Saddam's Death, Page 35
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 34: januar 2014
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)


Neo-Baathism

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"

Babylon

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


About political holism

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

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

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


Zie ook: Gilad Atzmon & Het tribalisme

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.

With a voter turnout of 57.4% and 89.4% voting in favour, the new constitution was adopted. President Al-Assad signed the new constitution into force on 27 February 2012. (Wikipedia)

Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic 2012

Flashback: Hariri calls Assad ‘monster,’ rejects warrants
By Hussein Dakroub, The Daily Star, 13-12-2012

BEIRUT: Lebanon and Syria engaged in a judicial war Wednesday with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri calling Syrian President Bashar Assad a “monster,” a day after Damascus issued arrest warrants for him and a member of his Future parliamentary bloc over allegations of arming and funding Syrian rebels...
Hariri scoffed at the Syrian arrest warrants issued against him, Future bloc MP Oqab Saqr and rebel Free Syrian Army official Louay Meqdad.
“It is ironic for a monster to become a human being who advocates justice and issues sentences. Bashar Assad has all the characteristics of a monster,” Hariri said in a statement released by his office.
He added that Syria’s beleaguered president has lost “his moral, humanitarian and political prerogatives” to rule: “He [Assad] is wanted and he will sooner or later stand to face justice [wanted] by the Syrian people...

Commenting on the Syrian arrest warrants, Hezbollah official and Nabatieh MP Mohammad Raad told reporters after meeting former President Emile Lahoud: “This is an internal Syrian affair in which we do not interfere.”
Speaking to reporters after meeting Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim Ali said he had appointed Rashad Salameh, a former Kataeb official, to file suit against “anyone who participated, incited, funded and sent arms [to Syrian rebels] and were actual accomplices in shedding the blood of Syrians.”


"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

The French Revolution brought about great changes in the society and government of France. The revolution, which lasted from 1789 to 1799, also had far-reaching effects on the rest of Europe. It introduced democratic ideals to France but did not make the nation a democracy. However, it ended supreme rule by French kings and strengthened the middle class. After the revolution began, no European kings, nobles, or other privileged groups could ever again take their powers for granted or ignore the ideals of liberty and equality....
The new ideas about government challenged France's absolute monarchy. Under this system, the king had almost unlimited authority. He governed by divine right--that is, the monarch's right to rule was thought to come from God. There were checks on the king, but these came mainly from a few groups of aristocrats in the parlements (high courts). (Source)

Syria & The 300 People Roadmap

Friends of Syria Group Commends Syria Transition Roadmap
Washington based Center for Political Studies

Washington, DC – On December 12, 2013, the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development of the Group of the Friends of the Syrian People held its third plenary meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Dr. Osama Kadi, president of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, attended the meeting as head of the Syrian delegation. The Government of the Republic of Korea hosted the meeting.
In the co-chairs conclusions on the meeting, Working Group participants commended the Syrian Center for Political Strategic Studies for its work on Syria Transition Roadmap, an exhaustively researched document presenting a consensus opposition vision of the post-conflict political and economic transition in Syria.
Additionally, the Working Group welcomed the formation of the Syrian Interim Government and the announcement of the Geneva Conference on Syria, scheduled for January 22, 2014.

The Syria Transition Roadmap,
or: The will of 300 people
Written by the Syrian Expert House

The Syrian Expert House is an initiative launched by the Washington based Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies to analyze and study the transitional period in Syria. The Syrian Expert House is a combined group of approximately three hundred human rights activists, academics, judges, lawyers, doctors, opposition politicians, defected government officials, defected military officers, members of local revolutionary councils, and commanders of the armed opposition who are committed to holding periodic meetings to build a final vision of the transitional period.

Political reform. Taking over the presidency

The stepping down of the head of the current regime, President Bashar al-Assad, will mark the beginning of the transition in Syria.
Thus, the Political and Administrative Reform Working Group discussed several scenarios for the end of the crisis, after which an interim government would be formed on the basis of a political agreement based on the conflict’s resolution.

Security Sector Reform. Taking over the army

Regarding the challenges of building a new army in Syria, there were extensive discussions about its composition and the structuring of the general staff.
The various leaders and representatives of military units in the Free Syrian Army gave a briefing to the Syrian Expert House of the situation in the field in their fronts, which included a full explanation of the liberated and non-liberated areas, alongside a description of the fighting formations from the numbers, capabilities, and the formations’ names standpoints.
Some of the defected high-ranking officers made comments about the formation of the general staff and its framework. They demanded that all the battalions and brigades that are active on the ground coordinate with them in order to form the nucleus of a new army in the future.

US: Work together with the Islamic Front

Geneva, (SANA delegate) -Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthina Shaaban reaffirmed that the Syrian official delegation participating in Geneva is strongly present as it will not accept whatever contradicts its convictions, principles and the Syrian people's interests, pointing out that Geneva1 Communique stipulates that nothing can be done but through both parties' agreement.
On the U.S. attempt of bringing the armed factions of 'the Islamic Front' and others to broaden the coalition and make them join the negotiation table, Shaaban, in a telephone call with Lebanese al-Manar TV, said : "That reflects their dubious relation with these sides that perpetrate acts of killing, mutilating kidnapping, in addition to sabotaging state institutions."

A statement posted online said Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Suqour al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, Liwa al-Haqq, Ansar al-Sham and the Kurdish Islamic Front had agreed to a "gradual merger". It said the new Islamic Front will be an "independent political, military and social formation" to topple the Assad regime and build an Islamic state. (BBC, 22-11-2013)

Islamic Front Charter
The terrrorists are brethren


First, the charter calls for an Islamic state and the implementation of sharia, though it does not define exactly what that means. The IF is firmly against secularism, human legislation (i.e., it believes that laws come from God, not from people), civil government, and a Kurdish breakaway state. ...
The IF's number-one goal is "the toppling of the regime," which includes "bringing an end its legislative, executive, and judicial authority along with its military and security institutions...
Lastly, the charter supports the presence of foreign fighters in the Syrian rebellion: "These are brethren who have supported us in the struggle, and their support is appreciated and they are thanked for it. We are required to ensure their safety." Therefore, the IF is unlikely to turn on these fighters or eject them from Syria when the conflict ends. (Washington Institute)

Syrian opposition, govt ready to move forward with Geneva 2 peace talks
Russia Today, February 04, 2014


1: lavrov-jarba - 2: hassan abboud (leader islamic front)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba. Following the talks - which took place in Moscow and focused on the temporarily halted peace conference in Switzerland - Jarba confirmed to Russian media that the SNC will come to Geneva on February 10. The Coalition has decided it must “follow the way of political settlement” of the Syrian conflict despite all odds during the first round of talks and the latest offensive from government forces on the ground, Jarba added.

The SNC leader said he believes that creating a transitional body is a top priority that will solve all other issues automatically.
“Formation of an interim government will solve all other disputable problems, including ceasefire and releases of the war prisoners,” Jarba assured, stating that the opposition has already prepared a list of candidates and expressed readiness “to be flexible and open for dialogue while discussing nominees.”

Jarba said the opposition refuses to discuss the problem of terrorism in Syria “while Assad is in power.” However, he told Russian journalists that the SNC does not recognize the Islamic Front - a major merger of Syrian rebel fighters formed in November - as a terrorist organization, and considers them “revolutionaries.”

Rabbis to Kerry: Cease mediation or face divine retribution
Haaretz, 5-2-2014

A group of rabbis warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to cease his pursuit of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians or face divine retribution in a letter sent by them Sunday (2-2-2014).
The group, calling itself "The Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel," wrote that Kerry's "incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of our Holy Land and hand them over to Abbas’s terrorist gang, amount to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe!"
The group claimed that the plan, by placing them in the line of missile fire, would imperil six million Jews, adding in brackets "remember that number from somewhere?"
The letter went on to warn that if Kerry went through with his plans he would win himself "everlasting disgrace in Jewish history for bringing calamity upon the Jewish people," joining the likes of Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and Roman emperor Titus. The rabbis warned Kerry that like these monarchs and Haman, the villain of the Book of Esther, he will suffer divine retribution for his affront to God's chosen people.

The signatories of the letter, emeritus head of Haifa Rabbinic Court Gedalya Axelrod, Temple Institute chairman Yisrael Ariel, Migdal Haemek rabbi Ben Tziyon Grossman, Institute for Complete Code of Maimonides dean Shalom Dov Wolpo and Yeshiva of Kiryat Shmuel dean Yigal Pizam, claim they represent other rabbis who are also members of the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel and "hundreds of other Rabbis in Israel and around the world."

United Against Kerry - Gilad Atzmon, 5-2-2014

Israeli Arutz 7 reports: The rabbis sharply criticized Kerry for his plans to establish an Arab capital in Jerusalem ... and to have Israel withdraw to the 1949 Armistice lines.
"G-d awarded the entire Land of Israel to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in order that they bequeath it, as an everlasting inheritance, to their descendants, the Jewish people, until the end of all time..."
"By the power of our Holy Torah, we admonish you to cease immediately all efforts to achieve these disastrous agreements – in order to avoid severe Heavenly punishment for everyone involved," warned the rabbis.
The letter closed with a reference to the upcoming Jewish holiday of Purim, in which the Book of Esther records Haman's genocidal plots against the Jewish people were turned against him...

Comment by Gilad Atzmon: If you really want to understand the real meaning of Purim and the Book of Esther. You better read Counterpunch's 2007 Purim Special - From Esther to AIPAC.

"To be a Jew is to see the ‘other’ as a threat rather than as a brother. To be a Jew is to be on a constant alert. To be a Jew is to internalise the message of the Book of Esther. It is to aim towards the most influential junctions of hegemony. To be a Jew is to collaborate with power." (From Esther to AIPAC)

As the Rabbis confirm above, the Book of Esther is there to teach the Jew how to dominate the politics of his or her host nation. At the time I was denounced for pointing at the true meaning of The Book Of Esther. However, the Rabbis Letter's closing paragraph confirms that my analysis was spot on.


Archeology Shows Bible written Late, Full of Errors
By Juan Cole | Feb. 6, 2014

David and Solomon didn’t have a huge palace in Jerusalem in the 1000s and 900s BC. The Assyrians, the gossips of the ancient world, wrote down everything on their clay tablets. They knew events in the whole Middle East. They did not know anything about a glorious kingdom of David and Solomon at Jerusalem.
Indeed, in the 1000s when David is alleged to have lived, Jerusalem seems to have been largely uninhabited, according to the digs that have been done.
Jerusalem was not in any case founded by Jews, but by Canaanites in honor of the god Shalem, thousands of years ago.
There is no reason to think anyone but Canaanites lived in the area of Jerusalem in the 1000s or 900s BC. Likely some Canaanites became devoted to Y*H*W*H in a monotheistic way during the Babylonian exile when they began inventing Judaism and becoming “Jews” and projecting it back into the distant past.


"To deny a people the man whom it praises as the greatest of its sons is not a deed to be undertaken lightheartedly--especially by one belonging to that people. No consideration, however, will move me to set aside truth in favour of supposed national interests." Sigmund Freud, in: Mozes and Monotheism

"Only when we are ready to replace a religion of faith with a religion of knowledge shall humanity achieve the resurrection of religion. Then, and only then, shall the prophetic call for justice, peace, and love replace a faith of fear and doom and hopelessness. Then, and only then, will people be able to live their religion, for it will be a religion that can be understood, a religion that can be know, a religion that can be felt, a religion worthy of belief and a religion worthy of living." (Robert Edward Green, religious humanist)


Shalem: Info

Shalem: 'the stable one' he is connected to the evening star and is paired with Shahar who is connected to the morning star.
The two gods are called the 'celestial ones' and correspond to the Greek Castor and Pollux. His name appears in the names Jerusalem 'the foundation of Shalem' and two of David's sons, Absalom 'the father is Shalem' and Solomon 'belonging to Shalem'.

Genesis 33:18: And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-aram (an early Aramean kingdom in Mesopotamia); and pitched his tent before the city.
Genesis 33:19: And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
Genesis 33:20: And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel...

Genesis 34:27: The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
Genesis 34:28: They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field,
Genesis 34:29: And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.
Genesis 34:30: And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house....


Herzog: PA Should Recognize Israel as Jewish State
By Tova Dvorin, Arutz Sheva, 7-2-2014

In a surprising turn of events, Opposition Chairman and Labor Party head Yitzhak Herzog made a public statement of support Friday for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's demands that the Palestinian Authority (PA) recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
"I think that the demand for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland as part of an interim agreement is correct and I support it," Herzog stated, in an interview with Maariv. "This stems from the fact that the basis for the request is in the (United Nations, 1947) Partition Plan, which would have seen two states - one of them a Jewish state... "The Geneva Accords also contained a clause that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland," Herzog continued...
Herzog dismissed the remarks by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas last week, where he declared that the PA would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. President Shimon Peres similarly said in January that the PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is "unnecessary."

Herzog's comments differ radically from the views implied in an impassioned speech he gave last week, whereby he attacked the nationalist camp...

The November 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181
a non-binding recommendation that was never legally consummated
Myths and Facts 2006

Resolution 181 reads: “Having met in special session at the request of the mandatory Power to constitute and instruct a Special Committee to prepare for the consideration of the question of the future Government of Palestine … and to prepare proposals for the solution of the problem, and … Recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future Government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition of the territory …”

Resolution 181 was a non-binding resolution that only recommended partition. It never “partitioned” or “mandated” anything as the ICJ tries to inject...
The Arab population of Palestine and the Arab States rejected this plan, contending that it was unbalanced; on 14 May 1948, Israel proclaimed its independence on the strength of the General Assembly resolution; armed conflict then broke out between Israel and a number of Arab States and the Plan of Partition was not implemented.”

The 1947 “Partition Plan” was the last of a series of recommendations that had been drawn up over the years by the Mandator and by international commissions, plans designed to reach an historic compromise between Arabs and Jews in western Palestine...
Every scheme since 1922 has been rejected by the Arab side, including decidedly pro-Arab recommendations. This was not because the suggestions were “unbalanced,” but because these plans recognized the Jews as a nation and gave the Jewish citizens of Mandate Palestine political dominance.

Resolution 181 recognized the Jewish right to statehood, but its validity as a potentially legal and binding document was never consummated. Like the schemes that preceded it, Resolution 181’s validity hinged on acceptance by both parties of the General Assembly’s recommendation.
Sir Lauterpacht, a renowned expert on international law and editor of Oppenheim’s International Law, clarified that, from a legal standpoint, the 1947 UN Partition Resolution had no legislative character to vest territorial rights in either Jews or Arabs.
“… the coming into existence of Israel does not depend legally upon the Resolution. The right of a State to exist flows from its factual existence – especially when that existence is prolonged, shows every sign of continuance and is recognised by the generality of nations.”


Uri Ariel: There is no hope coalition will sign
peace treaty with Palestinians
By Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post 6-2-2014

The current talks with the Palestinians are unlikely to go anywhere because of both sides’ terms, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel predicted Wednesday.

“Everyone in the coalition agrees, including [Justice Minister Tzipi] Livni and [Finance Minister Yair] Lapid, that the major settlement blocs will remain intact, the Jordan Valley will remain part of Israel, there cannot be a right of return and Jerusalem will remain united.

The other side wants the right of return, won’t recognize Israel as Jewish and doesn’t want any Jews on their land,” Ariel pointed out. “If you ask me if we can reach an agreement with those terms, I say no,” he added.
Ariel called the continuing talks “déjà vu,” saying there’s no way for a breakthrough as US Secretary of State John Kerry has no room to maneuver.


The pro-Israel lobby: An obstacle to peace since 1948?
By Ben Zehavi, Times of Israel, february 8, 2014

A new book - “Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict” (author: John Judis) - examines Truman’s conflicted attitudes toward Israel and takes aim at the pro-Israel lobby’s influence from the birth of the Jewish state until today...
Critics will view “Genesis” as the latest attack on Israel and America’s pro-Israel lobby. In fact, it goes further than Peter Beinart’s “The Crisis of Zionism” insofar as Judis doesn’t just share his former New Republic colleague’s claim that the major American Jewish organizations are a current obstacle to peace; rather, he argues that it has always been thus, at least since Truman first recognized the fledgling Jewish state in 1948.

Judis writes: Truman was a genuine liberal who had moral qualms about Zionism. He was also the last president to express them.
Almost every American president since Truman has tried to find a way to improve the lot of Palestinian Arabs – through trying to get Israel to allow refugees to return and later by trying to persuade the Israelis to leave the occupied West Bank and permit the Palestinian Arabs a state of their own. They began with a moral and strategic conviction that something had to be done to right the situation of the Palestinians, but under relentless pressure from supporters of Israel (and after 1948 from the Israeli government itself), they gave up.

Judis says this dynamic explains why, during his first term, President Obama backed down from his demands for Israel to stop settlement activities: The pattern of surrender to Israel and its supporters began in the Truman years…
The underlying problem remains the same: whether an American president and the American people can forthrightly address the conflict of Jew and Arab in the Middle East, or whether they must bow to the demands of a powerful pro-Israel lobby and an increasingly rightward-leaning Israeli government.

- Question: It sounds a lot like you’re accusing the Jewish lobby of controlling American foreign policy. That’s a classic anti-Semitic trope.
- Answer: No, I don’t think the lobby controls American foreign policy. That is nonsense. But I think it has enormous influence over US Israel policy...
- Q: Are these “moral qualms” that you say Truman had about Zionism at odds with those who have described him as “the best friend of Israel?”
- A: Truman did have a Jeffersonian view of religious states, was very uncomfortable with the idea of a Jewish state, wanted some kind of binational arrangement, but gave up around the fall of 1946 and from that time on was buffeted by pressures on him.
- Q: I was surprised to learn that you’re Jewish.
- A: My parents were secular [people] who did not believe in God or adhere to religious customs... I did not receive any Jewish religious education and I went to an Episcopalian boarding school. I remain suspicious of people who are paid to preach – whether Christian or Jewish. My main link to Judaism is ethnic not religious...

Syria News: Jarba and Abdulazim to Meet in Cairo
Syrian Observer, Fri 07 Feb 2014

High-profile figures from Syria's two major opposition groups will meet in Egypt's Cairo Thursday to discuss broader representation of the Syrian opposition at the second round of talks at the Geneva II peace conference.
Hasan Abdel Azim, the head of the domestically-based National Coordination Commitee (NCC) is expected to meet with Ahmad Jarba, the head of the exiled Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition group in exile. The meeting aims at finding a "mutual mechanism" for broader representation of the opposition in the next round of the Geneva II talks.
The opposition groups in Syria have complained that they were not invited to take part in the Geneva II conference as independent entities. The U.S., one of the sponsors of the conference, said that other parties could participate under the Coalition umbrella.
The opposition groups, mainly the NCC, said previously there was no way they would partake under the Coalition umbrella, demanding an equal representation in a unified opposition delegation but not in the Coalition's shadow.


The National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change, or National Coordination Body for Democratic Change is a Syrian bloc chaired by Hassan Abdel Azim consisting of 13 left-wing political parties and "independent political and youth activists". It has been defined by Reuters as the internal opposition's main umbrella group.

NCC statement 16-1-2014

We communicate regularly with the sponsoring parties.... We felt the need for positive interaction in order to ensure the success of the Conference. It is not just important to hold the Conference, but it is important that this conference responds to the needs of the existence of the country and the citizen. With our emphasis on the rejection of the preconditions for the Conference, we considered that providing the appropriate atmosphere is a confident confirmation of a serious conference: the release of women, children and patients in prisons; facilitate relief operations and help each area of Syria under siege; lifting the European and American food and medicine sanctions on Syria; the release of abducted people; and lifting the travel and movement bans for all Syrians.
We have demanded that the co-States sponsors and the United Nations recognise the need to adopt the principle of commitment to the agreements resulting from the negotiations, and the presence of international guarantees for the negotiations and commitment to the agreements. The NCB prepared a draft resolution to the Security Council that recognises that all non-Syrian fighters are outside of international legitimacy.


Bouthaina Shaaban: Keys to Syria War
Given from Qatar to Saudi Arabia
FARS News Agency, 10-2-2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- Bouthaina Shaaban, Syrian president’s political and media advisor, said the United States has adopted a hypocritical stance toward Syria, but it calls it a "policy" which we now witness is showing signs of failure. Speaking at an exclusive interview with Al-Alam in Syrian capital Damascus Shaaban said, the United States is struggling to make an exit for itself from the chaos it has been leading in Syria which not only targeted Syria, but was also aimed at "changing the image of the region".
"Since three years ago and start of the extensive war on Syria, we saw that international criteria have changed; that’s why I think the result of this war is going to show which axis is more powerful and will stay in the region..."

She then referred to changes undergone in the war Syria has been dealing with, saying that, "at the beginning, it was Qatar which led the war and unfortunately made the Arab League to accompany it, but later the keys to the war on Syria were given to Saudi Arabia"....
The Syrian official further referred to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government’s role in the ongoing war in her country and said, "Erdogan government thought it had the region’s situation under control..."
"Erdogan government is a Brotherhood government, and he proved this by supporting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
; unfortunately they came to act with Ottoman thoughts."
She stressed, "the regional conspiracy was with no doubt, done with assistance of the US and the West, which not only aimed for Syria, it had Iran, Hezbollah, resistance and anyone who said no to the US under its target".

Shaaban said the US "knows well where it has ended up in Syria". She added recent reports of US envoy Robert Ford getting retired because "he misses his family" after he led different groups in their war to topple the government for nearly three years, was one of the signs showing the US is trying to make a way out of Syria...
She added that US President Barack Obama has only two more years in office and now he is trying not to leave a negative image of himself.
"Recent changes in US relations with Iran and the agreement-like event between US and Russia are all parts of Obama’s attempts to introduce himself as an American president who stood against wars and tried for peace in the world."
Shaaban said, the US has now left things somehow to Saudi Arabia, to conduct the war in its own way.


Muslim Brotherhood: In Eighth Month of Daily Revolt,
Egyptians Determined to Wrest Rights
Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, February 9,2014

The people's daily revolt, since the coup, is now in its eighth month. These daily demonstrations, without interruption since the junta's power-grab, is a clear sign of the people's strong resolve to fully reclaim their rights from the repressive putschists, no matter what it costs them.
We remind loyal revolutionary heroes that runners at the racetrack increase their speed and unleash their energy as they approach the finish line. The end of the coup is approaching fast, God willing. This requires more effort, more mobilization, fortitude and sacrifice, to accelerate the putschists' downfall. All signs show they are slipping, sliding and finally failing...

To all those who support this criminal coup, we say: the coup will fall fast. And after the dust settles, the people will remain. It is in your best interest to side with the people, or at least stop supporting the coup, so you do not earn the people's hatred and deserve their subsequent rage.

God is Great. Praise be to God.
The Muslim Brotherhood

Leaked phone call on Ukraine
lays bare Washington’s gangsterism
Bill Van Auken, World Socialist Website, 10-2-2014

The US media has shown remarkably little interest in the tape of a telephone call between Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s top official on Europe and Eurasia, and the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, which was posted on YouTube and became the subject of international controversy...
What coverage has been provided has mainly focused on Ms. Nuland’s use of the decidedly undiplomatic phrase “Fuck the EU” in spelling out Washington’s attitude to the role being played by its European partners in the crisis that has gripped Ukraine for nearly three months....
The Russian government has vigorously denied the US charge that Moscow is responsible for the leak. The accusation is, in any case, rather rich coming from a government that has been exposed as spying on the phone conversations of hundreds of millions of people in the US and around the world.

The real political significance of the phone conversation between Nuland and Pyatt is left largely in the shade. This is no accident, as the call provides a devastating exposure of the criminal and imperialist character of US policy in Ukraine...

What the tape makes clear is that Washington is employing methods of international gangsterism, including violence, to effect a political coup aimed at installing a regime that is fully subordinate to US geo-strategic interests.
The precise goal of US efforts is to shift political power into the hands of a collection of Western-aligned Ukrainian oligarchs... In doing so, it aims to turn Ukraine into a US imperialist beachhead on the very border of Russia.

The Nuland-Pyatt conversation is concerned with the nuts and bolts of this venture. They involve the whipping up of anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalism and aid to far-right political forces that serve as a battering ram against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych...
Nuland makes clear that behind the scenes, Washington is dictating which leaders of the opposition should enter the government to swing it behind Washington and what role the others will play.

Nuland personifies the continuity of US foreign policy, from the crimes of the Bush administration to the deepening of these crimes under Obama. She served as a chief foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney...
Her husband is Robert Kagan, the right-wing foreign policy pundit who served as the founding chairman of the Project for a New American Century, the neo-conservative Washington think tank that played a key role in the political and ideological preparation for the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Robert Kagan:
Why the World Needs America

The present world order was largely shaped by American power and reflects American interests and preferences. If the balance of power shifts in the direction of other nations, the world order will change to suit their interests and preferences...
Take the issue of democracy. For several decades, the balance of power in the world has favored democratic governments. In a genuinely post-American world, the balance would shift toward the great-power autocracies. Both Beijing and Moscow already protect dictators like Syria's Bashar al-Assad. If they gain greater relative influence in the future, we will see fewer democratic transitions and more autocrats hanging on to power....

American economic dominance has been welcomed by much of the world because, like the mobster Hyman Roth in "The Godfather," the U.S. has always made money for its partners. Chinese economic dominance may get a different reception...
China's form of capitalism is heavily dominated by the state, with the ultimate goal of preserving the rule of the Communist Party. Unlike the eras of British and American pre-eminence, when the leading economic powers were dominated largely by private individuals or companies, China's system is more like the mercantilist arrangements of previous centuries....

There is little reason to believe that a return to multipolarity in the 21st century would bring greater peace and stability than it has in the past. The era of American predominance has shown that there is no better recipe for great-power peace than certainty about who holds the upper hand....
International order is not an evolution; it is an imposition. It is the domination of one vision over others—in America's case, the domination of free-market and democratic principles, together with an international system that supports them.

If and when American power declines, the institutions and norms that American power has supported will decline, too... We may discover then that the U.S. was essential to keeping the present world order together and that the alternative to American power was not peace and harmony but chaos and catastrophe... (Wall Street Journal, 11-2-2012)


Flashback 2007: President of Russia
Speech at the Munich Conference on Security Policy

VLADIMIR PUTIN: The history of humanity has gone through unipolar periods and seen aspirations to world supremacy. And what hasn’t happened in world history? However, what is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.
It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.
And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.

Incidentally, Russia – we – are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.
I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today’s – and precisely in today’s – world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice.
What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.

The Destruction of the Idols:
Syria’s Patrimony at Risk from Extremists
By Patrick Cockburn, UNZ Review, February 11, 2014

Islamic fundamentalists in Syria have started to destroy archaeological treasures such as Byzantine mosaics and Greek and Roman statues because their portrayal of human beings is contrary to their religious beliefs. The systematic destruction of antiquities may be the worst disaster to ancient monuments since the Taliban in Afghanistan dynamited the giant statues of Buddha at Bamiyan in 2001.

Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim, general director of antiquities and museums at the Ministry of Culture in Damascus, says that extreme Islamic iconoclasm puts many antiquities at risk. An expert on the Roman and early Christian periods in Syria, he says: “I am sure that if the crisis continues in Syria we shall have the destruction of all the crosses from the early Christian world, mosaics with mythological figures and thousands of Greek and Roman statues.”

Syria has far more surviving archaeological sites and ancient monuments than almost any country in the world... Unfortunately, many of the most famous ancient sites in Syria are now held by the fundamentalist Islamic opposition and are thereby in danger.
Professor Abdulkarim says that it is not just Isis but “Jabhat al-Nusra [the official affiliate of al-Qa’ida] and the other fundamentalists who are pretty much the same”. He emphasises at the same time that he approaches his job of trying to preserve Syria’s heritage during the civil war from a politically neutral point of view...
Syria’s museums are generally secure and moveable items have been taken elsewhere for safe-keeping. Museum staff say they saw what happened in Iraq after 2003 and moved quickly.

Looting

The most devastating and irreversible losses to Syria’s rich heritage of ancient cities and buildings are the result of looting... What worries Professor Abdulkarim and his staff is that over the last year the looting has become large scale. He says that there is “a mafia from Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon hiring hundreds of people to strip sites”.


The US and military intervention: "A sense of déjà vu"
By Musa al-Gharbi, Press TV, Feb 16, 2014

In the second round of Geneva II talks, the government agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Homs, and a lifting of the blockade, in order to allow citizens to flee if they wish, and to allow some aid and provisions to enter for those who remain.
Immediately following this concession on the part of the government, the United States and its allies attempted to push a Chapter 7 resolution through the U.N. Security Council. Under the auspices of enforcing this agreement with the Syrian government, the resolution would have placed nearly the entire blame for the conflict and subsequent atrocities on the...[Syrian Goverment], and could have paved the way for direct military intervention, via R2P, to “change the balance of power on the ground.”

Russia and China declared this proposal dead on arrival, with Lavrov accusing the United States of obstructing the peace process in Syria through their continued insistence that the only acceptable end to the conflict is al-Assad’s departure, and through their continuing to raise the prospects of military intervention.

One cannot help but feel a sense of déjà vu:
In March of 2012 the United Nations became involved in trying to broker a peace deal in Syria. Between March and June, the UN peace envoy Kofi Annan served as an intermediary between the government and the opposition...
In June of 2012, Annan drafted the Geneva Communique which enshrined the concessions the parties had agreed to in the previous negotiations and laid out a roadmap for a Syria-driven process of reconciliation...
However, the very next day after signing onto the Communique, the United States and its allies attempted to push a Chapter 7 resolution through the UNSC which, in defiance of the Communique placed the blame for the conflict squarely on the al-Assad regime, and could have laid the groundwork for a military intervention if the conditions of the resolution were not sufficiently and expediently met....
UN peace envoy Kofi Annan was outraged by this move, which he saw to be a betrayal of the agreement Western powers had just signed...

Following the failed bid in the UN Susan Rice proclaimed that the US and...EU and regional allies would have to “work around” the United Nations, henceforth, to get the outcome they wanted... Thereafter, these parties began to fund, arm, provision, and train rebel militias..
Following this surge in foreign aid and fighters, the situation in Syria rapidly deteriorated. The UN was forced to withdraw its observers, and Annan resigned from his position in disgust...

Flashback 2012: Armed terrorist groups
escalated their terrorist acts (SANA, 29-5-2012)

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad discussed with UN Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan and the accompanying delegation the situation in Syria since the beginning of the implementation of Annan's six-point plan to the moment.
The meeting also discussed means for overcoming obstacles hindering Annan's plan, particularly the escalating terrorism in some Syrian areas.

President al-Assad pointed out that the armed terrorist groups escalated their terrorist acts noticeably as of late in various areas across Syria, committing murder and abduction against Syrian citizens in addition to robberies and targeting public and private properties with arson and vandalism.
He stressed the need for the countries who are financing, arming and harboring the terrorist groups to commit to Annan's plan, and that these countries' political will to participate in stopping terrorism must be put to the test. President al-Assad affirmed to Annan that the success of his plan depends on stopping weapon smuggling and curbing terrorism and those who support it.


President Bashar al-Assad at the People's Assembly
ChamPress, 4-6-2012

The political process is moving forward, but terrorism is growing and hasn't subsided... At the beginning they said that the problem is that there are no political parties - The political parties law was passed - or said that the problem lied in article 8 of the constitution: the whole constitution was changed.... There were other pretexts and justifications, but reality has never changed as far as terrorist acts are concerned. We are neither analysing nor inventing something new. Reality itself is providing the clear answer....

First of all, we should know that we are not facing a political problem, because had it been a political problem, there should be one party proposing a political or economic program and then we face this party with our own political or economic program. This is what we have done despite our knowledge, from the beginning, that the problem is not a political one. What we are facing is a project of internal sedition aiming at the destruction of the homeland. The instrument of this sedition is terrorism. ....

"Those who have promoted a new age of freedom
and prosperity have embraced chaos..."

I raise a question: why didn't this terrorism that we see today strike so violently before the crisis although Syria is surrounded by countries which have known this kind of terrorism for over ten years? The answer is that chaos is the natural environment for terrorism and those who have promoted a new age of freedom and prosperity, without knowing what they are talking about, have embraced chaos, and chaos embraced terrorism; and consequently, and without knowing it, these people have become involved in, in one way or another, in terrorism.
Today we see, as a result of short-sightedness, that the freedom they have chanted slogans for is about the blood and the dead bodies of our children and that the democracy they talked about is soaked with our blood.
We have paid a high price, but I expect that the price we are going to pay after the end of the crisis might be higher, not in terms of security, but in terms of moral values.


Free Syrian Army fires military chief
Yahoo news, 17-2-2014

Beirut (AFP) - The rebel Free Syrian Army said Sunday it had fired Selim Idriss as its military chief, citing the "difficulties faced by the Syrian revolution" in its battle with the regime.
A source inside the Syrian opposition told AFP that Idriss -- who was appointed to the role in December 2012 -- had faced criticism for failings on the battlefield. These included "errors and carelessness in combat" and "poor distribution of weapons" among the rebels on the ground, the source said. He is also accused of distancing himself from "the concerns of the insurgents".

In a video broadcast on the Internet, the rebel coalition said its military council had decided to replace Idriss with Brigadier General Abdel al-Ilah al-Bachir. The group's new leader Al-Bachir is the head of the military council in the southern province of Quneitra. He deserted the regular army in 2012.

Considered the "moderate" rebel group, the Western-backed FSA was once the country's strongest armed opposition force but is now increasingly marginalised by Islamists.
It has been weakened by internal rifts and by competition from other rebel coalitions such as the Islamic Front, a powerful alliance formed last year that is now the largest rebel force with tens of thousands of fighters.

Idris quits ‘Syrian National Coalition’
Press TV, Feb 20, 2014

Divisions among foreign-sponsored opposition groups in Syria have further widened as senior militant commanders sever their ties with the Syrian National Coalition (SNC).
General Salim Idris, the former commander of the anti-Damascus militancy group called Free Syrian Army (FSA), announced on Wednesday his departure from the coalition along with more than a dozen other fellow militant commanders.
The militant commanders are angry over a recent decision by the Syrian National Coalition to dismiss Idris as the head of its military wing and replace him with General Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir.
The development comes after dozens of foreign-backed militant groups announced their separation from the SNC and the FSA last year over differences on leadership.
The anti-Damascus military coalition was established in 2011

PA tells Kerry no to framework deal in current form
By Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, 14-2-2014

The Palestinian Authority has informed US Secretary of State John Kerry that it will not accept his framework peace proposal as it currently stands, PA officials told The Times of Israel.
The officials claimed that the Obama administration’s current proposal includes pretty much everything Israel demanded — almost down to the last detail — but does not address vital requirements from the Palestinian side.

Israeli officials have indicated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is inclined to accept the framework terms, on the basis that they are non-binding and that he can express objections to them, though this has not been confirmed.

Palestinian reservations

Senior Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel that many of the Framworkclauses are unacceptable to the PA for several reasons.
For a start, the references to the borders and settlements leave too much room for Israeli interpretation. “What does ‘There will be no widespread evacuation of residents’ mean?” asked one official. “This means that Israel will want to keep a bigger percentage of the West Bank and this point is not acceptable to us. What does ‘Taking into consideration changes on the ground since then’ mean? I mean, Israel continues to build settlements.”
The official continued: “The same with the refugee issue; there is no recognition of Palestinian suffering. We want an expression of regret, an Israeli admission of the suffering caused to us. Where did it disappear to?
“What about security and the Jordan Valley? What does it mean that 'Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself'? We will not agree to the entry of Israeli troops into the PA territory. And as for the ongoing presence of the army in the Jordan Valley, it’s ridiculous to set the timeline [for the IDF's exit] according to ‘the abilities of the PA security forces.’ Who will determine that ability? And who will say, ‘That’s it, the PA is ready to assume responsibility for the Valley’?”

Almost all senior Palestinian officials with whom The Times of Israel has spoken in recent days made clear that the PA does not have the legitimacy, in the eyes of the public, to accept the Kerry proposals.

The official did not hide his anger toward the US administration, and of course, toward Israel.
“We have reached many achievements in recent years. We have attained stability and quiet [in the West Bank],” he said this week in Ramallah. “But you [the Israelis] are now allowing the situation deteriorate. Your security echelon understands the problems and the difficulties. But the political leadership does not care at all. Everyone is acting on the basis of his or her own political interests.

The PA is also having trouble digesting the Israeli insistence on the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, he noted.
“We have no intention of dragging this conflict in a religious direction. Every sensible person in the Middle East is trying to keep religion away from the various conflicts, except for you. What’s in it for you? The conflict between us is not religious.....

“We see what Israel is trying to do here — to undermine our internal affairs and to force Abbas to compromise,” said a PA official.... Instead of strengthening moderates, Israel is trying to weaken us.
The entire region currently suffers from a rise of extremism and terror activities. You must cooperate with us in order to achieve peace, not fight with us.”

All Palestinians have to be zionists
Uri Avnery, 08/02/14

WHAT’S WRONG about the demand that the Palestinian leadership recognize Israel as the “Nation State of the Jewish People”?
Well, practically everything.States recognize each other. They don't have to recognize each other's ideological character.
A state is a reality. Ideologies belong to the abstract realm.
When the United States recognized the Soviet Union in 1933, it recognized the state. It did not recognize its communist nature.
When the PLO recognized the State of Israel in the Oslo agreement, and in the exchange of letters preceding it, it was not asked to recognize its Zionist ideology. When Israel in return recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people, it did not recognize any particular Palestinian ideology, secular or religious.

Recognizing the “National State of the Jewish People” means accepting the entire Zionist narrative, lock, stock and barrel, starting from the divine promise to Abraham to this very day.


Interview: Ilan Pappe on academic freedom in Israel
By Alex Shams, Ma'an News Agency, 21/02/2014

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and political activist. Much of Pappe's academic work has focused on the 1948 expulsion of 700,000-800,000 Palestinians from their homes in what became the State of Israel. Ma'an recently conducted an interview with him...

- What is the state of the publishing industry with regards to opinions critical of Zionism, in your opinion? How is it similar or different to the climates in academic institutions? Can you tell us a little bit about the obstacles you faced while working in an Israeli university?

- In academia and the publishing world, and other cultural media like this, there are certain invisible red lines that you know there are there only when you cross them...
Critique of Zionism as a pastime or political activity (provided you are a Jewish citizen of course) is somehow tolerated. But if you claim that Zionism as an ideology is morally corrupt and that its policies are war crimes on the basis of your professional credentials, for instance as a historian trained in the history of Israel and Palestine, you have crossed a red line...
Similarly, if you accuse your own reference group as being part of the oppression you have crossed a red line, and of course it is worse if you believe it should be boycotted for its complacency.
Finally, if you critique not the state policies, but its very nature and doubt publicly its moral justification and basis your out of the "legitimate" boundaries and if you dare drawing comparisons with the darkest moments in Jewish and European history to the current realities you will not be tolerated.

I have crossed all these red lines and the result was that I could not work any more in an Israeli academic institution, which instead of being bastions of freedom of expression are bastions of censoring expression.
In my case, what it meant was being excluded from the right to participate in academic conferences, let alone organize them, inciting the student community against me, and finally calling publicly for my resignation...
What was amazing that the harassment continued to Britain where I began working in 2007. For years the Israeli ambassador in London exerted pressure on my university to fire me! Even in the worst days of Apartheid, the South African ambassador would not call upon British universities to fire anti-apartheid staff....

Freedom of academic expression in Israel is a bit like the idea of a Israel being a Jewish democracy. You take a universal concept -- everyone has the right to their opinion and everyone has the right to be part of a democracy -- only with one condition: that the universality does not include critique on Zionism and that the democracy would always ensure Jewish majority whatever the demographic and geographical realities are.

Obama’s Iran policy wins key point:
Saudis drop its lead antagonist Prince Bandar
DEBKAfile, February 19, 2014

The live wire of the Saudi royal house’s drive against President Barack Obama’s détente with Tehran has been dropped. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s National Security Adviser and Intelligence Director, has not been seen for more than a month. He was reported by debkafile’s US and Saudi sources Wednesday, Feb. 19, to have been removed from the tight policy-making circle in Riyadh.
For Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, this counts significantly as the loss of the only other Middle East leader ready to publicly decry President Obama’s policies on Iran and Syria as promoting the negative forces in the region and damaging to America’s own interests....
Prince Bandar was widely reported in the Middle East to be in secret ties with Israeli intelligence on Saudi and Israeli moves against Iran. Tehran claimed more than once that he had paid clandestine visits to Tel Aviv. Those ties, such as they were, may be presumed to have been discontinued following his removal.

There has been no official word from Riyadh disclosing any change in Bandar’s status... US sources were more forthcoming - although less complimentary. In some reports he was dismissed as “hotheaded” or “erratic.”
The Saudi intelligence chief crossed the Americans by supplying weapons and money to Syrian rebels belonging to Islamist militias – though not al Qaeda. He was the driving force behind the formation of the Islamic Front coalition, which last month beat the Free Syrian Army backed by Washington into the ground.

The most striking evidence of his comedown came from his absence from the secret conclave held recently by Middle East intelligence chiefs to coordinate their positions on Syrian with Washington. Instead of Prince Bandar, his seat was taken by his leading adversary on Syria, the Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
Prince Mohammed is a favorite at the White House and a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry and CIA Director John Brennan.


Al-Baath Party & Arab solidarity.
Syrian Arab News Agency, Feb 21, 2014

Damascus, (SANA) _The National Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party urged all the Arabs to rally around resistance and stand up against the sponsors of terrorism.
The leadership said in a statement issued Friday, on the occasion of the 56 anniversary of the union between Syria and Egypt, that the regional developments have placed confronting terrorism atop of priorities, that is striking in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and other Arab countries.
The leadership said that the Arab nation is at the heart of the confrontation battle against hostile campaigns that seek to block any orientation towards unity, progress and liberation.
Atop the challenges facing the Arab world are foreign interference and foreign dictates, and ''Arab regimes that have turned into tools to carry out conspiratorial schemes',' the statement pointed out.
The anniversary of the union between Syria and Egypt will ever spur the Arab masses everywhere for more struggle, the leadership said, affirming that al-Baath Arab Socialist Party will forever work for unity or any other form of effective Arab solidarity.


Prof. Michael Nagler: The Reason Behind All Wars Is Egoism
FARS News Agency, 17-2-2014

"The “reason” behind all wars is the same: egoism, the failure to empathize with or identify with others. Each war may have different excuses, the countries in question may be giving different reasons, whether truthfully or not, but underneath them all is the failure to recognize oneself in others, the alienation caused by exaggerated self-interest and egoism...."
"The source of their power is the worship of money, or materialism and greed. Materialism and greed always rise in those who are not aware that they have inner resources. They are not aware that, as Gandhi said, 'There is enough in the world for everyone’s need. There isn’t enough for everyone’s greed'.”
"Governments that have the courage and dignity to respond to nonviolent movements will save themselves and the rest of the world enormous suffering. As John F. Kennedy said, 'Those who make nonviolent revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable'."


Rouhani: "Security is a key to the progress of a society"
Tehran Times, 23 February 2014

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that independence of lawyer is very important and his government insists on this principle. “As the head of government I announce that the independence of lawyers is an absolute principle in which government is insistent on,” Rouhani, a law expert, told a meeting of the union of lawyers in Tehran.
Rouhani also said that security is a key to the progress of a society and part of that security lies with “legal security”. A feeling of security will prevail only when people feel that all are equal before the law, he noted.
Another principle which promotes the feeling of security in the society is the right to “have and choose lawyer”, he explained. He added that lawyer should be immune from prosecution in doing his professional job. He also said the only body that should investigate problems related to lawyers is the “union of lawyers”.
The president urged law experts to familiarize people with their rights.


Oikophobia & The New Left
Gilad Atzmon, 27-2-2014

In the past, the Left was concerned with the rise of xenophobia – animosity towards the stranger, the foreigner, the ‘Other’. But what we see in contemporary France is the complete opposite, namely Oikophobia –­ an emerging hatred and fear of the Oikos, i.e. the home, the indigenous, the host, the rooted, the authentic.
In order to combat xenophobia, the New Left, dominated by Frankfurt Yeshiva graduates, introduced us to identity politics – a manifest attempt to break society up into multiple marginal sectors. The outcome was a swift metamorphosis of Left culture. Traditional working class politics was replaced by a fake notion of diversity that was translated, in practice, into a manifold of meaningless sectarian clashes.

Threatened by nationalism and patriotism, the Jewish intelligensia wanted to see society broken up into manifold discourses driven by ethnicity, race and gender (e.g. LGBT). It basically re-defined the Western ethos as a collective of godless synagogues. The post-'68 Left joined this very dangerous political experiment in a desperate attempt to break down the overtly cohesive, nationalist working class.
As we all know, the consequences have been devastating. Instead of overcoming xenophobia, racism or intolerance, each of us has become a stranger in our own home. We voluntarily Other-ised ourselves to the point of oblivion. ...

[The Frech cartoonist] Joe le Corbeau is also opposed to Oikophobia – his humour is an emblem of the Oikos, i.e. the home, the nation, the rooted, the authentic, Frenchness. I guess that a half-century of Frankfurt School indoctrination is about to come to an end...
The only people who still touch upon truth within Western society are comedians and satirists. Politics, media, academia and the Arts have long since been castrated by means of political correctness....

Kerry tells Russia
'you don't invade a country on completely phony pretexts'
Russia Today, March 02, 2014

The US Secretary of State spoke today of the unacceptability of invading a sovereign country on phony pretexts in order to assert one’s own interests in the 21st century. But no, he was not speaking about the United States, as one might have thought.

“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” John Kerry said during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”
Kerry has also threatened to isolate Russia economically and politically and warned of potential asset freezes and visa bans, adding to media and political hype that followed Russia authorization of sending a stabilization force in Crimea on official request from the authorities....

Although Kerry was never challenged by the interviewer to comment in terms of that statement on Washington’s own constant threats to use force and military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who watched the interview immediately smelled the hypocrisy.
“Since when does the United States government genuinely subscribe and defend the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity? They certainly are not doing that at the moment in Syria,” Marcus Papadopoulos, commentator for ‘Politics First’ told RT.
“They certainly did not do that when they attacked Libya. They certainly didn’t do that when they invaded Iraq. They certainly didn’t do that when they attacked Serbia over Kosovo and then later on recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. The United States government merely pays lip service to sovereignty and territorial integrity, it picks and choses.”

Since the crisis in Ukraine escalated to a point where the lives of the Russian speaking population of Ukraine has become threatened, Kerry’s reaction comes, some believe, as the most ridiculous thus far, taking into account US own history of military actions all over the globe.

Appointment of billionaires to dampen secessionist sentiment
By Steven Erlangermarch, New York Times, 2-3-2014

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s interim government raced to head off violence that might set off a Russian invasion of its eastern provinces, recruiting wealthy eastern businessmen to become provincial governors in an effort to dampen secessionist sentiment there.
As complete Russian control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula became a reality on Sunday, with Western officials reporting that thousands more Russian troops were flowing into the region, worries mounted in Kiev that the mostly ethnic-Russian east could be next to fall.
In Kharkiv, the eastern city that is the country’s second-largest, a sprawling pro-Russian protest camp occupied the central square, and Russian flags were on display. Many said they would even prefer that Russian troops invade the city, just 20 miles from the border, instead of submitting to Kiev’s rule.

The office of President Oleksandr V. Turchynov announced the two appointments on Sunday of two billionaires — Sergei Taruta in Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky in Dnipropetrovsk — and more were reportedly under consideration for positions in the eastern regions.
The strategy is recognition that the oligarchs represent the country’s industrial and business elite, and hold great influence over thousands of workers in the east. Officials said the hope was that they could dampen secessionist hopes in the east...


The loneliness of Russia
By Nicolas Bonnal, Pravda 3-3-2014

After the war and the destruction of Syria, Libya and now Ukraine, after the destruction of Iraq or various states of Central America, after the extermination of 4 million Vietnamese, it seems that the West, believing in its eternal and capitalistic force, omnipotent propaganda and humanitarian Messianism, wants its final war with the Russian bear. The ex-whale of British geopolitical fantasy wants its war with the bear, at any cost, for it wants to rule Eurasia at any cost....

- The West is programming the war since the reelection of Vladimir Putin.
- The NATO since the beginning of the cold war has acted with a cynical and destructive agenda. Ex-ambassador Gabriel Robin wrote recently that "NATO is polluting the international landscape; it complicates the integration of Europe; it complicates the relations with Russia; and it creates conflicts anywhere".
- The NATO and western media use a monstrous and ridiculous propaganda. Russia is always wrong, Russia is always evil. Russians are always wrong when deprived of their rights in ex-soviet republics. Dot. Any repeated lie becomes a truth. Putin is a new Stalin; Mr Assad is the renowned monster that killed personally two hundred thousand people; the bombing and disorganization of Libya is a message of democratic love. The pillaging of our national wealth by a handful of bankers is called structural reform. And so on. The globalization of press has made our media insane, even if no one serious reads them anymore in the street....

So what should Russia do? Giving up her soul and her land? And what should Vladimir Putin do to appease western irascibility? Resign and ask for a political refuge in North Korea?


Flashback 2003: NATO, a chaperon of Europe
Isaac Saney, The War on Iraq, 2003

Victoria Nuland: Fuck the EU

The central importance of U.S. efforts to control and even exercise hegemony in Europe, in order to ensure American pre-eminence in the world, cannot be overstated. As Henry Kissinger opined, NATO was the U.S. “prize for victory in the Cold War” and was the principal institutional link between America and Europe.”
In short, it was the fulcrum of U.S. hegemony in Europe. One of the principal objectives of NATO, as lucidly stated by Gabriel Robin, former French representative to NATO, is “to serve as a chaperon of Europe” and “prevent it from establishing itself as an independent fortress and perhaps one day, a rival.”

Critical to the project of maintaining U.S. hegemony, specifically ensuring that the European Union “knows” its place, is the reshaping of the Middle East according to U.S. imperial schemes. All the U.S. government’s purported “reasons” for war in Iraq are a smokescreen to hide the true intention of Middle East domination, its oil included, for purposes of keeping Europe in check and dominating Asia. This requires reducing the region to a situation akin to the colonial status that existed before World War II....
Absolute control of the Middle East is crucial to the American Empire. In his book The Grand Chessboard, Zbigniew Brezezinki – former National Security Advisor to U.S. President Carter and a major intellectual of the American ruling class – stated that in order to maintain its global dominance the U.S. must control Eurasia, an area encompassing the Middle and Central Asia.


The fascist danger in Ukraine
Julie Hyland, World Socialist Website, 6 March 2014

A politically sinister propaganda offensive is underway in the media to either deny the involvement of fascists in the US-backed coup in Ukraine or present their role as a marginal and insignificant detail.
The New York Times asserted, “Putin’s claim of an immediate threat to Ukrainian Russians is empty,” while Britain’s Guardian dismissed as a “fancy” claims that events in Crimea were an attempt to “prevent attacks by bands of revolutionary fascists,” adding that “the world’s media has [not] yet seen or heard from” such forces.

This is an obscene cover-up. The reality is that, for the first time since 1945, an avowedly anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi party controls key levers of state power in a European capital, courtesy of US and European imperialism. The unelected Ukrainian government, headed by US appointee Arseniy Yatsenyuk, includes no fewer than six ministers from the fascist Svoboda party. Less than a year ago, the World Jewish Congress called for Svoboda to be banned.

In 2010, Svoboda’s official forum posted a statement reading: “To create a truly Ukrainian Ukraine in the cities of the East and South… we will need to cancel parliamentarism, ban all political parties, nationalise the entire industry, all media, prohibit the importation of any literature to Ukraine from Russia...completely replace the leaders of the civil service, education management, military (especially in the East), physically liquidate all Russian-speaking intellectuals and all Ukrainophobes....” The US and European bourgeoisie, along with their media lackeys, are well aware of these facts.

Ukrainian ‘Freedom’ party should be ringing alarm bells
Ivan Katchanovski, OpenDemocracy.Net, 21 March 2012

Senator McCain waved to protesters from the stage in Independence Square during a mass rally in Kiev, standing with Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the Svoboda party. The ultra-nationalist group is aligned with other European far-right parties including the BNP, but their radical stance has made them a central force in the ongoing street protests. (channel4 16-12-2013)

Ukrainian politics have gone through several major upheavals...The rise of the far-right seems to have ruffled few feathers, but it would be a mistake to ignore them.
A far-right Ukrainian party, misleadingly called Svoboda [Freedom], became involved in an international scandal when it employed threats of violence to cancel a series of public lectures on the party’s ideological origins, which were to have been given by Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, an academic historian of Polish origin from Germany.
Svoboda succeeded in forcing all Ukrainian institutions to cancel lectures about the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its leader Stepan Bandera: the only lecture that went ahead was in the German Embassy in Kyiv, in spite of the public protest organized by the party.

The rising threat to democracy and freedom represented by the so-called ‘Freedom’ party has attracted little attention or concern from Western media and politicians....
Svoboda may have abandoned its Nazi-like swastika logo and changed its name from the Social-National Party of Ukraine to the politically more emollient ‘Freedom,’ but the organization continues to promote an illiberal, anti-democratic ideology and to glorify its radical nationalist and fascist predecessors.

‘Freedom’ tries to present itself as an ideological nationalist opposition to the Yanukovych government and to occupy the political space vacated by the previous President Viktor Yushchenko, whose personal popularity, together with the popularity of his party, is in tatters.
Ironically, it was Yushchenko, hailed at the time in the West as leader of the democratic ‘Orange Revolution,’ who helped to pave the way for the illiberal ‘Freedom’ party. A cornerstone of his policy was his promotion as national heroes of the OUN, Svoboda’s ideological predecessor, and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), established by the OUN during World War II.

Svoboda, like Viktor Yushchenko, hails the OUN and the UPA as freedom fighters and national liberation movements, but these organizations bore the same relationship to freedom as the Taliban and Al-Quaida do in Afghanistan. The OUN was a semi-totalitarian organization combining elements of radical nationalism and fascism. Both organizations relied on terrorism, murdering tens of thousands of Polish and Ukrainian civilians. A significant proportion of OUN and UPA leaders and members were involved in the Nazi genocide. While serving in various police formations, they assisted the Nazis in the mass annihilation of hundreds of thousands of Jews, Ukrainians, Russians, Poles and Belarusians.

This rise of radical nationalism threatens the already bleak prospects for liberal democracy in Ukraine. Svoboda’s extremist ideology and policy, particularly in respect of ethnic and linguistic minorities and immigrants, together with its threats of violence against both its political opponents and academics are far from unique in Ukrainian or European politics. But the implicit or explicit support for Svoboda should set the alarm bells ringing about the state of politics in one of Europe’s largest countries.

Minister Admits Iran Cannot Block Facebook Forever
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 3-3-2014


"When we are young, we think the world is steady, static and will remain the same forever; once you reach about the same age as I, you look back and realize how fast the time flies by." Ali Khamenei, Facebook 2014

Iran will not be able to keep up forever its ban on legal access to Internet hubs such as Facebook, which has four million Iranian users, Culture Minister Ali Janati said Sunday.
"Four million Iranians are on Facebook, and we have restricted it," said Janati. "We cannot restrict the advance of (such technology) under the pretext of protecting Islamic values," said the minister.
Access to the popular social networking site -- along with others which Iranian authorities regard as un-Islamic, immoral or undermining the Islamic establishment -- is obstructed by a massive filtering mechanism. But tech-savvy Iranians have resorted to measures, known as anti-filters, to circumvent the restrictions.
Janati drew a parallel with a ban on fax machines and video tapes and players imposed the 1979 Islamic revolution. "If we look back, we see many of the actions we took after the revolution were ridiculous."

Rouhani has adopted a policy that promises greater tolerance on social, cultural and media issues -- a vow that helped him beat his conservative opponents in the presidential election last year. But the government has faced resistance from hardliners resisting a reversal in such policies.
A committee of 13 members determines what online content can be reached on Iran's Internet, which is notoriously slow. Unapproved sites are put under the filtering system. The ban includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and numerous other sites, including blogs.
On Sunday, Janati suggested that the government was working to remove the online constraints. "The six ministers who are members of the (filtering) committee have clearly stated that we cannot continue to isolate ourselves from the world," he said.

Flashback 2003: Backwardness &
The Virtues of Free Thinking

Tehran, Jan 28, 2003 IRNA -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that cultural development needs 'free thinking' and termed it as a God-given virtue.
In a meeting with members of Iranian Association of Pen, he said that 'free thinking' helps the human being move forward to capture the unknown realms of knowledge and understanding. He underscored significance of genuine free thinking and made it clear that 'free thinking' does not mean destroying the principles or disrespect for the sanctity.
The Leader said that the Islamic Revolution prepared the ground for 'free thinking' adding that it is expected to strike a balance in the cultural domain with drawing a line between 'anarchy' and the genuine 'free thinking'. "In the political activities, the community should avoid extremism or anarchy..."

"There is wide difference between backwardness and fundamentalism. Fundamentalism means acceptance of the logical principles and being committed to them in a dynamic process, but, backwardness means ignorant support for unreasonable beliefs which blocks the way for innovation and progress." " Of course backwardness is not limited to the religious issues...."


Obama Will Ask Israel to Stop Assassinating Iranian Scientists
by Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, march 02, 2014

Iran is likely to be a major topic of discussion during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the US, and reports are that President Obama will ask Netanyahu to stop assassinating Iranian scientists.
Israel has been quietly assassinating Iranian scientists for years, and while Iran has complained about it, Israel has never officially admitted to it and has bragged of never having gotten caught.
Indications out of Israel are that Mossad has been transitioning away from assassinations at any rate in recent months, with Netanyahu ordering them instead to focus on digging up dirt that might sabotage US-Iran negotiations.
Officially that’s come in the form of talks of finding evidence Iran is violating the P5+1 deal, though officials have repeatedly affirmed Iran is meeting those obligations, and the Mossad effort seems to be a wild goose chase, hoping for anything they can spin as a pretext to kill the talks.

If not now, when?

In an hourlong interview in the Oval Office, Obama, borrowing from the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, told Jeffrey Goldberg that his message to Netanyahu will be this: “If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?” He then took a sharper tone, saying that if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach." He added, "It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”

Unlike Netanyahu, Obama will not address the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, this week — the administration is upset with AIPAC for, in its view, trying to subvert American-led nuclear negotiations with Iran... (Newsmax 2-3-2014)


Netanyahu’s Speech at AIPAC Policy Conference, 2014
The Algemeiner, March 4, 2014

I bring you greetings from Jerusalem — (cheers, applause) — the eternal, undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people. (Cheers, applause.)
I want to thank all of you for working so tirelessly to strengthen the alliance between Israel and America....
My friends, I’ve — I’ve come here to draw a clear line.
You know that I like to draw lines — (laughter) — especially red ones. But the line I want to draw today is the line between life and death, between right and wrong, between the blessings of a brilliant future and the curses of a dark past.

I stood very close to that dividing line two weeks ago. I visited an Israeli army field hospital in the Golan Heights. Now, that field hospital wasn’t set up for Israelis. It was set up for Syrians....
I heard from them and from the other patients there what all the Syrians who’ve come to be treated in Israel are saying. They all tell the same story. They say, all these years, Assad lied to us. He told us that Iran was our friend and Israel was our enemy. But Iran is killing us, and Israel, Israel is saving us. (Applause.)
Those Syrians discovered what you’ve always known to be true: In the Middle East, bludgeoned by butchery and barbarism, Israel is humane; Israel is compassionate; Israel is a force for good. (Applause.)

Now, on the other side of that moral divide, steeped in blood and savagery, stand the forces of terror — Iran, Assad, Hezbollah, al- Qaida and many others. Did you ever hear about Iran sending a humanitarian delegation overseas? No? You missed that memo? (Laughter.) You know why? You know why you haven’t heard anything about that? Because the only thing that Iran sends abroad are rockets, terrorists and missiles to murder, maim and menace the innocent. (Applause.)
And what the — what the Iranian people — or rather, what the Iranian regime does abroad is just as — is similar to what they do to their own people. They execute hundreds of political prisoners, they throw thousands more into their jails, and they repress millions in a brutal theocracy...

In the past year Iran’s radical regime has tried to blur this moral divide. It wields out its smiling president and its smooth- talking foreign minister. But if you listen to their words, their soothing words, they don’t square with Iran’s aggressive actions....
Iran continues to stand unabashedly on the wrong side of the moral divide. And that’s why we must continue to stand unequivocally on the right side of that divide. We must oppose Iran and stand up for what is right. (Applause.)

Iran doesn’t want a peaceful nuclear program, Iran wants a military nuclear program. I said it here once, I’ll say it here again: If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then what is it? Well, it’s ain’t a chicken — (laughter) — and it’s certainly not a dove. It’s still a nuclear duck. (Applause.)
Iran is an outlaw state. It’s violated multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting enrichment... My friends, I believe that letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates. It really would open up a Pandora’s box of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the world. That must not happen. (Applause.) And we will make sure it does not happen.
Because letting the worst terrorist regime on the planet get atomic bombs would endanger everyone, and it certainly would endanger Israel since Iran openly calls for our destruction...
As prime minister as Israel, I will do whatever I must do to defend the Jewish state of Israel.... (Applause.)

Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people — (applause) — where the civil rights of all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are guaranteed. The land of Israel is the place where the identity of the Jewish people was forged.
It was in Hebron that Abraham blocked the cave of the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs. It was in Bethel that Jacob dreamed his dreams. It was in Jerusalem that David ruled his kingdom. We never forget that, but it’s time the Palestinians stop denying history. (Applause.)
Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be prepared to recognize a Jewish state. (Applause.)
Recognize the Jewish state. No excuses, no delays, it’s time. (Applause.)

My friends, one movement that’s definitely on the wrong side of the moral divide is the movement to boycott Israel, the so-called BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement) . (Applause.) That movement will fail.... (Applause.)
Most people in the BDS movement don’t seek a solution of two states for two peoples. On the contrary, they openly admit that they seek the dissolution of the only state for the Jewish people. They’re not seeking peace, they’re not seeking reconciliation.... The critical thing is that BDS is morally wrong. It turns morality on its head. This is the main point.
The BDS movement is not about legitimate criticism. It’s about making Israel illegitimate. It presents a distorted and twisted picture of Israel to the naive and to the ignorant. BDS is nothing but a farce...
How can educated people, how could educated people today believe the nonsense spewed by BDS about Israel? Well, that shouldn’t surprise you either. Some of history’s most influential thinkers and writers — Voltaire, Dostoyevsky, T.S. Eliot, many, many others — spread the most preposterous lies about the Jewish people....
Those who wear the BDS label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot. They should be exposed and condemned. The boycotters should be boycotted. (Applause, cheers.)
Everyone should know what the letters B-D-S really stand for: bigotry, dishonesty and shame. (Applause.)

My friends, on behalf of the people of Israel, I bring you a message from Jerusalem, the cradle of our common civilization, the crucible of our shared values. It’s a message from the Bible. (In Hebrew.) (Applause.) I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life so that you and your offspring may live.
Ladies and gentlemen, my friends, never forget — America and Israel stand for life. We stand together on the right side of the moral divide. We stand together on the right side of history. (Applause.)
Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you all. Keep doing a great job. (Applause.) Thank you.


Netanyahu: "Addicted to occupation"
By Juan Cole | Mar. 5, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, D.C., this week was even more of a disaster for him than might have been expected. It did not help that the Crimea crisis had broken out, which rather cast a bad light on one country militarily occupying parts of another. Most observers in Europe and even some in the US could see the hypocrisy of the US denouncing Russian troops in Crimea but supporting Israeli troops in Hebron.

Netanyahu’s government has doubled housing starts for Israeli squatters on Palestinian land in the West Bank in the past year, while pretending to negotiate peace with the Palestine Liberation Organization (there is no such process with the Hamas government in Gaza).
He came to Washington to blame the Palestinians for his bad faith, and to demand that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state (which is sort of like Obama demanding that Israel recognize the US as a White Christian state).
Netanyahu said that this demand (the Jewishness of Israel) is similar to the Palestinian quest for a Palestinian state. But a Palestinian state is envisaged as being pluralistic – it would not be Islamic but for Muslims, Christians, Druze and (in the view of Saeb Erekat) even possibly any Jews willing to take Palestinian citizenship. The category “Palestinian” is not analogous to what Netanyahu means by “Jewish”– it is far less narrow, less religiously and racially exclusive.

This demand is just smokescreen for Netanyahu’s obstruction of the peace process. He is demanding that Palestinians recognize the official marginalization of the growing Palestinian-Israeli population of Israel (now 20% of the population and heading toward 30% over the next 15 years) (if Israel is a “Jewish” state, then Palestinian-Israelis are what, chopped liver....?

Ideological Blindness

Netanyahu and most Israelis on the Right just cannot see the future. They cannot see what they are doing to the Palestinians (Netanyahu thinks the latter would be satisfied with statelessness and indignity if only their economy improved). They cannot see how unacceptable is their economic siege of the Palestinians in Gaza, illegally targeting non-combatants, and warping children’s lives. They think people who complain about these policies just don’t like Jews, using their grievances about anti-Semitism in old Christian Europe to hide from themselves that they have themselves now become a colonial power, that they are dominant, and that pretending to be downtrodden victims of prejudice under these circumstances is absurd.

The Zionist Right, living in its fantasy land, responds to criticisms of Israeli policy with Nixon-style ‘enemies lists’ intended to promote aggressive harassment of critics on US campuses. I’m proud to say that I am among those so targeted. These essentially fascist tactics have helped cow the mainstream US media into pussy-footing around subjects like Netanyahu and the Likud Party’s Iron Wall policies....
Netanyahu and his right wing political coalition are in denial. They are addicted to occupation.

Saudi, Bahrain, UAE Recall Envoys to Qatar
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 5-3-2014

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors from Doha on Wednesday in protest at Qatar's interference in their internal affairs, they announced in a joint statement.
The three Gulf Arab states made the decision following what newspapers described as a "stormy" late Tuesday meeting of foreign ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh.
GCC countries "have exerted massive efforts to contact Qatar on all levels to agree on a unified policy... to ensure non-interference, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any member state," the statement said.
The nations have asked Qatar, a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is banned in most Gulf states, "not to support any party aiming to threaten security and stability of any GCC member," it added, citing media campaigns against them in particular.

The statement stressed that despite the commitment of Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to these principles during a mini-summit held in Riyadh in November with Kuwait's emir and the Saudi monarch, his country has failed to comply.


Bouthaina Shaaban: "Hamas has put
the Muslim Brotherhood above the resistance"
Syria Breaking News, 5-3-2014

Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban stressed that the Syrian government will not spare any means but to approach for halting the bloodshed in Syria... Shaaban added that going to the third round of negotiations will be the decision of the Syrian government which seriously seeks a political solution despite all what is being promoted for.... She clarified that the top priority of the Syrian Arab Republic's delegation is identical to the Syrian citizens' priority, which is represented by security, stability, halting terrorism and then moving to discussing the broad-based government....
Responding on a question on Saudi role in the crisis in Syria, Shaaban said “We want a clear and frank stance by Saudi Arabia to stop financing and arming Saudi and foreign terrorists and not to facilitate their entrance into Syria.” She added that stopping this “takfiri cancer” serves the interests of Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries and the whole region.

On mediations for the return of the relations with Turkey, Shaaban said “During the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan visit to Tehran, we were informed that he wants to recede his stance on Syria.” Shaaban asserted that Syria welcomes Erdogan’s move as Syria cares for stopping sending the gunmen and stopping the smuggling of the weapons shipments. She added that we didn’t notice any change in the Turkish stance as Erdogan’s government played key role in the crisis in Syria.

On an Iranian mediation for reconciliation between Syria and Hamas, Shabban said “Our relations with Hamas were strong as a resistance movement despite the fact that we know about its relation with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
She went on saying Hamas has put the Muslim Brotherhood above the resistance and has abandoned the line of resistance which weakened the Palestinian cause, stressing “Our stance towards Muslim Brotherhood movement is well known since the 1980’s.”

Shaaban pointed out that what is happening in Ukraine unveils the reality of what is going on in the world as the west wants to restore its geopolitical hegemony and suppress the emergence of new pole led by Russia and China, through blatant interference to bring about unconstitutional and illegal change.


Syria, Iraq discuss upcoming Baghdad
International counterterrorism conference
Syrian Arab News Agency, March 04, 2014

Baghdad, (SANA)- Syria's Ambassador in Baghdad Saddam Jadaan al-Dandah discussed with Iraqi Assistant Foreign Minister for Bilateral Relations Affairs Nizar al-Kherallah the convening of the international conference on counterterrorism due to be held in Baghdad.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the two sides highlighted the need to support the international and regional efforts for combating terrorism, particularly that Iraq is preparing to host an international conference on counterterrorism in its capital.
An international counterterrorism conference will be held on March 12. The spokesman for the upcoming conference Qassem Attallah said "high-ranking" figures from Russia, the US, the EU and Arab and Islamic countries are expected to attend it.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry's statement pointed out that al-Dandah and al-Kherallah discussed the mutual relations between the two brotherly countries and means of bolstering them, in addition to the importance of activating the joint cooperation.


Egypt will not send envoy back to Doha
Al Arabiya News, Friday, 7 March 2014

Egypt emboldened its stance against Qatar when it confirmed that it will not send its ambassador back to the Gulf country. The news comes amid increasing tensions within the Gulf as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia withdrew their envoys from Doha this week. Egypt recalled its ambassador in Doha last month because of the Gulf country’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Cairo declared a terrorist group after the toppling of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 30.

“The Egyptian ambassador to Qatar will not return to Doha at the moment,” Reuters quoted an Egyptian cabinet statement as saying. The statement described the political tension between Egypt and Qatar as involving other parties. It added: “Qatar’s problem is not (only) with us, but with the majority of the Arab states.”

Qatar is the only Gulf state that supported the Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt. After the popularly-backed army deposed Mursi, a Brotherhood leader, Egypt has received billions in aid from several Gulf Arab states, but not from Qatar.
Saudi Arabia pledged $5 billion in financial aid to Egypt, the UAE promised $3 billion while Kuwait allocated $4 billion in the form of cash grants, deposits and petroleum products.

Riyadh and Doha: A fierce but low-profile battle
By: Fouad al-Ibrahim, Al-Akhbar, March 6, 2014

What is happening is far more than a spat and an ensuing withdrawal of ambassadors. It is a relentless war in every sense of the word, albeit a low-profile one. Neither side seems to be willing to make concessions or show flexibility. The result: The most serious crisis the Gulf Cooperation Council has witnessed so far...

Ideological support for Qatar’s policy is provided by the television channel Al Jazeera and several influential Islamist figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the chairman of the World Council of Islamic Theologians, who took an active anti-Russian position back in the years of the first Chechen campaign.
The Qataris openly welcome Chechen terrorist leaders like Zelmikhan Yandarbiev and finance Syrian «rebels», to whom Qatari aviation sends a huge amount of weapons via Turkey and Jordan. (source)

There were intermittent periods of calm between Doha and Riyadh, followed by periods of tension....
With the outbreak of the crisis in Syria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia initiated a phase of unprecedented cooperation and coordination, in support of the Syrian opposition’s efforts to topple the regime. At the same time, Qatar supported the Muslim Brotherhood-led administration in Egypt, much to the chagrin of Saudi and the United Arab Emirates.

There are two things that perhaps best sum up the serious nature of the Saudi-Qatari dispute.

- The first is a leaked phone conversation between Qatar’s former Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in January 2011, in which they purportedly discussed the partition of Saudi Arabia. Bin Jassim allegedly said that Saudi Arabia would unravel at his hands, claiming that Qatar would one day seize the Qatif, an eastern province in Saudi Arabia. Bin Jassim also said that King Abdullah is only a front, and that the actual ruler was Saud al-Faisal, adding that after the king dies, Saudi would be partitioned.
The former Qatari foreign minister described the regime in Saudi Arabia as “antiquated,” revealing that the U.S. and Britain had asked him to report on the situation in Saudi Arabia, and told him of their intentions to topple the monarchy there, albeit expressed fear of the alternative, which could be the undesirable Islamists.
- The second is a provocative statement made by Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, who said Qatar is “300 people and a television channel, not a country.” The statement was made at a time when Saudi Arabia moved to take over the Syrian issue from Qatar and Turkey, and to plan and finance a military coup – with popular support – in Egypt on June 30, 2013, dealing a severe blow to Qatar’s ally, the Muslim Brotherhood. The new administration of Egypt subsequently broke with Qatar over its support of deposed President Mohammed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led regime.

The Saudi-Qatari dispute rose to new heights, especially after a Friday sermon delivered by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is close to the rulers in Doha, in which he railed against the Emirati position regarding events in Egypt after Mursi’s ouster.
Subsequent Saudi threats did not work in dissuading Qatar from continuing its policy in Egypt, whose events Doha believes are a coup led by the military and backed by Saudi and the Emirates.


Saudi Arabia urges Saudi fighters in Syria to come home.
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz, 7-3-2014

Flashback 2012

February 27, 2012: A well known Saudi Islamic scholar Sheikh Ayedh Al Qarni issued a fatwa on Sunday to kill Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. Al Qarni stressed in his fatwa that killing Bashar Al Assad is more important than killing Israelis. He called on Syrian army to split and disobey President Bashar Al Assad. "It is not permissible for Syrian army to obey the tyrant...this is disobedience to the Creator," added Al Qarni. He called the Al Ba’ath Party: "a rogue party".
Saudi Arabia declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
The kingdom also included Lebanon-based Shi'ite group Hezbollah on its terrorism list along with the Syria-based Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Nusra Front, an Al Qaida branch operating in Syria and Lebanon that was created in 2012.
Hundreds of Saudi fighters are believed to be members of ISIS and the Nusra Front in Syria. Saudi authorities are urging those fighters to return home and have given them 15 days to do so.
Saudi Arabia's cabinet earlier this week called for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters from Syria and demanded they face international justice if they committed war crimes there.
Information and Culture Minister Abdelaziz Khoja said in a statement Monday on behalf of the cabinet that the kingdom "renews its firm position condemning terrorism in all its forms."

Last month, Saudi King Abdullah decreed it a crime for Saudi nationals to fight in foreign conflicts. The move was largely aimed at curbing extremist Saudis fighting alongside Syrian rebels.


Dr. Bashar Al‬-‪‎Jaafari‬: ‪‎Syria‬ committed
to treaties on ‪‎children‬’s rights
Posted on March 8, 2014 by friendsofsyria

New York, (SANA) – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari affirmed that the ‪Syrian‬ government is committed to international treaties and conventions on children’s rights which it joined and ratified early, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the ‪‎Child‬ and its two optional protocols.
During a Security Council session on children in times of wars and conflicts held on Friday, al-Jaafari pointed out that Syria has always been a pioneer in tending to the needs of children, supporting their rights, and protecting them, particularly in terms of providing free education and medical services, noting that UN reports spanning decades testify to this.

“Unfortunately, the crisis in Syria produced extremist phenomena that contradict the Syrian values of moderation, and Syrian children were the first to be affected by them." “These aberrant phenomena were brought by mercenaries and takfiris sent from across the world to impose dark Wahabi ideas on our youths and children and to commit the most heinous crimes against Syrian children, including recruiting children and youths and training them to commit gruesome terrorist crimes....,” al-Jaafari said.

He pointed out that during dozens of Security Council meetings related to Syria, not a single state with influence over terrorist groups exerted any pressure on them to lift blockades they impose on an area...
“The biggest disaster isn’t that a group of criminals and terrorists committed such acts; rather it is that these terrorist groups are funded, supported and armed openly by the governments of Arab, regional and international states who elected to be part of these offenses and sins,” al-Jaafari said. He went on to say that these governments, with all their riches, influential media and the sectarian instigation they employ, did their best to undermine Syria’s social, educational and economic advancement...

Al-Jaafari concluded by saying that Syria is serious about decisively confronting any form of violation of human rights, and that it continues to cooperate with the UN and international and regional organizations in order to show the reality of the situation in Syria away from politicization, manipulation of public opinion, and provocation, in order to put an end to all forms of violence against children in cases of armed conflict and to punish those who perpetrate and instigate such acts, no matter who they are.

President al-Assad inspects situation of displaced people
Syrian Arab News Agency 13-3-2014

Damascus, (SANA) President Bashar al-Assad affirmed Wednesday that the state is going ahead with combating terrorism and the terrorists who have forced citizens out of their houses and perpetrated hideous crimes against them.
The President visited al-Dweir makeshift center in Adra, Damascus Countryside, inspecting the situation of displaced people there. President al-Assad toured places where the displaced families are staying and listened to their needs and conditions of their residence.
The President stressed that the state continues providing basic requirements of the displaced families until everybody returns home whether those in Adra or in any other place.
‘’Before terrorists entered it, Adra was Syria in miniature as it hosted citizens from all the Syrian areas and governorates that have been targeted by terrorists,” President al-Assad affirmed.
The President added that the Syrian armed forces have offered a lot of sacrifices and martyrs for restoring security and stability to the homeland and the return of every displaced to his home and every kidnapped to his family.
"The Syrian Arab army will continue, supported by citizens, to strike terrorism everywhere in Syria," President al-Assad said.
On the missing citizens, President al-Assad said that the state will leave no stone unturned in this file, adding Every Syrian citizens is the focus of our attention, whether he is an injured, kidnapped, missing or martyr.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan ousted
Al Arabiya News, 11 March 2014

The Libyan parliament voted Tuesday to oust Prime Minister Ali Zeidan amid anger at his government's failure to stop eastern rebels from independently exporting oil. Zeidan was replaced temporarily by the defense minister Abdallah al-Thinni.
Deputies scheduled the vote after rebels in eastern Libya said a tanker loaded with oil from a port under their control escaped the navy and moved into international waters.

“The situation in the country has become unacceptable. Even those MPs who used to support the prime minister no longer have any alternative,” MP Suad Gannur told AFP prior to the vote.
Zeidan's government has been repeatedly criticized for its failure to rein in the myriad of former rebel militias which have carved out their own fiefdoms since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011. The prime minister was himself briefly abducted by former rebel militia in the heart of the capital last October.

Zeidan, an independent elected with the support of liberals, has been the target of previous no-confidence motions in the General National Congress but they have never achieved the statutory quorum of 120 of its 194 members.
Zeidan accuses his Islamist opponents of seeking to oust him solely to replace him with their own candidate.
The former prime minister claimed two political groups were behind his removal as premier - the radical Wafa movement as well as the Justice and Construction Party which is the political arm of the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Libyan PM flees country
By Ulf Laessing, TRIPOLI Mar 12, 2014

(Reuters) - Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan sought refuge in Europe after parliament voted him out for failing to stop rebels independently exporting oil in a challenge to Libya's fragile unity....
Western powers, who supported the NATO campaign that came to the aid of anti-Gaddafi rebels, fear the OPEC member state could slide into greater instability or even break apart, with rival groups laying claim to power and vast oil reserves.
Officials said Libya was close to bankruptcy because of the six-month oil blockade, which cost the North African country an estimate $8 billion in lost revenue in 2013, and set a two-week deadline for talks with rebels to end the port seizures before force was used. Similar threats in the past have proved empty.
"We need an emergency budget for the government to carry out its tasks, and to deal with the country's serious security challenges," Thinni told reporters.

After flying out of Libya, Zeidan made a two-hour stopover in Malta before going to "another European country", Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told state-owned television TVM.
Libya's transitional assembly, the General National Council, said it would pick another replacement for Zeidan within two weeks before a parliamentary election expected later this year.
Whoever is chosen will struggle to govern a country deeply divided on tribal, regional and political lines, where hardline Islamists oppose more liberal leaders such as Zeidan.

"One of the reasons that Libya has reached this impasse is that dialogue had failed, not least because there was no one in Libya that could speak authoritatively and had the capacity to translate words into action."


Libya National Direction Survey
Libya TV, 12-3-2014

Security continues to be the highest priority for citizens, in line with findings from May and September. Thirty percent of Libyans see political stability and public order as the most important task facing the country, while an almost equal share (31 percent), prioritizes disarmament of militias. Militia disarmament is increasingly being identified as a most important priority, rising seven percentage points from May to November 2013. Apply Sharia Law: 5%


The Philosophy of the Revolution
Pragmatic and logical approach

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

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

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

Putin has highest rating in last few years
Russia, Itar TASS, March 13, 2014

MOSCOW. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rating is at its highest in the last few years, results of a sociological survey conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre (WCIOM) suggested.
According to sociologists, the rating of approval of presidential activity reached its highest of 71.6% for the last few years. Meanwhile, WCIOM experts noted that Russians have praised highly Vladimir Putin’s work already for a few weeks, as the rating of approval of Russian presidential activity has gone up 9.7% since mid-February...
WCIOM experts also noted that Russians had approved the presidential work at a level of more than 60% in the last few years. The previous highest presidential electoral rating was reported in May 2012 (68.8%) right after Putin’s presidential inauguration, they recalled.

WCIOM has conducted an all-Russia survey on March 8-9, 2014. 1,600 people from 130 Russian settlements participated in the survey. Its margin of error does not exceed 3.4%.
It is noteworthy that experts of the Public Opinion Fund (FOM) had found similar figures. According to FOM survey results made public on Wednesday 70% of Russians would vote for Putin if presidential elections were held now...


Riyadh seeks Beijing’s help to end Syria crisis
 Arab News, 14 March 2014

Saudi Arabia on Thursday called on China to assist in finding a speedy and peaceful solution to the three-year Syrian crisis based on the Geneva 1 resolutions, and help end the Israeli occupation of Arab territories to pave the way for an independent Palestinian state.

Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, made the call during talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which explored prospects of expanding bilateral cooperation. Xi vowed to strengthen strategic partnerships between the two countries.
In his keynote speech, at a reception hosted by the Chinese president at the Great Hall of the People, Prince Salman said his visit was to expand relations between two of Asia's economic giants.
“We would like to strengthen bilateral relations in political, economic, commercial, industrial and cultural fields as well as in the energy and investment sectors to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development for our nations and serve global peace and security,” the crown prince said.


Political Solution to Crisis in Syria Is a Must
Tishreen 12-3-2014

Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin stressed that Syrian Army has achieved great advance, thus, talks on waging a war from south Syria is a mere intimidation, stressing that the balance of power in Syria cannot be overthrown anymore.

"A military solution or resorting to force for changing the regime in Syria have proven invalid…thus, a political solution to crisis in Syria is a must," Zasypkin said in an interview with Lebanese al-Akhbar Newspaper.
He considered that Russia has been able to prevent the utilization of the Security Council against Syria, adding that those who want to stop war should halt supporting the armed groups and work on making Geneva Conference a success.
The Russian diplomat clarified that the upcoming round of negotiations for Russia should carry something new, the most important of which is "expanding the participation basis of the internal opposition after the coalition had proved that it has no authority over 'the gunmen', as it also does not represent the Syrians.
Commenting on the Saudi decision on designating the armed groups as terrorist groupings, Zasypkin said that "It has been proven that the so-called 'the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham' and 'Jabhat al-Nusra' are terrorist groups, but there are other groups that were not included in the decision such as 'the Islamic Front' and others."

"We are more convinced more than ever that this conspiracy is a series of episodes that has started with Yugoslavia and then moved to Iraq, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine…and this conspiracy should be confronted," the Russian Ambassador said, wondering "what have the Yugoslav people gained by now?…They used to have a strong state, but now they are living in a poor and weak country."


The revolutionary heart of Homs
has become part Assad's reelection campaign
Salomon Ketz, yourmiddleeast 14-3-2014

"Because you are a symbol of our victory and our resistance, we implore you to be a candidate for the presidency," reads the caption beneath the smiling Assad...

In the early months of Syria's uprising, Homs was the epicentre of peaceful mass protests sweeping the country. Three years on much of it lies in ruin, with small pockets of rebels clinging to a few besieged neighbourhoods.
But in pro-regime neighbourhoods the campaign for Assad's reelection has begun, despite the fact that he has not yet announced his candidacy.
A constitution adopted in 2012 for the first time opened the door for candidates to challenge Assad in the election, scheduled to be held before June. But a law adopted by parliament on Thursday requires candidates to have lived in Syria for the past 10 years, thereby excluding the exiled Western- and Arab-backed opposition.

A few blocks away from the Assad banner another banner announces that the employees of Al-Waari digital printing and its calligrapher, Fadi Hassan, implore Assad to run. "We promise with our blood to be loyal to you," it proclaims.
The authors of the banners insist they are acting on their own without government pressure. "When we heard the president say he will run in the election if the people want it, we decided to hang these posters, because he is a symbol of our glory, our pride and our victory," says Samer Johar, 43, of the Family Restaurant.
"They called Homs the capital of the revolution. Well, I tell you Homs is the capital of the campaign for Bashar al-Assad to seek a new term," says Johar, a member of Assad's minority Alawite faith.

Assad still enjoys support among a significant part of the population fearful of the rebels, who count powerful jihadist groups among their ranks.
Samer, who arranged the hanging of 15 banners throughout pro-regime neighbourhoods, says Assad is the only candidate who can bring stability to Syria after three years of war. "If he leaves his post there will be chaos," he says, adding that seven of his cousins have been killed in the war and an eighth has disappeared.

For the external Western and Arab-backed opposition, as well as the fighters on the ground, Assad's exit from power is non-negotiable. UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has expressed concern that holding the election could make further peace talks impossible.

Assad: Syria stands beside any state that confronts terrorism
FARS News Agency 15-3-2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stresses that all those who committed mistakes against Syria will pay price, voicing regret that the hostility shown by some Arab states exceeds that of the United States.
Lebanese writer, Imad Marmal quoted Assad as saying, "we have warned earlier that the terrorism which hit Syria will hit these countries sooner or later, something which has really started to take place. All those who committed mistakes against Syria will pay price," Assafir Newspaper reported.

According to Assad’s visitors, the Syrian leader said that some Persian Gulf states were "secretly contacting" Damascus, noting that letters are being delivered "behind the scenes". He revealed that some European countries are seeking to coordinate on security and intelligence level in a bid to counter the Takfiri terrorism, Marmal added.
Assad stresses that Syria stands beside any state that confronts terrorism even if it "had offended us".
"We care about Egypt like we care about Syria. Jordanian people won’t let the conspiracy against Syria to go by their soil because they know that this conspiracy will fall back at them".


Policies can be driven by myth, not by fact.
Mainstream US Media Is Lost in Ukraine
By Robert Parry, consortiumnews,16-3-2014

As the Ukraine crisis continues to deepen, the mainstream U.S. news media is sinking to new lows of propaganda and incompetence. Somehow, a violent putsch overthrowing a democratically elected president was refashioned into a “legitimate” regime, then the “interim” government and now simply “Ukraine.”
The Washington Post’s screaming headline on Sunday is “Ukraine decries Russian ‘invasion,’” treating the coup regime in Kiev as if it speaks for the entire country when it clearly speaks for only a subset of the population, mostly from western Ukraine. The regime’s “legitimacy” comes not from a democratic election but from a coup that was quickly embraced by the U.S. government and the European Union.

Objective U.S. journalists would insist on a truthful narrative that conveys the nuances to the American people, not simply behave as clumsy propagandists determined to glue “white hats” on the side favored by the State Department and “black hats” on everyone that the U.S. government disdains.
But virtually the entire mainstream press corps has opted for the propaganda role, much as it has in the past. Think Iraq 2002-03.
You also might remember the mainstream media’s rush to judgment over the Sarin attack in Syria on Aug. 21, 2013. The State Department rashly blamed the incident on the Syrian government despite serious doubts inside the U.S. intelligence community.
To conceal those dissents, the State Department and the White House issued a four-page “Government Assessment,” rather than a National Intelligence Estimate from the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.... It contained not a single piece of evidence that could be independently checked.

The U.S. press corps showed virtually no skepticism about the U.S. government’s case...

That’s what we’re seeing now. While the New York Times accepted the rump parliament’s actions in Kiev last month as “legitimate”, a different standard will apply to Crimea’s referendum on bailing out of the failed Ukrainian state. That vote, if it favors secession, must be seen as rigged and resulting only from Russian coercion...

The danger of false narratives – as the American people saw in Iraq and almost revisited in Syria – is that policies, including warfare, can be driven by myth, not by fact.
The real story of Ukraine is far more complex than the black-and-white caricature that the New York Times, the Washington Post and others are presenting. It is in the truthful grays that responsible policies are shaped and bloody miscalculations are avoided.


Vladimir Putin: "The West must stop being hysterical"
Address by the President of the Russian Federation
March 18, 2014 "Information Clearing House

Dear friends, we have gathered here today in connection with an issue that is of vital, historic significance to all of us. A referendum was held in Crimea on March 16 in full compliance with democratic procedures and international norms. More than 82 percent of the electorate took part in the vote. Over 96 percent of them spoke out in favour of reuniting with Russia. These numbers speak for themselves.

To understand the reason behind such a choice it is enough to know the history of Crimea and what Russia and Crimea have always meant for each other.
Everything in Crimea speaks of our shared history and pride. This is the location of ancient Khersones, where Prince Vladimir was baptised. His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilisation and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The graves of Russian soldiers whose bravery brought Crimea into the Russian empire are also in Crimea. This is also Sevastopol – a legendary city with an outstanding history, a fortress that serves as the birthplace of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Crimea is Balaklava and Kerch, Malakhov Kurgan and Sapun Ridge. Each one of these places is dear to our hearts, symbolising Russian military glory and outstanding valour...

Colleagues, In people’s hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia. This firm conviction is based on truth and justice and was passed from generation to generation, over time, under any circumstances, despite all the dramatic changes our country went through during the entire 20th century.
After the revolution, the Bolsheviks, for a number of reasons – may God judge them – added large sections of the historical South of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine. This was done with no consideration for the ethnic make-up of the population, and today these areas form the southeast of Ukraine. Then, in 1954, a decision was made to transfer Crimean Region to Ukraine, along with Sevastopol, despite the fact that it was a city of union subordination. This was the personal initiative of the Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev. His decision was made in clear violation of the constitutional norms that were in place even then. ...
Unfortunately, what seemed impossible became a reality. The USSR fell apart... Many people both in Russia and in Ukraine, as well as in other republics hoped that the Commonwealth of Independent States that was created at the time would become the new common form of statehood. They were told that there would be a single currency, a single economic space, joint armed forces; however, all this remained empty promises, while the big country was gone. It was only when Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realised that it was not simply robbed, it was plundered.

Now, many years later, I heard residents of Crimea say that back in 1991 they were handed over like a sack of potatoes. This is hard to disagree with. And what about the Russian state? What about Russia? It humbly accepted the situation. This country was going through such hard times then that realistically it was incapable of protecting its interests....

Colleagues, Like a mirror, the situation in Ukraine reflects what is going on and what has been happening in the world over the past several decades. After the dissolution of bipolarity on the planet, we no longer have stability. Key international institutions are not getting any stronger; on the contrary, in many cases, they are sadly degrading.
Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right. They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle “If you are not with us, you are against us.”

To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organisations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall.
This happened in Yugoslavia; we remember 1999 very well. It was hard to believe, even seeing it with my own eyes, that at the end of the 20th century, one of Europe’s capitals, Belgrade, was under missile attack for several weeks, and then came the real intervention. Was there a UN Security Council resolution on this matter, allowing for these actions? Nothing of the sort....

We understand what is happening; we understand that these actions were aimed against Russia and against Eurasian integration. And all this while Russia strived to engage in dialogue with our colleagues in the West....
They are constantly trying to corner us in retaliation for our having an independent position, for defending it, for calling things by their names and not being hypocritical....
Everything has its limits, and in Ukraine our western partners crossed the red line. They acted brutally, irresponsibly and unprofessionally....
The West must stop being hysterical, restrain from the Cold War rhetoric and admit the obvious: Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected.

The absolute majority of our people clearly do support what is happening.

The most recent public opinion surveys conducted here in Russia show that 95 percent of people think that Russia should protect the interests of Russians and members of other ethnic groups living in Crimea – 95 percent of our citizens. More than 83 percent think that Russia should do this even if it will complicate our relations with some other countries.
A total of 86 percent of our people see Crimea as still being Russian territory and part of our country’s lands. And one particularly important figure, which corresponds exactly with the result in Crimea’s referendum: almost 92 percent of our people support Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Zeidan: "Libyans beware of Islamists at next election"
By Sami Zaptia, Libya Herard, 16-3-2014

In his first major interview since he was removed from office last week through a vote of no confidence, former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan blamed the failure of his government on the General National Congress (GNC), the Islamist parties, the militias, the spread of arms and the weak post revolutionary Libyan state.
In a two hour pre-recorded interview conducted by former GNC member Hassan Lamin, who ironically has had to flee Libya and seek refuge abroad in the face of threats from militias, Zeidan paid tribute to all who worked with him and apologized for not being able to protect them in the face of apparent intimidation after his departure.

On being chosen as Prime Minister, Zeidan said that it was the “worst night” of his life as he felt the weight of responsibility of the job.
When asked if he had felt there were any failures by his government, Zeidan said that security was the main failure. Nevertheless, he attributed this too to the weak post revolutionary Libyan state and its lack of institutions.

Zeidan referred to the current GNC head Nuri Abusahmain as the “poor man” who was “a hostage” of the Islamist Justice and Construction party and the Wafa bloc in the GNC.
They are the ones who decide what the GNC head does, he said. Zeidan gave the example of the handing over of the control of the security of Tripoli by the GNC head to the (Islamist) Libyan Revolutionary Operations Room militia (LROR), as a case in point.
Zeidan said that he feared that the Islamist bloc consisting of the Ikhwan (the Brotherhood), the Wafa bloc and others would monopolize power in Libya and turn Libya into an Algeria (during the period where the military Islamists were carrying out a terror campaign against the state).
The ex-Prime Minister warned the Libyan public against these blocs in future elections. He accused them of not being loyal to Libya, but loyal to unrealistic ideologies not for the good of Libya.

Libya has no army

"Nobody would agree to have militant groups terrorizing the people". Muammar Gaddafi 2011
Continuing his theme of the weak post revolutionary Libyan state and the non-existence of state institutions, Zeidan admitted that the Libyan state has no army. Challenged by the interviewer about his previous comments that Libya did have an army, Zeidan said that he thought there was an army but then discovered it did not exist.
Zeidan said that there is nothing under the state’s control and that the army does not take orders from the state. “When you look at the salaries, there is an army, but when we call upon it, it is not there”, he explained.

The former Prime Minister revealed that the GNC constantly interfered in his government’s affairs, behind his back and even spied on his government... The GNC went out of its way to make the government look weak Zeidan insisted, including taking executive powers which were supposed to belong to the government, not the legislature. They all wanted to rule Libya, he explained.
They obstructed the formation of the army at the expense of the nation, he claimed. Zeidan claimed that the thuwar (militias) were ready to move on the so-called Federalist Ibrahim Jadran, but that the GNC stopped them.
Zeidan also admitted that the GNC had attempted to force him into exporting weapons to Syria, which he refused fearing international and UN reputational damage.

Zeidan questions the sanity of the Grand Mufti

Zeidan accused the Grand Mufti of making “irresponsible” and “conflicting” statements that caused problems for the state. He insisted that he should not interfere in politics and criticized his partisan support for one political bloc and therefore insisted that he should resign.
Zeidan said that the Mufti caused more harm than good with what he said and that he did not recognize his pronouncements. Zeidan went so far as to say that at one stage he questioned the sanity of the ageing Mufti.

With regards to the security situation in Benghazi, Zeidan blamed the various parties (the local council, the regular army and the militias) for not being able to co-ordinate and work together.
Zeidan said that he could not find a process where all parties could work together despite numerous changes in the make-up and leadership of the Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR). Every party wanted to be the main player, he explained.
Zeidan had specific criticism of the Islamist-dominated Benghazi Local Council who he said were only interested in implementing the policies of the Islamist Justice and Construction party.
In Derna the militias were refusing to obey the government and the problem needs the use of force to impose security, which the GNC has refused. In the south there is also a need for the army to go in and impose its will and collect arms from the public.

In conclusion, Zeidan called upon Libya’s political elite to give up their ideologies and politics. This was not the time, he added, this is the time for compromise for the sake of building Libya, he pleaded.


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

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

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

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


Eastern Libyan commander accuses US of piracy
By Esam Mohamed, Associated Press, 18-3-2014

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Ibrahim Jedran, part of a movement demanding autonomy for eastern Libya, denounced the United States for seizing a tanker that his militia was using to try to export oil in defiance of the country's central government, saying Tuesday that Washington was siding with Tripoli against the aspirations in the eastern half of the country for greater autonomy.
On Sunday night, U.S. Navy SEAL commandos captured the tanker, Morning Glory, as it was anchored off the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The U.S. Navy is now escorting the vessel back to Libya to hand over to the central government.

The autonomy movement in the east — a region historically known as Cyrenaica — has gained strength, building on local resentment over years of discrimination and marginalization of the area by Tripoli.

Speaking in a televised statement aired on his private TV network, Jedran said Washington was aligning with the wrong side in the dispute of Libya's regions. He said the central authorities in Tripoli are dominated by Islamists, who hold sway in parliament, and ignore the aspirations of the east.
"The free world should stand next to the side of truth," Jedran said. "But today we find a super power declaring piracy."

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

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

Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, the head of the newly declared Barqa government, said the aim is to improve distribution of resources and undermine the hold of the centralized system that has discriminated against their region.

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

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

Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history
of how the U.S. was used to create Israel
A book review by Gilad Atzmon, 18-3-2014

Alison Weir’s new book is by far the most comprehensive and precise expose of the depth of Zionist interference with American life in general and the politics of the United States in particular. It is a book every American should obtain, read and discuss openly.
In spite of its succinctness, the book is saturated with information and insights that are backed by valuable historical references and primary source quotes. Since I am an avid reader of modern Jewish history, I was surprised to learn so much from such a relatively short text.

The story that is told by Weir is devastating – for more than a century, a matrix of Jewish political lobbies, pressure groups, media operators and agents within the American government and legal system have been dominating the United States' public life as well as its foreign policy. Consequently, the United States has been operating against its own best interests. It has compromised its most precious principles and even its own security.

Weir examines the extensive Zionist operation that hijacked her country and robbed the United States of its most precious values. Weir points out that time after time there has been an ethical and political clash between American national interests and the policies dictated by the Jewish pressure groups.
Against Our Better Judgment throws light on the depth, intensity and the efficiency of Zionist operators within America. The book reveals a ferocious, unified and coordinated campaign by the Zionists, and it is far from clear that the American people can find the political and cultural means to deal with this form of foreign and immoral intervention.
Weir’s new book is a crucial and bold step in an attempt of a nation to restore its immune system.

Most Americans are completely unaware of this movement

As this book will demonstrate, the Israel Lobby is considerably more powerful and pervasive than other lobbies. Components of it, both individuals and groups, have worked underground, secretly and even illegally throughout its history, as documented by scholars and participants.
And even though the movement for Israel has been operating in the U.S. for over a hundred years, most Americans are completely unaware of this movement and its attendant ideology – a measure of its unique influence over public knowledge.
The success of this movement to achieve its goals, partly due to the hidden nature of much of its activity, has been staggering. It has also been at almost unimaginable cost. It has led to massive tragedy in the Middle East: a hundred-year war of violence and loss; sacred land soaked in sorrow.
In addition, this movement has been profoundly damaging to the United States itself. (If Americans Knew Website)


US Closes Syria Embassy, Orders All Personnel Out
by Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, March 18, 2014

Following up on a recent order by the US State Department dramatically restricting the movements of Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, the Obama Administration has closed Syria’s embassy outright.
In practical terms, this means that all personnel for Syria’s embassy and its consulates in Houston, TX and Troy, MI will be forced to leave the country. The administration said it was “unacceptable” for officials appointed by the Assad government to provide consular services to Syrians inside the US.

US Special Envoy to Syria Daniel Rubenstein insisted that the US will continue “diplomatic relations” with Syria, but is primarily focused on assisting rebels looking to impose regime change.

John Kerry: "The illegitimacy of the Assad regime is overwhelming"
Al-Arabiya, 19 March 2014

Syria's foreign ministry said Wednesday that a U.S. decision to close its Washington embassy and two consulates was illegal and arbitrary. A statement described the decision as "an arbitrary measure," saying it was "a clear violation of the Vienna Convention" that governs diplomatic relations between nations.
It came a day after the United States announced it was closing Syria's Washington embassy and consulates in Michigan and Texas and expelling remaining diplomatic staff who were not U.S. citizens.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the decision was taken because "the illegitimacy of the Assad regime is so overwhelming". "So we just felt the idea that this embassy is sitting here with representation that we could take seriously is an insult, and we closed it. It's that simple," he said.

Syria's foreign ministry said the decision was intended to undermine the country's ability to provide its citizens abroad with services. The decision "reveals the real objectives of U.S. policy against the interests of Syrian citizens and is another step in the U.S. support for terrorism and bloodshed in Syria," the statement added.

The measures will not affect Syria's mission to the United Nations, though Washington last month announced it would limit the movements of Syria's U.N. ambassador to a 25-mile radius around New York City.

Russia Foreign Ministry: "The Americans encourage the fanatical opposition"
Syrian Arab News Agency 19-3-2014

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US decision to suspend work in the Syrian Embassy in Washington and the honorary consulates in Troy, Michigan and Houston, Texas, and its request that members of Syrian diplomatic missions leave America is cause for concern and disappointment.
The Ministry said that by taking this decision, the Americans are depriving themselves from the role of sponsoring a peaceful solution and encourage the fanatical opposition...
The Ministry called for viewing the situation in Syria in a more balanced and objective manner in order to resolve the crisis and find a peaceful political solution by resuming talks in Geneva.

Washington Post’s Anti-Putin ‘Group Think’
By Robert Parry, Consortium News, March 20, 2014

In a stunning display of “group think,” virtually the entire Washington Post editorial section was devoted to denunciations of Russian President Putin, reports Robert Parry.

Not since Feb. 6, 2003, the day after Secretary of State Colin Powell wowed the world with his slam-dunk speech “proving” that Iraq was hiding WMD, has the Washington Post’s editorial section shown this unity of “group think.” On Thursday, the Post presented a solid phalanx of denunciations directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Across the two editorial pages, Post writers and columnists stood, shoulder to shoulder, beating their chests about Putin as evil, mad or both.

“A dangerous Russian doctrine,” screamed the lead editorial. “An elemental fear” was the headline of a George F. Will column. “Making Russia pay” was the goal of Sen. Marco Rubio’s opinion article. “Putin’s fantasy world” was explored by editorialist Charles Lane....
The Post’s lead editorial favorably quoted Secretary of State John Kerry as saying that Putin’s speech about the Ukraine crisis “just didn’t jibe with reality.”

The Washington Post’s editorial page is run by literally the same people who ran it when all those Post’s opinion leaders were standing with the estimable Colin Powell on Feb. 6, 2003, and asserting the existence of Iraq’s WMD as “flat fact.” Fred Hiatt is still the editorial-page editor and Jackson Diehl is still his deputy.

Offending the Neocons

Putin has become a major impediment to the grand neocon vision of “regime change” across the Middle East in any country considered hostile to Israel.
That vision was disrupted by the disaster that the American people confronted in the Iraq War, but the vision remains.
Putin also is an obstacle to the even grander vision of global “full-spectrum dominance,” a concept developed by neocons in the two Bush administrations, the theory that the United States should prevent any geopolitical rival from ever emerging again.
Thus, Putin must be portrayed as unstable and dangerous even though much of his account of the Ukraine crisis fits with what many on-the-ground reporters observed in real time. Indeed, many of the key facts are not in serious dispute despite the distortions and omissions that have permeated the U.S. mainstream press.


"We live at a time where Western media are only interested in finding fault with Arabs and Muslims. The Western media picks whatever facts it finds to show that the Arab failure is complete, in the economic as well as in other fields. The Arabs are ubiquitously backward. And their failure, ineptitude and backwardness must lead to terror, particularly the sort that hit the United States on 11 September. This, of course, gives Israel ample excuse to do as it pleases with the Palestinians. And it gives the United States and Israel a pretext to rearrange the region at will." Galal Amin, professor of economics at the American University in Cairo (Ahram Weekly 2002)

What were the direct reasons of the 1967-War? Israel escalated its provocative actions against Syria by shelling the means and equipment working in the Arab project of transferring the Jordan River tributaries. Attacking the Syrian farmers and increasing the impact of challenges against the Syrian Forces led to more vehement clashes that reached their peak by the air battle of April 7,1967. News were spreading of Israeli military arrangements; particularly its deploying a force of 11-13 brigades along the Syrian Borders. Motivated by such news, Egypt met its obligations under the Syrian-Egyptian Common Defense Accord signed on November 4, 1966...

April 7, 1967: Israeli air raid on Damascus, 6 MIGs downed - May 12: Rabin: overthrow of Syrian government "may be the only way to curtail terrorism" - May 16: Egypt requests removal of UN troops from Sinai - May 21: Egyptians occupy Sharm al-Shaykh - May 23: Egypt blockades of Straits of Tiran - June 5: Israeli preemptive strike against Egypt.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that Iraq "is the greatest danger facing Israel." Asked by Labor Party MK Ophir Pines-Paz and Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen if Israel plans to attack Iraq if Baghdad attacks Israel, Sharon said that "we don't know for certain if the U.S. will attack Iraq. Iraq is a great danger. It could be said it is the greatest danger. We aren't intervening in U.S. decisions." But he said that "strategic coordination between Israel and the U.S. has reached unprecedented dimensions." (Ha'aretz 13-8-2002)


Greg Mitchell, The Nation 12-3-2014

The media’s sad, tragic performance during the run-up to the US attack on Iraq never gets old, at least for me.
It provides such a revealing glimpse of, and warning about, how leading media outlets usually cave to the “official narrative” from the “serious” policymakers and pundits. Howard Kurtz, now at Fox, calls it, aptly, the media’s “biggest failure of modern times.”
Obviously this is relevant in today’s world where the US is pushed to intervene abroad by many of the same macho crew from 2002-2003, who have no shame, from Senator John McCain to “liberal hawks” such as Bill Keller.

By the Post’s own admission, in the months before the war, it ran more than 140 stories on its front page promoting the war, while contrary information “got lost,” as one Post staffer told...


A Nation Of Robots

"This is the most difficult country to work in on behalf of causes, not because the people are not wonderful. The people are wonderful. But this is the most systematically deceived, lied-to people on Earth. Noam Chomsky has written a book called 'Manufacturing Consent', where the whole methodology for the robotization of the American citizenry is put forth and explained. This is a nation of robots..." (Michel d'Escoto, Former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua )

In 'Manufacturing Consent' Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky show that, contrary to the usual image of the news media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in their search for truth and defense of justice, in their actual practice they defend the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.

"How do you do it?" asked a Pravda editor, touring the US with other Soviet journalists at the height of the cold war. Having read all the papers and watched the TV, they were astonished to find that all the foreign news and opinions were more or less the same. "In our country, we put people in prison, we tear out their fingernails to achieve this result? What's your secret?" (John Pilger, 21-3-2002)

Return of the dinosaurs: We are witnessing the return of the dinosaurs. Human dinosaurs. People who control immense power structures and who have the brains of a bird. Take the American tyrannosaurus. He has power that no empire in the history of the world could even have dreamed of. The US military machine can take over the whole world, wage war anywhere, destroy any country, eliminate any people. Over this immense body reigns the brain of George W. Bush, and around him a small group of people whose moral standard and intellectual capacity are like those of the caveman....
The Israeli tyrannosaurus is no different from his big brother. Compared to all his neighbors, he has immense military capacity, and over this huge power reigns the brain of a child. (Uri Avnery, PalestineChronicle 1-9-2002)

"If we are going to fight terrorism, we have to fight it in all of its forms, whoever the perpetrators are, and in a way compatible with international law. These are the lessons that have to be learned, the most important of which is that double-standards don't work. They're in the interest of no one. If you have a rule of law you apply it to everybody, then you have a safer world. If you have a rule of law that you apply according to your whims, or according to whether A or B is your friend, or you dislike C, or you don't sympathise with E, then you will create chaos. We have learned that rules of law are universal." (Ahmed Maher, Al-Ahram Weekly 12-18 sept. 2002)

In the post-Cold War era, the question remains: is the US and its sordid military-economic policy, which knows only profit and opportunism, to rule the world, or can there develop a sufficiently powerful intellectual and moral resistance to its policies? Edward Said

President al-Assad: Targeting teachers and schools
reveals reality of those who are waging war on Syria
Syrian Arab News Agency, Mar 21, 2014

Damascus, (SANA) –On the occasion of Teacher's Day, President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs. Asma al-Assad received a number of teachers who were threatened by the armed terrorist groups but continued fulfilling their teaching duties.

President al-Assad congratulated the teachers and hailed the great sacrifices offered by the educational sector in Syria during the crisis, considering that targeting teachers and schools is revealing the reality of those who are waging the war on Syria and proving that the Syrians are involved in a war against ignorance and obscurantism.
He lauded the courage of the teachers who were not terrified by the threats of the armed terrorist groups and who were aware that those who threatened them want to stop the educational cycle in Syria through preventing students from receiving knowledge and drowning them into the darkness of ignorance...
For her part, Mrs. Asma al-Assad asserted that the role of teachers after the crisis is no less important than it is during the crisis and they shoulder the responsibility, along with the family, of spreading awareness to the upcoming generations and protect them from ignorance.

World Teachers' Day commemorates teachers’ organizations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.
According to UNESCO, World Teachers' Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.
Education International (EI) (the global union federation that represents education professionals worldwide) strongly believes that World Teachers' Day should be internationally recognized and celebrated around the world. Wikipedia info)