Saddam's Death, 160 (april 2020)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 159: march 2020 and Page 161: may 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 - Trump's Deal of the Century - Netanyahu & the Moongod Abraham - Gantz' betrayal

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)

Flashback: ISRAEL elections:
Likud holds lead after 90% of votes counted
Times of Israel, 3-3-2020

With some 90 percent percent of ballots tallied, Likud held 29.35% of the votes, equal to around 36 Knesset seats, which could represent the party’s strongest ever showing as Israelis looked to end a deadlock that has left the country without a fully functioning government for over a year.
Top rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party was trailing with 26.34% of the votes, representing some 32 seats, which would be the relatively new faction’s worst showing in three tries.
The non-final tallies gave ultra-Orthodox Shas and UTJ ten and seven seats, respectively, while religious right-wing Yamina was sitting on about six seats, placing the right-wing bloc on 59 seats, two seats short of a 61-seat majority.
In the opposition, the Arab-led Joint List was predicted to garner around 15 seats, while the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance was getting seven. Yisrael Beytenu had enough votes for seven seats.
Speaking in Tel Aviv early Tuesday morning, Netanyahu claimed a “massive victory.”
“We stood against vast forces. They already eulogized us.
Our opponents said the Netanyahu era is over. But together we flipped the script....
” The vote was largely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu, who will go on trial later this month for bribery, fraud and breach of trust but is thought to be seeking support for a legislative mechanism to grant him immunity.

Netanyahu: "Biggest victory of my life"
Gil Hofman, Jerusalem Post, 3-3-2020

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Monday's election "the biggest win of my life" in his victory speech at Expo Tel Aviv.
He added "we plowed the country from north to south. There is nothing like the citizens of Israel. Israeli citizens trust us because they know that we have brought the best decade in Israeli history."
Netanyahu was greeted by cheers calling him "Bibi, king of Israel."
"The victory is even sweeter, because it was against all odds and we were eulogized," he told the crowd. "We turned the lemons into lemonade."

Final results show Likud with 36 seats, Netanyahu bloc short of majority with 58. Likud gains 235,554 more votes than in last election, confirmed as largest party ahead of Blue and White with 33 seats. Times of Israel, 5 March 2020

Israeli Election Results: The Tribe Has Spoken
By Gideon Levy, Haaretz|ICH, March 03, 2020

You can be disgusted, you can be fearful, you can even be shocked, but you can’t deny his incredible talent: The [Israeli] people want Netanyahu.
The time has come to recognize that fact: Israel is right-wing, hard right.
Racism is politically correct, personal corruption makes no difference, as long as you guarantee the continuation of Jewish supremacy, rule over another nation, arrogance and hatred.
Peace, equality and justice are for the weak. Not for most Israelis. They said it loud and clear on Monday, more decisively than in the two previous election campaigns: Netanyahu is our king. Netanyahu is the king of most Israelis.

Israel: Another Netanyahu government
Benny Gantz decided to break apart Blue and White
Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid responds to his decision
Arutz Sheva, 26/03/2020

What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government. It’s another Netanyahu government...
We formed Blue and White to offer an alternative to the Israeli people. A decent, honest, values-driven centrist party.... We wanted to bring about change, to bring about hope, to start a new path.
Benny Gantz decided today to break apart Blue and White and crawl into Netanyahu’s government. It’s a disappointing decision. What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government and not an emergency government. It’s another Netanyahu government.
Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight and crawled into Netanyahu’s government, joined the haredi-extremist bloc.

We ran together because Benny Gantz looked me in the eye and said we would never sit in this bad government. I believed him. Together with us over a million Blue and White voters marched from street to street and from bridge to bridge. Good, honest Israelis. People who serve in the IDF, pay their taxes, obey the law. They feel betrayed today, and justifiably so. Their votes were stolen and given as a gift to Netanyahu.

netanyahu's right wing bloc

We promised not to sit in a coalition of extremists and extortionists.
We said we wouldn’t allow anyone to undermine Israel’s democracy. And on this week of all weeks, in which the attacks on the justice system were at their worst, a prize is given to those who disobey the law. A prize to criminality. You can’t crawl into a government like that and tell us you did it for the good of the country.
We will keep going, just as we did these past years. We will serve the public with determination and faith. We will maintain the vision of the Israeli center. Together with Bogie, together with all our partners, we will fight for our democracy and for our justice system...

We will support any decision that will help the healthcare system. Help put the economy back on track. We’ll keep a watchful eye on this government. We have plans. We have experience. We have a national responsibility. As always, we’ll work for the nation of Israel and the people of Israel.
There is a beautiful Hebrew phrase, “The honest path.” Like always, the honest path is the one we’ll take...

Israel News - Gantz Ends Up As Deputy
of the one he called dictator, corrupt and the like.
Aluf Benn, Haaretz, March 26, 2020

After a political crisis that lasted a year and a half and led to three election rounds, the result is clear-cut and unequivocal:
Benjamin Netanyahu won big time. The “great victory” of which he boasted prematurely after April’s election arrived today.
No cliché would be exaggerated: The wizard defeated his rivals with a resounding knockout. He will be elected prime minister again with a large majority of Knesset members, despite not having won the general election and despite three indictments that were filed against him, which will likely be thrown away soon...
Benny Gantz, who ran in the last election with the slogan “Kahol Lavan or Erdogan,” is now serving them both up to his voters on the same ballot.
What a great deal: Steal a million votes from Netanyahu opponents, who saw Gantz as an alternative, and end his career as deputy of the one he called dictator, corrupt and the like.
Gantz has proved he has a thick skin over the course of his three campaigns against Netanyahu, in which he was subjected to volleys of character assassination from Likud. He’ll need that thick skin now, both to take the criticism of his disappointed voters and partners in the political system...

Flashback 2019:
Only The Strong WIn

Israel-Gaza conflict by numbers

As chief of general staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Gantz led the offensive that bombarded Gaza for 51 days, killing – as the ad boasts – “1,364 terrorists” and bringing “3.5 years of quiet.”
The second ad in the series shows a running tally of deaths over scenes of Palestinian funerals, and a third shows the targeted assassination of a Hamas leader whose car explodes in a ball of flame.
Gantz, whose campaign slogan translates to “Israel Before Everything,” seems convinced that Israeli voters pick their leaders by evaluating their death-dealing prowess.. “Only the strong win,” the videos proclaim, echoing Netanyahu’s militaristic rhetoric – though a fourth campaign spot features shots of Gantz looking thoughtful, with platitudes about “striving and working toward” peace...

"There is no place for the weak"
Variation on a violent theme
Electronic Intifada, 21-1-2019

Gantz’s campaign slogan “Only the strong win” is a variation on an infamous tweet from his main rival Netanyahu, who last summer declared that “The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive.”

Gantze cited the coronavirus epidemic
as the reason for his decision.
Asharq Al-Awsat|Reuters, 27-3-2020

Gantz was elected parliamentary speaker on Thursday with support from Netanyahu's Likud and allied parties, leaving many of his own partners furious over the possibility he could form an alliance with a leader under criminal indictment.
In accepting the speaker's gavel late on Thursday, Gantz said the coronavirus epidemic required what he called a "national emergency government".
The shock move splintered Gantz's centrist Blue and White party just 13 months after it came into existence as a coalition of Netanyahu opponents intent on bringing down the 70-year-old, who is Israel's longest-serving prime minister. It is also drew an angry response from some among the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who turned out to support Gantz's coalition in three elections in the past year.

Gantz becomes Knesset speaker
in shock alliance with Netanyahu
Arutz Sheva [Israel], 27-3-2020

Benny Gantz became the new speaker of the Knesset on Thursday with the support of political rival Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing bloc...
Of the 120 Knesset members, 74 voted in favor, 18 voted against and the rest abstained.
Gantz's election as speaker apparently comes amid talks for his Israel Resilience party to join a government initially led by Benjamin Netanyahu.
The election of the new Knesset speaker came after the High Court ordered a vote, which led then-speaker Yuli Edelstein to resign. Edelstein is apparently tapped to resume the role when Gantz joins the government.
Yair Lapid instructed members of his Yesh Atid party to abstain in the vote.
Yesh Atid will remain in a political partnership with Moshe Ya'alon's Telem party.Yesh Atid and Telem will continue to call their union Blue & White as they will be the largest faction after the split, with 18 MKs to Gantz's 15.

Joint Arab List: Benny Gantz betrayed us
by Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom, 27-3-2020

Joint Arab List lawmakers, among them faction leader MK Ayman Odeh and faction chairman MK Ahmad Tibi, a veteran parliamentarian who has seen his share of political stunts, knew nothing about the move to nominate Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz to the post of Knesset speaker.
On Thursday, in the afternoon hours, most of the Joint Arab List's MKs were still on social media... Just a little while later, however, the rumors that had spread were verified and the shock and dismay in the faction's offices quickly turned to outrage and condemnation of Gantz.

Odeh said, "We won't lend a hand to a government headed by [Benjamin] Netanyahu."
Another senior Joint Arab List official lambasted Gantz, saying that he "betrayed us time after time. We went against our principles and the red lines we set for ourselves, to give him the support to remove Netanyahu and the right-wing government, and in return, we got a finger in the eye and a knife in the back."
Joint Arab List MK Yousef Jabareen said, "The Likud B, which throughout the election campaign spoke of a 'Jewish majority' and fell in line with unilateral annexation [of the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea and Samaria], joined Likud A. We will lead the opposition to the government of continued incitement, racism, and occupation."
Ahmad Tibi was no less adamant in his denunciation of Gantz. "The Joint Arab List had its say and voted against the nomination of Benny Gantz as Knesset Speaker. We will not support this unity government."

Yisrael Beytenu: 'He betrayed us'
Yehuda Shlezinger, Hayom News, 27-3-2020

The Yisrael Beytenu party and its leader, Avigdor Lieberman, suffered a major blow on Thursday, when the Blue and White faction split:
Benny Gantz led his party, Israel Resilience, into a unity government with the Likud and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while Yesh Atid's Yair Lapid and Telem's Moshe Ya'alon decided to sit in the opposition.
This development meant Lieberman has gone from political kingmaker to being utterly irrelevant in the span of just a few months.
The man himself has yet to publicly respond to this development but Yisrael Beytenu officials expressed disappointment with Gantz's move.
"Gantz did not consult with us or share his plans. He betrayed us," one Yisrael Beytenu MK told Israel Hayom.
"We agreed to form a Zionist and liberal government without the ultra-Orthodox parties and the extremists, and in the end, he did the opposite. Nothing will get done, this government will be useless.

Gharyani-Libya: Fighters Must Not Panic
Over Coronavirus or Respond to Calls to Stop Fighting
Al-Marsad News, March 26, 2020

Radical Islamist cleric Sadiq Al-Gharyani, the former grand mufti of the General National Congress (GNC) removed by the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR), called on “the forces protecting Tripoli”, or more precisely the militants of the Government of National Accord (GNA), to spare no effort to prevail against the Libyan National Army (LNA).
He advised them to prepare themselves well for the fight because it is was their duty. After all, the application of the factors of victory, notably steadfastness and lack of hesitation, is what they need now.
As a guest at Islam and Life Show broadcast on Al-Tanasuh Channel on Wednesday, Gharyani indicated that the takbir, (saying Allah Akbar), intimidates the “enemy”.
“Therefore, the fighters must raise their voice in takbir, keep away from regionalism, and tribalism because they are fighting for God’s Cause,” he argued.
“The calls of the international community for a ceasefire are meaningless... I demand the heroes on the fronts not to stop fighting until they defeat the enemy and force it to give up its unjust agenda.

Flashback 2013:
Hero of the revolution

Al-Gharyani is considered by some a hero of the revolution, since early on in the uprising against Gadhafi he issued a fatwa or religious edict permitting war against his regime.
Under Gadhafi's 42-year rule, women had a mixed bag. Gadhafi often presented himself as a defender of women rights and at times made a point of defying strict interpretations of Shariah, since Islamists were among his main enemies. (7-3-2013)

Remove References to Democracy
and Religious Freedom From School Textbooks
By Penny Starr, CNS News, 19-10-2012

The Libya Herald reported that the “Fatwa Office”, presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks.
The information in the textbooks about Greek democracy might be “too detailed” for students to comprehend.
References to freedom of belief and religion should be removed because “it suggests to younger students that they could choose any religion they wanted”. The Fatwa office warned that because of the public’s religious values the textbooks “could spark public anger.”

Abu Dhabi crown prince,
Syrian president discuss coronavirus
Arab News|Reuters, March 27, 2020

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad discussed the coronavirus pandemic over the phone on Friday, a statement from United Arab Emirates’ news agency (WAM) reported.
The statement added that both leaders discussed the precautionary measures taken in their countries to face this pandemic, adding that Sheikh Mohammed stressed to Assad that Syria would not be alone in these critical conditions.
Sheikh Mohammed said Syria and the UAE need to place humanitarian solidarity over political issues during this common challenge “we are all facing.”

Khaleej Times Info:: Sheikh Mohamed (born 11-3-1961) is known for his laughter and down-to-earth demeanor, famously offering to give a lift home to a young girl who was crying on the pavement waiting for her father. When the girl refused, saying she had been instructed not to get into strangers' cars, the Sheikh insisted on waiting with her until her parent came to pick her up. The story went viral on social media, after a picture was taken of the ruler sitting on the ground with the child.

As world hunkers down,
Trump moves full-speed against US foes
Shaun Tandon, AFP|Yahoo, March 28, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is shaking up the world, but not US foreign policy.
As billions hunker down to halt the spread of the virus, President Donald Trump has only ramped up sanctions and other pressure against frequent targets such as Iran and Venezuela.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday appealed for the "waiving of sanctions that can undermine countries' capacity to respond to the pandemic."
The appeals have fallen on deaf ears in Washington. The Trump administration has kept sweeping sanctions on Iran, one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic, and in recent weeks has blacklisted more Iranians including over the clerical regime's heavy involvement in neighboring Iraq.
On Venezuela, which like Iran has appealed for IMF help to cope with the health crisis, the Justice Department on Thursday unveiled criminal charges on drug-trafficking against President Nicolas Maduro...
The State Department offered a $15 million bounty for Maduro, along with rewards of up to $10 million each for information on five Venezuelan political and military leaders. The indictment treated the leftist leader like a common criminal as Washington steps up its more than one-year campaign to oust Maduro...

[Washington has spent more than a year attempting to remove Maduro from power. After Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself ‘interim president’ last January, Washington was quick to recognize him as the Latin American country’s legitimate leader.]

The Trump administration, which has faced criticism at home for its handling of the crisis, has also launched a rhetorical campaign over the pandemic.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused China of responsibility for spreading the "Wuhan virus" by not stopping it quickly when it first emerged in the metropolis late last year.
He has also sharply criticized the coronavirus response of Iran, which kept flights going to China, its vital economic partner in the face of US sanctions.
Pompeo, in a recent interview, said Iran would use any economic relief to pursue nuclear weapons and back Iraqi Shiite militias who have increasingly fought a proxy war with US forces.

Iran Condemns US' "Baseless Accusations"
against Venezuelan President
FARS news agency [Iran], 28-3-2020

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi deplored "baseless accusations" by the US against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as the pinnacle of “obscene unilateralism” and a flagrant violation of international law.
"No item in international law allows the US to misuse its judicial procedures to meddle in the domestic affairs of other countries," Mousavi said on Friday.
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said the recent American accusations sought to “lay the groundwork for a coup d’état, regime change or an assault against a sovereign country".
Mousavi said that Washington’s “international application of its domestic laws” against Venezuela threatens the sovereignty of the United Nations and the international community.
“We urge all members of the international community to take a united stance defending multilateralism and to loudly say ‘no’ to the US’ aggressive unilateral actions,” he added.

Maduro, Venezuela’s president since 2013, has been the target of a fierce overthrow campaign by Washington over the past years.
Washington’s latest provocations against Caracas come as wide-spanning US sanctions have been targeting the country as Venezuela seeks to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. is increasingly behaving like a rogue state.
Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, 26-3-2020

Our economic wars against several countries were already cruel and iniquitous before the pandemic began, and now the pandemic has made the human costs of these wars much more obvious and harder for sanctions advocates to deny.
That hasn’t stopped sanctions advocates from trying to dodge responsibility for causing more misery and death in the targeted countries, but their arguments are becoming ever more strained and desperate.
We are witnessing how economic warfare saps another country’s resources and weakens their ability to withstand unexpected disasters, and in the event of a pandemic like the one that is happening now weakening their resistance to the spread of a deadly virus also exposes their neighbors and the wider world to greater risk as well.
Economic warfare isn’t just an abhorrent and immoral policy, but right now it also represents a threat to global health and safety as well...

There is an inevitable contradiction between the U.S. acting unilaterally as an enforcer and an international system in which all states are expected to abide by the same rules.
The U.S. has been able to get away with this contradiction for the last few decades because most of its allies trusted that the U.S. would use its extraordinary clout in constructive ways, but especially in the last few years they have begun to see how the U.S. can abuse its position to everyone’s detriment.
It is dawning on our allies that the U.S. cannot be counted on to use its enormous power responsibly, and they are realizing that the U.S. is increasingly behaving more like a rogue state.

China envoy calls for lifting
of unilateral measures against Syria
By Xinhua, Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, also president of the Security Council for the month of March, called for complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures against Syria, noting that the sanctions will harm the vulnerable country's efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are seriously concerned about the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on countries' capacity to respond to the pandemic, especially for vulnerable countries like Syria," he said. "Civilians and innocent people are suffering severely from those sanctions."
Zhang said that China supports the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in this regard.
As for the impact of COVID-19, Zhang said that "the potential impact of COVID-19 on Syria is of growing concern, even though the current number of confirmed cases in Syria is comparatively limited."
"We note that the Syrian government has taken a series of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The World Health Organization is actively engaged. We appreciate the efforts," the envoy noted.
"The Chinese government has already provided a batch of testing kits for Syria. We're willing to continue to provide assistance within our capacity to Syria. We call on other countries to also do the same," the ambassador said.

Israel News - Israel Election 2020
Gantz Broke the Israeli Left's Heart;
Labor Leader Stuck a Dagger in It
Chemi Shalev, Haaretz, 1-4-2020

The Israeli left suffered a devastating blow in the elections held on March 2..
The remnants of the movement that founded Israel and ruled it for decades, Labor and Meretz, were forced to band together to avert electoral extinction; they wound up with 5.83 per cent of the vote, which yielded a grand total of 7 seats in the new Knesset. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, for sure.
In reality, even their measly seven seats were only six: One belonged to Orly Levy- Abekasis, the social-minded right winger imported by Labor leader Amir Peretz, who quickly bolted once elections were over.
Placing the surviving sextet on a graph showing the steep decline of both Labor and Meretz from a combined 56 in 1992, 29 in 2015, 11 in September 2019 and six today, the trend is crystal clear: The next and last stop is six feet under.

Flashback: Amir Peretz, the head of the Labor-Gesher party, proposed a political union Tuesday between centrist Blue and White, his center-left faction and left-wing Meretz.
“We have the opportunity to bring about a revolution in Israel,” he told Channel 12’s Yonit Levy in an interview Tuesday. (Times of Israel, 7-1-2020)

The sense of failure on the Israeli left was compounded by what appeared to be, on election night, a resounding victory for archenemy Benjamin Netanyahu and a third straight defeat for the leader of his opposition, Benny Gantz.
Then, out of the blue, slivers of sunshine began to break through the darkness of the center-left’s despair. The Likud party had indeed gone up from 32 seats in the previous elections in September to 36 now, but it turned out that Netanyahu had failed to garner the 61 seats he needed to form a government..
Much to the Jewish left’s delight, Gantz immediately reneged on his campaign pledge not to rely on the Joint List’s 15 new Knesset members, enlisting their endorsement for President Rivlin’s appointment to form a new government.
He stitched together a coalition of the impossible, nurturing an ad-hoc majority of 61 that included not only Kachol Lavan and Labor-Meretz but the Joint List and their greatest detractor in politics, Avigdor Lieberman, as well. Wonders, it seemed, never cease.

Gantz’s combative resurgence instilled new hopes in the Israeli left..
In their newfound euphoria, Israeli leftists conveniently forgot the disappointments of election night, their own meager six seats and the fact that Gantz, in fact, was no leftist at all. He is a centrist hawk, at best, and one who had made no secret of his preference for a coalition with Likud...
Which is why Gantz’s abrupt decision to abandon the fight and join forces with Netanyahu dealt such a harsh blow to the Zionist left... The dream turned into nightmare.

And then, in their moment of deepest depression and greatest despair, Israeli leftists were betrayed by their own.
It was Peretz, leader of the combined Labor-Gesher-Meretz list, along with his number 2, Itzik Shmuley, who truly deserted them in their time of need, sold them down the river, hung them out to dry, drove a poisoned dagger into their collective hearts.
Peretz’s decision to follow Gantz into a government with Netanyahu – still no done deal at this hour – effectively decapitated both the Labor-Meretz union as well as Labor itself.
With Peretz and Shmuley gone, the Israeli left is left with one Labor refugee, Meirav Michaeli, and three Meretz members, led by Nitzan Horowitz. They are the last remnants of the last survivors.
Meretz and Michaeli, four of 120 Knesset seats, will henceforth represent the entirety of Israel’s Zionist left...
They will have to prove that the once-proud and now-defeated left will live to fight another day...

Merav Michaeli (born 24 November 1966) is an Israeli journalist, TV anchor, radio broadcaster and activist. She is currently a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party. Prior to entering politics, she was a journalist and opinion columnist for the Haaretz newspaper. She also taught university classes and lectured extensively on the topics of feminism, media, and communications. In September 2012 she spoke at TEDxJaffa on the theme of "paradigm shift", in which she argued society should "cancel marriage". (Wikipedia info)

Jerusalem Post Breaking News, 4-4-2020
Labor leader Peretz announces end of Labor-Meretz union

Labor Party leader Amir Peretz announced on Saturday evening that he had contacted Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz about the end of the unification between the two parties.
The Labor Party submitted a request to the regulating committee for the dissolution of the joint faction in the 23rd Knesset on Saturday evening.

Meretz is a left-wing, social-democratic and green political party in Israel. The party was originally formed in 1992.
Meretz is a secular party emphasising a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, social justice, human rights (especially for religious, ethnic and sexual minorities), religious freedom and environmentalism.The party is a member of the Progressive Alliance and Socialist International, and is an observer member of the Party of European Socialists. (Wikipedia info)

Netanyahu's tightening grip on power
bodes badly for Palestinians
Ben Lynfield, The New Arab, 1 April, 2020

As Palestinians struggle to limit the spread of the coronavirus, they have also been dealt a painful blow in the political realm in the form of a fresh lease on power for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A decision last week by Benny Gantz to join him in a national unity government means Netanyahu will remain at the helm for another year and a half, despite facing trial over corruption allegations... Continuity in power for Netanyahu, who has served as premier since 2009, is decidedly bad news for Palestinians.
"The Palestinian political elite believes Netanyahu can be more dangerous than anyone else," said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian Authority minister who teaches at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank.
"He's a manipulator more than any other leader, he has stronger alliances with right-wing settlers than any other leader and he has dangerous alliances internationally with [US President Donald] Trump and other right-wing leaders."
"Another term for Netanyahu will probably bring the idea of two states [as a solution to the conflict] to an end and increase the crisis for the Palestinian leadership whose program is the two-state solution," Khatib says...
Gantz, who opened up his election campaigning last year with advertisements boasting of how much destruction he had wrought in Gaza as army chief of staff during the 2014 war, is not expected to be much of a restraining influence on Netanyahu.

[occupied] west bank - a settler state

In June 1997, the Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu presented its "Allon Plus Plan". This plan holds the retention of some 60% of the West Bank, including the "Greater Jerusalem" area with the settlements Gush Etzion and Ma'aleh Adumim, other large concentrations of settlements in the West Bank, the entire Jordan Valley, a "security area", and a network of Israeli-only bypass roads.[Wikipedia info]

He [Gantz] has accepted the principles of Trump's 'deal of the century' and endorsed an annexation of the Jordan Valley that is coordinated with the international community, terming the area "an inseparable part of the state".
No less significant, Gantz refused to rely on Arab legislators in his efforts to form a government and spoke during the campaign of a need for a "Jewish majority," a position that had echoes of Netanyahu's delegitimisation of Arab political representation.

The Jerusalem Post - Israel News
Post poll shows Labor dead, Netanyahu soar
By Gik Hofman, April 7, 2020

With a nearly 70% approval rating, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party would soar to 42 seats if an election were held this week, according to a poll taken for The Jerusalem Post.
Conducted by Smith Research, the poll found that Likud would rise from its current 36 seats to 42 in a new election and that his right-wing bloc would climb to 64 seats, more than enough to form a stable right-wing government.
Asked whether they were satisfied with Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis over the coronavirus, 68% said yes, and only 30% said no. Among Likud voters, 95% said they were satisfied.
The public was also very pleased with the performance of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who has been clashing with Netanyahu throughout the crisis. Sixty-five percent said they were satisfied with the way he has fulfilled his role during the crisis and 27% said they were unsatisfied.
According to the poll, Bennett's Yamina Party would rise from 6 seats to 7, Shas would fall from 9 to 8 and United Torah Judaism would remain at 7. Yisrael Beytenu would fall from 7 seats to 6 and would be the smallest faction in the Knesset.

Results on the Center-Left were impacted by the breakup of Blue and White and Labor-Gesher-Meretz. After Blue and White won 33 seats in the March 2 election, the poll predicted 18 for Benny Gantz on his own, and nine for Yesh Atid-Telem, led by Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon.

Labor would fail to cross the electoral threshold for the first time in history if it ran on its own, with the support of only 2.2% of respondents.
After getting in only two MKs as part of the seven-seat Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance, the poll predicted seven seats for Meretz on its own.
The Joint List would continue its rise and would win 16 seats after winning 15 in March.

Amoz Oz:: Meretz at least will be a fighting opposition. "The Labor Party has been crawling to Likud governments for 15 years now." "It crawled under Shimon Peres, it crawled under Amir Peretz. And what good did it do? How did it slow the rate of settlements? How did it stop the catastrophe of the abolishment of the state of the Jewish people?" (Meretz website)

Libya - Sami Al-Saadi: Combating Coronavirus
and the Aggression on Tripoli Are Our Collective Duties
Al-Marsad News, April 1, 2020

Former spiritual leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Sami al-Saadi, who has close ties with the terrorist Shura Councils and Ansar al-Sharia, said that Muslims have duties that they should fulfill simultaneously.
He said that medical teams, nurses and other healthcare professionals should work on combating the pandemic, while fighters on the fronts, along with their supporters and those who send them arms, must continue to fight the other pandemic—namely, “Haftar” (the Commander of the Libyan National Army).

Two pandemics

While being hosted on the TV programme “Islam and Life” on the Al-Tanasuh channel owned by radical Islamist cleric Sadiq al-Gharyani, he said that Libya was suffering from two pandemics: the first is what he calls the “aggression”, LNA’s advancement into the capital city, and the second the COVID19 virus...
Saadi asserted that combating coronavirus in every way possible, and combating the “aggression on Tripoli”, are two duties that everyone has to inevitably fulfil collectively.

islamic fighting group 2011

Wikipedia info: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was an armed Islamist group. Militants participated in the 2011 Libyan Civil War as the Libyan Islamic Movement (al-Harakat al-Islamiya al-Libiya), and are involved in the Libyan Civil War as members of the Libya Shield Force.
In the 2011 civil war, members claim to have played a key role in deposing Muammar Gaddafi. The force was part of the National Transitional Council.
Alleged militants include alleged Al Qaeda organizer Abd al-Muhsin Al-Libi who now holds a key command position in the Libya Shield Force.
"As office director of the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) in Pakistan Al-Libi has provided Usama bin Laden and his associates with facilities in Peshawar, and has carried money and messages on behalf of Usama bin Laden" (US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill,January 9, 2002).

US ready to assist Turkey in Idlib,
if Ankara ejects S-400 missile system
by Daily Sabah [Turkey], 3-4-2020

The U.S. is ready to provide an “assistance package” to Turkey in northwestern Syria’s Idlib if Ankara ejects S-400 missile systems, U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Wednesday.
Addressing reporters via teleconference, Hutchison said: “We hope that we can generate a package that can help Turkey, and I also hope that Turkey will not deploy the Russian missile defense system which blocks some potential support that we can provide to Turkey to fight against Syrian attacks,” in response to a question about the risk of clashes in Idlib and Turkey’s demand for support from both NATO and Washington, D.C.

While Hutchison did not give details about the content of the package, she also said: “We want the area in Idlib where civilians got stuck in to be protected..
The (Bashar) Assad regime kills innocent people and civilians with the support of Russia. This cannot be defended.
Turkey is a victim of Russian and Syrian aggressiveness. We hope that Turkey will eject the missile defense system stationed in the middle of Ankara and will give us the freedom of helping them to protect Syria and civilians.”

"The terrorist Abu Muhammad al-Jolani
leader of the Salafist-Jihadist group Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham (HTS)

"And then, of course, we hope that the final result in Syria is the ability for the Syrians to control their own destiny through a reform process that would allow them a voice in their new government." (www/, 1-4-2020)

The Ankara-Moscow S-400 deal was inked in December 2017, when the parties signed a $2.5 billion agreement for two S-400 batteries. The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system in use since 2007.
The delivery of the missile system started in July 2019; however, the system has not been activated yet.

Iraq News: Al-Sistani and Al-Sadr refuse to meet Qaani
Shafaaq News, 8-4-2020

The visit of Iranian Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani to Iraq last week received a great deal of attention and provoked controversy on the local political scene.
His visit was an attempt to unify Shiite forces in nominating a new prime minister — one who would have close ties to Iran — amid the fruitless efforts of the current prime minister-designate, Adnan al-Zorfi, to form a Cabinet. Zorfi is currently facing opposition from the Shiite parliamentary majority...
Yet Qaani failed to unify the Shiite factions, unlike his predecessor Qasem Soleimani, who brought Shiite forces together to carry out Iran’s objectives.
According to (Al-Monitor) it has learned from a senior clerical source in Najaf that the office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani rejected Qaani’s request for a meeting. Furthermore, influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr canceled a prescheduled meeting with Ghaani, stating in a written message to Ghaani, delivered by Sadr’s military adviser, Abu Doua al-Issawi, that "there should be no foreign interference in Iraq’s affairs."
Zorfi’s Nasr parliamentary bloc described Qaani's visit as a failed mission, assuring the Iraqi people that parliament would approve Zurfi’s government.

Parliamentarian Alia Nassif of the State of Law coalition said Qaani was pressuring Shiite factions to withdraw their support for Zorfi.
Despite Qaani’s opposition to Zorfi’s appointment as prime minister, Zorfi is determined to form his government. “Those opposed to the government can express their position in parliament alone,” said Zorfi at a press conference in Baghdad April 4, confirming that he did not meet with Qaani.

Qaani did not meet Sunni or Kurdish politicians during his visit to Baghdad, indicating that, unlike Soleimani, he does not have personal relationships or connections among Iraqi politicians outside the Shiite circles.
In fact, Qaani lacks several crucial qualities needed to lead Iran's forces in the Arab world. Unlike Soleimani, Ghaani does not speak Arabic and lacks charisma.
Following Qaani’s failed attempt to unify Shiite forces, Iran-backed militias condemned Zorfi’s appointment in an official statement.
“We [are] rejecting the appointment of the US intelligence candidate Adnan al-Zorfi,” they said, pledging to escalate attacks on US interests in Iraq.

Adnan al-Zurfi (born1-1-1966)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Adnan al-Zurfi was chosen as the new prime minister-designate on 17 March 2020 by Iraqi President Barham Salih.
Al-Zarfi, who lived in the United States as a refugee in the 1990s after fleeing the former regime, is seen as a relatively secular figure in a country dominated by sectarian parties for a long time.
He was appointed by Paul Bremer, the CPA administrator, as governor of Najaf Governorate in July 2004.
As a result of his willingness to work with the Iraqi government and the coalition he and his family were targeted by insurgents and militias. His uncle was killed in April 2004, and his brother was kidnapped in Kufra on 1 December 2005, just prior to the 2009 governorate elections, in which Zurufi was running.

Al-Zorfi says of himself that he is a democratic patriot who believes in the independence of Iraq from all foreign dependencies and calls for a united Iraq in which sectarian and national differences are eliminated based on citizenship, believes in developing the national economy and the economic well-being of citizens, believes that Iraq is an Arab and Islamic country that plays an important role in stability and building the Arab and Islamic region and it is a balance point for preserving the region's interests.

Iraqi PM designate Zurfi resigns
Iraq President Names Intelligence Head as Prime Minister

Iraqi President Barham Saleh has named intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as the country's prime minister-designate, state TV reported on Thursday.
The nomination ceremony was held with the attendance of the country's major political figures in contrast to the two previous ceremonies this year for PM-designates who have since stepped down from their posts. The newly-appointed prime minister now has a month to form a new cabinet and present it to parliament for approval.
Al-Kadhimi's designation comes as his predecessor Adnan Zurfi ended his bid to form a government.
Prior to Zurfi, Mohammed Allawi attempted to form the cabinet but was rejected by the parliament which led to his resignation on 1 March.
Al-Kadhimi, the 53-year-old head of Iraq's National Intelligence Service, has been rumoured since December to be in line to be head of the Iraqi government .

The National Info:
Since taking charge at the National Intelligence Service in June 2016, Mr Al Kadhimi has largely kept a low profile. He was a surprise choice to lead the intelligence service, with a background in journalism and advocacy.
Mr Al Kadhimi has good relations with the United States and regional powers, in addition to strong ties with many of the political players in Iraq, having been an active member of the opposition during the reign of Saddam Hussein.
Mr Al Kadhimi was in exile because of his opposition to Saddam Hussein, and from 2003 to 2010 led the Iraq Memory Foundation... (The National, 29-12-2019)

Flashback: Iraqis Must Value Justice, Not Power
Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor, febr 2013

In the Iraqi experience, there has always been a gap between lofty notions such as democracy, justice and citizenship and their genuine implementation in society.
It is common, for example, to see parties which lack democratic standards in managing their internal relations, led by the vision of their charismatic leaders, fighting alongside the other parties for power, with the understanding that this is the only permissible form of democracy...

The forces at play in the crisis — those that participated in building the political process, wrote the constitution, set the rules of power, ruled and opposed — did not properly engage themselves in establishing democratic values in society.
Moreover, they didn’t give much attention to anchoring and developing a culture of social justice.
Nations are not built by breaking bones, struggling and monopolizing power. The fact is, coexistence requires a deep conviction that the citizens of a country should not attack each other. Once this belief is established, the change process can truly begin.

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

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

Education sector in Syria now confronting coronavirus
Hamda Mustafa, Syria Times, 02 April 2020

After nine years of fighting against takfiri terrorism and western sanctions that affected all walks of life in Syria, the Syrians are now facing yet a different kind of war. It is the battle against coronavirus, the ambiguous pandemic threatening the entire world.
The Syrian government has taken precautionary measures including the closure of schools, colleges and all public facilities, to prevent coronavirus, which is also known as covid 19, from spreading in the country. Later measures included closing all markets, stopping public transportation, keeping work at the minimum level at institutions and imposing partial curfew to avoid crowds and limit contacts among individuals. Wide-scale sterilization campaigns have also been launched everywhere to combat the virus.

"Before the government's closure decision, we used to explain to the students, through the health and psychological educators at the school, the nature of this virus, how it spreads and what they must do to avoid infection," Mrs. Rawda al-Shini, the principal of Martyr "Hayel Abdalla" school for basic education in Damascus told Syriatimes e-newspaper.
"The students are like our children and it is our responsibility and duty to protect them against illnesses or any kind of danger," said the principal...
Talking about the foreign-backed takfiri terrorist war on Syria and how the education sector managed to withstand the difficult circumstances and continued the education process, Mrs. Rawda said "the Syrians are vivid people who believe in knowledge and education as a weapon against ignorance and who don't surrender to despair.
Education was a major target of terrorism in Syria. Many schools were destroyed or damaged because of terrorism, keeping tens of thousands of children out of school which was actually a real challenge that faced the education sector in our country.

fsa & muslim brotherhood: defenders of 'the revolution'

On the psychological condition of students during events, she said "every child has had a sad story to tell during the war. Some children saw their fathers being killed by terrorists. Some others were displaced or they lost their fathers or mothers in the war and some others have their parents kidnapped or missing, not to mention the divorce cases that have been very harmful to the psychological condition of children.
Our duty in the school has been to work as a family to provide tenderness and psychological support for the students in order to make them feel safe and loved," she said, hailing the key role played by the school's psychological educator in this regard..
She pointed out that special focus was put on explaining the reality of Islam as a religion of peace amity and tolerance, not the a religion of killing and radical thinking like that of Daesh and Moslem Brotherhood terrorist organizations...

Libya News: GNA Chargé d’Affaires:
Qatar and Turkey Help Us Face the LNA
Al-Marsad, April 9, 2020

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) chargé d’affaires of the Libyan Embassy in Qatar, Salem Mohammed Karim, admitted Qatar supports the GNA in establishing security and achieve stability in the country, he claimed.
In an interview with the Qatari newspaper, Asharq, on Thursday, Salem Mohammed Karim stated: “We regret Egypt’s lack of neutrality in the Libyan crisis and its support for an officer [Khalifa Haftar] whose only concern is to seize and monopolize power.”
He added, “To this end, Haftar spreads the allegation that the GNA has terrorists. The fact is that Haftar supported ISIS against the state in Sirte,” he claimed...

Regarding the support that Qatar and Turkey provided to the GNA to stand against the Libyan armed forces advancing today inside the neighborhoods of Tripoli, Karim said: “The GNA, thanks to God and its support forces, has managed to prevent the advance of Haftar’s forces and has not allowed them to enter Tripoli so far...
He continued his allegations, saying: “Qatar and Turkey have an effective and honorable role in standing by the legitimate government and supporting it to confront this criminal.
I cannot help but thank and appreciate all the countries, notably Qatar and Turkey, which have been supporting the legitimate GNA and the Libyan people, striving for the stability of the people and the unity of the nation, spreading peace, and stopping bloodshed.” [..]

Egypt - supporter of the Haftar-Thani government

He went on to say: “We sat down with the Egyptian Chief of Staff once and talked to him transparently. He promised that he would deliver what we asked to the competent authorities. However, it became clear that the Libyan crisis file in Egypt is handled by the Intelligence rather than the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Egypt’s interest is to have a good relationship with those controlling eastern Libya.
Egypt has a strong influence on Haftar and can push him to sit down with the rest of the Libyans, but the argument of extremism that makes it stand with Haftar is incorrect. We are against extremism and against religious zealots opposing civil rule....

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

Cairo, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain listed 59 individuals and 12 entities, on Thursday June 8, 2017, linked to Qatar on a terrorist list.
In an official joint statement, the four countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening all efforts to combat terrorism and to establish security and stability in the region by all means possible at the regional and international levels.
It stressed that these countries will not tolerate the subversive pursuits of some individuals and groups, and any person or country that aids and abets them.
The list includes five Libyans who played an escalating role in the division of Libya under Qatari support, since the beginning of the Libyan Civil War that toppled long-time Libyan, leader Muammar Gaddafi: Ali al-Salabi [Qatari Muslim Brotherhood leader, close associate of Yusuf Qaradawi], Ismail al-Salabi, Belhadj, Mahdi al-Harati and Sadiq Abdul Rahman Ali Ghariani

Ghariana is called Libya's "Mufti of Terrorism," due to his issuance of fatwas inciting fighting and bloodshed in Libya. Al-Qaeda, on several occasions, valued his positions about events in Libya.
During the Libyan Civil War of 2011, he declared a "jihad" against Muammar Gadhaffi during a televised address. Ghariani was later appointed as the Grand Mufti of Libya in February 2012 by the National Transitional Council.

Flashback 2014: Mufti call for violence angers Libyans
Aya Elbrqawi and Nadia Radhwan, Magharebia, 12/06/2014

Libya's grand mufti is facing calls to resign after he appeared on Wataniya TV Monday (June 9th) and issued a fatwa to fight the army and police.
and we should not use the word terrorism when referring to Ansar al-Sharia. They kill and have their reasons. Those among them who have died are martyrs."
The mufti's fatwa also sparked outrage on the Libyan street, where people called for the trial and dismissal of Ghariani.
Political activist and writer Salim al-Riqii from Ajdabiya, said, "He is by God an extremist cheikh with a political orientation. God is exposing him by the day. Once Libya is liberated from the grip of extremist militias and the Muslim Brotherhood, he must be tried....

Turkey sends new batches of Syrian mercenaries to Libya
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, 11/04/2020

Turkey continues to send Syrian mercenaries to join the war in Libya.
Reliable sources have informed the Syrian observatory that a new batch of at least 150 militiamen of the Turkish-backed faction “Sultan Murad” was transported by Turkish buses in the past few days, from Afrin city centre heading to the border with Turkey. Another batch of tens other recruits from Jarabulus and Al-Bab cities headed to the gathering point in Hawar Kellis area.
Nearly 300 mercenaries affiliated to “Sultan Murad”, “Suqour al-Shamal Brigade” and “Al-Sham Corps” arrived in Libya yesterday, Friday.
Accordingly, the number of recruits who arrived in Tripoli up to date, rose to nearly 5,050, while nearly 1,950 others arrived in Turkey to undergo training courses.
The shipment of new batches of Syrian mercenaries to Libya coincides with the killing of large number of mercenaries in battles and clashes with Haftar’s forces on Libyan territories.
The fatalities are of the factions “al-Mu’tasim Division, Sultan Murad, Suqur Al-Shamal Brigade, Al-Hamzat and Suleiman Shah”.

The Sultan Murad Division is an armed rebel group in the Syrian Civil War, created around Syrian Turkmen identity. It is aligned with the Syrian opposition and are heavily supported by Turkey, who provides funding and military training along with artillery and aerial support. It is the most notable group among Syrian Turkmen Brigades supported by Turkey.
Named after Ottoman Sultan Murad II, the flag of the Sultan Murad Division quotes the Shahada to express a political commitment to political Islam (Islamism), while the red field symbolizes Ottomanism.

Ya’alon calls on Gantz to quit coalition talks
Times of Israel, 13-4-2020

It’s not to late for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to pull out of negotiations to form a national unity government after being tricked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his former political partner Moshe Ya’alon tweets.
Benny, it’s clear that your naive intention to form a national unity government met the cynical swindling of the accused who is fleeing justice,” tweets Yaalon.
“If you agree to meet his demands to entrench his regime, and make him a leader above the law, you will be misusing the mission that united us. It isn’t too late to fix your error of navigation,” adds the former IDF chief of staff.
Yaalon’s comments come amid a deadlock between Likud and Blue and White over the formation of a national unity government, and after Gantz split up from factions led by Yaalon and Yair Lapid to enter into talks with Netanyahu.

Ya'alon was born as Moshe Smilansky (24-6-1950) and grew up in Kiryat Haim, a working class suburb of Haifa. He was active in the Labor Zionist youth movement "HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed" and joined a Nahal group named Ya'alon, a name he later adopted.
On 17 November 2008, Ya'alon announced that he was joining Likud. He entered the Knesset as Likud won 27 seats. Upon the formation of the Netanyahu government, he was appointed Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs. In March 2013, he replaced Ehud Barak as Defense Minister. (Wikipedia info)

The Jerusalem Post - Israel News
Gantz got played - Lahav Harkov, 12-4-2020

As Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s mandate to form a government draws to a close, it’s hard to escape the sense that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoodwinked him.
Gantz may have been the chief of staff of the IDF, but in politics, he is a rookie. He went through three election cycles – more than many MKs ever get – but has very little experience in the negotiating and wheeling and dealing involved in regular political life....
And as a result, Gantz has been left almost empty handed: He lost half of his party, his leverage over Netanyahu, and by Monday night, his mandate to form a government.

Netanyahu started calling for an emergency unity government almost a month ago, as the coronavirus crisis became more acute...
Gantz warmed up to the idea of an emergency government, thinking that putting political differences aside was necessary to help the country pull through this massive public health and economic crisis...
Lapid and Ya’alon, who had both been politically burned by Netanyahu in the past, had no trust in the prime minister, and for that reason – and because Netanyahu is under indictment on several counts of corruption – did not want to be in a government with him.
It led Blue and White to break apart, with Yair Lapid-led Yesh Atid and Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem forming a separate faction. So Gantz was left with less than half of Blue and White – 15 seats out of the 33 it won – compared to Likud’s 36 and the 58-seat right-wing bloc.
As coalition talks went on, they became mired by disagreements over the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank], and the judiciary.
Gantz and Netanyahu seem to have reached an agreement on postponing settlement annexation, but there was a lot of back-and-forth on the legal system...
Over a week ago, the sides said a coalition agreement was ready and it just needed to be signed. But it has not been signed, with some on Gantz’s side accusing Netanyahu of using delay tactics. Now, Gantz’s time as the prime ministerial nominee is about to run out...
If talks continue past Monday night, Netanyahu will have even greater advantages over Gantz than before. Netanyahu has political experience and almost unmatched savvy, along with far more MKs behind him...

Moshe Yaalon & Astrology

Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon is an Israeli politician and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. He served as the Minister of Defense from 2013-2016.
Within the Zionist state-ideology every Jewish citizen in Israel has to be a military person, even when his of her character is the opposite of agressive, militant behavior. Israel, some critical voices say, is 'an army with a state attached to it'.
"Some Israelis do not serve in the military. Israeli Arabs are not drafted. Haredi Jews were exempt, so long as they did study in yeshivas (up to a maximum of 62,500 individuals), based on an arrangement worked out with David Ben-Gurion in 1948 and the Tal Law. Orthodox women can avoid service on the basis of their religion upon filing certain paperwork. Military service can often be postponed for further education—either college or university, or technical studies.
Finally, a number of people refuse to serve because of pacifist views, because they deny the IDF is an army of defense, or refuse certain orders based on their disagreement with government policy." (Wikipedia info)

Within the worldview of astrologers, a worldview that is rejected by fundamentalist monotheist believers because of its connection to polytheism, the date of birth of Moshe Yaalon, June 24, 1950, refers to zodiac signs that are strongly pacifist: Sun in the female mother sign Cancer and Moon in the female sign Libra.
Within astrological thinking, war is attributed to the aggressive and vengeful signs of Aries and Scorpio. War always stands for destruction.
The signs Cancer (ruled by the Moon, color White) and Libra (ruled by Venus, color Blue), on the other hand, represent growth, birth, fertility, defending feminine values in a world under threat of male domination.

Astrology, Cancer (Moon) & the Color White

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

Lapid, Gantz & the Moon

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

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

Read more on Page 148

GNA-Head Al-Sarraj to Haftar's supporters:
We'll send back your sons in coffins
Libya Observer, April 13, 2020

The Head of the Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj has lashed out at countries conspiring on Libya and supporting Khalifa Haftar's offensive on Tripoli, saying "their sons who are fighting for Haftar will be returned in coffins along with their ID papers." He added that the Libyan Foreign Ministry will coordinate with relevant authorities to implement this procedure, according to a statement on Monday, hailing the victories of Libyan Army forces as part of Operation Peace Storm against Haftar's forces.
"Your armored vehicles have turned to ashes and the rest are under our control to be put later at the war museum to remind the world of your malicious acts against Libyans.
Libyans will hold you accountable for the ammunition and weapons as well as aircraft used to kill our sons." Al-Sarraj said referring to the countries supporting Haftar.
He said their plot to hinder the success of Operation Peace Storm by attacking Abu Grein on Sunday had failed as GNA forces seized Monday the "abducted cities of Surman and Sabratha", saying "GNA forces had taught Haftar's forces a lesson in defending the nation in Abu Grein against the countries that "show loyalty in the morning and plot against us at night".
"We will continue to fight until we control the entire country to allow all the displaced to return home and we will never forget those who helped or forgive those who stabbed us in the back." Al-Sarraj remarked.

Al Marsad Report: Sarraj welcomes the “Liberation”
of Sabratha by the same “gangs” he fought in 2017
Libya, April 14, 2020

On Monday the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, blessed the victories of his militias in Surman, Sabratha, and the regions of the West Coast.
They had taken over the Criminal Investigation Service, Western Branch, and the Army Room, or what was known as the Anti-ISIS Operations Room, which Sarraj himself established.
During 2107 the Anti-ISIS Operations Room in Sabratha fought fiercely against ISIS, its allies of smugglers, criminals, and other Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organizations in addition to regional and tribal armed groups.
On 17 February 2018 Sarraj promoted its commander, Brigadier Omar Abdul-Jali, for his efforts against the “gangs”. Ironically enough, these same “gangs” are today announced as “liberators” by Sarraj.

Since early morning today a total of 6 Turkish warplanes participated in the attack and paved the way for the GNA-affiliated gangs and their armed militias through more than 30 raids, some of which targeted the main operations room. Later, a Turkish frigate bombed various locations in and around the city as confirmed by Ismail Yasha, a Turkish journalist close to the Turkish presidency.

The most notorious star of the GNA operation today was the terrorist Faraj Shakku. Shakku joined the Benghazi Defence Brigades, which was formed in 2016. After the LNA’s victory in the city Shakku made his way to Tripoli, and allied himself with the Al-Samoud Brigade, commanded by Salah Badi.
Furthermore, the internationally-sanctioned fuel smuggler Abdul Rahman Milad, nicknamed Al-Bija, appeared leading one of the groups that participated in the attack. Bija appeared in Sabratha with Abd Al-Malik Al-Madani, the spokesperson of the so-called “Military Media of the Volcano of Anger”.
A UN security report published in June 2017 described Bija as a bloodthirsty human trafficker responsible for shootings at sea and suspected of drowning dozens of people.

Flashback: Salah Badi on the US sanctions list
Middle East Eye, 3 december 2018

Since 2015, Salah Badi has been based in Turkey, but he returned to Tripoli at the end of August (2018) to support an operation, originally launched by the Tarhuna Seventh Brigade, an armed militia from the southeastern Libyan town of Tarhuna, to seize control of the capital from a coalition of other militias accused of corruption.
On 19 November 2018, the US Treasury sanctioned Badi, accusing him of undermining Libyan security by attacking groups aligned with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
In a statement, the US Treasury said that Badi’s militia forces - the al-Samoud Brigades - used highly destructive Grad rockets in densely populated areas during month-long clashes in the capital Tripoli in September.
But in a wide-ranging interview with Middle East Eye this month, Badi dismissed the sanctions and defended his group’s actions in September as a wider effort to prevent Haftar from gaining more power.
"I don't trust the UN or what UN is doing. Due to this UN-backed government, Libya is deteriorating every day economically, politically, everything sucks,” he said. "Haftar has the east and the UN took the west through this UN-backed government, which forcibly got into Tripoli by boat.”
Badi said he doesn’t see GNA head, Fayez al-Serraj, as a leader with any credibility or power.

GNA-head Sarraj: ‘Negotiation time with Haftar is up’
Middle East Monitor, April 16, 2020

Libyan President Fayez Al-Sarraj confirmed that he would not negotiate with Haftar anymore after the crimes he has committed.
Libya Al Ahrar TV quoted Al-Sarraj in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, stating that he will not sit with Haftar.., pointing out that all their previous attempts to resolve the crisis via political channels have been constantly aborted by the leader of the eastern-forces.
He stated that Haftar has been pushed to the corner, which made him target Tripoli, residential areas, power stations, civil institutions, and even Al-Khadra Hospital in the centre of the capital with unprecedented bombings.
Al-Sarraj confirmed that since April 2019, after the first attack was contained: “We managed to reorganise our forces... We have become stronger and we are taking the right steps towards a well-defined goal.”
He asserted that the GNA forces had faced the attack alone without any external support for seven months, then the Libyan government signed the security agreement with Turkey on 27 November, while the attack was launched on 4 April.
Al-Sarraj continued: “We have sent letters to many countries seeking to activate security cooperation. The Turkish authorities responded positively to our request and signed with us a military-security memorandum of understanding. We have been receiving experts, consultants, and support for our security and defence program.”
The head of the Presidential Council confirmed that the Libyan government had signed a military cooperation agreement with Turkey publicly, and that: “We do not have contracts with mercenaries..."

Foreign policy, Israel, not mentioned
In Sanders’ endorsement of Biden
By Ron Kampeas, Jerusalem Post, 14-4-2020

Bernie Sanders joined his old friend Joe Biden in a live webcast to endorse him on Monday...
“Today I am asking all Americans, I am asking every Democrat, I am asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy which I endorse to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe, and I’m speaking just for myself, now is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said...
Israel and foreign policy weren’t mentioned at all in the 36-minute exchange, despite the fact that Sanders was the first Jewish candidate to be the front-runner in a major-party nominating contest, and that he has worked to move the Democratic Party’s views on the Jewish state to the left.
Sanders has sharply criticized the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the longtime Israeli leader racist.
He has also said that he would leverage aid to Israel to influence the country’s policy and has aligned with pro-Palestinian figures, including some who have made statements seen as anti-Semitic.
Instead, Biden asked Sanders to talk about the issues Sanders believed to be most urgent.
Biden accepted Sanders’ demand for a $15 minimum wage, forgiving student debt and free community colleges, although the candidates seemingly still differed over a key Sanders demand, free universal health care. Biden said he would endeavor to make health care more affordable and available.

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

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

Israel News: Netanyahu, Gantz
reach deal on unity government
Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, April 20, 2020

After a year and a half of a constitutional and political crisis that drove Israel into three elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Resilience leader Benny Gantz reached a deal for a coronavirus-emergency government, with a rotation agreement between the two politicians.
According to the deal, the new unity government will last three years. Netanyahu will serve as premier for 18 months, with Gantz serving as defense minister and also appointed deputy prime minister.
After 18 months, Gantz will automatically take over the position of premier, with Netanyahu serving as deputy prime minister. Being indicted, Netanyahu won’t be able to serve as a minister when Gantz heads the government.
It was also agreed that the coalition will advance a law enabling Netanyahu to serve as deputy prime minister despite being charged.
Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery and breach of trust is expected to open this May. Thus, the deal signed this evening constitutes a real achievement for Netanyahu. He is now sure to occupy senior positions in the coming three years while at the same time conducting his legal defense...
Another issue that is now resolved to the satisfaction of the right-wing camp, is annexation. The implementation of Israeli sovereignty over lands of the West Bank will be in accordance with President Donald Trump’s plan.
Implementation of sovereignty should be possible as of July (after a vote in the Knesset).

The way things look, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid will serve as chairman of the opposition. Lapid, who has been Gantz’s leadership partner since the inception of Blue and White, has now become his rival.

Israeli opposition shatters
into Blue against White
Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Apr 20, 2020

Until less than a month ago, Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid were partners, together leading a major party established with the goal of toppling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But as of the morning of April 20, Gantz and Lapid are officially rivals, fighting over the same center-left electorate. Judging by the attack led by Yair Lapid, now the head of the Yesh Atid/Telem Knesset faction, against what’s left of Blue and White, this political divorce is already ugly and there's more to come.
The partnership ended on March 26 after Gantz agreed to negotiate the establishment of an emergency unity government with Netanyahu.
Relations between Blue and White’s leader and his former No. 2 became strained, but Lapid hoped that Gantz would come back to his senses and cooperate with him against Netanyahu. That did not happen and Gantz continued negotiating.
The duel between Lapid and Gantz opened on April 19 at an anti-Netanyahu demonstration that took place at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. The key speakers were Lapid and his Yesh Atid/Telem colleague Moshe Ya’alon...
Addressing the demonstrators, Lapid attacked Gantz... He blamed him for dismantling Blue and White and supporting the formation of a government to be headed by a politician indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Netanyahu promises: Right bloc principles
to be maintained in unity government
Mordechai Sones, Arutz Sheva, 20-4-2020

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today spoke to all national camp faction leaders, representing all 59 members of the Right-leaning bloc, and updated them on the coalition agreement with [Bennjy Gantz]
The Prime Minister said establishing a unity government in the face of the coronavirus epidemic is a national imperative.
He pledged that he would continue to uphold the principles of the national camp and the Right-leaning bloc in the unity government.
Netanyahu granted the haredi parties the same positions they held in the previous government, as opposed to Yamina that would receive lower-level ministry positions.

The Jerusalem Post - Israel News
Palestinians decry Netanyahu-Gantz deal
By Khaled Abu Toameh, 21-4-2020

Palestinians from across the political spectrum have reacted to the agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to form a unity government by warning that the extension of Israeli sovereignty to any part of the West Bank would signal the end of the two-state solution.

"The world is still paying for the mistakes of the post WW II and the cold war era with all its “-isms” and “the end justifies the means” approach. Instead of the promise of an inclusive, interactive, and integrated global approach to human development and conflict resolution, the new ideology is threatening to impose an artificial construct of exclusivity and polarization, not only as a parallel to the past paradigm, but also as a source of tremendous injustice and conflict." Hanan Ashrawi, 12-2-2002

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, commented on the deal by stating that the Israeli political establishment “has united on the agenda of permanent colonization and annexation.”
It is now very clear, Ashrawi argued, “that Israeli political parties are unequivocally committed to the entrenchment and permanence of the conflict as well as the perpetual oppression of the Palestinian people with the full support and backing of the Trump administration, which is clearly intent on implementing its dangerous and objectionable plan.”
The unity deal “reveals the true colors of Israeli political parties and proves beyond doubt the death of the so-called left in Israel,” Ashrawi said.
She also denounced Gantz’s party, saying it “had a chance to forge a new path forward for Israel and the region that departs from morally, politically, and financially corrupt leadership towards a coalition that was more responsible and inclusive. They opted to bolster the status quo of illegality, corruption, and colonization.”
Ashrawi vowed that the Palestinians “will confront this lawless and dangerous agenda resolutely and with unwavering determination” and called on the international community to “challenge this brazen Israeli political agenda without hesitation or delay.”

Libya's people-smuggling militias return
just in time for migrant season
Middle East Eye, 22 April 2020

Police, military and security officials from Libya’s western towns of Sabratha and Sorman have gone into hiding, after forces loyal to Tripoli’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) took control of the area from the country’s eastern-based government’s Libyan National Army (LNA).
Among the GNA forces that led the Sabratha operation were several UN-blacklisted people smugglers and associated militias who, locals claim, have reimposed militia rule and are planning to restart their former illegal trade of sending boatloads of migrants towards Europe.
These fighters from the Tripoli government are not the army, they are militias, and they are not working under the law, they are doing whatever they want,” Sabratha policeman Mohammed told Middle East Eye (MEE) over the phone from a secret location where he is now in hiding, fearing for his life.
Having worked with Libya’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Authority and familiar with local people-smuggling networks, he alleged that, among the ranks of the GNA forces who entered Sabratha, were several local militias infamous for controlling people smuggling operations along this stretch of coast.
“Starting this week, these militias will begin putting migrants to sea because this is how they make money, and they will be able to work freely because there is now no police, no law and no government,” Mohammed said, explaining that most official security personnel had, like him, fled the area.
“Now the sea is calmer, this is the start of the migrant-crossing season and it’s no coincidence that these militias have seized control at this time.”

Since the 2011 uprising that overthrew long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi, the people-smuggling trade has flourished in Libya, providing a lucrative revenue stream for militias and criminal gangs.
According to local sources, boats used by migrant smugglers currently retail for 20,000 Libyan dinar ($14,161) with the amount generated by selling places on the usually overcrowded vessels totalling around LYD 100,000 ($70,819), leaving smugglers with a $57,000 profit margin for each boat they put to sea.
“These people-smugglers don’t care if the migrants reach Italy or drown in the sea, their only concern is collecting money and sending the boats to the sea,” Mohammed said.
“And what do they need money for? To buy more guns and have more power.”

Following the Sabratha takeover, locals who had openly voiced support for Libya’s eastern-based government and its LNA forces have been targeted, with several civilians allegedly assassinated.
“With no police or army, there is no law now in Sorman and Sabratha,” Mohammed said. “These militias are looking for anyone who worked for the police or army, and many houses belonging to LNA supporters have been burned, their shops looted and their vehicles stolen.”

The GNA has been criticised for incorporating internationally sanctioned military figures and brigades with dubious affiliations into its ranks, and several who recently appeared in Sabratha have also been linked to IS and the Libyan al-Qaeda-affiliate Ansar al-Sharia.
For Mohammed, the only circumstances under which he would consider returning to his hometown are if the LNA retake the area.
“I won’t go back to my home or my job until the LNA regains control,” he said. “And the LNA will return because they have massive local support.”
He insisted this support was not for the eastern government’s military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar but rather for the stability his forces represented, saying that, under LNA control, his area had seen a return of law and order, largely absent since the 2011 uprising.
“I am not only talking about Sabratha and Sorman. Libyans in general want the official military and police now, as they have had enough of militias. We have all had enough of militias.”

Children's Day in Turkey
Ataturk dedicated the Turkish Republic to children in Turkey
Chris Summers, Sputnik News, 23-4-2020

April 23 is National Sovereignty and Children's Day in Turkey and this year is a special occasion - the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the modern Turkish state. Sputnik looks at the events of 1920 and how Kemal Ataturk created a nation out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

On 23 April 1920 the Turkish Grand National Assembly was inaugurated in Ankara and Mustafa Kemal, a senior army officer and hero of the Battle of Gallipoli, said: "There will not be any power above the assembly."
Kemal, who would later found the Republic of Turkey and be given the name Ataturk (Father of the Turks), wanted to modernise the country and shake off all the antiquated rituals which he felt had led to the Ottoman Empire being on the losing side in the First World War.
Mehmed VI, who would be the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, had lambasted Mustafa Kemal and his supporters as "rebels” and “Bolsheviks" and had got a loyal imam to issue a fatwa against them.
But on 24 April 1920 Ataturk - who would become Turkey's first President in 1923 - made a speech in which he said: "We, your deputies, swear in the name of God and the Prophet that the claim that we are rebels against the sultan and the caliph is a lie."

In November 1922 the Grand National Assembly abolished the sultanate and Sultan Mehmed VI fled into exile on a British warship...
​A triumphant and emboldened Ataturk declared the Republic (Cumhurriyet) of Turkey in 1923.
The Treaty of Lausanne - signed in July 1923 - rejected all other nations’ claims to Anatolia, including the idea of Armenian state in the east. The boundaries were identical with those of modern-day Turkey, with the exception of Hatay province, which joined Turkey in 1939 after a referendum.
With Turkey’s borders secure, Ataturk set about transforming the country between 1923 and his death in 1938.
The main tenets of his Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) or Republican People’s Party were modernisation and secularism.

Modern Turkey would not be what it was without the events of 23 April 1920 and that is why Ataturk turned it into a national holiday - National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. As for the Osmanoğlu family which had ruled over the Turks since 1299 - Sultan Mehmed VI died in exile in Italy in 1926 and although most of the family was allowed to return to Turkey in 1974, the man who would be Sultan, Dündar Ali Osman, now aged 89, still lives in Damascus.

Although Erdoğan defeated the Kemalist CHP - which is now the main opposition party - he remains an admirer of Ataturk, a national hero whose face can be seen everywhere in Turkey.

Please tell the establishment
that U.S. Hegemony is Over
Daniel Larison, American Conservative, April 23, 2020|

More than 10 years ago, the columnist Charles Krauthammer asserted that American “decline is a choice,” and argued tendentiously that Barack Obama had chosen it...
The truth is that decline was never a choice, but the U.S. can decide how it can respond to it.
We can continue chasing after the vanished, empty glory of the “unipolar moment” with bromides of American exceptionalism, we can continue to delude ourselves into thinking that military might can make up for all our other weaknesses... Or we can choose to adapt to a changed world by prudently husbanding our resources and putting them to uses more productive than policing the world....

There was a brief period during the 1990s and early 2000s when the U.S. could claim to be the world’s hegemonic power. America had no near-peer rivals; it was at the height of its influence across most of the globe.
That status, however, was always a transitory one, and was lost quickly thanks to self-inflicted wounds in Iraq and the natural growth of other powers that began to compete for influence....

Many defenders of U.S. hegemony insist that the “liberal international order” depends on it. That has never made much sense.
For one, the continued maintenance of American hegemony frequently conflicts with the rules of international order. The hegemon reserves the right to interfere anywhere it wants, and tramples on the sovereignty and legal rights of other states as it sees fit.
In practice, the U.S. has frequently acted as more of a rogue in its efforts to “enforce” order than many of the states it likes to condemn.
The most vocal defenders of U.S. hegemony are unsurprisingly some of the biggest opponents of international law—at least when it gets in their way...

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed how misguided our priorities as a nation have been. There is now a chance to change course, but that will require our leaders to shift their thinking.
U.S. hegemony is already on its way out; now Americans need to decide what our role in the world will look like afterwards.
Warmed-over platitudes about “leadership” won’t suffice and throwing more money at the Pentagon is a dead end.
The way forward is a strategy of retrenchment, restraint, and renewal.

John F. Kennedy: Address Before the
American Newspaper Publishers Association
New York City, April 27, 1961

[It is] our obligation to inform and alert the American people--to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well--the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face....
I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people...

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed-and no republic can survive. ...
This means greater coverage and analysis of international news -- for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission.
And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security -- and we intend to do it....

Libya News: Khalifa Haftar Calls for the
Rejection of the Libyan Political Agreement
Al-Marsad News, April 23, 2020

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), addressed the Libyan nation:

Operation Dignity” was launched in 2014, and today it has become a revolution due to the pivotal changes that have led to a better future...
Terrorism spread throughout the country, they targeted what had remained of the Army and security forces in an attempt to control the country. The terrorists committed the vilest of crimes, assassinating activists, journalists, lawyers and key social figures...
The Army, with the support of the Libyan people and the young men who gathered from all parts the country, announced it would fight the terrorists.
We defeated the terrorists in Benghazi, in the Oil Crescent, in Derna, and in Central and Southern Libya. Stability was brought to these areas and residents are now able to live their normal lives.
Your Army today continues its war in Tripoli, the liberation of Tripoli will be the culmination of this long-fought struggle...

The political and economic situation of the country is dire. This is due to the failure of the Presidential Council...
Their legitimacy is fake, they lost Libya’s sovereignty, destroyed its economy and stole the Libyan people’s wealth, They decided to support extremist groups and financed them using Libya’s oil revenues. Our brave soldiers liberated the oil fields with their blood.
The Presidential Council flooded Libya with mercenaries in an attempt to fight our Army.
Their most serious act of treason was when they asked Turkey to invade and occupy Libya, along with the extremist militias in Tripoli.

The tragic situation in Libya and the suffering of the people have reached their climax which leaves no choice for the Libyans except to clearly announce the rejection of the Political Agreement and all the institutions that originated from it. We call on you to authorise the institution that you think is right one to lead the country during this time...

Info: Government of National Accord
& The Political Agreement

Fayez al-Sarraj and seven of the council's other members arrived in Tripoli on 30 March 2016 at the Abu Sittah naval base.
In October 2015, the UN envoy for Libya, Bernardino León, announced a proposal for the House of Representatives to share power with the rival Islamist-led General National Congress government, under a compromise prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj.
However, the terms of the final proposal were not acceptable to either side, and both rejected it. Nonetheless, the proposal did spark a revised proposal put together by Fayez al-Sarraj and others, which was subsequently supported by the United Nations.
On 17 December 2015 members of the House of Representatives and the new General National Congress signed this revised political agreement, generally known as the "Libyan Political Agreement" or the "Skhirat Agreement".
Under the terms of the agreement, a nine-member Presidency Council and a seventeen-member interim Government of National Accord (GNA) would have been formed, with a view to holding new elections within two years.
On 31 December 2015, Chairman of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh Issa declared his support for the Libyan Political Agreement.
A new round of talks that started in October 2017 in Tunis broke down a month later without a deal.
On 17 December 2017, general Khalifa Haftar declared the "so-called" Skhirat agreement void. (Wikipedia info)

Since its inception, the GNA has been criticized domestically for focusing little on national reconciliation and improving the lives of the population..
Critics pushing for a negotiation of the Libyan Political Agreement are calling for changes in the setup of the GNA itself and the future role of Haftar in the government.
Haftar's role in the new government remains one of the most contentious points in the Agreement.
Haftar enjoys wide public support for successfully combating Islamists in eastern Libya, liberating four key oil ports from Islamist control and bringing relative security to Benghazi.
Haftar supporters argue that dismissing him from any future government would not bring peace to the country... (Wikipedia info)

Libya News: Haftar announces that
LNA will take charge of Libya’s affairs
The Libyan Address Journal, 27 April 2020

The General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced on Monday that LNA will take charge of Libya’s affairs in response to nation-wide protests calling for authorizing the army to run the country.
In a televised address tonight, Field Marshal Haftar declared the 2015 political agreement, which paved the way for forming the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), to be dead after thousands of protesters from across the country took to the streets in the past few days to reject the failed agreement.
Despite being recognized by the United Nations, GNA was never given the vote of confidence by the democratically-elected House of Representatives.
The Tripoli-based government led by Fayez Al-Sarraj succumbed to lawless militias and failed to solve any of the country’s security, economic, and political problems.
In a country torn by lawless militias, extremist groups and corrupt politicians, many Libyans view the LNA as a unifying and trusted institution. A survey conducted by USAID in 2017 found that Libyans trust LNA more than GNA or any other governmental organization in the country.
Since 2014, LNA forces has been battling militias and terrorist groups which became the source of chaos in Libya following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

GNA: Haftar must be defeated and exposed
after his call for new coup
Rabia Golden, Libya Observer, April 28, 2020

The Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA) has said that the new Haftar coup stresses the need to defeat his authoritarian objective of total control...
The PC added in a statement on Monday, that 'the coup of this war criminal is not a surprise, but a misguided step to attempt to distract from his defeats...'
The PC called on all members of the House of Representatives to join their colleagues in Tripoli to initiate meaningful dialogue and reach a permanent solution through the ballot box.
It also appealed to all Libyans, particularly in the eastern region, to lay down their arms and take the side of reason in the country...

Haftar: UN unity deal ‘thing of the past’
AP News, 27-4-2020

Haftar, commander of Libya’s east-based forces, controls most of eastern and southern Libya. The besieged administration in Tripoli rules just a corner of the country’s west.
While Haftar has not yet dissolved any state institutions, such as the eastern-based House of Representatives, he said his armed forces “accept the people’s mandate to run the country.”
The U.S. Embassy in Libya said it “regrets” Haftar’s unilateral proposal to alter Libya’s political structure and urged him to engage in “serious dialogue” about the country’s next steps.
In a speech last week, Haftar asked Libyans to hold demonstrations and give him a mandate to rule.
Despite a curfew imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, crowds thronged the streets of Benghazi and chanted slogans against the rival Tripoli administration.

Libya News: UAE calls on all Libyan parties to commit
to political process, renews support to Haftar
Reuters, 30-4-2020

The United Arab Emirates on Thursday called on all Libyan parties to commit to the U.N.-supervised political process to end the war, while at the same time saluting the eastern Libya based-army led by General Khalifa Haftar.
The UAE “commends the Libyan National Army for conducting anti-terror operations,” a statement by the Emirati Foreign Ministry said, expressing “its categorical rejection of the Turkish military intervention” in support of the rival, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
The statement expressed the UAE’s support for a political solution based on the Berlin conference, calling on “all parties to commit to the political process under the supervision of the United Nations.”
Responding to the UAE’s statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said the remarks were an attempt by the UAE to “hide their two-faced politics” and said it was providing aid to “putschists” in Libya.

Flashback 2011-2012: Revolutions in Libya and Syria

The hostile attitude of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against Turkey is an attempt to disguise it hypocrite policies, he said, calling on the country to stop its “destructive” agenda by fueling civil wars.
We call on the UAE leadership to avoid taking a hostile stance against our country and to know its place,” he said, and added that solving the Libyan crisis hinged on backing the GNA and adhering to the 2015 political agreement.

Saudi Arabia to end flogging as form of punishment
Middle East Monitor, April 25, 2020

Saudi Arabia is ending flogging as a form of punishment, according to a document from the kingdom’s top court seen by Reuters on Friday.
The decision by the General Commission for the Supreme Court, taken sometime this month, will see the punishment replaced by prison sentences or fines, or a mixture of both.

Sharia Law in Al-Qaeda dominated 'Free' Aleppo, 2014

“The decision is an extension of the human rights reforms introduced under the direction of King Salman and the direct supervision of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman,” the document said.
Other forms of corporal punishment, such as amputation for theft or beheading for murder and terrorism offences, have not yet been outlawed.

Flogging has been applied to punish a variety of crimes in Saudi Arabia.
Without a codified system of law to go with the texts making up sharia, or Islamic law, individual judges have the latitude to interpret religious texts and come up with their own sentences.
Rights groups have documented past cases in which Saudi judges have sentenced criminals to flogging for a range of offences, including public intoxication and harassment.
“This is a welcome change but it should have happened years ago,” said Adam Coogle, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. “There’s nothing now standing in the way of Saudi Arabia reforming its unfair judicial system.”

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says he is
‘confident’ US will support West Bank annexation
SCMP News, 27 Apr, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday (26-4) said he was “confident” he will be able to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank this summer, with support from the US
Speaking to an online gathering of evangelical Christian supporters of Israel, Netanyahu said President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan envisions turning over Israel’s dozens of settlements, as well as the strategic Jordan Valley, to Israeli control.
“A couple of months from now, I’m confident that that pledge will be honoured, that we will be able to celebrate another historic moment in the history of Zionism,” Netanyahu said.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, and its settlements are now home to some 500,000 Israelis, in addition to over 200,000 Israelis living in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The Trump-Kushner “Deal of the Century.”
Juan Cole 04/27/2020

Netanyahu secured agreement on the illegal annexation from his new partner in an “emergency national unity government,” Benny Gantz.
They agree that Israeli sovereignty over this Palestinian territory has been granted by the Trump/ Kushner “Deal of a Century.”
The Trump plan for Palestine was plotted by New York Zionists around Kushner and was unable to secure the participation of any Palestinian, since it clearly simply screwed them over.
The Trump plan is also intended to please Trump’s evangelical base, many of whom believe that Jesus will return when modern Israel controls all of biblical Israel...
They believe that then all Jews will be converted to Christianity and be taken up. How this mythology is not widely recognized as a virulent form of anti-Semitism beats me. Part of the answer is that it suits the Zionists to exploit it, and they are the ones who typically go around smearing people as anti-Semites...

Netanyahu is clearly eager to go forward with the step while Trump is still president... And Trump will go along because he will be eager to please his evangelical base in the run-up to the election.
Netanyhau said that he is confident that in the space of only a few months, the annexation will be a reality and another triumphant moment in the history of Zionism will be celebrated.
Zionism is a form of Jewish nationalism that makes the Jewish people a basis for a nation-state rather than for a private religion.
Netanyahu’s Likud Party puts forward a virulent form of that nationalism with some fascist features, though so far it has been willing to contest democratic elections...

The annexation will certainly result in a huge move in Western civil society to boycott Israel, since the annexation is a clear violation of international law.
Ireland is already considering a prohibition on the importation of goods produced on stolen West Bank Palestinian land, and the International Criminal Court is considering taking up Israel’s crimes.
Netanyahu has reacted to these threats by establishing a cabinet post to combat Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and he has threatened to destroy the International Criminal Court if it dares move against him.

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