Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003
A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.
"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked: ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.
There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”
"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people.
(Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)
Choseness is what binds Zionists together.
To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity. To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy. Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy....
I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to make them ‘people like all other people.’
Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison, but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement. The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours. (Gilad Atzmon, 24-6-2019)
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
US President Donald Trump has announced that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during a US military raid in northwest Syria, confirming an avalanche of rumors on the terrorist’s death.
“Al-Baghdadi has been killed… in a daring nighttime raid,” Donald Trump said in a live address from the White House.
Military choppers and even drones provided air cover as US special forces engaged targets on the ground in Idlib province – the last major terrorist stronghold in the country.
Al-Baghdadi escaped to a tunnel dug under his hideout and took three of his young children. He was chased by the dogs and when he reached the dead end the terrorist detonated the suicide vest he was wearing.
The US forces suffered no casualties during the two-hour-long raid, with only a dog, which chased the terrorist into the tunnel, being hurt. Meanwhile, “many” of al-Baghdadi’s fighters and associates were killed. Washington also obtained “highly sensitive materials,” which will reveal a lot about IS activities and future plans, Trump said.
The president praised the “great cooperation” with Russia during the op as Moscow opened up the airspace under its control in Syria to American planes when Washington asked for it.
The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leader’s whereabouts were unknown for years. He made public appearances only a handful of times since founding his “worldwide caliphate” in 2014. At the height of its power, al-Baghdadi’s terrorist group controlled vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.
The Syrian Army, aided by Iran and Russia, has nearly eradicated the group from its territory.
By the time Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was killed by US troops in Idlib province in north-western Syria, he was already more a leader-in-waiting than an actual mastermind.
The ISIS leader had already taken the step of naming his successor in August: Abdullah Qardash, an Iraqi of Turkmen origin and a former Saddam Hussein-era military officer from Tal Afar near Mosul.
Details are scant on his background, except that he was appointed by Al Baghdadi to head ISIS’s Muslim affairs unit in August and apparently spent time in Camp Bucca in Iraq under US custody during the war.
Al Baghdadi himself was held in the camp, where he developed close ties to the men who would eventually form much of the core of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (later ISIS).
Yesterday morning, october 27, 2019, President Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi.
In 2004, Al-Baghdadi had been captured by U.S. forces and, for ten months, imprisoned in both Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca.
I visited Camp Bucca in January, 2004 when, still under construction, the Camp was a network of tents, south of Basra, in an isolated, miserable area of Iraq.
Before our three-person Voices delegation entered Iraq, that month, we waited for visas in Amman, Jordan. While there, two young Palestinian men visited us and described their experiences during six months of imprisonment in Camp Bucca.
Recalling the horrible experience, they remembered how fearful they felt, sleeping in sand infested with desert scorpions; they were paraded naked, for showers, in front of U.S. military women and told to bark like a dog or say “I love George Bush” before their empty bowls would be filled with food.
Five of their friends were still in the prison. They begged us to visit these friends and plead for their release.
We traveled to the southernmost town in Iraq, Umm Qasr, and sat on a weathered picnic table outside of Camp Bucca, awaiting Major Garrity’s decision.
Camp Bucca was one of the most hellish spots I’ve ever encountered. Yet we felt quite grateful when word arrived that Major Garrity had approved our visit.
With no prompting, the prisoners, all in their twenties, corroborated the grievances their previously released friends expressed. They spoke of loneliness, monotony, humiliation and the fearful uncertainty prisoners face when held without charge by a hostile power with no evident plans to release them.
The November 3, 2005 issue of the New York Review of Books quoted three officers, two of them non-commissioned, stationed with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Mercury in Iraq.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, they described in multiple interviews with Human Rights Watch how their battalion in 2003-2004 routinely used physical and mental torture as a means of intelligence gathering and for stress relief…
Detainees in Iraq were consistently referred to as PUCs. The torture of detainees reportedly was so widespread and accepted that it became a means of stress relief, where soldiers would go to the PUC tent on their off-hours to “f**k a PUC” or “smoke a PUC.”
“F**king a PUC” referred to beating a detainee, while “smoking a PUC” referred to forced physical exertion sometimes to the point of unconsciousness.
Officers and NCOs from the Military Intelligence unit would direct guards to “smoke” the detainees prior to an interrogation, and would direct that certain detainees were not to receive sleep, water, or food beyond crackers.
Directed “smoking” would last for the twelve to twenty-four hours prior to an interrogation. As one soldier put it: “[The military intelligence officer] said he wanted the PUCs so fatigued, so smoked, so demoralized that they want to cooperate...
U.S. assaults, from Desert Storm (1991) to Shock and Awe (2003) — achieved through aerial bombings, children’s forced starvation, use of depleted uranium and white phosphorous, through bullet fire, night raids, blockaded medicines, emptied reservoirs and downed power lines, through abandoned state industries and cities left to dissolve in paroxysms of ethnic cleansing — have all been one continuous war. Along with the abuses of prisoners in places like Camp Bucca, FOB Mercury, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo, U.S. warfare predictably led to the buildup of ISIS and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s commitment to “an eye for an eye.”
"People are taking advantage of us"
"They scoff at us and laugh at us"
Donald Trump’s favorite Bible verse involves an “eye for an eye,” he said Thursday (14-4-2016) WHAM 1180 AM radio host Bob Lonsberry asked the Republican front-runner if he had a favorite verse or story from the Bible that’s impacted his thinking or character.
“Well, I think many. I mean, you know, when we get into the Bible, I think many. So many,” he responded. “And some people — look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country, I mean, when you see what’s going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us, and how they scoff at us and laugh at us.”
“And they laugh at our face, and they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re taking the health of our country,” he continued. “And we have to be firm and have to be very strong. And we can learn a lot from the Bible, that I can tell you.”
Trump appears to be referring to a passage from Exodus 21-24, which lays out the Old Testament rules governing personal behavior.
“"If there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
Another passage, Leviticus 24:19-21, reads, "And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death."
But in Matthew (5:38-42) in the New Testament, Jesus repudiates that notion...
Teaching about Revenge - Matthew 5
38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
This is a hard one: to offer the wicked no resistance, but turn the other cheek.
Where will it leave us?
What do you mean by it, Lord? I watched when your face was slapped before the high priest Caiaphas. You answered calmly: If I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me? Your resistance was moral, not physical or violent. That calls for greater courage and strength than taking up arms: Gandhi, not Cromwell.
I try to listen to these words of Jesus not as law-giving, perhaps not even as a sermon, but as a message that is given for my freedom. Jesus wants me to be free of limits that I may have set upon myself by imagining others wrongly. Jesus calls us to look beyond the limit of the law. We need to be generous and imaginative if we are to rise beyond the restrictions that life presents.
To answer violence with violence or unreasonable demands with resistance is to do the expected thing. Jesus calls me to imagine my life differently and thus prompt others to see themselves anew. Do I use laws and rules to protect my security or to promote justice for others?
Turkey plans to return at least two million refugees to Syria's north where Ankara had held Operation Peace Spring, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday after talks in the Astana format with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
"We aim at returning refugees, and this return should be safe, it should be carried out in accordance with international law, as well as in coordination with UN agencies," Cavusoglu said. "We think that two million refugees may return to territories liberated from terrorists," he added. Cavusoglu called the launch of the Syrian Constitutional Committee "a big and brave step forward" in the process of political settlement of the Syrian crisis.
The foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran Sergey Lavrov, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Javad Zarif held talks in the Astana format in Geneva on Tuesday. They discussed the situation in Syria and the launch of the Syrian Constitutional Committee which will hold its first session on October 30.
Iran, Russia and Turkey, in a joint statement late Tuesday, reaffirmed their commitment regarding Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey as guarantors of the Astana format held the trilateral meeting and consultations with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen in Geneva on Tuesday (October 2019).
In a joint statement at the end of the meeting, the three guarantor states:
1. Reaffirmed the strong commitment of the Astana guarantors to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and emphasized that these principles should be respected by all sides. They reiterated their strong determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory;
2. Welcomed the formation the Constitutional Committee and its convening in Geneva on 30 October 2019..
3. Reaffirmed their commitment to advance viable and lasting Syrian-led and Syrian owned, UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2254;
4. Reaffirmed their determination to support the work of the Constitutional Committee through continuous interaction with the Syrian parties and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria..
5. Expressed their view that the work of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines..
6. Stressed the importance of the broader settlement process moving forward to increase humanitarian assistance to all Syrians throughout the country without preconditions and discrimination, to facilitate safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria as well as to build confidence and trust between the Syrian parties.
It is Syria's duty to find a way to live together, the opposition co-chair of the new Constitutional Committee has said before the start of the first round of talks in Geneva this week.
The meetings will see members of the regime and the opposition sit in the same room for the first time since the war erupted in 2011.
“This will show of our resolve and insistence to reach a fair political solution to the crisis through the complete implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2254,” Hadi Al Bahra, former head of Syrian opposition coalition, told The National before the first meeting of the committee in Switzerland on Wednesday.
The resolution calls for a new constitution, UN-supervised elections, and transparent and accountable governance.
He said that finding a resolution to end a war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced about half of the prewar population of 22 million is "a duty to our country". "We are all Syrian, and as Syrians we have to live together,” he said.
The launch of Syria’s Constitutional Committee, a UN-led peacebuilding initiative, took two years and involved numerous precarious negotiations between four countries — Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Syrian government.
The committee, comprised of 150 people and tasked with rewriting the postwar constitution, will structure the future of the war-torn country.
“Based on our own intentions we come with positive spirits and we want to produce something that our people deserve,” Mr Al Bahra said.
“When we discuss the issue of a constitution, we have to be serious about all articles, the most important is the separation of power,” Mr Al Bahra said.
Each power, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, he said, must be completely separate from the other in order for them to each be equally represented.
“The mission of the committee will be to review Syria’s constitutional history from 1920 and onwards,” Mr Al Bahra said.
The Committee of Discussing the Constitution on Wednesday started activities in Geneva with the participation of 150 members who represent the delegation which is supported by the Syrian Government, the delegation of other parties and the delegation of the civil society as each of them includes 50 members evenly.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, in a speech during the opening of the works of the committee, said that starting the work of the committee represents an important step on the road of finding a sustainable political solution to the crisis in Syria according to the International Security Council’s resolution no. 2254, affirming that the constitution is owned by the Syrian people only.
Pedersen indicated that the members of the committee are meeting in Geneva based on basic principles which are the adherence to Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and respecting the UN Charter and the Security Council’s resolutions.
Pedersen affirmed that the Syrian people only decide the future of their country, indicating that the committee may discuss the constitution of the year 2012 or amend it or to put a draft of a new constitution and submit it to a popular referendum, while the role of the UN is limited to contributing to facilitating the work of the Committee of Discussing the Constitution.
In opening remarks, Ahmad Kuzbari, the panel’s government co-chair, hit out at “terrorism” - a reference to insurgents - and hailed “the sacrifices and heroic deeds of our army.”
He added: “The presence of any occupying forces on our territory, the spoliation of the resources of our country, the continuing imposition of unilateral sanctions threaten the entire political process as well as being in contradiction with international legitimacy.”
However, Kuzbari hailed the talks as “one of the entry points to the political process to solve the crisis that has ravaged our beloved homeland”.
Opposition co-chair Hadi al-Bahra said 65 percent of Syria’s infrastructure had been destroyed, adding: “It is time for us to believe that victory in Syria is achieving justice and peace..."
“The aspirations of millions of Syrians to go back to their homeland and find their loved ones must be our compass,” al-Bahra said. (Reuters, 30-10-2019)
“When I will be the Prime Minister of Israel, I will embrace all streams of Judaism. We are part of an inspiringly colorful mosaic of cultures and traditions. I will nurture this pluralism,” said Gantz as he addressed Jewish leaders from around the world attending The Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors in Jerusalem.
Emphasizing the need for unity among the Jewish people Gantz also spoke on his mission to avoid a third election and form a unity government.
“Israel requires a stable, responsible, and pragmatic government. A broad liberal unity government, which I set out to establish from the moment I entered politics less than a year ago. This is the government the people chose and the one that they need”.
“The divisive dialogue is tearing our strong nation apart. It may serve political purposes but is shredding the fabric that holds us together. The rift between right and left, between secular and Orthodox, between the haves and the have-nots, between Jews and non-Jews, has grown wider and wider”. As of today, the State of Israel does not officially recognize other denominations of Judaism except Orthodox Judaism - meaning that conversion to Judaism, marriage and other various religious practices through the different streams of Judaism, such as Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, are also not recognized by the state.
Daesh terrorist group, also known as ISIS, confirmed in an audio statement the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The group named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi [al-Qurayshi] as its new leader, according to a statement distributed by Al-Furqan, the group's media wing.
In the sound recording released from the Telegram messaging app channels close to Daesh, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, terror group's so-called new spokesman, confirmed the death of al-Baghdadi and Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, former spokesman of Daesh.
Al-Hashimi was elected by a shura council as the new caliph of ISIL, indicating that the group still considers itself a caliphate despite having lost all of its territory in Iraq and Syria.
According to ISIL, al-Hashimi is a veteran in fighting against western nations, being a religiously educated and experienced commander. He was described as "the scholar, the worker, the worshiper", a "prominent figure in jihad", and an "emir of war". He was a leading judge of ISIS and head of the Sharia committee. Under Baghdadi, Daesh spread over wide segments of Iraq and Syria beginning in 2013, eventually claiming the formation of a "caliphate" in the region as it plotted and carried out gruesome attacks that reached far beyond its main territorial bastion. It further set up local affiliates in other regions...
is-, al-qaeda-, fsa rebels, 2013
Robert Stephen Ford (born 1958) served as the United States Ambassador to Algeria from 2006 to 2008 and the United States Ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014.
Ford played a central role in developing the “extremism threat” scenario including the channeling of military aid to the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels.
Ford was from the outset in the months leading up to the March 2011 insurrection among the key architects involved in the formulation of a US “Terrorist Option” for Syria, including the recruitment and training of death squads in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. (Global Research 6-6-2014)
syrian arab army 2015
According to the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 112,850 civilians had been killed between March 2011 and March 2019. Government forces deaths: Total 125,457–174,457 killed (Syrian military and police: 65,187–100,187 killed, Syrian militias: 50,484–64,484 killed, Lebanese Hezbollah: 1,677–2,000 killed, Other non-Syrian militiamen: 8,109 killed)
Lebanon's president Michel Aoun has said he is seeking to transform the country from a confessional system, where power is divided among sects, to a civil state.
The country's current political system assigns the post of prime minister to a Sunni Muslim, while the president is a Maronite Christian and the speaker of parliament is a Shia Muslim. An unprecedented wave of protests erupted two weeks ago, calling for a technocratic government who can lead the country out of deepening economic crisis and improve the utility services.
President Michel Aoun's comments could pave the way for a compromise over a new government needed to enact urgent reforms seen as vital to steering Lebanon out of a deep economic crisis.
In a televised address marking the third anniversary of his term in office, Aoun said he would do his best to transform Lebanon from a sectarian-oriented state structure to a modern civil one by forming a new government of technocrats.
"Ministers should be chosen according to their competencies and expertise, not political loyalties," Aoun said. "Lebanon is at a critical juncture, especially in terms of its economy..."
Protesters say the sectarian political system on which the government is based on is problematic as it spawns patronage and clientelism. They are demanding a new government to be formed comprised of technocrats unaffiliated with the political class.
The Arab world’s fire-breathing guerrillas and military despots get all the attention. But the men who run the region’s day-to-day affairs are a different breed.
Across the Middle East over the last decade, a new class of technocrats — all in their 40s and 50s, with advanced degrees in law and economics, many from Western universities, and backed by powerful patrons — has risen to power in governments from Syria to Egypt to Palestine, resolutely focused on tackling the mundane problems affecting their societies....
Technocracy was popular in the United States and Canada for a brief period in the early 1930s, before it was overshadowed by other proposals for dealing with the crisis of the Great Depression.
The technocracy movement proposed replacing politicians and businesspeople with scientists and engineers who had the technical expertise to manage the economy. The movement was committed to abstaining from all revolutionary and political activities. It gained strength in the 1930s but in 1940, due to an alleged initial opposition to the Second World War, was banned in Canada...
A Russian movement existed based on similar beginnings from the North American movement also. Alexander Bogdanov's concept of Tectology bears some semblance to technocratic ideas. Both Bogdanov's fiction and his political writings as presented by Zenovia Sochor, imply that he expected a coming revolution against capitalism to lead to a technocratic society. In the post-war years, perhaps due to the growing distrust of socialism in the cold war, membership and interest in technocracy decreased.
Though now relatively insignificant, the Technocracy movement survives into the present day, and as of 2013, was continuing to publish a newsletter, maintain a website, and hold member meetings...
In 'The Systems View of Life', Fritjof Capra and biochemist Pier Luigi Luisi explore how modern biology, in trying to understand the self-organising, adaptive and creative aspects of life in all its forms, has by necessity turned to a holistic, systems view emphasising pattern and organisation.
The main point of the book isn’t merely that systems biology is fascinating. More importantly, Capra and Luisi argue that many of the most important problems we face today – from financial instability to climate change and ecological degradation – reflect our collective inability to appreciate just how the world operates as a holistic, networked system in which every part depends on every other. [...]
They bring back to life some of the foundational figures in systems science, now mostly forgotten. For example, I had heard of the Austrian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, who in the 1930s developed general ideas about the organising principles of living systems.
I had also heard the name Bogdanov, but had no idea that Alexander Bogdanov was a Russian polymath who developed similar ideas around the turn of the 20th century; his work is still largely unknown in the West.
Capra and Luisi argue that the 21st-century zeitgeist is changing from one of world-as-machine to world-as-network, a holistic system in precise interrelation rather than a collection of dissociated parts.
That sounds fine in theory, but how can we put it to use? This is the focus of the third and final broad section of the book: on sustaining the web of life. Here, Capra and Luisi make some fairly routine observations, for example, that our success will require a shift to more sustainable kinds of economic growth, and finding ways to organise our activities in a manner that doesn’t interfere with nature’s inherent ability to support life.
As in 'The Tao of Physics', there is some Eastern mysticism in this book, and rightly so. After all, those philosophies have always emphasised the deep dependence of everything human on nature and the environment, and have taught living with nature rather than trying to dominate it.
We should have been listening long ago. I hope that Capra and Luisi will manage to persuade many that we must start listening now – or face the consequences of our own ignorance.
Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. The term Holism was coined by J C Smuts in 'Holism and Evolution'. It was Smuts' opinion that Holism is a concept that represents all of the wholes in the universe, and it is a factor because the wholes it denotes are the real factors in the universe. The ultimate reality in the universe is neither matter nor spirit but wholes as defined in Holism and Evolution.
Holism in science, or holistic science, is an approach to research that emphasizes the study of complex systems. Systems are approached as coherent wholes whose component parts are best understood in context and in relation to one another and to the whole.
This practice is in contrast to a purely analytic tradition, sometimes called reductionism .
The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), which administers northern Syria, announced in a statement on Saturday that they are ready to start “negotiations” with Damascus regarding northeast Syria, to prevent the division of Syrian territories by ‘Turkish fascist mercenaries”.
“We followed President Bashar al-Assad’s interview last night. Although we disagree with many of the issues he raised..we have seen from his speech that he is ready to engage in a real negotiation process,” the statement read.
Such negotiations, it added, should include others that were excluded from the “so-called” Constitutional Committee which met in Geneva last week, of which seven Kurds are members. The SDC was not included in the talks.
The SDC, the statement read, “declares its open-mindedness to form a real Syrian opposition platform [..] in order to work for the “unity of Syria and safety of its soil.”
The council also paid tribute to Syrian Army troops who had died in the fight against the Turkish invasion. The SDC praised the previous deal between Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad which allowed the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to secure the border in response to the Turkish operation, which began October 9.
Turkish proxies attacked the Hasakah province town of Tel Tamr on Wednesday, taking control of a number of surrounding villages and displacing residents. In response, Damascus sent reinforcements to the town on Thursday and retook the villages.
Turkey launched its land incursion into northern Syria, Operation Peace Spring on October 9.
Minister Betzalel Smotrich addressed New Right leader Naftali Bennett’s statements implying that he proposed that Netanyahu dismantle the [ultra] right-wing bloc.
“Dismantling the right-wing bloc would be an irresponsible folly that would lead to the establishment of an Oslo government...
arafat, clinton, barak, netanyahu
“Elections are bad, but the dismantling of the Right and the establishment of an Oslo government are much worse. Bloc leaders must internalize: The barrier to the establishment of a unity government is Gantz’s insistence on disqualifying Netanyahu rather than unity on the Right,” he wrote.
Last night, Bennett declared in an interview with Channel 12 News that he and his party would not be an obstacle to establishing a unity government, and that if Netanyahu needs a "release" from his commitment to the right-wing bloc of 55 MKs to form a government with Benny Gantz, he himself is releasing Netanyahu from that commitment. Bennett stated that he would be fine with sitting in the opposition, provided that a government was established "now, as soon as possible."
"The Shin Bet has been dealing in the past year with a radical group of young messianic Jews aiming to bring down the Zionist state and replace it with a holy kingdom. In order to fulfill their goal, they are willing to sacrifice their lives and have no problem killing." Alex Fishman
I am angry... Israel's governments should have treated the settler public differently. They shouldn't have gave in to the lawbreakers in Sebastia, they shouldn't have pardoned the Jewish Underground terrorists prematurely, they shouldn't have – acting on an order from above – skipped the rabbis who inflamed Yigal Amir, funded their whims, winked at them and flattered them.
Governments are not the only ones who sinned deeply here. The Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice Meir Shamgar and mainly under the leadership of Chief Justice Aharon Barak, gave full, remarkably liberal protection to the freedom of expression on the one hand, while on the other hand legitimizing the settlement enterprise in the territories in different ways.
It was a lethal combination. It opened the door to weeds like Kahane Chai, the Lehava organization and the price tag gang. It conveyed a message to the judges in the lower courts, to the State Prosecutor's Office, to the police, that political delinquency can be forgiven as part of the freedom of expression. There is no wonder that slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's widow, Leah, refused to shake Barak's hand over her husband's grave.
Freedom of expression is a noble value... But the court has failed to equip democracy with the tools it needs to defend itself against those who are turning freedom of expression into a basis for recruiting hate criminals.
This applies both to extreme right-wing organizations and to the haredim. Hate crimes are usually not committed in an empty space: There is an atmosphere, there are instigators, there is a supportive community.
The recurring waves of terror and the failure of the peace process, and perhaps the demographic changes as well, have made the Israeli street more rightist.
The voters wanted a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Little did they know they would be getting a government which depends on the finger of one Bezalel Smotrich, a Knesset member on behalf of the Bayit Yehudi faction, who combines both haredi for Arabs and hatred for the LGBT community. He is the supreme authority.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the head of Smotrich's party, asked if he could speak at the LGBT protest on Saturday evening. He was offended when his request was turned down. "I wanted to tell them I love them," Bennett said. "I disagree with them and I love them." ...
The members of the LGBT community don’t need his patronizing love. They need security. The education system Bennett is in charge of is afflicted with racism and homophobia. He should start with the state-religious education and the ultra-Orthodox streams.
[Israeli] Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed Christian journalists and dignitaries from around the world Sunday, as the 2019 Christian Media Summit kicked off in Jerusalem.
The prime minister recalled a conversation with President Trump prior to the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, when Trump consulted with Netanyahu regarding the possible move.
“It is amazing that [Jerusalem] wasn’t recognized, and we have to congratulate President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy here....”
“I want you to know that President Trump consulted with me before he made this move. And he said ‘What do you think will happen? Will there be a lot of violence? Will there be protests and demonstrations in the Arab world?’”
“I said: ‘Look, I can’t guarantee that there won’t be such manifestations of such protests. But I don’t think so.’” “Anyway, he did it. And what was the result? Nothing.”
Netanyahu also lauded Trump’s decision to recognize the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory, adding that the tepid reactions to the move proved that Israel is no longer the Middle East pariah state it once was.
“And again, President Trump decided to recognize the Golan Heights as a part of Israel, the sovereign State of Israel. And again, people said there would be a tremendous convulsion. And again, nothing happened..."
The prime minister also touted the shared ‘Judeo-Christian’ values of Israel and the Christian world, saying Israel’s closest allies are its “Christian friends”. “We have no better friends in the world than our Christian friends.”
Along with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, the event was attended by US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. Friends of Zion founder Mike Evans [Christian Zionist] also addressed the gathering.
American Christians Welcome Trump's Obedience
to God's Word on Jerusalem (Haaretz, 6-12-2017)
Quran 9:30: The Jews say, 'Ezra is the Son of God'; the Christians say, 'The Messiah is the Son of God.' That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God -- and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above what they associate with Him... (Is Netanyahu 'God'?)
American Veterans who risked their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are increasingly opposing foreign interventionism that continues to dominate the Washington, DC, political establishment.
The latest Pew Research Center survey on the issue finds that 64 percent of Veterans say the Iraq War is “not worth fighting,” along with 62 percent of all American adults who agree. Only 33 percent of Veterans say the Iraq War is worth fighting.
Likewise, nearly 60 percent of Veterans and all American adults say the Afghanistan War was not worth the fight. Less than 40 percent say the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was worth fighting.
In interviews with the New York Times, Veterans explained their support for President Trump’s effort to end what he has dubbed the “endless wars” across the Middle East which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
“All in all, it is a lot of wasted lives and money and time and effort spent to accomplish a goal we never accomplished,” said 31-year-old Tyler Wade, who received a Purple Heart for his service in Afghanistan, told the Times. Veteran Dan Caldwell said American men and women signed up to defend their homeland against terrorists, not to nation-build whole countries...
“For conservative-leaning veterans, we signed up to defend our country,” Caldwell said. “We didn’t sign up to build girls schools in the Al Anbar Province. We had friends killed or wounded in action; it wasn’t clear for what.” [..]
Even when it comes to the U.S. intervention in Syria, Veterans by a majority oppose the effort. The Pew Research Center survey found that 55 percent of Veterans said U.S. involvement in Syria is “not worth it” while almost 60 percent of American adults agreed.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for joint efforts with ASEAN countries to de-monopolize the high-tech industry. He voiced this proposal in his speech at the ASEAN-2019 Business and Investment Summit.
"Companies and entire countries are getting increasingly dependent on hardware and software. Several corporations have great opportunities in this sector and in fact they often dominate the market," he said.
"This hampers healthy competition and introduction of new promising ideas, and has a negative impact on the information and network security. Therefore, our country, Russia, advocates joint efforts to de-monopolize this area, to develop competition in it, to create new solutions in both software and technology," Medvedev said.
"The states that do not have their own digital platforms can lose, if not their sovereignty, then at least a huge number of opportunities, and in general - their right to the future in a changing world. Without own technologies, it turns out that there is no own development," the Russian Prime Minister stressed.
According to Medvedev, new technological solutions are great opportunities for people, businesses and states. Nevertheless, joint solutions are also needed to combat the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution on a global scale, he noted.
With the advent of new technologies, the socio-economic gap between countries becomes more noticeable, since it is these technologies that largely determine the level of welfare of the state, the Russian Prime Minister said.
Sanctions have become a political pressure tool that triggers trade wars, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the 14th East Asia Summit in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok.
"Unfortunately, the use of sanctions is increasing, they have become a tool of political pressure and unfair competition," he pointed out.
According to Medvedev, protectionist sentiment is growing stronger in a number of countries, "which leads to specific political and legal decisions." "They result in large-scale trade wars," the Russian prime minister emphasized.
At the same time, in his words, Asian countries are beginning to realize that there is a need to search for new methods of constructive interaction instead of establishing blocs and unions that oppose each other.
"The current situation in relations between the countries of the region and Asian countries’ determination to create an open and non-discriminatory market environment are proof of that," Medvedev said. The Russian prime minister emphasized the need to combine the potential of ASEAN, EAEU countries and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
He also stressed that the 2016 Russia-ASEAN Summit had supported the idea of establishing a broad Eurasian partnership.
BANGKOK, Nov. 3: China will continue to firmly uphold multilateralism in the context of complex international situations, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in his meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres here on Sunday.
China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will resolutely safeguard multilateralism, uphold the international system with the UN at its core, and support the international order based on international laws, Li said. China is ready to deepen cooperation with the UN, and work with all parties to strive for progress in meeting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said.
In dealing with climate change, China will undertake its responsibilities and obligations as a developing country, follow the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and implement the Paris Agreement with the international community in a comprehensive and efficient manner, so as to promote green, low-carbon, and sustainable growth, Li said.
For his part, Guterres said the international community must avoid any situation that separates the world and creates two systems and sets of rules.
The UN highly commends contributions China has made to support multilateralism, safeguard the international order based on international laws, implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and tackle climate change, Guterres said, adding the UN Secretariat is supportive of the Belt and Road Initiative.
BAGHDAD: Iraqi politicians have agreed on a “roadmap” to resolve the current crisis and meet the demands of demonstrators, prominent allies of Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi told Arab News on Monday.
Changing the prime minister’s administrative and military team, a ministerial reshuffle involving more than half the Cabinet, changing electoral laws and the members of the electoral commission are the most prominent points of the proposals, negotiators said.
Baghdad and nine southern Shiite-dominated provinces have seen mass protests since October 1 against corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services.
The demonstrations, the largest of their kind since 2003, are the first in which Shiite protesters represent have come out against the government, also largely Shiite.
After intense meetings over the past few weeks, Iranian-backed political forces agreed to a package of resolutions aimed at calming demonstrators and pleasing the supreme religious authority in Najaf, which has declared its full support for the demands.
The proposed road map, which includes dramatic changes in the composition of senior government staff, does not include any mention of early elections or the resignation of Abdul Mahdi within the options or solutions on the table.
“We will not allow his dismissal or resignation now,” a prominent ally of the government told Arab News. “We believe that keeping him as prime minister is a must now, because his fall means we will have to change a prime minister every six months. Sacrificing Muhammad Al-Hashemi, the head of the prime minister’s office, is the most significant change that will affect the Abdul Mahdi’s personal team.
“Everyone knows that Abu Jihad (Al-Hashemi) is the actual prime minister and is responsible for half of the devastation caused by the government until today,” one source told Arab News. “If ‘Abu Jihad’ gets out of the prime minister’s office, everything will be fixed.”
“Abdul-Mahdi is weak and his team is in chaos. In addition, ‘Abu Jihad’ enjoys the full support and confidence of the Iranians. This opened the door wide for ‘Abu Jihad’ to expand his powers. Dismissing Al-Hashemi and other senior officials of Abdul Mahdi’s office is part of the proposed plan presented by Gen. Qassim Suleiman, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and commander of field operations in Iraq.
Suleiman’s plan also lists a Cabinet reshuffle, combined with a package of important new laws and amendments.
Suleiman, who has absolute influence over the majority of Shiite political forces and armed factions, arrived in Baghdad on Thursday and he asked to meet Al-Sistani to “calm tensions” between Al-Sistani and Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ali Khamenei.
"Umar was well known for his extraordinary willpower, intelligence,
political astuteness, impartiality, justice and care for the poor." (biography online)
Mohammed al-Hashemi, known as Abu Jihad, a leader in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), was the office director of the council’s founder Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, and then he worked as office director of the latter’s successor Abdul Aziz al-Hakim...
By virtue of Hashemi’s work in the ISCI, he became the council’s mastermind and dealmaker, and he made strong ties with IRGC Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, Badr Organization leader Hadi al-Amiri, and leaders of the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
He also had a major role in the nomination of Adel Abdul Mahdi for prime minister and recommending him to the Shiite forces.
Iraqi writer Ghalib Shahbandar believes that Hashemi is the actual Iraqi prime minister and not Abdul Mahdi.
“Adel Abdul Mahdi is not prime minister; the actual prime minister is Abu Jihad al-Hashemi, who was raised within Iranian intelligence since he joined the Islamic Supreme Council in the early 1980s,” Shahbandar said in a video.
With Hashemi’s growing influence within the Iraqi government, his wealth has grown significantly, with access to many projects and economic deals, and he is one of the most prominent emperors of corruption within the Iraqi political system.
Iraqi writer Nubras al-Husseini said that Hashemi worked behind the scenes as a broker and maker of conservatives, and he succeeded in marketing a number of unknowns to the post of governor when the ISCI was going through a period of mass prosperity.
Husseini wrote in an article that Abu Jihad was engaged in building very large financial wealth after 2003, and he entered into disagreements with the leaders of the council by virtue of being directly responsible for the economic and finance files. He lives in a miniature palace in the presidential district of Al-Jadriyah, Baghdad.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz yesterday expressed his support for anti-government protests in Iraq; slammed Iran’s alleged intervention in the crackdown on demonstrators.
On Twitter, Katz wrote: “We sympathise with the Iraqi people’s protest for freedom & dignity. We condemn their repression and murder led by Qassem Suleimani & Iranian Revolutionary Guards.” “The Iraqi people have a long & glorious history. Many Israelis from Iraq fondly remember years of living together.”
Flashback 2016: Enough with the criminalisation of the
BDS movement for justice in Palestine! Let’s support right to boycott! ECCP website, 18 mai 2016
Dear Mr Juncker – President of the European Commission
We [friends of Palestine] are deeply alarmed by the ongoing attempts by some European governments to criminalise political activism against Israeli violations of international law.
The Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said at the largest Israeli anti-BDS conference, held on March 28 in Jerusalem, that Israel should engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS « leaders » with the help of Israeli intelligence.
That was at the very same conference at which EU Ambassador to Israel was participating alongside the settler leaders.
It is seriously alarming when government ministers anywhere make such threats against human rights defenders!
We wish to express our outrage at such an incitement and attacks on civil rights and seeking your support in upholding the basic rights for European citizens for a freedom of speech and expression in support for the Palestinian people and/or other people worldwide to defend their fundamental rights.
In addition we’d like to recall the statement from the Swedish foreign ministry re-affirming basic democratic principles by saying that BDS “is a civil society movement” and that “governments should not interfere in civil society organization views”
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) affirms the right to hold opinions without interference and the right to freedom of expression. These rights are interrelated and are the foundation of other rights, including the rights to freedom of assembly and association. Accordingly, the Human Rights Committee has affirmed that the holding of an opinion should not be criminalized.
Benjamin Netanyahu, 3-11-2019: We share your Christian values...
In a landmark anti-BDS ruling the High Court of Justice has paved the way for Israel to deport Human Rights Watch’s local director Omar Shakir for his support of boycott activity against Israel. Human Rights Watch is weighing an appeal to a larger judicial panel of the verdict by a three judges. If not appeal is lodged, Shakir could be asked to leave the country within 20-day.
The ruling is a victory for those who hold that advocates of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment Movement are acting against the state and are not engaged in legitimate criticism of Israel. Opponents view it as part of a movement to suppress human rights advocacy in Israel.
Shakir, who is a US citizen, immediately tweeted that if the HCJ decision is upheld, Israel will “join ranks of Iran, N Korea & Egypt in blocking access for @hrw official. We wont stop. And we wont be the last.”
In June, the Court froze a deportation order issued by a lower court in April. But on Tuesday it said the deportation could proceed.
"Not only was there [from Shakir] systematic support for BDS which continued after he began his work for the organization [HRW], his conduct surrounding FIFA, as well as his repeated calls for boycotting Israeli assets in the region, is based on a sweeping denial of the legitimacy of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria," the Court's ruling read.
"In these circumstances, there is no reason to intervene in the previous ruling. This is a case in which is a boycott was promoted only because of an affinity for the area [Israel] ─ as opposed to its conduct..."
According to Shakir, his case is not about BDS, as Israel claims, but about “muzzling human rights advocacy.”
Dozens of Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups have criticized his deportation order, as well as the UN Secretarly General, 27 European states and 17 Congresspeople, describing the chilling impact this will have on those who challenge Israel’s policies.
In late October, Israel banned Palestinian Amnesty International campaigner Laith Abu Zeyad from traveling to Jordan for his aunt’s funeral, for what Israeli authorities explained as “security considerations.”
Amnesty, on the other hand, wrote that this was “a sinister move imposed as punishment for his work defending human rights of Palestinians.”
In 2017, Israel denied entry to the organization’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Raed Jarrar, while on a personal visit to the occupied territories following the death of his father.
Last year, Israel denied entry to four human rights leaders from the United States who were visiting Israel and the West Bank to better understand the situation on the ground.
The members who were deported include Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of CCR’s board and Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Columbia University. The two were questioned about their political affiliation with groups critical of Israel, and Franke was accused of being associated with the BDS movement.
The Supreme Court’s ruling to cancel the residency and work visa of a Human Rights Watch director is another step toward legalizing the occupation and silencing its legitimate opponents.
Effectively, what the justices said on Tuesday was that it’s permissible to protest a small, localized injustice, but the state is entitled to silence anyone who protests a large, sweeping injustice.
The Knesset defined illegal boycott activity as calling for [damaging activities against persons] "because of their association with Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control."
But the court has ruled in the past that despite this law, it’s permissible to call for boycotts in specific cases of injustice – for instance, a Jewish-owned company that discriminates, or that was built on Palestinian land.
Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine representative, called for boycotting a specific injustice – Israel’s control over the West Bank and its illegal actions there. Many international law experts believe this is an injustice in its own right.
There’s no reason to make a distinction between someone who opposes the dispossession of a single Palestinian and someone who opposes the systematic dispossession of many Palestinians. In fact, the latter seems like a stronger basis for advocating a boycott.
But according to the court, it’s the latter that violates the boycott law and justifies deporting a foreign national.
The original sin lies at the legislature’s door, since it passed the law banning calls to boycott areas under Israel’s control – as if Israel and the West Bank were the same thing.
For the court, a sweeping denial of the legitimacy of Jewish settlements in the West Bank can’t possibly reflect a genuine concern for human rights and the principles of international law. The ruling makes no mention of international law, which forbids an occupying country to settle its citizens in occupied territory.
The court treated the legitimacy of the state’s actions in the territories [not 'The State of Palestine' but 'Judea and Samaria'] as self-evident and uncritically defended it against a form of opposition to them.
Fans of the occupation are applauding..
National Council of Young Israel praises Joe Biden
Arutz Sheva Staff, 06/11/2019
The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) on Tuesday praised former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden after he sharply criticized a number of the other presidential candidates for expressing their willingness to use US military aid to Israel as leverage to pressure the Israeli government to do things differently. The comments followed remarks by several other Democratic candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who suggested that the US condition its aid to Israel on its changing some of its positions and policies.
The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) today praised former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden after he sharply criticized a number of the other presidential candidates for expressing their willingness to use U.S. military aid to Israel as leverage to pressure the Israeli government to do things differently.
“But the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find to be absolutely outrageous… I would not condition it, and I think it’s a gigantic mistake,” Biden said.
The NCYI also expressed concern that several of the Democratic presidential candidates seem prepared to condition U.S. aid to Israel and urged them to reconsider their positions.
“We commend Vice President Biden for his staunch opposition to the preposterous notion that U.S. aid to Israel should be used as a petty means through which to exert political pressure on the Israeli government,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “Vice President Biden’s readiness to defend military aid to Israel stands in stark contrast to some of the other candidates who appear to lack a basic understanding of how critical these funds are to the United States’ sole democratic ally in the Middle East.” [..]
“As rockets from Gaza continue to rain down on Israeli cities and terrorists are incentivized to carry out deadly attacks against Israel through the Palestinian Authority’s despicable ‘pay to slay program,’ which disburses millions of dollars each year to Palestinian Arab terrorists who murder Americans and Israelis, it is incomprehensible that several of the Democratic presidential candidates would impudently undermine the safety and security of Israelis by pulling the rug out from under them..."
An American Orthodox Jewish group is defending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to work with a far-right political party.
It is the first statement by a major American Jewish organization defending Netanyahu’s decision. Last week, Netanyahu orchestrated an agreement between the extremist Jewish Power and Jewish Home, a religious Zionist party.
An array of centrist and liberal American Jewish groups and religious movements has criticized the merger as giving legitimacy to a fringe, racist movement.
But the National Council of Young Israel, a traditionalist Orthodox association of 175 synagogues that tends to take hawkish stances on Israeli issues, defended the prime minister’s actions...
“Prime Minister Netanyahu acted to get right-wing parties to merge in order to meet the threshold necessary to secure a victory in the election,” read a statement Monday by Farley Weiss, president of the National Council of Young Israel, to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency...
The Zionist Organization of America, a right-wing pro-Israel group, also called the condemnations of Netanyahu hypocritical.
June 13, 2019 / JNS: An Orthodox synagogue in Atlanta has disaffiliated from the Young Israel movement over the latter’s right-wing political stances, which have consisted of supporting U.S. President Donald Trump.
A coalition of leftist American Jewish groups, called the Progressive Israel Network, is sending a letter to the leaders of Israel’s political parties asking them to oppose Israeli "annexation" of the "West Bank" — even if President Donald Trump gives it a green light.
The Progressive Israel Network consists of 10 leftist Jewish groups, including the Israel lobby J Street, the "rabbinic human rights" group T’ruah and the New Israel Fund, which supports a range of "progressive" groups in Israel. Three leftist groups that are not part of the coalition — the Israel Policy Forum, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association — also signed onto the letter.
“Carrying out unilateral annexations in the West Bank would ultimately destroy Israeli democracy and lead the country down a disastrous path to permanent conflict,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.
President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani said on Tuesday that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had previously warned Syrian Kurdish authorities to distance themselves from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), adding that the PKK’s struggle for legitimacy in the area led to the Turkish invasion.
“Turkey's problem in the beginning was not Kurds in Syria, it was the PKK. They were clear in saying one thing: 'we cannot bear seeing the flag of the PKK on our borders with Syria,’” he told a crowd at a forum hosted by the Middle East Research Institute in Erbil.
“We have always tried to make our friends in Syria understand that [Turkey’s concerns] are a grave danger,” he added.
He continued by saying that the suffering of the Syrian Kurds under the Turkish incursion came as a result of PKK “policy” to gain legitimacy in Syria.
“The biggest problem was that the PKK tried to obtain its legitimacy at the expense of Syrian Kurds. What Kurds eventually suffered came as a result of the wrong policy they followed,” he added.
President Barzani added that the best possible solution to the current crisis in the north-east enclave, known as Rojava, is for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to engage in further dialogue with Damascus.
"Emotionally, there is no doubt that all of us, any Kurd, who sees what is happening in Syria and what Kurds are suffering there, is sad and want things to happen in a different way" Barzani said.
President Barzani added that he believes Kurds should not always criticize other governments for their silence or inaction, and that "we have to criticize ourselves" too.
"When something happens, we are used to immediately criticizing others. But we never criticize ourselves and see what factors triggered the issues to happen. If we see these mistakes in the first place, we can take future steps with caution," he said.
The Kurdish leader revealed for the first time that he has spoken with General Mazloum Abdi, general commander of the SDF on the situation unfolding in northern Syria and added he informed Abdi of his request to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to facilitate talks between the SDF and Damascus.
He added that Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF, described the prospect of talks between the SDF and Damascus as “the right thing” to do.
Al-Ahram Weekly spoke to Ahmed Ihab Gamaleddin, the foreign minister’s assistant for human rights and international humanitarian and social affairs, to sound out his views.
Q: What are the main challenges Egypt has been facing in its efforts to promote and protect human rights?
A: Understanding the context is the starting point for recognising the nature and scope of the current challenges and for choosing the appropriate means to address them. Egypt belongs to a region suffering from chronic insecurity, political instability, the rise of extremism, and persistent susceptibility to armed conflicts. Civil wars, revolutions, and terrorism in the region have created fertile ground for further violence.
The challenge of balancing national-security concerns with the protection of human rights, though not peculiar to our region, is particularly compounded by the scale and gravity of the security threats that we are facing.
Moreover, the Egyptian economy was negatively impacted by political and security instability following the January 2011 Revolution, which caused macroeconomic indicators to decline and negatively impacted the realisation of economic and social rights.
It was no secret that while Nasser was aligned with the socialist camp, the MB served as a tool of the US and Gulf regime during the Cold War". Al-Akkbar march 2012
"The revolution is a gift from God"
Ahram Online, 17 May 2012
[May 2012] Muslim Brotherhood's presidential hopeful Mohamed Morsi visited the governorates of Beni Suef and Fayoum. Morsi was accompanied on his tour by Salafist figures Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud as well as Islamic scholar Safwat Hegazi and the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
Badie told the audience in Beni Suef that the revolution was a gift from God and the Egyptian people should pray and thank him for it. He also urged the Egyptian people to work hard and serve Egypt and choose a man who will apply Sharia Law like Morsi promised to do....
Since 2014, our national efforts have focused on initiating an ambitious economic reform programme in order to create a favourable environment for economic growth and sustainable development. The programme has indeed improved our macroeconomic indicators. The government was also keen to exert intensive efforts to establish a robust social-protection network for vulnerable segments impacted by the economic reform measures.
Q: Could you shed light on the achievements included in the Egyptian human-rights report?
A: Egypt has succeeded in checking terrorism, jump starting its economy, and realising a high rate of economic growth, in addition to major investments in social services, infrastructure, as well as ambitious mega-projects.
Human rights represent an important component of our national development strategy called Vision 2030. It transcends our previous efforts and encompasses all spheres of life, including health, housing, food, education, water, the environment, social protection, religious freedoms, fighting corruption, and the various other civil and political rights.
Q: Do you expect criticisms from certain countries during the UPR session in Geneva, and how will you respond to them?
A: Like others, Egypt has some way to go to address shortcomings here and there, and sometimes individual mistakes could take place, but we have the strong determination to address these.
Do not forget that after all we are a developing country with a population of one hundred million, a large percentage of which suffers from poverty, illiteracy and economic hardships. This should always be taken into consideration because you cannot judge all countries by the same yardstick as objective conditions do vary. Human rights are an area where no country can claim the moral authority to give lessons to others. What is certain is that the Egyptian government has the strong political will to exercise its responsibilities towards its people, to fulfil their aspirations, and above all to realise their rights for a better future
Q: How do you respond to those who may attack the Egyptian human-rights record?
A: Egyptian efforts occur against a background of the lingering impact of the turmoil that the country has witnessed post-January 2011 and the new realities which have ensued.
This has been compounded by the fact that we live in a turbulent region, which has more than its share of instability. Furthermore, we face the grim daily reality of terrorism, threatening our citizens and all their human rights, starting from the most basic right to life.
Nevertheless, these challenges and dangers notwithstanding, Egypt is persevering in its efforts to move forward to fulfil its obligations to protecting its citizens from terrorism and realising the delicate balance between combating terrorism and protecting rights and liberties. We want to create a modern state in which everyone, man or women, Muslim or Christian, young or old, all across Egypt, enjoys equal rights. We are in a race against time to strengthen and modernise our institutions...
"There's only two people who can be prime minister on December 13 - Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson," Ian Austin told the BBC. "And I think Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead our country."
The startling interview came a day after deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who has often clashed with Corbyn, announced he was stepping down. The two actions underscore the unease of many of Labour lawmakers with Corbyn's left-wing views and his ambivalence over Britain's ties to the European Union...
"I think he's spent his entire time in politics working with and defending all sorts of people, extremists and in some cases anti-Semites and terrorists," Austin said. "In the end, I don't think he's a patriot. I don't think he loves his country. I think he always picks our country's enemies, whether it's the IRA during the Troubles or describing Hamas and Hezbollah as his friends...
Labour was quick to hit back. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the party's business spokeswoman, told the BBC that Corbyn is a patriot and the party has stepped up efforts to root out anti-Semitism.
"Certainly voting for Boris Johnson if you are a Labour voter and you want to protect your community is absolutely absurd and it makes no sense at all," she said.
Britain's biggest Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle, will on Friday use its front page to appeal to non-Jewish voters not to cast a ballot that could put Corbyn in Downing Street.
"Throughout his career he has allied with and supported antisemites," the paper says.
On 22 February 2019, Ian Austin resigned from the Labour Party and became an independent MP. On 19 March, MPs passed a motion put forward by Labour to remove Austin, as well as Independent Group MP Mike Gapes, from the seats on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee they held as part of the Labour Party's allocation. In July 2019, he was appointed Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Israel.
November 2019, Austin announced he would not stand in the December general election, and he advised his constituents to vote for the Conservative Party in order to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. He is a member of Labour Friends of Israel.
Jonathan Goldstein of the Jewish Leadership Council has called him a friend and ally. (Wikipedia info)
Jeremy Corbyn: supporter of 'Labour Friends of Palestine'
"Achieving justice for the Palestinian people remains one of the most pressing international issues of our time and one that has waited too long for a resolution." ( lfpme website)
Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East is chaired by Graham Morris. The late Jo Cox was a supporter, and so is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The vast majority of British Jews consider Jeremy Corbyn to be an antisemite. In the most recent poll, last month, the figure was 87 per cent.
Putting oneself in the shoes of another person, or another group, can be difficult. But we believe it is important — and urgent — that you do that. Perhaps the fact that nearly half (47 per cent) of the Jewish community said in that same poll that they would “seriously consider” emigrating if Mr Corbyn wins on December 12 will give you an indication of what it feels like to be a British Jew at a time when the official opposition is led by a man widely held to be an antisemite.
Throughout his career, he has allied with and supported antisemites such as Paul Eisen, Stephen Sizer and Raed Salah. He has described organisations like Hamas[..] as his “friends”. He has laid a wreath to honour terrorists who have murdered Jews. He has insulted “Zionists” — the word used by antisemites when they mean “Jew” because they think it allows them to get away with it... There were some who hoped that he might change as leader. The opposite has happened...
Instead of listening to and learning from mainstream Jewish bodies such as the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council, Mr Corbyn has treated them and their recommendations with contempt — and given support to fringe organisations set up solely to deny the existence of Labour antisemitism... That is why we are seeking your attention..
We believe that the overwhelming majority of British people abhor racism.We ask only that, when you cast your vote, you act on that.
Wikipedia info:: The Jewish Chronicle (The JC) is a London-based Jewish weekly newspaper. It is owned by the Kessler Foundation (UK), a charitable trust in the United Kingdom. Its current editor is Stephen Pollard.
In 2019, a consortium of 20 individuals, families and charitable trusts made donations to The Kessler Foundation so it could continue to support the newspaper. The identities of the members of the consortium were not disclosed. The fundraising was led by Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council.
A key ally of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn who has downplayed the party’s anti-Semitism problem has resigned.
Labour lawmaker Chris Williamson [left-winger] quit Wednesday following the party’s decision not to have him run as a candidate in the Dec. 12 general election. Williamson said he will run instead as an independent...
In his resignation letter, Williamson made a series of innuendos suggesting that scrutiny of Labour’s anti-Semitism problem is traceable to Zionist Jews or Israel, or both... He added that he is a victim of a “witch hunt” that serves “far-right activists,” including the Jewish Defense League.
"After almost forty-four years of loyal service and commitment, it is with a heavy heart that I now resign my membership of the Labour Party.."
"I am dismayed that Labour Party officials have enabled and executed what I believe to be a witch hunt against hundreds of socialists loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and his transformative, socialist, anti-imperialist worldview.
Many of the victims of this witch hunt have been Jewish socialists, whose anti-Zionism is anathema to the apartheid apologists apparent influencing Labour foreign and domestic policy."
"I will invite all those who see the threat posed by this capitulation to join me as we build an independent movement that is genuinely socialist and anti-imperialist...."
Kurds follow a moderate, democratic Islam which western countries have been "desperately" looking for, a French intellectual said on Monday.
B.H. Levy 2011: supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood|Al-Qaeda revolution in Libya
In a conversation with American philanthropist Thomas Kaplan, Bernard-Henri Lévy described the ‘Kurdish’ version of Islam as 'matching" secularism, he told an audience at 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center in New York City.
"I know since the beginning of [the] nineties, that this Islam which all of us are searching, this moderate Islam, democratic Islam,[….] matching with secularism and equality between men and women.This Islam that we pretend to look for all over the West, in my country desperately, it exists there in all Kurdistan," he told the audience. Lévy and Kaplan are co-founders of Justice for Kurds (JFK) which is a "not-for-profit advocacy group that seeks to educate and raise public awareness of the Kurdish cause, politics, history, culture and societies in America and abroad."
Also known as BHL, the French philosopher, filmmaker and intellectual has given many interviews focusing on the Kurdish issue in the Middle East, calling for international support for Kurds in both Iraq and Syria.
“We have to support the Kurds... This is my state of mind," added Lévy.
Asked by Kaplan what brought him to Kurdistan, Lévy replied that it was the war against ISIS.
After celebrating Tuesday’s takeover of Virginia’s legislature and the Kentucky governorship, the liberal establishment appears poised to crush its biggest threat: the surging candidacy of Elizabeth Warren.
From the tempo and tenor of the attacks, establishment fears of Warren’s success are real — and understandably so.
Two Wednesday polls show Warren running even with Joe Biden nationally. And a new Iowa poll shows Warren in front of the field with 20%, and Biden falling into fourth place with 15%.
The economic elite is already sounding the alarm.
Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase says Warren “vilifies successful people.” Microsoft founder Bill Gates says her proposals would imperil “innovation” and “capital formation.”
Writing in The New York Times, Obama adviser Steven Rattner describes a Warren presidency as “a terrifying prospect.”
Warren would “extend the reach and weight of the federal government far further into the economy than anything even Franklin Roosevelt dreamed of (and) … turn America’s uniquely successful public-private relationship into a dirigiste European-style system.”
What finally shocked anti-Warren liberals into action was her recent revelation of how she intends to pay for her “Medicare for all” plan. She would raise the corporate rate to 35% from 21%, and slam a 40% tax on the profits of companies that try to flee the country. She would raise the capital gains tax, impose new estate taxes, raise Social Security taxes on folks with higher incomes, and confiscate 2% of the wealth of those with $50 million in assets and 3% of the wealth of those with $1 billion, every year. Still, Warren’s socialism is not what her main rivals, all white men, are zeroing in on.
The Washington Post reported: “Two of the leading male candidates in the Democratic presidential primary race — Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg — have escalated separate lines of attack as they attempt to counter the field’s most prominent woman: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is antagonistic and angry.”
Warren has a “my way or the highway” approach, said Buttigieg, she is “so absorbed in the fighting that it is as though fighting were the purpose.”
Biden says Warren, who has a real shot at taking the nomination, reflects “an angry unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics.” This is “treacherous,” warns the Post, “given that many Democrats remain upset over what they view as the sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton, the party’s last nominee.”
The Blue and White party on Friday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for deciding to appoint New Right chairman Naftali Bennett as Defense Minister.
The party said that the appointment is a political, narrow and personal interest of Netanyahu. “Instead of promoting the government that the people have chosen, Netanyahu continues to fortify the immunity bloc and hide in it."
Likud campaign video 2015: Naftali Bennett, portrayed as a child playing with a toy tank.
Netanyahu: “There’s no time to waste. We can’t go on with a kindergarten like this.”
Yair Lapid, one of the leaders of Blue and White, blasted Netanyahu on Twitter and wrote, “There is no way to count the times when [Netanyahu] said Bennett was childish and irresponsible. Now he places in his hands the system responsible for the lives of our children. Because of Bibi's criminal cases, he puts the narrow personal interest ahead of the state.”
The Democratic Union alliance between Meretz and Ehud Barak’s Democratic Israel party also criticized the move.
“Netanyahu does not loathe any shady plot and any despicable trick to cling to his chair and avoid trial. Appointing ministers in a transitional government is improper and undemocratic. This is another step in a series of corrupt steps in Netanyahu's quest for the destruction of Israeli democracy. Bennett's appointment as Defense Minister is inappropriate and proves that Netanyahu has no red lines,” the party said. Netanyahu and Bennett also agreed that the Likud and the New Right would immediately form a joint faction in the 22nd Knesset, meaning that they would vote together as a united faction but not actually merge parties.
Aries and Leo represent the Two Tribes where (according to Jewish tradition) the Jewish State of Israel is build on.
The ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel are: Asher, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph [2 tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh], Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun. Those tribes 'disappeared' ('The Lost Tribes).
The two tribes of the southern kingdom of Judah are: Judah and Benjamin. (Webinfo: This is your bible)
Judah is a lion's whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?" (Genesis 49:9 )
The tribe of Judah is assigned to the Zodiac sign of LEO. Leo represents triumph, power, courage and leadership.
Benjamin, 'ravening as a wolf, devouring his prey by morning, dividing the spoil at night' (Gen.49:27), is ARIES. Aries is the sign that is most apt to be a “lone wolf,” to be anti-social and to be personally radical, due to their tendency to isolation. They don’t like working for others and need to be their own boss if at all possible. (Hebrew Astrology Info)
A statement in the Tosefta (a collection of rabbinic legal opinions) holds that the blessing bestowed on Abraham is the gift of astrology. Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah states that the rulers of some non-Jewish nations were experts in astrology, and that King Solomon too had expertise in this realm. (7:23 no. 1)
According to this source, the biblical Patriarch Abraham bore upon his breast an astrological tablet on which the fate of every man might be read. Thus, kings are said to have congregated before his door in order to seek advice. (kabbalastrology info)
A poll conducted for Channel 12's "Meet the Press" program shows that most Israelis want Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz to succeed in forming a government in the time remaining to him.. Some 57% of respondents answered that they want Gantz to succeed in forming a government without the ultra-right wing bloc in the time allotted to him, while 30.2% didn't want to form a Gantz government, and 15% answered that they don't know.
This was a "Peace Index" poll conducted by Prof. Effi Yaar and Dr. Nimrod Rosler of Tel Aviv University and the "Midgam" institute led by Manu Geva, in which 600 people responded.
When asked which government they wanted Gantz to form, the votes were split among the many options. 29.1% support a government with the Likud, headed by Netanyahu and including the haredim.
Another 20.3% support a government with the Likud without Netanyahu and without the haredim, while 19% are in favor of a government with the center-left and Yisrael Beytenu, supported from the outside by the Joint Arab List (without Likud and wihout haredim), and 17.9% - a government with the Likud and Netanyahu, but without the haredim. When asked about the Israeli-Palestinian Authority conflict, 60.9% said they were in favor of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while 31.7% objected.
When asked whether they support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, 48.7% was opposed.
The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the appointment of a virtually unknown successor could see some fugitive Islamic State group fighters seeking a return to the ranks of al-Qaeda-aligned groups.
Baghdadi died last month during a raid by US special forces on a compound near the village of Barisha in the northwest Syrian province where he appeared to have been hiding under the apparent protection of one such hardline group.
According to reports, the building where Baghdadi spent his final few months was owned by a people smuggler with links to Hurras al-Deen, or the Guardians of Religion Organisation, which claims allegiance to al-Qaeda.
Despite antipathy and ideological differences, IS had previously been reported to have maintained some contact with Hurras al-Deen, according to receipts obtained by the New York Times from formerly IS-held territory in 2018 which suggested that IS officials paid at least $67,000 to Hurras al-Din members...
"There are ideological differences between ISIS and Hurras al-Deen, but not of great importance," Sam Heller, who is based in Lebanon, told Middle East Eye.
IS and al-Qaeda-linked groups have been in competition for the loyalties of hardline fighters in Syria ever since al-Qaeda formally disavowed Baghdadi and his organisation in early 2014..
At the time, Nusra was al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. But Nusra was also fighting alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups against Syrian government forces under the banner of the Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) alliance, so it gained great popularity.
In a subsequent series of realignments, the Nusra Front then renounced its formal links to al-Qaeda and renamed itself Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which then became the main force within HTS, a broader militant alliance that currently holds most of Idlib.
But Nusra’s efforts under its Syrian leader Abu Mohammad al-Jolani to distance itself from al-Qaeda were not accepted by all of the fighters in its ranks, and especially not by many of its foreign fighters. Some of these broke away to form Hurras al-Deen in 2017.
Hurras al-Deen and Ansar al-Tawhid fighters even currently lead an operations room responsible for repelling attacks by Syrian government forces and their allies on the front lines south of Aleppo and north of Latakia province.
But Hurras al-Deen is seen as lacking charismatic and respected leaders to match those within HTS ranks who would be capable of winning the loyalty of fighters coming from outside Idlib, whether foreign or Syrian.
One such figure is Abdullah al-Muhaisini, a popular Saudi cleric who had previously served as a religious judge for the Jaish al-Fatah alliance but who broke away from HTS in late 2017.
In an audio message published to his followers, Muhaisini welcomed Baghdadi’s death..
Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini, a popular Saudi cleric who has relocated to Syria, has used his highly trafficked social media presence to endorse the new Islamic Front formed by some of the leading Syrian insurgent groups. He called for the Islamist coalition to cooperate with al Qaeda’s two official branches inside Syria (ISIS & Al Nusrah)
Aleppo & Al-Qaeda
Saudi cleric, Abdullah al-Muhaysini, the prominent leader and top recruiter of the al-Qaeda Syrian branch, was filmed preaching his followers inside rebel-held districts of Aleppo. He was shown in the video standing amid a group of armed militants, taunting Russia and Iran about his men’s ability to defeat their forces in southern Aleppo.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, or Levant (ISIS), one of two official al Qaeda branches in Syria, has quarreled with other jihadist groups, including the Al Nusrah Front (the other formal al Qaeda branch) and Ahrar al Sham, which is a leading member in the new Islamic Front. These groups frequently coordinate their operations, but ISIS has often proven to be a problematic partner... Al Muhaysini swiftly proposed that a common sharia court be established, with each of the leading jihadist groups contributing two judges....
On Oct. 26, 2013, al Muhaysini announced a new fundraising campaign to finance the jihad in Syria.
In late November, al Muhaysini released a video on YouTube in which he comments on the formation of the new Islamic Front... He noted that “there are large groups still outside the coalition,” including ISIS, Al Nusrah, and several other brigades.
If all of these groups cannot unify their efforts, al Muhaysini said, then they should still recognize there is “enough room in this arena of jihad for all of us” and they should continue to coordinate their efforts without antagonism.
Muhaysini was born in 1987 in the Qassim region of north-central Saudi Arabia. After having reportedly memorized the Quran by the age of 15, Muhaysini graduated from the University of Umm al-Qura in Mecca with a degree in sharia (Islamic law). After serving as the imam at the Qatar mosque in Mecca, Muhaysini left for Syria in or around 2013, where he quickly took up with the Nusra Front.
In an interview with the New York Times, november 2016, Muhaysini denied any affiliation with al-Qaeda. In September 2017, Muhaysini - who was formerly the head of the HTS Shariah Courts - announced his resignation from Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a group formed from a merger of al-Nusra Front and several smaller groups.
In an exclusive interview with RT’s Afshin Rattansi, Syrian President Bashar Assad said it’s hypocrisy for European nations to fear that Ankara will send refugees to Europe, but continue to sponsor terrorism in Syria.
The Syrian leader argued that the primary concern for Europe should not be the Syrian refugees which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now threatens to release to Europe, but the thousands of jihadists Europe allied itself with.
How can you fear those few millions, the majority of them are moderates and they have few terrorists, while you support those terrorists directly in Syria and you don’t fear that they’re going to go back to your country?
Assad told Afshin Rattansi that while there might be some extremists among those who fled the war-torn country, the majority of the refugees do not pose any acute threat, as opposed to hardened jihadists who may turn on their patrons.
"The most dangerous [for] Europe is to support the terrorists in Syria, this is the most dangerous part."
The relationship between Europe and Turkey is love-hate, Assad said. He noted that although the EU “hates” the Turkish leader, European nations cannot but listen to what he has to say.
US claims to Syria's oil fields are absolutely illegitimate and have no basis in international law, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
"They [the US] acknowledge and openly state that they are present there [in Syria] because of oil fields. No one has a right to Syrian resources.... This contradicts the norms of international law," Cavusoglu said....
This week, anonymous US officials told AP that up to 800 US troops may be kept in Syria to 'protect' oil fields in Syria's northeast, including in the oil and gas-rich province of Deir ez-Zor. Later, amid criticism of US policy, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters that the revenues from Syrian oil under US control would go to its Syrian Kurdish allies.
Syria has never been a major energy power, particularly compared to its Iraqi and Gulf neighbours, but did enjoy energy independence, and was capable of producing between 100,000 and 350,000 barrels of oil per day for export throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with this oil contributing upwards of 20 percent of state revenues. The country's energy production was cut by over 90 percent thanks to the foreign-backed civil conflict which began in 2011, and hundreds of millions of dollars of crude has been illegally smuggled out of the country in the years since...
Millions of Turkish people across the country on Nov. 10 marked the 81st anniversary of the demise of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader who led the country’s war of independence and laid foundation of the Republic of Turkey.
“We once again commemorate the Commander-in-Chief of the War of Independence, the founder of our Republic, our first President and Veteran Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, on 81st anniversary of his death,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the ceremony.
“We will continue with all our strength to live, sustain, develop and strengthen our republic that we inherited from him,” he added.
Also attending the ceremony were main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener, the heads of high judicial bodies, commanders of armed forces, representatives of political parties, bureaucrats and other state officials.
Atatürk was born in 1881 in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, then part of the Ottoman Empire. His military education started in 1893 when he was enrolled in a military school in Thessaloniki.
Following occupation of Istanbul in 1919, Atatürk went to northern Samsun province as the inspector of the 9th army, which changed his life completely, and Turkey’s eventually. The battle of Turkish independence started on May 15, 1919... Turkish army, under the leadership of Atatürk, won incredible battles against the occupant forces, including the first and second Battles of İnönü, Sakarya, Great Offensive, until 1923 when the Lausanne Treaty was signed on July 24.
The incredible achievements on the battlefield led to Turkish independence, and the Republic of Turkey was founded on Oct. 29, 1923.
- Question: I’m Afshin Rattansi in the Presidential Palace in Damascus, Welcome to an RT International World exclusive. I’m with the President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad.
Mister President: Countries that supported you include Iran, of course, Russia... What would you say to Russian families that had lost their Russian soldiers who had risked and sacrificed their lives for a “dictator”, for a “Middle East Dictator”?
- President Assad: You mentioned a very important point. Even in Syria, no one would die for a person. People would die, especially en masse for a cause, and this cause is defending their country, defending their existence, their future, rather than somebody coming from another country to die for a person, whether he is a dictator or whatever you want to call him.
So, this is not realistic, it is against logic that President Putin will put all the interests of his country at stake for one person...
Actually, Russia, according to officials I mean President Putin, Lavrov and the others, they are defending the Russian interests in different ways.
One aspect if they fight terrorism in another country, whether it is Syria or any other country in the region, that would defend the Russian people because terrorism and its ideology have no borders, they don’t see political borders. It’s one, let’s say, one arena, the whole world is one arena for terrorism.
Secondly, they implement and they adopt the international law. According to their point of view, this international law, if it’s implemented, it’s in correlation with their interest, with their national interests. So, implementing the international law around the world will help the interest of the Russian people.
- Question: The UK state-mandated BBC and Amnesty International are alleging your government killed eleven thousand people using so-called “barrel bombs” since 2012...
- President Assad: No war is a good war. This is a self-evident truth. You always have victims in any war, but to talk about an army or state to go and kill civilians and its own people, this is not realistic for a simple reason.
The war in Syria was about capturing the hearts of the people, and you cannot capture the hearts of the people by bombarding them. The Syrian army was fighting the terrorists, whether there is side fire that affected some civilians, that could have happened and you can have investigation, but how could Syrian people support their state and their president and their army, if they are killing them?
- Question: Was the only way to regain East Aleppo aerial bombardment?
- President Assad: Definitely, and we succeeded. In some areas, we captured the area without war. We made negotiations with those groups and they left that area, and then we entered.
Those Al-Qaeda groups in eastern Aleppo used to bombard the civilians on daily basis and killed thousands of people in Aleppo. So, the mission of the Army and the mission of the state is to protect those civilians from those terrorists. How can we do that without attacking the terrorists?! [..]
There are a lot of misleading narratives in the West just to show that the Syrian Army is intentionally killing the civilians with no reason.. They say that the Syrian army is only attacking the humanitarian facilities in order for the civilians to suffer.
Actually, what happened is the opposite... Those people now, if you go to Eastern Aleppo, they still live in those areas under the supervision of the government... Why didn’t they flee to Turkey? This itself refutes the Western narrative.
- Question: I mean going back a little to the first demonstrations in Daraa, in Damascus, there is a famous, again BBC state-mandated British media program.. They interviewed a succession of people saying the mistakes you made led to what happened...
- President Assad: At the very beginning during the demonstrations, during the first few days, we lost five policemen by shooting, by bullets. How could we talk about peaceful demonstrations while you have policemen killed by…
There was shooting, and you can’t tell who’s shooting at police, and who’s the one shooting at the civilians, because in most of the incidents at that time, the police didn’t have even machine guns or pistols.
- Question: Have you heard of Anwar Raslan and Eyad al-Gharib who have been arrested in Germany. The Germans are alleging something called Branch 251, one of your torture units, to torture demonstrators?
- President Assad: We don’t have torture units. We don’t have torture policy in Syria. Why do we use the torture for? You need information?! We have all the information... It’s not a policy.
If you talk about individual incidents, this is only an individual incident that could be done by anyone for revenge, for any other reason. That could happen anywhere in the world. But we don’t have such policy. We don't believe that torture could make your situation better as a state, very simply. So, we don’t use it.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts
to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons...
“It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” ... (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)
- Question: Accusing NATO governments of supporting Al-Qaeda or ISIS, viewers watching this interview in those NATO countries may think this is ridiculous.
- President Assad: The American policy in general depends on trials and errors. They invaded Afghanistan, they got nothing. They invaded Iraq, they got nothing, and they started to invade other countries but in different ways.
They change the way. The problem with the Unites States now is that they fight a survival war from their point of view because they are losing their hegemony.
So, they wanted to fight the Russian, the Iranians, the Syrians... They need tools; they noticed that in Iraq it did not work by sending their army. They lost a lot, and they paid the price even inside the Unites States. So, it’s much easier for them to send a proxy...
How did ISIS rise suddenly in 2014?! Out of nowhere! out of nothing!
How could they smuggle millions of barrels of oil to Turkey under the supervision of the American aircrafts, how? Because the Americans wanted to use them against the Syrian Army.
- Question: Do you believe this curious story that the Russians are saying that the US is stealing 30 million Dollars of oil a month from Northern Syria? Why would a net oil exporter like the US be interested in 30 million Dollars of oil a month?
- President Assad: Since ISIS started smuggling Syrian oil and looting Syrian Oil in 2014, they had two partners: Erdogan and his coterie, and the Americans, whether the CIA or others. So, what Trump did is just announce the truth; he is not talking about something new. Even when some of the Kurds started looting the Syrian oil, the Americans were their partners.
- Journalist: But arguably, why are you not more angry because obviously that would be a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention on Pillaging of countries’ resources.
- President Assad: Of course, we are angry... This is looting, but there is no international order actually, and there is no international law.
The Americans always try to loot other countries in different ways regarding not only their oil or money, or financial resources. They loot their rights, their political rights, every other right. That’s their historical role at least after World War II.
- Question: Do you see Israel as influencing policy in the European Commission, in the State Department and in the Pentagon?
- President Assad: Definitely. Israelis are our enemy, they occupy our land, and it’s self-evident, intuitive to be part of anything that could happen against Syria, any plan, any instigation, directly through their relation with the terrorists, and Netanyahu was visiting the terrorists who’ve been treated in their hospitals. The Israelis published these photos formally as news; it wasn’t our allegations.
Second, every time the Syrian army advanced against those Al-Nusra terrorists in the south, Israel used to bombard our troops, and whenever we advance somewhere else in Syria, their airplanes started committing air strikes against our army. That’s what’s happening.
- Question: In Idlib there are airstrikes backed by Russia and your military forces. There are reports in the past few days that civilians have died...
- President Assad: Those airstrikes are against the terrorist’s facilities, very simply... In the Western narrative, in the Western media, the narrative during the nine years of the war was that every Syrian or, let’s say, Russian airstrike should be against the civilians and the humanitarian facilities. According to them, our bullets and missiles and bombs can only kill civilians; they don’t kill militants!
- Question: Okay, but what is the nature of your agreement with the Syrian Defense Forces? Is there power sharing going on, who are the Syrian Defense Forces?
- President Assad: Let’s say, we are in a transitional period because they are going to keep their armaments now, but we invited them to join the Syrian Army. Some of them said NO, the last few days some of them said YES that they are ready to join the Army, so we do not know what is going on to happen yet, but we invited them to join the Army in order to have a normal situation as it used to be before the war, when the law prevailed and the state prevailed, nobody else... The SDF is not only Kurds; it is a mix of Kurds and Arab and others. When we talk about the SDF, the Kurds in the SDF, they represent part of the Kurds. The majority of the Kurds had a good relationship with the government, and the majority of the Kurds supports the government, but the part which is called the PYD is the one who’s been supported by the Americans publicly.
- Journalist: Aren’t you saying exactly what Mr Erdogan would say to me about the SDF?
- President Assad: Erdogan, has his own agenda which is two parts; his own agenda as a Muslim brotherhood man, and the American agenda as a puppet...
- Journalist: Okay, but do not you see how NATO or some people in NATO powers may think that the one thing we do not want is peace between Ankara and Damascus? And you are participating in that divide and rule, a system that has been designed in western capitals...
- President Assad: We had some few meetings …… But not with Erdogan, not me with him. No. It is on the security level; it happened through the Russians. It was a tripartite meeting; it happened two or three times... So we are not against the principles to negotiate with enemies, especially when we do not consider the Turks as enemies.
- Question: Last time I was here, all the talk in Damascus amongst your ministers in Damascus, they were talking about privatization. They were talking about elites in Syrian society, educated at business school like Harvard in the west, is that not the start of the Syrian conflict, when you started to implement neoliberal privatization plans destroying the fabric of this society?
- President Assad: Actually, there was debate about privatization, and as a government, and as a state in general, we refused it; even the unions in Syria, the majority refused the Neo-liberal policies because we know that it is going to destroy the poor, that was before... We moved steps towards liberation, but we still have a public sector, because we are socialist government. Till this moment, actually, who protected the economy in Syria and the services, is the public sector. Without the public sector, we would not have survived this war.
- Journalist: in name!
- President Assad: No, actually we still have public sector, and we still support the poor, we still have subsidies of bread, of oil, of schools, everything, nearly free; education is free in Syria. So, we have not changed that policy but we opened the doors more for the private sector. So, you cannot call it liberalization...
- Question: I am going to ask you about the reconstruction. Some people are saying that you are going to be too dependent on China, on Iran. Do you expect now to see massive reconstruction?
- President Assad: Not very soon, because you know there is an embargo on Syria, and the American tried hard during the last two years to not allow any individual, not only companies, who wants to invest in Syria to come.
Many capitals fear coming to Syria because of that embargo. But it is not the biggest problem. We have the human resources to build our country, we do not need any human resources. We can build it gradually, so I would not worry about `this embargo, but definitely, the friendly countries like China, Russia and Iran, will have priority in this rebuilding.
- Question: The head of MI6 on his opening speech, Alex Younger, said that you and Putin “They make a desert and call it peace. The human tragedy is heart-breaking.”
- President Assad: Any British official is in no position to talk about the humanitarian aspect anywhere in the world; they have been part of the invasion in Iraq; they have been partner in killing more than 1.5 million Iraqis; they have been partner in attacking Syria with their missiles and the embargo Syria, and killing hundreds of thousands of Syrians, and at the end, they are American puppets. They are not independent, to be frank. So, they are in no position to talk about the humanitarian issues anywhere in the world, let alone their history in India in the past; forget about this colonial era, I am talking about their current in modern history. They are not in a position.
- Question: Well, just finally then, What about the election here? Is there going to be a general election in 2021 in Syria?
- President Assad: Definitely.
- Journalist: And will be there more than one person on the ballot?
- President Assad: Last time, We were three and this time, of course, we are going to have as much as they want to nominate. There are going to be numerous nominees.
The locals of southern Hatay province have always been hospitable towards Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, yet they still want Syria to accomplish peace so that the “guests” can safely return to their homeland, Hatay’s Mayor Lütfü Savaş said.
“Members of three religions and six sects have lived and continue to live in Hatay. On Syrians, there has been many quarrels in [Turkey] but not in [Hatay], because our tolerance and sympathy level is higher,” Lütfü Savaş told Hürriyet Daily News.
“But the truth is we all want peace to be established in Syria as soon as possible so that our brothers and sisters living away from their homes can safely and securely return to their country,” Savaş said.
Hatay, located on the Syrian border, is one of the cities in Turkey that hosts the greatest number of refugees, ranking behind only Istanbul and Şanlıurfa. About 26.85 percent of its 1.6 million population is refugees.
According to data from the directorate, over 430,000 Syrian refugees have migrated to Hatay between the start of the civil war and the end of 2018.
The high number of refugees - currently over a quarter of Hatay’s population - causes economic and social consequences, the mayor said.
“We believe that it will be hard for our guests to stay here for life, both for us and for themselves. We want peace to be established so that our guests who will return will have security,” he said.
Savaş added that the road to peace can happen with the assistance of international actors. “This is not something that will be solved by [Hatay] locals,” he said. [..]
According to Savaş, Turkey’s planned safe zone in northern Syria is an accurate step paving the way for the safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees.
“The people that have been having problems since they came [to Turkey] want to return. As a result, if there is peace [in Syria], they will live in their own lands, talking the same language with other people,” he said.
Solving the problem, however, will come from dialogue between Ankara and Damascus, he said. “The real solution will be found when Turkey and Syria act together around the same table”, he added.
A law enforcement source has confirmed the death of James Le Mesurier at his home in Istanbul. However, the source added that at this time, it remains "unclear whether he was murdered, or committed suicide."
Earlier, the White Helmets organisation has confirmed to Israeli public broadcaster KAN that the group's founder had been found dead in his home.
Sözcü, a major Turkish daily newspaper, reported, citing police sources, that Le Mesurier may have killed himself, and that he had been taking anti-depressant medication for some time ahead of Monday's incident.
“the organizational underpinnings of the White Helmets can be sourced to a March 2013 meeting in Istanbul between a retired British military officer, James Le Mesurier, and representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Qatari Red Crescent Society. "The White Helmets function as an effective propaganda arm of the anti-Assad movement..." Scott Ritter 2018
Le Mesurier, a British private security specialist and former UK military intelligence officer, founded the White Helmets in Turkey in March 2013.
In a 2014 interview, Le Mesurier said that he spontaneously raised about $300,000 in initial funding from the UK, the US and other countries and trained 25 vetted operatives to create the White Helmets after witnessing the suffering in Syria, with the group soon accumulating over $150 million in cash after Western NGOs, Gulf countries, several European countries and Japan sent money and supplies to help the group.
The group continues to enjoy widespread publicity and support in Western countries, and is a UK-registered non-governmental organisation. Syria considers the White Helmets a "terrorist organisation," citing the group's regular operations in areas controlled by jihadist militants, including al-Qaeda offshoot the Nusra Front, as well as its creation of video fakes which seem designed to prompt Western military intervention in Syria.
In April 2018, the US, UK and France launched a series of air and cruise missile strikes against Syria following the publication of a White Helmets video appearing to show that a horrific chemical attack that had taken place in Douma, a city in the Damascus suburbs about 10 km from the capital.
The Douma attack was later debunked by verified testimony from multiple eyewitnesses who appeared in the video.
Forming a minority coalition with the Joint List would be a slap in the face to IDF soldiers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a message to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, during his address on Monday to a conference held by the Makor Rishon weekly. Netanyahu called on Gantz to drop the “insane” and “dangerous” idea<...
Blue and White is considering building a minority coalition of 44 or 52 seats, with outside support from the Joint List. However the faction is divided, with its MKs on the Right opposing the move because the Joint List is an anti-Zionist party.
Netanyahu said a government that depends on Tibi and Joint List leader Ayman Odeh is a “slap in the face of the IDF soldiers who we sent into battle together. It’s unbelievable,” Netanyahu said, calling the idea “insane” and saying the Joint List “doesn’t recognize the state’s right to exist.”
In the same vein, Netanyahu later responded to a remark by Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman that there is no greater disaster than a third election in less than a year: “There is a greater disaster, and it is a minority government that is dependent on the Arab parties.”
Blue and White’s spokesman responded: “Netanyahu, we don’t need lessons from you in patriotism and loving the nation and the people. The citizens of Israel will not forgive you if you drag us to another expensive and unnecessary election because of your legal situation.”
Avigdor Liberman plans to meet with President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday to discuss the details of the “president’s plan,” as having Netanyahu be first in a rotation agreement with Gantz..
Ahead of the meeting, United Torah Judaism leader Ya’acov Litzman wrote a letter to Rivlin asking him to discourage Liberman from inciting against haredim.
“The recent elections... have unfortunately led to divisions and polarization and the spread of hatred,” Litzman wrote. “We are one nation and we must respect one another... Even if there are disputes, we cannot disqualify whole populations and try to exclude them from Israeli public affairs...
Canonical-secular Zionism saw Israel as a country whose character and regime were democratic and liberal, as Ben-Gurion declared at the founding of the state: “The State of Israel will be … based on freedom, justice and peace … will ensure complete equality of social and political rights … will guarantee freedom of religion …”
In the eyes of messianic Zionism, the democratic regime is nothing more than a platform for fulfilling their vision.
“There is no ingathering of exiles, no revival of the state and its security, but only initial stages … we have before us tremendous additional goals that are an integral part of Zionism, and first and foremost: establishing ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,’ bringing the Shekhina (the divine presence) back to Zion, founding the kingdom of the House of David and building the Temple – as a key point for tikkun olam (repairing the world) in the kingdom of God,” wrote settler leader Hanan Porat in the introduction to the book “Against All Odds.”
Today, due to the revolution undergone by the Likud movement, the successor of Herut and the Revisionist movement, by adopting the ideology of national-messianic Zionism and joining forces with it – the order of priorities in the supreme goals of Zionism has changed.
Likud together with the nationalist-messianic parties, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, are leading the battle to undermine the Supreme Court, the gatekeepers, the rule of law and civil and human rights...
The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations is a 2018 book by Ronen Bergman about the history of targeted assassinations by Israel’s intelligence services. Its author says that Israel has assassinated more people than any other western country since World War II.
Israeli security forces killed Baha Abu Al Ata, senior leader of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in a targeted airstrike in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, sparking a rain of retaliatory rocket fire from the enclave and raising fears of escalating reprisals.
In Syria, state media reported an attack about the same time struck the house of a second Palestinian Jihad leader living in Damascus. The reports said the leader, Akram al-Ajouri, was not injured but his son and one other were killed while 10 others wounded. Israel declined to comment on the reports.
In a statement, Palestinian Islamic Jihad confirmed that Abu Al Ata and his wife were killed. “Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine, is mourning its martyr and one of the most prominent members of its military council and the commander of the northern region,” it said, describing the attack as a “cowardly assassination.”
The overnight action was approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the statement said. Benny Gantz, head of a major political party and trying to form a coalition government, was informed in advance of the operation.
“The fight against terrorism is ongoing and requires moments of difficult decision-making... Blue and White will back up any proper activity for the security of Israel and put the residents’ security above politics,” he said.
“The Israeli operation was aimed to mitigate the threat and done with the approval of the cabinet and the Minister of Defense,” said Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Naftali Bennett, who was appointed by Netanyahu on Sunday to take over as Defense Minister on Tuesday, has been outspoken about supporting such actions when dealing with flare ups from the Gaza Strip. He participated in an emergency meeting of the cabinet convened Tuesday.
Commentators in Gaza said the attack was an attempt by Netanyahu to distract from his political troubles and his expected indictment on corruption charges.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise appearance in the Knesset on Wednesday. The urgent calling that took Netanyahu away from his post was to lambast the 13-MK Joint List for its blunt opposition to the targeted assassination of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata.
Netanyahu seized upon a Tuesday night demonstration in which two Joint List members – Ofer Cassif and Aida Touma-Sliman – accused Netanyahu of “warmongering” and Benny Gantz of supporting “calculated murder.”
The Joint List’s criticism of the assassination and its aftermath, harsh as it may be, can hardly be described as an urgent national priority. Were it not for Netanyahu, most Israelis would have reacted with nothing more than a shrug.
But it serves Netanyahu’s political and personal interests to drive a wedge between Jewish public opinion and the Arab-supported Joint List in order to block any possibility of their allying with Gantz to set up a minority government that would depose him.
And as Netanyahu has proven time and time again over the past year, his personal interests, repackaged as national priorities, dictate his government’s policies....
The Gaza operation, the Joint List’s reaction and, most of all, Netanyahu’s deliberate amplification of the wide gap between Israeli Jews and Arabs on matters pertaining to the conflict with Palestinians effectively put an end to the Joint List’s recent efforts to increase its collaboration with Israel’s center-left and civil society.
The outbreak of violence in Gaza provided Netanyahu with the coup de grâce that allowed him to demolish any chance of a Gantz-led coalition that would have enjoyed parliamentary support of Arab-affiliated parties... The minority government is now off the table. Relations between Israeli Jews and Arabs are bound to reverse course and to head downhill...
Yitzchack Ilan, former deputy director of the Shin Bet intelligence service, was interviewed today on Radio 103FM.
"This round was bizarre, we killed a medium-level commander and were hit by hundreds of rockets without responding appropriately. The round finished even more bizarrely."
-- 25 members of Islamic Jihad were killed.
"2,500 members should have been killed, that would have been a fitting response." "Israel and the IDF should put an end to this ridiculous saga in which civilians cannot sleep at night."
yasser arafat, ramallah 2002
-- Can it be stopped through military means?
"Of course, if Gaza is conquered, similar to the way we conquered Judea and Samaria...
I was Shin Bet commander in Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield (2002 operation in response to the 2nd Intifida), we had to persuade the government that the only way to stop terror attacks from Judea and Samaria was a large scale operation and not surgical strikes."
-- When you were in the Shin Bet and you suggested your approach, who disagreed and why?
"Approaching Operation Defensive Shield, there were generals who disagreed with the operation for the same reasons as today. They spoke of the price, the death of soldiers, and of Palestinians, they said their blood would be in vain. So what? The Chief of Staff appears on TV saying we do not want an escalation. Who asked you? You are there to follow orders and do as your told.
-- You participated in targeted assassinations. Seems like a complex operation.
"Not at all, in the intifada we executed 5 such operations a day. I even remember the names of who we killed."
There are no rockets or suicide bombers from Judea and Samaria. How we do this? With help from Abbas? Judea and Samaria are quiet because of the rule of the army."
Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, received on Monday Wang Yang, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and an accompanying delegation during their visit to Cairo.
The grand imam of Al-Azhar said the Islamic world alone cannot be blamed for the spread of extremist thoughts, as there are international agendas and policies that use the extremist ideas to fuel the conflicts in the region to impose its hegemony.
Muslims are the number one victims of terrorism which some associate Islam with, El-Tayyeb added, noting that states are responsible for maintaining peace and social security and at the same time shoulder the responsibility to allow the freedom to practise religious rites at the same time.
The grand imam stressed that the wrong education and misinterpretation of some religious texts were the source of extremist thoughts in some countries.
The only way to confront extremism was to spread the moderate Al-Azhar curriculum through sending students to study in Al-Azhar or training imams in a programme dedicated by Al-Azhar to the incoming imams to train them on pluralism and coexistence, he added.
"I will work on clarifying the image of Islam I knew from the grand Imam," Wang Yang said, pointing out that he will be keen on sending Chinese imams to Al-Azhar to confront extremism.
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".
Hassoun was born in 1949 in the city of Aleppo. The son of cleric Mohammad Adeeb Hassoun, he was educated at the renowned al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt and graduated with a PhD in Shafi’i jurisprudence. Shafi’i is one of the remaining five major schools of Sunni Islam.
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