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.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked: ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.
There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”
"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people.
(Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)
Choseness is what binds Zionists together.
To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity. To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy. Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy....
I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to make them ‘people like all other people.’
Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison, but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement. The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours. (Gilad Atzmon, 24-6-2019)
Eva Illouz, 53, was born in Morocco and grew up in Sarcelles, near Paris. She is a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She researches the relationship between emotions, economy and communication and has written several books including "Why Love Hurts:
Illouz: Where you see human beings, Israelis see enemies. In front of enemies, you close ranks, you unite in fear for your life, and you do not ponder about the fragility of the other. It is difficult to have compassion for a population seen as as threatening the heart of your society.
Israel has a split, schizophrenic self-awareness: It cultivates its strength and yet cannot stop seeing itself as weak and threatened.
Illouz: I think Israelis have lost what we can call a "humanitarian sensibility," the capacity to identify with the suffering of a distant other. In Israel, there has been a change in perception of the "Palestinian other." The Palestinian has become a true enemy in the perception of Israelis, in the sense that "they are there" and "we are here." They ceased having a face and even a name.
Illouz: Israel is a colonial military power, a militarized society and a democracy all folded into one. The army, for example, controls the Palestinians through a wide network of colonial tools, such as checkpoints, military courts (governed by a legal system different from the Israeli system), the arbitrary granting of work permits, house demolitions and economic sanctions.
It is a militarized civil society because almost every family has a father, son or brother in the army and because the military plays an enormous role in the ordinary mentality of ordinary Israelis and is crucial in both political decisions and in the public sphere.
Illouz: The nature of Israeli leadership has changed. The messianic right has progressively gained power in Israel. It used to be marginal and illegitimate; it is now increasingly mainstream. This radical right sits in Parliament, controls budgets and has changed the nature of discourse. Many Israelis do not understand the radical nature of the right in Israel. It successfully disguises itself as "patriotic" or "Jewish."
Illouz: Entire generations have been raised with the territories, with Israel being a colonial power. They do not know anything else. You have the settlements which are highly ideological. They expanded and entered Israeli mainstream political life. Settlements were strengthened by systematic government policies... There are entire segments of the population that have never met a secular person and have been educated religiously...
The reality we are faced with in Israel is that we must choose between liberalism and Jewishness, and if we choose Jewishness, we are condemned to become a religious Sparta which will not be sustainable.
Illouz: Israel started as a modern nation. It derived its legitimacy from the fact that it had democratic institutions. But it was also building highly anti-modern institutions in wanting to create a Jewish democracy by giving power to rabbis, in creating deep ethnic inequalities between different ethnic groups such Jews of Arab countries vs. Jews of European descent; Arabs vs. Jews; Jews vs. non-Jews. It thus blocked universalist thinking... We are at the point where it has become clear that Jewishness has hijacked democracy and its contents.
Illouz: The right-left divide is no longer important. There is something more urgent right now: the defense of democracy. The voice of the extreme right is much louder and clearer than it was before. That's what's new: a racist right that is not ashamed of itself, that persecutes dissenters and even people who dare express compassion for the other side. The real danger to Israel and its sustainability comes from within.
Illouz: We don't know how it feels to live in a peaceful society, devoted exclusively to culture, education and improving the living conditions of everyone. People don't make a connection between the bad living conditions they have and the amount of resources invested in the settlements and in the army. In psychology, they call it dissociation. Israeli society has become very insensitive. Not only to the suffering of others, but also to its own suffering.
"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)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud party would win a decisive victory if new elections were held today, a new poll released Wednesday morning shows.
The poll, which was conducted online by Panels Politics Tuesday among 527 respondents, was broadcast on Radio 103FM Wednesday morning.
According to the survey, if new elections were held today, the Likud would win a total of 41 seats, a gain of five seats compared to the 36 the Likud won in the March 2020 election.
the right wing revolution
Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s party, by comparison, would fall from 15 seats to just 12 seats.., making it the fourth largest party.
Labor would fail to cross the electoral threshold if new elections were held today, receiving just 1.5% of the vote. Meretz, which currently has three seats, is projected to rise to six seats.
Broken down by bloc, the right-wing – religious camp would win an outright majority according to the poll, with 67 seats in the 120-member Knesset, a gain of nine seats over the 58 seats the rightist bloc currently has. The center-left-Arab bloc, however, would fall from 55 seats to 47.
The campaign website of Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has dropped some of its more overtly anti-Palestinian language.
Until at least Sunday, Biden had pledged to “Firmly reject the BDS movement, which singles out Israel – home to millions of Jews – and too often veers into anti-Semitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices.”
BDS is the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a grassroots global campaign led by Palestinians to pressure Israel to end its abuses. It is modeled on the successful global effort to help end apartheid in South Africa.
Although it still condemns BDS, the current version of the Biden website has removed the language about Palestinians making bad “choices” – as if Palestinians have had any choice at all about being dispossessed, colonized, occupied and oppressed by Israel.
Now, Biden pledges to “Firmly reject the BDS movement – which singles out Israel and too often veers into anti-Semitism – and fight other efforts to delegitimize Israel on the global stage.”
JVP Action, a political action committee affiliated with Jewish Voice for Peace, last week condemned Biden for the “choices” line.
“Blaming Palestinians for their own oppression is an anti-Palestinian talking point and there is never an excuse for such explicit racism, let alone as the Israeli government makes blatant and illegal land grabs,” the group said.
Even if it is shorn of some of the more overtly racist terminology, Biden’s edited language still expresses a substantive hatred of Palestinians and falsely smears their struggle for liberation from Israeli occupation and apartheid as anti-Semitic.
for eight years joe biden was barack obama's vice president
The European Union decided announced on Thursday its intention to extend its sanctions against the Syrian Arab Republic for a period of one year, until June 1, 2021, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the council affirmed that the decision to keep restrictive measures against “the Syrian regime and its supporters” came in line with the union’s strategy toward Syria, against the background of “the continuation of repressive operations against civilians.”
The High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy in the European Union, Joseph Borrell, stressed that these sanctions are directed against those responsible for the suffering of the Syrian people during the years of the conflict, including individuals and supporters of the Syrian government and businessmen who provide support to the government and benefit from the “war economy”.
Borrell expressed the European Union’s determination to “continue to support the Syrian people” and “its firm commitment to using every available means in order to move towards a political settlement of the conflict that will benefit all Syrians and put an end to the ongoing repression.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Israel Hayom newspaper in an interview published on Thursday that a move to apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley would be historical..
“For the first time since the establishment of the state, I've managed to secure American recognition [of our sovereignty rights], first on the Golan Heights and in Jerusalem, and then through an agreement that will facilitate American recognition in the areas of our homeland inside Judea and Samaria. These are [US President Donald] Trump's decisions, and the person who broached these matters with him was me. No one else," said Netanyahu.
Asked about the argument from the oppositional right that a Palestinian state is hidden in Trump’s package, Netanyahu replied, “Within this package is a historic opportunity for changing the tide of history, which was pointing one way. The whole time. All the diplomatic plans proposed to us in the past asked us to concede swathes of the Land of Israel, return to the 1967 borders and divide Jerusalem. To take in [Palestinian] refugees. This is a reversal. We aren't the ones being forced to make concessions, rather the Palestinians are. Regardless of negotiations.”
"If they see fit to meet and accept about 10 stringent conditions – including Israeli sovereignty west of the Jordan River, preserving a united Jerusalem, refusing to accept refugees, not uprooting Jewish communities, and Israeli sovereignty in large swathes of Judea and Samaria, etc. – the [diplomatic] process will move ahead,” he added.
"They need to acknowledge that we control security in all areas. If they consent to all this, then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state....
Netanyahu stressed that the several thousand Palestinian Arabs who reside in the Jordan Valley would not receive Israeli citizenship under the plan.
"No. They will remain a Palestinian enclave. You don't need to apply sovereignty over them, they will remain Palestinian subjects if you will...
Syrian Observatory activists have a spike in death toll of the Turkish-backed mercenaries who were killed in Libya.
Two children among 13 fighters were killed in the past few days, the bodies of some of them have been brought to Turkish-controlled areas in Aleppo, bringing the total death toll of Turkish-backed Syrian proxies killed in military operations in Libya to 331, including 20 children under the age of eighteen, as well as some groups’ commanders.
The fatalities are of the factions “al-Mu’tasim Division, Sultan Murad, Suqur Al-Shamal Brigade, Al-Hamzat and Suleiman Shah”.
On the other hand, a new batch of hundreds of mercenaries were transferred from training camps in Turkey to Libyan territory. According to SOHR statistics, the number of recruits who arrived in Libya has risen to 11,200 Syrian mercenaries, while nearly 2,300 others arrived in Turkey to undergo training courses.
Meanwhile, “Libyan National Army” led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar arrested a commander in Al-Sham Corps, “Mohammed Al-Bowaydani”, with 26 other members under his command, mostly from Homs [Syria]. The arrested commander and his group’s members used to operate in Homs and western Qalamoun under the banner of Al-Kateba Al-Khadraa (Green Battalion).
Flashback 2011: 'A Medieval Crusade', Putin cracks down on NATO, Gaddafi and UN Vladimir Putin stated on March 21 that the resolution of the UN Security Council on Libya was flawed. "The Security Council resolution is deficient and flawed; it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade..." "It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state." "Now it's Libya's turn - under the pretext of protecting civilians..." "Where is the logic and conscience? There is neither." (Pravda, 21-3-2011)
Russia is further destabilizing Libya to gain a stronghold in northern Africa, just as it has in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, according to a top official with U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
"Russia is executing the same playbook as successfully employed in Crimea, Ukraine and to a lesser extent in Syria. Russia has proved its willingness to violate sovereign nations, and appears willing to do the same in Africa," Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM deputy director for intelligence, told reporters Friday.
Hadfield said at least 14 MiG-29 fighter jets and Su-24 bomber aircraft were “flown by members of the Russian military” into Libya “by way of Iran and Syria” to support Russian state-sponsored private military contractors who are helping forces fighting the U.N.-supported Libyan government.
He said the U.S. military was also aware of additional Russian cargo planes and personnel that have been brought in, as well as older surface-to-air missiles...
Multiple AFRICOM officials have raised concerns that Russia’s interference is extending the conflict in Libya, which Hadfield described as a “stalemate.”
“It really isn’t about winning the war; it’s about developing strongholds,” he said, adding that the Russian aircraft had yet to be used as air support for the Wagner Group or the LNA. Moscow has denied the recent deployment and called AFRICOM’s accusation “crazy talk.”
“If there are any airplanes in Libya, they are Soviet, not Russian,” Viktor Bondarev, head of the defense and security council in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said Wednesday.
The LNA has also denied that the planes are from Russia, with the LNA spokesman saying this week that the planes were older models that had been recently repaired.
Top U.S. generals have raised concerns that Russia sees the Libyan conflict as an opportunity to set up defenses on NATO's southern flank.
[May 2012] Muslim Brotherhood's presidential hopeful Mohamed Morsi visited the governorates of Beni Suef and Fayoum. Morsi was accompanied on his tour by Salafist figures Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud as well as Islamic scholar Safwat Hegazi and the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
Badie told the audience in Beni Suef that the revolution was a gift from God...
On 21 February 2011, al-Qaradawi talked about the protests in Libya
and issued a fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi:
...To the officers and the soldiers who are able to kill Muammar Gaddafi, to whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free the country and [God’s] servants from him, I issue this fatwa (uftî): Do it!
That man wants to exterminate the people (sha‘b). As for me, I protect the people (sha‘b) and I issue this fatwa: Whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free us from his evil, to free Libya and its great people from the evil of this man and from the danger of him, let him do so!
Flashback: Mu'ummar Gaddafi, 2011
gaddafi 2011: "my little brother obama wants to kill me"
For 40 years, or was it longer, I can’t remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert,
I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people’s committees ran our country. But that was never enough... They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest...
No matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we’ve had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination... (Pravda, 2011/05/04)
Qatar's Hamad Bin Jaber al-Yhani admits that his country was the prime mover in the Syrian crisis but then Saudi Arabia turned against us and later tried to monopolize the Syrian dossier.
It is three years since HBJ, as he is known in London's financial circles, stepped down as prime minister of the small state of Qatar, part of a deal in which Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the ruler at the time, abdicated in favor of his son Tamim. So powerful was HBJ that the only way for the new emir to rule was for both his father and the prime minister to exit.
Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) on Monday evening slammed Yisrael Beytenu Chairman MK Avigdor Liberman, claiming that his decision to join the opposition meant that he had joined up politically with the leftist and Arab parties. The good part of the current government, Porush said, is the absence of Liberman and Yesh Atid-Telem's MK Yair Lapid from the coalition.
"The new government will be tested by how positively it behaves towards the foundations of religion and the foundations of Torah and Judaism," he said. "At the end of the day, we are living here in the Land of Israel, and that comes with obligations. The warmer its attitude towards religion, Torah, and the traditions of Israel, the more blessing it will bring.
What is good for this government is that Lapid and Liberman are not in it, they're in the opposition, fighting between themselves, trying to compete for the voices outside."
"If we look at who submitted the bill of distrust, we see that there are two groups: There is Liberman and Lapid, and what connects them is the hatred of haredim; and after that there is Meretz and the Arab parties, which are the Israeli left..."
"There are two parties for whom Israel is not the home of the Jews - it's not for the Joint Arab List, which does not recognize the State as that of the Jews, and it's not for Meretz, which says that Israel should be the state of all its citizens..." I am ashamed for Liberman, that he has no problem being together with the Joint Arab List and Meretz. From my perspective, he crossed the red line a long time ago..., he doesn't care about anything."
"I can say that it seems that the next elections will have Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beytenu running as a joint list, and they'll already have a name - Yisrael Bluff." Praising the Yamina party, Porush added: "Yamina is also in the opposition and not sitting in the government. It hurts them, and we understand them. We would like to see them in [the government]...."
A bitter war of words has broken out between the Yamina Party and the Likud over who is taking care of religious-Zionist interests, after MK Ayelet Shaked denounced the Likud for giving the chairmanship of the committee for selecting rabbinical judges to Shas.
The 11-member selection committee is responsible for selecting rabbinical judges to the 12 regional rabbinical courts around the country and the Supreme Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem.
Speaking from the podium of the Knesset plenum on Monday, Shaked said that during the election campaign she had warned the religious-Zionist community that “Netanyahu will take what is important to us and sell it to the ultra-Orthodox,” and denounced the Likud for having given the committee to Shas.
Yamina MK Betzalel Smotrich also attacked the transfer of the committee to Shas... “This decision expresses the disrespect and even contempt that the prime minister has for the religious-Zionist community and what it represents,” said Smotrich...
“Netanyahu has contempt for us, he has contempt for our rabbis, and he has contempt for our values, for our well-being, for our rabbinical judges and for our representatives,” stormed Smotrich... Shas MK Moshe Abutbul said that Shas had never harmed the religious-Zionist community and promised that the recent traditional division of rabbinical judge appointments of one third for Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox candidates, one third for Sephardi ultra-Orthodox candidates and one third for religious-Zionist candidates would be preserved,
The Rambam [Maimonides] points out that the fact that God mentions the Exodus from Egypt in His First Commandment reassures us that just as He took us out of the Egyptian exile, so He will take us out of this final exile [as He is doing in our day] with the coming of Mashiach, the Messiah.
Just as the God of Israel is Redeeming the Jewish people from its global exile and suffering today, showing how He is constantly involved in Jewish history and destiny, so too, is He punishing those who most oppressed the Jewish people, throughout the ages.
Recently I saw data from John Hopkins University, for the CoronaVirus pandemic...
The top seven infected countries are the US, followed by Brazil (about 8%), Russia (almost 7%), the United Kingdom (about 4.5%), Spain (almost 4%), and Italy (almost 4%), and France (about 3%)... Three other countries near the top that receive dishonorable mention are Germany, Iran, and Turkey. After China, the first major epicenters of the virus outbreaks were in Korea, Iran and Italy... God's Hand could be seen... Just look: Why Korea? North Korea has been helping Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas for years with nuclear, missile, and tunnel technologies. North Korean pilots flew Egyptian MIG-21s against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and always supported the PLO, ie Palestinian statehood. Why Iran? Well threatening Israel's destruction for over 40 years, and then a nuclear holocaust for the last 10 years, means something. The God of Israel “neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalms 121: 4). And Italy? The Romans burnt down the Second Temple, robbed the temple treasury, destroyed Judea, murdered over a million Jews and dragged countless others off to slavery. The Coliseum in Rome was built by Jewish slaves with money from the temple treasury. Christianity set up headquarters in Rome at the Vatican, and the Catholic Church has persecuted Jews for 1,600+ yrs.
Notice, most of the worse CoronaVirus outbreaks, have been in Catholic areas of Europe. The God of Israel is remembering the Church's millennia long persecution of Jews...
But why has God hit America so hard? Hasn't America been good to the Jews, isn't it the "Golden Medina?" Maybe that's the problem?
First of all, America did nothing in particular to save Jews during the Holocaust... And America has been so good to the Jews that they are assimilating in record numbers - a Silent Holocaust...
President Trump has been good to the Jewish people, and has done God's will, in recognizing Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and towns in Judea and Samaria. But Trump went too far (something HaShem, the God of Israel, didn't want), in talking about a "Palestinian" state...
He's also made the biggest blunder, in talking about keeping the status quo on the Temple Mount, ie denying Jewish rights, when we all know that God's House, the Third Temple, is going to be built there soon...
Members of the Israeli Chabad community visited the city of Hevron last night and met with the heads of the local Jewish community, who presented them with the map of the “Deal of the Century” plan and noted the dangers lurking therein.
Following the tour, a joint plan of action was prepared, the goal of which is massive pressure against the plan in two arenas: the US and Israel.
Litzman, Trump, Kushner 2018
At this point, Chabad is likely to focus on a US-targeted campaign to influence Trump's administration. Trump's Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump make sure to come with their children every Saturday to a Chabad synagogue in Washington, and are considered supporters and friends of the movement, such that Chabad has large influence in this arena.
A Chabad official told Arutz Sheva: "The Lubavitcher Rebbe warned that the very talk of retreat from the enemy endangers the nation that dwells in Zion, even before talking about the dangers that stem from the plan, and therefore Chabad will have to act to prevent danger to the lives of millions of Jews in the land of Israel.”
Hebron is the largest city in the West Bank, and second largest in Palestine after Gaza. It is home to around 215,000 Palestinians. One of the oldest cities in the world, Hebron is probably best known for its biblical burial site within the Cave of the Patriarchs which can be visited by tourists. For this reason it is considered the second holiest city in Judaism after Jerusalem, hence the defiant settler movement. At the heart of Hebron is an illegal Jewish settlement area, roughly 20% of the city, administered by Israel and not, like the rest of the city, by the Palestinian Authority.
It is time to discuss the dangerous relationship that has developed between secular Israel and the Chabad movement, a non-Zionist movement that not only invented religionization, but is the national champion in encouraging individuals to become pious.
Its “rebbe” became less observant when he lived in Paris, but returned to the fold after being rescued from Europe at the start of World War II. That led him to make the “return” of nonobservant Jews to religion the core of movement activities. There's no ultra-Orthodox movement that succeeds in this more than Chabad. En route, they've also invented the idea of transforming the whole country into a more religiously observant one.
In contrast to other movements, which focused on locating vulnerable individuals, Chabad's techniques were different and more sophisticated. They've flooded the surroundings with religious symbols, achieving a two-fold gain: wielding significant influence over a wide public that has no interest in returning to religion, as well as creating broader circles of people who do show an interest, which has allowed Chabad to find potential recruits. Jewish identity centers and “Torah Seed” groups run by Zionist-religious movements, which are spearheading the religionization campaign, have based themselves on the Chabad model.
The Zionist-religious groups don’t try to get people to return to religion per se, but Chabad does, which is why it's so dangerous.
Not only is Chabad a non-Zionist movement; in many respects it is anti-Zionist...
A camera set up by a nonprofit group in Ramat Aviv recently captured a Chabad emissary telling children gathered around him in the middle of the night – as he showered them with junk food, soft drinks and a little alcohol – that Herzl was an apostate and the establishment of Israel a grave mistake.
But lo and behold, even though Chabadniks are anti-Zionists bent on spreading religiosity and encouraging people to embrace an Orthodox way of life, the state and its citizens not only continue groveling before them, they provide them with easy access to our most precious resource: our children.
The Ministry of Education approves and recommends programs run by Chabad, such as a new and shocking core subject called “Israeli-Jewish culture.” Many schools and kindergartens invite Chabad emissaries to give lectures and hold day-long programs.
Many municipalities have rabbis who are permitted freedom of action within the school system, encouraged by the local authority. Apparently Chabad representatives have permanent access to army bases, where they do as they please – such as excluding women from events they hold.
Outside many high schools in Israel Chabad erects stands every Friday, by which they try to connect with students. They win over younger ones with what every parent with any awareness tries to keep away from his children: lots of sweets and snacks, all for free. Above all this hovers the main means for inducing children to become Orthodox: bar-mitzvah instruction. Chabad offers such instruction everywhere, often at no cost. Such lessons are the basis of the process of getting children to become religious... These are anti-Zionists who lean on people to become pious. They’re trying to change the character of this country and use aggressive methods.
Do we need more reasons for calling on secular society to remove Chabad from within its midst?
The Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, met with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Ankara on Wednesday.
This comes after the U.N. announced that both sides of the Libyan conflict had agreed to resume cease-fire talks, warning that weapons and fighters flying into Libya in defiance of an arms embargo threatened a major new escalation.
Fayez Al-Sarraj said in a joint press conference that forces under the command of Government of National Accord aim to seize control of the entire country and bring all the criminals to justice.
Al-Sarraj also said that Libya looks forward to the return of Turkish firms to work in infrastructure and reconstruction projects in Libya, thanking Ankara for siding with legitimacy in Libya.
Meanwhile, Erdogan said Turkey is assisting the GNA government in Libya and that Ankara won't let a putschist or mercenaries rule Libya, adding that history will hold accountable those who helped the coup leader Haftar.
Erdogan also called for preventing the illicit sales of Libyan oil by Haftar, saying Turkey will work with the GNA in all international circles to consolidate legitimacy in Libya.
He added that it is not possible that one person (Haftar) who poses a threat to Libya's future to sit on the dialogue table for political solutions.
Forces allied with the U.N.-supported GNA government in Libya’s capital said Friday they have retaken another key western town from rivals behind a year-long offensive on Tripoli.
The development is yet another illustration of how Turkey’s support for the Tripoli government has turned the tide of war in the oil-rich country.
According to Mohamed Gnono, the spokesman for the Tripoli-allied forces, the Turkey-backed units have entered the town of Tarhouna, 72 kilometers (45 miles) southeast of Tripoli.
Tarhouna served as a main stronghold for commander Khalifa Haftar’s east-based forces in their campaign to capture Tripoli from the west-based Government of National Accord. Haftar, who leads the self-styled Libyan Arab Armed Forces, launched his offensive in April last year.
A spokesman for Haftar’s forces, Ahmed al-Mosmari, said at a press conference late on Friday that their fighters withdrew from Tarhouna after facing intense Turkish bombardment. He framed the retreat as a strategic decision to keep heavy fighting outside the city’s populated civilian districts. He also would not declare the end of Haftar’s assault, vowing, “the battles are not finished, they will continue.”
The retaking of Tarhouna followed other front-line successes of the militias allied with the U.N.-supported but weak Tripoli government. On Thursday, they said they regained control of all of Tripoli’s entrance and exit points, and the day before, they said they took back the Tripoli airport.
Turkey has boosted its support for the Tripoli-allied militias in recent months, sending drones and other military hardware, along with thousands of Syrian mercenaries, many of them with links to militant groups. This has enabled the Tripoli forces to take back almost all the towns and territories around the Libyan capital that Haftar’s side had taken previously.
Even if U.N.-brokered cease-fire talks get underway, it is the foreign players in the Libyan conflict that will determine its fate. Haftar’s forces are supported by France, Russia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other key Arab countries. Along with Turkey, the GNA government in Tripoli is backed by Italy and Qatar.
Arab and Western countries welcomed on Saturday the Cairo Declaration on Libya, a joint political initiative announced by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to resolve the Libyan crisis and end the armed conflict in the Arab country.
El-Sisi, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, and Libya's parliament speaker Aguila Saleh announced the new joint political initiative in Cairo on Saturday.
The initiative mandates intra-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict under resolutions by the UN and past efforts in Paris, Rome, Abu Dhabi, and most recently in Berlin. The Cairo Declaration includes proposals to declare a ceasefire throughout Libya starting Monday 8 June 2020 and renews the call for the resumption of the 5+5 peace negotiations in Geneva under the UN auspices.
It also requires all foreign parties to remove their mercenaries from Libya, dismantle militias, and surrender their weapons so that the Libyan National Army (LNA) can carry out its security tasks. The initiative provides for the formation of an elected presidential council, while ensuring fair representation for Libya’s three regions, to administer governance, conduct fair elections, and distribute wealth fairly and transparently among all citizens, stressing the need to adopt a constitutional declaration to regulate the political process in the conflict-ravaged country.
The Cairo plan comes after the collapse of an offensive launched by Haftar in April 2019 to capture the Libyan capital, further extending the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) control of most of northwest Libya.
The General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar emphasized that LNA has always emphasized national constants, including the call for a comprehensive Libyan dialogue that results in a new presidential council and government capable of meeting the needs of Libyans and unifying divided institutions.
“We hope that Egypt will work to make more effective efforts to compel Turkey to completely stop sending arms and mercenaries to Libya and return all those present in Libya,” LNA Commander added...
He emphasized that the principles of LNA were in harmony with the initiative of Egypt, calling for support to work on its implementation by all supporters of peace in Libya. (The Address | Benghazi – Libya, 6-6-2020)
The first reaction from the Libyan GNA government members signaled a rejection for the initiative.
Mohammed Ammari Zayed, a member of the Libyan Presidential Council, said on his Twitter account that they will continue to “liberate the entire homeland and strengthen the government’s authority.” Army spokesman Muhammad Kununu said: “We don’t have time to watch war criminals on television. We are following our heroic forces going after fleeing militias.”
The news conference came after the Libyan Army liberated Haftar's last stronghold in northwestern, Tarhuna, and the strategic town of Bani Walid.
"Our heroic forces have extended their control over the whole of Tarhuna,” Kununu said. "Orders have been given to our forces to begin their advance and to systematically attack all rebel positions," he added. (Daily Sabah, Turkey 6-6-2020)
Turkish Presidential Adviser Yasin Aktay commented on the Cairo Declaration launched by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in presence of Speaker of the Libyan Parliament Chancellor Aguila Saleh and Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army Field Marshal Haftar to resolve the Libya crisis.
According to the Russian Sputnik news agency, Yasin Aktay published a picture of El-Sisi and Haftar on his Twitter page and wrote, “It is saddening and unfortunate to see such press conferences whose organizers seek with all their power to breathe spirit into dead bodies and worn-out souls. The best honor the dead can have is burial.”
Yasin Aktay, chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who shapes Turkish foreign policy for the Muslim and Arab worlds, has advocated a caliphate vision for Turkey, calling the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami Turkey’s soft power proxies.
In a video interview aired by the Islamist Hilal TV, Aktay complained about the lack of an international political body that represents all Muslims since the abolishment of the caliphate in Turkey in 1924 and said Turkey under the Erdogan government was playing this role in practice by defending oppressed and victimized Muslims.
During the program, conveniently titled “From Nation to Ummah” and presented by Hamza Turkmen, Aktay maintained that the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East and Jamaat-e-Islami in East Asia function as the elements of Turkey’s soft power today. Aktay was deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responsible for managing the AKP’s foreign relations and served as party spokesperson. He is currently chief advisor to party leader Erdogan.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US counterpart Donald Trump agreed to "continue their close cooperation" on Libya in telephone talks on Monday, the Turkish presidency said.
Ankara supports Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and has stepped up military support to Tripoli against the Libyan National Army (LNA) lead by marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The United States officially backs the GNA, but LNA is supported by Russia and Washington's allies Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
"The two leaders agreed to continue their close cooperation to promote peace and stability in Libya, Turkey's maritime neighbour," the presidency said.
Muammar Gaddafi, 2011,
Turkey and the US are approaching a new era
Anadolu Agency, Turkey, 8-6-2020
A new era can begin in bilateral relations on the transition process in Libya, Erdogan told national broadcaster TRT soon after a phone call with his US counterpart Donald Trump. Erdogan stressed that Turkey stands by Libya's UN-recognized government against the putschist Khalifa Haftar and those who support him.
Touting the strategic gains on the battlefield by Libya’s army, which has retaken areas from Haftar, he said Haftar will be excluded from any political solution in Libya.
Erdogan also said he would speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Moscow’s claims that it does not have any soldiers in Libya. He added that all of Haftar's power comes from Russia.
Turkey is using its membership in NATO to control and colonize Libya without the rest of the NATO countries having any interest in that, the General Command of the Libyan National Army said.
It wondered whether “NATO members are ready to engage in a war to support Turkey in its conspiracies...
In an official statement, the LNA Command (headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar) stated that “the safety, unity, and sovereignty of Libya is something that is not negotiable, and that the army with all its strength and with the help of friends will stand with full force against the efforts to colonize our land and we will defend our homeland against the Turkish colonizing enemy... ”
The LNA also accused the forces of the Tripoli-based government, militarily backed by Turkey, of committing “war crimes... “All these crimes were a direct result of the blatant Turkish invasion,” the LNA added.
Strategic advisor Ronen Tzur, who advised Benny Gantz in the recent election campaigns, is convinced of the identity of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's successor.
Speaking in an interview with the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, Tzur was asked what will happen in the Likud after the Netanyahu era, and replied, "The next Likud leader will be the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen."
Asked why Cohen and not Gideon Sa’ar or Yuli Edelstein, he replied: "In order reach a leadership position in Israel, you need two qualities: charm and cruelty. Without the combination of both, you cannot be elected.”
"And Yossi Cohen - I don't know if he is doing it, because I don't know him - but he's built in such a way that his abilities to be charming are spoken of extensively, and in his abilities to be cruel, he overpowers all other candidates. And when he concludes his service - and if he doesn't have things that will get in his way, he'll be a very serious candidate," Tzur predicted.
Tzur also commented on the attacks by the Prime Minister and his son Yair on the law enforcement system, the media and the Attorney General. Tzur claimed that Netanyahu's son distributes "poison charges" on Twitter, and "he is the flag bearer of the hatred and slander in Israeli society."
He further claimed that these attacks are planned from start to finish. “There's the commander, Bibi. He decides everything. If he does not want something to be posted, it isn’t posted. There are those who tweet on his behalf or write on his behalf what he, because of his statesmanlike job, avoids saying, and that it is his son. And beneath him, his son is like the commander, the hate commander, and beneath him is a host of hired advisers and a line of elected officials whose job is to echo those messages like human ventilators. If we decide you are a traitor, we will repeat it until everyone says you are a traitor."
A passion for classical music performances
has been thwarted by 'a necessary security presence'...
ariel sharon - the farmer who had to be a right wing (mercyless) zionist
No..: Land, Family, Farm
"He would prefer not to talk politics. He understands wheat and olive trees better than politics, he says, laughing.
He gets up from the table and gestures toward the hills of wheat through which he raced to victory in the February elections...: Those fields are the source of my strength, he says. In the most difficult times, they were what gave me strength. Land, family, farm. (Interview Ariel Sharon, Ha'aretz april 2001)
If Israel moves forward with its annexation plans on July 1, the Palestinian Authority will immediately declare a Palestinian State on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, and will immediately appeal to the international community to recognize the new state, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told journalists on Tuesday.
Speaking to members of the foreign press from his office in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said that he expects international sanctions to Israel, shall it annexes parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
“Annexation is the erosion of a future Palestinian state,” according to Shtayyeh, who added that “the world has to choose between international law and annexation. I am sure the international community will choose international law.”
Shtayyeh said that Israel’s annexation plans are based on maps provided by the Trump administration and that those maps “endanger the whole future of the peace process.”
“If you ask Palestinians, ‘What do you want?’ Some will tell you two states, some will tell you one,” Shtayyeh concluded. "There are different points of view. But there is no difference on point of view when it comes to one single thing: end of occupation. That is what the people want.”
"We are not nihilists or fools,
and we don’t want chaos", June 10, 2020
The Palestinian Authority (PA) will continue protecting Israelis despite halting ‘security coordination’ with Tel Aviv... Hussein Al-Sheikh, the Palestinian official in charge of relations with Israel and one of the two closest advisers to President Mahmoud Abbas, told the New York Times: “We will prevent violence and chaos. We will not allow bloodshed. That is a strategic decision.”
Al-Sheikh added that the PA would arrest any Palestinian who intends to carry out an attack on the occupation from the occupied West Bank, the New York Times reported.
“We are not nihilists or fools, and we don’t want chaos. We are pragmatic. We don’t want things to reach a point of no return,” he explained.
Meanwhile, he said that the PA’s declaration of halting security coordination with Israel aimed to remind Tel Aviv of the burdens it would assume if the PA disbanded...
US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey said US sanctions and measures contributed to the devaluation of the Syrian pound against the dollar.
In a video meeting that was attended by his Deputy Assistant Secretary Joel Rubin on Sunday, Jeffrey said that Washington made a proposal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through a third party to end the crisis.
Washington wants a political process that shouldn’t necessarily change the regime but at least change its attitude and support of 'terrorist' (anti-Israel) groups and Iran, he continued.
Regarding the economic crisis, he said that the US sanctions against Damascus contributed to the collapse of the Syrian current and that the regime "is incapable of managing an effective economic policy and conducting money-laundry in Lebanese banks."
Moreover, Rubin said that the Caesar Act covers individuals and companies. Responding to a question on ruling out the Kurdish administration from this act, he said that if anyone wishes to invest in energy and construction in self-administered zones then this is out of the US administration's interest.
Meanwhile, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis said that stabilizing the exchange rate between 2017-2020 required USD20 billion.
Khamis added that calls are ongoing with friendly states to discuss possible ways to reinforce the lira’s value.
The Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that the statements by James Jeffrey on the current situation in Syria constitute a clear admission by the US administration of it being directly responsible for the suffering of Syrians.
An official source at the Ministry said on Tuesday that the statements also acknowledge that increasing sanctions is the other face of the war declared on Syria after the repeated failures of terrorist groups.
The source said that these statements reaffirm that the US views the region with Israeli eyes, because the demands he spoke of are old and recurring Israeli demands with the aim of establishing control over the area.
The source went on to say that if actual international legitimacy really existed, then the US administration should be held accountable for its policy which targets the Syrians’ livelihood.
There are no objective reasons to raise the issue of extending the weapons’ embargo on Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Russia’s Kommersant daily said on Tuesday.
"The application of relevant provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 was never envisaged after October 18, 2020, and there are no legal or other reasons to review this concept," Kommersant quoted the letter as saying.
"Objective grounds for raising the Iranian weapons embargo issue at the UN Security Council do not exist. Weapons supplies have no relation to Iran’s nuclear program."
Lavrov also drew the UN secretary general’s attention to Washington’s attempts "to pursue its goals regardless of logic, other states’ opinion and potential danger to implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231," which raise serious concerns in Moscow.
"Statements that the United States is not planning to return to its commitments under JCPOA, but intends to make use of the rights that allegedly stem from UN Security Council Resolution 2231, sound ridiculous and irresponsible," he said, adding that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program cannot be treated separately from this resolution.
"The US should understand that there are no legal or any other basis for them to conduct the policy of using UN Security Council powers for its own selfish interests," Lavrov added.
EU's Borrell: U.S. no longer part of JCPOA
Tehran Times, June 10, 2020
The accord, which Iran signed with the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, China, and Russia in 2015, has been unraveling since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out in 2018 and reinstated sanctions under what the U.S. called a “maximum pressure” campaign, the Associated Press reported. But speaking to reporters Tuesday after talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell insisted that since the U.S. has pulled out of the nuclear deal, it can no longer claim to have a role in it.
“The United States has withdrawn from the JCPOA, and now they cannot claim that they are still part of the JCPOA in order to deal with this issue from the JCPOA agreement. They withdraw. It’s clear. They withdraw,” Borrell said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft have said that extending a permanent arms embargo against Iran is now a top priority for Washington.
Germany, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority declared that preventing Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank is paramount, in a joint statement released Wednesday overnight following a meeting between German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
The three met via video conference at the end of Maas' visit to Jordan. Earlier, Maas had visited with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Israel to discuss annexation and its possible ramifications.
"The German Foreign Minister confirmed that an annexation would be contrary to international law and that it is now a matter of priority to prevent it," the statement said, adding that the leaders "reiterated that any future negotiations to reach the final status agreement must be based on international law and the relevant UN resolutions."
Earlier Wednesday, Maas warned Netanyahu that other nations would cast sanctions on Israel, and possibly officially recognize a Palestinian state, if Israel follows through on its stated intention to begin annexing part of the West Bank on July 1.
The first high-level dignitary to visit Jerusalem since establishment of the new government, Heilo Maas arrived on Wednesday to try and convince Benjamin Netanyahu to back down from his plan to begin the process of unilaterally annexing up to 30 percent of the West Bank on July 1. Netanyahu told Maas that any peace plan must take Israeli settlements into account.
“Any realistic plan must recognize the reality of Israeli settlement in the territory and not nurture the delusion of uprooting people from their homes,” he said. Israel must have full security control west of the Jordan River, Netanyahu added...
The Oslo process was an opportunity for peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, but more than 25 years later, it seems like a colossal failure. Settlements keep expanding, and the Israelis haven’t bothered to touch the issue in their latest, protracted elections.
Observing these developments over the years, I concluded something of fundamental importance was missing. When we look closer at the prevailing approach to the two-state solution, a human dimension is missing.
So long as we advocate a strictly separationist two-state solution—where both peoples in reality feel attached to all the land in question between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea—that human factor will remain absent. Therefore, our search for a comprehensive solution will always fall short.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict confronts us with a paradox. Both separation and integration are necessary and will need to be brought into the equation and reconciled.
Strict partition will not work. But a solution that integrates the two peoples without political partition and independence for each side will not work, either.
Given the overlapping connections to the land, each side will have to incorporate some people from the other side as a minority.
I converted this idea into a fully-fledged framework for final status negotiations and a track-two initiative in the form of the Dual Democracies Initiative (DDI).
In short, DDI is a mutually supportive Israeli-Palestinian two-state formula. It calls for the co-existence and mutual recognition of two peoples across two independent, pluralist, and democratic states, Israel and Palestine, on a reciprocal minorities structure, Palestinian Arabs in Israel and Jewish people in Palestine, preserving the two states’ respective majorities and national characters.
Watching the chaotic uprooting of 8,000 Israeli Jews from Gaza, I am convinced that in any future settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, another uprooting of a much larger scale in the West Bank is inconceivable.
In my vision, DDI generates a bridging point for the parties... DDI foresees a negotiated, permanent Jewish minority presence within the Palestinian state, fully integrated under Palestinian sovereignty, as opposed to staying in enclaves.
DDI truly brings all the issues in dispute onto the table within a comprehensive negotiation framework, thereby multiplying the opportunities for trade-offs and minimizing the risks of deadlock.
DDI is the only proposal that offers a truly sustainably secure future for both sides. This is because security can only be effectively guaranteed with the following components in place: mutual acceptance, effective sovereignty for both sides; integrated, and cooperative economies on both sides of the border; and effective implementation of the rule of law within such framework.
DDI offers a solution based on the foundational principle that if Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, and Arabs are going to have to live together, they should learn to benefit from each other.
George E Assousa, a physicist born in Jerusalem in 1936, is the founder of the Dual Democracies Initiative,
The Palestinian refusal to accept Israeli settlers in their future state does not stem from anti-Jewish sentiment, Palestinian officials said on Monday. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told The Times of Israel that Jews and members of all religions would have the right to apply for Palestinian citizenship.
But “Palestine” could not accept “ex-territorial Jewish enclaves” where residents maintained their Israeli citizenship status, she said.
Comments from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office made to The Times of Israel on Sunday, indicating that following a peace treaty settlers would be allowed to choose whether to relocate to Israel or remain under Palestinian sovereignty, have sparked a flurry of indignation from both the Palestinians and the Israeli right.
The source in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said that “just as Israel has an Arab minority, the prime minister doesn’t see why Palestine can’t have a Jewish minority. The Jews living on their side should have a choice whether they want to stay or not.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has previously stated that no settlers would be allowed to remain in the Palestinian state...
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said that a clear distinction must be made between settlers and Jewish individuals who choose to live in a Palestinian state.
“Any person, be he Jewish, Christian or Buddhist, will have the right to apply for Palestinian citizenship,” Ashrawi told The Times of Israel. “Our basic law prohibits discrimination based on race or ethnicity.”
She added, however, that Palestinians would not accept “ex-territorial Jewish enclaves,” where residents will maintain their Israeli citizenship status.
Abbas, she said, had no problem with Jews within the Palestinian state, including in the international security force deployed in the Jordan Valley.
US President Donald Trump lobbed a broadside attack on Thursday against the International Criminal Court (ICC) by authorising economic and travel sanctions against court workers directly involved in investigating American troops and intelligence officials and those of allied nations, including Israel, for possible war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wants to investigate possible crimes committed between 2003 and 2014, including alleged mass killings of civilians by the Taliban, as well as the alleged torture of prisoners by Afghan authorities and, to a lesser extent, by U.S. forces and the CIA.
The United States "has repeatedly rejected the International Criminal Court's assertions of jurisdiction over United States personnel", read a statement from the White House press secretary.
The order would block the financial assets of court employees and bar them and their immediate relatives from entering the United States.
While Israel welcomed the move, there were expressions of concern and condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union and human rights groups.
Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the decision to impose sanctions on the "corrupt and biased International Criminal Court," calling it a "kangaroo court" and a "politicized court obsessed with conducting witch hunts against Israel..."
Netanyahu accused the court of fabricating "outlandish charges," such as that "Jews living in their historic homeland constitutes a war crime."
Israel was not mentioned in Trump’s executive order, but it was mentioned in a White House press statement that explained the decision.
“Despite repeated calls by the United States and our allies to reform, the International Criminal Court has taken no action to reform itself and continues to pursue politically-motivated investigations against us and our allies, including Israel,” the statement said.
The International Criminal Court has condemned the Trump administration’s decision to authorize sanctions against court staff, saying it amounted to "an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings.”
An executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday authorizes sanctions against ICC staff investigating American troops and intelligence officials and those of allied nations, including Israel, for possible war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The court, which has 123 member states, said in a statement released early Friday that it "stands firmly by its staff and officials and remains unwavering in its commitment to discharging, independently and impartially, the mandate” laid down in its founding treaty, the Rome Statute.
It said an attack on the Hague-based court also constitutes "an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice.” O-Gon Kwon, president of the court’s management and oversight mechanism, the Assembly of States Parties, also criticized the U.S. measures.
"They undermine our common endeavor to fight impunity and to ensure accountability for mass atrocities,” he said in a statement.
The Special Representative of the Russian President for the Development of Relations with Syria, the Russian ambassador to Damascus, Alexander Yevimov, described the relations between Syria and Russia as “strong and solid”.
“Russia and Syria have managed to resist and overcome many difficulties...,” the Russian ambassador said Friday in a speech to mark Russia’s National Day broadcast via the Internet.
He added that “Syria has resisted during long years of war against terrorism and, therefore, it is impossible to destroy our two countries through the economic terrorism. These attempts will fail, like previous attempts to impose the foreign will by force on Syria.” Yevimov emphasized that the Russian-Syrian relations are developing dynamically.
“These relations were further enhanced during the historic visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Damascus last January 7, which confirmed the enthusiasm of our countries to continue close cooperation in all fields,” the Russian diplomat said, explaining that this visit sent a clear message to all enemies that Moscow will not give up its principled position to continue backing the Syrian people.
“We will continue our cooperation and support in terms of rebuilding infrastructure and returning thousands of displaced people to their homes,” the Russian ambassador said.
Damascus and other Syrian cities have witnessed inflation of prices of foodstuff, garments and other imported goods and stuff because of the dramatic changes of the US dollar. Syria Times’ reporters took a tour in the Damascene markets and reported traders, sellers and ordinary people’s reactions and comments.
Fadi and Ahmed, two friends, run a nice foodstuff store in Nahir Eisha Market, where working class and governmental employees’ families live.
“I don’t know what to do and what to say. Really, I am confused with the changing prices..."
“Most of traders closed their stores and stopped selling because they don’t know how to price their stuff... Ahmed and I decided to sell everything in the shop and not buy any new stuff till prices become stable,” Fadi said with his smiley face.
50 meters from the shop, there were dozens of men, women, girls and children all waiting in queues to buy their bread from the bakery. Each family can get 4 bags of bread (each bag has 7 loaves of bread with 50 SP for it).
The Syrian government subsidizes the price of bread and considers it a redline.
“Bread is the only thing that keeps its price. I and most poor families depend on the government subsidized bread... Bread has become the basic food for my family...,” Abu Anas, 50-year-old, governmental employee said to Syria Times...
In scenes not witnessed for years in government-controlled parts of Syria, dozens of men and women marched through the streets this week, protesting a sharp increase in prices and collapse of the currency, some even calling for the downfall of President Bashar Assad and his ruling Baath party...
After nearly a decade of war, the country is crumbling under the weight of years-long Western sanctions, government corruption and infighting, a pandemic and an economic downslide made worse by the financial crisis in Lebanon, Syria's main link with the outside world. Syria faces near complete isolation as the toughest U.S. sanctions yet start to come into effect next week.
While Assad may have won the military war against his opponents with the help of allies Russia and Iran, he now faces an even bigger challenge of governing while more than 80% of his people live in poverty.
In government-held areas, prices go up several times a day, forcing many shops to close, unable to keep up with the chaos.
This week the Syrian currency dropped to a record 3,500 pounds to the dollar on the black market — compared to 700 at the beginning of the year. Some staples such as sugar, rice and medicine are becoming hard to find. The pain is likely to grow under the new U.S. sanctions, which Washington says aim to punish Assad and his top lieutenants for crimes committed during the country's conflict.
The Grand Mufti of Libya Sheikh Al-Sadiq Al-Gharyani has issued a fatwa prohibiting purchasing goods from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, and Egypt, considering that every dollar paid to these countries "is a bullet in the chest of our sons".
The fatwa published on the Libyan Fatwa House’s official Facebook page stated "It is not permissible to buy goods from the UAE, Jordan, Egypt or any other country that is hostile to us," explaining that trading with these countries will make them even stronger while the money they earn will be used against the Libyan people.
Instead, the Grand Mufti urged the Ministry of Economy and traders to import all goods from Turkey for standing with the Libyan people in its crisis. Earlier, he called the government to cut ties with the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and France for backing warlord Haftar’s war on Tripoli.
Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s next ambassador to the UK is a pro-settler activist who has promoted the movement to destroy Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound. She once claimed that there is “no Palestinian people.”
A 41-year-old extremist, she openly states that Palestinians deserve less rights than Jews. She tries to justify her bigotry using an explictly religious Zionist ideology.
Her years of dedication to the settler “sovereignty” movement have now finally paid off. Before her appointment to the London post was announced, she became Israel’s first minister for settlements...
The ministry is being established to implement Israel’s plan to annex as much as a third of Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Hotovely has for years been campaigning for the annexation of the entire West Bank. In 2017 she screamed at Palestinian lawmakers in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, that they had no history, waving an empty-paged book with the title A History of the Palestinian People on its cover.
“Do you know this book? I will read a few choice excerpts” she said, before theatrically revealing its blank leaves: “Friends and fellow Knesset members, this book is empty!” “This land is ours. All of it is ours” Even by Israeli standards, Hotovely is an extremist. The announcement that she will be Israel’s next ambassador has raised some opposition among Zionists in the UK, who worry she will damage Israel’s image...
At the Second Annual Conference on the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (2012) more than 500 people jammed in Chevron’s Machpelah Visitors’ Center to hear Knesset Members, legal experts and journalists explain the legal, economic, demographic and political aspects of finally including Judea and Samaria officially into the State of Israel.
Likud MK Tzippy Hotovely told the gathering that she hopes that sovereignty will soon be extended to Yehuda and Shomron (West Bank) so that by the “50th year, we will have a complete liberation of the Land.”
Hotovely (Likud member) practises Orthodox Judaism and is a self-described "religious rightwinger". According to Hotovely, "Netanyahu understood that the natural partnership is with religious Zionism and the haredim.."
“We need to return to the basic truth of our right to this land...this country is ours, all of it. We didn’t come here to apologize for that.”
“Rashi (medieval Talmud commentator) says the Torah opens with the story of the creation of the world so that if the nations of the world come and tell you that you are occupiers, you must respond that all of the land belonged to the creator of world and when he wanted to, he took from them and gave it to us.”
Handing over parts of the West Bank to the Palestinians is not "even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in an interview on Sunday. Hotovely also said that any European country that introduces the labelling of settlement products will be regarded as supporting a boycott of Israel and will remove itself from playing a significant role in the Middle East conflict. “We see it as a boycott of Israel for all intents and purposes. We view it as a slippery slope. It’s simply a sweeping disqualification of Israel.”
Two years ago (2012), acting foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely said in a television interview that she dreams of seeing the Israeli flag fly over the Temple Mount, calling the site the “center of Israeli sovereignty.” Her statement angered her boss, Netanyahu, who was busy assuring the world that Israel had no intent to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Tzipi Hotovely practises Orthodox Judaism and is a self-described "religious rightwinger". She is described as the "ideological voice" of the Likud Party...
Hotovely says that, specifically now, the time has come to apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria.
“My position was always that we need to apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria. I think 50 years is enough to wait to determine this.
It is very important that we be clear about the fact that we are not anybody's protectorate. We will do what is good for us, for the Jewish Nation. This is the idea of a sovereign nation - for this the Maccabees struggled.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely responded to the White House statement that new construction in Judea and Samaria 'may not help promote' the goal of peace.
"The current Israeli government has chosen to exercise the right of the Jewish people to build in all parts of the country, and we are committed to respect the [wishes of] the people of Israel, who elected us to continue to build." Hotovely said.
"Over the past 25 years all attempts to reach a solution have been blocked by the Palestinians," she added.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said there were three quick arguments for placing Area C of the West Bank (Jordan valley) within Israel’s borders, all of which centered around the word “just,” and then mentioned Israel’s victory in the  Six Day War.
“It was a just war...: it was based on a just claim. A just claim of the Jewish people on [the Biblical areas] of Beit El, Shechem, Jerusalem and Hebron,” she said.
In a TV interview last month, Tzipi Hotovely, the deputy foreign minister, all but accused American Jews of being freeloaders.
She condemned their failure to fight in the US or Israeli militaries, saying they preferred “convenient lives”.
Her comments caused uproar. They echo those of leading Orthodox rabbis, who argue that Reform Jews are not real Jews – and are possibly even an enemy...
Turkey changed the course of the Libyan conflict by offering military and political support to Fayez Sarraj’s government and launched a diplomatic initiative to promote a political solution. Turkey’s diplomatic initiative is evolving into a comprehensive policy with four pillars:
- First, Turkey and Libya need to strengthen their bilateral relations in the areas of security, energy and investments – from military bases to oil exploration on both land and sea and new investments by Turkish companies.
- Secondly, the GNA, with help from Turkish military advisors and armed drones, must liberate Sirte and Jufra to regain control over the Libyan Oil Crescent.
- At the same time, Turkey should assume a defining role in that country’s reconstruction – from security reform to civilian infrastructure, basic public services and new investments.
- Finally, there has to be a plan to ensure that the GNA has the upper hand in political talks. That solution ought to reconcile the various stakeholders’ interests rather than be one-sided. To accomplish this goal, Ankara must reach out to the relevant players, other than Haftar, in Tobruk and Benghazi.
It seems unlikely that Haftar, who repeatedly bombarded Tripoli, can return to the Libyan capital through a political reconciliation process. What could make it easier to sideline Haftar, would be to unite the Libyan warlord’s foreign sponsors around a new figure from eastern Libya. The U.S. Africa Command expressed concern about Russia’s increasing level of activity in Libya.
France and Greece play into Russia’s hands by supporting Haftar. To mitigate strategic pressure from Moscow, Germany will have to make France and Greece fall into line with the rest of Europe.
Without a doubt, Egypt remains a more important player compared to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan. To make the political plan work, Cairo’s security concerns must be addressed. In return, however, Egypt needs to leave the anti-Turkish bloc – comprised of the UAE, France, Greece and the Greek Cypriots.
Burhanettin Duran (born 1971) is a Turkish political life scholar best known as author of academic studies on the transformation of political Islam under the rule of Justice and Development Party in Turkey. He is currently the general director of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), an Ankara-based think tank funded by the Turkish government. Duran is known as a critic of political Islam's engagement with the European Union in Turkey. For him, the use of an EU-related language weakened Islamic discourse of political Islam in Turkey.
Turkey sees head of Libya's Tobruk-based parliament Aguila Saleh Issa as a viable negotiations partner and wants him to represent the eastern bloc instead of Khalifa Haftar, a Turkish envoy said in an exclusive interview with Middle East Eye.
Haftar, who in April declared himself sole ruler of Libya, saw his 14-month assault on Tripoli finally dissolve earlier this month, leaving questions about his future...
Hatfar 2019-2020 & HOR (Aguila Saleh)
“Haftar is a failed dictator and we have never recognised him as a legitimate actor. He is also about to lose the Russian support. He won’t take a place in the future of Libya,” said Emrullah Isler, the Turkish special presidential envoy to Libya.
“Political negotiations should be conducted by the politicians. Aguila Saleh Issa, as a politician, specifically must contribute to this process.” Turkey politically and militarily supports the Tripoli-based and UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) against Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to the eastern Tobruk parliament.
Isler said the Tobruk parliament was a legitimate branch of the Libyan state under the UN-recognised political deal signed in 2015, and noted that Saleh, whom he met previously in 2017, had been elected as its speaker. “I believe Aguila Saleh should carry out this role in a positive manner.”
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it is time Libyans and other parties have worked on preventing Russia or any other country from meddling in the internal affairs and sovereignty of Libya for their own gains and benefits.
The US Secretary of State added that putting Libya forward for economic recovery needs securing the oil facilities in the country and ensuring the legitimate National Oil Corporation is in control of them.
He also said that Libya needs now speedy negotiations with good intentions from both parties to consolidate a ceasefire and resume political process under the auspices of the UN. The US Congress is mulling a bill that incriminates and calls for sanctions against Russian Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin who poses threats to US national security and that of its allies.
The US Congress bill says Russian Wagner Group has supported Khalifa Haftar and his forces by providing mercenaries, artillery, tanks, drones, and ammunition...
IDLIB, Syria — Local authorities in northwest Syria are replacing the plummeting Syrian pound with the Turkish lira to shield their opposition-held region from economic collapse.
The Salvation Government – an administrative body linked to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadist group which dominates the Idlib region – already started paying wages and salaries in Turkish lira last month, said Bassel Abdul Aziz, who heads its economy department.
He said it has "instructed commercial traders and money exchange houses" to circulate low-denomination Turkish coins and banknotes to be used "for everyday transactions instead of the Syrian pound".
At a money transfer office in the province on Sunday, an AFP correspondent saw bags of Turkish lira coins on the floor alongside boxes filled with bank notes.
In a statement on Friday, the United Nations said a "large" shipment of Turkish currency had reportedly entered Idlib on June 11. Syria's economy has been battered by nine years of war compounded by a financial crisis in neighbouring Lebanon, which had served as a conduit to bring dollars into government-held areas.
The value of the Syrian pound has plummeted in recent days on the informal market, sending prices skyrocketing, shuttering shops and sparking rare anti-government protests in the country's regime-held south.
Idlib is held by jihadist and rebel groups, many of them backed by Turkey, one of the main foreign protagonists in Syria's war. Ankara has deployed forces in several military posts it established in Idlib as part of a 2018 deal with regime ally Moscow.
Turkey also controls a stretch of territory along its border in neighbouring Aleppo province following a series of military offensives since 2016. In these areas, the lira is already being used as the main currency instead of the Syrian pound in a sign of Ankara's growing influence.
The Syrian Salvation Government is a de facto alternative government of the Syrian Opposition, seated within Idlib Governorate. The General Conference, concluded on 11 September 2017, formed a constituent assembly and named a new prime minister. In early November 2017, the General Conference formed the Syrian Salvation Government.
There followed weeks of conflict between the new oppositional government and the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), with reports of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, former al-Qaeda/al-Nusra) unilaterally disbanding several SIG-supported local councils across northwestern Syria. The Salvation Government is seen as illegitimate by the opposition's main (Ankara-based) Syrian Interim Government.
“Trump Heights”: Illegal New Israeli Settlement
on Occupied Syrian Golan Approved Juan Cole 06/17/2020
Israel’s government has formally greenlighted a new squatter settlement on the Syrian Golan Heights, to be named for US president Donald J. Trump.
Israel has has militarily occupied much of the Golan Heights since 1967 and which it has illegally stolen from Syria. The United Nations Charter, to which Israel is a signatory, forbids the acquisition of territory by war, and all but one of the UN member states have refused to recognize the 1981 annexation....
The Israeli government will spend $2.3 million to build Trump Heights on the Golan. Some of the money will be passed through the World Zionist Organization. When the plan was announced last year, Trump tweeted his support. He alleged that these Israeli settlements on Syrian soil would protect Israel from Iran and Hizbullah.
Actually, there are no Twelver Shiites (the sect from which Lebanon’s Hizbullah is drawn) in the Golan, and putting a few more civilian Israeli squatters on Syrian territory in any case would not actually protect Israel from anything...
Trump has been a one-man wrecking ball for the international rule of law, challenging principles such as proportionate response in warfare, threatening to kill or take hostage civilians, and approving of the illegal acquisition of a neighbor’s territory...
So in some ways it is only right that an illegal squatter-settlement on land illegally annexed from a neighbor should be given the Trump name. That’s what he stands for. An epochal shame...
“We are proud to have the opportunity to establish a new community, and also to honor a big friend,” Benjamin Netanyahu said at the opening of the special cabinet meeting held on the Golan Heights...
Trump responded to the gesture on Twitter: “Thank you for this great honor!”
US Ambassador David Friedman, who was present at the naming ceremony, thanked Netanyahu for the “extraordinary gesture that you and the State of Israel are making to the president of the United States.”
“It is well deserved, but it is much appreciated,” he said. Friedman said that the US-Israel relationship was a “dynamic” one that was “critical for both countries.”
He pointed out that it is very rare anywhere in the world for a country to name a community after a sitting US president, and that the only time this was done in Israel in the past was Kfar Truman, a moshav near Ben-Gurion Airport, named after US President Harry Truman in 1949.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad must come to a political compromise or face further sanctions, the US warned on Tuesday, suggesting the embattled leader would never secure a full victory. Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the United Nations, urged him to accept a Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire, elections and political transition along with UN-led talks.
"The Assad regime has a clear choice to make: pursue the political path established in Resolution 2254, or leave the United States with no other choice but to continue withholding reconstruction funding and impose sanctions against the regime and its financial backers," Craft said.
The comments came just a day before new US sanctions against the Syrian regime (the Ceaser act) are due to come into force. It imposes financial restrictions on the Damascus government to compel it to halt "attacks on the Syrian people", and it is expected for the first time to target Russian and Iranian entities active in Syria.
The Syrian government and loyalist businessmen are already targeted by US and European economic sanctions.
Responding to the sanctions, the head of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah said the move was designed to "starve" the country and its neighbour Lebanon.
"The Caesar Act aims to starve Lebanon just as it aims to starve Syria," Nasrallah said in a televised speech. "Syria has won the war... militarily, in security terms and politically," he added, describing the law as Washington's "last weapon" against Damascus.
Nasrallah also accused the United States of engineering the collapse of the Syrian currency, but vowed that Assad's allies would stand by the regime.
Today as the United States announces new sanctions under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019...
There is continued, legitimate interest from Congress on the implementation of this legislation. A joint statement by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on June 8, documented Congress’s priority: “vigorous, sustained enforcement of the Caesar Act in order to send a message to the regime and its enablers that Assad remains a pariah.”
Caesar Act mandatory sanctions target those that facilitate the Assad regime's production of oil, as well as those that facilitate the regime's acquisition of aviation related goods, services, or technologies that are used for military purposes...
The Act also targets those involved in war profiteering who provide significant construction or engineering services to the Syrian regime. Individuals and businesses worldwide that engage in reconstruction activities with the Assad regime now face deepening sanctions risk.
The Caesar Act's significant impact is long-term: it aims to foreclose any potential economic benefit from a military victory by the regime and its enablers...
Recent calls by the Assad regime and its Russian allies to relax sanctions in response to COVID-19 should be seen for what they are -- a cynical ploy to give the Syrian regime both a military victory and cover to enrich Assad and his enablers.
Contrary to regime propaganda, Assad's choice of war over peace, not US sanctions, has destroyed the country and its economy....
On April 6th, the United Nations Board of Inquiry issued a report outlining how the evidence indicated [what we all suspected:] that the Assad regime and its allies launched attacks that devastated hospitals, schools, and other civilian infrastructure, even when the sites’ locations were on the UN deconfliction list created to identify and protect these key pillars of civilian life.
Syrian government forces supported by Russian airstrikes recaptured Palmyra
on 27 March 2016 after intense fighting against ISIL fighters
Assad can end the needless war only by declaring a nation-wide ceasefire, constructively participating in the Constitutional Committee talks in Geneva, and implementing a political vision that puts the Syrian people's democratic aspirations first. The world is watching and whoever makes deals with the regime is at risk of being sanctioned.
Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the new round of US sanctions against the Syrian people, noting that economic ties of Tehran with Damascus will be strengthened despite all these pressures.
Condemning the new round of US sanctions under the so-called Caesar Act as a form of ‘economic terrorism, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said that “Iran attaches no value to such cruel and unilateral sanctions which arise from bullying behavior.”
Such sanctions are against the international law, he said, noting, “while the world is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, such inhumane sanctions will only aggravate the suffering of the Syrian nation.”
He also noted that the hostile measures of Washington are a continuation of its efforts to destabilize Syria.
“We will continue economic cooperation with the Syrian nation and government as before and despite sanctions, we will strengthen economic ties with the country.”
The US announced on Wednesday a fresh round of sanctions against 39 Syrian individuals and companies including Assad and his wife Asma personally.
In a statement announcing the designations imposed under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act - signed by President Donald Trump in December - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said 'many more' sanctions should be expected in the coming weeks and months.
Today Wednesday 17/6/2020 the Caesar Act comes into effect, punishing the Syrian civilian population in obtaining its most basic needs. Syriatimes was lucky enough to exclusively interview Syria’s permanent representative to the UN and one of its most vociferous defenders Dr. Bashar Al-Ja’fari.
- Syriatimes: “What does the implementation of the Caesar Act mean to the ordinary Syrian?”
- Ja’afari: The unilateral coercive economic measures, mistakenly called sanctions, are based on a shared unethical principle by governments that impose such blockades, based on the belief that whoever possesses economic, military and political influence is capable of imposing his own will, decisions and policies on any country in the world by just trapping them commercially, economically and impeding their banking system, while totally ignoring and condoning the fact that these measures are illegal according to international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
With regard to the so-called "Caesar’s Act", let me say that Syria has been subject to US sanctions for decades since 1979 under the pretext of supporting terrorism and threatening the security of Israel, but since the terrorist war on Syria began, the US government has issued eight executive orders to impose or tighten economic, commercial and banking unilateral measures on Syria.
These punitive measures, which were accompanied by similar European ones, had and still have clear impact on the Syrian economy and on the Syrian citizen... The main new factor in the Ceasar's act is the practice of economic and financial terrorism on any government or foreign party that might consider doing business with Syria or to contribute to the process of reconstruction. [...]
The practical application of the US economic blockade imposed on Syria and other countries is to prevent any country from free and sustainable access to the global banking system and free trade without restrictions or obstacles....
- Syriatimes: “Will this act not hurt the very citizen it claims it wants to protect?”
- Ja’afari: The claims of Americans and Europeans that they impose Unilateral Sanctions in order to protect citizens in some countries are false...
If the State institutions have been targeted with punitive measures, that subsequently means that their capability to perform their primary services role is targeted... One of the biggest Western governments lies is that they are seeking to “protect democracy and human rights” in the world by imposing unilateral coercive measures.
Everyone knows that the American government and the European Union are the allies of the most brutal dictatorial religious regimes in this world, just as they are the true allies of Israel, which occupies Arab lands to this day.
libya 2011 - killing of gaddafi by nato backed islamists
- Syriatimes: “American and European sanctions have been implemented in Syria for some time now. How is this different?”
- Ja’afari: This new US Act seeks to impose a kind of territorial division on the Syrian state, by excluding the area controlled by the unpatriotic Kurdish separatist factions from the consequences of Caesar Act...
In order not to repeat myself, I would say that more than 95% of the punitive measures mentioned in this Act are already imposed on Syria...
What is new in this Act is that it extends to include Damascus' main allies, such as Russia and Iran, which the Act mentions by name.
- Syriatimes: “What can be done politically (in the UN arena) to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people?’
- Ja’afari: The main dilemma while addressing Unilateral Coercive Measures is that the United Nations periodically rejects and condemns them, but due to Western domination of the United Nations, this Organization has not been able, to date, to adopt clear legal and practical mechanisms or instruments to end these punitive measures..
Those Western governments will not abandon the policy of military intervention or the imposition of Unilateral Economic Measures on every country that politically disagrees with them, including friendly countries such as Russia, China and Iran. Therefore, options and methods of addressing this challenge are mostly national, and should focus on developing economic and industrial strategies that deal with these punitive measures and provide local alternatives to meet basic needs, and build strong and sustainable economic, industrial and banking relationships with our real friends...
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with President of the Libyan Supreme Council of State Khalid Al-Mishri (R) during his official visit, on 17 June 2020 in Tripoli, Libya.
Chairman of the (Turkey backed) Libyan High Council of State, Khalid Al-Mishri, said on Tuesday that his country is facing same counter-revolution that killed freely-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
In a statement sent to Arabi21, Al-Mishri said: “Morsi has become a symbol of the popular and libertarian struggle in the Arabic region, including Libya, which insists on achieving the goals of 17 February Revolution.”
He also said that his country insists on “get[ting] rid of the remnants of the putschists.”
Al-Mishri added: “We are speaking to you from Libya, where we decided not to retreat even one single step.”
He continued: “Our people, who revolted against the Gaddafi regime and uprooted it through one of the greatest modern history revolutions, have decided to uproot the gang of putschists who are being paid by foreign powers and being supported by mercenaries to oust the legitimate power.”
Morsi, Egypt’s first civilian president, was ousted in a military coup in 2013. He was subsequently jailed and his party outlawed by defence minister turned President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Morsi died in detention one year ago...
The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) recently announced that it had regained strategic areas of the capital and oil fields which had fallen into the hands of UAE-backed renegade General Khalifa Haftar. The UAE also backed Al-Sisi in his efforts to overthrow the Morsi government.
The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday urged the United States to immediately lift unilateral sanctions against Syria. Years of economic blockade have caused tremendous hardships to the Syrian people, in particular women and children. The sufferings caused by the devaluation of the Syrian currency and soaring commodity prices, including for food, fall heavily on civilians across the country, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN.
"We urge the US to respond actively to the urgent appeal of the (UN) secretary-general and the special envoy (for Syria), and to lift unilateral sanctions immediately," he told a virtual meeting of the Security Council.
What is even more worrying is that the US will impose new rounds of sanctions against Syria. These sanctions will inevitably further hinder the economic and social development of Syria as well as the livelihoods of ordinary Syrians, said Zhang.
"The future of Syria must be decided by the Syrians without further interference. It's fundamental to respect and uphold the sovereign and territorial integrity of Syria," he said.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen also briefed the council.
The World Food Programme now estimates that nearly 9.3 million people are food insecure, with more than 2 million more at risk, he said.
US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey has signalled that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could soon be hit with sanctions if it pushes ahead with normalisation efforts with the Syrian regime, under the recently passed Caesar Act.
Jeffrey told a press conference on the Caesar Act on Wednesday that the UAE "knows" that the US is "absolutely opposed" to countries reopening their embassies in Damascus, a step that Abu Dhabi took in December 2018.
"They’re sovereign countries; they can make these decisions. But we have made it clear that we think this is a bad idea," Jeffrey said.
"It is not going to be conducive to a carrying out of the UN Security Council resolution and the ending of a conflict that is very troubling for the entire region."
Jeffrey went on to say that any Emirati individual or company which violates the Caesar Act will be sanctioned.
On top of reopening its Damascus embassy, the UAE has also sent trade delegations to Syria and is believed to be operating in the country. Upon the reopening of the embassy, it confirmed it was ready to normalise relations with Damascus...
Turkey and the U.S. will cooperate in Libya in the upcoming period, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Thursday.
Speaking at a webinar with the US-based Turkish American National Steering Committee, Çavuşoğlu said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump have similar perspectives on the war-torn country.
“We've received instructions to work together” with our U.S. counterparts. This will be “important for regional stability and Libya's future,” added the minister. “We would like to further expand our fields of cooperation,” he said.
His statement comes following a Wednesday visit to the Libyan capital Tripoli, where a Turkish delegation held a series of meetings with the country's Government of National Accord (GNA).
Last November, Turkey and Libya signed two landmark pacts on military cooperation and maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean. As part of the deal, Turkey has sent advisers to Libya.
Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, head of the Ihya Libya (Reviving Libya) movement, said in a comprehensive interview with Al-Youm7 that “some voices in the US may encourage Turkish intervention on the pretext that it balances Russian presence in favour of the LNA. However, they make a grave mistake because Turkish intervention will lead to the creation of military bases for dangerous terrorist groups that will threaten the security of the entire region and coalesce with the rest of the terrorist groups in the Sahel, Sahara, Somalia, and others.”
- What should be done to prevent Turkey from creating a de facto sustainable military in Libya?
- Firstly, the Arab countries should be aware that Turkish invasion of Libya is an invasion of all of them. If they allow Turkey to establish military bases in Libya, this will result in a domino-like impact that will cause the collapse of them all, one after another, beginning with the Libyan neighboring countries...
Secondly, the Arab countries must meet urgently and activate the joint Arab defense agreements, without hesitation or delay, because these agreements do not need new approvals; they were originally concluded to confront such an existential threat to the Arab nation.
- How do you see the Libyan initiative announced by the Egyptian President in Cairo?
- The Cairo Declaration builds on the initiative of the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives (HOR), Chancellor Aguila Saleh, which originally stemmed from Libyan community dialogue...
This renders it a Libyan initiative par excellence. It also has the personal support from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the sisterly Egyptian neighbor with its distinguished diplomacy.
I had the honor to support it at the media level and through community groups, such as the Sons of Libya and the National Movement for Libya, whose presidency represents the notable sheikhs of the Libyan tribes.
- Who can resolve the Libyan crisis at this critical juncture? The key to reaching common understanding between the Libyans is for them to avoid arrogance, thick pride, and trivial joy over transient victories.
We all need to understand that Libya needs dialogue and political solution, not military might and invincibility.
The wise in Tripoli and Misrata know that the tactical withdrawal of the Libyan National Army (LNA) from the Libyan West should not be construed as a final defeat. Persistent attacks on Sirte and al-Jufra will entail disastrous consequences and a reversal of military advances.
- How do you assess the position of Tunisia and Algeria?
- Tunisia and Algeria have been neighbors and a source of solidarity. Algeria’s support for the Cairo Initiative and its solemn reception of Chancellor Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, is respected and appreciated. In Tunisia, the Speaker of the Parliament, who truly represents the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ennahdha Party, tries to spoil the ties between the two brotherly peoples.
We are confident that the Tunisian people and their MPs will rein the recklessness of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- How do you assess the US position in light of the rivalry with Russia over the latter’s involvement in supporting the Libyan National Army (LNA)?
- Some voices in the US may encourage Turkish intervention on the pretext that it balances Russian presence in favour of the LNA. However, they make a grave mistake because Turkish intervention will lead to the creation of military bases for dangerous terrorist groups that will threaten the security of the entire region and coalesce with the rest of the terrorist groups in the Sahel, Sahara, Somalia, and others.
- Has the expanding influence of militias diminished the role of the Libyan tribes?
- Libyan tribes are the social fabric of the Libyan people, even in the largest cities. Therefore, their role cannot be diminished in favour of anyone.
The initiative launched by Chancellor Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the Libyan HOR, relied on the Libyan social norms and provided an important role for the heads of the Libyan tribes. The Cairo Declaration also respects the Libyan social fabric.
But for the Libyan tribes to be truly active in international negotiation, they must urgently set up international communication committees to be part of any dialogue on the Libyan issue and future.
- During a 2017 interview you announced your candidacy for the presidency in Libya. Do you still have the intention to run in the first presidential elections?
- I have the belief that only direct presidential elections can unite Libya and its leadership.
As for my intention to run for the presidency, the team at the Libyan Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS), including myself, have never stopped renewing the Ihya Libya plan. We will re-launch the candidacy campaign as soon as the presidential elections are announced...
The ongoing campaigns of slander and marginalization will never deter us from the honest competition in the upcoming presidential, parliamentary, and municipal elections through young women and men supporting the vision of Ihya Libya (Reviving Libya).
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