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.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
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)
Eva Illouz, 53, was born in Morocco and grew up in Sarcelles, near Paris. She is a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She researches the relationship between emotions, economy and communication and has written several books including "Why Love Hurts:
Illouz: Where you see human beings, Israelis see enemies. In front of enemies, you close ranks, you unite in fear for your life, and you do not ponder about the fragility of the other. It is difficult to have compassion for a population seen as as threatening the heart of your society.
Israel has a split, schizophrenic self-awareness: It cultivates its strength and yet cannot stop seeing itself as weak and threatened.
Illouz: I think Israelis have lost what we can call a "humanitarian sensibility," the capacity to identify with the suffering of a distant other. In Israel, there has been a change in perception of the "Palestinian other." The Palestinian has become a true enemy in the perception of Israelis, in the sense that "they are there" and "we are here." They ceased having a face and even a name.
Illouz: Israel is a colonial military power, a militarized society and a democracy all folded into one. The army, for example, controls the Palestinians through a wide network of colonial tools, such as checkpoints, military courts (governed by a legal system different from the Israeli system), the arbitrary granting of work permits, house demolitions and economic sanctions.
It is a militarized civil society because almost every family has a father, son or brother in the army and because the military plays an enormous role in the ordinary mentality of ordinary Israelis and is crucial in both political decisions and in the public sphere.
Illouz: The nature of Israeli leadership has changed. The messianic right has progressively gained power in Israel. It used to be marginal and illegitimate; it is now increasingly mainstream. This radical right sits in Parliament, controls budgets and has changed the nature of discourse. Many Israelis do not understand the radical nature of the right in Israel. It successfully disguises itself as "patriotic" or "Jewish."
Illouz: Entire generations have been raised with the territories, with Israel being a colonial power. They do not know anything else. You have the settlements which are highly ideological. They expanded and entered Israeli mainstream political life. Settlements were strengthened by systematic government policies... There are entire segments of the population that have never met a secular person and have been educated religiously...
The reality we are faced with in Israel is that we must choose between liberalism and Jewishness, and if we choose Jewishness, we are condemned to become a religious Sparta which will not be sustainable.
Illouz: Israel started as a modern nation. It derived its legitimacy from the fact that it had democratic institutions. But it was also building highly anti-modern institutions in wanting to create a Jewish democracy by giving power to rabbis, in creating deep ethnic inequalities between different ethnic groups such Jews of Arab countries vs. Jews of European descent; Arabs vs. Jews; Jews vs. non-Jews. It thus blocked universalist thinking... We are at the point where it has become clear that Jewishness has hijacked democracy and its contents.
Illouz: The right-left divide is no longer important. There is something more urgent right now: the defense of democracy. The voice of the extreme right is much louder and clearer than it was before. That's what's new: a racist right that is not ashamed of itself, that persecutes dissenters and even people who dare express compassion for the other side. The real danger to Israel and its sustainability comes from within.
Illouz: We don't know how it feels to live in a peaceful society, devoted exclusively to culture, education and improving the living conditions of everyone. People don't make a connection between the bad living conditions they have and the amount of resources invested in the settlements and in the army. In psychology, they call it dissociation. Israeli society has become very insensitive. Not only to the suffering of others, but also to its own suffering.
"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)
A bill outlawing controversial “gay conversion therapy” passed a preliminary vote in the Knesset on Wednesday, drawing cheers from LGBT rights advocates and angering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox political allies.
The bill advanced after Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s party supported the legislation, in a move that generated a fresh coalition crisis. The Labor party also broke with the coalition to back the bill.
The opposition-spearheaded motion passed with 42 lawmakers supporting it and 36 objecting.
Gay conversion therapies (based on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental illness), have been strongly criticized by major health organizations.
Though discouraged by the Health Ministry, the practice remains legal in Israel, and is still accepted in some conservative and Orthodox circles. The proposed legislation only bars psychotherapists from performing conversion therapy and doesn’t forbid rabbis from continuing to perform it.
The bill still has to pass three readings and be approved by a Knesset committee before it becomes law.
After the vote results were announced ultra-Orthodox lawmakers were visibly furious.
They shouted at Gantz, “You will not be prime minister,” an apparent threat to topple the government before the defense minister is set to replace Netanyahu as premier in November 2021.
Before the vote, Gantz told his party members via WhatsApp to support the bill" "This is a top-priority moral issue and it’s the right thing to do.”
In a statement, United Torah Judaism said it would no longer cooperate with Benny Gantz. Fellow ultra-Orthodox party Shas decided to boycott all other plenum votes and called on Likud to “come to its senses.”
"And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul..." (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
"And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul." (1 Samuel 20:17)
"O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: they love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women". (2 Samuel 1:25-26)
Netflix has cancelled production of a TV show after the Turkish government refused to grant a filming licence over the presence of an LGBT character in the script.
Although there were no actual scenes of same-sex intimacy, the row with the government led Netflix executives to decide to cancel the production rather than write out the gay character...
A Netflix spokesperson said that the US company remained "committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey". Mahir Unal, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), said on Sunday that the government had raised issues with some Netflix scripts. "Do we have to bless everything Netflix makes, find it proper and sanctify it? Is there no subject where we have a right to raise reservations?”
The Netflix row is just the latest chapter in a months-long dispute in Turkey over the question of LGBT rights.. Ali Erbas, head of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, declared in one of his sermons that homosexuality "brings illnesses and corrupts generations".
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended Erbas, claiming criticism of him was a “deliberate attack against Islam”. Although homosexuality has never been illegal in Turkey, it is not widely accepted
Polling released by Pew Research in June show that 25 percent of people in Turkey said homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 57 percent said it should not.
Despite recognised borders and an established capital Libya was never a state in the modern sense. A retired Egyptian diplomat who served as ambassador to Libya under Mubarak says “Libya functioned in a very peculiar way.
“It was not like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Syria under Hafez Al-Assad or Sudan under Omar Al-Bashir. It was just Gaddafi, and some of his aides who tried to execute his orders, and a few military units that were somehow seen as an army.” Diplomats concur that Libya never functioned as a centralised state but as a tribal system headed by a brutal dictator. Lawlessness was endemic, and drugs and arms trafficking proliferated...
Last night, I attended a lecture by Louise Arbour, the former Chief Prosecutor at the ICTY and ICTR, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and former Supreme Court Justice in Canada.
Arbour reminded the audience of something that piqued my interest: In November 2010, just a few scant months before Libya dissolved into chaos, the UN Human Rights Commission’s Universal Periodic Review looked into the state of human rights in Libya.
With the exception of a handful of states, virtually all participating nations, democratic and autocratic, expressed some level of praise for human rights standards and improvements in Libya.
To impose certain subjects upon people is a dictatorial act...
All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from curricula of fanaticism... Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him.
- The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya believed that the promotion and protection of human rights was one of the most important factors for the progress and development of the people…
- The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was party to most human rights treaties and the protocols thereto, and those instruments took precedence over national laws and could be directly applied by the courts once they had been ratified…
- The delegation noted that all rights and freedoms were contained in a coherent, consolidated legal framework. The legal guarantees formed the basis for protection of the basic rights of the people. Further, abuses that might occur were dealt with by the judiciary, and the perpetrators were brought before justice. The judiciary safeguarded the rights of individuals and was assisted by other entities, most importantly the Office of the Public Prosecutor…
- Protection of human rights was guaranteed in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya; this included not only political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights. The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya referred to its pioneering experience in the field of wealth distribution and labour rights…
- The delegation indicated that women were highly regarded in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and their rights were guaranteed by all laws and legislation. Discriminatory laws had been revoked…
- The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya believed that human rights education was a duty that should be fulfilled in the school system and the family system and by relevant civil society organizations…
- The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya noted that laws safeguarded freedom of expression through principles enshrined in the Great Green Document. Article 5 promoted the right of expression of every person.
- Qatar praised the legal framework for the protection of human rights and freedoms, including, inter alia, its criminal code and criminal procedure law, which provided legal guarantees for the implementation of those rights.
- The Syrian Arab Republic praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its serious commitment to and interaction with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. It commended the country for its democratic regime based on promoting the people’s authority through the holding of public conferences, which enhanced development and respect for human rights, while respecting cultural and religions traditions.
- Egypt commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for progress in building a comprehensive national human rights framework of institutions and in drafting legislation and supporting its human resources in that area.
- Turkey welcomed the criminal justice reform project that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had been pursuing in collaboration with international organizations. It commended the importance attached to cooperation with human rights civil society organizations and the increasing number of such organizations in the country.
"Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of..." "Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him." Gaddafi - Green Book
This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations. After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles...
Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa....
For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans.
Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse... One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women.
Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights. Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal.
Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.
Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria.
On Wednesday, the US State Department announced that Washington was in talks with all parties concerned with the Libyan conflict, including Turkey.
In a statement, US State Department official Geraldine Gassam Griffith said that President Donald Trump made several phone calls this week with countries concerned with the Libyan crisis, including the UAE, France, and Egypt. This is to attempt to implement a ceasefire and prevent the flow of mercenaries and weapons to Libya.
Griffith added that the United States is seeking to resume political negotiations within the framework of the United Nations and the resolutions of the Berlin Conference.
The oil-rich country has been split since 2014 between two rival administrations based in the east and west.
The eastern government is represented by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) and supports the Libyan National Army (LNA), which is led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Egypt, the UAE and Russia back the LNA.
The west is represented by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which is internationally recognised and backed primarily by Turkey and Qatar.
It is close to decision time for Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. His army has spent weeks on exercise, preparing for the possibility of crossing the border into Libya in defence of its national security and of the port town of Sirte.
Libya’s Government of National Accord has moved fighters closer to Sirte, a gateway to Libya’s main oil terminals and ports, which it says it plans to recapture from the eastern-based LNA.
The overall situation in Syria is aggravated by socio-economic problems, which are exacerbated by unilateral coercive measures despite the call of the UN Secretary-General for their lifting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Those who impose sanctions do not hide that their main goal is to suffocate the Syrian economy and increase sufferings of ordinary Syrians with an eye to inciting social protests.
It is also openly said that sanctions are not imposed on areas not controlled by Damascus... For our part, we call for intensification of international humanitarian assistance to all those in need throughout Syria...
In the Idlib de-escalation zone the ceasefire is generally observed. However, terrorists continue to destabilize the situation in the northwest Syria. Terrorists from "Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham" and other extremists still control Idlib.
Provocations and terrorist attacks will be resolutely suppressed. Attempts to "whitewash" the terrorists will not work. Neither will the attempts to present the provocateurs from "White Helmets" as heroes....
We also draw attention of the UN and the Security Council members to the reports that appeared in the Western press about a large-scale environmental catastrophe threatening the northeast of Syria and Iraq due to the barbaric methods of oil extraction in the fields which the United States "protects" as it says.
We once again call on the United States to immediately end the occupation of the Syrian Arab Republic and return its natural resources to the government which will be able to protect the environment. Syria loses up to 40 million USD in oil revenues monthly. To return its property to the Syrian Government would be a better US contribution than the one it announced at a donor conference on Syria in Brussels.
We once again call on Israel to stop airstrikes on Syrian territory.
We call to stop foreign occupation of Syria, as well as attempts to pull Syria apart "piece by piece" and to freeze artificial dividing lines.
AMMAN: Jordan’s deputy attorney-general has moved to stop the work of the elected teachers’ union, closed its offices, arrested its leadership team and asked the education minister to create a temporary committee in its place.
Jordan’s official news agency Petra quoted Hassan Abdallat as saying that the teachers’ union offices would not be allowed to operate for two years.
The deputy attorney-general said that union leaders would be questioned over alleged crimes — including financial misconduct — that were being investigated by the anti-corruption commission, and a number of cases of incitement by the deputy head of the union via social media videos.
Huda Etoom, a representative of the Jordanian parliament from the Islamic Islah block and a member of the teacher’s union, told Arab News that the attack was political.
“This is a political case, not a legal one. The government doesn’t tolerate anyone who opposes them. If the government is unhappy with the Islamic movement they should go directly after the Islamic Action Front and the Islamic movement itself.. Ahmad Awad, director of the Phenix Center for Economics and Informatics, told Arab News that the decision against the union had no legal backing. “There is a gap between what the constitution and existing laws guarantee and this last decision,” he said.
Teachers throughout Jordan, including in the capital Amman, held impromptu demonstrations on Saturday protesting government decisions against their union. The teacher’s union was accredited in Jordan in 2011 after many years of struggle by public service teachers.
Changes to Jordan’s school curriculum, including less religious content in textbooks, is sparking controversy across the country, with the teachers union, Islamists and parent groups objecting to what they see as an attempt to alienate students from their cultural and Islamic values.
Protests have taken the form of a book-burning, a vicious social media campaign and calls for the education minister to resign.
The modifications, which took effect at the start of the academic year in September, include pictures of women without head covering – considered offensive to religious Muslim Jordanians.
Content touching on the coexistence of religions has also been introduced and text interpreted as promoting extremist ideology removed.
Those changes, made by the education ministry for the first time in a decade are part of a wider strategy to combat radical Islam in a country struggling to prevent hate crimes such as the recent murder of a prominent secular writer who was accused of offending Islam. Education minister Mohammad Thneibat said they were intended to develop the educational system and improve analytical thinking.
However, the Jordan teacher’s association – the country’s teachers’ union – condemned the changes, saying they were part of a conspiracy against Islamic values...
In third grade Arabic books, a photo of male students in a computer lab was changed to include uncovered girls in a mixed class. Another book had a cartoon of a man sweeping the floor next to his child, in an attempt to break away from traditional gender stereotyping of women...
“There are hidden powers that want to normalise the curriculum and globalise it so that the next generation will kneel down [succumb] to other cultures and to the enemy as well,” said Ahmad Hajaya, a spokesman from the teachers’ association. The Islamic Action Front, the Muslim’s Brotherhood political arm, has also criticised the changes.
Education experts and civil state proponents argued that reforming school curricula is essential in fighting extremism...
Supporters of the civil state argument, chief among them is former deputy prime minister, Marwan Muasher, respond by insisting that the opposite of a civil state is not a religious state, but an authoritarian one.
In an article in Al-Ghad on September 21, Muasher wrote that there has never been a religious state in Muslim history and that the only example of this is the system of Wilayatal Faqih or the Governance of the Jurist in modern-day Iran.
For him a civil, pluralistic, and democratic state is not against religion because it guarantees freedom of worship, but is opposed to forcing religious dogma on society.
Joint List MK Walid Taha found himself mired in controversy on Monday after breaking away from his party's leadership to claim that homosexuality in the Arab community is "almost nonexistent,' following a preliminary Knesset vote to ban gay conversion therapy. Taha called the bill banning conversion therapy “particularly problematic,” noting that it went against the views of “the vast majority of the society that elected him.”
The Joint List is a broad, ideologically diverse political alliance made up of four smaller political parties which include communists, socialists, feminists, Islamists and Arab nationalists.
"The issue is not debated in Arab society [and] if it exists, it is on a very small scale, and those who suffer from it are in no rush to identify themselves," Taha said, adding that he felt that same-sex relationships were unnatural.
He added: "Homosexuals have the right to undergo treatment to change their sexual character... This law prevents them from [receiving] treatment that would bring them back to normal."
The LGBT community - particularly in the Arab world - continues to face many challenges.
Recently, Egypt arrested at least 7 individuals who raised the rainbow flag during a rock concert. The incident took place in a September 22 performance by Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou' Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay.
But, despite the open decades-long hostility that has targeted the community, authors and activists have remained vocal.
Here are 7 books penned by Arab authors that will give you more insight into the issues facing the LGBT community, the challenges, and the double lives they sometimes have to lead for fear of persecution... (Cedric Tannous, 7-10-2017)
Tripoli – (AFP) – French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who contributed significantly to the French decision to intervene in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, sparked controversy after his visit to western Libya on Saturday.
According to local sources, Lévy arrived on a private plane on Saturday to Misrata Airport, about 200 kilometres west of Tripoli.
The programme of the visit includes meetings between Lévy and several local officials and representatives in Misrata before visiting the city of Tarhuna (west) to investigate mass graves found in the city after the departure of Haftar’s forces, the influential general in eastern Libya.
Lévy said, in a brief statement to pro-GNA channel Libya Al-Ahrar, that he came to Libya as a “journalist” for a report for the Wall Street Journal.
flashback 2011: bh Levy, friend of the islamist rebels
After supporting opposition fighters in 2011, Henry Lévy became an unwanted figure for many Libyans, especially due to his call for international intervention in 2011, led by France, the UK and the US. The office of Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of the GNA, affirmed that he disavowed Lévy’s visit.
Bernard Levy said he had obtained his entry visa to Libya via the newspaper he works for not through the Interior Ministry of Libya.
Levy told Libya Alahrar TV on Saturday that he had obtained a regular visa and he had visited Libya by an invitation from Misrata and Tarhouna to write a report on the cities, mass graves and other issues in western Libya for US-based Wall Street Journal.
He also said later on Twitter that he had been saddened by the views he saw in Tarhouna, adding that his report "Fields of Death" will soon be published to show those atrocities.
Bloodied, wearing just a pair of khaki trousers, and dumped on a cheap mattress, Muammar Gaddafi's body has become a gruesome tourist attraction and a macabre symbol of the new Libya's problems.
Hundreds of ordinary Libyans queued up outside a refrigerated meat store in Misrata, where the dead dictator was being stored as a trophy. People posed for photos, flashing victory signs, and burst into jubilant cries of "God is great."
Worshippers at Friday prayers in the capital's Martyrs Square said they were pleased Gaddafi had been killed.
But one young woman said: "Some people do care about the rule of law and don't think it's right that he should have been assassinated."
Nato's role in Gaddafi's death remains controversial. French warplanes and a US Predator drone were involved in the attack on the dictator's convoy.
The Libyan Presidential Council (GNA government) has formed an investigation committee to probe the visit of French writer Bernard Levy to Libya. The Presidential Council said the committee will investigate how Levy entered Libya via Misrata Airport. Levy said he had obtained his entry visa to Libya via the newspaper he works for, not through the Interior Ministry of Libya. The Wall Street Journal, however, told The New Arab's Arabic-language service that the newspaper did not commission a Libya field report from Levy.
"The Wall Street Journal's opinion department has worked with Bernard Henry Levy in the past, but his visit to Libya is not mandated by the newspaper," Wall Street Journal spokeswoman Colleen Schwartz said in an emailed statement.
"Israel is in a state of social chaos," a senior police official said behind closed doors, N12 reported last week as violence broke out at anti-government protests.
Four demonstrators protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in central Tel Aviv were hospitalized last week after being attacked by far-right activists. The group reportedly infiltrated the demonstration, attacking a group of protesters with pepper spray and glass bottles.
Following the violent incident, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said violence between conflicting factions could lead to a civil war.
"Violence against protesters could lead to civil war," Gantz said in an interview with Channel 13 last week. "We must stop this hatred and incitement."
Gantz continued, saying neither Netanyahu's supporters nor those rallying against him "can engage in this hatred of the other," adding that former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin "was not assassinated because of hate on the Left."
Posting an image of Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud) with two far-right activists wearing shirts saying "[Rabbi Meir] Kahane was right!" and "Jews, go in and possess the land," left-wing NGO Peace Now wrote on Twitter that "whenever they tell you those are stray weeds, remember Likud is the garden."
Middle East Monitor, July 31, 2020 :
The right wing thugs, believed to be Beitar Jerusalem supporting football hooligans, descended upon the anti-Netanyahu protests and reported physically attacked protestors and journalists, claiming the media to be ‘left wing’ and biased against the prime minister.
The violent right-wingers allegedly yelled at the demonstrators that it was a ‘shame Hitler didn’t finish the job’, and that the protestors didn’t ‘deserve someone like Bibi, you deserve someone like Hitler.’
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, a leading figure in the ultra-Orthodox Haredi community in the US, said Friday that his followers should vote for US President Donald Trump in November.
Kamenetsky, 95, who heads the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, said, "I think people should vote for him. He's done a good job. It's 'hakaras hatov' [gratitude]."
The majority of American Jews vote for Democrats, but recent election campaigns have shown that the Orthodox community increasingly favors Republican candidates.
The Pew Research Center's 2013 survey of American Jews found that 64% of ultra-Orthodox Jews considered themselves to be politically conservative.
Wikipedia info: Shmuel Kamenetsky (born November 1924) is an American Haredi.
He is a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel of America and serves on the rabbinical board of many organizations, including Chinuch Atzmai (Torah Schools for Israel), Torah Umesorah, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, and the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals (AJOP). His opinion is frequently sought and quoted on current issues such as same-sex attraction, child molestation, obesity and dieting, smoking, and drinking alcohol to excess on Purim.
According to Rabbi Kamenetsky, “We retain the power to overcome drives or desires to which we are drawn..”; “no one is born gay with an inability to change.” "Human drives can be altered or changed and thus “expressed in a kosher way.”
Last week, the Israeli parliament voted in favour of a bill that banned the notorious conversion therapies practised in Israel in religious circles, giving hope to many members of the country's LGBT community that their rights will finally be respected.
However, in the neighbouring Palestinian Authority, the future for homosexuals still looks bleak. Salem Ismail, a 25-year old Palestinian from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, whose real name cannot be revealed for security reasons, says he never dared to share the secret of his sexual orientation with family and close friends.
"Telling the truth about my sexual preferences would be suicidal. If my family finds out, they will either put me through conversion therapy, disown me or will end up killing me and the problem is that it will be supported by Palestinian society."
In the West Bank as well as many other places in the Middle East, where Islam sets the tone and the norms, homosexuality is regarded as shameful and 'haram' (forbidden), while those who engage in it are often harassed and persecuted.
It is also the reason why the exact number of Palestinian LGBT members is not known to the general public and why the local media prefers not to cover the fight of the small community for equality. In August 2019 Ramallah announced it was banning all public LGBT activities as they sharply contrasted with the region's traditional values.
In a ferocious tirade against the Israeli media, [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the Israeli media for what he alleged was its “one sided” coverage of anti-government protests, and accused Israeli news outlets of acting like the media in totalitarian North Korea.
Following comments by Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz in the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning on the recent protests, Netanyahu said he deplored violence “by any side,” but then lambasted the media over its coverage. “In the name of democracy I see an attempt to trample democracy,” said the prime minister...
“The protests are being fueled especially by the media who have enlisted themselves [to the protests] in a manner the like of which I cannot remember,” Netanyahu continued. I reject the one-sided attitude of the majority of the media. They are not reporting on the protests but participating in them, and fueling them. This is not just media which has got on board [with the protests] but is enlisting people to the protests,” continued the prime minister... There has never been such a distorted mobilization [of the media]. I would have said Soviet [media mobilization], but its already North Korean in manner,” concluded Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s comments likening Israeli news outlets to North Korean media was the second time in twenty-four hours that he had made such comparisons. On Saturday night, the prime minister lashed out at channels 12 and 13 for reporting from the demonstrations, and again comparing the media to North Korean TV. "They are making a desperate effort to brainwash the public, with the goal of taking down a strong prime minister from the Right," Netanyahu wrote on Facebook Saturday night.
Syria on Sunday condemned an agreement between Kurdish-led forces in the country's northeast and a US oil company, describing it as "theft" and an "affront to national sovereignty". The foreign ministry denounced "an agreement signed by the SDF militia and a US oil company to steal Syrian oil... supported by the US administration", in a statement quoted by the official SANA news agency.
The SDF is the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led paramilitary alliance that backs a semi-autonomous administration in northeastern Syria and controls the country's biggest oilfields.
The Syrian foreign ministry's statement decried "an agreement between... thieves who steal and thieves who buy".
It also decried "the hostile US position towards Syria, the theft of the Syrian people's riches and its hindrance of the state's reconstruction efforts". Senator Lindsey Graham, a longtime supporter of the Syrian Kurds, told a congressional hearing Thursday that he had spoken about the deal with SDF commander General Mazloum Abdi.
"Apparently they've signed a deal with an American oil company to modernise the oil fields in northeastern Syria," Graham said. Asked by Graham if the US was supportive of the deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "We are."
"The deal took a little longer, senator, than we had hoped and we're now in implementation. It can be very powerful," Pompeo said.
After President Trump announced his plan to withdraw US troops from northeast Syria in October 2019, Senator Graham, along with retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, urged the president to stay and protect the region’s oil fields from falling in the hands of Iran or ISIS. Trump eventually decided to stay in Syria to “secure the oil.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the oil agreement between an American company and the terrorist YPG-led administration in northern Syria, saying that country’s natural resources belong to the Syrian people. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the YPG-linked administration’s move has clearly shown its goal to divide Syria and exploit its natural resources.
The ministry also condemned the U.S. for supporting the deal, which disregards international law, Syria’s territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty and finances terrorism.
Iran’s foreign minister says miscalculations and major mistakes made by the world's big powers over the past decades are the main cause of the surge in extremism in the West Asia region. Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a speech delivered at the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran....
"Miscalculations made by big powers, or in other words superpowers, with regard to the world's modern order have resulted in consequences, which are by far more disastrous than the mistakes made by other countries," Zarif emphasized.
He described the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq as one of the big powers' miscalculations, saying that there were many ambiguities surrounding the attack at its onset.
"But something was conspicuous. It was clear from the very beginning that this [US] war [against Iraq] would lead to the spread of extremism in the world."
In early 2003, the United States, backed by the UK, invaded Iraq under the pretext that the regime of the country's former dictator, Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). No such weapons, however, were ever found in Iraq.
The invasion plunged Iraq into chaos and led to the rise of terrorist groups, including the Daesh Takfiri group, across the region.
Elsewhere in his speech, Zarif touched on the US withdrawal from several international treaties, and said such a policy is just similar to those bigoted and obstinate ideas that contravene the world's realities on the ground.
"Some players in the international scene, like the United States, have struggled to take control of the situation by resorting to old-dated rules and reliance on their military superiority..," the top Iranian diplomat added.
Trump, a hawkish critic of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.
The Trump administration also pulled the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia last year. The 1992 treaty allows member countries to conduct short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the other countries to collect data on their military forces and activities. Trump has also pulled his country out of the UN cultural organization UNESCO and the Paris climate accord.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has revealed that there’s a proposal to surrender Sirte and Jufra to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), adding that talks are still ongoing. Cavusoglu arrived Thursday in Tripoli and met with the Head of the High Council of State (HCS) Khalid Al-Mishri, holding after the meeting a joint press conference.
The Turkish Foreign Minister indicated at the press conference that the situation in Libya is very complicated and Ankara has assured Russia, which backs warlord Haftar, that the political solution process is still ongoing. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu added that warlord Khalifa Haftar doesn’t believe in political solutions or even the ceasefire.
Cavucoglu reiterated that Haftar’s backer, France, is looking away from the arms and military equipment being delivered to Haftar’s forces via Egypt and Syria.
Cavusoglu met also with the Head of the Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj along with the Maltese Foreign Minister to discuss political solutions to the conflict in Libya.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Lebanon in the aftermath of a calamitous explosion and his proposal for a political agreement among Lebanese groups has set Twitter ablaze with users criticizing the interference of France in Lebanon’s domestic affairs and its colonial-era attitude toward the Arab country.
Macron made an unscheduled visit to the disaster-stricken Lebanese capital of Beirut on Thursday as the city is reeling from a lethal blast that killed 145 people and injured more than 5,000 others.
The deadly incident also left at least 300,000 without habitable homes, hammering a nation already beset by US-instigated economic crises.
During the snap visit, the French president called for an international inquiry into the devastating blast that generated a seismic shock felt across the region, and he highlighted the urgency of anti-corruption reforms and “political change” in Lebanon.
Lebanon's Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network said Macron, in a meeting with President Michel Aoun, threatened Lebanese officials with sanctions if the reforms failed to become operational. Macron also called for a “new political pact” among Lebanese political factions and said he had proposed a roadmap to the Lebanese authorities to unlock billions of dollars in funds from the international community, and that he would return to Lebanon in September to follow up.
Macron’s remarks prompted Twitter users to react to the French interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon, which gained independence from French colonial rule more than seven decades ago.
To defend everything is to defend nothing. #Macron is trying hard to be everything to everyone. Never visited #Lebanon before today and now he is playing pater noster in #Beirut? His political responsability was to be supportive back in 2017/2018. — Fares Meherzi (@25Juillet_) August 6, 2020
Do we need to become a French colony again?! Most of this is happening to us because of a domino affect that started with the Turks and the French. We need Lebanese people who truly care about Lebanon to run us. Not any outside influence — Amanda Hamze 🇱🇧 (@AmandaHamze) August 6, 2020
Don't worry, everything he said is just a "one man show" for the camera. He doesn't care at all about lebaneses and he won't lift a finger for them. — Citoyen Lambda (@CitoyenLambda44) August 6, 2020
Macron’s remarks at a time of shock and anger among the traumatized nation provoked protests in central Beirut, where security forces fired tear gas to disperse dozens of demonstrators.
The protesters marched on the roads leading to the government building and the parliament. They pelted security forces with stones and set tires on fire, shouting against the political elite.
The powerful explosion on Tuesday took place in port warehouses that stored highly explosive material near central Beirut. Dozens of people are still missing, and thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the colossal blast, which leveled the whole port and a large section of central Beirut and turned successive apartment blocks into masses of debris and twisted metal.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday categorically and strongly denied the presence of any arms or ammonium nitrate belonging to Hizbullah at the site of the deadly mega-blast that rocked Beirut’s port and devastated parts of the capital.
"We have nothing in the port: not an arms depot, nor a missile depot nor missiles nor rifles nor bombs nor bullets nor ammonium nitrate," said Nasrallah in a televised address, adding that the investigation can prove his rebuttal.
“The official authorities said there were no arms or missiles, but rather ammonium nitrate,” Nasrallah said, noting that the story of how the ammonium nitrate had been stored at the port since several years is well-known. “Those who insisted that there was a Hizbullah arms depot sought to tell the Lebanese people that Hizbullah is to blame and this is a false accusation,” he added.
He also stressed that Hizbullah “does not run or control Beirut's port and it does not interfere in it.”
“We might have knowledge of what exists at Haifa's port (in northern Israel), but not at Beirut's port, because this is not our responsibility,” Nasrallah added...
Describing the cataclysmic explosion as a “major catastrophe and humanitarian tragedy,” Nasrallah said it has “major humanitarian, health and economic consequences,” urging an “extraordinary approach” in dealing with the fallout... Thanking all the countries that sent aid to Lebanon, Nasrallah said his country “looks positively to every visit to this country during this period,” in an apparent reference to French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Lebanon on Thursday.
As for the political situation, Hizbullah’s secretary-general said the parties in any country would suspend their disputes whenever a catastrophe happens...
Lamenting that there has been “political exploitation of the incident,” Nasrallah stressed that Hizbullah does not want to engage in any debates with anyone.
“This is a moment for solidarity and cooperation,” he said...
Until the beginning of the 21st century, support for Israel was a mainstream idea among not only American Jewry, but across political lines.
The real change came during the last decade, mainly with the current generation who started to see the world differently. Most young American Jews grew up on the ideals of liberalism and reformed Judaism, object to any kind of discrimination and stand firmly for social justice.
These young men and women look at today's Israel – the Nation-State Law, the disagreement over egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall, opposition to a ban on gay conversion therapy, politicians calling for satirical shows to be taken off the air, girls being sent home from school because their trousers were too short – and they find it hard to see the values they were told the Jewish state stands for...
Another issue influencing young liberal Jews is the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center several years ago, only a quarter of Jews between the ages of 18-29 in the U.S. said they believe the Netanyahu administration "is working to bring a peace settlement with the Palestinians."
Added to this is the growing objective distance from the Holocaust and the difficulty of keeping its significance felt among young Jews.
Hezbollah controls security at the Beirut port, which it uses for its smuggling operations and for storing weapons... Hezbollah stores explosives, missiles, rockets and ammunition throughout Lebanon, especially among the civilian population, to make it difficult for Israel to destroy them. The Iranian-backed group has transformed Lebanese residents into "human shields" to protect its weapons.
Who is responsible for the terrible catastrophe in Beirut? The answer is written on the wall.
Everyone in Lebanon assumes Hezbollah and its government puppets will steer the investigation in the direction they want and will ignore the fact known to every child in Lebanon: Hezbollah controls the port of Beirut. Hezbollah knows everything that goes on in the harbor, just as it controls the other border crossings in the country.
Hezbollah uses the port for the delivery of goods without customs and for its smuggling industry... American intelligence also thinks Hezbollah controls the port. The Fox News broadcast on Aug. 5 that according to American intelligence officials, most of the activity in the port is well known to Hezbollah and that in fact, the first people to arrive on site after the blast were Hezbollah operatives. Hezbollah effectively rules Lebanon.. It is the rule of Hezbollah terror serving as Iran's agent and running Lebanon through corrupt mafia gangs. This is one of the primary reasons for the collapse of the Lebanese economy.
The disaster in Beirut opens a window of opportunity for the international community to re-engage and condition economic aid to Lebanon on Hezbollah demilitarizing and removing the weapons depots that it concealed among the civilian population.
This is the opportunity to limit Hezbollah's maneuverability in Lebanon, because the civilian population is unable to resist Hezbollah's vast military power.
Senior security officials in Israel estimate that Iran will try to take advantage of the worsening crisis in Lebanon in the wake of the catastrophe to increase its involvement in the country.
It is therefore vital that the international community work wisely: on the one hand to prevent Iran from assisting the residents of Lebanon economically by toughening the economic sanctions on Iran, and on the other hand, to supervise the flow of money to the Lebanese economy in a manner that is conditional on Hezbollah disarming.
A 2008 study by Moran Rada published in The Seventh Eye showed that while competing newspapers' coverage of Benjamin Netanyahu was "not especially fair", Israel Hayom's coverage was biased in favor of Netanyahu in most editorial decisions, that the paper chooses to play down events that do not help to promote a positive image for Netanyahu, while on the other hand, touting and inflating events that help promote Netanyahu and the Likud.[ Oren Persico reached the same conclusion after the 2009 Knesset elections, writing that throughout the campaign, Israel Hayom published only one article critical of the Likud...
The popular nickname of Israel Hayom is the "Bibiton", a portmanteau of Benjamin Netanyahu's nickname "Bibi" with the Hebrew word for newspaper, "iton".
Lebanon's biggest problem is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, [Israeli] Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
In his first briefing to the committee as defense minister and the first address by a defense minister to the committee since November, Gantz said the Lebanon blast could have been worse because Hezbollah keeps explosives in the homes of civilians.
"The fact that in Lebanon there are homes with a guest room and a missile room will make Lebanese society pay a heavy price," he said.
Gantz also said that Israel needs to continue to take action with the rest of the world to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. He said Israel must stop Iran from opening a terror branch in Syria. "Continuing pressure on Iran and our determined actions to continue the embargo on Iran must remain a top priority," he said.
Late Saturday, supporters of the pro-Western March 14 alliance which is led by Saudi-backed former prime minister Sa'ad al-Hariri went on a rampage as they stormed government buildings in Beirut.
They marched through streets, gathering in the central Martyrs' Square, where a truck was on fire.
"We are taking over the foreign ministry as a seat of the revolution," Sami Rammah, a retired officer, announced by loudspeaker from the ministry's front steps.
"We call on all the anguished Lebanese people to take to the streets to demand the prosecution of all the corrupt," appealing to the international community to boycott the government. Ironically, the Beirut port where the cataclysmic blast took place among 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was reportedly administrated by people close to the March 14 alliance.
The unrest in Beirut and an apparent push to topple the government smacks of a "forward escape" tactic embraced by the Western- and Saudi-backed political camp to make the best of the situation and implement the agenda which it has been following for quite a while..., observers say...
The March 14 Alliance, named after the date of the Cedar Revolution, is a coalition of political parties and independents in Lebanon formed in 2005 that are united by their anti-Syrian stance. It is led by Saad Hariri, second son of Rafic Hariri, as well as other prominent figures. The activity of the March 14 Alliance reflects the polarization within the Lebanese political sphere. On the one hand, the March 14 Alliance is identified with the US and Saudi Arabian interests, whereas the opposition pays allegiance to Syria and Iran.
On 12 July 2006, the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah started. During the war, the 14 of March Coalition took a stance against Hezbollah accusing the armed party of causing the war on Lebanon.
During the first few days of the war, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Beirut and held a meeting with the 14th of March coalition and declared afterwards that a new Middle East will be born after this war, saying: "It's time for a new Middle East".
Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has denied allegations that the group controlled the port or stored weapons and ammunition there. Nasrallah demanded a fair and transparent investigation of what had taken place and appealed for a united front and cool-headedness in response to what he described as an “exceptional event in modern Lebanese history” that should not be politicised.
The Beirut port, like other national facilities, “is subject to the influence of the political forces, and this is determined by numerous factors,” an informed Lebanese source told Al-Ahram Weekly.
“Basic government services and facilities are apportioned among the political forces. The port cannot be said to be controlled by any particular party by tradition. However, it is currently under the influence of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM)...” President Aoun founded the FPM in 1994.
“According to the available information,” the source continued, “Hizbullah does not exercise any exceptional influence over the port, in contrast to Beirut airport, which is situated near the predominantly Shia Dahieh district south of Beirut.”
Hizbullah has long exercised control over the airport, which the political party/militant organisation has designated as a red line. Defending that red line was one of the reasons it launched its takeover of Beirut on 7 May 2008 following the dismissal of the Hizbullah-affiliated security director at the airport.
According to the source, the very location of the seaport in Beirut limits Hizbullah’s ability to assert its control over it and use it towards its own ends.
“For one thing, it is adjacent to Christian and Sunni neighbourhoods. For another, the Mediterranean teems with US and Israeli warships that inspect any vessel suspected of transporting military equipment or substances to Hizbullah,” he said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden named his former campaign trail rival, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate. Biden announced the decision in an email to supporters.
"I know a thing or two about being Vice President. More than anything, I know it can't be a political decision. It has to be a governing decision.
If the people of this nation entrust me and Kamala with the office of President and Vice President for the next four years, we're going to inherit a nation in crisis, a nation divided, and a world in disarray.
We won't have a minute to waste. That's what led me to Kamala Harris," Biden said in the email.
He also harkened back to the first time he met Harris through his late son, Beau.
"They were both Attorneys General at the same time. He had enormous respect for her and her work. I thought a lot about that as I made this decision. There is no one's opinion I valued more than Beau's and I'm proud to have Kamala standing with me on this campaign," he said.
Twitter: "I have the great honor to announce that I've picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants — as my running mate." Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
In a tweet, Harris said she's honored to join Biden and will "do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.":
"Joe Biden can unify the American people because he's spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he'll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I'm honored to join him as our party's nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief." Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 11, 2020
Who is Kamala Harris? Harris brands herself as a progressive, but she has garnered some criticism from the left over her record as a prosecutor and staunch support for Israel.
Here's where she stands on Middle East issues.
Harris rebuked Trump in 2018 for withdrawing from the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, which saw Tehran scale back its economic programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against its economy.
"Today's decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal jeopardizes our national security and isolates us from our closest allies," she said in a statement after Trump withdrew from the accord.
Early in 2020, after a US strike killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Harris co-sponsored legislation aiming to prevent funds to the Pentagon from being used in military action against Iran in an effort to avert war with the Islamic Republic.
"Make no mistake: Soleimani was an enemy of the United States, but Trump’s actions have further enflamed tensions and destabilized the region," she said at the time.
"It is essential that Congress take its constitutional responsibility seriously and work to de-escalate the situation."
Harris has been a staunch supporter of Israel. Months after being sworn into the Senate in 2017, she delivered a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) describing the bond between Israel and the US as "unbreakable".
"Israel should never be a partisan issue. And as long as I'm a United States senator, I will do everything in my power to ensure broad and bipartisan support for Israel's security and right to self-defence," she said. One of her first legislative actions as a senator was to co-sponsor a bill objecting to a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Asked by the New York Times last year whether she thinks Israel meets international human rights standards, Harris said: "Overall, yes."
It is a common platitude amongst some of the weaker parts of the Palestine solidarity movement that “Israelis want peace” and do not support their government’s policies of oppression against the Palestinians and other Arabs peoples.
But the facts simply don’t bear this out. Let’s take a cursory examination of some Israeli polling data.
A poll of Israeli Jews taken at the end of last year shows that 55 per cent support “unilateral annexation” of all, or the majority, of the West Bank in one form or another.
It is unclear from the think tank’s data how many of the remaining 45 per cent still support another form of this blatant theft of Palestinian land and homes, so long as it is not “unilateral” – i.e. green-lighted by the imperialist power headquartered in Washington DC.
This indicates that the vast majority of Israeli society supports the military occupation and theft of Palestinian land, which annexation represents.
Israel’s Jews-only settlements are illegal under international law – in fact, they are a war crime.
The same poll shows that 66 per cent of Israeli Jews agree with the openly racist statement that the Arab countries surrounding Israel are a “jungle” in which Israeli civilisation has been established.
With such a wide degree acceptance of racism and violence against the Indigenous people of Palestine within Israeli society, it is very clear that such disturbing views are not confined merely to the political right within Zionism..
President Bashar al-Assad said in a speech to members of the People’s Assembly’s third legislative term that "the war will not prevent us from assuming our duties, and the power of peoples is in adaptation with the conditions and subjugating them for their interests."
President al-Assad added “any defect in the legislations affects the institutions, weakens the citizen’s confidence, and weakens the morals and destabilizes the situation...
The President affirmed that unlike what some people think, the circumstance now is appropriate to inject money...
“We have to concentrate on supporting the micro-investments as they are able to support the national economy and face the blockade. The agricultural sector is the pillar of the national economy and it has to be supported,” the President added.
As for the factors that affect the Syrian pound, the President said they are known; the direct effect of the war that lead to slow down the economy by the destruction of infrastructure and a dramatic decline in investment. Important also, he said, was the blockade that has prevented the import of essential necessary materials for the production process.
He added “we are in the heart of war and we are talking about the liberation of different lands and regions, however, the return of state authority will be through the return of the rule of law, and not only the liberation of the lands, because Law and corruption cannot meet in one place.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored the entry of a new military column of Turkish forces via Kafr Losin crossing, north of Idlib.
The column consists of more than 30 armoured vehicles carrying logistical and military equipment, heading towards Turkish military bases in the area of “Putin-Erdogan”.
The number of military vehicles that entered Syrian territory since the start of the new ceasefire has reached 5,330 in addition to thousands of Turkish soldiers.
From February 2 to date, the number of Trucks and military vehicles that arrived in “de-escalation zone” rose to more than 8,665.
Turkish trucks and military vehicles arrived in Syrian territory, carrying tanks, personnel carriers, armored vehicles and mobile bulletproof guard booths and military radars. Over 11,500 Turkish soldiers were deployed in Idlib and Aleppo during this period.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have reached a deal that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two sides, in an agreement that US President Donald Trump apparently helped broker. Under the agreement announced on Thursday, Israel has allegedly agreed to suspend applying its own rule to further areas in the occupied West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to annex, senior White House officials told Reuters. Trump, in a tweet, called the agreement a "HUGE breakthrough," describing it as a "historic peace agreement between our two GREAT friends."
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also tweeted that the deal marked "a historic day."
"All of us, the moderate states of the Middle East, are standing in a united front in favor of progress and against the radicals who threaten us and world peace," Netanyahu said.
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed said on Twitter on Thursday that an agreement had been reached on normalising relations between the two countries.
The deal, however, has elicited sharp negative reactions from various Palestinian groups as well as their supporters from across the world.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has issued a statement, calling for an urgent meeting of Palestinian leadership to be held on the Israel-UAE deal to discuss its consequences.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior adviser to Abbas, reading from a statement outside Abbas's headquarters in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said the deal was a "betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause." Hamas slams UAE’s attempts to normalize ties with Israel as a poisonous stab in the back of the Palestinian nation.
Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhum said the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel is a reward for occupiers in return for their crimes and violations of Palestinian’s rights.
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi accused the United Arab Emirates of "normalization" with Israel after Thursday's announcement of the so-called peace deal.
Ashrawi, who is a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Twitter:
"Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it's been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation. The UAE has come out in the open on its secret dealings/normalization with Israel. Please don't do us a favor. We are nobody's fig"
Ashrawi also responded to Abu Dhabi's crown prince's tweet in a counter-tweet in which she reminded him of the sufferings of the Palestinian people..:
"May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen; may you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation; may you never witness the demolition of your home or murder of your loved ones. May you never be sold out by your 'friends'."
Deputy secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ahmad Fuad, was quoted by al-Mayadeen news agency as saying that the UAE-Israel deal is a crime against the Palestinian people and their martyrs and will have no effect on the resistance front: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, however, welcomed the agreement, saying, “I followed with interest and appreciation the joint statement between the United States, United Arab Emirates and Israel." "I value the efforts of those in charge of the deal to achieve prosperity and stability for our region."
Netanyahu said the peace deal amounted to a “peace for peace” arrangement, as no land was traded in the agreement. “We’ve innovated a new path: peace for peace. That is the only sustainable formula for peace.”
Turning to Israel’s commitment to “suspend” its plan to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu hinted that this agreement did not mark the end of his sovereignty plan, but merely a temporary delay.
“Just as I promised I would bring peace with the Arab world…I also said that I would apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. There is no change in my plan to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria in full coordination with the US. That hasn’t changed.”
“I want to remind you that I’m the one who put the issue of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria on the table. This issue will remain on the table. It only went on the table because of my efforts. I worked on it for three years with intensive talks with President Trump.”
“Now, Trump, who agreed to include the application of sovereignty in his peace plan, asked that Israel delay – temporarily – declaring sovereignty. We first need to secure the peace deal with the United Arab Emirates, and I believe with other states as well.”
"President Trump and his team requested a temporary - and I repeat, temporary - delay so that the peace process can move forward, and I agreed."
The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned a recent deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel for betraying the Palestinian cause, noting that the people of the region will not forgive the Abu Dhabi administration for its hypocritical act.
"While betraying the Palestinian cause to serve its narrow interests, the UAE is trying to present this as a kind of act of self-sacrifice for Palestine.
History and the conscience of the people living in the region will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behavior," a statement by the ministry said Friday, adding that the Palestinian people and administration are right to display strong reaction against the deal announced by U.S. President Donald Trump. The ministry also said it was extremely concerned about the UAE’s attempt to unilaterally abolish the Arab Peace Initiative, which was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002.
The statement continued by noting that the deal, which is presented as support to the Palestinian cause, has no credibility, while adding that the UAE disregards Palestinian will through secret plans in line with the “stillborn” U.S. Middle East plan that Turkey deems null and void. In January, Trump announced a so-called peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although it had already been roundly rejected by Palestinians.
The so-called peace plan unilaterally annuls previous U.N. resolutions on the Palestinian issue and suggests giving Israel almost everything they have been demanding.
Trump’s announcement Thursday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would recognize Israel was presented by the White House as a diplomatic achievement. The problem is that it achieved nothing, at least with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
The step was, however, politically and economically expedient for the signing parties. The Emirates is a union of seven Gulf sheikhdoms, though oil-rich Abu Dhabi is their de facto leader. The population is 9.6 million, but only about a million of those are citizens, with the rest being guest workers who can be rotated out of the country at will.
1. What Trump got out of the announcement:
a. It will please the Israel lobbies and he hopes it will help him in Florida, which has a large Jewish-American population, many of them retirees. Trump is way down in Florida, with Biden polling at 51% in high quality polls in which Trump comes in as low as 38% and no higher than 46%.
b. It cements an American-backed anti-Iran axis consisting of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel.
2. What the UAE gets out of the agreement:
Abu Dhabi will now be adopted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an umbrella for thousands of pro-Israel organizations, which is the most effective lobby in Congress. It may qualify for higher level military technology transfers as a result. Markets may also open to it.
3. What Israel gets out of the agreement:
Arab non-recognition was a way of pressuring Israel to cease colonizing the West Bank, and the UAE has just reduced that pressure. Gaining an avowed ally against Iran in the region is also a strategic benefit.
4. What the Palestinians get out of the agreement: Nothing.
The Palestinians remain under Israeli military occupation. Israel continues to steal Palestinian land and water and to divert these resources to Israeli settlers, which it actively sends in as squatters. Palestinians are routinely attacked by these armed settlers, including just this week. Palestine recalled its ambassador from Abu Dhabi and a Fateh spokesman, Abbas Zaki, denounced the treaty as “a losing bet” and an act of “subordination to the enemies of the Arab nation.”
The Arab League and Saudi Arabia remained silent Friday on a deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel to normalize relations. Turkey, Palestine, Iran and Libya condemned the deal. Saudi Arabia, one of the close allies of the UAE, has not commented on the deal.
There was no condemnation or reaction from the Arab League and the group has also chosen to remain silent.
Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat said the Secretary General of Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit should resign if he does not make a statement denouncing the deal.
Israel’s Normalization With U.A.E. Squeezes Saudi Arabia
The surprise move by the United Arab Emirates to normalize ties with Israel piles pressure on Saudi Arabia to follow suit, at the risk of inflaming public sentiment and breaking from the monarchy’s record of promoting the Palestinian cause.
The diplomatic breakthrough also scrambles a volatile rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both have competed for the mantle of Islamic leadership and used support for the Palestinians to burnish their credentials among fellow Muslims.
Any Saudi-Israeli rapprochement, in the absence of a statehood deal with the Palestinians, leaves Riyadh vulnerable to the same criticism Tehran is now leveling against Abu Dhabi.
On Friday, Iran condemned the U.A.E. accord, warned against Israeli interference in the Persian Gulf and lamented Arab rulers in the region “who from their palaces of glass scratch at the face of Palestinians.”
For those reasons, Saudi Arabia is expected to take a more gradual approach to full diplomatic recognition of Israel. (Stephen Kalin, Wall Street Journal, 14-8-2020)
The official Kuwaiti discourse is consistent with the popular discourse in terms of rejection of normalization with the Zionist entity.., reports Al-Qabas daily. Kuwait’s stance remains firm and steadfast. It rejects normalization with Israel...
Kuwait’s position, which has been embodied over the decades, has been expressed by the political leadership more than once. It affirmed its commitment to support and assist the Palestinian cause, as it is the first Arab cause. Its emphasis has always been on never accepting anything other than what the Palestinian people and their legitimate leadership accept – a position that Kuwait confirmed during the economic conference hosted in Manama several months ago, and reasserted it with every proposal related to the “Deal of the Century”, which was rejected by the Palestinian authority.
Kuwait’s refusal was not limited to the official position at any time, as it is supported by a popular position expressed by the head of the legislative authority, the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim.
Everyone still remembers the scene when he threw the documents of the “Deal of the Century” in the trash, a position that was also expressed by the grassroots and representatives of different blocs.
Head of the Kuwaiti Umma Council, Marzouk Al-Ghanem, expressed his firm rejection of the US Mideast plan during an urgent meeting for the Arab Parliamentary Union in Amman on Saturday. Al-Ghanem threw the documents of the so-called “deal of the century” in the dustbin, stressing that the plan’s suitable position is in the dustbin of history. (Al-Manar News, 9-2-2020)
Several members of Kuwait’s National Assembly affirmed their stance against normalization of ties with Israel.
In this regard, MP Fahad Al-Shammari said, “Normalization with the Israeli entity ... is high treason that does not conform with the will of free people.
The great national symbol Dr Ahmed Al-Khatib affirmed that Kuwait has distinguished itself on the level of Arab nationalism and the national position, even since prior to independence, which made it a haven for free Arabs even when it was under British protection.
“However,the tragedy of the Arab situation, unfortunately, lies in it being sick, worn out and divided among itself.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushed back on right-wing criticism of his decision to suspend his sovereignty plan, denying that he had been “bluffing” on his bid to apply Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria.
Sovereignty “wasn’t a bluff,” said Netanyahu.
“For three years I worked and never gave up on sovereignty. I got it included in President Trump’s peace plan. Under the American plan, Israel gets 30% of Judea and Samaria – ten times what we got in previous plans, and without having to uproot a single town or give up on land important to Israel’s security.” “That is the American plan. It hasn’t changed. I made it happen.”
“Sovereignty hasn’t been taken off the agenda. After all, I was the one who had it included in the Trump peace plan, with American agreement. We will apply sovereignty with US approval.”
“It’s not that I had a choice of either applying sovereignty or peace with the United Arab Emirates right now. They [the US] requested a suspension in the application of sovereignty, but they haven’t taken it out of their peace plan.”
A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group, Essam el-Erian, died in jail at the age of 66 on Thursday due to a heart attack, according to local reports.
El-Erian, the vice-chairman of the group's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, was arrested by Egyptian forces in 2013. An Egyptian court issued their final verdicts in September 2019 against el-Erian and other top officials from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt has witnessed an unprecedented crackdown on dissent under the rule of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi..
The military crushed the Muslim Brotherhood movement in a major crackdown, arresting Morsi and many of the group's other leaders...
The United Nations Security Council has resoundingly rejected a bid by the United States to extend a global arms embargo on Iran. In the Security Council vote on Friday, Washington got support only from the Dominican Republic for its resolution to indefinitely extend the embargo, leaving it far short of the minimum nine "yes" votes required for adoption.
Eleven members on the 15-member body, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, abstained.
Russia and China strongly opposed extending the 13-year ban, which was due to expire on October 18 under a 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and six world powers. Zhang Jun, China's ambassador to the UN, said in a statement that the result "once again shows that unilateralism receives no support and bullying will fail".
While voting on the US draft resolution was under way, Russia said its President Vladimir Putin called for a meeting of leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council along with Germany and Iran to avoid escalation over US attempts to extend the Iranian arms embargo.
In statement released by the Kremlin, Putin said "the question is urgent", adding that the goal of the videoconference would be "to outline steps to avoid confrontation and exacerbation of the situation in the UN Security Council".
Asked if he would take part, Donald Trump told reporters: "I hear there's something, but I haven't been told of it yet."
Flashback 4-3-2012: The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya has announced that it formed a political party (the Justice and Development Party) after six decades in the shadows of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Mohamed Gaair, the Brotherhood's spokesman, said the group has representation in more than 18 cities across the country.. They chose as party leader Mohamed Sowan, a native of the city of Misrata, which saw some of the worst fighting in the civil war that brought down Gaddafi...
Last Thursday, members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Zawiya submitted a collective resignation from the group and decided to dissolve its branch in the city, claiming that this move was meant to give priority to the supreme interests of the country, realizing the decline in their movement’s popularity.
Through their resignation, the former members of the Muslim Brotherhood indicated that their resignation was “in response to the call of many loyal people in the nation who want freedom, the establishment of a civil state in which citizens live and enjoy citizenship rights regardless of their intellectual orientation or political affiliation.”
The group added that the country “is going through quarrels, alignments, and war on the homeland, in pursuit of militarising the state under the name of fighting the Muslim Brotherhood and the war on terror,” and that this is why they decided to dissolve themselves.
The statement also pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood has carried out revisions since 2015 in this regard, and accordingly decided to make a change that favours the supreme interest of the homeland and the citizen, by submitting a collective resignation from the Brotherhood, and considering its branch in Zawiya as dissolved from Thursday, August 13.
"The members of the Muslim Brotherhood are “masters” in hypocrisy and pragmatism, and are only interested in ruling", Ali Al-Takbali, member of the Defence and National Security Committee in the House of Representatives (HOR), commented on the dissolution of the Zawiya Brotherhood branch in a tweet.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that he moved the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem “for the evangelicals,” marveling that “Christians are more excited by that than Jewish people.” Trump made these remarks during an election campaign rally at an airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin...
“We moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem,” Trump said. “That’s for the evangelicals...
You know, it’s amazing with that – the evangelicals are more excited by that than Jewish people. It’s incredible. And the Golan Heights, don’t forget that, we did the Golan Heights.” [..]
Earlier the same day, appearing on Fox and Friends, Trump also framed the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as being “incredible” for his evangelical supporters.
“It’s an incredible thing for Israel, (and) it’s incredible for the evangelicals, by the way,” Trump said. “The evangelicals love Israel. Love Israel.”
While the Wisconsin remarks were the first time the president has stated plainly that the decision he made in 2017 and implemented in 2018 was designed to please his evangelical base, Trump has previously noted that Christians were more grateful to him for the decision than Jews.
“I tell you what, I get more calls of thank you from evangelicals, and I see it in the audiences and everything else, than I do from Jewish people,” Trump told evangelical leader and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee shortly after the embassy move took place. “And the Jewish people appreciate it but the evangelicals appreciate it more than the Jews.” The evangelical community was prominently represented at the ceremony inaugurating the Jerusalem embassy, which included blessings by pastors John Hagee and Robert Jeffress, who led a delegation of evangelical leaders.
Libya, Turkey and Qatar ink deal to boost capabilities of Libyan military institutions
The Head of the Libyan Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj met Monday in Tripoli with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Qatari Defense Minister Khaled Al Attiyah and discussed latest military mobilization in Sirte and Jufra.
The meeting was attended by Turkish and Qatari delegations accompanying the Defense Ministers in the presence of top Libyan GNA military and political figures.
Talks in the meeting focused on cooperation among the three countries in military and security fields as well as building up defense and security capabilities of the GNA.
In the meantime, the Libyan Deputy Defense Minister Salah Al-Namroush agreed with the Turkish and Qatari Defense Ministers; Hulusi Akar and Khaled Al Attiyah respectively, to sign tripartite deal for military cooperation to boost capabilities of the Libyan military institution.
Al-Namroush told reporters in Tripoli on Monday, after meeting with the Defense Ministers who were on formal visit to the Libyan capital, that Qatar will send to Libya military advisers to train Libyan cadres, in addition to hosting some cadres in military colleges in Turkey and Qatar.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made an unannounced visit to Tripoli on Monday, saying that the world must not be lulled into inaction by the “deceptive calm” in Libya and should find a way to end the conflict.
At a news conference with Maas, Tripoli-based Foreign Minister Mohammed Siala said his administration “does not want to return to war, whether in Sirte, Jufra or anywhere else.” He also called for oil fields to be reopened and handed over to Libya’s National Oil Corporation. (David Rising, Associated Press, 17-8-2020)
Flashback: "A medieval crusade", Putin cracks down on NATO, Gaddafi and UN. Pravda, 21-3-2011
Speaking at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Moscow on 11 August, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said ‘‘We also share an interest in settling the situation in Libya.
We reaffirm the commonality of approaches of Russia and Germany on the need to settle this conflict on the principles that were set forth in the final documents of the Berlin Conference on Libya and confirmed by the relevant UN Security Council resolution.
The need to fulfil the Berlin agreements in full remains current. We agree with this. The further escalation of violence in Libya threatens to destabilise the situation not only in that country but also in the Middle East and North Africa as a whole...
We believe that the final goal of our efforts must be the restoration of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and statehood of Libya, which were crudely violated as a result of NATO’s venture in 2011 in circumvention of the relevant UN Security Council resolution’’.
Saad Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, said Tuesday that his family has accepted the verdict of a UN tribunal on the assassination of his father.
A UN-backed tribunal on Tuesday found the main defendant, Salim Jamil Ayyash, guilty of the 2005 bombing that killed former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri.
Ayyash was a member of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, and according to prosecutors, he used a cellphone which was critical in the attack.
However, the tribunal said there was no evidence that “the Hezbollah leadership” or the Syrian government were involved in the assassination.
The tribunal acquitted other defendants -- Hassan Marei, Hussein Oneissi, and Assad Sabra -- as the evidence against them were considered "insufficient."
The UN-backed court ruled Hezbollah's Mustafa Badreddine was not the mastermind of Rafik Hariri's assassination as it was alleged.
The judges said the DNA evidence showed the blast that killed Rafik Hariri was carried out by a male suicide bomber who was never identified.
On Feb. 14, 2005, Rafik Hariri was killed in a massive car bomb that targeted his convoy in Beirut. Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the 14 February 2005 bombing.
His assassination triggered countrywide protests that forced Syria -- which some had accused of orchestrating the murder -- to withdraw all its forces from Lebanese territory.
Later the same year, Saad Hariri succeeded his father in the premiership after winning elections.
Rafic Hariri (born 1 November 1944) was a Lebanese business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation on 20 October 2004. Hariri dominated the country's post-war political and business life and is widely credited with reconstructing the capital Beirut after the 15-year civil war. Quote: "We dont think that we are in a quarrel with anybody. We may have a difference of opinion, but we will not allow such differences of opinion to grow into a problem that stands in the way of reconstructing the country and regaining the democratic path." (Rafik Hariri)
Israel’s Mossad spy agency chief Yossi Cohen visited the UAE for security talks on Tuesday, only days after the countries agreed to establish diplomatic ties.
The head of Israel's foreign intelligence service discussed “cooperation in the fields of security” with the UAE's national security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi, Emirates News Agency reported.
Cohen's trip marked the first visit to the UAE by an Israeli official after the announcement last week by US President Donald Trump that the two countries had agreed to normalise relations.
As part of the landmark deal, the Israel agreed to suspend the annexation of occupied West Bank territories, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the plan was not off the table in the long run. Netanyahu last week called Cohen to thank him for the Mossad's assistance “in developing the ties with the Gulf states over the years, which assisted in bringing the peace treaty to fruition,” the prime minister's office said.
Israel-UAE tensions had run high in 2010 after Mossad was widely blamed for the assassination in a Dubai hotel room of an operative for Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh.
Strategic advisor Ronen Tzur, who advised Benny Gantz in the recent election campaigns, is convinced of the identity of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's successor.
Speaking in an interview with the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, Tzur was asked what will happen in the Likud after the Netanyahu era, and replied, "The next Likud leader will be the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen."
Asked why Cohen and not Gideon Sa’ar or Yuli Edelstein, he replied: "In order reach a leadership position in Israel, you need two qualities: charm and cruelty. Without the combination of both, you cannot be elected.”
"And Yossi Cohen - I don't know if he is doing it, because I don't know him - but he's built in such a way that his abilities to be charming are spoken of extensively, and in his abilities to be cruel, he overpowers all other candidates. And when he concludes his service - and if he doesn't have things that will get in his way, he'll be a very serious candidate," Tzur predicted.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday said it was committed to peace between the Palestinians and Israel based on the 2002 Arab peace plan.
The comment, made at a press conference in Berlin by the Kingdom’s foreign minister, comes after the UAE and Israel agreed last Thursday to normalize relations.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan also said the Kingdom considers “Israel’s unilateral policies of an annexation and building settlements as illegitimate and detrimental to the two states solution.” Once peace between the Palestinians and Israelis is achieved, “all things are possible,” Prince Faisal added.
Khalid al-Mishri, head of Libya’s High State Council (GNA government), has agreed to meet Aguila Saleh, speaker of the pro-Haftar Libyan parliament (HOR), in Morocco.
The meeting is part of Rabat’s efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis, al-Mishri said on Wednesday.
“There are efforts being made by Morocco under the supervision of King Mohammed VI to advance diplomatic efforts to solve the Libyan crisis,” he was quoted as saying by Moroccan news channel Medi1 TV.
“In this regard, we visited Morocco [in July], coinciding with the presence of Aguila Saleh in the kingdom. We said we are ready to meet with him in public, but on the condition of international guarantees and the presence of our Moroccan brothers.”
The top official said he was ready to meet all parties to the Libyan conflict on the same conditions.
On Morocco’s role in finding a solution to the Libyan crisis, al-Mishri said: “We trust the Moroccan leadership wants to reach a [just] solution and not secure the interests of one party at the expense of the other.”
Flashback 2019: Khalid al-Mishri was a leading figure in the Justice and Construction Party of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and one of the most prominent opponents of head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar.
In a video statement released Saturday, 26-1-2019, Mishri announced that he was leaving the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Association (MB). He said that he was resigning and withdrawing from the MB on national and ideological grounds and for the sake of conviction and transparency.
He said that this was because the organization had failed to implement the reforms it had agreed upon at its October 2015 conference. These included the decision to end MB activities within Libya in favour of working through NGOs.
On Tuesday, the head of oil-facilities guard linked to Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), Naji al-Maghrabi, announced the re-opening of Libya’s oil facilities.
He added that the ports can restart operations to dispose of stored fuel and gas to resolve electricity shortages in eastern Libya, confirming that the move should “ease the suffering of citizens in all walks of life, and safeguard the infrastructure at production and export sites as well as maintain the existing oil facilities.
The National Oil Corporation (NOC) last week warned of worsening blackouts in Libya’s east, where a seven-month blockade of oil and gas facilities has deprived electricity stations of fuel and caused power cuts that can last as long as 12 hours.
Haftar’s forces last month reiterated the closures will end only when there’s agreement to ensure fair distribution of oil revenues among all Libyans.
Libya, which holds Africa’s largest crude reserves, produced 1.2 million barrels a day last year, before the blockade was put in place. Since then, output has since plummeted to about 90,000 daily barrels.
Chairman of Presidential Council, Fayez Sarraj, has given orders for the Libyan army forces under the Government of National Accord to implement an immediate ceasefire and end all hostilities in Libya.
In his new initiative to end the Libyan crisis, Sarraj said the immediate ceasefire would mean demilitarizing the city of Sirte and Jufra region while police forces of both sides to the conflict set up the security arrangements to secure both areas.
“The final goal of the ceasefire is to restore full sovereignty over the Libyan soil and expel foreign forces and mercenaries,” Sarraj indicated.
He called for resumption of oil production and export through Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) while revenues go to a special bank account for NOC to be distributed fairly according to a political settlement based on Berlin Conference outcomes.>
Sarraj also called for presidential and parliamentary elections next March.
The head of the Libyan House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, called for the city of Sirte to be a temporary headquarters for the new Presidential Council, “which would bring together all Libyans and unite them.”
In a statement on Friday, Saleh called on “everyone to immediately cease fire and all combat operations throughout the country.”
He called for an official security police force from Libya’s various regions to secure Sirte, “in preparation for the unification of state institutions as a basic consensual stage of construction..."
“The ceasefire cuts the way to any foreign military interventions and ends with the expulsion of mercenaries and the dismantling of militias, in order to achieve the restoration of full national sovereignty,” Saleh added.
“The production and export of oil should resume and its revenues should be frozen in the account of the Libyan Foreign Bank, and should not be used until after reaching a political settlement..."
Stephanie Williams, on Friday welcomed points of agreement on a cease-fire and elections in Libya.
The UN official urged for the rapid implementation of the two leaders’ call for the resumption of oil production and exports. She also called on all parties to “rise to this historic occasion and shoulder their full responsibilities before the Libyan people.”
The Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, welcomed the statements issued by Government of National Accord’s (GNA) President of the Presidency Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, and Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, Ageela Saleh.. Saudi Arabia welcomed on Friday the declaration of a ceasefire... In a statement, it stressed that this solution should “prevent foreign meddling that jeopardizes the security of the neighboring Arab region.”
The Al-Samoud Brigade of the Tripoli-based Government of “National Accord” forces announced its rejection of the declaration of a ceasefire in Sirte, which was issued by the head of the Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj.
In a statement on Friday, the Al-Samoud Brigade stated that “Al-Sarraj is a weak man who is unable to lead the battle,” noting that the Misrata Brigades and units “are not concerned with a cease-fire and will continue to the military operations in Sirte.”
Al-Samoud Brigade is a militia from Misurata allied with Fayez al-Sarraj government (GNA) and led by Salah Badi, who is listed on US and UN sanctions lists.
The Libyan High Council of State (HCS) said in a statement made to the media Saturday rejects that it rejects any form of dialogue with the "war criminal and terrorist Khalifa Haftar".
Libya's High Council of State urged Egypt to work more actively with the Government of National Accord (GNA) to help it control the entire country, reiterating that any new agreements should be based on Morocco's Skhirat Agreement of December 2015. The Libyan High Council of State hailed as well the role of the countries which helped repel Haftar forces and mercenaries' aggression on Tripoli, especially Turkey and Qatar.
The HCS called for an end of the transitional phase in the country and for holding a constitution referendum, urging the rebuilding the state military institution and for reopening oil fields and ports, bringing all people behind the blockade to justice.
Since their defeat in the 2014 legislative elections, the Islamists have not stopped creating parallel bodies that first began by refusing to recognise the new parliament [HOR], questioned its legitimacy and pressed the Constitutional Court to issue a decision to dissolve it despite it being recognised by the international community.
The court’s decision prolonged the life of the National Congress and the Islamists jumped on the opportunity and formed a government parallel to the government appointed by the elected parliament. Then they forced the parliament [HOR] to flee to eastern Libya in what was then called Operation Dawn of Libya. The Skhirat Agreement of 2015 reintroduced the Islamists and their supporters back into the Libyan equation and maintained their presence in the General National Congress, which later turned into the High Council of State.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Government based in Eastern Libya, Abdulhadi Al-Hweij said that some people are calling for the ceasefire and yet, at the same time, are calling for the Government of National Accord (GNA) to dominate the entire Libyan land.
In a tweet on his social media account he said that such people “live in a state of obsession and schizophrenia...; we want brave people who only prioritize their country.”... Words must be accompanied by deeds or the deeds mean nothing.”
The media advisor to the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), Hamid al-Safi, said that “Sarraj’s statement is a mere whirlwind and we fear that he will not fulfil his promises. What worries the Libyan people and the public as a whole is that Sarraj is not free to take decisions.”
The spokesman of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Brigadier Ahmed Al-Mesmari, described the ceasefire declaration by Fayez Al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), as a “red herring” which aims to “mislead the public opinion and the international community”.
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