Saddam's Death, 95 (june 2017)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 94: may-june 2017 and Page 96: july 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)

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)

Dome of the Rock - The Praetorium:
A holy place for Christians & Muslims

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.


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'..."

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


Read more: The Temple Revolution
and Saddam's Death, page 94

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."

Iran more dangerous than ISIS?
by Ron Paul, antiwar.com, June 13, 2017

Just when you thought our Syria policy could not get any worse, last week it did. The US military twice attacked Syrian government forces from a military base it illegally occupies inside Syria.
According to the Pentagon, the attacks on Syrian government-backed forces were “defensive” because the Syrian fighters were approaching a US self-declared “de-confliction” zone inside Syria. The Syrian forces were pursuing ISIS in the area, but the US attacked anyway.
The US is training yet another rebel group fighting from that base, located near the border of Iraq at al-Tanf, and it claims that Syrian government forces pose a threat to the US military presence there. But the Pentagon has forgotten one thing: it has no authority to be in Syria in the first place!

International Quds Day is an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan that was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism, as well as Israel's control of Eastern Jerusalem.

What gives the Trump Administration the right to set up military bases on foreign soil without the permission of that government? Why are we violating the sovereignty of Syria and attacking its military as they are fighting ISIS? Why does Washington claim that its primary mission in Syria is to defeat ISIS while taking military actions that benefit ISIS?

The Pentagon issued a statement saying its presence in Syria is necessary because the Syrian government is not strong enough to defeat ISIS on its own.
Even if true that the Syrian military is weakened, its weakness is due to six years of US-sponsored rebels fighting to overthrow it!
What is this really all about? Why does the US military occupy this base inside Syria? It’s partly about preventing the Syrians and Iraqis from working together to fight ISIS, but I think it’s mostly about Iran. If the Syrians and Iraqis join up to fight ISIS with the help of Iranian-allied Shia militia, the US believes it will strengthen Iran’s hand in the region.
But is this policy really in our interest, or are we just doing the bidding of our Middle East “allies,” who seem desperate for war with Iran?
Iran is not perfect, but does it make any sense to jump into the Sunni/Shia conflict on either side? The Syrians, along with their Russian and Iranian allies, are defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda. As candidate Trump said, what’s so bad about that?
We were told that if the Syrian government was allowed to liberate Aleppo from al-Qaeda, Assad would kill thousands who were trapped there. But the opposite has happened: life is returning to normal in Aleppo.
The Christian minority there celebrated Easter for the first time in several years. They are rebuilding. Can’t we finally just leave the Syrians alone?



liberated aleppo 2017


Netanyahu calls for barring all foreign government funding to Israeli NGOs
Ma'an News Agency (Palestine), June 13, 2017

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that he would seek to push forward ever more stringent regulations of foreign funding of Israeli NGOs (non-governmental organizations) , a move that has been denounced as the latest attempt to stifle human rights organizations in Israel.

Israel’s leading newspaper is a freebie to its readers, funded by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson and faithfully parroting the Likud line. Forward 2015

According to The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu said during a meeting that the controversial NGO law passed in 2016 was not strong enough, and that the Israeli government needed to prevent any foreign government funding from reaching NGOs.
Israel’s controversial "NGO transparency" law passed last summer, compelling organizations to reveal their sources of funding if more than 50 percent came from public foreign entities.
In February, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, also introduced legislation that would limit human rights organizations’ access to government information.
“This law is vital and critical and meant to defend Israeli democracy from meddling from foreign countries in its domestic matters,” Matan Peleg, the head of far-right Israeli NGO Im Tirtzu, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post: “Disrespect and abuse of Israeli sovereignty by planted organizations must stop.”
However, (Meretz) Knesset member Michal Rozin called the move “another effort by the prime minister to wink to the right at the expense of Israeli democracy.”
The overwhelmingly majority of affected NGOs have been left-leaning... Meanwhile, the law does not affect right-wing organizations, who rely largely on private funding from overseas.

Netanyahu’s announcement on Sunday came on the same day as he called for the dismantlement of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) -- the UN agency responsible for providing services to more than five million Palestinian refugees across the occupied Palestinian territory and the Middle East.

Haaretz 2011: Who Funds Israel's Right-wing Organizations

A look at the financial statements of right-wing groups shows that what they raise from private donors, mainly Jews living overseas, far exceeds what left-groups manage to raise from foreign governments. At the same time, right-wing groups are far less transparent than their left-wing rivals.
In 2008, for instance, Elad, which is apparently the wealthiest of the right-wing groups, received NIS 47 million in donations and had a budget of NIS 57 million.
By comparison, the budgets of the seven largest left-wing organizations - Peace Now, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Ir Amim, B'Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Yesh Din and Physicians for Human Rights - came to NIS 37 million combined. Most of the left-wing groups' money came from foreign governments. Elad, in addition to donations, also earns revenues from its franchise to run the City of David national park, which is one of its two main occupations. The other is settling Jews in East Jerusalem.
But the names of Elad's donors are unknown to the public because the group obtained a special permit from the Registrar of Associations to refrain from publishing them. Elad argued that publishing the names would hurt both the donors and the organization...
One factor contributing to right-wing groups' lack of transparency is that organizations engaged in Jewish settlement all have various subsidiaries and affiliates, often registered in tax shelters such as the Marshall Islands or even Liberia. They say this is necessary to protect the identity of the Palestinians who sell land to them.... Nevertheless, it makes their financing much harder to monitor.


Bennett’s ‘peace’ plan: I’ll dictate, you’ll sign
Aviad Kleinberg | YNet News Opinion, 14.06.2017

Naftali Bennett, Bayit Yehudi leader, explained the essence of the peace that he and the rightists are hoping for: Peace, the education minister clarified, is the absence of war. That is, of course, true.
Peace of the rightists,” he added, “is peace that stems from strength.” There is no doubt about that either.
However, when the side signing an agreement is powerless, the agreement is a surrender agreement, not a peace agreement.

In Bennett’s world the other side has no power, it even doesn’t exist.
We will determine the outlines of the coexistence according to our demographic, security and cultural need. We will determine the borders of the Palestinians' autonomy and, of course, the borders of the state and, as a result, the borders of the Palestinian “entity.”
If we are strong enough, the other side will be forced to accept this dictation. Peace, in other words, is not a move in which we recognize the other and try to get the other to agree, but peace is a one-sided move which exclusively reflects our needs.

There is something very appealing in this narcissist perception of coexistence. If I can set out the rules myself, why should I consider your needs?
Throughout the course of history, world powers have always tried to treat weak forces that way. They dictated conditions, and the weak side signed. Peace of the rightists.
On the other hand, if there is anything history teaches us, it’s that the discussed arrangement (I’ll dictate and you’ll sign) is full of problems. Even large empires have discovered, unfortunately, that humiliated and irritated signatories, signatories who accept a win-lose agreement with gnashing of teeth, turn to unpleasant measures to express their dissatisfaction.

Aviad Kleinberg is Professor of History at Tel Aviv University and the author of Prophets in Their Own Country: Living Saints and the Making of Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages.

The age of terrorism and hypocrisy
İbrahim Kalın, Daily Sabah (Turkey), 13-6-2017

On June 9, a group of PKK terrorists in the eastern Turkish city of Kozluk-Batman loaded a stolen vehicle with explosives, fired shots at mayor Veysi Işık's automobile and detonated the car bomb near a gendarmerie checkpoint.
The PKK's latest terror attack was hardly covered by the international media.
With the exception of Daily Sabah and a handful of Turkey-based English-language news outlets, the world ignored the tragic death of a young girl because it didn't fit the narrative about the PKK or its Syrian franchise, the People's Protection Units (YPG).
Nor did we see any statements of condemnation or expressions of sympathy from those who miss no opportunity to whitewash the PKK and preach to Turkey about the virtues of dialogue and negotiation in the fight against terrorism...
This is another reminder of the fact that we live in an age of terrorism and hypocrisy with double standards we have hardly seen anywhere else in recent history.

Flashback 2012: Diplomats Fault Syrian Govt for Getting Itself Bombed
by Jason Ditz, antiwar.com 10-5-2012


A massive bombing tears through the capital city of a major nation, destroying a massive government building and killing scores of innocent civilians nearby. Hundreds of others are wounded, some gravely.
Virtually anywhere else on the planet, such a bombing would create a wellspring of sympathy for the attacked nation. Today, in Syria, it was anything but, as Western officials issued the obligatory statements condemning the attacks, and spent most of their time condemning the regime.
The State Department went on to hint that they were considering going to the UN Security Council for “further action” against the Assad regime.
French officials, who have been pushing for an invasion of Syria, also insisted that the regime “bears all the responsibility” for the bombing.



terror-acts 2012, committed by 'the good rebels'


What role is Saif Al Islam likely to play in Libya?
Mustafa Fetouri, The National (UAE), June 14, 2017

The announcement that Saif Al Islam, the second son of Muammar Qaddafi, is out of jail came as no surprise to those who have been following the political twists in chaotic Libya.
In fact, he was released, however partially, in April 2016 when his lawyer Karim Khan confirmed that he had been freed from jail but would be staying in Zintan with little restriction on his movements.
Neither the battalion nor the lawyer revealed where the free young Qaddafi is now...

Regardless of where he will stay, the important question is what role he is likely to play in the war-ravaged country.
He still commands respect and support among large groups of Libyans, particularly those who supported his father in the civil war in 2011, most notably among people in Bani Walid, Sebha, Tarhouna and many other places.
This explains the celebrations that erupted right after news of his release spread. His own tribe is a long time ally of Warfalla, Libya’s largest.
In terms of tribal structure, he is positioned to be the most preferred representative of the victims of those who have been killed, displaced and imprisoned since 2011.
In the cultural tribal setting this is known as "next of kin", whereby the person representing such people has the consent of all tribes represented to forgive crimes and to help national reconciliation.

Given the fact that the UN-brokered Government of National Accord has failed to make any tangible progress in terms of security, stability and economic well-being, Saif Al Islam becomes something of a credible alternative.
Whatever the shifting political sands of Libya will reveal, there is no doubt that this new player has entered the scene with significant public support.
However hard it is to reconcile this statement, some Libyans, who have suffered for the last six years now, see him as the future.

ICC chief prosecutor demands handover of Saif Al-Islam
By Jamie Prentis, Libya Herald, 14-6-2017

Following the reported release of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi earlier this week, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for his immediate arrest.

Fatou Bensouda said Libya was “obliged” to surrender Saif to the ICC regardless of the supposed amnesty law enacted by the House of Representatives under which he was suuposedly freed.
“Helping a fugitive to escape justice must not be tolerated, and Mr Gaddafi must be surrendered to the custody of the court,” she said.
Saif Al-Islam is wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes committed during the (NATO backed Islamist) 2011 revolution.
Arrest warrants naming other top Qaddafi regime officials are expected to be announced by the court soon.

A tool of global power politics
International Criminal Court Not Impartial
NDTV| AP, December 12, 2016

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta criticised the International Criminal Court as "not impartial," saying his government "will give serious thought" to its membership of the court.
Mr Kenyatta was elected in 2013 as he and his running mate, William Ruto, faced criminal charges at the ICC over their alleged roles in post-election violence in 2007-2008. The charges against Mr Kenyatta were withdrawn in 2014 while the case against Mr Ruto was terminated earlier this year.
"In our pursuit of a more stable and just order, we are champions of global institutions grounded in fairness and respect for national sovereignty," Mr Kenyatta said.
"The Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court have ended but the experience has given us cause to observe that this institution has become a tool of global power politics and not the justice it was built to dispense."
He added: "We have started to see many more nations openly recognizing that the ICC is not impartial. Some have withdrawn. Others have considered that step.
Twice, our parliament has passed motions to withdraw. We have sought the changes that will align the ICC to respect national sovereignty. Those changes have not been forthcoming. We will therefore need to give serious thought to our membership."


Spokeswoman points to Damascus gaining ground as setting IS up for total defeat
TASS Russian News Agency, June 15, 2017

Syria’s new military-political realties create conditions for the final defeat of the terrorist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, outlawed in Russia, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing.
"Syria’s armed forces have completed the first phase of a large-scale operation in the Syrian desert," she said. "Government forces have approached the Iraqi border."
"There is the certainty the new realities create conditions for the ultimate defeat of the Islamic State and Nusra," she added.
"Apparently, government forces might have achieved far more impressive results on this track, but the US air raids intervened," Zakharova stated.

"The dynamics of the military-political situation in Syria is positive by and large," Zakharova said. "
The implementation of the memorandum on zones of de-escalation in Syria of May 4 and, as a consequence, further consolidation of the cessation of hostilities allow Syrian government forces to focus on the struggle against the Islamic State, Nusra and other terrorist groups."
Civilians have been returning to their homes in areas retaken from the militants.
"The authorities of the Damascus area are determined to restore water and power supply and social infrastructures as soon as possible," Zakharova concluded.

Ghanimi, Syrian Ministry of Defense Discuss Security Cooperation
Iraq, NINA, 14-6-2017

Chief of Staff of the Army, Major General Othman Al-Ghanimi discussed with a high-level delegation from the Syrian Ministry of Defense coordination and security cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Defense said that "Al-Ghanimi received, yesterday evening, the head of the operations department in the Syrian Ministry of Defense and his accompanying delegation, and discussed with them a number of vital issues:
[Both countries have] a common enemy, which is represented by Daesh, and its elimination requires more cooperation and coordination and the exchange of intelligence information.
Border control by the forces of the Iraqi and Syrian armies is needed to maintain continued pressure on the terrorist enemy and a joint operations center has to be established."
The meeting discussed the latest military developments in Mosul and also on the Syrian side.
For his part, the head of the Syrian operations authority praised the victories of the Iraqi army in Mosul and he stressed the strength of the relationship between the two brotherly countries.


Abu Dhabi mosque renamed ‘Mary, mother of Jesus’ in harmony bid
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Friday 16 June 2017

Quran 5:110: O Jesus the son of Mary!
Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother.

A mosque in the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi has been renamed the “Mary, mother of Jesus” Mosque in a bid to “consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions ([The people of the Book'].”
The mosque — “Mariam, Umm Eisa” in Arabic — was renamed following orders of Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who called for consolidating bonds between followers of different faiths.
Minister of State for Tolerance Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi thanked the crown prince for his “wise directives in carrying out this initiative that set a shining example, and a beautiful image of the tolerance and coexistence enjoyed by the UAE,” according to a statement carried by WAM.
Rev. Canon Andrew Thompson of the nearby St. Andrew’s Church told Gulf News that he was “delighted” to hear the news. “We are delighted that we are celebrating something that we have in common between both our faiths,” he said.
Mary, as the mother of Jesus, is of course a holy, special figure in our communities. She is a woman who symbolizes obedience to God. We look forward to growing in deeper understanding with our neighbors, and we celebrate with them the new name of the mosque.”
Earlier this week, a church in the area of Al-Ain opened its doors to Muslims for Maghrib prayers. The event saw more than 200 Asian Muslim workers perform prayers in the church.

People, Sharing Divine Values

''THE BOOK', as mentioned in the Quran, is NOT the Quran, but a term that refers to the religious scriptures of the Jews, the Roman Christians (after the 325 Nicea council) and the Gnostic Christians (before 325).
The Quran was created by followers of Muhammad after his death (8 june 632 CE).
Calling the Quran 'the Book of God' is a form of blasphemy. The Quran is a product of human beings, based on Mohammed's 'conversations' with the angel Gabriel, who visited him during dreams and visions.
Angels - like humans - are created by a creator. You cannot call them 'Gods'...
The Quran is utterly clear in that matter:
Don't call anyone or anything 'God'. Don't be a divider, but defend (like the prophets did) divine values, like compassion, mercy, freedom, equality and brotherhood...
The Quran is not written down by Muhammad. It is the revealed spoken word, that was preserved by memorization.
At different times in Muhammed's life the recitations would come to him; he would then repeat what he had heard and these would be memorized by certain people trained in remembering verses; some of these verses were written down on whatever was at hand. All these writings were collected in the caliphate of 'Uthman and the canonical text was established around 650 A.D.


Read also: The Curse of the Law



Syria 2012: Salafist rebels, enemies of divine values, and Syrian soldiers


Infamous Saudi cleric nearly escapes assassination attempt in Idlib
By Leith Fadel, Al-Mashdar, 16/06/2017

Saudi cleric, ‘Abdullah Al-Muhaysini, was the target of an assassination attempt in the Idlib Governorate, opposition channels claimed this afternoon.
According to local accounts, a suicide attack targeted Muhaysni’s personal vehicle in front of the Abi Zar Mosque following Friday’s prayers.
While Muhaysni escaped the assassination attempt, his bodyguard was killed in the explosion.
Friday’s assassination attempt on Muhaysni’s life marks the second time in two weeks that he has been targeted by unknown assailants in the Idlib Governorate.

Flashback 2013: Saudi cleric endorses Islamic Front,
calls for cooperation with al Qaeda
By Thomas Joscelyn | LongWarJournal, December 14, 2013

Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini, a popular Saudi cleric who has relocated to Syria, has used his highly trafficked social media presence to endorse the new Islamic Front formed by some of the leading Syrian insurgent groups. He called for the Islamist coalition to cooperate with al Qaeda’s two official branches inside Syria.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, or Levant (ISIS), one of two official al Qaeda branches in Syria, has quarreled with other jihadist groups, including the Al Nusrah Front (the other formal al Qaeda branch) and Ahrar al Sham, which is a leading member in the new Islamic Front. These groups frequently coordinate their operations, but ISIS has often proven to be a problematic partner...
Al Muhaysini swiftly proposed that a common sharia court be established, with each of the leading jihadist groups contributing two judges. The court would adjudicate disputes between its members. Al Muhaysini even said that the new court’s rulings should be made public such that Muslims worldwide could read the decisions for themselves.
According to some accounts on Twitter, the Al Nusrah Front and other Syrian jihadist groups endorsed the idea. ISIS reportedly did not.

On Oct. 26, 2013, al Muhaysini announced a new fundraising campaign to finance the jihad in Syria.
In late November, al Muhaysini released a video on YouTube in which he comments on the formation of the new Islamic Front...
He noted that “there are large groups still outside the coalition,” including ISIS, Al Nusrah, and several other brigades. If all of these groups cannot unify their efforts, al Muhaysini said, then they should still recognize there is “enough room in this arena of jihad for all of us” and they should continue to coordinate their efforts without antagonism.

Tillerson: US Working for Regime Change in Iran
Says Specifics of US Policy Are Still Under Development
Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, June 15, 2017

Speaking to the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked about whether or not the Trump Administration’s policy is one of trying to impose regime change on Iran.
While Tillerson insisted that the specifics of administration policy on Iran are still under development, he did confirm that the goal remains regime change.
Exactly how they expect to pull that off remains to be seen, but Tillerson said the US policy as it stands is to rely on “elements inside of Iran” who can be supported toward the end goal of regime change, with the hope it would be a “peaceful transition of that government.”
That’s unlikely, as to the extent US officials have shown interest in supporting “elements” in Iran at all, it’s groups with long-standing links to terrorism like the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK).
The actual reformists within Iran’s political system tend to be vilified by the US, and even when they do take power, as they have now, US hostility tends to undermine their ability to normalize ties with the West.

Catherine Shakdam: Axis of Resistance
& The war for independence
New Eastern Outlook, 12-8-2015

No power in the region has been more intent on breaking terror’s back than the Islamic Republic – so much so that Tehran has already committed its men and weapons in Iraq, offering Baghdad its unconditional support...
If not for Iran’s intervention and if not for Iran’s military impetus against ISIS, it is likely the Iraqi capital and more Iraqi provinces with it would have fallen under ISIS’ dominion.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs best summarized today’s political dynamics and implications this July when he stated that extremist forces’ primary purpose in the Middle East had been to steal the wealth of Muslim countries and destroy the resistance front against Israel.
He also insisted – rightly so, that terrorism would not exist in the Middle East if Muslim countries in the region were united.

This war against terror is really a war for independence – independence from neo-imperialism and independence from theofascism.
Let us remember that Iran’s republic was born in rejection of tyranny. To reclaim their freedom Iranians had to pay the ultimate price, rising a resistance against western hegemonic ambitions.
Iran’s message and policy ever since have been in support of political self-determination, not subjugation.

Catherine Shakdam is the Associate Director of the Beirut Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


Erdogan calls on US, Saudi Arabia to join Astana talks
TASS Russian News Agency, June 16, 2017

Bashar al-Assad 2010: "Terrorist might belong to different countries and the national framework differs. In Syria it's a Syrian framework, and in Turkey it's a Turkish framework but the principles are identical, so the coordination between us and Turkey in this issue is of great importance to define one framework or similar framework." presidentassad.net, 11-10-2010

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the United States and Saudi Arabia to join the Astana talks aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis, the Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
"We have been cooperating with Russia and Iran in the Astana negotiating process, we call on Saudi Arabia and the United States to join the talks," Erdogan said.
The Turkish president also pointed out that "it is impossible to resolve the crises in Syria and Iraq without Iran’s mediation."
Erdogan noted that Tehran supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Ankara supported the Syrian opposition.

In late 2016, Russia, Iran and Turkey brokered a ceasefire in Syria using political and military means.
In January 2017 Russia initiated the first meeting between representatives of the Syrian authorities and opposition members, which took place in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana. After that, Astana hosted intra-Syrian talks in February, March and May.
On May 4, the guarantor countries (Russia, Iran and Turkey) signed a memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria.


Syrian Kurdish leader: Iran undermines the Kurds in Syria
ARA News, Kurdish Region, 17-6-2017

Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim, co-president of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), said that since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution the PYD has supported the people, but did not back the Syrian government nor the Syrian opposition.
“We have no relations with Iran, and Iran’s policy is no different from that of the Syrian regime on the Kurdish issue, which is hostile to the Kurds’ fundamental rights,” he told the Saudi Riyadh news site.
“They fear that the Kurds will gain their rights in Syria, and the Iranian and Syrian regime have the same position [on the Kurds],” he said.
Moreover, the official said there is an Iranian-Qatari-Turkish alliance to undermine the Kurds. ...
The PYD official said that while Turkey is the executer, Qatar is the financier of the policy to undermine the Kurds in Syria.
“This alliance with it’s tools is dangerous for all the people of the Middle East, and for all the humanity,” he said.

Time for Washington to support Kurdistan’s independence
By David Romanom, Rudaw News (Kurdistan), 17-6-2017

Since as long as anyone can remember, policymakers in Washington avoided supporting the Kurds’ political aspirations for independence. In many cases Washington refused to even support Kurdish demands for substantive autonomy in Turkey, Iraq, Iran or Syria...
American policy continued, until very recently, to keep its distance from the Kurds.
Regarding Iraq, the “One Iraq Policy” mantra was repeated by American officials so often that everyone tired of the broken record. In Iran, the Americans avoided supporting Kurdish rebels as well.. In Syria, the Americans seemed blind to the Kurds’ presence – at least until events of the last few years forced their eyes open...

Iraq and Syria are failed states, Saudi Arabia and Iran are engaged in numerous proxy wars, Islamist radicals are popping up everywhere, Lebanon is perpetually on the brink of collapse, and Turkey is fighting a 33 year old insurgency by razing Kurdish cities to the ground...
A pro-Western, independent South Kurdistan might actually inject a bit of sanity into the whole fiasco of a region, especially if clear American backing prevented any military attempts to squash it at birth.
The point is simple – the Kurds can make good allies for America rather than the kind of ‘frenemy” that seems to characterize every American relationship in the region save that with Israel.
What’s more, the Kurds can hold their own militarily with just a fraction of the support given to actors such as the Iraqi army.

Flashback: Sisi against Iraqi Kurd secession
Iraqi Kurds' move would be a disaster for the region
Middle East Online, 7-7-2014

CAIRO - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned the independence of Iraq's Kurdish region would be "catastrophic" and cause the Middle East to splinter along ethnic and religious lines, newspapers reported Monday.
Sisi said such a move would be a disaster for the region...
The move is part of a "terrible plot" that was aimed at "redrawing the region on religious and ethnic grounds," he said...

Netanyahu, Bennett and Regev are afraid of the truth
Yoav Fromer, YNet News Opinion, 13.06.2017


Netanyahu: God is a Right Wing Nationalist
Have you ever asked yourselves why? Why does the education minister in the most right-wing government in the history of the State Israel have to promote an ethical code that will silence criticism in universities?
Or why does the culture minister [..] persecute singers and actors who aren’t really harming anyone? Or why is the prime minister [..] holding on to the communications portfolio so tightly and fighting the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation as if it were the battle of his life?
Well, the answer is both simple and surprising: They are simply afraid.
What are they afraid of? The truth.
The same truth that every sensible person outside Israel—and many people in Israel—has already known for years. That the ideas, the values and the ideological infrastructure of the nationalistic Right, which are rooted in the Greater Land of Israel perception, are living on borrowed time. They are futile. They are even dying.


Einstein: "I call it cosmic religious feeling"
The settlement enterprise —this government’s raison d'etre— has failed to take root as a legitimate idea, both in Israel and in the world... There is probably not a single country in the world that would agree to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank. It hasn’t happened so far because it will never happen.
This recognition has generated the anxiety that produced the paranoia we are witnessing, which seeks to put an end to any criticism against the occupation, as minor and insignificant as it may be.

When ideology is sufficiently strong, moral and convincing, it needs no academic ethical code or cultural commissars. It is capable of defending itself.
But as a government loses ethical and ideological legitimacy, its ideological infrastructure turns into a house of cards: Every critical gust of wind threatens to bring it down, which is why it must defend itself through radical measures like censorship and persecution. Because only when you can no longer defend your actions with words, you are forced to take action to silence the words.

Albert Einstein's Paradigm Shift:
"Cosmic religious feeling...is very difficult to explain...to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it..."
"The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it.

Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints.."
(Lecture on "Religion and Science" in The World as I See It, p. 27)


Ahrar Al-Sham signs four ceasefire deals with Syrian government
By Ivan Castro, Al-Masdar News, 19/06/2017

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:20 P.M.) – Information emerged on the network claiming that one of the largest Syrian islamist groups, Ahrar Al-Sham, signed ceasefire agreements with Syrian government with the help of Russian mediators in 4 different regions of the country.
Ahrar Al-Sham, being a Syrian offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood movement, has been under direct influence of Qatar since the beginning of the Syrian war.
Therefore, some analysts believe this recent development echoes what is currently happening in the Persian Gulf region where Qatar has ended up in partial diplomatic and isolation after Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and other former allies broke relations with the tiny Gulf nation on the charges of sponsoring terrorist organizations.
In the meantime, Ahrar Al-Sham has published a statement that strongly denies information about any agreement settled with Syrian authorities.
However, several pro-Syrian opposition sources believe that Ahrar Al-Sham leadership merely wants to keep this kind of information confidential, and that the group has already stopped fighting against Syrian Army in a number of areas.

Flashback: The Call for Jihad
Nasser Charara, Al-Akhbar 5-1-2013

At the beginning of 2012 70 sheikhs from the Syrian Council of Clerics issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that declared jihad in Syria the duty of all Muslims. The Salafi sheikhs understood that the call for jihad had to be introduced in phases in order for many Syrians to accept it.
They had noticed that the early protests were limited to social and economic demands, and when Islamist activists would raise slogans calling for the downfall of the regime, many participants would quickly leave. But soon this began to change and the Islamists were able to call for the execution of the president without alienating the protesters.

Two sheikhs in particular helped lay the groundwork for the rapid growth of Salafism in Syria: Sheikh Mohammed Suroor and Sheikh Adnan al-Arour. Both men were once members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Saudi Arabia....

Suroor is credited with creating the juridical framework for the establishment of al-Qaeda by merging Wahhabi Salafism with notions of jihad as espoused by Sayyid Qutb, one of the most influential thinkers of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood executed by Gamal Abdul-Nasser in the mid-1960s.
"The Surooris (fanatical partisans of the innovator Muhammad Suroor) are characterised by an exaggerated emphasis to political issues and affairs and inciting and arousing the common-folk into bloody revolutions and civil strife.
Arour [..] became the preferred point of reference among Salafi sheikhs in Syria, where he played a key role in popularizing Islamist slogans and practice among opposition protesters.

Islamist insiders insist that the key group in the movement today is the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades and not the Nusra Front, which receives the most attention. ..
The movement has produced a 40-page internal manifesto to organize and direct its members. The document emulates the experience of Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, the Libyan Islamist rebel leader...

Ahrar al-Sham in particular enjoys the support of Sheik Adnan al-Arour, a Sunni Muslim media star in exile, who blasts Shiites and Alawites on his television show and on what appears to be his authentic Twitter account.
“We buy weapons from the donations and savings of the Wahhabi children,” said one recent Twitter posting, referring to the Islamic sect prominent in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, “and not from the Americans like the Shiites of Iraq did.”

Abdelhakim Belhadj is a Libyan politician and military leader. He is the leader of the conservative Islamist Al-Watan Party and former head of Tripoli Military Council. He was emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, now defunct guerilla anti-Gaddafi group.
The Alwattan Party is a conservative Islamist political party in Libya, founded in November 2011. It is endorsed and led by Ali al-Sallabi, an influential Salafist cleric. Members include also Abdelhakim Belhadj, Mahmoud Hamza, Ali Zeidan and Mansour Saif Al-Nasar.
Al-Sallabi has strong ties to both Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, and Abdelhakim Belhadj, former "emir" of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The party demands to base a new Libyan constitution on Sharia law.(Wikipedia info)


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.
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”. (Page 94)


Russia terminates air incident prevention agreement with US
TASS Russian News Agency, 19/06/2017

DAMASCUS, SYRIA – Russia is halting cooperation with the US forces regarding the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria after the US shot down a Syrian fighter jet west of Raqqa yesterday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the US side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria and demands that the US command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken,” the statement released by the MoD reads.
The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty.
The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic," the ministry said.
According to the ministry, at the moment the Syrian warplane was hit by the US fighter, Russia’s Aerospace Forces were carrying out missions in Syria’s airspace;
"However, the coalition command did not use the existing communication line between the air commands of Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar) and Khmeimim Air Base to prevent incidents in Syria’s airspace."
Russia will regard any flights within the area of its air force group's operation in Syria as legitimate targets, the ministry stressed.

Foreign Ministry Syria: US-led alliance’s attack on Syrian aircraft
reveals truth about America’s support for terrorism - SANA, 19 June 2017

In two letters sent to the UN Secretary General and the President of Security Council on Monday, the Ministry said that the US and its illegal alliance have revealed their real face and the underhanded goal they seek to achieve in Syria when they committed a new crime on June 18th 2017 by intentionally shooting down a Syrian Air Force aircraft while it was carrying out a combatant mission against ISIS terrorist organization on Syrian territory.
The letters stressed that it is shameful that the United States justified its terrible act by promoting open lies through official statements that are far from the truth, particularly since the Syrian fighter plane fell in an area close to al-Rasafa area which is controlled by ISIS, contrary to what the American side claimed, as the pilot was seen parachuting in areas controlled by ISIS terrorists.
The letters went on to say that as Syria condemns this aggression, it calls on the Security Council to break its silence and condemn these cowardly and reckless military actions, particularly as they are carried out by an illegal coalition, adding that this blatant US aggression can only be seen as a violation of Security Council resolutions on combating terrorism, the sovereignty and independence of the Syrian Arab Republic, international law, and the UN Charter.

Might is Right

It perhaps should go without saying that under international law the Syrian government has the right to operate inside Syrian airspace and that the U.S. military has no legal right to have personnel inside Syria (since they lack the Syrian government’s permission) let alone to attack the Syrian military or its allied forces.
Another curious feature about this situation is that the U.S. mainstream media sees nothing illegal or unusual about the U.S. military operating inside another country uninvited and shooting down government aircraft.

That assumption that the U.S. military has the right to intervene in any conflict of its choosing was reflected in the decision by the Times and Post to minimize coverage of the shoot-down of the Syrian bomber and accept uncritically the Pentagon’s explanation that the shoot-down was in response to Syrian government attacks on U.S.-backed forces. (Consortium News, 19-6-2017)

Israel & "the apocalyptic Iranian threat"
By Gabriel Rosenberg (Zionist), Jerusalem Post, June 19, 2017

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, is governed by an apocalyptic radical Islamic regime and is expanding its presence and influence across the Middle East by the use of intimidation, aggression and terrorism.
Still, many in the West have been eager to re-engage with Iran in terms of trade and sanctions relief.
Fortunately, thanks to a new administration in the White House and a renewed sense of urgency among the Sunni Arab states, the Iranian threat is back at the top of the international agenda.

The regime that controls Iran with an iron fist, led by Ayatollah Khamenei, is guided by the Shi’ite version of Islamism. Islamism is a political ideology with roots in Muslim scriptures that calls for the destruction of Western society and the establishment of Sharia law (Islamic law) worldwide.
Many within Shi’ite Islam believe that when the world is on the verge of destruction the Twelfth Imam, the Shi’ite messiah, will suddenly return to rule the world through a worldwide Islamic caliphate...
For Ayatollah Khamenei and many other leaders in Iran, this religious prophecy is not just about faith but rather their main guide when it comes to implementing policy... This prophecy is so deep-rooted in Iranian culture that their leaders have stated publicly that they are willing to let millions of their own people die in order to fulfill it...
Aside from downplaying the Iranian regime’s ideology, most Western countries have yet to realize the severity of the threat that Iran poses and instead focus on the much less significant threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).
While their ideologies are very similar, the capabilities of ISIS pale in comparison to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Those in the West who believe that engagement with Iran will lead to moderation fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the regime... Moreover, the West is not sufficiently alarmed by Iran’s repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map...
Just like many in the West believe that Israel is a target of terrorism because of “the occupation,” they are equally in denial that Iran’s threat against Israel is also a threat against the West.
The time is ripe to get the EU and other countries on board to at last treat Iran as the devastating threat to the world it truly is.

The author is a member of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps, a flagship program of the World Jewish Congress, and a board member of the Zionist Federation of Sweden.

Ahmadinejad & The 12th Imam
by Bridget Johnson, 2009 - Updated May 25, 2017

Iranian 'Twelver Shiism' is the largest branch of Shiite Islam, with about 85 percent of Shiite adhering to the belief in the 12th imam. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, was a Twelver. So is the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (president of Iran from 2005-2013).
Now, what does this mean? A series of imams was appointed to carry on the Prophet Muhammad's message, they believe, ranking above all other prophets except for Muhammad himself.
The 12th, Muhammad al-Mahdi, is believed by these Shiites to have been born in present-day Iraq in 869 and never to have died, only gone into hiding. Twelvers believe that al-Mahdi will return as a messiah with Jesus on his side to bring peace to the world and establish Islam as the ruling faith across the globe.
When NBC News' Ann Curry interviewed Ahmadinejad in Tehran in September 2009, she asked him about the Mahdi:

"He (Imam Mahdi) will not have a beard but will be clean shaven.. His body will be small. His legs will be like those of a young girl.." (Page 92)

-- Curry: In your speeches, you pray for God to hasten the arrival of the hidden Imam, the Muslim messiah. Would you tell us, as I know you will speak about this at the general assembly, as well? What is your relationship with the hidden Imam, and how soon do you think before the second coming?
-- Ahmadinejad: Yes, that’s true. I prayed for the arrival of the 12th Imam. The owner of the age, as we call him. Because the owner of the age is the symbol of justice and brotherly love prevailing around the world.
When the Imam arrives, all of these problems will be resolved. And a prayer for the owner of the age is nothing but a wish for justice and brotherly love to prevail around the world.
And it’s an obligation a person takes upon himself to always think about brotherly love. And also to treat others as equals. All people can establish such a connection with the Imam of the age. It’s roughly the same as the relationship which exists between Christians and the Christ.
They speak with Jesus Christ and they are sure that Christ hears them and responds. Therefore, this is not limited to us only. Any person can talk with the Imam.

-- Curry: You’ve said that you believe that his arrival, the apocalypse, would happen in your own lifetime. What do you believe that you should do to hasten his arrival?
-- Ahmadinejad: I have never said such a thing. I was talking about peace.
What is being said about an apocalyptic war and – global war, things of that nature. This is what the Zionists are claiming.
Imam Mahdi will come with logic, with culture, with science. He will come so that there is no more war. No more enmity, hatred. No more conflict.
He will call on everyone to enter a brotherly love. Of course, he will return with Jesus Christ. The two will come back together. And working together, they would fill this world with love.
The stories that have been disseminated around the world about extensive war, apocalyptic wars, so on and so forth, these are false.


Ayatollah Ali Khamenei & Imam Mahdi

The Imam of our time, the Savior (May God hasten his return) is the manifestation of divine justice.
We know that the most significant characteristic of Imam Mahdi (God’s greetings and peace be upon him), which has been described in supplications and narrations is justice. “Through him, God will fill the earth with justice and fairness.”

At present, we should create a society that encompasses justice. In the establishment of a society, justice is the most important matter.
Justice includes indiscrimination in applied rights, boundaries and laws. Justice consists of helping the poor and the weak. Justice calls for a country’s plans and their general movements to be aimed at provision for the poor.
Justice means, those who have been deprived of their rights, beneath the heavy shadow of tyranny while under oppressive rule, be given their privileges.
Justice signifies that a particular faction does not consider privileges for only themselves. Justice denotes that human, public and social rights, as well as divine restrictions be equally applied to all people.

The realization of justice is that the establishment and its different sections must progress towards helping the poor and the underprivileged.
If we direct our life toward this and live such a life, the Almighty God will certainly assist us.
The materialistically powerful cannot discourage our nation – through deception and treachery- in pursuing a prideful path by taking resistance away from us.
By the will of God, the people’s resistance will grow stronger day by day. (statements made at a meeting with officialls, 13/03/1990)


'Flip-Flop' Trump Turns Back the Clock
By Ron Paul, Monday June 19, 2017

"Diplomacy depends above all on trust. Trump, however, has shown that his greatest loyalty is to opportunism. Leaders who side with him on Monday risk being traduced on Tuesday. Until that impression is erased, the US has little hope of projecting greater influence." George Eaton

Nostalgia seems to be very popular in Washington. While the neocons and Democratic Party hard-liners have succeeded in bringing back the Cold War with Russia, [..] president Donald Trump announced in Miami on Friday that he was slamming the door on one of President Obama’s few foreign policy successes: easing 50 years of US sanctions on Cuba.
Trump said that his new policy would be nothing short of “regime change” for Cuba. No easing of US sanctions on Cuba, he said, “until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.”

Yes, this is the same Donald Trump who declared as president-elect in December that his incoming Administration would “pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past.
We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments.” Now, in another flip-flop toward the neocons, President Trump is pursuing regime change in Cuba on the pretext of human rights violations.
While the Cuban government may not have a spotless record when it comes to human rights, this is the same President Trump who just weeks ago heaped praise on perhaps the world’s worst human rights abuser, Saudi Arabia.

The neocons increasingly have President Trump’s ear, even though he was elected on promises to ignore their constant calls for war and conflict.
How many more flip-flops before his supporters no longer recognize him....?


Science: the natural enemy of orthodoxy and authoritarianism
Why the government is afraid of the academia
Yuval Noah Harari | YNet News Opinion, 20.06.2017

Lecturers in the academia definitely need an ethical code, but they already have one. And the ethical code of lecturers in the academia is much stricter than the ethical code of politicians and government ministers, for example.
As scientists, our commitment is first and foremost to the truth, to facts and evidence. If the evidence contradicts our personal view, we are committed to present the evidence as is.
When we discuss a complicated political issue in class, we are committed to present to the students a variety of theories and opinions, and we are committed to allow the students to respond, to ask questions and to voice different opinions.
Even if a student’s political views are different from our own, we must not offend him, mock him, silence him or punish him by lowering his grade.

Those who seek to impose an ethical code on the academia on behalf of the government are acting all innocent and claiming that they want every academic institution to “defend its students against political activity.”
But students know how to defend themselves, as we saw in the case of the female students who have led battles against sexual harassment in academic institutions in recent years.
Students are not small children. Children usually lack critical thinking skills, and when a Bible teacher tells a 10-year-old boy that God created the world in six days, the child has trouble addressing it in a critical manner.
On the other hand, 25-year-old students don’t believe everything their lecturer tells them. Does the education minister think that after 12 years of studying in the Israeli educational system, students are incapable of thinking in a critical manner?
The best way to defend students is to keep developing their critical thinking skills and their political instincts so that they won’t believe everything they are told by a person of authority — and that is precisely what we are trying to teach students in the academia.

That is exactly why the government is so afraid of the academia. The government is afraid that citizens will learn how to think in a critical manner, and it is even more afraid that citizens will learn to think based on facts.
Politicians like to engage in a simplistic political debate based on slogans and propaganda. In the academia, on the other hand, students are taught how to conduct a complex political debate based on a wide variety of facts and evidence.
Want to present a political stance? Go ahead, but this is the academia, so bring us some kind of evidence supporting your stance.
Fine political debates in the academia teach students how to conduct a political debate based on evidence rather than on wishful thinking, and how to distinguish between propaganda and the truth.

Flashback 2012: Start fighting, seculars....
Religious-nationalistic forces taking over Israel by using ideology, demography
Roni Brizon, YNet News, 25-1-2012


naftali bennett- education minister

The country is being taken over, by using ideology and demography and thanks to our general indifference, by a camp comprising three population groups: Haredi Orthodoxy, religious nationalism and rightist-religious traditionalism.
This religious, fundamentalist camp shares similar ideology, shows contempt for democracy and individual rights, discriminates against women, hates seculars (known as “wicked” in Jewish Law) and despises anyone who isn’t Jewish.
Almost 50% of Jewish children and youths in Israel today belong to this Ortho-Fascist camp and are being educated at its institutions and in line with its spirit.
The phrase “Ortho-Fascist” is not a derogatory term, but rather, a factual description of this camp’s views:
A combination of a radical-religious worldview and a religious-fascist worldview that sees Israel itself as an apparatus of special holiness. This is the place where, according to the camp’s leader, Rabbi Kook, God’s seat touches the world....
Start fighting, seculars, at once. Otherwise, you are certain to lose your country.
Start fighting because the only alternative is a foreign passport, a plane ticket, and the hope that you will recognize the right moment to leave.

Flashback: British Chief Rabbi Sacks asks to stop printing of his controversial book
by DOUGLAS DAVIS, Jerusalem Post, 13-11-2002

British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has asked his publisher, Continuum, to stop promoting and printing The Dignity of Difference until he has completed revisions for a second edition.
His decision followed growing charges from a broad spectrum of the Orthodox community, including his own mainstream United Synagogue movement, that the views he expressed could be regarded as heretical.
Sacks wrote that "God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims."

British chief rabbi revises controversial book
By Richard Allen Greene, Jewish Telegraph, March 16, 2003

In the second edition of “The Dignity of Difference,” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks removed statements suggesting that Christianity and Islam are as valid as Judaism.
The new edition, published March 1, substitutes: “God communicates in human language, but there are dimensions of the divine that must forever elude us.
As Jews we believe that God has made a covenant with a singular people... ": the Jewish people.

Award-winning authors take on Israeli occupation
Joe Dyke, Your Middle East, June 20, 2017

A group of award-winning authors launched a book highlighting Israel's 50-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, raising money for an NGO hated by the Israeli government.
Featuring chapters penned by more than two dozen writers, "Kingdom of Olives and Ash" was edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman.
Chabon, winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his novel "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay", said the aim was to start a conversation about the impact of the occupation on both Israelis and Palestinians. ...
By using famous authors, including the winners of three Pulitzers and a Nobel, they were aiming to "sort of trick" people "into paying attention to the occupation by baiting the trap, in a way, with the work of a really amazing writer".

Proceeds from the book will go to 'Breaking the Silence', an NGO that documents alleged abuses by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territories and publishes testimonies of soldiers, much to the chagrin of Israeli officials.
In 2016 the then defence minister accused the NGO of treason and the current government -- the most right-wing in Israel's history -- has sought to curtail their work and ban them from speaking in schools.

The book takes the form of individual chapters by the authors, most of which centre around their trips to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in the past two years.
Chabon's chapter touches heavily on the "arbitrary" nature of the occupation in the West Bank, with Palestinians often caught up in bureaucracy and subject to the whims of individual soldiers and commanders.
Author Dave Eggers, who visited Gaza in his chapter, details life in the Palestinian enclave and how residents try to survive in the territory often labelled the world's largest prison...
Eggers details peoples' frustrations with their lives, including with the Islamists Hamas who run the strip and restrict cultural freedoms.

Both Waldman and Chabon said there was a growing gap between young American progressive Jews and Israel. "Jews of my parents' generation, even of my generation, had a much easier time being progressive on all issues except Israel," said Waldman.
"Jews of my children's generation [..] are not willing to make an exception for Israel in their world view. "They are not willing to engage in the same kind of hypocrisy that my generation and generations before us have."


Read also: How culture could help end Palestinian divisions (9-3-2017)


France's Macron Sees No Clear Successor for Assad
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 22-6-2017

President Emmanuel Macron says France is no longer pushing for the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a shift in French policy throughout the Syrian war.
Macron said in an interview with eight European newspapers published on Thursday that he wants to work more closely with Russia for a solution in Syria and says foreign powers were too focused on Assad as a person.
Macron says: "The new outlook I have on this issue is that I haven't stated that Bashar Assad's departure is a necessary condition for everything. Because no one has shown me a legitimate successor."

Macron's predecessors were among the most vocal Assad opponents.

Flashback 17-8-2012

The desperation of the US regime is that Assad was supposed to be brought down in July, I think July 18th. Terror attacks to decapitate the Syrian armed forces, the shipping in of thousands and thousands of new death squad members from many other countries, an attack on the currency, the television warfare in its entire campaign.
That has now failed...


regime changers: hillary clinton - laurent fabius - bernard-henry levy

The US, the British, the French and indeed the Israelis are now apoplectic. That’s what you see with [French Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius.
I would call attention to the language he decided when he says ‘the Syrian regime should be smashed fast and that Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this earth’.
This is a language we haven’t heard in Europe since the fascist era. This is the language of a fascist dictatorship and, well, Fabius is not quite that yet but you get the idea. It’s going in that direction.

"My little African son, Obama wants to kill me"
Gaddafi's Last Formal Speech

They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism", but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer.
Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stoop up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. (Mu'ummar Qaddafi, Pravda 2011/05/04)

Flashback 2011: US media in praise of lynching
Russia Today, October 26, 2011

The mainstream US media has reacted to Muammar Gaddafi's brutal lynching with a tidal wave of cheers and approval...
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the triumphant celebrations of Gaddafi’s death with her immortal line, “We came, we saw, he died!” - words which are sure to be remembered far beyond America’s shores....
Although many Libyans would argue whether he was really so bad, considering what Gaddafi did for the country’s social welfare and women’s rights, in the eyes of the US media, he was the ultimate evil.
“It is a demonization, every step of the way, against Gaddafi. In the media today always one man, one leader of a country, becomes a justification for destroying an entire country,” acknowledged Sara Flounders, member of the Workers World Party.
For a few days, the media savored the bloody images of Gaddafi’s killing and laughed at similarities between his capture in a ditch and that of Saddam Hussein.


Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
BBC News, 21 June 2017

Mohammed bin Salman has been elevated to the position of crown prince, replacing his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef - a move that had been widely expected and could shape the direction of the country for decades.
Mohammed bin Salman was born on 31 August 1985, the eldest son of then-Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud's third wife, Fahdah bint Falah bin Sultan.

Born 31-8-1985: Sun in Virgo, Moon in Pisces
Read also: Donald Trump and his Alter-Ego

After gaining a bachelor's degree in law at King Saud University in the capital Riyadh, he worked for several state bodies. In 2009, he was appointed special adviser to his father, who was serving as governor of Riyadh at the time.
Mohammed bin Salman's rise to power began in 2013, when he was named head of the Crown Prince's Court, with the rank of minister.
One of Mohammed bin Salman's first acts as defence minister was to launch a military campaign in Yemen in March 2015, along with other Arab states after President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced into exile by the Houthi rebel movement.
The campaign has made limited progress over the past two years, seen Saudi Arabia and its allies being accused of human rights violations, and triggered a humanitarian crisis in the Arab world's poorest country.

He has unveiled a wide-ranging plan to bring social and economic change in the oil-dependent kingdom: Vision 2030.
He has also overseen the reduction of the country's lavish subsidies and proposed the partial privatisation of the state oil company, Saudi Aramco.

VISION 2030

"It is my pleasure to present Saudi Arabia’s Vision for the future.
It is an ambitious yet achievable blueprint, which expresses our long-term goals and expectations and reflects our country’s strengths and capabilities.
All success stories start with a vision, and successful visions are based on strong pillars.
The first pillar of our vision is our status as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds. Our Kingdom is the Land of the Two Holy Mosques, the most sacred sites on earth...
The second pillar of our vision is our determination to become a global investment powerhouse. Our nation holds strong investment capabilities, which we will harness to stimulate our economy and diversify our revenues.
The third pillar is transforming our unique strategic location into a global hub connecting three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa. Our geographic position between key global waterways, makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia an epicenter of trade and the gateway to the world.

Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs
Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud


US-Official Says U.S.-Led Coalition Building Jihadist Database
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 22-6-2017

The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State group is building a database of foreign fighters to track jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria at home, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.
Brett McGurk, the White House envoy to the anti-IS coalition, told an Israeli security conference the effort aimed to help prevent attacks like those recently carried out in Europe.
"Our coalition is building a global database of foreign fighters, through information-sharing networks and Interpol, to ensure that anyone who fought with ISIS in Syria and Iraq can be identified in either routine traffic stops, border entry points or in the course of routine police work," McGurk said.
Speaking at the annual Herzliya security conference near Tel Aviv, McGurk said the coalition was also having success in preventing more foreign fighters from joining IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh, in Syria.
"On foreign fighters we've largely halted the flow into Syria from Turkey; from hundreds a week to now a handful at most a month," he said.


Syria: Daraa reconciliation deal falls apart
By Chris Tomson, 23/06/2017

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:20 A.M.) – On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) increased its sorties over the embattled city of Daraa, targeting the southern and eastern neighborhoods that remain under opposition control.
Earlier in the day, rebel forces and a government delegation tried in vain to negotiate a large-scale truce deal for the provincial capital; however, these attempts proved fruitless as Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) commanders failed to comply.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Republican Guard source told Al-Masdar News: “Battles are still ongoing; we have not yet received any orders to implement a ceasefire. But we do know that Russia is attempting to conclude a reconciliation deal in Daraa”.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – spearheaded by Colonel Ghayath Galla and his seasoned 4th Mechanized Division – resumed their counter-insurgency operations in the Daraa Camp refugee area and Al-Manshiyah district.
With the SAA now enjoying superior weaponry and manpower, government forces hope to bring Daraa city under full government control before the end of the year.
Daraa carries huge symbolism for the Syrian Opposition as it was the first city in the country to witness anti-government protests back in 2011.

Flashback 2011: Assad's Secular Democracy
Syrian Youth Dialogue Sessions
Dp-news - Sana - 26-9-2011

In Daraa city, participants in the dialogue session discussed the mechanism of activating the constitutional articles and amending them to go in harmony with the national principles and self-determination and suit the current political developments in Syria.
Participants considered the current constitution as having numerous positive points; however, some of its articles should be amended to suit the current stage in Syria. Participants called for preserving general freedoms and political pluralism.
In al-Raqqa city, participants in the youth dialogue session on the constitution saw that some articles in the constitution can be amended to suit the current developments.
In Damascus countryside, participants focused on some articles of the constitution, stressing the social goals and nationalist thoughts that must be preserved to protect the national interests of the people.
In Tartous city, dialogue session dealt with four basic axes: the constitution, basic principles, rights, and freedoms which are guaranteed by the constitution; separating authorities; the current political system and the need to amend the constitution.

Washington holds secret talks with Muslim "Brotherhood"
ChamPress, 28-9-2011

MB Syria: "We will bring back
Islam to Syria"

WASHINGTON — American media reports on Tuesday said that the administration of President Barack Obama has been quietly consulting with the "Islamic opposition" in Syria. Within this context, the American "World Tribune" Newspaper revealed that senior U.S. officials have been meeting with the "Muslim Brotherhood" of Syria as well as its lobbyists in the United States.
The US officials said the two sides have convened several times over the last three months to discuss the Brotherhood's role after the "ouster" of President Bashar Assad's regime.

The Reform Party in Syria (RPS) has protested the US administration's meetings with the "Brotherhood".
RPS, regarded as one of the most pro-Western elements in the Syrian opposition, said Washington was signaling its endorsement of the "Brotherhood's" goal to make Syria into an Islamic state rather than a democracy that would foster its large minority communities.


Pro-Al-Qaeda MB Statement 2012

The decision to blacklist al-Nusra [al-Qaeda in Syria] has triggered criticism from the powerful Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
A senior Brotherhood official said it was wrong and hasty. "They are seen as (a group that) can be relied on to defend the country and the civilians against the regular army and Assad's gangs," Brotherhood deputy leader Farouq Tayfour told Reuters on Tuesday.
Alkhatib said it was "no shame" if Syrian rebels were driven by religious motives to topple Assad...
"The fact that the military movement is Islamic in its colour is generally positive. Jihad in the path of God has long been a fundamental motivator for human rights."

2016 War statement from Syria Muslim Brotherhood
We will defend 'the Revolution" against the evil Iranian-Russian plots
IkhwanWeb, Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria understands the international plot being orchestrated and carried out against the Syrian people and its future generations... Facing up to revelations of this international conspiracy to impose a Russian – Iranian military on our people, the group announces the following:
* 1. The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria will not be a conduit for the crime of terminating the revolution, nor a bridge through which evil plots of the Russians and the Iranians and their accomplices are passed.
* 2. The group declares it will always endeavor to make the positions of these institutions harmonious with the goals of the revolution...
* 3. Despite the siege imposed on it, in many forms, by various international and regional powers, the group will continue to put all its resources in the service of Syria and the revolution...

Armed Groups Inside Syria
by Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, 4-2-2012

Russia and China have vetoed the UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria pointing to the existence of armed groups involved in terrorist acts including the killing of civilians.
These armed groups have been involved since the outset of the "protest movement" in Daraa, southern Syria, in March 2011.

The statement of Russia's envoy to the UN Viktor Churkin remains within the realm of international diplomacy. It does not mention who is behind these armed groups and the fact that NATO is supporting an armed insurrection.
"Churkin said that resolution's Western co-sponsors had not included key proposals such as isolating the Syrian opposition from violent extremist groups or a call to arms for other states to use their influence to prevent such alliances".
Ironically, Russia's decision to veto the resolution is consistent with the report of the Arab League's Observer Mission to Syria, which confirms the existence of an "Armed Entity".

Unexpectedly, however, neither Washington nor the Arab League, which commissioned the Observer Mission to Syria in the first place, have accepted the interim report presented by the AL Mission.
Why? Because the Mission --integrated by independent observers from Arab League countries-- provides a balanced and objective assessment of what is happening on the ground inside Syria. It does not serve as a mouthpiece for Washington and the governments of Arab states.
It points to the existence of an "Armed Entity"; it acknowledges that "armed opposition groups" including the Syria Free Army are involved in criminal and terrorist acts.

Qatar rejects claim of supporting Syrian 'terror groups'
Al-Jazeera, 22-6-2017

Qatar has never supported Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the Syrian group formerly known as al-Nusra Front, or any other "terrorist group", its foreign minister says.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in an interview with France 24 Arabic on Thursday that Qatar had always "abided by international laws" and played a key role in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
"Qatar does not support the Nusra Front in Syria ... and it does not support any terrorist organisation," he told France 24.
The foreign minister added that he expects to receive a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the next two days, but stressed Qatar would not accept any "foreign dictations" and "rejected discussing any matter related to the Al Jazeera channel as it considered it an internal affair".
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic ties and cut off sea and air links with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" - a charge Doha strongly denies.
As a result, Qatar's only land border has been closed, it has been stopped from using the airspace of neighbouring nations and its citizens were ordered to leave the Gulf Arab countries.
The UAE said this week the measures could last for years unless Doha accepted demands that the Arab powers plan to reveal in the coming days.

Walid Muallem : ‘60 per cent of the country's violence comes from abroad'
Robert Fisk, Independent 28-8-2012

"I tell the Americans: 'You must read well what you did in Afghanistan and Somalia. I don't understand your slogan of fighting international terrorism when you are supporting this terrorism in Syria'." ...
Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem claims that perhaps 60 per cent of the country's violence comes from abroad, from Turkey, from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with the United States exercising its influence over all others..

A year ago, I told Muallem, I lunched with the Emir of Qatar, and he was enraged at what he called Bashar al-Assad's lies, claiming that the Syrian President had reneged on a deal to allow Muslim Brotherhood members to return home.

Muallem nodded. "If you met the same Emir two years ago, he was praising Assad, and considered him a dear friend. They used to have family relations, spending family holidays in Damascus and sometimes in Doha.
There is an important question: what happened?
I met the Emir in Doha in, I think, November 2011, when the Arab League started their initiative [resulting in the sending of League observers to Syria] and we reached agreement …
The Emir told me: 'If you agree to this initiative, I will change the attitude of Al Jazeera and I will tell [Sheikh] Qaradawi to support Syria and reconciliation, and I have put down some billions of dollars to rebuild Syria…'
"But I asked the Emir: 'You were having very close relations with Muammar Gaddafi and you were the only leader in his palace when Gaddafi hosted you during the summit – so why are you sending your aircraft to attack Libya and be part of Nato?' The Emir said simply: 'Because we don't want to lose our momentum in Tunis and Egypt – and Gaddafi was responsible for dividing Sudan'."

For the Syrian Foreign Minister, the crisis started with "legitimate demands" subsequently addressed by "legislation and reforms and even a new constitution". Then along came "foreign elements" who used these legitimate demands "to hijack the peaceful agenda of the people".


Read also: How America Armed Terrorists in Syria
By Gareth Porter, The American Conservative, June 22, 2017

"By helping its Sunni allies provide weapons to al Nusra Front and its allies and by funneling into the war zone sophisticated weapons that were bound to fall into al Nusra hands or strengthen their overall military position, U.S. policy has been largely responsible for having extended al Qaeda’s power across a significant part of Syrian territory.
The CIA and the Pentagon appear to be ready to tolerate such a betrayal of America’s stated counter-terrorism mission. Unless either Congress or the White House confronts that betrayal explicitly, U.S. policy will continue to be complicit in the consolidation of power by al Qaeda in Syria, even if the Islamic State is defeated there."

"U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” Hassan Firouzabadi, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, 12-6-2012


Saudi demands from Qatar seen as breach of sovereignty
Ali Ünal, Daily Sabah (Turkey), 23-6-2017

2015: Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jafari said that Al-Jazeera's interview with the leader of Al-Nusra Front terrorist group Mohamad al-Golani violated UN counterterrorism resolutions and was aimed at encouraging terrorism.

A 13-article list of demands from Saudi-led anti-Qatar axis has been interpretted by analysts as a breach of Qatar's sovereingty..
Kuwait delivered the demands of four Gulf Arab states to end the diplomatic crisis with Qatar on Friday (23-6).
Commenting on the list of demands Muhittin Ataman from the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) said:
"When I saw these requests, I thought that Qatar's independence is trying to be taken away from it. I see it is a series of requests aimed at turning Qatar into a country dependent on Saudi Arabia, because all of them target Doha's political sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

"It is interfering with Qatar's international affairs one way or another. It is against the main principles of international laws. These demands definitely cannot be accepted as a sovereign state."

The 13 demands also include calls to shut down the Turkish military base in Qatar.
Defense Minister Fikri Işık said in a live interview with the NTV private broadcaster that they have no intention of reassessing the status of the Turkish military base in Qatar, and it would be interference in bilateral ties.
Apart from calls to close the Turkish base in the country, the four Gulf Arab states demanded the shuttering of Al-Jazeera TV and cutting ties with Iran. They also demanded that Qatar make a declaration against terrorist groups, including Daesh and al-Qaeda, halt funding to those organizations and hand over any individuals from those organizations in the country.

Zionist Organization of America calls on concert facilities
not to give a platform to Roger Waters.
Elad Benari, Canada, 24/06/2017

Roger Waters 2013: "I deplore the policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories and Gaza. They are immoral, inhuman and illegal. I will continue my non-violent protests as long as the government of Israel continues with these policies." (The Guardian, 14-12-2013)

The Zionist Organization of America on Friday turned the tables on founding Pink Floyd member Roger Waters.
The organization’s Greater Philadelphia chapter criticized performance arenas and concert facilities throughout North America for giving Waters a platform. The ZOA also criticized radio stations across the nation who are promoting Waters’ concerts and giving away tickets to them.
Waters has in the past compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying in an interview, “The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable>.”
If that is not enough, Waters has frequently blasted other musicians for choosing to perform in Israel and has pressured them to cancel their performances.
Waters is currently on a 46-city tour, playing 61 concerts throughout the United States and Canada.
[The show features songs from Pink Floyd’s greatest albums (The Dark Side of The Moon, The Wall, Animals, Wish You Were Here) plus some songs from his new album 'Is This the Life We Really Want?']

Morton A. Klein, the ZOA’s National President, and Steve Feldman, Executive Director of ZOA’s Greater Philadelphia chapter, urged the venues hosting Waters, the corporations that the venues are named for, and the radio stations that are promoting his concerts, to speak out and condemn Waters...
“Roger Waters is an unapologetic Jew hater and hater of the Jewish State of Israel. He is using the platforms he is being given to promote his lies and encourage hatred of Jews and Israel,” they said.

Roger Waters: "We are all human"
Rolling Stone Interview, 23-2-2017

STAY HUMAN
Roger Waters Interview, 2015

I've only ever written about one thing in my life, which is the fact that we as human beings have a responsibility to one another, and that it's important that we empathize with others, that we organize society so that we all become happier and we all get the life we really want.
And the life that we really want is a life where we can all afford to educate our children, so they and our grandchildren can aspire to better and more productive, less aggressive, less competitive, less "rah-rah," less nationalistic, less colonial, less supremacist lives than the lives we're forced to live now, controlled as we are by the very few.

The Trump model for human existence and politics and civilization and the way we organize society is not a model that we aspire to, notwithstanding the election that just happened. We want to follow a different model that is more humane, where we're not in desperate competition with one another and our nation is not in desperate competition with other nations in the world, that we have come to the conclusion that we need to cooperate with each other and other nations in the world in order to resolve conflicts and make life more bearable for all our brothers and sisters." After all, we are all human. Even the Donald.

Even the Donald?
Even the Donald is a human being.
We are all part of the family and have responsibilities to one another. So I see the resistance growing in strength.
And the more that he does to implement his policies of diversion and the more he tries to set us all against each other, hopefully we will resist more and say, "No, this is not what we want."

"Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised." Vincent Peale

"Vincent Peale thought I was his greatest student of all time", quoted in: Donald Trump, a man of faith

US President Donald Trump
congratulated Muslims
on the advent of the Eid al-Fitr holiday

"On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr…
Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity.

During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill.
With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values," Trump said in a statement as quoted by The Hill newspaper.

The president concluded the statement with the words "Eid Mubarak," which are the traditional Muslim greeting meaning "blessed celebration."


The Democrats’ Religion Problem
By Daniel K. Williams, New York Times, 23-6-2017

Bernie Sanders:& The Golden Rule
CNN Asked Bernie Sanders About His Religion
Elisabeth Parker, Reverb Press, february 23, 2016

Young, secular Democrats are attempting to separate their party’s progressive values from America's religious traditions.
Some may belong to a religious tradition or consider themselves to be spiritual people, but they are not able to speak the language of a communally based faith because it does not inform or shape their political views.
This has posed a problem at the polls, because most Democratic voters are not as secular as these activists might assume. While only 47 percent of white, college-educated Democrats identify as Christians, Christianity remains the faith of 81 percent of African-American Democrats and 76 percent of Latino Democrats.

What can Democrats do to bridge the divide between young, secular party activists and the rest of voters?
Oddly, last year’s presidential run by Senator Bernie Sanders, a secular Jew, may suggest a way forward.
Mr. Sanders’s non-Christian background may have hurt him in the South; he did poorly among African-American voters, despite his consistent civil rights record. But he did what few other secular candidates have done: He won a sympathetic hearing from conservative evangelicals with a speech that gave a religious grounding for his economic views, complete with biblical citations.
When Mr. Sanders spoke at Liberty University, he did not pretend to share evangelical Christians’ faith, but he showed respect for his audience’s religious tradition.
To do the same, secular Democrats need to study the religious language of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They need to take the time to learn the religious values of their audience. They need to be honest about their own secularity, but acknowledge their debt to the religious traditions that have shaped their progressive ideology.
Only through a willingness to ground their policy proposals in the religious values of prospective voters will they be able to convince people of faith that they are not a threat to their values but are instead an ally in a common cause.


A festive atmosphere could be witnessed in the Al-Klaseh neighborhood, in Eastern Aleppo, as children celebrated Eid al-Fitr for the first time since the war-torn city was liberated from the terrorist groups. [FARS video, 26-6-2017]

US would welcome effective Syrian effort to defeat IS
By Robert Burns, AP News, 24-6-2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military coalition fighting the Islamic State would welcome a concerted effort by the Syrian government or its Iranian-backed partner forces to defeat IS in its remaining strongholds in eastern Syria, a U.S. spokesman said Friday.
Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the coalition, told reporters at the Pentagon that the U.S. goal is to defeat IS wherever it exists.
If others, including the Syrian government and its Iranian and Russian allies, want to fight the extremists as well, then "we absolutely have no problem with that," he said, speaking from Baghdad.
"If it looks like they are making a concerted effort to move into ISIS-held areas, and if they show that they can do that, that is not a bad sign," Dillon said, referring to forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Washington severed diplomatic relations with Syria during the Obama administration, which insisted that Assad "must go."
More recently, Assad has strengthened his position, regaining key territory from weakened opposition forces.
Syrian government troops, for example, have reached the Iraqi border in an area where IS leaders have been gathering. The area is far from the main battle lines of Syria's civil war. The U.S. so far has shunned any cooperation with Assad..

Dillon said that as Syrian government forces move toward Abu Kamal, "if they want to fight ISIS in Abu Kamal and they have the capacity to do so, then that would be welcomed.
We as a coalition are not in the land-grab business. We are in the killing-ISIS business.
That is what we want to do, and if the Syrian regime wants to do that and they're going to put forth a concerted effort and show that they are doing just that in Abu Kamal or Deir el-Zour or elsewhere, that means that we don't have to do that in those places."


Lavrov, Tillerson discuss Syrian crisis
TASS Russian News Agency, June 27, 2017

Syrian settlement, including issues of strengthening the ceasefire in that country, was in focus of a telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.
"The two top diplomats discussed problems related to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, including the necessity to strengthen the ceasefire, in particular via the Astana process, to step up efforts in the fight against terrorist groups and preventing attempts to use chemical poisonous agents," the ministry said.

"Lavrov called on Washington to take measures to prevent provocations against Syrian government troops fighting against terrorists," the ministry said.The two top diplomats agreed to continue contacts, "including on issues of the bilateral agenda," the ministry added.

Trump’s Neoconservative ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley,
accuses Syria of Planning Gas attack - attacks Russia, Iran
By Juan Cole | Jun. 27, 2017

The Trump administration is making noise about striking Syria, on the grounds that Damascus is planning to use poison gas again.
The statement is said to be from “the White House” but is otherwise not characterized. Why does the White House think this? Why did Trump himself not tweet about it if it is coming from him?
The odd thing about the breathless announcement late Monday was that earlier that day Secretary of State Rex Tillerson phoned his Russian opposite number, Sergei Lavrov to discuss tamping down the violence in Syria.
They want to extend the current ceasefire in some areas, which did in fact lead to less violence in the “deconfliction zones...
It is almost as if there were a faction of hawks around Trump who wanted to derail any Tillerson-Lavrov cooperation and maintain a condition of undeclared war with Russia and Iran.

Nikki Haley: The Friend of Right-Wing Israel


Trump Appoints Friend of Israel as Ambassador to Anti-Zionist United Nations
Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News (Biblical Perspective), 23-11-2016


President-elect Donald Trump has offered South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley the position of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and she has accepted, NBS reported on Wednesday.
It is a position of high importance to Israel, which faces opposition and condemnation at the UN at levels unknown to any other country.
Israel has relied heavily on US support to veto resolutions unfavorable to the Jewish State or promote movements which strengthen its position.
Luckily for Israel, Haley has a record which seems likely to translate to a pro-Israel stance at the UN...

US blocks appointment of former Palestinian PM as UN envoy to Libya
Ahram online|AFP, Saturday 11 Feb 2017

The United States on Friday blocked the appointment of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad to be the new UN envoy to Libya.
"For too long, the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel," said the US ambassador. "Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies."
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon (Likud) applauded the US decision, describing it as "the beginning of new era where the US stands firmly behind Israel against any and all attempts to harm the Jewish state.

Nikki Haley champions Israel's anti-BDS policy
Alex Kane, Middle East Eye, 30 March 2017

“Know that the United States has Israel’s back, and know that you now have a fighter and a friend in the UN to help you,” Haley told the audience of more than 2,000 pro-Israel activists, students and representatives of Jewish organizations.
“We should boycott North Korea, we should sanction Iran, we should divest from Syria, not Israel,” she said. “It makes absolutely no sense and it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.” Nikki Haley (Jerusalem Post)

Haley’s presence at a nakedly pro-Israel forum underscored how the Trump administration has strengthened the already close US-Israeli relations. And it was a signal that, as Israel pursues a crackdown on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the US will follow suit.
“The effort to delegitimize the state of Israel being waged on college campuses and the anti-Israel obsession at the UN are one in the same,” Haley told the pro-Israel confab. “They both seek to deny Israel’s right to exist. They are both efforts to intimidate her friends and embolden her enemies. They are both extensions of an ancient hatred.”

U.S. envoy to U.N: We hate Assad
By Paul Antonopoulos, Al-Masdar News, 04/04/2017

The United States does not believe that the Syrian people want President Bashar al-Assad as their leader any longer, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, claimed on Monday that the Syrian people do not want President Bashar al-Assad as their leader any longer.
This comes as only days earlier the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said that the USA needs to accept the reality that removing Assad is no longer the priority in Syria, and rather the defeat of ISIS is.
“We have no love for Assad. We’ve made that very clear. We think that he has been a hindrance to peace for a long time. He’s a war criminal. What he’s done to his people is nothing more than disgusting,” she said.

Saddam's Death, page 90



President al-Assad and his family visit injured army personnel in Hama countryside
syrian arab news agency, 26-6-2017


Russia: US threats against the legitimate leadership in Syria unacceptable
SANA, 27 June 2017

Russia has slammed as “unacceptable” the US threats against the legitimate leadership in Syria following a recent White House statement alleging that this leadership is planning 'another chemical attack'.
“We heard about this statement. We don’t know what it’s based on. And, of course, we strongly disagree with the wording ‘another attack,’ The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Novosti agency on Tuesday.
“The Syrian government cannot be held accountable for the April 4 chemical attack in Idleb province “because, as you know, despite all Russia’s demands, an unbiased international investigation of the previous tragedy has not been carried out,” he added. ”We do not believe it is possible to rest the responsibility on the Syrian armed forces.”
However, he noted that a potential danger of repeated provocations with chemical weapons use in Syria still exists as there is evidence that terrorists possess such arms.


Anti-Russia Hysteria & The Plot to Scapegoat Russia
Sputnik News, 27-6-2017

“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love and create, and those who hate and destroy.” There is no doubt that the U.S. has proven itself to be of the latter kind; indeed, the very nature of U.S. foreign policy is destruction." Daniel Kovalik, CounterPunch, 7-10-2016

A book called “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Conspired to Vilify Putin” has been recently released in the US.
The author of the book, Daniel Kovalik, is a human rights attorney and a professor at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law.
In an interview with Sputnik Kovalik discussed the on-going anti-Russia hysteria in the west and its possible consequences... He spoke about how Americans are programmed to be weary of Russia for decades, since the Cold War days.
Looking at how people inside the US who try to voice their opinion and speak against the anti-Russia hysteria are ridiculed and silenced, Kovalik said that just looking at what happened to Oliver Stone after his documentary Interviews with Putin was released.
“He [Oliver Stone] goes on these talk shows and he is barely allowed to speak. Then there are the articles that have been published about him afterwards, it’s just terrible,” Kovalik said.
Earlier in the month, the US Showtime TV channel aired the four-episode documentary. Stone received a number of comments about the documentary and the role of Putin within its context.
Stone warned that politically motivated statements depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin as "a villain without a soul" will do nothing to contribute to the easing of international tensions. He added that it’s important to be vigilant and to speak out against the “anti-Russia hysteria.”


Iraq outlines plans to rebuild country, inspire tolerance
prevent the emergence of a new generation, inspired by a culture of hate
Adnan Abu Zeed , Al-Monitor, 26-6-2017

BAGHDAD — Iraqi military leaders expect victory this week against the Islamic State (IS) in the battle for Mosul, and the government has unveiled a $100 billion, 10-year reconstruction plan for the country, that is slated to begin next year.
Mosul will be particularly important to rebuild because of the number of citizens who were forced from their homes, the extent of the damage there and the symbolic significance of the city, which IS considered its Iraqi capital.
In addition to repairing the infrastructure, Iraqi officials acknowledge the importance of overcoming the influence IS established on the population, especially young people, during its three-year reign of terror there.
Hossam al-Ayyar, a member of the Ninevah Provincial Council, told Al-Monitor the plan will aim to eliminate “ideological extremism from the culture of the people of Mosul, who have been living for three years with IS' inflammatory rhetoric, and [prevent] the emergence of a new generation, inspired by a culture of hate.”
Ayyar added, “The plan includes cultural and religious programs adopted by mosques, schools and churches to consolidate the values of coexistence and moderation, promote shared living and the culture of peace and freedom of belief and the respect of the rights of others."

The biggest challenge facing the strategic plan is funding,” Jamila al-Obeidi, a parliamentarian for Ninevah province,i told Al-Monitor.
“Foreign reconstruction companies will enter Iraq right after the exit of IS." She expressed hope that “this investment will contribute to the benefit of the citizens and not be only profitable to some parties.” She warned against “corruption in such projects.”
The solution to the funding problem appears to be through borrowing. The World Bank will be the main option.


Chad–Sudan–Libya triangle once again center of a regional system of conflicts
By Aidan Lewis | Reuters, 27-6-2017

"The proliferation of weapons in Libya and the different militias negate the existence of politically legitimate institutions that could run the country." "The militias in Libya, even though they each belong to a different arm of government, only fight for their own agenda at the end of the day." Al-Jazeera, 30-5-2017

Hundreds of fighters from Chad and Sudan's Darfur region are feeding off instability in Libya, battling for rival factions, seeking to build rebel movements and engaging in banditry and arms trafficking, Geneva-based researchers said on Tuesday.
Failure to secure peace deals and reintegrate rebels in Chad and Sudan has led to a "market for cross-border combatants" linking those two countries and Libya, said a report by the Small Arms Survey group.
With desert regions already crisscrossed by Islamist militants, people smugglers and arms traffickers, there is a growing risk of destabilization unless long marginalized communities can be integrated, it says.
The 179-page report largely focuses on the Teda, or Tebu, people inhabiting the Tibesti mountains in northern Chad that fringe the borders of Libya and Niger. They have played a central role in rebellions in all three countries.
Their most recent insurrection in Chad ended in 2011, but the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi the same year drew them in, providing easy access to weapons.
"This chaos attracts fighters - including armed opposition forces - from northern Chad and Darfur, and is already having repercussions in Chad and Sudan," the report said.
"The Chad–Sudan–Libya triangle has once again become the center of a regional system of conflicts. A notable consequence of these conflicts has been the re-emergence since 2011 of a regional market for cross-border combatants."

Chad and Sudan support opposing armed factions in Libya, where loose and shifting rival alliances have been battling for power since 2014, creating rival governments in Tripoli and the east of sprawling Libya.
Rebels from both countries have mostly aligned with their respective government's enemies. Competing Libyan armed factions frequently accuse each other of deploying mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa.
A U.N.-backed government that arrived in the Libyan capital last year was meant to unify warring factions, but has largely failed to exert its authority.


Netanyahu: [Westbank Settlement] Ariel will always remain part of Israel
By Herb Keinon, Jeruslam Post, 28-6-2017

Israel is building in Ariel, and it will always remain a part of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged in the settlement during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new medical center at Ariel University.
Netanyahu said the center, named after the donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, will attract the “best teachers and researchers, and will train generations of students who will add to Israel’s prestige in the world.”
Netanyahu praised Adelson for his numerous contributions to Jewish education around the world...
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, were questioned earlier this week by police regarding the ongoing investigation into Netanyahu’s contacts with Arnon Mozes, the publisher Yediot Aharonot.
The cornerstone-laying event took place amid reports that the relationship between Netanyahu and Adelson is not as close as it once was, and that the American billionaire is getting closer to Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, who also attended the ceremony.

2-10-2010: Binyamin Netanyahu declared the Jewish city of Ariel “the capital of Samaria.”

He planted a symbolic tree in the city, as he did earlier in the week in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, and Maaleh Adumin, located west of the capital and overlooking the Dead Sea. Netanyahu added that he was planting not only a tree but also "three principles: Growing strength, Jewish settlement and culture in the heart of our land of our forefathers and where we will remain and build.” (source)

Naftali Bennett said that the medical school will “heal the open wounds in Israeli society, and between us and our neighbors...."
Like Netanyahu, Bennett praised Adelson. “Sheldon and Miri Adelson, you are investing in our present, but you are also investing in the future of the Jewish people, and the future of our education,” he said. “Thank you very much.”