The UNHRC's attitude towards Israel is insane.
YouTube, 22 sep. 2016: "Year after year, I've stood at this very podium and I slammed the U.N. for its obsessive bias against Israel.." "And what about the joke called the U.N. Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the other countries of the world combined." "And this circus continues at UNESCO. The UNESCO just denied the 4,000-year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount."
As the principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all, OHCHR leads global human rights efforts speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide.
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.
The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law.
"Gilad Atzmon realized that one cannot be a tribalist and a humanist simultaneously, so he chose humanism and universal values. He severed his ties with racism and supremacy, he departed from loyalty to the tribe, he refused to be a sayan at the expence and suffering of others. He offered his loyalty to the whole of humanity. The high values of equality, justice and humanism became his passion." (From tribalism to humanism, 2011)
-- Gilad Atzmon: Contemporary Jewish identity involves a certain element of binary qualities due to choseness. As we know, Jewish assimilation and secularization, starting in the 19th century, led to the evolution of a Jewish concept of biological exceptionalism that is racist in nature. The supremacy we detect in Jewish political discourse, both Zionist and so-called anti, points to an inclination towards a Jew/Goy ‘binarism.’
-- Rich Forer: I agree that the supremacy in Jewish political discourse, Zionist and non-Zionist, points to an inclination towards ‘binarism.’ I would also say that the idea that “Choseness” conveys supremacy, is (in my opinion) a perversion of original Jewish teachings. I agree that Jews who actively participate in or passively defend Israel’s inhumane treatment of the “other” are guilty of a belief in Jewish exceptionalism, whether that belief is conscious or not.
Al-Qaeda's number two Abu al-Khayr al-Masri has been killed in a US drone strike in Syria’s Idlib governorate, it is being reported. |
Also known as Ahmad Hasan Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, he served as a deputy to the terror group's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The 59-year-old Egyptian's death was reported by a number of experts on Syria and terrorism, including Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute.
Photos and video posted on social media suggested he was targeted by a drone as he travelled in a car on Sunday. Pictures show a Kia car on the side of a road with a massive hole in its roof, with footage showing the difficult removal of a body from the vehicle's demolished interior.
Abu Khayr al-Masri, who was reportedly married to a daughter of Osama bin Laden, was allegedly responsible for a number of terror attacks, including the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Al Qaeda has big ambitions in Syria. For the past three years, an unprecedented number of veteran figures belonging to the group have arrived in the country.
Now the jihadi group’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front — having spent nearly five years slowly building deep roots in the country — is laying the groundwork for al Qaeda’s first sovereign state.
The Islamic State and al Qaeda use different tactics in Syria, but their ultimate objective there is the same: the creation of an Islamic emirate.
Whereas the Islamic State has imposed unilateral control over populations and rapidly proclaimed independence, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate has moved much more deliberately, seeking to build influence in the areas they hope to rule. This is a long-game strategy that the terrorist group began adopting in the late 2000s, first in Yemen, in 2011, and then in Mali, in 2012.
Al Qaeda has recently transferred a number of highly influential jihadi figures from its central leadership circles into Syria. Their mission is to assuage the concerns expressed by other Syrian Islamist movements and those members of Nusra Front who, for now, oppose the idea of an independent emirate...
Veteran and senior al Qaeda figures began arriving in Syria in mid-2013, seeking to bolster Nusra Front’s leadership. Among the earliest arrivals were a third cousin of Osama bin Laden, Abdulmohsen Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sharikh (known as Sanafi al-Nasr); al Qaeda’s leader in Iran, Muhsin al-Fadhli; several veteran commanders on Saudi Arabia’s most wanted list, including Abdullah Suleiman Salih al-Dhabah (Abu Ali al-Qasimi); and major Syrian jihadi figures with decades of combat experience, like Radwan Nammous (Abu Firas al-Suri) and Abu Hammam al-Suri.
syria - idlib 2015
By mid-2015, Nusra Front had become a dominant military power in much of Idlib.
As Nusra Front attempted to consolidate its control in Idlib, bolstered by the newly arrived forces from northern Aleppo, Saif al-Adel, perhaps the most influential living al Qaeda figure other than Zawahiri crossed into northern Syria.
“This is all part of al Qaeda’s plan,” a senior Salafi figure based in Idlib said. “Saif al-Adel is here to ensure that Zawahiri’s project in Syria is realized. Al-Sham has become everything to al Qaeda’s global strategy.”
Almost certainly traveling with Saif al-Adel were three other key al Qaeda figures, all of whose histories connected them to the movement’s highest levels of leadership.
Of the three, two were Egyptian nationals — Abu al-Khayr al-Masri and Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah (also known as Abu Mohammed al-Masri). Both have been implicated in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa; Abu al-Khayr was a former aide of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and happens to be married to one of Bin Laden’s daughters.
The third individual was a Palestinian-Jordanian, Khaled al-Arouri, who is married to a daughter of Islamic State founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
If these three figures are still in northern Syria together with Saif al-Adel, then the significance of Al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria arguably now outweighs its presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
syria - al-nusra
On Saturday (25-2), Al Qaeda in Syria killed Hassan Daabul, a high-profile intelligence chief in central Syria.
The meticulously executed operation is a reminder that it was such tactics that gave prominence to Al Qaeda in 2012, and the organisation might refocus on such operations to build legitimacy as the rebels continue to lose territory.
The operation was conducted in two neighbourhoods in the city of Homs, and targeted the security and military intelligence complexes. One group of militants reportedly entered the military intelligence complex and shot Maj Gen Hassan Daabul, who headed the security branch in Homs exactly a year ago.
Around 40 officers and security personnel were killed in the twin attacks, which were carried out by five militants. Brig Gen Ibrahim Darwish, who heads the other attacked branch, reportedly survived with injuries.
Maj Gen Daabul was appointed the military intelligence chief in Homs precisely to restore peace in the city, which was recaptured by the regime in 2014. He famously pledged before residents that he would put an end to suicide attacks there. That militants were able to infiltrate the city, enter the facility and shoot him will deepen distrust in the regime’s ability to protect such strongholds where it has demographic and territorial depth.
The attack was a move by Al Qaeda to regain control of public opinion in rebel-held areas a month after clashes erupted between it and the rebels in north-western Syria.
The group – now known as Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, previously known as Jabhat Fateh Al Sham and before that Jabhat Al Nusra – had launched a consolidation campaign in Idlib against various rebel factions it accused of conspiring with foreign countries against it.
The group largely achieved its goal of weakening its rivals and further entrenching itself in Idlib and adjacent areas. One operation against the regime was enough to put an end to the high tensions.
His death is not an isolated incident. An official at the Hmeimim airbase in Latakia said the operation was an example of a trend.
"Terrorist attacks that target specific security, military and government officials are increasing in a noticeable way," read a statement posted on the Russian airbase’s official Arabic page.
"The attack in Homs was executed professionally and with full knowledge on the part of the assailants of the details of the building they attacked."
The sophisticated method of the attack is reminiscent of Al Qaeda’s early attacks against the regime. Al Qaeda initially focused on targeting what its leader in Syria called the pillars of the regime, namely officials and security and army compounds. Attacks included the storming of the army headquarters in central Damascus in September 2012.
DAMASCUS– The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said the terrorist attacks in Homs city today, which occurred on the third day of the talks in Geneva, aim at undermining the positive results of the first and second meetings held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
The Ministry was referring to a series of terrorist attacks that targeted two security centers and surrounding areas in Homs city earlier in the morning, in two letters addressed to the UN Secretary General and the Chairman of the Security Council, according to SANA.
The Ministry noted that six suicide bombings happened simultaneously targeting the aforementioned sites, claiming the lives of 50 civilian and military persons and injuring more than 24 others.
According to the Ministry’s letters, the terrorist organization of Jabhat al-Nusr (also known as Fatah al-Sham), which is one of the offshoots of al-Qaeda, had claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Homs.
“This dangerous development necessitates that all the factions participating in Geneva talks, without exception, condemn such terrorist attacks,” the Ministry added.
It considered that “the moment of truth” has come where the international community, particularly the Security Council, is proved lingering in doing what is necessary to unify the efforts aimed at fighting terrorism that continues to claim the lives of more innocent Syrians.
"This moment,” the Ministry went on saying, “necessitates that the United Nations work on compelling the governments of the countries that are backing the terrorist organizations to stop their violations of the international law and the UN Charter, put an end to the crimes of the terrorist organizations affiliated to them and fully abide by the UN resolutions and those of the Security Council on counterterrorism, mainly resolutions no. 1267/1999, 1373/2001, 2170/2014, 2178/2014, 2199/2015 and 2253/2016.
Flashback 2013 - Bashar al-Assad: What is happening in Syria |
is the complete opposite to the concept of jihad
By The Syrian Observer, 5-7-2013
President Assad: "Everything in the world change. However, there are fundamental human principles that should remain constant.
The West and all its propaganda have always attempted to realign the facts upside down to serve their agenda. Rights become wrongs and wrongs become rights that then legitimize their political practices. If they do that, it doesn’t mean that we should sleepwalk with them."
Don't Abuse the Concept of Jihad: Grand Mufti
Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority urged Muslims to shun extremism and avoid waging unjustified jihad... In a lengthy statement, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh told Saudis to ignore fanatical interpretations of Islam.
Kofi Annan 2012: "We should have a strong state "
AMMAN — The fight against terrorism, security challenges facing several Arab countries and the Palestinian cause will be among the main issues of discussion at the Arab Summit, which will be held in Amman next month, a senior government official said on Sunday.
At a press conference held at the Prime Ministry, Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani said that hosting the Arab summit, slated for March 23-29, is part of Jordan's continuous efforts to enhance pan-Arab collaboration on regional issues and challenges.
"We hope for the Arab summit to be a platform for pan-Arab action, whereby Arab leaders can hold talks and coordinate to present their visions to the Arab world and the international community regarding the several challenges facing Arab national security," he said.
Momani, who is also minister of state for media affairs, said arrangements for the summit were under way, citing the fact that three committees were currently working on preparations.
Jordan was asked to host the Arab summit last December after Yemen, the supposed host, declined to do so due to security reasons. Jordan has invited leaders of several Arab countries, including Kuwait, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria and Tunisia.
When asked whether Syria would be invited to the summit, Momani said that the Arab League had suspended Syria’s membership, and that Jordan would abide by the league’s decision.
Flashback 2011: Georgetown University Professor:
The exploitation of religion for politics is a very important matter.
The abuse of religion since the Battle of Siffin in 657 AD, when copies of the Quran were tied to the ends of the spears against Ali, is a human condition that has haunted Muslims. Hadiths have been falsified with political aims as if the Prophet Muhammad said them.
There have been statements that Prophet Mohammed had a hadith which said that “yes” (to Erdogan's new form of presidency) should come out of the ballot box.
However, the Prophet Muhammad could not have had a hadith about the April 16 referendum. Most probably, an unrelated hadith has been detached from its context and distorted to suit the April 16 referendum. Of course, this is all done for the sake of “the cause.”
The head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Professor Mehmet Görmez, explained it in his book “Basic Issues of Hadith Studies.”
For several reasons, many hadiths have been made up. The reasons may include tribal sentiments, power struggles, excited speeches to provoke crowds, the pursuit of worldly goods and the ambition to attain positions, etc.
Every religious person should read Professor Vecdi Akyüz’s book “The transformation of the Caliphate into the Sultanate.”
The book explains how religion was used as a tool in the formation process of the Umayyad Sultanate. It was claimed that power was given to Muawiyah by God. How could one oppose a power given by God?
The first caliphs were not successors of Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood but were his administrative successors. They were freely criticized.
However, after Muawiya, there were demands to term it the caliphate of Allah. Professor Akyüz explains how religious terms and references were misused, leading the way to autocracy. He points out that the basic issue was “the inadequacy to constrain power.”
“Islamic history” is not sacred; as Professor İhsan Süreyya Sırma has correctly stated, it is “the history of Muslims.” This history as well as the history of humanity shows us that blessing power with religion brings grave results; as a matter of fact, power absolutely has to be limited.
In our times, the way to this is through the separation of powers, checks and balances, an independent and impartial judiciary and a free press. Look how the authoritarian Donald Trump is being balanced and checked in the United States.
The subject of the April 16 referendum is what kinds of powers will be given to which constitutional positions. It is the question of how to check and balance the extremely broad powers given to the president.
It is the issue of whether or not the legislative and judicial organs will have the adequate independence to conduct their check and balance functions…
Voting “yes” or “no” has nothing to do with religion.
The head of al-Qaida's former Syrian branch, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, said the suicide attacks in third city Homs were a message for opposition figures engaged in peace talks in Geneva to "step aside".
In a rare video address released late Monday, the head of Fateh al-Sham Front reiterated his group's responsibility for the bombings, which killed dozens of people...
"This operation is a lesson to the defeated politicians in Geneva, and previously in Astana," said Abu Mohamed al-Jolani. "This lesson will wipe off some of the shame that has followed those gambling with the lives of the Syrian people," he said, adding that the attacks were "just one episode in a series that will follow."
Opposition and government representatives are in Geneva this week for UN-sponsored talks aimed at ending Syria's brutal six-year war. Fateh al-Sham has been excluded from the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), as well as previous talks in Astana between rebel groups and the government.
Jolani said the deadly attacks in Homs were a message "to leave the war to our people, and to step aside." ... "These politicians... are handing the regime a victory without it having to win."
Fateh al-Sham Front split from al-Qaida in July 2016 from al-Qaida in a move analysts said was an abortive attempt to end its blacklisting by the United Nations and Western governments. In January, it joined forces with other hardline groups to form Tahrir al-Sham.
Flashback - Nusra Front Leader Jolani
Flashback 2013: Western backed FSA
Syrian opposition claims to have
A Syrian opposition member, Colonel Fateh Hassoun, who is a part of the Geneve peace talks, claimed that his delegation had “visual evidence” that the Syrian government is involved with ISIS, he said on Monday.
Geneva, SANA – SANA delegate to Geneva learned from sources close to the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Syrian-Syrian dialogue that the delegation met on Tuesday with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in the Swiss city.
Both sides agreed on the need that the issue of fighting terrorism be among the priorities of the agenda of talks aimed at solving the crisis in Syria.
In a statement to Russian reporters, Gatilov said the Syrians do not have a problem with the agenda proposed by de Mistura, but they think that terrorism and fighting it are of greater urgency.
It is scheduled that the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic, headed by Bashar al-Jaafari, will meet the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura later today in the framework of the fourth round of the Syrian-Syrian dialogue.
The delegation and de Mistura held a meeting on Saturday, with Bashar al-Jaafari stressing that the talks focused on only one point, which is putting the issue of combating terrorism as a priority.
Russia and China have vetoed a UN Security Council proposal that would have banned the supply of helicopters to the Syrian government, and blacklisted eleven Syrian military commanders over allegations of toxic gas attacks.
The proposed resolution, put forward by Britain, France and the United States, was put to the vote of the international body despite an earlier pledge by Russia to use its power the quash the proposal.
Russia's Deputy UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov contended that the Western powers’ proposal was not supported by solid evidence.
"The problem is that the basis of expert work on Syria come from dubious information submitted by the armed opposition, international NGOs sympathetic to it, the media and so-called ‘Friends of Syria’,” he argued.
“The co-sponsors [of the proposal] have chosen and odious and erroneous concept, which is totally unacceptable. The fact that the resolution wasn’t supported by six of the fifteen security council members should make the co-sponsors seriously think,” Safronkov said.
Bolivia voted against the text, while Ethiopia, Egypt and Kazakhstan abstained, according to Reuters.
Speaking from the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia considers it unnecessary to impose any more penalties against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
“As for sanctions against the Syrian leadership, I think the move is totally inappropriate now,” Putin said at a news conference. “It does not help, would not help the negotiation process. It would only hurt or undermine confidence during the process.”
"Syrian Egyptian Unity 59th Anniversary"
Pragmatic and logical approach
Gamal Abdel Nasser was ahead of his times. The world powers constantly opposed his attempts to mainstream Egypt into the world while he was alive, but they may long for his forward-looking pragmatic and logical approach compared to the backward-looking Islamist extremism rife in the region today....
DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.
"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth... Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else. Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea.
Egypt’s war on terrorism has turned parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee into one of the country’s most important bodies.
Kamal Amer, a former serviceman, and his colleagues at the committee are responsible for putting Egypt’s war on terrorism in a legal context and creating legislation to protect Egypt’s national security.
“Threats to national security are too many these days,” Amer said. “This makes it necessary for my committee to work hard because Egypt is a state and when it acts to protect its national security, it must act like a state, not like a gang.”
This is why the first priority for police and troops fighting militants was to arrest — not kill — the militants and bring them before the courts, he said. Nonetheless, our policy is loathed by a public that expects security services to exact revenge for the blood on militants’ hands.
Amer said Egyptian institutions act within the law, which is why the fight against terrorism must be carried out within a legal framework, a principle that makes his committee more important.
Although his background is military, he said national security was not only about threats that can be faced with the force of arms.
“Poverty is a threat to national security and so are unemployment, disease and the failure of the state to offer quality health care and education to its citizens,” Amer said. “All these problems can even be more devastating to national security than terrorism.”
He said he considered rampant poverty, the need for the economy to grow at a pace sufficient to feed the people and create jobs and population growth to be Egypt’s toughest challenges.
Failure to deal with these issues leaves the country’s security at risk, Amer said.
Egypt’s poverty rate — 27.8% of the population — is rising while unemployment is at 12.4% and the population increases by 1.2 million people every year. These are direct threats to Egypt’s national security, Amer said.
Economic planners, he said, and workers were the first line of defence for national security. “These are the people whose work contributes to making this country’s welfare,” Amer said. “In pushing Egypt’s economic growth up, they prevent the next generation of terrorists from being created.”
He said those suffering hunger can turn into the state’s most avowed enemies. That explains why Amer and his fellow committee members become angry over commodity shortages or when the authorities fail to solve the problems of citizens.
The persistence of conflict in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen remains one of the main drivers of poverty regionally.
In Syria, after five years of civil war, it is estimated that 80 percent of the population lives in poverty, and life expectancy has been cut by 20 years.
Almost a decade after the US-led invasion in 2003, poverty rates are on the rise in Iraq, with statistics from the World Bank showing that 28 percent of Iraqi families live under the poverty line.
The mass displacement from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) controlled areas, the decline in global oil prices and higher unemployment rates has meant that despite its oil wealth, the Iraqi government has failed miserably in addressing the poverty rate in the country.
Despite an initial wave of optimism after the 2011 Arab uprisings, countries in North Africa continue to face economic challenges that have seen poverty rates increase in many areas.
The Obamas sign reported $65 million book deal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that the Trump administration’s reported consideration of withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, in part over the body’s “obsession” with Israel, was his idea.
In recordings of a Monday Likud faction meeting that were leaked to Army Radio and aired Thursday morning, Netanyahu can be heard telling fellow party members that he suggested the diplomatic protest maneuver during his meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington in February.
“During the visit I raised the question whether the US should remain in the Human Rights Council,” the prime minister can be heard saying.
Pressed by MK Anat Berko whether it was wise for the US to leave the body given the fact that it sided with Israel in votes there, Netanyahu replied, “No, it’s better to leave. These types of organizations must be delegitimized.”
In the leaked recordings, Netanyahu can be heard praising Trump’s presidency as a “historic opportunity, but [we] need to know the limits of this opportunity.”
According to reports in Hebrew-language media, two coalition lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation that would extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jerusalem-area settlement of Ma’ale Adumim at a Knesset committee next week.
The annexation bill will be put forward by Likud MK Yoav Kisch and the pro-settlement Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich at the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.
In an interview with the The Times of Israel Malcolm Hoenlein, who heads the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization, spoke about antisemitism as a global “pandemic in formation.”
‘Pandemic’ is an infectious disease spread through human populations across a large region.
In Hoenlein’s universe, the ‘chosen’ are always innocent while the ‘unchosen’ are eternally sick.
For Hoenlein, antisemitism “is not (a Jewish) problem. It’s society’s problem. It’s Christianity’s problem. It’s everybody’s problem, when there’s hatred against Jews. We (the Jews) are the victims, we’re not the cause of it. It’s not because we did something wrong. It’s because of who we are and our values.”
But what are these values Hoenlein attributes to the Jews? Are they simply choseness and racial supremacy? Are they those ethical standards practiced by the Jewish state? Is it a distinctly Jewish value to believe that the Jews are always innocent victims and the Goyim are barbarian hate-monger as contended openly by Hoenlein?
Anyone with a minimum understanding of Jewish culture and Judaism knows that the Jewish universe is dominated by Torah and Mitzvoth (rules and commandments) that, as opposed to universal ethics and values, are tribally based.
Because both Judaism and Jewish culture are inherently tribal, there is no such a thing as Jewish universal values.
(Secular) Zionism in its early days agreed with the so-called ‘antisemites’ that Jewish identity was unhealthy and parasitic. Early Zionists promised to take the Jews away and to ‘civilise' them by means of homecoming.
But Hoenlein intends the opposite... Obviously Hoenlein is the very personification of those Jewish symptoms the early Zionists promised to treat.
Accusing gentiles of being infected with an hateful disease is not exactly going to make Jews loved...
Definition of Semite
Please note that Israel is NOT a Semitic country. When Israel really was a SEMITIC country (fighting against all forms of anti-Semitism), all Semitic citizens would be equals.
“Anti-Semitism” is a misleading notion that refers generally to criticism of Jews as ‘people’, ‘ethnicity’ or ‘race.’ Such criticism that is biologically driven hardly exists nowadays.
"Anti-Semitism broadly defined is simply the opposition to jews on the basis that they are a biological group (antisemitism = racism).
Brian Klug: Face Reality
"Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is no fantasy. Nor is the spread of Jewish settlements in these territories. Nor the unequal treatment of Jewish colonisers and Palestinian inhabitants. Nor the institutionalised discrimination against Israeli Arab citizens in various spheres of life.
The United Nations will include discussions about the strategy for fighting terrorism in an agenda of the next round of Syria peace talks, U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Friday, after a first eight-day round of talks in Geneva.
Calling the latest round of diplomacy between the two sides to end Syria's six-year-long war "substantive", de Mistura said the sides would be invited back to Geneva this month for the next round.
In an apparent gain for the Syrian regime, which had lobbied to put "terrorism" on the agenda, de Mistura said future rounds of Geneva talks would tackle "issues related to strategies of counter-terrorism, security governance and also medium-term confidence-building measures".
The U.N. Envoy to Syria also said he wants the regime and opposition to pursue a "framework agreement" outlining a political transition process in accordance with a 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution.
He said that the Security Council set out a "clear timetable" to draft a new constitution for Syria, within 12 months, and to hold free and fair elections under UN supervision, within another 18 months.
Talks in Astana, convened by Russia, Turkey and Iran, would be complementary and deal with "maintenance of the ceasefire, immediate confidence-building measures and operational counter-terrorism issuees", he told a final press conference.
Speaking at the end of the talks Friday, the UN mediator conceded that for the moment face-to-face talks are unlikely. But he held up a photograph of the opening ceremony of the talks last Thursday, when both sides gathered in the same room, albeit only to hear a welcome address by de Mistura.
"This picture is much more than iconic. It is highly symbolic. This was a very special moment," he said, adding: "A psychological barrier was broken".
baath, founded by intellectuals, literally means renaissance, resurrection
At a March 3 press conference, opposition delegation chairman Naser al-Hariri said his delegation’s talks with U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura had focused largely on proposals for a period of political transition.
“Our ultimate aim is a safe and stable Syria,” al-Hariri said. “We will continue negotiations in hopes of creating a modern Syria that can serve as a model for other countries.”
Kurds in northern Syria are hopeful that Syrian army advances that opened a land corridor between their autonomous region and government-controlled areas will ease the economic blockade they have been suffering under.
“The opening of a corridor between us and Aleppo will have a great positive impact,” Abdul Karim Saroukhan, head of the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria, told Reuters. “It is like an artery that will feed part of the Syrian body.”
Since taking east Aleppo from opposition forces at the end of last year, the Syrian army has pushed eastward, south of al-Bab, and has reached territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) southwest of Manbij, opening a corridor between the SDF-controlled areas and Aleppo with Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces to the north and ISIS to the south. Kurds are a dominant force within the SDF.
Syrian Kurds and Damascus have largely avoided direct conflict in the six years of civil war in the country, though they have clashed sporadically.
Kurds set up three federal entities in northern Syria, the cantons of Jazira, Kobane, and Afrin. Damascus rejected the declaration of the federal region commonly known as Rojava, describing their creation as an “unlawful action” that “jeopardizes the country’s territorial integrity.”
The approval of government-proposed constitutional amendments in the April 16 referendum will bring Turkey’s democracy back to pre-1789 French Revolution conditions, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, criticizing the government for creating an environment in which saying “No” is akin to committing a crime.
“[If the changes are approved] democracy will to a large extent be suspended. Everything will be decided by one man ... Parliament will lose its ability to legislate. Decisions on the structure and functions of the state will be made solely by the president.
From all these perspectives, Turkish democracy will return to the conditions of before the French Revolution,” Kılıçdaroğlu told the members of the International Media Freedom mission on March 2.
The mission is composed of a number of prominent press institutions like the International Press Institute (IPI) and Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), and organized a tour to Turkey to show solidarity with imprisoned journalists and their families.
Describing the government’s actions since the failed July 2016 coup attempt as a “civilian coup” because of the massive purge of bureaucrats and arrest of thousands of people including journalists and academics, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey faces the prospect of turning into a “party state.”
“Turkey is going to referendum under these conditions. Citizens and civil society organizations are not allowed to freely campaign for ‘no,’ even though the government and all state offices have begun campaigning. These are very hard conditions but we’ll secure a ‘No’ in the ballot box. We’ll bring democracy to our country, however much they impose pressure on us,” he stated.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu: Political Islam is against our past, our culture
BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping called on intellectuals to make greater contribution to the nation's development.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks when joining a panel discussion with political advisors from three Chinese non-Communist parties.
Xi said that China now needs its intellectuals more than ever, to contribute to its prosperity, national rejuvenation and people's well-being as the country embarks on its great course.
Intellectuals across the country should take on a sense of urgency and responsibility, and work hard to build China into a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and a major sci-tech power, he said.
Xi said the CPC has always valued the importance of intellectuals, who are "elites of the society, pillars of the nation, pride of the people and treasure of the country."
The whole society should care for and respect intellectuals and cultivate a favorable environment that honors knowledge and intellectuals, Xi said, adding that authorities must fully trust intellectuals and seek their advice on key work and policies.
Xi hoped the intellectuals can consciously take the lead in practicing socialist core values and stick to the principle of putting the interests of the nation and the people before everything else.
In this regard, intellectuals should keep in mind the overall situation of the nation and always pursue truth and righteousness, Xi said. They should "start with themselves, start with their daily lives and start now," taking the lead in practicing socialist core values, Xi said.
Compassion & Justice - Star and Crescent of Islam
This emblem, commonly recognized as the symbol of the Islamic faith, has actually acquired its association to the faith by association, rather than intent.
Moon & Star, Mother & Child, Compassion & Justice
Sin or Nanna was the god of the moon in the Mesopotamian mythology of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north. A moon god by the same name was also worshipped in pre-Islamic South Arabia.
Both in early and in late inscriptions Shamash is designated as the "offspring of Nanna"; i.e. of the Moon-god (Jesus born of a Virgin), and in an enumeration of the pantheon, Sin generally takes precedence of Shamash.
Applying Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank would lead to an "immediate crisis" with the new US administration, said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
Liberman made the remarks in reference to statements made by MK Miki Zohar (Likud), who said on Sunday that he sought for Israel to annex the West Bank without granting full citizenship to its Palestinian inhabitants.
|Nazi 'Holy Land' Propaganda|
Liberman's comments came amid a renewed drive by right-wing politicians and the Knesset Land for Israel cuacus to annex the third largest West Bank settlement, Ma'aleh Adumim, which is located just outside of Jerusalem.
It's part of a larger drive by right-wing politicians to annex Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule.
The politicians want to transform military rule into sovereignty. All of Israel's West Bank settlements are located in Area C of the West Bank, which is also home to some 300,000 Palestinians.
The bulk of the Palestinian population lives in Areas A and B of the West Bank, which are under the autonomous civilian rule of the Palestinian Authority.
Right Wing 'Blut und Boden' Fanaticism
The Israeli controlled Area C constitutes about 60% of the West Bank. All construction within Area C requires approval from the Israeli Civil Administration, which is an authority under the Israeli Ministry of Defence. In practice, the Israeli authorities only allow Palestinian construction within the boundaries of a specific area that has a detailed scheme from the Israeli Civil Administration. These plans cover less than 1% of Area C and a large portion of this land is already built-up.
Under the current system the (2.700.000) Palestinians are given no influence over the division of the land within Area C. Nor can they affect the zoning of their communities or the granting of permits for construction work.
Turkish military Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar met Tuesday with his American and Russian counterparts: General Joseph Dunford and General Valery Gerasimov in southern Turkey's Antalya.
A statement released by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said that the Generals were discussing security issues mainly related to the developments in Syria and Iraq in the meeting.
The meeting of three generals, the first of its kind, came at a time when options for an operation against the Daesh terror group's de-facto capital Raqqa, Syria are being discussed.
Another contentious issue is the status of the northern Syrian town of Manbij, where Turkey expects the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main partner of the U.S. on the ground in Syria, to retreat due its ties with the PKK terror group.
Manbij is controlled by the SDF's Manbij Military Council and the U.S. military has deployed a small number of forces in and around the city to ensure that different parties do not attack each other.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week said the next target for the operation in northern Syria was Manbij after Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) seized al-Bab. But Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said military action by Turkey would not make sense unless coordinated with the United States and Russia.
After clashing with Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army rebels west of Manbij earlier this month, the Manbij Military council declared a deal with Russia to hand frontline villages to regime control to prevent their coming under Turkish control.
On Monday, the Pentagon confirmed that a small number of US troops had been sent to the northern Syrian town of Manbij to deter conflict between the US-backed Kurdish forces and Turkey-backed rebels.
US troops were first spotted in Manbij on Saturday, following reports of a deal between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian government to hand over some 20 villages in a zone between Manbij and Al-Bab, recently taken by Turkish-backed forces.
The US-backed SDF is mostly comprised of Kurdish militia, considered terrorists by Turkey.
Washington has supported the SDF as a proxy force on the ground against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) independent of the Syrian Army, which is supported by Russia and Iran. (RT News, 7-3-2017)
Ankara has reaffirmed its position against the establishment of the PYD terror group's cantons in northern Syria saying Turkey will take all the necessary steps to prevent them.
Defense Minister Fikri Işık said Turkey will prevent the unification of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) cantons in Syria at all costs. The PYD is an offshoot of the PKK.
"Turkey will definitely not allow the PYD to have sovereign zones. We will continue our struggle in this regard," Minister Işık said on March 5 in Turkey's western İzmit province.
Minister Işık also added that Turkey aims to establish safe zones for humanitarian purposes through the help of the ongoing Operation Euphrates Shield.
"We are trying to establish safe zones in Syria to provide a safe return for our Syrian brothers, who are currently staying in Turkey as our guests," Işık said. "Thus, we are trying to restore their cities with infrastructure.
As Turkey, we want our Syrian guests to be able to return to their homes safely and to live in their homeland in peace," he added.
We are currently experiencing an era in which we have made the most significant progress against the PKK terror group in our 35 years of counterterrorism. Since July 23, 2015, 9,600 PKK terrorists have been eliminated. This is one of the greatest strikes ever against the terror group," he added, stressing that Turkey continues its active combat against multiple terror groups. Işık added that Turkey is determined to completely eliminate terror threats wherever they may be...
A Bright Moon Is Shining
Konstantin Balmont, a Russian Silver Age poet, described women in a vivid and precise manner:
A woman – with us when we are born,
A woman – with us in our last hour,
A woman – our standard during battle,
A woman – the joy of open eyes.
We always turn to women for inspiration and consolation, and always find it.
Women give us life and perpetuate it in our children.
That said, women also need men’s support.
We will remember that always, not only today.
We will do our outmost to surround the women we love with care and attention, so that they can smile more often.
Silver Age of Russian Poetry
A Female Voice
Flashback: Muammar Gaddafi killed
Female teachers must cover face says Grand Mufti
Gaddafi’s odd love affair with women
-- Question: So, as far as the Geneva talks is concerned, your chief negotiator, Mr. Jaafari, was trying hard to find out who should be sitting on the other side of the negotiation table. So, according to your idea, who should be sitting there?
-- President Assad: This is a very crucial question. If you want negotiations to be fruitful, we have to ask “who is going to be sitting there?” I mean, there could be a lot of good people with good intentions, but the question is: who do they represent? That’s the question.
You have others who represent the terrorists, and you have terrorists on the table, and you have others who represent the agenda of foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, like Turkey, like France, UK and maybe the United States.
So, it’s not a homogeneous meeting. In spite of that, we went to that meeting because we think any kind of dialogue could be a good step toward the solution, because even those people who are terrorists or belonging to the terrorists or to other countries, they may change their mind and go back to their normality by going back to being real Syrians...
-- Question: But talking about the Syria war, you can never exclude the foreign factors. The Saudi-backed high negotiating committee, HNC, are saying that they are counting on the Trump administration to play a positive role instead of the mistaken policies under his predecessor Barack Obama. So, from your side, what do you expect from Trump’s Middle East policy, particularly policy on Syria?
-- President Assad: The first part that you mentioned about their hopes, when you pin your hopes on a foreign country, doesn’t matter which foreign country, it means you’re not patriotic, and this is proved, because they should depend on the support of the Syrian people, not any other government or administration.
Now, regarding the Trump administration, during his campaign and after the campaign, the main rhetoric of the Trump administration and the president himself was about the priority of defeating ISIS. I said since the beginning that this is a promising approach to what’s happening in Syria and in Iraq..
We have hopes that talking about ISIS does mean talking about the whole terrorism; ISIS is one of the products, al-Nusra is another product, you have so many groups in Syria, they are not ISIS, but they are Al Qaeda, they have the same background of the Wahabi extremist ideology.
-- Question: As we speak, top generals from Turkey, Russia, and the United States are meeting somewhere in Turkey to discuss tensions in northern Syria, where mutually- suspicious forces are allied with these countries. So, do you have a plan for a final attack on Daesh when the main players actually do need an effective coordination in order to clear Syria of all terror groups?
-- President Assad: Yeah, if you want to link that meeting with ISIS in particular, it won’t be objective, because at least one party, which is Turkey, has been supporting ISIS till this moment, because Erdogan, the Turkish President, is Muslim Brotherhood. He’s ideologically linked and sympathetic with ISIS and with al-Nusra, and everybody knows about this in our region...
For the other party, which is the United States, at least during Obama’s administration, they dealt with ISIS by overlooking their smuggling the Syrian oil to Turkey, and they didn’t try to do anything more than cosmetic against ISIS.
The only serious party in that regard is Russia, which is effectively attacking ISIS in cooperation with us. So, the question is: how can they cooperate, and I think the Russians have hope that the two parties join the Russians and the Syrians in their fight against terrorism.
-- Question: Now, US troops are in Manbej. Is the greenlight from your side? Did you open the door for these American troops?
-- President Assad: No, no, we didn’t. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one.
And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? ... Anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.
-- Question: Talking about Russia and China, they just vetoed a new UN sanction on Syria last week. What do these Chinese vetoes mean exactly for your country?
-- President Assad: China is a member of the Security Council, and it’s committed to the Charter of the United Nations. In that veto, China has defended first of all the Charter, because the United Nations was created in order to restore stability around the world.
Actually, the Western countries use the Council as a tool, in order to change regimes or governments and to implement their agenda, not to restore stability...
Bashar al-Assad: "The Oscars, Nobel prizes, all these things are politicized certificates, that’s how I look at it."
-- Question: Mr. President, as you may be fully aware that the “White Helmets” took an Oscar this year for the best documentary short, but folks are saying that the truth about this “White Helmets” is not like what Netflix has presented, so what is your take on this?
-- President Assad: First of all, we have to congratulate al-Nusra for having the first Oscar! This is an unprecedented event for the West to give Al Qaeda an Oscar; this is unbelievable, and this is another proof that the Oscars, Nobel prizes, all these things are politicized certificates, that’s how I can look at it.
The White Helmets story is very simple; it is a facelift of al-Nusra Front in Syria, just to change their ugly face into a more humanitarian face, that’s it.
Read also: The US Helped Create International Law, Now We Just Ignore It
DAMASCUS, SYRIA – On Friday, the United States officially declared the newly formed Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) a terrorist group in a written statement. The jihadist coalition consists of Jabhat al-Nusra and some opposition groups that formerly enjoyed US support, including Harakat Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki.
The US State Department stressed that the main leader of Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham is Abu Mohammad Al-Julani, commander-in-chief of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), and therefore HTS should still be regarded as the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.
This terrorist designation comes as a major blow to the armed Syrian Opposition as Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham is considered the single largest rebel faction in all of Syria.
Ahmad Hussain al-Sharaa (known by the nom de guerre Abu Mohammad al-Julani) was born in the village of Al-Rafid, Syria in the Quneitra Governorate in the Golan Heights. He grew up in Damascus after his family were made refugees after Israel took the Golan Heights.
He studied all his school years in Damascus. The Iraq war interrupted his studies and he left to join the insurgency in Iraq.
Once al-Julani moved to Iraq to fight American troops after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he quickly rose through the ranks of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and reportedly was a close associate of its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
After al-Zarqawi was killed by a US airstrike in 2006, al-Julani left Iraq, briefly staying in Lebanon. He returned to Iraq to continue fighting but was arrested by the US military and held at Camp Bucca.
After his release from Camp Bucca prison in 2008, al-Julani resumed his militant work, this time alongside Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the then Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). He was soon appointed head of ISI operations in Nineveh Province.
Shortly after the uprising against the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad began in 2011, al-Julani played a lead role in planning and enacting a mission, as part of Islamic State of Iraq, to move into Syria and form a sub-branch of the organisation called Jabhat al-Nusra.
This group was to act as a front for the Islamic State of Iraq, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to whom he had his allegiance and whose command he was under. (Wikipedia info)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop adopting hostile policies against Iran based on a legend in “the fifth century B.C.,” instead of focusing on the realities on the ground.
Putin made the remarks at a Thursday meeting with Netanyahu in Moscow, during which the Israeli premier claimed ancient Persia (ruled by king Ahasuerus) had made a failed attempt to “destroy the Jewish people” some 2,500 years ago, a legend commemorated through the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“Today there is an attempt by Persia’s heir, Iran, to destroy” Israel, said Netanyahu, adding that “they say this as clearly as possible and inscribe it on their ballistic missiles.”
In response, Putin described the remarks as part of a legend going back to “the fifth century B.C.” and added, “We now live in a different world. Let us talk about that now.”
The holiday of Purim commemorates the Jewish legend of a conspiracy to slaughter Jews some 2,500 years ago, which was discovered by the Persian king and thwarted. While scholars do not agree on the accuracy of the Purim story, Netanyahu has constantly referred to the legend as a basis of his anti-Iran arguments in his meetings with different world leaders.
In a controversial speech to the US Congress in March 2015, Netanyahu repeated his own account of the Purim story and claimed, “Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us.”
modern side of iran
Myth or Historical truth?
Who was the real Ahasuerus?
Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name for the Persian Emperor usually identified as Xerxes I.
Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) succeeded his father Darius I in the year 486 BCE.
Whether there are any references to Ahasuerus in the Old Testament which are really historical is a serious question.
We have no evidence in Greek or Persian sources for the main plot of the Purim story, the threat to destroy the Jews in the 12th year (3:7), although this is to be expected.
As much as “liberal” has become a dirty word in U.S. politics, the word “conservative” has been ripped from all its honorable traditions and redefined as a dangerous form of radicalism, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.
George W. Bush & The Death Of Compassion
George W. Bush’s immediate reaction to the 9/11-attack was to seek revenge against the terrorists. Telephoning his Vice President Dick Cheney from Air Force One, he said: “We’re going to get the b******s. We’re at war.”
After hanging up the phone, Bush turned to his aides and said: "When we find out who did this, they're not going to like me as president. Somebody's going to pay."
The then US President also told the aides on board Air Force One: “I can’t wait to find out who did it. "It's going to take a while and we're not going to have a little slap on the wrist crap."
What is it about the U.S. that makes it virtually the only country in the world where a political Left scarcely exists? We have a center Right — the Democratic Party. And we have a far Right — the Republican Party. In fact, just invoking the L-word “Liberal” can inflict quick political death. Yes, we’re safe from the Left here in America. Having such a stunted political spectrum is bad enough in itself.
Still worse is the utter corruption of the word conservative. U.S. society has allowed the Republican Party to hijack the word, distort it and redefine it to its own ends, against its real meaning.
Conservatism has a venerable history. The very word says a lot. It seeks to preserve and conserve fundamental human institutions, values, and lives in a precarious world.
Such as, for example, conserving the planet we live on, its forests, its water, its creatures, its bounty. It’s our only home. In fact, preserving and conserving the earth really is the ultimate conservative agenda. We have been given a stewardship over this unique and precious blue orb in the cosmos upon which all life depends.
Indeed, it’s the Republicans who are False Conservatives. They place the interests of the corporate world, profit and the welfare of a minority above all else.
Their agenda is clear: generating ever more corporate business, clearing more land for “development,” installing more robots to make production more efficient — this is a conservative agenda?
What of the preservation of life? Wouldn’t prioritizing the preservation of human life over death represent a true conservative agenda as well?
How much good does war do for people actually living it on the ground? Nobody is saying that one should never fight in true self-defense, but in the end, it’s hard to make the case that war has done a lot of good for most human beings involved.
Republicans tend to believe that war is heroic, glorious, “our finest fighting men,” pride of the nation, anything to keep our nation safe, huge budget expenditures at the cost of almost everything else.
Here’s what founding father James Madison had to say about it: “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
And then there’s the economy. Republicans generally believe that the number one policy goal of the nation is first and foremost the health of the economy — read the health of our corporations... But prioritizing the health of the economy gets the priorities wrong: for a genuine conservative the first priority is the health and welfare of our communities and our people.
Now, there is undeniably a relationship between the health of the economy and the general welfare, but they are not one and the same thing at all. Human welfare must be the end goal..
Remember, that while capitalism is a powerful productive engine it has no direct interest in community welfare. It’s not that capitalism is immoral; morality is just outside capitalism’s functional purview. Capitalism by definition is about maximizing profit; that’s what capitalism does.
Yet today most Republicans enshrine free-market capitalism as the Holy Grail over the welfare of the community. They don’t worry about poverty and domestic despair. Or even the need to spread profits if society is to function.
So let’s maybe give up the “L-word” as a hopeless cause and instead work to restore the real meaning of what conservatism should be. We must take the word back.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak during an interview with Army Radio on Monday attacked Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"Netanyahu has lost control," Barak said. "He's been kidnapped by right-wing settlers.
Netanyahu's true agenda is 'what did Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) say this morning?'
"We have a right-wing government which endangers the Zionist dream. They talk about unity in the nation, but they work for a unity of the land."
During the interview, Barak also spoke about the Labor party's primary elections, which are scheduled to be held in the summer. He said he does not want to interfere with Labor's internal politics, but opined the best person to lead the party is Minister Avi Gabai.
Barak's, who as prime minister ordered the hurried IDF withdrawal from Southern Lebanon which brought Hezbollah to Israel's borders, left Labor in 2011 in order to form the "Independence" party. It is unclear whether he still has political aspirations.
The release of Egypt's ex-president Hosni Mubarak ends "talk of the Arab Spring" uprising that toppled him in 2011 after 30 years in power, an analyst said. An Egyptian prosecutor approved a request by Mubarak's lawyer for his release after a top court acquitted him of involvement in the killing of protesters during the popular revolt.
"Talk of the Arab Spring has completely stopped," said Mai Mogib, a politics professor at Cairo University. But "discussing Mubarak and symbols of his era has become acceptable in the media and in the street," she said.
Mubarak's lawyer said Monday the 88-year-old was free to go home after having spent most of his time since his arrest in 2011 detained at a military hospital in Cairo. Mubarak's sons have already been released from prison, and most of the charges brought against the ex-president's regime members have been dismissed.
"Our son's blood was spilled for nothing," said Mostafa Morsi, whose son was shot dead aged 22 on January 28, 2011. "I wish Mohammed had lived to work, marry and have children," his father said.
Several key activists in the 2011 uprising are now serving lengthy jail terms, and rights groups say hundreds of others have been forcibly disappeared.
The anti-Mubarak revolt ushered in instability that drove away tourists and investors, taking a heavy toll on the economy. In the street and on television talk shows, Egyptians now mainly discuss the faltering economy and rising prices instead of politics.
"After six years of the so-called Arab Spring, people remember Mubarak's era with nostalgia," said Mahmoud Ibrahim, a former mid-level official at Mubarak's dissolved National Democratic Party.
A former air force chief and vice president, Mubarak became president after jihadists shot dead president Anwar Sadat at a military parade in 1981, in an attack in which he was himself wounded.
Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected civilian leader, served for just one year before the military toppled and detained him in 2013 amid mass protests against his rule. The authorities then launched a deadly crackdown on Morsi's backers.
Morsi's overthrow sparked a jihadist insurgency, mainly in the province of North Sinai, that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.
The insurgency, including attacks that have reached Cairo, have led Sisi to argue that while he supports human rights, the dangers facing Egypt also require a firm hand.
What have we learned?
"We learned a lot. We learned that while life is not fair, death is even less fair - it takes the good people. Even in death you can be unlucky. Lucky ones die a ‘normal’ death… A familiar death of cancer, or a heart-attack, or stroke. Unlucky ones have to be collected in bits and pieces. Their families trying to bury what can be salvaged and scraped off of streets that have seen so much blood, it is a wonder they are not red...
Vienna, Austria's grand capital on the Danube river, has topped a list of cities offering the highest quality of life for the eighth year in a row, while Baghdad is again considered the worst place to live.|
The survey of 231 cities helps companies and organizations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. It uses dozens of criteria such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.
Global centers London, Paris, Tokyo and New York City did not even make the top 30, lagging behind most big German, Scandinavian, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian cities.
Singapore was the highest ranked Asian city, at 25 while 29th-placed San Francisco was the United States' highest entry. Top of the list in Africa was South Africa's Durban at 87.
Vienna's 1.8 million inhabitants benefit from the city's cafe culture and museums, theatres and operas. Rents and public transport costs in the city, whose architecture is marked by its past as the centre of the Habsburg empire, are cheap compared with other western capitals.
Switzerland's Zurich, New Zealand's Auckland, Germany's Munich and Canada's Vancouver followed Vienna in the top five of most pleasant cities to live in.
Baghdad was again ranked lowest in the world. Waves of sectarian violence have swept through the Iraqi capital since the US-led invasion in 2003.
Six years into Syria's bloody war, Damascus was ranked seventh from bottom, with Bangui in the Central African Republic, Yemeni capital Sanaa, Haiti's Port-au-Prince, Sudan's Khartoum and Chad's N'Djamena filling out the end of the list.