Saddam's Death, 99 (august 2017-part 2)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 98: aug 2017 and Page 100: sept 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
Netanyahu & Infantilization of Israel
Jesus & Pophet Muhammed: "Be a stranger in the world" - Ideological Warfare Center
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)

Trump dumps controversial chief strategist Bannon in latest upheaval
Reuters, 18-8-2017

President Donald Trump on Friday fired chief strategist Stephen Bannon in the latest White House shake-up.
"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Friday. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."
Bannon became the latest key figure to abruptly depart a White House that has been chaotic from its first days in power and already has lost a chief of staff, a national security advisor, two communications directors and a chief spokesman.
Trump's presidency also has been dogged by ongoing investigations in Congress and a special counsel named by the Justice Department into potential collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, something both Trump and Moscow deny.

"People are looked at as commodities"
Steve Bannon’s worldview is much more complicated than you think
Jim Edwards, Business Insider, 16-11-2016

In the summer of 2014, Steve Bannon – US president-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist – gave a speech to the Human Dignity Institute, a conservative religious group that was holding a conference at the Vatican.
It’s fascinating. It shows Bannon’s view of the world is much more complicated than most people have thus far assumed. He finds aspects of capitalism “very disturbing,” for instance, and cites Marx in his analysis of the free market’s faults.

Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions and secular worldviews. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness.

In the Vatican talk, Bannon described in length and detail how he views the biggest issues of the day:
He wants to tear down “crony capitalism”: “a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn’t spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century...: when you have this kind of crony capitalism, you have a different set of rules for the people that make the rules.”
He is against Ayn Rand’s version of libertarianism:
“The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I’m a big believer in a lot of libertarianism.... However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the “enlightened capitalism” of the Judeo-Christian West.

It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost...
He believes the capitalism of the “Judeo Christian West” is in crisis:
“If you look at the leaders of capitalism at that time, when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West. They were either active participants in the Jewish faith, they were active participants in the Christians’ faith, and they took their beliefs, and the underpinnings of their beliefs was manifested in the work they did. And I think that’s incredibly important and something that would really become unmoored. I can see this on Wall Street today..
People are looked at as commodities. I don’t believe that our forefathers had that same belief.”

Read also: Power Religion and Humanistic Religion

Might Is Right

"In the United States more than anywhere else, in recent decades wealth and its accumulation came to be viewed as a civic virtue.
As Nick Hanauer, a Seattle entrepreneur and investor, has pointed out, to be rich meant, by definition, that you were good. This, Hanauer says, has made it particularly nice to be a rich American— you enjoy moral as well as material comfort. (Read more: Politico website)

Flashback: Ayelet Shaked, the capitalist face of the Jewish Home
Naomi Zeveloff, January 26, 2015

Shaked, 38, is the young, secular face of the Jewish Home, known in Hebrew as HaBayit HaYehudi, the far-right Orthodox nationalist group.
Shaked, first elected to the Knesset in 2013, has been an integral part of the Jewish Home’s project to bring secular and non-Orthodox voters — whom Israelis call “traditional” — into pro-settler politics.
Shaked’s defining political inspiration as a youth came from reading Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” which gave her an appreciation for “capitalism, strong figures and entrepreneurs,” she said.
Shaked’s right-wing political awakening happened in the army, where she served alongside traditionally observant settlers as an instructor in the Golani Brigade, an elite infantry unit in the Israeli Defense Force.

"When I say 'capitalism', I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism,
with a separation of state and economics." Ayn Rand, in 'The Virtue of Selfishness '

This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The World
Bannon laid out a global vision in a rare 2014 talk
J. Lester Feder, Buzzfee, November 16, 2016

Huffington Post sparked backlash after plastering their front page with the Jewish word “goy” in reference to newly fired White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. “Goy” is a Jewish word used to refer to non-Jews. Several White House aides are Jewish. Bannon is not Jewish. HuffPost editor in chief Lydia Green claimed the banner “was intended to be a mashup tribute to Yiddish and Beyoncé. (Daily Caller, 18-8-2017)

"Should we put a cap on wealth creation and distribution? It’s something that should be at the heart of every Christian that is a capitalist...
What is the purpose of whatever I’m doing with this wealth? What is the purpose of what I’m doing with the ability that God has given us, that divine providence has given us to actually be a creator of jobs and a creator of wealth?”
"I think it really behooves all of us to really take a hard look and make sure that we are reinvesting that back into positive things.
But also to make sure that we understand that we’re at the very beginning stages of a global conflict, and if we do not bind together as partners with others in other countries that this conflict is only going to metastasize."

"We are strong capitalists. And we believe in the benefits of capitalism. And, particularly, the harder-nosed the capitalism, the better. However, like I said, there’s two strands of capitalism that we’re quite concerned about.
One is crony capitalism, or what we call state-controlled capitalism, and that’s the big thing the tea party is fighting in the United States, and really the tea party’s biggest fight is not with the left, because we’re not there yet.
The biggest fight the tea party has today is just like UKIP. UKIP’s biggest fight is with the Conservative Party.
The tea party in the United States’ biggest fight is with the Republican establishment, which is really a collection of crony capitalists that feel that they have a different set of rules of how they’re going to comport themselves and how they’re going to run things.
And, quite frankly, it’s the reason that the United States’ financial situation is so dire..."
"We’re backers of entrepreneurial capitalists. They’re not. They’re what we call corporatist. They want to have more and more monopolistic power..."
"To me, it’s incumbent upon freedom-loving people to make sure that we sort out particularly this crony capitalism so that the benefits become more of this entrepreneurial spirit and that can flow back to working-class and middle-class people.."

With Bannon Gone, Trump Loses Key Anti-War Aide
Alex Pfeiffer, Daily Caller, 8/18/2017

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was weary of further American military involvement, and with his departure, President Donald Trump looks to be the only dove left in the West Wing.
Bannon supported Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s plan to use military contractors in the war in Afghanistan and was against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s plan to deploy tens of thousands of more troops to the Afghan conflict, according to a source with knowledge of the deliberations.
While saying he would “bomb the s**t” out of ISIS, Trump ran on a largely non-interventionist campaign. He attacked President Bush for invading Iraq and cautioned against toppling the Assad regime in Syria.
His White House, however, is not populated with like-minded thinkers. Even the most Trump-like senior adviser left, Stephen Miller, was a strong supporter of the Iraq War and primarily focuses on domestic policy issues.
Trump does have the habit of speaking to outside advisers on the phone and calls with Bannon and Roger Stone might be the only times Trump hears war-weary voices.

Bannon: Trump Presidency I Fought For Is Over
Peter Hasson, Daily Caller, 8/18/2017

The Trump presidency Steve Bannon fought for is over, and the people to blame are “West Wing Democrats” and the Republican establishment. That’s what Bannon told The Weekly Standard in a Friday interview immediately following his ouster as White House chief strategist.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon said. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”
Bannon also took aim at the Republican establishment he loved to rage against before riding Trump’s campaign into his position as Trump’s chief strategist. “The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success on this. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his program,” Bannon said on Friday.

McMaster dines with Israeli leaders as Bannon falls
National scurity adviser wins battle against alt-Right firebrand Bannon
By Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, 19-8-2017

WASHINGTON -- Hours before Donald Trump's chief of staff told Steve Bannon that his time in the White House had come to an end, H. R. McMaster, the president's national security adviser and Bannon's West Wing adversary, was all smiles.
McMaster had survived a targeted campaign against him orchestrated by Bannon's allies on the far-right...
The campaign forced the president to come to McMaster's defense, and was reportedly a factor in the firing of Bannon on Friday, the New York Times reported.
As Trump prepared to relieve Bannon, McMaster hosted Israel's national security team at the White House and its senior leaders, including Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and head of Mossad Yossi Cohen, over to his house for a dress-down dinner on his porch.

Jason Greenblatt [Trump's Envoy For Israeli-Palestinian Peace] attended the day's meetings, and posted photos of the White House summit and dinner on Twitter.
Greenblatt said: "McMaster led the meeting from our side, and we had a very productive discussion on our strong and continuing partnership."

The Bannon-led nationalist wing of the Trump White House views McMaster as a "globalist" at odds with their goals and what they see as Trump's agenda.
The campaign against McMaster started in earnest when McMaster removed several Bannon allies from the National Security Council.
Most senior White House aides are taking McMaster's side, notably Chief of Staff John Kelly. Bannon reportedly denies that he is behind the rumors or anti-McMaster attacks, prominent on Breitbart, which Bannon used to run. (The Week 14-8-2017)

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation formally thanked Syrian military personnel for their bravery and sacrifice in fighting terrorists throughout the country.

The official thanking event saw Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov present top Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces commander Suheil al-Hassan with a ceremonial military sword.
The ceremony took place at the Khmeimim Airbase in Syria’s Latakia Governorate with Tiger Forces commander Suheil al-Hassan and various officers of the Russian Armed Forces general staff present. (
Al-Masdar News, 19-8-2017

President al-Assad: "We are not in a state of isolation"
Unity of Syrian territory is self-evident and not up for debate
Syrian Arab News Agency, 20 August 2017

“Talking about foiling the Western project doesn’t mean we are victorious; the battle is still going on, and the signs of victory are there, but victory itself is another thing,” President al-Assad said.
The price of resistance is much lower than the price of surrender… we paid a dear price in Syria in this war, but we managed to foil the Western project...
“The media and psychological war they practiced during the past years were unable to affect us in fighting terrorism or push us towards fear and hesitation… we struck terrorism since day one, and we will continue to strike it as long as there is a single terrorist in Syria… fighting terrorism is a goal and the basis for any action we take.”

Our Armed Forces are realizing one achievement after another every day, one week after the other, crushing terrorists and clearing the lands desecrated by terrorists,” he said, asserting that the valiant heroics of the Syrian Arab Army and supporting forces constitute a role model in the history of wars.
“We will continue in the upcoming stage to crush terrorists everywhere in cooperation with friends, and we will continue national reconciliations that proved their effectiveness, as well as increasing communication with the outside and marketing economic and economic opportunities…
The direct political, economic, and military support of our friends made the possibility of advancing on the ground greater and the losses fewer, and these friends are our actual partners.”

President al-Assad affirmed that Syrian economy has entered the stage of recovery, which might be slow, but it is consistent. “We are not in a state of isolation as they think, but this state of arrogance makes them think in that way.
There will be no security cooperation or opening of embassies or role for some states that say they are looking for a solution until they cut off their ties with terrorism in a clear and unambiguous way.
“We will not allow enemies and rivals to achieve through politics what they failed to achieve through terrorism. We must work seriously from now to build the future Syria on solid bases.”
“Everything related to the destiny and future of Syria is a one hundred percent Syrian issue, and the unity of Syrian territory is self-evident and not up for debate or discussion,” President al-Assad affirmed.

Justice & Construction Party condemns Ghariani
By Libya Herald, Tripoli, 19 August 2017:

The Justice and Construction (J&C) party, widely seen as the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, has turned on the Tripoli’s Dar Al-Ifta head Sheikh Sadek Ghariani for pronouncing that anyone who backed the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) is a “non-believer”.
The controversial Ghariani is a long-standing opponent of the LPA who has regularly used his Tanasuh satellite TV channel to denounce the agreement, the Presidency Council (PC) and Faiez Serraj.
He has in the past also called for a jihad against the Libyan National Army (LNA) and its commander Khalifa Hafter and last May condemned the Abu Dhabi meeting of Serraj and Hafter as a conspiracy.
The J&C under its leader Mohamed Sowan has supported the LPA but until now has avoided going head to head with Ghariani.
However, today it declared that the sheikh’s anathema on those who backed the agreement was “irresponsible” and amounted to an invitation to shed Libyan blood. It said the cleric wanted to use religious fatwas to advance his political agenda which was unacceptable.

Libyan politician Mohamed Sowan has served as the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction Party (JCP) since its formation in March 2012. He was previously [in Gaddafi's Libya] held as a prisoner of war for eight years due to his involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood. (Counter Extremism Project)

Flashback: Libyans on the terror list
Al-Bawaba, Saturday 10-06-2017

Cairo, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain listed 59 individuals and 12 entities, on Thursday June 8, 2017, linked to Qatar on a terrorist list.
In an official joint statement, the four countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening all efforts to combat terrorism and to establish security and stability in the region by all means possible at the regional and international levels.
It stressed that these countries will not tolerate the subversive pursuits of some individuals and groups, and any person or country that aids and abets them.
The list includes five Libyans who played an escalating role in the division of Libya under Qatari support, since the beginning of the Libyan Civil War that toppled long-time Libyan, leader Muammar Gaddafi: Ali al-Salabi [Qatari Muslim Brotherhood leader, close associate of Qaradawi], Ismail al-Salabi, Belhadj, Mahdi al-Harati and Sadiq Abdul Rahman Ali Ghariani

Ghariana is called Libya's "Mufti of Terrorism," due to his issuance of fatwas inciting fighting and bloodshed in Libya. Al-Qaeda, on several occasions, valued his positions about events in Libya.
He is pursued by the Libyan parliament which held him responsible for the bloodshed in eastern Libya, and the parliament called the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in which Sadiq Abdul Rahman Ali Ghariani was involved in.
Al Ghariani became more prominent after the 2011 Libyan Revolution and, subsequent, civil war due to his widely supported fatwas against Muammar Gaddafi and public opposition to Gaddafi's rule on Al Jazeera.
During the Libyan Civil War of 2011, he declared a "jihad" against Muammar Gadhaffi during a televised address. Ghariani was later appointed as the Grand Mufti of Libya in February 2012 by the National Transitional Council.

Flashback 2014: Mufti call for violence angers Libyans
Aya Elbrqawi and Nadia Radhwan in Benghazi for Magharebia, 12/06/2014

Libya's grand mufti is facing calls to resign after he appeared on Wataniya TV Monday (June 9th) and issued a fatwa to fight the army and police.
Grand Mufti Sadik Ghariani made the statements on the "Islam and Life" programme with host Dr Osama Sallabi.

That prompted former National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil to call for the mufti's ouster, according to Libya Herald.
"The mufti has lost the confidence of Libyans and according to the law that brought him into office, he is no longer eligible for service," the paper quoted Abdel Jalil as saying.
The mufti's fatwa also sparked outrage on the Libyan street, where people called for the trial and dismissal of Ghariani.
"Sometimes we wait for the mufti to condemn bombings, murders and assassinations but he doesn't do it," noted Bahija Hijazi, a 23-year-old economics student. "Yet when there is a political issue he comes up with strange fatwas that have nothing to do with religion."
Political activist and writer Salim al-Riqii from Ajdabiya, said, "He is by God an extremist cheikh with a political orientation. God is exposing him by the day. Once Libya is liberated from the grip of extremist militias and the Muslim Brotherhood, he must be tried. This tape is enough proof that he is a party to the political game and not just a mufti."
"The mufti has exaggerated in his fatwas and should be tried by an Islamic court along with al-Qaradawi by judges in Islamic jurisprudence because of the crimes they committed on behalf of Islam and their misrepresentation of the noble Islam and their exploitation of positions in the killing of innocent people and the dismantling of the Arab-Islamic nation," commented Amira Tariq Suleiman, a 28-year-old teacher.

Magharebia is sponsored by AFRICOM (the United States Africa Command)

Breaking News: Soccer on the Temple Mount!
Arutz Sheva Staff, 20/08/2017

Jews who visited the Temple Mount on Sunday documented Arab children playing soccer at the compound, despite a previous ruling by the High Court that the police must prevent this travesty from happening.
Arabs continuously desecrate the holiest site in Judaism by holding soccer games against the law, and even have clowns perform there. They have also tried to erase the Jewish nature of the site where the First and Second Temples stood, by destroying ancient Jewish artifacts and building illegally.

21-8-2017: Soccer games are a common sight on the Temple Mount, according to the report, even though they are explicitly prohibited by the law governing holy places, which has been upheld by the High Court’s ruling.
But Israeli police, which is quick to arrest Israeli visitors who make a blessing before eating an apple, only bother to stop this blatant desecration when Jewish visitors insist that they do their job and enforce the law. According to the same report, there were several soccer games in play on Sunday, and this one was the only game police bothered to interrupt, coaxed by visiting Jews.

Matthew 18:23 - The Greatest in the Kingdom

Jesus called a little child to stand among them.
“Truly I tell you, He said, “unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.…

Holy Site to Muslims? Arab Clown Desecrates Temple Mount
Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, 17/07/2015

In a new shocking testimony to the Muslim desecration of the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount, video has surfaced showing an Arab clown performing for Arab children at the holy site.
The video - posted to Facebook on Friday by nationalist activist Baruch Marzel - shows the clown performing by tying balloons into funny shapes, speaking in a funny high voice and generally entertaining, all while framed by the Dome of the Rock Mosque.

Masses of mulling Muslims can be seen passing by and watching the performance...
Arabs at the Temple Mount have repeatedly desecrated the holy site by playing soccer games; in one warped case last December, police arrested a Jew who requested a soccer game be stopped at the site...

Police Arrest Jew for Asking to Stop Temple Mount Soccer Game
Uzi Baruch, Ari Yashar, 02/12/2014

Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount were shocked on Tuesday to find Muslim youths yet again desecrating the holy site with a game of soccer in violation of the law; their opposition to the illegal act led one of them to be arrested by Israeli police.
The Joint Headquarters of Temple Organizations (Joint HQ) reported that a Jew in his early 30s asked police present at the site to stop the soccer game, but that they refused.
"The behaviour of the officers who gave a free hand to the criminals is in complete breach of the written declaration of Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich," said the Joint HQ.
The organizations called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "to stop the alienation of the Temple Mount, and to order the police to protect the law, and to defend the Jews on the Temple Mount."

benjamin netanyahu - calming down wild jewish old men, dressed in boy-clothings

Soleimani: Iran’s interests in Iraq, Syria not materialistic
Press TV, Mon Aug 21, 2017

Major General Qassem Soleimani of Iran says the Islamic Republic does not seek materialistic interests in supporting Iraq and Syria — where it has advisory military presence — and the Palestinian cause.
“When we entered Iraq, we didn’t differentiate between our interests and those of Iraq; and we were not after [taking control of] oil wells or seizing cities like Mosul or Kirkuk. We did not and do not have monetary demands, either,” Major General Soleimani, who commands the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said on Sunday.
He also said that Iran did not support the Palestinian people because of “Shia interests.” Almost all Palestinians are Sunnis, he said, and yet “we defend them.”
The senior commander also said that in spite of the violent capacities of the Daesh terrorist group and the creation of such other militant outfits as Jaish al-Islam in Syria, Iran had been able to bring stability to Syria...
Daesh launched a terrorist offensive inside Iraq in 2014. It swiftly took over territory in the Arab country and posed a threat to seize the capital, Baghdad, too.
Iran then offered advisory military assistance to both the central government in Baghdad and the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan, helping them both maintain ground and win back territory lost to the terrorist group. In Syria, too, Iran has been offering advisory support to the government...
Major General Soleimani said the Iranian government had succeeded in transcending matters of language and race, thus bringing about stability.

Defenders of a new form of nationalism that is pragmatic
The IRGC's plan to win hearts and minds
Narges Bajoghli, Al-Monitor, 13-3-2016

He is referred to as a “shadow” commander by Western journalists as he stealthily fights the Islamic State (IS) in places such as Syria and Iraq on behalf of Iran. He has kept a low profile, despite his position as the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) elite foreign operations branch, the Quds Force.
Yet last year it seemed that he sprang onto the scene out of the blue. News outlets and social media featured his familiar face posing for selfies on the front lines in Iraq and Syria, documentaries touted his military acumen and music videos passionately praised his strength and bravery...
The surge in public displays of adoration for Qasem Soleimani (born 11-3-1957) are part of a larger public relations campaign by the IRGC that dates to the aftermath of the 2009 Green Movement.

We faced a crisis of legitimacy after the suppression of the 2009 uprisings,” a retired IRGC captain who now works in pro-regime media production told Al-Monitor. “People, especially young people, began to turn away from us. We knew we had to win them back. We had to give them heroes they could respect.” Soleimani, or Hajj Qasem as he is affectionately known in Iran, became one of those heroes...

“What Hajj Qasem has been able to do is no joke. If it weren’t for him, IS would have advanced throughout Iraq and be at our doorsteps. All Iranians owe him. We owe our safety to him, and I think our people are beginning to see that,” Reza, a 27-year old Basij filmmaker, told Al-Monitor.
“Iran is the only stable, safe country in our neighborhood, and we have Qasem Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guards to thank for that", Sepideh, a 26-year old painter who considers herself in opposition to the government, told Al-Monitor.
The fight against IS has allowed pro-regime cultural producers to rebrand the IRGC not as defenders of the Islamic Republic, but as defenders of the Iranian nation.

See also: Modernity & The Third Culture

President Trump Addresses Nation on Afghanistan
Information Clearing House, August 22, 2017

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

TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons. Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
Firouzabadi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Iran’s National Defense University, said U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and occupied Afghanistan, “why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)

Shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.
My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. In other words, when you are president of the United States.
The security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense. Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world. For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states, whose tense relations threat to spiral into conflict, and that could happen...
As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia, three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology.

Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators, and, that’s right, losers.
Working alongside our allies, we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and yes, we will defeat them, and we will defeat them handily. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America's interests are clear.
We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America. And we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists...
We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists. The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide...
Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition. — attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.

The American Family

Before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the service members here with us tonight.
To those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home. Since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage, and resolve is unmatched in human history..
The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose. They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion.
That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They are all part of the same family. It’s called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag, and live according to the same law.
They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust, and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other. The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon on a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all.
When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people.
When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate.

E Pluribus Unum?

E Pluribus Unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto

Russian DM Urges West to Separate Syrian Opposition From Terrorists
Sputnik News, 23-8-2017

KUBINKA (Moscow Region) — Speaking at the talks with his Lebanese counterpart Yaacoub Sarraf, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stressed that the movement of terrorists from one country to another "cannot continue indefinitely."
"I would like our Western partners… finally to separate the moderate opposition from terrorists and stop rendering assistance across the board," Shoigu said.
He named Syria as an example where the enactment of de-escalation zones and terrorist-moderate opposition delineation have helped put an end to civil war and focus efforts on combating terrorism.
The West's long-standing support for so-called moderate rebels used to result in the weaponry ending up in the hands of terrorists, who sought to hamper peace efforts.
In order to stop the brutal civil war in Syria, the de-escalation zones were established with the participation of the three guarantor states, including Russia, Turkey and Iran.
The de-escalation zones have been established for six months with the option of extending them automatically for another six months.
As of today, the guarantor states have managed to reach agreements with opposition groups on creating three zones of which the third one was agreed upon in late July. The consultations on the fourth safe zone in the Idlib province are ongoing.

Just some food for thought…..
Had someone a hand in positioning the moon?
By Ian Greenhalgh, Veterans Today, 21-8-2017

This is not an in-depth scientific article, merely a quick summation of a few points that came to mind while watching the eclipse on TV today.
Why do eclipses occur? The Sun’s diameter is 400 times greater than the Moon and coincidentally the Sun also happens to be nearly precisely 400 times further away.
This is the reason that the Sun and the Moon appear the same size in the Earth’s sky and why we on Earth can experience eclipses of the Sun.
The chances of that occurring are, literally, astronomically small.
Is it just pure coincidence? In order to have a solar eclipse the Moon has to be exactly the size that it is, which is 2,160 miles. Not 2,161, not 2,159, but 2,160 miles at its equator.
I don’t often believe in coincidences, especially ones as astounding as those involving the earth, moon and sun.
So what are we to believe, that a coincidence of truly astronomical proportions is the explanation for the existence of the moon and the resulting solar eclipses?
Or is it more likely that the precise sizing and positioning of the moon are no coincidence at all and solar eclipses are strong evidence that someone had a hand in positioning the moon?
Just some food for thought…..

Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions
By Nicholas Campion, Huffington Post, 7-1-2012

It’s a shocking fact that there has never been a human culture which has not related its myths, institutions and identity to the stars.
The name we normally give to the quest for meaning in the sky is astrology, from the Greek logos — ‘word’ or ‘logic’ of the stars — as opposed to astronomy, the ‘law’ of the stars.
The Arabic equivalent would be Ahkam al-Nudium, literally, “the decrees of the stars,” and in India we talk about Jyotish, the “science of light.”
That the impulse to develop meaningful relationships between sky and society is universal is suggested by the evolution of completely distinct, sophisticated, systems of astrology in two civilizations, the one in China and the other amongst the Maya and Aztecs of Mesoamerica. In both cultures astrology existed as a complex aid to management of the state, and as a simple means of fortune-telling...

The ancient zodiac signs survive in the modern West because, uniquely, in an age of aggressive consumerism, media-overload and scientific materialism, they encourage people to reflect on themselves and their inner worlds; their hopes, fears and secret motivations.

Referendum in Kurdistan Region
"All international parties are opposed to referendum and separatism, but Israel"
FARS News, Wed Aug 23, 2017

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi National Security Advisor Falah al-Fayaz underlined that the country will not recognize the results of an independence referendum that is said to be held in the Kurdistan region soon, adding that such a move is only meant to please Israel.
"It is an illegal action and we will not recognize its results," Fayaz said in an interview with the Arabic service of Sputnik news agency on Wednesday. Warning that an independence referendum will yield negative consequences for Iraq, he said, "All international parties are opposed to referendum and separatism, but Israel."
Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also underscored serious opposition to Kurdistan region's bid to arrange a referendum for independence, describing it as illegal and a big mistake. Stressing that the Iraqi officials should move in line with people's interests, he said that "separating from Iraq's integrated government will not be to the benefit of our Kurdish citizens".
Al-Abadi underlined that there is no opposition to the federalization of Iraq based on the constitution, and doubted if even one single problem of Kurdistan would be solved through separation from the central government.

In July, Iraq's former Nation Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie warned of the dire consequences of arranging a referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, and said only Israel and Saudi Arabia agree with this plan.
"All the world states, from the EU and the US to the Middle-East countries, oppose the referendum for independence in the Kurdistan region and only Saudi Arabia and Israel have agreed with it to be used as a pressure leverage against Baghdad," al-Rubaie, now a senior Iraqi parliamentarian, was quoted as saying by al-Mayadeen news channel.
Also, last month, Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) Ammar al-Hakim underlined the necessity for unity among all Iraqi groups and people, and said he sees a referendum for independence in the Kurdistan region as a harmful blow to the entire nation.
"I believe that Iraq's unity is of vital importance because first it has been stated in the country's Constitution and second, the Iraqis' interests depend on this unity and the consequences of distorting this unity will not be limited to a specific region and will start a domino effect," Hakim told FNA.

Read also: The Kurdish connection: Guy Bechor, YNet News, 3-8-2011
"The Kurdish state will be a close ally of Israel, just like South Sudan. The Kurds are close to Israel and view it as a twin sister with a difficult history and non-Arabic identity. What we see are four states hostile to Israel in one way or another that will have to fall apart in order to give rise to an ally of Israel.

People do not seem to seek equality with other cultures, faiths and tribes
By Patrick J. Buchanan, 26-5-2011

"Right now, socially, we are disintegrating." So says Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and potential candidate for president of Egypt. Indeed, post-revolutionary Egypt appears to be coming apart. Since the heady days of Tahrir Square, Salafis have been killing Christians. Churches have been destroyed. Gangs have conducted mass prison breaks. The Muslim Brotherhood brims with confidence. "People do not feel secure," says ElBaradei, "They are buying guns." ...

Can the Arab revolts cope with "the cacophony of diversity ... the Arab world's variety of clans, sects, ethnicities and religions?" Or will we witness the disintegration of nations like Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as we did Ethiopia and the Sudan—and of African, Latin American, Asian and European nations, as well?
With the end of the Cold War in 1991, it seemed the world was moving toward unity. The post-Cold War era saw the expansion of the European Union, NAFTA and GATT, the creation of a World Trade Organization, the Rome Treaty for the prosecution of war crimes, the Kyoto Protocol, and the G-7 expand to the G-8 and then to the G-20. Nations seemed to be coming together to solve global problems. Today, nations seem everywhere to be coming apart.
In the 21st century, the call of one's God and the claims of blood and soil seem more magnetic than the ideologies of the 19th and 20th century: Marxism, socialism or democracy.
People do not seem to seek equality with other cultures, faiths and tribes, but a separate existence in nations that are of, by and for themselves alone.

As guns fall silent, Benghazi residents return to battered homes
Ayman al-Warfalli, Reuters, 24-8-2017

gaddafi, quran-based-socialism, 2011 | nato-israel, might is right, 2011 | arour-bin-laden, salafism-wahhabism, 2012

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Two months after the dominant military force in eastern Libya declared victory in a campaign to retake Benghazi, Hassan al-Zawy is living rough in his home in the district that witnessed the city’s last major battle.
Like many other residents, he ventured back as Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army gradually wrested back control from Islamist militants and other rebel groups.
Parts of Libya’s second city were reduced to rubble during more than three years of fighting and, with economic crisis and political turmoil gripping the country, rebuilding is a daunting challenge.
A conflict that developed after Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising six years ago has yet to be resolved.
Benghazi, where the 2011 revolution started, has seen some of the worst violence. Tens of thousands of residents, many opposed to Haftar, were displaced to other Libyan cities.
Sabri is where Haftar’s rivals had their final strongholds, and was bombarded by LNA heavy artillery and air strikes up until a few weeks ago. Sporadic fighting continued after Haftar announced victory on July 5..

Destroyed buildings in Sabri, a central Benghazi district, Libya, august 15, 2017

Some returning residents have formed citizens’ committees to lobby the municipal authorities on water, electricity and hygiene. But a lack of funds and political leadership in a country still divided between two rival governments will hinder reconstruction, said Osama al-Kaza, director of projects at Benghazi’s municipality. Achieving an outstanding and modern image for the city will have to be done in stages, will take years and cost billions...

Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali warned against the rise of extremism in Kitab Al Fitan – a compilation of hadiths (Islamic tradition) relating to the end of times, put together by prominent scholar Nuyam bin Hammad in 229 AH. In it Imam Ali recalled the Prophet saying:
If you see the black flags, then hold your ground and do not move your hands or your feet. A people will come forth who are weak and have no capability, their hearts are like blocks of iron.
They are the people of the State (literally the people of Al Dawla), they do not keep a promise or a treaty.
"They call to the truth but they are not its people. Their names are (nicknames like Abu Mohammed) and their last names (are the names of town and cities, like Al Halabi [and now al-Baghdadi]) and their hair is loose like women’s hair.
(Leave them) until they fight among themselves, then Allah will bring the truth from whoever He wills.” (The Telegraph: What is Wahhabism?)

Chador in, hijab out: Iran VP's wardrobe draws criticism
By Amir Vahdat, Associated Press, 26-8-2017

She is just a couple of weeks into her appointment as new Iranian vice president Laaya Joneidi's decision to abandon her headscarf and fashion style for the all-encompassing black chador is raising questions among women in the Islamic Republic, especially after she said that President Hassan Rouhani personally asked her to wear the more conservative Muslim women's garment.
Although Laaya Joneidi typically used to wear a hijab — the headscarf that is mandated by law in today's Iran — and a long coat with pants, her switch to the more conservative chador serves as a political statement in and of itself in the Islamic Republic.
The controversy began when a government website posted a photograph of Joneidi, who earned a doctorate from Harvard in comparative law and international commercial arbitration, wearing the long black chador, exposing only her face. Social media exploded with posts referring to her as a "chadori."
The controversy only grew after Joneidi, one of two female vice presidents in Rouhani's new government, gave an interview to the reformist daily newspaper Sharq.
"Mr. Rouhani, because of the protocol of the Cabinet, asked me to wear the chador," she told the newspaper. "I respected his demand."

"Mr. Rouhani, based on which law or your protocol forced Laaya Joneidi to wear the chador?" tweeted Amene Shirafkan, a journalist who works at "Zanan-Emrooz" or "Today's Women" magazine.
The chador controversy underscores the unwritten protocol rules for those in public office and government in Iran — rules that also affect men. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif famously wore a goatee before entering Rouhani's government, but later grew the full beard common for those in power.
Soroush Farhadian, a Tehran-based political analyst who backs reformists, says that not wearing a chador remains a taboo in Iranian politics. By asking Joneidi to wear one, Rouhani was trying to avoid a confrontation with hard-liners, he said.

Hijab|Chador: A form of Idol Worship?

While many Muslims call 'hijab' an Islamic dress code, they are in fact oblivious of the fact that the concept of 'hijab' has nothing to do with Islam, nor with the Quran.
In fact, the 'hijab' is an old Jewish tradition that infiltrated the hadith books like many innovations that contaminated Islam through the hadith. Any student of Jewish traditions would know that the head cover for the Jewish woman is encouraged by the Rabbis and religious leaders.
Religious Jewish women still cover their heads most of the time, especially in the synagogues, at weddings and religious festivities. This Jewish tradition is a cultural not a religious one. Hijab was observed by women of the civilisations that preceded the Jews and was passed down to the Jewish culture.
Some Christian women cover their heads on many religious occasions while the nuns cover their heads all the time. The tradition of covering the head was practiced thousands of years before Muslim scholars claimed the 'hijab' as a Muslim dress code.
The traditional Arabs, of all religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims used to wear 'hijab', not because of Islam, but because of tradition. In Saudi Arabia for example, all men cover their heads, not because of Islam but because of tradition.
North Africa is known for its Tribe (Tuareg) that have the Muslim men wearing 'hijab' instead of women. Here the tradition has the 'hijab' in reverse. In brief, 'hijab' is a traditional dress and has nothing to do with Islam or religion. In certain areas of the world, men are the ones who wear the 'hijab' while in others the women do.
Mixing religion with tradition is a form of idol-worship since it implies setting up other sources of religious laws besides the law of God.

Just Dress Modestly

The Quran does not require a woman to cover her hair, but rather to dress modestly and to cover her chest. Dressing modestly is a trait of the believing men and women. The minimum requirements for a woman's dress is to lengthen her garment (33:59) and to cover her chest.
Tyrannical Arab traditions have given a false impression that a woman must be covered from head to toe; such is not a Quranic or Islamic dress. (Dress code for women

Jordanian government says relations with Assad regime are improving
Middle East Online, 26-8-2017

AMMAN - Jordan has said its relations with the Syrian regime are heading in the "right direction" and looked forward to a reopening of the border crossings with its war-torn neighbour.
Government spokesman Mohamed Momani highlighted the "stability" of the situation in southern Syria, across the border from Jordan.
The government spokesman, who is also state minister for information, said his remarks were "a very important message that everyone should hear".

A ceasefire brokered by the United States, Russia and Jordan in the southern Syrian provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Suweida has largely held since it entered into force July 9. Russia and Iran, the Syrian regime's main allies, and rebel-backer Turkey agreed in May to create four safe zones in Syria in a deal aimed at bringing a lasting truce.
"The ceasefire is holding, and we hope there will soon be additional measures to consolidate stability and security in Syria," said Momani. "If the current situation continues and southern Syria stabilises, it would allow for the reopening of the crossing points between the two states," he added.
Jordan is one of the few Arab countries not to have closed its embassy in Damascus, and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Amman also remains open. The United Nations says Jordan is hosting more than 650,000 Syrian refugees, while the kingdom puts their actual number at 1.4 million.

Wikipedia: Relations between neighbours Jordan and Syria have ancient roots as Jordan was historically the southern part of Syria. The two states were created after the First World War from former Ottoman dominions by way of a secret bilateral agreement between Britain and France.

France's Macron initiates new Syria contact group at UN
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 29-8-2017

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday a contact group on Syria will meet at the United Nations in New York in September, as he called the fight against terrorism the priority of his foreign policy.
In an opening speech to the annual gathering of French ambassadors at the Elysee palace, Macron said the "main players" of the Syrian crisis would be involved, without elaborating. It remained unclear what the purpose of the new group would be and how it differed to previous contact groups.
Macron said cooperation with Russia had yielded "concrete results" on curtailing the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
French president also said he planned to travel to the Middle East next spring, in a trip including Israel and the Palestinian territories, to help the peace process in the region and promote a two-state solution.
"We will continue our efforts with the United Nations to find a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living safely side-by-side within borders recognized by the international community, with Jerusalem at the capital of both states," he said.
Besides Israel and the Palestinian territories, Macron said the trip will include Lebanon and Jordan.
The 39-year-old leader also insisted there was no alternative to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which has been fiercely opposed by U.S. President Donald Trump. "There is no alternative to the non-proliferation agenda. It enables a constructive and demanding relationship with Iran," he said.

Palestinian Pres. Abbas meets in Ankara with Turkish Pres. Erdoğan
Liad Osmo, YNet News, 28-8-2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met on Monday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
The two leaders expressed support for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, with Erdoğan saying that "the key to success lies in defending the rights of the Palestinians." He also called on Israel to stop the "occupation attempts" that undermine the feasibility of a two-state solution."
Erdoğan reiterated Turkey's official position supporting two states within the 1967 borders, and said that Turkey would continue to support the recognition of a Palestinian state in all international forums.
"Turkey is ready to support efforts to revive the peace process," stated Erdoğan. He added that he does not want Israel to continue to control the narrative covered by the press, allegedly through blood, tears and confrontation.
"We emphasize that we are ready and committed to a historic peace deal under the auspices of President Trump, and we hope that our people will live with dignity and sovereignty in an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital," Abbas said in a press conference with President Erdoğan.
He also thanked Erdoğan and the Turkish people for their "stubborn stance against the Israeli measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and their provocations of Muslims."
Abbas said that he wanted to end the internal divide between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas (which rules the Gaza Strip), saying that "there will be no state in Gaza and no state will be established without Gaza."

UN: Israel settlements big hurdle to two-state solution
Antonio Guterres condemns 'illegal' Israeli settlement construction
Al-Jazeera, 30-8-2017

Flashback: Ariel Sharon &
the Palestinian pastrami sandwich

“What is to become of the Palestinians?”
“Oh,” Sharon said, “we’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them.”
I said, “What?”
He said, “Yes, we’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart”.

Winston S. Churchill III (journalist) at the National Press Club, October 10, 2001, recalling his conversation with then-General Ariel Sharon in 1973

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, has lashed out at Israel's illegal settlement activity, calling it a "major obstacle" to achieving a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians.
"There is no plan B to the two-state solution," he said on Tuesday after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "A two-state solution, end to occupation, creating conditions to end the suffering of the Palestinian people are the only way to guarantee that peace is established," Guterres added.
His remarks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to never uproot any West Bank settlement - just days after a White House envoy was in the region trying to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.
"We have returned here for good," Netanyahu said. "There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the Land of Israel. Settlements will not be uprooted."

In response to Netanyahu's comments, Guterres told reporters on Tuesday that both Israel and the Palestinians should refrain from taking any action that could undermine the prospects for a peaceful agreement. "We believe that settlement activity is illegal in the international law and it's an obstacle for peace..."

On Wednesday, Guterres, who met Netanyahu on Monday, is expected to visit the Israeli-blockaded, Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Senior Hamas official Ahmed Bahar on Tuesday said Guterres' visit was "unwelcome" due to the fact that the UN official has "a double standard, where he stands with the offender against the victims".

latuff cartoons

Arab League chief condemns Netanyahu settlements remark
The News, 30-8-2017

CAIRO: Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit on Tuesday denounced remarks by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu who ruled out evacuating settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
The rightwing Israeli leader, speaking in a Jewish settlement, had described them as an "inheritance". "It is our land. We have come back here to stay here for good," promising "no uprooting of settlements".
The Arab League chief "strongly denounced" the remarks in a statement.
"Abul Gheit considers this stance, which is utterly rejected, as something that cannot come from a person who seeks peace," the statement said.

"The price of resistance is much lower than the price of capitulation"
President Bashar al-Assad's speech to the Syrian Diplomatic Corps, 20-8-2017
Information Clearing House, 30-8-2017

The war that we have been living for years has proved that several parallel wars are taking place on Syrian soil.
For the West, this conflict is a valuable opportunity to settle its accounts and to subject many countries that have rebelled against its hegemony in recent decades.
Among these countries: Syria, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Belarus, etc. Even Russia, a superpower and not an emerging country, is not allowed to revolt against Western hegemony.

When I speak of “the West” it is in the political sense of the term. We all know who runs it...
This West is today experiencing an existential struggle, not because an enemy would seek to demolish it – such an enemy does not exist at all – but because he thinks that the pleasurable period of his hegemony since the dismantling of the Soviet Union is on the decline. A decline that accelerates every time States rebel against its hegemony.
And today, the West lives a state of hysteria whenever it feels that a state wants to be a partner in making an international decision, in any field and anywhere in the world. For the West, partnership is refused wherever it comes from. Dependence is the only option.
In this case, the United States are not even the partner of their Western allies. They designate roles for them, specify the orientations, each step being strictly laid in the wake of the American line.
Add to the scene that in the United States, the President is not the maker of policies, but the executor; which seems even more evident today.
The real policy makers are lobbies, banks, large weapons manufacturers, big oil, gas and technology companies, and other lobbies, which run the state through democratically elected officials but who govern in the interest of the ruling elite.
So here I will talk about “the US regime” rather than the State, because the State respects the values ​​of its people, fulfills its obligations, respects international law, respects the sovereignty of nations, respects the principles of humanity, and finally respects itself; while the “regime” does not respect any of this, but works only for the ruling elite, whether it is a financial elite or something else.
Therefore, the “deep State” in the United States does not govern in partnership with the President, but leaves him a small margin...

Apart from the strengths and balances of the moment, and apart from the winner and the loser, it is always the smallest countries that pay the price in this type of conflict.
In Syria, we paid dearly for this war, but the counterpart is the failure of the Western project in Syria and in the world...
However, talking about the failure of the Western project does not mean that we have won the victory. In reality and without exaggeration: they have failed, but the war continues.
Where will it take us and when can we talk about victory? That’s another topic. That is why we must remain precise: they have failed so far and we have not yet triumphed, the signs of victory being one thing and victory something else.
Some would say that they still achieved their goal because they destroyed Syria.
I am simply saying that their aim was not the destruction of Syria. Their purpose was to seize it intact but subordinate and submissive, so that it was doomed to disintegrate and disappear. And that’s why, with regard to losses and profits,
I repeat what I said in 2005: the price of resistance is much lower than the price of capitulation...

We have lost the best of our young people and an infrastructure that has cost us a lot of money and sweat over several generations. But in return, we have gained a healthier and more harmonious society. It is the truth, not mere words said to please one and the other.
This harmony is at the foundation of national cohesion, regardless of beliefs, ideas, traditions, customs, conceptions and opinions. Harmony does not imply their homogeneity, but the complementarity between them. It is this complementarity that leads to a single national color, which forms the unifying national union of all the children of the same country.
Some might reply: “What national union are we talking about when we always hear a sectarian discourse?” I would tell them that this is a speech already heard following the crimes of the Muslim Brotherhood in the eighties and that it did not last.
The important thing is not what is said but what resides in the soul.. In this context, what happens is therefore a temporary situation...

From day one, we recognized terrorism, and on the first day, we hit terrorism, during the first stage, the second and third, and we will continue to do so, as long as there is any terrorist anywhere in Syria...
This objective of combating terrorism has never been an obstacle to political action...
We have treated with great flexibility the various initiatives proposed since the first day of the crisis, although we already knew that most of them were based on bad intentions.
Our interlocutors were either terrorists, either agents (working for foreign powers), or both. They receive money from their masters, and every word that comes out of their mouths is approved by them, and maybe even stamped on their tongue. In other words, in practice, we engaged in dialogue with slaves...
They are like single-use medical equipment, which is opened, used and thrown, with the essential difference that they are not initially sterilized but are contaminated to the point of not being recyclable... They did their duty. They were tasked to collaborate and fulfilled their collaborative role...

What are the future directions of the Syrian policy?
-- The first: to continue to fight and crush the terrorists wherever they are...
-- The second: to pursue national reconciliation, wherever necessary, as it has demonstrated its effectiveness in different ways, and that is for us a chance to stop the bleeding and rebuild the country.
-- The third point is the improvement of our external contacts.
The fact is that Western public opinion has changed... People have discovered that their leaders were lying and that their traditional media were also associated with the lies of the officials and state. Today, people have discovered that the story told is false, but it does not necessarily mean they know the real story; this task is up to you and your hard working diplomats.
-- The fourth point is the promotion of the economy...
-- The fifth point is very important: we must move politically, economically and culturally to the Orient (the East).

This East has the elements of science and economy, it has the elements of civilization (that are lacking in the West), treats us as equals and with respect, without dictates, without pride or arrogance.
All these behaviors are virtually absent from the side of the West, which never offered us anything even in the best times. The simplest things, such as scientific missions (were refused to us)....
As for Western society, it is undeniable that it is rich and advanced in all aspects of life. It is a fact that we do not deny. And it is capable of producing (even more). But its political system only allows those serving political, economic, financial or other elites to access the controls. Hence the results we see today..

Oil output disruption has cost Libyans $160 billion in just three years
By Libya Herald reporters, 29 August, 2017

In the past three years, disruption to Libya’s oil production has cost the country $160 billion, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) said today. That is almost $9,000 per head per year for every one of the country’s six million people.
As renewed pipeline blockades this week saw oil output plunge by 360,000 barrels per day, the CBL took the opportunity to point out that the country’s gross national product (GNP) had collapsed from LD112 billion to just LD19 billion this year...
The recent loss of more than a third of Libyan oil production has prompted the CBL to warn of the serious effect this will have on public finances. It has said that the pipeline closures would increase the suffering of ordinary Libyans. It has warned that the new crisis would also push it to take acton that would put more pressure on spending.
However, without the approval of the Presidency Council (PC) and its head Faiez Serra it is unlikely that the CBL would be able to abandon the current fixed exchange rate and thus overnight destroy the arbitrage that has fuelled everything from fuel smuggling to phoney Letters of Credit.
As one diplomat said recently to the Libya Herald: “There are too many powerful people in Libya making a fortune from the country’s failure to allow any real change in the direction of recovery and success”, a view endorsed by the new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salam.

Libya has a serious problem of governance that can hardly wait to be addressed, the new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé has told the UN Security Council.
In a concise and lucid first report to the UN, during which he made a point of saying he was speaking by videoconference from Tripoli, Salamé said:
“The impression of a now well-rooted political economy of predation is palpable, as if the country is fuelling its own crisis with its own resources to the benefit of the few and the frustration of the many”.
“People are frustrated with their deteriorating living conditions.. People are tired of the endless cuts in electricity and water, which in turn take down the telephone system and the internet. Libyans cannot understand being poor in a country rich with natural resources..."

Qatar and Russia to further ‘bolster’ economic ties
The Daily Star, 31-8-2017

DOHA: Two of the world’s largest energy producers, Qatar and Russia, vowed to increase trade ties at a time when the emirate is facing an economic boycott from neighboring states.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the commitment after a “lengthy” meeting in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdel-Rahman al-Thani, and before that, the country’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
“We are committed to bolstering trade and economic ties,” Lavrov told reporters afterward.
He added that Moscow “attached great importance” to economic cooperation, including energy, between the two countries, a sentiment echoed by Sheikh Mohammad.
Russia and Qatar are two of the world’s top four gas producing countries. Both are also major oil producers, and last year Qatar spent billions on taking a stake in Russia’s state-controlled oil company, Rosneft.
Qatar has turned to expanding its economic ties after a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut off political and trade links with Doha on June 5, initiating the Gulf’s worst political crisis in years. The bloc accuses Qatar of supporting extremism, a charge the emirate denies.

before 2011: gaddafi is a friend - 2011: muslim brotherhood & islamist rebels are friends - 2017: progressive...

Lavrov – who has also visited Kuwait and the UAE as part of his Middle East tour – called for all parties to find a solution. He said the disputing countries should work with regional mediators Kuwait to resolve the crisis.
We are convinced that there’s a need to seek a solution by searching for mutually beneficial approaches through dialog,” the Russian foreign minister said.
“It’s in our interests for the GCC to be united and strong,” he said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Hundreds attend funeral of Iranian dissident politician
The Daily Star (Lebanon), 31-8-2017

TEHRAN: Hundreds of Iranians attended the funeral of Ebrahim Yazdi, one of the country's most influential dissident politicians and a former foreign minister.
The ceremony took place in a mosque north of Tehran and was attended by many of Yazdi's political allies as well as ordinary Iranian citizens. His coffin was draped with the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran and friends acted as pallbearers.
Yazdi died at age 85 on Sunday in Izmir, Turkey, where he was being treated for complications from cancer after being denied a U.S. visa for follow-up treatment in Houston, Texas, in January.

Yazdi was a close ally of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. However, his party, the Freedom Movement, later turned against the clerics as they consolidated power.

A former member of parliament, Yazdi resigned as foreign minister in 1979 in protest of the takeover of the U.S. embassy by militant students who kept 52 Americans hostages for 444 days. Washington later cut diplomatic relations with Tehran.
Yazdi argued that the takeover led to a harsher stance by Washington against Iran's Islamic revolution and emboldened former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to wage an eight-year war against Iran, which left more than 1 million casualties on both sides.
He was among a small group of politicians who believed the war should have come to end in early 1980s. It lasted until 1988.

At Thursday's funeral the crowd occasionally raised the traditional demand for the release of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi who have been under house arrest since 2011.They both challenged the 2009 re-election of former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ali Shakouri Rad, a reformist politician who attended the funeral, said Yazdi always sought freedom and pursued peace and reform.
"He is an icon for those things," Rad said. "And that's why you see large crowds have participated in his funeral."

Some Iranian leaders, including President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as well as former reformist President Mohammad Khatami offered condolence messages after Yazdi's death.

Flashback: The Unnecessary War
Saddam & The Iranian ideological regime change campaign

If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful (Quran)

Saddam Hussein had started a war with Iran in 1980, with full support of the West and with fantasies of an easy victory over a non-existent army battered by dismissals, executions and escape of most of its upper decision-makers following the Iranian revolution of 1979.
His dream and the dream of his backers were quickly shattered when untrained and often unarmed grassroots resistance forces of largely ordinary Iranians stopped the invasion headed by his advanced and well-armed army. The first two years of the war is full of heroic and incredible stories of battles that eventually led to pushing the Iraqi army all the way behind the international borders.
However, Khomeini, Rafsanjani and others at the top, refused to stop the war at this point, despite several offers by Saddam and his supporting neighbors to pay restitution, accepting culpability for the war and advice of top military experts.

Regime Change, or: Never make peace with 'the Satan'

The hardliners announced that the war shall continue until the fall of Saddam and thus pulled the country into an additional 6 years of unnecessary and disastrous war costing billions with over a million dead and injured.
The war was now an ideological and religious campaign and not a nationalistic and defensive effort of Iranian people.
Finally in 1988, Khomeini accepted that his pursuit of “regime change” was unrealistic and as he put it; he drank the “goblet of poison” by accepting the ceasefire. (the eyeranian)

Matthew 5:43-48 - Love Your Enemies
The Jesus-message that was rejected by Khomeini
He called it 'a falsification'

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so?
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Do not hate the individuals who do evil, hate only the evil deed itself
Saddam Hussein, Last Will, 26-12-2006

(Quran 25: 72) As a general rule the servants of Merciful God remain away
from all kind of absurdities and would bypass nonsense with dignity

O brothers and great people, I call on you to preserve the ideals that made you worthy of being believers, of being the bright lamp of civilization, and of belonging to the land that gave birth to the father of prophets, Abraham, and also of other prophets. These ideals have made you the bearer of the official and authentic greatness...

I call on you not to hate the peoples of the countries that have committed aggression on us. I call on you to distinguish between the decision-makers and the people.
Hate only the deed. Even if someone's deeds deserve to be fought and combated, do not hate him as a human being. Do not hate the individuals who do evil, hate only the evil deed itself, and repel that evil as it deserves.
Firmness is a must whenever necessary. However, in order that firmness is acceptable to the people and the nation, it ought to be on the basis of the law, and to be fair and just, and not aggressive and based on malice or illegitimate ambitions.

Israel gives Hebron settler enclaves more powers
Middle East Online, 1-9-2017

Occupied Westbank - Goldstein's tomb.

"Here lies the saint, Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein, blessed be the memory of the righteous and holy man, may The Lord avenge his blood, who devoted his soul to The Jews, Jewish religion and Jewish land. His hands are innocent and his heart is pure. He was killed as a martyr of God on the 14th of Adar, Purim, in the year 5754.".

JERUSALEM - Israel has given Jewish settlement enclaves in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron the authority to manage their own municipal affairs, in what critics say is an entrenchment of "apartheid".
The army said it had signed an order to boost the powers of the settlers, who had until now run their day-to-day affairs in the council that served as a local authority but had no legal standing.
Hebron, in the southern West bank, is home to around 200,000 Palestinians, with about 800 settlers living under Israeli army protection in several heavily fortified compounds in the heart of the city.
The 1994 massacre of 29 Muslim worshippers there by Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein led to an agreement three years later giving the Palestinian Authority control over 80 percent of the city. The settlers and about 30,000 Palestinians living adjacent to them fall under Israeli military rule.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the new arrangement was more than a technicality.
"By granting official status to the Hebron settlers, the Israeli government is formalising the apartheid system in the city," it said in a statement on Thursday.
""This step... is another illustration of the policy of compensating the most extreme settlers for their illegal actions", it added.

Baruch Kopel Goldstein (December 9, 1956 – February 25, 1994) was an American-Israeli physician, religious extremist, and mass murderer, who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding another 125. Goldstein's gravesite became a pilgrimage site for Jewish extremists. The following words are inscribed on the tomb: "He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land.."

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had ordered the change in the settler council's status and pledged to do more.
"For me the strengthening of the Jewish community in Hebron is of very great importance," a statement from his office said.

On 24 August 2017, settlers from Kiryat Arba verbally abused Palestinians in the al-Hariqah neighborhood of Hebron....

Kiryat Arba settlers verbally abuse Palestinian residents
Wafa website,30-8-2017

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, documented an incident on August 24 in which Israeli settlers from Kiryat Arba settlement used a loudspeaker to verbally abuse Palestinian residents of al-Hariqah neighborhood in Hebron, using offensive language and insulting Islam.
A B’Tselem volunteer filmed parts of the incident from her window. When the settlers noticed her, they turned their abuse towards her, threatening violence and using racist and obscene language, including descriptions of extreme sexual violence.

“Although the threats were explicit and the swearing constituted severe sexual harassment, Israeli security forces who were present allowed the settlers to continue undisturbed, as is usually the case,” the group said.
B’Tselem concluded, “In the reality of life under occupation, in which settlers assault Palestinian residents in the presence of Israeli security forces on a regular basis, even explicit threats of violence and blatant sexual harassment of a Palestinian woman and abuse of her community go unchecked by the security forces.”

B'Tselem has championed human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for over two decades.

Iraqis visit their dead in world’s largest graveyard on Eid

On the first day of the Eid of al-Adha, Iraqi Muslims have visited Wadi al-Salam graveyard in the city of Najaf, the largest in the world... Many of the graves are decorated with the flags of Iraq and armed groups currently fighting ISIS. Iraqi forces and paramilitary forces have lost thousands in the war against ISIS according to unofficial estimates. Some are buried in the holy city of Najaf.
Wadi al-Salam or Valley of Peace is considered a holy place as it is close to the shrine of Ali Bin Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Islam’s prophet Mohammed. (Rudaw Net, 1-9-2017)

Syria: Visiting injured personal of the Army

In appreciation of their sacrifices in the course of defending the homeland and on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, delegations of politicians, businessmen and other figures paid visits to injured personnel of the Army in military hospitals in Damascus, Aleppo and Sweida provinces.
Minister of Tourism Bishr Yazigi and Aleppo Governor Hussein Diab visited the Military Hospital in Aleppo and the Martyrs’ Cemetery where they placed wreaths on the monument of the Unknown Soldier. (SANA, 1-9-2017)

Are Muslims allowed to be Sympathetic Victims in US Media, or only Perpetrators?
By Juan Cole | Sep. 3, 2017

Libyan activist Hend Amry makes an important point about the relative lack of interest of television news in stories such as the persecution of the Burmese (Myanmar) Muslims by the Buddhist establishment: "When Muslims are the victims of terrorism, there isn't the fraction of western attention as when they're the perpetrators." (September 2, 2017)

When Muslims are perpetrators, as in Brussels, Paris and Barcelona, the mass media often goes into 24/7 coverage mode usually reserved for natural disasters and Trump’s tweet storms. But the horrific attacks on the Rohingya Muslims of Burma (Myanmar), which have forced thousands to flee in recent days, have elicited no interest....
As for other Muslim victims, I don’t need to bother to research. You will almost never see any mention in US television news of the severe human rights violations daily perpetrated by Israelis against the Palestinians of the West Bank, including theft of property, destruction of buildings and orchards, and assault. This is a low-intensity human rights catastrophe and has been going on for decades...
Or take Yemen, which is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world now that al-Assad has won the civil war for the moment. The United States is backing the Saudi-led war on Yemen to the hilt, with logistical support and even help in choosing targets to bomb. The bombing began in spring of 2015. By now, you have millions living on the edge, who could fall into starvation is just one more thing went wrong. But you’d go blind scanning the television in the US for news about the Yemen war.
As for ISIL, most of its victims have been Muslims, but you’d never know that from the television news coverage.
The prejudices of top cable and network news executives are warping the consciousness of our whole country. In this bizarro world, Muslims are never victims and never presented sympathetically...

Peace Now: "Netanyahu’s government continues its policy
to reward those who break the law"
ByTovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, September 3, 2017

In the early 1990s, after identifying settlements as one of the largest obstacles to the two state solution, Peace Now established Settlement Watch, taking upon itself to track and analyze developments in the settlements. Peace Now works to prevent settlement expansion and stop illegal settlement activity. (Peace Now website)

The government on Sunday approved the transfer of NIS 55 million to allow work to resume on the new settlement of Amihai in the Binyamin region. It is slated to house the 40 families who were forcibly evacuated from the Amona outpost in February.
“We decided to move forward there and we encountered a problem, a budgetary problem. And I want to thank you, Minister of the Interior, for solving the problem of budgetary distribution from your ministry and I want to congratulate you,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
He added that the government wants “to advance the establishment of the settlement.” The initial plan involves the construction of 102 homes.

Moral Heroes

The left-wing NGO Peace Now slammed the decision to help the Amona families whose homes were destroyed on the order of the High Court of Justice. It ruled that the outpost had been illegally built on private Palestinian property.
“It’s the height of chutzpah that those who broke the law and ignored the demolition orders and prevented the execution of judicial orders receives such a large portion of the government’s budget,” Hagit Ofran said.
“Netanyahu’s government continues its policy to reward those who break the law." She added that the settler’s requests are like a “bottomless pit” into which the prime minister keeps falling.

Right-wing and settler leaders thanked Netanyahu for providing the funds...
“It is certainly time that the moral heroes of Amona have a home of their own in the Amihai settlement,” Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said in response....

Syrian army moves closer to ISIL-besieged Deir Az Zor
Al-Jazeera, 4-9-2017

Syria: Deir ez-Zor's civilians celebrate as SAA close on breaking IS siege, 3-9-2017

Syria's army and its allies have advanced towards ISIL-besieged Deir Az Zor city after capturing the al-Kharata oil field, a war monitor said on Sunday.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has focused this year on striking eastwards in a multipronged assault against ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS) group, to reclaim Deir Az Zor from the armed group.
ISIL controls most of Deir Az Zor province - apart from a Syrian government-held enclave in Deir Az Zor city and a nearby military airbase. Sunday's advance brings the army and its allies to about 10km from the city, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The governor of Deir Az Zor province said the Syrian army would reach the city within 48 hours.
"The heroes of the army will arrive at Deir Az Zor in 24-48 hours at the most," Mohammed Ibrahim Samra told Reuters news agency, adding that the army was now 18-20km from the edge of the city.
On Saturday, a military media unit run by Assad's ally Hezbollah reported the army had captured Jebel al-Bashri to the west of Deir Az Zor, meaning forces were less than 30km from the city.
Pro-government fighters were also battling to eradicate a large ISIL enclave they left to their rear in central Syria as they move towards Deir Az Zor.

The Stronghold of Deir Ezzor: All What You Need To Know
About The Battle Against ISIS In Eastern Syria
South Front, 12-1-2016

One of the combat theaters in Syria where both the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and civilians have been fighting in encirclement for over three years, successfully repelling enemy assaults, is Deir Ezzor.
The city is the seventh largest in Syria by population, according to 2012 data, when some 240 thousand people lived there.
The Syrians themselves call it the “pearl of the desert.” It’s a large tourist and cultural center of the country. It’s also the center of an agricultural region with well developed cattle herding, cotton cultivation, and other plant cultures.
But it is first and foremost Syria’s oil extraction center. The Deir Ezzor province is home to Syria’s largest oil deposit, the Al-Omar.
For ISIS, the city and the province are of particular value since the deposits there contain the highly valuable light sweet crude usable in the production of gasoline and diesel fuel, even using homebrew methods.
As of October 2015, ISIS extracted up to 40 thousand barrels of crude a day. The largest Al-Tanak oil fields yielded up to 12 thousand barrels a day, while Al-Omar produced up to 9 thousand barrels of top-quality crude.
In addition, Deir Ezzor is a junction for roads which connect Syria’s cities to neighboring Iraq. Deir Ezzor airport, located south of the city, is a joint-basing airfield as it is home not only to civil aviation but also Syria’s air force.

The situation in Deir Ezzor began to deteriorate in late July 2011.. In order to restore calm, troops were dispatched to the province. That’s when combat operations of varying intensity began in the city and the province.
By the fall of 2012, FSA and their situational ally Al-Nusra (or Al-Qaeda) controlled 90% of the province.
In early 2013, the rebels seized oil fields of the province, and are able to enter neighboring Hasaka province (north-eastern Syria). In November 2013, the rebels seized Syria’s largest oil deposit, Al-Omar. Since then the government has been totally dependent on petroleum product imports. By the end of the year, the rebels had seized control of nearly all the oil fields.

FSA And Al-Nusra In Heavy Clashes In The Battle For Deir-Ez-Zor, 18-10-2013

Starting in early 2014, tensions were rising among various rebel factions (al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Islam, Haraka Ahrar Sham, the remnants of FSA, and other brigades which united into the Mejlis of Eastern Mujahedeen Shura), and those forces that declared themselves the Islamic State (ISIS).
On February 10, 2014, ISIS, in the face of the numerical superiority of al-Qaeda, FSA, and other groups seeking to capture the rich oil deposits, was forced to leave Deir Ezzor and focus its forces on Hasaka and Raqqa.
Between January 16 and 21, 2016, IS militants launched an assault on the city from the north, east, and south. A group of militants sent six suiciders who tried to break through the checkpoints in the suburbs, but without success.
During the five years of fighting the two sides’ losses, according to various estimates, have reached 3000 militants (including IS), and 2500 SAA troops. According to the most conservative estimates, about 1000 civilians perished.

The 104th Airborne Brigade, part of the SAA’s elite Republican Guard, forms the core of the city’s defense. SAA forces also include units of the 137th and 123rd Mechanized Brigades, local militia units, parts of the 119th and 71st Regiments, 8th Air Force Squadron (10 MiG-21s and some Mi-8/17s, Mi-25s) at the Deir Ezzor airbase.
The 104th is supported by the 819th Squadron equipped with Su-24M2 bombers. The defense is led by 104th commander, Major General Issam Zahreddin. The SAA’s main task is to hold the airport and, if possible, break the blockade and destroy militant forces.

IS militants, cognizant of the city’s importance and the professionalism of its defenders, actively use suicide bombs, individual and vehicular. There are reports IS use drones to observe SAA positions
An event astounding in its cynicism took place on September 16, 2016. US-led coalition aircraft struck Syrian troops near the airport and the al-Tardah mountain. 62 SAA troops were killed instantly, and eventually reached 106, when counting those who died of their wounds by the end of the month, according to Al-Masdar News. Tellingly, 7 minutes after the airstrike, IS attacked SAA positions on Al-Tardah and seized them.
Nevertheless, by the end of the day the reaction by Russian and Syrian aircraft killed 38 militants, and the SAA ultimately retook the lost positions.

War is, in and of itself, an atrocity. Worst of all, many of the city’s inhabitants are dying of hunger and are suffering from abuse at the hands of radical islamists.
Nobody is counting the casualties among the civilians who were killed by IS and their predecessors such as the FSA and al-Qaeda.
Deputy General Secretary of the UN Farhana Haka thusly commented the situation in Deir Ezzor: “Approximately 200 thousand people, mainly women and children, are in rapidly deteriorating circumstances in the besieged western part of Deir Ezzor in Syria. They need immediate humanitarian aid, including food and medicine. There are reports of extreme malnutrition and death of starvation.”
Nobody except Syria’s government and Russian airpower commanders is concerned with the starving in the city.

Russian warplanes perform over 80 sorties to back Syrian army’ offensive
Tass Russian News Agency, September 04, 2017

Over 80 sorties were performed by Russian warplanes to back the Syrian government troops’ offensive towards the city of Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
"In order to provide air support to the government troops’ offensive towards Deir ez-Zor, Russian warplanes made more than 80 sorties. The airstrikes destroyed two tanks, three armored infantry carriers and more than ten all-terrain vehicles equipped with heavy weapons. Losses among terrorists amounted to more than 70 men," the statement reads.
The Russian Defense Ministry added that Syrian government troops, supported by the Russian Aerospace Force, continued the offensive towards the city of Deir ez-Zor.
"In eastern Syria, the government troops supported by the Russian Aerospace Force continue the offensive towards the city of Deir ez-Zor".
"The Syrian troops under the command of general Suheil al-Hassan, active in the northern part of the Raqqa province, have advanced eight kilometers in the past 24 hours, seizing two strategic heights," the document says.
Eye witnesses say that the militants’ defensive positions on the city’s outskirts have been destroyed. On the western front, government forces and militia units have another ten kilometers to cover to join the troops besieged at the 137th mechanized brigade’s base. In the south, the troops are storming the Al-Shula and Kabajib settlements.

Suheil Salman al-Hassan (born in 1970), nicknamed The Tiger, is a general in the Syrian Army and commander of its Tiger Forces.
He graduated from the Syrian Arab Air Force academy in 1991, and served in many units of the Syrian Arab Air Forces and Air Defence Command, completing several training courses. During the Syrian Civil War, Suheil al-Hassan has served and commanded his troops during several major engagements, including Operation Canopus Star and the battle for the Shaer gas field. He is part of the new generation of field Syrian army commanders who emerged during the civil war.
He is known for liking poetry, even broadcasting his own poems over to the loudspeaker at his enemies, as a warning of what will come if they do not surrender. He says that he always tries to give a chance to his enemies to give up and surrender, but has no pity if they do not or if they betray him.

He was blacklisted by the European Union on 23-1-2012

Syrian army breaks Isis' three-year-long siege of Deir Ezzor
Bethan McKernan, The Independent, Tuesday 5 September 2017

The Syrian army has managed to break an Isis siege on the eastern town of Deir Ezzor for the first time since the militants surrounded it three years ago, Syrian state TV has said.
Activists and UK-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) confirmed that government troops and their allies had reached the western outskirts of the city amid fierce fighting on Tuesday.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have made steady gains on the jihadi militants’ desert position for several months with help from Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Russian air support. In the past few days, the pace at which the Syrian army has retaken territory has increased rapidly.
Russia’s Defence Ministry confirmed that a Russian warship in the Mediterranean had fired cruise missiles toward Isis targets in Deir Ezzor province on Tuesday, destroying a communications and command centre, ammunition depots and an armoured vehicle repair shop. Liberating the city will mean relief for Deir Ezzor’s estimated 70,000 residents, who have been reliant on UN air drops of food, medicine and other supplies since fighting over the city broke out in late 2014.

The militants are also under significant pressure in their de facto capital of Raqqa, south of Deir Ezzor, where a US-backed Arab and Kurdish alliance has retaken the Old City in a battle which has seen significant civilian casualties. Isis lost control of its largest city, Mosul in neighbouring Iraq, in July.
The crumbling of Isis’s “caliphate” is leading the militants to adopt increasingly desperate measures to hang on to their remaining territory and impose their rules on people under control.

President Assad: "A great role model for next generations"
Syrian Arab News Agency, 5-9-2017

President Bashar al-Assad called on Tuesday Maj. Gen. Rafiq Shahada, head of the Security Committee in Deir Ezzor, Maj. Gen. Hassan Mohammad, leader of Division 17, Brig. Gen. Issam Zahr-Eddin, leader of Brigade 104 in the Presidential Guard and the soldiers guarding Deir Ezzor Airport, after the Syrian army broke ISIS siege imposed on Deir Ezzor city for more than three years earlier on the day.

“You have proved, through your steadfastness in the face of the most powerful terrorist organizations on earth, that you shoulder responsibility, as you have kept the promise and have set a great role model for next generations,” the President said in a phone conversation with the officers and soldiers.
He added that it will go down in history that “you, though small in number, stood your ground and have been able to perform your missions to the fullest and achieved heroics, one after another, without fear or hesitation.”
He went on addressing the commanders and soldiers saying: “Here you are now side by side with your comrades who rushed to your help and fought the most ferocious of battles to break the siege on the city and to be with you on the front attack line to liberate the whole region from terrorism and restore security and safety to all parts of the country to the last inch.”

Deir ez-Zor: Footage captured the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) embracing with troops previously surrounded by the self-proclaimed Islamic State at the Brigade 137 base, after government forces broke the IS siege, in the Deir ez-Zor area, Tuesday.
Units of the Syrian Arab Army linked up with the previously-surrounded troops, thus breaking a three-year-long siege of the government-held enclave of Deir ez-Zor, with the help of the SAA Tiger Forces (also known as the Qawat Al-Nimr).

'We were like an island in the middle of an ocean'
Issam Zahreddine, Major General of the Syrian Republican Guard

“In short, as for Deir ez-Zor, and over the past while, we were like an island in the middle of an ocean, totally isolated. The closest city is Homs, which is more than 250 kilometres away.
Yet, despite the siege by Daesh, and the scarcity of all needs of survival, water, electricity, food, the army and the friendly forces persevered in defending Deir ez-Zor, in addition to the perseverance of the residents of Deir ez-Zor, which gave more incentive [for the army] to protect Deir Ez-Zor even more.
Daesh [attacked us] over the past years, on all fronts and directions, whether from the north […] or the west […], or the east […], or other directions, they have tried with all means, using planted cars in an extensive way, in addition to repetitive attacks around d the clock...
Despite all of this the army perceived and destroyed Daesh and their dreams over the entrances of Deir Ez-Zor.” (Al-Masdar News, 6-9-2017)