Saddam's Death, Page 31
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 30: september-october 2013 and Page 32: november 2013
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)

"Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation... Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken.... It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)
"Nasser, as the activist leader of Pan-Arabism, became an idealized model for Saddam Hussein. At age 20, inspired by Nasser, Saddam joined the Arab Ba'th socialist Party in Iraq and quickly impressed party officials with his dedication. Two years later, in 1956, apparently emulating Nasser, Iraqi Army General Qassem led a coup which ousted the monarchy. But unlike Nasser, Qassem did not pursue the path of socialism and turned against the Ba'th party. ... Saddam went to Egypt to study law, rising to leadership ranks in the Egyptian Ba'th Party. He returned to Iraq after 1963 when Qassem was ousted by the Ba'ths and was elected to the National Command.
Michel Aflaq, the ideological father of the Ba'th party, admired young Hussein, declaring the Iraqi Ba'th party the finest in the world.... (Dr. Jerrold M. Post)

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


The ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, Christians and minorities has created a new breed of Iraqis – the Neo-Baathists or Neo-Saddamists.
Although we may have disagreed with it previously, we defend Baathism because under Baathism we were protected – Baathism is secular, left-wing and socialist which is how Iraqi society should be.
Under Baathism there was no ethnic cleansing or targeting of Arab Sunnis, we lived side-by-side in peace with our Shiite, Christian, Sabaean, Yazidi, Kurdish brothers and sisters.
Anbar has become a symbol for Neo-Baathism with many Anbaris still holding the previous Iraqi flag with the 3 stars and the Kufi font.... The 3 stars on the previous Iraqi flag represent: Baathism: Unity, Freedom and Socialism. (Sarah Chronicle 5-5-2013)

Index Page

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


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

About political holism

Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare. In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.

Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.

At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)

Zie ook: Gilad Atzmon & Het tribalisme

Bashar al-Assad: What is happening in Syria
is the complete opposite to the concept of jihad
By The Syrian Observer, 5-7-2013

President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview o the local newspaper al-Thawra, in which he claimed that his opponents have “used up all their tools” and failed to overthrow his regime.

Interviewer: Mr President. You first stated that what is happening in Syria is not a revolution... What made you say that it was not a revolution from the inception?

President Assad: From a historical perspective, any genuine revolution is purely internal and cannot be linked externally by any means, as manifested by the Russian, French and even the Iranian revolutions. Real revolutions are intrinsic, spontaneous, and are led by intellectual and ideological elites. What occurred in Syria since the outset of the crisis was flagrant external interference. There were attempts to hide this, but it has become absolutely clear.
Secondly, the real revolution of 1963 was a revolution that empowered the country, society and human values. It promoted science and knowledge by building thousands of schools, it brought light to the Urban and rural areas of Syria by building electricity lines and networks, it strengthened the economy by providing job opportunities according to competencies. It supported the wider foundations of society including farmers, labourers and skilled-workers. ...
Revolutions are about building countries and societies, not about destroying them; so how can we call what is happening in Syria a revolution? Attempts to package the events on the ground as a part of a revolution have been futile from the beginning. ....

Flashback 2012: Bashar al-Assad:
The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform

The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform, and they have not come out, haven’t broken the law, haven’t killed. This is the largest part of the Syrian people, it is the part which wants reform. For us, reform is the natural context. That is why we announced a phased reform in the year 2000. In my swear-in speech I talked about modernization and development. ....

The important law is the law of fighting corruption. It is the only law which has been delayed for several months. The first reason is related to the fact that this law is very important and has many aspects. Therefore, I asked the government to extensively consider it in collaboration with various bodies and parties. It was put on the internet and there were many posts and useful ideas. The government finished this and sent it to the Syrian Presidency which sent it back recently to the government. It is a good law which includes very important points and a point related to the inspecting authority. ...

The other pillar in reform is the Constitution. The decree that provides for establishing a committee to draft the constitution was issued. This committee was given a deadline of four months and I think that it has become in its final stages. This constitution will focus on a fundamental and essential point which is the multi-party system and political pluralism. They were talking only about article eight, but we said that the entire Constitution should be amended because there is a correlation among articles. The Constitution will focus on the fact that the people is the source of authority, especially during elections, the dedication of the institutions' role, the freedoms of the citizens and other things and basic principles. ...
The Constitution is not the state's Constitution; it is an issue related to every Syrian citizen. Therefore, we will resort to a referendum after the committee finishes its work and presents the Constitution which will be put through constitutional channels to reach a referendum. The referendum on the Constitution could be done at the beginning of March.

President al-Assad Receives
Copy of the New Draft Constitution
SANA, 13-2-2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a copy of the new draft constitution from the head of the National Committee charged with drafting a new constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic, during a meeting with the Committee's members.

The Committee's members stressed their determination [..] to prepare an integrated formula of a constitution that guarantees the dignity of the Syrian citizen and secures his basic rights.
They reiterated their keenness on a constitution that allows to turn Syria into an example to follow in terms of public freedoms and political plurality in a way to lay the foundation for a new stage that will enrich Syria's cultural history.

President al-Assad expressed appreciation of the Committee members' efforts to carry out this national task, calling upon them to shoulder their responsibility as a Committee charged with preparing the draft constitution to explain its articles to the citizens with all possible means so that the citizen is the one to have the final decision to approve the constitution. ...

On October, 16th, 2011, President al-Assad issued a presidential decision to form a national committee to prepare a draft constitution for Syria... (R. Raslan/H. Said)

The Rule Of Law
Referendum on new draft constitution
ChamPress, 15-2-2012

DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday issued Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday / 26/2/2012 / as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The following are some of the main issues included in the constitution's text:

- The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state of absolute sovereignty that cannot be divided and no part of its land can be abandoned. Syria is a part of the Arab world.
- The political system of the state is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.
- Society in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on solidarity and respecting the principles of social justice, freedom and equality, in addition to preserving the humanitarian dignity of every individual.
- Freedom is a sacred right. The State guarantees the citizens' personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security.
- Citizens have equal rights and duties. Discrimination due to gender, origin, language, religion or belief is prohibited.
- The State guarantees the equality of opportunity principle among the citizens and every citizen has the right to contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life in accordance with the regulating law.
- Citizens should respect the constitution and the rules.
- Private life is respected and protected by the law.
- Freedom of belief is secured by the law.
- Every citizen has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
- The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State.
- The president is to be elected directly by the people.
- The judicial authority is independent and the Higher Judicial Council guarantees the independence of the judiciary.

Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic 2012

Moussa: "If you want to engage in politics
then you can get a licence for a political party"
Ahram Weekly, 20-9-2013

The Committee of Fifty responsible for writing the final draft of Egypt’s new constitution held a plenary meeting yesterday to review its first week on the job.
Initial reports suggest the 2012 constitution drafted under Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-led regime by an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly will be radically changed and that the new constitution will be liberal, stress social justice and ensure the effective separation of powers.

“The main lesson of the 30 June Revolution which removed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi from power,” said Amr Moussa, chairman of the committee and a former presidential candidate, “is that politics and religion do not mix.”
“If you want to engage in politics then you can get a licence for a political party but if you want to play religion then you can get a licence to preach and then go to the mosque.”
Moussa confirmed that the new constitution will place a ban on the formation of religious parties. “Religiously motivated political parties only harm society by fanning sectarian strife and tarring their political opponents as infidels and non-believers.”
Moussa opened fire on the regime of Mohamed Morsi, taking him to task for sowing the seeds of political and sectarian strife and turning Sinai into fertile recruiting ground for militant jihadists.
“Egypt’s population will reach 100 million in a few years. They cannot be left mired in a world lacking liberal and democratic freedoms. Egypt can get over its political crisis and become a flourishing country if we opt to join the modern world and espouse the universal principles of democracy,” Moussa told a group of lawyers on Tuesday.

Hakim: Intellectuals to fix problems
by Ahmed Hussein on September 28, 2013

Baghdad ( The head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council Ammar al-Hakim emphasized on Saturday the importance of making use of the intellectuals and thinkers to solve the problems that face Iraq.
A statement by the SIIC received by cited “Hakim received in his office in Baghdad a delegation from the Iraqi intellectuals and thinkers,” noting that “Hakim stressed that including the intellectuals in the process of setting plans for developing Iraq will achieve success.”

Hakim assured that Iraq faces many basic problems and impediments that hurdle development due to lack of mature political leaders which leads for absence of strategic planning, according to the statement.
Hakim pointed out that the solution lies in granting the chance for the young and educated people as well as providing united and penetrating vision to lead an administrative revolution in the country by adopting scientific methods,” the statement concluded.

1 - a person opposed to or hostile toward intellectuals and the modern academic, artistic, social, religious, and other theories associated with them.
2 - a person who believes that intellect and reason are less important than actions and emotions in solving practical problems and understanding reality

The more things are intelligent, moderate, measured and proven,
the less they reverberate - Haaretz 7-6-2011

There is no longer any serious intellectual discussion in the Israeli media today," says Prof. Moshe Zuckermann, an intellectual historian at Tel Aviv University.
"The discourse has degenerated, and is now completely vacuous. When the prime minister returns to Israel after an idiotic speech [...], the public's enthusiasm for him only increases, based on what Haaretz reported. No discussion develops, except perhaps in [its] columns by Gideon Levy and Yossi Sarid.
"It used to be that after such a speech they would call me from Army Radio and ask me to explain how this could happen. But such questions haven't been asked for a long time now. Nobody tries to examine the political, ideological or social aspects. Nobody asks why something happens and what it says about our fate," he notes.

"We are living in a world that is violent - verbally, mentally and militarily," Translator, poet and publisher Rafi Weichert says. "The more things are intelligent, moderate, measured and proven, the less they reverberate. The more extreme, provocative, metaphorical, laden with historical imagery and bloody they are, the more they are heard. We keep expecting more and more blood and extreme language."
In this world, people of values have been pushed to the margins. The people of values are no longer on the front line. This is part of the violence and lack of culture in the discourse.

Buthaina Shaaban & the role of media:
"A conveyor not a distorter of the truth"
Syria Online, 1-10-2013

Presidential Political and Media Advisor Buthaina Shaaban stressed that Syria has sought political solutions and called for dialogue since the very first day of the crisis because it wants to prevent bloodshed.
Speaking to the reporters on the sidelines of an ongoing workshop on national media, held at the Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus on Tuesday, Shaaban stressed that the side who wants war to happen on the Syrian land is the Israeli enemy and its various tools.
"The Syrian state, however, has called for political solution since the first day," she reiterated, adding that those who hinder this solution are "the artificial tools which know in their heart that they don't represent the Syrian people and have no future in the ballot boxes."

She pointed out that the intensive appearance of President Bashar al-Assad through interviews with various Arab and international media outlets is "to correct the image about the reality of the situation in Syria and convey it to the people in the world countries."
Shaaban highlighted that the repeated appearance of the President comes at a time when Syria continues to face an intensive war of disinformation that includes falsification and distortion of facts contrary to the role of media as a conveyor not a distorter of the truth. ...

"The Likudists suddenly find
that the whole world wants peace"
By Robert Fisk, The Independent 2-10-2013

“...There's in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated, and grown will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again” Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

These are hard times for the Israeli right. Used to bullying the US – and especially its present, shallow leader – the Likudists suddenly find that the whole world wants peace in the Middle East rather than war.
Brits and Americans [the people, that is, not the leaders. - Ed.] didn’t want to go to war in Syria. Now, with the pleasant smile of President Rouhani gracing their television screens, fully accepting the facts of the Jewish Holocaust the Americans (75 per cent, if we are to believe the polls) don’t want to go to war with Iran either. ...

Benjamin Netanyahu (the Israeli Prime Minister) did a little grovelling on Monday. He no longer called for a total end to all Iranian nuclear activities. Now it was only Iran’s “military nuclear programme” which must be shut down.
And, of course, like Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction programme” which President George W Bush had to invent when the weapons themselves turned out to be an invention, we still don’t know if Mr Netanyahu’s version of Iran’s “military nuclear programme” actually exists.
What we do know is that when Mr Rouhani started saying all the things we had been demanding that Iran should say for years, Israel went bananas. Mr Netanyahu condemned him before he had even said a word.
“A wolf in sheep’s clothing.” “An anti-Semite.” Israel’s “Strategic Affairs” Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed that “if the Iranians continue to run [their nuclear programme], in another half a year they will have bomb capability”.
Israel Hayom, the Likudist freesheet, dredged up – yet again – the old pre-Second World War appeasement argument that the Israeli right have been reheating for well over 30 years. “A Munich wind blows in the west,” the paper said.

Yet at the White House on Monday, the Israeli Prime Minister had calmed down. I doubt if it will last. Israel, I suspect, will do everything it can to cut down Mr Rouhani’s overtures, whatever American public opinion might say.
The Likudists have isolated Israel from the world just now; but be sure American cowardice will let them off the hook.

"A cultist from the far right wing
Jabotinsky branch of Revisionist Zionism"
Posted by Juan Cole, 2-10-2013

Netanyahu, an expansionist hawk, has been crying wolf about an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons ambition since the early 1990s.
Netanyahu is a cultist from the far right wing Jabotinsky branch of Revisionist Zionism. As with other Central European extreme nationalist movements, the Likud Party is about grabbing one’s neighbor’s land and resources and hitting them hard if they complain.
But his threats on Tuesday are likely empty rhetoric, of a sort we have often seen from the bombastic and duplicitous Netanyahu.
They are his way of putting pressure on President Obama via the Israel Lobbies on capitol hill, who will take the hint to press for some action against Iran that will derail US negotiations with President Hassan Rowhani.
The threats and noise about Iran also serve the purpose of taking the spotlight off Israel’s continued colonization and usurpation of the Palestinian West Bank, which has accelerated even as Netanyahu dishonestly represented himself to Secretary of State John Kerry as open to a diplomatic settlement with the Palestinians.

If Obama can outmaneuver Netanyahu and keep negotiations with Iran on an even keel, he could well have a significant diplomatic breakthrough.
Without the Iranian bogeyman, Netanyahu won’t be able to practice his misdirection about his oppression of millions of Palestinians. The Israeli Right Wing, having consistently insulted and denigrated Obama and having campaigned for Mitt Romney, may be in a downward spiral with regard to influence in the White House.

Flashback 2004: Democratic Convention
Kennedy, Obama Dust Off Declaration of Independence

In their speeches on Tuesday night, both Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama reached back to the Declaration of Independence, that radical document, to make their case against George Bush and to reintroduce the concepts of democracy, justice, fairness, and equality.
Kennedy, who studded his speech with references to Paul Revere and John Adams, essentially gave a speech against monarchy, and so the Declaration was particularly fitting for him.
He talked about how, "for centuries, kings ruled by what they claimed was divine right." And he said, "The old system was based on inequality. Loyalty was demanded, never earned. Leaders ruled by fear, by force, by special favors for the few. Under that old, unequal system, the quality of your connections mattered more than the content of your character. Your voices were not heard. Your concerns did not matter. Your votes did not count." ...
Kennedy invoked the Declaration of Independence when he said that Bush has not honored the very first sentence of that document: "that America must give 'a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind.'"
Barack Obama, too, invoked the Declaration, citing the most famous--and yet least honored--words that "all men are created equal" and are granted "certain inalienable rights," including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
It is this creed, Obama said, that should make Americans proud, not "the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy." (The Progressive 28-7-2004)

Netanyahu says Iran headed by 'wild, aggressive cult'
Jerusalem Post Staff, 3-10-2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued his public relations campaign against the Iranian government on Wednesday, telling an American television network that Iran's government is a "cult."
"[The Iranian people] are governed not by [President Hassan] Rouhani. They're governed by Ayatollah Khamenei. He heads a cult. That cult is wild in its ambitions and its aggression," Netanyahu told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell. ...
"He calls the shots, Khamenei. [Rouhani] tells him — he tells his boss, the dictator of Iran: 'I can get you the completion of the nuclear program by speaking nicely to the West. What Ahmadinejad tried to do with a frown, I'll do with a smile...'"

The premier told NBC that while Rouhani may appear moderate, Tehran's nuclear ambitions remain unchanged.
"[Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing. And Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing. But it doesn't mean we should let him...pull the wool over our eyes," he told Mitchell. "I say, distrust, dismantle, verify,” he added.

Netanyahu argued strongly against a relaxing of sanctions that have seriously hampered the Iranian economy.
"They're on the ropes. If you want to knock out Iran's nuclear weapons program peacefully, then don't let up the pressure," Netanyahu urged. "Keep the sanctions up. And that will prevent Iran from arming itself. And that, too, will prevent the next war. Be firm to prevent the next war."

Khamenei & Revolutionary Islamic values

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

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

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

Ali Khamenei: Spiritual & Political Leader
"Islam, social justice and 'not to be deceived by enemies'"

Free-mindedness is a divine blessing... Free-mindedness means ascending in the endless atmosphere of thought and free and conscious movement toward the unknown realms of knowledge. Free-mindedness has been subjected to injustice, for some consider it a cause of breach of fundamentals and values and this is why they reject, while some others consider it an assault on the fundamentals, principles and sacred values and this is why they welcome it. But both the approaches are wrong and it is injustice to free-mindedness. (Teheran Times, 29-1-2003)

The culture of justice should prevail in the country. Often we talk about justice, but, it is not being observed in practice. The atmosphere should not be in a way that those who have accumulated illegitimate wealth take the initiative from people and the government." (Teheran Times, 5-2-2003)

"The Americans have always supported the Zionist regime over the past 50 years, therefore in regards to the Palestinian issue, the United States is opposing Muslims and cannot be a mediator.." "The Zionist regime is not committed to the signed agreements" ... "Unity among the Arabs and Muslims would be the only solution to the issue..." (Theran Times 3-9-2003)

Iran should endeavor to make use of all modern methods and technologies in educational fields in order to reach the lofty goals of the Education Ministry and improve the scientific level of teachers and students....
An ideal man favored by Islam is one who is successful both in materialistic and spiritual aspects of life, adheres to ethics and justice, and is interested in attaining spiritual perfection.... (Tehran Times, 21-7-2004)

The explicit and clear style that members of Iran’s younger generation use to express their views is a priceless achievement of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Referring to the efforts to destroy the self-confidence and hope of the younger generation during the pre-revolutionary period, Ayatollah Khamenei said those efforts aimed to create a dependent generation. Khamenei told students to use logic in expressing their viewpoints and noted that the objectives of the younger generation should be based on goals, hope for the future, scientific advancement, and problem-solving. (Tehran Times 27-9-2004)

Ayatollah Khamenei blamed the Western colonialist strategy for Iran’s backward period in terms of science and technology during the Qajar and Pahlavi eras.
"From the middle of the Qajar era until the end of the Pahlavis rule, Iran passed through a retrograde period which demolished all its bright and magnificent traditions in science and civilization due to the colonialist goals of the Western empire".
"For about one century, the governments only followed the Western model and prevented domestic technicians from developing any innovation, initiative, or self-confidence, and this helped Western countries dominate every national affair." (Mehr News 23-2-2005)

The cult of atheist Zionism posing as Judaism
By Rich Siegel, Deir Yassin 1-1-2012

This essay was first published in Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists. (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012)

I consider myself a cult survivor. I was raised in the cult of Atheist-Zionism-Posing-as-Judaism. I stated this to a few select friends several years ago, and they thought it was funny. But I'm serious...
During my childhood, Zionism and Israel were held up on a pedestal. They were central to our existence, our identity, our raison d'être. They were our sub-cultural equivalent of "Mom and apple pie". I grew up convinced that they were perfect and beyond reproach. There was simply nothing in my environment to indicate otherwise. Finding out that I had been lied to all my life, and that I had been supporting something that I would never have supported had I been told anything resembling the truth, has been absolutely shattering. ....

I began to look for a Jewish place of worship where I would be comfortable. Orthodox Judaism was out of the question because of its multitudes of laws and the endless debate and analysis about them. Why would the Master of the Universe give a hoot if I push a baby carriage on the Sabbath, inside or outside a wire perimeter hung between telephone poles5? I wasn't going near any of that. I investigated Reconstructionist Judaism but found that they were worshipping Jewish tribal identity and Israel much the same as in my Reform synagogue.
Finally and reluctantly I began looking outside Judaism. The "New Thought" movement, consisting of various types of churches and centres, has worked nicely for me for many years. I'm a member of the Congregation of Universal Wisdom, which does not offer religious services, and I attend services regularly at Unity churches and Religious Science centres. I enjoy the focus on One God without tribalism...

Remarkably, for many years, having identified contemporary Jewish culture as a cult, and having gone outside Judaism to worship, I was still so totally indoctrinated into Zionism, that I continued to believe all the mythology. I still believed that Israel had never done anything to harm anyone, that the Arabs just hated us for no reason.
I've been reading continuously since then. I've come to understand that Zionism has been a political agenda that sought to take a land with a 95% non-Jewish population, and turn it into a Jewish-exclusivist state. ...
I find it painful to witness the spectacular hypocrisy of a people who are still whining, "Where was the world during the holocaust?" while committing another holocaust in Palestine. It's a depravity that paradoxically I find both familiar and unfathomable. The willingness among Jews to obsess with Jewish suffering while being completely immune to Palestinian suffering, scares me. I don't want to believe that I come from a place that sick. ...

I made the decision to stop calling myself a Jew, to simply leave the cult. I respect the Jewish activists who speak about the crimes of Zionism as antithetical to "Jewish values", but I've had quite enough of "Jewish values", and embrace only universal values.
I find I have little patience for those who advocate for a "two state solution" or for any solution that calls for continued Jewish exclusivity in any part of historic Palestine. Clearly, peace will come with justice, and justice calls for the return of the refugees and their descendants, and the re-making of this land into a pluralistic society.
For me it's simple: One God, one human race, equality, justice. We live in a world that tries to make those things very complicated. They are not.

Is Zionism justice?
The nature of peacemaking according to Netanyahu
By Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel October 7, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an aggressive, seemingly petulant speech at Bar-Ilan University. Between Holocaust references and criticism of Palestinian leaders past and present, he demanded that the Palestinian Authority recognize not only the unassailable fact of Israel’s existence, but the historic right of the Jews to have their own sovereign state in this land. As one critic suggested derisively, he demanded that the Palestinians become Zionists before peace can be achieved.
Only then will the current round of peace talks be “significant” and have “a real chance at success,” Netanyahu explained. ...

Palestinian refugees leaving the Galilee
in October–November 1948
His demand for Palestinian recognition of the Jewishness of Israel is no cheap tactic. It is the key to understanding his theory of the conflict, his view as to why the Oslo process 20 years ago failed, and his distrust of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the new round of talks. ....
The Palestinians cannot bring themselves to end the conflict, Netanyahu believes, because they cannot bring themselves to compromise with an enemy they view as completely evil.
They have not yet shifted from perceiving their enemy as absolutely evil to perceiving him as possessing some justice on his side, however limited... Even Palestinian moderates share this basic view of Israel: it is an evil, but an evil too well entrenched to remove. Israel does not have even a modicum of justice on its side, only brute force, they believe.

This analysis has become a key plank of Netanyahu’s policy toward the Palestinians.... It is the reason he never fails to discuss the millennia-old Jewish attachment to the land of Israel in his speeches before a United Nations General Assembly that could care less.
The Palestinians don’t need to become Zionists, Netanyahu believes, but they need to perceive that Jewish (Zionist) demands, too, are rooted in justice. Only then will their domestic constituencies and political systems be capable of engaging in peacemaking.

Jabotinsky & Zionist morality

Either Zionism is moral and just ,or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality.

Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923

1948 Palestinian exodus

During the 1948 Palestine War, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled, and hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated and destroyed.
These refugees and their descendants number several million people today, divided between Jordan (2 million), Lebanon (427,057), Syria (477,700), the West Bank (788,108) and the Gaza Strip (1.1 million), with at least another quarter of a million internally displaced Palestinians in Israel.
The displacement, dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people is known to them as an-Nakba, meaning "catastrophe" or "disaster”.
Prior to its adoption by the Palestinian nationalist movement, the "Year of the Catastrophe" among Arabs referred to 1920, when European colonial powers partitioned the Ottoman Empire into a series of separate states along lines of their own choosing.
The term was first used to reference the events of 1948 in the summer of that same year by the Syrian writer Constantine Zureiq in his work Macna an-Nakba ("The Meaning of the Nakba"; published in English in 1956). (Wikipedia info)

Some 10% of Israel's population attended
the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
By David Lev, Israel National News 8-10-2013

Some 800,000 people - 10% of Israel's population - were attending the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Jerusalem. Rabbi Yosef, 93, passed away earlier in the day. ...
Radio Kol Berama, a radio station associated with Shas, said that there were no fewer than a million people at the funeral. Police said late Monday that it was the largest funeral in Israel's history.
Dozens of speakers, representing the Sephardic, Ashkenanzic, and Hassidic Torah communities eulogized the Rabbi Yosef. Among the first to speak was Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, one of Rabbi Yosef's sons and current Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel. In a heart-wrenching voice, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef spoke of his father, saying that “from the days of the Bet Yosef,” Rabbi Yosef Karo, the 16th century author of the Code of Jewish Law, “there has been no equal to Rabbi Ovadia, and there will be no equal to him. The heavens of yesterday are not the heavens of today,” such is the loss. Rabbi Yosef, he added, was “one of the greatest influencers of Jewish history.”

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and former Chief Ashkenzi Rabbi, said that Rabbi Yosef “was the rabbi of all of Israel, loved by his fellow man and by G-d. How many people merit this kind of funeral, to this kind of love from his students,” he said, referring to the huge numbers of people attending the funeral. “They know who a great sage is, who is a giant in Torah, who is a true leader,” he added.

Flashback 2012: Secular education corrupts kids
Kobi Nahshoni, YNETNews 21-8-2012

bibi & yosef, cartoon by amos biderman haaretz  2008 Rabbi Ovadia Yosef [..] branded non-religious education and the civil justice system as "corrupting, evil forces."
"Anyone who sends his sons to secular schools should know that he is corrupting them, burying them, and is unfit to serve as a Shaliah Tzibbur," the rabbi said, referring to the customary role of a cantor that is assigned to synagogue-going men on a rotating basis.
The Sephardic religious leader claimed that most teachers within the secular education system are heretics, which is why their students go on to embrace an "evil culture and become wicked." They also grow up without religion or justice and do not uphold Jewish customs, he said.
Yosef went on the slam religious judges within the Israeli justice system, whom he also considers unworthy of representing their congregation on the synagogue podium.
"Their justice follows the laws of non-Jewish nations, not (the laws of) the Torah. They accept the testimony of women. These kinds of people are evil," he said. .... He reviled the "secular courts" as an affront to Jewish law and yeshiva students. "They hate the Torah," he said.

"May God strike them down..."

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, born as Abdullah Youssef (Basra-Iraq 1920), was the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a recognised Talmudic scholar and foremost authority on Jewish law. He served as the spiritual leader of the Shas political party in the Israeli parliament. His halakhic responsa are highly regarded within Orthodox circles. Yosef resided in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Nof. He remained an active public figure in political and religious life in his capacity as the spiritual leader of the Shas political party and through his regular weekly sermons, during which he regularly spoke out "against those he despised — rival politicians, gays and perceived enemies of Israel".

In 2001 Yosef was quoted as calling for the annihilation of Arabs, instructing his followers that "It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable." Yosef later said that his sermon was misquoted, that he was referring to annihilation of Islamic terrorism and not of all Arabs.
Yosef drew criticism from the US State Department in August 2010 following a Saturday morning sermon in which he called for "all the nasty people who hate Israel, like Abu Mazen (Abbas), vanish from our world... May God strike them down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel." (Wikipedia info)

Remarks regarding gentiles

In an October 2010 sermon, Yosef stated that "The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews". He said that Gentiles served a divine purpose: "Why are Gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why Gentiles were created." "Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel."

The American Jewish Committee condemned Yosef's remarks, stating that "Rabbi Yosef’s remarks – suggesting outrageously that Jewish scripture asserts non-Jews exist to serve Jews – are abhorrent and an offense to human dignity and human equality." (WIKIPEDIA)

Netanyahu and Iranian Jeans:
Ironies of Modernity and Tradition
Posted on 10/08/2013 by Juan Cole

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu provoked a lot of mocking humor by saying in an interview for BBC Persian that “if Iranians were free they would wear blue jeans, and listen to Western music.”
Iranian youth were surprised and annoyed by the ignorant comment, and responded by posting to the web photos of themselves wearing jeans. And while rock and roll is mostly banned in Iran, it nevertheless flourishes underground, and some of the genre can be released in the country if the lyrics are inoffensive.

Aside from Netanyahu’s sheer inaccuracy, his remark is revealing not only of Israeli and Western misconceptions about Iran but also the contradictions in their thinking about that country. ...
Iran has for the past three decades been categorized by many in Israel, Europe and North America as “medieval.” Iran is not medieval, of course. It is contemporary with all the other countries in the world; it does not live in a time warp.
Israel itself is a mixed picture in that case. Israeli Jews in Israel are under Jewish halakhah, their sharia. They cannot marry non-Jews inside the country because there is no civil law. ...
Ultra-Orthodox or Haredi communities in places like Beit Shemesh are if anything more conservative than most Iranian Shiites, with similar attitudes toward gender segregation and modest dress for females.
While many Ultra-Orthodox are not strong Zionists, religious Zionism, using the Bible to justify Israeli settlement policy in the Palestinian West Bank, is a major strain of thought in Israel. Netanyahu has been known to cite scripture in this regard himself.

Both Israel and Iran are a mixture of high-level science and engineering and religious commitments harking back centuries.
Whereas the Western image of Israel emphasizes the modern and downplays the halakhic dimension except for invoking the Bible to justify the expropriation of Palestinians, the Western image of Iran foregrounds ayatollahs and sharia and ignores the country’s modernity except in its anomalous anxiety about nuclear enrichment.
Both images are distorted as in a fun house mirror, but stretched in opposite directions.

So if Mr. Netanyahu wants [.] modernity, he could start at home by agreeing that the land rights of Palestinians cannot be determined with reference to a book written down in Babylon some 2500 years ago.....

The choice of being a collaborator or not.
Interview given to Tishreen newspaper
on occasion of October Liberation War
Syrian Arab News Agency, Oct 08, 2013

Tishreen: Mr. President, forty years ago Syria fought the October war of liberation. In your view, how does Syria look today? How has the general landscape changed internally and externally?

President Assad: Many things have changed during the past forty years with the changing generations and circumstances. If we were to make a quick and brief comparison between that period and this one, - forty years ago the Arab states were united: culturally, ideologically, morally, politically, militarily and media wise against the Zionist enemy. Today, the Arab states are united, but against Syria.
So, we are talking about two completely different things. At that time, the Syrian and Egyptian armies fought one battle against one enemy - the Israeli enemy. Coincidentally, in the last few weeks the two armies have been fighting against one enemy, but the enemy is no longer Israel.
Today, the enemy fighting the Syrian and Egyptian armies is an Arab and Muslim enemy. Forty years ago, treason and collaboration with the enemy were hidden, while today they are openly declared and have become a choice for individuals, governments and for Arab officials: the choice of being a collaborator or not.

Today, the Arab identity is torn between two extremes; the Arab identity is torn on the one hand between being illogically and unreasonably fascinated by the West and even completely surrendering to it, and between extremism, closure and takfiri ideology on the other.
Of course this doesn’t mean that there are no positive aspects. In the last few months we have started to see a state of national awareness in the Arab street as a result of what the Arab world went through during the last decades and as a result of changes related to the current crisis in the region. ...

The most important aspect in the October War was the triumph of will and the triumph of the Arab mind when it was able to understand where its real interest lies.
The collective mind of the Arab society or the Arab countries was able to put this vision into practical implementation, which in turn led to the October War victory. It was a victory over fear and illusions implanted in the Arab mind in the period following the 1967 war and preceding the 1973 war; the Arab mind defeated that illusion. ...
Today [..] the first and most important victory is to get rid of the terrorists, terrorism and terrorist ideology. By doing that, we defeat the plot designed by foreign countries and in which other countries in the region participated in order to destroy Syria. What is more important for us is to believe in this victory, when every one of us believes that we are capable of victory, we will certainly achieve it. ....

Tishreen: Mr. President, have you bargained on a peaceful solution for the Syrian crisis in return for handing over the chemical weapons? What is your view of what is being said about the initiative being in response to American threats?

President Assad: To start with, Syrian chemical weapons were first produced in the 1980s in order to bridge the technical gap in the conventional weapons between Syria and Israel. It is not widely known, but Syria stopped producing these weapons in the second half of the 1990s, because by that time significant parts of the gap had been bridged, despite Israel’s continuous military progress as a result of American support.
At the beginning of the third millennium, Syria was still making significant and accelerated progress in the field of conventional weapons and we no longer needed these (chemical) weapons. It’s for this reason that we proposed to the UN Security Council in 2003 to free the Middle East of WMDs. It was the US that obstructed this proposal because it did not want to embarrass Israel with such agreements, since the proposal applied to all countries in the region, including Israel. Of course the proposal did not succeed. ...

For us, the environment that prevented us in 2003 from proposing the idea of removing all chemical weapons was now possible due to the Russian initiative; but the objectives and conditions were different. Consequently, using this card in order to strengthen the role of the Russians, the Chinese and other countries supporting Syria, strengthens the Syrian position in facing this crisis. In other words, Syria’s endorsement of this initiative has nothing to do with the American threats... In fact the initiative came as a surprise to the Americans....
It was a preemptive initiative in order to avoid war on Syria and the whole region. But more importantly, it helps having an international political map in the service of Syrian interests and stability in the region. ...

Tishreen: Do you think that the international community’s movement towards a political solution might have a positive impact on the internal situation in Syria in terms of how the West translates it into lifting international sanction against Syria?

President Assad: I do not believe the West has abandoned its colonialist mentality. It still adopts hegemonic policies. But the West cannot blockade us if we don’t look at it as the only international option for us politically, economically and in other areas. ...
The Western embargo will not pose a difficult problem if we are able to build better relations with other countries of the world, especially since what they refer to as the international community that is enforcing this embargo against us, constitutes a minority and is no longer a majority. Most countries of the world today know what is happening in Syria, and they support Syria regarding the solution, especially when the solution is political and through the Geneva 2 conference.

Tishreen: In light of an explicit or implicit Russian-American agreement – if we can call it that – what is the role of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, the triangle of conspiracy against Syria?

President Assad: It is well known that these countries follow the American agenda. If you want to know where they are heading, you need to look at the American policy. They move in the same direction. This is a given. Today, we basically have Saudi Arabia and Turkey, after Qatar abandoned its role to Saudi Arabia. So, in order to find the answer we need to look at the American policy. Is America genuine concerning the Russian-American agreement? Is it playing for time? Or does it have another hidden agenda?

Tishreen: On October 6, 2013, what do you say to the Syrian people, to the Syrian Arab Army and to Tishreen Newspaper, which was one of the fruits of the victory of the October War of liberation?

President Assad: It is the Syrian people that embraced the armed forces, and if we read Syria’s history since independence, we find that they made Syria’s history whether militarily or politically through the unity with Egypt, when a military delegation went to Egypt and met Abdul-Nasser. They confronted the Muslim Brotherhood, contributed to uniting Lebanon, waged the October War of liberation and they are still making Syria’s history.
Today, the Syrian people still look at the armed forces in the same way they looked at them throughout post-independence history. They hope that they will be able to defeat the terrorists and restore safety and stability to Syria. We have full confidence in our history, in God, in our homeland.

The October War: Bygone days of glory
Hussein Haridy, Ahram online 5-10-2013

On 6 October, Egypt and the Arab world celebrate the 40th anniversary of the October War. Forty years ago, the Egyptian and the Syrian armies launched a surprise attack on Israeli positions on the southern and eastern fronts; namely, in Sinai and on the Golan Heights...

Going to war was the only option available to Egypt and other Arab countries to liberate their territories from Israeli occupation. It was a decision fraught with dangers and demanded extreme courage on the part of President Sadat and President Hafez El-Assad of Syria. The war itself was a miracle in its own right regardless of the results that reflected American calculations vis-à-vis the former Soviet Union more than the realities on the battlefield.
The truth is that without the enormous American airlift to Israel during the war, Israel would have known an unprecedented defeat. In less than 10 days, the United States flew in almost 22,000 tons of armaments, munitions and 80 planes, half of which were Phantom fighter planes. Thus, the Egyptian army was fighting both Israel and the United States at the same time.

Strategically speaking, the war proved that Arab armies were prepared and ready to wage modern wars, that they could fight Israel for days on end while not only keeping their ground but also scoring victories. The October War has proven that with sophisticated weapon systems and well-organised and well-trained armies, Arab countries were capable of inflicting heavy losses on Israeli forces as well as the economy of the Israeli state.
Both the Egyptian and Syrian armies fought Israeli forces with Soviet armaments that proved their efficiency and precision no less than the American and Western armaments used by the Israeli army.
What happened in October 1973 was that the United States looked at the war from the perspective of its rivalry with the former Soviet Union, not only in the world at large, but also in the Middle East. And Kissinger saw a great opportunity for Washington to use the results of the war to roll back Soviet influence in the region. President Sadat became a willing partner in this respect, unfortunately.

President al-Assad to Der Spiegel:
"All decisions taken by the West
have been in support of al-Qaeda..."
Syrian Arab News Agency, Oct 07, 2013

Der Spiegel's interview of President Bashar al-Assad is not an interview at all. It's an attack and al-Assad takes them to the mat. We place these two images side by side for comparison. The photo on the left is published in the Spiegel website and the one on the right appears on the front page of this issue issue of their print magazine giving President Assad a Hitler-esque appearance. Both images also appear on their website. (axisoflogic editorial)

In an interview with the German Der Spiegel News Magazine, President al-Assad said that through Western support, now there are thousands of al-Qaeda fighters from 80 countries in Syria.

Der Spiegel: Mr. President, do you love your country?

President Assad: Of course, and in this I am no different from most people...

Der Spiegel: Wouldn’t you be more patriotic if you stepped down and allowed for negotiations over an interim government or for a cease-fire with the armed opposition?

President Assad: The Syrian people determine my fate; no other party can determine this issue. As for the armed opposition or factions, who do they represent - the Syrian people? If so, this can be proven only through the ballot box.

Der Spiegel: But some people say that you are the cause of the rebellion, because people want to get rid of corruption and tyranny. They call for a true democracy; and according to the opposition, this is not possible with you in power.

President Assad: Do these people speak for themselves, or do they speak on behalf of the Syrian people or on behalf of the countries that are backing them? Do they speak on behalf of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia or Qatar?...

Der Spiegel: It’s not only us who deny the legitimacy of your presidency. U.S. President Barack Obama said at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York that a leader who kills his people and gases children to death has forfeited any right to rule his country.

President Assad: First, he is the president of the United States and has no right to pass judgments on Syria.Second, he has no right to tell the Syrian people whom to choose as their president. Third, what he says in reality has no foundation whatsoever.

Der Spiegel:For us, it seems that you are ignoring reality. By stepping down, you save the people a great deal of suffering.

President Assad: This has nothing to do with me being president. Killing innocent people and terrorizing them by explosions and car bombs, brought to our country by al-Qaeda, is what causes pain to the Syrian people. What does that have to do with me being in office? ...

Der Spiegel: The legitimacy of a president does not rest on slogans and promises, but on actions. As a result of the gas attack against your people, you forfeited every right to be in your position.

President Assad: We did not use chemical weapons;this is not true. And the picture you are drawing of me is not true. Why am I still in power two and half years on? The answer is simple: because a large segment of the Syrian people support me, they support the government and the state. Whether they constitute 50% or less, that is a different issue. But this large segment also means ‘legitimacy.’This is how things are in reality.

Der Spiegel: After the U.N. investigation of this crime, U.S. President Barack Obama had no doubt that your regime used chemical weapons on August 21 in an attack that claimed the lives of over a thousand people, including hundreds of children.

President Assad: Once again, Obama never provided one shred of evidence. The only things he provided were lies.

Der Spiegel: But the conclusions reached by the U.N. investigators

President Assad: What conclusions? When the investigators came to Syria, we asked them to continue their work and we hope that they will provide an explanation of who is responsible for this act. ...

Der Spiegel: But launching rockets containing Sarin gas cannot be done by your enemies. They don’t have the capabilities to do that because it requires military equipment, training and accuracy.

President Assad: Who says so? Terrorists used Sarin gas in a Tokyo attack in the 1990s. Sarin is called the “kitchen gas” because anyone can make it anywhere, in any room. ...

Der Spiegel: Isn’t it puzzling that we, in the West, have a completely different assessment of the situation?

President Assad: In fact, your region is always late in recognizing reality and is extremely slow in understandingthis reality. In the beginning, we talked about violent protests, while you talked about peaceful demonstrations. When we started talking about extremists, you were still talking about “some militants.”When we talked about al-Qaeda, you were still talking about a few terrorists, although they are actually the majority. Now you realize that it is about 50/50....

All the decisions you have taken in the West for the past ten years have been in support of al-Qaeda. Some might have done that intentionally and some inadvertently. In any case, and through Western support, now we have thousands of al-Qaeda fighters from 80 countries. We have to deal with them. I am referring to those who have come from outside Syria....

Der Spiegel: When will you win against al-Qaeda?

President Assad: When we restore stability; that’s why we must get rid of the terrorists. Then, we need to get rid of their ideology that has infiltrated certain areas of Syria, because it is more dangerous than terrorism itself. Getting rid of this mentality and liberating ourselves from it is going to be more difficult than getting rid of the chemical weapons.

Der Spiegel: Somalia, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been “failed” states for decades. Yet, you believe you can restore Syria back to pre-rebellion times?

President Assad: Concerning stability, yes, when an end is put to billions of dollars flowing from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, when Turkey stops its logistical assistance to the terrorists. Then we can solve the problem in a few months.

Society of Professional Journalists: Code of Ethics

Preamble: Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.

Moussa: Egypt's new constitution will be aimed
to serve the interests of all Egyptians,
Gamal Essam El-Din, Ahram online 9 Oct 2013

In press statement Wednesday, Amr Moussa, chairman of the 50-member committee mandated with finalising Egypt's new constitution, disclosed that the final draft of the country's post-30 June charter will be complete by the end of November.
In the words of Moussa, "The new constitution will be modern, reflecting the requirements of the 21st century, not to mention that it will be completely different from the 2012 Constitution."
"This constitution will be new," Moussa added, "in the sense that it will be aimed to serve the interests of all Egyptians, rather than the 2012 Constitution that was tailored to serve the interests of the [deposed] Muslim Brotherhood."

According to Moussa, the current debate over the constitution has highlighted many differences, particularly over articles regulating the performance of the armed forces. "In this respect," said Moussa, "let me emphasise that we are by no means under any pressure from the army to draft articles in a certain way." ...
Moussa confirmed that the vast majority of the 50-member committee are in favour of imposing an outright ban on political parties formed on a religious foundation or background. "The majority is against forming religious parties, be they Islamist or Christian," Moussa said.

Mervat Al-Tallawy, deputy chair of the State and Foundational Principles Subcommittee, stressed that "there is still a lack of agreement on what is called the identity articles" — the constitution's first four articles dealing Islamic Sharia, the religious rights of non-Muslims, and the powers of the Sunni Islam institution of Al-Azhar.
The ultraconservative Salafist El-Nour Party has strong reservations over these articles, including rejecting any amending of Article 1 to describe Egypt as "a civil state."
Al-Tallway said the subcommittee introduced 18 new articles aiming to underline Egypt's commitment to implementing international conventions on rights and freedoms.

Libyan ex-rebel group says it 'arrested' PM Zeidan
Saudi Gazette, October 10, 2013

TRIPOLI — A group of former rebels in Libya said Thursday it had "arrested" Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, after he was seized by gunmen from a Tripoli hotel in a dawn raid.
The Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries, which in principle reports to the defense and interior ministries, said on Facebook it had seized Zeidan "on the prosecutor's orders". The premier "was arrested under the Libyan penal code... on the instructions of the public prosecutor", the group said. It said he was detained for "crimes and offenses prejudicial to the state" and its security.
The cabinet said on its Facebook page that ministers were "unaware of immunity being lifted or of any arrest warrant" for the prime minister.

Zeidan's detention comes five days after US commandos embarrassed and angered Libya's government by capturing senior Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas Al-Libi off the streets of Tripoli and whisking him away to a warship.
At the time, the Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries ordered its fighters to be prepared for orders to "hunt down and expel foreigners who are illegally in the country". It said it was on high alert "in light of the deterioration in security and damage to the country's sovereignty by foreign intelligence bodies".

Noam Chomsky: All superpowers feel exceptional
Russia Today, October 10, 2013

Every day the United States and Israel are violating international law... The UN charter, if anybody cares, bans the threat or use of force in international affairs.
Every time an official says “All options are open,” that is a criminal act. Here nobody cares. We are supposed to be able to carry out criminal acts and in fact there was a dramatic illustration of that yesterday.
If you read yesterday’s New York Times big front page article on the capture of Abu Anas, the jihadi target in Libya, read down to the bottom of the article and there’s a quote from the Secretary of State John Kerry who is asked in a press conference whether this was legal and he says “Yes this is legal, it’s in accord with American law.” That means American law says we can go into any country we like and kidnap somebody we want and that’s legal.
Of course is that anybody else’s law? Suppose Al-Qaeda or some other country, Yemen or whoever, comes to the United States and kidnaps John Kerry. Is that legal? If it’s legal by their laws...
What this says is we claim that we own the world: What we decide applies universally. It doesn’t matter what international law is, no one else has these rights....

Zeidan seized in retaliation for his government's role in assisting the US
Russia Today, 10-10-2013

"His arrest comes after the statement by [US Secretary of State] John Kerry about the capture of Abu Anas el-Liby, after he said the Libyan government was aware of the operation," said a spokesperson for the group calling itself the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries.
The group has promised that it will pursue all other people it sees as having anything to do with the recent raid by US forces in collaboration with the Libyan government.
Less than a week ago, the suspect was seized by US forces in a raid in Tripoli. The incident has angered Islamist groups in the country, including the one that is thought to have been involved in the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
The suspected terrorist, Nazih Abdul-Hamed Ruqai, also going by the alias Abu Anas el-Liby, was sought by the US for his alleged participation in the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter, who specializes on the Middle East, believes the situation to be a result of a government that is really run by rebels, and is just one situation in which interests in post-coup Libya intersect and compete.
In Libya we see a disintegrated country controlled by warlords – by those gangs who have the biggest guns – and what they do is confusing for us, of course, so I’m not surprised at all,” Ocksenreiter said of the kidnapping.
He went on to explain the composition of Libya’s current decision-making apparatus and how it arrived at this state of affairs since Gaddafi’s deposal.
“These were Al-Qaeda gangs, these were jihadists… and they are today integrated into the Libyan government. We have to see just one example: Abdelhakim Belhadj – a jihadi with strong links to Al-Qaeda who became a military commander of the Libyan capital and is now a politician in Libya.
These are the so-called ‘allies’ of the West… [but] you cannot rely on those allies, and this is the lesson the West receives now. We may see now the revolution eating its children with this kidnapping now.”

Released: October 10, 2013 12:06

"The prime minister has been released," a government official said, adding that Zeidan is on his way to his office. A security source confirmed the news to the state-run LANA news agency. The PM appeared on television shortly before that.
"I am fine, thank God," Ali Zeidan tweeted after his release. "If the aim of the kidnapping operation was for me to present my resignation, then I won't resign."

A militia commander with ties to the Interior Ministry told a private news channel that another Tripoli-based militia intervened by storming the house where Zeidan was kept, securing his release.
The commander of the intervening militia - calling itself the 'Reinforcement Force' - spoke to Al-Hurrah television, recounting a gun fight in which his men attacked the building and freed Zeidan without any harm coming to him. (Russia Today)

Foolish arrogance.
High time for US to act sensibly abroad
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 11 October 2013

America may have been rejoicing in the capture of someone they believe to be a top Al-Qaeda planner but their seizure of the man in Tripoli and his removal to a US warship, may, days later have come very close to costing Libya’s prime minister his life.

Early Thursday morning a group of armed men barged into the suite in the coastal hotel in the capital, where Prime Minister Ali Zeidan spends part of his time. Pictures posted on social media show a disheveled and confused Zeidan being bundled out of the building. Significantly, he is without his heavy pebble-lens glasses, without which he can see very little.
President Barack Obama could probably have done with an equally strong pair of spectacles. They would have been useful to look more closely at the likely outcomes, before he personally authorized the kidnapping of Nazih Ruqaii, also known as Abu Anas Al-Libi. The Al-Qaeda suspect is a Libyan citizen. He was arrested in broad daylight outside his home.
The initial abduction may not have been carried out by members of the US Navy Seals Delta Force, but rather by a Libyan gang out to claim a $5 million reward...
The impact of this illegal act shook many ordinary Libyans, who have absolutely no sympathy for Al-Qaeda and its message of hatred and intolerance. The sovereignty and freedom of their country, for which so many fought and died [..] had once more been violated.

Libya has many problems. It has been argued that the government’s writ does not run very far beyond the gates of the prime minister’s offices. It is certain that while the state struggles to rebuild an army and a police force, security actually rests with the armed militias. Unfortunately insecurity rests with them as well.
This instability has been exploited in particular by Muslim Brotherhood elements, inspired by their brethren in Egypt. More worryingly, they have also bred extremist elements, under the banner of Ansar Al-Sharia...
It is Washington’s good fortune that despite Libya’s security situation, wise counsel was able to prevail. The kidnappers were quickly identified and then persuaded by a combination of Libyan politicians to hand over Zeidan. Even though he is widely unpopular, had Zeidan been killed by his captors, the reaction against America would have been massive.

Once again Washington has acted entirely in what it perceives to be on its own best interests and ignored the impact of its planned actions on the country in which it chose to exert main force. Foolish arrogance.

Ali Zeidan: This was nothing less than a coup
By Ashraf Abdul Wahab and Ahmed Elumami, Libya Herald, 11-10-2013

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan delivered a hour-long fighting speech on national television, in which he described his abduction as a ‘coup’, blamed GNC opponents for sabotaging the business of government, vowed firm action against his abductors and signalled an imminent crackdown. ...
The GNC is being intimidated by a dangerous loud minority,” said Zeidan, “who stop at nothing to pass their agendas…. Since the day I assumed office a group within the GNC has been doing nothing but work to oust me on no real grounds. This group wants to rule Libya on its own”.
Zeidan asserted that there had been concerted efforts to obstruct the formation of a new army and police force. He said: “I have been trying to avoid saying this, but I had to come out and speak because it’s becoming dangerous”.
He explained: “All my government’s plans to rebuild government institutions have been opposed and this group made sure that plans failed or never happened”. He cited delays from the Audit Office that had been holding up the training of thousands of soldiers in the UK.

Turning to the armed groups, that his government has long sought unsuccessfully to disband or incorporate within the police and army, Zeidan said: “I don’t hate the Thuwar or the Revolutionaries, but I will never give in to the pressure by these groups using their arms.
“Most revolutionary groups come to me for money or positions in government and if I don’t comply, they say ‘You serve Qaddafi men’s agendas’.…Everyday we have at least three protests at the government headquarters and they’re usually armed, asking for salaries”.
“I pay my respects to the real Thuwar, who aren’t greedy or after money or power and just worked and continue to work for Libya …. We won’t give up Libya to those groups who want to claim the country their own. We won’t allow that to happen”.

When speaking of his own kidnapping, Zeidan said: “My abduction is a huge crime with so many sides to it, from lying to falsifying government documents and abducting the head of the government”.
He said that one hundred armed vehicles had driven up to the Corinthia Hotel where he was staying.
“This number of armed men and vehicles would never happen without being pre-organised. This was nothing less than a coup. The armed group claimed to have an arrest warrant and terrorised hotel staff and guests. Armed men forced their way into my room and demanded that I go with them. They stole all my personal belongings, including my clothes”.

U.S.-backed Syria rebels urged
to break with al Qaida allies over alleged abuses
By Mitchell Prothero, McClatchy 11-10-2013

BEIRUT — Syrian rebels led by al Qaida’s regional affiliates killed and kidnapped hundreds of civilians during an offensive in coastal Syria in early August, one of the worst atrocities ever blamed on forces fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.
Investigators for Human Rights Watch said the killings were carried out Aug. 4 in villages in Syria’s Latakia province, which is Assad’s ancestral home. Most of the victims were Alawites, members of the Muslim sect to which Assad and much of Syria’s elite belong.

As many as 190 civilians in 14 villages were summarily executed during the onslaught, the group said. Another 200 were kidnapped and remain missing. The death toll may be even higher, the group said. Investigators who visited the scene said a doctor at one hospital reported receiving 205 bodies, some of which had been decapitated and several of which were bound.
Human Rights Watch didn’t directly implicate the U.S.-backed Supreme Military Command or its Free Syrian Army in the atrocities. But it noted that defected Syrian army Gen. Salim Idriss, who heads the Supreme Military Command, had issued statements that indicated his fighters were taking part in the offensive. ...
Human Rights Watch called on Idriss and the Syrian Opposition Coalition, a U.S.-backed civilian anti-Assad umbrella group, to "cease cooperation and coordination with and support to armed groups credibly found to perpetrate systematic abuses against the civilian population; and in particular Ahrar al Sham, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, Jabhat al Nusra, Jaish al Muhajireen wal-Ansar and Suquor al Izz.”
Those five groups were “the key fundraisers, organizers, planners and executors” of the Latakia campaign, the report says. The Islamic State, Nusra and Jaish are al Qaida affiliates; Ahrar al Sham and Suquor al Izz are conservative Islamist groups.

The report also singles out Turkey, calling on it to do more to stop foreign Islamist fighters from crossing into Syria.
“Given that most foreign fighters in these groups reportedly gain access to Syria via Turkey,” it says, “Turkey should increase border patrols (and) restrict entry of fighters and arm flows to groups credibly found to be implicated in systematic human rights violations.” It says Turkey should “investigate and prosecute those in Turkey suspected of committing, being complicit in or having command responsibility for international crimes”...

Dan Layman, a spokesman for the U.S.-based Syrian Support Group [..] said it wouldn’t make sense for U.S.-backed local rebel commanders to cease all joint operations with Islamist hard-liners when they were on the same side of a brutal civil war and needed all the help they could get, especially since aid from the United States and other Western nations had been slow to arrive.
“You don’t get something for nothing,” Layman said. “You can’t kill people with your transitional justice, and you can’t eat your Human Rights Watch report.” ...
Experts on radical Islamist movements said the report was unlikely to hurt the groups with their supporters.
“They view Alawites as not Muslims, and therefore they are legitimate targets to kill,” said Aaron Zelin, a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Whereas when it comes to Sunnis, they are a lot more careful with target selection, only focusing on those that have collaborated with the Assad regime or broken the law in areas that are liberated based on their strict interpretation” of Islamic law.

This episode investigates al-Qaeda’s recent attempts to consolidate power along the Syrian-Iraqi border. Will the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant succeed in their plan to exert control in Iraq and Syria? Al-Arabiya, 11-10-2013

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, abbreviated as ISIS and ISIL, was established as an umbrella organization of Iraqi insurgent groups on October 15, 2006 under the name of Islamic State of Iraq. The group was composed of and supported by a variety of insurgent groups, including its predecessor organisation, the Mujahideen Shura Council, Al-Qaeda, Jeish al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, etc., and other clans whose population is of Sunni faith. It aimed to establish a caliphate in the Sunni dominated regions of Iraq.
The Islamic State is thought to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians as well as members of the Iraqi government and its international allies.

Chemical stockpiles have not been touched for years
by Gordon Duff, Veterans Today 11-10-2013

As the chances of American “boots on the ground” in Syria disappear, burying the secrets that Syria has exposed is critical, but to whom?
Never has a single conflict exposed so much weakness, duplicity and criminality. These things have always been there but never so plain for all to see.
Chemical weapon inspectors overseeing the destruction, well underway, of Syria’s stockpiles can’t help but note clear indications that those stockpiles have not been touched for years. The silence of this revelation is “deafening.”
Moreover, as it becomes increasingly obvious that Assad’s forces weren’t involved in chemical attacks, inspectors are now asking for Assad’s forces to gain access to stockpiles of chemical weapons held by rebel forces.... through military action...

News stories are reporting this but are trying very hard to hide this story “in plain sight.” If inspectors are demanding access to rebel areas to assess chemical weapon stockpiles two things are obvious.
1. They believe rebels control chemical weapons.
2. They feel that only military action by Assad led forces can secure Syria from further attacks

14-10-2013 George Sabra, SNC
We will not go to Geneva

The prospect of Geneva-2 peace negotiations is overshadowed by the latest split in the Syrian opposition, with the Syrian National Council (SNC) announcing it will not take part in the talks.
The Istanbul-based group has 22 of the 60 seats of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, commonly referred to as the Syrian National Coalition.
“The Syrian National Council has taken the firm decision… not to go to Geneva, under the present circumstances [on the ground],” the group’s president George Sabra told AFP.
Sabra then threatened the SNC “will not stay in the Coalition,” if it decides to go to Geneva.

Although the exact date of the proposed Geneva-2 conference is yet to be announced by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, both Moscow and Washington have mentioned mid-November as a possibility for the talks.
The UN chief last month praised the Syrian National Coalition president Ahmed Jarba’s “commitment to send a delegation to the Geneva Conference,” and urged him “to reach out to other opposition groups and agree on a representative and united delegation.”

West unable to force Syrian opposition to attend Geneva-2
Voice of Russia 14-10-2013

The unpreparedness to take part in the Geneva-2 international peace conference for Syria declared by Syrian National Council leader George Sabra demonstrates the inability of the West to compel the Syrian opposition to negotiate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The statement of Mr. Sabra, the head of the Syrian National Council, which is affiliated in some way with the National Coalition of the Syrian opposition, is another confirmation of the need to hold this conference as soon as possible," Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.
"The main obstacle to this endeavor is still the inability of our partners to force the Syrian opposition, whom they are supporting, to come to Geneva and sit down at the negotiating table with the government in order to find ways out of this crisis by general consent," the minister remarked.
"Our partners, primarily the Americans, have assured us they will gather everyone for this conference "under the umbrella" of the National Coalition," Lavrov said.

George Sabra says the media is 'exaggerating'
the presence of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda fighters.
By Zack Baddorf, 14-8-2013

ISTANBUL, Aug. 13, 2013 – In an exclusive interview with Talk Radio News Service, the president of the Syrian National Council claims there are only “a few hundreds” of Islamist extremists fighting against the Syrian government. At his headquarters in Istanbul, George Sabra said the threat of the radical Islamists has been exaggerated.
Nevertheless, Sabra said, “we are worried about [them] .... but we have to do our best to protect people, to help people to protect themselves first of all. Then we can say to the foreigners: please, leave the country.”

Western intelligence agencies estimate that more than 6,000 foreign fighters are now fighting with jihadist groups in Syria. Arab intelligence services believe there may be more than 15,000 foreign fighters in the country. The jihadists themselves, meanwhile, say their forces number 30,000.

McClatchy reports that al Qaeda in Iraq and its local allies took over the Syrian military’s Mannagh Air Base, working alongside units from the Free Syrian Army. After the victory, the senior Aleppo officer appeared in a video alongside Abu Jandal, a leader of the al Qaeda affiliate known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Female teachers must cover face says Grand Mufti
By Aimen Eljali, Libya Herald 13-10-2013

The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, has issued a fatwa saying that female teachers in schools and colleges must cover their faces if they are teaching males who have reached puberty.
He made the ruling following a request for advice from the Ministry of Education on the issue. It had said that some female teachers were veiling their faces while giving lessons but it felt that this was having a negative impact on students’ understanding because, by not seeing the teacher’s face, they were not able to interact and properly lean. It asked for a fatwa telling female teachers to remove their veil inside the classroom while teaching.

The best solution, the Grand Mufti said, was to segregate male and females altogether in schools and colleges and universities “because those in charge are duty-bound in Islam to do so, if they able to”. If that is not possible, they must at least be segregated during break times, in halls and corridors and have separate entrances for boys and girls.
In addition, students must be made to dress “respectfully and to abide by the Islamic dress code and not to allow girls to wear make-up and perfumes to avoid temptation”, the fatwa said. Schools should have male teachers to teach boys and female teachers to teach girls, it added.

Flashback 13-5-2013:
Libya’s Grand Mufti Calls For Strict Sex-segregation

Libya’s Grand Mufti is calling for strict sex-segregation in all workplaces, classrooms, and government offices. In an open letter to the country’s leaders, the grand mufti, Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani, has warned that if gender segregation were not imposed, Libya risks incurring the wrath for Allah.
The Grand Mufti said that his call stemmed from complaints that the Dar Al-Ifta (Fatwa office) had received from ordinary Libyans who, he said, were calling for the application of Sharia Law and the preservation of Islamic moral values and the nation’s Islamic identity. They had complained about “the deterioration of morals” and about the free mixing between the sexes in all state institutions. He warned that unless the authorities stopped the mixing of the sexes, which he considered immoral, there would be a spread of “immoral havens”.

Hero of the revolution

Al-Gharyani is considered by some a hero of the revolution, since early on in the uprising against Gadhafi he issued a fatwa or religious edict permitting war against his regime.
Under Gadhafi's 42-year rule, women had a mixed bag. Gadhafi often presented himself as a defender of women rights and at times made a point of defying strict interpretations of Shariah, since Islamists were among his main enemies. (

Gaddafi’s odd love affair with women
The Observer, 27-10-2011 (Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi )

‘I promised my mother to improve the situation of women in Libya…’

The world might remember him as a despot, dictator and murderer, but at least one virtue will stick out: that the slain Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, took good care of women. Not only did he support them, he also believed in their abilities and emancipation, moreover in a society where being a woman is normally associated with getting the back seat.
Wearing heavy make-up and military fatigues, Gaddafi’s female bodyguards, better known as the Amazonian Guard, were synonymous with his presence. He paraded them as a symbol of his belief in women’s emancipation and their role in the defence of their country. He also had a team of female nurses led by his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska.
Central to Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution was the empowerment of women. His new regime made efforts to advance female emancipation. The new government encouraged women to participate in Libya’s political life and several cabinet posts were allocated to them. Women were also able to form associations.

Flashback: Remove References to Democracy
and Religious Freedom From School Textbooks
By Penny Starr, CNS News, 19-10-2012

The Libya Herald reported that the “Fatwa Office”, presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks.
The article also reports that the religious official asked for “clarification” as to why extracts of the Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah had been deleted. The Sunnah is the second book for Islam jurisprudence after the Quran, according to scholars.

The information in the textbooks about Greek democracy might be “too detailed” for students to comprehend. References to freedom of belief and religion should be removed because “it suggests to younger students that they could choose any religion they wanted”. The Fatwa office warned that because of the public’s religious values the textbooks “could spark public anger.”

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

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

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

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

President Morsi Family Message,
Freedom & Justice party [MB], 14-10-2013

A very special salute and greetings from us and from the legitimate President of Egypt, who has been abducted by those who betrayed the people and repressed freedoms, on the occasion of a glorious Eid that comes to Egyptians as they stand steadfast like mighty mountains in the face of the failed military coup’s suppression, which is certainly coming to an inevitable defeat, with the will of the people and the power and Grace of God.
Although coup commanders and collaborators think they can reinstate the repressive dictatorial Mubarak regime, their plots are falling apart like the frailest of all houses – the spider's web (as described by God in Quran 29:41), and the will of the people will prevail.

Special greetings from the legitimate President of Egypt to each and every grieving family, under the dark shadow of this treasonous coup...
Every day, people of conscience discover the falsity and the evil of the bloody coup and its heinous plots against Egypt, its people and its democratic transformation. The junta’s acting, pretense and false promises no longer deceive the people, who stand steadfast against the coup and its brutal practices.
The President, too, stands steadfast to the last breathe. He will not back down on the fair demands of reinstating constitutional and democratic legitimacy. He will not be defeated by illegitimate abduction and detention or by invalid farcical trials that blatantly violate the Constitution and the law....
No-one can break the will of your legitimate President, because it is of your popular will, and it derives from your own steadfastness, courage and noble character.

Osama Mohamed Morsi
Official spokesman for the family of the legitimate President.

Pressure Mounts on Turkey over Radical Groups in Syria
B Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, 15-10-2013

Turkey continues to deny that it is lenient with radical groups fighting to establish an Islamic regime in Syria, let alone actively supporting them, and the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now much more open in its criticism of these groups than was initially the case.
The Erdogan government also announced measures in the Official Gazette on Oct. 10 freezing the financial assets of 349 people and 67 legal entities said by the UN Security Council to be linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Despite these steps, however, Ankara continues to be accused of turning a blind eye as members of these groups use Turkish territory for various purposes in their fight not just against the Assad regime, but also the moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Kurds.

Meanwhile, the spin being developed in the pro-government Islamist Turkish media is that the presence of these al-Qaeda-affiliated Sunni groups in Syria is actually a ploy on the part of Shiite Iran to undermine Ankara’s Syrian policy in order to support President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.
It is of course no secret that the Erdogan government initially supported the group known as Jabhat al-Nusra in the belief that it was the most effective fighting force against Assad. Ankara was also unhappy when the United States listed Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organization in December 2012, believing this to be a premature step which would strengthen Assad’s hand. Today, however, the Erdogan government argues vehemently that it never supported Jabhat al-Nusra or any other radical group in Syria, saying it is opposed to terrorism wherever it comes from. ...

Whatever the case may be, these al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, which have no democratic agenda for Syria, are becoming a political and security liability for the Erdogan government.

Jihadist Rebels See Syria as ‘Just the Beginning’
Al-Qaeda, Allies Aim to Spread War Region-Wide
by Jason Ditz, 15-10-2013

As Syria’s civil war continues on, it has taken on an increasingly sectarian nature, and the rebellion is now dominated by factions affiliated either directly or ideologically with al-Qaeda, including the assorted al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Jabhat al-Nusra factions.
Though there are surely Syrian Islamists fighting in these groups, large numbers of the jihadist fighters are foreigners, and their motivations don’t begin or end at the Syrian border.
Far from seeing Syria as a special case, these rebels see Syria as the beginning of a region-wide religious war, with the goal of installing ultra-conservative theocracies across the Muslim world.
The imposition of Taliban-style Sharia law in parts of northern Syria has been a major culture shock for Syrians, who have for centuries had relatively secular governments.
Most of the non-Sunnis in those towns are simply fleeing, since the foreign fighters are eager to call any religious minorities, from Alawites to Christians, pro-Assad infiltrators. Those who are staying behind are seeing very awkward attempts by al-Qaeda to do “outreach” to sell the locals on their style of rule.

U.S. Urges Syrian Opposition to Join Peace Talks
Nahernet (Lebanon) 16-10-2013

The United States is trying to persuade a key Syrian opposition group to drop its refusal to join planned peace talks, saying its participation is essential, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
The Syrian National Council, which is the biggest bloc within the Syrian opposition coalition, said at the weekend it would not attend the talks planned for next month and would quit the umbrella group if it does.
"There have been many ups and downs in this process. And that's not unexpected given how challenging the situation is on the ground," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "But we continue to press for the opposition to have a representative body at the Geneva conference, " she told reporters.

The so-called Geneva II peace conference was first talked of in May but has been postponed several times due to internal wrangling among the opposition and a dispute on which countries should have a place at the negotiating table.
U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford had been working closely with the opposition "to make sure they know from our team that it's essential and important that they attend a conference," Psaki said.

Islamist militia leader terrorises Benghazi
By Aya Elbrqawi in Benghazi, and Jamel Arfaoui and Monia Ghanmi
in Tunis for Magharebia, 14-10-2013

Ansar al-Sharia
Whether describing him as a criminal, killer or terrorist, Libyans have harsh words for militia leader Ahmed Boukhtala. Citizens link the Islamist to the string of assassinations and bombings against security officers, journalists and others in Benghazi, but no one dares speak for fear of the man and his militants.
He is accused of orchestrating the murder of Abdul Fattah Younes, the rebel military commander killed in 2011. Boukhtala is suspected of many other crimes, including his involvement in the killing of the US ambassador and three colleagues in the September 11th, 2012 attack on the American consulate.
During the revolution, he led the Abu Obeida bin al-Jarrah Battalion. Many members of this battalion later joined the hard-line group Ansar al-Sharia.
Boukhtala denied in an interview with the BBC that he was the leader of Ansar al-Sharia. However, he said he had good relations with the group and knew its members well: "They are good people with good goals."
During an interview with Quryna in December, Boukhtala stressed the need to implement Sharia. Libyans who oppose the application of Sharia are non-Muslims. "Most Libyans are Muslims only in national IDs and because there are no other religions in Libya," he stated.
He went on to defend the continued presence of armed brigades and said that the General National Congress and its government were "only a re-embodiment of Kadhafi's government". He also said that "reinstating police and army is the best proof that the new government is the same old government".
In the same interview, he said that he opposed democracy as contrary to Islamic law and called those who supported constitutions "apostates".

"The situation is scary to a degree that I am afraid to mention my name or talk freely about this topic," said a 35-year-old navy lieutenant colonel who asked to be identified as "S.B.A." "Radicals are ruling and wander without fear of anyone, not even the law. Anyone who opposes them is labelled an apostate and a heretic, and his head is placed on a stake by any means, slaughter, bombing or assassination," the naval officer added.
K.A.Z., a math teacher from Marj, said, "Unfortunately, they claim to be Muslims... These people are mentally retarded and must be punished." Anouer Abd Karim, owner of an event hall in Tripoli, called for Libyan authorities to arrest Boukhtala. "This man has become a threat to the lives of Libyans and the future of Libya...," he said. "He is a ruthless man looking to fuel strife in the country and insisting on imposing a creed based on terrorism, discrimination and division. These actions can only expose the country to danger," Abd Karim added.
For his part, Mabrouk Ahmed Hafiane commented, "This hard-line leader seeks to impose criminal behaviour on Libyans through incitement to murder and terrorism. He aspires along with his group to rule Libya with radical Islam and at gunpoint."
"We can say goodbye to Libya if people with his mind-set rule our country because no one will be spared their violence. They accept neither the constitution nor plurality," he added.

The American Genocide Against Iraq
Posted on 10/17/2013 by Juan Cole

A new household survey of Iraqis has projected the civilian death toll from the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq at roughly 450,000.

Passive information-gathering techniques like logging deaths in the Western press have produced estimates closer to 150,000, but such techniques have been proven to miss a lot of people.
Of those extra deaths beyond those who would have died if the US had never invaded, some 270,000 died violently, with US troops responsible for about 90,000 civilian deaths and militias for another 90,000. Of those killed violently, 60 percent were shot, and 12 percent died from car bombs. Some 180,000 died because of the destruction of the public health infrastructure (lack of access to hospital treatment, e.g.). ...

The US/ UN sanctions on Iraq of the 1990s, which interdicted chlorine for much of that decade and so made water purification impossible, are estimated to have killed another 500,000 Iraqis, mainly children. (Infants and toddlers die easily from diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis, which causes fatal dehydration).
So the US polished off about a million Iraqis from 1991 through 2011, large numbers of them children. The Iraqi population in that period was roughly 25 million, so the US killed or created the conditions for the killing of 4% of the Iraqi population.

All this is horrible enough. Even more horrible is that the US occupation of Iraq sparked a Sunni Arab insurgency, which is still vigorous. Insurgencies typically take 10 to 15 years to subside. Some 5000 Iraqi civilians have been killed so far this year by that insurgency. US occupation is the gift that goes on giving.
Despite the Bush administration’s violation of the UN charter and its war crimes in Iraq, none of its high officials has faced prosecution. Some of them even have the gall to come on television from time to time to urge more killing.

Were Sanctions Right?
By David Rieff, New York Times July 27, 2003

For many people, the sanctions on Iraq were one of the decade's great crimes... Anger at the United States and Britain, the two principal architects of the policy, often ran white hot.
Denis J. Halliday, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Iraq for part of the sanctions era, expressed a widely held belief when he said in 1998: ''We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that.''

Many of the diplomats who constructed and administered the sanctions policy still defend them steadfastly. Richard Holbrooke, who served as ambassador to the United Nations under President Clinton, says: ''The concept of sanctions is not just still valid; it's necessary.''
Albright insists that sanctions cannot be ruled out in the future when formulating policy, whether in Washington or at the Security Council.. And James Rubin asks: ''What should we have done, just lift sanctions and hope for the best? I believed then and believe now that that was just too risky, given Saddam Hussein's past, his repeated attempts to invade his neighbors, his treatment of his own people and the weapons we knew he was developing.''
''What we were trying to do by putting sanctions in was to prevent Hussein from threatening the region,'' recalled Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser for the first President Bush.

These observations do not answer the question of whether any policy, no matter how strategically sound, is worth the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children -- a figure that originated in a Unicef report on infant mortality in sanctions-era Iraq and became the rallying cry of anti-sanctions campaigners.
And the argument against sanctions on Iraq went beyond even this single, horrifying statistic. Sanctions, their opponents insist, transformed a country that in the 1980's was the envy of the developing world in terms of investments in health, education and physical infrastructure into a place where everyone was dependent on United Nations food aid, where infant mortality rates had skyrocketed, educational outcomes had collapsed and diseases that had disappeared were reappearing, sometimes at epidemic levels.

The Cost of the Arab Spring
by Haddad Nader, Tunis Time 16-10-2013

The British bank HSBC released late last week a study estimating the economic cost of the Arab Spring for the past three years. According to HSBC, the uprisings in the Arab spring countries have generated a bill of $ 800 billion in economic loss between 2010 and 2012. HSBC forecasts are little more euphoric for the coming months : the end of 2014 , the GDP ( Gross Domestic Product ) of seven countries considered by the bank as being the most affected (Egypt, Tunisia , Libya, Syria , Jordan, Lebanon and Bahrain) , should be 35 % below forecasts before the clashes in 2011, “before revolution “. ...
Destruction of infrastructure, disorders disrupting business activity, international sanctions and blockade, depletion of Western aid, flight of capital and skilled labor, tourism atrophied…Revolts, revolutions and civil wars in many countries of the Mediterranean cost and the Arabian Peninsula have had a major impact on the economy....

“The economic downturn has widened the wealth gap between the seven countries and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, where the manna after hydrocarbon exports helped boost growth and enabled Saudi Arabia, the UAE Arab Emirates and Qatar to increase aid to countries like Egypt and Tunisia...” , the report says .

The overthrow of an authoritarian regime is easier than growing the economy. While countries such Tunisia and Egypt toppled autocratic dictators in less than 2 months, their economic growth crippled in the last 3 years.
“Unemployment remains high in Tunisia and Egypt, a rather ironic when you consider that the high level of unemployment has been touted as one of the causes the revolution in both countries. In Egypt unemployment was around 9% from 2007 to 2010 and is 13 % in the first quarter of this year..."

Mousa al-Omar: There's no such thing called FSA anymore.
They're all Islamist brigades - YouTube Vid, 13-10-2013

Mousa al-Omar, a Syrian opposition newscaster for al-Ghad TV (Tomorrow TV) broadcasting from London, explains briefly how the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) became strong in Syria and shoots down idiotic conspiracy theories made by some in the Syrian opposition that ISIL is connected to Syrian or Iranian intelligence services. He also states that there's no such thing as the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) in Syria anymore. He confirms that all the fighting rebel forces on the ground are, in fact, Islamist brigades.

"Why did it become strong in our country, Syria? Because, in short, it buys weapons grom the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA). "You have a tank, PK machine gun, a DShk, or anything else, we [ISIIL] are ready to buy. Here you go!"
A tank for 10M, Dhsk for 2M, whatever it is, they [ISIL] can pay! They have plenty of dollars. You can get whatever you want. They have no problem.
The FSA is two types: one that sells because it needs to pay its members a living and another that likes war loot and things like that..., which means it's corrupt, so it sells weapons for financial gain...
Some say they are Syrian intelligence, that the are coordinating with Assad's secret services. I've never seen a Syrian secret agent becoming a suicide bomber or martyrdom seeker. In other words, one that loads half a ton in a car and goes to blow himself up in a checkpoint.
Some say they are Iranian secret agents. How can they, ISIL, be as such when they detonated 500 booby-trapped cars within 6 months in Shiite areas in Iraq? How is that possible? Why did people in Syria gather around them?
The truth of the FSA is a big lie, i.e. the word "Free Syrian Army". There's no such thing called FSA anymore. They're all Islamist brigades. (Source: al-Ghad TV)

According to the website of the Dr. Mohamed AL Shabk Global Investment Group Syria Al-Ghad TV was launched in the capital city of France, Paris, in the year 2011announcing the birth of a new era of impartially free media. Syria Al-Ghad is a satellite channel that is mainly concerned with the political, social, and humanitarian affairs of Syria in particular and the Arab affairs in general.

Damascus People Should Leave Their City
Syria News, Posted by: Arabi Souri October 17, 2013

The title you read is correct, it was during a TV interview with a Wahhabi cleric who warned the people of Damascus to leave their jobs, their homes immediately and head to the desert where it’ll be more secure for them.
Dr. Moath Safwat, supposed to be a PHD graduate in Wahhabism, ordered the people of Damascus and its countryside (counting more than 6 million), to immediately leave their jobs, as working in government and public institutions is aiding the regime... When his interviewer asks him where the people should go he replies: ‘Go to Ragga, Aleppo, Turkey or go to the desert’ to ‘clear the way for the mujahideen to reclaim the injustice they suffer from the Syrian regime’.

Watch on YouTube

Information Minister: Reality of Events in Syria became clear
Syrian Arab News Agency, Oct 19, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi stressed that the scene of the events in Syria has been completely exposed, as its nature is no more secret to anyone.
In an article published in al-Thawra Newspaper on Saturday, al-Zoubi said that elements of the aggression on Syria, which has been fully uncovered, must be identified to check the extent and volume of contradictions among these elements whether in the military, international or regional fields.
"That scene is part of a bigger regional and Arab scene manifested through the tales of the 'Arab spring' and 'popular revolutions' which brought in most of its junctures extremists to power like what has happened in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya," the Minister added.

The regional scene, according to al-Zoubi, raised the level of suspicion among the secular, leftist and Pan-Arab powers as they see that the region is witnessing two kinds of forces; the radical extremist powers represented by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and the second one which is represented by international powers that boosted their view in the rejoin through the principle of preserving the security of Israel and controlling oil and gas wells.

Al-Zoubi stressed that the political route for the crisis in Syria has been the genuine choice since the beginning, and it needs politicians who believe in the state, the homeland and the people...

Deadly blast hits Damascus suburb
Press TV, Sat Oct 19, 2013

A blast hits a suburb of Syria's capital Damascus, leaving an unspecified number of casualties, according to state media. The attack was carried out by terrorists at the entrance of the Christian-Druze neighborhood of Jaramana on Saturday, SANA news agency reported.

Manufacturing Dissent: The Truth About Syria
YouTube, 15-10-2013

Manufacturing Dissent is a documentary posthumously dedicated to Syrian Palestinian actor Mohamad Rafea, who was kidnapped, tortured and finally brutally murdered on Sunday November 4th 2012 by terrorist groups...
Manufacturing Dissent is a feature about the psychological-warfare by the media and political establishment of the west and their allies aimed at facilitating the US, European and Israeli agenda of getting rid of the current Syrian government. It demonstrates how the media has directly contributed to the bloodshed in Syria. (Produced by journalists Lizzie Phelan and Mostafa Afzalzadeh)

Abbas: Israel has transformed
political conflict into religious one
Ma'an News Agency, 20-10-2013

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with a German television station that he blamed Israel's "demands in East Jerusalem" for having "transformed the conflict's political nature into a religious conflict in a region already burdened with sensitivities."
Abbas said that he rejected any attempt to make the Palestinian-Israeli political conflict a religious issue "on the basis of our rejection of extremism and terrorism in all its forms."
Abbas stated his desire for a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict, but warned that Israeli attempts to annex East Jerusalem and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa mosque had transformed what was an essentially political conflict into a religious struggle.

He said he "looks forward to achieving a just peace for the two peoples, Palestinian and Israeli" through the "establishment of an independent state of Palestine... on the entire Palestinian land occupied in 1967."
The fully sovereign Palestinian state would have East Jerusalem as its capital and would exist in "peace and security alongside the State of Israel," he said.
Abbas said that he envisioned a "comprehensive and lasting agreement" that would entail Jerusalem becoming the capital of both states, but that "Jerusalem should be open for worship for the followers of the three religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism."
He also stressed the necessity of solving the Palestinian refugee issue "in a just way agreed upon in accordance with UN resolution 194, and as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative."

UN resolution 194 (art 11) states that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible....

Jewish women banned from night shifts to avoid Arab 'contact'
Ma'an News Agency, 20/10/2013

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Jewish women have been banned from working night shifts as a part of their national service at hospitals in Israel in order to avoid "contact with Arabs".
Israeli National Service Administration Director Sar-Shalom Jerbi issued the directive two weeks ago banning any volunteer shifts past 9 p.m. for women fulfilling their national service duties.
The director explained that "we reached the decision based on concern for our volunteers, and Minister [Naftali] Bennett gave his blessing." Naftali Bennett is the leader of the far-right Israeli political party "Jewish Home," and is currently the minister of religious services.

The decision marks a victory for an intense campaign led by religious Zionist rabbis and other right-wing groups within Israel to prevent contact of any sort between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, especially between Jewish women and Palestinian men. According to the Channel 10 report, these groups began a campaign against women's night-time service last year after reports surfaced of "intimate relations" between some Jewish volunteers and Palestinian doctors at hospitals. ...
In response to the decision, the director of the Lehava organization which was involved in the campaign issued a statement lamenting that the move did not go far enough. "Unfortunately, this is too narrow and too late a step. National service should be terminated anywhere there are non-Jews," he said.

Naftali Bennett is an Israeli politician and former software entrepreneur. He is the leader of the political party The Jewish Home as well as the extra-parliamentary movement My Israel. Bennett opposes the creation of a Palestinian state: "I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state." (Wikipedia info)

Flashback 2012: Violation of the right to equality

Israel is criticized for violating the right to equality in a new report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). An advance version of the CERD report indicates that racial prejudice can be found in almost every facet of Israeli life (“Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,” 9 March 2012)
CERD is a body of legal specialists who monitor the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which states that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous.

Intermarriage Forbidden, Punished, Prevented by Segregation

Deuteronomy 7:1-3. “Neither shalt thou make marriage with them (Canaanites)…”
Joshua 23:12-13. “If ye…cleave unto…these nations…and make marriage…God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you.” (Only as long as Israel remained a separate people was there victory).
Ezra 10:2. “…We have trespassed against God, and have taken strange wives.” Ezra 6:21, chapters 9-10, Nehemiah 10:28,30; 13:23-30. Ezra and Nehemiah settled the race problem by segregation and severe punishment for mixing. (Source: Segregation and Gods word)

The Lone Prophet: No deal, only physical force
Shoula Romano Horing, YnetNews, 21-10-2013

"Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach. That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not. ..."
"We all demand that there should be an iron wall. Yet we keep spoiling our own case, by talking about "agreement" which means telling the Mandatory Government that the important thing is not the iron wall, but discussions. Empty rhetoric of this kind is dangerous...."
"What is impossible is a voluntary agreement. As long as the Arabs feel that there is the least hope of getting rid of us, they will refuse to give up this hope in return for either kind words or for bread and butter..." Vladimir Jabotinsky, in The Iron Wall (1923)

Just as in 1939, evil has no one to fear. As in pre-World War II, evil is winning in the battle of wills with the democratic free world. Then and now, evil knows that the West lacks the will and stomach to confront it militarily and prefers instead to be deluded with worthless diplomatic negotiations and temporary agreements.
Then and now, the American public is choosing to absorb itself with its own internal and economic issues while Europe is led by weak leaders who lack the backbone or moral conviction to fight evil.

On July 6, 1939 the British Foreign Office heard from the British military attaché in Berlin that Hitler’s Finance Minister Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk, had advised a visiting British general: “Take Winston Churchill into the Cabinet. Churchill is the only Englishman Hitler is afraid of...."
In 2013, there is no Churchill anywhere except Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is the lone prophet who is warning the world... There is no Roosevelt in the White House. Roosevelt did not try to meet, talk to, or negotiate with Hitler or one of his lieutenants.

Sadly, President Obama has tried repeatedly to meet and shake the hand of one of the lieutenants of the true dictator of Iran, Ali Khamenei.
In the Middle East, brutal dictators only respond to the fear of a credible threat of the use of physical force. The fact that Obama has been so desperate to get to the negotiating table [..] sends a dangerous signal to the Iranians that Obama does not have the mettle for the use of force against the regime.
Furthermore, no one in Obama’s present cabinet could convince Khamenei that they mean to stand up to him. His present second term national security cabinet and advisors consist of old time friends prior to his becoming president, who believe, like he does, in engaging and appeasing enemies and brutal dictators, sympathizing with the Palestinians, blaming Israel for lack of peace, and pressuring an ally for dangerous concessions.

* John Kerry, the secretary of state: "stated in July that the core issue of instability in the Middle East and in many other parts of the world is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."
* Chuck Hagel, the secretary of defense: He opposed sanctions against Iran and called for direct negotiations with the Iranian regime.
* John Brennan, the CIA director: He has refused to link the words” Islamic” and “terrorism” and called Jerusalem by its Arab name” Al Quds”.
* Susan Rice: She failed to speak up when Iran was elected to the UN Women’s Commission but strongly condemned Israeli settlement activity as eroding hope for peace and stability in the region.
* Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN: "suggested that the US should send troops to invade Israel to impose a two-state solution."

With such circle of friends advising him, there is no chance that Obama will change his core beliefs and militarily stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capability. The only one left to fear is Bibi Netanyahu....

"Knowing the enemy and its methods is [an] important factor. We should not forget about the existence of a spiteful enemy. .. We should not make a mistake in knowing the main enemy, who in the present time is global arrogance and the criminal Zionist network.
For decades, the oppressed Palestinian nation has been receiving strikes as a result of the crimes of the Zionist regime and its supporters. In the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, terrorism - which originates from the policies of global arrogance and its agents in the region - has ruined the lives of the people."
Syria has come under the attack of arrogant powers and their regional agents because of supporting anti-Zionist orientations and it has experienced a bloody civil war.

Ali Khamenei, Hajj Message 14-10-2013

Egypt: Al-Azhar students clash with security
Egypt Independent, 20/10/2013

Clashes broke out between security forces and hundreds of Al-Azhar students on Sunday after the students tried to march on Rabaa al-Adaweya Square.
Hundreds of Al-Azhar University students had blocked Nasr Road calling for the return of ousted President Mohamed Morsy and the release of students who they say were arrested during the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in, Ramsis clashes and 6th October celebrations.
The protesting students chanted, "Morsy is my president" and "The Interior Ministry officers are thugs," waved the Rabaa al-Adaweya slogan and wore t-shirts featuring the same slogan. They also carried banners opposing the army, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib.

Meanwhile, dozens of Al-Azhar students at the Darrassa branch staged a protest to support Sisi and the 30 June revolution. They denounced the position taken by the students who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood and what they described as their call for violence. (Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm)

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib is the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. Tayyib belongs to al-Azhar’s more liberal and moderate wing... He was formerly rector of al-Azhar University in Cairo and received a doctorate in Islamic philosophy from the Sorbonne. During the Mubarak era, he was highly critical of the Muslim Brotherhood and its presence among students at al-Azhar.
After the uprising, Tayyib has been outspoken about the need for al-Azhar to remain independent of the government, especially in funding, and to renew its role as a major institution in the Islamic world.
He helped author the “Al-Azhar Document” attempting to resolve the controversy about supra-constitutional principles - the document called for a civil, democratic state preserving fundamental rights and liberties within an Islamic framework. He has also called for Egypt to support Hezbollah in Lebanon and establish strong relations with Iran and Turkey. (Source)

No role for Assad in 'democratic Syria’
Russia Today, October 22, 2013

From (L-R front row) Foreign Ministers of France Laurent Fabius, Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal, Britain William Hague, US John Kerry and Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu, (Back L-R) Egyptian deputy foreign minister Egypt Hamdi Sanad Loza, German State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office Emily Haber, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah and Italy's deputy foreign minister Lapo Pistelli.

The 'Friends of Syria' group insist President Bashar Assad has no role in the country’s future government, pushing for his resignation as a pre-condition for their participation in the Geneva-2 peace talks. Assad “has no role in a democratic Syria,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said after the meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria group in London. ..

The group pledged further support to the Syrian moderate opposition. They pushed the fractured opposition to take part in the peace conference, even though Assad has made clear he was not planning to step down and even sees no “obstacles to being nominated to run” in the next presidential poll.
The British minister warned that the longer the Syrian conflict goes on “the more sectarian it becomes and the more extremists are able to take hold and that is why we are making this renewed effort to get a Geneva peace process going.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry said he hoped Geneva 2 would go ahead as planned but added that Western countries could not control whether all parties would attend the talks.
Kerry observed that he knows no one “who believes that the opposition will ever consent to Bashar al-Assad being part of that government.” The American diplomat added that if the Syrian President thinks that “he is going to solve problems by running for re-election… this war will not end.”

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood Slams Hypocrisy of Western Governments
Ikhwanweb, october 21,2013

For so long, the West boasted that it represented a free world, superior in terms of political and human rights principles and values – like democracy, which gives sovereignty to the people and recognizes their right to self-determination and their right to choose their own rulers through fair elections...
While the West showed commitment to these principles within its various states, its governments were removing regimes in third world countries whenever they felt their interests were not served, even if those regimes were legitimately elected in a perfectly democratic way, as happened in Chile, for example.
Indeed, the West did not hesitate to invade some countries under false pretenses, even in spite of United Nations decisions, as happened in Iraq, where more than a million people were killed, with several million more displaced, tearing the state apart and inciting a sectarian war.
As for human rights, the macabre inhuman practices in Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo prisons, and the kidnapping and torture of people in a number of countries contradict the West’s claim of respecting human rights.
Even worse, Western countries supported dictators and tyrants who crushed their people and plundered their wealth, and provided these rulers with weapons and instruments of torture, and perhaps even economic ‘aid’, for decades – so long as these rulers carried out their orders and executed their policies.

In Egypt, we set out on the path of democratic transformation. It became clear that the popular will – as expressed through all elections held in the country – tends to support Islamists and their approach, while "friends" of the West in Egypt failed in every election.
Evidently, the elected President of Egypt was endeavoring for freedom and independence for the county, for achieving self-sufficiency in food, medicine and weapons. He worked tirelessly to strengthen Egypt's relations with many countries around the world...
All these endeavors were perceived to be against the interests of the governments of the West, especially the US, and against their hegemony. Islam, freedom, independence and extended international relations are certainly hated by the West and America.
Ultimately, US President Barack Obama said that Egypt was no longer an ally of America. Then, Western governments went back to their old habits, trying to overthrow the regime....

No-one should think for one moment that we want the West to stand with or behind us. The truth is that we reject all foreign interference in the affairs of our country. We strive for freedom and independence from all foreign domination.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Cairo: October 20, 2013

Syria: New batch of Naval Academy cadets graduated
Syrian Arab News Agency, Oct 23, 2013

Lattakia, (SANA)- A graduation ceremony for a new batch of the cadets of the Naval Academy was held Tuesday under the auspices of President Bashar al-Assad, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Armed Forces.
Representing President al-Assad, the Academy's Director stressed in a speech at the ceremony that the conspiracy hatched against the country will not undermine the will of the Syrian people thanks to their awareness and unity with the Armed Forces.
He called upon the graduates to do their best to enrich their knowledge and upgrade their experience and keep their pledge of defending the homeland and faithfully working for its security and dignity.

The Yeshiva University & the needs of the Israelis
Philip Weiss, Monoweiss October 23, 2013

Last night in New York, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire supporter of Israel, said that the U.S. should fire a nuclear weapon at Iran rather than negotiate.
Adelson, an 80-year-old casino mogul and major supporter of Mitt Romney and other Republican political candidates, made the comments in a dialogue with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach during a conversation called “Will Jews Exist? Iran, Assimilation and the Threat to Israel and Jewish Survival.”

Andelson: What are we going to negotiate about? I would say ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ ou pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ And so there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever. Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. ...
Boreach: A tremendous demonstration of American strength?
Andelson: The only thing they understand.
Boteach: So you see the current negotiations as a demonstration of weakness?
Andelson: Absolutely.

Boteach: What are your feelings about “Obama speaking to Iran right now” and having diplomatic relations with Iran, given its threats against Israel? Not as a political person, but as a prominent American.
Adelson: The worst negotiating tactic I could ever imagine, my entire life.
Boteach: Why is that?
Adelson: Because you can’t get anything. He’s not saying to them, Roll back your entire program and show that you’re willing to be peaceful. So, roll it all back… and we’ll roll back the sanctions…. What is that, a game of chicken, who’s going to blink first?
It’s the same thing with the Palestinians.” “Sixty-five years, they haven’t taken one millimeter step toward the Israelis, to accommodate the needs of the Israelis....”

The recommendations were met with applause by a Yeshiva University audience.

Eastern Libyan politicians declare autonomous government
Libya TV, October 25, 2013

The leaders of a movement for self-rule in oil-rich eastern Libyan unilaterally announced the formation of a shadow government, the latest challenge to the weakened central authority.
The announcement came several months after the movement, backed by some militias and local tribes, declared the eastern half of Libya to be an autonomous state, named Barqa, claiming broad self-rule powers and control over resources....
Barqa is the Islamic name for the historic region known as Cyrenaica, which was one of the three states of Libya that existed from 1934 to 1963. The other administrative divisions were Tripolitania, which included the Libyan capital, and Fezzan.

The tension between the central government and eastern militias and tribal leaders has already disrupted the exports of oil. Eastern militias earlier seized control of oil exporting terminals, robbing the country of its main revenue source.
Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, the head of the newly declared Barqa government, said the aim is to improve distribution of resources and undermine the hold of the centralized system that has discriminated against their region.
It is not clear how much support the new autonomous government will have in the country’s east, though the movement’s leaders have seized control of important resources. Officials in the central government have threatened to use military action against any illegal or unauthorized shipment of oils.

“Yes to federalism.
No to Muslim Brotherhood, the agents of Qatar”

"They are actually supporting criminal Islamist groups"
By Wil Crisp, Security Watch, October 24, 2013

Militias in eastern Libya have seized control of key oil infrastructure, launched their own government, and created their own army in a bid to improve their bargaining position as they demand semi-autonomy from the central government in Tripoli.
The groups (dubbed federalists) scorn the central government in Tripoli. They say it has been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood, and accuse it of funneling oil money to favored militias in the country and allies overseas. They also complain that Tripoli has failed to fairly distribute oil revenues and invest in infrastructure in the east.
“While politicians in Tripoli argue over the constitution and use militias to intimidate and kidnap one another, we have been working hard to improve our position,” says Osama Buera, a spokesperson for the armed groups in Libya’s eastern region, known as Cyrenaica.
“The international community must understand that when they (are) supporting [Prime Minister Ali Zeidan] and his government, they are actually supporting criminal Islamist groups – not a legitimate government,” he says. “As the chaos increases in Tripoli we are winning more support domestically and this needs to be recognized.”
The government's control is so weak that a militia with ties to the interior ministry kidnapped the Libyan prime minister earlier this month. One of the militiamen publicly claimed responsibility for the abduction, but he remains a free man.

Al-Jafari : Punitive coercive economic
measures fueled the crisis in Syria
Syria Breaking News, 25 October, 2013

The unilateral coercive economic measures against Syria have inflamed the crisis instead of extending a helping hand, left very bad impacts on the livelihood of the Syrians and increased their suffering, Syria 's permanent representative to the United Nations , Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said.

" These measures are a completion of backing terrorism and extremism approach," al-Jaafari on Thursday addressed the Economic and Financial Second Committee at the United Nations during discussing the item of issues related to macro-economic policies including international trade and development.
" Those countries and entities especially the so-called friends of Syria approved and implemented a series of unilateral economic, financial and commercial punitive and coercive measures without distinguishing between the government's establishments, private sector or ordinary citizens,"
He said: "despite knowing that the Syrian government and the private sector are responsible for the progress of the economic wheel and growth in Syria and for securing the livelihood and welfare of the Syrian people, they applied these unilateral coercive measures on a large number of establishments and governmental and private companies which invest in important civil vital sectors.
"Such measures violate the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter and resolutions and the rules of International Trade Law," he said.

Economic Sanctions as Human Rights Violations:
International Law and the Right to Life
Islamic Human Rights Commission, 14 May 2013

Whilst the last decade has seen an unprecedented rise in wars waged openly by the US and NATO against various countries, governments and regimes, arguably another tool of war has been strengthened, that is equally devastating in its impact.
Economic sanctions are not new, however they have become a ‘peacetime’ weapon which has resulted and may possibly result in hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths and suffering on a larger scale.
The anomaly that economic sanctions raise is a startling one. Whilst illegal in war-time, and considered a violation of the Geneva Convention (e.g. the 1977 Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions prohibit any wartime measure that has the effect of depriving a civilian population of objects indispensable to its survival..), in peace-time economic sanctions are perfectly valid, whether they result in huge loss of life or crippling economic loss...

Economic sanction can be defined as “coercive economic measures taken against one or more countries to force a change in policies, or at least to demonstrate a country’s opinion about the other’s policies”.
Economic sanctions help a state or group of states to further their foreign policy objectives by imposing harsh and punitive measures against an offending state.

Economic sanctions and human rights are essentially at odds, and it is extremely misguided to believe that sanctions will help improvements in human rights in the targeted countries. Instead, they are more likely to lead to deterioration in the lived experience of the vast majority of sanctioned peoples.
Economic sanctions run contrary to the spirit of human rights because they explicitly and implicitly expose the ordinary citizen of the sanctioned country to considerable suffering. The scale and gravity of the suffering amounts to collective punishment (the punishment of a group of people for the actions of one or more other individuals or groups).

Economic sanction imposed during peacetime may infringe following human rights: the right to life, health, an adequate standard of living, including food, clothing, housing and medical care, and freedom from hunger. There is a positive duty on all states to take these rights into consideration when developing a sanctions regime.

The IHRC feels that the prohibition to starve civilians, through the use of sanctions, during an armed conflict should also be prohibited in time of peace.
It makes no sense that something illegal during war is not only legal but a preferred tool to pursue aggressive foreign policy agendas in peace-time. It is time that international organizations addressed this issue

Former British Foreign secretary Jack Straw
Jewish money prevents peace
Itamar Eichner, YNetNews, 10.27.2013

Former British Foreign Secretary and Labor MP Jack Straw made harsh statements during a British parliament debate last week, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. Listing the greatest obstacles to peace, Straw said that unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region.
Straw, who served as foreign secretary in Tony Blair's government in 2001-2006, further claimed that Germany’s “obsession” with defending Israel was also a contributing factor to failure to achieve peace.
The former British official made the comments during the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum in the British House of Commons. Also in attendance were former Israeli Knesset Member Einat Wilf and the Palestinian ambassador to London who accused Israel of "cultural genocide" and "ethnic cleansing."

"It was appalling to listen to Britain's former foreign secretary," Einat Wilf said .... "We're used to hearing groundless accusations from Palestinian envoys but I thought British diplomats, including former ones, were still capable of a measure of rational thought.
"Throughout the debate I reiterated that the origin of the conflict was the Arab and Palestinian unwillingness to accept the Jewish people's legitimate right to a state of their own, and that as long as that willingness is absent there will be no true solution."

A Jewish state or an Israeli democracy?
Shlomo Sand, Haaretz 26-9-2010

In the talks that appear to be taking place between Israel and the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his negotiating partner to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. One can understand the prime minister: A man so little observant of the Jewish religious tradition is unsure of his Jewish identity, hence his insecurity about the identity of his state - and the need to seek validation from our neighbors.

There's a wall-to-wall consensus, from Yisrael Beiteinu to Meretz, from enlightened journalists to learned professors, on Israel's definition as a Jewish state. But this definition strikingly resembles the definition of Iran as an Islamic republic or the United States as a Christian country.
True, some American evangelists believe that the United States' Christian character is at risk and seek to cement it in legislation. But the United States, like the rest of the enlightened world, still sees itself as belonging to all its citizens, regardless of religion and creed. ... The trouble is that the Zionist enterprise is far from satisfied with its creation and prefers to see it as a bastard. It prefers to cling to the idea of a Jewish people-race, profiting for now from its imaginary existence.

Israel’s choice: "Jewish only" or democratic?
Sonja Karkar, The Electronic Intifada, 25 April 2007

The time will have to come for Israel to declare its hand: is it “a state of the Jewish people throughout the world” as it defines itself, or a state of all its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish?
So far Israel has managed to convince the Western world that it is the only democracy in the region, but neglects to add that this democracy works only for its Jewish citizens. This is the conundrum: Israel has been unable to reconcile what it says it is, with want it wants to be — democratic and exclusively Jewish.
All of Israel’s one million plus Palestinian residents — the survivors and descendants of the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine — have long felt discriminated against, despite Israel paying lip-service to their democratic rights. ...

Israel’s Basic Law stops people from participating in elections if any party platform implies the “denial of the existence of the state of Israel as the state of Jewish people”.
Only recently, Israel’s Shin Bet (secret police) let it be known that it would “disrupt the activities of any groups that seek to change the Jewish or democratic character of Israel, even if they use legal means.” ...

The discourse has been taken up in the Palestinian public arena and now Israel is beginning to feel the same stirrings that finally exposed Apartheid South Africa for the racist state it was. It knows that sooner or later it will be forced to commit to being a “Jewish state only” or recognise the Palestinians as equal citizens and a national minority in their own land.
Already Palestinian intellectuals have drafted a document called The Democratic Constitution which envisages Israel as a multicultural democracy for the people living and born there....

The decent man of politics: Mandy Rhodes, 1-7-2013

He [Jack Straw] has been described before as ‘the decent man of politics’ and I ask why that should be seen as so unique in the world of elected politics.
He laughs: “I don’t know why people called me that because on the whole, people do get on and survive if they treat other people with respect and that doesn’t mean that I can’t be tough on people or get aerated, as they would say in Blackburn, but I do think you need to treat people with respect and also their arguments with respect."

Jewish Prejudice & Christian Truth
Rev. Samuel Cochran

"Why did they hate Christ? Various answers may be given... One thing is palpably obvious, that the Jews were bitterly prejudiced against him; and, we think, the text exhibits the nature of prejudice more specifically than any other form of selfishness."

"What is prejudice? The term literally means pre-judgment, or forming an opinion [..] without due examination...
A due examination is an honest and faithful endeavor, according to our ability, to know the truth as far as possible respecting all persons, doctrines, and subjects, into relation with which we may be brought.
A judgment formed after due examination, is a rational conclusion candidly deduced from the evidence before you.
Prejudice, then, being the contrary is the committing of the will to or against any given subject, at the bidding of mere constitutional impulse, or selfish consideration, regardless of the true weight of evidence.
Prejudice is an opinion assumed as true, not because the balance of evidence, honestly weighed, requires it, but because the mind wills to regard it in that particular light." (Samuel Cochran: "Truth in heart")

The West is adept at demonizing whoever they want to go after
John Robles, Voice of Russia, Feb 24, 2013

Renowned author Dr. Edward Herman spoke with the Voice of Russia's John Robles... Dr. Herman speaks about how the West, the CIA and NATO manipulate the media to demonize whoever they want to attack and how friends become evil enemies at the drop of a hat.

Herman: The standard procedure of the United States and the NATO powers is to demonize whoever they are going to go after.
So, Milosevic was made into a devil and the Serbs were made into an evil population. And of course the Bosnian Muslims loved that and latched onto that and they are still using it to achieve some of their aims. Countries finds it extremely difficult to throw off the burden of demonization and hatred by the West.
After we crushed Vietnam, we allegedly lost that war, but we damaged Vietnam horribly, we actually succeeded in maintaining an 18 year boycott of this victim to whom we ought to have been paying huge reparations. We actually should be paying gigantic reparations to Serbia for the illegal bombing war. But the West does this demonization and the demon charge hangs on.
When he was warring against Iran in the 1980s, Saddam Hussein was a friend of the United States and they actually provided him with weapons of mass destruction. And then he became worse than Hitler. But the media doesn’t stress this and avoid it, they ignore the fact that he was our ally and then the next day he is a demon....
The capability of the West and the media to manipulate facts, and the CIA to manipulate facts and demonize, and have an effective case against whomever we have demonized, it is amazing how the West does this.

A formidable weapon of mass destruction
Israel Shamir 2001

* The very essence of the Gospel is the rejection of revenge. That was the great difference between the Church and the Synagogue, the two sisters born two thousand years ago. This built-in difference is the inherent feature of the schism between the two faiths: while Christians are called to pray for their enemies, Jews are supposed to dream of vengeance.
* Judeo-American discourse inherited the demonisation idea from its Jewish predecessor. Introduction of fury, hatred and vengefulness into a discussion of the adversary is a potent traditional Jewish ideological weapon. It is never turned on inside the community, but used outside of it.

In the struggle of ideas, there is a formidable weapon of mass destruction: demonisation of the opponent. Theologically it is called the ‘Manichean’ heresy. There is no better systemic weapon if you intend to destroy society. One should not divide people unto Sons of Light and Sons of Darkness.

Jews usually are quite tolerant of ideas produced within the community. The founder of Zionism Theodor Hertzl was anything but a pious Jew. Religious Jews greatly disliked him. Still, when a Rabbi was asked to say something good about him, he found good words: Theodor Hertzl never spoke on mundane subjects in a synagogue, never entered a toilet while wearing phylacteries, he never studied the Talmud on Christmas Eve. The truth is that Hertzl never visited a synagogue, never wore phylacteries, never studied the Talmud, full stop.
In a similar vein, Jews were quite tolerant of Leon Trotsky the Communist, and of Yair Stern the Nazi supporter, for they knew that every idea has its positive elements....
But to the outside world, Jews usually offered the idea of the eternally blessed vs. the eternally damned, of seething rage, of anger and vengeance. In order to restore the balance of mind, Jewish internal tolerance should be universalised, and Jewish external intolerance rejected.

Judeo-American thought keeps producing intolerance for external consumption. Ronald Reagan called Russia, ‘the Evil Empire’. Bush called Saddam Hussein, ‘Hitler’. Barbara Amiel, wife and guiding light of the media magnate Lord Black, remarked that now, Israel and the Jews are presented as an Evil Empire.

Wrong, Ms Amiel: there are no Evil Empires, only unchecked ones.

Soviet Russia was not an Evil Empire, nor was Communism embodied in Stalin and the Gulag. Sholokhov, Block, Pasternak, Esenin, Mayakovsky and Deineka embraced the Revolution and expressed its ideas in art. It was a land of the great and partly successful experiment in equality and brotherhood of Man, of a brave attempt to defeat the spirit of Greed. Communists and their supporters tried to liberate labour, [..] to remove poverty and free the human spirit. Communism brought forth the social democracy of Europe.
Germany was not an Evil Empire, nor was the spirit of organic traditionalism embodied in Hitler and Auschwitz. The Traditionalists tried to establish an alternative paradigm based on Wagner, Nietzsche and Hegel, to go to the roots and traditions of the folk. Not in vain, the best writers and thinkers of Europe from Knut Hamsun to Louis Ferdinand Celine to Ezra Pound to William Butler Yeats to Heidegger saw a positive element in the Traditionalist organic approach.
If Russia and Germany had not been demonised, it is quite possible we would not have seen them coming to such extremes.

We should not demonise their opponents, either. America is not an Evil Empire. It can and should be brought to its senses. The American spirit of entrepreneurship, invention, self-reliance, unbridled freedom and democracy should be kept as all-human valuable assets.
The Jewish People are not an Evil Empire. Good organisers and ambassadors, stubborn and devout, easily carried away, high-strung, first-class thinkers and brave soldiers; Jews are needed for the prosperity of mankind.

We have to restore the balance of mind and discourse lost in the aftermath of the World War Two, due to the too-complete victory of the bourgeois ‘Judeo-American’ thought. While condemning excesses and war crimes, we should regain the kingdom of the spirit from Mayakovsky to Pound. There are no evil men, we are created in the image of God, and all ideas are needed to produce new thought....
Thus, we should look for a synthesis of the four tendencies: the organic native love of nature, local roots and tradition, social communal justice for all mankind, love of life and entrepreneurship; and spirituality.

Bouthaina Shaaban: Capitalizing on diversity of opinions
and political affiliations to serve homeland
Syria Online 28-10-2013

Presidential Political and Media Advisor, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban underlined the necessity of according care to the culture and science and shaping public opinion despite the circumstances triggered by the crisis in Syria.
Dr. Shaaban was speaking during al-Baath Forum for Dialogue organized by the Damascus branch of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party titled ''the Dilemma of the Syrian Intellectual amid Crisis".
''Difference is healthy and useful for analyzing problems, address shortcomings and initiate reconstruction after the crisis ends.''

Shaaban called for creating objective conditions that help the intellectual play his role, as the Arab world is witnessing '' a terrifying cultural decline''.

Dr. Shaaban saw that the crisis, in one of its dimensions, is one of culture, intellect, knowledge and opinion, pointing out that the Gulf States have played a negative role in the Arab culture in recent decades.
For his part, Dr. Khalaf al-Miftah, member of the Regional Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party underlined the importance of the forum in implementing an awareness-raising, educational intellectual plan that influences shaping public opinion.
He also said the role of the intellectual is focused on effecting change in society, to face the cultures trying to return the Arab societies to the past.
Head of National Initiative for the Syrian Kurds Omar Osi pointed out that the intellectuals have failed to do what ought to be done during the crisis, indicating that some drama makers have gone against the will of the sweeping majority of the Syrian people..
The participants focused on the importance of building a cultural project that stands up to the scheme targeting the region... The coming phase requires building a culture of citizenship and national character, the participants pointed out, stressing that the scheme that has been concocted against the region started with the cultural invasion and the deconstruction of the cultural structures of societies.

Egypt's new constitution to guarantee absolute religious freedom
Gamal Essam El-Din, Ahram online, 28 Oct 2013

A majority of the committee tasked with amending the suspended 2012 constitution has voted to revise article 47, which guarantees the free exercise of religion for all citizens, committee media spokesperson Mohamed Salmawy said.
Article 47, which was first drafted by a ten-member technical committee in August, now reads "Freedom of belief is guaranteed. The state guarantees freedom of religious practice, and facilitates the building of places of worship for the Abrahamic traditions, as regulated by law."
According to Salmawy, the 50-member committee proposed on Sunday evening to amend the article's text to state "the state guarantees absolute freedom of religious practice."
In addition, Salmawy added, changes may be made to clarify that "freedom of religious practice is guaranteed in an absolute way, even for those who do not follow the three Abrahamic religions, and that the state facilitates the construction of places of worship for all."
Salmawy noted that most committee members agree that Islam grants absolute freedom for all religions, citing the Prophet Mohamed who said "We are not entitled to open the hearts of others to know what their beliefs are." As such, the committee argues that the new constitution must give all citizens the right to practice religion in an absolute sense.

Salmawy vehemently denied that the constitutional committee has opened discussion on article 219, which was drafted in 2012 under an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly with the intention to limit the definition of Islamic Sharia.
According to Salmawy, the ten-member technical committee had already removed article 219 before submitting the draft constitution to the 50-member committee for amendment....
Mohamed Abul-Ghar, chairman of the liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party, told correspondents that article 219 goes against religious freedom and aims to impose a strict code of Islam on the Egyptian society.

Committee chairman Amr Moussa told an Algerian newspaper on Sunday that "the final decision on article 219 will be left to a vote on the constitution at the end of November."

Syrian Minister: US Thinking of ‘Opening Channels’ with Damascus
FARS News Agency, 30-10-2013

TEHRAN (FNA)- Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar said that the US is "seriously thinking about opening channels with Damascus" following his meeting with UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus on Tuesday.
Haidar, however, added that "it is too early to talk about that, especially since the US has not ceased supporting the opposition politically and in the media," Russia Today quoted him as saying in a press conference.
Haidar’s comments came the same day Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sacked Deputy Premier Qadri Jameel for conducting unauthorized meetings abroad, an implicit reference to Jameel’s meeting with US point man for Syria Robert Ford on Saturday to discuss proposed Geneva peace talks.
The Syrian Minister rejected Brahimi's suggestion to unite the Syrian opposition's representatives in Geneva II because the internal opposing factions have radical differences with the coalition which has set preconditions to attend the conference.

Washington, Al-Qaeda & Turkey
FARS News Agency 30-10-2013

TEHRAN (FNA)- It is no longer possible to conceal the obvious. The West, in its attempts to remove Bashar al-Asad from power during the years of the war in Syria, has nurtured a force so sinister that its tentacles are now reaching to the Western capitals themselves. Al-Qaeda is at the peak of its influence in the Middle East.

In Somalia, the group al-Shabaab has announced its complete merger with this organization. In Libya its members unceremoniously arrested the prime minister, and then let him go. In Yemen al-Qaeda essentially rules entire provinces. In Syria itself, no other serious forces remain which are fighting against the regime... At any moment the question ought to arise as to how all this could happen....

In this respect it is worth noting an article published recently in The Wall Street Journal, where Turkey, and more specifically the head of the Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) Hakan Fidan, who is called the main acting force in organizing the rebellion against the Syrian regime, were “appointed” as the main culprits in the renaissance of al-Qaeda...

The article makes it clear that Washington considers Fidan the author of Turkey's national security policy, and is not pleased that it is “sometimes counter to [the interests] of the US”.
The Americans say that under Fidan's leadership the MIT acted like a “traffic cop” that let weapons and reinforcements through border checkpoints to the Syrian rebels. But the moderate opposition claims that from the first the main shipments went not to them, but to the Islamists. It was stated that in May during Erdogan's visit to Washington, at a meeting at which Fidan was also present, B. Obama criticized the Turks for sending arms “to the wrong rebels, including anti-Western jihadists”.
Turkish analysts believe that the article in the WSJ is aimed not only against Hakan Fidan, but indirectly against Erdogan himself; both are presented as the main culprits in the rise of al-Qaeda. ...

The policy Ankara has conducted in recent years with regard to Syria also has become a threat to Turkey itself. ... Turkey has no immunity from the spread of radicalism. According to some estimates, there are already over 500 young Turks fighting in Syria. Al-Qaeda cells on Turkish territory are actively recruiting young members. For them Ankara is but a temporary ally; Erdogan's regime is “too moderate” for them to acknowledge as legitimate. ... (Dmitry Minin - Strategic Culture Foundation, 19 Oct 2013).

Turkey's Spymaster Plots Own Course on Syria
Wall Street Journal, 10-10-2013

President Obama and John Kerry met with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Turkish intelligence chief Fidan, second and third from left, in May. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
"Hakan Fidan is the face of the new Middle East," says James Jeffrey, who recently served as U.S. ambassador in Turkey and Iraq. "We need to work with him because he can get the job done," he says. "But we shouldn't assume he is a knee-jerk friend of the United States, because he is not."

Mr. Fidan is one of three spy chiefs jostling to help their countries fill a leadership vacuum created by the upheaval and by America's tentative approach to much of the region.
One of his counterparts is Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief, who has joined forces with the Central Intelligence Agency in Syria but who has complicated U.S. policy in Egypt by supporting a military takeover there. The other is Iran's Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander-in-chief of the Quds Forces, the branch of the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps that operates outside of Iran and whose direct military support for Mr. Assad has helped keep him in power.

Mr. Fidan's anti-Assad campaign harks to August 2011, when Mr. Erdogan called for Mr. Assad to step down. Mr. Fidan later started directing a secret effort to bolster rebel capabilities by allowing arms, money and logistical support to funnel into northern Syria—including arms from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf allies—current and former U.S. officials say.
Mr. Erdogan wanted to remove Mr. Assad not only to replace a hostile regime on Turkey's borders but also to scuttle the prospect of a Kurdish state emerging from Syria's oil-rich northeast, political analysts say. ...
In meetings with American officials and Syrian opposition leaders, Turkish officials said the threat posed by Jabhat al Nusra, the anti-Assad group, could be dealt with later...

Flashback 2011
Putin: "a medieval crusade"
by Lidia Okorokova at 28/04/2011

Russia toughened its opposition to Western military intervention in Libya this week as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin deployed his strongest criticism yet of NATO airstrikes in the country.
On Tuesday, speaking during a news conference in Copenhagen, Putin said the North African country was being illegally destroyed by “so-called civilised societies” and that NATO was going beyond the UN mandate when it dropped guided bombs on embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli....

On Wednesday, this time in Swedish capital Stockholm, Putin kept up his barrage of criticism, saying that he was “dumbfounded” over how easily decisions were being made to use force against countries. Putin said “this happens despite human rights and humanity concerns which the civilised world is believed to advocate."
"Don’t you think that there is a serious controversy between words and practice of international relations?” he said, adding that this “imbalance” should be eliminated. (Moscow News 2011)

Kucinich: NATO Not Exempt From Law
John Glaser, August 23, 2011

NATO commanders who authorized the bombing of Libya should be “held accountable” to international law and hauled before the world court for civilian deaths, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said Tuesday.
“NATO’s top commanders may have acted under color of international law, but they are not exempt from international law,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his office. “If members of the Qadhafi regime are to be held accountable, NATO’s top commanders must also be held accountable through the International Criminal Court for all civilian deaths resulting from bombing. Otherwise, we will have witnessed the triumph of a new international gangsterism.”

Kucinich argued that NATO’s failure to keep to the initial UN mandate of protecting civilians also warrants investigation. ... “Did the United States at the inception of the war against Libya align itself with elements of Al Qaeda, while elsewhere continuing to use the threat of Al Qaeda as a reason for U.S. military intervention, presence and occupation?” ( 2011)

Saddam's Death 11

Iran calls for human rights cooperation with Russia
Mehr News 31-10-2013

15-3-2013: Euronews spoke to Mohammad Javad Larijani, Secretary General of Human Rights Council in Iran, and top advisor to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
TEHRAN, Oct. 31 (MNA) – Iran’s human rights chief has called for an expansion of cooperation with Russia in areas of human rights.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary general of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, made the call in a meeting with the Russian plenipotentiary representative in human rights in Tehran on Wednesday.

Larijani lamented the fact that the United Nations has appointed a special rapporteur on human rights for Iran. He criticized Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, saying he is using terrorists as his sources of reports about human rights situation in Iran.
“The situation of human rights is such that the UN special rapporteur is mentioning notorious terrorists such as Rigi, Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, and PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan), who have Iranian people’s blood on their hands, as advocates of human rights.”
This approach has come as a blow to the UN and shows that the human rights issue has been distanced from its major goal, Larijani commented.

Syria militants spreading Islamophobia
Press TV, Fri Nov 1, 2013

A senior Iranian Sunni cleric says foreign-backed Takfiri militants operating inside Syria are spreading Islamophobia across the world, Press TV reports.
In an interview with Press TV on Thursday, Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi described the militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as “extremist deviants.”

"By resorting to violence and extremism, not only do Takfiri insurgents stir hatred within the Muslim world but they also turn non-Muslims against Muslims," he said.
The cleric said these groups seek to monopolize Islam by categorizing everyone else as non-believers. He further called on all Takfiri groups to accept rationalism and the true teachings of Islam, and renounce violence and extremism.

Religion and Philosophy:
a relation of harmony or confrontation?
Tal'at Radwan (

Almuslih (Arabic for 'The Reformer') aims to maximize the exposure and distribution of journalism and analyses promoting progressive thought in the Arab Middle East and the Muslim world.

There are many who have promoted the scourge of conformity as something that is socially advantageous, while it actually constitutes calcification, that is, a conformity even with natural, societal or political phenomena that are harmful to mankind.

It is philosophy alone that rescues mankind from this scourge. Religious institutions, on the other hand, consistently promote this conformity, for the believer of whatever religion sees his faith as absolutely true, whereas other faiths are absolutely false. Moreover, within one religion a plurality of denominations vie with each other, each faction raising the flag of its own rightness and the error of the others.

Thus the followers of religions and of their various denominations have brought about the phenomenon of ‘psychological ghettos’ – despite the fact that they live in a single society – since they refuse to adopt a philosophical mindset founded upon the rejection of fixed certainties, and the re-examination of inherited cultural values.
Nor do they consider to what extent their culture is in harmony with the concept of freedom whose pillars were set down by the philosophers on the basis of the separation between the religious belief of a person (that is, his individual freedom) and the imposition of his faith and denomination upon others.
Had this separation been achieved, we would now be avoiding the current disaster of religion being crammed into politics, economy, science and literature.

Ability to employ the quality of wonder

The true beginning of the emergence of philosophy was the human mind’s ability to employ the quality of wonder. For it was wonder that gave birth to the love of questioning and thus set the path towards demolishing conformity. .... While philosophy insists upon establishing the pillars of relativism, religions work towards the establishment of absolutes.

With respect to this absoluteness we find the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) adopting similar positions concerning womankind. In antiquity we have Genesis III,17: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”, and in the New Testament we have Peter I,3: “You married women, be submissive to your own husbands” and in the latest (Islamic) period (as the late Bayyumi Qandil termed it) we have: “men are a degree above them” [Qur’an II,228], with one man equal to two women in bearing witness and, in matters of inheritance, “to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females” [Qur’an IV,11]....
So we see that the Abrahamic faiths deal with women on the basis of an absolute position, rather than the relative position that philosophy calls for.
While the language used by the philosophers among themselves is one of objective criticism – something which led over generations to the development of philosophical schools – the language of takfir is the weapon of a writer who relies upon religious authority.

The Arabs have never produced a philosopher in the proper scientific meaning of the term, not even in the person of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) whom the Arabs class as a philosopher despite his attempts to harmonise faith with philosophy. Evidence of this is the way that the Muslim religious priesthood held all philosophers to be zindiqs while others, more charitably, wrote them off as ‘short sighted’.

"They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords, instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners. Quran, Al-Tawba 31

Philosophical reflection differs greatly from religious reflection. In philosophical reflection you find nothing that is considered the subject of worship, or any area or any specific image that is sacralized. Philosophy alone sets us off from the barbarous, savage folk.

The civilisation and cultural level of a people is in direct proportion to how far sound philosophizing is distributed in it. A man who lives without engaging in philosophy is like one who keeps his eyes shut, making no attempt to open them.
I believe that this metaphorical shutting of the eyes inflicts a severe anaemia upon the ability to experience the wonder that the true philosopher enjoys, and from which questions on the nature of existence become generated. Aristotle was right when he wisely remarked:

It was through the feeling of wonder that men now and at first began to philosophize.