Saddam's Death, 117 (april 2018, part 2)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 116: april 2018 and Page 118: may 2018
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Trump & the Pisces Messiah - 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
Jewish fundamentalism in the State of Palestine - Palestinian Martyrs and Jewish Heroes
The Balfour Declaration - Trump's move on Jerusalem (2017)
Abbas & Trump's "slap of the century"
John Bolton, prominent war hawk, National Security Adviser to President Trump
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.

"...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)

Jews must ditch Zionism, now
Middle East Robert Cohen, Mondoweis, April 8, 2018

Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked:
‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.

Page Index

"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)

Russian Defense Ministry: "A planned provocation was carried out
in Douma, with the aim of misleading the world community.
Sputnik News, 13-4-2018

An apparent false flag chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7 has served as a pretext for the United States to threaten the Middle Eastern country with a missile strike.
The Russian Defense Ministry held a press briefing on what the Western narrative describes as an alleged chemical attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta.
Speaking at the briefing, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that the ministry has enough evidence that the planned provocation with the use of chemical weapons was carried out in Syria's Douma on April 7.
He added that the United States and Western countries continue their "indiscriminate and unfounded accusations" against the legitimate Syrian government over the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in Eastern Ghouta.

"On April 7, a planned provocation was carried out in Douma with the aim of misleading the world community. The provocation's real purpose today is clear to everyone — to prod the United States to launch missile strikes against Syria," Konashenkov stressed.
According to him, the Russian Defense Ministry found those who took part in filming the mock-up chemical weapons attack in Douma. Those participants briefed the ministry on details of filming the clip.
Konashenkov said that direct participants of the process to film a video clip about the "consequences of a chemical attack" in Syria's Duma said the video was staged.
"We managed to find direct participants in the shooting of this video and interview them. Today we are presenting a live interview of these people.

unknown people ran into the hospital

Duma residents in detail told us how the filming was conducted, in what episodes they took part themselves and what they did," Konashenkov said. The Russian military could see that these were the very people from the video.
According to Konashenkov, these were two medics working in a local hospital in the emergency department. They said that people in the hospital had no signs of poisoning with toxic agents.
"During the provision of first aid, unknown people ran into the hospital, some of them with video cameras, who started screaming, panicking and pouring everyone with water from hoses, shouting that everyone was poisoned with toxic agents. Patients… and their relatives in panic began to pour water on each other," the ministry spokesman said.

"The Russian Defense Ministry has other evidence indicating Britain's direct participation in organizing this provocation in Eastern Ghouta," Konashenkov noted. He added that between April 3 and April 6, London put pressure on representatives of the so-called White Helmets group in order to facilitate the implementation of the provocation.

Sarah Sanders: "Our intelligence tells us otherwise"
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 13-4-2018

The United States has proof at "a very high level of confidence" that the Assad regime carried out a chemical weapons attack in Syrian town of Douma but is still working to identify the mix of chemicals used, the State Department said Friday.
"We can say that the Syrian government was behind the attack," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a briefing. Asked if the U.S. had proof of that, she said, "Yes."
The White House said it was very confident that the Assad regime was behind the attack in Douma, adding that U.S. intelligence shows Russia's claim that the attack was faked was false.
"Our intelligence tells us otherwise. I can't go beyond that," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, when asked about Russia's claim.

Syria, General Command Armed Forces: a tripartite aggression
was carried out at 03:55 a.m. (local time) by the US, Britain and France
Syrian Arab News Agency, 14 april 2018

The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces announced that a tripartite aggression was carried out at 03:55 a.m. (at local time) by the US, Britain and France through firing 110 missiles towards Syrian targets in Damascus and outside it.
Some of the missiles hit one of the buildings of the Research Center in Barzzeh in Damascus, which includes an educational center and scientific laboratories, asserting that the damages were limited to material ones.
Other missiles were forced to deviate from their tracks while they were targeting a military position near Homs as their explosions caused the injury of three civilians.
The General command stressed its determination in defending Syria and protecting its citizens, reiterating that such aggression will not affect the Syrian armed forces to continue hunting the remnant of armed terrorist gatherings across Syria.
The General Command concluded its statement by saying that this aggression will lead to nothing, but to increase the Syrian people determination to defend the sovereignty, dignity and the security of homeland and citizens.

Syrian air defenses intercept 70% of US cruise missiles
TASS News Agency, Moscow, April 14, 2018

Syria has intercepted 71 out of 103 cruise missiles fired by the United States and its allies, Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi said on Saturday.
"According to available information, a total of 103 cruise missiles were fired… The Syrian air defense systems basically comprising Soviet-made weapons successfully repelled the strikes by aircraft and naval ships. A total of 71 missiles were intercepted," the general said.
The missile strikes by the United States and its allies were repelled by the S-125, S-200, Buk, Kvadrat and Osa air defense systems, the general said.
‘This testifies to the high efficiency of the weapon systems operational in Syria and the excellent skills of Syrian servicemen trained by our specialists," Rudskoi said, adding that Russia had fully restored Syria’s air defense capabilities over the past eighteen months and continued improving it.
According to the Russian general, the United States and its allies fired cruise missiles, including seaborne Tomahawks and GBU-38 guided bombs from B-1B planes while F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft launched air-to-surface missiles. The UK Air Force’s Tornado aircraft fired eight Scalp EG missiles.

Syria condemns the US, British and French aggression on the country
SANA, april 2018

An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said Saturday that Syria condemns with the strongest terms the tripartite US, British and French aggression on Syria as being a flagrant violation of the international law and the principals of UN charter.
The source added that the tripartite aggression showed again the recklessness of the hostile countries with the international legitimacy.
The source affirmed that the aggression of western arrogance and hegemony regimes came as a result of the feeling with frustration due to the failure of the conspiratorial project and in response to the defeat of their tools of the terrorist organizations in front of the progress achieved by the Syrian Arab Army.
The timing of the aggression, which coincides with the arrival of a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), mainly aims at impeding the work of the mission, anticipating its results and to put pressure on it in an attempt to uncover their lies and fabrications.
Syria calls on the international community to strongly condemn this aggression...

US, Britain, France Initiate Aggression against Syria,
People Pour to Streets in Dance of Support for Assad
FARS News Agency, 14-4-2018:

Reports coming out of a national security meeting in the White House two days ago said Defense Secretary James Mattis opposed striking targets that would provoke Tehran and Moscow's response, urging Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton to think wisely and narrow down the scope of the attack.
The Pentagon claimed the strikes targeted a research center in greater Damascus and a chemical weapons storage facility and a command post west of Homs, while the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has officially stated complete disarmament of Syria since two years ago.
The missile strikes took place as a team of OPCW is in Damascus to probe the alleged chemical incident in Douma last week, but the trio western allies didn't wait for the result of their work for somehow unknown reasons.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the strikes were a "one-time shot", adding that "clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year". He said the US did not co-ordinate with Russia on the strike nor did it pre-notify the Russians. "We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved," Mr Mattis said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the strikes were not about intervening in a civil war nor were they about a regime change.
"We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized within Syria, on the streets of the UK or anywhere else in our world," Ms May said, referencing the recent nerve gas attack on a Russian double agent in England. French President Emmanuel Macron said "red line has been crossed".

Vladimir Putin: Attack on Syria 'Act of Aggression' Against Sovereign State
Sputnik News, 14-4-2018

Western countries hit Syria, although neither Russian military experts, nor local residents confirmed fact of chemical attack in the city of Douma, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.
Putin has vehemently condemned the US-led missile strikes against Syria, which "aggravate humanitarian catatrophe, inflict suffering on civilian population and connive at terrorism."
Western countries cynically disregarded the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) probe into an alleged chemical incident in the Syrian city of Douma and undertook military action even before the investigation is completed, according to the Russian president.
Putin called the attack against Syria "act of aggression" against the country which is combating terrorism on its soil, adding that Russian servicemen help legitimate government to fight terrorist threat in the country...
Earlier in the day, the US alongside with the United Kingdom and France, launched strikes on a number of targets in Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack in the Damascus' suburb of Douma, which they blamed on the Syrian government.
Damascus has rejected all the allegations, noting that all chemical stockpiles were destroyed, which was confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
No evidence of Damascus' involvement in the reported chemical incident was presented...

UN rejects Russian bid to condemn military strikes on Syria
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 14-4-2018

The U.N. Security Council rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the United States and its allies against Syria on Saturday.
Russia's demand for condemnation and an immediate halt to "aggression" and "any further use of force" by the U.S., Britain and France got support from two other countries on the 15-member council — China and Bolivia. Four countries abstained — Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea and Peru.
Eight countries voted against the Russian draft — the U.S., Britain, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Kuwait, Poland and Ivory Coast.
The vote came at the end of an emergency meeting of the council called by Moscow, which saw Russia and its supporters clashing with the U.S. and its allies over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend in the Damascus suburb of Douma.
The U.S., Britain and France said they launched airstrikes against Syrian chemical sites after obtaining evidence that poisonous gas was used last weekend on the Damascus suburb of Douma by Bashar Assad's regime.
Russia and its close ally Syria called the attack fabricated and said no evidence of chemical weapons use in Douma exists.
France admits that its 'intelligence' of the Douma incident is solely based on the obviously staged youtube videos and claims made by 'western' financed propaganda operations who cooperate with the Jihadis.

TASS News Agenct: The one-page document submitted by Russia expresses indignation over "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the United States and its allies, which violates international law and the UN Charter."
The document condemns the Western countries’ actions and demands that they "halt the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic immediately and without any delay" and refrain from further use-of-force actions in violation of the UN Charter.
The draft resolution prepared by Russia expresses concern that the strikes against Syria were delivered at a time when experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons "started their work for gathering evidence of the alleged chemical attack in the town of Douma." (TASS, 14-4-2018)

Pentagon answered questions on Syrian strikes… but didn't really answer
RT Russia, 14-3-2018

A missile struck the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Industries Research Institute, a scientific research center specialized with cancer medicine, causing extensive damage to the scientific facility. (SANA News)

When asked about the hard evidence of the alleged chemical attack in Syria and justification of the US strike, Pentagon officials showed the art of avoiding direct answers and shifting the blame.
During a briefing in Washington, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White and Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie said that the operation, which launched more than 100 missiles on civilian and military facilities, accomplished all of its objections and "dealt a severe blow" to the Syrian authorities, who they blame for an alleged attack in Douma.
Reporters addressed the US' reluctance to share their proof of chemical weapons use by the Syrian authorities, which the US said justified the missile strikes.
"Adlai Stephenson famously went to the UN [in 1962] with the evidence of the Russian buildup in Cuba. Why won't you do something similar? Especially, if there are doubts," one reporter asked.
"But there's no doubt for us," White said, adding that the evidence remains concealed because "a lot of this has to do with intelligence. And I'm very happy to show evidence if I can. But we were very confident about the decision we've made."
Another journalist wondered why the strikes on Syria took place before the OPCW experts were able to finish their investigation into the claimed gas attack.
"Let's remember that OPCW and others have been blocked from entering Ghouta and Douma. That's because of the Assad regime," the Pentagon said, avoiding a direct answer to the question.
Meanwhile, the OPCW inspectors landed in Damascus on Saturday, and the Syrian authorities said they will be granted access to all the required areas and sites.

OPCW Continues Mission to Probe Alleged Douma Gas Attack
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 14-4-2018

Experts from the world's global chemical arms watchdog are continuing their mission to probe an alleged gas attack in Douma despite Western air strikes in Syria, the body said Saturday.
"The Fact-Finding Mission team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma," the OPCW said in a brief statement.

The End of International Law?
by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 10 april 2018

Do the Western powers hope to put an end to the constraints of International Law? That is the question asked by the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergueï Lavrov, at the Moscow conference on International Security.
Over the last few years, Washington has been promoting the concept of « unilateralism ». International Law and the United Nations are supposed to bow to the power of the United States.
Bill Clinton attacked Yugoslavia, blithely violating Internal Law. George Bush Jr. did the same by attacking Iraq, and Barack Obama by attacking Libya and Syria. As for Donald Trump, he has never hidden his distrust of supra-national rules.

Making an allusion to the Cebrowski-Barnett doctrine, Sergueï Lavrov declared: « We have the clear impression that the United States seek to maintain a state of controlled chaos in this immense geopolitical area [the Near East], hoping to use it to justify the military presence of the USA in the region, without any time limit, in order to promote their own agenda ».
The United Kingdom also seem to feel quite comfortable with breaking the Law. Last month, it accused Moscow in the « Skripal affair », without the slightest proof, and attempted to unite a majority of the General Assembly of the UN to exclude Russia from the Security Council.

« Communication », a new name for « propaganda », has become the imperative in international relations.
From the US Secretary of State brandishing a phial of pseudo-anthrax to the British Minister for Foreign Affairs lying about the origin of Novitchok in the Salisbury affair, lies have become the substitute for respect, and cause general mistrust.
During the first years of its creation, the UNO attempted to forbid « war propaganda », but today, it is the permanent members of the Security Council who indulge in it.
The worst occurred in 2012, when Washington managed to obtain the nomination of one of its worst war-hawks, Jeffrey Feltman, as the number 2 of the UNO. From that date onward, wars have been orchestrated in New York by the very institution that is supposed to prevent them.
Just as a society which falls into chaos, where men are wolves for men when deprived of the Law, so the world will become a battle-field if it abandons International Law.

Flashback: The Elevation of Jeffrey Feltman
by Vijay Prashad, CounterPunch, May 25, 2012

Is Jeffrey Feltman the best person to run such an influential office in the UN?
On one issue Feltman is remarkably consistent. When it comes to the Middle East, Feltman has been outspoken about the threats posed by Iran in the region.
Whether in Beirut or Manama, he has publically denounced Iranian “interference” outside its own boundaries. At the same time, Feltman has generously offered US assistance to these same regimes.
In other words, US interference is quite acceptable, but Iranian interference is utterly unacceptable. This might be adequate behavior for the diplomat of a country, but it is hardly the temperament for a senior UN official.
It raises doubts about Feltman’s ability to be even-handed in his deliberations as a steward of the world’s political dilemmas.

Feltman’s intemperate logic was not of the distant past. It was on display in March 2012 at a Lebanese American Organization’s meeting at the Cannon Office Building in Washington, DC (as Franklin Lamb reported on this site this week).
At this meeting, the former US Ambassador to Lebanon, instructed the Lebanese people as to what they must do in their next election, “The Lebanese people must join together to tell Hezbollah and its allies that the Lebanese state will no longer be hijacked for an Iranian-Syrian agenda.” The people must “use the 2013 parliamentary elections to defeat the remnants of the Syrian occupation, the pillar of which is ezbollah.”

Feltman pushed for UN Resolution 1559 from 2004, to disarm the Lebanese resistance, he supported the Israeli invasion in 2006, and he provided assistance to the March 14 political party against Hezbollah.
In other words, Feltman actively took sides in a divided political landscape. Feltman’s appointment “would be a disaster and send exactly the wrong signal for the UN” to the region.
Having recognized its weakness, the US knows that it will be the UN that takes the lead in Syria and elsewhere for the foreseeable future.
The US wishes Feltman to be well-placed to “ensure that US interests are maintained as much as possible.” Whatever credibility remains with the UN will whittle in the region with this appointment.

In the totality of the Arab world Feltman will not be seen as an open-minded professional. He has already thrown his hat into the camp of the Saudis and their satellites (the Gulf Arabs and the Hariri clan of Lebanon).
When I asked several people who watch the UN’s work in the Arab world carefully about this appointment, most offered me three words, “very bad news” (these words are from Noam Chomsky).
Not bad news for the Saudis or the US neoconservatives, but certainly bad for the people of the Arab world...

Germany and the UNO against Syria
by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network | Damascus (Syria) | 28-1-2016

The neo-conservatives and liberal hawks who have been preparing the war against Syria since 2001 have been relying on several states from the UNO and the Gulf Co-operation Council.
While we know about the role played by General David Petraeus in launching and pursuing the war until today, two personalities - Jeffrey Feltman (number 2 at the UNO) and Volker Perthes (Director of the main German think tank) - have remained in the shadows.
Together, with the support of Berlin, they have been using and are still manipulating the United Nations in order to destroy Syria.

"Gas-killing animals" or "deeply cynical liars"?
Written by Chris Floyd, 14 April 2018

The Syrian research lab in Barzeh, according to Western powers, was part of the Syrian government’s “chemical weapons infrastructure”.
We believe that by hitting Barzeh in particular we’ve attacked the heart of the Syrian chemicals weapon programme,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said at the Pentagon. (South China Morning Post, 15-4-2018)

One simple point: if the US/UK/France-coalition really believed the building they targeted (and hit) in a heavily populated civilian area of Damascus was actually making chemical weapons, what do they think would have happened if all that toxic material had been dispersed by explosions throughout the surrounding neighborhoods?
Hundreds if not thousands of civilians would have died.
So either the "Western powers" knowingly risked killing thousands of innocent people -- or else they knew the building was not actually a chemical weapons facility.

Thus we are left with two possible conclusions: either they are "gas-killing animals" happy to murder untold numbers of innocent people in a military action (the very crime of which they accuse Asad); or they are deeply cynical liars, using entirely bogus "humanitarian" concerns to advance a geopolitical agenda of domination in the Middle East that has already killed more than a million innocent human beings, displaced millions more, destroyed several countries and destabilized the entire world.
There really are no other options.
Again: either they genuinely believed it was a chemical weapons factory and they blew it to smithereens without the slightest regard for what would happen to those in the area; or they knew it wasn't a WMD site at all. Either option makes an utter mockery of their sickening false piety about their concern for "innocent Syrian victims."
And by the way, what DID happen after the strike? Nothing. There was no dispersal of deadly chemicals, not even in the ruins of the building itself, as AFP and the Times of India report. Foreign reporters toured the site, without protective gear, in perfect safety. Obviously, there had been no chemical weapons there....

'No release of chemicals is best proof there were none'
employee of bombed Syrian research site
RT Russia, 16-4-2018

An engineer at the now-bombed-out research facility north of Damascus, which the US claims was the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons program, says the labs were making medicine and testing toys for safety.
RT Arabic correspondents have visited one of the main targets of the US-led missile attack on Syria, the Scientific Studies and Research Center in the Barzeh district in northern Damascus.
The three-story building was pelted with Tomahawk missiles launched from US warships and air-to-surface missiles, the Pentagon said. The massive bombardment left it lying in ruins, with its walls and roof almost completely collapsed and lab equipment scattered around.

Said Said, an engineer at the facility, told RT Arabic that the very fact that such a trip was possible should serve as an evidence that no chemical weapons program was run at the site.
"You can see for yourself that nothing has happened. I've been here since 5:00 a.m. No signs of weapons-grade chemicals," he said. The researcher said he had worked at the facility for decades, and it used to develop medicine and household chemicals.
Speaking with AFP, Said said that the center's work mainly revolved around devising antidotes to scorpion and snake venoms, as well as testing food, medicine and children's toys for safety.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had visited the site several times and never found any traces of banned chemicals.
Since Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention under a deal brokered by Russia and the US in 2013, the UN chemical watchdog repeatedly confirmed its full compliance with its obligations to dismantle and remove its chemical stockpiles.

The Pentagon said that it hit three targets in Syria, two military bases and the Barzeh facility, alleging that all three were pillars of the Syrian chemical weapons.
Announcing the strikes, US General Kenneth McKenzie said that the US military "believe that by hitting Barzeh, in particular, we've attacked the heart of the Syrian weapons program."
However, reports by the UN's chemical watchdog, the latest of which was filed just a month ago, suggest otherwise.
The report on the first inspection that was conducted between 26 February and 5 March 2017 says that "the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention," noting that Damascus had provided unimpeded access to the inspectors "to all selected areas."
The follow-up inspection, carried out in November, did not find any incriminating evidence either.
The March 2018 report reiterates: "As stated in previous reports, all of the chemicals declared by the Syrian Arab Republic that were removed from its territory in 2014 have now been destroyed.

Paris Says OPCW Must be Enabled to 'Dismantle'
Syria's 'secret' Toxic weapons program
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 16 april 2018

Priority must be given to boosting the work of the world's chemical arms watchdog so it can dismantle Syria's "secret" toxic weapons program, the French ambassador said Monday.
"The priority today is to give the technical secretariat the means to complete the dismantling of the Syrian program," Phillipe Lalliot told emergency talks of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Following the recent attacks "we all know, Syria has maintained a secret chemical program since 2013," the ambassador added, referring to the year when Syria finally joined the OPCW and admitted to stockpiling toxic arms.

Russia to invite those involved in provocations
in Syria to OPCW’s next session
TASS Russian News Agency, April 17, 2018

Syrian Eyewitnesses Reveal How
Douma Provocation Was Made
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin has promised to bring those who were involved in staging provocations in Syria to the next OPCW meeting.
"We warned them that next time when they want to discuss the Syrian problem, we will bring here, in The Hague, those people who took part in the White Helmet’s choreographed episodes, who, voluntarily or not, were involved in the huge provocations, be it in Syria’s Douma or in Khan Shaykhun," he said.

The Russian ambassador told the OPCW Executive Council that Russian specialists who probed into the reports about the use of chemical weapons in Douma had found those who took part in filming the rent-a-mob chemical attack in Syria’s Douma and these people told how the video had been shot.
"They demonstrated videos with their participation. Both men have medical diplomas and work with the emergency department of Douma’s hospital," Shulgin said, adding this video was a provocation staged by pseudo-humanitarian non-government organizations, including the White Helmets.
Some non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. According to the statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.
The Russian foreign ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons.

The search for truth in the rubble of Douma
Robert Fisk visits the Syria clinic
The independent, 17-4-2018

This is the story of a town called Douma [..] and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week.
There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.
War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.

It was a short walk to Dr Assim Rahaibani. From the door of his subterranean clinic – “Point 200”, it is called, in the weird geology of this partly-underground city – is a corridor leading downhill where he showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye.
“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss.
Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other.
Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

The White Helmets – the medical first responders already legendary in the West but with some interesting corners to their own story – played a familiar role during the battles. They are partly funded by the Foreign Office and most of the local offices were staffed by Douma men.
Of course we must hear their side of the story, but it will not happen here: a woman told us that every member of the White Helmets in Douma abandoned their main headquarters and chose to take the government-organised and Russian-protected buses to the rebel province of Idlib with the armed groups when the final truce was agreed.

Internal Security Forces enter Douma city to enhance security and stability
in preparation for the return of all state institutions to the city. SANA, 15-4-2018

President al-Assad: Tripartite aggression on Syria was
accompanied by a campaign of misdirection and lies
Syrian Arab News Agency, 15-10-2018

Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a delegation from the United Russia ruling political party of the Russian Federation.
Talks during the meeting dealt with developments in Syria and the tripartite Western aggression against it, in addition to discussing the historical relations between Syria and Russia and means to boost them in all fields.
President al-Assad said the tripartite missile aggression on Syria was accompanied by a campaign of misdirection and lies at the Security Council against Syria and Russia by the countries that carried out the aggression, which proves once again that the two countries are fighting the same battle not only against terrorism, but also to protect international law which is based on respecting the sovereignty of states and the will of their peoples.
President al-Assad stressed the need to implement executive mechanisms to improve economic cooperation, particularly in the field of reconstruction in Syria, and at the same time pointed out to the importance of the existing parliamentary cooperation between the two countries in international circles, particularly since the world political map is being redefined.

Make Russia Great Again

'United Russia' is the ruling political party of the Russian Federation. United Russia is the largest party in Russia and as of 2017 it holds 340 (or 75.56%) of the 450 seats in the State Duma. In the 2016 elections, it received 54.2% while the second-place Communist Party received 13.3%.
In 2009, it proclaimed Russian conservatism as its official ideology. As of 2017, the United Russia party supports the policies of the presidential administration.

Under Vladimir Putin, the dominant leader since 1999, Russia has promoted explicitly conservative policies in social, cultural and political matters, both at home and abroad.
Putin has attacked globalism and economic liberalism. He has promoted new think tanks that bring together like-minded intellectuals and writers. For example, the Izborsky Club, founded in 2012 by Aleksandr Prokhanov, stresses Russian nationalism and the restoration of Russia's historical greatness. They progressively refined a policy of public funding to make Russian higher education autonomous from Western financial support and to promote a “patriotically-oriented” civil society. (Wikipedia info)

PNA welcomes Arab League decisions on Palestinian issue
Xinhua | 16 april 2018

RAMALLAH, April 16 -- Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Monday welcomed the decisions made on the Arab League (AL) Summit held in Saudi Arabia.
The Arab summit stressed in its final statement the importance of ongoing efforts to establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders of 1967.
The statement described the Palestinian cause as a central issue of the Arab world.
It also voiced rejection of the Arab countries to the Israel's Judaization of Jerusalem and U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of the holy city as Israel's capital last December.
In a statement to official radio Voice of Palestine, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki underlined the importance of the decisions made by the Arab nations in support of the Palestinian people and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), UN's refugee relief body.
He also revealed that official letters would be sent to Saudi Arabia, chair of the summit, and the AL General Secretariat to call for synchronized measures to implement the Palestinian-related decisions.

Donald Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?
By Patrick J. Buchanan, Monday - April 16, 2018

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’
We convinced him it was necessary to stay.” Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”
Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”? If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

"We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality." Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923

Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is “inoperative.”
The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy.
Monday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans: “The better U.S. strategy is to … turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.”
Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.
The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.
But where is the evidence for this? What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?
As for Trump’s statement Friday, “No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East,” the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as “fatalistic” and “misguided.”
We have a vital interest, says the Washington Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a “land corridor” across Syria.

Arab League's 'strong message to the Trump administration'
Osama Al-Sharif, Arab News, April 16, 2018

Those in Israel and the United States who had hoped that the Arab League summit in Dhahran would expose fractures in Arab leaders’ stance on the Palestinian cause were left sorely disappointed.
In their opening speeches, King Abdullah of Jordan and host King Salman both underlined the centrality of the Palestinian issue for all Arabs and Muslims, while denouncing the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Coming from two close US allies, this commitment to the fundamental principles governing a just resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict was reflected in the summit’s final communique.
This was perhaps the most important message that Arab leaders wanted to send to the rest of the world: That unilateral actions — even if they were adopted by a superpower such as the US — aimed at changing the legal status of the Occupied Territories would not stand.
The parameters for a just and lasting solution remain the same: UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, whose implementation embraces the two-state solution, allowing for the creation of the Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Symbolically and equally significantly, the Dhahran summit was appropriately named the “Jerusalem Summit.”
This unanimous Arab position debunked allegations that some Arab states were open to other proposals that would derail the two-state solution and cede Arab sovereignty on East Jerusalem. This is a strong message to the Trump administration...

Aside from the unified position on Palestine, Arab leaders were in agreement on rejecting foreign intervention in their affairs.
Syria, which was targeted by US, British and French missiles the day before the summit revealed fault lines in Arab positions. Arab states differed in their reaction to the coalition attack on Syria, with some supporting it and others warning of its repercussions.
Other files where Arab leaders were in agreement included the need to find a peaceful solution in Libya, fighting terrorism, supporting UNRWA, the Palestinian Authority and Arab residents of Jerusalem, reforming the Arab League, and implementing the recommendations of the Arab Economic and Social Council....

Life of Great Persian Emperor on Theater in Tehran

The rise and fall of Cyrus the Great the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Emperor, is on the show on the theater scene in Vahdat Hall of Tehran . (FARS News Agency, 17-4-2018)

Friya Randelia: Cyrus the Great and His Cylinder
Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York, 2013

Cyrus II, also known as Cyrus the Great, was the first king of the Achaemenid Empire. He took over Media and brought together an empire like no other king before him.
Cyrus the Great was born in Anshan, Persia in 580 BC to King Cambyses I. After this senior king died, Cyrus II became King of Anshan at the age of twenty-one years.
Cyrus II was viewed as a fair ruler, treating his subjects equally as long as they paid their taxes and did not revolt. Other rulers were not as just as Cyrus II.
He was unique in that he was a monotheistic Zoroastrian when other kings were polytheistic. However, he still respected these other religions and did not impose his religion on his subjects. On the whole, Cyrus the Great was a remarkable leader.

Cyrus the Great is known for his cylinder, which holds the first known charter of rights.
The cylinder is made of baked clay and was excavated in Babylon, Iraq, in 1879. The cylinder is written in Babylonian cuneiform, but some clay fragments are missing. It started with the conquest of Babylon in 539 BC.
Rather than being a miserable period for the Babylonians, it was a time of great happiness and relief. Before Cyrus the Great conquered and liberated Babylon, King Nabonidus ruled the country poorly.
Cyrus II was said to have been ordered by Marduk, the Supreme God of the Babylonians, to go to Babylon and rescue the country from its difficulties and pains without a battle.
Cyrus the Great did not want anyone to feel fearful or terrorized by his peaceable troops. He liberated them from their previous oppressor. All in all, Cyrus the Great and his cylinder were important to the people of Babylon.

The Cyrus Cylinder shows how Zoroastrianism can have an influence on others. It is said to have had an influence on leaders like Alexander the Great all the way to Thomas Jefferson with the United States Declaration of Independence.
The Cyrus Cylinder is the first known documented set of human rights. Cyrus the Great established a practice of religious tolerance that would remain for the rest of the Achaemenian Empire.
In the Declaration of Independence, it says that “all men are created equal,” which could have been influenced by the Cyrus Cylinder’s message of freedom. As one can see, the Cyrus Cylinder has had an influence on other cultures in various time periods.

Cyrus II is especially famous for allowing the Jews to be freed from their exile that they were forced into during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar starting in 597 BC.

“Aleppo, the Beating of the Heart” event kicks off at Aleppo Citadel
Syrian Arab News Agency, 18 April 2018

Under the patronage of President Bashar al-Assad, the cultural and national event “Aleppo, the Beating of the Heart” kicked off on Tuesday evening at Aleppo Citadel on occasion of the 72nd anniversary of Evacuation Day, Syria’s Independence Day.
Aleppo Citadel’s amphitheater thronged with crowds as the event was opened by the Syrian Arab Army and the Internal Security Forces music band...
The event also included folk dance performances by the Circassian Ensemble, Carni Aleppo Folk Dance Ensemble, and Shushi Armenian Dance Ensemble, in addition to musical performances feayring traditional songs from Aleppo’s heritage, and an operatic performance by soprano Sumaya Hallaq and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by maestro Missak Baghboudarian.
The event was concluded with national songs performed by Narekatsi Choir, Zvartnots Choir, the National Symphony Orchestra, Siba Band, and Gomidas Band.

Islamic State given two days to give up Damascus enclave
Middle East Eye, Thursday 19 April 2018

Islamic State militants have been given 48 hours to agree to withdraw from an enclave they control south of Damascus, the pro-Syrian government newspaper al-Watan reported.
"If they refuse, the army and supporting forces are ready to launch a military operation to end the presence of the organisation in the area," it said.
The militant-controlled enclave is centred around the Palestinian Yarmouk camp and the al-Hajar al-Aswad area south of Damascus. The area is much smaller than the eastern Ghouta region where the Syrian government recently defeated insurgents.
A commander in the regional military alliance that backs the Syrian government said the Syrian army had begun shelling the militant enclave on Tuesday in preparation for an assault.
Yarmouk, some 8km from the centre of Damascus, was home to Syria's largest Palestinian refugee community before the Syrian war erupted in 2011. Although most residents have fled, the United Nations has said several thousand remain.

The Syrian government has recovered swathes of territory from rebels by letting them leave to other rebel-held parts of the country after years of siege and ferocious military assaults backed by Russia and Iran.
Ghouta had been the opposition's main bastion outside Damascus, but government forces fully secured it after a blistering two-month assault that ended in negotiated rebel withdrawals.
The state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday that a deal had also been reached for rebels to quit Dumayr, a town further to the east, where a reconciliation agreement had kept a security status quo since 2016.
It said on Wednesday fighters from the Jaish al-Islam rebel faction were continuing to hand over their heavy and intermediate weapons in Dumayr ahead of their departure to the northern town of Jarabulus...
Talks were ongoing for the nearby towns of Nasiriya and Jayrud to reach a similar agreement, according to the Observatory.

'We're not mercenaries': Egypt 'rejects'
US proposal to deploy troops to Syria
The New Arab, 18 April, 2018

Egypt will not join a proposed multi-national Arab force meant to replace US military presence in Syria, a former Egyptian intelligence official has said.
Mohamed Rashad, the former undersecretary of general intelligence, told news website Egypt Independent on Tuesday that Cairo's forces were not "mercenaries".
The top intelligence official was responding to a report that US President Donald Trump has reached out to Arab states to deploy troops to Syria to minimise Washington's role in the Syrian conflict.
"The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries [that can be] leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy forces in a certain area," Rashad said. "This is not acceptable and no one should dare to direct or give instructions to Egypt's army,"
"Egypt is refusing any interference from foreign countries in Syria as the matter is related to the Syrian people and only they have the authority to decide their fate," he added.
US officials have reportedly reached out to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Egypt about providing funds and military resources to create the force.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said the kingdom was willing to send troops to Syria as part of a wider coalition - should the idea be proposed.
Saudi Arabia has been entangled in a three-year war against Houthi rebels in Yemen that has yet to bear fruit.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia launched a coalition of Arab states fighting to roll back the rebels in Yemen - creating what the UN has called the world's largest humanitarian crisis.
Cairo has refused to deploy troops to Yemen to counter the Houthi rebellion and is currently fighting an extremist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that killed hundreds of security forces.

Vasily Nebenzya: UN to see interview with Syrian boy
TASS Russian News Agency, 19-4-2018

A TV story about a young boy from Syria’s Douma who was lured into taking part in the White Helmets’ faked chemical attack video will be shown to the representatives of the UN Security Council member-states, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, told the Rossiya-1 television channel in an interview on Thursday.
Earlier, the Rossiya-24 round-the-clock channel aired an interview with the boy who was lured into participating in a faked video of an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma.
In the TV story the 11-year-old explains how he appeared in a faked chemical attack video spread by the NGO calling itself The White Helmets. In the same TV story the boy’s father says that "the militants gave the boy some date fruit and biscuits to eat" and then let everybody go home. The man says his son has been well all the time and there were "no chemical weapons at all." "We already have a subtitled copy of the video at our disposal. We will distribute it among the member-countries (of the UN Security Council - TASS) and journalists. At the forthcoming meeting of the UN Security Council we will let everybody see it on the big screen," Nebenzya said.
According to the White Helmets’ allegations Syria’s Douma on April 7 saw the use of chemical weapons. The Russian Defense Ministry described that organization as an unreliable source.

Al-Masdar, Beirut (19-4-2018, 9:50 A.M.): The young boy in the Douma chemical weapons video, Hassan Diab, was interviewed this week by Russia 24 TV in regards to this alleged incident.
Diab told Russia 24 TV he and his mother had heard loud voices in the street during the alleged chemical weapons attack and that they were urged to rush to a local hospital.
“We were in the basement. Mom told me that today we don’t have anything to eat and that we will eat tomorrow. We heard a cry outside, calling “go to the hospital.” We ran to the hospital and as soon as I entered, they grabbed me and started pouring water on me,” Hassan Diab said.
His father continued the story. He was at his work when he heard that his son was in hospital. He rushed to the hospital and found his family there in good health. According to him, it turned out militants gave all the participants food and then released them.

A Brilliant Early Defender of Palestine
Book review by Jeremy Salt
Palestine Chronicle, April 18, 2018

(Colin Andersen, Balfour in the Dock
J.M.N. Jeffries and the Case for the Prosecution.
Bloxham, Oxon: Skyscraper Publications, 2017)

J.M.N (Joseph) Jeffries was an outstanding British journalist whose book Palestine: The Reality (1939) is described by Colin Andersen as ‘a masterwork of history and a scathing indictment of British policy in Palestine from 1914 to 1938.’
The value of the Jeffries book lies in his single-minded focus on Palestine and the force of his arguments. Few copies of the book were printed, and it is now almost impossible to find even in libraries. By Edward Said and many others, however, its value as an early exposure of British perfidy has long since been recognized.

Zionism itself was a wicked idea from the start.
Herzl was not ignorant of the realities on the ground in Palestine. In the form of the people, he wanted to remove them and in the form of the land he wanted to turn Palestine into something else. Chaim Weizmann was no better. He lied, deceived and dissimulated as a matter of course.
By 1914, with one exception, Zionism had no support anywhere. The Ottoman sultan, the Kaiser, and the Tsar’s government had all turned their backs on it.
By Jews around the world, the Zionists were regarded as cranks, fanatics, and heretics but the one exception [Britain] was critical.

General Edmund Allenby brought an end to the Ottoman rule of Jerusalem, when he helped capture Palestine (and Syria) for the British Mandate during the First World War.

In Britain, the seed of imperial support for this mad idea had been sown by Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, when in 1903 he backed Zionist settlement in East Africa.
By 1917 Zionism had been absorbed into British imperialism. [..] Zionism was a tool Britain could use.
The chief villains of the piece, in Jeffries’ reading, were the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, and his Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour.
They ‘weaponised’ Zionism, first to bring the US into the war and then to turn Palestine over to their Zionist proxies..
Behind his lofty, somewhat detached philosophical exterior, Balfour was as remorseless as the fanatics whose cause he was promoting, not in their interests, as they undoubtedly realized, but Britain’s.
Zionism, Balfour wrote in 1919, right or wrong, good or bad, was rooted in traditions, present needs and future hopes of ‘far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.’
Crucially, the words ‘now’ and ‘inhabit’ point to what Balfour, the British government, and the Zionists, colluding, had in mind: Palestine did not belong to the Palestinians, they were only ‘inhabiting’ it and only for ‘now.’

Colin Andersen, blending original material from Palestine: The Reality and Jeffries’ other writings with his own analysis and interpretation, has produced a book that no student of Britain’s deceits from Husain-McMahon to the Balfour Declaration should leave unread.

Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East.

Syria returns Légion d'honneur award to France
BBC News, 20-4-2018

Syria has returned to France the prestigious Légion d'honneur presented to President Bashar al-Assad, saying he would not wear the award of a country that was a "slave" to America. The award was returned to France via the Romanian embassy in Damascus.
The move comes days after France said a "disciplinary procedure" for withdrawing the award was under way.
President Assad was decorated with the highest class of the award, the grand-croix, in 2001 after he took power following the death of his father.

"The ministry of foreign affairs... has returned to the French republic... the decoration of the grand-croix of the Légion d'honneur awarded to President Assad," the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement.
"It is no honour for President Assad to wear a decoration attributed by a slave country and follower of the United States that supports terrorists," it added.

The US, UK and France bombed several Syrian government sites on Saturday in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma, the last rebel-held town in the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus.
The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons and says the attack was fabricated.

"Any community with only one dominant power is always a dangerous one."
"That's why I favor a multipolar world, in which Europe obviously has its place."
Jacques Chirac 2003

Flashback: "Go back to the principles of the French Revolution"
President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to the French daily Le Figaro
Syrian Arab News Agency, 3-9-2013

Malbrunot: President Barack Obama has postponed a military strike on Syria, how do you explain this?

President al-Assad: Some have seen Obama as weak because of his decision to withdraw or delay a possible strike by days or weeks; by waging a war on Syria, others have seen him as a strong leader of a powerful country.
From my perspective, power lies in your ability to prevent wars not in igniting them. Power comes from ones ability to stand up and acknowledge their mistakes; if Obama was strong, he would have stood up and said that there is no evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he would have stood up and said that the right way forward is to wait for the results of the UN investigations and work through the UN Security Council. However, as I see it, he is weak because he succumbed to internal pressure from small groups and threatened military action. As I said strong leaders are those who prevent wars not those who inflame them.

Malbrunot: What do you say to members of congress whose vote will determine whether or not there will be any military action?

President al-Assad: Before they vote, they should ask themselves a simple question: What have previous wars achieved for America, or even for Europe? What has the world achieved from the war in Libya and the spread of terrorism in its aftermath? What has the world achieved from the wars in Iraq and other places? What will the world achieve from supporting terrorism in Syria?

Members of congress are entrusted to serve in the best interests of their country. Before they vote, they need to weigh up their decision in the interests of their own country.
It is not in the interests of the US to perpetuate instability and extremism in the Middle East. It is not in their interests to continue – what George Bush started – spreading wars in the world.
If they think logically and in the interests of their country, they will not find any benefits to these wars. However many of them they have not mastered the art of logic in their political decision-making. ...

Malbrunot: How can we stop the war, the crisis in Syria has been on going for more than two-and-half years? You have suggested a National Unity government, the international community has suggested Geneva II, how can we stop the blood bath in Syria?

President al-Assad: Discussing a solution at the beginning of the crisis is very different to discussing it today. From the beginning I have emphasised that a resolution can only be achieved through dialogue, which would lead to solutions that can be implemented through political measures.
The situation today is different; today we are fighting terrorists, 80-90% of them affiliated to Al-Qaeda. These terrorists are not interested in reform, or politics, or legislations. The only way to deal with the terrorists is to strike them; only then can we talk about political steps. So in response to your question, the solution today lies in stopping the influx of terrorists into Syria and stopping the financial, military or any other support they receive. ...

Malbrunot: French Parliamentarians will meet on Wednesday. There is a big debate in France now, with some believing that Hollande has gone too far on this issue. What is your message to the French Parliamentarians before they convene and vote on the strike?

President al-Assad: The question really is: will the meeting of the French parliamentarians return the independence of France’s decisions back to the French?
We hope that this would be the case. Since they will be working in the interests of France, will the representatives of the French people take the side of extremism and terrorism?...
Will France adopt the American model of double standards?
How can the parliamentarians convince the French public that their country is secular, yet at the same time it supports extremism and sectarianism in other parts of the world? How can France advocate for democracy but yet one of its closest allies – Saudi Arabia – is still living in medieval times?
My message to the French Parliamentarians is: go back to the principles of the French Revolution that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality. ...

Malbrunot: When your father passed away, you visited France and were received by President Chirac. Everyone viewed you as a youthful and promising president and a successful ophthalmologist. Today, since the crisis, this image has changed.
To what extent have you as a person changed?

President al-Assad: The more imperative question is: has the nature of this person changed? The media can manipulate a person’s image at a whim, yet my reality remains the same.
I belong to the Syrian people; I defend their interests and independence and will not succumb to external pressure. I cooperate with others in a way that promotes my country’s interests. This is what was never properly understood; they assumed that they could easily influence a young president, that if I had studied in the West I would lose my original culture. This is such a naïve and shallow attitude.
I have not changed; they are the ones who wished to identify me differently at the beginning. They need to accept the image of a Syrian president who embraces his country’s independence.

US-led Strikes on Syria Didn't Help Build Peace - UN Envoy
Sputnik News, 20 april 2018

The US, British and French strikes against Syria did not contribute to the settlement process, UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "What happened last week did not help Astana, Sochi, or Geneva," he stressed.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Friday that he was pleased to see Moscow strongly committed to the political process in Syria despite the US, UK and French missile strikes on the Arab republic carried out last week.

De Mistura noted that the deconfliction mechanism introduced by the Russian and US forces operating in Syria has worked effectively, allowing to avoid the worsening of the situation in the Middle Eastern country, and should continue. "I think this dialogue needs to continue and has been able to avoid the much worse consequences. I understand there has been a useful meeting between the senior Russian and American military, and even between your ambassador in Washington [Anatoly Antonov] and new [US] National Security Adviser [John] Bolton. All this shows that there is an important attention to de-escalation," the envoy said.

The envoy expressed hope that experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will soon visit Syria's Douma to investigate into an alleged chemical attack in the area.
"The alleged chemical attack is a very serious issue, and therefore the UN has been on our side strongly wanting to help accelerate the OPCW visit to Douma… The sooner the better. I am sure you want the same," de Mistura told reporters after his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

RT Arabic has traveled to the Douma hospital shown in footage of the aftermath of the alleged chemical weapons attack. The crew talked to a boy featured in the video, who recounted the events. Hassan Diab, 11, appears to be the trembling boy seen in the video of the aftermath of the alleged chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta city. (RT Russia, 20-4-2018)

Haneen Zoabi Fights For Her People’s Rights
By Dennis J Bernstein, Consortium News, April 20, 2018

Dennis Bernstein spoke to Haneen Zoabi on April 17th in Berkeley California. Haneen Zoabi is a member of the Israeli Knesset and the first woman elected to the Israeli Knesset on an Arab party list. She’s an unrelenting advocate for equal citizenship rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel... Zoabi considers herself a straight up feminist.

DB: You are calling for a one-state solution? For one person one vote....
HZ: I am calling for a state which represents all of its citizens. For Israel, this struggle for democracy is a strategic threat. Equality and justice are strategic threats.
As a member of the Knesset, I am asked to be loyal to racism, loyal to apartheid laws, loyal to my oppressor. In Arab schools, we cannot study our own history, our own literature.. We learn that we don’t have any special relation to our homeland.. We must thank Israel every day for not expelling us in 1948.
Citizenship in Israel is not something that is meant to empower us. In a poll conducted three or four years ago, 65% of Israelis said they would like to be perceived as part of the West and not as part of the Middle East.
If you don’t want to be seen as part of the Middle East, if you don’t want to respect the history and the culture, why did you come here?

You came here without any respect for my identity or my history. You came not to live beside me but to replace me.

DB: Could you describe the relationship between Palestinians inside the state of Israel and those in the occupied West Bank and Gaza?
HZ: I am forbidden to travel to Gaza. Gaza is now the biggest ghetto in the world. They restrict the movement even of patients, even of students.. As a politician, I don’t see myself as just struggling for the rights of Palestinians within the borders of 1948. I am struggling for the rights of the Palestinian people.

DB: So your constituency includes all Palestinians.
HZ: One strategy of control at play here, apart from occupation and the siege, is citizenship as a way to tame and control Palestinians within Israel. I don’t have the right to even identify myself as Palestinian in Israel. I must identify myself as Arab-Israeli.
I must accept my dual marginalization: I am not 100% Palestinian and I am not 100% Israeli because I am not Jewish.

DB: What is your primary purpose in coming to the US at this time?
HZ: We do not ask the Americans to like the Palestinians, nor do we ask them to love the Palestinians. We ask them to examine their sense of justice, equality and freedom. The Palestinian struggle is a struggle for justice.
American citizens cannot see themselves as being neutral in this struggle, because of the total blind support of Israel by the United States.
Israel is not held accountable for its crimes and this is why it is able to continue with this murderous oppression. It is time to send a clear message to Israel that it is not above international law.

"The main thing is to stay within the framework of international law"
Lavrov calls for greater UN presence in Syria
TASS Russian News Agency, April 20, 2018

Building up UN presence in Syria is crucial from the standpoint of gathering authentic information, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Friday.
We cannot tolerate a situation where UN agencies in their reports and public statements rely on information borrowed from other sources in Syria, not the UN’s own ones," Lavrov said.
The prospects of starting an inter-Syrian dialogue under the UN aegis are not as optimistic as they were a month ago, Sergey Lavrov has warned.
"Less than a month has passed since we met here at this table on March 29," Russia’s top diplomat noted.
"Today we are meeting in the conditions when the prospects of the quickest start of the dialogue under your aegis in compliance with Resolution 2254 are not as optimistic as they were a month ago. Nevertheless, we should not give up and we will do everything to avoid departure from the key accords," Lavrov said.
"The main thing is to stay within the framework of international law and we will be seeking that all our partners should follow precisely this course rather than try to play their geopolitical schemes to the detriment of the interests of the Syrian people," the Russian foreign minister said.
On April 14, the US, Great Britain and France delivered a massive missile strike against Syria without the UN Security Council’s authorization.

Egypt: Draining Brotherhood funds
Gamal Essam El-Din. Al-Ahram Weekbly, 23-4-2018

In another blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, MPs this week approved a law authorising the relevant judicial committee to sequestrate the assets of the banned organisation and all affiliated movements.
The original title of the 18-article law — Regulating the Procedures of Sequestrating, Managing and Disposing of the Assets of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Affiliated Organisations — was amended during Monday’s parliamentary debate to “Regulating the Sequestration, Managing and Disposing of the Assets of Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists”.
“The change was necessary because the constitution stipulates laws must be issued to address general conditions rather than a particular case,” said Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan.

MPs praised the law, with several insisting the Brotherhood remains flush with money from Qatar and Turkey.
Free Egyptians Party MP Sami Ramadan said Qatar spent $8 billion on the Muslim Brotherhood while it was in power in Egypt between 2012 and 2013 and “is still spending generously on the group, helping it spread chaos in Egypt”.
“The Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organisations still receive cash from Qatar, Turkey and from giant companies operating in Egypt, the Arab world, Europe and America,” claimed MP Ahmed Hamam. “We hope this law will be a step in halting the flow of funds to terrorists and their mother organisations.” MP Mustafa Bakri, the editor-in-chief of the weekly Al-Osbou, says the new law was necessary to end the constitutional and legal problems which had dogged the sequestration of the assets of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation following terrorist attacks targeting buildings belonging to security forces in Cairo and Nile Delta cities in December 2013,” said a report prepared by the committee. “Many of the group’s leaders and activists have been convicted of carrying out terrorist attacks.

Muslim Brotherhood: Regime Repression Unprecedented in Egypt’s History
Ahmed Assem, Media spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, 18-4-2018

The junta's extending the state of emergency for an additional three months, starting April 14, 2018, is a typical attempt to make the Egyptian people believe they’re in alleged a state of war, which they’re expected to live in permanently.
Despotic regimes always invoke a hidden enemy to bear all their failures, as well as their repressive and exceptional measures that are intended only to tighten the grip on power, while accomplishing nothing on the economic and social levels.
What is more dangerous is to continue perversion and corruption without accountability or scrutiny....
The coup has continued all the abuses of the previous regime, which Egyptians had revolted against, and surpassed the previous regime in repression, torture, and the use of the murder machine.
Hence, Egyptians have no choice but to continue their revolution to overthrow all those who wish to usurp their future and freedom in their homeland. The revolution that has previously achieved what no one expected is capable, by Allah's permission, will re-establish what the people aspire to and hope for.

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

It was no secret that while Nasser was aligned with the socialist camp,
the MB served as a tool of the US and Gulf regime during the Cold War". Al-Akkbar march 2012

"The revolution is a gift from God"
Ahram Online, 17 May 2012

[May 2012] Muslim Brotherhood's presidential hopeful Mohamed Morsi visited the governorates of Beni Suef and Fayoum. Morsi was accompanied on his tour by Salafist figures Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud as well as Islamic scholar Safwat Hegazi and the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
Badie told the audience in Beni Suef that the revolution was a gift from God and the Egyptian people should pray and thank him for it. He also urged the Egyptian people to work hard and serve Egypt and choose a man who will apply Sharia Law like Morsi promised to do.

Daraa province: cradle of Syrian revolt
Arab News, 25-4-2018

Syria’s southern province of Daraa, which could be the regime’s next target after its bloody reprisal of Eastern Ghouta, is the birthplace of the uprising which erupted in 2011.
In the province’s main town, which has the same name, demonstrators attacked symbols of the regime, before the protest movement spilled over into neighboring towns. Assad fired the unpopular town governor and local intelligence chief, but did not manage to calm the situation.
On April 26 the regime sent in the army as it sought to stamp out pockets of resistance.
The Daraa protest movement was crushed at the end of a 10-day military operation in which hundreds were arrested.
Daraa province is one of the last centers of rebel forces in Syria, after they lost vast swathes of territory to the regime.
It is divided up between different opposition groups that control nearly 70 percent of it. The Daesh group and the regime retain a lesser presence.
Daraa town, the regional capital, is mainly in the hands of pro-government forces.

Flashback 2011 - There are three groups of protesters in Syria
ChamPress 10-10-2011

During a meeting with members of the Syrian community in Moscow, Assistant [..] Minister Abdelfattah Ammoura reviewed the reality of the situation in Syria, thanking the Russian leadership and people for their support and the use of veto at the Security Council to prevent passing a resolution against Syria.
He pointed out that there are three groups of protestors in Syria: a group with just and legitimate demands, a group of liberal intellectuals that don't represent wide demographics yet are respected and invited to join dialogue, and a third group consisting of armed terrorist groups committing murder, assassination and vandalism and are provided with weapons and money from abroad. ...
Ammoura discussed the vicious media war against Syria in detail, noting that the Syrian media is debunking the lies and misdirection of biased media ... He underlined the package of reforms law being carried out, particularly in the political fields, in addition to the dialogue process across Syria and the upcoming central dialogue conference which will take place in Damascus.

National Committee for Preparing Draft Constitution
Syrian Arab News Agency, 16 oktober 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday issued presidential decision No. 33 on forming the national committee for preparing a draft constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic to be issued later according to the constitutional principles.
According to the decree, the Committee must complete its mission within a period not exceeding four months from the date of issuing the decree and it has the right to consult whoever it finds appropriate to accomplish the mission.
Nizar Skeif, Committee member, said forming the committee is a strategic decision in Syria's history at the political, economic and social levels.
He added that the constitution is the main law to which three strategic concepts are tied: the state, the authority and the people, indicating that the decision will lead to a qualitative leap in the history of Syria...

Secular Democracy - Syrian Youth Dialogue Sessions
Dp-news - Sana, 26-9-2011

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

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

WASHINGTON — American media reports on Tuesday said that the administration of President Barack Obama has been quietly consulting with the "Islamic opposition" in Syria. Within this context, the American "World Tribune" Newspaper revealed that senior U.S. officials have been meeting with the "Muslim Brotherhood" of Syria as well as its lobbyists in the United States.
The US officials said the two sides have convened several times over the last three months to discuss the Brotherhood's role after the "ouster" of President Bashar Assad's regime.
The Reform Party in Syria (RPS) has protested the US administration's meetings with the "Brotherhood". RPS, regarded as one of the most pro-Western elements in the Syrian opposition, said Washington was signaling its endorsement of the "Brotherhood's" goal to make Syria into an Islamic state rather than a democracy that would foster its large minority communities.

On Sept. 24, the council, regarded as a lobbyist for the "Brotherhood", held a meeting in Anaheim, Calif. to discuss the situation in Syria. The session was addressed by U.S. special envoy Frederic Hof, responsible for U.S. policy on Damascus.
This marked at least the second session between the State Department and the "Brotherhood" in as many months. The first meeting was headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and excluded members of the secular Syrian opposition.

"Russia cannot agree to a Libyan-style example"
Syria Arab News Agency, 6-10-2011

The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that Russia cannot agree to a Libyan-style example which is an outrageous misuse of the UNSC resolutions serving hostile unilateral interests to topple regimes.
"We've warned over and over again that we'll stand firm to turning the Libyan scenario into a rule and hence doing damage to the reputation and leverage of the UN Security Council,'' said the statement, adding ''We believe that it is important that the world community fully respect the rule of the international law."
"We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the extremist opposition is wagering on the protest temperaments of a portion of the Syrians and does not hide its extremist intentions to resort to overt terrorism."
The statement added that Russia continues to work with Damascus and calls on the Syrian leadership to speed up reforms, free detainees and initiate an effective dialogue with the political opposition and allow international media in Syria.
"We call upon the opposition to take part in the national dialogue as an effective means to agree on democratic reforms and to reject in no uncertain terms scenarios of military intervention..."

Scarier than Bolton? Think Nikki for President
By Phil Giraldi, Consortium News, April 24, 2018

Nikki Haley is America’s face to the international community. She is the Ugly American personified, thinking that American Exceptionalism gives her license to say and do whatever she wants at the United Nations, argues Phil Giraldi in this commentary.

In the Trumpean world of all-the-time-stupid, there is one individual who stands out for her complete inability to perceive anything beyond threats of unrelenting violence combined with adherence to policies that have already proven to be catastrophic.
That person is our own Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who surfaced in the news lately after she unilaterally and evidently prematurely announced sanctions on Russia. When the White House suggested that she might have been “confused” she responded that “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”

The problem right now is that Nikki Haley is America’s face to the international community, even more than the Secretary of State.
She has used her bully pulpit to do just that, i.e. bully, and she is ugly America personified, having apparently decided that something called American Exceptionalism gives her license to say and do whatever she wants at the United Nations.
In her mind, the United States can do what it wants globally because it has a God-given right to do so, a viewpoint that doesn’t go down well with many countries that believe that they have a legal and moral right to be left alone and remain exempt from America’s all too frequent military interventions....

Jessica Lynn Gavora (born 1963) is an American conservative writer on politics and culture. She was the chief speechwriter and a senior policy adviser to Attorney General John Ashcroft.
She is married with Jonah Goldberg, "a cheerleader for the unprovoked, unilateral US attack on Iraq."

John Ashcroft 2004: "Even if weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq, the U.S.-led war was justified because it eliminated the threat that Saddam Hussein might again resort to evil chemistry and evil biology."

Haley, who had no foreign policy experience of any kind prior to assuming office, relies on a gaggle of neoconservative foreign-policy “experts” to help shape her public utterances, which are often not cleared with the State Department, where she is at least nominally employed.
Her speechwriter is Jessica Gavora, who is the wife of the leading neoconservative journalist Jonah Goldberg.
Unfortunately, being a neocon mouthpiece makes her particularly dangerous as she is holding a position where she can do bad things.
She has been shooting from the lip since she assumed office with only minimal vetting by the Trump Administration, and, as in the recent imbroglio over her “confusion,” it is never quite clear whether she is speaking for herself or for the White House.
Haley has her own foreign policy. She has declared that Russia “is not, will not be our friend” and has lately described the Russians as having their hands covered with the blood of Syrian children.
From the start of her time at the U.N., Haley has made it clear that she is neoconservatism personified and she has done nothing since to change that impression. In December 2017 she warned the U.N. that she was “taking names” and threatened retaliation against any country that was so “disrespectful” as to dare to vote against Washington’s disastrous recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which she also helped to bring about.

As governor of South Carolina, Haley first became identified as an unquestioning supporter of Israel through her signing of a bill punishing supporters of the nonviolent pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the first legislation of its kind on a state level.
Immediately upon taking office at the United Nations she complained that “nowhere has the U.N.’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel” and vowed that the “days of Israel bashing are over.” ..
Nikki Haley’s embrace of Israeli points of view is unrelenting and serves no American interest. If she were a recruited agent of influence for the Israeli Mossad she could not be more cooperative than she apparently is voluntarily.

Haley is particularly highly critical of both Syria and Iran, reflecting the Israeli bias.
She has repeatedly said that regime change in Damascus is a Trump administration priority, even when the White House was saying something different. She has elaborated on an Administration warning that it had “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime” by tweeting “…further attacks will be blamed on Assad but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.” Haley is particularly critical of Iran, which she sees as the instigator of much of the unrest in the Middle East, again reflecting the Israeli and neocon viewpoints...
So, Nikki Haley very much comes across as the neoconservatives’ dream ambassador to the United Nations–full of aggression, a staunch supporter of Israel, and assertive of Washington’s preemptive right to set standards for the rest of the world.
Worse than John Bolton? Absolutely.

Iran Accuses the U.S. of Fabricating Evidence
That Tehran Armed Houthi Rebels With Missiles
By Josh Lederman and Edith M. Lederer, Time|AP, 25-4-2016

During a visit to New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley of displaying fabricated evidence that missiles lobbed by the Houthis at civilian areas in Saudi Arabia originated in Iran.
Though Tehran supports the Shiite rebel group, it firmly denies giving them missiles. But Haley has invited journalists and U.N. Security Council diplomats to inspect missile parts recovered after strikes on Saudi Arabia, bearing what U.S. military officials said were Iranian markings and characteristics.
Zarif, in an Associated Press interview, said that one such logo was from the Standard Institute of Iran, which he said regulates consumer goods — not weapons.
“It’s a sign of quality,” Zarif said. “When people want to buy it, they look at whether it’s been tested by the Standard Institute of Iran that your cheese puffs are good, your cheese puffs will not give you a stomach ache.”
He laughed and added, “I mean, nobody will put the logo of the Standard Institute of Iran on a piece of missile.”
Zarif also pointed to a truck-size section of a missile that the U.S. said was recovered in Saudi Arabia and was transferred to a military base near Washington, where it was on display behind Haley for a photo-op. Zarif noted that the missile had been supposedly shot down in mid-air.
“I’m not saying Ambassador Haley is fabricating, but somebody is fabricating the evidence she is showing,” Zarif said.
The fragments Haley presented were turned over to the U.S. by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — two of Iran’s fiercest critics — and U.S. military officials had trouble tracing the fragments’ chain of custody. Nor could they say when the weapons were transferred to the Houthis or in some cases precisely when they were launched.

President Michel Aoun: Don't Vote for Those who Sell Sovereignty
by Naharnet Newsdesk, Lebanon, 25-4-2018

“Political ambition is legitimate and a right for each one of you, but avoid inciting sentiments and steer clear of religious and sectarian agitation,” President Michel Aoun said, addressing parliamentary candidates, in an address to the nation.
Do not vote for those who pay you or offer you money, because those who buy you will later sell you,” the president went on to say, in a message to voters.
“Do not vote for those who sold sovereignty and those who sell it on every occasion,” Aoun said.

With 10 days before Lebanon’s general elections, Michel Aoun appealed to resident Lebanese and expatriates to participate in the vote, calling it an act of “national duty” and the only way to bring about change in a democracy.
Addressing Lebanese expats, who will be allowed to vote outside Lebanon for the first time in the country's history, the president added: “Cling to your right to vote and let your participation reflect how much you are attached to your homeland.”
A new electoral law allows Lebanese expatriates to vote abroad for the first time. Some 82,000 expats have registered to do so.

Israel’s biggest enemy is Israel itself
By Ramzy Baroud, April 25, 2018

Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948.
That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled. The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its leader, Menachem Begin.
Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against Palestinian Arab communities leading up to the Nakba, the catastrophic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their historic homeland in 1947-48.
In the letter, Einstein, and others described Herut (Freedom) party as a “political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to Nazi and Fascist parties.”
Herut later merged with other groups to form the Likud Party. Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize and the Likud is now the leading party in Israel’s most right-wing government coalition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader of Begin’s party, the Likud. His current coalition includes Russian-born Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, founder of the ultra-nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
In response to ongoing popular protests by besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and in justification of the high number of deaths and injuries inflicted on the unarmed protesters by the Israeli army, Lieberman argued that “there are no innocent people in Gaza.”
Netanyahu’s coalition is rife with such morally-objectional characters.
Palestinians “are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads,” Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked wrote in a Facebook post in 2015. “Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs … They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Certainly, the Palestinian people are still fighting for their land, identity, dignity and freedom. But the truth is that Israel’s biggest enemy is Israel itself.
The country has failed to part ways with its violent politics and ideology of yesteryears. On the contrary, Israel’s ideological debate has been settled in favor of perpetual violence, racism and apartheid.
It is the likes of Netanyahu, Lieberman, Bennett and Shaked who now represent modern Israel and, behind them, a massive constituency of right-wing religious and ultra-nationalists, who have little regard for Palestinians, for human rights, international law and such seemingly frivolous values as peace and justice.

70 years after Israel’s independence and Einstein’s letter, the country’s legacy is still marred with blood and violence. Despite the ongoing party in Tel Aviv, there is no reason to celebrate and every reason to mourn...

Albert Einstein, Manhattan Opera House 22-4-1935:
Revisionists are an obstacle to peace

Declaring that the Revisionists are “inner enemies,” Prof. Albert Einstein urged the establishment of friendly relations with the Arabs and warned against viewing Palestine merely as a place of refuge.
“Under the guise of nationalist propaganda,” Prof. Einstein said, “Revisionism seeks to support the destructive speculation in land; it seeks to exploit the people and deprive them of their rights.
The state of mind fed by Revisionism is the most serious obstacle in the way of our peaceable and friendly cooperation with the Arab, people who are racially our kin.”

The Jews,” he continued, “must beware of viewing Palestine merely as a place of refuge.
The young men and women who went there before and after the World War made immense sacrifices and envisaged the creation of a Jewish commonwealth which would approximate the traditional ideals of justice and selfless love of man-kind more closely than did the European countries from which they came, and it is in that spirit Jews should regard Palestine for the future.”

Einstein's Holistic Worldview

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Albert Einstein

Hannah Arendt's Vision of Israel

Hannah Arendt had been a tireless advocate for Jewish victims and for the existence of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, but she envisioned the homeland as a federated, pluralistic, democratic, secular state -- a homeland for Palestinians and Jews coexisting peacefully as neighbors without an official state religion.

63 Mind-Opening Erich Fromm Quotes

Liberman:"United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal "
will lead to the economic collapse of Iran."
Jerusalem Post Staff, April 26, 2018

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took aim at Iran, saying Israel would respond to any Iranian threat. ahead of a meeting with senior American officials in Washington,
"If Iran strikes Tel Aviv, Israel will hit Tehran and destroy any Iranian military site in Syria that threatens Israel," he told London-based Saudi newspaper Elaph on Thursday.
Liberman said Israel will pay any price to prevent an Iranian presence in Syria.
The defense minister also said that Israel is engaged in dialogue with unnamed Arab countries, but did not specify which countries. "Things are moving in the right direction," he said. "There is an understanding on 75 percent of things." Liberman called for a constructive dialogue and full understanding with the Arab states on the regional issues.
He also said he believes that the current Iranian regime is in its final days, and that the presumed United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal on May 12th will lead to the economic collapse of Iran.
This is where the Iranian regime has been weakened, Liberman suggested, as it has so far spent more than $13 billion in Syria and spends $2 billion a year on Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other "terrorist" militias

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Muslim nations to unite against the US, saying Tehran would never yield to "bullying," state television reported on Thursday. "The Iranian nation has successfully resisted bullying attempts by America and other arrogant powers and we will continue to resist... All Muslim nations should stand united against America and other enemies," he said.
"Unfortunately there is war in our region between Muslim countries. The backward governments of some Muslim countries are fighting with other countries," Khamenei said.

No attack, no victims, no chem weapons
Douma witnesses speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague
RT Russia, 26 Apr, 2018

Witnesses of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab and hospital staff, told reporters at The Hague that the White Helmets video used as a pretext for a US-led strike on Syria was, in fact, staged. Hassan Diab was among the “victims” seen being washed by water hoses in a video released by the controversial White Helmets group on April 7.
“Six of the Douma witnesses brought to The Hague have already been interviewed by the OPCW technical experts, Russia’s permanent representative to the OPCW, Aleksandr Shulgin, said.
“The others were ready too, but the experts are sticking to their own guidelines. They’ve picked six people, talked to them, and said they were 'completely satisfied' with their account and did not have any further questions,” Shulgin revealed. He added that the allegations by “certain Western countries” ahead of the briefing that Moscow and Damascus were seeking to “hide” the witnesses from the OPCW experts did not hold water.
The alleged chemical incident was only supported by the White Helmets’ video and social media reports from militant-linked groups, but the US, the UK and France judged they had enough evidence that it actually took place and launched a series of punitive strikes against Syria on April 14.
The strike came hours before the OPCW fact-finding team was set to arrive in Douma to determine whether chemical weapons had been used there.

The Lies Behind America’s Interventions
By Jon Basil Utley, American Conservative, April 25, 2018

Official Washington and those associated with it have misrepresented the facts numerous times in the service of military actions that might not otherwise have taken place.
In the Middle East, Western interventions have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Arab civilians, brought chaos to Iraq and Libya, and led to the expulsion of a million Christians from communities where they have lived since biblical times.
The most famous of these episodes, of course, was the U.S. government’s assurance to the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which formed the basis for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The government also insisted Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda, bolstering the call to war. Of course neither was true.
But even before that there was the first Iraq war in 1991, justified in part by the story of Iraqi soldiers reportedly dumping babies out of incubators to die in a Kuwaiti hospital. The 15-year-old daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador cleverly lied to a set-up congressional committee.
There were also the lies about the Iraqi army being poised to invade Saudi Arabia. That was the ostensible reason for the U.S. sending troops to Kuwait—to defend Saudi Arabia.
America attacked Iraq in 1991, bombing and destroying that nation’s irrigation, sanitation, and electricity plants. Then we blockaded reconstruction supplies for nine years while some half-million children died of disease and starvation.
We blamed it all on Saddam, although we controlled Iraq’s money flows through the UN food-for-oil program.
Before that, there was the Kosovo war when America attacked Serbia on the basis of lies that 100,000 Kosovans had been massacred by Serbs in suppressing their civil war. This led to massive American bombing, brutally destroying much of that nation’s civilian infrastructure and factories, including most of the bridges in the country...

libya's [right-wing] islamic revolution, supported by france, uk and usa [plus b-h levy, zionist]

More recently there was the British, French, and American attack on Libya in response to lies that Moammar Gaddafi was planning to massacre civilians in Benghazi. The U.S. destroyed his armed forces and helped to overthrow him...
Most recently we had cable news inundating us with stories of a new poison gas attack in Syria. The “news” came from rebel sources. The American Conservative has published a detailed analysis by former arms inspector Scott Ritter questioning the evidence...
This happened before in the summer of 2014 when President Obama nearly went to war over similar accusations.. Investigative journalists Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry expertly poked holes in the veracity of that 2013 attack...

"One of the tragedies is that we can no longer trust our military,
our intelligence services, our politicians"
Weapons Inspector Refutes U.S. Syria Chemical Claims
Dennis J Bernstein, interview with Scott Ritter, april 27, 2018

Scott Ritter was asked in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, to join the United Nations Special Commission, which was tasked by the Security Council to oversee the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. From 1991 to 1998, Ritter served as a chief weapons inspector and led a number of teams into Iraq. According to Ritter, in the following Flashpoints Radio interview with Dennis Bernstein conducted on April 23rd, US, British and French claims that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians last month appear to be totally bogus.

- Dennis Bernstein: You have been speaking out recently about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Could you outline your case?
- Scott Ritter: Many, including the Russian government, believe that this was a staged event. There has been no hard evidence put forward by anyone that an attack took place. Shortly after allegations of the attack came out, the entire town of Douma was taken over by the Syrian Army while the rebels were evacuated.
The places that were alleged to have been attacked were inspected by Russian chemical weapons specialists, who found zero trace of any chemicals weapons activity.
The United States, France and Great Britain have all admitted that the only evidence they have used to justify this attack were the photographs and videotapes sent to them by the rebel forces.

I have great concern about the United States carrying out an attack on a sovereign nation based on no hard evidence...
One of the tragedies is that we can no longer trust our military, our intelligence services, our politicians. They will manufacture whatever narrative they need to justify an action that they deem to be politically expedient.
As an American citizen who happens to be empowered with knowledge about how weapons inspections work, how decisions are made regarding war, I am disillusioned beyond belief.
This isn’t the first time we have been lied to by the president. But we have been lied to by military officers who are supposed to be above that.
Three top Marine Corps officers stood before the American people and told bald-faced lies about what was going on.
We have been lied to by Congress, who are supposed to be the people’s representatives who provide a check against executive overreach.
And we have been lied to by the corporate media, a bunch of paid mouthpieces who repeat what the government tells them without question.

- DB: Isn’t it also the case that there were problems with the allegations concerning Syria using chemical weapons in 2013 and then again in 2015? I believe The New York Times had to retract their 2013 story.
- SR: They put out a story about thousands of people dying, claiming that it was definitely done by the Syrian government. It turned out later that the number of deaths was far lower and that the weapons systems used were probably in the possession of the rebels. It was a case of the rebels staging a chemical attack in order to get the world to intervene on their behalf.
A similar scenario unfolded last year when the Syrian government dropped two or three bombs on a village and suddenly there were reports that there was sarin nerve agent and chlorine gas wafting through the village, killing scores of people. Videotapes were taken of dead and dying and suffering people which prompted Trump to intervene. Inspectors never went to the site. Instead they relied upon evidence collected by the rebels....
So we have evidence collected by the rebels. They videotaped themselves carrying out the inspection, wearing training suits that would not have protected them at all from chemical weapons! Like almost everything having to do with these rebels, this was a staged event, an act of theater.

- DB: Who has been supporting this particular group of rebels?
- SR: On the one hand, we have the actual fighters, the Army of Islam, a Saudi-backed fundamentalist group who are extraordinarily brutal. Embedded within the fighters are a variety of Western-trained and Western-funded NGOs such as the White Helmets and the Syrian-American Medical Society.
Their primary focus isn’t rescue, in the case of the White Helmets, or medical care in the case of the Syrian-American Medical Society, but rather anti-regime propaganda...

Scott Ritter 2002: "I believe in truth"

While Tony Blair has claimed that Iraq has rebuilt its arsenal of "weapons of mass destruction", those who advise him know full well this is nonsense. And if Blair himself is not aware of this, this begs the question: what kind of prime minister is he?
They have read the evidence of Scott Ritter, who as senior United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq for seven years, is uniquely placed to assess how much of a danger the Iraqi regime represents.
RITTER, an American and international authority on weapons disarmament, personally led the inspections, investigations and destruction of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programmes.
On July 23, he said: "There is no case for war. I say that, not as a pacifist, or someone who is afraid of war. I've been to war with the US Marine Corps. Moreover, I'm a card-carrying Republican, who voted for George W. Bush for president. More important, I believe in truth.

"The UN weapons inspectors enjoyed tremendous success in Iraq. By the end of our job, we ascertained a 90-95 per cent level of disarmament. Not because we took at face value what the Iraqis said. We went to Europe and scoured the countries that sold technology to Iraq until we found the company that had an invoice signed by an Iraqi official. We cross-checked every piece of equipment with serial numbers. That's why I can say that Iraq was 90-95 per cent disarmed. We confirmed that 96 per cent of Iraq's 98 missiles were destroyed.
"As for chemical weapons, even if Iraq had succeeded in hiding stocks of sarin and tabun nerve agents, these chemicals have a shelf life of five years; after that they deteriorate and become useless gunk."
Ritter does not deny that Iraq could have begun to reconstitute its weapons programmes. "But they would have to start from scratch because they don't have the factories any more, because we destroyed them (including the research and development plant). If they tried that, the evidence is readily detectable. The technology is available; if Iraq was producing chemical weapons today on any meaningful scale, we would have definitive proof to show, plain and simple; and there is none." (John Pilger, 27-8-2002)

"It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it." John Pilger

Iran welcomes normalization of ties between two Koreas
Mehr News, Sat 28 April 2018

Iran foreign ministry spokesman has welcomed the normalization of ties between the Koreas in a statement on Friday, saying that Iran has always called for a détente on the Korean Peninsula.
“Iran considers the recent meeting between the leaders of the two countries of North Korea and South Korea, as a decisive step in the right direction, which can contribute to regional and global peace and security,” according to Bahram Ghasemi on Friday evening.
Iran’s policy has always been to oppose the manufacture, possession, maintenance and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and to support any attempt to free the world from such weapons,” Ghasemi added.
The Friday statement went on to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the resent and historic detente in the Korean Peninsula should vigorously, mutually, and without foreign interference continue.
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman warned the two Koreans no to trust the United States president as Iran’s 4—year long experience shows that the United States is not trustworthy.
“The United States does not live up to its international obligations as it has shown with regard to the JCPOA,” Ghasemi underlined.

Wikipedia info: Iran–North Korea relations are described as being positive by official news agencies of the two countries.
Diplomatic relations picked up following the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the establishment of an Islamic Republic.
Iran and North Korea pledge cooperation in educational, scientific, and cultural spheres. Some media reports claim this cooperation extends to nuclear cooperation, though official U.S. government publications and academic studies have disputed this.
North Korea and Iran are the remaining two members of George W. Bush's "Axis of evil", which has led to many of the concerns regarding Iran–North Korea relations.

We should stop the propaganda
A Saudi-Iranian Dialogue on Regional Security
by Turki al Faisal and Hossein Mousavian,
Lobe Log, April 23, 2018

Hosted by the Center for Strategic Studies at the Joint Special Operations University in Tampa, Florida, former Saudi Ambassador to the United States and Director General of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency Prince Turki al Faisal debated Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators and chairman of the foreign policy committee of Iran’s National Security Council.

- Moderator: What specific steps do you think would ease the tensions between the two countries.
- Turki al Faisal: I’m not speaking for the government, but I think if we were to stop the propaganda, whether it is in the newspaper, or television and so on.
Iran has over a 100 radio and television stations, broadcasting vicious and very inflammatory language, not just at Saudi Arabia, but at other Arab countries in the Gulf, Bahrain included, Kuwait, you name it. That’s something that should be stopped on both sides.
That would give everybody a rest as to the inflammatory remarks that come out from any source whatsoever.
That would be a step in the right direction.
I think equally in the international arena for example, we’ve seen op-eds written by Mr. Zarif accusing Saudi Arabia not only of promoting al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, but saying that they all originated in Saudi Arabia. And responses from our foreign minister of course, accusing Iran of similar issues. That should stop.
That would be helpful in overcoming the public rhetoric that inflames people and makes them stand in a pugilistic stance rather than an embracing stance. These are two steps I think that can be very helpful. And then you can work from there to other steps that can bring the two countries together.
- Hossein Mousavian: What Prince Turki said about stopping propaganda, this would be extremely important and helpful. The second step I would suggest is to revive the joint security committee between Iran and Saudi Arabia...

El-Sisi: "Do not let anyone take the state from you"
Ahram Online, Saturday 28 Apr 2018

State cohesion is currently the challenge for Egyptians, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said during a speech Saturday.
Addressing an armed forces educational symposium held to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the liberation of Sinai, El-Sisi told Egyptians to "listen and take note."
"A message to Egyptians and not to the army; the current challenge facing Egypt is the cohesion of the state," El-Sisi said, describing the challenge as one within Egyptians domestically.
On 25 April, Egypt celebrates the completion of the withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, following the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
El-Sisi also praised late Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat, who led the 1973 October War, for the liberation of Sinai from Israeli occupation, describing his decision as one that assembled "deep conscience and awareness and a new state of peace."
"I say this and remind people. Do not let anyone take the state from you. We are all aware and fear for our country so this day does not happen again. Sinai now has been liberated and there is a peace, which is a strategic choice that we believe in and work upon, but we have to learn our lessons," El-Sisi said.

Russia, Iran, Turkey warn against attempts to divide Syria
TASS Russian News Agency, 28-4-2018

Moscow, Tehran and Ankara believe attempts to split Syria on ethnic and religious grounds to be unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday following a meeting with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts - Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu.
"We have stated that we will counter attempts to undermine our joint efforts and pointed out that the Astana process is stable," he said. "We will continue solving important tasks related to de-escalation, easing tensions and reducing the conflict potential.
Ceasefire violations continue to happen but we have a mechanism to monitor them and we will seek to overcome this situation, particularly by strengthening trust among the parties ‘on the ground’," Lavrov added.

He pointed out that Saturday’s meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey "comes when developments in Syria are not always positive." Attempts are being made to hinder the peace process in Syria, particularly to prevent the establishment of a constitutional committee, Lavrov said.
"The developments of the recent weeks show that not everyone wants peace to be restored in Syria. Every time hope arises, a strike is carried out on it," Lavrov said.
"We have to point to ongoing attempts to prevent dialogue among Syrians and the establishment of a constitutional committee in accordance with decisions made at the Sochi event...
"It turns out that we create and build, while our counterparts seek to destroy the results of our joint constructive efforts, even violating international law..."
The foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey are determined to urgently agree further steps within the framework of the Astana process towards a settlement in Syria.
"We share a common wish to facilitate this process and hope to discuss the situation that has emerged in Syria and new additional steps that would foster positive trends..." "The Astana process is an example of how seemingly insoluble problems can be resolved, provided there is the political will," he said.

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