Saddam's Death, 68 (march-april 2016)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 67: march 2016 - Page 69: april 2016
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)

"Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right. Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him." Muammar Gaddafi (in: The Green Book)

"There is only one antidote against propaganda, and that is a relevant sense of history and a strong collective memory. When we remember the lessons from the past, and when we remember what happened even a few days ago, then the job of the propagandists and their warmongering bosses, becomes much more difficult." (Paul de Rooij, PalestineChronicle 1-4-2003)

Saddam Hussein: "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)

Vladimir Jabotinsky: Don't give them hope.
No Mercy, No Compassion, No Justice

"Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach. That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not. ..."
"We all demand that there should be an iron wall. Yet we keep spoiling our own case, by talking about "agreement" which means telling the Mandatory Government that the important thing is not the iron wall, but discussions. Empty rhetoric of this kind is dangerous...."
"What is impossible is a voluntary agreement. As long as the Arabs feel that there is the least hope of getting rid of us, they will refuse to give up this hope in return for either kind words or for bread and butter..." Vladimir Jabotinsky, in The Iron Wall (1923)

"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

Obama's Speech Against The Iraq War, 2-10-2002
"I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars"

I don't oppose all wars... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.
What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

I know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained... I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

You want a fight, President Bush?
Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells...
Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair. (Source: NPR, 20-1-2009)

Page Index

"The West creates enemies; in the past it was the communism then it became Islam, and then it became Saddam Hussein for a different reason. Now, they want to create a new enemy represented by Bashar. That's why they say that the problem is the president so he has to leave. That is why we have to focus of the real problem, not to waste our time listening to what they say." (Bashar al-Assad, 9-11-2012)

"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, 26-1-2015)

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)

A Reverse Midas: "Everything we touch turns to lead. "
by Justin Raimondo, 1-2-2012

When we invaded and occupied Iraq, we didn’t just militarily defeat Iraq’s armed forces – we dismantled their army, and their police force, along with all the other institutions that held the country together.
The educational system was destroyed, and not reconstituted. The infrastructure was pulverized, and never restored. Even the physical hallmarks of a civilized society – roads, bridges, electrical plants, water facilities, museums, schools – were bombed out of existence or else left to fall into disrepair. Along with that, the spiritual and psychological infrastructure that enables a society to function – the bonds of trust, allegiance, and custom – was dissolved...
We can say, with confidence: We came, we saw, we atomized.
And we are repeating the pattern elsewhere in the region... In Syria, we are supporting rebels who are conducting a terrorist campaign against the regime, and the future of the country is looking very … Iraqi.
In short, the effects of US actions in the region amount to a reverse Midas touch: everything we touch turns to lead. ( 2012)

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)

Hillary Clinton goes full Neocon at AIPAC
Demonizing Iran, Palestinians - defending Israeli criminals
By Juan Cole | Mar. 22, 2016

The Good God and the Evil God met on the mountain top.
The Good God said, "Good day to you, brother."
The Evil God made no answer.
And the Good God said, "You are in a bad humour today."
"Yes," said the Evil God, "for of late I have been often mistaken for you, called by your name, and treated as if I were you, and it ill-pleases me."
And the Good God said:
"But I too have been mistaken for you and called by your name."
The Evil God walked away cursing the stupidity of man.

Kahlil Gibran - The Madman

Hillarty Clinton used her speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting, the gathering of some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, to lambaste Donald Trump for saying he’d try to be neutral in heading up negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Donald Trump is wrong on everything most of every day... But this a point on which he is correct. The US cannot be an honest broker in the Mideast conflict if it is more Israeli than the Israelis, which it typically is...
For Clinton to imply that Trump, by saying he wanted to be neutral in negotiations, was indicating that he would compromise on Israeli security is just dishonest.
I’m not sure what conventional security threats Israel has. Lebanon is weak and a mess. Syria is in complete disarray. Jordan and Egypt have peace treaties with Israel. Those are the immediate neighbors. Libya has fallen apart. Tunisia doesn’t care and anyway is also small and weak. Turkey and Israel have their tensions, but do a great deal of business, including military business, with each other. Iraq is in disarray. Iran is so distant as to pose no conventional threat, and does not have nuclear weapons, which Israel does. So what is the threat to Israeli security Clinton is talking about?
Clinton perpetuates the Israeli propaganda talking point that they are the ones who are being oppressed, and that even-handed moves toward peace threaten their security, which is alleged to be precarious. This propaganda is so successful that most Americans probably do not know that Israel, a country of 8 million, is occupying 4.5 million stateless Palestinians...

Another plank of her platform was combating people’s right to decline to buy Israeli-made goods, to decline to have their stocks in companies that enable the Occupation, and to seek sanctions on Israel for breaking the Geneva Conventions by illegally flooding its own citizens onto Palestinian lands.
She went on to say: “As we gather here, three evolving threats — Iran’s continued aggression, a rising tide of extremism across a wide arc of instability, and the growing effort to de-legitimize Israel on the world stage — are converging to make the U.S.-Israel alliance more indispensable than ever.”

Among the most deadly extremists are the Israeli squatters on Palestinian land in the Palestinian West Bank.
They are armed and dangerous, routinely shoot at innocent Palestinians in a low-intensity civil war, and routinely invade and usurp Palestinian property. They are building vast colonies from which Palestinian residents are excluded, in a mindless replication of the policies of White South Africa in the 1980s.
If the Israeli squatters were admirable people doing something admirable, then it would be worthwhile standing up for them even if it increased anti-US terrorism. But they are just criminals, openly breaking every tenet of international law.
So standing up for them is morally wrong as well as, policy-wise, completely wrong-headed. In the US, the Israel lobbies do what they can to have anyone who is critical of the squatters blackballed, smeared and marginalized, using techniques redolent of those of cults.

Donald Trump's 'Neutrality'
Al-Masdar News, 22-3-2016

Donald Trump has vowed that if he is to become President he will continue a pro-Israeli foreign policy whilst blasting Iran.
When I become President, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one,” Trump told the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He continued by describing the Palestinians as unwilling partners who continually attack Israel.
Trump also pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to “the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
The Presidential candidate then went on to pledge that he would dismantle the “disastrous” nuclear deal with Iran. “Let me tell you this deal is catastrophic,” Trump said.

"The problem here is fundamental. We’ve rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return."
"When I’m president, [..] we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region." "Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen and will be a very, very major problem for Saudi Arabia.." "In Gaza, Iran is supporting Hamas and Islamic jihad. And in the West Bank, they’re openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist’s home that’s been destroyed..."
"We will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us...." "Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetuated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They’ve got terror cells everywhere, including in the Western Hemisphere, very close to home. Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we will work to dismantle that reach, believe me, believe me..."

On the political front, Trump denounced Obama by saying that “Obama may be the worst thing that ever happened to Israel...
The United Nations? Even worse...: "The United Nations is not a friend of democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom... And it surely is not a friend to Israel. [AIPAC APPLAUSE]"

The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.

Trump no longer 'neutral' on Israel
Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor, March 22, 2016

WASHINGTON — Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls competed March 21 to prove who is more pro-Israel at the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in a show of political correctness that extended even to real estate magnate Donald Trump.
Clinton devoted much of her speech to skewering Trump without using his name. Over and over, she said that no responsible American politician could be “neutral” when it comes to Israel’s security. “We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable,” Clinton said. “Well, my friends, Israel’s security is non-negotiable.”

Trump, the Republican front-runner who has raised eyebrows in debates and interviews by asserting that he would be “neutral” in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians and questioning US aid to the Jewish state, executed a 180-degree turn...
After asserting, “I didn’t come to pander,” he ran through a series of positions that closely follow the policies of the current Israeli government on Iran, the Palestinians and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Trump, Cruz split wins in the West
By Jonathan Easley, The Hill, 22-3-2016

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz split big delegate prizes in Arizona and Utah on Tuesday night, further raising questions over whether the long-time front-runner can avoid a contested convention.
Trump finished the night with 739 delegates, followed by Cruz at 465 and Kasich at 143.The Ohio governor did not win any delegates on Tuesday night.
A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination outright. That means Trump would have to win 55 percent of the remaining 902 delegates up for grabs. Many believe it will take him until the last day of votes in June if Trump is to win the nomination outright.
Cruz would have to win 86 percent to reach the magic number, while Kasich has no path to winning the nomination outright.

Flashback: Ted Cruz & The United States of Israel
Palestinians are terrorists 2016

We must make clear to the world that the U.S.-Israel alliance is once again a strategic bedrock for the United States.
• America’s security is significantly enhanced by a strong Israel. Israel has been, is, and always will be the Middle East bulwark in defense of the West. Our American-Israeli alliance is something to celebrate.
A Cruz administration will on day one recognize Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of Israel and the US embassy will be moved to Israel’s capital city.
• A Cruz administration will continue to support Israel’s regional qualitative military edge and make sure that, especially in light of the worsening security climate caused by Iran and ISIS, Israel has everything it needs to defend itself.
• We should strengthen our partnership with Israel by supporting cooperative efforts such as missile defense to counter terrorism.
A President Cruz will immediately reassess US policy towards the Palestinian Authority. Not one penny of American tax dollars should go to an organization that incites hatred against Jews and seeks to partner with the terrorist group Hamas.
We should move to defund the United Nations if it continues its anti-Israel bias and withdraw federal funding from any American university that boycotts Israel.

In 1988, Ted Cruz spoke of his ideals in life : "Take over the world. World domination, rule everything, be rich and powerful, that sort of stuff".

Foreign Policy Winners and Losers in Iowa
By Juan Cole | Feb. 2, 2016

The Iowa Caucus voters likely voted mainly on domestic policy issues, though security and terrorism have been a big part of the campaigns as well. Now that the smoke is clearing, it is worth considering the foreign policy implications of the winners of the primary.

- Iowan conservatives awarded the victory to Ted Cruz. Cruz has pledged to carpet-bomb eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq to get at Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), leveling e.g. Mosul (a city, in 2013, of 2 million, i.e. the size of Houston). Cruz also hinted that he might drop a nuclear bomb on eastern Syria (he wondered if the desert sands would glow thereafter)....
A nuclear bomb would kill everyone in al-Raqqa and the radioactive fallout will likely land on Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey– American allies. So Iowans chose the Mad Bomber over everyone else.

AIPAC 'disappointed'
Press TV, Mar 22, 2016

The pro-Israeli lobbying group in the US has tacitly censured GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for attacking President Barack Obama at the 2016 AIPAC policy conference earlier. The president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said on the final day of the annual conference on Tuesday that the group cannot be used as a podium to attack the US president.
The billionaire real estate mogul told the regime’s supporters a day earlier that Obama “may be the worst thing that ever happened to Israel,” adding that his administration has treated Tel Aviv “very, very badly.”

In remarks apparently directed towards Trump, AIPAC chief Lillian Pinkus claimed that “Last evening, something occurred which has the potential to drive us apart, to divide us.”
“We say, unequivocally, that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense against those that are levied against the president of the United States of America from our stage,” she said. “We are disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with or condone.”
Ties between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been in tatters over the White House’s support for a nuclear deal with Iran, also involving five other major powers, the UK, Germany, Russia, China, and France.

Al-Jaafari holds talks with Mogherini on cooperation against terrorism
Syrian Arab News Agency, 23 March 2016

Geneva, SANA-Head of the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation to the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva Dr. Bashar al- Jaafari discussed Wednesday with Feredica Mogherini, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs and Security policy Chief the political process to solve the crisis in Syria.
“We held an objective meeting with Mogherini at the residence of the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation in Geneva and I can say it was a promising and constructive meeting to a certain degree,” al-Jaafari said following the meeting.
He added that Mogherini conveyed a message that the EU supports the Syrian-Syrian indirect dialogue in Geneva in a way that helps push the peaceful solution forwards, which means she came to encourage “our delegation, other sides including the UN Special Envoy for Syria de Mistura to get involved positively in the indirect talks.”

On the terrorist explosions of Brussels, al-Jaafari said what has happened in Brussels “opened the eyes of the Europeans on the need for reading the map more accurately and give priority to combat terrorism.”
He affirmed that the EU is not a sponsor for the Syrian-Syrian dialogue, and no one can be so because it is supposed to be a Syrian-Syrian dialogue without any foreign intervention or preconditions.
Al-Jaafari clarified that he asked Mogherini to convey to the Europeans the need for working to lift the economic, coercive and unilateral sanctions imposed on the Syrian people and reopen the embassies.

Geneva, SANA-UN Special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura affirmed on Wednesday that priority is to defeat terrorism and find a political solution to the crisis in Syria, saying “all countries have a joint interest in achieving these goals.”

“What has happened in Brussels and Istanbul and in everywhere affirms the need for speeding up efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria,” de Mistura said at a press conference with Feredica Mogherini, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Chief. He added that the attendance of Mogherini in Geneva before the end of this round of Syrian-Syrian dialogue came in response to his invitation “to assert Europe’s commitment to make this dialogue a success.”
Mogherini, for her part, expressed European Union’s support to the Syrian-Syrian talks in Geneva, affirming that solution to the crisis in Syria is an interest for the Syrians and Europe as well as for the whole world, adding that she discussed with the Syrian sides today issues of dialogue and the support offered by EU to make it a success.
"It is important not only for the Syrians, but for the Europeans that this process starts, works and delivers," Mogherini told journalists. "We need... to accelerate and consolidate our common work to put an end to the war in Syria, and concentrate our forces on (IS)," she said.
She clarified that the threats that encounter Europe and other regions in the world are linked to the presence of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, adding that confronting this threat in an active way requires a collective work among all states to end the crisis in Syria.

Clinton Email: Assad Must Be Toppled to Protect Israel
Sputnik News, 23-3-2016

Buried within Hillary Clinton’s private server is an email which proves that the former US Secretary of State wanted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of power for the sake of Israel, assuring her partners that Russia would not get involved.
As Clinton moves closer to victory in the Democratic primary, WikiLeaks compiled emails from her controversial private server into a convenient search engine. One of those emails demonstrates the former Secretary of State’s interest in Syrian regime change.

"The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad," reads an email concerning Iran’s nuclear program.
According to the email, Clinton views the "strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad" as a threat to Israel’s security. "The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance..." the email reads.
"Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly."
By toppling Syria, the email argues, the United States may be able to soothe Israel’s fears regarding Tehran’s nuclear program.
"With Assad gone, and Iran no longer able to threaten Israel through its proxies, it is possible that the United States and Israel can agree on red lines for when Iran’s program has crossed an unacceptable threshold," it reads.
"In short, the White House can ease the tension that developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria."

Settlers storm Palestinian holy sites across the West Bank .
Middle East Monitor, 23 March 2016

Hundreds of Israelis, including large numbers of settlers, converged on religious sites across the occupied West Bank this morning ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, in visits Palestinians condemned as "provocative", Ma’an reported.
Locals told Ma'an that during the celebrations, which began late yesterday, the settlers "provocatively" used the mosque's loudspeakers "to sing racist songs that call for the expulsion of Arabs from Hebron."
The settlers were under the heavy protection of Israeli forces, who closed off the premises, preventing Palestinians from entering the mosque, and restricted access to the surrounding area.
Some Israeli media sites reported that as many as 7,000 Israelis celebrated at the holy site, known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Clashes broke out near the Balata camp, east of Nablus, when hundreds of Israelis, including settlers, visited Joseph's Tomb under military escort, Palestinian security sources said.
As many as 500 Israelis arrived in 10 buses at dawn, sources said. Local youths from the camp hurled stones at the occupation’s military jeeps, while soldiers fired tear gas at them. A number of protesters reportedly suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, although no other injuries were reported.

Israeli settlements root cause of rights violations against Palestinians: UN
Press TV, Tue Mar 22, 2016

A senior UN rights official says the continued development of illegal Israeli settlements is the root cause of a broad spectrum of human rights abuses across the occupied Palestinian territories.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein made the remarks in a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). He noted that settlements only prolong the occupation and undermine the future of Palestinians.
Al-Hussein called on UN member states to end their businesses in illegal Israeli settlements and not to facilitate Israel’s violations of international law.
He urged all states “to ensure that they are not taking actions that either recognize or assist the expansion of settlements or construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem (al-Quds).”

Since August 2015, the occupied Palestinian lands have been the scene of tensions after Israel’s imposition of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds. At least 206 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October 1, 2015.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Ibrahim Khraishi, said those who purchase settlement products from Israel are an accomplice to its acts of war.
The Israeli occupation has lasted almost 50 years. This has only generated violence and instability in the region. It must be ended if we are going to have human rights prevail in the region,” he said.

More than half a million Israelis live in 237 settlements throughout the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem (al-Quds).
The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Convention, which forbids construction on occupied lands.

A religion with a universal message became a tribal cult
Uri Avnery & The Temple Mount Bombers, 18-9-2004

During the last few centuries, European-American Judaism became more and more a religion imbued with a universal moral message. Jewish thinkers believed that it was the “mission” of the Jews to bring universal ethics to the nations of the world, seeing that as the real substance of Judaism.
Zionism came into being as a part of the nationalist revolution in Europe and as a reaction to its generally anti-Semitic character. It originated the theory that the Jews are a nation like other European nations, and that this nation must set up its own state in the country now called Palestine. Not by accident did the teachings of Herzl arouse the violent and vocal opposition of almost all the great rabbis of his time, whether Hassidim or their opponents the Mitnagdim, whether orthodox or reformist.
But when the Zionist community in Palestine established a state, something happened to Judaism there. The connection with the territory, the soil, changed the face of the religion, as it did to all other parts of national life. It is no exaggeration to claim that the Jewish religion in Israel underwent a mutation, which has become more and more extreme in recent years.
A religion with a universal message became a tribal cult. A religion of ethics became a religion of holy places.
Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a Jew of the old kind, defined the religion of the settlers as a pagan, idolatory cult.
Leibowizt was among the first Israeli intellectuals to state immediately after the 1967 Six-Day War that if occupation continued, this would lead to the decline in moral stature

The new cult of the temple is the climax of this process. The practical preparations for the destruction of the mosques and the restoration of the temple, together with animal sacrifices and other temple cults, constitute a break with the last two thousand years of Jewish religion. It is a religious revolution of historic dimensions.
If this tendency becomes dominant in the State of Israel, it will not, I believe, lead to the building of the Third Temple but to the destruction of the “Third House”.
The Second Temple, together with the Jewish people in this country, came to a violent end because a small minority of fanatical Zealots, who were very similar to today’s extremist settlers, came to power in the Jewish community and dragged it into a mad, hopeless war. That can happen again.
On the eve of Yom Kippur, something to think about... (Gush Shalom website, 18-9-2004)

Avnery was born as Helmut Ostermann on September 10, 1923, in Beckum, Westphalia... In 1938, just before turning 15, he joined the Irgun underground (Irgun Tzwai Leumi - National Military Organization), in order to take part in the fight against the British colonial regime. He served for three years, but left the Irgun in protest against its anti-Arab and reactionary social attitudes and terrorist methods. Later he explained his attitude in a booklet entitled "Terrorism, the infantile disease of the Hebrew revolution" (1945).
In September 1947, on the eve of the Israeli-Palestinian war, Avnery published a booklet entitled "War or Peace in the Semitic Region", which called for a radically new approach: An alliance of the Hebrew and Arab national movements in order to liberate the common "Semitic Region" from imperialism and colonialism, and create a Semitic community and common market, as a part of the emerging third world.

AMOS OZ, interviewing a Right Wing Army Official, 1982
source: Palestine Media watch

Amos Oz reproduced this interview, with others, in his book in Hebrew, 1982: Amos Oz: Poh va-sham be-Erets-Yisra'el bi-setav, 1982. The interview is on pp. 70-82. Amos Oz uses the abbreviation Z. The same book has been published in English: Amos Oz: In the Land of Israel, translated by Maurie Goldberg-Bartura. 1st Vintage Books Edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1984. Here Amos Oz uses the abbreviation C.
Palestinian propagandists substituted Sharon's name for Z/C. The description of Z however does not fit Sharon, and at one point Z refers to Sharon, Begin and General Eitan. In a telephone conversation with journalist Holger Jensen, who had misattributed these quotes to Sharon, Amos Oz confirmed that he had never met nor interviewed Sharon. (, 2002)

[Z-C]: "Call Israel by any name you like, call it a Judeo-Nazi state as does Leibowitz. Why not? Better a live Judeo-Nazi than a dead saint.
I don't care whether I am like Ghadafi. I am not after the admiration of the gentiles. I don't need their love...".
"Even if you'll prove to me by mathematical means that the present war in Lebanon is a dirty immoral war, I don't care...." Do you know why it is all worth it? Because it seems that this war has made us more unpopular among the so-called civilised world".
"We'll hear no more of that nonsense about the unique Jewish morality, the moral lessons of the holocaust or about the Jews who were supposed to have emerged from the gas chambers pure and virtuous. No more of that.... No more uniqueness and no more sweetness and light. Good riddance."

"Let me tell me [sic] what is the most important thing, the sweetest fruit of the war in Lebanon: It is that now they don't just hate Israel. Thanks to us, they now also hate all those Feinschmecker Jews in Paris, London, New York, Frankfurt and Montreal, in all their holes.
At last they hate all these nice Yids, who say they are different from us, that they are not Israeli thugs, that they are different Jews, clean and decent...." "Soon their palaces will be smeared with the slogan: Yids, go to Palestine! And you know what? They will go to Palestine because they will have no other choice.. Those who had chosen assimilation will finally understand that it won't help them to try and be the conscience of the world..."

Russian experts working on draft document on Syria
Real democracy - end of anarchy
The state holds an exclusive right to use arms
TASS Russian News Agency, MOSCOW, March 24 2016

Islamist anarchy: brigades that are creating their own 'allah'.
They don't serve God. They want to be God.
Russian experts are working on the 12-point draft document on Syrian settlement prepared by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Geneva earlier today, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.
Commenting on the importance of US State Secretary John Kerry’s visit to Russia in the context of Syrian settlement, Zakharova noted that "the turning point in Syrian settlement are not visits but rather a launch of full-format dialogue, constant uninterrupted work between Damascus and opposition, joint work on agreeing on the future of the country."
"The turning point is precisely this process. In order for it to proceed successfully and not be disrupted, we maintain dialogue with US as co-chair of International Syria Support Group, as well as with other members of this group," she concluded.

An informed source told TASS earlier on Thursday that the 12-point document prepared by de Mistura after the round of inter-Syrian talks in Geneva was based on proposals of delegations of the Syrian government and opposition’s "Riyadh group" and "Moscow-Cairo group," adding that the document will lay the basis for future negotiations.
The draft document says that Syria should remain a secular state and that all sides in the conflict should respect the country’s unity and sovereignty.
The participants in the talks will also be proposed to make a statement on inadmissibility of foreign mercenaries in Syria, to call on all countries to refrain from supporting terrorists and to agree that the Syrian government holds an exclusive right to use arms.

Kerry: "The sooner we end the chaos, the sooner we isolate the terrorists"
Sputnuk News, 25-3-2016

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels confirm the need for effective work by the United States and Russia in Syria, aimed at the cessation of hostilities in that country, US State Secretary John Kerry said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television during his visit to Moscow.
Two suicide blasts hit the departures hall of Brussels international airport on Tuesday and an explosion shook a subway carriage in Maelbeek station, close to the EU institutions, killing at least 31 people and injuring 300. Daesh, outlawed in many countries including Russia and the United States, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"Really nothing could do more to affect what happened in Brussels than to get the United States and Russia effectively on the same page regarding Syria and end the fighting in Syria.
If we end the war in Syria, we will end the pressure on all of the region with the refugees, with people, with violent extremists who are using the chaos as a means of enhancing their goals. The sooner we end the chaos, the sooner we isolate the terrorists, the sooner we restore stability and peace."
"That’s why this meeting with President Putin is so important. Because if we can move together more effectively, we could be far more efficient in our ability to find the terrorists, to eliminate the threats and the plots that exist today," he stressed.
Moscow needs to take a number of important decisions on cooperation with Washington in the fight against Daesh to restore stability in the Middle East, Kerry said.
"We’re actually very pleased that Russia is concerned about that extremism and wants to fight against Daesh and other extremists, so the key here is to find clarity in our definitions, make sure we’re really working effectively together without a hidden agenda in a way that can rapidly destroy Daesh, push back against violent extremism, restore peace and stability in the region." Kerry said.

Russia is ready for constructive relations with the United States on the basis of equality, the Russian foreign minister stated at a press conference with Kerry.

Truth about Syria: All they can do is keep killing and causing chaos
By Jeremy Salt – Palestine Chronicle 16-1-2012

In his speech to university students this week, Bashar al Assad spoke of a conspiracy against Syria.
The foot soldiers in the campaign to bring down the Syrian government are the armed men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and the random armed gangs.
None of them could maintain their violent campaign without outside support. Short of open armed intervention from the outside, they cannot overthrow the Syrian government. All they can do is keep killing and causing chaos in the hope that it will eventually collapse.
heir sponsors are the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian National Council, assorted 'activists' in exile, some closely linked to the British Foreign Office and the US State Department, and every salafist across the region.
Reform is not the issue. Their agendas vary but converge at one point: their determination to destroy the Baathist government.
For the US, Britain and France – 'the west' – the destruction of a government and a political party that has long got in their way is the issue. For Saudi Arabia, the issue is confronting Iran and containing Shiism across the region. For the Muslim Brotherhood, the issue is revenge for Hafez al Assad's repression of their revolt in 1982, the destruction of a secular government and the installation of a sharia-based substitute which they expect to dominate. For both the Muslim Brotherhood and the salafists the issue is also the destruction of the Alawis as a socio-political force in Syria.

Western countries are instigating the Syrian opposition to create chaos
ChamPress, Syria, 10-2-2012

MOSCOW- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov said that the responsibility for stopping bloodshed in Syria and settling the conflict peacefully through dialogue lies with the Syrian opposition and its proponents. In a statement during his visit to Colombia, Rybakov added that Western countries which are instigating the Syrian opposition to create chaos and are supplying it with weapons are in fact involved together with the opposition in aggravating the situation.
He stressed that Russia doesn't agree with the western countries on the so-called 'humanitarian intervention', adding that the western attempts in this regards violate the international law principles. Rybakov added that the responsibility for stopping bloodshed in Syria and settling the conflict peacefully through dialogue lies with the Syrian opposition and its proponents. He said that Russia proposed to be a mediator through calling upon all Syrian sides to meet in Moscow.

Bashar al-Assad: "no compromise with those who use arms to cause chaos and division"
Speech, UrukNet, 10-1-2012

In cases of war or confrontation, states rearrange their priorities. Our utmost priority now, which is unparalleled by any other priority, is the restoration of the security we have enjoyed for decades, and which has characterized our country, not only in the region but throughout the world. This will only happen by striking the murderous terrorists hard.
There is no compromise with terrorism, no compromise with those who use arms to cause chaos and division, no compromise with those who terrorize civilians, no compromise with those who conspire with foreigners against their country and against their people. The battle against terrorism will not be the battle of the state or state institutions alone. It is the battle of all of us...

President Bashar al-Assad at the People's Assembly
ChamPress, 4-6-2012

Chaos is the natural environment for terrorism and those who have promoted a new age of freedom and prosperity, without knowing what they are talking about, have embraced chaos, and chaos embraced terrorism; and consequently, and without knowing it, these people have become involved in, in one way or another, in terrorism.
Today we see, as a result of short-sightedness, that the freedom they have chanted slogans for is about the blood and the dead bodies of our children and that the democracy they talked about is soaked with our blood.
We have paid a high price, but I expect that the price we are going to pay after the end of the crisis might be higher, not in terms of security, but in terms of moral values.

Tunisia to enforce state control over all mosques .
Middle East Monitor, 24 March 2016

Salafis in Syria Are Taught False Ideologies

April 2013: Othman Battikh blasted Salafis in a press conference where he made it clear that fighting in Syria is not Jihad. He also stated that the ideologies that are being taught to young Tunisians who follow Salafism and are now fighting in Syria are very dangerous to the entire Tunisian society, who - in his view - must stand together to confront this foreign ideology that is funded mainly by Gulf nations.

Othman Battikh (born April 17, 1941) is a Tunisian Islamic scholar, former grand Mufti of Tunisia. In July 2013, President Moncef Marzouki replaced him as Mufti with Saied Hamda. On February 2, 2015, he was appointed Minister of Religious Affairs in the government of Prime Minister Habib Essid. Battikh is seen as a moderate and has been critical of Salafi and Wahabi doctrines.

Spokesperson for the Tunisian government Khalid Shawkat said on Wednesday that all mosques in the country will be controlled through law enforcement. Shawkat said in a statement following a ministerial meeting that Prime Minister Habib Essid is keen to enforce law and re-establish state authority over all mosques across the country.
“In case of failure to respond, the state will not hesitate to use all legal means available and guaranteed by the constitution and laws,” he added.
The Tunisian Ministry of Religious Affairs is responsible for supervising religious guidance and selects the imams for mosques.

An official at the General Union for Religious Affairs Abdul Salam Atawi raised concerns over the many imams and preachers working without a formal mandate from the authorities during a press conference on Tuesday, which he believes is over 50 percent in many provinces. According to the Tunisian Ministry of Religious Affairs, some 50 to 60 mosques operate outside its control.
Tunisia has been heavily criticized for the absence of state control over the country’s mosques.

Security not enough to defeat terrorism
Arab Weekly, Tunis, 22-3-2016

The head of Tunisia's main Islamist party Rached Ghannouchi said Tuesday that military force and security measures alone are not enough to fight violent extremism.
"The fight against terrorism must not be limited to the military and security approach, which could even complicate the problem in the short and long run," the 74-year-old Ghannouchi told an audience at the Al-Jazeera Forum in Doha.
Combating extremism must also have "a political dimension by strengthening democracy, the economy, and development" to stem unemployment, especially among young people, he said. Ghannouchi rejected any link between extremism and religion, saying Islam is "unrelated to terrorism".
Ghannouchi's Ennahda party was the dominant political force in Tunisia following the revolution but its influence has since waned.

Tunisia on Tuesday extended by three months a state of emergency...
President Beji Caid Essebsi "has decided after consultations... to extend the state of emergency for a period of three months from March 23," his office said in a statement that came two weeks after another attack blamed on jihadists near the border with Libya.
The North African country has suffered from a wave of jihadist attacks in recent years, as it has struggled to curb a rise in extremism since the 2011 revolution that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia's Ennahda moves to accept state authority over religious affairs
Karem Yehia in Tunisia , Saturday 26 Mar 2016

In a move widely seen as toning down ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Tunisia's Ennahda Party says it will accept state authority over religion and focus on political activities

Fathi Al-Ayadi — speaking ahead of this summer's party conference — said that Ennahda will focus on its political activities within an Islamic frame of reference, in accordance with the Tunisian constitution. Al-Ayadi noted that religious affairs should be handled by state authorities and civil society, a statement that reflects Ennahda's refusal of partisan interference in such issues.
Al-Ayadi, head of Ennahda's Shura Council, said that preliminary meetings for the Ennahda conference resulted in a general consensus on amending the Islamist group's organisational affairs and charter. One of these amendments includes the suggestion of changing the name of the party's Shura Council to "National Shura Council."

The statements of Al-Ayadi are seen as part of the "Tunisisation" of Ennahda, ending its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and the combination of religion and politics.

Iraqis in Baghdad once again demonstrate for reform
Press TV, Fri Mar 25, 2016

Thousands of Iraqis have rallied in Baghdad in support of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who urged Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to come up with a "convincing" package for government reforms.
Sheik Asad al-Nasiri, Sadr's associate, delivered the cleric’s message during the Friday event, giving the Abadi administration 24 hours to implement reforms including installing technocrats in major political positions.
In case the prime minister does not provide the appropriate package, further protests, Sadr has said, would remain non-violent. “If he does not announce a reform package... we will adopt a different position, which we will announce on Saturday.”
The message also said the protesters will not limit themselves to sit-ins outside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. “Our protests in front of the Green Zone will not be enough. All of this will use peaceful means.”
“I hope that on Saturday the prime minister comes up with reforms towards an independent government of technocrats that are convincing for the people,” Sadr stated in the message.

Iraq: The reinvention of Muqtada al-Sadr
leader of an Iraqi nationalist movement
Ibrahim Al-Marashi, Al-Jazeera, 9-3-2016

In February, the Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr led a rally in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, pressing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to deliver reforms he promised in response to anti-government protests that erupted in August 2015.
Sadr's ability to mobilise a crowd of close to 100,000 demonstrates his ability to reinvent himself, once again, in Iraq's post-2003 political landscape. In Sadr's latest political incarnation, he has embraced the politics of protest to become both an anti-politician and king-maker...
His latest rally represents a culminating event in Sadr's career...
Sadr began in 2003 to portray his Shia movement as an indigenous Iraqi nationalist and anti-US one, transcending the sectarian divide, and one that had developed from within the nation as opposed to the exiled Shia parties.
In 2004, he declared his solidarity with Arab Sunni insurgents besieged in Fallujah by United States forces, distancing himself from the exiled Iraqi Shia factions cooperating with the US. He sought to re-establish his Iraqi nationalist credentials in 2013, the beginning of his attempt to project himself as a leader of protest politics.
During the 2013 Arab Sunni protests in the Anbar province against the government of Nouri al-Maliki, Sadr expressed solidarity with the demonstrators, labelling the protests as "Iraq's Arab Spring".
Sadr's actions from 2013 onwards do not follow the neat pattern of sectarian-driven politics. He sought to portray himself as part of a combined, deprived Arab Sunni-Shia opposition against an Arab Shia-Sunni political elite that was seen as indifferent to their demands, corrupt and ineffective in terms of governance.

Sadr has developed Sistani's model of a cleric who does not hold political office, but influences government in the form of the clergy as loyal opposition.
However, they differ in terms of the style of pressure. Sistani rarely makes public appearance and his influence is conveyed subtly through sermons and religious declarations...
Sadr in his early years raised a sectarian militia, Jaish al-Mahdi (al-Mahdi Army), which served as the basis of his power. It clashed with US forces on numerous occasions and was eventually dealt a military blow when Maliki deployed the Iraqi army, with US air support, against it in Basra and Sadr City in 2008. Afterwards, Sadr rebranded the militia as the Peace Brigades, and for the most part refrained from armed conflict.

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an assistant professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of "Iraq's Armed Forces: An Analytical History".

U.N. Chief Urges Iraq Politicians to Back PM's Reforms
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 26-3-2016

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday urged Iraq's politicians to support embattled Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's reform drive.
Speaking in Baghdad on his eighth visit to Iraq as secretary general of the United Nations, Ban emphasized the need for national reconciliation.
"I call on all political leaders here today to continue your efforts towards a single, unified vision to advance national reconciliation in Iraq," Ban said in an address to parliament. He said such a vision should include the justice and accountability law, a controversial amnesty law and the establishment of a national guard.
"This spirit of compromise must extend to making sure that the executive and legislative branches, including the parliamentary blocs, work closely together to support the prime minister, as he implements the needed reforms to address the multiple crises you face," Ban told lawmakers.

Syria Forces Retake Palmyra in Major Victory over IS
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 27-3-2016

Syrian troops backed by Russian forces recaptured the famed ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group on Sunday in a major victory over the jihadists.
Army sappers were defusing mines and bombs planted by IS in the city's ancient ruins, a UNESCO world heritage site where the jihadists sparked a global outcry with the systematic destruction of treasured monuments.
IS overran the Palmyra ruins and adjacent modern city in May 2015. It has since blown up two of the site's treasured temples, its triumphal arch and a dozen tower tombs, in a campaign of destruction that UNESCO described as a war crime punishable by the International Criminal Court.
The jihadists used Palmyra's ancient amphitheatre as a venue for public executions, including the beheading of the city's 82-year-old former antiquities chief.

The oasis city's recapture is a strategic as well as symbolic victory for President Bashar Assad, since it provides control of the surrounding desert extending all the way to the Iraqi border.
The recapture of Palmyra sets government forces up for a drive on the jihadists' de facto Syrian capital of Raqa in the Euphrates valley to the north.
"The army will have regained confidence and morale, and will have prepared itself for the next expected battle in Raqa," a military source said on Saturday. With the road linking Palmyra to Raqa now under army control, IS fighters in the ancient city can only retreat eastwards towards the Iraqi border....
Russian forces, which intervened in support of longtime ally Assad last September, have been heavily involved in the offensive to retake Palmyra despite a major drawdown last week. Russian warplanes conducted more than 40 combat sorties in just 24 hours from Friday to Saturday, targeting "158 terrorist" positions, according to the Russian defense ministry.

General Command: "A severe blow to ISIS "
Breaking News Network, 27-3-2016

General Command of Army and Armed Forces said Sunday that Palmyra city and the overlooking mountains and hills have been fully controlled after a series of precise military operations carried out by army units, in cooperation with the popular defense groups and backed by the Syrian and Russian Air Forces.

“Establishing complete control on Palmyra constitutes a severe blow to ISIS terrorist organization and the beginning of its collapse and defeat,” the General Command said in a statement.
” Our brave army, in cooperation with friends, is the only force capable of fighting terrorism and eradicating it,” the statement said.
The statement stressed that the army, in cooperation with the popular defense groups and Russian and Syrian air forces, will continue the military operations against ISIS and Jabhat al- Nusra and other terrorist organization.

Syria - How The Palmyra Victory Changes the Narrative
Moon of Alabama, 28-3-2016

The liberation of Palmyra is a decisive turning point in the war on Syria. While there were earlier military successes by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies, the publicity value of securing the valued Roman ruins of Palmyra is much higher than any earlier victory. It will change some of the false narratives of the conflict.
The Syrian government is no longer "the Assad regime" and the Syrian Arab Army no longer the "Assad forces".
Ban Ki Moon, the head of the United Nations, congratulated the Syrian government to its success: In a news conference in Jordan, Ban said he was "encouraged" that the UNESCO world heritage site is out of extremist hands and that the Syrian government "is now able to preserve and protect this human common cultural asset".

Lost in the celebrations was a discussion of how Palmyra had fallen...
The Islamic State offensive that ended with its occupation of Palmyra took thirteen days from May 13 to May 26 2015. Heavy fighting and several Syrian army counter offensives took place during those days. After the Islamic State finally captured the city, the Syrian army immediately prepared for a larger operation to regain the city. This was launched successfully in July 2015 but for lack of air support the gains made were again lost a week later.
Throughout the 2015 fighting around Palmyra the U.S. air force, which claimed to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, did not intervene at all. ISIS was free to resupply through the open east-Syrian desert.

The sole reason that the Islamic State could successfully attack Palmyra was a very large ongoing attack by al-Qaeda Jihadists and CIA mercenary forces on the Syrian government forces in Idleb governate. The Syrian army moved troops from Palmyra to defend Idleb and Latakia and the forces left behind were no longer large enough to repel the Islamic State attack.
The attack on Idleb, for which the CIA allowed its proxy forces to directly cooperated with al-Qaeda, was supported by electronic warfare from Turkey which disrupted the Syrian military communication.
The attack and the obvious cooperation between the Jihadists and Turkish and U.S. secret services was the reason that Russia and Iran decided to intervene in the conflict with their own forces.
What followed was the roll up of all "rebels" that posed an immediate danger to the Syrian government. After Turkey ambushed a Russian jet all "rebel" forces supported by Turkey became priority targets.
When the success of large scale offensives in Latakia and around Aleppo was established, Russia imposed a cease fire on the U.S. supported forces and on the Syria government. This cease fire freed up the Syrian, Iranian and Russian forces needed to successfully take back Palmyra.

President al-Assad: Palmyra achievement proves army strategy
more effective than US-led coalition efforts
Baath Arab Socialist Party Website, 28-3-2016

Libya: Begging is increasingly common in the capital.
The Arab Weekly, 2016-03-27

TRIPOLI - Sitting outdoors at a quiet Tripoli cafe, Libyans wonder how a third government could possibly take up residence in a capital controlled by armed groups who reject it.
"The mood is tense and people are tired," says Abu Ehab, sipping a cup of green tea. "Having three governments is causing great problems."
Tripoli's capital has been relatively calm since a militia alliance including Islamists seized it in mid-2014, but the expected arrival of a disputed UN-backed unity government has raised fears of renewed violence.
Both of Libya's rival authorities -- the one in the capital and the other that in 2014 fled to the country's far east -- have refused to cede power to the new government under prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj.
Tripoli's unrecognised administration on Friday announced a "maximum state of emergency" after the Tunisia-based presidential council headed by Sarraj said the government would soon start working in the capital. UN special envoy Martin Kobler was on Wednesday prevented from travelling to Tripoli to work on installing the power-sharing administration.

In Tripoli, the prospect of a working unity government has at least raised hopes of a way out of a collapsing economy. Queues have formed in recent weeks from early morning outside Tripoli's cash-strapped banks and the cost of living has increased.
Begging is increasingly common in the capital, much to the shock of its residents. In one upper-class neighbourhood, Fathi hands money to a family who pulled up in a car outside his house asking for help.
"How did we get here?" he asks.

Most US Voters Don’t Want U.S. Promoting Democracy In Islamic World
Rasmussen Reports, Monday, March 28, 2016

Donald Trump has run afoul of the Republican establishment with his opposition to so-called "nation-building," but most voters think Trump's on the right track.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 28% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States should do more to encourage the growth of democracy in the Islamic world.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) say the United States should leave things alone. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 22-23, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

UNHRC blacklists Israeli firms working in settlements .
Middle East Monitor, 26 March 2016

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has voted on Thursday to establish a database of Israeli companies working in settlements in order to blacklist them. According to news reports, this measure was one of four Palestinian Authority (PA) proposals approved by the council.
Efforts to establish the database was fiercely opposed by Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the decision as a victory for the PA’s fight for Palestinian human rights.
Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Al-Barghouti also described the resolution as a “victory,” noting that it would strengthen the BDS movement and help impose sanctions on Israel.
Al-Barghouti said that the verbal attack of the Israeli Prime Minister against this resolution would never affect it or undermine the efforts of the BDS and the supporters of human rights. He also said that the BDS had internationalised the Palestinian issue and placed it on the tables of the international organisations and officials.

The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007.
BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice. For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity. In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response.

Anti-BDS conference Jerusalem: BDS is anti-Semitism
Yael Friedson, YNet News, 28-3-2016

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is based on the rejection of the existence of the State of Israel, President Reuven Rivlin said Monday morning at Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth's anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem.
"We must differentiate between criticism and de-legitimization," the president argued, adding that "Criticism is completely legitimate, and we are all focused on one goal; the wellbeing of our country despite the difference of opinion."
"We must show the world the claims of the BDS movement are based on hatred and enmity of the State of Israel," the president stressed.

World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder said he wished the conference wasn't necessary. "I wish there wasn't a worldwide effort to isolate Israel, to undermine Israel, to destroy Israel,” he added. "Our enemies have failed to destroy Israel militarily and economically," Lauder said. "Having failed, they are trying to destroy Israel politically."
BDS, he said, "tries to present itself as some sort of a democratic movement concerned with human rights - that's a lie. It's an international campaign to incite hostility against Israel and the Jewish people." The movement has no interest in peace or in improving the daily lives of the Palestinians, Lauder noted. "The world needs to see through these lies."
"The World Jewish Congress is advancing legislation to make economic boycotts illegal. Many countries have already made boycotts illegal, including in the US Congress.." the WJC president declared.
He expressed his concern about the BDS movement's presence on college campuses worldwide, targeting the young and impressionable minds of youths.
"From the moment they arrive at schools, colleges, and universities, our children face a barrage of anti-Semitic lies," he lamented. "College is their first exposure to the history and politics of the Middle East. They're especially vulnerable to BDS's harsh propaganda."
BDS is "a dangerous new strain of an age-old disease - anti-Semitism..."

Sephardi chief rabbi says non-Jews forbidden from living in the Land of Israel
By Haaretz Mar. 28, 2016

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said Saturday night that many non-Jews should be forbidden from living in the Land of Israel according to Jewish law.
In a recording of Yosef’s weekly Saturday night lecture obtained by Channel 10, the rabbi can be heard saying, “According to Jewish law, it’s forbidden for a non-Jew to live in the Land of Israel – unless he has accepted the seven Noachide laws.”
The seven Noachide laws include prohibitions on idolatry, blasphemy, murder, illicit sexual relations, stealing and eating the limb of a living animal, plus a positive commandment to establish court systems.
“If our hands were strong, if we had governing power, then non-Jews shouldn’t live in the Land of Israel,” Yosef added. “But our hands aren’t strong. We’re awaiting our righteous (i.e. WAR) Messiah, who will be the true and complete redemption, and then they’ll do this.”
The reason some non-Jews are allowed to live in Israel, Yosef continued, is to serve the Jewish population. “Who will be the servers? Who will be our assistants? Therefore, we leave them here in the land,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Yosef sparked a storm when he used his weekly lecture to discuss the recent wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks.
“If someone is coming with a knife – it’s a commandment to kill him,” Yosef said. “If someone is coming to kill you, kill him first. Don’t start being afraid of all kinds of ... that they’ll make a court case against you afterward, or that some [Israel Defense Forces] chief of staff will come and say something different.”
In that lecture, Yosef was responding to remarks made by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot last month... Eisenkot said: “The IDF can’t speak in slogans, like ‘If someone is coming to kill you, kill him first.’ I don’t want a soldier to empty a clip into a girl with a pair of scissors.” Several Knesset members from the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi parties criticized Eisenkot for that statement.

The problem with the Orthodox Rabbinate in Israel is that it thinks in terms of the purity of the Jewish race. That wasn't the intention of Halacha, and it's a very bad way to preserve the Jewish people today.
"The Knesset's job is to separate religion from the State so that each and every person can be Jewish in their own way," MK Merav Michaeli (Labor), 13-11-2013

Imploding the Myth of Israel
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Nov 6, 2013

Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa.
Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism.

Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. ... They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them.
Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There are very few intellectuals or writers who have the tenacity and courage to confront this reality.

“In Israel you have three systems of laws,” the Israeli Arab politician Ahmed Tibi observes in Blumenthal's book 'Goliath'.
-- “One is democracy for 80 percent of the population. It is democracy for Jews. I call it an ethnocracy or you could call it a Judocracy.
-- The second is racial discrimination for 20 percent of the population, the Israeli Arabs.
-- The third is apartheid for the population in the West Bank and Gaza. This includes two sets of governments, one for the Palestinians and one for the settlers. Inside Israel there is not yet apartheid but we are being pushed there with new laws.”

(See also Saddam's Death, page 32)

Israel Shahak: The Racist Nature of Zionism (1975)

"IT IS MY CONSIDERED OPINION that the State of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term: In this state people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried out today mainly in cooperation with the institutions of the Zionist movement."
"Zionism is worse than the Apartheid regime of South Africa... Zionism wants to "save" as much land as it can without any limit at all, in all areas of the "Land of Israel," and it turns the land it "saves" into one big Apartheid area, in which human beings who were born from non-Jewish mothers have no right to live...

" The primary duty of all citizens of Israel, and also of all those Jews in the Diaspora who define themselves as the 'supporters of Israel' is to struggle against the racism and the discrimination which Zionism has established in the State of Israel, and which is directed against all the non-Jews who live in it.
Such a struggle, which necessarily begins with the explanation of the racist character of Zionism and the State of Israel and the condemnation of their racism is neither anti-Jewish nor anti-Semitic."

Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism

Orthodoxy is the only movement that is formally and legally recognized in Israel.
Until very recently, only Orthodox Jews could serve on religious councils. The Orthodox rabbinate in Israel controls matters of personal status, such as marriage, conversion and divorce.
Orthodoxy or Rabbinic Judaism is the normative form of Judaism that developed after the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem (ad 70). Originating in the work of the Pharisaic rabbis, it was based on the legal and commentative literature in the Talmud, and it set up a mode of worship and a life discipline that were to be practiced by Jews worldwide down to modern times.
Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future. It gave the Jewish religion a legalistic tendency and made "separatism" its chief characteristic... (
Jewish Encyclopedia)

Jesus & the Pharisees

The word Pharisee means “pure,” or “separated,” and was an apt term for this group of ultra-Orthodox men who distanced themselves from the unrighteous while they established many extraneous commandments in connection with their pursuit of holiness. In the time of Jesus, there were several thousand Pharisees in Israel led by two main schools of philosophy:

The School of Shammai.
The closest example in our world to understanding them would be to equate them with Mullah Omar and the Taliban, for they were ultra-conservative religious fundamentalists with a pathological devotion to obeying hosts of man-made traditions and commandments.

Most believed, among other things, that the Hebrew descendants of Abraham were the only people beloved of God, and that no other people were of value in His sight. Salvation was thus only available to Jews--and so, in their early days, the Shammaiites wouldn’t even welcome Gentile converts to Judaism.
This attitude caused Pharisees from the school of Shammai to hate all Gentiles, and left them with little regard even for Jews who didn’t follow them.
The school of Shammai had close ties to the infamous zealots, a group of fanatics who favored armed revolt against Rome.
It’s critical to note that virtually every time you see Jesus or the apostles in strife against what the Bible labels as “Pharisees,” it is almost certainly referring to Pharisees or ex-Pharisees from the School of Shammai.

Of lesser influence in Israel was The School of Hillel.
The school of Hillel was far more liberal, and its founder was renowned for placing people and justice at the heart of Judaism, whereas Shammai stressed strict observance of religious laws.

While Hillel’s followers acknowledged that the Jews were God’s special people, they willingly accepted Gentile converts to Judaism in the belief that the God of Abraham allowed all to worship Him who would turn from idolatry.
Two sayings we commonly attribute to Jesus were supposedly coined by Hillel before his death, and were being quoted by Jesus in the Gospels. These were The GOLDEN RULE, along with the summary of the Law and the prophets (Love God with all of your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself).
Whenever you see Jesus interacting positively** with the Pharisees (for instance, with Nicodemus or the rich young ruler), he is probably interacting with Pharisees from the school of Hillel.

Bernie Sanders:& The Golden Rule
CNN Asked Bernie Sanders About His Religion
Elisabeth Parker, Reverb Press, february 23, 2016

Four days before South Carolina’s Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton took questions from voters at a lively CNN Town Hall in the newly de-battle flagged state capital of Columbia.
Amid all the talk about Wall Street, racism, Donald Trump, and the GOP’s obstructionism, Bernie Sanders was asked about his “spirituality.”
That, of course, was meant to be a trap, a litmus test. Americans like their presidents Christian. In fact, we haven’t had a non-Christian president since Thomas Jefferson (Abraham Lincoln was raised Christian and kept quiet about his un-churched status), let alone a not-particularly religious Jew.
Here is Bernie Sanders’ reply:

Every great religion in the world — Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism — essentially comes down to: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ (The Golden Rule)
And that I have believed in my whole life — I believed it when I was a 22-year-old kid getting arrested in Chicago fighting segregation — I’ve believed it in my whole life.”
And then, Bernie Sanders even appeared to get a little choked up as he declared:
“That we are in this together — not just, not words. The truth is at some level when you hurt, when your children hurt, I hurt. I hurt. And when my kids hurt, you hurt. And it’s very easy to turn our backs on kids who are hungry, or veterans who are sleeping out on the street, and we can develop a psyche, a psychology which is ‘I don’t have to worry about them; all I’m gonna worry about is myself; I need to make another 5 billion dollars.’

I believe that what human nature is about is that everybody in this room impacts everybody else in all kinds of ways that we can’t even understand. It’s beyond intellect. It’s a spiritual, emotional thing.
So I believe that when we do the right thing, when we try to treat people with respect and dignity, when we say that that child who is hungry is my child … I think we are more human when we do that, than when we say ‘hey, this whole world , I need more and more, I don’t care about anyone else.’
That’s my religion. That’s what I believe in. And I think most people around the world, whatever their religion, their color — share that belief. That we are in it together as human beings. And it becomes more and more practical. If we destroy the planet because we don’t deal with climate change … Trust me, we are all in it together, and … That is my spirituality.’

This is not the first time Bernie Sanders has talked about his more inclusive and secular take on spirituality. During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Sanders also explained his deep sense of being interconnected.
“Well, you know, I am who I am. And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that, as human beings, we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.”

Flashback: "That what is sacred in the world is man"
General Mufti of the Syrian Arabic Republic, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun

Turning to education, Dr Hassoun said:
"Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man" since man "is the creation of the creator".
If we want peace, starting for example with Palestine and Israel, he suggested that rather than building walls, "let us build bridges of peace".
He also argued that "we must create states on a civil basis, not a religious basis", adding "I don't impose my religion on you, nor do you impose your religion on me". (European parlement, 15-1-2008)

"Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity." Chris Stedman, Huffington Post 22-6-2012

Dani Dayan, Newly Appointed Consul General in NY:
J Street is ‘Un-Jewish’
By Jacob Kornbluh, Jewish Insider, March 29, 2016

During an interview with i24News’ “FaceOff” program on Saturday, Dani Dayan, a former leader settler leader, said the following: “I prefer the attitude of AIPAC to that of J Street, that endorses all the anti-Israel candidates – the more anti-Israeli you are, the more you are endorsed by J Street. That’s un-Jewish.”
Dayan will replace outgoing Ambassador Ido Aharoni, who has served as Israel’s representative in New York since February 2011.

J Street expressed “deep concern” of the appointment of Dani Dayan as Israel’s Consul General in New York...
“Dayan is but the latest appointment to a senior diplomatic post of an adamant opponent of the two-state solution, whose posting will serve to inflame opponents of Israel’s policies,” J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the appointment of Dayan as Consul General of New York after he was initially tapped to become Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil, but rejected by the Brazilian government.
“Though the Prime Minister of Israel continues to express his concern that Israel does not become a binational state, he is sending as his envoy to New York a man who served for years as chairman of the settlers’ council and who revels in predicting the demise of the two-state solution,” J Street said in its statement.

Flashback: There will not be a Palestinian state here
Arutz Sheva, 2-1-2015

The Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is "irreversible," Former Yesha Council Chairman Dani Dayan who is running in the Jewish Home primaries in two weeks stated Friday. Dayan commented on figures presented by the Interior Ministry, which noted Thursday that almost 400,000 Israeli Jews now live in the region.
"In my period [as Yesha Council Chairman] the population grew by 35%, and the growth does not stop, on the contrary," he continued.
"The international community understands that there will not be a Palestinian state here..."

Israel’s Settlers Are Here to Stay
By DANI DAYAN, New York Times July 25, 2012

Israel legitimately seized the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria in self-defense. Israel’s moral claim to these territories, and the right of Israelis to call them home today, is therefore unassailable....
We aim to expand the existing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and create new ones.
This is not — as it is often portrayed — a theological adventure but is rather a combination of inalienable rights and realpolitik.
The attempts by members of the Israeli left to induce Israelis to abandon their homes in Judea and Samaria by offering them monetary compensation are pathetic. This checkbook policy has failed in the past, as it will in the future. In the areas targeted for evacuation most of us are ideologically motivated and do not live here for economic reasons.
Our presence in all of Judea and Samaria — not just in the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact. Trying to stop settlement expansion is futile...

Daniel Greenfield: Bernie Sanders is not a Jew
He wants to be the first Socialist president
Arutz Sheva (religious zionist news agency) Op-Ed, March 08, 2016

Bernie Sanders hates discussing his Jewish roots... [He] likes his devoutly Socialist closet. He prefers to describe himself as the son of Polish immigrants. Asked about religion, he disavows Judaism and embraces Pope Francis.
Where Obama and Hillary ran on race and gender, Bernie Sanders avoids Jewishness as much as possible. He doesn’t practice Judaism, isn’t part of a Jewish community and avoids the “J” word.
In 1971, he told an audience, “no guns for Israel.” Two years later, the Yom Kippur War brought Israel to the brink of destruction and shipments of American arms made the difference. But Bernie Sanders did not care and in 1988 still insisted that, “It is wrong that the United States provides arms to Israel.” In 1990, he called for America to “put more pressure on Israel”...
When Bernie Sanders reached out for perspective on the Middle East during his campaign, he contacted James Zogby, who defended Hamas and Hezbollah, and Lawrence Wilkerson, who had accused Jewish officials of dual loyalty and suggested that Israel was behind Assad’s chemical weapons attacks.

The truth about Bernie Sanders is that he is not Jewish in any sense other than the genetic.
He is a left-wing radical who is uncomfortable with any mention of his Jewish background because he does not like Jews. Even his time on an Israeli Kibbutz, a staple with which his Jewish fans nurtured their fantasies of a Jewish Bernie, fell apart when it emerged that his Kibbutz had flown a red flag and admired Stalin and the Soviet Union as part of a radical leftist movement that had initially opposed the creation of Israel.
His first and foremost allegiance has always been to the left at the expense of the Jews.
Bernie Sanders invokes the Holocaust when asked about his Jewish identity, not because he has empathy for Jews, but in a classic leftist maneuver to distract attention from that lack of empathy. His conception of the Holocaust is detached from Jewish suffering. It is purely about his leftist politics...
Bernie Sanders does not want to be the first Jewish president. He wants to be the first Socialist president. There is nothing Jewish about Bernie Sanders except his vestigial accent.
He makes common cause with anti-Semites because Jews don’t matter to him, only the agenda of the left does.

In a final speech to the synod, Pope Francis endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President of the United States, while taking some clear swipes at conservatives who hold up church doctrine above all else, and use it to cast judgment on others.
“The synod experience also made us better realize that the true defenders are not those who uphold its letter, but its spirit; not ideas but people; not formulas but free availability of God’s love and forgiveness,” Pope Francis said.
“I see in Senator Bernard Sanders a man of great integrity and moral conviction, who understands these principles and genuinely wants what’s best for all people.” (National Report, 27-10-2015)

Ala Urges International Community To Help Syrian Refugees Return Home
Syria Times, Thursday, 31 March 2016

GENEVA, (ST) - Terrorism has led to the displacement of millions of people who fled the atrocities of the terrorist organizations, Syria's Permanent Representative at the United Nations in Geneva Hussam Eddin Ala has said, stressing the importance of providing real and sincere support for the fight against terrorism.
"The crimes of the terrorist organizations in Syria have displaced the Syrians from their houses and forced them to move towards safer areas inside the country and under the protection of the Syrian state," Ala said in a statement on Wednesday during a high ranking meeting organized by the Higher Commission for Refugees to discuss international responsibility sharing in the refugee issue.
"The Syrian Army's liberation of many areas from the terrorists of Deash, Jabhet al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations in addition to the successful local reconciliation cases in different Syrian areas have contributed to the return of many displaced people to their original places," he added.
He pointed out that Syria was a leading country in hosting refugees from different Arab countries, but the foreign-backed wave of terrorism and extremism which has been hitting Syria has destroyed the achievements made by the Syrian people over decades of development and has caused serious damage to the infrastructure and the service sector valued at more than $200 billion.

"Today's meeting comes amid mounting international attention given to the immigrants and refugees' issues and in the light of the continuous increase of the number of immigrants and refugees in the world and the challenges resulted from the International community's unserious dealing with the main causes of displacement and immigration in many parts of the world," Ala said.
"The meeting sheds light on the Syrians' suffering over five years of terrorist war and discusses the possibility of ensuring an international contribution in the response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country," he added.

Ala urged the international community to act immediately as to help all the refugees, who were forced to leave Syria, return home and to work hard in order to provide suitable circumstances for the return of the displaced.
However, Ala warned against adopting alternative options like the resettlement of refugees in other countries and using this as a means to deprive Syria from creative minds and skills it needs.

As of February 2016, the United Nations (UN) has identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which 6.6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and over 4.8 million are refugees outside of Syria.
More than 3.09 million of Iraqi citizens have left their homes since January 2014, when ISIS militants seized a part of Ramadi and took the town of Fallujah (c. 70 kilometers, or 43 miles, west of Baghdad) under their control.

Baghdad Burning: The voice of an Iraqi Refugee
"Occupiers do not have your best interests at heart"
Riverbend blog,Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Riverbend is the pseudonymous author of the blog Baghdad Burning, launched August 17, 2003. The weblog entries suggest that she is a young Iraqi woman from a mixed Shia and Sunni family, living with her parents and brother in Baghdad. Before the United States occupation of Iraq she was a computer programmer. The blog combines political statements with a large dose of Iraqi cultural information, such as the celebration of Ramadhan and examples of Iraqi cuisine.
On 26 April 2007 Riverbend announced that she and her family would be leaving Iraq, owing to the lack of security in Baghdad and the ongoing violence there. On September 6, 2007 she reported that she has arrived safely in Syria.
On April 9, 2013 she updated her blog with a post "Ten Years On", in which she said she had moved on from Syria "before the heavy fighting, before it got ugly" and considered herself fortunate...:
"I eventually moved from Syria. I moved before the heavy fighting, before it got ugly. That’s how fortunate I was. I moved to another country nearby, stayed almost a year, and then made another move to a third Arab country with the hope that, this time, it’ll stick until… Until when? Even the pessimists aren’t sure anymore. When will things improve? When will be able to live normally? How long will it take?"

April 9, 2013 marks ten years since the fall of Baghdad. Ten years since the invasion. Since the lives of millions of Iraqis changed forever. It’s difficult to believe. It feels like only yesterday I was sharing day to day activities with the world. I feel obliged today to put my thoughts down on the blog once again, probably for the last time.
In 2003, we were counting our lives in days and weeks. Would we make it to next month? Would we make it through the summer? Some of us did and many of us didn't. Back in 2003, one year seemed like a lifetime ahead. The idiots said, “Things will improve immediately.” The optimists were giving our occupiers a year, or two… The realists said, “Things won’t improve for at least five years.” And the pessimists? The pessimists said, “It will take ten years. It will take a decade.”

Looking back at the last ten years, what have our occupiers and their Iraqi governments given us in ten years? What have our puppets achieved in this last decade? What have we learned?

We learned a lot.
We learned that while life is not fair, death is even less fair- it takes the good people. Even in death you can be unlucky. Lucky ones die a ‘normal’ death…
We learned that you can be floating on a sea of oil, but your people can be destitute. Your city can be an open sewer; your women and children can be eating out of trash dumps and begging for money in foreign lands.
We learned that justice does not prevail in this day and age... We are learning that corruption is the way to go. You want a passport issued? Pay someone. You want a document ratified? Pay someone. You want someone dead? Pay someone.
We are learning that those amenities we took for granted before 2003, you know- the luxuries – electricity, clean water from faucets, walkable streets, safe schools – those are for deserving populations. Those are for people who don’t allow occupiers into their country.

We’re learning that the leaders don’t make history. Populations don’t make history. Historians don’t write history. News networks do. The Foxes, and CNNs, and BBCs, and Jazeeras of the world make history. They twist and turn things to fit their own private agendas.
We’re learning that the masks are off. No one is ashamed of the hypocrisy anymore.
We are learning that ignorance is the death of civilized societies and that everyone thinks their particular form of fanaticism is acceptable.

Those who didn’t know it in 2003 are learning (much too late) that an occupation is not the portal to freedom and democracy. The occupiers do not have your best interests at heart.

Assad: Idea of a transitional body is “illogical and unconstitutional”.
Al-Masdar News, 31-3-2016

The Syrian Opposition, represented by the Saudi and US-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC), has formally rejected Bashar al-Assad’s proposition of creating a transitional government that would include several leading opposition members.
Furthermore, the Pentagon and Mohammed Alloush, the main HNC representative, said they could in no way accept Bashar al-Assad staying in power in any shape or form, during a response to the media yesterday.

Assad, bolstered by the military victory at Palmyra, was quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying a new constitution could be ready in weeks and a government that included opposition, independents and loyalists could be agreed. With the Geneva peace talks set to resume next month, Assad remarked that “these were not difficult questions”.
Opposition negotiators immediately dismissed his remarks, saying that a political settlement could be reached only by establishing a transitional body with full powers, not another government under Assad. But the Syrian President said the very idea of a transitional body was “illogical and unconstitutional”.

Mohammed Alloush is the political leader of the
Saudi-backed group Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam).

29 september 2013
2013: 43 Islamist groups formed the "Army of Islam." The groups have agreed to act under the joint leadership of Sheikh Muhammad Zahran Alloush. The Army of Islam's creation was officially announced in a ceremony on Sunday, September 29, 2013.

Muhammad Zahran Alloush, born in 1970 in Damascus. Prior to the revolution he was working as a Building contractor.
Zahran Alloush was involved with the neo-salafi/Wahhabi underground in Syria since the 1990s. He was imprisoned on three different occasions for Islamic activities. His most recent arrest was in 2009.
He was released on June/22, 2011, under pressure from protesters. Zahran Alloush immediately received funds and weapons from Saudi intelligence which enabled him to establish and run Liwaa al-Islam as a major jihadist force.

On July 18, 2012, Liwaa al-Islam conducted the major bombing of the headquarters of Syria’s national security council in Rawda Square, Damascus, assassinating, among others, Assaf Shawkat, Bashar’s brother-in-law and nominally the deputy Minister of Defense, Dawoud Rajiha, the Defense Minister, and Hassan Turkmani, former Defense Minister who was military adviser to then-Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa.

Bashar al-Assad: "We need the popular opinion in Syria"
Sputnik-interview, Syrian Arab News Agency, 31-3-2016

-- Question: There is talk that some people are calling for early presidential elections in Syria. Are you prepared to go to early presidential elections?
-- President Assad: This hasn’t been proposed as part of the current political process. What is proposed is that after the constitution, there will be parliamentary elections.
These parliamentary elections will show the size of political forces in the country, and consequently a new government will be formed according to the shares of political forces in the new parliament.

Presidential elections are a completely different issue. This is linked to the popular situation in Syria. Is there a popular will for early presidential elections? If such will exist, I have no problem. This is natural when it comes in response to popular will, and not in response to some opposition forces. This issue touches every Syrian citizen because every citizen will have a vote concerning this president.
So, in principle, I don’t have a problem, because a president cannot act without popular support. And if such a president has popular support, he should be always prepared for such a step. So, I can say that in principle I don’t have a problem, but in order to take this step, we need the popular opinion in Syria, not the opinion of the government or the president.

10 Libyan cities pledge allegiance to new unity govt.
Press TV, Fri Apr 1, 2016

Ten Libyan cities controlled by a self-declared authority in Tripoli have pledged their support to the UN-backed unity government of the country, which has moved into the capital. The announcement was made in a statement published on Thursday on the official Facebook page of the municipality of the northwestern city of Sabratha. It came following a meeting between representatives from the 10 coastal cities located between Tripoli and the border with Tunisia.
The statement welcomed the arrival of the members of Libya’s UN-backed government to Tripoli and urged all Libyan citizens to “support the national unity government.” It further called on Libya’s internationally-recognized administration to “put an immediate end to all armed conflicts across Libya.”
Formed under a power-sharing deal signed on December 17, 2015 in Morocco, the unity government is tasked with taking over from rival groups running different parts of the North African state.

On Wednesday, Libya’s Prime Minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj along with several members of his cabinet arrived from Tunisia at Tripoli’s Abusita naval base by boat. However, the General National Congress (GNC), the non-recognized authority in charge of Tripoli, branded their entry into Tripoli illegal and demanded that Sarraj leave or surrender. In a televised address, the head of the Tripoli authorities Khalifa Ghweil said Sarraj’s government was “illegal”, asking him to leave the capital or to “hand himself in”.

After their landslide defeat in the 2014 elections, Islamist parties acting under the leadership of Nouri Abusahmain used two armed groups, the LROR and Central Shield, to take control of the capital Tripoli. In late August, Islamist militias abducted rivals (whose whereabouts is unknown) and attacked 280 homes. Having suppressed dissent, the Islamist groups declared that they were the General National Congress and that it was once again the national parliament.

Be ready to intervene against ISIS in Libya advises French FM
By Rudaw, 1-4-2016

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on the world powers to be ready to intervene in Libya to support the unity government there against the growing threat of Islamic State in the North African nation.
"Libya is a concern shared by all the countries of the region and beyond," he told a French newspaper. "The chaos which reigns there today aids the rapid development of terrorism. It is a direct threat to the region and Europe."
"We must [therefore] be prepared to respond if the national unity government of [Fayez] al-Sarraj asks for help, including on the military front," he went on to suggest.
However he was adamant to warn against repeating what he sees as the mistakes of 2011: the support of ragtag rebels in the Libyan Civil War against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
"That [intervention] upset the region and brought about extremism and Daesh [ISIS]," Ayrault claimed.

Flashback: The Philosophy of War
A philosopher in a white Dior shirt led the West into war.
By Mathieu von Rohr, Spiegel 4-4-2012

What does this man in a suit and open-collared shirt want from me? That seems to be the question that Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, leader of the Libyan rebels, was asking himself the first time he sat across from the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy.
The surreal scene took place on March 5, 2011 in Benghazi, only hours before the Libyan National Transitional Council was officially constituted, and two weeks before French fighter jets began bombing Libyan tanks....

Next to Abdul-Jalil, the Frenchman looks as out of place as a well-dressed philosopher with long, wavy hair can look in a war zone. The Libyan looks skeptical. He has no idea who this man is.
"Mr. Abdul-Jalil," Lévy says solemnly, speaking French. "I am no politician. I am no man of action. I am merely a writer. But like you, I believe that it is better to act than to speak."
A man off-screen translates, while another man asks impatiently: "Do you have a letter from the international community?"

Lévy is improvising the speech of his life. "Now, I have a friend -- in France," he says. "Who is Mr. Sarkozy. I'm not a partisan of Sarkozy, but we are friends. Personal friends. We will take the plane tomorrow, we are in Paris Monday morning and President Sarkozy will receive you and with all the others -- or your representatives -- at Palais de l'Élysée. This is the first step toward recognition. France will be the first country to officially receive the head of your council."

Roussel, the photographer who filmed the scene, still finds it spellbinding today... "What a monumental bluff," he says. "He had to have a lot of guts to make such an offer without having spoken with Sarkozy first. I still remember what I said to Bernard afterwards: And what do we do now? He replied: That's easy. Now we call Sarkozy...."
The president asked for some time to think about it. After two hours, he called back to announce that he would receive Abdul-Jalil in Paris.
Things went very quickly after that. The Libyans came to the Elysée Palace, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé was furious because he was only told about the meeting afterwards.

France recognized the Transitional Council as Libya's government and convinced the Americans and the British to follow suit.
On March 19, hardly 48 hours after the United Nations Security Council had adopted its resolution on Libya, French jets attacked Gadhafi's tanks. A philosopher in a white Dior shirt had led the West into war.

NTC declares 'Liberation of Libya'
Al-Jazeera, 24 Oct 2011

The National Transitional Council (NTC) has declared the liberation of Libya, eight-months after the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule began.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the leader of the NTC, kneeled in prayer after taking the stand in the celebration on Sunday and promised to uphold Islamic law.
"We as a Muslim nation have taken Islamic sharia as the source of legislation, therefore any law that contradicts the principles of Islam is legally nullified," Jalil told the crowd.
The NTC leader thanked the Arab League, the United Nations, and the European Union for supporting the uprising which ended with Gaddafi's death on Thursday.
"All the martyrs, the civilians and the army had waited for this moment. But now they are in the best of places ... eternal heaven," he said, shaking hands with supporters...

Assad: "We live in a world where there is
no international law or morality in politics at present"
Russia Today, 3 Apr, 2016

That the West can’t be trusted is the most important lesson Syria has learned during five years of civil war, Bashar al-Assad, Syrian president, said in an exclusive interview with Sputnik.
"The most important lesson we have learned, but I suppose we knew it all along, is that the West is not honest. Western countries are dishonest,” Assad stressed. The US, EU and their allies “are pursuing a policy far removed from the principles of international law and the United Nations” and because of that “it is impossible to rely upon the West to solve any issue,” he said.
“We live in a world where there is no international law or morality in politics at present. Anything can happen anywhere on our planet,” the Syrian president added. In such conditions, every leader “should be able to choose friendly states that will stand by him during crises," Assad said, hinting at the support his country received from Russia.

Muammar Gaddafi, lynched in 2011

He stressed that during the war Syria “endured inhumane suffering,” which he wouldn’t wish on any other state.
According to Assad, the country faced “terrorist aggression, which was accompanied by atrocities in their essence and form, unprecedented in recent decades, and maybe even in the past centuries.”
Syria’s president warned against fanaticism, saying that it should be avoided in building societies, for which not only the state, but all citizens must be responsible.
“What I want to say, based on our experience in Syria, is that, first of all, any manifestation of fanaticism, either religious, political, or obsession with any idea – is destructive for society,” he stressed.
The Syrian president said that in time of crisis every leader must realize that “the people are the country’s defenders.” “And when choosing a plan of action to resolve the crisis it is necessary that it meets the customs and traditions of the nation, its history and its essential aspirations. The solution cannot come from overseas,” he stated.
“Friends can come to you from abroad to help, as it has happened today: from Russia and Iran. However, if there is no internal will and good relations between the people and the state, it is impossible to find a solution," Assad added.

The Syrian president expressed confidence that after peace is achieved in the country Syrian will become “a key state in the region.”
“I think that if we are able to overcome this crisis, Syrian society will be improved from a social point of view. And Syria will be better able to play its historic role in this region.This role, open to the public, will influence other nations, because it is a single region, the same people with similar traditions. We influence each other as Arab states, as Islamic countries. In this regard, Syria should have a very important role [to play],” Assad said.

Western-backed SNC received blessing of Qaradawi
by Patrick S. Poole, 25 Jul 2012

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies have complete control of the Syrian National Council (SNC) -- as testified to in multiple media reports, including the New York Times and the Washington Post...
The SNC leadership traveled to Doha, Qatar (where Safi is now based), back in February to receive the blessing of Yusef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Qaradawi (born 9 September 1926) is a controversial Egyptian Islamic theologian. He is best known for his programme, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat ("Shariah and Life"), broadcast on Al Jazeera. Some of al-Qaradawi's views have been controversial in the West: he was refused an entry visa to the United Kingdom in 2008, and barred from entering France in 2012.
Al-Qaradawi has described Shi'ites as heretics ("mubtadi'oun"). Fellow member of International union of Muslim Scholars, Mohammad Salim Al-Awa criticized Qaradawi for promoting divisions among Muslims. In response, the Iranian Press Agency has described Qaradawi as "a spokesman for “international Freemasonry and rabbis". Qaradawi accused what he called "heretical" Shias of "invading" Sunni countries.

On 21 February 2011, Qaradawi talked about the protests in Libya and issued a fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi:
"...To the officers and the soldiers who are able to kill Muammar Gaddafi, to whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free the country and [God’s] servants from him, I issue this fatwa (uftî): Do it!"
March 2012: Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera that clerics across the Muslim world agree that Assad must be fought against and even killed...

Unity Govt’ Threatens Top Libya Cleric
Grand Mufti Called on 'Unity Govt' to Leave Tripoli
by Jason Ditz,, april 03, 2016

Setting the stage for a potential major new clash in western Libya, the UN-backed “unity government” is threatening the nation’s top cleric, Grand Mufti Sadiq Ghariani, saying they will send his name to Interpol as an enemy of democracy for opposing them.
The Grand Mufti had issued a statement yesterday urging the unity government to leave the capital city of Tripoli, echoing calls for the municipal government. Ghariani warned they won’t recognize a government that arrived in a foreign ship backed by foreign troops.

The “unity government” formed itself earlier this year in Tunisia, and operated in exile until they managed to get a ship to take them to a naval base last week. They are operating out of that base, and have not been recognized by either existing parliament in Libya.
The group isn’t seen as having much domestic support, but is heavily backed by the UN, as well as several NATO members, which envision the group as finally giving them an imprimatur to send troops to Libya, should they obtain at least a modicum of credibility.

Flashback: Hero of the revolution

Al-Gharyani is considered by some a hero of the revolution, since early on in the uprising against Gadhafi he issued a fatwa or religious edict permitting war against his regime.

Remove References to Democracy
and Religious Freedom From School Textbooks
By Penny Starr, CNS News, 19-10-2012

The Libya Herald reported that the “Fatwa Office”, presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks.
The article also reports that the religious official asked for “clarification” as to why extracts of the Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah had been deleted. The Sunnah is the second book for Islam jurisprudence after the Quran, according to scholars.
The information in the textbooks about Greek democracy might be “too detailed” for students to comprehend. References to freedom of belief and religion should be removed because “it suggests to younger students that they could choose any religion they wanted”. The Fatwa office warned that because of the public’s religious values the textbooks “could spark public anger.”

Female teachers must cover face says Grand Mufti
By Aimen Eljali, Libya Herald 13-10-2013

The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, has issued a fatwa saying that female teachers in schools and colleges must cover their faces if they are teaching males who have reached puberty.
He made the ruling following a request for advice from the Ministry of Education on the issue...
The best solution, the Grand Mufti said, was to segregate male and females altogether in schools and colleges and universities “because those in charge are duty-bound in Islam to do so, if they able to”. If that is not possible, they must at least be segregated during break times, in halls and corridors and have separate entrances for boys and girls... Schools should have male teachers to teach boys and female teachers to teach girls...

See also: Page 31, october 2013

Syrian Investment Agency launches “Invest from Your Mobile”
Syrian Arab News Agency, 4 april 2016

Syrian Investment Agency (SIA) launched Sunday its new electronic application “Invest from Your Mobile” to provide services via smart mobile phones in a first step of its kind among Syrian government establishments. Interested people can download the new service from the Syrian Investment Agency’s Website for the smart phones with Andriod platform (apk).

The new step of SIA includes eight electronic services which guarantee for the interested people to collect information about investment opportunities, their locations and data and to keep in contact with the SIA to be informed about investment news, request approval for investment projects, search for a partner and to follow up the project and the investment map.
Invest From Your Mobile is the first of its new applications while other services are being prepared to be launched later, Inas al-Amawi, the Deputy Director General of SIA told reporters, adding that SIA seeks to be a mini model of E- government in coordination with all ministries and public bodies as well as Banks to find out a mechanism for E-pay for investment projects.
Al-Amawi affirmed that SIA guarantees preserving the secrecy of the investors banking information and the investment requests will be presented through one-window system to be studied and replied to via the new application.

Invest from Your Mobile is considered an advanced step for investment promotion, facilitating administrative procedures and improving the quality of providing services for investors inside and outside the country, Al-Amawi said.

Nusra Front spokesman killed in Syria air raids
Middle East Online, 4-4-2016

DAMASCUS - The spokesman for Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front, Abu Firas al-Suri, his son and 20 other jihadists were killed in air strikes Sunday in the northeast of the country, a monitor said.
Abu Firas al-Suri was meeting with other leading Islamist fighters in a Nusra stronghold in Kafar Jales when the raids struck. Two other targets belonging to Al-Nusra and allied jihadist group Jund al-Aqsa in the north of Idlib province were also attacked.
Syrian Suri, real name Radwan Nammous, fought against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan where he met Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his mentor Abdullah Azzam before returning to Syria in 2011.
A temporary ceasefire between government forces and rebels has largely held since February 27, but it does not cover Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group. The break has, in fact, allowed Russia and the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS in Syria to concentrate their fight against the jihadists.

Al-Nusra & the FSA
Thomas Joscelyn, longwarjournal, 16-2-2016

In August 2015 Abu Firas al Suri, a senior al Qaeda operative in Syria, defended the jihadists’ relationship with Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated groups that should be counted as an ally in the fight against the Assad regime.
In an interview with “On the Ground News,” Abu Firas al Suri discussed Al Nusrah’s rivalry with the Islamic State at length. Suri, a longtime al Qaeda member who sits on Al Nusrah’s elite shura council, explained that the so-called “caliphate” had criticized Al Nusrah for cooperating with the FSA.
Suri found the Islamic State’s complaints to be misguided, because the FSA factions allied with Al Nusrah had no ideological project of their own, were willing to adjudicate any disputes in common sharia courts, and were fighting Assad.
The Free Syrian Army groups said they were ready for anything according to the Islamic sharia and that we are delegated to apply the rulings of the sharia on them,” Suri explained...
“The FSA is a very wide sector, it is not an organized group. The FSA is composed of many groups.” He then listed FSA member organizations that were acceptable allies, including “Al-Zinky,” meaning the Nur al-Din al-Zanki Movement.
“The FSA doesn’t have an ideology that can be applied on its followers,” Suri surmised. “The important thing is they fight the regime.”

Al Nusrah, Ahrar al Sham, and Zanki have long been allied against the Kurds in Aleppo.
The Nur al-Din al-Zanki Movement is an Islamist organization that has received American-made anti-tank TOW missiles. The TOW missiles it has received have been supplied via a Military Operational Center (MOC) in Turkey. The MOC is reportedly staffed with personnel from multiple countries, including CIA officials. In addition to Turkey and Qatar, Zanki has maintained relations with Saudi Arabia. Zanki sent representatives to a Saudi-hosted conference for anti-Assad rebels in December and praised Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with Iran in January.
Even though Zanki has been described as a “CIA-vetted” rebel group and has received TOW missiles made in the USA, it has worked with Al Nusrah.

Former UK Chief Rabbi: Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism
By Ari Soffer, Aritz Sheva, 4/4/2016

Britain's former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has written a blistering oped slamming modern-day anti-Zionism as the "new anti-Semitism." In his Newsweek article, published Sunday, Rabbi Sacks refers to figures showing how escalating anti-Semitism has left many Jews considering leaving Europe and noted that the phenomenon was quickly spreading to the US, specifically via university campuses.
"Much of the intimidation on campus is stirred by “Israel Apartheid” weeks and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel. These have become what Easter was in the Middle Ages, a time for attacks against Jews," he writes.

Judith Butler: Zionism Is Opposed to Jewish Values
Carlo Strenger, Huffington Post, 16-3-2013

Judith Butler’s book, “Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism”, is symptomatic for a situation in which many liberal-leaning Jews feel they must salvage their Jewishness from Israel’s nationalism and occupation policies.
Judith Butler has been highly critical of Israel’s occupation policy, she describes herself as an anti-Zionist and endorses the BDS movement, which advocates boycotting and divesting from Israel and imposing sanctions against it.

“Parting Ways” is Butler’s latest book, and she states its goal right at the outset: She wants to make a case for a specifically Jewish critique of Israeli state violence.
In “Parting Ways,” Butler joins a large number of contemporary Jewish intellectuals who refuse to accept the notion that one’s relation to Israel determines one’s Jewishness and that being critical of Israel turns one into a self-hating Jew − or worse, an anti-Semite.
But she goes one step further: She argues that Zionism itself is profoundly un-Jewish.
Defending liberal versions of Zionism cannot salvage Jewish values as she understands them. Nothing less than a radical decoupling of Jewishness and Zionism will do for Butler, starting with the binary opposition between Israel and the Diaspora posited by classical Zionism, which valorizes the former and disparages the latter.
Contemporary political Zionism, in Butler’s view, has constructed a very slanted narrative of Jewish history − one that glorifies the kingdom of David, the Maccabees, Masada and Bar Kochba, all equated with the type of bellicose masculinity embraced by some early Zionist activists like Max Nordau, Arthur Ruppin and Vladimir ‏(Ze’ev‏) Jabotinsky and pursued by Israeli leaders like Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Jewish Individualism (conscience) versus Zionist Collectivism (ignorance)

“Parting Ways” is Butler’s version of a non-Zionist counter-narrative, with her own pantheon of Jewish voices: French-Lithuanian philosopher Emmanuel Levinas; Berlin-born Walter Benjamin, proponent of a non-violent form of historical messianism; German-American political thinker Hannah Arendt; and Italian writer Primo Levi.
She harnesses them for the project of a Nietzschean reevaluation of all Jewish values.
All her discussions are intended to lead the reader to the conclusion that in view of Jewish experience and history, the appropriate interpretation of Jewish identity is a diasporic interpretation that requires Jews to integrate the identities of those other groups that they live with within a given country into their own personality-identity (individualism).
'To be a Jew’, Butler argues, ‘is to be departing from oneself, cast out into a world of the non-Jew, bound to make one’s way ethically and politically precisely there within a world of irreversible heterogeneity’.

In Israel/Palestine they ought to support a political entity whose Jewish citizens have all integrated a Palestinian component into their identities while its Palestinian citizens do the corresponding thing. For Butler any ‘coming together’ must first be predicated on a transformation of the colonial relation between them.
Butler demands the dismantling of the political and ideological structures that maintain exclusive Jewish privilege, rights, and protection at the expense of the non-Jewish population.
Butler's theory of what constitutes the desirable Jewish identity is diametrically opposed to that of Zionism.
According to the Zionist theory, Jews ought to regard their identity as an ethno-national identity (the tribe, the collective), and take part in the realization of their right to national self-determination.

People cannot be reduced to ideas, social structures, or mystical oneness
Leo Sjestov & Personalism, a spiritual form of individualism

Shestov rejects any mention of "omnitudes", "collective", "all-unity." As he explains in his masterpiece Athens and Jerusalem:

"Why forever speak of "total unity"? If God loves men, what need has He to subordinate men to His divine will and to deprive them of their own will, the most precious of the things He has bestowed upon them? There is no need at all. Consequently, the idea of total unity is an absolutely false idea....It is not forbidden for reason to speak of unity and even of unities, but it must renounce total unity - and other things besides. And what a sigh of relief men will breathe when they suddenly discover that the living God, the true God, in no way resembles Him whom reason has shown them until now!"

Although a Jewish philosopher, Shestov saw in the resurrection of Christ a victory over necessity.
He described the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus as a transfiguring spectacle by which it is demonstrated that the purpose of life is not "mystical" surrender to the "absolute", but ascetical struggle:
"Cur Deus homo? Why, to what purpose, did He become man, expose himself to injurious mistreatment, ignominious and painful death on the cross?
Was it not in order to show man, through His example, that no decision is too hard, that it is worth while bearing anything in order not to remain in the womb of the One? That any torture whatever to the living being is better than the 'bliss' of the rest-satiate 'ideal' being?"

Lev Shestov (1866-1938) is a Russian-Jewish philosopher of existentialism. Variously described as an irrationalist, an anarchist, a religious philosopher, Shestov's themes were initially inspired by Nietzsche until he found a kindred spirit in Kierkegaard.
Among his contemporaries he entertained long-standing philosophical friendships with Martin Buber, Edmund Husserl and Nikolai Berdyaev.

Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (18 March 1874 – 24 March 1948) was a Russian Christian universalist mystic (personalist) and Christian anarchist political philosopher. In Berdyaev's view, the only way of escape from the many forms of slavery (spiritual, economic, political) lies in thefuller realization of personality:
At the basis of a social world-concept of personalism lies not the idea of equality nor the idea of justice, but rather the dignity of every human person, which should receive the possibility to realise itself.

See also: Page 52, march 2015