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
Joe Biden & Truth - 2009
US Vice President Joe Biden said that the new administration would seek the
unvarnished truth from its spies, whether or not their information supported
the goals of the government.
The Vice President's address was greeted with loud cheers by the several hundred CIA employees who gathered for the swearing in ceremony in the foyer of the Agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Standing before the wall of 89 stars representing the CIA staff who have died in the line of duty, Mr Biden said:
"We expect you to provide independent analysis, not to engage in group think. We
expect you to tell us the facts as you know them wherever they may lead, not
what you think we want to hear." (Tim Shipman. 20-2-2009)
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign
ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid
to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation
that is afraid of its people …
The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. …
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." John F.Kennedy
“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)
"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)
As the Biden administration weighs next steps with Iran, the Pentagon is reassuring regional partners that deterrence remains central to US strategy toward Iran.
trump's no-deal message
“Iran continues to be a malign actor in the region, continues to support terrorism throughout the Middle East, and they still pose threats to our partners and friends there,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters in his first press briefing under the new US administration Thursday.
“They still have an active ballistic missile program and they have been recently re-spinning centrifuges,” Kirby said, adding, “We still have national security interests in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf specifically.” The US military will continue its efforts to shield Washington’s partner states from the “acts of terrorism that Iran continues to propagate throughout the region,” Kirby said.
“To the degree that we have capabilities to try to deter that activity, I think you can expect we are going to use it,” he said. [..]
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cautioned that a renewed agreement with Iran would take some time. “We’re not there yet, to say the least,” he said.
Blinken and his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, have both stated in the last 36 hours that the other side must return to compliance with the deal first before any agreement is possible...
"Blinken is a neoliberal Democrat who believes in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. He thinks if the United States does not impose its will and shape the world then there will be no law and order..."
New Rules or a Game without Rules.
Putin’s Speech to the Valdai International Discussion Club Sochi, 24 October 2014:
Today’s discussion took place under the theme: New Rules or a Game without Rules.
I think that this formula accurately describes the historic turning point we have reached today and the choice we all face.
There is nothing new of course in the idea that the world is changing very fast. I know this is something you have spoken about at the discussions today. It is certainly hard not to notice the dramatic transformations in global politics and the economy, public life, and in industry, information and social technologies.
As we analyze today’s situation, let us not forget history’s lessons. First of all, changes in the world order – and what we are seeing today are events on this scale – have usually been accompanied by if not global war and conflict, then by chains of intensive local-level conflicts. Second, global politics is above all about economic leadership, issues of war and peace, and the humanitarian dimension, including human rights.
The world is full of contradictions today. We need to be frank in asking each other if we have a reliable safety net in place.
Sadly, there is no guarantee and no certainty that the current system of global and regional security is able to protect us from upheavals. This system has become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. The international and regional political, economic, and cultural cooperation organizations are also going through difficult times.
Yes, many of the mechanisms we have for ensuring the world order were created quite a long time ago now, including and above all in the period immediately following World War II.
Let me stress that the solidity of the system created back then rested not only on the balance of power and the rights of the victor countries, but on the fact that this system’s ‘founding fathers’ had respect for each other, did not try to put the squeeze on others, but attempted to reach agreements.
The main thing is that this system needs to develop, and despite its various shortcomings, needs to at least be capable of keeping the world’s current problems within certain limits and regulating the intensity of the natural competition between countries.
It is my conviction that we could not take this mechanism of checks and balances that we built over the last decades, sometimes with such effort and difficulty, and simply tear it apart without building anything in its place. Otherwise we would be left with no instruments other than brute force. What we needed to do was to carry out a rational reconstruction and adapt it the new realities in the system of international relations.
But the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, saw no need for this. Instead of establishing a new balance of power, essential for maintaining order and stability, they took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.
We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics. International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism. Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms.
At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.
Let’s ask ourselves, how comfortable are we with this, how safe are we, how happy living in this world, and how fair and rational has it become? Maybe, we have no real reasons to worry, argue and ask awkward questions?
Maybe the United States’ exceptional position and the way they are carrying out their leadership really is a blessing for us all, and their meddling in events all around the world is bringing peace, prosperity, progress, growth and democracy, and we should maybe just relax and enjoy it all?
Let me say that this is not the case, absolutely not the case.
A unilateral diktat and imposing one’s own models produces the opposite result. Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, instead of sovereign and stable states we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.
Why do they support such people? They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals but then burn their fingers and recoil. I never cease to be amazed by the way that our partners just keep stepping on the same rake, as we say here in Russia, that is to say, make the same mistake over and over.
Colleagues, this period of unipolar domination has convincingly demonstrated that having only one power centre does not make global processes more manageable...
Essentially, the unipolar world is simply a means of justifying dictatorship over people and countries.
It does not matter who takes the place of the centre of evil in American propaganda, the USSR’s old place as the main adversary. It could be Iran, as a country seeking to acquire nuclear technology, China, as the world’s biggest economy, or Russia, as a nuclear superpower.
Today, we are seeing new efforts to fragment the world, draw new dividing lines, put together coalitions not built for something but directed against someone, anyone, create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and obtain the right to this leadership, or diktat if you wish.
A “hypocrisy fair”: "The West should not treat Russia as a naughty schoolchild." Dmitry Peskov, 18-4-2014
International relations must be based on international law, which itself should rest on moral principles such as justice, equality and truth.
Perhaps most important is respect for one’s partners and their interests. This is an obvious formula, but simply following it could radically change the global situation.
I am certain that if there is a will, we can restore the effectiveness of the international and regional institutions system.
We do not even need to build anything anew, from the scratch; this is not a “greenfield,” especially since the institutions created after World War II are quite universal and can be given modern substance, adequate to manage the current situation.
The allegations and statements that Russia is trying to establish some sort of empire, encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbors, are groundless.
Russia does not need any kind of special, exclusive place in the world – I want to emphasize this. While respecting the interests of others, we simply want for our own interests to be taken into account and for our position to be respected...
Article 33. No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against persons and their property are prohibited.
Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishment is a war crime.
By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World War I and World War II. In the First World War, during the Rape of Belgium, the Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, the Germans carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that occurred in them. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices "strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice."
Iran will be weeks away from building a nuclear bomb if it stays on its current path, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Monday.
In his first TV interview since his appointment was confirmed last month, Blinken said Tehran was months away from being able to produce enough material for a weapon, but it would be “a matter of weeks” if it continued to breach the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy, and Tehran has responded by gradually increasing its enrichment of uranium beyond what is permitted under the deal.
Blinken said on Monday the US was willing to return to compliance with the JCPOA if Iran did, and then work with US allies and partners on a “longer and stronger” agreement encompassing other issues. Iran has rejected any new negotiations or changes to the participants in the JCPOA, after French President Emmanuel Macron said new talks should include Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom and its Gulf allies believe any enhanced agreement should address Iran’s ballistic missile program, and its regional meddling through proxy militias in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.
In relevant remarks on Sunday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf blasted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent remarks, saying that Tehran is waiting for the Biden government’s practical measures to lift sanctions rather than speaking of preconditions.
“Mr. Biden's administration should clarify how it wants to fulfill its promise of removing sanctions in practice rather than setting preconditions for implementing its undertakings,” Qalibaf said, addressing an open session of the parliament in Tehran.
Qalibaf’s remarks came after Blinken in his recent remarks said, "With regard to Iran, President Biden has been very clear in saying that if Iran comes back to compliance with obligations under the JCPOA, the United States would do the same thing."
"And then we would use that as a platform to build with our allies and partners what we call a longer and stronger agreement and to deal with others issues that are deeply problematic in the relationship with Iran," he added.
Qalibaf said that the Iranian people are so much smart not to enter a game which wants Iran to adopt practical measures vis a vis mere promises.
Last Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani voiced pleasure with the end of Trump’s tenure, saying that the new administration in the White House should take the opportunity to implement all Washington’s nuclear deal undertakings.
He called on the new US administration to return to the international laws, undertakings and the UNSC resolutions, specially Resolution 2231, and said, “Of course, if they return to the law, our answer will be positive, and if they show their sincerity in action based on the law, the resolution that they voted for and the undertakings that they have signed, we will naturally fulfill all our undertakings too.”
After generations of research lead time and decades of ruling out ever seeking nuclear arms, officials continue to try to predict Iran’s nuclear breakout moment. Monday it was Secretary of State Tony Blinken, now Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz is stepping in.
Steinitz [Likudnik] says Iran could get the uranium enriched “in around half a year” and that the weapons themselves are “around one or two years.” That’s slightly more realistic in that he recognized a difference between the two, unlike Blinken who just slapped a two weeks prediction on the whole process. Blinken’s claim was built around Iran’s stockpile, while Steinitz seems to be continuing Israeli predictions since the early 1990s of hysteria about Iran.
Coming and going predictions of an Iranian breakout, which never happens, makes all these predictions seem especially foolish, since Iran has ruled out ever attempting to obtain nuclear arms.
Jerusalem Post info:Iran, which denies seeking nuclear weaponry, has recently accelerated its breaches of the deal, which it started violating in 2019 in response to the US withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions against it.
The last quarterly estimates by the UN nuclear watchdog in November show that Iran's stock of enriched uranium had risen to 2.4 tonnes, more than 10 times the amount allowed under the deal but still a fraction of the more than eight tonnes it had before.
Since then Iran has started enriching uranium to higher purity, returning to the 20% it achieved before the deal from a previous maximum of 4.5%. The deal sets a limit of 3.67%, far below the 90% that is weapons grade.
The job of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations must have some kind of curse on it as it seems to attract a type of woman who seeks to prove her suitability by running up a tally of how many wars she can start and how many people she can kill.
One recalls fondly Madeleine Albright, who famously declared the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children as “worth it” due to the sanctions that Washington had imposed and enforced. And then there was Barack Obama’s darling Samantha Power, who was the spokesperson for the completely unnecessary slaughter of Syrians and Libyans to bring them democracy. And, most recently, we have had Nikki Haley, who didn’t start her own war but kept the ones ongoing during her watch on the boil...
And now we have Joe Biden’s nominee to be the U.N. ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Thomas-Greenfield might not be a drama queen like Nikki Haley or evil incarnate like Albright or Samantha Power, but she demonstrated in her confirmation hearing before the Senate that she knows the lines she has to speak as well as anyone in Washington. Thomas-Greenfield dutifully spouted the usual cant relating to the Palestinians, which means that she did not mention them at all...
In response to several queries from legislators about how she would work to fend off international criticism against Israeli policies, she unleashed an attack against the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement which criticizes Israel’s human rights record and urges people to support Palestinian rights by pressuring Israel’s economy through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.... She told the Senators “[B.D.S.] verges on anti-Semitic, and it’s important that they not be allowed to have a voice at the U.N., and I intend to work against that…
I look forward to standing with Israel, standing against the unfair targeting of Israel, the relentless resolutions proposed against Israel unfairly.”
Wikipedia info: Linda Thomas-Greenfield (born November 22, 1952) is an American diplomat who served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the United States Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs from 2013 to 2017. Following her work as a diplomat, Thomas-Greenfield became a senior vice president at Albright Stonebridge Group in Washington, D.C. On November 24 (2020), Biden announced his plans to nominate her as the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and to include her in his cabinet and National Security Council. She appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on January 27, 2021. During the confirmation hearing on her nomination for the U.N. ambasssador, Thomas-Greenfield said she regretted giving a speech to a Beijing-backed Confucius Institute in 2019 in which she said both the U.S. and China could be positive influences in Africa.
She largely agreed with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on international policies, raising concerns about China's "malign force" and "debt traps and tactics" in Africa and beyond.
In February 2021, it was reported that Ted Cruz of Texas was delaying a committee vote on her nomination due to those comments on China...
Linda Thomas-Greenfield praised China during a 2019 speech at the Confucius Institute in Savannah, Georgia, The Washington Post reported.
In her speech, Thomas-Greenfield praised China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI) for the “rollout of critical projects in Africa,” including ports in Djibouti and major railways in Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia, the Post reported.
She was also keen to point out China’s cultural strategy on the continent in her speech where she described efforts by Beijing to offer scholarships to Africa’s best and brightest, the Post reported.
In addition to praising China’s cultural and economic efforts in Africa, Thomas-Greenfield offered pointed criticism of the Trump administration’s approach to Chinese investment in Africa, which she described as a “…battleground for great power competition rather than engagement with African leaders,” the Post reported. Thomas-Greenfield also made it clear that a “win-win situation” is possible if China and the U.S. can come together over “shared values of peace, prosperity, sustained economic growth and development, and a firm commitment to good governance, gender equity,” the Post reported.
“In fact, China is in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent,” she said during her speech.
Confucius Institutes are public educational partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries.
The stated aim of the program is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges.
The Confucius Institute is named after the noted Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BC).
Throughout the 20th century, Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders criticized and denounced Confucius as the personification of China's "feudal" traditions, with anti-Confucianism ranging from the 1912 New Culture Movement to the 1973 Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius campaign during the Cultural Revolution.
However, in recent decades, interest in pre-modern Chinese culture has grown in the country, and Confucius in particular has seen a resurgence in popularity.
BDS is rooted in history, not that of Nazi Germany, but of the Palestinian General Strike of 1936, when the Palestinian Arab population took collective action to hold colonial Britain accountable for its unfair and violent treatment of Palestinian Muslims and Christians.
Instead of helping Palestine achieve full sovereignty, colonial Britain backed the political aspirations of White European Zionists who aimed to establish a ‘Jewish homeland’ in Palestine.
Sadly, the efforts of the Palestinian natives failed, and the new State of Israel became a reality in 1948, after nearly one million Palestinian refugees were uprooted and ethnically cleansed as a result of a decidedly violent campaign, the aftershocks of which continue to this day.
Indeed, today’s ongoing military occupation and apartheid are all rooted in that tragic history.
This is the reality that the boycott movement is fighting to change.
Those who had hoped that the unceremonious end of the Donald Trump Administration would bring about a measure of justice for the Palestinian people will surely be disappointed, as the American discourse on Palestine and Israel rarely changes, regardless which President resides in the White House and what political party dominates the Congress... Thomas-Greenfield and others perpetuate their inaccurate comparisons with full confidence that they have strong support among the country’s ruling elites from the two dominant political parties.
Indeed, according to the latest count produced by the pro-Israel Jewish Virtual Library website, “32 states have adopted laws, executive orders or resolutions that are designed to discourage boycotts against Israel.”
In fact, the criminalization of the boycott movement has taken center stage of the federal government in Washington DC.
Anti-boycott legislation was passed with overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in recent years and more are expected to follow.
Libyan delegates in Geneva chose Mohamed Menfi to head the Presidency Council of a new interim government and Abdul Hamid Dbeibah as its prime minister.
Musa Al Koni and Abdullah Al Lafi were also voted on to the three-man Presidency Council, in what was a surprising result that saw some of Libya’s most prominent politicians fall by the wayside.
The UN-backed vote to choose a Libyan interim government had gone to a run-off on Friday at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, after none of the four candidate lists won enough support to secure outright victory. The selection of an interim government is part of a UN peace process aimed at holding presidential and parliamentary elections in December.
"The importance of the decision that you have taken here today will grow with the passage of time in the collective memory of the Libyan people," UN acting Libya envoy Stephanie Williams told the delegates.
The run-off vote was between the list featuring Mr Menfi and Mr Dbeibah and a list with eastern-based parliament chief Aguila Saleh as head of the presidency council and western-based interior minister Fathi Bashagha as premier.
Some Libyans have been critical of a process which they view as being managed from abroad.
The new Head of Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Menfi, has vowed to achieve “concrete steps” in key areas.
Al-Menfi’s approach to tackling terrorism and expelling mercenaries, the most immediate and obvious challenges facing the country, is to strengthen the Libyan security forces and pressure states that support mercenaries to expel them from the country.
Al-Menfi’s program includes reorganizing the security directorates in the governorates and supporting the army and police in building security and military institutions.
Al-Menfi said that he would lay the foundation for a “real” national reconciliation project, with the participation of the Libyan people.
Al-Menfi pledged to support the Central Bank in setting up the country’s monetary policy and strengthening the purchasing power of the Libyan dinar.
He also promised to set a minimum wage, fight inflation, and create a mechanism to reduce public debt. He also stressed the need to preserve Libya’s investments at home and abroad, and to fully harness them to support the Libyan economy.
Through his official Spokesperson, Ahmed Mesmari, Khalifa Hafter, welcomed the new GNU. Analysts feel Salah’s loss in the Geneva LPDF run-off was Hafter’s win. A Saleh win would have relegated Hafter to a secondary role.
On the other hand, as long as a large number of the coalition of the Libyan National Army (LNA) remain loyal to Hafter, he still has effective, coercive power on the ground in the east. Without Hafter’s cooperation, no elections can be held in the east.
Unlike Serraj but like his Deputy Ahmed Maetig, the GNU will have to talk to Hafter to get him onboard.
Some kind of Faustian ‘‘deal with the devil’’ will have to be struck by the GNU to gain Hafter’s buy-in...
The Libyan Mufti, Sheikh Al-Saddiq Al-Gharyani, has criticized the ongoing Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), saying its members don't represent the Libyan people as they were selected by the UNSMIL based on its own criteria, which he said was a very serious flaw.
He explained that Libya’s Fatwa House doesn't consider the LPDF members as representatives of the Libyan people, saying their selection was against Islamic Sharia and legal laws, saying if they can prove that they represent all Libyans, the Fatwa House would support them and take part in the LPDF.
"All those who attended Tunisia, Bouznika or Geneva dialogues were just competing to please the UN acting envoy Stephanie Williams, who is in control of the Libyan status quo." The Mufti said.
Al Sadiq Al Ghariani has been the Grand Mufti of Libya since 2012. He is a controversial Muslim imam of the Maliki school of thought.
Sheikh Al Ghariani has become more prominent after the 2011 Libyan Revolution and subsequent civil war due to his widely supported fatwas against Muammar Gaddafi and public opposition to Gaddafi's rule on Al Jazeera.
Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Gaddafi repeatedly emphasised in speeches that Islamic law was an insufficient basis for modern economic and social relations, and that the traditional Islamic guidelines for property and commerce had no legal standing. In practise, secular policies overrode religion as a source of law. In June 2017, Sadiq Al Ghariani, was placed on a Terrorism watchlist. A number of nations, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt, have issued this verdict.
Syrian Opposition Cleric Sheik Adnan Al-'Ar'our Visits Libya, january 2012
Maliki School considers apostasy that is the act of leaving Islam or converting to another religion or becoming an atheist, as a religious crime. Both men and women apostates deserve death penalty according to the traditional view of Sunni Maliki fiqh and the property of the apostate is seized and distributed to his or her Muslim relatives... Maliki law views blasphemy as an offense distinct from, and more severe than apostasy.
Death is mandatory in cases of blasphemy by Muslim men, and repentance is not accepted.
For women, death is not the required punishment, but she is arrested and punished till she repents and returns to Islam or dies in custody. A non-Muslim who commits blasphemy against Islam must be punished; however, he or she can escape punishment by converting and becoming a devout Muslim.
Libya’s newly selected Presidency Council head, Mohamed Menfi, has arrived in Libya for the first time since he was selected by the 74 member Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Geneva. The LPDF membership was selected by UNSMIL to represent all of Libya.
Menfi chose to land from Athens in Benghazi, rather than his hometown of Tobruk or the capital Tripoli. Moreover, he chose to hold his first photo call meeting by visiting Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander, Khalifa Hafter.
Reporting on the meeting, the LNA Command said ‘‘views were presented between the two parties.
The Commander-in-Chief (Hafter) supported the new Presidency Council and the Government of National Unity (GNU). He emphasized the armed forces’ support for the peace process, the army’s endeavour to preserve democracy and the peaceful transfer of powers.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday angrily rejected an International Criminal Court's ruling that paves the way for a war crimes probe into the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
A pre-trial chamber at The Hague-based court was tasked in January 2020 with ruling on the scope of the ICC's jurisdiction in regards to Israel and Palestine, given that the state of Israel, unlike the Palestinian Authority, is not a member of the ICC. On Friday, the ICC ruled that it has jurisdiction over the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"Palestine has... agreed to subject itself to the terms of the ICC Rome Statute and has the right to be treated as any other State Party for the matters related to the implementation of the Statute," the ICC said in a statement on Friday. Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh welcomed the decision, calling the ICC ruling "a victory for justice and humanity". He also called on the court to "speed up its judicial procedures" regarding Palestinian cases.
But Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu lambasted the ruling. "As prime minister of Israel, I can assure you this: we will fight this perversion of justice with all our might," Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday. "This is pure anti-Semitism."
The scope of the ICC's jurisdiction would include Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank, widely considered illegal under international law.
The Geneva Conventions state that an occupying power cannot legally transfer part of its population into the territory it is occupying, and the International Court of Justice in 2004 issued an advisory opinion saying that Israel had breached its obligations under international law by establishing settlements.
Israelis who could come under the ICC's scrutiny include: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former defence ministers Moshe Yaalon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett; former Israel Defence Forces chiefs of staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and current chief of staff Aviv Kochavi; and the former and current heads of the Shin Bet domestic security service, Yoram Cohen and Nadav Argaman, respectively...
Last night an amendment to keep the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem passed by a count of 97-3. Only three Senators voted against the motion: Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-DE).
The amendment was introduced as part of the budget reconciliation resolution by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN). The Trump administration moved the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018.
“The Trump Administration kept its promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish State of Israel, and it should remain there,” said Hagerty in a statement.
“As former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, I know how important it is to recognize the core concerns of our allies, and it was a travesty that our government ignored U.S. law and declined to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for so many decades.” Although Sanders and Warren voted against the amendment, no candidate came out in support of moving the embassy back during the Democratic primary.
“[Joe Biden] would not move the American embassy back to Tel Aviv,” said a campaign spokesman for the future president at the time. “But he would re-open our consulate in East Jerusalem to engage the Palestinians. He would also return the United States to the effort of encouraging a two-state solution..."
The United States has an obligation to protect Israel, and supporting Israel protects our interests in the Middle East.
President Trump is fighting to restore our rightful place as a leader on the world’s stage. He is working to ensure that our allies support us and our enemies fear us, and he is making good on promises, including moving our embassy to Jerusalem. Serving in President Trump’s administration was the honor of a lifetime, but when I saw liberals in Washington led by “The Squad” and outright socialists, I felt called to act. Their radical socialist agenda includes supporting the anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic BDS movement.
President Trump has worked tirelessly to recommit to one of our most important allies. He kept America’s long-made promise to move our embassy to Jerusalem, and I support his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. I also believe the Trump Administration was right to say Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not a violation of international law.
Enemies and evil-doers in the world have attempted to destroy Israel since its founding. Standing with Israel means standing firm against those who seek to do harm to the nation, and so we must call the BDS movement out for what it is: an attempt to delegitimize Israel.
Israel News - Reform Judaism leader Gilad Kariv:
"State must rethink relations with ultra-Orthodox" Al-Monitor, 9--2-2021
Ben Caspit talks this week with the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism Gilad Kariv.
Placed 4th on the Israeli Labor list for the March 23 elections, Kariv hopes to be the first non-Orthodox rabbi in the Knesset. Kariv criticizes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for caving in to ultra-Orthodox pressure, neglecting his duty to protect the Israeli center.
He says that Israeli leaders must now "establish a new paradigm in state relations with the ultra-Orthodox community".
Growing up secular in 1970s Tel Aviv, Gilad Kariv never expected to become a rabbi, let alone to find himself running to become the first non-Orthodox rabbi in the Knesset.
But now, the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism believes that Israelis are ready to take political action to advance religious pluralism — and pick a rabbi who promotes it. Recent elections have suggested otherwise. While issues such as public transportation on Shabbat and the enlistment of yeshiva students have long made headlines, and a majority of Israelis support religious reforms, such issues tend to become irrelevant when they enter the voting booth.
Kariv, however, thinks that could change... He notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to form a ruling coalition after April’s election (in 2019) were blocked by Avigdor Liberman, who supported a law that would have obligated ultra-Orthodox men to serve in the military. “Liberman decided to present a very strong political agenda around issues of religion and state,” Kariv said.
However, while Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party has come out strongly in favor of religious reform, he does not represent the organized Reform movement.
Kariv feels that it is important that he enter the Knesset to represent a demographic that has long opposed the ultra-Orthodox’s influence.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1973, a few weeks before the Yom Kippur War, Kariv grew up in what he described as a “strict Israeli Zionist secular family.”
Kariv spent his youth reading about religion and becoming increasingly spiritual. In 1987, during the first intifada, Kariv joined with other teenagers to establish a group called Israeli Youth Against Occupation, which pushed against what was then the mainstream political consensus in order to protest Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
“Every week we stood, not in Jerusalem but in Tel Aviv next to the Dizengoff Center, calling for a two-state solution. And people spit at us in the middle of secular Tel Aviv,” Kariv said.
Kariv first encountered Reform Judaism during a trip to the US during high school. After he returned, he joined Beit Daniel, one of Israel’s first Reform congregations...
Asked why he is seeking to advocate for these issues in the Knesset rather than as an activist, Kariv said that he had invested 25 years in his communal work and felt it was time for a change...
Kariv said he was “deeply frustrated by the way our tradition is being presented by some Jewish Israeli groups as a justification for ultra-nationalist, racist views and values” and that he wanted to “present a different Jewish approach” to issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, welcoming asylum seekers and “the role of social values in our Jewish tradition.”
“For us, the fact that equality isn’t a legislated constitutional value in Israel, that’s a disgrace, it’s a Jewish disgrace not only a democratic disgrace,” he added.
The directorate of the Jewish National Fund is expected to meet on Sunday to discuss a proposal that would allow it to purchase land in the West Bank for the potential expansion of settlements.
According to the proposal the JNF would acquire private land, with priority given to land within settlements, land where construction is expected to face few obstacles, and land adjacent to existing settlements that can be used for their expansion.
The organization's proposal gives priority to land in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, the Jordan Valley, areas around Jerusalem, the Binyamin region north of Jerusalem, the South Hebron Hills, and areas adjacent to the pre-1967 border.
When asked about the matter, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said "we believe it is critical to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution."
Price added that "unilateral steps might include annexation of territory, settlement activity, demolitions, incitement to violence, the provision of compensation for individuals in prison for acts of terrorism. We have continued to emphasize that it is critical to refrain from all those activities."
Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of the right-wing, pro-settler Religious Zionism party, praised the reported proposal and said implementing it would be among the party's demands during coalition negotiations. "Finally, the JNF is coming around to its historic role – redeeming land in the Land of Israel for the purpose of settling Jews there."
The Talmud mentions the religious duty of settling the Land of Israel.
So significant in Judaism is the act of purchasing land in the Land of Israel, that Talmud allows for the lifting of certain religious restrictions of Sabbath observance to further its acquisition and settlement.
Towards the end of the 19th-century, the creation of the Zionist movement resulted in many European Jews immigrating to Palestine. Most land purchases between the late 1880s and the 1930s were located in the coastal plain area, including "Acre to the North and Rehovoth to the South, the Esdraelon (Jezreel) and Jordan Valleys and to the lesser extent in Galilee". T
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is one of the most prominent Zionist colonization enterprises. At the Zionist conference held in Katowice in 1884, Professor Zvi Herman Shapira proposed the establishment of a body "that would redeem the land of Israel from foreigners in order to turn it into a national acquisition that would not be for sale but would rather be for leasehold only". The JNF was established in April 1907 in England as an instrument of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) to acquire and colonize land.
With the enactment of the Israeli JNF Law (1953) JNF was registered as an Israeli company and the English company's assets were transferred to it. JNF is held by the state of Israel as a central tool of Judaization.
Today, JNF has offices worldwide. It collects donations from wealthy Jews and others, mostly tax-exempt, in various countries of domicile.
The collected funds are used in Israel for 'development projects', largely on lands illegally expropriated from the Palestinian owners, who are now refugees or Israeli citizens.
The Fund can lease the acquired lands to any Jew, body of Jews and to any company under Jewish control. The lessee or sub-lessee, their heirs, employees, as well as anyone to whom the lease is transferred or mortgaged must be a Jew. Arabs and non-Jews generally, are prohibited from living or working on JNF land. The JNF holds such lands on behalf of "the Jewish People in perpetuity".
In 2002, the JNF was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and special contribution to society and the State of Israel.
Ankara’s acknowledgment of intelligence contacts with Damascus had raised expectations of a shift in its Syria policy, but recent Turkish moves suggest that such a prospect remains distant and Ankara remains bent on cementing its grip on Syrian territories under its military control. Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decreed the establishment of two educational facilities in al-Rai, a small northern Syrian town just across the border.
The Cobanbey Medical Faculty and the Cobanbey Vocational School of Health Services would operate as branches of the Istanbul-based University of Health Sciences, Erdogan said in the Feb. 5 decree.
The planned colleges are the latest addition to a multifaceted structure that Turkey has been shaping in the Syrian regions it controls, reinforcing suspicions that it is there to stay despite its stated commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Astana process.
Turkish statements greeting the new project carried a sense of conquest and Ottoman nostalgia typical to the regional vision of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Cevdet Erdol, the rector of the University of Health Sciences and a former AKP deputy, hailed the project as a “blessed step” by a “Great Turkey” that knows no boundaries but those “of the globe.” Turkey, he said, is working to spread the legacy of Abdulhamid II, the Ottoman sultan who founded the empire’s first medical school in 1903.
The rector boasted that his university had already opened medical and vocational schools in Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and the Philippines’ Muslim-majority region of Bangsamoro.
Said initiatives, however, were part of intergovernmental agreements, while those in Syria lack any consent whatsoever on the part of Damascus as the de facto Turkish occupation of Syrian territories continues.
Not surprisingly, the Syrian Foreign Ministry vehemently rejected Ankara’s new project, calling it “a flagrant violation of international law” and “a dangerous act” aiming “to reinforce [Turkey’s] occupation.”
The plan is legally dubious even under Turkey’s own laws. In the decree, Erdogan referenced an article in the Higher Education Law that allows public universities to open academic units abroad, but the provision says nothing about unilaterally founding schools on foreign soil. Such schools require bilateral agreements that require parliamentary ratification.
Education is only one aspect of what many see as a drive to Turkify the region. Various Turkish government bodies have been building “parallel” institutions in northern Syria in the past several years... Public buildings displaying the Turkish flag next to the banners of Syrian rebel groups have become a common sight in the region, as have bilingual signboards in Arabic and Turkish. Some streets and parks have been renamed after prominent Turks.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed his personal doctor, Prof. Dr. Cevdet Erdöl, who is also a Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, as the rector of Turkey’s newly opened Health Sciences University.
The new Istanbul-based university will control all training and research hospitals across the country, but the appointment of Erdöl has drawn criticism over attempted “politicization” of university administrations. The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) strongly criticized the appointment, saying such decisions are examples of the AKP’s efforts to rule over every aspect of life.
“The naming a political figure as the rector of a university is a typical example of the AKP’s moves to control everything...
These hospitals will come under the control of the party,” TBB head Beyazıt İlhan told daily Hürriyet.
President Emmanuel Macron and the government of Jean Castex drafted a bill to combat the political instrumentation of the Muslim faith. This text is currently being discussed in Parliament.
It revolves around four strong ideas, including the prohibition of the financing of religious associations by foreign States.
No one dares to name these states: Turkey and Qatar, remote controlled by the United Kingdom and the United States.
Indeed, fighting against Islamism in France has many brutal consequences in foreign policy. No party dares to tackle this problem, rendering all the efforts made in this struggle ineffective.
Islam: faith and politics
Mohammed was a prophet, warlord and prince at the same time. The Islam he founded was at the same time a particular rite of Christianity, his policy towards the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula and the law he promulgated.
No one was able at his death to distinguish his spiritual heritage from his political and military action. On the contrary, his political successors (in Arabic: "Caliphs") inherited his authority in religious matters, although they had no theological knowledge and sometimes even did not believe in God. Today, Muslims living in Europe aspire to sort out this Islam, to keep only the spiritual part of it and to abandon dated aspects, especially the Sharia.
On the contrary, President Erdoğan, who officially wishes to be declared Caliph of Muslims on October 29, 2023 (the centenary of the Turkish Republic), is doing everything possible to oppose this.
Erdoğan: an Islamist who became president
President Erdoğan is not a politician like the others. He started his career as a thug who was punching in the streets of the capital. He entered politics in the 1970s by joining an Islamist militia, the Akıncılar, until he joined the militia created during the fall of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan in 1997, the Millî Görüş.
It is in the name of the Millî Görüş that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan played an effective role in the wars in Afghanistan alongside Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and in the wars in Chechnya alongside Shamil Basayev.
Once he became president, he imposed himself as the leader of this movement during the NATO war in Syria. With the Islamist turn imposed on Turkey by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the agency of religious property (Diyanet) considerably developed its hold on the diaspora.
It has multiplied the number of imams made available and has relied on the Millî Görüş, and more recently on the Grey Wolves (another Turkish militia, also linked to NATO, but henceforth forbidden in France
Info from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Millî Görüş ("National Outlook" or "National Vision") is a religio-political movement and a series of Islamist parties inspired by Necmettin Erbakan.
It has been called one of "the leading Turkish diaspora organizations in Europe" and also described as the largest Islamic organization operating in the West.
The term also refers to the "religious vision" of the organization that emphasizes the moral and spiritual strength of Islamic faith (iman) and explains the Muslim world's decline as a result of its imitation of Western values (such as secularism) and inappropriate use of Western technology.
In 1969 the Turkish politician Necmettin Erbakan published a manifesto that he gave the title Millî Görüş. It warned against further rapprochement towards Europe, considering the Common Market to be a Zionist and Catholic project for the assimilation and de-Islamization of Turkey and called instead for Pan-Islamism.
The views underlying Erbakan’s long political career have been remarkably consistent... The movement rests on an urge to build a powerful, industrialized Turkey that serves as the natural leader of the Muslim world.
In 1976 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became the head of a local youth branch of the Islamist National Salvation Party (MSP), led by Necmettin Erbakan, who would later go on to found the Felicity Party. This was the beginning of Erdoğan's career in politics. [...]
A core elite from the Milli Görüş tradition urged all religious communities to unite under one roof. By skillfully handing out favors including political appointments and a share of the economic pie (in particular, government contracts in construction), Erdoğan built a model of political leadership that was strongly dependent on the support of religious orders and communities.
Among the Turkish immigrants in Western Europe, Milli Görüş became one of the major, if not the major, religious movements, controlling numerous mosques.
After the taking over of Erdogan and the AKP the organisation is mainly serving the interest of the Turkish government which now subsidizes the organisation. Diyanet, AKP and the Turkish government practically control the organisations public statements and appearances.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that his country will halt the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) next week in case other parties continue to defy their nuclear deal undertakings.
“The Iranian government is required to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol next week, according to a parliament approval, if the obligations of the other parties have not been fulfilled by that day.."
“Accordingly, inspections beyond the safeguards agreements will be stopped, and this means the supervisions that Iran has accepted within the framework of the Additional Protocol..."
Yet, Khatibzadeh underlined that Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continue and will inform the IAEA of its moves in a letter, reiterating that all the actions done by Iran are easily reversible, provided that the other parties return to their obligations.
iran-deal 2013, 2015
“Unfortunately, the US continues to follow the wrong path of the previous administration, and what is happening today is no different from what was underway before January 20, and the maximum pressure and crime against the Iranian people and disregard for international laws continues today too,” he added.
Last month, Iranian Envoy and Permanent Representative to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi underlined that if Biden decides to return to the nuclear deal, Washington should comply with all its undertakings in exact accordance with the internationally-endorsed agreement.
“It should be clear that the US international undertakings cannot be half-fulfilled. If they claim to return to the nuclear deal, this return should be accompanied by the full implementation of their undertakings with no hesitation or controversy..." Iran signed the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — in 2015.
Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran...
Joe Biden has recently said in a CNN article that he wants a renegotiation of the contents of the deal before he agrees to rejoin the agreement.
“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations..."
In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had stressed that the US has violated the nuclear deal and is in no position to ask for any conditions for its return to the JCPOA...
President Joe Biden plans to shift U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and will conduct diplomacy through Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz rather than his powerful son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the White House said on Tuesday.
The announcement by White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was an abrupt reversal in U.S. policy from Biden’s Republican predecessor, President Donald Trump, whose son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner maintained steady contact with the crown prince.
“We’ve made clear from the beginning that we are going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Psaki told reporters. The crown prince, widely referred to as MbS, is considered by many to be the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia and next in line to the throne held by the 85-year-old King Salman. His prestige suffered a blow after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the hands of Saudi security personnel seen as close to the crown prince.
The Trump White House had found MbS the leader to deal with in Saudi Arabia and worked with him on a variety of areas, such as resolving a rift between Qatar and other Gulf nations.
The Biden White House has been pressuring Saudi Arabia to improve its record on human rights, including the release of political prisoners such as women’s rights advocates from jails.
As for questions about whether Biden would speak to the crown prince, Psaki said Biden is returning to “counterpart to counterpart” engagement.
Iran is positioning itself as a useful ally to US troop withdrawal negotiations with the Taliban. Dependent on both the US and a strong Afghanistan for economic growth, Tehran’s talks with the Taliban could increase the likelihood of a speedy return to the Nuclear Deal and make Iran a strong economic partner in Afghanistan’s recovery after two decades of war.
The US is in the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan – a country they have occupied for two decades. In February 2020, Donald Trump agreed to withdraw all troops by May 2021. The pact has already seen US troop numbers fall from 13,000 to 2,500. However, the Biden administration has said it wishes to “review” the agreement made with the Taliban.
Citing fears over Afghanistan becoming a possible safe-haven for ISIS fighters and worries that increases in human rights will be rolled back if the Taliban are able to regain significant control of the country, the new US administration is yet to reveal its plans over full troop withdrawal. In exchange for the withdrawal of troops, the US is expecting the Taliban to “cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders.”
Torek Farhadi, a regional analyst and former advisor to the Afghan government, told Al Bawaba that Iran’s strategy differs from its role in other places.
“Iran wants to come across as a diplomatic partner in Afghanistan for the US and Russia. They have contacts in Afghanistan for Pakistan, too. They dissociate Afghanistan from the other conflict points they have with other places in the world.” Iran is Afghanistan’s top trading partner, with the total value of trade between the two countries worth over $2bn (nearly a third of Afghanistan’s annual trade volume).
As the Biden administration seeks to find a sensible route out of Afghanistan, Iran as a future regional ally is proving useful. The new relationship could not only see less of a US military presence in the region but could also restore the battered economies of both Iran and Afghanistan.
During talks with Islamist Taliban leaders in Tehran, Iran and the militant Afghans agreed that the US was to blame for the ongoing violence in Afghanistan. Talks between the Taliban and Iran are no longer unusual but they are not a foregone conclusion either.
Relations between the two sides have not always been as close as they are now. On the contrary, both parties were deadly enemies not so long ago.
In 1998, Iran nearly launched a military offensive against the Taliban after Afghani militants and Pakistani fighters killed 11 Iranian citizens, including several diplomats in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
And after the terror attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, Iran supported the United States in its battle against the Taliban.
While Iran regards itself as the protector and leader of the Shiites, the Taliban stand for a radical Sunni interpretation of Islam. But this diametrical opposition no longer plays a role, according to Hamidreza Azizi from the German Institute for Security and International Affairs (SWP) in Berlin.
"On the contrary, it has become apparent that both sides are taking a very pragmatic approach.
From an Iranian viewpoint, the Taliban are simply too influential to ignore. Conversely, the Taliban have not dropped their radical convictions but they have also shown themselves willing to play a political role. That is also clear from their talks with the United States about the future of Afghanistan. And that, in turn, is a reason for Iran to retain contact with the Taliban."
Iran and the Taliban share a slew of common interests. Both are striving to achieve the complete withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan and both are fighting against the so-called Islamic State (IS) terror organization, which has also gained a foothold in Afghanistan.
Libyan National Struggle Front’s political figure, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, said that the circumstances surrounding the killing of the late Colonel Gaddafi must be disclosed and those responsible for his death be held accountable.
"freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity"
“For the sake of fairness, there should be an investigation into what happened in Libya” said Gaddaf al-Dam.
In an interview to Sputnik, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam explained that what happened in Libya was unjustified external aggression.
He said the demands of Libya’s youth that may have been legitimate but did not require what followed, stressing that the country had no justification for the revolution, unlike Tunisia and Egypt.
He said, “Libya was not a threat to world peace to merit a Security Council intervention of this nature.”
He went on to add, “even then, the Security Council did not stipulate an attack on Libya with this massive number of warplanes – 40 thousand air strikes, and tens of thousands of missiles from land and sea.”
According to the political official and cousin of the late Libyan President Mu’ammar Al-Gaddafi, NATO “destroyed a country that was a safety valve for the task in the Mediterranean Sea of North Africa".
Gaddaf al-Dam stressed that Libyans had lived decently and the per capita income rate was the highest in Africa, there was no reason for people to revolt.
However, he said Libya had a revolutionary regime hostile to the aspirations of colonial states.
Forces aligned to Western countries had tried to kill the late Colonel Gaddafi for 8 months, and their aircraft had been targeting his tent wherever it was set up... He characterised the killing of Gaddafi, which happened on 20 October 2011, as “a war crime”, and said an investigation must be carried out to determine who was responsible for his murder.
He said the failure in international forums to discuss the issue of the murder of the late Colonel Gaddafi confirms the hypocrisy of the international community and also the lies by human rights agencies present in Arab countries.
Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam is one of the representatives of the Libyan Struggle Liberation Front, a political movement comprised of diverse members of the former Gaddafi government, and from various Libyan tribes and parts of the country.
Gaddaf Addam was Muammar Gaddafi’s cousin, a special envoy, and a veteran diplomat. In the past he was Libya’s ambasssador to Saudi Arabia, and managed the Libyan-Egyptian relations, after starting out as an officer under Gaddafi. His father was one of the leaders of the Liberation Army, which came in from Egypt to liberate Libya in 1942. (Foreign Policy, 7-7-2020
“There hasn’t been anything like this in the last 50 years or so, maybe even more,” Professor Benjamin Brown of the Hebrew University of Jerusalemtold The Media Line.
Dr. Dan Ben-David, an economist at Tel Aviv University, agrees. “I don’t think we’ve ever been at such an impasse before as we are today,” he told The Media Line.
Many of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox leaders and their followers have flouted the Health Ministry’s coronavirus restrictions, including lockdown orders.
“The majority are good people, but their leadership is leading them down the drain,” Ben-David said. “Their cynicism is unparalleled to a certain extent. They regularly insist on preventing their children from receiving a core-curriculum education [basic secular studies], not just during the corona pandemic, but part of the problem is they want to basically be able to brainwash their children so that whatever they say goes and whatever comes from the outside doesn’t go...”
“They’re bringing down an entire health care system and an economy by just simply craftily violating all the rules and regulations,” Ben-David continued. [..]
“If things are already difficult when the Haredim are only 7 or 8% of the adults, what’s going to happen when their kids, who already are a fifth of the children in Israel, grow up?” Ben-David asked. “Who’s going to be able to pass laws and do anything in the Knesset then, let alone in two generations when, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, they will be half of the children in Israel?” he said.
Ben-David says the tensions between the Haredim and the rest of Israel have only brought attention to deeper systemic problems that Israel as a whole faces, including a “dysfunctional” health care system and an education system that is ranked among the worst in the developed world. “It’s not just the Haredim that are getting a crummy education,” he said.
“We need serious leaders at a serious time to take serious control of this country and put us back on a path that is sustainable and one that has a future,” Ben-David added.
Journalist Nahum Barnea of Yediot Aharonot reported that Yesh Atid's chairman, MK Yair Lapid, called one of the leaders of Chabad-Lubavitch in Israel to speak with him about the upcoming elections.
According to him, the integration between the more haredi-like Religious Zionists and the right-wing nationalists is something which the Chabad community sees as fitting. In 1996, they funded Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's campaign, which took, "Netanyahu is good for Jews" as its slogan.
The next step, Barnea said, is, "Ben Gvir is good for Jews."
Itamar Ben-Gvir is the leader of the Otzma Yehudit party, which is currently running in a joint list with MK Bezalel Smotrich's Religious Zionism party.
According to Barnea, in a phone call earlier this week, Lapid told the Chabad leader he spoke to: "If you support Smotrich and Ben Gvir's party, I will persecute you."
"It will be the end of Hanukkah menorahs on every corner during Hanukkah, and Chabad houses around the entire world. It will be the end of your story on loving every Jew."
According to public opinion polls, Itamar Ben-Gvir will become a member of Knesset on March 23. Just who is this guy and what does he and his compatriots believe in?
They are students of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, and they have for decades preached the same kind of dangerous, racist and hateful politics that Kahane fostered.
These political ideas and messages were once considered illegitimate in Israeli political culture, now they are being advanced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is worthwhile to recall what Kahane stood for and what is being presented to the public now. When Kahane and his Kach Party were elected to the Knesset in 1984 with 25,907 votes, most of Israeli society was embarrassed by the election of a racist, hate-preaching disgrace to Israeli democracy.
A young member of the Knesset from the Likud, Miki Eitan, immediate presented a comparison of Kahane’s proposal with the infamous Nuremberg Laws that were antisemitic and racist laws enacted in Nazi Germany on September 15, 1935..
This was Kahane’s proposal:
• Separation at beaches – Separate beaches will be established for Jews and non-Jews.
• Non-Jewish status
A. Non-Jews in the State of Israel will be without any national rights and without any part in political proceedings in the State of Israel.
B. Non-Jews will be obliged to assume duties, taxes and slavery. If he does not agree to slavery and taxes, he will be forcibly deported.
• Restriction of residence – A non-Jew will not live within the jurisdiction of the city of Jerusalem.
• Prohibition on intermarriage – Jewish citizens of the country are not allowed to marry non-Jews, both in Israel and abroad.
• Extra-marital relations between Jews and non-Jews
A. Jews of the State of Israel are not allowed to have full or partial marital relations of any kind with non-Jews, even outside of marriage.
B. A non-Jew who has a marital relationship with a Jew is liable to 50 years in prison.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu’s new political ally, is one of the most loyal students of Kahane.
He presents himself regularly as being a follower of Kahane and speaks passionately about Kahane at annual memorial ceremonies for his rabbi and teacher. Otzma Yehudit, Kahane’s followers’ “legal” rendition of the outlawed Kach Party, includes a number of self-declared Kahanists... Ben-Gvir’s running mate, Bezalel Smotrich, has made a number of infamous statements:
“It’s natural that my wife wouldn’t want to lie down [in a bed] next to a woman who just gave birth to a baby who might want to murder her baby 20 years from now. Arabs are my enemies, and that’s why I don’t enjoy being next to them.”
His wife, Revital, told Israel’s Channel 10 that she had “kicked an Arab obstetrician out of the [delivery] room. I want Jewish hands to touch my baby, and I wasn’t comfortable lying in the same room with an Arab woman. I refuse to have an Arab midwife, because for me giving birth is a Jewish and pure moment.”
Preaching these racists ideas in any genuine democracy would not be permitted.
They are direct incitement against entire segments of the population. Their rise to legitimacy sponsored by Netanyahu is just one more reason of many that his reign must come to an end.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have sponsored Reuters and the BBC to conduct a series of covert programs aimed at promoting regime change inside Russia and undermining its government across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, according to a series of leaked documents. The leaked materials show the Thomson Reuters Foundation and BBC Media Action participating in a covert information warfare campaign aimed at countering Russia.
Working through a shadowy department within the UK FCO known as the Counter Disinformation & Media Development (CDMD), the media organizations operated alongside a collection of intelligence contractors in a secret entity known simply as “the Consortium.”
Through training programs of Russian journalists overseen by Reuters, the British Foreign Office sought to produce an “attitudinal change in the participants,” promoting a “positive impact” on their “perception of the UK.”
The new leaks illustrate in alarming detail how Reuters and the BBC – two of the largest and most distinguished news organizations in the world – attempted to answer the British foreign ministry’s call for help in improving its “ability to respond and to promote our message across Russia,” and to “counter the Russian government’s narrative.” Among the UK FCO’s stated goals, according to the director of the CDMD, was to “weaken the Russian State’s influence on its near neighbours.”
In recent years, the BBC and Reuters have played an increasingly aggressive part in demonizing the governments of countries where London and Washington are seeking regime change.
Thomson Reuters Foundation spokesperson Jenny Vereker implicitly confirmed the authenticity of the leaked documents in an emailed response to questions from The Grayzone.
However, she contended, “The inference that the Thomson Reuters Foundation was engaged in ‘secret activities’ is inaccurate and misrepresents our work in the public interest. We have for decades openly supported a free press and have worked to help journalists globally to develop the skills needed to report with independence.”
Asked by The Grayzone how Reuters’ participation in UK FCO-funded programs aimed at countering Russia conformed to the news organization’s Trust Principles, spokesperson Jenny Vereker stated, “This funding supports our independent work to assist journalists and journalism all over the world, as part of our mission to strengthen a free and vibrant global media ecosystem to support a plurality of voices and preserve the flow of accurate and independent information....”
Hezbollah has stressed that “participation in the Iran-led resistance axis” is the best means of defeating the trend of betrayal of the Palestinian cause, which has seen many regional states normalizing their relations with the Israeli regime.
The Lebanese resistance movement’s Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem made the remarks on Saturday, addressing a conference hosted by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that focused on confronting the normalization trend.
“The solution is for everybody to participate in the resistance axis that the Islamic Republic is leading against the American-Zionist project,” he said, according to Lebanon’s al-Manar television network.
“Within the resistance axis, we should all try to acquire all the instruments of power and armament at their highest level,” the official noted.
Last year, the US began mediating détente between some regional countries and the Israeli regime.
The drive saw the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain formally normalizing their ties with Tel Aviv in September. Sudan and Morocco followed suit.
Sheikh Qassem said normalization with Israel equals the abandonment of Palestine, which constitutes the Muslim world’s “central” concern, and also serves as “the green light” to the occupying regime’s expansionist policies by legitimizing its “usurpation-based existence.”
The Israeli regime’s usurpation of Palestinian lands and its expansionism have given rise to regional groupings and movements that have collectively become known as the resistance front. The Islamic Republic is a leading force within the resistance axis, throwing wholesale support behind the Palestinian cause and the groups that resist the Israeli regime and its patron states.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) sent an official letter to the White House claiming that all factions, including Hamas, were committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The letter was delivered to U.S. President Joe Biden's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr.
The provisions listed in the memorandum were all agreed upon during a meeting of the various Palestinian factions in September. The letter stated that all the factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, were committed to international law standards, that the PLO is the political umbrella and the legitimate sole representative for the Palestinian people and that the results of the Palestinian elections will be respected and that a peaceful transfer of power will take place afterward if it may occur.
The memo also asserted the factions' continued commitment to "popular peaceful resistance" until a Palestinian state is founded.
With parliamentary and presidential elections set to take place on May 22 and July 31 respectively, more than 2.6 million Palestinians registered last week on the electoral rolls - over 93% of eligible voters.
Egypt's Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Terrorism condemned on Sunday the plans of the "Zionist entity" to build 3,000 illegal settlement units on lands belonging to the Orthodox Church on the borders of Beit Safafa town in Jerusalem.
These construction plans threaten to besiege the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem and isolate it from its surroundings on the southern end, the observatory said in a statement.
"These malicious settlement plans represent a flagrant violation of the early Islamic-era 'Omar's Assurance' that guaranteed the preservation of Palestinian lands and the safeguarding of Christian churches," the observatory said.
Omar's Assurance is a book of assurance written by the Islamic second Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (636 AD) to the people of Aelia, the Late Roman name for Jerusalem, assuring them the safety of their churches and their properties under Islamic rule.
The observatory of Al-Azhar - the world’s highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning - stressed in the statement that the "Zionist entity" is targeting everything Palestinian in order to alter demographic realities in Jerusalem for the benefit of the settlers.
The observatory called in its Sunday statement on the international community to address these Israeli settlement policies that violate international laws, and to provide protection for Palestinian holy sites.
Umar Ibn Al-Khattab Biography
Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (586 – 644) played a key role in the expansion of Islam following the death of the prophet Muhammad (632). Umar was considered a pious Muslim who played a role in compiling the first Quran. As Caliph, he oversaw an expansion of Arab conquests which saw a sustained expansion of Arab rule and the new Muslim religion.
Umar was born c. 585 AD in Mecca, Arabia (now Saudi Arabia). He was an influential member of the Adia Clan of the Meccan tribe of Quraysh – at that time following a polytheistic religion.
Umar was originally one of the bitterest opponents of Muhammad... However, in 616 AD at the age of 39, he underwent a radical transformation after being influenced by his friend and sister who had already converted. After being humbled by their devotion, he became a devoted follower and confidant of the prophet Muhammad. Umar played a key role in collecting all the verses of the Qu’ran and having them published in one book. It was Umar who advised Abu Bakr to request Zayd ibn Thabit to compile the Quran into a single book.
After the death of the prophet Muhammad on 8 June 632, there was uncertainty over who would serve as his successor. Umar promptly supported the candidacy of Abu Bakr – a close associate and father-in-law of Muhammad. This helped prevent conflict over who would become leader.
Though the decision is viewed negatively in the Shia tradition, who believe Ali ibn Abi Talib (cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad) to be the rightful successor to Muhammad.
After assuming the office of Caliph, Abu Bakr's first address was as follows:
" I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right. Sincere regard for truth is loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery. The weak amongst you shall be strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God wills; and the strong amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God wills.
Nearly half of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox and nationalist religious youth expressed hatred toward Palestinian citizens of Israel and support stripping them of their citizenship, according to a poll released this week.
The poll from the Hebrew University’s aChord Center examined 1,100 respondents from ages of 16 to 18.
The poll showed that 49 percent of all religious Israelis and 23 percent of secular Israelis indicated support for stripping Palestinian Israelis of their citizenship.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Israelis showed comparatively less negativity towards Jewish Israelis, with 12 percent expressing hatred towards secular Israelis and 22 percent expressed hate toward national religious and ultra-Orthodox Israelis.
"The study showed.. 66 percent of the ultra-Orthodox, 42 percent of religious Israelis, and 23 percent of secularists 'hate Arabs', meaning the Palestinian community that makes up 20 percent of the Israeli population..."
Egyptian opposition groups announced Feb. 11 during a press conference held in Istanbul the formation of a unified political front for coordination between opposition forces abroad to work toward change in Egypt and to topple President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime.
The front, named the Union of Egyptian National Forces, announced the formation of a presidential council, a council of elders and a higher committee comprising 100 members...
While the group includes some familiar names, its ability to influence change in both Cairo and Washington is likely limited. On Feb. 16, the Biden administration approved a $197 million sale of 168 tactical missiles to bolster Egypt’s coastal and Suez Canal defenses last week. Sisi's hold on power in Cairo seems as strong as ever, and the country's economy is weathering the coronavirus pandemic better than most in the region.
Ayman Nour, a prominent opposition figure, told Anadolu News Agency Feb. 11 that the union prepared a document that comprises 20 items, including preparing a transitional phase to conduct constitutional and legislative reforms and pave the way for the elections during which each citizen would choose their ruler and representative freely.
“Our historical duty obliges us to remain loyal to our revolution and our people, and to go on struggling for the goals of the revolution along with the other national groups,” said Moukhtar Alashry, the counselor of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political organ of the Muslim Brotherood
Ahmed Ban, a researcher on the affairs of Islamist groups, told Al-Monitor that the union is the first of its kind since the outbreak of the June 30 Revolution and the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule in Egypt.
On June 13, 2013, millions of Egyptians took to the streets in massive protests across Egypt to call for the ouster of Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohammed Morsi and for holding early presidential elections.
Morsi had been sworn in for a four-year term on June 30, 2012, after winning 52% of the vote in the first elections since Mubarak's ouster.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has frequently called on Biden to address the human rights’ situation and the crackdown against the opposition in Egypt, which may indicate the real reasons behind the formation of the union at this time,” Ban added.
Gamal Mazloum, a military expert and adviser at the Nasser Military Academy, told Al-Monitor that the new union it will not succeed in bringing about change in Egypt. He noted that the Brotherhood is well aware of this impossibility, but it is using this step to stir action in Egypt and gather more foreign pressure on the state to release the group’s members and stop confiscating its funds.
Mazloum said that the union was formed because of the Muslim Brotherhood’s desire to stir action and chaos in the Egyptian street and influence citizens in an attempt to pit people against the regime...
Dr. Ayman Nour, the leader of Ghad Party and the former Egyptian presidential candidate, said that the decision to hold a coup on 3 July 2013 and oust the country's first civilian president was not purely an Egyptian effort.
[Info: In 2011-2012 the Ghad El-Thawra Party, headed by Ayman Nour, was part of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party-led Democratic Alliance for Egypt.] International players were most likely behind the move, he added, stressing that indications of prior arrangements for the coup were clear during the period between December 2012 and January 2013.
Nour explained that the pre-coup phase was pivotal in the decision to overthrow the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and the democracy that brought them to power. Manifestations of efforts to do this were evident in the run up to the coup with the UAE intervening in the local media and bribing politicians who were flocking to the Emirates to set up home.
Saudi's role was not obvious to many people at the time, he explained, however the decision and planning for the military coup was a Saudi move and the implementation was Emirati.
The leader of Ghad Party said that the UAE had been the main player at the "pre-coup" stage. It had been used as a glove that fulfilled the wishes of other countries in the region which were not happy with the idea of revolution and change in Egypt. Al-Sisi has been and is still a tool and partner in the implementation of this plan...
The Trump and Biden administrations have relied on the work of a right-wing religious extremist, Adrian Zenz, for their “genocide” accusation against China.
Both President Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken have endorsed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s last-minute accusation of “genocide” against the Muslim Uyghur population in China’s Xinjiang province.
But an investigation of published work by the researcher Pompeo relied on to level his genocide allegation reveals a pattern of data abuse and fraudulent assertions that substantially undermines the incendiary charge. The U.S. government’s accusation of genocide against China stems from a single source: a June 2020 paper by Adrian Zenz, a right-wing German researcher affiliated with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and neoconservative Jamestown Foundation in Washington, D.C. Articles by the Associated Press, CNN, and BBC also relied on Zenz’s article to claim that plunging Uyghur birth rates and the application of birth control measures in Uyghur counties of the Xinjiang region were proof of a policy of “demographic genocide.”
While Zenz’s employers describe him as “one of the world’s leading scholars on People’s Republic of China government policies towards the country’s western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang,” he is, in fact, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who has said he is “led by God” against China’s government, deplores homosexuality and gender equality, and has taught exclusively in evangelical theological institutions.
Zenz is an individual with extremely questionable personal views, even ones which push on legal boundaries in many countries. Although people will say that “Ad-Hominem” is not a logical way to challenge one’s views, the extreme nature of some of his beliefs unquestionably call his work into question, as well as the mainstream media’s repeated usage of him, of which they would never consider if it were not for “the anti-China” agenda.
Zenz is a fundamentalist Christian. Whilst religious affiliation does not discredit one, nevertheless the specific nature of his beliefs situate him on the most extreme right of the American evangelical wing bordering on lunacy and outright hysterical.
We headed across to his co-authored book with Marlon L. Sias “Worthy to Escape” with the subheading “Why all believers will not be raptured before the tribulation“.
This as a title is more than enough. Accessing the text on google play books, we found the following: Zenz states that all “other belief systems” to Christianity are “ultimately inspired by Satan” and that “those who reject faith in Jesus will be sentenced to eternal punishment
Yet this only scratches the surface. Zenz’s own professed views on homosexuality are unambiguously hateful, bigoted and completely unacceptable in this modern era. Zenz proceeds to describe homosexuality as “one of the four empires of the beast” and condemns French Philosopher Michael Focult as a “professed homosexual whose writings had a profound impact on the societal acceptance and recognition of homosexuality” condemning this recognition.
The same Zenz believes now that he is on a god given mission against China, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal. This is in line with his promotion of the belief the world is at the “end of times”.
Flashback: A Medieval Crusade, Putin cracks down on NATO, Gaddafi and UN, Pravda, 21-3-2011
Vladimir Putin stated on March 21 that the resolution of the UN Security Council on Libya was flawed. "The Security Council resolution is deficient and flawed; it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade." "It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state,"
The February meeting of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Defense Ministers, the first since President Biden took power, revealed an antiquated, 75-year-old alliance that, despite its military failures in Afghanistan and Libya, is now turning its military madness toward two more formidable, nuclear-armed enemies: Russia and China.
This theme was emphasized by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a Washington Post op-ed in advance of the NATO meeting, insisting that "aggressive and coercive behaviors from emboldened strategic competitors such as China and Russia reinforce our belief in collective security.” Using Russia and China to justify more Western military build-up is a key element in the alliance’s new “Strategic Concept,” called NATO 2030: United For a New Era, which is intended to define its role in the world for the next ten years.
NATO seems oblivious to the changing dynamics of today’s world, as if it’s living on a different planet. Its one-sided Reflection Group report cites Russia’s violation of international law in Crimea as a principal cause of deteriorating relations with the West, and insists that Russia must “return to full compliance with international law.”
But it ignores the U.S. and NATO’s far more numerous violations of international law and leading role in the tensions fueling the renewed Cold War:
- Illegal invasions of Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq;
- The broken agreement over NATO expansion into Eastern Europe;
- U.S. withdrawals from important arms control treaties;
- More than 300,000 bombs and missiles dropped on other countries by the United States and its allies since 2001;
- U.S. proxy wars in Libya and Syria, which plunged both countries into chaos, revived Al Qaeda and spawned the Islamic State;
- U.S. management of the 2014 coup in Ukraine, which led to economic collapse, Russian annexation of Crimea and civil war in Eastern Ukraine;.
NATO’s failure to seriously examine its own role in what it euphemistically calls “uncertain times” should therefore be more alarming to Americans and Europeans than its one-sided criticisms of Russia and China, whose contributions to the uncertainty of our times pale by comparison.
In the wake of President Biden’s bombing of eastern Syria, some members of Congress are speaking out and questioning the legality of the move, including Biden’s fellow Democrats. The Biden administration targeted Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada in Syria, Iraqi militias the US claims were responsible for recent rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq, although no evidence has been presented to back up the claim.
“We cannot stand up for Congressional authorization before military strikes only when there is a Republican president,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA). “The administration should have sought Congressional authorization here. We need to work to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate.”
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) said Biden’s bombing was unconstitutional. “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances,” he said. “Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.”
While many Republicans applauded Biden’s airstrike, some spoke out against it, including Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
“I condemn meddling in Syria’s civil war. I also condemn attacking a sovereign nation without authority,” Senator Paul wrote on Twitter. “What authority does @POTUS have to strike Syria?”
Iraq’s government denied any involvement in Thursday’s US airstrikes in eastern Syria that targeted Iraqi militias. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Iraq helped develop intelligence for the bombing, but Iraq’s Ministry of Defense denied that claim.
In a statement, Iraq’s Ministry of Defense said it was “surprised by the statements of the US Secretary of Defense about the participation of Iraqi intelligence regarding an exchange of intelligence information with Iraq to target Syrian territories.”
Kataib Hezbollah has denied any involvement in recent attacks on US bases, and so far, the Biden administration hasn’t presented any evidence to prove they were responsible. Attacks on the US in Iraq are also blamed on Iran since they support some of Iraq’s Shia militias, but again, no evidence has tied Iran to recent attacks.
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