"The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed," Mouaz Alkhatib told a "Friends of Syria" meeting in Morocco, where Western and Arab states granted full recognition to the coalition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The United States designated the Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) as a foreign terrorist organisation and said it was trying to hijack the revolt on behalf of al Qaeda in Iraq.
The decision to blacklist al-Nusra, an important fighting force in the uprising, has already triggered criticism from the powerful Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. A senior Brotherhood official said it was wrong and hasty.
Egypt constitution referendum
Obama chooses John Kerry
'First we take Damascus, then Tel Aviv'
Jihad in Islam, from the perspective of Islamic jurisprudence, is of two types: Jihad initiated by the Muslims, which means raiding the world in order to spread the word that "there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah" throughout the world. But this raid will not materialize in our era ... unless the Infallible, peace be upon him, is present.
But there are jurisprudents, both Sunnis and Twelver Shiites, who said the presence of the Infallible is not a prerequisite. If the objective and subjective circumstances materialize, and there are soldiers, weapons, and money - even if this means using biological, chemical, and bacterial weapons - we will conquer the world, so that "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah" will be triumphant over the domes of Moscow, Washington, and Paris. [...]
But as for defensive Jihad - it is not conditional upon turning to a Sunni or Shiite jurisprudent, to a source of authority, any Islamic school of thought, or Islamic party, because this type of Jihad is an individual duty. Everyone must fight - children, women, the elderly, the youth in order to liberate man, to liberate mankind... [...]
On Sept. 11, 2001, Bush articulated the so-called Bush Doctrine: “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” Declassified portions of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Phase II report released Friday make definitively clear that Iraq never qualified for inclusion in the Doctrine.
Al Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist acts. Key portions of the new Intel Committee report indicate that Bush attacked an Iraqi regime that not only lacked an operational relationship with al Qaeda, but was hostile toward the terrorist network. By making the strategic mistake of attacking Iraq, Bush’s policy accomplished the goals of the al Qaeda network.
Here’s what the report says:
According to debriefs of multiple detainees — including Saddam Hussein and former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz — and capture documents, Saddam did not trust al-Qa’ida or any other radical Islamist group and did not want to cooperate with them. (p. 67)
Aziz underscored Saddam’s distrust of Islamic extremists like bin Ladin, stating that when the Iraqi regime started to see evidence that Wahabists had come to Iraq, “the Iraqi regime issued a decree aggressively outlawing Wahabism in Iraq and threatening offenders with execution.” (p. 67)
Another senior Iraqi official stated that Saddam did not like bin Ladin because he called Saddam an “unbeliever.” (p.73)
Conclusion 1: … Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa’ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qa’ida to provide material or operational support.
Debriefings of key leaders of the former Iraqi regime indicate that Saddam distrusted Islamic radicals in general, and al Qa’ida in particular… Debriefings also indicate that Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al Qa’ida. No postwar information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with bin Ladin. (p. 105)
Religion is an institution established by man for various reasons. Exert control, instill morality, stroke egos, or whatever it does. Organized, structured religions all but remove god from the equation. You confess your sins to a clergy member, go to elaborate churches to worship, told what to pray and when to pray it. All those factors remove you from god.
Spirituality is born in a person and develops in the person. It may be kick started by a religion, or it may be kick started by a revelation. Spirituality extends to all facets of a person’s life. Spirituality is chosen while religion is often times forced. Being spiritual to me is more important and better than being religious.
* Religion is for those that require guidance from others. Spirituality is for those that lend ears to their inner voice
* Religion has a dogmatic and unquestionable assembly of rules that need to be followed without question. Spirituality invites you to reason it all, to question it all and to decide your actions and assume the consequences.
* Religion threatens and terrifies. Spirituality gives you inner peace
* Religion speaks of sin and of fault. Spirituality encourages "living in the present" and not to feel remorse for which has already passed - Lift your spirit and learn from errors.
* Religion represses humanity, and returns us to a false paradigm. Spirituality transcends it all and makes you true to yourself.
* Religion is instilled from childhood, like the soup you do not you want to take.Spirituality is the food that you you seek, that satisfies you and is pleasant to the senses.
* Religion is not God. Spirituality is infinite consciousness and all that is - It is God
* Religion does not investigate and does not question. Spirituality questions everything.
* Religion is cause for division. Spirituality is cause for union.
DAMASCUS, (SANA)-A Christmas evening for the Syriac Mar Afram Choir was held on Tuesday at Mar Gregory Cathedral for the Syriac Orthodox in Bab Touma, Damascus, including prayers invoking peace to prevail in Syria.
The choir presented Christmas music pieces, songs and anthems inspired by Damascus, the city of joy, as what has been said in the Holy Book.
The Choir of First Mar Afram Iwas the Syriac was established by Mar Ignatius Zakka Iwas, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.
Patriarch of the world wide Syriac Orthodox church Ignatius Zakka Iwas said in this speech that Syriac Afram was not a king for a certain country but the king of humanity; noting that celebrating this poet and Christian is a proof that “modern Syria is open to the world, proud of her history; appreciates and commemorates ancestors memory and heritage to be placed in history’s appropriate place.”
The Governor of Aleppo said the Syriac conference came to underline the civilized role played by Aleppo via her history; noting that “when Aleppo embraces this meeting; she emphasizes the depth of communication, interaction and integration, as well as that she has never knew any form of conflicts or sectarian disputes nor racial clash.” He added the conference poses an “evidence that culture is a human heritage that does not know disputes or conflicts.” Afram the Syriac (Saint Ephrem) 306-373, is one of the famous priests in the Syriac orthodox church . He was born in Nsibin near Qammishli, northeast Syria at the beginning of the 4rth century AD. The most well known of his writings is the Prayer of Saint Ephrem that is a part of most days of fasting in Eastern Christianity:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother, for thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. O God, be gracious to me, a sinner. (Wikipedia)
The results of the first phase of Egypt's constitutional referendum have revealed unequivocally that the country is largely divided, with the margin between those who support the draft charter – spearheaded by the Islamist current – and those who reject it failing to exceed 6 per cent, according to unofficial estimates.
"A 44 per cent rejection rate for the constitution is quite high and shows that the nation is deeply divided," Mohamed Adel, member of the April 6 youth movement, said in a Sunday statement. "The results have killed the dream of the Islamist current and the Muslim Brotherhood after half of the nation said 'no' to the draft charter." "It's hard to imagine that any respectable country would pass a constitution rejected by 44 per cent of society, especially when turnout rates failed to exceed 31 per cent," he added.
Islamist figures, for their part, now point the finger of blame at the opposition, which, they say, successfully campaigned to turn public opinion against the draft constitution with "lies."
On Sunday, Salafist Nour Party spokesman Yousry Hammad accused liberal forces, a "corrupt" media and remnants of the former regime of spreading false information about the draft charter. ...
"The opposition is trying to get people to believe that a 56 per cent approval rate is not sufficient for the charter to pass, which is not the case," Ahmed Oqeil, member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said. "A 50+1 approval rate is all that is necessary."
Alfred Raouf of the opposition Constitution Party told Ahram Online that the referendum's main problem was the lack of judicial oversight. ... Raouf believes the 'no' vote would have been substantially higher than the 'yes' vote had polling not been so one-sided. However, he adds, the 44 per cent rejection rate is high enough to deem the draft charter illegitimate, especially given that some 70 per cent of eligible voters did not even bother to cast ballots.
The first phase of the constitutional referendum saw turnout of just 33 per cent, which means 67 per cent of people simply did not vote.
The apathy many people showed towards the referendum cannot be ignored in the context of the ongoing battle between the ruling Islamists and the civil opposition. If the turnout in the second phase of the referendum is as low as in the first it will highlight the fact that fewer people are willing to vote.
In December 2011, turnout for the parliamentary election was over 60 per cent. A few months later, less than 50 per cent of voters cast ballots in the presidential election. The declining level of participation is a clear message to the country's political leaders if they really want to see it. ...
The referendum begged the question: Who do you believe will improve your lives? The Brotherhood on the one hand, or supporting the the opposition that calls for "the fulfillment of the demands of the revolution" on the other.
In the end, the people clearly rejected both camps of the Egyptian elite by choosing not to vote.
HAMA/ IDLEB, (SANA) – A unit of the Armed Forces on Wednesday clashed with an armed terrorist group that attempted to attack an electric power transmission station in Orm al-Jouz town in Idleb countryside.
In the same context, an armed terrorist group attacked last night the high-voltage power transmission network in Halfaya town in Hama countryside which supplies Hama city and Aleppo province with electricity from Mhardeh station. The electrical grid went out of service due to the terrorist attack.
A source in the province told SANA reporter that the sabotage acts affected 4 lines with a capacity of 260 kilovolts and another line with a capacity of 66 kilovolts, adding that three lines of them supply Hama province with electricity and the other two lines supply Aleppo province.
The US acted again as a rogue state at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, with the other 14 members issuing statements condemning Israeli plans for vast further theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank and installing squatters on it, in a step designed to cut the West Bank in two and make forever impossible a two-state solution to the problem of Palestinian statelessness.
The European Bloc, the non-aligned bloc, Russia and China all did an end run around the ruling Likud Party’s enabler, the Obama administration, which made clear it would veto a UNSC condemnation of the illegal Israeli actions. The significance of the veto is that it prevents any sanctions from being applied to Israel, despite the latter’s clear violations of international law. ...
The US rejects the plan, too. It just makes sure that international law never has any teeth when it comes to Israel.
The bankruptcy of the US position on this matter is obvious if we consider that Washington has vigorously pressed the UNSC for sanctions on Iran, and has imposed its own draconian sanctions and financial blockade, even though it is not proved that Iran is actually in violation of international law.
The problem of Palestinian statelessness was created by the 1947-1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinian villagers, which resulted in 720,000 out of 1.2 million being kicked out of their homes, with the Jewish immigrants moving into them without paying any compensation.
The League of Nations had recognized Palestine as a Class A Mandate scheduled for statehood at the Versailles peace conferences, and the British mandatory authorities repeated this pledge in their 1939 White Paper, but instead European Jewish immigrants displaced the locals and made them a homeless nation, a nation without rights of citizenship in a state.
Interview with Faisal al-Mikdad, Deputy Foreign Minister
No good can come from US military intervention in Syria. The people of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Vietnam, and dozens of other nations in Latin America and around the world have not been made better off by US military intervention.
Tehran’s Niavaran Cultural and Historical Complex has mounted an exhibition to introduce and
Today the Yalda festival is a time when family members gather at the home of the elders until after midnight.
Guests are served with dried fruits, nuts, and winter fruits like pomegranates and watermelons, which symbolize the red color of dawn in the sky.
Every 21st of December Iranians celebrate the Yalda festival, the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness.
Iranians celebrate this event, because they believe human essence is from Goodness and Lightness and his duty is to assist and serve them in the transactions with opponents.
Fires would be burnt at Yalda night to help the Lightness forces and ensure the defeat of the forces of Darkness. There would be feasts, acts of charity and a number of deities were honored and prayers performed to ensure the total victory of sun that was essential for the protection of winter crops. It was also assumed that God would grant people's wishes, especially children if performed all rites on this occasion. (persianmiror.com)
They also practice bibliomancy with the poetry of the highly respected mystic Iranian poet Hafez. Persians believe whenever one is faced with difficulties or has a general question, one can ask the poet for an answer.
The moon came to me last night with a sweet question.
Hafiz (1320 to 1389), Sufi poet from Persia
She said: "The sun has been my faithful lover for millions of years.
Whenever I offer my body to him, brilliant light pours from his heart.
Today the Yalda festival is a time when family members gather at the home of the elders until after midnight.
Guests are served with dried fruits, nuts, and winter fruits like pomegranates and watermelons, which symbolize the red color of dawn in the sky.
Thousands then notice my happiness and delight in pointing toward my beauty.
Is it true that our destiny is to turn into Light itself?"
And I replied,
Dear moon, now that your love is maturing, we need to sit together
Close like this more often,
So I might instruct you how to become who you are!
|The Republican Jewish Coalition 2010:|
"Dangerous views on Israel"
Yes, but why is that? Aside from the sheer nastiness of the neocons’ Two Minutes Hate, and what it portends for the Senate confirmation process, what is all the fuss really about? While the Israel Lobby and its journalistic camarilla have been slandering Hagel with baseless charges of "anti-Semitism," many are scratching their heads over this one, including some of the smartest people inside the Beltway. Brent Scowcroft, for one, the gray eminence of the Republican foreign policy Establishment, is baffled:
"I am honestly surprised, even astonished, at the attacks. I do know where they’re coming from, but I don’t understand the genesis of them. "His view on virtually every foreign policy, of which I know them, is very thoughtful, centrist and pro-America." ...
This isn’t about Chuck Hagel, a man admired by his colleagues in the Senate, whose military experience and record of judicious independent thought more than qualifies him to head up the Pentagon: it’s about whether we are going to start World War III. It’s about whether a gaggle of discredited ideologues, in alliance with a powerful lobbying group openly serving the interests of a foreign government, is going to be allowed to take us into a war certain to devastate the region, drive us further into bankruptcy, and cause untold human suffering.
|Emergency committee for Israel 2012:|
"Not a responsable option"
Please sign the White House petition, and – just as importantly – post the link everywhere. It’s time to man the barricades, and fight the good fight. As the wizard Gandalf said to Galadriel and Saruman in The Hobbit movie: there is a Dark Power stealthily invading the Western lands, unwilling to show its full face just yet, waiting for the right moment to strike...
Assault on Hagel in the Washington Post: The assaults on Hagel began almost immediately after his name was floated for the job – and from the usual sources. First, it was the self-appointed protectors of Israel, who determined Hagel suspect because he finds the efforts of the pro-Israel lobby to punish any public official who diverges from the notion that Israel can do no wrong somewhat problematic. Indeed, after the Hagel trial balloon was launched, it didn't take long for the Weekly Standard to find an anonymous "Republican Senate aide" to declare "send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an antisemite."
Chuck Hagel is not the Right Choice..."
On the heels of this rather predictable attack came Wednesday's full-throated assault on Hagel in the Washington Post, in an editorial titled "Chuck Hagel is not the Right Choice for Defense Secretary." (The Guardian 20-12-2012)
The assaults on Hagel began almost immediately after his name was floated for the job – and from the usual sources. First, it was the self-appointed protectors of Israel, who determined Hagel suspect because he finds the efforts of the pro-Israel lobby to punish any public official who diverges from the notion that Israel can do no wrong somewhat problematic. Indeed, after the Hagel trial balloon was launched, it didn't take long for the Weekly Standard to find an anonymous "Republican Senate aide" to declare "send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an antisemite."
President Obama formally nominated Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as his next secretary of state.
“In a sense, John’s entire life has prepared him for this role,” Obama said of the Vietnam War veteran and foreign policy wonk of the Senate. “He’s not going to need a lot of on-the-job training.” “John’s played a central role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly 30 years.”
Obama had wanted to also roll out his pick for secretary of defense on Friday, but frontrunner, Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator from Nebraska, has drawn criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his views on Israel and the LGBT (Gay Rights) community.
Old Fashioned Views in 1998
Hagel called President Bill Clinton's nomination Ambassador to Luxembourg James C. Hormel, "openly aggressively gay" in comments to the Omaha World-Herald in 1998.
"They are representing America," Hagel told the World-Hearld. "They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.”
The next year, he responded to an attempt by gay rights advocates to undo "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the law that prevented gay people from openly serving the in the military. "The U.S. armed forces aren't some social experiment," he told the New York Times in 1999.
On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign called Hagel's remarks "unacceptable," but left the door open for Hagel to confirm that his views had changed. On Friday, following Hagel's apology ("My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record.."), HRC issued a statement accepting it:
"Senator Hagel's apology and his statement of support for LGBT equality is appreciated and shows just how far as a country we have come when a conservative former Senator from Nebraska can have a change of heart on LGBT issues. Our community continues to add allies to our ranks and we're proud that Senator Hagel is one of them," HRC president Chad Griffin said in a statement. (By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com 21-12-2012)
At some point, Hagel may have been a supporter of don't ask, don't tell, but as of a couple of years ago he was not. He believed that we owed more to those who were climbing up hill to fight for this nation, who were climbing up a hill to be fairly and legally committed to the ones they loved, who were climbing up a hill to be treated fairly at work and to raise children in a loving and accepting environment.
This is the Chuck Hagel I have come to know and have respected for so many years.
Hagel has lunch with Vice President Biden about once a week. They don't tell others about it -- but they are best friends. Hagel once donned a Joe Biden mask in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Halloween wearing a t-shirt labeled "Vote for Me" -- when Biden was getting ready (again) to run for president. When Biden opened the door on Meet the Press on gay marriage -- saying that he had "absolutely no problem" with gay marriage -- I'm guessing Biden and Hagel chatted about it.
Biden doesn't tolerate bigots or racists or people who are locked in anachronistic sensibilities, at least not on his own time. Hagel had evolved privately on these issues -- but again, no one had asked him his views
Biden Backs Same-Sex Marriage
By MICHAEL BARBARO, NYT May 6, 2012
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Sunday that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriages and was heartened by their growing acceptance across the country, a position that moves well beyond the “evolving” views that President Obama has said he holds on the issue.
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Biden invoked some of the same language that advocates of same-sex marriage use, speaking of family, equality and love.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Mr. Biden said, while noting that the president, not he, sets policy on such matters.
Mr. Biden called the debate surrounding the issue a simple question of “who do you love?” and “will you be loyal to the person you love?”
“That’s what people are finding out is what, what all marriages, at their root, are about,” he said, “Whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals.” ...
When pressed on whether Mr. Obama would support same-sex marriage in a second term, though, Mr. Biden kept his response short: “I don’t know the answer to that.”
US President Barack Obama has nominated former senator Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary.
Obama said at a press conference in White House that Hagel, an outspoken critic of Israel, is "the leader our troops deserve,” praising his “willingness to speak his mind."
"In the Senate, I came to admire his courage, his judgment, his willingness to speak his mind, even if it wasn't popular, even if it defied conventional wisdom," Obama said. "That's exactly the spirit I want on my national security team," he added.
Hagel left the Senate in 2008. He sometimes spoke against Israel, voted against sanctions on Iran, and even made blunt comments about the influence of the "Jewish lobby" in Washington. The 66-year-old was the first Republican senator to publicly criticize the war in Iraq, calling it the worst foreign policy blunder since the Vietnam War, and has consistently opposed any plan to launch a military strike against Iran.
After two tiresome election phases, Egypt's beleaguered draft constitution passed with a 64 per cent approval rate. Around 10.5 million Egyptians endorsed the bill, a number that is ironically lower than the 13.2 million that voted President Mohamed Morsi into office to serve for a four year term last summer.
Only three out of twenty seven governorates resulted in a majority of 'No' vote. Upper Egypt governorates witnessed the highest approval rates, with 'yes' winning by comfortable margins across the board.
The toughest challenge to the new constitution was in the capital city, the largest in Egypt, rejecting the constitution with 57 per cent.
Turnover fell to some 32 per cent, well below the 49 per cent seen in the Presidential runoffs back in June. No governorate saw a turnover above 40 per cent.
Since total “yes” vote from both days came in at about 64% if initial projections hold true, and the total turnout was 33%, only 21% of Egyptian voters actually approved this constitution, which restricts unions and provides no protection to women’s rights, and which seeks to subordinate secular law to Muslim canon law and abolishes civil law with regard to personal status matters.
There are big question marks around the legitimacy of the constitution and of the process whereby it was brought to referendum. It provoked massive protests before the presidential palace, which ended in violence when Muslim Brotherhood cadres attacked liberals and leftists. ...
The country will now move to parliamentary elections by late February. But street protests against the constitution and the way it was imposed will likely continue.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the United nations special envoy to Syria, is reportedly planning to fly from Cairo to Damascus to present a deal to the Syrian president.
The plan would create a transitional government made up of regime and opposition figures, according to diplomatic sources. It would require Mr Assad to hand over power quickly and he would be encouraged to accept an orderly exile.
Russian officials told the Daily Telegraph that Moscow was prepared to ease the Syrian president out of power.
"Assad doesn't have a future, he knows this," a senior Russian official said. "But he is not a fool. He will not just go voluntarily. All sides must sit down and negotiate a way out of this. That means we talk to Assad but those who back the rebels must put pressure on them."
UN News Centre 21-12-2012: Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, met today in Cairo with the President of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, Moaz Al-Khatib, who was accompanied by Vice-Presidents Riad Seif, Suheir Al-Atassi and George Sabra. “They exchanged views on the situation in Syria and possible ways out,” said a note issued by the UN.
Mr. Brahimi has stated that a political solution to end the crisis is necessary and still possible, and that such a solution would be based on the core elements of the communiqué issued by the Action Group on Syria that met in Geneva on 30 June.
The communiqué called for setting up a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of important agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.
Speech of Ahmad Moaz Al Khatib during
the “Islamists and the Arab Revolutions” seminar
Darbuna Net, 8 October, 2012
We still look for a political solution to save the country more destruction. The dialogue time has expired due to the regime’s procrastination to open its doors to buy itself some time. However, negotiation is a logical, Islamic and political option which should not be overlooked. Negotiation is not surrendering to the cruelty but it is choosing the lesser of two evils.
Negotiation is not a rescue to the regime but it is negotiation on its departure with least harm to the country... I reiterate here that we do not want nor do we accept destruction or killings.
Syrians have felt the deeply-seated pains of the Ummah (Islamic Nation) in its main component that has been marginalised for fifty years...
The Arab spring is just the beginning and not the end as politics and ruling are only tools and ahead of the islamisists lays a future challenge to present a pioneering civilised Islamic model.
Since the start of the uprising in Syria, Russia has been heavily criticized for blocking US attempts to sort out the conflict. But as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT in an exclusive interview, Russia is “not in the business of regime change.” ...
“Some of the regional players were suggesting to us: ‘Why don't you tell President Assad to leave? We will arrange for some safe haven for him,’” Lavrov revealed, adding that if indeed those who suggested this had this in mind, they should have taken it directly to Assad.
“Why shall they use us as a postman? If President Assad is interested – this must be discussed directly with him,” he stressed.
Russia refuses to act as an intermediary trying to Assad into fleeing, Lavrov said. At the same time Moscow is not going to accommodate the Syrian president should he step down: “Assad is not going anywhere, no matter what anyone says, be it China or Russia.”
On being asked whether the rebels will eventually oust President Assad, Lavrov replied: “Listen, no one is going to win this war.”
Moscow insists the Syrian conflict should be resolved through direct and unconditional negotiations between the government and opposition. Russia insists the country should be given the right to self-determination and neither side should be supported.
The US, the UK, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries in the West and the Middle East, on the other hand, call on President Assad to step down immediately and grant financial and military support to the Syrian opposition forces.
But despite all the support, the Syrian National Coalition which was deemed to become an umbrella for all the Syrian opposition groups still failed to unify Assad’s opponents and therefore does not have leverage on all the forces fighting the goverment’s troops on the ground.
The UN says the Syrian war is growing more sectarian than civic with each day and that there is no end in sight to the conflict.
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – The General Command of The Army and The Armed Forces stressed that the terrorist groups have hysterically intensified lately their attacks on the economic institutions and infrastructure with the aim of sabotaging the achievements established throughout decades, in a hopeless attempt to suppress the Syrian people and dissuade them from their national stance in rejecting terrorism and rallying around the Syrian Arab Army in confronting the aggression that targets Syria's role and stance.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Command said that these attacks are a manifestation of a state of helplessness and bankruptcy of the terrorist groups, and those behind them, due to the blows directed by the Syrian Arab Army.
The Command warned of the consequences of such criminal acts, as it stressed at the same time its determination to haunt the terrorists, crush their remnants and strike with an iron fist all those who attempt to tamper with the economic capacities or the security and stability of the homeland.
The UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Lahdar Brahimi is in Damascus holding talks with President Bashar al-Assad and members of the opposition. ...
Lahdar Brahimi and Syrian leaders are discussing a road map plan for Syria... The road map plan envisages the creation of an interim government with the participation of representatives of the government and the opposition. Once formed, this interim government is supposed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections. ...
The plan will enforce a transitional government, composed of ministers appointed by the both sides of the conflict. Mr. Assad will be allowed to officially stay at the helm of the country till his presidential term expires in 2014, while the real power will be placed in the hands of the transitional government.
The Syrian [president] will also be expected to give up on bidding to remain in power after 2014.
Al Jazeera has cited a diplomatic source close to negotiators as saying Mr. Assad is not going to accept this last provision. According to the source, the Syrian president said he was ready to step down for now but would still run for president in 2014.
Safwat Hegazi is an Egyptian self proclaimed imam who is on the list of
"Individuals banned from the UK for stirring-up hatred".
"Brahimi could hold all kinds of talks with the Syrian authorities but they are all bound to reach a stalemate as other forces are at play. These forces are determined to topple the Assad regime. They won’t go into talks. The war in Syria will go on to the bitter end, until President Assad is done with..."(Videoclip: Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi Launches MB Candidate Muhammad Mursi's Campaign, may 2012)
"There are no conditions, but the rights. There is a difference between conditions and rights and we are talking about the rights. The rights are subject to no compromise, no surrender and no discussion. The rights are the basics of Mideast peace."
The enemies of the Arab nation are opposed to our possessing any identity or upholding any creed that could protect our existence and cohesion, guide our vision and direction, or on which we can rely in our steadfastness. They simply aim at transforming us into a negative reactive mass which absorbs everything that is thrown at it without the will or even the possibility of thinking of rejecting or accepting it. (Speech, 6-6-2005)
We must face this situation with greater awareness, responsibility and defiance. All the vital forces in the Arab world: every party, organization, and association, intellectual and politician, should take the initiative to analyze the situation and to come up with appropriate means to face this reality, and try to increase our sense of belonging to the Arab nation, its past and present, by supporting the values of openness, tolerance and liberty in Arab society....
The Ba’ath did not invent the idea of pan-Arabism in society, rather the Ba’ath came about as a natural result of a society imbued with all the elements of Arab nationalism. This nationalism, accused by some of chauvinism and racism, is made up of a human civilization capable of absorbing all the cultures, ethnicities, and spiritual affiliations which have formed this society for thousands of years, and consequently it is the foundation of the development and stability of this society. As long as this national existence is part of the reality of this society, the role of the Ba’ath will remain essential...
My greetings go to our great people, the source of our inspiration and pride. We shall work together to ensure that Syria remains at the heart of Pan Arab dignity.
As the number of refugees fleeing Syria has almost reached half a million, around 160,000 have come to neighboring Lebanon, including Palestinians, Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. For many, peaceful co-existence with other groups was disrupted by bloody civil hostilities for which they fail to find reasons.
Rima al Haqim fled Syria for Lebanon with her husband and their four children late last summer. These days Rima is just back to Lebanon after visiting her parents in Erbine, Syria.
“The Free Syrian Army has intimidated us out of our home,” Rima says. “We fled because our children were in danger – there was no other reason. But you know, every Syrian is aware of what part each of the stakeholders has played in bringing down misery on our country.
When I was on my way here, I saw a Turkish TV crew waiting to interview some of the refugees at the border. Nobody would speak to them. We all know how they twist whatever people say to accommodate their own agenda.”
Rima tells me the Syrians are generally tired of the conflict and wish it to end as soon as possible.
“The military are forced to return fire on populated areas, because that is where the FSA come out for action. There is turmoil, and indeed, there are mistakes and bad decisions on both sides. But all of it works against the Syrian people,” says Rima.
Rima opines that the politicians that have emerged riding the wave of the Arab Spring are poorly educated people with scant knowledge of notions such as ‘ceasefire’, let alone complex subjects such as Arab-Israeli wars, or Lebanon’s civil war. All the more so for Syrian rebels.
“What do they know about the price of war?” Rima laments. “There is a terrible split in our society. How do you mend a wound like that?”
Following are excerpts from reactions by various Egyptian commentators to statements made by Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi on May 1, 2012 and translated by MEMRI TV, in which he called for martyrs to restore Jerusalem to Arab rule, and make it the capital city of an Arab union of countries. The reactions were aired on Rotana TV on June 10 and 11, 2012.
Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi: "Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca, or Medina. It shall be Jerusalem, Allah willing. Our cry shall be: 'Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.'"
Crowds: "Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem."
Safwat Higazi: "The United States of the Arabs will be restored by this man [Muhammad Mursi] and his supporters. The capital of the Caliphate – the capital of the United States of the Arabs – will be Jerusalem, Allah willing."
Reactions to Higazi's Statements
Farid Zahran, member of the Egyptian Democratic Party: "That man is not talking about Egypt. We are Egyptian citizens, with a long history on a certain territory. We are Muslims and Christians, Bedouin and Nubians. Egypt has a certain population fabric, and we want our country to prosper. That man does not care about that. He's talking about a completely different plan....
TV host Hala Sarhan: "When Dr. Safwat Higazi says these things in the presence of Dr. Mursi, does this mean that Dr. Mursi agrees with these statements, and that this is his elections platform and his plan for the future of Egypt? These are dangerous statements. ...
Egyptian journalist Farida Al-Shubashi: "I would like to ask that man, who delivered a speech to millions of cheering supporters: Do you plan to march on Jerusalem with the weapons of the American masters, or what? It is a disgrace to lead the people so far astray.
Essam Al-Hafnawi: "Our Lord guides all creatures to Islam at the end of their days…"
Farida Al-Shubashi: "Pffft… What kind of answer is that? Don't answer me with illogical stuff."Tharwat Al-Badawi: "Let me repeat what Safwat Higazi said: Cairo won't be the capital. Jerusalem, for example, could be the capital."
Essam Al-Hafnawi: "Jerusalem is the promised land, people."
Farida Al-Shubashi: "You go to the promised land. I want my own country..."
"I would like to declare that I reject those statements – from the hair on my head to the toes on my feet. […] "We don't produce even this pen I'm holding. How do we expect to liberate Jerusalem? These are empty words.
We should work hard and make progress, so we can be competitive in science, rather than talk nonsense. […] (www.memri.org 2012)
ABU DHABI // Security forces said today they had arrested a terrorist cell accused of plotting attacks against the UAE and neighbouring countries.
The investigation and arrests were carried out in co-ordination with security forces in Saudi Arabia... Those arrested were members of an "organised cell from the deviant group that was planning to carry out actions against national security of both countries and some brotherly states," Wam said.
The phrase "the deviant group" is often used by authorities in Saudi Arabia to describe militants linked to Al Qaeda.
UAE security authorities said the two countries had been investigating the cell for some time, and discovered that its members were importing material, equipment and devices with the intent of carrying out terrorist acts. ...
Saudi Arabia has arrested thousands of suspected militants since the 2003-2006 attacks on residential compounds for foreign workers and on Saudi government facilities in which dozens were killed.
This year authorities in the UAE arrested a group of 60 local Islamists tied to Al Islah, the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, on charges of threatening state security.
They were charged with violating Article 180 of the penal code, which bans the formation of any political organisation or any organisation that compromises the security of the state, and with having connections with foreign bodies to harm the political leadership.
ABU DHABI // Members of the FNC, local analysts and a Minister of State say Islamists in the UAE do not represent the country's interests... "No country would accept such an organisation operating within it."
Who is al-Islah? Yemen Post 12-10-2011
Ebtisam Al Ketbi: "No country would accept
such an organisation operating within it."
The National: 5-10-2012
Al Islah, the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE, violated the constitution and posed a threat to the nation by paying allegiance to outside powers, they said.
"The problem with Islah is foreign funding, which makes their goals in the interests not of the country, but of their organisation," said Dr Ebtisam Al Ketbi, professor of political science at UAE University.
The Government has approached members of Al Islah several times to cut its foreign ties but they have refused to do so, Dr Al Ketbi said.
Al-Islah is essentially the gathering of 3 Islamist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood under the leadership of Mohamed Qahtan, the now spokesperson for the Opposition, the Hasheed tribe under the leadership of sheikh Sadeeq al-Ahmar and the Salafists, a more radical branch of the Muslim Brotherhood which advocates Jihad against unbelievers.
ABU DHABI // Members of the FNC, local analysts and a Minister of State say Islamists in the UAE do not represent the country's interests...
"No country would accept such an organisation operating within it."
Who is al-Islah? Yemen Post 12-10-2011
The long-time Berlin correspondent for Al Jazeera, Aktham Suliman, recently resigned from his post. The journalist tells DW that the Qatari government is exercising undue influence on Al Jazeera's reporting.
Aktham Suliman: I have to say that professionalism is now lacking at Al Jazeera. When I started in 2002, I didn't have that impression - quite the contrary. Of course there were fundamental, long-term problems, but in the last two years Al Jazeera has really let itself go in terms of professionalism.
Can you give an example of what you mean?
The most important example is the conflict in Libya. Of course Muammar Gadhafi was a dictator, and of course he'd ruled for far too long. Of course there was a desire among the Libyans to get rid of him. All that is clear. But it's also clear that killing a dictator, as happened with Gadhafi, is absolutely unacceptable on human rights grounds, revolution or no. And that's not emphasized. ...
What should also give us pause for thought is that it wasn't just Gadhafi who was killed. Many others were killed after him... That's the actual environment in Libya. And that's exactly what you don't see on today's Al Jazeera. That's not professional.
In Syria, too, society is divided. You have the pro-Assad people, and those who are against him. However, when you make one side out to be mass murderers and turn the others into saints you're fueling the conflict, not presenting the situation in an appropriate and balanced way. ...
My problem is and was: When I see Al Jazeera's Syrian coverage, I don't really understand what's going on there. And that's the first thing I expect from journalism.
How do you explain these developments at Al Jazeera?
We at Al Jazeera were always proud to say: We're financed by Qatar, but the state never interferes with our reporting. Now we suddenly find ourselves in a situation in which our reporting is precisely aligned with Qatari foreign policy. ...
It's not a good feeling when you have the impression that you're no longer a journalist, you're basically just a guard dog responding to your owner's whistle when he tells you to go after this state or that government.
What's your take on German reporting on the Gulf states?
Catastrophic, scandalous, unforgivable...
Akhtam Suliman was the Berlin correspondent of the pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera for ten years. He is now a freelance journalist.
Unable to find a new ideological identity after the demise of its big Soviet brother, the European left has engulfed itself in societal issues at home and humanitarian interventionism abroad. In an inconsistent stance, it calls for the protection of peoples by U.S. imperialism. But how can it wish to protect anyone when it has given up its own freedom?
Ever since the 1990s, and especially since the Kosovo war in 1999, anyone who opposes armed interventions by Western powers and NATO has to confront what may be called an anti-anti-war left (including its far left segment).
In Europe, and notably in France, this anti-anti-war left is made up of the mainstream of social democracy, the Green parties and most of the radical left. The anti-anti-war left does not come out openly in favor of Western military interventions and even criticizes them at times (but usually only for their tactics or alleged motivations – the West is supporting a just cause, but clumsily and for oil or for geo-strategic reasons). But most of its energy is spent issuing “warnings” against the supposed dangerous drift of that part of the left that remains firmly opposed to such interventions. It calls upon us to show solidarity with the “victims” against “dictators who kill their own people”, and not to give in to knee-jerk anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, or anti-Zionism, and above all not to end up on the same side as the far right. ...
The anti-anti-war left, if it were honest, should be frank about this choice, and openly call on the United States to go bomb wherever human rights are violated; but then it should accept the consequences. In fact, the political and military class that is supposed to save the populations “massacred by their dictators” is the same one that waged the Vietnam war, that imposed sanctions and wars on Iraq, that imposes arbitrary sanctions on Cuba, Iran and any other country that meets with their disfavor, that provides massive unquestioning support to Israel, which uses every means including coups d’état to oppose social reformers...
A favorite theme of the anti-anti-war left is to accuse those who reject military intervention of “supporting the dictator”, meaning the leader of the currently targeted country. The problem is that every war is justified by a massive propaganda effort which is based on demonizing the enemy, especially the enemy leader. Effectively opposing that propaganda requires contextualizing the crimes attributed to the enemy and comparing them to those of the side we are supposed to support. That task is necessary but risky; the slightest mistake will be endlessly used against us, whereas all the lies of the pro-war propaganda are soon forgotten...
What is also remarkable is that most of the anti-anti-war left shares a general condemnation of the revolutions of the past, because they led to Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc. But now that the revolutionaries are (Western backed) Islamists, we are supposed to believe that everything will turn out fine.
What about “drawing the lesson from the past” that violent revolutions are not necessarily the best or the only way to achieve social change?
Jean Bricmont is a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Louvain (Belgium). He has just published Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War (Éditions Aden, 2005).
Russia and Egypt have reached agreement on stepping up cooperation. This came in a statement by Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, following his talks with Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr, according to the Voice of Russia correspondent.
A Syria meeting between Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Egyptian counterpart, Mohammed Kamel Amra, has kicked off in Moscow, Voice of Russia’s correspondent reports.
“We share the viewpoint that the peoples of Syria have a right to choose their own future path through a nation-wide dialogue without any foreign intervention,” the Russian foreign chief said. “We are strongly against tackling these tasks by the means of invasion,” he added. ...
Mr. Lavrov said the Russian government was open to talks with the Syrian Opposition Coalition but condemned the opposition’s intent to topple Assad’s regime instead of taking the issue to the negotiating table.
“We’ve already established contacts with the Coalition’s leadership through our Cairo embassy,” Lavrov told his Egyptian opposite number.”We have declared ourselves ready to meet their chairman, Mr. Mouaz al-Khatib… We understand they have no reason to reject this offer,” he said.
Egyptian foreign chief Mohammed Kamel Amra told Mr. Lavrov the current Syrian leadership had no future in Syria.
Although it was not approved by an overwhelming majority and was boycotted by 34 million Egyptians, the constitutional referendum was nevertheless hailed by Islamists as a victory, Gamal Essam El-Din reports.
Many political analysts now believe that President Morsi’s next move will be imposing the Brotherhood’s complete control over Egypt or “Islamising the country”.
Gamal Zahran, an independent political analyst, told the Weekly that “Morsi would most probably move to appoint the Muslim Brotherhood’s business tycoon and strongman Khairat Al-Shater as prime minister instead of current Prime Minister Hisham Kandil whom several Brotherhood officials have sharply accused of performing poorly and have demanded his removal.
“The Brotherhood could soon be in complete control of the executive and legislative authorities,” said Zahran, adding that “as for the judiciary, Morsi’s Brotherhood will move quickly to silence all defiant judges and contain any dissenters who might insist on asking for independence.
“The first move came when Morsi ordered thugs to impose a siege on the Supreme Constitutional Court [SCC] and then forced his newly-appointed Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdallah to backtrack on resigning from office. A second step could come in the form of amending the judicial authority law to get rid of several judges standing against Islamisation.
“To sum up,” argued Zahran, “Morsi and his allies will do their best to Islamise — or rather Brotherhoodise — the judiciary to ensure complete control on the three branches of power,” said Zahran.
According to Zahran, the Brotherhood shows no concern over the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections expected to be held in about two months. “They began by tailoring the constitution to grant their dominated-Shura Council all legislative powers necessary to implement their Islamisation agenda, and then moved to ensure an easy success in parliamentary elections by stripping their formidable NDP foes from participating,” argued Zahran.
Essam Al-Erian, a leading FJP official who was appointed to the Shura Council this week, said the FJP will compete for 100 per cent of the seats in the House of Representatives (formerly the upper house of parliament).
Zahran also expects that the Sunni Islam learning institution of Al-Azhar will be an important target of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist extremist allies in the next stage.
Yasser Burhami, a Salafist firebrand, said this week that “Salafis would do their best to remove the current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb from office.” Burhami made it no secret that Islamists view Al-Tayeb as an NDP remnant and that they would dispose of him as soon as possible.
Zahran believes that “the real intentions of Islamists are to impose complete control over Al-Azhar to turn it from an institution raising the voice of moderate and centrist Islam into “a reactionary Islamist force.
“Do not forget that articles 4 and 219 give Al-Azhar’s council of grand clerics an upper hand in explaining the principles of Sharia [Islamic law], and that Islamists from now on will do their best to dominate this council,” contended Zahran.
In another direction, most secular political analysts believe that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood will also move to muzzle freedom of speech.
“Independent satellite television channels will be a main target, especially as they are highly critical of Morsi’s dictatorial polices and highly effective in exposing his group’s fascist practices,” said Zahran.
The Brotherhood and Salafists do not understand religion the way regular Muslims understand it, wrote Egyptian novelist Alaa Aswani in the Cairo-based paper El Masry El Youm. ...
The behaviour of the Brotherhood and Salafists in real life is starkly at odds with the true teachings of Islam, and their take on religion is dissimilar to that of regular Muslims. This is because their understanding of religion, according to Aswani, rests on the following factors:
First: sheer obedience to the Guide. A Brotherhood member swears unquestioning allegiance to the Guide. Stripped of judgement, they back everything he does or says. Many of these youth are educated: engineers and doctors. But they are all mindlessly subordinated to their leader.
Second: they claim an exclusive understanding of religion. When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, there is no way to debate on religion. Islam to them is exclusively what a sheikh or the Guide says. ... They will reject any view that is not identical to the view of their leaders' even it is from eminent scholars.
Third: they demonise opponents. The Brotherhood and Salafist sheikhs usually dehumanise their rivals, strip them of individuality and brand them as "secularists", "lackeys of the West", "enemies of sharia" and "agents of Zionism".
Fourth: the great conspiracy. Supporters of the Brotherhood and Salafists are persuaded by their sheikhs that a conspiracy against Islam has been in place.
Syrian opposition chief George Sabra said Friday that his coalition would try in “every way” to supply the Free Syrian Army with weapons, and denounced the international community for failing to arm the rebels, according to Turkey's Anadolu Agency.
The Syrian National Council president added that the US was 'misguiding' the Syrian people by designating jihadi rebel group, al-Nusra Front, a terrorist organization.
The group is believed to be behind a number of crushing bomb attacks against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, including one that recently wounded Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar. They have also targeted civilian areas.
Nusra Front leaders have been quoted in various media outlets as saying they intend to implement hardline interpretations of Islamic Sharia in a post-Assad Syria.
Al-Nusra Front: The group is generally described as being made up of Sunni Islamists and Jihadists. Its goal is to overthrow the Assad regime and, allegedly, to create a Pan-Islamic state under sharia law. Members of the group have referred to the United States and Israel as enemies of Islam and warned against "Western" intervention in Syria.
George Sabra, the new chairman of the Syrian National Council (SNC), is a Christian and veteran leftist dissident who has been imprisoned repeatedly by the Syrian government.
He was elected on 9 November 2012 at a conference in Qatar, only two days before opposition factions agreed to create the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
Mohammed Farouq Taifour of the Muslim Brotherhood - which is said to dominate the SNC - was chosen by delegates as his deputy.
London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat said Mr Sabra's appointment proved that the Syrian opposition was non-sectarian and that Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood were sufficiently flexible. (BBC News 13-11-2012)
“I cannot in any way accept to participate in any understanding based on a rejected constitution, and a Constituent Assembly that has nothing to do with the majority of the people of this country, in addition to systematically rigging the will of Egyptians, in all elections and referendums that have took place including the presidential election,” he said.
Shafiq: The problem of Morsi and his Brotherhood is that they refuse to respect the state. They seek to establish a caliphate and a judicial system based on Shariah law in which people believe only in compliance, obedience and loyalty. ...
Al-Masry Al-Youm: What are the repercussions of such a policy?
Shafiq: First of all I would like to say that Morsi — or any other member of the Muslim Brotherhood from the supreme guide to the least significant member — have been all shunned by society for decades and pursued by a security system that showed no mercy to them. ...
Some of the Brotherhood’s members suffer from mental disorders and hold a grudge against the state and the people. It is not right to let those who were once behind bars come to power, because as you can see we are suffering the consequences. ...
To ignorantly manage the state after the revolution will produce bloody conflict. The Brotherhood is the least knowledgeable about the art of political management. Its popularity after the revolution is due to the fact that most of the Egyptian people remain grandly poor, ill-educated and were bought off with an oil canister or some sugar. ...
Al-Masry Al-Youm: Do you support the decision of Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabahi and [Amr] Moussa to form a “national salvation front?”
Shafiq: Will all my might. The country is in real danger. ... Our rulers are reckless. They are distracting the people by what is forbidden and sacred according to Shariah law. They turn a blind eye to their responsibility for 90 million people who fell victim to poverty crawling into their homes.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: You have been talking about your eminent return since you left. When is that?
Shafiq: Believe me, as soon as possible. The opportunity to come back is ready now...
Statement Muslim Scholars 2012
"It is forbidden [..] to kill citizens"
107 Muslim scholars from various countries, representing various Islamic groups and organizations have signed a statement which was issued on Tuesday 7th February 2012. They include Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Dr. Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, and Shaikh Rached Al-Ghannouchi of Tunisia:
God promises murderers eternal hellfire, damnation, and a painful torment, and He decreed that whoever kills a person will have been considered as having killed all of mankind. Whoever saves the life of a person will be considered to have saved all of humanity. He commanded support for the weak and the oppressed. In light of this we affirm the following: It is forbidden [..] to kill citizens or discharge weapons in their direction. ... It is infinitely better for anyone to meet God as a martyr than a murdering criminal.
The speech of the grand mufti of Syria|
at his son Sarya's funeral
Assassinations have become a near-daily occurrence, especially in the central province of Homs, where academics and officials are targeted in a tactic reminiscent those used by the Muslim Brotherhood in their armed uprising between 1976 and 1982.
The U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center released a list of public figures known to their anti-Semitic stances. ...According to the report issued by the center, which is known for defending the right of Jews across the world, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei ranked first in the list of anti-Semites following statements he had issued that condemned Jews.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ranked second in the list owing to what the report termed “a brainwashing anti-Jewish rhetoric” and statements in which he affirmed that Zionism is controlling the major powers in the world.
Brazilian caricaturist Carlos Latuf came third for a caricature that showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu crushing a Palestinian woman during the latest aggression on Gaza. The caricature, the report noted, constituted an insult to Israel and its prime minister and presented a flagrant expression of anti-Semitism.
ABU DHABI // State security have arrested a cell of at least 10 people accused of having links to the Muslim Brotherood in Egypt.
Investigators had been monitoring the men’s movements for several years and believed they had formed their own network in the UAE, a security source told Al Khaleej newspaper in Sharjah. He said they were organising well-planned activities “on state land”. They held secret meetings in various “administrative offices” around the country and recruited Egyptians in the UAE to their organisation. ...
State security found a close relationship between the group and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. There was continuous coordination between the two, secret meetings and exchange of classified information. The group also organised lectures about ways to change the systems of government in Arab states.
Egyptian officials have sought to emphasise that Egypt has no intention of undermining the security of Arabian Gulf countries or supporting political groups here.
Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president, said yesterday that “the security of Gulf countries is part of Egypt’s security”.
Tamer Mansour, Egypt’s ambassador to the UAE, urged Egyptians not to do anything that might harm UAE-Egypt relations. “We want people to be calm so that in the end it does not backfire on relations between the two countries.”
Last summer, authorities arrested a group of 60 local Islamists tied to Al Islah, the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, on charges of threatening state security.
While the French press persists in announcing the "imminent fall" of Syria and the "flight of Bashar al-Assad," the reality on the ground has turned around completely. Even though chaos is plaguing most of the territory, the "liberated zones" have melted like snow in the sun. Deprived of its anchor points, the FSA has been left with no prospects in sight, while Washington and Moscow are poised to blow the whistle to end the game.
The countdown has begun. As soon as the new Obama administration will be confirmed by the Senate, it will present a peace plan for Syria to the Security Council. Legally, though President Obama succeeds himself, his former administration is only responsible for the managing of current affairs and can not take any major initiative.
Politically, Obama failed to react when, in the midst of the presidential race, some of his colleagues torpedoed the Geneva Agreement. But he proceeded with a general housecleaning right after the announcement of his reelection. ...
The truth is that on the ground the upper hand is held by the Syrian government. The military situation has been reversed.The French themselves have ceased to mention the "liberated zones" they yearned to govern through a United Nations mandate. These areas have been steadily shrinking, and those that are still holding out are in the hands of the disreputable Salafists. ...
In strategic terms, the war is already over: the FSA has lost the popular support it had enjoyed at one point and has no chance of achieving victory. ... Much of the international support has stopped although the consequences on the battlefield cannot yet be seen, much like a star that can continue to shine long after its death.
The United States has clearly decided to turn the page and to sacrifice the FSA. It gives it senseless instructions that lead the Contras to their death.
Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, in a speech at the 17th session of the 2nd regular session of the first legislative term of the People's Assembly, pointed out to the exceptional circumstances in Syria which call for carrying out extra efforts and boosting cooperation and integration. ...
Al-Halqi stressed that the unfair economic sanctions against Syria hindered the imports and exports process, while the security situation had a negative impact on agriculture and industry, with these factors raising prices and affecting exchange rates, and subsequently affected the Syrian people's livelihood directly.
The Prime Minister said that the acts of terrorism and the sanctions affected all economic, development and services sectors, citing the oil sector which was exposed to unfair sanctions and terrorist attacks that affected production and imports process negatively and led to a crisis in providing diesel and gas. He said that the government signed contracts with friendly countries to procure diesel fuel, adding that 75% to 80% of the country's diesel needs are available and that distribution is underway according to a methodical program, despite continuing terrorist attacks on transport vehicles.
The Prime Minister moved on to the electricity sector, detailing the terrorists' attacks against Syria's power grid and reviewed the government's continuous efforts to counter their effects and maintain electric power. He also discussed the communication sector which was also targeted by the terrorists, damaging landlines, mobile phone networks and internet services.
Regarding the health sector, al-Halqi said that terrorism also targeted this sector and caused 25 state hospitals out of 124 to be put out of commission, in addition to 111 health centers out of 1921 and 147 hospitals, yet the government continues to provide health services across the country...
He noted that the pharmaceuticals sector was also affected, with 25 pharmaceutical factories having been targeted by terrorists in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs provinces, yet most types of medicine are still available in the market despite terrorism and sanctions, asserting that rumors of medicine shortages are part of the misleading media campaign against Syria.
The Premier also tackled the effects of the crisis on education and higher education, saying that around 2326 schools were damaged and 2000 of them are out of commission, 1600 of them being used as housing centers for displaced citizens.
Al-Halqi said that overall damages to public and private establishments and properties, not counting the ones in Aleppo and Deir Ezzor, are estimated at SYP 855 billions, and that the damages in areas that haven't been surveyed is estimated at around 2000 billion.
He went on to review the government's efforts to help the people affected by terrorism and the displaced, providing them with housing, food, clothes, medicine, and support, with estimates showing that 624,000 families gave been affected by the crisis and terrorism.
The Prime Minister said that around 100,000 families returned to their original homes after they were cleared of terrorists and repaired, adding that SYP 2 billion has been allocated to compensate affected families, and that 1.3 billion of it has already been distributed, with SYP 30 billion allocated for compensation.
The high committee of the National Salvation Front (NSF), the umbrella opposition group that led huge street protests last month to protest against what they called Mr Morsi's move toward autocracy, is preparing to register a new party with the same name, an official said. Representatives from the NSF's member groups would run as a bloc to counter the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the popular Salafist parties.
"One of the merits of the president's terrible decisions is that he finally united the opposition," said Ahmed Said, a member of the NSF and head of the liberal Free Egyptians party. "I can assure you now that everyone realises very clearly that we will not be able to continue separately. Only united will we be able to face the Islamic political factions."
Leaders of the Front have agreed to lay aside differences, especially on economic policy where they range from socialists to free-market advocates, in what they see as a life-and-death battle over the nature of daily life in Egypt, Mr Said said.
"We are very scared about the emergence of a new dictatorship that could lead the country into another 30 years of dictatorship," he said. "This time it's in the name of religion, not a political party. So, it's no time to differ on economic ideology."
The scene is rapidly shifting from the contours of last year, said Mazen Hassan, a professor of political science at Cairo University. "The main change is that dissatisfaction is starting to rise and will likely rise even further, especially as the economic situation worsens," he said.
The question, he said, was whether the NSF could translate the momentum it gathered during the protests into votes. "I do not see that they are very capable of this at the moment," Mr Hassan said.
"The problem is they are only united by their anti-Islamist agenda and not on a programme for Egypt. They need to do a lot of work on the ground."
On December 25, the Libyan General Post Company burned all postage stamps that carried the image of Muammar Gaddafi or an image of his work or projects. The burned stamps, according to Saudi Gazette website 259,434,634 in total, were worth 341 million Libyan dinars, equaling $279 million. They were destroyed as a part of an ongoing so-called cleansing process [..] with the intent to rid the country of means to "glorify" the Leader of the Al-Fateh Revolution...
In a similar method of mind control in May last year, a law ridiculously titled "Criminalizing the glorification of the Tyrant", was passed by the NATO-installed Libyan government. The law (Law 37) criminalized "any glorification of Muammar Gaddafi, his ideas, his regime and his sons" (Article 1) as well as "any publishing of news, propaganda or rumours which harm the February 17 Revolution" (Article 2). Article 3 declared that "Any rule which contravenes this law shall be overturned". Violation of the Law, which eventually was revoked after lawyers and human rights groups around the world strongly disapproved it in the media, could have been subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The Arab Leaque & The Arab Homeland - Wikipedia Info
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.
"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.'
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.'"
Question: Part of the Syrian people say that they no longer believe in pan-Arabism. They say we should put “Syria first”.. Does His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad still believe in pan-Arabism and what is called “Arab action”?
President al-Assad: First, I repeat what I said in one of my speeches, that “Syria first” is self-evident. .. But this does not contradict with what comes second, which is the city, the larger homeland and the Arab world to which we belong. ...
I say that today I am more committed to pan-Arabism, more convinced of it and more comfortable with it....
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.
"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)
Beirut, (SANA)_In a statement issued at the conclusion of its founding conference on Thursday in Beirut, The National Movement to Save Syria (founders: Nabeel Fayyad and Omar Ossi) called for exposing the flagrant human rights violations by extremist groups in Syria and divulging the connection between the Doha Coalition and the terrorist al-Qaeda-linked groups, pointing to incontestable documents in this regard.
The statement called for building a wide popular movement that discards extremism and terrorism and underlined the necessity of exposing the attacks that targeted the Syrian riches and resources by extremists.
Nabeel Fayyad revealed in an exclusive statement to Breaking News Network that the main goal of the movement to save Syria is to stem the tide of Muslim Brotherhood after it deployed in most of the Arab countries...
Fayyad said that the idea of “The National Movement to Save Syria” is to form a civil secular side that stands in front whoever wants to restore the area to the Middle Ages.
(Sheikh Arour is a Salafist cleric who tirelessly teaches hatred of others on the Salafist Al Wissal channel, funded by Saudi Arabia.)
The young people disappeared from the Nasiriyah airport, poor and faithful to the core, they whose whole concern was to take me gently when I criticized the regime, they suddenly became the leaders of the Free Syrian Army.
And battalions appeared, sectarian by name and content! Then came the slaughter of innocents according to their identity card! Coarse, puritanical language spread, which just reminds us of the late Bin Laden and his henchman Al Zawahiri!
Adolescents filled opposition television screens presenting themselves to viewers as if they were so many Robespierres, Dantons, or Voltaires, but in language as prosaic as their faces and studded with pea-sized Qur’anic quotations to match their brains!
There are old retired army officers proclaiming their dissent from the armed forces in language that Salafism makes outdated! Under the banner of “freedom” all the Christians are expelled from old Homs! And under this same banner, old Sunni Homs is destroyed!
Presidential aide Pakinam El-Sharkawy contacted members of the opposition group the National Salvation Front and asked them to join the seventh national dialogue meeting with the presidency, a source from the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) told Ahram Online.
The series of dialogue meetings were launched by President Mohamed Morsi last month during the deepening political crisis but were widely boycotted by the opposition. So far, only Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafist Calling and Al-Wasat Party together with the liberal group Ghad Al-Thawra have attended.
Ahmed Sobie, a leading member of the FJP, underlined that only through dialogue can Egypt’s political forces put their differences aside and come to a common agreement about urgent matters.
“We are facing important legislative decisions, including the new parliamentary elections law,” Sobie said. “We also would like to discuss the controversial articles of the constitution. President Morsi wants to discuss all these articles carefully before refering it to the House of Representatives (parliament's lower house) after it is elected.”
The NSF called for the formation of a committee that would amend the contentious articles of the Constitution, with half of its members being legal experts and the other half equally divided between the president’s supporters and the National Salvation Front.
It also said there should be a public pledge to abide by the amendments.
“We are not giving up our demands,” said front secretary general Ahmed al-Borai. “We will participate if the dialogue is serious.”
TEHRAN – Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has said that dialogue and interaction can prepare the ground for the conduct of a free and competitive election.
“...We hope that all those in the system who have influence, from ordinary people to higher levels, pave the way for the conduct of a competitive and free election according to the law through accepting to negotiate, interaction, and understanding...,” Rafsanjani said in reference to Iran’s next presidential election, which is scheduled to be held on June 14.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rafsanjani stated, “The spread of lies, slander, resort to hypocrisy, depriving people of their rights, empty promises, and undermining moral virtues and social ethics, and such measures should be seriously dealt with at the level of government.”
Rafsanjani also emphasized the people’s important role in determining the country’s destiny, noting that eroding public confidence is a “great sin”.
“In our constitution, the freedom of press, assembly, and parties, and individual and social freedoms have been clearly stipulated, and it is necessary that more attention be paid to the part regarding the people’s rights in the constitution and their influential role,” he added.
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Dr. Mohammad Said Ramadan Said al-Bouti stressed that the terrorists who came to Syria from all corners of the world adopted and legitimized all methods to destroy the Syrian state that distributed peace and security to all of its neighbors.
In a speech after the Friday prayers, al-Bouti said that the ordeal in Syria is in its way to be over soon.
He stressed that the largest crisis is that Islam is being attacked in an unprecedented way, using the excuse of crimes committed in the name of Jihad.
Al-Bouti added that Islam calls for rationality and science, underlining that the road to Islam can't be through the US White House or Tel Aviv.
Sheikh Al-Bouti (born: 1-1-1929) is the leading Islamic scholar in Syria. School: Traditional Sunni. He is a retired Dean and current professor at the College of Islamic Law at Damascus University.
In his opinion a poor understanding of the term jihad has led to its abuse by both Muslims and non-Muslims. His view is that those who are unaware of the basis of 'fiqh' have manipulated the idea of jihad for their own benefit. (The Muslim 500)
Al-Bouti is of the opinion that Islamist groups do not perform their tasks properly. They do not set a good example for youngsters, have no patience in choosing the long road of da’wa, education and upbringing. They aim gaining power quickly to force (ikrâh) people to accept and apply the norms and values of Islam, while ikrâh in religion is not allowed. (“Ikrâh” means to force someone to do something which they do not want to do)
Graffiti in Benghazi reading |
“Yes to federalism,
no to the Muslim Brotherhood,
the agents of Qatar”
(Photo: Mathieu Galtier)
“Congress is under the control of Muslim brotherhood thanks to the support of most of the independent MPs", explained Dr. Abeir Imneina, a political science professor at Benghazi University. “Federalism is getting bigger and bigger, mostly because the government is failing in all sectors...”
Since the end of the revolution, the federalists are sure to have won over a large number of Easterners to their vision of what Libya’s future government should look like. Only defence, central banking decisions, foreign policy and oil revenue should be dealt by the national government, according to federalist leaders.
At the beginning of 2012 70 sheikhs from the Syrian Council of Clerics issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that declared jihad in Syria the duty of all Muslims. The Salafi sheikhs understood that the call for jihad had to be introduced in phases in order for many Syrians to accept it.
They had noticed that the early protests were limited to social and economic demands, and when Islamist activists would raise slogans calling for the downfall of the regime, many participants would quickly leave. But soon this began to change and the Islamists were able to call for the execution of the president without alienating the protesters.
Two sheikhs in particular helped lay the groundwork for the rapid growth of Salafism in Syria: Sheikh Mohammed Suroor and Sheikh Adnan al-Arour. Both men were once members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Saudi Arabia....
Suroor is credited with creating the juridical framework for the establishment of al-Qaeda by merging Wahhabi Salafism with notions of jihad as espoused by Sayyid Qutb, one of the most influential thinkers of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood executed by Gamal Abdul-Nasser in the mid-1960s.
"The Surooris (fanatical partisans of the innovator Muhammad Suroor) are characterised by an exaggerated emphasis to political issues and affairs and inciting and arousing the common-folk into bloody revolutions and civil strife." (Who are the surooris?")Arour [..] became the preferred point of reference among Salafi sheikhs in Syria, where he played a key role in popularizing Islamist slogans and practice among opposition protesters.
Islamist insiders today insist that the key group in the movement today is the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades and not the Nusra Front, which receives the most attention. ..
The movement has produced a 40-page internal manifesto to organize and direct its members. The document emulates the experience of Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, the Libyan Islamist rebel leader, borrowing the following four points:
* 1) The call for jihad must be waged under the banner of Islam.
* 2) Islamic law is to be enforced by setting up specialized councils in the various locales, whose duty it is to apply the law on civilians and combatants alike.
* 3) The goal is to establish a state in Syria that it is not based on the military and that implements Islamic law.
* 4) With the toppling of the regime, the military brigades must dissolve themselves and surrender their weapons to the newly established armed forces, integrating competent fighters into the new Syrian army.
(Ahrar al-Sham enjoys the support of Sheik Adnan al-Arour NYT 29-7-2012)
Ahrar al-Sham in particular enjoys the support of Sheik Adnan al-Arour, a Sunni Muslim media star in exile, who blasts Shiites and Alawites on his television show and on what appears to be his authentic Twitter account.
“We buy weapons from the donations and savings of the Wahhabi children,” said one recent Twitter posting, referring to the Islamic sect prominent in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, “and not from the Americans like the Shiites of Iraq did.”
Abdelhakim Belhadj is a Libyan politician and military leader. He is the leader of the conservative Islamist Al-Watan Party and former head of Tripoli Military Council. He was emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, now defunct guerilla anti-Gaddafi group. (Wikipedia)
The Alwattan Party is a conservative Islamist political party in Libya, founded in November 2011. It is endorsed and led by Ali al-Sallabi, an influential Salafist cleric. Members include also Abdelhakim Belhadj, Mahmoud Hamza, Ali Zeidan and Mansour Saif Al-Nasar.
Al-Sallabi has strong ties to both Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, and Abdelhakim Belhadj, former "emir" of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The party calls for "moderate" Islamic democracy, but demands to base a new Libyan constitution on Sharia law.(Wikipedia info)
Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has outlined a plan to end the country's conflict, starting with a halt to international support to “al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.” The solution proposes a new constitution and government, as well as national reconciliation.
He said that his government had never refused a political solution, but would not negotiate with terrorists. He then stressed that the only solution was a Syrian proposal to end the crisis.
“The political solution entails regional and international powers halting their support for armed groups, which will be followed by a halt in our security forces' crackdown against them,” Assad said in his first public address to the people of Syria since June.
He claimed the move would be followed by dialogue with all parties who work in Syria’s interests, in the form of a national conference on the creation of a truce and the drafting of a new constitution to be put to public vote. The charter would form the basis of the new Syrian government.
The final step would be a national reconciliation process, including amnesty for those imprisoned during the crisis.
He criticized the Syrian opposition, referring to the rebels as “Western puppets” and “terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda.”
"We have terrorists who follow the ideology of al-Qaeda. We brothers fight against these people... We will teach them a lesson," Assad said.
Syria conflict between nation and its enemies
Press TV 6-1-20137
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the ongoing conflict in his country is not between the state and opposition but between the nation and its enemies.
In a key speech on the situation in the country, Assad said on Sunday that his government will always extend its hand for dialogue with the opposition and political parties. The Syrian president, however, said that the government “will not have a dialogue with a puppet made by the West."
Assad warned that that there is an “agenda to partition Syria” but stated that "the nation is for all and we all must protect it."
The president went on to say that the Geneva initiative on the transition in Syria was ambigiuous. He also said that “Any talk of revolution in Syria is just bubbles of soap.”
The Syrian president lauded people in the villages that tried to block the enterance of militants from Turkey, adding that “the nation is for those who protect it.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday that rebels fighting to overthrow his regime were "terrorists" and "criminals" who harbour al-Qaeda's extremist ideology.
"These are the enemies of the people, the enemies of God. Eventually they resorted to terrorism to terrorize the people," al-Assad said in a televised address.
"They call it a revolution, but it has nothing to do with revolution. A revolution needs thinkers. Those are a bunch of criminals."
In his speech on the latest developments on Sunday, President Bashar al-Assad said that out of the womb of pain, hope should be beget and from the bottom of suffering the most important solutions rise...
President al-Assad said "These feelings of agony, sadness, challenge and intention are huge energy that will not get Syria out of its crisis unless it turns this energy into a comprehensive national move that saves the homeland from the unprecedented campaign hatched against it." ...
"At the beginning they wanted it an alleged revolution but the Syrian people rebelled against them, then they tried to impose it by money, media and arms secretly and when they failed, they moved to the second phase through dropping the masks of a "peaceful revolution" and unveiled the cover of the weapons they were using secretly to use them openly starting their attempts to occupy cities as to pounce upon the other cities..."
It is not a matter of loyalists against opposition, nor an army vis-à-vis gangs and criminals… We are in a state of war in the full sense of the word… We are repelling a fierce outside aggression in a new disguise, which is more lethal and dangerous than a traditional war, because they do not employ their tools to strike us, but they have us implement their projects, and target Syria using a bunch of Syrians and a lot of foreigners. ...
Such war is confronted through defending the homeland in parallel with a reform that is necessary to all of us, which may not change the reality of war, yet it strengthens us and reinforces our unity in the face of the war…
Reforms without security is like security without reform. No one will be successful without the other…
"Who talks only about the political solution and turns the blind eye to these facts is either an ignorant of the facts or a coward who immolates his country and citizens to the criminals and those who support them, the matter which we will not allow, "
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi told CNN on Sunday that he backs Syrian calls for President Bashar al-Assad to be tried for war crimes, and predicted that Assad’s regime would fall.
“The Syrian people, through their revolution...will, when the bloodshed stops, move to a new stage where they will have an independent parliament and the government of their choosing,” Mursi said, according to excerpts released by CNN.
“And then they will decide what they want to do against those who committed crimes against them. It is the Syrian people who decide.”
“This phase is the phase of the people. Similar to what the Egyptian people wanted, the Syrian people want it, and we support the Syrian people. They are going to win, and they have the will to win,” he said.
In Washington, the US State Department reiterated its call for Assad to resign. The European Union also called on him to step aside.
Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, daughter of the Emir, has been ranked number one by Art & Auction magazine for the art world’s most influential people.
Al-Thani, who chairs the Qatar Museums Authority, is joined by the likes of billionaire Eli Broad; Peter Brant, Greenwich, Connecticut-based newsprint magnate; and Indonesian-Chinese business tycoon Budiardjo Tek.
“Sheikha Al-Mayassa has the resources of an entire country at her disposal,” said Benjamin Genocchio, a vice president at Louise Blouin Media and editor in chief of Art & Auction. “They have hired Ed Dolman to be their personal shopper. And the budget has no limit.
In Egypt, a strange situation has emerged after the revolution. All the Egyptian political parties are subject to the supervision of the state, declare their sources of funding and publish their budgets in newspapers, except for the political Islam groups.
Officials of these parties refuse to declare their sources of funding, while they spend millions of pounds before our eyes every day.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are buying hundreds of buildings in the governorates of Egypt with money of an unknown source. It is enough to know that the Muslim Brotherhood owns 1,375 headquarters across Egypt, and that the main Brotherhood headquarters in the Muqattam district of Cairo alone was built at a cost of 30 million Egyptian pounds [$4.7 million].
During the elections, the Brotherhood and Salafists handed out thousands of tons of free food to the poor in order to buy out their votes, and sometimes have subsidized the price of gas in a way that the state is unable to.
There is compelling evidence that we see every day confirming that the budget of the Brotherhood and Salafists is worth hundreds of millions of pounds, but they never say where they obtain these huge amounts of money from.
We have repeatedly asked the Brotherhood and Salafist leaders to disclose their sources of funding, and each time they get angry and respond by directing insults and accusations against us.
If you, as a citizen, demand your right to know the source of funding for the Brotherhood and the Salafists, you would immediately, in their opinion, turn into an immoral anti-Islam secularist, who rejects the law of God and is an agent of the West and of world Zionism.
By refusing to disclose their finances, they are challenging the state and disregarding its laws.
A Brotherhood leader once said: “Yes, we have billions of pounds, and we will not say where we got it from. Our money is nobody’s concern. May you die out of anger." This logic is not right and is unacceptable. It is not about some minor offense, but a major political crime.
* First: In all democratic countries, any foreign funds received for political purposes are categorically considered a crime, without exception.
* Second: The flow of anonymous funds to the Brotherhood and the Salafists undermines an important principle of democracy: equality of opportunities.
* Third: The use of anonymous sources of funding by Islamist parties undermines and endangers the state’s sovereignty and dignity, because it allows foreign parties to control the course of events in Egypt.
Alaa Al-Aswany (born 1957) is an Egyptian writer, and a founding member of the political movement Kefaya. Kefaya has been criticised for failing to reach beyond “an exclusive, Cairo-based intellectual crowd,” offering a “lofty discourse on human rights and democracy” but no practical solutions to the problems Egyptians face on a daily basis, such as poverty, unemployment, poor access to education and public services, etc. Wikipedia info
Tahani El-Gebaly, Mubarak-era judge and former vice-president of Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC), held a press conference on Tuesday morning at the headquarters of Egypt's Judges Club in which she condemned the country's newly-approved constitution.
"The newly approved constitution breached all legal norms by calling for the dismissal of seven judges in a flagrant act of revenge," El-Gebaly stated at the event, stressing that Egypt's judiciary was independent and that its members could not be subject to dismissal. "This so-called charter is a blatant encroachment on the judiciary," she asserted.
Article 233 of the new constitution stipulates that the HCC's 11 longest-serving judges, including the current president, make up the court. Previously, the court's bench was comprised of a total of 19 judges.
Within the judiciary, el-Gebali was one of the most vocal opponents to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power, even urging the then-ruling military last year against quickly holding parliamentary elections, since Islamists would likely win the biggest share — as eventually happened.
“The threat to the rule of law and judicial independence is what is most dangerous about the decisive moment that Egypt is going through,” el-Gebali told a press conference in which she announced her legal complaint. “Do these people realize what they are doing to the nation?” she said. “Blood was shed for the sake of this document.”
El-Gebali said the article reducing the court’s size was “vengeful,” suggesting it was tailored to remove her and other Brotherhood critics on the court. (Washington Post 8-1-2013)
Morsi told CNN in an interview that he was hoping to travel to the United States before the end of March 2013, and he planned to raise the case of Omar Abdul Rahman, serving a life sentence in a US prison.
Morsi repeated his view of the blind sheikh saying: "I want him to be free." But he added: "I respect the law. And the rule of law in Egypt and the United States."
"If it isn't possible, and I hope that it is possible, then humane aspects need to be taken into account, for him to be in a humane prison, to be able to have visitors, to be able to have company."
Abdul Rahman, the spiritual leader of the radical Jamaa Islamiya group, was convicted in 1995 for his role in the attack, in which six people were killed and hundreds injured when a truck bomb was detonated in the building's garage.
He was also convicted of plotting to bomb other New York targets including the United Nations and a plan to assassinate Mubarak and is believed to be serving his term in a North Carolina jail.
The Assassination of Anwar Sadat occurred on 6 October 1981. Anwar Sadat, then-President of Egypt, was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo to celebrate Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal.
A fatwa approving the assassination had been obtained from Omar Abdel-Rahman, a cleric later convicted in the US for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The assassination was undertaken by members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
In conjunction with the assassination, an insurrection was organized in Asyut in Upper Egypt. Rebels took control of the city for a few days and 68 policemen and soldiers were killed in the fighting. Government control was not restored until paratroopers from Cairo arrived.
Sadat was buried in the Unknown Soldier Memorial, located in the Nasr City district of Cairo. (Wikipedia info)
US Undersecretary of Defence for Intelligence, Michael G. Vickers, held talks in Tripoli yesterday evening, Monday, with Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Vickers, on a brief visit to Libya, was accompanied by the new US Chargé d’Affaires William Roebuck.
In their talks, Zeidan said that Libya wanted to strengthen ties with the US, according to the government’s website. He paid tribute to slain US Ambassador Chris Stevens and to the help provided by the United States during the revolution, saying that Libya now looked forward to cooperating with the Americans in the military field, notably modernising its security forces.
He added that the country was also counting on American help in other areas. He mentioned economic, trade and technical education as well as support for civil society training and help building up and consolidating democracy.
He added that Libya looked to Washington to support peace in the Middle East.
During the revolution Zeidan served as the National Transitional Council's Europe envoy, and is credited as having played a key role in persuading French President Nicolas Sarkozy to support the anti-Gaddafi forces.
Zeidan promised at his swearing-in that his government would abide by the Constitutional Declaration and "give its utmost best to the nation based on the rule of law, human rights, democracy, rights, and the belief in God, His Prophet and a state based on Islam". (Wikipedia info)
Benghazi was singled out as the focus of efforts to restore security by Interior Minister Ashour Shuwail when he took office last month. The government has been struggling to rein in militias and armed groups that have hampered rebuilding efforts since the massive US-NATO bombings, the forced overthrow of the legitimate government and brutal assassination of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
While overall stabilization is key to increasing output in the home of Africa’s largest proven crude reserves, Benghazi takes on special importance as the birthplace of Libya’s counter-revolution and the city where Islamists have also secured a solid foothold.
“Failure to get this right now will not allow Libya to reach its potential, and will see it as an unstable oil-producing nation, rich in cash but dominated by armed gangs,” Duncan Bullivant, chief executive officer of Henderson Risk Ltd., a U.K.-based security analyst, said in a telephone interview.
The violence has turned Benghazi into a virtual ghost-town most nights, in contrast to other Libyan cities such as Misrata. “People are staying off the streets,” for fear of getting caught up in the crossfire, aviation student Mohammed el-Gadri said.
Among the groups whose influence Shuwail has pledged to combat are Islamists such as Ansar al-Shariah, which the U.S. says is linked to Al-Qaeda and played a role in the killing of Stevens, a charge it denies.
Islamist groups have been present in eastern Libya since the 1990s when they took part in a failed uprising against Qaddafi. They have denounced the holding of elections and want to establish an Islamic state.
Many are impatient with Ansar al-Shariah's talk of imposing its strict version of Islamic law. The group's name means "Supporters of Shariah Law."
"We are not infidels for God sake. We have no bars, no discos, we are not practicing vice in the street," said Wassam ben Madin, a leading activist in the city... "This is not the time for talk about Shariah. Have a state first then talk to me about Shariah."
"If they are the `supporters of Shariah' then who are we?" he said. "We don't want the flag of al-Qaida raised over heads," he added, referring to Ansar al-Shariah's black banner.
Officials in the interim government and security forces say they are not strong enough to crack down on the militias. The armed factions have refused government calls for them to join the regular army and police.
So the government has created a "High Security Committee" aimed at grouping the armed factions as a first step to integration.
Authorities pay fighters a salary of as much as 1,000 dinars, around $900, to join -- compared to the average police monthly salary of around $200. However, the militias that join still do not abide by government authority, and critics say the lure of salaries has only prompted more militias to form.
While there is no comparison being made here between African Americans or the Muslim Brotherhood, both are minorities and both suffered in the past.
The difference is that African Americans have struggled and continue to struggle to be part of the greater American society and of the American Nation. On the other hand, the MB and Islamists did not assimilate into our society – they formed their own parallel institutions and culture. In fact the Islamists reject our society and their objectives are not to create a better Egypt, but rather to achieve the greater Islamic Umma in the region.
African Americans fought for freedom, equality and civil rights; these are American values shared by the majority of Americans no matter what their color, sex or religion is. This struggle was an internal struggle and was achieved by the support of fellow Americans. In the two most recent US elections, Obama won with the support of most of the 13% black electorate in addition to Whites, Latinos, men, women rich, poor and many others whom he reached out to.
The Islamist struggle aims to reduce freedom and civil rights; women, Christians, Baha’is and other minorities in society will not be treated as equals. The Islamist vision of society is shaped by radical Islamic ideas and is very different to the moderate Islam that most Egyptians have always practiced. Finally, the Islamists main source of support and funding is not internal but is in fact coming from the Gulf Arabs with American consent and thus breaches our sovereignty.
The success of the Islamists so far has been due to their manipulation of the very poor and illiterate who need the most help; sadly those who need the most help will not get it through the misogynous backward looking system of the Islamists. ....
This is happening in Egypt and it is being supported by the American Government, and by doing so it is doing the American people a great disservice. This is not the America I was educated in. This is not the America I lived in and where I befriended so many people who I know would not agree with this kind of Government support. ...
The extreme elements in our societies are few but loud and are fueled by the perception of Western (and in particular super power) hypocrisy. The extremists retaliate by rejecting anything and everything that can be labeled as American or from the West - but the very same extremists will work with the West until they are securely in power...
|Syrian poet Adunis (Ali Ahmad Said Esber): "We lack the courage to ask any question about any religious issue..."|
In order to guarantee an atmosphere of absolute religious liberty, this country's founders also mandated the strict separation of church and state.
Largely because of this prohibition against government regulation or endorsement of religion, diverse faiths have flourished and thrived in America since the founding of the republic. ...
Americans are still among the most religious people in the world. Yet the government plays almost no role in promoting, endorsing or funding religious institutions or religious beliefs. Free from government control -- and without government assistance -- religious values, literature, traditions and holidays permeate the lives of our citizens and, in their diverse ways, form an integral part of our national culture.
By maintaining the wall separating church and state, we can guarantee the continued vitality of religion in American life.
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all." The Anti-Defamation League regards the separation of church and state as essential to preserving religious freedom in our increasingly pluralistic society. Engaged in action to safeguard religious liberty throughout society, including in the workplace and classroom. (ADL info)
"Today the secular Israeli-Jews claim that they aren't religious and don't observe Jewish law, and that Israel as a democratic modern country should not force the observance thereof upon its citizens against their will. The Orthodox Israeli-Jews claim that the separation between state and religion will contribute to the end of Israel's Jewish identity." (Wikipedia info)
"It is the ancient Arabic poetry including mystic verses that he had read and listened to during his childhood that has acted as the womb for shaping his imagination. The Arabic poetry of 13th century Iraqi mystic poet Abn al-Jabber al-Niffari has been influential in imbuing his poetry..." (P. G. R. Nair, in 'Adonis, The Avatar of Avant-Garde Arabic Poetry')
A number of Egyptian economists have praised Qatar’s support to Egypt, noting to the latest announcement of raising the Qatari deposit in Egypt’s Central Bank to $4bn and $1bn as a grant. Raising the value of the Qatari economic assistance to Egypt represents a great leap in the relations between the two countries in various fields, and contributes to push Egypt’s economy forward to get out of the current crisis...
In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)’s Economic Committee Dr Mohamed Gouda said that they highly appreciate this step in supporting the Egyptian economy during the current phase.
The generous initiative by HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will have a significant impact in supporting the Egyptian economy and in supporting cash reserves, he said, expressing the hope to push forward the bilateral economic co-operation during the next phase.
Dr Gouda noted Qatar’s decision will significantly contribute in pushing the Egyptian economy forward. He also predicted that these investments will raise growth rates in Egypt during the upcoming period and will limit the phenomenon of unemployment, appreciating at the same time Qatar’s position in supporting the Egyptian revolution.
In a statement, banking expert Dr Mohsen al-Khudairi praised Qatar’s positive step, saying that the current circumstances of the Egyptian economy require support from the brotherly Arab countries to get out of its collapse. He added, raising the value of the Qatari deposit to $4bn is not new from the State of Qatar, noting the great support for the 25 January revolution.
Mohammed Al-Oraifi is known of his negative and provocative postures against Shia. Some Shia organizations expressed unwelcoming notes and refusal to see Al-Oraifi in Bahrain after his breach about Shia, when he stigmatized them with abusive expressions. The preacher, who follows Wahabi theology, was banned to enter Kuwait after their Shia citizens protested to his trip and considered his speeches a source of division between sects of Islam. (www.siawi.org, 1-5-2010)
Saudi Sheikh banned from Kuwait
Kuwaiti authorities have banned the controversial Saudi Sheikh Mohammad Al Oraifi from entering the state. He caused outrage recently with comments describing the revered Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, Iraq’s and top religious leader, as “an atheist and a depraved man”. The Gulf News reports that Al Oraifi travels every week to Doha via Kuwait to meet friends. ...
It is not much of a surprise that Qatar does not have any problems with Al Oraifi entering: they have something of a reputation for taking a rather laissez-faire attitude to such things.
Sistani is a cleric fit for a secularist state, for his actions as a religious authority in these disoriented times are balanced and moderate. He quietly and peacefully defies his colleagues by keeping state and religion separate. It is certain that Sistani prefers separation of religion and state, since his position in this regard has been a critical factor in the struggle for religious authority in Najaf.
Today, with the approach of provincial elections, secularists can be likened to a defeated warrior who needs time to rest and treat his wounds. Meanwhile, better organized and quick to mobilize, the Islamists continue to exert their control over the new Iraq.