Saddam's Death, Page 32
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 31: october 2013 and Page 33: december 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)

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

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.

"We have decided not to enter Geneva talks unless it is with dignity, and unless there is a successful transfer of power with a specific timeframe,” Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba told an Arab League emergency meeting in Cairo.

Syria Breaking News, 3-11-2013

"The Syrian people are the only authorized party to draw the future of Syria, and any reached or agreed solution must be accepted by them and reflects their desires away from any external interferences." President Bashar al-Assad, 3-11-2013

Geneva conference must include Syrian Government and opposition,
says Arab League-UN envoy - UN News 1-11-2013

The proposed Geneva II conference to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis must include representatives from the Government as well as the opposition, the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, told a news conference in Damascus.
“The difference between Geneva I and Geneva II is that in Geneva II, Syria will be represented by two delegations, the first representing the Syrian Government and the second representing the Syrian opposition,” Mr. Brahimi said.

The goal of Geneva II would be to achieve a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the Government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva communiqué, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on 30 June 2012.
The communiqué lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

Syrian Opposition Rules Out Peace Talks
Won't Go to Geneva Unless It's to Talk Regime Change
by Jason Ditz, November 03, 2013

Syrian National Coalition (SNC) President Ahmad al-Jarba has ruled out his faction attending the Geneva II peace talks, or indeed any other peace talks, saying that they’d never meet with the Assad government, or with Iran.
A timeframe for President Bashar al-Assad to cede power is one of the conditions listed by the head of the Syrian National Coalition in order for the main opposition group to participate in the proposed Geneva II conference.
Jarba said he would go to a future conference in Geneva so long as it was entirely a discussion of “a successful transfer of power” discussing the installation of his faction as the new government.
That’s clearly not happening, since the SNC doesn’t command the loyalty of very many of the rebel fighting forces on the ground, and even if they somehow were installed as the new government, the civil war would just transition to one between them and al-Qaeda.

Ahmad Jarba, born in the Qamishli tribe in 1969, holds a bachelor of law and is a member of the Revolutionary Council of Syrian Clans representing Al-Hasakah. He has close ties with the Saudi Arabian government. He is a leader of the powerful Shammar tribe, which has branches in Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. (Wikipedia)

Ousted Egyptian President Mursi’s trial adjourned until January
Al Arabiya, 4 November 2013

The trial of ousted Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi has been adjourned until Jan. 8, according to Al Arabiya’s correspondent. Monday’s session was adjourned twice due to chaos in the courtroom and Mursi’s reported refusal to wear the white outfit mandatory for defendants. He is being tried on charges of of inciting the killing of protesters in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

Mursi insisted he was “the legitimate president” during his trial at the Police Academy in Cairo on Monday. “I see the judiciary as a cover for the treacherous coup,” the former president stated. “You have no right to try me because I am your president,” Mursi reportedly told the judge presiding the case, according to the Egyptian Television.
The Islamist leader who was overthrown by Egypt's military on July 3 has made the Rabaa finger sign, associated with pro-Brotherhood supporters, and asked the court to end the “embarrassment” that is his trial. He added that he was in the courtroom against his will. ...
Mursi, who was ousted by Egypt’s military on July 3, after massive protests against his rule, appeared in court along with 14 other senior Muslim Brotherhood figures on charges of inciting the killing of protesters in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

Flashback: Egypt president in Saudi Arabia
to 'thank' King on supportive stance
Middle East Online, 7-10-2013

RIYADH - Egypt's military-backed interim president Adly Mansour arrived in Saudi Arabia Monday to thank the kingdom, the first country to welcome the July military ouster of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi.
Saudi Arabia, which along with other Gulf monarchies has long seen Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood as a threat, embraced his July 3 overthrow and quickly pledged financial aid to the military-backed authorities.

Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz received Mansour, who arrived in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on his first official trip abroad since he replaced Morsi, who was Egypt's first freely elected leader.
"Visiting the kingdom was a must, as I had to thank the custodian of the two holy mosques (King Abdullah) personally on his supportive stances that comforted the Egyptians," Mansour told the Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat.
King Abdullah, whom Mansour is set to meet later on Monday, was the first foreign head of state to congratulate Egypt's interim president hours after his appointment in July.

Barack Obama: "Equally in the eyes of the law"
Huffington Post Blog, 11/03/2013

Here in the United States, we're united by a fundamental principle: we're all created equal and every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. We believe that no matter who you are, if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve the chance to follow your dreams and pursue your happiness. That's America's promise.

That's why, for instance, Americans can't be fired from their jobs just because of the color of their skin or for being Christian or Jewish or a woman or an individual with a disability. That kind of discrimination has no place in our nation. ...
Americans ought to be judged by one thing only in their workplaces: their ability to get their jobs done. ... If someone works hard every day, does everything he or she is asked, is responsible and trustworthy and a good colleague, that's all that should matter...

If we want to create more jobs and economic growth and keep our country competitive in the global economy, we need everyone working hard, contributing their ideas, and putting their abilities to use doing what they do best. We need to harness the creativity and talents of every American.
America is at a turning point. We're not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we're becoming more just as a nation. But we still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals....

In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the content of their character."

Israel and the Dangers of Ethnic Nationalism
An Interview With Jonathan Cook
by Joseph Cotto, CounterPunch, 4-11-2013

Cotto: What sort of general impact would you say Zionism has had on the Middle East?

Cook: Zionism was a reaction to the extreme ethnic nationalisms that dominated Europe last century. It is therefore hardly surprising that it mirrors their faults. In exporting to the Middle East this kind of nationalism, Zionism was always bound to play a negative role in the region. ..
The idea of ethnic-religious supremacism, which history suggests is latent in many ethnic nationalisms, quickly came to the fore in Zionism. Today, Israel believes in:

* segregation at all levels – made concrete in the separation wall across the West Bank;
* in ethnic exclusivism – Palestinian citizens inside Israel are even denied an Israeli nationality;
* a kind of national paranoia – walls are built to protect every border;
* but at the same time, and paradoxically, a refusal to define those borders – and with it a craving for expansion and greater “living room”.

All of this was predictable if one looked at the trajectory of ethnic nationalisms in Europe. Instead, we in the West see all this as a reaction to Islamism. The reality is we have everything back to front: Zionism, an aggressive ethnic nationalism, fed reactionary forces in the region like political Islam.

In terms of Israel’s greater economic success, there are several factors to take into account. It receives massive subsidies from the US taxpayer – billions of dollars in military aid and other benefits. ... It also benefits from the financial connections it enjoys with worldwide Jewry. Just think of the property market in Israel, which is artificially boosted by wealthy US and European Jews who inject money into the economy by buying an Israeli condo.

But equally importantly – as a just-published report from the World Bank concludes – it has prospered by plundering and exploiting Palestinian resources. The World Bank argues that Israel’s de facto annexation of 62 per cent of the West Bank, known as Area C in the Oslo Accords, has stripped any nascent Palestinian state of almost all its resources: land for development, water for agriculture, quarries for stone, the Dead Sea for minerals and tourism, etc. Instead these resources are being stolen by more than 200 settlements Israel has been sowing over the West Bank.
Israel also exploits a captive, and therefore cheap, Palestinian labour force. That both benefits the Israeli economy and crushes the Palestinian economy.

Israel needed to ethnically cleanse Palestinians in 1948 to create a Jewish state. It needs separate citizenship and nationality laws, which distinguish between Jews and non-Jews, to sustain a Jewish state.
It needs its own version of the “endless war on terror” – an aggressive policy of oppression and divide and rule faced by Palestinians under its rule – to prevent any future internal challenge to the legitimacy of its Jewishness.
It needs to keep Palestinian refugees festering in camps in neighbouring Arab states to stop a reversal of its Jewishness. And it has had to become an armed and fortified garrison state, largely paid for by the US, to intimidate and bully its neighbours in case they dare to threaten its Jewishness.

Ending that ethnocentrism would alter relations with its neighbours dramatically.

Palestinians are still unknown and their rights are still violated.
James Zogby, Ahram Weekbly 30-10-2013

"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

As long as Palestinians are not known, the American discourse about peace will remain hopelessly one-sided. ... If Americans can’t see or identify with the Palestinians who lost their homes and lands, who were humiliated at checkpoints in front of their children, or who were abused and denied basic rights as prisoners, then all they will care about is how to ensure security for Israelis.

To correct this situation, what is required is an embrace of justice and human rights, or as one of my early mentors, Israel Shahak (founder of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights), would say, “to fight for equal rights for every human being”.

Whether there will be one state or two states will be decided, if it even can be, by the negotiators. But meanwhile, what of the victims? Who will speak for them? Who will give those who suffer the hope that their cries for justice are heard? And who will inform the US public that it is not only Israeli humanity that is threatened by the absence of peace? In fact, it is Palestinians who have paid and continue to pay an enormous price.
Recognition of this reality is a key ingredient in the search for a just peace, because only when Palestinians are known and their rights are fully recognised will the US feel the need to press for balanced peace that recognises the rights and needs of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Hamas appoints 1st female English spokesperson
Ma'an News Agency, 5-11-2013

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The government in the Gaza Strip appointed a woman as their first English-language spokeswoman on Sunday, offering the Hamas-led authority a fresh new face to represent itself on the world stage.

Israa Al-Mudallal, 23, a journalist who spent years as a child in the United Kingdom, said in an interview that she would "address Western and Israeli media" and would "work to change media discourse, painting a different picture of Palestine and Gaza."
She added: "The Western media has begun to realize that the Israeli media falsifies the facts, and so we have to make a great effort to debunk Israeli falsehoods."

Al-Mudallal previously worked at the al-Kitab television station, and studied journalism and media at the Islamic University of Gaza. She credits her studies in journalism as well as her time in Britain as a child for helping her "to understand Western culture."
She attended primary school in the city of Bradford in the United Kingdom, while her father was completing his higher education there. Her father is now a professor of political science and history at the Islamic University in Gaza.
Her appointment comes as part of a broader effort on the part of the Gaza government to strengthen its approach to public relations and to explaining its message to a non-Palestinian audience.

Women have long been active in the Hamas movement, and in addition to the Hamas-led government's sole female minister, Jamilla Al Shanti, there are numerous women in leadership positions in various departments, ministries, and in parliament.

The outsider with a mission
Marking the centenary of Albert Camus
The Irish Times, 5-11-2013

‘Albert Camus’s literary success was achieved against massive odds, which may explain his close identification with outsiders and misfits of all sorts and his deep commitment to social justice. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, at which point he had published a string of masterpieces that included The Outsider, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall and The Rebel’.

Whenever I think of Albert Camus, it is North Africa that springs to mind, and particularly the ancient city of Tipasa, so wistfully evoked in a remarkable essay from the prose collection, Nuptials.
The first line transports us to an Edenic world: “In spring Tipasa is inhabited by gods and the gods speak in the sun and the scent of absinthe leaves, the silver-armoured sea, the blue glare of the sky, the flower-covered ruins and the light in great bubbles among the heaps of stone”. ...
One can detect an almost pagan worship of nature in these lines. However, one of Camus’s most prescient critics, Jean Onimus, once wrote that the heart of the problem in Camus is “religious” if one uses this term to refer to the central issues dealt with by religions: existential anguish, a sense of guilt, the horror of death, the atrocious experience of the absurd.
While this is definitely true, Camus was also a believer in the grandeur of humankind and in our capacity for good as well as for evil.

In his acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, he underlined how a writer is duty-bound to be at “the service of truth and the service of liberty”.
He continued: “Whatever our personal weaknesses may be, the nobility of our craft will always be rooted in two commitments, difficult to maintain: the refusal to lie about what one knows and the resistance to oppression”.
His experience of extreme poverty during his youth and early manhood taught Camus that justice mattered; it showed him that “being a man” brought with it duties and responsibilities that could not be shirked.

This year marks the centenary of Camus’s birth in Mondovi, Algeria. One hundred years on, his star continues to shine as brightly as the Mediterranean sun that moulded his character and shaped his writing.

The writer was born 100 years ago, on November 7th, in a remote corner of colonial Algeria, where his father was employed as a labourer in a vineyard. When the first World War started, Lucien Camus joined a Zouave infantry regiment. He was killed weeks later, at the Battle of the Marne.
Camus’s mother, Catherine, the daughter of Spanish immigrants, was half-deaf and suffered from a speech impediment. She cleaned houses to support her two sons. The family kept the piece of shrapnel that killed Lucien in a biscuit tin in their two-room flat in Belcourt, a working-class district of Algiers. The flat had no bathroom, heat or plumbing. ...
Despite extreme hardship, Camus remembered his childhood fondly. “I was born poor and without religion, under a happy sky, feeling harmony, not hostility, in nature. I began not by feeling torn, but in plenitude,” he wrote in 1948. (Irish Time)

In his Nobel Prize speech, he asserted that the duty of the writer was two-fold, consisting of “the refusal to lie about what one knows and the resistance to oppression”. This goes to the heart of Algerian Chronicles, and it’s why we should look to Camus today.
He scrutinized the powerful and championed the powerless. He rejected the easy answers and confident half-truths of ideology. And he steadfastly trumpeted the cause of human dignity.
His principled example has a timeless and universal resonance. The same violent, nihilistic urges that he decried —terrorism, torture, tribalism— continue to plague our world. ... The thundering force of Camus’s moral witness still echoes for all to hear. (Barry Lenser, 4 june 2013)

Imploding the Myth of Israel
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Nov 6, 2013

Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism.
Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.
And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. ... They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them.
Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There are very few intellectuals or writers who have the tenacity and courage to confront this reality. This is what makes Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” one of the most fearless and honest books ever written about Israel.

“Goliath” is made up of numerous vignettes, some only a few pages long, that methodically build a picture of Israel, like pieces fit into a puzzle. ...

- Blumenthal cites a survey of Jewish Israeli attitudes on the Gaza bombing, known as Operation Cast Lead. The survey, by Daniel Bar-Tal, a political psychologist from Tel Aviv University, concluded that the public’s “consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians, and insensitivity to their suffering.” Bar-Tal tells Blumenthal “these attitudes are the product of indoctrination.” And Blumenthal sets out to chronicle the poison of this indoctrination and what it has spawned in Israeli society. ...
- “In Israel you have three systems of laws,” the Israeli Arab politician Ahmed Tibi observes in the Blumenthal book. “One is democracy for 80 percent of the population. It is democracy for Jews. I call it an ethnocracy or you could call it a Judocracy. The second is racial discrimination for 20 percent of the population, the Israeli Arabs. The third is apartheid for the population in the West Bank and Gaza. This includes two sets of governments, one for the Palestinians and one for the settlers. Inside Israel there is not yet apartheid but we are being pushed there with new laws.” ...
- The late Amnon Dankner, the former editor of Maariv, one of Israel’s major newspapers, Blumenthal notes, denounced “neo-Nazi expressions in the Knesset” and “entire parties whose tenor and tone arouse feelings of horror and terrifying memories.” David Landau, the former editor-in-chief of Haaretz, has called on Israelis to boycott the Knesset “to stand against the wave of fascism that has engulfed the Zionist project.” And Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, says: “Israel’s very existence is threatened by fascism.”...
- Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called “the conscience of Israel,” warned that if Israel did not separate church and state it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult.

Maliki sends a formal invitation
to the Government of Anbar to visit Baghdad.
NINA News 05/11/2013

Ramadi/ NINA /-- Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sent an official invitation to the local government of Anbar province to visit Baghdad and discuss the security and the tens political situation that prevailed in the province. Member of Anbar provincial council Adhal Fahdawi said to NINA reporter: " The invitation was accepted , but did not specify the date of the visit yet.
Anbar province is experiencing since more than ten-months demonstrations and sit-ins, calling for political reforms and the release of innocent detainees .

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)

Uprising against the government, or merely a Sunni call for rights?
By Bilal Ahmed, 5-3-2013

It had to happen eventually. Mass protests that have clearly been inspired by the Arab Spring have taken hold of the western Iraqi province of Anbar. Although past calls for popular action did not lead to substantial action, demonstrations exploded late last year. They have now come to pose the most significant threat to Nouri al-Maliki’s government since the Iraqi civil war.
Weekly protests began following the December arrest of bodyguards assigned to the Sunni finance minister Rafi al-Essawi. The action validated a common opinion that Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been eliminating Sunni political rivals... The narrative appeared to be that al-Maliki was slowly pushing Sunni Iraqis from positions of political influence....

However, it would be misleading to state that the protests are only motivated by Iraqi problems as they affect Sunnis. While many issues focus on Sunnis, such as the lingering policies of de-Baathification pursued by Paul Bremer that left millions of the group unemployed, others are more national.
The figures most fiercely criticized by the protesters are Sunni politicians in al-Maliki’s government, with many expressing frustration at the seeming inability of the sitting parliament to concretely solve the many issues facing Iraqi society. These are seen to have played out in Anbar with particular tragedy, as many cities in the province have yet to fully recover from the violence of the initial occupation, later civil war, and continued Iraqi insurgency.

Confronting foreign and takfiri plots
Syrian Arab News Agency, Nov 06, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad met a delegation from the Algerian National Committee for Supporting the Steadfastness of Syria...
During the meeting, President al-Assad affirmed that the Algerian people's support for Syria isn't unusual for this people, particularly since the Algerian people have had a very similar experience to what the Syrians are experiencing now in confronting terrorism, adding that the Syrian and Algerian people share an honorable history of confronting colonialism.
President al-Assad said that what is happening in the region affirms the need for uniting the efforts of Arab elite figures and nationalists to create an intellectual deterrent capable of protecting pan-Arabism and nationalism and confronting foreign and takfiri plots...

Restore freedom and dignity
IRNA Interview, 30-10-2013

Tehran, Oct 30, IRNA -- Algerian Ambassador to Tehran Sofiane Mimouni said on Wednesday that the main objective of the Algerian Revolution was to restore freedom and dignity of the Algerian people, putting an end to French colonialism.

IRNA: This interview is being done on the eve of the National Day of Algeria, would you please give our readers a brief introduction about the Algerian revolution and independence?

Ambassador: November first marks indeed the start in 1954 of the struggle of the Algerian people for national liberation which led to the independence of the country on July 5th 1962. ...
The main objective of the Algerian Revolution was to restore the freedom and the dignity of the Algerian people and to build a just and egalitarian State that preserves the inalienable rights of every Algerian.
In the aftermath of the independence, the Algerian people were resolutely committed, under the leadership of the National Liberation Front (FLN), architect of victory against French colonialism, in the challenging mission of constructing a social, strong and just State, able to respond to the countless needs and expectations of the population in different areas. ...
Thus, the Algerian State has faced, in 1962, enormous challenges, inheriting, after the departure of France, a devastated country, undermined by poverty, illiteracy (85% of the population) and a completely battered economy. ...

IRNA: The rise of extremism in Africa is coming as a new headache for the world. What the world in general and Africa in particular should do to stem the flow of extremism in the continent.

Ambassador: Terrorism is a global threat that requires a long term coherent international response. The rise of extremism and the emergence of new and complex threats constitute indeed a major challenge which needs to be addressed. As you know, Algeria has been confronted to terrorism for a decade and succeeded, at a high price, in defeating this scourge....
Algeria remains an active player in the global fight against terrorism. My country participates actively in the global action against terrorism in the regional and international forums. It is worth mentioning in this regard that the headquarters of the African Center for the study and research on terrorism is located in Algiers and that Algeria is one of the main promoters of the July 1999 Algiers convention on the prevention and combating of terrorism.

The Algiers Convention called on Member States’ conviction not to justify terrorism under any circumstances, origin, causes and objectives.

“Terrorist act” means:
(a) any act which is a violation of the criminal laws of a State Party and which may endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom of, or cause serious injury or death to, any person, any number or group of persons or causes or may cause damage to public or private property, natural resources, environmental or cultural heritage and is calculated or intended to:

(i) intimidate, put in fear, force, coerce or induce any government, body, institution, the general public or any segment thereof, to do or abstain from doing any act, or to adopt or abandon a particular standpoint, or to act according to certain principles; or
(ii) disrupt any public service, the delivery of any essential service to the public or to create a public emergency; or
(iii) create general insurrection in a State.

(b) any promotion, sponsoring, contribution to, command, aid, incitement, encouragement, attempt, threat, conspiracy, organizing, or procurement of any person, with the intent to commit any act referred to in paragraph (a) (i) to(iii).

Article 3: Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 1, the struggle waged by peoples in accordance with the principles of international law for their liberation or self-determination, including armed struggle against colonialism, occupation, aggression and domination by foreign forces shall not be considered as terrorist acts.

Frustrated Kerry’s peace critique a heavy slap in Netanyahu’s face
By Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, November 7, 2013

On Thursday [..] we all got a much better look at what John Kerry really thinks about progress — and blame — in the new peace effort he worked so strenuously to revive a little over three months ago. He turned directly to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and showed them rather more of his true colors. To the prime minister, it is safe to assume, they did not look particularly blue and white.
For the first time since he managed to restart the talks in July, Kerry dropped his statesman-like public impartiality, and clearly spoke from the heart — and what emerged were a series of accusations that amounted to a forceful slap in the face for Netanyahu. It was a rhetorical onslaught that the prime minister cannot have expected and one he will not quickly forget.

In an extremely unusual joint interview with Israel’s Channel 2 and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, a very frustrated Kerry basically blamed the Israeli government for stealing the Palestinians’ land and the Israeli public for living in bubble that prevents them from caring much about it.
If that wasn’t enough, he railed against the untenability of the Israel Defense Forces staying “perpetually” in the West Bank. In warning that a violent Palestinian leadership might supplant Mahmoud Abbas if there was not sufficient progress at the peace table, he appeared to come perilously close to empathizing with potential Palestinian aggression against Israel.

“If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis,” Kerry warned early in the interview, “if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel [and an] increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel.
“If we do not resolve the question of settlements,” he continued more dramatically, “and the question of who lives where and how and what rights they have; if we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”

He later elaborated, expressing apparently growing dismay over continued Israeli settlement expansion: “How, if you say you’re working for peace and you want peace, and a Palestine that is a whole Palestine that belongs to the people who live there, how can you say we’re planning to build in a place that will eventually be Palestine? So it sends a message that perhaps you’re not really serious.”

In lamenting the IDF’s presence in the West Bank, Kerry positioned himself directly opposite Netanyahu, for whom an ongoing Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley is a stated crucial condition for an agreement. ...
His comments, which indicated an assessment that Israelis are unrealistic about where the region is heading, seemed particularly bitter.
“The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos. I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?” Kerry asked rhetorically, before lashing out at ordinary Israelis. “I know there are people who have grown used to this,” he said referring to the current relatively peaceful stalemate. “And particularly in Israel. Israel says, ‘Oh we feel safe today. We have the wall, we’re not in a day-to-day conflict, we’re doing pretty well economically.’ “Well, I’ve got news for you,” he said, apparently addressing the Israeli public. “Today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s or next year’s. Because if we don’t resolve this issue, the Arab world, the Palestinians, neighbors, others, are going to begin again to push in a different way.”...

For Netanyahu, watching Kerry’s from-the-heart interview must have topped what was already a pretty lousy day. In Geneva, the six world powers were inching toward a deal with the Iranians that the prime minister fears would leave Tehran with an enrichment capability even as the sanctions are eased — something Netanyahu considers a “historic error.”

Netanyahu: Israel rejects nuclear deal with Iran
YNet News, 8-11-2013

Israel utterly rejects a mooted world powers deal with Iran aimed at ending a long-running row over its nuclear ambitions and will not be bound by such an accord, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday.

Speaking as headed into a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Netanyahu told reporters that Iran had got "the deal of the century".
Israel has called for the sanctions to remain in place until Iran has dismantled its entire enrichment program.
"I understand that the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva as well they should be because they got everything and paid nothing," Netanyahu said.

Geneva talks end without deal on Iran's nuclear programme
The Guardian,10 November 2013

Three gruelling days of high-level and high-stakes diplomacy came to an end in Geneva with no agreement on Iran's nuclear programme, after France blocked a stopgap deal aimed at defusing tensions and buying more time for negotiations.

French opposition was focused on a draft text agreement that laid out a short-term deal to slow down or stop elements of the Iranian nuclear programme in return for limited sanctions relief. The French complained that the text, which they said was mostly drafted by Iran and the US, had been presented as a fait accompli and they did not want to be stampeded into agreement.
Fabius told France Inter radio yesterday morning that Paris would not accept a "fools' game". "As I speak to you, I cannot say there is any certainty that we can conclude," he said.
Iranian officials insisted that the draft had been written in close collaboration with western officials, and said France was single-handedly holding up progress by dividing the "P5+1" negotiating group, comprising the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China....

On the sidelines of the talks [...] some western officials accused France of sabotaging the hopes of a deal to curry favour with Israel and the Gulf Arab states.

New York Times: Netanyahu generates hysterics
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNet News, 12-11-2013

WASHINGTON – The New York Times continues to slam Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In an editorial published Tuesday, the paper claimed that "inconclusive negotiations" between Iran and world powers "have given an opening to the Israeli prime minister to generate more hysterical opposition."
The liberal-leaning paper stated that "It would be nice if Iran could be persuaded to completely dismantle its nuclear program, as Mr. Netanyahu has demanded, but that is unlikely to ever happen.
"The administration of President George W. Bush made similar demands and refused to negotiate seriously and the result was an Iranian program that is more advanced than ever."
The editorial expressed disappointment that the failure of negotiations allowed Congress, Israel and Saudi Arabia "an opportunity to sabotage a deal."
It was further stated that while French concerns about Iran's heavy water reactor were "easily resolved", Israelis and American lawmakers happily embraced French Foreign Minister Fabius’s outburst in pushing the United States and its allies to take a tougher line against Iran."

How Netanyahu tries to intimidate Western politicians
By Ludwig Watzal, Palestine Chronicle 10-11-2013

Benyamin Netanyahu’s hyperventilated fury didn’t surprise anybody. Even before the first outlines of a possible long-term agreement between Iran and the West on Iran’s nuclear program were publicized, Israel’s Prime Minister categorically rejected any such agreement. This irrational behavior disqualifies him as a serious partner to other heads of states. His extremism goes even as far as to promote further sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu wants Iran to capitulate and abolish its entire nuclear industry...

That Western leaders should consult the leader of a tiny country before they act shows the imaginary power they attribute to Netanyahu. To seek advice from Netanyahu shows how intimidated Western politicians are...

The political charade, which Netanyahu performs, has nothing to do with the imaginary Iranian nuclear threat. The Israeli political establishment knows this and fears that it would lose its hegemony over the entire Middle East and Northern Africa if Iran would go nuclear. The late Israel Shahak has pointed out in his book “Open Secrets. Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies”, that Israel’s main goal is to maintain its hegemony from India to Mauritania.

The political interests of the Western powers and Israel are not the same. ... Netanyahu can perhaps bamboozle the U.S. government again, but Israel’s relationship with Europe is on a downward slide. Europe, and especially Germany, can look back on an enduring friendship with Iran. This friendship should not be damaged by unregenerate politicians.

Israel Shahak: The Racist Nature of Zionism (1975)

"IT IS MY CONSIDERED OPINION that the State of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term: In this state people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried out today mainly in cooperation with the institutions of the Zionist movement."

"Zionism is worse than the Apartheid regime of South Africa. That regime has "divided" the country and has forbidden the whites to buy land in a "black" area (the Bantustans) and the blacks to buy land in a "white" area. Zionism wants to "save" as much land as it can without any limit at all, in all areas of the "Land of Israel," and it turns the land it "saves" into one big Apartheid area, in which human beings who were born from non-Jewish mothers have no right to live. I see no difference whether the Apartheid-area was created by confiscation or by purchase. The most important fact is that it exists."

" The primary duty of all citizens of Israel, and also of all those Jews in the Diaspora who define themselves as the 'supporters of Israel' is to struggle against the racism and the discrimination which Zionism has established in the State of Israel, and which is directed against all the non-Jews who live in it. Such a struggle, which necessarily begins with the explanation of the racist character of Zionism and the State of Israel and the condemnation of their racism is neither anti-Jewish nor anti-Semitic."

American jews & the purity of the jewish race
YNet News, 13-11-2013

"So now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law." (Ezra 10:3).

The purity or race is viewed and labelled today in most of Christendom as "racist." And any White person who stands for racial purity is considered ungodly. However, God's Word clarifies the laws and examples for His covenant people to obey. We must hold fast to the practice of separation unto our own race in marriage, church, and nation. To do otherwise is an abomination in God's sight! Laurence Blanchard, in The Great White Desert

"Adolf Hitler raised race, the eternal foundation of the German, from the unconscious to consciousness. Adolf Hitler recognized race as that which is eternal." Hans Schemm, Gauleiter.

David Stav, chairman of the Tzohar organization for modern Orthodox rabbis, launched a frontal attack on Reform Jews and mixed marriages among the US Jewry.
"You're bringing mixed marriage in through the back door?" he told representatives of North American Jewish communities visiting Israel, including President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Rabbi Richard (Rick) Jacobs.
Stav, who was considered the moderate candidate in the recent Chief Rabbinate race, harshly and directly criticized assimilators in the United States and the Jewish organizations supporting them... "The assimilation problem in the US is not just the problem of American Jews," he said. "It's also our problem..."

Stav's remarks were made during a meeting of the Knesset Lobby for US-Israel Relations headed by Knesset Member Nachman Shai (Labor).
David Stav [..] found himself as the most conservative representative at the meeting, saying that "the law in the State of Israel requires us to guarantee the continuity of the Israeli society, and I must maintain the existing framework. The Torah is paying the heaviest price for the marriage and divorce law." ...

Stav's attack followed the findings of a survey commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation among Israeli citizens on issues of religion. According to the survey, conducted by the Teleseker company, 68% of Israel's Jews are concerned about the dramatic increase in mixed marriages in the United States.
The rise in mixed marriages was documented recently in a comprehensive study conducted by the Pew Research Center, which revealed that more than half of US Jews (58%) have a non-Jewish spouse.

Rick Jacobs said during the meeting that "the members, donors, and leaders of AIPAC and Federations are Reform and Conservative Jews...
He argued that the State of Israel "alienates Jews and puzzles many Americans, eroding Israel’s image as a home to democracy and religious freedom… We believe that there is more than one authentic way to be Jewish."

MK Merav Michaeli (Labor), who was present at the meeting, said that "the problem with the Orthodox Rabbinate in Israel is that it thinks in terms of the purity of the Jewish race. That wasn't the intention of Halacha, and it's a very bad way to preserve the Jewish people today.
"The Knesset's job is to separate religion from the State so that each and every person can be Jewish in their own way," Michaeli added.

Quran 9:30: The Jews say, 'Ezra is the Son of God'; the Christians say, 'The Messiah is the Son of God.' That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted!
They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God, and the Messiah, Mary's son -- and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above what they associate with Him...

Mendy Hecht: What is idol worship?

Idol worship begins in the mind—it starts with an incorrect perception of G-d. It says you can turn an abstract (G-d) into a concrete object.. Idol worship doesn’t just mean singing and dancing and bowing in front of funny-looking little statues—it means believing in any force, object or item outside of the infinite G-d Himself: an angel, a constellation, a force of nature, a living creature—or a funny-looking little statue.
Everything is created by G-d, and to designate any piece of physical matter as “G-d” or a “Higher Power” is idol worship.

Realistic diplomacy: Syrian Official Responds to Saud al-Faisal
By Al-Rai (Kuwaiti daily), 8-11-2013

A source close to the Syrian President Bashar Assad has told al-Rai newspaper that that Hezbollah forces in Syria “are at the request of the Syrian state and will withdraw immediately and without any delay, after the elimination of foreign and Arab fighters in Syria.”
In what appeared to be a response to the description Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, who described Hezbollah as an “occupying force” at a press conference alongside his American counterpart John Kerry in Riyadh on Wednesday, the Syrian source said that "in Syria, there are groups from 80 nationalities and no one asked them to come to kill Syrian people, destroy their institutions and waste their wealth.”
The source spoke about "the presence of more than 4,800 Saudis in Syrian territory”, as well as “3,000 Palestinians, 2,700 Tunisians, 2,000 Algerians, 800 Chechens and 350 Kuwaitis” in addition to “1,300 Europeans and Americans and 1,100 Indonesians, 400 Afghans and 4,500 Iraqis from Anbar and other regions."

The question is, he said: “If Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and all other countries that have groups fighting in Syria, led by Europe and the United States, requested the withdrawal of these groups, will they do so?”
The source said that "90 percent of ISIS consists of foreign forces, along with the Nusra Front, belongs to Al-Qaeda and occupies more than 30 percent of Syrian territory”.
If we went to Geneva 2 and we decided an immediate ceasefire, does the Coalition, which al-Faisal claims that it represents all the opposition,have the power of commitment to the cease - fire and of imposing it on ISIS and al-Nusra?
We will wait to see and laugh a little at the novice in politics,hoping that they may remove the mist from their eyes and practice realistic diplomacy..".
The source added "We agree that half-solutions are unacceptable and we are working to remove all the terrorists from Syria and the war will not stop until we remove them all. On the other hand, we are ready to share all Syrian opposition categories that are willing to sit with us at the negotiating table to get out of the war and to rebuild the country and eliminate terrorism, and to prepare for the parliamentary and presidential elections without restrictions or conditions".

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood to announce political party
Al-Arabiya, 9 November 2013

The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood will announce the formation of a political party on Nov. 12. ... The new party will be named 'the National Constitution and Freedom Party' and will be known by the Arabic name Waad (the Promise), Syrian Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni told Asharq al-Awsat.

Bayanouni said a third of the membership will go for Muslim Brothers, a third for other Islamists, and the finalhird for liberal and nationalist figures.
The party will seek to achieve “equality, justice, dignity and freedom” for the Syrian people and strive to establish democratic mechanisms and promote Islamic scholarship.
“The party leaders have agreed to adhere to the principles of democracy and freedom for our people and not to exclude anyone,” Bayanouni was quoted by Asharq al-Awsat as saying.
Waad will “support the oppressed and realize righteousness, stand by the weak, [and] return all rights to all Syrian people, regardless of their background or ethnicity and without discrimination,” he added.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister:
Weapons sent to Syria are also used to murder Iraqis
Syrian Arab News Agency, Nov 09, 2013

Baghdad, (SANA) – Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said that his country affirms that the solution to the crisis in Syria should be political and carried out by all Syrian sides engaging in negotiations without foreign interference.
In an interview given to al-Mayadin TV on Saturday, al-Shahristani said that there are Arab countries which send weapons to terrorists Syria, and that these weapons also find their way to Iraq where they are used in terrorist attacks, noting that his country warned Saudi Arabia that they weapons they send to Syria are also being used to murder Iraqis.
He also said that a small country like Qatar has no right to interfere in other countries' affairs, calling on Qatar to review its policies and realize its actual scale and political weight.
Al-Shahristani said that the disagreement between Iraq and Turkey regarding the Syrian crisis is one of the causes of the tension between them, as Iraq favors a political solution while Turkey sends weapons to armed groups.
He pointed out that Al Qaeda and its affiliates like Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) reject those who disagree with them and mark them for death, noting that ISIS has expanded its activities, carrying out over 1,000 terrorist attacks in Iraq and more than 100 terrorist attacks in Syria.

Dr. Shahristani is currently the Iraqi deputy prime minister and was (under Saddam Hussein) one of the most prominent rebels, and languished in Sadam’s prisons for many years...
Wathiq al-Battat, secretary-general of Hezbollah in Iraq, said that: “Dr. Shahristani established jihadist militias with Iran’s backing opposed to the Baathist regime of Saddam. A group of my peers and I joined despite the fact that these groups did not have any official name at the time. We carried out missions against the former regime, sometimes entering western Iraq from Dehloran in Iran. I adopted the nom de guerre Sayed Ali Sayed Taher al-Battat. Our group was 300 strong however the authorities were able to arrest of 270 of us, and I was among the captives.” His nom de guerre allowed him to escape identification, and from there on he was tied to Iranian cells. ...
As a member of the Badr Brigades, Mr. Battat was assigned the most difficult mission of his life in 1998: the assassination of Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali.” “We were ordered by the Badr Brigades, which at that time operated under the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, to assassinate Ali Hassan al-Majid. However we were arrested en route...

Wathiq Battat was born in 1973 to a Shiite family. During the 1990s he moved with his family to Baghdad where he completed his secondary school education and one of his brothers worked in a military factory. After secretly joining jihadist groups opposed to Saddam’s regime, he moved to the marsh regions of Iran in 1993. These groups fell under the leadership of Hezbollah in Iraq, led by Hassan Al-Sari, now a leading figure in the ruling Dawa Party in Iraq. (Asharq Al-Awsat, 2-3-2013)

Iraq: Second- worst country regarding women’s rights
Shafaq News, 12 November 2013

“Iraq has been ranked 21 out of 22 Arab countries about women’s situation and their rights , according to a report released by Thomson Reuters Foundation. Egypt came in the last 22 order and Saudi Arabia ranked 20.
The report, prepared by more than 300 experts from gender studies in the 21 member states of the Arab League and Syria classified countries according to the number of issues as policy , procreation rights and violence against women.
The report also pointed to the prevalence of sexual violence with low parliamentary representation of women in parliament and the growth of radical Islamist views .

The chairwoman of Women and Children Committee in the Iraqi parliament, Intesar al-Jubouri, told “Shafaq News" , that the decline in women’s social and economic situation is due to the spread of social traditions that incite for violence“. She said that women were the first victim of what the society has exposed to violence and displacement.
She pointed out that many cases of rape or domestic violence are met with silence by the woman for fear of attacks by the tribal community that prevails in Iraq.

Flashback: Women’s Freedom in Iraq, 20-12-2011

"The U.S. administration came into Iraq: it divided the Iraqi people according to religion, according to their sect, according to their ethnicity. It’s divide and conquer. And now the women are the biggest loser in all of this..."
"Now, by the constitution, there are articles that refer us to the Islamic sharia, when this was not in action in the times of the previous regime.
Under Islamic sharia, women are worth half a man legally and one-quarter of a man socially in a marriage. And we still suffer under this.... (
Yanar Mohammed)

Yanar Mohammed, whilst not being anti-religion, is a strong believer in secular government. Indeed, Yanar claims that women's equality ‘can only be achieved through secular government because an Islamic government would hurt women’s rights’. WIKIPEDIA

The Revolution and Women in Iraq
by Saddam Hussein, 1981

Education of women is not restricted in our country to the primary stages, nor has women's employment been restricted to minor responsibilities. Iraq's five universities include a large proportion of female students and a number of women have acquired high qualifications in medicine and engineering. Some women are now teaching in the universities. Women in Iraq have also reached high positions in the government and become ministers and directors general. ...
The complete emancipation of women from the ties which held them back in the past, during the ages of despotism and ignorance, is a basic aim of the Party and the Revolution. Women make up one half of society.

Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated. (Chapter 1)

Strengthening the economic status of women through both legal rights and social conventions is part of the liberation process.
Strengthening and expanding the conditions which prohibit polygamy is also part of that process. The same can be said about limiting divorce with additional restrictions and wider and stricter conditions.
The expansion of education and the provision of equal opportunities for men and women is another move in that direction. More important than anything is the liberation of women through active work and sincere participation in the reconstruction of society...
Antifeminist acts and ideas should be extensively condemned by men as well as by women in every section of our people. (Chapter 4).

The Revolution and Women in Iraq was published in 1981 by the Translation and Foreign Languages Publishing House-Baghdad.

"For the people who havn't read `Zabiba and the king` It might come as a surprise, but Saddam always believed in feminism and emancipation of the women." Rusty Shackleford

To Nadia: By Adil Zainal

Roll me down a tear on which I float
And prepare my bandages for me
For my silence is my bleeding
My trembling is my ammunition
O woman! I feel lost glory in her steps
As I innovate the sea for you
So be a sail for me

Translated By Kadhim Sa'deddin
Iraq Daily: Local literature, 27-11-2002

Terrorists fight science and knowledge
Syrian Arab News Agency, Nov 12, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-The Syrian government condemned the terrorist acts which targeted schools and holy places, in addition to the assassination of Parliament member Mejhim al-Saho.
"Those heinous acts are not strange of the mentality and culture of the armed takfiri terrorist groups who kill childhood and fight science and knowledge in a bid to consolidate illiteracy and violence among the Syrian people," the Cabinet said during a weekly session headed by Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi.

Al-Halqi discussed with the Ministers the economic situation in the country.. He reaffirmed that there are big quantities of oil products that boost the strategic reserve and cover the need of citizens during winter, pointing out to the rich stockpiles of wheat.
Al-Halqi referred to the efforts exerted to restore electricity to Aleppo and countryside after the terrorists targeted the power generating stations, saying that electricity is gradually returning to the city.
The Prime Minister said that the national vaccination campaign will include 1.300 million child under 5-year, stressing that polio has vanished completely since 1999, but with the coming of the armed terrorist groups from 83 states, 13 cases occurred in Dir Ezzor infected by those terrorists.

Aleppo is nothing but hunger and Islam
Francesca Borri, The Guardian, 12 November 2013

Since the rise of the Islamist resistance, parts of Syria have become off-limits to journalists – 30 of us are now missing. Today my helmet is a veil, and my flak jacket a hijab...
Locals here don't refer any more to "liberated areas", but to east and west Aleppo – they don't show you pictures of their children, or of siblings killed by the regime, but simply the pictures of beautiful Aleppo before the war.
Because nobody is fighting the regime any more; rebels now fight against each other. And for many of them, the priority is not ousting Bashar al-Assad's regime, but enforcing sharia law.

Aleppo is nothing but hunger and Islam. Dozens of threadbare children, disfigured by leishmaniasis, walk barefoot in the steps of mothers, covered in black from head to toe – all bowl in hand, seeking a mosque for bread, their skin yellowed by typhus. In the narrowest alleys, to dodge mortar fire, boys are on the right with their toy Kalashnikovs, while the left is for girls, already veiled. Jihadi fathers push with their beards, djellabas and suicide belts.

President of Coalition Slaps FSA Spokesman Publicly
Syrian Observer 13 Nov 2013 (All4Syria - Opposition website)

The head of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmed Jarba struck the Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Mokdad during the issue of results of the meetings of the Syrian National Coalition in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Tensions were high between the two men after the Sunday-Monday midnight meeting, following two days of negotiations about sensitive files, including the interim government and Kurdish participation in the Coalition and Geneva Conference II.
Jarba struck Mokdad on the face in a slap so strong the sound echoed in the room because of the microphones present in the great hall of the hotel near Istanbul's international airport.
Following the blow, members of the Presidency separated the two men. Mokdad was then surrounded by men to prevent him from asking for Turkish police to intervene, as he was threatening to do. A team of Coalition members continued, despite their differing motivations, to try to calm the situation.

The members of the Coalition confirmed that Kurdish National Council members joining the Coalition, was the climax of tensions between the two men, after an accumulation of hostilities.
The issue had a direct impact on several military and political files, most importantly Jarba's insistence that 11 additional Kurdish members should join the Coalition before the vote on the issue of participation in Geneva Conference.
It is well-known that these members are supporters of participation in Geneva, while the representatives of the Free Syrian Army strongly oppose it.

"We strongly criticize John Kerry"
Morton A. Klein, ZOA, November 14, 2013

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for stating that Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem are “illegitimate” – blaming Israel for the difficulty of Israeli/Palestinian peace-making; and even preemptively blaming Israel for any Palestinian violence and terrorism that might follow if Israel does not agree to further talks. ...
In an interview with Udi Segal of Israel’s Channel 2 and Maher Shalabi of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, Secretary Kerry explicitly adopted the Palestinian position opposing Jewish residence and construction in the these territories, saying, “They disagree with it … We, the United States, say the same thing. We do not believe the settlements are legitimate. We think they’re illegitimate. And we believe that the entire peace process would, in fact, be easier if these settlements were not taking place …"

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are appalled at Secretary Kerry’s words and strongly criticize him for them.
“To assert that Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem is a false, flat-earth statement based on a willful distortion of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As Israel Foreign Ministry’s former legal adviser, Ambassador Professor Alan Baker, has written, Secretary Kerry is ‘unequivocally … mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact.’
“Article 49 prohibits (1) ‘Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not …
'The Occupying Power (2) shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’...
Israelis are neither being deported or forcibly transferred to the West Bank, so... article 49 has no bearing on the situation.

“The territory of the West Bank was earmarked for Jewish settlement in 1920 at the San Remo Conference that drafted the League of Nations Charter.

Comment: The San Remo Conference (april 1920) was an international meeting held following the conclusion of World War I that determined the precise boundaries for territories captured by the Allies...
At San Remo, the Allies confirmed the pledge contained in the Balfour Declaration concerning the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine...
The French expressed many reservations about the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in the peace treaty, and it was only after the exertion of British pressure that they were gradually persuaded to agree to it.
The article concerning Palestine was debated on April 24 and the next day it was finally resolved to incorporate the Balfour Declaration in Britain's mandate in Palestine.

Balfour declaration, November 2nd, 1917:
Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine...
Arthur James Balfour.

The Oslo agreements do not prohibit Israeli residence and construction in these territories; to the contrary, they provide for Israeli and Palestinian building in zones under their respective control. They also list this as a final status issue, to be negotiated by the parties. .. Israel is entitled to assert its right for its citizens to live and build in these territories.

Avi Shlaim Comment, The Guardian 12-9-2013:

Building civilian settlements beyond the Green Line does not violate the letter of the Oslo accords but it most decidedly violates its spirit.
As a result of settlement expansion the area available for a Palestinian state has been steadily shrinking to the point where a two-state solution is barely conceivable...
Oslo faltered and eventually broke down because Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith. This turned the much-vaunted peace process into a charade.
In fact, it was worse than a charade: it provided Israel with just the cover it was looking for to continue to pursue with impunity its illegal and aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.

"Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith.
This turned the much-vaunted peace process into a charade." Avi Shlaim.

General Assembly of the United Nations
Economic and Financial - Second Committee
Approves Text Demanding Israel Comply with International Law,
End Exploitation of Arab Resources, 14-11-2013

The General Assembly would demand that Israel stop exploiting, depleting and endangering the natural resources in the occupied Arab lands, by the terms of one of five draft resolutions approved today by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).
It took that action by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Honduras, Jamaica, Malawi, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Tonga).

By other terms of the text — entitled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources” — the Assembly would call upon Israel to comply with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, with respect to the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
It would call upon Israel to halt all actions, including those perpetrated by Israeli settlers, harming the environment, including the dumping of waste materials, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.
By other terms, it would stress that the wall and settlements being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, were contrary to international law and were depriving the Palestinian people of their natural resources.

Israel’s representative said the Committee was engaged in a meaningless exercise, rather than addressing sustainable development and poverty issues. The resolution did nothing to improve the situation between Israel and Palestine and was motivated by anti-Israeli sentiment, designed to ferment division and unilateralism at a time when such issues could only be resolved through negotiation. He said that Israel’s hand remained outstretched.

The observer for the State of Palestine said the Committee’s approval of the draft resolution was a testament to the importance attached by States to development and prosperity. The overwhelming majority had voted in favour of it, which reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty over their natural resources, which were vital for progress. The international community had clearly spoken against Israel’s occupation.

(Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, which provides defense, funding, and access to social services. The Federated States of Micronesia is a sovereign state in free association with the United States, which is wholly responsible for its defense. The Compact of Free Association allows FSM citizens to join the U.S. military without having to obtain U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.).

Turkey confronts policy missteps on Syria
with rise of al-Qaeda across the border
By Liz Sly, Washington Post, 16-11-2013

For more than a year, Turkey turned a blind eye as thousands of foreign volunteers from across the Muslim world streamed through the country en route to fight alongside Syria’s rebels, perhaps calculating that the fighters would help accelerate President Bashar al-Assad’s demise.
Now the extremists whose ranks the foreigners swelled are gaining ascendancy across northern Syria, putting al-Qaeda on NATO’s borders for the first time, raising fears of cross-border attacks and exposing how terribly Turkey’s efforts to bring about Assad’s removal have gone awry.

Meanwhile, in Damascus, Assad is showing every sign that he will ride out the revolt and perhaps remain in power for years, sustained in part by Western alarm at the rise of the extremists. The United States has served notice that it has no intention of intervening militarily, and Turkey, once the most vocal proponent of action to oust Assad, has been left to confront the consequences of what appears to have been a grave policy miscalculation.
“This was not the outcome Turkey wanted,” acknowledged a Turkish official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the subject of Syria is so sensitive.

Critics say Turkey has only itself to blame for a state of affairs that Turkish authorities appear, at least indirectly, to have encouraged. President Obama rebuked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan when they met at the White House in May for not doing more to restrict the flow of foreign fighters...
Almost all of the foreign fighters contributing to al-Qaeda’s strength in northern Syria traveled there via Turkey, flying into Istanbul and transferring to domestic commercial flights for the trip to the border. With their untrimmed beards and their backpacks, the foreigners are often conspicuous in the sedate, Western-oriented towns of southern Turkey....
Some opposition politicians have accused the Turkish government of going further than simply tolerating the traffic, saying that it also has helped transport, train and arm the foreign fighters.

Tide Turns Towards Diplomacy
as Key Senators Oppose New Iran Sanctions
Jamal Abdi, Huffington Post, 15-11-2013

President Obama and the White House have been engaged in a battle in the Senate to block the chamber from passing new sanctions that could derail ongoing negotiations with Iran. The White House has been clear: new sanctions could kill the talks and put the U.S. on a "path to war."
Groups including NIAC, FCNL, Peace Action, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, and International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran have all come out against new Senate sanctions.
Groups including AIPAC and Foundation for Defense of Democracies are, as usual, advocating more sanctions. AIPAC even says they will explicitly try to kill a deal.
But it looks like the pro-diplomacy side is winning. Senators Carl Levin, Christopher Murphy, and Dianne Feinstein have all now come out in opposition to new Iran sanctions, saying they will instead support the ongoing negotiations with Iran. And today, even Senator John McCain told the BBC he will not support new sanctions for now, saying, "I am skeptical of talks with Iran but willing to give the Obama administration a couple months."

Obama, "Israel's worst nightmare in the White House"
Noah Beck, YNetNews Opinion, 15-11-2013

In the spring of 2012, when I wrote "The Last Israelis" (an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East), I thought that the pessimistic premise of my cautionary tale on Iranian nukes was grounded in realism. I had imagined a US president who passively and impotently reacted to Iran's nuclear ambitions, leaving it to tiny Israel to deal with the threat.
But something far worse is happening: The Obama administration is actively making it harder for Israel to neutralize Iran's nukes, and more likely that Iran will develop a nuclear arsenal....

Obama's desperately eager posture towards the smiling Mullahs has doomed any negotiation to failure by signaling that the US fears confrontation more than anything else. Obama's pathetic approach to the world's most pressing national security threat also makes US military action virtually impossible.., because it promotes the naive idea that more diplomacy will resolve what a decade of talking hasn't.

And as long as the Iranians are "talking," world opinion will also oppose an Israeli military strike, so naturally Iran will find ways to keep talking until it's too late for Israel to act...
Despite his repeated reassurances, Obama rejected Israel's estimates for how much more time Iran needs to develop its nuclear capability, and accepted overly optimistic timetables that assumed at least a year for more talking...

Only epic ineptitude or anti-Israel hostility no longer checked by reelection considerations can explain Obama's moves on Iran. And the stakes couldn't be higher for the rest of the world. After all, if Iran is the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism without nuclear weapons, what will terrorism look like once Iran goes nuclear?

Exacerbating an existential threat against Israel is bad enough, but Obama has been an abysmal ally in other respects.... Obama's administration has repeatedly leaked sensitive Israeli information that could have easily provoked a Syrian-Israeli war. Obama summarily dumped a decades-long alliance with Egypt (that is also key to Israeli security)...
Add to that list Kerry's increasing hostility to Israel and reports that the US plans to impose its undoubtedly risky vision of peace on Israel in a few months, and you have Israel's worst nightmare in the White House....

As if Israel didn't face enough threats and challenges, it must now survive the Obama nightmare until he's out of office in 38 months. Isolated like never before thanks to Obama, the stark choices facing Israel's leadership are unimaginably difficult...

So, what does David (Israel) do now that Obama's perfidy has been exposed? If the neighborhood bully is bigger than you, has threatened you, and is reaching for a bat, do you preemptively attack him before he gets the bat and becomes even more dangerous?

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis , an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East

John Kerry: Israel's enemy?
Attila Somfalvi, YNet News, 19-11-2013

Israel has failed in its diplomatic efforts to prevent a nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, senior state officials in Jerusalem admitted...
The nuclear talks are expected to resume in Geneva on Wednesday, and Israeli officials estimate that unless an unexpected crisis takes place, an interim agreement will be signed in this round or shortly afterwards.
Meanwhile, sources in Jerusalem have also criticized the recent conflict with the United State. "It's causing damage. (US Secretary of State) John Kerry is not Israel's enemy," one of the officials said....

In the past two weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some of his ministers have been trying to influence the content of the agreement set to be signed soon.... Following these efforts, sources in Jerusalem said Monday night that there was a chance that some of the clauses would be amended in order to make things difficult for the Iranians....
Netanyahu has been trying in the past two days to convince French President Francois Hollande to oppose the agreement, which he defines as "very bad."

Meanwhile, the dispute between Netanyahu and Kerry continues. On Monday, the US secretary of state commented on the Israeli prime minister's criticism over the upcoming deal with Iran, saying that he believed Netanyahu was wrong when he said that such a deal would harm Israel's security.
"I have great respect for his concerns about his country," Kerry said in Washington, but maintained that instead of making Israel less safe, an accord with Iran would actually reduce the country's risk.

Islamists should show good faith by committing to openness’
by Mohammad Ghazal, Jordan Times, Nov 17, 2013

AMMAN — Islamist leaders and politicians on Sunday said political Islamic movements in the region need to provide assurances to all powers and segments in society about their acceptance of others and openness to successfully take part in the political process.
They made the remarks at the opening of the “Political Islam Movements” conference on Sunday, noting that Islamist parties in the Arab world need to address internal differences and settle issues with other parties to rule successfully while guaranteeing the participation of all.

“I call on Islamist movements to revise their approach and ideology. For them to be able to promote their vision for politics, they need to win the confidence of all other segments and sects in society and even the external world and powers,” Taher Masri, former prime minister and Senate president, said at the opening.
It is important not to reject the other and to resort to dialogue to address differences, which will play a key role in ending conflicts in the region between Islamist movements and ruling regimes,” he said. “There is no alternative to dialogue in settling differences,” Masri added.

Addressing the participants, Hamzah Mansour, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front —the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan — said Islamist movements need to thoroughly understand the challenges and obstacles facing them in order to be able to overcome them...:
“Amid the confusion and accusations levelled at Islamist movements, they need to give assurances that they respect innovation, protect all faiths and view non-Muslims in the Arab world as brothers and partners in the administration of state affairs.
The Islamic state is a state of citizenship, and political Islam movements need to give assurances that they agree with the peaceful transition of power and are keen on addressing differences and strengthening relations with all powers in society.”


The term citizenship is both a formal status - belonging of someone to a state on the basis of a set of rights and duties - and, more importantly, it is a state of mind. Citizenship is not only about attaining rights, but more about participation - in the political and civic process. To talk of citizenship then, is to discuss rights, duties, participation and identity.
The Prophet Muhammad established a city-state in Madina and enacted a charter that laid down the basic rights and duties of its citizens. This form of 'social contract' in Islam is very similar to the idea of social contract that appeared in later European thought. Indeed, to obey the law of the land is seen as a fulfilment of one's 'social contract' with the State, and the Quran emphasises the obligation to fulfil contracts.
Some Muslims have debated whether one can vote in a non-Muslim society, or take up elected positions in a non-Islamic country. These are old debates, that have been addressed and resolved by credible Muslim scholars, and are largely irrelevant today, especially to Muslim citizens who now feel a strong sense of belonging to their country.
Islam is not a religion of isolation and its basic purpose is to promote justice and peace between people. A good Muslim (indeed a good human being) should be of service to all the people around, as Muhammad taught: "The best of people is the one who is most useful to them..." (

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif:
"This is Iran's message...; dignity for all"
Fars News Video Message, 19-11-2013

"What is dignity, what is respect?
Are they negotiable?
Imagine you are being told that you cannot do what everyone else is doing,
what everyone else is allowed to do...
Will you backdown, will you relent....?"

"The choice is not submission or confrontation...
Last summer our people choose constructive engagement.
They gave the world a historic opportunity to change course.
To achieve this unique opportunity we need to accept equal footing
and choose a path based on
mutual respect and recognition of the dignity of all people."

Cameron phone call with President Rouhani of Iran
Iranian Diplomacy, 20-11-2013

Following the phone call, a Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister became the first British Prime Minister to call the Iranian President in more than a decade today when he spoke to President Rouhani this afternoon, ahead of this week’s nuclear negotiations in Geneva.

The two leaders discussed the bilateral relationship between Britain and Iran welcoming the steps taken since President Rouhani took office, including the appointment of non-resident Charges d’Affaires last week. They agreed to continue efforts to improve the relationship on a step by step and reciprocal basis.
On Iran’s nuclear programme, both leaders agreed that significant progress had been made in the recent Geneva negotiations and that it was important to seize the opportunity presented by the further round of talks which get underway...
The Prime Minister underlined the necessity of Iran comprehensively addressing the concerns of the international community about their nuclear programme, including the need for greater transparency.
On Syria, there was agreement on the need for a political solution to end the bloodshed.

Libyan protesters keep pressure on militias
By ESAM MOHAME, AP 19-11-2013

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libyan protesters took to the streets of Tripoli, repeating their call for the country's recalcitrant militias to leave the capital...
Meanwhile, lawmakers of the country's interim parliament questioned embattled Prime Minister Ali Zidan over the violence and pressed the government to take action against the militias. Some called for dismissing him and his Cabinet with a no-confidence vote and forming a new, crisis government....
The army deployed troops to the capital on Monday... However, disgruntled militias accused the government of packing the force with former pro-Gadhafi fighters, describing the deployment as a "coup."

Residents have given the troops a warm reception, ululating, clapping and flashing V-for-victory signs in support. During the rally, protesters distributed sweets to policemen who arrived to protect the demonstration.
Tripoli University spokesman Mahmoud Fathallah told the official news agency that the university is on strike until Thursday in protest against the militias. The rest of the city has not fully ended a strike that began just after Friday's killings.

Adel al-Tarhouni, leader of a militia umbrella group, told The Associated Press that Gadhafi loyalists were trying to take over the capital: "These troops that were deployed are Gadhafi's brigades but under the independence flag," he said by telephone, referring to Libya's tricolor post-Gadhafi flag.
Tripoli-based lawyer and former government official al-Saghir al-Maghri described the accusations as "ridiculous." He said the Defense Ministry had made it clear that the troops moved into Tripoli worked for the government and had been trained inside and outside Libya over the past months.

Mahmoud Tekalli, an aeronautical engineer, told Libya Herald newspaper:

“We are calling for the activation of the police force and the army and the legitimate forces in the country.” “We support the people who have the right to be protected and the institutions which are there to protect them.”

Truth as an Issue
by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 21-11-2013

What has been happening in Syria for the past three years? According to NATO and GCC media reports, the "regime" has shed blood to suppress a democratic revolution. However this version is contradicted by the current support for the government estimated at, according to sources, between 60 and 90 % of the population.
The truth is quite different: NATO and the GCC have successively lost a war of succession and a fourth generation Nicaraguan-type war. It is they, and they alone, who organized and financed the death of 120,000 Syrians.

One of the challenges of preparing for the Geneva conference is to write the history of Syria. The NATO powers and the Gulf Cooperation Council are trying to impose their version of events which would give them a clear advantage at the negotiating table. Hence a sudden avalanche of articles and summary reports in the Western and the Gulf press.
The West and the GCC assert that the Syrian crisis is in line with the "Arab Spring. According to this view, the "Bashar regime" would have bloodily suppressed the democratic aspirations of its people. NATO and the GCC would have then intervened to protect the civilian population.

The reality is quite different: the United States planned the destruction of Syria at a meeting on September 15, 2001, at Camp David. They began to prepare this by adopting the Syria Accountibility Act on December 12, 2003....
The signal for the commencement of operations was given by the United States from Cairo in early February 2011. From that date, and for 15 months, NATO and the GCC launched a fourth generation war, based entirely on their domination of the mass media. They convinced the world, including the Syrians, that the whole country had risen, though the most important events did not exceed 5,000 people....

During this period, the combatants were either Syrian Takfirist or foreign professionals, particularly the Libyan members of al- Qaeda controlled by Abdelhakim Belhaj. Together, they formed the Free Syrian Army, flanked by British and French officers, with the logistical support of Turkey.

François Hollande ’s election as French president and the appointment of Laurent Fabius as Zionist Ministry of Foreign Affairs relaunched the war.
Relying on CIA General David Petraeus and the expertise of Ambassador Robert S. Ford (former assistant to John Negroponte), France signalled a new war, this time Nicaragua style, by gathering the "Friends of Syria" in Paris on July 6th, 2012.
Two weeks later, a mega-attack decapitated the army by assasinating members of the National Security Council. Immediately, 40,000 foreign jihadists, supported by a few thousand Syrians and supervised by French and British officers, began the assault on Damascus.... There followed a year of cruel and bloody war that killed more than 100,000 martyrs.
During this period, the United States stood back, leaving their allies to do the work on site. At most, they tried to influence Qatar and Saudi Arabia to limit the weight of jihadists and promote secular mercenaries....

The Geneva 2 Conference, which will probably be held in late January, 2014, will put an end to three years of war. Depending on the version we retain of events, Syria will have experienced a civil war or will have been victorious against foreign aggression. (Thierry Meyssan 2013)

Flashback: "Assad doesn’t deserve
to be on this earth" (Laurent Fabius)

Webster Griffin Tarpley (Press TV 17-8-2012): Assad was supposed to be brought down in July, I think July 18th...: terror attacks to decapitate the Syrian armed forces, the shipping in of thousands and thousands of new death squad members from many other countries, an attack on the currency, the television warfare in its entire campaign... That has now failed. The death squads are losing and the Syrian government is still there...
The US, the British, the French and indeed the Israelis are now apoplectic. That’s what you see with [French Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius. I would call attention to the language he decided when he says ‘the Syrian regime should be smashed fast and that Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this earth’. This is a language we haven’t heard in Europe since the fascist era....

Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Consulate General of France in New York

Clinton-Fabius Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people. He must leave power – the sooner the better. Until now, the actions taken to that end have come up against two obstacles. The first derives from the lack of consensus at the UN Security Council, because of the Russians and Chinese. The second is military: the Syrian army is powerful. No state is ready today to contemplate a ground operation. The risks of regional contagion would be dreadful, particularly in Lebanon.
In this context, France is adopting a three-pronged approach. Firstly, toughening sanctions, if possible at Security Council level. Secondly, we must work with Russia, who plays a decisive role. .. Finally, we must encourage the Syrian opposition to come together.

Muslim Brotherhood 'stole' Egypt's revolution: Kerry
AFP|Ahram online, 21 Nov 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday accused the Muslim Brotherhood of stealing Egypt's revolution, in some of his toughest comments yet about the party that took power in the nation's first democratic election.
In a speech to a forum on enhancing links between private sector businesses and diplomatic security agencies, Kerry said: "Those kids in Tahrir Square, they were not motivated by any religion or ideology." "They were motivated by what they saw through this interconnected world, and they wanted a piece of the opportunity and a chance to get an education and have a job and have a future..."
"They tweeted their ways and Facetimed their ways and talked to each other, and that's what drove that revolution. And then it got stolen by the one single-most organized entity in the state, which was the Brotherhood."

Syria’s first Lady, Asma al-Assad has met the Syrian Scientific Olympic team who won their certificates of appreciation in Asian Scientific Olympics and the world of mathematics and physics for 2012... Mrs. Asma al-Assad confirmed that the achieved results at the international level are presented by the upgrading of the scientific level of the Syrian Olympics scientific team.., taking advantage of Science in uprising a generation with analytical and logical concepts, who’s able to judge matters in a scientific advanced way via a sophisticated creative way of thought away from the traditionalism. (syria breaking news 12-9-2012)

Since Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military in July a year after coming to power, the United States has repeatedly said that he had failed to live up to calls for an inclusive, transparent government. And Kerry in August defended the army's action to remove Morsi, saying it had moved as a bid at "restoring democracy."
But as the interim government has moved only slowly towards new elections, the US in October suspended a part of its $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt.

Exploration adventure to develop children skills
Syrian Arab News Agency 22-11-2013

Damascus, (SANA): Syria Trust for Development-organisation inaugurated the 'Massar exploration adventure' as the first initiatives of project "Massar Flower" at the old Fairgrounds in Damascus.
The event comes in the framework of the project's efforts to ensure an environment that guarantees the education of children, providing them with skills and information to develop their personality, boost their growing-up as individuals and deepening their belonging to their homeland.
"The adventure uses distinguished technologies, multiple educational means which depend on vision, exploration and conclusion to make children active learners, capable of exploiting the concepts and knowledge to serve themselves and society," the project's director Danya Ashe said.

The Syria Trust for Development - Damascus, Syria

About the organization:
We are a non-governmental, non-profit organisation established to empower individuals and communities in Syria to fulfill their role in building their society and shaping their future. The Trust works on supporting and incubating local initiatives, encouraging active citizenship, entrepreneurship and volunteerism, building capacities, sharing knowledge, and establishing partnerships with individuals and civil society organisations to advocate development issues, and expand the space and role of civil society in planning and decision making in the country.

John Kerry: Persona non grata in Israel
Guy Bechor, YNet Opinion, 22-11-2013

"The territories cannot be defined as "Palestinian territories" or, as you yourself frequently state, as "Palestine". No such entity exists, and the whole purpose of the permanent status negotiation is to determine, by agreement, the status of the territory, to which Israel has a legitimate claim, backed by international legal and historic rights." Alan Baker (Former ambassador of Israel to Canada)

The United States' status in the Middle East hasn't reached such a low in many years, so low that Secretary of State John Kerry has actually become a persona non grata in most of the region's countries.
It's not just President Barack Obama's failed policy, which has turned the friends of the US into its enemies or made them fear it; it's also Kerry's personality....

Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf see him as a concrete threat on the survival of the regimes and as the person who sold them to Iran.... The Turks are reluctant to talk to him after, as they believe, he sold them to Assad...
Kerry is a persona non grata among the Palestinians as well. Perhaps Kerry should go to the Gaza Strip, which he cares so much about...?
But the most amazing thing is that that same Kerry has become a persona non grata in Israel too. Who would have thought that such a thing could happen with the United States' closest friend in the Middle East. His selective generosity, the forced smiles, all those may have deceived some people in Israel, but no more.

His betrayal of Israel, when he essentially finalized a "deal" with the evil ayatollah regime and "forgot" to update Israel on the real details until the very last minute; his warning against a third intifada as if he were the Palestinian representative; his basic failure to understand Israel's existential needs; his arrogance and his habit to come here obsessively as some kind of landlord – all that led to the collapse of his reputation in Israel....

If at the moment of truth Kerry sold Israel, how can he be trusted in the future? Can such a person be a "loyal" mediator between Israel and the Palestinians? The Israeli government may have been taken captive by the US [...] but the Israeli public is still free and wise, and we understand very well who is good to us and who is dangerous.

"Speaking of the West bank, the final border will be very different from that in 1967. This is already clear for the Palestinians and the Arab League. There will be significant territorial changes [including land swaps]. And Israel will preserve most settlement blocs and some territories that are necessary for security." Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, 22-10-2013

Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria
Voices magazine 22-7-2012

At the Second Annual Conference on the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (2012) more than 500 people jammed in Chevron’s Machpelah Visitors’ Center to hear Knesset Members, legal experts and journalists explain the legal, economic, demographic and political aspects of finally including Judea and Samaria officially into the State of Israel.

After former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy and his committee reported their findings that Judea and Samaria were not occupied territory, and instead should have their settlements promoted, proponents of extending sovereignty over Judea and Samaria have felt their position strengthened and validated...
Likud MK Tzippy Hotovely told the gathering that she hopes that sovereignty will soon be extended to Yosh (Yehuda and Shomron) so that by the “50th year, we will have a complete liberation of the Land.”

Among the speakers were HaBayit HaYehudi Minister Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, Coalition Chairman MK Zeev Elkin, Likud MK Miri Regev (chairperson of the lobby for Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria), Adv. Yitzchak Bam of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, Former Israeli Ambassador to Washington Yoram Ettinger, Adv. Dafna Netanyahu, Mekor Rishon’s Eran Bar Tal, B’Sheva’s Immanuel Shilo, Adv. And author Howard Grief and Israel Prize laureate Geula Cohen.

Of course, the basis of our claim to all of Israel rests in the Bible. Most everyone is familiar with the very first commentary by Rashi in Bereishit 1:1. In fact, both Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion (in 1937 when he spoke in front of the Peel Commission, as head of the Jewish Agency) and its current PM Binyamin Netanyahu (when he served as UN Ambassador in the 1980s) held up the Bible as the Jewish Nation’s deed to the land.

Tzipi Hotovely (born 2 December 1978) is an Israeli politician. She is a member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2009. On March 18, 2013 she joined the new government of Israel as Deputy Minister of Transportation.
Hotovely is a doctorate student at the Faculty of Law in Tel Aviv University. Hotovely practises Orthodox Judaism and is a self-described "religious rightwinger". She is described as the "ideological voice" of the Likud Party. (Wikipedia info)

US-Iran War Averted by Agreement to Negotiate on Nuclear Enrichment
Posted on 11/24/2013 by Juan Cole

The decade-long Neoconservative plot to take the United States to war against Iran appears to have been foiled.
In response for a loosening of sanctions, worth some $7 billion to Iran, President Hasan Rouhani undertook to freeze enrichment activities at their present level.
He also pledged to cast Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 19.75% for the production of medical isotopes in a form that makes it impossible to further enrich it. Nor will Iran produce more 19.5% low enriched uranium. (Uranium enriched to 95% is suitable for a bomb...). Iran also agreed to do no further work on its proposed heavy-water reactor at Arak. (Heavy-water reactors produce plutonium, with which bombs can easily be constructed).

Iran’s nuclear facilities have been being inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the inspectors have repeatedly certified that no uranium has been diverted to weapons purposes. This agreement will increase the frequency of the inspections and widen their scope somewhat.
The agreement did not recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium, but Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the right was implicit in the agreement (which does not forbid enrichment to 3.5% for reactor fuel) and in the Non-Proliferation Treaty....
The agreement is actually an agreement to negotiate, and the hard bargaining is yet to come. The terms agreed upon are more confidence-building measures than anything else.

In 2003, the Neocon chickenhawks, most of whom had never worn a uniform or had a parent who did, joked that “everyone wants to go to Baghdad; real men want to go to Tehran.” ...
The “everyone” who wanted to go to Baghdad was actually just the Neocons and their fellow travelers. Most of the latter were hoodwinked by the Neocon/Cheney misinformation campaign blaming Saddam Hussein of Iraq for 9/11...
The Iraq War, trumped up on false pretenses and mainly to protect the militant right wing in Israel from having a credible military rival in the region and to put Iraqi petroleum on the market to weaken Saudi Arabia...
Binyamin Netanyahu was a cheerleader for the Iraq War. He is now deeply wounded that the US is making peace with Iran. He seems to see the US as his personal doberman pinscher, which he is used to siccing on his rivals in the region whenever they complain about his aggressive land thefts.

The irony is that in early 2003, the reformist Iranian government of then-President Mohammad Khatami had sent over to the US a wide-ranging proposal for peace... Khatami put everything on the table, even an end to hostilities with Israel.

"There is a need to have … a deep meeting of minds.
This is my hope. But maybe I'm not capable of carrying it out."

Mohammad Khatami (2002)

The Neoconservatives threw the Iranian proposal in the trash heap and mobilized to make sure there was no rapprochement with Iran...
The Neoconservatives did not want a US-Iran alliance against al-Qaeda or against Saddam Hussein. Being diplomatic serial killers, they saw Iran rather as their next victim....
Now, the tides of war are ebbing. Assuming that the negotiations over the next six months are successful, a compromise will be reached whereby Iran’s “break-out capacity” or ability to construct a nuclear weapon will be constrained, and whereby the international blockade on Iranian commerce will be lifted.

Republican critics of the deal in the US Congress, who say no to everything, said no to this negotiation... They accused Iran of being the world’s primary backer of terrorism.
Really? The GOP backed the Mujahidin and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the Contras in Nicaragua, the MEK in Iraq and Iran, and are backing the extremist Sunni rebels in Syria. They aren’t even skittish about allying with al-Qaeda affiliates, even today..!

The only important question here is whether the agreement is in American interests. It is...
If negotiations and UN inspections can indeed succeed in allowing Iran a civilian enrichment program while forestalling a weapons program, it is a breakthrough for the whole world and an important chapter in the ongoing attempts to limit proliferation.

Dialogue among Civilizations - Mohammed Khatami
United Nations, New York, 5 September 2000

“At my suggestion, 2001 was named the UN Year of Dialogue Among Civilisations. But despite reaching a global audience, the message of dialogue barely penetrated the most intractable political dilemmas, either at home or abroad.” Khatami, The Guardian, 23 September 2013

What we ought to consider in earnest today is the emergence of a global culture. Global culture cannot and ought not to overlook characteristics and requirements of native local cultures with the aim of imposing itself upon them.
Cultures and civilizations that have naturally evolved among various nations in the course of history are constituted from elements that have gradually adapted to collective souls and to historical and traditional characteristics. As such, these elements cohere with each other and consolidate within an appropriate network of relationships. In spite of all constitutive plurality and diversity, a unique and harmonious form can be abstracted from the collection.

In order to provide natural unity and harmony in form and content for global culture and to prevent anarchy and chaos, all concerned parties should engage in a dialogue in which they can exchange knowledge, experience and understanding in diverse areas of culture and civilization.

PA official more confident in diplomacy following Iran 'success'
Ma'an 24-11-2013

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh expressed a new confidence in international diplomatic efforts in Israel-Palestine after world powers clinched a nuclear deal with Iran early Sunday.
Given "the success of the international efforts to solve the Iranian issue," Abu Rudeineh told Ma'an he called on the Middle East Quartet to intervene on the Israeli-Palestinian issue as well.

Meanwhile, Israeli politicians' reactions to Sunday's nuclear deal have been largely negative.
"What was achieved yesterday in Geneva is not a historic agreement but rather a historic mistake," an Israeli diplomat on his Twitter account quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying.

"This is the biggest diplomatic victory Iran has known in recent years," Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said early Sunday, according to Israeli news agency Ynet. When asked if the deal contains any positive aspect, Lieberman replied "no, there is no such thing."

Lavrov: Iran nuclear deal could be useful for Geneva 2 preparations
Syrian Arab News Agency, Nov 24, 2013

(SANA)- Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov said the core of the Iran-P5+1 group accord was based on an idea proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Commenting on the deal reached last night, Lavrov stressed his confidence that Iran will honestly cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, noting that the deal means agreement on the need to recognize Iran's right to possess nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including right to uranium enrichment. "At the end of the day, this is a gain for all of us," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russia Today website...

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, for his part, expressed welcome of Iran nuclear deal, saying in a statement that the agreement will contribute to preserving peace and stability in the Middle East in terms of maintaining the international system of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The accord also received welcome by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany who considered it as an encouraging start to further build on this preliminary deal and very good for the whole world, including the Middle East. <

An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that Syria welcomes the agreement which was struck in Geneva... Syria believes that reaching such an agreement is evidence that political solutions to the crises of the region are the best means to ensure the security and stability of the region far from foreign intervention and threats to use force, the source said.

Ayatollah Khamenei praises Iran-Sextet nuclear deal
Press TV, 24-11-2013

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has hailed the nuclear deal sealed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany... [He] said the achievement could serve as a “basis for future prudent measures.” Ayatollah Khamenei called on the Iranian negotiators to continue to resist any excessive demands in the future.
In a televised message to the Iranian people President Hassan Rouhani also hailed the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the Sextet, saying that a final comprehensive agreement will lead to the removal of all international and unilateral sanctions imposed against Iran.

"No matter what you think of it, this is a historic deal"
By Mark Landler, New York Times, 24-11-2013

WASHINGTON — For President Barack Obama [..] the preliminary nuclear deal reached with Iran on Sunday is more than a welcome change of subject. It is a seminal moment, one that thrusts foreign policy to the forefront in a White House preoccupied by domestic woes, and one that presents Mr. Obama with the chance to chart a new American course in the Middle East for the first time in more than three decades.
Much will depend, of course, on whether the United States and the other major powers ever reach a final agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions. Mr. Obama himself said Saturday night that it “won’t be easy, and huge challenges remain ahead.”
But the mere fact that after 34 years of estrangement, the United States and Iran have signed a diplomatic accord — even if it is a tactical, transitory one — opens the door to a range of geopolitical possibilities available to no American leader since Jimmy Carter.

“No matter what you think of it, this is a historic deal,” said Vali R. Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “It is a major seismic shift in the region. It rearranges the entire chess board.”
Mr. Obama has wanted to bring in Iran from the cold since he was a presidential candidate, declaring in 2007 that he would pursue “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iranian leaders, and ruling out the concept of leadership change, which was popular at the time....

As Mr. Obama looks ahead [...] it is the big picture that is likely to dominate his attention. Among the decisions he faces is whether to treat Iran’s nuclear program as a discrete problem to be solved, freeing him up to focus more on Asia, or as the opening act in a more ambitious engagement with Iran that might give it a role in Syria, Afghanistan and other trouble spots.
Aides say that he is open to that, but that it will depend on factors that are out of America’s control, like moderates’ gaining ground in Iran...

Fierce fighting in Benghazi
Libya Herald staff, 25-11-2013

Extensive fighting broke out in the centre of Benghazi overnight between between the army’s Special Forces Saiqa Brigade and Ansar Al-Sharia. The clashes continue this morning. It is not clear if any other military units or militias are involved.
The position on the ground is unclear. Some phone calls this morning from the Libya Herald to people in central Benghazi have been punctuated by the sound of heavy gunfire. ... All shops and schools are closed with teachers ringing round telling parents to keep their children away. The streets are entirely empty, apart from the combatants.

It is unclear if the clashes were spontaneous or a planned operation. The Libya Herald has been informed that on Friday evening, six members of the Saiqa Brigade were seized by Ansar Al-Sharia. They were said to have been beaten, forced to crawl on their hands and knees and generally humiliated. They were then sent back to their unit. The message would appear to have been that Ansar Al-Sharia could act with impunity and that Saiqa should not mess with them.

Ansar al-Sharia intensifies recruitment
By Nadia Radhwan in Benghazi for Magharebia - 15/11/2013

Speculation about Ansar al-Sharia's plan for Libya ended this week when the al-Qaeda proponents released a mission statement demanding the imposition of Islamic law. The agenda is clear: today, Derna, tomorrow, all of Libya.

"Stability and security are dependent on the application of Sharia," AFP quoted the Islamist organisation as saying on Tuesday (November 13th).
The group, which began as a brigade of revolutionary fighters, advocates Sharia as the sole source of legislation. At the same time, it refuses to recognise state institutions, including the security services.
The jihadist organisation accuses anyone working for the government of apostasy and of being "taghuts" (evil forces in the service of tyranny).
Ansar al-Sharia Libya members control neighbourhoods in Benghazi and Sirte, and most of Derna, with an arsenal of weapons looted from Kadhafi's stockpiles.

Al-Qaeda Seizes US Aid Warehouse From Syrian Rebels
US Aid Finally Reached Syria, Almost Immediately Was Seized
by Jason Ditz,, November 24, 2013

The Obama Administration’s plans to provide arms and other equipment to secular Syrian rebels took a lot of planning, but finally began in earnest in recent days, as massive amounts of goods bound for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) started crossing the border from Reyhanli, Turkey into a warehouse in Atmeh, in northern Syria.
The plan was controversial, with a lot of fear that the goods would eventually start falling into the hands of al-Qaeda and other Islamist factions, and that seems to have been putting it mildly, as the whole warehouse in Atmeh was almost immediately captured by al-Qaeda.
Thousands of US made tents and other equipment meant for the FSA never ended up in the hands of those rebel fighters, and instead is all under the control of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). To make matters worse, the FSA commanders who were overseeing the transfer at the warehouse were all captured by AQI and are now awaiting trial in AQI-run religious courts.

General Salim Idriss: FSA will not take part in Geneva 2 talks
Press TV, Tue Nov 26, 2013

The commander of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) says it will not participate in the upcoming Geneva conference on the crisis in Syria.
General Salim Idriss made the remarks in an interview with Al-Jazeera news channel on Tuesday, a day after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the long-awaited talks would be held on January 22.
“Conditions are not suitable for running the Geneva 2 talks at the given date, and we, as a military and revolutionary force, will not participate in the conference,”
Idriss stated. Idriss added that the FSA would continue its battle against the Syrian government. “We will not stop combat at all during the Geneva conference or after it, and what concerns us is getting needed weapons for our fighters.”

UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahim has said that the upcoming conference would start “without any preconditions.”

Subordination of military forces to political authority

"Among the oldest problems of human governance has been that of securing the subordination of military forces to political authority...

Whether -- and how -- a society controls those who possess the ultimate power of physical coercion, and ensures their loyalty both to the particular government in power and to the regime in general, is basic to democratic governance.
For democracy, civilian control -- that is, control of the military by civilian officials elected by the people -- is fundamental. Civilian control allows a nation to base its values, institutions, and practices on the popular will rather than on the choices of military leaders." (Richard H. Kohn, Journal of Democracy 1997)

Israel is a dead weight around America’s neck
Jeremy Salt, Palestine Chronicle 25-11-2013

The agreement with Iran opens the way to significant commercial, political and strategic benefits for the US... By comparison, Israel is a dead weight around America’s neck from any perspective. It bleeds the US Treasury of more than $3 billion in arms and economic aid every year. It spies on the US and regularly defies the US. It has killed US servicemen in pursuit of its own strategic ends. It opens no doors and is of no commercial or economic benefit to the US and the days when it might have served some purpose as an armory during US military actions in the Middle East have probably gone for good.
The American people have made it perfectly clear they do not want their government to be involved in any more wars in the Middle East and peace certainly offers the US far greater rewards than war.

The nuclear issue always was a distraction. The real issue for Israel is Iran’s growing influence across the region and its refusal to back away from its strategic alliance with Syria and Hizbullah despite economic sanctions and regular threats of war.
The ruins of Gaza are testimony to Israel’s determination to destroy anyone and any thing standing in its way.
Palestine is the wellspring but dig deep enough into the ruins of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and you will find Israel at the bottom.
It will see the whole Middle East flattened rather than retreat from the territory it has seized through its wars of aggression.
Since the war of conquest of 1948 it has launched six other wars against Egypt, Syria, Gaza and Lebanon, apart from shorter incursions, assassinations and aerial attacks such as those launched on Syria this year. By comparison the only war involving the Islamic republic of Iran is the one launched by Saddam Hussein in 1980....

This is an existential moment for Israel. It refuses to change, expecting its friends endlessly to accommodate its outrageous behavior.
The White House is sending signals that it has had enough and indeed the agreement with Iran may even mark the beginning of the setting of the sun on the US-Israel ‘special relationship.’

Jeremy Salt teaches in the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey and is the author of Imperialism, Evangelism, and the Ottoman Armenians, 1878-1896.
In his latest book, The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (UC Press, June 2008), Salt examines the history and human cost of Western intervention in Arab lands. (University of California Press)

Israel: A Peace-loving State?
Syria Breaking News, 27-11-2013

In a speech during the meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (UNISPAL) at the UN, Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said that in light of the policy of fait accompli which Israel tires to impose, it's unacceptable that the UN and the member states deal with it in routine or solidarity without any productive act.
He reminded of the UN general Assembly resolution No. 273 for 1949 which specified the acceptance of Israel's membership at the UN, mainly on the condition that it would commit to resolutions relevant to the Palestinian issue...
Al-Jaafari said that Israel's escaping from punishment encouraged it to escalate its hostile practices and violation of human rights and international law.

"Part of the Syrian territories is still under occupation, since more than 45 years, despite the Security Council unanimous resolution No. 497 for 1981 which considered Israel's decision to annex the Syrian Golan in 1981 null and void and without legal basis, and based on this, the UN is required to shoulder its responsibilities to force Israel to apply to its resolutions," al-Jaafari said.
" It is unacceptable that the UN has failed in forcing Israel carry out the international resolutions, stop its flagrant, systemized violations of the Syrians' right under occupation in Golan, put an end to the apartheid, looting the natural Golan resources, including oil, gas and water ," al-Jaafari said.

Al-Jaafari affirmed that the choice of the just and comprehensive peace wouldn't not be achieved except by Israel's full withdrawal from the Arab territories into the line of June 4th, 1967, the establishment of the Palestinian independent state [...] and resolving the Palestinian refugees issue according to resolution No. 194 for 1948.

Israel was accepted into the United Nations on condition that it accept the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees. Admission of Israel to membership in the United Nations (General Assembly Resolution 273 of May 11, 1949 ) requires Israel to comply with General Assembly Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948 and Israel stated it agreed to comply with this resolution.

General Assembly Resolution 273 of May 11, 1949

Noting that, in the judgment of the Security Council, Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter,
Noting furthermore the declaration by the State of Israel that it "unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honour them from the day when it becomes a Member of the United Nations"
Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel before the ad hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions, The General Assembly [...] decides to admit Israel to membership in the United Nations.

General Assembly Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948

The General Assembly, having considered further the situation in Palestine,
8. Resolves that, in view of its association with three world religions, the Jerusalem area [...] should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control;

11. Resolves 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;

14. Calls upon all Governments and authorities concerned to co-operate with the Conciliation Commission and to take all possible steps to assist in the implementation of the present resolution... (source)

Syrian delegates to attend Geneva under Assad orders
"The age of colonialism is over..."
Voice of Russia, 27-11-2013

Syria will send a delegation to a January 22 Geneva peace conference under the orders of President Bashar al-Assad, a foreign ministry source said on Wednesday.
"Syria announces the participation of an official delegation under the orders of (Assad) and the demands of the Syrian people, with the top priority eliminating terrorism," the source was quoted as saying by the official SANA news agency.
"The official Syrian delegation will not go to Geneva to hand over power, but to take part (in talks) along with those who are committed to furthering the interests of the Syrian people and who support a political solution for Syria's future," the source said.
"Our people will not allow anyone to steal their right to choose their future and their leaders, and what is key about Geneva is to assert the Syrians' rights, and not of those who are spilling the people's blood."

The source criticised "the French, British and other foreign ministries as well as their agents in the Arab world who have insisted that there can be no place for President Assad in the transitional period. "The ministry reminds them that the age of colonialism is over, and they need to wake up... Otherwise it will be useless for them to attend Geneva-2."

The demand for Bashar Assad’s resignation is aimed at disrupting the Geneva-2 conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Those who say that it is worth waiting for the military balance to be established, or for a date when Assad will step down to be named, or put forward other preconditions are doing so with the unseemly purpose of hindering or disrupting the conference altogether," Lavrov said.
Lavrov added that fight against extremism in the Middle East region will depend on success of the international conference. "We speak about unification of all sound forces in the fight against terrorism that tries to sprout in the region, using Syria’s crisis", he said.

The Incredible Shrinking President
Daryl Cagle Cartoon

"The policy of the [French] Socialist Party in general and that of
François Hollande in particular has its roots in nineteenth century
colonialism, of which Jules Ferry was a herald and Theodor Herzl a promoter."
Thierry Meyssan, 26-11-2013

"My message to the French Parliamentarians is:
go back to the principles of the French Revolution
that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality.
Bashar al-Assad, 3-9-2012