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.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
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’.
"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)
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...
What Is Emotional Intelligence? Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.
Wael Farouk: The Arabic root aqala (from which the word aql, or reason, is derived) appears 49 times in the Quran, and every time except once it appears in the form of a verb conjugated in the present tense, most of the time in the plural, as taaqiloun, yaaqiloun, and so on.
The verb taaqiloun is repeated 24 times and yaaqiloun 22 times, whereas each of the verbs aqala, naaqil and yaaqil, being the first person singular and plural and the third person singular of the verb, appears only once. Whenever this root appears in the Quranic verses, it is always in the context of an invitation to employ reason to understand nature and human beings, in order to connect with God.
It is said, for example, “Lo! The worst of beasts in Allah’s sight are the deaf, the dumb, who have no sense” (Quran 8:22), and “Have they not travelled in the land, and have they hearts wherewith to feel (yaaqiloun) and ears wherewith to hear? For indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts, which are within the bosoms, that grow blind” (Quran 22:46).
The noun aql (reason) does not appear in the Quran, because it is considered to be neither a concept, nor an essence, nor a perfect or fixed entity...
In the Quranic context, reason is the bridge connecting human beings with nature and God and the “I” with the “Other”. This is why whenever the verb aqala is negated, it is also accompanied by a metaphor that indicates a break in this connection, such as deafness, dumbness, or blindness. God asks in the Quran, “Will they then not meditate on the Quran, or are there locks on the hearts?” (Quran 47:24).
Emotional intelligence (EI), also known as Emotional quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal(s).
Wael Farouk: The verb “they meditate” (yatadabbaroun) is a synonym for yataaqqaloun (to be reasonable or to use reason), an action without which the heart (where the spirit resides) remains a prisoner.
Without aql (reason) the human being is not free, but on the contrary is the prisoner of prejudices, stereotypes and frozen traditions that forbid life, which in turn is the encounter with God, His creatures and Others. In the Quranic context, reason is a permanent connection “here” and “now” with God and Others.
Reason is freedom and the renewal of creation every day, for it is a lived practice in a reality that renews itself and changes every day.
* 1. Emotional intelligence begins with what is called self- and social awareness, the ability to recognize emotions (and their impact) in both yourself and others.
* 2. You strive to control your thoughts. By striving to control your thoughts, you resist becoming a slave to your emotions, allowing yourself to live in a way that's in harmony with your goals and values.
* 3. You benefit from criticism. Nobody enjoys negative feedback. But you know that criticism is a chance to learn, even if it's not delivered in the best way. And even when it's unfounded, it gives you a window into how others think. When you receive negative feedback, you keep your emotions in check and ask yourself: How can this make me better?
* 4. You show authenticity. Authenticity doesn't mean sharing everything about yourself, to everyone, all of the time. It does mean saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and sticking to your values and principles above all else. You know not everyone will appreciate your sharing your thoughts and feelings. But the ones who matter will.A
* 5. You demonstrate empathy. The ability to show empathy, which includes understanding others' thoughts and feelings, helps you connect with others. Instead of judging or labeling others, you work hard to see things through their eyes. Empathy doesn't necessarily mean agreeing with another person's point of view. Rather, it's about striving to understand -- which allows you to build deeper, more connected relationships.
* 6. You praise others. All humans crave acknowledgement and appreciation. When you commend others, you satisfy that craving and build trust in the process. This all begins when you focus on the good in others. Then, by sharing specifically what you appreciate, you inspire them to be the best version of themselves.
* 7. You apologize. It takes strength and courage to be able to say you're sorry. But doing so demonstrates humility, a quality that will naturally draw others to you. Emotional intelligence helps you realize that apologizing doesn't always mean you're wrong. It does mean valuing your relationship more than your ego.
* 8. You forgive and forget. Hanging on to resentment is like leaving a knife inside a wound. While the offending party moves on with their life, you never give yourself the chance to heal. When you forgive and forget, you prevent others from holding your emotions hostage--allowing you to move forward.
* 9. You help others. One of the greatest ways to positively impact the emotions of others is to help them. Most people don't really care where you graduated from, or even about your previous accomplishments. But what about the hours you're willing to take out of your schedule to listen or help out?
* 10. You protect yourself from emotional sabotage. You realize that emotional intelligence also has a dark side--such as when individuals attempt to manipulate others' emotions to promote a personal agenda or for some other selfish cause. And that's why you continue to sharpen your own emotional intelligence -- to protect yourself when they do...
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he had new "proof" of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme, as the US considers whether to quit a landmark atomic accord that Israel opposes.
The Israeli premier, who has repeatedly called for the accord between world powers and his country's main enemy Iran to either be altered or scrapped, gave a presentation live on television including videos and slides allegedly exposing Iran's nuclear dossier. He said Israel had obtained tens of thousands of files "a few weeks ago in a great intelligence achievement".
"Tonight we're going to reveal new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons programme that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive," Netanyahu said.
"We're going to show you Iran's secret nuclear files."
Netanyahu alleged Iran's leaders repeatedly lied about their nuclear ambitions. He claims the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement does not prevent Tehran from eventually obtaining nuclear weapons and says the lifting of sanctions has increased Tehran's ability to finance proxy militants in the Middle East.
US President Donald Trump has a May 12 deadline to decide on whether or not to walk away from the deal, which he has derided as "insane" partly because its restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities begin expiring in 2025. Most world powers however say the nuclear deal is working as intended for now and is the best way to keep Iran from acquiring the bomb.
Senator Lindsey Graham 22-2-2018:
“Iran needs to pay a heavier price – they are encircling our Arab allies and the State of Israel.”
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing a baseless childish, naive game. "What we saw from Netanyahu was nothing but a childish and ridiculous show," Araqchi told Press TV on Monday, adding that it was also a repeat of Netanyahu's speeches in the past.
Earlier in the day Netanyahu delivered a televised address in which he accused Iran of violating the JCPOA. “That is just not an acceptable situation. They’re not sitting back idly. They’re setting off missiles, which they say are for television purposes. I don’t think so,” he said.
Netanyahu also alleged that Iran had intensified its efforts to hide its "secret files" and that it took them to a highly secret location in Tehran.
Araqchi added that such allegations against Tehran have already been proven wrong by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Since the JCPOA Implementation Day in January 2016, the IAEA has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal and has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance. The Israeli PM is trying to affect US President Donald Trump's upcoming decision about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.), he said. He further noted that Iran does not care about Netanyahu allegations.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a notorious warmonger, serial liar and supremacist racialist who used to lead the closest thing Israel has to a fascist party until parties even more extreme got elected to parliament, is attempting to bamboozle the clueless Trump into getting on a war footing with Iran.
Netanyahu’s breathless announcement that there was a potential weapons aspect to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program has been known for a decade and a half.
Netanyahu even seems to have provoked the White House to issue a communique falsely stating that Iran has a weapons program presently, which it promptly had to retract. The incident is so scary because it shows how easy it is to manipulate the erratic Trump and his not-ready-for-prime-time staff.
Netanyahu instanced no evidence at all that Iran is out of compliance with the 2015 deal, and UN inspectors continually have affirmed that Tehran *is* in compliance. So why try to put Iran on the front burner of American war-making? It is a desperate attempt on Netanyahu’s part to divert world attention from the ongoing Israeli Apartheid discrimination against the stateless Palestinians, which it militarily occupies (directly with jackboots and colonial settlers on the West Bank, indirectly with military encirclement and the sniping of innocent protesters in Gaza).
In recent weeks, Israeli snipers have used live ammunition to kill some 40 and wound hundreds of Palestinians who were unarmed and peacefully protesting their imprisonment in the Gaza Strip (70% of their families were kicked out of their homes in Israel and now live in squalid refugee camps while European Israelis took over their houses and farmland and are living it up).
Shooting unarmed people who pose no threat is a war crime, and doing it systematically amounts to a crime against humanity. So too is the crime of Apartheid described in the Statute of Rome as a “crime against humanity,” and Israel manifestly and robustly practices Apartheid against the Palestinians under its military heel.
The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program (to make fuel for reactors generating electricity) was designed to prevent Iran from weaponizing the program. The Iran deal was designed to keep Iran from making high enriched uranium (HEU). Iran destroyed its stockpile of uranium enriched to 19.5% for its medical reactor. It has no enriched uranium higher than 5%, useful for its three reactors at Bushehr.
Iran benefits from nuclear energy because it burns oil for electricity generation, cutting into the money it could make from instead selling it on the open market.
In 2007, the National Intelligence Estimate of the CIA assessed that Iran did some experiments with military significance in 2003 but then halted them ever after. The 2011 NIE repeated the conclusion that Iran did not have a weapons program at that time and had not decided to pursue one.
"I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here." (Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denounced the Israeli premier’s “ridiculous” and “shameful” show, during which he tried to persuade the world that Tehran has a “secret” nuclear program, saying the regime sees its survival dependent on demonizing others.
Standing in front of a large screen at the Israeli ministry for military affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday used props, video and slides to claim that Iran is lying about its nuclear program.
He showed documents and scores of CDs, which he said were “evidence” of Iran’s “secret” activities. The premier, however, did not go beyond making claims and refused to unveil the content of the materials he was presenting as alleged proof.
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Netanyahu’s presentation was a repetition of Israel’s “futile” and “shameful” shows against Iran. He referred to Netanyahu as a “lying and scandal-hit bankrupt,” who has “nothing to offer but rumormongering and deception.” “The heads of the Zionist regime see the survival of their illegitimate and lie-based regime dependent on portraying others as threats using the worn-out Charlatanism of the Age of Ignorance,” Qassemi added.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrics at Munich Security Conference on Sunday a “cartoonish circus.”
More serious adults can read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as a satirical commentary on life. In this quotation man's tendency to want to punish even before making sure of guilt is satirized:
"Let the jury consider their verdict," the King said, for about the twentieth time that day. "No, no!" said the Queen. "Sentence first–verdict afterward."
"Stuff and nonsense!" said Alice loudly. "The idea of having the sentence first!"
"Hold your tongue!" said the Queen, turning purple.
"I won't!" said Alice.
"Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
"Who cares for you?" said Alice. (She had grown to her full size by this time.) "You're nothing but a pack of cards!"
Throughout the crisis in Syria, a number of factories persevered and managed to maintain production, proving that Syrian industrialists can surmount all difficulties with their resourcefulness despite the economic embargo imposed on Syria. Thanks to these industrialists’ efforts, the “Made in Syria” label remained present in foreign markets in spite of those who wanted to see Syria ruined.
On Workers’ Day, SANA met with some of these industrialists and talked about their experience during the crisis.
Industrialist Mahmoud Khorsheed, who owns an ice cream factory, told SANA’s reporter during a tour of Adra Industrial City that his factory began production in 2009 and hasn’t stopped since, despite all difficult conditions. He pointed out to the government’s efforts for stabilizing and protecting Syrian industry, particularly the Electricity Ministry that worked hard to provide power during the years of the war.
Production manager at al-Huda factory Mohammad Usama Tarfan told SANA that after years of work, the company moved to a 32000 square meters facility adjacent to the Industrial City, equipped with high-tech machines manned by over 600 workers.
Tarfan said that the company’s products won many quality awards and were sold across Syria and exported to many countries, but all this hard work turned to ashes when terrorists sabotaged the area.
Industrialists Jihad al-Esh from al-Kamal company that produces electricity generators said that his company provides generators to companies both in the public and private sector, and even exports its products to several countries.
aleppo looted by fsa rebels
SANA also visited industrial facilities in al-Sheikh Najjar Industrial City in Aleppo province.
After being sabotaged and looted by terrorists, the city resumed its activities after it was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army. Hassan Zou’a, manager of a textiles factory, said that their facilities were destroyed by terrorists, particularly thread spinning mills whose engines were stolen and taken to Turkey.
Zou’a said that they had difficulties at first following the liberation of the area due to the lack of workers, but things are improving gradually...
The Iraqi journalist jailed for throwing both of his shoes at then-US President George W Bush in December 2008 is running for Parliament in the country’s upcoming election on a platform of anti-corruption and opposing the American occupation.
"White House: a stupid institution with smart missiles," Iraqi Council of Representatives-hopeful Muntadhar al-Zaidi shared in an April Facebook post.
In an April 22 interview with Albawabh News, the former journalist said that after being released from prison, he founded a relief organization for the victims of the US occupation in Iraq and promoted the arrest of Bush and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. His life took a turn for the political and he became more of an activist, joining demonstrations and sit ins. Iraq is getting rid of terrorists, he noted — now, it must get rid of corruption.
The broadcaster and journalist is well-known for the "shoe throwing incident" in 2008.
Bush told Iraqi press members at the time, "It doesn't bother me. If you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw… I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it." Speaking to US media a week later, the Texan explained that Zaidi was "looking for notoriety" but that Iraqi authorities should not "overreact."
Zaidi ultimately was sentenced to one year in prison for assaulting a foreign head of state. However, to some Iraqis, Zaidi was a hero. A large fiberglass and copper statue of the shoe he threw at Bush was erected by an orphanage in the northern city of Tikrit in 2009.
Flashback 2009: My Flower to Bush, the Occupier
The Story of My Shoe - By MUTADHAR al-ZAIDI
There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act.
But, simply, I answer: What compelled me to confront is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.
We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread.
And the Shiite would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ, may peace be upon him. And despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than 10 years, for more than a decade.
Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. Until we were invaded by the illusion of liberation that some had. (The occupation) divided one brother from another, one neighbor from another, and the son from his uncle. It turned our homes into never-ending funeral tents. And our graveyards spread into parks and roadsides.
I say to those who reproach me: Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated. When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.
After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy. He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response.
Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after. (CounterPunch, 15-9-2009)
Muntazar al-Zaidi, journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush,
tells MEE how he plans to stamp out sectarianism Middle East Eye, 3-5-2018
"This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!"
The line was heard around the world, as TV stations broadcast Muntazar al-Zaidi hurling his footwear at then-US President George Bush, who was giving a news conference alongside Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki.
As a symbolic act of defiance against the US occupation of Iraq, which saw hundreds of thousands killed and the country plunged into corruption and ethno-religious chaos, the shoe-throwing incident made Zaidi famous worldwide.
Now, with both feet planted firmly back in his shoes, he is running for parliament in elections set for 12 May.
In an exclusive interview with Middle East Eye, Zaidi explained his reasons for trying to enter the often chaotic world of Iraqi parliamentary politics.
“For the last 10 years, I have been writing about corruption and corrupted people. I have been trying to expose public theft and I couldn’t change anything on the ground," he said, speaking by phone during a hectic day of campaigning.
"So I decided to go into politics, to work from within the system to issue new laws and regulations, and to expose corrupt politicians and officials. This is the reason I decided to run now for parliament." Zaidi is running as a candidate for the Sairoun Alliance, a coalition headed by the influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in alliance with the Iraqi Communist Party.
The coalition has corruption and sectarianism in its crosshairs - Sadr and his allies have repeatedly said that Iraqis need to stop voting along sectarian or ethnic lines and start focusing on the country's massive social and economic problems.
Equally important to Zaidi, Sadr and the Sairoun Alliance is the issue of foreign intervention. Unlike most political actors in Iraq, they are as adamantly opposed to American influence in their country as they are to Iranian influence.
In this 2002 clip Netanyahu all but guarantees that Saddam was putting all his energy into creating a nuclear bomb, and he talks repeatedly about “washing machine” sized centrifuges being surreptitiously moved around Iraq to evade the watchful eye of weapons inspectors.
Following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's powerpoint presentation Monday evening - allegedly demonstrating captured evidence, documents, and computer disks, showing a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program much more advanced and ambitious than the Iranian government publicly admits existed - Pat Buchanan joined Sean Hannity on his show to discuss the reality behind Bibi's warning. Buchanan pulled no punches in his criticism, exclaiming that the Israeli PM has been "crying wolf for decades" about Iran and that "Bibi Netanyahu, with due respect, wants the United States to fight a war with Iran on Israel's behalf."
"I don't want my country getting into another war," Buchanan said about Netanyahu's revelation. "The reason Iran doesn't have a bomb is because they don't want it. They could have built a bomb."
"Don't rely on him. Don't act on second-hand documents and a press conference from Bibi Netanyahu."
"What are we going to do, rely on a press conference from Bibi Netanyahu to go to war?"
And Buchanan is not alone in his disdain for Bibi's historic warmongering and lies.
Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger notes that this isn’t the first time Netanyahu aggressively pitched the U.S. on war in the Middle East. He did the exact same thing, using the exact same playbook, in the run up to the Iraq war.
Fortunately, we have video evidence of his 2002 testimony to Congress, during which he hyperventilated and exaggerated about Iraq’s grave threat to the world as a result of its non-existsent WMDs.
One of the more memorable claims he made back then was when he proclaimed: “If you take out Saddam, I guarantee, it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region”
Hizbullah has denied Morocco’s accusations that the party has been delivering weapons to the separatist Polisario Front in Western Sahara, after it severed relations with Iran over the allegations. The party rejected Rabat’s accusations, blaming the decision on foreign "pressure".
“The Moroccan Foreign Ministry should have looked for a more convincing argument to sever its relations with Iran, which stood and still stands by the Palestinian cause and strongly supports it, instead of fabricating these arguments,” added Hizbullah's statement.
Morocco on Tuesday cut diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing the Islamic republic of using its ally Hizbullah to deliver weapons to the Polisario Front.
At a press conference in Rabat, Bourita said "a first shipment of weapons was recently" sent to the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which is seeking independence, via an "element" at the Iranian embassy in Algiers.
"Morocco has irrefutable proof, names and specific actions to corroborate the complicity between the Polisario and Hizbullah," he told reporters. The decision to sever ties with Tehran is "in response to Iran's involvement, through Hizbullah, in allying itself with the Polisario over the past two years in order to target the security and higher interests of Morocco".
According to Bourita, Iran and Hizbullah have had ties with the Polisario Front since 2016, when the Lebanese group set up a committee to support the Polisario.
After that, he said, a Hizbullah military delegation visited the Polisario Front in the Tindouf area in southwest Algeria.
Western Sahara is a sparsely-populated area of mostly desert situated on the northwest coast of Africa. A former Spanish colony, it was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people, led by the Polisario Front.
The Polisario Front proclaimed the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in 1976, with a government in exile in Algeria. Brahim Ghali was elected leader of the Polisario Front and president of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in July 2016 following the death of long-term president Mohamed Abdelaziz Ezzedine. Since the mid-1970s, Algeria has supported the Polisario Front - the Western Sahara independence movement - to establish a state in the former Spanish colony.
Today 45 countries around the world recognize the legitimacy of the Polisario over Western Sahara. Support for the Polisario Front came mostly from newly independent African states, such as Angola and Namibia.
Most of the Arab world had supported Morocco; only Algeria and Libya have, at different times, given any significant support to Polisario. Iran recognized the SADR in 1980, Mauritania had recognized the SADR in 1984, and Syria and South Yemen had supported the Polisario position on the conflict when they were all members of the Front of Refusal ('Axis of Resistance').
The movement's main political and military backers were originally Algeria and Libya, with Cuba coming a very distant third.
[The term Axis of Resistance refers to an anti-USA and anti-Israeli alliance between Iran, Syria, and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Iraqi Shia militias and the Houthis are sometimes also considered part of the alliance. This Iran-led alliance aims to oppose Western, namely United States and Israel, interests in the region.]
The United Nations Security Council adopted, in a debate Friday on the issue of Western Sahara, a resolution which reaffirms the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and calls on the two parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, to hold negotiations “without prerequisites and in good faith,” under the auspices of UN Secretary General.
The member States of the Security Council called on the two parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, “to resume as soon as possible their direct negotiations” and expressed their support to the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy to organize these negotiations.
Algeria “notes with satisfaction” Security Council resolution
Algiers, April 28, 2018 (SPS) - Algeria “notes with satisfaction” the new resolution on the issue of Western Sahara that the United Nations Security Council adopted Friday and underlines that this resolution reaffirms that there is no other solution to the conflict but that which enables the Saharawi people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, said the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdelaziz Benali Cherif in a statement following the adoption of the UN resolution.
The resolution adopted by the Security Council extends by six months, until 31 October 2018, the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Holding of a Referendum in Western Sahara.
TEHRAN, May 02 (MNA) – After Morocco announced it will cut ties with Iran over its support for Polisario Front, the Front spokesman has dismissed the Moroccan government accusations against Iran as baseless and fabricated.
According to the Polisario Front’s website “Hespress”, the Front’s spokesman Muhammed Haddad has asked the Moroccan government to release any previously alleged evidence showing the links between Iran the Western Saharan movement.
Haddad added "through these maneuvers and accusations, Rabat seeks to refrain from negotiation on the desert, which the United Nations has called for.”
The Polisario Front is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara. It is an observer member of the Socialist International.
The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people and maintains that the Sahrawis have a right to self-determination.
The Polisario Front is outlawed in the parts of Western Sahara under Moroccan control, and it is illegal to raise its party flag (often called the Sahrawi flag) there.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain said they supported Morocco’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with Iran, which has been accused of delivering weapons to the separatist Polisario Front in Western Sahara.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said late on Tuesday that Tehran was attempting to destabilise the region by “igniting sectarianism” and by supporting terrorism.
“What Iran has done to the Kingdom of Morocco through its proxies (Hezbollah terrorist organisation) training the so-called Polisario Front is a solid proof of Iran’s interference,” he tweeted.
The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, said that their countries also backed Morocco’s decision.
“We stand by Morocco in its concern over its national issues and against Iranian interference in its domestic affairs,” Dr Gargash said on Twitter. “Our policy and our supportive direction towards Morocco is based on a deep, historical foundation established by Sheikh Zayed and King Hassan, may they rest in peace, and our stance is fixed for better or worse.” Sheikh Khalid said that Iran was supporting and funding “the enemies of Morocco”, according to the state-owned Bahrain News Agency.
“This requires a collective Arab stance and actions to confront all forms of Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the Arab states and to stop Iran's attempts to threaten Arab security and spread violence and chaos in the region,” he was quoted as saying.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A high-level Iranian delegation led by the country’s business minister arrived in Erbil on Wednesday to take part in a conference aiming to strengthen joint trade ties.
“The development of assistance in all fields including industry and reconstruction between Iran and the Kurdistan Region has been there and we intend to develop them further,” Mohammed Shariatmadari, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Business, told Rudaw.
PM Barzani floats 'free-trade zone' at Iran border crossing
Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister in the Kurdistan Region, spoke at the conference on Wednesday, encouraging stronger economic relations between the KRG and Iran's industries and teasing the idea of "free-trade zones."
“We hope this conference will become a factor for bolstering the economic ties between the Region, Baghdad and Tehran and help find solutions to the existing problems,” PM Barzani said.
Barzani described the conference as “very important” for Iran, the Kurdistan Region, and also Iraq. “The Kurdistan Region has always worked to develop and diversity its economic relations with Iran,” Barzani voiced, adding the Iraq-Iran trade volume is $6.5 billion.
Barzani explained 67 percent of automobiles are imported into the Kurdistan Region through Iran. He said 359 Iranian companies and 135 factories operate in the Kurdistan Region.
“They have made hundreds of job opportunities in the Kurdistan Region,” Barzani said of the Iranian firms.
He added they would work to “build a free-trade zone at the Parvizkhan border.” “The government has for this purpose made some practical steps and designated some areas for it. Yet more practical steps need to be made by both, the KRG and the Iraqi government,” Barzani added. He hoped the conference “will lay the groundwork” for the project to start work.
“We are also seizing this conference as an opportunity to ask the both sides’ entrepreneurs, businessmen, and investors to work together. And the Kurdistan Region will fully facilitate facilitation in these regards,” he added.
He described the Iran and the Kurdistan Region’s as historically rooted neighbors. “During hardship, they opened their doors to the Kurdistan Region's refugees,” Barzani said.. Barzani added Iran came to the aid of the Kurdistan Region during the fight against ISIS, saying they would not forget that...
President Michel Aoun on Wednesday urged Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt to help in returning Syrian refugees in Lebanon to their country, in talks with the envoys of the three Arab nations.
“Lebanon is keen on having the best relations with Arab countries and it cannot be an arena for interfering in the affairs of any Arab nation,” Aoun said in Baabda, in a meeting with Saudi charge d'affaires Walid al-Bukhari, UAE Ambassador Hamad al-Shamesi and Egyptian Ambassador Nazih Naggari.
The National News Agency said talks tackled “the developments in Lebanon and the region and ties between Lebanon and each of the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.”
“Lebanon has always called for the unity of Arab brothers and their solidarity,” Aoun told the ambassadors, reminding them of his speeches at the last two Arab League summits where he called for a round-table dialogue aimed at reaching “common denominators that preserve the unity of the Arab stance as well as solidarity and cooperation.”
The president also lauded “the role that Lebanese are playing in the Arab Gulf countries and Egypt, especially in terms of contributing to developing the economy of the three countries.”
Separately, Aoun asked the three Arab envoys to urge their countries to help in repatriating Syrian refugees in order to “stop their suffering and put an end to the repercussions that this refugee crisis is causing to Lebanon at the social, economic, educational and security levels.”
Almost one million Syrians are registered as refugees in Lebanon, though many expect the real number is much higher.
From Homs, Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, they came in their hundreds of thousands, many of them expelled from areas besieged and routed by Syrian government forces, many arriving in the green buses that have become emblematic of their forced exodus.
Now seven years into Syria's war, 2.5 million Syrians are thought to be living in the northern Syrian province of Idlib after their evacuations from all corners of the country. The province is a so-called de-escalation zone, agreed by Iran, Turkey and Russia last May in Astana. But in recent months, residents have endured repeated government air strikes and in-fighting among rebel groups that control the area...
Residents say Turkey's control is steadily increasing in Idlib, creating a pocket of eerie normalcy, but also fears that there is a new dictatorship in town.
Turkey entered Idlib last October, ostensibly to oust al-Qaeda-linked militants, although analysts at the time told MEE that it was Ankara's attempt to establish a sphere of influence before any serious negotiations to end the war began. In Idlib, Turkey is able to cut off Kurds in northern Syria from gaining a clear path to the Mediterranean....
But Erdogan more recently has said that the Idlib mission, along with Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, also sets the stage for 3.5 million Syrian refugees to return.
"We will solve the Afrin issue, the Idlib issue and we want that our refugee brothers and sisters return to their country," he was quoted as saying in the Daily Sabah in February.
Since October, Turkey has set up six observation points around the province – but residents say in fact Ankara's imprint on the area is much more substantial.
"Flour and fruits, everything is made in Turkey..." said Dames, who fled Aleppo with his wife, Jamila, and two young sons, in December 2016 when the government took back control of the city. "They are controlling all of the services from water, phones, electricity, fuel prices," he said.
"No one is allowed to work freely,"Belal al-Ali, said. "Everything should pass through Turkey's authorities and no one is allowed to work unless he gets the Turk's blessing."
TEHRAN, May 04 (MNA) – Senior Adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari, who is currently leading an Iranian delegation in talks with four European states on Yemen crisis in Italy, said that ending crisis in Yemen is one of the regional policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran’s senior negotiator in talks on regional crises made the above remark after a meeting with the Secretary General of the EU diplomatic service, Helga Schmid, and director general of the Italian, German, French and British foreign ministries for political and security affairs and said, “the meeting was mainly centered on developments in Yemen.”
Main goal behind the talks between Iran and four European states was to explore avenues to end Yemen crisis and find a way out of the situation in the impoverished states, Jaberi said, describing Thursday’s discussion on Yemen as good. “Yemeni crisis has taken up terrible humanitarian dimensions, as we witness a widespread human catastrophe and the silent death of a nation,” he said, reiterating Iran’s endeavors to bring the crisis to an end.
This was the second such a session held after a meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on February, 2018, focusing on political and humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Participants in the meeting agreed to hold the next round of the talks in Brussels in following the fasting month of Ramadhan in the second half of the June.
UNHCR: Humanitarian crisis in Yemen
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen reached unprecedented levels during the first half of 2017, with no political solution in sight and an acute protection crisis sweeping the country. The conflict has left 20.7 million people, three quarters of the population, in need of humanitarian or protection assistance.
Escalation of hostilities, disruption of basic services and destruction of infrastructure, compounded by severe economic deterioration, threat of famine, an outbreak of cholera, along with continued violations in international humanitarian law, has resulted in Yemen becoming the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. As of July, close to two million people, across 21 governorates, were forced to flee their homes, with 84 per cent of them displaced for more than a year. (UNHCR News)
A corps of women played crucial roles in the long process of forging a deal, including Helga Schmid, Mogherini’s deputy; Wendy Sherman, a top U.S. State Department official; and Catherine Ashton, the previous EU foreign policy chief.
“Schmid has been a linchpin in these negotiations. It is Schmid who negotiated the agreement itself as well as the five annexes,” said a senior western diplomat.
“Sherman coordinated the resolution of the Security Council, and played a major role in bilaterals between Iran and the U.S.” Federica Mogherini won praise for her role, and along with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was the one to announce the accord to the world on Tuesday. But diplomats in Brussels also hastened to acknowledge Schmid’s work.
“She [Schmid] was the real negotiator, the key person in the negotiations alongside Sherman and Abbas Araghchi [Iran’s deputy foreign minister],” said an EU official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Schmid “had the technical knowledge, while Mogherini had more of a political one,” the official said.
Schmid, an elegant 54-year-old diplomat who speaks impeccable French and English, studied humanities at Munich University and the Sorbonne in Paris. As a negotiator, she has a reputation for being both tough and empathetic.
Some of us met at the UN in Vienna, in early October to discuss an alternative empathy-based approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is now 100 years old.
Under what conditions might some Israelis and Palestinians who previously believed in using armed weapons to resolve the conflict turn to an empathy-based approach? I’m going to argue that there are at least four (4) different conditions under which someone might choose the empathy route.
First, shared grief, that is, realizing that the grief you are feeling is the identical grief the enemy is feeling.
The second is personal ethical discomfort, that is, feeling uncomfortable at treating a person as someone potentially dangerous or as someone who must be subjugated or attacked.
The third is a rational approach to building a more inclusive society.
And the fourth is a reflective phase of questioning after bitter experience of seeing how armed conflict has failed.
"Settlement can develop under the protection of a force
that is not dependent on the local population, behind an iron wall
which they will be powerless to break down."
But before we do, I want to anticipate my conclusion. I’m going to argue that for an empathy-based approach to lead to a lasting peace, Israeli will have to take the initiative, for three (3) reasons:
First, because of the power-imbalance (Israel controls the West Bank and Gaza and Israel has deprived Palestinians of many basic human rights in the process);
Second, because if the Palestinians feel they are the occupied and Israel is the occupier, even if Israel tries to use clever legal arguments to avoid calling it an occupation, if Palestinians feel occupied, that’s what needs to be addressed;
and finally, because one cannot reasonably expect someone who feels occupied to empathize with the occupier. As one Palestinian friend said to me “It’s hard to empathize with someone when you are looking up the barrel of their gun.”
The empathy-based approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict builds on an assumption, which is that during a conflict, whether between two individuals or two communities, both parties can lose their empathy for the person or community they feel attacked by.
And when you lose your empathy, the result is that you can act towards them with at best disinterest or self-interest, and at worst cruelty. Under conditions of conflict, each side de-humanises the other.
When you feel threatened or disrespected, fear, anger, hate, and revenge blocks one’s empathy for the other person, so that you no longer see the other person as a person with feelings. You can become blind to the fact that the other person is just like you, a person with the same desires for safety and security and for a life without stress.
You don’t see the young man as a 22 year old called David or Ahmad, somebody’s son and brother, with his own vulnerability and dreams. Instead, he becomes the oppressor, he is demonized as the enemy, and can be treated with prejudice, as less important than your own group.
This happens in many conflict zones, and has happened in Israel and Palestine: Two peoples, living in fear and hatred, who have lost their empathy for one another, locked into a cycle of violence. Empathy-based approaches have to ‘treat’ this psychological state by re-humanizing the other.
Empathy has great potential for conflict resolution, because empathy can do 3 things.
First, empathy allows each side to listen to the other.. Second, empathy means that apologies can be offered to those who have been hurt.
And finally, empathy means that each side stops dehumanizing the other side, and instead starts to get to know the person in the other community as a person..
Empathy is a key necessary step for truth and reconciliation... If we recognize that finding peace will require empathy, we should do all we can to accelerate this process.
At Kufra’s Taj Conference Hall yesterday morning, Kufra’s tribes gathered with the town’s officials, including the head of Kufra Municipality, Abdulrahman Agoub and commander of Kufra Military Zone, Brigadier Belgasim Al Abaj, to congratulate the arrival of Khalifa Hafter to Libya and to look to strengthening social cohesion and enforce security in the town. It is almost seven years that all of Kufra’s tribal figures and officials sat on the same table stressing the necessity for peace and stability in the town, following a series of deadly communal fighting that killed and wounded hundreds of people between the Arab majority Zuwai tribe and ethnic minority of Tebus since December 2011. During the meeting the gathered warned against “corrupt media” that aim to divide Libyans and endanger the future of the country and jeopardize national unity and togetherness.
Kufra’s Military Zone Commander, Brigadier Belgasim Al Abaj had arrived in Kufra on 16 April and held a series of meetings with the town’s tribes and elders.
Al Abaj who is also from the Kufra Zuwai tribe, had been warmly received and welcomed by Tebus on 23 April at Kufra’s Tebu Gaderfay neighbourhood, where he had pledged to resolve the long Tebu-Zuwai standoff in the town.
Flashback: The help of the tribes
Abdul Sattar Hatita, Albawaba July 16th, 2014
May 2011: Hundreds of tribal leaders gathered under a giant tent to call for an end to an armed uprising against Col. Muammar Gaddafi and to NATO aerial attacks on his forces. (Voltaire Network)
Amid the continuing violence in the country, another focal point of political power also appears to be forming in the shape of Libya’s tribes.
Almost 2,000 tribal leaders met in a conference in the town of Warshefana, south of Tripoli, on Tuesday.
“I feel Libya, indeed, has no other solution apart from the umbrella of the tribe,” the prominent Tunisian activist Sophia Al-Hamami, who attended the meeting, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
She said: “A tribe is like a social contract. It is different from Tunisia, where the social contract has been signed by [political] parties, the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), the government, and the presidency, among others.”
According to senior Libyan security sources who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, Haftar has been coordinating with the tribes since the start of the year in a bid to build a united front against Islamists.
Haftar seems to have realized that he cannot fight Islamists without the help of the tribes, and a deal for their assistance is believed to have been brokered by former Libyan officials in exile, the source said.
If you don’t think we live in a crazy world, here is Netanyahu, accusing Abbas, the front man chosen by Washington and Israel as Palestine’s leader, of being a Holocaust denier.
In the account I read, Abbas says nothing about the Holocaust. He says that the European prejudice against Jews resulted from European’s experience with their sharp financial practices, not from some sort of religious hostility.
This is, of course, consistent with numerous historical accounts predating the Israeli colonial occupation of Palestine.
What was the Holocaust? According to zionists, the Holocaust was National Socialist Germany’s elimination of 6 million Jews by first gassing them and then cremating the bodies.
It is unclear how Germany managed this feat when all of its limited and dwindling resources were employed, unsuccessfully as it turns out, on the Russian front.
Photos demonstrating the Holocaust include dead skeletal-like bodies. But these are not people gassed and cremated. These are deaths from typhus and starvation. The disintegrating German state had no food or medicines for Germans and often not for its own soldiers. Concentration camp inmates were on the bottom of the totem pole.
We know very little about the Holocaust, because no one is allowed to study it.
Anyone in Europe who studies it and makes the slightest correction to the zionist narrative is arrested and imprisoned as a Holocaust denier.
The Holocaust is not a subject that can be studied or investigated. It is an occurrence handed down by zionists that cannot be examined or modified and certainly not questioned. We must take it on faith alone. If a scholar does not, he is a Holocaust denier and, if European or captured in Europe, he is imprisoned.
The Holocaust occurred about 75 years ago. Norman Finkelstein and other Jewish scholars have explained how the Holocaust has been used to deflect criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Before our eyes the Israelis are committing holocaust against the Palestinians, and nothing is done about it. You are not even permitted to protest.
South Carolina has recently passed a law making it illegal to criticize Israel for anything, no matter how egregious. The bill purports to be combating “anti-semitism,” but the definition of anti-semitism is criticism of Israel or support for boycotts against Israel.
In other words, in South Carolina it is illegal to sanction Israel or to criticize its inhumane policies toward the Palestinians. But Russia, Iran, and North Korea can be sanctioned on the basis of false accusations alone...
People believe wrongly that the “Holocaust” is based on an enormous body of “irrefutable evidence.” Those who deny it happened must be either insane, or nearly insane—and driven by only the foulest of motives.
The exact opposite is the case. It is the Holocaust claims which are, in fact, driven by a fanatical campaign of systematic and wholesale lying—and hardly any evidence at all. What little “evidence” there is turns out to be bogus or totally irrelevant.
Holocaust revisionists are the true “whistleblowers” who deserve the greatest respect for what they continue to endure in their pursuit of Truth. America pretends to care about “human rights” but has no problem with the imprisonment of revisionists in Germany and elsewhere, even of revisionists who were in the US seeking political asylum...
What is not addressed in any depth here is the major reason for why people believe in the hoax.
My guess is that people believe the hoax because they want to believe. It fills some deep emotional need—perhaps to overcome a sense of inferiority compared to the Germans, or to somehow join the dominant group in society.
The exact answer is beyond any understanding of this writer—but it is an enormously important question nonetheless in the same way that one should try to understand why people believe in religion. Holocaust belief is a kind of new religion — as irrational and ridiculous as any other religion but enormously appealing.
John Weir, The Holocaust as Myth: Betraying the Public Trust
The Holocaust is a deeply anchored belief even in people who know very little about it.
We can see that not only does disbelief in the Holocaust myth threaten modern Jewish identity as shaped by political Zionism, but for others it brings into question the credibility of those in authority who told everyone it was true: the state, the churches, the schools, and media of every kind.
These sources are the same ones people trust and depend on every day for information. If these trusted authorities are wrong about the Holocaust, what else are they wrong about? What other dishonesties are they promoting?”
The Syrian army is currently engaged in flushing out the remaining jihadist militants holed up in Damascus’ neighborhoods and suburbs.
Units of Syrian government forces advanced into the city of Al Hajar Al Aswad, located to the south of Damascus on Thursday, dividing the Daesh terrorist militants into two isolated groups.
According to Syria's official SANA news agency, government units moving from the south joined forces with army units advancing from Damascus effectively carving up the militant-held city into two parts.
The government troops also severed the militants’ supply chains, and continued their advance toward the nearby Yarmouk refugee camp.
Despite heavy air and artillery support, intense fighting continues in the area with the urban environment and underground tunnels slowing down the army’s advance.
A part of the Yarmouk refugee camp and surrounding villages are the terrorists’ last remaining strongholds in the entire Damascus suburb.
Military operations are expected to continue until the Syrian army regains control over southern Damascus, securing the neighborhood, which is being shelled by terrorists.
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:05 P.M.) – Having fully recaptured the southern part of ISIS enclave in southern Damascus, the Syrian forces turned attention to oust the terror state from the northern flank.
Fierce battles broke out in the northern half of ISIS pocket which consists of parts of Yarmouk Camp and Hajar Aswad neighborhood, whereby the government troops scored fresh advance by liberating the Electric Station Building, Quds School along with all surrounding buildings; all located to the north of the Hajar Cemetry area. The Syrian Army, backed by Palestinian fighters and National Defense Forces, are squeezing ISIS militants from multiple axes. The terror group are suffering huge losses but still refuse to surrender.
With President Donald Trump’s May 12 deadline for withdrawing from the P5+1 nuclear deal looming, the Israeli government is pushing hard. According to analysts, this is less about the deal itself than about what killing the deal would lead to. Israel believes that if the nuclear deal is killed, it will be damaging to Iran, and in the long run could lead to a regime change.
Israel has been hoping for a regime change in Iran for decades, and seems to see this as their best bet.
It’s not clear how this is supposed to work. A generation of ever-mounting sanctions failed to ever substantially weaken the Iranian government’s hold on power.
It’s not clear that the US killing the nuclear deal, at Israel’s behest, would lead to a backlash against Iran. Quite the contrary, the Russian government is envisioning trying to establish closer ties to Iran if the US kills the deal. It’s likely they aren’t the only ones, as many European nations also have business interests in Iran centered on the sanctions relief.
Israel is constantly making vague allegations that Iran is doing something untoward. In reality, Israel is going to great lengths to track Iranian activities, and hasn’t come up with anything. This is likely to convince most of the world that the collapse of the nuclear deal has nothing to do with Iran, and everything to do with Israel’s regional ambitions.
Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel's Labour Party, declared that Israel must separate itself from the Palestinians by establishing a demilitarised Palestinian state on parts of the occupied Palestinians territories in the West Bank and Gaza.
Echoing one of AIPAC's signature lobbying efforts this year, Gabbay said the Palestinian National Authority must first stop its economic support of families of Palestinian imprisoned and detained by Israel for their activism against the Israeli occupation...
On the issue of the illegal settlements that Israel is building in the occupied territories, Gabbay's views did not vary from the standard line of the current Likud-led government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gabbay's only objection on the Israeli settlement project inside the occupied territories was over "hill-top posts" that were built by enterprising Jewish settlers without government sanction. I believe that peace will ensure the long-term security of Israel and with this peace, Israel will not just be a part of the Middle East but will lead the Middle East.”
Iran, which is also called Persia or the Islamic Republic of Iran, is located in western Asia. Iran is the 18th largest country in the world with a population estimated at 82.01 million in 2018, which ranks 17th in the world.
Iran is home to many different cultures and religions, and Iran offers freedom to practice and carry these out in their own ways. Moreover, Iran has the fourth largest petroleum reserves and largest natural gas reserves.
Iran is one of the oldest civilizations in the world dating back to 3200-2800 BC.
The largest city and capital is Tehran, which has a population of nearly 8.4 million.
The larger Tehran metropolitan area has a population estimated at 14 million, which makes it the largest city in all of Western Asia and one of the three largest cities in the Middle East after Cairo and Istanbul.
Iran will not negotiate with the West over its presence in the Middle East, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, days after France's visiting foreign minister raised Tehran's role in regional conflicts.
"European countries come [to Tehran] and say we want to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region. It is none of your business. It is our region. Why are you here?" Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website on Thursday.
Khamenei, a Shia cleric who is Iran's ultimate authority on all major matters of state, said the Islamic Republic would only negotiate on that issue with other states in the region.
Khamenei described the presence of US military forces in various regions of the world as "malicious and seditious", and said Iran would not ask for permission from Washington to be active in the Middle East.
"We will negotiate with America when we want to be present in America," he said.
Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says the president is committed to regime change in Iran and will most likely tear up the nuclear deal before he begins supporting protesters to oust the supreme leader from power.
“We got a president who is tough, who does not listen to the people who are naysayers, and a president who is as committed to regime change as we are,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – US President Donald Trump’s personal friend and a long-time supporter – said in a speech to the Iran Freedom Convention for Democracy and Human Rights in Washington.
Giuliani, who is not part of the government, believes the president will tear up the agreement – despite the insistence of European allies to preserve the milestone accord – and Trump’s so-called “war” cabinet will help him do the job.
“With Secretary of State Pompeo now on his right hand and his national security advisor John Bolton… on his left side, what do you think is going to happen to that agreement, that nuclear agreement?” Giuliani asked, smiling and indicating to the crowd that Trump will simply rip it up and spit on it...
Giuliani also said in his speech that once the deal is gone and “sanctions [are] back, we have a real chance of escalating these protests,” referring to series of public protests in various cities throughout Iran beginning in late December 2017 and continuing into early 2018.
The White House has yet to comment on Giuliani’s statement, but it seems to be in line with the president’s views.
“TIME FOR CHANGE!” Trump tweeted at the height of recent protests in Iran, adding that “the great Iranian people have been repressed for many years.”
While the US government was quick to claim the protests were anti-government in nature, they might have missed the point.
According to a poll conducted by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland and IranPoll, only 0.3 percent of Iranians chose “lack of civil liberties” as the most important problem or challenge facing the country. “Injustice” was also low on the list (1.4 percent).
Unemployment came in first at 40.1 percent, followed by inflation and high cost of living (12.5 percent), and youth unemployment (9.4 percent).
John Pilger: "I've never known journalism so distorted
in order to serve propaganda" (RT, May 2018)
The US State Department has been forced to publicly distance itself from the US President's old friend and new lawyer, Rudi Giuliani. He stirred controversy last weekend by saying the US leader is planning regime change in Iran. "[Giuliani] speaks for himself and not on behalf of the administration on foreign policy," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told AP on Monday.
Giuliani, who was hired by Trump last month to tackle the Mueller probe, has become a source of increasing concern for Washington due to his offhand remarks on matters that are far beyond his area of responsibility. (RT Russia, 8-5-2018)
Preliminary unofficial results from Lebanon’s parliamentary elections have showed that the Hezbollah resistance movement and its political allies secured more than half the seats.
Hezbollah as well as groups and individuals affiliated to it have won at least 67 seats in Lebanon’s 128-member parliament, according to the results cited by politicians and campaigns and reported in Lebanese media on Monday. Hezbollah's allies include the Amal Movement led by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement founded by President Michel Aoun.
Lebanon's first parliamentary elections in nine years was held on Sunday, with over 500 candidates vying for seats. Turnout was 49.2 percent, according to officials.
Israel reacted to the results with typical animosity, with the regime's education minister Naftali Bennett saying Hezbollah's gains showed that the state is indistinguishable from the group and that Tel Aviv should not distinguish between them in any future war. "Hezbollah = Lebanon," Bennett said on Twitter on Monday. Israel "will not differentiate between the sovereign State of Lebanon and Hezbollah, and will view Lebanon as responsible for any action from within its territory," he wrote.
The unofficial results also showed that Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri would emerge as the Sunni leader with the biggest bloc in the parliament, making him the frontrunner to form the next government even though he lost seats.
Under a power-sharing agreement that ended the 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon, prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim, president a Maronite Christian and parliament speaker a Shia Muslim.
An anti-Hezbollah alliance led by Hariri and supported by Saudi Arabia won a majority in the Lebanese parliament in 2009, but it has since disintegrated.
It is the first time the US has been outside the top five “friendly” countries in the survey, falling to 11th position
The survey showed that nearly three quarters of young people polled saw the election and presidency of Donald Trump as having a negative impact on the region.
DUBAI: There has been a dramatic shift in the perception of America by young Arabs over the past two years, with a solid majority — some 57 percent — now regarding the US as an enemy rather than an ally.
Instead, Russia is increasingly regarded as the top non-Arab ally by young people in the region, with 20 percent seeing it as the region’s best friend outside the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
That is one of the key findings to come out of a face-to-face survey of 3,500 Arabs between the ages of 18-24 across the region earlier this year. The ASDA’A Burston-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, now in its 10th year, is the largest sample of public opinion among young people — the biggest demographic — in the Middle East and North Africa.
It is the first time the US has been outside the top five “friendly” countries in the survey, falling to 11th position. Antipathy toward America is most pronounced in the Levant, with 31 percent favoring Russia compared to 15 percent for the US. But Vladimir Putin’s country is viewed more positively than Donald Trump’s America in both the Arabian Gulf and North Africa too.
In 2016, 25 percent of young Arabs surveyed said the US was their top non-Arab ally, compared with only 9 percent in favor of Russia. The survey showed that nearly three quarters of young people polled saw the election and presidency of Donald Trump as having a negative impact on the region. Only 7 percent saw it as positive. Trump’s election was more negatively regarded than the decline in oil prices and the war in Yemen...
Young Arabs increasingly believe that Daesh is getting weaker, with 78 percent agreeing with that proposition, and 68 percent confident in their government’s ability to deal with the terrorist organization.
Some 58 percent said that Daesh and its ideology would be fully defeated, while 18 percent thought that it would lose territory, but remain a significant terrorist threat.
Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (18 March 1874 – 24 March 1948) was a Russian Christian universalist mystic (personalist) and Christian anarchist political philosopher.
In Berdyaev's view, the only way of escape from the many forms of slavery (spiritual, economic, political) lies in the fuller realization of personality, as he defines it.
Berdyaev turned to religious views and played a large part in the renaissance of religious and philosophical thought in Russian intellectual life early in the 20th century. In 1922 he and a number of other intellectuals were expelled from the USSR.
* "Hostile to the principle of person is every single-planed world-outlook, for which the nature of man is comprised solely by its belonging to the social plane of being, i.e. man possesses no dimension of depth."
* "It is not appropriate to confuse the concept of person with the concept of individual.
The individual is a naturalistic category, biological and sociological, and it appertains to the natural world. It is an atom, indivisible, not having inner life, it is anonymous. The individual does not possess any unique or independent existence apart from race or from society."
"Person signifies something altogether different. Person is a spiritual and religious category. Person speaks not only about man belonging to the natural and social order, but also to a different dimension of being, to the spiritual world. Person is a form of being, higher than anything natural or social."
"Person is created by God and in this is its highest merit, and the source of its independence and freedom. That which is born in the generative process and formed in the social process is merely the individual, in which person needs to be realised."
President Trump announced that he is withdrawing the United States from the P5+1 nuclear deal. He’s been condemning the deal for years, and is moving to reimpose US sanctions on Iran. This would put the US in violation of the pact.
Trump set a May 12 ultimatum demanding changes to the deal, and threatening to withdraw if he didn’t get them. While the European Union offered him myriad concessions to try to keep him placated, Trump ultimately was unsatisfied.
He went on to complain that the deal will only guarantee the survival of the “Iranian regime.”
He said the deal was “a great embarrassment to me as a citizen, and to all American citizens.” He cited Israel’s allegations of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms. Trump claimed the whole world was in agreement on the “threat” posed by Iran, despite materially the entire world remaining committed to the deal.
He talked up working with American allies to force a large number of new concessions out of Iran.
While there had been some warnings that the deal could not survive without the US, Iran and all other signatories to the P5+1 deal have said they will remain in the pact.
It is only the US that is in violation, and the rest of the world intends to keep the deal going as best they can without America’s support, which even at the best of times was only half-heated.
There is little reason to suggest new negotiations could happen, with Trump conceding if he was Iran he wouldn’t negotiate either. At the same time, he threatened Iran with much bigger problems if they didn’t. Trump concluded that he had made America “much safer” by withdrawing from the deal.
In reality, he’s likely to provoke a major diplomatic backlash for disavowing a treaty signed just a few years ago.
Washington, DC – NIAC President Trita Parsi issued the following statement in response to reports that President Trump declared he would snap back all nuclear-related sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, and impose new sanctions:
“Donald Trump has committed what will go down as one of the greatest acts of self-sabotage in America’s modern history. He has put the United States on a path towards war with Iran... “This is not America first, this is Trump leasing out America’s foreign policy interests to the highest bidder. The only parties applauding this move are Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammed Bin Salman, who have consistently chosen to undermine regional security to advance their own shortsighted political fortunes. Trump’s reckless decision is a betrayal of the national interests of the United States of America that could haunt us for generations.
“Perhaps the most absurd aspect of President Trump’s Iran policy is his attempt to claim solidarity with the Iranian people, even as he bans Iranians from the US and his top advisors openly support the MEK terrorist group that is universally reviled by Iranians.
The Iranian people overwhelmingly supported the nuclear deal, at least until the sanctions relief that was promised failed to materialize, and will be the party most impacted by Trump’s decision...
“It is our profound hope that the Europeans, Russians and Chinese are able to sustain the nuclear accord in spite of Trump’s decision – though we recognize that this is a tall task given the effect of US sanctions.
Trita Parsi is the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and an award-winning author. He is the president of the National Iranian American Council and teaches at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His latest book is Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced their support for US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, with Riyadh’s ambassador to Washington blasting Tehran’s malicious behaviour in the Middle East.
The Emirates, according to a statement released by the official news agency WAM, issued its support for Mr Trump’s decision, and called upon the international community and parties in the Iran nuclear agreement to “heed Mr Trump’s call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”
In addition, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted in support of Mr Trump’s decision:
“Iran’s rhetoric & aggressive regional actions were the background to a flawed deal. The veneer of Tehran’s compliance contradicted its bellicose policies. President Trump’s decision is the correct one”. He added that the problem was Iran interpretation of the deal “as concurrence of its regional hegemony.” “An aggressive Iran was emboldened as a result & its ballistic missile program became both offensive & exportable” the senior UAE diplomat warned.
Both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also issued statements welcoming Mr Trump’s decision. Riyadh’s statement, which came less than an hour after Mr Trump’s decision, said it “supports and welcomes” the US decision.
In Washington, Saudi ambassador Prince Khalid bin Salman reiterated the support, and said the nuclear deal “has fueled Iran’s malicious expansion driven by its extremist ideology.”
“As I said before with regards to the deal, we are on auto pilot heading towards a mountain. The deal has fueled Iran’s malicious expansion driven by its extremist ideology. It provided Iran with a financial windfall that it used to further sectarian strife/chaos in the region”, he tweeted:
CAIRO – 9 May 2018: Egypt is closely following up a decision taken Tuesday by US President Donald Trump to exit the Iran deal, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Egypt understands the US keenness to address all regional and international concerns related to the nuclear deal with Iran and Iran's interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries, the ministry added.
Egypt renewed its firm stance on the need to preserve the security and stability of the region and the safety of its peoples.
The statement voiced Egypt's deep concern about any policies aimed at expanding the influence in the Arab world and the negative impact on the national security of Arab countries.
Egypt called on all regional powers, including Iran, to stop adopting policies or actions aimed at harming the security of the Arab region.
I teach a lot of 18 year olds, so I am keenly aware that a whole generation has come up who did not live through the Bush propaganda campaign against Iraq of 2002-2003. And, of course, a lot of people who did live through it have forgotten its details or how complicit corporate media were in amplifying the campaign.... Here is how the 2003 war was gotten up against Iraq:
1. Conspiratorial groups were formed, like the Project for a New American Century (which included then Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney and Israel Lobby uber-hawks like Bill Kristol, Bob Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams and Frank Gaffney)...
The Project for a New American Century and other cells began trying to put pressure on the Clinton administration to take a belligerent stand against Iraq, in hopes of provoking an Iraqi counter-strike that could then escalate.
2. Other governments were enlisted. A 1996 white paper,”A Clean Break,” was prepared by Neoconservatives for incoming Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu that urged getting up a war on Iraq, re-installing the Hashemite monarchy there, and then using the Hashemites to influence Lebanon’s Shiites toward a more pro-Israeli stance.
3. Expatriate Iraqis were enlisted for dirty tricks and disinformation campaigns. Someone called “Curveball” was given to German intelligence, who appear to have fallen for him. Ahmad Chalabi, angling to come back to Iraq as its US-installed supreme leader, misled journalists, intelligence officials, State Department officials, Congress, and virtually anyone he could get hold of.
4. Once Bush came to power, members of the cell like Douglas Feith (someone with ties to Israeli settlers and ideologically aligned with the Israeli Likud Party) were put in positions of power in the government and used their position to establish intra-governmental black ops units like the Office of Special Plans... I was widely attacked by the Neocons for saying that having a Likudnik as the third man at the Pentagon was a nightmare for US national security.
5. PNAC and other hawks pressured Clinton to bomb Iraq in 1998. Clinton told UN weapons inspectors to withdraw before the strikes. They were never sent back in. The US press, whether from incompetence or malice or being secretly bribed, continually thereafter said that Saddam “kicked out” the inspectors, which was an unadorned falsehood.
6. The Iraq War clique glommed on to George W. Bush, especially once the latter unwisely made Cheney vice president, and inserted themselves into the 10 key political positions in his government, then gradually pushed him toward a war.
7. The Neoconservatives and others who wanted to break Iraq’s legs blamed the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11 on the secular socialist anti-fundamentalist government of the Iraqi Baath Party, and managed to convince most Americans of the completely ridiculous charge.
8. They made a case for regime change over Iraq’s human rights record or its regional role, though countries like Saudi Arabia or Israel with similar profiles were exempted from criticism.
9. Bush, Condi Rice, Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld tried to scare Americans that Saddam was 2 years or less from having an atomic bomb (he had no program). This campaign convinced Congress to vote for a war.
Flashback: Architects of the push to get Saddam Hussein
Jim Lobe, 30-11-2001
From the outset, the chief architects of the push to get Saddam Hussein have been Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, who, as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, is not technically a member of the Bush administration. As prize students of arch-hawk, Albert Wohlstetter in the 1960s, the two men have been comrades-in-arms in a series of crusades against détente, arms control, and any multilateral effort that might constrain Washington's freedom of action to do what it wants, where and when it pleases, dating back to the early 1970s.
Within the administration, they generally can count on some heavy-weight actors for support, beginning with Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, Pentagon policy chief Douglas Feith, and several members of the National Security Council staff, including its top aide for global issues and Iran-contra veteran, Elliott Abrams.
This circle of hawks is backed outside the administration by a network of veteran Washington hands whose political savvy, talent for polemics, media contacts, and lust for ideological combat have made them a formidable force on foreign policy since the Vietnam War.
With roots in the Scoop Jackson faction of the Democratic Party, these "neo-conservatives" are decidedly aggressive when it comes to supporting Israel, particularly Likud; mostly hostile toward the United Nations; often contemptuous of European "elites;" and absolutely convinced of the fundamental moral superiority and redemptive mission of the United States abroad.
Arabs are 'the forces of darkness'
Douglas Feith believes in “good” versus “darkness” duality
James J. Zogby, President of Arab American Institute, april 2001
Douglas J. Feith, the new Undersecretary of Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, believes in “good” versus “darkness” duality.
On the political front, Feith has been associated with the Cold War "neo-conservative" school of thought. What is of concern here is the extent to which Feith has transposed the neo-conservative worldview onto the Middle East.
As his fellow cold warriors defined the world in ideological dualistic terms—the forces of absolute good confronting the forces of absolute evil—Feith defines the Arab-Israeli conflict in similar terms.
A prolific writer, Feith has left a long paper trail of anti-Arab tracts and diatribes against those who challenge or seek to compromise Israel’s strength and as he defines it, "moral superiority" over the Arabs.
As was the case in the Cold War battle against Communism, in Feith’s view, there can be no place for compromise between Israel and the Arabs. Since he defines the Middle East conflict in absolute terms, the only option for Israel is to confront its Arab enemies until they are defeated, which, in his worldview, means when they submit and accept Israel’s legitimacy and sovereignty over all of mandatory Palestine. Since Israel represents the "good" and "our values," in Feith’s view, it is necessary for the United States to identify with Israel in its struggle against the forces of "darkness," the Arabs.
This means providing Israel with superior military strength and political support. It also means that the United States should never pressure Israel either to surrender land or to compromise its hegemonic position in the region.
As disturbing as Feith’s views may be, his political associations cause even greater concern. In recent years, Feith has frequently been featured in the activities of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).
Known for its virulent anti-Arab incitement, the ZOA regularly attacks all Arab American political activity and demonizes politicians who hire Arab Americans or even associate with community organizations. The ZOA also frequently attacks American Jews whom they feel are not in line with their extremist pro-Likud philosopy.
Donald Trump’s torpedoing of the Iran nuclear deal on highly specious and misleading grounds is an act of wanton diplomatic vandalism fraught with dangers.
While the 2015 agreement may not yet be wholly sunk, it is holed below the waterline. Many in Tehran will see the sweeping reimposition of US sanctions as a declaration of war. As for Trump, he has once again proved himself the master of chaos. This aggressive bid to further isolate Iran appears designed to ultimately enforce regime change.
In the short-term it will destroy remaining mutual goodwill, undermine pro-western Iranian opinion, empower hardliners, trigger an oil price crisis, and increase the risk of conflict centred on Syria and Israel...
Yet Trump’s short-sighted folly, far from being unprecedented, is entirely consistent with a long history of similarly disastrous Middle East policy missteps by previous US presidents.
The region is littered with the corpses of momentously misconceived and wrong-headed US policies, spawned by the same noxious mix of ignorance and arrogance now permeating the White House. In this respect, Trump is no different from many of his predecessors.
In the decades after the Suez Crisis in 1956, when Britain and France were shoved aside, successive US administrations war-gamed the Middle East as part of a bigger strategic contest with the Soviet Union. If that meant propping up pro-western dictators such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi and Gulf monarchs, then so be it.
Yet as Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, conceded in Cairo in 2005, it was a self-defeating policy. “For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither,” she said.
In another famous Cairo speech, in 2009, Barack Obama promised a “new beginning”. The US had treated Middle East countries as either proxies or enemies, he said... Not much changed in the Obama years. Only the Iran deal marked a clear shift – until Trump wrecked it.
The European allies must, by all available means, undercut, circumvent and subvert Trump’s attempt to wreck the Iran deal. Closer ties should be pursued with Tehran, while escalating, punitive diplomatic and economic sanctions are levelled at Washington. Joint action should also be taken to censure the US at the UN. A price must be paid for perfidy.
Theresa May can make a start by withdrawing her ill-judged invitation to Trump to visit Britain. With his Middle East warmongering, as with his climate change denial and his other dangerous and divisive policies, Trump threatens British interests and international peace and security. It is no longer enough simply to complain and condemn. The moment for active resistance has arrived.
French government ministers reacted with anger and defiance on Wednesday to US president's Donald Trump's decision to pull his country out of the nuclear deal with Iran.
The foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany will meet Iranian representatives next week, Paris said Wednesday after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.
"We will meet with my British and German colleagues on Monday, and also with representatives of Iran, to consider the entire situation," French
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio. Le Drian insisted the Iran nuclear deal was "not dead". "There is a US withdrawal from the agreement, but the agreement exists," the minister said.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said separately on France Culture radio that the decision was "an error" not just for international security but from an economic point of view.
It was "not acceptable" for the US to be the "economic policeman of the planet", he said.
Trump defied European pleas to stay in the pact, which curbs Iran's nuclear program, and reimposed crippling sanctions which will come into effect within six months.
The decision marked a stark diplomatic defeat for Europe, whose leaders, repeatedly and in person, had begged Trump to think again.
Le Maire pointed out that the withdrawal gives European firms doing business in Iran the "very short time of six months" to wind up investments -- or risk US sanctions.
"In two years, France has tripled its trade surplus with Iran," he said. Le Maire said this would lead to "consequences" for major French companies, such as Total, Sanofi, Renault and Peugeot. He said he would have speak with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by the end of the week to "explore what the possibilities are" to avoid the sanctions, including possible exemptions. On Wednesday the US ambassador to Germany warned German companies to cease trading in Iran "immediately".
Richard Grenell, the new U.S. ambassador to Germany, formally took up his post in Berlin on Tuesday and immediately got to work as Donald Trump’s representative by offending the German people with a tweet.
" As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately." Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 8, 2018
Grenell’s inaugural Twitter address to his hosts, a stern command to German companies doing business in Iran to obey the American president’s decision to sabotage the nuclear arms control agreement that opened the way for Western investment, or face U.S. sanctions, did not go over well.
As Germany’s leading financial daily, Handelsblatt, reported, the tweet drew thousands of comments, “many of them from angry Germans basically telling the ambassador, a longtime critic of the Iran deal, to butt out.”
Among the more temperate replies was one from Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the United States, who advised the novice diplomat to avoid issuing “instructions” to his hosts:
"Ric: my advice, after a long ambassadorial career: explain your own country’s policies, and lobby the host country – but never tell the host country what to do, if you want to stay out of trouble. Germans are eager to listen, but they will resent instructions." Wolfgang Ischinger (@ischinger) May 9, 2018
Some 28 Israeli aircraft fired around 60 air-to-surface rockets in a massive overnight strike in Syria, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Syrian air-defense systems managed to intercept more than half of the missiles.
A total of 70 projectiles, including 60 air-to-surface rockets and more than 10 surface-to-surface missiles, hit Iranian military targets and Syrian air-defense systems near Damascus and in the south of the country on Thursday morning, the Russian military said in a statement.
“28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 planes were involved in the attack,” the ministry said. “Syrian air-defense systems shot down more than half of the rockets as they repelled the Israeli attack.”
Israeli forces bombed the Syrian territory for two hours between 1:45am and 3:45am local time on Thursday. The attack was carried out under the pretext of allegations that Iranian forces had earlier hit Israeli targets in the Golan Heights.
The damage inflicted on Iranian military and Syrian civilian infrastructure by the airstrikes is being evaluated.
“Iran will need a lot of time and resources to rehabilitate its operational, military and intelligence infrastructures we hit tonight,” an IDF spokesman said, according to Ynet, warning that “any other attempt” to hurt Israel will “pay even more.”
A map of the military targets provided by the Israeli army shows multiple sites near Damascus and also near the Syria-Israel border. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claims “all the Iranian infrastructure” in the Arab republic was hit.
While claiming that Tel-Aviv is not seeking further escalation, the IDF says that “the Syrian regime will be held accountable for everything happening in its territory,” and has warned against any retaliatory attack.
In an interview, given to the Greek Kathimerini newspaper, President Bashar al-Assad said that France, Britain, and the US, along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are responsible for the war in Syria due to their support of the terrorism, describing the Western allegations about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Army as a farce and a very primitive play whose only goal is to attack the Syrian Army after the defeat of terrorists.
-- Question: Let me ask you first of all, you know, there’s been accusation by the US and the Europeans about the use of chemical weapons, and there was an attack after that. What is your response to that? Was there a chemical attack? Were you responsible for it?
-- President Assad: First of all, we don’t have any chemical arsenal since we gave it up in 2013, and the international agency for chemical weapons made investigations about this, and it’s clear or documented that we don’t have....
Second, use of mass destruction armaments in a crammed area with a population like Douma – the supposed area, it’s called Douma and they talk about 45 victims- when you use mass destruction armaments in such an area, you should have hundreds or maybe thousands of victims in one time.
Third, why all the chemical weapons, the presumed or supposed chemical weapons, only kill children and women? They don’t kill militants. If you look at the videos, it’s completely fake. I mean, when you have chemical weapons, how could the doctors and nurses be safe, dealing with the chemical atmosphere without any protective clothes, without anything, just throwing water at the victims, and the victims became okay just because you washed them with water.
So, it’s a farce, it’s a play, it’s a very primitive play, just to attack the Syrian army, because… Why? That’s the most important part, is that when the terrorists lost, the US, France, UK, and their other allies who want to destabilize Syria, they lost one of their main cards, and that’s why they had to attack the Syrian Army, just to raise the morale of the terrorists and to prevent the Syrian Army from liberating more areas in Syria.
syria - douma - april 9
-- Question: President Trump, in a tweet, used a very strong expression. He said “animal Assad.” You remember that? What is your response to that?
-- President Assad: Actually, when you are in that position, I mean president of a country, you have first of all to represent the morals of your people before representing your own morals.
You are representing your country. Question: does this language represent the American culture? That is the question. This is very bad, and I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s a community in the world that has such language. Second, the good thing about Trump is that he expresses himself in a very transparent way, which is very good in that regard. Personally, I don’t care, because I deal with the situation as a politician, as a president. It doesn’t matter for me personally; what matters is whether something would affect me, would affect my country, our war, the terrorists, and the atmosphere that we are living in.
-- Question: He said that his mission was accomplished. He said “mission accomplished in Syria.” How do you feel about that?
-- President Assad: I think maybe the only mission accomplished was when they helped ISIS escape from Raqqa, when they helped them, and it was proven by video, and under their cover, the leaders of ISIS escaped Raqqa, going toward Deir Ezzor just to fight the Syrian Army.
The other mission accomplished was when they attacked the Syrian Army at the end of 2016 in the area of Deir Ezzor when ISIS was surrounding Deir Ezzor, and the only force was the Syrian Army. I mean, the only force to defend that city from ISIS was the Syrian Army, and because of the Americans’ – and of course their allies’ – attack, Deir Ezzor was on the brink of falling in the hand of ISIS.
So, this is the only mission that was accomplished. If he’s talking about destroying Syria, of course that’s another mission accomplished. While if you talk about fighting terrorism, we all know very clearly that the only mission the United States have been doing in Syria is to support the terrorists, regardless of their names, of the names of their factions.
-- Question 6: When is your mission going to be accomplished, given the situation here in Syria now?
-- President Assad: I have always said, without any interference, it will take less than a year to regain stability in Syria; I don’t have any doubt about this. The other factor is how much support the terrorists receive; this is something I cannot answer, because I cannot foretell. But as long as it continues, time is not the main factor. The main factor is that someday, we’re going to end this conflict and we’re going to re-unify Syria under the control of the government. I hope it’s going to be soon.
-- Question: Now, there was some criticism lately, because you apparently have a law that says that anybody that doesn’t claim their property within a month, they cannot come back. Is that a way to exclude some of the people who disagree with you?
-- President Assad: No, we cannot dispossess anyone from their property by any law, because the constitution is very clear about the ownership of any Syrian citizen.... So, this law is not about dispossessing anyone.
-- Question: How about Turkey? Turkey did an intrusion, an invasion of part of your country. You used to have a pretty good relationship with President Erdogan. How is that relationship now after that intrusion?
-- President Assad: Only a few days ago, we had a political delegation coming from Turkey. We have to distinguish between the Turks in general and Erdogan. Erdogan is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Maybe he’s not organized, but his affiliation is toward that ideology... So, it’s not about personal relations. The core issue of the Muslim Brotherhood anywhere in the world is to use Islam in order to take control of the government in your country, and to create multiple governments having this kind of relation, like a network of Muslim Brotherhoods, around the world.
-- Question: Are you worried about the potential third world war starting here in Syria? I mean, you have the Israelis hitting the Iranians, you know, here in your own country. You have the Russians, you have the Americans. Are you concerned about that possibility?
-- President Assad: No, for one reason: because fortunately, you have a wise leadership in Russia, and they know that the agenda of the deep state in the United States is to create a conflict.
Since the campaign of Trump, the main agenda was against Russia, create a conflict with Russia, humiliate Russia, undermine Russia, and so on. And we’re still in the same process under different titles or by different means.
Because of the wisdom of the Russians, we can avoid this. Maybe it’s not a full-blown third world war, but it is a world war, maybe in a different way, not like the second and the first, maybe it’s not nuclear, but it’s definitely not a cold war; it’s something more than a cold war, less than a full-blown war.
-- Question: There is a lot of blood that has, you know, taken place, and all that, so can you see yourself sitting across from the opposition and sharing, you know, power in some way?
-- President Assad: When you talk about blood, you have to talk about who created that blood. I was president before the war for ten years, had I been killing the Syrian people for ten years? No, definitely not.
So, the conflict started because somebody, first of all part of the West, supported those terrorists, and they bear the responsibility for this war. So first of all the West, who provided military and financial support and political cover, and who stood against the Syrian people, who impoverished the Syrian people and created a better atmosphere for the terrorists to kill more Syrian people.
So, part of the West – mainly France, UK, and US, and also Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey are responsible for this part. It’s not enough to say there is blood; this is a very general term. Of course there is blood; it’s a war, but who’s responsible? Those who are responsible should be held accountable.
asma assad 2017
Flashback 2009: An American public opinion poll held in six Arab states indicated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the most popular Arab leader.
The poll, conducted by Maryland University in cooperation with Al-Zughbi International Foundation for Polls, showed that al-Assad has got most votes among Arab leaders. The poll included a sample taken in six Arab countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In response to a question about the most dangerous factor that poses a threat to the region, Israel was ranked first with 88%, and USA was the second with 77%. (Albawaba, 10-6-2009)
Normal life in Damascus hours after Army’s confronting of Israeli missile aggression. SANA, 10-5-2018
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi forces have captured “five most dangerous leaders of ISIS/. According to the coalition, the operation was done in coordination between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) across the border.
“The arrest is a significant blow to Daesh,” coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted on Wednesday, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. He said it “demonstrates close coordination” between the Iraqi security forces and the SDF across the border.
Initial reports indicate ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not among the five captured though a senior aide of his recently came into Iraqi custody.
Baghdadi, who declared himself ruler of all Muslims in 2014 after capturing Iraq’s main northern city Mosul, is now believed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border region after losing all the cities and towns of his self-proclaimed caliphate.
In February Ismail al-Eithawi was captured by Turkish authorities and handed over to Iraq. He is a direct aide to Baghdadi and was responsible for international money transfers for the extremist group. Iraqi authorities were able to use an app on Eithawi’s cell phone to trap four ISIS commanders: Saddam Jamal, a Syrian and ISIS governor of the eastern Euphrates region, and field commanders Syrian Mohamed al-Qadeer, Iraqi Omar al-Karbouli, and Iraqi Essam al-Zawbai.
The SDF, with coalition backing, launched earlier this month a campaign against ISIS in two remaining pockets in eastern Deir ez-Zor province, east of the Euphrates. The SDF is coordinating with Iraqi forces and Iraqi jets have carried out strikes against ISIS on the Syrian side of the border.
Flashback 2013: FSA, Al-Qaeda & Isis working together in Northern Syria
From 2001 until sometime around 2006, the United States followed the core neoconservative foreign-policy program.
The disastrous results of this vast social science experiment could not be clearer. The neoconservative program cost the United States several trillion dollars and thousands dead and wounded American soldiers, and it sowed carnage and chaos in Iraq and elsewhere. One would think that these devastating results would have discredited the neoconservatives forever... Yet to the dismay of many commentators neoconservative punditry is alive and well today. Casual viewers of CNN and other news channels are being treated to the vacuous analysis of Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, and Bill Kristol. [..]
What’s going on here? Others have eviscerated the logic of the neocons’ latest campaign for war, and you can read any of the commentaries listed above for powerful rejoinders to the neocons’ latest spate of bad advice...
But given their past failures, what explains neoconservatism’s apparent immunity from any degree of accountability? How can a group of people be so wrong so often and at such high cost, yet still retain considerable respect and influence in high circles?
As near as I can tell, the strange mind-boggling persistence of neoconservatism is due to four interrelated factors.
No. 1: Shamelessness
One reason neoconservatism survives is that its members don’t care how wrong they’ve been, or even about right and wrong itself. True to their Trotskyite and Straussian roots, neoconservatives have always been willing to play fast and loose with the truth in order to advance political goals.
We know that they were willing to cook the books on intelligence and make outrageously false claims in order to sell the Iraq war, for example, and today they construct equally false narratives that deny their own responsibility for the current mess in Iraq and portray their war as a great success...
And the entire movement seems congenitally incapable of admitting error, or apologizing to the thousands of people whose lives they have squandered or damaged irreparably.
No. 2: Financial Support
The second source of neoconservative survival is money. In America’s wide-open policy arena, almost anyone can be a player, provided they have the resources to keep people employed and give them platforms and institutions from which to operate. The neocons who drove America over the brink in 2003 continue to be supported by an array of well-funded think tanks, magazines, and letterhead organizations, including the Weekly Standard, American Enterprise Institute, Carnegie Endowment, Council on Foreign Relations, Institute for the Study of War, Hudson Institute, and several others.
No. 3: A Receptive and Sympathetic Media
Neoconservatives would have much less influence if mainstream media didn’t continue to pay attention to them. They could publish their own journals and appear on Fox News, but the big force multiplier is their continued prominence in places like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other outlets. Neocons continue to have frequent access to op-ed pages, and are commonly quoted by reporters on a range of foreign-policy issues.
This tendency is partly because some important members of the mainstream media are themselves neoconservatives or strongly sympathetic to its basic worldview...
No. 4: Liberal Allies
The final source of neoconservative persistence is the continued support they get from their close cousins: the liberal interventionists.
Neoconservatives may have cooked up the whole idea of invading Iraq, but they got a lot of support from a diverse array of liberal hawks. As I’ve noted before, the only major issue on which these two groups disagree is the role of international institutions, which liberals view as a useful tool and neoconservatives see as a dangerous constraint on U.S. freedom of action. Neoconservatives, in short, are liberal imperialists on steroids, and liberal hawks are really just kinder, gentler neocons.
The neoconservative-liberal alliance in effect re-legitimates the neoconservative world view, and makes their continued enthusiasm for U.S.-led wars look "normal."
Until our society gets better at listening to those who are consistently right instead of those who are reliably wrong, we will repeat the same mistakes and achieve the same dismal results. Not that the neoconservatives will care.
In Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharatt's personal diaries, there is an excerpt from May of 1955 in which he quotes Moshe Dayan as follows:
"[Israel] must see the sword as the main, if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may, no - it must - invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation-and-revenge...
And above all - let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries, so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space."
Zionism and Legal Skepticism
By WILLIAM JAMES MARTIN, CounterPunch 2-7-2004
Writing in the Guardian of London on March 21, 2003, under the title, "Thank God for the Death of the UN", just as the American invasion of Iraq was getting underway, Richard Perle, member of the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board, said of Saddam Hussein:
"... He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him. Well, not the whole UN. The "good works" part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world order. As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions."
Mr. Perle's contempt for Saddam Hussein seems matched by his contempt for the United Nations as well as for international law more generally. The distain for international law is very clearly expressed in considerable detail in a 1996 document prepared for the incoming Natanyahu government of Israel of that year entitled, A Clean Break: a New Strategy for Securing the Realm", prepared by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David and Meyrav Wurmser, James Colbert, and Robert Loenberg in their capacity as members of The Institute for Advanced Strategy and Political Studies' "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000" a Washington/Jerusalem based think tank providing policy analyses for the government of Israel. This document advocates the scrapping of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 - the "land for peace" formula - in favor of one based on the "balance of power".
Since Israel possesses the 4th largest army in the world with essentially unlimited weaponry, unrestrictedly provided by the US, and since the Palestinians have no army at all, the "balance of power" formula application simply means that Israel should respect no constraints of its expansionist aspirations.
Indeed, the authors state, "Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimensions, "peace for peace," is a solid basis for the future." ...
The authors go on to affirm the continued commitment of Israel to overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq both because Saddam Hussein poses a direct threat to Israel and in order to exert pressure on Syria whom the authors feel poses an equal threat to Israel.
The authors also advocate "Striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper."
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