Saddam's Death, 155 (january 2020)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 154: december 2019 and Page 156: jan 2020, part-2

Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple
Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003 - Trump & the Pisces Messiah - Kennedy Speech 1961 - Eisenhower's Social Gospel - "I Have, I Rule and I will Destroy" - Iran & the dialogue of civilizations - Netanyahu & Infantilization of Israel - Jesus & Pophet Muhammed: "Be a stranger in the world" - Ideological Warfare Center - Jewish fundamentalism in the State of Palestine - Palestinian Martyrs and Jewish Heroes - The Balfour Declaration - Trump's move on Jerusalem (2017) - Abbas & Trump's "slap of the century" - John Bolton, prominent war hawk, National Security Adviser to President Trump - Lies & Provocations: France, UK and USA show their dark face - Trump, the 'deal-breaker' - Explaining America’s economic might - Netanyahu & The Survival of the Fittest - Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Is Now Pence’s ‘Wolf Pack of Rogue States’ - Mike Pence & antisemitism - Amnesia of the US Foreign Policy Establishment - Israeli Elections 2019 - Was Jesus a Palestinian? - Labor disappears from Knesset - Settlers from the White House - NO to International Law - Israel & The Three Central Dilemmas - Netanyahu & Neo-Zionism - Secularism & 'Jewish' identity - Pompeo & Christian leadership - Jeremy Corbyn & Jewish Witch Hunt

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

"No petit bourgeois politics"

Saddam Hussein and his ideologists sought to fuse a connection between the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations in Iraq to Arab nationalism by claiming that the Babylonians and ancient Assyrians are the ancestors of the Arabs. Thus, Saddam Hussein and his supporters claim that there is no conflict between Mesopotamian heritage and Arab nationalism.
Saddam Hussein based his political views and ideology upon the views of Michel Aflaq, Ba'athism's key founder. Saddam was also an avid reader of topics on moral and material forces in international politics. His government was critical of orthodox Marxism, opposing the orthodox Marxist concepts of class conflict, the dictatorship of the proletariat and atheism; it opposed Marxism–Leninism's claim that non-Marxist–Leninist parties are automatically bourgeois in nature, claiming that the Ba'ath Party was a popular revolutionary movement and the people rejected petit bourgeois politics. (Wikipedia info)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”

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

Choseness is what binds Zionists together.

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

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

Index Page

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

About political holism

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

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

Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu

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

The Neoprogressive Cold War Liberals
James Carden, The American Conservative, 30-12-2019

They see a new Iron Curtain dividing right-wing authoritarianism and the democratic values embodied by American and Euro progressives.

Before Donald Trump’s election, many progressive foreign policy thinkers were simpatico with conservative and centrist realist thinkers.
“Progressive realism begins with the cardinal doctrine of traditional realism: The purpose of American foreign policy is to serve American interests,” wrote Robert Wright in The New York Times in 2006.
Sherle R. Schwenninger, a founder of the New America Foundation, stated: “The progressive realist critique centered around international law; non-intervention; disarmament; and winding down the worst excesses of the post-9/11 period.”

Progressive realists didn’t really disagree with other realists about the importance of those things, though they did also stress that economics played a large role in the country’s out-of-control foreign policy. They blamed the U.S. commitments to liberal hegemony, regime change, democracy promotion, and neoliberal economics for the twin disasters of the Iraq war and the 2008 financial crisis.
Whatever one thinks of that critique, it is true that the Bush administration’s bequest of worldwide instability, a revived Islamist threat, and a new Cold War-like arms rivalry, did not serve U.S. national interests.

You can hear echoes of progressive realism in the statements of leading progressive lawmakers such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ro Khanna. They have put ending America’s support for the Saudi war on Yemen near the top of the progressive foreign policy agenda....
Yet since November of 2016, something else has emerged alongside the antiwar component of progressive foreign policy that is not so welcome. Let’s call it neoprogressive internationalism, or neoprogressivism for short....It places an “authoritarian axis” at its center.
Now countries ruled by authoritarians, nationalists, and kleptocrats can and must be checked by an American-led crusade to make the world safe for progressive values.
The problem with this neoprogressive narrative of a world divided between an authoritarian axis and the liberal West is what it will lead to: ever spiraling defense budgets, more foreign adventures, more Cold Wars—and hot ones too.

Sanders’s focus on this authoritarian axis is one that is shared with his intraparty rivals at the Center for American Progress (a think-tank long funded by some of the least progressive regimes on the planet)...
CAP issued a report last September about “the threat presented by opportunist authoritarian regimes” which “urgently requires a rapid response.”
The preoccupation with the authoritarian menace is one Sanders and CAP share with prominent progressive activists who warn about the creeping influence of what some have cynically hyped as an “authoritarian Internationale.”
The concern with the emerging authoritarian tide has become a central concern of progressive writers and thinkers.
“Today, around the world,” write progressive foreign policy activists Kate Kinzer and Stephen Miles, “growing authoritarianism and hate are fueled by oligarchies preying on economic, gender, and racial inequality.”...
The Cold War echoes here are as unmistakable as they are worrying...

By citing the threat to Western democracies posed by a global authoritarian axis, the neoprogressives are repeating the same mistake made by liberal interventionists and neoconservatives.
They buy into the democratic peace theory, which holds without much evidence that a world order populated by democracies is likely to be a peaceful one because democracies allegedly don’t fight wars against one another...
George McGovern once observed that U.S. foreign policy “has been based on an obsession with an international Communist conspiracy that existed more in our minds than in reality.” So too the current obsession with the global authoritarians.
Communism wasn’t a global monolith and neither is this. By portraying it as such, neoprogressives are midwifing bad policy.

“Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days,” writes neoconservative-turned-Hillary Clinton surrogate Robert Kagan, “the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism.”
Max Boot also finds cause for concern. Boot, a modern-day reincarnation (minus the pedigree and war record) of the hawkish Cold War-era columnist Joe Alsop, believes that “the rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now.”

Neoprogressivism, like neoconservatism, risks catering to the U.S. establishment’s worst impulses by playing on a belief in American exceptionalism to embark upon yet another global crusade.
This raises some questions, including whether a neoprogressive approach to the crises in Ukraine, Syria, or Libya would be substantively different from the liberal interventionist approach of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.
Does a neoprogressive foreign policy organized around the concept of an “authoritarian axis” adequately address the concerns of voters in the American heartland who disproportionately suffer from the consequences of our wars and neoliberal economic policies?

Donald Trump’s failure to keep his campaign promise to bring the forever wars to a close while fashioning a new foreign policy oriented around core U.S. national security interests provides Democrats with an opportunity.
Trump has ceded the anti-interventionist ground he occupied when he ran for office. He can no longer claim the mantle of restraint, a position that found support among six-in-ten Americans in 2016.
Yet with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard, for the most part the Democratic field is offering voters a foreign policy that amounts to “Trump minus belligerence.”

The unipolar world of the first post-Cold War decade is well behind us now. As the world becomes more and more multipolar, powers like China, Russia, Iran, India, and the U.S. will find increasing occasion to clash.
A peaceful multipolar world requires stability. And stability requires balance...

Progressive realism doesn’t call for global crusades that seek to conquer the hearts and minds of others. It is not bound up in the hoary self-mythology of American Exceptionalism. It puts a premium on the value of human life...
Such a policy has its roots in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inaugural address.
“In the field of World policy,” said Roosevelt, “I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor, the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others, the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a World of neighbors.”

James W. Carden is contributing writer for foreign affairs at The Nation and a member of the Board of the Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy.

Javad Zaraif: "Washington is after forcing the world
to follow the White House orders"
FARS News Agency [Iran], 1-1-2020

Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said the US accusations about Tehran’s involvement in anti-Washington protests in Iraq are meant to deflect attention away from the 17-year invasion of Iraq and the carnage of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the Arab country by the US.
The envoy also underlined the pivotal role that the PMU has played in fight against the ISIL and the defeat of the Takfiri terrorist group in Iraq, saying the popular Iraqi volunteer forces were the most important guarantor of non-emergence of the terrorist outfit.

iraqi militiamen - pmf + soleimani - liberation qaraqosh 2016

US forces on Sunday conducted drone strikes on a number of bases for Kata'ib Hezbollah, which is part of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)..
The US attack prompted massive public anger in Iraq on Tuesday, with protesters storming the US Embassy in Baghdad and seizing the building after American diplomatic personnel had been forced to evacuate.
Reacting to the developments in Iraq, US President Donald Trump had said in a tweet earlier in the day that Iran would be to blame and also be held “fully responsible”.
“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many,” Trump tweeted. “We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the US Embassy in Iraq.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday that the US is a trans-regional player in the Middle East and benefits from destabilizing the region. In a joint presser with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the Russian capital city of Moscow on Monday, Zarif said that Washington is after forcing the world to follow the White House orders, reiterating that Tehran and Moscow are firmly against such a unilateralism and rule of dictatorship.

Iraq: On 2nd day of riots, US troops
fire tear gas at protesters outside embassy
By AFP|Times of Israel, 1-1-2020

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Security forces at the US embassy in Baghdad fired tear gas early Wednesday to disperse pro-Iran demonstrators who had spent the night outside the mission’s gates, an AFP photographer said.
Thousands of supporters of Iraqi armed factions close to Iran had massed at the embassy on Tuesday.. They marched easily through checkpoints in the usually high-security Green Zone to reach the embassy, broke through a security reception area and scribbled graffiti in support of Tehran.
Setting up some 50 tents and even portable bathrooms, hundreds of demonstrators announced a sit-in at the embassy’s gates until US forces are ousted from the country.

On Wednesday morning, the crowds drew closer to the single wall separating them and the larger diplomatic compound, setting US flags on fire.
In response, security forces inside fired tear gas at the protesters, several of whom were reported wounded and ferried away by ambulances.
A cordon of Iraqi security forces that had formed around the embassy dissipated when the gas was fired. But reinforcements from the federal police soon arrived and the brief skirmishes calmed.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said around 750 troops from a rapid response unit of the 82nd Airborne Division were prepared to deploy over the next several days to the region in response to the unrest.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that “terrorists” orchestrated the attack.
He named Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, Qays al-Khazali, Hadi al-Amari, and Faleh al-Fayyad and posted a picture of all four outside the embassy.
Pompeo stressed that the attack “should not be confused with the legitimate efforts of Iraqi protesters who have been in the streets since October, working for the people of Iraq to end the corruption exported there by the Iranian regime.”
Kataeb Hezbollah, part of the state-sanctioned militias operating in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), has denied responsibility for the Friday attack. (Voice of America, 1-1-2020)

Making misery pay: Libya militias
take EU funds for migrants
AP News, 31-12-2019

When the European Union started funneling millions of euros into Libya to slow the tide of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the money came with EU promises to improve detention centers notorious for abuse and fight human trafficking.
That hasn’t happened. Instead, the misery of migrants in Libya has spawned a thriving and highly lucrative web of businesses funded in part by the EU and enabled by the United Nations, an Associated Press investigation has found.
The AP found that in a country without a functioning government, huge sums of European money have been diverted to intertwined networks of militiamen, traffickers and coast guard members who exploit migrants. In some cases, U.N. officials knew militia networks were getting the money, according to internal emails.
The militias torture, extort and otherwise abuse migrants for ransoms in detention centers under the nose of the U.N., often in compounds that receive millions in European money, the AP investigation showed. Many migrants also simply disappear from detention centers, sold to traffickers or to other centers.
The militias involved in abuse and trafficking also skim off European funds given through the U.N. to feed and otherwise help migrants, who go hungry.
For example, millions of euros in U.N. food contracts were under negotiation with a company controlled by a militia leader, even as other U.N. teams raised alarms about starvation in his detention center, according to emails obtained by the AP and interviews with at least a half-dozen Libyan officials.
In many cases, the money goes to neighboring Tunisia to be laundered, and then flows back to the militias in Libya.
All in all, Libya is run by militias,” said a senior Libyan judicial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of risking his life. “Whatever governments say, and whatever uniform they wear, or stickers they put....this is the bottom line.”
Husni Bey, a prominent businessman in Libya, said the idea of Europe sending aid money to Libya, a once-wealthy country, was ill-conceived from the beginning.
“Europe wants to buy those who can stop smuggling with all of these programs,” Bey said. “They would be much better off blacklisting the names of those involved in human trafficking, fuel and drug smuggling and charging them with crimes, instead of giving them money.”

French radio RFI: Syrian fighters transferred
to Tripoli via airline owned by former LIFG leader
The Lybyan Address, 1 January 2020

TRIPOLI – Ajniha Airlines, which is owned by former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) leader Abdelhakim Belhaj, has transferred Turkey-backed Syrian fighters from their country to Tripoli, French radio RFI reported today.
In addition to Ajniha Airlines, Afriqiyah Airlines has also transferred Syrian fighters to help the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) fight the Libyan National Army (LNA), RFI reported.
The French radio also reported that four planes of these two airlines have carried out unregistered flights between Friday and Sunday to transfer the pro-Ankara fighters.
LIFG was a radical Islamist group formed to overthrow late dictator Muammar Gaddafi and establish a caliphate in Libya.
Belhaj claimed he abandoned his radical ideology after he entered a de-radicalization program sponsored by the Gaddafi regime in 2010.

Belhaj info: The Islamic Revolution
Made A Very Rich Businessman Out of Him

Flashback 2012: The Call for Jihad
Nasser Charara, Al-Akhbar 5-1-2013

At the beginning of 2012 70 sheikhs from the Syrian Council of Clerics issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that declared jihad in Syria the duty of all Muslims. The Salafi sheikhs understood that the call for jihad had to be introduced in phases in order for many Syrians to accept it.
Two sheikhs in particular helped lay the groundwork for the rapid growth of Salafism in Syria: Sheikh Mohammed Suroor and Sheikh Adnan al-Arour. Both men were once members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Saudi Arabia....

Islamist insiders insist that the key group in the movement today is the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades and not the Nusra Front, which receives the most attention... Ahrar al-Sham enjoys the support of Sheik Adnan al-Arour.

Al-Arour 2011, Belhaj & Jalil 2011, people honoring Bin Laden & Arour 2012

The movement has produced a 40-page internal manifesto to organize and direct its members. The document emulates the experience of Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, the Libyan Islamist rebel leader, borrowing the following four points:

* 1) The call for jihad must be waged under the banner of Islam.
* 2) Islamic law is to be enforced by setting up specialized councils in the various locales, whose duty it is to apply the law on civilians and combatants alike.
* 3) The goal is to establish a state in Syria that it is not based on the military and that implements Islamic law.
* 4) With the toppling of the regime (army, state institutions & baath party), the military brigades must dissolve themselves and surrender their weapons to the newly established armed forces..

“ISIS is the product of the Suroori teachings, which is the product of extremist ideologies that preceded them. The Suroori group is no less evil than ISIS. What happened is that ISIS has outsmarted them in their extremism." (Al-Arabya, 22-2-2014)

Syria 2011: Leading Libyan Islamist
met Free Syrian Army opposition group
By Ruth Sherlock in Tripoli, 27 November 2011

Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, "met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey," said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. "Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there."
The meetings came as a sign of a growing ties between Libya's fledgling government and the Syrian opposition. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad.
Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, the source said. Having ousted one dictator, triumphant young men, still filled with revolutionary fervour, are keen to topple the next. The commanders of armed gangs still roaming Tripoli's streets said yesterday that "hundreds" of fighters wanted to wage war against the Assad regime.

Al Harati and Belhaj (honored by right-wing republicans) were placed on a ban list by, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other countries for links to supporting Terrorism and AL Nusra front in Syria and for Terrorism related activities with Links to Qatari sponsorship.

Qatar and Political Islam
Ghassan Charbel, 29-5-2017

The following are excerpts from a long interview, conducted in February 2014 with former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, which was published in sequences in “Al-Hayat” newspaper.

Jibril said that Qatar, which provided the Libyan revolution with cash and weapons, has been betting from the beginning on political Islam and has exerted exceptional efforts to appoint Abdul Hakim Belhaj as the commander of Libyan revolutionists.
Belhaj is the former “emir” of the Libyan Islamic militant group. He has fought in Afghanistan and was arrested by the Americans, who handed him over to Gadhafi. He remained in jail until 2010.
Jibril stressed that Qatar has intentionally delayed the eruption of the revolution in Tripoli to wait for Belhaj’s arrival to the Libyan capital in order to be crowned as the coup leader. Jibril also recounted a very significant story. He said that a friends of Libya conference was held in Paris in September 2011. The meeting ended with a joint press conference, with the participation of Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, Jibril and Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
Jibril said: “One of the journalists asked me: Now that the regime has collapsed, what will you do with the existing weapons? I replied that we had a plan for Tripoli’s stability and for collecting and buying the weapons. The Qatari emir interrupted me in front of everyone and said: ‘Revolutionaries never lay down their arms. Revolutionaries are the ones who enjoy legitimacy’...”

Belhadj – the militia leader
turned international businessman
Insiders LIBYA, 28/04/2016

United Nations special representative for Libya Martin Kobler has been negotiating since March 2016 with former war lord Abdelhakim Belhadj and other militia leaders to install Fayez El Sarraj's national unity government in Tripoli.
Belhadj, the former emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), is thus continuing to play a key role in the discussions with the international community which began with the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
He was for a time suspected of involvement in the 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid and of having links with the leadership of Al Qaeda but has today swapped his battle dress for a three piece suit.
He has had a tumultuous career. He fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, was interrogated in the prisons of the CIA in the early 2000s and then held in Libya's Abu Salim Prison.
In 2009, with the help of Muslim Brotherhood preacher Ali Sallabi, he negotiated his liberation with Gaddafi's son, Saïf al-Islam. In 2011, he went to Qatar to take command of the elite February 17 Brigade when the insurrection against the regime in Libya began.

Five years on, Belhadj, now in his fifties, has begun a new life. He remains Influential with the government in Tripoli and the Fajr Libya militia coalition but keeps out of the fighting as he works to extend his business activities from his fiefdom in Mitiga, where he controls the airport and the area surrounding it, and his rear base in Turkey.
The soldier turned businessman is active in a range of sectors, including health care, property, air transport and the media, and this in the Sudan, Tunisia, and Turkey, as well as Libya.
To achieve this success, Belhadj has been able to rely on political and economic support from a network of businessmen and other influential figures...

Turkey parliament approves Libya military deployment
Arab News, January 02, 2020

ANKARA: In an extraordinary session on Thursday, Turkey’s Parliament approved a motion to deploy troops to Libya to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
Of the 509 MPs who voted, 325 were in favor of the motion. All opposition MPs voted against the bill, but could not outweigh the majority enjoyed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
But many in Turkey are wary of the dangers that could arise from Turkey’s military involvement in Libya’s ongoing civil war.
Burak Bilgehan Ozpek, a political scientist from TOBB University in Ankara, believes Turkey is taking a big risk, considering that several regionally important countries — including Russia, Egypt, the UAE, and Jordan — are backing the Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar against the GNA.
The deputy leader of Turkey’s opposition IYI Party, Aytun Ciray, said, “We can’t let our soldiers become a part of a civil war that’s unconnected to our national security." He went on to warn: “Turkey will become an object of hate in the Arab world.”
Condemning the vote, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said any such deployment could “negatively affect the stability of the Mediterranean region” and called on the international community to urgently respond to the move.
The Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, said it has called on citizens to take up arms against Turkish troops if they deploy to fight against them in the country’s ongoing conflict. In a statement Thursday on Twitter, the LNA said it was the people's "duty'' to fight to protect the homeland.

Amid Mediterranean power shifts, Turkey imposes itself
MIddle East Monitor, 02/01/2020

The conflict in Libya is playing out against a larger political backdrop. Turkey is open in its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that has been declared a terrorist group by Ankara's Arab rivals.
Turkey's fierce rivalry with the military government in Egypt is seen as a significant motivating factor behind the planned deployment.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's strong backing of the Muslim Brotherhood - throughout the Middle East - has raised the ire of Cairo.
The Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was violently overthrown by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013, when the former military chief ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi.
The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, is affiliated with the Brotherhood and counts numerous Islamist groups among the militias fighting on its behalf in Tripoli...

Turkey has used its alliance with the Tripoli government to advance other interests. It signed the military cooperation agreement with the GNA during a visit by Sarraj to Istanbul in November. But they also signed a maritime jurisdiction agreement expanding Turkey's claim to large swathes of the Mediterranean where gas reserves have recently been discovered.
Turkey sees the maritime deal as ensuring a political and economic stake in the Mediterranean region...

Iran's Qassem Soleimani killed
in US air raid at Baghdad airport
Al-Jazeera News, 3-1-2020

A US strike killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Suleimani and the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi military force, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, at Baghdad’s airport early Friday.

General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC's) Quds Force, and architect of its regional security apparatus, has been killed following a US air raid at Baghdad's international airport on Friday.
The White House and the Pentagon confirmed the killing of Soleimani in Iraq, saying the attack was carried out at the direction of US President Donald Trump and was aimed at deterring future attacks allegedly being planned by Iran.
Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei paid tribute to him as a "martyr", and vowed a "vigorous revenge is waiting for the criminals."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani echoed the Supreme Leader's threat of "revenge", while Foreign Minister Javad Zarif condemned the killing as an "act of international terrorism."
Iraqi officials and the state television reported that aside from Soleimani, Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the pre-dawn raid.
Sources from the PMF earlier told Al Jazeera that the rockets destroyed two vehicles carrying "high-profile guests", who had arrived at the Baghdad airport and were being escorted by militia members.

Donald Trump posted an image of the American flag on social media following the news of Soleimani's death.
US Senator Lindsey Graham, an ally of Trump, said the death of Soleimani is a "major blow to Iranian regime that has American blood on its hands."
In an interview with Al Jazeera, former US Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb said "there is no doubt" that the US wanted to target Soleimani "for a while".

Middle East Eye Info:
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi
said in a statement that the air strike was an act of aggression on Iraq and a breach of its sovereignty that will lead to war in Iraq, the region and the world.
The strike also violated the conditions of the US's military presence in Iraq and should be met with legislation that safeguarded Iraq's security and sovereignty, Abdul-Mahdi added. He called on parliament to convene in an extraordinary session.
Iraq's militia-leader-turned-populist-politician Muqtada al-Sadr reactivated his Mahdi Army on Friday following the US strike.
Taking to Twitter, Sadr ordered "fighters, particularly those from the Mahdi Army, to be ready" following the strike, reviving the anti-American force nearly a decade after he dissolved it.
In Gaza, Hamas - which has long enjoyed financial and military support from Tehran - condemned Soleimani's killing and sent its "dearest condolences" to Iran. Hamas said Soleimani "had a senior role in supporting Palestinian resistance in all fields".
Gaza-based Hamas official Bassem Naim wrote on Twitter that the assassination "opens the doors of the region to all possibilities, except calm & stability. USA bears the responsibility for that.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that the assassination of leader of al-Quds Failaq, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a “reckless move” by the US administration which will lead to escalate tension in the whole region.
RT quoted a source at the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement on Friday that Soleimani was sincerely serving the issue of defending Iran’s national interests, expressing condolences to the Iranian people.

Hail Mars! Hail Pluto!
Matthew Hoh on killing General Soleimani, 3-1-2020

Agressive, Defensive and Revengeful: Mars & Pluto house 1 (New Age Astrologie, NL)
2000 years ago in Rome a bull would have been slaughtered in the Temple of Mars to placate and appeal to the God of War.
This weekend in DC, as well as most assuredly in Tel Aviv, and quite possibly London, the finest wines and liquors will be opened, without a seeming care that the sacrifice required will not be measured in a single animal, but in millions of dead and destroyed humans.
In Rome they worshiped Pluto as the God of the Underworld and of Death. Fittingly, Pluto was also the God of Money and Wealth.
In these times it seems neither Mars or Pluto seems sated by the bodily and spiritual forms of the dead.
If we pull down Lincoln and Jefferson in DC and hoist Mars and Pluto in their places I doubt Mars and Pluto’s appetites will be met, but as least we would be honoring those who are served.

Matthew Hoh is a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War.

MARS is the traditional ruling planet of Aries and Scorpio. Mars is the Roman god of war and bloodshed, whose symbol is a spear and shield. Both the soil of Mars and the hemoglobin of human blood are rich in iron and because of this they share its distinct deep red color. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and Saturn, due to Mars being the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions.
PLUTO is the modern ruling planet of Scorpio and is exalted in Virgo. In classical Roman mythology, Pluto is the god of the underworld who is extremely wealthy.
Astrologically speaking, Pluto is called "the great renewer" and is considered to represent the part of a person that destroys in order to renew by bringing buried, but intense needs and drives to the surface, and expressing them, even at the expense of the existing order.

Factbox: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
R. Hussein, M. Jedinia, Voice of America, 3-1-2020

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump labeled Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization, an unprecedented move that marked the first time the United States had formally named another country’s military terrorists.
Experts said then that the decision would likely raise to a higher level the strained relationship between the two countries.
Here is a look at the history of the IRGC:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, known in Iran as Pasdaran, was founded in April 1979 shortly after the Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of Iran’s pro-Western monarch Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
The IRGC’s core task, as mandated by the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, is to protect the country’s Islamic system and revolutionary values.
“In principle, the Iranian state could eventually reform itself outside the bounds envisioned by that revolution, in spite of the numerous constitutional safeguards Khomeini set up, to include clerical oversight of the elected government,” said Brad Patty, a former U.S. army adviser and analyst. “In practice, the IRGC exists to ensure that never happens...
The IRGC today has become a major military, political and economic player in Iran, with an estimated 150,000-strong military consisting of ground forces, navy and air units. It is also in charge of the country’s ballistic missiles..
Organizationally, the IRGC falls under the Joint Armed Forces General Staff as a part of the Ministry of Defense. But the military remains subordinate to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, with elected civilian authorities exercising no real control...
Internally, the IRGC also commands the Basij Resistance Force, a religious volunteer group that channels popular support to the regime..
Externally, the IRGC uses its shadowy Quds Force, that was led by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and proxy Shi’ite militias, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, to extend its influence across the Middle East and beyond.

The elite Quds Force was created during the Iran-Iraq War in 1980 and has about 15,000 personnel.
The group has been involved in Middle East conflicts for decades either directly or by providing support to pro-Iranian militias and governments, particularly in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the Palestinian territories and Afghanistan.
More recently, the Quds Force was crucial to the Syrian civil war by supporting President Bashar al-Assad against the rebels.
In Iraq, the group played a key role in helping the Shiite-dominated government in the fight against IS and thwarting a Kurdish bid for independence.

The U.S. designated the Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism as early as 2007, followed by Canada in 2012.
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, two key neighboring rivals to Iran, designated IRGC a terror entity in 2018.
The United Nations and the European Union have refrained from designating the IRGC as a terror entity but have blacklisted key individuals of the force, including its leader Qassem Soleimani.

US Sanctions Iraq's Asaib Ahl al-Haq
Asharq al-Awsat, Friday, 3 January, 2020

The United States has designated Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq as a terrorist organization along with two of the militia group's leaders, the State Department said in a statement on Friday.
The group and its leaders are “violent proxies” of Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
The group is backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, which has also been sanctioned by Washington, according to the State Department.
The designation came after a US airstrike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander, in Baghdad.

Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq ("League of the Righteous"), also known as the Khazali Network, is an Iraqi Shi'a paramilitary group active in the Iraqi insurgency and Syrian Civil War.
AAH is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a group of Shi’ite militias that are close to Iran. Members of AAH, as part of PMF, receive Iraqi government salaries after the Popular Moblization Units were officially integrated into Iraqi security forces in 2018. In 2017, AAH created a party with the same name.

Ideology: Iraqi nationalism, Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr thought, Anti-Zionism, Anti-Americanism, Pan-Islamism.

Al-Sayyid Muḥammad b. Muḥammad Ṣādiq al-Ṣadr (b. 1943 - d. 1999) was a Shiite authority in Iraq. He was an opponent of Saddam's secular government.
Al-Sadr (father of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr) was an active clergy; he was a political and social activist in Iraq. He was repeatedly imprisoned by the Ba'ath regime in Iraq.
He studied Islamic disciplines with Ayatollah Khomeini and al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. He was planning to form an Islamic government in Iraq.

Following the occupation of Baghdad by US forces, the majority-Shi'a suburb of Revolution City (Saddam City) was unofficially but popularly renamed to Sadr City in his honour.
Sadr City was the first part of Baghdad to overthrow the Baath Party in 2003.

Reaper drone launched from Qatar
fired missile that killed Soleimani
Arab News, January 05, 2020

A drone launched from Qatar fired the missile that killed Qassem Soleimani, US military sources have revealed.

“What Hajj Qasem has been able to do is no joke. If it weren’t for him, IS would have advanced throughout Iraq and be at our doorsteps. All Iranians owe him." Al-Monitor, 13-3-2016.
Soleimani, head of the overseas Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, and five others were killed in the strike at Baghdad airport early on Friday.
They were hit by Hellfire R9X Ninja missiles launched by the MQ-9 Reaper drone sent from Al-Udeid military and air base in Qatar, UK media reported.
Two missiles were fired, one for each of the two vehicles carrying Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, and were controlled remotely by operators at the US Air Force base in Creech, Nevada. A second backup drone was also launched from US Central Command headquarters in Qatar, but was not needed.
The “near-silent” Reaper drone has a range of 1,850 km, can fly at a height of 15,000 meters, and is an “armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance” aircraft designed primarily for offensive strikes, according to the US Air Force. “It provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets,” it said.
As Qatar’s role in Soleimani’s death was revealed, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani flew to Tehran for talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Sheikh Mohammed said the situation in the region was sensitive and concerning, and he called for a peaceful solution leading to de-escalation.

Wikipedia info:

Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and 17 other nations. The CAOC is comprised of a joint and Coalition team that executes day-to-day combined air and space operations and provides rapid reaction, positive control, coordination, and de-confliction of weapon systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Strang)

Sheikh Hamad in anti-Qatar-cartoon (2011)
Al Udeid Air Base is a military base southwest of Doha, Qatar, also known as Abu Nakhlah Airport.
It houses Qatar Air Force, United States Air Force, Royal Air Force, and other Gulf War Coalition personnel and assets.
It is host to a forward headquarters of United States Central Command, headquarters of United States Air Forces Central Command, No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group RAF, and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing of the USAF.

In 1999, the then Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad, told U.S. officials that he would like to see as many as 10,000 U.S. servicemen permanently stationed at Al Udeid.
According to media reports in June 2017, the base hosted over 11,000 U.S. and U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition forces and over 100 operational aircraft.

Qatari official on 'Hunting Preys'
Tyler Durden, October 30, 2017

A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media.
The top Qatari official is no less than former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, who oversaw Syria operations on behalf of Qatar until 2013 (also as foreign minister).

In an interview with Qatari TV Wednesday, bin Jaber al-Thani revealed that his country, alongside Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, began shipping weapons to jihadists from the very moment events "first started" (in 2011).
Al-Thani even likened the covert operation to "hunting prey" - the prey being President Assad and his supporters - "prey" which he admits got away (as Assad is still in power).
Al-Thani explained that Qatar continued its financing of armed insurgents in Syria while other countries eventually wound down large-scale support, which is why he lashed out at the US and the Saudis, who initially "were with us in the same trench."

Flashback: Regime Change, or:
Hunters, In Need Of A Prey
Mark Landler, New York Times, 16-6-2016

More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad...
The names on the memo are almost all midlevel officials — many of them career diplomats — who have been involved in the administration’s Syria policy over the last five years, at home or abroad...

Flashback 2011: US media in praise of lynching
Russia Today, October 26, 2011

The mainstream US media has reacted to Muammar Gaddafi's brutal lynching with a tidal wave of cheers and approval...
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the triumphant celebrations of Gaddafi’s death with her immortal line, “We came, we saw, he died!” - words which are sure to be remembered far beyond America’s shores....
Although many Libyans would argue whether he was really so bad, considering what Gaddafi did for the country’s social welfare and women’s rights, in the eyes of the US media, he was the ultimate evil.
“It is a demonization, every step of the way, against Gaddafi. In the media today always one man, one leader of a country, becomes a justification for destroying an entire country,” acknowledged Sara Flounders, member of the Workers World Party.
For a few days, the media savored the bloody images of Gaddafi’s killing and laughed at similarities between his capture in a ditch and that of Saddam Hussein.

Just two days before the murder of Gaddafi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton staged an unannounced visit to Tripoli on a heavily armed military aircraft. While there, she issued a demand that Gaddafi be brought in “dead or alive”.
“‘We hope he can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer’, Clinton told students and others at a town hall-style gathering in the capital city.” (Bill van Auken, 21-10-2011)

Bashar Assad: They don't want peace, they want us to obey

- Question: So, what does the West require of Syria today in order to stop arming the Syrian opposition and start the political solution?
- President Assad: Simply, to be a puppet...

With Suleimani Assassination, Trump Is Doing
the Bidding of Washington’s Most Vile Cabal
Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept, January 3 2020

The assassination of Suleimani, reportedly ordered directly by Trump, was advocated by the most dangerous and extreme players in the U.S. foreign policy establishment with that exact intent.

Funeral Qassem Soleimani, Iran, 5-1-2020
Assassination has been a central component of U.S. policy for many decades, though it has been whitewashed and normalized throughout history, most recently with Obama’s favored term, “targeted killings.”
The U.S. Congress has intentionally never legislated the issue of assassination. Lawmakers have avoided even defining the word “assassination.” While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, they have each carried out assassinations with little to no congressional outcry.

In 1976, following Church Committee recommendations regarding allegations of assassination plots carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, Ford signed an executive order banning “political assassination.”
Jimmy Carter subsequently issued a new order strengthening the prohibition by dropping the word “political” and extending it to include persons “employed by or acting on behalf of the United States.”
In 1981, Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which remains in effect today. The language seems clear enough: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”

While many Democratic politicians are offering their concerns about the consequences of Suleimani’s assassination, they are prefacing it with remarks about how atrocious Suleimani was.
Framing his assassination that way ultimately benefits the extremist cabal of foreign policy hawks who agitated for this very moment to arrive.
There’s no justification for assassinating foreign officials, including Suleimani.
This is an aggressive act of war, an offensive act committed by the U.S. on the sovereign territory of a third country, Iraq.
This assassination and the potential for a war it raises are, unfortunately, consistent with more than half a century of U.S. aggression against Iran and Iraq.

Iraq's parliament calls for expulsion
of US troops from the country
By MEE and agencies, 5 January 2020

Iraq's parliament passed on Sunday a resolution telling the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq and ensure they do not use its land, air, and waters for any reason.
"The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State, due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory," the resolution read.
"The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason."
Parliamentary resolutions, unlike laws, are not binding on the government, but Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had earlier called on parliament to end the country's foreign troop presence.

Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the resolution to expel foreign troops did not go far enough and he called on local and foreign militia groups to unite.
Sadr said a security agreement with the US should be cancelled immediately, the US embassy should be closed down, American troops must be expelled in a humiliating manner, and communication with Washington should be criminalised.
"Finally, I call specifically on the Iraqi resistance groups and the groups outside Iraq more generally to meet immediately and announce the formation of the International Resistance Legions," he said.

Zion is a biblical program
Transforming Gentile leaders into Cyrus-like
figures is the rule of the game.
Laurent Guyénot, UNZ Review, 7-1-2020

Netanyahu is typical of Israeli leaders’ tendency to see history as a perpetual reenactment of Bible stories.
In 2015, he dramatized his phobia of Iran by referring to the Book of Esther, in an allocution to the American Congress that he managed to program on the eve of Purim, which celebrates the happy ending of the Book of Esther—the slaughter of 75,000 Persians.
Esther’s story is not unlike Ezra’s: through her, Yahweh “roused the spirit” of another Persian king, Ahasuerus, to protect the Jews and hang their persecutors.
This last December (2019), US-president Donald Trump became a modern-day Ahasuerus when he signed an executive order against anti-Semitism and Israel-boycott in university campuses.

The biblical foundation of secular Zionism is underestimated, even denied, by critics of Zionism, even when it is affirmed by the Zionists themselves.
It is true that Theodor Herzl did not argue in biblical terms for his 1896 program, The Jewish State. Yet he named his movement after the Bible: Zion is metonymic designation for Jerusalem used by biblical prophets, especially Isaiah. Later on, the pioneers of the Yishuv and the founders of the Jewish State were steeped in the Bible.
Ben-Gurion, an avowed atheist, used to say: “There can be no worthwhile political or military education about Israel without profound knowledge of the Bible.” That statement should be taken seriously.
If it is true for Zionists, then it is also true for the critics of Zionism: there can be no real understanding of Israel without profound knowledge of the Bible.
The Tanakh is the alpha and the omega of Zionism. Moshe Dayan, the military hero of the 1967 Six-Day War, justified his annexation of new territory in a book titled Living with the Bible (1978).

One important thing that Ben-Gurion learnt from the Bible is that Israel’s destiny is not to be a nation like others, but the center of the world and the ruler of all nations.
When asked in 1962 his prediction for the next 25 years, he declared that Jerusalem “will be the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah.”
He was referring to Isaiah 2:2-4, announcing the messianic Pax Judaica, when “the Law will issue from Zion” and Israel “will judge between the nations and arbitrate between many peoples.”
Ben-Gurion’s prophetic vision, which may be called Universal Zionism, has been shared more or less by all subsequent Israeli leaders up to Benjamin Netanyahu.
It should be evident, and it surely is to Netanyahu as it was to Ben-Gurion, that for Jerusalem to become the headquarter of a “Supreme Court of Mankind” that will replace the United Nations, another world war is necessary. The fall of the American Empire, or at least its total transformation into Zionist occupied territory, is also part of the plan.
The Tanakh does not just teach Zionists the ultimate goal, it also shows them the way to go:
Cyrus’ edict reproduced in the Book of Ezra, whether genuine or fake, is the blueprint for Zion’s exploitation of the Empire’s foreign policy in modern times.
Transforming Gentile leaders into Cyrus-like figures is the rule of the game.

What about Trump?

Donald Trump is certainly aware that, in the last 70 years, no U.S. president unfriendly to Israel has won a second term...
By his recent pro-Israel decrees, he gained the gratitude of Netanyahu and the support of Sheldon Adelson for a second term. But that was not enough, it seems.
With his recent strike against Iran’s military leadership, he may have finally caved in their most pressing demand. By doing so, he may have actually exhausted his usefulness for Israel, and at the same time, lost the support of a crucial part of his voters.
If he loses in 2020, he will retire with his well-deserved Cyrus medal—and an Ahasuerus medal too.

The Book of Esther - Mainspring of Zionism
By Rev. Ted Pike, 20 Nov 13

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave President Obama the Book of Esther as a gift a few days ago, the message was only slightly less subtle than if he had constructed a massive neon billboard across the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the message "Mr. President, please help me destroy Iran before they destroy us...."
In a speech to the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group, Netanyahu described Haman, the villain of the tale, as "a Persian anti-Semite [who] tried to annihilate the Jewish people." The context of his speech was that Iran, the modern successor to Persia, presents the greatest danger to peace and security on the planet. (Christian Science Monitor 7-3-2012)
No Biblical book has so influenced evangelical attitudes toward Israel, especially in approving Israel's brutality against Arabs.
Esther plays a pivotal role for both Jews and Christians in their unconditional defense of the state of Israel...
Tthis book exalts and appeals to racist Jewish tribalism and appetite for revenge. It celebrates the triumph of Jews who obtain peace not by faith in God but by slaughter.

The story begins with King Ahasuerus (possibly Xerxes) around 450 B.C. desiring a new wife to replace rebellious Queen Vashti. The names of the book's hero and heroine, Mordecai and Esther, are derived from "Marduk" and "Ishtar," the head male and female deities of Babylon.. Esther reflects an increasing Babylonian influence on Jewish theology and culture.

In chapter 3 the king promotes a Hitler persona, Haman, above all princes in his kingdom... Haman hates the Jewish Mordecai and seeks to destroy all Jews.
This is the classic Jewish stereotype: Gentiles inexplicably infected with the satanic "disease of anti-Semitism," compelled to destroy God’s chosen people.
The king, responding to a proposal made by Haman, thinks genocide of Jews in his kingdom is a good idea.

Esther takes action. Fasting is commanded...
The crisis ends when Haman, after attempting to hang Jewish Mordecai, is hung on his own gallows. It is discovered that Mordecai had once protected the king from assassination yet received no reward. Mordecai is exalted to the right hand of power in Persia. Now favorable to the Jews, the king authorizes the Jews to kill all of their enemies who are suspected of murderous intent...
The book asserts that on the day when the Jews should have been destroyed they attacked their enemies first, slaughtering more than 75,000.
The rationale of Esther is that if Jews suspect bias motivation against them that will endanger Jewish lives then it is their God-given right to take preemptive action and kill Gentiles first.

Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.

Israel: Chief Rabbi under fire for comments
on non-Jewish immigration to Israel
David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, 07/01/2020

Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, came under fire Tuesday over comments he made last week regarding non-Jewish immigrants to Israel.
Early Tuesday morning, Yediot Aharonot published a segment of a video recording it obtained which showed Rabbi Yosef speaking at a rabbinical conference last week in Jerusalem.
In the video, Rabbi Yosef laments the mass immigration of non-Jews to Israel, accusing them of backing anti-religious political agendas.
“Hundreds or tens of thousands of non-Jews came to Israel because of the law defining who is a Jew,” said Rabbi Yosef, referring to Israel’s amended Law of Return, which permits not only Jews, but non-Jewish spouses, children, and grandchildren of Jews, along with their spouses, to immigrate to Israel.
According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, more than 430,000 people living in Israel are neither Jewish nor Arab, with the vast majority being non-Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who immigrated to Israel after 1989 under the Law of Return.
“There are many, many non-Jews here, and some of them are Communists, enemies of the faith, haters of religion,” Rabbi Yosef continued.
“They aren’t Jewish at all, they are non-Jews. And they vote for parties which incite against haredim and against the faith.”
“They were brought here to Israel so as to serve as a counter-balance against the haredim. So that in elections there won’t be too many haredim. That’s why they total non-Jews were allowed to immigrate to Israel – absolute non-Jews. Unfortunately, we are seeing the result of the incitement they make.”
Rabbi Yosef noted that many of the non-Jewish immigrants identify as Christians and “go to church every Sunday.”

Later Tuesday morning, Rabbi Yosef came under fire for his remarks..
Blue and White MK Yair Lapid castigated Rabbi Yosef for his comments, and demanded he apologize:
What happened to Judaism that was welcoming, rather than peddling in insults? The Chief Rabbi needs to apologize for his embarrassing and serious comments.”

Israel - Poll: 58% of Israelis think their leadership is corrupt
only 14 per cent trusted political parties
Middle East Monitor, January 8, 2020

The comprehensive annual Israel Democracy Index found that the majority of Israelis think that their leadership is corrupt or very corrupt, the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.
According to the newspaper, the index, which was conducted by Guttman Centre for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute, presented the results to the Israeli president.
The survey found that 58 per cent of the Israelis see their leadership as corrupt or very corrupt, 24 per cent see them as moderately corrupt and 16 per cent said it was not at all corrupt, while two per cent did not respond.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the number of people who believe the leadership is corrupt has been increasing since 2014, when it was 43 per cent.
At the same time, the survey found that 46.5 per cent of those who think the Israeli leadership is corrupt think the quality of democracy in the country is poor.

blue and white, netanyahu's bloc, lieberman

The survey also found that only 55 per cent trusted the Israeli Supreme Court and 71 per cent trusted the Israeli president.
However, 90 per cent trusted the Israeli army, but only 44 per cent trusted the police..
30 per cent trusted the Knesset, 30 per cent trusted the government and only 14 per cent trusted political parties.

Libya: HoR amends the name of the
Libyan Interim Government to be "the Libyan Government"
The Libyan Address, 4 January 2020

The Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) decided to change the name of the Libyan Interim Government to be the Libyan Government.
The spokesman for the House of Representatives, Abdullah Bleihiq, stated in a press briefing that the decision came through an unanimous vote by the representatives attending the session today in Benghazi.
Bleihiq said that the session was devoted to discuss the repercussions of the blatant Turkish interference in Libyan affairs and the approval of the Turkish parliament to send invading forces to Libya, noting that Parliament took several decisions.
The House of Representatives voted unanimously not to authorize, and cancel, the security and military cooperation and delineating maritime borders memorandum signed between the illegitimate Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Turkish regime, and considered them as if they were not, according to HoR’s official spokesman.
The House of Representatives also voted unanimously to refer the Head of GNA, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, his Minister of Interior, and everyone who contributed to bringing colonists to our country, to be charged with high treason, and decided to cut ties with the Turkish regime.
The House of Representatives authorized the General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to disable airports and ports under the control of the militias, and approved the allocation of an emergency budget for LNA of 20 billion to be deducted from the state budget for 2020.

Erdogan says Turkey gradually sending troops to Libya
Xinhua, China, 6-1-2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday evening that Turkey is "gradually" sending troops to Libya under a deal inked with its UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
"Our soldiers are gradually going," Erdogan told the CNNTurk broadcaster in a televised interview, saying "The duty of Turkish soldiers is to ensure ceasefire and not to fight."
"What we will do in Libya is to strengthen the legitimate government," he added, noting an operation center would be established in the North African country torn by a raging civil war, which pits the GNA based in the capital Tripoli against the Libyan National Army and its allies based in the east.
The mission for Turkish troops in Libya is to make coordination at the operation center, said the Turkish leader. "As an opposition force, we will have different teams there," he added.

Egypt’s parliament: Turkish interference in Libya
is unacceptable practice of hegemony
The libyan Address, 5 January، 2020

The Foreign Affairs Committee of Egypt’s House of Representatives stressed that the Turkish interference in the Libyan domestic affairs is a new sort of invasion and considered as a practice of hegemony on the Libyan territories.
The committee’s remarks came on Sunday during an extraordinary meeting, headed by MP Karim Darwish.
It called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards these serious developments that destabilize the whole region, especially the East Mediterranean area.
It lauded the Libyan tribes’ national stances in rejection of Turkey’s meddling in their country’s affairs, stressing the Libyan people’s unity is the only way to deter the Turkish invasion.
The committee valued the Libyan parliament’s decision on refusing the agreement signed between Ankara and Fayez al Sarraj. It also urged the Foreign Ministry to support the Libyan file in the United Nations, the Security Council, and international events.

Over 1,000 Tribal Leaders Declare
Mobilization Against Turkish Invasion of Libya
Al-Marsad News, January 4, 2020

More than a thousand tribal leaders from all regions of Libya met on Saturday in Benghazi to respond to the approval of the Turkish parliament of a motion to deploy troops in Libya.
The leaders of Libyan tribes, during their meeting, declared Jihad against the Turkish invasion, stressing that they will send their sons as volunteers in the frontlines to fight the Turkish invaders.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced general mobilization of men and women to defeat the Turkish invasion of Libyan territory.
Massive nationwide demonstrations took place in Libya over the last two days since the parliamentary bill to send Turkish troops to Libya was approved by the Turkish parliament yesterday afternoon.
The fiercest reactions to the Turkish decision to deploy troops on Libyan soil, came from Libyan tribes. The tribes historically form the social fabric of Libya and the history of Ottoman aggression in Libya is still fresh in the collective tribal memory.
The anger and pan-Libyan mobilisation by the tribes has translated itself into a major surge of support for the Libyan National Army (LNA).

Libyan commander Haftar’s forces
say they have taken Sirte
Middle East Monitor, January 6, 2020

Libyan forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said on Monday they had taken control of the strategic coastal city of Sirte in a rapid advance preceded by airstrikes.
Holding Sirte would be an important gain for Haftar, who since April has been waging a military offensive on the capital, Tripoli, home to Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
Sirte lies in the centre of Libya’s Mediterranean coast and has been controlled by GNA-aligned forces since they ejected Islamic State from the city with the help of US airstrikes in late 2016.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) said it had taken areas surrounding Sirte, including al-Qardabiya airbase, before moving towards the city centre.
“The commander-in-chief decided on a well-planned, pre-emptive strike and within less than three hours we were in the heart of Sirte,” said LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari.
“It was a sudden, swift operation,” he said, adding that the advance had been preceded by several hours of airstrikes.
An LNA military source said forces from the city of Misrata to the northwest, had retreated. Misrata is a key source of military power for the GNA.
The LNA advance comes as Turkey prepares to send military advisors and experts to Libya to help shore up the GNA, part of rising international involvement in Libya’s conflict.
Haftar’s LNA has received material and military support from countries including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt, according to UN experts and diplomats.

Flashback: Muammar Gaddafi killed as Sirte falls
Al-Jazeera, 21-10-2011

At about 0830 local time a French aircraft operating as part of the Nato mission attacked the convoy of 75 vehicles heading out of Sirte at high speed approximately 3-4 km (two miles) west of the city near the western roundabout.
According to Nato, a first strike destroyed one vehicle and caused the convoy to disperse into several groups.
One of those groups, carrying Col Gaddafi, headed south and was hit again by a Nato fighter, destroying 11 vehicles.
Col Gaddafi and a handful of his men managed to escape on foot and sought refuge in two large drainage pipes filled with rubbish. Rebel forces then closed in.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed," Mahmoud Jibril, the de facto Libyan prime minister, told reporters.

- "Across the Arab world, citizens have stood up to claim their rights," US President Barack Obama said. "Youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship..." "For the region, today's events prove once more that the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end."

- Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said Gaddafi's death marked "a historic transition for Libya".

- "NATO and our partners have successfully implemented the historic mandate of the United Nations to protect the people of Libya," Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.

Putin meets Syrian president Assad
Damascus, SANA, 7 January 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Damascus Tuesday on a visit to Syria. Presidents Bashar al-Assad and Putin held a meeting at the Russian forces’ assembly location in Damascus.

President Putin offered congratulations to the Russian forces operating in Syria on occasion of Christmas. President al-Assad also congratulated the Russian officers and soldiers on occasion of Christmas, expressing the appreciation of himself and the Syrian people for the sacrifices made by the Russian forces alongside their counterpart in the Syrian Arab Army.
Accompanied by President al-Assad, President Putin toured Damascus city, visiting the Grand Umayyad Mosque and the shrine of St. John the Baptist located in it, writing an entry in the record of visitors.
President Putin also visited the Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, the oldest church in Damascus and the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, gifting it an icon depicting the Virgin Mary.

Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at bases in Iraq
AP, Wednesday 8 Jan 2020

Iran struck back at the United States early Wednesday for killing a top Revolutionary Guard commander, firing a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house American troops in a major escalation between the two longtime foes.
It was Iran's most direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and Iranian state TV said it was in revenge for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week in an American drone strike near Baghdad prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying.
The strikes, which came as Iran buried Soleimani, raised fears that the two longtime foes were closer to war. But there were some indications that there would not be further retaliation on either side, at least in the short term.

Iraq: Seventeen missiles hit Al-Asad air base,
President Donald Trump says on Twitter: ‘All is well!’
Arab News, 8-1-2020

The Iraqi military on Wednesday said there were no casualties among its troops as a result of an Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by US forces.
The statement said 22 missiles were fired. Seventeen missiles hit Al-Asad air base, including two that did not explode in the Hitan area west of the town of Hit. Five other missiles hit the northern region of Erbil.
A US official said there were no immediate reports of American casualties, but buildings were being searched.
'All is well!' President Donald Trump tweeted shortly after the missile attacks, adding, 'So far, so good' regarding casualties.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on all sides to practice self-restraint, adhere to international agreements, and respect Iraqi state. This dangerous crisis threatens a “devastating all-out war” in Iraq, the region, and the world, he added.

The Iranian army repeated earlier demands for the US to withdraw its troops from the Middle East, state TV reported.
“Now that they have understood our power, it is time for the United States to withdraw its troops from the Middle East,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff General Mohammad Baqeri said in a statement.
Iran is not seeking escalation or war, Iranian Foreign Minister tweeted after Tehran hit US targets in Iraq on Wednesday, adding that Tehran would defend itself against any aggression.
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

Iran’s parliament, meanwhile, has passed an urgent bill declaring the US military’s command at the Pentagon and those acting on its behalf in Soleimani’s killing as “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions.
The measure appears to be in response to a decision by Trump in April to declare the Revolutionary Guard a “terrorist organization.” The US Defense Department used that terror designation to support the strike that killed Soleimani.

Ain Al-Asad air base was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. It houses approximately 1,500 US and coalition forces.
Donald Trump visited the sprawling Ain Al-Asad air base in December 2018, making his first presidential visit to troops in the region. He did not meet with any Iraqi officials at the time, and his visit inflamed sensitivities about the continued presence of US forces in Iraq.

Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran's retaliation against US only 'a slap'. What is important is that the American presence in the region must end. Press TV, Wednesday, 08 January 2020

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran’s early Wednesday missile attack on US bases in Iraq following the American assassination of a top general was just “a slap”.
"The talk of revenge and such debates are a different issue. For now, a slap was delivered on their face last night," Khamenei said in remarks broadcast live on national television Wednesday.
"What is important about confrontation is that the military action as such is not sufficient. What is important is that the seditious American presence in the region must end," he said.
The overriding responsibility of the masses is to discern their enemies, and "I am firmly saying that the enemy is America, the Zionist regime and the arrogant apparatus of corporations and institutions."
They have brought war, sedition and destruction to the region and "wherever they have put their foot on," the Leader said. "This must end...
Ayatollah Khamenei said the Americans "are now adamant about dealing the same corruption and destruction against the dear Iran and the Islamic Republic." "They keep insisting on negotiation, but these things are a prelude to intervention," he said.
"The Americans want Iraq to be like the former idolatrous regime in Iran or Saudi Arabia today - a region full of oil to be under their control so they can do whatever they want - a milking cow in the words of that individual," he said in reference to US President Donald Trump.
The US has similar plans for Lebanon. "The Americans want to clear Lebanon of the most important factor of independence which is the resistance so that it cannot resist."
The Leader also said the US assassination of Gen. Soleimani served the Islamic Revolution. "His martyrdom showed to the world the Revolution is alive...."

Iran: Gen. Soleimani Laid to Rest in Hometown
Alahed (Hezbollah-run news website), 8-1-2020

Senior Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US in Iraq, has been laid to rest in his hometown Kerman, shortly after Iran’s Armed Forces launched retaliatory missile strikes on American bases in Iraq.
The body of the Middle East’s most prominent anti-terror commander was buried at the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Kerman early Wednesday.
The ceremony started shortly after the IRGC fired rockets at US military bases in Iraq’s Anbar Province and Kurdistan’s regional capital, Erbil, at 1:20 a.m. local time, the moment when the US military carried out a drone strike on Friday against General Soleimani’s motorcade...
The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units [PMU], as well as eight other Iranian and Iraqi people.
General Soleimani is viewed by the world’s freedom-seeking people as the key figure in the Middle East battles that led to the collapse of the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym fo "ISIS" / "ISIL"], the world’s most notorious terror group.

The USA’s conflict with Iran is irrational
America has given away its world prestige for the Jewish state.
Gilad Atzmon, 8-1-2020

Yesterday’s Iranian attack on American air bases was measured. It was aimed at American military facilities and, according to reports, targeted runways and empty facilities.
However, the attack was conducted from Iranian territory and was openly claimed by the Iranian regime. It effectively conveyed Iranian determination and firmness. However, it was measured enough to give Trump’s Administration an opportunity to climb down off the tree it unwisely chose although it also gave the administration enough rope to hang itself if it insists on doing so.

The USA’s conflict with Iran is peculiar; it is irrational, it may even border on madness.
America is no longer dependent on the Gulf’s oil. Its general strategy in the region has been futile and self-defeating.
Iraq wants the American military out. In Syria, American forces were defeated. Russia is now taking care of what in the past America claimed to oversee and, in practice, never did. One wonders, what is it that America is doing in Iraq, or in Syria? Where is all of this leading?

Numerous academic studies have established that American foreign policy is dominated by the Israel Lobby.
The devastating truth is that America has been fighting Israel’s wars for decades. Until now this has entailed fighting inferior military forces. But a battle with Iran may prove far more complicated.
Decades of sanctions have made Iran into an independent technological superpower.
Iranian drone technology is at least as advanced as that of Israel and the USA and it leads in precision guided and cruise missiles. Unlike American soldiers who fight for Israel and are often fed misleading intelligence by Israeli sources, Iranians and local Shia militias are fighting on their soil. The battle is destined to be a challenge to the USA military and its consequences are unpredictable.

Surrounded by incompetence, Trump has made disastrous decisions that have made America and Israel into the biggest dangers to world peace.
American politics is a continuation of Zionist wars by different means. America has given away its world prestige for the Jewish state.
American politicians shamelessly pledge allegiance to the Jewish state instead of their own.
They go out of their way to appease Jewish lobby groups, whether it is the ultra Zionist AIPAC or the controlled opposition Jstreet.

"End the neocon pipe-dream of
ruling the world from the barrel of a gun."
Ron Paul, January 06, 2020

President Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told us the US had to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani last week because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens.
I don’t believe them. Why not? Because Trump and the neocons – like Pompeo – have been lying about Iran for the past three years in an effort to whip up enough support for a US attack.
From the phony justification to get out of the Iran nuclear deal, to blaming Yemen on Iran, to blaming Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities, the US Administration has fed us a steady stream of lies for three years because they are obsessed with Iran.
And before Trump’s obsession with attacking Iran, the past four US Administrations lied ceaselessly to bring about wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Serbia, Somalia, and the list goes on.

At some point, when we’ve been lied to constantly and consistently for decades about a “threat” that we must “take out” with a military attack, there comes a time where we must assume they are lying until they provide rock solid, irrefutable proof. Thus far they have provided nothing. So I don’t believe them.

President Trump has warned that his administration has already targeted 52 sites important to Iran and Iranian culture and the US will attack them if Iran retaliates for the assassination of Gen. Soleimani...
I have a very easy solution for President Trump that will save the lives of American servicemembers and other US officials: just come home. There is absolutely no reason for US troops to be stationed throughout the Middle East to face increased risk of death for nothing...
Maintain a strong defense to protect the United States, but end this neocon pipe-dream of ruling the world from the barrel of a gun.
It does not work. It makes us poorer and more vulnerable to attack.
It makes the elites of Washington rich while leaving working and middle class America with the bill.
It engenders hatred and a desire for revenge among those who have fallen victim to US interventionist foreign policy. And it results in millions of innocents being killed overseas.
There is no benefit to the United States to trying to run the world. Such a foreign policy brings only bankruptcy – moral and financial.

Nayed: "The political will of the Tripoli-based GNA is mortgaged
to the ideological militias and the Islamist government in Turkey"
Al Marsad, Libya, January 9, 2020

Dr Aref Ali Nayed, Chairman of the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) commented on Turkey’s call for a ceasefire an interview given to the Russian news agency Sputnik.
He said: “Before Turkey can pretend to call for any ceasefire, it must immediately stop the shipping of death to Libya, as it must respect the will of the Libyan people by respecting Libya’s Parliament, the duly elected by the Libyan people in 2014 as their sole and legitimate representative, in free and fair elections under the supervision of the UN.”
As for Russia’s call for a ceasefire, Nayed said it can be helpful “if it entails the GNA peacefully handing over the remaining areas of the capital Tripoli to the legitimate and duly elected Parliament of Libya and its Libyan National Army {LNA).”
He added, “any ceasefire that would leave weapons in the hands of the militias that have kidnapped Tripoli since 2014 would neither be desirable or practicable.”

Nayed confirmed that the Libyan National Army forces, which liberated the city of Sirte completely, is now less than a hundred kilometers from the city of Misrata, while Misratan militias are already scrambling to get back to Misrata. Without Misratan forces, Nayed “the militias of Tripoli will very soon find it is better to negotiate to open the way to the LNA to the rest of the capital city.
He said: “Since the signing of the illegal agreements between Erdogan and Sarraj, the surge in popular support for the LNA has led to rapid LNA advances in Sirte and in Tripoli itself.” He added that the “LNA is already in Tripoli, and is only a few kilometers from its downtown.”

With regards to international outreach that he has undertaken recently, Nayed said: “We have been in communication not only with Italy, but also with Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, France, and other countries in order to build up a consortium of resistance capable of blocking Turkey’s arrogant and invasive pretensions”.
Regarding the Italian position on the current crisis, Nayed revealed that the “new Italian government has built a solid base of trust with Libya’s Parliament and LNA, and has been striving to offer a mediation platform between Libyans....
At the end of his interview with Sputnik, Nayed stressed that the political will of the Tripoli-based GNA is mortgaged to the ideological militias and the Islamist government in Turkey, and that the GNA continues with its usual antics.

Iraqi PM Tells US to Decide Mechanism for Troop Withdrawal
Associated Press|VOA, January 10, 2020

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has told the U.S. secretary of state to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with formulating the mechanism for the withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq, according to a statement released Friday.
The statement, from the office of the Iraqi caretaker prime minister, said the request came in a telephone call between Abdul-Mahdi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday night. It says Pompeo called the Iraqi premier.
Abdul-Mahdi's comments to Pompeo suggests he was standing by his previous statements that U.S troops should leave Iraq despite recent signals toward de-escalation between Tehran and Washington following the tit-for-tat attacks that brought Iraq to the brink of a proxy war.
Tensions eased on Wednesday when President Donald Trump signaled that Washington was stepping away from escalation.
The Iraqi prime minister said his country rejects all violations against its sovereignty, including the barrage of ballistic missiles that Iranian forces fired targeting against U.S. troops in Iraq and also America's violation of Iraq's airspace in the airstrike that killed a top Iranian general last week.
The Iraqi leader asked Pompeo to send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament's resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq,' the statement said.
"The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements," the statement added.
Iraqi lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution to oust U.S. troops following a strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last Friday.

US dismisses Iraq's request to work on troop withdrawal plan
Daily Sabah, Turkey, 10-1-2020

Iraq's caretaker prime minister asked Washington to start working out a road map for a withdrawal of American troops from the country, however, the U.S. State Department on Friday bluntly rejected the request, saying the two sides should instead talk about how to "recommit" to their partnership.
Iraqis have expressed fury and desperation at being caught in the middle of fighting between Baghdad's two closest allies.
Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in the capital and southern Iraq, many calling on both Iran and America to leave Iraq, reflecting anger and frustration over the two rivals – both Baghdad's allies – trading blows on Iraqi soil.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department flatly dismissed the request of withdrawal, saying the presence of U.S. troops was crucial for the fight against the Islamic State group and it would not discuss their removal.
"Any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership – not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East," said spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
Ortagus also said the State Department was in talks with NATO to increase its role in Iraq. Trump has invited NATO to play a larger role in the Middle East.

IS Gloats at Iran General's Death,
Says It Pleased Muslims
By Associated Press|VOA, January 10, 2020

The Islamic State group gloated over the recent U.S. killing of a senior Iranian general, who rose to prominence by advising forces fighting the extremists.
In the first IS comments since Gen. Qassem Soleimani's slaying, the group said his death "pleased the hearts of believers."
The editorial was released in the group's al-Nabaa online newspaper late Thursday.
Although the U.S. and Iran strictly avoided working together directly, they were once on the same side in the fight against IS. As the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, Soleimani was one of the main commanders on the ground spearheading the fight against IS. He sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to Iraq and Syria to battle the extremists, and directed Iraqi Shiite militias as well.
The IS editorial said that its members tried for years to kill the two commanders, but that "God brought their end at the hands of their allies." It said both men "have gone too far in shedding the blood of Muslims in Iraq and Syria."

Olmert: I expect this country to return to normalcy
I'll vote for Blue and White
Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva [Israel],10/01/2020

Former [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his family, predicted that Netanyahu will not be Prime Minister nor head the Likud after the March 2 election, and also declared that he would be voting for the Blue and White party.
"There is a gang running the country. It is very serious, but this is the reality. There is an atmosphere that everything is permitted and that there is no limit.
Things have deteriorated to the lowest levels. This family is acting like a crime family," Olmert told Channel 12’s Ofira Asayag and Eyal Berkovic, in a reference to the Netanyahu family.
"I do not want to go into the legal issues. [Netanyahu] will stand trial. The trial will go the way it is supposed to go. I stood trial and I am convinced that the decision in my case was wrong but I said ‘no citizen is above the law.’ I said that even though I am convinced I was wronged," added Olmert.
"I say the things that anyone can see. It is simply a phenomenon that is impossible to take and the State of Israel will not bear it. I tell you here and now when you are recording this - Bibi Netanyahu will not be Prime Minister," he stated.
Asked about the fact that, despite everything, there are still a million and a half Israelis who vote for Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister replied, "The result is clear, let there be no doubt about it - Bibi will not form a government and he will not lead the Likud after these elections. Wait and see.”

Olmert reiterated that he supports the Blue and White party, saying, "I really want Blue and White to win the election and I believe it will win. I will do everything I can in my public appearances, my interviews and the articles I write to help it succeed. I do not expect a revolution to take place from one day to the next.
I expect this country to return to normalcy, that public discourse will be different, that people who serve the country won’t be called traitors, that the Arab citizens who are part of the State of Israel will be respected and integrated into society...."

From Saddam Hussein to Qasem Soleimani
Who will learn the lesson?
Firas Abu Hilal, Middle East Monitor, 11-1-2020

On August. 29, 2003, Paul Bremer appointed Abdul Aziz al-Hakim as a governing council member. Abdul Aziz had been the head of the Badr Corps, and was reporting back to Soleimani.
When the US launched its aggression against Iraq in 2003, Shia militias allied to Iran welcomed the aggression, considering it a legitimate way of eliminating Saddam Hussein. They did so because of their hostility with him for many years.
The Iranian position was not different to the position of these militias. Although Tehran did not explicitly support the aggression, it was practically happy with it because it would rid it of a sworn enemy, and it would also bring its allies, Shia militia and parties, closer to the rule of Iraq, allowing it great influence in this important Arab country.
Indeed, Iran benefited from the occupation of Iraq. It became the country with the most influence in the eastern gate of the Arab world, and its allies – or more precisely its followers – became those who govern Baghdad. This meant a lot of political, security and economic influence for Tehran in Iraq.

Iranian influence led to establishing a sectarian regime in Iraq – a matter that Washington did not oppose at the time – but rather, for being short-sighted and having an orientalist vision, considered an ideal solution for a multi-ethnic and sectarian country like Iraq. The result was that Shia militias had the upper hand in Baghdad, and above it, of course, was the Iranian influence.
In return, the majority of Sunni Arabs were against the US occupation of Iraq, given that it would give Iran and its Shia allies influence and power at their expense, which was indeed what happened after the occupation and the fall of Hussein’s regime.

The Sunni and Shia parties remained at opposite positions from the US presence in Iraq.
When Iran and its allies gained power and influence, they believed that the time had come to end the US presence, a matter opposed at that time by the Sunni Arabs, who considered the US forces a guarantee to prevent an even bigger mobilisation of Shia parties, militias and Tehran.
But the equation changed when Daesh took control of the city of Mosul. At first, many Sunni Arabs saw it as salvation from the sectarian violence practiced by militias affiliated with the government and with Iran. Meanwhile, the Shia parties went back to seeing the US as their salvation from Daesh, so they worked under its command and the command of the coalition forces to eliminate Daesh and restore Mosul.
After the mission had ended, the two sides returned to their previous positions.
Shias and Iran want Iraq purely for them, while Sunni Arabs see the US presence as a balance factor for the equation.
With the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, things became clearer. Parliament, with its Shia majority, voted for the exit of the US from Iraq, while the Kurds and Sunni Arabs were intentionally absent from the session, in what appeared to be an implicit refusal to vote.

The Shias and Iran stood with the US against Hussein, and it took them sixteen years to realise that the US did not overthrow Hussein for their sake.
Now, the Arabs are applauding the assassination of Soleimani as if the US did this in retaliation for the victims that Soleimani had killed. It is not clear how many years it will take for them to realise that this assassination will not solve their problems with Iran, nor with their fellow Shias...
US intervention was never in the best interests of the people of the region. It was always a factor for igniting conflicts between the people of one country, or between one country and another.
Therefore, it is absurd to expect that the assassination of Soleimani is in the best interests of the people of the region, regardless of our opinion of the negative and bloody role he played in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. It is also an illusion for some Arab parties, especially the Sunni Arabs in Iraq, to ​​expect that the assassination represents a new US positioning in their favour.

The US in its relationship with the region
cannot be considered a real ally

The most important lesson, is that US in its relationship with the region cannot be considered a real ally, nor can it be relied upon.
It also cannot represent a solution to any crisis in the region, because it remains first and foremost a colonial power looking for interests, not friendships.
The US is not the one to be blamed, but rather those who consider it to be a friend, and those who believe it will support them in the face of people of their own countries and region.

There is one solution for this region, and that is to reach historic reconciliation. This can only be achieved through strategic and political dialogue away from US domination.

Libya: Haftar accepts call for Libya cease-fire
Daily Sabah, Turkey, 11-1-2020

Forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar announced that they accept the call from Turkey and Russia for a cease-fire in western Libya starting at midnight on Jan. 13.
The Haftar forces said, however, in a short statement that the ceasefire was conditional and "response will be severe in the event of any violation of the truce by the opposing camp", a reference to the UN-recognized government in Libya, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
Haftar's forces have been battling to take the capital from the GNA since April.
Libya's GNA recently made a formal request for "air, ground and sea" support from the Turkish military to help fend off an offensive from the forces of Haftar, who is attempting to take control of the capital, Tripoli. Turkey supports the U.N.-backed government against the militia and mercenaries of the latter self-proclaimed military chief.
Turkey last week began deploying troops in Libya to back GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj.

Merkel: Germany to host Libya peace conference
Al-Jazeera News, 11-1-2020

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Libyan peace talks will be held in Berlin, as Turkey and Russia appeal to Libya's warring factions to enter a ceasefire.
During a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Saturday, Merkel said: "We hope that the joint efforts by Russia and Turkey will lead to success, and we will soon send out invitations for a conference in Berlin."
Merkel stressed that the United Nations would lead talks if a meeting were to take place in Berlin and that Libya's warring parties would need to play a significant role to help find a solution. The aim was to give Libya the chance to become a sovereign and peaceful country, Merkel said.
Putin expressed support for the process, saying it was a "timely" idea and necessary to bring the conflict in Libya to an end.
In response to being asked whether he was aware of the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya, Putin said: "If there are Russian citizens there, then they are not representing the interests of the Russian state and they are not receiving money from the Russian state."

Merkel in Moscow:
Russia-Germany relations defrost
By Bryan MacDonald, RT Russia, 11-1-2020

Angela Merkel’s visit to Moscow is far from a courtesy call. Germany and Russia’s political relations are thawing. It’s good news for all Europeans.
As Iran and the United States seemingly limbered up for war, Russia and Germany, as the continent’s two most powerful countries, have a special responsibility to protect it from any fallout.
Merkel’s decision to travel to the Russian capital may be conceived as a signal to Washington that:

a) Berlin remains capable of mounting an independent foreign policy, if pushed,
b) the Germans won’t be cowed by sanctions the US has placed on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which further connects their country directly to Russia’s gas supply network, and
c) Merkel wants the US leadership to know she agrees with Moscow about Donald Trump’s order to murder Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Russia has labeled it “reckless” and the Germans have questioned the legality of the killing.

Germany and Russia need each other. They are Europe’s most powerful economies, measured by purchasing power parity. And together, they are home to around a third of its population.
Moscow relies on revenue from its exports to the German market and Berlin would be in serious bother without access to Russian resources.
Geopolitically, they also complement each other, in many ways. From all points west of the Poland-Belarus border, Berlin is the most influential player. But east of that, and south of the Black Sea, Moscow is in the driving seat.
The Germans will be eager to see how Moscow’s influence in the Middle East can be leveraged – a region where they have little, or no, clout.
When it comes to Libya, Putin and Merkel are basically on the same page – they both want an end to the fighting.

Khamenei: Interregional Cooperation Only Way
to Counter US, Allies’ Corruption
Alahed News [Hezbollah run website], 12-1-2020

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [Iranian spiritual leader] said the ‘corrupt actions’ taken by the United States and its allies are the main cause of the current situation in the region, urging regional countries to boost cooperation to undo such actions.
Khamenei made the remarks as he received visiting Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Tehran on Sunday.
Highlighting Iran's advances in various fields of science and technology, knowledge-based activities as well as such utilities as water and power supply, Iran’s president said Tehran was ready to transfer its experiences in these fields to the friendly and brotherly country of Qatar.
In another part of his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to good political ties between Iran and Qatar, saying, "The two countries' economic relations are not on the same level as political relations and Iran-Qatar cooperation should further improve in common fields."
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly announced and Mr. President [Hassan Rouhani] has also explicitly stated that Iran is ready for closer cooperation with regional countries," Khamenei noted.
"Of course, some parties who have come to this region from across the world are not interested in the expansion of cooperation among regional countries, but this issue has nothing to do with them and regional countries and nations do not accept such bullying and interference anymore."
The Qatari Emir said he completely agrees with Khamenei's remarks about the necessity for enhanced regional cooperation.

Al-Jazeera: Sheikh Tamim was the first national leader to come to Iran since Soleimani's killing on January 3 in an American drone strike.
Qatar is one of a few countries in the region that maintains a close relationship with Washington and Tehran.
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, said Sheikh Tamim's efforts to calm tensions were unique. "Hardly any country or leader in the region is able to make this kind of visit, while at the same time maintaining relations with the American, European, and Iraqi leadership - trying to bridge ideas and facilitate dialogue," he said.

Iraq Warns of 'Collapse' if Trump Blocks Oil Cash
Naharnet Newsdesk, Lebanon, 12-1-2020

Iraqi officials fear economic "collapse" if Washington imposes threatened sanctions, including blocking access to a US-based account where Baghdad keeps oil revenues that feed 90 percent of the national budget.
US President Donald Trump was outraged by the Iraqi parliament voting on January 5 to oust foreign forces, including some 5,200 American troops, who have helped local soldiers beat back jihadists since 2014.
If troops were asked to leave, he threatened, "we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before."
The US then delivered an extraordinary verbal message directly to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi's office, two Iraqi officials told AFP.
"The PMO got a call threatening that if US troops are kicked out, 'we' -- the US -- will block your account at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York," one official said.
Parliament's vote to oust the troops was triggered by outrage over a US drone strike on Baghdad two days earlier that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi right-hand-man, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The Central Bank of Iraq's account at the Fed was established in 2003 following the US-led invasion.
Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483, which lifted the crippling global sanctions and oil embargo imposed on Iraq after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, all revenues from Iraqi oil sales would go to the account.
Iraq is OPEC's second-biggest crude producer and more than 90 percent of the state budget, which reached $112 billion in 2019, derives from oil revenues.
To this day, revenues are paid in dollars into the Fed account daily, with the balance now sitting at about $35 billion, Iraqi officials told AFP.
Every month or so, Iraq flies in $1-$2 billion in cash from that account for official and commercial transactions. "We're an oil-producing country. Those accounts are in dollars. Cutting off access means totally turning off the tap," the first Iraqi official said.
The second official said it would mean the government could not carry out daily functions or pay salaries and the Iraqi currency would plummet in value. "It would mean collapse for Iraq," the official said.
A third senior Iraqi official confirmed the US was considering "restricting" cash access to "about a third of what they would usually send."
The US already sanctions Iraqi nationals, armed groups and even banks for links to Tehran, Washington's arch-foe in the region.
It had left oil revenues untouched, with officials previously telling AFP such a move would be too damaging to a country considered a US ally.

Wal Street Journal, 11-1-2020: The financial threat isn’t theoretical:
The country’s financial system was squeezed in 2015 when the U.S. suspended access for several weeks to the central bank’s account at the New York Fed over concerns the cash was filtering through a loosely regulated market into Iranian banks and to the Islamic State extremist group.
“The U.S. Fed basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi] economy,” said Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee Securities.
The prospect of sanctions has unsettled ordinary Iraqis, for whom memories of living under a United Nations embargo during the 1990s are still fresh. Pro-Iranian and other Shiite factions leading the charge to oust U.S. forces from Iraq have sought to reassure the public by telling them Iraq could pivot to China.
An adviser to the prime minister, Abd al-Hassanein al-Hanein, said that while the threat of sanctions was a concern, he did not expect the U.S. to go through with it. “If the U.S. does that, it will lose Iraq forever,” he said.

Trump & Mnunich: Economic Warfare

The Oxford English Dictionary defines economic warfare or economic war as involving "an economic strategy based on the use of measures (e.g. blockade) of which the primary effect is to weaken the economy of another state".
In military operations, economic warfare aims to capture or otherwise control the supply of critical economic resources so that the military and intelligence agencies can operate at full efficiency or deprive enemy forces of those resources so that they cannot function properly. (Wikipedia info)

US Troops Clear Rubble
from Iraq Base Days after Iran Strike
By Associated Press|VOA, January 13, 2020

AIN AL-ASAD BASE, IRAQ - U.S. troops cleared rubble and debris from a military base housing American soldiers in western Iraq on Monday, days after it was struck by a barrage of Iranian ballistic missiles in a major escalation between the two longtime foes.
The Iranian attack was in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike near Baghdad airport that killed a top Iranian commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, prompting angry calls to avenge his slaying.
An Associated Press crew touring the Ain al-Asad base Monday saw large craters in the ground and damaged military trailers as well as forklifts lifting rubble and loading it onto trucks from a large area the size of a football stadium.
The air base in Iraq's western Anbar province is a sprawling complex about 180 kilometers (110 miles) west of Baghdad shared with the Iraqi military and housing about 1,500 members of the U.S. military and the U.S.-led coalition...
“There were more than 10 large missiles fired and the impact hit several areas along the airfield,”said Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. He added that the explosions created large craters, knocked over concrete barriers and destroyed facilities that house dozens of soldiers.
Although no soldiers were killed, he said several were treated for concussions from the blast and are being assessed by professionals. Myles added that troops received notification the missiles were on their way thanks to early warning systems, and troops were moved out of harm's way.

Libya News: Haftar left Moscow without signing a deal
Sputnik News [Russia], 14-1-2020

Earlier this day, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar had left Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement with the head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj.
Commenting on the failure to reach a ceasefire agreement between Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the UN-backed government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Libya's statehood had been destroyed by NATO.
"If Libya could become 'a second Syria', I believe the Libyan people will benefit from this. Unfortunately, there is no statehood in Libya so far," Lavrov said at a press conference...
"The Libyan statehood was bombed by NATO in 2011, and we are still facing the consequences of this illegal, criminal escapade, the Libyan people first of all," Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister noted the need to urge the conflicting parties in Libya to negotiate instead of resorting to using force.
On Monday, Haftar met with Libya's internationally recognised prime minister, Fayez Sarraj in the Russian capital for talks mediated by Russia and Turkey. That day, Lavrov said that Haftar had asked for a little extra time to look at a draft ceasefire agreement between Libya’s conflicting sides.
However, early this morning, it was announced that Haftar had left Moscow without signing a deal.

Erdogan: Turkey will not refrain
from teaching ‘putschist Haftar’ lesson
RT Russia, 14-1-2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to teach Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar a “lesson” if he does not cease his attacks on forces loyal to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.
Erdogan said in a speech that the “putschist Haftar ran away” from negotiations being held in Moscow, and that Ankara would not hesitate to teach him “a lesson” if he continues military action against the Government of National Accord (GNA).
The Turkish leader claimed that Haftar had first agreed to sign the ceasefire before abruptly leaving Moscow. Despite the setback, Erdogan stated that he was still planning to take part in further talks on Libya.
Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army, reportedly returned to Benghazi earlier on Tuesday, claiming that the ceasefire excluded provisions crucial to the LNA.
Ankara has signaled its desire to assume a direct military role in the conflict, after agreeing to security cooperation with the Tripoli-based government.

Flashback: Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Turkey has been diplomatically and militarily involved in the Syrian Civil War since its outbreak in 2011.
Initially condemning the Syrian government at the outbreak of civil unrest in Syria during the spring of 2011, the Turkish government's involvement gradually evolved into military assistance for the 'Free' Syrian Army [army defectors] in July 2011, border clashes in 2012, and direct military interventions in 2016-17, in 2018, and in 2019. The military operations have resulted in the Turkish occupation of northern Syria since August 2016.

Defection is defined as deserting your country or cause. When you are supposed to be in the army serving your country and you flipflop sides and start working for the other side, this is an example of defection.

After a decade of relatively friendly relations with Syria during the prior decade, Turkey condemned Syrian president Bashar al-Assad over the crackdown on protests in 2011 and later that year joined a number of other countries demanding his resignation.
From the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, Turkey trained defectors of the Syrian Army in its territory under the supervision of the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MİT).
In May 2012, the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) began arming and training the FSA and provided them with a base of operations...

LNA: We Will Not Sign Any Document Favouring Militias
at the Expense of the Libyan People
Al Marsad News, January 14, 2020

An official source at the General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) revealed early on Tuesday the reasons for not signing the ceasefire document in Moscow. It stated that the most important of these reasons is Turkey’s intention to utilize the agreement as a tool to impose itself as a signatory and party in Libya to legitimize the concluded MOUs signed between Ankara and Tripoli.
He said that Turkey is attempting to legitimize the parallel parliament in Tripoli as a new legislature that contests the authority of the sole and elected Libyan House of Representatives (HOR), and its objective is to break up the social component grassroots that support the Libyan National Army (LNA).
He also said that the LNA General Command delegation will not accept signing anything that prevents the LNA from exercising its duties in restricting the monopoly of arms to the military and security apparatuses of the Libyan state, and enforcing law and order in the country.

Wikipedia Info:
The House of Representatives officially became a legislative body on 4 August 2014, following an election on 25 June 2014, replacing the General National Congress. As of 2014, the chairman was Aguila Saleh Issa.As of 2014, the deputy presidents of the Council of Deputies were Imhemed Shaib and Ahmed Huma.
As of 2019, the HoR's associated executive authority is the Second Al-Thani Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, based in Bayda, Libya.
The Tripoli-based Libyan Supreme Constitutional Court ruled on 6 November 2014 that the June elections were unconstitutional and that the House of Representatives should be dissolved. The House of Representatives rejected the ruling, saying that the ruling was made "at gunpoint", with the court being controlled by armed militias.
In late 2014, a rival parliament in Tripoli was restored, the Muslim Brotherhood dominated General National Congress (GNC).
The House of Representatives did not recognize the new GNC, and voted on 6 October 2015, 112 out of 131, "to extend its term beyond 20 October", given the inability to hold elections. (Wikipedia info)

Turkey’s main opposition urges govt neutrality in Libya
Arab News, 16-1-2020

ANKARA: Turkey’s main opposition leader on Tuesday urged Ankara to play a mediation role in Libya between the country’s two rival camps, rather than siding with the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj.
We’ve … urged the government not to follow the Syria policy in Libya. We told them not to support one side, but try to mediate between the fighting parties. Turkey has … followed this policy between Iran and Iraq, for instance,” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
He also urged the government to mend ties with other countries in the region, especially Syria, Israel and Egypt.
“Rather than trying to assume the role of an honest broker, the government has preferred to take part in regional conflicts, which has caused great damage to Turkey,” Kilicdaroglu said, citing the Syrian conflict.
Turkey backs Al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based government against forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who is based in eastern Libya.

Ariz Kader, an independent researcher on regional conflicts, said Kilicdaroglu is urging the government to become a mediator because this is what the Turkish public wants to hear.
Erdogan is trying to save his last Muslim Brotherhood ally in North Africa. It’s something he can’t say outright without giving up the game,” Kader told Arab News.
“To assume a mediation role, Turkey should begin by prioritizing the role of the UN in the Libyan crisis rather than insisting on hard-power capabilities, which only serves to escalate the conflict even further,” Unal Cevikoz, the CHP’s deputy chairman responsible for foreign relations, told Arab News. Deploying troops abroad is also triggering accusations of neo-Ottomanism, he added.
Germany will be hosting a summit on Libya with the UN on Sunday, 19-1-2020, to gather the rival camps.

chp vs qaradawi: father of 'the arab spring'

Flashback: Outspoken cleric guides Arabs on revolution
Roula Khalaf, Financial Times, december 8 2011

The Arab spring is turning into the spring of the Islamists, as religious parties score the biggest gains in elections.
And one man is drawing particular satisfaction – Youssef al-Qaradawi, the 86-year-old controversial cleric named by many Arabs as a spiritual guide for their revolutions. From his base in Doha, the Egyptian-born Qatari citizen has long been one of the most influential religious authorities in Sunni Islam, an influence derived partly from an unlikely standing as a media celebrity.
Sheikh Qaradawi’s endorsement of Nato-led intervention in Libya lent legitimacy to a contentious mission. His call for the end of the Syrian regime helped galvanise Arab states’ pressure on Damascus.
"We were among those who called for revolution,” says the sheikh in an interview with the Financial Times, acknowledging his important role “before, after and in the future”.
Sheikh Qaradawi expresses a sense of inevitability about the Islamists’ rising power. “What’s forbidden is desired and we [Islamists] were always forbidden,” he says.
“Islamist movements and Islamic da’wa [preaching] were fought, repressed, they had no luck, no place … 
Now that the tyrants have been removed … nothing prevents Islamists from taking their rightful place in the heart of society.”

Tunis: Resistance and Liberation Film Festival
Launched for the First Time in Tunisia
Alahed, U-News, 21-1-2020

hosted, for the first time, the Resistance and Liberation Film Festival in the Tunisian capital, in the presence of local and foreign figures.
Director of the Cinema in Rissalat Association, Mohammad Khafaja, said on Monday at the launching ceremony "we insisted on holding the festival in Tunisia for its important location and because its people’s devotion for resistance and liberation."
For his part, Tunisian artist Lotfi Bouchnak, said "the resistance is not only in Lebanon, but is in all countries free from oppression and dependence, adding that Tunisia is the mother of the revolution."
The festival, organized by Rissalat and the Tunisian Film Library, will be held between 21 and 26 January and will include film screenings, seminars and panel discussions.
The festival is the first of its kind in Tunisia tackling subjects related to the resistance of Zionists and Takfiris.
Several films from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Algeria will be screened during the six-day festival.

Tunis: Mawjoudin Queer Filmfestival, 2020

Mawjoudin has the immense pleasure to welcome its fans and guest for its third edition of Mawjoudin Queer Film Festival. Our annual gathering is renewed once again and will be filled with the 7th art and other exciting forms of art.
The festival will take place in Tunis, from the 20th to the 23rd of March, 2020.

MAWJOUDIN is an officially registered not-for-profit NGO that is based in Tunisia and works towards achieving equality, human rights, bodily rights and sexual rights for the LGBTQI+ community and other marginalized groups and individuals.
Our vision is to spread human rights culture to be able to live in a society where discrimination on the basis of SOGIESC* does not exist, and to be able to live in a society that promotes integrity, dignity, celebrates difference and where love, identity and expression are not crimes.

About the Festival: “The Mawjoudin Queer Film Festival” is an annual film festival in Tunisia celebrating the LGBT community. It began in 2018, as the first queer film festival in the country and all of North Africa. The focus is on queer identities, especially in people from the Global South.
The first festival took place from January 15–18, 2018. It received funding support from the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation. The second edition of the festival was March 22–25, 2019, in downtown Tunis.

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