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)
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)
"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."
"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)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hoped that the new US administration will take a lesson from the Iranian nation’s resistance against Washington’s "economic terrorism".
Iran has has been the target of the most draconian sanctions regime since the Trump administration quit an international nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic in 2018.
In comments Saturday, President Rouhani expressed his gratitude to the Iranian people for showing “significant and unique” resistance, patience and withstanding over the past three years in the face of America’s economic terrorism.
“I hope the next US administration will take a lesson from this three-year experience, abide by the law and return to all its obligations, so that the dear Iranian people will see and feel the reward of their patience and resistance,” Rouhani said.
Under President Donald Trump, relations between Tehran and Washington were always on a precipitous downslide. With Trump most likely leaving the White House, there are already questions about the future shape of the Iran-US relations.
Rouhani said, “The decision of our country has always been clear in any circumstances. The Iranian nation will continue its resistance and patience until the opposite side bows down to law and regulations.”
“We hope that the situation will be such that those sanctioning [Iran] will realize that their path is wrong and that they will never achieve their objectives," he said.
iran deal 2013|2015
Iran has been under a series of sanctions imposed by the US since 2018, when Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The US unleashed the so-called maximum pressure campaign and targeted the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” restrictive measures in order to bring it to its knees, but Iran's economy keeps humming and is getting back on its feet.
In September, the Trump administration failed to trigger the so-called snapback provision in the JCPOA aimed at re-imposing all UN sanctions against Iran.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) member states — including the remaining signatories to the Iran deal — challenged Washington’s rationale that it was still a participant state to the JCPOA.
Joe Biden becomes president-elect of the United States after winning the pivotal state of Pennsylvania, according to projections by several news networks.
The former vice president took in the Keystone State’s 20 electoral votes to win the 2020 presidential election, NBC News and CNN reported on Saturday.
The victory in Pennsylvania put Biden past the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House and defeat President Donald Trump..
In a statement, the president-elect said he was “honored and humbled” by the win and that it was time for the US to unite:
“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.”
Biden, who ran on a message of uniting the nation, has pledged to govern all Americans, not just the Democratic base. But analysts say even with that promise, the divisions will not disappear anytime soon. He won the presidency on the back of a diverse coalition of younger voters, older voters, African Americans, and white college-educated voters, particularly women.
The victory in Pennsylvania was a fitting end to a bitter race...
Biden, 78, will become the oldest US president when he is sworn in on January 20 in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century, the deepest economic recession since the 1930s and a national reckoning with racism.
Senator Kamala Harris, who was Biden’s running mate, has also made history, becoming the first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president.
Biden's election will condemn Trump, who has had a longstanding obsession with winning, to the ranks of the one-term presidents in America.
The last president who lost a reelection bid was Republican George H.W. Bush, who lost to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump has made it clear that he will not concede without a fight.
In a statement released after the race was called, Trump said, “We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed.”
The president insisted that his team would launch a prosecution in court to “ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
Opposition Chairman MK Yair Lapid rebuked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi for maintaining silence hours after American media outlets announced Joe Biden the willer of the presidential election.
"The fact that Netanyahu, Gantz, and Ashkenazi have not yet congratulated the president-elect of the United States is shameful cowardice.." "If the President of France, the German Chancellor, and the British Prime Minister can do it, so can you," Lapid tweeted. Officials explain that Netanyahu is waiting for an official announcement.
However, critics note that there will be no such announcement for a long time, and in the past Netanyahu did congratulate presidents-elect at an earlier stage, like Trump in 2016. It is believed that Netanyahu is stalling due to the controversy regarding the voter fraud claims.
U.S. President Donald Trump maintains that votes were illegally received and observers barred from performing their legal function, writing on Facebook:
"Tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 P.M. on Tuesday, Election Day, totally and easily changing the results in Pennsylvania and certain other razor thin states. As a separate matter, hundreds of thousands of Votes were illegally not allowed to be OBSERVED.
"This would ALSO change the Election result in numerous States, including Pennsylvania, which everyone thought was easily won on Election Night, only to see a massive lead disappear, without anyone being allowed to OBSERVE, for long intervals of time, what the happened.
Bad things took place during those hours where LEGAL TRANSPARENCY was viciously & crudely not allowed... BAD THINGS HAPPENED INSIDE. BIG CHANGES TOOK PLACE!"
Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election will change the balance of power within the American Jewish community, elevating progressive organizations that supported the former Vice President and weakening the influence of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox groups that supported U.S. President Donald Trump over the past four years. The overwhelming majority of Trump’s Jewish supporters in the recent election were Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox.
But Trump’s defeat is also a blow for right-wing Jewish organizations – most prominent among these, the Zionist Organization of America – that pushed the president to support Israeli annexation of settlements and other steps that were unthinkable under previous U.S. administrations.
Shortly after Joe Biden claimed victory in the presidential election, throngs of Trump supporters descended on their state capitols, demanding that allegations of fraud be investigated.
Biden declared himself the winner on Saturday morning, after the Associated Press called the race in his favor. President Donald Trump has refused to acknowledge Biden’s claim, and accused the former vice president of winning by fraud.
Trump’s supporters have stuck by the embattled president, and showed up at state capitols across the country, demanding that state governments support Trump and “stop the steal.” [..]
Reports of alleged voter fraud have surfaced from several swing states won by Biden. Whistleblowers in Michigan have claimed that mail-in ballots were backdated so as to be accepted, out-of-state ballots have been reported in Nevada, and President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has claimed that dead voters cast ballots in Pennsylvania.
These claims, though mostly unproven yet, will form the basis of Trump’s legal battle against Biden’s apparent win. Trump’s hopes for victory hinge on the Supreme Court finding fraudulent and invalidating a swathe of ballots, and in recounts in states like Georgia and Wisconsin.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden after his election win saying he looked forward to working together with the new administration and strengthening the two countries’ alliance.
“Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. Joe,” Netanyahu said on his Twitter account, which still carries a photograph of him and incumbent US President Donald Trump at its head.
“Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights,” Netanyahu tweeted.
Netanyahu’s message came hours after many world leaders and some Israeli ministers had congratulated Democrat Biden...
The right-wing Netanyahu’s particularly close ties with Trump followed an acrimonious relationship with his predecessor Barack Obama...
Friction between Netanyahu and the new administration could arise given Biden’s pledge to restore US involvement in the Iran nuclear deal and a likely opposition by the White House to Israeli settlement of occupied land where Palestinians seek statehood.
The foreign policy positions taken by the White House during the last four years may not easily be undone.
It is also worth noting that Joe Biden, the embodiment of a Democratic establishment that saw the systemic change offered by Bernie Sanders as just as dangerous as Trump, may have no real desire to undo them.
Those positions have been most steadfast when it comes to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
During Trump’s time in office, these two allies have received more diplomatic and political support from the US than any other states.
This backing has existed alongside the personal championing of Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Salman, the self-proclaimed modernising crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who has been directly linked to a number of human rights abuses, including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
That championing is reciprocated, and if there is anything that has defined a seemingly erratic American foreign policy under this president, then it is Trump’s mercantile fondness for strongmen he can do business with; leaders and nations whose ravenous self-interest makes cutting a deal possible.
Barack Obama, Trump’s predecessor, had told the Saudis to stop amplifying “external threats” and signed the nuclear deal with Iran. Trump pulled out of the deal in May 2018.
Influenced by a string of virulently anti-Iranian advisers from Michael Flynn to Jim Mattis (who reportedly referred to the “idiot raghead mullahs” ruling the Islamic Republic) to Mike Pompeo to John Bolton, who had made regime change in Iran his life’s work, Trump amplified the threat from Tehran, imposing crippling sanctions, sending troops to the Persian Gulf and, in January 2020, ordering the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
The assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, which the CIA eventually linked back to bin Salman, provoked bi-partisan outrage in Washington. Trump was called on to take action against the errant crown prince: none was taken. “I saved his ass,” the president said of MBS in January 2020, according to Bob Woodward.
While Trump, and particularly Kushner, clearly liked MBS personally, the real reason for their support was money, and the president’s mercantile view of the world. The Saudi crown prince promised investment and he promised more money for American weapons.
The president’s support for Israel’s right-wing, led by Netanyahu, has, if anything, been more extreme than that for Saudi Arabia.
On the campaign trail in March 2016, Trump told CNN that he was “very pro-Israel”, boasting about the donations he had made to the country and the awards he had received there.
As for the Palestinians, Trump said that he would “love to be neutral”, but that it was hard because they were inflicting too much terror.
“They have to stop with the terror because what they’re doing with the missiles and with the stabbings and with all of the other things they do, it’s horrible and it’s got to end,” he said in March 2016, repeating a view that is hardly uncommon among many Americans, namely that Palestinians are defined by their “terrorism”.
Always a man comforted by the presence of familiar faces, Trump’s Middle East policy was defined by his son-in-law Jared Kushner and by two former Trump Organisation employees: the bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman and the real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt.
Friedman, who became the US ambassador to Israel, was a supporter and donor to illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. The son of a conservative rabbi, he had helped raise about $2m in tax-deductible donations each year from supporters of the settlement movement – including the Kushner family - through an organisation called American Friends of Beit El Institutions. Greenblatt, who had worked for Trump since 1997, was catapulted into the role of special representative for international negotiations, becoming one of the chief architects of Trump’s Middle East peace plan - the so-called “deal of the century” – which was rejected unanimously by the Palestinians.
An advocate for illegal West Bank settlements, in November 2016 Greenblatt declared that they were “not an obstacle to peace”, and that he preferred them to be referred to as “neighbourhoods”.
With Jared Kushner, also a family friend of the Netanyahu’s, the odds were stacked heavily against the Palestinians: a 2017
Trump administration document stated that “Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems” and that “jihadist terrorist organisations” were the only thing standing in the way of peace.
The 2017 national security document was followed by a slew of moves in support of Netanyahu and Israel’s nationalist right-wing. In February of that year, the US dropped its longstanding commitment to a two-state solution after Trump met with Netanyahu. In December 2017, Washington announced that it would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
When it was released in January 2020, Trump’s Middle East peace plan was even worse than his many detractors had feared.
It accepted Israeli calls to annex the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. It called for Jerusalem to become Israel’s undivided capital. It said that a Palestinian state could only happen when the Palestinian leadership wholly accepted Israel's new borders, disarmed completely, removed Hamas from power in Gaza and agreed to Israeli security oversight across all of its territories until a point in the future deemed ripe for withdrawal. There was much more, none of it good for the Palestinians, who unanimously rejected the deal.
This plan for peace was then followed by normalisation agreements between Israel and the UAE, then between Israel and Bahrain. Sudan, crippled by US sanctions for years, has had its revolution rewarded by having a gun stuck to its head: sign a normalisation deal with Israel or else stay on the US terrorist list. It chose the former, to much crowing from Trump and Kushner.
Other Arab nations may well follow: Kushner was quick to celebrate how he and his father-in-law broke down the decades-long solidarity between those nations when it came to Palestine.
In bringing the US close to war with Iran, humiliating the Palestinians, having no coherent plan in Syria or Iraq and in championing murderous autocrats in the Gulf and North Africa, this US president and his administration has left the region in dreadful straits.
Oscar Rickett is a journalist who has written and worked for Middle East Eye, VICE, The Guardian, BBC, Channel 4, openDemocracy, Africa Confidential and various others.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden in a statement that indicated the Palestinian leadership would drop its three-year political boycott of the White House.
"I congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his victory as President of the United States of America for the coming period, and I congratulate his elected Vice President Kamala Harris," Abbas said in a statement issued from his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah
It added: "I look forward to working with the President-elect and his administration to strengthen the Palestinian-American relations and to achieve freedom, independence, justice and dignity for our people, as well as to work for peace, stability and security for all in our region and the world."
"We don't expect miraculous transformation, but at least we expect the dangerous destructive policies of Trump to totally stop," said Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran negotiator and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee.
"It is time to change course," she added. "They should change course and deal with the Palestinian question on the bases of legality, equality and justice and not on the basis of responding to special interests of pro-Israeli lobbies or whatever." Three years ago Abbas cut off contact with President Donald Trump's White House, accusing it of pro-Israel bias over Trump's decisions to break with decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the U.S. Embassy to the city.
"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."
President Bashar al-Assad affirmed that the International Conference on Refugees Return, scheduled to be held in Damascus, is just the beginning of solving this humanitarian issue, indicating that the largest part of the refugees are willing to return to Syria.
During talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin via video conferencing technique Assad noted that the largest part of refugees are willing to return to Syria after the state has created the appropriate conditions for that...
"As you know, the largest part of the refugees were those who have escaped from terrorism, from the killing and fear.. another part has left because of the destruction of infrastructure, so the life in cities, villages or neighborhoods became impossible,” President al-Assad affirmed.
The President went on saying “each house in Syria is interested in the issue of the refugees, and this issue is a priority for us as a government in the coming period...
President al-Assad indicated that the biggest obstacle facing the return of refugees is the Western siege imposed on Syria, on the state and the people...
President Putin, for his part, said that the volume of humanitarian catastrophe in Syria is still big, adding that Russia supports the convening of the international conference on the refugees and it does its best to make the conference a success.
He added that the process of reconstructing Syria after ending the crisis requires, above all, the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.
“The issue of returning Syrian refugees is important during this stage to Syria and all countries, particularly the neighboring countries,” Putin said.
On Monday, the U.S. Treasury announced that it has added the Syrian Oil Ministry and the National Defense Forces to the sanctions lists.
In addition, the list includes nine other companies and organizations related to oil refining, military construction, and pharmaceutical production.
The list also includes the names of six Syrian citizens and two Lebanese, according to the Treasury’s statement. “Today, as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing efforts to reach a peaceful political solution to the Syrian conflict, the Treasury Department is taking measures against the main enablers of the Assad regime,” the ministry said in a statement on its official website.
“These elements are linked to the 4th Division in the Syrian Arab Army, the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate and the Central Bank of Syria,” the ministry said in its statement.
The report of the United Nations Independent Investigation Commission on Syria stated that the U.S. economic sanctions are exacerbating the situation in Syria and may lead to renewed conflicts within the country.
In a speech delivered via video at the opening of the Int’l Conference on the Return of Refugees President al-Assad affirmed that states in the West and in the region are exploiting the refugees in the ugliest way through transforming their humanitarian issue into a political paper for bargaining
“I highly appreciate your coming to Damascus and your participation in this conference, and I mainly thank the states which have received Syrian refugees and embraced them, and whose people have shared their livelihood and job opportunities with the Syrians despite of the economic suffering in those countries.
He went on saying, “Dear participants, some states embraced the refugees based on ethical principles while other states in the West and in our region also are exploiting them in the ugliest way through transforming their humanitarian issue into a political paper for bargaining, in addition to making them as a source for money without taking into consideration the real suffering lived by the Syrians abroad.”
The President said “Instead of the actual work to create the appropriate conditions for their return, they forced them to stay, through temptation sometimes or through exerting pressures on them or intimidating them, and this isn’t surprising as those governments have worked hard for spreading terrorism in Syria which caused the death of hundreds of thousands of its people, and displaced millions of them.
President al-Assad affirmed that the overwhelming majority of Syrians abroad today more than ever want to return to their homeland, because they reject to be a number on the political investment lists and a paper in the hand of regimes which support terrorism against their homeland.
Two conservative Jewish organizations known for their support of US President Donald Trump’s Israel policies will not call Joe Biden “president-elect” until legal challenges are settled, reflecting a consolidation of right-wing backing for Trump’s refusal to concede.
“We will be referring to ‘President-elect’ Biden when the states certify the election and the courts have ruled on allegations of fraud and irregularities,” Matt Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition director, said in an email. Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, said he too would not use the term. “I will not call him president-elect, I will say ‘likely president-elect,’” Klein said in an interview.
Klein faulted the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for congratulating Biden.
A number of other mainstream Jewish groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Jewish Committee have also congratulated Biden, as have a number of Modern Orthodox and Haredi Orthodox groups whose constituents were likely to have supported Trump.
Saeb Erekat, a veteran peace negotiator and prominent international spokesman for the Palestinians for more than three decades, died on Tuesday, weeks after being infected by the coronavirus. He was 65. The American-educated Erekat was involved in nearly every round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians going back to the landmark Madrid conference in 1991.
He tirelessly argued for a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, defended the Palestinian leadership and blamed Israel — particularly hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu — for the failure to reach an agreement.
As a loyal aide to Palestinian leaders — first Yasser Arafat and then Mahmoud Abbas — Erekat clung to this strategy until his death, even as hopes for Palestinian statehood sank to new lows.
Erekat was born on April 28, 1955 in Jerusalem. He spent most of his life in the occupied West Bank town of Jericho, a palm-studded desert oasis about 30 minutes from Jerusalem.
Erekat studied abroad, earning a BA and MA in international relations from San Francisco State University and later completing a Ph.D. at the University of Bradford in the U.K., where he focused on conflict resolution. Erekat also held U.S. citizenship.
When he returned to the West Bank he became a professor at An-Najah University in Nablus and an editor at the Al-Quds newspaper.
Erekat was a strident critic of President Donald Trump's Mideast plan, which overwhelmingly favors Israel and would allow it to keep nearly all of east Jerusalem and up to 30% of the West Bank.
He derisively said "real estate men" would never solve the conflict and accused Trump and Netanyahu of teaming up to "destroy the Palestinian national project."
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas offered condolences to the family of Saeb Erekat, his wife, and his sons and daughters.
“The departure of our brother and friend, the great fighter, Dr. Saeb Erekat, represents a great loss for Palestine and our people, and we feel deeply saddened by his loss, especially in light of these difficult circumstances facing the Palestinian cause...”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that Azerbaijan and Armenia have struck a deal to end the current conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and that Russian peacekeepers will be deployed along the line of contact.
The agreement will create conditions for a long-term settlement of the crisis in the interests of both peoples, Putin said on Tuesday, confirming reports of the armistice Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan described as “painful” but necessary.
According to the text of the agreement Russia will deploy almost 2,000 peacekeepers along the line of contact and the “Lachin corridor,” the road connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia proper.
These peacekeepers will move in as the Armenian armed forces withdraw, and will stay for five years, according to the draft.
Clashes over the region began in late September, and continued despite multiple ceasefires arranged by Moscow, and even one mediated by the US.
Saudis consider Israel, not Iran, the greatest threat to regional security, according to an opinion poll out of Jerusalem released Wednesday.
Asked which country threatens the stability of the Middle East the most, 33 percent of Saudis chose Israel, compared to 25% who chose Iran.
In Bahrain, a majority Shiite country ruled by a Sunni elite which recently agreed to normalize ties with Israel, 24% chose Israel, compared to 18% who pointed to Iran.
Respondents in Qatar, Morocco and the PA also flagged Israel as the greatest threat. Moroccans said Turkey was the second-largest threat to the Middle East, ranking Iran only third. Only Israelis (45%) and residents of the United Arab Emirates (27%) chose Iran as the main threat.
[The poll, which had a margin of error of 4-5% depending on the country, surveyed between 300 and 600 respondents in each place, though only 267 from Qatar were included. The data for the poll was collected via ads placed in cell phone apps in nine different countries.]
Manama and Abu Dhabi recently signed normalization agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, and established formal diplomatic ties with Jerusalem. 69% of Emiratis and 46% of Bahrainis were in favor of the deals their respective governments made with Israel. Some 52% of Qataris, 35% of Saudis and 17% of Moroccans expressed support for the Abraham Accords.
Other Arab countries have an even worse view of the Jewish state, the poll found: Only 16% of Moroccans, 23% of Saudis and 28% of Qataris had a favorable view of Israel (70%, 65% and 59%, respectively, had an unfavorable view).
Another survey from the Doha Institute’s recent Arab Opinion Index also indicated that many ordinary people in Arab states often disagree with their governments regarding Israel.
“However, everyone likes the Palestinians,” Jerusalem-based pollster Mitchell Barak said during a Zoom presentation of his findings.
Nearly three-quarters of Emiratis, Bahrainis and Saudis, and a whopping 80% of Qataris, have a favorable view of the Palestinian Authority.
The survey, which was conducted in late October and early November, also attests to abiding support for Palestinian statehood in the Arab world, as 90% of Moroccans, 85% of Qataris, 81% of Emiratis and 72% of Bahrainis said they were in favor of the establishment of a Palestinian state.
By contrast, only about a third of Israeli and 45% of American respondents backed the idea of a Palestinian state.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan landed a few days ago in Dubai at the head of a delegation of factory managers, companies, and businessmen from Samaria [part of the occupied West Bank].
Samaria is the first municipal authority in Israel to arrive in Dubai at the head of a business delegation, and did so on the first commercial flight departing from Ben Gurion Airport to Dubai.
In a marathon of business meetings hosted by the delegation, he met with about 20 businessmen and representatives of large companies...
"Samaria is at the forefront in the fields of industry and trade, a pioneer in forging ties and creating international collaborations," explains Yossi Dagan..
"Samaria's strategy is to lead everywhere, to be the first at every opportunity - for building Samaria and developing Samaria, the construction of roads and the economy are what drive the development of the State of Israel in general and Samaria in particular.
Dagan said, "There is an opportunity here for both sides to profit from collaborations that can be created from normalization with such a strategic and important neighbor..."
The first commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Dubai on which the business delegation left Samaria was a Fly Dubai flight organized by the Emirate Saba company and Gaia Tourism and marketed by tourism businessman Ephraim Kamissar and accompanied by strategic consultant Kobi Sella.
Palestinian rights advocates condemned a visit by Israeli settlers to the United Arab Emirates, which they said confirmed concerns that Abu Dhabi's normalisation deal with the Israeli government strengthens the occupation and dispossession of Palestinian land.
The trip, led by outspoken annexation advocate Yossi Dagan, who heads a council for illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, concluded earlier this week.
Dagan revealed in a Facebook post on Tuesday that direct trade between settlements and the UAE will start soon. Khalil Jahshan, executive director of the Arab Center Washington DC, a think-tank, said the visit proved that the recent deals between Israel and Arab countries were meant to normalise Israeli "excesses", not Israel's existence as a state in the region.
"There's no better word to describe it other than the Yiddish word 'chutzpah'," Jahshan told MEE, referring to a term that can be translated as shameless audacity. "Now you have Arab partners to Israel seeking to legitimise that illegal aspect of Israeli policy."
He added that settlements are the "antithesis of peace". Dagan, the settler leader, made a call for annexation after his trip to the UAE, saying that ties with the UAE would help make northern West Bank settlements an "engine" of growth for the Israeli economy. Israeli settlements are illegal according to international law, which prohibits occupying powers from transferring their civilian population into areas under their military control.
The day before the US presidential election, several leaders of Israel’s settlement movement held a special prayer service for a Donald Trump win. They were pleading with God for the success of the man they believed had shown more support for Israel than any other US president.
In the next few days it became clear that their prayers had not been answered. The person who they so admired has to leave the White House in 2½ months, and a Democratic Party’s president-elect Joe Biden will move in.
The organizer of the prayer service was Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council.
Damari now has to get used to the idea that the person occupying the White House for the next four years will be a president who wants to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. This would mean halting the settlement enterprise in the West Bank, or worse — for the Israeli right — evacuating existing settlements.
Damari claims that the real problem is actually Biden’s Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris.
“What worries us most is not the president-elect, but the team surrounding him, especially the vice president-elect. It bothers me when I read interviews with Harris saying that she will take steps to bring the Palestinian delegation back to Washington and halt construction in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank].
I have nothing against the president-elect. I don’t think he will be that bad for Israel. But he is an elderly man, and the way it looks now, it will be the people surrounding him who will be running things. That's why I believe that things will be tough, even though we also realize that we have a long way ahead of us.” [...]
“Right now, we are faced with more question marks than exclamation marks. There are concerns and worries,” admitted head of the Efrat Local Council Oded Revivi. “Biden was Obama’s vice president during eight bad years, especially when compared to the four wonderful years under Trump,” he said.
Former US President Barack Obama details his sometimes turbulent relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his new memoir, “A Promised Land”, which is set to be released on Tuesday.
In excerpts from the book quoted by Jewish Insider on Friday, Obama describes Netanyahu as “smart, canny, tough and a gifted communicator” who could be “charming, or at least solicitous” when it benefited him.
Netanyahu’s “vision of himself as the chief defender of the Jewish people against calamity allowed him to justify almost anything that would keep him in power,” Obama writes in the book.
The former President writes that his chief of staff at the time, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, warned him when he took office, “You don’t get progress on peace when the American president and the Israeli prime minister come from different political backgrounds.”
Obama said he began to understand that perspective as he spent time with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Looking back, Obama wrote, he sometimes wondered whether “things might have played out differently” if someone other than Netanyahu represented Israel and if Abbas had been younger.
The former President also grumbles about the treatment he received from leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who questioned his policies on Israel.
Obama wrote that as Israeli politics moved to the right, AIPAC’s broad policy positions shifted accordingly, “even when Israel took actions that were contrary to U.S. policy” and that lawmakers and candidates who “criticized Israel policy too loudly risked being tagged as ‘anti-Israel’ (and possibly anti-Semitic) and [were] confronted with a well-funded opponent in the next election.”
Obama argues that he was “on the receiving end” of a “whisper campaign” that portrayed him as being “insufficiently supportive — or even hostile toward — Israel” during his 2008 presidential run.
“On Election Day, I’d end up getting more than 70 percent of the Jewish vote, but as far as many AIPAC board members were concerned, I remained suspect, a man of divided loyalties..."
Obama argues that while Republican lawmakers cared less about the right of Palestinians to have a state of their own, Democratic members of Congress — who represented districts with sizable Jewish populations — were reluctant to speak out about the matter because they were “worried” about losing support from AIPAC’s key supporters and donors and imperiling their reelection chances.
Obama maintains that he thought it was “reasonable” to ask for Israel, which he viewed as the “stronger party,” to take a “bigger first step” and freeze construction in Judea and Samaria but “as expected,” Netanyahu’s response was “sharply negative.” That was followed by an aggressive pressure campaign by the prime minister’s allies in Washington, he says.
“The White House phones started ringing off the hook,” Obama recounts, as his national security team fielded calls from lawmakers, Jewish leaders and reporters “wondering why we were picking on Israel.” Obama also accuses Netanyahu of an “orchestrated” effort to put his administration on the defensive, “reminding me that normal policy differences with an Israeli prime minister exacted a domestic political cost” that didn’t exist in relations with other world leaders.
The “Pulse of Aleppo” fair for handicrafts and heritage professions kicked off in Aleppo province on Saturday with the participation of more than 63 craftsmen.
The event sheds light on the pottery industries, Arabic calligraphy, copper, and carpets crafts in addition to embroideries, Orientals, Aleppo laurel soap and others.
Head of the Craftsmen’s Union in Aleppo Bakkour Farah hailed the importance of exhibition which aims to revive the artisan facilities.
He considered it as a message to the world that Aleppo city recovered and returned as it was...
The three-day exhibition displays crafts from professions that are in danger of extinction, such as pottery industries, bamboo and paw jewelry.
Islamic scholars have called on Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Scholars, the kingdom's highest religious authority, to reconsider its designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist group".
A group of 18 Muslim scholar associations called for unity among Muslims and said the discourse of scholars should not be politicised, Arabi21 reported on Saturday.
In a joint statement, religious scholar associations from Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine and other countries backed the Muslim Brotherhood as "defenders" of Islam.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is a missionary group … including a large number of scholars, preachers and Mujahideen who want to defend the doctrine of Islam and its Sharia," the associations said.
The response came days after the Council of Senior Scholars said the Muslim Brotherhood – established in Egypt in 1928 – is a "violent terrorist group" and that it "does not represent Islam".
The Saudi authority accused the group of being "a deviant that attacks rulers, stirs up discord, and uses the cover of religion to practice violence and terrorism", without disclosing further details. Talat Fehmi, a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, told Anadolu Agency that the organisation denies all accusations made by the council.
The statement coincided with a European campaign targeting the wheels and cogs of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, amid an awakening in a number of European countries to the strategic danger posed by the group’s ideology and methods based on luring young people and feeding them anti-Western society notions leading to the building of isolated Islamic communities within these societies, communities that hate others, in addition to inciting them to target these societies and target their values. Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Advocacy and Guidance, wrote on Twitter, “I have been warning against the terrorist group of the Muslim Brotherhood for over twenty years..."
Followers of Saudi affairs did not rule out that the statement of the Council of Senior Scholars was a response to the Muslim Brotherhood’s exaggerated enthusiasm over Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections and its probable negative impact on Saudi-American relations.
In March 2014, the Saudi Ministry of Interior declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.
Three years later, in June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt issued a joint statement in which they listed 59 individuals, including prominent Muslim Brotherhood figures, and 12 charities of various nationalities as terrorists.
In March 2018, Prince Muhammad bin Salman described the Muslim Brotherhood as an “incubator for terrorists,” and attacked the group in a television interview on the American CBS television network, pledging to “eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood members” from Saudi schools in a short time.
The United States recently removed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, also sometimes called the Turkestan Islamic Party, from its terrorist exclusion list.
The armed group comes from the Uighur minority in China and advocates for the establishment of an independent Islamic state in what it refers to as East Turkestan in northwest China.
The US decision was issued Oct. 20, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing that the group was officially removed from the list. A State Department spokesperson said there was "no credible evidence that ETIM continues to exist.”
After the Syrian revolution turned violent in 2011, several jihadi and other Islamic groups began arriving in Syria.
These include Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic-speaking minority ethnic group from China, who started flooding into Syria through Turkey in 2012, with former Uighur al-Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan coming first and then encouraging more Uighurs to travel to Syria. Many arrived later from countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia through Turkey.
The Uighurs and Turks share a common ethnicity and language, and the Uighurs found popular and official sympathy from the Turks in Turkey. East Turkestan Islamic Movement fighters are deployed in various parts of Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, mainly in Jisr al-Shughur, Idlib city and Jabal al-Summaq.
Abdul Wahhab Assi, a Syrian researcher based in Turkey, told Al-Monitor that the US decision focuses on the armed East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
"As for the Turkestan Islamic Party, it was not precisely placed on the blacklist, but is being dealt with as a party affiliated with the movement which pushed its cadres to establish the party in Syria in 2013. Removing the movement from the list of terrorist groups would mean dealing with it as a national liberation movement for the Xinjiang region in China..."
Abu Omar al-Turkistani, a pseudonym for a leader of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement who resides in Idlib, told Al-Monitor, “We are not hostile to either the US or the West. We are hostile to China, which refused to grant us political rights. We came to Syria to support our Syrian brothers who were displaced and killed by the Assad regime... In case the Syrians ask us to leave, we will do so. What is important to us is the fulfillment of our Syrian brothers’ demand that the Assad regime leaves.”
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an al Qaeda-affiliated group, is closely allied with HTS, even after various controversies and infighting have disrupted the jihadists’ ranks. Yet, the TIP maintains its own independent branding and media presence.
In May 2018, the group released a lengthy video celebrating the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings and calling on would-be recruits to emigrate from the supposedly immoral West.
More recently, in May of this year, the TIP threatened Russia in another video that trumpeted the organization’s role in the global jihad.
The TIP doesn’t usually publish information about its leadership hierarchy in Syria, but early last year a jihadi publication provided some insight. Doğu Türkistan Bülteni, a Turkish-language website that regularly documented the TIP’s activities and disseminated the group’s propaganda, reported in Feb. 2018 that two new TIP leaders had been dispatched from Afghanistan to Syria. Abu Omar al-Turkistani and Abu Muhammad al-Turkistani each had “more than 10 years” of experience fighting in Afghanistan as part of the Taliban’s insurgency.
Abu Omar was named the “general emir” of the TIP in Syria, while Abu Muhammad was named its “military commander.”
brothers in arms: qaradawi, muslim brotherhood, & bernhard-henri levy, zionist
Israel on Sunday welcomed a statement by the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars (CSS) labelling the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
"We are happy in Israel to see such approach that stands against exploitation of religion for incitement and sedition," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Twitter. "We are in bad need for a discourse that calls for tolerance and mutual cooperation in the region," it added.
On Tuesday, the CSS issued a statement designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group and accused the movement of being a destabilizing factor in the region.
The Saudi statement drew fire from the Muslim Brotherhood, which said it has always been a victim of violence and dictatorial regimes.
Israel sees the Saudi statement as beneficial for its crackdown on Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which adopts the Muslim Brotherhood thoughts.
Israel launched three major military offensives against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2008, 2012, and 2014 and still imposes a tightened blockade on the Palestinian territory, which is ruled by Hamas.
A group of prominent organizations, along with Palestinian and Arab public figures, issued a letter of solidarity with British MP Jeremy Corbyn following the decision of the Labor Party to suspend him based on ‘allegations of anti-Semitism.’
The letter described Corbyn as a “principled man who continuously stood in support of social justice and freedom of mankind” regardless of faith, ideology, gender, or political views.
The letter valued MP Corbyn’s protracted support of the Palestinian cause, considering it a compensation for the responsibility which Great Britain, as a colonial power, holds towards the Palestinian cause and people.
“Great Britain as a mandatory power bears an ethical responsibility for creating the Nakba and for its failure to abide by the League of Nations Charter to place Palestine on the path to independence and self-determination, while it succeeded remarkably in the implementation of the Balfour Declaration...,” the letter read.
The signatories denounced the anti-Semitism accusations made by the Labor Party against Corbyn labeling them unfair and a “malicious attempt to cover Israeli oppression, injustice and war crimes which were, and are being, committed against us for long decades by Imperialism and colonial Zionism”.
The letter reiterated that exposing Israeli crimes against the Palestinians is in no way a form of anti-Semitism... Jeremy Corbyn has served as the leader of the Labor Party and leader of the opposition from 2015 to 2020. On the political left of the Labor party, he identifies himself as a democratic socialist.
The topic of normalization has overwhelmed Palestinian news and civil discourse for months now, as Arab nations have lined up to sign normalization agreements, disguised as “peace deals,” with the state of Israel.
From the United Arab Emirates, to Bahrain, and most recently Sudan, Israel and the United States have celebrated the establishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations between Israel and countries that had historically refuted such relations, in favor of supporting Palestinian liberation instead.
Palestinians have reacted to the recent spate of normalization agreements with frustration and outrage, with demonstrations against normalization breaking out across the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza.
While normalization has been described by Palestinians as a “stab in the back,” and the “ultimate betrayal,” much of the Palestinian public expressed the fact that while upset, they were by no means surprised by the deals.
“When they announced the normalization, it was almost a relief, in a way, because we knew they were doing it for a long time under the table, and this was just confirming all of it,” Ayman Gharib, a Palestinian human rights activist in the West Bank told Mondoweiss.
“These normalization agreements just show us the true face of the Arab regimes, and put an end to the facade that they have kept up for so long,” he continued...
In his criticism of normalization, Gharib expressed a common sentiment shared by many Palestinians, which is that even though Arab governments may choose normalization with Israel over supporting Palestinian liberation, there is an unbreakable sense of solidarity between Arab civilians across the region when it comes to Palestine.
“Even if their governments betrayed us, we expect the Arab people around the world to stand with us, and many of them have,” he said...
“Normalization with other Arab countries happens between governments, but not between the people,” Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the Palestinian National BDS Committee, told Mondoweiss.
“But eventually these dictatorships and regimes around the Arab world will fall, and we hope that with free elections in the future, the Arab people will make their voices heard,” he said.
“We think these kinds of governments and systems make these deals because they don’t have democracy,” he continued.
“If these Arab states had democratically elected leaders, these types of agreements wouldn’t be happening, because their people would never let them accept this.”
Israeli Education Minister Yoav Galant (Likud) and the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, attended the event marking the inauguration of a yeshiva high school building in the community of Bruchin in the heart of the Samaria region.
The event, held according to Health Ministry guidelines, was also attended by the deputy head of the Regional Council, Davidi Ben Tziyon, various officials from the Education Ministry and the Amit educational network, community leaders from Bruchin, and the dean of the new institution, Rabbi Yair Shtebun.
Info: A yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and the Torah, and halacha (Jewish law). The studying is usually done through daily shiurim (lectures or classes) as well as in study pairs called chavrutas (Aramaic for 'friendship' or 'companionship'.
Speaking at the event, Minister Galant said: “I am delighted to be here in order to celebrate the inauguration of this new building for a yeshiva high school in Bruchin, together with my good friend Yossi Dagan, who has done so much to develop Jewish settlement in the Samaria region and specifically to advance the educational network here...
Galant added that, “I am deeply committed to promoting Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. As Education Minister, I will continue to do all I can to further settlement here, just as I did when I was Housing & Construction Minister – and, indeed, as I have done throughout my life. It’s time that we settled the entire Land, from the Jordan River to the sea. I hope that the students who come to learn here will be able to commence their studies this winter,” he said.
יSpeaking after him, Regional Council head Yossi Dagan thanked all those present for their assistance in getting the project off the ground, and also the high school’s staff...
The new high school will have a total of 12 classrooms during the first stage of its opening, and during the next stage, which will hopefully be reached during the current academic year, another 12 classrooms will be built. Altogether, the building will have room for 800 students..", Dagan said.
The United States will label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, as “anti-Semitic”..
"We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is,” Pompeo said in a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday.
The BDS campaign is a non-violent people-led movement that aims to economically pressure Israel into providing equal rights and a right of return to Palestinians.
Modelled on the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, it has inspired people from around the world to boycott businesses and academic and cultural institutions that have either a direct or indirect affiliation with Israel. This includes companies associated with illegal Jewish settlements, those that provide services to the occupation, companies exploiting natural resources from Palestinian land and those that use Palestinians as cheap labour.
The UN human rights office has identified more than 200 companies linked directly or indirectly to illegal settlements, mostly from Israel and the US but also Germany and the Netherlands. They include banking and tourism companies, as well as construction and technology firms.
Pompeo, who is in Israel as part of his last Middle East tour as US secretary of state, also said he would visit the Golan Heights, a territory Israel captured from Syria and occupied in the 1967 war.
In March last year, Trump recognised the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights when he signed a decree alongside Netanyahu at the White House. The move was condemned by the international community, which does not recognise the land grab, while Syria called it a “blatant attack” on its sovereignty.
Pompeo is also expected to become the first US secretary of state ever to visit the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank on Thursday. The expected visit to the Psagot winery would be another dramatic break by the Trump administration with the international community – which sees such settlement enterprises as illegal...
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has condemned the statements of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which he described the movement as "anti-Semitic".
"The administration of US President Donald Trump is trying to discredit the movement," the BDS movement announced in a press release. The statement added that the BDS movement consistently rejects all forms of racism, including prejudice against Jews.
The statement indicated: "The fanatic Trump-Netanyahu alliance is intentionally conflating opposition to Israel's regime of occupation, colonisation and apartheid against Palestinians and calls for nonviolent pressure to end this regime on the one hand, with anti-Jewish racism on the other, in order to suppress advocacy of Palestinian rights under international law."
Thundering booms and clouds of smoke adorned the entrance to Psagot on Wednesday morning in anticipation of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s arrival at its Israeli winery.
But these were no welcoming fireworks. Hundreds of Palestinian protesters had gathered to rail against the first visit of a US diplomat to an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, and Israel’s military were quick to respond with tear gas and sound bombs. The Psagot settlement was established in 1981 on the lands of al-Bireh, just outside Ramallah city in the central West Bank. The hill where the settlement is built is known by Palestinians as Jabal al-Taweel and is the site of dozens of acres of privately owned Palestinian land.
US President Donald Trump’s outgoing administration has been a staunch supporter of the settler movement, and his secretary of state was breaking years of convention and international consensus by visiting Psagot’s vineyard.
“For the secretary of state of the United States to set foot inside an illegal settlement is a complete insult to all international accords and agreements on the settlements, and is a flagrant violation of international law,” Muafaq Sahweil, a Fatah movement leader in Ramallah and one of the protest’s organisers, told Middle East Eye.
Last year, Pompeo broke with decades of US foreign policy in the region when he announced the US would no longer be considering settlements as illegal, a move that drew widespread criticism from Palestinian and international officials.
The policy change did not, however, prompt any similar changes within the international community, which continues to acknowledge that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal.
The Arab League and the government of Syria have categorically condemned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to the occupied territories of Palestine in West Bank and the occupied portion of Syria’s Golan Heights, describing it as a clear violation of international law.
The assertion by the Arab League came on Thursday, after Pompeo became the first US secretary of state to visit the Israeli occupied Golan Heights after an unprecedented stop in the occupied West Bank.
Reacting to Pompeo’s visit, which has also stirred strong opposition and wrath of various Palestinian factions, the Arab League issued a statement saying his trip to the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights is against the norms of international law. (Press TV, Iran, 20-11-2020)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday praised the Palestinian Authority’s decision to resume security cooperation with Israel, saying the move benefited both Israelis and Palestinians.
“Over the past few weeks I dedicated considerable efforts to renewing the security cooperation with the Palestinians. Yesterday, after weeks of disconnect, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun informed me that the Palestinian Authority was interested in restoring them,” Gantz said in a statement.
“Coordination is a shared interest, beneficial to the security of Israel’s citizens, and critical to the welfare and economic well-being of the Palestinians. Over the coming days, we will get working procedures in place to support the resumption of coordination,” he added.
The defense minister also called for the PA to restart peace talks with Israel.
“I, once again, call upon the Palestinian leadership to get back to the negotiating table, which is both a primary Israeli security interest and the most promising route to a more stable and prosperous future for our region,” he said.
The unlikely alliance between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Islah party has come under strain like never before, as fresh moves by Riyadh targeting the Muslim Brotherhood have left its Yemeni affiliate fearful of its status. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have long opposed the Brotherhood, labelling the Islamist group a terrorist organisation in 2014. Yet the Saudis have for decades found a partner in Islah, whose status as a client of Riyadh only grew following the 2015 Saudi-led intervention into Yemen’s war.
As Saudi Arabia provided weapons to Islah fighters battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, and even deployed its troops alongside Islahis, Riyadh refrained from hostile speech and moves against the Brotherhood.
That changed last week, when Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars issued a statement calling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, which sent Islah officials in the kingdom scrambling.
“The Muslim Brotherhood Group is a terrorist group and [does not] represent the method of Islam, rather it blindly follows its partisan objectives that are running contrary to the guidance of our graceful religion, while taking religion as a mask to disguise its purposes in order to practice the opposite such as sedition, wreaking havoc, committing violence and terrorism,” the council said.
This is the first official statement by Saudi Arabia against the Brotherhood since 2014 and has left Islah exposed. Saudi ally the UAE has targeted Islah several times during the war, despite the two ostensibly being on the same side of the conflict. The UAE employed US mercenaries to kill Islah leaders, and its local proxies have clashed with Islah’s fighters.
In response to the Saudi statement, Islah leaders criticised the kingdom, accusing it and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of suppressing freedoms. Tawakkol Karman (public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that was part of the 'Arab Spring') tweeted on 10 November: “To the council of senior hypocrites for bin Salman and his shoe polishers: The Muslim Brotherhood members in Saudi Arabia are struggling for the sake of freedom and bin Salman’s regime suppresses freedoms of all sides, either Muslim Brotherhood or others." “Bin Salman’s prisons are full of those who say ‘No’ and those who are expected to say ‘No’,” she added. “Saudi Arabia is the mother and father of terrorism."
Mustafa al-Yafie, a supporter of Saudi Arabia, said Riyadh did not come to this decision overnight, but has been years in the making.
“This accusation was against the Muslim Brotherhood in general and not only in Yemen, and we aren’t going to tell Saudi Arabia what to do and what not to do,” Yafie told MEE.
He accused Islah of not accepting the views and beliefs of other people, and said Yemen would be damaged if they controlled it. “All of us know that Islahi members are loyal to their leadership and not to the country. They implement what their leadership tells them and not what the law says,” he added.
The United Nations voted overwhelmingly to approve a draft resolution in favor of Palestinian self-determination, with Israel and the United States voting against.
The proposal on Thursday in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee — the committee that deals with human rights and humanitarian affairs — passed 163 to 5, with 10 abstentions. Canada, which typically votes alongside Israel in such resolutions, stood with the majority.
The resolution emphasized “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine” and “stressed the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” based on a two-state solution.
It is part of a large package of 20 pro-Palestinian resolutions that are passed by the General Assembly every year, which the Israeli Mission to the UN has long argued proves the bias of the international forum.
In addition to Israel and the US, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru also voted against the resolution. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki praised the vote, calling it “a natural response from the international community to the Israeli occupation’s violations, as well as a response to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the colonial Israeli settlements.”
Biden decides on pick for secretary of State
By Tal Axelrod, TheHill.com, 20-11-2020
Joe Biden has decided on his pick for secretary of State.. A source familiar with the process confirmed to The Hill that Biden has made up his mind for who he wants to serve as the nation’s top diplomat and that an announcement is expected within the next week.
It was not immediately clear who Biden’s nominee would be, but a former Obama administration official confirmed to The Hill that Tony Blinken, a veteran diplomat and longtime Biden ally, has been considered a front-runner for the post.
Flashback - Joe Biden foreign policy adviser
Antony Blinken on Iran and failures in Syria CBS New, 20-5-2020
ANTONY BLINKEN : We disagree fundamentally with the approach the administration took on Iran. So this is just not working on its own terms. If Iran comes back into compliance with the deal, then yes, Joe Biden said we would do the same thing, but we would use that as a platform to try to build a stronger and longer deal working with our partners.
And I think we'd have a decent chance of doing that because our partners would be with us, not alienated from us. And at the same time, much more likely to join us in trying to curb other actions by Iran that we find objectionable.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So are you saying U.S. sanctions would remain on in whole or in part until you get those new terms?
ANTONY BLINKEN : Well, most of the sanctions, even under the the agreement were remained in place. It was the international sanctions that went away. We still have significant, even under the deal, restrictions on what Americans, American companies, etc., could or could not do with Iran. And all of that would indeed stay in place. But we were clearly in a much better place under the agreement than we are without it.
It's not a panacea. It doesn't solve every problem by design. It was meant to solve one problem, which was the one that was most acute for us, which was Iran's pursuit of the capacity to build on very short order a nuclear weapon.
MARGARET BRENNAN: This is a question from a consultant at Deloitte, Rima Zaytuna. She asks, Can you please summarize Vice President Biden's policy toward Syria...
ANTONY BLINKEN : Abandoning our partners in the Syrian democratic forces, including the Kurds, was a huge mistake and something that we'll pay for. We still have a small number of special forces in northern eastern Syria. They happen to be near where a very valuable resources are located. That's a point of leverage because the Syrian government would love to have dominion over those resources. We should not give that up for free.
Similarly, we have a greater capacity than any country on Earth to mobilize others to help in Syria's rebuilding and reconstruction at the right time. We should make sure that if we're going to play that role, we get something for it on behalf of the Syrian people. So, for example, if Idlib is still under siege, that needs to end. If humanitarian assistance is not getting through it, it needs to. And we should also use what leverage we have to insist that there be some kind of political transition that reflects the desires of the Syrian people.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Does that mean that a Biden administration would allow for normalizations with the Assad regime, as some countries in the region are already doing?
ANTONY BLINKEN : It is virtually impossible for me to imagine that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Sanders, former competitor of Joe Biden, of course, in this race, has repeatedly used the term racist to talk about the current Israeli government... Israeli annexation of the West Bank in whole or in part, as Bibi Netanyahu has talked about, doing a violation of international law. What would you do in January at the beginning of a Biden administration about it?
ANTONY BLINKEN : So the vice president has pronounced himself multiple times during this campaign on annexation. He's made clear his his opposition to it.
And Margaret, the reason is this. He believes that the only way to secure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state and also to make sure that the Palestinian aspirations for a state are fulfilled is through a two state solution...
That makes that a very difficult prospect, even more difficult. He's opposed to annexation...
The Israeli government has not actually made a decision yet. So let's see what the government does. My hope is that they rethink it. Two hundred and twenty leading former Israeli security and defense officials and intelligence leaders, military leaders came out against annexation. They believe it would be bad for Israel security going forward. And I think that's that's also where we are.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And so you would be open to suspending or putting a hold on some form of the billions in USA provided to Israel.
ANTONY BLINKEN : Now, let me be clear about one thing..: He would not tie our military assistance to Israel to any political decisions that it makes. It's in our interest that Israel have the means to secure itself.
Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden railed against Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, claiming it weakened the United States and left the world in disarray. “Donald Trump’s brand of ‘America First has too often led to America alone,” Biden proclaimed. He pledged to reverse this decline and recover the damage Trump did to America’s reputation.
Among the president-elect’s pledges is to end the so-called forever wars... Yet Biden will delegate that duty to the most neoconservative elements of the Democratic Party and ideologues of permanent war. Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken sit atop Biden’s thousands-strong foreign policy brain trust and have played central roles in every U.S. war dating back to the Bill Clinton administration.
During the Trump era, they’ve cashed in through WestExec Advisors – a corporate consulting firm that has become home for Obama administration officials awaiting a return to government.
Flournoy is Biden’s leading pick for Secretary of Defense and Blinken is expected to be the president’s National Security Advisor.
Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.
Under Bill Clinton, Michele Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrennial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military’s doctrine of permanent war – what it called “full spectrum dominance.” Flournoy called for “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.”
As Bush administration officials lied to the world about Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD’s, Flournoy remarked that “In some cases, preemptive strikes against an adversary’s [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities may be the best or only option we have to avert a catastrophic attack against the United States.”
Flournoy joined the Obama administration and was appointed as under secretary of defense for policy, the position considered the “brains” of the Pentagon.
Flournoy continued to champion the endless wars that began in the Bush-era and was a key architect of Obama’s disastrous troop surge in Afghanistan.
In 2011, the Obama-era doctrine of smart and sophisticated warfare was unveiled in the NATO regime-change war on Libya. Moammar Gaddafi – the former adversary who sought warm relations with the U.S. and had given up his nuclear weapons program – was deposed and lynched by militant islamists.
Even after Libya was descended into strife Michele Flournoy stood by her support for the war: “I supported the intervention in Libya on humanitarian grounds. I think we were right to do it.”
Tony Blinken, then Obama’s deputy national security advisor, also pushed for regime change in Libya.
He became Obama’s point man on Syria, pushed to arm the so-called “moderate rebels” that fought alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, and designed the red line strategy to trigger a full-on U.S. intervention. Syria, he told the public, wasn’t anything like the other wars the U.S. had waging for more than a decade.
Tony Blinken: “We are doing this in a very different way than in the past. We’re not sending in hundreds of thousands of American troops. We’re not spending trillions of American dollars. We’re being smart about this. This is a sustainable way to get at the terrorists and it’s also a more effective way.”
When the Trump administration launched airstrikes on Syria based on mere accusations of a chemical attack, Tony Blinken praised the bombing, claiming Assad had used the weapon of mass destruction sarin.
Yet there was no evidence for this claim, something even then-secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted: “So I can not tell you that we had evidence even though we had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used.” As for ending the forever wars, Tony Blinken says not so fast: “Large scale, open-ended deployment of large standing US forces in conflict zones with no clear strategy should end and will end under his watch…. But we also need to distinguish between, for example, these endless wars with, for example, discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors… In ending the endless wars I think we have to be careful to not paint with too broad a brush stroke.”
From his Cairo apartment overlooking the Nile, Ahmed Kadhaf al-Dam, cousin of Moamer Kadhafi, maintains that the Arab Spring was a hoax, engineered to cause instability in the region: "There wasn't a revolution," Kadhaf al-Dam argued. "There was an attack to kill Kadhafi."
"Libya was a safe haven in North Africa and the Mediterranean," the former top-ranking advisor to Kadhafi insisted. "There was no terrorism, there were no extremists, or people going hungry," Kadhaf al-Dam claimed, painting a rosy picture of Libya before the conflict. "The Western intervention in Libya led to this." Kadhaf al-Dam pins the blame for the years of conflict squarely on former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton for a decade of "famine, poverty and destruction".
A former soldier and Kadhafi's envoy to Egypt during president Hosni Mubarak's rule, he blamed Western military adventurism for the rise of extremist fighters.
"How can you blame us, saying that Islam is the reason behind extremism?" he said. "This is your religion that you've created in the West." From his point of view, the Arab Spring resulted in failure...
"Destruction, forced displacement, murders, looting of wealth, instability, terrorism, illegal immigration," he said. "It is a thousand times worse than 10 years ago."
Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory.
The British-Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves ‘a depressingly predictable pattern’ of demonising the enemy leader, then demonising the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined.
Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar al Assad became the new evil in the world and, according to consistent western media reports, the Syrian Army did nothing but kill civilians for more than four years.
To this day, many imagine the Syrian conflict is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or some sort of internal sectarian conflict. These myths are, in many respects, a substantial achievement for the big powers which have driven a series of ‘regime change’ operations in the Middle East region, all on false pretexts, over the past 15 years.
When high school students learn about American history in the decades to come, I wonder if they will spend even one day discussing the Post 9/11 wars and the exceedingly painful lessons that the United States has learned about the limits of its military power. From my high school experience in suburban Philadelphia more than 20 years ago, American history tends to end around 1945.
I remember learning a lot about the causes of the Civil War, the appalling conditions most people endured during the industrial revolution, and early labor, women’s, and civil rights movements.
But the Korean and Vietnam Wars were afterthoughts in the history books. These were subjects that there never seemed to be enough time to discuss before the Advanced Placement exam.
Until I went to college, my best sources of information about the Vietnam War were movies, including really, really crappy ones such as “The Siege of Firebase Gloria.”
It was as if the United States felt the need to abbreviate the entire Cold War into a sentence, just as historians did in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s novel “The Sirens of Titan” by describing the history of Earth thusly: “Following the death of Jesus Christ, there was a period of readjustment that lasted for approximately one million years.”
I’m no historian, but I suspect that if future American history books touch on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars at all, they will be similarly summed up as a “period of readjustment” that spanned multiple generations.
It’s as if the past 19 years never happened
The reason why it is important that America break with tradition and actually teach its children about the post-World War II period is simple: We continue to make the same mistakes and use the same bogus justifications.
Another reason why students need to learn how America sent its sons and daughters to war for years is so that an entire generation of service members and their families are never again forgotten by the rest of the country.
The Forever Wars have been allowed to mull along for nearly 20 years because our elected officials, television news, and most of the American public have become completely apathetic to the consequences of having troops deployed in war zones.... It’s as if the past 19 years never happened.
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Projected President-elect Joe Biden's administration is likely to involve the United States in more Middle East conflicts under a Department of State led by Antony Blinken, who has openly regretted Washington's failure to topple the government in Damascus, former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford told Sputnik.
On Tuesday, Biden announced his selection of Blinken as secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, along with other cabinet posts.
The developments come as Russia has expressed concerns over processes unfolding in Syrian territories under US control. On Wednesday, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said separatist tendencies provoked by the external occupation are blocking attempts to restore Syria's territorial integrity.
"Blinken is on record deeply regretting that [former President Barack] Obama nixed plans for the United States to go wading into the Syrian quagmire even more than it did already, and condemning [President Donald] Trump's worthy but feeble attempts to withdraw US troops from Syria", Ford said.
"The scene is set for more counter-productive US belligerence and interference in the Middle East". Ford also said Blinken believes rejoining the Iran nuclear agreement will put the United States in a stronger position to tackle Tehran over its "destabilising behaviour."
"If this is the mindset and the objective he brings to the table with Iran, the recalibration of relations with Iran is dead in the water", he predicted.
Ford is also worried about the policies that Sullivan, a former Hillary Clinton adviser, would join with Blinken in disastrously implementing.
"Neither of these appointments bodes well for peace in the Middle East, or probably anywhere else. Both appointees are classic products of the Washington conveyor belt of true believers in American exceptionalism and 'leadership' (i.e. domination)", he said.
Peter William Ford (born 27 June 1947) is an English diplomat who served as the British ambassador to Bahrain from 1999 to 2003 and Syria from 2003 to 2006.
In 2003, as ambassador to Bahrain, Ford says he sent critical memoranda to London before the Iraq War. Later, he regretted not having been more outspoken.
In his time in Damascus (2003-2006), he says he distanced himself more and more from the official policies. Since 2006, he has been criticised as a defender of the Syrian government in Syria.
He accused the British government of lies and political mistakes in Syria from the onstart of the uprising, thus aggravating the situation.
Ford participated in the EuroCSE conference on the future of Syria from 5 to 6 April 2017. At the conference Ford described the British policy as "incoherent and grotesque", and accused the British government of being among those in the front rank of destroying Syria.
Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said he will ask President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, to apologize for supporting the war in Iraq.
In a Tuesday interview with Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto, Paul criticized a few of Biden’s cabinet picks, especially Blinken, a longtime Biden adviser. Biden announced Monday that Blinken would serve as his secretary of state. Paul said he is very concerned about foreign policy under the Biden administration.
“On foreign policy, I am very worried that there will be a big shift, and it’s back to those who believe that we should militarily intervene abroad in a big way.
You have neoconservatives on the right who wants to intervene for geopolitical reasons, but then you have liberals, like Blinken and Samantha Power and others, who want to intervene for humanitarian reasons,” Paul said in the interview.
Paul went on to say that he will ask Blinken to apologize for supporting the war in Iraq and also ask him if he still believes that regime change in the Middle East is smart.
“But, nevertheless, they want to send our armies and our young men and women around the world. And I think Blinken is a bad choice. I’m going to ask him if he’s going to apologize for his support of the Iraq War and what lessons he learned from it, whether he still believes regime change in the Middle East is a good idea, which it was not a good idea. It was not a good idea in Libya either or in Syria,” Paul continued.
“I don’t think Biden or Blinken have really fully understood that. And I actually do think President Trump really did get that, that regime change in the Middle East hasn’t made us stronger,” Paul said.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jordan
discuss latest developments in Syria
Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Nov 2020
Egypt participated in an online consultative meeting with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in the Syrian crisis, the Egyptian foreign ministry announced.
According to the ministry, the meeting was attended by senior officials from the foreign ministries of the countries involved to discuss solutions for the Syrian crisis in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 2254 in a way that preserves Syria’s territorial unity. The meeting also discussed ways to o boost efforts to preserve Syria’s Arab identity and the rights of Syrian people.
The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ... We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage. ... The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions.
It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place.
The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness. Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. ...
The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component. Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.
For us, the West is important and we cannot deny this truth. But the West today is not like the West a decade ago. The world is changing and there are emerging powers. There are alternatives. .... The West is still colonial in one way or another. It is changing from an old colonizer to a modern colonizer and from a modern colonizer during the Sykes-Picot agreement to a contemporary colonizer. It has different forms and shapes but it will never change, which means that we have to turn to the East.
We, as a state, started this procedure several years ago, and my visits during the recent years fell under that initiative in one way or another. ..
Turkey and Qatar signed 10 new deals on Thursday at a joint meeting held at the presidential palace in Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar's Emir Tamim Hamad al-Thani co-chaired the closed-door meeting.
An MoU was signed for joint promotion activities between Turkey's Commerce Ministry and Qatar's Free Zone Administration. A statement of intent was signed for an exchange program for diplomats of both countries.
Erdogan later in the day said that the two leaders had very productive meetings.
"We will continue our solidarity with the brotherly people of Qatar, with whom we have deep-rooted ties of affection, in every field," Erdogan said on Twitter.
In a tweet, the Qatari emir said he had a "productive meeting" with Erdogan.
"During the meetings, Turkey and Qatar reaffirmed that the two sides are determined and willing to enhance the strong brotherhood ties and strategic partnership ties in various fields," Qatar’s Shura Council also said in a statement.
The trade volume between the two countries increased by 6% in 2020 to reach $1.6 billion. Qatar’s investments in Turkey reached $22 billion, according to data provided by Turkey’s Doha Embassy.
A total of 533 Turkish companies operate in Qatar, completing construction projects to the tune of $18.5 billion. A total of 179 companies from Qatar operate in Turkey.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Resolution, 20 jul. 2011
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued a statement in response to the assassination of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
"The assassination of a senior Iranian nuclear scientist appears to be an attempt to sabotage the ability of the incoming Biden administration to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)", Ben-Ami wrote, "as well as the chances of further diplomacy, either by limiting the political leeway of Iranian officials who want to restore the deal, or by triggering an escalation leading to military confrontation".
Ben-Ami claims that "those who oppose the JCPOA will stop at nothing to kill the agreement once and for all, despite repeatedly being proven wrong about the deal’s success in blocking Iran’s paths to a nuclear weapon and the disastrous consequences of Donald Trump’s violation of the pact".
"The facts speak for themselves", Ben-Ami continues, "Iran now has twelve times as much enriched uranium as when Trump took office. Its forces have openly launched missiles at US troops. The Iranian people — suffering cruel sanctions in the midst of a pandemic — blame the United States rather than their own government’s hardliners for their predicament".
The J Street president says that "thankfully, change is on the way", but states that for President-elect Biden to have a real opportunity to restore and build on the JCPOA, "others must step up in the remaining weeks of the defeated Trump administration".
"We call on Congress to make clear that it supports diplomacy as the primary means to address threats emanating from Iran", Ben-Ami concludes, "beginning with the restoration of the JCPOA.
We call on our allies around the world to seek calm and refrain from any actions that would further escalate tensions. We call on the Iranian government not to respond to the provocation of the assassination, and exercise restraint in anticipation of responsible, competent American leadership again being in place".
About J Street
J Street organizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans to promote US policies that embody our deeply held Jewish and democratic values...
We believe that only a negotiated resolution agreed to by Israelis and Palestinians can meet the legitimate needs and national aspirations of both peoples.
Working in the American political system, in the Jewish community and with others with whom we share core values, we advocate for diplomacy-first American leadership and policies that advance justice, equality, peace, and democracy in Israel, in the wider region and in the United States as well.
King Abdullah has sent a letter to Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People Cheikh Niang, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, marked annually on November 29.
In the letter, King Abdullah reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause, and the importance of continuing to strive towards achieving a just and comprehensive peace, accepted by all peoples and in accordance with international law and UN resolutions, according to a Royal Court statement. The King said it is everyone’s duty to support all efforts to break the stalemate in the peace process, and relaunch direct and serious negotiations to achieve peace, based on the two-state solution, and in line with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative; and to end unilateral Israeli measures that undermine peace prospects and fuel conflict, such as settlement activity, annexation attempts, and any steps to impose as new status quo in Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif...
The King stressed the importance of providing all means of support to sustain the work of UNRWA, in accordance with its UN mandate, until a just and comprehensive solution that addresses all final status issues is reached, safeguarding Palestinian rights in line with UN resolutions, foremost of which is Resolution 194, and ensuring the right of return and compensation to Palestinian refugees.
The U.S. Justice Department issued a statement on November 24th, offering a reward for information on a Syrian terrorist leader.
Per the statement posted on their Arabic Twitter account, the U.S. Justice Department is offering up to $10 million (U.S.D) for information leading to the arrest of the founder of the Al-Nusra Front and current leader of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, Abu Mohammad Al-Joulani, who is believed to be in northwestern Syria.
“They pretend to care for Syria, but the people did not forget the crimes committed by the Al-Nusra Front (HTS) against them,” the tweet began.
“If you have information about him, you may get a reward of up to $10 million,” they said asking those with information to contact them via a number of platforms.
Al-Joulani has been the main leader of one of the largest jihadist groups inside Syria since the terrorist organization first entered the Syrian conflict.
The Al-Nusra Front, which he founded, has been accused of committing several crimes inside the country, while also being one of the primary opposition factions to fight the Syrian Armed Forces.
Muhammad al-Jawlani, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Golani, also known as Muhammad al-Julani, is the senior leader of the terrorist organization, the al-Nusrah Front (ANF), the Syria branch of al-Qa’ida.
In April 2013, al-Jawlani pledged allegiance to al-Qa’ida and its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. In July 2016, al-Jawlani praised al-Qa’ida and al-Zawahiri in an online video and claimed the ANF was changing its name to Jabhat Fath Al Sham (“Conquest of the Levant Front”). In January 2017, ANF merged with several other hardline opposition groups to form Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
ANF remains al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria. While al-Jawlani is not the leader of HTS, he remains the leader of ANF, which is at the core of HTS.
Al-Jawlani is designated by the Department of State as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224. He is also listed at the UN Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida Sanctions Committee.
Wikipedia Info: The Rewards for Justice Program (RFJ) is the counterterrorism rewards program of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service.
The Secretary of State is currently offering rewards for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property worldwide.
Rewards also may be paid for information leading to the arrest or conviction of terrorists attempting, committing, conspiring to commit, or aiding and abetting in the commission of such acts. The Rewards for Justice Program has paid more than $145 million for information that prevented international terrorist attacks or helped bring to justice those involved in prior acts.
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