Can we live next to an Iranian Syria?
Turki Al-Faisal: "Fighting ISIS is fighting Assad" (16-3-2015)
Like any war, the one in Syria will eventually be over, but it could lead to a permanently bad outcome. |
Today’s generation does not remember Israel being described as a dagger in the heart of the Arab nation. In the 1960s, Arab caricaturists drew the map of the world with blood trickling from where Palestine is located...
A sectarian, Iranian Syria would be the second dagger, one that will remain for centuries, waging one war after another with us...
Iran is redrawing the map of Arab Syria. In order for Arab nationalists to realize the coming danger, they must see things from a sectarian point of view because Iran’s regional motives and alliances are purely sectarian.
Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist, columnist, author, and general manager of the upcoming Al Arab News Channel. He previously served as a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal while he was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States.
Flashback: New Syria Constitution, 2012
The document was issued on 15 February 2012 as a result of four months' work by a committee established by President Assad. Significantly,it omitted the existing constitution's reference to the Baath party as the "leader of the nation and society". It was approved in a referendum on 26 February, 2012.
Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law.Article 2: "no individual or group may claim sovereignty"
The system of governance in the state shall be a republican system; Sovereignty is an attribute of the people; and no individual or group may claim sovereignty.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Thursday morning with British Prime Minister David Cameron...
"I look forward to discussing with you everything you mentioned..," Netanyahu told Cameron at the start of the meeting.
- "First security," the Israeli Prime Minister noted. "The Middle East is disintegrating under the twin forces of militant Islam: The militant Sunnis led by ISIS and the militant Shiites led by Iran."
- "Secondly, and no less important, peace," Netanyahu continued.
"I want to say here in 10 Downing Street, and reaffirm again that I am ready to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians with no conditions whatsoever to enter negotiations, and I'm willing to do so immediately," the Prime Minister vowed.
Flashback 18-5-2015: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handed responsibility for any future peace talks with the Palestinians to his new Interior Minister Silvan Shalom...
Shalom, a veteran member of Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party, will also be in charge of strategic dialogue with the United States...
The nomination was denounced by the Palestinians who said Shalom did not believe in the two-state solution. (YNet News 18-5-2015)
"We are all against a Palestinian state, there is no question about it." Silvan Shalom, Likud meeting 2012
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom was regaled as a hero of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria Wednesday...
The mass event brought together local and regional officials and leaders to pay tribute to Shalom, who for years has quietly – but very effectively – helped make it easier for tens of thousands of Jews to buy homes in Judea and Samaria.
Yesha Council Chairman Avi Ro'eh thanked Shalom – and his chief of staff, Orna Hausman-Bechor – for their ongoing assistance throughout their careers...
An emotional Shalom told members of the audience that there was still much to do.
“We all want the situation to improve even more, and God willing we will be increasing the assistance to all local authorities and municipalities in Judea and Samaria...”
Not only would the Interior Ministry be at the service of communities in Judea and Samaria, said Shalom, but as Deputy Prime Minister, another title he holds in the current government, he would make sure that “all government ministries take part in this important project.”
In certain circles, Syria and Iraq have come to be known as Suraqiya, joining their names together as the border has collapsed and they have each simultaneously been divided into three main regions: a Shiite-oriented central government, a Sunni Arab rebellion, and a Kurdish part that wants out.
This is a positive development; there's nothing sacred about the British-French Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 which created these two polities.
Quite the contrary, that accord has proven an abject failure; conjure up the names of Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein to remember why.
These miserable states exist for the benefit of their monstrous leaders who proceed to murder their own subjects. So, let them fracture into threes, improving matters for the locals and the outside world.
As Turkish-backed Sunni jihadis fight Iranian-backed Shi'i jihadis in Suraqiya, the West should stand back from the fighting.
Neither side deserves support; this is not our fight. Indeed, these two evil forces at each others' throats means they have less opportunity to aggress on the rest of the world. If we do wish to help, it should be directed first to the many victims of the civil war; if we want to be strategic, help the losing side - so neither side wins.
Western governments should not take in refugees
As for the massive flow of refugees from Syria: Western governments should not take in large numbers but instead pressure Saudi Arabia and other rich Middle Eastern states to offer sanctuary. Why should the Saudis be exempt from the refugee flow, especially when their country has many advantages over, say, Sweden: linguistic, cultural, and religious compatibility, as well as proximity and a similar climate.
A unified Kurdistan shoud be our ally in the Middle East
The rapid emergence of a Kurdish polity in Iraq, followed by one in Syria, as well as a new assertiveness in Turkey and rumblings in Iran are a positive sign.
Let us help the Kurds who are as close to an ally as we have in the Muslim Middle East. Not just separate Kurdish units should come into existence but also a unified Kurdistan made up from parts of all four countries.
That this harms the territorial integrity of those states does not present a problem, as not one of them works well as presently constituted
Flashback 2003: Believe It or Not
antiwar demonstrations 2003
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia has “repeatedly underlined that help to the Syrian opposition, moreover financial and technical assistance, leads to further destabilization of the situation in the country.”
But now it is Washington that has gone on the offensive in the war of words between the U.S. and Russia.
Following reports that Russia sent a military advance team to Syria, State Department officials objected to what they call Russia’s military “buildup” in Syria.
In a call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “reiterated our concern about these reports of Russian military activities, or buildup if you will, in Syria and made very clear our view that, if true and borne out, could lead to greater violence and even more instability in Syria,” according to State Department spokesman John Kirby.
It’s a classic tactic of Washington – when it is guilty of destabilizing a country, it points the finger at another culprit to deflect attention from the mess that it has made.
Yet, far from being the result of Russian meddling, the destabilization of Syria starting in 2011 can actually be traced back to 2001, when plans were hatched in the Pentagon for taking out governments in seven Middle Eastern countries.
According to former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, shortly after 9/11 he was shown a confidential memo by a general at the Pentagon detailing plans to overthrow governments in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.
Of those seven, two governments (Iraq and Libya) were subsequently overthrown, one country (Sudan) was cut in half, one (Somalia) became “the most failed state on earth” and two (Syria and Lebanon) have been destabilized. War with Iran was only narrowly averted thanks to multilateral diplomacy and perhaps a little luck.
The reality is that the four-year old civil war in Syria, fueled in large part by Washington’s training and arming of the rebels, appears to have the goal of implementing “regime change” through an armed insurgency, much in the same way as it has been done in other countries, including most recently Libya.
The dangers of pursuing these policies are palpable, as we see the worst refugee crisis since World War II playing out across Europe, but the worst of the ramifications may be yet to come.
When it comes to Syria, the refugees who have already fled mostly came from opposition or contested areas that have been devastated by fighting. But most of the 17 million Syrians still in the country live in government-controlled areas, which are now increasingly threatened by ISIS.
If these people find themselves more exposed to ISIS’s notorious brutality, they will likely swell the ranks of refugees beyond anything we have seen to date.
Nat Parry is the co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.
TEHRAN (FNA)- One supports the government while the other backs “trusted” terrorists in Syria, and the similarities between the two parties begin and end there.
This week, however, their paths crossed in a manner that the US government did not appreciate: Russia is “reportedly” increasing its involvement in Syria, backing the military in the fight against ISIL, al-Qaeda, affiliates and proxies.
The US government has picked the “military intervention” card to fight back - claim territory - which is absurd. After all, the US and its NATO-Arab allies are also “supposedly” bombing ISIL targets in Syria!
Moscow has confirmed it has "experts" on the ground to support its long-time ally in the Middle East, but Russian officials decline to comment on the scale and scope of their military presence. Damascus, for its part, denies Russians are involved in combat. Then again, even if Russia decides to increase the presence of its military advisers, it should be welcome news for at least Washington’s European allies who are struggling with the Syrian refugee crisis at their own doorstep.
The Syrian crisis needs a political solution not bombs. While Tehran and Moscow have made it clear that President Bashar Assad must be included in the necessary political negotiations to bring the fighting to an end, Washington and its allies continue to demand that the Syrian president should step aside.
The regime changers have made it clear that “it would be unconscionable for any party, including the Russians, to provide any support to the Syrian government.”
Lest there be any doubt, those who are helping the Syrian government in the fight against terrorists are not breaking the law. Given the lack of a UN Security Council authorization of the use of force, it is the US and its allies that are in violation of international law.
Admittedly, their air war is not designed to prevent the Arab state from collapse. It is designed to bolster their “trusted” terrorists to affect regime change in Damascus – their stated goal from day one.
Despite the unfolding of the largest refugee crisis since World War II, the United States and its NATO-Arab allies continue to criticize Russia for helping the Syrian government in the counter-ISIL effort.
They refuse to acknowledge and discuss why they cannot come up with concerted effort to bridge diplomatic differences with Damascus in order to bring the useless and destructive war to an end.
Jeremy Corbyn, who is a staunch critic of Israel, and has previously referred to himself as a "friend" of Hamas and Hezbollah, was elected leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party on Saturday...
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem and Israel's embassy in London refrained from publishing any response to Corbyn's victory, even though this victory will have ramifications for Labour's relationship with Israel and the UK's Jewish community.
Some in the community believe that the wealthy British Jewish establishment, which has traditionally supported Labour, may now defect to the Conservatives or a newer, centrist party.
Several years ago, a Jewish Chronicle poll showed that 70 percent of British Jews were concerned about the consequences if Corbyn was elected leader.
Based on his prior statements, it's likely that Corbyn will adopt a tough stance towards Israel and call for sanctions, boycotts on products from settlements and support for a Palestinian state...
Many senior leaders in the party oppose Corbyn, and many – including former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – had issued public warnings strongly urging voters to reject Corbyn, arguing that his socialist ideas will alienate moderate voters and make Labour unelectable.
Speaking after the vote in London on Saturday, Corbyn called for a 'better society' in the UK, and vowed to help bring a better future for Britons.
He said the message from his Saturday election is that people are “fed up with the injustice and the inequality” of Britain.
Corbyn’s policies include spending more on public services like schools and hospitals, scrapping nuclear weapons, renationalizing industries like the railways, according to reports.
During his three decades in parliament, Corbyn has spent much of his time championing causes such as the Stop the War coalition, campaigning against the private finance initiative and supporting peace efforts in the Middle East. He is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, regularly campaigning against Israel’s wars on Gaza and ‘the Israeli Apartheid.’
Corbyn has in the past called for the participation of Hamas and Hezbollah for a settlement of the Middle East conflict and highlighted the role of Iran in the regional issues.
He also cooperated with Press TV for a while and hosted the ‘Comment’ – a Press TV show on international issues.
Germany and other western European powers need to work with Russia as well as the United States to solve the crisis in Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with his Russian, French and Ukrainian counterparts in Berlin on Saturday evening and said afterwards he saw growing support for creating an international contact group to solve the Syrian conflict.
Earlier, a delegation source said Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a lengthy exchange about Syria on the sidelines of the meeting, with both agreeing to support the U.N. Syrian envoy, Staffan de Mistura’s plan to create a Syrian contact group.
De Mistura has invited warring parties to take part in U.N.-led working groups to address matters including political and constitutional issues, and military and security issues.
Russia had called on Friday for cooperation with the United States to avoid “unintended incidents”.
TEHRAN (FNA)- There is a reason why Iran and Russia are helping Syria in its counter-terrorism effort: They are more concerned about what their conscience whispers than about what the United States and its NATO-Arab allies shout.
Allowing a sovereign nation to fall apart is wrong. Lining up behind a blockade of assistance to the Syrian government – even if that would mean an ISIL/al-Qaeda victory – is wrong.
President Obama is dead wrong to assume that the strategy of backing the Syrian government against ISIL is “doomed to failure.”
Iran and Russia will continue to provide military aid to Syria during their mutual war against US-backed proxies and affiliates.
By helping the Syrian government, Iran and Russia are also saving Europe from its worst refugee nightmare since the Second World War. What’s more, many European governments are now publicly warming to the idea. That explains why the conscientious campaign to save Syria will not fail.
Russia’s stance on the Syria settlement has long attracted criticism but no-one has ever come forward with a comprehensible alternative, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday in comments on U.S. President Barack Obama’s words that Moscow’s strategy towards Syria is a mistake.
"No-one has been able to give a sensible answer yet what alternative to the acting legitimate government of Syria can be offered to ensure security in the country, to fight against the spreading Islamic State [terrorist group] and to secure the country’s unity," Peskov said. "No-one can give a comprehensible answer yet.’
"Criticism of Russia’s consistent stance on the Syria crisis is not something new under the sun," the Kremlin spokesman said.
Everyone loves a winner, and victory is sweet, to be sure, but the vast majority of international challenges that the U.S. faces are not win/lose propositions.
The U.S. cannot defeat Russian obstreperousness, or the Syrian civil war, or the rise of China. And the U.S. certainly cannot defeat religious fundamentalism, whatever its stripe.
Wise foreign policy makers realize that the question is not how to win, but how to mitigate threats and pursue national interests in the face of such challenges over the long run.
The obsession with victory makes for bad policy for three important reasons:
-- 1. It encourages the misdiagnosis of the challenges we face, which leads to misguided solutions.
The U.S. has defined the problem of the Islamic State by focusing on ISIS the organization because organizations are relatively concrete concepts that can, in theory, be destroyed. But ISIS is simply the current physical manifestation of a much larger and less tractable set of issues in the region...
The U.S. cannot remake the history, culture, and civil society of the Middle East by destroying ISIS, anymore than it could fix Iraq by toppling Saddam Hussein or Afghanistan by removing the Taliban.
-- 2. The victory obsession encourages the U.S. to do things that in fact make the situation worse.
Ramping up military efforts against ISIS will increase jihadist recruiting, encourage more terrorist attacks in the U.S. and abroad, and further inflame already widespread anti-American sentiment throughout much of the Middle East. Our War on Terror policies simply don’t work well...
-- 3. The victory obsession also poisons the politics of foreign policy.
Instead of a rational debate about how to confront ISIS, political leaders compete to propose ever more aggressive strategies in order to score political points with the public rather than to identify sound policy.
A. Trevor Thrall is an associate professor at George Mason University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
Damascus, SANA- Four million school students are due to be back to about 15, 000 schools Sunday, where the new school year starts as of today Sep. 13th 2015 in the country.
The start of the new school year emphasizes Syrian people’s will to face the terrorist war waged against their homeland, Minister of Education Hazwan al-Waz said in a letter posted at the Ministry of Education’s website.
Al-Waz added that the Ministry’s educational cadres care for ensuring the appropriate atmosphere for the students, including the schools vicinities, books and educational means, to make the educational process a success.
The Minister appreciated the sacrifices of the educational cadre, mainly the teachers who spare no efforts to make the educational process continues...
He reiterated the necessity of understanding the current challenges facing the educational sector in Syria during the crisis, mainly the problem of the students’ density in some classes due to the terrorists’ destruction of scores of schools and the residence of the displaced families in others.
"I would urge that our political parties and our universities recognize the need for greater cooperation and understanding between politicians and intellectuals.
We do not need scholars or politicians like Lord John Russell, of whom Queen Victoria remarked, he would be a better man if he knew a third subject - but he was interested in nothing but the Constitution of 1688 and himself.
What we need are men who can ride easily over broad fields of knowledge and recognize the mutual dependence of our two worlds.
"Don't teach my boy poetry", an English mother recently wrote the Provost of Harrow. "Don't teach my boy poetry; he is going to stand for Parliament."
Well, perhaps she was right - but if more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place to live on..."
John F. Kennedy 1956
Islamic State has designs on the holy cities of Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem and endangers Europe and Russia, Vladimir Putin said. Moscow is concerned about IS-trained jihadists returning to EU countries, the CIS and Russia.
The situation is very serious, Putin said, adding that Moscow is very worried that IS terrorists are publicly announcing their designs on Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.
"Extremists from many countries of the world, including, unfortunately, European counties, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) undertake ideological and military training in the ranks of Islamic State," said Putin, speaking at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe. "And certainly we are worried that they could possibly return."
george bush - hillary clinton - barack obama: regime changers
Putin said it’s necessary for geopolitical ambitions to be set aside in the fight against IS terrorists.
"Simple common sense, responsibility for global and regional safety require uniting efforts of the international community [to fight] such a threat.
It is necessary to set aside geopolitical ambitions, drop so-called double standards, the policy of direct or indirect use of separate terrorist groups for achieving own goals, including removing the governments and regimes."
Putin once again dismissed the accusations against Russia claiming the recent influx of refugees in EU countries was allegedly prompted by Moscow supporting the legitimate government of Syria.
"If Russia had not been supporting Syria, the situation in the country would have been worse than in Libya and the refugee flow would have been even bigger," Putin said.
He added that it was not Russia who destabilized the situation in such countries as Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and other regions of the world.
"It was not us who destroyed government institutions there creating the power vacuum, which is immediately filled by terrorists," he concluded.
Flashback 2012: Heated Debate About Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi's Proposal
In a rare interview with Russian media outlets, RT among them, Syrian leader Bashar Assad spoke about global and domestic terrorism threats, the need for a united front against jihadism, Western propaganda about the refugee crisis and ways to bring peace to his war-torn nation.
What’s the latest developments on the fight against ISIL, and the status of the Russian and Syrian partnership, and of course the enormous exodus of Syrian refugees that has been dominating headlines in Europe.
How do you feel about power sharing and working with those groups in the opposition that continue to say publically that there can be no political solution in Syria unless that includes your immediate departure? Have they sent you any signal that they are willing to team up with you and your government?
Since the beginning of the crisis we adopted the dialogue approach, and there were many rounds of dialogue between Syrians in Syria, in Moscow, and in Geneva...
We have to continue dialogue in order to reach the consensus as I said, but if you want to implement anything real, it’s impossible to do anything while you have people being killed, bloodletting hasn’t stopped, people feel insecure... We have to defeat terrorism, not only ISIS.
Sharing power, of course we already shared it with some part of the opposition that accepted to share it with us. A few years ago they joined the government. Although sharing power is related to the constitution, to the elections, mainly parliamentary elections, and of course representation of the Syrian people by those powers. But in spite of that, because of the crisis, we said let’s share it now...
Regarding the refugee crisis [..], it’s like the West now is crying for the refugees with one eye and aiming at them with a machinegun with the second one, because actually those refugees left Syria because of the terrorism, mainly because of the terrorists and because of the killing, and second because of the results of terrorism.
When you have terrorism, and you have the destruction of the infrastructure, you won’t have the basic needs of living, so many people leave because of the terrorism and because they want to earn their living somewhere in this world.
So, the West is crying for them, and the West is supporting terrorists since the beginning of the crisis when it said that this was a peaceful uprising, when they said later it’s moderate opposition...
Now they say there is terrorism because of the Syrian state or the Syrian regime or the Syrian president. As long as they follow this propaganda, they will have more refugees.
If you are worried about them, stop supporting terrorists. That’s what we think regarding the crisis. This is the core of the whole issue of refugees.
What should the internal opposition do in order to cooperate and coordinate with Syrian authorities to support them in battle…
We are in a state of complete war. I believe that any society and any patriotic individuals, and any parties which truly belong to the people should unite when there is a war against an enemy; whether that enemy is in the form of domestic terrorism or foreign terrorism. If we ask any Syrian today about what they want, the first thing they would say is: we want security and safety for every person and every family... That means we should first unite against terrorism.
How would you evaluate recent Iranian initiatives on reaching a settlement for the situation in Syria? And, in general, what is the importance of Tehran’s support for you?
At present, there is no Iranian initiative. There are ideas or principles for an Iranian initiative based primarily on Syria’s sovereignty, the decisions of the Syrian people and on fighting terrorism.
Iran supports Syria and the Syrian people. It stands with the Syrian state politically, economically and militarily.
When we say militarily, it doesn’t mean - as claimed by some in the Western media - that Iran has sent an army or armed forces to Syria. That is not true. It sends us military equipment, and of course there is an exchange of military experts between Syria and Iran.
How is your relationship with Cairo today given that it hosts some opposition groups?
Relations between Syria and Egypt have not ceased to exist even over the past few years, and even when the president was Mohammed Morsi, who is a member of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation.
Egyptian institutions insisted on maintaining a certain element of this relationship. First, because the Egyptian people are fully aware of what is happening in Syria, and second because the battle we are fighting is practically against the same enemy...
That’s why I can say that there is joint vision between us and the Egyptians; but our relationship exists now on a security level. There are no political relations... Contacts are done on a security level only.
How do you look at the idea of creating a region free of ISIS terrorists in the north of the country on the border with Turkey?
To say that the border with Turkey should be free of terrorism means that terrorism is allowed in other regions. That is unacceptable. Terrorism should be eradicated everywhere; and we have been calling for three decades for an international coalition to fight terrorism...
For us, ISIS, al-Nusra, and all similar organizations which carry weapons and kill civilians are extremist organizations...
They are ideological organizations and are not simply opposed to the state, as is the case with a number of armed groups. Their doctrine is based on terrorism, and consequently dialogue with such organizations cannot lead to any real result. We should fight and eradicate them completely and talking to them is absolutely futile.
What is the Syrian army’s current condition? They’ve been fighting for over four years. Are they exhausted by the war, or become stronger as a result of engagement in military operations? And are there reserve forces to support them?
Of course, war is bad. And any war is destructive, any war weakens any society and any army, no matter how strong or rich a country is...
In answer to your question ‘are there reserves?’… yes, certainly, for without such reserves, the army wouldn’t have been able to stand for four-and-a-half years in a very tough war...
Can you explain to us whom are you fighting? Is it a large group of terrorists or is it a new state which intends to radically redraw regional and global borders? What is ISIS today?
Of course, the terrorist ISIS groups tried to give the semblance of a state, as you said, in order to attract more volunteers who live on the dreams of the past: that there was an Islamic state acting for the sake of religion.
That ideal is unreal. It is deceptive... You cannot bring about a state which has a different form and implant it in a society.
Here we ask the question: does ISIS, or what they call ‘Islamic State’, have any semblance to Syrian society? Certainly not. Of course we have terrorist groups, but they are not an expression of society.
They are certainly not a state, they are a terrorist group. But if we want to ask about who they are, let’s speak frankly: They are the third phase of the political or ideological poisons produced by the West, aimed at achieving political objectives.
The first phase was the Muslim Brotherhood at the turn of the last century. The second phase was al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in order to fight the Soviet Union. And the third phase is ISIS, the al-Nusra Front and these groups. They are simply extremist products of the West.
In some areas, Kurdish formations are your allies in the fight against ISIS. Do you have a specific position towards who the Kurds are to you and who you are to them?
For us, the Kurds are part of the Syrian fabric. They are not foreigners - they live in this region like the Arabs, Circassians, Armenians and many other ethnicities and sects who’ve been living in Syria for many centuries... Without these groups, there wouldn’t have been a homogenous Syria. So, are they our allies today? No, they are patriotic people...
We should unite in order to fight ISIS. After we defeat ISIS, al-Nusra and the terrorists, the Kurdish demands expressed by certain parties can be discussed nationally. There’s no problem with that, we do not have a veto on any demand as long as it is within the framework of Syria’s unity and the unity of the Syrian people and territory...
Some Kurdish forces in Syria call for amending the constitution. For instance, setting up a local administration and moving towards autonomy in the north. These statements are becoming more frequent now that the Kurds are fighting ISIS with a certain degree of success. Is it up for discussion?
I believe that defending one’s country is a duty, and when you carry out your duty, you don’t need thanks. But what you have said is related to the Syrian constitution. This has nothing to do with the president or the government. This has to do with the constitution.
The president does not own the constitution and the government does not own the constitution. Only the people own the constitution, and consequently changing the constitution means national dialogue.
Is there any direct or indirect coordination between your government and the U.S. coalition in the fight against ISIL?
There’s not a single coordination or contact between the Syrian government and the United States government or between the Syrian army and the U.S. army. This is because they cannot confess, they cannot accept the reality that we are the only power fighting ISIS on the ground. For them, maybe, if they deal or cooperate with the Syrian Army, this is like a recognition of our effectiveness in fighting ISIS. This is part of the willful blindness of the U.S. administration, unfortunately.
President Putin called for a regional alliance to fight the so-called ‘Islamic State’; and the recent visits of Arab officials to Moscow fall into that context, but Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that would need a miracle. How do you envisage that alliance?
We are facing terrorist armies equipped with light, medium and heavy weaponry. They have billions of dollars to recruit volunteers. The military and security aspects should be given priority at this stage. So, we think this alliance should act in different areas, but to fight on the ground first.
Naturally, this alliance should consist of states which believe in fighting terrorism and believe that their natural position should be against terrorism...
The person supporting terrorism cannot be the same person fighting terrorism. When they fight against terrorism, we will cooperate with them.
Mr. President, there is a huge wave of refugees, largely from Syria, going to Europe. How do you view those people? Do you see them as part of the Syrian electorate in the future? Do you expect them to return?
Any person who leaves Syria constitutes a loss to the homeland, to be sure, regardless of the position or capabilities of that person. So, yes, there is a great loss as a result of emigration.
You raised a question on elections. Last year, we had a presidential election in Syria, and there were many refugees in different countries, particularly in Lebanon. According to Western propaganda, they had fled the state, the oppression of the state and the killing of the state, and they are supposed to be enemies of the state. But the surprise for Westerners was that most of them voted for the president who is supposed to be killing them. That was a great blow to Western propaganda.
Your political opponents, still insist that one of the most-important conditions for peace is your departure from political life and as president. What do you think about that..? Are you theoretically prepared for that if you feel it’s necessary?
In addition to what you say, Western propaganda has, from the very beginning, been about the cause of the problem being the president. Why? Because they want to portray the whole problem in Syria lies in one individual; and consequently the natural reaction for many people is that, if the problem lies in one individual, that individual should not be more important than the entire homeland. So let that individual go and things will be alright... That’s how they oversimplify things in the West.
What’s happening in Syria, in this regard, is similar to what happened in your case.
Notice what happened in the Western media since the coup in Ukraine.
What happened? President Putin was transformed from a friend of the West to a foe and, yet again, he was characterized as a tsar.
He is portrayed as a dictator suppressing opposition in Russia, and that he came to power through undemocratic means, despite the fact that he was elected in democratic elections, and the West itself acknowledged that the elections were democratic. Now, it is no longer democratic. This is Western propaganda.
What is their problem with Russia? What is their problem with Syria? What is their problem with Iran? They are all independent countries. They want a certain individual to go and be replaced by someone who acts in their interests...
Military operations have been ongoing for more than four years. Were there mistakes on your part? Are there things you regret? And if you had the opportunity to go back, would you change them?
There were mistakes, and mistakes always create gaps and weak points, but they are not sufficient to justify what happened...
And if these gaps and weak points are the cause, why didn’t they lead to revolutions in the Gulf states - particularly in Saudi Arabia which doesn’t know anything about democracy? The answer is self-evident, I believe.
“It is Western propaganda that is capable of mobilizing the masses for whatever ends or goals anywhere in the world.
For whatever reasons, it can trigger coups, conflicts, terrible violence, and ‘strive for change.’ It can call the most peaceful large country on earth the most violent; it can describe it as the real threat to world peace; and it can call a bunch of Western nations that have been, for centuries, terrorizing the world, the true upholders of peace and democracy, and almost everybody believes it. Almost all people in the West believe it.”
Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek, On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare
ORB International's survey of 1,365 Syrians across the whole country, even in parts under IS control, has shown that the majority of people prefer a political solution to the ongoing civil war, while 22 percent think IS is a positive influence on the country.
Seventy percent of Syrians said they were opposed to splitting up the country and wanted a political solution to the crisis, with a majority thinking a diplomatic solution was possible to end the war.
They thought that Syrians could set aside their differences and live side by side again, while 74 percent of Iraqis said their country should not be divided into autonomous regions.
In Syria, the majority of people interviewed said they believe that the situation is worsening with 21 percent saying they prefer life now to what life was like under the full control of Bashar al-Assad - 40 percent preferred life four years ago and 35 percent said life is essentially the same.
Eighty-two percent of Syrians and 85 percent of Iraqis said that IS is a US-made group, with 75 percent of Iraqis also believing that former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been another driving force in the creation of the terrorist group.
Nearly 80 percent of Syrians said that the war has become worse with the influx of foreign fighters.
The first tent camp for internal refugees, constructed by Russian engineers, has been opened in western Syria, in a location safe from the raging civil war.
Over the last four years more than 50 percent of the Syrian population has been displaced.
The camp site is situated on a racetrack, practically in the downtown of the city of Hama (Hamah), some 40km from the nearest warzone. This site is considered to be relatively safe in a country suffering from active military operations since February 2011.
The camp for 500 refugees consists of 25 army tents fully equipped for living, a field kitchen, a canteen, showers, two mobile power generators and a water-storage facility. The dwelling tents are equipped with beds and heating furnaces for cold weather.
In case the number of refugees increases sharply, the camp is ready to accommodate up to 1,000 people.
Everything needed to set up a camp was delivered to Latakia Airport on September 12 by an Antonov An-124 Ruslan jet.
The flight also brought 50,000 sets of disposable tableware and 15 tons of provisions enough to feed 50 people for 30 days. Syrian volunteers are already assisting the refugees at the new camp.
Active fighting is ongoing in neighboring Idlib and Aleppo provinces, and people escaping from the militants into the area controlled by the Syrian government are being accommodated in Hama’s schools. As the academic year is set to begin soon, people must be relocated to enable pupils to attend lessons.
According to Amnesty International, four years of warfare in Syria have displaced half of the Syrian population. About 4 million Syrians have escaped abroad, to neighboring Turkey (1.9 million), Lebanon (1.2 million), Jordan (650,000), Iraq (250,000) and Egypt (more than 130,000).
Leaders at the Russian Defense Ministry and the Pentagon have agreed to restore military contacts and continue consultations, Russia’s military officials said in a statement.
Russia’s Minster of Defense Sergey Shoigu and his US counterpart Ashton Carter talked by phone on Friday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the Syrian crisis, among other issues. They agreed to restore contacts between the ministries.
"The ministers noted the restoration of military-to-military contacts and agreed to continue consultations," spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said.
The “detailed” discussion that lasted over an hour revealed that Moscow's and Washington's views “are close or coincide” on most of the issues considered, Konashenkov added.
The ministers also talked on the need to coordinate "bilateral and multilateral efforts to combat global terrorism".
Former US diplomat Jim Jatras (who served as a policy analyst for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee) told RT that the recent agreement could be “a huge breakthrough” both for conflicts in Ukraine and in Syria.
“Our so-called allies – Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Gulf states – that are supposed to be a part of our frankly ridiculous coalition against ISIS have their own agendas,” Jatras told RT. “The idea that there is an effective coalition against ISIS led by the United States is as absurd a failure as our so-called moderate terrorists within Syria.”
Jatras added that the cooperation between Russia and the US could boost the effectiveness of the campaign against Islamic State, help avoid any “unintended incidents” and “open the door to US cooperation with Damascus government.”
On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that President Barack Obama hoped that military talks with Russia would "help define some of the different options available to us as we consider next steps in Syria..." "We’re looking for ways in which to find a common ground."
The problem in Syria is not so much with the Russians — or Iran, Hezbollah and Assad, all of whom see the Syrian civil war correctly as a fight to the finish against Sunni jihadis.
Our problem has been that we have let our friends — the Turks, Israelis, Saudis and Gulf Arabs — convince us that no victory over ISIS can be achieved unless and until we bring down Assad.
Once we get rid of Assad, they tell us, a grand U.S.-led coalition of Arabs and Turks can form up and march in to dispatch ISIS.
This is neocon nonsense. Those giving us this advice are the same "cakewalk war" crowd who told us how Iraq would become a democratic model for the Middle East once Saddam Hussein was overthrown and how Moammar Gadhafi's demise would mean the rise of a pro-Western Libya... When have these people ever been right?
In making ISIS, not Assad, public enemy No. 1, Putin has it right.
"Educated and enlightened Muslims should not remain idle and allow the fanatics that have gained influence in many parts of the world to spread their evil and radical ideology.
To move Muslim countries forward we need to mobilize all efforts to resolve the ideological crises that have destroyed Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, killing children, displacing families, enslaving women and polluting the minds of the youth.
The time to act is now before the terrorists spread further conflicts and destroy the rest of the Arab and Muslim world."
Samar Fatany, Saudi Gazette, 19-9-2015
Iran’s Pallet music band has launched its new international concert tour with a successful performance in the US city of Portland.
The group went on stage in Portland, Oregan on September 11. The tour will continue with concerts in 11 other US cities and wrap up in Washington D.C on October 4.
According to bandleader and clarinetist Rouzbeh Esfandarmaz, Pallet will perform pieces from its two albums ‘Mr. Violet’ and ‘Tehran, Smile.’
“Unfortunately, other countries have not presented a good image of Iran and Iranians to their people,” said Esfandarmaz. “Pallet and other musicians should therefore introduce Persian music to the non-Iranian audience.”
Formed in November 2010, Pallet is an Iranian Fusion/Jazz band, consisting of Daryoush Azar, Rouzbeh Esfandarmaz, Kaveh Salehi, Mahyar Tahmasebi, Hesam Mohammadinanpour & Omid Nemati; with collaborators such as Khatereh Hakimi, Mehdi Saki & Faraz Aghili.
Pallett band has gained iconic status as one of the most influential and groundbreaking bands to emerge from Iran in recent years. The six-piece band fosters an eclectic approach to their music; a unique blend of Western instruments and Persian lyrics creating a distinct style.
The United Nations on Monday handed Libya’s warring factions a final draft of a peace accord to end their conflict, telling the factions the U.N.’s work was over and they must take the deal or leave it.
The U.N.-sponsored agreement, after months of stalled negotiations, aims to end fighting between two rival governments and their armed backers that has pushed Libya close to collapse four years after Muammar Qaddafi’s demise.
U.N. envoy Bernardino Leon told reporters on Monday that he hoped the factions would now return to reach a final agreement after the Eid Al-Adha Muslim celebrations this week and before October 20, when the mandate of the elected parliament ends: “We finished our work, we have a text that it is a final text. So our part in the process is now finished...”
He said all parties had confirmed their willingness to return to discuss representatives for a united government within days and for a deal to be signed in Libya before October 20.
Libya has fragmented into two loose rival alliances of former rebels who once fought Qaddafi together but steadily turned against one another in the early years after the 2011 revolution in a battle for control.
Since last year, Tripoli has been controlled by Libya Dawn, an alliance of Islamist-leaning former militias and a powerful armed faction from the city of Misrata that set up a self-declared government and parliament in the capital.
The internationally recognized government and elected parliament has worked out of the east of the country since its armed allies were driven out of the capital. It is backed by a former Qaddafi ally General Khalifa Haftar and a loose formation of other armed groups.
Mecca’s twin tragedies this September (a crane toppled on unsuspecting pilgrims and a fire devastated one of the city’s uber-luxury hotels), reignited a debate on Al Saud’s legitimate authority over not just Islam’s holy sites, but the Islamic community as a whole.
Wahhabism, which holds sway in the kingdom, has served more as a divider of people than as a catalyst for dialogue and collaboration.
Needless to say, Al Saud’s support of radicalism, its princes’ play for political control through financial patronage and its clergy’s insistence on institutionalizing sectarianism, have only added fuel to the fire of dissent, inspiring millions to reject the kingdom’s overbearing footprint on Islam.
In 1986, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz claimed the title of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, a title that had traditionally been held by the Ottomans since the 16th century as a mean to assert and consolidate their political hegemony over an otherwise fragmented empire.
A man of ambitions, King Abdul Aziz understood that for his legacy to become lasting, Al Saud’s monarchy would have to root itself deep within Islam (a faith which today claims over 1.6 billion followers), by appropriating custodianship of Islam’s most cherished and symbolic monuments...
Ever since its kings declared themselves the sole guardians of Islam, their power over the global Muslim community has reached dizzying heights...
Under the impetus of Nejd bedouins, Mecca has become a hub for venture capitalists and real estate tycoons.
Like much of the Islamic faith, both Mecca and Medina have found themselves besieged, their memories defiled by those whose understanding of spirituality is limited to financial projections.
Mecca, once a place where the Prophet Muhammad insisted all Muslims would be equal, has become a playground for the rich, where naked capitalism has usurped spirituality as the city's sole raison d'être...
Al Saud’s fortune continues to increase by dint of lucrative business deals and powerful political friendships, but the kingdom’s religious legitimacy is standing on quicksand...
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT, she has also contributed her analyses to Etejah TV, IRIB radio, Press TV and NewsMax TV.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The policy of using force in solving the Yemen crisis has proven useless and the situation continues to destabilize the Middle East, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia’s aggression in Yemen has become a strategic mistake. These incorrect actions will of course have negative impacts for the region’s security, as well as for the security of Saudi Arabia and Yemen,” Amir-Abdollahian said during a press conference in Moscow.
He said that Iran continues to help the Yemenis: “Tehran is doing everything to help the Yemeni people,” Amir-Abdollahian said, adding that Iran continues to deliver humanitarian aid to Yemen and supports dialogue between the two opposing sides in the conflict.
The Iranian diplomat also said Tehran supports the consultations that are being held between the opposing parties with Oman as a mediator.
“We support the political consultations that are continuing between the Yemeni parties under the auspices of the UN in Oman,” he added.
Here is the latest report confirming just how foolish it was to arm “moderate” rebels in Syria:
Pentagon-trained rebels are reported to have betrayed US and handed weapons over to an al-Qaeda affiliate immediately after entering Syria.
Fighters with Division 30 surrendered and handed over “all its weapons” to Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, sources alleged on Monday.
Division 30 was the first faction whose fighters graduated from a US-led training programme in Turkey which aims to forge a force on the ground in Syria to fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil). (The Telegraph, 22-9-2015)
This is entirely unsurprising, and it drives home how irresponsible demands to “arm the rebels” in Syria have always been.
Of course these weapons are ending up in the hands of jihadists. Jihadists and their allies make up the forces fighting against the Syrian regime, and any other anti-regime group is going to cooperate with them or be attacked and have their weapons plundered by them. That was always likely to be true from the start, and it has been obvious now for years.
Syria hawks have promoted the fantasy that there are “moderates” that can be turned into an effective U.S. proxy in order to get the U.S. sucked into a conflict in which it had and still has no stake and no allies worth having.
By indulging that fantasy even a little, the administration’s policy in Syria has effectively provided material support to jihadists.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi blasted the US Republicans for their opposition to the recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers and threatening Iran with military option, and said they want to revive the era of "crazy Bush".
"They are reactionary people and want to return to the era of the presidency of crazy Bush..." Firouzabadi told reporters on the sidelines of the annual nationwide parades on Tuesday morning.
Firouzabadi underlined Iran's determination to fight against the arrogant powers, and said the terrorist groups in the region are the fingertips of the world powers and Iran will stand against them too.
"All the regional countries should know that the US, Israel and Britain are supporting the terrorists," he added.
Flashback 2012: "Why are they establishing
On Sunday, a Saudi-led coalition air strike ripped through a market in Sanaa, Yemen, killing 69 civilians and injuring dozens of others...
Air raids on Friday destroyed portions of Sanaa’s historic Old City, which is on the United Nation’s list of World Heritage sites.
Historic cultural sites throughout Yemen have come under repeated attack in the course of the six-month Saudi-fronted assault...
The atrocities carried out by the Saudi monarchy and its allies would not be possible without the backing of the American government and military.
The entire assault is being overseen from a joint operations center in Saudi Arabia staffed by dozens of American military advisors. American drone operators are providing live video streams of potential air strike targets, while American advisors give their stamp of approval.
At least 1.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, with thousands risking the perilous trip by sea across the Gulf of Aden to take up residence in inhospitable refugee camps in Somalia and Djibouti.
The UN estimates that more 21 million Yemenis, 80 percent of the country’s population, are in need of some form of humanitarian aid.
There has not been a single week since the assault began in which there has not been an attack that resulted in mass civilian casualties. This is the outcome of the coalition’s practice of deliberately targeting non-military civilian targets for destruction, including water bottling factories, ports, power plants, residential neighborhoods, workers’ housing units, market places, schools and hospitals.
The attacks over the weekend were just the latest in the ongoing assault being waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies to reinstate the government of President Abdrabuh Monsour Hadi, which was forced to flee Yemen earlier this year in the face of an assault by Houthi militias on the port city of Aden.
The KSA has wrapped itself in international law, claiming that it wants to restore Hadi to power.
But his followers largely abandoned him after he fled into exile and endorsed Saudi airstrikes on his fellow citizens. Killing people generally is not a good way to rally the public to your cause. Only a Saudi occupation could sustain him in power.
Yemen requires a negotiated settlement, which Riyadh has done nothing to promote.
Yemen's political turbulence is largely irrelevant to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken argued that America's ally, Saudi Arabia, was "sending a strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force."
But it doesn't much matter to anyone outside of Yemen if they do. Whoever rules Sana'a will neither challenge Saudi primacy nor block Gulf shipping. America's only serious security concern is the al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). But the Houthis hate AQAP as much as they dislike America. Unfortunately, AQAP has gained in the chaos, to which Saudi Arabia has greatly contributed: Defense Secretary Ashton Carter worried about the group's "great gains."
Secretary Kerry sounded like a late-night comedian when he announced that the U.S. was "not going to stand by while the region is destabilized or while people engage in overt warfare across lines, international boundaries and other countries."
Washington engages in such behavior regularly, and the KSA is the region's most malignant player. Indeed, on any normal measure, Riyadh is far more inimical to American interests than Iran.
You wouldn't know that from American policy. Normal countries have constitutional monarchies in which the nominal heads of state are tourist attractions.
Saudi Arabia is a totalitarian theocratic gerontocracy in which a handful of elderly brothers and their sons rule over nearly 30 million people while looting the country's wealth on behalf of a few thousand princes...
The Saudis long have underwritten the intolerant Wahhabist theology around the world, including in America. Wahhabism is hostile to modernity and creates a theological environment conducive to extremism and terrorism...
Spiritual oppression is complete. Not one church, synagogue, temple, or other house of worship operates in the KSA. Gathering together privately in a home is enough for arrest...
Moscow’s Grand Mosque is due to open on Wednesday after a decade of construction work to become one of the biggest places of worship in Europe.
The opening ceremony for the new mosque will take place on the eve of Eid al-Adha, known in Russia as Kurban Bairam, a major religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide...
Islam is the second largest religion in Russia, which has more than 7,000 mosques. Muslims constitute a majority in Russia’s regions of Adygea, Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia.
In the Soviet era, the Grand Mosque was not closed and was the only operating mosque in the Russian capital.
Russia's Mufti Council has been granted permission to build another mosque in Moscow to accommodate 20,000 worshippers, destined to be Europe’s third largest after the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain and Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul.
The decision to step up the construction of mosques in Moscow comes amid a significant growth of the Muslim population.
Russia is home to a total of 23 million Muslims representing 38 peoples, according to the Council of Muftis. In Moscow, Muslims account for at least 2 million or one in six citizens is Muslim...
"We see what is happening in the Middle East where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State group are compromising a great world religion, compromising Islam, in order to sow hate," Vladimir Putin said at the site of the newly reopened Moscow Cathedral Mosque.
The speech, which was delivered just a day before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, emphasized the mosque's role as a spiritual center for Russians. "It will be a source for education, spreading humanist ideas and the true values of Islam," Putin said.
Mahmoud Abbas: "I am happy to be in Moscow, not only to participate in the opening ceremony for the large Cathedral Mosque, but also to meet with you at this crucial moment in history.
It is highly important and necessary for us to listen to your assessments, since there are currently many events of great importance in the world, not only for our two nations, but for the entire planet and our region."
"As you know, Palestine is presently going through a period of elevated tensions; this particularly concerns the tense situation in Jerusalem. I am also referring to Israel’s continuing settlement activity, and the terrorist activities conducted by Jewish settlers, who kill Palestinian youth almost daily.
After today’s meeting, we will head to the UN, so we feel it is essential to consult with you about the steps that could be taken at the UN.
Both our nations are also concerned about the situation in Syria. We feel that a very important moment has set in, when a political decision is near and a door has opened for political resolution."
Bashar al-Assad, regional secretary of the Syrian Socialist Baath Party and state president
"The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam." "The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Iranian government as well as the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be part of any negotiations aimed at putting an end to the crisis in Syria.
“We have to speak with many actors; this includes Assad, but others as well. Not only with the United States of America, Russia, but with important regional partners, Iran, and Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia,” Merkel told a Thursday press conference in Brussels following a summit of European Union (EU) leaders on the recent refugee crisis facing Europe.
Western countries, which all along the way have been insisting on Assad’s departure, seem to be modifying their positions vis-à-vis the crisis in Syria. On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said although Assad must relinquish power, the timing of his removal should be decided through negotiations. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has also made similar remarks.
The EU leaders released a statement after the Brussels meeting, urging a new push for Syria’s peace talks.
King Salman emphasized on Friday that Saudi Arabia won’t allow any hidden hand to tamper with the Arab and Islamic unity, and that the Kingdom will continue supporting the Arab and Muslim efforts for peace and stability.
The King made the remarks while addressing leaders of Islamic countries, senior Islamic dignitaries, heads of Haj missions and guests, who came to perform Haj, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
King Salman underscored that Islam is the religion of brotherhood, peace and compassion, justice and charity.
The King said that Saudi Arabia is keen to play its regional and international role after taking into account its Arab and Islamic responsibility.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — When Mohamed Al Rabeah was in his teens, he discovered an idea that made him doubt the value of mixing politics and religion. Fearing that he was alone, he kept his new interest under wraps.
Then came the Arab Spring and the Twitter explosion in Saudi Arabia. Suddenly, Al Rabeah discovered that many of his peers shared his idea. So they began meeting weekly to discuss it at a house in the desert outskirts of Riyadh. That was the start of an ongoing salon focused on Arab nationalism, or as some call it, Arabism.
It is certainly not a new political idea. But after decades of declining popularity under the ascendance of political Islam, Arabism is seeing a revival of sorts among Saudi youth. They say they see it as a way out of the sectarian conflicts now gripping the region.
“Young people who like Arabism are rejecting the Islamic groups and political Islam in general,” said Bader Al Ibrahim, 29, an epidemiologist who is another proponent of Arabism.
“There are Islamic groups that are in one way or another politicizing these sectarian identities. For example, [former Egyptian President Muhammad] Morsi, he talked about ‘the Sunni project.’”
Al Ibrahim acknowledged that sectarian sentiment pitting Shia against Sunni is now stronger than Arabism in both Saudi Arabia and the region, but he insisted that young people “are not convinced by sectarian rhetoric.”
Religion is important but not in politics, he continued. “We are respecting Islam and Islamic culture [which is] part of the Arab identity and Arab culture,” he said. “But we don’t politicize our Islamic identity because if you put it into politics, you will get more sectarianism, and we can see that in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.”
Arab nationalism had its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s when Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser was its most eloquent spokesman and promoter...
But after Israel’s defeat of Arab armies in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Nasser’s death in 1970, Arab nationalism waned and Islam increasingly became the polestar of Middle East politics and government.
The Saudi monarchy, whose legitimacy is based on Islam, felt threatened by Arabism, particularly while Nasser was its torchbearer, and still views it suspiciously.
Those who support Arab nationalism envision that Arab countries will cooperate politically, economically and militarily with each other... But why do they think Arab nationalism would be more successful than it was before?
“We have already critically revised the experiment of those people in the 50s and 60s,” Al Ibrahim replied. “We are not the same as that generation. The challenges are different and our thoughts are different, for example, about democracy.
Baathism was an ideology of a regime. We believe in democracy and in pan-Arabism as an identity not as an ideology of a regime.” Al Rabeah added, “our failure in the past will not stop us…. The Arab Spring proved that we have a big need for a united identity.”
Pragmatic and logical approach
Gamal Abdel Nasser was a giant of the twentieth century who curiously is not well-remembered today. He was ahead of his times. The world powers that constantly opposed his attempts to mainstream Egypt into the world while he was alive may long for his forward-looking pragmatic and logical approach compared to the backward-looking Islamist extremism rife in the region today. ...
DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.
"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth. . . . Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else. Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea. If we had gone along with everything we heard we would have killed off all the people and torn down every idea, and there would have been nothing to do but sit down among the corpses and ruins...
"We were deluged with petitions and complaints . . . but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness."
Analysis: Syria, as a unified state, no longer exists. With the possibility of a single state being unlikely for the foreseeable future, it might be time to divide the country into several state entities.
Any attempt to find a solution to the crisis has to acknowledge the fact that Syria, as a sovereign state, is no longer.
A single state with a single effective government cannot exist in that country's territory in the foreseeable future. The guiding hope of the international community – that it would be possible to turn back the wheel and stabilize the "old" Syria under a different government – is baseless.
That's why the focus should be on finding a practical replacement to the Syrian state, and developing a plan whose outlines will be accepted and agreed upon by regional and global leaders.
Syria's de jure splitting into several separate state-like entities on the base of ethnicity is the natural and expected solution...
According to the suggested plan, the Sunni majority will keep control of most of Syria's territory...
Three large minority groups are concentrated inside Syria's borders, in three distinct areas: The Alawites in the west, the shore areas; the Druze, mostly in Jabal al-Druze ("mountain of the Druze"), north of Jordan; and the Kurds in the north, near the Turkish border. The outline for a resolution in Syria has to be based on ensuring these communities' existence as independent state entities.
Such a plan is compatible with the interests of most global and regional players, who seek the return of peace and quiet to Syria – among other reasons, in order to stop ISIS. These include the United States, European countries, the Lebanese and Jordanian regimes and Israel...
About 100 years ago, the Sykes-Picot agreement was signed, dividing the Levant into nation-states... It's time to bid it farewell, at least in Syria.
Former Minister Gideon Sa'ar was a member of the Israeli government's Security Cabinet, and today serves as a senior fellow in the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Dr. Gabi Siboni is a senior researcher and the head of the military and strategy program at the INSS.
(IraqiNews.com) Baghdad – Nuri al-Maliki confirmed that the Iraqis insist on the unity of their country, stating that “the arms are in our hands and we will resist the division.”
Maliki said in his speech during his attendance at a public festival for supporting al-Hashed al-Shaabi forces in Karbala that “all the challenges that we face are the result of the plots planned by our enemies who spent billions,” noting that “Iraqis insist on the unity of their country and reject the division.”
Maliki added that “what happened in Mosul, Anbar and Salahuddin is a plan that paves the way for the division of Iraq.”
The eye of Horus, represented as the wedjat eye, was born as one of the most powerful and popular symbols of Egypt. It was seen as the watchful eye. The eye saw everything and protected the world from the always threatening chaos, symbolised by Seth, the red-hairy god of confusion and destruction.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press Saturday night, El-Sisi also said that Syria should not be divided after its civil war, that the Egyptian military needs to be "augmented" to defeat terrorists fighting in the Sinai and Western Desert, and that efforts should be renewed to solve the Palestinian issue...
Resolving the Palestinian question, he said, could "change the face of the region and ... bring about enormous improvement to the situation..."
El-Sisi, speaking through a translator, said that regional security is in "its most vulnerable state."
"I don't want to say we are late in doing what we should have done, but defeating the threat will require a lot of effort, and not only a lot of effort but as a matter of fact it entails a good amount of understanding and cooperation from every country ... to restore the countries that are now sliding into this vicious cycle of failure."
Referring to the civil war that has shattered Syria, the president said "we are very keen that Syria remains as a nation and as a state and does not divide into smaller states."
Jeremy Corbyn is set to use his first conference speech as Labour leader to apologise on behalf of his party for taking Britain into war in Iraq...
He is expected to say that Labour has learnt its lesson from the conflict and will “never make the same mistake again”.
He will add that in the future Britain’s role in international affairs needs to change to the promotion of conflict resolution and co-operation rather than using UK forces to achieve regime change.
Israel Will Never Hand Over Parts of the West Bank
For the second time this month, Russia moved to expand its political and military influence in the Syria conflict.., this time by reaching an understanding, announced on Sunday, with Iraq, Syria and Iran to share intelligence about the Islamic State.
Like Russia’s earlier move to bolster the government of President Bashar al-Assad by deploying warplanes and tanks to a base near Latakia (Syria), the intelligence-sharing arrangement was sealed without notice to the United States.
American officials knew that a group of Russian military officers were in Baghdad, but they were clearly surprised when the Iraqi military’s Joint Operations Command announced the intelligence sharing accord on Sunday...
American officials sought to play down the significance of the agreement but objected to the Syrian government’s participation in the intelligence sharing.
“We do not support the presence of Syrian government officials...,” Col. Steven H. Warren, a Baghdad-based spokesman for the American-led coalition, said.
But some experts say that Iraq’s response to the Russians reflects the fractured nature of decision-making in Baghdad, its attempt to navigate a middle ground between the United States and Iran and that the Iraqi government has a divergent reading of how to deal with Syria.
“Power and authority in Iraq have become increasingly diffused, with various players now exercising unilateral power over the use of force,” said Ramzy Mardini, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “Neutrality is the best Washington can hope for in Baghdad,” Mr. Mardini said. “Iraq is still a fragile state whose leaders are exposed to politics. In the discourse of Iraqi politics, forcing Abadi to side with the U.S. against Assad is like realigning him with the Sunni axis against the Shia one.” (NYT)
As a bride we love our Motherland
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and other Russians are united by first of all love for their Motherland.|
In an interview with US TV anchorman Charles Rose for the CBS and PBS channels shortly before taking part in the UN General Assembly session, Putin said when asked why he is so popular: "There is something that unites me and other citizens of Russia. It is love for our Motherland."
"My family and my relatives as a whole suffered heavy losses during the Second World War", Putin said, "That is true. In my father's family there were five brothers and four of them were killed, I believe. On my mother's side the situation is much the same. In general, Russia suffered heavily. No doubt, we cannot forget that and we must not forget, not to accuse anyone but to ensure that nothing of the kind ever happens again."
Vladimir Putin gave an interview to American journalist Charlie Rose in the run-up to his address at the UN General Assembly’s 70th session.
CHARLIE ROSE: What is the purpose of your presence in Syria and how does that relate to the challenge of ISIS?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Concerning our, as you put it, presence in Syria, as of today it has taken the form of weapons supplies to the Syrian government, personnel training and humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
We act based on the United Nations Charter, i.e. the fundamental principles of modern international law, according to which this or that type of aid, including military assistance, can and must be provided exclusively to legitimate government of one country or another, upon its consent or request, or upon the decision of the United Nations Security Council.
In this particular case, we act based on the request from the Syrian government to provide military and technical assistance, which we deliver under entirely legal international contracts.
CHARLIE ROSE: The Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States welcomed your assistance in the fight against the Islamic State. Others have taken note of the fact that these are combat planes and manpad systems that are being used against the conventional army, not extremists.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: There is only one regular army there. That is the army of Syrian President al-Assad...
Vladimir Putin: “I respect my colleagues, the US president and the French president, but I don’t think they are Syrian citizens, so I don’t think they should be deciding on who should lead Syria.” (The Guardian 29-9-2015)
Provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter...
We provide assistance to legitimate Syrian authorities. [..] There is no other way to settle the Syrian conflict other than by strengthening the existing legitimate government agencies, support them in their fight against terrorism and, of course, at the same time encourage them to start a positive dialogue with the “healthy” part of the opposition and launch political transformations.
CHARLIE ROSE: As you know, some coalition partners want al-Assad to go before they can support the government.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would like to advise or recommend them to forward this suggestion to the Syrian people. It is only up to the Syrian people living in Syria to determine who, how and based on what principles should rule their country.
CHARLIE ROSE: Do you support what President al-Assad is doing in Syria and what is happening to those Syrians, to those millions of refugees, to hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed and many – by his own force?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: And do you think that those who support the armed opposition and, mainly, terrorist organisations just in order to overthrow al-Assad without thinking of what awaits the country after the complete destruction of state institutions are doing the right thing?
Time and again, with perseverance worthy of a better cause, you are talking about the Syrian army fighting against its people. But take a look at those who control 60 percent of Syrian territory. Where is that civilised opposition? 60 percent of Syria is controlled either by ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra or other terrorist organisations, organisations that have been recognised as terrorist by the United States, as well as other countries and the UN.
CHARLIE ROSE: As we come back to the problem of many people considering that al-Assad is helping ISIS, that his terrible attitude towards the Syrian people and the use of barrel bombs and other actions are helping ISIS, and if he is removed, the transition period would be better at some point for the purposes of fighting ISIS.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: In secret services’ parlance, I can say that such an assessment is a blatant act by al-Assad’s enemies. It is anti-Syrian propaganda.
The export of so-called ‘democratic’ revolutions has continued, but has unleashed poverty and violence instead of the triumph of democracy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said addressing the UN General Assembly.
Attempts to push for changes in other countries based on ideological preferences have led to “tragic consequences and degradation rather than progress.”
“We should all remember what our past has taught us,” Putin said. “We, for instance, remember examples from the history of the Soviet Union.”
It seems however that some are not learning from others’ mistakes, but keep repeating them, he said, adding that “the export of so-called ‘democratic’ revolutions continues.”
“I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation: Do you realize now what you have done?” “But I am afraid the question will hang in the air, because policies based on self-confidence and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.”
A single center of domination emerged in the world after the Cold War era ended, Putin stated.
Those who were at the “top of this pyramid” were tempted to think that “if they were so strong and exceptional, they knew what to do better than others."
“Therefore they do not have to reckon with the UN, which instead of automatically authorizing, legitimizing the necessary decisions often creates obstacles or in other words ‘stands in the way’.”
Russia believes that attempts to undermine the authority and legitimacy of the United Nations are “extremely dangerous” and could lead to the collapse of the entire system of international relations, the Russian President said.
He described it as “hypocritical and irresponsible” to turn a blind eye to the channels through which terrorists are financed while making declarations about their threat to the whole world.
“We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone arm them, is not only short-sighted, but ‘fire hazardous.’
Though Gen. David Petraeus claims Vladimir Putin seeks to re-establish the Russian Empire, this misses the point. If Putin sought that, he would by now, 15 years in power, have annexed Belarus and Ukraine, but he has not even annexed the pro-Russian Donbass...
What is threatened today is the New World Order of Bush I, the “unipolar world” preached by the neocons and Bush II, and the “rules-based” world of Barack Obama.
Patrick J. Buchanan, September 29, 2015
President Obama, who has boasted of ordering military strikes on seven countries, chastised Russia and China for not abiding by the rules of international behavior, a breathtaking example of hypocrisy or self-deceit.
There was stunned silence in the General Assembly Hall on Monday as U.S. President Barack Obama warned leaders against falling back to pre-United Nations days, in which strong nations imposed their will by force against the weak.
There was apparent disbelief as he said it was Russia and China that wanted a “return to the rules that applied for most of human history and that pre-date this institution.”
These ancient rules included the “belief that power is a zero-sum game; that might makes right; that strong states must impose their will on weaker ones; that the rights of individuals don’t matter; and that in a time of rapid change, order must be imposed by force.”
The silence in the chamber came because everything Obama ascribed to others perfectly describes U.S. behavior from the end of the Second World War until today.
Since 1945, the U.S. has participated in dozens of documented invasions and overthrows of sovereign governments that resisted U.S. hegemony — the strongest nation imposing its will militarily on the weak.
Among the best known are the 1953 and 1954 coups in Iran and Guatemala, and the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq...
Yet Obama on Monday was blaming Russia and China for the mess Washington has created, saying, “We see some major powers assert themselves in ways that contravene international law.”
Putin argues that Assad’s military is the most effective ground force (along with the Kurds) against the monstrous group and that all nations who want ISIS defeated should work with Assad.
“The Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere,” Putin told the Assembly. “It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes.”
He added that it was irresponsible “to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.”
The upper house of Russia's parliament has authorized the Russian president to use the country’s Armed Forces in Syria.
The Federation Council has granted permission to the Russian president to use the country’s troops in Syria, Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov told journalists on Wednesday. No one abstained or voted against.
Ivanov said all the social and financial issues concerning the support of those Russian servicemen who will participate in the operation will be solved and the respective decisions have been already approved.
Ivanov said that Russia will use its Air Force in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s request.
"In order to observe the international law, one of the two conditions has to be met - either a UN Security Council resolution or a request by a country, on the territory of which an airstrike is delivered, about military assistance," Ivanov told journalists.
"In this respect, I want to inform you that the president of the Syrian Arab Republic has addressed the leadership of our country with a request of military assistance," he added.
"The operation’s military goal is exclusively air support of the Syrian armed forces in their fight against ISIL," he said.
The US will open “lines of communication” with Russia to avoid “misjudgment and miscalculation” as a US-led coalition conducts strikes against ISIS in Syria. Moscow is assisting government forces in their fight against the terror group.
Pentagon officials have stressed the need for “deconfliction” with regards to the coalition and Russian forces. The two sides are set to discuss their respective actions in order to reduce the risk of accidents.
“The purpose of these deconfliction discussions will be to ensure that ongoing coalition air operations are not interrupted by any future Russian military activity, to ensure the safety of coalition air crews and to avoid misjudgment and miscalculation.” Defense Department officials have been ordered to work out the details of conversations with Russia... (Russia Today 29-9-2015)
The conflict which has plunged Syria into mourning is not a war opposing different communities, but a war between two projects for society.
- On one side, a modern, secular Syria, in other words, a society which is respectful of ethnic, religious, and political diversity;
- on the other, the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, who, since their creation in 1928, have been seeking to re-establish the Ottoman caliphate by means of jihad.
The Muslim Brotherhood claim that they wish to defend and propagate Islam. But their interpretation of the Qur’an excludes any spiritual experience of Allah, thus reducing it to a simple legal manual. They are preaching a religion without God.
Saudi based cleric Adnan Al-Arour
In 2012 the Muslim Brotherhood placed themselves under the protection of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The situation entered a new phase with Daesh’s decision to proclaim a caliphate, despite the opposition of Al-Qaïda, for whom the time of the caliphate had not yet come.
Little by little, the multitude of fanatical groupuscules in Africa and Asia who were inspired by the Brotherhood rallied together under the blood-stained sabre of the «Caliphe».
Faced with the uninterrupted tidal wave of jihadists from all over the world, including our own nation, the Syrians have chosen to save their own people before defending their own land.
Currently, 12 million of them have been forced to flee the combat zones. 4 million are now refugees in neighbouring countries, while 8 million have been able to seek protection by moving to the territories administered by the Republic. Of the 19 million who have stayed in Syria, almost 500,000 are now in the clutches of the jihadists, spread out across a vast territory.
By supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, we have opened the gates of Hell. Let’s help the Syrians and the Iraquis to close them again. Let’s answer the appeal of President Putin. Together, let’s defeat barbarism, save civilisation, and re-establish peace.
Flashback 2012: opposition demonstrationsA demonstration in “Al-Khalideyyah” quarter in the city of Homs, where the protesters chanted the slogan: “The folks want Adnan Al-Arour”
A demonstration in Jabal Al-Zayeah in Idleb, where the protesters chanted the slogan: “It is too soon master Al-Arour! don’t give up. Our revolution is better than OK. Thank you thank you Wisal TV”
A demonstration in the city of Jablah, where the protesters chanted the slogan: “Master Al-Arour! Don’t care about any thing. We are your men and we are ready to drink blood when you order us.”
A demonstration in the city of Hama, where the protesters chanted the slogan: “Salute sheikh Qaradawi salute!”.
Putin's realist talk about Syria at the UN led to a change in U.S. policies.
The White House has halted the Pentagon training of the unicorn riding "moderate rebels". On top of that Secretary of State John Kerry made a very new statement that amounts to a really significant change in policy:
The United States and Russia agree on "some fundamental principles" for Syria, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday, adding that he plans to meet again with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday.
"There was agreement that Syria should be a unified country, united, that it needs to be secular, that ISIL (Islamic State) needs to be taken on, and that there needs to be a managed transition," Kerry told MSNBC, adding that differences remained on what the outcome of such a transition would be.
This is a rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syrian exile coalition and of the GCC states' proxy fighters in Syria who demand a sectarian state based on Islamic law.
Since Israel lost the 2006 war against Hizbullah the U.S. and Israel plotted to overthrow the Syrian government which they accuse of facilitating Hizbullah's military supplies.
The "Arab spring" phenomenon allowed to implement the scheme against Syria. Under the disguise of the color-revolution narrative of "peaceful demonstrations" a guerrilla war was launched against the Syrian state. More than ninety policemen and soldiers were killed by the insurgents in the very first month of that "peaceful" revolution.
With sheer endless amounts of Gulf money Syrian soldiers were bribed to defect, unemployed rural youth and foreign mercenaries were hired to bring down the Syrian state.
A year after the war on Syria started it was clear that there were no "moderates" fighting against the Syrian government but only radical Islamists.
Flashback 2013: There's no such thing called FSA anymore.
Media adviser Bouthaina Shaaban told RT she believes Russian intervention will help stabilize the situation in Syria.
Speaking on behalf of her country, President Assad’s political and media adviser has said that Syria “hopes” that Russia’s assistance will help Damascus “undermine terrorism” and “restore peace and security”.
“But it’s not only against Islamic State,” Bouthaina Shaaban told RT. “I don’t know why people … why do they forget about Jabhat al-Nusra, although the [UN] Security Council resolution spoke about or considered both Al Nusra and IS a terrorist organization."
“Besides these, there are tens of terrorist organizations in Syria. There are thousands of mercenaries and terrorists coming from all over the world.”
On 15 August the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2170, condemning systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, including indiscriminate killing of civilians by terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State and the Al-Nusra Front.
The resolution expressed concern that parts of Iraq and Syria are under the control of these groups. It tackles the financing of terrorism, calling on all Member States to cease immediately all trade and material support that enables ISIL and other terrorist groups to function.
Shortly after Russia announced its operation in Syrian skies, and even before the first bombs fell, reports started to emerge accusing Russia of targeting opposition and Western-backed “moderate” rebel groups in Homs province instead of terrorists. NATO declared that it was “concerned” by these unsubstantiated reports, but Shaaban told RT that the allegations did not sound very credible.
“I think the style of fighting terrorism is very convincing by Russians, while the alliance that was made by the US and the West did not really either follow the rules of international legitimacy or coordinate with the Syrian government, and didn’t really mean to fight terrorism,” Shaaban said, adding that the US-led operation had proven to be ineffective.
Citing Iraq and Libya as examples, Shaaban accused the US and its allies of looking “to destroy our countries in order to destroy our civilization, in order to destroy our people”, instead of pursuing peace in Syria.
“The problem right from the beginning wasn’t Assad; the target wasn’t Assad. Just as Libya is destroyed now and they were talking about Gaddafi, and Iraq is destroyed and they were talking about Saddam Hussein,” President Assad’s adviser said.
“One thing that is true is that all those carrying arms against the Syrian people, against Syrian institutions – are terrorists. And the Syrian army has been fighting them for the last five years, while the West is looking at our country being destroyed – at our hospitals, at our schools, at our archaeological heritage being absolutely destroyed.”
“It’s very easy to sit in New York and talk about concept, but the reality is very different from what the Americans and John Kerry are saying.”
UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, 15-8-2014: ISIL, the ANF and other AQ-inspired terrorists are undermining the stability and security of the people of Iraq and Syria.
Resolution 2170 represents the international community’s comprehensive rejection of these terrorist groups and expresses its determination to respond. The Council has taken a firm and united stand.
The Saudi backed 'moderate' opposition
Jaish al-Islam and other Islamic Front groups have been pivotal in a new strategy in Syria led by regional benefactors (Alex McDonald 7-5-2015)
Jaish al-Islam (JAI) has been one of the major groups involved in operations in Idlib, making up part of the Battle of Victory operations room that took the city of Jisr al-Shughur in later April, a group which also includes the al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.
Zahran Alloush, the group's charismatic leader, is son of the Damascus-based Salafist preacher Sheikh Abdullah Alloush. A religious hardliner, born in the town of Douma northeast of Damascus, he established himself as a leading figure in the Syrian opposition...
“He's gone on Lebanese TV and said that he's not for democracy and doesn't hope to create a democracy,” said Joshua Landis, associate professor in the School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma...
Step down or face military option, Jubeir tells Assad - Saudi Gazette, 30-9-2015
Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad must leave office or face being turfed out by force, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Tuesday, rejecting Russia’s bid to build support for its ally.
“If Bashar Assad accepts the political process where he transitions out of the country, I think we can get somewhere,” Jubeir said...
He scorned Iran’s involvement in Russia’s putative alliance, describing Tehran as an “occupying power” in Syria.
Ultimately, President Barack Obama will have to decide if he wants to cooperate with Russia and Iran in beating back Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other jihadists – or realign U.S. policy in accord with Israel’s obsession with “regime change” in Syria, even if that means a victory by Al Qaeda. In other words, should the United States come full circle in the Middle East and help Al Qaeda win?
Preferring Al Qaeda over Assad is the Israeli position – embraced by many neocons, too. The priority for the Israeli/neocon strategy has been to seek “regime change” in Syria as a way to counter Iran and its support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, both part of Shia Islam.
According to this thinking, if Assad, an Alawite, a branch of Shia Islam, can be removed, a new Sunni-dominated regime in Syria would disrupt Hezbollah’s supply lines from Iran and thus free up Israel to act more aggressively against both the Palestinians and Iran.
Salafist preacher Adnan al-Arour (useful idiot), Zionist Bernard Levy, Brotherhood-cleric Qaradawi (useful idiot)
Israel’s preference for Al Qaeda over Assad has been acknowledged by senior Israeli officials for the past two years though never noted in the U.S. mainstream media.
In September 2013, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.
“We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al Qaeda.
And, in June 2014, then speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, saying Israel would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria.
No Daesh targets were attacked even though this was what Moscow claimed was happening. Instead Putin’s jets struck at Free Syrian Army targets, most of them far away from the terrorists.
The Free Syrian Army are the real revolutionaries and as such the most potent threat to the dictatorship. (Saudi Gazette Editorial, 2-10-2015)
Flashback: Lavrov & the Saudi backed Islamic front
With the Russian Air Force involved in the fight against terrorism, the terrorist organizations, mainly ISIS that is being hard hit, are suffering heavy losses in personnel and equipment.
A military source told SANA on Friday that the Russian Air Force, in cooperation with the Syrian Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on ISIS positions in various provinces.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday in a statement published by Russia Today website that its warplanes conducted in the past 24 hours 18 airstrikes against 12 sites for terrorists in Raqqa, Hama and Idleb.
The ministry said the Russian airplanes struck an ISIS training camp near Raqq city. The raids also struck an ISIS command post, a training camp and dozens of vehicles equipped with machineguns in central Hama province.
Russia Today website quoted Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov as affirming in a statement that Russian Su-34s have carried out precise strikes against targets from an altitude of more than 5,000 meters, pointing out that the on-board target navigation systems of these aircraft can allow for the strike of ground targets with absolute preciseness.
Konashenkov noted that the Russian air force aims to destroy the infrastructure of ISIS represented by the command, communications and surveillance centers, the weapons and ammunition depots, and the bomb and car bomb factories.
Field sources told SANA reporter that the army targeted Jabhet al-Nusra hideouts in Jub Turous area, 37 km to the north-east of Lattakia city, destroying a training camp, ammunition depots and vehicles.
Army units carried out accurate operations against ISIS’ dens and gatherings in Tadmour city (Palmyra) and its countryside in Homs.
In the northern countryside, army units killed and injured all members of a terrorist group in Hwash al-Zabadi in addition to destroying a vehicle with all the terrorists inside it during army’s operations against Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations.
Army units, in cooperation with the popular defense groups, carried out operations against Jabhat al-Nusra positions in the northern countryside of the southern Quneitra province.
Gatherings of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists were targeted in Abu Shatta village to the south of Jbata al-Khashab town, which is a main fortification for Jabhat al-Nusra.
15 feb. 2014: Saudi Wahhabi cleric and Jabhat al-Nusra field commander Muhammad Abdallah al-Muhaisny delivers a speech while standing next to notorious Chechen commander, Sayfullah al-Shishani. The speech that he gave was mainly addressing fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).., to join their ranks to continue fighting against the Syrian government.
15 feb. 2014: Saudi Wahhabi cleric and Jabhat al-Nusra field commander Muhammad Abdallah al-Muhaisny delivers a speech while standing next to notorious Chechen commander, Sayfullah al-Shishani. The speech that he gave was mainly addressing fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).., to join their ranks to continue fighting against the Syrian government.
The al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, sometimes called al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant, is a Sunni Islamic jihadist militia fighting against Syrian Government forces, with the aim of establishing an Islamist state in the country. It is the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, and also operates in neighbouring Lebanon.
The group announced its formation on 23 January 2012. In November 2012, The Washington Post described al-Nusra as the most successful arm of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
"Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: "If it acts like a terrorist,
if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it's a terrorist, right?"
Last Wednesday (28 Sept 2015) the world saw the difference between Russia and Washington. Putin’s approach is truth-based; Obama’s is vain boasts and lies, and Obama is running out of lies.
By telling the truth at a time of universal deceit, Putin committed a revolutionary act. Referring to the extreme jihadist forces that have been unleashed, Putin asked Washington: “Do you realize what you have done?”
Putin’s question reminds me of the question Joseph Welch asked witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency?”
Welch’s question is attributed with initiating the decline of McCarthy’s career. Perhaps Putin’s question will have the same impact and bring the reign of “American Exceptionalism” to an end.
If so, Putin has launched a revolution that will overthrow the world’s subservience to Washington.
As a consequence of their subservience to Washington, the puppet states of Europe are being overrun by refugees from Washington’s wars that Europe so mindlessly enabled.
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism".
"Who Is Fighting Whom?" Such was the question posed by a Times analytic chart at the breaking of the first news of Russian entry into the Syrian war.
The US, France, and Britain are said to support "More moderate elements among the rebel forces in Syria."
That is one way of putting it; another way is "less extreme"; and these two phrases recur in the self-portraits of the Islamist commanders who want continued US support and subsidy.
The ambivalence of the Times echoes the ambivalence of US policy as described by the Times. Both the government and the newspaper that sets the pattern for the mainstream media have taught us that al-Qaeda is the sworn enemy of US interests; that al-Nusra is the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda; and that a pact with either terrorist sect, even for the sake of fighting against ISIS, would be desperate and self-destructive.
But we are urged at the same time to suppose that al-Nusra is perhaps a milder version of al-Qaeda and that both are necessary allies in the titanic struggle to overthrow Assad and defeat ISIS in a single stroke.
The sheer quantity of self-deception that is required to support this fantasy ought to be obvious...
Arifi is opposed to IS, which he sees as "too extreme", and is inclined to support other Islamist factions fighting against the regime there. To some analysts, this makes him useful to regional governments such as those of Jordan and Turkey... (Al-Araby, 8-7-2015)
"There are no separate cultures, there is but one single culture in the world, namely the culture of mankind".
"Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man, since man is the creation of the creator".
Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, Strasbourg 15-1-2008
We are divided and there are no signs of an end to the sectarian conflicts that are killing innocent women and children, destroying homes and displacing entire communities.
Where are the Muslim academic councils that can guide the faithful to a peaceful end?
Scholars who advocate moderate Islam and represent the silent majority of the Muslim world have made little progress to counter the forces of evil, who are using Islam to achieve political gains.
The unscholarly religious leaders have given themselves the privilege to announce fatwas... Extremists continue to abuse the Qur’anic text with distorted interpretations and they propagate a deviant ideology that is devoid of any tolerance or compassion.
Muslim scholars, Arab and non-Arab, have a responsibility to protect the victims of extremists, terrorist organizations and other factions with selfish agendas.
World peace is under threat and there are no visible initiatives to counter the enemies of humanity and global coexistence.
Can moderate Muslim scholars identify themselves and speak out before it is too late?