Saddam's Death, 59
See also: Page 58: sept-oct 2015 and Page 60: november 2015
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east
Page 41: Israel & The Gaza War and The Temple Revolution
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries.
What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
"Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation...
Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken....
It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)
"A lot of rulers today still view principled people, who persist in defending their noble and just causes and who refuse to compromise at the expense of their peoples, their nations, the honour of their cause, their integrity and their principles, as a burden on them.
The policy of the United States still finds in this kind of genuine, honest and loyal people an obstacle before their evil and futile ambitions towards the world and humanity at large..." Saddam Hoessein, Oath and Speech, INA 17-10-2002
"Syria is the heart of the Middle East. Everybody knows that. If the Middle East is sick, the whole world will be unstable. In 1991, when we started the peace process, we had a lot of hope. Now, after over 20 years, things are not at square one; they’re much below that square.
So the policy should be to help peace in the region, to fight terrorism, to promote secularism, to support this area economically, to help upgrade the mind and society like you did in your country. That is the supposed mission of the United States, not to launch wars. Launching war doesn’t make you a great power."
Bashar Al-Assad, January 26th, 2015
Abdullah Al-Ahmar: Syria and the Baath Shall Always Adhere
to the National and Pan-Arab National Inalienable Principles,
Baath Party Website 4-5-2015
"The Baath, since its emergence, defended the causes of the homeland and the nation. It stood side by side with the Arab masses for achieving their independence...
The Baath, after coming to power could made deep transformations and great achievements. The conspiring forces rushed madly to abort such transformations and achievements... Then came the Corrective Movement, led by Hafez al- Assad in 1970 to represent the beginning of a stage for founding a new state, guiding by the Baath objectives. Syria became an effective player, after she was an ineffective country that others players play on its land.
The Baath, since its emergence, was vigorous and up-to-date. Its objectives: Unity, Freedom and Socialism are inalienable. The so- called "Arab spring" was nothing but chaos, the West and the Zionists wanted.
The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (Baath = "resurrection" or "renaissance"), also referred to as the pro-Syrian Ba'ath movement, is a neo-Ba'athist political party, with branches across the Arab world. The party emerged from a split in the Ba'ath Party in February 1966. The party leads the government in Syria. From 1970 until 2000, the party was led by the Syrian president Hafez al-Assad. As of 2000, leadership has been shared between his son Bashar al-Assad (head of the Syrian regional organization) and Abdullah al-Ahmar (head of the pan-Arab national organization). The Syrian branch of the party is the largest organisation within the Syrian-led Ba'ath Party.
President Bashar, 'Le Figaro' interview 3-9-2013:
"How can the parliamentarians convince the French public that their country is secular, yet at the same time it supports extremism and sectarianism in other parts of the world? How can France advocate for democracy but yet one of its closest allies – Saudi Arabia – is still living in medieval times?"
"My message to the French Parliamentarians is: go back to the principles of the French Revolution that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy.
Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.
At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
"We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community." Haile Selassie
“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.., until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation..., until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.., until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race...., until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained..." Haile Selassie 6-10-1963
Albert Schweitzer: "We Are All Guilty Of Inhumanity"
What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shake us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.
This hope and this will can have but one aim: to attain, through a change in spirit, that superior reason which will dissuade us from misusing the power at our disposal.
Kant, in his essay on "Perpetual Peace", which appeared in 1795, and in other publications in which he touches upon the problem of peace, states his belief that peace will come only with the increasing authority of an international code of law, in accordance with which an international court of arbitration would settle disputes between nations.
This authority, he maintains, should be based entirely on the increasing respect which in time, and for purely practical motives, men will hold for the law as such. (Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Lecture, 4-11-1954)
For decades, I have followed the presidential debates, hoping against hope that either the candidates or the media personalities who question them would provoke a serious discussion about key Middle East issues...
When foreign policy was discussed at all, it was limited to either exaggerated expressions of love for Israel' or contempt for Barack Obama’s “weakness” and what was mistakenly referred to as “his” Iran deal.
Carly Fiorina, for example, pledged that “on day one in the Oval Office” her first phone call would be “to my good friend Bibi [Binyamin Netanyahu] to reassure him that we will stand with the state of Israel [i.e. Zionism].”
Ted Cruz promised to “cancel the Iran deal and move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.” Others denounced President Obama’s “weakness” and pledged their support for a tougher approach in Syria...
Democrats also have a problem. For too long its political leaders have ignored dealing with the uncomfortable complexities of the Middle East because it simply didn’t serve any political advantage to know about Arabs and Muslims. All they had to know was that America had an “unbreakable bond with Israel (i.e. Zionism]”,
Seeing the Arab world through this lens led too many politicians to either remain ignorant of Middle East realities or, if they did know, to shy away from elevating these issues into the national debate.
As a result, Democrats can debate the use of military force but are either uncomfortable with or averse to questioning Israeli policies or the treatment of Palestinians, or discussing the political dynamics that shape Arab political realities, or identifying the root causes of conflict in Syria or Iraq.
Finally, there is the role played by the media and their paid commentators who are all too often mere purveyors of conventional wisdom. Because they frequently know less than the candidates they are covering, they are ill equipped to challenge them or to report on their dangerous and/or trite responses to critical foreign policy questions.
As a result, it’s still not the serious and comprehensive discussion about US policy in the Middle East we so desperately need.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: This year the discussion focusses on issues of war and peace. This topic has clearly been the concern of humanity throughout its history. Back in ancient times, in antiquity people argued about the nature, the causes of conflicts, about the fair and unfair use of force, of whether wars would always accompany the development of civilisation, broken only by ceasefires, or would the time come when arguments and conflicts are resolved without war.
I’m sure you recalled our great writer Leo Tolstoy here. In his great novel 'War and Peace', he wrote that war contradicted human reason and human nature, while peace in his opinion was good for people.
True, peace, a peaceful life have always been humanity’s ideal. State figures, philosophers and lawyers have often come up with models for a peaceful interaction between nations.
Various coalitions and alliances declared that their goal was to ensure strong, ‘lasting’ peace as they used to say. However, the problem was that they often turned to war as a way to resolve the accumulated contradictions, while war itself served as a means for establishing new post-war hierarchies in the world...
Unfortunately, military terminology is becoming part of everyday life. Thus, trade and sanctions wars have become today’s global economic reality – this has become a set phrase used by the media. The sanctions, meanwhile, are often used also as an instrument of unfair competition to put pressure on or completely ‘throw’ competition out of the market.
As an example, I could take the outright epidemic of fines imposed on companies, including European ones, by the United States. Flimsy pretexts are being used, and all those who dare violate the unilateral American sanctions are severely punished.
Absolute 'good' versus absolute evil
The global information space is also shaken by wars today, in a manner of speaking. The ‘only correct’ viewpoint and interpretation of events is aggressively imposed on people, certain facts are either concealed or manipulated. We are all used to labelling and the creation of an enemy image.
The authorities in countries that seemed to have always appealed to such values as freedom of speech and the free dissemination of information – something we have heard about so often in the past – are now trying to prevent the spreading of objective information and any opinion that differs from their own; they declare it hostile propaganda that needs to be combatted, clearly using undemocratic means...
Leo Tolstoy (born in 1828) was one of the world’s pre-eminent writers becoming famous through his epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
Towards the end of his life, Leo Tolstoy became increasingly interested in a version of pacifist Christianity with support for a strand of anarchist Communism. His exposition of pacifism and non-violence had a profound influence on others – most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
Christian anarchism: The Kingdom is within you
Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology that claims anarchism is inherent in Christianity and the Gospels.
It is grounded in the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus, and thus rejects the idea that human governments have ultimate authority over human societies. Christian anarchists denounce the state as they claim it is violent, deceitful and, when glorified, idolatrous.
Most Christian anarchists are pacifists and reject the use of violence, such as war. Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You is often regarded as a key text for modern Christian anarchism.
Leo Tolstoy wrote extensively about Christian pacifism and anarchism.
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) wrote extensively on his anarchist principles, which he arrived at via his Christian faith, in his books 'The Kingdom of God is Within You', 'What I Believe', 'The Law of Love and the Law of Violence', and 'Christianity and Patriotism' which criticised government and the Church in general.
The Kingdom of God Is Within You is regarded as a key Christian anarchist text. Tolstoy sought to separate Russian Orthodox Christianity — which was merged with the state — from what he believed was the true message of Jesus as contained in the Gospels, specifically in the Sermon on the Mount.
Tolstoy takes the viewpoint that all governments who wage war, and churches who in turn support those governments, are an affront to the Christian principles of nonviolence and nonresistance.
Although Tolstoy never actually used the term "Christian anarchism" in The Kingdom of God Is Within You, reviews of this book following its publication in 1894 appear to have coined the term.
He called for a society based on compassion, nonviolent principles and freedom. Tolstoy was a pacifist and a vegetarian. His vision for an equitable society was an anarchist version of Georgism, which he mentions specifically in his novel Resurrection.
More than any other Bible source, the Sermon on the Mount is used as the basis for Christian anarchism.
Alexandre Christoyannopoulos explains that the Sermon perfectly illustrates Jesus' central teaching of love and forgiveness. Christian anarchists claim that the state, founded on violence, contravenes the Sermon and Jesus' call to love our enemies.
The gospels tell of Jesus' temptation in the desert. For the final temptation, Jesus is taken up to a high mountain by Satan and told that if he bows down to Satan he will give him all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus refuses the temptation, choosing to serve God instead, implying that Jesus is aware of the corrupting nature of Earthly power.
Conversion of the Roman Empire
For Christian anarchists the moment which epitomises the degeneration of Christianity is the conversion of Emperor Constantine after his victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312.
Following this event Christianity was legalised under the Edict of Milan in 313, hastening the Church's transformation from a humble bottom-up sect to an authoritarian top-down organization.
Christian anarchists point out that this marked the beginning of the "Constantinian shift", in which Christianity gradually came to be identified with the will of the ruling elite, becoming the State church of the Roman Empire, and in some cases (such as the Crusades, Inquisition and Wars of Religion) a religious justification for violence.
PAULA Ben-Gurion: the forgotten woman
Paula Green|Ben-Gurion never once took part in any public functions with him. She did not share the ideals that inspired him. She remained a still believing, if passive, anarchist... She admired the anarchist Emma Goldman.
In the title essay of her book Anarchism and Other Essays, Emma Goldman wrote: "Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government.
Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations."
George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian society casts a dark shadow over the United States.
As American society has moved from a welfare to a warfare state, the institutions that were once meant to limit human suffering and misfortune and protect the public from the excesses of the market have been either weakened or abolished.
Relegated to an object of disdain by right-wing extremists, the legacy of democratic principles now withers under a social order marked by a hardening of the culture and the emergence of an unprecedented survival-of-the fittest ethos.
This is a mean-spirited ethos that rails against any notion of solidarity and compassion that embraces a respect for others. The consequences of this emerging authoritarianism speak to a different experience of total terror in the 21st century.
Free market policies, values, and practices with their emphasis on the privatization of public wealth, the elimination of social protections, and the deregulation of economic activity now shape practically every commanding political and economic institution in both countries.
Markets now use their economic and ideological resources to weaponize and militarize all aspects of everyday life, increasingly held in place by a culture of fear, a pedagogy of repression, a banal celebrity culture, game show aesthetics, and a politics of precarity, control, and mass surveillance.
The financial elite now float beyond national borders and no longer care about the welfare state, the common good, or for that matter any institution not subordinated to the dictates of finance capitalism...
Many neoliberal societies are now governed by politicians and financial elites who no longer believe in social investments and are more than willing to condemn young people and others–often paralyzed by the precariousness and instability that haunts their lives and future–to a savage form of casino capitalism...
Any viable notion of the social, solidarity, and shared democratic values are now viewed as a pathology, replaced by a survival of the fittest ethic, the celebration of self-interest, and a notion of the good life entirely tied to a vapid consumerist ethic.
Neoliberal authoritarianism has changed the language of politics and everyday life through a malicious public pedagogy that turns reason on its head and normalizes a culture of fear, war, surveillance, and exploitation...
Politics and power are now on the side of legally protected lawlessness, as is evident in the state’s endless violations of civil liberties, freedom of speech, and many constitutional rights, mostly done in the name of national security...
As the claims and promises of a neoliberal utopia have been transformed into an Orwellian nightmare, the United States continues to succumb to the pathology of financial speculation, political corruption, the redistribution of wealth upward into the hands of the 1 percent, the rise of the surveillance state, and the use of the criminal justice system as a way of dealing with social problems...
No democracy can survive the kind of inequality in which “the 400 richest people…have as much wealth as 154 million Americans combined, that’s 50 percent of the entire country [while] the top economic 1 percent of the U.S. population now has a record 40 percent of all wealth and more wealth than 90 percent of the population combined.”
Within such iniquitous conditions of power, access, and wealth, a society cannot foster a sense of organized responsibility fundamental to a democracy. Instead, it encourages a sense of organized irresponsibility–a practice that underlies the economic Darwinism and civic corruption at the heart of a debased politics..
Casino capitalism is a toxin that has created
a predatory class of unethical zombies
Democracy should encourage, even require, a way of thinking critically about education, one that connects equity to excellence, learning to ethics, and agency to the imperatives of social responsibility and the public good.
Casino capitalism is a toxin that has created a predatory class of unethical zombies – who are producing dead zones of the imagination that even Orwell could not have envisioned – all the while waging a fierce fight against the possibilities of a democratic future.
The time has come to develop a political language in which civic values, social responsibility, and the institutions that support them become central to invigorating and fortifying a new era of civic imagination, a renewed sense of social agency, and an impassioned international social movement with a vision, organization, and set of strategies to challenge the neoliberal nightmare.
Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University
The military of Russia and Jordan will coordinate their antiterrorist actions through a working mechanism in Amman, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday after a meeting with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh.
"It is necessary to step up efforts towards the launch of a political process of the Syrian settlement on the basis of the Geneva communique," he said. "It means the launch of large-scale talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the entire spectrum of the Syrian opposition, both internal and external, with active support from international players."
Taking part in efforts to create conditions for such a process, Moscow stands for involving Jordan in those efforts. "We believe Jordan is playing is very important role, bearing in mind the historic factor and the principled position the kingdom is sticking to on the regional problems," Lavrov said.
He said anti-terrorist cooperation between Russian and Jordan would be much closer. "Simultaneously with the political process, we are certain that it is necessary to drastically intensify efforts in the fight against the Islamic State [terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia] and other terrorist groups in Syria," Lavrov said.
"Making a contribution to the fulfilment of this task, under an agreement between President Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah II, the Russian and Jordanian military have agreed to coordinate their efforts, including the air force operations over Syrian territory, through the working mechanism in Amman."
"We believe that other states participating in the antiterrorist struggle can also join this mechanism," the Russian foreign minister said.
The Russian foreign minister stated that the unsettled Palestinian problem is playing into the hands of terrorists in the Middle East.
"It is our firm conviction that the decades-old unsettled Palestinian problem is one of the most considerable factors that lets terrorists recruit youth," he said.
The Iraqi government authorized Russia to target Daesh convoys coming from Syria, a senior Iraqi official said.
The authorization for Russia to target Daesh inside Iraq comes amid security coordination between Iraq, Russia, Iran and Syria.
Hakem al-Zamli, chief of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, told Anadolu Agency on Friday that the measure contributed to weakening Daesh by cutting off its supply routes.
Russia, an ally of the Assad regime, began carrying out airstrikes in Syria on Sept. 30. According to the Kremlin, the strikes are aimed at weakening the Daesh militant group, an avowed enemy of the regime.
Turkey and several western countries, however, accuse Russia of targeting moderate groups in Syria opposed to Assad, many of which enjoy the support of Ankara and Washington.
Iraq has been gripped by a security vacuum since June 2014 when Daesh stormed the northern city of Mosul and declared a self-styled caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
The Russian President knows perfectly how ‘to play the diplomatic card’ and ‘never make mistakes,’ according to Jim Dean, editor of Veterans Today. Vladimir Putin intelligently exposed the lie of the West regarding Iran's nuclear program and the false conflict against ISIL.
“We have just gone through the Iranian nuclear talks after more than ten years of lies about a secret nuclear program of Iran, which has been exposed but the media is not talking so much about it. This is one of the great results of the negotiations. After all, neither the US nor Israel was able to provide evidence which, according to them, proved that Iran has a nuclear program,” Dean told Press TV.
The expert further said that, “Every taxi driver on the planet, even in some rundown town of some Third World country is now aware of the Western game of these terrorist movements that are needed to create a threat...”
But now those plans have been exposed because when Putin talked about his goals in Syria, he offered to cooperate with the West, he said that anyone who wants to join in the efforts is welcome to fight ISIL together. The expert noted that everyone denied cooperating with Putin except for the agreements to coordinate air operations.
“As the campaign became more successful, as you see, NATO, Turkey — all countries that sponsor terrorism are not happy about it. He drew everyone's attention to them and now everyone knows who uses terrorism to change the regime and who the real threat is.”
Dean said, “I think we can expect that unification will begin around Putin... So far he is the most popular world leader and he may become the most popular world leader of the past 50 years.”
Finally: Israeli government lists ISIS as a terror group
By Shlomo Pitrikovksky, Arutz Sheva 25-10-2015
The Israeli government ruled Sunday afternoon to formally declare several organizations previously defined as "unlawful associations" as "terrorist organizations." Among them:
● Islamic state (ISIS) - increasing areas under its control, which currently include large swathes of both Iraq and Syria; gaining Islamist support worldwide;
● Al-Nusra Front - Syrian branch of Al Qaeda; currently controls much of northern Syria and parts of southern Syria, including along the Israel-Syrian border in the Golan Heights;
● Abdullah Azam Brigades - operates in Syria and Lebanon; has been involved in rocket fire on Israeli civilians; has close ties with other terror groups in the region, including Al Qaeda.
All three organizations were declared "unlawful associations" in 2014, under Regulation 84 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations.
Israeli elections 2015: Netanyahu Kindergarten ad
Netanyahu: Temple Mount cameras 'in Israel's interest'
Measure intended to stop Jews 'illegally' praying
By Shlomo Pitrikovsky, 10/25/2015
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has formally agreed to Jordanian demands to place security cameras on the Temple Mount, he stated in his opening remarks to his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday...:
"Israel has an interest in putting cameras in all parts of the Temple Mount," he claimed. "Firstly, to refute the claim Israel is violating the status quo (and) secondly, to show where the provocations are really coming from, and prevent them in advance."
He said, "I heard a positive response to what the Jordanian foreign minister said last night. I hope it will help calm things down, at least regarding the Temple Mount."
"I made clear in my talks with Secretary of State John Kerry that there will be no change in the status quo." "The Temple Mount will remain and will be managed as it is run now."
Damascus, SANA – The National Reconciliation Committee at the People’s Assembly discussed with a delegation of the Iraqi forum of tribes and clans on Sunday the preparations for holding an extensive forum for Syrian and Iraqi tribes.
The meeting is aimed at activating the role of tribes of the neighboring countries in achieving popular reconciliations and combating terrorism as their common enemy.
The delegation members stressed that the Iraqi people stand by the Syrian people in their war against the terrorist organizations.
They called for tackling some issues related to renewing the residence permits of the Iraqi nationals residing in Syria and other relevant matters.
Nizar al-Obaidi, who is heading the Iraqi delegation, highlighted the importance of forming a joint committee to prepare for holding the meeting of the Syrian and Iraqi tribes and clans.
For his part, Head of the People’s Assembly’s National Reconciliation Committee Omar Ousi stressed the necessity to enhance coordination and cooperation between people of Syria and Iraq in the face of the terrorism striking both countries.
Saudi, Egypt have ‘similar’ stance on Syria
"No place for Assad"
Saudi gazette, Oct 26, 2015
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday both Cairo and Riyadh have a “similar” stance on Syria during his visit to Egypt, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
In a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Adel Al-Jubeir reiterated Saudi stance that there is “no place” for embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a future and post-civil war Syria.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said there were “no differences” between Riyadh and Cairo on Syria and emphasized that they both have a “similar” position.
Adel Al-Jubeir’s statement comes after his comments on Thursday saying that Assad’s clinging to power is working as a “magnet” by allowing foreign militants to recruit more fighters, and he must go to rid Syria of ISIS.
The people have spoken, reiterated their rejection of military rule in Egypt, ignored the traitorous murderer's call for them to participate in his farcical elections, and left him, his gang and his media tentacles to lament, complain and make accusations against one another.
They thought they owned the people – forever, to 'herd' them to wherever they wished. But the people proved they are the stronger side, despite the brutal intimidation and oppression they suffered especially in recent months, with junta officials threatening the people that they would lose their jobs if they did not turn out to vote in the sham parliamentary elections.
Thus the coup commander and his gang were forced to use their well-practiced fraud tactics, once again, like all despots, faking the will of the people, numbers of participants and the election results – to suit their own purposes and serve their personal interests.
No place for Sisi
The Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance stresses that the broad popular boycott of all categories, Muslims and Christians, young men and women, was a clear message to the junta and the military-appointed regime: you have no place and no future in Egypt.
This is also a strong message to the world community to assume its responsibilities and stop its support for the military rulers who certainly have neither legitimacy nor popular support.
We urge everyone to take part in a new revolutionary week entitled "Indomitable Will, Unstoppable Revolution".
We applaud the Syrian resistance against the Russian invasion and against the usurper of power Bashar Al-Assad and his ilk.
All the plots currently being hatched against the Syrian people and their Revolution will be crushed on the threshold of the heroic resistance.
We salute Libya's great revolutionaries, and pray to God for victory and success.
Victory for the Revolution
In September 2013, Egyptian court banned the Brotherhood and its associations, and ordered that its assets be seized; and in December the military-backed interim government declared the movement a terrorist group.
On 24 March 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, an act described by Amnesty International as "the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we've seen in recent years […] anywhere in the world."
On 15 April 2014, an Egyptian court banned current and former members of the Muslim Brotherhood from running in the presidential and parliamentary elections.
The United States and Saudi Arabia agreed to increase support to Syria's 'moderate' opposition, the US State Department said after John Kerry met King Salman on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Syrian media say President Bashar Assad told a visiting Russian delegation that eradicating "terrorist" groups in Syria will lead to the political solution that Damascus and Moscow are seeking.
Assad's comments were reported Sunday by state media. The brief comments were made during a meeting between Assad and a Russian parliamentary delegation in Damascus. Assad told the delegation the new Russian role is "the writing of a new history" and will determine the future of the region and the world.
Russia and a US-led coalition are conducting airstrikes in Syria in addition to the Syrian air force's own operations.
ISTANBUL, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Kurdish groups on Saturday of trying to grab control of northern Syria, and said Ankara would not allow this to happen.
In a speech in southeast Turkey, Erdogan denounced the merging of the Syrian town of Tel Abyad last week into an autonomous political structure created by the Kurds.
"All they want is to seize northern Syria entirely," Erdogan said. "We will under no circumstances allow northern Syria to become a victim of their scheming. Because this constitutes a threat for us, and it is not possible for us as Turkey to say 'yes' to this threat."
Turkey is alarmed by territorial gains for the Kurds in Syria's civil war, which it fears could stir separatism among its own Kurdish minority.
Syrian Kurds have established three autonomous zones, or "cantons', across northern Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011. They deny aiming to establish their own state.
Earlier this month, the YPG Kurdish militia announced a new alliance with small groups of Arab fighters, and the group was air-dropped small arms and ammunition by U.S. forces in northeast Syria.
What do Syria, Egypt and Libya have common? They are all at various degrees of cold war with Turkey, which they accuse of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist terrorists in their countries.
Turkey has never denied support, but claims that the Muslim Brothers are just democratic elements in politics.
Egypt is once again a hot issue in Turkish politics. Not because a majority of Turks can spot the country on a map, but because the Muslim Brothers are so dear to Turkey's Islamists. The two are almost literally political "brothers".
On May 17, an Egyptian court sought the death penalty for Morsi and 106 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in connection with a mass jailbreak in 2011.
"Egypt is turning into ancient Egypt. Sisi cannot be confronted. The West does not display a stance against Sisi the coup-maker," Turkish president Erdogan said.
In response to Ankara's playful logic, an unidentified Egyptian official in Cairo said Egypt was not surprised by Turkey's comments.
"The current regime in Turkey is a reflection of the ideas of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood," the official told Egypt's state news agency.
The Gatestone Institute publishes articles by a number of prominent right wing, neoconservative, Zionist and counter-jihad individuals and organisations and promotes them at exclusive speaking events, often in New York City.
Reactions are emerging toward an expression of apology by the former British prime minister Tony Blair for taking Britain to war in Iraq back in 2003.
Critics say they are unimpressed with Blair’s apology, stressing that they see it as a typical defense tactic which has been carefully designed to divert the public opinion and avoid culpability.
“He’s doing what he is master at which is spin control,” said Ian Williams, the senior analyst of Foreign Policy in Focus, on Sunday.
“He’s trying to shape the discussions and the agenda. So what he did is going to be transformed from a crime to a mistake,” he told Press TV.
Blair in an interview with the CNN said he was sorry for "mistakes" made in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought," Blair said in an exclusive interview on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Williams told Press TV that Blair is using a tactic that will eventually make people forget the blame on Blair to cause significant sufferings to the British nation. “People are forgiving your mistakes, generally speaking,” he told Press TV’s UK Desk in an exclusive interview.
“By saying that what he did was based on mistaken intelligence, what he is doing is diverting the fact that he deliberately distorted the intelligence reports to make it mistaken,” he said. “The whole thing is about him avoiding culpability for his part in what even he now has to admit was an unmitigated disaster.”
"This is only a half apology and not a full apology that the people of Iraq and Britain actually deserve,” Nigel Flanagan, a Switzerland-based political commentator, told Press TV.
He said the former British premier had used a tactic in this to prevent future criticisms against him once the outcomes of the Chilcot report are publicized. “I think he’s simply trying to preempt the criticism and condemnation that is going to come his way at the conclusion of the inquiry.” He further expressed hope that Blair’s case would prevent British politicians from manipulating the public opinion.
“It could give some current politicians some kind of pausing in the actions that they are proposing for Syria and the Middle East,” Flanagan said.
Flashback: Iraq & Tony Blair 2002
Iraq ready to receive Blair - Baghdad, March 2, 2002, INA
Iraq has declared readiness to receive a British mission led by British PM Tony Blair to prove his allegation that Iraq continues to produce mass destruction weapons.
In a statement issued by an authorized spokesman to INA, the spokesman said “British Prime Minister Tony Blair has claimed that Iraq continues to produce mass destruction weapons, Blair frequently utters malicious and aggressive allegations against Iraq in harmony with U.S stance without depending on facts and accuracy.” “Nevertheless, we say that the one who has real information on this allegation should know how and where does Iraq try to produce such weapons.
If Blair said how and where and declare this to the entire world, we are ready to receive a British mission led by Blair himself accompanied by British journalists to prove where and how Iraq is producing such weapons,” the spokesman said.
He concluded, “For our part, we will send representatives of Iraqi, Arab and international media, and ambassadors with them in their tour in Iraq to verify the facts as they are and make the world know the truth”. (Iraqi News Agency )
"If necessary the action should be military and again, if necessary and justified, it should involve regime change." Tony Blair, april 2002
The situation in the region has reached critical mass and it is now time for the players in the peace process to "stand up and say their word: we are with peace or against peace."
In a highly-charged interview with the Middle East News Agency (MENA), President Hosni Mubarak said that the world had plunged into a state of "absurdity and schizophrenia", because there is "a huge gap between the words we hear and the actions we see in reality."
"We must all be vigilant and rational, close ranks and unite our efforts, in order to besiege the forces of aggression for the sake of a just, balanced and comprehensive peace.". (april 2002)
Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of Blair's Middle East policy has been the appointment of Lord Levy as Special Middle East Advisor. Levy, a shadowy figure, has a son who works in the Israeli Justice Ministry, and he maintains close contacts within Israel.
Pro-Palestine groups in Britain have complained about Levy's handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict and his views, which tilt in favour of Israel. He is also a chief fund-raiser for the Labour Party...
"Blair does not understand that the image Lord Levy presents is extremely damaging in the Arab world," Jeremy Corbyn comments.
"But why should the prime minister have a Middle East advisor in the first place? What is the Foreign Office for?" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 11-17 juli 2002)
Iraq affirmed that it has no weapons of mass destruction. In reply to the allegations repeated by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that Iraq work for possessing weapons of mass destruction, a spokesman for Iraqi Foreign Ministry told INA that Mr. Blair insists on evading answering on Iraq’s offer and declaration on last February 28, 2002, that it is ready to receive a British mission sent by Mr. Blair himself to guide us how and where Iraq produces such weapons.
“If Mr. Blair wants to prove his allegations, Iraq’s offer is still valid and we again challenge him to give just one proof. He is unable to prove like the inspection teams who failed before,” the spokesman said. (Iraq News Agency, 28-7-2002)
British ministers and government officials have strongly advised the United States against attacking Iraq, warning that such action would intensify conflicts in the region, The Independent newspaper reported Friday, quoting senior defense and diplomatic sources.
The warning came as The Times reported that British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced increasing pressure from his own Labor Party and trade unions not to back any US strike. (Ha'aretz, 9-8-2002)
The political risks for the prime minister of backing a war are underlined by a new YouGov internet poll in today's Daily Telegraph, in which more than two-thirds of voters believe a war is not justified at present - and 54% fear that Mr Blair is becoming President George Bush's "poodle". (Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian 12-8-2002)
Tony Blair got a fresh warning of trouble ahead from Europe yesterday when the Belgian foreign minister openly attacked him for "submissively" following the US lead on Iraq. Remarks by Louis Michel were shrugged off by British officials but found an echo in a wider Europe increasingly alarmed at signs of US determination to bring down Saddam Hussein.
Mr Michel told the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws: "Morally and politically we could take charge in the world. But the British are blocking that. They still don't understand that they could play a pioneer role in Europe instead of submissively following the US." (Ian Black in Brussels and Jon Henley in Paris, The Guardian 28-8-2002)
President Bush is determined to help the Iraqi opposition - whose representatives are meeting in Washington today - liberate Iraq from one of the world's most brutal dictatorships; I have no doubt he would act alone if necessary.
But he will not be alone when the time comes. Tony Blair has shown extraordinary courage and leadership in defending Western values in the Balkans, in combating international terrorism and in the current confrontation with Saddam. The reservations in Cabinet and among backbenchers will not hold him back. Neither George W. Bush nor Mr Blair will be deflected by Saddam's diplomatic charm offensive, the feckless moralising of "peace" lobbies or the unsolicited advice of retired generals. (Daily Telegraph, 9-8-2002)
Tony Blair: "The Americans in raising this issue are not wrong, they are right; and the reason why our place is beside them ... is not because of some misplaced allegiance or because of blind loyalty, it is because it's the right thing to do." (The Guardian, 3-9-2002)
While Blair has claimed that Iraq has rebuilt its arsenal of "weapons of mass destruction", those who advise him know full well this is nonsense. And if Blair himself is not aware of this, this begs the question: what kind of prime minister is he?
They have read the evidence of Scott Ritter... RITTER, an American and international authority on weapons disarmament, personally led the inspections, investigations and destruction of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programmes. On July 23, he said: "There is no case for war. I say that, not as a pacifist, or someone who is afraid of war. I've been to war with the US Marine Corps. Moreover, I'm a card-carrying Republican, who voted for George W. Bush for president. More important, I believe in truth.. (John Pilger, 27-8-2002)
Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed aside a joint charm offensive launched by US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday, dismissing their arguments for a military assault on Iraq.
The Kremlin said Bush and Blair had called Putin within minutes of each other as they pressed on with their campaign to win international support for a controversial strike to unseat Saddam.
The Russian president had said NO to both of them, it said. (India Times, 8-9-2002)
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a courtlike body established by the new South African government in 1995 to help heal the country and bring about a reconciliation of its people by uncovering the truth about human rights violations that had occurred during the period of apartheid. Its emphasis was on gathering evidence and uncovering information —from both victims and perpetrators— and not on prosecuting individuals for past crimes...
The South African TRC represented a major departure from the approach taken at the Nürnberg trials that prosecuted Nazis after World War II.
Gary J. Bass (Princeton University): ''A war crimes tribunal is simply something that the countries that decisively win a war inflict on the helpless country that loses it. It is punishment, revenge, spectacle -- anything but justice."
It was hailed as an innovative model for building peace and justice and for holding accountable those guilty of human rights violations. At the same time, it laid the foundation for building reconciliation among all South Africans. Many other countries dealing with postconflict issues have instituted similar methodologies for such commissions, although not always with the same mandate. The South African TRC has provided the world with another tool in the struggle against impunity and the search for justice and peace.
Damascus, SANA- The Embassy of South Africa in Damascus on Monday held an activity at al-Assad Library under the title “National Reconciliation and Peacebuilding.”
The event focused on the bitter experience which South Africa went through during the apartheid rule and the emergence of a new constitutional system, and how the country peacefully moved from the injustice and oppression to democracy thanks to the tolerance and reconciliation.
Ambassador of South Africa in Damascus Shaun Byneveldt talked about South Africa’s bitter experience during the apartheid rule and how it was able to overcome that experience...
For his part, Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Dr. Ali Haidar said that the dream has come true in South Africa thanks to the men of peace and reconciliation who struggled to achieve that dream, considering that the “reconciliation has been the basis of the country’s renaissance and of spreading peace and the values of freedom and justice.”
Haidar referred to the role of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, hailing his noble stances towards the international issues, particularly the Palestinian cause.
Reconciliation and peacebuilding are the things that helped South Africa move towards the civil state which is based on the principles of citizenship and equality for all, Minister Haider added.
The deliberations of the participants in the activity focused on that the problem in the reconciliation process in Syria lies in non-Syrian members of terrorist organizations, who practice terrorist acts that prevent the completion of the reconciliation processes.
"The problem is the ideology of interventionism, not the management of a particular intervention. Interventionism has a terrible track record, from 1953 in Iran, to Vietnam, to 2003 in Iraq, to 2011 in Libya and Syria. A real Congressional hearing should focus on the crimes and mistakes of the interventionists!" Ron Paul, 25-10-2015
"Fairness and justice should be for real and not just for show"
300 UK academics declare Israel boycott
Middle East Monitor, 27-10-2015
More than 300 UK scholars have declared their support for an academic boycott of Israel, with a full page advertisement in The Guardian on Tuesday. In what has been described as an unprecedented step, the signatories have stated that they will not do business with Israel’s university institutions... The advertisement marks the launch of a new initiative, ‘A Commitment by UK Scholars to Human Rights in Palestine’. The full Commitment, available online, reads as follows.
As scholars associated with UK universities, and responding to the call from Palestinian civil society, we declare that we will not:
accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions; act as referees in any of their processes; participate in conferences funded, organised or sponsored by them, or otherwise cooperate with them. We will, however, continue to work with our Israeli colleagues in their individual capacities.
This commitment is our response to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land, and the intolerable human rights violations inflicted on all sections of the Palestinian people. We will maintain this position until the State of Israel complies with international law, and respects universal principles of human rights.
One of the signatories, Professor Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law at London School of Economics, commented: “As a State that aspires to live by the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, Israel needs urgently to change its behaviour so far as its Palestinian citizens and those Palestinians under its control are concerned. This boycott is a small way of saying a big thing: that fairness and justice should be for real and not just for show, that all international laws must be respected, not only those that happen to be convenient”.
It is necessary to make clear who the political opposition in Syria is
Russia Today, 27 Oct, 2015
The US-led coalition lacks a common understanding of who the terrorist threat in Syria is coming from, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov believes. He also said that Russia is trying to establish contacts with the Syrian opposition.
“Last Friday I met with [US Secretary of State] John Kerry, Saudi and Turkish foreign ministers in Vienna …and I once again saw that the US-led coalition has no common understanding [about] who poses a terrorist threat in Syria,” Sergey Lavrov said at a press-conference held after talks with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makey.
“One cannot say that there are ‘good’ terrorist which are not to be touched,” the minister said. “It is necessary to make clear who the political opposition in Syria is,” Lavrov added referring to the Geneva communique signed in June 2012, which calls for a peace process inclusive of all political groups.
The minister pointed out that the peace process must be “inclusive” – so, it must encompass all political opposition groups as well as all significant foreign countries.
“Some of our partners tried to count on one opposition group completely ignoring other groups and declaring this group the only representative of the Syrian people…There were also attempts to establish a closed club of foreign actors without the participation of other key states influencing the situation in Sirya,” Lavrov said. “Such speculative patterns are unsustainable,” the minister added.
Lavrov also said that Russia is ready to help all opposition groups fighting against terrorists – not only the Assad regime. “It was not easy to find representatives of such opposition groups – and we are continuing our efforts. We have the first responses,” he said.
The French Revolution
cameron - sarkozy - hollande - levy ('a zionist friend')
PARIS - France, which has taken a tough line on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, is struggling to make itself heard as the diplomatic ground shifts towards a compromise with the regime.
Trying to keep France at the heart of negotiations on Syria, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius scrambled to gather key powers in Paris on Tuesday. But the guest list was not finalised until the last minute and a few of the bigger names were absent, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and his British counterpart Philip Hammond -- both represented by underlings.
Russia, which has been carrying out air strikes in support of the Assad regime since last month, was not invited. "There are other meetings where we will work with the Russians," said Fabius...
"Nothing must be done to bolster Bashar al-Assad, who is the problem, and cannot therefore be the solution," President Francois Hollande reiterated last week.
Aware of their limited power, pressure is mounting within France to soften the position on Assad and seek a compromise.
"The settlement of the Syrian political situation necessarily requires a dialogue with the Syrian president," said Jean-Frederic Poisson, an opposition lawmaker who visited Damascus on Tuesday, reflecting a view that has growing currency among French MPs. "It is not for foreign countries to decide who must lead Syria."
Today Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to outline a new US military strategy for the Middle East. The Secretary admitted the failure of the US “train and equip” program for rebels in Syria, but instead of taking the appropriate lessons from that failure and get out of the “regime change” business, he announced the opposite.
The US would not only escalate its “train and equip” program by removing the requirement that fighters be vetted for extremist ideology, but according to the Secretary the US military would for the first time become directly and overtly involved in combat in Syria and Iraq.
As Secretary Carter put it, the US would begin “supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL (ISIS), or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”
I cannot condemn in strong enough terms this ill-advised US military escalation in the Middle East.
The fact is, the neocons who run US foreign policy are so determined to pull off their regime change in Syria that they will risk the lives of untold US soldiers and even risk a major war in the region — or even beyond – to escalate a failed policy.
Russian strikes against ISIS and al-Qaeda must be resisted, they claim, because they are seen as helping the Assad government remain in power, and the US administration is determined that “Assad must go.”
This is not our war. US interventionism has already done enough damage in Iraq and Syria, not to mention Libya. It is time to come home. It is time for the American people to rise up and demand that the Obama Administration bring our military home from this increasingly dangerous no-win confrontation. We must speak out now, before it is too late!
We now see the human tragedies of neocon/liberal-hawk ideologies captured in the suffering of the Syrians and other refugees flooding Europe and the death of children drowning as their desperate families flee the chaos created by “regime change.”
But will the neocon/liberal-hawk grip on Official Washington finally be broken? Will a debate even be allowed about the dangers of “regime change” prescriptions in the future?
Not if the [neocons] have anything to say about it. The truth is that the neocons retain their dominance of the mainstream U.S. news media, so all that one can expect from the various MSM outlets is more neocon propaganda, blaming the chaos not on their policy of “regime change” but on the failure to undertake even more “regime change.”
The one hope is that many Americans will not be fooled this time and that a belated “realism” will finally return to U.S. geopolitical strategies that will look for obtainable compromises to restore some political order to places such as Syria, Libya and Ukraine.
Rather than more and more tough-guy/gal confrontations, maybe there will finally be some serious efforts at reconciliation.
But the other reality is that the interventionist forces have rooted themselves deeply in Official Washington, inside NATO, within the mainstream news media and even in European institutions. It will not be easy to rid the world of the grave dangers created by neocon policies.
Russian Deputy FM Confirms Holding Meetings With Free Syrian Army
FARS News Agency, 30-10-2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov confirmed Thursday that he had held meetings with persons claiming to represent the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
"I have met many people who say they represent the Free Syrian Army. I've met them both in Cairo, and in Moscow. They all say they represent the Free Syrian Army. But at the same time they say that there is no unified command, no single commander, no headquarters," Bogdanov told RIA Novosti.
According to Bogdanov, Moscow holds talks on a daily basis with a wide variety of Syrian opposition factions, including the National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and Kurdish organizations.
Russia, which launched its own air operation against ISIL positions in Syria in late September upon Assad's request and as part of a quarilateral military alliance that also includes Iran and Hezbollah, has been seeking contacts with the so-called moderate opposition to combine their efforts against ISIL and other Takfiri terrorists.
The Temple as idolatry
They started looking for a way to destroy him
They came to Jerusalem, and He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers' tables and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple complex.
Then He began to teach them: "Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!" Then the chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to destroy Him. For they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished by His teaching. (Mark 11)
"We are his temple. We do not turn in a certain directlon to pray. We are not bound by having to go into a building so that we can commune with God... The Christian takes the temple with him or her. Jesus lifts us beyond the building and pays the human body the highest compliment by making it His dwelling place, the place where He meets with us. Even today He would overturn the tables of those who make it a marketplace for their own lust, greed, and wealth.” Ravi Zacharias
“Our thinking will automatically improve when we remember the words of Paul: 'know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Thomas S. Monson
“No Temple made by mortal human hands can ever compare to the Temple made by the gods themselves. That building of wood and stone is but a decoy for the masses who need this simple concrete limited thing in their lives. The real Temple is the whole world, and there is nothing as divinely blessed as a blooming growing garden.” Vera Nazarian
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama XIV (Source)
The Temple that today's zealots idealise was actually an engine of social corruption, religious fanaticism, and political recklessness
Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post Opinion, 29-10-2015
The Temple is where power elbowed spirituality; where piety gave way to corruption, violence and fanaticism, and where a shrine of repentance became what its modern cultists are now dusting – an engine of the idolatry that it was meant to defeat.
IT TAKES NO ATHEIST, secularist or leftist, just an impartial reader of the Jewish sources, to understand that the Temple’s combination of money, clergy and impressionable masses produced cynicism, evil and abuse.
That is what happened when Pashhur, the Temple’s “chief officer of the House of the Lord,” spun Jeremiah on a torture wheel because that priest could not handle the truth that the prophet laid bare.
The place where ritual sacrifices abounded while money changed hands, animal blood flowed, carcasses’ odor invaded nostrils and mouths chewed meat, ultimately appalled people like Isaiah, who said God was asking: “What need have I of all your sacrifices?”
The “offerings of rams” and the “blood of bulls,” in Isaiah’s words, became corruption’s camouflage and faith’s perversion once in the hands of those who “pray at length” while “stained with crime,” people who while strict about the Temple’s rituals failed “to uphold the rights of the orphan” and to “defend the cause of the widow.”
The corruption the Temple unleashed eventually resulted in the buying and selling of the high-priesthood while the lay priests, absorbed by the rituals they administered and the funds they collected, ignored the spiritual purpose those were meant to serve, and thus created the social alienation which the Pharisee intellectuals tried to address. Worse, the Temple inspired the uniquely Jewish delusion that loyalty to a shrine can replace a nation’s loyalty to its land... The Temple weakened the Jews, misleading them to overestimate, misfire, and eventually lose what power they had.
That is how the militants among our forebears ended up waging a reckless war on their era’s lone superpower, while the moderate lawmakers, justices and intellectuals who tried to confront them gradually lost their political sway.
OUR OWN ZEALOTS are still far away from this result, but this is where the road they are taking leads.
In rolling their eyes and “merely uttering several sentences” while atop the mountain they idolize, they ignore most Jews’ dismissal of their craving, most rabbis’ rejection of their theology, and every Israeli government’s express decree, not to mention the patent threat of the global backlash they provoke.
Our zealots are rejecting Zionism’s two empirical conclusions from centuries of exile – that a nation can have only one home, and God can have many.
They have sculpted an idol and then turned to worship in our name what now is a Moloch thirsting for everyone’s blood.
A new round of international talks for resolving the ongoing crisis in Syria has started in the Austrian capital city of Vienna.
Apart from the Islamic Republic, the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, representatives from at least 12 other countries are also attending the talks. Those states are France, Germany, Egypt, Russia, Jordan, the UK, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Lebanon, China and Oman. Envoys from the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) are also present at the talks.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif heads Iran’s delegation during the one-day talks.
Previous talks on Syria, mediated by the UN and dubbed Geneva I and II, failed to find a solution to end the conflict in the Arab country. Iran had not been invited to any of the talks.
The two conferences ended in failure after the foreign-sponsored opposition figures in the talks refused to discuss widespread terrorism in the country and persisted in demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a precondition, PRESS TV reports.
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to UN. The world body says 12.2 million people, including more than 5.6 million children, remain in need of humanitarian assistance.The foreign-sponsored militancy has displaced 7.6 million people.
Vienna Talks Agree to Defeat ISIL, Maintain Syria’s Integrity
Al-Manar (Lebanon), 30-10-2015
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L)The foreign ministers of 16 countries and Chinese deputy foreign minister as well as representatives of the European Union and the United Nations agreed during their meeting in Vienna on Friday to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
Following is the full text of a joint communiqué issued by the meeting after the foreign ministerial talks:
Meeting in Vienna, on October 30, 2015, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States (the participants) came together to discuss the grave situation in Syria and how to bring about an end to the violence as soon as possible.
The participants had a frank and constructive discussion, covering major issues. While substantial differences remain among the participants, they reached a mutual understanding on the following:
1. Syria's unity, independence, territorial integrity, and secular character are fundamental.
2. State institutions will remain intact.
3. The rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination, must be protected.
4. It is imperative to accelerate all diplomatic efforts to end the war.
5. Humanitarian access will be ensured throughout the territory of Syria, and the participants will increase support for internally displaced persons, refugees, and their host countries.
6. ISIL [the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' takfiri group], and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants, must be defeated.
7. Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communiqué and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118, the participants invited the UN to convene representatives of the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for a political process leading to credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections.
8. This political process will be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, and the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.
The Russian air group in Syria has carried out 1,391 sorties over the past month, the General Staff said Friday.
Since the beginning of its operation in Syria on September 30, Russian Aerospace Forces have carried out 1,391 sorties in Syria, destroying a total of 1,623 terrorist targets, the Russian General Staff said Friday. In particular, Russian warplanes destroyed 249 Islamic State command posts, 51 training camps, and 131 depots, Andrey Kartapolov, head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Directorate said.
Kartapolov added that Islamic State has retained positions in a number of areas, having turned them into fortified zones complete with underground tunnels and shelters.
"It is too early to speak about complete victory over terrorists in Syria. Despite heavy losses and mass desertion, militants continue to resist the government troops. Importantly, the Syrian armed forces have promptly repelled all of their counterattacks," Kartapolov said. According to him, militants in Syria are trying to redeploy forces from Iraq and other neighboring states, but their morale and training levels are very low.
Kartapolov said that leaders of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group operating in the Syrian province of Hama have decided to join forces with ISIL as the Syrian army continues its offensive.
At the same time, militants often attempt to save their lives when being trapped by government forces by claiming that they belong to the so called ‘moderate opposition', and their cowardice and unwillingness to fight causes the militant leaders to stop paying them.
"In order to receive political and financial support from abroad, the leaders of a number of militant factions that used to be a part of the Jabhat an-Nusra terrorist group decided to switch allegiance and to defect to the Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham which is considered to be a ‘moderate opposition' group by the West," he concluded.
"During the three weeks of intensive fighting, the Syrian Army liberated over 50 large settlements and about 350 square kilometers of territory," Kartapolov said. According to the general, residents started to return to some of the settlements.
"The situation in Syria drastically changed thanks to Russian airstrikes. The terrorists suffered heavy losses, and the system of control and supply of the militant groups that was created over the course of the last few years was disrupted," Kartapolov noted.
"ISIL and Jabhat an-Nusra lost the initiative and had to go on the defensive on every front. At the same time the enemy chain of command was also severely undermined, in no small part due to the elimination of 28 of the most notorious militant leaders," Kartapolov said.
Kartapolovo asked the Western partners who accuse Russia of carrying out indiscriminate airstrikes in Syria to back up their accusations with concrete evidence.
"The Russian Defense Ministry is well aware of how many surveillance planes and reconnaissance spacecraft are constantly monitoring the Russian military activity in Syria. So if the military departments of NATO member-states and other countries wish to accuse us of anything, they have everything they need to present concrete evidence, just like the Russian Defense Ministry does," he said.
"We've already declared on several occasions that we are willing to cooperate with all Syrian groups, including the Free Syrian Army, fighting against the ISIL and Jabhat an-Nusra.
All information on ISIL and Jabhat an-Nusra targets provided by the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups “will be reviewed and the targets themselves will become priority targets for Russian military aircraft,” Kartapolov added.
Survey: 72% of French People Want Assad to Remain in Power
A recent survey in France has revealed that over two thirds of the French people want the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to remain the president of Syria. According to the poll carried out by the French newspaper Le Figaro on Thursday, with a sampling of 21,314 French adults, 72 percent of the respondents answered No to the survey question “Should world powers demand Bashar Assad to leave?” while the remaining 28 percent responded Yes to the question.
The survey was conducted ahead of a fresh round of international talks, which started in the Austrian capital Vienna on Friday and is aimed at resolving the ongoing crisis in Syria. This is the third conference of its kind that has tried to end the years-long deadly crisis in the Middle Eastern country.
In a joint statement at the end of the latest round of the talks, the participants said “substantial differences remain” but it was “imperative to accelerate all diplomatic efforts to end the war.”
The United States has repeatedly demanded that Assad step down, echoing Syria’s foreign-sponsored opposition figures’ stance towards the government in Damascus.
In a Saturday interview with Spanish newspapers, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated that only Syrian people must be allowed to decide about the future of their incumbent president. “The future of Assad must be decided by the Syrian people,” Ban stated.
Bashar al-Assad: YES to Arabism, NO to colonialism
The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ...
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage. ...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions. It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place.
The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness. Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. ...
The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component. Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.
The 'international community' is a group of big colonial countries
As for our relations with the West, they talk about an international community. This international community is a group of big colonial countries which view the whole world as an arena full of slaves who serve their interests....
The West is still colonial in one way or another. It is changing from an old colonizer to a modern colonizer and from a modern colonizer during the Sykes-Picot agreement to a contemporary colonizer. It has different forms and shapes but it will never change, which means that we have to turn to the East. We, as a state, started this procedure several years ago, and my visits during the recent years fell under that initiative in one way or another. ..
Arab National Ideology: A Necessity for the Nation Masses.
It is One of the Reasons for Targeting Syria, Being the Main Bearer of This Ideology.
Baath Socialist Party website, 20 May 2015
Fuad Dabour, General Secretary of the Progressive Arab Baath Party in Jordan, asserted that Syria defends the future of the Arab Nation and works for its unity, for restoring its glories and civilization, and she is capable of adhering to its invariable principles and riches.
He said, during the special dialogue, made with him by the party web site, “ The might of this nation comes from the victory which Syria will achieve. Syria is defending the whole nation, sacrificing blood and economy. But these sacrifices will not be in vain. They will remain sacrifices for this Nation”.
Fuad Dabour explained the necessity of the Arab National Ideology for the masses of the nation, specially that this ideology is targeted by hostile forces: the Wahabi Takfiri groups, the Zionist enemy and imperialism who are dividing the Arab countries on sectarian, racist, and ethnic bases against Arab nationalism and national ideology. Because this ideology brings the nation together and not divides it.
Regime change, the only solution
An end to the Assad regime would be a boon to Israel
Jerusalem Post Editorial, 1-11-2015
"...the Zionist interest is to have as much land with as few Arabs in it..."
Yoaz Hendel, 1-11-2015
The US seems to be getting more involved in Syria’s messy civil war and this might have positive implications for Israel.
How would a bigger US role in Syria affect Israeli interests? Since the start of the civil war four-and-a-half years ago, Israel has sagaciously avoided getting dragged into the conflict. Still, Israel has an interest in seeing the Assad regime collapse.
Assad’s continued survival has led to the strengthening of Hezbollah and the increased involvement of Iran on Israel’s northern border. And all this has been facilitated by Russia’s support for Assad.
While Islamic State is a potential threat to Israel, particularly in Sinai, its limited military capabilities and its geographic distance from Israel’s borders make it less of a concern.
Russia is supporting the 'Axis of Evil'
In contrast, Hezbollah has long-range missiles and rockets that can reach anywhere in Israel. As Putin strengthens Assad he is also emboldening Hezbollah, particularly when Russian arms find their way into the hands of the Shi’ite terrorist organization.
And because Assad is aligned with Iran, Russia is essentially sustaining an Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis that helps Tehran in its drive for regional hegemony. The threat presented by this axis is further augmented by Iran’s ongoing efforts to arm itself with nuclear bombs.
But as Russia pushes its hand in Syria, thus forcing the US to increase its involvement, new opportunities are created for Israel. One option worth pursuing is an attempt to strengthen ties with Sunni states.
The Jewish state and a number of Sunni countries share an interest in seeing Assad’s ouster. Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, praised the deployment of US special operations troops in Syria. But he said that it was not enough for the US to target ISIS. The US had to widen its goal.
“Any attempts to go after IS[IS] in Syria without dealing with the root cause, which is Bashar Assad, are doomed to failure,” Jubeir said, noting that many Sunni Islamists have joined in the war against Assad.
The Saudis share Israel’s interest in seeing the Iran-Hezbollah axis weakened, as do Turkey, Egypt and other Sunni states. Under the leadership of the US, a coalition of Sunni states could be formed to counter the Russia-Iran alliance.
An end to the Assad regime would be a severe blow to Iran and Hezbollah and, thus a boon to Israel.
Ali Khamenei: US Part of Middle East Crisis, not a Solution
Al-Manar (Lebanon) 1-11-2015
Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei dismissed on Sunday chances of foreign countries bartering a deal over Syria's future, suggesting they should focus on securing a halt to fighting that allows fresh elections. He warned against 'dangerous precedence' of alien decision on Syria's government system, repeating his ban on direct talks with the United States about turmoil in the Middle East.
"Negotiation with the US on regional issues is meaningless. The US policies are the reason behind the mess in the region, and the United States is part of the problem and not the solution," Sayyed Khamenei said.
He stressed that the best way to solve the crisis is to stop the military and money support for the armed takfiri groups, principally from Gulf states and the US, and to run for elections. "The Americans seek to impose their own interests, not solve problems. They want to impose 60, 70 percent of their will."
He said Syria's people must choose who their leader would be, rather than the US and other foreign powers trying to decide for them.
"There's no point in other countries getting together and deciding about a system of government and the head of that state." "This is a dangerous innovation which no government in the world would accept being imposed on itself. The solution to Syria's problem is elections."
"The war and mess that are going on in Syria must stop first so that the Syrian people can choose their president in a secured atmosphere," he stressed.
The United States government publicly advocates the rule of law, but its actions belie its rhetoric when it comes to Israel.
Israel continuously disregards United Nations Resolutions, defies the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition against an occupying power transferring parts of its own population into the territories it occupies, and obstructs investigations by U.N. agencies into its disproportionate use of force, collective punishment and other human rights violations, as it did after Operations Cast Lead (2008-2009) and Protective Edge (2014).
The U.S. has not frozen assistance to Israel in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act; instead, Israel continues to receive assistance. It remains exempt from American laws meant to hold rogue nations accountable for acts of violence and discrimination against the most vulnerable of peoples.
The U.S. insists it wants peace between Israel and the Palestinian people; however, its non-compliance with its own laws arms Israel with the resources it needs to sustain its illegal occupation of the Palestinians.
While the US enables Israel’s contempt for the rule of law, it is about to cut economic aid to the Palestinians by twenty-two percent, from $370 million to $290 million per year.
A U.S. State Department official stated that the decision to cut aid was made this past spring and was because of “unhelpful actions” on the part of the Palestinian leadership.
What unhelpful actions? This last year Palestinians looked for the justice they’ve been denied for generations and they joined the International Criminal Court, filing war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against Israel.
The charges focus on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Israel’s 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip, in which seventy percent of the more than 2,100 people killed were civilians, including over 500 children.
By bringing their case before the ICC, Palestinians challenged the pretense that the U.S. is an honest broker in search of a fair peace. Joining the ICC was an admission by the Palestinians of what the rest of the world has known for some time: The U.S. is the principle enabler of the occupation.
America’s use of punishments and rewards signals, at least with regard to the Israelis and Palestinians, that the oppressed must play the game according to the oppressor’s rule book, no matter how biased and dirty those rules are.
Richard Forer is the author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.
Chalabi, key lobbyist for US invasion of Iraq, dies:
Ahmed Chalabi, a key lobbyist for the US invasion of Iraq who was blamed for providing false intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to justify it, died of a heart attack.
Living in exile as head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which opposed Saddam Hussein, Chalabi became a White House favourite for information he provided which supported the US justification for attacking Iraq in 2003.
Key figures in US president George W. Bush's administration hoped Chalabi and the INC might take over Iraq as an interim government after the fall of Saddam, but his group was little-known and little-liked at home.
Ahmed Abdel Hadi Chalabi (October 1944 - 3 November 2015) was an Iraqi politician.
In the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi National Congress (INC), with the assistance of lobbying powerhouse BKSH & Associates, provided a major portion of the information on which U.S. Intelligence based its condemnation of the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, including reports of weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to al-Qaeda. Most, if not all, of this information has turned out to be false and Chalabi has been called a fabricator.
After the invasion Chalabi had been placed in charge of "deBaathification" — the removal of office holders judged to have been close supporters of the deposed Saddam Hussein. (Wikipedia info)
Flashback 2003: How lucky can the Iraqis get?
For the neo-conservatives Iraq must not only be de-Ba'athized, but Washington must also be accorded the opportunity to show the world, (especially other Muslim states) just how powerful and determined the United States is to both wage war and enforce political reform.
The neoconservatives view "Saddamism without Saddam" as the worst possible outcome of the present crisis...
The neo-conservatives have long favored a far-reaching purge that would bring to power the core of the exiled Iraqi National Congress (INC) led by Ahmed Chalabi, an old friend of Perle and Wolfowitz.
Chalabi would be ideally suited to co-operate with U.S. efforts to knock over the other "dominoes" in the region who are perceived as hostile to the U.S. or Israel. (Jim Lobe, Alternet 21-3-2003)
In anticipation of the Baghdad regime's fall, members of this interim government have begun arriving in Kuwait.
Decisions on the government's composition appear to be entirely in US hands, particularly those of Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence... The most controversial of Mr Wolfowitz's proposed appointees is Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the opposition Iraqi National Congress, together with his close associates, including his nephew.
During his years in exile, Mr Chalabi has cultivated links with Congress to raise funds, and has become the Pentagon's darling among the Iraqi opposition. The defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, is one of his strongest supporters. (By Brian Whitaker and Luke Harding, 1-4-2003)
Occupation: a dirty word
If it appears to Iraqis that they have exchanged dictatorship for occupation, no amount of prosperity will soften their bitterness and anger. On the wider Arab front, there will be similar anger.
Nothing raises Arab hackles more furiously than occupation. It is the dirty word in the Arab political dictionary. Arabs have had to fight it for centuries. Occupation is what Israel is all about, which is why the average Arab on the street is so implacably opposed to anything to do with Israel.
Arabs will not tolerate the return of occupation elsewhere. Washington must accept Iraqi faces in the running of the country very quickly or reap the dire consequences of Iraq and an Arab world united in joint, implacable hostility toward it.
It may be that American forces stay on in Iraq for a couple of years, as suggested by Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the exiled opposition National Iraq Congress leader and the man tipped to succeed Saddam Hussein; that is a different matter. But a US military administration will not do. It will backfire. It will provide the best recruitment drive anti-US terrorists have ever hand. (Arab News, Saudi Arabia, 8-4-2003)
Molly Ivins: The New World Order - "A Crook, a Zionist and an Old Spy"
Oh good. It looks as though we're going to have as big a fight over postwar plans for Iraq as we did over the war itself. Just what we need, more of everybody being at everybody else's throat.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who seems prepared to run the world, favors one Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile-emigre group, as postwar leader (read figurehead-puppet).
Chalabi is bitterly opposed by both the State Department and the CIA. Chalabi has been in exile for four decades and, in 1992, he was convicted on multiple counts of embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars in Jordan after the failure of his bank there. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. He escaped from Jordan, reportedly in the trunk of a car, and wound up in London. Dick Cheney is also a Chalabi fan.
The Iraqi National Congress has received millions in American aid money, but the accounting has been very poor (a familiar story) and quite a bit of the money is unaccounted for.
The Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz choice for "viceroy designate" of Iraq is Gen. Jay Garner, head of the Pentagon's Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. Garner is a retired military man with links to both the international arms industry and a Jewish lobby group. After retiring from the Army, Garner became president of SY Coleman, a defense contractor specializing in military defense technology. He is currently on leave of absence from the company.
The third member of the triumvirate that Rumsfeld & Co. want to run Iraq is former CIA chief James Woolsey, who said last week that Iraq is the opening of the "Fourth World War" (counting the Cold War as III) and that America's enemies include the religious rulers in Iran, states like Syria and Islamic terrorist groups.
So, we've got a crook, a Zionist and an old spy who thinks this is the beginning of WWIV set to run Iraq. How lucky can the Iraqis get? (www.dailycamera.com)
More info: The Unfinished Business of Ahmed Chalabi
The charlatan who lied us into war had plenty of accomplices
by Justin Raimondo, November 04, 2015
On Sunday night, the Christian militias inside the predominately Syriac Orthodox town of Sadad received a much needed boost in human capital, as dozens of fighters from the Assyrian "Gozarto Protection Forces" (GPF) of Al-Qamishli arrived at this desert front in order to help defeat the swarming terrorists from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham" (ISIS).
According to a field report from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) of Sadad, the GPF soldiers were transported by a Russian aircraft from the Al-Qamishli Airport to a small airfield inside the Homs Governorate's eastern countryside; this is the first time the Russian Air Force has transported pro-government fighters from one battlefront to another.
The GPF soldiers arrived right on time to confront the ISIS combatants attempting to retake the Maheen-Sadad Checkpoint; however, they were given a brief holiday from battle after the SSNP and National Defense Forces (NDF) of Sadad beat back the terrorist group's attempt to bypass their stiff defenses and enter this strategic town located directly east of the Homs-Damascus Highway.
Sadad was once under the control of the Islamist rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group "Jabhat Al-Nusra" before it was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah during their first Qalamoun Offensive in the Fall of 2013.
Since Sadad's liberation, the civilian populous has focused on arming and training its people in order to avoid a similar situation that left them at the mercy of their enemies.
People in Damascus show solidarity with the Syrian army and residents of the Christian town of Sadad during a candlelight sit-in in front of the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral of St. Georges (31-10-2013)
One of the worst Christian massacres—complete with mass graves, tortured-to-death women and children, and destroyed churches—recently took place in Syria, at the hands of the U.S.-supported jihadi “rebels”; and the U.S. government and its “mainstream media” mouthpiece are, as usual, silent....
The massacre took place in Sadad, an ancient Syriac Orthodox Christian habitation. Most of the region’s inhabitants are poor, as Sadad is situated in the remote desert between Homs and Damascus...
In late October, the U.S-supported “opposition” invaded and occupied Sadad for over a week, till ousted by the nation’s military. Among other atrocities, 45 Christians—including women and children—were killed, several tortured to death; Sadat’s 14 churches, some ancient, were ransacked and destroyed; the bodies of six people from one family, ranging from ages 16 to 90, were found at the bottom of a well...
Russian, US air forces hold joint exercises in Syria
Russia Today, 3 Nov, 2015
Russian and US air forces have staged joint drills to practice air safety measures in the skies over Syria, according to the Russian General Staff, which also reported that its military has begun to coordinate with Syria’s moderate opposition forces.
In the course of the drills, both the air crews and ground services of Russian and US forces drilled procedures aimed at avoiding problems in case the two countries’ military aircraft find themselves in dangerous proximity in Syria’s skies, Russian General Staff spokesman Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov said.
The joint drills come after Moscow and Washington signed a “deconfliction” memorandum to ensure air safety over Syria.
In another development on Tuesday, Russian air forces made 12 sorties and hit 24 terrorist facilities at coordinates received from Syrian opposition forces.
The Colonel-General confirmed that the Russian military has been in communication with the leaders and commanders of some Syrian moderate opposition groups, noting that Russia had repeatedly said it was ready to “cooperate with all Syrian patriotic forces fighting Islamic State terrorists, Al Nusra Front and other terrorist groups."
Kartapolov described the Syrian opposition groups in contact with Russia as “patriotic forces that … put ideas of preserving Syria as a single state free from ISIS and other terrorists before their political ambitions.”
Contacts between Russia’s Defense Ministry and moderate Syrian opposition are useful for the political process, special representative of the Russian president for the Middle East and African countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Tuesday.
"The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation knows about these contacts, we confirm their fruitful nature," the high-ranking diplomat said.
"These contacts of the Russian military department with representatives of moderate Syrian opposition look extremely timely and useful to us, both from the viewpoint of fight against terrorists and for promotion of the political process," Bogdanov said. (TASS 3-11-2015)
Russian warplanes have inflicted tangible losses on terrorists in Syria and have convinced their patrons and supervisors that further financial support to the militants was hopeless, Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov, the head of the main operations directorate of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, said on Tuesday.
"Our aviation has disorganized the command systems and supply lines for the terrorist units that were created for quite a long period of time; inflicted tangible losses on the terrorists; undermined their morale and convinced their patrons and supervisors that further financial support to the militants lacked prospect," Kartapolov said. (TASS 3-11-2015)
Whenever Bernard-Henri Levy writes an article about geopolitical policy and the Middle East, you can predict with accuracy that he is going to lie. In fact, I cannot remember the last time this man speaks the truth about metaphysical things. It is really a shame that this man calls himself a philosopher.
In his recent piece in the Huffington Post, The New Moscowteers, Levy is telling us the inexorable truth—that is, the truth according to Bernard-Henri Levy:
“Across Europe, apologists for Russia and Russian policy have coalesced into what amounts to a fifth column..."
“They are, for starters, those who have had nothing critical to say about the full state reception that Russian President Vladimir Putin just staged at the Kremlin for that multi-recidivist enemy of the West, the butcher of his own people: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“They are those whose craven relief that a “strongman” has appeared to impose order (his own) on the Syrian mess prevents them from seeing that the primary effect of Russia’s massive, indiscriminate bombardments has been to accelerate the flow of refugees toward Europe."
“And they are the great many who simply ignore what motivates Putin’s armed diplomacy: the desire to exact revenge on those who, in his eyes, were responsible for the Soviet Union’s downfall.
Putin famously declared that the Soviet collapse was the ‘biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,’ and he has never stopped blaming it on the United States, the Catholic Church (and its Polish pope), and Europe.”
"Yet the Party of Putin prefers not to see how seemingly discrete events are components of a Kremlin strategy of revenge, humiliation and, at the very least, destabilization aimed at Europe."
They hate cosmopolitanism
"Wherever Putin goes, his party in Europe is sure to follow... " "One hesitates to call the Party of Putin suicidal, masochistic or driven by self-hatred or a taste for treason; yet its members say nothing when the Kremlin alters by force frontiers upon which the continent's collective security depends.
They do not know, or pretend not to know, that Putin is an empire builder surrounded by ideologues whose vision of the world, though complex and robust, is in all key respects opposed to that of the West.
They place right and law in the service of strength and force, rather than vice versa, prioritize order over liberty and treat gay people and other "deviants" as the quintessence of a decadent West emasculated by the poison of cosmopolitanism."
Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all human beings belong to a single community, based on a shared morality. A person who adheres to the idea of cosmopolitanism in any of its forms is called a cosmopolitan or cosmopolite.
A cosmopolitan community might be based on an inclusive morality, a shared economic relationship, or a political structure that encompasses different nations. In a cosmopolitan community individuals from different places (e.g. nation-states) form relationships of mutual respect, despite their differing beliefs (religious, political, etc.).
Philosophical cosmopolitans are moral universalists: they believe that all humans, and not merely compatriots or fellow-citizens, come under the same moral standards. The boundaries between nations, states, cultures or societies are therefore morally irrelevant.
Cosmopolitanism shares some aspects of universalism – namely the globally acceptable notion of human dignity that must be protected and enshrined in international law.
Cosmopolitanism is not a moral relativism that accepts cultural behaviors uncritically; rather, it requires choosing aspects of cultures that are beneficial and rejecting those that are inhuman or detrimental. (Wikipedia info)
Cosmopolitanism is certainly unwelcome by many factions.
To its right is right wing nationalism, a patriotism that fears contamination by new ideas and other cultures. Hitler declared cosmopolitanism as a sort of infectious pollution that caused “national decomposition.” He rejected any form of internationalism or cosmopolitanism. U.S. conservatives use cosmopolitan as a euphemism for anything unpatriotic or foreign.
To the left is radical multiculturalism that demands rights for cultures and insists that individuals be viewed and judged using the group’s religious or tribal standards. This can perpetuate unjust cultural practices inconsistent with human rights and the rule of law. (thehumanist.com)
The relevance of cosmopolitanism is fast becoming more than theoretical. As a matter of daily reality and to a degree previously unknown, we are faced with the experiences of others everywhere. This imposes new demands on consciences and nationalistic categories.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (born 25 June 1972) is a former Libyan political figure. He is the second son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his second wife Safia Farkash. Gaddafi was awarded a PhD from London School of Economics.
He was a part of his father's inner circle, performing public relations and diplomatic roles on behalf of his father. According to American State Department officials in Tripoli, during his father's reign, he was the second most-widely recognized person in Libya and was at times the "de facto" Prime Minister.
Via Shehzad Nadeem at OrgTheory comes this report on Muammar el-Gaddafi’s son and the Ph.D in Political Theory he wrote at the LSE in 2008.
Gaddafi the Younger’s thesis is titled “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions: From ‘Soft Power’ to Collective Decision-making?”
In it, he argues that, inclusion of elected representatives of non- governmental organisations (NGOs) in tripartite decision-making structures could potentially create a more democratic global governing system. …
The thesis argues that there are strong motivations for free individuals to seek fair terms of cooperation within the necessary constraints of being members of a global society.
Drawing on the works of David Hume, John Rawls and Ned McClennen, it elaborates significant self-interested and moral motives that prompt individuals to seek cooperation on fair terms if they expect others to do so.
Secondly, it supports a theory of global justice, rejecting the limits of Rawls’s view of international justice based on what he calls ‘peoples’ rather than persons.
Thirdly, the thesis adopts and applies David Held’s eight cosmopolitan principles to support the concept and specific structures of ‘Collective Management’.
Libya, after NATO-intervention a country without modern leadership
By toppling Gaddafi, Nato interfered with the order of things. Once the personal guarantor of national unity had been lynched by his compatriots, the Libyan people were left to their own devices in an appalling state of upheaval, with no roadmap to guide them.
Through herd mentality, or pure atavism, the leaderless state was drawn back to its one familiar point of reference, the tribal system of its ancestors, and with it the full force of its legacy: a return to the hatred of the past, to intractable rivalries, violent raids and an unquenchable thirst for vengeance.
After civil war, pillaging, settling of scores, mass rape and destruction on a massive scale, each ethnic group has withdrawn to its own territory and demands autonomy. The bastion Gaddafi built is crumbling. Libyan unity is now no more than an old story, a fairytale no one believes in. (The Guardian, 22-10-2015)
Russia Favors Free Syrian Army's Participation in Reconciliation Talks
MOSCOW (Sputnik), 5-11-2015
According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Moscow is holding talks on a daily basis with "almost the whole spectrum" of the Syrian opposition factions as part of a reconciliation process in the country.
Representatives of the Free Syrian Army have agreed to meet representatives of the Russian Defense and Foreign ministries in Abu Dhabi at the end of next week, one of the coordinators of the event told Sputnik.
"A preliminary agreement was reached of a meeting of 28 brigades of the FSA in the suburbs of Damascus, Qunaitra, Hama and the western suburb of Homs, as well as the northern front from the suburbs of Aleppo and Idlib with the representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Defense Ministry most likely in Abu Dhabi at the end of the coming week," Mahmoud Afandi, who is also the secretary of the Popular Diplomacy Movement (a group that sees itself as a mediator between Moscow and the FSA.), said.
"The main topic of the meeting will be intensifying the joint operative center, which was agreed on in Moscow, directed at fighting IS [Islamic State] and the Nusra Front, as well as the search for a political solution after IS is defeated."
According to Afandi, the issues of the Russian side promising protection to the FSA from the Syrian Army will be discussed also...
Popular Diplomacy Movement &
the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
“We, in the Popular Diplomacy Movement initiative, are in touch with the FSA representatives and with its field commanders in a number of Syrian regions under its control”.
“We’re a meaningful player in this crisis, ‘” says Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for global Peace.
Andrew S. Weiss | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Putin is an improviser and an opportunist of the highest order
Carnegie Europe, 2-10-2015
People around the world give Putin way too much credit as a master strategist. He’s an improviser and an opportunist of the highest order. It’s true that he’s trying to fill some of the vacuum in the Middle East and Syria as the United States scales back our military involvement in the region. At the same time, I doubt very much that Putin is thinking two or three moves ahead.
The war in Syria is about to get a lot worse and he’s plunging Russia right into the middle of it. It’s also only a matter of time before we see surge of jihadist activity targeting Russians, both inside Syria and, I fear, on the streets of Moscow. Russia’s move is going to embolden the Assad regime and motivate the forces of global jihadism.
Moscow Looks for Phase Two in Syria
Nikolay Kozhanov, Carnegie Moscow Center, 4-11-2015
Moscow is starting to flesh out ideas for the next phase of its involvement in the Syrian conflict. Harboring no illusions about the feasibility of a military victory in Syria, it now wants to put itself at the center of a political process.
The chief goal of the first phase of Russia’s military intervention has been almost achieved: to weaken opposition groups in Syria and bolster the position of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces through air strikes.
However, the necessary second phase is all about politics and diplomacy. Moscow saw the relatively productive multilateral talks in Vienna on October 30 as a good start to this effort.
In the month since Russia first launched its air strikes, Assad’s forces and his Iranian allies have been able to stabilize their front lines and make a few territorial advances—but no more than that. Still, it seems unlikely that Moscow is willing to invest the sizeable military resources that would be required to tip the scales decisively in Damascus’s favor.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a foreign-policy think tank with centers in Washington, D.C., Moscow, Beirut, Beijing, and Brussels. The organization describes itself as being dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Founded in 1910 by Andrew Carnegie, its work is not formally associated with any political party. (Wikipedia info)
Carnegie Moscow Center Info
De Mistura: Syrians Should Be Urgently Involved in Peace Settlement
Al-Manar Lebanon, 4-11-2015
UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday that the Syrian people must be urgently involved in the country's civil war settlement.
Following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, De Mistura said that "the goal is very clear: the Syrians need to be involved as soon as possible in this [civil war settlement] process." He added he had recently visited Damascus to hold talks with the Syrian opposition.
During a joint press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that diplomats will agree on a list of opposition groups that should be invited to UN-brokered peace talks on Syria.
Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that he hopes for an agreement on the Syrian opposition list as well as on a list of extremist groups that "will not be covered by a cease-fire that we hope to declare at some point."
De Mistura called on Middle Eastern and Western nations to "use their influence" on various opposition groups they back in Syria "so that these groups come to political talks with a constructive platform." He also said the UN is ready to host talks between the Syrian government and the opposition "immediately."
"What is important at the moment is the momentum of the spirit of what we got on Vienna. Everyone agrees that there is an urgency to have a common understanding on how to end this war, this conflict," the special envoy said. He also said that he would soon go to Washington to facilitate the initiated reconciliation process.
Russian air defense deployed to Syria along with warplanes
Russia Today, 5 Nov, 2015
Russia’s Air Force has secured Syrian airspace with air defense missile systems that were delivered and deployed into the war-torn country along with other military hardware, its chief has revealed in an interview.
“We figured out all possible threats in advance, that’s why we brought not only fighter jets, strike-fighters and helicopters, but also air defense missile weapon systems,” Viktor Bondarev, the chief of Russia’s Air Force, told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily, adding that all kinds of force majeure circumstances should be expected.
The Commander explained why Moscow had opted to deploy its Air Force to Syria.
“ISIS are a very mobile gathering of rabble,” Bondarev said. “They use cars, motorbikes, bicycles and donkeys to move around and change their positions after every strike. You can’t effectively chase them with tanks, trucks and armored vehicles. Aviation is a different story.”
Bondarev said that the 50-plus aircraft Russia currently has in Syria are enough for the task and there are no plans to augment the task force at the moment.
The pilots taking part in the Syrian campaign were chosen among those having practical warfare experience, he said. Every combat sortie is based on thorough intelligence information, so that pilots have comprehensive charts with all important facilities on the ground, such as schools, hospitals, mosques and other holy places specifically marked to absolutely exclude airstrikes on civilian facilities.
Commander Bondarev confirmed he has the technical means to monitor the situation in Syria through real-time satellites from the Russian Air Force headquarters.
Bondarev specifically noted that every airstrike is video-recorded by objective control means, so that accusations becoming increasingly commonplace in western media about Russian jets bombing civilian targets could be refuted easily.
The Russian Defense Ministry has released videos of the airstrikes in Syria on a daily basis, something the US Air Force, also operating in Syria, never does.
JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel indicated Thursday night that he was reconsidering his choice for public diplomacy chief after a furor over the nominee’s critiques of public officials, including a suggestion that President Obama was anti-Semitic and Secretary of State John Kerry had the intellect of a preteenager.
Mr. Netanyahu’s nominee, Ran Baratz, is a conservative academic who lives in a settlement in the occupied West Bank. Just last week, he insulted Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, in a Facebook post, and a decade ago he expressed his wish to see the building of a third Jewish temple on a contested Old City compound that has been a focal point of the recent wave of Palestinian attacks against Israeli Jews.
Mr. Netanyahu indicated that he had belatedly discovered Mr. Baratz’s online postings and issued a statement saying they were “totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of the government of Israel.”
Some Israeli analysts said Mr. Netanyahu’s selection of such an outspoken ideologue to shape his diplomatic message and serve as a major spokesman to the world reflected the prime minister’s blindness to Israel’s increasing isolation.
If Mr. Baratz were confirmed, he would join a growing list of recent right-wing appointees — including a United Nations ambassador and deputy foreign minister who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state — that have raised eyebrows in Washington and other Western capitals.
“He’s giving a very strong negative message to the world, which is, ‘I don’t care about public diplomacy, I have a right-wing government, I have a right-wing policy, and I’m going to send people who are offensive,’” said Mitchell Barak, a political consultant in Jerusalem.
“Every time, people say, ‘Oh, he must have made a mistake, we can’t take it seriously,’ but frankly, he seems to be sending a very clear message, which is, ‘I’m going to appoint the hard-core ideologues, I’m not going to even pay lip service to any diplomatic solution, I’m going to entrench myself more.’”
Baratz: Right Wing Opinions
Likud is the direct ideological descendant of Revisionist Zionism, a movement of people who had split from their mainstream Zionist counterparts, believing those in the mainstream were too conciliatory to the British authorities governing Palestine, and espousing a militant, right-wing version of Jewish nationalism.
On Thursday, Israeli journalists had a field day parsing the Facebook profile and other public writings of Mr. Baratz, 42, who has a Ph.D. in philosophy and founded Mida, a right-wing website.
- Channel 2 news reported that even Mr. Baratz’s boss-to-be was not spared: “Netanyahu,” the nominee wrote in March, after the prime minister’s contentious speech in Congress against the nuclear deal with Iran, “perhaps by chance is beginning faintly to reflect the pale shadow of something that vaguely recalls Netanyahu of 1996.”
- Writing on Facebook about President Obama’s reaction to that speech, Mr. Baratz said, “This is how modern anti-Semitism looks like in the modern world.” A few months later, he acknowledged that the American president “helps us with tactical issues,” such as military aid to respond to security threats. But he posted that, in pushing the nuclear deal, “Obama has certainly thrown us under the wheels of the bus, even if he did this with a winning smile, while he supplied us with plenty of Band-Aids.”
- Last year, after Mr. Kerry’s remarks at a White House celebration of a Muslim holiday, Mr. Baratz wrote that it was time “to count down the days with the hope that someone over there at the State Department will wake up and begin to see the world through the eyes of a person whose mental age exceeds 12.”
- Regarding the Temple Mount, Mr. Baratz, who is not religious, wrote in a 2004 essay that “the desire to build the third temple is worthy, Jewish and Zionist of the highest level,” adding that he hoped it would happen.
- What upset many Israelis most was the way Mr. Baratz lashed out at President Rivlin, calling him “a marginal figure” unworthy of assassination, and suggesting that he “could be sent in a paraglider” into Syria, where the Islamic State would retreat if only Israel would take him back.
"Being a warrior is the role of my generation. It was and remains the role of my generation. And it is also the role of the coming generations.
It is everyone's role." (Haaretz, april 2001)
Lately, Netanyahu said something that could have shocked the world, if the world had been listening. But Netanyahu has been saying so many things that even many Israelis have ceased to listen to him.
One of the most famous sentences in the Bible is a question addressed by Avner to Yoav. Avner was King Saul's army chief, Yoav was the commander under David.
After a long civil war, which was won by David, Avner (after whom I named myself) addressed Yoav, asking: "Shall the sword devour for ever? Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?" (2 Samuel, 2.26) Yoav did not listen, and in the end killed Avner.
In ancient Hebrew, the text reads literally: "Will you forever eat the sword?"
This week Netanyahu answered the ancient question. He told the Israeli people: "We will forever eat the sword!"
To put it in modern language: Yes, we shall live by the sword forever. There will never be peace.
It is not that Netanyahu loves war. He only knows that in order to achieve peace, we have to give back the occupied territories. Neither he nor the people surrounding him are ready to do so.
That is the whole problem in a nutshell.
Flashback: The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002
The Council of Arab States at the Summit Level at its 14th Ordinary Session,
1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:
I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.
II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.
All of the 57 states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) expressed their support for the Arab Peace Initiative.
MKs urge Netanyahu to tell Obama:
US objection to settlement building is ‘unreasonable’
Jerusalem Post, 9-11-2015
The Knesset Land of Israel Caucus called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to defend Israel’s right to a united Jerusalem and the West Bank, as he headed to Washington DC on Sunday to meet with US President Barack Obama.
Fifteen lawmakers from the Likud, Bayit Yehudi and United Torah Judaism signed the letter, including caucus chairmen Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi), Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush, and coalition and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud).
They stole it from us and now we take it back
The letter says the MKs support Netanyahu but ask him to “clarify to the president that Israel has a historic and legal right to hold and build in united Jerusalem and the regions of Judea and Samaria.
“The Israeli public, whom we were elected to represent, demands that this right be exercised and put into practice, and sees American opposition to building [in those areas] as unreasonable in the framework of relations between the two countries,” the letter reads.
The caucus said Netanyahu’s trip to the US should be guided by the following quote by the ancient Jewish leader Simon the Hasmonean:
“We did not take a foreign land and did not rule the property of strangers; rather the land of our fathers was taken unjustly, and now that we have the opportunity, we have returned it to us.”
In 140 B.C. the Hasmonean Dynasty began under the leadership of Simon Maccabaeus, who served as ruler, high priest, and commander in chief. Simon formalized what Judas had begun, the establishment of a theocracy.
The Temple, the Egyptian Fort Baris & the Roman Fort Antonia
Simon set for himself the task of rebuilding the Jewish State, reinvigorating the Jewish people, throwing the Greeks and Greek ideas out of the country and destroying all of the idols.
Simon was not only the king, but the High Priest as well. Simon made an alliance with Rome, the up-and-coming empire. The Romans wanted a counter-balance against the Greeks to provide them a base for their legions in the Middle East. Indeed, they deployed the Tenth Legion to Israel. It was the primary army the Romans used to destroy the Temple.
Simon was assassinated by a son-in-law who was bribed by the Syrian Greek leaders. His oldest son, John Hyrcanus, immediately rushed to Jerusalem and installed himself in his father’s place as both the High Priest and King. He helped strengthen the Torah education system in the land, was personally scrupulous in his observance of Jewish law and raised the bar regarding the service in the Temple. He even improved the Temple edifice at great expense. In addition, he threw out the Greeks...
The Jewish population of Jerusalem had aided Antiochus during his siege of the Baris, the fortified base of Jerusalem's Egyptian garrison.
Their support was rewarded with a charter affirming Jewish religious autonomy, including barring foreigners and impure animals from the Temple's precincts, and an allocation of official funds for the maintenance of certain religious rituals in the Temple. Despite being allowed religious freedom, many Jews were enticed by and adopted elements of the prestigious and influential Greek lifestyle. The imperial culture offered a route to political and material advancement, and this led to the formation of Hellenistic elites among the Jewish population. Hellenization produced tensions between observant Jews and their brethren who had assimilated Greek culture.
With Antiochus engaged in Egypt, a false rumor spread in Jerusalem that he had been killed. In the ensuing uncertainty, Jason gathered a force of 1,000 followers and attempted to take Jerusalem by storm.
By 167 BCE, as Antiochus IV Epiphanes left Egypt, he arrived in Jerusalem, plundered the city and desecrated the temple. He erected an altar to his patron god, Zeus in the temple plus an altar of sacrifice to the gods of the Greeks.
Any Jewish resisters were promptly executed. The worship of the Seventh-day Shabbat (Sabbath) was forbidden, the Jewish ritual of circumcision was forbidden upon the pain of death, and all services in the temple ceased....
To consolidate his hold on the city and safeguard the Hellenized faction in Jerusalem, Antiochus stationed a Seleucid garrison in the city.
During Maccabean times Judas Maccabees managed to regain control of Jerusalem from the hands of Antiochus, and he cleansed the Temple in 164 BC after Antiochus had completely defiled it with a pagan statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies, and sacrifice of swine on the altar.
Simon, the younger brother of Judas, gained complete authority over Jerusalem some twenty years later, and he decided that Mt. Zion should not exist anymore. So David's City and the underlying older cities (Jebus and Migdol Edar (Gen. 35:21) were completely removed to the bedrock. Simon then transplanted Mt. Zion to the present site of Mt. Zion on the southwestern part of Old Jerusalem, outside the southern city wall.
Simon then proceeded to rebuild the Temple. Actually he moved the Temple site some what to the north and a new Holy of Holies and a new altar were built in place of the desecrated ones.
His son John Hyrcanus initiated vital building projects in Judea. He re-built the walls destroyed by Antiochus. He also re-built a fortress north of the Temple called the Baris (a fortified base of Jerusalem's Egyptian garrison & Antiochus' Seleucid garrison).
This fort that was modified and enlarged by Herod as Fort Antonia (the present day Haram-esh-Sharif site). (The real site of the temple)
Lavrov and Kerry discuss cooperation on Syria and fight against Islamic State
TASS News Agency, November 06, 2015
MOSCOW, November 6. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary John Kerry have discussed in a telephone conversation international cooperation on launching a process of political negotiations in Syria and fighting against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
"They discussed the issues of international cooperation on facilitating the launch of the process of political negotiations in Syria with participation of authorities and patriotic opposition," the foreign ministry said.
"They also discussed the fight against ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization] and other terrorist groups in the Middle East," the ministry said.
Over the last few days, Lavrov and Kerry have almost daily discussed the situation in Syria on the telephone focusing on implementing agreements reached at international meetings in Vienna on October 23 and 30.
The Russian air campaign & Carl von Clausewitz
"War is not merely an act of policy but also a political instrument'
Alexander Mercouris, Russia Insider, 7-11-2015
The Russian air campaign is carefully judged and is achieving its objectives.
- 1. It has prevented the US and its allies carrying out their plan for a bombing campaign that would have resulted in the overthrow of the Syrian government;
- 2. It has provided time and space for a renewed diplomatic effort paving the way for an eventual political settlement based on Russian ideas. These exclude the setting up of an Islamist jihadi state on Syrian territory.
- 3. It has provided time and space for the Syrian army to recover, so that it can eventually go on the offensive, creating the conditions for the political settlement the Russians want to impose; and
- 4. It is weakening the rebels’ infrastructure, preventing them launching an offensive and weakening them in preparation for the Syrian military offensive which is to come.
Of these four objectives the first is the most important since without achieving it the other three would be impossible.
As things stand, the first objective has been achieved. The US bombing campaign has been called off in a major success for Russian policy. The other three objectives continue to be a work in progress.
The Syrian conflict provides a text-book example of how the Russians conduct foreign policy. They do not separate the military from the political in the way that Western powers do. Nor do they allow the military to dictate the whole approach. Nor do they see war and diplomacy as mutually exclusive, with the one beginning when the other stops.
On the contrary the Russians see war and diplomacy as complimentary instruments the Russian state uses to achieve its objectives, which are invariably set by the country’s political leadership, and which are always framed in strictly political terms focused exclusively - and unashamedly - on Russia’s national interests.
In the Syrian conflict the objective is to preserve the Syrian state as it was before the conflict - independent, united, functional and secular - so that an Islamist jihadi state that might pose a threat to Russia is not established on Syrian territory.
Grandiose ideologically conceived objectives dressed up in moralistic language of “remaking the Middle East” or of spreading “democracy” there form no part of Russia's objectives. Since such megalomania has no part in what the Russians are up to, they have no need to commit massive forces to achieve vague and over ambitious objectives which are in fact unachievable.
The Russian intervention can therefore be pitched more modestly - at precisely the level needed to achieve the objective the political leadership has set - which is what we are seeing.
Whereas Westerners often quote Clausewitz’s famous dictum - “war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means” - it is the Russians who actually apply it.
Carl Philipp Gottfried (or Gottlieb) von Clausewitz (1 June 1780 – 16 November 1831) was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral" (in modern terms, psychological) and political aspects of war. Clausewitz was a realist and, while in some respects a romantic, also drew heavily on the rationalist ideas of the European Enlightenment. His thinking is often described as Hegelian because of his references to dialectical thinking.
Christopher Bassford: "Clausewitz's famous line that "War is a mere continuation of politics by other means," ("Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln") while accurate as far as it goes, was not intended as a statement of fact. It is the antithesis in a dialectical argument whose thesis is the point – made earlier in the analysis – that "war is nothing but a duel [or wrestling match, a better translation of the German Zweikampf] on a larger scale.
His synthesis, which resolves the deficiencies of these two bold statements, says that war is neither "nothing but" an act of brute force nor "merely" a rational act of politics or policy.
The synthesis lies in a "fascinating trinity" [wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit]: a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation. (Wikipedia info)
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow...
The Russian president is weaving a protective web around his client, fending off the Wahhabi winds of Muslim fundamentalism blowing from the Arabian Peninsula. He has also pushed back against opportunistic Israeli intervention, worried that it might further destabilize Damascus. At the same time, he has impressed on Washington the need for a negotiated settlement...
Putin’s supply of powerful new weapons systems to Assad’s military, and his dispatch of warships from the Russian Pacific fleet through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, make clear that the full force of Russian military might is, if need be, at the service of its Baath client.
Putin’s gambit may or may not prove successful, but he is indisputably demonstrating that the age of the sole superpower and of American unilateralism is passing in favor of a multipolar world.
Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia.
"Preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not."
In a lengthy piece titled A Plea for Caution from Russia, the President reminded that the United Nations was created as a universal instrument of preventing devastating wars.
“No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage,” Putin wrote. “This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.”
From the very beginning of the crisis, Russia has advocated a political solution according to international law. “We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law,” he said.
Having studied Obama’s address to the American nation on Tuesday, Putin disagreed with a “case he made on American exceptionalism.”
“We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal,” Putin said in conclusion of his New York Times editorial.
The American administration is acting as though Syria has surrendered to the demands of John Kerry and Barack Obama, and is accountable to Washington and not to international law or the U.N., or even to its Russian ally and guarantor.
Washington is acting as if the U.S. has the right to administer punishment if Syria fails to do what Washington wants. What right? Not a legal right without a Security Council resolution. To attack on its own, as regional hegemon? That’s the way Washington has been behaving in the Middle East. The results have not been a great success.
Washington acts as though the Russians have no important role yet to play in this affair. They actually have played the capital role, and Washington should be grateful and attempt to extend this kind of mutually supportive international cooperation into the future. ....
The United States has acquired the very bad habit of thinking that ultimately it (with Israel) is the strategic owner of the Middle East. This has lasted for a half century.
The truth is that the Middle East (and Israel) have owned the U.S. for 50 years—to the misfortune of both.
Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready to joint work with Saudi Arabia to find mutually acceptable solutions to crisis situations in the Middle East and Riyadh is also interested in expanded cooperation with Russia, Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, said in an interview with the Russian View magazine published on Monday.
"Russia and Saudi Arabia maintain close dialogue on the most pressing issues of the regional agenda on a regular basis," he said.
"Taking in consideration the role played by the Kingdom in the Arab and Muslim world, it would be extremely difficult to ensure lasting peace in the hotspots of the region without involving Saudi Arabia in the international efforts to settle the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East."
"Moscow has repeatedly stated that it remains ready and open to working together with Saudi Arabian colleagues on searching mutually acceptable ways to settle the Syrian crisis, stopping violence in Yemen and stabilizing the situation in Iraq, Libya and Palestine," the Russian diplomat noted.
"We know that the Saudi Arabia shares this commitment. The Kingdom appreciates our principled and unswerving position on Palestinian-Israeli settlement. We share views on many issues of the way the international relations system should develop."
"To our opinion, a vital point is that this time the Saudi side displays an interest in deepening its cooperation with Russia without demanding that we should ‘adjust’ our policy in the Middle East, as it used to do in the most recent years," Bogdanov said. "We expect that the new positive approaches of the Saudi partners will be supported by practical steps. As far as we are concerned, we are prepared to do our own part of the process."
"There are definitely prerequisites for joint political work. For one, our unequivocal support of the Arab Peace Initiative put forward by the Saudi leadership in 2002," he underscored.
According to Bogdanov, Moscow thinks it is too early to speak about cardinal improvement of the situation in the Middle East, nonetheless the progress that has been achieved is to be consolidated.
"To consolidate the progress that has been achieved so far, we need thorough and earnest cooperation which requires close coordination among all the stakeholders."