Saddam's Death, 82 (december 2016, part 1)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 81: nov 2016 and Page 83: dec 2016, part 2
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple
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

"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003

A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.

A Great YES To Life

I look into a mirror to remain afloat,
and talk an endless soliloquy
This entire torrent of words is a great yes to life,
A yes indifferent to good and evil,
A self-regarding, prudent, avid,
generous, stupid, cosmos yes,
A yes of acceptance
That in its monotonous flow fuses and confuses
past, present and future
What I was, remain and will become,
everything and everyone together
In a great exclamation
Like a sea surge that rises, falls and jumbles
All things together in a whole, that has no beginning or end.

Niran Abbas, (Ba'ath controlled) Iraq Daily, 18-10-2002

Read also: The Curse Of The Law

Page Index

"...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

"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)

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)

“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)

"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...."
"For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."

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)

NO to Hillary Clinton. YES to Donald Trump

9-11-2016: Donald Trump won the US presidential election
triumphing over his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

Addressing his supporters on Wednesday, US President-Elect Donald Trump pledged that "every single American will have an opportunity to realize his or her potential."
He promised to rebuild US infrastructure, put millions of people to work and "renew the American dream."

He promised to always put US interest first and to "get along well" with all nations willing to get along with the US.
He added that Washington would seek "common ground, not hostility” and “partnership, not conflict."
Sputnik News, 9-11-2016)

Michael Jackson, born 29-8-1958. Astrological signs: Sun in Virgo, Moon in Pisces

Sun in Virgo, Moon in Pisces: "The combination of your Sun sign and your Moon sign produces insight, an understanding mind, a profound personality. You are both intellectual and intuitive, can reason things out by cold logic, learn facts, and absorb figures, while your hunches are actively at work.
The combination blends the intelligence, analytical insight and discrimination of Virgo with the emotional sensitivity and intuitive understanding of Pisces. Thought and feeling, logic and intuition, observation and impression, all are balanced well in this configuration. (Michael McClain)

Other Virgo-Pisces personalities:
President Bashar al-Assad (Sun: Virgo, Moon:Pisces) &
President Andrew Jackson (Sun:Pisces, Moon:Virgo)

A Virgo-Pisces personality is the natural enemy of fascism

- Fascism = Anti-intellectualism: Intellectuals are seen as a threat. "Intellectualism is a sort of infertile intelligence, an intelligence without virtility. Intellectualism is a disease of the intelligence .... it is a femininity that will never be material." (Itally 1929)
- Fascism = Anti-feminism: Fascists believe that females are inferior to men. A prevalence of feminine elements in a person is seen as a regression of the human being on the evolutionary scale. Exercising and modern sports activities are suggested as a measure to increase masculinity and combat any signs of femininity in one's lifestyle.

Obama, Trump and Jacksonian Policy
Matthew Fay, Niskanen (Libertarian) Center, 30-11-2016

President-elect Donald Trump, despite the incoherence of his statements on foreign policy, has a well-defined worldview. Trump sees world politics as zero sum and transactional. A gain by another country is necessarily a loss for the United States.
But there is another aspect of Trump’s worldview that merits comment as well. This aspect of Trump’s worldview is what historian Walter Russell Mead refers to as the “Jacksonian” tendency in American foreign policy in reference to Andrew Jackson and the populism in American politics his presidency inspired...
Neoconservative writer, and prominent Trump critic, Max Boot wrote of Trump’s Jacksonian outlook more recently in an essay at Foreign Policy that compared the foreign policy of President Barack Obama with his incoming successor. Boot writes:

In the terms coined by Walter Russell Mead, Obama [wanted to be] a Jeffersonian, while Trump is a Jacksonian: The former (Jefferson) believes that the United States should perfect its own democracy and go “not abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” whereas the latter (Jackson) believes that “the United States should not seek out foreign quarrels” but that it should clobber anyone who messes with it.
What unites Jeffersonians and Jacksonians, in spite of their substantial differences, is that both support quasi-isolationism — or, if you prefer, noninterventionism — unless severely provoked.

Andrew Jackson was raised a strict Presbyterian. Despite his religiosity, Jackson was a staunch defender of the separation of church and state.
Jackson advocated a kind of democracy, later known as Jacksonian Democracy, where popular participation was paramount.

Jackson was strongly opposed to a rule by an elite class–religious, financial, or otherwise–and made his views known that every citizen, regardless of wealth, status, religion, etc. should participate in the governance of their society.
Jackson’s disdain for the financial elite was part of the reason for his war against America’s central bank. Jackson resented the power held by the bank and its unwillingness to fund projects in the western frontier as opposed to helping to line the pockets of industrial cronies in the Northeast. Jackson signed an executive order completely shutting down the bank and removing all federal funds.
In the end, we could view Jackson as a man of the people and a man of his time. Clearly, his views on race relations wouldn’t fly today, but his disdain for financial elites and support of popular democracy might.

Jesus was not a Wallstreet-baby

"There was no crib, so they laid baby Jesus in a manger, a feeding trough for animals."

Obama on the birth of Jesus

"I hope we will focus on the message that this child brought to this earth some 2000 years ago, the message that says we have our brothers keepers, our sisters keepers, that we have to reach out to each other, forgive each other, let the lights of our good deeds shine for all, care for the sick and the hungry.., and of course to love one another - even our enemies - and treat one another the way we want to be treated ourselves...
It is a message of unity, a message of decency and a message of hope that never goes out of sight, a message that we all need very much today..."

Barack Obama, december 2016

Christians suffered from the overthrow of secular leaders
Tamara Chabe, The Conservative Woman, 22-11-2015

A report by “Aid To The Church In Need” states that Christianity could become extinct in the Middle East within the next decade.
This is a sombre and grim prediction, and sadly it is likely that the Arab Spring and Western intervention in countries like Iraq and Libya has exacerbated the eradication of Christians, and other minorities like the Yazidis from the Middle East.
Saddam Hussain was a dictator, but the fact is that Christians under Saddam Hussein had freedom of religion, women were not forced to abide by any strict Islamic dress code and had rights, and Iraq was a secular one-party-state. [Baath party: 65% progressive Shiites, 35 % Sunnis. Conservative, anti-secular, Sjiites rejected partymembership]
The same was true in Libya under Gaddafi, which used to be Africa’s richest country before western intervention. Gaddafi ran a secular regime, women and minority religions had rights, and Christians had freedom of religion.
Libya’s economy under Gaddafi [Green Party, social-liberal] was relatively stable and because of this many black Africans from surrounding countries used to seek work in Libya, and Gaddafi used to encourage such immigration.
Gaddafi shared the oil wealth with the people. Under Gaddafi Libyans had free electricity, all newlyweds in Libya received US$ 50,000 from the government to buy their first apartment and to help start a family, and education and medical treatments were free.
Bashar al-Assad [Baath-socialist party], like Hussain and Gaddafi runs a secular regime, which gives rights to Christians and women, and Syria used to be a relatively safe country before the uprisings. I still recall the days when Syria used to be promoted as a tourist hotspot for Westerners because of its safety and the fact that the state was secular.

What’s so striking about the so-called 'war on terror' and Western interventions is the that fact that they seem to be targeted at deposing the Middle Eastern governments that have secular (socialist) leaders, while leaving Islamic theocracies like Saudi Arabia intact...

Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions (freedom)
The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law (brotherhood).
The separation of religion and state is the foundation of secularism. It ensures that religious groups don't interfere in affairs of state, and makes sure the state doesn't interfere in religious affairs. (National Secular Society)

'Flexibility and adaptability'
The missing keyword in the fundamentalist mindset
Sherif Rizq, Daily News Egypt, 1-12-2016

“Situations vary dramatically from country to country. It would be foolish to take a one-size-fits-all approach and barrel forward regardless of circumstances on the ground,” said Hillary Clinton in her Keynote Address at the National Democratic Institute’s 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner.
This quote reveals a lot about a cornerstone concept that fundamentalists, radicals, and extremists by and large lack — namely flexibility and adaptability...
Andrew Heywood argues: “religious fundamentalism is characterised by a rejection of the distinction between religion and politics. Politics, in effect, is religion.” This has usually caused conflict between any religious fundamentalists and the existing power... As long as eligious fundamentalist groups are present, the conflict remains.
The conflict between religious fundamentalist groups and society seems to be inevitable unless these groups modify or adjust their strategies and ideologies. However, this seems to be exceedingly unlikely.
Religious fundamentalist groups assume that religion can answer all questions. Fundamentalists assume that questions about science, family, biology, nutrition, and everything else can be found in [their 'Holy' books]...
Fundamentalists usually oppose to most practices which are not [religious]. These practices could be political, social, or economic. They also find it difficult to accept arts and entertainment in general...

Religious dogma is all about “unchallengeable truth"

Politics mainly deals with reality, but reality is constantly changing. It seems that change is the only thing we can be sure about.
Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: “The only constant thing is change.” Nevertheless, religious dogma is all about “unchallengeable truth”.
Heywood believes: “the pursuit of religious fundamentalists is to apply religious ideas in all aspects of life; even science has to be related to what God says.” They use technology to a great extent, but they do not believe in science. They use religious text to explain scientific information...
Fundamentalists vehemently try to change reality completely. They are seeking to build a new society.. They see the established society as infidel and vicious. In their attempts to change the status quo, they have to encounter the existing power.

Economic factors and education that support critical thinking may help eradicate the radical fundamental mindset that the western world suffered from once.
Will the current Egyptian government and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi realise that security issues have to be resolved alongside real development?
Development needs to encompass all areas supportive of creating a real Egyptian mindset that can stand tall and confident against the barbaric attacks of radical groups.

Islam: NOT a Medieval Church with Holy Men (Priests),
but a Progressive Movement based on Love & Wisdom (Wise Men)
Gamal Abd al-Rahim Arabi, Almuslih Website

Jesus called a little child to stand among them.
“Truly I tell you, He said, “unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest
in the kingdom of heaven... (Matthew 18:3)

the right to be young

prophet muhammad
as a young man

Any in-depth analysis of the hundreds of incidents carried out by Salafist jihadist groups must conclude that there is clearly a common factor to them, and this is the Salafi Jihadi understanding of the Islamic faith.
This is the only connecting thread between the killing of schoolchildren in Pakistan and Nigeria, bombings in the streets of Boston, Mumbai, or Moscow theaters or housing complexes in Al Khobar, trains in London and Madrid, shops in Paris, hotels in Amman, cafes in Cairo, tourist sites in Tunis or antiquities in Afghanistan and many, many others still.

Any fair-minded examination of all these events, and any deep reading of the intellectual and political discourses of these groups, must lead to the conclusion that there is an intellectual source to it, connected one way or another to regressive Salafist Islamic schools that look upon contemporary world issues through a seventh-century lens, and which do not give any consideration to the enormous developments in human life in all its respects, nor respect the principle that Islam is valid for all times and places.
A validity, that is, that assumes a continuous development in the system of jurisprudence, and that one should not stop at some threshold established by the pious Salaf [‘Ancestors’] who, in their own era, exercised independent legal reasoning and forged the required and necessary harmony between the requirements of the religion and the interests of people at the time.

Contemporary traditional Salafist schools have failed to develop the achievements of the Salaf in the matter of paradigms and rules. In fact, unfortunately, those rules have been solidified and afforded a sanctity similar to that granted to the Qur’ān.
And this is despite the complex, developing issues of humankind and the people’s spiritual, mental and material needs that now differ from those in the light of which the traditional rules of jurisprudence were constructed centuries ago.
Various groups of political Islam, such as the Muslim Brotherhood movement, adopted an opportunistic approach and deceived people by its espousing a bold intellectual programme with the ability to address the dilemma of modernity faced by Muslims.
Yet they proved beyond any reasonable doubt that religion for them was nothing other than a means to achieve power and secure control over people’s liberties and rights in the name of religion.
In fact all that the Muslim Brotherhood achieved was to furnish traditional Salafism with activist and organisational capacities which, in the end, gave birth to these Salafist jihadi takfiri groups.

make them mean and old: "all they achieved was to furnish traditional salafism"

Not long ago, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the following: "Daesh is not only a terrorist organization, but a malicious idea. It is an ideology which Daesh themselves espouse, and which al-Qaeda also espouses... We must confront this evil ideology with an enlightened, open-minded thought, one that can accept and co-exist with the other, an enlightened conception of our Islamic, Abrahamic religion... We have to convince them that God created us for the purpose of building the earth, not for destroying it."

The question of the moment is how to apply and implement these inspiring visions on the ground.
What is clearly demanded is an answer to the following questions: Which institutions of state and society are to be entrusted with the renewal of religious discourse... Is this to be done through the same institutions that spawned this thinking in the first place and fostered its luminaries? Or do we need to look for new institutions and new tools?
Should we leave the citizens’ media and culture to the domination of terrorists, even tacitly? Or to sheikhs and some intellectuals who seem to admire the daily diet of slaughter, so as to spite America and the West...
Or should we initiate new institutions with new people who can undertake religious renewal and present this to people in a convincing, positive way?

we must confront this evil ideology with an enlightened, open-minded thought

The predominance of conservatives in the official religious institutions continues to constitute a font of intellectual terrorism. This requires state intervention at the very heart of the equation..
There is a gap between the aspirations of the people and the current level of human development and, on the other hand, the conservative, traditional heritage. It is a gap that needs more daring and capable personalities to be brought to prominence:
People who can reform the inherited jurisprudential methodologies that have, with the passage of time, acquired an infallibility, despite the fact that Islam rejects at the very outset granting a human being any religious authority, and has denounced such a thing in other religions, as stated in the verse: They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks [Qur’ān IX, 31]

There is a significant role for a responsible media to play in supporting the desired change...
And it is not only the media that needs to keep up and disseminate a modern conception of the faith, one based on the enrooting of the values of love and the refutation of takfiri arguments within this same religion.
Indeed, there is a pressing need to expand specialist capacities for dealing with jihadist takfiri thought in research centres and publishing houses, and for convening ongoing conferences for those concerned with this.
And to guarantee the greatest possible success a coordination and cooperation should be secured with their counterpart agencies in Arab and non-Arab countries alike.

Syrian girl (MBC The VoiceKids 2016)
Give us our childhood back

You Will always Be in Our Hearts
Syrian Children Sing
Syria Times, 05 December 2016

As Christmas and the New Year approach, 150 children from the Schools of Sons and Daughters of Martyrs sang joy and love songs within an activity held Monday under the title "You will always be in our hearts".
The activity held on the initiative of the Syrian expatriate Wasim Bersli aims to send a message of loyalty to martyrs and their children, according to the official news agency (SANA).

Director-General of the Martyr's Sons and Daughters Schools Shahira Falloh highly appreciated the activity for bringing joy to children.... She thanked civil community and every Syrian expatriate that stands by the homeland.
The activity included songs and distribution of gifts among the children in the presence of Syrian actors and actresses.

Moscow: Russia, US to Start Talks on Militants' Withdrawal from Aleppo
FARS News Agency, 5-12-2016

Kerry meets Assad, 21-2-2009

Assad called for dialogue and told Kerry that America should refrain from dictating its views to others, as such policy "has been proven ineffective." (YNetNews 2009)

TEHRAN (FNA)- A proposal made by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Russia about the divided Syrian city of Aleppo details the procedure for the withdrawal of rebel forces, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed, adding the two countries will discuss the issue in the coming days.
“During the Russian-American consultations concrete routes and timing of the withdrawal of all militants from Eastern Aleppo will be discussed. Once we reach an agreement, a ceasefire will be put in place,” Lavrov said, RT reported.
The Russian foreign minister added that any armed group that refuses to leave Aleppo will be treated by Russia as terrorists, adding that Moscow will support the Syrian Army’s operations against them.
The proposal by Kerry was handed over on Saturday, after he and Lavrov met in Rome. Negotiations on the plan are expected to begin on Tuesday morning, Lavrov said on Monday. He added that the beginning of the talks had been postponed by a few days at Washington’s request.
Lavrov told journalists Monday that Russia would not support a draft resolution imposing a new ceasefire in Aleppo.
“Taking into consideration the outcome of the previous pauses [in the conflict], there is absolutely no doubt that the 10-day ceasefire which backers of the draft resolution generously want to provide the militants with would surely be used for regrouping and rearming the extremists and would slow down the liberation of Eastern Aleppo from them,” he said.
Russia “has every reason to believe” that the plan to hand over the remaining rebel territories to the Syrian Army will work and “resolve the issue of Eastern Aleppo,” Lavrov said calling the draft resolution “counterproductive” and going against the solution that the US and Russia are trying to agree on for Aleppo.

American Jews: Rethink Worship of Democratic Party!
Batya Medad, Arutz Sheva (voice of right-wing, religious Zionism), 5-12-2016

Roosevelt, 'a Holocaust-denier'?

The US government (Roosevelt) and the UK-government (Churchill-Eden) never bombed 'death-camps', because all intelligence-reports told them there were NO deathcamps & NO gas-chambers. All they saw were concentrationcamps, inhabited by 'innocent people' who suffered a lot, but.. they were not systematically killed.
"Roosevelt forcefully rejected bombing Auschwitz on the grounds that it 'wouldn't do any good' to kill innocent people. 'I won't have anything to do with it...' (Washington Post 2002)
In the summer of 1944 the Allied Forces bombed railway transportlines to Auschwitz to stop the deportation of Hungary Jews, at the request of Hungarian Jews organisations. They didn't bomb the camps.
There's some totally illogical worship of the Democratic Party by American Jewry which goes against logic and history. And even worse is the fact that in today's policies it's a hotbed of the support of BDS, Palestine and other causes/ideologies that delegitimatize the State of Israel and support its destruction, God forbid. I am not exaggerating one iota here.
For some strange reason, although four term President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did everything in his power to keep Jews fleeing the Nazis out of the United States, at the same time American Jewry considered him their savior.
Even though the American military were perfectly aware of the Concentration Camps [..], stopping that cruel and inhuman situation was not part of the American plan.
And today, over seventy years later, when the foreign policies of Democratic politicians endanger the security of the State of Israel still the vast majority of American Jewry votes Democrat.

I'm not surprised that Keith Ellison has a strong chance of heading the Democratic Party, because he really represents its policies:
The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people
A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million,” said Ellison, D-Minn. “Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right?"
Ellison is now trying to clean up his image, but it doesn't change the essence of Ellison...

For those who fear the Republicans because of the old KKK connections, get real. The BDS and pro-Palestinian groups are much, much larger and a greater danger to democracy, world peace and Israel.

Ku Klux Klan movements called for the "purification" of American society, and are considered right wing extremist organizations. They advocated white (protestant) supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration, and, especially in later iterations anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism. (Wikipedia)

The Smear-campaign against Keith Ellison
Glen Greenwald, The Intercept, 4-12-2016

Ever since he announced his candidacy to lead the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison, the first American Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, has been the target of a defamation campaign that is deceitful, repugnant, and yet quite predictable.
At first expressed in whispers, but now being yelled from the rooftops by some of the party’s most influential figures, Ellison is being smeared as both an anti-Semite and enemy of Israel — the same smears virtually any critic of the Israeli government reflexively encounters, rendered far worse if the critic is a prominent American Muslim...

He said in a 2010 speech that while he “wanted the U.S. to be friends with Israel,” the U.S. “can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM.”
As the full speech makes clear, he was referring to the indisputable fact that while Israel continues to take billions of dollars every year from the U.S. it continually disregards and violates U.S. requests to stop ongoing expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, often in ways seemingly designed to impose the greatest humiliation on its benefactor:
"Why are we sending $2.8 billion dollars a year over there when they won’t even honor our request to stop building in East Jerusalem? Where is the future Palestinian state going to be if it’s colonized before it even gets up off the ground?

John Kerry slams Israeli settlement expansion
Ma'an News Agency, Dec. 6, 2016

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- United States Secretary of State John Kerry delivered harsh criticism of the Israeli government's settlement expansion policies at the Saban Forum in Washington D.C. on Sunday.
Kerry harshly criticized Israel's controversial “formalization" bill -- that would see dozens of illegal Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank retroactively legalized and thousands of dunams of privately-owned Palestinian land seized. The bill was scheduled to be voted on by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, later on Monday.
Kerry continued in his talk to say that Israel "is ignoring all our warnings regarding settlements,” adding that “things were moving in the wrong direction.”
He said Israel’s right-wing government and ministers did not want and were not working towards a two-state solution, which the United States and other foreign peace brokers have been regarding for decades as the ideal solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Kerry called statement’s like that of Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, who said the “era of the Palestinian state is over” following the election of US President-Elect Donald Trump, “profoundly disturbing.”
“More than 50 percent of the ministers in the current (Israeli) government have publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state and there will be no Palestinian state. So this is the predicament. This is where we find ourselves,” Kerry said.

Kerry highlighted that every sitting American president, both Democrat and Republican, has been opposed to settlement building.
“We issue a warning today when we see a new settlement announced. Nothing happens. It’s ignored (by the Israeli government), a new settlement goes up. New units, new sales.”
The continued expansion of Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, has caused an “erosion” in the peace process in the past, and continues to “narrow and narrow the capacity for peace,” according to Kerry.

Goodbye John Kerry, we won't miss you
Stephen M. Flatow (President Religious Zionists USA)
Arutz Sheva 06-12-2016

John Kerry just couldn't resist. Even though his pubic career is about to end -- even though the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" is long dead -- Kerry just could not resist unleashing one final blast at Israel.
Kerry's disingenuous and mean-spirited attack on Israel at the Saban Forum on Sunday served as a powerful reminder of how good it is that he is about to leave office -- and how dangerous for Israel it would have been if he had remained as secretary of state.

"There will be no advance and no separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace," Kerry absurdly declared.
Apparently he has forgotten that Israel already has separate peace treaties with two of the four neighboring Arab states, Egypt and Jordan.
Israel does not need a peace treaty with Lebanon, and Israel has nothing to gain from a peace treaty with Syria, since Syria is no longer a functioning state. So what "peace with the Arab world" is Kerry blabbering about? Does Israel really need the recognition of Morocco or Qatar?
Kerry also rambled off into a long denunciation of "the settlements" for supposedly "blocking peace."
He said how bothered he was that Israel has ignored his "warnings" about settlements. Maybe one of the reasons Israel has ignored those "warnings" is that Israelis are sick and tired of Kerry's hypocritical lecturing... He acts as if it's a given that a Jew residing in Judea-Samaria or many parts of Jerusalem is illegal...

Great Israel is a 'democracy' because the Palestinian majority
will never get civil rights. They are not and never will be Israeli citizens.

At the Saban Forum, Kerry also launched into another tired recitation of the claim that Israel's "can't be both democratic and Jewish" unless it permits creation of a Palestinian state.
"There are more Arabs than Jews living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River," Kerry pompously asserted, as if Israelis are unaware of that questionable fact, which demographic changes are altering.
Yes, there are a lot of Arabs living in those territories. But they're not Israeli citizens...
There is no threat to Israel's democratic majority, because non-citizens don't vote in Israel--just as they don't vote in the United States or any other country. The "demographic threat" is a myth.

Read also: Palestine-USA-relations (Wikipedia info)

Eretz Israel, Spiritual Center of Judaism
The Religious Zionists of America (RZA) is an ideological and educational organization that aims to instill in the American Jewish community a commitment to Religious Zionism.
Religious Zionism is an ideology based on the synthesis of a Jewish religious and national outlook and is dedicated to the preservation of Jewish political freedom, the enhancement of Jewish religious life in the land of Israel, and the promotion of Aliyah.
The movement is inspired by the slogans of Mizrachi, “The Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, According to the Torah of Israel,” and Hapoel Hamizrachi, “Torah Va’Avodah” (Torah and Labor).
Mizrachi (a Hebrew abbreviation of merkaz ruchani – “spiritual center”) was founded by Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines in 1902 to serve as an umbrella organization for the Religious Zionist movement.
The Mizrachi party envisioned itself as the spiritual center of the Zionist organization and desired to make Eretz Israel the spiritual center of Judaism.
In light of the climate for Jewish students on the campuses of secular American colleges, the RZA works to strengthen and support Yavneh Olami, the religious Zionist campus organization in the battle against anti-Zionist and assimilationist forces on these campuses. (RZA Website)

"The commandment of settling Eretz Yisrael, which is one of the commandments of God which cannot be measured in value, has been the subject of hundreds of statements made by our sages in regard to the elevated holiness of the Land... "
"The commandment to settle in the land is far greater than all the other commandments..." Isaac Jacob Reines

What Is Spirituality?
Center for Spirituality - University of Minnesota

Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives.
In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life.
As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.
People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.

Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections to nature or art.
Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships.

Trump: Strength, not aggression
US Must End 'Cycle of Intervention and Chaos'
Voice of America, December 07, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump returned Tuesday to his vision of a non-interventionist foreign policy for the United States, saying as he did during his campaign, that he does not want to have American forces fighting "in areas that we shouldn't be fighting in."
Speaking during a "thank you" rally for his supporters in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trump said instead his focus will be on defeating terrorists, including the Islamic State group.
"We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn't be involved with," Trump said. He said the U.S. must end what he called a "destructive cycle of intervention and chaos."
Trump pledged to build up the military, but said the purpose would be to project strength, not aggression.

At the same rally, Trump formally announced he has chosen retired Marine General James Mattis as his nominee for secretary of defense:
"Under his leadership, such an important position, we will rebuild our military and alliances, destroy terrorists, face our enemies head on and make America safe again," Trump said.
Michael O'Hanlon, a senior defense expert at the Brookings Institution, called Mattis "one of the best read, best informed and most experienced generals of his generation."

James Mattis & The Wisdom Book Ecclesiastes

- Question: You often quote Ecclesiastes 1:9: “There is nothing new under the sun.” What does it mean to you?
- James Mattis: Read about history, and you become aware that nothing starts with us. It started long ago.
If you read enough biography and history, you learn how people have dealt successfully or unsuccessfully with similar situations or patterns in the past. It doesn’t give you a template of answers, but it does help you refine the questions you have to ask yourself. Further, you recognize there is nothing so unique that you’ve got to go to extraordinary lengths to deal with it.

- Q: How would you answer critics who accuse you of espousing “old school” values?
- A: It takes a military with what could be considered old-fashioned values or quaint values to protect the country. There’s always going to be a bit of a tension, a dynamic that has to be understood by those responsible for leading a progressive America that does not want to be militarized yet needs certain military attributes for protection. (History Net)

Syrian Army Comes One Step Closer to Aleppo Liberation
FARS News Agency, 7-12-1016

TEHRAN (FNA) - Syrian Army troops and popular forces are now in control of at least 85 percent of Eastern Aleppo districts, hitting hard the positions of Jeish al-Fatah coalition of terrorist groups in the few remaining districts still under their control, field sources disclosed minutes ago.
The sources said that the army men and popular forces are on the verge of driving terrorist out of the entire neighborhoods of Aleppo city after their victories against militants in the Northeastern districts and recapture of a major part of the districts in the Southeast.
"Terrorists are now trapped in a small area after pulling back forces from the districts in on the Eastern sides of the Citadel of Aleppo and the entire Old Aleppo quarter," they added. "They are retreating towards the neighborhoods of al-Kalasa, Bostan al-Qasr (Bustan al-Kaser), al-Ansari, al-Mash'had, al-Sukri, al-Salehin, Karam al-Da'ada, al-Nezha and a small part of Sheikh Saeed that have remained thus far under their control," the sources went on to say.

A 100-member group of militants from the Jeish al-Fatah coalition gave up fight and surrendered themselves to the army on Wednesday in areas South of the Old Aleppo quarter in Southeastern Aleppo.
The number of militants trying to apply for government amnesty is on the rise, while only a rapidly shrinking 10 sq/km area has remained under their control in the Eastern neighborhoods.
Rifts are widening among Syrian and non-Syrian militants as Damascus has vowed to grant amnesty to Syrian fighters.
Non-Syrian terrorists want to continue battle against government forces, while others want to negotiate with the army for their final evacuation from the city.

Nusra Front to leave Aleppo towards the Castello road
Ahram online, Thursday 8 Dec 2016

Nusra Front militants, who are currently calling themselves 'Jabhat Fateh al-Sham', are being surrounded by government troops and have agreed to leave the city of Aleppo through the northern corridor, towards the Castello road, the Hezbollah-owned TV Channel Al-Manar reported on Thursday.
The TV Channel reported this information with reference to mediators who were getting in touch with Syrian commanders on militants’ behalf.
According to the TV Channel, the Syrian government troops are now preparing for an assault on the grouping’s last stronghold near Bustan Al-Qasr and have delivered a series of powerful strikes against the terrorists’ fire emplacements and command posts.
According to a TV Channel, the Syrian government troops are now preparing for an assault on the grouping’s last stronghold near Bustan Al-Qasr....
Meantine, a field commander announced that many terrorist groups in Syria now believe in negotiations or contact with the government, but their only problem is the lack of a single leader to make the final decision.

Still the same - Nothing Has Changed
President Bashar al-Assad about Logic, Hypocrisy, Subordination,
Honesty, Reconciliation & Optimism
Interview with Syrian newspaper al-Watan, SANA 8-12-2016

"I always resemble the country, the state, the society or the nation with a family."
Bashar al-Assad, 20-4-2013

- Question: Mr. President, can we start with Aleppo? Why this international panic and concern for the militants in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, although most of them belong to al-Nusra, which is listed as a terrorist organization?
- President Assad: There are a number of reasons. First, after the failure of the battle for Damascus in the first years of the crisis, and later the failure of the battles for Homs, which was supposed to be a stronghold for the fake or supposed revolution, they moved to Aleppo as their last hope.
The advantage that Aleppo enjoys for the terrorists and their supporters is that it is close to Turkey, and consequently logistic supplies to Aleppo are much easier from all aspects. So, they concentrated on Aleppo during the last two years, and that’s why liberating Aleppo from the terrorists deals a blow to the whole foundation of the project, Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo.

- Question: This leads us to the question about the statement: “the winner in the battle of Aleppo wins the war in Syria.” This has been promoted often by the Turks and the Americans. Is that statement true?
- President Assad: From a military perspective, let’s say it is true, because Damascus and Aleppo are the two most important cities, so the party which wins Damascus or Aleppo militarily makes a significant political and military achievement since they are politically and economically important...
But to be realistic, it doesn’t mean the end of the war in Syria. It is a significant landmark towards the end of the battle, but the war in Syria will not end until terrorism is eliminated. Terrorists are there in other areas; so even if we finish in Aleppo, we will carry on with the war against them.

- Question: Mr. President, allow me to move from Aleppo to international relations. So far, the West is portraying the Syrian-Russian relation as one of subordination, that Syria is a Russian satellite, and that Damascus no longer has an independent decision, for all decisions are made in Moscow. How do you respond to such claims?
- President Assad: First, let’s say that the West thinks this way because it lives such a condition. You know that all Western states are now satellites of one master, America. The American maestro moves his baton and they all move in one direction, politically, militarily, or even in the media. What coincidence that all Western media across Europe and America have one narrative! What democracy and freedom!
So, they live this condition of subordination. Their relationship with other states in our region is one of subordination. That’s why they use this logic.
As for Russia, we have dealt with many Russians recently, in addition to our knowledge of them for decades, through the relationship with the Soviet Union and then with Russia. In the different circumstances this relationship has undergone, not once the Russians tried to impose anything on us...
It is a form of popular culture for them. When we meet on all levels, and in all sectors, they have one culture based on morality. They have self-respect and they respect sovereignty. That’s why the Russian policy today is based on principles, because these principles constitute an existing popular and cultural condition...
Of course, now they are fighting, with us, a real battle against terrorism, and in this case we are partners, and we cannot say that decisions are purely Syrian, and that the Russians have nothing to do with them. This is illogical. There are consultations on a daily basis, and there is agreement and disagreement, but ultimately we agree on one decision and take one decision.

- Question: Concerning Turkey, we heard during a certain period of time of a Turkish delegation, or delegations, and talk of a shift in Turkish position.
- President Assad: As long as the Turkish policy is run by Erdogan, there is no place for logic. Logic says that there is no interest for Syria and Turkey except in good relations. The popular sentiment in Turkey, as in Syria, is still in that direction...
We hope that rational people in Turkey will be able to convince Erdogan to stop his foolishness and recklessness concerning Syria. In that case we can avoid a confrontation, and we must act in order to prevent it.
- Question: Do you rely on Russia to persuade Erdogan?
- President Assad: We still have hope, despite the fact that you often know you will not reach any result, particularly through my personal knowledge of Erdogan. He is not a political person, but rather an ideological person in the perverted religious sense. Such persons are obstinate and cannot read reality correctly.

- Question: US President-elect Donald Trump said in his statements that he is not interested in removing the Syrian President from power and interfering in Syrian affairs... Do you believe that there is a possibility to cooperate with the American army in fighting ISIS?
- President Assad: In principle, we have spoken about the necessity of forming an alliance against terrorism since 1985. And we continuously announce that Syria is ready to cooperate with any party seeking seriously to fight terrorism. This is a general principle which applies to the United States and all countries.

- Question: Mr. President, following up on the election of Trump. A few days ago, Francois Fillon made a surprise and won the vote of the French right. And now he is the strongest candidate for the Elysee in Paris. Both want dialogue with Damascus. Is it a matter of Syria being lucky?
- President Assad: We cannot say it’s a matter of luck. Moreover, without the resilience of the Syrian state, and the resilience of the Syrian people before the state, it would have proven to the Western citizens that the false narrative is the truth.
But the resilience of Syria and the Syrian people in general made this narrative lose its value and content, and consequently led to the results we see. This, of course, in addition to other internal factors in those states and which have nothing to do with Syria.

- Question: Is Syria prepared and open up to France in case it proposed a dialogue with Damascus?
- President Assad: Of course, when the European policy changes we have no problem. We really want relations with all countries of the world including the West, despite our knowledge of its hypocrisy.
When our relations were good between 2008 and 2011, there was hypocrisy. The West has not change. It is always biased and hypocritical. But we are talking about interests, and states’ interests require relations.

- Question: Mr. President, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stated few days ago, that Egypt supports the Syrian army in facing terrorism. Director of the National Security Bureau, General Ali Mamlouk, visited Cairo. Are there new developments in the relations with Egypt?
- President Assad: There is no doubt that Syrian-Egyptian relations deteriorated in the past few years, particularly during the war on Syria, to record low when the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Mohamed Morsi was in power. But even at that time relations were not severed, not because Morsi did not want to, or the Brotherhood did not want to, but because the security and military establishment did want relations to be severed. After the demise of the Brotherhood rule in Egypt, relations started to improve, and they are still improving...
We hope that president el-Sisi’s statements will have a bearing on rising this relation to a higher level. At the same time, we know that pressure on Egypt has never stopped, whether from the West which wants it to play a marginal role in a certain direction, or from the pre-historic Gulf sheikdoms which want one of the oldest civilization of the world to be like them.

Yusuf Qaradawi (enemy of Arab Nationalism). Gaza 2013
Read also: Qaradawi, a cleric for hire

- Question: Mr. President, you talked about the Muslim Brotherhood. How can we understand that Syria’s strong ally, Iran, is still engaged with the Muslim Brotherhood and has excellent relation with Erdogan?
- President Assad: Relations between states are not necessarily based solely on common principles. Certainly, there are no common principles between the Iranian state and the Muslim Brotherhood. But part of the role of the Iranian state in achieving stability in the region, is that it seeks to have relations in all directions, including with the Turkish state...
The positive aspect in this case is similar to the Russian-Turkish relation, i.e. trying to limit harm and damage. The same applies to the dialogue between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. It is an attempt to convince these groups to embrace political opposition and stay away from terrorism.
- Journalist: But Iran supports Hamas too, and Hamas played a role and participated in the war on Syria.
- President Assad: We too used to support Hamas not because they were affiliated with the Brotherhood, but because they are part of the resistance. But ultimately, it was proven that a member of the Brotherhood will remain loyal to it in whatever position he was and in whatever mould he put himself in, whatever mask he wore. In essence, he remains a member of the Brotherhood...

- Question: On northern Syria, you said in a previous interview that federalism is an issue that will be decided by the people, but on the ground, there are certain manifestations of federalism in the north...
- President Assad: The scene is very diverse and complicated... They take advantage of the absence of the state in a number of areas in the north in order to create specific social structures, which take a political form, in order to manage people’s affairs, and they talk about federalism. These are temporary structures.
As far as we are concerned as a state, we accept whatever the Syrian people accepts, and I don’t think that the Syrian people accept federalism anywhere in Syria.

- Question: On delegations visiting Syria, there were security delegations visiting Syria, including French, German, and Belgian delegations. What is the truth? Why do they come to Syria while they are in a state of hostility towards it?
- President Assad: What happened in the West is that the political forces which stood against Syria, I mean the forces in power, went too far in their lies.
When it was proven that what we used to say was true and that they started to pay the price for the Syrian earthquake and the Arab earthquake in general, they couldn’t stand up and tell their people that we were wrong and that we need to build relations with Syria and change our positions.
They started with the bottom line, which is sending their security officials to Syria in order to have security cooperation in order to protect their people... We told them that this doesn’t make sense. We cannot help you in the security field while you are acting against us in the same area. At the same time, we cannot cooperate with you on security issues while you are acting against us on the political level to say the least...
They want to move steps forward, but American pressure pushes them back to square one every time. They need to be independent of America, and this is not possible now. America is putting pressure on them and preventing many things from happening.

- Question: Mr. President, there is a reconciliation process carried out by the Russians inside Syria, and the latest figure given by Hmeimim might exceed a thousand villages and towns which signed reconciliations with the Syrian state. All these reconciliations might be a better alternative to the Geneva dialogue, or is it a completely different process?
- President Assad: True, it is a different process, and a real and practical solution, with negative and positive aspects, but the only available solution in parallel with striking the terrorists. It has proved its efficacy during the past two or three years, and started to accelerate. It is a solution that protected the civilians, protected the infrastructure as far as possible, or let’s say prevented more destruction of the infrastructure and offered the militants an opportunity to change course and embrace the state... If these reconciliations have improved reality for the population, it means they are good.
Question: There are many Syrians who criticize these reconciliations because not everyone approves of letting terrorists or killers leave certain areas and walk away as if nothing has happened.
President Assad: That’s true. When there is blood, there is intense polarization in communities. Moderation almost disappears. But I can say that the majority support these reconciliations.

- Question: There is talk about holding a national forum and dialogue in Damascus and creating the Damascus platform in which members of the opposition from inside and outside Syria take part. Do you support creating this platform in Damascus?
- President Assad: Of course, we support dialogue as a principle. We support dialogue between the Syrians when it is a Syrian-Syrian dialogue between Syrians who do not belong to foreign agendas and do not support terrorism. We support any dialogue of that nature.

- Question: Mr. President, the economic file might be the most difficult. Are we in a state of war economy?
- President Assad: Of course, we live in a state of war, and our economy is in a state of war in every sense of the word, starting with the sanctions. We cannot export, but we are exporting despite the will of some countries, in different ways. We are prevented from importing the necessary raw materials essential for our economy and for the different aspects of life in Syria. Nevertheless, we are able to bring them.
- Question: what can restore the health of the Syrian economy and bring back qualified Syrians in order to work and build Syria again?
- President Assad: The most important element of the economy in any state in the world after war is reconstruction, and this is a huge economy where hundreds of professions find opportunity. This reflects indirectly on all other professions. In other words, the country’s economy is launched initially on reconstruction, with Syrians’ money, starting with every person who wants to repair his house, factory, workshop, etc., this is not theoretical, it is happening now...
Then, particularly when security and safety are restored, a lot of Syrian money will come back to the country, and many of the Syrians who immigrated will return. And these people have different economic capabilities. The return of such people, with their qualifications, whether economically or professionally, will contribute to the restoration of the Syrian economy.
At the same time, we as a state, are not starting from square one. We have the capacities, and the Syrian economy has never been based on foreigners. The Syrian economy is Syrian in every sense of the word. These capacities will return, and we will start the process.

- Question: Mr. President, on the question of Baath Party, at the beginning of the crisis or the war, there was an idea of developing party discourse in order to make it more coherent or closer to party members...Has it started or is it at the planning stage?
- President Assad: What was meant by party discourse at that time, is what is called the theoretical principles which used to form the party doctrine. The theoretical principles which emerged decades earlier were not in line with the pre-war period, let alone now. We had prepared a comprehensive study and we were about to propose it to the party grassroots in order to be discussed before being approved. Then came the war.
Now, this is no longer a priority. The priority now is party practice through selecting good officials, fighting corruption, communicating with different social sections inside and outside the party, in the cities, villages, and neighborhoods... Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should not change the party discourse soon.

- Question: Mr. President, since the beginning of the war, and from day one, all those who visited you were inspired by a feeling of victory, even if it happened after a while. Even in the hardest of times, you were always optimistic. Where do you get this feeling and this confidence from while you are facing an aggression waged by the strongest states of the world?
- President Assad: First of all, I am in touch with the Syrian society with all its sections. I have always done this for a long time, and before I became President and before and after the war. This communication hasn’t stopped. I got used to communicating with the people. This gives you an amazing idea about resilience, holding on to the homeland, the desire to live. It gives you a state of prevention so that you are not influenced by any state of frustration.
That’s why I haven’t really reached, at any stage of the crisis, any single moment of frustration. I have the Syrian people, with all its sections, to thank for this.

- Question: Has the war changed Bashar al-Assad?
- President Assad: In the personal sense, I haven’t changed. On the contrary, I believe that the more circumstances push you away from your normal life, the more you should try as much as you can to stay closer to the life you live on the personal level and on the level of dealing with people. On the personal level, I may believe that I’m closer to people and closer to their understanding more so because of the conditions of the war.
On the official level, as a President or an official, there is a slight change, and not radical despite the radical nature of the war, because the base of this war is a conspiracy against Syria and subjugating it...
The conditions which we have lived since the Palestinian Intifada are still the same and developing. We started with the Intifada, then came 9/11, then the attack on Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq, the assassination of Hariri and its repercussions, until what they call the honeymoon between 2008 and 2011 which were full of hypocrisy and pressure.
Nothing has changed except the volume of the attack and the fact that the instruments became different. I haven’t changed on the personal and official levels except at a minimum.

Syrian Army Suspends Operations; 8,500 Civilians Evacuated
Al-Alam News, 9-12-2016

Syrian residents fleeing the violence gather at a checkpoint, manned by pro-government forces,
in the village of Aziza on the southwestern outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (8-12-2016)

The Syrian army suspended combat operations in Aleppo on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. About 8,500 people, including 2,900 children, were able to leave militant-controlled areas in the Syrian city of Aleppo in the past 24 hours.
Combat operations by the Syrian army in east Aleppo have been suspended because the largest operation of evacuation of civilians from east Aleppo is being carried out. A column of about 8 thousand people, it’s a tremendous operation,” Lavrov said.
According to Russian center for Syrian reconciliation's statement, over a dozen militants who had been operating in Aleppo received amnesty after laying down arms. "Fourteen militants, laying down arms, walked out to the western part of the city towards Syrian troops, Sputnik reports. In accordance with the decision of the Syrian president all of them were granted amnesty.
Russian servicemen have demined about 6 hectares (almost 15 acres) of residential blocks in eastern Aleppo.
"The clearance of explosives has been fully completed in residential areas over a total area of six hectares. The central water pumping station has been demined and rebuilt, two power substations have been demined, as well as schools and two mosques," the center said in a Friday statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Over recent months, Aleppo has become a major battleground in Syria, which has been in the state of civil war since 2011.
Syrian government forces have been fighting against multiple opposition and terrorist groups, including the Islamic State (IS, ISIS and Daesh) and Jabhat Fatah al Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, or Nusra Front.

Barghouti & Israel’s War on Palestinians
By IMEMC | Juan Cole Website, 9-12-2016

Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa al-Barghouti, on Tuesday, said the legitimization of settlement outposts, by the Israeli Knesset, is “a war on the Palestinian people.”
In a press statement, the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative said that the misappropriation of private Palestinian land in favor of illegal settlements amounts to “a death sentence against the longed-for Palestinian State.”
According to the PNN, he slammed the Israeli government as a “fascist body” that enforces policies of apartheid, racial oppression, and land grab across the occupied Palestinian territories.
Al-Barghouthi called for a unified national strategy to face up to the Israeli occupation, and for ceasing all forms of normalization and coordination with such a colonizing entity.
According to al-Barghouti, Palestinians should no longer lay a bet on “stalled peace talks” with the Israeli occupation and the so-called two-state solution, dubbing them as signs of “hypocrisy” and an involvement in Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. “The Palestinians are determined to retrieve their freedom and dignity no matter the price,” he vowed.

An Israeli bill legitimizing illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank passed its first reading in the Knesset on Monday, with 60 MKs voting in favor of the bid, while 49 vetoed it.
The bid will culminate in the legalization of 4,000 settlement units, along with dozens of other isolated houses and will also bring about a legalization of 3,125 illegal settlement units established on Palestinian lands, covering an overall area of 5,014 dunams.

Saudi to remove Muslim Brotherhood from terrorist lists
MEMO, (Middle East News) December 8, 2016

Saudi Arabia plans to remove the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from terrorist lists. The group was banned in the kingdom in March 2014.
Senior-level sources stated that there has recently been discussions and meetings held in London, Riyadh, and Istanbul between Muslim Brotherhood officials and representatives of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz’s government resulting in the possibility of removing the group’s name from the terrorist lists in exchange for understandings between Saudi Arabia and the Brotherhood’s international organisation.
The sources noted that the decision expected to be made soon will be followed by a group of measures including lifting the restrictions imposed on individuals affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood inside Saudi Arabia, unfreezing millions of dollars belonging to the individuals in Saudi banks, and removing any obstacles preventing individuals affiliated with the group from entering Saudi territories.
They added that Egyptian-Saudi relations have been tense since Egypt voted in favour of a Russian project regarding the situation in Syria in the UN Security Council. Saudi Arabia responded to the vote by stopping oil shipments to Egypt. This may have contributed to facilitating the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission to normalise relations with Riyadh.
According to the sources, the normalisation of relations between Saudi Arabia and the Brotherhood will not be limited to removing the group’s name from the terrorist lists, but will be followed by political support for the group and the intervention of international parties to impose a reconciliation with the Egyptian government...

Qaradawi meets Saudi Ambassador

Muslim Brotherhood Statement: 'No reconciliation'
IkhwanWeb (Muslim Brotherhood) 20-11-2016

Recently, dubious media outlets, as well as certain individuals on social networks, have been endeavoring to tarnish the image of the Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders...
The group's positions are inspired by the resilience of the courageous men and women of the 2011 Revolution in streets and squares across the homeland, and the steadfastness of detainees behind bars.
We have stated this on many occasions already, and we reiterate it all today: No compromise on legitimacy or the rights of the martyrs and the wounded. No compromise on the right of detainees to liberty, or the right of the people to a dignified life.
No reconciliation with the traitorous murderer, who ruthlessly spilled the blood of innocent Egyptians, sold off the homeland's territories, wasted the country's wealth and natural resources, and impoverished and starved the people.
Ibrahim Munir, Muslim Brotherhood Vice-Chairman, underlined the group's stances and constants in an interview with the satellite TV channels "Watan", "Sharq" and "Mekammileen" on Saturday evening (November 19, 2016):
"We urge all revolutionary groups and symbols of the Revolution to close ranks, unite, and complete the January 25, 2011 Revolution.."

Bashar al-Assad 2013:
They are the enemies of (Arab) nationalism

Colonialism has been successful in creating separatist groups that consider their ideologies and values as solely and legitimately representing the country and hence rejecting all other groups. This success has not happened overnight, but rather during several stages...
The rifts we have witnessed in modern history have come with the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood and the negative role they have played after the independence of many Arab countries like Syria.
They created the first split between Pan-Arabism and Islam, working hard to form a country for Islamists and another for nationalists.
These attempts continued when colonist powers in Lebanon attempted to create a country for Muslims and another for Christians. The implications of the Muslim Brotherhood have transpired, the most dangerous of which is the presence of Al Qaeda which was generously supported by the West on the back of the Islamic revolution in Iran. ....
The more schism in a country, the less it is able to accommodate its entire people

Flashback 2011: Arab League undermines last fortress of pan-Arabism

Professor Daoud Khairallah of Georgetown University, Washington, said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday that the Arab League (Saudi-Arabia & Qatar) is seeking to “create more discord within Syria, encouraging certain parts against others.”
The organization wants to “promote some kind of confessional sectarian strife inside the Syrian society,” Khairallah added.

On Saturday, the Arab League announced the suspension of Syria and called for sanctions to be imposed on the country.
“The decision of the Arab League is basically against the charter and is in violation of the express provisions of the charter,” Khairallah said. “Article 8 of the charter of the Arab League prohibits any member country from interfering in the internal affairs [of other member states] especially with respect to regime change or form of government change,” the political analyst further explained.

Professor Jamal al-Rifai from the Cairo-based Ein Shams University stressed that the conspiracy hatched against Syria is very tightened and aims at undermining the last fortress of pan-Arabism in the region. (ChamPress 13-11-2011)

Read more: Saddam's Death, page 12

British Intelligence Agency: Russia & Syria are the source of all evil
The Guardian, 8 December 2016

The head of the British intelligence agency MI6, Alex Younger, has said cyber-attacks, propaganda and subversion from hostile states pose a “fundamental threat” to European democracies, including the UK.
In a rare speech by an MI6 chief while in office, Younger did not specifically name Russia but left no doubt that this was the target of his remarks.
He did mention Russia in relation to Syria, portraying Russian military support for the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, in the takeover of Aleppo and elsewhere as potentially creating a long-term problem that could increase radicalisation.
“In Aleppo, Russia and the Syrian regime seek to make a desert and call it peace. The human tragedy is heartbreaking,” Younger said.

Younger delivered the speech at the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, the official name for MI6, at Vauxhall Cross in central London. He ran through various threats posed to the UK other than cyber-security, noting that counter-terrorism, his speciality, had been a niche concern when he began his career but had now become central.
“As I speak, the highly organised external attack-planning structures within Daesh [the preferred government name for Islamic State], even as they face military threat, are plotting ways to project violence against the UK and our allies without ever having to leave Syria.”

aleppo 2014, 'moderate rebels', defending a 'legitimate case'

He said the events unfolding in Syria created as many, if not more, problems.
The strongest weapon against international terrorism was legitimacy, he said, and Assad, backed by Russia, did not have it. The end result could be an increase in terrorism. “If you doubt the link between legitimacy and effective counter-terrorism, then the unfolding tragedy in Syria will, I fear, provide proof.
I believe Russian conduct in Syria, allied with that of Assad’s discredited regime, will, if they do not change course, provide a tragic example of the perils of forfeiting legitimacy."
“In defining as a terrorist anyone who opposes a brutal government, they alienate precisely that group that has to be on side if the extremists are to be defeated.”

Tulsi Gabbard: "This Madness must end.
We must stop arming terrorists"
Russia Today, 9 Dec, 2016

American lawmakers have introduced a so-called Stop Arming Terrorists Act that aims to protect US taxpayers’ dollars from being spent on supporting and arming international terrorist groups through covert operations and third states. Introduced to the House on by Democrat Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii, the legislature aims to put an end to the widely-reported US practice of indirectly sponsoring terrorism.
Furthermore, the act, which is being supported by the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and the US Peace Council, wants to make it illegal for Washington to provide assistance to any third nation that sponsors terrorists.

Tulsi Gabbard said that it is illegal for America to provide terror groups with money or assistance:
If you or I gave money, weapons or support to Al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the US government has been violating the law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of Al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard said.
The 35-year-old went on to accuse the CIA of providing weapons and money to terrorist groups all over the world through covert operations with the help of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, amongst others. She referred to recent articles by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to back up her claims.
“The CIA has long been supporting a group called Fursan al Haqq.. This group is cooperating with and fighting alongside an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group... The Levant Front is another so-called moderate umbrella group... This group has joined forces with Al-Qaeda’s offshoot group in Syria,” she said.
This madness must end. We must stop arming terrorists. The government must end this hypocrisy and abide by the same laws that apply to its citizens,” she concluded.

The Blasphemy Law & the Battle for Religious Reform
Hany Ghoraba, Al-Ahram Weekly, 8-12-2016

President Al-Sisi should propose parliament annuls the blasphemy law,
or else his call for religious reform will come to naught.

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
Karl Marx

Caiaphas & Jesus 'the blasphemist'
Jack Zavada,

Joseph Caiaphas, high priest of the temple in Jerusalem from 18 to 37 A.D., played a key role in the trial and execution of Jesus, the man from Galilee (NOT Judea).
Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death under Jewish law.
The high priest served as the Jewish people's representative to God. Caiaphas was in charge of the temple treasury, controlled the temple police and lower ranking priests and attendants, and ruled over the Sanhedrin.
Caiaphas led the Jewish people in their worship of God. He performed his religious duties in strict obedience to Mosaic law.

John 11:49-53: Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."
Matthew 26:65-66: Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" "He is worthy of death," they answered. (NIV)

Read more: Saddam's Death, page 17

Religious reform is a highly coveted idea in post-January 2011 Egypt.
The belief propagated by many Egyptians, especially Al-Azhar clerics, is that any religious reform proposed by anyone other than Al-Azhar clerics will be a path to the ruin of the Islamic faith.
Accordingly, the same group of Egyptians staunchly believes Al-Azhar cannot allow anyone to contribute to reform except Al-Azhar, who are perceived as the sole vanguards of the Islamic faith.
The Egyptian constitution already identified the ancient Islamic institution as an Islamic scientific institution in Article 7 and annotated Al-Azhar with the role of being a main source for consultation on Islamic affairs.
Undoubtedly, within the ranks of Al-Azhar are some great scholars who can alleviate Muslims from the current predicament of a shift towards radical doctrines (Wahhabis and their Egyptian counterpart, the Salafists). However, Al-Azhar’s strength will never be maintained through protecting a heritage of misplaced violence based on legacy religious books that are unfortunately being treated as part of the religion.
On the contrary, the true strength of Al-Azhar will be manifest when the great institution adopts a policy of cleaning up the mess that exists in such legacy books that mostly have nothing to do with the core of the Islamic faith.

A new generation of thinkers such Islam Al-Beheiri, poet Fatima Naoot and young novelist Ahmed Nagi are among the latest victims of the blasphemy law that keeps Egyptian writers and reformers on a tight leash. These thinkers are at the mercy of any fame-chasing lawyer who can sue them for blasphemy and heresy.
The flamboyant reformer Islam Al-Beheiri defied all taboos and attempted to cleanse Islamic faith literature being taught in Al-Azhar University that carries similar ideologies to those of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
However, Al-Azhar waged a propaganda and legal war against him. Al-Beheiri was sent to trial for blasphemy and libel in a trial which ended with Al-Beheiri sentenced to one year in prison. He was jailed for the crime of actually enlightening Muslims about their true faith.
Meanwhile, poet Fatima Naoot and novelist Ahmed Nagi are being tried, and imprisoned in the case of Nagi, according to the same law for simply expressing individual opinions about religious issues.
Only a late presidential pardon saved Al-Beheiri from continuing his prison sentence. Nevertheless, Naoot was sentenced for six months in prison in November 2016 and Nagi is serving his prison sentence until today.

Thus far, Al-Azhar’s efforts towards religious reform are simply cosmetic and do not delve deep inside the problem at all.
Al-Azhar is not as stern against the real enemies of Islam who are represented in the Muslim Brotherhood and other international jihadist groups that adopt Wahhabi doctrine.
Reformers, philosophers and creative minds have become valid targets for questionable lawyers, media anchors, and even judges.
These same are adopting a holier-than-thou attitude by bashing all Islamic reformers and thinkers who attempt to question the infiltration of Wahhabis and the ideologies of fundamentalist scholar Ibn Taymiya within the ranks of Egyptian clerics in general and especially Al-Azhar clerics.

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s brave call for religious reform in Egypt earned him great respect worldwide.
However, If the president is unable to protect the nation’s thinkers from modern day “Holy Inquisitors”, then his call represents a form of entrapment to all reformers, modernists, writers and even common citizens who practice their lawful and constitutional rights of freethinking, creativity and voicing their own opinions.
The blasphemy law in Egypt remains a hanging Sword of Damocles that hinders imperative and extremely essential religious reform, along with modernisation of the Egyptian state.

The writer is a political analyst, writer and author of Egypt’s Arab Spring and Winding Road for Democracy.

Christmas Message in the Quran
People who follow Jesus are true muslims

"O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.
And mention] when the angel [Gabriel] said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].
She said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, "Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is.
He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous." (Surah 3, 42-47)

But when (Jesus) found out that they had no faith, he asked: "Who are my supporters for the cause of Allah?"
The disciples said," We are supporters for Allah. We have believed in Allah and testify that we are Muslims.
Our Lord, we have believed in what You revealed and we have followed the messenger Jesus; so register us among the witnesses to truth." (Surah 3,52-53)

Mention] when Allah said, "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and I will make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve... (Surah 3, Ali 'Imran, 139)

The Syrian Army now controls 93 percent of Aleppo
Russia Today, 10-12-2016

Almost 18,000 residents have left the rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo in the past 24 hours, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria says.
“The Russian Center for Reconciliation of the warring parties continues to assist local people leaving the areas that remain under militant control in eastern part of Aleppo. In the past 24 hours, some 17,971 residents, including 7,542 children, left the militant-controlled area with the assistance of the Russian Center for Reconciliation,” it said in a statement.
A total of 28 militants laid down their weapons and crossed into the western part of the city to surrender to Syrian government troops. In accordance with the Syrian president’s decision, they were amnestied.
Russian Army bomb disposal specialists continue to demine areas of the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo that have been liberated from rebel forces: “In the past 24 hours, they demined a total area of 8 hectares. In addition, 24 buildings have been cleared from explosive objects, including one bakery, two schools, two mosques, one power substation, and some 4.5km of roads,” the Center for Reconciliation said.

The Syrian Army is continuing their large-scale offensive in eastern Aleppo, targeting Al-Nusra Front and other radical militants still controlling the area.
“Fifty-two neighborhoods in east Aleppo have been recaptured from militants. In the past four days alone, the area held by militants has decreased by one-third. The Syrian Army now controls 93 percent of the city's territory,” the head of operations for Russia’s General Staff, Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy, said on Friday.

ALU: "Politically-enlightened elites who can have a role in
returning the Arab street to the concept of national belonging"
Syrian Arab News Agency, 10 December 2016

President Bashar al-Assad received on Saturday participants in the permanent office of the Arab Lawyers Union (ALU) meeting currently held in Damascus under the title ”The Rights of States in Confronting Terrorism”.
The President said the ALU has a significant role, as it comprises educated and politically-enlightened elites who can have a role in returning the Arab street to the concept of national belonging...
The President added that the battle fought by the Syrian people is a “national battle par excellence”, because, he explained, one of the war’s goals was to strike the robust social fabric of the Syrian society.
The delegation members, for their part, said the current stage in the region is one of “intellectual struggle”, adding that the Arab nationalist thought must be disseminated to counteract an obscurantist ideology which seeks to invade Arab societies. This, they said, is needed for incapacitating the project which aims at fragmenting the Arab region along sectarian and ethnic schisms.

ALU, Pan-Arab Lawyers Union, founded in 1944, is comprised of 27 member bar associations and law societies in the Arab countries.
ALU uses all legal, intellectual and democratic means to: promote and protect the legal profession in the Arab world and to safeguard its independence; protect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the sovereignty of law; participate in the decolonization of the Arab Countries, fight against underdevelopment and dislocation in Arab countries in order to attain Arab unity.

Syrian Arab Army Song
Homeland, Honor, Sincerity

I belong to the Republic of Syria
Song of Ismail Tamer

Trump likely to name Rex Tillerson secretary of state
Reuters|YNet News 11.12.2016

US President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp, as the country's top diplomat, a source familiar with the situation said on Saturday, an appointment that would put in place an official with close ties to the Russian government. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tillerson was the expected pick but cautioned no formal offer had yet been made.
The choice of Tillerson further stocks Trump's Cabinet and inner circle with people who favor a soft line toward Moscow.
Tillerson, 64, has driven Exxon's expansion in Russia for decades and opposed US sanctions imposed on Russia for its seizure of Crimea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson Russia's Order of Friendship, one of the country's highest civilian honors.
In 2011, Exxon signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia's largest state-owned oil company, for joint oil exploration and production. Since then, the companies have formed 10 joint ventures for projects in Russia.
In July, Tillerson was one of the highest-profile US representatives at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, one of Putin's main investment forums, even as Washington had been taking a harder line than Europe on maintaining sanctions.

Personal Integrity: Rex Tillerson issues a challenge
Scouting Magazine, August 6, 2015

At the National Order of the Arrow Conference’s Gathering of Eagles, Rex Tillerson issued a challenge to every Eagle Scout... He said that Eagle Scouts are expected to continue to act with personal integrity.

To illustrate this point, he talked about structural integrity, a key part of his job. He gestured to the 40-year-old building everyone was sitting in. You trust in the structural integrity of this building, he said, and that it won’t fall down on everyone. You don’t even think about it.
Personal integrity, he said, works the same way. “People trust you. They count on you,” he said.
“Your personal integrity, once established and earned, people don’t have to think about it. They know. They know you. They know you’ll do the right thing every time.”

Rex Tillerson is the top executive at one of the world’s largest companies but it was the Boy Scouts of America that taught him much of what he knows about leadership:
“I have often said that the best leadership training I ever got was in Boy Scouts of America,” said Tillerson, who earned the Eagle Scout rank in 1965, at age 13. "Scouting “is where I learned the fundamentals of leadership.”
Tillerson has remained a steadfast supporter of the organization ever since, even serving as its national volunteer president from 2010 to 2012.

The Never Ending Story
Netanyahu, Trump & The Jabotinsky Dream

Speaking to CBS's 60 Minutes, Netanyahu sayd that he knows the US president-elect and is certain that he supports [right-wing] Israel and the [right-wing] Jews.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he believes US President-elect Donald Trump will be a good friend to Israel and hopes the two countries can work together to dismantle the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
Netanyahu said in the interview he "had differences of opinion" with Obama and the "most well-known, of course, is Iran."
The prime minister has been one of the fiercest critics of the nuclear deal. During the campaign, Trump also spoke harshly about it.
Netanyahu said there are "various ways of undoing" the 2015 deal, in which Iran agreed to limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions on its oil industry and finances. (Source: YNet News, 12-12-2016)

Read more: A man shaped by his revisionist father
David Ben-Gurion & the right wingers
The Amalekite vision on the world - destroy all enemies of Israel

Islamic State drew on existing pockets of militancy in Libya
Key facts about Islamic State in Libya
Aidan Lewis, Reuters, 9-12-2016

Libyan forces are trying to secure the city of Sirte after ousting Islamic State from its former North African stronghold in a battle that lasted nearly seven months. Here are some facts about Islamic State in Libya:

Islamic State drew on existing pockets of militancy in Libya, establishing its first major presence in Derna, an eastern city with a strong Islamist tradition.
It also profited from a security vacuum caused by the turmoil that followed Libya's 2011 revolution, and from 2014 a conflict between loose alliances of armed groups loyal to factions based in Tripoli and the east.
In October 2014 militants from al Qaeda-linked group Ansar al-Sharia who largely controlled Derna announced they were transferring their loyalty to Islamic State. Ansar al-Sharia members in several other parts of eastern and central Libya also switched allegiance.
Jihadists who returned from fighting in Syria with the Libyan al-Battar battalion also made up part of the jihadist group's initial presence in Libya.
Senior emissaries were sent to the country by Islamic State's leadership in Iraq, including former leader Abu Nabil al-Anbari, Bahraini preacher Turki Bin Ali, and Saudi national Abu Habib al-Jazrawi.

Islamic State affiliates appeared in several places in eastern Libya including Benghazi, the country's second-largest city, and Ajdabiya, close to some of Libya's main oil export terminals.
In Sirte, hometown of Muammar Gaddafi, Islamic State took full control in early 2015. The group eventually extended its presence along a coastal strip of about 250 km (155 miles) either side of the city.
Islamic State also established a presence in parts of Libya's vast southern desert, and built up sleeper cells in urban centers in northwestern regions including the capital, Tripoli.
Sabratha, a coastal city in the far west, became an important hub for Tunisian members of the jihadist group plotting attacks in their home country.

Among the first major attacks claimed by Islamic State in Libya was a January 2015 armed assault on the luxury Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli in which nine people were killed, including foreigners.
In the weeks that followed, Islamic State released videos of dozens of Christian hostages from Egypt and Eritrea being beheaded and shot in mass executions, two of which were carried out on beaches.
From February 2015, the militants also targeted Libya's oil facilities, causing extensive damage and further reducing the oil production on which the Libyan economy is highly dependant. In January 2016, attacks against major oil terminals at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf caused significant damage to storage tanks.
The same month, a bombing targeting police recruits in the north-western town of Zliten killed about 60 recruits, the highest death toll from a single attack since the 2011 uprising.
In early May the jihadists pushed north-west from Sirte towards Misrata, briefly capturing the small town of Abu Grain and several villages in the area. That advance triggered the counter-attack that developed into the campaign to recapture Sirte.

Western backed Islamist opposition vows to hold firm
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 12-12-2016

Opposition's Chief Negotiator Riad Hijab (who defected from Assad's regime in 2012), said on Monday 'the Assad regime's gains in Aleppo' will not force them to make concessions over their stance during a meeting with French President François Hollande in Paris.
Hijab, head of the Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee, also noted that they will continue striving for a true political transition in Syria.
In reference to the recent recapture of Palmyra from the Assad regime by Daesh, Hijab said: ''Assad forces act like lions against civilians in Aleppo, whereas they flee like rats in front Daesh in Palmyra.''
Hijab stressed that the current sectarian-based conflicts across the region are fed by the policies of Iran.
''Assad believes that he will force us to make compromise on our stance by making some military progress in the neighborhoods of Aleppo, that is not going to work that way,'' added Hijab.
Expressing great concern over the situation in Aleppo, Hollande noted: ''France will continue to back Syria's opposition in its fight against the Daesh terror group and other extremist groups, and at the same time against the Assad regime...''

Flashback 2012: "A suitcase full of cash"
West bribed Syrian officials to defect -Ynet 21.08.2012

Daraa 2011: Syria’s Islamist Insurrection in Disguise
Prof. Tim Anderson, Global Research, 5-7-2015

The Times quotes a source as saying that EU diplomats meeting in Doha agreed on the need to 'incentivize' senior officials in order to accelerate collapse of Assad regime.
European countries have been cooperating with Arab states in the Persian Gulf to bribe top Syrian officials to defect from President Bashar Assad's regime, The Times reported Tuesday.
According to the British newspaper, during a meeting of European diplomats in the Qatari capital, Doha, in May, it was agreed that Syrian officials should be "incentivized" to defect from the regime in Damascus in order to hasten the collapse of the Assad government.
This strategy appears to have yielded immediate results, as a number of senior Syrian officials - including former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab and General General Manaf Tlass - have announced their support for the rebels fighting forces loyal to Assad. The source said the Syrian defectors do not just receive a suitcase full of cash for their pains, they are expected to contribute to the opposition effort.
According to the report, Coordinators and fundraisers for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the Gulf confirmed that the new strategy had been in place for several weeks.
"Certainly bribes are being paid," an FSA fundraiser was quoted by The Times as saying. "Western intelligence agencies are keen to incentivize regime officials.
"The Friends of Syria are already thinking of the next phase after Assad, trying to gather third- and fourth-tier officials for the next step."

Global Research, 5-7-2015: "In the case of Daraa, and the attacks that moved to Homs and surrounding areas in April 2011, the clearly stated aim was once again to topple the secular or ‘infidel-Alawi’ regime.
The front-line US collaborators were Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The head of the Syrian Brotherhood, Muhammad Riyad Al-Shaqfa, issued a statement on 28 March which left no doubt that the group’s aim was sectarian.
The enemy was ‘the secular regime’ and Brotherhood members ‘have to make sure that the revolution will be pure Islamic, and with that no other sect would have a share of the credit after its success’ (Al-Shaqfa 2011). "

Read also: The start of the Syrian mess

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."

Interview with Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun
PressTV|YouTube, 12-12-2016

Donald Trump Should Embrace a Realist Foreign Policy
John J. Mearsheimer, The National Interest, November 27, 2016

If Donald Trump makes the right choices, he could fundamentally alter U.S. foreign policy for the better.
Trump campaigned against America’s powerful foreign policy community... He accused them of producing “one foreign policy disaster after another,” and promised to “develop a new foreign policy direction for our country.”
This was precisely the message many voters wanted to hear, and the president-elect now has the opportunity to change how the United States deploys its power around the world.

The United States has worked to topple regimes and promote democracy in six countries in the greater Middle East: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Each attempt has been an abject failure...
This campaign has also made America’s terrorism problem worse: Al Qaeda has morphed and multiplied, and we are now at war with ISIS, which is largely a consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq...
Spreading democracy, especially by force, almost always fails. It inevitably involves large-scale social engineering in societies that most Americans poorly understand...

The Trump administration should adopt a realist foreign policy. Realism is chiefly concerned with America’s position in the global balance of power, and it shuns doing social engineering inside other countries.
Instead, Washington would respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal policies.
Americans prize their own sovereignty, which is why they recoiled at the idea that Russia might be interfering in the recent presidential election. The United States should treat other countries according to the same standard and respect their sovereignty as well.

Regarding Syria, Washington should let Moscow take the lead in shutting down that conflict, which means helping the Assad government reestablish control over most of the country.
A Syria run by Assad poses no threat to the United States
; indeed, both Democratic and Republican presidents have long experience dealing with the Assad regime...

Will Trump Defy The War Party?
By Patrick J. Buchanan, 12-12-2016

When word leaked that Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, a holder of the Order of Friendship award in Putin’s Russia, was Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state, John McCain had this thoughtful response: “Vladimir Putin is a thug, a bully, and a murderer and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying.”
McCain was echoed by the senior Democrat on foreign relations, Bob Menendez, who said naming Tillerson secretary of state would be “alarming and absurd … guaranteeing Russia has a willing accomplice in the (Trump) Cabinet guiding our nation’s foreign policy.”
Sen Marco Rubio chimed in: “Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a Secretary of State.”

Tillerson wants to end sanctions and partner with Putin’s Russia, as does Trump. But among many in the mainstream media, think tanks, websites, and on the Hill, this is craven appeasement. For such as these, the Cold War is never over.
Behind the effort to smear Tillerson and delegitimize Trump lies a larger motive. Trump has antagonists in both parties who alarmed at his triumph because it imperils the foreign policy agenda that is their raison d’etre, their reason for being.
These people do not want to lift sanctions on Moscow. They do not want an end to the confrontation with Russia. They have in mind the permanent U.S. encirclement of Russia.. Their goal is to bring down Putin and bring about “regime change” in Moscow.

In the campaign, Trump said he wanted to get along with Russia, to support all the forces inside Syria and Iraq fighting to wipe out ISIS and al-Qaida, and to stay out of any new Middle East wars — like the disaster in Iraq — that have cost us “six trillion dollars.”
This is what America voted for when it voted for Trump — to put America First and “make America great again.” But War Party agitators are already beating the drums for confrontation with Iran.
Early in his presidency, if not before, Trump is going to have to impose his foreign policy upon his own party and, indeed, upon his own government. Or his presidency will be broken, as was Lyndon Johnson’s.

Donald Trump confirms Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State
Katie Forster, The Independent, 13-12-2016

Donald Trump has formally nominated Rex Tillerson, CEO of oil and gas multinational ExxonMobil, as his Secretary of State.
Mr Tillerson, 64, emerged as Mr Trump's top pick for the position despite significant criticism among Republicans for his apparent ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Mr Trump said the businessman's "tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State".
Tillerson, 64, will “help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America's security and standing in the world.” "He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States,” Trump said, according to his transition team.
“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies,” Trump said in the statement announcing the news.
The US Senate needs to approve Mr Tillerson's nomination before he can assume the position.

Rebels: Aleppo Evacuation Deal Reached With Syrian Regime
Margaret Besheer, Voice of America, 13-12-2016

Rebel fighters and the Syrian government have reached an agreement to allow the evacuation of civilians and opposition fighters from eastern Aleppo, as Russia says the Assad regime has ended its offensive against the city.
A spokesman for the Nour el-Din el-Zinki rebel group, Yasser al-Youssef, said Tuesday that the deal, which was mediated by Russia and Turkey, would take effect “within hours.”
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin confirmed the agreement to reporters prior to an emergency Security Council meeting on Aleppo called by France and Britain.
"My latest information is that there is indeed an arrangement achieved on the ground that the fighters are going to leave the city," Churkin said. “Over the last hour, we have received information that military activities in east Aleppo have stopped,” he added later in the meeting. He said the government had re-established control over that part of the city and there could now be large-scale humanitarian initiatives.
“This very difficult chapter related to the situation in eastern Aleppo has ended,” Churkin said. "Let’s hope this indeed will be a precondition for establishing political efforts, relaunching political negotiations."
Churkin said most of the fighters who are leaving eastern Aleppo are going to the town of Idlib.

Samantha Power: "Are you incapable of shame?"

Obama's Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya
Robert Dreyfuss March 19, 2011

We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it.
The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration, such as John Kerry. (Read more: Page 10, Libya 2011)

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura expressed concern that Idlib could become the next target of a Syrian offensive. But he, too, echoed hopes that this could be a turning point that sends the parties back to the negotiating table.
“This is actually the best moment to be insisting in a peace process being restarted,” de Mistura told reporters. “In fact, we should be looking at this as tragic opportunity of accelerating, instead, the political process."

At the council session, Western members fiercely criticized Moscow for its ongoing support to the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the atrocities being committed in Aleppo.
Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you?” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power asked. “Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing you will not lie about or justify?”
Britain’s envoy, Matthew Rycroft, echoed the words of Ban, saying the Security Council had failed.
But Russian envoy Churkin dismissed Western criticism of Moscow’s support for the Assad regime and reports of horrific atrocities from Aleppo as part of a “propaganda, disinformation and psychological” war.

The recapture of the last rebel-held areas would have major symbolic significance and leave the regime and its foreign backers, Russia and Iran, free to focus their military might on remaining rebel strongholds in the rest of western Syria.
Rebel commanders and opposition politicians insist the loss of Aleppo will not mark the end of the uprising. However, few doubt battlefield fortunes have swung heavily against them and with the regime possibly hours away from seizing what is left of insurgent-controlled eastern Aleppo, the dynamic of resistance will have to change to guerrilla warfare to the keep the revolution alive.

aleppo december 2016

Igor Konashenkov: "There were no 'humanitarian' NGOs
with 'western values' in Aleppo
Sputnik News, 13-12-2016

There were no "humanitarian organizations" or "human rights watchdogs" in Eastern Aleppo, instead there was a total terror at the side of militants, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday."
In Eastern Aleppo, there were no 'humanitarian' NGOs with 'western values' such as the 'White Helmets', 'medical' associations or 'human rights defenders'," he said.
Konashenkov noted that, according to locals, there were only hunger and total terror exerted by militants as punishment for any attempts to express discontent or leave the enclave.
Russian combat engineers "have not found a single operational hospital or school that had been used in militant-held areas for their designated purposes," he added. Instead, those facilities were used as staffs, Sharia courts, ammo depots, production facilities for making improvised rockets, he said.

Aleppo Loss to Spell End for Syria Rebellion's Dreams
The largest remaining rebel bastion is Al-Qaeda controlled Idlib province
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 14-12-2016

Syria's rebels once dreamed of overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad's government and taking control of the country, but with the imminent loss of Aleppo they now face the prospect of total defeat. Though rebels retain territory elsewhere in Syria, including almost all of neighbouring Idlib province, a crushing defeat in the country's second city would be highly symbolic.
It "means the end of Syria's opposition as a force that can plausibly challenge the Assad regime or control a country", said Sam Heller, a fellow at The Century Foundation think tank.
When rebels stormed Aleppo in 2012, a year after the uprising against Assad began with anti-government protests, the opposition believed it was on the verge of overthrowing his regime. With the support of backers including Western nations, Gulf countries and Turkey, opposition fighters appeared to have momentum on their side.
But in recent months, and particularly after Russia's September 2015 intervention in support of Damascus, they have suffered a string of defeats capped off by their likely loss of Aleppo.
"We're now past the point where the opposition has any hope of pulling back," said Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Centre. "They just no longer have the numbers and the geographic spread to be able to mount major offensives."

syria - idlib: rebels burning books of 'the infidels' and honoring bin-laden

With Aleppo out of rebel hands, the largest remaining rebel bastion is Idlib province, which is controlled by an alliance dominated by former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front.
Rebels also hold territory in southern Daraa province and the Ghouta region around Damascus, although the army has been advancing there. In Idlib, with access to the Turkish border and a deep well of fighters -- including new arrivals from surrendering areas elsewhere -- rebels are likely to be able to hang on for longer. "You have an armed opposition there that remains vital and motivated," said Heller.

West cares about terrorists, not civilians: Assad
Press TV, Wed Dec 14, 2016

2012, terror in syria, ignored by the west

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says Western governments are concerned about saving the foreign-backed terrorists in Syria and not the lives of civilians in his country.
“They (Western governments) do not worry when… the terrorists are killing those civilians or attacking Palmyra and destroying the human heritage — not only the Syrian heritage,” Assad said in a Wednesday interview with RT, referring to the city of Palmyra, which recently fell to Daesh terrorists for a second time.
He made the remarks in response to the question of why Western media outlets were silent on Palmyra’s fall but creating hype about the defeat of militants in Aleppo, another Syrian city, by Syrian forces.
“If we liberate Aleppo from the terrorists, the Western officials and the mainstream media, they are going to be worrying about the civilians,” Assad said, adding that if the opposite happens and the terrorists engage in attacking and killing civilians, the West expresses little concern.

syria, al-qaeda rebels 2012

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

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

It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” (Read more: Page 57)

EU vows not to pay for rebuilding of Syria if opposition is crushed
By Gabriela Baczynska and John Irish, Reuters, Dec 13, 2016

Assad: "They have to establish parties based on secular principles"
Sergei Balmasov, Pravda 13-12-2011

Q: "Spokesmen for the Syrian opposition, including those who stay in Moscow, claim that the official authorities supposedly contribute to the conflict because they refuse to legalize the Muslim Brotherhood.
You announced the start of serious political reforms. You also said that you would hold the national elections. Does the Brotherhood have a chance to win legitimacy and get into the parliament?"

Assad: "In accordance with our Constitution, Syria is a secular state. Therefore, no movement that acts under religious slogans and aims to split the Syrian society can hope for it.
This goes for the Muslim Brotherhood too. This organization can not be legalized judging upon their ideology. It does not mean, though, that we cut those people from the opportunity to participate in the peaceful life of the country."

"We offer them to establish their own political party which would be based on secular principles so that the party could struggle for the seats in the parliament." (13-12-2011)

The European Union will not pay toward rebuilding a post-war Syria if Moscow and Damascus leave no space in the future for opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources and EU documents.
The EU says the prospects for peace are poor as Damascus would face years of guerrilla warfare and the country could fall apart if power is not decentralized or devolved to give the opposition a role.

What is 'opposition'?
EU: Opposition = Regime Change ('political transition')

"The EU will provide support for Syria's reconstruction only once a credible political transition is firmly under way," the EU leaders will say on Thursday, according to a draft statement prepared for their meeting in Brussels and seen by Reuters.
The EU is the world's largest aid donor and both the World Bank and the United Nations have said reconstruction of Syria will cost billions - something that would be extremely difficult for Russia to handle alone.
"It is out of the question to finance a Syria under the control of Assad ... The EU and France will not pay for the Russians ... We will not pay for a false peace," said a senior French diplomat.
The EU has already signaled it will press for more sanctions on Damascus. But it is not ready to impose any on Russia over the war in Syria. "The EU would normally have a key role in reconstruction. But if they create this monster there, we just won't pay for it. It'll be their responsibility," one EU official said, referring to Damascus, Moscow and their allies in the war.

Read also: United States involvement in regime change (Wikipedia info)

Red Cross to take part in evacuation of wounded militants from Aleppo
Russia Today, 15 Dec, 2016

The International Red Cross will be involved in the Russian Reconciliation Center’s operation to evacuate wounded rebels from eastern Aleppo.
“ICRC personnel will escort ambulances transporting wounded militants all the way from Aleppo under guidance of officers from the Russian Reconciliation Center,” the Center said. The wounded militants will be taken on 20 buses and 10 ambulances through a humanitarian corridor leading to the Syrian city of Idlib. The Syrian government will ensure the security of all members of militant groups who are willing to leave eastern Aleppo, the statement noted.
The evacuation operation will be monitored by web cameras that the Russian Defense Ministry has installed along the corridors, as well as surveillance drones. Livestream footage will be available at the ministry’s website.

The Syrian Army has liberated most of the neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city held by Al-Nusra terrorists and other militant groups over the past weeks. At present, the militants control just 2.5 square kilometers of Aleppo, according to the Reconciliation Center.
A large-scale humanitarian operation is going on in the area. On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that up to 100,000 people, including 40,000 children, have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo.

A Real Political Process.
Erdogan says Ankara is ready to help refugees from Aleppo
TASS Russian News Agency, 15-12-2016

Syria Poll 2015

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said in his telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ankara is ready to take any measures to help refugees from Aleppo, TRT TV channel reported on Thursday citing sources in the Turkish Presidential Administration.
According to the channel, the two leaders confirmed readiness to make joint efforts to start evacuating civilians from Aleppo. Erdogan said that Turkey is ready to provide shelter and humanitarian aid to residents leaving Aleppo.
The Kremlin press service said earlier that Putin and Erdogan held a telephone conversation.
They "continued exchanging opinion on the Syrian issue" and discussed the recent developments in Aleppo.
The two leaders made an emphasis on the importance of "expanding joint efforts with the aim of improving the humanitarian situation, facilitating the launch of a real political process in Syria."
They also confirmed readiness "for further active cooperation on neutralizing the terrorist threat" in the Middle East, the press service noted.

Turkey, Russia and Iran will hold a meeting in Moscow on December 27 to try to find a solution to the five-year conflict in Syria, Ankara said on Wednesday.
“We are striving to secure a ceasefire throughout the country and for negotiations for a political solution to start,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told TGRT Haber broadcaster, vowing Ankara would continue its efforts in the near future.
“For this reason, at the end of the month, on December 27 in Moscow, we will hold a tripartite meeting with Turkey, Russia and Iran.” (AFP|Al-Arabiya, 15 December 2016)

Syria Aleppo Evacuation Rebels, 15-12-2016

Aleppo evacuation underway
By Rudaw Net, 15-12-2016

- 12:22 pm: 4,000 rebel fighters to be evacuated from eastern Aleppo
All preparation have been done to evacuate 4,000 rebel fighters from eastern Aleppo along with their families, Syria's state TV reported.
- 12:36 pm: Rebel fighters set fire to their bases before leaving their areas.
Plumes of smoke rise above the war-torn eastern Aleppo as the Syrian rebel fighters, said to number about 4,000, and some activists set fire to their bases and belongings before leaving their areas, , the UK-based Syrian Observatory fro Human Rights reported, and also confirmed by Syria's state TV.
- 12:50 pm: Turkey welcomes its "brothers and sisters" from eastern Aleppo
The spokesperson for the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country have made all the preparation in Idlib, northwestern Syria, and in Turkey to receive "our brothers and sisters" from eastern Aleppo.
(Ibrahim Kalin is assistant to the Turkish President and the current Press Secretary in the Turkish Presidential Complex. He tweets @ikalin1.)
- 2:55 pm: Simultaneous evacuation in Idlib province underway
Twenty-nine buses and ambulances are heading towards the Shiite villages of Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province to evacuate injured people and a umber of families, Hama Governor told the Syrian regime media.
The Wednesday evacuation collapsed because Iran insisted that these two villages, controlled by the Syrian regime forces and its allies, should simultaneously be evacuated.
Meanwhile, the evacuation of 200 injured people from East Aleppo has begun by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Syria’s Red Crescent. The Regional Director for ICRC Robert Mardini said their teams are doing all they can, and reported that they are safe.
- 3:47 pm: Rebel fighters and their families transported out of eastern Aleppo.
Syria's State TV shows a number of buses and ambulances transporting rebel fighters and their families out of eastern Aleppo from the Ramouseh crossing. It said the evacuation is underway with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Darvish: "We’re entering the difficult period of rebuilding the city"

Syrian Parliament lawmaker from Aleppo Mohammed Jalal Darvish told Sputnik Arabic that now with the city freed of terrorists a lot of work needs to be done to restore Aleppo.
"The liberation of Aleppo did not take much time, but now we have problems of another kind. The main problem now is to restore building and infrastructure and to establish supplies of necessary materials. Our resources are limited and we’ll need public support," the lawmaker said.
Darvish said that since the beginning of the Syrian Army’s operation in Aleppo, the local authorities have recruited maximum efforts to keep the situation under control, especially concerning the issue of refugees.
"Aleppo now needs all kinds of help. We’re entering the difficult period of rebuilding the city. We hope that the government, people, businessmen and Syrians living abroad will come to help.
We also expect to receive assistance from our allies, first of all Russia and Iran," he said. Commenting on the security situation in Aleppo, Darvish said that the eastern part of the city is now safe, except for a small area where the army is fighting the rest of the militants. (Sputnik News, 15-12-2016)