Saddam's Death, 127 (september 2018-part 2)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 126: september 2018 and Page 128: october 2018

Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple
Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Trump & the Pisces Messiah - Kennedy Speech 1961 - Eisenhower's Social Gospel
"I Have, I Rule and I will Destroy" - Iran & the dialogue of civilizations
Netanyahu & Infantilization of Israel
Jesus & Pophet Muhammed: "Be a stranger in the world" - Ideological Warfare Center
Jewish fundamentalism in the State of Palestine - Palestinian Martyrs and Jewish Heroes
The Balfour Declaration - Trump's move on Jerusalem (2017)
Abbas & Trump's "slap of the century"
John Bolton, prominent war hawk, National Security Adviser to President Trump
Lies & Provocations: France, UK and USA show their dark face
Trump, the 'deal-breaker' - Explaining America’s economic might

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)

"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries.
What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."

Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002

"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003

A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.

"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon

“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”

Saadi Shirazi
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)

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

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

There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”

"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people. (Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)

Page Index

"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...."
"For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."

About political holism

Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.

Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy.
Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.
At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)

Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu

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

What Do You Know about The Holocaust of 9 Million Iranians?
FARS News Agency, 10-9-2018

TEHRAN (FNA)- The British have always been a source of malevolence in our region. They have always been a source of misery for nations. Perhaps, the blows that they have delivered to the life of nations in this region have few peers in other parts of the world. In the Indian Subcontinent, they delivered severe blows and they pressured the people in a very harsh manner. They did so in Afghanistan, in Iran and in Iraq in different ways. The Great Persian famine of 1917–1919 was a period of widespread mass starvation and disease in Iran under rule of Qajar dynasty during World War I. So far, few historians have worked on the famine that took place in the occupied territory of the country that declared neutrality, making it an understudied subject. Time for the British to make up for their past.

Britain’s Collective Memory Should Look
Beyond Europe To Understand Iran
by Alastair Sloan, The Iranian, februar 2018

Exactly a hundred years ago, a famine which had been growing slowly across Iran suddenly hit the whole country.
The disaster would go on to claim anywhere between a million and ten million lives, depending on which estimate you accept.
There are three analyses of this cataclysmic event, an episode of which many in Britain are barely aware: 1) that it was an outright British-led genocide; 2) that the famine constituted an act of colonial negligence, inspired by imperialist racism; and 3) that it was a tragic but necessary diversion of resources away from Persian civilians to British troops attempting to defend the country from invasion during the First World War.

In a landmark 2003 book (“The great famine and genocide in Persia, 1917-1919”) Mohammad Gholi Majd put the case that it was a deliberate act of genocide.
The academic claimed that half of the Iranian population died of starvation or pestilence during the crisis, citing census estimates and files discovered in the US State Department archives.
It is not only his statistics which seem improbable – Iran’s population at the time was only eleven million, and Majd claimed that ten million died — but also the legal argument. There remains no evidence of a concerted attempt to deliberately wipe out Persia/Iran’s population because they were Persian/Iranian.
A more likely explanation is found in scenarios two or three, in which Iranians were considered undeserving of food resources, which had become increasingly scarce after a series of droughts in the preceding years.
Neither possibilities, of course, paint British colonialists in a good light; any difference between them is slight.

For what was one of the largest death tolls in world history, the Iranian famine is remarkably absent from the semi-official histories of the First World War that we are taught in school.
Much like the Bengal famine, which Winston Churchill is accused of instigating, there is certainly indifference to those who died, and how they died. Imagine the coverage which would undoubtedly have been given by politicians and media alike had a famine of that scale taken place in Bordeaux or Birmingham.
The way we approach episodes like the forgotten Iranian famine illustrates a wider point about how British decision-makers and the public, as well as the “commentariat”, view the Middle East.

Just as we commemorate battles in muddy European fields a century ago because they claimed millions of lives, Iranians also remember deadly tragedies.
In October 2016, a film by a British cinematographer was aired in Tehran; “The Orphanage of Iran” may have had a biting, tasteless and dog-whistling sub-title: “A Historical Account of a Genuine Holocaust in Iran”...
The year before, a journalist writing for the official website of Ruhollah Khomeini, carried an article stating that, “After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Britain became the main foreign power in Iran and this famine or — more accurately — ‘genocide’ was committed by the British.”
The Fars News Agency also dedicated an interview to blaming the British for the famine last year, while the Iranian government’s official position is that the British committed a genocide in Persia/Iran for which they have never been held accountable, and which was comparable in scale to the 1939-45 Holocaust, yet is barely remembered. It is a sore point with which it is hard not to empathise....

In the interest of justice, and for a better understanding of the world in which we live, Britain’s collective memory should look beyond Europe to comprehend what is happening in the Middle East, Iran included.

Merkel weighing German involvement in Syria,
coalition partner says ‘Nein’
Sputnik News (Russia), 10 Sep, 2018


In November 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush, visiting Europe for a NATO summit, declared that "should Iraqi President Saddam Hussein choose not to disarm, the United States will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him." The Bush administration briefly used "coalition of the willing" to refer to the countries who supported, militarily or politically, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent military presence in post-invasion Iraq.

Amid reports that the German Defense Ministry is considering getting involved in the Syrian conflict, SPD leader Andrea Nahles, a coalition partner of Angela Merkel, has completely ruled out supporting any such intervention.
With the Syrian government, backed by Russian airstrikes, set to crack down on Islamist rebels in the province of Idlib, Nahles said on Monday that she would not support German intervention, even if Bashar Assad’s government uses chemical weapons.
“The SPD will agree neither in the government nor in parliament, a participation of Germany in the war in Syria,” read a statement from Nahles. Her statement comes after Merkel’s government revealed on Monday that it has been in talks with its allies regarding possible military intervention in Syria.
The US had earlier asked Merkel to join the coalition, reported German newspaper Bild. The German Defense Ministry and the US had reportedly discussed various options for German involvement, ranging from simple reconnaissance flights and damage analysis, to a possible engagement in combat missions.

Intervening now would set Germany up for possible confrontation with Russia, an ally of the Syrian government. Russian jets have been pounding terrorist positions in Idlib in an effort to wipe out the country’s remaining jihadists.
The Russian Ministry of Defense warned on Sunday that terrorist groups, including Jabhat Al-Nusra and the infamous White Helmets, are preparing to stage a chemical attack to give the Western coalition a pretext to strike Assad again.
Russia has repeatedly issued the same warning over the past weeks, and has submitted what Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says are “concrete facts” about an impending false-flag chemical attack to the US government, the UN, and the OPCW (Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons).
The Russian government claims that chlorine gas canisters have already been put in place in Idlib for use in the attack.

Is Donald Trump Going Full Neocon in Syria?
By Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative, 11-9-2018

Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisors seem to be signaling.
Last week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”
In a front-page story Monday, “Assad is Planning Chlorine Attack, U.S. Says,” the Wall Street Journal reported that, during a recent meeting, “President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib.”
President Obama had a red line against Syria’s use of poison gas, which Trump enforced with bombing runs. Now we have a new red line. Said Jeffrey, the U.S. “will not tolerate an attack. Period.”

Words and warnings aside, is Trump prepared to take us into the Syrian civil war against forces who, absent our intervention, will have won the war? When did Congress authorize a new war?
What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in Idlib, or in ensuring that all Iranian forces and Shiite allies are removed, or that a “non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community” is established in Damascus? With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity.
The Syrian civil war is arguably the worst humanitarian disaster of the decade. The sooner it is ended the better. But Assad, Russia, and Iran did not start this war. Nor have they sought a clash with U.S. forces whose mission, we were repeatedly assured, was to crush ISIS and go home.
Trump has struck Syria twice for its use of poison gas, and U.S. officials told the Journal that Assad has now approved the use of chlorine on the rebels in Idlib.
Moscow, however, is charging that a false-flag operation to unleash chlorine on civilians in Idlib is being prepared to trigger and justify U.S. intervention.
Many in this Russophobic city would welcome a confrontation with Putin’s Russia, even more than they would a war with Iran. But that is the opposite of what candidate Trump promised.

Such an outcome would represent a triumph of the never-Trumpers and President Trump relinquishing of his foreign policy to the interventionists and neoconservatives.

Flashback: GOP hawks declare war on Trump
By Michael Crowley, Politico, 03/03/2016

Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin,” said Eliot Cohen, a former top State Department official under George W. Bush and a strategic theorist who argues for a muscular U.S. role abroad.
Trump's election would be “an unmitigated disaster for American foreign policy," Cohen said, adding that "he has already damaged it considerably.”
Cohen helped to organize an open letter signed by several dozen GOP foreign policy insiders that was published by War on the Rocks, a defense and foreign policy website..
The letter was signed by dozens of Republican foreign policy experts, including Boot; Peter Feaver, a former senior national security aide in George W. Bush's White House; Robert Zoellick, a former deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; and Dov Zakheim, a former Bush Pentagon official...

John McCain: We have to stop Putin
Statement by John McCain on US-Russia relations, 15-11-2016

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on U.S.-Russia relations:
Vladimir Putin has rejoined Bashar Assad in his barbaric war against the Syrian people with the resumption of large-scale Russian air and missile strikes in Idlib and Homs. Another brutal assault on the city of Aleppo could soon follow.

GOP senator Lindsey Graham: Trump is a fool
Pamela Engel, Business Insider, 13 Nov 2016

Top Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a vocal critic of Donald Trump throughout the election cycle, slammed the president-elect’s views on foreign policy in a wide-ranging interview with Business Insider last week.
“I think [Trump’s views on Russia] are the biggest misreading since the ’30s and Donald Trump is a fool when it comes to Russia,” he said.
Graham predicted that some Republicans in Congress would resist Trump’s policies on Russia: “There will be people in the Congress on the Republican side who push back,” Graham said. “I will gladly work with him where I can.”

Bolton calls regime change the 'only long-term solution' in Iran
Madeline Conway, Politico, 17-11-2016

John Bolton, the former ambassador to the United Nations, argued Thursday that the United States should support a push for regime change in Iran, calling it the “only long-term solution” to threats the country poses in the Middle East.
The ayatollahs are the principal threat to international peace and security in the Middle East,” Bolton told Breitbart News Daily, a radio program run by the hard-right website with close ties to Donald Trump.
Now, their ouster won’t bring sweetness and light to the region, that’s for sure, but it will eliminate the principal threat.”

Trump and the Neoconservatives
Jon Basill Utley, American Conservative, 13-11-2016

Nearly all of Donald Trump’s appointments to his transition team are very encouraging. But he could undermine his whole agenda by allowing neocons back into their former staffing and leadership role over Republican foreign policy.
The New York Times reported how many are now scrambling to get back into their old dominant positions. And now National Review, which supported all the disasters in Iraq, has come out to promote John Bolton for secretary of state.
Even before the Iraq War, John Bolton was a leading brain behind the neoconservatives’ war-and-conquest agenda.
Most famous Bolton quote: “It is a big mistake to for us to grant any validity to international law … because over the long term, the goal of those who think that it really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.”

Hezbollah: "The American mentality follows the law of the jungle"
Al-Manar (Lebanon), September 11, 2018

Commenting on US President National Security Advisor John Bolton’s threats to the International Criminal Court and statements which stressed that the US Constitution is superior to all the international organizations, Hezbollah issued a statement in which it maintained that Bolton’s remarks revealed the American arrogant attitude towards the world countries and organizations.
"Bolton confirmed that the United States of America is above all the considerations. This means that all the “international law and community” slogans are just used by the US to achieve colonial goals."
Hezbollah also pointed out that Bolton’s remarks stressed that the US policies are based on confiscating the world constitutions and rejection to abiding by the international laws, and that the American mentality follows the law of jungle which glorifies power and crushes the oppressed.
What Bolton has said and Trump has done shows openly that who rules the US is a gang which runs the entire world according to its interests, desires and whims, Hezbollah statement emphasized.

It's not easy to upstage President Donald Trump but a Montana high school student did. He has since been called “Resistance Jim Halpert,” a reference to John Krasinski’s character in NBC's TV serie “The Office”, because he was known for making similar expressions into the camera. (YouTube, 7-9-2018)

Jim Halpert Quote: Jim: See, you're always saying there's something wrong with society, maybe there's something wrong with you?
Michael: If it's me, then society made me that way.

US General Urges Gulf Arab Unity to Counter Iran
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 11-9-2018

US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel urged feuding Gulf Arab states on Wednesday to put aside their differences and unite against Iranian efforts to "destabilise" the region.
"Two of our enduring security threats are present in this region -- the destabilising actions of Iran and violent extremist organisations," said Votel, who heads US forces in the Middle East, ahead of a military conference in Kuwait on Wednesday which is to be attended by Saudi Arabia and its allies, and their bitter rival Qatar.
Votel said it was "imperative" to "enhance and integrate our capabilities for our mutual national security interests" and "rise above all the other aspects".
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies cut all ties with Qatar, demanding that their erstwhile ally cut longstanding ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and take a stronger line with Saudi arch-rival Iran.
The rift has proved a strategic headache for Washington as Qatar provides the main headquarters in the region for CENTCOM while rival Bahrain is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

Flashback: General calls Iran 'destabilizing' force,
suggests US 'disrupt' regime by military means
Jeff Daniels, CNBC, Wed, 29 March 2017

Commander of the U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel on Wednesday said Iran is one of the greatest threats to the U.S. today and has increased its "destabilizing role" in the region... He also believes Iran poses "the greatest long-term threat to stability" in the entire region.
"We need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt [Iran] through military means or other means their activities," he said. "We need to look at opportunities where we can expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing."
That said, the general conceded, "Iran has a role in the region. I want to be clear that we think differently about the people of Iran than we think about the leadership of Iran — the Revolutionary Council that runs Iran.
Our concern is not with the people of Iran, it is with their revolutionary government."

U.S. Central Command is responsible for U.S. security interests in an area stretching from the Persian Gulf region into Central Asia. It includes more than 80,000 soldiers on land, sea and air.

Israeli minister threatens Iran with attack
The Times of Israe | AFP, 12-9-2018

If Iran chooses to continue pursuing a nuclear program it will face a “military” response, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz warned Wednesday.
Katz was responding to the Iranian nuclear chief’s statement that the Islamic Republic’s program stands ready to build advanced centrifuges and further enrich uranium.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian nuclear chief’s, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Iran wouldn’t be deterred by US President Donald Trump’s sanctions and withdrawal from the global nuclear deal.
But Katz said that if Iran presses forward it will face a “direct threat from the United States and its allies.”
The US withdrawal from the deal in May has already badly shaken Iran’s economy, crashing its currency, the rial. Katz said Iran could either cave to Trump’s demands or watch its economy collapse.

Salehi spoke about Iran’s efforts to build a new facility at Natanz’s uranium enrichment center that will produce more advanced centrifuges. [..] While building the facility doesn’t violate the nuclear deal, mass production of advanced centrifuges would. Salehi, however, said that wasn’t immediately a plan.
"This is just a preparation,” he said. “In case Iran decides to start producing in mass production such centrifuges, (we) would be ready for that.”
Asked what he personally would tell Trump if he had the chance, Salehi chuckled and said: “I certainly would tell him he has made the wrong move on Iran.”

Trump is on the loser’s side because
he is pursuing the logic of power
Mehr News, 11-9-2018

Ali Akbar Salehi said that President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw America from the 2015 accord “puts him on the loser’s side” of history. He added, “the deal could have paved the way for building the trust and the confidence that we had lost.”
“I think (Trump) is on the loser’s side because he is pursuing the logic of power,” Salehi said. “He thinks that he can, you know, continue for some time but certainly I do not think he will benefit from this withdrawal, certainly not.”

Syrian Army has no offensive planned for Idlib city
By Leith Aboufadel, AL-Masdar News, 14-9-2018

The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) upcoming offensive in the Idlib Governorate will be limited to only certain parts of the province, a military source in Damascus told Al-Masdar News this weekend.
According to the source, the Syrian Army has offensives planned in northern Latakia, northern Hama, southeast Idlib, and southwest Idlib.
The source said that the offensives in Idlib will be limited to the Al-Ghaab Plain (SW Idlib), Jisr Al-Shughour (SW Idlib), and Abu Dhuhour area (SE Idlib).
He would add that the Syrian Army may push towards the outskirts of Saraqib and Ma’arat Nu’man, but this is still being discussed among the commanders of the Syrian Army and Russian military.
There has been much speculation recently that the Syrian Army would attempt to capture the entire Idlib Governorate; however, the military source said the army has not made these plans.
It appears that the main objective of these offensives is to seal the entire Idlib Governorare border with the Hama and Latakia governorates.
For Russia, retaking Jisr Al-Shughour is their primary objective, as it is the main launching point for the jihadist missiles and drones on the Hmeymim Airbase in southwest Latakia.

Russia says ‘no reconciliation’ with terrorists in Idlib
By Leith Aboufadel, AL-Masdar news, 15-9-2018

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, there will be no reconciliation offered to the terrorist forces in the Idlib province; this includes groups like Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the Turkestan Islamic Party.
“We along with our Turkish partners are vigorously working on solving the situation in Idlib in a full accordance with the arrangements which were made during the process of creating the de-escalation zone over there. The arrangements entail the announcement of the ceasefire with one crucial exception – terrorists are not included. No reconciliation, no ceasefire regime includes terrorists.”
Lavrov said that Russia will continue to abide by international humanitarian law when conducting military operations in Syria.
“We always stick to International humanitarian law when we conduct operations involving military action...
The Russian Federation has a military presence in Syria at the request of its official government, the government which sovereignty as well as the Syrian territorial integrity were confirmed by the UN SC resolutions for many times.”
The Russian Foreign Minister said that Russia is still working with Turkey to find a possible settlement in the Idlib Governorate:
“Together with our Turkish partners, who cooperate in a very constructive manner on this issue, we facilitate local arrangements between the units of the moderate opposition and the government forces, the same way as we did in the other de-escalation zones when they existed. We also encourage the creation of humanitarian corridors, safe zones for the civilians.”

Iraqi planes land in Damascus following 7-year hiatus
Adnan Abu Zeed, Al-Monitor, September 13, 2018

Following a seven-year hiatus caused by the economic embargo imposed on Syria and the unstable security situation, an Iraqi civilian airplane landed Aug. 20 for the first time at Damascus International Airport
Syria used this step politically and deemed it a victory for the Syrian army's fight against terrorism, as was announced by the Syrian Minister of Transport Aug. 20.
In conjunction with growing air traffic, the director of Damascus International Airport, Nidhal Mohammed, revealed Sept. 12 that the number of arrivals to the airport increased by 20% over the same period last year, and the proportion of air freight also increased 15% from last year.

Laith Abdel Karim al-Rabii, director of media relations for Iraqi Airways, told Al-Monitor, “With the first Iraqi flight to Damascus after years of suspension, the Iraqi Airways office in Syria is getting ready to expand its operations and receive passengers wishing to visit Iraq.”
Rabii added, "Iraqi Airways, which made more than $1 million in profit from air cargo in June and July, will have its revenues increase with the resumption of flights to Syria — a country that has extensive commercial and economic relations with Iraq.
He stated, "Enhancing air transport between the two countries coincides with the security stability that is rolling out between the two countries. This step will have a positive economic impact on both countries, especially since many Iraqi markets still need Syrian goods. Moreover, religious tourism in Syria mainly depends on Iraqi visitors. Should Iraqi flights resume to Syria, then this will spare Iraqis a lot of time and money.”

While this development is of interest to Iraqis and provides them with a quick and safe means of transport to Syria, Syrian officials consider this a political victory...
Syrian Transportation Minister Ali Hammoud told Al-Monitor, “Syria [is fully ready] to receive Iraqi planes on its territory. This will definitely boost economic and tourism relations."
He added, “Syrian airlines schedule three flights a week to the airports of Baghdad, Basra and Najaf [to fly] a large number of Iraqis who like to visit religious shrines and tourism attraction centers [back to] Syria.”
The Iraqi Ministry of Transport is seemingly pressing ahead with its plans announced in 2015 to increase flights between the two countries to 40 flights per week.
This is in addition to the ministry’s plan to establish a railway linking the Syrian territory to Iran through Iraq.
Such a railway would be of great importance to the two countries, which are seeking to overcome war and the security chaos while compensating for their deteriorating economic and trade relations.

Syria: Russia, Turkey agree on buffer zone
Al-Jazeera News, 17-9-2018

The leaders of Russia and Turkey have agreed to establish a de-militarised zone in Syria's Idlib province, in a move that ostensibly puts on hold a threatened all-out assault by government forces on Syria's last rebel bastion.
The announcement was made on Monday during a press conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking alongside Erdogan, Putin said the 15-20km-wide zone would be established by October 15.
This would entail a "withdrawal of all radical fighters" from Idlib, including the al-Nusra Front, Putin said, referring to Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is dominated by a rebel faction previously known as al-Nusra Front before renouncing its ties to al-Qaeda.
Putin added that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from all opposition forces by October 10 - an approach supported by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
By the end of 2018, transportation routes linking Syria's key port of Latakia with major cities Aleppo and Hama must also be restored, added the Russian president, a major Assad ally.
Describing the agreement as a "serious result", Putin said that "Russia and Turkey have confirmed their determination to counter terrorism in Syria in all its forms".
For his part, Erdogan said both his country and Russia would carry out coordinated patrols in the de-militarised zone..."
"We decided on the establishment of a region that is cleaned of weapons between the areas which are under the control of the opposition and the regime," said Erdogan, whose administration backs certain rebel groups in Idlib. "In return, we will ensure that radical groups, which we will designate together with Russia, won't be active in the relevant area," he added.
"We will prevent a humanitarian tragedy which could happen as a result of military action."

Israel is drifting away from enlightenment.
Gilad Atzmon, September 12, 2018

Before the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana, the Hebrews are commanded to make an audit – an overview of their standing in the world.
Haaretz, the paper of the so called ‘thinking Israelis,’ followed that Mitzvah, polling Israeli Jews on their attitudes toward Jewishness, Judaism, God and ‘the Jew.’
According to Haaretz’ poll, “54 percent of Jewish Israelis believe in God, and another 21 percent accept the existence of an undefined superior power other than God.”

Haaretz’ poll reveals the intimate relationship between right wing politics and Judaism.
78% of the Israeli right believe in God. Only 15% of the left are believers. This means that as Israel becomes more religious, the fate of the Israeli left is sealed.
This is hardly surprising. Left is a universal attitude. Judaism is a tribal precept. Left Judaism is a contradiction in terms, the tribal and the universal are like oil and water, they do not mix. The Israeli left is destined to die out (assuming that it isn’t dead already).
The poll reveals that “Slightly more than half of Jewish Israelis believe that their rights to the Land of Israel derive from God’s divine covenant in the Bible.” I guess this doesn’t leave much hope for peace.
56 percent believe that the Jewish people are chosen people.” This leaves even less hope for peace.
And to remove any possible doubt of a peaceful resolution anytime soon, Haaretz reveals that “Seventy-nine percent of right-wingers believe that God singled out the Jews… Seventy-four percent of right-wingers believe that Israel holds a divine deed for its land.”

The poll suggests that Israel is separating geographically and culturally: “eighty-five percent of Jerusalemites believe in God, compared with only 44 percent in Tel Aviv and the central region.
Only a quarter of Israeli Jews fully keep Shabbat, but 66 percent keep it in Jerusalem as compared with just 15 percent in Tel Aviv or Haifa.
Thirty-seven percent don’t believe that humans and apes share a common ancestor, but in Jerusalem the anti-Darwinians enjoy an absolute majority of 81 percent while in Tel Aviv they're in a distinct minority ‘of only’ 27 percent.”

Haaretz notes that “the most startling gaps are generational. In Israel in 2018, the younger the Jew, the more likely he or she is to be more religious, observant, conservative and willing to impose his or her beliefs on others.
Sixty-five percent of the population would let supermarkets and groceries operate on Shabbat, but that position is supported by only 51 percent of people between 18 and 24, compared with 84 percent of those 65 and older.”
These results indicate that Israel is drifting away from enlightenment. Zionism promised to modernise and civilise the Jews by means of ‘homecoming,’ but the Jewish state has achieved the opposite result.

Trump's Palestine: "A land without a people
for a people without a land"
By James J. Zogby, Global Research, September 17, 2018

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has taken a series of drastic punitive actions against the Palestinian people. Here’s what the administration has done:
It cut US assistance to UNWRA, congressionally authorized humanitarian, development projects and programs for the West Bank and Gaza, and ended the annual grant Congress has authorized for Palestinian hospitals operating in East Jerusalem.
In addition to these cruel cuts in much needed assistance, the administration closed the Palestinian Mission in Washington and announced plans to redefine who is, in their view, a Palestinian refugee.
At the same time, the White House acquiesced to the passage of Israel’s “Jewish Nation-State Bill” and said nothing in opposition to Israel’s recent announcement of thousands of new settlement units, some in highly sensitive areas—either in Arab East Jerusalem or deep in the heart of the West Bank.
They also let pass, without protest, Israel’s planned demolition of an entire Arab village and a number of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem.

In a recent interview with a Sheldon Adelson-owned Israeli newspaper, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, after gloating over his success in moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, made it clear that there is a “new day” in the US-Israel relationship.
He said, “We don’t tell Israel what to do,” signaling that Israel can operate with impunity toward the Palestinians and the occupied territories because in the new US view “It’s always Israel’s decision.”
In a separate and equally revealing interview, Jared Kushner termed the Trump administration’s moves as necessary to “strip away ‘false realities’”— meaning “taking Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees right of return off the table.”
All of these actions, taken together, tell me that the Trump administration has fully embraced the hardline world view of Israel’s Likud. They reject not only the Palestinian right to self-determination, they also do not accept the very idea of Palestinian “peoplehood.”
The plans they have announced would sever the West Bank from Gaza and leave East Jerusalem and the 28 Palestinian villages trapped within the Israeli-annexed “Greater Jerusalem.”
Meanwhile, as a result of the Trump administration’s declared intention to economically strangle UNWRA and end this program, the Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan would not only be forced to give up their property rights and their “right of return,” they would be turned over the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to be resettled in other countries.
If this Trumpian approach were to succeed, the Palestinian nation would be dismembered and dispersed. In their mind, it would cease to exist.

The Israelis, for their part, have been given carte blanche. They get: Jerusalem; an end to the “refugee problem;” the right to declare that only they are entitled to self-determination; freedom to demolish and build, as they wish, in the occupied lands; and an increasingly economically deprived Palestinian population that they hope will either submit to Israel’s will or be forced to leave.
All of this calls to mind an earlier era, when Zionists referred to Palestine as “a land without a people for a people without a land;” or Golda Meir’s “It was not as if there was a Palestinian people in Palestine… They did not exist;” or the religious Zionist claim that God gave this land to them and they should deal harshly with the “strangers” whom they find there.
This hardline Israeli rejection of Palestinians as a nation and a people with rights was to have ended with the Oslo Accords, signed 25 years ago.
In the introduction to that Accords, Israel and the Palestinians recognized each other’s right to self-determination. What was left, was to find the way to implement that mutual recognition. Succeeding US administrations failed miserably in pressing the parties to implement the Accords...

Now, with the Trump administration, the mask is off and the fiction has ended. As it takes shape, as revealed through this administration’s recent actions, Trump’s “ultimate deal” appears to be not a formula for a just peace, but a forced Palestinian acquiescence to the Zionist vision for Palestine.

James J. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute.

PLO envoy's family leaves Washington
after losing diplomatic status
Middle East Eye, Monday 17 September 2018

The Palestine Liberation Organisation's ambassador in Washington said on Sunday that his family had left the US after being informed that their diplomatic visas would expire next month when the PLO's office in the country is shut down.
Ambassador Husam Zomlot said US State Department officials had told PLO office staff that his wife and children, aged five and seven, should leave immediately despite holding visas that are valid until 2020.
Office staff had also been told to close down their bank accounts and vacate the office's premises by 13 October, Zomlot said in a statement.
Zomlot left the US in May after being recalled to the West Bank by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in protest at US President Donald Trump's recognition of the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
“The State Department informed our colleagues, as part of the discussion on the closure, that the visas of my wife and children are dependent on the PLO delegation and as such will not be valid after the closure of the office and that if they wanted to stay they would have to change their immigration status,” Zomlot said.
He added: “This goes against diplomatic norms. Children, spouses and family have nothing to do with political rows.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO's executive committee, accused the Trump administration of being "vindictive."
"As if the announcement that the US would close our office in Washington, DC was not enough, this vindictive action by the Trump administration is spiteful," Ashrawi said in a statement. "The US has taken its attempts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians to a new level."
The US last week announced the closure of the PLO's office in Washington in a move which John Bolton, the US national security adviser, described as “punishment” for the organisation's call for Israel to be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
The State Department said the move was taken because the PLO had “not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel".

Syria: Israeli F-16s used Russia's plane as cover
TASS Russian News Agency, September 18, 2018

A Russian military aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over Syria at the same time that Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks on targets in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry has stated.

Russia’s military plane Ilyushin-20 was shot down by the Syrian air defense over the Mediterranean Sea because Israel’s F-16 fighters used it as a cover, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media on Tuesday.
"By using the Russian plane as a cover the Israeli air pilots made it vulnerable to Syrian air defense fire. As a result, the Ilyushin-20, its reflective surface being far greater than that of F-16, was downed by a missile launched with the S-200 system," Konashenkov said.
Konashenkov said four F-16s of the Israeli Air Force carried out a strike with guided air bombs against Syrian facilities in the area of Latakia at about 22:00 on September 17. The fighters approached the target from the Mediterranean at a low altitude.
The Israeli planes deliberately created a dangerous situation for surface ships and aircraft in that area, he stated.
"The bombing raid was near the French frigate The Auvergne and in close proximity to the Ilyushin-20 plane of Russia’s Aerospace Force that was about to land," Konashenkov said.
He pointed out that Israeli command centers and F-16s’ pilots "could not but see the Russian plane, which was approaching the runway from an altitude of five kilometers." "Nevertheless they deliberately staged this provocation," he said.
According to Konashenkov, Israel had issued no warning to the command of the Russian military group in Syria of the forthcoming operation.
"A hot-line warning was received less than one minute before the strike, which left no chance for taking the Russian plane to safety," he added.

Putin: Israeli aerial operations in violation of Syria’s sovereignty
Press TV, Tue Sep 18, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Israeli military’s aerial operations in the Syrian airspace are in flagrant violation of the incumbent Damascus government’s sovereignty as tensions are simmering between Moscow and Tel Aviv over the downing of the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft in the western Syrian province of Latakia.
Putin pointed to the fact that the Israeli air force has been conducting operations in breach of Syria’s sovereignty. In this case, Russian-Israeli agreements on the prevention of dangerous incidents were not observed. As a result, a Russian airplane came under fire from Syria’s anti-aircraft systems.
The President of Russia called for the Israeli side to avoid such situations from now on,” the Kremlin press service quoted Putin as telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Tuesday.
The Israeli prime minister, in return, offered his condolences over the death of 15 Russian servicemen, who were onboard the downed military plane.
“Netanyahu promised to provide detailed information on the activities of the Israeli air force over the Syrian territory on that day for the purpose of a meticulous investigation of the tragedy. The Israeli Air Force Commander (Aluf Amikam Norkin) will bring it to Moscow shortly,” the Kremlin statement noted.

Norway helped bomb Libya into chaos, state report finds
RT Russia, 8 Sep, 2018

Norway rushed to help its NATO allies to pound Libya with airstrikes in 2011, without understanding what was actually happening on the ground or the dire consequences the intervention might lead to, a new state report has concluded.
The commission, chaired by former Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, found that politicians in Oslo “had very limited knowledge of Libya” when they dragged the nation into the US-led bombing campaign against the Libyan government. “In such situations, decision-makers often rely on information from media and other countries,” the report says.

The attack, dubbed ‘Operation Odyssey Dawn,’ was aimed at aiding the armed anti-government rebels in ousting longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi and eventually led to his brutal murder.
After Gaddafi’s assassination, Libya quickly descended into civil war and became a hotbed for terrorism. The country is still divided between warring factions.
Norway had provided six F-16 fighter jets during the air campaign. According to the report, these jets flew 596 strike missions between March and July 2011, dropping 588 bombs on Libyan targets. This amounts to about 10 percent of all coalition strikes against Libya that year.

The new information “is quite painful” for the political class, Morten Boas, researcher at the Norwegian Foreign Policy Institute, told RT. “The authors of the report are expressing regret. They say that they didn’t really understand the [possible] outcome.”
In 2011, many in Norway thought that the country was getting into the fight against Gaddafi “mainly for humanitarian reasons,” Boas said.
The other key players saw beyond the humanitarian reasoning and were basically interested in regime change, getting rid of Gaddafi. I don’t think that necessarily all Norwegian politicians really understood this.”

Explaining America’s economic might
America’s government can run up a gigantic debt
and foreign countries still want to hold our debt and dollars
By Willis Krumholz, The American Conservative, 19-9-2018

There is a growing rift between America and Europe over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement, while Europe—due to business and security interests—wants to keep the deal in place.
But European efforts to save the deal are growing more difficult as America imposes heavy sanctions on the Islamic Republic—and even on its own allies if they continue to do business with Iran.
In early August, America’s first round of sanctions on Iran kicked in, targeting its auto industry, its trade in gold, and its access to dollars, among other things. High inflation and unemployment mean that the Iranian economy is already in shambles. And that’s before the most hard-hitting sanctions—on Iran’s energy exports—go into effect later this year...
Now, some hawkish senators are urging the Trump administration to cut off Iranian banks from the rest of the world by barring Iran from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) payments system.
The SWIFT network, based in Belgium and co-owned by the world’s largest banks, facilitates cross-border payments between financial institutions. While transactions don’t get transferred through SWIFT, the network keeps track of accounts and acts as a secure and standardized form of communication between banks. This makes SWIFT all-important to the global financial system.

Explaining America’s economic might

Many policymakers fail to understand the source of our economic power, and its limits. That failure risks squandering our preeminence.
America’s use of sanctions has grown substantially over the last two decades. Already this year, a record number of foreign countries, entities, and officials have been sanctioned by the United States.
Surely one reason for America’s sanctions power is our status as the world’s largest economy. Although international trade makes up a relatively small portion of our gross domestic product compared to other developed countries, foreign companies depend heavily on the U.S. market. If they get cut off from America, they face almost certain death.
Other businesses are forced to comply with American sanctions and laws because they have a large number of U.S. shareholders, or because their suppliers or customers are tied to the American market.

But by far the biggest source of America’s economic power is the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. This allows U.S. sanctions to reach businesses and countries that don’t even buy or sell with Americans.
Foreign central banks must hold dollars to back up the value of their own currencies. In fact, about two thirds of foreign central bank reserves are in dollars, with the rest being mostly euros, Japanese yen, and British pound-sterling. The vast majority of global trade is conducted in dollars, too—half of all imports into Europe are invoiced in dollars. Meanwhile, the majority of cross-border debt—debt issued in a currency other than the home currency of the issuer—is denominated in dollars....
Because dollar settlement runs through banks that hold dollar deposits at the Federal Reserve, the dollar’s dominance means that most of the world’s international transactions flow through New York. This is true even for companies and countries that don’t do a lot of business in America.
That allows the U.S. to go after firms that aren’t even tied to its own market, and isolate whole economies from the global financial system.

Having the world’s reserve currency has been called an exorbitant privilege. Unlike most other countries, America can run budget and trade deficits as far as the eye can see and not have its currency drop, which would dent the purchasing power of ordinary Americans.
On the other hand, when the U.S. runs a huge trade deficit, foreigners receive dollars in return for the goods they sell to America. Rather than getting rid of these dollars, they happily sit on them or use them to buy American assets, like U.S. government debt.
In such a system, the dollar doesn’t drop, and the cost of debt in America can actually get cheaper, as foreigners use their dollars to buy more of it. That means America’s government can run up a gigantic debt and foreign countries still want to hold our debt and dollars.
Politicians don’t have to make hard choices about defense spending or entitlements: they can have it all.
That’s why debt doubled during the eight years of George W. Bush to about $10 trillion, and then doubled again under Barack Obama.

Lavrov: US sanctions undermine global trust
in the world’s most used currency
RT Russia, 21-9-2018

The hegemonic position of the US dollar structures the world economy in such a fashion that the United States determines the international transmission mechanism for global economic activity. (What is dollar-hegemony?)

The US dollar system has completely discredited itself and the confidence in the greenback is falling very sharply, according to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Sanctions by Washington are a sign of that.
Russia is working on ways to cut its dependence on the US and the dollar system, Lavrov said Friday during his visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We are already drawing conclusions, doing everything necessary not to depend on the countries that are acting that way with their international partners,” Lavrov said. According to the Russian foreign minister, US sanctions undermine global trust in the world’s most used currency.
Lavrov was reacting to the fresh US sanctions against Russia introduced Thursday. 33 people and entities were added to the US Treasury blacklist of Russian defense and intelligence sector.

“More and more of our partners in Asia, in Latin America, start to draw the same conclusions [about the US dollar]. I think that this trend will only continue," Lavrov said.
In August, speaking on the same issue, Lavrov said that US sanctions are “illegal, they undermine all principles of global trade and principles approved by UN decisions.”
Russia’s leading banks have said that slashing the dependence from the US dollar is inevitable, but would be a tough challenge.
“You cannot immediately abandon the dollar. But if we do not start, we will never come to this, so we need to start now and we are already doing such work,” said Russia’s second largest bank CEO Andrey Kostin last week.

Idlib: the great eradication of political Islam
Cengiz Aktar, Ahval News (Turkey), Sep 19, 2018

The political Islam of Iran and Saudi Arabia could never move beyond sectarianism. When those countries were trying to advocate their ideologies abroad they acted within their religious sects.
Probably the only exception to the rule was Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in its early years after coming to power in 2002.
Its administrations aspired to combine democratic traditions and institutions with its version of political Islam.
The early AKP approach to other Abrahamic religions and Islamic sects both domestically and externally contrasted the other two influential countries of the region, Iran and Saudi Arabia...
Internationally, following the launch of Turkey’s official EU accession negotiations in October 2005, the AKP took centre stage claiming to be democratic reformers rather than Islamic zealots.
A new Muslim country model that combined Islam and democracy was emerging, and it was very different to the previous Iranian or the Saudi Arabian models.

flashback 2012

Unfortunately, the endeavour didn't last very long.
The AKP was unable to embrace any religious groups other than Sunni Muslims and its attempt to tame and legitimise the transnational Sunni Islamist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, ended up with the radicalisation of the AKP itself.
The Muslim Brotherhood failed to deliver any political change in the Middle East, perhaps with the exception of the affiliated Ennahdha Party’s success in Tunisian elections.
But the Muslim Brotherhood construct that Turkey's AKP agreed to re-engineer has wholly collapsed today. Not only has it collapsed, but it has been crushed in most of the Middle East and Turkey that was caught up in its vortex as well.

The total failure of the AKP's Syria and Iraq policies is exemplified in the imminent attack on Idlib, the last major rebel holdout in Syria. It signals not only the collapse of the AKP’s political Islam hypothesis, but also the downfall of Sunni political Islam in the Middle East.
Just as Russia, Iran and their veiled coalition partner China, have planned for months, the jihadist extremist groups, except for those under Ankara's control in northern Syria, are concentrated in Idlib.
The jihadist extremists who flourished under the shield of Ankara and the West’s anti-Assad rhetoric have no one to protect them anymore. Only those who stand to profit are backing them, like the Turkish government. The AKP’s only goal in playing the jihadist and refugee card, or voicing its worries about the possibility of a humanitarian disaster in Idlib is to grab a seat at future Syrian peace talks so it can be a part of re-building Syria.

The West, as it publicly sheds crocodile tears, is cheering the demise of the jihadists in Idlib. The countries these jihadists come from, including Turkey, are just as pleased with this ending as China and Russia.
According to experts, 5,000 Uighurs from China, 3,000 Muslim Russians and quite a few Western Europeans are in Idlib. None of these countries is looking forward to these extremists returning.
But the fact on the ground is that these groups’ days in Syria are numbered. Their only way out is to move towards Afrin and other Turkish controlled areas and eventually to Turkey.

It was not difficult to predict this end in Idlib. The Turkish government, blinded by its arrogance, could not foresee the significance and gravity of the situation in Syria. Now the president of Turkey is complaining about his 'friend' Putin to his 'enemy' Trump in a Wall Street Journal article...
He does not realise the battle in Idlib is not just the end of the Syrian civil war; it is the annihilation of the jihadists. It is the eradication of the latest version of political Islam in the Middle East.

flashback 2012

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote for
U.S. daily The Wall Street Journal.
AK Parti Website, September 11, 2018

Stating that the Syrian regime was trying to legitimize its possible attack on the pretext of counterterrorism, Erdoğan said no country would appreciate the need to combat terrorism better than Turkey, as it has been the target of terrorist attacks since the beginning of the Syrian conflict
Erdoğan said the U.S., which is focused on chemical attacks by the Assad regime, needed to “reject its arbitrary hierarchy of death”. “Conventional weapons are responsible for far more deaths,” he said.
He also said that stopping the “next bloodshed” in Syria was not only the West’s obligation, but Turkey’s partners in the Astana peace process -- Russia and Iran -- were also responsible for preventing a “humanitarian disaster”.
Erdoğan called for “a more comprehensive international counterterrorism operation” to eradicate terrorists and extremists in Idlib, stating that certain designated terrorist groups were active in the area.
"Idlib is the last exit before the toll. If the international community, including Europe and the U.S., fail to take action now, not only innocent Syrians but the entire world stands to pay the price.
"Turkey has done everything in its power to stop the bloodshed next door. To ensure that we succeed, the rest of the world must set aside narrow self-interest and throw its weight behind a political solution," he said.

flashback 2012

Erdogan: "Turkey has been continuously fighting terror
for the last 34 years" - AK Parti Website, 19-9-2018

Underlining that Turkey has been continuously fighting terror for the last 34 years, President Erdoğan said: “There is not a single city or district in our country which has not lost a son or a daughter to terror.”
Pointing out that the incidents that took place over the last few years are a milestone for our country, President Erdoğan said:
“They tried to surround Turkey first from inside, and then outside, seeking to push our country into a dark unknown. Our nation saw the plot, defended their future and independence, and set themselves a new route.
Every step, plot and scheme, aimed at cornering our country, resulted in new and bigger opportunities for our country.”
As we endured, persevered in our struggle, determinedly advanced on our righteous path, we saw that not only our nation but also our hundreds of millions of brothers and sisters supported us and joined us in their prayers,” President Erdoğan said.
“Thanks to this stance, Turkey, today, hosts 3.5 million Syrians in its lands while also ensuring that millions of people live safely and peacefully within its borders...

Saudi Arabia, UAE ‘lead way in fighting terror ideology’
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 19-9-2018

Governments around the world need a coherent, global strategy to uproot the ideology of violent extremism, former British prime minister Tony Blair says.

flashback: wahhabism in idlib, syria

In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, they already knew that — and have been acting on it for years.
The Ideological Warfare Center, founded by the Saudi Ministry of Defense, “has been concentrating on educating people and raising awareness about extremism and fundamentalism through cutting-edge visual tools,” said Dr Majid Rafizadeh, Iranian-American political scientist.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been leading states in using soft power, security, setting up public and private institutions that raise awareness about extremist ideologies, initiating dialogues between different societies, as well as taking regional and global initiatives to uproot terrorism and extremist ideologies.”
Such a complex approach is challenging because of the difficulty of coordination between various inter-governmental and intra-governmental organizations, he said. “Nevertheless, in the long term, this is the most effective strategy to uproot extremist ideology and terrorism.”
Dr. Anne Speckhard, director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, said such efforts are crucial to prevent violent extremism. “When countries work together on these points, we can all win. If governments fail, terrorists win.”

Gaddafi's message to Tony Blair

Criticism of the Blair approach came from Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, chairman of the Arab Council for Social Sciences. “It puts the blame on Arab Muslim countries for extremist ideologies in our region,” he said.
What it neglects is the important historical facts that Al-Qaeda was born from the reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Daesh is a result of a US invasion of Iraq.”
Terrorism was rooted in foreign invasions of Muslim countries, he said. “The reasons are political, not ideological or religious. The argument from the West is apologetic on one hand, but also shifting the blame where it shouldn’t be.”

“Since 9/11, scholars and policy wonks have been thinking along the lines of prevention before cure,” said Dr Albadr Al-Shateri, politics professor at the National Defence College in Abu Dhabi.
Encouraging civic society movements that are intent on promoting co-existence would be key, and a new strategy could lend support to such organizations and reinvigorate them to prevent counter-extremism fatigue, he said.
“How to generate financial and political resources in hard economic times will remain a challenge.
The lack of political progress on the Palestinian problem will be another challenge, especially since Western powers are inept at restraining Israeli excesses.”

Annual State Department report forgets to thank Iran and Hizbullah
Juan Cole, 20 september 2018

The annual State Department report on terrorism says that terrorist attacks were down by 23% world wide in 2017. The report attributed this decline in some large part to the defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
The problem with the State Department report is that it is highly partisan and ideological, which somewhat undermines its credibility.
One of the biggest flaws is unwillingness to give Iran and Lebanon’s Hizbullah any credit at all for their role in defeating Salafi extremists.
Iran and Shiite militias it backed were crucial to the defeat of ISIL in Iraq, and it seems clear that despite denials, the US military de facto cooperated with them on occasion.
Let us just consider the muddle that is this paragraph: “In the Levant [..] Jordanian security forces thwarted several plots and apprehended numerous terrorists in 2017; the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) expelled ISIS militants along the Lebanese-Syrian border near Aarsal.
Still, several terrorist groups continued to operate in Lebanon throughout the year, most notably Hizballah. The terrorist group remained the most capable terrorist organization in Lebanon, controlling areas across the country.”

For anyone who knows anything about Lebanon, this passage reads as Orwellian. The Lebanese Armed Forces are good guys who expelled ISIl from the Lebanese-Syrian border near Arsal. But Hizbullah is a terrorist group spread all around Lebanon.
Let’s back up a little. First of all, it is true that the Lebanese Army played a role in defeating ISIL in eastern Lebanon. But, despite official denials, it is absolutely certain that they had help in this campaign.
So how come the defeat of ISIL around Arsal is credited wholly to the Lebanese army, and Hizbullah’s significant role is written out of history? This is a US government document, but it ought to be reporting the facts, not Mike Pompeo’s flights of fancy.
There is a further problem. Hizbullah is a party with a paramilitary. That party and its allies made major gains in last May’s parliamentary elections, winning 68 seats in the 120-member national legislature.
That is, you can’t praise the Lebanese Army as an anti-terrorist force and accuse Hizbullah of being nothing but terrorists if Hizbullah is a dominant force in the civilian government that gives orders to the Lebanese Army.

Both Hizbullah as a party and Hizbullah’s small paramilitary of some 25,000 are considered “terrorists” in Washington, D.C., though the designation is purely political, pushed by the Israel lobbies.
Hizbullah doesn’t routinely kill civilian non-combatants to shape civilian politics, which is the definition of terrorism. Almost all its kinetic action since 2013 has been dedicated to fighting Sunni and Salafi rebels in Syria. This endeavor included battling ISIL and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate.
The report blames Iran for backing Hizbullah (which is apparently what it means by lambasting Iran as the biggest supporter of terrorism, a silly piece of propaganda).
But it does not blame Saudi Arabia for having backed the Army of Islam (Jaysh al-Islam) militants in Syria, who were never designated terrorists for political reasons, since they were fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad, whom the US wanted to overthrow.
Jaysh al-Islam certainly fit the profile of an extremist terrorist group. Saudi Arabia appears to have directed its attacks on Syrian government buildings, e.g. At one point John Kerry let the cat out of the bag and admitted that the Army of Islam is a terrorist organization supported by the Saudis.
Nor is Israel criticized for giving aid to and supporting Syrian rebels, some of whom appear to have included the Nusra Front, a designated terrorist group and al-Qaeda affiliate.

Flashback 2015 - Hassan Firouzabadi: US Republicans
Seeking to Return to Crazy Bush-Era
FARS News, 22-9-2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi blasted the US Republicans for their opposition to the recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers and threatening Iran with military option, and said they want to revive the era of "crazy Bush".
"They are reactionary people and want to return to the era of the presidency of crazy Bush..." Firouzabadi told reporters on the sidelines of the annual nationwide parades on Tuesday morning.
Firouzabadi underlined Iran's determination to fight against the arrogant powers, and said the terrorist groups in the region are the fingertips of the world powers and Iran will stand against them too.
"All the regional countries should know that the US, Israel and Britain are supporting the terrorists," he added.

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

TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons.
Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined. (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)

Nasrallah: "the axis of resistance
has returned stronger than ever"
Press TV, Thu Sep 20, 2018

Hezbollah’s leader has warned Israel of a fate it “has never expected” if it chooses to wage a new war, reminding the regime that the Lebanese resistance movement is now in possession of precision rockets to Tel Aviv’s dismay.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the comments during a Thursday speech in Beirut to a large crowd of mourners marking Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam.

He further said the balance of power in the region has changed in favor of the anti-Israel axis of resistance, and that the Tel Aviv regime has failed in all its attempts to prevent Lebanon’s Hezbollah from achieving precision rockets.
No matter what you do to cut the route, the matter is over and the resistance possesses precision and non-precision rockets and weapons capabilities,” Nasrallah said. “All your attempts to prevent Hezbollah from possessing accurate missiles are foiled,” he added.
The Hezbollah chief pointed to the growing power of the resistance front, stressing that the Israelis “had pinned their hopes on the course of developments in Syria and Iraq, but they know that the axis of resistance has returned stronger than ever, and new countries have now joined it.”
The Hezbollah chief further expressed the movement's support for the Islamic Republic of Iran in the face of “all kinds of economic and political pressure,” saying that “it is our duty to stand by Iran” as a new wave of anti-Iran American sanctions is returning.
Iran is being punished by the US only because it refused to give into Washington's demands, and because it is keeping up its support for the oppressed nations in the region, including Palestine and Syria.
He further reiterated the movement's support for the Palestinian cause, reiterating Hezbollah’s objection to the so-called “deal of the century” which the US administration is drawing up on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Nasrallah also noted that Hezbollah firmly stands by the Yemeni nation, which has been under attack by the Saudi regime and a coalition of its allies.

‘Do not take civilians with you into this violence’
Egeland warns Idlib militants
By Leith Aboufadel, Al-Masdar News, 21-9-2018

Special Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Jan Egeland spoke with the press in Geneva, Thursday, regarding the agreement between Russia and Turkey, of a new demilitarsed zone in Idlib.
The first meeting was hailed on 11 September, with Russian, Iranian and Turkish delegations and UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, at the Palace of Nations in Geneva.
“So, our message is really: to those planning air raids and those planning offensives on the ground, maximum precautious must be taken so that civilians are spared", Egeland stated.
“The message to those who have influence in these groups on the ground, do not take civilians with you into this violence,” Egeland continued, adding...

"It is a war crime to blend into civilian population, to locate next to civilians, whether schools or hospitals, or any other places..."

Flashback: France Urges Anti-IS Coalition to Help Aleppo Rebels
Naharnet Newsdesk, 4-11-2014

tawhid rebel-bases in aleppo

The Muslim Brotherhood has fully supported Tawhid since its inception. Opposition sources confirm that there is full coordination between Tawhid and the Brotherhood. These sources considered Tawhid a key factor in the convergence between political Islam represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is backed by Turkey and Qatar, and Salafist Islam, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. (Independent - Rebel info)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Tuesday for the U.S.-led coalition to help rebels in Syria's second city Aleppo hold out against the Damascus regime... "We must save Aleppo," Fabius said...
"Assad and Daesh are two sides of the same barbaric coin," Fabius said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
Fabius said France would not resign itself to the breakup of Syria and would work towards supporting 'moderate rebels' in Aleppo and protecting its civilian population, without detailing how.

Libya: ICRC warns of 'desperate' situation as fighting continues
Al-Jazeera, 21-9-2018

The International Committee of the Red Cross has called the deteriorating situation in Libya as desperate, citing constant fighting, the collapse of the economy, and the destruction of basic infrastructure.
In a series of tweets, the ICRC said these factors have caused a "severe protracted crisis" that has led to the increased vulnerability of hundreds of thousands of Libyans.
"Collapsed economy and infrastructure has made life impossible in Libya," the ICRC tweeted. "Seven years of war in Libya has driven over 500,000 people to flee their homes," the organisation continued.

Constant fighting across the country. Half a million people forced from their homes. Destruction of basic infrastructure. All these have created a severe protracted crisis in Libya. The result? Hundreds of thousands of Libyans are increasingly vulnerable. ICRC (@ICRC) September 20, 2018

"For Libyans trying to return home, there's not always much to return to. Houses, schools are often destroyed completely."
The group also cited the sabotaging of health facilities, water and electricity supplies, as well as the dangers of unexploded remnants.

As one of the few humanitarian organisations active in Libya, the ICRC has worked on distributing food and aid to internally displaced people across the country, which has been gripped by tribal and factional fighting nearly seven years after the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Thursday issued an appeal on Twitter urging the armed groups to abide by the ceasefire.

Tulsi Gabbard on the US-Administration’s Push for War in Syria
By James Carden, The Nation, 20-9-2018

On September 13, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took to the floor of the House to rebuke the administration, accusing President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of protecting “al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria,” all the while “threatening Russia, Syria, and Iran, with military force if they dare attack these terrorists.”
“This,” continued Gabbard, “is a betrayal of the American people, especially the victims of Al Qaeda’s attack on 9/11 and their families, first responders, and my brothers and sisters in uniform who have been killed or wounded in action and their families.
For the President, who is Commander in Chief, to act as the protective big brother of al-Qaeda and other jihadists must be condemned by every Member of Congress.”

James Carden: While the policy of attacking Syria clearly fails on a moral, legal, and consequentialist grounds, it also will likely backfire on realist grounds. What is your view in terms of who would benefit and who would suffer from a US-led attack on Syria?
Tulsi Gabbard: In the short term, President Trump would benefit the most. The president loves being adored and praised, and despite his rants against them, he especially craves the favor of the media.
Trump remembers very well that the only times he has been praised almost universally by the mainstream media, Republicans, and Democrats, was when he has engaged in aggressive military actions.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said, “Donald Trump became president of the United States” the moment the bombs started dropping. The Washington Post’s David Ignatius said that he thought that by taking this action, Trump “restored the credibility of American power.”

JC: One of the problems with the conflict in Syria is in the language that is used to describe it. . So today we hear that Idlib province is “rebel held” that is “holding out” against an imminent attack (possibly with the use of chemical weapons) by Assad..

TG: I believe it would strike most Americans as absolutely insane that the president of the United States, his vice president, UN ambassador, secretary of state, and the mainstream media describe the very terrorist entities that were responsible for the attack on 9/11 as “rebels.”
Just last week, President Trump and Vice President Pence delivered solemn speeches about the attacks on 9/11, honoring the victims of Al Qaeda’s attack on our country. Yet they continue to protect Al Qaeda and other terrorist forces in Syria, and have threatened “dire consequences” and an illegal war against Russia, Syria, and Iran if they dare attack these terrorists...
... They do so without thinking through the consequences of their actions and the likelihood that their decisions will end up causing infinitely greater human suffering.
Just look at the situation in Libya. In order to “save” the Libyan people, we completely destroyed their country.
It’s a failed state. They are under the domination of terrorists and slave merchants where women and children are publicly sold in marketplaces. It’s hell on earth.
Yet we have not heard a single apology to the Libyan people from any American or European leader who was responsible for this regime-change war. These leaders are not interested in the wasteland that they left behind—they’re too busy planning and promoting new regime-change wars.

The Trump administration’s proclamations of humanitarianism are just a pretext to protect Al Qaeda and other terrorist forces we have allied with in our quest to overthrow the Syrian government.
The bottom line is we don’t want them killed because they work for us. Their interests are our interests, and vice versa...
If they were truly concerned about the suffering of the Syrian people, then they would recognize that intervening to protect the terrorists who are trying to overthrow the Syrian government will simply prolong the war and lead to more suffering for the Syrian people.

Israel says it is ‘allowed to ignore international law’ anywhere it wants
Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss, September 18, 2018

The Israeli government has recently claimed that it can “legislate anywhere in the world”, that it is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries”, and that “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires”.
This was written in an official response letter to the Supreme Court last month. The background to these statements is a new law from last year, which legalizes outright theft of Palestinian land.
Several Palestinian human rights organizations have challenged the law in court. [..] The Israeli government was represented by a private lawyer, Harel Arnon, because Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit refused to defend the law in court, since he deemed it illegal by international law already when it was first passed.

The Settlement Regularization Law was passed in February last year, in order to retroactively legalize thousands of settler homes and structures built on Palestinian private land, to avert the possibility that the Supreme Court might one day sanction their removal.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s stated refusal to defend the law in court was met with reassurance by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that the state could simply get a private attorney (which it did).
The contentious matter was not only the theft itself – but the application of Israeli law enacted directly by the Knesset (rather than by the Military occupation authority), that was seen as a precedence leading to de-facto annexation.

In the recent court case, the plaintiffs challenging the law pointed to the obvious illegality: “Adalah and fellow petitioners argued that the Knesset is not permitted to enact and impose laws on territory occupied by the State of Israel. Thus, the Knesset cannot enact laws that annex the West Bank or that violate the rights of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.”
The State of Israel, in the recent response letter (Hebrew) to the court (filed August 7th), claimed in its defense that:
[1] ‘The Knesset has no limitation which prevents it from legislating extra-territorially anywhere in the world, including the area [‘Judea and Samaria’]’.
[4] ‘…Although the Knesset can legislate [concerning] any place in the world, although it is entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries through legislation that would be applied to events occurring in their territories […], although it is within the authority of the Government of Israel to annex any territory […], although the Knesset may ignore directives of international law in any area it pleases […] despite all these, the plaintiffs seek to define a “rule” by which precisely in Judea and Samaria the Knesset is prohibited from legislating anything, and that precisely there, and nowhere else in the world, it is subject to the directives of international law’.

Adalah Attorneys Suhad Bishara and Myssana Morany, were in disbelief: “The Israeli government’s extremist response has no parallel anywhere in the world.
It stands in gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter which obligates member states to refrain from threatening or using force against the territorial integrity of other states – including occupied territories. The Israeli government’s extremist position is, in fact, a declaration of its intention to proceed with its annexation of the West Bank.”

Danny Danon responded to the Security Council’s condemnation of Israel
and denial of Jewish sovereignty by raising up a Bible in his hand..

Several of my contacts have responded to this little-reported news with a certain disbelief – could it really be that Israel is openly stating that it is above international law?
Indeed, as I had mentioned above, it is not exactly a secret that Israel is now acting in brazen defiance of international law. Its own highest legal authorities are completely aware of it....
Attorney Arnon brought up the Adolf Eichmann case in the response letter: “The Court further implemented this doctrine in the famous Eichmann (1962) case, regarding ex post facto penal legislation: ‘[W]here [there is a conflict between the provisions of domestic law and a rule of international law], it is the duty of the court to give preference to and apply the laws of the local legislature”.
And so Israel’s private attorney Harel Arnon is essentially saying: if we could do it to Eichmann, why can’t we do it to the West Bank?

The brazen proclamations saying that international law does not apply to Israel should have been shocking – but sadly, they are not. Because we know it has been the policy for so long. And since the reaction has been weak, Israel, like a spoiled brat, has learned that it can get away with it, and that it can become ever more obnoxious without it suffering any cost.
Indeed, one is left to wonder, who will stop the Jewish State?
In a time when the American superpower stands firmly on Israel’s side in violation of international law, as with the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and the endorsement of Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, it is hard to see why Israel would or should believe that international law applies to it at all.

Flashback - "Defeating Hitler"
Reviewed by By Ina Friedman
The Jerusalem Report, 31 juli 2007

In a stinging indictment of its approach to the Holocaust, Avraham Burg, a former pillar of the Zionist and Israeli-political establishments assails his country's insecurities as self-induced, charges that the Jewish state is prone to a form of racism no less vicious than that of the Nazis, and urges his countrymen to shed their narrow Israeli ethos and transform themselves into universal Jews...

Burg begins by arguing that Israel's understanding and approach to the Shoah (the Holocaust) has warped its psyche and values almost to the point of mirroring those of Hitler and his cohorts.
He launches a frontal attack on what he regards as the Jewish racism (derived from the notion of being God's "Chosen People") that is fostered, he argues, by Israel's rigidly fundamentalist religious establishment and has been echoed from the podium of the Knesset (in calls for ethnic cleansing couched in the euphemism of "transferring" the Arabs out of the Jewish patrimony). ...
He advocates dismantling the classic constructs of the Jewish nation-state (such as the Law of Return), imploring his countrymen to embrace, and truly eternalize, the humanist values embedded in Judaism and thus join - and place their trust in the fidelity of - the family of enlightened nations.

The gist of Burg's opening argument is that, rather than view the Shoah as part of a broader campaign of genocide propelled by the Nazi doctrine of the master race [..] Israel has chosen to portray it as a unique and exclusively Jewish tragedy, the climax of a millennium of European anti-Semitism...
This insistence on the uniqueness of Jewish victimization, he charges, has led Israel down strange and unacceptable paths.
Worse yet, Burg charges, by portraying the Shoah as proof of abiding Jewish vulnerability, Israel has exploited it as an excuse to justify its own acts of brutality.
"The Shoah is our life," he writes. "We have removed it from its historical context and turned it into a claim and reason for every deed. Everything is compared to the Holocaust."

In nigh-apocalyptic language, he argues that the warped, fundamentalist reading of the liturgical verse, "You have chosen us from among all the nations" has given rise to a "Jewish racist doctrine" positing the innate superiority of the Jewish people...
He sees Israeli society as "somewhere quite close to the initial stages of the collapse of the humane and cultured Germany" when Hitler rose to power.
So alarmed is he by his assessments that he even predicts "the day is not far off when the Knesset may well enact the equivalent of the Nuremberg Laws..."
The Law of Return is an unfortunate echo of the Nazis' Nuremberg Laws. Burg calls for altogether rejecting the tradition of "genetic Judaism" in favor of a "Judaism of values" that will readily accept into the fold anyone committed to practicing its humanistic creed. (

[Avraham Burg threw in his lot first with Peace Now and then with the Labor party, entered the Knesset in 1988 at age 33 and went on to become chairman of the Jewish Agency and then speaker of the Knesset in the 1990s, before retiring from public life to enter the business world]

Putin slams act of terror during Iranian military parade,
says ready to boost fight against terrorism
Press TV, Sat Sep 22, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his “deepest condolences” to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after a terrorist attack on an army parade in southwestern Iran left multiple people killed and wounded, denouncing the “bloody crime” and calling for an “uncompromising” joint combat against terrorism in all of its forms and “manifestations.”
The Russian leader made the comments in a message sent to his Iranian counterpart on Saturday, a few hours after four gunmen, disguised in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij uniforms, opened fire on people from behind a viewing stand at Quds Boulevard in the city of Ahvaz during the parade held to mark the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in the 1980s.
Deputy Governor of Khuzestan Province Ali Hossein Hosseinzadeh told Iran's Mehr News Agency that the death toll had risen to 25 from an initial figure of 10. He added that at least 60 other people had sustained injury. A four-year-old boy was also among those who had received fatal wounds.
“Please accept the deepest condolences regarding the tragic consequences of the raid by terrorists in Ahvaz. We are appalled by this bloody crime,” said Putin in his message, a copy of which was posted on the Kremlin website.
“We expect that everyone involved will face a deserved punishment. This event once again reminds us about the necessity of an uncompromising battle against terrorism in all of its manifestations. I would like to confirm our readiness to continue building cooperation with Iranian partners in resisting this evil,” the Russian leader added.

The Saudi-backed al-Ahvaziya terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, but provided no evidence for the claim.

Arab Iranians, by Ahmed Al-Rawi, Jacob Groshek
Concordia University, Boston University
CyberOrient, Vol. 9, Iss. 2, 2015

Arab Ahwazis are playing part of the geopolitical regional struggle in the Middle East as the two major powers represented in Saudi Arabia and Iran are actively trying to influence them in order to achieve their respective interests.
In general, Saudi Arabia wants to weaken the Iranian control over the region, which is considered a threat to Saudi political, economic, and religious goals and interests. This goal is clearly evident in the latest Saudi military interventions in Bahrain and Yemen.
On the other hand, Iran wants stability within its borders, yet it also tries to agitate the Shiite communities in Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia against the Sunni governments in order to achieve similar objectives.
The two sides, however, are employing media channels and their accompanying social media outlets to influence public opinion, and Arab Ahwazis remain in-between the anvil and hammer in their struggle to maintain their ethnic and religious identity.
Although the overwhelming majority of Ahwazis are Shi'ites, some say they sympathize with the Saudi-backed Sunni rebels fighting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Flashback 2012: "Al-Ahwaz will be next battle after Syria"
Ahwaz News, Saturday, November 24, 2012

Relations between the opposition to Syria's Assad regime and the Ahwazi Arabs are growing with both forging bonds to fight their common enemy, the Iranian regime.
A company of the Free Syria Army's Dere'a Al-Jazeera in Al-Mayadin has named itself the 'Al-Ahwaz Brigade' in solidarity with the Ahwazi intifada in Iran. They were instrumental in recently liberating the area from the Iranian-backed Assad regime.
Meanwhile, there have been top-level discussions between the leaders of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
In September, ASMLA leaders met with Brotherhood Comptroller General Mohammad Riad al-Shaqfeh in Syria.
ASMLA described its formal contacts with the Brotherhood as a "quantum leap in strengthening the relationship between the Ahwazi and Syrian revolutions" that would enable them to "work together to overthrow the existing alliance of the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian regime.
Ahwazi Arab groups have urged the international community to consider Libya-style multilateral military action to remove the Iranian regime.

Iranians holding funeral for victims of Ahvaz terrorist attack
Press TV, Mon September 24, 2018

Masses of Iranian people and government officials are taking part in a funeral procession for the victims of Saturday's terrorist attack in Iran's southwestern city of Ahvaz. The funeral procession began in Ahvaz on Monday, two days after terrorists opened fire at the crowd of people during a military parade in the southwestern city, killing 25 military personnel and civilians — including women and children — and wounding at least 68 others.

Rudy Giuliani: ‘We’ll overthrow them!’
RT Russia, 23 Sep, 2018

The US will overthrow the Iranian government once socio-economic conditions there, shaped by sanctions, are ripe for a revolution, presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani told a cheering crowd on the day of the deadly attack in Ahvaz.
“I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them. It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years, but it’s going to happen. They’re going to be overthrown, the people of Iran have obviously had enough,” said Giuliani at a so-called ‘Iran Uprising Summit’ held by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities in New York.
Speaking to members of Iranian expat and dissident communities in the US, who are seeking political change in Iran, the 74-year-old lawyer praised Donald Trump’s bullish approach towards Tehran, boasting that sanctions slapped on Iran [..] are stalling the country’s economy and damaging Iranians’ lives.
“The sanctions are working. The currency is going to nothing … These are the conditions that lead to successful revolution...” he said.

While the US administration has vowed to maintain economic pressure on the Islamic Republic with more sanctions to come into force on November 4 to target Iran’s energy sector, the State Department immediately distanced itself from Giuliani’s comments, stressing that Trump’s personal lawyer does not speak for the administration.
While Trump has never been shy of supporting the opposition in Iran, his National Security Advisor John Bolton recently noted that a straightforward “regime change” in the country is not being considered by the administration:
“Just to be clear, regime change in Iran is not American policy. But what we want is massive change in the regime’s behavior,” Bolton told Reuters in August.

Rouhani: "Iranians will defeat US President Donald Trump"
Press TV, Sat Sep 22, 2018

President Hassan Rouhani says Iranians will defeat US President Donald Trump... He made the remarks in a military parade in Tehran on Saturday to mark the beginning of the week that commemorates Iran's eight-year resistance against Iraq’s 1980-88 invasion.
Trump withdrew from a landmark multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.
"Today, 38 years into Saddam's invasion and violation of the 1975 Algiers agreement, the US government is repeating the same story of Saddam", Rouhani pointed out.
He criticized US President Trump for failing to respect international laws and lambasted his decision to reneged on America’s commitments in a multilateral agreement like the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has been endorsed the Security Council.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian chief executive stressed that the country would not abandon its defensive weapons and would rather boost them.

Saudi Gazette Propaganda: Rohani flees..

Iranian President Hassan Rohani and other senior officials attending an event marking the start of 1980-88 war with Iraq fled the scene, when gunmen fired on a military parade in southwestern Iran on Saturday..

In an article published in the Washington Post on Friday, Rouhani said that Iran would not remain silent toward America’s bullying...
"Fed by disinformation and fake analysis from terrorist groups and Israel, the US administration is under the illusion that resorting to sanctions will lead to concessions from Iran. Iranians, though, are known to close ranks and put up stiff resistance in the face of external pressures," Rouhani said.
He also said that Trump’s offer of direct talks with Iran "is not honest or genuine" while his "pretensions of support for the Iranian people are hollow, hypocritical and unconvincing."

"How can we be convinced of his sincerity while his secretary of state has gone so far as to set a long list of openly insulting pre-conditions for talks?
Worse still, how can we trust the US government now that it has officially reneged on its international commitments, most notably UN Security Council resolution 2231?" he asked.

Russian MoD: Israel Violated Agreement With Russia
Sputnik News (Russia), 23-9-2018

The Israeli Air Force misled Russia by providing wrong information about the area of the planned air strikes in Syria on September 17, thus preventing the Russian Il-20 from moving to a safe zone, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday.
Speaking at a press briefing on Sunday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov provided more details on the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft near Syria on September 17.
According to Konashenkov, the Israeli Air Force provided Russia with misleading information on the location of its airstrikes on targets in Syria, which prevented the commander of the Il-20 plane from relocating to a safe zone and led to its destruction.
"During the negotiations via the deconfliction channel, the representative of the Israeli Air Force Command reported that the targets assigned to the Israeli aircraft are located in Northern Syria
As you can see on the map, the Israeli jets delivered strikes in Latakia which is a western province of the country — and not in the north of the Syrian Arab Republic. The city of Latakia is located on the western coast.
The misleading information provided by the Israeli officer about the area of strikes did not allow the Russian Il-20 airplane to move timely to a safe area," Konashenkov said.

Konashenkov told a briefing that the Israeli Air Force had notified Russia of its planned attacks on Syrian targets simultaneously with the beginning of the strikes instead of doing it in advance, thereby violating 2015 bilateral agreements to prevent such incidents in Syrian airspace.
Konashenkov emphasized that the ministry possessed an audio recording proving that the IAF had warned the Russian side in the Russian language about the envisaged airstrike on targets in Syria when Russia's IL-20 was downed.
According to the fresh released information, the Il-20 crew began emergency descending after it was hit by a missile, with pilots of Israeli F-16 fighter jets using the Russian aircraft as a "shield" against Syrian air defenses. Konashenkov elaborated that an Israeli plane maneuvered toward the approaching Il-20 — which was considered another attack by Syrian air defense systems.
He further debunked claims by the IDF that their jets had already been within Israeli airspace when the Syrian Army launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane, saying that F-16s left the area 10 minutes after receiving the information on the downing.

"The presented objective data testifies that the actions of the Israeli fighter pilots, which led to the loss of life of 15 Russian servicemen, either lacked professionalism or were an act of criminal negligence to say the least.
Therefore, we believe that the blame for the tragedy with the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft lies entirely with the Israeli air forces and those who made the decision to carry out such actions," Konashenkov stressed.

Russia to supply S-300 anti-missile systems to Syria
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 24-9-2018

Defying Israel’s lobbying efforts, Russia announced it will supply the Syrian army with the more modern, S-300 missile defense systems after last week’s downing of a Russian plane in Syria.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday that Moscow will supply an S-300 anti-missile system to Syria within two weeks.
The announcement comes a week after the ministry accused Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military plane in Syria that killed 15 servicemen.
Earlier in the war, Russia suspended a supply of S-300, which Israel feared Syria could use against it. Shoigu said Russia is now going to go ahead with the shipment because "the situation has changed, and it's not our fault."
The supply of S-300s to Syria will "calm down some hotheads" whose actions "pose a threat to our troops," he said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Russian news agencies that supplying S-300 to Syria is Russia's "own right" and expressed confidence that this would not hurt Russia's ties with Israel.
The Kremlin said Russia's decision was not targeted against anyone and only serves to protect Russian troops in Syria.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that recent findings by the Russian military showed an Israeli jet "deliberately" pushed the Russian Il-20 into the line of fire, enabling its downing.

Putin says move to boost Syria's air defense
aimed at protecting Russian servicemen
TASS Russian News Agency, September 24, 2018

Russia’s decision to strengthen combat capacities of Syrian air defense systems are geared primarily to avert the threat to the lives of Russian servicemen, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday during a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia’s decisions to strengthen combat capacities of Syrian air defense meet the current situation and are geared, first of all, to avert any potential threat to the lives of Russian servicemen who are fighting against international terrorism," the Kremlin press service said.

Russian electronic warfare equipment arrive in Hmeimim airbase
Syrian Arab News Agency, 25 September 2018

Russian electronic warfare systems arrived at Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia.
According to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, the electronic warfare equipment arrived at Hmeimim airbase near Lattakia on Monday, aboard an Il-76 transport aircraft.
The newspaper said that the systems were intended to disrupt airborne radar, aircraft communication and controls and satellite navigation systems used in attack jets, drones and guided munitions.
The operators will be able to project a protective radio-electronic dome over hundreds of kilometers over Syria and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea,” the newspaper added.

DEBKA Exclusive, 25-9-2018

The Krasukha-4 is highly advanced, although not the most sophisticated EW system in the Russian arsenal. But it fits Shoigu’s book.
The system can jam communications systems, disable guided missiles and aircraft, and neutralize Low-Earth Orbit spy satellites and radars (AWACS) at ranges of 150-300km, which cover northern and central Israel. The Krasukha-4 can also damage opposing EW.
Israel’s military has focused its response to Russia’s hostile measures on the eight S-300 aid defense batteries promised the Syrian army in the coming weeks. Little mention has been made by Israeli spokesmen of the electronic warfare duel awaiting the IDF with Russia.
Israel’s military and air force know about the Krasukha-4 but have never met it in action. However, it is well known to the Americans.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to ask Donald Trump when they meet at UN Center on Wednesday to offer Vladimir Putin some incentive for removing the EW jamming threat. There is scarcely any chance of any such a trade-off.

France wants UN sanctions on Libya militias
Middle East Online, Tuesday 25/09/2018

NEW YORK - France said on Monday it wanted the UN Security Council to implement sanctions on militias involved in month-long clashes between rival factions in Libya's capital Tripoli, which has undermined UN efforts to hold elections by year-end.
At least 115 people have been killed and 383 injured in fighting that has pitted the Seventh Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65 km (45 miles) southeast of Tripoli, against the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades (TRB) and the Nawasi, two of the capital’s largest armed groups.
"In the face of the worsening security situation in Tripoli, there is a responsibility to support the Libyans and that means we must be tougher on those that want to keep the status quo for their benefits," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian told reporters ahead of a meeting hosted by France on Libya on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
He said recent sanctions taken at the UN against people traffickers in Libya should be extended in particular to the Tripoli militias.
The UN Security Council Libya sanctions committee blacklisted militia leader Ibrahim Jathran earlier in September, subjecting him to a global asset freeze and travel ban, after he oversaw an attack on oil facilities.

Former colonial power Italy and France have been competing for influence in war-torn Libya, rich in oil and gas and a staging post for people smugglers who have launched tens of thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean sea towards Europe.
Paris has been pushing for an election to be held in Libya by the end of the year. The increasing violence has made the French initiative increasingly untenable.
The country has been riven since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

Rouhani: "Unlawful unilateral sanctions in themselves
constitute a form of economic terrorism"
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 25-9-2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hit back at U.S. President Donald Trump in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, but also invited him back to the negotiating table.
"Confronting multilateralism is not a sign of strength, rather a symptom of the weakness of intellect," Rouhani said on Tuesday, in a reference to Trump's speech a few hours earlier touting U.S. sovereignty.
Rouhani said it was "unfortunate" that some of the world's leaders preferred to secure their interests by "trampling on global rules and undermining international institutions."
The Iranian leader said he was pleased that the international community did not follow the Trump administration's "unilateral and illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA," the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the nuclear deal is known.
"Unlawful unilateral sanctions in themselves constitute a form of economic terrorism," said Rouhani.
He then accused his U.S. counterpart of trying to topple his government, saying: "It is ironic that the U.S. government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks."
"For dialogue to take place, there is no need for a photo opportunity. The two sides can listen to each other right here in this Assembly. "I am starting the dialogue right here, and state, in unequivocal terms, that the question of international security is not a toy in American domestic politics."

Rouhani took the podium a few hours after Donald Trump called for Iran's isolation in his U.N. address, accusing the leadership of Iran of sowing "chaos, death and destruction" as he defended his decision to ditch the Iran nuclear accord.
The five remaining parties to the 2015 accord -- France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia -- agreed during a meeting in New York late Monday to set up a payment system to preserve business ties with Iran despite US sanctions.

Guterres: "The world is increasingly chaotic"
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 25-9-2018

Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, warned world leaders Tuesday that the world is "increasingly chaotic" and that shifts in the balance of power may gradually increase the risk of confrontation...
As U.S. President Donald Trump prepared to tout protection of U.S. sovereignty at the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders, Guterres told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly that multilateralism is under fire when it is needed most.
"Individual leaders have the duty to advance the well-being of their people," Guterres said. "But it runs deeper ... As guardians of the common good, we also have a duty to promote and support a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system."
He called for a renewed commitment to a rules-based order with the United Nations at its center and warned against a spreading "politics of pessimism."
"Those who see their neighbors as dangerous may cause a threat where there was none. Those who close their borders to regular migration only fuel the work of traffickers," Guterres said. "And those who ignore human rights in combating terrorism tend to breed the very extremism they are trying to end." [...]
He also notes that people increasingly are getting information from social media feeds and outlets that echo their views and "reinforce tribalism."

Mandela, Nasser gave Africans hope
for dignity and independence: Sisi
Ahram online, 24-9-2018

Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Monday that Nelson Mandela's life represented the hope of African people for dignity and independence, saying other African icons also played the same role including late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.
In a speech at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, which is held on the sidelines of the 73rd of the United Nations General Assembly "UNGA" in New York, El-Sisi said that there was a true need to solve roots of conflicts and to respect human rights.
"Today's gathering provides a great opportunity to provide our children with better education and to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youth," El-Sisi said. He also stressed the importance of protecting the youth against the danger of extremism and terrorism.
Earlier on Monday, the president met with his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun, expressing Egypt's support for the security and stability of all Arab countries and the rejection of foreign interference in their domestic affairs.

Nelson Mandela Peace Summit Declaration:
"We resolve to move beyond words in the promotion of
just, inclusive and non‑discriminatory societies"
United Nations, 24-9-2018

Unanimously adopting a political declaration at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, nearly 100 Heads of State and Government, Ministers, Member States and representatives of civil society today committed to redoubling efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world, as they paid tribute to the late South African President’s celebrated qualities and service to humanity.
Recognizing the period from 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, the Declaration saluted Mr. Mandela for his humility, forgiveness and compassion, acknowledging as well his contribution to the struggle for democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world

By the text, Heads of State and Government and Member States representatives reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the sovereign equality of all States and respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, as well as the duty of Member States to refrain from the threat or use of force.
We resolve to move beyond words in the promotion of peaceful, just, inclusive and non‑discriminatory societies,” leaders pledged, as they stressed the importance of the equal participation and full involvement of women and youth.
They also declared that racism, xenophobia and related intolerance represent the very opposite of the purposes of the United Nations...

Opening the Summit, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador), President of the General Assembly, said throughout Mr. Mandela’s life he was always guided by the principles that are the bedrock of the United Nations, including the values of peace, solidarity, cooperation and respect for all humans. His legacy, she underscored, represents a light of hope for a world still torn apart by conflict and at the mercy of threats...
António Guterres, Secretary‑General of the United Nations, remembered Mr. Mandela as “one of humanity’s great leaders” who embodied the highest values of the United Nations.
As a political prisoner, he refused to allow his dignity to be undermined, and as President of his country, he championed women’s rights and its 1996 Constitution, which remains a beacon for human rights and equal opportunity.
“Everywhere, he was a champion for peace, forgiveness, humility, compassion, dignity and human rights,” he said.

The renegade president brings his war to the United Nations
By Benjamin Dangl, Asia Times Opinion, September 26, 2018

When US President Donald Trump began his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, he started out in true fashion by touting his own record, saying, “My administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
But the bravado backfired, drawing audible laughter from the audience. “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK,” the ruffled president said.

The crowd’s response highlighted UN members’ opposition to the US president and his attacks on the UN and many of its core missions and institutions.
Last year, before his first speech to the UN, Trump withdrew the US from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This year, his administration pulled funding for the UN organization that offers health care and education to Palestinian refugees, boycotted a UN agreement on migration policy, and withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council.
Such unilateral moves have provoked the ire of UN officials grappling to confront global crises with cooperation among nations.
Earlier this week, former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon criticized the US health-care system as morally wrong, and advocated for universal health care as a “human right.”
“It’s not easy to understand why such a country like the United States, the most resourceful and richest country in the world, does not introduce universal health coverage,” Ban told The Guardian. “Nobody would understand why almost 30 million people are not covered by insurance.”

Against such a backdrop of criticism and unease, Trump waltzed into the General Assembly on Tuesday to give his own nationalistic speech. “America is governed by Americans,” he said. “We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the ideology of patriotism.”
Unsurprisingly, his wide-ranging speech was marked by antagonism toward nations around the world, and championed America’s own military might and exceptionalism.
Trump went on to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s US-supported war on Yemen, which has produced catastrophic casualties. His saber-rattling against Iran and his promise further to undermine Venezuelan sovereignty point to future conflicts on the horizon...
When discussing the Middle East, he made clear his administration’s ardent support for Israel’s war on Palestine.
Trump exacerbated tensions in the Middle East this year when moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The move was denounced throughout the world, and resulted in massive protests in Gaza and the West Bank in which more than 50 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.
Trump’s disdain for the International Criminal Court was also on full display at the UN.
“The United States will provide no support and recognition for the International Criminal Court. As far as we are concerned the ICC has no legitimacy or authority,” Trump said. “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable body.”

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