Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
An especially dangerous threat to liberty occurs when members of the press collude with government agencies instead of monitoring and exposing the abuses of those agencies. Unfortunately, collusion is an all-too-common pattern in press coverage of the national security state’s activities. The American people then receive official propaganda disguised as honest reporting and analysis.
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
Joe Biden & Truth - 2009
US Vice President Joe Biden said that the new administration would seek the
unvarnished truth from its spies, whether or not their information supported
the goals of the government.
The Vice President's address was greeted with loud cheers by the several hundred CIA employees who gathered for the swearing in ceremony in the foyer of the Agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Standing before the wall of 89 stars representing the CIA staff who have died in the line of duty, Mr Biden said:
"We expect you to provide independent analysis, not to engage in group think. We
expect you to tell us the facts as you know them wherever they may lead, not
what you think we want to hear." (Tim Shipman. 20-2-2009)
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign
ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid
to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation
that is afraid of its people …
The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. …
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." John F.Kennedy
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."
"The globalists wants to make the world unipolar in order to move towards a globalist non-polarity, where the elites will become fully international and their residence will be dispersed throughout the entire space of the planet.
Accordingly, for the salvation of people, peoples, and societies, the Great Awakening must begin with multipolarity.
This is not just the salvation of the West itself, and not even the salvation of everyone else from the West, but the salvation of humanity, both Western and non-Western, from the totalitarian dictatorship of the liberal capitalist elites.
And this cannot be done by the people of the West or the people of the East alone. Here it is necessary to act together. The Great Awakening necessitates an internationalization of the peoples’ struggle against the internationalization of the elites. Multipolarity becomes the most important reference point and the key to the strategy of the Great Awakening.
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
Saudi Arabia has officially allowed businesses to remain open during the five daily Muslim prayers, a highly sensitive reform in a kingdom which is trying to shake off its austere image.
Since becoming de facto leader in 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced sweeping economic and social changes designed to reduce the kingdom's dependence on oil and reset the role of religion.
"Stores and other commercial and economic activities will remain open throughout the working day and especially during (prayer) hours," the Federation of Saudi Chambers said in a statement late Friday.
Officially, the decision is part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and aims to avoid "gatherings and long queues in front of closed stores during prayer hours". However, it comes after a 2019 decree that said businesses could stay open 24 hours a day for an unspecified fee.
The new rules remove restrictions which members of the advisory Shura Council had said cost the Saudi economy tens of billions of riyals a year.
While the government's reforms have attracted little public criticism amid an accompanying crackdown on dissent, the issue remains highly sensitive in the kingdom where until a few years ago, religious police elicited fear by enforcing such rules.
The guardians of public morality, once notorious for chasing men and women out of malls to pray and berating anyone seen mingling with the opposite sex, are now largely out of sight. As clerical power wanes, preachers are endorsing government decisions they once vehemently opposed -- including allowing women to drive and the reopening of cinemas.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said his government launched the signal to start the administrative and executive mechanisms for its economic reform program.
Al-Kadhimi said the White Paper is a strategy for a modern, prosperous, productive Iraq that invests its enormous potential and human energies, combats corruption and stops waste.”
The implementation phase of the White Paper for Economic Reform, which sets out a clear roadmap to reform the Iraqi economy, began in February and included “putting in place governance, oversight, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure that the reform process is administrated and managed effectively,” the government said.
Outgoing president Hassan Rouhani says reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear issues is not out of reach. He made the remarks on Monday evening in his last televised interview.
Regarding the question of whether there is still opportunity for an agreement, he said, "I believe yes, absolutely. Because if Khamenei's remarks are our yardstick [Ali Khamenei is 'the supreme leader'], it is possible to reach an agreement. He said that the sanctions must be lifted and we need to verify that, then we can live up to all our commitments."
"The reason I ran for the presidency in 2013 was because I believed that the complications over Iran's nuclear program could be resolved through negotiations, and that what I had promised to untie the knots through negotiation came true," Rouhani said, his official press service reported.
He said, "This is what Mr Hollande (the then President of France) said during my visit to Paris in 2015, and said in a press conference that in 2013 we, the P5+1, the six countries, had made a firm decision to go to war with Iran".
"He told me this in formal negotiations. He said that we were determined to go to war and when you came and announced that you were ready for negotiations, we gave up the decision of war," he said...
The 2015 nuclear agreement was to lift the nuclear sanctions and Iran to accept some restrictions in the nuclear sector, but at the same time the principle of nuclear technology must be accepted by the world. We reached this point."
"I do not want to say that the commitments that the world made were fulfilled exactly and 100%. These commitments may have been 80, 70% fulfilled. But what I promised the people that I would untie this knot through diplomacy instead of war, this knot was untied and conditions were created in which the investors poured their capital into Iran...."
"In the nuclear deal it is true that we talked with the P5+1 and reached an agreement with them, but in fact we talked with the United States. That was the reality during the negotiations, and it is the same today.
Even today, when we were talking in Vienna, we were not talking with the United States, we were talking with the P4+1, but in fact, the United States is the other side...."
"One of the arguments we had with the Americans in 2014 was that they wanted to include the region and the missile issue in the same talks, and we stood up and said no. When we tell the world that we will only talk on the nuclear issue, we must also accept the limitations of the outcome."
"The resolution passed by parliament was one of the main obstacles to resolving negotiations with the P5+1, or the P4+1 plus the United States, in which they demanded that all sanctions should be lifted.
Article 7 of ‘the Law on Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Interests of the Iranian Nation’ states that all sanctions, including those related to human rights, missiles, terrorism must be lifted first.."
"The parliament resolution is an obstacle, yes. Not an obstacle for this government, but also the next government will not reach an agreement if it is committed to this parliamentary resolution. If we set the standard as the remarks of the Supreme Leader, yes, but if we set the standard as the parliament's resolution, it is very difficult. I do not think it will happen soon."
“If our expectation is that our relations with the world should be completely normal and without any sanctions, including with the United States, it wants a wider field for negotiations, but if it is only in the nuclear sector, we can now use the same framework set by the Supreme Leader to reach an agreement.”
Flashback: Iranian Parliament
only approves removal of all sanctions
Tehran Times, May 1, 2021
In a tweet sent out on Saturday, the spokesman for the Energy Committee of the parliament emphasized that in the issue of lifting sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran's official position is the removal of all sanctions so that Iran would be able to fully benefit the economic effects of lifting those sanctions. Malek Shariati tweeted, "In lifting the sanctions, Iran's official position is the lifting of all sanctions and the full economic benefit of Iran, not the suspension of some of them, but the United States divides the sanctions into three categories: 1. Removable (cancel + suspend) 2. Indelible (terrorism and human rights) 3. Ambiguous and negotiable (like a non-nuclear central bank).
The parliament only approves complete lifting of sanctions."
For the past few weeks, Iran has been in talks with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) parties following the U.S. attempt to return to the JCPOA in Vienna. The parties seek to revive the nuclear deal and to return Iran to its obligations.
Ebrahim Raeisi is now officially the 8th president of the Islamic Republic of Iran after his mandate was endorsed by Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei at a ceremony in Tehran, weeks after the ex-Judiciary chief won the country’s 13th presidential election by a landslide.
Ayatollah Khamenei’s decree, endorsing the presidential mandate of Raeisi, was read out at the event by head of the leader's office.
In the decree, the Leader called on the new president to work toward activating the country’s capabilities and paving the way for a leap forward in all sectors, placing an especial emphasis on economy.
“Today, our dear country is thirsty for valuable service and is ready to make a leap in all areas. The country needs competent, jihadi, intelligent, courageous management that can organize the manifest and hidden capabilities of the nation — in particular those of the youth, which are much greater in scope than the problems,” read the decree.
A management is needed that can bring these capabilities into the field for constructive work and endeavor, eliminate the obstacles in the way of production, seriously pursue policies for strengthening the national currency, and empower the middle and lower classes of society that are shouldering the burden of economic problems, it added.
In a speech, President Raeisi described the June 18 election as a manifestation of religious democracy in the Islamic Republic.
Through their participation in the election, Raeisi said, the people sent the message that they demanded “change, justice and fight against corruption, poverty and discrimination.”
Raeisi also called on all people, including intellectuals, thinkers, and officials, to enter the scene and help bring about the necessary change.
“We will certainly seek the lifting of oppressive sanctions, but we will not condition the people’s livelihood and the economy [on the sanctions] and will not tie them to the will of foreigners,” he added.
A spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, LIOR HAIAT called the EU's decision to send its senior official and Iran Talks coordinator Enrique Mora to the inauguration ceremony of Ebrhahim Raisi this week a "failure in judgement."
"The EU's decision is especially worrisome in light of the fact that the new Iranian president has the blood of thousands of Iranian citizens on his hands provides legitimacy to Ayatollahs' repressive regime and will breed only more violence and aggression," said the official.
Only 40% of Israelis support a two-state resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians, even though it remains the most popular choice, according to a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute.
From July 27 to 29, the IDI polled 750 Israelis over the age of 18 by phone and over the Internet, including 151 Arabic-speakers. The margin of error is 3.59% for the poll on a wide array of topics, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Participants were asked if they would back a “two-state solution with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
Israeli-Arabs were much more likely to support a two-state resolution than their Jewish peers. Out of the 39.7% who said they found such a resolution to the conflict acceptable, 33.8% were Jewish Israelis and 68.8% were Israeli-Arabs.
That answer flipped when it came to the 48% of Israelis who opposed it, of which 53.6% were Jewish and 20.5% Arab.
The least popular option was a one-state idea.
Participants were asked whether they would back a “one-state solution incorporating both Israeli and Palestinian territories in which Israelis and Palestinians are treated as equal citizens,” implying a country that was no longer intended to be an ethnic nationalist democracy for either Israelis or Palestinians. Some 71.1% of Israeli Jews found a one-state idea unacceptable, and only 14.1% found it acceptable.
A majority of Israeli-Arabs favored it, with 56.1% backing it, compared to the 29.5% who dismissed it.
Iran's new President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi who took the oath of office before the parliament on Thursday said that his administration will pursue a balanced foreign policy, and underlined that sanctions and pressures will not stop him from pursuing the nation's rights.
"Sanctions against the Iranian nation should be lifted. We will support a diplomatic plan that achieves this goal. Iran considers neighboring nations as its own family members," Rayeesi said, addressing his inauguration ceremony in Tehran.
"In a government of people, all components of the country's national power will be strengthened; and we use all the tools of national power, including diplomacy and intelligent interaction with the world, to secure the national interests of Iran," he added.
"The power of the Republic of Iran in the region establishes security. Iran's regional capabilities support peace and stability in the countries and are used only to counter the threat of domineering and oppressive powers," Rayeesi said, adding that the regional crises should be resolved through genuine "intra-regional" dialogue based on meeting the rights of nations.
"I extend my hand of friendship and brotherhood to all the regional states, specially the neighbors," the new president said.
"Iran considers neighboring countries and nations as its relatives and considers promotion of ties with them as the most important and main priority of its foreign policy and wants their dignity and promotion."
"We are true defenders of human rights, and we do not accept silence in the face of oppression, crime and the violation of the rights of innocent and defenseless human beings," Rayeesi said.
"We will stand beside the oppressed whether the oppression and crime is in the heart of Europe and the US, or in Africa, or in Yemen, Syria and Palestine," he added.
Rayeesi stressed the need to meet people's demand to improve economy and living conditions and spread justice in the society.
"We will powerfully pursue creating maximum transparency in the economy, uprooting corruption and rent-seeking, strengthening the economy against shocks, curbing inflation, increasing the value of the national currency and restoring stability to the country's economy, supporting national production and striving for self-sufficiency in meeting basic needs, technological and knowledge-based progress, optimal management of the country's mines, water, gas and oil resources and attention to climate change and environmental protection," Rayeesi said... After speeches were delivered by heads of the Judiciary and Legislature, Rayeesi took to the podium to be sworn in as Iran’s eighth president
In Israeli TV interviews broadcast Thursday, former political prisoners who escaped Iran compared the Islamic Republic’s new President Ebrahim Raisi to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler for his alleged central role in extrajudicial executions, mostly of young people, across Iran in the late 1980s.
“It was exactly like the final solution that Hitler made for the Jews,” Iraj Masadagi, a former Iranian political prisoner, told the Kan public broadcaster.
“Raisi was a killer,” Masadagi continued. “He talked to me, and he said that they don’t want to have any more political prisoners. He said that we want to solve the ‘problem.”
Raisi has been accused by activists and human rights groups of having played a key role as a prosecutor on the “death commission” in 1988.
“They sent hundreds of prisoners to the gallows,” Masdagi said. “When I see him I see the face of the one who killed my fellow prisoners, my friends, my beloved ones.” Masdagi described the Islamic Republic’s new president as “the head of Auschwitz.”
Iraj Mesdaghi (born 1960) is an Iranian writer and human rights activist. He has lived in Stockholm, Sweden since 1994. He supported the People's Mujahedin of Iran...
Flashback 2018 - Terrorists, cultists
or champions of Iranian democracy?
The wild wild story of the MEK The Guardian, 9-11-2018
They fought for the Iranian revolution – and then for Saddam Hussein. The US and UK once condemned them. But now their opposition to Tehran has made them favourites of Trump White House hardliners. By Arron Merat
Flashback 2014 - Creating 'New Hitlers'
In The Middle East
Saddam Hussein: "Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation... Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken....
It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)
Iran’s newly inaugurated President Ebrahim Raisi said Friday that he wants to have close relations with the United Arab Emirates.
Raisi met with a UAE envoy in Tehran. During the meeting, he praised the Emirates as an “honest friend” of Iran, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. He also expressed support for the two countries working together.
“We hold a spirit of heartfelt amity toward the Emirati nation,” said Raisi, according to the semi-official Press TV. “Close relationship between the two governments can pave the way for brotherly relations and close cooperation between the two nations.” Raisi criticized the UAE’s normalization agreement with Israel and said he expects Arab and Muslim states to support the Palestinians.
The UAE supports the Southern Transitional Council in Yemen. Despite membership in the coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, the UAE fell out with Hadi's government after the former accused Hadi of aligning with the Islah party, a powerful party, which it viewed as ideologically close to the Muslim Brotherhood. The STC declared self-governance on 26 April 2020. On Syria, the UAE is calling for the Arab League to re-establish relations with the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who is strongly backed by Iran.
Tunisian President Kais Saied took on 26 July the surprising decision to dismiss Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspend the activities of the Islamist-dominated parliament for one month.
Saied’s decision came one day after thousands of people staged street protests against the government and the parliament’s biggest party, Ennahda, which is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The protests also came after a big spike in Covid-19 infections and growing tensions over political issues and economic problems, including high levels of unemployment and the slow recovery of many industries due to the pandemic.
In Egypt and also in many parts of the Arab world, Saied’s moves against the Islamist-dominated parliament and the Muslim Brotherhood party of Ennahda (Renaissance) was largely welcomed. In Egypt, in particular, many political analysts agreed that the 25 July protests in Tunisian cities were primarily against Islamists and leader of Ennahda and Parliament Speaker Rachid Al-Ghannoushi monoplising power and politics.
Tunesia 2011 - Al-Ghannoushi - Kais Saied
-- Political analyst Mustafa Al-Feki said in a TV interview that like Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, political Islamist movements in Tunisia have proved to be a big failure. “In fact, political Islam forces have so far proved a big failure in three Arab countries — Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia..”
-- Mustafa Bakri, independent MP and chief editor of the weekly Al-Osbou, tweeted that 25 July was “a day of revolution” against the Muslim Brotherhood. “This is quite similar to Egypt’s 30 June Revolution which saved Egypt from the hegemony of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Bakri, adding that “Tunisian events show a new loss for another Muslim Brotherhood stronghold in the region. They lost in Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia, but they still have a stronghold in Libya,” Bakri said.
-- Gamal Abdel-Gawwad, an Al-Ahram political analyst, told ON TV that “Tunisia under the Muslim Brotherhood was democratic, but just in form and not in content.
Like in Egypt, Tunisian Islamists abused power to advance their extremist agenda and monopolise power and for this particular reason President Saied, supported by the people, decided to save Tunisia from political Islam and the threat of turning the country into a religious autocracy.”
Abdel-Gawwad agrees that like Egypt, the 25 July Revolution in Tunisia came under heavy political and economic pressure. “Tunisia under the Islamist-supported prime minister and parliament faced some of its worst economic conditions", adding, however, that “apart from the deteriorating economy, Tunisia, like Egypt, saw Ennahda implementing the grand ‘Brotherhoodisation’ project that is helping political Islam affiliates monopolise power in all sectors of society.”
Tunisians, like Egyptians, saw that the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Ennahda was aiming to become a state within a state...
-- Hammadi Al-Raisi, a Tunisian political thinker, told Al-Ahram newspaper on 27 July that like Egypt, Islamist forces in Tunisia rode the wave of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions in 2011.
“But some like to describe Tunisia’s Ennahda as more enlightened than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in terms of accepting to work closely with secularist forces,” said Al-Raisi, but political developments in Tunisia over the last 10 years show that Ennahda in Tunisia, like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, both use democracy to advance their radical agendas and gain power.
-- Mohamed Al-Agrodi, a Tunisian political analyst, also believes that the interest of political Islam movements in both Egypt and Tunisia to forge close relations with Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also impacted the peoples in the two countries.
“The peoples in the two countries saw how Ennahda and the Muslim Brotherhood show allegiance and loyalty not to their homeland but to the regimes which espouse their ideology, and how they used their years in power to serve Turkey’s interests,” said Al-Agrodi...
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of late Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi, reared his head again, 10 years after his disappearance following the outbreak of popular protests against the Gadhafi regime back in February 2011.
In an interview published by The New York Times Magazine July 30, he revealed his intention to return to political life:
"After an awkward silence, I asked Seif if he was still a prisoner. He told me he was a free man and was organizing a political return. The rebels who arrested him a decade ago became disenchanted with the revolution, he said, and eventually realized that he could be a powerful ally. Seif smiled as he described his transformation from captive to prince in waiting: 'Can you imagine?' he said. 'The men who used to be my guards are now my friends.'” Seif al-Islam was captured by rebel fighters following the ouster and killing of his father in 2011.
A Libyan court sentenced him to death in 2015, before releasing him two years later. Since then, he has been living in hiding in the northwestern city of Zintan.
“They raped the country — it’s on its knees,” he said in his interview. “There’s no money, no security. There’s no life here. Go to the gas station — there’s no diesel. We export oil and gas to Italy — we’re lighting half of Italy — and we have blackouts here. It’s more than a failure. It’s a fiasco.”
As soon as he reappeared to the public eye, pro-regime Egyptian media outlets rushed to defend him and announce their support for him.
On his TV program “Bel War’a wel Alam” ("Paper and Pen") broadcast July 31, Neshat al-Dhehi, a journalist close to the Egyptian government, promoted the candidacy of Seif al-Islam in the upcoming Libya elections slated for Dec. 24. He said that Seif al-Islam admitted that there were mistakes before 2011 “during the rule of his father, Moammar Gadhafi.”
Dhehi accused foreign intelligence services of tampering with the Libyan internal scene and distorting the image of Seif al-Islam with the aim of keeping him from running for the Libyan elections.
Egyptian member of parliament Mustafa Bakri told Al-Monitor that Seif al-Islam will change the equation in Libya, not only because he is Gadhafi's son, but also because he has a vision and many supporters across Libya, unlike any other political faction that is present in a particular region.
Bakri believes Seif al-Islam may be an option for Libyan reunification. Seif al-Islam enjoys the support of all Libyan regions, as he is backed by the Qadhadhfa, Magarha and Warfalla tribes, who are spread across the city of Sirte in central Libya; Bani Walid and Shwerif in western Libya; and Brak al-Shati and Sabha in the south.
Asked about Egypt’s support for Seif al-Islam in the upcoming elections, Bakri said that Egypt’s policy is clear and based on the stability of Libya and confronting extremist groups that drain Libya and plunder its resources.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (born 25 June 1972) is the second son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his second wife Safia Farkash. Gaddafi was awarded a PhD from London School of Economics.
He was a part of his father's inner circle, performing public relations and diplomatic roles on behalf of his father. According to American State Department officials in Tripoli, during his father's reign, he was the second most-widely recognized person in Libya and was at times the "de facto" Prime Minister.
Via Shehzad Nadeem at OrgTheory comes this report on Muammar el-Gaddafi’s son and the Ph.D in Political Theory he wrote at the LSE in 2008. Gaddafi the Younger’s thesis is titled “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions: From ‘Soft Power’ to Collective Decision-making?”
In it, he argues that, inclusion of elected representatives of non- governmental organisations (NGOs) in tripartite decision-making structures could potentially create a more democratic global governing system. … The thesis argues that there are strong motivations for free individuals to seek fair terms of cooperation within the necessary constraints of being members of a global society.
Drawing on the works of David Hume, John Rawls and Ned McClennen, it elaborates significant self-interested and moral motives that prompt individuals to seek cooperation on fair terms if they expect others to do so.
Secondly, it supports a theory of global justice, rejecting the limits of Rawls’s view of international justice based on what he calls ‘peoples’ rather than persons.
Thirdly, the thesis adopts and applies David Held’s eight cosmopolitan principles to support the concept and specific structures of ‘Collective Management’.
Cosmopolitanism is the idea that all human beings are members of a single community..
Cosmopolitanism is both prescriptive and aspirational, believing humans can and should be "world citizens" in a "universal community". The idea encompasses different dimensions and avenues of community, such as promoting universal moral standards, establishing global political structures, or developing a platform for mutual cultural expression and tolerance.
Iran News - Zakani elected as Tehran mayor
Tehran News, Tue August 10, 2021
In the afternoon meeting of the Tehran City Council, Alireza Zakani was elected as the mayor of Tehran, winning the highest number of votes in the 21-member council.
In the open session of the City Council on Sunday, Zakani gathered 18 votes. Zakani was a candidate for the presidential post but he withdrew in favor of Ebrahim Raisi.
He was the representative of the people of Qom in the parliament.
A biography of Alireza Zakani, published by a conservative political alliance with the pompous title “The Islamic Revolution’s Epic-Makers’ Front”, opens with verification of two basic qualities every Iranian politician could boast of: that he was born in a pious family, and in southern (less prosperous) part of Tehran.
The biography also reminds of his ‘revolutionary presence’ in all fields of activity, from the eight-year war against Iraq to his step-by-step promotion in the Student Basij Organization by ‘his trust in God’ and his own capacity, to his confrontation with ‘sedition’ (that is, the Green Movement), ‘deviation’ (the inner circle of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led by his Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei) and corruption.
Alireza Zakani is a prominent figure among the second generation of the Iranian conservative camp, a generation that asserted its role in Iranian politics after their patrons lost four successive elections to the Reform movement in the late 1990s.
In the early 2000s, the younger generation, now united under the title of Principalists – intended to differentiate them from Reformists by showing their loyalty to principles of the Islamic Revolution and Islam - made a shift in their discourse, stressing the issues of justice and welfare, criticizing what they regarded as the Western, irrelevant project of ‘political development’ followed by Mohammad Khatami and his fellow Reformists.
Zakani started his upwardly mobile trajectory within the Principalist camp since the mid 90s inside the academia.
The Reform movement, with a solid base among the educated youth, had a powerful presence in the universities, and the traditionally left-leaning Islamic Association of Students functioned as its powerful arm in mobilizing the students for the cause.
Against this prominent presence, Zakani and Co. led the Student Basij Organization which had established ties with the conservative camp, and served as a vocal critic of the Reformists up until their virtual marginalization in Iranian politics in 2005...
The resurrection of conservatives started from the days when they seemed to be at their weakest position, that is, with the start of Mohammad Khatami’s second presidential term in 2001.
The right had started a face lift, shifting its discourse from abstract revolutionary ideals towards down-to-earth matters of social justice and economy..
At this time, the term Principalist came to replace the term ‘right wing’ in Iranian political discourse to define their identity.
Within Iranian politics, a principlist refers to the conservative supporters of the Supreme Leader of Iran and advocates for protecting the ideological 'principles' of the Islamic Revolution’s early days. They are more religiously oriented and more closely affiliated with the Qom-based clerical establishment than their moderate and reformist rivals".
A declaration issued by The Two Societies, which serves as the Principlists "manifesto", focuses on loyalty to Islam and the Iranian Revolution, obedience to the Supreme Leader of Iran, and devotion to the principle of Vilayat Faqih.
In 2004 Zakani entered the 7th Parliament from Tehran constituency, along with 29 fellow Principalists, promised to fight corruption and bring justice..
Principalists’ rollercoaster ride in Iranian politics continued afterwards. In 2005, to the surprise of many political analysts, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the relatively unknown mayor of Tehran, unexpectedly defeated old guard Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani by a margin of 7 million votes.
The ebb and flow of Zakani-Ahmadinejad relations was in tandem with the general mood of the Principalist camp from 2005 to 2013. The full force support for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by the conservatives declined step by step, despite a lukewarm support for him in 2009.
With Ahmadinejad’s fall from grace in the Spring of 2011, after he disobeyed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei over reinstating his intelligence minister, Zakani and others accelerated their dissociation from the president, witnessing his sharp policy shifts.
Jahan News played an active role in directing allegations of financial corruption and political ‘deviation’ towards the inner circle of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad..
With the typical periodic shift of politicians’ and public discourse in Iran, one could predict that Zakani can play a more influential rule by the end of Hassan Rouhani’s first (and perhaps second) presidential term, with a swing in public taste from Rouhani’s economically liberal discourse, towards an anti-corruption, pro-justice agenda...
Islam & the LGBT community
Speech Khamenei, May 27, 2016
The main objectives of the [1979 Iran's Islamic] Revolution included: Islamic governance, freedom, social justice, public welfare, eradication of poverty and ignorance, and resistance to the flooding of the ravaging moral decay, which has been coming out from the West to the rest of the planet.
You can all see the manifestation of such [moral decay]: In various countries, they first legalized homosexuality, and then took one step further, and viciously heckle those who are against it.
There is no worst form of moral degeneration than [homosexuality].
In the years past, there were some who thought that since the West allows freedom of sexual contacts between men and women, there is less lust in those societies. [They thought so, since] people normally desire more of the forbidden fruit. But now the opposite of that theory is proved to be the case:
In the West, where there is unlimited [sexual] freedom between men and women, the sexual lust among them increasingly manifests itself in a more pronounced, aggressive and even violent ways.
But it won't stop here. In the future, not sure exactly when, they will legalize incest and even worse. This is where the moral decay will lead us...
Two women were seriously injured in Iran on Monday after a man allegedly ran them over with his car because they weren't wearing head coverings, according to local media reports.
During the incident in Urmia in north-western Iran, the driver loudly protested the women's outfit choices, saying they were un-Islamic, according to the Ilna news agency. This led to a dispute and then he allegedly rammed the women with his car, running them over. The women sustained serious injuries but are no longer in a life-threatening condition, according to Ilna.
The driver allegedly attempted to flee the scene but was later arrested.
Judicial officials condemned the attack and said they would not condone vigilante justice. Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president for women's affairs in Iran, called the attack attempted murder and demanded a harsh punishment.
Ever since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, girls aged nine and older are required to follow Islamic law regarding what they wear.
However, 42 years later, the rules remain unpopular among the majority of women. It is becoming more common in large cities to see women out without the hijab, the customary head covering.
The hijab law is becoming more controversial. Police and justice officials say it is impossible to enforce, since doing so would require hundreds of arrests a day.
At the same time, large parts of the population believe that a failure to wear the hijab will lead to deteriorating morals in the country.
There are protests calling for the hijab rules to be enforced, which sometimes result in violence.
Presenting his cabinet to parliament for an expected vote of confidence, new President Ebrahim Raisi chose Hossein Amir Abdollahian as foreign minister and Javad Owji, an ex-deputy oil minister and managing director of the state-run gas company, as oil minister.
"Amir Abdollahian is a hardline diplomat... If the foreign ministry remains in charge of Iran's nuclear dossier, then obviously Tehran will adopt a very tough line in the talks," said an Iranian nuclear negotiator who asked not to be named.
Amir Abdollahian is believed to have close ties with Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement and other Iranian proxies around the Middle East.
"Raisi's choice shows that he gives importance to regional issues in his foreign policy," a former Iranian official said.
A former ambassador to Bahrain, Amir Abdollahian was deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs between 2011 and 2016.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian - Flashbacks
Iranian Deputy FM: Fighting terrorists and simultaneously
weakening governments is unacceptable. FARS News, 2-10-2014
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined the necessity for settling the regional issues through a pragmatic outlook. Self-centered measures against terrorism would cost the region and the world dearly.
"The regional issues and developments should be settled realistically and if the realities of the region are not considered, terrorism will not be uprooted," Amir Abdollahian said in a meeting with a top Lithuanian foreign ministry official, Ina Marčiulionytė, in Tehran.
"Self-Centered methods and moves against terrorism outside the framework of the international law are damaging and will incur costs on the region and the international system," he added.
Amir Abdollahian underlined the necessity for respecting sovereignty of states, and said, "Fighting terrorists and simultaneously weakening governments is unacceptable and therefore, I am not optimistic about the measures and results of the plans of the anti-terrorism coalition...."
Saudi Arabia Making Strategic Mistake
Using Force to Solve Yemeni Crisis
REUTERS|Khaled Abdullah, 21-9-2015
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The policy of using force in solving the Yemen crisis has proven useless and the situation continues to destabilize the Middle East, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia’s aggression in Yemen has become a strategic mistake. These incorrect actions will of course have negative impacts for the region’s security, as well as for the security of Saudi Arabia and Yemen,” Amir-Abdollahian said during a press conference in Moscow.
He said that Iran continues to help the Yemenis: “Tehran is doing everything to help the Yemeni people,” Amir-Abdollahian said, adding that Iran continues to deliver humanitarian aid to Yemen and supports dialogue between the two opposing sides in the conflict.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined the need for a change in the western countries' approach towards the terrorists fighting the Syrian government and a stop of their logistical and financial support for the militants.
"The western countries and their regional allies need to have a firm determination to put an end to the terrorists' flow into Syria," Amir Abdollahian said on Monday.
He called for serious international determination to fight against the terrorist groups, and said, "Holding elections in Syria needs preparations, including putting an end to the war in the Muslim country, controlling borders and differentiating opposition groups from terrorist groups."
Amir Abdollahian pointed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the “legal president” of Syria...
Iran has warned that its Gulf Arab rivals are jeopardising Lebanon's stability by blacklisting a leading force behind the Beirut government, Hizballah, as a terror group.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Thursday that the Shia group, which is one of Iran's closest allies, was a bulwark against terrorism in the region.
"We are proud of Lebanon's Hizballah as the vanguard of resistance against the Zionist regime and the champion of the fight against terrorism in the region," Abdollahian told Iran's official IRNA news agency.
Abdollahian said the Gulf Cooperation Council's move was a "new mistake" that would undermine peace in the region and the unity of Lebanon.
Iranian Parliament's General Director for International Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, reacting to the recent protests across the country and foreign interventions, said the triangle of US-Israel-Saudi Arabia will never succeed in breaking the will and spirit of the Iranian nation.
He made the remarks in a tweet on Wednesday, adding “Mr. Trump! Iran is that powerful and dignified country which eliminated the US-backed ISIL terrorism in the region with the help of its allies.”
“Iran is the cradle of democracy and security, not a place for turmoil, terror and division,” he stressed..
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, an adviser to Iran's parliamentary speaker, on Friday blasted Morocco’s normalization of relations with Israel, claiming it is “a betrayal and a stab in the back of Palestine”, Reuters reports. “The Zionists will have no place in the future of the region,” he added in a post on Twitter.
Morocco is the fourth Muslim majority state to agree to normalize ties with Israel in 2020. Israel signed the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September. In October, Sudan agreed to normalize ties with the Jewish State.
Hossein Amirabdollahian, a diplomat close to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), was born 1964 in Damghan. He holds a Ph.D. from Tehran University in international relations and is said to be fluent in Arabic and English languages.
He was a member of the Political and Security Committee of the Nuclear Negotiations during the nuclear talks during the presidency of Seyyed Mohammad Khatami. He is the first Iranian official to be invited to London for regional talks after the reopening of the London embassy in Tehran during Hassan Rouhani's first term. He has detailed regional talks with Federica Mogherini on his file...(Wikipedia)
In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: "The United States welcomes the visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to the Kingdom of Morocco for the reopening of the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat."
Lapid arrived in Morocco on a two-day visit yesterday.
Israel and Morocco announced the resumption of diplomatic relations on 10 December last year.
All links had previously been cut in 2000 at the start of the Second Intifada.
Morocco became the fourth Arab country to normalise ties with Israel in 2020, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
Hossein Askari, professor emeritus of international business and international affairs, tells the Tehran Times that “Iran needs more effective institutions, whose three pillars are more freedom, the rule of law and the sanctity of contracts.”
Askari, who taught at the George Washington University and served as special advisor to the Saudi finance minister, also says the only country that could resist U.S. sanctions against Iran is China.
Question: What kind of economic diplomacy should Iran adopt in the region and beyond?
A: “There is not much that Iran can do. The Arabs do not trust Iran. They do what America tells them to do.
So why would the United States, the country that has imposed the sanctions, now tell its Arab surrogates to bust the sanctions and help Iran! There is nothing to be gained from economic diplomacy with Arabs. A lot of talk and nothing will come of it. I can assure you of this.”
Q: Can the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) serve as an avenue for Iran to counter U.S. sanctions?
A: “Let me first explain how secondary or what some call extra-territoriality sanctions work. The U.S. basically tells all countries that if they don’t adhere to the U.S. sanctions on Iran and break them, then whoever breaks them, a foreign company or institution, or country, will not have access to the U.S. market.
So countries or companies are not willing to risk losing access to the U.S. market and to the dollar.
So for me, the only country that could stand up to the U.S. is China. If they were willing, then many of the Eurasian countries might also follow China. China is the key. I would add that I think China should want to challenge the U.S. on its ability to impose sanctions at will sooner as opposed to later. Sanctions have become a potent weapon for the U.S. and China should try to defang U.S. sanctions as soon as it can.”
Q: What other option does Iran have to get around sanctions?
A: “Let me take up from where we just left off. The best option for Iran is to simply join the Chinese camp lock stock and barrel.
The 20-year agreement signed with China is a first step. But Iran needs to do more. Try to convince China why such a total embrace and partnership would serve China’s interest to expand its influence from China to Pakistan, Afghanistan all of central Asia and the Middle East (West Asia) and in the process take American hegemony head on. If China stands up, the U.S. ability to use sanctions as a weapon will become ineffective.
The second option for Iran is to double down on domestic reforms while adopting an austere economic model and building a stronger military in order to increase its bargaining power."
Q: What is your prescription for the Iranian economy?
A: Let me briefly repeat some of what I said in one sentence. Iran needs more effective institutions, whose three pillars are more freedom, the rule of law and the sanctity of contracts.
Q: President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran will extend hand of friendship to countries on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf. However Saudi Arabia has not so far responded warmly to Iran’s diplomatic overtures?
A: “It will take years to build two-way trust between Iran and its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors. The problem countries are Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They believe, of course wrongly, that the clerics in Iran want to overthrow their family rule. To convince them otherwise will take years of trust building.
I tried, at the behest of the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia, for a few months and I managed to get the two sides together but later it fell apart.
You need a permanent cadre of people trusted by both sides who devote their time to bridge the gap and build trust. But countries in the region, especially Israel, does not want close relations between the Persian Gulf Arabs and Iran.
I also believe that the United States feels the same. That it has more to gain if Iran and the Persian Gulf Arabs are at each other’s throats.”
Hossein Askari (economist, born march 23, 1975 in Khomein) is a scholar of economic development in the Middle East and in Islam and the founder of Islamicity Indices, a benchmark to build effective institutions for political, social and economic reform and progress...
These indices provide a concise method of conveying Islam's fundamental teachings, a benchmark for assessing how well Muslim communities have adopted these teachings and a roadmap for reformation and development of these communities.
“I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims;
I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but no Islam.”
Askari has argued that Islam was hijacked almost immediately after the prophet Mohammad’s death by rulers.
Muslims have been fed a message of Islam that is focused on the largely mechanical facets of the religion, the five pillars, popularized by academics and have been prevented from debating the meaning of the teachings and their practice contained in the Quran.
Islamicity Indices demonstrate that countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and New Zealand better reflect Islamic teachings and their envisioned institutions than do countries that profess Islam.
In the 2019 Islamicity index, released earlier this year, New Zealand is ranked first overall, followed by Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and Ireland. The top Muslim-majority country is United Arab Emirates (UAE) at 44.
Iran has witnessed a steep rise in the number of new millionaires over the past year, despite the country being subject to crippling US sanctions and experiencing multiple waves of Covid-19 outbreaks.
According to Capgemini's latest World Wealth Report, the Islamic Republic recorded the world's biggest rise in the number of high-net-worth individuals in 2020, boasting at least 250,000 millionaires and jumping three places to rank 14th globally.
According to the report, Iran now has more millionaires than Spain, Russia, Brazil and its oil-rich neighbour and regional rival, Saudi Arabia.
But with the country subject to crippling US sanctions and witnessing at least one fatality from Covid-19 every two minutes, some Iranians have questioned how the country came to acquire so many millionaires.
"Becoming a millionaire is perfectly okay in a capitalist society, but in a country that chants anti-capitalism slogans and considers it as part of its revolutionary ideals, it’s a little bit odd, and not quite acceptable to society," Reza Ghiabi, a Tehran-based business developer who provides consultation to wealthy individuals, told Middle East Eye.
"This is totally different from those who become millionaires in Silicon Valley in a capitalist society like that of the US."
When an array of social groups overthrew the Iranian monarchy in 1979, paving the way for the establishment of the Islamic Republic, there was a widely held perception that the era of capitalists was over, and a new system based on a fair distribution of wealth would be established.
How can govt. really support stock market?
By Ebrahim Fallahi, Tehran Times, April 18, 2021
April 2021: Stock Market Investors Protest
In Several Cities In Iran
Unprecedented fluctuations in the Iranian stock market have led shareholders, experts, and scholars to call for the government to increase its support for the market, some shareholders want the government to guarantee the return of their stocks, some believe providing infrastructure is the best way to help this market...
Reza Ghiabi said the success of Iran's millionaires was largely down to money possessed by ordinary citizens, rather than entrepreneurship.
"Most Iranian millionaires are neither producers, nor entrepreneurs. They are not even good in attracting investment," Ghiabi said.
"In the absence of foreign investment and an opportunity for the growth of Iran's economy, these millionaires mostly get rich, not through foreign revenues or production income, but through the money coming from non-rich people's pockets," he added.
In September, the Iranian government injected one percent of the sovereign wealth fund - public money - into the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE), which helped spur the millionaire boom, Forbes reported.
"Between March and July 2020, the TSE's trade values increased by 625 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier, and the TSE hit a record high in early August," read the World Wealth Report.
However, the stock market bubble burst and many ordinary Iranians who had been encouraged by the government to invest their money in the TSE lost a fortune.
Since September 2020, shareholders who suffered heavy losses have staged protests in several cities.
In April, demonstrations rocked Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Tabriz, with investors publicly blaming Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other senior officials, including now-President Ebrahim Raisi, for their losses.
The economy of Iran is a mixed and transition economy with a large public sector. It is the world's 23rd largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Some 60% of Iran's economy is centrally planned.
It is dominated by oil and gas production, although over 40 industries are directly involved in the Tehran Stock Exchange, one of the best performing exchanges in the world over the past decade.
With 10% of the world's proven oil reserves and 15% of its gas reserves, Iran is considered an "energy superpower." A unique feature of Iran's economy is the presence of large religious foundations called Bonyad, whose combined budgets represent more than 30 percent of central government spending.
The Taliban claims that hundreds of soldiers of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces surrendered with tanks and other weapons in Kunduz on Wednesday. (Sputnik News, 11-8)
BERLIN: Germany said Thursday that it would stop sending financial support to Afghanistan in the event that the Taliban succeeded in seizing power in the country.
Speaking to the German broadcaster ZDF, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Taliban know that Afghanistan cannot survive without international aid.
"We will not send another cent to this country (Afghanistan) if the Taliban take complete control, introduce Sharia law and turn it into a caliphate," Maas said.
Germany sends Afghanistan 430 million euros ($504 million) in aid a year, making it one of the biggest donors to the strife-hit nation. Since international troops began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in May, the Taliban have taken control of large swathes of territory.
Maas referred back to the decision of the United States to withdraw from the country, when asked about the gains made by Taliban insurgents in the country.
"This meant that all NATO forces had to leave the country as well, because without American capabilities... no one country can send their soldiers there safely," Maas said.
German soldiers were deployed as part of a NATO force in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years until June.
BREAKING NEWS 13-8-2021
Ismail Khan joins Islamic Emirate with all his supporters and troops. Soldiers and commanders also surrender in large numbers from Kandahar airport. 300 soldiers and commandos surrendered in Zafar corps of Herat province. Ghor governor’s office, police headquarter and facilities also fall to Mujahideen. Tarinkot completely falls to Mujahideen. Herat airport comes under Mujahideen control
AFGHANISTAN, Aug. 13 – During the extensive and decisive operation launched by the Islamic Emirate across the country with the help of Allah Almighty and in support of its afflicted but courageous nation, since last night important province of Kandahar, great Helmand province, historic province of Herat, and the proud province of Badghis have been conquered.
This brings the total number of provinces to 14, which have been completely conquered by Islamic Emirate and cleared of the enemy.
The Islamic Emirate in the remaining provinces also calls on the remaining enemy to put an end to the futile resistance as soon as possible. Establish a pure Islamic, strong and inclusive Afghan system in the country..
Qatar said it had urged the Taliban to cease fire and pull back their offensive in Afghanistan during a meeting between the Qatari foreign minister and a top representative of the Afghan insurgents in Doha on Saturday. Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met the head of the Taliban's political bureau, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to follow up on peace talks hosted by the Gulf country, the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (born 1968) is a co-founder of the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was the deputy of Mullah Mohammed Omar (founder of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996). Baradar was captured in Pakistan by a team of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers in February 2010 and was released on 24 October 2018 at the request of the United States.
Envoys from the United States, China, Pakistan, the United Nations, the European Union and others met Taliban representatives and Afghan government officials on Thursday in Doha.
The statement issued following that meeting reaffirmed that foreign capitals would not recognise any government in Afghanistan "imposed through the use of military force".
Taliban fighters entered Kabul on Sunday and sought the unconditional surrender of the central government, officials said, as Afghans and foreigners alike raced for the exit, signaling the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan.
The beleaguered central government, meanwhile, hoped for an interim administration, but increasingly had few cards to play. In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces.
On Sunday, the insurgents entered the outskirts of Kabul but apparently remained outside of the city's downtown. Sporadic gunfire echoed at times though the streets were largely quiet.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Qatar's Al-Jazeera English satellite news channel that the insurgents are "awaiting a peaceful transfer of Kabul city.'' He declined to offer specifics on any possible negotiations between his forces and the government.
But when pressed on what kind of agreement the Taliban wanted, Shaheen acknowledged that they were seeking an unconditional surrender by the central government. Taliban negotiators headed to the presidential palace Sunday to discuss the transfer, said an Afghan official who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. It remained unclear when that transfer would take place.
The negotiators on the government side included former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, an official said.
Acting Defense Minister Bismillah Khan sought to reassure the public that Kabul would remain secure.
The insurgents also tried to calm residents of the capital, insisting their fighters wouldn't enter people's homes or interfere with businesses.
"No one's life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk,'' the insurgents said in a statement.
President Ashraf Ghani has left Afghanistan, paving the way for the Taliban to take control of the country after the militant group marched on Kabul, senior official Abdullah Abdullah has confirmed.
Ghani fled the Afghan capital on Sunday, following a stunning Taliban offensive that ended at the gates of Kabul. Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, said that “he left Afghanistan in a hard time, God hold him accountable.”
The militants called for negotiations, after claiming they wanted to avoid a battle that could cost civilian lives. The president left the country accompanied by his “close aides,” TOLO, an Afghan news channel, reported.
Taliban fighters have entered the Afghan presidential palace, after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country amid the group’s rapid advance on the capital, Kabul.
Al Jazeera obtained exclusive footage of Taliban leaders, surrounded by dozens of armed fighters, addressing the media from the country’s seat of power on Sunday.
Ghani’s departure came amid negotiations for a peaceful transfer of power after Taliban fighters encircled Kabul after capturing 26 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals in less than two weeks.
Ghani later said in a statement posted on Facebook that he fled to prevent further bloodshed.
“The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” he said.
Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai announced the formation of Afghanistan Coordination Council hours after the departure of Ashraf Ghani from the country.
In this message Hamid Karzai announced, “Following the exit of Mr. Ashraf Ghani and responsible officials from Afghanistan, Coordination Council consisting of Abdullah Abdullah, Head of Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Leader of Islamic Party of Afghanistan and former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai were formed in order to prevent chaos and reduce suffering of Afghan people and better manage the affairs related to the peaceful transfer of power.”
In a tweet on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote, “Violence & war—like occupation—never solve problems. Iran welcomes announcement by @KarzaiH on forming a Coordination Council by Afghan leaders.”
“We hope that it can lead to dialogue & a peaceful transition in Afghanistan. Iran stands ready to continue its peacemaking efforts,” he added.
The West attempted to halt the Taliban’s march on Kabul with a threat of international isolation, but enforcing such a measure now that the city has fallen may be impossible...
As Taliban forces were on their final push to take the Afghan capital, the West was issuing threats of reprisals, should the militants take power by force. A Taliban government would become “global pariahs,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy to the country, warned.
The Islamists “would face non-recognition, isolation [and] lack of international support,” EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said. The same sentiment came from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Yet, delivering on such threats now that they’ve failed to keep Kabul out of Taliban hands may be impossible, with some key stakeholders themselves subject to Western attempts to isolate them.
In the run-up to its military victory, the Islamist movement intensified its diplomatic outreach and apparently has won plenty of goodwill from non-Western players. Both China and Russia have declined to evacuate their diplomatic staff from Kabul...
They stopped short of recognizing the Taliban as the new legitimate leadership, but said they will work with the militants to ensure a smooth transition of power. Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s opposite number to US’ Khalilzad, even complimented the Islamists, saying they seemed more trustworthy negotiations partners than the fallen US-backed “puppet government.” During the diplomatic offensive, Taliban officials offered Russia and Beijing respect for their national interests.
China was told the Taliban would cut ties with Islamist Uighur separatists from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), denying them a foothold to launch attacks on Xinjiang province.
Russia was promised non-interference in Central Asia, addressing certain security concerns of Moscow’s allies there.
The Afghan militants held talks with officials from neighbors Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, with Russia facilitating these.
Iran last month hosted high-level talks between the militants and the Afghan government. India had reportedly established a backchannel to the Taliban.
The US is far from lacking leverage. After the fall of Kabul, Washington said the Taliban will not get access to Afghanistan’s national reserves kept in US-controlled bank accounts, which were estimated at $9.4 billion in April.
As Iran or Venezuela can attest, the US has no qualms about taking liberties with foreign assets that belong to nations that have a falling-out with America.
But such forms of leverage may not be as good a tool to influence the policies of people, who fought against a NATO military presence in their country for two decades.
The Taliban sees China as a “friend” to Afghanistan and is hoping to talk to Beijing about investing in reconstruction work “as soon as possible”, the group’s spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with This Week in Asia, Suhail said the Taliban would guarantee the safety of Chinese investors and workers if they were to return.
“We welcome them. If they have investments of course we ensure their safety. Their safety is very important for us,” he said by phone.
Suhail also said the Taliban would no longer allow China’s Uyghur separatist fighters, some of whom had previously sought refuge in Afghanistan, to enter the country. The Taliban would also prevent al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group from operating there.
China looks forward to 'friendship' with Taliban
but doesn’t recognize their rule — yet
Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, August 16, 2021
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday that China “respects the wishes and choices of the Afghan people” following the Taliban’s return to power nearly 20 years after it was ousted by the United States, following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Hua said that China has “maintained contact and communication with the Taliban” in dodging whether China would recognize the legitimacy of the Taliban’s rule.
“China respects Afghan people’s right to decide their own destiny and future, and is willing to continue to develop friendship and cooperation with Afghanistan,” Hua said, adding, “Afghanistan’s Taliban has expressed many times a desire for good relations with China, with an expectation that China will take part in Afghanistan’s rebuilding and development process, and will not allow any forces to use Afghanistan’s soil to harm China. We welcome this.”
President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), Salem al-Meslet, met with Germany’s ambassador to Turkey, Jürgen Schulz, and his accompanying delegation.
The two sides discussed the latest on the ground and political developments in Syria... Salem al-Meslet reiterated that political transition is the only way to get Syria out of the crisis that the criminal regime and its backers have caused. He also stressed that the friends of the Syrian people and Germany have an important role in achieving this solution...
Al-Meslet pointed out that political solution within the currently proposed procedures is almost impossible to reach as the Assad regime still pursues a military solution...
For his part, the German ambassador reiterated his country’s support for the aspirations and hopes of the Syrian people for freedom, dignity and democracy. He stressed that the unity of the Syrian people is of great importance.
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) is a coalition of opposition groups in the Syrian Civil War that was founded in Doha, Qatar, in November 2012.
Tensions between Syria’s pro-government forces and opposition fighters have escalated in Daraa, the Syrian city considered the birthplace of the 2011 uprising..
The fighting was focused in Daraa al-Balad, a southern district of the city under the control of former rebel forces. The monitoring group said regime forces fired short-range surface-to-surface rockets and mortars, and local fighters responded with attacks on military positions and checkpoints in the Daraa countryside.
The fighting marks the “most violent and broadest clashes in Daraa since it came under regime control,” the monitoring group said. Under a Moscow-brokered “reconciliation” deal, the rebels agreed to hand over their weapons. Civilians and opposition fighters who didn’t surrender to regime control were evacuated to the northwest province of Idlib.
The pro-government Al-Watan newspaper on Thursday described the situation as the “start of a military operation against hideouts of terrorists who thwarted a reconciliation deal.”
Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory.
The British-Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves ‘a depressingly predictable pattern’ of demonising the enemy leader, then demonising the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined.
Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar al Assad became the new evil in the world and, according to consistent western media reports, the Syrian Army did nothing but kill civilians for more than four years.
To this day, many imagine the Syrian conflict is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or some sort of internal sectarian conflict. These myths are, in many respects, a substantial achievement for the big powers which have driven a series of ‘regime change’ operations in the Middle East region, all on false pretexts, over the past 15 years.
When the Syrian popular protests broke out in March 2011, Islamic symbols –and their material manifestations – were conspicuously present. Their
visibility and influence increased further with the ascendance of spiritual
discourse, the elevated role of mosques and their preachers, and the
contribution of religious scholars. The Islamic groups and the militant
Islamists have become key players in the ongoing military and security
20 years on, trillions of dollars spent and in August 2021 we see a scramble at an airport by desperate people trying to board military aircraft. Vietnam, 1970s? No, Kabul, 2021
While there are those who today are gloating and rubbing their hands in glee at the utter humiliation of the United States of America and its NATO Poodles, let us remember that we are dealing with serious things... So this is not a time for gloating... Let us not forget how this started
Afghanistan had a progressive, inclusive government which respected women’s rights, and which built schools for boys and girls to go to, hospitals, was improving its healthcare network, was implementing free and good public services.
Then someone said “I know! Let’s destabilize the country completely and launch an Islamist movement to attack the soft underbelly of the Soviet Union”.
So money from Saudi Arabia was used to fund religious schools in Pakistan which filled up with mainly Pashtun students (from both sides of the frontier with Afghanistan) and a radical form of Wahhabist (expansionist) Islam was launched.
Seeing what was coming, the Soviets decided to back the progressive government (which had asked for their help) and walked straight into a trap masterminded by who else? The Queen of intrigue, the good old US of A.
The Mujaheddin movement, fired up by Islamist discourse and manned by mountain people, saw the Soviet armed forces move out within a decade and the thank-you note to Washington was to morph into the Taliban movement.
Is democracy mob rule?
So let us not forget where and how this began. Let us also not forget that twenty years ago, many people saw no alternative for the West other than to invade Afghanistan because it was harbouring Al-Qaeda... Where they soon lost my support was when I saw a total disregard for human life and property and a total absence of responsibility, in strafing homes and bombing wedding parties and the like...
Many of us witnessed an outrage in international law and a collapse in the credibility of their foreign policy when two years later, a savage attack was launched on Iraq outside the auspices of international law, based on lies and the childishness of western leaders.
And after this, more of the same when the West cavorted with terrorists in Libya, again breached international law and then sided with takfiri forces in Syria...
In a meeting with military commanders on Tuesday to discuss the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Iraq’s defence minister Jouma Anad emphasized the need for well-trained, disciplined forces to combat a surging Islamic State group (ISIS). Iraqi forces have carried out multiple operations against ISIS in the past few days.
In their meeting, they emphasized Iraq’s forces need to be “highly prepared to fight, focused on discipline and military training, and to take caution,” he said following the meeting. “Trained sectors have fewer losses than the untrained,” he added.
Afghan troops put up little to no resistance as the Taliban took control of the country over the past week, following the withdrawal of United States forces.
Comparisons have been drawn with Iraq in 2014 when Iraqi forces melted away as ISIS seized control of much of the country’s north and west.
ISIS was declared territorially defeated in Iraq in 2017, but the group remains a security threat carrying out bombings, hit-and-run attacks, and abductions.
Iraq’s forces are carrying out operations against ISIS on multiple fronts.
The operations follow numerous ISIS attacks on the country's electricity grid, contributing to a blackout last month that left millions across central and southern Iraq without power. In its propaganda magazine, ISIS claims to have carried out 134 attacks on electricity towers between June 6 and August 10.
What would Afghanistan look like without war? It could look like the oasis of peace that is the Blue Mosque standing in its flower-filled park in the center of Mazar-e Sharif.
Blue Mosque is described as an oasis for peace, and it really does seem like it, considering the thousands of white doves surrounding the mosque. Legend has it the mosque is so sacred that any dove with a speck of color on its feathers will instantly become pure white after entering the mosque’s vicinity.
The white doves act like they live here and they do. They have been raised by the Blue Mosque's attendants since it was built in the 12th century and they have become one of its famous symbols.
To one side of the mosque complex is the pigeon-house. It is a large, low concrete box with small windows and most of its space below ground. This is where the doves nest and breed year-round. It is also where they are fed.
The Blue Mosque is truly blue, with its sides dressed in thousands of colorful and intricately patterned tiles that shimmer in the sunlight like a mirage.
The twin blue domes of the Shrine of Hazrat Ali are one of Afghanistan’s most iconic sights, and pilgrims come from across the country to pay their respects at the tomb contained inside.
It is believed by some Muslims (the Sunni) that the site of the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib - the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad - is in Mazari Sharif.
However, other Muslims (the Shi’a) believe that the real grave of Ali is found within the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq...
“Times have changed and China is not the old Soviet Union. In today's integrated global economy, China is a larger economic player than the United States.” Fabrizio Verde (Director of the online newspaper l'AntiDiplomatico) tells the Tehran Times. Following is (a part of) the text of the interview:
Q: Do you think the unipolar world order has come to an end? The U.S. is fighting tooth and nail to show that it is still the only leader of the world while China and Russia and some other new emerging powers have started to challenge U.S. hegemony.
A: They will try to resist in all ways, but U.S. power is in an irreversible decline. They have now irremediably lost their status as the hegemonic power of the world order. A nation must be considered a hegemonic power if it has a whole dominance in key sectors such as economy, population, personnel and military power, research, and development.
In contrast, the situation of the United States portrays a country in economic, social, and cultural collapse and decay.
Simultaneously, we have a new multipolar order with Eurasian traction in strong growth. Precisely for this reason, the United States has launched a new cold war against Beijing in the style of what it did in the days of the Soviet Union.
Nevertheless, times have changed and China is not the old Soviet Union. In today's integrated global economy, China is a larger economic player than the United States.
Furthermore, the Soviet Union chose to compete militarily with the United States, with disastrous consequences, given the reduced economic strength. On the contrary, China will not pursue the United States on this terrain by concentrating resources on the defense of its borders and its territory.
Moreover, in the long run, economic power invariably outweighs military strength.
U.S. imperialism is experiencing historical decay and has no way out to resolve its structural crisis, neither with neoliberalism nor with the return to Keynesianism. The future is multipolar.
Q: Do you think that the EU is reliable when it comes to containing U.S. unilateral moves? Some observers say that the EU cannot take decisions independently as it needs a U.S. security umbrella.
A: The European Union is an amorphous creature governed by absurd economic policies based on the wildest neoliberalism. A construction without sovereignty that follows the directives coming from Washington...
The the important directives are decided in Washington and Brussels just executes. Even if France and Germany, perhaps exclusively for economic reasons, try to keep some channels of opening towards Russia and above all China... France is the only country within the European Union that questions strategic autonomy from the United States and that, starting from nuclear deterrence, includes the perspective of defending Europe's independence and thinks in terms of sectors strategic including communication and energy supply networks.
Q: Can Western powers hamper China’s efforts to develop the infrastructure of developing countries?
A: Western countries have announced plans to counter China with its New Silk Road project.
These plans, both the one announced by Biden at the G7 and the less clear one launched by the European Union that would like to involve India, involve lavish investments aimed at supplanting the Chinese advance.
However, do Western countries have this economic strength? I do not think so...
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: "I’m sure you recalled our great writer Leo Tolstoy here. In his great novel 'War and Peace', he wrote that war contradicted human reason and human nature, while peace in his opinion was good for people.
Leo Tolstoy (born in 1828) was one of the world’s pre-eminent writers becoming famous through his epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
Towards the end of his life, Leo Tolstoy became increasingly interested in a version of pacifist Christianity with support for a strand of anarchist Communism. His exposition of pacifism and non-violence had a profound influence on others – most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
Syria 2012: Islamists fighting for 'the revolution'
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan following two decades of US occupation risks emboldening jihadists worldwide as al-Qaeda-connected groups in Syria and Yemen have already welcomed the Taliban’s victory, in a sign they could be emboldened to ratchet up their activities in the period to come.
“The Taliban’s victory will give jihadist groups worldwide a major boost. It makes them believe that they can expel foreign powers, even major military powers like the United States,” Colin Clarke, director of research at the New York-based Soufan Centre think tank, said... Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch on Wednesday congratulated the Taliban on their takeover of Afghanistan and vowed to continue its own military campaigns.
“This victory and empowerment reveals to us that jihad and fighting represent the (Islamic law)-based, legal and realistic way to restore rights...
“As for the game of democracy and working with simple pacifism, it is a deceptive mirage, a fleeting shadow and a vicious circle that starts with a zero and ends with it...” Al-Qaida’s propaganda arm Al-Thabat has already welcomed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, saying that “Muslims and Mujahideen in Pakistan, Kashmir, Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Somalia and Mali are celebrating the liberation of Afghanistan and the implementation of Sharia within it.”
Syria - Idlib - News
Hurras al-Din Statement on Taliban Conquest
by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Aug 18, 2021
For leading figures in the insurgent group Hurras al-Din, which is one of the Islamist factions in the insurgent-held regions of Idlib and its environs,
the Taliban's recent victory in Afghanistan constitutes a victory for Muslims (i.e. Sunnis) and is an example of steadfastness in the face of a foreign occupation.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, Hurras al-Din has released its own official statement congratulating the Taliban and the 'people of the Afghans'.
The statement concludes with a hope for victory to liberate Syria and implement Islamic law.
Below is the statement translated....
"With utmost joy and delight we received the news of the conquests of our people in Afghanistan...
So congratulations to the people of the Afghans for this clear conquest and great victory.. We in the Syrian revolution draw inspiration for our steadfastness and constancy from these living experiences and examples that bear witness to holding fast to the choice of resistance and jihad... We from Sham al-Ribat [Hurras al-Din], bless our brothers of the Taliban and our people in Afghanistan for this clear conquest, asking the Lord to bless the Syrian revolution with strengthened victory, by which the land should be liberated, and the bond broken, with rights returning to their people, and justice prevailing in the shade of the Shari'a of al-Rahman [i.e. Islamic law of God].
Hurras al-Din (HaD) was formed on February 27, 2018, by a merger of seven hardline Syrian rebel factions.
Ten more minor rebel factions joined the group in the months following its formation, all with a history of ideological and leadership ties to al-Qaeda.
At least half of the group’s 700-2,500 members are foreigners. HaD is avowedly loyal to al-Qaeda and its leadership is dominated by non-Syrian al-Qaeda veterans.
HaD’s leadership is split along two ideological currents: one following the teachings of al-Qaeda scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and the other following the Libyan cleric Jamal Ibrahim Ashityawee al-Musratti.
Both currents, however, view al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as their “defining authority.” The group holds no territory and largely uses small arms and light weapons such as mortars and technicals in its raids of Syrian regime positions.
The State Department has formally designated Huras al-Din (Guardians of Religion) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and placed “Rewards for Justice” bounties on three of its leaders. The group (hereinafter HD) is al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, a role it assumed after Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) publicly distanced itself from its original parent organization.
Besides military activities, HD is deeply involved in spreading its ideology in different parts of Idlib province.
It has built up a clerical establishment via its Duat al-Tawhid al-Dawai Center, which is led by Abu Usamah al-Shawkani. The center’s activities focus on Friday sermons, youth lectures, public dawa (outreach) forums, dawa tours, cultural courses, and hospital visits. Members also distribute ideological literature at car checkpoints and hang banners advertising their ideology or events.
Idlib is formally managed by the “Salvation government,” which includes technocrats not necessarily affiliated with HTS, but those in the government need to be blessed by its leadership.
Once pledging allegiance to al Qaeda, the HTS’s Mohammed al Jolani is rolling up his sleeves to fight his past and convince the world that he’s the man who can save Syria’s Idlib. (TRT World, 15-2-2021)
By 2020, three widely different models of religious governance survived outside regime-controlled areas.
-- First, in the northwestern region of Idlib, the hardline Islamist faction now known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, or Syria’s Liberation Committee)—which was formerly an al-Qaeda affiliate known as Jabhat al-Nusra—was ruling through the formally civilian Hukumat al-Inqadh al-Suriyya (Syrian Salvation Government).
(The HTS was designated as a terrorist organization by the Russian Supreme Court’s decision on May 20, 2020. The USA describes HTS in Idlib as "an organization focused on the fight against the Assad regime and does not pose an international threat".)
-- Second, in the northern regions of Syria controlled by the Turkish army, religious institutions were affiliated with bodies that emerged from the revolutionary era, namely local councils and the Syrian Interim Government (the executive arm of the Syrian National Coalition, the largest opposition alliance, based in the Turkish city of Gaziantep). Such institutions are now operating under the supervision of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).
-- Finally, east of the Euphrates River, governance lies in the hands of actors who historically had little interest in religion—namely, local affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This left-wing Kurdish organization in Turkey has been waging an insurgency against the state since 1984, and its Syrian offshoots control the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
In the presence of Mrs. Asma al-Assad, the first round of “Wounded of the Homeland” Games was inaugurated on Friday evening at the al-Assad Sports City in Lattakia, with the participation of about 100 athletes of total disabled in various sports, which lasts for five days with Arab and international participation.
Prior to the inauguration celebrations, Mrs. Asma al-Assad met the wounded athletes participating in the competitions of “Wounded of the Homeland” Games.
Mrs. Asma al- Assad said “I am proud of your spirit of challenge, this spirit that made you not to break after injury, it is the spirit that made you continue with the same steadfastness, and it is the spirit that made you overcome all obstacles.”.
She added that the importance of the “Wounded of the Homeland” Games is not only that it is being held for the first time, but because it also consolidates the fact that the wounded are able, and this is not just a slogan, but a reality with your will and solidarity.
The inauguration ceremony witnessed dancing show pictures which varied between the national and folkloric feature that embodies the unity and vitality of the Syrian people in addition to the sacrifices of soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army.
"We must be free to examine our history — Jewish history or any other — on the basis that no peoples have a monopoly of truth or right. Victims of oppression in time can become perpetrators of oppression. That is the dialectic of history, that is the inter-connectedness of all peoples. That is our internationalist response against all forms of exceptionalism, including Jewish exceptionalism." (Graham Bash, 27-9-2019
The right-wing leadership of the UK’s Labour Party has intensified its purge of the left. Two of the most high-profile targets came in recent days with the expulsion of veteran socialist filmmaker Ken Loach and a threat to expel Jewish anti-Zionist Graham Bash.
Award-winning director Ken Loach announced on Saturday that he had been expelled:
'Labour HQ finally decided I'm not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled. Well...' KL, August 14, 2021
He said that Labour had demanded he “disown those already expelled” and that he would not do so.
“I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimized by the purge,” he wrote. “There is indeed a witch hunt.”
Loach is the director of such films as The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Land and Freedom and I, Daniel Blake. For decades he has been a supporter of left-wing causes and the rights of Palestinians.
The Labour Party establishment has led a witch hunt against socialists and Palestine solidarity activists for years now. It began in earnest in 2016, soon after Jeremy Corbyn became leader.
Since Keir Starmer took over the party last year, the purge has only intensified. Starmer swiftly declared that he supported “Zionism without qualification” and signaled a sharp turn towards Israel.
Under his leadership, the party hired a former Israeli spy onto Starmer’s staff, banned local members’ debates on Palestine on the pretext of “anti-Semitism” and handed unprecedented party powers to the Israel lobby. Palestine solidarity activists and the wider left have been steadily kicked out of the party...
The pretexts for most of these purges has been alleged “anti-Semitism” – which is almost always a code word for supporting Palestinian human rights...
Tony Blair savages Joe Biden’s ‘imbecilic’ decision to abandon Afghanistan
"The world is now uncertain of where the West stands because it is so obvious that the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in this way was driven not by grand strategy but by politics. We didn’t need to do it. We chose to do it. We did it in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars’.." Tony Blair, 21-8-2021
The rush is on now to find somebody to blame for the chaos in Afghanistan. Many of the “experts” doing the finger-pointing are the ones most to blame. Politicians and pundits who played cheerleader for this war for two decades are now rushing to blame President Biden for finally getting the US out.
Where were they when succeeding presidents continued to add troops and expand the mission in Afghanistan? The US war on Afghanistan was not lost on 15 August 2021. It was lost the moment it shifted from a limited mission to apprehend those who planned the attack on 9/11 to an exercise in regime change and nation-building.
Immediately after the 9/11 attacks I proposed that we issue letters of marque and reprisal to bring those responsible to justice. But such a limited and targeted response to the attack was ridiculed at the time. How could the US war machine and all its allied profiteers make their billions if we didn’t put on a massive war? So who is to blame for the scenes from Afghanistan this weekend? There is plenty to go around.
Congress has kicked the can down the road for 20 years, continuing to fund the Afghan war long after even they understood that there was no point to the US occupation...
The generals and other high-ranking military officers lied to their commander-in-chief and to the American people for years about progress in Afghanistan. The same is true for the US intelligence agencies... The military industrial complex spent 20 years on the gravy train with the Afghanistan war. They built missiles, they built tanks, they built aircraft and helicopters. They hired armies of lobbyists and think tank writers to continue the lie that was making them rich. They wrapped their graft up in the American flag, but they are the opposite of patriots.
The mainstream media has uncritically repeated the propaganda of the military and political leaders about Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and all the other pointless US interventions. Many of these outlets are owned by defense industry-connected companies. The corruption is deep.
American citizens must also share some blame. Until more Americans rise up and demand a pro-America, non-interventionist foreign policy they will continue to get fleeced by war profiteers...
America’s corporate media are ringing with recriminations over the humiliating U.S. military defeat in Afghanistan. But very little of the criticism goes to the root of the problem, which was the original decision to militarily invade and occupy Afghanistan in the first place.
That decision set in motion a cycle of violence and chaos that no subsequent U.S. policy or military strategy could resolve over the next 20 years, in Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the other countries swept up in America’s post-9/11 wars.
While Americans were reeling in shock at the images of airliners crashing into buildings on Sept. 11, 2001, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held a meeting in an intact part of the Pentagon.
Undersecretary Stephen Cambone’s notes from that meeting spell out how quickly and blindly U.S. officials prepared to plunge our nation into graveyards of empire in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.
Cambone wrote that Rumsfeld wanted, “best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time — not only UBL [Usama bin Laden].… Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”
So within hours of these horrific crimes in the United States, the central question senior U.S. officials were asking was not how to investigate them and hold the perpetrators accountable, but how to use this “Pearl Harbor” moment to justify wars, regime changes and militarism on a global scale.
Three days later, Congress passed a bill authorizing the president to use military force “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”
In 2016, the Congressional Research Service reported that this Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) had been cited to justify 37 distinct military operations in 14 different countries and at sea...
The only member of Congress who had the wisdom and courage to vote against the 2001 AUMF was Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, California.
"As we act, let us not become the evil we deplore" (14-9-2001)
Lee compared it to the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution and she warned her colleagues that it would inevitably be used in the same expansive and illegitimate way.
The final words of her floor speech echo presciently through the 20-year-long spiral of violence, chaos and war crimes it unleashed, “As we act, let us not become the evil we deplore...”
For years, she told the The Washington Post, she faced harassment, hate, and threats for her solitary vote on Afghanistan.
Tens of thousands of e-mails and phone calls -- including death threats -- flooded her offices in Oakland and Washington. Lee has been under such intense criticism that no one in public office wanted to be associated with her.
But, Lee said, as the years went on and US soldiers remained in the region fighting a seemingly never-ending war, people began to approach her and apologize.
One man brought his son to a campaign event in 2019, where, with tears in his eyes, he asked her forgiveness for vilifying her vote all those years ago, she told The Post.
"What you did, I hated you," he told her. "But I understand now exactly what that was all about. I came here because I want to personally apologize and I want my son to see me apologize to you for that." Lee said it was her background in psychology and psychiatric work that guided her decision back in 2001.
Ambassador and Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Zahra Ershadi in a letter to UNSC President warned against the threats of the Israeli regime against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.
She wrote "I am writing further to letter dated 12 April 2021 (A/75/852–S/2021/347) of the Islamic Republic of Iran, through which we have informed you of a terrorist act by the Israeli regime at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant on 11 April 2021, disrupting the operations of this sensitive nuclear facility, which has been under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and extensive monitoring.
In his recent interview, the Israeli regime’s Prime Minister has confessed, though implicitly, to Israel’s covert attacks on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and brazenly stated that the regime will continue such attacks.
It was followed by other shameless threats by the Israeli regime’s Defense Minister to attack Iran, stating that Israel has the means to act and will not hesitate to do so...
The deliberate targeting, by the Israeli regime, of a highly sensitive safeguarded nuclear facility with the high risk of potential release of radioactive material constitutes reckless criminal acts of nuclear terrorism, and serves as another clear example of its continued violation of international law...
Moreover, the aforementioned explicit threats against a Member State of the United Nations constitute gross violations of international law, the United Nations Charter, particularly its Article 2..
Only in less than two years, the Israeli regime has conducted countless unlawful overt and covert adventurist measures, including terrorist acts against Iran’s nuclear scientists and centers...
Charter of the United Nations, Art 2
“The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.
1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
Determined to exercise its inalienable right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in all its aspects, the Islamic Republic of Iran warns against any possible miscalculation or adventurist act by the Israeli regime.
The Islamic republic of Iran reserves its inherent right under international law to take all necessary measures to protect and defend its citizens, interests, installations and sovereignty against any terrorist or disruptive acts.
Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili
Culture Minister in Iranian President Raisi’s New Cabinet
by Morgan Artyukhina, 27-8-2021
The Iranian Majlis on Wednesday approved nearly all of Raisi’s nominations for cabinet ministers, rejecting just his proposed education minister. Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili (born 1975) was approved for Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Esmaili is a known conservative cultural critic, having accused Iran’s dramatic arts of being plagued by “secularism and deviation,” according to Al-Monitor, and contemporary Iranian cinema and music as being insufficiently revolutionary.
A cleric with a degree in political science, Esmaili previously worked for Raisi when he was head of the Astan Quds Razavi charitable trust attached to the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is the ministry of Culture of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is responsible for managing access to media that violates Iranian ethics or promotes values alien to the Iranian culture. It also manages the alignment of religion & the law of the country. It was formed by combining the Ministry of Culture and Art, and the Ministry of Information and Tourism.
Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili Articles:
Reflection on the neo-Salafis; Reform movements in the Islamic world; The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Movement of Iran (1948-1979); Ibn Tufail’s
political thought; Reflection on al-Ghazali's political thought...
The Arabic philosophical fable Hayy Ibn Yaqzan is a classic of medieval Islamic philosophy. Ibn Tufayl (d. 1185), the Andalusian philosopher, tells of a child raised by a doe on an equatorial island who grows up to discover the truth about the world and his own place in it, unaided—but also unimpeded—by society, language, or tradition.
Hayy's discoveries about God, nature, and man challenge the values of the culture in which the tale was written as well as those of every contemporary society.
'Hayy ibn Yaqzan, Fi asrar al-hikma al-mashriqiyya' (Living, Son of Wakeful: On the Secrets of Oriental Wisdom) was a source of great fascination for Jewish and Christian scholars in Europe.
Recent studies in comparative literature have noted that polymaths such as Albertus Magnus (ca. 1200-1280), Thomas Aquinas (1225–74), Voltaire (1694–1778), Rousseau (1712–78) and Diderot (1713–84) may have known and appreciated Ibn Tufayl’s work....
Al-Ghazali, who lived in the intellectual and spiritual world of the Quran and the Sunnah and enriched it with his own enduring contributions, was a devoted soul and body for attaining true knowledge, wisdom and virtue
At a time when it is easy to confuse knowledge with information [body-language - materialism|mortality - 'God = I have, Possession, Power' - Earth-Fire] and forget the meaning of wisdom [soul-language - spirituality|eternality - 'God = I am, Life, Compassion' - Air-Water], it is important that we get the basic concepts right as we move forward.
Body & Soul
It's not about the knowledge of Priests, Clergyman, Pharisees, Imams, etc., who try to make divine entities out of themselves, their books, their temples and their prophets.
Quran 9:31: "How are they deluded... They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him." Mark 23:13: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
Al-Ghazali rose to prominence in a cultural and educational environment where knowledge was regarded as a supreme virtue and the possessors of knowledge were held in high esteem.
Clearly, this comes from the importance that the Quran attaches to knowledge. The Quran uses the word knowledge ('ilm) and its variants in more than 750 places.
Knowledge may refer to revelation, the stories of the prophets, human concepts or the natural world. In almost every instance, knowledge refers to something larger and more essential beyond information. True knowledge leads to faith and virtue... In this sense, knowledge is not "mental gymnastics." It is not mere literacy. It is not a tool to manipulate the world of nature. Rather, true knowledge is an act of engaging in the reality of things and a process of existential transformation.
It changes and matures the knower. It is deeply personal in the sense that one cannot remain indifferent to the transformative power of knowledge.
Veritable knowledge not only gives us wisdom but also leads us to a life of virtue and spiritual contentment. Al-Ghazali is one of the pinnacles of this synthesis of knowledge, wisdom and virtue.
As true knowledge shows us the reality of things as they are, it also invites us to act in accordance with that knowledge.
This is like knowing everything about the sea and the wind. Such knowledge is essential but the sailor will have to act in accord with it otherwise he can neither sail not survive in the face of a storm. Knowing by itself is not enough; one has to have wisdom as well, which means distinguishing between right and wrong and act morally.
Al-Ghazali thanks God for granting human beings reason and intellect ('aql) by which they distinguish truth from falsehood. He praises reason/intellect (known as 'aql) as the key instrument for true knowledge and wisdom so much so that one can mistake him for a brute rationalist.
But despite his praising of reason as the most important gift God has given to humans besides creating them, he is no rationalist. Attaining true knowledge is a serious business and requires intellectual and spiritual commitment...
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on the new administration to use its time in office to serve the people to the best of its ability and improve their livelihoods.
"I had a recommendation to all the officials in different periods, I also offer you this recommendation; time passes quickly. These four years will end soon, so use every hour, every opportunity. Do not let time be wasted when it belongs to the people and to Islam," he said. The new administration, Ayatollah Khamenei said, should focus its efforts on initiating a "revolutionary but rational and thoughtful reconstruction in all managerial fields".
"Being revolutionary must certainly be accompanied by rationality. This has been the correct way of the Islamic Republic from the very beginning until today, requiring that the revolutionary movement should be accompanied by an intellectual and rational movement."
Ayatollah Khamenei also said the basis of the Islamic government and the Islamic Republic is the establishment of justice, but a lot of work has to be done in this regard: "We are lagging and have to work hard."
"You have to be careful that you does not stamp on the oppressed classes," he added....
"Why did not the Arabs stand with Syria rather than standing against Syria? I ask a question: when did they stand with Syria?!"
Iraq is hosting a regional conference, bringing Iraqi neighboring countries and the countries of the region together.
Hailing positive regional effects of the Baghdad Summit, Osman Faruk Logoglu, a senior member of Turkey's CHP, believes the presence of France's president and the absence of Syria are major shortcomings of the summit.
Q: How effective do you see the significance of the Bagdad Summit in reducing regional tensions?
A: Iraq must be applauded for taking the initiative and organizing this Conference. It was long overdue. The fact that even with different levels of representation, the counties of the region came together is a positive sign whatever the short-term outcome.
I feel that all the participants will sense the value of talking to each other, rather than talking at each other.
Q: France is one of the backers of terrorist groups in the region, what do you think of Macron's presence at the Summit?
A: French President Macron's presence at the Conference is an anomaly. France is not a country of the region and does not possess any special qualifications setting it apart from other non-regional states to be part of this Conference...
Q: Don’t you think that the Summit could have better results if all regional countries were present including Syria?
A: The major shortcoming of the Conference if one has to pinpoint one is the absence of Syria at the table.
Syria is an important country, still beset with many problems. Iraqi hosts understandably did not call on Syria to attend for fear that some others would then not come to Baghdad. However, one cannot hope to make much progress regionally at the political and economic levels, without the participation of Syria. Syrian participation is a sine qua non for regional peace and stability.
Osman Faruk Loğoğlu (born 1941) is a Turkish diplomat and the former Turkish ambassador to the United States of America, having served from 2001 to 2005. He is now a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), a member of CHP's Party Council and a Vice-chairperson of CHP in charge of foreign relations and organizations abroad.
Bashar al-Assad 2012
Arabism is a question of civilization
"The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital...
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions."
The foreign ministers of Iran and Turkey condemned “foreign interference” in regional affairs while attending a summit in Baghdad that brought together representatives of nine neighbouring countries, plus France.
Iran’s foreign minister said foreign interference in Iraq will cause instability and his Turkish counterpart said the people of the region can resolve their issues themselves.
The Conference for Cooperation and Partnership hosted heads of state and foreign ministers of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the heads of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League, and the Gulf Cooperation Council. "Foreign interference is the cause of instability in the region. What we need is sustainable regional security," said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said that the people of the region, including Iraq, do not need external meddling.
"As the people of the region, we know our own problems best and can solve them ourselves. Foreign interventions that do not yield any results can only be prevented in this way. No one thinks that someone will come from outside and find a solution to our problems anymore. Our people expect the solution from us, not from others," he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian declared on Sunday that Tehran and Damascus are in talks to devise plans to fight against the US sanctions.
Upon arrival in Damascus, Amir Abdollahian described ties among Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus as strategic...
"We believe that today, due to determination of the two countries’ leaders, Iran and Syria will take great steps together in the fight against economic terrorism and in helping the two countries’ people...”
“The two countries are drawing up a plan for the active development of economic and trade cooperation to counter the oppressive sanctions imposed by the enemies,” Amir Abdollahian said in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal al-Mikdad.
“We believe that any political and security arrangements in the region will be achieved with the presence and participation of all the regional states, including the Syrian Arab Republic..."
"Serious cooperation between the private sector and businessmen of the two countries is one of the issues seriously pursued by both sides during this trip."
Tehran is two months away from nuclear weapons capacity, warned Defense Minister Benny Gantz as he called for the international community to create a new prevention plan that did not involve reviving the 2015 Iran deal.
"It is very important that the whole world be mobilized for the mission before it is too late, because the great danger is that a nuclear Iran will not only threaten Israel and increase its aggression in the region - but will also lead to a regional arms race that endangers many countries and may in the future also put advanced weapons in unstable, irresponsible hands and in regimes controlled by terrorists," Gantz added.
The US has transferred its diplomatic presence from Kabul, Afghanistan to Doha, Qatar, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday.
With the US earlier in the day announcing the completion of the pullout of all its forces from Afghanistan, ending the 20-year war, Blinken said at a press conference in Washington that “a new chapter of America's engagement with Afghanistan has begun.”
“It's one in which we will lead with our diplomacy,” he stressed. “The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission has begun.”
“As of today, we suspended our diplomatic presence in Kabul and transferred our operations to Doha, Qatar, which will soon be formally notified to Congress,” he said.
“Given the uncertain security environment, political situation in Afghanistan, it was the prudent step to take,” he added.
Blinken underlined that they will hold the Taliban to its commitment to let people freely depart Afghanistan.
Stating that he spoke about the latest situation in Afghanistan with several counterparts from other countries, including Qatar and Turkey, he said:
“We discussed how we will work together to facilitate safe travel out of Afghanistan, including by reopening Kabul civilian airport as soon as possible. And we very much appreciate the efforts of Qatar and Turkey, in particular, to make this happen.”
Celebratory gunfire resounded across Kabul on Tuesday as Taliban fighters took control of the airport before dawn, after the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, marking the end of a 20-year war that left the Islamist militia stronger than it was in 2001.
"It is a historical day and a historical moment," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference at the airport after the troops left. "We are proud of these moments, that we liberated our country from a great power."
America's longest war took the lives of nearly 2,500 U.S. troops and an estimated 240,000 Afghans, and cost some $2 trillion.
Although it succeeded in driving the Taliban from power and stopped Afghanistan being used as a base by al Qaeda to attack the United States, it ended with the hardline Islamist militants controlling more territory than during their previous rule...
As the U.S. troops departed, they destroyed more than 70 aircraft, dozens of armoured vehicles and disabled air defences that had thwarted an attempted Islamic State rocket attack on the eve of their departure. read more... Anthony Blinken said the United States was prepared to work with the new Taliban government if it did not carry out reprisals against opponents in the country.
"The Taliban seeks international legitimacy and support," he said. "Our position is any legitimacy and support will have to be earned." Mujahid said the Taliban wanted to establish diplomatic relations with the U.S. despite two decades of hostility.
"The Islamic Emirate wants to have good diplomatic relations with the whole world," he said.
The Taliban must revive a war-shattered economy without being able to count on the billions of dollars in foreign aid that flowed to the previous ruling elite and fed systemic corruption.
People living outside its cities face what U.N. officials have called a catastrophic humanitarian situation, worsened by a severe drought.
Egyptian authorities have banned books linked to the Muslim Brotherhood from mosques across the country, as the ministry of endowments seeks to remove all those already there "within days".
Egyptian Minister of Endowments Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa announced in an urgent statement that a committee will be formed to "re-examine" mosque libraries and the publications held there, in a bid to remove all that "adopt an extremist ideology" or "belong to extremist groups". "Any book authored by a Salafist or a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or Gamaa Islamiya will be removed," Ministry Undersecretary Gaber Tayee said.
Mosque imams will also be required to pledge to refuse any such publications from being kept in their mosque libraries, a ministry statement said.
Any individuals who "neglect orders" will face punishment, the statement added.
salafist protest 2013
Since the military overthrow in July 2013 of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, the regime of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has engaged in the systematic repression of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi was a member.
Within months of the coup against the now-deceased Morsi, the Egyptian military took several measures to undermine the Muslim Brotherhood - arresting thousands of members, banning it in September 2013, and declaring it a terrorist organisation in December that same year.
The Muslim Brotherhood rejects the allegations, maintaining that it is committed to peaceful activism.
Event of “the city nights”, which is funded by Aleppo governorate and Syria Trust for Development was inaugurated in celebration of re-opening of Khan al-Harir market and al-Phostoq Square in Aleppo's Ancient city.
Minister of Culture, Lubanah Mshaweh, said in a speech that Aleppo al-Shahba is like “a phoenix” that rises from under the ashes every time to refuse death, restore its life and spread hope everywhere, stressing that “hand in hand we will rebuild the country.”
She added “No matter how painful our situation is and no matter how much we suffer, we will rise and prove to the world that we deserve life.”
aleppo - muslim brotherhood backed jihadists
CEO of Syria Trust for Development, Shadi al-Alshi talked about the Trust determination to rehabilitate and restore the markets of Khan Al-Harir, Al-Saqatiyah and Phostoq square despite all challenges, ruin and destruction...
Biden: Afghanistan Withdrawal is “about ending
an era of military operations to remake other countries” Juan Cole, 09/01/2021
I saw the Neoconservative Bill Kristol on CNN deploring Biden’s speech for not assessing the sweep of the war. Kristol was the biggest warmonger of all the pundits in the early zeroes, arguing for invading and occupying Iraq, Iran and North Korea with 400,000 troops each. He has never explained what national interest of the US that rampaging Bonapartism would serve. The US lost the Iraq War, lost the Afghanistan War, and has for forty years failed to undo the 1979 revolution in Iran despite strenuous efforts.
No one has been more wrong and more detached from reality than Kristol, but CNN still brings on him and his like to criticize a normal person like Joe Biden.
Biden wanted to get out of Afghanistan in 2009, but lost that battle inside the Obama White House. He finally has his way, and unlike smarmy pundits or the former guy he actually has reasoned arguments for what he does.
Biden told the nation, “Last night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan — the longest war in American history.”
Biden tried to explain once again that the alternative to leaving, once Trump had made a deal with the Taliban to depart, was to go to war all over again:
“My predecessor, the former President, signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove U.S. troops by May the 1st, just months after I was inaugurated. It included no requirement that the Taliban work out a cooperative governing arrangement with the Afghan government, but it did authorize the release of 5,000 prisoners last year, including some of the Taliban’s top war commanders, among those who just took control of Afghanistan.
And by the time I came to office, the Taliban was in its strongest military position since 2001, controlling or contesting nearly half of the country.
The previous administration’s agreement said that if we stuck to the May 1st deadline that they had signed on to leave by, the Taliban wouldn’t attack any American forces, but if we stayed, all bets were off.
So we were left with a simple decision: Either follow through on the commitment made by the last administration and leave Afghanistan, or say we weren’t leaving and commit another tens of thousands more troops going back to war.
That was the choice — the real choice — between leaving or escalating.”
Biden was clear: “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit.”
Obama's Women Advisers
Pushed War Against Libya
Robert Dreyfuss March 19, 2011
We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it.
Far from it. Unless President Obama’s better instincts manage to reign in his warrior women—and happily, there’s a chance of that—the United States could find itself engaged in open war in Libya, and soon. The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration.... (The Nation)
WASHINGTON — The administration of President Barack Obama has been quietly consulting with the Islamic opposition in Syria.
Senior U.S. officials have been meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood as well as its lobbyists in the United States. They said the two sides have convened several times over the last three months to discuss the Brotherhood's role after the ouster of President Bashar Assad. The Reform Party in Syria has protested the administration's meetings with the Brotherhood. RPS, regarded as one of the most pro-Western elements in the Syrian opposition, said Washington was signaling its endorsement of the Brotherhood's goal to make Syria into an Islamic state rather than a democracy that would foster its large minority community of Alawites, Christians and Kurds.
"This ill-advised policy of the U.S. State Department will have dire consequences, not only for the future of Syria, but also through an immediate increase in violence..." On Sept. 24, the council, regarded as a lobbyist for the Brotherhood, held a meeting in Anaheim, Calif. to discuss a post-Assad Syria. The session was addressed by U.S. special envoy Frederic Hof, responsible for U.S. policy on Damascus.
Hassan Firouzabadi: "Why are they establishing
Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"
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)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday warned against the conflict in Syria descending into sectarian warfare because of “proxies or terrorist fighters” being sent to join the fight, forgetting that this is actually US policy.
Washington has been using proxy rebel militias, many of whom have ties to terrorist groups, to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad for months now...
The US has been sending non-lethal aid, like communications gear and intelligence assistance, to the rebel militias in Syria, while the CIA is facilitating the delivery of weapons from Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar... Many of the rebels have come from foreign countries like Iraq and have ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda...
“The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda,” reports the New York Times.
Clinton’s inability to see that her own government’s policies have already been integral in accomplishing precisely what she warns against illustrates her ideological penchant for US interventionism.
This 'Arab Spring' Thing
"A Neo-Con ideological construct"
By Gerald A. Perreira, 30-10-2012
Qaddafi knew that this was not Islam, but rather reactionary ideas and tyranny in the name of Islam...
Regardless of the amount of damage control, lies and spin that comes out of Washington, nothing can clean up the mess they have gotten themselves into with their so-called Arab Spring – a construct straight out of their warped imaginations...
Following the hijacking of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and the subsuming of unrest across the region into a 'one size fits all', using that key phrase – 'Arab Spring', the Empire was on a roll. It was then that they committed their worst blunder... They handed the most progressive and prosperous country in all of Africa on a platter to a conglomerate of religious deviants (Salafi Islamists). Their plan was to use these Salafi Islamists to get rid of Qaddafi and destroy the Libyan Jamahiriya.... And they did use them, to achieve this objective, but the Salafis, who have had a long and tedious love-hate relationship with white supremacists/imperialists, were also using NATO. They were too busy using the Islamists to see that in fact, it was the Islamists who were using them - the US and NATO – a scenario that is currently being replayed in Syria...
The Islamist groups in Libya were in existence long before the concept of Al Qaeda emerged. That is why Qaddafi was able to warn the world of the danger of these Islamist groups and their ideology...
While many were full of zeal and excitement when these groups seemed to be giving the US what it finally deserved, Qaddafi knew that this was not Islam, but rather reactionary ideas and tyranny in the name of Islam and that it could take us nowhere.
The first group of female Saudi soldiers graduated from the Armed Forces Women’s Cadre Training Center on Wednesday, after completing 14 weeks of basic training that began on May 30.
Maj. Gen. Adel Al-Balawi, the head of the Armed Forces Education and Training Authority, delivered a speech in which he said: “The center has an important mission, which focuses on providing excellent training programs and curricula and an ideal learning environment..."
“It does so in line with international quality standards that meet the needs of female recruits. This aims to improve overall performance, which will help achieve the ministry’s objectives in the future.”
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia opened its Armed Forces sector to women with allowing both genders to sign up through launching a unified admission portal in February this year.
Military ranks from soldier to sergeant are available for women in the Saudi Arabia Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force and the Armed Forces Medical Services. Saudi women between the ages of 21 and 40 are allowed to apply for these posts. (Saudi Gazette, September 1, 2021)
The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi approved Tuesday a draft law for compulsory military service, 18 years after its abolition, in a move that Iraqi experts described as aimed at encouraging young Iraqis to join the military and putting an end to sectarian polarisation caused by such powerful groups as the Hashed al-Shaabi militias (Popular Mobilisation Forces-PMF).
Kadhimi’s office said the Council of Ministers approved, during its weekly meeting in Baghdad, “a draft law for service under the flag” and referred it to parliament.
He wrote on his Twitter account, “Today (Tuesday) we have accomplished what we had pledged to our people and before history since we assumed our responsibility, by approving military service that will instil our children with national values .”
Analysts say that the decision involves a belated attempt to rehabilitate the military institution abolished by the US in 2003.
After the Americans reshaped it according to their desires, the army was humiliated by Nuri al-Maliki in 2014 when he pushed it to exit Mosul for the benefit of ISIS without a fight, abandoning modern weapons on the battlefield.
Iraqi experts said the move was instrumental in legitimising the role of Shia militias under the banner of the PMF, which drew young people of compulsory service age. The decision on conscription is seen as an important tool in state-building. But equally crucial will be putting it into practice, as it risks conflict with the interests of the sectarian militias which could stand in its way.
Many laws that did not serve the interests of political parties, militias, clerics or the ruling political class have fallen by the wayside.
Also, implementation would need a kind of discipline that has virtually disappeared from the life of Iraqis today.
Independent politician and head of the Iraqi Association in the UK, Ibrahim Habib, said that restoring the compulsory service revives hope for building an Iraqi army that rises above sectarianism.
Habib told The Arab Weekly that the success of this step will mean that all manifestations of sectarianism and ethnic and factional affiliation and the bearing of arms outside the army, such as those practiced by the Hashed-affiliated militias, will cease to exist.
The new service could open the way for all Iraqi youth to join a professional Iraqi army and steer away from armed militias that are created on a sectarian basis and grounded on hostility to other groups in society...
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