An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C.. Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)
Over politiek holisme
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.
The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ...
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage. ...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions. It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness. Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. ... The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component. Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.
The psychological war
A great part of the psychological war is launched now against Syria. When they failed in the sectarian issue, they also failed in the national issue. They failed in all the issues which have a political aspect. Then they moved to the economic aspect. ....
They are trying to depict Syria as an isolated country, trying to stress this over and over again. But our points of strength lie in our strategic position. If they want to besiege Syria, they will end up besieging a whole region. As for our relations with the West, they talk about an international community. This international community is a group of big colonial countries which view the whole world as an arena full of slaves who serve their interests.
For us, the West is important and we cannot deny this truth. But the West today is not like the West a decade ago. The world is changing and there are emerging powers. There are alternatives. ....
The West is still colonial in one way or another. It is changing from an old colonizer to a modern colonizer and from a modern colonizer during the Sykes-Picot agreement to a contemporary colonizer. It has different forms and shapes but it will never change, which means that we have to turn to the East. We, as a state, started this procedure several years ago, and my visits during the recent years fell under that initiative in one way or another. ..
Asma Al-Assad during the reception made to
the participants in " Woman For Peace " March 2008
The leaders of the Syrian National Council (SNC) as well as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) commanders are not democratic at all, in the sense that they would be favourable to "a government of the people, by the people, for the people", according to Abraham Lincoln’s formula taken from the French Constitution.
Thus, the first president of the SNC was the Paris academic, Burhan Ghalioun. He was in no way "a Syrian opponent persecuted by the regime" since he circulated freely in and out of his country. Nor was he a "secular intellectual" as he claims, since he was the political advisor to the Algerian Abbassi Madani, President of the Islamic Salvation Front (ISF), now a refugee in Qatar.
His successor, Abdel Basset Syda entered politics only in the last months, and immediately established himself as a mere executor of US wishes. Upon his election as head of the SNC, he pledged not to defend the will of his people, but to implement the "road map" that Washington drew up for Syria: The Day After.
Nor are the Free Syrian Army fighters champions of democracy. They recognize the spiritual authority of sheikh Adnan Al-Arour, a takfirist preacher, who calls for the overthrow and killing of Assad, not for political reasons but simply because Assad is of the Alawite faith, that is to say a heretic in the preacher’s eyes.
All of the identified officers in the FSA are Sunnis and all of the FSA brigades are named after historical Sunni figures. The "revolutionary tribunals" of the FSA sentence their political opponents to death (and not only supporters of Bashar al-Assad) and they slaughter the unbelievers in public. The FSA program is to end the secular regime installed by the Baath, the SSNP and the Communist Party in favor of a pure religious Sunni regime.
Adnan al-Arour, a Syrian sheikh and salafist, or Sunni Muslim fundamentalist, who regularly appears on a Saudi Arabian TV show called Wissal. Arour was reportedly a former member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled the crackdown on the group in the early 1980s and has used his platform to promote an Islamist agenda with regards to the Syrian uprising. (Global Post, 19-8-2011)
Adnan al-Arour: "Zu denen, die unsere Heiligkeit angreifen, ich schwöre, die werden wir mit einem Fleischwolf zerhacken und wir werden ihr Fleisch an die Hunde verfüttern." (Parteibuch, 6-12-2011)
The Syrian conflict was premeditated by the West
In the wake of the fall of Baghdad, in 2003, Congress passed two laws instructing the President of the United States to prepare wars against Libya and Syria (the Syria Accountability Act).
In 2004, Washington accused Syria of harbouring the weapons of mass destruction that could not be found in Iraq. This accusation fizzled when it was admitted that the weapons never existed and were but a pretext for invading Iraq.
In 2005, after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, Washington attempted to go to war against Syria, but could not manage it as Syria withdrew its army from Lebanon. The United States then elicited fake testimonials to accuse President al-Assad of ordering the attack and they created a special international court to try him. But they were ultimately forced to withdraw their false accusations when their manipulations were brought to the light of day.
In 2006, the U.S. began to prepare the "Syrian revolution" by creating the Syria Democracy Program. The idea was to create and fund pro-Western opposition groups (such as the Movement for Justice and Development).
In 2007, Israel attacked Syria, bombing a military installation (Operation Orchard). But again, Damascus kept its cool and did not let itself get embroiled in war.
In 2009, the CIA set up tools of propaganda destined for Syria such as the BaradaTV channel, based in London, and Dubai-based OrientTV.
In January 2012, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense formed the Task Force named The Day After: Supporting a democratic transition in Syria, which drafted both a new constitution for Syria and a governance program.
In May of 2012, NATO and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) set up the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development of the Friends of the Syrian People, under German and Emirati co-chairmanship. Therein, the Syrian-British economist Ossam el-Kadi worked out a plan to divide Syrian wealth among coalition member states, to apply the "day after" (that is to say, after the overthrow of the regime by NATO and the GCC).
Revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries?
The armed groups did not spring from peaceful protests in February 2011. These events in fact denounced corruption and demanded more freedoms, whereas the armed groups- as we have seen above- emerge from Islamism....
While the Syrian society embodies the paradigm of religious tolerance, a takfirist current developed within. It provided the basis for the armed groups. These have been richly funded by Wahhabi monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Sharjjah).
This windfall has led to the rallying of new fighters which include relatives of the victims of the massive crackdown against the failed bloody Muslim Brotherhood coup in 1982. Their motive is often less ideological than personal. It springs from vendetta.
Over the 18 months of armed action, these armed groups structured and more or less coordinated themselves. As it stands, the vast majority have come under Turkish command, under the label of Free Syrian Army. In fact, they have become auxiliaries of NATO; their headquarters is even located on the NATO air base at Incirlik. Hard core Islamists have formed their own organizations or have joined al-Qaida. They are under the control of Qatar or of the Sudeiri branch of the Saudi royal family.
Thierry Meyssan: French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. Professor of International Relations at the Centre for Strategic Studies in Damascus.
The United States and Israel make no secret of their goal to bring down both the Damascus and Tehran regimes. ...
It is not easy to be the neighbour of an expansionist and aggressive Jewish state, which believes that its security is best assured, not by making peace with its neighbours, but by subverting, destabilising and destroying them with the aid of American power.
America, the dominant external power, has made many grievous policy blunders. Over the past several decades it failed to persuade its stubborn Israeli ally to make peace with the Palestinians, leading to peace with the whole Arab world. It embarked on catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It failed to reach a ‘grand bargain’ with Iran which would have dispelled the spectre of war in the Gulf and stabilised the volatile region. And it is now quarrelling with Moscow and reviving the Cold War by sabotaging Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria.
International mediator Kofi Annan says he's quitting Syria role. Frustrated by the seemingly intractable Syrian conflict, Kofi Annan announced his resignation on Thursday as the special peace envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, throwing new doubts on whether a diplomatic solution is possible.
In an announcement tinged with bitterness and regret, Annan said he could no longer do the job, blaming his decision on what he described as Syrian government intransigence, increasing militancy by Syrian rebels and the failure of a divided Security Council to rally forcefully behind his efforts.
“I accepted this task, which some called ‘mission impossible,’ for I believed it was a sacred duty to do whatever was in my power to help the Syrian people find a peaceful solution to this bloody conflict,” Annan told reporters at a hastily organized news conference at the United Nations’ Geneva offices.
But “without serious, purposeful and united international pressure, including from the powers of the region, it is impossible for me, or anyone, to compel the Syrian government in the first place, and also the opposition, to take the steps necessary to begin a political process,” Annan added.
Syria expresses regret over the news of resignation of the UN Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan from his mission and his request not to extend the mission, Foreign and Expatriates Ministry announced on Thursday.
"Syria has always declared and proved its full commitment to implementing the plan of Annan.... but the countries which want to destabilize the situation in Syria and voted for the plan at the UN Security Council are the same countries that obstructed and still seek to foil this mission... That obstruction was represented by supporting and harboring the armed terrorist groups leading to the continuation of violence in the country.." (ChamPress 2-8-2012)
Obstructing Annan's mission
Vitaly Churkin, the Ambassador of Russia to the United Nations asserted that western countries have hidden goals in Syria which aren't based on objective information related to the events in Syria. resignation of Kofi Annan, the UN envoy to Syria, blasted the stances of western states whose deeds contradict their statements, citing western verbal support to Annan and their strategy of obstructing Annan's mission.
Ambassador Churkin outlined that Russia didn't receive clarifications from the western states about the western desire to end UNSMIS operations in Syria.
On his part, Gennady Gatilov, the Russian deputy Foreign Minister, said that Annan is a honest international mediator but there are those who want to put him aside as to set hands free for carrying out a military operation.
The letter was organized jointly by the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, both conservative policy organizations in Washington, D.C.
February 17, 2012
Dear Mr. President:
Syria's future is not purely a humanitarian concern. The Assad regime poses a grave threat to national security interests of the United States. The Syrian government, which has been on the State Department's State Sponsors of Terrorism list since 1979, maintains a strategic partnership with the terror-sponsoring government of Iran, as well as with Hamas and Hezbollah. For years, it facilitated the entry of foreign fighters into Iraq who killed American troops. For years, it secretly pursued a nuclear program with North Korea's assistance. And for decades, it has closely cooperated with Iran and other agents of violence and instability to menace America's allies and partners throughout the Middle East.
Equally troubling, foreign powers have already directly intervened in Syria-in support of the Assad regime. Russia is providing arms and supplies to the Syrian government. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah are reportedly operating in Syria, and assisting Syrian military forces and pro-regime militias in efforts to crush the Syrian opposition. In turn, the lack of resolve and action by the responsible members of the international community is only further emboldening the Assad regime.
Given these facts, we urge you to take the following immediate actions to hasten an end to the Assad regime...
Given American interests in the Middle East, as well as the implications for those seeking freedom in other repressive societies, it is imperative that the United States and its allies not remove any option from consideration, including military intervention.
"The plan is to destroy the modern Arab state of Syria"
Dr Makram Khoury-Machool, Palestinian scholar, based in Cambridge, UK
The plan is to destroy the modern Arab state of Syria that emerged after WWI and in the 1940s, and, where possible, to establish new religious states (similar to the Jewish state of Israel).
In this way, Arab power and along with it, the Pan-Arab ideology of Michel Aflaq and Antun Sa’ade (both Arab Christians) and Nasser of Egypt, would disappear.
This process began when, in 1978-9 under Sadat, Egypt signed its peace treaty with Israel, and was followed by the destruction of Lebanon in 1982, the second Intifada in 1987, and the economic takeover of Iraq in 2003. It was then followed in Libya with the seizing of oil and gas in 2011. Therefore, in order to keep the US-Rael (US-Israel) hegemony, the West needs to align states along sectarian lines (Sunni-Shiite) rather than on Pan-Arabism. Indeed, this process was boosted after the occupation of Iraq and the toppling of the Ba’ath party.
In practice, what is now happening in the Arab world is a ‘correction’ of the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, when the main colonial powers, Britain and France, carved out the boundaries of the current Arab states and installed their own Arab agents. These ongoing, neo-colonial plans include provision for any two or more Arab parties to fight the Syrian regime and to keep them fighting until such time as each state is dismembered and fractured into 2-3 states, based on sectarian lines. Then colonial elites can continue to scoop up the wealth because, after all, the imperial mentality has hardly changed.
Since Western powers cannot achieve this on their own, they need agents such as Qatar in Libya and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others in Syria.
These agents, preferably self-serving, undemocratic Arab-Muslim-Sunni monarchies, will use Sunni-Islam to promote fanaticism against other Arabs, Muslims and non-Muslims (e.g., Arab Christians, Shiites and Druze).
Those Arabs with access to the (economic) global elite (for example, the Royal Saudi family and the Qataris with the Americans and other European elites) are, by and large, the ruling elites in the Arab Gulf or their protégés. It is they who are driving a wedge between the various sects and magnifying and exploiting the playing of the Sunni card with non-Arab Muslim Sunni Turkey against Syria.
It would hardly be a surprise either if they were in cahoots with Israel-serving Western powers. Otherwise, it would remain fairly difficult to explain why the most authoritarian regime on earth, Saudi Arabia, is acting against Syria and trying to teach it lessons in democracy, something that Saudi Arabia is not very keen to know much about....
Funding the murderer takfiri mind
BEIRUT, (SANA) – Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the US, Israel and some western and regional countries prevent the Syrian opposition from dialogue to achieve their project of destroying Syria. ...
Efforts to start dialogue between all opposition and the government are in vain because dialogue in Syria is prohibited since the western countries and Israel want to destroy Syria no matter what happens to the armed groups, opposition forces or the Syrian army.
He reiterated that halting violence and returning to dialogue without preconditions are the solution for what is taking place in Syria, adding that those who put conditions reject dialogue.
Nasrallah stressed that Israel and the takfiri mentality are the real threats to the security and stability in the region, adding that many countries and governments are involved in funding this murderer takfiri mind with billions of dollars, deepening wounds in the region and pushing things to the worst.
Since the fall of the Mubarak regime and the rise of political Islamism following the electoral victories of the Muslim Brotherhood, a new potential menace has resurfaced in the security vacuum – the rise of extremist jihadist groups. These groups embrace an extreme Salafist interpretation of Islam, which accepts violence as a legitimate means of realising their demands. ...
For decades, former president Hosni Mubarak and his National Democratic Party (NDP) asserted its legitimacy via the Islamist threat, forewarning of what has now become the political face of post-revolution Egypt: an Islamist political landslide and the rise of extreme jihadist Islamist groups.
Observers believe there are two principal jihadist movements in Egypt, both based in Sinai but with countrywide influence: Takfir Wal Hijra and Salafist jihadism, whose adherents are known as Salafist jihadists. Both factions adhere to an extreme Salafist interpretation of Islam, following Al-Qaeda’s philosophy and goal of re-establishing an Islamic Caliphate.
Takfir Wal Hijra is one of the initial radical Islamist groups founded by Shukri Mustafa to have emerged in Egypt in the 1960s as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the group’s radical ideology, even Muslims that do not share its beliefs are infidels. Salafist jihadism, as termed by renowned scholar Gilles Kepel, was first identified as a threatening phenomenon in the mid-1990s. Experts claim Salafist jihadists are in the thousands and constitute the largest jihadist force in Egypt, openly embracing violence as a means to reach political goals. ...
When questioned about Salafist jihadism’s ideology and goals, the primary issues listed include liberating Palestine and establishing an Islamic emirate in Sinai, which many believe has been partially realised in some areas.
"The jihadists and groups who declare society apostate have infiltrated the tribes, taken up arms and threatened the structure of social custom," declared Ahmed El-Eiba from the Azazna tribe, an activist from Sinai... El-Eiba explained how the Libyan uprising had served to create a vibrant arms market. Weapons are purchased for personal use, or to accumulate an arsenal, such as in Syria or in larger operations that would alter regional security balances.
Dr Abbas Maleki, former deputy foreign minister of Iran and currently senior Wilhelm Fellow on Energy Policy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was an important voice in Iran's foreign policy decision making process for many years. In an interview with Asia Times Online, Maleki sheds light on how Iran conceptualizes foreign policy
KA: How does Iran view the current crisis in the Middle East and North Africa?
AM: We are presently facing multiple crises in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia. These include insecurity in Iraq, on-going conflict in Afghanistan, tensions in the Persian Gulf, the difficulties and uncertainties of political transition in Egypt, chaos in Syria, a crisis of authoritarianism in Bahrain, the Caucasus's unresolved disputes, and the outstanding legal regime problem in Caspian Sea, to mention the salient ones. .... Contrary to the conservative view in the West, Iran's role is not a destabilizer but rather as an anchor of stability in the region.
KA: How do you see Iran's role in Syria developing?
AM: There is a definite risk of Syria's disintegration and endemic chaos, in light of the government's handover of a few provinces to the Kurds, which can spillover into neighboring countries. The Syrian situation calls for a regional solution with all the regional players cooperating to find a peaceful solution for the political crisis that has degenerated into a bloody internal conflict fueled by outside forces.
This could be a lose-lose scenario for regional actors and no one should harbor the illusion of a quick fix. Iran is greatly concerned about the role of extra-regional powers manipulating the crisis in Syria. Tehran understands the consequences of losing its leverage in the Levant, yet this does not necessarily mean that Iran cannot deal with the next government in Damascus. Iran has pushed for dialogue and reconciliation between the government and the opposition and has endorsed the idea of an orderly political transition while simultaneously opposing the foreign script for regime change in Syria.
Iranians are eager to go to Syria for pilgrimage and spend money, Syria needs oil and gas, therefore as a result of interdependence the relations will endure in the future. As for Hezbollah, it is a major political party in Lebanon which has its own various relations with Iran and not all depend on Syria. Still, as a major stakeholder in this particular crisis, Iran is prepared to explore ways to help Syria's transition back to internal peace and tranquility.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday warned against the conflict in Syria descending into sectarian warfare because of “proxies or terrorist fighters” being sent to join the fight, forgetting that this is actually US policy.
“We have to send very clear expectations about avoiding sectarian warfare. Those who are attempting to exploit the situation by sending in proxies or terrorist fighters must realize that will not be tolerated,” Clinton said.
But Washington has been using proxy rebel militias, many of whom have ties to terrorist groups, to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad for months now. So what she really meant was that no one other than the US or its allies better send proxies to fight in Syria.
The US has been sending non-lethal aid, like communications gear and intelligence assistance, to the rebel militias in Syria, while the CIA is facilitating the delivery of weapons from Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Meanwhile, Turkey, a NATO ally, has been providing safe haven to the Free Syrian Army and training them at a secret military base inside Turkey.
The great majority of the rebels are Sunni, a factor which has already – despite Clinton’s forewarning – redefined the conflict in sectarian terms...
Furthermore, many of the rebels have come from foreign countries like Iraq and have ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. They face a growing list of accusations like suicide bombs, torture, and extra-judicial executions.
“The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda,” reports the New York Times. “The presence of jihadists in Syria has accelerated in recent days in part because of a convergence with the sectarian tensions across the country’s long border in Iraq.”
According to one US intelligence estimate, as many as a quarter of the 300 rebel groups in Syria may be fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda, says Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Clinton’s inability to see that her own government’s policies have already been integral in accomplishing precisely what she warns against illustrates her ideological penchant for US interventionism.
The Free Syrian Army
Social network websites picked on Sunday evening images showing the Second Deputy Speaker of Bahrain and a member of "Islamic Authenticity Assembly " Adel Almoawada, the head of Islamic Authenticity bloc MP Abdulhalim Morad, and two members of the Authenticity Assembly Hamad Al-Mohannadi and Faisal Al Ghorayr. The four were attending a military meeting with the so-called free Syrian army.
The MP Abdulhalim said on his twitter account that “Bahraini Kingdom delegation was formed of the clerics Adel Al-Moawada, Abdulhalim Morad, Faisal Al-Ghorayr and Hamad Al-Mohannadi.”
"We deliberately entered in person to deliver the aid of Bahraini people to equip our brothers, the Mujahideen of free army," Morad wrote. (ChamPress 7-8-2012)
Bahrain's government on Tuesday distanced itself from Islamist MPs who visited Syria at the weekend and delivered aid to rebels in the north where they are fighting regime forces.
"The entry into Syria by a number of Bahraini MPs took place without notifying the foreign ministry," the ministry said in a statement carried by BNA official news agency. MPs Adel al-Maawda and Abdulhalim Murad along with former MP Hamad al-Mohanadi and judge Faisal al-Ghurair, all members of the Salafist Asala political association, had said they visited Aleppo and met members of the rebel Free Syrian Army on Sunday. (AFP News 7-8-2012)
According to a recent press report, German intelligence services estimate that nearly 100 terrorist attacks have been committed by al-Qaeda or related organizations in Syria over the past six months. Last month a suicide bomber in Syria killed a defense minister and several top government officials. The US government, which has been fighting a “War on Terror” for more than a decade now, refused to condemn that act of terrorism.
This raises the question of whether the US administration is supporting the same people in Syria that we have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed these same concerns earlier this year when asked whether the US has been reluctant to arm the Syrian rebels. She answered, “To whom are you delivering them? We know al-Qaida. Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al-Qaida in Syria?”
That is a very good question. It clearly demonstrates that the United States has no business at all being involved in the Syrian civil war. In the 1980s we supported a resistance movement in Afghanistan that later gave birth to elements of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. When will we learn our lesson and stop intervening in conflicts we don’t truly understand, conflicts that have nothing to do with American national interests?
What is the New Tribalism?
It is the growth of a politics based upon narrow concerns, rooted in the exploitation of divisions of class, cash, gender, region, religion, ethnicity, morality and ideology, a give-no-quarter and take-no-prisoners activism that demands satisfaction and accepts no compromise.
It is a raw permissiveness that escalates rhetorical excess sometimes even to physical violence. And it is an environment where our political system of limited government is asked to take on social and religious disputes that the system cannot possibly resolve.
It manifests itself in sound-bit attacks and talk-show manifestos, in personal smears and incendiary language. The result of this vituperation and negativity can be disastrous for our political system. ...
Terms like "fascist" and "wimp," "extremist" and "FemiNazi" have become commonplace not only on radio and TV talk shows, but increasingly in our legislative halls.
This erosion of civility in public discourse is only a surface manifestation of the New Tribalism.
Below it are the tribes themselves, small groups of like-minded people who zealously support narrowly focused political issues.
As a former attorney general and one-time candidate for governor of Oregon, I have seen this New Tribalism expressed as an atmosphere of hatred, of raw emotion, of people asking not whether your are going to be fair, but "are you with us all the way" - not with us 95 percent, but with us 100 percent on our own special issues.
Zie ook: American Patriotism in a Global Society
Betty Jean Craige - SunnyPress
"Betty Jean Craige's American Patriotism in a Global Society is a timely analysis of the tensions between globalism and tribalism. She demonstrates how a crude tribalistic nationalism and patriotism runs through the political events of the past decade, including Oliver North's crusade against the Nicaraguan contras and George Bush's war against Iraq, and carefully analyzes the assumptions, rhetoric, and consequences of the continuation of tribalism in an increasingly global world."
Western and Gulf regime support for rebel fighters isn't bringing freedom to Syrians but escalating sectarian conflict and war.
For Syrians who want dignity and democracy in a free country, the rapidly mushrooming dependence of their uprising on foreign support is a disaster – even more than was the case in Libya. After all, it is now officials of the dictatorial and sectarian Saudi regime who choose which armed groups get funding, not Syrians.
And it is intelligence officials from the US, which sponsors the Israeli occupation of Syrian territory and dictatorships across the region, who decide which rebel units get weapons.
Opposition activists insist they will maintain their autonomy, based on deep-rooted popular support. But the dynamic of external backing clearly risks turning groups dependent on it into instruments of their sponsors, rather than the people they seek to represent.
Gulf funding has already sharpened religious sectarianism in the rebel camp, while reports of public alienation from rebel fighters in Aleppo this week testifies to the dangers of armed groups relying on outsiders instead of their own communities.
Al-Qaeda has advanced beyond isolated pockets of activity in Syria and now is building a network of well-organized cells, according to US intelligence officials. Washington fears the terrorists could be on the verge of establishing an Iraq-like foothold that would be hard to defeat if rebels eventually oust President Bashar Assad.
At least a couple of hundred al-Qaeda-linked militants are already operating in Syria, and their ranks are growing as foreign fighters stream into the Arab country daily, current and former US intelligence officials said. The units are spreading from city to city, with veterans of the Iraq insurgency employing their expertise in bomb-building to carry out more than two dozen attacks so far. Others are using their experience in coordinating small units of fighters in Afghanistan to win new followers.
Once operating as disparate, disconnected units, the al-Qaeda cells are now communicating and sometimes cooperating on missions, with a command-and-control structure evolving to match more sophisticated operations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, US officials said. The coordination is sometimes as good as that of Syria's mainstream rebels.
Faced with an ongoing civil war in Syria and needing someone to blame, the US turned its sights on Hezbollah today, saying the Lebanese-based faction is “directly assisting” the Assad regime in the conflict.
The statements charged Hezbollah with playing an “integral role” in training the Syrian military and claimed that they had provided “advice” to Assad regarding the ongoing fight with Western-backed rebels.
As a Shi’ite movement and the ruling party in Lebanon, Hezbollah retains close ties with Syria. Yet the charge of “training” seems odd, since one would not think the rag-tag militias of Hezbollah fighters, experienced primarily in fighting against invading forces, would have much insight for a professional army fighting against a domestic insurgency.
The US followed up the allegations by announcing a new round of sanctions against Hezbollah, notable primarily in that they don’t actually do anything. The sanctions forbid Americans from having ties with Hezbollah, but since they have been on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist list since the 1990's, this ban had already been in place for decades.
Terrorists Assassinate Journalist Ali Abbas in His Home
DAMASCUS COUNTRYSIDE, (SANA) – In yet another attack on national media and its workers, an armed terrorist group on Saturday evening assassinated journalist Ali Abbas, head of the Internal News Department at the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), in his home in Jdaidet Artouz, Damascus Countryside.
(SANA Syrian Arab News Agency 12-8-2012)
Journalist Ali Abbas Paid Final Tribute
DAMASCUS, (SANA, 12-8-2012) – The body of [..] Ali Abbas, head of the Internal News Department at the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA ), was escorted from the Police Hospital in Harasta to his final resting place in Lattakia....
Journalist Shahida Ajeeb said that Ali Abbas joined his colleagues and other sons of the homeland who sacrificed themselves to defend Syria in the face of the war aimed at undermining its people and land. She added that the organized targeting of the national media which SANA is essential part of it came to weaken its national role in revealing the reality and exposing the essence of terrorism against Syria.
The Syrian Human Rights Network condemned the assassination of Journalist Ali Kamel Abbas who works for the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The network called on the international organizations, Reporters Without Borders Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO, the United Nations and the UN Security Council to move swiftly to put an end to these violations.
Aleppo - 12 augustus 2012 - FSA-bendes gooien medewerkers van Postkantoor dood vanuit de Ramen.
De Bendes die naar hartelust worden gesteund door de EU, de VS, Turkije, Saudi-Arabië en Qatar hebben opnieuw hun ware gezicht laten zien door ditmaal medewerkers van een postkantoor in Aleppo op gruwelijke wijze uit de ramen te gooien waarna ze dood terecht kwamen. Ze juichen er zelfs bij.
Wanneer gaan we inzien dat we juist de regering van Syrië moeten steunen in het genadeloos aanpakken van dit soort mensen die op deze wijze omgaan met mensen die het niet met hun eens zijn, of alleen al doden omdat ze voor de overheid werken? (iraansnieuws.blogspot.nl
RT’s correspondent on the ground Oksana Boyko reports that around one-and-a-half million of the country's civil employees have now become targets. Doctors, teachers and municipal workers risk kidnapping or assassination for simply doing their jobs."
“Documents confirm Syria's armed opposition has a hit list with scientists, engineers, doctors and civil servants on it,” Ammar Safi, a plastic surgeon from Damascus, told RT.
A NUN (superior of the Melkite Greek Catholic monastery of St James the Mutilated in Qara, in Syria’s diocese of Homs, for the past 18 years) has warned that media coverage of ongoing violence in that country has been “partial and untrue”. It is “a fake”, Mother Agnes Mariam said, which “hides atrocities committed in the name of liberty and democracy”. ...
She told The Irish Times she was in Ireland “not to advocate for the (Assad) regime but for the facts”. Most news reports from Syria were “forged, with only one side emphasised”, she said. This also applied to the UN, whose reports were “one-sided and not worthy of that organisation”.
UN observers in Syria had been “moderate with the rebels and covered for them in taking back positions after the withdrawal of heavy equipment, as seen so tragically in Homs”, she said.
The “Arab insurrection” .. included “sectarian factions which promote fundamentalist Islam, which is not genuine Islam”, she said. The majority of Muslims in Syria are moderate and open to other cultural and interfaith elements, she said. “Wahhabism (a fundamentalist branch of Islam) is not open,” she added. ..
There is “a need to end the violence”, she said. “The West and Gulf states must not give finance to armed insurrectionists who are sectarian terrorists..,” she said. “We don’t want to be invaded, as in Aleppo, by mercenaries, some of whom think they are fighting Israel. They bring terror, destruction, fear and nobody protects the civilians,” she said. ...
What she and others sought in Syria was “reform, no violence, no foreign intervention.” She hoped for “a new, third way, a new social pact where the right to autodetermination without outside interference” would be respected.
Press TV: Professor Marandi [..], do you think that the majority of people realize what is going on in Syria?
Marandi: Well, obviously the media has been completely one-sided and every massacre that were taking place in Syria before even any evidence being provided, the Western media would immediately blame the [Syrian] government. ...
Not only is the Western media completely biased and providing a one sided story but they are also helping atrocities being carried out by blaming the [Syrian] government for things they have no information about and for, basically, keeping silent about atrocities carried out by the opponents of the government.
Press TV: Professor Marandi, talking about these different entities like Qatar, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, how likely is it, especially Turkey being right there on the Syrian border that is opening a can of worms that may actually backfire on itself.
Marandi: Well, upon history, it will most probably backfire. Thirty years ago Pakistan was a country that really did not have such a serious problem of sectarianism that it does today; and in the 1980’s and the 1990’s largely due to American support and money from dictatorships in the Persian Gulf, specially the Saudi regime; sectarianism began to grow in Pakistan for the sake of Afghanistan.
They were supporting the rebels and so on in that country, but gradually this spread inside Pakistan itself and now we see the horrific crimes that are carried out on a very regular basis in the country.
Turkey can not align itself with Saudi Arabia and other sectarian regimes with extreme ideologies such as Wahabis and so on; and not pay the consequences ultimately.
Seyed Mohammad Marandi is an assistant professor of English Literature at the University of Tehran and head of Department of North American Studies. He is also an honorary research fellow in the Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Birmingham.
"There is no chosen people on this earth"
Amy DePaul interviews Seyed Mohammad Marandi Guernica, 5-2-2008
Guernica: In an interview with Matt Lauer of NBC, you mentioned President Ahmadinejad being mistranslated on some of the things he has said about Israel. How was he mistranslated?
Seyed Mohammad Marandi: President Ahmadinejad said that the Zionist state of Israel should no longer exist as a political entity. This has always been the policy of successive Iranian governments such as those of President Khatami and President Rafsanjani. In general, Iranians believe that all Palestinians have the right to return home and that there is no chosen people on this earth, whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian.
Iran had the same policy towards apartheid South Africa and at the time when it was supporting and funding the ANC [African National Congress] among other groups in South Africa, these groups were also considered to be terrorist organizations by many western governments. It is ludicrous to believe that he meant nuclear weapons can be used. It is truly fearful to see how the mainstream media in the west can construct an adversary and that there are so few dissenting voices.
Guernica: What’s the most important point you’d like Americans to know about Iran?
Seyed Mohammad Marandi: Americans should know that Iranians are just as decent, human and rational as other human beings. Sadly, the mainstream media in the U.S. regularly fails to recognize and reflect this.
People's Assembly Human Rights Committee Discusses Draft Charter
Syrian Arab News Agency, 13-8-2012
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – The People's Assembly General Freedoms and Human Rights Committee on Monday discussed its draft charter in preparation for approving it...
The General Freedoms and Human Rights Committee is one of four new permanent committees at the People's Assembly which joins the 12 existing committees. It is charged with looking into everything pertaining to protecting citizens' freedoms and human rights based on article 33 of the constitution.
Chairman of the Committee, Bade'a Saqer, reviewed the draft work guide of the Committee, affirming that it is an independent entity that is subject only to the supervision of the People's Assembly via reports.
Saqer said that human rights are inherent, not earned, and human cannot live without them as all people are born free, explaining that the Committee aims to fulfill a number of goals listed in the constitution, particularly ensuring that all executive authorities in the state establishments conform to the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in addition to formulating legislations to improve the state of freedoms.
He went on to add that other goals include preparing an annual report to the Assembly on the state of freedoms in Syria, studying the conditions of people detained for criminal and political reasons, monitoring illegal detainment, and working to spread the culture of freedoms and human rights.
Saqer said that the Committee members will establish direct and indirect contact with people to receive complaints, and that they will also work to protect cultural rights and intellectual, cultural and religious pluralism ...
The members affirmed that this Committee is one of the most important of the new committees and is the first such committee in an Arab parliament, adding that there's a distorted image of Syria being spread abroad regarding freedoms and human rights violations, and that the Committee should relay the truth about what is happening in Syria in this field.
Sweden’s minister for defence Karin Enström, slammed by human rights organizations for refusing to call Saudi Arabia a "dictatorship", has been forced to change her mind on the issue.
“We don’t make up lists of countries, but it is clear that it isn’t a democracy,” Enström told national broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) on Monday morning.
Saudi Arabia is once again at the very top of organization Freedom House’s list of the “Worst of the worst” most repressive societies. There are no general elections in the country, women are not allowed to drive a car and flogging and amputation are generally approved penalties, according to daily Aftonbladet. ...
In the foreign ministry’s description of Saudi Arabia, the word “dictatorship” isn’t used. Instead it states that the country is “an absolute monarchy without an elected, democratic representation or political parties”. ...
However, Enström was on Monday criticized for her unwillingness to use the word "dictatorship", both by members of the opposition and by her own government colleague, minister for education, Jan Björklund. "Saudi Arabia is one of the world's worst dictatorships and there should be no confusion as to Sweden's stand on that," he told TT.
Barack Obama: "There is no big move towards democracy in Qatar...."
I had the Emir of Qatar come by the Oval Office today. He owns Al Jazeera basically, pretty influential guy. He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform - you’re seeing it on Al Jazeera.
Now, he himself is not reforming significantly (laughter from the audience). There is no big move towards democracy in Qatar.
You know part of the reason is that the per capita income of Qatar is $145,000 a year. That will dampen a lot of conflict (quiet laughter)... (FoxNews 15-4-2011)
De Vrijwilligerscentrale Amsterdam heeft besloten om niet langer samen te werken met de mediawerkgroep Syrië met als hoofdreden dat de berichtgeving van de mediawerkgroep niet strookt met het perspectief van de vrijwilligerscentrale die zich in deze schaart aan de zijde van de Nederlandse regering.
Zoals bekend is Nederland een van de landen die felle voorstanders zijn voor steun aan de FSA (Free Syria Army) -rebellen. Zij sturen samen met de rest van de EU, Saudi-Arabië, Qatar, Turkije en de VS aan op een gewelddadige val van de regering in Syrië.
De Mediawerkgroep Syrië bestaat uit vrijwilligers uit Vlaanderen en Nederland; zowel Syriërs als niet-Syriërs die tekortkomingen in de media aankaarten. We komen op voor het zelfbeschikkingsrecht van het Syrische volk en het respecteren van de Syrische soevereiniteit volgens het internationaal recht.
While the al-Qaeda presence fighting alongside US-backed rebels in Syria has been known for some time now, US intelligence officials are increasingly concerned about the terrorist group’s dramatic growth within Syria’s opposition. ....
“Al-Qaeda has advanced beyond isolated pockets of activity in Syria and now is building a network of well-organized cells, according to US intelligence officials, who fear the terrorists could be on the verge of establishing an Iraq-like foothold that would be hard to defeat if rebels eventually oust President Bashar Assad,” the Associated Press reports.
The fact that intelligence officials are increasingly speaking to the press, albeit anonymously, about aiding al-Qaeda in Syria shows the growing concern in Washington for such an absurd policy.
Russia: "overt blackmail” - “crude contradiction of international law
by John Glaser, August 13, 2012
Russia sharply criticized the US-led international sanctions on Iran’s economy on Monday, calling them ”overt blackmail” and a “crude contradiction of international law,” and warning that they could harm bilateral relations with Moscow.
“We are talking about restrictive measures not only against Iran but also affecting foreign companies and individuals working with it, including in the hydrocarbon extraction and transport, petrochemicals, finance and insurance industries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Obama administration has led an effort to internationalize the economic sanctions on Iran, not only blocking trade with US companies but others based all around the world. The measures, essentially economic warfare, have been crippling Iran’s economy, arresting the flow of credit, and blocking important pharmaceuticals and medical care, putting tens of thousands of sick Iranians at risk.
But the measures are also affecting international trade, raising concerns in Russia.
“We consider efforts to…impose internal American legislation on the entire world completely unacceptable,” the statement added. “We reject methods of overt blackmail that the United States resorts to in relation to the companies and banks of other countries.”
“Those in Washington should take into account that our bilateral relations will suffer seriously if Russian operators … come under the effects of the American restrictions,” the ministry said.
In the name of making a PR performance of their moral resolve, Western governments are meddling in Syria in an ever-more lethal way.
For a textbook example of how Western meddling in other states’ affairs makes bad situations worse, look no further than Syria.
In a country that was already being rocked by violent clashes, Western grandstanding has had the effect of upping the ante and intensifying the violence. In the name of scoring some cheap PR points and giving vent to their ‘moral impulse’, a motley crew of immature foreign-policy wonks and narcissistic commentators have backed, with both words and weapons, Syria’s rebels. In the process, they have effectively sanctioned sectarianism, given their blessing to the Balkanisation of Syria, through boosting one side and isolating the other in what is an increasingly ugly ethnic conflict.
Western leaders like William Hague, the UK foreign secretary who last week announced that Britain would salve ‘the conscience of humanity’ by sending equipment to Syria’s oppositionists, depict the Syrian conflict as a clash between bad guys and good guys. On one side there stands Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime.... And on the other side stand what Hague describes as ‘rebels’ and what US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has called the ‘legitimate representatives of Syrians’ - that is, the anti-Assad movement...
Recent history - stretching from Kosovo in 1999 to Darfur in 2006 - suggests we should be very sceptical when Western observers seek to convince us that complex conflicts overseas are in fact fantastically clear-cut stand-offs between, as one commentator characterises it in relation to Syria, ‘an evil dictator and noble freedom fighters’. Such infantile moralism is almost always a prelude to either direct or indirect Western intervention, allowing for the casual demonisation of one group of people and the blinkered elevation of another. ...
"...the conscience of humanity...’
In his statement last week, in which he announced that Britain would give £5million worth of ‘non-lethal assistance’ to Syrian rebels, Hague described what Assad is doing as ‘an affront to the conscience of humanity’ and implied that groups like the FSA were all about redressing this affront. In truth, the FSA is not a representative or even coherent liberation army - it is a loose, unpredictable collection of former Assad generals, foreign fighters and hardline religious groups. ...
In an ethnically divided country like Syria, it is inevitable that such a loose franchise would attract all manner of anti-Assad elements that have less than glorious motivations. ...
Why has the West meddled in Syria in this way. It hasn’t done so in pursuit of any grand regional aims, but rather as an act of political PR, spin, in an attempt to demonstrate that it represents the ‘conscience of humanity’. ...
Western observers are increasingly treating Syria, not as a country in a serious conflict, surrounded by a host of other, potentially volatile countries, but merely as a ‘test’ of their own resolve. We must intervene in order to demonstrate our ‘moral impulse’, says a former speechwriter for Tony Blair; Syria is the ‘biggest historical, political and moral test’ of our generation, says Bernard-Henri Lévy...
Bereft of any rational realpolitik outlook, and consumed by a desire to make a PR performance of their inner determination and decency, it seems Western narcissists and foreign-policy fools are more than happy to throw yet more petrol on Syria’s sectarian fire. (spiked-online 2012)
BEIJING — China on Wednesday accused some Western countries of seeking regime change in Syria and blamed their increasing support for rebel forces in the civil war there as hurting the solidarity of the U.N. Security Council. The remarks in the official People’s Daily newspaper came as China hosted Buthaina Shaaban, an envoy of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, for talks. ...
The Communist Party’s People’s Daily repeated China’s position that the only solution to the Syrian crisis is a political one and criticized some Western countries’ open discussion of a no-fly zone as undermining a multilateral approach led by outgoing U.N. peace envoy Kofi Annan.
“This destroys the internal unity of the Security Council, causing the international community to be unable to reach consensus and for Annan’s mediation efforts to be unable to play a role,” the paper said in a commentary.
Unlike Russia, China does not have longstanding strategic ties to Assad’s government, but Beijing opposes setting precedents that could potentially be applied to its troubled western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. China feels burned by Western intervention in Libya, believing that the U.S. and European powers over-interpreted a U.N. resolution to attack the government of Moammar Gadhafi, not just protect Libyan civilians.
In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said plans to set up a no-fly zone over parts of Syria were “not on the front burner” ...
Born in Homs and a member of the Baath Party since the age of 16, she was educated in Britain and obtained her Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Warwick. She is currently the political and media adviser to the President of Syria. In August 2011, the US sanctioned Shaaban together with other Syrian officials.
Platform voor eerlijke berichtgeving
Op 14 augustus 2012 werd het Platform voor Eerlijke Berichtgeving over Syrië opgericht. ... Wie zich aan wil sluiten bij dit platform kan een mailtje sturen met als onderwerp ‘Inschrijving Platform’ met vermelding van het webadres van zijn/haar medium en een contactmailadres. Ga naar de website door hier te klikken
Washington, London and Paris now agree that efforts to encourage a unified opposition around the exile-led Syrian National Council (SNC) have failed, and are now seeking to cultivate more direct links with internal Syrian groups. ...
A Syrian financier linked to the opposition warned that the FSA would remain divided as long as it relied on multiple, uncoordinated sources of funding. "The local brigade commanders on the ground swear allegiance to whoever supports them and the expat community sending them money is completely divided," the financier said.
"These are [Syrian] expats in the States and the Gulf using their own trusted channels for getting money through, so the money is pouring in from many different pockets. The number of fighters each commander can summon wax and wane with his ability to arm and pay them and their families, so there is no particular leader with enough clout to bring the brigades together." he added. The exceptions to this rule, he said, were Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but that money went disproportionately to Salafist and jihadist groups. "The most organised systems are run by extreme Islamist groups and they have the highest income. The more extreme brutality tends to come from that direction, but they have the most ammunition and guns, and they get their money from a unified source. All the other money comes from multiple sources and multiple channels. You can only unify these units with a unified source of money."
Julien Barnes-Dacey, a Middle Eastern expert at the European Council for Foreign Relations, said that western states realised that "if they don't get on board now, they will lose every opportunity of leverage. If the Saudis and Qataris run loose with the groups they are backing, there will be great chance of blowback." "Blowback" is a term widely used to describe the backing of jihadist rebels against the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s, which provided a recruiting ground for al-Qaida and global jihadism.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion; God's Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet, God's prayers and peace be upon him, are its constitution, Arabic is its language and Riyadh is its capital.
Chapter 2 [Monarchy]
(a) The system of government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is that of a monarchy.
(b) Rule passes to the sons of the founding King, Abd al-Aziz Bin Abd al-Rahman al-Faysal Al Sa'ud, and to their children's children. The most upright among them is to receive allegiance in accordance with the principles of the Holy Koran and the Tradition of the Venerable Prophet.
(c) The King chooses the Heir Apparent and relieves him of his duties by Royal order.
(d) The Heir Apparent is to devote his time to his duties as an Heir Apparent and to whatever missions the King entrusts him with.
(e) The Heir Apparent takes over the powers of the King on the latter's death until the act of allegiance has been carried out.
Article 6 Citizens are to pay allegiance to the King in accordance with the holy Koran and the tradition of the Prophet, in submission and obedience, in times of ease and difficulty, fortune and adversity.
Chapter 3 Features of the Saudi Family
The family is the kernel of Saudi society, and its members shall be brought up on the basis of the Islamic faith, and loyalty and obedience to God, His Messenger, and to guardians; respect forand implementation of the law, and love of and pride in the homeland and its glorious history as the Islamic faith stipulates.
Chapter 5 Rights and Duties
Article 23 [Islam] The state protects Islam; it implements its Shari'ah; it orders people to do right and shun evil; it fulfills the duty regarding God's call.
Article 26 [Human Rights]
The state protects human rights in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah.
Article 38 [Punishment, nulla poena]
Penalties shall be personal and there shall be no crime or penalty except in accordance with the Shari'ah or organizational law. There shall be no punishment except for acts committed subsequent to the coming into force of the organizational law.
Chapter 6 The Authorities of the State
The source of the deliverance of fatwa in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are God's Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger. The law will define the composition of the senior ulema body, the administration of scientific research, deliverance of fatwa and it's (the body of senior ulema's) functions.
Article 48 The courts will apply the rules of the Islamic Shari'ah in the cases that are brought before them, in accordance with what is indicated in the Book and the Sunnah, and statutes decreed by the Ruler which do not contradict the Book or the Sunnah.
Explosive Device Explodes behind Dama Rose Hotel
All UNSMIS Members are Safe, SANA 15-8-2012
DAMASCUS, (SANA)- An explosive device on Wednesday exploded behind Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus. The device was attached by an armed terrorist group under a diesel tank. The explosion resulted in the ignition of the tank, injury of three persons and minor material damage in the surrounding area.
Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Fayssal Mikdad, said that all the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) members and their properties are safe and none of them was wounded by the terrorist attack which took place near their residence at Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus.
During his visit to Dama Rose Hotel Mikdad told reporters that "The terrorist explosion is another attempt by those who seek to distort the civilized image of Syria and its people," adding that from the start of the UNSMIS mission in Syria, our main goal was protecting them, thanks God none of them was hurt during their mission."
Mikdad said "Syria will not be affected by such terrorist explosions and will continue its cooperation with the United Nations and will exert all efforts to protect its mission and enable observers to play their role appropriately.
The United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Syria, set up in 2012 as a result of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2043 in response to the Syrian uprising. ... Although observers remain in the country, Mood suspended their mission on June 16, 2012 citing "escalating violence."
Observers will conduct no further patrols and stay in their current positions until the suspension is lifted. On 20 July 2012, the Security Council extended UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days. According to resolution 2059, the Council would only consider further extensions in the event that the Secretary-General reports and the Security Council confirms the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence sufficient by all sides to allow UNSMIS to implement its mandate.
The stances of China and Russia on Syria are consistent with the United Nations Charter, international laws and ethical values, and are helpful to the peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis, the Syrian president's top envoy said in Beijing on Wednesday.
"We're happy to see countries like China and Russia, who are not colonizers or deal with people as colonizers," Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told China Daily. This is "a very different stance from the West", she added.
What happened in Libya cannot be repeated in Syria, and China's principles are helping to avoid civil war, which would cause more casualties, Shaaban said.
Shaaban said the "most dangerous, rigid and harmful sanctions" issued by the West have affected the health sector and the lives of ordinary Syrian civilians, and the West is worsening the situation by "supporting with arms and money people who are inciting the civil war in Syria". ...
She said Syria has been subjected to foreign intervention that prevents any dialogue ...
She refuted allegations that the authority blocks the access of international humanitarian aid to the conflict-torn country, saying nothing from different organizations has arrived in Syria, despite the government's expression of its desire for aid during many meetings with them.
TEHRAN, Aug. 16 (MNA) - Iran on Thursday expressed its strong disapproval of a decision by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to suspend Syria’s membership, calling the move "unfair and unjust."
"Syria should have been invited to the summit to defend itself," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told IRNA on the sidelines of the OIC summit in Mecca. Salehi said Iran opposed the decision "because this is against the very charter of the organization."
The Mecca summit was called by Saudi King Abdullah, whose country is supporting Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Charter of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference
The Member States undertake that [..] they shall [..] act in accordance with the following principles:
1. All Member States commit themselves to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter;
2. Member States are sovereign, independent and equal in rights and obligations;
3. All Member States shall settle their disputes through peaceful means and refrain from use or threat of use of force in their relations;
4. All Member States undertake to respect national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of other Member States and shall refrain from
interfering in the internal affairs of others;
5. All Member States undertake to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security and to refrain from interfering in each other’s internal
affairs as enshrined in the present Charter, the Charter of the United Nations, international law and international humanitarian law;
6. As mentioned in the UN Charter, nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the Organisation and its Organs to intervene in matters which
are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State or related to it;
7. Member States shall uphold and promote, at the national and international levels, good governance, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms,
and the rule of law;
Recent months have provided the world with a grotesque spectacle of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the other reactionary Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf pretending to take the lead in the struggle for democracy and human rights in a number of countries, most recently Syria.
The Arab monarchies that emerged under British auspices from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire have always represented an anachronism, in sharp contradiction to the whole direction of modern history and human progress elsewhere in the world. ...
The last hundred years have seen a nearly uninterrupted catalog of monarchies which have become extinct. ... Only in the Arab territories of the former Ottoman Empire could monarchy make a comeback, due largely to the influence of the British Empire, and then increasingly to the support of the United States. ...
Saudi Arabia is still an absolute monarchy. Few people in the West have any comprehension of what this means. Under the House of Saud, there are no guaranteed rights, no separation of powers, no checks and balances, no guarantee of due process. There is no written constitution. The monarch is considered to be the owner of the entire country and of all the people in it, over whom he exercises a theoretical - and sometimes grimly practical - power of life and death. Representative bodies are sometimes chosen or nominated, but they are purely consultative: they can offer advice the crown, but they have no power to block or implement any policy.
Absolute monarchy also prevails under the Thani family in Qatar, the home of the Al Jazeera propaganda channel. After World War II, Qatar was one of the poorest countries in the region, with a pearl industry in decline. The Thanis, like the Sauds, are members of the militant Wahhabite sect, and for a time they were in danger of being absorbed into the Saudi kingdom. The Thani royals were saved by the discovery of oil, and by their Exclusive Agreement with Great Britain.
Bahrain, since 1783 under the rule of the Khalifa family, claims to be a constitutional monarchy, but the events of the last 18 months have shown that the monarchical power is practically totalitarian. ....
The United Arab Emirates, the old Trucial States, are a confederation of seven absolute mini-monarchies, of which the most important are Abu Dhabi under the Nahyans and Dubai under the Maktoum family. ... Along with Qatar, the UAE has been at the forefront of attempts to destabilize Syria. The UAE also took the lead during the attack on Libya, and now hopes to play a prominent role in the looting of Libya’s oil wealth under the new regime.
Kuwait is ruled by the Sabah family, who were restored by US in the first Persian Gulf War. During that conflict, it was revealed that the Sabahs, like their monarchical colleagues, still practice household slavery, which the US under George H. W. Bush, was thus supporting. During the Iraq war, Kuwait was turned into a US garrison state. Kuwait has a parliament, but the government is appointed by the Sabahs. ...
All of these monarchies fear their own populations. They therefore rely on the support of the United States and the British.
Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1946, Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley is a philosopher of history... As an activist historian he first became widely known for his book George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (1992)... During 2008, he warned of the dangers of an Obama presidency controlled by Wall Street...
Egyptian TV presenter, chief editor to go on trial
By AYA BATRAWY | Associated Press 17-8-2012
CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Thursday ordered a popular TV presenter and a chief editor of an independent daily to face trial for insulting the country's newly elected Islamist president.
The Cairo court charged controversial TV presenter Tawfiq Okasha with suggesting the killing of President Mohammed Morsi during his nightly TV show. The court also referred the chief editor of el-Dustour daily, Islam Afifi, for his newspaper's harsh criticism of Morsi.
Thursday's court referrals escalate the unfolding standoff between Egypt's new Islamist president and his opponents in the media. Last week, members of the upper house of parliament chose new editors for state-owned newspapers despite demands for a vote by newspaper staff or an independent media body. Around half the seats in the upper house of parliament are controlled by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group.
The editors were appointed by members of the upper house, in the same manner as under former President Hosni Mubarak, prompting the Egyptian Journalist's Syndicate to condemn the selection process. Hundreds of journalists came out to the streets to protest. ...
Morsi's spokesman Yasser Ali told reporters later Thursday that the president had nothing to do with the court's decision on the two media figures and that he continues to support press freedoms.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that Washington is "very concerned" about moves to restrict media freedom in Egypt and called on all players to support democratic principles..." "Freedom of the press, freedom of expression are fundamental tenants of vibrant, strong democracies...," she said. (Yahoo News 2012)
Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and historian from Washington, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: First of all, what do you understand from this idea to impose a no-fly zone on Syria? What do you think the intention is behind it?
Tarpley: Of course, this is what was used to destroy the government of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya and break up the country. We should remember that a no-fly zone means something much more ambitious. It prolongs this campaign…of aerial bombardment because you have to destroy all the military airfields, destroy the entire anti-aircraft defense system, destroy the missile batteries.
Syria is widely reputed to have some pretty serious air defense, some of it supplied by Russia, so it would be a rather intense bombing campaign over several days.
Of course, we know NATO, we know how NATO operates. Once they had finished destroying the air defense, assuming they’d succeeded which they might not or they might find that the losses were excessive and some countries might drop out, they would then go on to bomb military barracks, armed vehicles and all the things that we saw about a year ago in Libya.
This is simply a plan for aggression. It is brought up by Brennan, the White House terror czar, I guess, in his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. And it was also discussed by Hillary Clinton when she was in Turkey this past weekend.
It’s an idea - the desperation of the US regime is that Assad was supposed to be brought down in July, I think July 18th, terror attacks to decapitate the Syrian armed forces, the shipping in of thousands and thousands of new death squad members from many other countries, an attack on the currency, the television warfare in its entire campaign.
That has now failed. As far as we can see from the outside, the death squads have been driven out of many parts of Aleppo. So the death squads once again are losing and the Syrian government is still there.
The US, the British, the French and indeed the Israelis are now apoplectic. That’s what you see with [French Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius. I would call attention to the language he decided when he says ‘the Syrian regime should be smashed fast and that Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this earth’.
This is a language we haven’t heard in Europe since the fascist era. This is the language of a fascist dictatorship and, well, Fabius is not quite that yet but you get the idea. It’s going in that direction.
Press TV: In the foreseeable future, what do you think we’ll see in terms of how the situation in Syria will develop?
Tarpley: The question is, do the Western powers have unlimited supplies of death squad fanatics or do they not? And are these death squads getting decimated by the Syrian armed forces?
Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people. He must leave power – the sooner the better. Until now, the actions taken to that end have come up against two obstacles. The first derives from the lack of consensus at the UN Security Council, because of the Russians and Chinese. The second is military: the Syrian army is powerful. No state is ready today to contemplate a ground operation. The risks of regional contagion would be dreadful, particularly in Lebanon.
In this context, France is adopting a three-pronged approach. Firstly, toughening sanctions, if possible at Security Council level. Secondly, we must work with Russia, who plays a decisive role. .. Finally, we must encourage the Syrian opposition to come together.
Russia Rejects Imposing No-Fly Zone over Syria
MOSCOW, (SANA)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that his country rejects imposing a no-fly zone over Syria, asserting that
it will constitute a "violation of Syria's sovereignty".
In an interview with Sky News Arabia [..] Lavrov said that solving the crisis in Syria should be based on respecting the international norms, the integrity of the Syrian territories and not interfering in the internal affairs of the countries.
Lavrov called on some countries not to ruin the agreements that have been reached in Geneva Conference on Syria adding "I believe that the statements we are hearing from Washington and some other capitals, to the effect that the Geneva agreements is dead, are rather irresponsible ..Geneva statement on Syria should not be buried alive."
The Russian Foreign Minister said "This is the most important consensus, which has been reached with the participation of Western states, Russia, China and a number of the leading countries in the region."
He stressed that the Russian-Chinese veto against the UN draft resolutions against Syria came to defend the UN principles among them respecting the unity and sovereignty of the countries and not interfering in their internal affairs and implementing the UN Security Council's resolutions.
Algerian Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi to Replace Kofi Annan
as UN Envoy to Syria, SANA 17-8-2012
NEW York, UN, (SANA) – The UN on Friday announced the Algerian Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as the new UN envoy to Syria replacing Kofi Annan.
AFP said that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called upon the international community to provide strong and clear support to Brahimi to facilitate his success in the mission.
Brahimi was appointed as the UN envoy to Afghanistan after the 11/9 attacks and as the UN Envoy to Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.
UNITED NATIONS — After two decades as a diplomatic troubleshooter in hotspots from Afghanistan to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi firmly believes that every conflict can be solved. That conviction will be put to the test in his new job as the joint United Nations-Arab League special envoy charged with trying to succeed where his former boss Kofi Annan failed — bringing an end to the 18-month conflict in Syria. ....
“We, people, make these problems,” Brahimi told the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England. “And we should be able to solve them. We can solve them.” ...
Brahimi said he also learned that in dealing with conflicts “obviously you see a lot of wickedness, a lot of cruelty, a lot of injustice, but you also come across a lot of kindness, a lot of courage, and a lot of forgiveness, and that makes up for it.” ...
During his years at the Arab League, Brahimi served as the organization’s special envoy trying to mediate an end to Lebanon’s civil war. There were several failed attempts to end the fighting, he said, but finally on Sept. 24, 1989, “we clinched a cease-fire” that looked like it would hold — and it did, leading to the Taif agreement that ended the 15-year conflict. ...
His years spent trying to end Lebanon’s civil war put him in close contact with Syria, which for years maintained a strong military presence in Lebanon even though the Taif agreement called for an eventual withdrawal of Syrian forces. Brahimi was also in a key Arab League position when Syria made its dramatic decision in 1990 to participate in the U.S.-led coalition that routed Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait in the first Gulf War.
President Bashar al-Assad Performed Eid al-Fitr Prayers
at Al-Hamad Mosque in Mohajirin, SANA, 19-8-2012
DAMASCUS, (SANA)_ President Bashar al-Assad performed Eid al-Fitr Prayers Sunday morning at Al-Hamad Mosque in Mohajirin Quarter, Damascus.
President al-Assad was received upon his arrival to the Mosque by Minister of Endowment( Religious Affairs), the Mufti, Assistant Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party, Chairman of the People's Assembly (Parliament), and by the prime Minister.
Sheikh Mohamad Khir Ghantous delivered the ceremony of Eid al-Fitr asserting the sublime meanings of the blessed Eid al-Fitr, pointing out to the importance of amity, tolerance, closeness and cooperation among Syrians in building their Homeland, Syria.
''The Prayer of Eid is but a characteristic of Islamic unity where the nation in its elderly, junior, chairmen, and subordinates discuss the affairs of the nation,'' Sheikh Ghantous said.
Sheikh Ghantous called for return to the path of right, reason, and tolerant Sharia for peace and conciliation as to restore safety and security to Syria...
Flashback: Grand Mufti of Syria Underlines
Importance of Media in Enlightening Society, SANA 14-5-2012
DAMASCUS, (SANA)_Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, underlined the important role of media in enlightening society and educating people.
During his meeting on Sunday with the Russian media delegation currently visiting Syria to make documentaries on the events, Hassoun said that Syria is being targeted by a fierce campaign intended to sow sedition and undermine national unity in Syria to serve the interests of colonial countries. ...
He called upon Arab and foreign countries to stop backing the armed terrorist groups and interferences in the Syrian internal affairs.
During a similar meeting with the Russian media delegation, Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant Bishop Luca al-Khouri underlined the role of honest media in relaying the true image of what is happening in Syria, especially in light of the immoral media war which distorts facts and seeks to sow discord among countrymen. ...
He underscored the state of national unity, love, fraternity and respect among the various spectrums of the Syrian people, which has always been a role model in the region.
The Sheikh Hassoun was born in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in 1949. His father, allamah Muhammad Adeeb Hassoun was also a sheikh. He has five children and ten grandchildren. Hassoun studied at the University of Islamic Studies, where he graduated as Doctor in Shafi'i fiqh.Dr. Hassoun took office as Great Mufti of Syria in July 2005 after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro.
He is a frequent speaker in interreligious and intercultural events, and his pluralistic views on interfaith dialogue (between different religions or between different Islamic denominations) has sparked criticism from stricter visions of Islam.
Hassoun is considered to be a firm ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hassoun's 22-year-old son, Sariya, was assassinated on October 2, 2011 in an ambush in the road between Idlib and Aleppo. (WIKIPEDIA info)
Flyers handed out by members of the Constitution Party, recently founded by prominent reformer Mohamed ElBaradei, during Eid El-Fitr prayers Sunday in Qena provoked mockery by members of the Muslim Brotherhood who accused the party of "mixing religion with politics."
The newly formed party was reportedly distributing flyers congratulating people on Eid El-Fitr during prayers Sunday morning.
In response, Ahmed Hussein, spokesman of the Constitution Party, said that the sole target "was to put a smile on people's faces." "We never took over mosques to ask people to vote for us in support of religion," said Hussein, adding that party member's involvement was only in observance of a national holiday.
Also criticising the Muslim Brotherhood was Alaa Al-Qadi, member of the Socialist Popular Alliance, stressing that a distinction needs to be made between civil parties and those that are established based on religious ideologies.
"The youth of the Constitution Party have not used mosques to accuse their political opponents of blasphemy the way the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists have done," said Al-Qadi.
Islamists have often been accused of attracting their audience by the misuse of religion. During the 19 March constitutional referendum that followed the 25 January uprising, members and supporters of Islamist parties were frequently reported asking people to vote Yes "in support of religion," accusing those who voted No of being a kafir (an unbeliever).
The Constitution Party was launched on 28 April 2012, by Mohammad ElBaradei and a group of Egyptian intellectuals and activists. ElBaradei said that he intends to increase the party's base for the next election in four years time. The party aims to unite all Egyptians, regardless of creed or ideology, behind democracy. ElBaradei: “We must give young people the opportunity to learn and gain experience from all over the world.”
Sheikh Hashem Islam, a member of the Fatwas (religious edicts) Committee of Egypt's highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, has preached that confronting those who plan to hit the streets 24 August to protest against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi may not be punishable.
"This is a revolution that starkly goes against democracy and freedom," he said during a forum held at the Egyptian Diplomatic Club late Tuesday. "Who wants to join the 24 August uprising will be against the 25 January Revolution … These people would be committing high treason against their nation, God, his prophet and Muslims."
"So, I say stand up against them. If they fight you, fight them back … if they kill some of you, the victims will go to heaven, and if you kill them, that would be righteous."
Mohamed El-Baradei, reform activist and co-founder of Egypt's Constitution Party, for his part, voiced fury over the comments.
"If these religious clerics aren't put on trial, we will fall into the trap of fascist rule cloaked in religion," El-Baradei said via Twitter.
Commenting on Monday’s statement by President Barack Obama that the US will intervene once Syria deploys chemical or biological weapons, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said that these are statements and threats “linked to the US elections.”
Jamil warned against military action in Syria saying that it is “impossible” because it would turn the conflict into a regional one, stating "Those who are contemplating this evidently want to see the crisis expand beyond Syria's borders."
The Deputy PM said that Damascus is ready for talks with the opposition, stating “We are ready to discuss Assad’s resignation – but not as precondition.”
Going further, he stressed that a discussion about the resignation of President Assad – desired by both the rebels and the West – can only take place after talks start.
“Demanding a resignation before the mechanisms will be found for the Syrian people [to express their opinion] – is this a democratic approach? No, that’s an attempt to enforce a certain decision on us,” Jamil said.
Both Russian and Syrian politicians expressed their hope that newly appointed UN peace representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, will stick to Kofi Annan’s six point plan and the decisions made during the Geneva talks.
Jamil reiterated that Damascus is ready to find a solution to the long lasting crisis. He added that external meddling in Syria’s interior affairs is the main problem which stands in the way of ending the blody crisis.
Jamil said that Syrian government is working on national conciliation and that all sides should compromise. As a step in that direction, he said, Syria is ready to grant guarantees of security to opposition activists who have fled the country, but would like to return home to “solve national problems”.
“I would like to tell all Syrians inside and outside the country… We are ready to listen to everyone. Our doors are open for political and non-political leaders, who are now abroad,”said Jamil.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov also said he believes that there is still a chance for conciliation in Syria, even though “there are many antagonists to such a solution”.
Flashback: Barbara Walters' Interview With
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Walters: You have said often that you don't see yourself doing this job for life. You've said you're doing it for your country. With all the turmoil in your country is it perhaps better for Syria that you no longer remain its leader?
Assad: I don't have problem. For me Syria is a project, a project of success, if you don't succeed, you don't have to stay in that position and that success again depends on the public support. Without public support you cannot, whether you are elected or not. It's not about the election, now it's about public support. This is the most important thing. So when I feel that the public support declined, I won't be here even if they say, if they ask or not I shouldn't be here if there is no public support.
Assad: That's conclusive.
Walters: So you are still having protests and now your military is involved and there are armed people on the other side there is turmoil in your country but you are saying that in general you have the support of your people?
Assad: Yeah but let's wait for the elections to be, to be clear. ....
Assad: I belong to the Bath Party. We will see what the position of our party is because this is an indication, it's important it's not only the person you are part of another party of another identity.
Walters: Yeah but your party is not going to want to give up power?
Assad: Yeah no to give up... why to give up, if the party has the right like the other party to compete and win the elections. But to see through the election do we still have support as a party, if yes well this is an option and if not they have another option. ....
Walters: And that would be the end of the Bath Party and you as terms of leadership?
Assad: If the people said no to the Bath Party, if they lost.., you can say this is the end.
Iraq (Obama’s “wrong war” to fight), while ended, is now an awkward subject for both political parties. President Bush’s invasion ultimately produced a total of civilian and military deaths variously estimated as between 150,000 and 400,000 humans (if not more). It looked bad long before it was over. In December 2011, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said “we’ve paid a great price here, and it was a price worth paying.” Really? Nobody would dream of saying that today....
What’s worse, nobody in the U.S. and the allied countries, except for the relatives of the victims, gives a damn. That will be true of Afghanistan, too, when it’s over. Or when it is replaced by war with Iran.
Candidates Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Barack Obama and Joseph Biden all proclaim that, given the right circumstances, all are willing to be blackmailed by Netanyahu into doing it all over again against Iran. For exactly the same reason the U.S invaded Iraq—credulous, or expedient, acceptance of lies about non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
Nationalistically, individually, politically or commercially self-interested lies are the second reason truth is scarce in politicians’ discourse.
Lies are common in the press and in broadcasting, in some cases they’re deliberate and calculated to sway public opinion for individual or corporate purposes, but in many instances they’re lazy, obtuse or intended to pander to interested parties or government officials, or are the result of intimidation by such figures.
Hundreds of Free Syrian Army fighters, affiliated with different salafist and takfirist groups, converged on the city of Al-Tall, on July 20. The majority was not Syrian. Some pro-democracy residents welcomed them, thinking they shared a common objective. The fighters assaulted the police station and captured the policemen, injuring some. They allowed only those officials belonging to the Sunni branch of Islam to be transferred to hospital while barring the others from receiving treatment. Swiftly, the new Al-Tall Revolutionary Council imposed sectarian rule. The population fled the city, starting with those who had welcomed the FSA, deluded with Western promises.
The fighters took hostage some thirty civilians, including an Al-Akhbariya television crew which had arrived on the scene, then they holed up inside the city. The hostages were dispersed in different buildings, and were moved around each day. While the fighters had intended to establish an Islamic Emirate there, the Revolutionary Council—commanded by a Syrian defector—was informed of an imminent attack by the national army. In one video, he threatened to kill the journalists and demanded the removal of the roadblocks encircling the city to be able to get away. Obtaining no satisfaction, he received an order by satellite phone to move his unit to another locality. On the night of August 15, some 500 to 700 men—taking with them their most valuable hostages—exited in single file through the countryside.
Al-Akhbariya journalist Yarah Saleh, detained for six days, had the reflex to throw herself down on the floor to protect herself. The other hostages, who had remained trapped in the city, were located the following morning and liberated.
Here is Yara Saleh’s testimony, recorded a few hours after her ordeal.
Turning to education, Dr Hassoun said, "Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man" since man "is the creation of the creator". If we want peace, starting for example with Palestine and Israel, he suggested that rather than building walls, "let us build bridges of peace".
He also argued that "we must create states on a civil basis, not a religious basis", adding "I don't impose my religion on you, nor do you impose your religion on me".
The Islamic community has repeatedly voiced its thought that Russia in its constitution is a secular state. The politicization of religion in it is simply dangerous. We need to abandon the politicization of religion and at the same time strengthen the ideological struggle against religious extremism. ...
The [..] current religious structures need a deep and large-scale modernization... The Russian Mufties Council has already embarked on this path. We have already set up the Expert Council, which aims at overcoming the alienation of the clergy and Muslim intellectuals. .... We can reverse the situation with the radicalization of young people only if all the religious structures [..] will embark on this path.
A victorious army? There were cartridge cases all over the ancient stone laneways, pocked windows, and bullet holes up the side of the Sharaf mosque, where a gunman had been firing from the minaret. A sniper still fired just 150 yards away – all that was left of more than a hundred rebels who had almost, but not quite, encircled the 4,000-year-old citadel of Aleppo.
“You won’t believe this,” Major Somar cried in excitement. “One of our prisoners told me: ‘I didn’t realise Palestine was as beautiful as this.’ He thought he was in Palestine to fight the Israelis!”
Do I believe this? Certainly, the fighters who bashed their way into the lovely old streets west of the great citadel were, from all accounts, a ragtag bunch. Their graffiti – “We are the Brigades of 1980, the year when the first Muslim Brotherhood rising threatened the empire of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez – was still on the walls of the Syrian-Armenian hotels and silver shops...
The Syrian soldiers [..] admitted that they shared immense sadness for the history of a city whose very fabric was being torn apart, a world heritage site being smashed by rockets and high-velocity rounds. The officers shook their heads when they led us into the ramparts of the immense citadel. “The terrorists tried to capture it 20 days ago from our soldiers who were defending it,” Major Somar said. “They filled gas cylinders full of explosives – 300 kilos of it – and set them off by the first entrance above the moat.”
Alas, they did. The huge medieval iron and wooden gate, its ornamented hinges and supports – a defence-work that had stood for 700 years – has been literally torn apart...
Many of the soldiers, who were encouraged to speak to me even as they knelt at the ends of narrow streets with bullets spattering off the walls, spoke of their amazement that so many “foreign fighters” should have been in Aleppo. “Aleppo has five million people,” one said to me. “If the enemy are so sure that they are going to win the battle, then surely there’s no need to bring these foreigners to participate..."
"We are the Brigades of 1980"
"They recognize the spiritual authority of sheikh Adnan Al-Arour, a takfirist preacher, who calls for the overthrow and killing of Assad, not for political reasons but simply because Assad is of the Alawite faith, that is to say a heretic in the preacher’s eyes.
All of the identified officers in the FSA are Sunnis and all of the FSA brigades are named after historical Sunni figures. The "revolutionary tribunals" of the FSA sentence their political opponents to death (and not only supporters of Bashar al-Assad) and they slaughter the unbelievers in public. The FSA program is to end the secular regime installed by the Baath, the SSNP and the Communist Party in favor of a pure religious Sunni regime." (Thierry Meyssan, in "Who is fighting in Syria?")
"Arour was reportedly a former member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled the crackdown on the group in the early 1980s and has used his platform to promote an Islamist agenda with regards to the Syrian uprising." (Global Post, 19-8-2011)
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef [..] branded non-religious education and the civil justice system as "corrupting, evil forces."
"Anyone who sends his sons (to secular schools) should know that he is corrupting them, burying them, and is unfit to serve as a Shaliah Tzibbur," the rabbi said, referring to the customary role of a cantor that is assigned to synagogue-going men on a rotating basis.
The Sephardic religious leader claimed that most teachers within the secular education system are heretics, which is why their students go on to embrace an "evil culture and become wicked." They also grow up without religion or justice and do not uphold Jewish customs, he said.
Yosef went on the slam religious judges within the Israeli justice system, whom he also considers unworthy of representing their congregation on the synagogue podium.
"Their justice follows the laws of non-Jewish nations, not (the laws of) the Torah. They accept the testimony of women. These kinds of people are evil," he said. .... He reviled the "secular courts" as an affront to Jewish law and yeshiva students. "They hate the Torah," he said.
"Moge God al die nare mensen met de pest treffen."
Ovadia Yosef, geboren als Abdullah Youssef, (Basra (Irak), 1920) is momenteel de voornaamste religieuze leider van het Sefardisch charedisch jodendom. Hij is de voormalige Sefardische opperrabbijn van Israël en de huidige spirituele leider van de politieke partij Shas in het Israëlisch parlement (met 11 zetels de vierde partij van het land).
Ovadia Yosef bracht enkele malen de Israëlische regering in verlegenheid met zijn anti-Palestijnse uitspraken. Tijdens de Tweede Intifada riep hij op tot vernietiging van de Arabieren, zonder genade. Later zei hij dat hij "terroristen" had bedoeld te zeggen. Op 28 augustus 2010, aan de vooravond van vredesoverleg in Washington, sprak hij de hoop uit dat "alle gemene mensen die Israël haten" [..] van de wereld zullen verdwijnen. "Moge God al die nare mensen met de pest treffen." (WIKIPEDIA info)
Remarks regarding gentiles
In an October 2010 sermon, Yosef stated that "The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews". He said that Gentiles served a divine purpose: "Why are Gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why Gentiles were created." "Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel."
The American Jewish Committee condemned Yosef's remarks, stating that "Rabbi Yosef’s remarks – suggesting outrageously that Jewish scripture asserts non-Jews exist to serve Jews – are abhorrent and an offense to human dignity and human equality." (WIKIPEDIA)
In June 2001, the Justice Department charged 13 Saudis and one Lebanese with the bombing. The Lebanese was identified only as "John Doe." It really isn't clear who is responsible for the bombing. The Saudis and Americans blamed a little-known group called "Saudi Hezbollah," which has ties to Iran... Iran denied any role in the bombing. (globalsecurity)
In a May 2007 interview, James Cheek, the United States Ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing, told The Nation, "To my knowledge, there was never any real evidence [of Iranian responsibility]. They never came up with anything." .... Ron Goddard, then deputy chief of the US Mission in Buenos Aires, confirmed Cheek's account. He recalled that investigators found nothing linking Iran to the bombing. "The whole Iran thing seemed kind of flimsy," Goddard said. William Brencick, chief of the political section at the US embassy at the time and the main US contact with the investigation, informed Gareth Porter in June of that year that the US conviction Iran was behind the bombing was based on a "wall of assumptions" that hindered an objective analysis of the evidence". (Wikipedia info)
American Jewish Committee : "About Us: AJC has worked since 1906 to safeguard and strengthen Jews and Jewish life worldwide by promoting democratic and pluralistic societies that respect the dignity of all peoples."
Efforts led by the United States and Israel to isolate Iran suffered a setback [..] when the United Nations announced that Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, would join officials from 120 countries in Tehran [..] for a summit meeting...
Mr. Ban’s decision to attend the meeting of the Nonaligned Movement [..] came despite objections from both the Americans and Israelis, including a phone call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. It was announced a few days after the new president of Egypt, a country that has long been estranged from Iran, said he would attend the summit meeting as well, a decision that had already unsettled the Israelis.
Taken together, the moves reinforced Iran’s contention that a reordering of powers is under way in the Middle East, where Western influence is waning, and that the American-Israeli campaign to vilify Iran as a rogue state that exports terrorism and secretly covets nuclear weapons is not resonating in much of the world. ...
“The extraordinary effort that the Iranian leaders have put into the summit is intended to showcase Iran’s global role and offer concrete evidence that the U.S. policy of isolating Iran has failed,” said Farideh Farhi, an independent Iranian scholar at the University of Hawaii.
“A case is being made that it is not the ‘global community’ that has problems with the Islamic republic, as repeatedly asserted by U.S. officials, but merely a U.S.-led-and-pressured coalition of countries,” she said. ...
Acknowledging that Mr. Ban has been under pressure not to attend, Mr. Nesirky, his spokesman, said Mr. Ban viewed the visit as a chance to raise the issues of Iran’s nuclear program, its support for Syria and its campaign against Israel directly with his hosts.
According to Mr. Netanyahu’s office, he had telephoned Mr. Ban on Aug. 10 and told him that such a trip, even if well intentioned, would be a mistake. “Your visit will grant legitimacy to a regime that is the greatest threat to world peace and security,” Mr. Netanyahu was quoted as saying. ...
The American Jewish Committee, among a number of pro-Israel voices in the United States that had exhorted Mr. Ban not to visit Iran, called the decision “a grave mistake” in a statement posted on its Web site.
The Golan Heights
Syrian Arab News Agency 25-8-2012
QUNEITRA, (SANA)- Still under the yoke of the Israeli occupation, the village of Skoufia is considered one of the beautiful areas in occupied Syrian Golan overlooking the Lake of Tiberias (Tabaraya) that is home to many ruins ranging from the Roman, Greek, Byzantine to the Islamic.
Fully destroyed by the Zionist war machine after displacing its inhabitants by armed force in 1967, the village is located to southwest of the occupied Golan as it was built on a rocky hill of more than 1 km in length and 1 km in width. The village is 425 m above sea level.
The village's population before the forced departure in 1967 exceeded 935, who worked in farming and cattle raising due to the profusion of surface and underground water and the fertility of the land.
The number of the village's population this year amounted to more than 4000, who are living among the temporary gatherings of the displaced in Damascus and its countryside and are awaiting the time when their home village will be liberated, along with all the Golan villages, to return to the land of their fathers and ancestors.
Since Israel returned the city to Syria in 1974 the original home owners still return every weekend to sit next to their flattened houses, to eat and "relax" in a dead city that was systematically destroyed over 30 years ago. New generations grow up with this as their weekend trip in order to remember what happened and stare at their land which they still cannot reach, to stare at the land where the Israeli flag waves but yet is illegally being occupied.
It's a sad sight to see, should they be bringing up children in such a place? Should they forget about their land or should they wait for the return? There are no clear answers, but there are definitely people suffering, the people of Golan.
In 1967, during the six-day war, Israel captured Quneitra. It then became a site of many battles but, except for a brief interlude, remained in Israeli hands until 1974, when a UN-brokered agreement led to an Israeli pullback. Before withdrawing, however, Quneitra was evacuated and systematically destroyed by the Israeli army (based on eyewitness accounts; UN General Assembly resolution 3240 in 1974 condemned Israel's role in its destruction. Israel disputes this account). Many prominent Western reporters, agreeing with the UN and Syrian version of events, saw this as nothing short of an act of wanton brutality — a whole town methodically ransacked, dynamited, and bulldozed.
Quneitra lies undisturbed ever since, a ghost town riddled with land mines, an open-air museum of Middle-Eastern wars (Syria now shows it off as proof of Israeli malice).
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Attackers bulldozed a mosque containing Sufi Muslim graves in the center of Tripoli in broad daylight on Saturday, in what appeared to be Libya's most blatant sectarian attack since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
It was the second razing of a Sufi site in two days. Ultra-conservative Islamists wrecked Sufi shrines with bombs and another bulldozer and set fire to a mosque library in the city of Zlitan in the early hours of Friday, an official said.
On Friday attackers razed the revered resting place of Abdel Salam al-Asmar in Zlitan, about 160 km (90 miles) west of the capital, and also set fire to a historic library in a nearby mosque, ruining thousands of books.
A Reuters reporter saw the bulldozer level the Sha'ab mosque as police surrounded the site and prevented people from approaching and did not stop the demolition.
"A large number of armed militias carrying medium and heavy weapons arrived at the al-Sha'ab mosque with the intention to destroy the mosque because of their belief graves are anti-Islamic," said a government official who declined to be named.
...political pressure from ultra-conservatives...
One of Libya's highest-profile cultural clashes since the toppling of Gaddafi has been between followers of the mystical Sufi tradition and ultra-conservative Salafis, who say Islam should return to the simple ways followed by its prophet.
Salafis have formed a number of armed brigades in Libya. They reject as idolatrous many Sufi devotions - which include dancing and the building of shrines to venerated figures.
Conservative Muslims across the region - emboldened by the Arab Spring revolts - have targeted Sufi sites in Egypt, Mali and other parts of Libya over the past year.
Sufi scholar and caretaker of the Asmar shrine in Zlitan Mohammed Salem said the government was coming under increasing political pressure from ultra-conservatives.
Flashback: People Are Seeking A Separate Existence In Nations
That Are Of, By And For Themselves Alone.
By Patrick J. Buchanan 26 mei 2011
"Right now, socially, we are disintegrating." So says Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and potential candidate for president of Egypt. Indeed, post-revolutionary Egypt appears to be coming apart. Since the heady days of Tahrir Square, Salafis have been killing Christians. Churches have been destroyed. Gangs have conducted mass prison breaks. The Muslim Brotherhood brims with confidence. "People do not feel secure," says ElBaradei, "They are buying guns." ...
Can the Arab revolts cope with "the cacophony of diversity ... the Arab world's variety of clans, sects, ethnicities and religions?" Or will we witness the disintegration of nations like Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as we did Ethiopia and the Sudan—and of African, Latin American, Asian and European nations, as well? .....
In the 21st century, the call of one's God and the claims of blood and soil seem more magnetic than the ideologies of the 19th and 20th century: Marxism, socialism or democracy. People do not seem to seek equality with other cultures, faiths and tribes, but a separate existence in nations that are of, by and for themselves alone. (Buchanan Archive 2011)
"I tell the Europeans: 'I don't understand your slogan about the welfare of the Syrian people when you are supporting 17 resolutions against the welfare of the Syrian people'.
And I tell the Americans: 'You must read well what you did in Afghanistan and Somalia. I don't understand your slogan of fighting international terrorism when you are supporting this terrorism in Syria'." ...
Muallem claims that perhaps 60 per cent of the country's violence comes from abroad, from Turkey, from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with the United States exercising its influence over all others.
"When the Americans say, 'We are supplying the opposition with sophisticated instruments of telecommunications', isn't this part of a military effort, when they supply the opposition with $25m – and much more from the Gulf and Saudi Arabia?"
A year ago, I told Muallem, I lunched with the Emir of Qatar, and he was enraged at what he called Bashar al-Assad's lies, claiming that the Syrian President had reneged on a deal to allow Muslim Brotherhood members to return home.
Muallem nodded. "If you met the same Emir two years ago, he was praising Assad, and considered him a dear friend. They used to have family relations, spending family holidays in Damascus and sometimes in Doha. There is an important question: what happened? I met the Emir in Doha in, I think, November 2011, when the Arab League started their initiative [resulting in the sending of League observers to Syria] and we reached agreement … The Emir told me: 'If you agree to this initiative, I will change the attitude of Al Jazeera and I will tell [Sheikh] Qaradawi to support Syria and reconciliation, and I have put down some billions of dollars to rebuild Syria…'
"But I asked the Emir: 'You were having very close relations with Muammar Gaddafi and you were the only leader in his palace when Gaddafi hosted you during the summit – so why are you sending your aircraft to attack Libya and be part of Nato?' The Emir said simply: 'Because we don't want to lose our momentum in Tunis and Egypt – and Gaddafi was responsible for dividing Sudan'."
For the Syrian Foreign Minister, the crisis started with "legitimate demands" subsequently addressed by "legislation and reforms and even a new constitution". Then along came "foreign elements" who used these legitimate demands "to hijack the peaceful agenda of the people". ...
It was the duty of the Syrian government to "protect" its citizens. Assad represents the unity of Syria and all Syrians must participate in creating a new future for Syria. ...
I asked about chemical weapons, of course. If Syria had such weapons, they would never be used against its own people, he said...
And the infamous Shabiha militia blamed for atrocities in the countryside? Walid Muallem doesn't believe in them. There might be local unarmed people defending their property from armed groups, he says. But pro-regime, paid militiamen? Never.
South African Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has boycotted a summit in the city of Johannesburg in protest against the presence of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Archbishop Tutu on Tuesday decided not to take part in the one-day Discovery Invest Leadership Summit, which is scheduled to be held on August 30, saying it would be “inappropriate” for him to share a platform with Blair, because of his “morally indefensible” support for the US-led war in Iraq.
“The archbishop is of the view that Mr. Blair’s decision to support the United States’ military invasion of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible,” said Tutu’s spokesman, Roger Friedman.
Friedman also stated that the theme of the summit is leadership that could not be divided from morality. “In this context, it would be inappropriate and untenable for the archbishop to share a platform with Mr. Blair.”
Tutu has been a prominent peace icon in South Africa, and he won the Noble Peace Prize in 1984 following his campaign against apartheid.
The Desmond Tutu Peace Centre is a non-profit organisation founded and inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah.
Love, Hope, Tolerance and Courage
The Centre is committed to creating a society that nurtures tolerance and understanding amongst all people and is guided by the virtues that the Archbishop himself has identified as essential human values and the building blocks for sustainable peace: Love, Hope, Tolerance and Courage.
We strongly condemn the Israeli decision to issue tenders for the construction of 130 additional units in the settlements of Har Homa in East Jerusalem, adding anew to its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. In a period when the attention of the international community has focused on the developments in Syria, by exploiting this situation, Israel’s persistent maintenance of settlement activities in contradiction with international law and despite all calls from the international community is a grave mistake that continues to be the biggest obstacle in the revitalization of the peace process and seriously endangers the vision of a two-state solution.
Israel must fulfil its responsibilities stemming from international law regarding permanent peace in the Middle East and give up all of its activities destroying the basis for peace. In this context, we also invite the international community to display a due reaction to such activities by Israel.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WIKIPEDIA: An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt or Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and in the Golan Heights. ...
[Israel] continues to both expand its settlements and settle new areas in the West Bank in spite of the Oslo Accords which barred both Israeli and Palestinians from undertaking unilateral actions that would alter the status quo.
The international community considers the settlements in occupied territory to be illegal. Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and communities in the Golan Heights, areas which have been annexed by Israel, are also considered settlements by the international community, which does not recognise Israel's annexations of these territories.
The United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice also says these settlements are illegal, and no foreign government supports Israel's settlements
The United States has increasingly managed to take control of Amnesty International for its own foreign policy campaigns.
A milestone in this takeover came last January, when the talented State Department official Suzanne Nossel was named as executive director of Amnesty International USA. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, Ms Nossel played a role in drafting the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Libya. That resolution, based on exaggeratedly alarmist reports, served to justify the UN resolution which led to the NATO bombing campaign that overthrew the Gaddafi regime. (Hillary Clinton: "We came, we saw, he died")
Credited with coining the expression “smart power”, taken up by Hillary Clinton as a policy slogan, Ms Nossel has won international recognition for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, thereby positioning the United States as a vanguard of human rights against the world’s many traditional societies, especially those whose regimes U.S. “smart power” wishes to embarrass, isolate, or even overthrow.
Smart Power: Washington should offer assertive leadership -- diplomatic, economic, and not least, military -- to advance a broad array of goals: self-determination, human rights, free trade, the rule of law, economic development, and the quarantine and elimination of dictators and weapons of mass destruction. (Suzanne Nossel, Foreign Affairs 2004)
In its new phase, AI, like Human Rights Watch and other Western “humanitarian” organizations, has ceased to make any distinction between genuine repression of dissident thinkers and the sort of repression that is triggered by deliberate provocation, that is, by actions whose sole purpose is precisely to provoke repression, in order to accuse a targeted regime of being repressive.
Gay Rights in Qatar & Saudi-Arabia
Qatar: The Constitution of 2003 establishes Islam as the official religion. Shari'a law shall be the main source of all legislation.
In accordance with traditional Islam, homosexual acts are forbidden and there is no legal recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnership benefits. (Wikipedia)
Saudi-Arabia: The Holy Book is the constitution of the state. Shari'a law shall be the main source of all legislation.
Saudi Arabia has no laws against discrimination or hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Advocacy for LGBT rights is illegal within the kingdom and only the underground Green Party of Saudi Arabia has publicly supported LGBT-rights as part of its human rights platform. (Wikipedia)
In a major speech at Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, President Morsi says Syrian regime has lost legitimacy, makes conciliatory comments about 'sister' Islamic Republic of Iran. ...
At the beginning of his speech Morsi made his by now common Islamist reference, "May God's peace be upon his Prophet Mohamed," something no other Egyptian president did, except maybe during religious ceremonies. He added, "And may the peace of God be on the holy family of the Prophet."
The president's references to the Palestinian cause broke away from the usual déjà vu statements about the right of Palestinians to statehood – and it certainly made no reference to the now notorious "two-state solution."
Instead, Morsi made some coherent statements about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people...
On Syria, Morsi's speech all but equated the Assad regime with the Israeli occupation of Palestine when he referred to "the struggle for freedom by the Palestinian and Syrian peoples."
Furthermore, Morsi said the Assad regime "had lost all legitimacy" and it was not enough to show sympathy towards the Syrian people, but the time had come to act upon this sympathy.
Morsi's statements on Syria certainly went way beyond the liking of his Iranian hosts who remain committed to the Assad regime, and caused the Syrian delegation to leave the conference hall.
Saudi cleric Aaed al-Qarni is claiming that killing President Bashar Assad would be a more noble deed than killing an Israeli person.
Saudi newspaper Sabah quoted al-Qarni as saying that Assad deserves to die for heresy, referring to him as "Basharon," in a jab alluding to former Zionist Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The Muslim cleric claimed that the Golan Heights will not be freed until Assad's "treacherous" regime falls.
Al-Qarni also proposed holding a Syrian referendum, instead of that on the constitution, on the best way to kill Assad. The options he proposed included death by hanging and slaughter. ... He called on Syrian soldiers to defect and slammed the ruling Ba'ath party. Qarni also attacked Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah describing him as "the sinful."
Aidh Al-Qarni: "God tells the believers: March forth, light-armed and heavy armed in order to fight the enemies of God."
"Dear Brothers, beware of mocking religion or laughing at it. Islam is something sacred, not to be laughed at..."
In Syria, the Brotherhood was banned in 1963, 18 years after it was established, when a coup brought the Ba’ath Party to power. “Syria is not an Islamic country,” Syrian analyst Eiad Wannous explained; thus, “all religious parties and assembly were banned.” ...
Many members were exiled or killed when the army besieged Hama, then a Brotherhood stronghold, resulting in the deaths of up to 25,000 people from all sides, according a 2012 Amnesty International report.
Until 2000, millions of public school students were taught to chant against the organisation as an agent and criminal tool of “imperialism, Zionism, and backwardness.”
A “modern Islamic state”
While some say the Muslim Brotherhood’s chances of realising any political power in a future Syria are slim, others believe its arrival to the Egyptian presidency raises this possibility. ...
Seven years before the Syrian uprising started, the Brotherhood published on its website a detailed political project for a “future Syria” aimed at establishing a “modern Islamic state” guaranteeing “individual freedoms” allowing people to choose their leaders and enjoy political pluralism. ...
But although the phrase “Islamic state” does not appear in its new proposal for Syria, this has not alleviated everyone’s fears. “I am afraid of religious rule because it stirs sectarianism,” Rana, 27, from Homs said. “How can you guarantee that the Brotherhood would treat people equally?”
Many Syrians remain wary of the Muslim Brotherhood due to the memory of assassinations of prominent officers and public servants in the late seventies and early eighties, and a massacre at the Aleppo Artillery School in 1979, all attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood by the regime.
"A breach of the conventions of the summit's presidency"
Syrian Arab News Agency, 30-8-2012
TEHRAN, (SANA)- Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid al-Moallem, on Thursday stressed that the Syrian delegation went out from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit currently held in Tehran while the former president of the summit, Mohammad Mursi, was delivering his speech.
Al-Moallem said the Syrian delegation's withdrawal from the meeting came in protest of the content of Mursi's speech which constituted a breach of the conventions of the summit's presidency and an interference in Syria's internal affairs and in rejection of the instigation for continuing the shedding of the Syrian blood included in the speech.
The Minister added that the Syrian delegation to the NAM summit reentered to follow up the summit's activities after the end of Mursi's speech.
"We suspect that this statement has to do with his Muslim Brotherhood affiliations; this is what we felt anyway, and we hope we are mistaken and we do hope that Egypt would always assume its leading role in the Arab world by doing what is in the best interests of Syria and its people." This was the remark that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem offered to Al-Ahram Online in regards to the recent statements made by President Mohamed Morsi...
For Al-Moallem, it does not take a genius to know that the way forward should depend on a three-step approach: the immediate suspension of all acts of violence, the withdrawal of all militants and militaries, and broad national dialogue between the regime and all opposition factions "no matter how divided they are."
"The question is about the outcome of this dialogue, and we say that whatever comes out of this dialogue should be put before a popular referendum, because ultimately it should be the Syrian people, all the Syrian people, to decide their own fate," Al-Moallem said.
Dempsey Backs Away from Obama’s Threat
to Intervene in Syria, by John Glaser, 30-8-2012
Martin Dempsey 17-2-2012
The top general of America’s military on Thursday backed away from President Obama’s threats to intervene militarily in Syria...
Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed while on a trip to London that direct military action in Syria, even simply no-fly zones, might be beyond the US and NATO’s capabilities and counter to their interests....
He said frequent comparison of the Syrian situation with that in Libya, where a “no-fly zone” was imposed following a United Nations resolution, is at best a source of “amusement.”
As far as forcibly ousting the Assad regime, Dempsey said, such a move would be far too destabilizing. He said a failed state in Syria would be the worst-case scenario and warned against allowing armed extreme jihadists and rebels with ties to al-Qaeda to increase their influence...
General Martin E. Dempsey, USA (born March 14, 1952) is the 18th and current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey is currently the highest ranking military officer in all of the United States Armed Forces.
Dempsey attended John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen, New York, and views himself as Irish American. He has a Master's degree in literature from Duke University, where he wrote a thesis on the Irish poet W B Yeats. He received a commission as an Armor officer upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1974. Fan of the New York Yankees and Frank Sinatra.
We greet you from the People's Palace in the Syrian capital of Damascus. We are honored to meet President Bashar al-Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Mr. President, welcome on Addounia TV.
President al-Assad: Welcome to you and to Addounia TV.
Question: Mr. President, allow me to discuss during today's meeting the most important issues ... we start with the situation on the ground… of course, Aleppo… what is the situation in Aleppo; how do you view it?
President al-Assad: We cannot separate the situation in Aleppo from the situation in Syria.... They have a will to destroy the country. They started with Daraa, moved to Homs and Damascus and Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and Lattakia; to all provinces. They try to move from one place to another. The importance is in the difference in scale or weight of the city in the Syrian context, but if we take into account the scale of the complex battles waged by the armed forces on the technical, tactical and strategic levels, then they are among the most complex types of battles, yet the armed forces achieve great successes in this regard...
Everyone hopes that the achievement or the resolution to be within weeks or days and hours. This is illogical; we're involved in a regional and global battle, so time is needed to resolve it.
Question: Mr. President, many ask what is the position of the Syrian state towards neighboring countries, particularly since some countries facilitate, train, finance and arm in all manners which may constitute a violation of the Syrian state, the security of Syria and the safety of Syrian citizens?
President al-Assad: We have to distinguish between what we as Syria and as Syrian people and as a country want from these countries. Do we seek a relation or a dispute with the country or with the people?
As for Turkey for example... do we go backwards because of the ignorance of some Turkish officials, or do we look at the relation with the Turkish people, particularly since this people practically stood with us during this crisis and didn't drift despite the media and financial pressure to go in the other direction. We must think first of peoples, because governments are transient and we must preserve relations with the peoples because these people are the ones who will practically protect us... We must improve relations by presenting facts; when these peoples discover the reality of what is happening in Syria and the truth about the position of their officials, they will become stronger...
Question: Mr. President, there are those among the opposition who talk and ask why the Syrian forces and the Syrian army are inside Syrian cities, while not a single bullet has been fired in the Golan for nearly forty years.
President al-Assad: The task of the army and armed forces in all countries of the world is to protect the homeland. Protecting the homeland doesn't only mean protecting it from outside, but from within as well; any enemy that comes from any place.
This time, the enemy moved from within, not from without, and you may tell me that they're Syrians and I tell you that any Syrian who carries out a foreign and hostile plan becomes an enemy and is no longer Syrian.
Question: Mr. President, there are those who say that the popular movement in Syria remained peaceful for four or five months and became armed after it was oppressed by the state.
President al-Assad: No, this explanation is inaccurate for a simple reason; if they were unarmed then what explains that in the first week of turbulence and events there were a number of martyrs among security and police forces?
The truth is they died by weapons, but the type of arming and the goal of arming were different. At that time, the main goal was rallying the people by shooting protesters, security men and the police so that the police and security respond and kill more civilians; thereby spreading a state of hostility towards the state. ...
In fact, the gunmen appeared since the first days. The images broadcast by Syrian TV on what happened in Daraa, the shootings by gunmen which they said at the time were fabricated, were real...
Many people were misled in the beginning, thinking that what is happening is a state of excitement a wave of The Arab spring that will affect Syria, that these youths are excitable, that there are no gunmen, that the state is fabricating, all the these things we used to hear.
For us as a state, the lack of public understanding was a problem. What helped the state in the resolution in recent months was the clarity of the picture for the larger part of the Syrian population.... There's a change in the public mood towards what is happening and towards the gunmen as they discovered that what is happening isn't a revolution nor a spring; they are rather terrorist acts in the full meaning of the word...
Question: Mr. President, the issue of defections is one of the things that concerned Syrian society lately as well... They said that if these people hadn't seen something dark in Syria's future and that the state isn't stable and isn't strong, then they wouldn't have abandoned fortune, power and positions to the unknown.
President al-Assad: Regardless of the names, and assuming that the future is dark, is this a reason to leave the country? What is this limited proposition, it is an accusation of being unpatriotic.
But let us examine the term. What happened was that individuals who were occupied certain positions fled the country, which is a process of desertion and escape, not defection...
Those who flee are practically either weak or bad, because a patriotic and good person doesn't runaway and doesn't flee abroad...
Question: Your Excellency... the Syrians ask: why us? Why are we being targeted with this enormous amount of resources aimed at Syria?
President al-Assad: We are paying the price of different stances, some of them related to the principled polices linked to the Syrian rights, our stance on the resistance and our relation with Iran which means with this axes that is not liked by the West.
Some of those are linked to our latest stances, a lot of people aren’t aware that our stance on the shelling of Libya was a lonely stance at the Arab League against the no-fly zone. We objected, and not merely abstained. As we fully understood that the no-fly zone means the start of aggression on Libya and this is what has happened.
We pay the price of these stances and the price of the west’s openness towards us in 2008, 2009 and 2010 during which time some have mistakenly believed that it was a real openness stage...
Question: Mr. President, Was anything demanded to be done by your side .. during the openness and interest stage which was practiced on Syria between 2008 and 2010..?
President al-Assad: Yes, they clearly and continuously asked us to move away from Iran... How could we move away from it. In principle, rejecting or inverting on a side or faithful country, this is unacceptable. In terms of interest, a country which changed the Israeli Embassy into a Palestinian one and stood with the Palestinian right...
The attempts which were made during that time were related to conspiring on the Iranian nuclear file... What was needed from Syria was to convince Iran with matters against its interest, we saw that issue as an issue which relates to our future interest, our national security in the future, because what is applied to Iran as a state which seeks to get peaceful nuclear energy will be applied to us in future, particularly as this energy is basic in the future..
Question: Syria has and still encounters all forms of sanctions.. They say that through economic pressure, or through making Syria collapse economically they might achieve their political goals.
President al-Assad: This kind of sanctions will undoubtedly affect Syria, but it will affect with specific degrees. This depends on how we could we adapt with these conditions. Look to Iran, it progresses forwards in light of severe sanctions throughout many decades. We have capability to adapt with them as we are a productive state, we are not an importer country in principle, we are a productive state from agriculture, crafts into small industries, but we have to reformulate our economy in a way that suits with this new condition, in this case we can make achievement.
Question: Mr. President, You called for dialogue... How the State deals with the call for dialogue since the convening of the conference last year?
President al-Assad: This is a very long story... There was a national opposition which wanted to put aside all its interests and visions which we differ on to put the interest of the Homeland first. Subsequently in the political process, some of them entered elections, others participated in the People's Assembly and the government.
On the other side, there was the non-national opposition whom we didn't talk about directly, without specifying who was this opposition, the people will later know who they are, but we have to specify what is happening. In the beginning, that opposition presented a reform process, reforming, amending, changing laws or amending the constitution. ..
At the same time, it was bargaining with us through hidden channels that it had no interest in all this and that this speech was for the media or popular consumption, but it wanted to take part in the government...
They had no popular base, but they tried to achieve a political position for them in as opportunists in order to negotiate with the State... This was clear for us, they are opportunists to a great deal, so we disregarded them...
Question: Your Excellency, the Syrians want to know where they are heading, Where are we going? What next? What do you say to the Syrians, Your Excellency?
President al-Assad: In short, the fate of Syria is in the hands of the Syrians, NOT in the hands of anybody else; and once we eliminate terrorism, we will have no problem, even the conspirator would return and change. ..
The conspiracy is big; but as I said in every speech and every interview, the foundation lies in Syria. When we get rid of those terrorists and return to search later for the causes behind the presence of such criminality which we did not believe existed in our country, then we will be assured.
Question: Part of the Syrian people say that they no longer believe in pan-Arabism. They say we should put “Syria first”.. Does His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad still believe in pan-Arabism and what is called “Arab action”?
President al-Assad: First, I repeat what I said in one of my speeches, that “Syria first” is self-evident. .. But this does not contradict with what comes second, which is the city, the larger homeland and the Arab world to which we belong. ...
I say that today I am more committed to pan-Arabism, more convinced of it and more comfortable with it. ... Pan-Arabism is not an organization, it is a state of civilization... As to the Arab League, let’s be realistic: Since the year 2000, what are the achievements of the Arab League in the interest of the Arab nation...?
A woman suicide bomber killed Said Atsayev, 74, a popular Sufi Muslim spiritual leader also known as Sheikh Said Afandi al-Chirkavi, and six of his followers in Russia’s southern Dagestan...
Putin: "Our Common Home"
Russia is struggling to contain an Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus more than a decade after federal forces toppled a separatist government in a war in Chechnya, adjacent to Dagestan. The violence threatens to spread to other mainly Muslim regions.
Apparently by chance, the killings in Dagestan happened around the same time Putin delivered a call for unity and gave a tough warning to extremists during a visit to Tatarstan...
“We will not allow anyone to tear our country apart by exploiting ethnic and religious differences,” Putin said, appealing for unity and calling Russia “our common home”.
“Terrorists, bandits, whatever ideological slogans they use … want to achieve only one thing: to sow hatred and fear,” Putin said. “They stop at nothing – they kill people of the same faith and religious leaders, bring evil and spill blood during religious holidays...”
Putin called for religious tolerance, describing it as “one of the foundations of Russian statehood for centuries...”
Insurgents fighting to carve an Islamic state from the North Caucasus have attacked officials and law enforcement personnel almost daily...
Not only representatives of Christian and other religions, but even branches of Islam are suspicious about Sufism. Representatives of such a radical Islamic flow as Wahabiism call Sufism a heresy which corrupts Koran and enemies who help Russia to destroy the Muslim community.
From the point of view of European civilization, Sufism is not a part of Islam, as it grew together with it due to historic reasons. And in fact Sufism can be found in all religions, because it represents their true deep essence.
...not focused on “geopolitical” Islamic concepts...
Sufism is a mystic flow in Islam. The mysticism of Sufism is that its subject – the way to God – cannot be described in words and is understood by hints and spiritual intuition. The further person moves in the way of Sufism, the more he leaves himself and his bad features, he overcomes dimness of the world and comes close to God who is the only Reality. ... Sufis are not focused on “geopolitical” Islamic concepts which differs them from militant fundamentalists.
WIKIPEDIA: "According to Idries Shah, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and the other modern-day religions..."