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)
An especially dangerous threat to liberty occurs when members of the press collude with government agencies instead of monitoring and exposing the abuses of those agencies. Unfortunately, collusion is an all-too-common pattern in press coverage of the national security state’s activities. The American people then receive official propaganda disguised as honest reporting and analysis.
"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."
"The globalists wants to make the world unipolar in order to move towards a globalist non-polarity, where the elites will become fully international and their residence will be dispersed throughout the entire space of the planet.
Accordingly, for the salvation of people, peoples, and societies, the Great Awakening must begin with multipolarity.
This is not just the salvation of the West itself, and not even the salvation of everyone else from the West, but the salvation of humanity, both Western and non-Western, from the totalitarian dictatorship of the liberal capitalist elites.
And this cannot be done by the people of the West or the people of the East alone. Here it is necessary to act together. The Great Awakening necessitates an internationalization of the peoples’ struggle against the internationalization of the elites. Multipolarity becomes the most important reference point and the key to the strategy of the Great Awakening.
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
The US/NATO/Ukraine/Russia controversy is not entirely new. We already saw the potential of serious trouble in 2014 when the US and European states interfered in the internal affairs of Ukraine and covertly/overtly colluded in the coup d’état against the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, because he was not playing the game assigned to him by the West. Of course, our media hailed the putsch as a “colour revolution” with all the trappings of democracy.
The 2021/22 crisis is a logical continuation of the expansionist policies that NATO has pursued since the demise of the Soviet Union, as numerous Professors of international law and international relations have long indicated — including Richard Falk, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Kinzer and Francis Boyle. NATO’s approach implements the US claim to have a “mission” to export its socio-economic model to other countries, notwithstanding the preferences of sovereign states and the self-determination of peoples.
Although the US and NATO narratives have been proven to be inaccurate and sometimes deliberately mendacious on numerous occasions, the fact is that a majority of citizens in the Western World uncritically believe what they are told.
The “quality press” including the New York Times, Washington Post, The Times, Le Monde, El Pais, the NZZ and FAZ are all effective echo chambers of the Washington consensus and enthusiastically support the public relations and geopolitical propaganda offensive. I think that it can be said without fear of contradiction that the only war that NATO has ever won is the information war.
A compliant and complicit corporate media has been successful in persuading millions of Americans and Europeans that the toxic narratives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs are really true. We believe in the myth of the “Arab Spring” and “EuroMaidan”, but we never hear about the right of self-determination of peoples, including the Russians of Donetsk and Lugansk, and what could easily be called the “Crimean Spring”.
Often I ask myself how this is possible when we know that the US deliberately lied in earlier conflicts in order to make aggression appear as “defense”.
Why is it that masses of educated people fail to take some distance and question more? I dare postulate the hypothesis that the best way to understand the NATO phenomenon is to see it as a secular religion. Then we are allowed to believe its implausible narratives, because we can take them on faith.
Of Course – NATO is hardly a religion of Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount (Matthew V, 3-10), except for one typically Western Beatitude — Beati Possidetis – blessed are those who possess and occupy. What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable. What I occupy, I stole it fair and square. When we look at NATO as a religion, we can better understand certain political developments in Europe and the Middle East, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Iraq.
NATO’s credo is somewhat Calvinistic – a credo for and by the “elect”. And by definition, we in the West are the “elect”, which means “the good guys”. Only we shall have salvation.
This can all be taken on faith. As every religion, the NATO religion has its own dogma and lexicon. In NATO’s Lexicon a “colour revolution” is a coup d’état, democracy is co-terminous with capitalism, humanitarian intervention entails “regime change”, “rule of law” means OUR rules, “Satan Nr. 1” is Putin, and Satan Nr. 2 is Xi Jinping.
NATO has emerged as the perfect religion for bullies and war-mongers, not unlike other expansive ideologies of the past....
Personally, I view NATO in the tradition of the village bully. But most Americans cannot jump over their own shadows. Emotionally most Americans do not have the temerity to reject our leadership. Perhaps because NATO auto-proclaims itself to be a positive force for democracy and human rights....
NATO builds on the “exceptionalist” dogma practiced by the United States for more than two centuries. Pursuant to the doctrine of “exceptionalism”, the US and NATO are both above international law – even above natural law.
“Exceptionalism” is another expression for the Roman slogan “quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi” – that which Jupiter can do — is certainly not allowed for common mortals like us – We are the “Bovi”, the bovines.
Moreover, we in the West have gotten so used to our “culture of cheating” — that we react surprised when another country does not simply accept that we cheated them. This culture of cheating has become so second nature to us, that we do not even realize it when we cheat someone else. It is a form of predator behaviour that civilization has not succeeded yet in eradicating....
Who bears the responsibility for this massive betrayal of the world? The late President George H.W. Bush and the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, together with their successors and all their neo-con advisors and proponents of “exceptionalism”, together with the think tanks and pundits that cheered them on.
How was this betrayal possible? Only through dis-information and propaganda. Only with the complicity of the corporate media, which applauded Fukuyama’s idea of “the end of history” and “winner takes all”.
The corporate media dutifully played the game by declaring Russia and China to be our sworn enemies. Any reasonable discussion with the Russians and Chinese was and is decried as “appeasement”. But shouldn’t we look in the mirror and acknowledge that the only ones who should “appease” themselves is us? Indeed, we need to calm down and stop aggressing everybody else – stop both military and information offensives.
If there is a country that cares precious little for the international rule of law – otherwise known as Blinken’s “rules-based international order” – it is – alas, my country, the United States of America.
Alfred de Zayas is a professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and served as a UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order 2012-18.
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) had destroyed Libya and Iraq under the illusion of democracy.
In a press conference, the BBC correspondent described the Russian Foreign Minister’s speech as containing delusions and aphorisms, saying that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not a limited military operation, but rather a Russian takeover of all of Ukraine.
Lavrov responded sarcastically to the journalist’s comment by saying, ”fantastically, we should learn a lot from all the interventions in Yugoslavia, as the West destroyed Libya and Iraq, and all this was in defence of democracy.”
“When NATO intervened in Libya, it contributed to the destruction of the state,” Lavrov told reporters after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Antalya on Wednesday.
“But now it is necessary to contain all Libyan parties to engage in the political process, including the Libyan National Army (LNA),” Lavrov added.
The Russian Foreign Minister expressed his conviction that the Libyan people should regain control of their own affairs in their country.
In July 2021, Lavrov accused NATO of destroying the Libyan state due to NATO’s interventions and policies in Libya since 2011.
In January 2022, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, said that the war waged by Western powers in 2011 in Libya against the forces of the country’s late leader, Moammar Gaddafi, took place at the initiative of the European Union (EU), not NATO.
At the conclusion of a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels, Stoltenberg said, “it was first of all an initiative by the EU. Only after a certain time had passed, the European allies requested assistance, and NATO provided support to the allies in operations in Libya.” From March 19th to October 31st, 2011 the forces of Western countries carried out a military campaign in Libya under the pretext of ensuring the security of civilians in the hostilities that took place.
The attack played a key role in the overthrow of the Libyan regime and the victory of the rebels near the city of Sirte on October 20th, 2011.
On Thursday, former Libyan Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha was sworn in as the country’s new Prime Minister during a session at the Libyan Parliament, in the eastern city of Tobruk.
Bashagha took his oath of office after his government emerged from a confidence vote on Tuesday. 92 of the 101 lawmakers in attendance approved the decision, in a live broadcast from the city of Tobruk.
“We will begin studying all options and measures necessary to take power in Tripoli by the force of law,” Bashagha said after taking the oath.
However, he also vowed to “work together to achieve reconciliation and justice,” saying: “we will work with determination to end the transitional stages.”
His cabinet includes three deputy Prime Minister’s, 29 ministers, and six ministers of state.
Notably, Libya’s outgoing Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba has remained defiant against being replaced
Dbaiba has repeatedly said his administration will only hand over power to an elected government.
He has proposed a four-point plan to hold simultaneous Parliamentary elections, and a referendum on constitutional amendments in June. That would be followed by Presidential elections, after the new Parliament issues a permanent constitution.
Libya has been unable to hold elections since its disputed legislative vote in 2014.
War-torn Libya's parliament rejects any "interference" in its work, its speaker told the UN envoy on Monday after she had offered to mediate in a push for elections. Stephanie Williams, UN chief Antonio Guterres's special adviser on Libya, had on Friday offered to host talks between the eastern-based legislature and institutions in the western capital Tripoli in a push for long-delayed polls.
She has also warned against an "escalation" after parliament appointed a new premier in a bid to oust the head of the unity government Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who has vowed only to hand power to an elected administration.
Meeting Williams on Monday, parliament speaker Aguila Saleh "rejected any interference in the decisions of the House of Representatives and stressed that they are not subject to ratification by anyone".
In a statement on the parliament's website, he stressed that "the appointment of a new government" was legal as that of Dbeibah had expired.
Construction tycoon Dbeibah was appointed following a landmark 2020 ceasefire with a mandate to lead the country to December 24 elections.
Sharp divisions over the legal and constitutional basis of the elections and the presence of controversial candidates -- including both Saleh and Dbeibah -- led to the vote being scrapped.
But Saleh has insisted that his rival's mandate is up, and pushed forward with appointing ex-interior minister Fathi Bashagha to head a new government.
Qatar's foreign minister met Monday with his Russian counterpart in Moscow for talks on Russia's obstruction of a new Iran nuclear deal and on the Ukraine conflict.
Russia and Qatar will maintain contact on the situation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following talks with Qatari top diplomat Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Monday.
"I believe that we both found the conversation useful and agreed to maintain contact on the issue. I would like to reiterate that we appreciate Qatar’s willingness to contribute to efforts to achieve the desired results," Lavrov pointed out.
Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed that the State of Qatar will spare no effort to provide everything that would support a peaceful solution to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis through consultation and work with its partners...
"We also appreciate the fact that Qatar seeks to make the most of its opportunities to facilitate agreements on the issues on the agenda based on the interests of common European security, including Ukraine’s security and Russia’s security and the need to make sure that no threats come from Ukraine to Russia," Lavrov said.
He stressed that there should be no threats to those seeking to protect the Russian language, Russian culture, and traditions, including religious ones, "as well as to those who wish to live in the country without having to face any kind of discrimination, particularly discrimination stemming from neo-Nazi sentiment."
Dozens of children have been killed or maimed in Yemen's civil war in January and February, the United Nations said on Saturday. The children were wounded or died in several parts of the country as the civil war rages across Yemen between Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition. Philippe Duamelle, the Unicef representative in Yemen, said children were always the "first and most to suffer," with the actual number estimated to be higher than known cases.
The Yemeni civil war has claimed the lives of at least 10,000 children since the civil war erupted in 2015.
"Just over the first two months of this year, 47 children were reportedly killed or maimed in several locations across Yemen," Duamelle said in a statement on Saturday.
"Since the conflict escalated in Yemen nearly seven years ago, the UN verified that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured. The actual number is likely much higher." Last November, the UN Development Programme said 377,000 lives would have been lost through fighting, hunger, unclean water and disease by the end of 2021.
The UN report comes as Yemen's war continues to escalate. On Friday, the Houthi movement claimed responsibility for a drone attack on an oil refinery in Riyadh. The attack, which took place early on Thursday, caused a small fire, Saudi officials said.
The incident follows a series of similar attacks on Saudi facilities by the Houthis.
Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the Saudi Aramco refinery was hit with three drones, adding that the movement also targeted other Aramco facilities in the Saudi cities of Jizan and Abha. Sarea said the attacks were carried out in response to the coalition blocking the entry of fuel into Houthi territory, where fuel shortages are worsening.
Under the patronage of President Bashar al-Assad, activities of the 11th conference of the National Progressive Front kicked off Monday in Sahara complex, Damascus countryside, in the presence of Vice-President of the Front, Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Shaar.
Al-Shaar, representative of the President to the conference, said that the Front has formed a remarkable status in Syria and established political and party pluralism and embodied the aspired-for national unity.
“The clarity of vision and insight of the founding leader Hafez al-Assad was the basis for the call to the establishment of the front and setting a correct vision of its concept as its establishment was considered an inevitable necessity imposed by the situation to achieve the unity of struggle and the principles of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party.
Al-Shaar stressed the importance of the role of the Front during the current circumstances in which Syria is facing challenges at various levels, being attacked in more than one side by internal, regional and international enemies to undermine its independence and unity and affect its national firm stances.
In turn, Assistant Secretary-General of the Central Command of the Party, Hilal Al-Hilal, pointed out to the importance of reviewing the past stages of the front’s work, with all the tangible developments witnessed in Syria and major events to which the Arab nation, the region and the world were exposed, to enhance the positive aspects and address the negative ones with transparency and clarity.
TEHRAN – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow has received written guarantees from Washington that Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine will not affect cooperation with Iran within the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Lavrov made the announcement as he hosted his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, for talks in Moscow.
In a joint news conference, Lavrov and Amir Abdollahian rejected claims that Russia’s demand was presenting an “obstacle” to negotiations in the Austrian capital and backed a quick return to the deal that the U.S. unilaterally abandoned in 2018.
“We received written guarantees. They are included in the text of the agreement itself on the resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program,” Lavrov said.
For his part, Amir Abdollahian said, “There will be no connection between developments in Ukraine and the Vienna talks.”
He added, “If we reach an agreement with the U.S. on remaining issues which relate to some of Iran’s main red lines, based on my talks with Mr. Lavrov today Russia will remain beside the Islamic Republic of Iran until reaching a good and sustainable agreement, continuing to play the constructive role it has played since the start.”
Amir Abdollahian also stressed Iran was now a “strong and independent” party in the talks and would not allow pressure to prevent its cooperation with any country. He also called on the U.S. to abandon its “excessive demands” so an agreement could be reached as soon as possible.
Amir Abdollahian and Lavrov also discussed a host of issues, including Ukraine and regional affairs such as developments in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. The Russian foreign minister thanked Iran for its “objective” approach to the war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, and its rejection of sanctions rolled out by Western countries.
His Iranian counterpart, who was carrying a message from Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urging an end to the fighting, reiterated Iran’s stance that the roots of the crisis could be traced to NATO’s expansion, and that Iran opposed the war and called for a political solution.
Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on Friday welcomed Syrian President Bashar Assad in the UAE, saying he hoped his visit will be the beginning of good, peace and stability for Syria and the entire region, state news agency WAM reported.
The meeting, which took place at Al-Shati Palace, came within the framework of the common concern to continue consultation and coordination between the two countries on various issues, WAM also said.
Sheikh Mohammed was briefed by the Syrian leader on the latest developments in his country, WAM said, adding that they also discussed contributing consolidating of security, stability and peace in the Arab and the Middle East region. Sheikh Mohammed said that Syria is a fundamental pillar of Arab security, and that the UAE is keen to strengthen bilateral cooperation to achieve the aspirations of Syrian stability and development.
They also exchanged views and the two countries’ positions on all regional and international issues and developments of common interest, before he was seen off at Al-Bateen Airport by the Abu Dhabi crown prince.
Meanwhile, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid also met with Assad to discuss Syria and other Arab issues,
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid “affirmed the UAE’s keenness to discover new paths of constructive cooperation with Syria, and to monitor opportunities through which various aspects of cooperation can be pushed forward to achieve the interests of the two peoples.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s weekend trip to the UAE should come as no surprise.
Indeed, it is a culmination of a series of events dating back to 2018, when the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs acknowledged that it had been a major mistake to expel Syria from the Arab League and to cut diplomatic links with Damascus.
Then came the UAE’s embassy reopening in Damascus, followed by Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed’s trip to the Syrian capital late last year.
After surviving the early upheaval of war, the Syria-UAE relationship has publicly flourished over the past few years, in defiance of the US.
In early March, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, visited Syria’s Expo 2020 stall and tweeted about the importance of Syria for the Arab world and for civilisation, asserting that it must be protected.
In his memoirs, Sheikh Mohammed wrote admiringly of the young Assad and his desire to build Syria. He also highlighted the importance of Syria to all Arabs...
This could explain why it is no surprise that the UAE has publicly called for the removal of US Caesar sanctions, which impose penalties on parties who deal with Syria.
Meanwhile, with the recent trip by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the UAE, it is becoming increasingly clear that Turkey has dropped its confrontational stance to former opponents, after the Syrian president successfully used the Kurdish issue to partner up with Abu Dhabi’s security establishment and put pressure on Ankara...
POLL: Russia public’s confidence in Putin soars past 80 %
Syrian Arab News Agency, 18 March 2022
Moscow, SANA - A public opinion poll in Russia showed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has received the confidence of about 80% of Russian citizens who evaluate his work positively.
According to the survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the approval rate was on the activities of the President Putin from March 7 to 13 reached 77.27 % and the percentage of confidence in him reached 76.79 % among the respondents.
The survey included 1,600 Russian people aged over 18 and was conducted through telephone interviews.
Minsk, SANA - Syria’s Ambassador in Minsk, Mohammad al-Omrani and Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly of Belarus for international affairs and Chairman of Liberal Democratic Party, Oleg Gaidukevich discussed friendly relations between Syria and Belarus, and means to develop them at various fields.
Both sides agreed to exert efforts aimed at boosting the relations between the two countries at the parliamentary and party levels, and activating the economic and trade relations to raise them to the level of strong political relations in order to confront common challenges and the unjust economic blockade imposed on both countries.
Australian whistleblower David McBride just made the following statement on Twitter:
“I’ve been asked if I think the invasion of Ukraine is illegal. My answer is: If we don’t hold our own leaders to account, we can’t hold other leaders to account. If the law is not applied consistently, it is not the law. It is simply an excuse we use to target our enemies. We will pay a heavy price for our hubris of 2003 in the future. We didn’t just fail to punish Bush and Blair: we rewarded them. We re-elected them. We knighted them..."
As far as I can tell this point is logically unassailable. International law is a meaningless concept when it only applies to people the US power alliance doesn’t like.
Neither George W Bush nor Tony Blair are in prison cells at The Hague where international law says they ought to be. Bush is still painting away from the comfort of his home, issuing proclamations comparing Putin to Hitler and platforming arguments for more interventionism in Ukraine. Blair is still merily warmongering his charred little heart out, saying NATO should not rule out directly attacking Russian forces in what amounts to a call for a thermonuclear world war.
They are free as birds, singing their same old demonic songs from the rooftops.
When you point out this obvious plot hole in discussions about the legality of Vladimir Putin’s invasion you’ll often get accused of “whataboutism”, which is a noise that empire loyalists like to make when you have just highlighted damning evidence that their government’s behaviors entirely invalidate their position on an issue.
This is not a “whataboutism”; it’s a direct accusation that is completely devastating to the argument being made, because there really is no counter-argument.
The Iraq invasion bypassed the laws and protocols for military action laid out in the founding charter of the United Nations. The current US military occupation of Syria violates international law.
International law only exists to the extent to which the nations of the world are willing and able to enforce it, and because of the US empire’s military power — and more importantly because of its narrative control power — this means international law is only ever enforced with the approval of that empire.
This is why the people indicted and detained by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are always from weaker nations — overwhelmingly African — while the USA can get away with actually sanctioning ICC personnel if they so much as talk about investigating American war crimes and suffer no consequences for it whatsoever.
The US continually works to subvert international law enforcement institutions to advance its own interests.
When the US was seeking UN authorization for the Gulf War in 1991, Yemen dared to vote against it, after which a member of the US delegation told Yemen’s ambassador, “That’s the most expensive vote you ever cast.” Yemen lost not just 70 million dollars in US foreign aid but also a valuable labor contract with Saudi Arabia, and a million Yemeni immigrants were sent home by America’s Gulf state allies.
Simple observation of who is subject to international law enforcement and who is not makes it clear that the very concept of international law is now functionally nothing more than a narrative construct that’s used to bludgeon and undermine governments who disobey the US-centralized empire...
You don’t get to make international law meaningless and then claim that an invasion is “illegal”. That’s not a legitimate thing to do. As long as we are living in a Wild West environment created by a murderous globe-spanning empire which benefits from it, claims about the legality of foreign invasions are just empty sounds.
The US ambassador to Israel Tom Nides has called the continued construction of illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank "a stupid thing" that impedes reaching a two-state solution.
Nides, who was appointed to his position by the US Senate in late 2021, made the comments while speaking to the organisation Americans for Peace Now (APN).
The ambassador said that, while he "cannot stop everything", he has been working towards halting the advancement of the controversial E1 project since he took up the post in December.
The E1 project, which has faced long delays due to US and European diplomatic pressure, would see the settlement of Ma’aleh Edumim expand into areas of East Jerusalem and cut it off from the rest of the West Bank.
"I went full board on E1," he said in reference to the Israeli settlement plan. "It is a very important area which if [built] could cut off any possibility of a capital for the Palestinians."
The public comments represent a shift in stance from previous US ambassadors to Israel - especially to Nides's direct predecessor, David M. Friedman.
Friedman, a controversial appointee of ex-President Donald Trump, was a former head of ‘American Friends of Bet El institution’, an organisation that actively campaigned against the two-state solution and donated money to settlements in the West Bank.
Nides described himself during the event with APN as "centre-left",. He went on to say: "I’m left generally, but I put in the ‘centre’ just to make myself feel better."
The UN World Happiness Report for 2021 ranks Israel as the 9th happiest country in the world, but lists the Palestinian territories as the 122nd. Yet, both societies are ruled by the same government, the government of Israel.
The annual report is brought out by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in conjunction with Gallup polling. The authors look at six major positive or negative determinants of happiness: income, life expectancy, generosity, corruption, freedom and social support.
One of their benchmarks is what they call Dystopia. They write, “The lowest scores observed for the six key variables, therefore, characterize Dystopia. Since life would be very unpleasant in a country with the world’s lowest incomes, lowest life expectancy, lowest generosity, most corruption, least freedom, and least social support, it is referred to as ‘Dystopia,’ in contrast to Utopia.”
Palestine is only a little above the level of Dystopia. The per capita income of Palestinians is $3751 a year. The UN estimates that the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories has taken out $57 billion since 2000 from their economy that would otherwise have been there, spurring growth. The Palestinian gross domestic product would be 3 times bigger today without that interference.
Israeli per capita income is $34,185 nearly 10 times greater than that of Palestine. Some of that income is produced by usurping land and resources from the Palestinians.
Palestinian life expectancy in 2019 was 74 years. Live expectancy in Israel is about 83 years.
Again, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett rules both people, directly administering 60% of the West Bank and using the Palestine Authority as his policeman for the other 40%.
Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are under Israeli military rule directly or indirectly in the West Bank and are besieged by Israel in Gaza.
Iran plans to launch its project to link its energy grid to Qatar, in a deal that was sealed last month during the Iranian president’s visit to Doha.
Iran’s Energy Minister, Ali Akbar Mehrabian, noted that the energy connectivity with the Gulf country will enable Tehran to maximise its “hard currency revenues” from electricity exports. The Islamic Republic’s electrical grid is currently connected to seven neighbouring countries which include, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Iran exports electricity more than 10 months of the year, with countries like Iraq, relying increasingly on electricity and natural gas exports from Iran to fuel its power sector, according to reports.
With Qatar being added as the potential eighth country, Mehrabian expressed that Iran will be able to “allocate more electricity supplies to exports in the upcoming years.” The minister explained that a potential link-up with Russia could occur within a year.
Located in the Persian Gulf, the world’s biggest natural gas reserve is shared between Iran, which calls its portion South Pars, and Qatar, owner of the North Field, which is also referred to as the North Dome.
Qatar along with international firms have used the field and transformed it into the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Iran, however, due to crippling international sanctions has experienced a slow development in its South Pars.
Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, a prominent liberal interventionist, and promoter of NATO expansion, died on Wednesday (23-3) at the age of 84.
Born in Prague on the eve of the Second World War, Albright came to the United States with her family as refugees and rose to the highest levels of government service. A scholar of international relations and a professor at Georgetown University, she entered public service as ambassador to the United Nations in Bill Clinton’s first term, and then was nominated to lead the State Department in the second. Albright was a major influence on the Clinton administration’s foreign policy and consistently pushed for a more hawkish and interventionist line in response to foreign crises and conflicts.
As Owen Harries observed a quarter-century ago when Albright was nominated to lead the State Department, “she epitomizes a belief in the virtue of uninhibited American interventionism.”
Entering government service in the 1990s when U.S. power was at its apex, Albright was well-positioned to advocate for that uninhibited interventionism. Especially in the Balkans, she succeeded in making that official policy.
Albright has long served as the exemplar of overreaching American interventionism in the 1990s.
According to a famous anecdote, she berated Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”
That the U.S. military should be used and used often when international problems cropped up was something that Albright seemed to take for granted. In that respect, she helped to lay the groundwork for America’s excessively militarized approach to the rest of the world over the last twenty years. Besides her support for interventionism, Albright is probably best remembered for her 1996 comments about sanctions on Iraq.
In response to a question about the reported deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children as a result of sanctions, Albright said, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.” Albright later said she regretted the comment and called it stupid, but the original comment was a rare example where a top U.S. official acknowledged the harm done by sanctions but still attempted to justify it.
Whether Albright meant to or not, her answer laid bare the cruelty at the heart of broad sanctions that says that our government should punish innocent people in another country to strike at their leaders.
Not only was she an early advocate for military intervention in Bosnia, but she wasa driving force behind the illegal Kosovo war in 1999. Congress never authorized that action, no U.N. resolution approved it, and NATO wasn’t acting in defense of any of its members. The U.S. and NATO went to war to force what was then Yugoslavia to withdraw its forces from part of its own territory.
While it was justified as a humanitarian intervention, the Kosovo war was a major breach of international law, it did significant harm to U.S.-Russian relations, and it helped pave the way for other illegal wars in the decades that followed.
A few years after the Kosovo war, the Iraq war debate was in full swing. Albright penned an op-ed in 2002 in which she expressed reservations about the Bush administration’s haste in turning its attention to Iraq, but despite her objections to the speed of the administration’s preparations she was basically on board with the substance of the policy.
The Syrian community and students at Russian institutes and universities staged a stand at Syrian Embassy in Moscow in solidarity with Russian Federation, its people and its army, during which they expressed their support for the friendly Russia in its defense of the Donbass residents.
Syrian Ambassador in Moscow, Riad Haddad, affirmed Syria’s support for the friendly Russian people in their rightful battle aimed at providing assistance to the oppressed people of the Donbass region and eradicating Nazism from Ukraine, thus protecting Russian national security from the danger of NATO expansion.
“The West witnesses fake media and political campaigns against Russia and the Russian army, and continues to recruit mercenaries and extremists from all parts of the world to plunge them into the battle against Russia,” Haddad said.
He added that terrorists are transported from Idleb to fight in Ukraine...
Haddad pointed out that the methods used by the West against Syria and before it against many countries are used today against Russia, which means that our battle and the battle of Russian friends are one against the West and its terrorist tools to serve their interests.
LVIV, Ukraine, March 27 (Reuters) - Ukraine is willing to become neutral and compromise over the status of the eastern Donbass region as part of a peace deal, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday, even as another top Ukrainian official accused Russia of aiming to carve the country in two.
Zelenskiy took his message directly to Russian journalists in a video call that the Kremlin pre-emptively warned Russian media not to report, saying any agreement must be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum.
"Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it," he said, speaking in Russian.
But even as Turkey is set to host talks this week, Ukraine's head of military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said Russian President Vladimir Putin was aiming to seize the eastern part of Ukraine. In a call with Putin on Sunday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to hold talks this week in Istanbul and called for a ceasefire and better humanitarian conditions, his office said. Ukrainian and Russian negotiators confirmed that in-person talks would take place.
Top American officials sought on Sunday to clarify that the United States does not have a policy of regime change in Russia, after President Joe Biden said at the end of a speech in Poland on Saturday that Putin "cannot remain in power".
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden had simply meant Putin could not be "empowered to wage war" against Ukraine or anywhere else...
The American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War refers to the American-led support of Syrian rebels and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during the course of the Syrian civil war, including Operation Inherent Resolve, the active military operation led by the United States, and involving the militaries of the United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Turkey, Canada, Australia, and others against the Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra Front since 2014. Beginning in 2017–18, the U.S. and its partners have also targeted the Syrian government and its allies via airstrikes and aircraft shoot-downs, mainly in defense of either the SDF or the Revolutionary Commando Army opposition group based in al-Tanf.
Shortly after the civil war broke out in 2011, the U.S. initially supplied the rebels of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid (e.g. food rations and pickup trucks), but quickly began providing training, money, and intelligence to selected Syrian rebel commanders.
At least two U.S. programs attempted to assist the Syrian rebels, including a 2014 Pentagon program that planned to train and equip 15,000 rebels to fight the IS, which was canceled in 2015 after spending $500 million and producing only a few dozen fighters.
A simultaneous $1 billion covert program called Timber Sycamore conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) aimed at fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was more successful, but was decimated by Russian bombing, and canceled in mid-2017 by the Trump administration.
The Obama administration began surveillance missions on Islamic State positions in Syria in September 2014. On 22 September 2014, the U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began to attack ISIL forces inside Syria, as well as the Khorasan group in the Idlib Governorate west of Aleppo, and the al-Nusra Front around Raqqa, as part of the international military intervention against ISIL.
The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. deliberately attacked Syrian government forces, and marked the start of a series of direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies that occurred during the periods of May–June 2017 and February 2018.
In mid-January 2018, the Trump administration indicated its intention to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to counter Iran's influence and oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. On 23 November 2019, the head of U.S. Central Command stated there was no "end date" on the U.S.'s intervention in Syria.
As of February 2021, there are around 900 U.S. soldiers operating in Syria, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The top diplomats of the United States, Israel, and the four Arab nations of Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates pledged Monday to foster stronger relations during a historic summit held in the Israeli desert.
The so-called Negev Summit named after the desert in which it was held was an unprecedented two-day meeting between the foreign ministers of Israel and the Arab governments following Bahrain, Morocco and the UAE formalizing relations with Israel during the previous Trump administration.
The ministers all celebrated the meeting during a press conference Monday despite growing concerns over Washington seeking to revive a nuclear deal with Tehran and growing issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Israel's foreign minister Yair Lapid said they had decided the night previous to make the summit an annual forum to which they would open its door "before all the peoples of the region, including the Palestinians, and offering them to replace the way of terror and destruction with shared future progress and success."
"What we are doing here is making history, building a new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, security and intelligence cooperation," he said.
"This new architecture, the shared capabilities we are building, intimidates and deters our common enemies, first and foremost Iran and its proxies."
Bahrain and the UAE formally normalized relations with Israel during the historic signing of the Abraham Accords in September of 2020 in Washington, D.C. The move was followed by Sudan and Morocco normalizing relations with Israel. Egypt has had relations with Israel for more than 40 years. During those agreements during the Trump administration, issues concerning Palestinians were not addressed. However, they were at the forefront of the Negev Summit, with the Arab nations voicing support for a Palestinian state.
"Part of this process will be renewed efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Bahrain continues to urge both parties to come together and negotiate a resolution that establishes a viable state for the Palestinians and protects the security and interests of all parties," Bahrain's foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani said.
As the foreign ministers were meeting in Israel, Jordan's King Abdullah II was meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and the two reaffirmed their relationship.
A statement from Abdullah's office makes no mention of the summit, but states that security and stability in the region cannot be achieved without a two-state solution. Mohammad Shtayyeh, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, also chastised Israel amid the summit:
"Israel is ignoring the causes of our people, half of whom are under occupation and the other half in refugee camps, and in exile/diaspora," he tweeted.
"Arab normalization meetings without ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine are just an illusion, a mirage and a free reward for Israel."
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said consensus has been reached on some issues between Russia and Ukraine following in peace talks in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, Çavuşoğlu hailed the Russia-Ukraine peace talks, saying that Tuesday's meeting marked the "most meaningful progress since start of negotiations." "The Russia-Ukraine meeting shows the confidence of both countries in Turkey," he said.
The Turkish foreign minister noted that more advanced issued are expected to be discussed by the foreign ministers of both countries and this would be followed by a meeting between the two presidents.
He said he is pleased to see increasing rapprochement' between Russian, Ukrainian sides at every stage after talks.
Çavuşoğlu noted that Turkey encouraged both sides to reach a cease-fire as soon as possible. He also said they touched upon the issue of a humanitarian corridor and the Turkish vessels stranded in the area.
Maintaining its neutral and balanced stance, Turkey continues its diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict, urging all sides to exercise restraint. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it also closed its straits to prevent some Russian vessels from crossing through them.
NATO ally Turkey borders Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good ties with both. Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has offered to mediate between the two sides and host peace talks, underlining its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Having recently called Russia’s invasion an unacceptable violation of international law, Turkey has carefully formulated its rhetoric not to offend Moscow, with which it has close energy, defense and tourism ties.
President Erdoğan has repeatedly said Turkey will not abandon its relations with Russia or Ukraine, underlining that Ankara's ability to speak to both sides is an asset.
The results of the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, which were held on March 29 in Turkey, Istanbul, may seriously imply that the special operation in Ukraine is close to completion, according to Vladimir Medinsky, first deputy head of the international committee of the State Duma.
Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation at the talks with Ukraine also said on March 29:
* Ukraine refuses from its aspiration to return Crimea and Donbass militarily.
* Russia does not stand against Ukraine's accession to the European Union.
* Ukraine's proposals on security guarantees will not apply to Crimea and Donbass
"Due to the fact that the negotiations with Ukraine evolve into practical proposals, a decision has been made to significantly reduce military activity in Kiev and Chernigov directions,” Deputy Defense Minister of Russia Alexander Fomin said.
According to him, the Russian side proceeds from the fact that Kiev will make appropriate decisions and create conditions for further normal work.
Following the talks with the Ukrainian delegation in Istanbul, Fomin also called on Kiev to strictly comply with the Geneva Conventions and exclude the torture of Russian prisoners of war.
Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said that the Ukrainian army had suffered significant damage, which allowed Russia to focus on its main goal — the liberation of Donbass.
Who are Ukraine’s far-right Azov regiment?
The far-right neo-Nazi group has expanded to become part of Ukraine’s armed forces, a street militia and a political party. Al-Jazeera, 1-3-2022
I began researching Syria and the war there in late 2012, and have made seven extended journeys traveling around during the war from 2016 through 2019, meeting with hundreds of Syrians from different backgrounds, walks of life, and opinions as a 100 percent non-affiliated, unpaid, and self/crowd-funded, independent citizen-journalist.
It became clear that what’s been happening in Syria was not a spontaneous, organic, popular uprising against a tyrant, but a proxy regime-change attempt war in the works since the mid 2000’s against the quite popular Assad.
This effort was spearheaded by the US, UK, France, and Israel, using Sunni violent fundamentalists and extremists (unpopular with the majority of Syria’s Sunni population as well as minority groups) armed and funded by the West and regional allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar to start the violence and do the dirty work.
The basic character of the rebel groups was apparent from the beginning: Syrian and non-Syrian fighters most Westerners would call terrorists and be screaming for their government to crush if the same heavily armed groups had taken over their cities, towns, and suburbs by massacring, beheading, torturing, kidnapping, and raping.
Syrians often remarked to me that before the war their country was “almost a paradise.” The middle class was the largest economic sector and growing. Religious harmony was the norm and Christians there were doing well. International investment was increasing as were the tourists. Women were equal or outnumbering men in the universities and present in leadership roles in nearly all aspects of society. Syria had made the “Top 5” list of the world’s most personally safe countries. President Assad had brought the Internet into the country and kept it open throughout the war and the people there knew all that was being said in the West about the crisis.
This doesn’t mean Syria was perfect and Assad beloved by all Syrians. There were and are many problems there which are directly attributed to the government with corruption always being number one on the list of grievances. These internal issues have been exacerbated by the war...
...Now, in 2022, the US/Western media is still saying the same things they’ve said since 2012, if anything entrenching deeper in the assertions of the US and other western governments.
All major articles and stories are still about “the tyrant Assad killing his own people”; and the great majority of the Syrian people who supported their leader and army were made invisible.
That support ranged from total devotion to begrudging acceptance because the alternative, Syria falling to the terrorists promoted by the West, was unthinkable. Anyone offering evidence and opinion different from that of the accepted narratives isn’t just ignored – they’re treated as enemies and attacked by the media.
Introduction: From 2009 to 2012 V. P. Haran was the Indian Ambassador to Syria. It is in talks with the Indian Ink Fountain magazine that he explained how some of the media amplified the revolt, and also misrepresented any evidence of the presence of Al Qaeda on the ground from the first days of the conflict.
- What was Syria like when you arrived in January 2009?
- Syria was a peaceful country and there was no undercurrent of tension. The Syrian economy was doing well, there was over five per cent growth rate on average. Unemployment was at about eight per cent but Syrians who were unemployed could find work in the Gulf. There was, however, a high percentage of educated unemployed....
Bashar al-Assad was a popular leader and this is partly the reason why he is still in power. Sixty-seven percent of the entire Arab world had voted for al-Assad as the most popular Arab person in a poll in 2009. Even the diplomatic community agreed that he had the support of about 80 per cent of Syria. Western diplomats said so as well.
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