He went on to describe three missions facing Israel currently.
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.
Iraq Vets Ask: Was It Worth It?
Martin Dempsey 17-2-2012
Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed while on a trip to London that direct military action in Syria, even simply no-fly zones, might be beyond the US and NATO’s capabilities and counter to their interests....
He said frequent comparison of the Syrian situation with that in Libya, where a “no-fly zone” was imposed following a United Nations resolution, is at best a source of “amusement.”
As far as forcibly ousting the Assad regime, Dempsey said, such a move would be far too destabilizing. He said a failed state in Syria would be the worst-case scenario and warned against allowing armed extreme jihadists and rebels with ties to al-Qaeda to increase their influence...
Dempsey attended John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen, New York, and views himself as Irish American. He has a Master's degree in literature from Duke University, where he wrote a thesis on the Irish poet W B Yeats. He received a commission as an Armor officer upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1974. Fan of the New York Yankees and Frank Sinatra.
Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds,
you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.
William Butler Yeats
Terrorism has never been a Syrian Phenomenon...
Syria has faced and defeated a frenzy terrorist phenomenon by Moslem Brotherhood gangs by the end of the seventies and beginning of the eighties of the last century. Actually some of those who supported such a frenzy phenomenon are themselves the same now who support the ongoing terrorism against Syrians...
Syria, a secular country under the only secular leadership in this part of the world, once more has been the target of terrorism. This very terrorism under many forms: occupation, threats, sanctions, derailed the ambitious plans of reforms and modernization...
Here comes the historic role and leadership of the Syrian Army and its Supreme Commander, President Bashar Hafez Al-Assad.
On the issue of terrorism, President Assad renewed condemnation of terrorism saying that all Arab countries condemned what happened on September 11, out of many motivations "the moral one, we as Arabs, with all our religions, reject terrorism'', secondly for '' human motivations, '' we are the largest people in the world who can feel what it means when a certain people are exposed to terrorism, ''We have been exposed to terrorism with the form presented now, and to the Israeli form of terrorism,'' and to terrorism through its meaning of occupation, oppression and killing throughout history. "Arabs have always been against terrorism, and are the first to combat terrorism,''
Bashar Assad: “The terrorist person is someone who always wants a cover to take as a pretext for his acts. And therefore the terrorist would always choose the extremist rather than the moderate because it is easier to deceive the extremist than to deceive the moderate.
So, the moderate person will be able to uncover this terrorist person and not fall as his prey. This is the most important factor that enabled Syria to control and end terrorism in the 1980s. The way we were able to overcome terrorism in our country is by giving support and increasing the moderate voices that are traditionally present in the country.
We do not encourage extremism because we think it is far removed from the moderate and real text of Islam. Therefore, the conclusion we can arrive at it is that moderation is the enemy of terrorism...
The war against terrorism is an ideological war... And therefore, I have always emphasized the importance of supporting moderation because it is the moderate voices that can combat terrorism....”
The new Iranian ambassador in Lebanon, Mohammad Fathali, renewed, through As-Safir, Iran’s permanent offer to the Lebanese army and all Lebanese security services without exception that his country is willing to provide them with the weapons, equipment and training that is required by technicians and specialists to fight terrorism.
Fathali told As-Safir in his first press interview since coming to Lebanon a month ago, “Since the first moment, we have declared our readiness to cooperate fully with the military at the highest levels and with all Lebanese [security] organs. We have announced this intention to the Lebanese side and we have put no conditions for this cooperation...”
He indicated that “the Islamic Republic of Iran has a long experience in the field of counterterrorism.” He also pointed out that “the fight against terrorism is a collective action. And states must come together in this area. What ISIS and other terrorist organizations in the region are doing not only serves the Zionist entity but also ignites strife and infighting among Muslims.”
Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, 8-5-2013: "What is happening in Syria is a positive element for Israel... [It can mean] Syria's exit from this radical axis, from the axis that doesn't recognize the State of Israel..."
"We have solid principles that any party, regardless of its sect, that confronts the usurping and occupying Zionist enemy will get Iranian support. In the explicit words of the highest Iranian marja [reference], the Zionist entity is a cancerous tumor. And of course there is a humanitarian and Islamic duty to support any party that is trying to confront this tumor.”
Regarding what happened with the dialogue with Saudi Arabia and Iran’s conditions for its success, Fathla said, “We believe that we share ties of respect and good neighborliness, and Saudi Arabia comes in this framework. The contacts are ongoing. And [Iran’s] leaders and officials believe that there should be a comprehensive view for all the countries in the region. Relations with Saudi Arabia are part of this general framework. Our relations with them exist. And we hope that all the countries of the Middle East and of the Persian Gulf can cooperate in a sound way to uproot terrorist organizations like ISIS.
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian legislator underlined that Washington is not sincere in its claims about war on terrorism, specially in the region, and rejected Tehran's cooperation with the US in combat against terrorists in Iraq.
"The Americans on one hand support the terrorists and on the other hand speaks of fighting these terrorists," member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Esmayeeli told FNA on Saturday.
The Americans have shown a double-standard behavior towards the terrorists, he said, adding that the US is not sincere in fighting terrorism. He dismissed any cooperation with the US in fighting the terrorist groups in Iraq, and said the Islamic Republic will act upon its interests in Iraq and will help the country's government in combat against the terrorists if demanded by Baghdad.
In relevant remarks on Wednesday, Iran's Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani lashed out at the US and other western states for their double-standard policies on terrorism in and out of Iraq.
"These countries call themselves as advocates of human rights, but they have brought human rights to a slaughterhouse, how can one believe that the Americans are advocates of human rights while they support the terrorists," Amoil Larijani said, addressing high-ranking judiciary officials in Tehran.
Amoli Larijani underlined that the events in the Middle-East indicate that the West doesn’t care for human rights and democracy at all.
Israel does not want peace. There is nothing I have ever written that I would be happier to be proved wrong about. But the evidence is piling up. In fact,it can be said that Israel has never wanted peace – a JUST peace, that is, one based on a just compromise for both sides.
It’s true that the routine greeting in Hebrew is Shalom (peace) – shalom when one leaves and shalom when one arrives. And, at the drop of a hat, almost every Israeli will say he wants peace, of course he does. But he’s not referring to the kind of peace that will bring about the justice without which there is no peace and there will be no peace.
Israelis want peace, not justice, certainly not anything based on universal values.
The single most overwhelming item of evidence of Israel’s rejection of JUST peace is, of course, the settlements project. From the dawn of its existence, there has never been a more reliable or more precise litmus test for Israel’s true intentions than this particular enterprise. In plain words: The builders of settlements want to consolidate the occupation, and those who want to consolidate the occupation do not want peace. That’s the whole story in a nutshell...
But the settlements were only a touchstone of Israel’s intentions. Its rejectionism is embedded far more deeply – in its DNA, its bloodstream, its raison d’être, its most primal beliefs.
There, at the deepest level, lies the concept that this land is destined for the Jews alone. There, at the deepest level, is entrenched the value of “am sgula” – God’s “treasured people” – and “God chose us.”
In practice, this is translated to mean that, in this land, Jews are allowed to do what is forbidden to others. That is the point of departure, and there is no way to get from there to a just peace...
Disconnected from reality, the majority of Israelis pursue their regular way of life. In their mind’s eye the world is always against them, and the areas of occupation on their doorstep are beyond their realm of interest. Anyone who dares criticize the occupation policy is branded an anti-Semite, every act of resistance is perceived as an existential threat.
All international opposition to the occupation is read as the “delegitimizing” of Israel and as a provocation to the country’s very existence. The world’s seven billion people – most of whom are against the occupation – are wrong, and six million Israeli Jews – most of whom support the occupation – are right. That’s the reality in the eyes of the average Israeli...
This, then, is the gloomy picture. It contains not a ray of hope. The change will not happen on its own, from within Israeli society, as long as that society continues to behave as it does. The Palestinians have made more than one mistake, but their mistakes are marginal. Basic justice is on their side, and basic rejectionism is the Israelis’ purview.
Jabotinsky & Zionist morality
Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.
We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.
There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
Ze'ev Jabotinsky will be inscribed in the annals of the history of the Jewish People as a distinguished politician, journalist and philosopher; a visionary and inspirational leader who fought unceasingly and passionately for the establishment of the State of Israel and the return of the Jewish People. The Jabotinsky Institute
"I concede with sorrow that the baseless fanaticism of our people is in part to be blamed for the awakening of Arab distrust." Sigmund Freud, 26-2-1930
Twenty-six years have passed since the Palestine Liberation Organization officially endorsed the two-state solution. In a painful and historic decision, Palestine recognized the State of Israel based on pre-1967 territory, conceding over 78 percent of Palestinian land. Rather than seize this opportunity for peace, the current Israeli government has chosen to use the peace process as a smoke screen for more colonization and oppression. We still wish to believe that our Israeli neighbors do not expect the Palestinian people to live under a system of apartheid. The desire of a peace- and freedom-loving nation for independence can’t be eliminated by force.
Palestine’s vision of peace is clear, and grounded firmly in principles of international law. This is because we believe that no just and lasting peace can be achieved without respecting the rights of everyone, including both Palestinians and Israelis. In accordance with these principles, the sovereignty of the states of Palestine and Israel, as bound by the 1967 international border, must be respected; and the rights of Palestinian refugees must be honored in accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.
Negotiation serves as a powerful tool for peace, but negotiations must have a stated goal and known parameters. At least in relation to Palestine, the government of Israel does not share the same goals and parameters as the rest of the world. It is time for the world to accept that the policies of the current government of Israel are not consistent with the two-state solution.
Many of our friends remind us of the wise words of late President Kennedy: “We cannot negotiate with those who say, ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.’” Negotiations will be meaningless as long as Israel continues to entrench its occupation and to change the demography of our country in order to impose new facts on the ground.
We ask that the international community stop hiding behind calls for “resumption of talks,” without holding the Israeli government accountable to its obligations.... The attitude of the international community toward the Israeli government must be related to its respect for international law and human rights.
We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done... There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
Israel today is a two-tier society, which dispenses justice to some and creates injustice for others, based purely on race and religion. It is a problem created and maintained by politics...
It is a culture that allows racist attacks and open incitement against Palestinians. A legal and political culture that privileges Israeli Jews over Muslims and Christians. A culture that privileges Israeli troops regardless of behaviour; a system that has made extortion a tool of politics...
Writing about this in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, the journalist Gideon Levy lays the blame squarely on the prime minister. It is Mr Netanyahu, he writes, who has offered nothing but “incitement, scaremongering and supremacy over Arabs”.
The problem goes beyond one prime minister, however. Mr Netanyahu is merely the most successful exponent of a politics that goes back to the rise of the right in the 1990s. In the aftermath of Oslo, Israeli right-wingers recognised that, if they wanted to continue to hold on to Palestinian land, they would need democratic support for such an extreme position.
The narrow nationalism that politicians of the right have expounded since has been deliberately engineered to cultivate extreme positions among Israelis, so that democracy would always put the possibility of peace beyond reach...
It is that sort of narrow nationalism that has come to define Israel’s right-wing. Indeed, it defines Israel’s politics today, because the centre has shifted over the past two decades.
Politicians like Mr Netanyahu are leading Israel down a road to nowhere. Under his leadership, the country that today’s teenagers will inherit is growing darker by the day.
"There must be a cultural revolution in Israel. Its political leaders and military officers must begin raising the next generation, at least, on humanist values, and foster a tolerant public discourse. Without these, the Jewish tribe will not be worthy of its own state." (Haaretz Editorial 7-7-2014)
A familiar figure features in a YouTube video. It’s a 28-year-old economic consultant whose appearance, expression and political opinions match Likud chief Binyamin Netanyahu’s in every way. The only difference is the name: Ben Nitay.
During a leadership debate with Shimon Peres in the run-up to the 1996 election, Netanyahu was asked whether his application to change his name meant he had wished to stay in America. “Not for a single moment,” Netanyahu replied
The 10-minute clip, filmed in 1978 as part of a local Boston TV debate show called The Advocate, presents the future PM as a “witness” as to whether the United States should support the creation of a Palestinian state.
Asked whether the issue of self-determination is at the heart of the Middle East conflict, Netanyahu (Ben Nitay) replied, “No, I don’t believe it is. The real core of the conflict is the unfortunate Arab refusal to accept the State of Israel… For 20 years the Arabs had both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and if self-determination, as they now say, is the core of the conflict, they could have easily established a Palestinian state, but they didn’t… What we’re talking about here is not the attempt to build the state but to destroy one.
“Nobody wants peace more than Israel,” he said. “But the stumbling block to the road for peace is this demand for a PLO state which will mean more war… more violence in the Middle East, and I sincerely believe that if this demand is abandoned, we can have real and genuine peace.”
After being quizzed by members of the studio audience, Netanyahu concluded: “I think the US should oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, for several reasons, the first being that it is unjust to demand the creation of a 22nd Arab state and a second Palestinian state at the expense of the only Jewish state… I believe we should fight for our survival... (source)
The PLO - founded in 1964 - was considered by the United States and Israel to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991. In 1993, the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in peace, accepted UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and rejected "violence and terrorism.
Hamas was founded in 1987 - during the First Intifada - as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. HAMAS has publicly expressed a willingness to accept a long-term cessation of hostilities if Israel agrees to a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
A leading Sunni tribal chief, Sheik Abu Ali al-Jubbouri says he misses former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who favored his sect. (NPR, 25-6-2014)
Naimi’s comments come after embattled Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki refused to give up his quest for a controversial third term in office.
“I will never give up my candidacy for the post of prime minister. I will remain a soldier, defending the interests of Iraq and its people,” he said in a statement on Friday in response to an earlier offer by Sunni rival Osama Al-Nujaifi to facilitate the establishment of a new government. Nujaifi, leader of the Mutahidoun coalition, had said that he would agree not to seek another term of Speaker of Parliament if Maliki agreed not to seek another term in office.
The Iraqi Tribal Rebels is a shadowy coalition of Iraqi Sunni Arab tribes, mostly present in the Sunni-majority provinces of Anbar, Diyala, Karbala, Nineveh, Salah Al-Din and Kirkuk, where dissatisfaction towards the policies of the Maliki government have peaked. Observers are unclear over the precise nature of the relationship between Iraq’s anti-government Sunni Arab tribes and Sunni militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which last week announced the establishment of an Islamic caliphate comprising territory in eastern Syria and western Iraq.
While both sides oppose the Mailki government, which Iraq’s Sunnis claim has pursued a policy of sectarianism, it is not clear whether Sunni tribesman are fighting directly alongside ISIS against the government or are exploiting the presence of the Islamist militant group to launch a separate insurgency.
“We are Iraqis and we side with our people, whether they are Shi’ites, Sunnis—whether Arabs, Kurds or Turkmen—and Christians. We do not wish to establish sectarian rule like Maliki and his group did,” Naimi told Asharq Al-Awsat. “We will seek to eliminate ISIS after we realize our goals of getting rid of Maliki,” the Iraqi Tribal Rebels spokesman added.
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, head of the al-Arabiya Coalition, has said that a political solution is the only way to unite the positions of Shiites and Sunni tribes and isolate armed groups.
In an interview with Al-Monitor, Mutlaq said it had been a mistake to accept the post of deputy prime minister within the context of partisan and sectarian agreements. He affirmed that the policies of oppression and marginalization from which the Sunnis suffered are what pushed them to call for their own region.
- Al-Monitor: The surprising agreement among Sunni forces to enter parliament in a single coalition drew the attention of observers. How did that happen?
- Mutlaq: We do not believe in any alliances that are built on sectarian, ethnic or doctrinal bases. The primary foundation of our alliance is nationalism and public interest as well as achieving the demands of citizens.
We exerted as much effort as possible prior to the elections to find a cross-sectarian national front, yet other forces were — and still are — insistent on dividing the people of a single nation into various groups, sects and races. Our final alliance was based on the importance of consensus and implementing the demands of the provinces that held sit-ins and demanded the preservation of their residents' dignity.
- Al-Monitor: Do you have a vision for a way out of the crisis Iraq is experiencing? You stress a political solution, but can a terrorist group like the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS, now calling itself the Islamic State] be confronted through politics alone?
- Mutlaq: A political solution can unite the positions of Shiites and Sunni tribes. This will provide a chance to first isolate armed groups and then fight them and expel them easily, as happened in previous years when the authentic Iraqi tribes came together and expelled al-Qaeda overnight. Moreover, a political solution can contribute to lifting the injustice from large segments of Iraqi society and restoring their rights, which they lost as a result of unjust decisions and laws put in place during the days of the occupation. [These decisions and laws] became a sword hanging on the necks of the people, and canceling these laws will necessarily lead to unifying Iraqi society and strengthening national unity again.
- Al-Monitor: How do you view the demands for a Sunni region? Do you believe they can be realized? If they were realized, how do you see the future of Iraq? Do you think that Iraq is headed toward division?
- Mutlaq: Sunni forces, including both political and popular forces, do not think that they can impose a demand for establishing a region on a sectarian basis. [The Sunni forces] are an outspoken advocate for the unity of Iraq. Were it not for the policies of oppression, marginalization, displacement, unjustified arrests and the looting of rights — which were an inherent feature of the era of the current government — these voices would not have raised this demand.
- Al-Monitor: There is talk about Sunni extremist organizations, as well as other nonextremist ones and tribal organizations. If it is true, how can one make distinctions between ISIS and the rest of the factions on the ground? Do you think this is possible? And how?
- Mutlaq: Extremism exists in Iraq and is not limited to one sect alone. Yet, the faulty policies are what isolated the government from the people in Sunni regions and provinces and allowed armed groups to enter to try and fill the vacuum. As for how to separate ISIS and other terrorist organizations from the tribes and angered people, this lies in fulfilling the demands of the masses in these provinces. I don't think that [achieving these demands] is difficult or impossible...
Saleh al-Mutlaq 2012: "It should be noted that Maliki would not have been appointed as prime minister had it not been for US [intervention] in the first place and Iranian [intervention] in the second. All previous facts indicated that Maliki did not have any chance to renew his mandate. All parties were against him in taking over the post of prime minister. However he was appointed to the post by Iran, and the US then approved this appointment because it served its interests. (Al-Monitor, 17-1-2012)
TEHRAN - Iran said on Sunday it supports Nuri al-Maliki's bid to stay on as Iraq's premier, but that it is ready to back any other candidate chosen by the Iraqi parliament.
Maliki's "State of Law coalition won first place in the last legislative elections... (and) any decision that is taken in Iraq and has the support of parliament has Iran's backing," said Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
"If Mr Maliki is chosen as prime minister, we will work hard together. If another person is chosen by parliament, the Islamic Republic of Iran will also support them. It's an internal affair for Iraq," he said.
Shiite-dominated Iran has said it is willing to provide Iraq advice and military assistance in the fight with Sunni insurgents who have now declared an Islamic caliphate. The Islamic State (IS) militants overran large chunks of Iraqi territory last month and have declared there own caliphate.
The militant offensive, which led Iraqi troops to abandon their posts, has emboldened Kurdish leaders to press for independence of their autonomous northern region.
Tehran opposes a breakup of Iraq, denouncing it as an Israeli plot.
"We will never allow (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's dreams about the disintegration of Iraq and the region to come true," Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday. He added that Iran had warned Iraq's Kurdish leaders against separatism, saying it was "in nobody's interest".
Amir-Abdollahian also criticised the United States for doing "nothing concrete to fight against terrorism". In addition, he said the "role of Saudi Arabia in the events of the region, including Syria and Iraq, is not positive."
Flashback 2011: The Kurdish connection
Guy Bechor, YNet News, 3-8-2011
Rather than securing Mideastern hegemony, Turkey itself may fall apart. This is the case after the Kurdish leadership in the country declared on July 15 the establishment of a democratic Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey, with its capital in Diyarbakir. When Erdogan heard about the declaration he was furious, as the possible future implication of this is Turkey’s collapse.
In Syria, that very same day, we saw another important development. For the first time, a Kurdish liaison committee was established that brings together all the new Kurdish parties in Syria on the basis of the “Kurdish people’s unity.” They demand Kurdish autonomy in the wake of the Assad regime or at least a federation within Syria.
The Syrian Kurds enjoy a particularly sympathetic home front in the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. Slowly, the pieces of the Turkish puzzle in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran are connecting into a giant state that will be home to 18 million people. At this time already, the Kurdish region of Iraq is in fact a state with its own flag, leadership and sovereignty.
If the two million Palestinians in Judea and Samaria deserve a state, why shouldn’t there be a state for the 18 million Kurds? We can now understand the kind of dilemma faced by the four above-mentioned states – Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey – with the notion of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state. They realize that if today the Palestinians do it, the clear implication is that tomorrow the Kurds may have a UN majority. Suddenly these states understand: If they screw Israel, they screw themselves too.
And another thing: The Kurdish state will be a close ally of Israel, just like South Sudan. The Kurds are close to Israel and view it as a twin sister with a difficult history and non-Arabic identity.
What we see are four states hostile to Israel in one way or another that will have to fall apart in order to give rise to an ally of Israel.
A gift for Israel
Times of Israel, 10-8-2013
While Turkey, Iraq, and other countries balk at indications of increased Kurdish self-rule, an independent Kurdish state in the Middle East would be a gift for Israel, many Kurdish and Israeli experts believe.
“Kurds are deeply sympathetic to Israel and an independent Kurdistan will be beneficial to Israel,” argued Kurdish journalist Ayub Nuri in July. “It will create a balance of power. Right now, Israel is one country against many. But with an independent Kurdish state, first of all Israel will have a genuine friend in the region for the first time, and second, Kurdistan will be like a buffer zone in the face of the Turkey, Iran and Iraq.”
The Kurds are the world’s largest stateless nation, numbering well over 30 million spread across Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq, according to figures in the CIA Factbook, though exact population numbers are hard to pin down...
America, after investing so much blood and treasure into keeping the Iraqi state together after Saddam’s downfall, is not interested in seeing it fracture along ethnic lines. The Americans “want to keep the political map of the region as it is,” noted Saadi. On this issue, Israeli interests run counter to the current American position.
Photo Gili Yaari: Israelis show their support for the Kurdish people in a Tel Aviv demonstration. September 2013
CAIRO - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned the independence of Iraq's Kurdish region would be "catastrophic" and cause the Middle East to splinter along ethnic and religious lines, newspapers reported Monday.
A Sunni militant offensive that drove soldiers out of northern Iraq last month has emboldened leaders of the country's three-province Kurdish region to push for an independence referendum. But Sisi said such a move would be a disaster for the region...
The move is part of a "terrible plot" that was aimed at "redrawing the region on religious and ethnic grounds," he said in the remarks published on Monday.
The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Massud Barzani, asked its parliament on Thursday to start organising a referendum on the long-held dream of independence. The Kurdistan region has long been at odds with Iraq's federal government over numerous issues, especially what Kurdish politicians say are delayed and insufficient budget payments to the region this year.
The Anbar tribal council on Tuesday (July 8th) said it has rejected a call from the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) for them to swear allegiance to the group. Instead, the tribes have decided to continue to fight ISIL, it said.
"The council held an emergency meeting attended by 45 tribal chiefs representing Anbar after ISIL distributed flyers last night calling on them to swear allegiance and support it," council head Sheikh Rafih al-Fahdawi told Al-Shorfa. The flyers threatened to kill those who refuse, he added.
The council has unanimously voted to refuse swearing allegiance to ISIL or dealing or co-operating with the group. The army command in Anbar told the tribes it would provide them with protection and the weapons necessary to defend themselves, he said.
Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003: "The despot thinks he is just as God.., capable of ordering everything to be as he wants it to be. What a nadir and mean fate! The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people, confiscate their decision, and legitimate freedom and choices given that they were born free. People were indeed freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people."
Al-Anbar province & Tribal Military Councils
Turkish Weekly, 24-6-2014
Al-Anbar province, which constitutes the western part of Iraq along much of the Syrian border, is one of the places where tribal traditions have been quite strong. Fallujah, the biggest city of the province, has a tribal society with the tribe playing an important role in the decision-making process of the individuals and it works as a bloc vote. This sociological aspect of tribalism has played a crucial role in the balance of politics and security in the city....
The Tribal Military Councils are a new set of actors who were created by Al-Anbar’s anti-Maliki tribes...
The Tribal Revolutionary Military Councils were established in several Sunni provinces as a reaction to the Maliki government’s violent break up of the widespread demonstrations. Many members of these groups often blame Maliki’s suppression of these protests as a reason for their decision to go a more militant route. Their members are generally resistance groups of the American invasion, or ex-bureaucrats and military officers of the Baath era. One of the most active military councils was founded in Al-Anbar province during the unrest in the beginning of 2014 under the name of the Military Council of Anbar Tribal Revolutionaries (MCATR).
One of the most influential and powerful organization of this type is the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries, whose stronghold is Mosul. The group is associated with the Muslim Scholars’ Association a group that consists of Sunni scholars and is led by Sheikh Harith Sulayman al-Dhari, a prominent Sunni scholar who is accused of terrorism by the Maliki government.
He said to Al Jazeera that “Iraq’s Sunnis feel marginalized because [of] policies in Iraq… He [Maliki] adopted a policy of marginalization and exclusion and used all forms of cruelty at his disposal against the Sunnis.” The Association rejects sectarianism and terrorism, has organized joint Sunni-Shiite prayers and was fiercely against the American invasion.
Spokesman for the General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries Muzhir al Qaisi told BBC that Mosul was too big a city for ISIS to have taken alone and that his council is stronger than ISIS. He also differentiates his council from ISIS as follows: “we are organized, we fight with rules, with the Geneva Convention, those are barbarians.”
"Baath" and "Naqshbandi" Militants wage assassinations campaign
against leaders of ISIL organization in Diyala
Shafaq News, Wednesday, 09 July 2014
A security source in Diyala province reported on Wednesday, that the elements of the outlawed Baath party and the "Naqshbandi", organization began a campaign
of assassinations against the princes and the leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant “ISIL” organization in areas that they have joint control in the province.
The source said in an interview with "Shafaq News", that “ armed factions linked to the former Baath Party, and the other belonging to the "Naqshbandi" organization began waging a war of assassinations against leaders of ISIL organization in Diyala. He added that ISIL organization has lost in two weeks two leaders and a number of their companions and assistants, it seems that these armed factions have a hand in it.
An official source said last Sunday to “Shafaq News" that there are signs of fighting between armed factions because of disagreements on the interest and the management of the so-called Islamic state of al-Saadia.
Tikrit, Mosul cities and a number of regions in Kirkuk, Diyala, Anbar and Salahuddin are still controlled by ISIL organization and its allies since the tenth of current June.
ISIL assassinates former allies: Anbar
Anbar province on Wednesday (July 9th) accused the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) of killing the leaders of armed factions that fought alongside it but refused to swear allegiance to ISIL chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his "caliphate".
The security authorities have information about assassinations of "leaders of armed factions that refused to swear allegiance to ISIL", provincial council media advisor Khalil al-Alwani told Al-Shorfa. Over the past few days, members of these factions have been killed in Anbar, Ninawa, Baghdad and Salaheddine provinces, he said.
"This is a proof that ISIL is rejected by armed factions that have recently appeared in the country," al-Alwani said. Other reports indicate that some of these armed factions have abandoned ISIL battlefields, he said.
Tribal Revolutionaries spokesman Raad Abdul Sattar Suleiman:
"The important thing is to save Iraq from the Iranians"
Asharq Al-Awsat, 9-7-2014
Iraqi Tribal Revolutionaries spokesman Sheikh Raad Abdul Sattar Suleiman, a senior member of the Dulaim tribe —which has over 3 million members in Iraq— told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Iraqis are prepared to accept help from any party in order to defeat the gang that is ruling Iraq. We are Iraqis. We can change Maliki and his rule, and we will change the whole political process in Iraq.”
As for the relations between the Iraqi Tribal Revolutionaries and ISIS, Suleiman acknowledged that “there is coordination,” contradicting previous statements from the tribal coalition that it is not affiliated to the militant group...
“We told them [ISIS], via intermediaries, that the time was not right for the announcement of a caliphate and that our aim is to enter Baghdad and cleanse it from this government. We asked their leaders to inform [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi that only after this has been achieved will we declare him as caliph . . . But at this time, we do not support the caliphate as we have yet to enter Baghdad. That is our next objective.”
“We will not fight ISIS over minor details, such as the caliphate and so on... The important thing is to save Iraq from the Iranians,” he added.
The Dulaim tribe is composed of more than 1000 clans, found mostly in Iraq and Syria. The Dulaimis had a big role in founding the modern Iraqi state. They contributed to the stability in political and economic situation and the emergence of institutions of the modern state from army and police and other services especially during the monarchy period and during the rule of president Abdul Salam Arif Al-Jumaili. During the Saddam era the Dulaimis formed 10% to 20% of the Iraqi army (Iraqi Republican Guard).
Dulaim is the largest tribe in Anbar province, which formed the nucleus of the resistance\insurgency against U.S. forces in Iraq. The events of the war and the bombing of Fallujah and targeting the Sunnis in Baghdad and Basra and many other reasons pushed the Sunni Dulaimi clans to carry weapons against Iraqi government and U.S. forces in Iraq.
Sheikh Ali Hatim Al-Suleiman is the leader of the Dulaim tribe. (Wikipedia info)
Syria's Western-backed opposition National Coalition elected Hadi al-Bahra, chief negotiator at the Geneva peace talks, as its new president following a three-day meeting in Istanbul, the coalition said on Wednesday.
Bahra, a U.S-trained industrial engineer, will replace Ahmad Jarba, who has served the maximum two six-month terms. Like Jarba, Bahra has close ties to Saudi Arabia.
(El-Bahra was born in Damascus in 1959, and spent most of his adult life in Saudi Arabia, where he managed several hospitals and businesses.)
"Hadi al-Bahra wins coalition presidency by 62 votes," a post on the Coalition's Facebook page said on Wednesday.
While designated as the main body representing the opposition by the United States and other key powers, the National Coalition has little power inside Syria where disparate militant groups outside its control hold ground.
Damascus, SANA-Minster of Social Affairs Kinda al-Shammat said the government is keenly interested that the humanitarian relief file not be politicized and retains its humanitarian and social dimensions.
Al-Shammat was speaking during a meeting on Thursday of the Higher Relief Committee which she chairs.
Some countries with professed enmity to Syria are trying to push for UN Security Council resolutions that encroach on the Syrian sovereignty, added al-Shammat, citing a recent incident in Yarmouk refugee camp where armed groups hampered aid deliveries.
The minister also pointed to grave transgressions by terrorists in al-Raqqa city where terrorists run amok.
(DAMASCUS, Syria) - Last month, half-heartedly and without unanimity among its 28 member states, the European Union levied yet more sanctions on Syrian officials.
Passed under pressure from the usual suspects (the US, France, Britain, and the international Zionist lobby), the EU measure targets 12 government ministers, none of whom wields or holds police authority of any type.
Not a single one of these individuals has any capacity or wherewithal—or even any interest—in committing “serious human rights violations,” as the measure accuses them of having carried out. It is a charge that amounts to defamation of character and which the EU made without offering a scintilla of evidence...
The measure puts the officials under an EU travel ban and asset freeze, and it also raises to 191 the number of Syrian government employees, along with 53 companies, now being targeted by EU sanctions.
The impact of EU and western sanctions on the Syrian economy has been severe—this is well known. Heavy fighting has damaged or destroyed economic infrastructure, significantly impeding normal access to sources of income for average Syrians. In addition, internal distribution and supply networks have been disrupted if not destroyed; currency depreciation has devastated purchasing power; and the heavy US, EU and Arab League sanctions have hampered imports and exports. Even the import of items not subject to the sanctions has been restricted by the sanctions on financial transactions, while tourism revenue, for example, has all but disappeared.
The ministers targeted tend to be technocrats, specialists in their field of work; they are not major government policy makers. Some are involved in humanitarian work, and some of them are ministers whose efforts in this regard have made them quite popular with Syrian people, both at home and abroad. One of these is Kinda al-Shammat, who heads Syria’s Ministry of Social Affairs.
Minister Shammat works closely with the U.N. and other aid agencies operating on the ground in Syria, her efforts facilitating the delivery of assistance to millions of internally displaced Syrians. The UN has hundreds of aid workers working with the Syrian government through her. She has never been involved in “serious human rights violations,” but she is a well-known human rights advocate.
Ms. Shammat holds a PhD in Private Law from the University of Damascus, where she teaches, and she has also worked with the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs, the General Union of Syrian Women, and the UN Development Fund. In the latter capacity she served as a legal expert in family affairs and violence against women, and in 2012 she was also a member of the committee that amended the Syrian constitution.
Ms. Shammat first came to this observer’s attention for her continued dedication to getting aid to Palestinian refugees trapped inside Yarmouk camp during the current crisis.
She survived an assassination attempt by rebels opposed to her views on women rights, and some suggest that she became a target for al-Qaeda types last year when Damascus University banned the wearing of total full face veils. It was a decision she openly welcomed at the time, saying that it was in line with the Syrian belief in moderation. “We in Syria have never gone to the extreme left or the extreme right,” she told Al-Arabiya TV.
Kinda al-Shammat is surely one of the last officials, in Syria or anywhere else, who would warrant EU sanctions against her, and it is deeply egregious that she should be targeted, along with her colleagues, without any proof of wrongdoing.
Some have pointed to the curious timing of this latest round of sanctions, so soon after the presidential election, and have suggested that in reality it is a form of collective punishment of the Syrian people — for daring to vote the wrong way, or in a way disapproved of by the EU and the rest of the West.
The EU has spoken piously of “Cultural Heritage—our debt to the past, our promise to the future,” and claims that it seeks to “promote culture as a catalyst for creativity,” but its actions last month belie this. If it truly seeks to implement its claimed humanitarian values, the EU should work to open the paths of these Syrian officials, not close them...
Syria and her hardworking public servants will survive these gratuitous political sanctions, but the sanctions likely will remain an indelible stain on the EU and its claimed humanitarian principles for a long time to come.
Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director of the Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. Lamb has been a Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon. He earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil, and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics.
The Iraqi Ministry of Sports and Youth is organising a mass rally at Baghdad's Al-Shaab International Stadium on July 13th to send the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) a message of defiance and rejection of ISIL's ban on watching football, officials told Mawtani.
The rally will bring Iraqis together to watch the final match of the FIFA World Cup in defiance of an ISIL "ruling" that prohibits them from playing the sport or watching it on television, they said.
ISIL and al-Qaeda have committed outrageous crimes against athletes and sports fans and are attempting to eradicate sports in areas they claim to control, observers said, adding that these attempts go against Islam and the Iraqis' long history of love of football and sports in general.
"Iraqis are the Asia Champions in football, and our national team, known as the Lions of the Two Rivers, are Iraq's international symbol and our sports ambassadors," said Alaa Shaker, 30, a resident of Baghdad. "This man called al-Baghdadi does not know what he is talking about and is unaware of the extent to which Iraqis are attached to life, sports and art," he added. "We are the ancestors of a civilization."
Shaker said the best proof of the Iraqis' rejection of ISIL's ideas, and in particular its ban on football, is the increasing number of Iraqis who are following the World Cup in Brazil, even in areas seized by the group.
"Men, women and children of all ages are following the games in homes, cafes and public squares," he said. "It is an innocent pleasure that we are used to in Iraq, and we will not give it up."
ISIL's ban on watching the World Cup or practicing sports is part of its criminal and oppressive stifling of freedoms, abuse of public rights and promotion of backwardness and barbarism, said Falah al-Alousy, chairman of Salam al-Rafidain, an organisation concerned with the welfare of women and children.
Baghdad religious scholar Sheikh Mohammed al-Mansouri refuted the ISIL edict prohibiting the watching or playing of football matches. "The concepts and rulings the terrorists come up with are all non-existent in our faith," he said. "They are simply gimmicks they created to accomplish their goal of controlling people's fates and the destiny of the country on the pretext of applying the teachings of God and his sharia, but Islam has nothing to do with them."
Al-Mansouri called on Iraqis, especially youth, to avoid being misled by the fatwas issued by groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL. These people speak nothing but falsehood, he said, and their rulings and actions deviate from the right path of Islam and do not appeal to reason or logic.
The purpose of the July 13th gathering in Baghdad "is to deliver a message of defiance and rejection of the terrorist ISIL rulings, and to emphasise the unity and national solidarity among all components of Iraqi society", said ministry spokeswoman Assifa Musa.
Sports are an effective way to fight extremist ideologies, she said, which is why ISIL and other "terrorist groups" prohibit them, particularly for women.
ISIL issues ‘10 commandments’ for Islamic rule
Daily News 13-6-2014
Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have set rules for those living under their control in the province of Nineveh. The group, which has made clear that it intends to create a new Caliphate, published the document two days after taking the provincial capital Mosul. Arabic-speaking reporter Jenan Moussa translated the document. A redacted version is as follows:
1) People, you tried secular rulings (Republic, Baathist, Safavid) and they gave you pain. Now is time for the Islamic state...
2) For those asking “Who are you?”: We are soldiers of Islam and have taken on our responsibility to bring back the glory of the Islamic Caliphate.
3) Money we took from the Safavid (Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki) government is now public. Only Imam of Muslims can spend it. The hand of anyone who steals will be cut.
4) We ask all Muslims to be on time for prayers in the mosques.
5) We warn tribal leaders and sheikhs not to work with the government and be traitors.
6) No drugs, no alcohol and no cigarettes are allowed.
7) For the police, soldiers and other infidel institutions: You can repent. We have opened special places that will allow you to repent.
8) Gatherings, carrying flags (other than that of the Islamic state) and carrying guns are not allowed. God ordered us to stay united.
9) Our position on shrines and graves is clear. Simply, all will be destroyed.
10) For women: Dress decently and wear wide clothes. Only go out if necessary.
The Sunni political bloc has nominated Salim al-Jabouri to be the next parliamentary speaker, but they and the Kurds still insist they will not continue to cooperate if the Shi’ites pick Nouri al-Maliki for premier again. It appeared that Sunnis and Kurds were not going to reveal their choices until the Shi’ites disclosed their selection, but backing off that stance is a good sign that the lawmakers are moving past bickering.
The three top posts each go to one of the three largest ethnic or religious groups in the country. The Sunnis pick the speaker. The Shi’ites pick the prime minister, and the Kurds get to select the president.
Iraq is deploying about 4,000 newly trained "volunteers" to Ramadi to reinforce troops already there. That most of them will be Shi’ites could further inflame sectarian tensions in the predominantly Sunni province. It may be more prudent to encourage Sunni militias, but many Sunnis have said they will not consider fighting unless Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki steps down. Many others admit they prefer the rebels to Maliki.
- Q. The government is currently fighting Sunni militants in the north. But I’ve heard some Sunnis refer to what is happening as a “revolution.” How do you describe what’s happening?
- Nujaifi: Yes, it is a revolution. But at the same time, the terrorists are taking advantage of it. It’s a revolution that started a year and a half ago, as peaceful demonstrations. [The government] didn’t deal with it according to the constitution. Instead, they faced it with force. So it turned into a military movement.
But it wasn’t as broad as we see now. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) [which now calls itself the Islamic State] took advantage of the gap between the government and the people, and they invaded and occupied Iraqi cities.
ISIS controls important military areas, but the wider geographical area is in the hands of tribes and armed groups who are rebelling against the government, and who before that were fighting the Americans.
We need to differentiate between these groups and the terrorists. We need to face ISIS militarily. But these other groups should be dealt with politically.
- Q. Six years ago, U.S. forces helped launch the Sahwa — the Awakening Movement — that got Sunni tribes to fight back against al-Qaeda. What is the state of the Sahwa today?
- Nujaifi: It’s not active. These days, it is finished, after all that has happened. There are some areas of Anbar province that the tribes control. They're not rebels or Sahwa, but they protect certain areas, and they don’t let the army or the Islamic State enter. Haditha, Garma and Abul Fahed in Ramadi — these are examples.
- Q. What caused the Sahwa to collapse?
- Nujaifi: The government didn’t deal with it properly. They didn’t pay their salaries or arm them. On the contrary, they were arresting them, and charged them with being terrorists. Thousands of them are in jail, and they killed many of them, too. Some were killed by bombs when they went to collect their salaries. The government dealt with it in a sectarian manner. They didn't want armed groups among the Sunnis.
- Q. How can the government retake Mosul, Tikrit and other areas under the control of the insurgents?
- Nujaifi: There is no military solution for this crisis. It needs to be a political solution. We have to convince the Iraqi Sunnis in these provinces to cooperate with a new government. You need a political solution first, and you need to isolate the terrorists. You have to distinguish between the terrorists and the citizens, and also between the armed groups.
- Q. Can you comment on fighting between the Islamic State and other Sunni groups?
- Nujaifi: It is a very positive thing, and we hope it expands. And it’s very important. We have to work politically to unify the efforts to get rid of ISIS.
One month after the fall of Iraq’s second-largest city to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its allies, inhabitants of Mosul say the militants have a limited presence in the city and may be preparing to pull out of the area.
Civil rights activist Ghanim Al-Abed, a former spokesman for protesters against the central government in the city, said the presence of ISIS in Mosul had had a mixed impact.
The first side was positive, he said, as there were no longer any raids in the city by government security forces. “Mosul residents hardly feel the presence of ISIS in the streets, even at the checkpoints which used to belong to the Iraqi army,” he added. The second, negative side, was represented by the absence of services and the non-payment of salaries for state employees.
He added that the Naqshbandi Army had a larger presence in the city and may be preparing to assume control.
Speaking on the telephone from Mosul on Saturday, Abed said: “ISIS moved all Iraqi army weapons and vehicles to the area of Jazeera, which is jointly shared by Iraq and Syria. This means they have no intention of remaining in Mosul as their numbers do not allow them to hold the territory or stay for too long, and they have started to withdraw from the left side of Mosul, which is the wider area.”
Abed added: “There are discussions between the Naqshbandi Army and ISIS regarding their [ISIS'] withdrawal via the left side [of the city], in preparation for their [complete] withdrawal from Mosul... The presence of the Naqshbandis is the strongest on the ground and among the people, because they are peaceful and do not have a culture of violence and revenge.”
He also said that ISIS appeared to have learned from its experiences in Syria, where its heavy-handed approach undermined its relationship with local people and other factions.
Abed said: “ISIS did not repeat their mistakes in Syria by exercising pressure on people and forcing them to follow a certain lifestyle. This is because their numbers do not allow them to control a large city of almost two million people who enjoy a moderate Islamic culture.”
This description of life in Mosul under ISIS largely accords with that of Asharq Al-Awsat’s correspondent in the city, who confirmed that life in there was outwardly returning to normal, despite a disruption of government departments, hospitals, schools, universities and markets in the early days after the withdrawal of the Iraqi army and police.
The governor of Nineveh, Atheel Al-Nujaifi, was forced to leave Mosul—the province’s capital—with the fall of the city on June 10. However, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat by phone from the Al-Hamdaniyah district on the city’s outskirts, he echoed many of the inhabitants’ comments.
He said: “ISIS is preparing to withdraw from the [east side] of Mosul and hand it over to the Naqshbandi Army, who are close to the Ba’ath Party which is led by [former Saddam Hussein aide] Izzat Al-Douri.” ...
Nujaifi added: “Mosul will be back under state control within two months with no military intervention, as the people and ISIS do not want any intervention by the armed forces which abandoned the governorate... The Naqshbandis will work on returning the governorate . . . as they are moderates who follow the Sufi order, not Salafists like ISIS.”
ISIS militants have taken some measures to change life in Mosul so that it accords more closely with their interpretations of Islamic norms and laws.... However, in keeping with their attempts to win ‘hearts and minds,’ the group’s members have reportedly avoided destroying mosques, churches, museums, or other monuments. In addition, the organization has not yet banned activities like smoking and playing board games, preferring instead to send its members to coffee shops to ‘advise’ customers against such habits.
"They are moderates who follow the Sufi order"
The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order (JRTN) was originally composed mainly of groups wishing to restore the old order under the Ba'athist ideology. It is a Sufi Islamic organization with Iraqi and Arab nationalist tendencies. Since the JRTN is led by Saddam's former deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, and contains many former Ba'athists, Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism, Ba'athism as well as Sufi Islamism and Sunni Islamism have all become an important part of its ideology.
The group's links to both Sufism and its embrace of violence is controversial as many Sufi followers believe Sufism to be strongly opposed to violence. The group has declared itself to be fighting to maintain Iraq's unity, along with its Arab and Islamic character. As such, the group can be seen as pursuing a nationalistic, as opposed to religious, line. (Wikipedia)
Behind the word "Naqshband" stand two ideas: naqsh which means "engraving" and suggests engraving the name of Allah in the heart, and band which means "bond" and indicates the link between the individual and his Creator.
This means that the Naqshbandi follower has to practice his prayers and obligations according to the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to keep the presence and love of Allah alive in his heart through a personal experience of the link between himself and his Lord. (sufimeditationcenter)
BEIRUT: Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon and its aggression against the Palestinian people today prove that the resistance is the only response to such an enemy, Speaker Nabih Berri said Saturday.
“It is as if Israel chooses July as a date for its aggression that only repeats itself," Berri said in a statement, "From the 1982 invasion of the Lebanese capital, to the seven-day war in 1993 in Lebanon where it carried out massacres, and the 2006 war," which began exactly eight years ago, on July 8, 2006.
“ Lebanon proved throughout that 33-day war of massacres and destruction that the only response to such aggression is the resistance, which represents the only weapon for the people to repel the aggressor.”
“In July of this year, the Palestinian resistance resembles the Lebanese resistance in its confrontation with the Zionist aggression. Resistance is merely a result of occupation, aggression and constant threats of using force.”
Berri warned Arabs, the Lebanese and the Palestinians to refrain from being distracted by regional wars and turmoil, saying the region was facing conspiracies to divide it into small states.
“I would like to draw the Arab world's attention to the Palestinian cause and everything that is happening in the region," Berri said. These "wars only serve the interest of the enemy in order to exhaust our capabilities and cause us to neglect the Palestinian cause."
At least 120 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched airstrikes earlier this week on Gaza, in the most serious hostilities between the Jewish state and Hamas since 2012. Israeli says the offensive is aimed at stopping rocket attacks it blames on Hamas. Rocket attacks from Gaza stepped up in frequency after a security crackdown in the occupied West Bank last month in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.
Future bloc MP Fouad Siniora said the aim of Israel’s aggression was to serve a blow to Palestinian unity, which he noted would ultimately do away with the Palestinian cause. “Therefore, the best way to face such an enemy is to commit to such unity because it is the only guarantee to restoring your rights,” he said.
The goal of Operation Protective Edge is to restore the calm...; the means: killing civilians.
The slogan of the Mafia has become official Israeli policy. Israel sincerely believes that if it kills hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, quiet will reign. [There is] only one possible purpose for the military operation: death to Arabs, accompanied by the cheering of the masses....
Since the first Lebanon war, more than 30 years ago, the killing of Arabs has become Israel’s primary strategic instrument. The IDF doesn’t wage war against armies, and its main target is civilian populations.Arabs are born only to kill and to be killed, as everyone knows. They have no other goal in life, and Israel kills them.
One must, of course, be outraged by the modus operandi of Hamas: Not only does it aim its rockets at civilian population centers in Israel, not only does it position itself within population centers — it may not have an alternative, given the crowded conditions in the Strip — but it also leaves the Gazan civilian population vulnerable to Israel’s brutal attacks, without seeing to a single siren, shelter or protected space. That is criminal. But the barrages of the Israel Air Force are no less criminal, on account of both the result and the intent...
Retired generals and commentators on active duty compete to make the most monstrous proposal: “If we kill their families, that will frighten them,” explained Maj.Gen. (res.) Oren Shachor, without batting an eyelid. “We must create a situation such that when they come out of their burrows, they won’t recognize Gaza,” others said.
Ninety percent of the planes parked at Libya’s Tripoli International Airport have been destroyed after shelling attacks on the site, government spokesman Ahmed Lamine said on Tuesday.
"The government has studied the possibility to bring international forces to enhance security," he told reporters, according to Reuters news agency,
The United Nations said on Monday it is withdrawing its staff from Libya temporarily because of deteriorating security after rival militias fought over Tripoli International Airport and a renegade general's forces continued to battle Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Tripoli is witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, as rival militias fight for control of its airport.
On Monday, the capital’s international airport was hit by a salvo of rockets. "Dozens of rockets were fired at the airport," al-Jilani al-Dahech, a security official at the scene, told Agence France Presse, while another source said an aircraft took a direct hit. Several Grad rockets hit the airport, damaging the control tower, Reuters news agency quoted a Libyan official as saying.
Rival militias have been fighting for control of the airport since Sunday.
Libya's neighbours -- Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia -- issued a call for dialogue on Monday. They agreed at talks near Tunis to set up twin commissions to broker talks and attempt to prevent any spillover of violence.
Delegates underlined the need to "resolve (the problem of) pockets of terrorism in Libya, which are a source of concern for Libya and the countries in the immediate vicinity".
Eastern Libya, particularly its main city Benghazi and the hill town of Derna, have become strongholds of jihadist groups. Renewed clashes between troops and Islamist militia in Benghazi on Monday killed at least seven people and wounded 49, medics said.
The European Union called for the new parliament elected in last month's controversial poll to convene as quickly as possible and form a new government to head off worsening violence.
"The EU trusts that the new parliament will be in a position to embody national consensus and play its role in forming a government with wide political support," it said. (Middle East Online 15-7-2014)
How Bernard-Henri Lévy Started the Libyan War
Ulf Gartzke, March 27th, 2011
This weekend’s Financial Times contains a revealing article detailing French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent unilateral decision to grant diplomatic recognition to Libya’s ragtag rebel movement – an important step in his aggressive campaign to push for and lead the ongoing military intervention against Colonel Qaddafi’s government.
In her piece, “Sarko’s Lofty Ambition”, FT Paris Bureau Chief Peggy Hollinger reveals that Bernard-Henri Lévy – usually referred to as “BHL” – called Sarkozy directly from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to get the President to recognize Libya’s “National Transitional Council”.
According to an unofficial Sarkozy advisor speaking on condition of anonymity: Bernard-Henri rang him from Benghazi to tell him that French flags were everywhere. He told him that if he allowed a bloodbath there the blood would stain the French flag. That really affected him.
After talking to BHL, President Sarkozy decided to unilaterally grant diplomatic recognition to the Libyan rebels and formally receive their representatives at the Elysée (a meeting also attended by BHL). Sarkozy’s impulsive move not only caused considerable tensions with France’s EU partners (particularly in Berlin) but was apparently not even coordinated with his own foreign minister Alain Juppé. In addition, the president’s ruling center-right UMP party was also kept in the dark.
Libyan jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq are returning home to fight the breakaway militia led by Khalifa Haftar, who has recently emerged as a serious threat to the country’s Islamists, security and military sources toldAsharq Al-Awsat.
The revelation came after former Libyan officials expressed fears of an expected Islamist onslaught in a bid to take over the capital, Tripoli.
“Islamists have decided to bring the Libyan jihadists they had sent to Syria and Iraq in order to control Tripoli on [Thursday], particularly after they lost in the parliamentary elections,” a security source, who spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said.
Among the forces expected to take part in the attack are the Brotherhood-affiliated Libya Shield militias—a group of militias based in the city of Misrata—the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia and foreign jihadists who came to Libya after the 2011 revolution.
“It is a dangerous situation,” an aide to the former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said, also speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity. “Both sides [Islamists and Haftar] seem to be preparing for a battle which may continue for a long time.”
Tensions between Haftar and Islamists began in February, when the renegade ex-army officer attempted to organize a coup against Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood-controlled transitional government, pledging to crackdown on Islamists.
May 2011: Hundreds of tribal leaders gathered under a giant tent to call for an end to an armed uprising against Col. Muammar Gaddafi and to NATO aerial attacks on his forces. (Voltaire Network)
“I feel Libya, indeed, has no other solution apart from the umbrella of the tribe,” the prominent Tunisian activist Sophia Al-Hamami, who attended the meeting, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
She said: “A tribe is like a social contract. It is different from Tunisia, where the social contract has been signed by [political] parties, the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), the government, and the presidency, among others.”
According to senior Libyan security sources who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, Haftar has been coordinating with the tribes since the start of the year in a bid to build a united front against Islamists.
Haftar seems to have realized that he cannot fight Islamists without the help of the tribes, and a deal for their assistance is believed to have been brokered by former Libyan officials in exile, the source said.
Turkey is seeking to host a conference for Muslim scholars in Istanbul during the upcoming days to reject extremism and violence and to safeguard Islam against the so-called "caliphate" that was declared by Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria.
A Turkish envoy held talks with several Muslim scholars and clerics in Beirut to invite them to attend a conference in Istanbul between July 17 and 19, As Safir newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The daily said that the invitations come on behalf of the President of Turkish Religious Affairs, Mohammed Kormaz, in an attempt to bring together Muslim scholars at a conference under the title “World Islamic Scholars Peace, Moderation and Common Sense Initiative.”
Several invitations have been sent to Muslim scholars in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries, the newspaper said.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu are expected to attend the conference.
President Bashar al-Assad: "The majority of those fighting and carrying out terrorist operations on the ground have no political agenda. Some of them have become professional armed robbers, and others, as you know, are takfiri organisations fighting for an extremist Islamic emirate and things of that kind..." (21-1-2014)
Damascus, SANA – Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Dr. Fayssal Mikdad affirmed that Syria is determined to eliminate the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), calling upon western countries to acknowledge the new reality by joining the battle against terrorism and ending their support for terrorists.
In an interview given to the Guardian on Monday, Mikdad said that the only way to resolve the situation is to work with the Syrian government, noting that several countries are now seeking security cooperation with Damascus, but security cannot be separated from policy.
“Deep down, they know that what they did is a grievous crime against the Syrian people,” he said, adding that the belief of some sides back in 2011 that they can undermine the Syrian government within a few weeks resulted in the growth of terrorism in Syria, something which now threatens the security of European countries, and now they’ve come to realize that what is happening in Syria isn’t a revolution but a threat to Europe.
On the allegations that there’s a relation between the Syrian government and ISIS and in response to those who claim that Syria isn’t doing its best to combat groups like it, Mikdad said that the Syrian Army has its priorities, and it will decide what to do next, adding that the situation in general in Syria is improving....
He criticized the support provided to terrorists in Syria by the Al Saud authorities in Saudi Arabia, the Al Thani authorities in Qatar, and the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On the appointment of Staffan de Mistura as the successor of UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, Mikdad said that de Mistura should remain neutral and understand the new reality following the presidential elections in Syria.
On the British policy towards Syria, Mikdad said that the British policy in this regard is foolish, and that it must apologize for supporting armed groups and cooperate with Syria to combat terrorism, adding that it’s up to British Prime Minister David Cameron to stop the British individuals coming to fight in Syria, and that it’s unfortunate that British people are coming to Syria to be killed and to kill Syrians.
He said that the British government adopts extremist opinions on Syria, and that it still believes or rather dreams that its pawns (the Muslim Brotherhood and other violent jihadist takfiri groups) are capable of realizing the change this government wants.
Referring to what the BBC revealed recently about a plan made in 2013 by the British Defense Ministry planned to train 100,000 terrorists and to fight the Syrian army, Mikdad said “we knew that Britain was deeply involved in the attacks and crimes committed in Syria, and we’re confident that more information will surface soon and reveal the depth of the British government’s involvement.”
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in Wednesday before the members of the People’s Assembly.
Following the swearing in, the President delivered a speech in which he first saluted the Syrian people, calling them “honorable” and “free”.
He reminded how, throughout the crisis in Syria, which is now in its forth year, some have spoken on behalf of the Syrian people repeating the slogan “The People Want.” “Yes, the people did want, the people did make their decision, the people did act,” the President said.
“Years have passed since some chanted for freedom, but you, the Syrians, were the freemen at the time of subordination, and you were the masters at the time of acting,” he added.
He applauded the Syrian people for having practiced democracy at its best by choosing “your constitution, parliament and president. Thus the choice was yours and democracy was of your making.” “They wanted it a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries,” he said.
President al-Assad stressed that “The compass has now been rendered clear to many who have missed the vision, being ignorant or else misled, and the ugly faces have been exposed after the mask of ‘freedom’ and ‘revolution’ was dropped.”
The President went on saying that the elections were “our battle to defend the sovereignty, legitimacy, national decision and the people’s dignity,” commending the big participation in the vote as “a referendum in favor of sovereignty against terrorism with all its forms.”
“With your votes, you have toppled the terrorists together with their Syrian agents who have been a cover for them. You also brought down their masters,” the President said...
President al-Assad struck a defiant note by saying that the tougher the conditions the more firm the Syrian people.
“We are people who get more defiant by pressures and who face the attempts of humiliation with more pride, dignity and self-confidence,” he added... "We have decided since the first days of aggression to go ahead into balanced tracks; striking terrorism and making local reconciliations to those who want to return to the right path..."
”We are not concerned about those who went out as traitor, agent or corrupter as the country has cleaned itself from those… and they have no place or position here." "Dialogue does not include powers that proved their non-patriotism.."
President al-Assad said that this day marks the beginning of a new stage, the main distinguishing feature of which is consensus on protecting the homeland and rebuilding it morally, psychologically, and physically, as well as consensus on eliminating terrorism and bringing all those who strayed from the proper path back to the arms of the homeland.
He said that the word “sawa” (together, which was the slogan of his presidential elections campaign) means raising the sense of responsibility in each individual in order to move towards the future, adding “it means that together we will rebuild Syria and build what was destroyed, and that we will continue to strike at terrorism and carry out reconciliations in all areas.”
The President went on to say “Your steadfastness is the one that officially announced the death of what was falsely named the ‘Arab Spring’ and it redirected the compass. Had this spring been real, it would have started from the countries of Arab ignorance. Had it been a people’s revolution to earn freedom, democracy, and justice, it would have started in the most backwards, oppressive, and tyrannical countries, those countries that were behind every calamity that affected this nation.”
President al-Assad saluted the Syrian Army which spared no effort in defense of the homeland, and saluted popular defense groups and all the young men and women who took up arms in defense of the dignity, pride, and honor of their homeland.
“The greatest salute is for our people whose embracing of their sons in the military acted as an incubator for their achievement and a basis for their victories. We won’t forget the faithful members of the heroic Lebanese resistance who stood side by side with our army’s heroes and waged battles of honor together on both sides of the borders,” he said.
“The new stage has begun, and we are ready for it... With you, hand in hand, Syria will remain proud, strong, steadfast, and impregnable to outsiders. We the Syrians will remain an impregnable fortress defending it and its dignity,” he concluded.
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad issued Saturday decree no. 228 naming Dr. Najah al-Attar vice president.
Based on the decree, al-Attar will be charged with following up on the implementation of the cultural policy in the framework of the President’s directives.
Al-Attar was born on 10 January, 1933 and raised in Damascus as a member of a Sunni Muslim family. She studied at the University of Damascus, graduating in 1954. She continued higher studies in the United Kingdom, obtaining Diploma in Islamic Studies in 1956 and PhD in Arabic literature from the University of Edinburgh in in 1958. She also received a number of certificates then in international relations and in literary and art criticism.
In 1976, she was appointed as Minister of Culture and served in the post until 2000. In March 2006, she was appointed Vice President.
Asma Assad - Najah al-Attar, vice-president and Buthaina Shaaban, adviser to the president
More than 5,000 protesters blocked the roads outside the BBC’s national headquarters in London today, demanding honest reporting on Gaza.
A letter signed by 45,000 people was handed into the BBC. The letter called for BBC reporting to reflect the reality of Gaza’s siege and occupation...
Dear BBC, Once again Gaza is under massive aerial bombardment from Israeli warplanes and drones, and, once again, the BBC’s reporting of these assaults is entirely devoid of context or background. We would like to remind the BBC that Gaza is under Israeli occupation and siege.
We would like to remind you that Israel is bombing a refugee population – Palestinians who were made refugees when they were forced from their land in1948 in order to create Israel....
When you portray the occupier as the victim, and the occupied as the aggressor, we would like to remind you that resistance to occupation is a right under international law. And we would like you to remember that Israel’s occupation, siege and collective punishment of Gaza is not.
Following a similar resolution passed last week by the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday night to support Israel’s ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip.
US Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution
Supporting Israeli Assault on Gaza
By Chris Carlson, ICH - IMEMC, 18-7-2014
No dissenting vote was cast, and no mention was made of the hundreds of Palestinian civilians, most of whom are women and children, that have been killed by Israel in the past ten days.
Senate Resolution 498 was authored by Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with additional support by Ben Cardin (D-MD) and son of former Republican party politician Ron Paul, Rand Paul (R-KY). Paul is urging the Senate to pass his own bill, S. 2265, which would end all U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas is barred from the new Palestinian unity government, among other stipulations.
The resolution was passed on the very same night Israel launched its current ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.
Following a similar resolution passed last week by the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday night to support Israel’s ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Iraqi oppositions forces met Wednesday in the Jordanian capital to debate solutions to Iraq’s growing political and security crises, according to sources who attended the conference.
Delegates at the meeting in Amman called for “the unification of efforts and positions towards the events in Iraq” and demanded support for “the revolution of the Iraqi people against injustice” committed by Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s government.
The head of the tribal coordination committee, Ra’ad Abdul Sattar Al-Suleiman, said: “All sides attending the meeting have emphasized the unity of Iraq and their rejection of partition.”
He said over 250 Iraqi opposition figures were in attendance at the conference, representing at least 11 opposition factions including anti-government military councils, tribes, and former military and Ba’ath party leaders of the Saddam era.
These groups have been protesting Maliki’s government, which has been widely criticized at home and abroad for policies seen to favor Maliki’s own Shi’ite sect over other sects and ethnic groups.
That political crisis has taken on an extra dimension with the sudden and rapid advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in May. That group has taken control of large swathes of northern Iraq....
A senior figure in the powerful Shammar tribe, Waddah Malik Al-Sadid, indicated that the conference itself “has no ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”
He said the delegates were comprised of those opposed to Maliki and his Iranian backers, and that only Sunni tribes that had not been involved in the post-Saddam political process had been invited to attend. Sadid also stressed that the conference did not intend to “consolidate sectarianism” or promote the “partition of Iraq.”
Baghdad Burning, Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Ten Years On...
April 9, 2013 marks ten years since the fall of Baghdad. Ten years since the invasion. Since the lives of millions of Iraqis changed forever. It’s difficult to believe. It feels like only yesterday I was sharing day to day activities with the world. I feel obliged today to put my thoughts down on the blog once again, probably for the last time.
In 2003, we were counting our lives in days and weeks. Would we make it to next month? Would we make it through the summer? Some of us did and many of us didn't.
Back in 2003, one year seemed like a lifetime ahead. The idiots said, “Things will improve immediately.” The optimists were giving our occupiers a year, or two… The realists said, “Things won’t improve for at least five years.” And the pessimists? The pessimists said, “It will take ten years. It will take a decade.”
Looking back at the last ten years, what have our occupiers and their Iraqi governments given us in ten years? What have our puppets achieved in this last decade? What have we learned?
We learned a lot.
We learned that while life is not fair, death is even less fair- it takes the good people. Even in death you can be unlucky. Lucky ones die a ‘normal’ death… A familiar death of cancer, or a heart-attack, or stroke. Unlucky ones have to be collected in bits and pieces...
We learned that you can be floating on a sea of oil, but your people can be destitute. Your city can be an open sewer; your women and children can be eating out of trash dumps and begging for money in foreign lands.
We learned that justice does not prevail in this day and age. Innocent people are persecuted and executed daily. Some of them in courts, some of them in streets, and some of them in the private torture chambers.
We are learning that corruption is the way to go. You want a passport issued? Pay someone. You want a document ratified? Pay someone. You want someone dead? Pay someone.
We are learning that those amenities we took for granted before 2003, you know- the luxuries – electricity, clean water from faucets, walkable streets, safe schools – are for people who don’t allow occupiers into their country.
We’re learning that the biggest fans of the occupation (you know who you are, you traitors) eventually leave abroad. And where do they go? The USA, most likely, with the UK a close second...
We’re learning that the masks are off. No one is ashamed of the hypocrisy anymore. You can be against one country (like Iran), but empowering them somewhere else (like in Iraq). You can claim to be against religious extremism (like in Afghanistan), but promoting religious extremism somewhere else (like in Iraq and Egypt and Syria).
Those who didn’t know it in 2003 are learning (much too late) that an occupation is not the portal to freedom and democracy. The occupiers do not have your best interests at heart.
We are learning that ignorance is the death of civilized societies and that everyone thinks their particular form of fanaticism is acceptable.
We are learning how easy it is to manipulate populations with their own prejudices and that politics and religion never mix, even if a super-power says they should mix...
The Chairman of Iran's Expediency Discernment Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani criticised Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and held him responsible for the fall of Mosul to ISIS militants, saying that Al-Maliki is an unpopular figure.
In a statement posted on his official website, Rafsanjani said: "The Iraqi army did not achieve great victories in Iraq because the hearts of the people are not with the government. Militants today are threatening all the achievements that took place in Iraq...."
Rafsanjani warned Al-Maliki of the dangers of autocracy, saying "the various Iraqi communities must be involved in the rule" and stressing that the unity and cohesion of the people with the government will provide ground to resolve the crisis and expel the Islamic State and separatists from Iraq.
Rafsanjani's remarks are the first time a senior Iranian official criticises the policies of exclusion and marginalisation practiced by Al-Maliki's government against the Iraqi people and holds him responsible for the defeats suffered by the army.
Meanwhile, a source in the office of Iraq's top Shia cleric Ali Al-Sistani revealed a new message sent by the latter to Al-Maliki asking him to withdraw his candidacy for the post of prime minister so as not to create an obstacle for other candidates.
The source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news website that the letter included a blunt warning to Al-Maliki which said: "Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki your insistence to run for a third term embarrasses us, because if you do not give up and give way to someone else, we will have to mention you by name in a statement and embarrass you as an undesirable person."
Tariq Al Hashemi fled Iraq in 2012 after being accused of running a Sunni death squad, a charge he denies. He found refuge in Turkey and was later sentenced to death in absentia by an Iraqi court.
Speaking to The National by phone, Mr Al Hashemi insisted that the crisis gripping Iraq would only grow worse if prime minister Nouri Al Maliki returned for a third term as premier. “Voting for Maliki is a vote for splitting Iraq,” he said, commenting on the efforts to form a new government in Baghdad. “This gentleman has been the main cause of the instability.”
The Sunni politician also stressed that the wider international community shared the blame for Iraq’s descent into chaos. Human rights organisations have documented the deterioration of human rights during Mr Al Maliki’s time in power, he said, “but all those countries that invaded my country in 2003 and talked about respecting human rights, transparency and democratic values, which Iraqis accepted, they did not follow up”.
If the outside world is genuinely committed to Iraq’s stability, he added, it should stop focusing on the Islamic State alone and tackle Shiite extremism as well. “It is one of the eye-catching double standards of the western countries,” he said. “They’re focusing on Sunni terrorism, but there is also Shia terrorism....
“Over the past eight years, we lost hope and democracy in the political process because of the inhuman situation that my people are living in, because of the widespread corruption, because of the loss of opportunities for improving living standards and services,” he said. “If we lose hope in the political process, what is left? What is left is extremism.”
Flashback 2013: Iraq's fugitive Sunni VP Tareq al-Hashemi
officially resigns from his post 31-12-2013
ANKARA,— Exiled Iraqi Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi has announced his official resignation from post and has backed Sunni protesters from the Anbar province against Nouri al-Maliki’s government. Hashemi announced his resignation on his official Facebook page, Basnews reported.
“I have announced my resignation from my post as Iraqi vice president and today and state my support for relatives in Anbar province,” he wrote. “My post doesn’t have any values anymore and Iraq’s political process is stuck in the mud and a man by the name of Nouri Maliki has controlled it,” he added.
In recent days tensions and protests against Maliki have engulfed the western province of Anbar after Iraqi authorities arrested Iraqi Sunni MP Ahmed Alwani and killed his brother on charges of helping Sunni militants.
Hashemi stated last October that Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki has become "not only a danger against the future of the country, but against its unity, as well as the stability of the region". He pointed out that Iraq is witnessing "the worst government in its modern history, characterized with the deterioration of public services, social justice, security and foreign policies".
BAGHDAD / NINA / The head of the Civic Democratic Alliance, Mithal al-Alusi called Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki not to be a regional tool for sectarian division of Iraq and a cause of shedding blood in the country.
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that he call on al-Maliki to realize that intransigence and cling to power means dividing and destroy Iraq, and he has to choose either to go down in history as the leader of the sectarian bloodshed and division or to enter as a national democratic leader who pushed for the peaceful power transferring."
Alusi expressed hope that "al-Maliki not to be an Iranian tool or any other regional tool to divide Iraq." Adding, "I say it for the Sunnis and the Shiites who raise sectarian slogans not to be a tool for implementing Biden's criminal scheme, who is seeking to break up Iraq."
Biden is a self-described Zionist. During the interview conducted by the U.S. Jewish television cable network Shalom TV, Biden said, "I am a Zionist. You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist."
He is highly supportive of the state of Israel and views Israel as a strategic ally in the Middle East. He stated that "the Arab nations have known that there is no daylight between us and Israel." Regarding support for Israel within the Democratic Party, Biden has stated that the Democrats' support for Israel "comes from our gut, moves through our heart, and ends up in our head. It's almost genetic." In September 2008, Biden stated "A strong America is a strong Israel. I have a 35-year record of supporting Israel, and Israel's security is enhanced the stronger America is." (WIKIPEDIA info)
The Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim rejected on Saturday any negotiations with the parties calling for toppling the political process in the country..., referring to the conference that had been held by opponents of the government in Amman.
He stressed that "we cannot sit with those who do not accept us and do not recognize the agreed constitution by the components of the Iraqi people, because the debate will not lead to a result and cannot predict the topics that will be addressed with these parties."
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (previously the party was known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)) is an Iraqi Shia Islamist Iraqi political party. It was estabilished in Iran in the 1980s. The Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council became one of Iraq's most powerful political parties and was the largest party in the Iraqi Council of Representatives until the 2010 Iraqi elections, where it lost support due to Nuri Al-Maliki's political party rise. Today the party is led by Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim.
Previously ISCI's militia wing was the Badr Brigade... After the departure of Badr Brigade, ISCI created a militia called the Knights of Hope.
The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq was founded in Iran in 1982 during the Iran–Iraq War. The Iranian Islamic revolutionary government arranged for the formation of SCIRI, which was based in exile in Tehran and under the leadership of Mohammad-Baqir al-Hakim.
MB-Al-Hakim declared the primary aim of the council to be the overthrow of the Ba'ath and the establishment of an Islamic government in Iraq. Iranian officials referred to Hakim as the leader of Iraq's future Islamic state...
SCIRI supports the ideologies of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that Islamic Government must be controlled by the ulema (Islamic scholars).
The party leaders have toned down many of the party's public positions and committed it to democracy and peaceful cooperation.... In a statement released May 11, 2007 SCIRI officials told Reuters the Islamist party would change its name to reflect what they called the changing situation in Iraq, removing the word "Revolution" because that was seen as a reference to overthrowing the Ba'athist government.
The common interest between the United States and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution has been fierce opposition to Saddam Hussein's government.
Over time, that has brought them closer together, most importantly in 1999, when President Clinton formally designated the group as one among seven Iraq opposition group eligible to receive tens of millions of dollars in American funding under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (a United States Congressional statement of policy calling for regime change in Iraq). (New York Times, 7-5-2003)
William J. Clinton: Statement on Signing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998
Today (October 31, 1998 ) I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998." This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers. (American presidency project)