Saddam's Death, 61
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 60: november 2015 - Page 62: december 2015
and 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

Washington 2009: Joe Biden said that the Obama administration would seek the unvarnished truth from its spies, whether or not their information supported the goals of the government.
Standing in the foyer of the CIA agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. before the wall of 89 stars representing the CIA staff who have died in the line of duty, Mr Joe Biden said:
"We expect you to provide independent analysis, not to engage in group think. We expect you to tell us the facts as you know them wherever they may lead, not what you think we want to hear." (Tim Shipman, Telegraph, 20-2-2009)

"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)

President al-Assad to Chinese PHOENIX TV Channel
"It’s not about living in the past; we look to the future"
Syrian Arab News Agency, 21-11-2015

- Question: I don’t understand what happened. It seemed like Syria and Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, used to have good relationships before the crisis, so what happened? It seems like all of a sudden, they just turned against Syria, or turned against you. How do you understand it?
- President Assad: Because the current President of Turkey, who was Prime Minister at that time, he’s Muslim Brotherhood in his heart, so when he saw that the Muslim Brotherhood took over in Tunisia and later in Libya then in Egypt, he thought that he could revive the Ottoman empire in the Arab world, but not under the Ottoman name; under the Islamic name.
So he thought that he could rule the world. The only obstacle was Syria. That’s why, for him as an ideological person, he forgot about everything, every plan we put in order to have good relations, prosperity, and so on, and he put his ideology first.
So, for him, the Muslim Brotherhood should take over in Syria and he will be the “Imam” of the Muslim Brotherhood in this region.

Yusuf Qaradawi - Muslim Brotherhood

- Question: And how about Saudi Arabia?
President Assad: Saudi Arabia is Wahabi anyway. Saudi Arabia never had, let’s say, warm relations with Syria, so we cannot say that they were in a good position then they changed.
It’s different from Turkey, completely different. Saudi Arabia is a mixture of two things: the Saudi family, and the Wahabi institution, for more than 200 years now, before the recent Saudi family, even the first Saudi family. So, there’s a link; the Saudi family will be committed towards what the Wahabi institution will ask for.

- Question: So, even if as you say that the IS is not going to stay, Turkey is going to be here, and Saudi Arabia is going to be here. How can you reconcile with these two countries?
- President Assad: For us, I mean as a politician, as a state, as a government, our main goal is to work for the sake of the people, so whatever is proposed to be good, we have to follow it. So, if those countries are ready to stop supporting terrorists, we don’t have any problem.
It’s not about living in the past; we look to the future. So, we have to work in order to reach that point. After that, the people, their interests, their feelings, will define what kind of relations we can have with those countries. But we cannot say that we’re not going to have this relation. At the end we have people; it’s not only about the government.

- Question: How about the Syrian people? Will they accept to move on with this country? After all, so many people have died in Syria and millions have been wounded.
- President Assad: Emotions are very, how to say...., they are inflamed. But at the end, I think, they will forget about what happened when they can see the bright future.

- Question: Do you have a master plan or a grand vision about the future of Syria? What sort of Syria would you like to see after the crisis? And what kind of role do you see yourself play in it?
- President Assad: If you want to talk about the future of Syria, it’s mainly the political system; parliamentarian, presidential, semi-presidential, federal, confederal, and so on.
But the most important thing, for us and for me, is that the constitution and the whole system and the country in general should be secular.
Secular doesn’t mean against religion. Secular means the freedom of religions. It’s the system that can include every religion’s followers, every sect, and every ethnicity under one umbrella, which is the Syrian umbrella. This is first. Second, I think the main concern is going to be the economy, the reconstruction, and this is going to be an important sector in rebuilding Syria.

- Question: Are you already working on the post-war reconstruction?
- President Assad: We already started, and we issued some laws regarding this, and the first area near Damascus is ready, and they started actually building the infrastructure a month ago. So, we already started, and we are working on, we are trying to make contact now with businessmen, especially in friendly governments and friendly countries...

- Question: How badly is the economy of Syria been damaged? Because you see the Syrian currency has devaluated by 70 or 80% in the past five years.
- President Assad: Actually, very badly, you are talking hundreds of billions of dollars of damage. 10% of the schools have been destroyed, 30% of the public hospitals have been destroyed, or let’s say, out of work. And infrastructure, electricity. This is the bad aspect of every war.
But at the same time, this is an opportunity where you can have prosperity after the war, because reconstruction is the most important sector in any economy, especially after the war...

Flashback 2011
Bashar Assad: Political parties should be based on secular principles
Sergei Balmasov, Pravda 13-12-2011

- Until recently, you were considered a respectable leader in the West. Why do you think the situation has changed so much?"
- "The current pressure on Syria from the West has not become something unexpected for us. In September 2001, US President George Bush launched a crusade against the countries that were running US-independent policies. The crusade was guised under the struggle against terror. Afghanistan became the first on the list, Iraq followed next. Clouds began to gather above Syria too, and the USA said that Syria was another link in the axis of evil (Iraq-Iran-North Korea).
"The changes became especially noticeable in 2003, soon after the US and its allies attacked Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein. Then US Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Syria and demanded Syria should revise its ties with Russia. He said that Syria's policies with Russia must change by 180 degrees. We were told to terminate all agreements with Russia. They virtually told us to turn our back on Russia.
"They threatened to conduct aggression against my country otherwise. Powell stated that US troops had already been deployed in Iraq. He said that military hardware and combat aviation could be used against Syria.
We did not succumb to the pressure and rejected the ultimatum suggestion. They started to put unprecedented pressure on Syria afterwards. We've been able to stand the pressure, and Russia has been helping us a lot here. We are very grateful to Russia for this assistance."

- "Spokesmen for the Syrian opposition, including those who stay in Moscow, claim that the official authorities supposedly contribute to the conflict because they refuse to legalize the Muslim Brotherhood.
You announced the start of serious political reforms. You also said that you would hold the national elections. Does the Brotherhood have a chance to win legitimacy and get into the parliament?"
- "In accordance with acting Constitution, Syria is a secular state. Therefore, no movement that acts under religious slogans and aims to split the Syrian society can hope for it. This goes for the Muslim Brotherhood too. This organization can not be legalized judging upon their ideology. It does not mean, though, that we cut those people from the opportunity to participate in the peaceful life of the country.
We offer them to establish their own political party which would be based on secular principles so that the party could struggle for the seats in the parliament."

Libya & the destruction of nationalism
Morten Toustrup, Your Middle East, November 23, 2015

The August 2014 Libya Dawn coalition takeover of Tripoli marked an escalation of post-revolutionary conflict in Libya. It also marked the beginning of an increasing polarisation of the country’s media.
Now, more than a year later, the political turbulence and armed conflict has reached a stalemate and led to a power equilibrium where no single group seems able to gain complete control. Attempts to achieve compromise between conflicting parties have been marred by remarkable failure and the inability to reach a political solution that could end the violence is also holding back the development of the media sector alongside many other aspects of Libyan society.
The political deadlock has been particularly evident in the UN-brokered peace-talks lead by Bernadine Leon. Most recently, the conflicting parties were to agree in October on the formation of a unity government... That failed when the two rivalling governments both rejected the UN-brokered proposal despite proclaiming dialogue as the only way forward.
Leon has since been replaced by Martin Kobler, a veteran German diplomat who has been with UN missions in Congo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Opposition to a national state

Green became the national color of Libya under Gaddafi. It symbolized the predominant religion of Islam as well as Gaddafi’s “Third Universal Theory” as expounded in his Green Book, his book of political writings, published in 1975.

"Nationalism is the basis for the survival of nations. Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin. Minorities, which are one of the main political problems in the world, are the outcome. They are nations whose nationalism has been destroyed and which are thus torn apart."
One of the main challenges to overcome in developing a state in Libya is related to the vast number of militias present there. Many of them remain on the state’s payroll which means they have little incentive to hand over power to a state apparatus and a national army claiming a monopoly on violence.
Another group opposing the establishment of a state are the criminal opportunists who benefit from the ongoing chaos to undertake different kinds of trafficking: drugs, arms, and last but not least, people. The same groups have no interest in having their activities exposed by the media. Activities in war and trafficking are best kept under the radar.
At the heart of the national conflict is a number of local conflicts, which often follow from regional, ethnic, tribal, and political divisions. It is difficult to imagine that trust can be established and divisions overcome as part of political solution as long the clashes continue.

In Benghazi, the ongoing battle between the contested General Haftar’s Operation Dignity and groups under the umbrella of the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, including for example Ansar al-Sharia, continues with seemingly no end in sight.
Like elsewhere, the presence of Islamic State also makes for devastation and headlines in Libya.
Much of the south has been affected by decreasing standards of living and growing levels of unemployment. The south-western region of Fezzan has been marred by the ongoing ethnic conflict between the Tebu and the Tuareq, particularly in the towns of Ubari and Ghat.

Four years after the overthrow and death of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s prospects are looking bleak. The only way out seems at the moment to be for the major stakeholders to pick up the pieces of whatever is left of the national dialogue process and work towards a compromise to establish a unified government.

The Islamist groups that launched Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) say its aims are to correct the path of the revolution and establish a stable, secure state. They say rebels who toppled Muammar Qaddafi have joined their operation to purge Libya of tribal and local armed factions, adding that it is not against any particular tribe or area.
The operation’s implicit aims are mainly:
Defend the military presence of Islamist groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadist movements in the east and their allies in Misrata.
Obstruct the civil movement’s success in the last legislative elections in order to restore the General National Congress, which they consider the “only legitimate body.”
Bolster political Islam in the region. Libya is Islamists’ last haven for political and military activity, after Brotherhood rule collapsed in Egypt and the Ennahda party handed over power in Tunisia.

Flashback 2012: Gulf states must tackle Muslim Brotherhood threat: UAE
Reuters-ABU DHABI, 8-10-2012

Gulf Arab countries should work together to stop Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood plotting to undermine governments in the region, United Arab Emirates' foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said on Monday.
The UAE, a major oil exporter and business hub, has arrested around 60 local Islamists this year, accusing them of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood (which is banned in the country) and conspiring to overthrow the government.
"The Muslim Brotherhood does not believe in the nation state. It does not believe in the sovereignty of the state," Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said...

Turkey Downs Russian Fighter
By Mike Whitney, 25-11-2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch"

On Tuesday (nov 24), Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that was carrying out military operations against jihadi groups in Northern Syria.
The downing of the Su-24 fighter jet is part of a broader plan by the administration of Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan to topple the secular government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and to establish “safe zones” on the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border. Erdogan needs the safe zones to provide a sanctuary for the militant extremists who are the footsoldiers in his war against Syria.
The downing of the Russian fighter is a desperate attempt by Erdogan to incite a reaction from Russia that will draw either NATO or the United States deeper into a conflict which has dragged on for 4 and a half years...
Unlike the Obama administration, that has been willing to arm and train jihadi groups to conduct its proxy-war against Assad in Syria, Erdogan is a true believer, a committed Islamist who has done everything in his power to establish a conservative Islamic state...
Make no mistake, the Turkish government is the modern-day Caliphate. The fact that its government officials dress in nicely-tailored suits rather than black pajamas, is merely a way to divert attention from their fanaticism and their covert support for fundamentalist savages...

On Saturday, Turkish newspapers reported that 1,500 Syrian Turkmen had fled to the Turkish border for safety. The reasons that were given were that the Russian warplanes were bombing areas where ISIS was not located. True, ISIS is not located in these Turkmen villages by the border. These men belong to the jihadi groups that that have been funded, armed and trained by Turkey and the US and who are fighting to topple Assad.
Here’s what Turkmen leader Ali Türkmani said: “There is a perception operation that is being waged over the Turkmens. The regime will of course attempt to maintain its territorial integrity. As such, threats from al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army are being targeted [by Russian air strikes]. It’s not correct to say the Turkmens are being targeted.”

'moderate' NATO-backed rebels

Many of the "Syrian Turkmen" fighting against the Syrian people are from Central Asia and part of the terrorist groups of Jabhat al-Nusra, Ansar Al Shams, Jabhat Ansar Ad Din and Ahrar al Shams. Uighurs smuggled in from China and fighting under the "Turkistan Islamist Party" label even advertise their ‘little jihadists’ children training camps in the area.
The few real Syrian Turkmen work, as even the BBC admits, together with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Their leader and spokesman, one Alparslan Celik, is a Turkish citizen from Elazığ. (Moon of Alabama)

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Wednesday that Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian fighter jet and the death of its pilot amounted a “war crime.”
"The killing of a Russian pilot by terrorist groups backed by Turkey is clearly a war crime," said Muallem during a press release with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. "
Turkey is supporting terrorist groups operating in Syria against the legitimate government of Damascus," he declared on a visit to Russia. (Rudaw, 26-11-2015)

Turkmen commander Alparslan Celik, according to RT, is a Turkish national, who appears to be a son of the mayor of Keban, a small town in the province of Elazig.
Celik is said to be a member of the Grey Wolves, a paramilitary youth organization often described as ultranationalist or neo-fascist. Their ideology is a synthesis of Turkish ultra-nationalist fascism and Islamism.
​The Grey Wolves "have tried to export their Pan-Turkish ideology and Neo-fascist propaganda to other countries like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, to reunite all the Turkic people, but have been banned. The reason for the ban is simple: the Grey Wolves have been responsible for a series of crimes, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. Members of the organisation have killed hundreds of people in Turkey, and their willingness to resort to violence has always been pretty obvious," International Business Times reported in June.
The organization is linked to the far-right The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the third party in the country. The MHP received nearly 12 percent of the vote in the latest parliamentary elections held in November. (Sputnik News, 28-11-2015)

Vladimir Putin: "Absolutely unexplainable"
TASS Russian news Agency, 26-11-2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Turkey is deliberately steering the relations with Russia into a dead end, as neither apologies nor compensation proposals for the downed plane have been announced so far.
"We see as absolutely unexplainable the treacherous stabs in the back from those we had seen as our partners and allies in the anti-terrorist struggle," he said, adding that he was referring to the incident of two days ago, when the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian frontline bomber Sukhoi-24.
Russia’s Su-24M bomber was shot down on Tuesday by an air-to-air missile fired by an F-16 fighter jet of the Turkish Air Force. One pilot was killed while the other was rescued and taken to the Russian air base. During the operation to rescue the pilot, a Mi-8 helicopter was damaged by gunfire and a soldier was killed.
Turkey claims that the downed Russian combat plane violated Turkey’s air space. However, the Russian Defense Ministry has said that the Su-24M flew over Syria and the air space was violated by the Turkish plane that attacked Russia’s bomber.
The Russian General Staff has warned that Russia will destroy all potentially dangerous targets over Syria and announced about the plans to move the missile cruiser Moskva with the Fort missile system equivalent to the S-300 antiaircraft missile complex to the Syrian coast.

Lavrov: "looks like a planned provocation"
Voice of America, 25-11-2015

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane "looks like a planned provocation," but that Russia is not going to war with Turkey.
Lavrov said the incident will make Russia reconsider its relationship with Turkey. He canceled a planned trip to Turkey on Wednesday, but spoke with Turkey's foreign minister and the two agreed to meet in the coming days.
Separately, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Lavrov told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a phone call that in shooting down the Russian jet, Turkey's leadership "has, in essence, sided with" the Islamic State group....

Erdogan said his country was simply defending its security when Turkish fighter planes shot down a Russian jet, and that he does not want any escalation with Russia.
Likewise, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told lawmakers Turkey has no intention of straining ties with its "friend and neighbor" Russia.

Russian Foreign Ministry: "NATO has not even bothered to offer condolences "
TASS news agency, November 26, 2015

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova says Turkey is using all available methods to protect armed criminals.
"The people whom Ankara is trying to protect by using all available methods, some of which are criminal, have got nothing to do with peaceful civilians. We are talking about armed cutthroats who shot a Russian pilot and then mocked at his dead body," Zakharova stressed.
According to the spokeswoman, Russia is expecting statements from Turkey on what Ankara’s attitude is toward people who mocked the body of a killed Russian pilot. "If these are not people Ankara protects, then we are expecting relevant denials from Turkey’s official structures," Zakharova said. "We are expecting explanations."

The diplomat stressed that Moscow has all grounds to believe the United States knows people who danced around the body of the killed Russian pilot. "Social networks have all the data on these people and also photos of those who were shooting down the pilots from the ground," Zakharova said. ‘We are waiting for corresponding statements from the US State Department. Who, after all, are these people who danced around the body of the Russian pilot?" she said.
The diplomat condemned NATO’s position, saying that the alliance has apparently yielded to Turkey’s pressure.
"While hiding behind the notorious allied solidarity, NATO has in fact granted indulgence to Ankara and other members of the bloc to carry out illegal actions," she said. These actions ruin international efforts in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and create a direct threat for the global peace and security..

Zakharova also noted the alliance’s attempts to shift the blame for the incident on Russia.
"NATO has not even bothered to offer condolences to us," the diplomat said. It’s a shame that the alliance has not voiced its stance on the incident when the Russian pilot was killed by gunfire as he parachuted from the plane, she said.

President Rouhani urges Russia, Turkey restraint over downing of plane
Press TV, Nov 25, 2015

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called for Russia and Turkey to show restraint over the downing of a Russian fighter jet by the Turkish military.
The governments of Russia and Turkey should follow up on the issue of downing of the Russian plane “with insight and prevent the recurrence of such incidents through prudence and patience,” President Rouhani said during a cabinet meeting in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
The Iranian president urged all countries to prepare for the battle against terrorism to establish stability in the region.
He described actions similar to the downing of the Russian plane as “extremely dangerous” and “provocative” and said the consequences of such measures “legally rest with the initiator.” He called for Turkey to seriously take care of the tense situation in the region.

Erdogan's Twisted Logic
S-400 Must Not Shoot Down Turkish Jets Over Syria
Sputniks news, 27-11-2015

In what is a prime example of twisted logic, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Russia against using its ultra-modern S-400 air defense system to shoot down Turkish fighter jets if they violate Syrian airspace just days after Ankara brought down a Russian Su-24 bomber.
Downing a Turkish warplane over Syrian territory would qualify as aggression, Erdogan told CNN in response to a question on what would happen if a Turkish fighter jet were to stray into Syrian territory.
"This kind of an incident which may happen of course will further push us to take measures. … Of course it will be an aggression against our rights of sovereignty and it is a natural right of [Turkey] to protect those rights," Erdogan said.

Erodogan, Russia should apologize: "You say you are fighting Daesh. Excuse me, but you are not fighting Daesh. You are killing our Turkmen kinsmen, hand-in-hand with the regime in order to clear areas north of Latakia.” (

"The Turkmen are not fans of Assad and the Arab nationalism of his Baath party. They are separatists who get support from Turkey. Turkey is trying to prevent its own Kurdish separatists from pushing for a similar goal there. (Sky News)

On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 shot down the Su-24, claiming that the aircraft violated its airspace. Russian officials and the Su-24 pilot, who survived the crash, insist that the plane did not cross into Turkey. The crew, according to the pilot, did not receive any warning prior to the attack.
The Su-24 was involved in Russia's counterterrorism efforts in Syria aimed at assisting Damascus in its fight against ISIL and other extremist groups trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.
Erdogan refused to apologize for the incident, which Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to as a "stab in the back" committed by "accomplices of terrorists."
​In the wake of the Su-24 crash, Russian defense officials decided to send the S-400 system to prevent similar incidents from happening.

France’s Fabius Says Ground Troops Needed to Fight ISIL
Syrian army not the enemy of 'the West'
Al-Manar, Lebanon, 27-11-2015

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday he could envisage Syrian government troops taking part in the fight to crush the Takfiri group, ISIL (so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant), that claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.French Foriegn Minister Leurent Fabius
In order to fight ISIL, "there must be two measures: bombings... and ground troops who cannot be ours, but who should be of the (opposition) Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab forces, and why not regime forces too," Fabius told RTL radio.
The main military target remains Raqa, the Syrian city that is the stronghold of ISIL, Fabius said. Russian and French jets have targeted the town in recent days.
"For us it is one of the main military targets, even the main one, because it is the nerve center of Daesh, and the attacks against France were planned from there," Fabius said, using Arabic acronym for ISIL.

NATO: Regime Change First

France's foreign minister was forced to backtrack on Friday after suggesting earlier in the day that troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could be used to fight ISIS before a political transition took place in the country.
"Officials close to Fabius at the time clarified his position saying that cooperation could only happen once a unity government without Assad was in place. (Ahram online, 28-11-2015)

Putin: President al-Assad our natural ally in fighting terrorism
Syrian Arab News Agency, 27 November 2015

Moscow, SANA – Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that President Bashar al-Assad is Moscow’s main ally in the fight against terrorism.
In a joint press conference with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Thursday, Putin said Russia and France agreed to exchange intelligence data on ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and to enhance joint efforts in the fight against terrorism.
He noted that the Russian air forces have been strengthened against terrorists in Syria, adding that ISIS and other terrorist organizations have suffered heavy losses in the Russian airstrikes as a very large part of their infrastructure were destroyed and their funding sources, especially the oil infrastructure, were targeted.
“We all believe that it’s impossible to successfully fight the terrorists in Syria without ground operations,” he affirmed.
Putin made it clear that “there’s no other force to conduct ground operations against ISIS … except the government army of Syria. In this regard, I think that the army of President Assad and he himself are our natural allies in the fight against terrorism.”

Lavrov: List of terrorist organizations will allow to decide
on who the patriotic healthy Syrian opposition is
TASS Russian News Agency, November 27, 2015

After the decision of the UN Security Council on the list of terrorist organizations it will become clear who "the healthy Syrian opposition" is, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday following talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.
He drew attention to the agreement "to form and agree a list of the terrorist organizations to be withdrawn from any political talks and to which the ceasefire regime will not apply, when an agreement on it is reached."
"When such a list is compiled and endorsed (this will require a decision of the UN security Council), it will be much easier to figure out who are not terrorists but the patriotic healthy Syrian opposition, which is ready to hold talks with the government based on the platform designated by the international community: to ensure the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria, to ensure the rights of all those living in this country irrespective of their ethnic, denominational or any other identity."
"Without such a coordinated list of terrorist organizations and without a list of the opposition’s delegation for the talks I mentioned ‘the Vienna process’ will not be able to move forward productively," Lavrov said.

"The main meaning of the agreements reached during the ‘Vienna process’ within the framework of the international Syrian Support Group is that any reforms, agreements and processes can be led only by the Syrians themselves and that only the Syrian people can decide on Syria’s future, without any outside interference."
"We have already said, and Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed yesterday that only the Syrian people can decide on who will lead their country," the minister said. "There can be no external commissions to select candidates that would suit a particular country."

Who is Who in Syria's Civil War?
PDVSA (, 27-10-2015

Since the beginning of the aerial campaign launched by Russia over Syria, media outlets have criticized the fact that the airstrikes are not limited to bombing the Islamic State group.
Dubbed as 'rebels,' armed groups fighting on the ground are consistently presented in a benevolent tone, in stark contrast to the Islamic State group.

However, the reality is far from the dichotomy presented. The so-called rebels are mainly jihadist militants and the 'moderates' – which are appealing to a Western audience – are almost non-existent.
By using the category of 'rebels' to group together the different armed groups fighting in Syria, the media is misleading their audiences into believing that Russia is, once again, killing 'the good guys' while the West is struggling to bring democracy to a war-torn country.
This Cold War narrative has already been seen in Ukraine. Not only does it polarize the views of audiences but it also fails to explain the complexities and interests that are shaping world affairs.
However one might feel in regards of the righteousness of Moscow's intervention or the Syrian conflict itself, it is important to explain who is fighting on the ground.

Weakening Islamic State has meant a significant gain for the AOC

Not only the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq poses a threat to the West, as it's so commonly presented. Al-Qaeda also has its forces on the ground too - the Al-Nusrah Front.
These two groups are the main armed forces fighting against President Bashar Al-Assad's government. Al-Nusrah by itself is not as large as the Islamic State, but it has built a coalition with other smaller jihadi militias called The Army of Conquest (AOC).
The AOC fights the Islamic State group in some territories, but in others they are allies against the more moderate rebel groups and the Syrian army.
These alliances are very relative and are all based on a common enemy: Assad. They are also highly volatile and little is known about their current state, since it is very difficult for media outlets to keep up with the situation on the ground.
With the beginning of airstrikes led by the United States, the territorial map has been changing. The weakening of the Islamic State has meant a significant gain for the AOC, headed by Al-Nusrah Front.

In some areas, Al-Nusrah fights fierce battles against the Islamic State group, but in others they join forces to push back Assad's army or the more moderate armed groups.
Many reports suggest that the group receives backing from both Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In particular the Qatari monarchy has reached out to the group, requesting it change its name and drop its links to Al-Qaeda, in a clear effort to modify Al-Nusrah's terrorist notoriety.
Despite targeting the group in early stages, the U.S.-led airstrikes have focused on the Islamic State group, paving the way for the Al-Qaeda affiliate to make significant gains.
Through the AOC, the Nusrah Front aims to further integrate all the non-Islamic State jihadist militias, predominantly Wahhabi Sunnis.
Despite the rivalry that exists between the Islamic State group and Al Nusrah Front, both share the same core principles: an ultra-orthodox view of Islamic law. This has led both to agree on an informal pact of non-agression.

US-Led Coalition's Actions in Syria Expanded ISIL-Controlled Area
Sputnik News, 28-11-2015

"Our efforts to overthrow Assad has increased and will continue to increase the strength of ISIS and other Islamic extremists, thus making them a bigger regional and global threat."
Tulsi Gabbard, American politician and member of the Democratic Party.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US military operation in Syria has allowed the Islamic State to expand the territory under its control, while Russia’s involvement has led to a breakthrough in the fight against militants, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Saturday.
"Over almost 15 months, a US-led coalition has been carrying out its operation in the Iraqi territory and in the Syrian airspace," Peskov said in an interview aired by Rossiya-24 TV channel. "Unfortunately, this operation, which has been underway for over a year, has led to the expansion of ISIL-controlled territory."
Peskov added that a "fairly short-term" involvement by the Russian Aerospace Forces has "reversed the trend." "The terrorist-held territory has begun to shrink," Peskov observed, adding this proved Russia’s operation was more effective.

Russia is ready for any level of cooperation on the Syrian issue with the US-led coalition, but has not received reciprocity on the matter yet, the spokesman said.
A US-led international coalition has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq (with permission of the legal government) and Syria (without permission of the legal government) since September 2014.
Russia started a separate air campaign against ISIL in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

KSA, Russia join forces to expand trade
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 28 November 2015

Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), has stressed the depth of Saudi-Russian cooperation in the fields of development and investment.
In a joint press conference on Friday with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Al-Othman emphasized the importance of intensifying joint action to support security, wealth and combating terrorism.
“Russia marks progress in several fields enabling the official leading companies to contribute to the qualitative investments in the Kingdom. We have the right economy, ideal location, political stability and the governmental commitment.”
Al-Othman said the motto of the Saudi joint committee, the business forum and the exhibition held on the sidelines is ‘Enhancing of friendship, building of partnerships and investing of opportunities’. He called the event a turning point in the history of relations between the two countries.
He said the Saudi Russian Joint Committee for cooperation in the commercial, economic, scientific and technological fields between the two countries has reached an understanding on almost all areas of discussion over the last three days.

For his part, Novak highlighted his country's keenness in enhancing cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
The Russian minister considered the resumption of meetings of the Saudi-Russian Joint Committee as a sign of the two sides' determination to further enhance relations between the two countries.
He said that high-level exchange of visits between the two countries was followed by serious dialogue to promote economic cooperation and commercial exchanges. He paid tribute to the efforts being exerted by the two sides to resume the committee's meetings, and organize the forum and the exhibition on its sidelines in Moscow...
Novak noted the signing of 13 documents and memorandums for cooperation between the two business sectors in the two countries while some 50 projects are currently under way

Al-Qaeda supporter gets 19 years
Arab News, Saturday 28 November 2015

JEDDAH: A special court has sentenced a Syrian national to 19 years in jail for supporting Al-Qaeda and other terror-related activities.
The sentence includes three years for forgery, three years for information technology offenses and 18 months for violating border security regulations, according to a report in an online publication on Friday.
The man was also found guilty on charges of declaring all Arab government officials non-believers, seeking to topple them and the Saudi government, and traveling to Somalia to take part in fighting there.
The court found that he had procured a forged residential permit to enter the Kingdom illegally after returning from Somalia, stored seditious material on his computer, including video clips and texts of speeches of Al-Qaeda leaders and members, and formulas for manufacturing explosives.

KSA: Hezbollah as dangerous as other terrorist organizations
Arab News, Saturday 28 November 2015

JEDDAH: The Kingdom has taken the right approach to counter the operations of terrorists groups, which includes cutting off their funding, according to several leading experts.
This comes in the wake of Saudi Arabia blacklisting on Thursday 12 people for supporting and financing Hezbollah’s activities in the Middle East. The people were described as “leaders and officials” of Hezbollah, which was declared a terrorist group by the Saudi government in March last year.
Abdulaziz Al-Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center, said Hezbollah was as dangerous as other terrorist organizations operating in Iraq, Kuwait and elsewhere, according to a report in a local publication. Al-Sager said the Lebanese group was a significant danger to Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations and should be countered in the same way as the Daesh terrorist organization. It would be a “major security mistake” to underestimate Hezbollah, an approach that could only benefit Iran, he said.

Ahmed Muwkali, a researcher on terrorist groups, said that the Kingdom does not differentiate between terrorist organizations, but has a system used to classify their operations, crimes and financial support.
He argued that Hezbollah has expanded its terror activities after the Syrian revolution and its military operations in support of the Assad regime. “The Kingdom has taken a serious position against the regime in Syria and all those who support it,” said Muwkali.

Turkey’s Erdogan first expression of regret
The National (UAE), November 28, 2015

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday voiced regret over Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane, saying his country was “truly saddened” by the incident and wished it hadn’t occurred.
It was the first expression of regret by the strongman leader since Tuesday’s incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey’s airspace despite repeated warnings to change course.
“We are truly saddened by this incident,” Mr Erdogan said. “We wish it hadn’t happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn’t occur again.”
Addressing supporters in the western city of Balikesir, Mr Erdogan said on Saturday that neither country should allow the incident to escalate and take a destructive form that would lead to “saddening consequences.”
Mr Erdogan’s friendly overture however, came after he again vigorously defended Turkey’s action and criticised Russia for its operations in Syria:
“If we allow our sovereign rights to be violated ... then the territory would no longer be our territory.”

Mr Putin has denounced the Turkish action as a “treacherous stab in the back,” and has insisted that the plane was downed over Syrian territory in violation of international law. He has also refused to take telephone calls from Mr Erdogan. Mr Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said on Friday that the Kremlin had received Mr Erdogan’s request for a meeting, but wouldn’t say whether such a meeting is possible.
Asked why Mr Putin hasn’t picked up the phone to respond to Mr Erdogan’s two phone calls, he said that “we have seen that the Turkish side hasn’t been ready to offer an elementary apology over the plane incident.”

Flashback: Syria welcomes UNSC resolution 2199
on cracking down financing terrorist groups
Syrian Arab News Agency, 13/02/2015

New York, SANA, “Syria welcomes the UN Security Council Resolution 2199 to crack down financing terrorist groups through illicit oil sales, trading in antiquities and paying ransom for hostages” and highly appreciates Russian and Chinese delegations in this regard, Syria’s Permanent envoy to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said.
Earlier Thursday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a Russian-sponsored resolution that calls for pulling the plug on funding terrorist organizations, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Turkey training camp 2012 - Jordan training camp 2013

Al-Jaafari, during a joint press conference with the Iraqi envoy to the UN, said.. "the resolution (2199) is very important for both Syria and Iraq, which are the main victims of [..] terrorism", pointing out that terrorists in the region, particularly in Syria and Iraq, do not come by parachutes but rather across joint borders of both countries and the majority of them cross into Syria and Iraq from Turkey and Jordan.
“Unfortunately, Jordan, a member of the Security Council, has adopted for years the policy of training, supporting and sending terrorists across the joint border into Syria to kill Syrians, and the Jordanian authorities see terrorists in the Syrian city of Al-Raqqa but do not see them while crossing its border towards Syria and Iraq”, Syria’s envoy said.

Resolution 2199 completes former resolutions related to fighting terrorism, including resolutions 2170 and 2178, al-Jaffari said...
"Now we have three resolutions over fighting terrorism, and Turkey is still allowing terrorists, particularly from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, to cross the joint border with Syria, as Israel assists terrorists in Golan, particularly Jabhat al-Nusra."
“Training centers established in Turkey, Saudi, Qatar and Jordan are not for means of peaceful negotiations to find out political solutions but rather are death-making camps for Syrians”, Syria’s UN envoy said...
Concluding his statement, Al-Jaafari wondered whether the time has arrived to fight terrorism seriously.

Vladimir Putin & The meaning of state sovereignty
Putin to the UN 70th General Assembly, 28-9-2015

What is the meaning of state sovereignty, the term which has been mentioned by our colleagues here? It basically means freedom, every person and every state being free to choose their future.

By the way, this brings us to the issue of the so-called legitimacy of state authorities. You shouldn’t play with words and manipulate them. In international law, international affairs, every term has to be clearly defined, transparent and interpreted the same way by one and all.
We are all different, and we should respect that. Nations shouldn’t be forced to all conform to the same development model that somebody has declared the only appropriate one.
We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress.

It seems, however, that instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions.
Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa already mentioned by the previous speaker. Of course, political and social problems have been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted change. But what was the actual outcome?
Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.

I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done?
But I’m afraid that this question will remain unanswered, because they have never abandoned their policy, which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity.

The reasons for the Syrian war
Israel Shamir, UNZ, 27-11-2015

We should recount the reasons for the Syrian war so that the present events to make sense.
It is not that the people of Syria decided to rise against the tyrant.

The Syrian war has been initiated by the West in 2011 in order to overthrow Bashar Assad and his regime in a mopping-up campaign against the states that sided with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
We know that much from the Wikileaks cables of the US Embassy in Damascus. France supported the move from its own neo-colonial reasons as Syria was its former protectorate. Syria’s neighbours had their own reasons to support the US-led campaign.

- Israel wanted to Somalise Syria, to cause its defragmentation in full agreement with its Yinon Plan. It wanted to place a Sunni entity between its enemies Iran and Hezbollah, as well. The balkanization plan developed by the Israelis Yinon and Ya’alon is progressing at great speed thanks to this unreal entity called the caliphate of the Islamic State...

"Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. (...) This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today."
Oded Yinon, “A strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, February 1982

- Qatar wanted to build a gas pipeline to Turkey via Syria, and Bashar Assad did not agree.

"Qatar along with the Turks would like to remove Al-Assad and install the Syrian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the best organized political opposition movement in the chaotic society and can block Saudi Arabia's efforts to install a more fanatical Wahhabi based regime. Once the Brotherhood is in power, the Emir's broad connections with Brotherhood groups throughout the region should make it easy for him to find a friendly ear and an open hand in Damascus." (Ansa Mediterranean, 1 October 2012)

- The Saudis wanted to eliminate Bashar, as he was friendly to Iran. They did not want an Alawite like Assad to rule an Arab Muslim country.

In Saudi Arabia, Assad’s regime is being depicted as a godless dictatorship, the last remaining heretical minority state that oppresses Sunni Muslims. Many Saudi religious scholars have already called for beheading Assad, if captured, and launching a global Islamic jihad against his Alawite troops. For many Saudis, the Syrian revolution is a religious war against blasphemy, repression and heresy.
Saudi Arabia was initially hesitant to recognize the Syrian National Council, arm the Free Syrian Army, or support calls for jihad in Syria made by the likes of religious scholar Aaidh Al-Qarni. By February 2012 the Saudis took a strong position against Assad, with Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal declaring that arming the Syrian rebels was an excellent idea. (Madawi Al-Rasheed, 13-10-2012)

- Turkey’s Erdogan wanted to place a moderate Islamist in Damascus in his endeavour to recreate the Ottoman Empire. Together with Qatar, he intended to build the gas pipeline. Together with Saudis, he wanted Muslim Brotherhood to unite the Arabs. Besides, Erdogan wanted to back a winner, and he was convinced that the fall of Assad was just a matter of weeks.

Turkey trained defectors of the Syrian Army on its territory, and in July 2011, a group of them announced the birth of the Free Syrian Army, under the supervision of Turkish military intelligence. In October 2011, Turkey began sheltering the Free Syrian Army, offering the group a safe zone and a base of operations. Together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey has also provided the rebels with arms and other military equipment. Beginning in May 2012, some Syrian opposition fighters began being armed and trained by the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation. (Wikipedia info)

The least-considered party has been the Syrian people
Russians only party interested in long-term political stability
By Lawrence Davidson, Consortium news, 29-11-2015

Here is the situation in Syria as I see it: France and the United States are taking the short-range view and really have no achievable plans for Syria’s future stability. Turkey appears to have given little thought to Syria’s future. Ankara may be willing to see indefinite chaos in Syria if it hurts the Assad regime on the one hand and the Kurds on the other.

The Russians may be the only party interested in the long-term political stability of Syria. There is certainly no doubt that President Vladimir Putin is more determined than Western leaders to act on the fact that the various so-called “moderate” parties standing against the Assad regime cannot work together and that this fault cannot be corrected by enticements from the United States. For the Russians, this fact makes the Damascus government the only source of future stability.
This understanding, and not Soviet-era nostalgia, has led Russia to support President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which possesses a working government, a standing army, and the loyalty of every religious minority group in the country.

The only alternative to Damascus’s victory is perennial civil war fragmenting the country into warlord zones. With the possible exception of Israel, this scenario is in no one’s interest...

Neither the U.S. nor France really cares about Syria as a stable nation. Once the present military capacity of ISIS is eliminated, Washington and Paris may well clandestinely continue to support a low-level civil war against the Assad regime. In this effort they will have the help of Turkey, the Kurds and Israel. The result will be ongoing decimation of the Syrian population and fragmentation of its territory...
In all of the bloodshed, population displacement and terror that has accompanied the Syrian civil war, the least-considered party has been the Syrian people and their future.
ISIS, or at least its present infrastructure, will ultimately be destroyed. However, while that destruction is necessary, it is an insufficient outcome because it fails to provide long-term stability.
Right now that vital ingredient can only be supplied by the reimposition of order by Damascus. The folks in Washington, Paris and Ankara might not like that, but they are not the ones facing a future of anarchy. And indeed, the more they stand in the way of Damascus, the more chaos they will help create.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

Two U.S. Senators : Invade and occupy Syria
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 29-11-2015

U.S. senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called Sunday for 100,000 foreign soldiers, most from Sunni regional states but also including Americans, to fight the Islamic State group in Syria.
Both McCain, the chair of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and Graham, one of its members, sharply criticised current U.S. strategy as insufficient and unsuccessful in defeating the jihadists.
"I think 100,000 would be (the) total requirement," McCain told journalists in Baghdad when asked about the size of the anti-IS force he and Graham were advocating for Syria.
"That would not be hard for Egypt; it would be hard for Saudis, it would be hard for some of the smaller countries," but Turkey could also provide forces, McCain said.
The force would also include some 10,000 American soldiers "providing capability the Arabs don't possess," said Graham, adding: "When's the last time an Arab army's maneuvered?"
"This is different than the last two wars," said Graham... "This time (it would) be a large regional army with a small Western component.

But even if this force were formed and defeated IS, it would then have to occupy part of Syria, spelling another potentially lengthy deployment of American ground troops in the Middle East.

McCain-Graham: Assad and Iran are a threat to all of the Arabs
Hugh Hewitt website, 11-9-2015

- Hugh Hewitt: I’ll let John McCain, senior man in the area, take the first swing at the pinata that is the Iran deal.
- John McCain: First of all, it is a disaster. It is the worst agreement of our lifetime, in my view. And it’s reminiscent, it is reminiscent of Munich. But I don’t know of any way we can, except the next president of the United States, Lindsey Graham, and others, but Lindsey specifically, to say, I think what he’s going to say is the day he is inaugurated will be the day when that agreement is nullified.
- Lindsey Graham: John’s right. It’s an agreement, not a treaty, so the next president is not bound by it. So any Republican running who’s got any doubt about whether or not they would honor this agreement, you don’t understand that why you shouldn’t honor it is it’s a death sentence to Israel, and you’re giving the Ayatollah $100 billion dollars to fund terrorist organizations to hit us. So the way you stop this agreement is to elect a president who won’t honor it.

- HH: Senator Graham, last week when we talked, you said ask the other candidates, and I’ve been doing so, about sending 10,000 American troops as part of a regional force to push back in Syria and bring order out of chaos. There is very little support among the Republicans I’ve spoken to for that, and you must know that....
- LG: There is no way in hell to destroy ISIL without a ground component in Iraq and Syria. There’s nobody left, Hugh, to fight in Syria. Everybody is leaving Syria. You need a regional army who has an interest. ISIL is a threat to the region. Assad is a threat to all of the Arabs. There’s an alignment of interest here. So please tell me, to those who don’t like us being part of a regional force, what are you going to do to destroy ISIL? How will you get it done?
HH: Now the complicating factor, and both of you know how complicating it is, Vladimir Putin is sending troops into Syria.
LG: Yes.

HH: It’s like a bad nightmare.

Defender of traditional christian values

"The Baptism of Rus was a great event that defined Russia’s and Ukraine’s spiritual and cultural development for the centuries to come. We must remember this brotherhood and preserve our ancestors’ traditions. Together, they built a unique system of Orthodox values and strengthened themselves in their faith." V. Putin, 27-7-2013
LG: Yes.
HH: It’s like the 1970s all over again.
LG: And can I just interject there? A year after we declared, Obama said we’re going to degrade and destroy ISIL, John and I had a news conference. A year later, the strongest power inside of Iraq is Shiia militias controlled by Iran. A year later, Russia is all in for Assad. Iran is more influential than ever...
HH: Senator McCain, what about Russians, though? When you send, now, American proxies, there are Russians there.
JM: It’s inevitable when you have failed leadership...
JM: This is a dramatic escalation... I’m telling you, the great America is perceived as weak and unwilling to engage, and all of them are taking advantage of it....
LG: Hey, Hugh, can I say one thing about Russia?
HH: Yes, please.
LG: Do you agree with me that if Assad stays in power, you can never repair Syria, because the Syrian people don’t accept him as their legitimate leader. That’s what started this whole mess. He’s a puppet of Iran, so the region’s not going to accept him as a legitimate leader. So with Assad staying in power, Syria never gets fixed, or it never gets stabilized. So here’s what I tell the Russians. We’re going to do two things. We’re going to destroy ISIL, because it’s a threat to our homeland and our way of life, and to our allies, and Assad is going to leave...
John McCain: And by the way, we’re going to give defensive weapons so the Ukrainians can stop the slaughtering of them.

Velayati: Election of Lebanon's President Needs Political Consensus
FARS News, 30-11-2015

Ali Akbar Velayati (ayatollah Khamenei's adviser for International Affairs) underlined Tehran's support for unity and solidarity among the Lebanese groups and factions, specially in the election of the new president in the Arab country.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the election of the Lebanese president in the shortest possible time on the basis of a consensus among all political currents of that country," Velayati told reporters. He reiterated that Iran supports the national dialogue in Lebanon and also the efforts aimed at choosing the country's new president.
"Iran has always hoped for handling of Lebanese affairs, election of the Arab country's president and the removal of the regional problems," Velayati added.
He reiterated that Lebanon's election is a domestic issue, and said, "'Iran and Lebanon are two countries that have friendly relations."

In late August, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced Tehran's concern over certain countries' interference in the regional states' internal affairs, and said the regional nations are capable of deciding their own countries' fate.
Speaking in a meeting with his Tunisian counterpart Taïeb Baccouche in Tunis, Zarif called for an end to foreign meddling in the regional crises, saying that dialogue should be a basic strategy to solve the crises in the region and any contribution in this regard should be aimed at facilitating dialogue.

Tehran, Nov 26, IRNA: The Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Russia back Syrian government and people, Ali Akbar Velayati said, adding that the unity formed between these countries is very rare in the contemporary era.
Tehran believes that Syrian crisis has no military solution and the issue should merely be resolved through political means, Velayati said.
The US and others who try to dedicate the fate of Syrians will fail as they have no right to make decision on the fate of Syrian people, Velayati said.
Iran and Russia are determined to support Syria and are strongly opposed to disintegration of the country under any circumstances, he said, ‘This should be regarded as a criterion in all negotiations.’

Velayati reaffirmed the Islamic Republic’s support for anti-Israeli resistance groups, including Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and the Syrian government troops.

Ali Akbar Velayati was born June 25, 1945 in northern Tehran. A physician by trade, he received degrees in medicine and pediatric medicine from the University of Tehran in 1971 and 1974. In 1976, Velayati traveled to the United States to study at Johns Hopkins University, where he completed a post-graduate program specializing in children’s infectious disease.
While studying in the United States, Velayati joined the Muslim Students Association, and according to his account, attended the organization’s meetings in the presence of future prominent leaders of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, such as Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti, Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili, and Ayatollah Morteza Motahari.
At some point before the revolution, he became involved with the Hojjatiyeh Charitable Organization, a secretive politico-religious anti-Sunni organization that Khomeini banned in 1983. The Hojatieh is extremely dangerous because it subscribes to an ideology of apocalypsism. They believe that chaos must be created to hasten the return of the Mahdi. Velayati renounced his affiliation with Hojjatiyeh that same year.
In the revolution’s earliest years, Velayati occupied various mid-level government posts including educational director of the Ministry of Health, Deputy Minister of Health, and a member of parliament for Tehran before becoming foreign minister in 1981, a position he retained for sixteen years.
After Mohammad Khatami became president in 1997, he removed Velayati from his cabinet post and appointed Kamal Kharrazi as foreign minister, a move that Iran’s conservative press and Velayati himself fought vigorously. Immediately following Khatami’s decision, Ayatollah Khamenei appointed Velayati as his senior advisor on international affairs. (Will Fulton, November 16, 2011)

Putin says he thinks there is understanding with Obama on political settlement in Syria
TASS News Agency, November 30, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks that there is understanding between him and US President Barack Obama on future political settlement in Syria.
"In general, I think, there is understanding in what direction we should move [on Syria]," Putin told journalists after his visit to Paris. "If we are talking about the necessity of political settlement, then the new constitution is needed [in Syria], along with new election and monitoring the results," the Russian president noted. According to Putin, the world leaders generally hold similar views on the Syrian settlement problem.

The Russian president met the presidents of Peru and the United States; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; the European Commission president; the president of South Korea and Israeli prime minister on the conference’s sidelines.
"We talked about thorny contemporary issues; the Syrian problem and ways of its settlement in the first place. It seems to me the discussion took place on one wave. We are searching for a platform, which will serve as ground for our further actions. Hopefully, our foreign ministers will manage to find common points at their next meeting in Vienna. There are all preconditions for it," Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama held a meeting on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference that lasted for around 30 minutes.

NATO Urges Turkey to Deescalate Tensions with Russia over Su-24 Downing
Al-Alam, December 1, 2015

The secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, on Monday asked Turkey to ease tensions with Moscow after the downing of a Russian bomber in Syria. Stoltenberg suggested Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu the importance of taking measures to prevent the repetition of an incident like the one on November 24, when a Russian Su-24 plane was attacked by a Turkish F-16 fighter and was downed on Syrian territory.
The important thing is to reduce tension, so I welcome all possible contacts between Moscow and Ankara, said the NATO chief after meeting here with Davutoglu.

ISIS in Libya
Al-Alam, 1-12-2015

The ISIS terror group has been able to hold territory in both Iraq and Syria for some time, turning from a mere terrorist organization into a full-blown insurgency. But what is lesser known about ISIS is that the group also continues to dominate the city of Sirte, a major Mediterranean Sea coastal town in Libya.
Described as a “fallback option” and “contingency planning” for ISIS by the New York Times, Sirte’s radical leadership continues to implement the extremist group’s fringe policies, beheading innocents in a public square and banning music. The local radio station broadcasts pro-ISIS propaganda and discusses the greatness of its caliph, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, according to the report.
The city was overtaken by the ISIS in February 2014, and has helped the group generate significant revenue through oil sales. Some 5,000 fighters who pledged allegiance to ISIS now rule over the city, which sits in a country that has been disassembled by war and poverty.
Sirte, a strategically important city, is now utilized as a base of attacks against targets in Libya, and in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. Moreover, Italy and Greece remain just across the Mediterranean Sea from the coastal city.
“The entire ISIS government there is from abroad — they are the ones who are calling the shots,” Nuri al-Mangoush, a local head of a tracking company, told the New York Times...
ISIS in Libya is led by some of the group’s leaders from Syria and Iraq. “A great exodus of the ISIS leadership in Syria and Iraq is now establishing itself in Libya,” said Omar Adam, a local militia commander.

Sirte, Libya 2011

The country, previously ruled by Muammar Qaddafi, was destabilized after a NATO-led air campaign four years ago. Two warring factions continue to wage battles throughout the country, with an Islamist faction squaring off with a more secular entity. Amidst the civil strife, the ISIS affiliate has been allowed to grow relatively unchecked.

No to Arabism, Yes to Kurdistan
Middle East online, 2-12-2015

The US-led coalition has made Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish forces primary allies against the Islamic State jihadist group, but over-reliance on the Kurds carries risks, analysts warn.
As the world seeks to turn up the heat on ISIS, some of the West's main partners on the ground are the peshmerga forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
The first soldiers officially deployed by the United States in Syria arrived last week in the north to train the YPG, a group which has close ties to Turkey's terror-listed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels but which has also notched up significant military successes against ISIS.

After ISIS took over swathes of Iraq in 2014, Washington launched air strikes alongside a programme to train and equip local forces. The US "picked the Iraqi Kurds because they were strategic partners during the 2003 invasion and were, at least in their eyes, the most trustworthy," said Maria Fantappie, Iraq senior analyst with International Crisis Group.
But analysts warn military action should be matched with political planning for the post-ISIS era in Iraq and Syria, and that relying too heavily on the Kurds could backfire.

King Salman receives Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, at his palace in Riyadh (Saudi Gazette, 2-12-2015)
The lack of a roadmap addressing Kurdish statehood aspirations is an incentive for groups to secure as many future bargaining chips as possible by winning military brownie points now.
Fantappie said that explains why the YPG might be prepared to push beyond Kurdish areas and take part in an offensive to recapture the IS hub of Raqa, an almost entirely Arab city. "Definitely this is on their mind, especially for the YPG, which strives to gain international recognition," she said.

In neighbouring Iraq, forces loyal to the regional Kurdish president Massud Barzani last month retook the town of Sinjar, the main hub of Iraq's Yazidi minority. Before ISIS swept across Iraq last year, it was under Baghdad's authority, not part of the autonomous Kurdish region, but Barzani is now pushing plans to maintain control of the area.
Barzani "effectively announced Sinjar's annexation into the Iraqi Kurdistan region," Patrick Martin, Iraq researcher at the Institute for the Study of War, said.
"There have been no indications that Kurdish fighters are prepared to hand control of the district to the Iraqi federal government," he said.

Michael Knights, a fellow at the Washington Institute, said that Kurdish expansion was already close to peaking in Iraq and would be limited by a negative reaction from Baghdad, which also receives help from the coalition against ISIS.
The same limitation applies to Syria, where too much consolidation of Kurdish influence in the north would not sit well with NATO member Turkey.
Even where the coalition is trying to foster Kurdish-Arab alliances against the jihadists, the relationship is tilted in the Kurds' favour, Maria Fantappie said.
"By picking the Kurds as strategic allies, you have created an imbalanced relationship between the Kurds and the other communities living with the Kurds," she said.
In northern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance brings together the YPG and Arab forces, but the Kurds have direct access to funds and weapons while their partners do not, she said. "And this is dangerous because this military support can have unintended consequences..., can redraw borders within those countries and create the premises for future conflicts and tensions between the Kurds and their neighbours."

Iraq says no need for foreign forces amid US deployment plans
Press TV, 2-12-2015

Iraq has rejected the need for the deployment of any foreign forces on its soil to battle the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group amid US plans to station a contingent of Special Forces there.
“We do not need foreign ground combat forces on Iraqi land,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.
The Iraqi government “stresses that any military operation or the deployment of any foreign forces – special or not – in any place in Iraq cannot happen without its approval and coordination and full respect of Iraqi sovereignty,” he said.

The remarks came after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Washington was sending an “expeditionary” group of its special forces to Iraq. He said the forces may also take part in operations inside neighboring Syria.
The Iraqi popular defense groups of Kata’ib Hezbollah, the Badr Movement, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq also reacted to the announcement by pledging to combat any US troops deployed to the conflict-hit country.
“We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq. Any such American force will become a primary target for our group. We fought them before and we are ready to resume fighting,” said Kata’ib Hezbollah spokesman, Jafaar Hussaini.
Muen al-Kadhimi, a senior aide to the leader of the Badr Organization, Hadi al-Ameri, said, “All Iraqis look to (the Americans) as occupiers who are not trustworthy.”

The US has currently some 3,500 troops deployed in Iraq on allegedly advising and assistance missions. Since August 2014, the US has been also leading a coalition that purports to be pounding Daesh positions in Iraq; the military coalition, however, has fallen severely short of dislodging the group.

Iraqi Suni 'coalition leaders' in Dubai:
Daesh and the Shiite militias are two sides of the same coin
Saudi Gazette, 2-12-2015

DUBAI 2015 - A group of prominent Iraqi exiles is making a renewed push to unify the country’s disaffected Sunni Arab minority into a cohesive political coalition and say their support is vital for beating back the Daesh (the so-called IS) group.
The fledgling coalition plans to open an office in Washington in the coming weeks to advocate their cause directly to American policymakers, the initiative’s main backers told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. The group aims to draw support from a broad spectrum of Sunni Iraqis, articulating concerns that many in the community feel have long been ignored by Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government.

The Sunni-dominated cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Fallujah are firmly in the hands of Daesh, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria. While Daesh main targets are Shiites and followers of faiths other than Islam, the group frequently kills Sunnis it views as political rivals or those who simply refuse to bow to its will.
“Sunnis are asking the classical question: are they part of Iraq? If the answer is yes, we have to be a real partner,” said former Iraqi Finance Minister Rafia Al-Issawi, who is part of the coalition. “It’s time now to convince the international community … that we are the classical and the real ally to fight against Daesh, because it is our provinces that have been occupied by Daesh,” he continued.

Sheikh Khamis Al-Khanjar, a wealthy Iraqi businessman who lives in Dubai, is another backer of the coalition. He is joined by Atheel Al-Nujaifi, who served as the governor of Ninevah province but was later removed from office following the Daesh takeover of the provincial capital of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
They say they are committed to crushing Daesh but fear that the Iranian-backed Shiite militias that have proved effective in fighting the militant group on the ground pose a grave threat to their communities.
The truth is Daesh and the Shiite militias … are two sides of the same coin,” Al-Khanjar said. “The terrorism that the Shiite militias are spreading may even be worse than what Daesh is doing.”

Within the next two months, the Sunni coalition leaders plan to open their Office of the Arab-Sunni Representative for Iraq in Washington. In the meantime, they are visiting regional countries to promote their vision, Al-Khanjar said.

Saudis Blamed for Waging Wrong War as Jihadists Thrive in Yemen
by Mohammed Hatem, Bloomberg News, 2-12-2015

As Saudi Arabia’s allies try to bomb Islamic State out of its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, the kingdom’s war in Yemen is enabling jihadists to seize new ones. Al-Qaeda took over two cities in south Yemen on Wednesday, local media said. In the key port of Aden, whose recapture from Shiite rebels was the biggest success for Saudi-led forces in Yemen, there are growing signs of a militant presence.
Al-Qaeda’s flag has flown above the police station in the war-scarred al-Tawahi neighborhood, and graffiti on the road to Taiz warns that “the Islamic State is strong.” Students at Aden University have been warned not to mix with the opposite sex.
All that is grist to the mill for critics who say the world’s biggest oil exporter, already squeezed by the slump in crude prices, is storing up more trouble by fighting the wrong war.
In making the Shiite Houthi rebels their military priority, the argument goes, the kingdom has inadvertently empowered more dangerous enemies -- Sunni jihadists who have repeatedly called for the overthrow of the Al Saud ruling family.

The Saudis and their allies “prioritize the fight against what they see as Iranian allies over the fight against Salafi jihadists,” Gregory Gause, a professor of international affairs at Texas A&M University, said by e-mail. “They think that they can clean up the latter after they have taken care of the former,” he said. “It is a dangerous and risky bet.”
The Saudis and their chief ally in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, mostly cite Iran as their biggest threat, accusing the Houthis of being tools to spread the Islamic Republic’s influence on the Arabian peninsula. The rebels say their ties with Iran are limited...

The Houthis, the targets of Saudi anger after toppling a Gulf-backed government, have been effective fighters against jihadist groups in the past. As the rebels have been pushed back in southern Yemen, al-Qaeda-linked groups have taken control of territory, including the port of Mukalla in April. On Wednesday, the militants seized the cities of Zinjibar and Jaar in Abyan province, al-Masdar news website reported....
There’s no sign of the Yemen conflict ending anytime soon: the Houthis still hold much of the country, even as jihadist groups emerge in the “liberated” areas. Al-Qaeda now has “almost complete freedom of maneuver across much of southern Yemen,” Ludovico Carlino, a senior analyst at IHS Country Risk, said.

Security, stability lacking, CNN, 2-12-2015

Government forces with support from a Saudi-led coalition drove the Houthi militants out of the southern regions earlier in the year. But the authorities have been unable to bring the situation under control even after the coalition has also deployed troops to help restore stability and security.
Militants are roaming key streets and targeted killings are on the rise in Aden, the temporary capital. The majority of Aden is controlled by al Qaeda fighters as they control more territory in the country.
Earlier this year, al Qaeda seized Mukalla, the largest city in the province of Hadramout, taking advantage of the conflict sparked by the Houthi militants' seizure of power. Moreover, ISIS has lately become active in some cities, including the capital Sanaa where it launched many deadly attacks. '

The U.S. and Its Clients Are Destroying Yemen, Daniel Larison, 2-12-2015

With no obvious exit strategy, the coalition continues its heavy bombing. Yemenis feel the international community has forsaken them. They say the world’s media has largely ignored them. Restoring exiled president Hadi never seemed all that likely, but because he has been a vocal supporter of the coalition’s bombing campaign and blockade he lost whatever domestic support he might have had at the start of the year.
The Saudis’ stated goals were always unrealistic, and their bombing campaign was never going to achieve them in any case. This was all fairly clear at the start of the intervention, but the Saudis and their allies blundered ahead anyway..
The U.S. and its clients are steadily destroying Yemen, and worst of all they have been doing it for nothing. Even if the coalition eventually achieves some of its goals, which still seems unlikely, it will have come at an extraordinary and indefensible cost to the civilian population.

Yemen has been ruined simply to satisfy the irrational fears of a handful of despots and their overindulgent American patron.

Kurds & US Special Forces should be used to seal Turkish-Syrian border
Russia Today, 3 Dec, 2015

With Kurdish militia and US Special Forces on the ground, there is a realistic way to shut off the illegal flow of oil from Syria into Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at talks with his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic.
Sealing the border between Turkey and Syria is more important at the moment than finding out who is buying the oil produced by Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL).
“Rather than launching a lengthy procedure of investigation, one must take an absolutely obvious step, i.e. close the Turkish-Syrian border,” Lavrov said, stressing that “Turkey’s efforts will not be enough and it will need help,” RIA Novosti reports.
“As for specific ways of sealing the border between Turkey and Syria, as well as between Turkey and Iraq, one must proceed from the real situation on the ground. Kurdish militia forces, which are allies of the US-led coalition, could be used both on the Syrian and Iraqi side of the border,” he added, as quoted by TASS.
Lavrov did not rule out involvement of US Special Forces stationed in Iraq in the border closure process either, but stressed that the process must be coordinated with Damascus. “Washington claims they could be also used in Syria. I am convinced that it could be done only with consent of the Syrian government,” Lavrov stressed.

Truce in Homs is first step to ceasefire in Syria — Russian Foreign Ministry
TASS Russian News Agency, 2-12-2015

Moscow has welcomed the news on truce in the Syrian city of Homs, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
"We believe that its implementation will make it possible to finally normalize the situation in this major Syrian city and put an end to the suffering of its people," the ministry said.
"We think that such steps can prelude the achievement of a comprehensive ceasefire in Syria through the United Nations effective role and create favourable conditions for launching a sustainable negotiating process between the Syrian government and the opposition, including its armed wing, which denounces terrorism," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

"On December 1, the Syrian army reached an UN-mediated agreement with anti-government armed groups that they would start pulling out their militants from the al-Vayer district in the southeastern outskirt of Homs on December 1," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"The first group of 200-300 people will start leaving the area on Saturday, December 5, on condition that their lives will be guaranteed," the ministry said adding that the militants would also be allowed to keep their personal arms.
"Peaceful civilians will be able to return to the area after the pullout is completed," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"The al-Vayer district was surrounded by the Syrian regular army for a long time. The troops did not try to storm it or deliver massive strikes," the Russian Foreign Ministry explained.

'Surprise' Candidate Franjieh, a pan-Arabist, which appeals to the Sunnis
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 3-12-2015

After more than a year of failing to elect a president, Lebanon's fractured politicians may finally be rallying behind a candidate – Suleiman Franjieh, a childhood friend of Syria's leader Bashar Assad. Franjieh, who would become the first Lebanese president who was a child during the country's 15-year civil war, has made no secret of his close ties to Assad.
Lebanon's presidency has been vacant since May 2014, with the country's chronically divided parliament unable to agree on a successor to Michel Suleiman after his term expired.
But in recent weeks a new consensus appears to be emerging, with al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri meeting Marada movement chief Franjieh in Paris and the Lebanese press swiftly anointing the 50-year-old the leading candidate for the presidency.

"He is of the war generation and was a victim himself because he lost his relatives," said Hilal Khashan, head of the political science department at the American University of Beirut. "He saw Lebanon in all the stages of the war and he will be careful, like those of his generation, not to repeat it," Khashan added.
He said Franjieh's chances of becoming president appeared good because "he is a pan-Arabist, which appeals to the Sunnis, and he is supported by the Americans, the Russians, the French, the Saudis, and even the Iranians and Syrians."

Franjieh's family has long been close to the Assad clan, with his grandfather known for his warm relations with former Syrian president Hafez Assad. Franjieh has been open about his friendship with Bashar, whom he has known since their youth. "I'm a friend of President Bashar Assad and I am proud of that under all circumstances," he said in a 2010 interview.
More recently, he praised Syria's "resistance" during its nearly five-year conflict, saying they "had not backed down, despite the global war against his country."

In August 2012, Frangieh commented on the Syrian civil war stating that the pro-Assad coalition would win the war and gave his full support to the Syrian government. He also stated that he supports the "positive neutrality" of Lebanon as he wishes to save its stability. Frangieh also added that he opposes the "negative neutrality" which is "pretending to be neutral while arms are smuggled from Lebanon to Syria". He called the "negative neutrality" a "conspiring against Syria". (Wikipedia)

Asked about any “obstacles” hindering his nomination, Franjieh said there are no hurdles but rather a new situation that needs to be clarified to all parties. “Time can resolve all issues and hurrying things might be harmful,” he said.
As for the controversy over his close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Franjieh said his relation with Syria's leader should be considered “a point of strength, not a point of weakness.”
“I'm not asking the other camp to endorse the stances of the March 8 coalition and the other camp cannot ask me to endorse March 14's stances, but what's important is to protect Lebanon,” the Marada leader added.

Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri called for “a constructive dialogue among the Christian forces” in the wake of Franjieh's nomination, hoping the results will be “fruitful and quick.”
Saudi Arabia has not and will not nominate any candidate for the presidency … The nomination was an inter-Lebanese initiative and we only supported the step and inter-Christian dialogue is needed in this regard,” the ambassador went on to say
The new momentum in the country followed a Paris meeting between Franjieh and al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri, who is close to Riyadh.

Bashar al-Assad: Arabism is a question of civilization,
a question of common interests, common will and common religions.
Uruknet, 10-1-2012

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.

China Supports Putin's Proposal to Create United Anti-Terrorist Front
Sputnik News, 4-12-2015

BEIJING (Sputnik) – China supports the proposition of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the creation of a united anti-terrorist front acting under UN auspices, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday.
"We believe that our views coincide with Russia’s stance, President Putin also called for creation of a united front for the fight against terrorism under UN auspices…
We are against any form of terrorism, against double standards in this issue. We also believe that the international community must follow the principles of the UN Charter," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
The spokeswoman added that the international community must act to effectively end funding for terrorist organizations by increasing global financial oversight.
On Thursday, Putin called on the international community to create a united anti-terrorist front based on international law and acting under UN auspices, reiterating the call he made at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September

David Cameron: A friend of International Law?
by Nicolas Boeglin, professor of International Law, MEM, 3-12-2015

In a recent article entitled "Voting on Military Action in Syria", Veronika Fikfak says: "In his address to Parliament, David Cameron insisted that the UNSC Resolution provides a legal basis for military action".
At the opening of a 10-hour Commons debate yesterday, Cameron said the UK had no other choice. "I believe that the UK should now join coalition airstrikes against ISIL in Syria," he said, using another acronym for Daesh.
"On 20 November 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously called on Member States to use all necessary measures to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL, and to deny them safe haven in Syria and Iraq."
He indicates just after quoting Resolution 2249 that “there is a clear basis for military action against ISIL in Syria.”

UNSC Resolution 2249 & State Sovereignty
The UN charter does not legalize occupation (i.e. regime change)
It's about re-establishing State Sovereignty

UN Resolution 2249 does not provide any legal basis for (unauthorized) airstrikes in Syria. A careful reading of the text shows that the resolution does not mention Article 42 of the UN Charter, which allows the Security Council to authorise states to use force, or even Chapter VII generally; nor does it use the verb "decide", used when the Security Council adopts a resolution on the use of force.
References to the United Nations Charter in the resolution are the result of Russian insistence; they were not included in the original draft presented by France to the members of the Security Council. Despite public declarations made by the French delegates after the vote on the resolution, it does not justify the legality of France´s airstrikes in Syria.
On October 21, the newly elected Canadian authorities decided to suspend airstrikes in Syria as well as in Iraq. In an article published by the Canadian Air Force on the airstrikes, the author concludes that, with regard to airstrikes in Syria "there is a further legal hurdle for Canada to overcome. Unless Canada can attribute Daesh’ attacks in Iraq to Syria, then the question becomes whether Canada may lawfully target Daesh, as a nonstate actor in Syria’s sovereign territory, using the ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine to prevent Daesh’ extraterritoriality attacks against Iraq. This justification moves significantly away from the Nicaragua, Congo and Israeli Wall cases’ requirement for attribution."
The author adds: "There is no escaping the conclusion that Canada’s air strikes on Syria are on shaky, or at least shifting, legal ground."

Despite Cameron´s interpretation of Resolution 2249, from a legal perspective these same conclusions are applicable to airstrikes in Syria by the US and its Arabic allies (Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), as well as by Australia, Canada, France, Turkey and future operations of this kind by the United Kingdom.

UN Resolution 2249
respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity of all states

“The Security Council,
“Reaffirming the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations,
“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity of all States in accordance with purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter,

“Reaffirming that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed,
“Determining that, by its violent extremist ideology, its terrorist acts [...] the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security,
“Recalling that the Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida also constitute a threat to international peace and security,

“Reaffirming that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law;

Urges Member States to intensify their efforts to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and Syria and to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, and urges all Members States to continue to fully implement the above-mentioned resolutions; and redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups... <'/td>

Denying State Sovereignty = Terrorism
Definition Terrorism: "The use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal"
FBI definition: "The unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

Israel & the anti-Zionist evil
Daniel Friedmann, YNET Opinion, 4-12-2015

Either Zionism is moral and just ,or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.
We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. Zeev Jabotinsky (The Iron Wall, 1923)

anti-Zionist evildoers

In the great rivalry between the rulers of evil - Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the ayatollahs in Iran - the United States and Britain chose to topple Hussein, under the argument - which was proven false - that he has or is about to produce weapons of mass destruction. The result was that Iran grew immensely stronger.
We are now facing another dangerous stage as the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis grows stronger.
From a Russian point of view, the ISIS terror puts Russia in danger while the Hezbollah and Iranian terror is not directed at the Russians. The European and American point of view is similar.
ISIS is openly acting against the West. The Iranian and Hezbollah terror threat is limited to our region - mainly to Israel...
From Israel's point of view ISIS poses a much smaller threat to us, at least in the short run, while the axis of evil poses a clear and imminent threat, as all parts of the axis are not hiding their intentions towards us.
Now it turns out that the entire world is rising up against ISIS and is expected to strengthen the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis, a disastrous outcome for Israel. The situation won't change even if Assad is removed, as long as Syria is controlled by a leadership linked to Iran and Hezbollah.

Israel's ability to act is very limited. We are isolated in the world. Our relationship with Turkey, which also has an interest in the battle in Syria, is in a crisis, and even our relations with the US have deteriorated in recent years. Israel's attempts to influence the global police have failed, like in the case of the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Nonetheless, we should not give up the option to warn that an ISIS defeat, without simultaneously reducing the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis' power of destruction, is a serious threat to Israel and not only to Israel. The US elections are drawing near, and maybe there we will find someone who will listen.

The New Age of Ideology - Simplistic polarization of the world
Hanan Ashrawi 2002

"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."

"President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” speech played directly into Sharon’s hand, simultaneously legitimizing “unilateralism” and the undermining of international law while claiming exclusivity of values and the right to use unbridled (and accountable) force to achieve immediate ends.
Those, precisely, have been the hallmarks of Israeli policy all along. Add to that the perpetuation of the most brutal (and last remaining) military occupation in history “enjoying” the cover of impunity provided by its strategic alliance with the US, and you have a most alarming formula for lawlessness, radicalization, violence, and destabilization.
With the facile handing out of convenient labels, the dehumanization of the “other” is thereby rendered official, contributing to the subversion of the principle of equality before the law and to the suspension of communication (dialogue, negotiations) as a means of conflict resolution."

Rather than a bold initiative to end the Israeli occupation and establish the independent (and viable) Palestinian state in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338, the US is turning a blind eye to Sharon’s lethal brand of ideology as practiced through Apache gun ships, F 16’s, tanks and bulldozers, while compounding the oppression by demanding that the key to the Palestinian leadership’s legitimacy is through compliance with Israeli demands and priorities."

"The world is still paying for the mistakes of the post WW II and the cold war era with all its “-isms” and “the end justifies the means” approach. Instead of the promise of an inclusive, interactive, and integrated global approach to human development and conflict resolution, the new ideology is threatening to impose an artificial construct of exclusivity and polarization, not only as a parallel to the past paradigm, but also as a source of tremendous injustice and conflict."

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Palestine Chronicle 12-2-2002

"In order that firmness is acceptable to the people and the nation,
it ought to be on the basis of the law, and to be fair and just.."
Saddam Hussein, Last Will, 26-12-2006

Today, I say in your name, and for your sake and the sake of our nation and all righteous fair people wherever the flag of right is raised: O Iraqi, our people and family, and family of every honourable dignified man and woman in our nation, you have known your brother and leader the same as his family knew him; he has never bowed down to the unfair oppressors, and he has remained a sword and a symbol for everything the sincere love and the unfair hate.
Here I am presenting myself as a sacrifice; if the Merciful wishes, he will take my soul up to where he sends the martyrs and the faithful, and if He decides otherwise, it will be up to Him, because He is the Merciful and the Compassionate, He is our creator, and we all return to Him, "patience is most fitting against the unjust people, it is God (alone) whose help can be sought."

O brothers and great people, I call on you to preserve the ideals that made you worthy of being believers, of being the bright lamp of civilization, and of belonging to the land that gave birth to the father of prophets, Abraham, and also of other prophets.
These ideals have made you the bearer of the official and authentic greatness...
“You live under the umbrella of the greatness of the Creator, God Almighty, and His care for you. You should remember that God has given you your qualities in order that you will be a model of love, forgiveness, tolerance, and coexistence among yourselves, and to build the great dignified structure using the abilities and resources the Merciful provides.

It is on the basis of the ideals of faith, love, and peace that consolidate everything honourable, and not on the basis of hatred, that you have constructed and raised the structure without rancour or dispute...
“The enemies of your country, whether they are invaders or Persians, found that the ties and reasons of your unity prevented them from enslaving you. Thus, they drove their old-new wedge in the midst of you...
“Brothers and sisters, my sons and sons of Iraq, comrade strugglers, I call on you not to hate the peoples of the countries that have committed aggression on us. I call on you to distinguish between the decision-makers and the people.

Hate only the deed. Even if someone's deeds deserve to be fought and combated, do not hate him as a human being. Do not hate the individuals who do evil, hate only the evil deed itself, and repel that evil as it deserves.
“Whoever repents and makes good, whether in or outside Iraq, forgive him, and turn a new leaf for him, because God is Forgiving, and likes whoever forgives when he is capable of doing so. Firmness is a must whenever necessary. However, in order that firmness is acceptable to the people and the nation, it ought to be on the basis of the law, and to be fair and just, and not aggressive and based on malice or illegitimate ambitions.

Saddam Husayn
President of the republic and commander-in-chief of the struggling armed forces.”

Flashback 2006
Graf van Saddam Hussein(AP) -- The execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein sent many Palestinians into deep mourning as they struggled to come to terms with the demise of perhaps their most steadfast ally.

Unlike much of the rest of the world, where Saddam was viewed as a brutal dictator who oppressed his people and started regional wars, in the West Bank and Gaza he was seen as a generous benefactor unafraid to fight for the Palestinian cause - even to the end. Purportedly, Saddam's final words were, "Palestine is Arab."

"We heard of his martyrdom, and I swear to God we were deeply shaken from within," said Khadejeh Ahmad from the Qadora refugee camp in the West Bank. "Nobody was as supportive or stood with the Palestinians as he did."
(, 31-12-2006)

2002: Israel doing all it can to make a "temporary occupation" permanent.

If Israel wants to be a democracy, there are just two options.
- On the one hand, if the territories are temporarily occupied, then Israel has to retreat, evacuate the settlements, and let the Palestinians establish a contiguous sovereign state, free of any Israeli presence. One must note, though, that Israel has been using the concept of "temporary occupation" and at the same time doing all it can to make this "temporariness" permanent.
- If, on the other hand, the territories are not just temporarily occupied, Israel must give full citizenship and equal political rights to all their Palestinian inhabitants.
Any other "compromise" - especially the present situation of shutting the Palestinians in enclaves surrounded by de facto annexed Israeli territories - deprives Israel of its claim to be a democracy and turn it into one of the darkest regimes that survived into the 21th century." (Ran HaCohen, Palestine Chronicle, 1-3-2002)

Netanyahu's power play clouds US relations

In an interview published in yesterday's Jerusalem Post, Mr Netanyahu ruled out the possibility of a Palestinian state, speaking rather of self-rule, on the grounds that full Palestinian independence would threaten Israel's security.
"We can and must resist the Palestinians' efforts to achieve the powers that would endanger the state of Israel, like the fielding of an army... The ability to have certain sovereign powers that have nothing to do with self-determination must be withheld," he said. (Chris McGreal, The Guardian 9-11-2002)

Jabotinsky, in: We and the Arabs"

"We cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries.
Their voluntary agreement is out of the question.
Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say “no” and depart from Zionism.

Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population.
Zionist colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy."

Netanyahu: Israel Will Not Be 'Binational State'
Voice of America, December 06, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's warning that a collapse of the Palestinian Authority could have consequences for the security of Israel.
"Israel will not be a binational state, but in order to have peace, the other side needs to decide that it wants peace as well, and unfortunately this is not what we are witnessing," Netanyahu told a Cabinet meeting. He added that the Palestinian Authority is continuing incitement against Israel.
Kerry's comments came during a forum at the Brookings Institution, where he said both sides need to renew efforts for peace talks. He condemned the months of Palestinian attacks on Israelis as well as Israel's continued settlement construction on lands envisioned for a Palestinian state.
Kerry said one potential fallout would be the loss of Palestinian security forces and the need for Israel to deploy thousands of troops to the West Bank to fill the void.

Kerry has made Israeli-Palestinian peace one of his top priorities, but that process broke apart in April 2014 with no agreement...
"I've had a lot of discussions with both sides over the past three years, and let me tell you, the level of distrust between them has never been more profound," Kerry said Saturday.
He described discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Kerry said "spoke more despairingly" than ever about the hopelessness Palestinians feel.

The father, the son (Bibi) and the spirit of catastrophe
If the devil doesn't exist, you create him'

"Threats are not to be eliminated but are to be maintained and contained, because they do an immense service in the shaping of a shared and effective political and historical consciousness.
So it is that Netanyahu the Younger skips and hops between potential catastrophe, on the one hand, which he cultivates, and preventing its realization, on the other, all the while keeping Jewish existence suspended in a state of emergency.

His political philosophy is, then, fully based on what can be called a doctrine of restrained catastrophism. (Haaretz, 24-5-2015)

Netanyahu: Israel is a candle in the darkness
By Arutz Sheva Staff, 7-12-2015

Israel is facing a struggle over its existence and independence, just like the Maccabees did in the story of Hanukkah, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday evening.
"2,200 years ago, a handful of Jewish fighters arose and defeated what was then a global empire. This was before the rise of Rome.
The Seleucid Greek empire was then very strong and – during the reign of Antiochus IV – very cruel. Indeed, the threat was to our unity and our greatness.
The Maccabees fought, first of all to restore this [spiritual] independence but they were not satisfied with only that. Part of the people wanted them to suffice with that. But they were not so inclined; they fought to restore their political independence.

This effort, which undoubtedly ensured the future of our people, also serves as a symbol and an example to peoples in general...
They dispelled the darkness – and we are fighting a great darkness today. The struggle of Israel today, as it was then, in those days at this season, is – first of all – a struggle for our existence, independence and culture but also for all humanity,” he continued.
“Israel is a candle in the darkness. Around us is a great darkness and here in Jerusalem, in the State of Israel, we are lifting the banner of the independence and honor of man...

Hannukah & Phariseeism

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BCE.

Phariseeism: Hypocritical observance of the letter of religious or moral law without regard for the spirit.

The Maccabees: Heroes or Fanatics?
By Michele Alperin (My Jewish Learning)

Although celebrated as heroes who saved Jewish practice and Torah law from suppression and abrogation by the Syrian Greeks, the Maccabees are portrayed in the First Book of Maccabees as religious zealots, murdering coreligionists who had chosen the path of Hellenism.

Hellenism: an enlightened worldview

Central to any assessment of the Maccabees is an evaluation of the role of Hellenism, an ideology whose universalistic outlook was based on Greek ideas and athletic prowess.
Following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Hellenism became a political tool used by the Syrian Greeks to consolidate their power among the wealthy bourgeoisie.
In turn, the aristocratic elites who embraced Hellenism gained access to the social and economic perquisites flowing to citizens of a Greek polis, including the right to mint coins, to take part in international Hellenistic events, and to receive protection from the city’s founding ruler.
But Hellenism encompassed more than a pragmatic relationship between the ruler and local economic elites; it also represented an "enlightened" worldview considered by many to be the way of the future.

Nations who shut themselves off and did not confront the challenge of Hellenism were falling by the wayside. Because it was viewed as the wave of the future, the pressure to acculturate to Hellenism was quite intense in Judea.
Therefore, the people of Judea had to decide whether the universalistic focus of Hellenism constituted a danger to their ancestral religion and its God or whether it simply represented a more modern and "progressive" way of life that could be merged with Jewish practice.

Left wing 'modernists' versus right wing 'traditionalists'

Was the appropriate response, then, to reform Judaism in the spirit of Hellenism or to assume a stance protective of traditional Jewish values by "liberating" Judea from the Syrian Greeks?
The Jewish Hellenists chose the reform path; they wanted to move beyond separatism and assimilate the positive aspects of Greek culture into Judaism.
Maccabees choosed the right wing path: "In those days there emerged in Israel lawless men [Jewish Hellenists] who persuaded many, saying, ‘Let us go and make a covenant with the nations that are around us; for since we separated ourselves from them, many evils have come upon us’" (I Maccabees 1:11).

When evaluating the Maccabees’ role, one must ask whether the Hellenist Jews, deemed apostates by the Maccabees and their supporters, had the right to assimilate their Jewish observance to the surrounding Greek culture. The Maccabees answered with a resounding "no".

Maccabees 1 41 Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people,
42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king.
43 Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath.

Hellenism & Old Fashioned Judaism ('pleasure in the law')
By Mary Anne Cronican (Journey to Wisdom)

The word “Hellenism” means “becoming like Greeks” and is derived from the Greek Hellas Isles (Helles meaning Greek in the Greek language.)
Many Jews felt their ways to be old-fashioned and were embarrassed by their religious practices in contrast to the sophisticated culture of the Greeks. Consequently, they enthusiastically embraced the Greek ways.
For others, their Jewish identity and way of life were thought to be threatened by the Hellenistic culture and cultural assimilation was a great concern in 1 and 2 Maccabees.

Maccabees 4
41 Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.
42 So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the (Jewish) law:

A warm embrace from Hillary - 'the lady with the iron fist'
Orly Azoulay, YNet Opinion, 7-12-2015

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton took the stage at the Saban Forum on Sunday, speaking like a presidential hopeful with the White House on her mind, as she addressed the Jewish and Israeli audience in a warm and sympathetic speech.
A day after US Secretary of State John Kerry used the same platform to discuss the possibility of bringing about a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians with frustration and pessimism, Hillary arrived to offer hope.

On Sunday, at the Saban Forum in Washington, she said that she had supported the agreement with Iran although it was not perfect, but claimed that if Iran were to violate the agreement in any way, she would not hesitate to re-impose the sanctions and respond to any small violation, including in a military response.
Clinton got so carried away, that in a slip of the tongue she said she would not hesitate to use the "nuclear option" - referring, of course, to the military option. A few seconds later, in an embarrassed giggle, she corrected herself and clarified that she has no intention of turning Tehran into Hiroshima.

Hillary Clinton addressed the Jewish audience, just as much as she addressed the Israeli audience which sees Obama as a weak and appeasing leader, who runs the foreign policy softly and weakly.
Clinton stood on the stage, waved her hands and tried to clarify that if she enters the Oval Office, she will do what Obama did - only stronger, much firmer, with a big stick in her hand and with a minimum of soft words.
Clinton wants to distance herself from Obama, but still receive his stardom: She wants to position herself as an iron lady, far from Obama's reconciliation revolution... On Sunday, Clinton did not only look like a person who is well prepared to sit in the White House, but mainly as a person who is prepared to assume the role of the army's supreme commander.

Libya rivals reach agreement on political solution
Middle East online, 6-12-2015

TUNIS - Warring Libyan factions meeting in Tunisia said Sunday they had reached an agreement to be approved by rival parliaments on ending the political deadlock that has plagued the country since Moamer Gaddafi's overthrow.
"This is a historic moment..," said Awad Mohammed Abdul-Sadiq, the first deputy head of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC).
Amna Emtair from the GNC delegation said the agreement would set up a new representative body that would choose a committee to nominate a prime minister within 15 days, while another committee would conduct a review of Libya's constitution.

Libya descended into chaos after the October 2011 ouster and killing of Moamar Gaddafi, with two governments vying for power and armed groups battling for control of its vast energy resources.
A militia alliance including Islamists overran Tripoli in August 2014, establishing a rival government and a parliament that forced the internationally recognised administration to flee to the country's remote east.

Key Syria Rebel Group Will Attend Riyadh Summit
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 8-12-2015

The powerful Jaish al-Islam rebel group announced late Monday it will attend a major meeting of Syrian opposition forces in Riyadh this week, the first rebel group to confirm participation.
In an emailed statement, Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) spokesman Islam Alloush said it would send two delegates, Mohammad Alloush and Mohammad Birqdar, to the conference, which is set to begin on Wednesday. Zahran Alloush, Jaish al-Islam's commander, would not attend the meeting, according to the statement.
The rebel group is the most prominent armed opposition faction near Damascus and controls most of the Eastern Ghouta suburb, which is regularly bombarded by government forces.
It is said to have close ties with Saudi Arabia, which announced last month it would host a conference to bring together both armed and political factions in Syria's opposition to hash out a common platform ahead of potential negotiations with the regime.

A source in the opposition told AFP last week that the Southern Front, an alliance of non-Islamist groups in southern Syria, was also invited, but the group has not confirmed whether it will attend the conference.
There have been reports that Ahrar al-Sham, perhaps the most powerful group after Al-Nusra and IS, will be among the invitees. Ahrar al-Sham has declined requests for comment on the issue.
Kurdish factions and the Syrian Democratic Forces, a recently-formed coalition of Kurdish, Arab, and Christian militia, were not invited.


The 'Free' Syrian Army fighters recognize the spiritual authority of sheikh Adnan Al-Arour, a takfirist preacher, who calls for the overthrow and killing of Assad, not for political reasons but simply because Assad is of the Alawite faith, that is to say a heretic in the preacher’s eyes.
The FSA program is to end the secular regime installed by the Baath, the SSNP and the Communist Party in favor of a pure (right wing) religious Sunni regime.

Adnan al-Arour, a Syrian sheikh and salafist, was reportedly a former member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled the crackdown on the group in the early 1980s and has used his platform to promote an Islamist agenda with regards to the Syrian uprising.

While the Syrian society embodies the paradigm of religious tolerance, a takfirist current developed within. It provided the basis for the armed groups. These have been richly funded by Wahhabi monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Sharjjah).
This windfall has led to the rallying of new fighters which include relatives of the victims of the massive crackdown against the failed bloody Muslim Brotherhood coup in 1982.
Their motive is often less ideological than personal. It springs from vendetta.

Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network 24-7-2012

Ideology - Wikipedia info

Jaysh al-Islam leader Zahran Alloush is the son of Saudi-based religious scholar Abdullah Mohammed Alloush.
Zahran Alloush gave a speech on the merits of Hajj in 2013 and praised Usama bin Laden, addressing him by the honorific "Sheikh" and the honorific "rahimahu Allah" for making Hajj around 91 or 92 when Alloush was at the Islamic University of Medina.
Alloush addressed the Al-Qaeda organization Jabhat al-Nusra as "our brothers", saying that "The summary of this issue is that we in Jaish Al-Islam praise our brothers of the Nusrah Front and we don't consider them Khawarij as is propagated against us, We fight alongside them and they fight alongside us".

Alloush has called Shia, Alawites, and Iranians by the names "Rafidi", "Nusayri", and "Majusi" (Magi, a term in Arabic referring to Zoroastrians). Alloush said that Alawites are "more infidel than Jews and Christians."
Alloush claimed that "Our nation has a great thirst for an Islamic state" and attacked democracy...

In July 2015 Alloush accused "international forces" of waging a media war against jihadists such as his own Jaysh al-Islam.

Zarif, Lavrov stress joint efforts to end terrorism in Syria
Press TV, Tue Dec 8, 2015

Iran and Russia have once again emphasized their determination to continue joint efforts aimed at boosting the fight against the Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in Syria.
In a telephone conversation on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, discussed the latest developments in the Middle East region, particularly the situation in Syria.
Zarif and Lavrov agreed that Tehran and Moscow should continue coordinated anti-terror efforts based on the agreements reached during the recent rounds of international talks held in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on the deadly crisis in Syria.
The two top diplomats further underlined the necessity for a political solution to the crisis in Syria based on the high-level international discussions.

Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that a third round of talks on Syria crisis would be held in New York. However, Ban stopped short of announcing a specific date for the negotiations.
The Syrian conflict, which started in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to the UN. The foreign-sponsored militancy has also displaced 7.6 million people.

'Syria opposition' groups begin talks in Riyadh
Press TV, Wed Dec 9, 2015

The so-called Syria opposition groups have begun talks in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in an effort to reach a common ground before potential negotiations with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said opposition groups from inside and outside Syria took part in the first round of the meetings on Wednesday.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir opened the meeting and welcomed the delegates. He then left the closed-door meeting and the groups started the negotiations, which are expected to continue until Thursday.

Saudi Arabia invited 65 Syrian opposition figures to attend the meeting in Riyadh. Members of two militant groups calling themselves Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam are taking part in the conference. A number of groups fighting under the umbrella of the so-called Free Syrian Army are also attending the meeting.
A Syrian Kurdish group that has taken control of areas in north Syria said it has not been invited to the Riyadh meeting. The Kurds, however, organized a separate meeting in Syria’s Hasakah Province.

Kurds, Opposition Gather for Meeting in Northeast Syria
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 8-12-2015

Kurdish factions and other opposition groups gathered Tuesday for a meeting in northeastern Syria, saying they most deserved to set its post-war vision after staying in the country throughout its conflict.
Dozens of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian figures met in the town of al-Malikiyeh, in Hasakeh province, to launch the two-day "Syrian Democratic Conference".
Participants included members of Syria's leading Kurdish movement, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has been excluded -- along with its armed affiliate -- from another opposition conference this week in Riyadh.
"The forces that defended the people, suffered the events in Syria and remained on the ground are those most deserving to solve the crisis in Syria, without any interference from the interests of regional powers," said Wael Mirza, an Assyrian representative.
Talks on a decentralized political system for Syria, the leading topic of discussion, as well as the fight against extremist groups will carry into Wednesday. The PYD and other Kurdish groups already lead an autonomous administration in parts of northern and northeastern Syria.

The Syrian Democratic Forces are an alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrians, Armenian and Turkmen militias established during the Syrian Civil War. Founded in October 2015, they seek to expel the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant from the Ar-Raqqah Governorate and other areas in Syria.

Homs cleared of weapons and gunmen.
The first group of gunmen leave al-Waer neighborhood
Syrian Arab News Agency, 9 December 2015

Homs, SANA – Governor of Homs Talal al-Barazi announced on Wednesday that the first group of gunmen started leaving al-Waer neighborhood, in an implementation of the settlement agreement reached earlier this month by the committees concerned with settling the situation in the neighborhood.
The gunmen’s departure, carried out within the agreement that is aimed at clearing al-Waer of gunmen and weapons, is being implemented under the patronage of the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).

Within the first stage of the agreement, the gunmen who are willing to leave will have to hand over their “medium and heavy weapons” to the side specified by the committees and will be allowed to keep only “light weapons”, according to a statement by al-Barazi on Tuesday.
He noted that during the second stage of the settlement, the gunmen willing to go back to their normal lives will have their legal status settled, noting that all state institutions will go back to work in the neighborhood in the course of the second and third stages.
He added that by the end of the third stage, al-Waer neighborhood will be clear of weapons and gunmen and under the full control of the state, according to the Governor.
A similar agreement was reached in 2014, by which life mostly returned to normal in Old City after it was cleared of weapons and gunmen.

Homs Governor: "Rewarded with sanctions, murder and destruction"
Syrian Arab News Agency 5-9-2012

HOMS, (SANA)- Governor of Homs Ahmad Munir Mohammad discussed the humanitarian, health and services conditions in Homs province with a UN delegation headed by Chief of Mission of Assessing Humanitarian Needs, Ben Parker.
Mohammad briefed the delegation on the current conditions in Homs city and the destruction caused by terrorists, noting that the terrorists didn't even spare schools and used them for their crimes.
He noted that Syrians – and particularly the people of Homs – received displaced people from Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq and shared their resources with them, hosting them in their homes, not in camps, and today the Syrians are rewarded with sanctions, murder and destruction.

For his part, Parker said that they are working to assess the security the situation in Homs, and that a permanent office will be established in Homs city to deal with humanitarian issues with the help of a team from the Red Crescent.

Tariq A. Al-Maeena: "Disrespecting God"
Saudi Gazette, 9-12-2015

Bin Laden is gone but his twisted philosophy remains in the minds of those he left behind. With the fall of Iraq, more militant groups were liberated to form their own empires. They went about spreading their form of terror, always using Islam as a cover to justify their warped motives.
They do not speak for all Muslims. It is now time for Muslims to demonstrate to a suspicious world that we are not terrorists. We must reach out to people of other faiths and establish that.
Pat Bergstresser, an American activist who has fought long and hard in the pursuit of justice for the dispossessed Palestinians said: “God created everything and for a good purpose. We must put our hearts, minds and spirits together to work on solutions based upon mutual respect and compassion rather than destruction of things that are different. If we destroy what God has created then we are disrespecting God”

Lavrov: Extremists take advantage of still unresolved Palestinian issue
"They are told there is no justice in the world"
TASS Russian News Agency, December 09, 2015

Extremists take advantage of the still unresolved Palestinian issue using it for recruitment of militants, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Italian media on Wednesday.
"According to our evaluations as well as of many experts, the Palestinian issue, which maintains unresolved for more than 60 years, is probably the most outstanding factor used by extremists for recruiting new followers among the Arab youth and on the Arab streets telling them there is no justice in the world," Lavrov said.
"It was promised in late 1940s to establish two countries, however, the Palestinian state has not been established as of yet," the top Russian diplomat said.

"We do realize that the problem can be resolved only after all countries in the region, including Israel, would be guaranteed security, but practical steps need be taken as well," he said.
"There is already more than one young generation, who are instructed and taught in the spirit of extremism and with the Palestinian example they are told there is no justice in the world, that Arabs will never achieve justice and that all attempts of peace negotiations, including Oslo, Madrid, Annapolis and various ‘quartets,’ led to nothing, therefore the only way to defend own interests is the armed fight."

Kurdish forces attack al-Qaeda strongholds in Syria’s Aleppo
ARA News, December 9, 2015

ALEPPO – Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) pounded strongholds of al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria) with dozens of mortar shells in the northern countryside of Aleppo, military sources reported on Tuesday.
Subsequent to the YPG-led attack, clashes broke out between the Kurdish fighters and al-Nusra militants in the villages of Tanb, Kashatar and al-Malikiya north of Aleppo.
The YPG was backed by moderate rebels of al-Thuwar Army in the clashes, while Nusra militants were supported by Syrian Islamist rebels of Ahrar al-Sham,” a Kurdish fighter told ARA News on the phone.
The clashes spread to the environs of the Minnigh military airport in the province, amid reports of casualties on both sides.

“Although the YPG, in its bombardment on the strongholds of al-Nusra Front, caused a large number of casualties among al-Nusra ranks, the latter was able to protect its positions subsequent to heavy clashes,” a rebel spokesman said.
Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham responded to the Kurdish offensive by bombing the YPG-held village of Shawargha.

Flashback 2012: The Call for Jihad
Nasser Charara, Al-Akhbar 5-1-2013

At the beginning of 2012 70 sheikhs from the Syrian Council of Clerics issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that declared jihad in Syria the duty of all Muslims. The Salafi sheikhs understood that the call for jihad had to be introduced in phases in order for many Syrians to accept it.
Two sheikhs in particular helped lay the groundwork for the rapid growth of Salafism in Syria: Sheikh Mohammed Suroor and Sheikh Adnan al-Arour. Both men were once members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Saudi Arabia....

Islamist insiders insist that the key group in the movement today is the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades and not the Nusra Front, which receives the most attention... Ahrar al-Sham enjoys the support of Sheik Adnan al-Arour.

Al-Arour 2011, Belhaj & Jalil 2011, people honoring Bin Laden & Arour 2012

The movement has produced a 40-page internal manifesto to organize and direct its members. The document emulates the experience of Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, the Libyan Islamist rebel leader, borrowing the following four points:

* 1) The call for jihad must be waged under the banner of Islam.
* 2) Islamic law is to be enforced by setting up specialized councils in the various locales, whose duty it is to apply the law on civilians and combatants alike.
* 3) The goal is to establish a state in Syria that it is not based on the military and that implements Islamic law.
* 4) With the toppling of the regime (army, state institutions & baath party), the military brigades must dissolve themselves and surrender their weapons to the newly established armed forces..

“ISIS is the product of the Suroori teachings, which is the product of extremist ideologies that preceded them. The Suroori group is no less evil than ISIS. What happened is that ISIS has outsmarted them in their extremism." (Al-Arabya, 22-2-2014)

Assad is the enemy and Arabs are dogs
Israel hopes to win hearts and mind
By Paul Antonopoulos, Al-Masdar news, December 10, 2015

The Al-Nusra Front, Syria’s Al-Qaeda branch, who are the dominant opposition force along the Syria-Israel border have confirmed its collaboration with Israel. Although non-mainstream have been reporting on this collaboration for at least three years, on Tuesday, the Daily Mail exposed a video of Israeli commandos entering Syrian territory to rescue several wounded Al-Nusra militants and retreating to aid the terrorists within Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Israel insists that the dangerous operations are humanitarian efforts, and that it hopes to “win hearts and minds” in Syria.
In speaking with the Daily Mail, Islamist fighters had interesting things to say about Israel.
20-year-old Mohammed, whose leg had been all but destroyed by fire from a Russian-made ‘Dushka’ heavy machine gun, agreed. “Thanks to Israel for letting me in. The butcher Assad is my enemy. Israel is not my enemy. The one who treats you is not your enemy.”
23 year old Ahmed who was recovering from a gunshot wound to the groin said: “I will not fight against Israel in the future. Israel looks after wounded people better than the Arabs. The Arabs are dogs. Before I came here, I wouldn’t have said this. But there are many people who got injured and came to Israel for treatment, and they told me about it. I feel safe here in Israel. But when I am well again, I will go back and fight.”

No medical support has been provided to any militants from the Shia alliance

An Israeli spokesman confirmed that no medical support has been provided to any militants from the Shia alliance.
'From an Israeli viewpoint, it's a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend,' said Kamal Alam, research analyst at RUSI and an expert in Syrian affairs.
'There is no one they can trust in the Syrian quagmire, but if you get rid of Hezbollah, that's the end of Iran in the region. Israel's main aim has to be to eliminate Hezbollah – and whoever takes on Hezbollah is an uneasy but necessary ally.
'In giving medical support to these fighters, Israel has done a deal with the devil.' For Israel to actually arm and equip the Sunni militants would be to risk a fierce backlash, both from the Arab world and in Israel. It would also run the risk that the weapons could one day be turned against the Jewish State.
Humanitarian medical assistance raises fewer objections on both sides, while fulfilling mutual strategic objectives.

Israel’s Moral Erosion
By Alon Ben-Meir, Consortium News, 10-12-2015

The occupation erodes rather than buttresses Israel’s national security and cannot be justified on either security or moral grounds. Unless Israel embraces a new moral path, no one can prevent it from unraveling from within only to become a pariah state that has lost its soul, wantonly abandoning the cherished dreams of its founding fathers.

There are four ethical theories — Kantian, utilitarian, virtue-based and religious — that demonstrate the lack of moral foundation in the continuing occupation, which imposes upon Israelis the responsibility to bring it to a decisive end.

1. Kantian: never do anything that you couldn’t will everybody else do at the same time.

The question is whether the Israeli occupation is a policy that can be universalized and pass the test of moral reasoning. The answer is clearly no; the policy of occupation is rationally inconsistent, as it requires Israel to exempt itself from moral and political norms that the rest of the international community recognizes (and which serve to protect Israel itself). Israel is making an exception of itself – which is the capital sin, according to Kant, as in effect Israel is saying: “We don’t have to live by the same rules as everyone else.”

2. Utilitarianism: states that an action is morally right if it produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

In spite of the fact that Israel takes extraordinary measures to enhance its security, the occupation is in fact undermining the security of the state, as is evident from the repeated bloody clashes. Moreover, if Israel were to extend its moral considerations beyond its own people to include the Palestinians, then the policy of occupation still fails on utilitarian grounds even more acutely.

3. The third moral theory is virtue ethics: an act is moral if it is performed as a result of having a virtuous character.

Virtue ethics recognizes the importance of acquiring the habit to act ethically which involves moral upbringing; as Aristotle is to have said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
The occupation is not educating Israeli youth towards moral virtues, but hardening their hearts as they can live with regular prejudices, discrimination and dehumanization against the Palestinians. As such, the occupation fails to meet the principles of virtue ethics. The occupation is tearing the Israelis’ social and political fabric apart and undermining the conditions under which moral virtues such as caring, compassion, and magnanimity can grow and thrive.

4. Religious theories

There are two basic theories...
- The first is the divine command theory, which states that what makes an action moral or right is the fact that God commands it and nothing else.
- The second theory, defended by Socrates, is that God commands us to do what is right because it is the right thing to do. In other words, morality precedes God’s will and is irreducible to divine command.

- Many orthodox Jews hold to the divine command theory, as they interpret the concept of “mitzvah” (good deed) first and foremost as “command,” the goodness of which cannot even be contemplated apart from the fact that this is what God has commanded us to do. By adopting the command theory, they are ascribing to a position which has and continues to be used to justify acts which are blatantly immoral.
- Turning to the theory that God commands us to do the good because it is good, what becomes clear is that any action must derive its moral worth independently of God’s will. In that case, the Israeli policy toward the occupation will have to be morally justifiable without reference to some divine mandate.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

The Simplistic Zionist Answer

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality.
Zeev Jabotinsky
(in: The Iron Wall, 1923)

Saudi king opens summit calling for Syria, Yemen solutions
Ahram online, 10-12-2015

Saudi King Salman called for political solutions to the wars in Syria and Yemen, while condemning "terrorism," at the opening of an annual Gulf summit in Riyadh.
Kings and emirs from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states began two days of talks in the Saudi capital, at the same time as unprecedented discussions by the Syrian opposition at a luxury hotel in another part of the city.
Salman voiced "support for a political settlement which guarantees the territorial integrity of Syria," after nearly five years of war. On behalf of the Gulf states -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- Salman also called for "a peaceful solution" in neighbouring Yemen.

In his opening address at Diriyah Palace, Salman said all countries have a responsibility to combat terrorism and extremism.
"Islam rejects and abhors terrorism, because it is a religion of moderation and tolerance," said the monarch whose kingdom is founded on the teachings of fundamentalist cleric Mohammed bin Abdul Wahhab.
Wahhabi thought has been accused of fuelling deadly Sunni extremism around the world, including the murderous drive of Islamic State group militants. But Saudi Arabia itself has seen an upsurge of attacks claimed by ISIS over the past year, against minority Shia and members of the security forces.
Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani told the summit that recent attacks in several countries prove that this "odious scourge" is a threat to everybody.
"The international community must, more than ever, intensify efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and eliminate its real causes by all means," the emir said.

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar support armed rebels in Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in late November that if Assad does not step down peacefully he could be ousted militarily.

Bashar al-Assad, 10-2-2012:
Can revolutionaries be without honor, moral values or religious principles?

All right, let’s see what they have done and what are their attributes. Would a real revolutionary steal a car or rob a house or a facility? Can the revolutionary be a thief?
For us, the image of the revolutionary is a bright, idealistic untainted one with something very special about it.
Those people have assassinated innocent people in and out of the state system.
Can a revolutionary be characterized by cowardice and treachery? They prevented the schools from carrying out their tasks and functions in society. They did the same in universities.
Can a revolutionary be against education? Until the end of 2011, the number of martyrs among teachers and university professors was about 30 and over a thousand schools have been vandalized, burned or destroyed. On your behalf, I salute all the teachers, councilors, administrators and caretakers in schools.
Can a revolution be against education, against national unity? Can revolutionaries use language which calls for the disintegration of society?
This is not a revolution.
Can a revolutionary work for the enemy – a revolutionary and a traitor at the same time? This is impossible.
Can revolutionaries be without honor, moral values or religious principles?
Have we had real revolutionaries, in the sense we know, you and I and the whole people would have moved with them. This is a fact.

Gulf monarchs back political settlement that guarantees independence of Syria
Middle East Online, 10-12-2015

RIYADH - Gulf monarchs endorsed a "political solution" for war-ravaged Syria, under an international framework agreed to last month.
At the end of a two-day annual summit, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rulers said they "support a political settlement... that guarantees the territorial integrity and independence of Syria."
The GCC represents the oil and gas-rich states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Their announcement came as Syrian opposition and armed groups met elsewhere in Riyadh in an attempt to form a unified front ahead of possible talks with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The GCC "welcomed the conclusions of the Vienna meetings," the Gulf statement said.
The Vienna plan set a January 1 target for peace talks and would see a transitional government set up in six months and elections in 18 months.

Opposition Groups Say Ready for Talks with Assad
Ahrar al-Sham Quits Riyadh Meeting
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 10-12-2015

Syria's main opposition groups agreed to negotiate with President Bashar Assad's government but insisted he step down at the start of any political transition.
Gathered in the Saudi capital for the first major talks among various political and armed factions, representatives agreed on a framework for negotiations sought by world powers... However, one of Syria's most important rebel groups, the Ahrar al-Sham force, said it had walked out of the meeting.
The Syrian delegates underlined the need to safeguard the territorial integrity of their country and reiterated their conviction that Syria has to remain an all-inclusive, civic, and sovereign state based on a federal structure.
Rejecting the presence of foreign fighters in the country, the groups called for resolving the Syrian crisis through the first-rate political means.
Under the deal, opposition groups have formed a "supreme committee for negotiations" based in Riyadh that will act as a reference for their negotiating team, whose members the body will choose.

Not all of the armed factions attended the talks, with the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida affiliated al-Nusra Front excluded. Kurdish fighters were also left out.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said groups linked to IS were attending: "Terrorist groups pretending to be moderate opponents and seeking to determine the future of Syria and the region will not be permitted."

A Divine system for the Caliph and his slaves
The National, December 10, 2015

Ahrar Al Sham: "Our enemy is Bashar al-Assad and his criminal regime. And anyone who supports this regime."

(Assad supporters: Iran, Russia, Syrian Arab Army, Baath party, Hezbollah, Christians, Secularists, etc...)
Ahrar Al Sham, one of the most powerful armed groups in Syria, said on Wednesday that those attending an opposition meeting in Riyadh must insist president Bashar Al Assad face justice and that the regime’s “institutions of oppression” be dismantled.
The group, which is an ally of Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al Nusra, said the priority should be overthrowing the regime...

Ahrar Al Sham said it was attending despite the “lack of representation of jihadist factions at a level matching their ... role” on the ground in Syria. But warned it “will not accept the results of this conference” unless they include “cleansing Syrian territories of the Russian-Iranian occupation nd sectarian militia supporting them”.
Russia has been conducting air strikes in support of Mr Al Assad for more than two months, while Iran has provided military assistance. Shiite militia from neighbouring Iraq and Lebanon are also fighting alongside Mr Al Assad’s troops.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said the Riyadh talks were an “important component of the process initiated in Vienna” and wished the meeting “full success”.
It is essential for the political and armed opposition, which resists the attacks” by Assad’s regime [..] to “unite its efforts to form a political interlocutor needed for Syria”, he added.

Like other Islamist groups that adhere to Salafism, Ahrar al-Sham has stated that it rejects Western-like secular democracy and calls for a Sunni theocracy in post-Assad Syria.
Democracy is to control people via people according to what they think of rules. But there is a Divine system prescribed for the Caliph and his slaves… It is the system where the rule is for the pure Islamic law. Allah’s law is complete, and you need only consider the texts and derive rules.

French PM: Efforts to Crush IS Will Extend to Libya
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 11-12-2015

International efforts to crush the Islamic State group will increasingly have to extend to Libya where the jihadists are getting a hold, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Friday.
"We are at war, we have an enemy, Daesh, that we must fight and crush in Syria, in Iraq and soon in Libya too," Valls said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.
Speaking four weeks since IS gunmen and suicide bombers attacked Paris, Valls told France Inter radio the threat of further outrages remained "because we have hundreds, even thousands of young people who have succumbed to radicalisation".
French planes carried out surveillance flights over Libya last week.

Libya has slipped into chaos since the killing of Moamer Gaddafi in 2011 bij NATO supported Islamists.

President al-Assad: Britain and France have neither the will
nor the vision on how to defeat terrorism
Baath party Website, 6 December 2015

President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to The Sunday Times in which he said Britain and France have neither the will nor the vision on how to defeat terrorism and their airstrikes against ISIS will yield no results, but will rather be illegal and harmful in that they will help in spreading terrorism like a cancer.

President Assad: We know from the very beginning that Britain and France were the spearheads in supporting the terrorists in Syria, from the very beginning of the conflict. We know that they don’t have the will to fight terrorism, even if we want to go back to the chapter on military participation with the coalition...
It is legal only when the participation is in cooperation with the legitimate government in Syria. So, I would say they don’t have the will and they don’t have the vision on how to defeat terrorism...
Is it possible that they don’t know the basics of international law, that they don’t understand the meaning of a sovereign state or that they haven’t read the UN Charter? They have no respect for international law...

- Question: In your view, does al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, pose an equal or a greater long-term threat to the West than ISIS? And as such, is Britain’s Prime Minister, Cameron, going after the wrong enemy? I.e. he is going after ISIS instead of going after al-Nusra.
- President Assad: The whole question is about the structure, and the problem is not about the structure of the organization. It is about their ideology. They do not base their actions on the structure, they base them on their dark, Wahhabi deviated ideology. So, if we want to evaluate these two, the difference between the two, there is no difference because they have the same ideology.

- Question: Now, Saudi Arabia invited 65 figures, including opposition leaders, even rebel commanders, businessmen, religious figures for a meeting in Saudi Arabia to present a united front in preparation for the January Vienna talks.... Are you conducting any talks with the opposition? Have you reached any consensus with them?
- President Assad: We have direct channels with some opposition groups; but others cannot communicate with us because they are not allowed to do so by the governments that control them. From our perspective, we are open for discussions with every peaceful opposition party. We don’t have any problems.
With regards to the meeting in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi’s have been supporting terrorism directly, publically and explicitly.
That meeting will not change anything on the ground. Before the meeting and after the meeting Saudi Arabia has been supporting terrorists and will continue to do so. It is not a benchmark or a critical juncture to discuss. It will not change anything.

Assad: Opposition is a political term, not a military term
Russia Today, 12 Dec, 2015

Syria will not negotiate with terrorists to end the conflict on their terms, no matter how hard the West tries to present armed gangs as grassroots political opposition, the country’s President Bashar Assad told Spanish News Agency EFE.
The problem, Assad says, lies with the fact that large portion of armed fighters and terror gangs in Syria are foreign mercenaries, which the US and their allies in the Gulf region are craving to include in the negotiation process.
Opposition is a political term, not a military term. So, talking about the concept is different from the practice, because so far, we’ve been seeing that some countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United States, and some western countries wanted the terrorist groups to join the negotiations. They want the Syrian government to negotiate with the terrorists, something I don’t think anyone would accept in any country,” Assad told EFE.

At the same time, Assad once again reiterated that his government is always open for negotiations with the real opposition – but emphasized that opposition must be defined.
Opposition, for everyone in this world, doesn’t mean militant,” Assad stressed. He said that Damascus is already engaged in dialogue with certain armed “groups, not organizations”, so they would lay down their arms in exchange for “amnesty from the government” and a chance to return to “normal life.”
“This is the only way to deal with the militants in Syria. Whenever they want to change their approach, give up the armaments, we are ready, while to deal with them as a political entity, this is something we completely refuse,” Assad clarifies.
An agreement on a peaceful resolution to the crisis, according to Assad, can only be reached with the “real, patriotic, national opposition” that has grassroots in and related to Syria, “not to any other state or regime in the world.”

Flashback 2012: The Rule Of Law
Referendum on new draft constitution
ChamPress, 15-2-2012

DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad issued Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday 26/2/2012 as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The following are some of the main issues included in the constitution's text:

- The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state of absolute sovereignty that cannot be divided and no part of its land can be abandoned. Syria is a part of the Arab world.
- The political system of the state is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.
- Society in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on solidarity and respecting the principles of social justice, freedom and equality, in addition to preserving the humanitarian dignity of every individual.
- Freedom is a sacred right. The State guarantees the citizens' personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security.
- Citizens have equal rights and duties. Discrimination due to gender, origin, language, religion or belief is prohibited.
- The State guarantees the equality of opportunity principle among the citizens and every citizen has the right to contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life in accordance with the regulating law.
- Citizens should respect the constitution and the rules.
- Private life is respected and protected by the law.
- Freedom of belief is secured by the law.
- Every citizen has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
- The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State.
- The president is to be elected directly by the people.
- The judicial authority is independent and the Higher Judicial Council guarantees the independence of the judiciary.

Syrian Arab Republic, Constitution, Preamble
Strengthening the rule of law

Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation. ...

... Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth...
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law....

DAMASCUS, 28-2-2012: Syria’s Interior Ministry announced Monday the results of the referendum on the new draft resolution of Syria, with 89.4% of voters agreeing to it.
In a press conference, Minister of Interior Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar said that that 8,376,447 citizens voted in the referendum on the new draft constitution, which constitutes 57.4% of the 14,589,954 eligible voters, with 7,490,319 (89.4% of voters) agreeing to it while 753,208 (9% of voters) didn't agree. (Syria Daypress)

Constitution Saudi Arabia: Submission to God & The Royal Family

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State. Its religion shall be Islam and its constitution shall be the Book of God and the Sunnah (Traditions)...
The system of governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be monarchical. Governance shall be limited to the sons of the Founder King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Faysal Al Sa‘ud, and the sons of his sons.

Citizens shall pledge allegiance to the King on the basis of the Book of God and the Sunnah of his Messenger, and on the basis of submission and obedience in times of hardship and ease, fortune and adversity.
Governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be based on justice, shura (consultation), and equality in accordance with the Islamic Shari‘ah. (source)