Saddam's Death, 71 (may 2016)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 70: april-may 2016, Page 72: june 2016
and Israel & 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)

"The majority of people who imitate philosophers confuse the true with the false, and they do nothing but deceive and pretend knowledge, and they do not use what they know of the sciences except for base and material purposes...
And if they see a certain person seeking for the right and preferring the truth, doing his best to refute the false and untrue and leaving aside hypocrisy and deceit, they make a fool of him and mock him."

Omar Khayyam, 18-5-1048, Nishapur - Persia

Omar has often been called the 'Voltaire of the East', and cried down as materialist and atheist. As far as purity of diction, fine wit, crushing satire against a debased and ignorant clergy, and a general sympathy with suffering humanity are concerned, ‘Omar certainly reminds us of the great Frenchman; but there the comparison ceases. Voltaire never wrote anything equal to ‘Omar’s fascinating rhapsodies in praise of wine, love and all earthly joys, and his passionate denunciations of a malevolent and inexorable. (Klik voor bron)

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)

The Danger of Demonization
By Robert Parry, Consortium News, 17-5-2016

Does any intelligent person look at a New York Times article about Russia or Vladimir Putin these days and expect to read an objective, balanced account? Or will it be laced with a predictable blend of contempt and ridicule? And is it any different at The Washington Post, NPR, MSNBC, CNN or almost any mainstream U.S. news outlet?
And it’s not just Russia. The same trend holds true for Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries and movements that have fallen onto the U.S. government’s “enemies list.” We saw the same pattern with Saddam Hussein and Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion; with Muammar Gaddafi and Libya before the U.S.-orchestrated bombing campaign in 2011; and with President Viktor Yanukovych and Ukraine before the U.S.-backed coup in 2014.
That is not to say that these countries and leaders don’t deserve criticism; they do. But the proper role of the press corps is to treat all evidence objectively and all sides fairly. Just because you might not like someone doesn’t mean your feelings should show through or the facts should be forced through a prism of bias.
In those “old days,” that sort of behavior was deemed unprofessional and you would expect a senior editor to come down hard on you. Now, however, it seems that you’d only get punished if you quoted some dissident or allowed such a person onto an op-ed page or a talk show, someone who didn’t share Official Washington’s “group think” about the “enemy.” Deviation from “group think” has become the real disqualifier.
Yet, this conformity should be shocking and unacceptable in a country that prides itself on freedom of thought and speech.

The West’s demonization of foreign “enemies” is not only an affront to free speech and meaningful democracy, it is also dangerous because it empowers unscrupulous American and European leaders to undertake violent and ill-considered actions that get lots of people killed and that spread hatred against the West.
The most obvious recent example was the Iraq War, which was justified by a barrage of false and misleading claims about Iraq which were mostly swallowed whole by a passive and complicit Western press corps.
Key to that disaster was the demonization of Saddam Hussein, who was subjected to such unrelenting propaganda that almost no one dared question the baseless charges hurled at him about hiding WMD and collaborating with Al Qaeda. To do so would have made you a “Saddam apologist” or worse. The few who did dare raise their voices faced accusations of treason or were subjected to character assassination...

In short, there has been a system-wide collapse of the Western news media as a professional entity in dealing with foreign crises.
So, as the world plunges deeper into crises inside Syria and on Russia’s border, the West’s citizens are going in almost blind without the eyes and ears of independent journalists on the ground and with major news outlets delivering incessant propaganda from Washington and other capitals.
Instead of facts, the West’s mainstream media trafficks in demonization.

Flashback: Demonization a necessity
Wolfowitz: "Economically, we just had no choice in Iraq"
George Wright, The Guardian 4-6-2003

"The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security. Israel's confidence in its security and U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation contribute to the stability of the entire region." Wolfowitz doctrine, 1992

US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already undermined Tony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureaucratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.
The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German newspapers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt.
Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."
Mr Wolfowitz went on to tell journalists at the conference that the US was set on a path of negotiation to help defuse tensions between North Korea and its neighbours - in contrast to the more belligerent attitude the Bush administration displayed in its dealings with Iraq.
His latest comments follow his widely reported statement from an interview in Vanity Fair last month, in which he said that "for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on: weapons of mass destruction."
Prior to that, his boss, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had already undermined the British government's position by saying Saddam Hussein may have destroyed his banned weapons before the war.

Lieberman accepts post as minister of military affairs
Press TV, Thu May 19, 2016

Lieberman 2002: "Our faction will support the government
when its policies are aggressive and criticize it when it is passive."

Hardline Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman has reportedly accepted an offer by embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be the minister of military affairs. The decision came after Netanyahu summoned current minister of military affairs Moshe Ya’alon and reportedly upbraided him for supporting an analogy between Israel's situation and Nazi Germany.
Lieberman, who heads the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party and previously served twice as foreign minister, convened a press conference earlier in the day to talk about his demands. Among his priorities was introducing the death penalty for the Palestinians who are accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis.
“If it is true that we are being offered the defense portfolio, pension reforms and the death penalty bill, that is a respectful offer, it is serious, there is what to talk about,” Lieberman said. “The offers must be official and on the table, without mediators and with full transparency. The prime minister has my phone number,” he added.
Lieberman has on many occasions drawn headlines by questioning the loyalty of Arab minorities in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian lands to the Tel Aviv regime. He has also called on the Israeli regime to treat Palestinian resistance movement Hamas the same way as the United States treated “the Japanese in World War II.”

Uri Avnery & Avigdor Lieberman, 4-1-2003

I have received a lot of curses in my lifetime, and here and there some compliments, too. But I have never received a compliment like this one: an important party, represented in the Knesset, has mentioned my name in its official election platform.
Under the heading "Legislation and strict supervision of organizations and activists of the extreme left", the National Union party's program says:
"We shall anchor in legislation more severe measures, including the cancellation of citizenship, against people like Uri Avnery, Leah Tsemel and refuseniks of all kinds, who are defaming the country abroad.

I don't know whether to be proud, laugh or be angry. To be proud, because my name is used to symbolize the whole peace camp... To laugh, considering the abysmal Chutzpa of this sentence.
The leader of the National Union party is Avigdor Liberman, a person brought up in the Bolshevik education system of Stalin... He has come here when everything was ready, to a state that we have created..., and now demands, no more no less, to cancel our citizenship...

Spinoza: Cursed be he by day; and cursed be he by night
Peter Cave, Philosophy Now, april/may 2016

Three hundred and fifty years ago, Spinoza was excommunicated.
Spinoza was born on 24th November 1632, in Amsterdam (Netherlands). He was given the Jewish name, ‘Baruch’. His father, Michael, and his mother, Hanna, were Jewish immigrants from Portugal.
On the 27th July 1656, at the age of twenty-three, Spinoza suffered the odd curse or two, or three, courtesy of his Amsterdam synagogue, Talmud Torah:

“Cursed be he by day and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down and cursed be he when he rises up. Cursed be he when he goes out and cursed be he when he comes in...
The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.
And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law.”

The curses formed part of the excommunication, the cherem or expulsion from the Amsterdam Jewish community. The Senhores of the ma’amad (the synagogue’s governing board) cited the horrible heresies that Spinoza practiced and taught – but what were they?
Spinoza had published no works by then; but from his teenage years, he questioned the authority of Jewish thinkers and Scriptures. He started his own investigations, attending van den Enden’s free-thinking school, where he learnt Latin, and Descartes’ new science, and philosophy.
The evidence is that by his youthful twenties, Spinoza was treating God as material, a personal afterlife as mythical, and the Jewish Law false. Clearly his treatment of theology did not go down well with the rabbis.
Spinoza’s God is neither the Jewish God of Abraham, nor the Christian God identified with Christ, nor, for that matter, Allah.
His God has no jealousies, rewards or concerns. Spinoza speaks of Deus sive Natura: God or Nature. With the stress on ‘God’ he identifies the active generative aspect of Nature; with stress on ‘Nature’.. There is, Spinoza argues, but one substance – God or Nature. Thus Creator and created are identified.

There is no chosen people - We're all part of one divine world

With God being impersonal ('God' represents the unity of all that exists), the Scriptures could contain no Godly words – for an impersonal God lacks (personal) words. To conceive God as issuing commands, answering prayers, permitting miracles, is to be swayed by superstition.
The Bible is but an historical compilation that could not possibly be written by those it claims. We might rightly admire some moral messages – and Spinoza pays tribute to Jesus Christ – but there is no reason to think the Bible contains philosophical truths.
Understanding Scripture is to understand man-made historical documents. Biblical investigations should proceed on scientific grounds: a controversial doctrine at that time.

Rached Ghannouchi: "We are leaving political Islam and entering democratic Islam"
Al-Arabya|AFP, Tunis, Thursday, 19 May 2016

Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party will separate it religious activities from political ones, its chief said in statements published Thursday ahead of a weekend congress to formalise the change.
Rached Ghannouchi, an intellectual who once advocated a strict application of Islamic sharia law, told French daily Le Monde there was no room left in post-Arab Spring Tunisia for “political Islam”.
“Tunisia is now a democracy. The 2014 constitution has imposed limits on extreme secularism and extreme religion,” he was quoted as saying. “We want religious activity to be completely independent from political activity.
“This is good for politicians because they would no longer be accused of manipulating religion for political means and good for religion because it would not be held hostage to politics.”
Ghannouchi, who is expected to be re-elected as party head barring any last-minute surprise, said: “We are going towards a party which specialises in political activities.
“We are leaving political Islam and entering democratic Islam. We are Muslim democrats who are no longer claim to represent political Islam,” he added.
He described Ennahda as a “political, democratic and civil party” but said its point of reference remain rooted in the values of ancient and modern Islam.
Ghannouchi and other intellectuals inspired by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in 1981 founded the Islamic Tendency Movement, which became Ennahda in 1989.

President al-Assad: "What is built on a wrong principle will definitely fall"
Syrian Arab News Agency, Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad has said that what is happening in Egypt [Mohammed Morsi’s overthrow] is the fall of so-called "political Islam", adding that those who use religion for political interests or for the interests of one group will fall anywhere in the world.
In an interview given to al-Thawra newspaper, President al-Assad said, "You cannot deceive everyone all the time, particularly the Egyptian people who have a civilization dating back to thousands of years and clear pan-Arab nationalist thought."
The President added that after a year the image has become clear for the Egyptian people and the performance of the Muslim Brotherhood helped them uncover the lies made by the Brotherhood in the beginning of the popular revolution in Egypt."
President al-Assad said the experiment of the Muslim Brotherhood's rule failed even before it started because this kind of rule is not consistent with the nature of the people and the project of the brotherhood is hypocritical, because it actually aims at creating sedition in the Arab world.
The President stressed that sedition cannot last in societies that possess knowledge, adding "this is why from the beginning I said their project is a failure before it began and this is what made the Muslim Brotherhood's experiment fall quickly because it is wrong, and what is built on a wrong principle will definitely fall."

Morsi role at Syria rally seen as tipping point for Egypt army
The Irish Times, Jul 4, 2013

Army concern about the way President Mohamed Morsi was governing Egypt reached tipping point when the head of state attended a rally packed with hardline fellow Islamists calling for holy war in Syria, military sources have said.
At the June 15th rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word “infidels” to denounce both the Shias fighting to protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Mr Morsi at home.
Mr Morsi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt’s borders. ...
For the army, the Syria rally had crossed “a national security red line” by encouraging Egyptians to fight abroad, risking creating a new generation of jihadists, said Yasser El-Shimy, analyst with the International Crisis Group.

UAE signs agreement to ensure equality for all religious groups
Haneen Dajani, The National, May 19, 2016

Senior officials from 52 Muslim nations are to meet in Abu Dhabi later this year in a bid by Muslim states to get their own houses in order, demonstrate to the non-Muslim world the moderates’ condemnation of groups such as ISIL and to show that peaceful co-existence can be achieved.
The Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Majority Communities was established during the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies’ latest session earlier this year.
And now the UAE’s leaders are keen on implementing it not only through religious and legal measures but also by integrating it within the education system...

The goal of the forthcoming Abu Dhabi meeting is to include religious leaders from other faiths and religious minorities that live in the Muslim world, such as Yazidis and Ahmadiyyas.
“We will show them that we are doing this for your people, so how can you help us?" forum’s executive director Zeshan Zafar said. “Muslim society should not be doing this alone, so we should be standing, giving them hope we can do something to clean up our mess. What can you do to help with this?"
“In Arab countries we all suffer from categorising this as Sunni and this as Shiite", said Dr Hessa Lootah, a politics professor at UAE University, "so we should understand that Islam is the religion of all humans ... we do not decide who is accepted by Allah and who is not."

The Marrakesh Declaration is a statement made in January 2016 by more than 250 Muslim religious leaders, heads of state, and scholars. The conference, in which the Marrakesh Declaration was signed, was called in response to the persecution of religious minorities, such as Christians and Yazidis, by ISIS. The Marrakesh Declaration builds on historical Islamic sources such as the Charter of Medina.

Israel: The rise of the new 'messianic elite'
By Ben White | Al-Jazeera, 22-5-2016

After intensifying speculation that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would strengthen his coalition by bringing in Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Camp, the Likud leader turned around and announced a deal with hard-right former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
That deal saw Lieberman offered the position of defence minister, whose incumbent, Moshe Ya'alon, resigned both his post and place in the Knesset. In parting shots, Ya'alon declared he had lost trust in Netanyahu, and warned that "extremist and dangerous elements" had "taken over Israel and the Likud Party".
In a television interview on Friday, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak echoed Ya'alon's concerns, claiming that Israel has been "infected by the seeds of fascism".

Fascism: Italy - Messianic leadership: the Duce (Mussolini) - Nationalism - Liberalism|corporatism
Nazism: Germany - Messianic leadership: the Führer (Hitler) - Nationalism ('Blut und Boden') - Socialism

For Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport, the "deeper meaning" of Ya'alon's departure is "a change of elites" within Israeli politics, symbolised by Ya'alon's replacement in the Knesset, Yehuda Glick. Glick, a notorious radical activist within the 'Temple Mount' movement, is "representative of this new, religious and messianic elite".
The appointment of Ya'alon's successor, meanwhile, has prompted concern in many quarters. Lieberman's views are well-known: He has advocated a full takeover of the Gaza Strip, lives in a West Bank settlement near Bethlehem, and frequently questions the 'loyalty' of Palestinian citizens...
While observers assess prospects for change in Israeli policy, one man - Netanyahu - is driven by a determination to solidify a status quo - that of his own power.

Misunderstandings About Jerusalem's Temple Mount
George Wesley Buchanan

While it has not been widely published, it assuredly has been known for more than 40 years that the 45-acre, well-fortified place that has been mistakenly called the "Temple Mount" was really the Roman fortress—the Antonia—that Herod built.
The discovery that the Haram Al-Sharif (temple-mount) had once been the great Roman fortress came as a shock to the scholarly community, which had believed for many years that this ancient fortress was the place where the temple had been.
This news was preceded by another shock, when the English archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon discovered in 1962 that the entire City of David in the past had been only that little rock ridge on the western bank of the Kidron Valley.
The (first and/or second) temple was stationed (600 feet farther south and 200 feet lower in altitude) on Mount Ophel, where the Spring of Siloam poured tons of water under the threshold of the temple every minute (Ezek 47:1)...

After the return of the Jews from captivity, Cyrus authorized the erection of a temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6:3) Construction was begun in 537 B.C. which was the second year after their return.
Work on Herod’s Temple (next to the Roman Fort Antonia) was begun in 20 B.C. Herod replaced the temple that existed when he began his reign.

The Temple Revolution

Syrian Kurds Open 'Mission' in Paris
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 23-5-2016

Syrian Kurds, who in March unilaterally proclaimed the creation of a federal region in northern Syria, on Monday opened a representative office in central Paris with several celebrities attending the launch.
The office is not officially recognised by the French foreign ministry which views the opposition Syrian National Council as the "legitimate" representative of the Syrian people".

The launch of the Rojava office -- the name of the self-proclaimed federal region -- was attended by former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner (in 2010, the Jerusalem Post considered Bernard Kouchner the 15th most influential Jew in the world) and (Zionist) philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.
The move follows the opening of similar representative offices in Moscow, Berlin and Stockholm.
The Damascus government and the Syrian opposition do not recognise the region. Washington has said it will not recognise any autonomous regions the Syrian Kurds set up under their planned federation but it has also said that it will continue to work closely with the Kurds.

National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces
the "legitimate" representative of the Syrian people"
Formation: 11 November 2012 (in Doha, Qatar). Purpose: Opposition to and replacement of the Bashar al-Assad government of Syria. Membership: Council of about 114 members. President: Anas al-Abdah

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, commonly named the Syrian National Coalition, is a coalition of opposition groups in the Syrian Civil War that was founded in Doha, Qatar, in November 2012. The coalition had a council of about 63 members, including 22 members from the Syrian National Council.
The main aims of the National Coalition are replacing the Bashar al-Assad government and "its symbols and pillars of support", "dismantling the security services", unifying and supporting the Free Syrian Army, refusing dialogue and negotiation with the al-Assad government, and punishing the enemies of the Islamist Revolution.

Members of the al-Nusra Front and 13 other armed groups stated in a YouTube video on 19 November 2012 that they "unanimously reject the conspiratorial project called the National Coalition and announce[s] [its] consensus to establish an Islamic state [in Syria]".
A day later, commanders of one of those groups, the Liwaa al-Tawhid Brigade appeared in a video with members of the Aleppo Military Council and Transitional Military Council. They stated that they supported the National Coalition and that the previous day's statement was by "revolutionary forces on the ground" who were not sufficiently represented in the National Coalition.
The head of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, responded to the 19 November statement, saying, "These groups represent a number of military factions on the ground and reflect their position, but not all military forces in Aleppo agree with this..."

By March 2013, at least twenty states had recognized the SNC as ‘the (sole) legitimate representative of the Syrian people’:

The United States issued a press statement on 11 November 2012 congratulating representatives of the Syrians for forming the coalition. The press statement stated that "We look forward to supporting the National Coalition as it charts a course toward the end of Assad's rule and the start of the peaceful, just, democratic future that all the people of Syria deserve..." The United States regards the coalition as "a legitimate representative" of the Syrian people...
On 13 November, France recognised the coalition as the "only representative of the Syrian people" and as the "future interim government of democratic Syria", a move Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister denounced as "immoral".
On 26 March 2013, the Arab League (with the exception of Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon) recognised the coalition as "the legitimate representative and main interlocutor with the Arab League". On 26 March 2013, the Syrian National Coalition was granted Syria's seat in the Arab League.

Mission Statement: All political opposition factions have come together in unity with the goal of overthrowing the Assad regime and bring victory to the revolution both inside and outside of Syria.
The coalition will do everything in its power to reach the goal of overthrowing the Syrian regime and dismantling the security forces and holding responsible parties accountable for crimes against the Syrian people. The coalition will not engage in any dialogue or negotiations with the regime.

Syrian Coalition Calls on EU to Salvage Political Process
SC website, Monday, 23 May 2016

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah called upon the European Union to salvage the political process through reviving the cessation of hostilities agreement and playing a more active role in Syria.
In a meeting with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Monday in Brussels, Alabdah urged the European Union to play a more active role in Syria as the EU is directly affected by the crises unfolding in Syria and the region.
Anas Alabdah emphasized the right to self-defense. He explained that the Free Syrian Army groups have the right to respond to the regime’s violations of the truce. Alabdah also said that the FSA fighters preserve the right to attack regime positions from which attacks are launched against besieged areas, as this is enshrined in the truce and not a departure from the agreement.

Iran, Russia and Turkey have all the potential to neutralize the terrorists
Sputnik News, 24-5-2016

The US is thwarting any possible alliance between Russia, Turkey and Iran to fight the terrorist groups in Syria, Hassan Hanizadeh, former editor-in-chief of the Iranian news agency Mehr-News told Sputnik.
Meanwhile, Washington is using the terrorist groups operating on the ground in Syria as a tool to divide the countries of the region. Thus, the political editor added, the US is interested in keeping relations between Turkey and Russia strained and in stirring tensions between Iran and Turkey. Washington, he explained, is interested in extending its sphere of influence in the Middle East.
His comments come in reference to the recent remarks of Turkish Armed Forces’ former Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug, who called for cooperation between Russia, Iran and Turkey on Syria:
”We need to work together with other countries on the Syrian issue; alone we cannot cope. We need to act together with Iran and Russia, because they want to protect the territorial integrity of Syria… Turkey urgently needs to review its policy on Syria. It is necessary that Turkish relations with Russia get back to normal”, Ilker Basbug recently said in Frankfurt at a Symposium organized by Turkish public organizations.

“The call for cooperation between Turkey, Iran and Russia from such a high-ranking official apparently means that Turkey is gradually changing the course of its foreign policy on Syria and other issues in the Middle East,” Hanizadeh said.
If the current leadership adheres to the words of the former top officer, the political analyst added, the whole region will make a step towards stability, after the five years of the brutal war which has brought political, economic and humanitarian disasters throughout the Middle East.. Iran, Russia and Turkey have all the potential – diplomatic and military – to neutralize the terrorists. However the difference in positions on Syria between the major military circles in Turkey and the country’s leading government remains the stumbling block for the possible alliance.

Turkey’s Syria and Egypt policies were total disasters
By Sedat Laciner, Turkish Monitor, 18-5-2016

After 2010, Turkey became a country which interferes with domestic internal affairs of neighboring countries and its property of being a county trusted by everyone was eroded.
Turkey’s Syria and Egypt policies were total disasters in particular. Turkey directly interfered with internal conflicts of these countries and caused problems in these countries to become even more complex due to these interventions, let alone providing a solution.
As of 2016, Turkey’s relations with almost each and every country worsened...

The change in Turkish foreign policy is undoubtedly related to the change in domestic politics. As Erdogan increased its impact on the Justice and Development Party, the Erdogan-Davutoglu Islamist romance grew in foreign policy.
The Justice and Development Party, which followed a foreign policy similar to that of former Prime Minister and President Turgut Ozal between 2002 and 2010, was influenced by Erdogan’s Islamism after 2010.
According to the new approach, Turkey was supposed to be the leader of the world of Islam and play the role of the leader in their relations with the West. Undoubtedly, at the end of the day, Mr. Erdogan was supposed to be the natural leader of the World of Islam as the Caliph or with a similar title.

We can say that Turkey showed a great shift from goals and principles of the classical Turkish foreign policy during the period after 2010. Turkey’s new foreign policy failed within a short amount of time...
The need for Turkey’s role as a mediator, facilitator and problem-solver is increasing for the balance of the region with each passing day. Turkey is the best candidate. Because Turkey needs the region to be secure and stable. If the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus cease to be secure and stable, security and stability in Turkey cannot be imagined. If the region is good, Turkey is good as well. If the region is getting worse, Turkey has a difficult task in its hands.

US Repeats: We Do Not Recognize Kurdish Local Administrations in Syria
By Wladimir van Wilgenburg, ARA News, 2016-05-24

The US will not recognize any form of sovereignty for Syria's Kurds, while they work with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take Raqqa from ISIS militants, US State Department deputy spokesman Mark C. Toner said.
"We've also made it clear to these Kurdish forces as well that they should not seek to create autonomous, semi-autonomous zones..., they should not seek to retain the territory that they liberate," Toner said on Monday.
"(...) rather that they should make sure it's returned to whatever civilian authorities there are and able to -- so that all displaced people can return there...
"With regard to the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, we've worked with a variety of groups and we've talked a lot about the YPG and the other -- and the Kurdish forces on the ground, and they've been effective partners in going after and, frankly, dislodging Daesh from many parts of northern Syria," the spokesman said.
"That cooperation continues... We provide the same assistance to other groups, Syrian Turkmen and Syrian Arabs who are also on the ground fighting Daesh in parts of northern Syria," he added. Moreover, the US official said they remain in close dialogue with Turkey and understand their 'concerns regarding Kurdish forces in northern Syria'.

The US State Department made clear that the previous visit of US Envoy Brett McGurk and the US CENTCOM commander Gen Joseph Votel to Syria's Kurdish region [Rojava] is not recognition of the local administrations set up by Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.
"It's a recognition that we want to cooperate with these forces.., but it's not to imply any kind of recognition of their sovereignty or whatever," he stated.
"The US is not interested in involving itself in Syria's future and the Kurds' place in it. This is too politically and strategically messy. They are just interested in the Kurds' military utility against ISIS."

US: Jewish community leaders press hard for two-state solution
By Ron Kampeas, Times of Israel, May 25, 2016

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In a rare and sharp split with Israel’s government policy, a group of Jewish community leaders want to get a proposal for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the next president’s desk.
Two complementary US and Israeli working papers (to be launched next week) propose immediate actions Israel can take to prepare the ground for two states and a longer-term security structure that aims to satisfy Palestinian ambitions for sovereignty and Israeli security needs.
Elements of the proposals, including dismantling some settlements now and preparing for Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem, are radical departures from the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current government, perhaps the most right wing in Israeli history.
Tactically, getting the next president to kick-start new talks is also anathema to Netanyahu, who regards outside pressure as counterproductive.

The organization behind the push, the Israel Policy Forum, is not new to such initiatives. It was established in the early 1990s at the behest of late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin...

In the last 18 months or so, the Israel Policy Forum has signed to its board Alan Solow and Robert Sugarman, past chairmen of the Presidents Conference, the Jewish community’s foreign policy umbrella group. Sugarman also is a past president of the ADL.
On board, too, are Robert Elman and Robert Goodkind, past presidents of the American Jewish Committee, and Susie Gelman, a past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and an early major funder of The Israel Project. Solow, Sugarman and Gelman, with Israel Policy Forum staff, met last week with JTA.

Mainstream Jewish groups have long been resistant to openly challenging Israel on security issues,
AIPAC in principle is in favor of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but the prominent pro-Israel lobbying group would never consider getting ahead of the Israeli government in advancing how to define two states as these plans do...
The emphasis of the proposals is on preparing Israel psychologically, politically and militarily for two states while countering what the authors of the Israeli plan describe as “fear mongering” from those who oppose Palestinian statehood.

Last speech of prime minister and minister of defense Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli radical on November 4th 1995 in Tel Aviv.
The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin took place on 4 November 1995 (at 21:30), at the end of a rally in support of the Oslo Accords at the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv. The assassin, an Israeli ultranationalist named Yigal Amir, radically opposed Rabin's peace initiative and particularly the signing of the Oslo Accords.

The assassination was the culmination of an anti-violence rally in support of the Oslo peace process. Rabin, despite his extensive service in the Israeli military, was disparaged personally by right-wing conservatives and Likud leaders who perceived the Oslo peace process as an attempt to forfeit the occupied territories.
National religious conservatives and Likud party leaders believed that withdrawing from any "Jewish" land was heresy. Rallies, organized partially by Likud, became increasingly extreme in tone.
Likud leader (and future Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu accused Rabin's government of being "removed from Jewish tradition ... and Jewish values."
Netanyahu addressed protesters of the Oslo movement at rallies where posters portrayed Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform or being the target in the cross-hairs of a sniper.

Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick (Likud):
"It seems that anyone who has eyes in his head realizes that the option of a Palestinian state no longer exists..." (25-5-2016)

US voices concern over new Israeli coalition
By David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, 25-5-2016

The Obama administration gave Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s expanded coalition a chilly reception on Wednesday, with State Department spokesman Mark Toner saying the Israeli government’s new composition raised “legitimate questions”.
The comments came during a State Department press meeting on Thursday, following the signing of a new coalition agreement bringing the Yisrael Beytenu party into Netanyahu’s government.
Toner said the State Department had “questions” about the future of Israeli government policy following the addition of Yisrael Beytenu and the appointment of Avigdor Liberman as Defense Minister.
"We have also seen reports from Israel describing it as the most right-wing coalition in Israel's history and we also know that many of its ministers have said they oppose a two-state solution," said Toner.
"This raises legitimate questions about the direction it may be headed in ... and what kind of policies it may adopt.”

Sharon & the Palestinian pastrami sandwich

“What is to become of the Palestinians?”
“Oh,” Sharon said, “we’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them.”
I said, “What?”
He said, “Yes, we’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart”.

Winston S. Churchill III (journalist) at the National Press Club, October 10, 2001, recalling his conversation with then-General (res.) Ariel Sharon in 1973

See also Saddam's Death, page 48

Political Zionism & the Wailing Wall - a never ending story
By Vincent Sheean (international correspondent in the 1920s and 1930s), august 1929

When I came to Jerusalem the British had been in possession of the city for more than 10 years. The regime, under which an Arab majority had to be governed without representation until such time as a Jewish majority could be pumped into the country from abroad, was regulated by the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate. The Palestine Mandate, under which Britain was to administer the country in trust for the establishment of a Jewish national home, had been in operation for seven years, but the Zionist immigration policy had slowly made progress, so that by the time I arrived in the country there were 750,000 Arabs to 150,000 Jews. . .

The Zionist Organization was not itself religious, although it possessed a religious right wing.
Its membership professed a wide range of belief in such matters, from agnosticism to orthodoxy, and even included some Jews converted to Christianity; but considered as a whole it was a modern, Western, secular, political body.
Still, the advantages to political Zionism of making a test case of the Wailing Wall were obvious. If the Zionists could get new rights at the Wall-better, if they could get absolute possession of the area-they could count on the adherence of a large number of religious Jews who had always been cold to the movement.
An attempt was made in 1919 to buy the Wailing Wall outright. The Zionists offered (through Sir Ronald Storrs) 80,000 pounds; the Arabs refused to sell.
From that time onward, at intervals throughout the period of the British occupation and the League of Nations mandate, there were "incidents".., and the whole of the Palestine question (the national home for the Jews, the rights of the Arabs, the position of the British) came to be involved in them, so that the Zionist struggle was concentrated upon the Wailing Wall and the Arab resistance aligned before it. The question was no longer religious; it had become political and national as well. . .

Jews who frankly confessed themselves to be without religious belief could not discuss the subject without getting excited.
They did not think they could put petitions into crevices of the Wall (as Orthodox Jews did) and get them received by the holy spirit of the Temple; they did not want the Wall for themselves at all. But they felt that 'the Jewish nation in Palestine' (as they conceived the minority settlements to be) ought to have possession of one holy place, the relic of the Temple (the only relic, as they somewhat loosely believed), and that the genuinely religious Jews, for the most part not Zionists, should have Zionism to thank for it.
The Arabs, for whom they had contempt as an "uncivilized" race, to whom some of them referred as "Red Indians" and others as "savages," were in possession of a place that signified a greal deal to the Jewish world in general.
The fact hurt the pride of all Jews, I believe, but oddly enough it was the young agnostics and unbelievers who were most bitterly offended and expressed themselves most loudly.
What appeared in everyday talk in Jerusalem was what the Jewish Chronicle in London summed up with admirable precision: "The Wall has come to be regarded as a gauge of Jewish prestige in Palestine."

On August 6th (1929) the new door from the Haram Al-Sharif to the pavement before the Western Wall was opened, and the Jewish press and public in Palestine took on a more agitated tone than ever.
Vladimir Jabotinsky's "Maccabees" - young men who followed the Zionist revisionist leader - vied with their favorite newspaper, Doar Hayom (the Hebrew newspaper with the widest circulation), in expressing their vehement dislike for the Muslim authorities, the Palestine government, and the more moderate authorities of the Zionist Organization.
The Muslims were so angry that not a Friday passed without some kind of minor "incident" at the Wailing Wall.

Enemies of modernity: The Maccabees were the leaders of a religious rebel army that took control of Judea, which at the time had been a province of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 164 BCE to 63 BCE. They reasserted the Jewish religion, partly by forced conversion, expanded the boundaries of Judea by conquest and they reduced the influence of Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism. (see also: Zealotry in Jewish history)

Lavrov: Gulf states favor coordinated action of Russia, US-led coalition on Syria
MOSCOW, May 26, 2016, TASS News Agency

The Gulf Arab states have come out in favor of coordinated action of Russia and the US-led coalition on Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday after a session of the Russia-Gulf Cooperation Council strategic dialog.
"We’re unanimous that the threat of terrorism and extremism requires uncompromising counteraction to prevent the triumph of the plans nurtured by the IS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and similar groupings," the Russian foreign minister said.
"We reaffirmed our full commitment to the decisions that were made regarding the Syrian settlement within the framework of the ISSG and the UN Security Council." "Under the Security Council auspices we supported the continuing process of the search for a settlement in Yemen, Libya and a number of other countries of the Middle East and northern Africa and discussed the situation in Iraq."

syria - aleppo - 2014

According to the minister, the US has pledged to achieve separation of the Syrian opposition and Jebhat al-Nusra terrorist group but this has not yet happened.
"The effectiveness of the anti-terrorist operation in Syria is hampered by the situation when many groups of the so-called patriotic opposition are territorially mixed with terrorist groups, first of all Jebhat al-Nusra," Lavrov said at the session in the format of strategic dialogue between Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
"Back in February this year, US colleagues promised us in the framework of ISSG (International Syria Support Group) and via other channels that they will soon achieve through their representatives the separation on the ground between patriotic opposition and Jebhat al-Nusra," he added.

A New Syrian constitution.
Gulf News, Sami Moubayed, May 25, 2016

A new Syrian constitution, drafted by lawmakers in Damascus, was presented to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last March, who in turn gave a draft to his US counterpart John Kerry.
It was debated during the months of April-May by presidential envoys from Moscow and Washington DC, and is expected to see the light, at least in draft, by August 1, as mandated by UN Security Coundil Resolution 2254. If accepted, it would replace the current charter, penned 11 months after the outbreak of the current crisis, back in February 2012.

The new constitution builds upon previous Syrian charters, and notably changes the name of the country from “Syrian Arab Republic” to the “Syrian Republic”, as it had been during 1932-1958.
Removing the word “Arab” has been a pressing demand by non-Arabs who are part of the country’s ethnic diversity, like Syrian Kurds, Armenians, and Turkmen. The Baathists, who are ideologically committed on paper to achieving Arab unity, remain strongly opposed to changing the name of the republic.
Another notable change in the new constitution is omitting Article 3 which says that “Islam is the religion of the President of the Republic.”
This article, in-place since 1920, has always been criticised by Syrian Christians, who claim that it treats them as second-class citizens and bars them from the Syrian Presidency. Removing it now fits in nicely with the Syrian government’s self-proclaimed image of being a secular bulwark against fanaticism and radical Islam, and a protector of minority rights.
The new charter also gives Syrian Kurds (estimated at 12-15 per cent of the population) the constitutional right to use the Kurdish language in their towns and villages, providing it is placed “on equal footing with the Arabic language.”

The new charter also empowers Syrian districts with a strong decentralised system of government, greatly reducing the authority of Damascus. In theory, this means that in addition to choosing their own language, these districts can now elect their own governor, rather than have him or her appointed by Damascus officialdom.
Additionally, local parliaments are now on the table, with full legislative powers, and the right to elect their deputies to serve on a central Syrian Parliament in Damascus. The two parliaments, central and local, would take the same oath of office, and rule side-by-side with the Syrian presidency and premiership.
The post of deputy prime minister, previously in the hands of the Syrian Presidency, is now subject to appointment based on equal representation of all ethnicities and sects in Syria. Meaning, just like in Iraq and Lebanon, if the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, his deputies would have to be Christians or Alawites, Shiites, and Druze.
The cabinet of ministers is empowered to sign treaties on behalf of the Syrian State, like giving foreign companies economic rights in Syria, and to hire and fire state employees, and soldiers.

The word “socialism” has been completely omitted from mention, oath, or economic orientation. The word “Arabise” has also been removed, which was central to the presidential oath in the previous two constitutions of 1973 and 2012.
Constitutionally, the president’s legislative powers have been abolished in the new constitution, and his duty is now to serve as “liaison between state and society.” He nevertheless keeps his authority as commander-in-chief of the Syrian Army...
Finally, according to the new constitutional draft, the armed forces are barred from any political conduct and paramilitary forces and militias are banned.

No draft of a new constitution has been proposed
Damascus, SANA, 27-5-2016

The official Facebook page for the Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic dismissed as untrue the talks and news on drafts of a new constitution proposed to Syria. The official page said that during the past two days, it received many questions regarding what has been circulated by some media outlets on drafts of a new constitution...
”In this context and to avoid any confusion, we are concerned to affirm that no draft of a new constitution has been proposed to the Syrian Arab Republic and all what has been circulated by media outlets on this issue is completely untrue,” the page said.
It added that any new constitution to Syria in the future will not be proposed by outside the country, but rather it will be absolutely a Syrian, with only the Syrian people discussing and agreeing on it...”

2012 Constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic - Preamble

Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation....
... Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth.
The long struggle and sacrifices of our people for the sake of its independence, progress and national unity has paved the way for building the strong state and promoting cohesion between the people and their Syrian Arab army which is the main guarantor and protector of the homeland’s sovereignty, security, stability and territorial integrity; thus, forming the solid foundation of the people's struggle for liberating all occupied territories. ...

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law. ....
... All of this is attainable through a system of fundamental principles that enshrines independence, sovereignty and the rule of the people based on election, political and party pluralism and the protection of national unity, cultural diversity, public freedoms, human rights, social justice, equality, equal opportunities, citizenship and the rule of law, where the society and the citizen are the objective and purpose for which every national effort is dedicated.
Preserving the dignity of the society and the citizen is an indicator of the civilization of the country and the prestige of the state.

See also: Saddam's Death, page 13 (2012)

EU extends sanctions against the Syrian people for another year
Leith Fadel | Al-Masdar News, 27/05/2016

The European Union (EU) has extended the economic sanctions against the Syrian government for another year, the European council announced on Friday.
“On 27 May 2016, the Council extended EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime until 1 June 2017. This decision is in line with the Council conclusions of December 2014 which affirmed that the EU would continue imposing and enforcing sanctions targeting the regime and its supporters as long as repression continues,” the Council said in a statement.
The sanctions include an oil embargo, asset freezes, export restrictions and travel bans.

Extending the EU sanctions on Syria hampers efforts for finding a political solution to the crisis in the country and worsens the suffering of the Syrian people, head of the Baath Arab Socialist Party’s Culture and Information Department Khalaf al-Muftah told Sputnik Arabic on Friday.
Commenting on the European Union's new decision to extend its sanctions against the Syrian government until June 2017, Muftah said the EU sanctions on Syria are illegal and they contradict UN charter and international law, because economic sanctions on any country must be issued by the Security Council only...
He added: The economic issue should be present in Geneva talks and in any solution attempt, because the continuity of economic sanctions has been one of the main causes of prolonging the crisis in Syria and of the flow of refugees and immigrants towards Europe.
Muftah criticized Europe's hypocrisy and claims that it supports political solution in Syria while at the same time it toughens and extends the sanctions on the Syrians. (Syria Times, 29 May 2016)

Kurdish PYD leader: The Baathists & Turkey don't support federalism
ARA News, May 28, 2016

KOBANE – The Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-chair Salih Muslim hosted ARA News in his house in Kobane to discuss the recent developments in northern Raqqa and in the rest of Syria. The PYD co-head dismissed criticism of those who suggest the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) should not lead operations to take northern Raqqa.
Muslim said that the Kurdish-led SDF forces are currently not fighting to liberate Raqqa the city, the operation is only for the countryside of Raqqa, since no administration has been created yet to run the city in the post-ISIS phase.
“We should prepare the administration to run Raqqa after the liberation, consisting of all components living in Raqqa: Kurds, Arabs and Christians. But the council should be mostly Arabs,” he said.
The Kurdish leader blamed the critics of the SDF as supporters of Turkey.
“Most likely Turkey is behind them [those who critic SDF] and they are located in Ankara,” he said... “They [Turkey and its supporters] don’t want any advances for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and they don’t want to have any gains for the Kurdish people inside this federal system and to liberate Raqqa,” Muslim said.
Federalism is not for only Rojava or the Kurdish people, it’s a project for all the Syrian people, while Turkey and its affiliates are afraid of democracy to be implemented in Syria,” he added.
The PYD co-head said they are willing to work with secular Free Syrian Army groups, like the New Syrian Army. “The measurement for us to coordinate with any group politically and even armed forces if they are secular. If the rebel groups [being trained] in Jordan or any other groups accept secularism, we can work with them, but not if they call for the Islamic State, Islamic emirates, or Islamic law,” he added. “Syria can only be secular,” he told ARA News...

One of the big problems for the PYD is that both the Syrian opposition and the Syrian regime reject their participation in the Geneva negotiations. “If Russia and US want it, we could be part of it,” he said. “But Turkey is pushing the Kurds and doesn’t want a political solution in Syria.”
If we are on the table of negotiations, we will push for a political solution,” Muslim told ARA News. “If we fail, we will look for other alternatives. In the end, we are ready to discuss with anyone who is willing to accept this project for federalism for all of Syria,” he said.
However, the Kurdish leader added that the Syrian regime is not ready.
They still have a Baathist mentality and don’t accept others, and want one Syria as a dictatorship ruled by one party as part of the Arab nation,” he said. Also, the Turkey-backed opposition completely rejects any form of federalism in Syria.

Bashar al-Assad 10-1-2012
'The strength of Arabism lies in its diversity'

The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ...
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage. ...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions. It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness.
Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live.
Its strength lies in its diversity. ... The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component.
Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.

Without clear roadmap, Libya unity government fails to bring change
Middle East Online, 29-5-2016

TRIPOLI - Two months after his dramatic arrival in Libya's capital, Fayez al-Sarraj's unity government has won international support but had little impact inside a divided country plagued by jihadists, analysts say.
The head of the Government of National Accord sailed into Tripoli under naval escort on March 30... His arrival sparked hopes of a way out of the political, security and economic crises that have gripped Libya since the [NATO supported] 2011 revolution...
But confined to the naval base where it receives visiting foreign ministers, the UN-backed GNA has yet to draw up any clear roadmap for ending Libya's anarchy and expelling jihadists from their strongholds.

Muammar Gaddafi, leader of the 1969 revolution
See also: Escape to Hell - YouTube video

Its targets of restoring peace and healing divisions born of five years of conflict are being stymied by a rival government in the east that refuses to cede power until a repeatedly delayed vote of confidence in Libya's elected parliament from which it takes its own legitimacy.
The rival administration, which itself had international recognition before the rise of Sarraj, controls eastern Libya through militias and units of the national army loyal to controversial General Khalifa Haftar, a sworn opponent of the GNA.

On the military front, the GNA controls several airports and has militias and army units based in the western region of Misrata, equipped with tanks and warplanes, under its command. But the east-west divide rules out any unified control of Libya's porous borders through which hundreds of thousands of sub-Saharan Africans pour in in search of a better life across the Mediterranean in Europe.
And although Libya holds Africa's richest oil reserves, the economy poses a huge challenge for the GNA faced with spiralling food, transportation and medical costs since the start of 2016.
Internationally, the GNA secured a Western pledge at a May 16 meeting in Vienna to ease the arms embargo in place since Libya's revolution to battle the Islamic State jihadist group.

But for Kader Abderrahim, a specialist on Islamism at the Paris-based Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, "Libyans are fed up with Western interference in their affairs and the fact that they have literally imposed Fayez al-Sarraj can only be damaging for him."

Chaldean Church head: We need a change and a new generation...
people who believe in the homeland and citizenship
Al-Araby (The New Arab), 29 May, 2016

As the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq presses on, the head of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako told The New Arab of his concern for the future of Christians in the country torn apart by militias, IS and government corruption.
Yet despite a US proposed project to arm Christians in Iraq, the Patriarch refused the idea that Christians should be singled out - militarily or otherwise - from a diverse Iraqi community.
"We refused and continue to reject this idea," he said. "Our loyalty is always to the nation and the state."
The Patriarch stressed that young Christians should instead support and help to rehabilitate the regular Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to liberate lands from IS

The Patriarch stresses that although theft within Islam is forbidden, in Baghdad, Basra and some Northern towns theft of Christian property became common, along with the "mad and ignorant" idea that taking property from non-Muslims is permissible.
"Militias, mafias and individuals seized Christian homes and property publicly under threat and intimidation while the government watched," he said, describing the trend as "terrifying" for Christians.
"Daesh is a cancer...a sin against God and religion, and a crime against human rights and civilization," the Patriarch concluded. Yet he traced back many of the problems faced by Christians in Iraq to the US.
"The American role in the region has been negative, not only in Iraq," he said. "Washington came with slogans of democracy, freedom and economic prosperity. Americans dismantled the Iraqi state, demobilised the army, and destroyed the country’s infrastructure," he added.
"They created...sectarianism and chaos in Iraq, and are responsible for what is happening how...Daesh and al-Qaeda are natural products of what they did in Iraq."

Although the Patriarch rejects the division of Iraq into "unrealistic and unatural" autonomous regions, he accepts the idea of some self-determination for various peoples.
"It is the right of all people to think of self-determination," he said... "I suggest that Iraq adopts a de-facto federal system in a civilised manner - on a purely regulatory basis, away from partisanship and sectarian and religious Iraq can maintain unity" he said.
Although Raphael said the role of authorities is "important and essential" to lead to peace and coexistence Iraq, the political classes in the country “failed” to build a new country. "We need a change and a new generation... people who believe in the homeland and citizenship," he said.

The people of the world should ask Western leaders:
Why are you prolonging this war?
By Caleb T. Maupin, May 29, 2016 "ICH" - "Mint Press"

The independent nationalist Syrian government, now being targeted by Western foreign policy, was born in the struggle against colonialism. It took decades of great sacrifice from the people of Syria to break the country free from foreign domination — first by the French empire and later from puppet leaders. For the last several decades, Syria has been a strong, self-reliant country in the oil-rich Middle East region. It has also been relatively peaceful.
The name of the main political party in Syria is the “Baath Arab Socialist Party.” The Arabic word “Baath” literally translates to “Rebirth” or “Resurrection.” In terms of living standards, the Baathist Party has lived up to its name, forging an entirely new country with an independent, tightly planned and regulated economy.
Syria is not a “client state” like the Gulf state autocracies surrounding it, and it has often functioned in defiance of the U.S. and Israel. It is this, not altruistic concerns about human rights, that motivate Western attacks on the country.

One thing that distinguishes Syria from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and various other U.S.-aligned regimes throughout the region is religious freedom. In Syria, Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Jews, and other religious groups are permitted to practice their religious faith freely. The government is secular, and respects the rights of the Sunni Muslim majority as well as religious minorities.
In addition to religious freedom, Syria openly tolerates the existence of two strong Marxist-Leninist parties. The Syrian Communist Party and the Syrian Communist Party (Bakdash) openly operate as part of the anti-imperialist coalition supporting the Baath Arab Socialist Party. Communists lead trade unions and community organizations in Damascus and other parts of the country.
Shortly after fighting began in 2011, the Syrian government granted autonomy to Kurdish regions and transferred political authority to leftist Kurdish nationalist organizations...
Syria’s political system is certainly in need of reform and modernization, and representatives of the Syrian government such as U.N. Ambassador Bashar Al-Jaafari readily admit this. However, the civil war which has raged across Syria for the last five years, is not about reform, democratization or modernization.

US Key Man in Syria Worked Closely
with ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra

Al-Okaidi: "My relationship with
the brothers of ISIL is good" (nov 2013)

The BBC published a “guide to Syrian rebels” in 2013. Among them are not only the infamous “Islamic State” organization, which now horrifies the world, but also the Nusra Front, previously known as Al-Qaida in Syria. Other organizations with names like the “Islamic Front,” the “Islamic Liberation Front,” and the “Ahfad al-Rasoul Brigades” are also listed.
While Western media presents the Syrian civil war as a “battle for democracy” led by “revolutionaries,” the primary goal of almost every insurgent organization is creating a Sunni caliphate — one that does not actually suit Sunnis though, but rather a perverted politicized version of Sunnism...

The Syrian government rallies a coalition of Christians, Communists, Islamic Revolutionaries, and other forces who are fighting to maintain stability and defeat Takfiri terrorism. (The term “Takfiri” refers to groups of Sunni Muslims who refer to other Muslims as apostates and seek to establish a caliphate by means of violence.)
As U.S. media bemoans the humanitarian crisis, somehow blaming on the Syrian government and its president, and the U.S. directly sends its military forces into the country, the people of the world should ask Western leaders and their allies: Why are you prolonging this war? Why can’t you just leave Syria alone?
Isn’t five years of civil war enough? Is overthrowing the Syrian government really worth so much suffering and death?

Two States, One Homeland” movement
Settlers, Palestinians come together to seek EU-model end to conflict
By Times of Israel staff May 28, 2016

A group of Israelis and Palestinians has teamed up in a movement calling for a European-style confederation between Israel and a future state of Palestine, that would allow citizens from both sides of the conflict to live in either country but retain their original nationality.
The movement rejects the idea of separating the two peoples, claiming that reality has proven that such an effort, started 23 years ago with the Oslo Accords, has failed.
One Israeli activist in the movement, journalist Meron Rapoport, said its final goal was to ensure that Jews could live “everywhere they want in the Land of Israel, and Palestinians can live anywhere they want in the land they call Palestine.” Most settlements, in such a scenario, would not be evacuated by force. Rapoport said he dreams of “two independent, sovereign states, belonging to a super-structure, a confederation, a union — the label is less important — that have strong bilateral relations, such as open borders, shared security forces, maybe a shared court of human rights.”

Muhammad Beiruti from Ramallah told Channel 2 that as a member of the PLO he would accept a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines..
Asked by Channel 2 about Efrat, a community of 10,000 Jews south of Jerusalem located inside the territory Palestinians claim for a future state, Beiruti said: “Israelis who want to live in Palestine, in the Palestinian state, they can live anywhere they want — but these will be Arab villages, under complete Arab sovereignty and control, and they will be populated not only by Jews — whoever wants to live here, will be able to. Every Israeli that wants to live in Ramallah and Bethlehem — let them.
“Efrat was established on the land of the village of El Hader. I’m not saying we will expel 10,000 people — let them stay. But they will cease to be settlers. They will be Israeli citizens living in the Palestinian state, or holders of Palestinian citizenship, that’s also OK.”
Beiruti was born in Jordan after the establishment of Israel in 1948, but later moved to the West Bank. After helping establish terror cells and traveling as far as Syria, Lebanon and Tunis, he served a decade in an Israeli prison. Beiruti became Jenin governor following the Oslo Accords.

Two States One Homeland Website::
"Our vision is based on the belief that Jews and Palestinians have in common aspects of culture and identity; a reconciliation between the two peoples will require openness and connection to the greater space. On this basis we have arrived at a set of agreed principles, which can be summed up as “Together and Separate”, or “One land, two states”.
"Palestine / Israel constitutes a historical and geographical unity from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, which should consist of two sovereign states, Israel and Palestine. In these states, the two nations will realize their right to self-determination, and the border between them will be based on the 4 June, 1967 lines and a total cessation of the occupation."
"The Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel would enjoy the rights of a national minority, civil equality, proper representation in government bodies, fair distribution of the state resources and proper representation in the joint Israeli-Palestinian institutions... To the extent that there exists a Jewish minority inside Palestine, it will enjoy identical rights."

Mohammed Alloush (Jaish al-Islam) quits HNC over failed talks
Middle East Online, 30-5-2016

BEIRUT - The Syrian opposition's chief negotiator in UN-brokered peace talks has announced his resignation, branding the stalled Geneva negotiations a failure on both the security and humanitarian fronts.
"The three rounds of talks were unsuccessful because of the stubbornness of the regime...," Mohammed Alloush, a member of the Saudi-backed rebel group Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), said.
"The endless negotiations are harming the fate of the Syrian people," Alloush added. "I therefore announce my withdrawal from the delegation and my resignation" from the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC).

With little high-level negotiations experience, Alloush was a controversial choice as the HNC's chief negotiator. Opposition members have also criticised Jaish al-Islam for its alleged involvement in kidnapping prominent rights activists in the town of Douma.
Syria analyst Charles Lister said Alloush's resignation had been "discussed for some time" and may trigger additional defections, including HNC delegation head Asaad al-Zoabi. Zoabi defected from the Syrian air force in August 2012 and began advising rebel groups in Syria's south from Jordan.

Moscow says Alloush’s walkout to have positive influence on intra-Syrian talks
TASS News Agency, May 30, 2016

The walkout of Jaysh al-Islam’s representative Mohammed Alloush from the High Negotiations Committee will have a positive impact on intra-Syrian talks, Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, has said.
"It will have a positive influence on progress in the intra-Syrian talks," he said. "Those people were taking an absolutely unconstructive approach and apparently they had no intention of negotiating anything good for their country and their people. Those professing such extremist approaches should stay away from the negotiating process."
"In the UN Security Council we officially suggested including Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam in the list of terrorist organizations. The Alloush brothers represent Jaysh al-Islam, which repeatedly shelled the Russian embassy in Damascus and the city’s residential areas, which killed innocent people," Bogdanov said. "Naturally, the members of such organization must be branded as outright terrorists and as people unable to conduct any constructive political negotiations."
Asked by TASS whether Russia regarded Ahrar Al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam as legitimate targets for its air and space group, Bogdanov replied: "Moscow considers as legitimate only the targets that were agreed on within the Syria Support Group and with our US partners.

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. Its primary base of operations has been the Damascus area, particularly the neighbourhoods of Douma and Eastern Ghouta. Jaysh al-Islam is the largest rebel faction in the area. The group along with Ahrar al-Sham are the main rebel groups supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Syria, Russia, Iran, and Egypt have designated Jaysh al-Islam as a terrorist organization. (Wikipedia)

Civilians under siege by Syrian Islamists in Aleppo
ARA News, June 1, 2016

ALEPPO – Kurdish organisations called on the United Nations agencies to deliver humanitarian aid to the Sheikh Maqsoud district in Aleppo, which has been for months under siege by Syrian Islamist rebels.
At least 150 civilians were killed and 1100 others were wounded in the Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo under bombardment by Islamist rebels, led by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and the Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham.
“We are in urgent need for humanitarian aid, people are facing the danger of starvation. We suffer sharp shortage of basic supplies like food and medicines,” rights activist Ali al-Ahmed told ARA News in Aleppo...
Al-Qaeda branch in Syria of Nusra Front, Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham and other Islamist factions have been constantly shelling the Kurdish district since February. Sheikh Maqsoud has been besieged for months, while the Kurdish YPG forces have been trying to push Islamists back.

“The United Nations must take action and save those civilians who have suffered the most under the barbaric military campaign by radical Islamists,” rights activist Ali al-Ahmed told ARA News in Aleppo.
Speaking to ARA News, Luqman Ismail, one of the stranded citizens in Sheikh Maqsoud, said that electricity outage continues for nearly three years because of the barbaric bombardment led by Islamist rebels on the main network of power outside the district.
“These groups are apparently punishing the people of Sheikh Maqsoud for their support to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), who are engaged in fighting with Islamist rebels around the city of Aleppo,” he said.

French, Iranian artists top at Holocaust cartoon contest
Tehran Times, May 31, 2016

TEHRAN -- French cartoonist Zeon, who was arrested for his anti-Zionist work in March 2015, and Iranian artist Arash Forughi have won first prizes at the 2nd International Holocaust Cartoons Contest in Tehran.
Zeon was awarded a cash prize of $12,000 in the cartoon section and Forughi received a cash prize of $7,000 in the caricature category during a ceremony held at the Art Bureau on Monday.
Speaking at the ceremony, the secretary of the competition, Masud Shojaei-Tabatabai said, “One of the subjects we asked cartoonists to focus on was why the Western countries arrest any scholar who doubts the Holocaust while they put no limit on freedom of speech in other categories.” “The other subject was why Palestinians should pay for the Holocaust… we are concerned about the modern Holocaust that is being sought by the Zionist regime, which is known as a child killer government,” he added...
Iran’s House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex organized the second edition of the contest. An exhibition displaying a selection of submissions to the contest was also held at the Art Bureau from May 14 to 30.

2015: Je Suis Zeon: French Freedom of Speech is a Myth, Says Cartoonist
A Frenchman called Zeon, 31, originally from Paris told Sputnik France his striking story. Recently he was arrested by the French government for his caricatures: “On Tuesday March 3, 2015, police broke into my house at 7 a.m. The officers were following orders of a judge and led me to the court and then put me under arrest. I was arrested for a caricature which I drew in 2011 and which was opposed by the organization BNVCA (National Bureau of Monitoring of Anti-Semitism). The organization filed a complaint on me in 2011...”
Zeon told Sputnik that he received support from various people, but noticed that those who claimed to be “Je Suis Charlie” did not extend any support to him.

Holocaust cartoon contest 2016

In first place in the “Cartoon” division was a French cartoonist calling himself Zeon.
His entry depicted an old-fashioned cash register, designed to include the façade of the entrance to Auschwitz, and bearing the words “Shoah Business.” (CNS News, june 1, 2016)

The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, by Norman G. Finkelstein

This study was one of the most widely debated books of 2000. Finkelstein indicts with both vigor and honesty those who exploit the tragedy of the Holocaust for their own personal political and financial gain.

In 'The Holocaust Industry' Norman G. Finkelstein moves from an interrogation of the place the Holocaust has come to occupy in American culture to a disturbing examination of recent Holocaust compensation agreements.
It was not until the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, when Israel's evident strength brought it into line with US foreign policy, that memory of the Holocaust began to acquire the exceptional prominence it enjoys today. Leaders of America's Jewish community were delighted that Israel was now deemed a major strategic asset and, Finkelstein contends, exploited the Holocaust to enhance this newfound status.
Their subsequent interpretations of the tragedy are often at variance with actual historical events and are employed to deflect any criticism of Israel and its supporters.
Thoroughly researched and closely argued, The Holocaust Industry is all the more disturbing and powerful because the issues it deals with are so rarely discussed.

Thoroughly researched, this is a disturbing and powerful argument indicting with rigour and honesty those who exploit the tragedy of the Holocaust for their own personal political and financial gain. It concludes that the Holocaust industry has become an outright extortion racket.

Netanyahu: Jerusalem is 'The Temple Mount'
Jerusalem Post, 1-6-2016

Israel does not need to apologize for or justify its presence in the Jewish people’s historic capital of Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday during a Knesset meeting in honor of Jerusalem Day.
Netanyahu inveighed against the UNESCO decision last month ignoring Israel’s ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. “It’s so absurd, so ridiculous; I can’t get over it,” he said. The prime minister detailed Israel’s ties to the ancient city since the time of King David and through the First and Second Temple eras.

The temple: A center of power?

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

Opposition and coalition politicians taking part in the discussion sparred over whether Jerusalem should remain united or be divided once again, as they marked the start of the 50th year since the Six Day War, in which the Old City was liberated.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein mocked those who say that the hope of thousands years to return to Jerusalem did not include Shuafat or other Arab neighborhoods in the city’s east: “That is a mistaken and misleading argument. When King David sat in Jerusalem and wrote songs about the Holy City, he wasn’t talking about Rehavia or Talbiyeh [in western Jerusalem]. He simply wrote about Jerusalem,” Edelstein said.
“I suggest we all return to the consensus that knew to stand up to the world and say ‘Jerusalem is not up for negotiation’ ” Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin stated. “[The Left] thinks that in order to save Jerusalem, we have to divide it. We’re in charge, so Jerusalem will not be divided..."

Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union), however, said that the idea of a united Jerusalem is an “illusion,” and the city is part Palestinian, part Israeli.
“Jerusalem will not remain Jewish, moral, whole and safe if there is not a dramatic diplomatic change,” he argued. “If we don’t urgently – without delay and without excuses – make an agreement between two nations, or at least move toward it and create peace, both nations will continue to be gripped by death and live at each other’s throats.”

"It was a gift from God to the Jewish people. "
Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post 1-6-2016

It is time to put an end to this political slouching and for Israel to reassert its dominion and control over the city we waited 1,900 years to return to.
The first step toward truly liberating Jerusalem is to free ourselves of fear. , every time a Jewish building project is approved in our capital city, and we should begin to restore order in areas where Palestinian Arabs have been consistently breaking the law and doing as they please. And let’s stop discriminating against Jews on the Temple Mount, where they are treated as second-class citizens and harassed for wishing to commune with their Creator.
Winning the Six Day War was a miraculous first step in liberating eastern Jerusalem and restoring it to Jewish control. It was a gift from God to the Jewish people.

Religious Zionist doctrine holds that Jewish redemption – the arrival of the king messiah – will be achieved through conquering and settling Eretz Yisrael. Territorial withdrawal is perceived by Religious Zionists to be a reversal of the unfolding of messianic events they believe to be happening before their eyes. (Mondoweiss, 31-5-2016)

The Wailing Wall, a never ending story
"English archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon discovered in 1962
that the entire City of David in the past had been only that little rock ridge
on the western bank of the Kidron Valley..."
Jerusalem & the city of David

God can have many homes - The Temple as idolatry
By Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post, 10/29/2015

You shall not make for yourself a carved image —
any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath,
or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them
(Exodus 20)

The Temple that today's zealots idealise was actually an engine of social corruption, religious fanaticism, and political recklessness.
It takes no atheist, secularist or leftist, just an impartial reader of the Jewish sources, to understand that the Temple’s combination of money, clergy and impressionable masses produced cynicism, evil and abuse.
The place where ritual sacrifices abounded while money changed hands, animal blood flowed, carcasses’ odor invaded nostrils and mouths chewed meat, ultimately appalled people like Isaiah, who said God was asking what Middle Israelis now ask those who today crave yesteryears’ rituals: “What need have I of all your sacrifices?
The “offerings of rams” and the “blood of bulls,” in Isaiah’s words, became corruption’s camouflage and faith’s perversion once in the hands of those who “pray at length” while “stained with crime,” people who while strict about the Temple’s rituals failed “to uphold the rights of the orphan” and to “defend the cause of the widow.”
The corruption the Temple unleashed eventually resulted in the buying and selling of the high-priesthood while the lay priests, absorbed by the rituals they administered and the funds they collected, ignored the spiritual purpose those were meant to serve...
Worse, the Temple inspired the uniquely Jewish delusion that loyalty to a shrine can replace a nation’s loyalty to its land.

Our zealots are rejecting Zionism’s two empirical conclusions from centuries of exile – that a nation can have only one home, and God can have many homes. They have sculpted an idol and then turned to worship in our name what now is a Moloch thirsting for everyone’s blood.

Israel Is Fighting Your War
Gilad Atzmon, 3-6-2016

In a video 'Israel Is Fighting Your War', produced by the Hallelu Foundation, a Jewish giant attempts to save European civilisation. The giant struggles to save Europe from Islamic invasion. Eventually - after being attacked - the giant gives up and lets Europe be squashed.
The producers of this film no longer present the video on their site.

The truth is slightly different. The entire mess in the Middle East that has led to an immigration tsunami and millions of displaced refugees is the direct outcome of Israeli warmongering, relentless prowar Jewish lobbying (AIPAC, CFI, CRIFF, etc) and Zionist driven neocon immoral interventionist wars. It is Israel and the Jewish lobby that are directly responsible for the havoc in the Middle East and beyond.
However, in the video, the colossus Jew attempts to save Europe from Isis and Islam. In an act of heroic self-sacrifice the giant Jew puts his life on the line and locates itself between Isis and Europe.
In the film the Jew colossus rock is a vengeful character and untrustworthy.
People in Europe are supporting the BOYCOTT Israel movement: They don't support the occupation...
So, the SAVIOR allows the Isis stone to squash little Europe into oblivion.

No Support? Then Face Destruction

"THE STATE OF ISRAEL is the Middle East’s only real democracy. Founded upon humanistic values, it is the only true friend of the West in the entire region." "We believe that exposing the amazing truth about the State of Israel will lead to global support for Israel..." Hallelu Foundation Israel

Right Wing Israel: 'BDS supporters are modern Nazis'
By Nitsan Keidar, Arutz Sheva, 4-6-2016

Last week, communication and strategy consultant Roni Rimon attended a conference focused on fighting BDS, which was organized by Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. While there, he guided groups of students in how to oppose the phenomenon.
"We need to actively go after members of BDS," he told Arutz Sheva, adding: "We need to fight against them and any group, university or company that boycotts Israel. We need to denounce them, expose them and shame them." He explained that anyone who gives in to BDS should be revealed as someone who wants to destroy Jews around the world.
Rimon also supports taking extreme steps in the fight. "I think that the comparison between BDS and Nazism doesn't need to be limited to lectures. I think that we -- the State of Israel and Jews around the world -- should simply label anyone who supports BDS as modern Nazis. "We simply need to compare these people to Nazis - because they have effectively revived the theory of race, which calls for destroying the Jews only because they are Jews."

Israel hosts anti-BDS conference at UN
Israeli envoy says movement represents ‘modern-day anti-Semitism’
By Cathryn J. Prince, Times of Israel, June 1, 2016

More than 2,000 people attended a conference at the UN General Assembly aimed at combating the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement... Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the opening session via video.
In his opening speech, Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that the BDS phenomenon amounted to “modern-day anti-Semitism,” and that those who wanted to fight it “must unite to reveal its true face and put an end to its ideology of hatred and lies.”
“Here, from the parliament of Nations, we commit to fighting BDS on campuses, in the courts and in the halls of the UN. We will not allow the forces of hate to demonize Israel. Together, we will defeat BDS,” Danon said.
Ron Lauder, president of the WJC, said the World Jewish Congress would “commit all of our resources, and all of our abilities, to help fight BDS.” “These activists are calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. Make no mistake.”
During the session on BDS activity on campuses, students listened to suggestions on how to counter Israel Apartheid week, an annual spring event, which includes “Apartheid” walls and checkpoints. Ideas included holding an Israel Week on their campus, an Israel Education Day, and building relationships with groups across campus.

On Thursday, the World Zionist Organization and American Zionist Movement will host “BDS – The New anti-Semitism? Confronting a Global Campaign.”

Flashback: Likud Jockeying: Danny Danon
'Ideological Alternative' to Netanyahu
By Ari Yashar, Israel National News, 28-11-2014

Likud Central Committee head MK Danny Danon, currently challenging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in primaries for leadership of the party, criticized Netanyahu on Friday morning in a meeting with Likud's "Nationalist Camp" faction leaders in Psagot, to the north of Jerusalem.
"The path of the prime minister is problematic," stressed Danon. "While he speaks 'right-wing' recently, in every process of his tenure he acts 'leftist.'"...

Danny Danon (born 8 May 1971) is an Israeli politician. He was a member of the Knesset for the Likud party, and served as the chairman of World Likud.
World Likud is the Likud Party’s wing for global communication and networking. World Likud branches are located worldwide and maintain contact with the Jewish communities outside of Israel. Ideological founders like Zeev Jabotinsky and Joseph Trumpeldor remain inspirational icons within the movement and likewise continue to inspire World Likud activities. Proudly serving under the ideological platforms of its past and present leaders, World Likud aims to increase support for Zionism using its global branches.

MK Danon: The settlers are the pure Zionists of Israel today.
Arutz Sheva, Malkah Fleisher, 10/4/2010

Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria have found a friend in Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon.
The 39 year-old rookie MK, who is seen as one of the prime minister's biggest critics within his party – as well as a rising Likud star – has made himself a champion of new building efforts...

In an interview with Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher Danon explained why he is dedicated to the cause.
"We were elected on a very clear platform to build and to settle the land," he said. "If the prime minister would have told the voters that we will not build in Judea and Samaria, he would not be the prime minister today, and I would not be in the Knesset today.
Likud members are sending a clear message to the prime minister: we support you, but you must stay loyal to the way, to the platform. Otherwise, you will have no support."
According to Danon, it is a matter of survival. "We have to be very strong now. ... We have to be very strong today, because we will face the issue of Jerusalem, settlement, borders… I can only imagine the amount of pressure that will be brought to bear upon us."
MK Danon urged the United States to relent on that pressure, in the name of democracy. "We want the American people to respect democracy in Israel, to respect the sovereignty of Israel, where we tell Jews they can build everywhere in the [land of Israel]."
For him, that right is not just a fundamental part of what Likud stands for, but a core Zionist value. "When you have Jewish homes on the ground, this is pure Zionism..."

Flashback: Revisionists are an obstacle to peace
Albert Einstein, Manhattan Opera House 22-4-1935

Albert Einstein Declaring that the Revisionists are “inner enemies,” Prof. Albert Einstein urged the establishment of friendly relations with the Arabs and warned against viewing Palestine merely as a place of refuge.
“Under the guise of nationalist propaganda,” Prof. Einstein said, “Revisionism seeks to support the destructive speculation in land; it seeks to exploit the people and deprive them of their rights.
The state of mind fed by Revisionism is the most serious obstacle in the way of our peaceable and friendly cooperation with the Arab, people who are racially our kin.”

Dec. 2, 1948: Open Letter to the New York Times

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.
It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachen Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States...
It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world [..] could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority...

See also: Saddam's Death, Page 62 - Hannah Arendt

Naftali Bennett: the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people
YNet news, 6-6-2015

Addressing the an international peace initiaitve which was held in Paris on Friday, Bayit Jehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said: “There are those, in Israel and abroad, who attach themselves to different Arab initiatives, according to which we would have to divide the land, divide Jerusalem and return to the 1967 lines. The world pressures and we think there is a need to appease them. On this evening, I say to those people: That will never happen. We all stand as a (bulwark) to ensure that our country is complete. We won’t stutter, we won’t be confused and we won’t zigzag.”
“The time has come to state unequivocally that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people: in Hebrew, English, Russian, French, in the summer, in the winter, when there are elections or when there are not elections. Why? Because the world is listening to us, to every word. The world recognizes weakness just as it recognizes strength. The world recognizes and smells when we are unsure of our rights to the land and attacks us with a series of boycotts,” he declared.

'Apartheid' Only Solution: Speaking to Channel 2, Bennett said believes in “Palestinian autonomy” which would be achieved by Israel imposing full sovereignty over Area C which constitutes 61 per cent of the occupied West Bank. According to his “Stability Plan” plan, Palestinian can rule over Area A without any Israeli interference, but without real independence. He suggested that those living in Area C, which includes mostly illegal settlements, are given the choice to have Israeli citizenship. (Middle East Monitor, 6-6-2016)

Following Bennett’s attacks against Netanyahu, which have been launched over the past few weeks, new Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman sent a message to Bennett, advising him to "relax":
“I take this opportunity to call upon my friends – first and foremost to my good friend Minister Naftali Bennett – to calm down. We have less need for declarations right now. We need coordinated, combined and quiet efforts."

Leftist Professor Says Jewish Home MKs 'Worse than Le Pen'
By Yaakov Levi, Israel national News, 7-8-2014

Professor Ze'ev Sternhell, long known for his sharp criticism – bordering on incitement, many on the right say – said that he was frightened by the gang” of Economics Minister Naftali Bennett and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (both of Jewish Home).
Sternhell made the comment in what appeared to be a leading question by a reporter from the radical-left Haaretz newspaper, who asked “is there something that frightens you in the political system?”
They are the most dangerous people,” he said. “[Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman is a little less frightening, because he does not have the religious fervor the other two have.”
Bennett and Ariel, he said, “along with the right wing of the Likud are truly dangerous people because they do not understand what democracy is. They do not understand what human rights are. They truly hate the Arabs, and there is no way for them to coexist with them. They have things in common with Marie Le Pen,” the right-wing French leader accused of racism, xenophobia, and fascism. “In some ways Le Pen is to the left of them.
“If Prime Minister Netanyahu really wants to get into the history books, he must disband this coalition and the Likud and build a new centrist government based on support from the left. And he should not be ashamed to garner Arab MKs to support this coalition,” he added.

Flashback 2005: Ariel Sharon resigns as leader of the Likud
The Guardian, Tuesday 22 November 2005

Ariel Sharon caused the biggest upheaval in Israeli politics in nearly three decades by resigning as leader of the ruling Likud party yesterday, saying that Likud is unfit to run the country.
Mr Sharon said that in leaving the party he had helped found he was putting the good of the country ahead of his personal political interests:
"The Likud in its current format cannot lead Israel to its national aims... Remaining in the Likud means a waste of time in political fighting," he said. "The task in front of us is to create a base for a peace agreement in which will we will create the permanent borders of the state while demanding the cessation of terror.

See also: Saddam's Death, Page 42

Syria: ISIL Strongholds near Raqqa Hit Hard in Russian Airstrikes
FARS News Agency, 3-6-2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian fighter jets carried out several combat flights over ISIL's positions in Southwestern Raqqa and targeted them heavily.
The Russian warplanes targeted the ISIL positions along the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway, which ended in the killing or wounding of tens of the militants. The Syrian Army troops advanced towards East Raqqa under very good coverage of the Syrian air fleet.
In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the Syrian army, backed by the Desert Hawks brigade, started full-scale military operations to drive back the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group from its de-facto capital of Raqqa.
According to field sources, the Syrian forces started the operations from Ithriya region which links Aleppo to Hama, a strategic area which separates the Syrian army and the ISIL's positions.
The army and its allies began the offensive by artillery attacks, supported by airstrikes, against the Eastern parts of Raqqa.
Field sources said that the operations were aimed at taking full control of Raqqa province concurrently with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)'s advance in the Northern borders of the province.

Raqqa: An Icon of 'The Revolution'
Syria Untold, 18-1-2014

In late March 2013 Raqqa was the first major city to be completely 'liberated' by Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda in Syria) and Ahrar al-Sham. The rebels declared Raqqa to be an “icon of the revolution”.

The city of Raqqa fell into the rebel’s hands on March 4, 2013 after fierce battles between the regime’s army and opposition militias, composed mainly of the Ahrar al-Sham Brigade and, to a lesser degree, al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq.
Al-Nusra soon set up its headquarters in the city’s town hall. The vacuum left by the fleeing regime forces was filled by local activists who formed several groups, including Our Right and the Raqqa Free Youth Assembly.
Al-Nusra front undertook a soft approach to infiltrate the town through handouts and influencing local mosque Imams. At the same time, two simultaneous and competing town councils were formed. The first, presided on by Saad Fahd al-Shweish, was elected from local figures, but with no input from the activists. The second, led by Abdullah Khalil, was formed by the Syrian National Council (SNC) and declared from the town of Urfa in Turkey.
Disagreements between the two councils soon came to the fore... Attempts to unite the two competing councils failed. This bickering gave al-Nusra ample opportunity to quietly, but steadily, strengthen its presence in the city.

raqqa - 'icon of the revolution' march-may 2013

The following month (april 2013), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the creation of ISIS, demanding the subsuming of Jabhat al-Nusra under this structure. ISIS captured Raqqa in a bloodless move from al-Nasra Front who retreated to the town of al-Tabaqa. This set the stage for an unequal confrontation between ISIS and the significantly weakened civil society forces in the town. The situation was compounded by the ongoing bickering between the two city councils and allowed ISIS to assert its control over life in the city. Additionally, the FSA, occupied in the battles against the 17th Division on the front, balked in the face of ISIS and avoided any military confrontation with it.

ISIS subjected the city to a reign of terror through a policy of arbitrary detentions and systematic torture. The next phase of ISIS’s rule involved a systematic manhunt against all local notables, activists and city council members. ISIS soon started applying their own rules on the city including special taxes on commercial establishments in return for protection, strict laws for women’s dress codes as well as interfering in the educational process to segregate female and male schools with heavy fines imposed on those that defy them at first, while later arresting them as heretics and shutting down the institutions.

In his assessment of the situation during ISIS’s term, a local activist felt that “our own cowardice allowed ISIS to grow. We never had the courage to call their crimes, even though we knew they were behind it. Our fear brought even greater fear to the average citizens of the town.”

Ahrar al-Sham was founded by members of Al Qaeda and maintains links to AQ’s core leadership. While neither group formally claims a partnership, senior AQ officials, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, openly mourned Ahrar al-Sham leader Abu Khalid al-Suri when he died. Additionally, AQ posted video of Suri attending an Afghan training camp and photos of him with Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Similarly, after Ahrar al-Sham leader Hassan Abboud was later killed in a bombing, senior AQ figures mourned his death on Twitter. One of those senior figures, Sanafi al-Nasr, has also claimed that AQ sent experienced jihadists to assist Ahrar al-Sham in Syria, while another senior leader claimed that Abboud had been in contact with Zawahiri. It regularly cooperates with AQ affiliate Jabhet al-Nusra in battle and has coordinated military operations with them since mid- to late-2012 (stanford web, november 2014)

Syria forces launch new offensive
the aim is at least to reach Tabqa -
Press TV, Fri Jun 3, 2016

The Syrian army has launched a new major offensive to liberate the northeastern city of Raqqah from the clutches of the Takfiri Daesh terrorists. The Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper said in a report on Friday that the new operation, backed by Russian airstrikes, does not expect to reach the Daesh-held Raqqah city “in the coming weeks,” but the aim is at least to reach Tabqa, some 50 km (30 miles) west of Raqqah.
On Thursday, the Syrian army announced that it had started a new operation against the terrorists in the Athriya area of eastern Hama province, some 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Tabqa and 50 km (30 miles) from the provincial frontier with Raqqah. Syrian troops are focusing on eastern and northern areas of both Homs and Hama provinces “in the direction of Daesh gatherings.”

Syria Army Thrusts into IS Bastion as Kurds Advance from North
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 4-6-2016

Russian-backed Syrian troops pushed into the Islamic State group's bastion province Raqa, threatening to catch the jihadists in a pincer movement as US-backed Kurdish-led fighters advance from the north. The lightning advance from the southwest with Russian air support brought the army to within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Euphrates Valley town of Tabqa, site of the country's biggest dam...
The dam, 40 kilometers (25 miles) upstream from the jihadists' de facto Syrian capital Raqa city, is also the target of the Washington-backed offensive which Kurdish-led fighters launched late last month.
It was the first time that government troops had entered Raqa province since they were ousted by IS fighters in August 2014. When IS overran the area with its garrison and airbase in 2014, it summarily executed 160 captured regime troops.

Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by Washington have launched an assault on the strategic Manbij pocket further up the Euphrates on the Turkish border, regarded as a key entry point for foreign jihadists.
Washington has deployed more than 200 special forces troops in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which it regards as the most effective fighting force on the ground against IS in Syria.
The SDF controls a large swathe of northeastern Syria along the Turkish border and another border enclave in the northwest. The SDF's offensive against the Manbij pocket is aimed at seizing the last stretch of border still under IS control and denying the jihadists any opportunity to smuggle in recruits and funds.
The US military said the assault had captured more than 100 square kilometers (40 square miles) of territory from IS this week.

Washington's support for the SDF has strained relations with NATO ally Ankara (Turkey) as its largest component is the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Ankara regards the YPG as an arm of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has fought a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state. To allay Turkish concerns, Washington has sought to boost the Arab element in the SDF particularly as it advances into non-Kurdish areas.

Bulletin of the Russian Centre for reconciliation
of opposing sides in the Syrian Arab Republic (June 3, 2016)

Negotiations on joining ceasefire regime have been continued with field commanders of armed opposition detachments active in the Aleppo, Homs, and al-Quneitra provinces. The number of ceasefire application forms signed with leaders of armed groupings has remained 60.
The ceasefire has been observed in most provinces of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Jaysh al-Islam formations, which had claimed to belong to the opposition, have performed mortar shelling against positions of the Syrian Armed Forces in Arbil and Harasta, and twice in Jaubar sector of Damascus.
Groupings of Jabhat al-Nusra international terrorist organization continue performing provocative actions aimed at breaking the ceasefire down. Within last 24 hours, shelling with improvised artillery and mortars has been performed against Sheikh Maqsood, al-Muhafaza, al-Zagra sectors of Aleppo, al-Nairab airport, and Handrat village.
In the north-east of the Latakia province, terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra have shelled positions of the government troops near Iqqo, Ard al-Wata, Zaitunjik. They also attacked positions of the Syrian Armed Forces in direction to Saraf and Kinsibba for two times.
More than 200 terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra international terrorist organization have illegally passed Syrian-Turkey border near Beisun and attacked positions of the Syrian Armed Forces.
Near Binnish (Idlib province), significant concentration of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists (about 1,000 men) is observed. Terrorist formations are armed with automobiles with large-caliber machine guns and up to 25 air defence systems.

Flashback: "The color grey in patriotism is no longer acceptable"
President Bashar Assad's Speech At the People's Assembly, June 04, 2012
Syria Times, 5-6-2016

Today you start your legislative role at a critical juncture whose dangers go beyond all the dangers faced by Syria since the evacuation of the French occupation. This gives you an exceptional role in dealing with two forces going in opposite directions.
The first force pushes backward and tries to weaken Syria and violate its sovereignty and perpetrate acts of killing, sabotage, ignorance, backwardness and serve the interests of foreign powers.
The second force pushes forward and is fully determined to implement reforms which have materialized in a package of laws and a new constitution and which has broadened popular participation in managing the affairs of the homeland.
If standing in the face of the regional and global attack against our country is not an easy task, accommodating ourselves to the reforms and strengthening them is not easy either. Through these reforms we counter a significant part of this attack and build strong fortifications against regional and international ambitions in our country.

A lot has been said about the political solution since the beginning of the crisis... The political process is moving forward, but terrorism is growing and hasn't subsided. Terrorists are concerned neither with reform nor with dialogue. They are criminals who have set themselves a task; and they are not concerned with condemnation or denunciation. They will never stop until they complete their task regardless of anything. They will never stop unless we stop them. Not distinguishing between terrorism and the political process is a great error made by some people...

A lot has been said about dialogue. Some of those who do not like slogans say that they are mere empty slogans and some have unknowingly turned dialogue into an empty slogan.
Where are the plans or visions for such a dialogue, and who are the parties concerned with dialogue. Who conducts dialogue with whom? What are the issues that the parties discuss in this dialogue? Who are these parties and what is their relationship to the events? And how can we ensure that these parties represent the people or a certain segment of the people?
In principle, the only basis is the elections. But these forces have run away from elections claiming that they have boycotted them.
When you boycott the elections, you do not boycott the state, the government or the ruling party. You boycott the people because elections are the right of the people and because the voter is the citizen, not the state and not the party. Consequently, how can any person stand in front of people and say I represent the people yet I boycott the people. This is an impossible contradiction. It cannot happen even in an imaginary movie.

Ismail Tamer: Patriotic Song

Syria is the homeland of all its children no matter how much their opinion differed as long as the differences remains peaceful and democratic and for the sake of the country, not against it... The color grey in patriotism is no longer acceptable...
When there is a national issue, when the issue is between my homeland and other countries, I am certainly with my homeland; otherwise I would be a traitor. So, patriotic grayness is not acceptable, and I'm not talking about political grayness. Some people stand in the patriotic grey area and claim that it is a political position. And that is why I am making the distinction.
In this context, and from the beginning of the crisis, some people have said that the president should be the president of all the Syrian people. To be precise, I say that the president is the president of all those who stand under the roof of the homeland, the constitution, and the law.
For those who are looking for a president without a colour, a taste, or a smell, for a country the richest in colour and the best endowed with the taste and odour of its ancient history, I tell them that my colour is that of this people which encompasses the spectrum of sovereignty, resistance, dignity and love. All the other colours related to terrorism, sectarianism and the other things which we have seen recently are alien and do not belong to us and they will ultimately diminish and disappear...

The tasks ahead of us go beyond national borders. If some outside Syria have sent our people death and destruction, we will provide their people with a civilized model to use as an example in gaining their freedom and becoming partners in their countries instead of having rulers who own the land and the people. Then, we will receive messages of humanity from our brothers in free countries instead of receiving advice about democracy from countries of slavery...
Our guiding light is always Syria's sovereignty, independent decision, territorial integrity and the dignity of its people.
Always remember that individuals are ephemeral while the people is eternal; and that state positions come and go while the homeland is always there. I wish you every possible success in the tasks you are charged with in this first legislative course.

Syrian Parliament to Be Headed by Woman for First Time in History
Sputnik News, 6-6-2016

Hadiya Khalaf Abbas was elected as the Speaker of the People's Council of Syria, becoming the first woman to hold the post.
Syria held parliamentary elections on April 15 with over 3,500 candidates contesting the 250 seats in Syria's parliament. Ballot stations were set up in 12 of Syria's 14 provinces, as the northern province of Raqqa was still under the control of Daesh terrorist group and the northwestern Idlib province was controlled by al-Nusra Front. The newly-elected parliament held its first session on Monday.

Hadiyeh Khalaf Abbas was born in 1958 in Deir Ezzor. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Engineering from Aleppo University. She held positions at the National Union of Syrian Students (Deir Ezzor-Raqqa branch) and she was a member of the leadership of the Deir Ezzor branch of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party (1988-1998).
Abbas is the first woman to have held this position since 1919, when the first national parliament was formed, called the Syrian National Congress. The 1953 Syrian constitution was the first to give the right of suffrage to women. In the first legislative term of the People’s Assembly (1973-1977), there were only five women out of 186 members. This number rose to 31 women out of 250 members in the first legislative term of 2012-2016. (SANA, 6-6-2016)

The People’s Assembly elections for the second legislative term were held on April 13th. The eligible voters in Syria numbered 8,834,994 people, of which 5,085,444 voted in the elections, with a participation rate of 57.56%.