Saddam's Death, 94 (may-june 2017)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 93: may 2017 - part 2 and Page 95: june 2017
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Trump & the Two Messiah's - Kennedy Speech 1961 - Eisenhower's Social Gospel
"I Have, I Rule and I will Destroy" - Iran & the dialogue of civilizations
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)

Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu

"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)

Tillerson: 'Trump placed heavy pressure' during Israel visit
Nitzan Kedar, Arutz Sheva, 24/05/17

Trump, looking at the wall of the Roman fort Antonia, the place where Jesus is supposed to be sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate.

"Then the governor’s soldiers took jurisdiction over Jesus and brought him to the Praetorium ('Dome of the Rock') where the whole Cohort (500 soldiers) was gathered.” (Matthew 27:27)
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claims that US president Donald Trump exerted heavy pressure during his visit on Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA chairman Abbas to renew the peace negotiations.
Tillerson said that "Trump asked both sides in no uncertain terms to agree to compromises in order to promote peace."
Tillerson also noted that the talks with Israelis and Palestinian Authority had been "positive and helpful."
The president emphasized the subject a number of times to both sides and he left optimistic and with the feeling that his message had gotten across," added Tillerson who is accompanying Trump on his first presidential visit abroad.

'We will not divide the land with our enemies'
Arutz Sheva Staff, 24/05/17

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) responded Wednesday night to a report that the US is demanding that Israel transfer parts of northern Samaria from Area C to Area B.
According to the report by Channel 10, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also opposes the move, which would effectively cede control over the affected areas from Israel to the PA.
Bennett said that: "the era in which we treat the Land of Israel as a mere piece of real estate - that era is over. We will not take a saw and slice off parts of our land to give o our enemies. That era is over."
He said that when speaking about 'united Jerusalem,' "the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the entire Old City, the City of David, Ma'aleh Hazeitim, The Mount of Olives, and Nof Zion" should also be remembered. "All of Jerusalem that will remain united under Israeli sovereignty and only under the sovereignty of Israel forever."

jerusalem: dome of the rock
(according to early christans 'the preatorium')

Fort Antonia: Symbol of Roman Power,
or symbol of Jewish Megalomania?

megalomania: an unnaturally strong wish for power and control,
or the belief that you are very much more important and powerful than you really are

The illustration to the left pictures the “Temple Mount” or Haram esh Sharif as envisioned by most scholars. Note especially—in the upper left hand corner—the standard depiction of Fort Antonia as a modest, diminutive, annex-sized structure, awkwardly connected to the northern “temple” wall.
To the right you will see a depiction of a standard Roman Fortress. The size (generally 50 acres or more), shape and layout were uniform throughout the Empire. You will notice immediately the striking similarity in the shape, character and dimensions to the Temple Mount (at 45 acres) enclosure.
A Roman Fortress housed a standard Roman Legion of 5,200 soldiers. A typical fort would also accommodate additional specialized buildings for blacksmiths, carpenters, butchers, shoemakers, storage for grain and stables for horses.
Other specialized buildings were the Praetorium for the commander, the principia for the administration and hospital.
Outside of each Fort, a Roman style bath was built. A broad avenue for parades and drills, the Via Principalis, would generally bisect the encampment. The walls were massive, and generally made of stone.
The design, pattern and size was standard throughout the Empire, and the encampment that a complete roman legion would need to keep Israel under Roman control would have been no different.
Thus, it is little wonder that eyewitness Josephus referred to Fort Antonia as a “city within a city.” (

Josephus then said that Fort Antonia itself was built around a notable "Rock" that was viewed as the centerpiece feature of the interior of the Fort (which was also known as the Praetorium).
This well-recognized "Rock" in the Praetorium around which Fort Antonia was built was called the lithostrotos in the Gospel of John (19:13) and Christ stood on it when judged by Pilate.
Josephus said that Antonias size was much larger than the Temple (he described Fort Antonia as the size of a city and it contained a full legion of Roman troops with many open spaces for military exercises and training). Fort Antonia was so large that Josephus said it obscured the whole of the Temple square from the north. (Saddam's Death, page 47)

The Praetorium: A holy place for Christians & Muslims

O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion
The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word,
which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. (Dome of the Rock inscription)

The citadel - Fort Antonia - functioned as a Roman armycamp for hundred of years. After the christianizing of Emperor Constantine the Romans constructed two Roman Catholic churches on the mount.
In 325, Constantine built at least three octagonal churches. The church of Nativity in Bethlehem. The location of "Mary's rock" near Bethlehem and the other on the temple mount where the octagonal Dome of the Rock presently is.

The army camp became a holy place for christians. Reason: Jesus was sentenced to death on the mount by Pontius Pilatus in a place that's called Praetorium' in the bible-stories of John, Matthew and Luke.

Jesus before Pilate - (John 18-28; Matthew 27:11-14; Luke 23:1-6)

-- John 18-28: - Then they led Jesus away from Caiaphas into the Praetorium. By now it was early morning, and the Jews did not enter the Praetorium to avoid being defiled and unable to eat the Passover.
-- Matthew 27:1 - When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people conspired against Jesus to put Him to death.
-- Matthew 27:2 - They bound Him, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate the governor.
-- Matthew 27:27 - Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company around Him.

Ernest L. Martin, 12 december 2000: "Fort Antonia was also called the Roman Praetorium and it was the place where Pilate sentenced Jesus to crucifixion. That central rock outcropping was a significant spot in the fortress, as Josephus stated, and even the apostle John singled it out for comment regarding the judgment of Jesus.
John called it the lithostrothon [a rock, on which people could stand and be judged,]. This "Rock" had a Hebrew name: "Gabbatha."

Joh 19:13: "So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called 'The Stone Pavement', and in Aramaic 'Gabbatha'..."

Read more: The Temple Revolution

What does history tell us about Pontius Pilate?
Compelling Truth

Pontius Pilate was a prefect of Rome and governor of Judea from about 26-36 AD.
Both Josephus and Tacitus mention Pilate's involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus. Tacitus reports, "Christus, from whom the name had its origin [Christianity], suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…" Josephus wrote, "…Pilate had condemned him [Jesus] to a cross…"
That is how most of us have come to know Pontius Pilate:
Pilate was the governor who bowed to pressure from the chief priests and agreed to have Jesus crucified. Pilate did not want to execute Jesus (a person who seems innocent to him).
He questioned the chief priests, tried to give Jesus a pardon, and washed his hands, ceremonially showing he did not take responsibility for the sentence (Matthew 27:17-24). Even his wife begged him not to go forward with the chief priests' plans (Matthew 27:19). But he still authorized the crucifixion.

Why? The Bible doesn't say, but it was probably for peace. Pilate knew that the priests wanted Jesus out of the way for their own self-interest (Matthew 27:18), but he also knew he couldn't control the crowds (verse 20). As governor, it was his duty to keep the peace so that Rome would profit.
Pontius Pilate was a shrewd politician, an opportunist, and a man well-versed in philosophy and familiar with ethics. His position and his well-being depended on keeping the peace with those around him...

Opportunism versus Principles
Bennett: 'Together with Trump, we can make right-wing peace'
David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, 25/05/2017

"Donald Trump's greatest loyalty is to opportunism", George Eaton 2017

Donald Trump & Arab Right-Wing Peace Makers

Opportunism is the policy and practice of taking advantage of circumstances – with little regard for principles, or with what the consequences are for others. Opportunist actions are expedient actions guided primarily by self-interested motives.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) expressed optimism following President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel earlier this week, saying that with the new administration, Israel and the US could pursue “right-wing peace” based on strength, rather than continual concessions.
Speaking with Army Radio Thursday evening, Bennett said his vision of peace could be achieved in cooperation with the Trump White House.
The time has come for the ‘peace of right-wingers’, peace through strength, an economic peace. That is a peace that takes into account our mutual interests with the Gulf States [opportunists] – a peace based on stopping Iran [the defender of principles].
Not everything revolves around the Palestinians [principles],” continued Bennett. “People don’t get up in the morning in capital cities around the world and says, ‘Wow, what happened in this village or that village [in the Palestinian Authority].”

Israel and Gulf countries have secretly stepped up intelligence sharing, particularly focused on Iranian arms shipments to proxy militias fighting in Yemen and Syria, according to US, European and the Middle East officials involved in security issues.
Israeli officials have also made a number of secret trips to the Gulf, particularly to the UAE, despite their countries having no formal diplomatic relations. (Middle East Eye, 16-5-2017)

SYRIA: You Only Hate Assad Because Your TV Told You To
Caitlin Johnstone, 21wire, May 27, 2017

“What we’ve been undergoing to a large extent is a form of psychological abuse [..], a form of gaslighting where actually our own faith in our ability to judge a situation, and to some extent even our own identity, has been eroded and damaged to the point where we’re effectively accepting their version of reality.” Vanessa Beeley

The only thing keeping westerners from seeing through the lies that they’ve been told about Syria is the unquestioned assumption that their own government could not possibly be that evil.
Despite the evil and unforgivable invasion of Iraq having happened a mere fourteen years ago, sold to the public based on nothing but lies and mass media propaganda, mainstream America is unwilling to consider the possibility that this is happening again.
Unwilling to turn and face the implications of what this would mean for their worldview, their self-image, and the entire system they’ve developed for examining and interpreting their experience of their lives up until this point...

In reality, we cannot know with any degree of certainty how good or bad a leader Assad is. There’s too much smoke in the air, too much propaganda and deliberate deceit clouding our vision to get a clear picture of the complete political dynamic of an entire government.
No reasonable, clear-thinking person can justifiably say with any degree of confidence that Assad is an evil dictator. There is no way to know.
What we can know with absolute certainty is that we are being lied to about Syria by western governments and the mass media propaganda machines which promote their oligarchic agendas.
The mountains of evidence that are coming out against the White Helmets, the fact that Amnesty International is the same organization that promoted the false Nayirah testimony which was used to manufacture consent for the Gulf War, the fact that CNN recently staged a fake interview featuring a seven year-old girl who can’t speak English reading scripted anti-Assad propaganda to an unsuspecting audience; there is enough there to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same power establishment that lied to us about Iraq is now lying to us about its neighbor Syria.

The only question is whether or not you have the emotional and intellectual integrity to face this reality...
Are you the sort of person who can face uncomfortable truths and revise their worldview accordingly, or the type who compartmentalizes and avoids them for the sake of cognitive comfort?

Hassoun: "That what is sacred in the world is man"

Flashback: Grand Mufti of Syria Underlines
Importance of Media in Enlightening Society, SANA 14-5-2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA): Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, underlined the important role of media in enlightening society and educating people.
During his meeting on Sunday with the Russian media delegation currently visiting Syria to make documentaries on the events, Hassoun said that Syria is being targeted by a fierce campaign intended to sow sedition and undermine national unity in Syria to serve the interests of colonial countries. ...
He called upon Arab and foreign countries to stop backing the armed terrorist groups and interferences in the Syrian internal affairs.

The Sheikh Hassoun was born in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in 1949. His father, allamah Muhammad Adeeb Hassoun was also a sheikh. He has five children and ten grandchildren. Hassoun studied at the University of Islamic Studies, where he graduated as Doctor in Shafi'i fiqh.Dr. Hassoun took office as Great Mufti of Syria in July 2005 after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro.

He is a frequent speaker in interreligious and intercultural events, and his pluralistic views on interfaith dialogue (between different religions or between different Islamic denominations) has sparked criticism from stricter visions of Islam.
Hassoun is considered to be a firm ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hassoun's 22-year-old son, Sariya, was assassinated on October 2, 2011 in an ambush in the road between Idlib and Aleppo. (WIKIPEDIA info)

"I am Sunni in practice, Shiite in allegiance. My roots are Salafi, and my purity is Sufi."

The speech of the grand mufti of Syria
at his son Sarya's funeral

Assassinations have become a near-daily occurrence
Nir Rosen, Al-Jazeera 3 Oct 2011

As the Syrian uprising turns more violent, the latest victim in a spate of assassinations is Saria Hassoun, the 22-year-old son of Syria's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun.
The shooting occurred outside Ibla University on the Idlib-Aleppo highway. Also killed with Saria Hassoun was Mohammad al-Omar, a professor of History at Aleppo University.

Assassinations have become a near-daily occurrence, especially in the central province of Homs, where academics and officials are targeted in a tactic reminiscent those used by the Muslim Brotherhood in their armed uprising between 1976 and 1982.

Egypt: A Cultural Revolution
Gamal Essam El-Din, Al-Ahram Weekly, 28-5-2017

"Say: We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what [..] was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims in submission to Him." Surah Al-Baqarah 2:136

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God."
Matthew 15
In an interview with the editors-in-chief of three state-owned newspapers on 18 May President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said the war against terrorism must include an intellectual and cultural dimension to help correct distorted interpretations of Islam.
Al-Sisi used the interview to announce that a Supreme Council for Combating Terrorism and Extremism will be formed and mandated to develop a comprehensive long-term counter-terrorist strategy.
“The council will be responsible for reforming religious discourse and fighting extremist ideas in a systematic way as well as drying up the sources of the terrorists’ funding,” said Al-Sisi.
In the interview Al-Sisi revealed that the cabinet has held three meetings to discuss the formation and mandate of the council. “A law regulating its activities is currently being drafted and council members are being selected,” said Al-Sisi. The council will work in coordination with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Al-Azhar.
“The three forums will coordinate together to defeat radical Islamist ideology on all fronts, especially the cultural,” said Al-Sisi.

Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef told reporters that Al-Sisi’s decision to form the new council was not only motivated by the 9 April bomb attacks. “Since he came to office three years ago President Al-Sisi has been calling on Al-Azhar to play a cardinal role in reforming religious discourse.”
Youssef said membership of the council would not be limited to security experts and Azharite clerics.
“It will include enlightened intellectuals, public figures, cabinet ministers, university professors, judges and the heads of different state authorities, grouped in different sub-committees, each entrusted with implementing a specific task.”
“Experts from all sectors of society will work together towards one goal, safeguarding Egypt against terrorism and exposing the dangers of radical Islamist ideology.”

Kamal Amer, head of parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee, argued that the new council should primarily target the Muslim Brotherhood. “This is the movement which re-invented radical jihadist ideology and is responsible for the spread of this venomous ideology around the world.”

Libya: Thinni government’s justice ministry visits Saif Al-Islam
By Moutaz Ali, Libya Herald, 28-5-2017

Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi is well and free to move around Libya or abroad, the undersecretary in the Beida-based Thinni administration’s justice ministry claimed today.
Talking to the media office of the Abubakr Al-Saddiq brigade which has guarded Saif since it captured him in 2011, Eisa Alsaghir confirmed that as far as his government was concerned, Muamar Gaddafi’s son can go wherever he wants, like any other Libyan.
“Saif is free under the terms of the general amnesty law issued by the House of Representatives (HoR) in July 2015,” he said.
According to reports, though, while Saif is no longer under house arrest he remains under guard in Zintan “for his own protection”.
A Zintan court reportedly freed him in April 2016. Since then, his whereabouts in the town and the nature of his stay there have remained something of a mystery.
Al-Saghir is wrong in saying that Saif is free to travel abroad. The ICC (International Crimibal Court) warrant for his arrest remains in effect and would almost certainly be acted upon were he to go to any other country.

The Political Theory of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
by Kieran Healy, February 22, 2011

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (born 25 June 1972) is a former Libyan political figure. He is the second son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his second wife Safia Farkash. Gaddafi was awarded a PhD from London School of Economics.
He was a part of his father's inner circle, performing public relations and diplomatic roles on behalf of his father. According to American State Department officials in Tripoli, during his father's reign, he was the second most-widely recognized person in Libya and was at times the "de facto" Prime Minister.

Via Shehzad Nadeem at OrgTheory comes this report on Muammar el-Gaddafi’s son and the Ph.D in Political Theory he wrote at the LSE in 2008.
Gaddafi the Younger’s thesis is titled “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions: From ‘Soft Power’ to Collective Decision-making?”
In it, he argues that, inclusion of elected representatives of non- governmental organisations (NGOs) in tripartite decision-making structures could potentially create a more democratic global governing system. …

-- The thesis argues that there are strong motivations for free individuals to seek fair terms of cooperation within the necessary constraints of being members of a global society.
Drawing on the works of David Hume, John Rawls and Ned McClennen, it elaborates significant self-interested and moral motives that prompt individuals to seek cooperation on fair terms if they expect others to do so.
-- Secondly, it supports a theory of global justice, rejecting the limits of Rawls’s view of international justice based on what he calls ‘peoples’ rather than persons.
-- Thirdly, the thesis adopts and applies David Held’s eight cosmopolitan principles to support the concept and specific structures of ‘Collective Management’.

A return to the hatred of the past
Libya, after NATO-intervention a country without modern leadership

By toppling Gaddafi, Nato interfered with the order of things.
Once the personal guarantor of national unity had been lynched by his compatriots, the Libyan people were left to their own devices in an appalling state of upheaval, with no roadmap to guide them.
Through herd mentality, or pure atavism, the leaderless state was drawn back to its one familiar point of reference, the tribal system of its ancestors, and with it the full force of its legacy: a return to the hatred of the past, to intractable rivalries, violent raids and an unquenchable thirst for vengeance.

After civil war, pillaging, settling of scores, mass rape and destruction on a massive scale, each ethnic group has withdrawn to its own territory and demands autonomy.
The bastion Gaddafi built is crumbling. Libyan unity is now no more than an old story, a fairytale no one believes in. (The Guardian, 22-10-2015)

Intellectual castration and the intellectual training of society
Mohammed al-Sanduk, Almuslih - Islam & Rationality

As for the term ‘intellectual castration’ or ‘intellectual sterilization’ as a societal impact, this appeared first in the 1864 work 'Woman and her social relationships' by the Italian (feminist) author Anna Maria Mozzoni (1837-1920) as a result of the negative influence of Italian society upon women.
By intellectual castration we mean the depriving of the intellectually castrated person of the ability to think logically, and thus of a logical intellectual productiveness capable of altering reality in a direction beneficial to mankind and his society.

In order for the castration process to take place there needs to be a radical change made in the construction of the castrated person's mode of thinking.
The process of intellectual and social castration is an ideologized process carried out by the community in order to contain its members within a specific mindset which it can control and direct towards its ideological prerequisites.

Among the features of the intellectually castrated social personality are the following:
The individual possesses no individual dimensions since it is dissolved into its social environment which does not encourage individuality.;
• He is incapable of thinking logically, whether intellectually or scientifically, and is dependent upon sequential narrative to establish the arguments;
He may be easily made to reject beliefs and its convictions in the direction of the prevailing social model (the prevailing social education is stronger than the schools’ intellectual training);
• He is incapable of perceiving the contradiction between scientific logic and metaphysical thought. It considers them to be two separate modes that can be handled together in unison.
The aim of an intellectually castrated person is to arrive at the conclusion he requires, that is prepared for beforehand, and thus the capacity for innovation scientific production vanishes.

Intellectual productivity in Arab Islamic societies began to retreat centuries ago (around the 10th century AD) as a result of the process of an intellectual castration whose basic aim was to combat mental logic.
The fight against mental logic is an extremely dangerous process, particularly if targeted towards reconstructing the social mindset. This process worked in favour of the Salafi ideology relying upon the Text to the exclusion of intellectual logic.
Over time, the distancing from mental logic increased adherence to a prevailing closed-off religious mindset. This is what took place when Islamic thought, from about the 10th century on, was reconstituted towards a formation that has continued along the path of reconstructing Arab-Islamic societies until reaching the form that we see today.

The process of intellectual castration at the present time is carried out with the utmost smoothness, via everyday social education in the home, in places of worship and in schools which inculcate rote-learning, indoctrination and repetition, instead of teaching deduction, logical thought, the search for the new and intellectual criticism.
The dangers inherent in this style of teaching lies in the difficulty of combating it or reducing its impact.
It is, firstly, a prevailing social pattern and one deeply set in the social character; secondly, it is a smooth pattern that requires no intellectual effort or any specific level of culture; thirdly, it is a mindset deeply rooted in society...

An obedient puppet

Contemporary intellectual castration transforms the social individual into an obedient puppet, driven by one who is authorised to conduct its movements via modern means of communication, and this has a major social impact that exceeds all bounds.
There is no doubt that intellectual castration and the inability to accept modernity is one of the most important reasons for the sense of violent chronological alienation, which has led, and leads still, to extremely odd behavioural regressiveness and frustration on both the local and global societal levels.

Flashback: Isil bans philosophy, chemistry in Syria schools
Gulf News, 15-8-2014

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) extremist group has banned the study of philosophy and chemistry in schools in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa and established an “Islamic curriculum” for students, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Friday.
The Isil asked teachers and school directors to “prepare an Islamic education system in the schools of Raqqa”, which would be reviewed by a board of education appointed by Isil.
The “Islamic experts” belonging to the Isil decided to exclude chemistry and philosophy from the educational programme because “they do not fit in with the laws of god”, the SOHR reported.
The Isil promised adequate wages to teachers and principals after the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad stopped paying their salaries following the takeover of Raqqa by Islamist rebels.

Wahabi/Deobandi ISIS bans philosophy, chemistry in Syria schools
World Shia Forum, 16-8-2014

Editor’s note: The news that ISIL has banned philosophy as a subject at schools should not come as a surprise.
Philosophy is also banned in Saudi Arabia under Wahabbism (a branch of Salafist Islam).

Salafist Islam has always been against philosophy and logic. The renowned Hanbali scholar and the fountainhead of all strands of Salafist Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, said:
”Philosophical logic is like the flesh of a camel at the top of a mountain. It is not easy to climb the mountain, nor is the flesh good enough to justify climbing, nor is the path leading to it easy to follow.’’ He also said: ”There are no philosophers upon right guidance” He also said: ‘’Islam does not have philosophers’’ {Source: Naseehat Ahl Eemaan Fee Radd alaa Mantiq al Yunaan – page:157}

The introduction of Greek philosophy into the Muslim world left an indelible mark on Islamic intellectual history. Philosophical discourse became a constant element in even traditionalist Islamic sciences. This lead an unprecedented flourishing of intellect and knowledge among Muslim societies of 9th to 11th centuries.
However, Aristotelian metaphysics gave rise to doctrines about God and the universe that were found highly objectionable by the fourteenth-century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, as depicted above. He held Greek logic responsible for the `heretical’ metaphysical conclusions reached by Islamic philosophers, theologians, mystics, and others.
He therefore set out to refute philosophical logic, a task which culminated in one of the most devastating attacks ever levelled against the logical system upheld by the early Greeks, the later commentators, and their Muslim followers.
Ibn Taymiyyah was a literalist and a sharp critic of sufis and Muslim philosophers, accusing figures like Ghazali and Ibn Rushd of apostasy. He validated religious violence of the type being perpetrated by the likes of ISIL, Al-Qaeda, TTP, and Boko Haram.

ISIL adheres to salafist Islam which shifts religion from being mimetic to performative; where faith stops feeling like a way of life that holds you, and becomes a way of life you must hold onto – placing great store on specifics like wearing a veil (sharia rule).
Thus instead of feeling being at odds with the world, they think that the world is at odds with them. Salafist Islam portrays what the Pope calls the culture of death. At an existential level, they become so obsessed that the moment you differ from them nothing less than the whole person or system feels under threat and is ready to kill.
This extremism is a way of staving off how these believers themselves feel compromised by the way things are in the world, because they are implicated in it too. So, blame it all on Chemistry and Philosophy.

Wahhabism, strictest of the Sunni Law Schools

Wahhabism is a religious movement within Islam founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703 - 92). Members describe themselves as muwahhidun ("monotheists" or "unitarians"), those who uphold firmly the doctrine that God is one, the only one (wahid).
It condemns as illegal and un-Islamic the practice of using the name of any prophet, saint, or angel in a prayer, of calling upon any such beings for intercession and making vows to them, and of visitations to tombs of saints.
The Wahhabis claim to base their doctrines on the teachings of the fourteenth century scholar Ibn Taymiyya and the rulings of the Hanbali school of law, the strictest of the four recognised in the Sunni consensus.

Ibn Taymiyyah believed that the first three generations of Islam (Salaf) – Muhammad, his companions, and the followers of the companions from the earliest generations of Muslims – were the best role models for Islamic life. Their practice, together with the Qur'an, constituted a seemingly infallible guide to life. Any deviation from their practice was viewed as bid‘ah, or innovation, and to be forbidden.

Ibn Taymiyya became known as a combative polemicist against everything that, in his eyes, affected the purity of Islam: extremist Shi'i sects, Islamic rationalist theologians and peripatetic philosophers, Sufis of monistic tendency, the morally corrupting influence of the People of the Book, and exaggerated expressions of popular religiosity.

"We are a pragmatic and civilized movement"
Opportunity presented by new Hamas
Meryem İlayda Atlas, Daily Sabah, 2-6-2017

No one can claim that the Middle East was a region of peace and bliss in the past. Still, recent years have seen a perfect storm of mayhem...
However, one should note that there appears to be some encouraging developments emanating from the region. The seemingly unsurmountable divide between Fatah and Hamas seems to be narrowing at an incredible pace.

Initially, when it was first founded at a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Hamas had defined itself as a religious movement representing not only Palestinians, but Muslims as a whole.
In the following decades, it transformed itself into a national movement that is a better representative of the will and desires of Palestinians than Fatah.
In time, it adopted some of Fatah's principles, with the transformation culminating in Khaled Mashal, the exiled leader of Hamas, releasing a new policy document in Doha, 12:05 31-10-2017, in May 2017.
As he did not base this document on the founding manifesto or make corrections to it, the new declaration was not merged with, but actually superseded, the previous one.
The founding objective of destroying Israel or depicting themselves as an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) found no place in the new policy vision announced in Doha. Nowhere in the new policy document are anti-Jewish sentiments expressed.

Hamas's avowed ties to the Muslim Brotherhood were always criticized by the armed resistance movement, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
In its original founding statement, Hamas openly acknowledged its loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leadership and grassroots have been decimated since the coup in Egypt led by Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in 2013...
Hamas's declaration that it no longer has any ties to the Muslim Brotherhood was interpreted by many around the world that the group wants to establish ties with Sissi as a way to break the stranglehold on Gaza.

The Israeli response to Hamas's new policy document was as predictable as it was unfortunate.
The Israeli government legitimizes its own indiscriminate murders and expansion into the occupied territories through Hamas's threats and the deaths of civilians.
A pragmatic Hamas ready to engage politically is the last thing Israel wants.
The Israeli Prime Ministry's statement in response to Hamas's policy document was to describe it as lies to the world. However, from now on, neither Israel nor Abbas will be able to argue that Hamas is an extremist group incapable of compromise in order not to lift the Gaza blockade or engage in negotiations. This policy document pushes Hamas's stance from the marginal to the center.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum has said, "To the world, our message is: Hamas is not radical. We are a pragmatic and civilized movement. We do not hate the Jews. We only fight who occupies our lands and kills our people."

It will be to the benefit of Hamas and Palestinians in general if the group rolled with the punches to push forward its agenda based on rational policies and do its utmost to be on the side of justice and legitimacy.

Flashback 2013: Fighting for the Caliphate

qaradawi & hamas: secular arab nationalism has to be destroyed

Days before UK election, Jewish support for Labour hits new low
David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, 02/06/2017

Jabotinsky: enemy of left-wing Zionism, called 'the Duce' and 'Vladimir Hitler' by David Ben-Gurion
Just days before the British general election slated for June 8th, support for the Labour Party among Jews in the UK has slipped to an all-time low.
Trailing the incumbent Conservative Party under Prime Minister Theresa May in all recent polling, the Labour Party has enjoyed a last-minute surge in pre-election surveys, narrowing a double-digit gap in mid-May to just 3-4% according to the latest YouGov polls.
Among Jews, however, support for Labour remains at a historic low, with just 13% of British Jews indicating they will vote for a Labour candidate.
The poll, conducted by Survation on behalf of The Jewish Chronicle, showed Prime Minister May’s party winning a whopping 77% of Jewish voters, compared to just 13% for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

The Survation poll showed that UK Jews viewed the Labour Party as being the most anti-Semitic of the four major parliamentary factions (the Scottish National Party was not included).
Rating the “levels of anti-Semitism among the political party’s members and elected representatives” from 1 to 5, British Jews gave Labour an average rating of 3.94 – indicating high levels of anti-Semitism in the party. The Conservatives, by contrast, were rated at just 1.96, indicating a below-average level of anti-Semitism.

"The occupier is the victim"
What I've seen in 30 years of reporting on the Israeli occupation
By Gideon Levy, Haaretz, June 2, 2017

I began to write about the occupation almost by chance, after many years during which, like all Israelis, I had been brainwashed, convinced of the justice of our cause, certain that we were David and they Goliath, knowing that Arabs don’t love their children the way we do (if at all) and that they, in contrast to us, were born to kill.
Dedi Zucker, then a Ratz MK, suggested that we go see a few olive trees that had been uprooted in the grove of an elderly Palestinian, who was living in the West Bank. We came, we saw, we lost.
That was the beginning, gradual and not planned, of exactly three decades of coverage of the crimes of the occupation. Most Israelis didn’t want to hear about it and still don’t want to hear about it. In the eyes of many citizens, the very act of covering this subject in the media is a transgression.
Treating the Palestinians as victims and the crimes perpetrated against them as crimes is considered treasonous.

The majority of Israelis don’t want to know anything about the occupation. Few of them have any conception of what it is. They’ve never been there. We have no idea what’s meant when we say “occupation.” We have no idea how we would behave if we were under its regime. Maybe if Israelis had more information some of them would be shocked...
To cover up its crimes, the occupation has needed a propaganda-driven media that betrays its honest mission, an education system that has been recruited for its purposes, a duplicitous security establishment, politicians lacking a conscience and a civil society that doesn’t have a clue.
A new, occupation-adjusted system of values had to be developed in which the cult of security allows, justifies and whitewashes everything...
The first 50 years have seen rapid improvements in brainwashing, denial, repression and self-deceit. Thanks to the media, the education system, the politicians, the generals and the immense army of propagandists abetted by apathy, ignorance and shutting of eyes...
Israel is a society in denial, deliberately severed from reality, probably an unparalleled case in the world of a purposeful refusal to see things as they are.
A basic black-and-white situation of occupier-occupied is presented to Israelis as a “complex reality.” Military despotism in the backyard is presented as part and parcel of the only democracy in the Middle East, the consequence of an unavoidable war of survival. And Israel’s refusal to end the occupation morphs in the hands of the propaganda machinery into a “no partner” situation.
It’s a rare historical case: The occupier is the victim. Justice is on the side of the occupier only, and the ongoing war is being fought for his security and existence...

What has changed during these 50 years? Everything – and nothing. Israel has changed, and so have the Palestinians. The occupation remains the same occupation, but it has become more brutal, as happens with every occupation...
The land has filled with settlements, with hundreds of thousands of settlers who went on multiplying the longer the “peace process” continued. That’s the only result of the “process.”
Every semblance of progress has always been accompanied by more and more settlers, in the best tradition of extortion and surrender.
Israel has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians in these 50 years, and jailed about 800,000. These incomprehensible numbers are also accepted as a matter of routine, self-evident, unavoidable, and of course altogether just. The blame lies entirely with those killed and jailed..
What has been erased is the Green Line... Israel is one state, stretching from the sea to the Jordan River, without borders and with two different regimes for two peoples. It’s been like that for the past 50 years, and there’s no plan to change it. The settlers are Israel and so, too, is the occupation: The two are no longer separable.

Never has a single Israeli prime minister seen the Palestinians as human beings or as a nation with equal rights, nor has there ever been one who seriously wanted to end the occupation. Not one.
The talk about two states made it possible to play for time, the peace process provided the world with a cover for remaining silent and to underwrite the occupation...

Read also: Haaretz 2011: Obama & 'The Persecuted People'
Haaretz 2015: In Israel people don’t apologize for anything

President al-Assad receives 34 released citizens from Barzeh:
the issue of the abducted is a basic obsession for the state
Syrian Arab News Agency, 2-6-2017

A military source confirmed on Friday that tens of abducted citizens, who were held by the terrorist groups in Barzeh district, were released.
“34 kidnapped civilians who were detained by the terrorist groups have been released,” the source said, adding that the abductees had been held hostage from 6 months to 3 years.
President al-Assad and his wife congratulated the abducted on their liberation and the end of the hard dilemma they have passed through along with their families. The President said that society lives a real crisis because of the missing and abducted issue, adding that this matter is 'a basic obsession for us as a state, institutions and officials'.
Tens of gunmen that laid down arms and applied for government pardoning have received amnesty and returned to normal life in Barzeh district. The officials said that in line with implementation of the peace agreement in Barzeh district over 150 militants that had handed over their weapons to the Syrian Army received government amnesty.
The officials further added that 500 gunmen that refused to join the peace plan in Barzeh are to leave the district along with their family members on 20 buses for other militant-held regions.

Bashar al-Assad: "I think the only mistake that we made is
when we believed that the West has values
Syrian Arab News Agency, 3 June 2017

In an interview given to India’s Wion TV, President al-Assad said that the situation on the ground, from a military point of view, is much better than before, but this is not the whole picture...

- Question: How is the campaign against terrorist groups such as the Islamic State progressing?
- President Assad: The situation has improved dramatically, because the terrorist groups, mainly ISIS and al-Nusra and like-minded groups in Syria who are Wahhabi terrorist extremist groups, are retreating, or let’s say the area under their control has been shrinking. So, the situation on the ground, from a military point of view, is much better than before.
But this is not the whole picture; it’s not only about military conflict, it’s about different things, about the ideology that they try to spread in our region, which is the most dangerous challenge that we may face in the near and long term.
Second, it’s about the support that those terrorist groups have been gaining from regional countries like Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and European and Western countries like the United States, France, and UK, mainly, which mark a new era where you can use terrorism, any kind of terrorism, to implement a political agenda. This is something more dangerous than any other danger that we may face in our modern world.

- Question: Mr. President, who or what do you blame for the crisis in Syria today?
- President Assad: We always talk about our mistakes or our loopholes or defects, but at the end, we didn’t bring the terrorists, we didn’t support the terrorists, we didn’t support this ideology.
Mainly, who started this conflict was Qatar under the supervision and the endorsement of the Western countries, mainly France and UK, at the very beginning, but when you talk about France and UK, they wouldn’t do something without the permission of the United States.
So, if you want to blame about who supported the terrorists and who started this blood-letting and blood-shedding in Syria, it was the West and Qatar, and later Saudi Arabia, one year later joined the same effort, and of course Turkey, we wouldn’t forget Turkey which was the main player with the terrorists in Syria from the very, very beginning.

- Question: Would you be open for a negotiated political settlement going forward, maybe underwritten by Russia or some other members of the UN Security Council?
- President Assad: Of course, we have already joined these efforts since Geneva in 2014.... Till this moment, we haven’t had any real political initiative that could produce something, although Astana has achieved, let’s say, partial results, through the recent de-escalation areas in Syria, which was positive in that regard, but you cannot call it a political solution till this moment.
A political solution is when you have all the different aspects of the problem being tackled at the same time. So, we took the initiative in dealing directly with the terrorists in some areas in order to make reconciliation, where they can give up their armaments and we can give them amnesty, and that has worked in a very proper and good way in Syria.

- Question: Mr. President, on that note I want to shift your focus away from domestic issues to Syria-India relations.. What do you make of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India’s policies, especially India’s policies towards Syria in the recent years?
- President Assad: We respect a lot the Indian position, because first of all it’s based on the international law, it’s based on the charter of the United Nations, it’s based on the morals of the world, of the human civilizations first, and Indian civilization second, the Indian people’s morals.
This is very important, that’s the difference between state and regime: the state bases everything, all its vision, all its policy on the ethics of its own people. So, we respect the Indian position in that regard. Second, as you just mentioned a very important word, it was “independent.”

- Question: Mr. President, when we talk about terrorism and its ideology, one can’t but talk about the Wahhabi or the influx or influence of Wahhabism on countries around the world, especially in West Asia... So, how do you explain this, or the role of countries such as Saudi Arabia in the region?
- President Assad: When the Saud family created this kingdom, they created it in cooperation and in coordination with the Wahhabi institution, so it’s one institution. The Wahhabi institution, the extremism or the extremists in Saudi Arabia defend the state because it’s their state, it’s their own state, so it’s one.
You cannot talk about terrorism and Saud family as two entities, I have to be very frank with you... They exported the terrorism or the extremism or the Wahhabi ideology to the rest of the world. Nearly every “madrasa” in Asia, in Europe, every mosque, has been supported financially and ideologically through books and through every other means by the Wahhabi institution.

- Question: Mr. President, do you ever tend to take a chance to look in the rear view mirror, as it were if you would go back in time, would you like to do things differently maybe?
- President Assad: I think the only mistake that we made is when we believed that the West has values; this is one of the mistakes that we committed in the past, and we thought some countries like Saudi Arabia could have values, but the only value that they have is the Wahhabi value.

- Question: Mr. President, there’s a lot of narrative about the Western media perceptions about you, personally speaking.... Don’t you sometimes think that, you know, this thing has gone on for far too long, it’s gone too far, and maybe everybody, and I mean everybody, should step back from the brink?
- President Assad: The West, you mean, mainly the Western? No, they cannot, because if they do any U-turn or any turn, their public opinion will tell them “you were lying, you’ve been talking about this bad person and this bad government and the killing for seven years, now you want to tell us the truth?” They cannot tell the truth. So, they have to continue till the end with their lies...

Mahatma Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. Gandhi summarised his beliefs first when he said "God is Truth". He would later change this statement to "Truth is God". (Wikipedia)

- Question: At the end, very quickly Mr. President, in very briefly, what would be your message to the people watching this, especially in India and South Asia and around the world, your message to them?
- President Assad: I think during the last few decades, mainly after Bush came to power in the United States, the West tried to promote its society, its political system, its behavior as the minaret that the world should follow socially and politically and in every other aspect.
I think India, the Indian people are the one that could be that minaret, because of the diversity that you have, because of the civilization that’s deeply rooted in the history, and because of the morals that you base your society and your politics on...

Moral of the New Testament:
In an evil world they don't protect the truth-tellers

"Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."
"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all." John 18:38

Khamenei: Islamic Revolution gave independence to Iran
Press TV, Sunday June 4, 2017

Iran's spiritual leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Islamic Revolution gave identity and independence to Iranian society...
Khamenei made the remarks when addressing a ceremony held to mark the 28th anniversary of the passing of founder of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini.
Stressing the grandeur of Khomeini’s personality, Khamenei noted that every effort must be made to prevent distortion of his personality and ideas through repetition of ideas cherished by him.
Khamenei noted that Khomeini’s ideas, including freedom, social and economic justice, and the need to get rid of US domination were among major factors, which attracted the Iranian youth to the revolution.
He stated that as a result of Khomeini's ideas, young people even in those countries that are subservient to the United States, like Saudi Arabia, cherish the idea that their countries must be freed from US domination.
Khamenei criticized the wrongful presence of foreign countries in Syria contrary to the will of its government and nation, stressing, “The Syrian issues must be solved through dialogue.”

"Rise up and defend the dignity of Jesus Christ"
Ruhollah Khomeini, Christmas Message, 24-12-1979

"Don't let anyone call you 'Rabbi,' for you have only one teacher,
and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. Mathew 23:8

Merry Christmas to the oppressed nations of the world, to the Christian nations and the Christians of Iran.
Christ was a great messenger whose mission was to establish justice and mercy, and who with his heavenly words and deeds condemned the tyrants and supported the oppressed.

Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for justice and strive after it. Woe to those who strive against the teachings of Jesus Christ and all the prophets, for the sake of spies and oppressors of the rights of nations.
Nations of the Messiah, and followers of Jesus (the spirit of God), rise up and defend the dignity of Jesus Christ, and do not let the enemies of the divine teachings and the opposes of godly orders give false impression of Christianity and its clergy to the oppressed peoples of the world.

Do not be deceived by the presence of the super powers in churches... They think of nothing but more power, or supremacy over the world, which is against divine teachings.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain
cut diplomatic relations with Qatar
Egypt Independent, June 5, 2017

Egypt decided on Monday to cut off its diplomatic relations with the Arab Gulf State of Qatar and accused the Qatari government of following a hostile policy against Egypt, in addition to sponsoring terrorist organization such as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group, the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, the cutting off decision came as Qatar insists on supporting terrorist organizations such as the MB group and provide safe shelter for leading figures from the group who are wanted in Egypt.
Moreover, the statement addressed harsh charges to Qatar, that included promoting the ideology of Al-Qaeda and [Islamic State] IS groups, in addition to providing support to terrorist operations in Sinai.
“Also Qatar is insisting on interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs and other states in the region, this interference are representing a threat to the Arab national security and foster strife, split between the Arab societies and are a part of a well-prepared scheme that target the Arab’s nation unity ” the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s statement read.

libya, islamist revolution 2011-2012 - qatar mediator between salafist rebels and nato

The Egyptian decision to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar came alongside similar decisions announced by a number of Arab Gulf states that are considered close to Qatar such Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.
In response the boycott decision released by the aforementioned states against Qatar, the Qatar Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement in which it expressed its sorrow and bewilderment regarding the boycott issued from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE.
“Qatar is an effective member at the Gulf Co-operation Council and abides to its charter; it also respects the sovereignty of all other states and does not interfere in any country’s internal affairs. Moreover, Qatar carries out its duties in countering terrorism,” the Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry’s statement read.

AU delegation wraps up its Libya visits with Hafter meeting
Liby Herarld, Benghazi, 4 June 2017

A high level African Union delegation wrapped up its four-day mission to Libya by meeting armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter in Benghazi.
Throughout their various talks, the AU members have been seeking to organise a gathering of all Libya’s political players under the organisation’s auspice.
The eight members of the AU’s Libya committee were led by Jean Jacoso of the Congo and included ministers from Algeria, Conakry, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, Tunisia and South Africa and the AU’s peace commissioner Ismail Sharqi.

They began their trip on 30 May with a briefing from UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler.
Among their calls in Tripoli they met Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj and State Council leader Abdulrahman Sewehli. In Beida they saw House of Representatives president Ageela Saleh.
The only details released of yesterday’s talks wth Hafter were that they had ranged over political developments and also the fight against terrorism

"Caring about people should be to the forefront of our priorities"
President Hafez Assad's Last Address to Parliament
Syria Times, Monday, 05 June 2017

President Hafez Al-Assad, builder of modern Syria, delivered the following speech at the People’s Assembly on the occasion of taking the constitutional oath of office for a fifth constitutional term, March 11, 1999.

During the last 30 years we have realized great achievements in various walks of life. In the building of a sound economy, services, education, culture, sciences and the arts. Syria has built a solid base which has enabled her to move towards a brighter future.
Our confidence, from the very beginning, was that caring about people should be to the forefront of our priorities.
We worked to consolidate our material structure by constructing a strong national base, despite being besieged by problems and complexities imposed by regional and international conditions.
Therefore, we have chosen a people’s democracy. We established our democratic system based on the needs of our people, and their economic, social and cultural conditions.
This stemmed from their belief in freedom and pride in their own dignity. Every citizen has become a partner in decision-making and in bearing responsibility.
In the village, in the city, in the factory as in the farm, in various careers and at the university. All these are linked to the process of consolidating the multi-party system and establishing the Progressive National Front...

We are committed to comprehensive development as a national responsibility to the State and society.
We have developed agriculture and industry, built dams, big industrial installations, set up economic pluralism, encouraged talents, given opportunities to all to contribute to society’s development. We have created solid economic and social base which has enabled us to complete our infrastructure, such as, electricity, roads, dams, potable water projects, schools, universities, hospitals, medical centers, social educational, cultural and health services,”
Since November 1970, we have paid a great attention to the national economy and built an economic base upon which the progress of society and the country’s growth have relied.

What makes us anxious today is the state of the Arab nation, their weakness, divisions and conflicts, fear of each other, fear of all the foreign dangers threatening them and working to impose hegemony and control on the Arab homeland, besides the Israeli aggression.
Narrow regional interests surpassed pan-Arab interests and hence foreign forces were able to impose hegemony, and Israel was allowed to go on launching aggressions, to the extent that the Arabs were about to lose the potential for progress.
During the 1940s and the 1950s, the Arabs aspired for liberation and achieving Arab unity. In the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, the Arabs’ aspiration was to realize Arab solidarity.
Today’s aspiration is to end the state of in-fighting and inter-differences... I call upon all Arab officials everywhere to adopt brave and responsible stances capable of reviewing the Arab situation critically and objectively with a view to setting up a new course of inter-Arab relations conducive to ending the state of conflict and to reaching the state of cooperation and solidarity...

Peace is indispensable for all in as much as it eliminates all causes of wars, tension and hostility, returns the territories occupied in 1967 and the Lebanese territory totally and recognizes the Palestinian people’s national rights.
Any other peace is a surrender which will not be accepted by Syria and which will neither ensure security for Israel nor maintain stability in the region...
What is taking place in today’s world under the absence of the international balance is the domination of unilateral pole, the double criterion, the hegemony of monopolist superpowers, the great evolution in communications and informatics, the increasing gap between rich states and developing nations, the breaking out of regional wars and ethnic and clan conflicts in different parts of the world, the economic and cultural doctrine of globalisation, the destruction of national borders and peoples’ identities and the stereotyping of peoples’ lives, conducts, moralities and priorities are altogether arousing fear and worries among nations.
Today’s world is likely to be converted into a forest where force dominates and the norms, principles and values for which nations have struggled are absent.
No doubt that the absence of discipline, weakening the UN role and the imposition of hegemony on "third world" resources threaten peoples of the loss of freedom in achieving self-determination and determining their options.
Nevertheless, the forces of hegemony talk about human rights while they are grossly violated.
The call of the Non-Aligned Movement, China, France and Russia for a multi-polar system is a sign of the state of fear and worry, which is grave, if the unilateral hegemony goes on.

Within the Arab, Muslim and Non-Aligned frameworks, we shall work to push out the mischief of the international lawlessness and its dangers on developing countries and world peace and security.
We shall continue to work for developing our international relations in serving our national interests. We shall go on making dialogue with the European Union to set up a partnership in line with equal grounds serving interests of both sides.
We shall also work for enhancing the role of the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement and for investing our world relations to serve our rights and objectives.
May God help us all in doing what is right and what is good

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres blasts 'occupation'
Ben Ariel, Arutz Sheva, 06/06/2017

In a statement released on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the start of the Six Day War, Guterres said:
“Today marks 50 years since the start of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.”
This occupation has imposed a heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people.
Among them are generation after generation of Palestinians who have been compelled to grow-up and live in ever more crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty, and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children,” he charged.
The “occupation has fuelled recurring cycles of violence and retribution. Its perpetuation is sending an unmistakable message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood is destined to remain just that, a dream; and to Israelis that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable.”

“Ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” he insisted.
He called for a return to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law.”
On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born. Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state.
The Secretary-General reiterates his offer to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process,” the statement concluded.

A 50-Year Occupation: Israel’s Six-Day War Started With a Lie
Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept, June 5 2017

Fifty years ago, between June 5 and June 10, 1967, Israel invaded and occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights.
The Six-Day War, as it would later be dubbed, saw the Jewish David inflict a humiliating defeat on the Arab Goliath, personified perhaps by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt.
The existence of the Israeli state hung by a thread,” the country’s prime minister, Levi Eshkol, claimed two days after the war was over, “but the hopes of the Arab leaders to annihilate Israel were dashed.” Genocide, went the argument, had been prevented; another Holocaust of the Jews averted.
There is, however, a problem with this argument: It is complete fiction, a self-serving fantasy constructed after the event to justify a war of aggression and conquest.
Don’t take my word for it: “The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung over us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war,” declared Gen. Matituahu Peled, chief of logistical command during the war and one of 12 members of Israel’s General Staff, in March 1972.
A year earlier, Mordechai Bentov, a member of the wartime government and one of 37 people to sign Israel’s Declaration of Independence, had made a similar admission.
“This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories,” he said in April 1971.
Even Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former terrorist and darling of the Israeli far right, conceded in a speech in August 1982 that “in June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

The reverberations of that attack are still being felt in the Middle East today. Few modern conflicts have had as deep and long-lasting an impact as the Six-Day War.
As U.S. academic and activist Thomas Reifer has observed, it sounded the “death knell of pan-Arab nationalism, the rise of political Islam … a more independent Palestinian nationalism” and “Israel’s emergence as a U.S. strategic asset, with the United States sending billions of dollars … in a strategic partnership unequalled in world history.”
Above all else, the war, welcomed by the London Daily Telegraph in 1967 as “the triumph of the civilized,” forced another 300,000 Palestinians from their homes and ushered in a brutal military occupation for the million-odd Palestinians left behind...

Qatar FM: Imposing policies ‘out of the question’
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 7-6-2017

JEDDAH: Qatar’s foreign minister told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Tuesday that Doha believes in diplomacy with regard to the severing of ties by Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
But it is “out of the question” to impose policies on Qatar, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who denied accusations that Doha supports terrorist and extremist groups.

Following are excerpts of the interview:
- Q: Saudi says it has cut ties because, and I quote, of your country’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region.” They say that includes the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda. Is that true or false?
- A: With all respect, this statement is full of contradiction because it says we are supporting Iran and extremist groups in Syria, and we are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Houthis.
About our support to the Saudi opposition or sectarian moves, this is totally false information...

There is no support going to Al-Nusra or Al-Qaeda or others. Our position is firm: To support the Syrian people’s right to justice and a free life.
Whatever accusations are being thrown are all based on misinformation. The entire crisis is based on misinformation because it started based on fabricated news inserted in our national news agency, which was hacked days before...
We are creating jobs for the people of the Middle East. We are replacing weapons with pens when we are educating young children in refugee camps. We are protecting the world from potential terrorists with all the work we are doing.

- Q: The Muslim Brotherhood is designated a terrorist organization by other countries, specifically Saudi and the UAE. Will you continue to have ties with the Brotherhood? This is clearly more than an irritant to your allies.
- A: We do not have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. We deal with governments. When the Muslim Brotherhood ruled Egypt, we supported Egypt… We have stated many times that we have no ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Are we going to list them as a terrorist organization? We did not have any proof that the Muslim Brotherhood committed an act of terror. They will be listed based on the acts they have done.

- Q: Unless you were to designate them, you will continue to have problems with the UAE and Saudi, correct?
- A: If the problem with Saudi and the UAE is based on our foreign policy and they want to impose policies on Qatar, this is out of the question. Each country has its own sovereignty.

- Q: What do the Saudis and Emiratis want you to do? And are you prepared to toe the line?
- A: We have differences with Iran but we believe in dialogue. We will stick to the same principles that we are basing our dialogue on. Everyone needs to have, wants to have, a positive relationship with Iran since Iran is a neighbor...

Flashback: Qatar, Arab League & The 'Arab' Spring

Qatar: Arab League leans on Assad to resign
Muslim news, 23-07-2012 (page 14)

Delegates from the Arab League have said they agree Syria's president Bashar Assad should step down and the Free Syrian Army should form a transitional government
The meeting of the Arab League continued into the wee hours of Monday morning.
At the conclusion, Qatar's prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani told journalists at the meeting in Doha that the League's position was unified.

syria 2012: free syrian army - salafist brigade, controlled by saudi arabian citizen

Thierry Meyssan: Who is fighting in Syria?
Voltaire Network 24-7-2012

The leaders of the Syrian National Council (SNC) as well as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) commanders are not democratic at all, in the sense that they would be favourable to "a government of the people, by the people, for the people", according to Abraham Lincoln’s formula taken from the French Constitution.
Thus, the first president of the SNC was the Paris academic, Burhan Ghalioun. He was in no way "a Syrian opponent persecuted by the regime" since he circulated freely in and out of his country. Nor was he a "secular intellectual" as he claims, since he was the political advisor to the Algerian Abbassi Madani, President of the Islamic Salvation Front (ISF), now a refugee in Qatar.
His successor, Abdel Basset Syda entered politics only in the last months, and immediately established himself as a mere executor of US wishes. Upon his election as head of the SNC, he pledged not to defend the will of his people, but to implement the "road map" that Washington drew up for Syria: The Day After.

Nor are the Free Syrian Army fighters champions of democracy. They recognize the spiritual authority of sheikh Adnan Al-Arour, a takfirist preacher, who calls for the overthrow and killing of Assad, not for political reasons but simply because Assad is of the Alawite faith, that is to say a heretic in the preacher’s eyes.
All of the identified officers in the FSA are Sunnis and all of the FSA brigades are named after historical Sunni figures.
The "revolutionary tribunals" of the FSA sentence their political opponents to death (and not only supporters of Bashar al-Assad) and they slaughter the unbelievers in public.
The FSA program is to end the secular regime installed by the Baath, the SSNP and the Communist Party in favor of a pure (conservative) religious Sunni regime.

Funding the murderer takfiri mind
SANA 7-8-2012

BEIRUT, (SANA) – Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the US, Israel and some western and regional countries prevent the Syrian opposition from dialogue to achieve their project of destroying Syria. ...
Efforts to start dialogue between all opposition and the government are in vain because dialogue in Syria is prohibited since the western countries and Israel want to destroy Syria no matter what happens to the armed groups, opposition forces or the Syrian army.
Nasrallah stressed that Israel and the takfiri mentality are the real threats to the security and stability in the region, adding that many countries and governments are involved in funding this murderer takfiri mind with billions of dollars, deepening wounds in the region and pushing things to the worst.

Saudi, Bahrain, UAE Recall Envoys to Qatar
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 5-3-2014 (page 15)

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors from Doha on Wednesday in protest at Qatar's interference in their internal affairs, they announced in a joint statement.
GCC countries "have exerted massive efforts to contact Qatar on all levels to agree on a unified policy... to ensure non-interference, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any member state," the statement said. The nations have asked Qatar, a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is banned in most Gulf states, "not to support any party aiming to threaten security and stability of any GCC member," it added, citing media campaigns against them in particular.

Bouthaina Shaaban: "Hamas has put the Muslim Brotherhood
above the resistance" - Syria Breaking News, 5-3-2014

Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban stressed [..] that the top priority of the Syrian Arab Republic's delegation is identical to the Syrian citizens' priority, which is represented by security, stability, halting terrorism and then moving to discussing the broad-based government...
Responding on a question on Saudi role in the crisis in Syria, Shaaban said “We want a clear and frank stance by Saudi Arabia to stop financing and arming Saudi and foreign terrorists and not to facilitate their entrance into Syria.” She added that stopping this “takfiri cancer” serves the interests of Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries and the whole region.
On an Iranian mediation for reconciliation between Syria and Hamas, Shabban said “Our relations with Hamas were strong as a resistance movement despite the fact that we know about its relation with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
She went on saying Hamas has put the Muslim Brotherhood above the resistance and has abandoned the line of resistance which weakened the Palestinian cause, stressing “Our stance towards Muslim Brotherhood movement is well known since the 1980’s.”

Egypt will not send envoy back to Doha
Al Arabiya News, Friday, 7 March 2014

Egypt emboldened its stance against Qatar when it confirmed that it will not send its ambassador back to the Gulf country.
The news comes amid increasing tensions within the Gulf as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia withdrew their envoys from Doha this week.
Egypt recalled its ambassador in Doha last month because of the Gulf country’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Cairo declared a terrorist group after the toppling of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 30.
“The Egyptian ambassador to Qatar will not return to Doha at the moment,” Reuters quoted an Egyptian cabinet statement as saying. The statement described the political tension between Egypt and Qatar as involving other parties.
It added: “Qatar’s problem is not (only) with us, but with the majority of the Arab states.”
Qatar is the only Gulf state that supported the Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt.

Zeidan: "Libyans beware of Islamists at next election"
By Sami Zaptia, Libya Herard, 16-3-2014

In his first major interview since he was removed from office last week through a vote of no confidence, former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan blamed the failure of his government on the General National Congress (GNC), the Islamist parties, the militias, the spread of arms and the weak post revolutionary Libyan state.
Zeidan said that he feared that the Islamist bloc consisting of the Ikhwan (the Brotherhood), the Wafa bloc and others would monopolize power in Libya and turn Libya into an Algeria (during the period where the military Islamists were carrying out a terror campaign against the state).
The ex-Prime Minister warned the Libyan public against these blocs in future elections. He accused them of not being loyal to Libya, but loyal to unrealistic ideologies not for the good of Libya.

Qatar Emir: The long-term aim should be
to punish the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 26-9-2014

The emir of Qatar has denied accusations that his country funds extremist groups in Syria, while stressing the Gulf state's commitment to the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State jihadists.
"We don't fund extremists." ... "But there are differences. There are differences that some countries and some people (believe) that any group which comes from Islamic background are terrorists. And we don't accept that."
He insisted that the long-term aim should be to punish the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"The main cause of all this is the regime in Syria, and this regime should be punished," he said.

Right Wing Senators in Saudi Arabia, Qatar Discuss Syria
Al-Manar, 18-1-2015

A delegation of US senators led by John McCain have met separately with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman and Qatar's emir, part of a Middle East tour focusing on training the so-called moderate militants in Syria...
The US senators also met in neighboring Qatar with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the country's emir. The official Qatar News Agency said they discussed "Qatari-U.S. relations and means to develop them."
The delegation included Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, Angus King, I-Maine, and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, the state news agency reported. All sit on the Senate's Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs.
The meetings took place a day after the Pentagon said that as many as 1,000 U.S. troops and support personnel would be sent to sites in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to help train select Syrian militants they claim as being moderate.

Hamad Bin Jaber al-Thani:
Qatar was the prime mover in the Syrian crisis
Saudis Turned on Us in Syria -
Alahed News, 22-4-2016

Qatar's Hamad Bin Jaber al-Yhani admits that his country was the prime mover in the Syrian crisis but then Saudi Arabia turned against us and later tried to monopolize the Syrian dossier.
It is three years since HBJ, as he is known in London's financial circles, stepped down as prime minister of the small state of Qatar, part of a deal in which Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the ruler at the time, abdicated in favor of his son Tamim. So powerful was HBJ that the only way for the new emir to rule was for both his father and the prime minister to exit.
As PM of Qatar, he invested in Britain and intervened in the "Arab Spring".

The Gulf's Syria policy is closely associated with HBJ, who was often seen as relishing the rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Doha's larger and more powerful neighbor. When asked about holding some responsibility for the debacle in Syria, HBJ admitted:
"I will tell you one thing and that is maybe the first time I say this: when we started being involved in Syria [around 2012] we had a green light that Qatar would lead this because Saudi Arabia didn't at that time want to lead.
After that there was a change in policy and Saudi Arabia didn't inform us that they wanted us in the back seat. We ended up competing and it was not healthy."

Money and weapons flowed but with no clear strategy or direction; the whole enterprise was undermined by bickering and competition between the two Gulf States.
He further pointed out that the same policies used in Syria were followed in Libya, where Qatar and the United Arab Emirates backed opposing sides in the war since the demise of the Gaddafi regime in the 2011 revolution.

He acknowledges that in Libya, "There were a lot of cookers in the end. That's why it was spoiled."

Majority of British voters agree with Corbyn's claim
UK foreign policy increases risk of terrorism
Andrew Grice, The Independent (UK), 6 June 2017

An overwhelming majority of people agree with Jeremy Corbyn that British involvement in foreign wars has put the public at greater risk of terrorism, according to a new poll.
The exclusive ORB survey for The Independent found 75 per cent of people believe interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have made atrocities on UK soil more likely.
The poll comes after Mr Corbyn was lambasted for suggesting foreign policy decisions were linked to terrorism in the UK and that the “war on terror” had failed.
The deadly strike at London Bridge and Borough Market, the third attack in Britain in as many months, has seen security dominate the final days of the election campaign, with cabinet ministers squabbling over whether it could have been stopped.
In the wake of the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people last month, the Labour leader highlighted the potential role foreign military interventions play in increasing the likelihood of atrocities in the UK...
He was accused by Conservatives of making excuses for terrorism.

Ahram Weekly, 2002: Corbyn, giving a voice to the voiceless
British foreign policy not "ethical".

Jeremy Corbyn is a dissenter whose mission is, as he likes to describe it, to give a voice to the voiceless.
He is a member of a group of Labour Party MPs who are leading the opposition to the British government's foreign policy, particularly on Iraq and Palestine.
The issue is causing a row within the Labour Party, and it also casts doubt on the so-called "ethical foreign policy" pursued by the Labour government.
Corbyn agrees that British foreign policy at present, particularly with regard to the Middle East, is not "ethical". "I am very critical of the British government's foreign policy," he says...

Jeremy Corbyn and the Zionist Lobby
By Gilad Atzmon, Veterans Today, 18-8-2015

Following decades of cultural Marxist, divisive Identiterian politics and Zionist-Neocon domination within the British Left, Corbyn brings along a refreshing ideological alternative. Corbyn seems to re-unite the Brits.
He cares for the weak. He opposes interventionist wars. He represents the return of the good old left as opposed to New Labour’s affinity with big money, choseness and exceptionalism.

Corbyn: People are fed up with injustice and inequality
Press TV, Sep 12, 2015

Speaking after the vote in London on Saturday, Corbyn called for a 'better society' in the UK, and vowed to help bring a better future for Britons.
He said the message from his Saturday election is that people are “fed up with the injustice and the inequality” of Britain.
During his three decades in parliament, Corbyn has spent much of his time championing causes such as the Stop the War coalition, campaigning against the private finance initiative and supporting peace efforts in the Middle East.

Yousuf al-Qaradawi on a 'terror list'
Al-Jazeera News, 9-6-2017

On Thursday (june 8) Qatar's adversaries hardened their stance against Doha.
Emirates Post Group announced that it halted postal services to Qatar. The Qatar Airways website was also blocked in the UAE.
Earlier, the bloc opposing Qatar had demanded that it stops supporting groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Thursday evening, a joint action by Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt placed 59 individuals and 12 organisations on a "terror list". It includes the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousuf al-Qaradawi and 18 prominent Qataris.
On Friday, Qatar dismissed the list as baseless:
"The recent joint statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE regarding a 'terror finance watch list' once again reinforces baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact," read a statement from Qatar's government.
Earlier, Qatar's foreign minister had said defiantly that the country would not surrender to the pressure applied to it.
"We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the independence of our foreign policy," Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Al Jazeera.

Flashback: Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Political Opportunism
By As'ad AbuKhalil, Al-Akhbar, Wed, 2012-03-28

"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..." "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." Gamal Abdel Nasser (in: Philosophy of the revolution)
For some reason, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is the guru of Islamists in the Arab world. In fact, the reason is obvious: there is such a dearth of leaders in the movement that this man has become widely influential.
It would be unfair to say that his influence stems solely from the exposure that he is provided by Qatar through his weekly TV program on Al Jazeera. Qaradawi is a prolific author and he uses simple language to issue his declarations and rulings about interpretations of Shariah.
He also knows what the basic Muslim reader is looking for. His book The Permissible and That Prohibited (Religiously) in Islam has sold well over the years. But Qaradawi is also a political figure.

Qaradawi fled Egypt when Nasser figured out that he could not allow the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to remain as a fifth column inside Egypt.
It was no secret that while Nasser was aligned with the socialist camp, the MB served as a tool of the US and Gulf regime during the Cold War.
There is no question that the MB did in fact try to assassinate Nasser, and there is no question that the Brotherhood was aligned against the forces that were working on a plan for the liberation of Palestine.
Gulf regimes (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE primarily) opened their borders and universities and ministries to the Islamists.
They filled top posts in government, particularly in education, awqaf (religious endowment), and even in policy making. Sudanese Islamists were instrumental in drafting the constitutions of several Gulf states.
Qaradawi was hosted in Qatar and he taught at its university. But unlike most Islamists in exile, he established a close relationship with the Emir.
Qaradawi was a key ingredient in the formation of Al Jazeera, and he even helped staff the network with many Islamists from several Arab countries. (Those Islamists would over the year clash with the secular Arab nationalists and liberals in the network).

Qaradawi has been noted for his political cowardice: not only for his subservience (like all other Islamists in the GCC countries) to the ruler, but for strictly adhering to the foreign policies of the ruler. Qaradawi never ever criticized Bashar Assad and even showered him with praise, until the Emir decided to break with the Assad regime.
Qaradawi was also favorable in his views on Iran until this past year when Qatar changed course. He also enjoyed long standing relations with Hassan Nasrallah with whom he has been friends (or friendly). But aware of his standing among the fanatical base, Qaradawi would insist that no photographs be released of his meeting with Nasrallah (as Nasrallah himself once told me).
Recently, Qaradawi criticized the UAE and repression there on Al Jazeera. His criticisms of the UAE (which is as repressive as Qatar or as the rest of GCC countries, although Saudi Arabia is a case in itself given the fanatical Wahhabi ruling ideology there) should not be read as whimsical.
Qaradawi has been accustomed to receiving orders. He knows when to speak and when to shut up, if so ordered. Qaradawi is but one case of a phenomenon in the Arab world: a cleric for hire.

On 21 February 2011, Qaradawi talked about the protests in Libya and issued a fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi:

“...To the officers and the soldiers who are able to kill Muammar Gaddafi, to whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free the country and [God’s] servants from him, I issue this fatwa (uftî): Do it!
That man wants to exterminate the people (sha‘b). As for me, I protect the people (sha‘b) and I issue this fatwa:

Whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free us from his evil, to free Libya and its great people from the evil of this man and from the danger of him, let him do so!'

Iraq on cusp of Mosul victory three years after major defeat
Ahram online|AFP, Friday 9 Jun 2017

Three years after the Islamic State (IS) militant group routed them in Mosul, Iraqi forces are now on the cusp of retaking the city from the IS.
The fall of Mosul was the worst defeat that Iraqi forces suffered in the war with IS, and regaining it would cap a major turnaround for security forces that broke and ran despite outnumbering IS who attacked the second city in 2014.
When IS seized Mosul on June 10, 2014 and drove south toward the federal capital, the atmosphere was not one of celebration, but rather fear.
"Three years ago, around this time, Daesh... was moving rapidly towards Baghdad," said Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the international coalition against IS, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamist militant group. "Mosul fell, seven divisions of the Iraqi security forces simply disintegrated," he said.
Iraqi forces "were not prepared for a threat like that" posed by IS in 2014, said coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon. At that time, recovery "looked almost impossible, and many were saying, 'Well, this is the end of Iraq'", McGurk said.

A combination of factors ultimately stopped IS short of Baghdad, and they were not able to launch a large-scale conventional attack on the capital.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's top Shiite cleric, called for volunteers to battle IS, and pre-existing Iran-backed Shiite militias fought under that banner to first halt IS and then slowly push them back, while new volunteer units were also established.
The United States meanwhile launched an air campaign against IS in Iraq about two months after Mosul's fall, which became an international coalition effort also involving training and other support for Iraqi forces.

"Success in the Mosul operation will highlight how far the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have come since their collapse in June 2014," said Patrick Martin, Iraq analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.
But Martin noted that "recapturing terrain in Mosul should not obscure the fact that the ISF remains incomplete and flawed," including that "they still have insufficient manpower to clear and hold the country."
Pushing IS back has taken a massive toll on Iraq: years of battles have left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, and laid waste to swathes of the country, while many suffered under brutal IS rule.

Boris Johnson: "We cannot make the world a better place
unless we are at least honest about our failures..."
The Telegraph 15-6-2014

The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next. As one senior British general has put it to me, “we snipped the spinal cord” without any plan to replace it...
That is the truth, and it is time Tony Blair accepted it. When we voted for that war – and I did, too – we did so with what now looks like the hopelessly naive assumption that the British and American governments had a plan for the aftermath; that there was a government waiting in the wings; that civic institutions would be preserved and carried on in the post-Saddam era...
I fondly imagined that there would be a plan for the transition... I felt so nervous (and so guilty) about this assumption, that I went to Baghdad in the week after the fall of Saddam, to see if I was right. I was not.

I remember vividly the mystification on the face of a tall, grey-haired CIA man in his fifties, wearing a helmet and body armour, whom I found in one of the government ministries. He and I were alone among a thousand empty offices.
The entire civil service had fled; the army was disintegrated.
He was hoping to find someone to carry on the business of government – law and order, infrastructure, tax collection, that kind of thing. The days were passing; the city was being looted; no one was showing up for work.
We had utterly blitzed the power centres of Iraq with no credible plan for the next stage – and frankly, yes, I do blame Bush and Blair for their unbelievable arrogance in thinking it would work.

As time has gone by, I am afraid I have become more and more cynical about the venture...
The Iraq war was a tragic mistake; and by refusing to accept this, Blair is now undermining the very cause he advocates – the possibility of serious and effective intervention...
It would be wrong and self-defeating to conclude that because we were wrong over Iraq, we must always be wrong to try to make the world a better place. But we cannot make this case unless we are at least honest about our failures...

Amnesty International Launches Pro-BDS Campaign Against Illegal Settlements
Palestine Chronicle, June 8, 2017

Amnesty International announced on Wednesday that it was launching a campaign to implement a full boycott of illegal Israeli settlements across the occupied Palestinian territory.
One of the tragedies of 50 years of ceaseless occupation-related violations is that the world has become accustomed to the shocking level of oppression and humiliation that Palestinians face in their daily lives in the occupied territories,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty said.
“States that continue to help settlements flourish economically are blatantly undermining their international obligations and the very policies they have pledged to uphold,” Shetty added.
Fifty years on, merely condemning Israel’s settlement expansion is not enough. It’s time for states to take concrete international action to stop the financing of settlements which themselves flagrantly violate international law and constitute war crimes.”
Shetty called on foreign states to impose an “international ban on settlement products, a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and Palestinian armed groups,” as well as full investigations by the International Criminal Court into crimes committed as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel has made it abundantly clear that maintaining and expanding settlements takes priority over respect for international law. It’s time for the world to send a clear message that it will no longer tolerate the Israeli authorities’ blatant disregard for international law,” Shetty said.

BDS activists target companies that act in compliance with Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and encourage supporters to avoid buying Israeli products in order to put pressure on the Israeli government to end the half-century occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem the decade-long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
As support for the movement has grown, the Israeli government has introduced anti-BDS policies, including passing a law in March banning foreigners who have openly expressed support in BDS from entering the country.

Surovikin: "An impression is created that danger for the coalition is posed
not by ISIL terrorists but by the Syrian government forces
Tass Russian News Agency, June 09, 2017

The US-led coalition let militants of the Islamic State terrorist group leave Raqqa, the commander of Russia’s force grouping in Syria, Sergey Surovikin, said. "Instead of eliminating terrorists guilty of killing hundreds and thousands of Syrian civilians, the US-led coalition together with the Democratic Forces Union controlled enters into collusion with ringleaders of the ISIL, who give up the settlements they had seized without fighting and head to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are active," he said.
All militants’ attempts to leave through the corridor set up in southern Raqqa are thwarted by Russian troops, he added. However, the stance taken by the United States evokes questions.
"One gets the impression that the Americans are using ISIL to offer stubborn resistance to the movement of government troops..", Surovikin said.

Surovikin also said that aviation of the US-led international coalition is impeding the struggle of the Syrian government forces against terrorists.
The Syrian government forces have considerably improved their positions in the south of the province of As-Suwayda. In that region, the Syrian troops managed to capture a number of strategically important heights and communications, depriving terrorists of the possibility to freely deliver reserves and cargoes in the country’s south, he noted. "However, in the course of their offensive, the government troops were confronted with counteraction from the aviation of the US-led international coalition.
The Americans advanced absolutely groundlessly ultimatum demands to the Syrian army not to approach the positions of the so-called New Syrian Army.
They are motivating their actions by absurd assertions that the government troops are creating a threat to US bases and camps for training the opposition’s militants in the south of Syria," the general said.
As a result, the coalition’s aviation and strongholds of 'New Syrian Army militants have blocked the way of the government forces, which are destroying militants of the Islamic State and setting up border posts along the border with Iraq to the north-east of Al-Tanf to Abu Kamal during their offensive, Surovikin said.
"This is a violation of the sovereign right of the Syrian Arab Republic to protect its borders," the general said.
"In reply to a question about what this is done for and how this helps in the struggle against the ISIL representatives of the US command vaguely explain that they feel danger from the government forces.
At the same time, it is not explained what kind of danger it is and where it comes from. An impression is created that danger for the coalition is posed not by ISIL terrorists but by the Syrian government forces," Surovikin said.

Despite counteraction from the US-led international coalition, the Syrian troops and allied militia have restored during their offensive on the IS positions control on the Syrian-Jordanian border at a stretch of 105 km, Surovikin said.
The Syrian army has established nine border posts and signed agreements with 22 populated settlements to complete the process of reconciliation with the tribes of Druzes and Bedouins controlling that area.
The Syrian government forces continue operations to place the Syrian-Jordanian border and the border with Iraq under control, the Russian general said.

Syrian President Bashar Assad paid a visit to a "Made in Syria" exhibition in Damascus, on 8 June 2017. While Assad walked around the shopping complex without security guards, Syrians didn't miss the chance to take selfies with him. [FARS News Agency, 9-6-2017]

Ghariani, Belhaj, Sallabi and BDB on Saudi terror list
Libya Herald, Tunis, 9 June 2017

Sadek Al Ghariani, the Tripoli-based grand mufti, together with Abdulhakim Belhadj, Ali Salabi, his brother Ismail, Mahdi Al-Harati and the entire Bengahzi Defence Brigades have been named as terrorists by the Saudis, the Emiratis, Egyptians and Bahrainis.
Their names have appears on a list of supposed terrorists linked to Qatar which has been published by the Saudi Press Agency.
Ali Salabi, who lives in Qatar, is the political mentor and, many say, the real leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.
His brother Ismail was one of the Benghazi’s main Islamist leaders and a former commander of the Libya Shield No. 1 battalion.
Abdul Hakim Belhadj, the head of the former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who who leads the Nation Party, also has close ties to Qatar.

In a joint statement, the four countries said the updated list was part of their efforts at “combatting terrorism, drying up the sources of its funding, countering extremist ideology and the tools of its dissemination and promotion, and to working together to defeat terrorism and protect all societies from its impact”.
Ghariani and Ali Salabi have defended Qatar, rejecting the allegations against it.

Flashback: Libya’s Grand Mufti Calls For Strict Sex-segregation
Libya Herald 2013

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 for 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.

Remove References to Democracy and Religious Freedom From School Textbooks
By Penny Starr, CNS News, 19-10-2012

The Libya Herald reported that the “Fatwa Office”, presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks...
The information in the textbooks about Greek democracy might be “too detailed” for students to comprehend.
References to freedom of belief and religion should be removed because “it suggests to younger students that they could choose any religion they wanted”. The Fatwa office warned that because of the public’s religious values the textbooks “could spark public anger.”

Abdul Hakim Belhadj is described as a guardian of Qatari interests in Libya. He is one of the most prominent leaders of groups indirectly linked to Al-Qaeda, a former Al-Qaeda terrorist and the LIFG, also took part in the war in Afghanistan.
The LIFG was founded in Libya in the 1990s, a militant organization founded by Libyan elements after returning from fighting in Afghanistan.
He was arrested in Malaysia in February 2004 by the Passport and Immigration Bureau with the interference of the CIA. He was then deported to Bangkok for interrogation by the CIA and then deported to Libya on March 8, 2004. He was imprisoned at Abu Salim Prison for six years before being released. In March 2010.
After the revolution that toppled the Muammar Gaddafi regime, he became the leader of the National Party and commander of the military junta in Tripoli.
He founded the Wings Aviation Company and now owns several planes that provide dozens of flights daily between Tripoli and several other countries. (Saudi Gazette, 11-6-2017)

Founder of Qatari Intelligence: "Their goal was to create unrest "
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Monday 12 June 2017

Retired General Mahmoud Mansour, the founder of Qatari Intelligence, said he believes it is impossible for Doha to implement its aim to have Iranian and Turkish soldiers deployed in its territory.
In a phone interview with Makkah newspaper, Mansour said the US will not allow fighters of other nationalities to be deployed in Qatar territories near its large base, adding that talks of foreign soldiers (to be used by Qatar) are no more than “vocal waves that will disappear.”
He said a list that named 59 individuals and 12 entities, issued jointly by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt, “is only the first step and will be followed by others.”
“In the coming days, many terrorist persons and entities will be added, especially those who Qatar has funded in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and Europe.”

He said it is time to bring the Qatari regime to account whether by the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League or the UN.
The general said that former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa and his government executive head Hamad bin Jasim turned Doha “to a department for the execution of operations aimed at achieving the goals of (previous) US administrations in the region.”
They supported armed and terrorist groups in Asia, Africa, the Arab world and some European regions.
He said arrogance made them (the Hamads) think they could outsmart the US and seek the creation of a huge Islamic state with Doha as its capital.
During that period (under the two Hamads), Qatar started looking for agents to recruit in Somalia, Eretria, Central and Western Africa, Egypt, some of the Gulf states “if not all of them,” in addition to the Levant region and even Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
They started providing the funds and arms for those agents, while deceiving the Qatari people who thought the funds were for humanitarian purposes at those societies.
“The truth is, their goal was to create unrest in the countries they succeeded in penetrating using their (the then-Qatar government) vast amounts of money.”

Flashback - Qatari Minister: Assad is the real terrorist
Qatar will help Syrian rebels even if Trump ends U.S. role
By William Maclean, Tom Finn | Reuters, 26/11/2016

2011 Cartoon from the UK Independent. It depicts The British PM and French president fighting over controls of the plane while in the back seat asleep is Obama (leading from behind) with the Emir of Qatar at the point of the aircraft with a wind direction detector to ascertain the political winds to follow.

Qatar will continue to arm Syrian rebels even if Donald Trump ends U.S. backing for the multinational effort, Doha's foreign minister said in an interview.
But Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the wealthy Gulf state would not "go solo" and supply shoulder-fired missiles to the rebels... Any move to supply anti-aircraft weapons to them would have to be decided collectively by the rebels' backers...
Some Western officials worry that Gulf states could supply such weapons. Washington fears they could be seized by jihadi groups and used against Western airliners.

Qatar is a top backer of rebels fighting Assad, working alongside Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Western nations in a military aid program overseen by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that provides moderate groups with arms and training.
Qatar was determined to carry on, Sheikh Mohammed said: "This support is going to continue, we are not going to stop it. It doesn't mean that if Aleppo falls we will give up on the demands of the Syrian people," he said.
"Even if the regime captures it (Aleppo), I am sure they will have the ability to capture it back from the regime..."
He said Assad was "the fuel of Daesh" because his forces' [fighting rebels] helped the hardline group motivate young Syrian recruits.
Sheikh Mohammed suggested that Trump's views about Syria might evolve once in office when he received intelligence reports about the "reality" on the ground. Sheikh Mohammed said the reality was that Assad and violence by his forces were the core security risk...
The minister hit out at Egypt, normally a close Gulf Arab ally, for appearing to side with Assad, and criticized Iran for what he said was interference in the affairs of Arab states.
"For us unfortunately Egypt is supporting the regime ... We hope that they come back and be with us," he said.
Support for Assad is the same as supporting terrorism, he said, "because he is a terrorist and he is on equal footing with Daesh".

Flashback: Muslim Brotherhood 2012
"It Is an Obligation to Kill Bashar Al-Assad"

[May 2012] Muslim Brotherhood's presidential hopeful Mohamed Morsi visited the governorates of Beni Suef and Fayoum. Morsi was accompanied on his tour by Salafist figures Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud as well as Islamic scholar Safwat Hegazi and the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.

Israeli academia outraged at new ethical code
barring political opinion in class
Xinhua Net | 2017-06-11

Israel's academia was in uproar on Saturday on a possible new ethical code to bar professors from speaking about politics in classrooms.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett made the remarks to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Friday that he decided to adopt new ethical guidelines for higher education institutions.
Bennett said he expects the Higher Education Council, a body that oversees Israel's higher education system and Bennett serves as its chairman, would discuss and approve the code "soon."
The guidelines would be implemented in all of the universities and colleges after the expected approval, he said.
The proposed code was drafted by Asa Kasher, a professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University.
Under the code, professors would be forbidden from "promoting their political worldview in class." Each institution would be required "to establish a unit that would monitor political activity" on campus.
The code would also bar lecturers from calling for academic boycotts against Israel.

The academic community reacted angrily, denouncing the move as anti-democratic.
VERA, the umbrella organization of the heads of Israel's universities, released a statement Saturday saying they "vehemently object" the code.
It "undermines institutes of higher education's freedom to decide their own codes of conduct for their academic staffs, and thus infringes on academic freedom in the most serious and fundamental way," the statement read.
Israel's right-wing coalition has been putting efforts to fend off international criticism and calls for boycotts over the country's 50-year-long control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinians wish to establish their future state.
Over the past years, academics and artists engaged in political activity against the occupation have become a frequent target for far-right ministers and lawmakers, who accuse them of "disloyalty."

Asa Kasher is noted for authorship of Israel Defense Forces's Code of Conduct.
He wrote an influential defense of Israel's 'law of return', justifying it as a form of affirmative action, following periods in which Jews were not allowed to immigrate to many countries.
He also wrote about possible meanings to a Jewish and democratic state, the meaning of a Jewish collective and many other essays. His essays on Jewish subjects are collected in a book titled Ruach Ish (Spirit of a Man), published in Hebrew by Am Oved publication house.
Prof. Kasher has strong, long-standing ties with the army. He drafted the IDF ethical code of conduct in the mid-1990's.
In 2003 he and Maj. Gen Amos Yadlin, now the head of Military Intelligence, published an article entitled "The Ethical Fight Against Terror." It justified the targeted assassination of terrorists, even at the price of hitting nearby Palestinian civilians.

After “Operation Cast Lead” — Israel’s three-week-long assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009 that killed 1,400 Palestinians, including some 400 children — Kasher rushed to explain how and why killing children on such a scale is permissible.
Compassion can be shown, he allowed, but only if it does not increase the risk to Israeli soldiers or their mission.

Uri Avnery, autum 2009

"Asa Kasher faithfully plays the role of attorney for the defense, offering a closing statement in the case of “World Public Opinion vs. the State of Israel.” His goal is to justify the IDF’s conduct of the Gaza war, and as a result, he produces the argument of an advocate.
His is not the ruling of an objective judge, and one certainly should not discuss it without first considering the claims of the other side..."
"The value of an argument is evident in the language it employs. Throughout his article, Kasher disperses words and phrases such as “terrorists” and “terrorist organizations.” He concludes his piece by referring to the “malicious designs of Hamas.” This is the language of propaganda, and the use of it detracts from the seriousness of his entire argument."
"Kasher makes things easy for himself: He refuses to believe Palestinian and international reports regarding the extent of death and destruction in Gaza, and declares that they are erroneous and unfounded."