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)
Sharon to Knesset panel: Iraq is our greatest threat
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)
"Nasser, as the activist leader of Pan-Arabism, became an idealized model for Saddam Hussein. At age 20, inspired by Nasser, Saddam joined the Arab Ba'th socialist Party in Iraq and quickly impressed party officials with his dedication. Two years later, in 1956, apparently emulating Nasser, Iraqi Army General Qassem led a coup which ousted the monarchy. But unlike Nasser, Qassem did not pursue the path of socialism and turned against the Ba'th party. ... Saddam went to Egypt to study law, rising to leadership ranks in the Egyptian Ba'th Party. He returned to Iraq after 1963 when Qassem was ousted by the Ba'ths and was elected to the National Command. Michel Aflaq, the ideological father of the Ba'th party, admired young Hussein, declaring the Iraqi Ba'th party the finest in the world.... (Dr. Jerrold M. Post)
"Gamal Abdel-Nasser continues to inhabit Egypt because, like Bonaparte, he is the representative of an age of certain national glory, despite the mistakes and the military debacle. But there is more to it than this. Above all, he symbolises for Egyptians the expression of their independent national will. It is this that remains. It is in this that we must seek our project for the future" (Liberating Nasser's legacy, Al-Ahram Weekly 2000)
The ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, Christians and minorities has created a new breed of Iraqis – the Neo-Baathists or Neo-Saddamists.
Although we may have disagreed with it previously, we defend Baathism because under Baathism we were protected – Baathism is secular, left-wing and socialist which is how Iraqi society should be.
Under Baathism there was no ethnic cleansing or targeting of Arab Sunnis, we lived side-by-side in peace with our Shiite, Christian, Sabaean, Yazidi, Kurdish brothers and sisters.
Anbar has become a symbol for Neo-Baathism with many Anbaris still holding the previous Iraqi flag with the 3 stars and the Kufi font.... The 3 stars on the previous Iraqi flag represent: Baathism: Unity, Freedom and Socialism. (Sarah Chronicle 5-5-2013)
“I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair
and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking.” Saddam Hussein, farewell letter 2006
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.
"We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community." Haile Selassie
“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.., until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation..., until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.., until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race...., until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained..." Haile Selassie 6-10-1963
Ahmed Maher: Rules Of Law Are Universal
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. (Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, Al-Ahram Weekly, sept. 2002)
Edward Said: "No common purpose"
Underlying most of the findings in the much cited 2002 UNDP Arab Human Development Report is the extraordinary lack of coordination between Arab countries....
It's always the same thing, factionalism, disunity, the absence of a common purpose for which in the end ordinary people pay the price in suffering, blood and endless destruction. Even on the level of social structure, it is almost a commonplace that Arabs as a group fight among themselves more than they do for a common purpose.
We are individualists, it is said by way of justification, ignoring the fact that such disunity and internal disorganisation in the end damages our very existence as a people. (Al-Ahram Weekly 2002)
Saddam Hussein: "Life requires dealing with progressive ideas and methods"
Those who are incapable of innovation are the people who imitate and copy others, and in our society there are two types of imitators: One type that imitates the old and they are the reactionaries and right-wingers, and another type that copies from the new, and borrow the experiences and solutions of other nations...
But we have the capacity to innovate and to produce creative and advanced solutions, and life requires dealing with progressive ideas and methods. The problems of our modern society, that we have to deal with, are profoundly different from the problems that were faced during the early Islamic era… (speech by Saddam Hussein, 8/11/1977)
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. ....
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)
Damascus, SANA, in appreciation for the sanctity of their sacrifices, President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs. Asma al-Assad received Tuesday parents of the only-son martyrs who passed away while defending Homeland although they are pardoned from carrying out any military duty according to Syrian laws.
During the meeting, President al-Assad affirmed what the Syrian people have been subjected to during this war showed states of patriotism at the Syrian citizen which is impossible to be seen in any other place.
"The citizens' willingness to offer the most precious issue they own to defend Syria and not allowing to sabotage it was one of the most important reasons behind steadfastness of the country in the face of most powerful powers which utilized, during this war, the dirtiest tools, starting from money to reach terrorism in order to achieve their targets in Syria," President al-Assad said.
President al-Assad affirmed that the martyrs and families' sacrifices are an object of appreciation by the whole Syrian people, adding "unless these sacrifices, Syria wouldn't remain."
For her part, Mrs. Asma al-Assad said the giving of the martyr's family is not less than the sacrifice of the martyr who passed away while the family remains to live the loss of their sons, adding the minimum thing that we should do is to support these families by all possible means.
Families of the martyrs underlined that Homeland is the basis and who has no home, has no dignity or values.
Flashback 2012: President Bashar al-Assad :
"Those who have promoted a new age of freedom and prosperity,
have embraced chaos
The political process is moving forward, but terrorism is growing and hasn't subsided. The laws which have been passed since the beginning of the crisis haven't made an impact on terrorism and made it subside. 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.
Terrorists are concerned neither with reform nor with dialogue. They are criminals who have set themselves a task; and they are not concerned with condemnation or denunciation. They do not care about the tears of wives who have lost their husbands and mothers who have lost their children. They will never stop until they complete their task regardless of anything. They will never stop unless we stop them. Not distinguishing between terrorism and the political process is a great error made by some people. It lends legitimacy to terrorism sought by terrorists and their masters from the first day of the events. Making this distinction between terrorism and the political process is essential in order to understand and know how to move towards improving the conditions we live under. ...
"We are not facing a political problem"
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. What we are facing is a project of internal sedition aiming at the destruction of the homeland. The instrument of this sedition is terrorism. ....
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...
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. (ChamPress, 4-6-2012)
When we invaded and occupied Iraq, we didn’t just militarily defeat Iraq’s armed forces – we dismantled their army, and their police force, along with all the other institutions that held the country together.
The educational system was destroyed, and not reconstituted. The infrastructure was pulverized, and never restored. Even the physical hallmarks of a civilized society – roads, bridges, electrical plants, water facilities, museums, schools – were bombed out of existence or else left to fall into disrepair. Along with that, the spiritual and psychological infrastructure that enables a society to function – the bonds of trust, allegiance, and custom – was dissolved, leaving Iraqis to fend for themselves in a war of all against all.
Oh, but our intentions were good – weren’t they? In retrospect, one has to wonder. Of course, anyone can proclaim their intentions to be anything they like, but the trick is to peel away the rhetoric and observe what is actually going on – and what actually did go on was and is a horror show. What we are witnessing in post-Saddam Iraq is the erasure of an entire country. We can say, with confidence: We came, we saw, we atomized.
We came, we saw, we atomized.
And we are repeating the pattern elsewhere in the region: in Libya, for example, the result is very similar to what we witness in Iraq. Western relief agencies are fleeing, human rights groups are pointing to widespread torture and repression, and Gadhafi loyalists are making a comeback. In Egypt, too, our support for the “Arab Spring” has ushered in a military dictatorship and the promise of more chaos to come. In Syria, we are supporting rebels who are conducting a terrorist campaign against the regime, and the future of the country is looking very … Iraqi. In short, the effects of US actions in the region amount to a reverse Midas touch: everything we touch turns to lead. (antiwar.com 2012)
Flashback 2012: "Dilly-dallying with dogmatic zealots"
The killing, allegedly by suffocation, of United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in the Cyrenaican port city of Benghazi in eastern Libya has prompted much talk about the possible implications of growing anti-American sentiment in the countries of the Arab Spring.
The incident marked an important ideological shift in the powers-that-be in Libya. Washington obviously had no notion of the consequences, and the admonition of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi comes to mind.
Washington flirted with militant Islamists and did not heed the words of her erstwhile secularist collaborator, who was derided as a mindless dictator and condemned to die the death of a dog.
Does not Washington stand for democracy and freedom of expression? He had long warned of the consequences of dilly-dallying with dogmatic zealots. But Washington, alas, did not heed his words of wisdom. (Ahram online 12-9-2012)
Gaddafi: The Green Book
"Ignorance will come to an end
when everything is presented as it actually is"
Education, or learning, is not necessarily that methodized curriculum and those classified subjects in text books which youth are forced to learn during specified hours while sitting on rows of desks. This type of education, nowprevailing all over the world, is against human freedom.
Compulsory education is one of the methods which suppresses freedom. It is a compulsory obliteration of a human being's talents as well as a forcible direction of a human being's choices. It is an act of dictatorship damaging to freedom because it deprives man of free choice,creativity and brilliance.
To force a human being to learn according to a set curriculum is a dictatorial act. To impose certain subjects upon people is a dictatorial act. All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from
curricula of fanaticism and from the process of deliberate adaptation of man's taste, his ability to form concepts and his mentality.
This does not mean that schools are to be closed and that people should turn their backs on education, as it may seem to superficial readers. On the contrary, it means that society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn. This requires a sufficient number of schools for all types of education.
Insufficient schools restrict man's freedom of choice forcing him to learn the subjects available, while depriving him of natural right of choice because of the lack of availability of other subjects. ...
Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right. Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him.
The rebels have already been voting, early and often…with hot steel ballots. Shelling has continued on the outside of the city all day, mostly the morning wakeup call kind to remind people that they are still there, and then again at twilight… commonly done in past wars. We have the window open in the business office as the Dama Rose Hotel so we can hear the man made thunder.
I am with a group of ten Western observers who have come to not only to watch the Syrian people vote, but to record their feelings about the Western powers who are inflicting such destruction upon the country...
The destruction of Syria is already in the range of $140 billion. A generation of wealth has been destroyed and the war train rolls on....
The deployment of the terrorist brigades, first in the north and then filtering throughout the country, showed that we in the West had lost our moral compass… completely.
State sponsored terrorism is now the unwritten official foreign policy in the pursuit of ‘our interests’, the term that Obama mentioned early in his recent West Point graduation speech...
The US plans to have the Army topple Assad failed early so the Plan B with the terror brigades was deployed. The Army has rock solid support from the Syria people, and they have paid dearly for it having suffered the most casualties.
Damascus, SANA, Speaker of the People's Assembly, Mohammad Jihad al-Laham announced Wednesday that Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad won the post of the Syrian Arab Republic's President for a new constitutional term, having the majority of participants' votes with 10.319.723 votes and 88.7% of the correct votes. 73.42% of the 15.8 million eligible voters had taken part in the election.
Al-Laham added at a press conference that the Higher Constitutional court reached to the final result of the elections for the President of Syria for 2014 as follows:
He added that the number of votes each candidate has gained in a proper sequence was: Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad is 10.319.723 votes with 88.7% out of the correct votes, Dr. Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri, got 500,279 votes with a percentage of 4.3% of the valid votes, while Mr. Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar got 372,301 with a percentage of 3.2% of the valid votes.
After three years of unimaginable atrocities..., the Syrian people demonstrated, by their participation, that they had not surrendered their national sovereignty to the geo-strategic interests of the U.S. and its colonial allies in Europe and Israel.
The dominant narrative on Syria, carefully cultivated by Western state propagandists and dutifully disseminated by their auxiliaries in the corporate media, is that the conflict in Syria is a courageous fight on the part of the majority of the Syrian people against the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. As the story goes, the al-Assad “regime,” (it is never referred to as a government), can only maintain its power through the use of force. By attacking “its own citizens,” the regime, representing the minority Alawite community, can only maintain its dominance over the rest of the country through sheer terror.
However, events in Syria, with the election being a dramatic example, continue to reveal fissures in that story.
First, it became clear that substantial numbers of non-Alawite people and communities support the government. And even those elements of Syrian society that were not enthusiastic supporters of the government grew to understand that the legitimate indigenous opposition had been displaced by powerful non-Syrian forces from the U.S. and the Gulf States who provided material, political and diplomatic support to an opposition that not only had tenuous ties to the country but seemed only committed to waging war. This convinced many that the only politically consistent option was to support the government, as an expression of support for Syria’s sovereignty and its’ national project.
As a result, not only did popular support for the government hold over the last three years of carnage, it expanded to include those in the opposition who were against the destruction of the country and the slimy Syrian ex-pats who traveled from one European capital to another begging for the U.S. and NATO to do what it did in Libya – destroy the infrastructure of the country through the use of NATO air power and flood the country with weapons.
The U.S. position is a position of continued war in Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry declared that Syria’s presidential election was a “farce,” and that the U.S. and its partners are prepared to quickly redouble efforts to support opposition forces in the county. The meaning of this position is that it does not matter what kind of public display of support is given to al Assad or anyone who might emerge as the head of state in Syria, the U.S. objective is more death, more war and more chaos.
This is the essence of the “new” global strategy unveiled by President Obama during his foreign policy speech at West Point last week. The U.S. declaration that it will “change the dynamics on the ground in Syria” came out of a meeting of the so-called “Friends of Syria,” a motley collection of 11 Western colonial nations and their Arab creations.
Questions of democratic legitimacy have never determined U.S. relationships with any state where the U.S. had strategic and economic interests.
If a commitment to democracy and democratic governance was the determining factor for U.S. support, the Obama Administration would not be in alliance with the dictatorship of the royalists in the Gulf states, it would have condemned the coups in Honduras and Egypt, not given diplomatic or economic support to the coup in Ukraine, and would not be supporting right-wing elements in Venezuela attempting to destabilize the democratically-elected government in that country.
Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C.
Turkey listed the al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda operating in Syria and Lebanon, as a terrorist organization in a sign that it is growing more concerned about the rise of radical militants across its border. The Turkish government's decision also includes freezing the assets of individuals and organizations listed by the United Nations Security Council as being affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Turkey has long championed robust support for Syria's fragmented militant groups, but the growing influence of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the war-torn country has left it open to accusations that it is backing terrorist groups.
Lale Kemal, a security expert from Ankara, said that Turkey has provided at least tacit support to terrorist groups like al-Nusra by treating their wounded and providing logistic support, as well as by allowing their forces to use Turkish territory to regroup. But these groups have now started posing threats to Turkey itself and Turkey has already suffered from their activities, she added. She said the government's decision shows its awareness of al-Nusra's growing presence in its territory and its determination to stem the flow of radical terrorists.
"Turkey has also realized that other radical groups are also posing a threat to Turkey's security," said Kemal, adding that Turkey is now concerned with stopping the massive influx of foreign militants via Turkish territory.
Gokhan Bacik, an analyst and associate professor of international relations at Ankara's Ipek University, said the decision is in line with the policies of the United States and other Western countries, which have listed al-Nusra as a terrorist organization....: "In my understanding, Turkish government is under very big pressure from international community because of its foreign policy. So the government is trying to change its image by giving this kind of symbol," said Bacik.
A new play now showing at a London theatre sets out to tell a different story of the 2011 revolution, claiming Muammar Qaddafi was a benign figure and the NATO intervention as a capitalist conspiracy revolving around the World Bank.
In An Interview with Qaddafi, playwright Reggie Adams takes an antagonistic approach to the revolution... In his tale, struggling journalist Bellamy Johan heads out to cover the revolution at the suggestion of a ex-patriate Libyan neighbour... Johan pleads with his editor back in London to “get the truth out” about the revolution but she retorts that he is an idealist and a dinosaur for believing Qaddafi’s words.
In the final interview and penultimate scene of the play, the character of Qaddafi says: “Forces have conspired against my country…for 40 years I fought for my people. I liberated the country from imperialists. I have failed in this regard, I have failed the people.”
As he is dragged away by his female bodyguard, Qaddafi shouts out: “Capitalism will triumph over democracy...”
An Interview with Qaddafi runs until 29 June at London’s Waterloo East Theatre.
It is unlikely to be seen in Libya.
Questions everything we thought we knew about democracy
This is a dramatisation of real events from the fall of Gadaffi's Libyan regime in 2011, told through the eyes of weary, veteran journalist Bellamy Johan.
In a series of encounters in Libya as well as Skype calls to his three teenage children back in London, the fictitious John gives us a behind the scenes insight into the inner workings of the mainstream media covering a global conflict of which their viewers know little.
The result is a heartfelt and emotional ride that questions everything we thought we knew about democracy, global finance, political spin and, of course, Colonel Gadaffi.
Through a series of film-enhanced visuals and with a talented multi-character cast of four a very dramatic personal experience is achieved but we also emerge from the play with greater powers of political awareness. It's one part drama, one part political message and two parts pure entertainment.
The playwright, Reggie Adams, himself is a political journalist and campaigner. He's the author of Now Utopia, a work on political philosophy and macro-economics, which has become the manifesto for the UK's Humanist Party. (Broadwayword, 4-6-2014)
Can we believe all that we are told?
Can we believe all that we are told? Is telling the truth about a situation people should be aware of considered a hinderance? How far are we prepared to go to PROVE ones self? These are a few of the questions you ask yourself throughout and after this thought provoking piece of theatre.
The story follows political journalist Bellamy Johan who risks everything, including his life, in attempts to expose the truth behind the change in the 2011 Libyan regime. He unveils the goings on behind the scenes of the inner workings of the mainstream media, making us question what we thought we knew.
Though a two act play, the show is split into six sections. The plot thickens and intensifies mildly with each one looking at Conspiracy, Capitalism, Democracy, Money, Execution and the Epilogue.
An interview with Gaddafi is playing at: The Waterloo East Theatre until 29 June 2014. (West End Wilma, 7-6-2014)
On May 2014 President Obama delivered the commencement address to the graduates of United States Military Academy at West Point.
His presentation is marked by systematic lies about past wars and current military interventions... He presents a grossly inflated account of the US role in the world economy. Worst of all he outlines an extremely dangerous policy of confrontation with rising military and economic powers, in particular Russia and China.
Distorting the Past: Defeats and Retreats Converted into Victories
Obama’s claim that, “by most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world”, defies belief. After 13 years of war and occupation in Afghanistan, the US has failed to conquer the Taliban... The US was forced to withdraw from Iraq after causing the deaths of hundreds of thousand of civilians, the displacement and wounding of millions and the ignition of a sectarian war... In Libya, the Obama pushed NATO to destroy the entire country in order to overthrow the secular Gadhafi government, thus undermining any possibility of reconciliation among opponents. He has brought bands of Islamist terrorists to power who are profoundly hostile to the United States.
Washington’s effort to broker an accord between Palestine and Israel is a shabby failure, characterized by Obama’s spineless capitulation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s goal of grabbing more Palestinian land for new “Jews only” settlements – paid with American tax money.
You have heard lectures on the world economy at the Academy: Obama speaks of defending “our core interests” by military force yet he provokes China over a disputed pile of rocks in the South China Sea, undermining the “core interests” of the 500 biggest US corporations which have invested billions of dollars in the most dynamic economy in the world and of the biggest American exporters to our second largest trading partner....
Obama brags about “our success in promoting partnerships in Europe and in the world at large”, yet his bellicose policies toward Russia have created deep rifts between the US and the leading countries of the European Union. With its multi-billion dollar trade agreements with Russia, German opposes harsh sanctions and provocations against Moscow, as do Italy, Holland and Belgium....
Obama: Political Desperado in Search of an Imperial Legacy
President Barack Obama, deeply unpopular at home, is propelled by a mania for global military escalation. He is expanding naval forces off China’s coast. He has dispatched hundreds of Special Forces to Jordan to train and arm Islamist and al Qaeda mercenaries invading Syria. He promotes Kiev’s brutal crackdown on civilian protesters in the Eastern Ukraine by increasing US military aid and training. He has dispatched hundreds of US forces throughout Africa. He has just allocated $1 billion for military expansion along the European frontiers with Russia and another $5 billion to boost the capacity of despotic regimes to repress popular insurgencies under the pretext of “fighting terrorism”.
Obama’s ‘vision’ of US foreign policy is clearly and unmistakably colored by his readiness to pursue highly dangerous military adventures. His tactic of launching Special Forces’ operations in all corners of the world, his increasing use of mercenaries and proxies is a throw-back to 19th century colonialism...
Obama’s duplicity, of talking peace while preparing wars, has been exposed. And now this same president is preparing to commit you, newly commissioned officers of the US Army, to overseas military adventures against the interests and wishes of the majority of your fellow Americans.
Obama’s plans for you do not resonate with your ideals and hopes for a prosperous America dedicated to democracy, freedom and peaceful development at home. You face the choice of serving a political desperado, contemptuous of our Constitution and intent on launching unjust wars at the behest of billionaire swindlers and armchair militarists in Washington, or refusing to participate as muscle-men for bloody empire and joining the majority of the American people who believe that America’s ‘leadership’ should be directed at redistributing the wealth and power of an unelected oligarchy which currently runs this country. Who will you choose to serve?
James Petras is a retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax. Petras describes himself as a "revolutionary and anti-imperialist" activist and writer. He was a founding member of the Young Socialist Alliance and early articles by him appeared in the The Young Socialist in 1959 and 1960. (Wikipedia)
Former United States presidential candidate Ron Paul criticizes President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for hypocrisy in foreign policy especially on Syria and Ukraine...
Paul, a former US congressman, called out the US double standard in treating the recent presidential elections in Syria and Ukraine, saying, “It’s funny he [Obama] would mention elections.”
“Last week the Syrians held their first multi-candidate presidential election in 50 years. Almost three-quarters of Syrian voters participated, giving President Assad 88 percent of the vote. After three years fighting a foreign-backed insurgency, voting conditions were not optimal.”
“However, despite State Department claims to the contrary, it can no longer be stated that Assad enjoys no popularity in his country. Even former CIA chief Michael Hayden not long ago envisioned Assad winning a fair election in Syria,” he added.
Paul said the US government “completely rejected” the election in Syria, citing Secretary Kerry who called the vote “a great big zero” because “you can’t have an election where millions of your people don’t even have an ability to vote.”
The Syrian election came days after the presidential election in Ukraine where the Western-backed billionaire Petro Poroshenko won with just over 50 percent of the vote.
Ironically, Kerry hailed the Ukrainian election as a “victory for democracy,” Paul said, even though “millions in the eastern part of the country did not have the ability to vote.”
“When a referendum was held in Crimea this spring in which the vast majority voted to re-join Russia rather than to remain in a Ukraine that had just undergone a regime change, the US administration refused to recognize the results. For Washington, it was ‘illegal’ for Crimea to vote to secede from Ukraine, but it was not illegal for a mob in the street to overthrow an elected government in Kiev.”
Islamic fundamentalists have opened new fronts in their battle to establish an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria as they launch attacks in cities which were previously under the control of the Baghdad government.
A multi-pronged assault across central and northern Iraq in the past four days shows that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has taken over from the al-Qa’ida organisation founded by Osama bin Laden as the most powerful and effective extreme jihadi group in the world.
Isis now controls (or can operate with impunity in) a great stretch of territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, making it militarily the most successful jihadi movement ever.
Led since 2010 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Dua, it has proved itself even more violent and sectarian than what US officials call the “core” al-Qa’ida, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is based in Pakistan. Isis is highly fanatical, killing Shia Muslims and Christians whenever possible, as well as militarily efficient and under tight direction by top leaders.
In Iraq in the past four days, it has fought its way into the northern capital of Mosul, sent a column of its fighters into the central city of Samarra and taken over Iraq’s largest university at Ramadi, in the west of the country. In addition, it launched devastating bombings targeting Shia civilians in Baghdad that killed at least 52 people. The creation of a sort of proto-Caliphate by extreme jihadis in northern Syria and Iraq is provoking fears in surrounding countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey that they will become targets of battle-hardened Sunni fighters...
The swift rise of Isis since Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became its leader has come because the uprising of the Sunni in Syria in 2011 led the Iraqi Sunni to protest about their political and economic marginalisation since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Peaceful demonstrations from the end of 2012 won few concessions, with Iraq’s Shia-dominated government convinced that the protesters wanted not reform but a revolution returning their community to power.
Fighting is raging in eastern Syria as a jihadist group rooted in neighboring Iraq pushes a fresh bid to create an "Islamic state" along the border.
Since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched a new offensive in Deir Ezzor province 40 days ago, 634 people, mainly fighters, have been killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. At the same time, 130,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, with 39 civilians killed from shelling in the fighting.... ISIL was once welcomed by Syrian rebels, but earned the rebellion's wrath because of its systematic abuses and quest for hegemony. Even Al-Nusra turned against ISIL, after its Iraqi chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, sought to take over the group.
Fighting by rebel groups and Al-Nusra against ISIL has killed more than 6,000 people since it began in early January, according to the Observatory.
Militants from the extremist Islamist State of Iraq and Syria on Wednesday seized the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, a day after the country’s second-largest city Mosul fell under their control.
Their sweeping advances, and the rapid collapse of the Iraqi army - on which the United States has spent at least $16 billion to rebuild - has sent shockwaves regionally and internationally.
Militants took control of government buildings, financial institutions and weapons stockpiles, which could help them gain strength in their war against the rule of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
In Tikrit - the hometown of the late Saddam Hussein, and the capital of Salaheddin province - the militants seized a local prison and freed hundreds of inmates.
“All of Tikrit is in the hands of the militants,” a police colonel was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying. A police brigadier-general said the ISIS militants attacked from the north, west and south of the city.
In Mosul, the militants on Wednesday seized 48 Turks from the Turkish consulate, including the consul-general, three children, and several members of Turkey’s special forces, a source in the Turkish prime minister’s office said.
The United States voiced concern about the “serious situation.” ISIS “is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Nouzad Hadi, the governor of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil, blamed Maliki’s government for the fall of Nineveh province, including its capital Mosul.
Hadi told Dubai-based Hadath TV that Iraqi military forces “are well-armed with the latest weaponry from the United States,” but “Maliki’s security policy has led to this failure.” He added: “This is a real tragedy.”
The shocking news that the city of Mosul in northern Iraq has just been overrun by ISIS Sunni extremists exposes beyond dispute the disastrous policy that is being followed by the British government in the Middle East.
More broadly it also shows the pressing need to hold the original authors of the ongoing disaster in Iraq - Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell, Jack Straw et al in Britain - to moral and legal account.
For the past three or four years the chaos that has swept Iraq without interruption has slipped off the radar screen, due to the focus on the Arab Spring and its fallout in Libya, Egypt, and most of all Syria. However the level of sectarian violence in the country has matched if not exceeded the carnage that has engulfed parts of Syria in recent years.
The blood that has flowed in every part of Iraq as a direct result of Bush’s and Blair’s madcap military adventure back in 2003 surely renders any notion of Britain and the US as being anything other than a scourge on the rest of the world redundant. The extremism that has proliferated across the Arab and Muslim world over the past decade is the direct result of the extremism that has emanated from Downing Street and the White House over the same period.
It entitles us to ask the question: when are these rich, privately educated sociopaths who practice statecraft like gangsters in Western chancelleries going to learn that this is not a game?
Daily - in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and eastern Ukraine - they are responsible for the slaughter of men, women, and children as a result of their fixation with a hegemonic agenda...
Israel: President elect Reuven Rivlin
speaks to Knesset upon victory
Netanyahu offers congratulations. Ynetnews, 10-6-2014
Rivlin addressed the Knesset members who elected him as Israel's 10th president...
Looking at the crowd of his soon-to-be former colleagues, he added: "The Israeli Knesset was home for me."
But Rivlin will also have to seperate from his political home, the Likud. "This party was my home as I said it would be until I was legally obligated to leave it. Now, I am no longer a party man, I am no longer a faction man. I am everybody's man. A man of the people."
Outgoing President Shimon Peres offered congratulations to Rivlin saying that he deserved the post of president but playfully reminding him that he would now have to consider all his words carefully.
Head of the opposition Yitzhak Herzog announced full support from his side of the partisan divide saying, "I'm convinced that you will be an excellent president..."
Before Rivlin's speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated him, saying, "You are tasked with two great missions: To unite all the layers and components of society from within and to represent the State of Israel to the rest of the world."
“Today, almost 20 years after Oslo, we can see clearly that the idea of separating the [Israeli and Palestinian] nations failed,” Likud MK Reuven Rivlin said.
According to the Knesset speaker, those who still believe in two states for two nations are in denial about current realities. He added that there can be only one state between Jordan and the Mediterranean, which will be Jewish, democratic and have a Jewish majority.
“Since my childhood, in 1948, we have been able to deal with the demographic threat, but in the ridiculous attempts to split the land we have failed time and again,” he said. All of the speakers following Rivlin denounced his speech, except for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.. He mentioned that while Israel “does not want to rule [the Palestinians] and we do not want them to rule us, in the past 17 years [since the Oslo Accords], any territories we left were captured by Iran’s messengers.”
"The entire Land of Israel belongs to us,” Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declared, during a visit to Itamar in Samaria in honor of the new school year.
“Zionism is a policy of settlement,” Rivlin explained, calling Itamar [..] “an example for all Jews who return to their homeland.”
Rivlin said that the last time he visited Itamar, it was with prime minister Ariel Sharon, who suggested connecting settlements in Samaria to the Jordan Valley, “out of a strategic way of thinking that included territorial depth and continuity.” “I believe with complete faith and have never changed my opinion that the Land of Israel is entirely ours,” Rivlin said.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday congratulated MK Reuven Rivlin on being elected president of Israel.
“Over more than six decades, the United States and Israel have developed a unique relationship based on shared democratic values, our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our partnership in scientific research and innovative technology,” Obama said in a statement.
“President-elect Rivlin has a long and dedicated record of public service and we look forward to continued strong ties, to the benefit of both our nations, under Mr. Rivlin’s presidency,” he added.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the leader of the National Transitional Council that led the revolution, has called for the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, to be dismissed.
Jalil made the call following the Ghariani’s declaration on TV on Monday that Libyans have an obligation to fight against retired general Khalifa Hafter and that those who die doing so would be considered martyrs and so go to Heaven. Anyone who supported Hafter, the Grand Mufti insisted, “will die an infidel”. The declaration was made on Wataniya TV’s “Islam and Life” programme.
Gharyani went on to say that Hafter and his forces were “transgressors” and that they were not waging a war against terrorists but against Islam.
Jalil, who himself appointed Ghariani, fought back in a broadcast on Al-Asima TV last night, denouncing the Ghariani’s statement and calling for his immediate removal. “The Mufti has lost the confidence of Libyans,” he said, “and according to the law that brought him into office, he is no longer eligible for service”.
Public support for the Grand Mufti has dropped considerably over the past year. On Sunday, his Dar Al-Ifta offices behind the King’s Palace was subject to an RPG attack.
The Libya Herald reported that the “Fatwa Office”, presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks.
The article also reports that the religious official asked for “clarification” as to why extracts of the Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah had been deleted. The Sunnah is the second book for Islam jurisprudence after the Quran, according to scholars.
The information in the textbooks about Greek democracy might be “too detailed” for students to comprehend. References to freedom of belief and religion should be removed because “it suggests to younger students that they could choose any religion they wanted”. The Fatwa office warned that because of the public’s religious values the textbooks “could spark public anger.”
Gaddafi: The Green Book
Part Three, Chapter Eight: EDUCATION
To impose certain subjects upon people is a dictatorial act. All countries which set courses of education in terms of formal curricula and force pupils to learn them, coerce their citizens.
All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from curricula of fanaticism and from the process of deliberate adaptation of man's taste, his ability to form concepts and his mentality.
This does not mean that schools are to be closed and that people should turn their backs on education, as it may seem to superficial readers. On the contrary, it means that society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn...
Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right. Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him.
With thousands of Arab and foreign militants and a commander with designs on the leadership of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has become the gravest threat in Iraq and Syria.
Despite the loss of two leaders, and earning the fury of even the core al-Qaeda leadership for its methods, the terrorist group of ISIL has expanded to control vast areas of Iraq and Syria as it seeks to establish a new so-called Islamic caliphate.
The ISIL can trace its roots to Tawhid and Jihad, a Sunni group which rose against the US and Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Tawhid's leader, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, declared his allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004, renamed his group al-Qaeda in Iraq and pushed a vicious campaign of suicide bombings and attacks on Iraqi and US targets.
Zarqawi became the US enemy number one and was killed in 2006, to much fanfare in Iraqi and American circles. After Zarqawi's death, the group rebranded as the Islamic State in Iraq with a new leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. Baghdadi led the group, which continued to attack sectarian and US targets, until he was killed by US and Iraqi forces in 2010.
He was replaced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri. It was from this point that the group began its international rise. In 2012, Baghdadi turned his attention to establishing an ISIL presence in Syria, as the civil war worsened and rebel factions began to fight among themselves.
After a string of internecine clashes that strengthened the group's position, Baghdadi declared a merger with the Nusra Front, another al-Qaeda-inspired group, to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It was a declaration that many saw as an attempted power grab. It was rejected by Nusra commanders, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, ordered the merger invalid.
In the months that followed, the ISIL attacked rivals and took over territory, killing hundreds of rebels in battles and bombings, and hundreds of Syrian civilians for crossing its strict interpretation of Islam.
Zawahiri declared that al-Qaeda had disowned the group, and stated Nusra was al-Qaeda's primary affiliate in Syria. But that did not stop Baghdadi. Indeed, he denounced Zawahiri, stating that no one would prevent his men fighting against the Syrian government or any of its other perceived enemies.
By this point his group had established itself as one of the most powerful in Syria, controlling parts of north and east of Syria, including lucrative oil fields. It fought its rivals into submission, and took over the last stronghold of Nusra, Deir al-Zor, earlier this year.
In January, the ISIL considered itself strong enough to turn its attention back to Iraq, sending a force to Anbar province and taking over Fallujah and the provincial capital, Ramadi, in the face of a weak Iraqi response.
ISIL’s source of funding and power remains unclear....
The debate over America’s Middle East policy has reached a new level of surreality. In the wake of President Obama’s West Point commencement address last month – in which he pledged to “ramp up” U.S. support for Syrian rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad – Washington elites are exhorting the Obama administration to do much more.
For over three years, America has provided Syrian oppositionists with “nonlethal” aid, trained opposition fighters, coordinated with others openly providing lethal aid for U.S.-vetted recipients, and extended high-level political backing to the anti-Assad campaign – including serially reiterated public demands from Obama that Assad “must go.”
Yet, from the conflict’s start it has been clear that opposition fighters would not dislodge Assad, no matter how much external help they received – because, from the beginning, the constituencies supporting Assad and his government have added up to well over half of Syrian society.
Objective measures of public opinion in Syria are not as robust as any serious analyst would like. Nevertheless, for over three years, every piece of relevant data – including multiple polls, participation in the February 2012 constitutional referendum and the May 2012 parliamentary elections, participation in this month’s presidential election (including by thousands of refugees), and other evidence – indicates that a majority of Syrians continues to back Assad. Conversely, there is not a scrap of objective evidence suggesting that anywhere close to a majority of Syrians wants Assad replaced by some part of the opposition.
These realities were readily observable in spring 2011.... Yet the Obama administration decided, within weeks after the outbreak unrest in parts of Syria in March 2011, to support oppositionists seeking to overthrow Assad. It did so – as administration officials told the New York Times in April 2011 – because it calculated that destabilizing Assad’s government would undermine Iran’s regional position.
Aleppo 2012 - 2014
This was a colossally irresponsible exercise in policymaking-by-wishful-thinking...
It was utterly foreseeable that backing an armed challenge to Assad would worsen the threat of jihadi militancy – in Syria, in neighboring countries like Iraq, and beyond.
Well before March 2011, it was evident that, among Syria’s Sunni Islamist constituencies, the Muslim Brotherhood – whose Syrian branch was historically more radical than most Brotherhood cells – was being displaced by more extreme, al Qaeda-like groups. External support for anti-Assad forces after March 2011 accelerated the trend and reinforced it with an infusion of foreign fighters... The Obama administration’s transformation of Syria into a magnet-cum-training ground for transnational jihadi fighters has directly fed the resurgence of jihadi extremism we are witnessing in Iraq.
Three years ago, at the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the Islamic State of Iraq – formed in 2006 from Abu Musab Az-Zarqawi’s “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” movement – was on the ropes. Reinvigorated through the creation of an externally supported insurgency in Syria by the United States and America’s European and regional partners, it rebranded itself in 2013 as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and, like the Taliban in Afghanistan before 9/11, has taken over swaths of both Syria and Iraq with lightning speed. Washington has only itself and its collaborators in the anti-Assad crusade to blame for such an outcome...
The Syrian conflict will ultimately end with negotiated power-sharing between the Syrian government, still headed by President Assad, and those elements of the opposition with some popular base inside Syria. This can happen relatively sooner, if America begins basing its Syria policy in on-the-ground reality.
Flynt Leverett is professor of international affairs at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs. Hillary Mann Leverett teaches U.S. foreign policy at American University and is CEO of STRATEGA, a political risk consultancy.
Saddam Hussein on socialism: "According to our concept, socialism, basically, is not based on taking the increase of the ownership of other people, it is not merely a distribution of the existing wealth, but it basically rests on justice, wealth, creation, and development. Therefore its basic duty is to stop any condition that may infringe upon the principle of equality among the sons and daughters of one nation."
“The despot thinks he is just as God.., capable of ordering everything to be as he wants it to be. What a nadir and mean fate! The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people, confiscate their decision, and legitimate freedom and choices given that they were born free.
They were indeed freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003
Hillary Clinton said the U.S. shouldn’t provide military assistance to Iraq despite the threat from an Islamist militant group that has captured major cities.
“I agree with the White House’s rejection and reluctance to do the kind of military activities that the Maliki government is requesting, mainly the fighter aircraft to provide close support for the army and also to go after targets,” the former secretary of State said on BBC’s “Newsnight.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reportedly asked the Obama administration to launch airstrikes against militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The group, with ties to al Qaeda, has seized control of a swath of the Middle East including part of Syria through central Iraq. The White House, however, has so far refused to provide direct military help...
Clinton said that al-Maliki must step up and defuse sectarian tensions by creating a broader governing coalition.
“That is not a role for the United States,” Clinton said. “There needs to be a number of steps that Maliki and his government must take to demonstrate that he’s committed to an inclusive Iraq — something he has not done up to date.” Al-Maliki must demonstrate that he is a leader for all Iraqis, and “not just a sectarian slice of the country,” she added.
Clinton also said that sending U.S. ground forces back to Iraq “is not going to happen.” Clinton [...] called her vote for the Iraq War a “mistake” in her new memoir Hard Choices. “I deeply regret the consequences,” she said.
Saddam made an ARAB NATION out of Iraq
Hussein's invocation of Arab nationalism and his refusal to acquiesce to western pressures made him a heroic figure in the eyes of many. He became a major international figure and recognized leader of Arab nationalists and radicals. Pictures of the Iraqi president sprang up all around the region in homes, taxi windows, shops, and even on the walls of government buildings. Marketing of Saddam paraphernalia became a profitable business. One T-shirt captured the sentiment of the Arab street, in Arabic script, proclaiming in bold Arabic script, "write down that I am an Arab, born on Aug. 2nd." (cited in Harknett, Richard, and Jeffrey VanDenBerg, "Alignment Theory and Interrelated Threats")
The removal of the Baathist regime in Iraq by the American forces and the occupation that ensued ushered in the end of Arab nationalist feeling and supporters in Iraq. All those who came with the American forces and were allowed to govern Iraq were anti-Arab nationalist... Iraq is witnessing a very serious effort to separate it from its Arab environment. (Saad N. Jawad, Baghdad 2005)
One of the mistakes the US occupying force made once the hostilities in Iraq were over was to delegitimize the Baath Party. If the United States is indeed in favor of a democratic solution for the situation in Iraq, they must not only try to allow the Baath Party to reemerge, provided it follows democratic principles, but Washington must embrace Arab nationalism as part of its war on terror. (Daoud Kuttab, Palestinian journalist, 7-11-2003)
Putin calls on US to stop Iraq war
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the United States to stop the war against Iraq, calling the campaign a "serious political mistake."
"If we install the rule of force in place of international security structures, no country in the world will feel secure," he said. "That is why Russia insists on a quick end to military operations."
The Russian leader, in his first comments on the US decision to launch a war to disarm Iraq and overthrow its president Saddam Hussein, said "there was no need" for military strikes because UN-led weapons inspections in the country were taking their course.
"I would like to underline that military action is happening in contradiction of international public opinion and in despite of principles of international law," said Putin. "This military action is unjustified," he said. "Iraq has presented no danger - not for neighboring countries nor for any region in the world." (20-3-2003)
Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi says the door remains open to political reconciliation in Egypt, asking the West to moderate its criticism on human rights and also offer aid to overcome resource shortfalls.
Speaking in a meeting with a British delegation Saturday, newly-elected Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi explained that the reconciliation option has been in place since 3 July 2013 — the day he announced the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against the latter's one-year rule...
The ouster of Morsi was followed by a severe crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathisers. Loyalists of the Islamist president deem his ouster a "coup d'etat" that sabotaged democracy in Egypt. Meanwhile, attacks by Islamist militants against security forces have left over 500 officers and soldiers dead in recent months.
El-Sisi added that the “other side” should clarify what they have to offer to the country, and “stop claiming they own the ultimate truth.”
The former army chief, however, pointed out there should be a balance between “freedoms and rights and security of the nation and the people.”
El-Sisi added that human rights should not stop at “calls from the West on giving civil rights,” but should also cover fighting poverty, illiteracy, the enhancing of educational services and the creating of a moderate and tolerant “intellectual framework” that condemns extremism.
“El-Sisi asked how far the West is prepared to contribute in activating these main human rights, which in their core link to economic and social rights.” “Is the West prepared to open free universities in Egypt, or to lower or cancel the country’s debts?” El-Sisi asked...
El-Sisi was inaugurated as Egypt’s president early this week after a landslide victory in the May presidential elections.
In Egypt, he is often compared with Gamal Abdel Nasser, yet few people know anything about his family or background.
He grew up in the Gamaleya district of Cairo. Al-Sisi’s family is religious, as are the vast majority of Egyptians...
Abdel Fattah is just like his father,” store manager Hussein Ali says. “Hassan (Hussein Khalili al-Sisi) was very good at inspiring everyone around him. When he looked into your eyes, he knew what you wanted to say. He knew how to send messages when he spoke. If he was talking to a doctor, he knew how to talk to him. And if he was talking to a worker, he knew how to talk to him. And his children took that from him.” Hassan loved to tell jokes. Abdel Fattah, on the other hand, rarely kidded around. “He might sit there for a long time, but maybe say only one or two words.” He was a listener, but with authority: “In fact, they used to call him ‘the general’ since the time he was young,” says Hussein’s brother Tamer.
Unlike the country’s erstwhile strongman Hosni Mubarak, whose wife and family were well known to the Egyptians, al-Sisi has been protective of the privacy of his kin. According to his older brother, Ahmed al-Sisi, who only reluctantly agreed to talk, Abdel al-Sisi has four children: three sons and one daughter.
His wife is said to wear a traditional head covering, the hijab, but, unlike the women of the previous generation, these days most Egyptian women do. Like his wife, his five sisters don’t have jobs outside the home. “Our girls don’t work, they stay home and raise the kids,” says Ahmed.
For the boys in the family, though, it was always different. Life was outside the home, where they pursued ambitious careers. As Ahmed proudly says: “We come from a family that leads—not one that will be led.”
Al-Sisi was selected to attend the U.S. Army War College in 2006 during a fraught moment in the Middle East—for Americans as well as for Arabs. At the prestigious and historic college in Pennsylvania, al-Sisi found himself confronted by U.S. officers fresh out of Iraq, where the war was failing and American and Iraqi casualties were mounting. While President George W. Bush promoted his “freedom agenda” in the Middle East, he was spending about $2.5 billion dollars every week on the war in Iraq—almost twice as much as the yearly aid to Egypt...
According to Sherifa Zuhur, a professor at the War College when al-Sisi was there, many of the shell-shocked American soldiers got into heated arguments with their Arab and Muslim counterparts. Al-Sisi “was ready for debate, but not aggressive,” she said. He “can be angered, but possesses a lot of self-control and would choose not to respond when others might do so. He was not quiet because he was passive, but more contemplative, waiting, watching, and following along.
Islamic values: fairness, justice, equality, unity, and charity
While at the War College, al-Sisi wrote an 11-page academic paper titled “Democracy in the Middle East.” Whereas Americans believe in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Islamic cultures cling to principles of “fairness, justice, equality, unity, and charity,” he argued. Americans look to their republic’s Founding Fathers for guidance; Muslims cherish the memory of the ancient caliphate. However, “this does not mean a theocracy will be established,” wrote al-Sisi, “rather it means a democracy will be established based on Islamic beliefs.”
“He knew a lot and took pride in Egyptian and Islamic heritage,” says Zuhur, “and this was also a line of defense against some [American] peers, students who sometimes described Iraqis, for example, as little more than barbarians.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson has launched a stinging attack on former British prime minister Tony Blair over his claims that the current conflict in Iraq is not linked to the West's 2003 invasion.
Johnson’s strong condemnation is a reaction to the arguments made in the former British Prime Minister’s piece entitled 'Iraq, Syria and the Middle East,' where claims range from placing blame on the Iraqi government to Syria for allowing the recent attack on Mosul to take place from within its borders, to explain why militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have launched major attack on Iraqi cities.
But perhaps the most off-the-wall remark that has sent everyone over the edge was Blair’s claim that Britain should be thanked, not blamed, for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Lashing out at the former Prime Minister, Johnson wrote for The Telegraph on Sunday that “I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad.”
His essay “struck me as unhinged in its refusal to face facts. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.”
When it comes to the question of why the Iraq invasion happened in the first place, the London mayor says that the former British leader’s whole campaign arose out of a desire to achieve personal “grandeur.”
“Somebody needs to get on to Tony Blair and tell him to put a sock in it – or at least to accept the reality of the disaster he helped to engender. Then he might be worth hearing. The truth shall set you free, Tony.”
Boris Johnson: "We cannot make the world a better place
unless we are at least honest about our failures..." The Telegraph 15-6-2014
The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next. As one senior British general has put it to me, “we snipped the spinal cord” without any plan to replace it...
That is the truth, and it is time Tony Blair accepted it. When we voted for that war – and I did, too – we did so with what now looks like the hopelessly naive assumption that the British and American governments had a plan for the aftermath; that there was a government waiting in the wings; that civic institutions would be preserved and carried on in the post-Saddam era...
I fondly imagined that there would be a plan for the transition... I felt so nervous (and so guilty) about this assumption, that I went to Baghdad in the week after the fall of Saddam, to see if I was right. I was not.
I remember vividly the mystification on the face of a tall, grey-haired CIA man in his fifties, wearing a helmet and body armour, whom I found in one of the government ministries. He and I were alone among a thousand empty offices. The entire civil service had fled; the army was disintegrated.
He was hoping to find someone to carry on the business of government – law and order, infrastructure, tax collection, that kind of thing. The days were passing; the city was being looted; no one was showing up for work. We had utterly blitzed the power centres of Iraq with no credible plan for the next stage – and frankly, yes, I do blame Bush and Blair for their unbelievable arrogance in thinking it would work.
As time has gone by, I am afraid I have become more and more cynical about the venture... The Iraq war was a tragic mistake; and by refusing to accept this, Blair is now undermining the very cause he advocates – the possibility of serious and effective intervention... It would be wrong and self-defeating to conclude that because we were wrong over Iraq, we must always be wrong to try to make the world a better place. But we cannot make this case unless we are at least honest about our failures...
Flashback 2002 - George W. Bush:
Iraq must be the next front in the war on terrorism
President Bush seeking support for war against Iraq, called Saddam Hussein a "murderous tyrant" Monday night and said he may be plotting to attack the United States with biological and chemical weapons.
Bush also said Saddam could be within a year of developing a nuclear weapon, and he declared, "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
Facing skepticism at home and abroad, Bush portrayed an apocalyptic struggle between good an evil, saying the threat posed by Saddam could dwarf the damage done in the Sept. 11 attacks. He said Iraq must be the next front in the war on terrorism.
"There is no refuge from our responsibilities," Bush said. If it comes to war, "We will prevail." (By RON FOURNIER, AP White House Correspondent, 7-10-2002)
JEDDAH – Saudi Arabia called on Monday for the quick formation of a national consensus government in Iraq, blaming Baghdad’s sectarian policies against Sunni Arabs for the unrest now sweeping the country.
The weekly session of the Council of Ministers, chaired by Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, also warned against foreign meddling in Iraq after rebels took control of vast swathes of territory north of Baghdad in a matter of days.
In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja said that the Cabinet voiced the Kingdom’s deep concern over the latest developments in Iraq, saying that the unrest could not have taken place if it was not for the sectarian and exclusionary policies implemented in Iraq over the past years that threatened its security, stability and sovereignty.
While emphasizing the need to preserve Iraq’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, the Cabinet rejected foreign intervention in Iraq’s internal affairs. It also called on all Iraqis to start taking actions to ensure the real participation of all segments of people to determine the future of their country.
Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet stressed that there should be equality among all sections of people in running the state’s affairs, in addition to initiating the required political and constitutional reforms to achieve this.
The Cabinet urged quick formation of a national consensus government so as to work on the restoration of the strife-torn country’s security and stability, and eschew the policies based on inflaming religious and sectarian sentiments being practiced in Iraq.
When Bush led his war on Iraq in order to fight Al-Qaeda, the group simply didn’t exist in that country; the war however, brought Al-Qaeda to Iraq.
A mix of hubris and ignorance of the facts — and lack of understanding of Iraq’s history — allowed the Bush administration to sustain that horrible war.
The Americans toyed with Iraq in numerous ways. They dissolved the army, dismissed all government institutions, attempted to restructure a new society based on the recommendations of Pentagon and CIA analysts in Washington D.C. and Virginia. They oppressed the Sunni Muslims, empowered Shiites and fed the flame of sectarianism with no regard to the consequences.
When things didn’t go as planned, they tried to empower some Shiite groups over others, and armed some Sunni groups to fight the Iraqi resistance to the war, which was mostly made of Sunni fighters.
And the consequences were most bloody. Iraq’s civil war of 2006-07 claimed tens of thousands to be added to the ever-growing toll caused by the war adventure. No sham elections were enough to remedy the situation, no torture technique was enough to suppress the rebellion, and no fiddling with the sectarian or ethnic demographics of the country was enough to create the coveted “stability.”
In December 2011, the Americans ran away from the Iraq inferno, leaving behind a fight that was not yet settled. What is going on in Iraq right now is an integral part of the US-infused mayhem. It should be telling enough that the leader of ISIL, Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi is an Iraqi from Samarra, who fought against the Americans and was himself held and tortured in the largest US prison in Iraq, Camp Bucca for five years.
It would not be precise to make the claim that ISIL started in the dungeon of a US prison in Iraq. The ISIL story would need to be examined in greater depth since it is as stretched as the current geography of the conflict, and as mysterious as the masked characters who are blowing people up with no mercy and beheading with no regard to the upright values of the religion they purport to represent. But there can be no denial that the US ignorant orchestration of the mass oppression of Iraqis, and Sunnis in particular during the 2003 war until their much-touted withdrawal was a major factor in ISIL formation, and the horrendous levels of violence the extremist group utilizes.
It is unclear whether ISIL will be able to hold onto the territories it gained or sustain itself in a battle that involves Baghdad, Iran and the US. But a few things should be clear: The systematic political marginalization of Iraq’s Sunni communities is both senseless and unsustainable. A new political and social contract is needed to re-order the mess created by the US invasion and other foreign intervention in Iraq...
The two great branches of Islam coexist in Iraq across linguistic and ethnic groups. There are Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs, Sunni Kurds and (a tiny minority of) Shiite Kurds. Arabs are a linguistic group, speaking a Semitic language. Kurds speak and Indo-European language related to English.
The elite of Iraq was Sunni since the medieval period, though there were always significant Shiite movements. In the course of the late 18th and the nineteenth centuries, under Ottoman rule, the tribes of the south of Iraq gradually converted to Shiite Islam. This may have been a form of protest against Ottoman oppression....
The elites of Mosul and Baghdad, however, tied to patronage from the Ottoman Sultan, resisted this conversion movement and remained Sunnis, recognizing the four Orthodox Caliphs...
When the British took Iraq during World War I they mainly turned to the Sunni elites as partners in building a new “Mandate” or colony recognized by the League of Nations. When the Iraqis revolted in 1920 against the prospect of British colonialism, desiring independent statehood instead, the British brought in Faisal as king. He was the son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, and a Sunni... Faisal lacked roots in Iraq, and turned, in order to rule the country, to the Sunni mercantile and bureaucratic elites of Baghdad and Mosul....
Although the Shiites were a majority in Iraq, Sunnis predominated in positions of power and wealth throughout the twentieth century. When the Baath Party, a secular, socialist and nationalist movement, came to power in 1968, it was dominated by Sunnis from the area north of Baghdad... The high generals, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs and politicians were Sunni...
The regime suppressed any political religious group from entering the Iraqi political arena. At the same time, Iraqi secular Shiite individuals were incorporated into the regime and many occupied high political positions in both the government and the army.. After the Gulf War of 1990-91 when the US and allies pushed Iraq back out of Kuwait, the (religious) Shiites of south Iraq rose up. The US had urged them to do so...
The US overthrew Saddam Hussein of the Baath Party in 2003 in alliance with Shiite groups primarily. Those (religious) Shiite groups wanted revenge on the disproportionately Sunni Baath Party. They carried out a program of “de-Baathification,” in which they fired tens of thousands of Sunni Arabs from their government jobs as bureaucrats and even teachers. They hired Shiite clients instead. The Neocons hated the state-owned industries, and closed them down as inefficient without putting anything in their place. The Bush administration backed (religious) Shiite supremacism and debaathification to the hilt. Its proponents likened it to de-Nazification after WW II in Germany, but actually former Nazis below the top level in Germany typically kept their jobs...
In the new Iraq, Sunni high status was turned upside down. The Sunnis were made unemployed, or given menial jobs, while the goodies went to the members of Shiite religious parties....
In 2010, the Sunnis united behind the Iraqiya Party of ex-Baathist Ayad Allawi, which became of the largest single party in parliament, with 91 seats. But Allawi could not find Shiite or Kurdish allies to bring his total up to 51% and so could only have headed a minority government open to being toppled at any time by a vote of no confidence. In contrast Nouri al-Maliki of the Da’wa Party put together, with Iran’s help, a Shiite majority and allied with the Kurds for a super-majority... From 2011 when there was a ‘Sunni Arab Spring’ in Iraq, with urban youth demonstrations and demands for an end to discrimination, the al-Maliki government heavy-handedly repressed it. If it instead had accommodated those moderate young people in their demands, it might have avoided losing the Sunni areas to religious extremists....
The protestors were demanding:
* The cancelation of the law that was initiated by the U.S. occupation forces banning the Baath party from the Iraqi political arena and permitting their reentry into public life.
* The cancelation of the same law that dissolved the Iraqi army and prohibited members of the previous Baath party from being employed by the government.
* The improvement of the economic, social and environmental conditions.
* Stop taking orders from the Iranian government... (Prof. Hani Fakhouri Ph.D)
Sunni Iraqis had been in the 20th century cosmopolitan and often modernists. Many were liberals yearning for democracy. From 1968 they turned to more of a Soviet model, a strongly secular one.
They have turned in desperation to rural fundamentalists who want a medieval caliphate only because of the vast reversal in their fortunes resulting from the Bush invasion and occupation, and the unfair policies of the Shiite government, which has turned them from an elite into an underclass. They are capable, trained, educated people. They aren’t going to put up with that, and if turning to al-Qaeda is the only way to avoid that fate, they are often willing now to do it.
Saddam Hussein's top science adviser surrenders to U.S.
Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi, Saddam's point man on chemical and biological weapons, arranged his surrender Saturday with the help of Germany's ZDF television network. Before leaving his Baghdad villa with his German wife, Helga, and presenting himself to an American warrant officer, al-Saadi said he had no information on Saddam's whereabouts and insisted that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction.
Former and current inspectors describe al-Saadi as extremely intelligent, professional and mild-mannered. Educated in Britain and Germany, his excellent command of the English language made him an ideal spokesman, and he often led news conferences about the inspections when they resumed in November.
"I know the programs for weapons of mass destruction and I have always told the truth about these old programs, and only the truth. You will see, the future will show it, and nothing else will come out after the end of the war," he said in an interview with ZDF. Al-Saadi is a member of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority. Saddam's confidence in him continued to grow and al-Saadi's loyalty to the president remained unquestioned... (AP 12-4-2003)
Ali Hatim Al-Suleiman, a prominent Anbar tribal chief, has denied that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is responsible for the recent unrest in Iraq, portraying the situation as a “tribal revolution” against the government of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki...
“It is the tribal rebels who are in control of the situation in Mosul. It is not reasonable to say that a group like ISIS, which has a small number of men and vehicles, could be in control of a large city like Mosul. Therefore, it is clear that this is a tribal revolution, but the government is trying to force us all to wear the robe of the terrorists and ISIS,” Ali Hatim Al-Suleiman told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Suleiman is emir of the Dulaim tribe, which with over 3 million members is one of the largest Arab tribes in Iraq. Its members are predominately located in the western province of Anbar, the scene of fighting between ISIS militants supported by some Sunni tribes and government forces since December last year. He affirmed that a number of Arab Sunni tribes, including his own, are fighting against the Baghdad government.
“The time for political solutions has passed. We will not permit a political solution. Maliki has used all his strength against the Iraqi people . . . So how can there be a political solution? The only solution is Maliki’s ouster.
“When we get rid of the government, we will be in charge of the security file in the regions, and then our objective will be to expel terrorism—the terrorism of the government and that of ISIS,” Suleiman said.
“The revolution does not belong to anyone, but the tribal revolutionaries are the masters of the scene. Iraq is heading towards partition. There are two choices; either Iraq becomes a sea of blood, or each community rules itself. Central government is not the solution. We do not want an Iraq that fails to respect our dignity and religion,” he said.
The U.S. administration, rejected the statements of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki in which he accused Saudi Arabia of "sponsorship for terrorism", describing them as "inaccurate and unprofessional “.
The spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, Jennifer Bsaki said at a news conference, in Washington, DC, seen by "Shafaq News", that "This is the opposite of what Iraqi people needed now, which is what we continue to prove to Prime Minister al-Maliki."
She described the situation in Iraq as "complicated," pointing to "the existence of some tribes and local politicians of Sunnis who joined the Iraqi government and others with (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant organization) Daash to destabilize the government."
She expressed the need to "political leaders in Iraq take into account the legitimate grievances for all people as a way to rule," without further details.
The Saudi Council of Ministers has considered what is happening in Iraq, as inevitable result of the marginalization and exclusion policies pursued by the Shiite-led government against the Sunni component. Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki had accused ahead of the parliamentary elections last April directly charges to Saudi Arabia and Qatar of waging a war on Iraq by Islamic militants which was denied by the two countries, saying that al-Maliki is trying to shed his internal failure on others...
Saudi Arabia has denied providing moral and financial support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has secured swathes of territory across northern and central Iraq this week, following accusations by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.
The Saudi embassy in London circulated the following statement:
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wishes to see the defeat and destruction of all Al-Qaeda networks and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS) operating in Iraq. Saudi Arabia does not provide either moral or financial support to ISIS or any terrorist networks. Any suggestion to the contrary, is a malicious falsehood..."
“Despite the false allegations of the Iraqi Ministerial Cabinet, whose exclusionary policies have fomented this current crisis, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supports the preservation of Iraq’s sovereignty, its unity and territorial integrity. We wish to see the protection of all civilians and the alleviation of their current suffering. We oppose all foreign intervention and interference in the internal affairs of Iraq. Instead, we urge all the people of Iraq, whatever their religious denominations, to unite to overcome the current threats and challenges facing the country.”
After being the US-approved candidate for years, to the extent that even a defeat in the 2010 election ended with a US-imposed “consensus” government keeping him in power, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has finally fallen out of favor, and President Obama wants him gone. US officials say that they have been urging the other parties in Iraq to form a new coalition government without Maliki, and that they believe Maliki would not be able to bring Sunnis into his coalition to fight ISIS.
Diplomats say that the call is also coming at the behest of key Sunni allies like Saudi Arabia, who don’t like Maliki and have been offering to help “stabilize” Iraq if the US gets him ousted.
Maliki has been centralizing power in his own hands for years, and has blamed the Saudis for the ISIS takeover of the west, dubbing it “genocide” on their part. He has given some lip-service to bringing Sunnis and Kurds into positions of power, but has so far not actually done anything.
Patrick Cockburn from the Independent is also reporting that even Iran’s leadership is “divided on whether or not to withdraw its support from Mr. Maliki...
It’s virtually a foregone conclusion that whoever succeeds Maliki would be a Shi’ite as well, but the US seems to hope he would be less personally power-hungry, and he wouldn’t have the years of animosity with Sunni Arabs and Kurds fueling unrest.
President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he will send 300 Green Beret Army special operations soldiers to Iraq. They will be detailed to Iraqi National Army Headquarters and brigade HQs and their primary task will apparently be intelligence-gathering and helping with the Iraqi National Army response to the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL). Likely the intelligence-gathering in turn is intended to allow the deployment in Iraq of American drones. At the moment, the US has no good intelligence on the basis of which to fly the drones.
To the extent that Obama is likely paving the way to US drone strikes on ISIS in Iraq, he is mysteriously failing to take his own advice. He has already admitted that the Iraq crisis is political and not military, and said that there are no military solutions. The Sunni Iraqis of Mosul, Tikrit and other towns of the west and north of the country have risen up and thrown off the government and the army of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The uprising was coordinated with ISIS, but was made up of many groups and to some extent was the spontaneous act of townspeople. Droning some ISIS commanders to death isn’t going to change the situation in Mosul, a city of 2 million that is done out with the Maliki government.
For Obama to associate himself with an attempt to crush this uprising in favor the the highly sectarian ruling Da’wa Party, which is allied with Iran is most unwise. If it had to be done, it should have been done as a covert operation and never spoken of publicly.
Adel Al-Ghiryani (C), spokesperson of the Supreme Council of Libyan Revolutionaries, speaks to the media in Tripoli April 28, 2013. Gunmen surrounded Libya's foreign ministry on Sunday calling for a law banning officials who had worked for Muammar Gaddafi from senior positions in the new administration...
In a ringing call to arms, the Supreme Council of Libyan Revolutionaries (SCLR) has appealed to armed groups across the country to rally against General Khalifa Hafter, saying it will not abandon Benghazi.
The council claimed recent operations in the city were “an unprecedented and unique move in world history,” whereby Libyan military facilities had been used to “launch evil attacks beyond state legitimacy”. The SCLR railed against “the government’s treacherous stand with this oppressive group”, referring to Operation Dignity, and said the authorities had failed to deal effectively with the ongoing crisis in Benghazi.
In response, following a meeting two days ago, it decided that all revolutionaries affiliated with Libya Shield brigades and the Libyan Revolutionaries’ Operation Room (LROR) should “give unlimited help and support to Benghazi, by every means possible, to bring an end to the current crisis” – effectively meaning that they should take up arms in support of the city’s Libya Shield No. 1 Brigade, 17 February Brigade, the Omar Mukhtar Brigade and Ansar Al-Sharia against the forces of Operation Dignity.
Operation Dignity continues bombing campaign over Benghazi
By Moutaz Ahmed, Libya Herald, Benghazi, 19 June 2014
Air forces loyal to General Khalifa Hafter again carried out strikes on Benghazi’s Hawari, Sidi Faraj and Guwarsha districts this afternoon.
The spokesman for Operation Dignity, Mohamed Hijazi, told the Libya Herald that Hafter’s forces had bombed the areas, as they have done several times in the past month, because Ansar Al-Sharia had returned to their previous bases and strongholds. He refused to discuss the mission’s specific targets saying this would compromise the operation.
Benghazi Wikipedia info: On 15 February 2011, an uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi occurred in the city. On 21 February 2011, the city was taken by Gaddafi opponents, who founded the National Transitional Council days later. On 19 March it was the site of the turning point of the Libyan civil war, when the Libyan Army attempted to score a decisive victory against the NTC by attacking Benghazi, but was forced back by local resistance and intervention from the French Air Force authorized by UNSC Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, allowing the rebellion to continue.
Court sentences Brotherhood leaders
Badie, Hegazi and El-Beltagi to death
El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, Ahram online, 19 Jun 2014
An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced a number of top Muslim Brotherhood leaders to death Thursday, judicial sources said.
The convicted include the Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and top leaders Safwat Hegazi and Mohamed El-Beltagi, as well as 11 others. The sentences will be carried out pending the religious advice of Egypt's top cleric, the Grand Mufti.
Safwat Hegazi 2012: "Kill Assad"
The referral of the sentences to the mufti is the first step in the legal process required to enact a death sentence. The mufti's decision is not binding, however; following his decision, the court will issue a final verdict. Once a final verdict is issued, defendants can appeal.
The charges in the case include inciting murder, and are in relation to clashes that took place outside Al-Isteqama mosque in Giza in August, after the ouster of the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi from the presidency.
Defendants also included Assem Abdel-Maged, a leader of the Gamaa Islamiya, Essam El-Erian, deputy head of Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, and Bassem Ouda, Morsi's supply minister. All three received death sentences.
Hundreds of Morsi supporters were sentenced to death in recent months, mostly on charges of murder, attempted murder, initiating violence and joining a terrorist group: the Muslim Brotherhood.
Britain on Thursday (June 19th) banned the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) group, adding it to a list of proscribed organisations with four other groups linked to the Syrian conflict, AFP reported.
It is now an offence in Britain to belong to or invite support for ISIL, an al-Qaeda-inspired group now battling Iraqi forces, and the four other groups, or to wear clothing or carry items in public indicating support.
"Today the UK is proscribing terrorist organisations that support the Assad regime, that are fighting against it, and those with ambitions beyond Syria that have taken advantage of the collapse of security and the rule of law," said security minister James Brokenshire. "Syria is the number one destination for jihadists anywhere in the world," he said. "Proscription sends a strong message that terrorist activity is not tolerated wherever it happens."
Prime Minister David Cameron warned Wednesday that gunmen making advances in Iraq and fighting in Syria also were planning to attack Britain.
In this week’s article, I continue to focus on our Muslim values and draw attention to the negative issues that are keeping Muslim societies behind. I strongly believe that it is the duty of every Muslim today to speak out against our shortcomings and to address the erosion of our values and call for a return to our Islamic ideology which focuses primarily on good behavior and honesty.
In a British newspaper last week, I saw the headline: “Ireland leads the world in Islamic values as Muslim states lag”.
Reading further, I discovered that this was based on a study of 208 countries and territories by a leading academic at George Washington University. The study revealed that the teaching of the Qur’an is better represented in Western societies than in Islamic countries. The author concludes that Islamic countries have failed to embrace the values of their own faith in politics, business, law and society and Ireland was the country that best embodied the Islamic values of opportunity and justice.
This study was very scientific and focused on the index of Economic Islamicity or how closely the policies and achievements of a country reflect Islamic economic teachings. We have to admit that the absence of these values has resulted in our economic backwardness.
Among features taken into consideration were social rules, corruption, bureaucracy, human rights, freedom of expression, and justice. There was also a study of the economic opportunities offered where Ireland leads the group. Sadly, many of these values are nonexistent in our daily behavior.
When I discussed the report with a few friends, they all agreed that, unfortunately, Muslim countries do badly on these types of lists, because many Muslim societies do not follow the rules of the Qur’an; they talk about them, but do not practice them....
Muslims need to be reminded that being a good Muslim does not mean performing the rituals and neglecting to follow Islam’s pristine principles and values in their daily work and in their behavior toward others.
To be a practicing Muslim does not mean having to wear a short “thobe” or to grow a beard! Islam is about compassion, empathy, feeling for the unprivileged and working to raise them out of poverty. It’s about honesty, transparency and justice. Many Muslims today overlook these salient features.
Within hours of its entry into Mosul, the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) issued a list of "laws" for city residents and warned them that failure to comply would result in severe punishment. The lengthy document, similar to one imposed on residents of Raqqa in Syria, bans women from driving cars, imposes the wearing of the hijab, and punishes young men who wear jeans or shirts adorned with images of celebrities and foreign ads.
The document also prohibits football games, orders the closure of sports and entertainment halls and bars and bans the sale of cigarettes. The instructions also prohibit local residents from taking photos and video footage of ISIL fighters, said Hassan al-Mosuli, who recently arrived in Baghdad after fleeing from the ISIL.
Ar-Raqqah is a city in north central Syria located on the north bank of the Euphrates River, about 160 kilometres (99 miles) east of Aleppo. It is currently the capital for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In March 2013, during the Syrian civil war, Islamist jihadist militants from Al-Nusra Front and other groups overran the government loyalists in the city and declared it under their control after seizing the central square and pulling down the statue of the former president of Syria Hafez al-Assad.
Since May 2013 the ISIS has been increasing its control over the city, at the expense of the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front. The ISIS has executed Alawites and suspected supporters of Bashar al-Assad in the city and attacked the city's Shia mosques and Christian churches such as the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs, which has since been converted into an ISIS headquarters. (Wikipedia)
The color black covers the place. This color prevents you from ignoring that the Syrian city of Raqqa is straining under the iron grip of fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). They worked to turn the city into a “black province” after capturing it from fighters belonging to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement. Many of the city’s features have been painted black, to match the color of the ISIS banner. Women wear black from head to toe.
And you can’t ignore how many foreign fighters there are. They are called the muhajirin [immigrants] and come mostly from Chechnya. They are in Raqqa with their families and can be recognized because they are taller than the locals and look different....
Men are not better off than the women under the rule of the black state. Men are harassed in different ways. The man is the first and last one responsible for the actions of the women of his family. Men are often punished as a result of the behavior of a girl within the family, such as lack of commitment to Islamic dress.
Although ISIS plays a key role in the areas under the control of the armed factions, this does not negate the fact that the most prominent officers within the movement are part of the remnants of the former Iraqi army, i.e., former Baathists turned Salafists.
Former Iraqi army officers form the backbone of the majority of factions fighting in Iraq. Some have preserved their Baathist tendencies, at least in terms of organizational loyalty, while others have severed all links with the party and are working under the umbrella of other groups. But both camps have joined the ranks of groups opposing the state.
However, in light of the Iraqi government's de-Baathification policy, many former Baathists have sought refuge in the ranks of the local grassroots groups. Some groups raised the banner of “Salafist jihadists,” such as ISIS, Ansar al-Sunna and the Islamic Army. Other groups operated under the umbrella of “moderate Islam,” such as the Mujahideen Army and the 1920 Revolution Brigade. The Naqshbandi Army preserved the Baathist leadership in what its supporters describe as working within a Sufi framework. The Naqshbandi Order is the largest Sufi order and is spread in Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Kurdistan, and the rest of the countries of northern Iraq. The Naqshbandi Army is led by former Iraqi vice president under Saddam Hussein, Izzat al-Duri, and was established in 2007.
The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order (JRTN) was originally composed mainly of groups wishing to restore the old order under the Ba'athist ideology. It is a Sufi Islamic organization with Iraqi and Arab nationalist tendencies. Since the JRTN is led by Saddam's former deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, and contains many former Ba'athists, Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism, Ba'athism as well as Sufi Islamism and Sunni Islamism have all become an important part of its ideology.
The group's links to both Sufism and its embrace of violence is controversial as many Sufi followers believe Sufism to be strongly opposed to violence. The group has declared itself to be fighting to maintain Iraq's unity, along with its Arab and Islamic character. As such, the group can be seen as pursuing a nationalistic, as opposed to religious, line. The group recognises a direct return to Baathist control is impossible; the group instead focuses on infiltrating former Baathists into positions of power to try to dominate a future nationalist government. The group then wishes to portray itself, and the wider Baath party, as a technocratic alternative to a currently incompetent Islamist government that is incapable of delivering services. (Wikipedia)
Behind the word "Naqshband" stand two ideas: naqsh which means "engraving" and suggests engraving the name of Allah in the heart, and band which means "bond" and indicates the link between the individual and his Creator. This means that the Naqshbandi follower has to practice his prayers and obligations according to the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to keep the presence and love of Allah alive in his heart through a personal experience of the link between himself and his Lord. (sufimeditationcenter)
The affiliation with local grassroots groups, in the sectarian sense, is closely related to the collapse of the Baath Party, both Iraqi and Syrian, and to the collapse of the state and its institutions. Iraq's Baath Party managed to bring together the Sunni Arab minority in the country, and non-Islamic forces within the predominant Shiite population, especially following the growth of the Shiite tide after the revolution in Iran.
Things were similar, to a large extent, in Syria, as its Baath Party served as a refuge for opponents of Sunni Islam. This included secular Sunnis and minorities alike, especially after the expansion of the phenomenon of the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The de-Baathification at the level of the state institutions in Iraq pushed the remnants of the party toward sectarian affiliations and intransigence more than it did in Syria.
In Iraq, the sectarian affiliations have been more prominent due to the collapse of the state. The legacy of the Baath Party continued to prevail for some time in Iraq, especially in the center and north or among Sunni Arabs. However, with the dismantling of the state, those Baathists joined the ranks of other groups.
Today, the widening scope of war in the pan-Arab world suggests that the Baathists’ conflict is not over yet.
Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi politician who peddled falsehoods to persuade the United States to invade Iraq, is now attempting to take over as Iraq’s prime minister, Iraqi and American sources say.
Before the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Chalabi, a failed banker and former mathematician who lived in exile, became notorious for his influence in Washington among neoconservatives. Funded by the U.S. government itself, Chalabi’s group lobbied the successive American administrations to topple Saddam Hussein, pitching false stories about Hussein’s purported ties to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
When the U.S. invaded, Chalabi’s neoconservative allies in the administration of President George W. Bush thought Chalabi would sweep into power like an Iraqi Charles de Gaulle. But the Bush administration never put him in charge of Iraq. And as the extent of his ties to Iran became clear, many of his American allies divorced themselves from him.
Chalabi, like others, has been maneuvering to topple Maliki for years, though he hasn’t ever managed to come close in elections. If Chalabi has a chance now, the reason has little to do with him or democracy in Iraq. It’s about Maliki.
In April, Maliki’s political party won a large plurality, which would give the prime minister a third term in office. But Maliki is despised by Sunnis, Kurds, and even many of his fellow Shiites. And the recent invasion, led by the Islamist group ISIS but joined by other Sunni factions, has undercut his main appeal. As a former American official put it, “Maliki ran on a security platform, and the security platform has blown up in Mosul,” a city seized by Sunni militants.
To become prime minister, Chalabi would have to win a vote in the Iraqi parliament, which is divided largely along tribal, ethnic, and religious lines. It will be a challenge for Chalabi to persuade Sunni factions that he can ease their frustrations. After all, he was the inventor of “de-Baathification.” Patterned on “de-Nazification,” this was a process used after the American invasion to keep Sunnis, out of government. Not only did Chalabi invent the word, but he was the man put in charge of the process. Now, Chalabi is reportedly ready to disavow de-Baathification...
Tribal leader: Sunni Arab tribes will take control of Anbar
Iraq’s south will soon experience “massive” uprising Asharq Al-Awsat, 23-6-2014
Sunni Arab tribal fighters will “take full control” of Iraq’s restive Anbar province within the next two days, according to Ahmad Al-Dabash, the founder of the Islamic Army in Iraq.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat in Erbil on Saturday, he said: “In two days’ time, the tribal revolutionaries will take full control of Anbar, just like they took control of Mosul before. We will continue to advance until we achieve all our rights, and we will defend our religious sites ourselves, and no one will be allowed to attack any religious sites in the country,” he said.
Dabash said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the militant group that on June 10 took control of Mosul and sent shockwaves throughout Iraq and the region, had “handed control of the city over to the other factions.”
He described ISIS as similar to the 10th Armored Brigade of the Iraqi Army in the era of Saddam Hussein, which was known to hand over the command and administration of areas it had seized in battle to other factions.
But Dabash denied that his Islamic Army had any close connection to ISIS, saying: “We have no alliances with anyone. Each side works according to their leanings, but when the two interests met with a common enemy who wanted to break us, we decided to point our arms [against] this government.”
Dabash added that the south of Iraq will soon witness a “massive uprising” against the Maliki government, which he accuses of seeking to “bring back tyranny, meaning the rule of Iraq by one person and one party, which is something that cannot be allowed to happen.”
“You will see a massive uprising in southern Iraq which is larger than what is taking place now in the Sunni governorates... Many tribes in the south are contacting the revolutionaries daily and expressing their willingness to start a revolution.”
Residents in Sunni-dominated Anbar have long been angry with Maliki’s Shi’ite-dominated government in Baghdad, whom they say has issued policies and laws which discriminate against them.
Many American Iraq war veterans must be disappointed; after all, they didn’t risk their lives for all those years so that the country they believed they were helping liberate can fall into the hands of extremists. However, what most of them failed to realize is that Iraq had already been lost to an extremist, even before the rise of the current ISIS insurgency.
Indeed, while the United States may have liberated the Iraqi people from one dictator, Saddam Hussein, it ended up only handing them over to another: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Throughout two disgraceful terms, Maliki’s only agenda was to consolidate power for himself. By sacking, arresting or limiting the authority of a number of key Iraqi ministers and officials, the PM has been and continues to be in total control of the country’s defense, interior and finance ministries as well as the judiciary, security and intelligence services.
With such a vast power grab, Maliki plotted to extend his tenure for an illegitimate third term and managed to secure a federal Supreme Court order to enable him to do so. But who would have opposed him anyway, had he not?
Now, while being equated with Saddam Hussein is bad enough for any world leader, Maliki has more than surpassed the late Iraqi dictator in terms of damage he has caused to his country, its people and any prospect of national unity.
This is because Saddam Hussein (a Sunni) was a secular who had top Christian aides and Shiites forming a significantly large portion of the Baath party. Furthermore, Saddam did not arrive to the throne promising to turn Iraq to a beacon of democracy and a model for a new Middle East. Maliki (a Shiite) on the other hand, played on increasing the rift between Sunnis and Shiites when he could have easily benefited from a golden opportunity throughout his two terms to create a true and lasting national reconciliation.
Instead, he marginalized Sunnis and favored Shiites and openly served Tehran, which frustrated not only many neighboring countries, but a large number of his own people: Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds alike.
"It is essential for an Arab to realize and feel that he is an integral part of his nation and that this nation is a great nation. He should realize that any Arab country, large or small, is an integral part of this nation and not the entire nation. An Arab should also realize that his belongingness to the Arab nation is a great honour because this belongingness confirms his roots. This belongingness is not a defect of him, but an ability, effective and deep capability. It is not a burden."
"The unity in which we believe, about which we talk and for which we call, is not a passive, inevitable integration of the Arab countries which eliminate their cherished and necessary characteristics, but rather it is a glorious and ample framework for interaction and great becoming which expresses the nation's capabilities, destiny and its looking for what is higher, superior and the best." Saddam Hussein, 10-9-1997
It is believed that most of the anti-Maliki militants are not ISIS fighters, but are Sunni tribesmen, former Baath party members and people who have genuinely had enough of the Prime Minister’s long-standing marginalization policy which left many of them without a say, with extremely poor living conditions and no prospects of a better life.
If you think this rings a bell, it is because this has all happened before and it is truly despicable that Maliki and the White House have allowed the same scenario to re-occur.
When Saddam’s regime collapsed in 2003, Paul Bremer stupidly oversaw the complete dissolve of the Baath party and the Iraqi army, possibly the only two institutions which could have kept the country intact had they been properly managed or restructured. As such, a large number of trained soldiers, experienced politicians and security forces members were suddenly left without a role or income.
Seizing the moment, many Shiites scrambled to fill in the vacuum with Maliki’s blessing. Left hopeless, some Sunnis embraced al-Qaeda, which was beginning to converge in Iraq at the time. And it wasn’t until 2006 when the Americans helped broker a deal with Sunni tribal leaders that al-Qaeda’s threat was eliminated at the hands of what became known as the “Sahawat.”
Unsurprisingly, once the threat was gone, neither the Americans nor Maliki kept their word to the tribal leaders; And Iraqi Sunnis were left once again to rot. Maliki denied Sunnis the right to self-govern themselves (a la the Kurds) and when they began organizing peaceful protests to demand their rights, Maliki sought to crush them.
What is most shocking that all of this occurred under the nose of the U.S. administration, which begs a question of how U.S. security analysts didn’t see this coming?
Iraq’s Grand Mufti Rafi Al-Rifa’i, the highest Sunni authority in the country, has portrayed what is happening in Iraq as a “popular revolution”, saying the central government is exaggerating the presence and threat of the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) organization.
In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Rafi Al-Rafa’i said: “The tribal revolutionaries are moving to completely change the political process in Iraq,” adding that “15 armed factions are taking part in the revolution against the government, following the injustice Iraq’s Sunnis have been subjected to. This is a popular revolution that the Iraqi people are participating in alongside these armed groups.
“Our sole objective is to put an end to the injustice of Maliki and his followers who have destroyed the country, stolen its wealth, killed its people and destroyed its holy shrines,” he said in reference to Iraq’s embattled Shi’ite prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki.
Rifa’i is currently in Erbil. He has been a staunch critic of the Shi’ite prime minister, accusing him of “genocide” against Iraq’s Sunnis earlier this year.
“We are at the gates of Baghdad, and Anbar is completely under our control . . . We are also in control of Baquba and the majority of areas in Salah Al-Din governorate, including Baiji,” Rifa’i told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Iraqi cleric called on the people of southern Iraq to “rise up against Maliki,” but denied being a representative of the anti-government rebels.
The Grand Mufti denied that ISIS was targeting shrines in Mosul. He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Incidents such as this should not happen. We did not come to destroy statues or to establish a special model [for rule]. We want people to live in safety and security.
We are not responsible for what ISIS is doing, they are not in control of the entire arena, and what they are doing is not worthy of a state. We came to change a regime, not statues.”
Flashback: Iraqi Grand Mufti, 25-2-2014
The Ba’ath Party was not Sunni
and did not rule people in the name of Sunnis
Rifa’i accused the government of being “unable to hold dialogue and only knows how to kill, oppress and displace, and knows oppression in all its meanings.” He added: “We never stopped talking, and now it [the government] is fighting us in our province, Anbar Province, under the guise that we are ISIS. Anbar was the province which fought against Al-Qaeda, and Maliki and his party and supporters had no role in fighting terrorism in the province. Now they are fighting the people of the province as if they were terrorists, and the solution is for the international community to play its role because it was they who imposed on us these ugly types who took us to this stage, and the international community must rectify the damage it caused.”
Rifa’i, who was in Brussel with a group to attend a conference on human rights in Iraq organized by the European Parliament, said in his speech: “I come to you from a country where human rights are totally ignored.” He added: “The Iraqi government, represented by the prime minister and commander of the armed forces, exercises hateful sectarianism which uses excessive force against Iraqi people, and the Sunnis in Iraq have suffered most from the injustice of this government.”
He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Sunnis ruled the country for 1,400 years and what did the Shi’ites say? They said they had no role in Iraq. I say to them that, for instance, 70 percent of Ba’ath Party members were Shi’ites and 37 of 55 most wanted [members of the previous regime] were Shi’ites, and everyone knows that the Ba’ath Party was not Sunni and did not rule people in the name of Sunnis.” (source)
Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman, who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death, was captured and killed by former members of the Presidential Guard who joined the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Originally from Halabja, Judge Abdul Rahman popularized the accusation that President Hussein had allegedly killed his own people with chemical weapons in 1988. Such disinformation was widely resorted to by the United States and Britain to justify the overthrow of President Hussein. In fact, during the Iraq war against Iran, both sides made use of chemical weapons. It was a sudden change in wind during a battle that diverted the Iranian gas towards Halabja, killing at least 5,000 people.
This vengeance confirms that the remaining officers of the former presidential guard joined the jihadists to fight together against the al-Maliki government.
Daily Mail UK: Abdel Rahman, a Kurd, headed the court that sentenced Saddam to hang on Nov. 5, 2006 after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity.
The trial was over the killing of 148 Shi'ite men after a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the Iraqi town of Dujail. Abdel Rahman also sentenced to death Saddam's former chief judge, Awad Hamed al-Bander and Saddam's half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti.
Judge Rahman had faced claims that he was biased as his home town had been the subject of a poison gas attack in 1988, allegedly ordered by Hussein. A number of Judge Rahman's relatives were among the 5,000 people killed in the attack, and during the 1980s he was also reportedly detained and tortured by Saddam's security agents.
The judge later criticised the way the execution was carried out in December 2006, saying in 2008 that it should not have been carried out in public and branding it 'uncivilised and backward'. (Daily Mail, 22-6-2014)
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called for a national emergency government, a day after Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, rejected any attempts to challenge his rule. Sadr Wednesday said that the Iraqi government "must fulfill the legitimate demands of the moderate Sunnis and stop excluding them because they have been marginalised".
The cleric demanded "new faces" in a national unity government following April 30 elections that saw Maliki emerge with by far the most seats, albeit short of a majority.
"We also need to rush the formation of a national government with new names and from all backgrounds and not to be based on the usual sectarian quotas," he said in a televised address. "I call upon all Iraqis to stop fighting and terrorising the civilians, the Iraqi government must fulfill the legitimate demands of the moderate Sunnis and stop excluding them because they have been marginalised."
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said that the comments effectively said that Sadr wanted to get rid of Maliki and choose a new government.
"These comments are strong and will be noticed," he said, adding they showed a "huge rift" between what Maliki wants and what others believe. "But Maliki insists that he is the only one that can lead Iraq out of this crisis. July 1st will be a big test for him politically. That's when parliament are due to meet, and they'll discuss the formation of the new government."
Saddam Hussein: "Muqtada al-Sadr...?"
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Defiant to the end, Saddam Hussein mocked Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr moments before he was hanged, a witness said Saturday.
The Iraqi government executed Hussein before dawn... A video of the execution broadcast on Al-Iraqiya state television showed Hussein, dressed in a black overcoat, being led into a room by three masked guards.
A witness, Iraqi Judge Munir Haddad, said that one of the executioners told Hussein that the former dictator had destroyed Iraq, which sparked an argument that was joined by several government officials in the room. As a noose was tightened around Hussein's neck, one of the executioners yelled "long live Muqtada al-Sadr," Haddad said, referring to the powerful anti-American Shiite religious leader. Hussein, a Sunni, uttered one last phrase before he died, saying "Muqtada al-Sadr?" in a mocking tone, according to Haddad's account. (CNN 2006)
Disappearance of a national and paternal spirit
Interview with Muqtada al-Sadr - Al-Monitor, 5-1-2014
- Al-Hayat: You had a different assessment of the complaints made by Sunni areas. Do you think that there are genuine grievances among Iraqi Sunnis? And who is responsible for these injustices?
- Sadr: Many different factors are responsible for these injustices, including the occupation [forces] who spread sectarian division; the Iraqi government, because it is the active element in decision-making; the political roadmap that led to a government divided on a sectarian basis; the external situation; and the worsening sectarianism in the Middle East, or even throughout the world.
Other causes [for these injustices] include the disappearance of a national and paternal spirit. The latter applies to everyone, not just the government, but politicians, political parties, public institutions, etc.
- Al-Hayat: How can the grievances be addressed today? Are there second-class citizens in Iraq?
- Sadr: Personally, I will not accept for there to be first and second-class citizens in Iraq … Everyone is equal, no one is better than the other, except in terms of piety and patriotism.
- Al-Hayat: There are many in Najaf calling for embracing the concept of a "civil state." How do you perceive such a state and the role of religion in it?
- Sadr: A civil state, or a state truly based on citizenship, is one where everyone has a single identity, regardless of religion, sect or ethnicity. However, what is different is that [such a state] can only be achieved through secularism and removing religion from politics. I say this cannot be applied, except through the Islamization of society, and educating society based on the true foundations of Islam and a spirit of justice and equality. This includes instilling true tolerance for others, and eliminating love for the material world, patriarchy, and decadent rulers who are only interested in collecting money and keeping power, in any way possible.
- Al-Hayat: Why did you form a political bloc using the name of "Ahrar," instead of under the name of the Sadrist Movement?
- Sadr: We named it Ahrar [meaning "free" or "liberated"] for two reasons. The first is ideological — freedom from the prison of the material world, and the oppressors. The second reason is based on nationalism — freedom from the occupier and their followers.
- Al-Hayat: During the 2010 session of parliament, you introduced new blood into the Ahrar Bloc. Did this experience encourage you to introduce more new faces as ministers and deputies?
- Sadr: Specialists in the Ahrar Bloc are studying how to combine winning votes and introducing important [new] figures. I am one of those that calls for introducing minorities into the Ahrar Bloc, especially those that have a nationalist sense. This is in order to prevent minorities from being marginalized, as happened previously.
- Al-Hayat: When will we see normal relations between Sadr, the US and the European Union?
- Sadr: I was going to visit EU countries, but I faced multiple obstacles. The first was that they did not give consent for the visit. Furthermore, a member of the [forces that] occupied Iraq (Britain) is present [in the EU]. This made me worried about a relationship with them. My people have suffered at their hands. Concerning a relationship with the American government, at present that is impossible. Normal ties with the US can only be achieved when Washington apologizes to the Iraqi people for the occupation, withdraws completely, and provides compensation for all damages.
BAGHDAD — Ayad Allawi, the former Iraqi prime minister and leader of the Iraqi Nationalist ("Wataniya") Party, blamed the Iraqi government for policies that have allowed it to be "defeated by a bunch of dwarfs and killers as it sought outsiders’ help," instead of drawing on the "strength from its honorable people, from the tribes, army officers, dignitaries and politicians."
Allawi, in an interview with Al-Monitor said that protests in Anbar province "have been met with repression and intimidation instead of [the government] adopting some of their demands by dealing with them morally and through a national dialogue." He described the protests as "initially peaceful, constitutional."
Allawi said, "The valiant Iraqi army has nothing to fight for. This brave army has lost its identity and its role. It doesn’t know whether it is fighting for the country or fighting for the sect or for the person or for the party."
Al-Monitor: You suggested a road map to resolve the current crisis. What is this map?
Allawi: The essence of the goals are an inclusive political process without discrimination, quotas, exclusion or elimination — except for terrorists and those who steal public money; then achieving national reconciliation immediately; then building the institutions of a state that is professional and able to perform its duties away from regionalism, starting with internal security, the armed forces and the judiciary and its institutions.
The mechanisms are about the leaders coming together and agreeing on forming a national unity government...
The basis of the solution is only political. When the political climate changes into a unified climate for society without discrimination, exclusion or intimidation, then this climate will repel terrorism...
Al-Monitor: Honestly speaking, do you think that Iraq is heading to partition? If this was a genuine possibility, who exactly is pushing for partition today?
Allawi: Frankly, Iraq has been socially partitioned, and administratively, in some of its areas. It seems to me that the conspiracy has continued and deepened. … Those pushing for partition are those who Lebanonized Iraq (by having quotas) and then Syrianized Iraq (through militias and terrorism).
Al-Monitor: Who do you think is the political figure that can lead (the country out of the) the crisis?
Allawi: Any figure who is committed to the road map and who is part of a working team and in full partnership. If we want to save the country, “going it alone,” as is now the case, should be completely eliminated.
Al-Monitor: According to your information, how do you describe the collapse of the Iraqi army in Mosul and other cities? Do you think this army can recover? What do think of the recent proliferation of militias?
Allawi: The valiant Iraqi army has nothing to fight for. This brave army has lost its identity and its role... Is it a tool in the internal conflict or a tool to protect the homeland? In my humble opinion, this is why the army was reluctant or failed to fight.
BASIC ARAB VALUES
A person's dignity, honor and reputation are primary, to be protected at all costs.
Honor (or shame) is collective, pertaining to the entire family or group. All behavior must create a good impression on others. Loyalty to family takes precedence over personal needs and desires.
BASIC ARAB SELF-PERCEPTIONS
Arabs are generous, humanitarian, polite, and loyal.
Arabs are a clearly defined cultural group and perceive themselves as members of the Arab Nation.
Arabs have been victimized and exploited by the West.
Indiscriminate imitation of Western culture will have a corrupting influence on Arab society...
Arabs are misunderstood and wrongly characterized. Many Westerners do not distinguish between Arabs and Muslims. (iorworld.com)
A campaign by a group of former British ambassadors demanded the removal of Tony Blair from his role as Middle East envoy after his recent attempt to “absolve himself” of responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, British daily newspaper The Guardian reported. The campaign, led by Blair’s former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton, describes the achievements of Blair in the region as “negligible” and he is guilty of seeking to please the Israelis.
“It is our view that, after seven years, Mr Blair’s achievements as Envoy are negligible, even within his narrow mandate of promoting Palestinian economic development. Furthermore, the impression of activity created by his high-profile appointment has hindered genuine progress towards a lasting peace,” the letter read.
It also adds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the cause of the rise of “fundamentalist terrorism in a land where none existed previously.”
The letter, which was written before Friday’s seventh anniversary of Blair’s appointment as the representative of the “quartet” on the Middle East, is addressed to John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state; Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister; Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general; and Cathy Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.
In response to the campaign, a spokesperson for Blair dismissed the letter and said it had been drawn up by an “alliance of hard-right and hard-left” whose members are “viscerally opposed” to the former prime minister... "He believes passionately in the two state solution but also believes that can only be achieved by a negotiation with Israel,” the spokesperson said.
In the foreign policy arena, a re-empowered Egyptian presidency is moving beyond both the somnambulant legacy of the later years of the regime of deposed President Hosni Mubarak and the abbreviated and contentious era of deposed President Mohammed Morsi. Nowhere is this new look in Egypt’s foreign activism more evident than on Syria. Days before Sisi’s election, a delegation of Syrian opposition figures assembled in Cairo at the invitation of Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. Syrian opposition figures are scattered throughout the region, but in Cairo the only permanent resident for many months has been Haytham Maleh, a peripheral player in the Syrian scene.
January 31, 2012: Haitham Maleh, an opposition figure with close connections to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and founding member of the executive committee of the Syrian National Council, has called for murdering president Bashar al-Assad, his British wife and three children. Maleh wants the al-Assad family murdered the same way Muammar Gaddafi was.
“Assad and his family will be killed in Syria. Their next steps will be very bloody. Two months ago we offered him the option to leave us alone and go, but instead he went for the blood of his people. The end for him will be that he is killed like Gaddafi,” Maleh said during an interview with The Telegraph newspaper. The comment was ignored by the establishment media in the United States. (Kurt Nimmo, Infowars.com)
Those invited to Cairo, however, included former National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces leader Moaz al-Khatib, writer and activist Haytham Manna, economist Aref Dalila, former Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi and film producer Jamal Suliman. These figures are not represented among the exiles of the Syrian National Coalition and their interests set them apart from the organization and its sponsors. None are close to the Muslim Brotherhood and all advocate a far more nuanced approach to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad based on political engagement, an idea shunned by the “official” opposition but which has grown in importance over the last year.
Direct negotiations between the Syrian regime and the opposition will save the warring parties in Syria further losses and speed up reaching a settlement to the three-year-old civil war, Moaz al-Khatib, the former president of the opposition National Coalition, said in an interview ...
"The political action might be a longer path but it is much less costly, and I believe that direct negotiation will solve many political problems," Khatib told the Global Arab Network.
The former opposition leader blamed unnamed countries of using Syria as a battleground to settle their disputes. "Some countries are settling their conflicts with other countries over our land, and they are trying to fuel the conflict so it serves their own interests; these countries aren't interested in the success of any negotiation process," he said.
Egyptians believe that the precedent established by Sisi’s emergence out of the uncertainty of the Arab Spring will resonate far beyond Cairo — as developments in Cairo always have — to include Damascus, where another relatively young and militantly secular president whose political roots were established in the 1950s and who, like Sisi, faces a sectarian insurgency, has also just been re-elected.... To the new Egyptian president, challenges to regime power in places as far afield as the Sinai Peninsula and the ungoverned spaces of Libya and Syria all share a similar character and merit a similar Egyptian response. They are sectarian, radical and steeped in terror, energized by shadowy foreign forces that want to destroy the achievements of half a century of military rule. They must be crushed without mercy.
Egypt’s interest in Syria, unlike that of Qatar or Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, does not spring from a desire to establish a “Sunni crescent” in the heart of the Arab Mashreq, nor certainly from any desire to enhance a Saudi or Iranian role in the region.
Instead, Sisi looks to Syria as a concrete expression of the resurgent power of Egypt to reclaim a central role in Arab affairs on a basis that will enhance Sisi’ s and Egypt’s role and legitimize his mandate to rule.
Egypt has always maintained a certain distance between warring Syrian parties. For example, it kept a diplomatic presence in Damascus even after Morsi announced his opposition to Assad.
“Assad wants to be a partner [with Egypt] in the war against terror," explained a former Syrian diplomat now in the opposition. "My understanding is that Egypt is so busy in its domestic affairs, they do not yet have strong and respected leadership” and therefore no time or energy to deal with Syria.
Yet, Sisi’s election marks the revival of the power of the Egyptian presidency — an institution that has always been critical to establishing effective Egyptian leadership in Arab affairs.
Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi: "I wish I was like Nasser. Nasser was not for Egyptians just a portrait on walls but a photo and voice carved in their hearts." (5-5-2014)
Only 630,000 Libyans out of 3.4 million eligible voters turned out to cast their ballot in the 25 June 2014 parliamentary elections, an actual participation rate of 18.52%. In other words, 81.47% of Libyan voters were not involved in the National General Congress election.
The outcome was dissimulated by the High Electoral Commission which based its calculations on the number of Libyans on the voter registrations lists, i.e. 1.5 million, thereby arriving at an abstract figure of 42% of participation.
Libya had made an effort in 2012 to achieve wider participation in the elections but fell disappointingly short, with a result of 51.17%.
It is clearly a serious mistake to overlook the tribal structure of Libyan society and to try to impose a system of representative democracy. The system of direct democracy based on popular conferences and people’s committees, as set out in the Green Paper of Muammar el-Qaddafi - though deserving of criticism as any political system - was much better suited to the Libyans. He was overthrown in 2011, not by a "revolution," but by a long-planned aggression executed by NATO.
"The mere existence of parliaments underlies the absence of the people. Democracy can only exist with the presence of the people and not in the presence of representatives of the people.” Muammar Gaddafi
THE UNITED NATIONS, June 27. The US plans to spend $500 million for training and outfitting Syrian rebels is a step in the wrong direction, Russian Permanent Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday.
In his words, 500 million dollars is “a very big sum of money.” “I am sure that it is possible to spend it for something more useful,” he told a news conference at the Russian Permanent Mission at the UN.
“They (the United States) put the situation on the wrong track,” the diplomat said. He said with regret that the US “adds fuel to the fire of Syrian conflict instead of seeking a political solution.” “We noticed that our American partners say that they are not confident whether a successor to Brahimi should be appointed and they are not confident whether talks (between Damascus and opposition) should be resumed. They are sure of nothing,” Churkin stated.
Plans of the Obama Administration to allocate $500 million to train opposition militants raise many questions of observers. The region faced an unprecedented terrorist threat primarily coming from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant organization. Starting their extremist activities in northern Syria, terrorists of this grouping also moved to Iraq and took control of several regions in the country.
Vitaly Churkin urged to take a threat coming from the radicals quite seriously. “We faced a threat of creating a terrorist state on the territory between Aleppo and Baghdad. This is real,” he told journalists at the UN head office. The diplomat said with confidence that current situation resulted partially from failed inter-Syrian talks. He recalled that the preliminary agenda of talks included four issues, the first one was the fight against terrorism and the second was formation of an interim government. The opposition refused to discuss them separately and talks were foiled.
Beirut, SANA _The Syrian government is ready to do all it takes for the Syrian refugees in Lebanon to return to their homes, Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim said. The ambassador’s remarks came during his meeting with the Lebanese Foreign Minister Jubran Bassil.
Abdul-Karim said in statements following the meeting that talks focused on the Syrian-Lebanese relations and the situation of the Syrians living in Lebanon after being displaced by terrorists, with emphasis laid on the bilateral cooperation between the two countries to keep their dignity intact.
He warned that terrorism, which had driven the Syrian people out of their homes, will backfire on the same countries that have supplied terrorists with funds and weapons, urging these countries to publicly renounce support for terrorism.
Terrorism has no specific country or religion, the ambassador affirmed, saying that Syria is cooperating with Lebanon in counter-terrorism efforts for he said security in both countries is inseparable.
Jordan's border guard commander, Brig. Gen. Saber Mahayrah, said Jordan is prepared to defend itself against "any aggression" in the wake of an "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" offensive in Iraq. Jordan recently began to reinforce security along its border with Iraq, dispatching additional troops, vehicles and rocket launchers.
Saudi King Abdullah said Thursday his kingdom also would take "necessary measures" to defend its security against "actions that could be taken by terrorist or other groups".
Well, God bless Barack Obama – he’s found some “moderate” rebels in Syria. Enough to supply them with weapons and training worth $500m. Congress wants to arm these brave freedom fighters, you see....
Who are the “moderate” rebels whom Obama wants to train and arm? He doesn’t name them – and he can’t, because the original “moderates” whom America swore to arm (with the help of the CIA, the Brits, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey) were the so-called “Free Syrian Army”, mostly composed of deserters from Assad’s government forces. But the FSA – briefly beloved of John McCain until he discovered a pro-al-Qa’ida fighter sharing a photo-op with him in northern Syria – has decomposed....
They weren’t given enough weapons, we are told. Now they’ll get more. And no doubt sell them – as they did the last lot. For it is a sad fact of war that whenever a gun crosses a border, it represents not loyalty but cash. Give an FSA man – if you can find one – an anti-aircraft missile and it will be sold to the highest bidder.
McCain, supporter of Islamists in Egypt, Islamists in Syria, Islamists in Libya
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,”
What’s left of the FSA has been fighting the Islamist Isis-Isil forces. So have the Kurdish militias in northern Syria. So have a few village militias. And the Syrians have a suspicion that this is Obama’s half-baked plan: to arm the anti-Islamist Syrian rebels to fight the pro-al-Qa’ida rebels and thus – indirectly – keep both the Assad and Maliki regimes in power.
The problem is that Obama must do this without revealing that Assad’s Syrian army – using Russian jets – is struggling against exactly the same enemy as Maliki’s Iraqi army, also soon to be augmented with Russian jets.
Why do some fighters who join insurgencies decide to quit? We began a survey in August 2013 in Syria to shed light on who leaves insurgencies and why. We have conducted interviews with over 250 rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), civilians in FSA-controlled territory, as well as refugees in FSA-backed camps in Turkey. In April, we completed interviews with 50 former FSA rebels who have abandoned the conflict and moved to Turkey. What were the most common reasons for leaving? They were generally lost hope in the possibility of victory and disarray within the FSA...
According to Abo Hasan, a commander of the al-Abrar group in Hama, who has been fighting with the FSA since 2011, “fighters start losing hope in the war and are leaving their brigades in large numbers.”
The most frequent responses the former rebels selected for leaving the conflict included:
1) Declining Prospects for Victory
2) Lack of Discipline and Organization
3) Social and Family Pressure to Leave. Ex-fighters no longer consider fighting with the FSA synonymous with protecting their families and supporting their communities and have transitioned back into civilian life.
What about those who are disillusioned with the FSA, but still have high morale and a strong drive to continue the fight? One option for these fighters is to shop for other groups to join. Islamist brigades are almost always the strongest alternatives, promising disaffected FSA fighters better treatment, organization and unit cohesion to entice them to leave the FSA.
One rebel fighter we interviewed (“Abo Farouk”) is currently fighting for the FSA’s Abrar brigade as well as the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham, but is considering whether to leave both groups and fight instead with al-Nusra Front, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization. His stated reasons for switching are almost entirely organizational rather than ideological...
Baghdad—The Shi’ite-led Iraqi National Alliance has put forward two alternative candidates to embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who is seeking to secure a controversial third term in office. Maliki’s State of Law coalition, which won the greatest number of seats in April’s elections, is a prominent member of the Shi’ite electoral coalition, but the Sadrist Movement and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) are refusing to back Maliki as the National Alliance’s candidate.
“The National Alliance has put forward Adel Abdul Mahdi and Ahmed Chalabi as candidates for the post [of prime minister],” Sadrist Al-Ahrar bloc spokesman Jawad Al-Jubouri told Asharq Al-Awsat. “We feel that both [Chalabi and Abdul Mahdi] are accepted by the National Alliance and other political blocs.”
“We recognize how difficult the situation is, but we need to work out a patriotic solution owing to the extremely critical circumstances the country is going through,” Jubouri said.
Adel Abdul Mahdi served as Iraqi Vice President between 2005–2011 and is a member of ISCI, led by Ammar Al-Hakim. While Ahmed Chalabi is a controversial figure within Iraqi politics, particularly over his role in the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. He served as interim Oil Minister in 2005 and led the de-Ba’athification campaign following the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime.
Previous Vice-President Adel Abdul Mahdi considered on April 25 (2013), that the Iraqi Government “has failed” on the level of politics, security and services. He qualified the different categories of citizens as “hostages” to violence, vengeance and hatred as a result to this failure.
“We all have become hostages, required to be wise in a world void of any wisdom. The Sunnis are hostages; they cannot support the policies of authorities that weaken them in their regions and threaten them in other regions. The Shias are also hostages. They stand helpless before daily killings and menacing threats while they find themselves unable to discuss failing policies related to their security, politics and services..."
“Fighting terrorism can be done by winning over and protecting Shias, Sunnis and all the people”, he added. “Some invest in the same tactics adopted by terroristic groups to mobilize their followers, but this only resulted in turning us all into hostages to terrorism, angriness and chaos, for which we pay twice: once when we commit them and once when we back out”, he noted.
Abdul Mahdi advised that “we should stand up to terrorism through unified national mobilization and through a firm political, economic, administrative, social and regional line; not only through security measures”.
“When blood is shed, we all become hostages of violence, vengeance and hatred”, he carried on to say, warning that “the country is at grave risk..."
We should fight criminals, not Baathists
Of course we worry about Shiite Baathists and Sunni Baathists and Kurdish Baathists. There were thousands of Kurdish Baathists. Of course, that was a party that dominated Iraq, all its parts, all its institutions - it had Kurds, Shiite, Sunnis, so it’s not against Sunnis. It will be a big mistake if we have policies against Sunnis. More than that we will commit a big mistake if we consider any Baathists an enemy. That’s why in the constitution we specify ‘Saddam loyalists’ and in the constitution there is an article that having been a Baathist is not a crime. …
So maybe people can go to extremes but as leadership we should continue the good line, the correct line and not to go and fight any Baathist or Sunni or Shiite or Kurds. We should fight criminals where they are Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Islamists, secularists, Baathists, whatever they are. (Christian Science Monitor,16-9-2009)
Relations with Arabs are a duty.
For Iraq, the relations with Arabs are not a luxury. In fact they are a duty. Iraq would not deserve the name if it gave up its Arabism. It should maintain its Arabism not only because it belongs to the Arab world but because Arabism provides this country with the elements of life, power and survival as well.
From there, Iraq should also be aware of this role, defend it and remove any obstacles, whether real or false, that may hinder its progress. This is in the best interest of both Iraq and the Arab world. (Majalla 25-5-2009)
Arabism is the universal identity of all Arabs
Arabism is the universal identity of all Arabs — Muslims, Christians, Copts, and those of other religions.
The return to Egypt of Nasserite discourse (of President Gamal Abdel Nasser) is an expression of the Arab nation’s spirit and the Arab peoples’ goal of ridding themselves of foreign domination, confronting Israeli occupation, and rebuilding their economies on a sound footing to preserve the Arab peoples’ dignity and reject the humiliation imposed by foreign financial institutions.
The facts have revealed that Islamist organizations consider their true enemy to be Arabism, which is the universal identity of the Arab peoples and represents their aspirations to freedom, progress and unity. (Talal Salman, As-Safir Newspaper 3-7-2013)
"We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage. ...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions. It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness...
Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization. (Bashar al-Assad's speech, Uruknet, 10-1-2012)