Saddam's Death, 78 (october 2016-part 1)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 77: september 2016 and Page 79: oct-part 2
Israel & The Temple Revolution & The Kivunim Plan 1982
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

"A lot of rulers today still view principled people as a burden to them"

"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






"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon

"Having principles is necessary in any talks, as they constitute a reference for the process of negotiating..." "Since the beginning of Geneva 3 talks, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic proposed a paper of principles that forms a basis for the talks. [...] There have been no real talks until this moment and the paper of principles has not been answered to.." Bashar al-Assad, speech 6-6-2016

"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. (Source)


Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: "I do not say anything for certain"

Those who do not possess enough knowledge of Islam and the young men who are not fully conversant with the Islamic problems, have no right to meddle in the exposition of the Qur'an. But if they still try to misinterpret it for some ulterior motive of theirs, our youth should ignore their interpretation and pay no attention to it.
Islam does not allow anybody to interpret the Qur'an according to his personal opinion or private judgment.
Anybody who tries to impose his own opinion on the Qur'an is either a materialist misinterpreting the Qur'an or is one of those who give some spiritual meaning to the Qur'anic verses.
Both these groups interpret the Qur'an according to their own wishes. Therefore it is necessary to keep away from both of them. As far as the Qur'an is concerned our hands are tied. Nobody is allowed to attribute his opinion to the Qur'an and claim that the Qur'an says so....
The interpretation which I am going to give is only a possible interpretation. When I explain any verse of the Qur'an, I do not claim that the verse means only what I say. I do not say anything for certain. I am hinting a possibility only. (www.al-islam.org)

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)

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres has died at a hospital near Tel Aviv

Peres was admitted to Sheba Medical Centre in Ramat Gan two weeks ago, where he was intubated and sedated. Doctors expressed cautious optimism in the days immediately following his hospitalization.
As foreign minister, Peres was the one to finalize the interim Israeli Palestinian Oslo Peace deal.
While it did not turn into a lasting treaty, in 1994 he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, along with the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Peres has been a staunch advocate of the two-state solution with Palestine, trying to boost the process following Rabin's assassination in 1995. However, his position in the matter weakened following a string of suicide attacks by Palestinians and mounting pressure from Israeli nationalists. (Russia Today, 28-9-2016)

Shimon Peres in Hiroshima, 1997:
You must understand that you have to learn all the time.
If you are too strong, you will lose your eager to negotiate.

Science and technology, can they be neutral?
Are they independent from the cultures?
No, the long range missiles can hit a target on the other side of the globe in a few second. The use of science and technology should be carefully examined. Otherwise, we will do the same thing again as we dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima.
We have had five wars in the last 50 years. We have developed the emotion that we hate one another, enemies. For us, our enemies are killers. It is very difficult.
We need to compromise. It is like a relation between a wife and a husband. We have to face to our enemies and to negotiate with them.
If you are too strong, you will lose your eager to negotiate. This is the point.
We have to pay the price for understanding the enemies. We understand that.
History tells us that. If you kill more, you have to kill more to protect yourself. So, it pays off. It is reasonable to pay the price.
Educate people, build a science and technology based industry, develop an innovative society. These things are becoming more and more important in modern societies.
The continuation is the key thing. To defend your culture, arms are useless, though arms are useful to defend your border.
Universities become more important to educate young people. The world is changing so much.

We need to learn "how to learn." We have to teach our children how to learn to work together, to communicate, etc.
The new age has arrived already. We have to create a better world for our children.

Hiroshima Peace Forum 1997


Settlers leader: 'Peres played a role in the settlement enterprise'
Benny Tocker, Arutz Sheva (ideology: religious Zionism), 29/09/2016

No need for Universities.

We need 'the Land'!

Daniella Weiss, former mayor of Kedumim and a leader of the Nachala settlement movement, recalled Shimon Peres’s contribution to the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.
The left talks about Peres’s sin, the beginning of the massive settlement in areas liberated during the Six Day War. Even though the breakthrough was in Gush Etzion and in Hevron with Rabbi Hanan Porat and Rabbi Levinger, the signing of the Sebastia agreement with Shimon Peres was actually the beginning of the massive Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria,” Weiss told Arutz Sheva.
“It is not for nothing that the left refers to the Sebastia agreement as Shimon Peres’s ancient sin. I remember we gave him a bouquet of flowers. He took this historic step even though he did not agree with our being in Judea and Samaria,” she added.

At the same time, Weiss continued, one cannot ignore the Oslo Accords and in this regard, Peres made a huge mistake.
“He thought of a new Middle East, but the exact opposite happened and Peres made a bad mistake,” she said. “Peres’s contribution to the breakthrough in Samaria compared to the damages of Oslo and the illusion of a new Middle East is an historic contribution, and I am happy that there is settlement in the midst of the terrible chaos of Oslo.
Thank God that the settlement enterprise began 40 years ago, and we will only grow from here,” concluded Weiss.

Taub: Supporting settlement is an anti-Zionist stance.

"The grounds for resisting the settlers’ enterprise are not only the right of Palestinians to self-determination but also the right of Jews to self-determination. Zionists and their allies must therefore oppose further settlement, for Israel’s, not just Palestine’s, sake."

"On the premises of secular Zionism self-determination is the over arching principle, and a Jewish democratic state is the goal.
On the premises of religious Zionism redeeming the land is the overruling imperative.
The logic of each thus negates that of the other.

Liberating people? Or enslaving people? That's the question

Mainstream secular Zionism is doubly undermined by the settlers’ creed: morally, and politically.
Zionism would have to decide if it is about redeeming land, or about liberating people. If it is about liberating people, it would have to give up the occupied territories. If it is about redeeming land, it would end up enslaving people.

Gadi Taub, assistant professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 3-10-2010

Flashback: Tunisia doubles scholarships for Palestinians
Middle East Monitor, 21-6-2016

Tunisia has doubled the number of scholarships it issued to Palestinian students, Felesteen newspaper reported Palestinian Education Minister Sabri Saidam saying.
One hundred scholarships were made annually however this year, Tunisia is offering 100 scholarships for undergraduate degrees and a further 100 for postgraduate studies. Twenty scholarships were allocated to Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The announcement was made during a visit by Tunisian Ambassador to Palestine Al-Habib Ben Farah’s visit to Saidam’s office in Ramallah.
During the visit, Saidam hailed the Tunisian support for Palestinians and the Palestinian state... Meanwhile, Farah announced his country’s readiness to support Palestinians in all fields, mainly education, noting the real investment is in this field as it qualifies the new generations to bear future responsibilities.

Dr. Sabri Saidam, Minister of Education,
State of Palestine - Government website

Our mission is: To prepare human beings who are proud of their religious values, national identity, country, and their Palestinian, Arab and Islamic culture;
who contribute to the development of their society; who think critically and actively seek knowledge, innovation and creativity;
who interact positively with the requirements of scientific and technological development and are capable to compete; who are open to other cultures and regional and international markets;
who are capable of building a society based on equality between males and females and upholding human values and religious tolerance;
and build up an education system which is accessible, diversified, multiple, flexible, effective, efficient, sustainable, responsive to local needs and qualitative.


Hanan Ashrawi & International Law
Palestine Chronicle, July 7, 2016

Exclusivity & Polarisation

"The world is still paying for the mistakes of the post WW II and the cold war era with all its “-isms” and “the end justifies the means” approach.

Instead of the promise of an inclusive, interactive, and integrated global approach to human development and conflict resolution, the new ideology is threatening to impose an artificial construct of exclusivity and polarization, not only as a parallel to the past paradigm, but also as a source of tremendous injustice and conflict." (read more here)
PLO Executive Member, Hanan Ashrawi, denounced Israel’s plan to expand three illegal Israeli settlements around the Jerusalem area. The aim is to build hundreds of residential units to accommodate more Israeli settlers...
Ashrawi said the Israeli government is bent on destroying the viability, integrity and territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital simply. It aims to isolate Jerusalem from its Palestinian environs and ethnically cleanse the occupied city of its indigenous population.
Ashrawi added, “The continued theft of Palestinian land and the increase in settlements constitute serious and grave threats to security and tability within the region and beyond”. She further condemned the use of collective punishment against around Palestinians in the Hebron area.

The expansion plans come two days following the release of the Middle East Quartet’s report, which flagrantly accommodates Israel’s demands and violations, equates a vulnerable people under a brutal military occupation with a ruthless occupier and falls below the minimum requirements for peace, according to Ashrawi.

“We call on all members of the international community to uphold their moral, legal and political responsibilities and to hold Israel to account for its blatant violations of international law and consensus”.


Abbas at the UN General Assembly: Britain gave our land to another people
Monoweiss, September 23, 2016

By the end of this coming year, 100 years will have passed since the Balfour Declaration, and 70 years since Al-Nakba of the Palestinian people, and 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
Yes, 100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.
This paved the road for the Nakba of Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land...

We ask Britain to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibilities for the consequences of this Declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people..

The Nakba: Catalyst for pan-Arabism
Arab governments under British influence were complicit in Israel's creation.
Lamis Andoni, Al-Jazeera, 13-7-2009

One of the narratives often repeated in the West is that the Arab states sent their armies to crush the nascent state of Israel in 1948. But by miracle and might, the tiny entity emerged victorious over "the organised armies" of seven Arab countries.
But there is a different story that became pivotal in the shaping of modern pan-Arab nationalism, and collective Arab memory: "the great armies", mainly of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq were neither well-equipped nor really independent.
The Jordanian army was under the command of the British military, while Egypt - under King Farouq - and Iraq - under King Faisal II - were acting under British political influence.

Palestinians found no relief from the Arab armies who could neither prevent the dispossession nor loss of their homeland.
Reasons for the defeat are not to be found in the alleged cowardice of Arab soldiers. Rather, they are linked to the continued legacy of colonialism and of Arab government complicity, which rendered the intervention of these armies a tragic joke in Arab memory.


Bashar al-Assad: last representant of pro-Palestine Arab Nationalism
In 1948, King Abdullah I of Jordan accepted a compromise allowing Israel's creation in return for Zionist and British approval of the continuity of the Hashemite Kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan.
And in Egypt and Iraq, the pro-Western governments did not possess the wherewithal to act independently as they relied heavily on Britain.

The failure of Arab governments to prevent the Nakba gave impetus to the formation of an organised ideological pan-Arab nationalist movement.
Nationalists labelled the defeated Arab governments "lackeys of imperialism" and called overthrowing them a prerequisite for stamping out colonialism and liberating Palestine.
The two goals of bringing down western-backed governments and the liberation of Palestine became the rallying cries of all nationalist movements - from the Baath party to the pan-Arab Nationalist movements (Qawmeyoun Al Arab) and their offshoots.

Rick Sterling: "If the UN did what it is supposed to do,
the conflict in Syria would rapidly end"
Fars News Agency, 30-9-2016

To review the developments surrounding Syria, FNA spoke to Middle East expert Rick Sterling

- Q: Since the beginning of civil war in Syria in March 2011, the corporate media began depicting it as a democratic movement against a “dictator killing his own people.”
However, as the time went by, it became clear that it was not a revolutionary movement, but a proxy war. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, France and the United States joined the fighting against President Assad and the bloodletting intensified. Why did these countries intervene...?
- A: The motivations vary but prominent reasons include economic interests and geopolitical reasons. Qatar and Turkey want to be the major provider of natural gas to Europe. [Moreover], Saudi Arabia attacks Syria to get at Iran.
Israel joins the attack on Syria to get at the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance. The US, UK and France want to preserve and extend their dominance over the Middle East. Behind it all is the stated US goal from the mid 2000’s to “remake” the Middle East.
This plan serves the existing sectarian states, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and undermines the development of effective national and international resistance.

- Q: You wrote in one of your articles that the US-NATO regime change plans in Iraq and Libya have left disastrous impacts on the health, education, labor and economic sectors in these countries and reduced the living standards of the native populations. Could the same plan of regime change, if implemented successfully, lead to similar sad results in Syria, or could improve the life of the Syrians?
- A: Illegal, violent and externally driven “regime change” has a consistent history: It leaves disaster, mayhem and division in its wake and long into the future... I see no examples where externally driven “regime change” has made things better. Foreign-sponsored regime change seems to always rely on violence and corruption and leave the population worse off.
In the process, enormous amounts of money are wasted instead of being put to positive use. The western public is brainwashed into accepting this through a heavy propaganda campaign.

- Q: Why has Israel been so overtly taking sides during the civil war in Syria and supporting the extremist militia and terrorists with arms and logistical backing?
- A: Israel has much at stake in the conflict. Destabilizing or overthrowing the government in Damascus is their dream. Why? Because Syria has continued to support the Lebanese Resistance; Syria has continued to support the Palestinian cause; Syria has been unwilling to acquiesce and collaborate as Jordan and Egypt have done; Syria has given Palestinian refugees and their descendants the rights to a decent standard of living, work and education. Syria has stood as an Arab nationalist, secular alternative to religious supremacist state like Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Israel is quite happy to see Syria be driven into sectarianism and bloodshed because it takes the light away from Israeli sectarianism and racism. The strategy of Israel is consistent: drive your enemies into violence and sectarianism to weaken them and distract from Israeli violence and sectarianism.

Q: There’s a humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria. Who is responsible for this chaotic situation? Are the international bodies able to address this crisis and help the affected Syrians?
A: Who is responsible? Clearly it is the countries who promoted, supplied and paid tens of thousands of foreign and domestic mercenaries and fanatics. There is very good reason that the Nuremberg Principles says that the instigation of war is the “supreme international crime”.
The conflict in Syria erupted and continues for just one reason: the huge ongoing sponsorship of this war of aggression by foreign governments.
A tiny percentage of Syrians support a violent overthrow, sectarianism and strict Sharia law. Without popular support within Syria, they would have given up or disappeared long ago except for the foreign interference and flooding of Syria with foreign fanatics.
The UN has failed badly. Instead of publicizing the supreme crime, the UN has ignored it.
Instead of addressing the root cause of the refugees, the UN has tried to ameliorate the symptoms while looking the other way even as terrorist agents bribe more desperate refugees to continue the conflict.
If the UN did what it is supposed to do, the conflict in Syria would rapidly end.



Mary, symbolizing most important values in Islam: Compassion & Mercy
(Salafist rebel Omar Gharba 2012 & Syrian Arab Army)


Russia hails OPEC oil production deal
Press TV, Fri Sep 30, 2016

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that the recent deal reached by the OPEC countries on curbing oil production was “positive.”
The Russian minister also expressed Moscow’s willingness to continue consultations with OPEC members. He added that Russia intends to keep its oil production at current levels, while reiterating that Moscow would like to see prices climb to between 50 and 60 dollars a barrel.
“The prices that we announced earlier within the margins of 50-60 dollars are comfortable prices that could satisfy the interests of producers and the interests of consuming countries at the same time. In my opinion, it could be the most stable variant for today.”

OPEC members agreed in an informal meeting in Algeria on Wednesday to limit production in an effort to raise the low crude prices. They decided to cut production by 750,000 barrels a day.
Iran, however, has been exempted from the decision because of its exceptional situation of having been under sanctions for a number of years. Since the removal of nuclear-related sanctions targeting its oil industry in February, Iran — which is OPEC’s third largest producer after Saudi Arabia and Iraq — has been boosting production in order to reach previous levels and has rejected calls on the country to freeze production as unfair.
Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said on Thursday the agreement demonstrates that the organization is still “alive.”
Referring to the deal, he said, “The fact that, in spite of differences within OPEC, this decision was made was a success for OPEC, and the decision showed that... OPEC is alive and can decide in the interest of its members at critical times.”

Iraq: US-led coalition said it will continue to attack ISIS in Mosul.
ARA News, October 1, 2016

ERBIL – The US-led coalition said that ISIS has some 3,000 to 4,500 fighters in Mosul, and that there are no signs that the radicals are leaving its main bastion in northern Iraq.
“We think anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 [ISIS] fighters are in Mosul, somewhere in that ball park. It’s a mixture of Iraqi and foreign fighters,” US-led coalition’s spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian said.
However, Saudi fighter of ISIS, Abu Azzam al-Muhajir, told ARA News they have at least 7,000 fighters in Mosul, the ISIS main bastion in northwestern Iraq. “Also, there are still 500,000 civilians living in Mosul, and they will not accept to return to the central government’s authority and be ruled by the Shia,” al-Muhajir told ARA News.

The US-led coalition said it will continue to attack ISIS in Mosul. “They show no signs of really trying to leave Mosul at this point. Really, what they’ve done is they’ve continued to dig in, build elaborate defenses and so we’re really ready for a tough fight there,” Colonel Dorrian said.
“The Iraqi security forces have been well trained to do urban style warfare. That’s one of the things that we’ve done for refit. We are expecting [ISIS to have] a mixture of Iraqis and foreign fighters. They do continue to flow in and some of them are fixed in place there,” he added. The US-led coalition official said that at least 8 to 12 brigades of the Iraqi army will march on Mosul. “We think it’s going to be a very large battle..."


Russia sends more warplanes to Syria as battle for Aleppo rages
ARA News, October 1, 2016

DAMASCUS – Moscow is sending more warplanes to support the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the war on rebels and radical Islamists, officials said on Friday. This comes amid intensifying violence in Aleppo, as Russia continues to support a major offensive on rebel-held areas east of the city.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday that Moscow was ready to consider more ways “to normalise the situation in Aleppo”. However, with Islamist factions controlling ground in the city, Russia is prepared to intensify its air campaign on Aleppo, according to the official.
Regaining Aleppo from the rebels would be a main victory for the Syrian government.
“The battle for Aleppo could determine the future of the ongoing conflict in Syria,” Syrian journalist and political analyst Ayman Azzawi told ARA News. “Aleppo is the largest and most important city involved in this war, and neither side would give up on it easily,” he said.

2,500 militants remain inside the eastern Aleppo neighborhoods
Al-Masdar News, 30-9-2016

The supreme commander of the Syrian Armed Forces in Aleppo, Major General Za'id Saleh, told Al-Masdar News on Wednesday that only 2,500 militants remain inside the eastern Aleppo neighborhoods.
Lifting the siege on the east Aleppo neighborhoods is one of Jaysh Al-Fateh's main objectives during this upcoming offensive; it will also require a large number of military personnel to break-through the Syrian Arab Army's defenses again.
According to local reports from the Aleppo Governorate, Jaysh Al-Fateh, specifically Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), has prepared at least 20 VBIEDs (vehicle borne improvised explosive device) for this upcoming offensive, along with amassing thousands of fighters.
This might be the last chance for the jihadist rebels reestablish themselves in the Aleppo Governorate because they have lost a considerable amount of territory over the course of three years.

Zaid Saleh: The terrorist groups are using civilians as human shields
Zen Adra, Al-Masdar 30/09/2016

Head of the security committee and commander of the military operations in Aleppo, Major-General Zaid Saleh, said that the Syrian Army and allies are tightening the noose around Islamist rebels in eastern Aleppo, accusing them of using civilians as human shields to hamper the Army advance.
"The terrorist groups are using civilians as human shields to prevent the Army from targeting them. They heavily depend on US and Turkey to supply them with weapons. But we won't allow this to happen; they can't fight the Syrian Army forever", Major-General Zaid told Al Masdar News.
The military commander made clear that moderate rebels 'who might have – at one point – involved in hostile activities against the Syrian Army' still have the chance to lay down their arms and have their status settled.
"Terrorist groups such as Al-Nusra Front and Nour al-Din al-Zinki – who originally refused to abide with the recent ceasefire – must be fought against to be either killed or ousted out", he commented.
Major-General Zaid held the US responsible for derailing the ceasefire since it hasn't pressed on the rebel groups to halt the hostilities. He noted that more than 100 civilians and Army soldiers have been killed in rebel attacks during the implementation of the agreement.

Al-Nusra Front, sometimes called al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant, is a Sunni Islamist militia fighting against Syrian Government forces, with the aim of establishing an Islamist state in the country. It was the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda until 2016, when it declared itself 'independent' (like ISIS - another Al-Qaeda group - did in 2014). Both are Salafi jihadist militant groups that follow a fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam.


Martin Kobler: Don't support the militias
"No group should be in possession of weapons"
Libyan Gazette, 30-9-2016

Martin Kobler, the UN envoy to Libya, called on the international community to support the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and to do what is necessary to prevent illegal arms trade to Libya.
Kobler addressed the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva and said there are “positive signs” regarding the management of Libya’s oil production and exports in addition to ensuring revenue from oil sales are going to the country’s central bank. However, the North African country continues to be crippled by violence, corruption and lawlessness and overwhelmed by the refugee crisis
In his address, Kobler noted that, to an extent, the political deadlock in Libya is caused by the House of Representatives’ (HoR) lack of support for the GNA.
“Libya is witnessing the unfolding of dangerous military developments,” said the UN representative referring to General Khalifa Haftar’s forceful takeover of Libya’s major oil fields and terminals.
Haftar, who is backed by the (anti-Islamist) HOR, is fighting against Islamist brigades and armed groups in Benghazi who are refusing to succumb to his rule. He has also refused to cooperate with the GNA...

Libya, which has a population of 6 million, has 26 million weapons, according to Kobler. He emphasized that every UN member state must uphold the arms embargo and not send weapons to any group in Libya.
Militias across Libya are engaged in “grave human rights abuses with impunity,” warned Kobler. The international community must stop fueling the human rights abuses and adhere to the arms embargo on Libya, he added. Kobler stressed that the abuses must be responded to urgently, and no group should be in possession of weapons.


"Unlike his neighbours, Gaddafi had come to power by denying western control of his country's natural wealth.
For this, he was never forgiven." John Pilger, 8-9-2001

EU Extends Sanctions on Libyan Parliament Head
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 30-9-2016

The EU extended the sanctions against Aguila Saleh, the head of Libya's internationally recognized parliament, as well as two former officials, for blocking peace efforts by failing to get behind the U.N.-backed unity government.
In a blow to the Government of National Accord (GNA) supported by the United Nations and Western powers, the internationally recognized parliament headed by Aguila Saleh gave it a NO confidence vote in August.
France will host an international meeting on Libya next week featuring several countries in the region including Egypt and Gulf states. The aim is "to see how we can advance the cause of achieving the necessary unity in Libya", French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said Wednesday

Flashback 14-5-2016: The United States Treasury Department sanctioned Aguila Saleh, the President and speaker of the (democratic elected) Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) for his repeated efforts at obstructing the formation of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The US Treasury said in a statement that the US government will not tolerate actions by individuals who undermine the political transition in Libya.” (Libyan Gazette)

Jonathan Sacks: Anti-Zionists are the failures and the losers in society
Gilad Atzmon, 30-9-2016

Last week, Britain’s veteran chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks lectured to the European Parliament on antisemitism:
“Antisemitism is not about Jews, antisemitism is about antisemites.” and if you really want to know who the antisemites are, the rabbi was quick to provide the answer:
It is the failures and the losers in society. Antisemites are the“people who can't accept their own failure and instead have to blame someone else (the Jews).”
Yes, you’ve got it. For Rabbi Sacks, those who dare to criticise Jewish power and Israeli criminality are just a bunch of frustrated losers driven by jealousy.
"Antisemitism is symptom of a disease,” the rabbi continues. “Antisemitism means denying the right of Jews to exist collectively as Jews with the same rights as everyone else.”
Well, in the world in which we live, no one denies Jews the right to exist or to enjoy every universal right.
Trouble is, more and more people are repulsed by the Jewish State (for instance) celebrating its ‘rights’ at the expense of others.

The opposition to Jewry is really an ongoing battle against a choseness ("We are the chosen people") that fuels dissent to Jewish culture and spirit.
This opposition is not new, it is, in fact, as old as the Jews and has been explored by the Hebrew prophets, by Christ, by Marx and even by early Zionists who were repulsed by the attitude of their brethren’s chauvinism.
The opposition to choseness is driven by a humanist and universal intent (i.e. "We are human beings in a world where God cannot be claimed or possessed by any tribal group, nation or political organisation").

The rabbi warns the European Parliaments that if Jews leave Europe, liberty will come to an end.
But reality suggests the complete opposite. No one asks Jews to leave Europe - it is actually Jewish institutions that prevent Europeans from thinking freely let alone revise their memory of their past.
I suggest that rather than preaching to Europeans about the importance of Jews and Jerusalem, Rabbi Sack should take some time off from Jerusalem to study Athens.

The conservative worldview.
Polarisation? Or a cultural synthesis...?


Philosophers have celebrated Greece and Rome as foundational pillars of Western civilization. While honoring Christianity as a major contributor to Western civilization, conservatives have attempted to defend a cultural synthesis of Jerusalem and Athens, which currently goes by the name of "traditional values."

"Athens" stands for the view that truth is discovered through reason. "Jerusalem" stands for the view that truth is delivered through the insights of revelation.
"Athens" stands for cognition, philosophy, and science. "Jerusalem" stands for spirituality: the spiritual aspiration to holiness, or purity of soul.

The fault lines that separate Jerusalem (faith) and Athens (reason) are becoming more pronounced with the rise of Christian (Zionist) fundamentalism, as this opposes a (bad) Athens to a (good) Jerusalem, and then asserts the primacy of Jerusalem.
This exclusion reaches back to antiquity, to those Christians (such as Tertullian) who desired to exclude Greek philosophy from the Christian perspective.

The New Jerusalem

There is a strong current in the Evangelical Churches to "dehellenize" Christianity. Which means to strip it of its Greek influence and the "reasoned" approach that was incorporated into the faith. (catholicbridge.com)

For (Catholic) Christians there are 3 prominent cities: Jerusalem, Athens (Greece), and Rome.
From Jerusalem we have the story of salvation history. We get the Old Testament, we learn about the family of God.
In Greece, humanity learned to ask the most penetrating questions about the most important issues such as: What is just? Does might make right? How do we know what something is? How can we know the truth? From Greece we also are provided with our Christian vocabulary, i.e., Logos (Jn. 1:1).
From Rome we get the social structure through which all of this flows into our own time. It is the basis of secular law and even the organization of our Church from its earliest beginnings with the apostles.
With all of these in combination, faith and reason find there complimenting balance and we become fit citizens of the new Jerusalem.

Khatami 2003: "A Fountain Of Life"

"The civil society which we aspire to establish is based on our collective identity whose attainment requires the continuous and ceaseless endeavours of intellectuals and thinkers. It is not a treasure that can be unearthed overnight, rather, it is a fountain of life and morality from whose constant effusion we will benefit.
Therefore enjoyment of this treasure is gradual and dependent on scrupulous cognizance and re-examination of our heritage as well as our doctrinal and intellectual tradition on the one hand, and sophisticated, scientific and philosophical understanding of the modern world on the other.
Hence, it is the thinkers and men of learning who are pivotal in this movement and play the principal role. Our success along this path depends upon politics serving thought and virtue and not acting as a confined and restrictive framework for them." (Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran 1997-2005)


Syria Field Report: Syrian Army makes fresh gains in northern Aleppo.
By Zen Adra - Al-Masdar 02/10/2016

The Syrian Armed Forces continue to recapture more territories from the Islamic rebels in bid to restore the whole insurgent-held districts in the eastern parts of Aleppo city. The government troops claimed full control of the shattered Al-Kindi Hospital, as well as Al-Shokaief Industrial Area, after fierce battles with the jihadi groups.
Once Syria's oldest and biggest public healthcare facility, Al-Kindi Hospital was reduced to rubbles by the jihadi groups after taking control of it on December 20th, 2013.

“One must not be afraid of new ideas, no matter the source.
And we must never fear the truth, even when it pains us.”
Al Kindi - Philosopher of the Arabs

Al-Kindi was one of the first Arab scholars involved in translating and commenting on Greek philosophical manuscripts. He defined philosophy as “the establishment of what is true and right”.
Although al-Kindi was influenced by the work of Aristotle (384-322 BC), he put the Greek’s ideas in a new context and laid the foundations of a new philosophy. He first elaborated a system of thought based on the logic of Greek philosophy, hence developed logic and systematic explanations for some of the debated theological issues of his time, such as creation, immortality, God's knowledge, and prophecy. His thoughts very much influenced medieval Europe. (islam4theworld.com)


Flashback: Suicide Bombing Leaves Aleppo Hospital in Ruin
Basel Dayoub - Al-Akbar, December 24, 2013

It only took two suicide bombers to destroy the oldest public hospital in Syria. Aleppo’s Kindi Hospital is now reduced to rubble as militants took control of it December 20.
The Syrian army thwarted several of the opposition’s attempts to take over the hospital, but on December 20, the army’s defense collapsed when two trucks exploded inside the hospital. Rebels seized the hospital, killing dozens of army personnel and capturing 16 individuals.
The opposition formed a joint operations center at the beginning of December, dubbed “One Heart” and consisting of the Islamic Front, Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, al-Nusra Front, and al-Fajr Islamic Movement.
Before the University of Aleppo-affiliated hospital was first captured by the militants in 2012, it included 250 physicians and over 650 nurses and administrators.


Give the people a normal life
Syrian Arab News Agency, 2 October 2016

The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces called on all gunmen in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city to leave these neighborhoods for the locals to be able to lead a normal life, the Command said in a statement on Sunday.

The commands of the Syrian and Russian forces pledge a peaceful exit and providing necessary support for the gunmen willing to leave, the General Command said.
On July 28, the Syrian government, aided by the Russian forces, started a large-scale humanitarian operation in Aleppo city to help civilians who were taken hostage by terrorists, in which corridors were opened for civilians and gunmen willing to lay down arms and leave the eastern neighborhoods of the city.


US Suspends Talks with Russia Over Syria
Voice of America, October 03, 2016

Though Washington "spared no effort" in trying to implement the cessation of hostilities, Russia "failed to live up to its own commitments," U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said. "(Russia) was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to which Moscow had agreed," the statement said. "Rather, Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course."
Though the talks are suspended, the U.S. will continue to use a channel of communications established with Russia to reduce the possibility of conflicting counterterrorism operations in Syria, the statement said.
Moscow has provided military support to and conducted air strikes in support of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Washington has supported rebel groups fighting to oust the Syrian president.​
Moscow says it regrets the U.S. move to suspend the talks. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman quoted by local news agencies said Washington is trying to shift blame for not living up to its end of the deal.

US failed to control its opposition and terrorist proxies
James Dean, Veterans Today, 3-10-2016

While bullets and bombs fly all across Aleppo, barbed words are flying in national press conferences and electrons in cyberspace, with Western media trying to portray the Syrian coalition as if it were invading a neighboring country to loot and pillage, as opposed to driving terrorists out of its own territory.
But the Syrian coalition is not flinching. The bitter taste of US duplicity still remains after its total failure to control its opposition and terrorist proxies as it had pledged in the agreements with Russia...
The US-sponsored insurgents refused to disengage from their former al-Nusra compatriots, including those that signed onto the ceasefire for the expected air cover it would provide them. It did not take long to learn that FSA and former al-Nusra people fighting under the Army of Conquest black flag were not about to disengage from each other.


Airstrike kills Fateh al-Sham leader in Syria
Daili Sabah, 3-10-2016

A senior commander in Syria's the Fatah al-Sham Front, who was close to the global al-Qaida top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been killed in an airstrike.
The Fatah al-Sham Front, previously known as the Nusra Front, announced the death of Ahmed Salama Mabrouk shortly after the Pentagon said the U.S. had targeted a prominent member of the group in Syria.
A Twitter account run by the group said that Mabrouk, a veteran Egyptian fighter also known as Abu Farag al-Masri, was killed in the northern Idlib province, which is controlled by an insurgent alliance that includes the Fatah al-Sham Front.
Mabrouk was imprisoned in his native Egypt in 1981 in the sweep following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. He later traveled to Afghanistan, where he became close to al-Zawahri before traveling to Syria earlier this year.
Fatah al-Sham recently announced it was changing its name and severing ties with al-Qaida in a video in which Mabrouk sat next to the group's top leader, Abu Mohammed al-Golani.

Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra, self proclaimed as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham
in July 2016, is the quasi-independent Syrian branche of al-Qaeda (Wikipedia info)

The tactics of al-Nusra Front differ markedly from those of rival jihadist group ISIL; whereas ISIL has alienated local populations by demanding their allegiance and carrying out beheadings, al-Nusra Front has cooperated with other militant groups and has declined to impose sharia law where there has been opposition.
In early 2015, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri instructed al-Nusra Front leader Jolani to pursue the following five goals:

-- Better integrate his movement within the Syrian revolution and its people
-- Coordinate more closely with all Islamic groups on the ground
-- Contribute towards the establishment of a Syria-wide sharia judicial court system
-- Use strategic areas of the country to build a sustainable al-Qaeda power base
-- Cease any activity linked to attacking the West

Al-Qaeda/Al-Nusra has been trying to take advantage of ISIL's rise by presenting itself as "moderate" compared to ISIL. While it has the same aim of establishing sharia and a caliphate, it intends to implement it in a more gradual manner.
Al Nusra criticized the way ISIL fully and immediately instituted sharia since it alienated people too much, with a gradual, slower approach favored by al-Qaeda by preparing society to accept it and indoctrinating people through education before implementing the hudud aspects of sharia.
They particularly criticised ISIL's enthusiasm for punishments such as executing gay people, chopping limbs off, and public stoning. However, Al-Qaeda agrees that hudud punishments should be implemented in the long term.

Idlib & the Syrian opposition's Syrian Interim Government

During the civil uprising of 2011, Idlib was the focus of protests and fighting in the early phase of the Syrian war.
As the uprising descended into armed conflict, Idlib became the focus of a rebel campaign, which temporarily captured the city and the governorate, prior to a government offensive in April 2012.
After the 2015 Idlib offensive in March, the rebel alliance Army of Conquest (Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and its allies) succeeded in Second Battle of Idlib and captured the city again, as well as besieging the Shi'a-majority towns of Al-Fu'ah and Kafriya to the north of Idlib city.

In April 2015, the interim seat of the Syrian opposition's Syrian Interim Government was proposed to be Idlib, in Idlib Governorate.

The Syrian Interim Government is an alternative government of Syria, which has been formed by the opposition umbrella group, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces
The interim government is indirectly controlling some areas of the country and claiming to be the sole legitimate government. In January 2015 the Syrian interim government (based in Turkey) received $6 million USD from the United States (Wikipedia).


Because of the increasing (Russian) pressure, the rebels have to turn to Nusra
Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson, Washington, September 30, 2016

- QUESTION: The Russians are saying there’s more and more evidence to believe that the U.S. from the very start planned to protect al-Nusrah as a kind of Plan B against Assad.
- MR TONER: Honestly, I saw those remarks. It left me shaking my head. I don’t know what he means by it. Well, I can conjecture what he means by it, but it’s absurd.

- QUESTION: But do you think the fact that the U.S. hasn’t been able to separate the opposition from Nusrah, which is what the Russians keep saying – how much of a factor is that in the escalation?
- MR TONER: Our challenge was to try as best we can to reach out to the moderate opposition and make clear to them that they needed to in order for this thing to work.... We did it through the member governments to reach out to the groups that they had contacts with to sell the deal, if you could – if I could put it that way, to convince these groups that it was in their best interest to abide by it.
Were we 100 percent effective? No. But were we effective? Yes, and there was several days of a significant reduction in violence. But what’s happened now with the hitting of the humanitarian convoy and with the subsequent siege on Aleppo, you’ve got a scenario now, a dynamic where, as these moderate opposition forces are under real and increasing pressure by the regime, that they’re driven more or less into the arms. They have to turn to Nusrah, fight side by side.

Separation not important: If they're with us, then they are good

- QUESTION: If Nusrah fighters are fighting side by side with fighters that you support, can you then work with the fighters that you support, or have they then become people who are providing material support --
- MR TONER: It’s a fair question, yep. One of the big pieces of this effort coming out of Geneva was to [..] set up this JIC, Joint Implementation Center. And at that point, you’re either with us or against us... That would have been a clear line in the sand, if you will, or whatever that they were either with – still with Nusrah or not.

- QUESTION: The Russians are accusing the United States of having failed to disentangle the Nusrah from the opposition that you support. Is it your view that the U.S. Government was obliged immediately upon declaration or implementation of the ceasefire to begin disentangling the two?
- MR TONER: As I said, the moderate opposition who are integrated with al-Nusrah should have make a choice...
- QUESTION: So in other words, are they making a fair point here --
- MR TONER: No, because there wasn’t enough time. We did not have enough time to fully implement the agreement. And what you had, starting last weekend with the barrage and the airstrikes on Aleppo – you’ve just, again, driven the opposition back into the – you’ve recreated what was there before... The enemy of my friend is my friend, it’s like – or my – sorry, the friend of my enemy is my – (laughter) – what is it, whatever the damn thing is. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
MR TONER: Enemy is my friend, yeah. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And so you’re going to have a dynamic where you’re driving them back into the arms of Nusrah.

- QUESTION: And just to get back to my original question, can you continue to offer support to people that are fighting side by side with people you deem to be terrorists?
MR TONER: I don’t think we can.
But I also think that we look and – look at a number of factors when we evaluate or look at how we provide assistance to these groups.

- QUESTION: Just a final question: And again, with the regards to the Russian suspicions, you haven’t really gone after Nusrah that much. Have you been holding back on going after Nusrah because they were mixed with the opposition? I mean, all we hear about is the strikes on ISIS.
- MR TONER: We did carry out strikes initially, back in 2014-2015, against Nusrah. But absolutely, you’re correct in that, as they became intermingled and as they became intermingled in civilian areas, we’ve always sought to limit the possibility of civilian casualties in any of our airstrikes.

We do provide assistance

- QUESTION: Is the U.S providing the Syrian opposition any military help or any guidance to prevent the fall of East Aleppo to the Syrian and the Russians?
- MR TONER: Well, look, we do provide them some support and some guidance. I don’t want to get into details and I don’t want to get into discussions of which groups among the moderate opposition that we support...
- QUESTION: But you are providing?
- MR TONER: We do provide assistance.


Russia Foreign Ministry : ‘A deal with the devil’
Russia Today, 4 Oct 2016

Washington “has never exerted any real pressure on Jabhat Al-Nusra, done nothing for delineation to succeed and taken no action against its militants,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday, following the US decision to suspend cooperation on Syria.
“We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil’,” the Foreign Ministry said. For the sake of ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US appears to be ready to “forge an alliance with hardened terrorists, dreaming of turning back the course of history.”
While Jabhat Al-Nusra, a designated terrorist organization, has been known as an Al-Qaeda affiliate for many years, Washington “is not in a hurry to separate US-oriented anti-government forces from it,” Moscow points out.

Meanwhile, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, who on Monday assumed the post of the President of the UN Security Council, expressed his concerns over the halt in Russia-US cooperation in Syria. At the same time, he insisted that the current setback in Syria will not lead to another “Cold War” between Moscow and Washington.
For now, the main objective in Syria for Russia is to thwart Al-Nusra’s latest offensive in Aleppo.. “We must make sure that Nusra’s influence is not going to continue to spread,” he stressed.

Flashback: The devils game
Robert Dreyfuss 2005

For half a century the United States and many of its allies saw what I call the “Islamic right” as convenient partners in the Cold War.
In the decades before 9/11, hard-core activists and organizations among Muslim fundamentalists on the far right were often viewed as allies for two reasons, because they were seen a fierce anti-communists and because they opposed secular nationalists such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh.

By the end of the 1950s, rather than allying itself with the secular forces of progress in the Middle East and the Arab world, the United States found itself in league with Saudi Arabia’s Islamist legions.

Choosing Saudi Arabia over Nasser’s Egypt was probably the single biggest mistake the United States has ever made in the Middle East.
A second big mistake … occurred in the 1970s, when, at the height of the Cold War and the struggle for control of the Middle East, the United States either supported or acquiesced in the rapid growth of Islamic right in countries from Egypt to Afghanistan.
In Egypt, Anwar Sadat brought the Muslim Brotherhood back to Egypt.
In Syria, the United States, Israel, and Jordan supported the Muslim Brotherhood in a civil war against Syria.
And … Israel quietly backed Ahmed Yassin and the Muslim Brotherhood in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to the establishment of Hamas.
Still another major mistake was the fantasy that Islam would penetrate the USSR and unravel the Soviet Union in Asia. It led to America’s support for the jihadists in Afghanistan....
The Afghan jihad spawned civil war in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, gave rise to the Taliban, and got Osama bin Laden started on building Al Qaeda.

Would the Islamic right have existed without U.S. support? Of course. ... But there is no question that the virulence of the movement that we now confront — and which confronts many of the countries in the region, too, from Algeria to India and beyond—would have been significantly less had the United States made other choices...


Egypt, Russia stand against forceful regime change in Middle East
Gamal Essam El-Din, Ahram online, 4-10-2016

The Egyptian and Russian parliaments said Tuesday that they must take a unified stand against the forceful changing of Middle East regimes by foreign powers.
A statement by Egypt’s parliament said on Tuesday that Egyptian-Russian relations have achieved significant progress in recent years, and that the two parliaments will coordinate together during the coming round of meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva.
"We decided that we should rally support among as many world parliaments as possible against intervention in the internal affairs of Middle East countries and reject any attempts aimed at changing regimes by force in this region," said the statement. The statement was issued after a meeting between Egyptian parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al and a Russian parliamentary delegation led by deputy speaker Ilyas Umakhanov on Tuesday.
The statement said Egypt and Russia have historic relations that go back to the era of late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
"We decided that these relations must be further strengthened in the coming period in order to eliminate any obstacles that might stand in their way," said the statement.

Nasser's Pragmatic and Logical approach

Gamal Abdel Nasser was ahead of his times. The world powers that constantly opposed his attempts to mainstream Egypt into the world while he was alive may long for his forward-looking pragmatic and logical approach compared to the backward-looking Islamist extremism rife in the region today. ...
Nasser wrote a short personal book titled “Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution” about his ideas and dreams. It reveals a sweeping yet deeply analytical mind and acute observer of human behavior whose periods of disillusionment and exhilaration were intense. First published in 1955, his book was all but ignored by the world. (Rompedas 23-7-2009)

DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.

"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth...
Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else. Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea.
If we had gone along with everything we heard we would have killed off all the people and torn down every idea, and there would have been nothing to do but sit down among the corpses and ruins. ...
"We were deluged with petitions and complaints . . . but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness."

Konashenkov: "Get down to earth from the sky"
TASS News Agency, october 4, 2016

"You must lay aside all prejudice... Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." Thomas Jefferson

The United States is to blame for the disruption of all September 9 ceasefire agreements on Syria and for letting the militants build up reserves again, defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in response to White House spokesman Josh Earnest’s claims Russia had allegedly achieved none of its objectives in fighting the Islamic State:
"It is the United States that has fallen through with a crash regarding the implementation of the September 9 ceasefire agreements. It failed to separate a single group of the so-called opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra, thus letting the terrorists regroup themselves and replenish reserves."
"Isn’t it the right moment for our US counterparts to recognize in public that the whole opposition in Syria they have reared all along and still keep under control are part and parcel of the same "umbrella brands" - Al-Qaeda and Jabhat Al-Nusra?" Konashenkov said.
He invited Earnest "to get down to earth from the sky."
It is the United States’ "simulated struggle against the Islamic State that allowed that terrorist group, acting before the eyes of the world, to seize first the north of Iraq and then almost devour Syria."
The Russian Defense Ministry has not yet heard an answer from the United States why that group - Jabhat al-Nusra - "has throughout the years enjoyed Washington’s incredible benevolence, or to be more precise, direct connivance."

The real yardstick to measure Russia’s successes, Konashenkov said, is not highfalutin rhetoric but Syria’s realities: the hundreds of villages that have been restored to peace, the tens of thousands of square kilometers of land cleared of terrorists and the thousands of tonnes of humanitarian aid delivered to civilians.


Why are we joining a jihad to overthrow the Syrian government?
By Patrick J. Buchanan, July 02, 2014


al-nusra fighters in syria

2014: Nusra-leader Visits Fighters in Aleppo, Promises an Islamic Emirate
Syrian Observer, July 14th, 2014

The leader of the Nusra Front, Abu Mohammad Golani has appeared at a high level meeting with most of the leaders and fighters of the Front in Aleppo,promising of the birth of an Islamic Emirate that aims to apply the laws of God.
Golani began his speech by praising the organization's fighters and urging them to continue their jihad and defence of the honor of Muslims, promising them to declare an Islamic Emirate in coordination with various Islamic factions and some Free Syrian Army battalions that have signed a charter to apply the laws of God.
Golani revealed that the emirate will not be composed of Nusra alone, but will include other factions that want to join. However, he said the main objective of the emirate is to apply the laws of God and fight against corruption.
Golani asked his fighters to cooperate and work hard on the establishment of the Islamic Emirate which will ensure the rights of all people and the trial of people according to Islamic law.
Golani told his fighters that the Front has tremendous potential to achieve the emirate, urging them to remain steadfast against their enemies; Alawites, Kurdish PKK and the corrupt, as he described them, urging them to have no mercy towards their enemies.
Golani confirmed during the meeting that Aleppo will witness the birth of the first Islamic emirate, and that other regions will witness the establishment of similar emirates, which will seek to break the siege imposed by regime's forces and connect to each other.

2014: Why are we joining a jihad to overthrow the Syrian government?
In training and arming the FSA, we are enlisting in a cause where our foremost fighting allies are Islamists, like those who brought down the twin towers, and a Sunni terrorist army that seeks to bring down the government we left behind in Baghdad. What are we doing?
Assad is no angel. But before this uprising Congressmen and secretaries of state regularly visited him in Damascus. “There’s a different leader in Syria now,” cooed Hillary in 2011, “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”
Assad, no matter his sins, is the defender of the Christian and Shia minorities in Syria. He has been the most successful Arab ruler in waging war against the terrorist brigades of ISIS and al-Qaida.
Why, then, are we training Syrians to attack his army and arming people to topple his government?
Have we not before us, in Libya, an example of what happens when we bring down an autocrat like Gadhafi, and even worse devils are unleashed?
While Assad has battled al-Qaida and ISIS for three years, our NATO ally Turkey has looked the other way as jihadists crossed over into Syria. Our Gulf allies have provided jihadists battling Assad with arms and money.
This weekend ISIS declared a caliphate, the Islamic State, over all lands in Syria and Iraq it now controls. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS war chief, has been declared the new caliph.
“The Caliphate Rises,” wails the Wall Street Journal. But who midwifed and breast-fed the ISIS movement that has now proclaimed the new caliphate? Was it not our Turkish and Arab friends?

Iranian Lawmaker: US Not Sincere in Fighting Terrorism
FARS News Agency, 5-7-2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian legislator underlined that Washington is not sincere in its claims about war on terrorism, specially in the region, and rejected Tehran's cooperation with the US in combat against terrorists in Iraq.
"The Americans on one hand support the terrorists and on the other hand speaks of fighting these terrorists," member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Esmayeeli told FNA on Saturday.
The Americans have shown a double-standard behavior towards the terrorists, he said, adding that the US is not sincere in fighting terrorism.
In relevant remarks on Wednesday, Iran's Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani lashed out at the US and other western states for their double-standard policies on terrorism in and out of Iraq.
"These countries call themselves as advocates of human rights, but they have brought human rights to a slaughterhouse, how can one believe that the Americans are advocates of human rights while they support the terrorists...?"


Hysteria in the United States
By Robert Parry, 5-10-2016

Not since the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has Official Washington’s political/punditry class clamored more single-mindedly – and openly – for the U.S. government to commit a gross violation of international law, now urging a major military assault on the government of Syria while also escalating tensions with Russia.
And, like the frenzied war fever of 2002-2003, today’s lawless consensus is operating on a mix of selective, dubious and false information – while excluding from the public debate voices that might dare challenge the prevailing “group think.” It’s as if nothing was learned from the previous disaster in Iraq.

Most notably, there are two key facts about Syria that Americans are not being told:
- one, U.S. regional “allies” have been funding and arming radical jihadist groups, including Al Qaeda terrorists, there almost since the conflict began in 2011 and,
- two, the claim about “moderate” Syrian rebels is a fraud; the “moderates” have served essentially as a P.R. cut-out for the U.S. and its “allies” to supply Al Qaeda and its allies with sophisticated weapons while pretending not to.

Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory.
The British-Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves ‘a depressingly predictable pattern’ of demonising the enemy leader, then demonising the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined. Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar al Assad became the new evil in the world and, according to consistent western media reports, the Syrian Army did nothing but kill civilians for more than four years. (read more: page 72)
This more complex reality is completely missing in the new round of political/press hysteria in the United States.
The neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks only talk about stopping the “barbarism” of the Syrian government and its Russian allies as they try to finally wipe out Al Qaeda’s jihadists and their “moderate” allies holed up in eastern Aleppo.
Many of the calls for a U.S. military intervention against the Syrian government (and the Russians) are coming from the same advocates for war who created the misguided consensus for invading Iraq in 2002-2003, voices such as Sen. John McCain, Washington Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt, and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman.
And, much like the Iraq example, these esteemed opinion-leaders pile up their propaganda arguments in a one-sided fashion designed to silence the few voices that dare raise doubts.
This new “group think” has prevented Americans from looking at the Syrian situation with more nuance and objectivity.

“In a call with Mr. Kerry on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Syrian rebels ‘refused to follow the U.S.-Russian agreement…but instead merged with [Nusra Front].’”
So, isn’t that point relevant to understanding what is occurring in eastern Aleppo, an area essentially under the control of Al Qaeda terrorists?
As horrible as war is, there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy when politicians and pundits, who cheered the U.S. Marines’ destruction of Fallujah during the Iraq occupation and who support driving the Islamic State out of the Iraqi city of Mosul, wax indignantly in outrage when the Syrian military seeks to remove Al Qaeda terrorists from one of its own cities.

Flashback: Statement from Syria Muslim Brotherhood (13-9-2016)
We will defend 'the Revolution" against the evil Iranian-Russian plots


The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria declares as follows:
1. The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria will not be a conduit for the crime of terminating the revolution, nor a bridge through which evil plots of the Russians and the Iranians and their accomplices are passed.
2. With all due respect for national action institutions and participants therein, the group declares it will always endeavor to make the positions of these institutions harmonious with the goals of the revolution...
3. The group declares that its support for the best interest of the Syrian revolution is a thing about which it will not hesitate or compromise.
4. Despite the siege imposed on it, in many forms, by various international and regional powers, the group will continue to put all its resources in the service of Syria and the revolution...

August 21, 2013: Brotherhood official and tele-preacher Safwat Higazi (picture above) was arrested by police as he attempted to escape to Libya. Higazi was caught following the arrest of his brother. The brother’s mobile phone conversations helped trace the Brotherhood official to Siwa, near the Libyan border. Higazi is being indicted for incitement to violence.
In 2012, Safwat launched MB candidate Mohamed Morsi's campaign. In his speech to a crowd of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, Safwat emphasized that Morsi will lead Egypt's campaign to restore the "United States of the Arabs" or "Caliphate" with Jerusalem as its capital...

President Assad to Denmark TV
It's not about me, it's about the constitution
Syrian Arab News Agency, 6-10-2016

-Question: So, there’s a fierce battle going on in Aleppo right now. What will be the Syrian army and the Russian army’s next move to retake the eastern rebel-held part of Aleppo?
-President Assad: To continue the fight with the rebels till they leave Aleppo. They have to. There’s no other option.
We won’t accept that terrorists will take control of any part of Syria, not only Aleppo. This is our mission, and this is our goal...

-Question: So, this intense way of warfare that we see right will continue, that’s what you’re saying?
-President Assad: No, if you have any other option like the reconciliations in other areas, that’s the best option, not the war, and that’s why we announced – we gave many amnesties to hundreds, and maybe thousands, not hundreds, thousands of militants, in order to save blood, and it worked.
That’s why we said we give them guarantee, whether they want to have reconciliation and to have the amnesty, or to leave with their armaments outside the city of Aleppo completely, to leave the city safe, and for the people to go back to their normal life.

-Question: The United States, they stopped all bilateral talks with Russia about any kind of peace agreement, and the Russians they said that they actually regret this. Do you regret it as well?
-President Assad: We regret it, but we knew in advance that it wouldn’t work, because the agreement, it’s not only about the talks between the two great powers, it’s not about what they’re going to sign or agree upon; it’s about the will...

-Question: But isn’t it very difficult for the United States to separate the so-called “moderate rebels” and some of the more radical ones? This is very difficult, when you are attacking the moderate rebels all the time.
-President Assad: You are right, do you know why you are right? Do you know the unicorn, the animal that’s like a horse, has a long horn? It’s a myth. And the moderate opposition is a myth. That’s why you cannot separate something that doesn’t exist from something that exists.
All of them have the same grassroots, the same grassroots that used to be called “free Syrian army” four years ago, five years ago, then it became al-Nusra, then it became ISIS. So, the same grassroots move from group to another group.

-Question: But why did you ask them to do it if it’s not possible?
-President Assad: Because they insisted that there is a moderate opposition, and the Russian told them “ok, if there is a moderate opposition, please separate those moderates from the extremists...”

Constitution of the Syrian Arabic Republic

Preambule: 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.
The Syrian Arab Republic considers international peace and security a key objective and a strategic choice, and it works on achieving both of them under the International Law and the values of right and justice.
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..

-Question: Mr. President, you have said many times that you will continue the fight until you have recaptured the whole country, is that still your approach to this process?
-President Assad: No, it’s not my approach; it’s my mission according to the constitution. It’s the mission of the army according to the constitution; it’s the mission of the state’s institutions according to the constitution. It’s not an option, it’s not a personal opinion, and it’s not my plan.

-Question: Last question, Mr. President: Do you believe in a diplomatic political solution, or do you, deep inside your heart, know that this is going to be a military solution, and that is really what you want?
-President Assad: You have to follow both paths; the military and the diplomatic or the political, because they are related to each other. So, it’s not about my belief; it’s not what I believe... The whole circumstances define it.
For example, regarding the terrorists, it’s not only about military solution; it’s about the adjacent countries and the Western countries stop supporting the terrorists. If they stop supporting the terrorists, the military aspect of that solution will be marginalized; it won’t be important because they will be weak. You will give a chance to more political initiatives in that regard.
If they support them more, actually what is going to happen is the opposite; the political solution or path will be marginalized..

So, it’s not about what I believe in. I wish we can solve everything politically, I wish, that’s what I think is suitable, but it’s not about what I wish, it’s about the facts on the ground.


Syria, Saudi Arabia & Dictatorship

“If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership,
you’ve got to go back to a fifth grade civics class.” Tim Kaine, 5-10-2016

Syria is a Legal State. A Legal State (Rechtsstaat or State of Law) is a "constitutional state" in which the exercise of governmental power is constrained by the law, and is often tied to the Anglo-American concept of the rule of law, but differs from it in that it also emphasizes what is just (i.e., a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity).
In a Legal State, the power of the state is limited in order to protect citizens from the arbitrary exercise of authority. The citizens share legally based civil liberties and can use the courts. A country cannot be a liberal democracy without being a Legal State (Rechtsstaat).

A dictatorship is termed as a government ruled by one person or commander who is known as the dictator. In a dictatorship, it is the dictator who dictates the law of the country. Dictatorships are very similar to an absolute monarchy.
Monarchy is the rule of the king or queen or an emperor. A monarchy can be divided into a limited monarchy, Constitutional monarchy, and absolute monarchy.
In a limited monarchy, the monarch has only ceremonial powers. In a Constitutional monarchy, the monarch has certain powers as per the Constitution. In an absolute monarchy, the monarch is supreme and has absolute authority.

Saudi Arabia is an example of an absolute monarchy. Here the monarch can enforce any law he wishes. “Monarch” is the Anglicized version of the Greek word meaning “alone.” In both a dictatorship and an absolute monarchy, the dictators and monarchs oppress people for their own existence and gains.

What makes dictatorship dangerous is disrespect for the rule of law.
In a dictatorship, it is the dictator who dictates the law of the country. It is a political system without a written constitution (and a chosen parliament that has the right to control the government.)
Saudi Arabia's 'constitution' is 'the Quran'. Not the Quran of the People of the Books (Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian), but the Quran of the Wahhab family.
As soon as a country has a modern constitution, based on international recognised laws, it is no longer a dictatorship or an absolute monarchy. The leader is a servant of the constitution (i.e. the people).

Conclusion: Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy ruled by two ultrarich, privileged families:
the 'House of Saud' (the Al Saud clan) and Al ash-Sheikh (Saudi's leading religious family, descendants of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab).
People are not 'born free', but they are born as slaves of the King (House of Saud) and slaves of 'God' (the Wahhab family).


Irony of male guardianship
By Mariam Nihal, Saudi Gazette, 8-10-2016

THE issue of male guardianship laws in the Kingdom has been a hot topic of debate worldwide, including social media, and a concern for every household in the Kingdom.
All women living in Saudi Arabia, regardless of age, profession or ethnicity need the permission of their mahram (male guardian) to travel outside the country. Many Saudi and expatriate women, who are not exempted from the rule, spoke to Saudi Gazette and believe certain circumstances and age groups should be exempted, especially in case of mothers and older dependents. Debate hots up over calls for modification of lawMost women expressed grief and many hoped for reasonable change.
The disappointment was mainly shared by women who are the sole breadwinners of their families, widows and a lot of young workingwomen.

Making tyrants out of men

“I am 50 years old. When my husband was alive I needed his permission. Now it’s my 19-year-old son who is my mahram. I’m the one working and footing the bills. My son used to take my permission before he stepped out of the house and now I have to get his consent if I want to travel. Does no one see the irony in this?” Salwa Bashir said while speaking to Saudi Gazette.
Many women, who said it was difficult for them to get permission from their mahrams every time they wished to travel, believe the law gives men the chance to abuse their authority.
Farah Malaika, a 26-year-old Saudi student, said she has seen several cases of domestic abuse and repercussions of the law that has prevented Saudi women to take their own decisions. “We are not minors or animals. Nor are we slaves that we need our movement to be restricted and watched..."
“I feel like this power gives them a superiority complex. My father thinks he has the right to decline what he deems wrong and the funny thing is he does so because he can..,” said Asma Ibrahim, an Egyptian resident in Dhahran.
Waseem Obaid, a 30-year-old Saudi marketing manager said women should not have to ask for permission from anyone. “The law doesn’t make sense..."

Jesus (outspoken Enemy of Pharisaism) was a Feminist

An-Nisa (The Women) 136: "Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray."

Jesus’ sense of manhood was never threatened by the tenderness of a woman.

Jesus, unlike the men of his generation and culture, taught that women were equal to men in the sight of God. Women could receive God’s forgiveness and grace. Women, as well as men, could be among Christ’s personal followers. Women could be full participants in the kingdom of God. Jesus offered full discipleship to women.
These were revolutionary ideas. Many of his contemporaries, including his disciples, were shocked. Women were overjoyed and grateful, of course, and many dedicated their lives to his service. (Grace Communion)

Jesus was a revolutionary. His actions elicited surprising reactions from his contemporaries in all facets of life. He was not afraid to challenge the status quo and reestablish Scriptural precedents.
Take, for example, Jesus' dealings with women. By publicly including women in his ministry, Jesus shattered the prejudicial customs of his day.
Why was it unusual for Jesus to speak with women?
Nothing in the Mosaic Law prevented men and women from conversing with one another! Yet the society of Jesus' day, with custom dictated by rabbinic Judaism (pharisaism"), differed strikingly from the Old Testament social order.

The social condition of women in the first century had been radically altered from that of their Old Testament sisters.
In earlier times women participated in every aspect of community life except the Temple priesthood. Women freely engaged in commerce and real estate, as well as in manual labor. They were not excluded from Temple worship. Women played music in the sanctuary, prayed there , sang and danced with men in religious processions and participated in music and festivities at weddings.
By the time of Christ, however, the role of women had drastically changed for the worse. Women were not allowed to testify in court. In effect, this categorized them with Gentiles, minors, deaf-mutes and "undesirables" such as gamblers, the insane, usurers, and pigeon-racers, who were also denied that privilege.

In Talmudic times, respectable women were expected to stay within the confines of the home. The terminology for a prostitute was "one who goes abroad." (Zhava Glaser)

Syrian Jihadists rebuff UN envoy proposal to leave Aleppo under escort
ARA News, October 7, 2016

ALEPPO – Hussam al-Shafi’i, a spokesperson for Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) rejected a proposal by the U.N envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to leave Aleppo.
De Mistura on Thursday called on Russia and Assad regime to stop bombing Aleppo, if rebels of Fath al-Sham Front – formerly known as the Nusra Front, Syrian branch of al-Qaeda – leave the city. He said he would be personally willing to accompany them out of the city.
Fateh al Sham is a Jihadi Force and one of the military pillars of the Syria Revolution. It will not disappoint the Muslim people who has been annihilated...” al-Shafi’i said.
Our strength is in God, (..) and we are determined to break the siege… concerning our efforts along with our brothers. We have pledged to be killed as the noblest fighters rather than surrendering and being humiliated.”

For JFS, the comments of de Mistura are not much different from Bashar Ja’afari, Syria's representative to the UN.
“De Mistura proposals come in line with Bashar Assad’s recent remarks to empty Aleppo of the revolutionaries. De Mistura has successfully offloaded the Sunni areas and played a prominent role in the demographic change, and still plays international the role of Ja’afari! Your statement has no value to us same as those by Bashar and Ja’afari,” the JFS spokesperson concluded.


Al-Jaafari: United States, France and Britain seek to implement agendas
that contradict the goals and principles of the UN Charter
Syrian Arab News Agency, 9-10-2016

Russia used the right of veto on Saturday against a French draft resolution on Syria submitted to the Security Council.
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said at the session prior to voting that France has never made a single constructive initiative since the beginning of the crisis in Syria; rather its efforts were limited to propaganda.

"Go back to the principles of the French Revolution that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality." Bashar al-Assad
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari congratulated Russia for heading the Security Council in a time when the world is witnessing dangerous and serious challenges, due to the wrong policies adopted by some countries - including some of the Security Council’s permanent member states - which seek to implement agendas that contradict the goals and principles of the UN Charter.
The Permanent Representative added that the French draft resolution was very clear in its goals and it reflects the longing of France to its black colonial past... Al-Jaafari indicated that the French representative still dreams that he represents a colonial power, that can steal the right of speaking on behalf of the Syrian people at the Security Council...
Al-Jaafari said that the French draft resolution clearly demands stopping the operations launched by the Syrian Arab army against terrorists. He asserted that whenever the Syrian army and its allies achieve advances in facing the terrorist groups, on top “Jabhat al-Nusra”, some of the Security Council’s well-known member states call for holding sessions or propose draft resolutions to help the terrorists...
He asserted that the United States, France and Britain, since six years, have been organizing false diplomatic and political media campaigns to show that what is happening in Syria is a confrontation between the “armed opposition” which they describe as ”moderate” and the governmental forces which they accuse of committing war crimes...
He noted that the same states were bold enough to demand safe humanitarian corridors for terrorists, asking these states: Have the US, Britain and France opened safe humanitarian corridors to protect the 'moderate' al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan or those who committed the massacres of Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan theater, Nice, California, Boston, Chicago, New York and London? And why not?

Al-Jaafari stresses the Syrian government’s full cooperation with the UN and its specialized agencies and affiliated organizations to implement the monthly response plan, adding that the practices of the armed terrorist groups and their allies prevent the full implementation of humanitarian response plans.
He stressed Syria’s commitment to combat terrorism in parallel with its efforts to reach a political solution through Syrian-Syrian dialogue to decide the future of the country without any foreign intervention.


Syria: Jund al Aqsa swears allegiance to al Qaeda’s rebranded branch
By Thomas Joscelyn | Long War Journal October 9, 2016

Jund al Aqsa, an al Qaeda front group, has pledged allegiance to Jabhat Fath al Sham (JFS, or the “Conquest of the Levant Front”), al Qaeda’s rebranded branch in Syria.
Ahrar al Sham, which models itself after the Taliban, has been at odds with Jund al Aqsa since last year.
In October 2015, Jund al Aqsa withdrew from the Jaysh al Fath (“Army of Conquest”) alliance, which is jointly led by Ahrar al Sham (supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey) and JFS (formerly known as Al Nusrah Front).
Relations between the two sides seemed to improve earlier this year, but the situation was never fully resolved. Ahrar al Sham has recently accused Jund al Aqsa of having ties to the Islamic State and launched an offensive in areas controlled by the group. By formally joining JFS, Jund al Aqsa and its allies are hoping to put an end to the rebel infighting.
Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini, a highly influential al Qaeda-linked cleric in Syria, claimed on his Telegram page to have helped broker the deal.
Jund al Aqsa has technically agreed to submit its forces to a common sharia (Islamic law) court that can adjudicate the matter.

Although Jund al Aqsa’s opponents accuse the group of serving Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s Islamic State, its leaders have consistently expressed their loyalty to al Qaeda.
On July 31, Jund al Aqsa issued a statement praising Al Nusrah Front’s relaunch as JFS, saying that al Qaeda’s leaders must have determined it was in the best “interest” of both the people and the jihad in Syria.
The jihadists “can [use] any name” they want, so long as they stay true to the principles of the “prestigious first generation of mujahideen” and follow the Prophet Mohammed’s “methodology.”

In September, the State Department added Jund al Aqsa to the US government’s list of designated terrorist organizations. Despite operating independently, State noted, the group “is still openly aligned with” Nusrah (JFS).

According to the U.S. Department of State, "Ahrar al-Sham is not a designated foreign terrorist organization. Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Iran and Egypt have designated Ahrar al-Sham as a terrorist organization.
Ahrar al-Sham had worked with ISIS until the two groups began their present-day hostilities with one another in January 2014.
Ahrar al Sham (supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia) and Al Nusrah (Al-Qeada in Syria) established a series of coalitions throughout 2015. The most successful of these is Jaysh al Fateh, which overran Assad’s forces in the province of Idlib (now under control of Al-Qaeda).


The United States as Destroyer of Nations
by Damile Kovalik, CounterPunch 7-10-2016

In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 there was much discussion in the media about the Bush Administration’s goal for “nation-building” in that country. Of course, if there ever were such a goal, it was quickly abandoned, and one hardly ever hears the term “nation-building” discussed as a U.S. foreign policy objective anymore.
The stark truth is that the U.S. really has no intentions of helping to build strong states in the Middle East...

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

"Nationalism is the basis for the survival of nations. Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin. Minorities, which are one of the main political problems in the world, are the outcome. They are nations whose nationalism has been destroyed and which are thus torn apart."

Saddam's Death, Page 45

In the Middle East, Northern Africa and Afghanistan, the U.S. has been teaming up with Saudi Arabia and radical Islamist forces – forces the U.S. itself has dubbed “terrorist” – in undermining and destroying secular states.
As far back as the 1970’s, the U.S. began supporting the mujahidin in attacking the secular, Marxist state of Afghanistan in order to destroy that state and also to fatally weaken the Soviet state by, in the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, “drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap . . . [and] giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.”
Afghanistan may never recover from the devastation wrought by that fateful decision of the U.S. and its subsequent intervention which is now into its 15th year and counting. As we know full well, the USSR never recovered either, and the U.S. is trying mightily to prevent post-Soviet Russia from becoming a strong rival state again.
Meanwhile, in Libya, the U.S. again partnered with jihadists in 2011 in overthrowing and indeed smashing a state which used its oil wealth to guarantee the best living standards of any country in Africa while assisting independence struggles around the world. In this way, Libya, which under Qaddafi also happened to be one of the staunchest enemies of Al-Qaeda in the world, presented a double threat to U.S. foreign policy aims.
Post-intervention Libya is now a failed state with little prospects of being able to secure its oil wealth for its own people again, much less for any other peoples in the Third World. And so, mission accomplished!

The U.S. continues to intervene in Syria in a way which prevents the Syrian state from achieving a decisive victory against the various militant groups it is fighting – some of which the U.S. itself admits are terrorists – while at the same time targeting some of these same militant groups themselves, thereby preventing either side of the conflict from coming out on top. Indeed, as we have learned, the CIA and the Pentagon have even been backing opposing militant groups that are fighting each other!
Jose Marti once said, “there are two kinds of people in the world: those who love and create, and those who hate and destroy.”


Invasion and occupation rarely ends well
Jon Rainwater | Arab News (Saudi Arabia) 9 October 2016

The Afghanistan War turned 15 on Oct. 7, and on this tragic anniversary, Americans need to demand answers from the Obama administration and Congress on two crucial questions.
First, is this longest war in US history making Americans safer? Second, has it been worth the immense cost in lives and billions of dollars? The only honest answer to both questions is a resounding: NO.

When Congress passed the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that authorized the war in Afghanistan, it opened a Pandora’s box; authorizing military action with vague descriptions of acceptable targets and no geographic or time limits, and effectively placing the question of whether or not the United States goes to war — and whether or not it remains at war — in the hands of one individual.
Simply put, the president of the United States is free to pursue, with military force, any individual, group, state, or other institution affiliated with al-Qaeda.
To remedy this affront to the Constitution, Congress should repeal the 2001 AUMF, and debate and vote on whether or not to authorize ongoing military operations in Afghanistan, as well as in Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Nigeria — all the countries where US military operations are supposedly authorized under the 2001 AUMF.
The next American president needs to halt military activities and focus on long-term solutions such as development, humanitarian aid, education and poverty alleviation while learning the lesson that invasion and occupation rarely ends well.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. The AUMF was signed by President George W. Bush on September 18, 2001.


syria, salafist rebels 2012, fighting for the western-backed 'revolution'

Putin: Russia, Turkey call for urgent end to bloodshed in Syria
Russia Today, 10-10-2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have urged a swift end to the bloodshed in war-torn Syria, following talks between the two leaders in Istanbul.
“Both Russia and Turkey stand for the earliest cessation of bloodshed in Syria. In Russia we think that the switch to a political settlement must happen as soon as possible. We suppose that everybody, who wants peace, should support this proposal,” Putin said.
According to Putin, both Moscow and Ankara backed the proposal of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, regarding the removal of militants from Aleppo.
“Together with the Turkish president we agreed to do everything to support de Mistura’s initiative on the withdrawal of military units, which refuse to lay down their arms, from Aleppo in order to end violence,” he said.
The Russian president said that he and Erdogan had agreed to strengthen contact between the countries’ militaries and intelligence agencies. He added that Moscow is ready to develop large-scale military-technical cooperation with Ankara and the sides are now studying various projects.
The Turkish military operation in Syria and ways to cooperate in providing aid to civilians in the city of Aleppo were discussed during the talks in Istanbul on Monday, Erdogan said. The Russian and Turkish militaries, as well as intelligence services and diplomats from the two countries, will continue to work together on the provision of humanitarian aid in Syria, he added.

Iran Is More Dangerous Than the Islamic State
"There is no chance we will see a McDonald's in Tehran"
Moshe Yaalon (Zionist), Los Angeles Times, 29-9-2016

Iran has its own version of McDonald's

Since the revolution of 1979, McDonald's restaurants have been spurned by Iranian authorities. The relationship between Iran and the states has long been complex and tense.
But that hasn’t stopped fast food fans from launching their own spin-offs, including under the name of ‘Mash Donalds’. Mash Donalds owner Hassan, told the New York Times: “If I had called my restaurant McDonald’s, I’d get a visit from the hardliners. So my son advised me to go for Mash Donalds. It sort of sounds the same. “We are trying to get as close as we can get to the McDonald's experience.” (Independent, 3-8-2015)
Arabs and Israelis are in the same boat, facing Iranian-backed threats all around them and yearning for Western leadership on how best to roll back the regime's destabilizing policies.
U.S. political leaders of both parties argue that destroying the Islamic State is America's top priority in the Middle East. In reality, that's not nearly as important as confronting the challenge posed by Iran.
The nuclear deal that went into effect a year ago may have postponed the danger of an Iranian nuclear bomb, but the multifaceted threat of a militaristic, messianic Iran is much more menacing to Western interests than the Sunni thugs and murderers of Raqqah and Mosul.

The evidence of Iran's rogue behavior is overwhelming..."
It is the prime backer of the genocidal Syrian regime, providing President Bashar Assad with funds, weapons and the support of Shiite militias. It supplies weapons, money and training to Hezbollah, using it as a strategic tool to undermine the legitimate role of the Lebanese government.
In Israel's neighborhood, Iran finances Palestinian Islamic Jihad and certain Hamas elements and provides them with the know-how to produce rockets, drones and other weapons...
In Yemen, Iran fans conflict by sending arms to the Houthi rebels. Elsewhere in the Arabian peninsula, it uses proxies to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Those who believed that the nuclear agreement would lead to a more moderate, open, reformist Iran, at home and abroad, regrettably suffer from wishful thinking.
So long as the ayatollah's governs Iran, there is no chance we will see a McDonald's in Tehran.

Moshe Yaalon (Right-Wing Zionist), served until May 2016 as Israel's minister of defense



Mash Donald's, Pizza Hat, and Other Blatant American-Chain Knockoffs in Iran


Ayatollah Khamenei & Symbols of submission
Hossein Derakhshan, The Guardian, 12-10-2015

Since his youth, Ayatollah Khamenei has been fascinated by anti-colonial literature.
In the early 1960s, he translated a book on India’s independence movement and the role of Muslims in it. He praises Nehru and Frantz Fanon. Unlike most clerics, he was close to leftist literary figures such as Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, Jalal Al-e-Ahmad and Ali Shariati.
That doesn’t make him a socialist. He believes in private property and supports minimal government interference in the economy. It’s revolutionary anti-colonial ideas that have intrigued him.
Ayatollah Khamenei suspects that if a McDonald’s joint opens in the affluent north of Tehran, western media will rush to sell it as a symbol of Iran’s submission, the end of its anti-imperial revolution.
In 1998, when then President Khatami was being compared to Gorbachev in the west, Ayatollah Khamenei warned that McDonald’s wasn’t just a burger joint, but part of the vanguard of American dominance. He even cited reports by Time and Newsweek, published just before the Soviet collapse, about the way American culture and businesses were conquering Moscow.
A conquered Iran is not the image he likes to be aired to the world.
In the past few years, Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly talked about preserving and reviving the traditional Iranian-Islamic lifestyle, its respect for family, hard work, the rule of law, nature, and its respect for science.
There is little doubt that the growing number of shopping malls, coffee shops and fast-food restaurants don’t fit comfortably into his vision. But the truth is that he hasn’t so far interfered to have them banned.
The message he wants the developing world, especially the Islamic world, to receive from Iran is simple: you can be a safe, advanced and prosperous state without depending on America. The public presence of flagship American brands such as McDonald’s in Iran would send the wrong signals.
As President Rouhani insisted in New York last week, Iran is genuinely opening up to the global economy. But it is not going to be an easy market for American symbols of capitalism.

Residents of Benghazi, in search of stability,
celebrate the Libyan National Army’s advances
Mohamed Eljarh, Al-Monitor, 11-10-2016

It has been nearly five years since Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed by Libyan rebels near his hometown of Sirte on Oct. 20, 2011. Tragically, Libya’s democratic transition process failed to create an environment conducive for democracy and the rule of law.

Today, Libyans are forced to choose between two extremes: either chaos with militias and Islamist extremists as the dominant forces, or military rule (the Libyan National Army, loyal to the internationally recognized government in Tobruk). No other convincing options are on offer.
On June 19, the president of the Libyan parliament in Tobruk, in his claimed capacity as supreme commander of the armed forces, declared a state of emergency and appointed the Libyan National Army Chief of Staff Abdulrazaq Nadori as military governor for the eastern region. Nadori started a campaign to replace largely dysfunctional, democratically elected municipal councils with military-appointed governors.
So far, military governors have replaced eight municipal councils, including those in the cities of Benghazi, Shahaat, Ejdabyia in the northeast and Kufrah in the southeast. Also, the mayor of Tobruk in eastern Libya requested that the military appoint a governor for the city. Local communities in the southern and western regions of Libya are discussing the idea of military governors for their own municipalities, showing the potential for the militarization trend to spread nationwide.

To understand this shift in Libya’s political and governance landscape, one must look into the dynamics that gave rise to this trend and also local perspectives about it.
Activists in the city of Benghazi, the first to have its municipal council replaced with a military governor, told Al-Monitor that many civil society and democracy activists were strong supporters of the army’s war on extremist Islamist militias in Benghazi.

The activists explained their support by pointing out that since 2012, Benghazi has witnessed a terror campaign at the hands of extremists in which more than 500 civil society activists, politicians, journalists and military and security personnel have been killed. The Libyan National Army and its leader, Gen. Khalifa Hifter, capitalized on these failures.
Residents of Benghazi and other major cities in eastern Libya celebrate the Libyan National Army’s advances and gains in Benghazi. Younes Najm, an activist from Benghazi, said the Libyan National Army "has recognition in the eyes of the people because it was the only institution that dealt with people’s concerns over the rise of extremist groups, militias and the deteriorating security situation.”


Istanbul summit of Muslim scholars discusses Gülen (and Daish) threat
Daily Sabbah (Istanbul - Turkey) 11-10-2016

Islamic scholars from Asia and Europe met in Istanbul yesterday to discuss countering FETÖ and Daish, two terrorist groups exploiting Islam, as Turkish leaders emphasized the heightened threat of both groups to the international communit. The event is hosted by Turkey's state-run religious authority. The four-day summit is being attended by 120 delegates from 33 countries.
Turkey seeks to mobilize Muslim communities to adopt a common stance against terrorism's attempt to de-fame Islamic associations claimed by the terrorist groups.
FETÖ, led by U.S.-based Turkish national Fethullah Gülen, a former preacher, is accused of running a global terror cult bent on seizing power in Turkey and recruiting followers through its network of schools across the globe.


Erdogan & Qaradawi

In a speech at the convention in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan highlighted how FETÖ presented a threat to Muslim countries and spoke about the July 15 coup attempt, where a Gülenist junta sought to overthrow the government and assassinate him.
"We wouldn't discuss July 15 in this event if it was a conventional military coup, but it is different from other attempts because the followers see themselves as a religious congregation and their leader as a so-called messiah," Erdoğan said at the summit.
FETÖ, both with its religious heresy and its devious methods to gain power with education and trade, is as serious a threat as Daish for Muslims and the entire world," Erdoğan added.
"FETÖ is not a religious community. It is a movement aiming to incite strife among Muslims, to divide and eradicate Muslim communities. It is a movement exploiting religion and using any means necessary to achieve its goals," Erdoğan said.
"At a time when Muslims in the region needed religious services and education the most, it emerged and attempted to create its own hegemony..."
Erdoğan also touched upon other terrorist groups. Erdoğan said Muslim unity, mutual respect, consultation and tolerance in the resolution of conflicts would eradicate terrorist groups.
"We are aware that these terrorist groups are supported and created by foreign powers, but it is wrong to completely blame global powers for terrorism.
Our own shortcomings, mistakes, greed and disputes also paved the way for terrorist groups," he said.


Qaradawi, the demonizer

"Erdogan will succeed because Allah, Gabriel, Salih Al-Muminin (the Righteous of the Faithful)
are with him and after that the Angelic Host will appear”. Yusuf al-Qaradawi
, 16-8-2014

Flashback 2012: Americans are mobilizing the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab nation,
WorldTribune, 14-9-2012


The Gulf Cooperation Council was said to have been examining the growth of Brotherhood-aligned groups in the six member states over the last year.
Qatar (a US client state) has been the only GCC state to have embraced the Brotherhood. The sources cited significant Qatari military aid to the rebels in Libya and Syria as well as a relatively free hand granted to a top Brotherhood cleric, Sheik Yusef Al Qaradawi. (Read more: Page 74)

Flashback 2013: Cleric Qaradawi urges Sunnis to join rebels

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called on Sunni Muslims from around the Middle East to go to Syria to join the battle against President Bashar al-Assad.
Qaradawi, an Egyptian Islamist based in Qatar, told a rally in Doha that every Sunni capable of fighting should support the rebels. Addressing a solidarity rally for Syria in Qatar's capital, Sheikh Qaradawi urged Sunnis throughout the region to follow suit and join the battle.
"Every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that [must] make himself available," he said.

Sheikh Qaradawi, who has about 60 million followers for his religious programme on al-Jazeera TV, also he denounced Hezbollah, whose name means the "Party of God" in Arabic, as the "Party of Satan".
"The leader of the Party of Satan comes to fight the Sunnis... Now we know what the Iranians want... They want continued massacres to kill Sunnis," Sheikh Qaradawi told the rally.
The cleric used to be an advocate of rapprochement with the Shia and defended Hezbollah against other Sunni authorities.
Now, he said he regretted that, because he realised that there was no common ground between the two, because the Iranians [..] just wanted to "devour" the Sunnis. (Page 54)


In 2014 Interpol issued a bulletin, seeking the arrest of Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The bulletin is sparse on details but says that Egypt wanted the 88-year-old Qaradawi "to serve a sentence" for crimes including "incitement and assistance to commit intentional murder."

Hizmet (Gulen movement): "opposed to Islamism"
Uğur Kömeçoğlu 2014, Gulen Movement Website

One of the main goals of the Hizmet organization has been the elevation of a Muslim consciousness that is compatible with modern civil democracy and opposed to Islamism.
For Gülen, Islamists are usually motivated by personal and political agendas rooted in the pursuit of worldly ambitions and power as well as by anger and hostility toward others: "Many groups that have put themselves forward under the banner of Islam export a distorted image of Islam and actually strengthen it."
As a Muslim movement, Hizmet seeks to revitalize religious faith, and it also believes Islam has a role to play in enriching and sustaining civic and democratic political life.
But in sharp contrast with Islamists, participants do not seek to become a political party, nor do they seek political power for themselves or for the purposes of spreading a particular political ideology.
Instead, the movement aims to improve modern society and advance the human condition by strengthening spirituality and individual piety. (Page 74)

Victory of Israeli-Orthodox Judaism is everyone’s defeat
Yehuda Nuriel, YNet news Opinion, 11.10.2016

The secular majority in Israel has given up on (modern) Judaism in favor of Orthodox Judaism. And Orthodoxy’s victory is everyone’s defeat—because it is political rather than ethical.

The meaning of this kind of “Judaism” (Pharisaism, Hypocritical observance of the letter, or: Deification of men-made Jewish Law) is mainly about prohibitions, constraints and excuses on opening businesses, public transportation and leisure, people marrying whoever they choose, issues of faith or a different sexual inclination and an excuse for being exempt from military service (like I was told in basic training: “If things get difficult, then we say we’re religious”).
The second partner in the Orthodox victory, Religious Zionism, has replaced the ancient principles of faith with a single “under no circumstances.” This land is all mine, they say, and the world can explode, or at least the Temple Mount.
Busy preparing us for the religious war that will eventually arrive, Inshallah, against Islam in general and the Palestinians in particular, so that there is no chance to discuss anything else with them.

The reaction to these “Judaism” shows is sometimes hostile contempt... But secular Israel is missing the point, or the essence. It does not engage in studying Judaism — or infusing it with its own content.
For example, what can actually be translated from the Jubilee year mitzvot (in the spirit of Jabotinsky)? Or: How does Maimonides philosophically overcome the problem of the existence of evil?
It seems that we have never been further away from the Judaism that can bring together a group of people for the sake of a better shared future.

Read more: Saddam's Death, Page 68 - Jesus, Hillel & Pharisaism

Jabotinski 'the Liberal' and Maimonides 'the humanist'
Why being a Jew when you can be a Liberal and a Philosopher?

As a philosopher (NOT a Jew) Maimonides agrees with Aristotle in teaching that the use of logic is the "right" way of thinking. In order to build an inner understanding of how to know God, every human being must, by study, meditation and uncompromising strong will, attain the degree of complete logical, spiritual and physical perfection required in the prophetic state.
Here he rejects previous ideas (especially portrayed by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi in "Hakuzari") that in order to become a prophet, God must intervene.
Maimonides claims that any man has the potential to become a prophet (not just Jews) and that in fact it is the purpose of the human race. (Wikipedia info)

As a liberal (NOT a Jew) Jabotinsky recoiled from all dictators and from totalitarianism. He was an extreme individualist, almost a committed anarchist. (Israel Eldad, 1980)

Every person is a king” Jabotinsky formulated and this meant an inner freedom, the freedom of choice. Even the acceptance of the discipline that Jabotinsky desired to be the result of a free decision by man as man.
In the beginning, G-d created the individual. Every individual is a king equal to his fellow. It is preferable that the individual sin against the society than the society sin against the individual.
Society was created for the good for individuals, not the opposite. The messianic vision is one of a paradise for the individual, a glorious anarchic kingdom, a contest between personal abilities “society” has no rule but to help those who have fallen... [Jabotinsky, in “My Story,” 1936 in Autobiography]

"My outlook is in essence the negation of the totalistic state. The instinctive ideal of man is a serene anarchy. As long as this ideal cannot be realized, democracy must be recognized as the form closest to the ideal.
Our tradition has it that in the beginning, G-d created the individual. Man is intended to be free. Democracy’s meaning is freedom and the goal of democracy is to insure the influence of the minority. [Jabotinsky, “Introduction to the Theory of Economy – Part Two,” 1934]

School Year Begins for Third Temple Priests
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, August 4, 2016

The Temple Institute has brought the Third Temple one step closer by establishing a school for Jewish priests (kohanim) to learn how to perform the Temple Service. Four months ago, the Temple Institute established a registry of Kohanim, a list of men who have a clear patriarchal heritage from the priestly class....
The Temple Institute was founded in 1987 to fulfill the mission of bringing about the Third Temple.
It has recreated over 70 vessels that are ready to be used in the Temple, is breeding the Red Heifer in order to purify the Nation of Israel, and has produced the special garb the Bible requires the Kohanim to wear while performing the Temple service.
The Institute has also reconstructed the High Priest’s breastplate...

The Ephod: Plate Of Judgment

The Jewish high priest wore a vest with a breastplate (the ephod) composed of twelve precious stones arranged in four rows. This was known as "the breastplate of judgment."
The ephod was fastened at the shoulders with two onyx stones. According to Adam Clarke, the stones were to remind God of the needs and desires of the Israelites whenever the high priest stood before Him. Josephus writes that one of the onyx buttons of the ephod would shine brilliantly whenever God attended their sacrifices.

Josephus & The Mystic (Astrological) Ephod Meanings

In Josephus, chapter VII, verse 7 we learn the inner most understanding as to why the Ephod was designed in the manner that YHWH commanded. It reads and explains, as such:
And for the ephod (apron), it shewed that YHWH had made the Universe of four elements (Fire, Air, Water, Earth); and as for the gold interwoven, I suppose it related to the splendour by which all things are enlightened.
He also appointed the Breastplate to be placed in the middle of the Ephod, to resemble the Earth, for that has the very middle of the world.
And the girdle, which compassed the High Priest round, signified the ocean (Water), for that goes round about and includes the Universe.
Each of the Sardonyxes (stones) declares to us the Sun and the Moon; those I mean that were in the nature of buttons on the High Priests shoulders.
And for the twelve stones (in the Breastplate), whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand by them the like number of the Signs of that circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning.
And for the mitre, which was of a blue colour, it seems to mean…Heaven... (Children of Yahweh website)


In astrology Water-signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, Earth-signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, Fire-signs are Aries, Leo and Sagitarius, Air-signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
Persian Zoroastrism was a Fire-religion, pre-Islamic religion in Mecca was as feminine Water (Moon) cult (the priests wore women clothing), Babylonian religion was a combined Water (Moon or Nanna=Mother) and Fire (Jupiter|Marduk=Son) cult.

The Twelve Tribes & the Twelve Signs, according to Rabbi Joel C. Dobin
Benjamin and Judah (FIRE-signs) are the two signs|tribes of the Jewish State of Israel
The other signs have disappeared... ( 'The ten lost tribes'...)
'Lost' means: a broken band with G'd (the universe - universalism - holism)

Aries: Benjamin impulsiveness; selfishness; self-confidence; loyalty;
Taurus: Reuben appetite for Earthly pleasures; sexual beauty; peaceable
Gemini: Simeon brother of violence with Levi; intellectual; communicative
Cancer: Levi brother of violence with Simon; emotional; motherly
Leo: Judah kings; generosity; vengeance; being on top
Virgo: Zebulun new experiences; glass; precision; analysis
Libra: Issachar servitude; weighing all options; judiciousness
Scorpio: Dan judgement; violence; emotional imbalance; snake
Sagittarius: Gad good fortune; expansiveness; religiosity
Capricorn: Asher wealth; hard work; old in youth, young in old age
Aquarius: Naphtali goodly words; satisfaction; swift; communicative
Pisces: Joseph emotional security; occult ability; confusing