Saddam's Death, 149 (october 2019)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 150: oct 2019-part 2
and Page 148: september 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? - Labor disappears from Knesset - Settlers from the White House - NO to International Law - Israel & The Three Central Dilemmas - Netanyahu & Neo-Zionism - Secularism & 'Jewish' identity - Pompeo & Christian leadership

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)

Choseness is what binds Zionists together.

To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity.
To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy. Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy....
I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to make them ‘people like all other people.’
Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison, but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement.
The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours. (Gilad Atzmon, 24-6-2019)

Uri Avnery - The Original Sin
Avnery-News, 27-11-2010

Index Page

"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)

Ex-French President Chirac, who opposed Iraq invasion, dies at 86
The Arab Weekly, Thursday 26/09/2019

Jacques Chirac, a two-term French president who defiantly opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, died Thursday at age 86.
As president from 1995-2007 he was a consummate global diplomat even if at home he failed to reform the economy or defuse tensions between police and minority youths that exploded into riots across France in 2005.

attacked by the uk-right-wing media

While he won a convincing mandate for his pro-Europe agenda at home, Chirac's outspoken opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 rocked relations with France's top ally...
The United States invaded anyway, yet Chirac gained international support from other war critics.
As president, he embodied the fierce independence so treasured in France: He championed the United Nations and multipolarism as a counterweight to US global dominance, and defended agricultural subsidies over protests by the European Union.
Chirac ultimately became one of the French's favourite political figures, often praised for his down-to-earth human touch rather than his political achievements.

Jacques Chirac — Arab world’s fast friend in Europe
Ranvir S. Nayar, Arab News, September 27, 2019

In the death of Jacques Chirac, the two-time President of France, the Arab world has lost a dear friend.

MR. Tony Blair sent a personal note to President George W. Bush on July 28, 2002, a full eight months before the Iraq campaign with the opening lines “I will be with, whatever…”, basically throwing in his full support behind an American-led invasion – were it to go ahead, which it did. (Daily Star 2016)

Even before he took charge of France, Chirac had long been in love with the region and had developed strong and long-lasting relationships with all the rulers in the region...
In 1992, during a speech in Cairo in April, Chirac had reintroduced vigor to the French policy to the Arab world in general, but Palestine in particular... No wonder, Yasser Arafat referred to him as “Doctor Chirac” and the closest friend that he had in Europe, or indeed the entire Western world.
One of the landmark policies and decisions that would mark Chirac’s second term and indeed French policy in the Middle East was his rejection of the US-led invasion of Iraq in the second Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Unlike his British counterpart, Prime Minister Tony Blair, who merrily joined the misplaced campaign against “weapons of mass destruction” that Saddam was supposed to have possessed, Chirac firmly led the opposition to an intervention in Iraq.
It proved immensely popular in France and indeed the rest of Europe, in sharp contrast with Blair, whose legacy was dragged in mud for taking Britain into the war.
Chirac played a key role in modulating the policies of the EU towards the Middle East and especially its consistent support to the Palestinian cause and the two-state solution.
Besides Iraq, Chirac also played an important role in the EU policy toward Iran, one of cautious engagement with the regime, in sharp contrast with the policy of the current US President Donald Trump.

Malaysian PM: 'There is no justice in the world'
'Capitalism has gone mad'
Middle East Monitor, ‘September 29, 2019

"It is ridiculous to hang a murderer for killing one person but to glorify the people who are responsible for the deaths of millions of people."

The creation of Israel by seizing Palestinian land and expelling its 90 per cent Arab population is the root cause of terrorism, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his speech at the UN, reports Malay Mail.
The Malaysian PM stated that since the creation of Israel “…wars have been fought in many countries, many related to the creation of Israel. And now we have terrorism when there was none before, or at least none on the present scale.”
The prime minister added that Malaysia accepts the state of Israel “as a fait accompli”, adding: "Malaysia cannot accept the blatant seizure of Palestine land by Israel for their settlements as well as the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel. The Palestinians cannot even enter the settlements built on their land…"
Dr Mahathir also said that the application of the rule of law has been selective:
"The great democrats talk incessantly about the rule of law. But they are selective. Friends may break any law and get away scot-free. Thus, Israel can break all the international laws and norms of the world and it will continue to be supported and defended.
The unfriendly countries can do nothing right. There is no justice in the world."

"In keeping with the objectives of the United Nations, Malaysia launched a campaign to criminalise war.
It is ridiculous to hang a murderer for killing one person but to glorify the people who are responsible for the deaths of millions of people.
Modern wars are total in every way. Not only will combatants be killed but innocent people, the children, the sick and incapacitated are also killed and wounded. Whole countries are devastated, and trillions of dollars lost. In the end, both the victors and losers suffer.
We consider ourselves civilised but we are still very primitive since we accept killing people as a way to settle disputes between nations or within nations.
There are other ways of settling disputes. We can negotiate or submit to arbitration by third parties. Or we can resort to the courts of law – the World Court, the International Court of Justice for example."

He urged greater international control of sanctions, criticising US attempts to force all countries to stop doing business with Iran.
"We do not know under what laws sanctions are applied. It appears to be the privilege of the rich and the powerful... If we want to have sanctions, let us have a law to govern them. The fact is that when sanction is applied to a country, other countries get sanctioned as well. Malaysia and many others lost a big market when sanction is applied on Iran"
"I believe in capitalism. But capitalism has gone mad. They are already talking of making trillions. It is dangerous for a person or a company to have so much money. It can influence things. It can buy power.... "

Mahathir Mohamad,
a Blue & White Man

Mahathir bin Mohamad, born 10 July 1925, Sun in Cancer, Moon in Pisces, is a Malaysian politician who currently serves as the prime minister of Malaysia. He was appointed prime minister in 1981, retired in 2003, and returned to the office in 2018.

Cancer: Ruled by Moon, this Zodiac sign is associated with soft, nurturing and receptive colors like White, Grey, Silver and Cream.
Cancers are the nurturers of the zodiac. They are lovers not fighters, but will always fight for who they love. Embodied by the Crab’s hard shell, Cancer prizes comfort, security, and protection. This sign is connected to the grace and ferocity of motherhood, making them both emotional and intuitive.
Pisces: The colors associated with Pisces are linked with shades of Indigo, Blue and other colors of the sea.
Pisces is the most compassionate and sensitive sign of all. They are able to empathize with everyone, so their friends, family, and even acquaintances will always feel loved and cared for.

Why Are Blue and White the Hanukkah Colors?
BY Amanda Green, December 2, 2018

Hanukkah paraphernalia tends to come in blue and white or blue and silver.
The most obvious explanation for blue and white Hanukkah colors is the Israeli flag, designed by the Zionist movement in 1891 and officially adopted in 1948.
The flag's blue stripes symbolize those found on tallitot, traditional Jewish prayer shawls that are worn at synagogue, bar or bat mitzvahs, and Jewish weddings.
So why are there blue stripes on tallitot? According to the Bible, the Israelites were told to dye a thread on their tassels with tekhelet, a blue ink from a sea snail, "so that they may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them."
In 1864, the Jewish poet Ludwig August Frankl named blue and white "the colours of Judah" in a poem not so surprisingly called "Judah's Colours."
An excerpt: "When sublime feelings his heart fill, he is mantled in the colors of his country ... Blue and white are the colours of Judah; white is the radiance of the priesthood, and blue, the splendors of the firmament."
Blue and white come with universal associations, too. White suggests purity, peace, and light. Blue is associated with the sky, faith, wisdom, and truth.

Ludwig August Frankl: Hey you! Blue and White are the colors of Judah!

The Ephod: Plate Of Judgment

The Jewish high priest wore a vest with a breastplate (the ephod) composed of twelve precious stones arranged in four rows. This was known as "the breastplate of judgment."
The ephod was fastened at the shoulders with two onyx stones. Josephus writes that one of the onyx buttons of the ephod would shine brilliantly whenever God attended their sacrifices.

Josephus & The Mystic (Astrological) Ephod Meanings

In Josephus, chapter VII, verse 7 we learn the inner most understanding as to why the Ephod was designed in the manner that YHWH commanded. It reads and explains, as such:"
"And for the ephod (breastplate), it shewed that YHWH had made the Universe of four elements (Fire, Air, Water, Earth)"; and as for the gold interwoven, I suppose it related to the splendour by which all things are enlightened.
Josephus also appointed the Breastplate to be placed in the middle of the Ephod, to resemble the Earth, for that is the very middle of the cosmos.
"And the girdle, which compassed the High Priest round, signified the ocean (Water), for that goes round about and includes the Universe.
Each of the Sardonyxes (stones) declares to us the Sun and the Moon; those I mean that were in the nature of buttons on the High Priests shoulders.
And for the twelve stones (in the Breastplate), whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand by them the like number of the Signs of that circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning.
And for the mitre, which was of a blue colour, it seems to mean Heaven."
(Info Children of Yahweh website)

Read also: Astrology and Cosmology
in the World’s Religions

"It’s a shocking fact that there has never been a human culture which has not related its myths, institutions and identity to the stars..."

"Four Elements - Dubai Metro Stations

Yemen rebels free 290 prisoners in move hailed by UN, ICRC
By AFP|Jordan Times, September 30,2019

Yemen's Houthi rebels have freed 290 prisoners, including dozens of survivors from a Saudi-led coalition strike on a detention centre earlier this month, the The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday.
The ICRC hailed the move as "a positive step that will hopefully revive the release, transfer and repatriation of conflict-related detainees" under a deal struck last year between the rebels and Yemen's government.
The United Nations' special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, welcomed the initiative to "unilaterally release detainees". "I hope this step will lead to further initiatives that will facilitate the exchange of all the conflict-related detainees as per the Stockholm Agreement," Griffiths said, referring to the 2018 accord.
In a statement, he urged the parties to meet at the "nearest opportunity" to resume discussions on future exchanges.

The Houthis have recently announced the capture of hundreds of Yemeni loyalist forces in an August offensive near the Saudi border, but they were not among those freed on Monday.
Abdel Kader Mortaza, the Houthi official in charge of prisoner affairs, said at a press conference in Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa that they had taken prisoner more than 2,000 fighters in the August offensive near the southern Saudi region of Najran.
Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki Al Maliki on Monday brushed off the Houthi claims about prisoners, calling them part of a “misleading media campaign”.
A government source confirmed to AFP that 200 soldiers were killed in the fighting, but said that the number of prisoners taken was less than the Houthis claimed.

Yemen's warring parties - Sweden 2018

Mortaza described Monday’s release of prisoners as designed to “break the deadlock that has prevailed for several months”.
“This initiative reasserts our seriousness and credibility when it comes to the implementation of the [Sweden] agreement,” Mortaza told AFP.

Jordan: Prince Hassan urges revival of Arab renaissance
By Jordan Times, September 30, 2019

Prince Hassan, president of the Arab Thought Forum (ATF), on Monday called for the revival of Arab renaissance (Al-Nahda) towards achieving development.
Prince Hassan, during a meeting with a number of Iraqi community figures in Jordan organised by Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan and Palestine Safia Talib Al Suhail, drew attention to Arabs' need for self-evaluation, highlighting the brain drain phenomenon and its impact on Arab countries.
He added that conditions are ripe for addressing the stability of “Mashreq” (eastern Arab world), calling for forming a Mashreq team to bolster the concept of serving the public good.
Mashreq's stability and rebuilding require a multilateral approach based on integration and cohesion, rather than differences, bearing in mind the region’s level of endurance, he added.
The prince also urged the gathering to move from a typological approach to a holistic one that takes into account host and affected communities alike, which bolsters Arab citizenship.
To achieve integration, Prince Hassan also called on all active sides to enter into dialogue to deepen understanding and mutual respect, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

A Hardly Known Period in Islamic History
The Arab Renaissance
Soniya Shah Noor, 28-4-2018

Al-Nahda means “Renaissance” or interest in something, especially art, literature, or music.
How, when and what caused this renaissance in the Arab world and what were the factors behind them is what we are here to explore.
Al-Nahda, also known as the Arab Renaissance, began in the 19th century and the early 20th century in Egypt and then spread across the then Ottoman ruled Arab regions of Lebanon, Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
This period in the history of the Arab regions is often regarded as a period of reform and modernization. In traditional scholarship Nahda is seen as a massive cultural shift that was western inspired...
The Nahda itself started simultaneously both in Egypt and Greater Syria. The renaissance in Egypt was more focused on politics, while in Greater Syria it was more directed towards culture.
The Nahda’s main goal was to drive the then Arabic society to secularism, rationalism, urbanism, scientism and individualism.
The major participants were the leaders of that time. They wanted to make the Arab world stand shoulder to shoulder with the western world.

Rifa’a Rafi’ El-Tahtawi was an Egyptian scholar and is widely considered as a pioneer in the renaissance of the Middle East. He learned French and translated a lot of their work in to classical Arabic text. His open-minded modernism was the defining creed of Al-Nahda.
Born to a Lebanese Maronite Christian family, 1819, Butrus Al-Bustani was a polyglot, educator, activist, and the driving force of the Arab renaissance in mid 19th century in Beirut. He founded a school called “Al-Madrasa Al-Wataniyya” or the “National School” which was based on secular principles. The schools served as a launching pad for many to further lead the Nahda and many of its students were pioneers of the movements. Butrus Al Bustani was a fierce secularist and the man who formulated the principal of Syrian Nationalism.
Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī was an Islamic ideologist and political activist who gave Islam a modern interpretation and fused adherence to faith with an anti colonial doctrine, which advocates Pan-Islamic solidity to fight against European pressures. He deduced anything he deemed as dogmatic and corrupt with Islam in his age.
Muhammad Abduh accused traditionalist Islamic authorities of moral and intellectual corruption. He accused the then Islamic authorities for imposing a doctrinaire form of Islam on the masses. He suggested that we all should practice the true Islam of the time of the Prophet Muhammad which was both rational and divinely inspired.

‘Iraq can be a peaceful mediator in the region’: Iraqi PM
Rudaw News [Kurdistan Region], 1-10-2019

Iraq can play the part of mediator between the United States and Iran and between Saudi Arabia and rebel forces in Yemen, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said Sunday during a roundtable interview with journalists.
During my recent visit to Saudi Arabia, I and Saudi leaders agreed that Iraq can be a peaceful mediator in the region, by mediating between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, also between Iran and US,” Abdul-Mahdi said.
“During the Persian Gulf tensions, Iraq had a role in restoring peace to the Gulf with other regional and international partners.”
“Iraq has the advantage of being a peaceful mediator to reduce regional tensions since Iraq has positive relations with all regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, also the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and positive relations with all Yemen parties,” the Iraqi PM said.
Solving the crisis in Yemen would help resolve tensions across the region, he added.
Iraq is sandwiched between the two regional rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, at a time when the country desperately needs friends in the region to support its reconstruction.
Rapprochement between Iraq and Saudi Arabia began in 2015, when Saudi Arabia reopened its Baghdad embassy after 25 years of closure. A coordination council to strengthen the two countries’ relations was established in 2017.

Syria’s new border crossing gives Russia
land route to Mediterranean
By Al-Masdar News Desk, 3-10-2019

With all eyes on Iran’s presence at the Albukamal crossing in eastern Syria, one could forget about the Russian military’s deployment to the area along the Iraqi border.
The military expert and former high-ranking officer in the Syrian Arab Army, Major General Mohammad Abbas, revealed in an interview who benefits from the reopening of the Albukamal Crossing and why the U.S. opposes this.
The United States seeks to achieve its strategic goals of making Russia a landlocked country and not allowing it to cross the Black Sea, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, and to prevent it from warm water,” Abbas said during a telephone interview.
In particular, the former army commander said that Russia will now have a land route that stretches from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean region; this will allow Russia to maintain its influence over a great deal of territory.
However, Abbas believes the U.S. is still focused on preventing the Russians and Iranians from exerting their influence over these. “The United States is engaged in a global war that focuses on Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Baghdad, Beirut, and the Mediterranean,” he said.
He said that the United States has failed to pressure the Iraqi leadership to give up its aims to reopen the Albukamal/Al-Qa’im border crossing, despite the fact it will allow the passage of goods to sanctioned Syria.

Moscow has begun making use of the Al Qaim-Abu Kamal border
DEBKAfile News, Oct 3, 2019

Moscow has begun making use of the Al Qaim-Abu Kamal border crossing between Iraq and Syria, which was only reopened three days ago after eight years of war.
Heavy Russian military vehicles from Black Sea bases, especially in South Ossetia and Crimea, have begun rolling into Syria through the newly-opened crossing, thereby cementing a land bridge from Russia to the Middle East in addition to Moscow’s air and naval corridors to Syria.
Moscow is therefore using the same land bridge as Tehran for cutting through Iraq and Syria to reach the eastern Mediterranean overland.
Russia’s shared presence on this route will make it hard for Israel to attack the land corridor forged by Iran when it uses the same border crossing and route as the Russians.

Russia: Lavrov calls on West to stop playing
zero-sum geopolitical games
TASS Russian News Agency, 3-10-2019

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called on the West to stop playing zero-sum geopolitical games.
"As part of a large-scale media campaign, we are being accused of all the deadly sins, including of seeking to sow discord within the European Union," he said in an interview with the Arabic-language media that was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Thursday.
"It has nothing to do with the real state of things. We don’t operate such categories," he stressed. "So, those who keep on accusing us of anything must stop playing zero-sum geopolitical games, stop dividing regions into spheres of influence and ultimately begin being guided by the generally recognized rules of interstate relations that are committed to paper in the United Nations Charter."
He emphasized that Russia had never been meddling with the affairs of other nations. "This is what cardinally distinguishes us from Washington and a number of other capitals which have made a routine practice of such things," he noted.
Commenting on allegations that Moscow is seeking to weaken the West, the Russian top diplomat said that Russia "has always been open for equal cooperation with all states without exceptions." "Each foreign partner is important for us," he added.

Kilicdaroglu: We will continue to
expose Erdogan’s policies towards Syria
Syrian Arab News Agency, 3 October 2019

Head of the Turkish Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu called for dialogue and coordination with Syria and for unifying efforts to eliminate terrorist organizations, particularly in Idleb Province, indicating that his party will continue to expose the policies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime in this context.
During a meeting of the CHP Executive Committee on Wednesday, Kilicdaroglu said: “It is clear that there is no solution to the crisis in Syria except through political means which entails a joint work against all terrorist organizations which spread in it, particularly in Idleb.”
The concluding statement called upon the authorities of Erdogan’s regime to stop supporting terrorists, particularly in Idleb province, calling for reconsidering all of its policies towards Syria which pose a threat to Turkey.
Kilicdaroglu, during the meeting of the Executive Committee, underlined the necessity of dialogue and direct coordination with the Syrian state in order to solve the crisis in Syria and to overcome its consequences in a way that would reflect positively on the nations of the region.

Iraq: Barzani warns of ‘chaos’
as Iraqi protesters demand revolution
Rudaw News [Kurdistan Region], 5-10-2019

The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region cautioned protesting Iraqis against throwing the country into “chaos,” saying the stability of the state must be preserved. Dozens of people have been killed in anti-government protests across southern Iraq that are now in their fourth day and support for Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi is wavering.
Iraq is in a sensitive state that requires political and security stability. Chaos and damage to security as well as uncontrollable incidents deteriorate the situation. [And as a result] nothing will be resolved and all Iraqi people will lose,” Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani said in a published statement on Friday.
Spontaneous protests broke out on Tuesday in Baghdad and quickly spread throughout multiple provinces. Demonstrators are demanding action tackling high youth unemployment, poverty, poor services, and corruption.
Barzani said Iraq’s problems are the result of decades of “wrong behaviour and politics… of successive governments of Iraq, and no cabinet can resolve them overnight.”
Meeting the demands of the protesters needs the support of all powers and parties, he said, and that won’t be possible without the stability of the state and the rule of law.

Despite a government curfew and shutdown of the internet, “intense” protests are taking place on Friday in Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Diwaniyah, Basra, and Diyala, according to IHCHR and Rudaw’s reporters on the ground.
In an early morning televised address, Abdul-Mahdi appealed to the protesters to give his government more time.
“There are no magical solutions, and the government cannot achieve all the dreams and ambitions within just one year, those dreams that haven’t been achieved through long decades,” he said of the myriad of entrenched problems his cabinet has “inherited.”
The top Shiite authority in the country, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said the use of force against the protesters was “unacceptable” and called for “serious steps” towards reform and against corruption. Iraq is the world’s twelfth most corrupt nation, according to Transparency International.

Establishment and protection of justice

"He who stands up against injustice, should himself refrain from causing injustice to others, and should remember that speaking of justice will be meaningless if capital is allowed rule beyond its limits or influence the process of decision-making.
Political and legal justice remains meaningless without social and economic justice. The fight against the wolves and the corruptors will not succeed, if they have contacts and partners inside the corridors of government and the palaces of the Sultan.
All of this, in order to be achieved, requires the establishment and protection of justice. Authority must have its sward while power must have its own mind, eyes and good conscience."

Saddam Hoessein,
on the occasion of the 34th anniversay of the 17-30 july revolution

"Democracy consolidates relations among people,
and its main strength is respect."
Saddam Hussein, in: 'On democracy'

"Pay attention to citizens’ demands and grievances and do not feel weary or bored by the persistence of these demands, because if you save a wronged person, partially or totally, you will be doing a great service to the people and the principles of your Party.
The sense of injustice is a serious thing. There is nothing more dangerous than a human being who feels he is wronged, because he will turn into a huge explosive force when he feels that no one in the State or in society is on his side to redress the injustice."

Iraqi parliament speaker vows housing, healthcare reform
Press TV [Iran], Fri Oct 4, 2019

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi has vowed to implement plans to generate housing, employment and health “within a time frame”, a few days after sporadic protests against alleged corruption erupted across the Arab country.
Halbousi said in a televised speech that he supported the protesters' demands, promising that the legislature will work on combating corruption, which he said is “as dangerous as terrorism.”
He also said that four days of demonstrations “are an important lesson” to Iraqi officials, calling for an investigation into attacks on protesters.
The official also promised that the government would soon start building apartments for the poor, calling on protesters to stand by the Iraqi government in chasing those “who robbed the money of the people.”
Halbousi further said that protesters should not attack state institutions since the property is for the people, urging people to fight corruption just like the way the nation fought terrorism.

Saudi Arabia considering some form
of Yemen ceasefire, sources tell Reuters
Reuters|Ahram online, Saturday 5 Oct 2019

Saudi Arabia is considering a proposal by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement for some form of ceasefire which, if agreed, could bolster U.N. efforts to end a devastating war.
The Houthis offered two weeks ago to stop aiming missile and drone attacks at Saudi Arabia if the western-backed coalition led by Riyadh does the same, as a step to what a Houthi leader called a "comprehensive national reconciliation".
There was no immediate Saudi acceptance or rejection of the Houthi offer. But Riyadh this week welcomed the move, and three diplomatic and two other sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the kingdom is seriously considering some form of ceasefire to try to de-escalate the conflict.
Yemen's 4-1/2-year-old war, which the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian disaster, has pushed what was already one of the poorest Arab states to the brink of famine.
U.N.-mediated efforts to resolve the complex war have been tortuous, with cross-border strikes by both sides a central grievance for the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen.
Saudi Arabia's vice minister of defence, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said on Thursday on Twitter the kingdom viewed the Houthi truce offer "positively", echoing comments earlier this week by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
The Houthi proposal was a "positive step to push for more serious and active political dialogue ... Today we open all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen...." the Saudi Crown Prince said in a CBS television interview.

Theory and Practice of Human Rights
Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network | Syria | 4-10-2019

On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly, meeting in Paris at the Palais de Chaillot, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
All over the world and at all times, leaders have tried to affirm that men are equal in rights. The oldest known examples are attested to by the cylinder of the Persian emperor Cyrus (5th century BC) - a replica of which adorns the headquarters of the United Nations - which establishes freedom of worship; or by the Edicts of the Indian emperor Asoka (2nd century BC) which prohibited the torture of all animals, including humans....
It is this set of different cultures, and many others, that the United Nations summarized in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It is "universal", not because it is willed by God or derived from Nature, but only because it is shared by the 193 Member States.
For the first time, it affirms that human rights are not only the same in each country, but despite their country (art. 2); something the League of Nations had refused to do in order to protect the colonial system...

From the moment it was signed, this edifice was challenged by the very people who had developed it, in particular by the United Kingdom and its "humanitarian intervention".
In syria Westerners have supported al-Qaeda jihadists in the hope that they would overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. It was an extension of the strategy that worked for them in Libya.
According to the international press, a popular revolution started in 2011 in Syria, which unfortunately went wrong and turned into a civil war.
If this version of the facts could be believed in 2011, it is no longer possible today given the many documents that have emerged. This war had been planned by Washington since 2001 and began in the context of the "Arab springs"...
The primary responsibility of the Syrian Arab Republic was to defend the universal human rights of "life, liberty and security".
This is what they did when faced with hordes of jihadists from all over the world who came to place the Muslim Brotherhood in power.
There is no doubt that criminals have been able to join the police and army of the Republic; that in the confusion of the war, they have been able to pursue their crimes by wearing uniforms; but these behaviours, which are found in all wars, have nothing to do with these wars themselves.

Libya is not comparable to Syria. But eight years after NATO’s operation, we have a clearer vision of what happened.
Muamar Gaddafi reconciled the Bantu and Arabs, put an end to slavery and raised the standard of living of his people considerably. He is described as a dictator although he has not killed more political opponents than Western heads of state or government.
To overthrow the Jamahiriya, NATO relied on Al Qaeda fighters, the Misrata tribe and the Senusi Brotherhood. It killed about 120,000 people.
The next step had been anticipated by many analysts: the standard of living has collapsed, slavery had been restored, and the conflict between Arabs and Bantu is spreading throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Without any reasonable doubt, Muamar Gaddafi has defended human rights better in his country and continent than NATO has.

Hillary Clinton: "We came, we saw, he died..."

Westerners are convinced of the moral superiority of their civilization. So they don’t see their own crimes, which others endure. It is precisely this arrogance that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights challenges by stating that everyone is equal in law and dignity.

Netanyahu has turned too far to the right
Ben-Dror Yemini, YNet News Opinion, 5-10-2019

Not long ago, Netanyahu was considered by his current far-right partners to be on the extreme left because he was willing to consider and even utter the two words "Palestinian state."
As long as he was considered to be a rational leader, careful and measured, the Israeli public supported him, believing his priority was the good of the country. But that has now changed... He has turned too far to the right and the responsible leader is no longer there.
A right-wing that increases funds for ultra-Orthodox institutions for religious learning, promises annexation of parts of the West Bank, pulls the country in the direction of one-state with a diminishing Jewish majority, is no longer a Zionist right-wing, it is anti-Zionist.
When he was finance minister, Netanyahu did not hesitate to confront the ultra-Orthodox parties and their demands for funds. The prime minister of today acts as their personal emissary.
"Who do you represent?" Blue and White members asked the Likud delegation at the start of talks aimed at forming a unity government.
"We represent the ultra-Orthodox and the settlers as well as our party," came the answer.
"Can we discuss issues of religion and state?" the Blue and White team asked.
"No," came the response.
How can coalition negotiations proceed if subjects such as settlement restrictions or funding for ultra-Orthodox projects are off the table?
Netanyahu has lost his magic touch in Israeli politics.
His only success so far is turning his entire party into a tamed flock of sheep.He is a dictator in his own party, and that is not enough to win over the country.
We are now witnessing the start of the collapse of the right-wing.

Ben-Dror Yemini was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel (17-4-1954). He studied Humanities and History in Tel Aviv University, and later on he studied Law. After a short term in the public service, as the advisor of the Minister of Immigration and the spokesman of the Ministry, Yemini began his career as a journalist and essayist.
Yemini writes that he has been mislabeled as a right-winger and that he has a "long track record in the Israeli peace camp". Yemini supports the Two-state solution and opposes the settlements in the West Bank. He argues that the extreme right and the extreme left lead to the same goal of One-state solution.

Flashback - Likud: "The time has come
to express our biblical right to the land"
By David Halbfinger, New York Times, 1-1-2018

"Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith. This turned the much-vaunted peace process into a charade." Avi Shlaim, 12-9-2013

An emboldened Israeli right wing is moving quickly in the new year to make it far more difficult to create a Palestinian state, signaling its intention to doom hopes for a two-state solution to the conflict.
The actions have come on multiple fronts, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party for the first time has urged the annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the nation’s top legal officers pressed to extend Israeli law into occupied territory.
Coming on the heels of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in defiance of decades-old United States policy and international consensus, the moves showed that the Israeli right senses a new opening to pursue its goal of a single state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

We are telling the world that it doesn’t matter what the nations of the world say,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told more than 1,000 members of Likud’s central committee on Sunday.
“The time has come to express our biblical right to the land.”

Idiocy or Perfidy?
How We Get Hooked on Foreign Democracy Crusades
James Bovard, The American Conservative, 2-10-2019

For the past 20 years, U.S. foreign policy has been marked by constant lies and unjustified killings, from the 1999 bombing of Serbia and the 2003 invasion of Iraq to Libyan regime change in 2011 and our role in the bloody Syrian war since 2012. What explains this unbroken record of deadly folly?
According to Ted Carpenter, author of the new book Gullible Superpower, Washington policymakers have been deceived by foreign con men who claim to adore freedom and democracy. [..]
Gullible Superpower swats at some of the biggest connivers of our times. For example, Senator Joe Lieberman claimed that “fighting for the Kosovo Liberation Army is fighting for human rights and American values.” Lieberman did not rescind his endorsement after the former KLA leaders were linked to a scandal involving body snatching and selling human organs.
John McCain was canonized as a saint after he died last year, despite or perhaps because of his endless mania for bombing foreign nations. In 2013, Mother Jones tabulated 13 different countries that McCain wanted to bomb, invade, or destabilize. [...]
Considering the perennial foreign debacles, the question arises: are U.S. policymakers fools, liars, or both?

mccain& lieberman: supporters of ultra right wing religious movements

Gullible Superpowers has an excellent chapter on the Iranian group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK).
That organization ("Anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-American") sprang up in the 1960s and proceeded to kill Americans in the 1970s and large numbers of Iranians in subsequent decades.
NBC News reported in early 2012 that MEK had carried out killings of Iranian nuclear scientists and that it was “financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.”
That was the same period during which a stampede of Washington hustlers took huge payoffs to publicly champion de-listing the MEK as a terrorist organization.

As Trita Parsi noted in the New York Review of Books, MEK “rented office space in Washington, held fundraisers with lawmakers, or offered US officials speaking fees to appear at their gatherings. But the MEK did this openly for years, despite being on the US government’s terrorist list.”
The Obama administration was swayed to cancel the MEK’s terrorist designation in 2012 and Trump administration officials are babbling about MEK’s possible role in ruling Iran after the current government is toppled.
Under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi, the MEK has won considerable support from sections of the US and European right, eager for allies in the fight against Tehran.

The “city upon a shining hill” rhetoric is intended to communicate the idea of American exceptionalism which holds that American values are unique, and that the American government has a crucial role to play in shaping the global order.
Among other things, this involves a proactive foreign policy whereby the U.S. government uses its discretionary power to intervene in other societies to spread U.S. values.
But as Ted Galen Carpenter’s Gullible Superpowers shows, in many cases these interventions have been nothing more than a fool’s errand. Rather than spread values of individual liberty, self-determination, and democracy, Carpenter shows that the U.S. government has repeatedly supported movements committed to just the opposite. Christopher Coyne (Spring 2019)

Trump gives green light to Turkey to takeover N. Syria
By Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post [Israel], October 7, 2019

Turkey will soon move forward with its long-planned military operation to create what it calls a "safe zone" in northern Syria and U.S. forces will not support or be involved in it, the White House press secretary announced early Monday morning. "The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial "Caliphate," will no longer be in the immediate area..."
The move is an extraordinary reversal of US policy that leaves America's allies wondering whether they can still rely on the Trump administration. The statement came after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed in a phone call Turkey's plans to establish a "safe zone" east of the Euphrates River in Syria. For four years, the US and mostly Kurdish fighters have fought and defeated Islamic State in northeast Syria.
The White House decision will effectively displace the partner forces the US had been working with. For more than a year and a half, US President Donald Trump has been seeking to leave Syria. In the midst of the impeachment crisis he has now made the decision to sacrifice US allies in the war on ISIS as opposed to pressuring Ankara with diplomatic means.

The White House looks at the overall picture in eastern Syria, not as one in which the US fought and sacrificed alongside Kurdish partner forces, but as a simple transactional issue.
In this view, the US has no interests in eastern Syria, except the ISIS fighters. This is despite other statements the US has made about stopping Iranian encroachment in Syria...
Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial ‘caliphate’ by the United States,” the statement read.
This brief statement puts an end to almost five years of America's anti-ISIS war in eastern Syria which began with supporting the Kurds who were trapped in the city of Kobani, then under siege by ISIS.
The US began airstrikes in September 2014 to stop ISIS from taking Kobani. Now, five years later, the US is giving Turkey a green light to take over, displace and settle eastern Syria with its own refugees. This comes after Turkey did the same thing in Afrin in 2019 and displaced 160,000 Kurdish people.

US troops' retreat from N Syria 'has begun': Erdogan
Satuk Bugra Kutlugun, AA|Turkey, 07.10.2019

The U.S. troops' retreat from Syria's north "has begun", said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.
"After our conversation yesterday [Sunday] evening, as Mr. President [Donald Trump] stated, the retreat has begun," Erdogan told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga International Airport...
The U.S. on Sunday ruled out any assistance or involvement in Turkey's planned operation east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
"The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS [Daesh] territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area," said the statement, using an alternate name for the terror group Daesh.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists...
Turkey has long decried the threat from [Kurdish PKK] terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people... YPG is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization PKK.

The U.S. used the Kurds
Juan Cole 10/07/2019

The White House is now announcing that Turkey is planning to invade the Kurdish-majority region of northern Syria to establish what Ankara calls a “security zone.”
This is actually a plan for a sort of ethnic cleansing and population displacement...
I am all for the U.S. getting out of Syria. But it should be done in a way that ISIL doesn’t come roaring back and the Kurds who came to the defense of US interests aren’t hung out to dry.

Cemil Bayik - PKK leader
Turkey’s center-right pro-Islam government is terrified of the Syrian Kurds and their Democratic Union Party (DUP), with its “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) paramilitary.
Turkey sees the DUP as no different from the terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). In fact, the Syrian Democratic Union Party does not have a reporting line to the PKK and is a tub on its own bottom.
While Washington considers the PKK to be a terrorist group that has attacked Turkish (i.e. NATO) security personnel, the US does not view the Syrian Kurds in at all the same light.
Both Kurdish organizations are post-communist collectivist organizations, and the anarchist secular left is about as contrary to Erdogan’s ideology of Malls-and-Islam as you could get.
But even more important, eastern Turkey is heavily Kurdish. Ethnic Kurds form about 20% of the Turkish population, and for all of its existence the modern Turkish Republic has feared Kurdish separatism and the loss of eastern Anatolia.
Ankara is afraid that a powerful, armed, organized, U.S.-backed Democratic Union Party will encourage Turkish Kurds toward separatism and left politics.
Erdogan’s solution is to invade Syrian Kurdish territory and drive the Kurds away from the Turkish border, and then to settle in their villages and homes some of the 2.5 million Arab Muslim refugees currently displaced to Turkey by the Syrian civil war.
So the U.S. used the Kurds and will now meekly turn them over to the tender mercies of Mr. Erdogan.

Mevlut Cavusoglu: We will bring serenity, peace and stability to Syria.
Middle East Online, 7-10-2019

ISTANBUL - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that Turkey would "clean up terrorists" in Syria following the US announcement that it would not oppose a Turkish operation against Kurdish militants.
"We are determined to ensure our country's existence and security by clearing terrorists from this region," Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.
Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch a unilateral operation into northern Syria to push Kurdish militants back from its border and allow for the return of Syrian refugees.
"From the start of the Syria war, we have supported that country's territorial integrity and will continue to do so from now on," Cavusoglu wrote. "We will contribute to bring serenity, peace and stability to Syria."

Syria Kurds slam US withdrawal,
vow to defend Rojava ‘at all costs’
Fazel Hawramy, Rudaw News [Kurdistan Region], 7-10-2019

Condemning the US decision to withdraw troops from northeast Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Monday they would defend the Kurdish-majority region, known to Kurds as Rojava, “at all costs”.
The pledge comes hours after US President Donald Trump gave his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan the greenlight to launch an air and ground operation east of the Euphrates River – controlled by the US-backed SDF.
Mustafa Bali, a senior SDF official, accused US forces of failing to fulfil their responsibilities as allies in the war against the Islamic State group (ISIS), “leaving the area to turn into a war zone”.
The SDF was the main coalition partner in the ground war against ISIS, responsible for retaking the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa in 2017 and the last ISIS holdout of Baghouz in March this year. The SDF lost more than 10,000 fighters.
In an English-language press statement released on Monday, the SDF said: “Turkey’s unprovoked attack on our areas will have a negative impact on our fight against ISIS and the stability and peace we have created in the region in the recent years. As the Syrian Democratic Forces, we are determined to defend our land at all costs. We call on our Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, and Syriac people to strengthen their unity and stand by the SDF in defense of their land,” the statement added.

100,000 Jews gathered for Selichot prayers at Western Wall
Arutz Sheva Staff, 08/10/2019

Roughly 100,000 Jews gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem late Thursday night for special Selichot prayers.
The Selichot are a collage of Torah verses in which Jews ask God to forgive them on a personal and communal level.
The mass Selichot prayer event was hosted by the two Chief Rabbis of Israel: Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, along with the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, and MK Gabi Ashkenazi, the chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
“The great flood of people during the past month to the Western Wall Plaza testifies to the deep ties all different groups in Israel have to the Western Wall...”, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation said in a statement.

Read also: The Temple & The Roman Fort Antonia

Turkey to start Syria offensive ‘shortly,’ Erdogan’s aide says
Arab News, October 09, 2019

ANKARA: The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Syrian border "shortly", President Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director said early on Wednesday, as Ankara starts a military incursion in the region.
In a tweet, Fahrettin Altun said that Kurdish militants there could either defect or Ankara would have to "stop them from disrupting" Turkey's struggle against the Daesh militants. On Tuesday, Turkey's military struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce northeast Syria, Turkish officials told Reuters.

The Turkish-backed 'Free' Syrian Army
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (abbreviated as TFSA), officially known as Syrian National Army or simply the National Army, is an armed Syrian opposition structure mainly composed of Syrian Arab and Syrian Turkmen rebels operating in northwestern Syria.
Though concentrated in Turkish-occupied areas, originally as a part of Operation Euphrates Shield,the TFSA also established a presence in the Idlib Governorate during the 2019 northwestern Syria offensive,and consolidated its presence when the National Front for Liberation joined the SNA on 4 October 2019.
The formation of the National Army was officially announced on 30 December 2017 in Azaz. The official aims of the group are to assist the Republic of Turkey in creating a "safe zone" in Syria, and to establish a National Army.
They are strong opponents of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and have also fought the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and, to a lesser extent, the Syrian government's Syrian Arab Army. The TFSA has a law enforcement equivalent, the Free Police, which is also backed by Turkey.

Member groups of the 'National Army':
Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror Brigade, Samarkand Brigade, Army of Grandsons, Conquest Brigade, Tala'a Victory Brigade, Muntasir Billah Brigade, Ahrar al-Sharqiya, Sultan Murad Bloc, Al-Mu'tasim Brigade, Jaysh al-Islam, Northern Storm Brigade, Sword of the Levant Brigade (Azaz branch), Soldiers of Islam Brigade, Ahrar al-Sham, al-Rahman Legion, 3rd Brigade (Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement elements), National Front for Liberation, Martyrs of Islam Brigade, Suqour al-Sham Brigades, Jaysh al-Ahrar, Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib Battalions, Miqdad ibn Amr Brigade, Free Idlib Army, Army of Victory, Islamic Freedom Brigade, Unit 82 SWAT Forces, Free Hayan Brigade.

flashback 2012: trainingcamp-turkey | fsa-rebels

Arab League chief Abul Gheit expresses concern
over imminent Turkish offensive in Syrian territories
MENA|Ahram online, 9 Oct 2019

Arab League (AL) Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit expressed deep concern over Turkish plans for conducting an imminent military operation in the Syrian territories.
In a press statement on Wednesday, an official source in the AL general secretariat described the planned Turkish offensive as a blatant violation against Syrian sovereignty and a serious threat to Syria's territorial integrity.
He warned that a Turkish military incursion would worsen the already fragile Syrian security and humanitarian conditions and give the Daesh terrorist group the opportunity to restore part of its lost strength in the conflict-hit Arab country.
During its last meeting in September, the AL ministerial council condemned foreign interference in Syrian affairs, demanding Turkey to withdraw its forces from the territories of its Arab neighbor.

For the PKK in Syria, the end is here
Daily Sabah Editorial [Turkey], 9-10-2019

Turkey is on the cusp of a historic incursion into northeastern Syria.
On Monday morning, the White House announced that the United States would not stand in Ankara's way, just before the U.S. national security and foreign policy establishment attempted to undo President Donald Trump's decision.
The Turkish people have seen this film before. They cannot stomach the Pentagon's stalling tactics any longer. Before the establishment clouds the White House's judgment yet again, Turkey must deploy troops into northeastern Syria.
By launching an incursion into northeastern Syria, Turkey will crackdown on the designated terrorist organization PKK's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), which forcibly seized the area with U.S. assistance...
People like Brett McGurk, the Syrian PKK's former handler, are responsible for this mess. By mismanaging America's relationship with its armed subcontractors, they made a known terrorist group feel like they called the shots. That a bunch of mercenaries dare to threaten the world today, without consequences, is unacceptable.
The Turkish incursion is also good for the Kurds themselves.Thousands of Syrian Kurds, whom the PKK in Syria forced into exile upon seizing power, learned overnight that the world no longer saw them as Kurds – merely refugees.

Let's face it: Turkey is the only country with a plan. The Turkish president shared his vision for northeastern Syria at the U.N. General Assembly last month, arguing that he was willing to address the root causes of illegal immigration.
Turkey and its Free Syrian Army (FSA) partners have a strong track record on conducting counterterrorism operations without civilian casualties.
Instead of trying to throw money at the refugee problem, the European Union, and the rest of the world, should throw its weight behind the Turkish plan. This is an act of liberation, not occupation.

Wikipedia info: Daily Sabah (lit. "Daily Morning") is a Turkish pro-government daily, published in Turkey. The editor-in-chief is Serdar Karagöz.
Daily Sabah has been frequently called a propaganda outlet for the Turkish government and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). It is owned by a friend of President Erdogan.
Daily Sabah describes itself as "committed to the democracy, the rule of law, human rights and liberty". Despite this official description, Daily Sabah is a mouthpiece of the AKP, and more so a cheerleader for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the current president of Turkey, and an advocate of Islamism.

Syria condemns hostile intentions of Turkish regime
Syrian Arab News Agency, 9 October 2019

Syria condemned in strongest terms the hostile intentions of the Turkish regime and the military build-up at the Syrian borders.
A source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement to SANA on Wednesday that Syria condemns in strongest terms the reckless statements and hostile intentions of the Turkish regime and the military build-up at the Syrian borders which constitute an outrageous violation of the international law and a blatant breach of the International Security Council’s resolutions which affirm respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The source added that the hostile behavior of Erdogan’s regime appears clearly through the Turkish expansionist ambitions in the Syrian territories...
The source continued that the Syrian Arab Republic holds some of the Kurdish organizations responsible for what is taking place due to their subordination to the US project.
They have been warned during the meetings with them against the dangers of that project, but these organizations have insisted on being tools in the hands of foreigners.
The source concluded by saying “Syria reminds that if Erdogan’s regime insists on launching its aggression, it will classify its self as one of the terrorist organization and armed groups.
It will absolutely lose its position as a guarantor of the Astana process and it will deal a strong blow to the political process as a whole.

Flashback - The 'Forces of Freedom'. Will America Partition Syria?
Sharmine Narwani, The American Conservative, May 11, 2017

Turkey launches military invasion
into northeastern Syria against YPG forces
Press TV [Iran], 9-10-2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country’s military forces and the Turkish-backed militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) have launched a long-threatened offensive in northeastern Syria against Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) to push them away from border areas.
Operation Peace Spring will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
“We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists,” Erdogan wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Wednesday.

Turkey calls on Europe to take back IS prisoners held in Syria
The New Arab, 9 October, 2019

The Turkish assault on Kurdish forces in northern Syria has raised fears about what will happen to thousands of Islamic State group fighters currently being held by the Kurds.
Turkey has called on Europe to take back their citizens who were captured as fighters for the Islamic State group in Syria ahead of Ankara's invasion in the north of the country.
Kurdish forces currently control around 20 prisons and camps containing more than 11,000 IS fighters and their families.
"The root cause of the problem there... is that the countries of origin do not want to them back," Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Turkish presidency, told the BBC. US President Donald Trump "was right about this," he added.
"Such countries as Germany, France, Italy, UK, Belgium do not want to take them back, but they are their own citizens. They should take them, try them and follow the due judicial process."
Kalin said Turkey would ensure that Islamic State prisoners were not let loose.
"We are working on a plan with our allies and local people there, like the FSA," he said, referring to the Free Syrian Army, a coalition of militants armed and funded by Ankara.

For months, the U.S. has been urging countries, especially its Western allies, to take back and prosecute citizens who left to fight with IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh. They have also called up upon them to repatriate family members who traveled to or were born into the terror group's self-declared caliphate. (Voice of America, 3-10-2019)

Trump: Going to Middle East worst decision in US history
"The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending"
Press TV, Wed Oct 9, 2019

US President Donald Trump says the United States’ military engagement in the Middle East is the "worst decision ever made” in US history.
Trump made the comments in several tweets Wednesday, referencing the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the false pretext of seizing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s WMDs.

“The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side,” Trump said.
We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. There were NONE! Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home. Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!”

He further suggested that the US withdrawal from northern Syria for Turkey to start its invasion against Kurds amounts to the pullout of only 50 soldiers.
“Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East. Moved our 50 soldiers out,” the US president said.
The American commander in chief, who is under pressure for giving up support for the previously backed Syrian Kurds, also pointed the finger at Europe for not accepting former Daesh militants from their country as a way to justify the US move.
Turkey MUST take over captured ISIS fighters that Europe refused to have returned. The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending,” Trump alleged.

America Doesn’t Belong in Syria
By Doug Bandow, The American Conservative, October 10, 2019

When Syria tragically collapsed into civil war in 2011, Americans had two contending reactions.
One was to stay the hell out since there was little they could do other than offer aid to relieve suffering. The other was to intervene big time in order to transform the Middle East.
Naturally, the president, leading congressional Republicans and Democrats, and virtually the entire foreign policy community chose the second option.

Without seeking congressional approval, the Obama administration embarked on a multi-faceted campaign:

oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who had not attacked or threatened America; find, train, and empower moderate insurgents to create a liberal democracy in Syria; use radical extremists, such as al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra, against really radical extremists, such as the Islamic State; expel Iranian forces, even though they represented a government with far more at stake in the conflict than America and had been welcomed by Damascus; convince Moscow, a Cold War ally of Syria, to advance Washington’s agenda; employ Syrian Kurds to act as America’s shock troops against ISIS; persuade Turkey, which profited greatly from the illicit ISIS oil trade, to combat the Islamic State; pacify Turkey while arming Syrian Kurds, which Ankara viewed as an existential threat; and occupy sovereign Syrian territory until the foregoing objectives had been achieved.

It was the plan of a madman—or an arrogant, officious, ignorant social engineer with no understanding of human nature, the Middle East, or America. [..]

Until recently, around 1,000 American military personnel had been left in Syria, stationed among Kurdish forces that occupy around a third of Syrian territory.
The occupying Americans’ job, explained Washington policymakers, was unchanged: oust Assad, bring democracy to Syria, get rid of the Iranians, bring sense to the Russians, and, until Sunday anyway, stop the Turks from harming the Kurds.
Washington’s ambitions remained ever fantastic even as after its means shrank to near nothingness.
Moreover, the mission remains entirely illegal, without congressional or international warrant. On his own authority, the president entered a foreign war, occupied a foreign country, dismembered a foreign nation, established a foreign security commitment, and threatened war against a foreign government along with its long-time foreign allies.
This is the sort of behavior that the British king engaged in, which the nation’s founders sought to curb by placing the power to declare war in congressional hands.
None of the arguments for remaining in Syria are serious, let alone persuasive. Wishing for a different result does not a viable alternative make.

Michael Jackson: "I'm a Lover, not a Fighter"
The greatest outrage against the president’s decision is over his leaving the Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava vulnerable to Turkish attack...
But nothing entitled the Kurds to a permanent American security guarantee, especially protection from neighboring Turkey, an American ally.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in Turkey, is no friend of the West. Kurdistan is a family-run state. The Syrian Kurdish movement is neo-Marxist and linked to the PKK.
The U.S. can, and should, have sympathy for the Kurdish people and work with their authorities when appropriate. But Washington should act without starry-eyed illusions.

President Trump promised to stop the endless wars. Syria would be a good place to start putting America and Americans first.

Thousands of Iranian Women Allowed
to Attend Football Match for First Time in Decades
Albawaba News, October 9th, 2019

Thousands of Iranian women will attend a football match on Thursday for the first time in decades, after FIFA threatened to suspend Tehran over its controversial male-only policy.
Football's global governing body has upped the pressure on Iran in recent weeks after a fan dubbed "Blue Girl" died after setting herself on fire in fear of being jailed for dressing up as a boy to attend a match. Sahar Khodayari's death sparked outrage on social media...
The Islamic republic has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums for around 40 years, with clerics arguing they must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men.
Female fans were quick to get their hands on tickets to attend Iran's 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cambodia at Tehran's Azadi Stadium on Thursday. The first batch sold out in less than an hour, and additional seats were also snapped up in short order, state media said.
The sports ministry said the 100,000-capacity stadium - whose name means "Freedom" in Farsi - was ready to host even more women.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have only had rare access to stadiums in Iran.

iranian morality police

The ban on women in stadiums is not written into law or regulations, but it has been strictly enforced.
Reformists have welcomed the latest move, but conservatives have come out strongly against it.

Color & Religion
Buddhism: The rainbow of Nirvana

In late May, on the full moon of the lunar month, Buddhists observe Vesakha — the day marking the Buddha’s birth and enlightenment.
Devout worshipers honor the occasion by donning plain white robes for prayer. But their minds and spirits will be a rainbow of color.
In Buddhism, color goes much deeper than surface decoration; it symbolizes state of mind.
Buddhists believe that meditating on the individual colors and their essences is a way to achieve spiritual transformation.
Blue, for example, symbolizes coolness and infinity. Oxymoronically, the emotion associated with blue is anger, but meditating on the color is believed to transform anger into wisdom.
Red symbolizes blood, fire and the life force. It's associated with the notion of subjugation, but by meditating on the color, Buddhists believe the delusion of attachment can be transformed into the wisdom of discernment.
The highest state of all is to attain "rainbow body," when mere matter is transformed into pure light.
Just as the visible light spectrum contains all color, the rainbow body signifies the awakening of the inner self to all possible earthly knowledge before stepping over the threshold to the state of Nirvana.

Syrian opposition chooses Hadi Al-Bahra
to head Constitutional Committee
Middle East Monitor, October 10, 2019

Preparations for the meetings of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC) with opposition representatives in the Syrian Constitutional Committee have started in the Saudi Riyadh on Wednesday. These meetings are scheduled to be held for the first time in Geneva at the end of October.
HNC member Yahya Al-Aridi told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the former head of Syrian opposition coalition, Hadi Al-Bahra, was chosen by the opposition to head the Constitutional Committee.
Born in Damascus in 1959, Hadi Al-Bahra holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from Wichita State University, USA. In 2005 he became CEO of Techno Media.
He served as the President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and was the head of the negotiators in the Coalition delegation to Geneva.
He is currently a member of the Syrian HNC and a member of the political body of the National Coalition.

Islamic groups not interested in fighting Al-Qaeda

In 2013 Hadi Al-Bahra acknowledged the need to combat “extremist thinking,” an apparent reference to jihadists who want to create an Islamic caliphate.

There needs to be a clear and total rejection of any extremist thinking, and of any action that harms civilians, and any targeting of civilians on the basis of religious or ethnic affiliation,” Bahra said.[..]

Many of the biggest Islamic groups, groups like Liwa Al-Tawhid, have said they may not share the ideology of the (Al-Qaeda affiliate) Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but that they are also not interested in fighting them.

Western-backed opposition elects new president
Al-Arabya 9-7-2014

Syria's Western-backed opposition National Coalition elected Hadi al-Bahra, chief negotiator at the Geneva peace talks, as its new president following a three-day meeting in Istanbul, the coalition said on Wednesday.
El-Bahra was born in Damascus in 1959, and spent most of his adult life in Saudi Arabia, where he managed several hospitals and businesses.
While designated as the main body representing the opposition by the United States and other key powers, the National Coalition has little power inside Syria where disparate militant groups outside its control hold ground.

Pro-regime sources confirmed that the regime had chosen Dr Jamila Al-Sharbaji to preside the Constitutional Committee from its side.
Al-Sharbaji is a teacher at the Faculty of Law – Damascus University and a member of the Supreme Constitutional Court. She holds a doctoral degree in constitutional law from Cairo University.
Al-Sharbaji was a member of the National Committee for the Drafting of Constitution set by the regime in 2012 and was a member of the regime’s delegation to the Geneva talks in 2016 and 2017.

Flashback - David Ignatius: A proxy war creates Syrian chaos
By U-T, San Diego, Oct. 3, 2014

Outside efforts to arm and train the Syrian rebels began more than two years ago in Istanbul, where a “military operations center” was created, first in a hotel near the airport.
[Wikipedia: By October 2011, the leadership of the FSA consisting of 60–70 people, including commander Riad al-Asaad, was harbored in an 'officers' camp' in Turkey guarded by the Turkish military.]
A leading figure was a Qatari operative who had helped arm the Libyan rebels who deposed Moammar Gadhafi. Working with the Qataris were senior figures representing Turkish and Saudi intelligence.
But unity within the Istanbul operations room frayed when the Turks and Qataris began to support Islamist fighters they thought would be more aggressive. These jihadists did emerge as braver, bolder fighters — and their success was a magnet for more support.
The Turks and Qataris insist they didn’t intentionally support the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra or the Islamic State. But weapons and money sent to more moderate Islamist brigades made their way to these terrorist groups, and the Turks and Qataris turned a blind eye.
“The operations room was chaos,” recalls one Arab intelligence source. He says he warned a Qatari officer, who answered: “I will send weapons to al-Qaeda if it will help” topple Assad. This determination to remove Assad by any means necessary proved dangerous.
The Islamist groups got bigger and stronger, and the FSA day by day got weaker,” recalls the Arab intelligence source.
The Saudi effort was run until late 2013 by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at that time head of Saudi intelligence. Bandar was enthusiastic but undisciplined, adding to the chaos.
Pushed by the U.S., the Saudis in February replaced Bandar and gave oversight of the Syria effort to Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef. The program was less chaotic, but no more effective in checking the rise of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State.

KSA – USA partnership

prince bandar bin sultan: 2002 & 2018

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

Syria rejects creation of buffer zones in its territories
Syrian Arab News Agency, 15/10/2014

Syria categorically rejects the establishment of buffer zones in any part of its territories under whatever pretext and rejects any intervention of foreign forces in its land. [..]
The Ministry lashed out at the Turkish government for having been, since the outset of the crisis in Syria, systematically carrying out everything that could disrupt Syria’s stability and jeopardize its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Turkey’s government, the Ministry added, has provided all forms of political, military and logistic support to the armed terrorist groups....
The Turkish government’s violations, the Ministry said, demand that the international community, and particularly the Security Council, move quickly to terminate these violations “which pose a threat to the regional and international security and peace.”

Erdogan calls Sisi ‘a murderer’
attacks Saudi-Arabia & the EU
By Al-Masdar News Desk, 11 october 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unleashed a verbal attack against the Saudi and Egyptian governments on Thursday after the latter two states criticized Ankara’s new military incursion in Syria.
“Saudi Arabia has to look in the mirror before it criticizes the peace process,” Erdogan said in a speech during an expanded meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), as quoted by the Anatolia news agency .
Who brought Yemen to this situation, except Saudi Arabia, and the Egyptian president in particular, has no right to speak at all, he is a killer of democracy in his country,” Erdogan continued.
“I will start from Saudi Arabia, and say you have to look in the mirror, who brought Yemen to this situation? How is the situation in Yemen now?" “Yemen is currently suffering from extreme poverty. You have destroyed every place. You cannot interfere with us about the operation we launched in Syria to fight terrorism and preserve the territorial integrity of Syria,” he concluded about Saudi Arabia.
“As for the president of the Egyptian regime. Don’t ever speak about us! You are a murderer of democracy in your country. You are a murderer!” Erdogan explained that Turkey does not accept any kind of criticism about this military operation in Syria.
“Turkey is not fighting the Kurdish brothers in the east of the Euphrates, but fighting the terrorist organization, and that Turkey may be the only legitimate force inside the Syrian territory.”
“We will continue our path, the aim of this process is to contribute to the preservation of the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria.”
Erdogan also criticized the European Union countries, saying “If you try to denounce the military operation as an occupation, our work is very easy. We will open our doors and send you 3.6 million refugees.”
“The EU says it will not send the second the batch of 3 billion euros in aid to Syrian refugees. You have never delivered on your promises and we have not relied on you..”
“Your whole life is a lie,” Erdogan said.

'Operation Peace Spring'
What about the feeling of legitimacy on the Turkish side?
Amir Taheri, Asharq Al-Awsat, 11 October, 2019

For almost four decades, Turkey has been fighting a Kurdish insurgency led by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Marxist-Leninist outfit dedicated to carving a Kurdish statelet in Anatolia.
This 40 years’ war has drained Turkey’s economic resources, slowed down socio-political reform and facilitated the emergence of Erdoganism, a mixture of Turkish chauvinism and Muslim Brotherhood Islamism, as the dominant ideology in the country.
Without that war, some analysts believe that Turkey would have become a full-fledged democracy and a member of the European Union.
The irony in that is that Erdogan and his cohorts were initially swept to power thanks to Kurdish votes as the PKK regarded anyone who stood against the Kemalist ruling elite as an ally.
Erdogan has succeeded in depriving the PKK of any fall-back position, let alone a safe haven, in other lands where ethnic Kurds are present. He has made an alliance with Iraqi Kurds who have shut their autonomous region to armed PKK units.
Erdogan has also reached an anti-Kurd understanding with the government in Tehran ending the PKK’s 30-years long presence inside Iranian territory.
Moreover, the Turks are also building a 48-kilometer long wall on the Iranian border to prevent even small-scale infiltration by Kurdish “terrorists.”
Last but not least...: Erdogan’s plan to create an Ankara controlled enclave inside Syria is as popular in Turkey as Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria is in the United States.

'It was unforgettable': Iranian women rejoice
as stadium ban comes to an end
Rohollah Faghihi, Middle East Eye, 11 October 2019

Stepping out of Tehran’s Azadi stadium carrying a vuvuzela horn, Hoda Mazaheri couldn’t have looked happier.
“When the speaker at the stadium was welcoming the fans and said ‘ladies and gentlemen’, my heartbeat went up and it was unforgettable,” the young football fan told Middle East Eye.
Mazaheri was one of 4,000 Iranian women in the ground to watch Iran beat Cambodia 14-0, the first match female fans have been allowed into since the Islamic Revolution.
In the hours before kickoff, an electric atmosphere surrounded the stadium, as women and girls arrived early and were met with a warm welcome and free fruit and juice.
Aman-allah Gharaei Moghadam, a sociologist and professor at Iran’s University of Shahid Beheshti, believes the presence of Iranian women will have short- and long-term effects in the country.
“In the short term, we will witness mental calmness and happiness in the country,” Gharaei Moghadam told MEE. “But in the long term this will give more self-confidence to women who no longer feel that their rights are being violated, and will also lead to more unity inside the country.”
The sociologist voiced his hope that the female presence in Azadi stadium would lay the foundation for more attention to women’s rights.

Pompeo: US trying to convince Turkey
to stop military operation in Syria
TASS Russian News Agency, 12-10-2019

The US authorities are using economic and diplomatic tools to convince Turkey to stop the military operation in Syria, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in an interview with The Tennessean newspaper. The interview was published on the official website of the US Department of State on Friday.
"Today, even as I sit here, our team, State Department teams are on the ground working to convince President Erdogan, Turkey, that the invasion is not appropriate," Pompeo said.
"We're working to convince them that moving into Syria this way, putting at risk the lives of the Kurdish people and others in the region as well — Christians and other ethnic minorities and religious minorities — that it's a bad idea," he added. "We're using every economic and diplomatic tool to convince them to cease activity," he noted.
When asked why exactly the United States withdrew forces from Syria, Pompeo said: "Turkey made it. Turkey sent large forces across the border into Syria."
"On Sunday night, it was clear [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is going to move in. We had a handful, less than 60 people in that space. They were in no position to remain there and keep them safe. President Trump made the decision to bring them 20 or 30 kilometers back out of that space," he explained.
"We have worked with the Kurds, the United States has worked with the Kurds not just in Syria, but all across the Middle East, for an awfully long time," Pompeo said.
"The Kurdish people here and the leadership in Turkey should understand that we don't think what President Erdogan did was right. It's not proper, and he needs to stop," he noted.
On October 9, Ankara announced the launch of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish positions. The international community condemned Ankara’s actions.

Being a Christian Leader
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee, 11-10-2019

I want to use my time today to think about what it means to be a Christian leader, a Christian leader in three areas:
First is disposition. How is it that one carries oneself in the world? The second is dialogue, talking. How is it that we engage with others around the world? And third is decisions, decisions that we make. How do we make choices? Upon what basis?

When I started my time at the United States Military Academy, there were two young men – they were in the class ahead of me – who invited me to a Bible study. They were very intentional to me in explaining God’s Word. And after some study and discipleship with them, they helped me begin my walk with Christ.

Scripture calls us to be “transformed by the renewing of [our] minds.” And so I keep a Bible open on my desk, and I try every morning to try and get in a little bit of time with the Book. I need my mind renewed with truth each day. And part of that truth is, as my son reminds me, is to be humble. Proverbs says, “With the humble is wisdom.”
Indeed, this disposition is my duty... Pride can get in the way of that. But wisdom comes from a humble disposition.
And one more point on disposition: forgiveness. I love the story of the prodigal son in the Scripture: the son comes homes with his tail between his legs, he knows he’s messed up, and yet his father runs – runs – to welcome him back home... We have an obligation to do the same.
We should all remember that we are imperfect servants serving a perfect God who constantly forgives us each and every day.

And that brings me to a second idea of the Christian leader: dialogue. How we speak, our speech, our dealings with others. For a moment, back to the Book of James: “Everyone should be quick to listen, and slow to speak.”
Every day I engage with foreign leaders who sit across the table from me, or sit in a room, and I try to understand what it is they want. What are their objectives for their people?
Good listening means more than just hearing; it means not rushing to judgment before you hear every side of a particular fact set. This comes through so clearly in Proverbs, which say, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
Let’s make sure we understand the facts. When we have that, we can begin to move forward and heal and solve problems.
I’ve found this in life – truth telling isn’t just a matter of private conversations for me. It’s what I try to do publicly as we lay down President Trump’s foreign policy...

Now for my final thought on Christian leadership. I want to talk about how it is we make decisions, individual decisions in our personal lives, in our family lives, and other decisions as well.
Let’s start with some of the toughest decisions of all: those involving money. The Bible calls us to be faithful in our stewardship of whatever it is that we have been privileged to hold onto, no matter how much or how little.
Think of that famous parable of the talents. The servant called “good and faithful” used what he had wisely...

No matter what comes before you, I pray you’ll help people stay immersed in God’s Word. By remaining humble. By showing forgiveness. By listening intently and carefully and thoughtfully. By not rushing to judgment in complicated matters. By being a faithful steward.
Thank you for joining me here today. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you, all. (Applause and cheers.)

Donald Trump: "Always remain humble."

Arab foreign ministers condemn the Turkish aggression
Amr ElNashar, Ahram online [Egypt], 12 Oct 2019

An emergency Arab foreign ministers meeting, which took place in Cairo on Saturday to discuss an Arab response to the Turkish aggression in Syria, has taken economic and political measures against Turkey.
The Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul Gheit, said the meeting passed several decisions vis-a-vis the Turkish aggression in northeast Syria...
"Turkey's military operation in northeastern Syria has only one name: 'invasion or aggression'. It cannot be passed by any country in the world, whatever the justification," Abul-Gheit said.
The Arab foreign ministers condemned the Turkish aggression on Syrian land, called for a halt to such aggression and the unconditional withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria. They also rejected the imposition of any demographical changes in Syria.
Abul Gheit also said that a series of economic, political, touristic and commercial measures will be taken against Turkey. He added that Turkey must take responsibility for any return of terrorist groups to Syria. The secretary general said there is a need to redeem Syria's role in joint Arab work.
He stressed that there is a need to form an Arab committee to address Turkish interference in the affairs of Arab countries.

Turkey slams Arab League chief's statement
Daily Sabah [Turkey], 12-10-2019

Turkey on Saturday strongly condemned Arab League's chief for leveling allegations against the country's ongoing Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said that Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit becomes a partner in crimes of terrorists and he betrayed the Arab world by accusing Turkey.
In his remarks at the Arab League meeting in Cairo, Aboul-Gheit had described the ongoing Turkish operation east of Euphrates as a "military invasion."
Aksoy said Arab league criticized Turkey rather than a terrorist organization [YPG|PKK] which tried to target the territorial integrity of Syria.

Yemeni official reacts to new
US deployments to Saudi Arabia
Mehr News [Iran], 12-10 2019

Mohammed al-Houthi 2018:
'We want a united and democratic Yemen'
Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, reacted to the Friday announcement of Pentagon for deploying 3000 troops to Saudi Arabia.
It’s better for the Trump administration to develop programs for peaceful coexistence and democracy rather than waging wars and bringing destruction for its allies, al-Houthi said, Alnashrah reported on Saturday.
US should face this reality that an increase in the number of troops doesn’t equal victory in war, he said, adding that what 14,000 military forces couldn’t actualize, cannot be achieved by 3,000 more troops.

The remarks came as the US Department of Defense said in a statement on Friday that the Trump administration would deploy an additional 3,000 troops as well as air defense systems to Saudi Arabia.
"At the request of US Central Command, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper authorized the deployment of additional US forces and the following equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Two fighter squadrons; one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW); two Patriot batteries; one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD)," Defense Department chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in the statement.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said that Saudis are ready to “pay us for everything we are doing to help them and we appreciate that.”
The deployment comes as Yemeni Ansarullah forces launched an attack in mid-September on Saudi oil facilities, seriously damaging two major oil processing facilities.

Yemen: Mahdi al-Mashat stresses
importance of reconciliation team’s role
Saba News [Yemen], Oct 14, 2019

President of the Supreme Political Council Mahdi al-Mashat on Sunday stressed the important role of the comprehensive national reconciliation and political solution team in helping to get Yemen out of the state of conflict..
During his meeting with the team’s members Sheikh Mohammed al-Amir and Sheikh Mohammed al-Ghadir, President al-Mashat confirmed that the State would provide all support and facilities to ensure the success of the team’s work.
The meeting discussed the efforts of the national reconciliation team in the framework of its national move to achieve comprehensive national reconciliation among all Yemeni components.

Wikipedia: Mahdi al-Mashat is a Yemeni political figure from the Houthi movement. After the death of Saleh Ali al-Sammad on 19 April 2018, he became president of the Supreme Political Council. He was formerly the representative of Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, the leader of the movement and director of his office.

Kurds strike deal with Damascus
for gov't force entry of north Syria towns
Mohammed Rwanduzy, Rudaw News, 13-10-2019

Syria’s army have begun advancing towards the Kurdish-controlled northern towns of Kobani and Manbij on Sunday, the Kurdish-led administration of northeast Syria said, after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Damascus negotiated a deal to prevent further Turkish advances in the area.
The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) announced the deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government in a Sunday evening statement.
“This deployment occurred through coordination and agreement with the Self-Administration Authority for Northern and Eastern Syria and the Syrian Democratic Forces,” the statement said.
“To counter and prevent this [Turkish] attack, an agreement with the Syrian government, which is responsible for protecting the borders of the country and preserving Syrian sovereignty, has been reached for the Syrian army to enter and be deployed along the Syrian-Turkish border,” said the NES.
The Syrian Army deployment is to “support the Syrian Democratic Forces to counter this aggression and liberate the territory which the Turkish army and its hired mercenaries entered”, argued the Kurdish authority.
The deal also aims to “liberate” parts of Syria under Turkish-backed proxy control, including Afrin, taken from Kurdish forces in early 2018 during Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.

Wikipedia info: The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), often referred to as Rojava, is a de facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria. It consists of self-governing sub-regions in the areas of Afrin, Jazira, Euphrates, Raqqa, Tabqa, Manbij and Deir Ez-Zor.
The region gained its de facto autonomy in 2012 in the context of the ongoing Rojava conflict and the wider Syrian Civil War, in which its official military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has taken part.
While entertaining some foreign relations, the region is not officially recognized as autonomous by the government of Syria or any international state or organization.
Northeastern Syria is polyethnic and home to sizeable ethnic Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian populations, with smaller communities of ethnic Turkmen, Armenians and Circassians.

Assad forces enter northeast Syria
Fazel Hawramy, Rudaw Net [Kurdistan Region], 14-10-2019

Syrian Arab Army forces have entered Kurdish towns on Syria’s northern border with Turkey following an eleventh-hour deal between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
US President Donald Trump meanwhile has ordered the evacuation of the last remaining Green Berets from northern Syria.
The Turkish military launched a relentless air and artillery campaign against SDF positions in northern Syria on October 7...
The SDF held out for a week before it was forced to strike a deal with the Russian- and Iranian-backed regime in Damascus.
Syrian state media agency SANA said Monday morning that “units of the Syrian Arab Army entered Tel Tamr, northwest of Hasaka to confront the Turkish enemy”. Thousands of civilians meanwhile have fled deeper into Kurdish territory as the fighting intensifies.
“We know that we would have to make painful compromises with Moscow and Bashar al-Assad if we go down the road of working with them,” Mazlum Abdi, the overall commander of SDF forces, said in an op-ed published by Foreign Policy magazine on Sunday.
“But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people.”
Under the deal with the Syrian regime, regime forces are set to enter the border areas stretching from Manbij in the west to Derik (Malikiya) in the east near the Iraqi border, a senior Kurdish official told Reuters on Monday.
Both sides will discuss the political issues later, Badran Jia Kurd told the agency.

Libya rejects Arab League request
to reduce relations with Turkey
Middle East Monitor, October 14, 2019

Libya’s internationally-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has refused to reduce diplomatic representation and stop cooperation with Turkey.
According to the Anadolu Agency, in a statement published on its website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Libya refuses to reduce diplomatic representation and stop cooperation with the Turkish Republic.”
“The ministry’s confirmation came after the issuance of a statement by the Arab League at the level of Arab foreign ministers in which it called on Arab countries not to cooperate with the Turkish government and reduce the diplomatic representation of Arab countries to Turkey,” the statement added.
On Wednesday, the Turkish army launched, with the participation of the Syrian National Army, “Operation Peace Spring” in the East of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, to clear the area of Kurdish fighters and establish a safe area for Syrian refugees to return to their country.

LNA: Turkey is supporting terrorist groups in Libya
Libyan National Army News, 13 October 2019

Brigadier General Khaled Al-Mahjoub said on Sunday that Libyan National Army [an armed group loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar], is considering the possibility of transferring ISIS terrorists by Turkey from northern Syria to western Libya to support militias of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
Al-Mahjoub revealed that LNA has intercepted, during the past few months, the arrival of “hundreds of terrorists affiliated with al-Nusra Front from Syria to Libya via Turkey to fight among the militias.”
He also confirmed that there is “an operations room run by the Turks and Libyan terrorist leaders residing in Turkey to attract terrorists and transport them to Libya as part of the Turkish plan to block the progress of the national army in the axes of fighting.”
In April, LNA launched a military operation to fight against militias and terrorist groups, which have been the main cause of chaos in the capital since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
In response, GNA forged an alliance with these militias, claiming that LNA wants to overthrow Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj.

libya: misrata militias

Turkey has been one of the foreign dimensions in the Libyan conflict since 2011. The role Turkey practises within the context of the Libyan scene is quite diverse, in the sense that it targets various gains, and is empowered by several motives. (Libyan Address|Ahram online, 21-7-2019)

Syrian Army enters Manbij, Tal Tamr in
Hasaka countryside, towns in Raqqa countryside
Syrian Arab News Agency, 14 October 2019

Units of the army entered on Monday evening Manbij city in Aleppo north-eastern countryside.
Earlier, the Syrian Arab Army entered a large number of villages and towns in the southern, southwestern and northern countryside of Raqqa, al-Tabqa city and its countryside and al-Tabqa military airport, SANA reporter said.
Units of the army also entered Tal Tamr town in the northwestern Hasaka. The Syrian national flag was hoisted over a number of state institutions, including schools in the cities of Hasaka and Qamishli.

Erdogan: "Our Arab brothers will return there"
AFP, Damascus Monday, 14 October 2019

Ankara’s Syrian proxies massed on the western edges of Manbij on Monday ahead of a planned attack, said an AFP correspondent there.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who launched the offensive last week, said on Monday that he expected pro-Turkish forces to enter Manbij and Kobane soon.
"When Manbij is evacuated, we will not go in there as Turkey. Our Arab brothers, who are the real owners will return there. Our approach is to ensure their return and security there," he said.
Asked about the deal struck between the Kurdish forces and Damascus, Erdogan said that he did not expect any problems to emerge in the town of Kobani and added that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “positive approach.”
Erdogan said that he expects Russia, which brokered the deal between the Kurds and Damascus, not to obstruct Turkish advances on Kobane.

Donald Trump: Syrian govt., not US,
must protect Kurds against Turkey
Press TV [Iran], Mon Oct 14, 2019

US President Donald Trump says the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other countries should be responsible for protecting the Kurds in northern Syria against a Turkish incursion, not the US which is "7,000 miles away" from Syria.
"Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we protect the land of our enemy?" Trump tweeted on Monday.
"Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!" he went on to say.
In another tweet on Monday, Trump also released a statement to announce sanctions against "current and former officials of the Government of Turkey and any persons contributing to Turkey's destabilizing actions in northeast Syria."
He said he will be soon issuing an "Executive Order" which authorizes the imposition of these sanctions.
He also vowed to increase steel tariffs back up to 50 percent, and immediately stop negotiations with respect to a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey....
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said on Monday in a statement that the Turkish military offensive in Syria has displaced at least 160,000 civilians. Antonio Guterres “is gravely concerned over the military developments in northeast Syria,” the statement said.

Russian defense ministry says it never
discussed operation in Syria’s Kobani with Turkey
TASS Russian News Agency, 15-10-2019

Russia’s defense ministry has refuted media reports that Russia has no objections against Turkey’s extension of the Peace Spring operation into the Syrian city of Kobani. This matter has never been discussed with Turkey, it said on Monday.
"During talks with the Turkish colleagues, issues of extending the Turkish army’s operation Peace Spring into the Syrian city of Kobani were not discussed. Media reports on this topic are not true," the ministry stressed.
Addressing a news conference in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia had taken the idea of Turkey’s liberation of the city of Kobani in northern Syria from Kurdish units quite positively.

Tunesia: Young Tunisians, the Force behind Saied's Victory
Asharq Al-Awsat, 15 October, 2019

Behind the landslide victory of conservative political outsider Kais Saied in a runoff presidential vote were millions of young voters, who describe him as a leader worthy of their trust as Tunisia's democracy takes root.
According to a poll by the Sigma polling institute, around 90 percent of voters aged 18 to 25 voted for political newcomer Saied, massively shunning his rival, business tycoon Nabil Karoui.
According to Sigma's data, Tunisians were sharply divided by age group. The older the voter, the more likely his or her ballot went to Karoui, who swept up 50.8 percent of the over-60s' votes.
"The main reason for (Saied's) victory was the extraordinary mobilization of young people aged 18 to 25," said Olfa Lamloum, director of the Tunis branch of the NGO International Alert, which works closely with young people.
Saied has promised "to challenge the top-down nature of power and to change the rules of the game of politics, which are the root cause for the exclusion of young people", Lamloum said.
For his acolytes, Saied represents "the promise of real democracy, dignity, and a break from a political class that is disconnected from the people and which is obsessed with power and its privileges", she added.

Who is Kais Saied?
Iman Zayat, The Arab Weekly, 19-9-2019

Saied's views are clearly inconsistent. He claims to be in favour of ensuring women’s rights but against gender equality.
He said he respects the law and the constitution but wants to amend, if not completely overhaul, both.
He wants to ramp up the fight against extremists, yet he’s against designating extremist groups like Ansar Sharia as terrorist organisations.
The question remains: Who is Kais Saied? Is he simply a smart strategist with nuanced positions, or a populist who combines the most dangerous elements of both the right and the left?
Saied has portrayed himself as an “independent,” anti-establishment candidate, disconnected from the political, media and cultural elite that the public has grown disillusioned with.
Looking at the candidate’s platform in depth, it is clear that many of his ideas on governance, focused on decentralisation, horizontality, popular assemblies, social economy and direct democracy, are far-left in nature. At the same time, Saied promotes a brand of rigid social conservatism that is far to the right.
It is this paradox -- perhaps a uniquely Tunisian one -- that has created a new political current. Saied is neither an Islamist nor an anarchist. He’s neither a liberal nor a socialist. For now, he simply cannot be defined.
However, to depict the man as a revolutionary leader is equally misguided. During all the long years he spent in academia, Saied never levelled even the mildest criticism against the now ousted regime of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
The real surprise will be who Kais Saied shows himself to be if he becomes president.
Will he garner enough support in parliament to effect real change? Will the man, who seemingly fought the establishment to eventually become part of it, succeed in knocking down the system?
Or will the new outsider candidate prove to be only the next chapter of disappointment for Tunisia’s youth?

Kais Saied (born 22 February 1958) was a professor at the University of Tunis, retiring in 2018.
He served as the Secretary-General of the Tunisian Association of Constitutional Law between 1990 and 1995 and has been the vice president of the organization since 1995.
Saied also served as Dean of the Law Department at the University of Sousse, as a legal expert for the Arab League and the Arab Institute for Human Rights.
Saied was also a member of the expert committee which was invited to offer comments to the draft Constitution of Tunisia in 2014.
In a June 2019 interview with the newspaper Acharaâ Al Magharibi, Saied announced his support for the death penalty. He also made statements that homosexuality, or rather its public expression, is financed and encouraged by foreign countries, telling the paper: "I was told certain houses were rented by foreign parties... homosexuality has existed throughout history, but certain people want to spread homosexuality."
He has taken conservative positions on women's issues as well, coming out against gender equality in inheritance issues, in accordance with the interpretation of religious law.
On the campaign trail, Saied portrayed himself as a man of the people... (Wikipedia info)

Rouhani: Iran ready to restart talks
Press TV [Iran], 15-10-2019

rouhani as an ordinary man

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the country is ready to restart nuclear talks with the member states of the P5+1 group if the United States removes all sanctions it has re-imposed on Iran after Washington quit a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran last year.
Rouhani made the remarks in a press conference with domestic and international media outlets in Tehran on Monday.
Answering a question about the possibility of talks between Tehran and Washington if the impeachment of US President Donald Trump leads to his dismissal and a new president takes office at the White House, he said Iran's problem is not to sit with a US president for talks, but “our main concern is whether our interests are met through negotiations or talks are merely for show.”

“Trump's personal characteristics have made it very difficult to talk to US,” Iran's chief executive said, adding that this is not just a problem for Iran, but for the entire world and all world leaders have pointed this out.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Iran's president said the Islamic Republic is bent on solving regional problems through dialog with all countries of the region, including Saudi Arabia.
Rouhani stressed that Iran does not seek tensions with any regional countries. “We have never wanted to have tense relations with neighbors and even offered a very important initiative at the United Nations, known as the Coalition of HOPE, and this initiative has been presented to eight regional countries," he said.
Asked about Turkey’s ongoing military operation in Syria’s northeastern Kurdish regions, Iran's president said Ankara’s Syria offensive is not a good development for people of the region, the Kurdish people in Syria and the country’s government.
“We recognize Turkey’s concerns about northern Syria, but we do not approve of the way they have chosen to deal with them,” Rouhani said, emphasizing that there are better ways for Turkey to achieve its goals there.
Rouhani said he has told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that “the best solution to Turkey’s concerns about northern Syria is the deployment of the Syrian army in that region.”
Rouhani added that the main goal in Syria should be fighting terrorism, paving way for return of refugees and holding free elections.

Erdogan: World’s failure to act prompted Turkey’s Syria op
Daily Sabah [Turkey], 15-10-2019

Failure of the international community to help Turkey with millions of refugees prompted the county's peace operation in northeastern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

Turkey-FSA: Revolution!
No deal with the left-wingers

In an article he penned for The Wall Street Journal, Erdoğan said no country has felt the pain of the ensuing humanitarian crisis more severely than Turkey since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.
"At a certain point, Turkey reached its limit," he said, adding that the world ignored Turkey's repeated warnings of its inability to tackle the problem of caring for more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees without international support.
"My administration concluded that the international community wasn't going to act, so we developed a plan for northern Syria," said Erdoğan.
"Absent an alternative plan to deal with the refugee crisis, the international community should either join our efforts or begin admitting refugees."

Erdoğan asserted that Turkey has no problem with any ethnic or religious group in Syria.
"From our perspective, all citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic — who don't belong to terrorist groups — are equal. In particular, we object to the equation of the PKK with the Syrian Kurds," he wrote.
The president said Ankara will ensure that no Daesh members incarcerated in the region escape, expressing Turkey's readiness to work with source countries and international organizations on the rehabilitation of foreign terrorist fighters' spouses and children.

Muslim Brotherhood: "We will bring back Islam to Syria"

In the article, Erdoğan slammed several European countries for their failure to stop the influx of foreign terrorist fighters in 2014 and 2015.
In retort to the Arab League's criticism of the Turkish operation, Erdoğan said its statements do not reflect the true views and sentiments of the Arab people. The Arab League "has no legitimacy," he said.
"How much did they contribute to efforts to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria? Which political initiatives did they support to stop the civil war?" Erdoğan said.

Turkey - FSA: enemies of Assad & the left-wing parties

Kremlin envoy calls Turkish
military operation in Syria 'unacceptable'
Reuters, MOSCOW, 15-10-2019

The Kremlin’s envoy for Syria on Tuesday called Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria “unacceptable” and denied Ankara’s operation had been cleared by Moscow in advance, Russian news agencies reported.
Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria, was speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi during an official visit there by Putin.
He made his comments after Turkey ignored new sanctions from the United States to press on with its assault on northern Syria...
When asked if there had been an advance agreement between Russia and Turkey about Ankara’s operation, Lavrentiev was cited as saying: “No. We had always urged Turkey to show restraint and always considered some kind of military operation on Syrian territory unacceptable.”
Lavrentiev’s comments, which suggest growing tensions between Turkey and Russian, came a day after the Kremlin complained that Turkey’s incursion was “not exactly” compatible with Syrian territorial integrity.
The security of the Turkish-Syrian border must be ensured by the deployment of Syrian government troops along its entire length,” said Lavrentiev. “That’s why we never spoke in favor or supported the idea of Turkish units (being deployed there) let alone the armed Syrian opposition.”
Lavrentiev said Turkey’s actions risked upsetting delicate religious sensitivities in northern Syria.
In particular, he said the area was populated by Kurds, Arabs and Sunnis who would not take kindly to their lands being resettled by people who had never lived there, a reference to Turkey’s plan to house refugees from other parts of Syria there.
Lavrentiev confirmed that Russia had brokered an agreement between the Syrian government and Kurdish forces that saw the Kurds cede control of territory to Syrian troops. Those talks had taken place at Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Syria, he said.

Erogoan's Peace Forces: 'The New National Army'
Assad, not Al-Qaeda is the enemy
Ahram online, Bassel Oudat, Tuesday 8 Oct 2019

Opposition forces in the areas of Idlib, Hamah, Latakia and Aleppo announcement that they would merge under the umbrella of a Ministry of Defence in an interim government created by the Syrian opposition this week.
Salim Idris was appointed minister of defence in the interim government, with the aim being to unify military decisions in northern Syria.
In the merger declaration, opposition interim Prime Minister Abdel-Rahman Mustafa said the new unified army, dubbed the New National Army, “will continue to liberate Syrian land from despotism and sectarianism. It will protect the unity and stability of the country and return it to its rightful owners..."
It would defend northwest Syria, fight forces loyal to the regime led by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and help eliminate Kurdish forces in areas east of the Euphrates, he said....
A military officer in the Operation Euphrates Shield who spoke to Ahram Weekly said it was “a crucial step, especially in the light of talk about a political solution to the crisis in Syria.
There must be an organised army for the revolutionaries to safeguard their sacrifices and to participate in building a future Syria without Al-Assad’s henchman and anyone who had committed atrocities against the Syrian people.”

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday that his country would carry out air and land operations east of the Euphrates River in Syria to “establish peace.”

The position of the HTS (The Hayaat Tahrir Al-Sham group), formerly the Al-Nusra [Al-Qaeda] Front, on this week’s merger is unknown, and those who are part of it insist the group will not be targeted, including its welfare arm, the Salvation Government.

Oppositionmember Marwan Al-Nahhas said that “we have no quarrel with the HTS.
[The New National Army] will fight the regime and its supporters, and we hope to avoid any disputes with the HTS.”
It seems that the New National Army will play a role in the Turkish military operations and will not be used to fight the HTS group.

Flashback 2014: Nusra-leader Visits Fighters in Aleppo,
Promises an Islamic Emirate
Syrian Observer, July 14th, 2014

The leader of the Nusra Front, Abu Mohammad Golani has appeared at a high level meeting with most of the leaders and fighters of the Front in Aleppo,promising of the birth of an Islamic Emirate that aims to apply the laws of God.

al nusra figthers 2014

Golani began his speech by praising the organization's fighters and urging them to continue their jihad and defence of the honor of Muslims, promising them to declare an Islamic Emirate in coordination with various Islamic factions and some Free Syrian Army battalions that have signed a charter to apply the laws of God.
Golani revealed that the emirate will not be composed of Nusra alone, but will include other factions that want to join. However, he said the main objective of the emirate is to apply the laws of God and fight against corruption.
Golani asked his fighters to cooperate and work hard on the establishment of the Islamic Emirate which will ensure the rights of all people and the trial of people according to Islamic law.
Golani told his fighters that the Front has tremendous potential to achieve the emirate, urging them to remain steadfast against their enemies; Alawites, Kurdish PKK and the corrupt, as he described them, urging them to have no mercy towards their enemies.

Golani confirmed during the meeting that Aleppo will witness the birth of the first Islamic emirate, and that other regions will witness the establishment of similar emirates, which will seek to break the siege imposed by regime's forces and connect to each other.

Statement from Syria Muslim Brotherhood
We will defend 'the Revolution" against the evil Iranian-Russian plots
IkhwanWeb, Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Defeating the Islamic State of Idlib
The National Interest, 13-6-2019

The Idlib province in northwestern Syria along with adjoining swath of territories in northern Hama and western Aleppo, is the stronghold of Al Qaeda offshoot Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Alternatively, Idlib is emblematic of the failed Syrian uprising that aspired for freedom but devolved into the murderous realm of Salafi-jihadism.
Idlib province was among the first areas to oppose the regime and fight against it. Gradually, Islamist and Salafi-jihadi parties took control of the province and surrounding areas.
In 2017, Brett McGurk, then the U.S. envoy to the coalition against the Islamic State, called the province “the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.”
This largest Al Qaeda safe haven, to borrow McGurk’s appellation of Idlib, was not only the making of Salafi-jihadis. The dynamics among and between the Islamic State and its competitors among jihadi organizations, the regime’s policy of quarantining the opposition in Idlib, and Washington’s singular focus on the Islamic State all served to make Idlib the Qandahar of Syria.

In 2014, the regime began implementing a policy of transferring citizens deemed distrustful to northern Syria.
This ad hoc policy eventually became the standard quo as the offensive gained momentum. Distrustful and “undesired” citizens—as well as internally displaced citizens—were transferred to Idlib.
In some cases, the regime also allowed or forced safe passage of rebels to Idlib. The province, despite an outflow of its residents to safe destinations, has currently an approximate population of three million, nearly half of them displaced from previously opposition-held areas.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, led by Abu Mohammed al-Golani, severed its ties with the Islamic State as it expanded its territory into Syria.
In late July 2016, al-Golani, apparently in an act meant for international public consumption, severed his relationship with Al Qaeda and announced the dissolution of Jabhat al-Nusra and the establishment of a new organization, known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham..
In late January 2017, as the Islamic State faced defeat, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham sought to dominate the opposition in northern Syria. It rebranded itself Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) when it merged with several other jihadi groups in Idlib (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki, Liwa al-Haq, Jaysh al-Sunna, and Jabhat Ansar al-Din).
As a result, Idlib today has the largest concentration of hardened and most unyielding Salafi-jihadis. Estimates of their number vary with the median ranges between sixty thousand and ninety thousand. The leader of the Salafi-jihadi groups is none other than HTS, the last iteration of Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch.
HTS has managed to regroup and re-emerge in early 2019 as the leading Salafi-jihadi organization in Idlib and surrounding areas. It commands thousands of members and reportedly an equivalent number of affiliates and supporters.

The Syrian regime has long wanted to conquer Idlib. But until recently its strategic desire to conquer the last oppositional holdout had been checked by Russia.
Initially, as the civil war raged on, Russia, Iran and Turkey reached an agreement, negotiated in Astana in May 2017, over the creation of four “de-escalation” zones, including one covering Idilb and surrounding areas. The agreement stipulated the cessation of hostilities along with providing better terms for humanitarian access.
Nevertheless, it committed the three parties to combat HTS and other Salafi-jihadi organizations.

National Interest Statement
"Return to realism has seldom been more imperative"

Israel: Shas rabbi promises afterlife to Liberman, Lapid
if they don't form 'an evil government'
By Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post, October 16, 2019

The spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party Rabbi Shalom Cohen has promises Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman and Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid the afterlife if they join a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Cohen’s comments come against the current political deadlock in negotiations to form a new government, in which both Yisrael Beytenu and Blue and White having ruled out sitting in a coalition with the religious parties on their terms.
Shas and its Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox counterpart United Torah Judaism have themselves for a long time ruled out sitting with Lapid, so Cohen’s promise of a place in the world to come for the bette noirs of the ultra-Orthodox community would appear to be a break in that boycott.
“Liberman and Lapid, know that I do not hate anyone,” said Cohen at a “greet your rabbi” event held by Shas with Cohen in Jerusalem Tuesday night.
I welcome everyone with love. I am certain that you did not intend to anger God, just the politicians, and the proof is that you have not been given the ability to form an evil government,” he continued.
“I say here to Lapid and Liberman, if you now join a government with the ultra-Orthodox [parties] you will merit a divine voice which will come forth [from Heaven] and declare ‘Liberman and Lapid are invited to the world to come.”

Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren wants
US combat troops to ‘get out’ of Middle East
The New Arab, 16 October, 2019

US Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren called for the country's troops to "get out" of the Middle East, signalling her support to end a decades-long US military presence in the region.
Warren, who is among the frontrunners to become the Democratic candidate in 2020, said: "I think that we ought to get out of the Middle East", during Tuesday's Democratic primary debate.
The bold remark was later clarified by Warren’s campaign team, who said she was talking about combat troops only, not those in support and non-combat roles.
"She believes we need to end the endless wars. That means working to responsibly remove US troops from combat in the Middle East, and using diplomacy to work with allies and partners to end conflicts and suffering in the region," said the senator’s spokesperson Alexis Krieg.

Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who has gained notoriety for her perceived sympathy for Syria's [president] Bashar al-Assad, came under fire for calling Syria eight-year-long conflict a "regime change war".
"The slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime change war that we've been waging in Syria," the Iraq War veteran declared in the debate.

US forces, including air and naval forces, have been based in the Middle East for decades, in part to ensure a free flow of oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia that have long been a vital energy source to many Western countries.
The US Navy's 5th Fleet, for example, is headquartered in Bahrain, and the Air Force operates aircraft, including fighter jets, bombers and intelligence-gathering planes, at bases in Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait.
The US also has about 5,200 non-combat troops in Iraq to support Iraqi security forces who were overrun by the Islamic State group in 2014.
The number of US troops in Syria has shrunk this year from about 2,000 to about 1,000, and Trump last week directed the remaining soldiers to leave.
Warren has long argued that the US military is overcommitted in the Middle East and mired in conflicts that sap America's strength.

Flashback 2016: Tulsi Gabbard 'Under Serious
Consideration' for Trump Cabinet
By Shushannah Walshe, Nov 21, 2016

"I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives"

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a high-profile Bernie Sanders supporter during the Democratic primaries, is “under serious consideration” for various Cabinet positions in President-elect Donald Trump's administration..
She met with him this morning in his New York City offices at Trump Tower. The Trump transition source said that their sit-down was a “terrific meeting” and that the Trump team sees her as very impressive.

In the House she has broken with Democrats on the Syrian civil war (she supports keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power) and Syrian refugees (she voted for a GOP bill last year to conduct stricter background checks on refugees).
This afternoon she released a long statement on her meeting with Trump...
"I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the president-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government...", adding that she would not let politics get in the way of meeting with the president-elect.
"We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people."

Syrian Army Enters City of Raqqa After Six Years
Press TV [Iran], 16-10-2019

A group of Syrian soldiers walked into Raqqa on Wednesday and began setting up some observation posts, six years after the city was captured by terrorists and militias.
The report came days after Kurdish militias, who seized the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS or Daesh), cut a deal with the Syrian government for army troops to deploy at the border...
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Tuesday Syrian government forces took control of an area of more than 1,000 square kilometres around the Northeastern Syrian city of Manbij.
After reaching a deal with the Kurds, the Syrian Army said it was moving in to secure the strategic border area. The Syrian government troops have reportedly entered several towns and villages in the middle of the Kurdish-controlled part of the country.


The city of Raqqa was captured in 2013 by militants and then by the ISIL. The terror group went on to make the city its de facto capital in 2014. In mid-October 2017, following a lengthy battle that saw massive destruction to the city, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared the liberation of Raqqa from ISIL to be complete.

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