volcano of Anger on April 7.

Haftar and his LNA have benefited since 2014 from the support of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE, according to regional media reports, has carried out air and drone strikes in support of the LNA. Egyptian and Emirati provision of funding, arms and equipment is crucial to Haftar's efforts.
In the period immediately preceding the launch of his offensive, Haftar appears also to have secured the support of Saudi Arabia. The Libyan general met with King Salman on March 27 at al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh. He also met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the course of his visit. The access afforded Haftar suggests that he was able to add Riyadh to his list of supporters.
Haftar is thus the ally and client of those broadly Western-aligned, authoritarian Arab states that find a common enemy in the Sunni political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies.
On the other side, Turkey and Qatar (and the now-deposed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir) are strongly supportive of the Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood associated elements that share power with the government in Tripoli.
Qatari support is offered to Islamist militias and powerful individuals associated with the jihadi trend, most notably the Benghazi Defense Brigades, formed in direct response to Haftar's activities in 2014, and bringing together a number of jihadi militias.
Doha also offers support to Ali Salabi, an influential preacher and Muslim Brotherhood member, and to Abdel Hakim Belhaj, chairman of Libya's al-Watan Party and a former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group member.
The forces arrayed against Haftar are thus representative of the Sunni Islamist axis.
Ankara and Doha seek to expand and deepen their regional influence through support for Sunni Islamist political and military organizations. This pattern may also be observed, of course, in Syria, the Palestinian territories and Iraq.

Abdelhakim Belhaj (born 1 May 1966) is a Libyan politician and military leader. He is the leader of the conservative Islamist al-Watan Party and former head of Tripoli Military Council He was the emir of the defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an anti-Gaddafi guerrilla group. (Wikipedia)

Report: Arab Assistance for Lebanon
‘Blocked’ under New Govt.
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 28-12-2019

Naming of Lebanon’s new PM-designate Hassan Diab did not receive Arab and Gulf consent who consider Diab “affiliated” to the March 8 camp, “endorsed” by Hizbullah and “close” to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Nidaa al-Watan daily reported on Saturday.
Arab diplomatic sources told the daily on condition of anonymity that there was “no Arab approval of Diab” and that his designation will reflect on the form of the new government “especially after reports that he visited Damascus and met with officials of the Syrian regime.”
The sources noted that Arab countries are watching the position of Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon, which has not so far given its "blessing" for the designation of Diab.
Diab was named earlier in December replacing outgoing premier Saad Hariri after nearly two months of intense political wrangling.
But while his appointment was backed by Hizbullah-allied parliamentary blocs, he did not win the backing of parties from his own Sunni community.

Hassan Diab: My Vision

Flashback: Lebanon’s Dar al-Fatwa
and the Search for Moderation
Raphaël Lefèvre, Carnegie Center, January 05, 2015

"Islamic schools must educate the future generations to accept the good principles of citizenship, as well as love for the Arab identity and the sense of brotherhood towards the whole human family." (Asia News, 19-7-2018)
In August 2014, Lebanon’s Sunni authority, Dar al-Fatwa, elected as its new head the Muslim cleric Abdel-Latif Derian, who through this process also became mufti of the republic.
Dar al-Fatwa is a government institution that was created in 1922 and charged with issuing legal rulings specific to the Sunni community, administering religious schools, and overseeing mosques, all in the context of a Lebanese confessional system in which each sect deals with its own internal affairs.
As the Sunnis’ new religious leader, Derian faces daunting challenges. In recent years, the lack of Sunni leadership in public affairs helped lay the groundwork for the growth of Islamic radicalism in Lebanon. Derian’s main task is to reassert Dar al-Fatwa’s moderating voice in the Sunni community.
In his inaugural speech, the new mufti pledged to fight against “extremism and terrorism.” Since then, Derian has quickly become a prominent public figure. He organized a Christian-Muslim summit in Beirut, reached out to various political parties to facilitate the election of a new Lebanese president, and attended a high-level antiterrorism conference in Cairo in December 2014.
But the mufti’s activism has not pleased everyone in Lebanon’s Sunni community. A group of influential clerics has spoken out against him, charging that he does not represent the true mood of the Sunni street and acts under the influence of politicians. Others see him as a puppet for regional powers like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Syria-Aleppo: work has begun to restore infrastructure
and industrial facilities in Sheikh Najjar Industrial City
Syrian Arab News Agency, 29 December 2019

The number of industrial establishments operating at the industrial city of Sheikh Najjar in Aleppo reached about 600, despite the damage the city suffered from due to terrorism and the stealing of production lines and machines.
Engineer Hazem Ajan, Manager of Sheikh Najjar industrial city, told SANA reporter that since the liberation of Aleppo in the year 2016, work has begun to rehabilitate and restore infrastructure and industrial facilities in the city.
With the governmental support, more than 127 service projects with a total value of more than SYP 7.5 billion have been implemented to push forwards the production wheel at the industrial city, including industrial water and drinking water projects.
Two industrial water pumping stations have been rehabilitated, in addition to the rehabilitation of 3 electrical transmission stations, and currently, two stations are being rehabilitated to put them into service soon.
As well as the rehabilitation of terrestrial and pneumatic electrical networks and transformational centers and the feeding of the productive facilities, which has encouraged the owners of industrial establishments to restore and rehabilitate their facilities and return to work.
He added that the volume of investment at the industrial city exceeded SYP 130 billion, as new investments entered the labor market while the number of building licenses granted was 150 in 2016 and 100 in the last year...
It is noteworthy that the area of the industrial city is estimated at about 4412 hectares and it includes textile, engineering, chemical and food industries.

Western moral decay:
Syria – the war, the loss and the silence
By Jan Oberg, December 20, 2019

The liberation of Eastern Aleppo took place 3 years and a few days ago – December 12, 2016.
On December 12, 2012, on the day, 4 years earlier, Western countries and allies – perversely calling themselves ‘Friends of Syria’ – carried through a regime change by statement and set up a Syrian National Council of people never elected by anyone in Syria and told the world that it was, from now on, the only ‘legitimate representative of the Syrian people!’
During the 4 years, Western, Saudi, Turkish and the Gulf States supported innumerable illegal, destructive and mainly foreign terrorist groups with the goal to undermine the legitimate Syrian government and destabilise the country.

December 12, 2016, marked a fundamental turning point.
Aleppo did not “fall to the dictator/butcher/mass murderer” aka President Bashar al-Assad – no, it was liberated and the occupation by terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Nusra during 4,5 years ended. Assad’s predicted genocide on his own people there and then – well, just didn’t happen.
I documented this historic moment of change and liberation of Syrians from occupation because I was there. Six series with strong text and documentary photography. Regrettably, not one Western media wanted, or dared, publish any of it.

Aleppo was said to fall by the Western press. But what fell in Aleppo in December 2016 was:
a) the regime change policy;
b) the inter-national war on Syria which is still, mostly and falsely, called a basically civil/domestic war, and
c) the constructed Western mainstream media narrative filled with fiction, fake and – not the least, omission – omitted facts, history, complexities and perspectives including that of international law, voices, experts and argument...

The US and other Western countries had an agenda in Syria. When the violence broke out in spring 2011, these countries could have chosen other policies and strategies if their aim had been to contribute to peace.
Instead – and because of that agenda – they deliberately did everything you shall never do if it is peace and stability and security you want – for the other and for yourself.

Moves in Riyadh against Turkish allies
among Syria opposition
Khaled Yacoub Oweis, The National [UAE], Dec 29, 2019

A reshuffle within a Syrian group that represents the opposition in UN-backed talks appears to have revived a regional struggle for influence over the factions...
During a meeting in the Saudi capital on Saturday, eight out of 34-member High Negotiations Committee, in which Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood groups have significant influence, were replaced by figures closer to Riyadh, opposition sources said.
The eight made up the quota assigned to supposedly independent figures..
The remaining committee members belong to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which is based in Istanbul; a Turkish-backed Kurdish group and three components who do not advocate Mr Assad’s removal – the so-called Cairo and Moscow platforms, and figures from Syrian regime areas.

Fawaz Tello, a veteran Syrian dissident, said the change is aimed at decreasing Turkey’s dominant role in the opposition. “The opposition has turned into a playing card as the power struggles in the region intensify and become more complicated,” Mr Tello told The National from Berlin.
The latest Saudi move does not cancel the Turkish role, but it starts to curb it,” said Mr Tello, a former political prisoner who does not belong to any opposition grouping.

Among the prominent figures in the eight new members of the committee is Muhannad Al Katee, a Syrian engineer and social researcher living in Saudi Arabia and specialising in eastern Syria.
Mr Al Katee is known for his criticism of the violence and dispossession practised by Kurdish militia against Syria’s Sunni Arabs but he does not condemn all Kurds.
Nibras El Fadel, a former adviser to President Al Assad who lives in France, is among the new members. Mr Al Fadel is linked with Ayman Asfari, a Syrian-British oil services tycoon who had sponsored meetings of the Syrian opposition.

The UN-supervised Syria talks, first held in January 2014, have been suspended since 2017.
Under Russian pressure and US acquiescence, the UN gave priority to the formation of a new Syrian constitution.
A 150-member Constitutional Committee met in Geneva in October, its members are equally drawn between the opposition, the regime and figures chosen by a special UN envoy for Syria, whose three predecessors had quit.
A significant proportion of the opposition delegation in the Constitutional Committee is also influenced by Turkey.

S. Arabia's Coup against Syrian Opposition
HNC-head Hariri questioned the legitimacy of the meeting
FARS News Agency, Iran, 29-12-2019

The two-day meeting of the so-called 'independent dissidents' hosted by Riyadh was viewed as a coup against the Syrian opposition figures who participate in the Geneva negotiations.
The Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and Head of the dissidents' negotiating team Nasr al-Hariri protested at the Saturday meeting held in Saudi Arabia.
The Arabic-language al-Madan news website quoted al-Hariri as saying that he does not recognize the meeting, and the 'independent dissidents' does not have any meaning to him.
He questioned the legitimacy of the meeting which did not even invite him as the head of the negotiating team.
The HNC had also in a letter on Thursday called for cancelling such a meeting but Riyadh did not pay attention to the demand.
The HNC was founded in December 2015 at a conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which was attended by around 100 delegates. The HNC, led by Nasr al-Hariri, participated in the Geneva peace talks on Syria.

After “Sinful” Attack
Iraqi Gov’t “Reviewing” US Relationship,
Juan Cole, 12/31/2019

Euronews Arabic reports that the Trump administration’s strike on three bases of the Kata’ib Hizbullah in Iraq and two in Syria has provoked widespread fury among politicians, students and the public.
Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdulmahdi said Monday that he had attempted to dissuade the Trump administration from the bombing raids, about which he was informed only hours before they were launched, but had failed.
His helplessness in the face of Trump demonstrated to many Iraqis that the US still has a colonial relationship with the country.

Iraq PM Kataib Hezbollah condemns US airstrikes

The Iraqi government of Abdulmahdi said that it is “reviewing its relationship” with the US in the wake of the American attacks.
The Baghdad government said in a statement, “This sinful attack violates the goals and the principles for the sake of which the international coalition was formed, and impels Iraq to review its relationships and its frameworks for action and its policies and laws so as to safeguard the sovereignty and security of the country, protecting the lives of its children and promoting common interests.”

Iraq’s Cabinet-level National Security Council met and expressed alarm that the country was getting caught in the crossfire of other nations’ struggles, which has the potential to inflict extreme danger and great losses on Iraq. (The US strikes were depicted by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper as against Iran-backed militias).
The security council said that the unilateral American action, taken without the agreement of the Iraqi government, put all military bases in the country in danger, including American ones. It complained that the US struck precisely those forces guarding the Iraqi border with Syria from the remnants of the terrorist ISIL (ISIS) organization...

The US strikes killed 25 persons and injured 51, including fighters and commanders. Kata’ib Hizbullah is one of the Popular Mobilization Units that helped defeat the hyper-Sunni ISIL terrorist state. The Trump administration maintains that it is responsible for rocket and mortar attacks on sites where the some 5,000 US troops in Iraq are based.

Shiite militias double as political parties, and form part of the Fath parliamentary block with 45 members of parliament.
Fath is headed up by Hadi al-Amiri, who also leads the Badr Corps. Fath said in its communique, “The brazen attack by the American forces on security forces, targeting the 45th and 46th brigades of the Popular Mobilization Units in Qa’im is an attack on national sovereignty and on Iraqi honor...”

Trump’s Big Iraq Blunder
Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, 30-12-2019

The heavy-handed U.S. response has done more to aid Iran than it has done to harm them. It has served as a distraction from Iran’s interference in Iraq, and it has focused public anger on the U.S. instead.
It is typical that an action favored by anti-Iran-hawks ends up redounding to Iran’s benefit. Every time that hard-liners think that they are injuring the Iranian government they wind up doing them a favor. That was true in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and it has been true many times since then.
Using force against an Iraqi militia may satisfy war-hungry ideologues at FDD, but it is a good way to alienate everyone in Iraq.
While the militia is closely tied to Iran, many Iraqis see it primarily as an Iraqi force and were angered by an attack on it by an outside power.
Unless the goal is to drive Iraq’s political leaders closer to Iran, the Trump administration just made a major blunder. That is part and parcel of an incompetent and destructive Iran policy that has destabilized the region for no good reason.

Hawks claim that the U.S. will discourage further attacks by hitting Kata’ib Hezbollah with airstrikes in multiple locations, but that is very likely wrong...
The U.S. is usually very bad at understanding how adversaries see things and anticipating how they will respond.
Hawks refuse to see things from the adversary’s side, and so they are constantly misjudging what will and won’t provoke more attacks.

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