Saddam's Death, 69 (april 2016)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 68: march-april 2016 & Page 70: april-may 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

"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."

“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”

Saadi Shirazi
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)

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)

Jonathan Sacks: 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

Israel Cannot Win the Fight with BDS
By Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle, 6-4-2016

Serious efforts are being galvanized in Israel and outside to slow down the fast-moving momentum of the Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS).
The latest of these efforts was a large, angry conference in occupied Jerusalem, which followed a series of conferences in the US. And more are being planned.
This comes on the heels of massive efforts to criminalize BDS through clearly coordinated efforts by several western countries. But will it work? Around a thousand Israelis and their supporters gathered in occupied Jerusalem’s International Convention Centre on March 28 in a conference aimed at combating BDS.
The conference was a display of “fear, paranoia, anger and determination”, as described by journalist Antony Loewenstein, and featured top government officials, members of the opposition and a strange conglomeration of guests, including celebrity has-beens such as Roseanne Barr.

The Israeli event followed a foray of condemnations of BDS, calls from western governments, originating from the UK, the US, Canada and others, to criminalise the boycott of Israel. Yet, it all fell on deaf ears and hardly slowed down the momentum of the Movement. On the contrary, the Movement has accelerated.
But none of this should come as a surprise, for it is a repeat of a not-too-distant history. Western governments took on the pro-South African Anti-Apartheid Movement, fighting it at every corner and branding its leaders Nelson Mandela and many of his comrades terrorists...
The South African experience, which is still fresh in the memory of many people, is now serving as a frame of reference in the struggle against Israeli apartheid in Palestine, where Jews have been designated as a privileged race, and Palestinian Muslims and Christians are poorly treated, oppressed and occupied.
While racism is, unfortunately, a part of life and is practiced, observed and reported on in many parts of the world, institutionalized racism through calculated governmental measures is only practiced — at least openly — in a few countries around the world.
However, no country is as adamant and open about its racially-motivated laws and apartheid rules as the Israeli government.
Almost every measure taken by the Israeli Knesset that pertains to Arabs is influenced by this mindset: Palestinians must remain inferior and Jews must ensure their superiority at any cost.
Comforted by the notion that the US and other western governments are on their side, most Israelis are not worried about exhibiting their racism and calling for more violence against Palestinians...

BDS has, thus far, been the most successful strategy and tactic to support Palestinian resistance and steadfastness while at the same time holding Israel accountable for its progressively worsening policies of apartheid.
The main objective behind BDS, an entirely non-violent movement that is championed by civil society across the globe, is not to punish ordinary Israelis, but to raise awareness of the suffering of Palestinians and to create a moral threshold that must be achieved if a just peace is ever to be realized.
That moral threshold was delineated in the relationship between Palestinians and South Africans when Nelson Mandela himself said, “We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Clinton: Countering anti-occupation movement 'a priority'
Ramzy Baroud, Apr 6 2016

Under the heading, ‘Hilary for America,’ Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to “express her alarm” over BDS, insisting that countering the movement must become a ‘priority’:
“As a Senator and a Secretary of State, I saw how crucial it is for America to defend Israel at every turn. I have opposed dozens of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, the Human Rights Council and other international organizations,” she boasted, going as far as condemning the Goldstone Report which accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.
Clinton is not alone. In June 2015, soon after the anti-BDS millionaires’ club concluded its gathering in Las Vegas, President Barack Obama signed into law a measure specifically designed to combat BDS.
“The Trade Promotion Authority legislation .. contained the anti-BDS provisions, which make rejection of the phenomenon a top priority for US negotiators...”, the Times of Israel reported.

Flashback: Obama signs anti-BDS bill into law
Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, Times of Israel, 30-6-2015

US President Barack Obama signed into law a controversial trade measure that also contains landmark legislation combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Europe.
On Monday, Obama signed into law the so-called “fast track” authorization that will allow US trade negotiators to work out a long-awaited deal with Asian states known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trade Promotion Authority legislation also contained anti-BDS provisions...
These guidelines, sponsors hope, will discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities..

This is an historic milestone in the fight against Israel’s enemies, as American opposition to insidious efforts to demonize and isolate the Jewish state is now the law of the land..”, said Rep. Peter Roskam, who, together with Rep. Juan Vargas sponsored one of two anti-BDS provisions in the law.

Palestinians circulating draft UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements
Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury | Haaretz, Apr. 7, 2016

The Palestinian Authority distributed a draft resolution this week condemning construction in the settlements to a number of members of the UN Security Council... The draft states that the settlements are an obstacle to peace and Israel must cease construction...
The Palestinians have held consultations over the past few months with a number of Security Council members, such as France, Spain and Egypt, to gage the extent of support. A senior Palestinian official said Abbas will be arriving in New York on April 22, Passover eve, to be present personally for the planned vote.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the proposal, saying that it would make peace less, not more likely.
"The Palestinians teach their children everyday that the settlements are Tel Aviv, Haifa and Acre," said Netanyahu. "Abu Mazen's actions will push peace talks further away. The only way to advance peace is through direct talks and Abu Mazen is hiding from that."

The last time the Security Council voted on a resolution condemning the settlements was in February 2011. At that time, the Palestinians garnered the massive support of 14 out of 15 Security Council members, including Britain, France and Germany.
The United States opposed the resolution and after failing to get the Palestinians to withdraw it, cast a veto. This was the only time in the past seven years that U.S. President Barack Obama used his veto.

A senior Palestinian official said that the PA wants to present a resolution for a vote that does not meet all the Palestinian demands, but is closer to the positions of the international community, so as to soften opposition of countries like Britain and the United States.
Nevertheless, the senior official said that as in February 2011, the Palestinians had obtained no promise from the American that it would not torpedo the resolution or veto it.
However, the Palestinians believe that the fact that over the past five years there have been a number of unsuccessful American attempts to move ahead the peace process and the fact that the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to flourish, might lead the Americans to refrain from vetoing the resolution.

The United States can declare its principles
A Letter to President Obama, January 24, 2011

Dear Mr. President,
What is widely perceived as a terminal failure of US Middle East peace diplomacy has left a vacuum that threatens to deepen the State of Israel’s isolation, undermine Palestinian moderation, and endanger American interests in the region and beyond.

That vacuum is beginning to be filled by new international initiatives that increase Israelis’ sense of existential threat from what they perceive to be a global movement that seeks their country’s delegitimization.
But it is not the State of Israel within its 1967 borders that is being challenged. It is Israel’s occupation, the relentless enlargement of its settlements, its dispossession of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and the humanitarian disaster caused by its blockade of Gaza that are the target of international anger and condemnation.

We strongly support America’s commitment to Israel’s security, but that commitment cannot justify obstruction of legitimate international efforts in the Security Council and in other international institutions to halt illegal behavior that the US itself has long opposed.
It has been said that terms for a peace accord cannot be imposed on the parties. But surely the United States can declare the principles that will henceforth determine what this country will support and what it cannot and will not support.
We are persuaded that a clear statement reflecting longstanding American principles would influence the debate within Israeli and Palestinian societies far more consequentially and constructively than a renewal of the unproductive bilateral talks that have taken place to date.

David L. Boren, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank C. Carlucci, William J. Fallon, Chuck Hagel, Lee H. Hamilton, Gary Hart, Rita E. Hauser, Carla Hills, Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, Sandra Day O’Connor, Thomas R. Pickering, Paul Volcker, James D. Wolfensohn

America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, MEPC, October 14, 2015

It has been a quarter century since Saddam Hussein decided to celebrate the end of the Cold War and his American and Gulf Arab-supported assault on Iran by invading, looting, and annexing Kuwait.
Iraq's aggression united the United Nations behind Western and Islamic coalitions that came to Kuwait's rescue. The rescue took place in the name of defending the sovereignty and independence of the weak and their immunity from bullying or invasion by the strong. That's what the UN Charter was meant to guarantee.

Since then, almost no one in American public office has referred to either the Charter or international law.
When President Obama did so in the UN General Assembly at the end of September, there was stunned silence in the hall as other countries' leaders marveled at his chutzpah. He was, after all, extolling principles Americans once upheld, but now refuse to apply to ourselves or our friends.
The president's castigation of other great powers for their deviations from the Charter and international law simply reminded many present of U.S. actions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
These have marked the relapse to a state of international disorder in which the strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must. That was, of course, precisely what the war to liberate Kuwait was meant to prevent becoming the post Cold War norm.

Mistakes made here in Washington:

From 2003 to date, Americans have racked up $6 trillion in outlays and unfunded liabilities for two wars we have lost. That $6 trillion – much of it yet to be borrowed – might otherwise have been invested in America's human and physical infrastructure. We live amidst the falling educational standards, collapsing bridges, man-eating potholes, transportation gridlock, and declining international competitiveness that are the consequences of our not spending that money here.
After 9/11/2001, in America's zeal to track down and kill our enemies and terrorize their supporters, we embraced practices like kidnapping, torture, and political assassination. By doing so, we voluntarily surrendered the moral high ground the United States had long occupied in world affairs and forfeited our credentials as exemplars and advocates of human rights.
In 2003, the United States decapitated and destabilized Iraq, erasing inhibitions to sectarian strife there and, ultimately, in Syria as well. This fostered anarchy and religious extremist movements that have brought untold suffering to millions, driving them to seek refuge, first in neighboring countries, then beyond.
For almost five decades, the United States aided and abetted a fraudulent "peace process" and the institutionalization of intolerable injustice for the Arabs of the Holy Land. This enabled Israel to keep expanding but eroded the Jewish state's democracy, alienated the majority of the world's Jews from it, delegitimized it in the eyes of the international community, gravely damaged its prospects for domestic tranquility, and placed its long-term survival in doubt.

In 2011, Americans mistook mob rule in the streets of the Middle East for democracy

Syria Backs Every Effort Aiming to Combat Extremist Ideologies
Hamda Mustafa, Syria Times, 08 April 2016

GENEVA, (ST)- Syria backs every sincere effort aiming to combat the extremist ideologies which are the main cause of the current internationally growing terrorism, Syria's permanent Representative at the United Nations in Geneva Hussam Ala stressed on Friday, noting that fighting terrorism has become a global priority.
In a statement during a Swiss and UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on countering violent extremism, Ala said "violent extremism is a multidimensional phenomenon, therefore, preventive measures and strategies for combating this phenomenon should not be selective...."

He added "serious and firm confrontation of the danger of terrorism and extremism necessitates respecting the international law and the UN charter and implementing international conventions and Security Council resolutions on fighting terrorism. It also necessitates holding the countries which incite, fund and support terrorism and extremism in the world accountable."

During the conference, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "the world needs to focus more on the root causes of terrorism, saying "when you have to counter terrorism, it's too late."
Ki-moon pointed out that the ISIS terrorist organization and other radical groups "are now spreading like a cancer around the world..." "Of course, 15 years ago there were terrorist attacks," Ban said, "but not as often, not as many, not as widely spread like this."

Cruz in a kippah: God bless Netanyahu
Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, 8-4-2016

Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday spoke before Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.. Sporting a stylish red kippah emblazoned with his name, he spoke about the approaching Passover holiday and "God's saving the people of Israel." "Sometimes people ask why did this Texas Cuban Southern Baptist become one of the leading defenders of Israel in the Senate? And I think a lot of it has to do with being the son of an immigrant who fled Cuba..." he said..
Noting on Hamas rocket attacks against Israel, he said, "let me say this as an American, God bless Prime Minister (Binyamin) Netanyahu, a voice of clarity in a time of confusion, in a time of foolishness, in a time when the United States is sending $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei."
"After these seven long years of an administration that turns a blind eye and a cold shoulder to Israel, in January 2017 that will end," he promised. Cruz also noted on Trump's comments according to which he will be "neutral" in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs: "We are not neutral between our friends and our enemies..."
Cruz has promised to be a strong supporter of Israel as president. Just this Tuesday video was released of his father, Pastor Rafael Cruz, speaking at an event in February in which he declared that the very "foundation of America and the American Constitution was the Torah."
Pastor Cruz added that his son "will not fund the United Nations, until they stop supporting BDS and anti-Semitism.”

Israel is a place that most Americans would find unsympathetic
By Philip Giraldi, Council for the national interest, 29-7-2014

Washington has no obligation to protect the Netanyahu government in international fora nor is there any treaty obligation to defend Israel or anyone else outside the NATO alliance. Israel is neither an ally nor is its self-defined security a compelling US national interest if one excludes the drumbeat of the domestic lobby that protects it no matter how badly it behaves... That the US is so tied to a rogue nation like Israel would be incomprehensible but for the action of what has been described as the Israel Lobby. As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt puts it, “AIPAC is the only explanation for America’s morally bankrupt Israel policy.”

Israel is in reality a place that most Americans would find unsympathetic. It is a corrupt theocracy that denies equal rights to Christians and Muslims, a fact that is conveniently overlooked by Congress and the media.
There is also a strong dose of racism and ethnocentrism in its political matrix, with broad popular support for either disenfranchising or expelling all non-Jews.
That the United States has provided political support for Benjamin Netanyahu is criminal but it is a tribute to the grip that Israel’s lobby has on America’s political class and media.

Carolyn Baker: "Citizens must be
educated, informed, and highly vigilant"

Almost without exception, my students have never heard that Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and the majority of the founding fathers passionately distrusted government, believing that it is a necessary evil, "that government is necessary for the protection and well being of citizens, but that inevitably, it will betray them".
For this reason, the fathers insisted, citizens must be educated, informed, and highly vigilant. Therefore, mistrust of government is not unpatriotic, but rather, the essence of what our founding fathers believed as they constructed our Constitution, and that very mistrust dictated the kind of Constitution they created.

Listen to what our founding fathers said about government:
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.""John Adams
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."-- Thomas Jefferson

Inherent in the founding of our nation was an implicit distrust of government and the guiding principle that government should serve human beings, instead of human beings serving government.
Higher education in the United States has provided an arena for the free discussion and interchange of ideas. As I frequently remind my students, college is not church. In church, we recite creeds and confess ideologies; in college we explore and discuss diverse ideas.

What makes higher education "higher" is that it is a venue for considering all ideas, no matter how bizarre, how ridiculous, or how blasphemous.
If one wishes to guarantee uniformity and conformity in higher education, then it is no longer "higher", and the First Amendment of the Constitution is dead. (Counter Punch 7-2-2005)

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

Russian reconciliation center in Syria posts news on Internet
TASS Russian News Agency, April 10, 2016

Russian center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria has begun posting its news on social networking sites, Spokesman for Defense Ministry Major General Igor Konashenkov told a briefing in the village of Al-Nasriya near Damascus on Saturday:
"Today we are starting to post the Russian reconciliation center’s news bulletins in several foreign languages both on the Defense Ministry’s official website and on global social networking sites," Konashenkov said, noting that after U.S. reporters had refused to go on a press tour around Syria, "the American media outlets suddenly stopped publishing information from daily news bulletins released by the Russian reconciliation center."
Until Thursday, "they were cited and published in U.S. news materials daily," the general said. Russia fails to know "the true reasons behind such paradoxical changes," he said. "But anyway, we are sure that U.S. society along with other countries’ citizens should not be restricted in their right to get unbiased information about developments in Syria."

The Russian Defense Ministry declared the establishment of the reconciliation center on February 23. It is headquartered at the Hmeimim air base, Latakia province. The center was set up in line with agreements reached by Russia and the United States to facilitate the negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition and to organize humanitarian deliveries.

The crisis in Iraq is not a governmental crisis
It is the result of a rotten oligarchy
Salah Nasrawi, Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No.1290, 7 April, 2016

Oligarchy: government by the few, especially despotic power exercised by a small and privileged group for corrupt or selfish purposes.
Aristotle used the term oligarchia to designate the rule of the few when it was exercised not by the best but by bad men unjustly. In this sense, oligarchy is a debased form of aristocracy, which denotes government by the few in which power is vested in the best individuals.

Thirteen years after its invasion by the United States, Iraq is a country that has yet to emerge from the ravages of the wars and chaos created by the American occupation and the new political class it installed in power.
As the world marks the anniversary of the war this week, Iraq remains mired in multiple and mutually reinforcing conflicts, a war against terrorism, ethno-sectarian disputes, a political stalemate and a stagnant economy.
Most of Iraq’s problems are caused by misrule and corruption that produce violence, insurgents, terrorists, communal disputes, power struggles and government inefficiency.

The political elites that took power after the US-led invasion have utterly failed to establish a system of law and leadership that can rebuild both the state and the nation...
Worst of all, these oligarchies have used the country’s ethnic and religious divisions to consolidate their power and tighten their grip on both the state’s institutions and national resources.
Anti-corruption and pro-reform demonstrations in 2011 and 2015 have underlined public frustration and anger against the ruling cliques that have demonstrated ineptness, greed and a total lack of interest in nation-building...
Most of the protesters are Shia, and they have received support from Iraq’s most revered Shia cleric, grand ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani. In February, Al-Sistani stopped delivering regular weekly sermons about political affairs in protest against Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s reluctance to address problems of corruption and failure to take steps to reform the government.
Last month, prominent Shia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr mobilised tens of thousands of his followers across Iraq to protest against the lack of initiative by Al-Abadi to fix his dysfunctional government and combat corruption.

...pave the way for a new generation of state-building people...

A road map for a new transition should concentrate on overhauling the flawed power-sharing system introduced by the US occupation authority, which was based on an ethno-sectarian quota formula.
A comprehensive approach should include rewriting the existing constitution, dissolving the parliament and dismantling the government, leading up to establishing a new political order that can guarantee stability as much as create a solid democratic system.
In order to achieve this goal, a national salvation government should be formed that excludes the current discredited ruling cliques from the transition and prepares for new elections and the drafting of a new constitution to determine a new political structure for the country.
In almost any discussions by Iraqis one can hear that the country’s main problem is its wretched ruling elites who will keep blocking reform in order to keep the status quo that serves their vested interests and agendas.
Iraq is a broken country, and unless it gets rid of these corrupt, power-greedy and incompetent politicians in order to pave the way for a new generation of state-building people, the country will not be able to be fixed.

Iraq's parliament to block PM's technocrat cabinet
Saif Hameed and Stephen Kalin, Reuters, 12-4-2016

Iraq's parliament is unlikely to vote on a new cabinet line-up proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in an attempt to curb corruption after lawmakers said on Monday the dominant political blocs would name their own ministerial candidates.
Abadi last month presented parliament with a list of 14 names, many of them academics, to free the ministries from the grip of a political class he has accused of using a system of ethnic and sectarian quotas instituted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to amass wealth and influence.
Abadi proposed the new cabinet in part under pressure from the clergy of the Shi'ite majority community and popular discontent at the lack of basic public services in a nation facing economic crisis due to low global oil prices.

Sadr, whose opinion holds sway over tens of thousands of followers, agreed to end street protests his supporters had been holding since late February only after Abadi presented his cabinet lineup. MPs close to Sadr have said he would not object to an adjusted line-up as long as the ministers are technocrats and not politicians...
Abadi asked parliament on March 31 to accept, reject or modify a line-up which also shrank the cabinet to 16 posts from 22. Lawmakers said they would take up to 10 days to respond. That deadline passed at the weekend without a decision.
"There is no agreement on the list," said Abbas al-Bayati, a Shi'ite Muslim MP from the ruling State of Law coalition. "The blocs are trying to find substitutes for their own ministers in the outgoing cabinet who would be technocrats at the same time."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting Baghdad on Friday, urged Iraq not to let the political crisis interfere with the fight against the jihadists and voiced unequivocal support for the prime minister.

Religion plays too large a role in the region
Arab youth turn back on democracy hopes of 2011
Middle East Eye, 12-4-2016

A majority of young people in the Middle East and North Africa feel life has worsened since the Arab Spring and believe stability should be prioritised over democracy, according to a new survey.
In 2016, just 36 per cent of young Arabs think that the Arab world is better off following the 2011 uprisings, down from 72 percent in 2012 at the height of unrest, the report found, adding that 53 percent now thought stability in the region was more important than the promotion of democracy.
The Arab Youth Survey, which polls young people in 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, found that there was also increasing concern about the lack of jobs and opportunities in the Middle East, caused by spreading conflict and political upheaval.
The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller survey also found that a majority of 52 percent believed religion now played too large a role in the region and that relations between Shia and Sunni Muslims were worsening. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed rejected the Islamic State (IS) group and its actions.

“Iran’s increasing regional influence is reflected in the survey, with 13 percent of young Arabs now viewing the country as their biggest ally,” the report said. “Although a small majority of young Arabs (52 per cent) view Iran as an enemy.”
“Overall, a plurality (39 per cent) of Arab youth view the conflict in Syria as a proxy war fought by regional and global powers, while 29 per cent view it a revolution against the Bashar Al-Assad regime and 22 per cent believe it is a civil war among Syrians.”

Palestinian PM says he is 'bitterly disappointed' in the US
Daoud Kuttab, Al-Monitor, 11-4-2016

Since being appointed Palestinian prime minister in June 2013, Rami Hamdallah has run a tight economic ship, earning him praise from Christoph Duenwald, the local representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)... Praise from the IMF aside, Hamdallah said, “As prime minister I am bitterly disappointed when it comes to the US.”

- Al-Monitor: Palestine will be submitting a UN Security Council resolution on settlements. What is your position in light of the US asking Palestine to delay the UN track?
- Hamdallah: We are in the process of consultations now, but we will submit a resolution to the United Nations Security Council this month. The US objections are not new. They always want us to wait...
There are the primaries, then the general elections, then the midterms. They always want us to wait for this or that reason. We have been under occupation for 49 years, and it is 68 years since the Nakba,” he asserted.

- Al-Monitor: What about the US support? - Hamdallah: As prime minister, I am bitterly disappointed when it comes to the US. In 2015, the US pledged to provide us with $290 million and has only delivered $130 [million]. Only $35 [million] is in general support..
In contrast, the US is reportedly pledging $34 billion in military aid to Israel over several years, and the Israeli prime minister apparently is not happy. [Benjamin] Netanyahu is said to want $40 billion.

- Al-Monitor: Gaza continues to dominate the Palestinian government’s attention. How has your government been able to deal with what people call the Hamas shadow government?
- Hamdallah: We are totally committed to supporting our people in Gaza, paying salaries, covering the cost of electricity, as well as [having] direct involvement in the rebuilding of Gaza....
Gaza is an integral part of Palestine, and nothing that the Israelis do will take away this important part of our homeland or succeed in dividing us.
We have succeeded in clearing up 95% of the destroyed homes. We have removed and recycled 2 million tons of materials from destroyed homes and buildings. We have also restored 95% of the power grids that the Israelis destroyed.

People’s Assembly elections begin with strong turnout
Assad: We are Syrian citizens, defending the constitution
Syrian Arab News Agency, 13 April 2016

Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs. Asma al-Assad voted Wednesday in the People’s Assembly elections at a voting center in al-Assad Library in Damascus.
In a statement to the media as he left the voting center, President al-Assad said “the Syrian people are engaged in a war that has been going on for five years, through which terrorism managed to shed innocent blood and destroy much infrastructure, but it failed in achieving the primary goal it was assigned, which is destroying the social structure and the national identity.”
“This is why the terrorists’ employers and masters moved in a parallel direction under a political headline whose main goal is to undermine this social structure and undermine the national identity, which are expressed by the constitution...”

He pointed out that participation in these elections involved all components of society, and at the forefront of them are families that lost their children because of terrorism and families of martyrs and wounded people who sacrificed their lives or bodies in defense of the homeland, adding “the homeland is the land, the people, and the institutions, and what all these elements brings together is the constitution.”
“Because of all that, you see us participating today by voting together..., as Syrian citizens defending all that the constitution represents to us...”

15-2-2012: Referendum on new draft constitution
The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State

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

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

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

Faisal Mekdad: Syria rejects Mob-Rule
Assad departure ruled out ahead of talks
By AP|Al-Arabiya, Damascus, 14 April 2016

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad urged the opposition to let go of its dream of easing President Bashar Assad out of power in a transitional government...
As Syrians voted in parliamentary elections in government-held parts of the country Faisal Mekdad told The Associated Press that a transitional government amounts to a coup d’etat and “will never be accepted.”
“We believe such an idea has failed, it is outdated, it will never be acceptable. This amounts in fact to a coup d’etat. People organize a certain rebellion and then they get power (i.e. mob-rule). This will never happen in Syria,” he said.
“We believe that if we have to proceed, then we need to forget or we need others to forget the dreams they had for the last five years and to come with factual, actual solutions to the problem,” he said. “This includes the possibility of establishing a national unity government or a broad government that includes members of the opposition.”

The balloting, in which soldiers are being allowed to vote for the first time, was carried out only in areas under government control. Voting stations were set up in 12 of Syria’s 14 provinces.
The northern province of Raqqa is controlled by ISIS, and the northwestern province of Idlib is controlled by its rival, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, as well as other insurgents. The government has no presence in either province.

Mob rule (Ochlocracy) is the rule of government by mob or a mass of people, or, the intimidation of legitimate authorities
As a pejorative for majoritarianism, it is akin to the Latin phrase mobile vulgus meaning "the fickle crowd", from which the English term "mob" originally was derived in the 1680s.
Ochlocracy ("rule of the general populace") is rule of the people spoiled by demagoguery and the rule of passion over reason, just as oligarchy ("rule of a few") is aristocracy ("rule of the best") spoiled by corruption, and tyranny is monarchy spoiled by lack of virtue.

Flashback: US, Europe & the Great Game
Alastair Crooke,, 4 November 2011

This summer a senior Saudi official told John Hannah, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, that from the outset of the upheaval in Syria, the king has believed that regime change would be highly beneficial to Saudi interests: "The king knows that other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself, nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria."
This is today's "great game" – losing Syria. And this is how it is played: set up a hurried transitional council as sole representative of the Syrian people, irrespective of whether it has any real legs inside Syria; feed in armed insurgents from neighbouring states; impose sanctions that will hurt the middle classes; mount a media campaign to denigrate any Syrian efforts at reform; try to instigate divisions within the army and the elite; and ultimately President Assad will fall – so its initiators insist.
Today Europe looks the other way, refusing to consider who Syria's combat-experienced insurgents taking such a toll of Syrian security forces truly are.
Europe and the US think it is OK to "use" precisely those Islamists (including al-Qaida) who absolutely do not believe in western-style democracy in order to bring it about. But then, why not just look the other way and gain the benefit of the public enjoying Assad's kicking? (The Guardian 2011)

Young Iraqis Overwhelmingly Consider U.S. Their Enemy, Poll Says
Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, Apr. 13 2016

MORE THAN 90 PERCENT of young people in Iraq consider the United States to be an enemy of their country, according to a new poll. After years spent justifying the war as a “liberation” of the Iraqi people, the survey casts further doubt on the success of that endeavor.

The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, a public relations and market research firm co-founded by controversial strategist Mark Penn, and was sponsored by a Dubai-based affiliate of Burson Marsteller, once described as “the PR firm for evil.”
The survey found that overwhelming majorities of young people in Iraq, Yemen, and the Palestinian Territories consider the U.S. to be an enemy.
In Gulf Arab states, on the other hand, perceptions of the United States were far more positive. Roughly 85 percent of those living in the Gulf say that they consider the U.S. to be an ally, with another 66 percent expressing the same view in North Africa.

The results of the poll offer an interesting window into long-term perceptions of the Iraq War by Iraqis themselves. Advocates of the 2003 invasion often justified it by claiming post-Saddam Iraq would be an ally of U.S. interests in the region.
In a speech leading up to the war, then-Vice President Dick Cheney cited experts who claimed Iraqis would “erupt in joy” over the invasion, predicting it would result in “strong bonds” created between the two countries. But years later, after hundreds of billions of dollars spent and more than a hundred thousand Iraqis dead, the United States is overwhelmingly considered an enemy by young men and women who were children when the war began.

The poll also asked participants to weigh in on a variety of other issues, including the rise of Islamic State, sectarianism, and women’s rights.
Participants overwhelmingly rejected ISIS.. Most worried that sectarianism was increasing in the region and would prove an obstacle to stability. Across both genders, strong majorities said that rulers must do more to promote women’s rights in their countries.

'The world doesn't care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict'
Iran is the bad guy for us and for the Sunni regimes
By Benny Tocker, Arutz Sheva, 4/15/2016

Syria-Idlib, controlled by Al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda (a bunch of mindless but useful idiots) is NOT the enemy. Iran ('the axis of resistance') is...
Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara (Likud) told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer the central focus of the international community.
Speaking from Paris, where he is currently visiting, Kara said that the war against radical Islam is an opportunity for cooperation between Israel and Arab countries.
“We are promoting an economic conference in France with all the anti-Iranian countries in an attempt to bring new tidings to the region,” he said, before noting that at the present time, no one seems to be interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There is a split in the Arab countries between the Iranian camp, which controls Lebanon and Syria, and the Saudi coalition which sees Iran and ISIS as the enemy. So countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia now have common interests with Israel,” explained Kara. “The Palestinian issue is no longer relevant in the world... This opens up new hopes for Israel to get new allies,” he added.

Kara’s comments come amid reports about some sort of relations with Saudi Arabia and its neighbors.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in mid-February at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that Israel was carrying out secret contacts with Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.
Ya'alon's said in his speech that Israel has channels of communication with neighboring Sunni Arab countries. "Not only Jordan and Egypt," he elaborated. "I speak about the Gulf states and North African states too.. Iran is the bad guy for us and for the Sunni regimes. They are not shaking hands [with Israelis] in public, but we meet in closed rooms."

Wikipedia info: The term Axis of Resistance was used by the Libyan daily newspaper Al-Zahf Al-Akhdar in response to American president George W. Bush's claim that Iran, Iraq and North Korea formed an "axis of evil." In an article titled "Axis of evil or axis of resistance," the paper wrote in 2002 that "the only common denominator among Iran, Iraq and North Korea is their resistance to US hegemony."

Bashar al-Assad, SANA 31-5-2013:
Some Arabs have forgotten that the real enemy is still Israel

Al-Manar: Mr. President, what would you say to the supporters of the axis of resistance? We are celebrating the anniversary of the victory of the resistance and the liberation of south Lebanon, in an atmosphere of promises of victory... You are saying with great confidence that you will emerge triumphant from this crisis. What would you say to all this audience?

President Assad: Everything that is happening at the moment is aimed, first and foremost, at stifling the resistance.
Israel’s support of the terrorists was for two purposes. The first is to stifle the resistance; the second is to strike the Syrian defense systems. It is not interested in anything else. ...
I believe that the greatest victory achieved by the Arab resistance movements in the past years and decades is primarily an intellectual victory. This resistance wouldn’t have been able to succeed militarily if they hadn’t been able to succeed and stand fast against a campaign aimed at distorting concepts and principles in this region. ...
Today, more than ever before, we are in need of these ideas, of this mindset, of this steadfastness and of these actions carried out by the resistance fighters. The events in the Arab world during the past years have distorted concepts to the extent that some Arabs have forgotten that the real enemy is still Israel...

Catherine Shakdam: The Axis of Resistance
New Eastern Outlook, 12-8-2015

No power in the region has been more intent on breaking terror’s back than the Islamic Republic – so much so that Tehran has already committed its men and weapons in Iraq, offering Baghdad its unconditional support...
If not for Iran’s intervention and if not for Iran’s military impetus against ISIS, it is likely the Iraqi capital and more Iraqi provinces with it would have fallen under ISIS’ dominion.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs best summarized today’s political dynamics and implications this July when he stated that extremist forces’ primary purpose in the Middle East had been to steal the wealth of Muslim countries and destroy the resistance front against Israel. He also insisted – rightly so, that terrorism would not exist in the Middle East if Muslim countries in the region were united.

This war against terror is really a war for independence – independence from neo-imperialism and independence from theofascism.
Let us remember that Iran’s republic was born in rejection of tyranny. To reclaim their freedom Iranians had to pay the ultimate price, rising a resistance against western hegemonic ambitions. Iran’s message and policy ever since have been in support of political self-determination, not subjugation.
Just as the pan-Arab world is facing extermination by the hands of ISIS, Iran has been leading the real axis of resistance – From Lebanon to Yemen and Bahrain, voices have risen in denunciation of Wahhabism, calling for nations and communities to stand together against the real oppressors.

Catherine Shakdam is the Associate Director of the Beirut Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil
Interview with Gerard Menuhin
By Jonas E. Alexis, Veterans Today, on April 14, 2016

"It is vital urgently to analyze and to dismiss [anti-Semitism] as so much hot air. All it would take would be for enough ordinary citizens to stand up and say ‘Stop it, it’s nonsense, you know it’s nonsense, and what’s more, it’s boring nonsense!" Gerard Menuhin
(British-Swiss journalist, writer, novelist, and film producer, son of the American violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin. He graduated from Stanford University and is the author of the new book 'Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil'. In 2005, he was fired from his position as chairman of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation)

-- Alexis: You quote Albert Einstein in your book saying that “I believe German Jewry owes its continued existence to anti-Semitism.” It seems that he was aware that the word “anti-Semitism” was being used as an ideological weapon to beat the Goyim over the head because no serious person wants to be called an anti-Semite. Can you expand on that for us?
-- Menuhin: As I state in my book: ‘Semitism’, at best, describes a language. So ‘anti-Semitism’ would denote opposition to Semitic languages – an absurd stance. To deduce from the expression an opposition to Semitic peoples would be stretching the point. And are Jews Semitic?
Ashkenazi Jews (90% of modern Jewry) are commonly agreed to descend from 8th century Khazars. Their assumed forefather, Ashkenaz, was the son of Gomer, grandson of Noah through Japheth, not of Shem, the father of the Semitic races. They are not Semitic...
Anti-Semitism is a suppressive weapon which only survives because it is linked to the guilt people feel — or are intended to feel — when confronted with ‘The Holocaust’. Anti-Semitism would be an impotent pseudo-expression, were it not coupled with ‘The Holocaust’.

Why was there no independent investigation of this alleged crime ?

The sensational nature of the ‘Holocaust’ claim and the immense figure immutably tethered to it of course invite awe. But it is an awe unmixed with rational skepticism.
To ask a very simple, innocent question, why was there no independent investigation of this alleged crime..
When someone is murdered, the police are called in to find clues and track down the perpetrator, if he is still at large. In the case of ‘The Holocaust’, 6 million murders are said to have occurred. Yet no such police investigation has ever sullied the pure, unblemished assertion of this crime. We have been told that it occurred and the subject is closed without debate.
The total itself is in doubt and has indeed been reduced, yet, magically, the 6 million are still universally quoted. The innumerable ‘eye-witnesses’ are as unconvincing as the confessions of tortured German soldiers. The ’Nazis’ didn’t burn or otherwise cause to vanish 6 million bodies. Where are the bones, the ashes?
Where, for a start, is the corpus delicti? Piles of emaciated corpses are regularly shown on television, but whence came these corpses? Were they evidence of typhus/typhoid deaths in the camps, which indubitably occurred during the last months of the war, when transport had been bombed to a standstill and manpower had been transferred to the east?
Or were they corpses trucked in for effect from elsewhere: the remains of captives in the infamous U.S. Rheinwiesen concentration camps, where German prisoners of war were starved into a state of cachexia, under the pretext that they were ‘Disarmed Enemy Forces’ instead of POWs?
So, for 70 years, much of the world and of course particularly Germany have been paying respect to a putative atrocity which has never been properly examined by the appropriate authorities.

Shankar: 'A Great Human Being'

Yehudi Menuhin plays with Ravi Shankar

-- Alexis: You are right on target here. I have discussed some of these issues with numerous people who actually do have the sophistication to make a rational conclusion, but the intellectually lazy response is: “anti-Semitism.”
I once encouraged a flaming Zionist friend of mine to listen to a speech given by Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein in which he literately deconstructs the anti-Semitism mantra. After he was finished, I turned to my friend and said, “Finkelstein’s siblings died in Nazi Germany. Do you think he is an anti-Semite?”
There was a complete silence. But days later, he pulled out the same old anti-Semitic card out of thin air and dropped it on me.

At that point, I realized that I was not talking to a rational person. It was impossible to move forward in our dialogue precisely because he was blinded by an ideology which does not allow him to use practical reason and therefore see things the way they really are.

Dutch Queen Causes Stir with 'Swastika' Coat
Sputnik News, 15-4-2016

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima visited Nuremberg on Thursday, where Maxima caused controversy by wearing a grey coat emblazoned with symbols made of screws and nails, the most prominent of which resembled swastikas.
The royal couple was greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic well-wishers in Nuremburg, who didn't seem to notice the unusual design; however, photographs and comments about the offending coat soon began to be posted on social networks. "A grey coat can provide a lot of attention – particularly when swastika-like symbols are visible," German newspaper Focus reported.
"Such a coat can become a real political issue, if the queen of the Netherlands wears it on her visit to Nuremberg – the city of Nazi war crime trials and earlier, the Nazi party rallies."
Die Welt noted that the coat is a favorite of Queen Maxima, who wore the same garment, designed by Dutch-Danish designer Claes Iversen, on a state visit to Denmark last year.

Swastika & Sauvastika: The Original Meaning

The collage shows: an ancient and royal coat of arms, flag of Kuna Yala, Iranian necklace 1,000 BC, holy emblem of Thule Society, Falon Gong yin-yang symbol, Finnish women's group symbol, holy Janiism symbol, Hitler's swastika, Finnish Air Force flag, pre-WWII Iron cross medallion. (Source: What's in a symbol?)
The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix. The swastika was used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck.
German nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century began to use the swastika. By the end of the nineteenth century, the (right-hand) swastika could be found on nationalist German volkisch periodicals and was the official emblem of the German Gymnasts' League. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the swastika was a common symbol of German nationalism and could be found in a multitude of places such as the emblem for the Wandervogel, a German youth movement.
In 1920, Adolf Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed its own insignia and flag. On August 7, 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, the red flag with a white circle and black (right hand) swastika became the official emblem of the Nazi Party.

Does the Direction of the Swastika Matter?

In ancient times, the direction of the swastika was interchangeable as can be seen on an ancient Chinese silk drawing.
Some cultures in the past had differentiated between the clockwise swastika and the counter-clockwise sauvastika.
The right-hand swastika is one of the 108 symbols of the Hindu god Vishnu as well as a symbol of the sun and of the Hindu sun god, Surya. The symbol imitates, in the rotation of its arms, the course taken daily by the sun, which appears in the Northern Hemisphere to pass from east, then south, to west. (It is also a symbol of the sun among Native Americans.)
The left-hand swastika (called a sauvastika) usually represents the terrifying Hindu goddess Kali, night and magic. However, this form of the swastika is not "evil" and it is the form most commonly used in Buddhism.

Since the Nazis use of the swastika, some people are trying to make the clockwise, Nazi version of the swastika mean hate and death while the counter-clockwise version would hold the ancient meaning of the symbol, life and good-luck. (

Israeli cabinet to meet at Golan Heights,
to underline land won’t be relinquished
By Times of Israel staff, April 15, 2016

The Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel since 1967. It was captured during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Construction of Israeli settlements began after Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981.
This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in UN Resolution 497, which said that "the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect."
The Israeli government is to hold its first ever cabinet meeting at a location on the Golan Heights on Sunday, in an effort to underline Israel’s determination never to relinquish the strategic ridge despite anticipated international pressure to do so.

According to a Channel 2 report on Friday evening, the first clause of a draft agreement aimed at settling the war in Syria, being worked on with the support of the US, Russia and other major world powers, specifies that the Heights, captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 war, is Syrian territory and must be returned to Syria.
Israel extended its law to the Heights in 1981, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly furious that the international community is deliberating the notion of Israel giving up the area.
For the first time in the almost 50 years since the Golan was captured, therefore, Netanyahu and his ministers will hold their weekly meeting this Sunday in the Golan, to “symbolize” Israel’s determination not to relinquish the area, the TV report said.

Netanyahu discussed the issue in a telephone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry a few days ago... Netanyahu is said to have made clear to Kerry that any language in an accord on the fate of Syria that specifies that the Israeli-held western two-thirds of the Golan is Syrian land would be unacceptable to Israel...

The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law.
Israel maintains that they are consistent with international law because it does not agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the territories occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War.
The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention does apply.

"It’s really strange how history repeats itself"
Iranian official says Nusra, not IS, main threat to West
Ali Hashem, Al-Monitor, April 15, 2016

As the situation is dangling between the US- and Russian-backed Geneva peace process — which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere — and the stalemate on the ground, an Iranian official expressed skepticism in an interview with Al-Monitor that any serious developments will be made in the coming months.
He told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “It’s clear that the current administration in Washington is trying to keep the situation under control in the region so that the next elected administration can make decisions. The next president is the one who will have to live with the decisions for another four years, so they want the newcomer to make them.”
The Iranian official added, “It has been five years since the war in Syria started. We don’t have a plan B — we only have one plan, and we’ll continue to work in accordance with it.
We want a political solution and unity against terrorism. This isn’t going to change as long as the crisis is going on. The bloodshed should end, but the US doesn’t care...: They see their interests only because their hands aren’t in the fire, but this is not going to last too long. Daesh [IS] is everywhere, and for sure, they are in the United States.”

He concluded ominously, “In fact, the real danger for the US, and the West in general, isn’t Daesh but [Jabhat al-] Nusra. I can see a new [Osama] bin Laden being created. He’s also Saudi, and he’s now being treated as a rebel: [Saudi militant cleric] Abdullah al-Muhaysini. It’s really strange how history repeats itself.”

Flashback 2012: "Why are they establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"

TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons. Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined.
Firouzabadi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Iran’s National Defense University, said U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and occupied Afghanistan, “why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” ...
“It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” ... (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)

In Yemen, Our Intervention Has Given al-Qaeda the Upper Hand
Patrick Cockburn, UNZ Review, April 15, 2016

They have done it again. The US, Britain and regional allies led by Saudi Arabia have come together to intervene in another country with calamitous results. Instead of achieving their aims, they have produced chaos, ruining the lives of millions of people and creating ideal conditions for salafi-jihadi movements like al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Al-Qaeda-leader Qasim al-Raymi: On 16 June 2015, following the death of former AQAP Emir and founder Nasir al-Wuhayshi, al-Raymi had been elected by the group's leadership council to succeed Wuhayshi.
On July 9, al-Raymi swore allegiance to al-Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri. He congratulated the recent successes of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front, and the gains made by Army of Conquest coalition in Syria. He called for renewed attacks against the United States, remarking "All of you must direct and gather your arrows and swords against [America]."
The latest self-inflicted failure in the “war on terror” is in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Sunni states intervened on one side in a civil war in March 2015. Their aim was to defeat the Houthis – labelled somewhat inaccurately as Shia and pro-Iranian – who had seized most of the country in alliance with the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who retained the loyalty of much of the Yemeni army.
The Saudi intervention, supported in practice by the US and Britain, has made a bad situation far worse. A year-long campaign of air strikes was supposed to re-impose the rule of former president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whose dysfunctional and unelected government had fled to Saudi Arabia. Relentless bombing had some success and the forces fighting in President Hadi’s name advanced north, but were unable to retake the capital Sanaa. Over the last week there has been a shaky truce.

The real winners in this war are al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which has taken advantage of the collapse of central government to create its own mini-state.
This now stretches for 340 miles – longer than the distance from London to Edinburgh – along the south coast of Yemen. AQAP, which the CIA once described as the most dangerous protagonist of “global jihad” in the world, today has an organised administration with its own tax revenues. Unnoticed by the outside world, AQAP has been swiftly expanding its own statelet in Yemen in 2015/16, just as Isis did in western Iraq and eastern in Syria in 2013/14...
As has happened repeatedly since 9/11, the US and countries like Britain fail to combat terrorism because they give priority to retaining their alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, even when their policies – as in Yemen – wreck a whole country and enable al Qaeda and Isis to use the chaos to establish safe havens.

Iran, EU Issue Statement on Reviving Cooperation
FARS News Agency, 16-4-2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and the European Union issued a joint statement to revive and strengthen bilateral ties in all spheres. The statement was released after a meeting between Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in Tehran on Saturday.

The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation on trade and investment matters. The EU will support and assist Iran to become a member of the World Trade Organization.
In civil nuclear field, and with a view to contributing to the implementation of measures listed in Annex III of the nuclear deal, the two sides are launching a first cooperation project in the field of nuclear safety aimed at assisting the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran and the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority through EU development assistance.
Acknowledging the importance of developing the human dimension of EU-Iran relations, the two sides intend to further deepen their cooperation in the field of higher education.
They also intend to organize relevant academic events and fairs, in Tehran towards the end of 2016 to foster cooperation between our universities and promote the participation of Iranian students and researchers and academic staff in EU programs.
The EU will also explore ways to allow for Iranian students to participate in "credit mobility" action, which consists of short-term mobility to European and Iranian universities.

On regional issues the two sides acknowledged the seriousness and urgency of addressing the volatile situation in the region. Terrorism, extremism and violence have endangered regional stability and inflicted loss of human life and resources on an unprecedented scale and have become global issues.
In this context, both sides will look at ways to implement the UN Resolution on World Against Violence and Extremism.
The two sides will engage, in a constructive and equitable manner, on regional issues with a view to building channels of dialogue, mutual trust and understanding, and in particular to fostering approaches aimed at resolving regional crises.
The two sides consider that solutions to such crises must be inclusive, peaceful and comprehensive, and above all sustainable. They stress the need for all actors to adopt constructive approaches that reinforce the principles of non-interference and the territorial integrity of states, as well as respecting the primacy of international law, including human rights.

PM slams UNESCO resolution ignoring Jewish connection to Temple Mount
By Times of Israel staff April 16, 2016

Destruction of the temple:
Zealots, provoking a civil war

"Bands of desperate Zealots began to spread over the land, plundering houses... Large numbers of these evil men stole into the city and grew into a daring faction, who robbed houses openly, and many of the most eminent citizens were murdered by these Zealots, as they were called, from their pretence that they had discovered a conspiracy to betray the city to the Romans. They dismissed many of the sanhedrin from office, and they appointed men of the lowest degree, who would support them in their violence, till the leaders of the people became slaves to their will."
(Flavius Josephus: the fall of the temple)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolution from last week in which Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall area in Jerusalem’s Old City are wholly ignored. The resolution refers to Israel as the “occupying power” at every mention and uses the Arabic al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif ("Noble Sanctuary") without ever calling it the Temple Mount, as it is known to Jews.
The text does refer to 'the Western Wall Plaza' but places it in quotation marks, after using the Arabic Al-Buraq Plaza.

“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Netanyahu said Saturday. “UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop.”
The resolution accuses Israel of “planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries” and of “the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”
It also blasts recently approved plans to build an egalitarian prayer service space near Robinson’s Arch and “restriction of access” to the site during Muslim holidays.
Other condemnations of Israel brought forth in the resolution include the Jewish state’s blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip — which came after the Palestinian terrorist organization in 2007 ousted the PA from power in the enclave — as well as Israel’s control over the Tomb of the Patriarchs compound in Hebron and the Rachel’s Tomb compound in Bethlehem.

The UNESCO resolution, authorized by the executive board’s Programme and External Relations Commission, was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.
The resolution was approved by 33 states, including France, Russia, Spain and Sweden. Seventeen countries abstained while six voted against including the United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The temple: A center of power?

the Antonia-citadel, a Roman armycamp, declared as Israel's most holy place...

Fort Antonia was described by Josephus as being like a city with large areas for troop parades etc. A legion of troops (5000 fighting and 5000 support) was housed there. Only the Haram fits the description and the small area now designated the site of the Fort would have been impossibly small.

See also: The Temple Revolution

The comfort of the herd
YNet News Opinion, 16-4-2016

"Throughout their history, Jews have proven themselves hostile toward their nonconformists... While in the case of Christianity and Islam dumping God suggests turning one’s back on a remote supernatural entity, in the case of Judaism, such an act is interpreted as a disbelief in the tribe..." "Due to the lack of a divine transcendental entity, Jewish religions have always regarded criticism as rejection of the tribe..." Gilad Atzmon, 1-1-2016>
"Teaching Jewish heritage isn’t only about building identity; at the risk of sounding racist, its about ensuring the survival of the tribe.” Raanan Gissin, 2001 (Saddam's Death, page 63)

The members of the opposition are deathly afraid. Not of policemen coming at night and throwing them in jail, but of something much greater: Not being a part of the national consensus.
At the end of the Netanyahu era, the Israeli consensus is mostly demonization-based. The other side of the argument is non-human, in the full sense of those words. It doesn’t consist of men, women, and children who have been living under our rule without rights or hope for decades, but of bloodthirsty monsters.
That assumption started small: With a declaration, which has since become an article of faith, that “there is no partner (for peace).” Suddenly, the world became simpler: We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys. Don’t nag us with talks of a solution. There is no solution.

The first thing to go was empathy – basic human empathy. Since “they” were no longer human, there was no need to treat them as such. Then we looked for ideological fortification for this belief, and found it: The Jewish religious leadership was eager to dish it out in generous portions.
Great Torah scholars stated that those who were not Jewish were not really people, that tolerance towards non-Jews is a sign of weakness. We used to dismiss these kinds of comments. Now we see the logic in them. Consensus.
The right to pass criticism was narrowed down to the point that it only applied to socio-economic issues. You may be against Netanyahu’s gas plan. But you cannot speak out on matters of the new consensus-religion (there is no solution, Arabs are animals, everything we and our dear children do is sacred). Those who separate themselves from the rest (by, for instance, not supporting the Hebron soldier) are committing a sin.

What is the role of an opposition in these cases? Its role is to smash the evil consensus and tear apart the net of prejudices that have become commonplace...

Remarkable: Disobedience of rulers causes extremism
Saudi Gazette, Apr 18, 2016

AL-KHOBAR — The disobedience of rulers is a main cause of extremism and is totally forbidden by Islam, the fourth family forum (Naraak — we care for you) was told. The forum was organized by the Prince Sultan Center for Science and Technology (SciTec) of King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM).
The warning against disobeying the ruler was made by Sheikh Hussain Al-Tamimi, director of field affairs of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), during a lecture he delivered at the forum.
The disobedience of the ruler will lead to sedition and fighting among Muslims. Islam has prevented this even if the ruler is corrupt and unjust,” he said.
Sheikh Tamimi recalled the Uhud battle in which the Muslims were defeated when the archers disobeyed the orders of the Prophet (peace by upon him) and left their positions. “This very disobedience had led to the Muslims’ defeat. This was a lesson to all Muslims never to disobey the orders of their rulers,” he added.
Tamimi said obedience of the ruler is imperative in all rules and regulations issued by the ruler to organize the Muslims’ life. He said even if the rulers are corrupt and have committed all sorts of vice, obedience to their writ remains a must for all Muslims. “The disobedience of rulers has created terrorist organizations such as Daesh (so-called IS),” he warned.
He, however, explained that obedience of the rulers is controlled by knowledge. “Blind obedience should be rejected, made non-existing and baseless,” he added.

Syrian 'moderate' rebels & their knowledge rejecting friends

Chairman of the Haia in the Eastern Province Sheikh Omar Bin Faisal Al-Duwaish said the most ferocious tragedy that befalls any nation is when its own children stab it in its back by assisting its enemies to destroy it. He asked the young not to heed the extremist ideas on the social media and to obey their rulers so as not to deviate or go astray.

Flashback 2003: President Bashar al-Assad
There are cultural and intellectual methods to fight terrorism

President Bashar al-Assad received the senior correspondent of the Italian 'Corriere Della Sera' newspaper Antonio Ferari and gave him an interview.
On whether there is a fear that Syria becomes the next target of a military action after the war on Iraq the President said: "I do not think that the US has interest in repeating its mistake in Iraq."
On the definition of terrorism, the President said: "It is not an army, but mind and thoughts. This is the problem of fighting terrorism.
There are cultural and intellectual methods to fight ignorance, poverty, wars, racism, etc.. All these are methods to fight terrorism. At the last stage comes security cooperation among countries.." (Interview Syria Times 30-9-03)

Militants declare new war despite Syria truce
Press TV, Mon Apr 18, 2016

Foreign-backed militant groups announce a new war against Syrian government forces after threatening to abandon UN-brokered talks in Geneva.
Factions fighting under the banner of Turkey-based Free Syrian Army and Ahrar al-Sham said in a statement Monday that they would respond "with force" against the government which is currently fighting Daesh and Nusra Front in Aleppo.
The announcement came after the Saudi-backed opposition threatened to abandon the UN-brokered talks if there is no progress on its demand for a political transition away from President Bashar al-Assad.
Representatives of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said Sunday that the Geneva peace talks could collapse if Damascus refuses to negotiate Assad's fate. “We might suspend (our participation in) the talks if things carry on this way, and then there will be no prospect for any political solution,” HNC member Abdulhakim Bashar said, AFP reported.
The opposition insists on Assad’s resignation. The government says the fate of Assad is “a red line” and only the Syrian people can decide about it.

Mohammed Alloush ('Army of Islam'-leader), the chief negotiator of the HNC, also said that there could be “no compromise” on Assad’s ouster, calling for the resumption of attacks on government forces despite a UN-brokered ceasefire deal in the Arab country.
“Don't trust the regime and don't wait for their pity,” Alloush wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Strike them at their necks. Strike them everywhere.”

Jaysh al-Islam (meaning Army of Islam), formerly known as Liwa al-Islam or the Brigade of Islam, is a coalition of Islamist and Salafist units involved in the Syrian Civil War. Jaysh al-Islam is the largest rebel faction in the area. The group is part of the Islamic Front. The organization has rejected membership of the Free Syrian Army. The group along with Ahrar ash-Sham are the main rebel groups supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The group aims to create an Islamic state under Sharia law. Syria, Russia, Iran, and Egypt have designated Jaysh al-Islam as a terrorist organization.

Syria Opposition Says Delegation Leaders Leaving Geneva
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 19-4-2016

The leaders of Syria's (Saudi-backed) opposition delegation were leaving Geneva on Tuesday after the group suspended its formal participation in troubled peace negotiations, the opposition chief said.
U.N. peace envoy Staffan de Mistura said Monday he had been informed of HNC's intention to suspend its "formal participation" in the talks. But he insisted the latest round of indirect discussions, which began on April 13, would continue through the week.
The U.N. envoy stressed that the indirect talks format -- which has seen the HNC and Assad's representatives meet separately with U.N. mediators -- created flexibility to continue the discussions.

The coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Riyad Hijab appeared deeply disillusioned with the process.
"There is no truce on the ground because there’s no accountability," Hijab said, urging the U.N. Security Council to review the cessation of hostilities agreement negotiated by Russia and the United States in February.
Hijab slammed Assad's main ally Russia, charging that it was giving Damascus free rein to violate the ceasefire by providing them "with the weapons used in bombings and massacres." At the same time he voiced disappointment with Washington, the opposition's main backer, charging that rebels on the ground had seen their access to arms dry up.

Al-Jaafari: Syrian-Syrian dialogue can be continued with other opposition powers
Syrian Arab News Agency, 19 April 2016

Geneva, SANA-Head of the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation to the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari affirmed that talks in Geneva can be continued with other opposition powers although “al-Riyadh opposition” delegation has announced suspension of its participation.
The opposition is not only restricted to the higher Commission for negotiations formed in Saudi Arabia, al-Jaafari told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday, adding “If they wanted to boycott talks, they could do so, it is not a big problem for us because they are not the only representatives of the Syrian opposition.”
He went on to say that the pretexts marketed by al-Riyadh opposition are not convincing, saying that the other groups in the opposition don’t evaluate the situation in the same way, so talks will continue with all possible flexibility.
Al-Riyadh opposition delegation stir problems since the beginning of the process in Geneva....,” al-Jaafari said. He added that this is a political procrastination as you name it by the language of the UN; they delay in order to “blow up the talks as a whole.”

Moscow Warns Armed Groups Against Collaborating with ISIL, Nusra
FARS News Agency, 20-4-2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Alexey Borodavkin said that Moscow has devised its Syrian strategy on the fact that the al-Nusra Front terrorist group is operating near Aleppo. All armed group collaborating with terrorists in the area would be hit.
"We are building on the fact that the al-Nusra Front is fighting Syria's armed forces near Aleppo. If someone has differing information, which at the same time is exact, then Russia request them to share it. If Russia knows where forces that are observing the ceasefire are, then these groups will not be hit," Alexey Borodavkin told Sputnik.

Borodavkin noted that the Syrian government army is carrying out combat operations against ISIL and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups in Syria in line with a UN resolution designating them as terrorist organizations.
"The Syrian armed forces, backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, strike those they consider terrorists and those considered terrorists by the UN Security Council in accordance with Resolution 2254.
Resolution 2254 clearly stipulates that the al-Nusra Front and ISIL are terrorist groups," Borodavkin said. Borodavkin stressed that the Syrian army is fighting only these two groups.
"If among ISILL or al-Nusra militants there are representatives of the groups that are part of the High Negotiations Committee, then we can only regret that. We recommend these groups to immediately stop all contacts and cooperation with al-Nusra and ISIL, announce it publicly in accordance with existing procedures, and join the cessation of hostilities," he reiterated.

‘Groups sabotaging Syrian truce should be put on UN terrorist list’ – Lavrov
Russia Today, 20 Apr, 2016

Moscow wants groups sabotaging the Syrian cease-fire to be put on the UN terror list along with Islamic State, Russia’s Foreign Minister said...:
“There is much evidence that Jabhat al-Nusra is mimicking and trying to disguise itself under new names, uniting with small groups not included in terrorist lists, hence, trying to escape retribution,” Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.
Lavrov specifically referred to two militants groups, Ahrar Al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam, which are fighting government forces in Syria, saying that Moscow had wanted them to be put on the terrorist list from the start, but had agreed to hold off on its demand as a compromise measure.
“[…] Russia was for those organizations being included on the list of terrorist and extremist groups. At the time, our Western partners, most of whom shared this position, asked us to compromise, because some countries in the region were categorically against those groups being counted among terrorists,” Lavrov explained. “We agreed to that to reach at least some kind of forward movement.”

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

Although extremism is a menace that is harming the entire Muslim world,
few have dared to stand and act against it. Abdulrahman al-Rashed, 22-8-2014

At the beginning of 2012 70 sheikhs from the Syrian Council of Clerics issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that declared jihad in Syria the duty of all Muslims. The sheikhs understood that the call for jihad had to be introduced in phases in order for many Syrians to accept it.
They had noticed that the early protests were limited to social and economic demands, and when Islamist activists would raise slogans calling for the downfall of the regime, many participants would quickly leave. But soon this began to change and the Islamists were able to call for the execution of the president without alienating the protesters.

Syria-Idlib: 2012 - Libya 2012: Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour & Bin Laden - Libya: 2011

Two sheikhs in particular helped lay the groundwork for the rapid growth of Salafism in Syria: Sheikh Mohammed Suroor and Sheikh Adnan al-Arour. Both men were once members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Saudi Arabia....

Suroor (Surur) is credited with creating the juridical framework for the establishment of al-Qaeda by merging Wahhabi Salafism with notions of jihad as espoused by Sayyid Qutb, one of the most influential thinkers of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood executed by Gamal Abdul-Nasser in the mid-1960s.
Suroor left Syria in 1967. In Saudi Arabia he was a teacher in the Mahad al-Ilmi in Buraidah. After leaving Saudi Arabia (1973) he moved to Kuwait where he came out with books in which he clarified the beliefs of the Shee'ah. Then he moved to Germany and then to England (1983) where he eventually settled. There, he produced the Magazine entitled "Al-Sunnah" (defending the 'Sunni-cause' vis-a-vis Shiite and Iranian influence in the region). In 2004 he moved to Jordan.

The Surooris are a radical group founded by Mohammed Suroor. Suroor advocated an ideology refuting traditional Salafism and encouraging religious rebellion, bloody revolutions and civil strife.
This group became notorious for its use of takfirism (declaring rivals as infidels) against governments and intellectuals or anyone who disagreed with its religious and political views.
Suroor is well-known for his declaration that all the rulers of every muslim land are apostates. Suroor claimed that ‘flags’ and ‘pictures of leaders’ are ‘the false idols of our age’.
The group is afraid of ISIS, which considers the Surooris infidels and issued a religious sanction to kill them. The Suroori group is no less evil than ISIS. What happened is that ISIS has outsmarted them in their extremism.

Arour [..] became the preferred point of reference among Salafi sheikhs in Syria, where he played a key role in popularizing Islamist slogans and practice among opposition protesters.

The 69th Anniversary of the Baath Arab Socialist Party
Statement by the leadership of the BASP, 19 April 2016

The 69th Anniversary of the BASP foundation comes at a time while the terrorist groups, supported by Ardogan in Turkey and by the ruling family in S. Arabia, are continuing their war on Syria, flagrantly violating Syria's security, safety and stability, in a conspiracy that targets Syria's people entity and role. It also targets the Baath as an Arab National Movement...
The Baath, with its objectives of " Unity, Freedom and Socialism ", and with its basic and general principles, will make those who seek to defame its thought and practice fail. The party constitution is still alive, and renewable and capable of providing correct and convincing answers to the questions that are posed to the new Arab generation.

The Baath Arab Socialist Party came from the Arab ranks of the Arab masses, who for long times suffered from the control of the colonialist forces and the feudalism and bourgeoisie who spread corruption through applying the policy of "Divide and Role" and transformed the society into a backward one, dominated by clannish, tribalism and sectarianism, in which the ruling minority spread plunder and exploitation.

In its principles, Unity, Freedom and Socialism, it embodied the nature of humanity.
The Baathists embodied in their ideology and attitude the ideal nature of the Arab man, who is prepared to restore his nation role in contributing to the march of the human civilization and the Arab life development. The struggle united them in their love of the nation and their devotion to the work to upgrade it. Therefore, their practices were subjected to the situations of each phase.
It renews itself under the light of the life development, it doesn’t like immobility. It develops itself continuously in order to be the successful ideal for developing the society.
The Baath since its beginnings was a renaissance movement that prepared the circumstances for building the National Project. Its ideology remains inspiring the coming generations.

When the Arab fighters abandon the backward society diseases, their personal and sectarian partiality, for the interest of Major Arab causes, our Arab Nation can achieve miracles and surprise the world by restoring its historical brilliance and civilized status which it deserves.

Arab Nationalisme & Humanism
Scott Morrison, in: Islam, Socialism and Arabism

An essential aspect of Arab nationalism is its humanism. Well-being and the development of human capacities are central.
Michel Aflaq, the chief ideologue of earlier Arab socialist and pan-Arabist parties in the 1940s and 1950s compares nationalism to the ‘soil’ or ‘theatre’ of humanity; humanism is rooted in the idea of the Arab mission. Humanism is, on his view, part and parcel of Arab nationalism:
“Humanism is not a social or political condition that can be achieved materially in history, but a spirit, direction, ideals that take root in the constitution of the peoples and nations, colour their cultures and orient their conduct and morals. Humanism, therefore, accompanies nationalism and is not its follower.”
Aflaq sought to distance Arab nationalism from the western origins of nationalism, and the bloody forms that nationalism often took there. “The similarity between us and the West is in fact very remote or non-existent…Our nationalist movement…started as the most humane response to the oppression of man by man […], to the human condition as a whole. This nationalism has emerged ripened by all the sufferings sustained by us as if we sustained them on behalf of all the peoples of the earth.”

The end of humanism, or:
The Haunting of Aflaq’s Tomb in Iraq
Aron Lund, Carnegie Endowment, March 10, 2014

In 2003 the Iraqi capital fell to the invading U.S. Army. Central Baghdad was sealed off and turned into the Green Zone, a heavily securitized area for government offices and foreign forces, catered to by an anthill of foreign and Iraqi contractors.
The mausoleum of Aflaq, who had dedicated his life to expelling Western forces from the Arab world, ended up inside the Green Zone.
An American civilian contractor visited it in 2006 and found that it had been put to use in unintended ways:
When you look inside, and before you get to the headstone, you pass a foosball table. Weights and a bench press are adjacent to the tomb. The US military has converted the interior to a rec room.
A dusty chandelier is attached to the ceiling, which is decorated with a sort of faux-mosaic. The walls have been covered with wood, for reasons that are not immediately evident. Perhaps to allow for bookshelves? Two stairs lead down from either side of the grave to cramped, makeshift barracks constructed with plywood. There are dozens of soldiers who live beneath Aflaq’s grave.
To have his mausoleum turned into a gym for occupying U.S. soldiers would seem bad enough an afterlife for the man who dedicated his life to radical Arab nationalism. But as it turned out, this was only the beginning of Aflaq’s postmortem tribulations.

A few years later, as the U.S. presence in Iraq drew to an end, the Aflaq mausoleum was turned into a shopping mall. Journalists from the U.S. military magazine Stars & Stripes passed by in 2010 and noted that Aflaq’s grave now hosted a supermarket stuffed with kitsch goods, “selling pirated DVDs, jogging suits and miniature carpets emblazoned with the words ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ to U.S. soldiers and security guards from Peru and Uganda.”
Whatever deeper meaning one might find in this, it was hardly the epitaph that Aflaq hoped for.

Sadr's challenge to Iraq's sectarian [right-wing] politics
Ibrahim Al-Marashi, AL-Jazeera, 22 Apr 2016

12:15 23-4-2016 As a result of protests led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, calling for a new government that can deal with pervasive corruption at the state level, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attempted and failed to get approval for a new (technocratic) cabinet from a recalcitrant Iraqi parliament.
The current political standoff represents the first serious attempt by a leader at the top of Iraq's political system to address a problem inherent to the new Iraqi government since 2003; the quota system that empowers politicians based solely on their ethno-sectarian background...

Tariq Aziz 2001: "I read books about socialism, European socialism"

"We had to find an alternative. There was the communist ideology. There was the liberal system, which we read about in the books. And there was the nationalist movement--the Arab Socialist Party...
When I learned about the Arab Socialist Party, I felt from the very beginning that that's the best choice. It seeks independence and Arab unity. Even before the politicians, we were sympathizing with the Palestinian tragedy. We sympathized with any nationalist movement, and sympathized with socialism, because we belonged to the poor segment of the society and naturally sympathized with socialist ideas and practices. I read books about socialism, European socialism. Therefore, I sympathized with the Arab Socialist Party, and I joined and became an activist. "
After the Iraqi parliament failed to approve a new technocratic cabinet, a demand of Sadr, he ordered the members of parliament who belong to his 'Ahrar or Freeborn Faction' to boycott any future sessions until this measure is reintroduced. Sadr also called on protesters loyal to him to continue holding their sit-in outside the Green Zone, the location of Iraq's parliament and where most of Iraq's politicians reside, to pressure them to accede to his demand.
Nonetheless, Sadr has already scored a political victory, despite the Iraqi parliament's failure to accede to his ultimatum. Abadi's new technocratic cabinet would have entailed the resignation of career politicians, including among Shia politicians.
Regardless of the outcome, Sadr's ultimatum has precipitated an intra-Shia conflict among his rivals, allowing him to emerge as a grassroots Shia and Iraqi nationalist leader, who stands above the fray of partisan Shia politics.
It has also undermined Iran's objectives in Iraq of ensuring Shia political unison, a policy that Sadr believed deprived him of asserting his own presence on the Iraqi political landscape.

The current power-sharing formula in the Iraqi government is a legacy of the US attempt to rebuild the state after 2003.
To inaugurate a break from [Saddam Hussein’s secular 'one party rule' - not a Sunni party but a multi-cultural Baath-party, 65% left-wing Shia, 30% left-wing Sunni]], a political system developed under US tutelage where after each Iraqi election the new government would be "inclusive" of all of the nation's communities.
This notion of inclusivity led to a quasi-mathematical equation where each new Iraq cabinet allocated a proportional percentage of positions to the nation's [anti-Baath] Shias, [anti-Baath] Sunnis, [anti-Baath] Kurds, and other [anti-Baath] minorities.
Abadi's introduction of a cabinet based on a minister's technical skills indicates that governing consensus over the muhasasa, or the ethnic and sectarian quota system, is breaking down.
The muhasasa system guaranteed to Iraq's [right wing Shia] that they would never be ruled by a [Sunni-led left-wing majority].
However, Sadr, himself a Shia, has challenged this system, demonstrating once again that analysing Iraq's politics as a simple conflict between Arab versus Kurd, and Shia versus Sunni, is reductive at best.
As of 2016, Sadr and his followers, who include Shias and other disenfranchised Iraqis, have communicated that a politician's sect or ethnicity is not a prerequisite to administer Iraq.
After years of instability, Iraqis seek leaders who are qualified to rebuild the nation...

The Rainbow Nation

A term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe post-apartheid South Africa, after South Africa's first fully democratic election in 1994. The phrase was elaborated upon by President Nelson Mandela in his first month of office, when he proclaimed: "Each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world." (Wikipedia info)

The term was intended to encapsulate the unity of multi-culturalism and the coming-together of people of many different nations, in a country once identified with the strict division of white and black.
In a series of televised appearances, Tutu spoke of the 'Rainbow People of God'. As a cleric, this metaphor drew upon the Old Testament story of Noah's Flood, and its ensuing rainbow of peace. Within South African indigenous cultures, the rainbow is associated with hope and a bright future.

Mandela versus Paul Bremer
By Juan Cole, Dec. 10, 2013

Every transition from an authoritarian government to democracy is different. Some go relatively smoothly. Others are rocky.... In some cases, the country falls into chaos (Iraq, Yugoslavia).
Nelson Mandela established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.... The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a step toward healing rather than a step toward ethnic violence...

Contrast all this to Iraq after 2003. There, the Bush administration installed vindictive Shiites like Ahmad Chalabi in a “debaathification commission” (the Baath Party ruled 1968-2003). Some 70,000 Sunni Arabs were fired from government jobs for having been party members, even though many members had joined on a pro forma basis.
Since Bush’s Iraq was an attempted capitalist revolution in a socialist country, the administration simply closed down all the state factories, maintaining that they were worthless. The Sunni Arab regions of the center-north and west were swept by massive unemployment. Young men and former Baath army personnel turned to insurgency, were repressed and tortured, creating more insurgency, and the guerrilla war continues to this day... Baath officials have been executed in large numbers, and many others have been killed by sniping and reprisal murders...

Paul Bremer: Governor of Iraq 2003-2004

Bremer arrived in Iraq as the U.S. Presidential Envoy on May 2003, though he did not speak any Arabic nor did he have diplomatic experience in the Middle East. In june Bremer became the country's chief executive authority.
On July 13, 2003, Bremer approved the creation of an Iraqi Interim Governing Council. The council members were chosen by Bremer from among groups and individuals which had supported the American invasion of Iraq. Bremer retained veto power over the council's proposals..
Among his first and most notable decrees were Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 1, which banned the Ba'ath party in all forms and Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 dismantled the Iraqi Army.

Hamad Bin Jaber al-Thani: Saudis Turned on Us in Syria
Alahed News, 22-4-2016

Qatar's Hamad Bin Jaber al-Yhani admits that his country was the prime mover in the Syrian crisis but then Saudi Arabia turned against us and later tried to monopolize the Syrian dossier.
It is three years since HBJ, as he is known in London's financial circles, stepped down as prime minister of the small state of Qatar, part of a deal in which Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the ruler at the time, abdicated in favor of his son Tamim. So powerful was HBJ that the only way for the new emir to rule was for both his father and the prime minister to exit.
As PM of Qatar, he invested in Britain and intervened in the "Arab Spring".

The Gulf's Syria policy is closely associated with HBJ, who was often seen as relishing the rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Doha's larger and more powerful neighbor. When asked about holding some responsibility for the debacle in Syria, HBJ admitted:
"I will tell you one thing and that is maybe the first time I say this: when we started being involved in Syria [around 2012] we had a green light that Qatar would lead this because Saudi Arabia didn't at that time want to lead. After that there was a change in policy and Saudi Arabia didn't inform us that they wanted us in the back seat. We ended up competing and it was not healthy."
Money and weapons flowed but with no clear strategy or direction; the whole enterprise was undermined by bickering and competition between the two Gulf States.
He further pointed out that the same policies used in Syria were followed in Libya, where Qatar and the United Arab Emirates backed opposing sides in the war since the demise of the Gaddafi regime in the 2011 revolution. He acknowledges that in Libya, "There were a lot of cookers in the end. That's why it was spoiled."

qatar's emir & qaradawi: "kill gaddafi - kill assad"

john kerry & the muslim brotherhood supported opposition: "assad has to leave"

Accordingly, the former PM revealed that Iranians were smarter than the Arabs, he was quoted as saying: "I have to admit one thing: they [the Iranians] are more clever than us, and more patient than us, and the best negotiators. Look at how many years they negotiated [with world powers]. Do you think an Arab country would negotiate for so long?"

Thousands attend priestly blessing at the Western Wall
YNet News, 25-4-2016

Thousands of Jews, religious, secular and ultra-Orthodox as well as non-Jewish tourists, gathered on Monday morning at the Western Wall to participate in the traditional priestly blessing during the chol hamoed period of the festival of Passover.
Opposite the worshippers stand hundreds of priests who cover themselves with their prayer shawls and recite the “triple blessing” which is written in the Torah. “May God bless and protect you, shine his face upon you and educate you and grant peace upon you.”
In Israel, the blessing is said during every morning service in which more than one priest participates. However, the days of Passover enable people to visit the Western Wall and receive a blessing from hundreds of priests simultaneously.

The Western Wall is one of the holiest sites for Jews and stands adjacent to the Temple Mount compound which is also holy to Jewish worshippers.

Dispute over the exact location of the Temple:
According to Benjamin Mazar, the Roman fortress Antonia was located on the highest point of the Temple Mount, the current location of the Dome of the Rock. The 1st century Jewish Roman historian Josephus said the Romans kept a whole legion of soldiers (5,000-6,000) at Antonia. The Temples were 600-feet south and 200-feet lower than the Antonia complex, on Mount Ophel, near the Spring of Siloam, which provided water for sacrifices.
An article disputing the location of the Temple was published on the front page of the New York Times in October 2015. The article claimed that it is an open question whether the first and second Jewish temples ever existed at Temple Mount.

(See also: The Temple Revolution)

Not Quite What Herzl Had in Mind
Allan C. Brownfeld, Washington Report on the Middle East, 2013

In 1895, Theodor Herzl was asked by a journalist, “What is your relation to the Bible?”
Answer: “I am a freethinker, and our principle will be: Let everyone seek salvation in his own way.”

Israel’s theocracy is not quite what Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl, had in mind. In fact, Herzl had minimal interest in religious Judaism. Instead of a Bar Mitzvah, Herzl’s 13th birthday was advertised as a “confirmation.”
According to Amos Élon, Herzl considered himself an atheist. Herzl did not envision the inhabitants of his future Jewish state as being religious, but had respect for religion in the public sphere.
In his novel Altneuland, all non-Jews have equal rights and an attempt by a fanatical rabbi to disenfranchise the non-Jewish citizens of their rights fails in the election, the center of the book’s main political plot.
Outlining his vision for a new Jewish state, Herzl summed up his vision of an open society: “It is founded on the ideas which are a common product of all civilized nations… It would be immoral if we would exclude anyone, whatever his origin or descent or his religion, from participating in our achievements. For we stand on the shoulders of other civilized peoples... Therefore, we have to repay our debt. There is only one way to do it, the highest degree of tolerance. Our motto must therefore be, now and forever, ‘Man, you are my brother.’”

In his novel, Herzl directed his wrath against the nationalist party, which wished to make Jews a privileged class in Palestine. Herzl regarded that as a betrayal of Zion, for to him Zion was synonymous with humanitarianism and tolerance — in politics as well as religion.
Herzl wrote: “Matters of faith were once and for all excluded from public influence...Whether anyone sought religious devotion in the synagogue, in the church, in the mosque, in the art museum or in a philharmonic concert, did not concern society. That was his own private affair.”

"Knowledge gives us freedom"

When it came to the question of religion and the state, Herzl wrote: “Shall we end by having a theocracy? Faith unites us, knowledge gives us freedom. We shall therefore prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood.
We shall keep our priests within the confines of their synagogues ...They must not interfere with the administration of the state...Every man will be free and undisturbed in his faith or his disbelief... And if it should occur that men of other creeds and different nationalities come to live amongst us, we should accord them honorable protection and equality before the law.”

What would Herzl think of Israel’s current theocracy and its corrupt and intolerant chief rabbinate? It is highly unlikely that he would be pleased.
American Jewish organizations, which promote separation of church and state in the United States and have led court actions even against voluntary, non-sectarian prayer in our public schools, are silent when it comes to the lack of religious freedom in Israel for non-Orthodox forms of Judaism which, in fact, are practiced by the majority of American Jews. Are they in favor of religious freedom only in societies in which Jews are a minority?
Unlike Jefferson, Madison and Roger Williams, among others, who advocated religious freedom and separation of church and state in our own country as a matter of principle, Jewish leaders seem prepared to accept —and to promote and financially support— a society in Israel which rejects these basic values. That is why, for non-Orthodox Jews, Israel remains the least free society in the Western world.

Influence of Israeli Orthodox in the Jewish State: Although Israeli Orthodox group do not constitute a movement, they are the most extremist constituency among the Israeli population that play a major role in every general election held after the 1967 War. It has considerable impact on the attitude and influence on the political landscape as well as on the Israeli everyday life.
Israeli Orthodox leadership succeeded in blurring the secular Zionist political goals for creating Israel by ejecting from Judaism those elements that were not willing to accept its exclusive jurisdiction [i.e. Jews belonging to the Reform and Conservative.]
Orthodox rabbis, for example, adopted the narrowest interpretation of religious issues as the Jewish immigration reached its peak in the early 1950s to ensure that the newly arrivals to Israel would accept their views. Their effort to “capture” the Israeli Jewish population sentiments was intensified on a much larger scale after the 1967 War.

'Sit down at the negotiating table and reach an agreement': Lavrov
Press TV, Mon Apr 25, 2016

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Turkey exercises a “decisive influence” on the so-called opposition group High Negotiations Committee (HNC) which is in peace talks with the Damascus government.
Lavrov made the remarks on Monday while commenting on the progress of the latest round of negotiations between the Syrian government and HNC, which began in Geneva on April 13.
Syria peace talks are going on despite the absence of the Saudi-backed opposition as the group’s leaders left the talks on April 19 to protest at what they called escalating violence and restrictions on humanitarian access in Syria.
A ceasefire, brokered by Russia and the US, went into effect on February 27 across Syria. Fighting, however, picked up and left the truce in tatters. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has agreed on a six-month deadline for drafting a new constitution for the Arab country in line with the proposal of the International Syria Support Group.
"In order to come to terms over six months it is necessary not to slam the door and dig in heels, as several delegates of the so-called Riyadh group have done, Lavrov said, adding that “it’s no secret” that Turkey has a “decisive influence” on them. "So one should not come for talks with ultimatums but should sit down at the negotiating table and reach an agreement," Lavrov added, noting that the situation at the UN-brokered talks could have been better if HNC had not left Geneva.

The top Russian diplomat also said that Moscow was preparing a report for the UN Security Council to extend the list of terrorist groups in Syria.
"We are currently collecting information that Jebhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) subjugates groups that seemed to have declared truce and readiness to join ceasefire," Lavrov said, adding, "We will summarize facts and present them to [the] UN Security Council to adjust terrorist lists."

Interview with Shaykh Ramadan al-Buti:
"Let us turn to the age of Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifa`i, may Allah sanctify his soul. Now that is an amazing man. He always used to say in his gatherings, in front of his murids, something that he would repeat again and again – that he was not a shaykh, and not a murshid, and warned against people looking at him in that light.
He said in one of his gatherings – and this can be found in his book al-Burhan al-Muayyid – “May I be resurrected with Fir’aun and Hamman if I consider myself better than any one from among you.”
“I am not a shaykh. I am not a shaykh... My name is Little Ahmad, The Nothing. Or better yet, Nothing.." – this is what (Sh. Ahmad ar-Rifa’i) used to say...
I feel embarrassed before Allah when someone from among the people kisses my hand. Because I know myself, and my Lord is One who conceals and veils the mistakes of His servants. He conceals so much… He conceals. I know my shortcomings. I know how much I’ve fallen short in my relationship with my Lord... (islamictext website)

On March 21, 2013 a blast ripped through a mosque in the Syrian capital, killing prominent Sunni cleric Sheikh Mohammed Said Ramadan al-Bouti. At least 42 people have died and 84 more were wounded in the attack. Syria's SANA news agency reports that the scholar's grandson was also killed in the bombing. (Russia Today 2013)

Russia Asks U.N. to List Key Syrian Rebel Group as 'Terrorist'
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 27-4-2016

Russia has asked the United Nations to blacklist a major rebel group that is playing a key role in peace talks to end the Syrian civil war, its ambassador to the UN said.
"The Russian delegation submitted to the UN Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee a request" to add "two organisations: Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham," to a blacklist that includes the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, Russia's ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said in a statement Tuesday.
Churkin said that the two groups are "closely linked to terrorist organisations, primarily the Islamic State group and al-Qaida." The groups "both give (the IS and al-Qaida) and receive from them financial, material, technical and military support," he said.

Mohammed Alloush, a leading figure in Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), is the chief negotiator for the High Negotiations Committee, the war-torn country's main opposition group, at UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva.
The Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam rebel group is the most important in the Damascus province. Ahrar al-Sham is among the most powerful Islamist rebel groups in Syria. Financed by Turkey and Gulf states, it is allied to Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syria affiliate, and fights alongside it around Aleppo and in neighboring Idlib province.

US has rejected the Russian request

The US admits that the two groups are fighting alongside and are “intermingled with” al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, but has rejected the Russian request to classify them as terrorist.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner made it clear that the US wants Russia & Syria not to target AhrarSham & Jaish al-Islam even though they fight alongside Nusra.
The Syrian army is pushing to drive out terrorists from Aleppo with the Russian air support but the deaths of civilians in a recent airstrike in the city have become a lightening rod for criticism. (Press TV, 29-4-2016)

Jordan Bans Lebanon's Mashrou' Leila, Says Songs Contradict Religion
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 27-4-2016

A popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned them from performing because their songs promote religious and sexual freedom.

"Let's forget the times we live in,
and dream of a gentler one...
Jordan's Antiquities Department initially told Mashrou' Leila ("Night Project") it could not perform at a Roman Theater in the capital Amman because the show contradicts the venue's "authenticity."

However, Amman governor Khalid Abu Zeid told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the group was banned because its songs "contradict" religious beliefs.
"The written justification officially provided is that the performance would have been at odds with what the ministry of tourism viewed as the 'authenticity' of the site," the band said on its Facebook site. It said the group, whose singer Hamed Sinno is openly homosexual, a criminal offense in Arab countries, had been "unofficially informed that we will never be allowed to play again anywhere in Jordan due to our political and religious beliefs and endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom".
The band, which has toured several countries, performed in Dubai, and has gigs lined up in North America, condemned what it called Jordan's "censorship" and stressed that it had played the very same Amman venue three times in the past.
For lawmaker Bassam al-Battush, however, the musicians were trying to propagate "ideas which are foreign to our society and our Arab-Muslim culture" with their lyrics about sex, homosexuality, Satanism and "revolts against governments and societies".

The six-member band says on its Facebook page that "with their distinct approach to storytelling and orchestration, they have crafted some of the most melancholic ballads and raucous anthems in contemporary alternative Arabic music".

US-backed SDF Forces Clash With Islamist Rebels Northern Syria
Hidden agreement between ISIS and al-Qaeda-offshoot al-Nusra Front
By Taim Khalil and Siman Jiwan, ARA News, 2016-04-28

Battles renewed between the western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Islamist rebels in Syria's northern province of Aleppo, during which heavy weapons have been used, local sources reported on Wednesday.
Speaking to ARA News, media activist Walid al-Sheikh, based in the town of Sheikh Issa in Aleppo province, said that the Islamist factions of Ahrar al-Sham and the Levant Corps along with other Islamist groups launched a major offensive on positions for the SDF forces on the outskirts of the towns Tell Rifaat and Ain Daqna where both sides exchanged mortar shelling and local-made artillery.
Al-Sheihk pointed out that the rebel groups also launched an offensive on al-Burad area, taking control of the town of Ain Daqna after clashes with the SDF.
"Islamist rebels seek to take control of al-Bailouniya hill which overlooks the town of Tell Rifaat," the source told ARA News, pointing out the battles continue amid attempts by Islamists to storm the SDF-held town of Tell Rifaat.

In the meantime, the SDF leadership accused the Islamist rebels of trying to open the way for the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) to advance in the region at the expense of the Kurdish-Arab alliance [SDF].
"There is a hidden agreement between ISIS and al-Qaeda-offshoot al-Nusra Front pushing ISIS towards areas held by the SDF affiliated group of al-Thuwar Army (Jaish al-Thuwar) after Islamist rebels delivered areas to ISIS," Munir Nasser, a fighter in the SDF ranks, told ARA News.
"Islamist rebels asked civilians to move to the stable areas in northern Aleppo, while the Nusra Front's leadership has tactically decided to deliver the towns of Marea and Azaz to ISIS," a rebel spokesman from al-Thuwar Army said in a statement on Wednesday.

British Labour MP suspended for saying Hitler supported Zionism
Ynetnews, 28-4-2016

Former London mayor and British Parliamentarian Ken Livingstone was suspended by his own Labour Party after he sparked an outcry on by claiming Hitler supported Zionism on Thursday.
In a BBC Radio interview, Livingstone was asked to comment on the scandal that erupted after his party member Naz Shah called to "relocate" Israel to the United States, and responded, "It's completely over the top but it's not anti-Semitic. Let's remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews."
He added that, "The simple fact in all of this is that Naz made these comments at a time when there was another brutal Israeli attack on the Palestinians."
The Labour MP asserted that there was "well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticized Israeli policy as anti-Semitic."

More than 20 MPs called for Livingstone to be removed from the party, including shadow cabinet member Luciana Berger and London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan.
Livingstone later claimed in an interview with Sky News that he was merely "stating historical facts."

Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by scientists who emphasize the observation, explanation, and prediction of real world phenomena.

Zionism And The Third Reich
By Mark Weber,, 2-8-2003

Six months after Hitler came to power, the Zionist Federation of Germany (by far the largest Zionist group in the country) submitted a detailed memorandum to the new government that reviewed German-Jewish relations and formally offered Zionist support in "solving" the vexing "Jewish question."

Zionism believes that the rebirth of the national life of a people, which is now occurring in Germany through the emphasis on its Christian and national character, must also come about in the Jewish national group.
For the Jewish people, too, national origin, religion, common destiny and a sense of its uniqueness must be of decisive importance in the shaping of its existence...
We believe it is precisely the new [National Socialist] Germany that can [..] take a decisive step toward overcoming a problem which, in truth, will have to be dealt with by most European peoples ...
Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group and reject any trespasses in the cultural domain...

Berlin, Germany, 1936, The opening meeting of the ZVfD (German Zionist Federation)
Yad Vashem Photosarchive

On the basis of their similar ideologies about ethnicity and nationhood, National Socialists and Zionists worked together for what each group believed was in its own national interest.
More and more German Jews turned to Zionism during this period. Until late 1938, the Zionist movement flourished in Germany under Hitler.
The Encyclopaedia Judaica notes. A Zionist convention held in Berlin in 1936 reflected "in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists."

The SS was particularly enthusiastic in its support for Zionism. An internal June 1934 SS position paper urged active and wide-ranging support for Zionism...
SS officer Leopold von Mildenstein and Zionist Federation official Kurt Tuchler toured Palestine together for six months to assess Zionist development there.
Based on his firsthand observations, von Mildenstein wrote a series of twelve illustrated articles for the important Berlin daily Der Angriff that appeared in late 1934 under the heading "A Nazi Travels to Palestine."
The series expressed great admiration for the pioneering spirit and achievements of the Jewish settlers.

Gilad Atzmon: "The Left is a dead concept"

For years I have suggested that the Left is Jewish by proxy, but Corbyn’s Labour exceeds the realm of proxy. Corbyn’s Labour is now unequivocally a spineless club of Sabbos Goyim.
The Labour party’s policies are now compatible with Jewish culture: intolerant to the core and concerned primarily with the imaginary suffering of one people only. These people are not the working class, they are probably the most privileged ethnic group in Britain. Corbyn’s Labour is a Zionist Occupied Territory.
I would have never believed that Jeremy Corbyn would engage in such colossally treacherous politics. I did not anticipate that Corbyn would become a Zionist lapdog. Corbyn was a great hope to many of us.
I guess that the time has come to accept that The Left is a dead concept, it has nothing to offer... (26-4-2016)

George Galloway
"The suspension of Ken Livingstone is a crime against Labour. Worse than that, it is a gigantic blunder. The consequences will be grave." (Twitter, 28-4-2016)
"You can't be expelled for telling the truth. Oh, wait! That's what happened to me over Iraq!" (
Express, 29-4-2016)

Flashback 2003: Galloway expelled by Labour
BBC, 24-10-2003

MP George Galloway has been expelled from the Labour Party in the wake of his outspoken comments on the Iraq war.
The Glasgow Kelvin member immediately denounced the decision as "politically motivated" and said Labour would rue the day it decided to throw him out. Mr Galloway predicted he would "certainly" contest the next election as an independent and said he might quit to run against Labour in a by-election.
He faced charges relating to a number of television interviews, including one during the war in which he accused Mr Blair and George Bush of acting "like wolves" in invading Iraq.
The charges faced by Mr Galloway were understood to be that: he incited Arabs to fight British troops, he incited British troops to defy orders, he threatened to stand against Labour, he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston.
Mr Galloway said: "This was a politically motivated kangaroo court whose verdict had been written in advance in the best tradition of political show trials."

US troops in Syria
Press TV, Fri Apr 29, 2016

President Barack Obama announced this week the deployment of 250 more troops to Syria, which would bring the number of US special forces in the war-torn country to 300.
On Thursday, Damascus denounced the arrival of 150 US special forces in Syria, calling it a blatant violation of the country's sovereignty and an aggression. A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said the troops arrived in the town of Rumeilan in Syria's predominantly Kurdish province of Hassakeh in the north. The Syrian statement said the deployment of the troops is a "rejected and illegitimate intervention that was done without the Syrian government's consent."

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that the intervention without the authorization of the "legitimate" Syrian authorities was a "big mistake."
"I've told our American partners repeatedly that this is a big mistake. Just like they received approval from the Iraqi government, they should have obtained approval from Damascus or come to the UN Security Council," he said.
"The fact that they went there illegally reflects, firstly, the arrogant stance that Syrian President Assad heads an illegitimate regime," Lavrov said in remarks published on Thursday.
"And, secondly, in my opinion, the desire to keep their hands untied and be able to use the coalition to attack not only terrorist positions, but perhaps also the regime's forces later on in order to overthrow it, as it happened in Libya."

"We’re getting out of the nation-building business,” says Donald Trump
By Patrick J. Buchanan, April 29, 2016

Two minutes into his speech before the Center for the National Interest, Trump declared that the “major and overriding theme” of his administration will be — “America first.”
Whether the issue is trade, immigration or foreign policy, says Trump, “we are putting the American people first again.” U.S. policy will be dictated by U.S. national interests.

By what he castigated, and what he promised, Trump is repudiating both the fruits of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, and the legacy of Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism.
When Ronald Reagan went home, says Trump, “our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which ended in one foreign policy disaster after another.”
He lists the results of 15 years of Bush-Obama wars in the Middle East: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, trillions of dollars lost, a vacuum created that ISIS has filled.

Is he wrong here? Can anyone argue that our interventions to overthrow regimes and erect democratic states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen have succeeded and been worth the price we have paid in blood and treasure, and the devastation we have left in our wake?
George W. Bush declared that America’s goal would become “to end tyranny in our world.” An utterly utopian delusion, to which Trump retorts by recalling John Quincy Adams’ views on America: “She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”
To the neocons’ worldwide crusade for democracy, Trump’s retort is that it was always a “dangerous idea” to think “we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming Western democracies.”

"We’re getting out of the nation-building business,” says Trump. “Our goal is peace and prosperity, not war,” says Trump, “unlike other candidates, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”
Is that not an old and good Republican tradition?
Military intervention for reasons of ideology or nation building is not an Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan tradition. It is not a Republican tradition. It is a Bush II-neocon deformity, an aberration that proved disastrous for the United States and the Middle East.