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)
antiwar protests 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)
Vladmir Putin: The 21st century world is globalized and interdependent. Therefore, no state or group of countries can unilaterally tackle major international problems and any attempts to build a separate “oasis of stability and security” are doomed to failure. In order to meet numerous challenges and threats we have to stop trying to impose development models on other countries. This approach has repeatedly proven its ineffectiveness. It does not just fail to facilitate conflict resolution, but leads to instability and chaos in international affairs. Today, it is especially important to consolidate the international community’s efforts to ensure equal and indivisible security, as well as to resolve disputes trough the application of international law and with the central coordinating role of the UN. (Itar-TASS, 13-7-2014)
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)
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in Wednesday before the members of the People’s Assembly.
Following the swearing in, the President delivered a speech in which he first saluted the Syrian people, calling them “honorable” and “free”.
He reminded how, throughout the crisis in Syria, which is now in its forth year, some have spoken on behalf of the Syrian people repeating the slogan “The People Want.” “Yes, the people did want, the people did make their decision, the people did act,” the President said.
“Years have passed since some chanted for freedom, but you, the Syrians, were the freemen at the time of subordination, and you were the masters at the time of acting,” he added. He applauded the Syrian people for having practiced democracy at its best by choosing “your constitution, parliament and president. Thus the choice was yours and democracy was of your making.” “They wanted it a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries,” he said.
President al-Assad stressed that “The compass has now been rendered clear to many who have missed the vision, being ignorant or else misled, and the ugly faces have been exposed after the mask of ‘freedom’ and ‘revolution’ was dropped.”
The President went on saying that the elections were “our battle to defend the sovereignty, legitimacy, national decision and the people’s dignity,” commending the big participation in the vote as “a referendum in favor of sovereignty against terrorism with all its forms.”
“With your votes, you have toppled the terrorists together with their Syrian agents who have been a cover for them. You also brought down their masters,” the President said...
President al-Assad struck a defiant note by saying that the tougher the conditions the more firm the Syrian people.
“We are people who get more defiant by pressures and who face the attempts of humiliation with more pride, dignity and self-confidence,” he added... "We have decided since the first days of aggression to go ahead into balanced tracks; striking terrorism and making local reconciliations to those who want to return to the right path..." ”We are not concerned about those who went out as traitor, agent or corrupter as the country has cleaned itself from those… and they have no place or position here." "Dialogue does not include powers that proved their non-patriotism.."
President al-Assad said that this day marks the beginning of a new stage, the main distinguishing feature of which is consensus on protecting the homeland and rebuilding it morally, psychologically, and physically, as well as consensus on eliminating terrorism and bringing all those who strayed from the proper path back to the arms of the homeland.
He said that the word “sawa” (together, which was the slogan of his presidential elections campaign) means raising the sense of responsibility in each individual in order to move towards the future, adding “it means that together we will rebuild Syria and build what was destroyed, and that we will continue to strike at terrorism and carry out reconciliations in all areas.”
The President went on to say “Your steadfastness is the one that officially announced the death of what was falsely named the ‘Arab Spring’ and it redirected the compass. Had this spring been real, it would have started from the countries of Arab ignorance. Had it been a people’s revolution to earn freedom, democracy, and justice, it would have started in the most backwards, oppressive, and tyrannical countries, those countries that were behind every calamity that affected this nation.”
President al-Assad saluted the Syrian Army which spared no effort in defense of the homeland, and saluted popular defense groups and all the young men and women who took up arms in defense of the dignity, pride, and honor of their homeland.
“The greatest salute is for our people whose embracing of their sons in the military acted as an incubator for their achievement and a basis for their victories. We won’t forget the faithful members of the heroic Lebanese resistance who stood side by side with our army’s heroes and waged battles of honor together on both sides of the borders,” he said.
“The new stage has begun, and we are ready for it... With you, hand in hand, Syria will remain proud, strong, steadfast, and impregnable to outsiders. We the Syrians will remain an impregnable fortress defending it and its dignity,” he concluded.
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad issued Saturday decree no. 228 naming Dr. Najah al-Attar vice president.
Based on the decree, al-Attar will be charged with following up on the implementation of the cultural policy in the framework of the President’s directives.
Al-Attar was born on 10 January, 1933 and raised in Damascus as a member of a Sunni Muslim family. She studied at the University of Damascus, graduating in 1954. She continued higher studies in the United Kingdom, obtaining Diploma in Islamic Studies in 1956 and PhD in Arabic literature from the University of Edinburgh in in 1958. She also received a number of certificates then in international relations and in literary and art criticism.
In 1976, she was appointed as Minister of Culture and served in the post until 2000. In March 2006, she was appointed Vice President.
Asma Assad - Najah al-Attar, vice-president and Buthaina Shaaban, adviser to the president
"Nothing raises Arab hackles more furiously than occupation. It is the dirty word in the Arab political dictionary. Arabs have had to fight it for centuries. Occupation is what Israel is all about, which is why the average Arab on the street is so implacably opposed to anything with have to do with Israel." (Arab News - Saudi Arabia, 9-4-2003)
More than 5,000 protesters blocked the roads outside the BBC’s national headquarters in London today, demanding honest reporting on Gaza. A letter signed by 45,000 people was handed into the BBC. The letter called for BBC reporting to reflect the reality of Gaza’s siege and occupation...
Dear BBC, Once again Gaza is under massive aerial bombardment from Israeli warplanes and drones, and, once again, the BBC’s reporting of these assaults is entirely devoid of context or background. We would like to remind the BBC that Gaza is under Israeli occupation and siege. We would like to remind you that Israel is bombing a refugee population – Palestinians who were made refugees when they were forced from their land in1948 in order to create Israel....
When you portray the occupier as the victim, and the occupied as the aggressor, we would like to remind you that resistance to occupation is a right under international law. And we would like you to remember that Israel’s occupation, siege and collective punishment of Gaza is not.
Flynt Leverett/Hillary Mann Leveret:
"A quest to dominate the Middle East "
"As Israel's military kills and injures hundreds of civilians in Gaza people around the world, including in the United States, wonder why official Washington appears so indifferent to even the most graphic instances of "collateral damage". The primary reason is that most American policy elites still believe the United States needs to dominate the Middle East, and that Israeli military assertiveness is instrumentally useful to this end - a mindset the Israel lobby artfully reinforces...
After strategically failed interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and (by proxy) Syria, it is abundantly evident that Washington's quest to dominate the Middle East has not just failed. This quest has sapped US capacity to shape positive strategic outcomes in the region and, at least in relative terms, weakened the United States as a global player... Yet, US policy elites stick with their hegemonic script. (Al-Jazeera 18-7-2014)
On Thursday, all 100 U.S. senators —including progressives Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken and Sherrod Brown— voted to pass an AIPAC-drafted resolution supporting the Netanyahu government’s military invasion of the Gaza Strip. AIPAC stands for American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It lobbies Congress and the White House in the interests of Israel and is a source of campaign funds for both Democrats and Republicans.
M.J. Rosenberg, a former senior foreign policy fellow at Media Matters Action Network, wrote of the agreement in a mass email: “There is not one word of compassion for Palestinians killed or injured, not a word calling for peace, not a word indicating that the Senate would perhaps prefer to see the invasion end. On the other hand, it calls for dissolution of the Palestinian unity government which has been Netanyahu’s goal since it was established.”
The “simple resolution,” which does not have the force of law, reads:
Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding United States support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.
Whereas Hamas is a United States-designated terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel;
Whereas Hamas continues to reject the core principles of the Middle East Quartet (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia)—recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements;
Whereas Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis and dozens of Americans in rocket attacks and suicide bombings;
Whereas, since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and other terrorist groups have fired thousands of rockets at Israel;
Whereas Hamas has entered into a unity governing arrangement with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority;
Whereas the unity governing agreement implies Fatah’s and the Palestinian Authority’s support for Hamas’ belligerent actions against Israel, potentially contributing to a false perception of legitimacy for Hamas’ belligerent actions;
Whereas, since June 2014, Hamas has fired nearly 300 rockets at Israel;
Whereas Hamas’ weapons arsenal includes approximately 12,000 rockets that vary in range;
Whereas innocent Israeli civilians are indiscriminately targeted by Hamas rocket attacks; and
Whereas 5,000,000 Israelis are currently living under the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza
Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Senate—
- (1) reaffirms its support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel;
- (2) condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel;
- (3) calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel; and
- (4) calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.
Iraqi oppositions forces met Wednesday in the Jordanian capital to debate solutions to Iraq’s growing political and security crises, according to sources who attended the conference. Delegates at the meeting in Amman called for “the unification of efforts and positions towards the events in Iraq” and demanded support for “the revolution of the Iraqi people against injustice” committed by Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s government.
The head of the tribal coordination committee, Ra’ad Abdul Sattar Al-Suleiman, said: “All sides attending the meeting have emphasized the unity of Iraq and their rejection of partition.”
He said over 250 Iraqi opposition figures were in attendance at the conference, representing at least 11 opposition factions including anti-government military councils, tribes, and former military and Ba’ath party leaders of the Saddam era.
These groups have been protesting Maliki’s government, which has been widely criticized at home and abroad for policies seen to favor Maliki’s own Shi’ite sect over other sects and ethnic groups.
That political crisis has taken on an extra dimension with the sudden and rapid advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in May. That group has taken control of large swathes of northern Iraq.... A senior figure in the powerful Shammar tribe, Waddah Malik Al-Sadid, indicated that the conference itself “has no ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”
He said the delegates were comprised of those opposed to Maliki and his Iranian backers, and that only Sunni tribes that had not been involved in the post-Saddam political process had been invited to attend. Sadid also stressed that the conference did not intend to “consolidate sectarianism” or promote the “partition of Iraq.”
The Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim rejected on Saturday any negotiations with the parties calling for toppling the political process in the country..., referring to the conference that had been held by opponents of the government in Amman.
He stressed that "we cannot sit with those who do not accept us and do not recognize the agreed constitution by the components of the Iraqi people, because the debate will not lead to a result and cannot predict the topics that will be addressed with these parties."
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (previously the party was known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)) is an Iraqi Shia Islamist Iraqi political party. It was estabilished in Iran in the 1980s. The Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council became one of Iraq's most powerful political parties and was the largest party in the Iraqi Council of Representatives until the 2010 Iraqi elections, where it lost support due to Nuri Al-Maliki's political party rise. Today the party is led by Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim.
Previously ISCI's militia wing was the Badr Brigade... After the departure of Badr Brigade, ISCI created a militia called the Knights of Hope.
The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq was founded in Iran in 1982 during the Iran–Iraq War. The Iranian Islamic revolutionary government arranged for the formation of SCIRI, which was based in exile in Tehran and under the leadership of Mohammad-Baqir al-Hakim. MB-Al-Hakim declared the primary aim of the council to be the overthrow of the Ba'ath and the establishment of an Islamic government in Iraq. Iranian officials referred to Hakim as the leader of Iraq's future Islamic state...
SCIRI supports the ideologies of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that Islamic Government must be controlled by the ulema (Islamic scholars).
The party leaders have toned down many of the party's public positions and committed it to democracy and peaceful cooperation.... In a statement released May 11, 2007 SCIRI officials told Reuters the Islamist party would change its name to reflect what they called the changing situation in Iraq, removing the word "Revolution" because that was seen as a reference to overthrowing the Ba'athist government.
The common interest between the United States and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution has been fierce opposition to Saddam Hussein's government.
Over time, that has brought them closer together, most importantly in 1999, when President Clinton formally designated the group as one among seven Iraq opposition group eligible to receive tens of millions of dollars in American funding under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (a United States Congressional statement of policy calling for regime change in Iraq). (New York Times, 7-5-2003)
William J. Clinton: Statement on Signing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998
Today (October 31, 1998 ) I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998." This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers. (American presidency project)
The convergence and/or interdependence of the interests of the military-industrial complex and those of militant Zionism on war and political convulsion in the Middle East is at the heart of the perpetual cycle of violence in the region.
The alliance between the military-industrial complex and the Israel lobby is unofficial and de facto; it is subtlely forged through an elaborate network of powerful militaristic think tanks such as The American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century, America Israel Public Affairs Committee, Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East Forum, National Institute for Public Policy, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and Center for Security Policy.
In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, these militaristic think tanks and their hawkish operatives in and around the government published a number of policy papers that clearly and forcefully advocated plans for border change, for demographic change, and for regime change in the Middle East.
For example, in 1996 an influential Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, sponsored and published a policy document titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which argued that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “should ‘make a clean break’ with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel’s claim to the West Bank and Gaza. It presented a plan whereby Israel would ‘shape its strategic environment,’ beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein..., to serve as a first step toward eliminating the anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran”. In an “Open Letter to the President” (Clinton), dated 19 February1998, a number of hawkish think tanks and individuals, representing the military-industrial complex and the Israel lobby, recommended “a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime.”
In September 2000, another militaristic think tank, called Project for the New American Century (PNAC), issued a report, titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” which explicitly projected an imperial role for the United States the world over.
The influential Jewish Institute for the National Security Affairs (JINSA) also occasionally issued statements and policy papers that strongly advocated “regime changes” in the Middle East.
Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism and the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt. He is also a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.
They don't call it the "gutter press" for nothing. But Western so-called news media sunk to new toxic depths over the weekend in their coverage of the Malaysian airliner downed over Ukraine - and the death of all 298 people on board.
It was a veritable media-orgy of lies, propaganda and vilification spewed out by American and European corporate news outlets. Whether online, television, or newspaper, the media went into overdrive to lay the blame for the disaster on Russia or "Russian-backed rebels" in Ukraine.
Without sparing a respectful pause for the crash victims and their families, the Western media stampeded to make cheap political points - dutifully obeying their masters. Trashy tabloids joined with so-called "quality" outlets to form a virtual lynch mob to hang Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Britain's Daily Mail ran this front page headline on Saturday: 'Putin killed my son' - quoting the family of one of the dead British passengers. The Daily Express screamed: 'Putin's rebels blew up plane'. The Sun plumbed the sewer with this one: 'Putin's looters rob Brit victim.'
The supposed high-brow press were braying for Putin's blood too, albeit in a more refined, that is, deceitful way. The Independent: 'The fingers point at Putin'; The Guardian: 'Ukraine claims 'compelling evidence' of Russian involvement.'
The same media manipulation over the weekend was seen in the US and other European countries. Hardly one of them exercised any kind of independence in reporting or analysing how the Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flight was taken down.
It was a breath-taking case study of lazy journalism at best, or, more likely, of sinister manufacturing of public opinion...
"Today's major media journalism is biased, irresponsible, sensationalist reporting that distorts, exaggerates or misstates the truth. It's misinformation or agitprop disinformation masquerading as fact to boost circulation, readership, viewers, or listeners, and on vital issues lie about or suppress uncomfortable truths..."
"Today the media is in crisis and a free and open society at risk at a time fiction substitutes for fact, news is carefully controlled, dissent marginalized, and on-air and print journalists support powerful interests as paid liars, or what famed journalist George Seldes (1890 - 1995) called 'prostitutes of the press'." Steve Lendman (2009)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said no one should use the July 17 Boeing crash in Ukraine for their own political goals.
“Speaking about the terrible tragic events that occurred in the sky above Donetsk, I would like to say once again how we in Russia treat these events that today happen in Ukraine. We have repeatedly called on all the conflicting sides to immediately stop bloodshed and sit down at the negotiating table,” Putin told Rossiya 24 TV Channel.
“I can say for sure that if military actions in eastern Ukraine had not resumed on June 28, this tragedy would have not occurred. At the same time, no one has the right to use this tragedy to achieve their own political goals. Such events should unite people and not separate,” he said.
The Russian leader said people responsible for the situation in the region need to increase their own responsibility before their own people and people of the countries where the victims of the tragedy come from.
“On its part, Russia is doing everything possible so that the conflict in eastern Ukraine passes from today’s military phase to the phase of discussions at the negotiating table through peaceful and diplomatic means,” the president said.
BAGHDAD / NINA / Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif denied his country's support for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in order to get the post of prime minister for a third term, adding that Iran stands with the choice of the Iraqi people.
Zarif said in a press statement that: "Iran wants to preserve the unity of Iraq and I have talked with all the foreign ministers in the region and they all want to keep Iraq's integrity within its borders, adding that we're not going to support any person for the post of prime minister in Iraq, we support the Iraqi people and its options, and any person selected by the Iraqi people for the post of prime minister he will get our support. "
He added, "the extremism and sectarianism threaten the entire region, including Iran, and we do not like to see our neighbors in an unstable state."
Ministry of Human Rights calls to cooperate with opponents
of the government in the occupied territories by "ISIS" Iraq, Shafaq News, 21-7-2014
The Ministry of Human Rights called on Monday, the government to build bridges of trust and cooperation with the political opposition, non-affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization, in the northern and central provinces in which some regions and cities are subjected to the control of the elements of ISIS.
The spokesman of the ministry, Kamel Ameen, told “Shafaq News", that "the ideology of ISIS cannot be treated in military terms only, but there must be a move to build bridges of communication and understanding with those parties even if they oppose the government...”.
The secretary explained that "the government is supposed to open channels of reconciliation and negotiation with them (the opposition parties to the government's policy) to establish a strong front opposed to ISIS from within the areas usurped by this terrorist organization in some provinces."
The militants have taken control last month on large parts of the north and west of the country and have imposed their radical view of the Islamic law on the population, making religious minorities vulnerable to persecution.
Overall human rights situation in the country is poor
Despite Iraq having numerous governmental and nongovernmental human rights groups, the state of human rights in the country is dismal, according to Human Rights Watch.
In its World Report 2013, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented numerous cases of torture, arbitrary arrests and other human rights violations in Iraq, describing the overall human rights situation in the country as poor.
Regarding the problems faced by the Commission in preparing its first report, Sinjari said government institutions were uncooperative and hindered the work of the Commission's representatives.
Despite the many human rights monitoring centers in Iraq, there is no mechanism to promote human rights on the ground, since there’s no serious will to do so on the part of the political administration or the ruling coalition. In addition, the major world powers are not interested in pressuring the Iraqi government to improve its performance in this area. (Al-Monitor, 7-2-2014)
To ensure our independence, we do not accept government funds, directly or indirectly, or support from any private funder that could compromise our objectivity and independence. We do not embrace political causes, are non-partisan, and maintain neutrality in armed conflict. Human Rights Watch
Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani is the current Human Rights Minister of Iraq. Sudani was born in Baghdad The Capital City of Iraq. He is married and has four sons. Sudani holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Baghdad in Agricultural Science and a master's degree in Project Management. In 1980, the age of ten, Sudani witnessed his father and five other family members executed for membership of the Islamic Dawa Party. Sudani also participated in the 1991 uprisings in Iraq.
The Islamic Dawa Party, also known as the Islamic Call Party, is a political party in Iraq. The party is led by Nouri al-Maliki, who is also the current Prime Minister of Iraq. The party backed the Iranian Revolution and also Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the Iran-Iraq War.
Iraq’s de-Baathification process is the most current example of large-scale, politically based dismissals. Yet factual information about de-Baathifi cation is scarce and for good reason. From its inception in 2003, de-Baathifi cation was a deeply flawed process. Ineffective and incoherent, it polarized Iraqi politics and contributed to severe instability in the Iraqi military and government—not just in the first flush of regime change, but extending as far as the parliamentary elections of 2010, some seven years later.
De-Baathification is the term used to describe a series of legal and administrative measures
introduced in Iraq shortly after the April 2003 fall of the Baathist regime. The overriding goal
of de-Baathification was to prevent the Baath Party from returning to power in Iraq.
Baath members were not individually assessed on the basis of their competence, participation
in human rights violations, or other measures of integrity. Instead, individuals were dismissed from
government service depending on their rank in the civil service or Baath Party.
The key assumption was that any member of the topranks of the party must have been ideologically
committed to Baathism or had committed acts that seriously violated either international human
rights standards or other key social norms.
From the moment it was introduced in May 2003, de-Baathification was controversial.
Bremer arrived in Baghdad on May 12, 2003; four days later the CPA issued Order 1, “De-Baathification of Iraqi Society,” followed quickly by Order 2, “Dissolution of Entities.” These two orders established the initial framework of Iraq’s de-Baathification policy and were followed by many more.
Order 1 sought to uproot and eliminate the Baath Party by “removing its leadership from positions of authority and responsibility in Iraqi society.” The order decreed that two categories of individuals would be excluded from public administration positions:
1. All individuals at the top four ranks of Baath Party membership, deemed “senior party members”
2. All individuals at the three highest levels of management positions (that of director general and above) who held any level of party membership. The order also forbade displaying images of Hussein and other senior leaders, sought to initiate criminal investigations into alleged crimes, and authorized rewards for information leading to their arrest.
Based solely on party membership and rank, the exclusions assumed that these ranks represented the
party elite and that people within those ranks must have committed serious violations of human rights.
There was a similar rationale behind the dismissal of high-ranking managers: that no one at the level
of director-general or above could have obtained or held their positions without individual involvement
in party misdeeds. By making these assumptions, the orders created a de-Baathification program with several serious
flaws. First, it was built on the presumption of guilt—not the presumption of innocence, with guilt
collectivized. This presumption poisoned both the process and politics of de-Baathification for years
Order 2 dissolved the Iraqi armed forces, security services, party militias, and other organizations notorious for their roles in party affairs or which might otherwise afford Baathists opportunities to return to power.
These organizations included the secret intelligence service (mukhabarat), the Ministry of Defense, the army, navy, air force, Olympic committee, and others. All military ranks and titles were abolished, conscripts were released, and employees dismissed, as of April 16, 2003.
The decision to dissolve the Iraqi armed forces has inspired bitter controversy. Critics have argued that putting hundreds of thousands of potentially armed unemployed Iraqis on the streets—and removing the traditionally significant social prestige accorded to the Iraqi armed forces—contributed immeasurably to the creation of the insurgency that followed.
In September 2003, the de-Baathification commission significantly changed de-Baathification’s
framework. Although it targeted the same party and managerial ranks as the CPA, the commission
vastly expanded the scope of de-Baathification. It prohibited certain categories of people from holding
high-level positions in the new state bureaucracy, politics, civil institutions, or the media.
Dr. Ayad Allawi, a former Baathist and Shi’ite secularist, was hostile to the commission’s work. As Iraq’s armed insurgency gained strength, Allawi reportedly favored limiting de-Baathification to a small number of key Baathist leaders, thereby strengthening Sunni commitment to the political process and perhaps enticing insurgents back to the negotiating table.
Instead, Ahmed Chalabi and other supporters of de-Baathification fought virulently against any change in policy.
The year 2005 was marked by struggles to write Iraq’s new Constitution and maximize political power in the elections that followed. Sectarian attitudes were hardening: Sunnis lacked representation in government and felt victimized by de-Baathifi cation, while an armed insurgency raged in many Sunni areas of the country. Shi’ite politicians were flexing their muscles but genuinely feared a return of Baath Party rule, fanned by Allawi’s softer position on de-Baathification. Advocates of de-Baathification triumphed in securing strong de-Baathification provisions in the new Constitution. The Baath Party was prohibited (Article 7). In highly protective language, the de-Baathification commission was to continue until it had “completed its function”. People subject to de-Baathification were banned from the Presidency Council, Prime Ministership, Parliament, and, in broadly drafted language, from other equivalent judicial, provincial, and state positions (Article 135).
The Maliki government assumed power on April 22, 2006. Maliki, a former deputy chairman of the
de-Baathification commission, was seen as a strong de-Baathification supporter.
Sunnis repeatedly portrayed de-Baathification as “de-Sunnificiation,” complaining that de-Baathification had become a sectarian instrument wielded to prevent Sunnis from participating in public life.
The presumption of guilt inherent in de-Baathification processes—and the collective nature of that guilt—made the claim hard to rebut. Resentment was stoked further, caused by the commission’s strong Shi´a political ties and lack of transparency as well as its lack of accountability
The main Shi´a political parties strongly supported de-Baathification, particularly the Sadr bloc, to whom Maliki owed his prime ministership. The Sadr movement had a powerful armed street presence, and one of its members assumed leadership of the parliamentary de-Baathification committee.
It was political pressure from Sunnis and the US government that forced the new government to
consider changing the de-Baathification process. With rising violence and midterm elections looming,
US officials decided that reforming de-Baathification was essential to lessening sectarian tensions.
What are the lessons of Iraq’s unhappy experiment? Based on our research and the experiences
of modern vetting programs, ICTJ believes the lessons of de-Baathification are:
- Design a vetting program, not a purge. De-Baathification dismissed people based on
rank, not behavior, and this created serious problems.
- Don’t create a monster. The framework, powers, and oversight of any vetting program
should be defined clearly, and it should be carried out for a limited period of time.
- Look to the future. Design a program with criteria that can help protect against future
abuse: think about promotion, recruitment, and other procedures, not just dismissals.
- Observe basic standards of fairness. This is strongly related to the first lesson. Fairness
is not just a legal issue—it protects a vetting program from political manipulation and
increases public confidence. Vetting programs should respect the rule of law, or else they can undermine post-conflict reconstruction and
transitional justice goals.
The International Center for Transitional Justice is an international non-profit organization specializing in the field of transitional justice. ICTJ works to help societies in transition address legacies of massive human rights violations and build civic trust in state institutions as protectors of human rights. (ICTJ website)
Grand Mufti of the Republic Dr. Ahmad Badr-Eddin Hassoun called on the youth to be the generation in whose hands the civilization of the nation can be entrusted.
The mufti was speaking during a national training course organized by Damascus branch of the Revolution Youth Union.
Hassoun underlined the role of the youth in disseminating a message of love, tolerance and ethical values in society. "Syria is the mother who finds it in her heart to forgive her sons and paves their way for repentance to become good sons who defend their homeland and nation", he added.
He pointed out that Syria is being targeted because it is the country of resistance, history and civilization, that enemies tried to undermine by recruiting villains to wreak havoc and destruction. The Syrian people have astounded the whole world, demonstrating that they deserve to live in dignity, the mufti affirmed.
Flashback 2012: Grand Mufti of Syria Underlines
Importance of Media in Enlightening Society
DAMASCUS, (SANA)_Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, underlined the important role of media in enlightening society and educating people. Hassoun said that Syria is being targeted by a fierce campaign intended to sow sedition and undermine national unity in Syria to serve the interests of colonial countries. ...
He called upon Arab and foreign countries to stop backing the armed terrorist groups and interferences in the Syrian internal affairs.
Flashback 2008: "That what is sacred in the world is man"
General Mufti of the Syrian Arabic Republic, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun
Opening his address, the Grand Mufti stressed that "really there are no separate cultures, there is but one single culture" in the world, namely "the culture of mankind"...
Turning to education, Dr Hassoun said, "Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man" since man "is the creation of the creator".
If we want peace, starting for example with Palestine and Israel, he suggested that rather than building walls, "let us build bridges of peace".
He also argued that "we must create states on a civil basis, not a religious basis", adding "I don't impose my religion on you, nor do you impose your religion on me". (European parlement, 15-1-2008)
"I am Sunni in practice, Shiite in allegiance. My roots are Salafi, and my purity is Sufi."
The Sheikh Hassoun was born in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in 1949. His father, allamah Muhammad Adeeb Hassoun was also a sheikh. He has five children and ten grandchildren. Hassoun studied at the University of Islamic Studies, where he graduated as Doctor in Shafi'i fiqh. Dr. Hassoun took office as Great Mufti of Syria in July 2005 after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro.
He is a frequent speaker in interreligious and intercultural events, and his pluralistic views on interfaith dialogue (between different religions or between different Islamic denominations) has sparked criticism from stricter visions of Islam.
Hassoun is considered to be a firm ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hassoun's 22-year-old son, Sariya, was assassinated on October 2, 2011 in an ambush in the road between Idlib and Aleppo. (WIKIPEDIA info)
The organization of the so-called " Naqshbandi Men Army" announced on Tuesday, its rejection to what the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization have done to Christian families from Mosul city, the second largest city in Iraq, which was occupied by ISIS organization in the 10th of last June.
ISIS organization and its allies, most notably " Naqshbandi Men," "Army of the Mujahideen,", "Ansar al-Sunna", "Al-Eshreen revolution Brigades", and "Ansar al-Islam” have controlled areas in the province of Nineveh, Salahuddin, Anbar, Kirkuk and Diyala . But differences soon arose between "ISIS" and the rest of the organizations in some areas that they had controlled...
According to a statement issued by "Naqshbandi organization " seen by "Shafaq News", "our army rejects all kinds of forced displacement and emptying Iraq of its components and changing the map of Iraq and the political and demographic region."
The statement added that "our army believe in citizenship rights and peaceful coexistence for all Iraqis to different beliefs, backgrounds , nationalities and regions without discrimination."
The statement said that "the Naqshbandi stand for Sufism, and mysticism is an approach in the life of human beings that is not limited to a certain range..."
ISIS organization has given the Christians of Mosul three choices: to be Muslims, pay tribute or to leave their homes without their property as spoils.
Seek and find the barriers...
The Sufis are not an ethnic or religious group, but a mystical movement that is found all over the Islamic world and that still has a deep influence on the varied populations of the Middle East. Sufism grew historically as a reaction against the rigid legalism of the orthodox religious leadership and as a counterweight to the growing worldliness of the expanding Muslim empire.
Sufism searches for a direct mystical knowledge of God and of his Love. Its goal was to progress beyond mere intellectual knowledge to a mystical (existential) experience that submerged limited man in the infinity of God. It used Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, Hellenistic, Zoroastrian and Hindu traditions that were brought into Islam by converts from the many conquered populations.
Sufism developed in the 8th and 9th centuries in three major centres: 1. The cities of Basra, Kufa and Baghdad in Iraq. 2. The city of Balkh in the Khorasan district of Persia. 3. Egypt. Muhammad is regarded as the first Sufi master who passed his esoteric teachings orally to his successors who also received his special grace (barakah). (angelfire.com)
Fools laud and magnify the mosque, while they strive to oppress holy men of heart. But the former is mere form, the latter spirit and truth. The only true mosque is that in the heart of saints. The mosque that is built in the hearts of the saints is the place of worship for all, for God dwells there. (Masnavi, one of the most influential works of both Sufism and Persian literature)
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip signaled Monday that the Islamic militant group will not agree to an unconditional cease-fire with Israel, saying that the aim of the current battle is to break a 7-year-old blockade of the Palestinian territory.
Ismail Haniyeh's comments came as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry headed to Cairo for the highest-level cease-fire efforts since Israel-Hamas fighting erupted July 8.
Last week, Egypt called for an unconditional cease-fire, to be followed by talks on easing the closure of Gaza. Israel accepted the proposal at the time, but Hamas rejected it, saying it wants guarantees first on lifting the closure.
The blockade was imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas overran Gaza in 2007. Over the past year, Egypt has further tightened restrictions, driving Hamas into a deep financial crisis.
Haniyeh said in a televised speech Monday that "we cannot go back, we cannot go back to the silent death" of the blockade. He said all of Gaza's 1.7 million residents shared this demand. "Gaza has decided to end the blockade by its blood and by its courage," he said. "This siege, this unjust siege, must be lifted."
The blockade of the Gaza Strip refers to a land, air, and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip by Egypt and Israel from 2007 to present (July 2014).
The blockade was criticized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Human Rights Council and other human rights organizations. It has been officially supported by United States administrations. In June 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the humanitarian needs in the Hamas-controlled area must be met along with legitimate Israeli security concerns...
A Fact-Finding Mission for the UN Human Rights Council chaired by a former judge of the International Criminal Court found that the blockade constituted collective punishment of the population of Gaza and was therefore unlawful. (Wikipedia info)
Naftali Bennett (born 25 March 1972) is an Israeli politician. He is Minister of Economy, and the leader of the right-wing political party The Jewish Home, as well as the extra-parliamentary movement My Israel. Jewish Jome members adhere to the belief that Jews are divinely commanded to retain control over the Land of Israel. (Wikipedia)
Israel's Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) took part in the funeral of an Israeli soldier... Bennett eulogized him, saying, "Anyone who thinks we will give up, should open a Bible, read the Covenant G-d made with Abraham pledging to give him this land, and should look at the faces of our soldiers, at their steadfast spirit."
"The enemy hasn’t a chance in this battle against the Eternal People [of Israel]", he continued.
Bennett referred to the long road the Jewish People have travelled in the past generation, adding: "The liturgical poet Rabbi Judah ben Shmuel Ibm Abbas, says with regard to the binding of Isaac 'the eyes weep bitterly but the heart is glad' and that is how we feel today as well. At this moment, our eyes weep bitter tears, so many tears. How much sadness accompanies your leaving us. But with all that, our inner hearts are glad...."
"Against a cowardly enemy whose commanders hide behind women and children, flee to hiding places under hospitals and schools, deciding that their people can die, you decided to volunteer to be on the front line. Against an enemy that glorifies death, you fought so that we will be able to live our lives here. Against an enemy that has no roots, you deepened our roots here, and even when a branch is plucked , no one can uproot the tree it is on. No one. We were here before the Hamas terrorists and we will be here long after they are gone."
Senior national religious leader and Chief Municipal Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron Rabbi Dov Lior published a letter this week saying that according to Jewish law it would be permitted to destroy the entire Gaza strip to bring peace to southern Israel.
“At a time of war it is permitted for the people who are attacked to punish the enemy population with measures such as blocking supplies or electricity and to shell the entire area according to the considerations of the minister of the army and not to needlessly endanger soldiers but rather to take crushing warning steps to exterminate the enemy,” Lior wrote.
Addressing the current hostilities with Hamas, the rabbi continued “In the case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the Minister of Defense to even order the destruction of all of Gaza so that the south will no longer suffer and to prevent injury to our people who have been suffering for so long from the enemies surrounding us.”
Lior added that “talk of humanism and consideration are as nothing when weighed against saving our brothers in the south and across the country and the restoration of quiet to our land.”
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On condemned Lior’s comments...
“The racist comments of Rabbi Dov Lior have for some time not been protected by freedom of speech. We’re talking about a man who praises mass murder, stands behind those who murder innocents and took part in the incitement that led to the murder of a prime minister,” said Gal-On in reference to Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated in a politically motivated murder.
“These type of comments are not made in a vacuum but are rather an inseparable part of the dangerous and tempestuous atmosphere prevailing in Israeli society in recent weeks,” said Gal-On.
Leading rabbis have testified that Lior was the source of rulings labeling the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a "rodef" and a "moser" (a traitor who endangers Jewish lives). Rabin's assassin is known to have visited Lior. Baruch Goldstein also met with Lior. After Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinian worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs, Lior described Goldstein as "holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust."
In June 2011, Lior was arrested by Israeli police and questioned on suspicion of inciting violence for endorsing a religious book, the King's Torah, that gives Jews permission to kill innocent non-Jews... (Wikipedia info)
The Palestinian decision-making body led by US-backed President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday endorsed demands by Hamas for halting Gaza hostilities with Israel, a closing of ranks that may help Egyptian-mediated truce efforts.
With Israeli and US encouragement, Egypt has tried to get both sides to hold fire and then negotiate terms for protracted calm in the Palestinian enclave... Hamas, the Gaza Strip's dominant Islamists, and other armed factions had baulked at Cairo's offer, saying they wanted assurances of relief from an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and other concessions.
The Egyptian plan does not specify a timeline for easing the blockade, saying "crossings shall be opened and the passage of persons and goods through border crossings shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground".
In a move that could effectively turn Abbas into the main interlocutor for a Gaza truce, his umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Wednesday formally supported core conditions set by the Hamas-led fighters.
"The Gaza demands of stopping the aggression and lifting the blockade in all its forms are the demands of the entire Palestinian people and they represent the goal that the Palestinian leadership has dedicated all its power to achieve," senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo said in Ramallah, the hub city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where Abbas is based.
"We are confident Gaza will not be broken as long as our people are standing beside it to support it through all possible means until the invaders understand that our great people inside the homeland and outside will not leave Gaza alone."
Damascus on Wednesday said it welcomes the nomination of Staffan de Mistura as new UN peace envoy, while demanding he show "objectivity and integrity" in pursuing his Syria mission.
The Italian-Swedish diplomat was on July 10 named to replace hugely respected Algerian Lakhdar Brahimi, who resigned in May after two frustrating rounds of peace talks between the regime and rebels ended in failure.
In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon published by state news agency SANA Wednesday, Syria's foreign ministry said it welcomed De Mistura's appointment, while stressing its "conviction of the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, through Syrian-led dialogue among Syrians".
"We hope De Mistura... will show objectivity and integrity, and (commitment to) international law and the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, chiefly respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, while respecting the Syrian people's will."
The Syrian government had lashed out at Brahimi on several occasions, accusing him of lacking neutrality and of siding with countries that back the three-year revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
Roqayah Chamseddin, a Sydney-based Lebanese-American journalist, believes that Israel is flagrantly violating the international humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip: "When it comes to Israel’s so-called ‘right to self-defense’ we see that the principle of self-defense is distorted in such a way that allows Israel to claim that its actions are justifiable because they are moral."
Q: The Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer has claimed that "[n]o country in history has more rigorously upheld international law when its homeland under attack." He is implying that Israel's air, sea and ground incursion into Gaza is compatible with the int'l law. Isn't this claim a little bit bombastic and pretentious...?
A: Israel’s envoy to the US is recycling a well-used statement, that Israel has a duty and right to ‘defend’ itself... Though we hear it said that Israel has a ‘right’ to defend itself, we are not hearing the same being said of Palestinians.
According to [the UN] General Assembly resolution 3246, on the importance of the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, Palestinians have a legitimate right to struggle for their liberation "from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle." This is what is missing from the conversation on Palestine. That Palestinians have the right to self-determination...
Q: It seems that one of the objectives of Israel in launching airstrikes against Gaza is to delegitimize the Hamas government and undermine its position as the ruling power. What's your take on that?
A: Before Hamas, Israel did not want Fatah and before Fatah the PLO and before the PLO they did not want the PFLP. Israel routinely makes the rules for the Palestinians as to who is permitted to represent them, be it in Gaza or elsewhere... main. Israel wishes to destabilize any Palestinian resistance to the occupation...
Q: Israel claims that it has a right to self-defense against the rockets fired by the Hamas fighters into the Occupied Territories. Does an occupying power have a right to self-defense? What about its obligation and duty to protect the civilians under its occupation?
A: Israel picks and chooses what aspects of international law will apply and then distorts those fragments it does choose so as to use them to bolster claims of moral and legal authority.
When it comes to Israel’s so-called ‘right to self-defense’ we see that the principle of self-defense is distorted in such a way that it allows Israel to claim that its actions are justifiable because they are moral. As noted by Palestinian human rights attorney Noura Erakat., “Israel is distorting/reinterpreting international law to justify its use of militarized force in order to protect its colonial authority.
Jabotinsky & Zionist morality
Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Wednesday lashed out at the rulers of Arab countries and their stance on the relentless Israeli assault against the Gaza Strip, noting that “the human remains of martyrs will fire back at them all.” Jumblat also blasted the stances of Russia, the United States, Germany, Iran and France.
“The West is still a captive of the Nazi Holocaust and it is hiding behind it to treat the victim and the executioner equally, turning a blind eye to the central and main crime behind all the events of the past and present, which is the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” Jumblat added.
“Where is the stance of the French Socialist Party...?”, Jumblat wondered. Turning to Germany, the PSP leader called on Berlin to “overcome that historic psychological complex created by the Nazi Holocaust against Jews, which is totally condemned,” voicing regret that “the German stance is, unfortunately, descending towards further subjugation, cowardliness and regression.”
Jumblat did not forget to ask the U.S. administration about “the human rights slogans that it champions selectively, according to its policies and interests, and which it also disregards selectively, according to its policies and interests.”
“The ultimate and blind U.S. support for Israel reflects the absence of a value system among Americans...,” Jumblat added.
Slamming Russia, the PSP leader said it seems Russian President Vladimir Putin “has decided to erase all the history and heritage of his predecessors and the heritage of the Soviet Union in supporting the Palestinian cause....” Jumblat also hit out at Tehran, saying “the calculations of the nuclear haggling have suddenly overshadowed the Palestinian cause..."
Criticizing Arabs, Jumblat said “it's about time Arab rulers -- whether they belonged to the old or new generation -- realized that only Palestine can bestow legitimacy on them, and not vice versa.”
The ideals of the French Revolution, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity, were supported by proponents of the Revolution during its course,
leading a transition from the old regime to the new liberal order.
The ideal of Equality was shown on the night of August 4, with the elimination of feudal rights. With the elimination of their hereditary
privilege, the aristocracy was subject to the same laws as all other French citizens, creating legal equality. This equality was further
manifested in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, making admission to public offices based on capacity, virtue and talent rather than heredity or status.
The ideal of Liberty was also shown in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. The Declaration declared that all men were born and remain free, and had natural rights to liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression. These constitutional rights of freedom and defense of that freedom were the death of the old regime.
The ideal of Fraternity was also exhibited in the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. With the abolition of aristocratic privilege and the rights granted by the Declaration, equality was granted to all citizens. The loyalty of this brotherhood had shifted from the monarch to the state, shown by the use of the word "citizen" when referring to fellow residents.
The ideals of Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity, were the driving forces of the French Revolution, and the collapse of the era of aristocratic privilege and power. (angelfire.com)
After three weeks of Israel’s bloody war on Gaza mainly under the pretext of alleged abduction of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas, the Israeli police have acknowledged that the kidnappers were not acting under the orders of the resistance movement.
In a Friday interview with the state-run BBC, Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld ruled out any links between the men responsible for the murdering of the three teenagers and Hamas, saying they are part of a “lone cell.”
Israeli forces killed several Palestinians and arrested hundreds of others, including Hamas members and lawmakers, as part of the search for the three settlers, whom Israel claimed went missing in the West Bank on June 12.
Hamas had denied involvement in the alleged disappearance of the teens.
On June 30, Israel confirmed that the three Israeli settlers were dead and their bodies were buried in a field near the village of Halhul north of the city of al-Khalil (Hebron) in the West Bank. One of the main reasons that Israel launched its new war on Gaza was the regime’s accusations against Hamas over the kidnapping issue.
The Palestinian death toll has reached 900 from more than two weeks of Israeli strikes. Around 5,700 Palestinians have also been injured in the onslaught.
The recent explosion of violence in Gaza may have been initially sparked by false or inaccurate claims, according to Israeli police. The ongoing conflict began last month when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped from a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank. Their bodies were later discovered in a field outside the city of Hebron. Before police were able to determine who was responsible, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed blame for the tragic deaths squarely on Hamas, Gaza’s elected political leadership—an accusation that may prove to be false.
On Friday, Chief Inspector Micky Rosenfeld, foreign press spokesman for the Israel Police, reportedly told BBC journalist Jon Donnisonhe that the men responsible for murders were not acting on orders of Hamas leadership. Instead, he said, they are part of a “lone cell.” (Daily Dot 26-7-2014)
Israel’s prime minister said the Hamas militant group will pay a heavy price for the deaths of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank. Premier Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.” He added the teenagers “were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by wild beasts”. Netanyahu urged the international community to demand the Western-backed Palestinian president break off ties with the militant Hamas group. Jewish News, 1-7-2014
"US President reaffirms Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks; Congress prepares resolution supporting Israel, condemning Hamas “unprovoked” actions; State Department points finger at Hamas as perpetrator of crisis." Jerusalem Post, 11-7-2014
It is simply a lie that Israel's slaughter in Gaza is a response to an "unprovoked attack" by Hamas. Not only is it a lie, it is a transparent, brazen lie, whose falsehood is glaringly apparent to anyone who had given even a cursory look at coverage of the Israeli government's response to the murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.
At that time, we were told in many news reports about an Israeli "crackdown" in Gaza, including mass arrests, military operations and, finally, the killing of six Hamas members. It was after these operations and these killings -- which were clear breaches of a ceasefire which Hamas had been honoring for 19 months -- that Hamas began its retaliation against Israel's unprovoked attacks.
These are all undisputed facts. It is impossible that Barack Obama does not know these undisputed facts. It is also impossible that a majority, if not all, of the 100 U.S. Senators who voted to endorse the Israeli slaughter in Gaza did not know the truth when they cast their ballots. It is impossible that the editors and reporters of the nation's leading media organizations do not know these facts -- which they themselves reported only a few weeks ago. Yet day after day after day, from the commanding heights of our "culture", the Big Lie thunders forth.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on July 3: Israel’s military operations in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers have amounted to collective punishment.
The military operations included unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests, and illegal home demolitions. ... Giving more details, several of the weekly reports from the Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR) indicate that Israeli forces and settlers killed 11 Palestinians and wounded 51 during 369 incursions into the West Bank between June 12 and July 2 and that Israeli forces raided hundreds of houses on the West Bank each week.
110 bombing raids, a military incursion, 17 killings, mass arrests -- all before Hamas fired a single rocket. This is what Obama -- and every single member of the United States Senate -- call an "unprovoked attack." They say it with a straight face -- nay, with long, somber, pious faces -- but they know it's a lie.
Chris Floyd, interview april 15, 2005: "When I was a teenager, my brother and I used to watch televangelists on late night TV, because they were so funny. Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, you know, curing bunions over the airwaves. We'd watch them and laugh. I've watched these people for 30 years now, slowly moving from the fringes of the fringe to the very center of state power. They're not so funny anymore. It looks like the joke was on us." (tinyrevolution.com)
Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader
Hamas' unprovoked war, 11-7-2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor released the following statement applauding House passage of H. Res. 657, a bipartisan resolution sponsored by Representatives Steve Israel and Tom Cole expressing U.S. support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization:
“Israel is one of our nation’s strongest democratic allies and its security is directly tied to our own. Hamas' outrageous and unprovoked war against Israel must end. Until Hamas accepts the Quartet principles, abandoning violence and recognizing Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, there will not be peace.
There is no justification for Hamas' violent assault on Israel, which withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005. Since then, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have lobbed thousands of rockets into Israel and Hamas staged a coup against the Palestinian Authority, assuming complete control over Gaza and turning it into a den of terrorism." “We must also acknowledge Iran’s role in this conflict. Just as Iran has fueled sectarian violence and extremist terrorism in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, it has long provided Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with lethal support to aid in their unrelenting war of terror against Israel. (majorityleader.gov, 11-7-2014)
The infliction of death and destruction on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip is, as with so many other Israeli military offensives and as with the blockade and economic strangulation of Gaza itself, intended to reduce popular support for whatever group or government Israel happens to be opposing.
As the sequence of events preceding the current round of violence makes clear, Netanyahu saw as the biggest threat the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, the dominant party in the Palestinian Authority. If the agreement held, excuses for not being serious about negotiating a comprehensive peace agreement and establishing a Palestinian state to replace the occupation would become too flimsy to maintain. So Netanyahu did everything he could to destroy the reconciliation, including the mass round-ups of Hamas members and other applications of force that led almost inevitably to the onslaught that followed. Netanyahu was aided and abetted in that strategy by the U.S.-led West, which accordingly shares responsibility for the bloodshed that has ensued.
Now Netanyahu’s government can continue to make all the familiar claims about how Israel doesn’t have a negotiating partner, how half of the Palestinians are ruled by a terrorist group supposedly dedicated to the destruction of Israel, how rockets coming from Gaza show how Israel can never risk ending occupation of the West Bank, etc. etc....
All that Hamas can now see as in its immediate interests is to try to bolster its popular support and credibility by, as a first choice, holding out for some relief to Gazans from their status as inmates in what amounts to an open-air detention camp.
Haunting that pursuit, however, will be the knowledge that after the deal Hamas struck with Israel in November 2012, the ceasefire that was called for did take hold, but the easing of the Israeli blockade of Gaza that also was supposed to occur largely did not... (another example of an Israeli disincentive to Hamas to negotiate peacefully...)
Hamas's war against Israel is not only losing militarily, but losing popular support in Gaza, according to a study released last week.
A Washington Institute study polled 450 Gazans between June 15-17 - before Operation Protective Edge in Gaza...
The study reveals that 70% of Gazans believe that Hamas "should maintain a ceasefire with Israel in both Gaza and the West Bank [Judea-Samaria - ed.]."
In addition, 57% of respondents supported "unity government" chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas's position that the new government should "renounce violence against Israel."
Gazans are also unhappy with Hamas's handle on security - or lack thereof. Seventy-one (71%) of Gazans considered crime in Gaza to be "a significant problem"; 66.6% consider Hamas to be guilty of corruption; and 78% criticize the use of terror groups, and not a "formal security structure," to enforce law and order.
“The study is quite telling," the Institute's David Pollack, who conducted the survey, told Fox. "The Gazans want jobs and practical things. They don’t want war and don’t support Hamas ideology."
“And with so many Palestinians actually saying they want peace and support an immediate cease fire, it means Hamas is imposing this war against Israel on its own people,” Pollack added.
Hamas was elected to power in 2007, after Israel withdrew from Gaza during the 2005 Disengagement.
You need to understand that Palestinian blood has been shed by Hamas itself," a 28-year old journalist, an editor at a Gaza media outlet who asked to be kept anonymous, told Fox News on Saturday. "Living under Hamas is a tragedy."
“Nobody can forgive Hamas for what they’re doing," the journalist continued. "No one can forgive Hamas for butchering Palestinians to get power. Most Gazans hate Hamas with a passion."
The Israel Lobby
In a December 2003 interview on Al Jazeera, Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American professor and director of Columbia University's Middle East Institute, sharply criticized WINEP, stating that it is "the fiercest of the enemies of the Arabs and the Muslims," and describing it as the "most important Zionist propaganda tool in the United States."
John Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago political science professor, and Stephen Walt, academic dean at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, describe it as "part of the core" of the Israel lobby in the United States.
Discussing the group in their book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Mearsheimer and Walt write: "Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a 'balanced and realistic' perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda ... " (Wikipedia info)
Israel's military superiority should be coupled with moral superiority. A nation that has experienced the horrors of Holocaust must be able to balance its vow of "never again" with the suffering inflicted on others, and measure existential threats against the true capabilities of those who profess such dangers. Israel, if serious about a two-state solution, should have seen the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas as an opening, and seized the moment, rather than using the death of the three innocent Israeli youth to spew blanket revenge over an entire desperate population.
Israel should turn the clock back to June 2014 when the two rivals - Hamas and Fatah - formed a unity government, ending a decade-long dispute, and see that as a momentous opportunity to pursue the two-state solution. In the Fatah-Hamas equation, Fatah is clearly the more dominant force. Reconciling their differences and joining forces in a coalition government, means Hamas has travelled the longer road in meeting Fatah half way on major ideological differences...
Peace envoy Tony Blair's role is to hammer out ceasefire in times of conflict. But he threw a lavish birthday party for his wife on Friday night at their country bolthole in Buckinghamshire, while the grim death toll from the Gaza conflict passed the 1,050 mark.
Mr Blair, whose role is to hammer out a ceasefire in times of conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, spent most of last week in the UK before hosting the couple’s friends at the party, estimated to have cost about £50,000.
He held the surprise 60th birthday party for Cherie at their £6million country mansion South Pavilions, formerly the home of Sir John Gielgud, inviting 150 of their closest friends, which included former New Labour ministers, as well as wealthy businessmen and TV celebrities.
Just to make Cherie’s night even more memorable, Mr Blair even hired glamorous dance couple Kristina Rihanoff and Ian Waite from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, who danced for them after dinner, to the Stevie Wonder classic Ma Cherie Amour. And comedian Bobby Davro was also hired to entertain, doing an impersonation of Mr Blair, and singing the song, If I Ruled The World.
Mr Blair’s unexpected birthday party – held against a backdrop of death and destruction in Gaza – was criticised last night, with some saying he could have held it later, as Cherie’s actual birthday is not until September 23.
World leaders, led by Mr Kerry, held urgent talks in Paris yesterday to pressure both sides to turn the ceasefire into an extended truce. Mr Blair was not at the talks.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal demanded Israel lift its blockade of Gaza and warned that Palestinians cannot coexist with their neighbors while their land is occupied, in an interview broadcast Sunday.
Asked by veteran interviewer Charlie Rose whether he could foresee living beside Israelis in peace, Meshaal said only a future Palestinian state could decide whether to recognize the Jewish state. “We are not fanatics, we are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers,” he said. “I'm ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs,” he said. “However, I do not coexist with the occupiers.”
Pressed on whether Palestinians could recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal reiterated Hamas' position -- the group does not recognize Israel.
“When we have a Palestinian state then the Palestinian state will decide on its policies. You cannot actually ask me about the future. I answered you,” he said. “But Palestinian people can have their say when they have their own state without occupation.”
What Meshal is really saying is that if Fatah honors its commitments, there are free and fair elections, and the General Assembly approves a Palestinian state, then Hamas will have no reason to turn to violence. To me, this is a patently self-evident pragmatic approach. Even former Mossad directors like Ephraim Halevy understand it too. But not the Bibistas.... Hamas is currently showing pragmatic realism. Bibi is showing the same old losing cards. And Obama’s showing nothing. Where are you, Mr. President? Stop basking in the glow of being Osama-killer and get down to brass tacks. Show some leadership. If Obama allows the mid-term elections to dictate the same-old approach to Hamas for fear of appearing soft on terror and hostile to a Likudist Israeli government, he’ll have lost yet another opportunity to play a leadership role in making peace.
Throughout this latest round of the conflict, well-meaning people have called for Israel to end its fight against Hamas. Most in the West don’t realize that Hamas is a fanatical religious organization whose raison d’etre is to have armed conflict with Israel leading to the destruction of the State of Israel.
In fact, the very idea of a ceasefire with Hamas is nonsensical because Hamas has only one goal, to destroy Israel. They see this as a religious obligation from God.
Some thought that once Hamas controlled its own territory it would be forced to start acting responsibly and would accept Israel. This has now definitively been proven wrong. Hamas has run Gaza for seven years now. Yet instead of improving the lives of their population, they have spent huge sums on rockets and underground tunnels meant to kills Jews.
With a fanatical religious organization that believes God forbids compromise and that they are divinely mandated to destroy Israel, there is but one choice. Israel needs to completely destroy their capability to act out their evil mission. For Israel, it is truly do or die.
Some 3,500 years ago, as our ancestors, the ancient Israelites, prepared to enter into the Land of Israel, Moses warns: “If you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those of whom you leave will become pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides and they will harass you on the land upon which you dwell" (Numbers, 33:55).
We Jews are part of one nation and are eternally connected. We Diaspora Jews have a responsibility to talk out in support of Israel’s moral right to defend herself. We have an ability to counter all the terrible misinformation, lies and hatred that are spread about Israel. This is something that is vitally needed and which our brothers and sisters fighting in the Israel Defense Force cannot do, but we can. May God be with the nation of Israel knowing, that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."
Levi Brackman is currently doing a PhD focused on learning how people can develop purpose and meaning in life. He is also a rabbi.
“To be committed to justice we must believe that ethics matter,
that it is vital to have a system of shared morality.” Bell Hooks
Palestinian life is cheap... The killings, breaking of bones, firing of tear gas canisters into enclosed spaces, and the daily humiliation of checkpoints, separate roads and separating walls will continue and will continue to be daily reminders to Palestinians that they are different; lesser; expendable.
From these experiences, Palestinians understand that the West’s claim to moral superiority by championing universal human rights and the rule of law is a grotesque lie.
Over the years, Palestinians have seen how they can be murdered in the hundreds and thousands with impunity and in the full glare of the mass media. And while most of the non-Western world is stunned by the indiscriminate viciousness of the Israeli attack, headlines in Western media outlets proclaim “Hamas lays siege on Israel” and “Hamas terrorizes Israel”—as though the over one thousand lives of murdered Palestinians are completely irrelevant and devoid of value.
The devaluing of Palestinian life is in stark contrast to the concern for the dignity of the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight M17, recently shot down over Ukraine. It is also reflected in the arguments of the Israeli propagandists, who imply that Western news media should stop covering the deaths of Palestinian civilians because it satisfies the strategic objective of the “Hamas terrorists.”
The moral positions taken by many people in the West, especially in the U.S., confirms the existence of an ethical double-standard – one in which the actions of the Israeli state are framed as legitimate, reasonable and deserving of support, and one in which all acts of resistance on the part of the captured and oppressed Palestinians are seen as criminal, immoral and terroristic...
Constructed as an uncivilized, barbarous, terrorist organization, Hamas has been effectively de-humanized – along with all of the Palestinian people of Gaza, since they voted for Hamas in the elections of 2006. In contrast, Israel is juxtaposed as innocent, civilized and humane.
We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
"Humanity can no longer afford hatred of the other, bigotry and limited horizons. [People] will be happier, more successful and productive if they are allowed to leave archaic tribalism and join the quest for a safer, more fulfilling future for humanity as a whole." Carlo Strenger, Haaretz 8-3-2012
The United States on Saturday evacuated all its staff from its embassy in Libya due to the fierce fighting in the capital, AFP Press quoted U.S. officials as saying.
Although the embassy had already been operating on limited staffing, the remaining team drove overland to Tunisia to safety only hours after the Libyan government warned the country could be torn apart by clashes between rival militias for control of Tripoli airport.
Witnesses in the Libyan capital said they saw at least four convoys of diplomatic vehicles making their way on the airport road as warplanes provided air cover.
The U.S. move comes amid increasing violence between the Libyan army and Islamist militias...
“Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya,” Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.
"We are committed to supporting the Libyan people during this challenging time and are currently exploring options for a permanent return to Tripoli as soon as the security situation on the ground improves."
“Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions,” Harf said.
Col Muammar Gaddafi’s convoy was bombed by an American Predator drone and then attacked by French jets before the deposed dictator was killed by rebel fighters, defence sources disclosed. Gaddafi had been under surveillance by Nato forces for the past week after an intelligence breakthrough allowed them to pinpoint his location. An American drone and an array of Nato eavesdropping aircraft had been trained on his Sirte stronghold to ensure he could not escape....
The Predator drone, flown out of Sicily and controlled via satellite from a base outside Las Vegas, struck the convoy with a number of Hellfire anti-tank missiles. Moments later French jets, most likely Rafales, swept in, targeting the vehicles with 500lb Paveway bombs or highly accurate £600,000 AASM munitions.
In a series of speech and celebrations that were careful to avoid direct mention of the dubious method of execution of their predecessor, Libya’s National Transitional Council ushered in their new regime with an announcement of the “liberation” of Libya from Moammar Gadhafi. To choruses of 'Allahu Akbar' they sought to make it clear the liberation came with a decidedly Islamic flavor, including promises to center the new legal system around Sharia law. ...
An alliance of disparate interests brought together by a common enemy
Even with NTC chair Mustafa Abdul-Jalil vowing the new government’s legal system would center around Sharia, Libya is far from stable. That’s because the NTC was an alliance of disparate interests brought together by a common enemy, and with him gone the already splintered faction looks prepared to rip itself apart, with regional rivalries and religious differences serving as the lines of demarcation... Libya is increasingly not one nation, but many. (antiwar.com 2011)
The governor of Nineveh, Athel al-Nujaifi, announced the formation of battalions of the people of Mosul to expel the elements of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization and to ensure that "sectarian militias" will not return to Mosul.
Nujaifi said in a televised speech, "Over the past few days, calls and contacts came from honorable people in Mosul to form armed brigades inside the city to expel ISIS criminals “.
Nujaifi added "I call upon the people of Mosul to form armed brigades, led by a number of former Iraqi army officers to liberate Mosul city from ISIS and protect it from any strange ad unacceptable power..; these battalions will receive all the required support and care."
The governor of Nineveh called "all national factions to cooperate with these battalions and begin with us to prepare for the start of a reconstruction project and open the doors for a promising future."
Atheel Al-Nujaifi, 26-6-2014:
Support must be provided for the moderates
The desertion rate from the army and the Iraqi police force had reached 80%, even prior to these events...
There was a tense atmosphere. The Iraqi army acted in a sectarian way in Mosul. Many innocent civilians were arrested
and had to pay money for their release. People accused of real terrorism could easily buy a deal and be acquitted and released.
It is the innocent people who languish in prison...
This tense atmosphere has gemerated rejection and the soldiers were not welcomed in Mosul. The numbers of ISIS members entering Mosul did not exceed 1000, but they did not encounter any opposition. We can easily fight ISIS but it won't be easy for us to fight the people of Mosul.
We are trapped between ISIS and the Shiite militias. It is if they are saying to us - the moderates who want to live in peace,
you have no place in this new order.
Support must be provided for the moderates, for the people who can fight both ISIS and the extremist Shiite militias. In my opinion ISIS can be fought only by the Sunni's.
The Shiites cannot fight ISIS, it will resort to sectarianism. ISIS shoud be fought under a Sunni, not Shiite, umbrella. And the Sunnis must regain their true clout in Iraqi political decisionmaking.
Atheel al-Nujaifi is the leader of the Arab Nationalist Party Al-Hadba. Nujaifi's party seems a harbinger of a wider nationalist, secular current intent on throwing off US and Iranian influence... Al-Hadba, named after the leaning minaret that is Mosul's landmark, is a coalition of parties whose members include some of the city's business elite. Some US officials say the party is funded by former Saddam-era regime figures and Sunni sheikhs.
The former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's clan has shown concerns over the targeting of their leader’s grave , Saddam Hussain in a manner very similar to the shrines targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization recently. Saddam Hussein’s grave is in Awja town since 2007, where he was born.
ISIS group recently embarked blowing up religious shrines where prophets and clerics are buried in the areas that they control, but so far they didn’t get close to the tomb of Saddam, although Tikrit, which includes Awja lies under their control.
If we take into account the ideology of ISIS in and their arguments targeting shrines so the result would be that Saddam's tomb, which was built in the form of a shrine, visited by thousands annually, is also an obvious target for them.
Sheikh Falah al-Neda, a clan elders and his son, Hassan al-Neda confirmed fears of groups, which he described as rebels would bomb Saddam's grave. He told “Shafaq News", that "They blew up the graves of the prophets , Will the tomb of Saddam stand in front of them." Neda added that "the family is trying to move Saddam's body to the public cemetery, but fears of being targeted by Iraqi aircraft while transferring the body push them not to do that”.
On the opinion of the clan on what is happening in the country , he said that "Maliki’s policies have pushed some to welcome the presence of the militants." He added that "the clan has nothing to do with what's going on. Just want to preserve the village and what it owns."
As the euphoria dissipates after the Islamic State's June 10 capture of the city, the costs of living in the heart of their newly declared "caliphate" are starting to pile up.
Fuel is becoming scarce, electricity intermittent at best, and goods that violate the jihadists' puritanical version of Islam are disappearing from the shelves.
Harsh rules are gradually being imposed, which in recent weeks have resulted in the expulsion of Mosul's Christian community and other minorities that for generations had called the cosmopolitan city home. Residents who have not already fled now wait in fear of yet more restrictions on their lifestyle.
"As time goes on we're surprised by new laws. For example jeans are banned, any fashion is banned. T-shirts with numbers and letters on them are banned. Women must cover their heads, and dark colours are preferred for clothes..."
"So we stand unshaken, clear in our mind and vision as to truth against falsehood, the colour black, which represents darkness, wickedness and aberration, as opposed to the colour white which represents truth, justice, fairness, purity, virtue, adherence to principle and defending these principles against those who abandoned them..., blind in both heart and conscience." Saddam Hussein, 16-11-2002
A Great YES To Life
I look into a mirror to remain afloat,
and talk an endless soliloquy
This entire torrent of words is a great yes to life,
A yes indifferent to good and evil,
A self-regarding, prudent, avid,
generous, stupid, cosmos yes,
A yes of acceptance
That in its monotonous flow fuses and confuses
past, present and future
What I was, remain and will become,
everything and everyone together
In a great exclamation
Like a sea surge that rises, falls and jumbles All things together in a whole, that has no beginning or end.
The UN Security Council backed a Russian initiative to bar trade in oil with militant groups in Iraq and Syria.
The 15-nation Council warned in a joint statement that buying oil from militant groups such as ISIL and Jabhat Al-Nusra fighting in Iraq and Syria could lead to sanctions. "Such engagement constitutes financial support for terrorists and may lead to further sanctions listings," the council said.
Russia presented the statement in late June, seeking to clamp down on terrorist groups who are selling the oil from militants-controlled areas. Terrorist groups such as ISIL and Al-Nusra have seized oilfields and pipelines to bankroll their offensives.
The council said control of oil facilities "could generate material income for terrorists, which would support their recruitment efforts, including of foreign terrorist fighters, and strengthen their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks."
Trade of oil with the militant groups is in violation of UN resolutions and "all states are required to ensure that their nationals and any persons within their territory do not trade in oil with these entities," it said.
ISIL insurgents took control of large parts of Iraq's north and west in a sweeping offensive that began on June 9, preventing Baghdad from exporting oil via a pipeline to Turkey and by road to Jordan.
Prime Minister Maliki withdraws from 3rd term candidacy,
National Alliance nominates 5 candidates Iraqi News, 30-7-2014
On Wednesday, the MP for the Liberal bloc, Riad al-Saadi indicated that the National Alliance has five candidates for the post of prime minister, including al-Jaafari and al-Shahristani while noting that the outgoing Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, withdrew his candidacy for the post because of political pressure.
Saadi said, in an interview for IraqiNews.com, that “three of these candidates come from the National Coalition: Ahmed Chalabi, Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Aadi Abdul-Mahdi and the other two from the State of Law; they are Khodair al Khozai and Hussain al-Shahristani.”
Al-Saadi added “Shahristani has a lot of policies and relations, but Maliki nominated Al Khozai because he is from his party.”
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq’s newly-elected President Fouad Massoum warned the country’s parliament that he would step down if the parties failed to nominate a candidate for the post of prime minister. “I was elected president by all the Iraqi factions,” Massoum told representatives. “And I would never nominate anyone for the post of prime minister without all parties’ consent and blessing.”
The president warned: “If I am pressured to nominate a candidate, I will not hesitate to step down.”
Rudaw has learned that Iraq’s acting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has urged Massoum to nominate him “since he represents the largest coalition in the parliament.” The president has reportedly declined Maliki’s appeal and said he would not use his presidential powers to nominate anyone “without the clear support of all Iraqi factions.”
According to Iraq’s constitution, the prime minister should be elected from the largest coalition group in the parliament. The Shiite parties hold most of the seats in the national assembly but have so far not announced any major coalitions. The State of the Law with 93 seats has insisted on nominating Maliki as the sole Shiite candidate.
The Kurdish and Sunni factions have absolutely rejected a third term for Maliki. Even within the Shiite parties, Muqtada al-Sadr and his powerful bloc have spoken against the embattled prime minister, as has the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who has appealed to Maliki not to run for a third term.
In an unprecedented move, six of the world’s top grand ayatollahs have voiced public support for Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani and his handling of the ongoing crisis in Iraq. For any grand ayatollah to comment on the activities of another is rare, and for six of them to publicly support the specific activities of any one grand ayatollah is history in the making. Specifically, the grand ayatollahs have insisted that Ayatollah Sistani be followed in all political matters, indirectly referencing the latter’s calls for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to either step down or be voted out of his position.
The six Shiite grand ayatollahs are Sheikh Vaheed Khorasani, Sayyid Muhammad Saeed al-Hakim, Sheikh Basheer al-Najafi, Sheikh Ishaq Fayyadh, Sheikh Safi Golpaygani, and Sheikh Nassir Makarim Shirazi. The title “Sayyid” implies ancestry tracing back to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, whereas “Sheikh” indicates a “normal” lineage. In Shiite practice, all religious scholars are referred to by either title, and “Grand Ayatollah” is a partial translation of the phrase “Marja e Taqleed” (literally: source of emulation). All Shiites are obliged to follow a grand ayatollah for religious matters.
Thus far, the governments of Iraq, Iran and the United States have not made significant progress in either reuniting Iraq or reducing support for Abu Bakr Baghdadi’s band of militants. Analysts believe that the public show of unity behind Ayatollah Sistani is intended to be a major step in resolving the deadlock over action against the violence sweeping Iraq...
That Mr. al-Maliki is believed to have pursued a sectarian agenda has greatly disappointed the grand ayatollah, according to reports. Acting in response, Sistani issued a statement calling for politicians to “not cling to power”.
According to analysts, the support for Ayatollah Sistani and his political work is not in reference to any sort of religious government, nor is it a call for a “wilayatul faqih” (Guardianship of the Jurist) government similar to that of Iran.
Libya’s Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia has said that it seized complete control of Benghazi late on Wednesday, declaring the city an “Islamic emirate,” the group’s representative said. Ansar al-Sharia is blacklisted by the United States over its alleged role in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, eastern Libya.
An official representative for the armed group told a local radio channel that Benghazi is now under its control. “Benghazi has now become an Islamic emirate,” said Mohammed al-Zahawi, the spokesman, to Radio Tawhid.
However, Khalifa Haftar, a retired, renegade former army general who earlier this year launched a self-declared campaign to clear the city of Islamist militants, denied the group’s claims.
“The national Libyan army is in control of Benghazi and only withdrew from certain positions for tactical reasons,” Haftar told Al Arabiya News Channel. “The claim that Benghazi is under the control of militias is a lie,” he said.
Ansar al-Sharia’s declaration comes following two days of fighting in which Islamist fighters and allied militiamen overran an army base in the city. Three years after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, the OPEC nation has failed to control former rebel militias who refuse to disband and threaten the unity of the country.
The extent of recent hostilities has increased Western worries that Libya is sliding toward becoming a failed state and may once again go to war.
Tunisia cannot cope with any massive influx of refugees who might seek to enter the country from strife-torn neighboring Libya and will close its border if necessary, the foreign minister said Wednesday. “Our country’s economic situation is precarious, and we cannot cope with hundreds of thousands of refugees,” as was the case during the 2011 revolution..., Mongi Hamdi told a press conference. “We will close the border if the national interest requires it,” he added.
Libya has suffered chronic insecurity since Qaddafi’s ouster, with the new government unable to check militias that helped to overthrow him and facing a growing threat from Islamist groups... The violence has led thousands of people to flee the country overland or by sea.
Wikipedia info: "According to a Le Monde article dated May 13, 2014, there are between 600,000 and 1,000,000 Libyan refugees in Tunisia, many of which are political opponents of the present forces in power in Libya, and many of which are supporters of the Jamahiriya of Muammar Gaddafi. This represents between 10 and 15% of the population of Libya prior to the NATO intervention."
Gaddafi september 2011: "Anyone who says Qaddafi’s government has fallen is nothing but ridiculous and a joke. Qaddafi doesn’t have a government, therefore that government can’t fall. Qaddafi is out of power since 1977 when I have passed the power to the People’s Committees of the Jamahiriya. When 2,000 tribes meet and declare that only the Libyan people represent Libya, doesn’t that say enough?
This is the answer to NATO which has said the National Transitional Council from Benghazi represents the Libyan people The Libyan people are here and they are with me, nobody can represent us". (Voltaire network)
Contrary to popular belief, Libya , which western media described as "Gaddafi's military dictatorship" was in actual fact one of the world's most democratic States. In 1977 the people of Libya proclaimed the Jamahiriya or "government of the popular masses by themselves and for themselves." The Jamahiriya was a higher form of direct democracy with 'the People as President.' Traditional institutions of government were disbanded and abolished, and power belonged to the people directly through various committees and congresses.
The nation State of Libya was divided into several small communities that were essentially "mini-autonomous States" within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya 's democracy were Local Committees, People's Congresses and Executive Revolutionary Councils.
In 2009, Mr. Gaddafi invited the New York Times to Libya to spend two weeks observing the nation's direct democracy. Even the New York Times, that was always highly critical of Colonel Gaddafi, conceded that in Libya, the intention was that “everyone is involved in every decision...Tens of thousands of people take part in local committee meetings to discuss issues and vote on everything from foreign treaties to building schools.” The purpose of these committee meetings was to build a broad based national consensus....
Democracy is not just about elections or political parties. True democracy is also about human rights. During the NATO bombardment of Libya , western media conveniently forgot to mention that the United Nations had just prepared a lengthy dossier praising Mr. Gaddafi's human rights achievements. The UN report commended Libya for bettering its "legal protections" for citizens, making human rights a "priority," improving women's rights, educational opportunities and access to housing. During Mr. Gaddafi's era housing was considered a human right...
Muammar Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa . However, by the time he was assassinated, Libya was unquestionably Africa 's most prosperous nation.
Wednesday saw back-to-back atrocities in Gaza that made it clear to anyone with eyes to see that Israel is carrying out a war of terror against civilians. Its aim is to break the will of the Palestinian people through the murder of children, the destruction of homes, and the driving of an entire population back to Stone Age conditions.
As the horrific images of the massacres emerged from Gaza, newspapers carried the report that the Obama administration had agreed with the European Union to impose sweeping sanctions—not against Israel, but against Russia.
The punitive actions by the US and the EU are being carried out in the context of a provocative global propaganda campaign blaming Moscow and President Vladimir Putin personally for the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine and the deaths of its 298 passengers and crew....
Israel’s Zionist leadership, having failed to suppress the Palestinian resistance, has reacted with demoralized rage, demolishing entire neighborhoods, bombing schools and hospitals, and killing some 1,400 people, 90 percent of them civilians.
Yet in this case, the Obama administration insists that no one can be held responsible, save the Palestinians for refusing to capitulate.
While Obama cynically laments the deaths in Gaza, Washington is moving rapidly to approve hundreds of millions of dollars more in emergency arms aid to Israel to ensure that the killing can continue without interruption.
Responsibility to protect civilians
It is significant that one of the key architects of this criminally duplicitous policy is Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations.
Ms. Power, it should be recalled, is the same individual who became the leading advocate within the Obama administration of the so-called policy of R2P (responsibility to protect civilians) as the foundation for “humanitarian” interventions.
Waving the flag of “human rights,” the most hypocritical of all justifications for imperialist war, Power was a leading advocate of the US-NATO war for regime-change in Libya, which toppled and murdered Muammar Gaddafi, leaving the country awash in violence and chaos three years later.
She has likewise been a key promoter of the US proxy war for regime-change in Syria, helping to foment a sectarian civil war that has killed over 100,000 people, and then using this catastrophe created by imperialism as justification for more direct intervention.
In 2011 Suzan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, made clear that the United States and the international community saw only one choice for Gaddafi and his aides: step down from power or face significant consequences.
Together with National Security Council figure Samantha Power, who already supported military intervention, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who came to support it, the three overcame internal opposition from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, security advisor Thomas Donilon, and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, and the administration backed U.N. action to impose the no-fly zone and authorize other military actions as necessary.
On 17 March 2011 Rice voted for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 which sanctioned a Libyan no-fly zone. ... Rice and Clinton played major roles in getting the Security Council to approve this resolution, Clinton said that same day that establishing a no-fly zone over Libya would require the bombing of air defenses... (Wikipedia info)
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) spelled out his formula for solving the Gaza problem, in an event at Beit Shemesh Wednesday.
Feiglin does not believe in going after rocket launchers or tunnels. Gaza should be retaken in whole, he said, by directly attacking the Hamas leadership and striving for victory, and doing so according to Jewish law, without sacrificing soldiers in order to save members of the local population, which voted Hamas into power.
Once this is accomplished, the terrorists who fight Israel must be destroyed, he said, and the remaining population should be encouraged to leave through monetary compensation. Surveys show that 80% of Gazans would like to leave the Mediterranean coastal strip and move elsewhere in the world. The minority that decides to stay will be allowed to stay and gradually receive a status similar to the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem.
MK Feiglin was recently appointed to be a member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.
And to the tribes of Reuven and Gad I gave from the Gilad. And I commanded you at that time, saying: ‘Havayah your God has given you this land to possess it; you shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all the men of valor... The example of Moses and the leaders of the tribes of Reuven and Gad must be a guiding light for us. In the days preceding the Ninth of Av, we must redouble our efforts to rectify the sin of baseless hatred and rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem... (Website Jewish Leadership)
Moshe Zalman Feiglin (born 31 July 1962) is an Israeli politician and columnist. He is Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Knesset Member, and head of the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party.
Feiglin won a seat in the Israeli Knesset for the first time in elections held January 22, 2013. Feiglin advocates full Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem, revoking the Oslo Accords, Affording the Arabs of Judea and Samaria permanent residency status and encouraging non-Jews to emigrate. He opposes a two-state solution and advocates that Israel annex the West Bank and Gaza. Feiglin opposes equal citizenship for Israel's Arab minority.
In July 2014, during the 2014 Gaza Conflict, Feiglin outlined steps toward "achieving quiet in Gaza." His plan included attacking all of Gaza, its infrastructure and military sites, without regard to civilian 'human shields'. After conquering and reinstating Gaza back into Israel, that portion of Gaza's "enemy population that is innocent of wrong-doing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave." After again becoming part of Israel, Gaza would be repopulated by Jews.
Although they had been political rivals, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Feiglin Deputy Speaker of the Nineteenth Knesset.
Jewish Leadership, 30-7-2014: Feiglin is the key
To understand what is happening in Israel today, it may be instructive to review the rise in influence of Knesset member Moshe Feiglin. He may be considered “the key” — the native folk figure who speaks to and inspires the Jewish heart, the folkloric warrior who calls Israel to its destiny. The Feiglin spirit subliminally inspires much of Israel today and appears to have inspired the passions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Website Jewish Leadership, 30-7-2014)
An Israeli paper has removed an article from its website,
which urged “genocide” in the besieged Gaza Strip... (Press TV 2-8-2014)
An Israeli paper has removed an article from its website, which urged “genocide” in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The article titled “When Genocide Is Permissible” was published by The Times of Israel on Friday, but was removed hours later, the Moon of Alabama website reported.
Written by Yochanan Gordon, who defended the move on his Twitter page, the article called for committing genocide against the Palestinian civilians in Gaza who have been under a massive Israeli assault in the last 25 days.
Israel’s “hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past six years have insisted they are such good friends with” the regime, Gordon claimed, adding that “nothing can be considered disproportionate” in fight against Gazans. The author stated that according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the purpose of the raid is to “restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel.”
“If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?”
Netanyahu is a cultist from the far right wing Jabotinsky branch of Revisionist Zionism. As with other Central European extreme nationalist movements, the Likud Party is about grabbing one’s neighbor’s land and resources and hitting them hard if they complain.
"Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that zionism can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach. That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not. ..."
"We all demand that there should be an iron wall. Yet we keep spoiling our own case, by talking about "agreement" which means telling the Mandatory Government that the important thing is not the iron wall, but discussions. Empty rhetoric of this kind is dangerous...." "What is impossible is a voluntary agreement. As long as the Arabs feel that there is the least hope of getting rid of us, they will refuse to give up this hope in return for either kind words or for bread and butter..."Vladimir Jabotinsky, in The Iron Wall (1923)
To understand Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, you need to understand the hard-line, uncompromising ideology of a father who pushed his sons to succeed and how the tragic death of the oldest son shaped the destiny of the younger brother...
All of this family history looms over Netanyahu... Netanyahu's father, Ben-Zion (1910-2012) was famous for a towering intellect and renowned for bitter clashes with Israel's more liberal intellectual elite. Father and son shared a great deal: tenacity, perseverance and above all a view of themselves as outsiders. The father instilled in all his sons a fierce, right-wing school of thinking in Israel known as "the Revisionists." They believe in rule by force and raw self-interest as the only hope for Israel's survival.
They see the historic enmity between Arabs and Jews as something that will never be overcome and propose that there should be an "iron wall" -- to use the Zionist pioneer Ze'ev Jabotinsky's words -- between the two. Anything that compromises these beliefs, they hold to be dangerously naive.
Netanyahu did not voice support for a two-state solution. He appointed Avigdor Lieberman -- the hard-right nationalist who has a reputation for derogatory remarks toward Palestinians and a firm resistance to the peace process -- as foreign minister.
Netanyahu said: "Under the final settlement, the Palestinians will have the rights to govern themselves except those that endanger the security and existence of the state of Israel."
Benzion Netanyahu: secretary to Ze'ev Jabotinsky
Benzion Netanyahu (born 25-3-1910, father of Benjamin Netanyahu) was an Israeli historian and activist in the Revisionist Zionism movement. During his studies, Netanyahu became active in Revisionist Zionists circles. He was coeditor of Betar a Hebrew monthly (1933–1934), then editor of the Revisionist Zionist daily newspaper Ha-Yarden in Jerusalem. The British Mandate authorities ordered that paper to close.
He traveled to New York and became the secretary to Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the father of the Revisionist Zionism movement. When Jabotinsky died, Netanyahu remained in New York and continued his Revisionist activities.
Netanyahu believed in a Greater Israel. Relentlessly hawkish, he also believed that the "vast majority of Israeli Arabs would choose to exterminate us if they had the option to do so". In his younger days, he had been strongly in favour of the idea of Arab transfer out of Palestine. In 2009 he told Maariv: "The tendency to conflict is the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won't allow him to compromise. It doesn't matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war." (Wikipedia info)
Albert Einstein, Manhattan Opera House 22-4-1935:
Revisionists are an obstacle to peace
Declaring that the Revisionists are “inner enemies,” Prof. Albert Einstein urged the establishment of friendly relations with the Arabs and warned against viewing Palestine merely as a place of refuge.
Revisionism is the embodiment of those harmful forces which Moses with foresight sought to banish when he formulated his model code of social law.
Furthermore, the state of mind fed by Revisionism is the most serious obstacle in the way of our peaceable and friendly cooperation with the Arab, people who are racially our kin.”
“The Jews,” he continued, “must beware of viewing Palestine merely as a place of refuge. The young men and women who went there before and after the World War made immense sacrifices and envisaged the creation of a Jewish commonwealth which would approximate the traditional ideals of justice and selfless love of man-kind more closely than did the European countries from which they came, and it is in that spirit Jews should regard Palestine for the future.” (JTA website)
Some men who should know better engage in extremist behavior. It’s those men who lay the groundwork that lead to extremism and violence. Indeed, some people in position of authority act violently and set an example for the younger generation. Religious men misuse their authority. They abandon their sacred duty to honor, respect and remain loyal to the community they serve and the individuals that employ them. They indirectly send a message to young and impressionable young men that intimidation and violence in the name of religion is acceptable behavior.
We as Saudis accept such behavior because we fear being branded as bad Muslims while at the same time lament young men going to Syria or other troubled countries to fight illegal wars.
The reality is we allow some people in authority to act on emotion rather than Sunnah and Hadith, sending the wrong message. If we can’t stop the extremists who convey negative signals through their acts, how can we control the young men who are determined to fight in foreign countries?
Egypt has invited Israel and the Palestinian Authority to send delegates to Cairo for truce talks, after both sides agreed a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, the foreign ministry said Friday.
The delegations, which will include representatives of Hamas in Gaza, are expected to depart at any moment, a senior Hamas official said.
"Egypt emphasises the importance of both sides committing to the ceasefire so the negotiations can take place in a favourable atmosphere," the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.
The temporary ceasefire, announced in a joint US-UN declaration, came as a compromise after Hamas rejected an Egyptian initiative earlier last month for a durable truce followed by talks. The Islamist movement had demanded guarantees that Israel would end its eight-year blockade of Gaza. Senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq told AFP more talks were needed on finding a solution to the blockade of the coastal enclave. "More efforts are needed," he said in a telephone interview from Doha, where Hamas's political leadership is based. "But now the whole world knows Gaza will not accept a siege."
Damascus, SANA-Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Armed Forces Gen. Imad Jassem al-Freij, who is the caretaker Defense Minister, said the dirty war waged against Syria is one of the toughest wars known in history. The war against Syria is one of the toughest because it is a composite war where traditional war is intertwined with guerilla war and urban warfare, al-Freij explained, adding that it is a military, economic, political, diplomatic, technological and intelligence war, all at once.
Al-Freij, whose comments came in an interview with the Syrian TV on the occasion of the 69th anniversary of the Syrian army foundation, said that the anniversary this year comes as the Syrian army and people are fighting a fierce war against terrorism.
This is an occasion to draw lessons from the values of the Syrian army, which are an incentive for more determination and will in the face of terrorism until security and stability are restored, he added.
The Syrian army is a full-fledged school in patriotism, heroism and sacrifice, al-Freij affirmed, saying that the army, since its inception, has defended the Arab causes and championed the rights of the Arab nation.
The reasons and factors behind the Syrian army steadfastness are many, al-Freij said, putting it down primarily to the nature of the Syrian army which “comes from the ranks of the people.”
What he described as a “creative integration” between the people and army and their loyalty to their leadership has yielded a “qualitative steadfastness” that was not possible for great armies. Chief among the factors of success is the “clear insight” of President Bashar al-Assad since day one, and his foreknowledge of what was being planned which, the defense minister added, has allowed the Syrian leadership a margin for maneuver and making the sound decisions.
Al-Freij urged everyone who “strayed from the right path” to return to their common sense and take advantage of President al-Assad’s call for the errant citizens to mend their ways. “Ending up in the traitors’ camp bequeaths nothing but disgrace and humiliation,” he added.
“He who thinks that what remained of the gangs of killing and criminality can do what a three-year-war failed to is self-delusional,” al-Freij said, proclaiming victory in the strategic war that was won thanks to the Syrian army.
Preachers and muezzins (those who call the faithful to prayer) will not be allowed to work until they undergo security screening, according to directives issued by the Interior Ministry. Many government bodies will also participate in the new screening amid efforts to boost standards and quality among preachers at large mosques, where Friday prayers are held.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs put forth several requirements when employing preachers. Applicants should be university degree holders in Islamic sciences and have comprehensive knowledge of prayers and acts of worship. They should also know how to draft and deliver Friday sermons and pass tests drafted by a committee of scholars.
In another development, the Council of Senior Scholars has introduced a first-of-its-kind interactive platform between council members and citizens in a bid to counter extremism.
Council members will communicate with citizens via lectures, seminars and scientific workshops to combat rhetoric adopted by foreign terror groups to lure vulnerable youth into fighting abroad.
“Terrorism has taken on new dimensions,” said Fahd Al-Majed, the council’s secretary-general. “Groups that claim they are protecting Islam are, in fact, wreaking havoc in the Arab World. These groups commit acts that have nothing to do with Islam, distorting the image of Islam and Muslims and playing into the hands of this religion’s enemies, while our brethren in Palestine are being subjected to state terrorism before our very eyes...”
“The council joins in the king’s call and reiterates that groups or individuals found guilty of financing or supporting terrorist groups will be punishable uder the law...”
It is a familiar scenario. Israeli is killing hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, and the Zionist propaganda machine is working overtime. The President of the United States reaffirms America’s solemn pledge to protect Israel at all costs and justifies the carnage by stating that Israel has a right to defend itself. Secretary of State John Kerry repeats the message and the US House and Senate pass unanimously American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) drafted resolutions affirming the same.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lies repeatedly and the US media gives him a bully pulpit to spread his disinformation about what is occurring...
The mainstream media obligingly toes the line, depicting something like a battle between equals pitting the Israeli Army (IDF) against Hamas militants, obfuscating the essential asymmetry of the conflict...
Missing in the discussion is the damage that the conflict does to the United States, which is seen throughout the world as Israel’s puppet... America diplomats are supposed to support American interests while the Founding Fathers created an army and navy to defend the United States, not Israel, a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of many in the White House, Congress and in the media.
In reality, Washington has no obligation to protect the Netanyahu government in international fora nor is there any treaty obligation to defend Israel or anyone else outside the NATO alliance. Israel is neither an ally nor is its self-defined security a compelling US national interest if one excludes the drumbeat of the domestic lobby that protects it no matter how badly it behaves...
That the US is so tied to a rogue nation like Israel would be incomprehensible but for the action of what has been described as the Israel Lobby.
As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt puts it, “AIPAC is the only explanation for America’s morally bankrupt Israel policy.”
Israel is in reality a place that most Americans would find unsympathetic. It is a corrupt theocracy that denies equal rights to Christians and Muslims, a fact that is conveniently overlooked by Congress and the media. There is also a strong dose of racism and ethnocentrism in its political matrix, with broad popular support for either disenfranchising or expelling all non-Jews.
That the United States has provided political support for Benjamin Netanyahu is criminal but it is a tribute to the grip that Israel’s lobby has on America’s political class and media.
Israel’s offensive on Gaza has caused over $5 billion of damage to homes and infrastructure in the Strip, the Minister of Public Works said Monday. Minister Mufeed al-Hasayneh, a resident of Gaza, told Ma’an that the amount of money is likely to increase as the assault continues.
Some 10,000 homes have been completely destroyed, and 30,000 homes partially destroyed, al-Hasayneh said.
“The three areas that have undergone the most intense destruction are Shujaiyya, Beit Hanoun, and Abasan,” the minister said.
“Ministry crews were astonished when they arrived to Shujaiyya, where some 110,000 people live. Sixty percent of the homes were completely destroyed, especially those in the eastern part of the neighborhood.”
“The offensive destroyed buildings belonging to Gaza governorates, in addition to police stations and national security buildings,” al-Hasayneh said. The diesel containers belonging to Gaza’s power plant have been destroyed as well, he said... He added that 70 percent water wells had been completely destroyed, “in addition to waste water lines.”
"Our obsession with the Palestinians makes us forget to ask questions about ourselves. What do we want to be? Where are we going? No leader addresses these questions." Ami Ayalon 2001
Ariel Sharon 2002: "They must be beaten"
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon brought an aggressive message to the Knesset yesterday, telling the plenum Israel is at war...
In a rare session with the press Sharon told reporters: "It won't be possible to reach an agreement with them before the Palestinians are hit hard. Now they have to be hit. If they aren't badly beaten, there won't be any negotiations. Only after they are beaten will we be able to conduct talks. I want an agreement, but first they have to be beaten so they get the thought out of their minds that they can impose an agreement on Israel that Israel does not want.
They must be beaten: the Palestinian Authority, its forces, and the terrorists," he said, adding, "if they aren't beaten there won't be any political horizon."
Speaking to the Knesset, Sharon said that "We are at war with a bloodthirsty enemy," and he called on the public to stay calm and determined. "It's us or them. Our backs are to the wall, but all is not lost. We will win, but this is war, and it will take a long time."
Today there is only one horizon, the security horizon....
He emphasized that "we are in a long and difficult war, but if we know how to remain steadfast we can overcome all the obstacles." (By Yossi Verter and Gideon Alon, Ha'aretz, 5-3-2002)
The situation in the region has reached critical mass and it is now time for the players in the peace process to "stand up and say their word: we are with peace or against peace." In a highly-charged interview with the Middle East News Agency (MENA), President Hosni Mubarak said that the world had plunged into a state of "absurdity and schizophrenia", because there is "a huge gap between the words we hear and the actions we see in reality." (april 2002)
Egytp 2012: Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa has slammed mixing partisan politics with religion as "a corruption for the faith".
In a statement on Monday 10/12/2012, Gomaa affirmed that the clerics should refrain from politics with its partisan dimension. Gomaa called on all Egyptians to close ranks in order to build a modernized country. (allafrica.com 2012)
Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil called on Monday on the international community to support Lebanon and offer aid to the Lebanese army to confront terrorism, considering the region to be stuck between Islamist groups and Israel.
“Terrorism is moving from an area to another but it will surely be buried on Lebanese territories,” Bassil said during a meeting for the Palestine Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Tehran. He pointed out that the developments in the Gaza Strip, the Iraqi city of Mosul and the northeastern border town of Arsal are the same.
“The region has fallen between ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and Israel,” Bassil told conferees. “They have the same principles,” he added.
“Killing in the name of religion is never justified and as Lebanese we settled our choices since the creation of our country,” he told officials gathered in Iran, noting that “there is no room for any unilateral decision in the world.”
The U.N. Security Council on Monday condemned attacks by extremist groups in Lebanon, backing the government's military response but warning Beirut against being dragged deeper into the Syria conflict.
Scores of Lebanese soldiers have been killed and injured in three days of clashes with jihadists in the northeastern town of Arsal near the Syrian border, according to the Lebanese army. The 15-member Council "expressed support for the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces in their fight against terrorism and in preventing attempts to undermine the stability of Lebanon."
Member states "reiterated the need to further efforts to build up the capabilities of the Lebanese security forces to counter terrorism and address other security challenges."
The clashes in eastern Lebanon are the latest evidence of how Syria's conflict, which began with protests against President Bashar Assad in March 2011, has afflicted Lebanon.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization’s militants attacked Ouja town south of Tikrit, the hometown of the former president , Saddam Hussein, controlled by the army and the popular crowd.
An official source told “Shafaq News" that "gunmen attacked the strongholds of the crowd and the army Ouja from two western axes , al-Maleha side and the eastern side of al-Jazerra area."
" Fighting lasted throughout the night and stopped at morning..." "The battles resulted in burning the tomb of Saddam Hussein and a number of houses,” the source added.
A leader from Saddam's Albu Nasir tribe and a police official said that Shia militiamen broke into the grave site, tore down photographs of the former Iraqi leader and then set the area on fire.
"We had moved the body eight months ago to a safer place. We were afraid something would happen to him. Our fears proved true," said the tribal leader who asked not to be named. "There were four of us that took up this mission. We could not move the bodies of Saddam's sons. We are afraid someone will desecrate those graves."
The tribal chief would not say where the body was taken. "We moved him to a place far from the hands of his enemies," he said. "Isn't it enough for them that they killed him once. Now they are afraid of his body."
"A militia force entered Saddam's tomb site, destroyed everything and set it on fire. Until now they are surrounding the tomb sites," said a police captain from the nearby city of Samarra. A leader of a Shia militia based nearby confirmed that militias set fire to the grave.
Shia militias are positioned near Saddam's grave to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as Isis. (The Guardian, 6-8-2013)
"I call on you, brothers and sisters, my children and the children of Iraq. I call on you, oh comrades of jihad; I call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us. You should distinguish between the decision-makers and the people. Just hate the action. Even those whose actions deserve to be fought–do not hate them as human beings. Also, the doers of evil, do not hate them, but hate the evil deed itself and fight the evil with what it deserves. Whoever changes to the better or does good inside or outside Iraq, give him clemency and open a new page for him because God forgives and loves whoever forgives out of willingness. Firmness is necessary if the situation calls for it. To be accepted by the people and the nation, one should base things on the law and you must be fair and just..."
"Long live our nation. Long live humanity in the light of security and peace, wherever it imparts justice and fairness."
As-Safir had a long phone interview with a Syrian leader who has defected from the Islamic State (IS) and identified himself as Sheikh Maher Abu Ubaida.
During the interview, Ubaida appeared indignant with the group.... He explained, “It has deviated from its basic objective and has transformed into a militia of mercenaries that steals oil and derails from the eternal path...”
Ubaida explained that he joined the group in early 2013, when he was trained in the Anbar camp in Iraq, and met briefly, on two occasions, with the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi...
On Baghdadi, Ubaida said, “He is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, born in 1970, and is a lecturer in Islamic studies. He is married to three women, one of whom hails from Samarra. He was the imam at Ahmad ibn Hanbal Mosque, and preacher at the Great Mosque in Baghdad. He traveled to Afghanistan and established strong ties with Ayman al-Zawahri (the current leader of al-Qaeda)...
On the reason why he joined IS and not Jabhat al-Nusra, Ubaida said, “I am an imam and preacher at a mosque in Syria, and when Jabhat al-Nusra began to emerge, it considered all of the imams and preachers in Syria as regime agents. It started to pursue them, and I was scared of them. Thus, the emergence of IS was very convenient for me and for many others who believe in the Islamic rule.” At the same time, he emphasized, “There is no fundamental ideological difference between IS and Jabhat al-Nusra; their dispute is only over leadership and control.”
The combined factors of his exile, differences with some leaders and the group’s “derailing from the eternal path and basic objective” are, according to Ubaida, factors that pushed him to defect from the group...
When asked about the reason for not joining Jabhat al-Nusra like Hadrami, he sarcastically replied, “Jabhat al-Nusra is on the verge of disappearing; only its skeleton remains and is getting all the buzz in the media.”
Ubaida explained that the IS structure is fairly complex; Baghdadi is at the top of this pyramid structure, while the man who effectively controls the military operations is Shaker Wahib, who is a Saudi national recently appointed to the post of military general commander.
According to Ubaida, IS suffers from a significant lack of human resources and is trying to fill this vacuum by pressuring some of the factions and tribes to pledge allegiance to it. He said, “The current effective number of IS fighters in Syria does not exceed 10,000 individuals, while the death toll since its inception in Syria amounts to about 2,000 fighters, most of whom were killed during the battles with armed factions.”
Ubaida believes that IS will leave Syria at intervals, within a year from now, will give up its areas of influence and restrict its forces to the oil regions. He pointed out that IS will head to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where it has started to establish cells. He also indicated that there are cells affiliated to IS in Qassim, Khamis Mushayt, Dammam and Hofuf.
Explaining why IS will head to Saudi Arabia, Ubaida indicated, “A large number of IS fighters are Saudis who are currently exerting a lot of pressure to drag IS to Riyadh and are preparing the ground for this step.
Just before noon on August 2, in the Lebanese border town of Arsal, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) arrested Abu Ahmad al-Jumaa, a Syrian militant commander who had recently pledged allegiance to the terrorists ISIL Takfiri group operating in Syria and Iraq. His arrest sparked a number of clashes in the Bekaa town between his supporters and Lebanese security forces stationed in the area. Jumaa had been a commander in the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA). He and his men fought in Qusayr throughout the spring of 2013. When the town fell to Hezbollah fighters and the Syrian government, he, like many others, headed to Yabroud. In March, Yabroud fell under the control of the Syrian Arab Army. Jumaa, his family and his fighters moved to the outskirts of Arsal, in the no-man's-land between Lebanon and Syria. Anti-Syria forces had been using this area, including the Arsal outskirts, to regroup and recuperate between battles...
A few weeks ago, Jumaa pledged allegiance to the notorious leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Since then, sources say, he has begun dressing fully in black and has grown a considerable beard. More dangerously, Jumaa had begun speaking increasingly of the Lebanese army's complicity in Hezbollah's actions in Syria.
By aligning himself with Baghdadi, Jumaa sought to access the ISIL's steady flow of food, weapons, and ammunition, and he has already begun to reap the benefits. Since pledging, his relatively small group of fighters grew from around 40 to over 300. Jumaa is probably the first of many to switch, as several leaders of other FSA battalions in Qalamoun have expressed that their desperation on the battlefield may push them to pledge allegiance to the al-Qaeda breakaway group.
Saudi Arabia has given Lebanon's military $1 billion to help its fight against jihadists on the Syrian border, as the army's chief urged France to speed up promised weapons supplies.
France said it would respond "quickly" to Lebanon's request to expedite weaponry. Saudi Arabia has gone further and handed Lebanon's army $1 billion to strengthen security, former Lebanese premier Saad Hariri told reporters in Jeddah on Wednesday.
King Abdullah "has informed me of his generous decision to provide the Lebanese army... with $1 billion to strengthen its capabilities to preserve Lebanon's security," Hariri told reporters in Jeddah.
Speaking from King Abdullah's palace in the Saudi Red Sea city, Hariri added that "we have received this aid." "This aid is very important especially at this time when Lebanon is fighting terrorism," said Hariri at the overnight conference. Saudi Arabia is already financing a $3 billion package of French military equipment and arms for Lebanon's army.
France insisted on Tuesday that it stood behind the Lebanese army. "France is fully committed to supporting the Lebanese army, a pillar of stability and unity in Lebanon," said Vincent Floreani, a foreign ministry spokesman.
Flashback 2013 - Bashar al-Assad: What is happening in Syria
is the complete opposite to the concept of jihad
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. ....
The West and all its propaganda have always attempted to realign the facts upside down to serve their agenda. Rights become wrongs and wrongs become rights that then legitimize their political practices. If they do that, it doesn’t mean that we should sleepwalk with them.
Former US president Jimmy Carter has called on the United States and EU to recognize Hamas as "not just a military but also a political force" in an op-ed written for Foreign Policy on Monday. "Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor - one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people - can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons," Carter writes.
In his op-ed, the former president accuses Israel of "deliberate attacks on civilians," saying these are war crimes.
"There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe," he writes. Carter pledges his support to the Palestinian unity government, calling it "one of the most encouraging developments in recent years."
Carter also urges the UN Security Council to vote on a resolution "recognizing the inhumane conditions in Gaza and mandate an end to the siege."
Tripoli, Libya 2014: Libya's new parliament has elected Aguila Salah Issa, a jurist from the eastern town of Al-Qobba, as its speaker at a session held in Tobruk, far from the clashes rocking Tripoli. Tobruk, an anti-Islamist stronghold and a militia-free zone, has been largely spared the deadly violence that has been rocking Tripoli and Libya's second city Benghazi since last month. Libyan television showed Issa, an independent who held several judicial posts in the regime of Moamer Gaddafi, beating off eight challengers on Monday. The political newcomer defeated Abu Bakr Biira, who had presided over parliament's inaugural session, in a runoff.
The anti-Islamist parliament, elected on June 25, travelled all the way to Tobruk, 1,500 kilometres (1,000 miles) from Tripoli, to take the oath. MPs said more than 160 of the 188 elected members were present in Tobruk -- a figure that reflects the crushing election victory of nationalists over Islamists who dominated the former parliament.
State television broadcast footage of the session, showing MPs being sworn in at a ceremony attended by representatives of the Arab League, the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Islamist MPs and their allies from the western city of Misrata boycotted the Tobruk ceremony held at a heavily-guarded hotel, branding it "anti-constitutional".
Flashback: Libya 2011-2012
supporters of 'the revolution': Al-Arour, Bin Laden & Henri Levy
Libya's new parliament appealed for national unity at its first formal session on Monday as rival armed factions battled for dominance of a country struggling to hold itself together three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
Hours before parliament met in the eastern city of Tobruk, heavy artillery and rocket fire bombarded southern and western Tripoli, where Islamist-leaning Misrata brigades have fought for three weeks with rival militias allied with the town of Zintan. Lawmakers gathered in a heavily guarded hotel in Tobruk because three weeks of fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi had made Libya's two main cities unsafe for the parliamentary session.
Western nations, which have mostly pulled their diplomats out of the North African country due to the fighting, hope that the new assembly can nudge the warring factions toward a ceasefire and negotiations to end a political deadlock.
Vladimir V. Putin has been playing with fire.
He has mobilized the worst elements to be found in the region. He has taken thugs, thieves, rapists, ex-cons and vandals and turned them into a paramilitary force.
He has permitted ad hoc commanders of separatist groups to kill or chase off intellectuals, journalists and other moral authorities. He has watched as a rabble army destroys or takes over public buildings, hospitals, schools and municipal offices of the country it is pretending to liberate.
He has allowed a veritable gang war to take hold — without caring that he is losing control of the forces that he has unleashed, with rival bands pitted against one another and carving out fiefs amid the growing anarchy.
Most troubling of all: To this underworld without structure or discipline, to these undisciplined louts who know only the law of the jungle, to this new brand of fighting force that has only the dimmest idea of war and no idea, God knows, of the laws of war — to this motley collection he gave a terrifying arsenal with which the amateur soldiers were unfamiliar and with which they have been playing, like kids with fireworks....
With its most recent Gaza war the country has turned a page, exposing Americans and the world to a new and far more fascist Israel than was evident in past decades. One could compile a lengthy list of indicators, few of which have been much explored in the American press but which are fairly widely reported in Israel and on the Internet.
The Israeli peace camp has nearly disappeared... Of equal significance is that it no longer safe in Israel to oppose government policy by peaceful demonstration...
And then listen to Israel’s politicians. There is Ayelet Shaked, whose open call for genocide against Palestinians provoked one British-Israeli citizen to contemplate burning her Israeli passport... But what is one to make of Moshe Feiglin, not a marginal Israeli figure but deputy speaker of the Knesset, a top player in Israel’s ruling Likud Party? He recently called for Gazans to resettled in concentration camps, and all of Hamas and its supporters to be “annihilated.” All societies have their hate groups and extremists, but nowhere in the democratic world are they nearer to the center of power than Israel. In the 1980s Meir Kahane had a small following in Israel, but his pro-ethnic cleansing party was made illegal. Now Kahanists are in the center of the country’s ruling ideology.
"Israel has become a country where right-wing leaders like Avigdor Lieberman and Bibi Netanyahu are sacrificing democracy on the altar of their power politics; where the loyal opposition largely and passively stands aside and watches the organized assault on civil liberties; where state-funded Orthodox rabbis publish books that provide instructions on how and when to kill Gentiles; where half of Jewish youth declare their refusal to sit in a classroom with an Arab; and where mob violence targets Palestinians and African asylum seekers scapegoated by leading government officials as demographic threats.' (Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel)
What are Americans to do about it? Here perception of the new reality lags but is beginning, ever so slowly, to catch up. Many have noted the polls in which older Americans and Republicans still support Israel in overwhelming numbers. The young, more open in their sources of news, do not. Nor do Democrats.
The American polity will change... But even a changed opinion will have to confront a terribly difficult problem: how to treat Israel, hyper-nationalistic, loaded with nuclear weapons, deeply racist, persuaded that any opposition to it is derived from anti-Semitism, feeling that the Holocaust gives it license to do whatever it wants and that the normal rules of international conduct will never apply to it.
It won’t be an easy matter to solve.
Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative.
Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism.
Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.
And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. ... They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them.
Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There are very few intellectuals or writers who have the tenacity and courage to confront this reality. This is what makes Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” one of the most fearless and honest books ever written about Israel.
“Goliath” is made up of numerous vignettes, some only a few pages long, that methodically build a picture of Israel, like pieces fit into a puzzle. ...
- Blumenthal cites a survey of Jewish Israeli attitudes on the Gaza bombing, known as Operation Cast Lead. The survey, by Daniel Bar-Tal, a political psychologist from Tel Aviv University, concluded that the public’s “consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians, and insensitivity to their suffering.” Bar-Tal tells Blumenthal “these attitudes are the product of indoctrination.” And Blumenthal sets out to chronicle the poison of this indoctrination and what it has spawned in Israeli society. ...
- “In Israel you have three systems of laws,” the Israeli Arab politician Ahmed Tibi observes in the Blumenthal book.
* “One is democracy for 80 percent of the population. It is democracy for Jews. I call it an ethnocracy or you could call it a Judocracy.
** The second is racial discrimination for 20 percent of the population, the Israeli Arabs.
*** The third is apartheid for the population in the West Bank and Gaza. This includes two sets of governments, one for the Palestinians and one for the settlers. Inside Israel there is not yet apartheid but we are being pushed there with new laws.” ...
” David Landau, the former editor-in-chief of Haaretz, has called on Israelis to boycott the Knesset “to stand against the wave of fascism that has engulfed the Zionist project.” And Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, says: “Israel’s very existence is threatened by fascism.”...
- Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called “the conscience of Israel,” warned that if Israel did not separate church and state it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult.