Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
An especially dangerous threat to liberty occurs when members of the press collude with government agencies instead of monitoring and exposing the abuses of those agencies. Unfortunately, collusion is an all-too-common pattern in press coverage of the national security state’s activities. The American people then receive official propaganda disguised as honest reporting and analysis.
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
Joe Biden & Truth - 2009
US Vice President Joe Biden said that the new administration would seek the
unvarnished truth from its spies, whether or not their information supported
the goals of the government.
The Vice President's address was greeted with loud cheers by the several hundred CIA employees who gathered for the swearing in ceremony in the foyer of the Agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Standing before the wall of 89 stars representing the CIA staff who have died in the line of duty, Mr Biden said:
"We expect you to provide independent analysis, not to engage in group think. We
expect you to tell us the facts as you know them wherever they may lead, not
what you think we want to hear." (Tim Shipman. 20-2-2009)
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign
ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid
to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation
that is afraid of its people …
The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. …
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." John F.Kennedy
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."
"The globalists wants to make the world unipolar in order to move towards a globalist non-polarity, where the elites will become fully international and their residence will be dispersed throughout the entire space of the planet.
Accordingly, for the salvation of people, peoples, and societies, the Great Awakening must begin with multipolarity.
This is not just the salvation of the West itself, and not even the salvation of everyone else from the West, but the salvation of humanity, both Western and non-Western, from the totalitarian dictatorship of the liberal capitalist elites.
And this cannot be done by the people of the West or the people of the East alone. Here it is necessary to act together. The Great Awakening necessitates an internationalization of the peoples’ struggle against the internationalization of the elites. Multipolarity becomes the most important reference point and the key to the strategy of the Great Awakening.
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
Following the announcement of his death at the age of 90, newspapers and TV channels in Europe and the U.S. celebrated the life of Desmond Tutu, whose ethical outlook and lucid articulation was instrumental in bringing an end to racial apartheid in South Africa.
But, whilst journalists and editors – from the liberal Guardian to the right-wing Spectator - are ready to appropriate Tutu’s irrefutable moral standing to buttress the reputations of their media organizations, there has been a silence over the late Archbishop’s support for causes beyond the shores and borders of South Africa.
Tutu’s impassioned call for the rights of Palestinians against the brutal occupation of their land has been airbrushed from most mainstream obituaries and news pieces following his death on 26 December. Tutu was a unique moral voice when it came to the Palestine issue. His principals, which often transcended contemporary political infighting, rested on universal ethical values derived from his religious faith.
“I wish I could keep quiet about the plight of the Palestinians. I can’t!” Tutu said in 2013. “What’s being done to the Palestinians … it’s the kind of thing we experienced in South Africa," he said, citing the Wall, the surveillance of Palestinians, and the apartheid between peoples...
He criticized Israeli policies towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza for what it does to young Israelis conscripted to monitor Palestinians at checkpoints, pull down their homes, and occupy the land once home to families and communities.
In a statement following a 2008 UN fact-finding mission to investigate the Israeli bombing of the Beit Hanoun district in Gaza which left 19 Palestinians dead, Tutu referenced the Torah:
“In terms of the scripture that Jews and Christians alike invoke, the blockade is contrary to the teaching of those scriptures. Those scriptures speak about a God: a God of the Exodus, a God notoriously biased in favour of the weak, of the oppressed, of the suffering, of the orphan, of the widow, of the alien.”
“The siege is contrary to the Jewish tradition of siding with the oppressed,” the statement goes on to say., "Jews must be on the side of freedom, justice and peace.”
This flies in the face of liberal and right-wing media organizations who have traditionally maintained a hard-line against the criticism of the Israeli occupation, frequently in opposition to critical voices from within Israel itself. After the Guardian published an obituary of the archbishop, social media users pointed out that comments which drew attention to the article’s omission of Tutu’s stance on Palestine had been removed...
It does a disservice to Tutu's life to pick and choose causes which align with editorial stances. Perhaps more than any other, Tutu's principals were drawn from foundational ethical principals that stood on the side of victims and above party politics.
One such unpopular opinion was his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against the Israeli occupation...
The year 2021 has witnessed the implementation of hundreds of reconstruction projects in several sectors in Syria despite the challenges and obstacles that face the process, mainly the acute economic crisis the country is going through besides the western sanctions imposed on the people of Syria.
These projects were mentioned in the annual report released on Thursday by the Ministry of Local Administration.
The report said: “The ministry carried out 1262 rehabilitation projects and it now supervises the rehabilitation of 17 hospitals, 37 health centers and 19 cultural centers.”
It added that 6502 houses, 109 hospitals and health centers, 20 bakeries, 406 shops, 10 public buildings, 21 citizen service centers, 19 cultural centers and 19 stations, which were destroyed by terrorism, were rehabilitated within the framework of humanitarian response plan.
The rehabilitation of houses and infrastructures has helped ten of thousands of people to return to their areas that were liberated from terrorist groups several years ago.
The return of people to their areas necessitated the rehabilitation of schools to help school children, who returned with their families to continue their education...
In an article published by the French “Le Monde” newspaper in March, 2021, about the reconstruction process in Syria after 10 years of terror war, it was said that terrorism destroyed one third of infrastructure, 7% of houses and 70% of power, fuel and water networks, and damaged one in three schools, 20% of houses and 50% of hospitals and clinics...
More than 700,000 people have signed a petition calling for former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair to have his knighthood removed.
The ex-Labour leader, who was in power from 1997 to 2007, was given the title as the New Year's Honours were awarded. On 1 January, Tony Blair became a member of the Order of the Garter, England's oldest and most senior order of chivalry.
The appointment was the personal choice of the Queen, who has up to 24 "knight and lady companions", with current Prime Minister Boris Johnson not involved in the decision.
But a petition posted on the change.org website by actor and presenter Angus Scott says Tony Balir "caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation's society" while in office.
"He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes," it adds.
Angus Scott was watching the news on New Year's Eve when he found out Tony Blair was getting a knighthood.
"I just thought it was an appalling decision, so I decided to do something," he tells the BBC. "I've never done a petition before in my life. It took me quite a while to work out how to get it set up."
Mr Scott, 55, a voice-over artist and actor, who describes himself as largely apolitical, says: "I thought it might pick up a few hundred signatures, but obviously it taps into a deep feeling that's pretty obvious around the country. The honours system itself - people are starting to question if it's appropriate."
The petition has received enthusiastic backing on social media from left-wing activists and Stop the War campaigners.
In 2009, US President George W Bush presented Tony Balir with the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest US civilian honour - for "efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad".
But the 2016 Chilcot report into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war found Tony Balir's government had chosen to join the US-led invasion before all peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. It also said planning and preparations for the country after the deposing of Saddam Hussein had been "wholly inadequate".
Iraqi campaigners and politicians have expressed their "disgust" at the decision by the British government to award a knighthood to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, citing his involvement in the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.
The anger comes as a petition launched in the UK calling for the former Labour leader to have the honour withdrawn reached over 700,000 signatures. Blair has been accused of war crimes over his role in the invasion of Iraq, which toppled longtime ruler Saddam Hussein and led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, widespread internecine violence and ongoing instability in Iraq and beyond.
There was further anger on Wednesday after it was claimed by Blair's former defence secretary Geoff Hoon that he had been told to "burn" a memo from the British attorney general which cast doubt on the legality of the Iraq war.
Rami al-Sakini, an Iraqi MP and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told Middle East Eye that the knighthood should be withdrawn...
Sakini, whose Sairoun party won the largest number of seats in Iraq's parliamentary elections last October, said giving Blair the title was effectively "honouring the violation" that was the Iraq war. Ali al-Baroodi, a teacher and campaigner in the former IS stronghold of Mosul - which was obliterated in 2017 in a foreign-backed campaign to defeat the militant group - told MEE that honouring Blair was "disgusting" referring to him as "B-Liar" as many anti-war campaigners have done.
Kamal Jabir, a politician with the Civil Democratic Alliance, and a former freedom fighter against Saddam Hussein in the 80s and 90s, said: "With millions of caring world citizens l stood firm in objecting the 2003 war against Iraq - I was hoping that Tony Blair as one of the young leaders of the Labour Party would have the courage and the wisdom not to follow [US President] George Bush’s wrong decision to invade Iraq using false and fabricated intelligence to justify an ugly and unfair war that paved the way to the rise of the present corrupt and Islamic extremist parties and gangs in Iraq."
the 'unwilling' three: schroeder, chirac, michel
A poll released by the British polling agency YouGov on Tuesday suggested the UK public was overwhelmingly opposed to the former premier being knighted.
According to the poll, 62 percent of the public either "tend to" or "strongly" disapprove of Blair receiving the honour, with only 14 percent in favour...
Following the withdrawal of the United States-led Western combat mission in Iraq in December, the Middle Eastern country's progress now depends on its incoming government's ability to prioritize people's livelihoods, experts say. Zaid Al-Ali, a lawyer and former legal adviser to the United Nations on constitutional, parliamentary and judicial reform in Iraq, said government negotiations will depend on how specific parties position themselves.
In an interview with China Daily, Al-Ali said that while security threats still loom in Iraq, he believes Iraqi security forces are better prepared to respond to threats that terrorists groups may pose.
"The best approach would be to deal with the social conditions throughout Iraq and improve standards of living for everyone to reduce terrorist groups' capacity to recruit and carry out attacks," he said.
Al-Ali said the main challenge of the upcoming government will be to balance the demands of political groups, which "expect rewards to flow from their participation in parliament and government" with the growing demands of a population that is deeply dissatisfied with the political system.
"Since 2003, the government has only served as a power-sharing arrangement for political elites and close to no benefits have flowed to the general population. This is totally unsustainable and is one of the main reasons for the uprising that took place in 2019," he said.
In October 2019, protests broke out owing to corruption, poor governance and a lack of public services.
"If the new government wishes to avoid another uprising from taking place, it will have to make a serious attempt to improve standards of living in the country,"Al-Ali added.
The US invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the basis of false intelligence claiming that the nation was developing weapons of mass destruction, which were never found. Then UN secretary-general Kofi Annan called the war illegal and that it "was not in conformity with the UN Charter..
On the eve of the Parliament's first session, the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, stressed that the next Iraqi government will be of a "national majority" nature.
Al-Sadr tweeted earlier today, Saturday, "today, there is no room for sectarianism or ethnicity. It will be a national majority government in which the Shiite will defend the rights of the minorities,Sunnis, and Kurds."
"The Kurd will defend the rights of the minorities, Sunnis, and Shiites; and the Sunni will defend the rights of the minorities, Shiites, and Kurds." "There will be no room for corruption. All the sects shall be supportive to reform."
"Today, there will be no room for militias. Everyone will uphold the army, police, and security forces. The law will prevail with an impartial Iraqi Judiciary."
"Today, the people and us will say: no for dependence. Our decision is Iraqi, Shiite, Sunni, Kurdish, Turkmen, Christian, Fayli, Shabak, Sabean: an Iraqi national Mosaic, neither eastern nor western."
Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan (Meretz) on Thursday morning said that the "settlers" in the Jewish town of Homesh are "subhuman."
In an interview with the Knesset Channel, Golan claimed, "People who come and settle a place which was evacuated under the law, and where no one should be, and when I was commander of the Judea and Samaria Brigade I did not allow anyone to settle there. Now they cry their cries, 'Oy vey, how can this be conceivable? This is shameful and an embarrassment.' Those same people who come to settle there riot in Kafr Burqa, smash headstones, and make pogroms."
"These are not people - they are subhuman. These are despicable people and the most rotten part of the Jewish nation. We must not provide them with any backing, and we must forcefully remove them from this place and bring back law and order to the area. This nationalist insanity will bring disaster upon us."
In a tweet, Golan wrote, "In my words, I referred to those who destroy graves, attack innocent people, destroy property which is not theirs. How should we be treating these people? How should we be referring to these people? It's time to speak the truth: This is not our Judaism." Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett slammed Golan's statements saying, "Yair Golan's statements about the settlers in Homesh are horrific, generalizations, and border on a blood libel. The settlements in Judea and Samaria are today's pioneering. We have not taken a foreign land....but our fathers' inheritance.">
Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Shlomo Ne’eman responded, "It looks like the Deputy Minister, who is well-versed in history, has become hysterical. ... We will continue to succeed in working towards pioneering in the Land of Israel."
JNS News: Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party went further, calling on Bennett to fire Golan.
“The settlers in Judea and Samaria are not ‘subhumans,’ [but] rather pioneering Zionists who settle our ancestral land,” said Netanyahu. “After this shameful statement, taken directly from Nazi terminology against the Jewish people, Bennett must fire Yair Golan.”
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked called Golan’s remarks “disgraceful,” adding that “he can keep talking. These wonderful pioneers will continue to settle the land.”
DAMASCUS - Syria on Wednesday joined China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which will help Syria open broad horizons of cooperation with China and other countries.
The ceremony of Syria's admission into the initiative took place at the Planning and International Cooperation Commission in the capital Damascus and was attended by Fadi Khalil, the head of the commission, and Feng Biao, China's ambassador to Syria, during which both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Syria joining the BRI.
Khalil said the admission of Syria into the initiative revives the old role of Syria on the ancient Silk Road and will help in boosting bilateral cooperation with China and multilateral cooperation with other countries, which are desirous of cooperating with Syria.
He noted that Syria had been one of the main countries on the ancient Silk Road particularly the cities of Aleppo and Palmyra. He pointed out that the signing of Syria's admission into the initiative reflects an ancient and long history of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
For his side, Feng said that the cooperation between the two countries provides the greatest contribution to the economic reconstruction and social development in Syria and it also enhances the harmonization between the BRI and the eastward strategy proposed by Syria.
The ambassador pointed out that the initiative is in line with the strong desire of the world's countries for broad economic participation, noting that the initiative has become the widest international cooperation platform in the world. The BRI, proposed by China in 2013, comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming to build a trade, investment, and infrastructure network connecting Asia with other parts of the world along the ancient Silk Road trade routes and beyond.
Joining the BRI "will bring considerable investments and aid … as Syria starts its long-term post-conflict reconstruction in the next few years," said Nabil Sukkar, founder of the Syrian Consulting Bureau for Development and Investment, a consultancy in Damascus.
Sukkar, a former senior economist at the World Bank, said the move comes as Syria turns farther "east in its trade relations following Western sanctions imposed on it as of the beginning of the current Syrian conflict in 2011". Khaled Almasri, a former dean of the faculty of international relations and diplomacy at Al-Sham Private University in Damascus, said it is in Syria's "national interest" to join the BRI as a new opportunity to establish bilateral and multilateral relations with other countries.
Almasri believes China can offer "outstanding economic help", starting with immediate humanitarian aid, such as food packages, and creating job opportunities. China can also play a constructive role in helping Syria through its political reform and transition period.
Almasri said the fact that China "is the only country in the world able and willing to help Syria in the reconstruction process" is the most important reason for fostering relations. The academic said China could also support university students through research programs and cultural activities to advance both countries' interests. Anis Khayati, an economics professor at the University of Bahrain, said the restoration of large areas by Assad's forces had helped reinforce China's vision of investing in Syria's long-term economic potential, which benefits its vision for the BRI.
"Beijing's arrival at the Syrian ports is an attractive opportunity for China to connect with Eurasia," said Khayati, adding it will help facilitate support between the two countries on international platforms....
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit are close to reaching a deal that would see the former prime minister leave politics, media reports claimed on Thursday. A resignation by Netanyahu would create a political earthquake in Israel. Not only would it launch a race to replace him as head of the Likud, but it will also likely lead to the collapse of the current coalition led by Naftali Bennett. A new Likud leader would be able to draw right-wing parties away and establish an alternative coalition without Israel needing to head to a new election.
N12 reported on Thursday night that negotiations between the sides were stuck over the question of when Netnayahu will quit the Knesset, and whether it will be before he is convicted under the plea deal or after, since doing so would impact the question of whether his conviction would prevent his ability to run in a future election.
Netanyahu was indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the high-profile cases 1000, 2000 and 4000. The opposition head is currently on trial for bribery in Case 4000, the “Bezeq-Walla affair.”
Prosecutors are prepared to make major concession to Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu in order to secure a plea bargain, according to report Thursday night by Channel 12’s Guy Peleg.
On Wednesday, Channel 13 reported that Netanyahu is engaging in negotiations with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit for a possible plea bargain. Netanyahu is said to have agreed to Mandelblit’s demand that he resign from the Knesset before being convicted, and to leave politics for several years.
Mandelblit also reportedly demanded that Netanyahu be given a minimum sentence of at least community service and an admission of moral turpitude, which could hinder Netanyahu’s return to politics....
Talks between Netanyahu and prosecutors have yet to reach an agreement over the timing of Netanyahu’s resignation from the Knesset – a key point in the negotiations and a factor which could potentially end the former premier’s political career.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that his country has focused its efforts on the further development of relations and cooperation with the Asian states. Iran is pursuing the "Asia First" and the "neighborhood first" policy, Amir Abdollahian said in an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN) on Monday.
He noted that Tehran and Beijing have explored ideas under such a policy, such as "joint projects in some of Iran's neighbors and joint initiatives to promote regional stability, security and sustainable economic development".
Amir Abdollahian added that Iran would make efforts to help those who cannot enjoy long-term security and stability and would "work with countries with a common background on projects related to economy, trade and culture in the form of tripartite or multi-party cooperation". The Islamic Republic expects to provide more development opportunities for neighboring countries based on this policy, he explained.
Pointing to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Iran and China, Amir Abdollahian said there are no challenges facing ties between the two countries. "However, the bullying behavior of the US has affected some of our cooperation," he said, stressing the need to find an appropriate path within the international framework to meet the challenges posed by Washington's unilateral acts.
"We believe that multilateralism will benefit all countries. The unilateralism and bullying of the United States is not appreciated by any country.
International law and cooperation provide opportunities for all countries to enjoy rights and benefits," the top Iranian diplomat said.
Amir Abdollahian also once again reaffirmed that Tehran has no intention to waste time or derail the sanctions removal talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna, criticizing the West, particularly the US, for failing to present any innovative proposals in the negotiations. "We assured Chinese officials that Iran is not playing with time or trying to derail the negotiations, and that we have made constructive, positive and realistic proposals at the negotiating table in Vienna," he said. He hailed China's "constructive and rational" role in the Vienna negotiations, saying Beijing "is always opposed to the cruel unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on countries, including Iran, and condemns the bullying practices of the US."
Beijing has long sought to boost ties with Tehran, with President Xi describing Iran as "China's major partner in the Middle East" on a rare visit to the country in 2016.
Syrian-Iranian connections are long-standing and historic, advisor to the Syrian president says, rejecting rumors that Iran has deployed military forces in Syria.
Tehran stood on the side of the Syrian government and army during the fight against Syria, Luna al-Shabl said during a Tuesday interview with Arabic language Russia Today.
“The Syrian government is at war, and it is reasonable for it to ask its allies for help,” the advisor said.“Syria will decide who can and cannot be on its soil,” she said, adding that Syria would respond to Iran's allegiance. “Syria will respond to loyalty with loyalty,” she reiterated.
“Our relationship with Iran is not new. It goes back to four decades ago,” she said, adding that relations with Iran are deep-rooted and historic based on mutual respect, common interests, and non-interference. Al-Shabl went on to say that these are principles that Syria respects, and basically all countries should respect these principles.
“Let me reassure you that there is no Iranian army or unit or force or military organization on Syrian soil.”
Regarding the presence of Iranian military advisors in Syria, al-Shabl said, “Let me reassure you that there is no Iranian army or unit or force or military organization on Syrian soil and that is what it is: We are in a state of war now and we need any military assistance, but there is no force, unit, etc., and whatever the media promote. Iran has not asked for troops to be sent.”
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, I would like to begin by thanking you for finding the time to come to Russia in these difficult Covid times.
I would like to note that despite the pandemic we increased trade even the year before last. This increase was not big – over 6 percent, but it was still an increase. Last year, our trade grew by more than 38 percent. We are carrying out our major projects in many areas.
We closely cooperate in the international arena. We can say that our efforts largely helped the Syrian government overcome the threats linked with international terrorism. Now both you and we are concerned about the situation that is taking shape in Afghanistan. I would like to discuss all these issues with you and hear your position on these problems.
Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are developing relations on a temporary basis, under a temporary agreement. We are doing much to create a long-term foundation for cooperation and a free trade area between Iran and our union. Iran plays a major role as an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as well.
President of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi: Your Excellency, I would like to thank you for supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran in becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In foreign policy, the will of the Islamic Republic of Iran is in cooperation, full cooperation with countries, neighbouring countries in particular.
As for relations with the friendly Russian Federation, we want these relations to be sustainable and comprehensive. We in the Islamic Republic of Iran have no restrictions on developing and expanding ties with friendly Russia and these ties will become strategic. Therefore, these relations will not be short-term or situational – they will be permanent and strategic.
I would like to say that in the current, exceptional conditions when unilateral actions by the West, including the US are being confronted, we can create synergy in our cooperation. We have opposed the Americans for over 40 years and we will never stop progress and national development because of sanctions or threats. We are of course trying to have these sanctions lifted...
Russia-bashing is a bi-partisan activity in Washington. Both parties think it makes them look “tough” and “pro-America.” But while Republican and Democrat politicians continue to one-up each other on “risk-free” threats to Russia, they are increasingly risking a devastating war. It’s all fun and games until the missiles start flying. The problem with all this tough talk is that politicians start to believe their own rhetoric and propaganda. As a result they don’t make sound decisions based on objective facts, but instead make rash decisions based on faulty misinformation.
When US politicians talk about Russia massing troops on the Ukrainian border, for example, they leave out the fact that these troops are actually inside Russia. With US troops in some 150 countries overseas, you’d think Washington might pause before criticizing the “aggression” of troops inside a country’s own borders.
They also leave out the reasons why Russia might be concerned over its neighbor Ukraine. CNN reported recently that the Biden Administration approved another $200 million in military aid to Ukraine last month, making nearly half a billion dollars in weapons over the past year.
Imagine if China was sending half a billion dollars in weapons to Mexico to strengthen and embolden a hyper-aggressive anti-US regime. Would the US not be “massing troops near the Mexican border”?
Also there is that issue about the US-backed overthrow of the democratically-elected Ukrainian government in 2014, which is the starting point of all these recent problems. And this week Yahoo News reported that the CIA is training Ukrainian paramilitaries on US soil!
Recent talks between the US and Russia failed before they even began, with the US side refusing to even consider ending useless and provocative NATO expansion eastward. NATO is a Cold War relic that should have been disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact. It serves no purpose and its constant saber-rattling puts us at risk in conflicts that have nothing to do with US national security.
What to do about Russia? Stop backing regime change along Russia’s borders, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, and elsewhere. Stop meddling in foreign elections. Look at how we wasted four years on false claims that the Russians meddled in ours. End weapons shipments and all aid to Ukraine. End sanctions. Re-imagine the US defense budget as a budget to actually defend the US. It’s really not that complicated: stop trying to rule the world.
The Speaker of the eastern Libya-based Libyan House of Representatives, Aqila Saleh, met on Wednesday with the Turkish ambassador to Libya, Kanaan Yilmaz.
The meeting appears to mark a new step towards rapprochement between Ankara and eastern Libyan officials after years of hostile relations, with Yilmaz's visit being the first by a Turkish official to eastern Libya.
Turkey long supported the former UN-backed Government of National Unity (GNA) based in Tripoli, including in Libya's civil war that pitted it against the rival eastern government allied with rogue general Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar has had varying degrees of foreign support from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia, France, and Egypt.
The two sides signed a peace agreement in October 2020, creating a new interim government, but the country's future remains uncertain amid continued tensions between politicians based in the east and west of the country and the postponing of presidential elections which were due to be held last December. The meeting is the latest in a series of steps taken by Ankara and east-based Libya politicians to improve ties.
Last month, a high-level parliamentary delegation headed by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Fawzi Al-Nuiri, visited Ankara.
The delegation included figures close to Haftar. They met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and leading Turkish MPs.
Following the visit, the two sides announced the formation of a friendship committee and the reopening of their respective air and sea spaces...
Israeli Police Minister Omer Barlev on Sunday denounced the attack by Jewish extremists on Palestinians and Israeli activists in the northern West Bank last week, saying it was “the organized action of a terror group.”
Footage from the Friday incident in the Palestinian village of Burin showed a group of Jewish extremists, apparently from the Givat Ronen illegal outpost, attacking left-wing activists and Palestinians with clubs and stones, wounding at least six people and burning a car.
“This is the organized action of a terrorist organization,” Barlev told the Kan public broadcaster. The violence was carried out “by a terror group that acts together and harmed Israeli citizens who came to demonstrate in the area,” he said, adding that the attack appeared to have been organized in advance. “It is the tip of the iceberg of a terror organization,” he said. He confirmed media reports that a police investigation was being assisted by the Shin Bet security service, the country’s internal intelligence agency.
The violence drew denunciations from across the political spectrum, with several coalition lawmakers calling for the demolition of the outpost from where the assailants allegedly came. Israeli security officials have warned that violence by Jewish extremists in the West Bank has spiked in recent months.
Shin Bet officials told The Times of Israel in late December that Jewish extremist violence had increased by 50 percent over the past year. Nonetheless, the internal political debate over the phenomenon has been divisive. Right-wing Israeli politicians have resisted referring to these attacks as “settler violence,” charging that such characterization is an attempt to besmirch all Jews living in the West Bank.
TOI staff, 22 January 2022: The attack by settler extremists on Palestinians and Israeli activists in the northern West Bank drew denunciations from across the political spectrum, with several coalition lawmakers calling to demolish the outpost from which the assailants allegedly came.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz called the “terrifying violence” in the Palestinian village of Burin, apparently by a group of Jewish extremists from the nearby Givat Ronen outpost, a “pogrom.” Meretz MK Gaby Lasky called out Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying he “must understand that it is unacceptable to allow this violence to continue.”
Bennett, in the past, has pushed back against those who have drawn attention to settler violence, calling it an “insignificant phenomenon.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday 14 dember 2021 criticized Minister of Internal Security Omer Barlev (Labor) who reported a conversation with Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland about settler violence.
Bennett stated that “the settlers in Judea and Samaria have been suffering from violence and terrorism, every day, for decades. They are the protective wall for all of us and we must strengthen and support them, in words and deeds.
There are marginal phenomena in every public, they must be handled using every means possible, but we must not generalize about an entire public.”
As we wrote earlier, Barlev has been criticized by everyone with a Twitter account on the Israeli right, including members of the coalition.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has submitted a request to the Tel Aviv District Court asking that the Netanyahu family – former premier Benjamin, his wife Sara, and son Yair – be subjected to psychiatric evaluation.According to a report in the Haaretz newspaper, the chances of the judge granting Olmert’s request are low.
As part of his request, Olmert had a questionnaire sent to the various Netanyahu family members, asking them details related to their mental health. One question, posed to Yair Netanyahu, asked: “Is it true that in recent years – dating back to 2015 at least – you have not held a steady job due to reasons of mental health?” Another question asked: “Is it true that sometimes, when you are in a certain mental state, you get angry at your parents and stop eating as a form of fast?”
olmert: "all mentally ill to the extent that they cannot be rehabilitated"
The Netanyahu family is demanding NIS 837 thousand in compensation from Olmert, after the latter said in a media interview: “The Prime Minister, his wife, and his son are all mentally ill to the extent that they cannot be rehabilitated.”
At the first hearing in the trial, held two weeks ago, the judge asked Olmert: “What steps did you take when you said that any psychiatrist would have had the Netanyahus admitted to a psychiatric ward?”
Olmert replied: “I listened to recordings of the family and I consulted with experts who know them, and they told me about forms of behavior that fell into the category of what people commonly call ‘insane, abnormal behavior.’”
The judge then noted that the main question that concerned him was not whether the plaintiffs were healthy or otherwise, but rather whether Olmert had any practical basis for the words he used.
Attorney Yossi Cohen, representing the Netanyahu family, said: “In any other country, Olmert would have been arrested,” to which the judge replied, “Thank G-d that we’re not in any other country.” The judge suggested to Olmert that he say that the words were merely his own personal opinion. The Netanyahu family reportedly were willing to agree to this suggestion, but Olmert rejected it...
Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that he has not agreed to acknowledge “moral turpitude” as part of a potential plea bargain that would end his corruption trial, Israeli media have reported.
Netanyahu added that he does not intend to leave politics.
“In recent days, there were mistaken claims made in the media on things that I allegedly agreed to, such as the claim that I agreed to moral turpitude,” Netanyahu explained in a video statement.“That is simply not correct. I will continue to lead the Likud and the national camp in order to lead Israel, on your behalf.”
Netanyahu claimed that he is being mistreated by Israeli law enforcement officials and the justice system. “The entire public can see what is happening in the courthouse and how the investigation against me was handled.”
Reports have emerged in recent days that talks over a plea bargain with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit have collapsed.
Jeremy Corbyn, a Labour Party MP and the United Kingdom’s former opposition leader from 2015-2020, was not reinstated as an MP in the party following a vote on Tuesday, international media reports.
Corbyn, from the left-leaning Labour Party, served as leader of the opposition for the better part of the 2010s. He was suspended by the party in October 2020 after stating that antisemitism in the party had been overstated for political reasons – as it was embroiled in accusations of organizational antisemitism. He has yet to be reinstated by his replacement as party whip, Keir Starmer, and lost his latest appeal on Tuesday morning.
Corbyn, who has been accused of antisemitism by many across the United Kingdom – including the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and former PM David Cameron – was initially suspended amid a party-wide review of antisemitic practices by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
He publicly stated the allegations were "dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media" on a Facebook post...
The former whip faced several charges of antisemitism during his nearly six-year tenure – most notably when he said that he was criticizing Zionists "in the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people," which he followed up with: “They [British Jews] clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either.”
On 3 January, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made an extraordinary statement. Under last year’s coalition agreement, he is due to replace Naftali Bennett as prime minister in August 2022. “When I am prime minister,” he announced, “we still won’t hold negotiations with the Palestinians… the coalition agreement prevents progress in this channel.”
So we now have it straight from the horse’s mouth: there is no Israeli partner for peace. Nor can there be any room for illusions about Israel's intentions - while continuing to eschew negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Israel will preserve the status quo.
The nature of this status quo is encapsulated in the title of a recent report by B’Tselem, the highly respected Israeli human rights organisation. It is called “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.”
While the government’s official position is to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its record is one of unqualified support for Israel and total indifference to Palestinian rights. Today, the Conservative Party is as strongly pro-Zionist as it has ever been. Roughly 80 percent of Tory backbenchers are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel. More than a third of the British cabinet, including Johnson, have made overseas trips funded by the Israeli government or affiliated lobby groups. In his 2014 book, The Churchill Factor, prime minister Boris Johnson described the Balfour Declaration as “tragically incoherent”.
As foreign secretary, in 2017, Johnson reluctantly conceded that Britain might recognise Palestine when the time was right.
Surely now is the right time. Recognising Palestine would not resolve the conflict, but it would be a start in the long-overdue historic reckoning between Britain and the victims of its Palestine policy...
Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar has leaked details from a document on talks between Saudi officials and the US special envoy on their respective intentions in the Yemen War.
As the US understands it, the Saudis are very keen to end the Yemen War and leave “with dignity.” They are envisioning a step toward a transitional government in Yemen.
US Special Envoy Timothy Lenderking suggested that the US isn’t necessarily on board there, saying the US emphasized “the necessity of not leaving Yemen completely,” and that they want the Saudis to remain involved in Yemen to a similar extent as they were before the current war.
It’s not clear that’s going to work after seven years of war, as it has made clear the downside of Saudi meddling, and keeping them permanently involved seemingly just lays the groundwork for the next war. That the US is pushing this severely undercuts Biden’s talk of facilitating the war’s end.
As far as a transitional government being the way out of Yemen, that clearly could work, and has been a focus in past peace talks. The only reason this didn’t happen before was disagreements over the power-sharing structure of this government.
The tragedy of such an end is that it could’ve avoided the war entirely, as all the Houthis ever wanted was a move toward free elections and a new government, and it was only the insistence to try to keep President Hadi in power beyond his term in office, which ended 8 years ago, that led to the Saudi-led invasion.
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