Saddam's Death, 88 (febr-march 2017)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 87: febr 2017 and Page 89 (march 2017)
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Trump & the Two Messiah's
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.

"That is the issue that will continue in this country... It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle.
The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings." Abraham Lincoln (October 15, 1858 Debate at Alton, Illinois)

"Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!" Abraham Lincoln (February 22, 1842 Temperance Address)

"...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

“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)

"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)

Theresa May: We have to defend our values
UK and US cannot return to 'failed' interventions
BBC News, 26 January 2017

Theresa May (UK Prime Minister) has told US Republicans the UK and America cannot return to "failed" military interventions "to remake the world in our own image". Suggesting a UK foreign policy shift, she said those days were over but added that the US and UK should not "stand idly by when the threat is real".
In her speech, Mrs May said: "It is in our interests - those of Britain and America together - to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.
"This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.
"But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.
Mrs May's US speech comes ahead of talks with President Donald Trump. She will be the first world leader to meet the new president. Theresa May will present Donald Trump, whose mother was born in the Outer Hebrides, with an engraved quaich, a Scottish artefact symbolising friendship.
Opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, said: "Theresa May must stand up for our country's values when she meets Donald Trump...

A Soldier On Trial

"An Israeli military medic who was filmed killing an incapacitated Palestinian attacker last year has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
His sentence was handed down by a panel of three judges sitting in a military court in Tel Aviv. Prosecutors had demanded a sentence of between three and five years. Human rights groups argued that the sentence was too lenient, while his supporters, including some ministers, said he should not have been sentenced to prison at all." The Guardian, 21-2-2017

Religious leadership and brainwashed soldiers
Amnon Abramovich | YNet News Opinion, 22.02.2017

It’s not [one misbehaving soldier] who should have been put on trial, it’s all the leaders of the Jewish settlement in Hebron throughout the years. The trial should not have focused on morality in battle, but on the morality of their presence there.
Some 900 settlers and yeshiva students have placed themselves among 250,000 Palestinians. Most of them are not preaching good neighborly relations and peace, they are agitators calling for a transfer...
The late Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the founder of the Jewish settlement in Hebron, was prosecuted several times for unruly behavior against both Arabs and Jews. He curses, threatens and even physically attacks the soldiers who are watching over him—his own bodyguards—the court ruled.
[Moshe Levinger first came to Hebron in 1968 after the West Bank was occupied by Israel in the Six-Day 1967 War. He rented rooms in Al-Naher Al-Khaled Hotel at Ein-Sarah, on the main street of Hebron, in order to hold a Passover Seder, and then refused to leave. In a deal with the Israeli government, he moved with his family and followers to a former army base on a hill just northeast of Hebron, where, with the state’s cooperation, they established the settlement of Kiryat Arba. Wikipedia]

Rabin's Lack Of Courage
After the Baruch Goldstein massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs, then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin considered evacuating them. Legally, it would have been simple and easy: Canceling the expropriation orders for “military purposes,” under which the settlers are present there.
The government did not lack legal cause, just a bit of courage. Instead of evacuating them, a long curfew was imposed on the surrounding Arab neighborhoods.

A soldier can be the victim of the education he receives at home and of his political views. It’s enough to take a look at the Facebook posts that he wrote: “Kahane was right,” “Kill them all,” “Hit them where it hurts.”
This soldier was a victim of the service in Hebron and a victim of his advisors...
When a soldier arrives in Hebron, the local leadership expropriates the IDF authority, throws out the organizational envelope and digs its hoofs into him. From this moment and as long as he serves in Hebron, extreme right-wing politician Baruch Marzel is his prime minister, Eliyahu Libman is his chief of staff and Ofer Ohana is his direct commander.

Baruch Marzel: "Every child in Israel knows that Kahane was right"
By Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, 18-2-2015

During an interview in Yahad’s campaign headquarters in the capital’s Givat Shaul neighborhood, Baruch Marzel wholeheartedly endorsed the idea, which in Israel is known as “transfer.”
“We need to remove from here all our enemies,” he told The Times of Israel, adding that “enemies” does not necessarily refer to Arabs. Despite his militant anti-Arab agitation, Marzel rejects the accusation of racism. “I don’t hate Arabs; I love Jews,”
His vision for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is hence simple to sum up:
Convince yourself that God gave the entire Land of Israel to the Jews, annex the West Bank and Gaza, and throw out everyone who thinks differently.
“All our diplomatic problems stem from the fact that we don’t believe that this land belongs to us. On the day we internalize and tell the world that this land belongs to the Jewish people, we start applying sovereignty everywhere and begin building everywhere. That’s it. That’s my diplomatic platform.”

Marzel was born 55 years ago in Boston, but arrived in Jerusalem’s Bayit Vegan neighborhood when he was six weeks old. He gave up his American citizenship a few years ago ahead of a previous Knesset bid.
Baruch joined Kahane’s Jewish Defense League at age 13.
Kach, Kahane’s political movement in Israel, was outlawed because of incitement to racism and support for terrorism, but Marzel unabashedly worships the slain rabbi’s legacy.
“I think Kahane was right. Every child in Israel knows that Kahane was right — everything he said happens.”
After his wedding he moved to Hebron, where he helped established the Tel Rumeida settlement and tried to advance the ideology of Kahane, which sees an urgent need to “transfer” Arabs out of the Land of Israel.
Marzel himself does not use the word “transfer.”.. “I will encourage their emigration,” he said, adding that only a small number of Arabs would want to stay after his party came to power. “I am sure that it’s possible to arrange that a great part of our enemies will not be here. There are ways,” he said.

The UNHRC's attitude towards Israel is insane.
The US should withdraw from the UNHRC.
Arutz Sheva Staff, 26/02/2017

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."

Responding to the extensive anti-Israel campaign led by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid called on Democratic and Republican Congress and Senate members to support US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the UNHRC.
"The fight against the de-legitimization of Israel needs to cross all political boundaries," Lapid said. "And the UNHRC is at the very heart of this anti-Israel effort.
"One year ago, I stood outside the UN Human Rights Council with hundreds of people from all over Europe. We stood there in protest of the UN's continued bias against the Jewish state...
"At that time, I said, 'The UNHRC's attitude towards Israel is hypocritical. It's obsessive. It's insane.
We learned over the past 2,000 years that it doesn't matter what anti-Semites say - all that matters is what they do. And what they're doing here, in the UNHRC, is pure old-style anti-Semitism.'"

On Sunday morning, it was reported the US will be leaving the UN Human Rights Council after the Council slammed a convicted IDF soldier 18-month sentence as "too light" a punishment. In response, Lapid said the UN's criticism was motivated solely by their extraordinary anti-Israel bias.

What we do
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

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.
We provide a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today's human rights challenges, and act as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities in the United Nations system.
Since Governments have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides assistance to Governments, such as expertise and technical trainings in the areas of administration of justice, legislative reform, and electoral process, to help implement international human rights standards on the ground. We also assist other entities with responsibility to protect human rights to fulfil their obligations and individuals to realize their rights.

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.
Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law.
This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.

Flashback - Jewish Identity Vs. Humanism
Rich Forer interviewed by Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon, March 27, 2016

"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 number two killed in drone strike in Syria
By Chris kitching, Mirror (UK), 26-2-2017

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.

Flashback 2016: Al Qaeda Is About to Establish an Emirate in Northern Syria
The Nusra Front is laying the groundwork for al Qaeda’s first sovereign state
By Charles Lister, Foreign Policy Website, May 4, 2016

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.


Hassan Daabul’s death and jihadism in Syria
Hassan Hassan, The National (UAE), 27-2-2017


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.

Foreign Ministry Syria: Time to condemn all terror attacks
Syria Times, 26 February 2017

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
Arab News, 22 August 2013

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.
“One of the fallouts from extremism in understanding Islam is that some people call for jihad for the sake of God without justification,” Sheikh Abdul Aziz said. “These people raise the banner of jihad to draw the young into their ranks and not to fight for God,” he added.
Militants like Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden have often called for jihad against countries they consider “infidel”... Other militants have also used Islam as a rallying cry, justifying attacks by saying they are doing God’s will.
“Young Muslims must try and better themselves and their country but not through violence, because Islam is not a violent religion, it is a merciful religion,” he said.
“A Muslim must understand his religion. It is the duty of the young and the whole Muslim world to know that violence is not a way to achieve reform,” Al-Sheikh said.

Kofi Annan 2012: "We should have a strong state "
Syrian Arab News Agency, 10-7-2012

TEHRAN, (SANA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stressed that the ominous interference of some foreign countries in the crisis in Syria led to its continuity...
In a joint press conference with the UN Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan in Tehran on Tuesday, Salehi said
"All efforts should unite to prevent the extension of the crisis in Syria and limit its repercussions and we should not allow the situation to become worse," he added.
The Iranian Minister pointed out that "Democracy, independence and combating corruption are preserved rights for the Syrian people," asserting that the Syrian government committed to achieve its promises to meet all the legitimate demands of the Syrian people as it achieved tangible steps in this regard.
For his part, Kofi Annan said that his talks in Tehran aim at ensuring Iran's support to find peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria...
On disarming the armed terrorist groups in Syria and preventing countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia from sending weapons to them and the role of the UN in implementing that, Annan said "The international organization seeks to defuse the violence in Syria by all sides..."
Annan stressed that the disarmament of the armed terrorist groups is a very important thing in such crisis and after its end.
"I believe that the Syrian government should be able to control the weapons and we should have a strong state to prevent the spreading of the armed groups," he said. He went on to say the use of arms is not consistent with the search for a peaceful solution.


Jordan Gov’t gearing up for Arab summit
Syria will not be invited
Dana Al Emam, Jordan Times, February 27, 2017

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:
'Aarab League decision aims at undermining the last fortress of pan-Arabism

The decision made by the Arab League (AL) to suspend Syria will lead to division in Syria and across the Arab world, a political analyst tells Press TV.
Professor Daoud Khairallah of Georgetown University, Washington, said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday that the Arab League is seeking to “create more discord within Syria, encouraging certain parts against others.”
The Arab organization wants to “promote some kind of confessional sectarian strife inside the Syrian society,” Khairallah added.
On Saturday (12-11-2011), 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.

"Where is the Arabs' dignity"
The Arab Leaque & The Arab Homeland

arab league meeting 2010 The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland while respecting the sovereignty of the individual member states. ...
Governance of the Arab League has been based on the duality of supra-national institutions and the sovereignty of the member states.

Preservation of individual statehood derived its strengths from the natural preference of ruling elites to maintain their power and independence in decision making.
Moreover, the fear of the richer that the poorer may share their wealth in the name of Arab nationalism, the feuds among Arab rulers, and the influence of external powers that might oppose Arab unity can be seen as obstacles towards a deeper integration of the league.

"We Are Our Own Enemy"
Gaddafi Criticizes The Arab League

arab league meeting 2010 "At the annual Arab summit Moammar Gadhafi criticised Arab countries for doing nothing while the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president.
...In his speech, the Libyan leader also criticised Arab disunity and inaction on the region's multiple crises.
'Where is the Arabs' dignity, their future, their very existence? Everything has disappeared,' he said.
'Our blood and our language may be one, but there is nothing that can unite us.'

Gaddafi also mocked a plan by the Arab League to start Arab cooperation on a joint nuclear programme.
'How can we do that? We hate each other, we wish ill of each other and our intelligence services conspire against each other. We are our own enemy.'"


Read also: Adnan Mansour: “Arab League and Syria… a null role and killing money”
Friends of Syria: bringing back Islam to a nation of infidels


Haytham Manna, 8-10-2011: "It is no secret to anyone that America absolutely does not want to support a revolution which seeks secular democratic change in the Arab world."


The Caliphate & Exploitation Of Religion
Voting “yes” or “no” has nothing to do with religion
Taha Akyol, Hurriyet Daily News Opinion, 28-2-2017

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.



anti-trump-cartoons

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.


Syria ex-Qaida Says Opposition Leaders Must 'Step Aside'
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 28-2-2017

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
Calls on Lebanese Sunnis to Defect from Army
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 29-9-2014

The leader of al-Qaida's Syria affiliate, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, has called on Lebanon's Sunnis to defect from the army.
"Sunnis, take your sons away from the army that serves your enemy, and make them join the ranks of the jihadists," al-Jolani, who heads al-Nusra Front in Syria, said in an audio recording on Sunday.
Sunni extremists perceive Lebanon's army as being controlled by Shiite Hizbullah, which has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to support President Bashar Assad's troops...
Al-Golani also warned that his group would "use all possible means" to fight back against airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition and warned that the conflict would reach Western countries joining the alliance.
In the 25-minute audio recording, al-Golani portrayed the U.S.-led coalition as a "Crusader alliance" against Sunnis and vowed to fight back.
"We will use all that we have to defend the people of Syria...from the Crusader alliance," al-Golani said. "And we will use all possible means to achieve this end," he said, without offering more details.

24-9-2013. Aleppo: Statement by 11 brigades,

1. All Signatories call for all civilian and armed groups to unite under a clear Islamic framework, established on shariah, the sole source of legislation;
2. All signatories are not represented by, and do not recognize, Syrian exile groups, specifically the SNC and the proposed government;

Signatories to the statement are: ◦Jabhat al-Nusra - Islamic Ahrar al-Sham Movement -al-Tawheed Brigade - al-Islam Brigade - Suqour al-Sham Brigades - al-Fajr al-Islamiyah Movement - al-Nur al-Islamiyah Movement - Noureddin al-Zenki Battalions - Fastaqim Kama Ummirat Gathering - 19th Division - al-Ansar Brigade.


Flashback 2013: Western backed FSA
worked together with ISIS in Northern Syria



Abu Jandal, an Emir of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

Syrian opposition claims to have
solid evidence for Syrian government
and ISIS cooperation
By Paul Antonopoulos
Al-Masdar News, 28/02/2017

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.

Most bizarre of the alleged evidence includes supposedly being able to prove that the Syrian Army relinquished control of Palmyra to ISIS by a deal.
“The file will be handed over to the United Nations,” Hassoun said.

Read more:
Saddam's Death Page 45


Syrian Arab Republic delegation and Gatilov
agree on priority of fighting terrorism at Geneva talks
Syrian Arab News Agency, 28 February 2017

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, China block bid by Western powers to impose UN sanctions on Syria
RT (Russia), 28 Feb, 2017

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"
Statement By Baath Arab Socialist Party Leadership, 26-2-2017

The 22nd of February is the 59th Anniversary of the first Arab unitary experience between Syria and Egypt.
It came to interpret the Arab masses demand in the two brotherly countries and to end the darkness of division, imposed by long periods of occupation and its outcomes of backwardness, ignorance and exploitation.

The BASP worked for Arab Unity and took part in any unitary work that could lead to comprehensive Arab unity.
Therefore, it met with the July Revolution in Egypt and the United Arab Republic was established.
It met with the Revolution in Iraq and the unity between the two countries was about to be achieved.
Moreover, the BASP had significant contributions in establishing the Arab Republics Unity: Syria, Egypt and Libya and, later, in the work to bring Sudan into this Federation.
These unitary experiences did not last long and did not find their way to take any role in the Arab nation progress, due to the bad developments in the Arab region:
The civil war in Lebanon, the Iraqi-Iranian war, the continued Zionist aggression and its occupation of Palestine, the Golan and part of Lebanon, the US invasion of Iraq, the Zionist aggression on Lebanon and Gaza and finally the by proxy wars, waged by the Neo-Zionists and their tools, the terrorist groups and mercenaries in Syria and other Arab countries in order to overthrow the Arab regimes that resist the 'Zio-American project'.

The remembrance of the unity is a gathering national occasion in which we recall its high meanings in strengthening the patriotic and national cohesion and confronting [..] all the conspiracies and plots against Syria and the other Arab countries.
Let the unity Anniversary be an occasion to spread Arab Unity culture among popular environments by investing all available resources to make the unity a part of the popular thinking of Arab citizens, working to strengthen the integration among Arab countries in all areas, rejecting division and adversity and exposing them, and building a strong unified Arab homeland.

Let this Anniversary be an occasion to confirm the principles of our great Party: Our Arab homeland is a political and economic indivisible unity and any country can not complete its life conditions, isolated from the other.
The Arabs alone have the right to conduct their affairs and wealth and guide their capabilities. Our Arab nation is a cultural unity which has advantages manifested in its successive renaissances. It has fertile vitality and creativity and it is capable of renewal and revival. It has am Immortal Message that appears in renewed integrated forms through the stages of history and aims at renewing human values, stimulating human progress and developing harmony and cooperation among nations.

Les this Anniversary be an occasion to build an effective Arab economic power in the world; achieve Arab economic integration; strengthen the Arab national identity; have pride in the glorious Arab past and heritage; promote moral, national and patriotic values represented in national unity and Arab unity.
Let us work to build an Arab generation that respects science and seeks it, believes in intellectual dialogue and acceptance of the others, and continues the march of patriotic and national struggle in order to achieve the national objectives of our Arab nation. (Damascus 22/2/2017, Baath Arab Socialist Party)


The Ba’ath Party began in Syria in April 1947, formed by the merging of Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar’s Arab Ba’ath Movement and Zaki al-Arsuzi’s Arab Ba’ath.
The newly formed Party’s objectives were secularism, socialism, and pan-Arab unification, as well as freedom from Western influence. A united Arab people is an idea that is utterly intolerable to the colonialists of the West, who rely on division and playing indigenous peoples off against each other to get their way in the region, allowing the blood to flow while they go about their business. (Global Research 2013)

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....
Nasser wrote a short personal book titled “Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution” about his ideas and dreams. First published in 1955, his book was all but ignored by the world.

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

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

Read more: Gaddafi's Third Way
Pan-Islamism versus Pan-Arabism
History of Baathism

Kamal Amer: Poverty more dangerous than terrorism
Hassan Abdel Zaher, Arab Weekly, 26-2-2016

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 poverty in the Arab world
By Adel Abdel Ghafar, Fraus Masri, 28-2-2016

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
By David Walsh, World Socialist Website, 2 March 2017

Executives at Penguin Random House, the global publishing giant, announced Tuesday that the firm had reached an agreement to publish books by former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Financial Times reported that Penguin Random House had won a record-breaking auction between publishing houses and will buy the two books for more than $65 million.
A month ago we commented on a study that concluded “the Obamas could earn as much as $242.5 million from speeches, book deals and pensions.”
That study estimated a book deal for the couple would be worth $40 million. The Obamas have topped that by $25 million, or 62.5 percent. This pushes their estimated post-White House earnings toward the $300 million mark.
As we noted in early February, Obama is being paid for the services he rendered the financial oligarchy during his two terms in the White House.
Sixty-five million dollars—or even $267.5 million—is a small price to pay for the contribution the former president made to enriching the already fabulously rich, defending the American ruling elite’s geopolitical interests around the world and continuing the assault on the wages, benefits and living standards of the working class.
The man who promised “change” and whose election was termed a “transformative event” by the American pseudo-left proved to be an implacable defender of big business.
Now Obama plans to vacation with billionaires, play golf and “cash in.”

Obama’s new memoir will have much to cover up or ignore: the multi-billion dollar Wall Street bail-out, the halving of auto workers’ pay, the illegal drone strike murders of thousands, the unprecedented growth of social inequality, the reactionary health care initiative, the disastrous wars or interventions in Libya, Syria, Yemen…
If Barack Obama were to write an honest book, it would be worth something. If he were to reveal the forces that picked him up at a relatively early age, seeing in him a marketable political commodity (both white and black, liberal and conservative, foreign and American), and how those forces assembled and packaged him and carried him into the White House, well, that would be valuable.
Of course, that will never happen...


Netanyahu says he pitched Trump on US exit from UN Human Rights Council
By Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, March 2, 2017

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.


Hoenlein: "Pandemic of anti-Semitism taking shape worldwide"
Gilad Atzmon, March 02, 2017

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. So, according to Hoenlein, opposition to Jewish power and Israeli politicsis a disease, both infectious and hateful, that is globally prevalent in Goyish populations.
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
1: a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs
2: a member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language (Merriam-Webster)



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-Zionism, is a different kind of fish — it refers broadly to criticism of the Jewish state, its politics, policies and ideology. Gilad Atzmon, January 21, 2014 )

"Anti-Semitism broadly defined is simply the opposition to jews on the basis that they are a biological group (antisemitism = racism).
Now there are two other forms of what we may term anti-jewishness. That is (1) anti-Judaism, which broadly defined is opposition to Judaism as a religion, and (2) anti-Zionism, which similarly defined is the opposition to the state of Israel and Zionism as a political and intellectual ideology more broadly.
This then gives the lie to the popular misconception that anti-Zionism is synonymous with anti-Semitism, precisely because there are three kinds of opposition to jews, which can be held individually or in varying combinations.
None of these broad categories are mutually exclusive to each other either as there have been anti-Semites who were all for Zionism and critics of Judaism who thoroughly supported Israel and Zionism while roundly condemning anti-Semitism. (Semitic Controversies)

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.
These are realities.
It is one thing to oppose Israel or Zionism on the basis of an anti-semitic fantasy; quite another to do so on the basis of reality. The latter is not anti-semitism." (The Guardian, 18-12-2003)

Read also:
Back to Ezra, the father of political judaism (i.e. theocracy)
Jonathan Sacks: Anti-Zionists are the failures and the losers in society
Netanyahu: Anti-Semitism wears the mask of progressive thinking
Anti-BDS conference Jerusalem: BDS is anti-Semitism
Jonathan Sacks: Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism
Right Wing Israel: 'BDS supporters are modern Nazis'
Is fighting for equal rights 'anti-semitism'?


UN envoy: Geneva peace talks 'substantive',
next round's agenda to include 'terrorism'
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 4-3-2017

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 hope corridor to Aleppo will ease economic blockade on Rojava
By Rudaw (Kurdish Media Network), 4-3-2017

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.”


A civilian coup in Turkey?
Serkan Demirtaş, Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), 3-3-2017

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.

FLASHBACK

Kemal Kilicdaroglu: Political Islam is against our past, our culture
Reuters|Ahram online, 1 Jun 2015

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), said Turkey's support for what he described as radical opposition groups in Syria had broken a tradition of neutrality.
Turkey's oldest political party, the CHP was founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, father of the modern republic, and has long been seen as the preserve of so-called "White Turks", the urban elite which ran Turkey for much of the 20th century...
President Tayyip Erdogan's vision of a Middle East with political Islam and Turkey at its heart is anathema to CHP's secular and social democratic supporters.
"The current government is interfering in the internal affairs of other countries directly ... This is against our past, our culture," Kilicdaroglu said, after addressing tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters in the capital Ankara.

Political Islam is the phrase used to denote a wide range of individuals and associations dedicated to the transformation of state and society so as to make them "Islamic". The term also refers to Islam conceived as a set of beliefs, a code of conduct, or a repertory of images and metaphors relevant to politics, as well as to various attempts to define an "Islamic state" or "Islamic order."

Turkey CHP leader: NO to ‘witch hunt’ - YES to meritocracy
Turkish Weekly, July 23, 2016

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has urged the government not to turn the investigation into the recent failed coup attempt into a “witch hunt,” calling on it to respect democratic norms and the rule of law.
"We don’t want a witch hunt,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told private broadcaster NTV in an interview on July 22. “We are a strong state with the rule of law. There have been setbacks in democracy from time to time but Turkey’s face has always been turned toward democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“The government should avoid the influence of mass psychology. Those who rule the country should keep their common sense. If you start to rule the country based only on calls from the streets than you wouldn’t be able to escape chaos,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

New Arab order should make meritocracy its priority
Khaled Almaeena, Saudi Gazette Opinion, 17-8-2015

The Arab world is passing through its darkest phase in history. The Arab Spring, which was supposed to usher hope, has engulfed us and thrown us in the dark recesses of a world that has turned into a tumultuous frenzy, while prompting some Arab states to take sterner measures to stifle dissenting voices. Can we continue like this? The answer is an emphatic no!
A new Arab order should make meritocracy its priority.
An atmosphere of trust and accountability should prevail for the state to progress, and in order to create trust we must put an end to the divisive ways practiced by a certain section to hold sway over society.

The voices of extremist and obscurantists should not be allowed to drown the voices of those who seek progress...

Meritocracy : The "most common definition of meritocracy conceptualizes 'merit' in terms of tested competency and ability, and most likely, as measured by IQ or standardized achievement tests."
In government or other administration systems, meritocracy, in an administrative sense, is a secular system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based upon their "merits": Intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or examinations.
They are chosen not because of birth, gender, ethnicity, religion or wealth. (Wikipedia info)

Xi calls on intellectuals to better contribute to nation
Xinhua (China’s central news service-oriented website), 2017-03-04

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.
The star and crescent symbol itself is very ancient, dating back to early Sumerian civilization, where it was associated with the sun God Shamash and the moon God Nanna (one early appearance dates to 2100 BCE).
The symbol remained in near constant use, and was eventually adopted into the battle-standard of the Ottoman Dynasty, who are mainly responsible for its association with Islam. As the Dynasty was also the political head of the faith, it was inevitable that their symbol would be associated with Islam as well.
Today, the star and crescent is widely accepted as a symbol of the Islamic faith, and is used in decorative arts, jewelry, and national flags- much like the cross in Christian countries. It is associated with the use of the moon to time festivals. It is, however, not accepted by all Muslims- some Muslims consider it un-Islamic and even blasphemous.

Moon & Star, Mother & Child, Compassion & Justice



"Father Nannar, lord, moon-god, prince of the gods, Father Nannar, lord of Uru, prince of the gods.
Chief, mighty, whose heart is great, god whom no one can name, In heaven, who is supreme ?
As for thee, it is thou alone who art supreme! ... Among the gods thy brothers, thou hast no rival!"

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.
Nanna was worshipped in the ziggurat of Ur. There was also a smaller temple for Ningal the moon goddess. Nanna was worshipped both by a High Priestes and priests. Great Kings throughout history from Sargon 2600 BC to Nabonidus 550 BC had their daughters officiate as high-priestess of Nanna at Ur.

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.
The attribute most commonly associated with Shamash is justice. Just as the Sun disperses darkness, so Shamash brings wrong and injustice to light.
Hammurabi attributes to Shamash the inspiration that led him to gather the existing laws and legal procedures into code, and in the design accompanying the code the king represents himself in an attitude of adoration before Shamash as the embodiment of the idea of justice.
Several centuries before Hammurabi, Ur-Engur of the Ur dynasty (c. 2600 BC) declared that he rendered decisions "according to the just laws of Shamash."


Liberman: Annexation of West Bank will cause crisis with US
Udi Shaham, Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, 6-3-2017

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

Blood and Soil (German: Blut und Boden) refers to an ideology that focuses on ethnicity based on two factors, descent blood (of a folk) and territory. It celebrates the relationship of a people to the land they occupy and cultivate.
Liberman reiterated his opposition to annexing the West Bank and stressed that the coalition must also clarify that annexation is not its official stance, in order to prevent diplomatic strife with the US.
"We have no intention to do so," he said of applying Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank. "Beyond the financial issue, we received a direct message – applying sovereignty means an immediate crisis with the new [US] administration. So whoever wants strife with the US and to spend NIS 20 billion – go ahead. I am calling on the rest of the MKs, especially from the coalition to be responsible."
"Applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria means accepting an extra 2,700,000 citizens, and that is before I get into [consequences of] international law, the political implications and the international community's reactions that would not accept the fact that we are not granting [Palestinians] the right to vote," the defense minister said.
Liberman then explained what he said the State of Israel would be required to do if it chooses such a path.
"We must grant them at least the status of residents, like we did in east Jerusalem. That means Israel will have to pay them – from day one – NIS 20 billion, only out of social security. That is only from unemployment benefits, convalescence payment and maternity benefits. All this from day one, and I didn’t even mention funding from the Interior Ministry, Health Ministry and Housing Ministry."

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.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that Israel – at the same time as the country has greatly limited Palestinian construction – has established parallel practices for the settlements. The Israeli authorities have approved detailed plans for almost all Israeli settlements on the West Bank...
While Palestinians are excluded from the planning process, settlers fully participate and are generally responsible for planning and zoning activities within the settlements. This process has contributed towards the expansion of the settlements in violation of international law. (Settler Watch)


Turkish military chief Akar meets US, Russian counterparts
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 7-3-2017

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)


Defence Minister Işık: Turkey will prevent unification of PYD cantons
Daily Sabah, 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...

Congratulations to Russia’s women on International Women’s Day
Kremlin website, March 8, 2017

A Bright Moon Is Shining

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
"Dear women: mothers, grandmothers, daughters, wives, friends, our nearest and dearest ones, please accept my heartfelt congratulations on International Women’s Day!
You fill this world with beauty and vitality, giving warmth and comfort, cordiality and harmony with your tenderness and generosity of spirit.

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
"Attaining harmony by merging with the Soul of the World,
the Eternal Femininity, Beauty and Love."
Russia Info Centre, October 14, 2008

With the end of the 19th century “the Golden Age” of Russian literature finished giving place to a crucial stage that later went down into history under the beautiful name of the Silver Age.
The beginning of the Silver Age is usually referred to the 1890s, illuminated with poems by Valery Bryusov, Innokenty Annensky, Konstantin Balmont and other splendid poets.
The notion “Silver Age” is rather relative and encompasses a phenomenon of quite controversial outline and uneven pattern. For the first time this term was suggested by the well-known philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev, and yet it became customary in literature not until the 1960s.
The heyday of the Silver Age fell on the year 1915, the time of its highest rise and its end.
Just like the society was intently searching for paths to the new social order, so writers and poets were striving to master new artistic forms and ways of expression, and put forward bold innovative ideas. Realistic portrayal of life did not satisfy authors any longer, and their argument with the classics of the 19th century generated new literary movements...

One of the first literary currents was symbolism that united quite different poets, such as Konstantin Balmont, Valery Bryusov, Andrei Bely, and others.

Theorists of symbolism asserted that an artist was to create new art with the help of symbolical images, that would help express the poet’s feelings, sensations and thoughts in a subtler and more general way.
Furthermore, the truth and the revelation might arise within an artist not as a product of thinking, but at the moment of creative ecstasy, being granted from above.
Poets-symbolists were carried away to the heights of dream and raised global queries about saving the mankind, returning the faith in God, attaining harmony by merging with the Soul of the World, the Eternal Femininity, Beauty and Love.


The color silver has a feminine energy; it is related to the moon and the ebb and flow of the tides - it is fluid, emotional, sensitive and mysterious. It is soothing, calming and purifying.
From a color psychology viewpoint, it signals a time of reflection and a change of direction as it illuminates the way forward. It helps with the cleansing and releasing of mental, physical and emotional issues and blockages as it opens new doors and lights the way to the future. With its reflective and sensitive qualities silver inspires intuition, clairvoyance and mental telepathy. It reflects back any energy given out, whether it is positive or negative. (Empowered with color)


Read also: Putin and the New Russia


Hillary Clinton: "Current political climate beckons for more female voices"
By Cristiano Lima, Politico, 9-3-2017

A Female Voice

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged a crowd of female leaders Wednesday to keep up the "resistance" in her second set of public remarks given on International Women's Day. The 2016 Democratic nominee said she felt encouraged by the groundswell of grassroots mobilization she's seen since losing her bid to become the United States' first female president.
''As we all stop to look fear in the face, the result has not only been action, but passion," she told a crowd of female leaders at the Washington D.C., event.
Clinton, who said being among the group of female role models and innovators that she helped found felt "like coming home," urged those in attendance to continue to take steps toward furthering gender equality.
“Never lose your optimism, your persistence and your resistance," she said. "We can build the future we envisioned when we started on this journey with Vital Voices two decades ago, for women, for girls around the world and for us here at home.”

She also said that the current political climate beckoned for more female voices. ''Our voices have always been vital but they've never been more vital than they are now..."

Flashback: Muammar Gaddafi killed
convoy bombed by drone flown by pilot in Las Vegas
By Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 20 Oct 2011

Col Muammar Gaddafi’s convoy was bombed by an American Predator drone and then attacked by French jets before the deposed dictator was killed by rebel fighters, defence sources disclosed.

US Predators and French drones have been staking out the centre of Sirte for several weeks trying to monitor what’s going on on the battlefield,” said an intelligence source. “They built up a normal pattern of life picture so that when something unusual happened this morning such as a large group of vehicles gathering together, that came across as highly unusual activity and the decision was taken to follow them and prosecute an attack.”

The Predator drone, flown out of Sicily and controlled via satellite from a base outside Las Vegas, struck the convoy with a number of Hellfire anti-tank missiles. Moments later French jets, most likely Rafales, swept in, targeting the vehicles with 500lb Paveway bombs or highly accurate £600,000 AASM munitions.

Female teachers must cover face says Grand Mufti
By Aimen Eljali, Libya Herald 13-10-2013

The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, has issued a fatwa saying that female teachers in schools and colleges must cover their faces if they are teaching males who have reached puberty.
He made the ruling following a request for advice from the Ministry of Education on the issue. It had said that some female teachers were veiling their faces while giving lessons but it felt that this was having a negative impact on students’ understanding because, by not seeing the teacher’s face, they were not able to interact and properly lean. It asked for a fatwa telling female teachers to remove their veil inside the classroom while teaching.
The best solution, the Grand Mufti said, was to segregate male and females altogether in schools and colleges and universities “because those in charge are duty-bound in Islam to do so, if they able to”. If that is not possible, they must at least be segregated during break times, in halls and corridors and have separate entrances for boys and girls.
In addition, students must be made to dress “respectfully and to abide by the Islamic dress code and not to allow girls to wear make-up and perfumes to avoid temptation”, the fatwa said. Schools should have male teachers to teach boys and female teachers to teach girls, it added.

The wrath from Allah

Libya’s Grand Mufti is calling for strict sex-segregation in all workplaces, classrooms, and government offices. In an open letter to the country’s leaders, the grand mufti, Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani, has warned that if gender segregation were not imposed, Libya risks incurring the wrath from Allah.
The Grand Mufti said that his call stemmed from complaints that the Dar Al-Ifta (Fatwa office) had received from ordinary Libyans who, he said, were calling for the application of Sharia Law and the preservation of Islamic moral values and the nation’s Islamic identity.
They had complained about “the deterioration of morals” and about the free mixing between the sexes in all state institutions. He warned that unless the authorities stopped the mixing of the sexes, which he considered immoral, there would be a spread of “immoral havens”.

Hero of the revolution

Al-Gharyani is considered by some a hero of the revolution, since early on in the uprising against Gadhafi he issued a fatwa or religious edict permitting war against his regime.
Under Gadhafi's 42-year rule, women had a mixed bag. Gadhafi often presented himself as a defender of women rights and at times made a point of defying strict interpretations of Shariah, since Islamists were among his main enemies.

Gaddafi’s odd love affair with women
The Observer, 27-10-2011 (Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi )

‘I promised my mother to improve the situation of women in Libya…’

The world might remember him as a despot, dictator and murderer, but at least one virtue will stick out: that the slain Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, took good care of women.
Not only did he support them, he also believed in their abilities and emancipation, moreover in a society where being a woman is normally associated with getting the back seat.
Wearing heavy make-up and military fatigues, Gaddafi’s female bodyguards, better known as the Amazonian Guard, were synonymous with his presence.
He paraded them as a symbol of his belief in women’s emancipation and their role in the defence of their country. He also had a team of female nurses led by his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska.
Central to Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution was the empowerment of women. His new regime made efforts to advance female emancipation.
The new government encouraged women to participate in Libya’s political life and several cabinet posts were allocated to them. Women were also able to form associations.


"What I support is respect for international law"
New York Times interview with Lizzie Phelan

President al-Assad to Chinese Phoenix TV:
China is committed to the Charter of the United Nations
Western countries use the Security Council as a tool
Syrian Arab News Agency, 11 March 2017

-- 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: If I’m not mistaken, you said China is going to play a role in the reconstruction of Syria. So, in which areas you think China can contribute to bring Syrian people back to their normal life after so many years of hardships?
-- President Assad: Actually, if you talk about what the terrorists have been doing the last six years, it’s destroying everything regarding the infrastructure.
In spite of that, the Syrian government is still effective, at least by providing the minimum needs for the Syrian people. But they’ve been destroying everything in every sector with no exception.
Adding to that, the Western embargo in Syria has prevented Syria from having even the basic needs for the livelihood of any citizen in Syria. So, in which sector? In every sector. I mean, China can be in every sector with no exception, because we have damage in every sector.
The most important thing is building the destroyed suburbs. This is the most important part of the reconstruction. The second one is the infrastructure; the sanitation system, the electricity, the oil fields, everything, with no exception. The third one: the industrial projects, which could belong to the private sector or the public sector in Syria.

-- 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
Alfred W. McCoy (history professor), Feb. 27, 2015

"The United States, as the planet's last superpower or, in Schmitt's terms, its global sovereign, has in these years repeatedly ignored international law, following instead its own unwritten rules of the road for the exercise of world power.
Just as Schmitt's sovereign preferred to rule in a state of endless exception without a constitution for his Reich, so Washington is now well into the second decade of an endless War on Terror that seems the sum of its exceptions to international law: endless incarceration, extrajudicial killing, pervasive surveillance, drone strikes in defiance of national boundaries, torture on demand, and immunity for all of the above on the grounds of state secrecy.
Yet these many American exceptions are just surface manifestations of the ever-expanding clandestine dimension of the American state.
Created at the cost of more than a trillion dollars since 9/11, the purpose of this vast apparatus is to control a covert domain that is fast becoming the main arena for geopolitical contestation in the twenty-first century...
As the world's new sovereign, Washington used the CIA to enforce its chosen exceptions to the international rule of law, particularly to the core principle of sovereignty.
As a senior CIA official posted to the Near East in the early 1950s put it, the Agency then saw every Muslim leader who was not pro-American as "a target legally authorized by statute for CIA political action." ...

As President Bush finished his second term in 2008, an inquiry by the International Commission of Jurists found that the CIA's mobilization of allied security agencies worldwide had done serious damage to the international rule of law...
The Bush years also brought Washington's most blatant repudiation of the rule of law.


US declares newly merged Syrian jihadist group a terrorist organization
By Chris Tomson, Al-Masdar News, 11/03/2017

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)

Putin urges Netanyahu to focus on modern world affairs when judging Iran
Press TV, Fri Mar 10, 2017

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?
The Old Testament as Literature, Posted on April 15, 2011

Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name for the Persian Emperor usually identified as Xerxes I.
There has been some recent debate over who Ahasuerus really was and some historians believe him to be an emperor of a later time. But either way, the king depicted in Esther is fictional, and does not portray the attributes of man who could rule the Persian Empire.
The book of Esther portrays Ahasuerus as a manipulable coward. He does not act much like a king, let alone a king known to rule the largest empire ever (per population percentage of the day). He allows the officials in his court to make all the decisions, including the dismissal of his beautiful Queen, Vashti. Then he chooses another queen, at the instruction of his advisors, by holding a beauty pageant. He allows a man with a grudge to write a declaration that will annihilate an entire sect of taxpayers.
When Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews for selfish reasons was discovered, Ahasuerus did nothing personally to stop it. He does not try to save his new queen, but at least he gives her the chance to try to save herself.
This whole story does not seem possible considering it was Ahasuerus forefather, Cyrus the Great that freed the Jews from Babylonian exile in the first place.

Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) succeeded his father Darius I in the year 486 BCE.
He was not the oldest of Darius’ sons, but he was the son of the wife he took after becoming king, queen Atossa. Atossa was the daughter of Cyrus the Great. Being the son of two royals, Ahasuerus was the prime choose for king. The empire was well laid before Ahasuerus took the throne. His main objective was to restore and keep order in the outer regions of the Empire. This included Egypt and areas close to Greece. Ahasuerus (Xerxes) was 36 years old when he was crowned king of Persia.
He was married with AMESTRIS (daughter of Otanes).
He ruled for 21 years and was murdered at 57 years old by the royal bodyguard, Hazarapat, with the help of a eunuch, Aspamitres. (Wikipedia info)

Whether there are any references to Ahasuerus in the Old Testament which are really historical is a serious question.
The Ahasuerus of Dan. ix. 1, the father of Darius "of the seed of the Medes," is as unknown to history as is his son. Probably both are the confused ideas about Persian kings of a badly informed writer. In like manner the reference to Ahasuerus in Ezra, iv. 6 occurs where Cambyses or Darius is to be expected, if the statement is historical, and is no doubt the result of the ignorance of a late writer. Concerning the references to Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther various opinions are entertained, and ultimate judgment depends upon the estimate of the book itself... (Jewish Encyclopedia)

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.
No works from any Persian historians from this period have survived, and our main source among the Greek historians for the events of the reign of Xerxes is Herodotus, but his narrative ends in the 7th year of Xerxes. So we are in the dark about virtually everything that happened in Xerxes’ reign after year 7 until his assassination in his 21st year. (thetorah.com)


Restoring a Responsible ‘Conservatism’
By Graham E. Fuller, Consortium News, March 12, 2017

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.


'Netanyahu has been kidnapped by right-wing settlers'
Shlomo Pyotrovsky, Arutz Sheva, 13/03/2017

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.


Release of Egypt's ex-president Hosni Mubarak ends "talk of the Arab Spring"
Naharnet Newsdesk, 13-3-2017

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.


Baghdad again considered the worst place to live.
Reuters|Al-Arabiya, 14 March 2017

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...

We learned that you can be floating on a sea of oil, but your people can be destitute. Your city can be an open sewer; your women and children can be eating out of trash dumps and begging for money in foreign lands." riverbendblog, 9-4-2013

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.