Saddam's Death, Page 18
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 17: september - october 2012

"Nasser, as the activist leader of Pan-Arabism, became an idealized model for Saddam Hussein. At age 20, inspired by Nasser, Saddam joined the Arab Ba'th socialist Party in Iraq and quickly impressed party officials with his dedication. Two years later, in 1956, apparently emulating Nasser, Iraqi Army General Qassem led a coup which ousted the monarchy. But unlike Nasser, Qassem did not pursue the path of socialism and turned against the Ba'th party. ... Saddam went to Egypt to study law, rising to leadership ranks in the Egyptian Ba'th Party. He returned to Iraq after 1963 when Qassem was ousted by the Ba'ths and was elected to the National Command.
Michel Aflaq, the ideological father of the Ba'th party, admired young Hussein, declaring the Iraqi Ba'th party the finest in the world.... (Dr. Jerrold M. Post)

"Gamal Abdel-Nasser continues to inhabit Egypt because, like Bonaparte, he is the representative of an age of certain national glory, despite the mistakes and the military debacle. But there is more to it than this. Above all, he symbolises for Egyptians the expression of their independent national will. It is this that remains. It is in this that we must seek our project for the future" (Liberating Nasser's legacy, Al-Ahram Weekly 2000)

Adieu BlairSeven is explodingww.rense.comJustin Raimondo





Saddam began rebuilding the ruins of ancient Babylon. Saddam put up a large mural of himself next to Nebuchadrezzar at the entrance to the ruins. And echoing Nebuchadrezzar's practice, Saddam had his own name inscribed on the bricks used in the reconstruction. The inscriptions are reported to read: "This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq"

Babylon

An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C..
Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)


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)


Zie ook: Gilad Atzmon & Het tribalisme

The Arab Leaque & The Arab Homeland - Wikipedia Info

arab league meeting 2010 The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland while respecting the sovereignty of the individual member states. ...
Governance of the Arab League has been based on the duality of supra-national institutions and the sovereignty of the member states.
Preservation of individual statehood derived its strengths from the natural preference of ruling elites to maintain their power and independence in decision making.
Moreover, the fear of the richer that the poorer may share their wealth in the name of Arab nationalism, the feuds among Arab rulers, and the influence of external powers that might oppose Arab unity can be seen as obstacles towards a deeper integration of the league.

Flashback: Gadhafi Criticizes the Arab League
By Bridget Johnson, About.com

arab league meeting 2010 "At the annual Arab summit Moammar Gadhafi criticised Arab countries for doing nothing while the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president.
...In his speech, the Libyan leader also criticised Arab disunity and inaction on the region's multiple crises.
'Where is the Arabs' dignity, their future, their very existence? Everything has disappeared,' he said.
'Our blood and our language may be one, but there is nothing that can unite us.'

We are our own enemy

Gaddafi also mocked a plan by the Arab League to start Arab cooperation on a joint nuclear programme.
'How can we do that? We hate each other, we wish ill of each other and our intelligence services conspire against each other. We are our own enemy.'"


Flashback: Mohammed Gaddafi - Escape to Hell
Libyan Free Press, 3-4-2012

How cruel people can be when they flare up together! What a crushing flood that has no mercy for anyone in its way! It does not heed one’s cry or lend one a hand when one is in dire need of help. On the contrary, it flings one about heedlessly.

The individual’s tyranny is the easiest kind of tyranny. He is only one among many, who can get rid of him when they wish. He could even be liquidated somehow by somebody unimportant. But the tyranny of the masses is the cruellest kind of tyranny.

Who can stand against the crushing current and the blind engulfing power?! How I love the liberated masses on the march! They are unfettered, with no master, singing and merry after their terrible ordeals! On the other hand how I fear and apprehend them!
I love the masses as much as I love my father. Similarly, I fear them no less than I fear him.


Establishment and protection of justice

"He who stands up against injustice, should himself refrain from causing injustice to others, and should remember that speaking of justice will be meaningless if capital is allowed rule beyond its limits or influence the process of decision-making.
Political and legal justice remains meaningless without social and economic justice. The fight against the wolves and the corruptors will not succeed, if they have contacts and partners inside the corridors of government and the palaces of the Sultan.
All of this, in order to be achieved, requires the establishment and protection of justice. Authority must have its sward while power must have its own mind, eyes and good conscience."

Saddam Hoessein,
on the occasion of the 34th anniversay of the 17-30 july revolution

The color WHITE

So we stand unshaken, clear in our mind and vision as to truth against falsehood, the colour black, which represents darkness, wickedness and aberration, as opposed to the colour white which represents truth, justice, fairness, purity, virtue, adherence to principles and defending these principles against those who abandoned them..., blind in both heart and conscience." Saddam Hussein, 16-11-2002


A Fountain Of Life

"The civil society which we aspire to establish is based on our collective identity whose attainment requires the continuous and ceaseless endeavours of intellectuals and thinkers. It is not a treasure that can be unearthed overnight, rather, it is a fountain of life and morality from whose constant effusion we will benefit.
Therefore enjoyment of this treasure is gradual and dependent on scrupulous cognizance and re-examination of our heritage as well as our doctrinal and intellectual tradition on the one hand, and sophisticated, scientific and philosophical understanding of the modern world on the other.
Hence, it is the thinkers and men of learning who are pivotal in this movement and play the principal role. Our success along this path depends upon politics serving thought and virtue and not acting as a confined and restrictive framework for them."

Seyyed Mohammad Khatami
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran 2003

The Green Book. Qaddafi’s Third Way

"Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right. Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him." Muammar Gaddafi

The Green Book is a three-part collection of political thoughts, social and economic theories and day-to-day how-to guides by Libya’s Muammar el Qaddafi. The book sums up Qaddafi’s “Third Universal Theory,” designed to be an alternative to capitalism and “atheistic communism.”
It also expounds on the role of women, men, “black people,” music and education in everyday life. In Qaddafi’s words, “THE GREEN BOOK presents the ultimate solution to the problem of the instrument of government, and indicates for the masses the path upon which they can advance from the age of dictatorship to that of genuine democracy.

Qaddafi’s Inspirations

Most important inspiration for his book was Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Philosophy of the Revolution (1954), where Nasser lays out his ideas about pan-Arab nationalism and his intention to be not only the Arab world’s leader, but Africa’s, too. Nasser was Qaddafi’s foremost influence as Qaddafi was growing up. (Source)

Pragmatic and logical approach

Gamal Abdel Nasser was a giant of the twentieth century who curiously is not well-remembered today. He was ahead of his times. The world powers that constantly opposed his attempts to mainstream Egypt into the world while he was alive may long for his forward-looking pragmatic and logical approach compared to the backward-looking Islamist extremism rife in the region today. ...
Nasser wrote a short personal book titled “Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution” about his ideas and dreams. It reveals a sweeping yet deeply analytical mind and acute observer of human behavior whose periods of disillusionment and exhilaration were intense. First published in 1955, his book was all but ignored by the world. (Rompedas 23-7-2009)

DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.

"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth. . . . Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else. Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea. If we had gone along with everything we heard we would have killed off all the people and torn down every idea, and there would have been nothing to do but sit down among the corpses and ruins. ...
"We were deluged with petitions and complaints . . . but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness."


Bashar al-Assad's speech
Uruknet, 10-1-2012

The strength of Arabism lies in its diversity

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. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ...
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. It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness.
Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. ...
The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component. Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.

The psychological war

A great part of the psychological war is launched now against Syria. When they failed in the sectarian issue, they also failed in the national issue. They failed in all the issues which have a political aspect. Then they moved to the economic aspect. ....
They are trying to depict Syria as an isolated country, trying to stress this over and over again. But our points of strength lie in our strategic position. If they want to besiege Syria, they will end up besieging a whole region. As for our relations with the West, they talk about an international community. This international community is a group of big colonial countries which view the whole world as an arena full of slaves who serve their interests.

For us, the West is important and we cannot deny this truth. But the West today is not like the West a decade ago. The world is changing and there are emerging powers. There are alternatives. ....
The West is still colonial in one way or another. It is changing from an old colonizer to a modern colonizer and from a modern colonizer during the Sykes-Picot agreement to a contemporary colonizer. It has different forms and shapes but it will never change...

Iran holds mystic poet Hafez commemoration ceremony
Taghrin News Agency, 21-10-2012

Iran has held the 16th commemoration ceremony for the Persian mystic poet Hafez in the southern city of Shiraz where the poet is laid to eternal rest.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the ceremony along with Germany and Tajikistan ambassadors to Iran. President Ahmadinejad delivered a speech on the 14th century poet's universal idealistic views at the ceremony.

Born in 1315, Hafez is best known for his melodious sonnets and for intertwining a taste of Persian culture into his poetry. Many western writers such as Thoreau, Goethe and Ralph Waldo Emerson have been influenced by Hafez poems.


Hafiz, a Sufi poet, expressed in poetry love for the divine, and the intoxicating oneness of union with it. Hafiz, along with many Sufi masters, uses wine as the symbol for love. The intoxication that results from both is why it is such a fitting comparison. Hafiz spoke out about the hypocrisy and deceit that exists in society, and was more outspoken in pointing this out than many poets similar to him. (Source)

I Have Learned So Much

Iran 2012

I
Have
Learned
So much from God
That I can no longer
Call
Myself
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure
Soul.

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed
Me
Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known
.

From: 'The Gift'
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky


"Speaking of Hafez is speaking about a man who reached
the utmost peaks of perfection with a burning love"
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 2012

President al-Assad Performs Eid al-Adha Prayers
at al-Afram Mosque in Damascus, SANA 26-10-2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Friday morning performed Eid al-Adha Prayers at al-Afram Mosque in al-Muhajirin area in Damascus.
Following the Prayers, the President listened to the Eid sermon, delivered by Sheikh Walid Abdul-Haq, which underscored the great meanings of Eid al-Adha.
Sheikh Abdul-Haq referred to the words of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the farewell sermon in which he called for regarding the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust.
"It's our responsibility today to respond to the message of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)…which is to love each other," he added.
Sheikh Abdul-Haq stressed the need under the difficult circumstances to adhere to national unity... He called upon the Syrians to solve their internal problems by means of accord, reconciliation and through reform and foil the enemies' attempts of stirring sectarian sedition.

"All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves..." (Prophet Mohammed's Farewell sermon)


Extremism & Liberal arts
Khaled Fahmy, Ahram online 27-10-2012

There are many reasons behind religious fanaticism, whether peaceful or violent. Hundreds of books have been written in many languages exploring the social, economic, political and psychological reasons behind extremism. Without diminishing the significance of all these factors, I believe we need to also closely examine the fact that many members of extremist political Islamic groups are university graduates and that the majority of these graduates – not all of them of course – studied at professional universities...

I believe the key reason for the breakdown in Egypt’s university education is only focusing on one’s field of study. By that I mean the (mistaken) belief that the best way to train a university student is deepening knowledge of their specialty subject and not to expand their knowledge about other subjects [..] such as music, philosophy or literature...
An engineering student studies various branches of engineering for five years without learning about modern Arab literature or Renaissance art or reading Islamic philosophy. But what is the connection between architecture and Islamic philosophy? How will a medical student benefit from studying Shakespeare or Pharaonic history? Are these just a waste of time and opportunity for a genuine education?
These are obvious and pertinent questions, and the answer to them is rooted in the approach of "liberal arts" that does not exist in our universities, which could be a reason for religious fanaticism.
"Liberal arts" has nothing to do with liberal ideology but is a derivative of the Latin word liber, or "free." It means acquiring the skills and faculties that a free person – i.e. not a slave – should have, essentially, the ability for critical thinking; verbal expression of opinion; writing in an articulate concisely and to listen, converse and debate in a critical manner.

University education based on this approach does not aim to produce students who know everything about their field but nothing about the other branches of science. Instead, students become skilled in creative thinking and engaging in quiet dialogue about a subject that has nothing to do with their field. Also, finding unconventional solutions for problems they may face in the workplace and communicating with others in a more persuasive manner and influencing them through civilised peaceful means...

Khaled Fahmy is professor and chair of AUC’s Department of History. After graduating from AUC with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in political science, Fahmy went on to pursue a DPhil from Oxford University. A renowned expert in Middle East studies, Fahmy served as associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University (NYU) before joining AUC (American University Cairo) as a faculty member.


Flashback: "Dilly-dallying with dogmatic zealots"
Gamal Nkrumah, Ahram online 12-9-2012

"We came, we saw, he died..."
The killing, allegedly by suffocation, of United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in the Cyrenaican port city of Benghazi in eastern Libya has prompted much talk about the possible implications of growing anti-American sentiment in the countries of the Arab Spring.
The incident marked an important ideological shift in the powers-that-be in Libya. Washington obviously had no notion of the consequences, and the admonition of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi comes to mind.
Washington flirted with militant Islamists and did not heed the words of her erstwhile secularist collaborator, who was derided as a mindless dictator and condemned to die the death of a dog.
Does not Washington stand for democracy and freedom of expression? He had long warned of the consequences of dilly-dallying with dogmatic zealots. But Washington, alas, did not heed his words of wisdom.

Gaddafi: The Green Book
Part Three, Chapter Eight: EDUCATION

Saif Gaddafi 3-7-2011: "I was naive"
Education, or learning, is not necessarily that methodized curriculum and those classified subjects in text books which youth are forced to learn during specified hours while sitting on rows of desks. This type of education, nowprevailing all over the world, is against human freedom.
Compulsory education, of which countries of the world boast whenever they are able to force it on their youth, is one of the methods which suppresses freedom. It is a compulsory obliteration of a human being's talents as well as a forcible direction of a human being's choices. It is an act of dictatorship damaging to freedom because it deprives man of free choice,creativity and brilliance.
To force a human being to learn according to a set curriculum is a dictatorial act.
To impose certain subjects upon people is a dictatorial act.
All countries which set courses of education in terms of formal curricula and force pupils to learn them, coerce their citizens.
All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from curricula of fanaticism and from the process of deliberate adaptation of man's taste, his ability to form concepts and his mentality.

This does not mean that schools are to be closed and that people should turn their backs on education, as it may seem to superficial readers. On the contrary, it means that society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn...

Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right.
Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him.

Russia wants ICC to probe post-Qaddafi “war crimes”
Libya Herald 27-10-2012

Russia has demanded that “war crimes” in Libya committed since the fall of the Qaddafi regime be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow believed that all those responsible for killing civilians had to be held accountable.
Referring to last year’s decision by the Security Council to refer Libya to the ICC, he said: “All the decisions were made that those responsible for bloodshed, murders of civilians, violation of the laws of war and international humanitarian rights must be punished. We don’t hear any news on how this has been doing upon the crisis in Libya.”

The call follows a move by Russia in the UN Security Council to table a motion about the crisis in Bani Walid. The draft, which was blocked by the US, would have expressed “grave concern” about the situation in the town and what it called the growth of violence towards the civilian population, and called on the Libyan government to take urgent action to resolve the situation by peaceful negotiations.
Western diplomats accused Russia of duplicity in promoting the draft. They claimed that Moscow wanted to show that Libya was in a mess because of the revolution (and NATO’s role in it), and that it should never have happened. Russia was a key supporter of Qaddafi, having brokered arms contracts with the former regime worth billions of dollars.

Muammar Gaddafi's 'trophy' body on show
in Misrata meat store, The Guardian, 22-10-2011

Bloodied, wearing just a pair of khaki trousers, and dumped on a cheap mattress, Muammar Gaddafi's body has become a gruesome tourist attraction and a macabre symbol of the new Libya's problems.
Wounds on Gaddafi's body appeared to confirm that he was indeed killed in cold blood in the chaotic minutes following his capture... There was a close-range bullet wound on the left side of his head. Blood stains showed another bullet wound to his thorax. His body, subsequently driven to Misrata and publicly paraded, was barefoot and stripped to the waist.

Hundreds of ordinary Libyans queued up outside a refrigerated meat store in Misrata, where the dead dictator was being stored as a trophy. A guard allowed small groups into the room to celebrate next to Gaddafi's body. They posed for photos, flashing victory signs, and burst into jubilant cries of "God is great."
One young woman said: "Some people do care about the rule of law and don't think it's right that he should have been assassinated."

Libyan Forces Now Control Restive Town, Officials Say
By KAREEM FAHIM, 24-10-2012

Officials in Libya said on Wednesday that government forces had taken control of the western town of Bani Walid, after a deadly assault that lasted almost a week and led to accusations that the country’s new government was using indiscriminate force to punish a restive city. ...
Leaders in Bani Walid said the assault amounted to revenge by a rival western city, which they said had bullied Libya’s weak central government into blessing the operation. The fighting returned the specter of war to Libya and led to protests across the country and calls by the United Nations for restraint. ...
Bani Walid’s leaders have questioned the government’s assertions that Qaddafi officials are sheltering in the town, saying that most of the wanted officials are overseas. And further, they said, they are reluctant to hand over fugitives to Libya’s broken judicial system.
“Government institutions are nonexistent,” said Salem el-Ahmar, a member of Libya’s Congress representing Bani Walid. “There is no police, there is no army, there is no judicial system. Libya is ruled by whoever has the arms and the force,” Mr. Ahmar said.
Many militias attacking Bani Walid were from Misurata, the coastal western city that endured a punishing assault by Qaddafi forces during the uprising, and whose fighters have been quick to retaliate — often brutally — against loyalist towns.

The "pro Qaddafi" label - A licence to kill
Mustafa Fetouri, The national 28-10-2012

Many people in Bani Walid did not support the revolution - but that does not make the entire Warfalla tribe or the city a legitimate target for indiscriminate shelling. This fact seems to have played against the Misurata militias as Libyan public opinion has gradually shifted against them after it became apparent that the war against Bani Walid was being fought along tribal lines. ...
The weak government and the ministry of defence, however, seem to buy the disinformation labelling Bani Walid as Qaddafi's stronghold from beyond the grave. This pretext has given the militias a free hand. Two days into the invasion, many Libyan politicians claimed that Khamis Qaddafi [..] had been killed and other high-ranking Qaddafi supporters captured. Less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that not a single fugitive had been captured or killed, while dozens of civilians including children were.

The "pro Qaddafi" label has become a pretext under which hundreds of civilians have been jailed, killed or driven from their homes by those who claim to be liberators. Thousands of private properties have been confiscated under the same pretext, while the perpetrators have the immunity of being "revolutionaries".

Human Rights watch says Misrata militias
responsible for killings, 17-10-2012

New evidence collected by Human Rights Watch implicates Misrata-based militias in the apparent execution of dozens of detainees following the capture and death of Muammar Gaddafi one year ago.

The Libyan authorities have failed to carry out their pledge to investigate the death of Gaddafi, Libya’s former dictator, his son Mutassim, and dozens of others in rebel custody.
The 50-page report, “Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte,” details the final hours of Muammar Gaddafi’s life and the circumstances under which he was killed. It presents evidence that Misrata-based militias captured and disarmed members of the Gaddafi convoy and, after bringing them under their total control, subjected them to brutal beatings. They then executed at least 66 captured members of the convoy at the nearby Mahari Hotel. The evidence indicates that opposition militias took Gaddafi’s wounded son Mutassim from Sirte to Misrata and killed him there.
Under the laws of war, the killing of captured combatants is a war crime... (Source)

Italy Monitoring Situation in Bani Walid
TripoliPost.com 28-10-2012

Pro government militia Italy's Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi has instructed the Italian diplomatic authorities in Libya to monitor developments in the humanitarian situation in Bani Walid, where, according to reports, the toll of the clashes there stands at approximately 25 dead, over 400 wounded and more than 25,000 displaced.
Acting on the minister’s instructions, Italian Ambassador to Tripoli Giuseppe Buccino recently had a meeting with the president of Libya's National Congress, Mohammed Magharief and a number of Libyan political leaders, during which he expressed Italy’s strong hope in the timely formation of a national reconciliation government, underscoring that full respect for human rights was a necessary requirement in the pursuit of a new democratic Libya.

70 Palestinian Intellectuals Sign Statement
Declaring Support to Syria - SANA 29-10-2012

Seventy Palestinian intellectuals, writers and poets issued a statement expressing solidarity with the Syrian people and their leadership...
The statement was signed during a meeting held by the Popular Committee for Solidarity with the Syrian People (and Leadership) in Haifa city...
The statement stressed that the escalation of the ferocious attack against Syria in light of the Arab, regional and international conspiring is "a revenge against its resisting pan-Arab stance in service of the colonialist hegemony projects in the Arab region."
They considered it their historical, national and pan-Arab responsibility to "say it loud that we are with the Syrian people..."
"When Syria wins, it will be a resounding victory because it'll be in the interest of the entire Arab nation from the ocean to the gulf," said the statement.

Speaking to the Syrian TV, Saeed Nafaa', a Palestinian writer and political analyst, said the statement has two messages; the first is that an important part of Palestinian intellectuals support the reform process in Syria, and the second is an expression of gratitude to Syria over its stances towards the Palestinian Cause.

Said Nafa (born 1 April 1953) is a lawyer.
A Druze Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel, he is a member of the Knesset for the Arab party, Born into a family of the Druze faith in Beit Jann in 1953, Nafa joined the Communist Party Maki at age 14.
He studied law at Tel Aviv University, graduating in 1983. In 1989, he was elected to his hometown's local council as a representative of Maki, and also served as mayor and deputy mayor in the 1990s.
Nafa left the Maki party in 1997, and joined the Arab party Balad in 1999, along with a large group consisting of other members of the Druze community in Palestine.

A progressive party

Wikipedia Info: Balad is a political party, whose stated purpose is the 'struggle to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity.'
It opposes the idea of Israel as a solely Jewish state, and supports its recasting as a binational state. Balad also advocates that the state of Israel recognize Palestinian Arabs as a national minority, entitled to all rights that come with that status including autonomy in education, culture and media.
Since the party's formation, it has objected to every proposed state budget on the grounds that they have discriminated against the Arab population.
The party supports creation of two states based on pre-1967 borders, with the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem to constitute a Palestinian state and the implementation of UN Resolution 194 regarding the right of return to Palestinian refugees.
Balad describes itself as a 'democratic progressive national party for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.'


Origin of Syrian shells into Turkey unclear,
US general says, Daily News 27-10-2012

It is not clear who is shooting shells from Syria into Turkey, the commander of the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling has said, private television channel NTV yesterday.
"We are not sure if these shells are from the Syrian army, from rebels who want to get Turkey involved in the issue or from the PKK [Kurdish Workers’ Party]," he said.
Neither NATO nor U.S. troops want to get involved in the increasingly complex Syrian issue, Hertling said, adding that they were presently only sharing intelligence with Turkey and observing the ongoing events in Syria.

A shell from Syria killed five Turkish civilians in the border town of Akçakale in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa on Oct. 3.


Libyans disillusioned with government amid chaos
By PAUL SCHEMM | Associated Press 29-10-2012

After a year of turmoil since Gadhafi's ouster and last month's killing of the American ambassador, Libyans are disappointed, disillusioned and increasingly angry at their government. They complain that their leaders have not acted forcefully to address the most pressing problems — particularly the free rein of the country's many militias...

The lack of control of the government over the militias it relies on was brought home in the starkest terms on Sept. 11, the day of attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, the eastern city where last year's uprising against Gadhafi began...
The killings in Benghazi fueled popular anger against the militias. Just a week after the assault, tens of thousands of Benghazis attacked the headquarters of Ansar al-Shariah and another militia in Benghazi and drove them out...
"We know people are angry with the militias," said Taher Khalifa, a former computer engineer... "They don't want to see weapons everywhere and they want the police to be symbols of the state and wear uniforms..."

"No one in Libya is happy," complained Jihadeddin al-Salam, a young man sipping espresso with friends outside a cafe in downtown Tripoli. "Everyone has to be in a militia — if you aren't in a militia you can't protect your home."
Many Libyans complain that little has changed in the past year and amid the instability, everyone is holding on to their guns.
"We can't really discuss differences of opinions when we have weapons because in the end everyone here has a gun, and when they get mad, they might go for their weapons," said Saleh Sanoussi, a political analyst at Benghazi University. "Freedom with weapons results in chaos," he added.
"It is a Catch-22," he said of the militias dilemma. "Without them, there is a danger to security. With them, it is impossible to build an army."

Catch-22 is a satirical and somewhat historical novel
by the American author Joseph Heller
.

The novel follows Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian, a man who is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions.
Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

The phrase "Catch-22", "a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule," has entered the English language.


Army chief has “no control” over Bani Walid
By George Grant, Libya Herald 30-10-2012

Militia's & the Green Charter

"Form among you green committees... Proclaim your allegiance to the Green Charter. Study The Green Book... Avoid fighting if you can. The enemy wishes us all to be bogged down on their battlefields; they want to engage us all in war... We want peace. We want justice. Work for conferences on crimes against humanity..." Muammer Gaddafi 25-8-2011

The Green Charter

The head of the Libyan armed forces, General Yousef Mangoush, has no control over Bani Walid and civilians are being prevented from returning home by vigilante “gunmen”, Defence Minister Osama Juwaili has said.
In a scathing broadside [..] Juwaili said the hilltop town was near-deserted as a result of the fighting and that the small number of people who remain are living in terrible conditions.
“The town is completely empty except for a small number of people who are living in tragic conditions; there is no activity; the impact of shelling is visible everywhere”. He went on to describe soldiers controlling the checkpoint leading into the town as “gunmen”. ...
The remarks are deeply at odds with the statement made last Friday by army spokesman Ali Al-Sheikhi, who said that refugees were being allowed to return to the town and that no reports of any “violations” against them had been received. He added that should any such incidents take place, then an immediate investigation into them would be launched. ...

This is not the first time that Juwaili, who hails from the mountain town of Zintan, has publicly aired divisions with Mangoush. In an interview with the Libya Herald in June, the defence minister complained that he had virtually no effective authority over the armed forces, but was restricted to “sign[ing] the plans of the chief of staff”.
At the time, Juwaili criticsed the National Transitional Council for passing a law which, he said, made his position virtually irrelevant as far as military operations were concerned.

Residents denied access to Bani Walid
by Sherif Dhaimish, Libya.TV 30-10-2012

“After what happened in Bani Walid you can say almost all of the population fled,” said Mohammed al-Swai of the Libyan Relief agency. “We will try to get them back to their homes with the help of the authorities.”
Armed guards are said to be blocking the northern entrance to the town, with civilians in their vehicles waiting to get through. Others attempted to return home on small roads.
“Each day when I ask if I can check on my house, they say ‘Tomorrow’,” resident Abdelmanam, 20, said as he waited to see whether he could go through. He was refused entry.
Foreign reporters were also denied entry to Bani Walid in the Wadi Dinar area. “There is graffiti on the walls inside, it may incite strife,” army official Ahmed Salem said. “Some of the first fighters who went in were a little young … We are erasing this graffiti because it might cause an adverse reaction,” Sheikhi said, adding there would also be an investigation into reports of houses being burnt down.


Russia is a factor of stability in the Middle East"
by Vladislav Vorobióv, Rossiyskaya Gazeta 30-10-2012

The Middle East remains one of the regions of crucial importance to Russia and the country has no intention of reducing its presence in this region. In the last part of the interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, at the headquarters of the newspaper "Rossiyskaya Gazeta," the Chancellor said that Russia will do everything possible to prevent the development of possible military intervention in Iran.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Our Western partners often say that, in consequence of the Arab Spring, Russia lost its influence in the Middle East. Do you agree with this statement?

Sergei Lavrov: We do not agree with that, because our contacts with key countries in the region have not become less intense and, in some cases, are even more active. The representatives of these countries have the pleasure of coming to Russia. We maintain contacts with all opposition groups, including those of Syria. None of them, not even the most radical opposition, says things we hear from our Western colleagues and some politicians in the region.

However, there are other examples like Yusuf al Qaradawi, a religious man famous for throwing invectives regularly on our country through the television network Al Jazeera. But this is an anomaly. Most of the Syrian opposition, Arab countries and other contacts with whom we always start any conversation with us say that, for them, it is very important for Russia to maintain its presence in the region. Whatever happens, Russia will continue to be considered as a reliable partner and an important factor that can ensure a geopolitical balance in this area...

On 21 February 2011, Yusuf al Qaradawi talked about the protests in Libya and issued a fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi: "...To the officers and the soldiers who are able to kill Muammar Gaddafi, to whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free the country and [God’s] servants from him, I issue this fatwa (uftî): Do it! That man wants to exterminate the people (sha‘b). As for me, I protect the people (sha‘b) and I issue this fatwa: Whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free us from his evil, to free Libya and its great people from the evil of this man and from the danger of him, let him do so!" WIKIPEDIA info

Russia continued to keep to its principles firmly, trying to make decisions to be taken in accordance with international law, and not for the simple reason Colin Powell has shown in the Security Council a beaker with a white powder, presented as anthrax, to persuade Council members to approve a military operation against Saddam Hussein.
At that time, we upheld the principles of international law precisely because we have not given consent for the war in Iraq which was approved by the UN Security Council. We are using the same tactics towards Syria, and we always remember the lesson of Libya, which is remembered around the world. At that time, international law was subjected to a severe test and the resolutions of the UN Security Council ended up being misleading. And look what's happening in Libya. The tragedy of Benghazi and the violent fighting of Bani Walid..
Our Western colleagues from the UN Security Council are not eager to talk about the situation in Libya, trying at the same time to persuade us to adopt a resolution on Syria. Our position is as follows: first, we must draw lessons from the experience in Libya not to repeat this colossal mistake. For us, it is an absolute axiom...

(Translated from the Portuguese version by: Lisa Karpova - Pravda.Ru


Syria 29-10-2012: 11 Killed, Dozens Injured
in Car Bombing Blast in Jaramana

In a joint press conference with Brahimi on Monday October the 29th 2012, Sergei Lavrov said his talks with the UN Envoy seek to find new steps to end violence and bloodshed in Syria and launch dialogue, regretting that Brahimi's efforts for a truce during Eid al-Adha holiday weren't heeded....
Lavrov called on all foreign forces to assume their responsibilities, specifically regarding the sides they support in Syria, stressing that the urgent issue is committing all the Syrians who are fighting each other to a ceasefire and have them initiate dialogue. Lavrov said that sides in Syria must be pressured to send balanced signals rather than have certain sides support specific sides to perpetuate violence, stressing the need to convince these sides to commit to a ceasefire and transition to political dialogue.
"We don't know who broke the truce, but there are acts of provocation and responses we see every day," he said.

For his part, Brahimi said that the bombings committed by some groups in residential areas are classified as acts of terrorism committed by groups he had no contact with, saying that such actions were condemned by the Security Council, UN Secretary-General and all foreign sides.
He warned that the situation is Syria is bad and getting worse, and that the international community must work together to help Syrians and resolve the crisis. (tishreen.news 30-10-2012)


Israeli military strike on Iran
would be good for Arabs, Netanyahu says
NationalPost|Reuters, 30-10-2012

PARIS — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought on Tuesday to convince Arab states that an Israeli military strike on Iran would benefit them, removing a potential threat and easing tensions across the Middle East.
In an interview published on Tuesday with French magazine Paris Match, Netanyahu said such a strike would not worsen regional tensions, as many critics have warned.
“Five minutes after, contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region,” he said.
“Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel,” he said. ...
Netanyahu, who is running for re-election in January at the head of the right-wing Likud party, told the United Nations last month that a strike could wait until spring or summer when he said Tehran might be on the brink of building an atomic bomb.


This 'Arab Spring' Thing
"A Neo-Con ideological construct"
By Gerald A. Perreira, 30-10-2012

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.
The sad thing is that so many commentators and activists are also talking about an Arab Spring as if it exists... Via their globally dominant media outlets, they feed people a daily diatribe of simplistic binary oppositions – 'the good guys and the bad guys'.
In the real world it is not so simple but in fact highly complex. So highly complex, that without an in-depth knowledge of the region's history, politics, religious issues and theological discourse, no commentator would be in a position to make sense of current events.
While we expect right wing pundits to regurgitate imperialist propaganda, there is an enormous amount of confusion even in progressive circles with regard to Libya, so much so that we have witnessed a convergence of the 'left' and 'right'. One reason for this is that both sides are analyzing events using Eurocentric paradigms – paradigms which are reductionist, incomplete, flawed and incapable of providing an accurate understanding of what is taking place.

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 - a calamity so catastrophic that its fall out will haunt them for decades to come. 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 with it, any possibility of a truly independent Africa and the specter of an African currency based on Africa's gold standard. 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.

The US and their European allies had no qualms about backing Al Qaeda affiliated thugs to finally get rid of Muammar Qaddafi. They had attempted to assassinate Muammar Qaddafi a number of times over the years and failed. They imagined that after ridding themselves of Qaddafi they could set up sham elections, fly in some 'moderate' and out of touch Libyan emigres in suits and set up a proxy government. Their plan was to marginalize the Islamist thugs, send them packing after using them to do their dirty work, patch things up sufficiently with an inept government that would implement their sham democracy, and then get their hands on some of the world's best sweet crude. At the same time, with Qaddafi out of the way, they could ensure unhindered access to the continent, something they need at any cost for their very survival....

'Who's Gonna Stop Dem Now?'

US imperialist blunders, resulting in immeasurable amounts of human suffering, are nothing new on this earth. Obama's administration is just one in a long line of US administrations with no real understanding of the Arab and African worlds. Following Obama's election, Muammar Qaddafi, along with Hugo Chavez and other progressive world leaders, expressed their hope that Obama might bring a different mindset to the White House. However, a few months after Obama's inauguration, they came to the disappointing conclusion that this liberal from Chicago had no real understanding of the world and had in fact, as we say in the Caribbean, 'hung his hat up where he could not reach it'. In other words, he was out of his depth and his European allies are no better informed.

This is why NATO leaders did not know that Abdelhakim Belhadj and his followers could not be used and then disposed of. 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. In both cases the imperialists are being out played at their own game of deception. The fact is that a few months ago the same people who were waving US flags and hailing the US as their 'liberators' are now chanting 'death to America' and burning US flags. Hillary - you came, but you didn't see. The battle raging in Libya today, in Bani Walid and throughout the nation, predates Qaddafi's 1969 revolution. There is no 'Arab Spring' – the 'Arab Spring' is a Neo-Con ideological construct.

Reactionary ideas and tyranny in the name of Islam

When the US wants to cause commotion or justify more spending on arms and further global militarization they shout 'Al Qaeda' where they used to shout 'Communism' and this fits their spin. However, in reality, like us, they know the real name of their game. As Jamahiriyan loyalist Dr Yusuf Shakir put it, 'the name of their game regarding Arab and African foreign policy is to cause as much commotion as they can and then stand back and let us sons of bitches kill each other'.

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, and why Libya was the first country in the world to issue an arrest warrant for Osama Bin Laden. 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.


Coalition formed to ensure
sharia-friendly Egyptian constitution
Ahram Online, Tuesday 30 Oct 2012

Several Islamist political groups, including Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, the Freedom and Justice Party and Al-Dawa Al-Salafiya have announced that they will form a coalition of political parties and Islamic forces to ensure that Egypt's new constitution is shaped in accordance with Islamic sharia (law).
They aim to coordinate with the Constituent Assembly in order to do so, stating that they will not accept the takeover of the drafting process by a "minority of liberals", according to statements made during a meeting at the headquarters of the Islamist Building and Development Party on Tuesday.

The group announced that they will not accept a constitution that contradicts sharia, and they plan to organise popular movements to support their cause. They are also calling for sharia to become the "only source" of legislation.
The drafting of the new constitution is being hindered by conflicts between liberals and Islamists over the issue of applying sharia. Several articles in the proposed constitution related to the issue have been rejected by liberal forces and human rights advocates.

Russian Foreign Ministry Criticizes
Continuing US Pressure on Syrian Government
Syrian Arab News Agency 3-11-2012

MOSCOW, (SANA) – Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich criticized the western calls for forming a Syrian government abroad, warning that such a step would encourage the opposition to continue their persistence to topple the Syrian state.
Lukashevich said that US officials announced that they don't intend to wait for a change in the positions of Russia and China, which implies that Washington wants to settle the Syrian crisis only according to its conditions [...], forming a government abroad, with the US dictating who should join it and nominating names.
He stressed that Moscow reiterates its emphasis on the principle course of supporting a peaceful settlement in Syria in a political process involving the Syrians alone.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said that the West's attempts to impose a list of candidates to occupy leading positions in the Syrian opposition abroad violate Geneva declaration.
“Attempts by Western sponsors of the Syrian opposition to enforce a list of the nation’s future leadership from the outside contradict the Geneva agreement.”
He added that the Geneva declaration provides for that "a transitional governing body should be formed on the basis of mutual accord of the government and the opposition."

Earlier, some media outlets reported that the US proposed forming a unified opposition to replace Istanbul Council which it considers as ineffective. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Washington is setting up a list of candidates to be members of the new opposition.


The New Opposition

The Syrian government is dominated by the Syrian Arab BA'ATH party. President Bashar al-Assad is the leader of that party. Its main ideological objectives are secularism, socialism, and pan-Arab unionism.
After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the BA'ATH-party was outlawed and tens of thousands of higher ranking members of the party were barred from government jobs.

WIKIPEDIA-info: In June 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority banned the Ba'ath party. Some criticize the additional step the CPA took—of banning all members of the top four tiers of the Ba'ath Party from the new government, as well as from public schools and colleges—as blocking too many experienced people from participation in the new government. Thousands were removed from their positions, including doctors, professors, school teachers, bureaucrats and more. Many teachers lost their jobs, causing protests and demonstrations at schools and universities. ...
The new Constitution of Iraq approved by a referendum on 15 October 2005, reaffirmed the Ba'ath Party ban, stating that "No entity or program, under any name, may adopt racism, terrorism, the calling of others infidels, ethnic cleansing, or incite, facilitate, glorify, promote, or justify thereto, especially the Saddamist Baath in Iraq and its symbols, regardless of the name that it adopts. This may not be part of the political pluralism in Iraq."


Former presidential rivals press Morsi
on Constitution, social justice
Egypt, Ahram Online, Saturday 3 Nov 2012

President Mohamed Morsi's meetings Saturday with the main three former presidential candidates, Amr Moussa, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, held in an effort to kickstart a national dialogue between varied political forces, mainly revolved around the newly proposed constitution, the revolution's demands, and the need to reach consensus during the transition period.

Former presidential candidate Moussa, head of the Conference Party, for his part underlined to Morsi the importance of drafting a "proper" constitution, arguing that time is not the most important factor to consider, but rather the people's acceptance of the result. ...
During the meeting with Nasserist founder of the Egyptian Popular Current Sabbahi, several issues now occupying the minds of Egyptians were tackled, including the constitution..
Sabbahi for his part proposed that a national conference on social justice be held, in addition to sharing his suggestions regarding ways of resolving complications within the Constituent Assembly.
Another meeting was held with liberal Islamist and founder of the Strong Egypt Party, Abul-Fotouh, who introduced his party's vision on the constitution and means to fight corruption within the state.
Abul-Fotouh stressed to Morsi the importance of reaching consensus in the Constituent Assembly suggesting that articles creating the disagreement within the assembly should all be reconsidered as well as those that infringe upon the rights of Egyptian citizens.

Sabbahi, Abul-Fotouh and Moussa came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the presidential elections concluded in June, where Morsi narrowly beat Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of ousted former president Hosni Mubarak (Mohammed Morsi 51.7%, Ahmed Shafiq 48%).

ALJAZEERA in 'Meet the candidates', 24-6-2012:
Religion is, not surprisingly, one of the areas of sharp contrast between Ahmed Shafiq and his opponent.
His platform says little about faith, save for a promise to create a "civil state" with equality for all groups, regardless of religion or gender. The only reference to Islam is a provision about improving Al-Azhar's standing as an institution of higher learning.
Shafiq went so far as to threaten dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, and the Salafi Nour Party, unless they stopped "mixing religion with politics."

Shafiq: I will return 'in protection of supporters'
Egypt Independent, 14/10/2012

On his Facebook account, Ahmed Shafiq posted that he and writer Saad Eddin Ibrahim discussed his return to Egypt "in the protection of his supporters.”
"I will not stay away from my country for a long time. I traveled after the election in anticipation of the expected persecution that proved to be true," Shafiq added.
Shafiq had left for the United Arab Emirates shortly after losing the presidential election to President Mohamed Morsy. Activists accuse him of fleeing corruption cases.
Shafiq said it is a shame that some of Egypt’s finest pilots "who have contributed to making the October victory face trial when celebrating Air Forces day, 14 October, which saw acts of heroism by glorious Egyptian air fighters in an unprecedented battle."

Born in Bedeen, Mansoura, Egypt, Saad Eddin Ibrahim is credited for playing a leading role in the revival of Egypt's contemporary research-based civil society movement. For most of his professional career Saad Eddin Ibrahim was a professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo. He is the founder of both the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo and the Arab Organization for Human Rights.
In 2006 Ibrahim was awarded the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture Prize at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he previously had been a public policy scholar. He is currently a Board member of the Arab Democracy Foundation.


Syria opposition groups hold talks
DAWN.com 4-11-2012

DOHA-QATAR: The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) begins a four-day meeting Sunday in Doha, where the United States will reportedly press for an overhaul of the coalition aiming to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
Details have emerged of plans to reshape the opposition into a representative government-in-exile, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton charged that the SNC was not representative. ...
Washington is pressing for a makeover of the opposition, with long-time dissident Riad Seif reportedly touted as the potential head of a new government-in-exile...
Among those in attendance were some SNC members, former premier Riad Hijab, who defected in August; Ali Sadreddin Bayanuni of the Muslim Brotherhood and Kurdish and tribal representatives, participants said.

Participants sought to quell concerns the overhaul is aimed at building an opposition that would be willing to negotiate with Assad.
“Assad and his entourage leaving power is a non-negotiable precondition for any dialogue aimed at finding a non-military solution, if that is still possible,” they said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Bayanuni underlined the Brotherhood’s support for “the idea of a political leadership to bring together the opposition” including the SNC. But he said the Brotherhood supported maintaining the SNC, in which it holds significant influence, and “not replacing it with a new body.

”The SNC lashed out on Friday at alleged US interference with the opposition, accusing Washington of undermining the revolt and “sowing the seeds of division” by seeking the overhaul.


Syrian opposition meeting
Russia Today 5 November 2012

Disagreements and power disputes arose Sunday as opponents of the Syrian regime gathered in Qatar for the first day of an opposition conference seeking to create a new government-in-exile. ...
Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged a re-shaping of the Syrian opposition's leadership and slammed the Syrian National Council as ineffective and unrepresentative... The new body is set to include fewer Syrian exiles and more representatives of the Free Syrian Army, as well as local political groups and councils.
The SNC, after lashing out at Washington’s criticism and accusing them of “unacceptable dictates”, now says it will be demanding a 40 percent representation in any new leadership body.
"This new initiative seems to be promoted by international parties, mainly the United States," former SNC chief Burhan Ghalioun said as quoted by AFP.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed that efforts to stop violence in Syria have been less affective due to various international powers solely dealing with and encouraging Syria's opposition forces.
“In Geneva four months ago we all agreed that world powers will say the same to the warring sides in Syria: stop fighting! This is exactly what Russia's doing – saying this to both the government and all opposition groups. Some other nations – both Western and regional – are telling the opposition ‘Go on fighting! Your cause is right – you will win.’
It's up to you to decide whose position is creating the danger of more and more deaths," Foreign Minister Lavrov said at a media briefing. ...
He also spoke against a UN Security Council resolution on Syria as a tool to resolve the crisis, warning that it could only aggravate it. He added that the resolution is not needed to implement earlier reached agreements in Geneva.
“If the priority is the change of the regime, then there will be more blood, but if the priority is to save lives, then there is no need for any type of resolutions. We have not yet tried to implement Geneva accords,” Lavrov said.


Aid to refugees in Syria
SANA, 5-11-2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Dr. Fayssal Mikdad discussed on Sunday with Director of the Regional Office for Arab Countries and North Africa for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Yakoub al-Hillo, means for boosting the standing cooperation.
The two sides discussed means for providing the best possible forms of aid to refugees in Syria which is one of the foremost countries in hosting refugees and helping them in cooperation with the UNHCR.

During the meeting, Mikdad voiced Syria's satisfaction over the standing cooperation with UNHCR, affirming that the Syrian government is committed to providing facilitations to UNHCR programs and projects.
He pointed out to the current conditions in Syria, particularly the terrorist attacks that damaged infrastructure and affected public and private establishments and the terrorists' crimes of murdering innocent civilians and displacing them by force to neighboring countries to create excuses for foreign intervention.
Mikdad affirmed that the so-called Syrian refugees issue was created to justify the interference of regional countries, the US and western Europe in Syria's affairs, stressing the need to stop the support provided by Turkey and some Arab Gulf countries to terrorist groups.
For his part, al-Hillo reviewed the UNHCR's activities which it carries out with the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to provide the needs of displaced families.

2012 UNHCR country operations profile
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The Syrian Arab Republic hosts one of the largest urban refugee and asylum-seeker populations in the world. The Government and people of the Syrian Arab Republic continue to maintain a generous open door policy that allows Iraqi refugees to seek asylum and gain access to basic services such as education and primary health care. Moreover, the normalization of relations between Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic in early 2011 has led to a simplification of the visa process for Iraqis wishing to enter the Syrian Arab Republic.

UNHCR, with the support of the international community and in active partnership with the Syrian authorities, was able to maintain the protection space granted to refugees and asylum-seekers. With the assistance of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, it has continued to provide them with essential services and assistance.
The widespread unrest throughout the country has nonetheless caused delays in some capacity building and training work with national counterparts and has slowed the development of a formal legal framework for refugees and asylum-seekers.


Iraq: No escape from danger for returning refugees
BBC Middle East News 29-10-2012

During the height of Iraq's civil war, neighbouring Syria was a sanctuary for Iraqis - but as the Syrian conflict has intensified, Iraqi refugees have again been forced to flee, this time back to their homeland, as the BBC's Caroline Hawley reports from Baghdad.
Tears roll down Saad Jebor's bearded cheeks, as his nine-year-old daughter describes the fighting she witnessed in Syria - horrifying violence from which her father was unable to protect her.
Six years ago - at the height of Iraq's sectarian civil war - Mr Jebor and his family escaped Baghdad to the safety of Syria. As a Sunni married to a Shia woman, living in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood of the capital, he had received death threats. But, as the war in Syria escalated this summer, he had to flee for his life for a second time. And - along with thousands of other Iraqi families - he is back in Baghdad, he says, with only the clothes he was wearing when he escaped.
"I feel like I am nothing," he sobs.
Saad's daughter Doa is traumatised. His family of six cannot return to the home they used to live in, which was targeted by a mortar shortly before he escaped to Syria. The Jebors fled Iraq for safety in Syria - but the conflict there has driven them back to Iraq So Saad Jebor - a proud man with a kind face - now lives in his father-in-law's home.
"I don't know what to say," says Mr Jebor, who used to sell tyres in Baghdad and then made a living in Syria washing cars.
"I swear to God - I have spent my life struggling. We thought that we would have a life in Syria. But then we found ourselves facing the same violence there." "So now we are back. And everything I have gained in my life has disappeared like sand through a sieve."


Britain's Cameron visits Gulf to sell jets
Ahram online-AFP, 5 Nov 2012

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron arrived Monday in the Gulf on a three-day visit aimed at selling Typhoon Eurofighter jets and discussing regional security threats, the British embassy in the UAE said.
According to a statement by Cameron's office, the prime minister was after his arrival to accompany senior Emirati officials on an inspection of RAF Typhoons stationed at a UAE airbase as part of a training exercise.
The visit to the UAE, to be followed by a stopover in Saudi Arabia, "signals the PM's commitment to cementing long-term partnerships with two of Britain's most important strategic allies in the Gulf," the statement said. ...
Britain is trying to boost its arms sales to oil-rich Gulf states, which are key allies in a region facing instability from the violence in Syria and the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme. Downing Street said Britain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia had a "shared commitment to security and stability and defeating the threats we face in the wider Middle East region".

The Syrian regime accuses Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey and Qatar, of arming the rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.


People Have Changed: A Legacy Of The U.S. War In Iraq
By Cathy Breen, Countercurrents.org 5-11-2012

One mother returned to Iraq in Jan. 2012 with her three children. In Syria , the family had received threats that their daughter would be kidnapped if they didn't leave. Her husband followed in March when he realized there was no hope to be resettled to the United States, at least from Syria where there was no longer a US embassy.
Just a few days ago there was an explosion nearby which has deeply shaken the family. I asked the oldest girl how school was going. Not good, she answered. She described quite dramatically that last week there was a great explosion in her school. The teacher fled leaving the frightened students in the classroom. The door was locked and at first the kids hid under the desks. Later, when banging on the door proved futile, they managed to climb out through an opening above the door. She somewhat proudly showed me the bruises on her arm!
They asked “Do you think we can be resettled to the U.S. ?” I try to explain gently but realistically what the economic situation in the United States looks like with people out of work and losing homes and benefits. Not to mention the cultural differences. The father was adamant saying, “But there are explosions here and people are being killed! We are afraid for the children…
People have changed here, even our families. It is not like it was in the past, when people looked after one another.”

The second family we visited had arrived only two weeks ago to their newly rented apartment, a two-room dwelling reached by rather treacherous metal stairs. ... The family fled Syria in Aug. of 2012. The mother and their four children went to live with her family in an area of Iraq that has been quite violent. “There you can rent a big house for $100 a month, because it is so dangerous with militias. Here it costs $500 to live in a safe area.” The father went to Erbil , in northern Iraq , to look for work. He returned to Syria three weeks later to find their apartment burned and their belongings gone. He stayed only three days in Syria before returning again to Iraq . ...
The government has promised each returnee a sum of money, 4 million Iraqi Dinars, the equivalent of $3,200. This family hasn't received a penny. They owe money. The father is looking for work. They too asked me if they could be resettled in the United States. “People have changed,” the father said sadly. “The war has destroyed the inside of humanity.”

Libya the main funder of the Syrian opposition
By Valerie Stocker, Libya Herald 5-11-2012

The Syrian National Council says it has received over $20 million in aid from Libya since it was founded in October 2011. It makes Libya its most important donor by far. ...
In a detailed financial report published on Thursday, 1 November, the SNC states that total foreign donations have reached $40.4 million, half of which was given by Libya and the other half by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In more precise figures, $20.4 million originated from Libya, followed by $15 million from Qatar and $5 million from the UAE. The money was said to have been deposited in two bank accounts in Qatar and Turkey.
Regarding the use of foreign donations, the report states that of the $29.7 million spent so far, 89 percent went to relief efforts both inside Syria and abroad – including via “revolutionary movements and military councils” – while the rest was used to cover administrative expenses and communications support.

Libya is the only country in the world to have recognised
the SNC as the official government of Syria.

Having officially recognized the SNC as Syria’s legitimate government in October 2011, the Libyan authorities unveiled several aid packages – both material and financial – destined to the Syrian opposition in the course of 2012. In parallel, a large number of Libyan fighters have fought alongside with armed opposition groups on Syrian territory and considerable amounts of weapons from Libya are said to have been channeled to these groups.

US Secretary of State Hillary Cinton has publicly stated that the SNC should no longer be considered the “visible leader” of the Syrian opposition.


Syrian fighters fed up with ‘cowards in exile’
Jordan Times-AFP | Nov 05, 2012

Aleppo nov 2012 ALEPPO, Syria — Syrian rebels at the front are turning against their commanders, accusing them of being cowards by fleeing abroad and failing to unite a cause that has been increasingly hijacked by Islamists.
Numbers are difficult to obtain, but analysts estimate that since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011, tens of thousands of largely low-ranking members have defected or deserted.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), which acts as an umbrella for a multitude of different factions, was set up in August 2011 by defectors based in Turkey and led by former air force colonel Riyadh al-Asaad.
But for fighters and mid-level commanders risking their lives every day on the frontline, their nominal superiors are little more than cowards who abandoned their country and whose experience would be better served in battle.
“They’re bastards,” said Abu Mohammed, a former major in the Syrian army, when asked why the FSA leaders live comfortably in Turkey. “No one in Syria respects these commanders because when officers defect they should be fighting, not sitting over there. They drink tea and smoke nargile and just talk, just talk,” he chuckled. ...

“Without organisation and a system, it will be impossible to defeat Bashar Assad,” said Abu Mohammed, sitting in an olive grove in northern Syria where he trains slightly ragtag recruits wearing sandals and tracksuits. “And the reason we don’t have any organisation is because of these officers sitting in Turkey. Civilians are very good people but it is the officers who should be fighting.”
Someone brings out a couple of homemade bombs — water pipes packed solid with sand and diesel — and a dubious looking homemade rocket.
Simple bombs can’t break the regime but I believe in God, and God is with us,” said Abu Mohammed.

Aleppo 2012 Washington wants the opposition to form a transitional government representing not just those fighting at the front, but all communities, in which minorities like the Alawites, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and Christians are not forgotten. But for many FSA fighters on the ground in northern Syria, it’s a Sunni Arab fight in which Shiites are the enemy, Kurds untrustworthy at best and Christians largely ignored.
So they dismiss a call from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a new, more inclusive and united opposition. ...
When I think about the FSA still not being united, then the officers in Turkey are responsible for that because they don’t work,” Sheikh Omar, a former religious and Arabic teacher, said, dressed in grey combat trousers and a matching military-style shirt. ...
They’re dreaming of when the regime falls... These are people who just think of personal benefit, they’re not brave people, they are weak people.
But he was tight-lipped when asked about Clinton’s remarks that the uprising has been “hijacked” by Islamist foreign fighters, refusing to discuss the matter...


Iranian Supreme Leader's Advisor:
The West Is Supporting Takfiri Terrorists in Syria
SANA, 6-11-2012

TEHRAN, (SANA) - Advisor to the Iranian Revolution's Supreme Leader for International Affairs, Yahya Rahim Safavi, said that the USA and the Western countries now seek to consolidate division in the Islamic world through supporting takfiri terrorists in the region, particularly in Syria.
Rahim Safavi condemned in a statement the crimes perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups in Syria, pointing out to the huge sums sent by the USA, Israel and some regional countries to these groups for killing innocent people in Syria.

Safavi, Yahya Rahim (1952– ): Supreme commander of the Revolutionary Guards (1997–2007). Born into a peasant family in Isfahan province, he had military training in Syria before the revolution and served in the shah’s army from 1975 to 1977. Two of his brothers were killed in the Iran-Iraq War.
A war veteran himself, he replaced Rezaei as IRGC Commander in 1997. After his term ended, he was appointed by the supreme leader as his military advisor and senior aide for armed forces affairs.
He is on the list of Iranian individuals sanctioned by the U.S. government
. (Iran Primer, 'USA Institute of Peace')

Khamenei & Revolutionary Islamic values

For Khamenei, the 1979 revolution was about ridding Iran of two evils—the shah and the United States—and creating a theocratic government imbued with four core values: justice, independence, self-sufficiency and Islamic piety.
These revolutionary ideals continue to dominate Khamenei’s political discourse, and he interweaves them seamlessly: Islam embodies justice. Independence requires self-sufficiency. And foreign powers are hostile to an independent, Islamic Iran.

Khamenei’s vision for a just Islamic society translates as a form of religious socialism. Western governments fail, he argues, because the whims of capitalism and self-interest deny justice to millions. He has championed privatization efforts, yet state subsidies for basic food items and other essentials remain Iran’s chief method of providing economic development and social justice.

No patron-client relationship

For Khamenei, the Islamic Republic’s top foreign policy priorities include resistance against the United States and Israel, which he sees as two sides of the same coin. Khamenei believes that Washington aspires to go back to the patron-client relationship with Iran that existed during the Pahlavi monarchy. (Iran Primer)

Flashback: "That what is sacred in the world is man"
General Mufti of the Syrian Arabic Republic, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun

"You are human beings from among those He has created. He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. And to Him is the [final] destination. (Surah Al-Maidah, 5:18)

Turning to education, Dr Hassoun said, "Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man" since man "is the creation of the creator".
If we want peace, starting for example with Palestine and Israel, he suggested that rather than building walls, "let us build bridges of peace".
He also argued that "we must create states on a civil basis, not a religious basis", adding "I don't impose my religion on you, nor do you impose your religion on me". (European parlement, 15-1-2008)


How a Muslim Introduced Me to Humanism
Chris Stedman, Huffington Post 22-6-2012

"What's a 'Humanist'?"
As a Humanist activist, it's a question I hear a lot. I'm not comfortable with the idea of trying to answer it on behalf of all Humanists, so I usually respond to the question by sharing the story of how I came to identify as a Humanist...
The story of how I became a Humanist is a funny one to me in part because, after searching so long for an identity that affirmed my naturalistic worldview and compassionate ambitions, I found secular Humanism because of a Muslim...
While interning at Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), my friend Eboo Patel introduced me to Greg Epstein's Good Without God and the works of other contemporary Humanists. From there, I began to devour Humanist literature; Confucius, Epicurus and Renaissance Humanism, up to more recent Humanist thinkers like Robert G. Ingersoll and Paul Kurtz. I read the various editions of the Humanist Manifestos and jumped up excitedly to repeat their words aloud:
"Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity."

This was what I believed -- particularly its emphasis on taking personal responsibility for the greater good of all...
If a devout Muslim can introduce an atheist like me to Humanism, then I believe anything is possible.

Eboo Patel is a member of President Barack Obama's inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. He is an American Ismaili Muslim of Gujarati Indian heritage and founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit that aims to promote interfaith cooperation.


Ali Motamedi, Iranian harmonica player, pays tribute
to the late Gary Moore by playing "Picture of The Moon".

Picture of the Moon, by Gary Moore (Irish musician, most widely
recognised as a blues singer and guitarist)

Virtuoso travels through “Gate of the Sun”
in first Iranian harmonica album
Tehran Times, 6-11-2012

TEHRAN -- An album of harmonica compositions, claimed to be the first collection ever composed for this instrument in Iran, has recently been released in Tehran. Produced by the Golcheen Art and Cultural Company, “Gate of the Sun” contains 12 pieces composed by pianist and harmonica virtuoso Ali Motamedi.
“I am very happy about the release of this album and I hope that every Iranian has a harmonica in his or her home one day,” Motamedi said during a ceremony organized by Golcheen to unveil the album on Monday evening. “I know three other instruments, but I do not like any instrument as much as the harmonica,” he added.

“Due to the fact that so far, there has never been an album of harmonica compositions recorded in Iran, my colleagues, teachers and students encouraged me to compose the collection,” Motamedi wrote in the album brochure.


The Sun-Gate: Zoroastrian Sun and Moon Worship

Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said, "When Imam Mahdi appears, some people who were thought to be of his family will desert him, and others who were known as sun and moon worshipers will join him." (Mizan al-Hikmah)

Zoroaster worship in Iran Herodotus the historian said that Persians worshipped the sun, moon and the elements, particularly fire. To Zoroastrians, fire is the manifestation of the deity Ahura Mazda.
The primary religion in Iran today is the Shia sect of Islam but the far older faith of the prophet Zoroaster is still openly practiced, particularly in the central and northwestern regions of the country. Zoroastrians are protected as "People of the Book" in Islam.

The Zoroastrian religion has three central commands: Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds. During their prayers, believers face towards a fire, or else towards the sun or the moon, which are regarded as heavenly fires and as Ahura Mazda himself. The ancient cities of Iran and Armenia often had a 'Sun-Gate'.

Just as the Cross, the Star of David and Mecca serve as altar symbols for Christians, Jews an Muslims, Light is to the Zarathushtis a blazing symbol of divine illumination, enlightenment, warmth, love and energy.
The Zarathushti says his or her prayers before a lighted incense burner, a candle or a lamp. He or she may face other luminaries, the sun, the moon, and the stars when praying to Omniscient God. A perpetual fire is kept in a special vase in the house of worship.

The Syrian Alawis: Light is the essence of God

Light is the very essence of God, so the 'Alawis worship the sun and the moon seeing them as the abodes of 'Ali, Muhammad and Salman. Actually there are two divisions within the 'Alawis: The Shamsiya (from the Arabic Shams, meaning sun), identify 'Ali with the sun and Salman with the moon. The other group, the Qamariyah (from Qamar, the moon), identify 'Ali with the moon and Salman with the sun. Prayers are said facing the sun.

The heavens are worshipped as God's abode. 'Alawi worship of sun, moon and sky can be traced back to the Sabean sect, an ancient Aramaic community of upper Mesopotamia (Harran) who worshipped the sun, moon and the five planets. They believed that God had one essence but was multiple in his manifestations. (Source)

The Lion and the Sun

Contrary to what anti- Islamic iranian nationalists say, the old standard of Iran, the Lion and Sun, does actually have an Islamic background. The Lion stands for Ali, the sword it is holding is the zulfiqar, and the sun represents the light of God.
Also contrary to what the Islamic republic sais, the emblem is not a symbol of Pahlavi regime , secularism, corruption, or foreign influence. The standard was in use in Iran way before the Pahlavis even came to power.. It was first used as far back as the Safavids and became the flag of the Qajar dynasty. It was also used by the Mughals in India and some of the Turkic states.
So should Iran bring back this emblem as its coat of arms? if not the actual flag itself. It has alot of historical value and is a matter of national pride , and in my opinion, is a very powerful and unique symbol of Iran. (
ShiaChat.com)

The Mahdi - horoscope based on Sjia-birth-data

The lion and sun symbol is based largely on astronomical and astrological configurations: the ancient sign of the sun in the house of Leo, which itself is traced backed to Babylonian astrology and Near Eastern traditions.
The motif has many historical meanings. First, it was only an astrological and zodiacal symbol. Under Safavid and the first Qajar kings, it became more associated with Shia Islam.

Imam Mahdi (AS), savior of humanity, is the only son of Imam Hassan Askari (AS) the 11th Imam, who was born on the dawn of 15th of Shaaban 255 A.H. (869 C.E.) in Samarra, Iraq. He became the God-appointed Imam when his father was martyred in 260/874. Imam Mahdi (AS) went into occultation (disappearance) at the same time.He will reappear when Allah wills. (Shia-Info)

The Ocean of Light

Andrej Pejic, man with girly legs Mohammed refers to him as "Master of the World," "Master of Time," "God's President," and "God speaking and advising."
He says that he can be recognized by these signs: "His hair will be profuse. His forehead will be large and concave. His nose will be small, with a slight bump at the bridge. His front teeth will be spaced apart. He will have a mole on his cheek. He will not have a beard but will be clean shaven. His clothing will be like a flame. He will wear two robes, one an under robe. The color of his face will be sometimes yellow like gold, sometimes very dark and sometimes shining like the moon. His body will be small. His legs will be like those of a young girl.
All the teachings of all the religions of the world will be in his heart from birth. All the science and knowledge of the world from the beginning of time will be in his heart. All things which you ask from God, the Master of the World will give you...

From the Bihar Al Anwar (Ocean of Light) a compilation of discourses by the Prophet Mohammed and some of the Shia Islam Imam's. It was compiled in the 17th century by Mohammed Baqir Majlisi, a famous early Shia scholar.

"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom]." THOMAS gospel (gnostic) (chapter 24)

Astrology: MAHDI - Sun in house 1

Any person with Sun in the 1st house strives towards inner authenticity and they should never submerge their individuality to please others. This placement suggests there is a strong determination to choose one's own course in life, and the energy of the Sun, needs to radiate out of the personality. (Source)

MAHDI - LEO rising sign

Leo Rising is usually of sunny disposition, although they usually speak their mind. They can be extremely stubborn, and it can be challenging for them to break bad habits or behaviors. Their innate tenacity is one of their greatest assets, though. Even when everyone else is tired out and ready to give up, Leo Ascendant is still ready to inspire everyone to keep up the good work. Leo Rising is full of energy and enthusiasm. Once they are excited about something, they're ready to jump right in. (Source)

MAHDI - Uranus in 1st House

Those born with Uranus in the 1st house can be described as having unusual and unconventional qualities. Since the first house represents our physical appearance as well as our personality, there may be something non-conformist about the way these people dress or behave. The individual is viewed as a rebel, reformer, or highly unusual in their manners, appearance and attitude. Sometimes these people enjoy being different and unpredictable. Uranus here likes to do what they please regardless of customs and norms.
The individual really wants to make a difference in the world, make progress and great changes. Uranus in this position can sometimes be disruptive, and they like to shake, rebel and shock others. The individual always wants to shatter other people’s expectations.
Uranus is associated with new discoveries, risk taking and scientific or occult exploration. Uranus in the 1st house wants to be autonomous, independent and freedom orientated, and they are inclined to strike out in an entirely new way. (Source)

Coalition for the Defense of Sharia
Osman El Sharnoubi, Ahram Online 7 Nov 2012

Salafist groups launched the Coalition for the Defense of Sharia (Islamic law) today. The coalition plans to participate in mass protests to demand the inclusion of Sharia law as the main source of legislation in Egypt’s new constitution.
“We are here to announce the beginning of our activities to uphold Islamic Sharia against the attack of secular and liberal forces trying to undermine the Constituent Assembly,” said Tarek El-Zomor, Al-Jama'a Islamiyya leader and Founder of its Building and Development Party.
“Sharia is in danger; those against their demand are challenging any article in the constitution, which only gives way for the application of Sharia and not even requires its implementation,” he claimed.
Others want to bind the constitution with international agreements that allow what God has prohibited, he said. “Activities defending Sharia must continue until a referendum on the constitution is held,” he continued.

The Head of the Salafist Asala Party, Adel Abdel-Maqsoud, described anyone who is against the implementation of Sharia as an "apostate". ...
Speakers at the conference insisted there was an obligation on the part of Muslims to participate in the protests; some saying it is a divine duty.

Egypt's prosecutor-general orders ban on porn websites
Ahram Online, 7 Nov 2012

Egyptian Prosecutor-General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud submitted an official letter to the ministries of telecommunications, information and the interior on Wednesday ordering that measures be adopted to ban pornographic websites in Egypt based on a 2009 court order to this effect.
In May 2009, Egypt's High Administrative Court declared a ban on pornographic websites. The move was based on a lawsuit filed by Islamist lawyer Nezar Ghourab.
On Wednesday, a group of Salafist Muslims belonging to a grassroots campaign dubbed 'Pure Net' staged a demonstration in front of Cairo's High Court to demand enforcement of the ban.
Backed by several prominent Salafist preachers, the 'Pure Net' campaign calls for the prohibition of adult websites in Egypt on grounds that such sites "violate Egyptian customs and values."


Despite official objections, Brotherhood cleric lectures police
Al-Masry Al-Youm, Ahram Online 8-11-2012

The Interior Ministry has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau mufti to deliver religious lectures to police officers, despite objections from the National Security Authority, security sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The sources said that Mufti Abdel Rahman al-Barr began the twice-weekly lectures last month. The lectures to police officers reportedly stressed religious commitment, the good treatment of citizens, avoiding torture and the importance of a religious state.
The same sources said Barr told police officers that growing beards to copy the tradition of Prophet Mohamed was acceptable, an idea strongly opposed by the Ministry.
Some police officers objected to the lectures and boycotted them, sources added.

Al-Barr: Constitutions Allow No Contradicting Articles
IKhwanweb (Muslim Brotherhood website), 7-11-2012

Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Barr, member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau and also member of the Constituent Assembly (CA), affirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision with regard to Sharia (Islamic Law) has always been very clear, even before the revolution, and that Sharia is the most important determinant of Egyptian personality and identity.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera Mubasher (Live)-Egypt satellite TV channel, Al-Barr explained that the Muslim Brotherhood has been defending Sharia since the day it was founded, and paid a heavy price for it – with its brave men thrown in jails and hung on the gallows. He stressed that Sharia is the most favorable and appropriate law framework for the people, and the only one capable of taking the homeland forward onto the road of progress in all fields.

"Sharia, from the Muslim Brotherhood’s point of view, is a comprehensive way of life that regulates and organizes the life of the individual, the community and the nation as well as all institutional relationships in the domestic arena and state relationships with other states in the international arena.
"Sharia is not only an article in the Constitution, it is the spirit that pervades the whole national charter. We, therefore, cannot accept any article that violates Sharia in any way at all. This is an absolutely clear unambiguous fact. This is the case in all constitutions in the world: no contradictory Articles are allowed to be written in the same constitution."

Assad: ‘My enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria’
Russia Today, 9 November 2012

In an exclusive interview with RT, President Bashar Assad said that the conflict in Syria is not a civil war, but proxy terrorism by Syrians and foreign fighters. He also accused the Turkish PM of eyeing Syria with imperial ambitions.
Assad told RT that the West creates scapegoats as enemies – from communism, to Islam, to Saddam Hussein. He accused Western countries of aiming to turn him into their next enemy.
While mainstream media outlets generally report on the crisis as a battle between Assad and Syrian opposition groups, the president claims that his country has been infiltrated by numerous terrorist proxy groups fighting on behalf of other powers.

RT: There are many people who were convinced a year ago that you would not make it this far. Here again you are sitting in a newly renovated presidential palace and recording this interview. Who exactly is your enemy at this point?

BA: My enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria. This is our enemy in Syria. It is not about the people, it is not about persons. The whole issue is not about me staying or leaving. It is about the country being safe or not. So, this is the enemy we have been fighting as Syria. ...

The West creates enemies; in the past it was the communism then it became Islam, and then it became Saddam Hussein for a different reason. Now, they want to create a new enemy represented by Bashar. That's why they say that the problem is the president so he has to leave. That is why we have to focus of the real problem, not to waste our time listening to what they say.

RT: Do you believe that you are the man who can put an end to the conflict and restore peace?

BA: I have to be the man who can do that and I hope so, but it is not about the power of the President; it is about the whole society. We have to be precise about this. The president cannot do anything without the institutions and without the support of the people. So, the fight now is not a President’s fight; it is Syrians’ fight. Every Syrian is involved in defending his country now.

RT: It is and a lot of civilians are dying as well in the fighting. So, if you were to win this war, how would you reconcile with your people after everything that has happened?

BA: Let’s be precise once again. The problem is not between me and the people; I do not have a problem with the people because the United States is against me and the West is against me and many other Arab countries, including Turkey which is not Arab of course, are against me. ...

RT: I heard you say on many different occasions that the only thing you care about is what the Syrian people think of you and what Syrian people feel towards you and whether you should be a president or not. Are you not afraid that there has been so much damage done for whatever reason that at the end of the day Syrians won’t care about the truth; they will just blame you for the carnage that they have suffered?

BA: This is a hypothetical question because what the people think is the right thing, and regarding what they think, we have to ask them. But I don’t have this information right now. ...

RT: For years there have been so many stories about almighty Syrian army, important and strong Syrian secret services, but then we see that, you know, the government forces are not able to crush the enemy like people expected it would...

BA: In this case, it is a new kind of war; terrorism through proxies, either Syrians living in Syria or foreign fighters coming from abroad. So, it is a new style of war, this is first and you have to adapt to this style and it takes time, it is not easy. .. Second, the support that has been offered to those terrorists in every aspect, including armaments, money and political aspect is unprecedented. ..

The problem is that the terrorists are fighting from within the cities, and in the cities you have civilians. When you fight this kind of terrorists, you have to be aware that you should do the minimum damage to the infrastructure and minimum damage to the civilians... This is the difficulty in this kind of war.

­RT: Why has Turkey, which you call a friendly nation, become a foothold for the opposition?

BA: Not Turkey, but only Erdogan’s government in order to be precise. Erdogan thinks that if Muslim Brotherhood takes over in the region and especially in Syria, he can guarantee his political future, this is one reason. The other reason, he personally thinks that he is the new sultan of the Ottoman and he can control the region as it was during the Ottoman Empire under a new umbrella. ...

RT: But it is not just the West that opposes you at this point... Why do you have so many enemies in the Arab world?

BA: They are not enemies. The majority of Arab governments support Syria in their heart but they do not dare to say that explicitly.

RT: Iran which is a very close ally also is exposed to economic sanctions, also facing a threat of military invasion. If you were faced with an option to cut ties with Iran in exchange for peace in your country, would you go for it?

BA: Iran is a very important country in the region. If we are looking for stability, we need good relations with Iran.

­RT: Do you have any information that the Western intelligence is financing rebel fighters here in Syria?

BA: No, so far what we know is that they are offering the know-how support for the terrorists through Turkey and sometimes through Lebanon mainly.

RT: There has been many times…not you but the government forces have been accused for many times of war crimes against your own civilians, do you accept that the government forces have committed war crimes against their own civilians?

BA: We are fighting terrorism. We are implementing our constitution by protecting the Syrian people. Let’s go back to what happened in Russia more than a decade ago when you faced terrorism in Chechnya and other places; they attacked people in theaters and schools and so on, and the army in Russia protected the people, would you call it war crimes?! No, you would not.

­RT: Do you think that at this point there is any chance for diplomacy or talks or only the army can get it done?

BA: I always believe in diplomacy and I always believe in dialogue even with those who do not understand or believe in it. But we have to be realistic.
Those people who committed these acts they are of two kinds: one of them does not believe in dialogue, especially the extremists, and you have the outlaws who have been convicted by the court years ago before the crisis and their natural enemy is the government because they are going to be detained if we have a normal situation in Syria.
The other part of them is the people who have been supplied by the outside, and they can only be committed to the governments which paid them the money and supplied them with the armament; they do not have a choice because they do not own their own decision.
And you have the third part of the people whether militants or politicians who can accept the dialogue. That’s why we have been in this dialogue for months now even with militants and many of them gave up their armaments and they went back to their normal life.

RT: If today was March 15, 2011, that is when the protest started to escalate and grow, what would you do differently?

BA: I would do what I did on March 15.

RT: Exactly the same?

BA: Exactly the same: ask different parties to have dialogue and stand against terrorists because that is how it started. It did not start as marches; the umbrella or cover was the marches, but within those marches you had militants who started shooting civilians and the army at the same time.

RT: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, thank you for talking to RT.

BA: Thank you for coming to Syria, again.


"Bloody democracy" isn't being achieved
SANA, Nov 09, 2012

TEHRAN, (SANA) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular and Parliamentary Affairs Hassan Qashqavi said that there's a shift in the positions in the countries that supported the Syrian opposition.
In a press statement Qashqavi said that the current situation in Syria is better than before despite the bombings and terrorist acts, noting that the current positions of countries that supported the Syrian opposition has shifted as even US officials said that "bloody democracy" isn't being achieved, stressing the need to return to Iranian diplomacy which calls for non-bloody diplomacy.

Lavrov: The West Is Reconsidering Its Stance
towards the Syrian Opposition, Tishreen news 9-11-2012

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West is reconsidering its stances towards the Syrian opposition. Lavrov attributed this change to the frustration over the failure in unifying this opposition on the one hand and the growing fears of the domination of new powers other than those on which the West was betting on the other hand.
The Russian Foreign Minister continued to say that Moscow believes that it is essential and crucial that the opposition gets unified around the Geneva Statement, pointing out that up till now attempts to unify the opposition groups have been done on the ground of working against the Syrian government, which is wrong. Lavrov stressed that Russia is continuing its efforts in this regard, as it has been meeting representatives of the various opposition groups to enhance the idea of dialogue between them and the Syrian government.

‘We Will All Turn into Terrorists’
by John Glaser, 9-11-2012

Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh, the leader of the Free Syrian Army, warned that if outside powers don’t quickly back the rebel fighters trying to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the rebels might all turn into terrorists instead.
“If there’s no quick decision to support us, we will all turn into terrorists,” he said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “If you apply the pressure that’s been applied to Syria, it will explode in all directions. Terrorism will grow quickly.”
The US has been facilitating the delivery of weapons to the rebels from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, but has been reluctant to directly give the rebels any lethal aid. Part of the reason is that the so-called leadership of the FSA is hardly recognized by most of the fighters on the ground.

While issuing his warning, al-Sheikh is also trying to convince the West to more enthusiastically back the rebels. He claims he has established a command structure and published a manifesto giving lip-service for human rights.
But those efforts to appeal to the US for greater, and more lethal, arms support is ridiculous. Writing a manifesto about the FSA’s supposed commitment to human rights, while at the same time warning that they may just “turn into terrorists” doesn’t exactly fit.

Talking to foreign media is ‘haram:’ Saudi Grand Mufti
By Al Arabiya, 11 November 2012

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti has issued a religious edict prohibiting contact and cooperation with foreign media outlets seeking to “spread chaos and strife in Muslim lands.” He urged people instead to address their concerns through writing directly to responsible authorities.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh told worshipers during a Friday sermon held in a mosque in the capital Riyadh that people should not contact foreign media outlets to “divulge the country’s secrets or address various matters” because these outlets “are only concerned with dividing people and striking the unity of the nation.” He said doing so was tantamount to “treason and major crime.”
The kingdom’s Grand Mufti warned against covering up or sheltering criminals who threaten the country’s security. “It is not permissible and is considered betrayal and assistance to the enemies of Islam.”
A believer has to help keeping security, that of his nation and community, and protecting his religion,” he said, as quoted by the Saudi daily newspaper Okaz.

Profile

As the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah Aal Al Sheikh (born 1-1-1941), has the highest position of religious authority in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is an Islamic scholar based in Mecca—the seat of Islam—and has influence as a leading cleric of the expansive global movement of Salafi Muslims.
As Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Aal Al Sheikh is the leading religious figure of the Saudi-based network of Salafi Muslims. The rulings derived by Aal Al Sheikh are based heavily on a literal reading of the Qur’an and emphasize the need to strip away cultural practices that have become a part of Muslims’ lives. The movement he leads is characterized by an authoritative stance on Islamic religious practice.

Stay obedient - Eliminate distracting practices

Turkish soap operas ignite culture war
* Sharia rules: “The ethics of a true believer are portrayed in his brother, for when he sees good deeds he encourages him … And if he perceives any sort of violation and abuse of Sharia’, he seeks to set him on the right path and amend (him)."
* Comment on the Arab Spring: The Grand Mufti issued a fatwa that demonstrations were forbidden from a judicial point of view. The argument for this was that Saudi Arabia is based on the Qur’an and Sunnah and that it is necessary to stay hand in hand and obedient. Thus, reform can be accomplished by advice not by demonstrations or methods that give rise to discord or divide the nation.
* No individual pleasures: In 2008, he publicly criticized Muslim televangelists who encouraged Muslims to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries — stressing, instead, that only the two occasions of ‘Eid and the weekly Friday observations are valid occasions to celebrate. In this, and also in his condemnation of Turkish soap operas sweeping the Arab World, Aal Al Sheikh has stressed the importance of eliminating distracting practices.
* Christianity is forbidden. On 16-3-2012 Abdullah cited an Islamic hadith quoting the prophet Mohammed on his deathbed, who said, "there are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula," meaning only Islam can exist there. Later the sheikh clarified his remark, saying that "Kuwait was a part of the Arabian Peninsula and therefore it is necessary to destroy all churches in it." Other nations included in the Arabian Peninsula are Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.


Christianity in Syria

Grand Mufti Syria honored by Greek orthodox believers

Damascus was one of the first regions to receive Christianity during the ministry of St Peter. There were more Christians in Damascus than anywhere else. After the military expansion of the Umayyad empire into Syria and Anatolia, the teachings of Islam came into practice and many became Muslims.
Nowadays, Damascus still contains a sizeable proportion of Christians, with churches all over the city, but particularly in the district of Bab Touma. Masses are held every Sunday and civil servants are given Sunday mornings off to allow them to attend church, even though Sunday is a working day in Syria. Schools in Christian-dominated districts have Saturday and Sunday as the weekend, while the official Syrian weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.
In May 2011, International Christian Concern indicated that Christians in Syria were more afraid of the anti-government protesters than of the government itself, because under the Syrian Assad government there has been tolerance towards religious minorities. (Wikipedia Info)


2011: Interview with Syrian Grand Mufti
'Assad Could Step Down After Free Elections'
Der Spiegel, 8-11-2011

For some he is a holy man, for others he is little more than a rabble-rouser. But no one can dispute that Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, 62, is one of the most important men in Syria, a man who, as the country's most senior religious scholar and a close political advisor to President Bashar Assad, plays a role in shaping war and peace in his country and in the entire Middle Eastern region.
Sheik Hassoun, a Sunni religious scholar at Al-Azhar University in Cairo and a member of parliament for eight years, has always found conciliatory words in the West. He sharply criticized the term "Holy War" in front of the European Parliament, saying: "Only peace is holy." ...
The grand mufti meets with us in the office of his apartment near the university of Aleppo. He is sitting in front of a large set of bookshelves, interrupted only by calligraphy that reads, in Arabic: "God teaches us everything, including the best way to use language."

SPIEGEL: Sheikh Hassoun, at least 3,000 people have died in Syria since March. Can civil war still be averted?

Hassoun: It is possible, but then all sides must truly desire peace. ... Some forces, especially abroad, have an interest in further escalation.

SPIEGEL: What do you mean?

Hassoun: In March, there was a completely justified, peaceful rally in Daraa against the governor of the region, who had thrown schoolchildren into prison. Daraa is a town near the Jordanian border known for smuggling. I went there right away and brought calm to the situation, and I promised the people an independent investigation. At my suggestion, the president removed the governor from office. But then imams who had come from abroad, especially Saudi Arabia, stirred things up with their inflammatory speeches. The news channels stationed in the Gulf states, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, helped them by falsely claiming that the clergy was on the side of the anti-Assad protesters. ...

SPIEGEL: It sounds like a conspiracy theory, with which you are trying to gloss over the failure of the Assad regime.

Hassoun: The government is not as you describe it. But it has made political and economic mistakes and did not liberalize quickly and comprehensively enough. The president is taking responsibility for that.

SPIEGEL: You say this to him in your private conversations?

Hassoun: It is well known that I generally support the president's policies. But when I feel the need to criticize and correct, I do so. ..

SPIEGEL: In your view, under what circumstances would Assad be willing to step down -- a condition that many insurgents have made and that is shared by US President Barack Obama and European politicians?

Hassoun: I am convinced that he will gradually introduce reforms, allow free and fair elections with independent parties, and then, after a peaceful transition, he might be willing to step down. He's no president for life. Bashar Assad, a former eye doctor, wants to return to his old profession. I can easily imagine it. In fact, he has told me several times about his dream of running an eye clinic.

SPIEGEL: At the moment, however, he has been very hesitant in agreeing to reforms. ...

Hassoun: Oh, the Arab League and the so-called Arab Spring. .. Should we welcome the rise of Islamist parties? I believe in the strict separation of church and state.

SPIEGEL: Not all Islamists are enemies of democracy. The winners of the election in Tunis have committed themselves to pluralism, and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara largely practices this pluralism.

Hassoun: I was in Turkey nine months ago and met with almost all the top politicians. And I have to admit that I was very impressed.

SPIEGEL: Your northern neighbor has sided with Assad's opponents. Turkey is allowing the so-called Free Syrian Army to organize attacks against northern Syria from its territory. It is also harboring the Syrian National Council, the joint opposition group, which announced its formation in Istanbul a few months ago.

Hassoun: Yes, I was very surprised and outraged about that. This so-called national council doesn't even have a political program. I say to them: Show us something, negotiate with the Assad regime over a realistic timetable, and then let the people decide who has the more convincing ideas. ...

SPIEGEL: Why are you accusing Israel and the United States?

Hassoun: There are close ties between the Saudi royal family and the American White House. The Americans are often on the side of the oppressors. I am always on the side of the oppressed.

SPIEGEL: What does that mean for your role in Syria?

Hassoun: I see myself as the grand mufti of all 23 million Syrians, not just Muslims, but also Christians and even atheists. I am a man of dialogue. Who knows, maybe an agnostic will convince me with better arguments one day, and I'll become a non-believer. And if I'm enthusiastic about the opposition's political platform, I also might change sides.