Orwell 1984: bookreviews
* 1984 is possibly the definitive dystopian novel, set in a world beyond our imagining. A world where totalitarianism really is total.. 1984 is set in Oceania, which includes the United Kingdom, where the story is set...
1984 joins Winston as he sets about another day, where his job is to change history by changing old newspaper records to match with the new truth as decided by the Party.
* The most dreadful aspect of oceania was not scores of rocket bomb falling or the continuous war or the poverty or the mutability of past... What scared me most was impossibility of calling, what Orwell called, 2 + 2 = 4.
Syria, the Story Thus Far
Flashback: Kucinich: NATO Not Exempt From Law
Moscow warns NATO on itchy trigger finger in Syria
Terrorist bombings in Aleppo
Morsi grants Sadat & El-Shazli highest medal
'Like Mohamed, like Fatemah'
On 39th Anniversary of October Liberation War,|
Al-Assad visits the Martyr's Shrine
Breaking News Network, 6-10-2012
President Bashar al-Assad visited on Saturday the Martyr's Monument on Qassyoun Mountain, on the 39th anniversary of October Liberation War.
ChamPress/SANA 6-10-2012: "Syrians maintain faith in the army"
The successive victories which broke the alleged legend of the Israeli army during the October War proved that liberating all the occupied Arab lands was at hands, but the western countries hastened, as usual, to start negotiations to stop the fighting on one of the fronts, and so succeeded in stopping the battle on the Egyptian front.
Libya’s current political crisis could lead to disaster
"We came, we saw, he died..."|
Amidst the major challenges on the horizon, the General National Congress is delaying the installment of the new Mustafa Abushagur-led government...
The view from abroad and among the diplomatic community in Tripoli on Libya is overwhelmingly negative. Despite a storybook victory by the former rebels against the Qaddafi regime, one diplomat in Libya yesterday even used phrases like “failed state” or “Afghanistan” to describe Libya’s potential future.
Regionalism and political nepotism have seen certain GNC members demanding that each and every major town have its own cabinet minister, or that nephews and cousins of GNC members, without qualifications, be given ministerial portfolios. GNC members have publicly torn-up documents submitted to them by the prime minister-elect or cursed him with profanity on the floor of what ought to be a sacred temple of democracy, upset at their own individual candidates not being candidates.
After protesters from Zawiya (demanding a minister from their own town) stormed the GNC, Congress members last night called for immediate security and a state of emergency for the GNC grounds, forgetting perhaps that their priorities ought to be rather the immediate security of Libya’s cities and streets.
American drones and troops may soon be ordered to act unilaterally, in the absence of a strong executive in Libya and pressed by domestic US pressures to respond to the Benghazi attacks, challenging Libya’s sovereignty and putting the East in the same category as Pakistan’s ungovernable north-west – Wazirstan – where a host nation is seen to be unable to guarantee security, and thus foreign nations must secure it themselves. Needless to say, this would be a disaster.
The actions of the GNC bring to mind a quote from Boston loyalist Byles Mather in the era of the American Revolution hundreds of years ago: “Which is better – to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?”
Libya’s revolution is not over. It is not enough to remove a dictator. For the sake of future generations, a new, accountable authority must take its place. At present course, the future does not look bright.
What does this man in a suit and open-collared shirt want from me? That seems to be the question that Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, leader of the Libyan rebels, was asking himself the first time he sat across from the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy.
The surreal scene took place on March 5, 2011 in Benghazi, only hours before the Libyan National Transitional Council was officially constituted, and two weeks before French fighter jets began bombing Libyan tanks....
Next to Abdul-Jalil, the Frenchman looks as out of place as a well-dressed philosopher with long, wavy hair can look in a war zone. The Libyan looks skeptical. He has no idea who this man is.
"Mr. Abdul-Jalil," Lévy says solemnly, speaking French. "I am no politician. I am no man of action. I am merely a writer. But like you, I believe that it is better to act than to speak."
A man off-screen translates, while another man asks impatiently: "Do you have a letter from the international community?"
"Give me five minutes!" Lévy replies. Then he continues in English: "Since my arrival, I have recognized that we can provide you with three things," which he then proceeds to list: First, a no-fly zone, and second, the bombardment of the airports in Sabha and Sirt, and of then Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's bunker in Tripoli. Third, Lévy says, Gadhafi can no longer be accepted as Libya's representative internationally, which Abdul-Jalil and his Transitional Council will do in the future.
Abdul-Jalil listens motionlessly. Lévy is improvising the speech of his life. "Now, I have a friend -- in France," he says. "Who is Mr. Sarkozy. I'm not a partisan of Sarkozy, but we are friends. Personal friends. We will take the plane tomorrow, we are in Paris Monday morning and President Sarkozy will receive you and with all the others -- or your representatives -- at Palais de l'Élysée. This is the first step toward recognition. France will be the first country to officially receive the head of your council."
Roussel, the photographer who filmed the scene, still finds it spellbinding today. "That was the decisive moment when I realized that something unbelievable was happening in front of me. So I started filming." He laughs. "What a monumental bluff," he says. "He had to have a lot of guts to make such an offer without having spoken with Sarkozy first. I still remember what I said to Bernard afterwards: And what do we do now? He replied: That's easy. Now we call Sarkozy."
The president asked for some time to think about it. After two hours, he called back to announce that he would receive Abdul-Jalil in Paris. Things went very quickly after that. The Libyans came to the Elysée Palace, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé was furious because he was only told about the meeting afterwards. France recognized the Transitional Council as Libya's government and convinced the Americans and the British to follow suit.
On March 19, hardly 48 hours after the United Nations Security Council had adopted its resolution on Libya, French jets attacked Gadhafi's tanks. A philosopher in a white Dior shirt had led the West into war. ....
More than a year after Lévy's first visit to Benghazi, Libya still isn't a proper country. Levy refuses to allow pessimists to diminish his campaign. A year ago, when he was sitting with Abdul-Jalil, he didn't know how his bet would turn out, he says. "Today I am happy and worried, but mostly happy. I believe deeply that I was right. In fact, I don't have a shadow of a doubt that I was."
French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy said that “it is as a Jew“ that he “participated in the political adventure in Libya,” in the first National Convention organized by the Representative Council of Jewish Organizations of France (CRIF).
“I would not have done if I had not been Jewish,” said the philosopher, before an audience of nearly 900 people, meeting in Paris, adding: “I wore my flag in fidelity to my name and my loyalty to Zionism and Israel.“
Invited to speak on this subject, Bernard-Henri Levy, who published a book its action in Libya, explained the reasons which led to eight months ago to engage in the fight against the regime of Colonel Gaddafi, who was killed Oct. 20 last by the rebels near the NTC.
“I find it sometimes come to be proud to be French “ ”What I did during those few months, I’ve done for many reasons. First as French...“
“I did it for reasons even more important” , he said: “the belief in the universality of human rights (…). I am among those who have always been tempted to stand in support of victims.”
“There is another reason which little has been said, but on which I have yet many extended: that public, which has never let go is that I was Jewish..."
”I would not have done if I had not been Jewish,“ he said. “Like all Jews of the world, I was worried”
”What I have done all these months, I did as a Jew. And like all Jews of the world, I was worried . Despite the legitimate anxiety is an uprising to be welcomed with favor, we were dealing with one of the worst enemies of Israel. “ (RTL France 2012 - Translation: extremeprejudiceusa)
Even those pundits who seem to want to distance U.S. foreign policy from Tel Aviv’s demands and begin treating Israel like any other country sometimes feel compelled to make excuses and apologies before getting down to the nitty-gritty. The self-lacerating prologues generally describe how much the writer really has a lot of Jewish friends and how he or she thinks Israelis are great people and that Israel is a wonderful country before launching into what is usually a fairly mild critique.
Well, I don’t feel that way. I don’t like Israel very much. Whether or not I have Jewish friends does not define how I see Israel and is irrelevant to the argument.
The Israeli government is a rogue regime by most international standards, engaging as it does in torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and continued occupation of territories seized by its military. Worse still, it has successfully manipulated my country, the United States, and has done terrible damage both to our political system and to the American people, a crime that I just cannot forgive, condone, or explain away....
I have to admit that I don’t like what my own government is doing these days, but I like Israel even less and it is past time to do something about it. No more money, no more political support, no more tolerance of spying, and no more having to listen to demands for red lines to go to war. No more favorable press when the demented Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a cartoon at the U.N.
The United States government exists to serve the American people, no more, no less, and it is time that our elected representatives begin to remember that fact.
Dennis John Kucinich, a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives representing Ohio since 1997, has written an opinion piece that is so pointed in content that it invites major excerpts to be reprinted in whatever form.
Kucinich notes that 4,488 Americans were killed and more than 33,000 were injured in the US operations in Iraq since 2003. He acknowledges that as many as one million Iraqis were killed. “The monetary cost of the war to Iraq is incalculable. A sectarian civil war has ravaged Iraq for nearly a decade. Iraq has become home to Al Qaeda,” he writes under the headline “Iraq: Ten Years, a Million Lives, and Trillions of Dollars Later”.
“The war in Iraq was sold to Congress and the American people with easily disproved lies. We must learn from this dark period in American history to ensure that we do not repeat the same mistakes..."
Kucinich quotes then member of the senate Hillary Clinton as saying in October 2002: “I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people.… Intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear programme. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members.”...
“Thousands of Americans and perhaps a million Iraqis were sacrificed for those lies. ... This mindset puts us at the edge of war against Iran. Ten years and trillions of dollars later, the American people by and large still do not know the truth. It is time to usher in a new period of truth and reconciliation.”
Foreign policy record (Wikipedia info)
Kucinich has criticized the foreign policy of President Bush, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq and what he perceives as growing American hostility towards Iran. He has always voted against funding it. In 2005, he voted against the Iran Freedom and Support Act, calling it a "stepping stone to war". He also signed a letter of solidarity with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 2004.
Kucinich is also in favor of increased dialog with Iran in order to avoid a militaristic confrontation at all costs.
Kucinich and Ron Paul are the only two congressional representatives who voted against the Rothman-Kirk Resolution, which calls on the United Nations to charge Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the genocide convention of the United Nations Charter based on statements that he has made. Kucinich defended his vote by saying that Ahmadinejad's statements could be translated to mean that he wants a regime change in Israel, not death to its people and supporters, and that the resolution is an attempt to beat "the war drum to build support for a US attack on Iran."
On January 9, 2009, Kucinich was one of the dissenters in a 390-5 vote with 22 abstentions for a resolution recognizing Israel's "right to defend itself [against Hamas rocket attacks]" and reaffirming the U.S.'s support for Israel.
Kucinich was criticized for his visit to Syria and praise of the President Bashar al-Assad on Syria's national TV. He praised Syria for taking in Iraqi refugees. "What most people are not aware of is that Syria has taken in more than 1.5 million Iraqi refugees," Kucinich said. "The Syrian government has actually shown a lot of compassion in keeping its doors open, and being a host for so many refugees."
In March 2011, Kucinich criticized the Obama administration's decision to participate in the UN intervention in Libya without Congressional authorization.
Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, deserves special rights, which are due only to the final Prophet and Messenger. These rights have been enjoined upon us by Allah and are part of safeguarding the perfect religion of Islam. Unfortunately many Muslims today have become confused with regard to these rights and have innovated practices that have no basis in Islam. The Prophet himself knew that such practices would happen and warned against them, “Beware of newly invented matters (in religion that is) for every invented matter (in religion) is a cursed innovation which leads astray.”
A right of the Prophet Muhammad is to judge by him and be pleased with his judgement. Allah said, “If you quarrel over anything, then refer it back to Allah and the Messenger.” (4:58) Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to look in the Qur’an and the hadith of the Messenger of Allah when we have a question about something.
We must follow the laws that the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, brought and judge by them, and rule according to them...
We cannot put our own desires above the laws of Allah and that which the Messenger brought. To do so essentially, is to believe that we know better than Allah. Allah is our Creator and He knows us better than we know our ownselves.
Ruling by other than what Allah revealed is therefore tantamount to disbelief.
‘We should remind ourselves of the significant position of the Church of England in our nation’s life.The concept of our established Church is occasionally misunderstood and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country. It certainly provides an identity and spiritual dimension for its own many adherents. But also, gently and assuredly, the Church of England has created an environment for other faith communities and indeed people of no faith to live freely.' (mail online 16-2-2012)
DAMASCUS, (SANA)_Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, underlined the important role of media in enlightening society and educating people.
During his meeting on Sunday with the Russian media delegation currently visiting Syria to make documentaries on the events, Hassoun said that Syria is being targeted by a fierce campaign intended to sow sedition and undermine national unity in Syria to serve the interests of colonial countries. ...
He called upon Arab and foreign countries to stop backing the armed terrorist groups and interferences in the Syrian internal affairs.
During a similar meeting with the Russian media delegation, Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant Bishop Luca al-Khouri underlined the role of honest media in relaying the true image of what is happening in Syria, especially in light of the immoral media war which distorts facts and seeks to sow discord among countrymen. ...
He underscored the state of national unity, love, fraternity and respect among the various spectrums of the Syrian people, which has always been a role model in the region.
The Sheikh Hassoun was born in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in 1949. His father, allamah Muhammad Adeeb Hassoun was also a sheikh. He has five children and ten grandchildren. Hassoun studied at the University of Islamic Studies, where he graduated as Doctor in Shafi'i fiqh.Dr. Hassoun took office as Great Mufti of Syria in July 2005 after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro.
He is a frequent speaker in interreligious and intercultural events, and his pluralistic views on interfaith dialogue (between different religions or between different Islamic denominations) has sparked criticism from stricter visions of Islam.
Gulf states funding Syrian rebels
The Economist this week describes the intensifying suffering of 75 million Iranian citizens as a result of the sanctions regime being imposed on them by the US and its allies :
"Six years ago, when America and Europe were putting in place the first raft of measures to press Iran to come clean over its nuclear ambitions, the talk was of "smart" sanctions. The West, it was stressed, had no quarrel with the Iranian people—only with a regime that seemed bent on getting a nuclear bomb, or at least the capacity for making one. Yet, as sanctions have become increasingly punitive in the face of Iran's intransigence, it is ordinary Iranians who are paying the price.
That sanctions on Muslim countries cause mass human suffering is not only inevitable but part of their design. In 2006, the senior Israeli official Dov Weisglass infamously described the purpose of his nation's blockade on Gaza with this candid admission: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."
Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman justified the Iran sanctions regime this way: "Critics of sanctions argue that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that."
As usual, don't look for Democratic partisan to object to any of this. To the extent that they talk about the sanctions regime at all, it is typically to celebrate it: as proof of Barack Obama's "toughness" and his fealty to Israeli interests.
UPDATE: I have one other question: if "terrorism" means the use of violence aimed at civilians in order to induce political change from their government, what is it called when intense economic suffering is imposed on a civilian population in order to induce political change from their government? Can those two tactics be morally distinguished?See also: Wikipedia: Sanctions against Iran
As the mayhem in Syria shows, NATO does little but destabilise the countries that it threatens to intervene in. ...
NATO claimed to have proven the effectiveness of its interventions following the fall of Gaddafi in Libya. Writing in Foreign Affairs magazine earlier this year, the US permanent representative on the council of NATO, Ivo Daalder, wrote of how Libya had been ‘rightly described as a “model intervention”’.
Although NATO officials describe the intervention in Libya as a ‘victory’, that intervention has left Libya in a state bordering on civil war. The unresolved political tensions which permeated the rebellion in Libya, drawing in fighters from all classes, regions and religions, have manifested themselves violently since the fall of Gaddafi.
In the run-up to the first national elections earlier this year, the National Transition Council, the unelected transition government installed by the West after Gaddafi’s killing, banned political parties based on tribal or regional allegiances, many of which were calling for the nation to disband.
Indeed, Libya is still beset by regional violence from separatist movements who feel that the process of transition has left them worse off than they were under Gaddafi. The fractious and chaotic state in which Libya now finds itself is attributable to the intervention of NATO in the conflict.
NATO lent artificial cohesion to a rebellion movement which lacked any democratic mandate to lead, or any clear direction for how to lead, once the old regime had fallen. ...
While NATO was quick to claim Libya as a ‘victory’, the shadow of the ongoing sectarian violence is undoubtedly serving as a warning against intervention in the already fractious rebellion in Syria.
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Activities of the political forum organized by the coalition parties of the National Progressive Front (NPF) and national and progressive powers under the title of "Political Dialogue and National Reconciliation: Path to Restore Stability and Security" kicked off on Monday at the Damascus-based Dama Rose Hotel.
In a speech during the opening of the Forum, Secretary General of the Arab Socialist Union Party, Safwan Qudsi, said that Syria is facing a massive conspiracy, some parts of it international, others are regional and some are Arab, all of which seeking to cancel Syria and erase it from history...
In turn, Secretary General of the Socialist Unionists Party, Fayez Ismael, voiced his party's rejection of any foreign interference in Syria...
He said that most of those who are involved in the events don't know why they're fighting, and that part of them are outsiders fighting in a strange land.
For his part, Secretary General of al-Ahed (Pledge) National Party, Ghassan Abdelaziz Othman, said that the crimes, destruction and targeting of national economy that are witnessed in Syria have nothing to do with any legitimate demands...
Secretary General of the Democratic Socialist Unionist Party, Fadlallah Nassereddin, said that what is happening in the Arab world poses a threat to pan-Arab and national security, with the Arab-Israeli conflict being the most intense crisis and the one that threatens world security and peace due to the attempts by the US-led western forces to control the region in coordination of Israel.
Similarly, Secretary General of the Arab Democratic Union Party, Ghassan Ahmad Othman, said that Syria is being targeted, as it always has been, due to its progressive pan-Arabic stances and its role in the resistance in the Arab region, stressing the need to support the Syrian people's legitimate demands by transitioning into a pluralist, civil and democratic Syria.
Is it safe and legitimate for neighbors to support people against their own government?
And if we accept the principle, are we obliged to wait for the authorization of the United Nations, knowing that Russia and China would block it? Do we have better or safer options?
These questions are not facing Syria’s neighbors, alone. We, in the wider Arab world, are struggling with them every day. We have tried political pressure. We have tried economic pressure. We have even tried military pressure by supporting the Free Army, but it has not changed the mind of the Syrian regime...
Turkey is the only country now which has a legitimate cause to send its army across the border. The Syrians have activated their Kurdish allies... The Syrians have shot down Turkish airplanes and fired artillery on Turkish towns and military posts. This is a call for war, and NATO is obliged to support a member under attack, if it chooses to respond and take measures in self-defense...
Unless Syrians used chemical weapons, Turkey would certainly win any face-to-face battle. If Turkish forces coordinated well with the Free Army, they might also have the upper hand in urban warfare.
What if Arab armies were to join in or take over military operations? That would be much less threatening and provocative to Syria’s allies than a NATO involvement. It would even be more legitimate and easier on Russians...
So, should we invade Syria? I would say, yes...
The Gulf Cooperation Council was said to have been examining the growth of Brotherhood-aligned groups in the six member states over the last year.
GCC sources said the Brotherhood’s expansion in the Gulf region appeared to reflect U.S. encouragement of the Egyptian-based movement.
“Today the Americans are mobilizing the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab nation, for the benefit of America, not the Arabs,” Brig. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan, regarded as the security chief of the United Arab Emirates, said. Khalfan stressed that he was not speaking for the UAE....
GCC sources said the UAE as well as other GCC states were dismayed by U.S. support of the new Brotherhood-led regime in Egypt....
Qatar has been the only GCC state to have embraced the Brotherhood. The sources cited significant Qatari military aid to the rebels in Libya and Syria as well as a relatively free hand granted to a top Brotherhood cleric, Sheik Yusef Al Qaradawi.
“Qatar is just as concerned as the rest of the GCC of the Brotherhood,” the GCC source said. “But it is gambling that the Brotherhood could be coopted...”
Louay Safi, a Syrian-American Islamic leader who has been actively involved with groups close to the Obama White House appeared last August as the director of the political office of the newly-formed Syrian National Council (SNC).
Safi has been fairly influential in government circles. For several years, he was only one of two endorsing agents for the Pentagon’s Muslim military chaplain program.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies have complete control of the SNC--as testified to in multiple media reports, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.
From annihilation at home 30 years ago ... the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against Bashar Assad.
Careful not to undermine the council's disparate supporters, the Brotherhood has played down its growing influence within the Syrian National Council (SNC), whose public face is the secular Paris-based professor Bourhan Ghalioun.
“We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside. We don't want the regime to take advantage if an Islamist becomes the Syrian National Council's head,” former Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni told supporters in a video.
“We nominated Ghalioun as a front for national action. We are not moving now as Muslim Brotherhood but as part of a front that includes all currents,” said Bayanouni.
The SNC leadership traveled to Doha, Qatar (where Safi is now based), back in February to receive the blessing of Yusef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi (born 9 September 1926) is a controversial Egyptian Islamic theologian. He is best known for his programme, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat ("Shariah and Life"), broadcast on Al Jazeera. Some of al-Qaradawi's views have been controversial in the West: he was refused an entry visa to the United Kingdom in 2008, and barred from entering France in 2012.|
Al-Qaradawi has described Shi'ites as heretics ("mubtadi'oun"). Fellow member of International union of Muslim Scholars, Mohammad Salim Al-Awa criticized Qaradawi for promoting divisions among Muslims. In response, the Iranian Press Agency has described Qaradawi as "a spokesman for “international Freemasonry and rabbis". Qaradawi accused what he called "heretical" Shias of "invading" Sunni countries.
On 21 February 2011, he talked about the protests in Libya and issued a fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi:
On 10 June 2012, a new leader for Syrian National council was elected. Swedish based Abdulbaset Sida of the Kurdish minority will take over for three months after Burhan Ghalioun was forced away.
Plagued with internal conflict, the SNC on March 13, 2012 saw three prominent members resigning... Their reasons for resigning were that the SNC is corrupt, a liberal front for the Muslim Brotherhood and had not made significant progress in arming the rebels. One secular member of the SNC claimed that more than half of the council are Islamists. (Wikipedia)
The Muslim Brotherhood organization, founded in Egypt in 1928, is seen as a mentor for Islamist groups in the region.
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi, propelled to power by the Brotherhood, said during his election campaign and in speeches since he was elected there was no plan to "export the revolution".
Dubai's outspoken police chief Dhahi Khalfan said in March there was an "international plot" against Gulf states by the Muslim Brotherhood organization.
Syrians find themselves facing a momentous question: has their revolution lost the moral high ground as it turns away from peaceful protests to become an armed rebellion?
Over a year since the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was formed to represent the military wing of the revolution, prominent Syrian opposition figures have concluded that peaceful protests were – and should remain – the core of the revolution.
Syrian writer Yassin Al-Haj Salih who, in a 3 October article posted on al-joumhouryia, a website which chronicles the Syrian Revolution, warned that "the revolution is in jeopardy." Salih acknowledged that the armed resistance against the regime was one among several options. “We have ended up relying on the armed resistance to the exclusion of all other forms of resistance including the most important: peaceful protest.”
A series of recent events have shown the extent to which militarisation of the revolution is undermining the very cause for which it erupted. Several recent reports, in Saudi-financed outlets, have spoken about popular resentment and rejection of rebels in several Syrian towns and villages.
“People are fed up with the presence of armed men in our midst who sometimes use us as human shields and take over our houses and shops,” one local resident was quoted by the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper. Such resentment reveals the failure of rebels to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Syrians who perceive themselves as victims both of sides in the conflict.
The formation of the FSA was a clear indication that the revolution had changed. Such a move, as will be described later, has had grave consequences on the revolution and made it lose the popular backing of large segments of Syrian society...
Militarisation has also resulted in an influx of fighters from abroad, the majority of whom view the conflict in purely sectarian lens and some of whom have committed sectarian killings...
Thanks to Saudi and Qatari funding, the stream of so-called “mujahedeen” continues to flock into Syria. It would take a regional settlement involving Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for this to come to a halt.
Damascus, (SANA)_Foreign and Expatriates Ministry Spokesman, Jihad al-Makdissi said that the UN Secretary General's statement in Paris yesterday on the implementation of unilateral ceasefire by the Syrian side is incomplete and contained half of the truth.
The UN Secretary General proposed implementing unilateral ceasefire and, in the same session, the Syrian side informed him that the Syrian Arab Republic has already implemented this proposal twice.
The first time was during the work of the Arab Observers Mission headed by al-Dabi and the second one was on April 12th in the presence of the UN Observers Mission to Syria and in line with Mr. Kofi Annan's six-point plan.
In both times, the armed groups exploited the commitment of the Syrian government to expand their armed deployment in some areas and since then human losses among military and civilians doubled due to the terrorist operations carried out by these groups in violation of the truce...
Therefore we asked the Secretary General to send his envoys to the countries concerned, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey which fund, harbor, train and arm the armed groups to ensure these countries' commitment to refrain from such acts, since they have influence on the armed groups,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the Syrian Government to take the initiative in declaring an immediate unilateral ceasefire, and on the opposition to then accede to it...
“I have conveyed my strong message to the Syrian Government...,” he told a news conference in Paris, after holding talks with French President François Hollande.
“I am getting very positive support from the key countries... I urge the opposition forces to agree to this unilateral ceasefire, when and if the Syrian Government declares it.” ...
“At this time, I would urge again those countries who are providing arms to both sides should stop providing military equipment...Further militarization will put the Syrian people only in a more miserable situation. This is not an option. The only option available is political resolution through political dialogue, led by the Syrian people.”
SANA INFO: President of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar al-Assad
Place and Date of Birth: Damascus - Sept. 11th 1965
Social Status: Married to Mrs. Asma al-Assad, with three children: Two boys and a girl.
He studied in Damascus schools and got High School Certificate in 1982. He studied Medicine at Damascus University and graduated in 1988. He specialized in Ophthalmology at Tishreen Military Hospital before pursuing his studies in London until 1994.
Webster Griffin Tarpley (Press TV 17-8-2012): Assad was supposed to be brought down in July, I think July 18th...: terror attacks to decapitate the Syrian armed forces, the shipping in of thousands and thousands of new death squad members from many other countries, an attack on the currency, the television warfare in its entire campaign... That has now failed. The death squads are losing and the Syrian government is still there...
The US, the British, the French and indeed the Israelis are now apoplectic. That’s what you see with [French Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius. I would call attention to the language he decided when he says ‘the Syrian regime should be smashed fast and that Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this earth’. This is a language we haven’t heard in Europe since the fascist era....
Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people. He must leave power – the sooner the better. Until now, the actions taken to that end have come up against two obstacles. The first derives from the lack of consensus at the UN Security Council, because of the Russians and Chinese. The second is military: the Syrian army is powerful. No state is ready today to contemplate a ground operation. The risks of regional contagion would be dreadful, particularly in Lebanon.
In this context, France is adopting a three-pronged approach. Firstly, toughening sanctions, if possible at Security Council level. Secondly, we must work with Russia, who plays a decisive role. .. Finally, we must encourage the Syrian opposition to come together.
It has already been stated here that I visited Russia in 2009 at the President’s invitation. At the time, our country was just emerging from a period of religious and civil war, and we were entering a phase of reconstructing our national economy, normalising live in Iraq. At the time, we were already seriously considering prospects for developing cooperation with your country.
Today, we are pleased to remark on the significant progress that has been made in various areas – first and foremost, in areas of great importance to both sides such as oil, gas, investment cooperation, construction, transport, political processes, and bringing Iraqi positions closer to those of other countries in the region.
We also found common ground on some very sensitive and important issues that affect the fate of the region and the entire world, and came to the conclusion that our positions truly are very similar and even concurrent when it comes to the need to ensure reliable security and stability in this region. Besides, we reached common conclusion that it is imperative to do everything possible to promote the free, democratic development of the peoples in this region, using peaceful means and doing everything in our power to not allow provocation, to avoid external meddling in the region’s affairs, and to prevent various scenarios involving military solutions.
Furthermore, we agreed to avoid these types of scenarios when it comes to settling the Syrian crisis, without any kind of foreign meddling, and to support the mission of the new UN Secretary General and League of Arab States’ special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi. We will do everything we can to ensure the success of his mission, which should result in seeking and finding a peaceful solution to the domestic Syrian crisis that will fully satisfy entire Syrian people.
In Saudi Arabia there is no church, synagogue, Buddhist nor Hindu temple allowed. Wahhabism (pseudo Salafism) is not a religion of tolerance. Wahhabism provides the fundamental base for jihadism which causes unending strife and misery. ...
In Iran there are still Jews living there and praying in their synagogues. Muammar al-Gaddafi respected Christian and Jewish religions and their churches, synagogues in Libya... In Syria, Christians and their churches were safe before the Westerners began sending their Wahhabi fanatics to kill innocent Syrian civilians.
The Wahhabis, and the British, supported the warlord Ibn Saud and legitimized the Saudi dynasty and its struggle against the Uthman Khillafath of Turkey. Since then the House of Saud always supports Britain and its allies, including the US and Israel. ...
The Wahhabi-backed House of Saud took full control of the Hijaz, Mecca and Medina, in 1924 and established the modern state of Saudi Arabia, with Wahhabism as its official religion. ... Today, with Wahhabi control of the Holy Places intact, virtually every aspect and corner of modern Islam has been penetrated by Wahhabi influence through the agency of the House of Saud.
Throughout South Asia, including Sri Lanka for several centuries, the spiritual tradition of Sufism has been vigorously present. Across Pakistan, the religious tenor has been correspondingly radicalized: the tolerant, Sufi-minded Barelvi form of Islam is now overtaken by the rise of the more hardline and politicized Wahhabism. ...
The CIA introduced Wahhabism in Sri Lanka through Saudi Arabia as a means of countering the growing support for Iran and Sufism among the Sri Lankan Muslims since the CIA had calculated that Wahhabism would be an effective rival theology to prevent the spread of Iranian influence in Sri Lanka. ...
Saudi agents have successfully penetrated Sri Lankan Muslims social fabric and have managed to defeat the Sufism at their own game. ...
In 2008 Syrian singer Asalah Nassri expressed her worries to the media as she showed fear and scared to stand in front of the audience during the Aden artistic festival. Preachers considered the festival activities to be against the norms, religion and the conservative Yemeni society. Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen issued a statement in which it threatened to assassinate Nassri. In Yemen neither the Constitution nor other laws protect freedom of religion. The Constitution declares that Islam is the state religion, and that Shari'a (Islamic law) is the source of all legislation.
Wahhabis hated Muammar al-Gaddafi for the fact that he ruled Libya, with no quarter given to Wahhabi demands as the imposition of Sharia law or the banning of women's dress other than the abaya...
After Muammar al-Gaddafi was defeated and killed, Wahhabi Jihadists who took over Libya as a result of huge help from Nicholas Sarkozy and David Cameron have lost no time in imposing a Wahhabi version of Sharia law in Libya...
Seeing the success of such a pitch in Libya, Wahhabi jihadists against the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, have begun cultivating the Western media and public opinion, the way the Wahhabi Jihadists in Kashmir used to do in the 1990s. ...
Today in Syria, women can dress as they please. Were the Wahhabi jihadists to take control, this freedom might soon be replaced with the obligation to wear the full veil.Already in Egypt and in Tunisia, the secular ethos of the country is rapidly giving way to Wahhabism.
While Western countries are opposed to Wahhabi jihadism and Sharia law in their own countries, in the Arab countries they favor Wahhabi jihadism over those who are secular. The result is a galloping Wahhabism and its Sharia law across the Arab countries....
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are facing an acute predicament over the Syrian situation. Neither thought that the Syrian regime would have such a social base and political will to hang on; both are frustrated that any "regime change" in Syria is going to be a long haul fraught with uncertain consequences not only for the Syrian nation but also for the region as a whole and even for themselves...
A UN Security Council mandate for intervention is to be ruled out. Without a UN mandate, on the other hand, a Western intervention is unlikely, and in any case, the US remains disinterested while the European attitudes will be guided by their priorities over their economies, which, according to the latest Inernational Monetary Fund estimation, are sliding into a prolonged recession from which a near-term recovery seems highly improbable.
In short, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are holding a can of worms containing the Syrian rebel elements that are not only disparate but also could prove troublesome in future. As for Turkey, with or without a UN mandate, the popular opinion is overwhelmingly against an intervention in Syria.
The Turkish people remain far from convinced that their vital national interests are at stake in Syria. Besides, the Turkish economy is also slowing, and a deep recession in Europe can play havoc with Turkey’s economic fortunes.
RT: Turkey intercepted a Syrian civilian airliner on suspicions of carrying "non-civilian" Russian cargo. What were the indications of that?
Eric Draitser: Well, we’re hearing mixed reports, but the story goes that there was some kind of a leak – some kind of information tipped off the Turkish authorities that they should be investigating this plane, this civilian plane....
RT: Why is the Western media always in a rush to accuse Russia of supplying arms to the Syrian forces?
Eric Draitser: It is important to the Western narrative to portray Russia as a villain, to portray Putin as a dictator, as a tyrant, and that he is siding with the butcher, Assad.
The reality of course is far from that. Russia of course has strategic interests in Syria, but there is still a nagging question of international law and accepted norms of international relations, and I think this is precisely the point Putin and Lavrov have made repeatedly.
But here in the United States it is impossible to sell the public on a war against Syria or on a war against Iran unless you can demonize those forces, such as Russia, which stand in opposition.
The demonization of Russia in regards to the weapons sales is something that has been going on for months, going back to Secretary of State Clinton and her laughable accusations against the Russian government that they were instigating a civil war by simply delivering what has been already contracted to the Syrian government...
The European Union has been announced the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012. Amidst Europe’s as-yet-unsolved crippling economic backdrop, a heated debate emerged over the validity of the prize. The 27-nation organization was awarded the prizing for its historic role in "uniting the continent" and its contributions "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."
Russian human rights activists expressed surprise at the decision. Lev Ponomaryov, leader of the For Human Rights initiative said "the prize should be given to people who often put their lives at risk in the actual struggle for peace, not to agencies.”
|“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” (Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)|
One man introduced indefinite detention and expanded the deadly global drone war. Another was the architect of the deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indochina. What do they have in common? Both are Nobel Peace laureates.
Gandhi never got one. Al Gore did. In one of the stranger ironies befitting of both Kafka and Orwell, sometimes the makers of permanent war are awarded for bringing temporary peace. Sometimes they don’t even get that far.
With the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize set to be announced in Oslo, Norway on Friday, the shadow of Barack Obama still looms large. In 2009, the committee awarded the current US president "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Nominations for the award are due by February 1, meaning Obama had served as America's executive for less than two weeks when the Norwegian Nobel Committee selected him. Perhaps it was wishful thinking.
The prize’s history is replete with examples of questionable choices, to say the least.
Chief among them was the 1973 prize awarded to North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger. Tho rejected the prize, telling Kissinger that peace had not been restored in South Vietnam.
Kissinger for his part accepted the prize “with humility.” Before, during and after his acceptance of the prize, Kissinger would be implicated in assassination, war crimes and the slaughter of civilians in a large swath of countries: East Timor, Pakistan, Greece, Cyprus, Chile, Argentina, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
"For me, the whole essence of religion is at stake...In the [African colonies I had visited years ago] things were pretty hopeless and comfortless. We--the 'Christian' nations--send out the mere dregs of our society... If this wrong is in some measure to be atoned for, we must send out there men who will do good in the name of Jesus..." Albert Schweitzer
What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shake us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.
This hope and this will can have but one aim: to attain, through a change in spirit, that superior reason which will dissuade us from misusing the power at our disposal.
The first to have the courage to advance purely ethical arguments against war and to stress the necessity for reason governed by an ethical will was the great humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam in his Querela pacis (The Complaint of Peace) which appeared in 1517. In this book he depicts Peace on stage seeking an audience.
Erasmus found few adherents to his way of thinking. To expect the affirmation of an ethical necessity to point the way to peace was considered a utopian ideal. Kant shared this opinion.
In his essay on "Perpetual Peace", which appeared in 1795, and in other publications in which he touches upon the problem of peace, he states his belief that peace will come only with the increasing authority of an international code of law, in accordance with which an international court of arbitration would settle disputes between nations.
This authority, he maintains, should be based entirely on the increasing respect which in time, and for purely practical motives, men will hold for the law as such.
Lawyer Sobhi Saleh, Muslim Brotherhood figure and member of the Constituent Assembly in charge of drafting Egypt’s post-revolution constitution, said protests over the article of women rights were exaggerated and insisted the constitution gives women all their rights.
Several Egyptian women rights organizations have for the past few days been staging demonstrations in protest of article 36 of the constitution. According to the controversial article, “men and women are equal, so long as this equality does not violate Islamic laws.”
Women activists found the article manipulative and demanded the removal of the last bit. Adding Islamic laws, they argued, restricts women’s freedoms and is bound to jeopardize any rights they have acquired in the past.
Saleh viewed women’s fury at article 36 as unjustified and explained that the main aim of adding the second part was avoiding articles in international treaties that violate Islamic laws.
“Egypt had previously signed several international treaties that contain articles against Islamic laws like equality between men and women in inheritance, homosexual marriages, and prohibition of polygamy,” he told Al Arabiya.
If the last part of the sentence is not added, Saleh added, Egypt will therefore be obliged to allow practices that are against Islam and this, he said, is not acceptable.
Sharia is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest definition it is considered the infallible law of God—as opposed to the human interpretation of the laws (fiqh).
Where it has official status, sharia is interpreted by Islamic judges (qadis) with varying responsibilities for the religious leaders (imams). The reintroduction of sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements in Muslim countries, but attempts to impose sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare. (WIKIPEDIA info)
"Muslim Sharia Law is really nothing more than a variation of Old Testament Mosaic Law, suitably modified by various Pharisaical-type entities, in order to entrap, oppress, and enslave the people. St. Paul wrote very clearly about this to the Galatians … long, long ago.", from: Sharia law is a curse
In Chapter 1 of Galatians Paul expresses his astonishment that the churches in the region of Galatia have so quickly deserted the true gospel for a false Gospel. Then in the first part of Chapter 2 Paul flashes back to what is known as the Jerusalem Council..
Galatians 2:11-16: When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy...
When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
?We know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
At the Jerusalem council Paul won a battle for Spiritual Liberty.
Human nature is drawn to sin. It seems every one of us are prone to legalism and bondage.
The battle for liberty must be repeated. There was a first century struggle found in the New Testament for spiritual liberty. Legalism is an ongoing issue and we must be aware. It is as relevant today as at any time.
How do we detect legalism? When you see Christianity reduced to a list of do’s and don’ts. Legalists are rule orientated, inflexible and judgmental. They will focus on the insignificant. Paul described them in Galatians 2:4 “they sneak in to enslave.”
We read that Peter came to Antioch and Paul opposed him (Vs. 11)... Legalistic hypocrisy had captured him. Peter was concerned about what the legalists would think of him... Peter was now thinking of his reputation. Legalists can be very intimidating. They will talk about you if you do not conform.
In some ways I think this is Peter’s worst mistake ever. It may be even worse than when he denied Christ... People do not want to go to a church where they go and meet legalism. We don’t want legalism, we want liberty.
In his book Grace Awakening, Chuck Swindoll has a chapter called 'Squaring off Against Legalism'. He says, “One of the most serious problems facing the church is legalism. One of the most serious problems facing the church in Paul’s day was legalism. In every day it’s the same. Legalism wrenches the joy from the (Christian) believer and with his joy goes his power. Nothing is left but cramp, somber dull listless profession. The truth is betrayed and the glorious name of the Lord becomes a synonym for a glooming kill-joy. The believer under the law is a miserable parody of the real thing.” (Grace Awakening p 76)
What can we do? We must emphasize relationship over rules... Legalism asks what is the rule here? It behaves like a court of law that seeks what has been done before. The Liberator asks what is the situation here. How can we do what’s best. He takes into consideration that we are dealing with human beings.
The US State Department on Friday accused Russia of a “morally bankrupt” policy in Syria, two days after Turkey intercepted a Syrian passenger jet headed from Moscow to Damascus over suspicions it had military equipment on board.
"No responsible country ought to be aiding and abetting the war machine of the Assad regime and particularly those with responsibilities for global peace and security as UN Security Council members have," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
Nuland said the US had “grave concern” that Russia is continuing to supply Syrian government forces with material that could be used against rebels struggling to topple President Bashar Assad’s regime. "We have no doubt that this was serious military equipment," Nuland said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the plane was legally carrying Russian radar parts for Syria. "We have no secrets," Lavrov told journalists in Moscow. "There were, of course, no weapons on board and there could not have been." He insisted the shipment contained “electronic equipment for radars” that complied with international law, adding that it was of “dual purpose” that could have civilian and military applications.
Nuland said the shipment was “legally correct,” but she added “the policy is still morally bankrupt.”
Victoria Nuland was named Department Spokesperson in June 2011. From February 2010 – June 2011, she was Special Envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. She previously served on the faculty of the National War College (2008-2009).
Victoria Nuland was the 18th United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from 2005-2008. As NATO Ambassador, she focused heavily on strengthening Allied support for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, on NATO-Russia issues, and on the Alliance’s global partnerships and continued enlargement.
A career Foreign Service Officer, Ambassador Nuland was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President from 2003-2005.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I think we are still in the final stages of diplomacy, obviously. ... We have done virtually everything we can with respect to trying to organize a second resolution in the U.N. Security Council. And, clearly, the president is going to have to make a very, very difficult and important decision here in the next few days.
MR. RUSSERT: What could Saddam Hussein do to stop war?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, the difficulty here is it’s—he’s clearly rejected, up till now, all efforts, time after time after time. And we have had 12 years and some 17 resolutions now. Each step along the way he had the opportunity to do what he was called upon to do by the U.N. Security Council. Each time he has rejected it. I’m not sure now, no matter what he said, that anyone would believe him. We have, Tim, been down this effort now for six months at the U.N. with the enactment of 1441. We asked for a declaration of all of his WMD come clean. He refused to do that...
He’s always had the option of coming clean, of complying with the resolution, of giving up all of his weapons of mass destruction, of making his scientists available without fear of retribution, turning over the anthrax, and the VX nerve agent, and the sarin, and of the other capabilities he has developed, and he has consistently refused. And if he were to sit here today and say, “OK, now I’ll do it,” I’m not sure anybody would think that had credibility.
MR. RUSSERT: If he did come forward and say, you know, “The British laid out six benchmarks. I have decided to turn a new leaf. Here’s the VX, here’s the mustard gas, here’s the anthrax, here’s all the records. I will go on television, denounce weapons of mass destruction, you can take any scientists you want out of Iraq, all I ask is that I can stay here in power.”
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I think that would be the fear here, that even if he were tomorrow to give everything up, if he stays in power, we have to assume that as soon as the world is looking the other way and preoccupied with other issues, he will be back again rebuilding his BW and CW capabilities, and once again reconstituting his nuclear program. He has pursued nuclear weapons for over 20 years. Done absolutely everything he could to try to acquire that capability and if he were to cough up whatever he has in that regard now, even if it was complete and total, we have to assume tomorrow he would be right back in business again.
MR. RUSSERT: So bottom line, he would have to disarm completely and leave the country?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I think that would be the only acceptable outcome I can think of at this point..
Islamists of all shades have risen to positions of power in Egypt since the president, Hosni Mubarak, was toppled last year.
The Muslim Brotherhood provided the nation with its first freely elected president, while its political party secured more parliamentary seats than any other party. As the Brotherhood seeks to project an image of moderation and flexibility, the ultraconservative Salafis are tirelessly advocating a strict implementation of Sharia that could reduce Christians to the status of second-class citizens by barring them from certain jobs or forcing them to pay a special tax historically known as "jizyah".
The uproar over the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, made by a US-based Egyptian Christian, has deepened the predicament of Christians in Egypt. In Egypt, the uproar led to the revival of calls for a global law that bans insults against religion, something that the West is unlikely to consider.
The protests have also prompted Islamists to resort to legal channels against Christians, using a vaguely defined charge of "contempt for religion" to bring them before the courts. Anyone convicted of showing contempt for religion can face up to five years in jail.
Mr Morsi appears to have nothing new to offer Muslim-Christian harmony... His Cabinet includes a single Christian, a woman, and his only Christian adviser has quit the panel tasked with drafting a new constitution in protest over Islamist domination of the process.
"If Article 4 of the draft constitution gives Al-Azhar control over the interpretation of Islamic texts within the context of legislation, then that would simply mean that an elected parliament is undermined as the legislative body," said Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Morayef also expressed deep concern over the rights of women if draft Article 36 is adopted. Addressing women’s rights, Article 36 of the draft charter includes an unprecedented reference to the 'rules of Islamic Law' – unprecedented given the lack of consensus among Muslim scholars over these rules...
Throughout the entire draft there is only one reference to the 'principles of Sharia,' a more consensual body of guidelines. Article 2 of this draft adopts the same line as the previous 1971 constitution, stipulating that "Islamic Sharia is the main source of legislation."
In previous constitutions, this article had made Islamic Sharia "a main" and not "the main" source of legislation, until late president Anwar Sadat decided to have it amended to bolster his image as "a Muslim president for a Muslim state."
Morayef says it may be unrealistic to have the whole article re-written. But, like other rights activists, she is hoping that the reference to "the rules of Sharia" will be replaced with "the principles of Sharia".
Morayef is also concerned over the rights of minorities due to the text of two draft articles related to the freedom of belief that would deprive the latter of their right to worship freely.
Article 9 of the draft constitution, which was referred to in HRW's letter to the drafting committee, reads in part: “The divine being is protected and any criticism thereof is prohibited, as are [criticisms of] the prophets of God and all of his messengers, the mothers of the faithful and the rightly-guided caliphs."
Morayef shares the concerns of some Coptic-Christian rights groups about the possible "abuse" of the reference to the "divine being of God," in light of notable differences regarding this qualification in the Muslim and Coptic creeds.
The proposed amendments to Article 2 of the constitution – giving Al-Azhar the final say in defining Islamic Law (Sharia) – is of critical importance, not only because it limits Islamic knowledge to Al-Azhar, but also because it transfers the debate over the institution of Al-Azhar to the issue of identity.
Assigning an institution with the task of interpreting Sharia is unusual in Islam, where, traditionally, knowledge was not seen to be associated with any specific institution or religious hierarchy.
Amending Article 2 of the Constitution to the proposed text is a threat to Al-Azhar’s academic and cultural identity...
In order to make the doctrinal ambitions of the Islamists successful, their only option is to take control of Al-Azhar.
Joseph Caiaphas, high priest of the temple in Jerusalem from 18 to 37 A.D., played a key role in the trial and execution of Jesus Christ. Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death under Jewish law.
The high priest served as the Jewish people's representative to God. Caiaphas was in charge of the temple treasury, controlled the temple police and lower ranking priests and attendants, and ruled over the Sanhedrin.
Caiaphas led the Jewish people in their worship of God. He performed his religious duties in strict obedience to Mosaic law.
John 11:49-53: Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."
Matthew 26:65-66: Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" "He is worthy of death," they answered. (NIV)
MENZEL BOUZELFA: Houcine looks around nervously before entering the tomb in the village of Menzel Bouzelfa, one of the Sufi shrines that have become targets for Tunisia’s increasingly assertive Salafists.
On September 14, hundreds of radical Islamists angered by a US-made film mocking their religion attacked the US embassy in Tunis and a neighboring American school...
On the same day, away from the media spotlight, a smaller group of Salafists invaded the Sufi lodge in the nearby Cap Bon peninsula, shouting threats and tearing artefacts from the walls. “They removed the pictures on the walls, the verses from the Quran. I fled because they said to me, ‘That one, we will kill him,’” recalls Houcine, the guardian of the tomb of Abdelkader Jilani...
Since the early centuries of Islam, Sufi orders have always aroused suspicion among orthodox Muslims. And while ultra-orthodox Salafists strongly denied being behind the attack, they admitted to blocking access to what they call a place of “archaic” and “blasphemous” beliefs, where people bow down before a saint and not before God.
The Sufis, in their view, are completely misguided, practising magic, using holy water that is contaminated by drains and committing “lecherous” acts. “I swear to you in the name of God that I have witnessed scenes of nudity, of vice, of lechery!” insists Imed Ayari, the imam of the adjoining mosque. “If people come here… I tell them to go to the mosque,” adds Ayari, who has put up a large banner advising Muslims not to pray in the tomb.
Maurice Bejart :"Rumi"- musique Kudsi Erguner |
To educate yourself by force of the faith in Allah, and his message as well as the tradition of the prophet. To be always with the creator.
How do you see the modern world today with all the antagonisms on religious, economic and political grounds?
When I observe the history, I think that human being has always created a chaos and tried very hypocritically to justify it by religions, by justice, by civilisation values. The chaotic situation nowadays is simply the proof that human being didn’t make any evolution after all terrible experiences during the history. Today’s antagonisms, can be economic, political or exploitation of the religious feelings, however they are certainly not the realty of the religions.
Kabir Helminski is a sheikh of the Mevlevi order, a Sufi order founded in Konya (in present-day Turkey) by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, a 13th-century Persian, poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. They are also known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous practice of whirling as a form of dhikr (remembrance of God).
Essam Derbala of the Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party told Al-Ahram daily newspaper on Tuesday that his party wanted Article 2 of the draft constitution, which specifies the role of Islamic Sharia law, to be changed.
Article 2 currently states that the "principles" of Islamic Sharia law are the main source of legislation. Derbala said he wanted the wording altered so "Islamic Sharia" is the source of all legislation in the country.
Derbala added that if the term "principles" was maintained its meaning would have to be explained clearly within the charter.
Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Gozlan confirmed to Al-Ahram that an additional explanatory article about the term "principles" had been included in the draft.
"The additional article was approved by all political forces, including liberals, secularists and Nasserites," said Gozlan, who added that the additional article was drafted by a number of prominent scholars.
Prominent Salafist leader Yasser Borhamy has threatened to call for mass protests if Article 2 is not changed.
Gregorians & L'Ensemble Al Kindi |
Borhamy [..] complained that freedom of religious belief, which was left unrestricted by the new draft, might lead to "devil worship or apostasy from Islam".
Salafists have been pressing hard for 'Islamic Sharia' to be the main source of legislation in Egypt.
"Those who voted for President Morsi only chose him so he would apply Islamic Sharia," Borhamy claimed.
"...We must all do our part to resolve those conflicts that have caused so much pain and hardship over so many years, and that effort must include an unwavering commitment that finally realizes that the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security in nations of their own.
In a recent survey of the violence, the UN World Health Organization noted that almost 67 per cent of Syria’s public hospitals have been affected as a result of the conflict, and half of the country’s ambulances have been the subject of attack, leaving many of them out of service, according to the health agency. ...
The Commission chairperson said that the additional element of radical Islamist groups to the fighting mix was proving to be “more scary and worrisome,” and that the jihadists were “taking advantage opportunistically of the conflict” to pursue their own agenda as well as commit abuses.
Turning to the efforts for the international community to agree on a unified approach to resolving the conflict, including the deadlock in the UN Security Council, Mr. Pinheiro stated that only diplomacy would suffice in bringing the violence to an end.
“It’s the responsibility of the international community. It’s the responsibility of the Security Council to find the solution,” he said. “There is no military solution for the crisis. The only solution is diplomatic and political, through a negotiation. We are repeating this as a mantra.”
Dr. Mahmoud Tasabihji (Muslim) head of the University Hospital in Aleppo and a prominent very well known ENT specialist in Aleppo city was kidnapped 6 weeks ago from front of his house in Al Sabeel neighborhood by a group of armed FSA terrorists. Today October 12, 2012, his body was found in Castillo neighborhood in Aleppo city with a number of bullet wounds on his body and one shot was in his head.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, the FSA [..] had a list of Syrian brains to be killed, a number were killed in the quest of 'democratizing' the country like Dr. Ahlam Imad (Muslim), a professor in Petrochemical in Baath University in Homs with 5 of her family members on June 28,2011; nuclear scientist Aws Abdul Karim Khalil (Muslim) assassinated in Homs on September 28,2011; General scientist professor Nabil Zogheib (Christian) with his wife & 2 sons were killed on 21 July 2012 in Damascus, Brigadier Dr. Issa Al Khouli (Christian) head of Hamish military hospital was killed near his house in Rukn Eddin in Damascus on 11 February 2012, to name a few.
While Islam promotes learning and honors scientists these Wahhabi freaks came out in the name of Islam just to kill scientists and destroy knowledge, which makes us wonder what type of Islam do they actually represent...
Koran & The Virtue of KnowledgeSeek knowledge “even though it be in China.”
The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female.”
“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.”
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”
“God has revealed to me, ‘Whoever walks in the pursuit of knowledge I facilitate for him the way to heaven.’
“The best form of worship is the pursuit of knowledge.”
“Scholars should endeavor to spread knowledge and provide education to people who have been deprived of it. For, where knowledge is hidden it disappears.”
Some one asked the Prophet : “Who is the biggest scholar?” He replied: “He who is constantly trying to learn from others, for a scholar is ever hungry for more knowledge.”
Eutelsat has stopped carrying channels from Iranian state broadcaster IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting). 19 TV and radio channels are affected, mostly transmitting from Eutelsat’s popular ‘Hotbird’ satellites.
French media regulator, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) started the ball rolling and confirmed that the Iranian channels violated human rights in its transmissions. Earlier this year the EU placed the head of IRIB, Ezzatollah Zarghami, on a list of people ‘sanctioned’ again on human rights terms. Eutelsat says it is duty bound to obey the CSA. The EU, on Monday, approved new swinging sanctions on Iran covering financial transactions, trade, energy and shipping.
The recent EU move to take Press TV off the air is to be seen as part of a continued process of media violation against this alternative channel. On Monday, UK-based Eutelsat [..] stopped carrying Press TV and some 18 other channels from Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)...
Press TV says, “This is not the first time that the West is trying to silence the alternative media and stop Iranian broadcasters from commenting on what is going on truly across the world. But this time what is most surprising is that the latest instance of media crackdown comes from the new Nobel Peace laureate.”
Sanctions [..] and exerting back-breaking pressures on people are per se illegal in the light of international laws. However, muzzling a media outlet and justifying this act in the name of sanctions is a source of shame for the EU. In fact, the EU’s incoherent perception and poor handling of truth is a move enormously to be deplored.
Needless to say, this is an egregious instance of the violation of human rights which the West moralizes about so vehemently. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Freedom of expression is one of our most precious rights. It underpins every other
freedom and provides a foundation for human dignity. Free, pluralistic and
independent media is essential for its exercise.
This is the message of World Press Freedom Day. Media freedom entails the freedom to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This freedom is essential for healthy and vibrant societies.
Change in the Arab world has shown the power of aspirations for rights when combined with new and old media...
CAIRO — Libyan authorities have singled out Ahmed Abu Khattala, a leader of the Benghazi-based Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, as a commander in the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, last month...
Witnesses at the scene of the attack on the American Mission in Benghazi have said they saw Mr. Abu Khattala leading the assault, and his personal involvement is the latest link between the attack and his brigade, Ansar al-Sharia, a puritanical militant group that wants to advance Islamic law in Libya.
Like the other leaders of the brigade or fighters seen in the attack, Mr. Abu Khattala remains at large and has not yet been questioned. The authorities in Tripoli do not yet command an effective army or police force, and members of the recently elected Parliament have acknowledged with frustration that their government’s limited power has shackled their ability to pursue the attackers. The government typically relies on self-formed local militias to act as law enforcement, and the Benghazi area militias appear reluctant to enter a potentially bloody fight against another local group, like Ansar al-Sharia, to track down Mr. Abu Khattala...
Ansar al-Sharia now includes 100 to 200 fighters. Its name means “supporters of Islamic law,” and it opposes electoral democracy as a man-made substitute.
WIKIPEDIA info: Ansar al-Sharia was formed during the Libyan civil war and rose to prominence after the death of Muammar Gaddafi. The Salafist militia initially made their name by posting videos of themselves fighting in the Battle of Sirte.Their first major public appearance occurred on 7 June 2012, when they led a rally of armed vehicles along Benghazi’s Tahrir Square and demanded the imposition of Sharia...
Noman Benotman, a former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and analyst of Libyan Islamism claims that Ansar al Sharia is less an organisation than a term applied to an amorphous coalition of Islamist and Salafist groups active in eastern Libya.
Ansar al-Sharia carried out destruction of Sufi shrines in Benghazi, which they regarded as idolatrous.
Outside of Gaza few people will have heard of Hisham al-Saedni, also known as Abu Walid al-Maqdisi.
But when the Israeli military killed him on Saturday evening, it managed to eliminate arguably the most senior Salafi-jihadist militant operating in the strip. A small missile fired from an Israeli drone high above Gaza did the job.
It hit Saedni as he rode on the back of a motor bike on a busy street in the densely-populated Jabalia district of Gaza City. Another militant, also on the bike, was killed and several civilians including a young boy were injured.
In recent weeks Israel has been targeting Salafi-jihadist militants in Gaza. Saedni was the most senior.
Hamas officials estimate the number of Salafi-jihadists - or those who espouse violence - in Gaza to be in the tens rather than the hundreds...
Salafi-jihadists have often been in conflict with the Hamas government, which they regard as too moderate and too willing to compromise Islamic principles. In recent months, Salafist groups have complained about Hamas trying to restrict them from launching attacks against Israel.
In the free space created by the revolutions of the Arab Spring, radical Islamists are forming a number of new groups to push their agenda.
At the forefront of the salafist surge in Tunisia, Libya and Yemen are groups rallying under the banner of "Ansar al-Sharia". At first, many analysts believed that these groups were an attempt by the salafist current to adapt to the new conditions and that they would eventually renounce violent jihadist ideology.
However, as Moroccan researcher Abdellah Rami explains, the Ansar al-Sharia groups are now serving as "the ideological face, the human reservoir and money provider for the armed al-Qaeda".
Sabahi: Do you consider the appearance of a number of new salafist groups calling themselves Ansar al-Sharia just a coincidence or part of a larger plan?
Abdellah Rami: I do not think it is a coincidence. It is definitely the result of deliberation and planning aimed at re-acclimatising the jihadist salafist current to the new condition that was created by the Arab Spring revolutions in the region.
This is confirmed by many indicators, including the meetings that were held and the leaders who were behind these initiatives, who are mostly jihadist symbols who have a jihadist history in Afghanistan and elsewhere. As to the name, I think it responds to Osama bin Laden's will before he was killed, in which he asked his group to change the name of al-Qaeda and choose a new name that is close to the conscience of Muslims....
Sabahi: Is this just a rebranding of al-Qaeda, as bin Laden suggested, or do these new groups indicate a break between salafists and the global terrorist network?
Rami: No, there is no break. In my opinion, Ansar al-Sharia groups and al-Qaeda are two sides of the same coin. Ansar al-Sharia poses an evolving threat, given that it is a dawa [preaching] extension of al-Qaeda. I mean it can be part of what we can consider to be a re-drafting of relations between jihadist salafism and Muslim societies. Al-Qaeda's absolute tendency in totally depending on violence and armed action has led to its recession and deterioration. Ansar al-Sharia, meanwhile, came exactly to get rid of this restriction and isolation which al-Qaeda is now suffering from. This is the significance of bin Laden's will in which he called on his followers to think about a new name for the organisation that would enable it to return to society with a new face that would be popularly accepted...
Sabahi: What is the nature of ties between al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia? Are there organisational relations with central leaders?
Rami: ... In fact, they are similar and very close, but do not work within the same frame. In sum, it can be said that Ansar al-Sharia represents the structured ideological arm to the wider current of jihadist salafism, while al-Qaeda represents its armed military arm.
Sabahi: What are the political prospects for Ansar al-Sharia?
Rami: The political system which these groups promise is the establishment of a Taliban-style caliphate system through jihad. The salafist logic rejects all aspects of civil politics and civil rule. Ansar al-Sharia cannot accept democracy, because democracy can bring a woman to rule, and can also bring a liberal or a Christian; something that the salafists can never accept...
The most important thing for them is to create a moral police force for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice, then set ablaze videocassette shops and liquor stores, separate men from women, interrupt education programmes, destroy religious burial sites and remove any aspect which they consider to be in contradiction with sharia.
The proliferation of militant jihadi groups across the Arab world is posing a new threat to the region’s stability, presenting fresh challenges to emerging democracies and undermining prospects for a smooth transition in Syria should the regime fall.
From Egypt’s Sinai desert to eastern Libya and the battlegrounds of Syria’s civil war, the push for greater democracy made possible by revolts in the Middle East and North Africa has also unleashed new freedoms that militants are using to preach, practice and recruit.
The rise of militant jihadists in the region is one of the reasons that Western policymakers have been reluctant to arm the opposition in Syria as the country’s 19-month-old conflict intensifies.
Among the groups causing Western officials the most concern is the increasingly active Jabhat al-Nusra, which surfaced in Syria this year to assert responsibility for a string of mysterious suicide bombings in Damascus and Aleppo and is shaping up to be an energetic participant in the battle against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Experts say there are also signs that the group is working more closely with the Free Syrian Army, the name used by rebel forces battling Assad’s regime.
Many Saudi and Qatari officials fear that the fighting in Syria is awakening deep sectarian animosities and, barring such intervention, could turn into an uncontrollable popular jihad with consequences far more threatening to Arab governments than the Afghan war of the 1980s.
“If the killing continues, the youth will not listen to wise voices,” said Salman al-Awda, one of this country’s most prominent clerics, in an interview at his office here. “They will find someone who will encourage them, and they will go.” ....
“People want the government to do more.” The calls for greater involvement are a rare point of accord between Saudi liberals and conservatives... Regional Islamist funding networks are being built up, Abdelaziz al-Gasim, a prominent lawyer in Riyadh said. “These are private channels with people in Kuwait and Qatar, and you cannot control them — there are deep business relationships in the gulf,” he said. “And the majority of them are within the Islamic movement, because the more nationalist or secular movements in Syria have no relationship with Saudi society.”
To some extent, the Saudi and Qatari governments have themselves to blame, because the major pan-Arab satellite TV stations they control — Al Arabia and Al Jazeera, respectively — have done more than any other outlets to stoke anger against Syria’s government and urge sympathy with the rebels. Both stations have been accused of being little more than rebel mouthpieces, and they have played on sectarian fears and hatreds....
The prospect of an increasingly sectarian civil war in Syria is deeply troubling to many here, where the Afghan jihad spawned a generation of battle-tested zealots who returned home and waged a bloody insurgency that was brought under control only recently.
“The government really doesn’t want to repeat the experience we had with the guys who went to Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Mshari al-Zaydi, a Saudi columnist and an expert on jihadi movements. “The damage from Al Qaeda was worse in Saudi Arabia than it was in the U.S.A.”
WASHINGTON — The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials...
Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating. ...
The White House denied that a final agreement had been reached. “It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Saturday evening. He added, however, that the administration was open to such talks, and has “said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”
Sufi Sites Razed By Heavily Armed Salafis, 26-8|
Iran has held the 16th commemoration ceremony for the Persian mystic poet Hafez in the southern city of Shiraz where the poet is laid to eternal rest.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the ceremony along with Germany and Tajikistan ambassadors to Iran. President Ahmadinejad delivered a speech on the 14th century poet's universal idealistic views at the ceremony.
Born in 1315, Hafez is best known for his melodious sonnets and for intertwining a taste of Persian culture into his poetry. Many western writers such as Thoreau, Goethe and Ralph Waldo Emerson have been influenced by Hafez poems.
So much from God
That I can no longer
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of Itself
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.
From: 'The Gift'
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday stressed that Syria supports the efforts of the UN envoy and is open to any sincere efforts seeking to find a political solution to the crisis based on respecting Syria's sovereignty and rejecting any foreign interference.
The President's stress came during his meeting with the UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, which tackled the developments in Syria and the efforts exerted by Brahimi and the outcomes of his latest tour to a number of countries in the region...
In a statement to the journalists following his meeting with President al-Assad, Brahimi described the meeting as "open and responsible as usual".
He said the meeting tackled the issues related to the Syrian situation "with us looking forward to the future which we hope will end up in solving the crisis in Syria and restoring peace and security to it." ...
He said that being in charge, he hasn't got any other agenda except that of serving the Syrian people, wishing them a blessed Eid. ...
Answering a question regarding him having a long-winded plan or a ready paper, Brahimi said "We are working on getting this paper prepared with the various internal and external parties."
1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
“Islam is the religion of openness and cultural interaction; and it has gained its strength and continuity from its openness to all, in every sense and implication of openness and interaction.”
“Islam has always lived side by side with other religions in one geographical and human space and has been able to engage all the nations and ethnicities which assimilated it without undermining their cultures or peculiarities.”
“All those who live in this area are brothers and sisters and have commitments towards each other; and unity among them is a duty within the same religion and ethnicity in as much as it is a duty among different religions and ethnicities.”
“That is why any call for closure is contradictory to the essence of religion and destructive to its noble goals, and any attempt at instigating division inside this world and among its components is a violation of the essence of its human mission...
“We must understand the logic and implications of the media and cultural war, the war of terminology and concepts which are exported to us, and which are then transformed into a cultural and political reality that has nothing to do with our reality.
In this fake reality a friend is turned into an enemy and a brother into an adversary. The illusory difference, which exists neither in our culture no among our cultures, is turned into a real war, with our blood as a necessary fuel for external intervention in our affairs and for weakening our countries..."
Address to the 36th OIC Foreign Ministers Summit, May 23, 2009
Can anyone make sense of this State Department announcement of new entries in its reward for justice headhunter program?
The U.S. Department of State has authorized a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the location of Iran-based senior facilitator and financier Muhsin al-Fadhli and up to $5 million for information leading to the location of his deputy, Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi.
Al-Fadhli and al-Harbi facilitate the movement of funds and operatives through Iran on behalf of the al-Qaida terrorist network. Both men are wanted by Saudi authorities in connection with their terrorist activities, and al-Fadhli is wanted by authorities in Kuwait on terrorism-related charges.
Al-Qaida elements in Iran, led by al-Fadhli, are working to move fighters and money through Turkey to support al-Qaida-affiliated elements in Syria. Al-Fadhli also is leveraging his extensive network of Kuwaiti jihadist donors to send money to Syria via Turkey.
US Department of State, Secretary Hillary Clinton, 18-10-2012
So these people sit in Iran and provide people and money to the fighters that try to overthrow the Iran allied Syrian government? Why would Iran allow for that?
Does anyone really believe that the Shia Iran government is supporting the activities of Wahabbi Sunni extremists against Shia governments it is allied with? That claim defies all logic. Why supposedly would Iran do that?
What we obviously have here is a false claim by the Obama administration that is similar to the false claims the Bush administrations made about Iraq. As was later admitted Saddam Hussein was never allied with Al Qaeda. He was indeed as staunch opponent of radical Sunni extremists.
In February 2012, the Treasury Dept. designated Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) for its support of al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Then, in July 2012, the US State Department highlighted the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism publication.
"Today's action, which builds on our action from July 2011, further exposes al Qaeda's critically important Iran-based funding and facilitation network," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen explained in a press release.
"We will continue targeting this crucial source of al Qaeda's funding and support," Cohen added, "as well as highlight Iran's ongoing complicity in this network's operation." (Thomas JoscelynOctober 18, 2012
May 2012: Some American conservatives claimed that Iran was complicit in the September 11 attacks, and that, afterward Iran had provided a comfortable safe haven and base of operations for al Qaeda personnel fleeing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
Iran's Shi'ite Muslim rulers deny cooperating with al Qaeda, which has its roots in the Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam dominant in the Arabian Peninsula. In their public statements, Iranian officials call al Qaeda a terrorist group, and Iranian security forces periodically report the arrest of al Qaeda members. Reuters 3-5-2012
TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons.
Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined.
Firouzabadi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Iran’s National Defense University, said U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and occupied Afghanistan, “why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” ...
“It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” ... (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)
Bernard-Henri Levy: What Was Done in Libya|
Can Be Done in Syria - July 27, 2012
Syria is in a civil war, being fought in the shadows of a Shia-Sunni religious confrontation, and an Iranian-Saudi/Qatari regional struggle. The U.S. reportedly is involved in arming the Sunni rebels, among whom Islamic fundamentalists are an increasing presence (a familiar story, to those who remember the mujahedeen in Afghanistan). Israel continues its undercover war against Iran. I find it hard to believe that the United States, or almost anyone else, can benefit from all this...
A lesson often learned but rarely remember is that sanctions end up harming the most vulnerable civilians in a nation far more than the government. This was seen in Iraq, where international sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of children. It is being seen in Iran, where hospitals are seeing major shortages in medicine and equipment. Now it is also being seen in Syria.
That’s the report from the Syrian government today, which noted that the health care sector and child care have been the hardest hit segments of the Syrian economy as a result of US and EU sanctions imposed during the ongoing civil war.
In Syria the issue was somewhat different, as initially Syria manufactured the vast majority of their own medication. The sanctions have made raw materials harder to acquire, and Syria’s manufacturing center, Aleppo, has been virtually shut down because of the war. This has made Syria struggle to find new sources for medicine, and with the sanctions in place, many nations simply won’t deal with them.
Hundreds of families and foreign workers fled Bani Walid on Sunday escaping deadly clashes.
Bani Walid’s military commander Salem al-Waer reported “clashes on all fronts” and accused the assailants of “shelling the town with long-range weapons and even targeting the hospital.”
“They are pushing Libya towards civil war. Libya will become a second Somalia. Why are they pitting tribes against each other?” he asked.
Bani Walid is the heartland of the Warfalla tribe, a pillar in the Gaddafi regime, despite members trying to stage a coup in 1993.
“We will resist until the last drop of blood. Either we live with dignity or we die defending our land. Even women took part in yesterday’s fighting,” said the commander by telephone.
Tensions have remained high around the Gaddafi stronghold since the killing of Omar Shaaban last month, the man who captured Gaddafi one year ago.
March in Tripoli to support Bani Walad|
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya expressed concern: "In the interests of national reconciliation and long-term stability of the country, a mediated settlement is urgently needed," said UN envoy to Libya, Tarek Mitri in a statement urging the protection of civilians.
Israeli state officials accused Qatar's emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of "hurting the Palestinians and the chance of pulling Gaza out of the mud and onto the road for peace."
The Qatari ruler on Tuesday became the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas seized control of the strip five years ago.
"It's funny that Qatar's ruler intervenes in the internal Palestinian conflict and chooses to support Hamas," a Foreign Ministry official said. He added that Al Thani had thus placed himself in the company of "violent extremists." ...
In Egypt, official support of the visit of the Emir of Qatar was expressed. A statement issued by the presidency in Cairo wrote that the visit was part of Egypt's support of the Palestinian issue and its efforts to break the blockade on the Strip and the residents of Gaza.
The Qatari emir arrived at the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing after his plane landed in the al-Arish airport in northern Sinai.
Upon meeting Al Thani, Hamas prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said that the visit signifies the "breaking of the political and economic blockade on the strip."
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani called for Palestinian unity as he made a landmark visit to the Gaza Strip yesterday.
Poems were recited and red carpets unfurled as part of the lavish ceremonies Gaza’s Palestinians put on as Hamad bin Khalifa, accompanied by Moza bint Nasser, arrived to inaugurate multimillion dollar projects to rebuild the impoverished territory. ...
Addressing a ceremony at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) (see picture) the Emir praised the Gazan people’s courage as they faced “the enemy’s aircraft and internationally-prohibited weapons”, stressing that the Palestinian cause, with its ramifications and concerns, remained a “bleeding wound in the Arab body”.
The Emir urged Palestinians to end the division between the West Bank and Gaza, calling for a “new phase” of reconciliation and agreement...
“It’s about time Palestinians turn over the page of division and open a new chapter for reconciliation and agreement.., with sincere efforts from Palestinian President brother Mahmoud Abbas and head of the Hamas political bureau Khalid Mishal,” he said.
Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya hailed the Emir’s visit as a “victory” over the political and economic siege on his government. “Today we demolish the wall of the blockade through this visit, thank you Qatar!” he said.
Thousands of Qatari and Palestinian flags fluttered as the Emir crossed into Gaza from Egypt and was warmly greeted by a large delegation of top Hamas officials led by Haniya and his cabinet. He then launched a number of Qatar-funded projects before visiting the Islamic University, where he and Sheikha Moza bint Nasser received honorary doctorates.
AMMAN – Islamic movements are witnessing a “decline” in popularity in the Middle East and North Africa region, a veteran journalist said on Monday.
Hani Shukrallah made his remarks in an interview with The Jordan Times following a lecture titled “Peoples Spring, Islamist Autumn” at the Columbia University Middle East Research Centre in Amman.
Drawing an example from Egypt, Shukrallah said the current Islamic government was “not going to last long”.
“There is an increasing anti-Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt nowadays, especially among ordinary people. Recently, we have seen protests with thousands of people chanting against them. I do not expect their rule to last any longer than [Egyptian President, Mohammad] Morsi’s four years of presidency,” the editor-in-chief of Egypt’s Ahram Online said
According to Shukrallah, the “non-religious” nature of the uprisings in the Arab world was an indicator of the “limited support” Islamic movements had in the region.
“We saw the environment in Tahrir Square during the revolution. It was not religious at all. People did not call for applying Sharia or for an Islamic state to replace the previous regime. People called for universal values like freedom, democracy and social justice,” he noted.
On the question of women’s rights, he noted that the proposed amendments to the Egyptian constitution were “very alarming” signs. ...
Economic policies adapted by Morsi are “just a continuation” of [former president Hosni] Mubarak’s ‘neo-liberal agenda’”, Shukrallah charged.
“It is exactly the same. They continue to support foreign investment. They have not made one single step towards a fairer economic system such as introducing a minimum wage, or progressive taxation, which were two major demands by protesters.”
He was referring to the imprisonment of Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and the president’s advisor in media affairs, who was arrested on September 26. Ahmadinejad had previously expressed regret over his imprisonment.
Wikipedia info: Ali Akbar Javanfekr (born 12 June 1959) is a senior Iranian politician and the presidential advisor for press affairs and as of 19 December 2010, He was Managing-Director of IRNA from 1 November 2010 until 20 November 2011.
As chief executive of the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Javanfekr was reportedly "one of the most powerful figures in publicizing Iran’s government policies and messages to the outside world". In December 2010 he led a delegation to Pakistan to discuss the use of media in reducing extremism.
Javanfekr is reportedly one of "dozens of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political backers to be targeted by hard-line opponents." He has also been called "one of the few who have stood firm behind Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the president's power struggle with conservatives."
On 20 November 2011 Javanfekr was sentenced to a year in jail and suspended from journalism for three years for "publishing materials contrary to Islamic norms", questioning the Islamic Republic's compulsory dress code for women.
Javanfekr had been put on trial after the publication of a series of articles about the chador, a traditional hijab garment that covers Iranian women from head to toe.
In one article, Ahmadinejad's former media adviser, Mehdi Kalhor, "criticised the black colour of Iranian chadors, saying they did not originate from the Persian culture..."
Mr Javanfekr was arrested briefly last year, but was released at Mr Ahmadinejad's insistence.
Wikipedia info: "Funerals & Mourning"Before the Islamic Revolution, black chadors were reserved for funerals and periods of mourning. Light, printed fabrics were the norm for everyday wear.
Currently, the majority of women who wear the chador reserve the usage of light colored chadors for around the house or for prayers. The only women who still go outside in urban areas in a light colored chador are elderly women of rural backgrounds and women from tribal backgrounds. It is considered inapprioriate for a young or middle aged woman to go outside in a colored or printed chador.
Free-mindedness is a divine blessing, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, said yesterday.
[He] made the remark in a meeting with the members of the Pen Society of Iran.
Free-mindedness means ascending in the endless atmosphere of thought and free and conscious movement toward the unknown realms of knowledge, he said, adding free-mindedness has been subjected to injustice, for some consider it a cause of breach of fundamentals and values and this is why they reject, while some others consider it an assault on the fundamentals, principles and sacred values and this is why they welcome it. But both the approaches are wrong and it is injustice to free-mindedness.
I’m bored with the Brotherhood. They persist in repeating the same mistakes, the same grabbing, grasping offensives, and the same bungling, bungled retreats, they make promises in the morning only to renege on them before the day’s end, continuously speak from both sides of their mouths, and they do so while knowing that practically everyone can see and hear what the other side of the mouth is saying... The same pedantry, the same lack of imagination and astounding dearth of vision...
Many years ago, more years than I’d care to count, I came across the phrase quoted in the title of this piece, also in the title of an article by the young Karl Marx. Marx had been collaborating in the setting up of a new newspaper, and wrote to define that newspaper’s basic mission. ...
“Ruthless criticism of everything existing” was to become, consciously at times, just naturally at most, the overriding steering force of my writing, my concept of the higher purpose of journalism, and indeed, the way my mind seems to work, not willfully but on its own, with no attempt at compulsion from my conscious self.
There is nothing very exceptional in this. The human mind was designed to enquire, and there can be no enquiry without criticism, and criticism by its very nature is bound to be ruthless. Lame criticism is criticism chained – by deference to authority, public opinion or for that matter, by our own equally human need to fit in, to belong, let alone to achieve professional “success”.
Over the years, I doubt that any of the powers that be, or for that matter, those that won’t or can’t be, locally, regionally and internationally, have been immune to some sort of lashing in my writing.
Israel, which I’ve called, and continue to think of as, Disneyland with guns, has been a particular favourite – naturally perhaps. But so have the PLO and the Palestinian Authority no less than Hamas.
I’ve criticized the Oslo Accords, but was unhesitating in my criticism of the suicide operations that came to be associated with Oslo’s collapse – and this at a time when criticism of “martyrdom operations” was considered by a great many to be something in the order of national treason.
I’ve criticized Bush’s criminal “War Against Terror”, no less than Qaeda’s criminal 9/11 atrocity. I’ve criticized the two sides of the “Clash of Civilizations”, “ours” no less than “theirs”.
In Egypt, I’ve criticized the Mubarak regime, and its opposition. Again, the left no less than the right, the Islamist camp no less than the non-Islamists. ...
Since the revolution I’ve occasionally tried to offer advice on strategy and tactics – not that anyone, admittedly, has given much attention to that advice, for all it’s worth...
However, before the revolution or since, I detest preaching, do not presume to educate my readers, nor yet “convince” them of my ideas – merely and hopefully pinprick their minds so that they might look at themselves and their reality in different ways.
My writing is driven, or at least I believe so, by a deep love for humanity... I find myself wholly unable to rationalize away the poverty, hunger, degradation and suffering of so many millions in my country and across the globe...
Yet criticism, as ruthless and unwavering as I can get away with, is what I would claim my writing is about. I may love humanity, but because of this very love, I don’t particularly like the mess it has managed to make of itself and its world - hence, the need for criticism.
PROVINCES, (SANA)- A unit of the Armed Forces on Thursday chased down an armed terrorist group that has been terrorizing citizens and committed acts of sabotage and blocking roads in Muhin town to the east of Homs.
A source in the province told SANA reporter that the group's members fled away leaving behind their weapons which were seized by the army unit. The source noted that the seized weapons included 2 KPV-14.5 machineguns, 300 explosive machinegun bullets and 52 automatic rifle magazines.
Authorities on Wednesday evening seized 60,000 electrical detonators hidden inside spare tires of a truck in Hassia area in Homs. An official source told SANA reporter that the truck was coming from al-Jarajir village in Damascus Countryside and heading towards Manbij city in Aleppo. The source pointed out that the detonators are used in making explosive devices.
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – The Iranian FARS News Agency on Wednesday opened its office in Damascus in order to cover events in Syria and present a realistic view of them, according to FARS Director Sayyed Nizameddin Mousawi. ...
He said that the decision to block Syrian media uncovers those who claim to support freedom of democracy, saying that western countries blocked Syrian channels due to their fear of the effects of Syrian media and the truth it conveys.
Mousawi said that FARS provides a news portal for news about Syria presented in various languages to assert that the west and the US cannot obscure the facts about what is happening in Syria, affirming that media cooperation between Syria and Iran will relay the truth to the world.
FNA-About Us: Fars News Agency (FNA) is Iran's leading independent news agency, covering a wide variety of subjects in different areas with the most up-to-date, independent, unbiased and reliable news and reports in Persian and English. Ever since its establishment in early 2003, it has been making its way towards daily progress and gaining reputation as a trustworthy source of information dissemination.See also: Islamic Media
Wikipedia info: While it describes itself as "Iran's leading independent news agency", news organizations such as CNN and Reuters describe it as a "semi-official" news agency with ties to the government. Its managing director Saeid Noubari is a former head of the public relations office of the Tehran Justice Department. FNA's managing editor Mehdi Fazaeli is also the spokesman of Iran's Association of Muslim Journalists.
About 50 insurgents have infiltrated on this morning to al-Ashrafia area of Aleppo, yelling “Allah Akbar” and assaulting the residents.
Local source in the area said that the insurgents have occupied al-Kalima school, situated in al-Serian al-Jadida Street, as they ripped the flag of Syrian Arab Republic and hanged the French Mandate flag upon the school.
The source stated that the armed rebels have entered al-Kanisa “The Church” Street and yelled “Allah Akbar”.
A resident in the area said to Breaking News Network that about 15 militants have horrified and assaulted the people, then they set fire in the vegetables Souk, as the students in al-Mukhtarin school, that the insurgents entered, were safe.
Witnesses in al-Ashrafia area reported that the insurgents are about 16-17 years old and they are now heading to al-Serian al-Jadida area, as they have a Dushka machinegun in the School Street near al-Khazzan Street. (Syria Breaking News)
"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..." (Prophet Mohammed's Farewell sermon)
NEW YORK, (SANA)- The UN Security Council (UNSC) latest statement which supported the initiative of UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, to halt violence during Eid al-Adha admits the existence of foreign actors wielding influence on the armed terrorist groups in Syria, said Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari.
In a phone interview with the Syrian TV on Thursday night, al-Jaafari stressed the Security Council statement's acknowledgment of those foreign actors by addressing a call on them to practice influence on the terrorist groups.
"This part of the [Security Council] press statement, mentioned for the first time, proves Syria's view repeated since the beginning of the crisis on the existence of Arab, regional and international parties influencing the armed groups negatively or positively," said al-Jaafari. "Therefore, those parties need to be addressed," he added.
The Syrian Ambassador highlighted the French delegation's opposing to a reference to the opposition's armed groups in the draft Russian statement presented to the UNSC... The French delegation requested that the reference be dropped with keeping the phrase of the Syrian government, which was opposed by some of the UNSC members, added al-Jaafari. ...
Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN said despite the fact that the countries with hostile policies against Syria have not changed their political stances, "we have started since two months to sense an acknowledgement by them that their calculations on the situation in Syria haven been inaccurate."
|M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people. He must leave power – the sooner the better. Until now, the actions taken to that end have come up against two obstacles. The first derives from the lack of consensus at the UN Security Council, because of the Russians and Chinese. The second is military: the Syrian army is powerful. "|
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Hours after taking control of Bani Walid, a former stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan militias from the rival city of Misrata fired ferociously at its empty public buildings.
Fighters yelling "Allahu akbar (God is greatest) and "Today Bani Walid is finished" sought to make their mark with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades on a town they say still provides a refuge to many of the overthrown Libyan leader's followers.
The chaotic, vengeful scenes demonstrated the weakness of the new government's authority over former rebel militias which owe it allegiance but essentially do what they like.
A sign on a bank building that bore the Gaddafi-era name for Libya, "The Great Arab Socialist People's Republic", was scarred with bullet holes. The central streets were empty except for the fighters who filled them with their violent celebration. ...
Human rights groups have urged the authorities to make clear that looting, beatings and destruction will be prosecuted.
"The government and forces under its command should protect residents in Bani Walid and reject acts of revenge," said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch. "There is an urgent need to stop destruction of the town and begin reconstruction, as well as to prosecute those who broke the law," he said in a statement.