Saddam's Death, 140 (april 2019-part 2)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 139: april 2019 and Page 141 (may 2019)

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 - Netanyahu & The Survival of the Fittest - Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Is Now Pence’s ‘Wolf Pack of Rogue States’ - Mike Pence & antisemitism - Amnesia of the US Foreign Policy Establishment - Israeli Elections 2019 - Was Jesus a Palestinian?

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)


"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)

The Amnesia of the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment
By John Glaser, 15-3-2019

“Donald Trump is undermining the rules-based international order.” The Economist’s headline last summer summarized a common refrain within America’s foreign policy establishment...

Trump is certainly hostile to what he sometimes refers to as “globalism”: multilateralism, free trade agreements, international institutions, and any international legal regime that could impose constraints on U.S. power. He is antagonistic toward allies and treaties, withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Iran nuclear deal, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UN Human Rights Council.
But those excoriating Trump for his disregard for rules and norms rarely mention similar, routine violations of this rules-based order by his predecessors.

The pundits, practitioners, and politicians that make up the foreign policy establishment have rarely respected the non-interventionist principles at the core of the United Nations, an institution exemplifying the liberal rules-based international order that the United States helped establish following World War II.
Article 2(4) of the UN Charter says “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…
According to the Charter, which American post-war planners helped write, the use of force is illegal and illegitimate unless at least one of two prerequisites are met: first, that force is used in self-defense; second, that the UN Security Council authorizes it.
This prohibition against war is not some trivial aspiration. Non-intervention is the centerpiece of international law and the United Nations has repeatedly sought to underline its significance.
In 1965, the General Assembly declared “No state or group of states has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any state.”
Again in 1970, it unanimously reaffirmedthe illegality of “armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats.”
In 1981, the General Assembly further specified that the Charter’s “principle of non-intervention and non-interference” prohibited “any … form of intervention and interference, overt or covert, directed at another State or group of States, or any act of military, political or economic interference in the internal affairs of another State.”

The United States is currently engaged in active military hostilities in at least seven countries, namely Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger.
That tally doesn’t include drone strikes in Pakistan, combat operations in Kenya, Cameroon, and Central African Republic, or other interventions of unknown magnitude. The true number might be closer to 14 countries.
The White House is also explicitly threatening U.S. military action to change the regime in Venezuela and against Iran for a host of spurious reasons. Not one of these cases meets the prerequisites for legal military intervention (a plausible self-defense case can be made for the war in Afghanistan, but it expired a long time ago).

No other state in the international system uses force more than the U.S. has.
Throughout the Cold War, the United States used military means to interfere in other countries about twice as often as did the Soviet Union. This doesn’t include interventions below the threshold of military action: from 1946 to 2000, Washington meddled in foreign elections more than 80 times (compared to 36 by the Soviet Union or Russia over the same period).
Covert operations to overthrow democratically elected governments, as in Iran, Guatemala, and Chile, were a stapleof U.S. conduct in this period, and according to the Rand Corporation, “the number and scale of U.S. military interventions rose rapidly in the aftermath of the Cold War.” The Congressional Research Service lists more than 200 individual U.S. military interventions from 1989 to 2018, a rate that no other country even comes close to matching.

Washington often appeals to international law to justify military action against despots who commit atrocities, as it did when it secured UN Security Council approval in 2011 to bomb Libya. But even there, when the initial use of force was authorized, the Obama administration rapidly exceeded the mandate of the resolution by pursuing what amounted to a regime-change strategy.
And such appeals to humanitarianism are highly selective: U.S. military power has also been used to assist Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most regressive authoritarian regimes, commit war crimes and keep an impoverished and largely defenseless population in Yemen under siege.
The political establishment in Washington has always accepted this unique role for the United States. We’re the policeman of the world. We enforce the rules and therefore assert the right to violate them, even as we (often violently) deny others that same prerogative.

Saving the liberal order means adhering to the UN Charter’s prohibition on the use of force except in self-defense or unless authorized by the Security Council.
It means rolling back our global military footprint and adopting a more restrained foreign policy that at least approximates the manner in which we expect other nations to behave.
It means recognizing that the United States is not exempt from the rules and norms it often punishes others for transgressing, and it means acknowledging that the foreign policy establishment has done at least as much damage to the rules-based order as has President Trump.

"vital national security intererests"

John Glaser is director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. His research interests include grand strategy, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the rise of China, and the role of status and prestige motivations in international politics.

Jimmy Carter: US ‘most warlike nation in history’
Press TV (Iran), Mon Apr 15, 2019

Former US President Jimmy Carter says President Donald Trump has spoken with him about China because the current US leader was worried that Beijing is outpacing the US economically, saying America’s endless wars was helping China get ahead of the US.
Carter, 94, said Trump called him on Saturday while speaking at his regular Sunday School lesson at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. He told the congregation that Trump feared China's growing economic strength and suggested the president was right to be concerned.
The former Democratic president said China was getting ahead of the US because Washington has been at war with other countries for most of its history, while Beijing was taking advantage of peace to invest in its economy and industries.
“Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody?” Carter asked. “None. And we have stayed at war.”
He said the US has only enjoyed 16 years of peace in its 242-year history, making the country “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” Carter said. This is, he said, because of Washington’s tendency to force other nations to “adopt our American principles.”
Carter said that China, in contrast to the US, had made massive economic progress for maintaining peace. “How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?” he asked.
The US has “wasted, I think, $3 trillion” on military spending. “It’s more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way.”
“And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure you’d probably have $2 trillion leftover. We’d have high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that aren’t collapsing, we’d have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of say South Korea or Hong Kong,” Carter told the congregation.

Carter served as the 39th US president from 1977 to 1981. The former president has been particularly critical of the nation's direction under Trump’s leadership.

Abul Gheit commends Russia's support for Palestine,
rejects US decision on Golan
Ahram online, Tuesday 16 Apr 2019

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit commended Russia's stand vis-a-vis the Palestinian file as well as rejection of the US' decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan.
Addressing the opening of the fifth session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum in Moscow on Tuesday, Abul Gheit said the US decision jeopardizes the Middle East peace process.
He noted that Arab countries urge Moscow to continue to support Palestinian and Arab stands, especially at the United Nations Security Council.
He hailed the great development in Arab-Russian ties since 2009.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov inaugurated the forum in the presence of Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit and 14 Arab foreign ministers.

Palestinian PM: Donald Trump’s peace deal ‘born dead’
"The whole system is to try to push us to surrender"
The national (UAE), Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The new Palestinian prime minister has said that the peace deal to be released by US President Donald Trump will be “born dead”, reiterating Ramallah’s rejection of any plan before it is announced.
The United States congratulated Mohammed Shtayyeh and the new Palestinian government that was sworn in over the weekend, but it has not changed matters in Ramallah, where officials are still refusing to engage with American officials.
There are no partners in Palestine for Trump,” Mr Shtayyeh said in an interview with the Associated Press, his first with the international media.
“There are no Arab partners for Trump and there are no European partners for Trump.”
He also railed against the financial measures being imposed on the Palestinian Authority, with the US cutting millions in funding for the Palestinians and Israel refusing to hand over millions in collected tax funds.
"Israel is part of the financial war that has been declared upon us by the United States. The whole system is to try to push us to surrender" and agree to an unacceptable peace proposal, Mr Shtayyeh said. "This a financial blackmail, which we reject."
Without its key sources of revenue, the Palestinian Authority has begun paying only half salaries to tens of thousands of civil servants, reduced services and increased borrowing. In a new report being released Wednesday, the World Bank said the Palestinian deficit will grow from $400 million last year to over $1 billion this year.
Mr Shtayyeh laid out a number of proposals for weathering the storm. He said he has imposed spending cuts by reducing perks for his Cabinet ministers.
He said he would seek to develop the Palestinian agricultural, economic and education sectors and seek ways to reduce the Palestinian economy's dependence on Israel.

No more excuses – Israeli voters
have chosen brutality with Bibi
By Robert Fisk, 16-4-2019, "Information Clearing House"

So now I guess we’ve all run out of excuses. Bibi Netanyahu’s Israel will not be a new and more right-wing Israel. It’s been that for a long time. It’s the propaganda that’s going to fall to bits.
The only democracy in the Middle East? Give me a break...
Israel dominates its own Arab minority, and its new prime minister has promised to annex much of the territory legally belonging to their fellow Palestinian Arabs – the very colonies built on lands which have already been stolen for the majority Jewish population in Israel. Including Jerusalem, that comes to around 5,700 square kilometres, just a third the size of Kuwait – for which we all went to war when Saddam Hussein annexed the emirate in 1990.
Israel bombards and threatens its neighbours, jails (Palestinian) political prisoners on spurious grounds and rules well over two million Arab Palestinians with killer police squads, extrajudicial executions, torture and paid spies. It claims it doesn’t even occupy these people’s homes and lands.
Now that the Israelis have voted Netanyahu and his outrageous party allies back into power, they too have sacrificed their souls to Bibi...
And they have America behind them. Trump’s pitiful response to Netanyahu’s victory shows that Israel’s American critics can expect no mercy from Israel’s “friends” inside the US.

Gideon Levy, who writes for the) Israeli paper Haaretz, wrote his own terrifying response to the elections this week in what he called “Israel’s new wretched republic”. The “Second [Israeli] Republic”, he wrote, “will no longer hide anything taking place in its backyard or try to pretty itself up. It will look exactly like it is.."
“It says it’s an esteemed member of the family of nations, but it breaks almost every international law, and it doesn’t annex occupied land so that it can create a false sense of impermanence. It takes pride in this country’s rule of law and Supreme Court… All that is over. The next government will be a continuation of the previous one, but stronger, more ultranationalist and racist, less legitimate and democratic..."
“Ben-Gurion Airport will be even more closed to critics of the regime. Nonprofit groups will be outlawed. Arabs will be excluded even more than they are now, on the road to realising the vision of a Jewish state with Jewish-only legislators… And of course, there’s the annexation waiting around the corner....”

So no more propaganda. No more excuses. No more camouflage. No more special pleading. We know where we stand. So do the Arabs. So should the Israelis.

Benjamin Netanyahu and the Zionist Dream
By Avi Shlaim, New York Times, April 18, 2019

From the 1920s onward, the Zionist movement was split into two groups that put forward rival ideas of the Jewish state.
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and its longest serving prime minister, was the leader of Labor Zionism; Zeev Jabotinsky was the founder of Revisionist Zionism and the spiritual father of the Israeli right.
Mr. Jabotinsky was an ardent Jewish nationalist who laid claim to Jewish sovereignty over the whole of the territory between both banks of the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Although he led the opposition to mainstream Zionism, Mr. Jabotinsky was, in fact, the main architect of the strategy that guided the entire movement in the confrontation with the Palestinians — the strategy of the “iron wall.”
This strategy consisted of two stages: First, build an iron wall of Jewish military power to compel the Arabs to recognize that the Jewish state was there to stay. Then negotiate with the Arabs about their rights and status in Palestine.
The essence of the strategy was negotiations from strength. The risk inherent in it was that military superiority would lead to diplomatic intransigence.

Benjamin Netanyahu is in many ways the heir to Mr. Jabotinsky’s legacy. His father, Benzion Netanyahu, was Mr. Jabotinsky’s secretary and the editor of the Revisionists’ daily newspaper, HaYarden; his party, Likud, is the successor to the post-independence Revisionist party, Herut.
With last week’s victory, Mr. Netanyahu gained more than just another term in office: He secured a fresh mandate for his idea of Greater Israel. And so it might seem that the Revisionists have finally after nearly 100 years won the fight over what Zionism will look like...

Since the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, Israeli society has been moving steadily to the right. Mr. Netanyahu’s last four governments were both a consequence and a cause of this drift.
Mr. Ben-Gurion formed moderate center-left coalition governments by excluding the Communist Party and Herut, the forerunner of the Likud party. Mr. Netanyahu is currently in the process of forming a coalition government with what he calls his “natural partners” — the ultraright, nationalist and religious parties.
When fully formed, this government may well have the dubious distinction of being the most reactionary, racist government Israel has ever had.

Despite their serious ideological differences, both branches of the Zionist movement shared a common vision about Israel’s place in the world.
Mr. Ben-Gurion frequently employed the biblical phrase about Israel being “a light unto the nations.” Mr. Jabotinsky’s most prized quality was “hadar,” dignity.
Mr. Netanyahu is incapable of holding the moral high ground at either the personal or the political level. At home he faces a pending criminal indictment for corruption. Abroad, he projects the image of a militaristic and increasingly authoritarian state.

Betar and Hadar
Jabotinsky and Jewish monism

During the lecture tour that Jabotinsky undertook in the winter of 1923, he arrived in Riga, capital of Latvia, where he met an organization of high school students called "Organization of Active Zionist Youth named for Yosef Trumpeldor", headed by Aharon Propes.
This group formed the kernel of the Betar Youth Movement, in which Jabotinsky saw the crowning glory of his Zionist activity.
He advocated for the formation of a new Jewish type, "genius and generous and cruel".
Genius, that is, standing straight, a daring fighter, generous toward his fellow man, who relates like a king's son to another king's son and cruel only toward himself.
A generation free from diaspora complexes, always prepared to stand in service to his people. Jabotinsky reached the conclusion that, if the Jewish people aspires toward its own country, on the land of Eretz Israel, it make sure that a new generation would arise, educated and prepared for struggles. He motivated the dispirited Jewish youth to understand that the nation's fate was in its own hands, thus returning to the youth their self-respect, their national pride and the courage to live and also, to die...
Jabotinsky encompassed the Betar Doctrine in the Seven Principles of the Oath:

- Zion: Only Eretz Israel has the power to solve the problem of the Jewish people and to ease the suffering in the dispersion;
- Had-Ness: The basic principle distinguishing Betar from other movements is "Had-Ness" (Monism or one flag). The one flag, the supreme directive and the singular motivation of the Movement, is the ideal of establishing a Jewish state.
Jabotinsky believed that "two ideals are absurd, truly like two gods, like two altars and two Temples… if Zionism is the ideal, no other independent aspiration, worthy of equal rights, can dwell alongside it".
- Hebrew Language: The Betar Movement sees in the Hebrew language the national language, sole and eternal, of the Jewish people. A Jew who does not know Hebrew – is not a complete Jew.
Hadar (spirit of Betar Movement): A term encompassing external beauty, pride, respect, loyalty and many other lofty values – Hadar is the embodiment of humanity.
'Betar Hadar' is the aspiration of each and every one, every step and every act that the Betar member performs, must first be examined from the standpoint of Hadar.
- Giyus (mobilization): The Betar member is prepared for each and any service for the sake of the people. Jabotinsky drew this concept from the unique character of Yosef Trumpeldor.
- Magen (Protection): One of Betar's ideological principles is military preparedness. Betar demands that all its members complete military seminars and know how to use weapons, in order to be ready at any time and to respond personally to a call for defense.
- Tziyut (Obedience): Voluntarily discipline. In willingness to obey, there is a type of contribution of strength for the people's effort and preservation of national stability and unity.

jabotinsky - grave

Pluralism vs Monism

Pluralism is a body of philosophies that argue that people should have the freedom to live by very different ideals; its spirit is best captured by the phrase “to each their own.”
Monism, on the other hand, is the belief that there is one form of righteousness, one truth, one moral compass.
The idea that “legislating morality” is bad is alien to the monist; what else is legislation but laying out what is considered right and punishing those who do wrong?
You can think of a fully integrated religious, political, and social order as embodying monism; Europe when it could properly be called “Christendom” would be one example from history.
On the other hand, a country that has no official church and in which Christians, atheists, Jews, and Muslims are all considered legitimate groups among the citizenry is a pluralist order. (Adam Gurri, 23-2-2015)

Regional arch-rivals meet in Baghdad
Middle East Online, Friday 19/04/2019

BAGHDAD - Iraq will host senior officials from neighbouring countries including regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran on Saturday, as it carves out a role as a mediator in the deeply divided region.
The one-day summit will bring together parliament heads from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait, a parliamentary spokesman said. Iran, one of Iraq's closest allies but a fierce foe of Saudi Arabia, will be represented by a "senior official," the spokesman said.
The conference will be hosted by Iraq's youngest-ever speaker of parliament Mohammed al-Halbusi, 38, who said Friday Iraq was "honoured by the presence of its neighbours in Baghdad."
Hours earlier, he had welcomed Syria's parliament chief Hammudeh Sabbagh, who landed in the Iraqi capital on Thursday night with a large delegation.
Iraq has long been at the centre of a struggle for influence between regional and international powers, notably neighbouring Iran and the United States. But more recently, Baghdad has sought to fashion itself as a mediator among rivals in the Middle East and beyond.
Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi recently returned from visits to both Riyadh and Tehran, who are at odds across the region and whose officials rarely attend the same events.
Turkey and Iran have also backed opposing sides in Syria's war, which since 2011 has isolated Damascus diplomatically. As part of its new regional role, Baghdad has sought to bring Syria back into the Arab League.

Wikipedia info: Mohammed Rikan Hadeed al-Halbousi is an Iraqi politician who is the Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq since 15 September 2018. Previously he was the Governor of Al Anbar Province since 29 August 2017. He is a member of the Al-Hal alliance (ideology: Islamic liberalism, Iraqi nationalism, Unitarism)
Al Halbousi won a seat in the Iraqi 2014 parliamentary elections and has been serving an MP ever since. On August 29, 2017, the "Anbar Provincial Council" voted by a majority vote to elect Mohammed Al Halbusi Anbar governor.
[Unitarism is about harmony: conflict is abnormal and is caused by troublemakers, bad communication, and poor management.]

Flashback - Iraq 2003. Dr. Sa’doun Hammadi:
"Do your work in a professional and honest way"

Maintaining that Iraq had always cooperated with the weapons inspectors despite misgivings of some of them, Mr. Hammadi said all that his country wanted was for them to do their work in a professional and honest way.
“They should respect the integrity of Iraq
and not interfere in our internal affairs.”

Countering America's propaganda against Iraq, the Speaker said the main reason for the prolonged situation was America's desire to control Iraq's oil reserves - the lone such source out of direct or indirect US control. (Iraq Daily, 27-1-2003)

Sadoun Hammadi was born in Karbala (22-6-1930) and was a Shi'ite. He joined the Ba'ath Party during the 1940s.
Hammadi previously served a stint as Iraqi Oil Minister and was the Foreign Minister from 1974 until 1983. He also served as the Speaker of the National Assembly of Iraq from 1983 until 1990 and from 1996 until the Fall of Baghdad in 2003.

2002: Dr. Sadoun Hammadi, Speaker of Iraqi National Assembly,
sends a letter to speakers of U.S. Senates and Representatives

Sirs, One of the biggest problems that has existed since 1990 between our people and country, on the one hand, and the successive US administrations on the other, along with the stubborn injustice and incessant aggression and destruction inflicted upon our country and people, and the comprehensive blockade unjustly imposed on our population for twelve years now, has been the absence of all channels of dialogue between our two countries, the channels that might have helped develop a language of understanding between our respective representatives.
This has meant that your Congress and, hence, the American people, have unfortunately been deprived of any genuine opportunity to see the facts of the situation for what they really are, in order that your judgments and decisions, on behalf of your people, might have been based on sound assessments in both objective and practical terms.
This lack of communication has been the root cause of the actions taken against our country since 1990. Had the naked facts been put to you, and indeed to others, as they are; and had we been able to allow dialogue the chance it deserved both objectively and practically, then things might have taken a different course. (Iraqi News Agency, 5-8-2002)

Regional Powers Partake in Iraq
Summit in Blow to ‘Arab NATO’
Al-Manar TV (Lebanon), 20-4-2019

Iraq’s parliamentary summit has brought together the country’s neighbors in what has been described as “a display of rare regional unity”, further sidelining a US initiative to form an “Arab NATO”.
The one-day summit, hosted by Iraq’s Parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi, brings together representatives from Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait on Saturday.
Speaking on Friday, the young Iraqi speaker welcomed the foreign delegations, describing Baghdad as a historical center of “Arabism, Islam and peace”.
“Iraq, proud, prideful and victorious over terrorism, is honored by the presence of its neighbors in Baghdad,” he added.
His deputy, Bashir Haddad, said the summit will have a “significant” impact on cooperation related to the region’s security and stability. He called the summit “a valuable initiative and opportunity for strategic partnerships between Iraq and its neighbors.”
This is a positive message to all neighboring countries and the world that Iraq is determined to regain its health and return to its Arab, regional environment and assume its rightful place in the map of the balance of power,” he added.
The summit marks yet another important watershed in a recent booming of diplomatic cooperation in a region that was largely been bedeviled by bloody conflicts in recent years.

Wikipedia Info: Al-Manar TV was designated as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity,” and banned by the United States on 17 December 2004. It has also been banned by France, Spain, and Germany, and has run into some service and license problems outside Lebanon, making it unavailable in the Netherlands, Canada, and Australia, while it has not officially been banned in any of these regions. According to the US department of treasury, Al Manar is the media arm of Hezbollah.

Arab NATO" project on very shaky ground
Voltaire Network | 18 April 2019

The plan to form a military alliance ('the Arab Nato') - which in reality would be Israeli-Arab - was formulated for the first time by US President Barack Obama in his National Security Strategy, made public on February 6, 2015.
The Arab League picked up on the project - without mentioning Israeli participation - during its summit in Sharm el-Sheik on 1 April 2015, calling it "the Arab Common Defence Force".
On March 20, 2018, President Donald Trump imposed substantial increases in US weapons purchases on Saudi Arabia and mentioned the possible creation of an "Arab NATO" under Saudi Arabian command.
During a speech at the American University in Cairo on January 10, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the US was pushing ahead with the realization of the plan.
The "Arab NATO" project was presented to public opinion as an alliance against Iranian expansionism. But in practice it would be an Israeli-Sunni alliance against the Shiites and, according to an American document revealed by Reuters, the ultimate goal would be to prevent the influence of Russia and China in the Middle East.

Iranian MP blasts US regional policies
Mehr News (Iran), 20-4-2019

An Iranian parliamentary delegation arrived in Baghdad on Saturday to attend a one-day conference of senior parliamentary officials from neighboring countries of Iraq.
Addressing the conference, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a member of Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, who is heading the Iranian delegation, criticized the US destabilizing policies in the region.
He expressed his appreciation to Iraqi people and Popular Mobilization Forces' humanitarian aid to the people in several Iranian provinces affected by recent severe floods.
Boroujerdi said that Iran will continue to support Iraq as before in the reconstruction era, while warning that the ISIL terrorism mentality is still threatening the region.
He referred to the US terrorist designation of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), saying that Iran's Revolutionary Guards played an important role in defeating terrorism in Iraq and Syria. The United States and the Zionists created terrorism to inflict losses on the nations of the region, he added. He also said that the United States seeks to form an anti-Iran coalition while Iran is trying to bring stability to its neighbors.
The senior Iranian lawmaker called on the nations of the region to not allow the US to create tensions and more conflicts in the region. He further called for consolidating stability in the region and seeking long-term national interests.

Qatar picks side of Tripoli militias in Libya showdown
Mohammed Alkhereij, Arab Weekly, 21/04/2019

While the showdown between the Libyan National Army and militias aligned with the Tripoli-based government continued, Qatari Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani arrived in Rome to seek support for his call for an arms embargo on Libya.
Sheikh Mohammed said Doha was concerned about the military risks to Islamist militias, which Qatar supports, as the Libyan National Army (LNA) pressed its offensive on Tripoli.
In an interview published by La Repubblica, Sheikh Mohammed suggested there had been an international conspiracy regarding the LNA’s swift advance on Tripoli. “And I ask the question: Can someone explain how Haftar’s troops were able to cover 1,500km of desert towards Tripoli without anyone realising?” he was quoted as saying.
The Qatari foreign minister said that the LNA was supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt: those countries have close links with LNA Field-Marshal Khalifa Haftar and all have a stake in “creating a regime like their own in Libya.”

In June 2017, the quartet — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain — imposed a boycott of Qatar, claiming that Doha was supporting extremist groups.
Qatar’s suspected support for Islamist factions in Libya was pointed out in a sanctions list issued by the Arab Quartet. On the list of the 71 Qatari-linked organisations and individuals were leading players in Libya, including al-Qaeda-aligned Benghazi Defence Brigades.
UAE officials said that since the 2011 Libyan uprisings, Doha funnelled arms and other support to Libyan militias through Ali Mohammed al-Salabi and his brother Ismail, a leader of the radical Benghazi Defence Brigades.
Another Libyan on the sanctions list is jihadist leader Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who turned political party leader after the fall of the Qaddafi regime in 2011. Belhaj is the former military commander of al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, created in the 1990s in Afghanistan and designated as a terror organisation by the United Nations.
The Arab Quartet sees the Haftar-led campaign as an effort to prevent Islamists from turning Libya into a base to pursue an agenda of conquest across the Middle East and North Africa.

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

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

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

US ends sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 22-4-2019

In a bid to deprive the Iranian regime of its main source of income, the U.S. decided not to extend significant reduction exceptions for eight countries for oil purchases from Iran at the end of the 180-day period to expire on May 2 and looks to make up for the loss with OPEC countries.
The Trump administration said Monday that it will no longer exempt any countries from U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, stepping up pressure on Iran in a move that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China and India, and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey. President Donald Trump made the decision as part of the administration's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran that aims to eliminate all of its revenue from oil exports that the U.S. says funds destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and beyond.
"This decision is intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue," the White House said in a statement.
"The goal remains simply", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo" told reporters at the State Department: "To deprive the outlaw regime of the funds that it has used to destabilize the Middle East for decades..."

Turkey rejects US sanctions on Iran's oil, FM Çavuşoğlu says (Daily Sabah, 22-4-2019)

"The US decision to end sanctions waivers on #Iran oil imports will not serve regional peace and stability, yet will harm Iranian people," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter after the White House announced the decision. "Turkey rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbors," he added.
Later, commenting on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting Saudi Arabia and the UAE as alternatives to Iranian oil, the minister said: "Pushing (us) to buy oil from countries other than Iran is going too far."
Following a joint news conference with his Tajik counterpart Sirojiddin Aslov in the Turkish capital Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said it was ethically "wrong" to suggest them as alternatives as the U.S. has close ties with those countries.
"This violates the regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and poses a risk to stability in the region," he added.

Al-Jazeera, 22-4-2019: The White House said on Monday that the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates "have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market".
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement that the kingdom was closely monitoring the oil market and "will coordinate with fellow oil producers to ensure adequate supplies are available to consumers while ensuring the global oil market does not go out of balance".
Iran on Monday said the US decision has "no value" but that Tehran was in touch with European partners and neighbours and would "act accordingly", Iranian news agencies reported, citing the foreign ministry. It added that the sanctions were "illegal".
Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Monday that China opposed unilateral US sanctions against Iran and that China's bilateral cooperation with Iran was in accordance with the law.

Brian Hook: Countries can either work with US or Iran, but not both
Al Arabiya English, Monday, 22 April 2019

The United States has denied the Iranian regime over $10 billion in revenue and expect that number to increase dramatically, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told Al Arabiya English after Washington declared it would start ending waivers to Tehran’s oil customers.
Hook also said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates share a lot of the United States’ national security goals when it comes to Iran.
“Saudi Arabia has been very helpful, increasing its production as it did many months ago in order to offset the loss of Iranian crude, and they’ll continue to be helpful...”

Hook: "Yes, we had very good meetings with both of the Saudis and the Emiratis, and they share a lot of our national security goals with respect to Iran...
And we would like to have a different relationship with Iran.... We want a more peaceful Iran, and that’s up to Iran. They can either start behaving more peacefully or they can watch their economy crumble."

"In March the leader of Hezbollah made a public appeal for donations and it was the first time in history they’ve had to do that. There was a New York Times front-page story about how Iran’s proxies in the region are experiencing a loss of revenue.
That is a consequence partly of Iran mismanaging their economy because they have less money, they’re in recession now. But it’s also because our sanctions are denying the regime a lot of revenue....
Now that we’re draining Iran’s revenues that’s having a positive effect for our foreign policy on denying Hezbollah more money, and that’s a good thing...."

"The Iranian people know that we stand with them. Iranian people share the same goals that we have; we want a government to start changing its behavior to invest in its own people, to spend more on the Iranian people and less on Assad… more on the Iranian people and less on Hezbollah, and the same for the Houthis in Yemen."

"We are out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. It was a flawed deal. It only covered the nuclear program, and it was modest and temporary benefits.
We need an agreement that covers the nuclear program, their missile program, their regional aggression, and the arbitrary detention of foreign nationals which include Americans. That is the kind of deal we need. We are ready to negotiate something like that. We need to see a change in their behavior...

flashback 2001: bandar bin sultan - bush the dualist - sharon cartoon

We think that it is very much in China’s interest to continue to be in compliance with our sanctions regime. Because if a country decides to act outside of it and to choose the Iranian market over the United States market, and that really is the choice we’re presenting countries, you can either work with the United States, or you can work with Iran, but you can’t do both.
And so I think it’s in China’s interest when you look at the American market compared to the Iranian market, it is certainly in China’s interest to stick with the American market as opposed to the Iranian market.

Flashback: The Trump administration is turning out to be
the most friendly administration to Israel ever
Al-Manar TV (Lebanon), 23-3-2018

KSA – USA partnership dinner: High-level speakers, including Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Lindsey Graham, James Baker, William Cohen, Cindy Schwarzkopf, daughter of the late General Norman Schwarzkopf, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and Ambassador Khalid bin Salman, delivered stirring remarks commemorating the historic American and Saudi Arabian leaders of the past who further reinforced the foundations of the unshakable alliance between the two nations. Al-Arabiya, 23-3-2018

Israeli ministers welcomed on Friday US President Donald Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as his new national security advisor, describing him as a friend and supporter of the Zionist entity.
“President Trump is continuing to appoint true friends of Israel to senior positions. John Bolton stands out among them,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home said. “The Trump administration is turning out to be the most friendly administration to Israel ever.”
Bolton, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, is known for his virulent defense of “Israel” and had witnessed the most vicious crimes against innocents in the region.

Al-Manar is a Lebanese satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah, broadcasting from Beirut, Lebanon.

Palestinian officials reacted angrily, with Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), denouncing Trump's Thursday choice, who replaces Herbert Raymond McMaster.
“This man has a long history of hostility to Palestinians, dating to when he was at the United Nations, where he was protecting Israeli immunity,” Ashrawi said.
She added: the Trump administration “has joined with extremist Zionists, fundamentalist Christians and white racists” with Bolton's appointment. (Press TV 23-3-2018)

Hanan Ashrawi 2002: The New Age of Ideology

"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."

The logic behind US humiliation of the Palestinians
What an old Hebrew parable can tell us about
Kushner's strategy and the deal of the century.
Marwan Bisharaby, Al-Jazeera, 24-4-2019

Over the past two years, the Trump administration has launched an all-out diplomatic assault on the Palestinians, while preparing a new initiative to resolve the Middle East conflict. The Palestinians have not seen the actual plan, but they have a pretty good feeling about what it will involve. They have watched closely as the Trump administration has spat out one policy after the other with the clear intention of humiliating and subduing them.

Over the past year and a half, US President Donald Trump administration has been giving Benjamin Netanyahu's government one political "gift" after the other.
These and other changes to the traditional US foreign policy in the Middle East have come at the initiative of Trump's three top Middle East advisors: his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his two former New York lawyers, Jason Greenblatt and David Freedman, who have been actively promoting pro-Israeli policies for decades.
These three proud radical Zionists have clearly demonstrated their enthusiasm for Israel's illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories and their rejection of the label "occupied" for the West Bank and Jerusalem.
But the Trump trio continue to surprise, and not in a good way. Kushner and company are so extreme that they make Netanyahu look moderate in comparison.
They are part of a group of American Zionist hardliners who opposed the "Oslo Peace Process" in the 1990s and have even made comparisons between Israeli peacemakers and Nazi collaborators.
They have dismissed Palestinian national and historical rights out of hand and defended Israel's actions as ordained by God. Like their evangelical partners, they believe their boss Trump might have been anointed by God to look after Israel and reckon their interpretation of divine will supersedes the will of the international community.
Last year, Friedman, who has been serving as US ambassador to Israel, tweeted: "More than 2000 years ago, Jewish patriots (Maccabees) captured Jerusalem, purified the Holy Temple and rededicated it as a house of Jewish worship. The U.N. cant vote away the facts: Jerusalem is the ancient and modern capital of Israel."
That the Trump trio displays such religious fundamentalism on steroids, while disingenuously insisting that they have the Palestinians' best interest at heart, should worry everyone in the Middle East and beyond.

Netanyahu’s favorite book: The Book of Esther

It seems Kushner's main goal is to break the Palestinians' spirit and their hope for a sovereign state on all territories occupied in 1967, in order to force them to settle for autonomy in parts of these territories with a down-the-road option for a "Gaza first" pseudo-state, conditional on good behaviour.
All of this reminds me of an old story Kushner surely knows - a Hebrew parable about a poor man who complained to his rabbi about living with his big family in a small house.
The rabbi told him to bring all his animals into the house. Though astonished, the man did what he was told. The next day he rushed back to see the rabbi and complained that the situation has gotten much worse. The rabbi then suggested the man take out the chickens. Feeling a slight relief but still frustrated with his living arrangements, the man headed back to the rabbi, who advised him to take out another animal. This back-and-forth repeated until the man had taken all animals out. The following day he went back to the rabbi with a big smile. "O Rabbi", he said, "we have such a good life now. The house is so quiet and we've got room to spare!"
The moral of the story is that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
In this sense, the Trump trio is trying to force the Palestinians to see that their reality is not so bad in comparison to how bad it could become.
But the truth is, changing your perspective does not change your reality. In fact, every time the Palestinians changed the way they viewed things at US insistence over the past quarter of a century, their situation has only gotten worse...

Was Jesus a Palestinian?
By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, 24-4-2019

Palestine in c.450 BC according to Herodotus

450 BC: Herodotus, The Histories, First historical reference clearly denoting a wider region than biblical Philistia, referring to a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê: "the region I am describing skirts our sea, stretching from Phoenicia along the coast of Palestine-Syria till it comes to Egypt, where it terminates"; "[The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine], according to their own account, dwelt anciently upon the Erythraean Sea, but crossing thence, fixed themselves on the seacoast of Syria, where they still inhabit. This part of Syria, and all the region extending from hence to Egypt, is known by the name of Palestine." (Wikipedia info))

Was Jesus a Palestinian and why would Congresswoman Ilhan Omar care?
These are questions that Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action agenda for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, asked this week, after Congresswoman Ilhan Omar retweeted a New York Times op-ed by Eric V. Copage, which claimed that “Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin.”
The writer was exploring why Jesus is so often illustrated as a white man with blue eyes, but Cooper contends that Omar likely had another agenda in sharing the article, which she did with the following message: “Don’t they (Christians) know Jesus was a Palestinian?

“The claim that Jesus was a Palestinian is so bizarre that the question becomes what one gains by making that allegation,” Cooper told The Jerusalem Post.
“For people who have no theological or historical rooting, the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian creates a new narrative for Palestinian history, which otherwise does not date back very far. If one can say that Jesus was Palestinian 2,000 years ago, then that means the Jews are occupying Palestinian land.”
The myth that Jesus was a Palestinian dates back to the days of Yasser Arafat, when his trusted Christian-Palestinian adviser Hanan Ashrawi made the claim. Since then, the idea resurfaces now and again, according to Cooper.
The absurdity of it is breathtaking,” Cooper said of Jesus being a Palestinian. “Jesus was born in Bethlehem, think about who is parents were – his mother, Mary, was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter. In the Gospels, there is no mention of Palestine, only Judea, which is where Jews lived.”
He said Omar “knows this narrative is false but also that it has an inherent power to it,” said Cooper. "It is all rewriting history to plant in people’s minds that the Palestinian people go back thousands of years."
Cooper said he was surprised The New York Times allowed Copage to publish an op-ed with such a line, and expected such information only to be shared on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where users can get away with much more before it is identified - if it is ever identified - as fake news.
“It is extremely important for world Jewry and Jewish families to teach their own and go over our amazing love affair between the people and her land that stands for more than 3,000 years,” said Cooper, noting that is the responsibility of educated Jews and Christians to counter such falsehoods.

Timeline of the name "Palestine"

Ibrahim Alloush: US-Imposed Blockade on Syria Should Become
a Political Problem for Arab Regimes that Abide by this Blockade
Syria Times, Monday, 22 April 2019

What the Syrian people are going through economically is a continuation of the war they have been going through since 2011 by other means, according to the University of Damascus economist Dr. Ibrahim Alloush, who has elaborated on the causes of the current oil crisis in Syria and how the country can survive it.
“The current oil crisis in Syria is the result of compounded factors.
The war partially or totally destroyed much of the infrastructure of the energy sector in Syria, including the Conoco gas plant in DeirEz-zour, which was targeted repeatedly by the US, always under the pretext of “fighting terrorism”!
It just so happens that both the terrorists and the so-called “Global Coalition against terrorism” have effectively coalesced to destroy Syria’s oil and gas installations all over the country...
“Work is ongoing at a rapid pace to rehabilitate oil and gas fields that have been reclaimed from the hands of terrorists by the Syrian Arab Army and allies. But obviously what has taken decades to build, and months to destroy, cannot be revamped in a few weeks.
Moreover, the economist referred to the fact that foreign investment in the energy sector has been particularly hit by EU and other sanctions against Syria.
“EU and other sanctions targeting the energy sector in Syria have prodded Anglo-Dutch Shall, Total, and Gulf sands to halt operations in Syria early on in 2011 and 2012.
Foreign investment in the energy sector has been particularly hit by sanctions, most recently by the so-called Caesar’s Law enacted by the US Congress.
The objective of these sanctions, among other things, is to impede Syria’s ability to rebuild and rehabilitate its ailing energy sector,” Dr. Alloush said.
"Oil tankers are prevented from reaching Syria. Neighboring states have succumbed to US pressure to ban trade in energy products with Syria. Thus, the tightened and strict enforcement of a total ban on importing energy products into Syria by the US and its allies is the primary reason for the current crunch in the energy sector.

In response to a question about how Syria can survive this energy crisis, Dr. Alloush said: “First of all, the Syrian people need to understand that what they are going through economically is a continuation of the war they have been going through since 2011 by other means. It’s an economic blockade basically, a form of war, and it’s being perpetrated by the US and its allies....
He underlined that allies, especially Russian allies, should not stand, hat in hand, watching Syria reeling from this gruesome blockade...
Dr. Alloush described the violation of unjustly imposed sanctions, as was the case in Iraq and Libya before, and as is the case in Syria, Iran, and Yemen right now, as a ‘moral act’.
It’s an act of defiance against injustice, and against the law of jungle in international relations. This message should be relayed to fellow citizens across the Arab World and to anti-imperialists worldwide. Imposing a blockade on Syria should become a political problem for Arab regimes who abide by this US-imposed blockade.
Fellow Arabs should be made to understand that yesterday it was Iraq and Libya, today it is Syria and Yemen, but tomorrow it will be them...”

Flashback: Dr Ibrahim Alloush, Revisonism and Holocaust Religon
Journal of Historical Review, may-june 2001

Alloush: very briefly, it should be made clear that revisionists neither deny nor condone the deaths of Jews during the Second World War. However, the "Holocaust" ceased long ago to be about the Jews who died in that war.
The "Holocaust" is about Zionist power and policies. As stated, the "Holocaust" myths serve specific objectives: justifying Zionist settlement in Palestine; cultivating a guilt complex in the West over the "Holocaust" as the result of Western anti-Semitism; mobilizing Western public opinion behind financial, political, and military support for the Zionist movement; and condoning Zionist infractions of international law under the pretext that the wartime deaths of the Jews were unique and unparalleled in human history!

The problem, however, is that one cannot separate the "Holocaust" from its political objectives. The "Holocaust" is the ideological arm of the Zionist movement. Given its political power and reach, it has to be confronted.
You can yield to it or you can face it down, but you cannot pretend, as some would have us do, that it doesn't exist. Accepting 1) that five or six million Jews died in the Second World War, 2) as a result of a deliberate Nazi policy of genocide, 3) in alleged gas chambers -- the essence of the "Holocaust" accusation, today includes attributing responsibility to the entire non-Jewish world for this allegedly singular event -- and accepting, to compensate for it, that the "survivors" deserve a new homeland, that the "Holocaust" can be invoked as an extenuating circumstance every time the Zionists commit crimes against humanity, and so on.

On the other hand, putting the wartime Jewish deaths in the proper context has no such political implications.
It should be made clear then that several hundred thousand Jews did die in the Second World War, along with tens of millions of others; that there was no Nazi policy to exterminate the Jews, but rather one of deportation, including deportation to Palestine; and that there were no gas chambers, but instead crematoria, used to incinerate the bodies of those, of all nationalities and religions, who died from all causes, but chiefly disease.
Note that the above, while not condoning Nazi practices -- especially, from the Arab standpoint, the deportation of Jews to Palestine -- puts the wartime deaths of Jews in proper perspective, and eliminates all political implications with the power of the truth.
The Jewish losses were not unique, and didn't happen in an unprecedented way. They don't justify a guilt complex in the West, and do not justify any favoritism whatsoever for the Jews.
Thus, contrary to the political short-sightedness of those who think that revisionist arguments revolve merely around statistics (refuting the six million figure), the truth about how, how many, and why Jews died in the Second World War can liberate humanity from the extortion of the high priests of the "Holocaust" religion.
Until that happens, accepting the received version of the "Holocaust" necessarily implies accepting its political implications. Criticizing the "Holocaust" industry, on the other hand, purports merely to preserve "Holocaust" myths from the excesses of its high priests. It does not deter the Zionist strategy of the "Holocaust" from its political objectives.

Editor: What of the accusation that associating with revisionists would stigmatize Arabs as Nazi sympathizers and discredit their cause in the West, especially in the light of the fact that El Haj Amin al Husseini cooperated with Germans?

Alloush: Let's set the historical record straight. The cooperation between Zionists and Nazis preceded that of El Haj Amin al Husseini with Nazi Germany by many years. In fact, the main purpose of El Haj Amin al Husseini's contacts with the Germans was to thwart their support for the Zionists.
Between 1933 and 1938, the Nazis were on decidedly good terms with the Zionists, as evidenced by the Haavara agreement, which facilitated Jewish immigration to Palestine as well as economic and logistical support through Jewish capital.
In 1938, the Nazis decided to take a more balanced approach towards the Arabs, while maintaining their cooperation with the Zionists; El Haj Amin tried to use this opening to put an end to Nazi support for Zionists.
Evidently his strategy eventually bore fruit, since Nazi-Zionist cooperation came to an end around 1942.
If cooperation with the Nazis is the criterion for condemning El Haj Amin, then the Zionists were guiltier by far than El Haj Amin al Husseini. Nazi-Zionist cooperation was the direct precursor of al Husseini's cooperation with the Germans, in addition to British support for the Zionists, of course.

Editor: Based on your own experiences in America as a student and as an academic, do you have any advice for readers of the Journal on how best to educate their fellow Americans on the Palestine question and the Holocaust myth?

Alloush: I think the most important thing for revisionists in the next stage of their work is to shatter the Zionist accusation that the purpose of revisionist work is to whitewash Nazism. They should establish beyond reasonable doubt that the purpose of their work is to promote truth and justice.

Hamas Leader Ready to Meet Abbas
to Confront ‘Deal of the Century’
Al-Awsat, Sunday, 28 April, 2019

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he was ready to hold a quick meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to restore national unity to confront the “deal of the century” US peace proposal.
During a national conference on countering the proposal, he said that if required, he is ready to hold meetings with the Fatah leadership, headed by Abbas. “In Gaza... or Cairo... or anywhere. We are ready,” he stressed.
“Reconciliation and unity are urgent demands... We don’t want an alternative to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO),” he added.
PLO officials had previously said that Hamas was seeking to form an alternative to the organization. It had called on all Palestinian factions to boycott a supreme body that Hamas has been trying to form on the pretext of confronting the deal of the century.
In his remarks, Haniyeh insisted that in order to reject and confront the deal, Palestinians must reach consensus on “the vision of a national strategy.”
The strategy will call for quitting the Oslo Accords, restoring national unity through specific steps and launching popular movements throughout Palestinian territories to reiterate their rejection of the proposal. It also calls for bolstering support and contacts with the entire world to stand against this suspicious deal, he explained... However, Haniyeh’s call was met with skepticism by the Fatah leadership.
“If Hamas wanted to counter the deal, it must implement the reconciliation agreement immediately and without delay,” the official told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that the movement was helping in fulfilling the US deal through its prolonging of Palestinian division.

Mid-October 2017, Hamas and its rival Fatah signed an agreement in Cairo to advance reconciliation efforts and restore the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s governing authority over the Gaza Strip. However, the parties have failed to implement the deal, arguing over the interpretation of its details and missing deadlines it set.
The most contested issue between Hamas and Fatah is the future of the weapons of terrorist groups in Gaza. Hamas has said it will not accept any group conceding its weapons. Meanwhile, PA President and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has said he would only agree to a scenario in which the PA security forces control all of Gaza’s weapons.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since ousting the Fatah-dominated PA in 2007 from the territory. (Jerusalem Post, 24-1-2018)

Larijani: "Europe hasn’t done anything for us"
Press TV (Iran), Mon Apr 29, 2019

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani says Iran no longer holds value for Europe’s demands as European governments have let it down in their fighting hostile US policies, pledging that the Islamic Republic will “get even" with the US on its own.
“We are trying to find out why European leaders and the European Union only support us in rhetoric or only [use words] to express regret at America’s actions,” Larijani said during a meeting with Wolfgang Gerstl, the head of Austria-Iran parliamentary friendship group in Tehran on early Monday.
“Sure you might say there are problems because of US pressure and it might sound logical but we look at this from our own point of view and the most important thing for us is that this behavior has raised questions about EU’s credibility and it means that the EU lacks the weight to solve problems,” he asserted.
Larijani said Europe has yet to deliver on the promises it made to Tehran to save the 2015 nuclear deal in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon it last year. “The European Union, too, has taken certain measures but we are yet to see any results,” Larijani said.

Facing pressure from Tehran to save the deal, the EU took months before unveiling the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) in January 2019.
Designed by France, Germany and the UK -- the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal – the measure sought to help European companies circumvent the US bans and continue trading with Iran.
In its initial stage, the transactions channel was intended to be used for selling food, medicine and medical devices to Iran, but efforts are underway by the trio to expand INSTEX to cover other areas of trade, including oil sales.
“The Europeans say the US is threatening the private sector,” Larijani said. “Back then, they also said that they would come up with a clear mechanism for trade and oil in a few weeks but it has already been a year.”
According to Larijani, they first said they would complete the transactions through France’s central bank but then mentioned the Special Payment Vehicle (SPV) and finally set up INSTEX which “has had no benefits for us overall.”
“We will get even with America,” he pledged. “They should know that they cannot keep doing this and pressure Iran and expect us to keep silent.”
"The EU "should not demand anything from us anymore because it hasn’t done anything for us,” he added.
Gerstl, for his part, admitted that the recent developments showed how deeply Europe was dependent on America in various fields. However, he attempted to justify the EU’s conduct with regards to the nuclear deal and US sanctions by noting that the bloc “had no authority over governments specially on businesses.”

Revolutionary Guards General:
Iran Won't Negotiate With US Under Pressure
Sputniks News (Russia), 29-4-2019

Earlier this month, relations between Washington and Tehran deteriorated as the US formally designated the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organisation, while Iran retaliated by blacklisting the entire US military as terrorists.
General Qasem Soleimani, Chief Commander of the IRGC Quds Force, which is responsible for extraterritorial operations, has slammed the US position on negotiations with Iran, stressing that the Islamic Republic won't engage in talks under pressure.
"By putting economic pressure on Iran, America wants to force us to enter talks with this country… any negotiation under the circumstances is surrendering to America and it will never happen", he told the semi-official Fars news agency.
The statement comes just a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested that the country might leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (commonly known as the NPT) if the US continues to escalate sanctions against Tehran.
Despite Washington's measures, Iran has not left the deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement have to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain committed to it.

Russia Vows to Expel Terrorists out of Syria’s Idlib
Al-Manar News (Lebanon), April 29, 2019

War-torn city of Aleppo slowly
coming back to life, 9-4-2019

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the remnants of ISIL Takfiri terrorists and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra front militants continue to stage provocations and are reluctant to abide by a ceasefire agreement in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow on Monday that the terrorist outfits, especially militants from the Fateh al-Sham terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, are constantly breaching the de-escalation zone agreement by attacking civilians and carrying out provocations against the Syrian Arab Army in the troubled region.
The top Russian diplomat went on to say that the Syrian government had every right to protect people living in the country, including Idlib province, which is under the control of al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra front.
There’s a limit to everything. The situation in Idlib and other areas where terrorists are still active cannot go on like this forever. We will proceed from the fact that the Syrian government has every right to ensure the safety of its people on its territory,” Lavrov stressed, adding, “As Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, Russia cannot tolerate these terrorists remaining safe there like in a preserved area.”
He said there is a disagreement over the fate of foreign terrorists captured by the United States in Syria, as the Americans are threatening to release them all, which would be a terrible crime, while the Western countries from which these terrorists came are refusing to take them back.

Syrian army kills scores of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists
in countryside of Idleb and Hama
Syrian Arab News Agency, 29 April 2019

Army units retaliated to breaches of the de-escalation zone agreement by terrorist groups through carrying out intensive operations in Idleb northwestern countryside and Hama northern countryside.
An army unit conducted concentrated strikes against dens and gatherings of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the surroundings of al-Bashiryia town in Idleb northwestern countryside. Dens of the Takfiri terrorists were destroyed in the strikes and a number of them were killed and others were injured, some of them are of foreign nationality. Vehicles of al-Nusra terrorists in the northwestern countryside of Hama were also destroyed.
On Sunday, army units inflicted heavy losses upon Jabhat al-Nusra and the terrorist groups affiliated to it in the personnel and equipment and destroyed their vehicles, dens and fortified positions on outskirts of al-Habit village in Idleb southern countryside.

Isis leader Baghdadi appears in video
Martin Chulov & Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian, 30-4-2019

The fugitive Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has appeared in a propaganda video for the first time in five years, in which he acknowledges the terrorist group’s defeat in the Syrian town of Baghuz. The appearance is only Baghdadi’s second on video, and comes weeks after the remnants of Isis were ousted from their last organised stronghold in the eastern Syrian desert.
Sitting cross-legged alongside a Kalashnikov rifle, he speaks for no more than 40 seconds, and appears to be limited in his movements.
“Truthfully, the battle of Islam and its people against the cross and its people is a long battle,” he says. “The battle of Baghuz is over. But it did show the savagery, brutality and ill intentions of the Christians towards the Muslim community.”
At the end of the 18-minute video, an audio segment of Baghdadi’s voice praises the attackers who carried out the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, which targeted churches and mosques, and killed at least 250 people... Superimposed on a section of the video was a further reference to the carnage in Colombo.
“Americans and Europeans failed as we congratulate our brothers in Sri Lanka for their allegiance to the caliphate,” the text says. “And we advise them to stick to the cause of God and unity and to be a thorn in the chest of the crusaders. We ask God to accept their martyrdom and help the brothers fulfil the journey they started.”

isis 2016

As Isis crumbled, the group’s security arm became ever more ruthless in its efforts to crack down on dissent.
Islamic scholars and jurists who were perceived to pose a threat to Isis’s claim on theological authority were frequently executed.
The killings led to a schism between middle echelons of the group and some senior officials, who surrendered in Baghuz and have since told their captors of increasing rancour in the caliphate’s dying days.
While no longer able to control territory, Isis is believed to be regrouping in towns and villages on both sides of the Syrian border, and planning for a return to the years of insurgency that followed the US invasion of Iraq.

Arab Youth Survey: Religion 'too influential'
in Middle East, say young people
The National (UAE), 30-4-2019

Two thirds of young Arabs believe that religion is too influential in the Middle East and eight in 10 think religious institutions need reform, according to the findings of a major survey.
The 2019 Arab Youth Survey, published on Tuesday, reveals that attitudes to religion and its role in society is changing rapidly among young adults, with a more secular approach becoming increasingly appealing to 18 to 24-year-olds across the Gulf, Levant and North Africa.
A desire to end the conflict in Syria – regardless of whether Bashar Al Assad remains in power – was another major finding.
A majority in the region, meanwhile, now sees the US as an enemy rather than an ally, while Russia’s influence is perceived to be growing.
The annual survey, now in its 11th year and commissioned by the Dubai communications agency Asda'a Burson Cohn & Wolfe, involved 3,300 face-to-face surveys carried out in January across 15 countries and territories. Syria and Qatar were not included this year. Respondents were asked for their views on a range of issues, including current events, conflict and international relations...
The findings around religion were described as “remarkable” by Afshin Molavi, senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.
“This is not to suggest that young Arabs have become irreligious – the data does not show that,” he said. “But it clearly demonstrates that young Arabs are losing faith in the governance of their religious institutions and that they would like to see less religion in the governing of national affairs.”
The results of the survey were “bittersweet”, said Mohammad Shahrour, an academic at the University of Damascus and an Islamic scholar who has been a long-standing and at times controversial proponent of religious reform. They showed that faith remains important to young Arabs, but that the generation also faced a “deep intellectual dilemma” when it came to reconciling conservative teachings with the world they inhabit, he said.
While we see urgency and necessity in fulfilling these calls for reform, religious institutions and leaders turn a deaf ear, quite regrettably, to such demands, under the pretext of safeguarding religion.
Reform could very well be the best approach to preserving and sustaining the faith: “Islam came as a blessing to the world; it is not very wise to constrict it to a narrow 7th-century perspective.”

Meanwhile, the share of young Arabs who view the US as an adversary has nearly doubled since 2016, the year Donald Trump was elected president, to 59 per cent. In contrast, 64 per cent now see Russia as an ally.
Nearly three quarters – 73 per cent – want the Syrian civil war to end regardless of whether Assad remains in power. Around 80 per cent remain concerned about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Iran Wants 'Good' Relations with Saudi Arabia, UAE
by Naharnet Newsdesk,1-5-2019

Iran said Wednesday it hopes to have good relations with arch-rival Saudi Arabia and its allies, and called for an end to their bitter dispute with Gulf neighbour Qatar.
Riyadh broke off relations with Tehran in 2016 after protesters angry at its execution of a top Shiite cleric [Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr] torched its diplomatic missions in Iran.
The following year the kingdom and its allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed a trade and travel boycott on Qatar, demanding that it mirror their hardline policies towards Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
"We have extremely good relations with Qatar, Kuwait, Oman," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, referring to the two Gulf Arab countries which remained neutral in the dispute.
"We hope to have the same type of relations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates," Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue in Doha.
"We also hope that countries within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) could resolve their differences peacefully... We were against pressure on Qatar, we still believe that pressure on Qatar is against international law."
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have repeatedly accused Qatar of posing a threat to Gulf security through its support for "extremism". Doha has consistently denied the allegation accusing its former allies of seeking a pretext for regime change.

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