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)
An open letter signed by over 20 British Palestinians, including academics, journalists, businessmen, philanthropists, musicians and lawyers, expressed concern over the shrinking space in the Labour Party to discuss the Palestinian struggle.
They voiced concern over the Labour leadership’s decision to adopt the controversial IHRA definition of anti-Semitism without reference to the concerns regarding the threat it poses to the right of Palestinians and of party members to advocate for justice for the Palestinian people.
Kenneth Stern, one of the drafters of the definition, has warned of the dangers of weaponizing the IHRA code which conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel in 11 of the 13 examples cited in it...
“We believe that an internationalist Labour Party has a special responsibility to redress the ongoing injustices against the Palestinian people,” said the open letter noting that the indigenous people of the territory were “denied their right to self-determination during the British Mandate because of the role Britain played as a colonial power leading up to the 1948 Nakba, when Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes...
"Respect for Palestinian rights is not incompatible with the struggle against racism and antisemitism; in fact, it is integral to that struggle.”
Expressing their concerns over the conflation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, the letter added: “Zionism is a political ideology and movement that has led to our dispossession and that sustains a state that discriminates against us and denies us our collective rights whether as victims of military occupation, unequal citizens of the Israeli state or living in exile as refugees denied the right of return to our homeland.”
The signatories said they were “alarmed” by the way in which IHRA is being used across Labour councils, noting how the controversial code had been used to “limit the rights of Palestinians, and of others advocating on their behalf”.
"A holistic response to all crises"
Jordan King calls for rebuilding ‘a truly global,
inclusive system that leaves no one behind’ By Jordan Times, Sep 21, 2020
Jordan King Abdullah on Monday participated in the World Economic Forum’s Virtual Sustainable Development Impact Summit, held under the theme “Realising a Great Reset for Sustainable Development”.
The theme is in line with the concept of “re-globalisation”, which has been highlighted by King Abdullah, first in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post in April...
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
Your Excellencies, Dear Friends:
We must begin by rethinking our entire global system, to become more integrated, resilient, and just. A globalised world cannot thrive by leaving its most vulnerable communities behind. We are all in this together, and the sooner we realise it, the better.
Rebuilding our international system towards a more inclusive economic recovery starts from the ground up, through mutually beneficial, bilateral, trilateral, and regional partnerships that form a global safety net to alleviate poverty and unemployment, bolster food security, and safeguard our environment...
The climate crisis, poverty, hunger, unemployment, and social and economic inequalities have worsened after years of ineffective collective action. The way forward must be rooted in a re-globalisation that fortifies the building blocks of our international community, by enabling our countries to strike a balance between self-reliance and positive interdependence, enabling us all to jointly mount a holistic response to all crises facing our world — a response that strengthens our global economy, but also addresses inequalities; a response that leads to technological and industrial progress, but also ensures the sustainability of our shared environment.
So in your discussions today and in the days ahead, instead of looking at problems to solve, I urge you to look at opportunities to seize, and ways to collaborate, to rebuild a truly global, inclusive system that leaves no one behind."
The summit is being held on the sidelines of the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations, with the participation of heads of state and around 2,500 business and political leaders, representatives of civil society and international organisations, media professionals, and academics.
In 'The Systems View of Life', Fritjof Capra and biochemist Pier Luigi Luisi explore how modern biology, in trying to understand the self-organising, adaptive and creative aspects of life in all its forms, has by necessity turned to a holistic, systems view emphasising pattern and organisation.
The main point of the book isn’t merely that systems biology is fascinating. More importantly, Capra and Luisi argue that many of the most important problems we face today – from financial instability to climate change and ecological degradation – reflect our collective inability to appreciate just how the world operates as a holistic, networked system in which every part depends on every other. [...]
They bring back to life some of the foundational figures in systems science, now mostly forgotten. For example, I had heard of the Austrian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, who in the 1930s developed general ideas about the organising principles of living systems.
I had also heard the name Bogdanov, but had no idea that Alexander Bogdanov was a Russian polymath who developed similar ideas around the turn of the 20th century; his work is still largely unknown in the West.
Capra and Luisi argue that the 21st-century zeitgeist is changing from one of world-as-machine to world-as-network, a holistic system in precise interrelation rather than a collection of dissociated parts.
That sounds fine in theory, but how can we put it to use? This is the focus of the third and final broad section of the book: on sustaining the web of life. Here, Capra and Luisi make some fairly routine observations, for example, that our success will require a shift to more sustainable kinds of economic growth, and finding ways to organise our activities in a manner that doesn’t interfere with nature’s inherent ability to support life.
As in 'The Tao of Physics', there is some Eastern mysticism in this book, and rightly so. After all, those philosophies have always emphasised the deep dependence of everything human on nature and the environment, and have taught living with nature rather than trying to dominate it.
We should have been listening long ago. I hope that Capra and Luisi will manage to persuade many that we must start listening now – or face the consequences of our own ignorance.
Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. The term Holism was coined by J C Smuts in 'Holism and Evolution'. It was Smuts' opinion that Holism is a concept that represents all of the wholes in the universe, and it is a factor because the wholes it denotes are the real factors in the universe. The ultimate reality in the universe is neither matter nor spirit but wholes as defined in Holism and Evolution.
Holism in science, or holistic science, is an approach to research that emphasizes the study of complex systems. Systems are approached as coherent wholes whose component parts are best understood in context and in relation to one another and to the whole.
This practice is in contrast to a purely analytic tradition, sometimes called reductionism .
We learned this week that some Jews are upset by the fact that a considerable segment of the American people refuse to see the past exactly as they themselves see it.
The Jewish Forward reported over the weekend that “survey results on Holocaust knowledge in America are in, and the findings are terrifying. Not only do they show a shocking level of ignorance, but they reinforce findings about all adults, as well as trends throughout western Europe.” ...
It seems that despite intensive Holocaust indoctrination and the fact that Holocaust museums and monuments have mushroomed all over the USA, fewer Americans are interested in their Jewish neighbors’ historic suffering and the question is, what can be done about it...?
The Forward reports that two-thirds of young Americans didn’t know how many died in the Holocaust.
A woman lights a candle at the monument to victims of the Holodomor.
For some peculiar reason it is very important to most Jewish institutions that everyone parrots the ‘six figure.’ This is peculiar, as the notion of a genocide is within the realm of the categorical rather than the numerical.
But if these institutions insist upon reducing the holocaust into a materialist quantified figure I am inclined to ask how many Jews know the exact number of Ukranians who were starved to death in the Holodomor? How many Jews have even heard of the Holodomor?
Which Jews know about Stalin’s Jews as Israeli leading columnist Sever Phlocker identifies them. Do contemporary Jews know about the impact of the Yiddish Speaking Spanish International Brigade on Catholic Spain in 1936?
How many Iraqis died in the Neocon ‘war against terror’? I ask because Haaretz Writer Ari Shavit wrote in 2003 that “the war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish.”
The Forward is upset by the fact that nearly half of millennial Goyim couldn’t name a single death camp. In return I ask how many Jewish millennials know about Deir Yassin or can name a single Zionist massacre in Palestine in 1948 or before?
How many Jewish millennials know about the Sabra and Shatila massacre? Or the Kefar Qana Massacre? What do they know about the malnutrition in Gaza caused directly by years of blockade imposed by the Jewish State?
In a tweet late on Wednesday, Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) to prevent some of its armed groups from conducting rocket attacks and assassinations in Iraq, saying the country will otherwise shift into the unknown.
“What some armed groups affiliated with the Hashd al-Shaabi are doing is weakening Iraq, its people and country, and weakening these three aspects means strengthening the external forces, on top of the list is the great evil America,” Sadr tweeted.
“It is necessary to seek wisely and deliberately to end making Iraq an arena for the struggle of others and to strive together for the independence, sovereignty, peace, security of Iraq, or Iraq will be shifted away from our hands,” Sadr tweeted.
Sadr’s tweet came minutes after Iranian-backed Asahab al-Kahaf armed group claimed responsibility for a twin improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a convoy of Iraqi contractor company transporting equipment for the British troops, which are part of the US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) troops in Salahaddin province... Recent attacks on US and Western targets in Iraq are believed to have been conducted by the Iran-backed Islamic Front for Resistance inside Iraq (al-Muqawama), a group whose aim is to force US troops to withdraw from the country. Units of the group have claimed responsibility for similar previous attacks...
Iraqi President Barham Salih, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, and Speaker of the Iraqi parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi met late on Monday and also condemned the recent wave of attacks on convoys belonging to the US-led coalition and diplomatic missions.
According to the official website, “We are the soldiers of Islam, God willing, who have fought to defend Islam since 2003 when the arrogant invaded Iraq in order to achieve their destructive diabolical goals in Iraq and the region and our brothers confronted them in various stages and in various ways to thwart the goals of the enemy.” Ashab al-Kahf has accused the U.S. of “plunging Iraq” into a battle with ISIS “for tactical subversive goals and to embroil it in a war that made it impossible to refuse the return of American forces to Iraq.” As a result, according to Ashab al-Kahf, “the men of Islam (the youth of our project) gathered together from all of the respected Islamic resistance factions to reorganize their ranks under a new methodology and work in a more organized way to expel the occupiers… We gathered under the banner of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, Ashab al-Kahf.”
Flashpoint asked Ashab al-Kahf representatives if they had a particular message they wished to send to the U.S. government or the U.S. military regarding their ongoing presence in Iraq.
According to Ashab al-Kahf, “Our message to America and its allies is that we tell them we will resist your projects and plans until the last breath in this life, God willing.
Our message to Trump is: Thank you, Trump, because your folly in making decisions greatly contributes to heroic men going to the fronts and saved us a lot of trouble in persuading young believers of the need to resist and expel the occupiers.”
Ex-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has praised the rise of a new regional approach for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it was about time that Israel and the Arab countries work to normalise relations, instead of waiting for the Palestinian issue to be resolved first.
According to Blair, what’s needed now is for Israel, the US and their allies to “bring forward and persuade a generation of Palestinian politicians that the only way that you’re going to get a Palestinian state is through a genuine and deep understanding between people, between cultures, and not just a negotiation around territory.”
The former Prime Minister and Labour Party leader did not specify what steps the West would have to take to "bring forward" these new Palestinian leaders.
Existing leaders from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza have called the recent move by the UAE and Bahrain to establish relations with Israel as a “betrayal” of the Palestinian cause and a “treacherous" stab in the back. Blair, who was Britain’s Prime Minister between 1997 and 2007, and along with US President George W Bush instigated the 2003 invasion of Iraq to eliminate the nation’s (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, praised the signing of the Abraham Accords last week, calling the agreement “a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region in a way consistent with the only future for the Middle East which works.”
The right of the Palestinian people to have a state with [East]Jerusalem as its capital is not subject to bargain, the Algerian president said on Wednesday, Anadolu reports. Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s remarks came at a speech he delivered at the 75th UN General Assembly via video link. “The Palestinian cause remains a sacred cause for Algeria and its people,” Tebboune said.
He went on to express firm support for the Palestinian people and their “inalienable” right to establish their independent, sovereign state with [East]Jerusalem as its capital.
On Sept. 15, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel at the White House; ignoring the Palestinian rejection. Tebboune also stressed in his speech the need to accelerate a comprehensive UN reform to improve its performance and to ensure fair representation of the African continent in the Security Council in line with the Sirte Declaration. The African Union summit held in Sirte, Libya, in 2005 came out with the Sirte Declaration calling for a comprehensive UN reform and ensuring representation of the continent in the Security Council with two permanent and five non-permanent seats.
In 2000, I was Singapore's ambassador to the United Nations when the UN General Assembly unveiled its Millennium Development Goals. Kofi Annan was UN secretary-general. Bill Clinton was US president. It was a time of great hope. Everyone believed the UN represented the only vehicle for humanity to come together and cooperate... Few believe today that the UN still functions as a beacon of hope. This conventional wisdom of pessimism on the UN is wrong. If there is one global organization that has become indispensable for humanity, it is the UN....
Still, it faces challenges. The most powerful country, the United States, has become disillusioned with the UN. At the height of COVID-19, when humanity needed to cooperate to fight it, the US left the World Health Organization (after leaving UNESCO earlier). It has paralyzed the World Trade Organization.
Can we persuade the US to support the UN again? Yes, we can.
In 2003, then US President Bill Clinton gave a powerful speech at Yale University. He said that if the US was going to be the No 1 country forever, it could continue behaving unilaterally. Yet if the US could conceive of becoming No 2, it would be in the long-term national interest of the US to "create a world with rules, partnerships and habits of behavior" that the US would like to live in if and when it becomes No 2.
In my book The Great Convergence, I proposed a new formula of seven permanent members, seven semipermanent members and seven elected members. This 7-7-7 formula would bring in India, Brazil and an African state as permanent members...
Finally, the finances of the UN need to be fixed. The EU members believe in the UN, but they have been strangling the necessary funding for the UN because they believe they pay too much...
In his speeches this week, President Xi has announced generous voluntary contributions to key UN projects. It would be good for other Asian states to follow China's example in announcing their willingness to contribute more to the UN system. This could strengthen the UN and make it a beacon of hope once again....
"The key goal of the CCP is not to revive communism globally. It is to revive the world’s oldest civilization and make it again one of the world’s most respected civilizations.
This is the goal that energizes the Chinese people and explains the unusual vibrancy and vitality of Chinese society. Equally importantly, the Chinese civilization has historically been the most resilient civilization.
As Professor Wang Gungwu says, it is the only civilization to have been knocked four times over four thousand years. Each time it stood up again. There is no doubt that Chinese civilization is now a great renaissance..." Kishore Mahbubani. Why the Trump Administration Has Helped China. The National Interest 8.6.2020
If you have ever wondered why Syrian jihadists, or so-called ‘moderate opposition’, got support from the woke liberal West, a recent leak by Anonymous reveals it’s because Western governments funded this propaganda.
I began to realise the scope of Western ability to literally invent the most baseless lies only in the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003...
This all came flooding back to me when I received an email from Anonymous earlier this week and then read Ben Norton's excellent analysis of it all in The GrayZone:
" Western government-funded contractors trained and funded Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a massive cadre of journalists on the ground." The Grayzone (@TheGrayzoneNews) September 23, 2020
If anyone ever wondered how the hordes of head-chopping throat-cutting heart-eating gay-murdering women-hating ‘Jihadists’ of the Syrian War ever managed to get a fair press in a ‘woke’ liberal West that gets hot under the lace collar about JK Rowling novels, the answers are all in the Anonymous leak. The principle answer is that you, the taxpayer, paid for it...
Millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money was revealed to have been spent secretly on UK support for the throat-cutting coalition of chaos, which for a decade massacred its way across Syria wearing a snow-white Western beard of respectability.
Western government-funded intelligence cutouts
trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories
in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera By Ben Norton, GrayZone, 23-9-2020
Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it. The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.
US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4. More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.
Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.
These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition...
In addition to demonstrating the role these Western intelligence cutouts played in shaping media coverage, the documents shine light on the British government program to train and arm rebel groups in Syria.
Other materials show how London and Western governments worked together to build a new police force in opposition-controlled areas.
Many of these Western-backed opposition groups in Syria were extremist Salafi-jihadists. Some of the UK government contractors whose activities are exposed in these leaked documents were in effect supporting Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and its fanatical offshoots.... The Grayzone was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents. However, the contents tracked closely with reporting on Western destabilization and propaganda operations in Syria by this outlet and many others...
The files provide clear insight into how the Syrian opposition was cultivated by Western governments with imperial designs on Damascus, and was kept afloat with staggering sums of cash that flowed from the pockets of British taxpayers – often to the benefit of fanatical militiamen allied with Al Qaeda.
While Dutch prosecutors prepare war crimes charges against the Syrian government for fighting off the onslaught, the leaked files are a reminder of the leading role that Western states and their war-profiteering companies played in the carefully organized destruction of the country.
By the end of the eighth year of conflict in Syria, economic losses had exceeded an estimated $442 billion, according to a report issued by the National Agenda for the Future of Syria (NAFS) program of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Center for Syrian Studies at the University of St Andrews.
However huge, this number alone does not epitomize the suffering of a population among which 5.6 million people were registered as refugees and 6.4 million as internally displaced; 6.5 million were experiencing food insecurity, and 11.7 million were still in need of at least one form of humanitarian assistance.
The report, entitled “Syria at War: Eight Years on”, reveals that nearly 3 million children inside the country were out of school during the 2017-2018 academic year. The conflict has torn the social fabric and caused losses in human development, downgrading Syria’s status from medium human development to low human development.
The report shows that 82% of conflict-induced damage was accumulated in seven of the most capital-intensive sectors, namely housing, mining, security, transport, manufacturing, electricity, and health.
It estimates the value of physical capital destruction at $117.7 billion and the loss in gross domestic product (GDP) at $324.5 billion, thus placing the macroeconomic cost of conflict at about $442.2 billion.
The report also cites official data according to which, by the end of 2018, real GDP had lost 54% of its 2010 level.
As for trade, the report underlines that Syrian exports witnessed a collapse, from $8.7 billion in 2010 to $0.7 billion in 2018, resulting from disrupted production and trade chains. Infrastructure damage, the restrictive unilateral economic sanctions imposed by the United States of America and the European Union, and physical, financial, and human capital flight out of the country are among the contributing factors to this collapse.
Imports, however, did not witness a comparable fall, which has widened the trade deficit and generated increasing pressure on the value of the Syrian pound (SYP).
Syrian Foreign Minister: "Political agendas continue
to take precedence over humanitarian agendas" Sputnik News, 27-9-2020
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has called on all countries targeted with sanctions to unite and take joint political and economic action to resist the measures.
"Unilateral coercive measures imposed by some countries clearly violate international law. The humanitarian exemptions they repeatedly invoke do not exist on the ground. […] We call on all affected countries and those that reject such measures to close ranks against them and alleviate their impact on our peoples.
This should happen through cooperation, coordination and concrete political, economic and commercial means," Muallem said at the UN General Assembly.
He said that relevant UN Security Council resolutions still need to find their way from the archives to real implementation.
"Political agendas continue to take precedence over humanitarian agendas. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the world the unilateral coercive measures imposed on the Syrian people and other peoples are being renewed instead of lifted," Muallem said, adding that new restrictive measures are also being added, "under false pretexts."
The Syrian foreign minister stressed that deliveries of medical equipment to Syria are blocked and domestic efforts to fight terrorism in Syria are being obstructed.
"Oil fields are looted," Muallem said, adding that access to food, heating, gas, and electricity is blocked for Syrian people.
"The continued illegitimate presence of American and Turkish forces on Syrian soil meets all the legal conditions of an occupation. The Syrian Arab Republic will spare no effort to end this occupation by all means possible under international law..."
On September 28, 1970, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's charismatic pan-Arabist president, died from a heart attack in Cairo aged 52, sending shockwaves through the country and across the Arab world.
That evening, all radio and television stations suddenly interrupted their programs.
In a voice interspersed with crying, AFP wrote at the time, vice-president Anwar Sadat came on the air to address the nation and announce Nasser's death, at 6:15 pm local time.
"The United Arab Republic, the Arab nation and humanity at large have lost one of the most valued of men, one of the most sincere," he said.
Just a day before, Nasser had managed to get Jordan's King Hussein and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat to sign a ceasefire, ending a conflict known as "Black September".
The BASP worked for Arab Unity and took part in any unitary work that could lead to comprehensive Arab unity.
Therefore, it met with the July Revolution in Egypt and the United Arab Republic was established. It met with the Revolution in Iraq and the unity between the two countries was about to be achieved.
Moreover, the BASP had significant contributions in establishing the Arab Republics Unity: Syria, Egypt and Libya and, later, in the work to bring Sudan into this Federation. These unitary experiences did not last long and did not find their way to take any role in the Arab nation progress, due to the bad developments in the Arab region:
The civil war in Lebanon, the Iraqi-Iranian war, the continued Zionist aggression and its occupation of Palestine, the Golan and part of Lebanon, the US invasion of Iraq, the Zionist aggression on Lebanon and Gaza and finally the by proxy wars, waged by the Neo-Zionists and their tools, the terrorist groups and mercenaries in Syria and other Arab countries in order to overthrow the Arab regimes that resist the 'Zio-American project'. [..]
Let us work to build an Arab generation that respects science and seeks it, believes in intellectual dialogue and acceptance of the others, and continues the march of patriotic and national struggle in order to achieve the national objectives of our Arab nation. (Damascus 22/2/2017, Baath Arab Socialist Party)
Pragmatic and logical approach
Gamal Abdel Nasser was ahead of his times. The world powers constantly opposed his attempts to mainstream Egypt into the world while he was alive, but they may long for his forward-looking pragmatic and logical approach compared to the backward-looking Islamist extremism rife in the region today....
Nasser wrote a short personal book titled “Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution” about his ideas and dreams. First published in 1955, his book was all but ignored by the world.
DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.
"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth... Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else. Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea. If we had gone along with everything we heard we would have killed off all the people and torn down every idea, and there would have been nothing to do but sit down among the corpses and ruins...
"We were deluged with petitions and complaints . . . but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness."
Flashback 2001 - World should intervene
to end the Israeli Apartheid
by Hanan Ashrawi - 28 augustus 2001
"More than half a century ago [53 years], the Palestinians as a people were slated for national obliteration, cast outside the course of history, their identity denied, and their very human cultural and historical reality suppressed. We became victims of the myth of "a land without a people for people without a land" whereby the West sought to assuage its guilt over its horrendous anti-Semitism by the total victimization of a whole nation.
Zionism sought to implement its agenda of exclusivity by usurping not only the lands and rights of the Palestinians, but also by confiscating their utterance and distorting their historical narrative."
"As a Palestinian, as a woman, and on behalf of my people, I stand before you today to lay claim to my/to our humanity. From the non-existent Palestinians ("there is not such thing as Palestinians; they never existed" (Golda Meir, 1969) we have undergone a metamorphosis willfully inflicted upon us by Israeli-imposed diction and policies that have variously depicted us as "two-legged vermin," "cockroaches," "beasts walking on two legs," a people that have to be exterminated unless they are "resigned to live as slaves," "grasshoppers to be crushed," "crocodiles," and "vipers." [A comprehensive list with representative samples is available]
To the rest of the world, we were reduced to the Aristotelian dualism of pity and fear - the pitiful refugees, of the fearful "terrorists." Never were we perceived or addressed in the fullness of our humanity.
As the world watches, Israel has succeeded in evolving and imposing another grand deception in the form of an official spin that not only dehumanizes and demonizes the Palestinians, but also as an attempt at "blaming the victim" and resuscitating labels that represent us as subhuman species, and genetically violent "terrorists," hence
undeserving of any human treatment. Refusal to intervene by the US and the international community as a whole has given Israel a free hand to continue to act with impunity and immunity as a country above the law and beyond accountability, while the Palestinians continue to be deprived of protection of the law and the minimal imperatives of moral and human decency.
Sisters and brothers, I appeal to you today, to restore the absent Palestinians to the agenda of humanity, to validate our reality and rights, to recognize and alleviate the pain and suffering of this tortured nation... Despite our overwhelming pain, we have not surrendered to the forces of occupation, colonization, racism, and dehumanization-nor have we adopted their moral distortions. I ask you also not to succumb, but to maintain and enhance the struggle for dignity, equality, freedom, and justice as an act of collective affirmation on behalf of humanity as a whole.
The pro-Palestine Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement recorded yet another win on Tuesday after Columbia University voted in favour of boycotting Israeli companies complicit in violence against Palestinans.
The university’s student body voted 61% in favour of divesting from companies that are complicit with Israeli crimes against Palestinians. Some 27% of students rejected and 11% abstained, according to figures, JNS reported.
The referendum, which was passed last week, recommended the institution “divest its stocks, funds and endowment from companies that profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s acts towards Palestinians that, according to the student group Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.”
The move marks yet another victory for the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement.
The pro-Palestinian movement which comprises dozens of Palestinian civil society groups, was established in 2005 as a means to promote various boycotts against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law and provides basic human rights for Palestinians.
Tuesday’s BDS win comes amid ongoing outrage over Arab normalisation pacts with Israel.
The Palestinian movement issued a stinging statement against the normalisation deal between Bahrain, UAE and Israel, saying the Arab leaders are "selling out" the Palestinian people for their own money-making interests.
Playing Deus ex machina, President Emmanuel Macron came to distribute the good and bad points to the Lebanese leaders. Sure of his superiority, he said he was ashamed of the behavior of this political class.
But all this is just a bad play. Underhandedly, he is trying to destroy the Resistance and to transform the country into a tax haven.
Macron devoted one of his rare press conferences to the situation in Lebanon. He said: "Hezbollah cannot at the same time be an army at war with Israel, a militia unleashed against civilians in Syria and a respectable party in Lebanon. It must not believe that it is stronger than it is. It must show that it respects all the Lebanese. And in recent days, it has clearly shown the opposite...”
“There’s a question that needs to be asked to Hezbollah and ourselves. Is it really a political party or does it proceed just in a logic dictated by Iran, and its terrorist forces?” he added.
The Resistance was formed around Shiite families during the Israeli invasion (Operation "Peace in Galilee") in 1982.
After the victory, this network gradually entered politics under the name of Hezbollah. At the time of its creation, it was fascinated by the Iranian anti-imperialist revolution and backed by the Syrian army, as revealed by its secretary general in 2011, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. However, after the withdrawal of the Syrian peace force from Lebanon, it turned almost entirely to Iran.
It returned to Syria when it realized that a defeat of Damascus at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood would not only destroy Syria, but also Lebanon. During all these years, it acquired both a gigantic arsenal and combat experience, so that today it is the formost non-state army in the world...
Today, Hezbollah is not a state within the Lebanese state, but in many situations it is the state instead of chaos.
Faced with this hybrid phenomenon, Westerners have reacted in scattered order: the United States has classified it as "terrorist", while the Europeans have subtly distinguished, in 2013, its civilian side with whom they discuss its military side, which they also condemn as "terrorist".
President Macron’s repeated attacks against Hezbollah are precisely in line with my hypothesis: the ultimate goal of the West is to destroy the Resistance and transform Hezbollah into a party as corrupt as the others.
Indeed, according to Emmanuel Macron, the current Hezbollah is at the same time a "militia", a "terrorist organization" and a political party.
Yet, as we have seen, it is in reality both the first non-governmental army dedicated to the struggle against imperialism and a political party representing the Shiite community.
It has never been responsible for terrorist actions abroad. According to Macron, it has created "a climate of terror", inhibiting other political formations. However, Hezbollah has never used its gigantic arsenal against its Lebanese rivals....
The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, on Tuesday said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was lying about missile sites in Lebanon.
"A short while ago the enemy's prime minister spoke directly in a speech at the United Nations, saying things in order to incite the Lebanese people against Hezbollah, as usual," Mr Nasrallah said.
Mr Netanyahu used his address to the UN General Assembly debate on Tuesday to tell of an Iran-backed Hezbollah "missile factory" in a Beirut suburb. He said his country had identified a "secret arms depot" in an area of the Lebanese capital near the international airport.
Mr Netanyahu said the site in the neighbourhood of Janah, which is near a gas company and housing, could lead to another explosion like the one that devastated Beirut last month.
"I say to the people of Janah, you've got to act now," Mr Netanyahu said. "You've got to protest against this, because if this thing explodes it's another tragedy. "I say to the people of Lebanon, Israel means you no harm. But Iran does." "Iran and Hezbollah have deliberately put you and your families in grave danger...
A photo displayed by Mr Netanyahu during his speech, which purportedly showed the entrance to the site, was taken in Beirut, suggesting Israeli intelligence provided it.
The Iranian foreign ministry in a statement on Tuesday dismissed Saudi Arabia’s “fabricated” allegations of capturing a terrorist group with links to Iran.
“The recent allegations by the Saudi officials against the Islamic Republic of Iran are in line with the country’s invalid and repeated positions in the past few years,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
He added that the Saudi rulers who have put aside political rationality are using a worn-out scenario to divert the public opinion and put a cap on their failed measures in the region.
“Repeated, stereotype and cheap allegations of the Saudi rulers is no way to help Saudi Arabia to attain goals and we recommend Saudi Arabia to choose the path of honesty and wisdom instead of cheap and dictated scenarios,” Khatibzadeh said.
His remarks came after authorities in Saudi Arabia claimed that they had arrested 10 people and seized weapons and explosives. Riyadh claimed that three of those held had been trained to make explosives, while the other seven had ties to Iran.
The arrests were said to be made last week after a probe uncovered the suspects' identities and two hideouts; a house and a farm, according to a statement made by the Presidency of State Security, a Saudi intelligence body.
In a challenge to the current orthodoxy, the Israeli journal “Zion” has produced a special issue entitled “Antisemitism: Between Historical Concept and Public Discourse”.
In its lead article Jewish historian Prof David Engel argues that “antisemitism is an arbitrary, vague and flawed term used to refer to an overly broad array of historical, social and political phenomena from different eras and different places that aren’t necessarily all linked.”
At stake in this debate are some of the fundamental categories we use to describe major historical events. Do they obscure our understanding more than they enlighten us? Do they help or hinder our struggles together to oppose “race” hatred in the world today? (This article was originally published by Haaretz on Tue 29 Sep 2020).
Professor David Engel says he has avoided using the word “antisemitism” for 30 years in his articles or books.
The word has been banished from his professional lexicon, even when he is writing about the Holocaust. As frequently as the term is heard today in the media and politics, Engel manages to avoid the taboo word, even when referencing the past, when antisemitism was certainly more prevalent,
“Instead of resorting to using the term ‘antisemitism,’ I trained myself to aim for detailed depictions of specific incidents and figures,” Engel, a professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, writes in the latest issue of “Zion,” a quarterly journal of the Historical Society of Israel.
For example, he categorizes a quota on the number of Jews that could be accepted to a university as “legislation that discriminates against Jews”; he ascribes a blood libel to “fantastical imagery of Jews.”
“This division did not lead me to presume an essential connection between the two episodes,” he adds. “A presumption that arises, overtly or not, from their being bound together as manifestations of a general phenomenon called ‘antisemitism.’” Engel’s decision to shun the term bucks the consensus among many of his academic peers, though some do see it as courageous and groundbreaking...
The U.S. has sanctioned 13 entities and six people in an ongoing campaign to cut off revenue to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday the governor of the Central Bank of Syria was among those who were blacklisted, as were the head of the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate and a Syrian businessman who was allegedly linked to Assad's government.
The Treasury also said the sanctions freeze any U.S. assets the individuals and entities hold and generally prohibit Americans from conducting business with them. The individuals and entities were targeted, Treasury said, because they were "key enablers" of the Assad government.
"Those who continue to stand with the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad further enable its corruption and human rights abuses," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.
Assad launched a crackdown on protesters in 2011, leading to a civil war during which Iran and Russia supported Assad, while the U.S. backed the opposition.
Flashback 2011 - Jihad in the cause of Allah in Syria
Thousands of Islamists rallied in the Egyptian capital in support of calls by Sunni Muslim clerics for a holy war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The demonstration took place outside a Cairo mosque where Saudi preacher Mohammed al-Oreifi called in a sermon for a "jihad in the cause of Allah in Syria." Oreifi urged worshippers to "unite against their enemy."
Demonstrators, most of them bearded and wearing the traditional white galabiya, shouted "there is no God but Allah, and Bashar is his enemy."
People waved not only the Egyptian flag but also the one adopted by the Syrian opposition.
"Devotion to Jihad for the sake of Allah,
and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls
and to sever limbs, is undoubtedly
an honor for the believer." Sheikh Areifi, 11-3-2011
On Thursday, influential Sunni clerics from several Arab states called for a holy war against the "sectarian" regime in Syria.
They called the "flagrant aggression" of Iran and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah -- both Shiite -- and their "sectarian allies" in Syria "a declaration of war against Islam and Muslims."
Saudi Arabia's top cleric Abdulaziz al-Shaikh has urged governments to punish the "repulsive sectarian group" while Qatar-based Sunni cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called on Sunnis to join the rebels.
The US is ready and willing to help crisis-hit Lebanon, top officials have said, but in order to receive aid, Lebanon must implement UN resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701, which include Hizbullah's disarmament among their provisions.
Lebanon, which is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, is facing a dollar shortage, increasing inflation and the devaluation of its national currency, which has lost more than half of its value in recent months.
This economic turbulence was exacerbated by the August 4th Beirut port explosion, which caused huge financial losses.
On the brink of collapse, Lebanon is awaiting major financial aid. And the international community has expressed its readiness to assist Lebanon, on the condition that real reforms be achieved and Hizbullah's influence be curbed.
In early September, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Lebanese officials to undertake profound reforms and disarm Hizbullah.
"Recent developments have shown that Hizbullah is the main and serious obstacle to Lebanon's exit from its financial crises," political analyst Elias al-Zoghbi told Al-Mashareq. As long as Hezbollah holds sway over the Lebanese government, al-Zoghbi said, "the US will not provide any assistance to Lebanon and will not allow the international community to provide it with funding".
The US demands a government that excludes Hizbullah and will carry out reforms...
"The Axis of Resistance is an Iran-led alliance of state and non-state actors in the Middle East that seeks to confront Western interests in the region, namely those of the United States and Israel. Historically, this alliance has included the Assad regime in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah. (Marsa Sullivan)
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Tuesday firmly rejected accusations of betrayal by French President Emmanuel Macron, noting meanwhile that the Resistance party is still committed to the French initiative “but based on respect”.
In a televised speech via Al-Manar, Sayyed Nasrallah clarified fallacies made regarding the formation of the new government in Lebanon and Paris’ initiative regarding the current crisis.
He stressed, in this context, that Macron is welcome in Lebanon “as a friend and ally, not as a guardian of our country.” Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed, meanwhile, that excluding Hezbollah from taking part in the new government is “out of question”.
The United States is forging ahead in its policy against Syria, imposing new sanctions on military, security and economic officials, as it deepens its isolation of Damascus.
Russia, meanwhile, is standing at a crossroads with its choices, the last of which was beginning preparations to hold a conference on refugees in Damascus next month.
Meanwhile, the Russians have informed Europe that four factors have deepened the Syrian economic crisis: Nine years of war, the novel coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis in Lebanon and western sanctions. Moscow has waged a fierce campaign against western sanctions, while Washington and Europe have ignored the criticism and forged ahead with more punitive measures.
Through its sanctions, Washington is seeking to underscore the seriousness of its policy and deny the regime a military victory.
Separately, Moscow is preparing to hold a conference on Syrian refugees aimed at returning some 5.6 million displaced in neighboring countries back to their homes.
It wants the EU, UN and their agencies, and representatives from neighboring countries to take part. Washington, however, has urged several countries against attending.
Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, sat down for an interview with the Russian Zevzda TV channel on Friday to discuss a number of topics, including the Russian military’s presence in Syria.
During the interview, the Syrian President stressed the importance of the Russian military bases on the territory of his country, pointing out that their importance lies in ensuring security and stability in Syria and combating global terrorism.
“In Syria today we are dealing with international terrorism and Russia is helping us to achieve security and stability, but after the elimination of terrorism there is another role that Russia will play at the international level by urging the international community and different countries to implement international law.”
He pointed out that “there is an imbalance between the powers in the current system of international relations and Russia must restore the lost balance.”
The Syrian President noted that the Russian military presence plays a large and important role, not only in Syria, but in the whole world: “The Russian presence is to ensure security and make the world order more just and balanced.
Of course, if the West abandons its aggressive policy of using its military power to create problems in the world, Russia may not need such a policy as well, but the world today needs to the balance you mentioned,” the Syrian President said.
September marked the fifth anniversary of the Russian military’s intervention in the Syrian conflict.
Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, head of the opposition’s Future Party in Turkey, revealed details that provided information for the first time about Turkish officers’ opposition to supporting the Syrian opposition.
saudi based cleric al-arour, spiritual leader fsa, 2011
In an interview with the Turkey News channel, the Turkish politician talked about his country’s policy in the file of the Syrian crisis since its inception and how they dealt with it, noting that he made a “recommendation for military intervention in Syria” when he was working as foreign minister at that time.
In his interview, Davutoglu explained that the Turkish army leadership rejected the request and the Turkish army officers opposed the idea of Turkish military intervention in Syria, considering that the reason for their opposition was that they (the officers) belonged to the Gulen organization, which was controlling the army leadership, he said.
“If the Gulen organization had not controlled the leadership of the Turkish army, the reality in Syria today would be completely different from what it is now,” Davutoglu said.
“As Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, I tried within my power, but a decision like intervention in Syria is a decision at the state level..."
He continued: “If we had supported (the Free Army) as well as the United States supported the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, we would have been able to control Aleppo, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, we would not have reached this stage, and we would not have been talking about this issue now.”
From (L-R front row) Foreign Ministers of France Laurent Fabius, Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal, Britain William Hague, US John Kerry and Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu, (Back L-R) Egyptian deputy foreign minister Egypt Hamdi Sanad Loza, German State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office Emily Haber, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah and Italy's deputy foreign minister Lapo Pistelli.
The 'Friends of Syria' group insist President Bashar Assad has no role in the country’s future government, pushing for his resignation as a pre-condition for their participation in the Geneva-2 peace talks. Assad “has no role in a democratic Syria,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said after the meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria group in London...
Kerry observed that he knows no one “who believes that the opposition will ever consent to Bashar al-Assad being part of that government.” The American diplomat added that if the Syrian President thinks that “he is going to solve problems by running for re-election… this war will not end.”
High-level speakers, including Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Lindsey Graham, James Baker, William Cohen, Cindy Schwarzkopf, daughter of the late General Norman Schwarzkopf, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and Ambassador Khalid bin Salman, delivered stirring remarks commemorating the historic American and Saudi Arabian leaders of the past who further reinforced the foundations of the unshakable alliance between the two nations. Al-Arabiya, 23-3-2018
Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, slammed the Palestinian leadership for criticizing the decision of some Gulf states to normalize ties with Israel.
In an interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television aired on Monday, the prince labeled the Palestinian authorities' criticism a "transgression" and "reprehensible discourse".
"The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures, and the Israeli cause is unjust but its advocates have proven to be successful.
That sums up the events of the last 70 or 75 years," he said in the first of a three-part airing of the interview.
"There is something that successive Palestinian leadership historically share in common: they always bet on the losing side, and that comes at a price."
The United Arab Emirates agreed to a historic deal to normalize relations with Israel in August...
Palestinians fear the moves will weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position - known as the Arab Peace Initiative - that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab states.
President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership regarded the UAE's move as "a betrayal". Veteran Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi told Reuters the deal was "a complete sell-out".
Prince Bandar noted the decades-long support of successive Saudi kings to the Palestinian cause and said the Palestinian people should remember that the kingdom has always been there for them to offer help and advice.
Prince Bandar's daughter, Princess Reema, is the current Saudi ambassador to the United States.
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East.
In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. ... The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat.
They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations...
“It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger — Iran or Sunni radicals?,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me.
“The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”
In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved, a U.S. government consultant told me. * First, Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran. * Second, the Saudis would urge Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian party that has received support from Iran, to curtail its anti-Israeli aggression and to begin serious talks about sharing leadership with Fatah, the more secular Palestinian group. * The third component was that the Bush Administration would work directly with Sunni nations to counteract Shiite ascendance in the region. * Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. ...
There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has benefitted the Muslim Brotherhood...
A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement....”
Bandar bin Sultan (born 2 March 1949) is a member of the House of Saud and was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. Prince Bandar bin Sultan has been coordinating Saudi Arabia's policies towards the Syrian uprising since being appointed intelligence chief by King Abdullah.
Early Jewish settlers in Palestine “looted Arab property”, a new book by an Israeli historian has said, adding “authorities turned a blind eye”.
In what has been described as the “first-ever comprehensive study” by Israeli historian Adam Raz described “the extent to which Jews looted Arab property” during the Jewish gangs’ attack in 1948 on Palestinians and their homes, and explains why Ben-Gurion said “most of the Jews are thieves.”
Writing in Haaretz, Ofer Aderet’s review of Raz’s book was entitled: “Jewish soldiers and civilians looted Arab neighbors’ property en masse in ’48. The authorities turned a blind eye.”
Another senior writer at Haaretz, Gideon Levy, commented that the words “most of the Jews are thieves”, “wasn’t uttered by an antisemitic leader, a Jew hater or a neo-Nazi, but by the founder of the State of Israel, two months after it was founded.”
Levy said that the Israeli authorities “turned a blind eye and thus encouraged the looting, despite all the denunciations, the pretense and a few ridiculous trials.” The looting served a national purpose: to quickly complete the ethnic cleansing of most of the country of its Arabs, and to see to it that 700,000 refugees would never even imagine returning to their homes he explained. (Haaretz, 4-10-2020)
A new poll published by Channel 12 News on Tuesday night showed a dramatic strengthening of MK Natftali Bennett's Yamina party at the expense of Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud.
According to the poll, which was conducted by the Migdam Institute, if elections were held today the Likud would receive 26 Knesset seats. Yamina would become the second largest party with 23 seats. Shas would win nine seats, United Torah Judaism seven seats,Yisrael Beyteinu eight seats
The Yesh Atid-Telam party, led by Yair Lapid, would place third with 18 seats, while the Joint Arab List would receive 15 seats. Benny Gantz' party would receive nine seats and Meretz would receive five seats.
The slate’s showing would give the right wing-ultra-Orthodox bloc 65 seats – a clear majority. The center-left bloc is only projected to win 55 seats, and that is only if it were it to join with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, which has refused to join either bloc in the past year’s elections.
Yamina or Yemina is an Israeli political alliance of right-wing to far-right parties that was originally configured as the New Right and the Union of Right-Wing Parties (a union of The Jewish Home and Tkuma). Right Wing Principles:
Jewish Identity, Nationality, Unity of the land (the party opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state), Sovereignty (application of Israeli sovereignty to the territories of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley), Determination against resistance groups, Aliyah (the party shall promote Jewish immigration).
Oxford Dictionary defines “hypocrisy” as a “behavior that does not meet the moral standards or match the opinions that somebody claims to have.”
Transposed to the concrete issue of Palestine, the “moral standard” would be the universality of human rights and the “behavior” that does not meet said standard would be the denial of said universal human rights to Palestinians.
The latter is done not only by looking the other way when Israel tramples on said human rights but also by rationalizing Israel’s immoral and all to often illegal behavior through the prism of collective guilt regarding past crimes committed. >NR>
The lefty-liberal hypocrisy of considering oneself antiracist, but staunchly supporting Israel, a country founded on the ideology of Zionism, operates within the context of an albeit well-intended national Stockholm syndrome Germans like to call Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coping with the past)...
Due to Vergangenheitsbewältigung’s flawed premise which confuses historical Schuld (guilt) with Verantwortung (responsibility), Germans have subconsciously resolved to reconciling the paradox of being history’s eternal bad guy while witnessing the Jewish metamorphosis from victim in Europe to perpetrator in the Middle East by simply taking the easy way out: by either keeping one’s eyes, ears and mouth completely shut in all matters Palestinian, or when that doesn’t work and the issue does come up, always taking Israel’s side, come what may.... The A-word of apartheid in an Israeli context is considered more taboo in Germany than saying Voldemort’s name in the Harry Potter universe, the other one — antisemitism — is recklessly hurled at anyone who dares to criticize anti-Palestinian Israeli human rights violations...
Remember that German taboos regarding Israel go even further: the top-down collective guilt instilled for decades into the minds of the descendants of Hitler’s willing executioners has led to the aforementioned mantra of uneingeschränkte Solidarität for Israel. Anyone who goes against it commits sacrilege in the eyes of the powers that be and define in Germany.
Which is why even the German left — that is supposed to be on the side of the “good guys” — strictly adheres to this nonsensical doctrine, no matter how right-wing a government is in power in Israel.
Even Realpolitik has its boundaries, and the German left should ask itself whether it can in good conscience continue to call itself “left” while supporting and making excuses for the Israeli “right” and vilifying the proponents of unadulterated leftism (which includes antizionism, antiracism, antifascism, antimilitarism and anti-neoliberalism), as anti-Semites....
There is a way to defend oneself against the weaponization of antisemitism in which the majority of the German left is actively participating: namely ignoring it.
Israeli historian and dissident Ilan Pappe, speaking at an event in London last year organized by the media outlet Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and the advocacy group Europal Forum, revealed to the audience a coping technique for dealing with antisemitism smears that is ingenious in its simplicity: “If they call you antisemitic: let them. You know better.”
About Timo al-Farooq:
Ich bin freier Journalist aus Berlin, lebe in London und schreibe unter anderem für Nachrichtenportale wie RT und MiGAZIN, die britische Muslim Vibe und die amerikanische Mondoweiss. Meinen B.A. habe ich in Regionalstudien Asien/Afrika an der Berliner Humboldt-Universität absolviert, wo ich viel mit Postkolonialen Studien und Kritischer Theorie in Berührung kam.
Das hat mich zum Schreiben gegen die eurozentrischen Narrative der Herrschenden ermuntert, die auch im deutschen Mainstream-Journalismus leider an der Tagesordnung sind. Themen wie Politik und Macht, Unterdrückung und Rassismus sind stets omnipräsent gewesen in meinem Leben.
Question: Mr. President, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to have this interview at these days when we remember that five years ago the Russian assistance came to Syria.
So, after five years of the Russian military operation, nowadays can you say that the war in Syria now is over?
President Assad: No, definitely not. As long as you have terrorists occupying some areas of our country and committing different kinds of crimes and assassinations and other crimes, it’s not over, and I think their supervisors are keen to make it continue for a long time. That’s what we believe.
Question: What moment does symbolize for you a turning point during this conflict, during this war?
President Assad: It’s been now nearly ten years since the war started, so we have many turning points that I can mention, not only one.
The first is in 2013 when we started liberating many areas, especially the middle of Syria, from al-Nusra.
Then in 2014, it was in the other direction when ISIS appeared suddenly with American support and they occupied a very important part of Syria and Iraq at the same time; this is when the terrorists started occupying other areas, because ISIS was able to distract the Syrian Army from fulfilling its mission in liberating the western part of Syria.
Then the other turning point was when the Russians came to Syria in 2015 and we started liberating together many areas. In that stage, after the Russians came to Syria to support the Syrian Army, I’d say the turning point was to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo; this is where the liberation of other areas in Syria started from that point.
It was important because of the importance of Aleppo, and because it was the beginning of the liberation – the large-scale liberation, that continued later to Damascus, to the rest of Aleppo recently, and other areas in the eastern part of Syria and the southern part.
So, these are the main turning points. If you put them together, all of them are strategic and all of them changed the course of this war.
Question: In recent years, Turkey has been trying to maximize its international influence. We all see its presence in Libya, its intervention into Syria, territorial disputes with Greece, and the now open support to Azerbaijan. What do you think about that kind of behavior of Ankara and Erdogan personally, and should the international community pay more attention to this sort of neo-Othmanism.
President Assad: Let’s be blunt and clear; Erdogan has supported terrorists in Syria, and he’s been supporting terrorists in Libya, and he was the main instigator and initiator of the recent conflict that has been going on in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia. So, I would sum his behavior as dangerous....
The majority of the international community is complicit with Turkey in supporting the terrorists. So, they know what Turkey is doing, they are happy about what Turkey is doing, and Turkey is an arm for those countries in fulfilling their policies and dreams in this region. So, no, we cannot bet on the international community at all. You can bet on the international law, but it doesn’t exist because there’s no institution to implement the international law. So, we have to depend on ourselves in Syria and on the support of our friends.
Question: You definitely follow the presidential campaign in the United States. And do you hope that the new US President, regardless of the name of the winner, will review sanctions policies towards Syria?
President Assad: We don’t usually expect presidents in the American elections, we only expect CEOs; because you have a board, this board is made of the lobbies and the big corporates like banks and armaments and oil, etc. So, what you have is a CEO, and this CEO doesn’t have the right or the authority to review; he has to implement. And that’s what happened to Trump when he became president after the elections –
Journalist: He used to be CEO for many years before.
President Assad: Exactly! And he is a CEO anyway. He wanted to follow or pursue his own policy, and he was about to pay the price – you remember the impeachment issue. He had to swallow every word he said before the elections. So, that’s why I said you don’t expect a president, you only expect a CEO. If you want to talk about changing the policy, you have one board – the same board will not change its policy. The CEO will change but the board is still the same, so don’t expect anything.
Question: Who are this board? Who are these people?
President Assad: As I said, this board is made up of the lobbies, so they implement whatever they want, and they control the Congress and the others, and the media, etc. So, there’s an alliance between those different self-vested interest corporations in the US.
Question: Trump acknowledged recently that he intended to eliminate you personally, and that the Pentagon Chief Mattis persuaded him not to do so. Did you know about that at that time, and were some measures undertaken to prevent it?
President Assad: Assassination is American modus operandi, that’s what they do all the time, for decades, everywhere, in different areas in this world, this is not something new...
Nothing will deter the United States from committing these kinds of vicious actions or acts unless there’s an international balance where the United States cannot get away with its crimes. Otherwise, it’s going to continue these kinds of acts in different areas, and nothing would stop it.
Question : You say that the presence of the US and Turkish army in Syria is illegal. What will you do to stop it?
President Assad: It is an occupation and, in this situation, we have to do two things: the first is to eliminate the excuse that they’ve been using for this occupation, which is the terrorists – in this case ISIS. You have to eliminate the excuse, so, eliminating the terrorists in Syria is priority number one for us.
After that, if they, the Americans and the Turks, don’t leave, the natural thing that will happen is popular resistance... This is what happened in Iraq. What made the Americans withdraw in 2007? It was because of the popular resistance in Iraq.
Question: So, what do you think about the agreement between the US and the Syrian Kurds in terms of extracting oil? And will you undertake any measures against it?
President Assad: This is robbery, and the only way to stop this robbery is to liberate your land. If you don’t liberate it, no measure will stop them from doing this...
Question: Do you consider the possibility of negotiations with Israel in terms of, you know, stopping the hostile activities? And is it possible that in the future Syria will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, as several Arab countries did recently?
President Assad: Our position is very clear since the beginning of peace talks in the nineties, so nearly three decades ago, when we said peace for Syria is about rights. Our right is our land. We can only have normal relations with Israel when we have our land back. It’s very simple.
So, it is possible when Israel is ready, but we’ve never seen any official in the Israeli regime who is ready to move one step towards peace. So, theoretically yes, but practically, so far, the answer is no.
Question: So, this news from other Arab countries who have established recently, I thought probably can be an impetus for Syria and Israel to start negotiations, but as I understand there are no negotiations between your countries underway at the time.
President Assad: No, there is none, nothing at all.
Question: Some international players say that Iranian withdrawal from Syria is a precondition for economic restoration of the country and cooperation with the Syrian government, of the Western governments and probably the businesses. Will Syria agree with this condition, and will it ask Iran to withdraw, if ever?
President Assad: First of all, we don’t have Iranian troops and that’s very clear. They support Syria, they send their military experts, they work with our troops on the ground, they exist with the Syrian Army.. The Iranian issue is a pretext for occupying Syrian land and supporting terrorists. It’s used as a mask to cover their real intentions.
The only way for them to implement what they are saying is when Syria becomes a puppet state to the United States. That’s what they want, nothing else. Everything else they talk about is just lies, false flag allegations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said The Government of National Accord, led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, is the only legitimate structure in Libya that is recognized by the international community.
His remarks came in an interview with the Qatari English newspaper, The Peninsula while visiting Doha on Wednesday.
Erdogan said Turkey and Libya, which have the longest coastline in the Mediterranean, signed two memoranda of understanding concerning the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas and military cooperation.
"The registration of this memorandum by the UN proved that the step we took did not pose any problem in terms of international law and established practices." Erdogan added.
He also explained that in line with the legitimate GNA's request, the Turkish Armed Forces are carrying out training and support activities in Libya.
"The putschist Haftar has neither legitimacy nor international recognition. He is waging a dirty and bloody war with legionnaires and foreign militias against the legitimate government of Libya." Erdogan said about warlord Haftar.
Erdogan indicated that Haftar is also a mercenary, adding that through his uncompromising stance both in Moscow and at the Berlin Conference, he showed the entire world that he had no intention of reaching a ceasefire and a solution.
"The legitimacy will succeed in Libya, and the putschists will lose.", Erdogan added.
On Saturday, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s Foreign Minister, accused Turkey of playing a destructive role in many countries, saying that Ankara’s interference has led to a significant increase in tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The Caucasus war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region creates strange bedfellows and leaves sectarian considerations at the door. Though Azerbaijan is predominantly Shia, Christian Armenia is favoured by Iran, a third of whose population is of Azeri descent, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. But more unusual is the strange coupling of Turkey and Israel, which are hostile to one another both diplomatically and in terms of security.
Yet both states, dominated by their Sunni and Jewish communities respectively, support and arm Azerbaijan.
The war - which has seen the most intensified military clashes since the 1988-1994 conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan - broke out on 27 September.
During the current conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, in which 300 uniformed troops and civilians on both sides have been killed so far, Israel has increased its military assistance to Azerbaijan.
Searching for a new Muslim ally in the region, Israel found Azerbaijan. Particularly since 2010, the two countries have formed a strategic alliance, backed by the US, against their mutual foe Iran.
Mossad chiefs, senior military officers and cabinet ministers frequently visit Baku, and their Azeri counterparts reciprocate with meetings in Tel Aviv. Four years ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his way to Kazakhstan, stopped over for seven hours in Baku.
It was sufficient time for the Azeri president, Ilham Aliyev, an autocrat known for violating human rights and harshly suppressing any opposition, to reveal openly for the first time that Azerbaijan had purchased weapons from Israel to the tune of $5bn. Since then, the volume has increased and is estimated now to be at $7bn.
All Israel’s major military and security firms benefit from Azerbaijan’s eagerness to be armed to the teeth.
According to some reports, IAI, Elbit, Rafael and other smaller defence companies are selling Baku just about anything. This includes artillery, missiles, naval vessels, intelligence equipment and more... As usual with Israel when it comes to its security interests, there is no room for other considerations such as human rights, universal values and morality.
Turkey, which once had a zero-conflict policy with its neighbours, is currently in conflict with several of them: Syria, Russia, Iraq, Israel and Greece.
The beginning of the 21st century and the emergence of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Turkey’s strongman saw Ankara's gradual move away from its previous strategy.
Erdogan reduced Turkey’s relations with the West and strengthened ties to Qatar, the Hamas movement and Muslim Brotherhood branches across the region. Meanwhile, it is involved in civil wars and military or intelligence interventions in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
A meeting of the Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers - Sergey Lavrov, Jeyhun Bayramov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan - has started in Moscow, TASS reported from the scene on Friday.
The talks on Nagorno-Karabakh are taking place in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Reception House.
The Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers arrived in Moscow a few hours prior to the meeting. They had been invited for consultations on Nagorno-Karabakh by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.
Azerbaijan, Armenia agree on truce in Nagorno-Karabakh
by Associated Press|Daily Sabah, 10-10-2020
With Russia's mediation, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to a cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting at noon Saturday following two weeks of heavy fighting that marked the worst outbreak of hostilities in the separatist region in a quarter-century.
The countries' foreign ministers said in a statement that the truce is intended to exchange prisoners and recover the dead, adding that specific details will be agreed on later.
The announcement followed 10 hours of talks in Moscow sponsored by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who read the statement. It stipulated that the cease-fire should pave the way for talks on settling the conflict.
If the truce holds, it would mark a major diplomatic coup for Russia that has a security pact with Armenia but also cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan....
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif accused the United States on Thursday of “conspiring to starve a population,” after the superpower applied a host of new sanctions on Iran’s financial institutions.
US pressure campaign against Iran ‘example of state terrorism’: Envoy to UN (Press TV, 9-10-2020)
“Amid Covid19 pandemic, U.S. regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine,” tweeted Zarif.
“But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity. Culprits & enablers—who block our money—WILL face justice” The US Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it would be applying sanctions to 18 major Iranian banks, a move that many warn could have dire humanitarian consequences on Iran’s population.
"Our sanctions are directed at the regime and its corrupt officials that have used the wealth of the Iranian people to fuel a radical, revolutionary cause that has brought untold suffering across the Middle East and beyond," reads a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Our maximum economic pressure campaign will continue until Iran is willing to conclude a comprehensive negotiation that addresses the regime’s malign behavior,” added Pompeo in the statement. European allies have spoken against the US imposing sanctions on Iran, saying they cause unnecessary harm to ordinary Iranians.
They have particularly taken issue with the application of wide-spread sanctions on Iran’s financial sector, which puts European banks that do business with Iranian banks at risk of incurring financial penalties.
China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Geng Shuang rejected the baseless accusations made by the US representative against China on its arms control policy and COVID-19.
China opposes arms race, upholds multilateralism, implements its obligations under relevant arms control treaties and agreements, and supports dialogue and cooperation in the security area. China's positive contribution to international security and disarmament is widely recognized, he stressed. Geng listed ten reasons why the US is the greatest threat to global security.
* First, the US is obsessed with military build-up. The US ranks first in military expenditure. In 2019, it spent more than $700 billion on military expenditures, nearly 40% of the world's total, and more than the following 10 biggest spenders combined.
* Second, the US is returning to the Cold War mentality....
* Third, the US is pursuing unilateralism. It withdrew from the INF Treaty and the JCPOA, unsigned the ATT, and adopted a negative attitude towards the extension of the New START Treaty...
* Fourth, the US is seeking to free its hands from accountability. The US has been upgrading its nuclear arsenals and lowering the threshold for nuclear weapons use...
* Fifth, the US is engaging in political manipulation, following double standards on nuclear non-proliferation; it indiscriminately imposes unilateral sanctions by using central issues, such as the nuclear concerns in Iran and DPRK to push its geopolitical agenda.
* Sixth, the US is breaking the strategic balance. The US has deployed missile defense systems in the Asia-Pacific and Central and Eastern Europe and is planning to deploy land-based medium-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, aiming to strengthen the military presence and establish absolute dominance.
* Seventh, the US is impeding biological arms control. The US is now a "stumbling block" when it comes to biological arms control.
* Eighth, the US is delaying the destruction of chemical weapons.
* Ninth, the US is relaunching its star wars program. The US has created the Space Force, reestablished the Space Command, and sped up weapon tests and military drills in outer space.
* Tenth, the US is building a hacking empire. The US is engaged in massive cyber-attacks and surveillance worldwide through programs, such as PRISM, and developing its cyber warfare capacity in an attempt to dominate cyberspace.
The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) on Saturday urged Armenia to withdraw from occupied territories in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
In a statement, the Qatar-based group called for a lasting cease-fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia, along with serious and constructive dialogue to resolve the dispute while respecting each other’s territorial integrity. The union strongly condemned Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories and its aggression, stressing that injustice will always be overcome no matter how long it takes.
A humanitarian cease-fire for the exchange of prisoners and retrieval of bodies came into force at 12 p.m. local time (0800GMT) on Saturday.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh... Many world powers, including Russia, France and the US, have called for a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.
The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) is an organization of Muslim Islamic theologians headed by Ahmad al-Raysuni, described as the "supreme authority of the Muslim Brotherhood", founded in 2004, and headquartered in Qatar.
The Union was founded by Yusuf Al Qaradawi (ideological leader of the Muslim Brotherhood). According to Al Arabiya, “the union is financially supported by Qatar’s former Emir Sheikh Hamad Al Thani.”
Given Yusuf al-Qaradawi's support for suicide attacks, the IUMS was listed as a terrorist organization by various Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arabic Emirates and Bahrain.
UMS's leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi's, named "the theologian of terror" by Irish media, is also banned from entering multiple countries, including the US, UK and France, despite holding a Qatari diplomatic passport.
The group waivers between rejection of and support for Russian intervention in the Syrian war.
In early 2015, they called for a “rejection of Russian engagement in Syria” but after the appeal of about 40 Muslim scientists in Russia, the Union changed their minds.
The Russian Muslim scientists argued that the Union should not allow themselves to be “led by the nose by Western Globalization, and should first try to eliminate the threat of IS together with Russia.”
Russian members of the Union appealed to the International organization on the basis that “Russia has never helped create a tense situation in any Arab country.” After the Russian scientists threatened to leave the Union, the IUMS declared that, “the Russian Federation should be actively involved in the restoration of security and peace in Syria.
Nagorno-Karabakh has been an ethnically Armenian region for centuries.
After the Persian Empire ceded this part of the Caucasus to Russia in the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813, the first census ten years later identified Nagorno-Karabakh’s population as 91% Armenian.
The USSR’s decision to assign Nagorno-Karabakh to the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923, like its decision to assign Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954, was an administrative decision whose dangerous consequences only became clear when the U.S.S.R. began to disintegrate in the late 1980s. In 1991, Nagorno-Karabakh and the neighboring Armenian-majority Shahumian region, held an independence referendum and declared independence from Azerbaijan as the Republic of Artsakh, its historic Armenian name.
When the war ended in 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh and most of the territory around it were in Armenian hands, and hundreds of thousands of refugees had fled in both directions.
There have been clashes since 1994, but the present conflict is the most dangerous and deadly. Since 1992, diplomatic negotiations to resolve the conflict have been led by the “Minsk Group,” formed by the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) and led by the United States, Russia and France.
In 2007, the Minsk Group met with Armenian and Azerbaijani officials in Madrid and proposed a framework for a political solution, known as the Madrid Principles.
The Madrid Principles would return five of the twelve districts of Shahumyan province to Azerbaijan, while the five districts of Naborno-Karabakh and two districts between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia would vote in a referendum to decide their future, which both parties would commit to accept the results of. All refugees would have the right to return to their old homes.
Ironically, one of the most vocal opponents of the Madrid Principles is the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), a lobby group for the Armenian diaspora in the United States. It supports Armenian claims to the entire disputed territory and does not trust Azerbaijan to respect the results of a referendum. It also wants the de facto government of the Republic of Artsakh to be allowed to join international negotiations on its future, which is probably a good idea.
On the other side, the Azerbaijani government of President Ilham Aliyev has the full backing of Turkey for its demand that all Armenian forces must disarm or withdraw from the disputed region, which is still internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Turkey is reportedly paying jihadi mercenaries from Turkish-occupied northern Syria to go and fight for Azerbaijan, raising the specter of Sunni extremists exacerbating a conflict between Christian Armenians and mostly Shiite Muslim Azeris.
Azerbaijan launched its current offensive with the full backing of Turkey’s President Erdogan, who appears to be using it to demonstrate Turkey’s renewed power in the region and strengthen its position in conflicts and disputes over Syria, Libya, Cyprus, oil exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean and the region in general.
If that is the case, how long must this go on before Erdogan has made his point, and can Turkey control the violence it is unleashing, as it has so tragically failed to do in Syria?
Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar Monday discussed regional developments in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, highlighting that Baku's patience for Armenian occupation of its territory had run dry.
Akar explained that Armenia needed to stop attacks targeting civilian settlements in violation of the cease-fire agreement and leave the territories it illegally occupied, a statement by the Defense Ministry said.
The statement continued by noting that Akar had also highlighted that Baku would not wait for another 30 years for a solution... Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Monday that the Minsk Group, formed to mediate the conflict and led by France, Russia and the United States, was biased and that Turkey, which he described as a global power due to its involvement in Syria, Libya and other international conflicts, must be involved in the solution process.
"Turkey is also a member of the Minsk Group. Why shouldn't it be among the co-chairs? Even if many Western countries do not want to accept it, Turkey's word is big; it is fully independent," he said.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said his country will sit down at the negotiating table with Armenia if it leaves occupied Azerbaijani territories.
"If Armenia could be convinced to stop its occupation, then we would have peace talks soon. If not, then the Azerbaijani army will continue its victory march," Aliyev said in an interview on NTV Thursday.
He continued by saying that a solution to the conflict with Armenia is possible only if the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh is given back.
"The Azerbaijani army has inflicted a heavy blow to Armenian troops. Whatever (Armenian Prime Minister) Pashinian says is a lie," Aliyev said. Aliyev also said in a tweet yesterday that the Azerbaijani army liberated 6 more villages in Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Khojavend regions from Armenia’s occupation. Aliyev praised relations with Turkey and solidarity between the two countries.
"Turkey is a world power. Our cooperation will enhance even further in the upcoming days. It is a treasure to have an ally like Turkey, we are very pleased," he said.
The Iranian embassy in Baku blasted certain Azeri media outlets for releasing biased reports, and warned of attempts to distort good relations between Iran and Azerbaijan.
"In recent days the enemies of the Azerbaijan Republic and Iran have sought to achieve their sinister goals in order to disrupt cordial relations between the two countries", the embassy said in a statement.
The mission hereby declares that the recent rumors about the positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the conflict between Azerbaijan Republic and Armenia are sheer lies and baseles... The statement reiterated that Iran and Azerbaijan Republic are friendly and brotherly nations and that friendship and brotherhood will exist forever and no one can disrupt it.
Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee had on Tuesday called on the neighboring states of Azerbaijan and Armenia to take part in serious talks to resolve their differences of the Karabakh issue based on respect for international laws and territorial integrity.
“We call on our neighbors to participate in serious talks based on respect for international laws and territorial integrity,” Rabiyee told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.
Israel’s peace deals with Gulf states did not come as a surprise to many, especially not pro-democracy Palestinian activist Iyad El-Baghdadi.
“We knew they were going to try to rush through things before [US President Donald] Trump leaves the White House. Maybe the surprising part is how one-sided it seems,” he says. These deals could only be signed because the Gulf states are “dictatorships”.
"no longer much space for the Palestinian cause"
“This is going to be their post-Trump insurance policy, because they know they’re going to lose the United States (US) in one way or another. The White House is not going to be as receptive and this is part of the post Arab Spring reconfiguration of the region,” said El-Baghdadi.
The 43-year-old explains that, Bahrain’s new alliance with Israel may help it entrench its power and crush any resistance to authoritarianism or efforts towards democracy...
Human Rights Watch’s World Report for 2020 describes the human rights situation in Bahrain as “dire”, citing the banning of all independent media and opposition groups as well as the arbitrary revocation of citizenship, detention and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists and opposition leaders.
Earlier this week, the annual Arab Opinion Index (AOI) published by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies revealed that more than 85 per cent of its 28,000 respondents opposed diplomatic recognition of Israel. Only six per cent of those polled said that they would support such a move.
This, however, will not change the actions of Arab governments, El-Baghdadi says. “They don’t care…"
To those who once counted as allies, El-Baghdadi says, there’s no longer much space for the Palestinian cause, but it is not the end of the Palestinian people or the end of the Palestinian struggle. “There are still 15 million of us,” he adds.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said a Donald Trump victory in the upcoming presidential elections in the United States will be disastrous for his people – and the world at large.
Extensively documented, relying mostly on Zionist, British, and Israeli sources, 'Might over Right' makes a crucial contribution to the growing effort to challenge the simplistic and reductive accounts in media and scholarship in the West, one of the principal causes of the perpetuation of the conflict.
In comments made during a meeting with European legislators on Tuesday, Shtayyeh said the last four years of the Trump administration have greatly harmed the Palestinians.
“If we are going to live another four years with President Trump, God help us, God help you and God help the whole world,” the prime minister said, repeating comments he made a day earlier in a virtual address to the European Parliament. The comments were also posted on his Facebook page.
“If things are going to change in the United States, I think this will reflect itself directly on the Palestinian-Israeli relationship,” Shtayyeh said, referring to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden winning the November 3 polls. “And it will reflect itself also on the bilateral Palestinian-American relationship.”
Shtayyeh’s comments reflected a sense of desperation on the Palestinian side after a series of controversial moves by Washington, including the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017 and the subsequent relocation of the embassy there.
At the time, Palestinian leaders, who see occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, said the US was no longer an honest broker in negotiations.
Following that, the US closed down the Palestinian Liberation Organization mission offices in Washington in response to the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to enter into US-led talks with Israel.
Trump also cut off hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid to the Palestinians, and earlier this year issued a so-called “Middle East plan” that was outright rejected by the Palestinians as too favourable towards the US’s staunch ally, Israel.
The Trump administration has also said it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal, reversing decades of US policy – a move condemned by Palestinians and rights groups.
Some 70% of U.S. Jews said that Joe Biden, who is currently leading U.S. President Donald Trump by double digits in most national polls, is their preferred candidate ahead of the November 3 national vote, according to a new Pew Research poll released on Tuesday.
According to Pew, the Jewish vote is expected to reflect the results of the 2016 presidential elections, in which 71% of American Jews voted for Hillary Clinton as opposed to only 25% for Trump.
In 2012 elections, the Republican candidate Mitt Romney pulled over 30% of the Jewish vote as opposed to 69% won by Barack Obama.
The survey results are a blow to Jewish Republicans, who were optimistic that given Trump's pro-Israel stance, a larger chunk of the Jewish vote would have been swayed towards him.
The Pew poll also found that 35% of American Jews are happy with Trump's policies. Overall, Pew found that 52% of Americans overall prefer Biden while 42% prefer Trump.
A large majority of Jews, Hispanic Catholics, Black Protestants and non-religious voters support Joe Biden, while most white Christians, and especially the vast majority of evangelicals, support Trump.
Saudi Arabia and the US agree that Iran’s destabilizing behavior must be countered and deterred, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“The Iranian regime continues to provide financial and material support to terrorist groups, including in Yemen...,” said Prince Faisal bin Farhan after participating in the first US-Saudi Strategic Dialogue.
Iran’s development of its nuclear and ballistic missile program represents a danger to the region and the world, he added.
“Our strong partnership (with the US) is vital in confronting the forces of extremism and terrorism that threaten our security and prosperity,” Prince Faisal said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo participated in the dialogue, which aims to further strengthen US-Saudi ties.
At a joint press conference attended by Arab News, Mike Pompeo said Iran’s behavior “threatens Saudi Arabia’s security and disrupts global commerce,” and needs to be reined in.
Pompeo said: “Today we reaffirmed our mutual commitment to countering Iranian malign activity, and the threat it poses to regional security and prosperity, and the security of the American people as well. “Saudi Arabia has been a stabilizing force throughout the region,” the Secretary of State added.
Pompeo took the occasion to announce that the US is preparing to acquire a 26-hectare site for a new embassy in Riyadh.
The embassy, along with the recent opening of a new consulate in Jeddah and the ongoing construction of a new consulate in Dhahran, represents a US investment of over $1 billion, he said.
Iranian Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian and Qatari Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari in a video conference on Wednesday underlined the need to develop bilateral relations in different fields.
During the video conference today, the two sides reviewed expanding mutual cooperation between the two neighboring countries and also discussed regional developments. The two sides agreed to hold 7th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Commission of the two countries in Iran by the end of this year in 2020...
In a relevant development in mid-January, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a joint presser with visiting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Tehran, reassured the Arab country that the Islamic Republic will continue its support for the Persian Gulf state in the face of harsh measures undertaken by the Saudi-led bloc.
During the joint press conference with Sheikh Tamim, President Rouhani told reporters that despite restrictions imposed by some countries against Qatar, the Islamic Republic has stood and will continue to stand by the country.
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