Saddam's Death, 62
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 61: december 2015 - Page 63: januar 2016
and Page 41: Israel & The Gaza War and The Temple Revolution
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)

"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries.
What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."

Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002

Washington 2009: Joe Biden said that the Obama administration would seek the unvarnished truth from its spies, whether or not their information supported the goals of the government.
Standing in the foyer of the CIA agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. before the wall of 89 stars representing the CIA staff who have died in the line of duty, Mr Joe Biden said:
"We expect you to provide independent analysis, not to engage in group think. We expect you to tell us the facts as you know them wherever they may lead, not what you think we want to hear." (Tim Shipman, Telegraph, 20-2-2009)

"There is only one antidote against propaganda, and that is a relevant sense of history and a strong collective memory. When we remember the lessons from the past, and when we remember what happened even a few days ago, then the job of the propagandists and their warmongering bosses, becomes much more difficult." (Paul de Rooij, PalestineChronicle 1-4-2003)

"Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation...
Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken....
It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)

"A lot of rulers today still view principled people, who persist in defending their noble and just causes and who refuse to compromise at the expense of their peoples, their nations, the honour of their cause, their integrity and their principles, as a burden on them.
The policy of the United States still finds in this kind of genuine, honest and loyal people an obstacle before their evil and futile ambitions towards the world and humanity at large..." Saddam Hoessein, Oath and Speech, INA 17-10-2002

Page Index

"The West creates enemies; in the past it was the communism then it became Islam, and then it became Saddam Hussein for a different reason. Now, they want to create a new enemy represented by Bashar. That's why they say that the problem is the president so he has to leave. That is why we have to focus of the real problem, not to waste our time listening to what they say." (Bashar al-Assad, 9-11-2012)

"Syria is the heart of the Middle East. Everybody knows that. If the Middle East is sick, the whole world will be unstable. In 1991, when we started the peace process, we had a lot of hope. Now, after over 20 years, things are not at square one; they’re much below that square.

So the policy should be to help peace in the region, to fight terrorism, to promote secularism, to support this area economically, to help upgrade the mind and society like you did in your country. That is the supposed mission of the United States, not to launch wars. Launching war doesn’t make you a great power." (Bashar Al-Assad, 26-1-2015)

Abdullah Al-Ahmar: Syria and the Baath Shall Always Adhere
to the National and Pan-Arab National Inalienable Principles,
Baath Party Website 4-5-2015

"The Baath, since its emergence, defended the causes of the homeland and the nation. It stood side by side with the Arab masses for achieving their independence...
The Baath, after coming to power could made deep transformations and great achievements. The conspiring forces rushed madly to abort such transformations and achievements... Then came the Corrective Movement, led by Hafez al- Assad in 1970 to represent the beginning of a stage for founding a new state, guiding by the Baath objectives. Syria became an effective player, after she was an ineffective country that others players play on its land.
The Baath, since its emergence, was vigorous and up-to-date. Its objectives: Unity, Freedom and Socialism are inalienable. The so- called "Arab spring" was nothing but chaos, the West and the Zionists wanted.

The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (Baath = "resurrection" or "renaissance"), also referred to as the pro-Syrian Ba'ath movement, is a neo-Ba'athist political party, with branches across the Arab world. The party emerged from a split in the Ba'ath Party in February 1966. The party leads the government in Syria. From 1970 until 2000, the party was led by the Syrian president Hafez al-Assad. As of 2000, leadership has been shared between his son Bashar al-Assad (head of the Syrian regional organization) and Abdullah al-Ahmar (head of the pan-Arab national organization). The Syrian branch of the party is the largest organisation within the Syrian-led Ba'ath Party.

President Bashar, 'Le Figaro' interview 3-9-2013:

"How can the parliamentarians convince the French public that their country is secular, yet at the same time it supports extremism and sectarianism in other parts of the world? How can France advocate for democracy but yet one of its closest allies – Saudi Arabia – is still living in medieval times?"
"My message to the French Parliamentarians is: go back to the principles of the French Revolution that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality."

About political holism

Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.

Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy.
Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.

At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)

"We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community." Haile Selassie

“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.., until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation..., until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.., until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race...., until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained..." Haile Selassie 6-10-1963

Albert Schweitzer: "We Are All Guilty Of Inhumanity"

What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shake us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.
This hope and this will can have but one aim: to attain, through a change in spirit, that superior reason which will dissuade us from misusing the power at our disposal.
Kant, in his essay on "Perpetual Peace", which appeared in 1795, and in other publications in which he touches upon the problem of peace, states his belief that peace will come only with the increasing authority of an international code of law, in accordance with which an international court of arbitration would settle disputes between nations.
This authority, he maintains, should be based entirely on the increasing respect which in time, and for purely practical motives, men will hold for the law as such. (Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Lecture, 4-11-1954)

The New Age of Ideology - Simplistic polarization of the world
Hanan Ashrawi 2002

"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."

"President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” speech played directly into Sharon’s hand, simultaneously legitimizing “unilateralism” and the undermining of international law while claiming exclusivity of values and the right to use unbridled (and accountable) force to achieve immediate ends.
Those, precisely, have been the hallmarks of Israeli policy all along. Add to that the perpetuation of the most brutal (and last remaining) military occupation in history “enjoying” the cover of impunity provided by its strategic alliance with the US, and you have a most alarming formula for lawlessness, radicalization, violence, and destabilization.
With the facile handing out of convenient labels, the dehumanization of the “other” is thereby rendered official, contributing to the subversion of the principle of equality before the law and to the suspension of communication (dialogue, negotiations) as a means of conflict resolution."

Rather than a bold initiative to end the Israeli occupation and establish the independent (and viable) Palestinian state in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338, the US is turning a blind eye to Sharon’s lethal brand of ideology as practiced through Apache gun ships, F 16’s, tanks and bulldozers, while compounding the oppression by demanding that the key to the Palestinian leadership’s legitimacy is through compliance with Israeli demands and priorities."

"The world is still paying for the mistakes of the post WW II and the cold war era with all its “-isms” and “the end justifies the means” approach. Instead of the promise of an inclusive, interactive, and integrated global approach to human development and conflict resolution, the new ideology is threatening to impose an artificial construct of exclusivity and polarization, not only as a parallel to the past paradigm, but also as a source of tremendous injustice and conflict."

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Palestine Chronicle 12-2-2002

"Dilly-dallying with dogmatic zealots"
Gamal Nkrumah, Ahram online 12-9-2012

Washington flirted with militant Islamists and did not heed the words of of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi - her erstwhile secularist collaborator - who was derided as a mindless dictator and condemned to die the death of a dog.
Does not Washington stand for democracy and freedom of expression?
Gaddafi had long warned of the consequences of dilly-dallying with dogmatic zealots. But Washington, alas, did not heed his words of wisdom.

Gaddafi: The Green Revolution
Green Book, part three, chapter eight: Education

To force a human being to learn according to a set curriculum is a dictatorial act.
To impose certain subjects upon people is a dictatorial act.
Compulsory and methodized education is in fact a forced stultification of the masses. All countries which set courses of education in terms of formal curricula and force pupils to learn them, coerce their citizens.
All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from curricula of fanaticism and from the process of deliberate adaptation of man's taste, his ability to form concepts and his mentality.

This does not mean that schools are to be closed and that people should turn their backs on education, as it may seem to superficial readers. On the contrary, it means that society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn.
This requires a sufficient number of schools for all types of education.
Insufficient schools restrict man's freedom of choice forcing him to learn the subjects available, while depriving him of natural right of choice because of the lack of availability of other subjects...

Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right.
Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him.

"In order that firmness is acceptable to the people and the nation,
it ought to be on the basis of the law, and to be fair and just.."
Saddam Hussein, Last Will, 26-12-2006

Today, I say in your name, and for your sake and the sake of our nation and all righteous fair people wherever the flag of right is raised: O Iraqi, our people and family, and family of every honourable dignified man and woman in our nation, you have known your brother and leader the same as his family knew him; he has never bowed down to the unfair oppressors, and he has remained a sword and a symbol for everything the sincere love and the unfair hate.
Here I am presenting myself as a sacrifice; if the Merciful wishes, he will take my soul up to where he sends the martyrs and the faithful, and if He decides otherwise, it will be up to Him, because He is the Merciful and the Compassionate, He is our creator, and we all return to Him, "patience is most fitting against the unjust people, it is God (alone) whose help can be sought."

O brothers and great people, I call on you to preserve the ideals that made you worthy of being believers, of being the bright lamp of civilization, and of belonging to the land that gave birth to the father of prophets, Abraham, and also of other prophets.
These ideals have made you the bearer of the official and authentic greatness...
“You live under the umbrella of the greatness of the Creator, God Almighty, and His care for you. You should remember that God has given you your qualities in order that you will be a model of love, forgiveness, tolerance, and coexistence among yourselves, and to build the great dignified structure using the abilities and resources the Merciful provides.

It is on the basis of the ideals of faith, love, and peace that consolidate everything honourable, and not on the basis of hatred, that you have constructed and raised the structure without rancour or dispute...
“The enemies of your country, whether they are invaders or Persians, found that the ties and reasons of your unity prevented them from enslaving you. Thus, they drove their old-new wedge in the midst of you...
“Brothers and sisters, my sons and sons of Iraq, comrade strugglers, I call on you not to hate the peoples of the countries that have committed aggression on us. I call on you to distinguish between the decision-makers and the people.

Hate only the deed. Even if someone's deeds deserve to be fought and combated, do not hate him as a human being. Do not hate the individuals who do evil, hate only the evil deed itself, and repel that evil as it deserves.
“Whoever repents and makes good, whether in or outside Iraq, forgive him, and turn a new leaf for him, because God is Forgiving, and likes whoever forgives when he is capable of doing so. Firmness is a must whenever necessary. However, in order that firmness is acceptable to the people and the nation, it ought to be on the basis of the law, and to be fair and just, and not aggressive and based on malice or illegitimate ambitions.

Saddam Husayn
President of the republic and commander-in-chief of the struggling armed forces.”

Assad: Opposition is a political term, not a military term
Russia Today, 12 Dec, 2015

Syria will not negotiate with terrorists to end the conflict on their terms, no matter how hard the West tries to present armed gangs as grassroots political opposition, the country’s President Bashar Assad told Spanish News Agency EFE.
The problem, Assad says, lies with the fact that large portion of armed fighters and terror gangs in Syria are foreign mercenaries, which the US and their allies in the Gulf region are craving to include in the negotiation process.
Opposition is a political term, not a military term. So, talking about the concept is different from the practice, because so far, we’ve been seeing that some countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United States, and some western countries wanted the terrorist groups to join the negotiations. They want the Syrian government to negotiate with the terrorists, something I don’t think anyone would accept in any country,” Assad told EFE.

At the same time, Assad once again reiterated that his government is always open for negotiations with the real opposition – but emphasized that opposition must be defined.
Opposition, for everyone in this world, doesn’t mean militant,” Assad stressed. He said that Damascus is already engaged in dialogue with certain armed “groups, not organizations”, so they would lay down their arms in exchange for “amnesty from the government” and a chance to return to “normal life.”
“This is the only way to deal with the militants in Syria. Whenever they want to change their approach, give up the armaments, we are ready, while to deal with them as a political entity, this is something we completely refuse,” Assad clarifies.
An agreement on a peaceful resolution to the crisis, according to Assad, can only be reached with the “real, patriotic, national opposition” that has grassroots in and related to Syria, “not to any other state or regime in the world.”

Flashback 2012: The Rule Of Law
Referendum on new draft constitution
ChamPress, 15-2-2012

DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad issued Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday 26/2/2012 as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The following are some of the main issues included in the constitution's text:

- The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state of absolute sovereignty that cannot be divided and no part of its land can be abandoned. Syria is a part of the Arab world.
- The political system of the state is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.
- Society in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on solidarity and respecting the principles of social justice, freedom and equality, in addition to preserving the humanitarian dignity of every individual.
- Freedom is a sacred right. The State guarantees the citizens' personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security.
- Citizens have equal rights and duties. Discrimination due to gender, origin, language, religion or belief is prohibited.
- The State guarantees the equality of opportunity principle among the citizens and every citizen has the right to contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life in accordance with the regulating law.
- Citizens should respect the constitution and the rules.
- Private life is respected and protected by the law.
- Freedom of belief is secured by the law.
- Every citizen has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
- The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State.
- The president is to be elected directly by the people.
- The judicial authority is independent and the Higher Judicial Council guarantees the independence of the judiciary.

Syrian Arab Republic, Constitution, Preamble
Strengthening the rule of law

Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation. ...

... Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth...
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law....

DAMASCUS, 28-2-2012: Syria’s Interior Ministry announced Monday the results of the referendum on the new draft resolution of Syria, with 89.4% of voters agreeing to it.
In a press conference, Minister of Interior Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar said that that 8,376,447 citizens voted in the referendum on the new draft constitution, which constitutes 57.4% of the 14,589,954 eligible voters, with 7,490,319 (89.4% of voters) agreeing to it while 753,208 (9% of voters) didn't agree. (Syria Daypress)

Constitution Saudi Arabia: Submission to God & The Royal Family

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State. Its religion shall be Islam and its constitution shall be the Book of God and the Sunnah (Traditions)...
The system of governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be monarchical. Governance shall be limited to the sons of the Founder King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Faysal Al Sa‘ud, and the sons of his sons.

Citizens shall pledge allegiance to the King on the basis of the Book of God and the Sunnah of his Messenger, and on the basis of submission and obedience in times of hardship and ease, fortune and adversity.
Governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be based on justice, shura (consultation), and equality in accordance with the Islamic Shari‘ah. (source)

Assad must quit or be forced out, asserts Al-Jubeir
Saudi Gazette, Dec 11, 2015

SYRIAN President Bashar Al-Assad has two choices: “Either to leave through negotiations or be forcibly removed from power,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said in Riyadh on Thursday.
He was speaking to reporters during a two-day meeting of Syrian opposition groups wherein Assad foes called on the United Nations to press the Assad regime to take confidence building measures ahead of proposed peace talks, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
“As I said before, Bashar Al-Assad has two solutions: Leave through negotiations, which is easier and better for all. Or he will have to leave through fighting because the Syrian people refuse that this regime and person stays in power,” he said.

Al-Jubeir: Iran & Assad are biggest sponsors of terrorism
Al-Monitor, 5-10-2015

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Iran “has become an occupying force in Syria,” and that “it has already sent thousands of Quds Force fighters and Shiite militias, such as [members] of Hezbollah and other militias from the region, to support Assad’s regime.”
According to Jubeir, “If Iran wants to play a role in finding a political solution in Syria,” it ought to withdraw its forces and militias from Syria. He noted that this is “not a condition, rather, it is the most important role Iran can play in helping Syria get over its ongoing crisis.”
Regarding the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he said, “The issue is linked to Iran’s actions, not words,” referring to the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries that have been facing, since the Iranian revolution, the hostile policies of Iran that “interferes in the region’s affairs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It is trying to smuggle explosives to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while seeking to build cells inside Arab countries with the goal of destruction.”
He added that Iran “is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and it is working on destabilizing the region. If it wants to build good relations with its neighbors, it ought to deal with them based on the good neighborliness principle and not to interfere in their affairs. We [would] welcome such a step.”
Jubeir called on Iran to specify whether it is a “state or a revolution,” and if it wants to export its revolution and revive the Persian Empire — as described by prominent Iranian officials — we cannot deal with it.”
Jubeir said that he is not expecting a change in the US-Iranian relations as “expected by some analysts in the region,” since the US (i.e. Israel) “still sees Iran as the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world.”

Armed rebels get most seats in committee set for talks with Assad
Reuters, 11-12-2015

Armed rebel groups are to make up the largest single grouping in a joint Syrian opposition body that would oversee talks with President Bashar al-Assad's government, according to a list of names the factions drew up in Saudi Arabia this week.
President Assad said on Friday that the United States and Saudi Arabia wanted "terrorist groups" to join peace talks proposed by world powers, and that nobody in Syria would accept such talks, in an interview transcript published by state media.

The Riyadh conference agreed to set up a 34-member secretariat to supervise peace talks, and that committee will also select the opposition's negotiating team.
It includes 11 representatives of rebel fighting groups, according to the list of names proposed for the body seen by Reuters, making armed factions the biggest single grouping.
Powerful Islamist insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham is represented, along with a number of Free Syrian Army groups that have received military support from states opposed to Assad, such as Saudi Arabia and the United States.

SNC: Western backed 'democratic' government without popular support

The president of the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Khaled al-Khoja, is also on the list, as well as former heads Ahmed Jarba and Moaz Alkhatib, who is included as an independent.
The SNC is the main Western-backed political opposition, although it has only had tenuous links with rebels on the ground and is seen as out of touch with the general population.

Syrian Army Destroys Terrorist 'Lifeline' to Turkey in Aleppo Province
Sputnik News, 13-12-2015

A terrorist car bomb attack took place in central Homs city. Governor of Homs Talal al-Barazi told SANA that 16 people were killed and 54 others were injured, some being in critical condition. Earlier, a source at Homs Governorate said the bombing, which targeted the crowded al-Zahraa neighborhood, was carried out with a car packed with 150 kg of explosives that had been parked by the terrorists in a bystreet near a charity association and al-Ahli Hospital. (SANA 12-12-2015)
The Syrian army has continued its offensive in the key province of Aleppo, freeing more villages, destroying terrorists and militant infrastructure, as well as clearing improvised explosive devices in liberated areas, the SANA news agency reported, citing an unnamed military source.
As part of this major operation, Damascus-led forces delivered an attack on the terrorist "lifeline" to Turkey in the province, which involved destroying sites and supply routes used by al-Nusra Front, the media outlet added. The Syrian Army also destroyed Daesh strongholds and military equipment in Aleppo.
The Syrian army also carried out operations in several neighborhoods of the city of Aleppo, including Karm al-Tarab, al-Ramouseh, Suleiman al-Halabi, Aqyoul, Karm al-Maisar, al-Maasaraniyeh and Bani Zaid.

Damascus-led forces have been making gains in other parts of Syria, including the provinces of Latakia, Hama, Idleb and Homs. Among other things, the army reported killing the leader of the so-called Ahrar al-Sham movement in Hama countryside. In addition, Damascus-led forces targeted al-Nusra Front "hideouts and supply routes in al-Yadouda area in [the north-western part of the city of Daraa], near the border with Jordan, killing scores of terrorists and destroying their vehicles and weaponry," the news agency stated. Syrian warplanes also destroyed several Daesh strongholds and military hardware to the east of the city of Deir ez-Zor.

Syria: Break the silence - don't encourage terrorism
Syrian Arab News Agency, 12 December، 2015

The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Saturday sent two identical letters to the UN Secretary-General and the head of the Security Council stressing that the continued silence vis-à-vis the crimes of the armed terrorist organizations in Syria has become a source of encouragement for specific regimes in the region.
The ministry called on the UN Security Council and the Secretary General of the United Nations to condemn terrorist acts and shoulder responsibility in combating terrorism and uprooting it.

The ministry said that the Syrian government is bent on fighting terrorism and is determined to assume all constitutional and legal duties to protect its people, land and sovereignty and calls on the UN Security Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to condemn the terrorist acts and to shoulder responsibility in combating terrorism, uproot it and dry up its sources and to punish its supporters in an implementation of UN Security Council resolutions related to countering terrorism, in particular resolutions No. 2170 , 2178 and 2199 and to stop applying double standards when it comes to crimes of terrorism since is one and the same wherever it strikes.

Iran says Saudi ties can improve if Riyadh willing
Press TV, Mon Dec 14, 2015

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber-Ansari says relations between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia can improve if there is "a definitive will" on the part of Riyadh for such enhancement of ties.
In a press conference on Monday, Jaber-Ansari said there is great potential to change the current climate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, adding Tehran has always sought diplomacy-based interaction with its neighbors.
“Iran’s unchanging policy is based on talks with its neighbors and this policy will continue,” he said. The Iranian official described Saudi Arabia as a “major neighbor” of the Islamic Republic, saying Tehran and Riyadh have great potentialities for boosting bilateral relations.
“If there is a definitive will on the part of Saudi government … ground will be prepared in order to change the current atmosphere,” he said.

Opposition to using terrorism as an instrument to advance political objectives

Iran and Saudi Arabia have different stances on some developments in the Middle East, particularly the situation in Syria. The Islamic Republic supports the Syrian government and nation, calling for a political settlement of the crisis, while Saudi Arabia has been supporting Takfiri terrorist groups operating in Syria to topple the Damascus government.
The Iranian official further that the Islamic Republic would continue its advisory assistance to Syria to help the Arab country in the fight against terrorism.
Jaber-Ansari said that Iran has provided advisory military assistance to Syria based on the request of the Syrian government. He reiterated the Islamic Republic supports a diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis, voicing Tehran’s opposition to using terrorism as an instrument to advance political objectives.

Iraq defends sovereignty against Turkish aggression by all means: Iraqi leaders
Press TV, Sun Dec 13, 2015

The three branches of the Iraqi government have stressed that the Arab country has a right to resort to all legitimate means to defend territorial integrity and sovereignty against neighboring Turkey.
The announcement was made in a joint statement issued following an urgent meeting held in the capital Baghdad on Saturday by Iraqi President Fuad Masum, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and senior leaders of parties and political factions.
The signatories of the statement also rejected silence on the Turkish violation and expressed support for the Iraqi army and security forces in their efforts to defend the country against any foreign aggression.
According to the statement, any counter-terror assistance from any foreign country must first be received upon a formal request made by the Iraqi central government and lent only with its approval and consent.

On December 4, the Turkish military deployed hundreds of troops as well as heavy weaponry to the camp of Bashiqa near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which has been under the control of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group since June 2014.
Ankara claims that its troops have been deployed in northern Iraq to train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against the terror group.

Rebels inside the provincial capital of the Idlib Governorate have posted a photo, which displays a large sign dedicated to Osama bin Laden. Underneath this sign is a large fire pit that is filled with banned books and cigarettes, which are now considered by the rebels of Idlib City as heretical...(Al-Masdar 11-12-2015)

Russia delivers up to 40 airstrikes daily
to help Free Syrian Army fight terrorists
Russia Today, 14 Dec, 2015

Warplanes of the Russian task force in Syria deliver from 30 to 40 airstrikes daily in support of the Free Syrian Army, Russia’s General Staff reports.
Some 5,000 FSA troops together with the Syrian Army are on the offensive in Hama, Homs, Aleppo and Raqqa provinces.
The number of FSA personnel that have come over to the Syrian Army is constantly growing, Russia’s Defense Force Chief of Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, said.
He added that Russia’s task force in Syria is also supplying FSA units with “weapons, munitions and other material supplies.” In this way, Russia is “promoting the [Syrian] government troops and opposition groups joining efforts to defeat the terrorists,” the general said.
Gerasimov said that Russian task force in Syria is delivering bomb and missile strikes solely on installations of terrorist infrastructure. He added that Russia has so far received no substantial support from countries that Moscow considered partners in regard to fighting terrorism in Syria: “On the contrary, we received a stab in the back with a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet violating Syrian airspace and downing our Su-24...”

The patriot plan
Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire network 14-12-2015

The Russian forces have been bombing the jihadists since the 30th September. They plan to continue at least until the 6th January.
Their action is aimed principally at destroying the bunkers built by these armed groups and the totality of their logistical networks. During this phase, there will be little evolution on the ground other than a withdrawal of jihadists towards Iraq and Turkey.

The Syrian Arab Army and its allies are preparing a vast operation for the beginning of 2016. The objective is to provoke an uprising of the populations dominated by the jihadists, and to take almost all the cities in the country simultaneously – with the possible exception of Palmyra – so that the foreign mercenaries will fall back to the desert.
Unlike Iraq, where 120,00 Sunnis and Ba’athists joined Daesh only to exact revenge for having been excluded from power by the United States in favour of the Chiites, rare are the Syrians who ever acclaimed the « Caliphate ».

The Syrian government has concluded an agreement with the jihadists of Homs, who have finally accepted to either join up or leave. The area has been evacuated under the control of the United Nations, so that today, Damascus, Homs, Hama, Lattakia and Der ez-Zor are completely secure. Aleppo, Idlib and Al-Raqqah still need to be liberated.
Contrary to peremptory affirmations by the western Press, Russia has no intention of leaving the north of the country to France, Israël and the United Kingdom so that they can create their pseudo-Kurdistan. The patriot plan forsees the liberation of all the inhabited areas of the country, including Rakka, which is the current « capital of the Caliphate ».

Syrians in the Occupied Golan reiterate adherence to homeland
Syrian Arab News Agency, 14 December 2015

The Syrians in the occupied Golan on Monday reiterated their adherence to the Syrian Arab identity and their deep affiliation and loyalty to their homeland Syria rejecting any alternative of it.
Commemorating the 34rd anniversary of the Israeli ominous decision of 14 December 1981 to annex the occupied Golan to its entity, the Syrians in the occupied Golan reaffirmed their complete rejection of this colonial measure...
Israel continues its intransigence and refusal of the UN-related resolutions particularly Resolution No. 497 for 1981 which considers Israel’s decision to impose its laws, administration and custody on the occupied Syrian Golan as “null and void.”

Member of the People’s Assembly Refaat al-Hussein, from Baqaatha occupied village , said when the Syrian citizens realized the start of implying the occupation’s measures leading up to the annexation, they unified and called on to hold a meeting in Majdal Shams village and issued a statement in 1981 called ” the National Document”

The National Document stressed on the following:

1– The occupied Golan Heights is an integral part of the Syrian Arab Republic.
2 – The Syrian Arab nationality is a real and lasting characteristic which is inherited to us from our parents. It is our responsibility to give this inheritance to our children.
3 - Our territories are a sacred ownership to all our sons of the Syrian society. And every Syrian citizen tries to sell or give up any inch of our lands to the Israeli occupier, is treated as committing a great crime and unforgivable national treason against our society...
4 – We do not recognize any decision issued by the Israeli occupier to annex us to the Zionist entity. Besides we completely reject the Israeli government's decisions aiming at stealing our Syrian Arab identity.
5 - We do not recognize the legitimacy of the local and sectarian councils. For these councils are appointed by the Israeli military government and they receive their instructions from it.
6 – No one deserves to express Syrians' ambitions except those people from all our social sectors , who reject the occupation through their true national stances.
7 - Every citizen in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights who accepts to replace his Syrian nationality with the Israeli one is considered a traitor.
8 - we decided an irreversible decision which is: we will dismiss all people who accept to be an Israeli citizen.

We have adopted this document depending on our authentic spiritual, national and humanitarian heritage which encourages us to offer our deep sincerity to our homeland, Syria.

Washington and Ankara didn’t inform UNsc of ISIS illegally trafficking stolen oil
Syrian Arab News Agency, 14 December 2015

The US and Turkey didn’t inform the UN Security Council about the terrorist organizations Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) illegally trafficking stolen oil, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said Monday.
Both Ankara and Washington were obliged to inform the UN Security Council about the ISIS illegally trafficking stolen oil, but didn’t, Vitaly Churkin told Russian RIA Novosti news agency in an interview.
The Russian official wondered that the US jet-fighters have been carrying out airstrikes against ISIS terrorist organization for a year, but they didn’t provide any information on smuggling oil, while Russia has started its military operation against the terrorist organization in Syria for two months and has already provided many photos showing that oil is smuggled through the Turkish borders.
“Under UN Resolution 2199, banning financing of the terrorist organization, adopted on our initiative in February, countries are obliged to provide information to the Security Council, if they have such information.
That means the Americans had to provide such information, and of course Turkey, which should have reported any illegal oil trade going on there. They didn’t do it,” Churkin said. He stressed that Moscow could propose imposing sanctions against Ankara on the background of this issue.

Churkin revealed that Moscow and Washington are preparing a new UN resolution on illegal oil trade, saying “Together with the Americans, we’re drafting a new resolution tightening regulations on that kind of reporting. Possibly we could oblige the Secretary General to deliver regular reports on the issue, we hope to adopt this resolution on December 17.”

Saudi forms 34-nation counterterrorism military coalition
Middle East Online, 15-12-2015

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday the formation of a military coalition of 34 countries including Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey to fight "terrorism" in the Islamic world. The Saudi-led alliance does not include the kingdom's Shiite regional rival Iran, or Syria and Iraq.
It will be based in Riyadh "to coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism", with participation from Middle Eastern, African and Asian states, the SPA state news agency said.
The coalition will tackle "the Islamic world's problem with terrorism and will be a partner in the worldwide fight against this scourge" said Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a press conference in Riyadh. The coalition will fight "any terrorist organisation that appears," said Mohammed when asked if the alliance would concentrate on fighting IS only.
The announcement is the latest in a more assertive Saudi foreign policy since King Salman ascended the throne in January and named Mohammed, who is his son, as defence minister...
The United Arab Emirates said two weeks ago that it is ready to commit ground troops against jihadists in Syria and described Russian air strikes in the country as attacks on a "common enemy".

Flashback: Political Islam is the Only Path for Muslims,
Saudia scholar Ayed bin Abdullah Al-Qarni & The Arab Spring
By Pamela Geller on February 6, 2011

A popular Saudi author and religious scholar says the current ferment in the Arab world can be traced to the denial of power to Islamists in the past. Only Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states have been the exception where Shariah or Islamic law became the constitution.

Al-Qarni: Political Islam
is disobeying secular governments

February 27, 2012: A well known Saudi Islamic scholar Sheikh Ayedh Al Qarni issued a fatwa on Sunday to kill Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. Al Qarni stressed in his fatwa that killing Bashar Al Assad is more important than killing Israelis. He called on Syrian army to split and disobey President Bashar Al Assad. "It is not permissible for Syrian army to obey the tyrant...this is disobedience to the Creator," added Al Qarni. He called the Al Ba’ath Party: "a rogue party".

They denounced Shariah and marginalized Islam

Writing in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Ayed bin Abdullah Al-Qarni said that in Egypt, a revolution for change took place in 1952, championing reform and an adherence to post-monarchical values, whereas the Egyptian people actually wanted Islam as their means of reform...
When the Free Officers assumed power in 1952, they cast Islam aside, denounced the Shariah and ruled according to a constitution derived from French and English law.
Al-Qarni noted that when Algeria achieved independence, it was governed by a socialist, Western-orientated regime, which deprived the Algerian Muslim people of their ambitions and aspirations for Islamic rule.
In Sudan military figures assumed power, although they knew nothing about Islam. Hence, they rejected the Shariah and imposed a foreign, Western-oriented constitution.
In Libya, the descendants and followers of the martyred freedom fighter, Omar Mukhtar, were eager to raise the banner of Islam during the 1969 revolution. However, the Libyan people were surprised when this movement was hijacked by a government that discounted the Shariah and usurped freedom.
In Iraq and Syria, Al-Qarni said the people were 100 percent Muslim, and they led their struggle and revolution against French and English colonialism under the banner of Islam. However, when the Baath Party assumed power in both countries, its first move was to denounce Shariah and marginalize Islam.

Regarding revolutions in the Middle East, Al-Qarni said no one has adhered to Islam, its rule, doctrine and approach, except King Abdul Aziz when he led the revolution in the Arabian Peninsula.
He was revolting against delusion, heresy, division, dispute, looting and robbery. His first announcement was that Saudi Arabia was an Islamic state, which would be governed according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Qatar & Turkey backed Muslim Brotherhood clerics Higazi & Qaradawi

U.S. seeks more Turkish help against ISIS
Al-Arabiya, 15 December 2015

And on the day when the heaven bursts apart with clouds, and the angels are sent down, as they are sent.
The Kingdom on that day rightly belongs to the Beneficent, and it will be a hard day for the disbelievers.”

Qaradawi: "Turkey is the Caliphate State, and Istanbul is its capital … Turkey unites religion and the world, Arab (Wahhabist Sunnis) and Persian (Shiites), Asia and Africa, and it (the Caliphate) should be based upon this nation (Turkey)”. "Erdogan is a leader who knows his Lord.” “Erdogan will succeed because Allah, Gabriel, Salih Al-Muminin (the Righteous of the Faithful) are with him and after that the Angelic Hosts will appear”.

Turkey's opposition party members have expressed concern that religion based on the Muslim Brotherhood ideology will be taught to Turkish children from an early age.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter urged Turkey on Tuesday to do more to help destroy Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants...
Speaking to reporters while traveling to the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, Carter said Ankara needed to better control its border with Syria, particularly a roughly 60-mile (98-km) stretch believed to be used by ISIS for illicit trade and for shuttling foreign fighters back and forth.
“Turkey has an enormous role to play,” said Carter, on his first trip to Incirlik as defense secretary. “We appreciate what they’re doing. We want them to do more.”
That includes Turkish forces joining “in the air and the ground as appropriate,” Carter said. “The single most important contribution that their geography makes necessary is the control of their own border.”
The United States has pushed for a more assertive Turkish contribution in fighting the Islamic State, particularly in securing the border with Syria, but also in seeing more Turkish air strikes devoted to ISIS.

Meanwhile, General Joe Dunford warned that America is coming up far short in its efforts to counter ISIS propaganda, and the extremists’ messages often resonate with younger people.
I think we probably do get a C-minus or D in terms of doing it right now,” General Joe Dunford told a national security forum in Washington.
Dunford, whose official title is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said people in the West tend to overlook the power of IS on social media - even as the extremists’ propaganda captures the imagination of some.
Amazingly enough they are resonating with young people here in the United States who are either disaffected, dislocated or just not fully integrated in our society.”

The small, armed, Salafi minority can’t impose itself on the country
Top 5 Ways Saudi Arabia really could fight Terrorism, & not by a Vague Coalition
By Juan Cole | Dec. 16, 2015

Here are some steps they could take instead of, or at least beyond coalition-building:

- 1. Stop recklessly and indiscriminately bombing Yemen. The Saudi campaign has allowed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), to expand its territory in the south.
- 2. Make their clients, the Syrian guerrilla groups in the Army of Conquest, including the Free Men of Syria, break with al-Qaeda in Syria (the Nusra Front) with which they are formally allied. Saudi Arabia can’t fight terrorism if it is backing a coalition allied with al-Qaeda.
- 3. Stop insisting that Syria become Saudi Arabia’s 'Mini-Me' and help all Syrians come to a political settlement of the civil war. Saudi Arabia keeps issuing ultimatums about what must happen.
Syria is 14% Alawite Shiite, 5% Christian, 3% Druze, 1% 12er Shiite, 10% leftist Kurds, and probably 40% leftist or secular Sunnis. The small, armed, Salafi minority can’t impose itself on the country as Riyadh seems to want.
- 4. Stop denying peaceful members of the Muslim Brotherhood their basic human rights. If Muslim Brothers aren’t violent and aren’t actually doing anything illegal, they should be left alone.
- 5. Step up and play a more forceful role in insisting that the Israelis withdraw from the Occupied Palestinian territories captured in 1967. Saudi Arabia only talks a good game on Palestine. Their real investment is in bombing Yemen. The latter isn’t even practical.

Bashar Assad: Political parties should be based on secular principles
Sergei Balmasov, Pravda 13-12-2011

- Question: "Spokesmen for the Syrian opposition, including those who stay in Moscow, claim that the official authorities supposedly contribute to the conflict because they refuse to legalize the Muslim Brotherhood. Does the Brotherhood have a chance to win legitimacy and get into the parliament?"
- President Assad: "In accordance with acting Constitution, Syria is a secular state. Therefore, no movement that acts under religious slogans and aims to split the Syrian society can hope for it. This goes for the Muslim Brotherhood too. It does not mean, though, that we cut those people from the opportunity to participate in the peaceful life of the country.
We offer them to establish their own political party which would be based on secular principles so that the party could struggle for the seats in the parliament."

Israel bans human rights organisation
Middle East Monitor, 15 December 2015

Israeli veterans’ organisation Breaking the Silence has been banned from participating in any official activities with Israeli forces, Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued the decision earlier today on social media, referring the group hypocrites spreading "false propaganda" against Israeli forces and the state of Israel in an attempt to "delegitimise" them.
Breaking the Silence said it had come under attack for several months, "through a pre-meditated campaign, in which members of the extreme right-wing, including Israeli parliamentarians and elected officials, along with public figures and right-wing organisations, are trying to silence both us and every debate related to the 48-year-long occupation."

Louis Frankenthaler: “Breaking the Silence” is a member of the Israeli human rights, peace and social justice community.
The group’s only crime, so it seems, lies in its effort to offer an alternative ethical voice in a society that is arguably losing its way.
Breaking the Silence provides a platform for soldiers to testify to acts of violence and other violations of Palestinian rights that they may have witnessed or taken part in during their service in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Why then is the Israeli government waging a battle against this organization, trying to thwart its funding and, essentially, to shut it down?
The answer, perhaps, lies in the genealogy of the occupation. Since 1967 Israel has argued its one acceptable and official truth: “Israel is not an occupier and it is not violating international law.” (Jabotinski's law: "Zionism is absolute good. There is no other morality")
The problem is that this narrative has been accepted only by Israel, tolerated by the United States, and perpetuated by a broad spectrum of Israel’s “supporters,” largely in North America and Western Europe. (The Electronic Intifada 7 August 2009)

Bennett bans 'Breaking the Silence' from Israeli schools
By Uzi Baruch, Arutz Sheva, 15-12-2015

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) has moved to bar the anti-IDF Breaking the Silence NGO from operating within Israel's school system.
Bennett informed the Education Ministry Director-General and leading education officials of the ruling, which will bar any organizations which incite against the IDF - including Breaking The Silence - from entering Israeli schools.
"Our children are sent to the educational system in order to encourage mutual responsibility, no to harm IDF soldiers," Bennett said in a statement announcing his decision.
"Breaking the Silence's activities lead to the slander of Israel abroad, as they have set themselves the objective of harming their brethren who protect us," he added.

Breaking the Silence Website

Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that what is done in its name.
Discharged soldiers returning to civilian life discover the gap between the reality they encountered in the Territories, and the silence about this reality they encounter at home. In order to become civilians again, soldiers are forced to ignore what they have seen and done.

The right and duty to break silence
by Achiya Schatz, December 3, 2015

It seems that today, more than any time in the past, the Israeli public is split between two rival camps.
- One camp champions radical nationalism with populist and racist messaging, some of whom have no problem with violence – whether physical or verbal, institutional or spontaneous. This is a camp that sees every critical statement that opposes its worldview as tantamount to treason.
- The other camp consists of those who understand that maintaining a regime of occupation is the mark of Cain on Israel’s forehead, which poses a danger to its future as a democracy.
Every Israeli citizen should ask his or herself which camp they would like to belong to and within which kind of country do they want to live and raise their kids...
Our choice requires us to continue 'breaking our silence', and that is what we are committed to doing.

UN's Ban Ki-Moon accuses Israel of 'breeding' Palestinian terror attacks
Jerusalem Post, 16-12-2015

In a message delivered on his behalf to a conference on the Rights of Palestinian people and the situation in Jerusalem organized this week in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon said that the recent Palestinian attacks on Israelis are “bred from nearly five decades of Israeli occupation.”
“It is the result of fear, humiliation, frustration and mistrust,” he said. “It has been fed by the wounds of decades of bloody conflict, which will take a long time to heal. Palestinians youth in particular are tired of broken promises and they see no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ban blamed Israel’s “settlement enterprise” for the deterioration of the current situation in the region.
He also referred to the situation on Temple Mount and said that despite several reaffirmations by the Israeli government that it does not intend to change the status quo in the holy site, “any action which could be interpreted as attempting to change the delicate balance, and particularly the status quo of the holy sites, carries with it the risk of conflict.”
Ban also said there is an “urgent need for leaders to rein in incitement” and called on Israeli security forces to “ensure a calibrated use of force in response to incidents.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People “a body detached from reality.”

Danny Danon (born 8 May 1971) is an Israeli politician and a member of the Likud party. He served as the chairman of World Likud.
World Likud is the Likud Party’s wing for global communication and networking. Ideological founders like Zeev Jabotinsky and Joseph Trumpeldor remain inspirational icons within the movement and likewise continue to inspire World Likud activities. On 14 August 2015 Danon was appointed by Netanyahu to be Israel's envoy to the UN.

MK Danon 2010: The settlers are the pure Zionists of Israel today.
Arutz Sheva, Malkah Fleisher, 10/4/2010

Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria have found a friend in Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon.
The 39 year-old rookie MK, who is seen as one of the prime minister's biggest critics within his party – as well as a rising Likud star – has made himself a champion of new building efforts...

According to Danon, it is a matter of survival. "We have to be very strong now. ... We have to be very strong today, because we will face the issue of Jerusalem, settlement, borders… I can only imagine the amount of pressure that will be brought to bear upon us."
MK Danon urged the United States to relent on that pressure, in the name of democracy. "We want the American people to respect democracy in Israel, to respect the sovereignty of Israel, where we tell Jews they can build everywhere in the [land of Israel]."
For him, that right is not just a fundamental part of what Likud stands for, but a core Zionist value. "When you have Jewish homes on the ground, this is pure Zionism..."

See also: Saddam's Death, Page 48

Zarif: "The fake issue of possible so-called military dimensions
of Iran’s nuclear program has become history"
Tehran Times Political Desk, 16-12-2015

Leading nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday approved a resolution that ends a decade-long probe of allegations that Iran worked on atomic arms.
The move by the 35-nation Board of Governors of the IAEA comes after last month’s IAEA assertion that Iran had not been taking considerable steps toward making military use of its nuclear technology.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed passing the resolution, saying that the resolution has gone far beyond closing the PMD issue. It actually ended the past 12 resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors against Iran, the chief diplomat noted:
“The fake issue of possible so-called military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program has become history now,” Zarif stressed.

“The Agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009. Nor has the Agency found any credible indications of the diversion of nuclear material in connection with the possible military dimensions (PMD) to Iran’s nuclear program,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in his introductory statement to the Board of Governors in Vienna, Austria.
He claimed that some activities had been carried out in Iran to develop a nuclear explosive device before and after 2003; however, the IAEA “assesses that these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities.”
Amano emphasized that his latest report entitled Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program was “factual, technically sound and balanced.”

Flashback 2002 - Tehran Times: War Criminal Warns Against Danger

In an interview with London's Times newspaper on Tuesday, the Zionist Prime Minister Ariel Sharon claimed that Iran was seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. He added that following the conclusion of the Iraq situation, pressure should be brought to bear on Iran.
Sharon's threat is among one of the oldest propaganda gimmicks of Tel Aviv. Whenever faced with internal crisis and political strife, the Zionist regime resorts to distraction tactics, in order to divert public attention from issues of immediate import. Sharon's remarks against Iran should be viewed in the same light. (Tehran Times, 6-11-2002)

Original Sin: Refusing to be a sheep of Panurge
FARS News Agency, 17-12-2015

While Russia's uncompromising president is adored at home, Vladimir Putin troubles the West mostly for his unwillingness to blindly follow the western “democratic dogma” and his decisiveness in reviving Russia, according to the French daily L’Expression.
The overwhelming majority of Russians adore President Putin, who, at the same time, greatly annoys Western countries which “tend to ignore” Russia’s latest achievements, the outlet says.
The breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s became a disaster for Russia and the former Soviet republics. Back then the country was in a painful political, economic and social crisis and had reached rock bottom.
“The country was led by an alcoholic, Boris Yeltsin, who put the country at the mercy of a bunch of oligarchs,” the newspaper says.
“Russian Jew Boris Berezovsky led Yeltsin by the nose and intervened in all the political decisions, Gusinsky (former Russian media tycoon) ruled the media, Smolensky (former head of a large Russian bank, who, due to his wealth, youth and oligarch father, has been dubbed in the media as “baby oligarch”) ruled the economy.”

Putin, previously unknown to this group of oligarchs, arose from this “atmosphere of disaster and oblivion,” restoring faith in the future to people suffering from famine, and in so doing returning the country to the world stage.
“Uncompromising, he denounced the military intervention of NATO outside the mandate of the United Nations. He reminded that the UN Charter is the only mechanism of making the decisions on the use of force as a last resort and that unilateral action, often illegitimate, is not a solution to any problem," the newspaper says.
“Putin committed a major sin: he deviated from the Western democratic dogma..." "He broke away from the herd, refusing to be a sheep of Panurge (“mouton de Panurge” in French, which describes an individual that blindly follows others regardless of the consequences)...,” the newspaper finally stated.

Flashback 2004: The Oligarchs
Or How the Virgin Became a Whore, By URI AVNERY

The "oligarchs" are a tiny group of entrepreneurs who exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars.
In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six out of the seven are Jews.

In the first years of post-Soviet Russian capitalism they were the bold and nimble ones who knew how to exploit the economic anarchy in order to acquire enormous possessions for a hundredth or a thousandth of their value: oil, natural gas, nickel and other minerals. They used every possible trick, including cheating, bribery and murder. Every one of them had a small private army...
After a period of fighting each other, they decided that it would be more profitable for them to cooperate in order to take over the state...
In practice, the oligarchs ruled Russia. One of them, Boris Berezovsky, appointed himself Prime Minister. There was a minor scandal when it became known that he (like most of the oligarchs) had acquired Israeli citizenship, but he gave up his Israeli passport and everything was in order again...

In the end, there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison and caused the others to flee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is in Israel, another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to be hiding here.)...

These facts must alarm everybody who cares about democracy -- in Israel, Russia, the United States and elsewhere.
Oligarchy and democracy are incompatible. As a Russian commentator in the TV series said about the new Russian democracy: "They have turned a virgin into a whore." (CounterPunch, 3-8-2004)

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom.

Eduard Topol, 1998: "How did it happen that almost all the money in this country has ended up in Jewish hands? Are there really no competent Russian financiers? In old [Tsarist] Russia there were some exceptional Russian commercial figures -- Morozov, Tretyakov.."

Boris Abramovich Berezovsky: "You know, of course there are some very competent bankers among the Russians. But this profession requires a second very important factor -- the will power to do the job. Because of our history Jews know how to lose and then get back up on their feet again. This is probably a result of our historical experience. But even the most talented Russians don't have this ability. They can't take the blow, and they're completely out of the game after their first loss. It's regrettable." (Institute for historical review)

Turkey Claims New Anti-Daesh Coalition 'Ideological'
Sputnik News, December 17, 2015

Riyadh's new Islamic anti-terror coalition will be an ideological association, not a military alliance, according to Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgich.
He said that turning the coalition into a military structure is currently "not on the agenda." According to him, "the military and intelligence cooperation in the fight against Daesh is of great importance, but there is also an ideological aspect of combatting terrorism." "This fight should be coordinated so that Islam could not be associated with terrorism," Bilgich said.

His remarks came a few days after it was reported that Saudi Arabia had set up a new Islamic coalition of 34 countries to fight terrorism, with the joint operations command center due to be based in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia's government said that the coalition is created "to counteract terrorism, which became a threat to the interests of the Islamic nation" and "on the basis of the right of peoples for self-defense."

Flashback: ISIS bans philosophy, chemistry in Syria schools
World Shia Forum, Editor’s note: 16-8-2014

The news that ISIL has banned philosophy as a subject at schools should not come as a surprise. Philosophy is also banned in Saudi Arabia under Wahabbism (a branch of salafist Islam).

Salafist Islam has always been against philosophy and logic. The renowned Hanbali scholar and the fountainhead of all strands of Salafist Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, said:
”Philosophical logic is like the flesh of a camel at the top of a mountain. It is not easy to climb the mountain, nor is the flesh good enough to justify climbing, nor is the path leading to it easy to follow.’’ He also said: ”There are no philosophers upon right guidance”. He also said: ‘’Islam does not have philosophers’’ {Source: Naseehat Ahl Eemaan Fee Radd alaa Mantiq al Yunaan – page:157}

ISIL adheres to salafist Islam which shifts religion from being mimetic to performative; where faith stops feeling like a way of life that holds you, and becomes a way of life you must hold onto – placing great store on specifics like wearing a veil (sharia rule).
Thus instead of feeling being at odds with the world, they think that the world is at odds with them. Salafist Islam portrays what the Pope calls the culture of death.
At an existential level, they become so obsessed that the moment you differ from them nothing less than the whole person or system feels under threat and is ready to kill.
This extremism is a way of staving off how these believers themselves feel compromised by the way things are in the world, because they are implicated in it too. So, blame it all on Chemistry and Philosophy.

Wahhabism: literal, conservative interpretation of the Koran

Wahhabism is a religious movement within Islam founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703 - 92). Members describe themselves as muwahhidun ("monotheists" or "unitarians"), those who uphold firmly the doctrine that God is one, the only one (wahid).
It condemns as illegal and un-Islamic the practice of using the name of any prophet, saint, or angel in a prayer, of calling upon any such beings for intercession and making vows to them, and of visitations to tombs of saints. Adherents insist on a literal interpretation of the Koran and a strict doctrine of predestination.
The Wahhabis claim to base their doctrines on the teachings of the fourteenth century scholar Ibn Taymiyya and the rulings of the Hanbali school of law, the strictest of the four recognised in the Sunni consensus. (

Ibn Taymiyya: innovations are forbidden
by Diego Sarrio Cucarella, july 2011

Ibn Taymiyyah believed that the first three generations of Islam (Salaf) – Muhammad, his companions, and the followers of the companions from the earliest generations of Muslims – were the best role models for Islamic life. Their practice, together with the Qur'an, constituted a seemingly infallible guide to life. Any deviation from their practice was viewed as bid‘ah, or innovation, and to be forbidden.
Ibn Taymiyya became known as a combative polemicist against everything that, in his eyes, affected the purity of Islam: extremist Shi'i sects, Islamic rationalist theologians and peripatetic philosophers, Sufis of monistic tendency, the morally corrupting influence of the People of the Book, and exaggerated expressions of popular religiosity.

The Arab nation: a nation in an identity crisis
Nawar Fakhry Ezzi, Saudi Gazette Opinion, Dec 17, 2015

The idea of “Arab nationalism” was crushed after the dismal defeat (Al-Naksa) of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war leaving many of those in later generations apathetic to their language and identity, while some even suffered from self-hatred, confusion and loss.
Calls for the “revival of Arabic” have been made by those who hope for an Islamic renaissance and presume that reviving the Arabic language would be one way to make that happen. However, as important as language is to one’s identity and heritage, its dominance and mastery is the manifestation of people’s advancement and development rather than being the cause of it.
Arabs have spoken Arabic for thousands of years and they were no more than nomads and traders, but they flourished after the birth of Islam when they embraced education, renovation, development and diversity.
During the Islamic Golden Age, Arabic was an esteemed and dominant language because it was used to document scientific discoveries. Valuable scholarly works from old civilizations, such as Greece, Rome, India and Persia, were translated into Arabic.

In order to revive Arabic, we need to rise as a nation and make grassroots changes in our attitudes toward change and renovation and develop better curriculum material and teaching pedagogies and nurture a general hunger for acquiring knowledge...
December 18 is the day dedicated by the United Nations to the Arabic language, with each of the UN’s other five official languages having different days dedicated to them. The purpose is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity and to promote respect for the history, culture and achievements of these languages.
The Arabic language can be considered the umbilical cord that links us to our religion, history, culture and heritage. However, if we are confused about our identity or our place in the world, reviving it will not return our past glory. We can honor this day by continuing to read Arabic books and teaching our children the love and value of the Arabic language...

Saudi official: "hatred of the other" is to blame for terror attacks
By Tova Dvorin, Arutz Sheva, 12/18/2015

"We have not sent thee but as a mercy to the nations"
Quran - Al-Anbiya - The Prophets

Violence pervades our culture, a Saudi Arabian politician declared earlier this month, and blamed that culture for encouraging terror attacks in Europe and around the world.
Ibrahim Al-Buleihi, a member of Riyadh's Shura Council - the formal advisory body to Saudi Arabia's absolute monarchy, affirmed that "hatred of the other" is to blame for the Islamic State (ISIS) attacks in Paris...
"We are immersed in this violence, because we are immersed in the hatred of the other, and we believe we are always in the right, and that the falsehood of the other is absolute," Al-Buleihi began. "This perspective makes us hate whoever does not agree with our thinking and our way of life."
"We still delude ourselves into believing that we are better than the others, and that therefore, we must not embrace anything from the experience of others," he continued. "We produce this kind of people [who carried out the Paris attacks and 9/11], this kind of hostility," he stressed.

O Reader, how many an evil that you see in others is but your own nature reflected in them?
In them appears all that you are -- your hypocrisy, iniquity and insolence.
You do not see clearly the evil in yourself, else you would hate yourself with all your soul.
Jalaluddin Rumi, born on September 30, 1207 CE in Khorasan (now Afghanistan)

Salafists have been "usually unrelentingly hostile to devotional Sufi practices", arguing that Sufism is "irreconcilable with true Islam" (Wikipedia)

Don't create monsters - the evil is in ourselves
How Hannah Arendt Was Labeled an “Enemy of Israel”
by Daniel Maier-Katkin, Tikkun, November 1, 2010

Arendt was born into a secular Jewish family in East Prussia. She was educated to the highest university levels in classics, Greek, Latin, continental philosophy, and German literature. She was not a Zionist because she did not personally have any impulse to emigrate to Eretz Yisroel.
Arendt had been a tireless advocate for Jewish victims and for the existence of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, but she envisioned the homeland as a federated, pluralistic, democratic, secular state -- a homeland for Palestinians and Jews coexisting peacefully as neighbors without an official state religion.
This may seem a pipe dream now, but in early Zionism this was called the "general" view. The "revisionist" view that Israel must be a Jewish state and a homeland only for Jews did not come to dominate the discourse until the end of World War II...
In 1944 the Zionist Organization of America adopted a resolution calling for "a Jewish commonwealth to embrace the whole of Palestine, undivided and undiminished."

The reception of her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, especially among Jewish intellectuals, was a vituperative literary event... The hostilities revolved around the book's subtitle, A Report on the Banality of Evil, and its criticism of the dominance of anti-Arab Jewish nationalist sentiment dominating Israeli politics.
She was frightened by the insight that the most awful, reprehensible crimes might be committed by ordinary people.
This in turn made her suspicious of the prosecution's caricature of Eichmann as "the monster" responsible for the suffering of the Jewish people... He appeared more a banal bureaucrat than an inhuman monster. The real monsters are ignorance, conformism, pessimism, lacking principles, opportunism...etc...
The reviews were brutal. One was published under the headline "Self-Hating Jewess Writes Pro-Eichmann Series for the New Yorker." Another concluded that Arendt was "digging future Jewish graves to the applause of the world's unconverted anti-Semites."
The Council of Israeli Jews From Germany wrote to her demanding that she withdraw the book from publication or face a "declaration of war."

Libya rival governments sign disputed unity deal
Middle East Online, 17-12-2015

TRIPOLI - Rival Libyan politicians signed Thursday a deal on a unity government despite opposition on both sides, in what the United Nations described as a "first step" towards ending the crisis. A group of lawmakers from Libya's rival parliaments, as well as other political figures, inked the UN-sponsored accord in the Moroccan resort of Skhirat, an AFP journalist said.
Around 80 of 188 lawmakers from Libya's internationally recognised parliament and 50 of 136 members of the General National Congress (GNC) signed the deal, participants said. The deal has caused deep divisions within the two legislatures.

The heads of both of them have warned that the accord has no legitimacy and that those who signed it represented only themselves.
Nouri Abusahmein, who heads the militia-backed GNC in Tripoli that is not recognised by the international community, said Wednesday that the signatories did not represent the parliaments: "Whoever has not been commissioned by the GNC to sign or initial a deal on its behalf is, and will remain, without legitimacy," he said.
A government such as that proposed by the United Nations "is not the subject of consensus and does not even guarantee the minimum required to ensure its effectiveness", he added.
On Tuesday in Malta, Abusahmein met Aguila Saleh, who heads the internationally recognised parliament based in Tobruk in the east near the border with Egypt. It was the first time they had met since the rival administrations were formed in 2014. And both of them said that whoever was to sign the agreement represented only themselves.

Nouri Abusahmain, head of Libya's rival legislature the General National Council (GNC), is a major figure on the Islamist side of the Libyan Conflict.
Abusahmain supported the political isolation law that barred Qaddafi-era officials from office. In an interview, he said, “We know that our security is being targeted by some followers of the old regime both here and abroad… We cannot allow any opportunity for the members of the previous tyrannical regime to seize on the unrest with their ideas, powers, and looted state funds.." Much of Libya is resisting the so-called Isolation Law.
Abusahmain is the founder of the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR) group, one that is considered a terrorist group by the Libyan parliament, an internationally recognized body. The LROR is an Islamist armed group that attempted an Islamist coup in October 2013.
In 2014 a coalition of Islamist militias and armed groups from Misurata allied to the Muslim Brotherhood seized control of Tripoli’s international airport. The coalition, which opposed the newly elected House of Representatives, set up a rival regime in Tripoli.

Retired Turkish Military Leaders Try to Push Erdogan for Talks with Syria’s Assad
Al-Alam, 18-12-2015

Three retired Turkish generals are pushing for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of the efforts to return peace to his war-torn country.
A Turkish delegation, headed by Ismail Hakki Pekin, former head of the intelligence unit of the Chief of Staff, is scheduled to make a trip to the Syrian capital Damascus.
“The aim of the visit is to find a negotiable ground where the two sides will work on how they are going to repair their broken relations for the sake of the region,” Pekin told Xinhua in an interview.
Soner Polat, a retired rear admiral and member of the military delegation to Damascus, said the retired generals will try to understand the “sensitivities” of the Syrian side and explain Turkey’s perception of threat and policy priorities.
“We will try to establish a balance between our own interest and theirs,” he told Xinhua. “We will try to find a happy medium for a possible meeting.”

Pekin has urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party to abandon their Syrian policy.
“In case of overthrowing Syrian government of al-Assad, the state structure of Syria would be totally destroyed and Syria would turn into a bloodbath, even worse than today,” he warned.
In Pekin's view, Turkey and other countries should primarily respect Syrian territorial integrity, secure the Syrian border and support the central government.
“By securing Syrian border together with Iraqi border, you are going to prevent ISIS to export its terrorism to the rest of the world, to Europe, to Russia and to Far East,” he remarked.

Todays Zaman, May 19, 2015
İsmail Hakkı Pekin: We are exporting terrorism to our neighbors via MİT

Turkey's national intelligence service is exporting arms and paid mercenaries to its strife-ridden neighbor Syria, which is currently caught up in civil war, according to a former top army commander.
The former intelligence director of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. İsmail Hakkı Pekin, said in the second part of an interview with Today's Zaman that the role the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) plays in Turkey's relations with its neighbors is not normal, saying:
MİT cannot orchestrate a military operation in Syria. We are exporting terrorism to a neighboring country via MİT. Plus MİT is using paid mercenaries for this job [of exporting terrorism].
Stating that some of the weapons are exported to the rebels and jihadist groups via MİT, Pekin said: “There are front companies formed with the assistance of Qatar. With their [Qatar's] help [Turkey] is sending groups such as ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) and al-Nusra weapons.”
“For instance, a retired brigadier general has set up a company sending paid mercenaries to Syria. The company works for MİT. It wouldn't be allowed to work any other way… look at what happened to those prosecutors who stopped the [MİT] trucks,” said Pekin.

Ismail Hakkı Pekin served as head of Military Intelligence and was detained in 2011, He served in prison on charges of plotting a coup, alongside hundreds of officers (the Ergenekon case). Pekin is now the vice-chair of the Patriotic Party.
The Patriotic Party (Vatan Partisi) is a left-wing political party in Turkey. The party describes itself as "vanguard party" and aims to bring together socialists, revolutionaries, nationalists and Kemalists. The party's founding members include former army generals who had been incriminated during the Ergenekon trials and the Sledgehammer case.
The party's Turkish name Vatan directly translates to Motherland or Homeland, however the party has adopted the English name Patriotic Party.

UNSC adopts resolution to cut off terrorism funding
Syrian Arab News Agency, 18-12-2015

New York, SANA – The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at fighting funding of terrorism and strengthening legal measures against those doing business with terrorist groups mainly ISIS, al-Qaeda and any other group, company or organization linked to them.
The binding document, which is based on UN Charter Article no. 7 and takes effect immediately, calls on members to “move vigorously and decisively to cut the flow of funds” to ISIS. It says that governments must prevent its citizens from funding or providing services to “terrorist organizations or individual terrorists for any purpose, including but not limited to recruitment, training, or travel, even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”

Addressing the Security Council session, Russia’s UN Envoy Vitaly Churkin disclosed that ISIS terrorists carry out the majority of the group’s oil smuggling through Turkish territories.
The largest volume of oil products is sold via Turkey, with thousands of tanker trucks going through border crossings in Karkamis, Akcakale, Dzhilvegezyu and Ondzhupynarm. He made it clear that the smuggled oil is then delivered to a refinery of the Turkish company Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri AS (Tupras) in the province of Batman.
“The largest flow of hydrocarbons is shipped via Turkish ports in the Mediterranean, mainly through the port of Ceyhan,” he added, noting that oil smuggling brings ISIS militants at least 1.5 million dollars per day.

18-12-2015: Syrian opposition groups
pick ex-PM Riad Hijab to represent them in talks

The Syrian opposition, hosted by Saudi Arabia, elected former Prime Minister Riad Hijab as a coordinator of a body that is expected to lead future peace talks.
Hijab, who defected from Assad's regime in 2012, was chosen today during a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh by a majority of 24 votes of the 34 members of the body, a source inside the meeting said.
Hijab said Security Council resolutions and the Geneva 2012 roadmap provided for a transition without the president and a transitional governing council with full executive powers.
"We are going into negotiations on this principle, we are not entering talks (based on) anything else. There will be no concession." "We will not accept any pressure. The aims of the revolution and the international resolutions, we cling to them, and we will not give them up," Hijab added.
"I call it a battle in terms of the negotiation process and the political process. It is in tandem with what is happening on the ground..."
"Our first option is the peaceful option. But if it's not complete, the other option will continue and will not stop ... until it fulfills the aims of toppling the illegitimate regime." Orient, 18-12-2015)

Daraa 2011: Syria’s Islamist Insurrection in Disguise
Prof. Tim Anderson, Global Research, 5-7-2015

Communiqué, Office of Riad Hijab, Doha - Qatar
Reuters, 9-10-2015

Former Syrian Prime Minister, Riad Hijab's office in the Qatari capital Doha issued a communiqué calling on all Syrians to unite and face the dangers besetting the country, reaffirming the presence of a strong political will working to bring together the voices of various opposition groups.

"The Syrians have recognised that it would be morally reprehensible if the sacrifices of our people were in vain - after almost five years since the start of our blessed revolution.
Therefore continuing disagreement towards recent critical events, and the consequences resulting from such discord, is clearly no longer an option...
The Syrians have proved their ability, with minimum support, to confront Assad and the various invading forces that stand behind him. There is no doubt that the Syrian people are able to deal with this current Russian challenge, which some thirty years ago, was dealt a crushing defeat in Afghanistan...

Today, the Syrians are required to demonstrate their ability to plan and organise for the period following the fall of the regime - on the ground, militarily and politically...
International support cannot simply develop from charity or sympathy to a just cause; quite the reverse, it will stem from full awareness that the Assad regime has crossed all the red lines and is threating the stability and security of the region and the entire world.
All opposition institutions and groups, and at the forefront, the National Coalition, the Free Syrian Army, the national Islamic factions, and all genuine opposition groups and individuals with consistent moderate positions in support of the revolution should work with a unified voice..."

Riad Hijab, 6-8-2012: "Today I declare... that I have defected from the terrorist, murderous regime and [am] joining the holy revolution. And I declare that from today I am a soldier of this holy revolution."
The Daily Star reports, august 2012: The United States lifted sanctions against Hijab and unfroze his assets following his defection in a move it said was aimed at convincing members of Assad’s inner circle that they have not been permanently blacklisted.

Secularism: The beauty of India
Khaled Almaeena, Saudi Gazette, Dec 6, 2015

India belongs to all. No one has a monopoly as the Indian Constitution clearly states.
The beauty of India lies in its secularism.
However, for friends of India, it has been painful to observe events and utterances by some self-styled “leaders” who are beating the drums of communalism and superiority. They talk about patriotism as they burn and loot. They chant this mantra as they lynch innocents....
Any Indian, of any faith, who works against the overall interest of a progressive India is a traitor to the ideals of Gandhi and is making a mockery of all the people who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom.
Unity, compassion and empathy are the need of the hour. The real challenges of India are poverty, disease, corruption and the deteriorating environment. That is what the focus should be on.
Overcoming these challenges can only be done when everyone feels that they are part of this great nation, forged together as a unit and proud of the heritage of centuries.

Flashback: The dead hand of literalism
World Mathaba Net (Gaddafi's Green Revolution), 23-11-2012

"The Quran is our constitution": Brigades & battalions in Aleppo & its countryside under the umbrella of the FSA, Free Syrian Army reject to accept the coalition created by the US and vows to establish an Islamist state.

Two Wahabi political regimes of the region, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been playing a major role in all of the theaters of conflict as soft powers with enormously deep pockets. Curiously enough, these two major Wahabi states are the staunchest enemies of democracy and individual liberties, yet they seem to be pressuring Syria to "democratize".
Up until this time Arab nationalism was "essentially secular and had succeeded in reconciling Islam and nationalism "where during the 1960s and 1970s the Saudis used their money to transform the very character of Islam by financing Wahabi Islam around the world.
This political "Islam", calls for social and economic change, but it has as real purpose the radicalization of Muslim faith...

A real Islamic identity is consistent with secularism as understood in Western liberal democracies...
The incompatibility of Islam with secular, liberal, democratic forms of government, is a result of Wahabi/Salafi ideas of Islam propagated by the Saudi government and arising from U.S. opposition to and fear of Arab nationalism.
By 1957 the United States perceived Arab nationalism as the greatest threat to its interest in the region, rather than communism, and that "radical Islam was to be the antidote to Arab nationalism".

UN adopts Syria peace resolution
Saudi Gazette, Dec 20, 2015

Assad and his wife Asma attended Christmas preparations at Our Lady of Damascus, just two kilometres from the rebel-held Jubar district regularly bombarded by regime forces. 19-12-2015
New York — UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution on Syria at a meeting held at the level of foreign ministers attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.
The decision, drafted by the US, and released under the number 2254, stressed the need for all parties in Syria to take confidence-building measures to contribute to the success of the political process and a lasting ceasefire.
It also calls upon all countries to use their good offices with the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition as well to proceed with the peace process and confidence-building measures and the steps leading to a ceasefire.
The resolution supports a political process facilitated by the UN and could set up within six months a credible governance that accommodates all parties, denies bases of sectarianism, with a determined timetable and a process for drafting a new constitution.
It supports free and fair elections in accordance with the new constitution within 18 months under the supervision of the UN that responds to the requirements of governance and the highest international standards in terms of transparency and accountability.

It also calls on the International Team for the Support of Syria to use its influence to reach those goals and demands full implementation of the resolutions: 2139 in 2014, 2165 in 2014, and 2191 in 2014 and other relevant decisions.
The Security Council demands that all parties immediately stop any attack against civilians or civilian targets, including medical facilities or personnel working in the medical fields.

Flashback 2002: Interview with Denis Halliday

- Question: In its condemnation of Saddam, the Bush administration certainly has a claim to the moral higher ground, doesn't it?
- DH: I don't think so. I mean, Saddam Hussein may not be a nice man, but neither was George Bush Sr. Anybody who oversaw the Gulf War is well aware of crimes against humanity and is responsible thereof. We don't have to like the president of Iraq. Did we like the president of Indonesia? Or the Congo? Or Chile -- Mr. Pinochet? I don't think so.
We have no justification to punish the innocent civilians of any country simply because we don't like their leader, in this case, a man who was [once] a friend and ally to the United States. For example, Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq in 1983 -- spoke with Saddam Hussein, asked for an exchange of ambassadors. They know each other! Why can't Rumsfeld go back and reopen this dialogue... (Hadani Ditmars, 20-3-2002)

Denis J. Halliday was the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq from 1 September 1997 until 1998.
After a 34-year career at the United Nations, where he had reached Assistant Secretary-General level, Halliday resigned in 1998 over the Iraq sanctions, characterizing them as "genocide". He subsequently gave the following explanation of his decision to resign:
"I was driven to resignation because I refused to continue to take Security Council orders, the same Security Council that had imposed and sustained genocidal sanctions on the innocent of Iraq. I did not want to be complicit. I wanted to be free to speak out publicly about this crime.
And above all, my innate sense of justice was and still is outraged by the violence that UN sanctions have brought upon, and continues to bring upon, the lives of children, families – the extended families, the loved ones of Iraq. There is no justification for killing the young people of Iraq, not the aged, not the sick, not the rich, not the poor.
Some will tell you that the leadership is punishing the Iraqi people. That is not my perception, or experience from living in Baghdad. And were that to be the case – how can that possibly justify further punishment, in fact collective punishment, by the United Nations? I don’t think so."

The unseen danger of other Islamist groups in Syria
Paul Iddon (Erbil, Kurdistan regio), Rudaw News, 22-12-2015

It’s no secret that the Turkey, in cahoots with the Qataris and the Saudis, has given intelligence and logistical support to an umbrella Islamist fighting-force in Syria called the Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) which includes the Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham Islamists in its ranks.
With support from these three nations Jaish al-Fatah managed to overrun large swaths of the Syrian province of Idlib last May, including the provincial capital....

Back in mid-2013 Turkey allowed the Nusra to take control of the border-crossing in the northern Syrian town of Gire Spi. During its time there the Nusra issued a fatwa against the Kurds which stated that, “Kurds are Kufar [unbelievers] and killing Kurds, taking their women, plundering their property and destroying their homes is just and fair” and subsequently incited hatred against them and killed and forced many from that city.
Similarly, when this umbrella of extremist groups overran Idlib last May there was a disturbing incident when 20 members of the Druze minority were gunned down by the Nusra. If such forces were able to overrun the Latakia Province they would likely brutally subjugate the Alawite minority, from which the Assad family originates and who are generally seen as heretics by fanatical groups like the Nusra and ISIS...
“We took the path of jihad and we have to complete the process...” Nusra-leader Golani declared to Orient News. “We will not give up our principles.”

Jabhat Al-Nusra, or the Al-Nusra Front, Aleppo december 2014. Al-Nusra established themselves as one of the most fearsome groups fighting the forces of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Unlike their now more famous fellow travellers in the Islamic State, the Al-Nusra Front still claims to derive its authority from Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Qaeda. (YouTube video)

Displaced Syrians Pin Hopes on Russia's military intervention
Naharnet Newsdesk, 22-12-2015

Taiseer Hamash cradled his two-month old daughter Noor Sham in his arms as he stood by the entrance of the tarpaulin tent his family has called home in war-wracked Syria for over a year. "She has never seen our old house," said the former factory worker, 29, who fled the fierce fighting in his home region of Aleppo. "One day I hope she will be able to grow up in the same streets I did," he told AFP...
Hamash and his family are among around 5,000 people who fled the fighting in their home regions and now live in what was once the main sports complex in the government stronghold of Latakia...
Now, as the conflict in their homeland grinds on towards a fifth year, they say they have one reason to hope that their desperate situation might change and they may one day head home -- Russia's military intervention on the side of Assad.

Russia launched its bombing campaign in Syria at the end of September at the request of its long-time ally Assad and says it is targeting the Islamic State jihadist group and other "terrorist" organizations in the war-torn nation. Moscow argues that backing regime forces is the best hope of ending the war.
But the West argues that the Kremlin has simply rescued a brutal tyrant who has used barrel bombs and chemical weapons against his own people and that its intervention will only prolong the fighting.

For the displaced people living in the camp the international wrangling over the Russian intervention seems a long way off. Their daily concerns focus more on just getting by and struggling to stay healthy in the tough conditions some have now lived in for years.

Assad: "Fight against terrorism should be a stable, sustainable principle"
Sputnik News, 23-12-2015

The Western military activities in Syria are inefficient, Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad said in an interview with Die Presse. “We have fought against terrorism from the very outset,” the politician stated.
“You know, the fight against terrorism should be a stable, sustainable principle. The Western policy towards terrorism is not objective, not realistic and currently not very productive,” he added.
The US-led campaign has been targeting Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria for over a year, but has done little to halt the terrorist organizations activities.

Replying to the question of why hundreds of people are leaving Europe in order to become jihadists in Syria, Assad said, that his country with its current chaos is a fertile ground for terrorism that attracts radicals from around the world. At the same time, he mentioned that European countries should pay more attention to why people in Europe tend to follow the radical course and work on preventing such tendency.
“Syria has been transformed by Europe, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia into a hotbed of terrorism. The most important question is how these people emerge in Europe?” the Syrian President said.

Assad named Russia, Iran and other countries that support the Syrian government and recognize its legitimacy among his true allies. The politician argued that these states are really contributing to the elimination of terrorism and establishment of the rule of law in his country.
Assad also expressed readiness to talk to all parties to the conflict, but doubted that Western states would dare to negotiate with Syria without an approval of the United States: “There are only a few countries ready for this. No one dares to establish contact with Syria to resolve the situation as long as it does not appear on the agenda of the United States,” Assad concluded.

It is the US that has been destabilizing the Middle East
Sputnik|Global Research, 4-10-2015

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: “Russia is very serious about fighting ISIL. This isn’t just for Syria or Iraq, it’s for regional security and it has broader international implications. ISIL has made it clear that it’s going to march to other places in the world and it is also a threat to the Russian Federation, specifically the North Caucasus...”
“Russia’s actions are absolutely intended to bring stability to Syria. It is vital to note that Russia wants to see Syria intact. It does not want to see Syria as a failed state. It wants to see a sovereign state’s government in place and all the institutions in place, which is the opposite of what the United States has done.”
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya recalled the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US and Britain when they illegally invaded Iraq and the first thing they did was ‘destroy the state’.

Selahattin Demirtas : "We safeguard internal peace in the country"
TASS Russian News Agency, December 23, 2015

Russia is ready to actively cooperate with the forces in Syria who are fighting against terrorists on the ground, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday opening a meeting with co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party of Turkey Selahattin Demirtas.
"We hope that during your stay in Moscow we will be able to discuss the situation in the region," Lavrov said. "As part of the efforts of the international community to resolve the Syrian crisis, it is crucially important to bring together the opportunities of all those who aim at resolutely fighting against terrorism."
"We know that Iraqi and Syrian Kurds are confronting the threat of ISIS and other extremist groups ‘on the ground’ with weapons in their hands," the minister said. "They, together with the army of Iraq, the army of Syria are fighting for their homes, for the right to live on their land. This is their inalienable right, just as the rights of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities to remain on the lands of their ancestors and not to be subjected to deadly threats from terrorists."
Lavrov noted that "Russia, being involved in the anti-terrorist coalition in Syria at the request of the Syrian government, is ready to actively support the forces on the ground who are countering this threat."

According to the Russian minister, the relations between the peoples of Russia and Turkey will remain friendly despite the actions of the current Turkish leadership, which authorized the attack on Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 warplane.
Selahattin Demirtas in his turn noted that the outstanding problems in Russian-Turkish relations must be settled by diplomatic means in order to ensure the people of the two countries be not harmed.
Demirtash said his party was pressing for pluralism and for ensuring the rights of different cultures. "This is a fundamental position of ours: we safeguard internal peace in the country and we are for preserving peace in relations with neighbors," he said.

Israeli ambassador gives Christmas gifts of settlement goods to US officials
By Inna Lazareva, Telegraph, 23 Dec 2015

Seasonal gifts from the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC come with a loaded political message this Christmas, after the country’s ambassador Ron Dermer said that the presents have been deliberately sourced from settlements located in the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights.

“This holiday season, I decided to send a gift that would also help combat the latest effort by Israel’s enemies to destroy the one and only Jewish state”, Mr Dermer wrote in a letter attached to each present - bottles of wine, olive oil, halva and body lotion - and distributed to senior US officials, members of Congress and diplomats.
Mr Dermer referred to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls on investors to pull money from companies it believes are complicit in violating Palestinian rights. While some BDS campaigns target companies working in or linked to Israeli settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, others support a blanket boycott of Israel.

"the fanatics and the fools are promoting anti-Semitism.."

Mr Dermer also criticised the European Union (EU) over its recent labelling guidelines which state that the goods produced on lands captured in the 1967 war must explicitly state their origins.
Rather than “product of Israel,” the term “settlement” or “its equivalent” must be clearly stated on the label, the rules say, for example: “product of West Bank (Israeli settlement).” Goods from Palestinian-owned businesses can say “product of Palestine” or “product of West Bank (Palestinian product).”
Israel responded furiously to the initiative and later announced that it is suspending its diplomatic dialogue with the EU.

This is not the first time that Dermer has flipped the bird at Obama. In fact, he’s done so again and again. It’s a wonder he still has credentials! Last summer Ron Dermer went up to Capitol Hill to lobby the Congress against the president’s Iran Deal. (Monoweiss)...
Dermer can do these things without any official rebuke because of the power of the lobby. The White House doesn’t want to alienate Israel’s many friends. As former Israeli ambassador, Colette Avital, said at the Haaretz NIF conference last week:
"[Netanyahu] is really doing what he wishes because he thinks that nobody is going to punish him, because he thinks for instance that in America at the end of the day any politician will need the support of the Jewish community, so there is no real pressure of America on Israel."

Christmas is about Political Power & the killing of the innocents
Jim Wallis, Huffington Post, 23-12-2015

Christmas is my favorite time of the year... It's the amazing Christmas narratives that I love so much...
It's not just that God came, but how God came. It wasn't accidental that the savior of the world was born to a poor peasant woman in an occupied country in an animal stall because they were literally homeless at the time of his birth. And soon Jesus and his family were made refugees and had to flee their country because the most powerful political ruler around the Christ child felt very threatened by his coming.

King Herod got the fact that his political power would be undermined by the coming of Jesus and the new kingdom he would bring.
Herod was the king assigned by Rome to rule over the Jews. And when he heard about the birth of Jesus he was "frightened" or "disturbed" or "worried" or "troubled" or "terrified" as different gospel translations report.
Why? Because the closest political ruler to Jesus at the time of his birth believed Jesus could become a threat to his power. Herod asked all the people who might know, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?" The king then called the now famous wise men, who were traveling from the East to see the child, in for a meeting with him at the palace where he tried to manipulate them to come back and tell him where they had found the child, "so that I may also go and pay him homage."

Most of the stories about the three wise men focus on the gifts they presented to the Christ child when they ultimately found him of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Our re-telling the story often doesn't focus so much on the political threat Jesus posed to political power when he was born. And we talk even less about what happened when the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod after they found Jesus...
In another dream, Joseph was told to quickly leave the country with his new family, into Egypt where they would stay until King Herod died. "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."

To protect himself, Herod killed all the baby boys, hoping to kill Jesus, in what our tradition calls the "Massacre of the Innocents," which is too often how political power reacts when it is threatened.
Innocents are often threatened by political power as are many today in the most recent rhetoric of our own political candidates in their attacks on immigrants, refugees, people of other religions, all the "others" who are not like "us" and even the children who are said to threaten us.

Jim Wallis (born June 4, 1948) is a Christian writer and political activist. He is best known as the founder and editor of Sojourners magazine and as the founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Christian community of the same name. Although Wallis actively eschews political labels, he describes himself as an evangelical and is often associated with the evangelical left and the wider Christian left. He works as a spiritual advisor to President Barack Obama. He is also a leader in the Red-Letter Christian movement. (Wikipedia info)

Christmas trees in Tartous and Damascus Countryside
Syrian Arab News Agency, 24-12-2015

A 22 m tall Christmas tree was lit up in Safita city in Tartous province on Saturday in honor of Syria’s martyrs.
The event was attended by a Greek religious delegation currently visiting Syria and presided by Elder Elisaios, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Simonos Petras, Mt Athos-Greece.
“We came to Syria to send a message of joy and hope to its people that the future will be better,” Elisaios said in a statement to SANA. “We are anguished because the Syrian people have to suffer such great tragedies, and we pray to God to remove the injustice and suffering they are going through” he added.
A similar gesture made to stress national unity was held in al-Nabk city in Damascus Countryside where a Christmas tree was lit up in an event attended by a number of Muslim and Christian clergymen, celebrating the coinciding occasions of Christmas and Prophet Mohammad’s birthday.

Bouthaina Shaaban: Damascus is prepared to join UN-backed talks
Syrian Arab News Agency, 24-12-2015

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s political and media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, said that the Syrian government approves last week's UN resolutions endorsing an international roadmap for peace in the war-torn country, Reuters reported on Wednesday. “We accept these resolutions,” she said during an interview with the Lebanese TV channel al-Mayadeen.
The resolutions, which were passed on Friday, called for a ceasefire, talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces, and forming a transitional government.
She added that the Syrian government also acknowledges a softening of the West’s stance on Assad’s removal, and that the “Russian intervention has had great importance in the Syrian crisis.”
“It was not easy for the West to retreat. This is the first time that the West’s word has been defeated over Syria... The Russian strategy in getting these (diplomatic) understandings is successful and clever and will bear fruit,” she said.
Referring to a Saudi-backed opposition body comprised of some of the major militant groups active in Syria, she said it was “shameful” that the West wanted to create democracy in Syria with the aid of a “country that has no parliament or elections.”

A new constitution with a new law of election
By Rudaw, 24-12-2015

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region -- Syria's foreign minister said on Thursday that Damascus is ready to participate in the next Syria talks in Geneva "without any foreign interference."
"Our delegation will be ready as soon as we receive a list of the opposition delegation," Reuters quoted Syrian FM Walif Maullem as saying, "We hope that this dialogue will be successful to help us in having a national unity government."
Muallem said that Syria's condition for joining the talks is that there would be no foreign interference in the process.
"This government," he added, "will compose a constitutional committee to look for a new constitution with a new law of election so the parliamentary election will be held within the period of 18 months, more or less."

Muallam made these comments on a visit to China where he has met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
When asked Wang did not clarify whether or not Beijing felt Assad should remain in power or leave as part of a transitional process.
"China's position is very clear," he said as reported by Reuters, "We believe Syria's future, its national systems, including its leadership, should be decided and set up by the people of Syria.
China's role on the Syrian issue is to promote peace and negotiations ... China hopes to see a peaceful, stable and developing Middle East." "China believes that any and all efforts to combat terrorism should be respected and supported," he added.

How on earth can it be that false and misleading narratives
about President Assad and the nature of the Syrian war still persist?
Syria Times, 23-12-2015

Maybe the very simplicity of this narrative is the key, as it is one which could so easily take hold in the minds of the unthinking masses. No amount of argument or reasoning, or even the evidence of their own eyes seems able to dislodge it from the collective psyche.
It is not just a simple, but rather a simplistic narrative, like one in a fairy tale - 'once there was a big and very very bad tyrant who lived in an ancient castle with his terrible family, and rained down fire upon his unfortunate subjects, who only wanted to be free to practice their faith...'
And it is a fairy tale. Bashar al Assad's family are Alawite muslims, like a million others in Syria, and millions more across the border in Turkey. But Syria has long been a proudly secular society - the Syrian 'Arab Republic' - where such distinctions of religion or ethnicity are not a basis for discrimination.
Until the stirring up of sectarian tensions by the foreign fomenters of the armed insurgency many Syrians didn't even know, or care about their neighbours' religious affiliation - much as in the secular democracies of the West.

Emphasising this secular character of Syrian society, and quite contrary to the pervasive western fairy tales, the religious affiliations of both government and army members broadly reflect that of the community as a whole, with a majority being Sunni muslim.
And apart from leading a government which is not 'Alawite', President Assad has led by example: his wife Asma is a Sunni muslim too.

Syrian Arab Army: "Help protect Syria from terrorism"
Syrian Arab News Agency, 25-12-2015

Damascus, SANA – The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces confirmed that terrorist Zahran Alloush and a number of leaders of the terrorist organizations “Islam Army,” “al-Rahman Legion,” and “Ahrar al-Cham Islamic Movement” were killed in a special operation, conducted by the Syrian Air Force against terrorists’ bases in the Eastern Ghouta area, Damascus Countryside.
In a statement issued on Friday evening, the General Command said that after a series of surveillance and monitoring operations, based on accurate intelligence, and in cooperation with upright citizens, the Syrian Air Force conducted a special operation that targeted bases and concentrations of terrorists in the Eastern Ghouta, which resulted in the death of Zahran Alloush, the leader of Islam Army, along with a large number of leaders of the same terrorist organization and of al-Rahman Legion and Ahrar al-Cham, which are responsible for firing rocket shells at civilians in Damascus and its suburbs.

The statement said that this operation is part of the Syrian Arab Army’s mission to confront terrorism until it is uprooted and until security and stability are restored to the entirety of Syria, voicing determination to continue this mission and calling on all those who bear arms against the state to lay down their weapons, resolve their legal status, and help protect Syria from terrorism.

Muamar Gaddafi: "Today there is a divide that we must acknowledge, and we must know who is deepening it.
Perhaps it is colonialism—the enemy of Islam, the enemy of the Arabs, the enemy of the Persians—that is deepening it.…
They have divided Islam into two Islams, and there came to be Shi'ite Islam and Sunni Islam. This is a bid'a [heresy]… When did Muhammad say: "I have brought you Shi'ite Islam and Sunni Islam?"… they have now begun to group the Arabs against Iran and Iran against the Arabs, and then Shi'ites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shi'ites.…
Are we Muslims, or are we Shi'ites and Sunnis?! For whose benefit is this? It is for the benefit of the "other" that we are speaking about, for the benefit of the enemy, for the benefit of colonialism." Gaddafi Speeches (March 2007)

Our schools are factories producing identical products
Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Omar, Saudi Gazette, Dec 26, 2015

"Society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn. This requires a sufficient number of schools for all types of education.
Insufficient schools restrict man's freedom of choice, forcing him to learn the subjects available, while depriving him of natural right of choice because of the lack of availability of other subjects... " Muamar Gaddafi, Green Book
In light of our current educational system and some of the practices and social traditions in our society which inhibit creativity and achievement, I am doubtful that we will ever produce creative scientists, especially in the fields of science and mathematics, which are vital for development.
Does that mean we should give up and just continue to live with this reality? Of course not. Surely, achieving limited development here and there is not the solution we are looking for. In my opinion, we desperately need drastic changes that preserve our established values which we all agree on. The rest should be changed and improved.

I believe that the most important aspects of change in this regard have to do with creating more options for our students. The more varied opportunities we make available to them, the higher their creativity and achievement levels will get.
The problem with our public education system is that it attaches great importance to compatibility among students. Let me explain. Our schools have become factories that produce identical and compatible products (i.e. students). Any product that is not similar to the main production lines is immediately destroyed.

If you were to monitor the production lines of a daily newspaper, you would find that some copies are destroyed because they are imperfect.
Let us imagine that our schools offered various programs focusing on science, mathematics and languages. Today, we have schools that focus on the memorization of the Holy Qur’an among other subjects. We need schools with different programs and systems.

Saudi Arabia sentences writer Zuhair Kutbi to four years in jail, travel ban
Sydney Morning Herald, December 23, 2015

A Saudi tribunal has sentenced Zuhair Kutbi, who called for political reform, to four years in prison and barred him from appearing in the media for 15 years, his family and Saudi media reported.
The Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), a tribunal established in 2008 to try terrorism cases, convicted Zuhair Kutbi on charges of sedition, inciting public opinion and reducing the government's prestige, Okaz newspaper said.
The court suspended half the sentence, bringing the time Kutbi must serve in prison down to two years, but also banned him from travelling for five years, fined him 100,000 Saudi riyals ($36,800) and mandated the deletion of his Twitter account.

Kutbi was detained from his home in Mecca on July 15 after an hour-long appearance on the television program Fi al-Sameem (In Depth), which aired in June on a pan-Arab satellite TV station, according to Human Rights Watch.
During the interview, he called for political reform in Saudi Arabia, including transforming the kingdom into a constitutional monarchy and pushing back against religious repression, the New York-based rights group said.

Ideology of Most Clerics Is ISIS-Like

In a July 13 interview with the Dubai-based Saudi TV network Al-Arabiya TV, Saudi author Turki Al-Hamad said that "most of our sheikhs and preachers" are incapable of producing a moderate discourse because they draw upon the same ideological sources as ISIS. He further stated that Islam needs its own Luther and Calvin to reform it.

In a recent interview, the Saudi writer Zuhair Kutbi complains that "The [Saudi] Regime's Efforts at National Dialogue [for Reform] Achieved Nothing".

Memri, Clip No. 4993, June 22, 2015:
[The success of the King Abdulaziz Center's National Dialogue for reforming Saudi society from within was, f]rankly speaking, . . . about zero percent . . . . It was nothing but hot air, a waste of public funds, eating, drinking . . . I was there . . . . [Y]ou have to distinguish between National Dialogue as an institution and dialogue itself . . . . If only they had implemented even 10% of what was discussed in the 100 or so National Dialogue sessions.

The National Dialogue institution has gained nothing positive for Saudi society... We all demanded to change the religious discourse. It has not changed, and it will not change either . . . . [T]hey turned off our microphones . . . mine . . . twice . . . . due to the content, not time. They cut me off. And when the session aired on TV, . . . my remarks had been omitted...

Let me be frank . . . , although I know that I am being harsh: Most Saudi intellectuals are cowards. They are cowards and do not speak the truth...
The issue of the intellectuals is a very serious one. The struggle between the authorities and the intellectuals is an eternal one [everywhere], but in Saudi Arabia, it [has been] . . . completely contained. There is no such struggle.

Fighting for the sake of Iraq
Iraqi army is different from what it was in al-Maliki period
Shafaq News, 27-12-2015

General, Mark Harthlng, said that Iraqi forces that we see its elements fighting ISIS organization in Ramadi city is different from what it was at the time of the government of Nuri al-Maliki.
Harthlng who is a military analyst told CNN network, "The biggest difference we see is a change in leadership at the tactical and operational level, who lead the forces now are the brigades and other ranks of the Iraqi army that have received training and have a national sense. They are fighting for the sake of Iraq now and not for the sake of a sectarian organization."

He added: "We see progress of the Iraqi forces in Ramadi city, where they have areas of multiple processes, and tactically it has done a good job starting from outside the city to the inside and in the form of belts down to the city center where ISIS has chosen this region to be the final battle site as they booby-trapped buildings and sniper took up positions to defend as well as tunnels and explosive devices planted on the edge of the roads, therefore the last meters in this battle will be the most difficult. "

Harthlng pointed out that "the Iraqi government used the Battle of Ramad in the Sunni Anbar province to prove that it is comprehensive and it is not a sectarian government, such as the one that existed at the time of Nuri al-Maliki

Army commander says forces ready for Mosul operation
By Rudaw, 27-12-2015

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region: Commander of the Nineveh Operations (an Iraqi army unit set up for Mosul) Lieutenant General Najim al-Jibouri said Saturday that his forces are trained and ready to launch an offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS), but the timing of the operation is ultimately decided by the prime minister.
The commander echoed Iraqi premier Haidar al-Abadi and other army chiefs that the operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS would start once the western city of Ramadi has been taken back from the group.
“The security forces have finished training and they are waiting for the green light from Haider al Abadi to set the zero hour,” he added. Al-Jibouri said that the force poised to attack Ramadi consists of Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish Peshmerga and Hashid al-Watani.

Nineveh Governor Nawfal Hamadi, stated last week that prior to any offensive on Mosul military meetings and consultation will be held between local forces and Kurdish Peshmerga and government authorities.
"In preparing for Mosul's liberation several military meetings will be held between the Kurdistan Region Government and Ninevha province.” he said.
Mosul fell to ISIS last year and since then no effort has been made by the Iraqi army to retake the city. Backed by US air support some 10,000 Iraqi soldiers, policemen and Shiite militia launched a major offensive to retake Ramadi...

Anbar Council: ISIS destroys 80% of Ramadi
By Abdelhak Mamoun, Iraqi News, Dec 26, 2015

On Friday, Anbar Provincial Council announced, that the so-called ISIS destroyed 80% of the city of Ramadi (110 km west of Baghdad), while pointed out that the local government may need the budget of ten coming years to rebuild the city.
Anbar Provincial Council member Athal Fahdawi said in a statement received by, “80% of Ramadi is destroyed as a result of ISIS control over the city, in addition to the destruction of infrastructure, government and civilian buildings and bridges.”
Fahdawi added, “The government of Anbar may need the budget of ten coming years to rebuild the city, establish important projects and provide the necessary services.”

Anbar Province has witnessed fierce battles, in addition to the control of ISIS elements over most of the province’s cities including Fallujah, Ramadi and western regions.

Ramadi 2015: The bitter fruits of political Islam

Flashback 2013: Islamists should show good faith by committing to openness’
by Mohammad Ghazal, Jordan Times, Nov 17, 2013

AMMAN — Islamist leaders and politicians on Sunday said political Islamic movements in the region need to provide assurances to all powers and segments in society about their acceptance of others and openness to successfully take part in the political process.
Addressing the participants, Hamzah Mansour, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front —the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan — said: “Amid the confusion and accusations levelled at Islamist movements, they need to give assurances that they respect innovation, protect all faiths and view non-Muslims in the Arab world as brothers and partners in the administration of state affairs.
The Islamic state is a state of citizenship, and Islam movements need to give assurances that they agree with the peaceful transition of power and are keen on addressing differences and strengthening relations with all powers in society.”


The term citizenship is both a formal status - belonging of someone to a state on the basis of a set of rights and duties - and, more importantly, it is a state of mind. Citizenship is not only about attaining rights, but more about participation - in the political and civic process. To talk of citizenship then, is to discuss rights, duties, participation and identity.

The Prophet Muhammad established a city-state in Madina and enacted a charter that laid down the basic rights and duties of its citizens. This form of 'social contract' in Islam is very similar to the idea of social contract that appeared in later European thought.
Indeed, to obey the law of the land is seen as a fulfilment of one's 'social contract' with the State, and the Quran emphasises the obligation to fulfil contracts. (

The Constitution of Medina

The Charter of Medina, also known as the Constitution of Medina or of Yathrib, was drafted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad shortly after his arrival at Medina (then known as Yathrib) in 622 CE. This was the first written constitution in the history of the world.
The constitution formed the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state in Medina. The Charter provided a federal structure with a centralized authority, with the various tribes in various districts constituting a unit and enjoying autonomy in certain matters of a social, cultural and religious character.

The constitution established the collective responsibility of nine constituent tribes for their members actions, specifically emphasising blood money and ransom payment. The constitution also established Muhammad as the mediating authority between groups and forbids the waging of war without his authorization.
The constitution was created to end the bitter intertribal fighting between the rival clans of Banu Aws and Banu Khazraj in Medina, and to maintain peace and cooperation among all Medinan groups.
The document ensured freedom of religious beliefs and practices for all citizens who "follow the believers". It assured that representatives of all parties, Muslim or non-Muslim, should be present when consultation occurs or in cases of negotiation with foreign states.
The Charter of Medina also instituted peaceful methods of dispute resolution among diverse groups living as one people but without assimilating into one religion, language, or culture. (Wikipedia info)

The Quran states that the Lord “teaches by the pen” (96:1-5). This is indicative of the Medina Charter in that it is a reflection of these verses, an example of how God is educating people and changing thought patterns through discourse, whether in speech or writing.
The Medina Charter reflects pluralism both in the content and in the history of the document... (The Message)

Patriotism - loyalty to the State

This epoch-making innovation brought an end for all times to the chaos of tribalism and which laid the basis for a wider institution, viz a State."
It should be noted that this loyalty to the State by its plural citizenry constituted a nationalism, or more exactly a patriotism, that is approved by Islam, contrary to what some modern Muslim ideologues assert.
It is in line with the teaching in the Quranic verse, "O people, We created you from the same male and female and rendered you into distinct peoples and tribes that you may recognize one another.

It is noteworthy that the Charter ordained equality to its members and protected them against oppression. (Clause 16). The State proclaimed the brotherhood of believers and gave each one a right and support to give protection to any individual, excepting an enemy. (Clause 15).
A very important human right is given in Clause 25 where freedom was guaranteed for each community to practice its own religion. The implication of this clause is that each individual was also free to choose his or her religion, in line with the clear teachings of the Quran.
Another important principle of statecraft is consultation with the people in all matters. This is stated in Clause 37. The voice of the people, vox populi, regardless of whether that voice represents right and truth or not, is given the highest value. (Kassam Ahmad)

A Hebrew University professor & the fascistization of Israel
Shahar Chai and Tova Tzimuki, YNet news, 28-12-2015

Naftali Bennett, februar 2015: "I’m standing on the hills of Judea and Samaria, what many call the West Bank." "When we fight terror here, we’re protecting London, Paris and Madrid." "To expect us to give up this land does not make sense. Your war for democracy starts here..."
Dr. Ofer Cassif of the Political Science Department shared a post by colleague Professor Amiram Goldblum, who posted an image of justice-minister Ayelet Shaked alongside sharp criticism of the bill approved Sunday that requires NGOs who receive more than half of their funding from other countries to make a note of this in publications and reports released to the public.
Dr. Cassif added his own thoughts when he shared the post, writing that "this neo-Nazi scum is not only partly responsible for the fascistization of Israel, but is also an indirect partner to genocide in Africa and crimes against humanity..."
Dr. Cassif, who prides himself on being "the first of those refusing to serve in the first intifada," added that: "I am in no way representing the university and I don't need to be associated with the university. Unlike Im Tirzu or other fascist gangs, the university is a pluralistic institution. There are people here with different positions, and that's a good thing. These are things I wrote on my own Facebook page, not things that are said in class or in lectures. This is a legitimate political statement made within the freedom of expression."

Ayelet Shaked's office said in response: "The delicate line between the freedom of expression and the freedom of incitement was crossed today, which pollutes public discourse and social media."

Flashback: Albert Einstein, Manhattan Opera House 22-4-1935:
Revisionists are an obstacle to peace

Albert Einstein Declaring that the Revisionists are “inner enemies,” Prof. Albert Einstein urged the establishment of friendly relations with the Arabs and warned against viewing Palestine merely as a place of refuge.
“Under the guise of nationalist propaganda,” Prof. Einstein said, “Revisionism seeks to support the destructive speculation in land; it seeks to exploit the people and deprive them of their rights.
The state of mind fed by Revisionism is the most serious obstacle in the way of our peaceable and friendly cooperation with the Arab, people who are racially our kin.”

Dec. 2, 1948: Open Letter to the New York Times

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachen Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States...
It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world [..] could add their names and support to the movement he represents. Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority...

Einstein's Holistic Worldview (freedom)
vs Right Wing Nationalism (prison)

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe'... He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison, by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement in 2015
Palestinian BDS National Committee, 29-12-2015

The year 2015 will be remembered as the year that Palestinian popular resistance spread across historic Palestine and that saw tens of thousands of Palestinians take to the streets to resist and confront Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
Ten years since the launch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, 2015 was also a landmark year for BDS, as our detailed round-up of the year shows.

- 1. We showed our movement can have a real economic impact on Israel. The authors of a UN report said that BDS was a key factor behind the 46% drop in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014. The World Bank cited BDS as a key factor behind the 24% drop in Palestinian imports from Israel....
- 2. We won our incredible campaign against Veolia. French corporate giant Veolia sold off all of its businesses in Israel. This was a direct result of our 7-year campaign against its role in infrastructure projects for illegal Israeli settlements...
- 3. 1000+ artists join the cultural boycott
- 4. The academic boycott goes more mainstream across the world. Israeli universities play a key role in planning and whitewashing Israel’s crimes but now academics across the world are taking effective action.
- 5. Our movement is spreading to new areas and winning new support. New BDS coalitions have been established in Malaysia and Egypt and BDS is growing rapidly in Latin America and the Arab world.
- 6. Justice for Palestine has become a key issue for students and youth across the world. Israeli Apartheid Week took place in more than 150 cities. Student groups are getting organised across Europe, Canada, South Africa and Latin America.

- 7. Israel’s reaction shows that our “soft” power is having a real impact. Israel knows it is losing the argument and is throwing everything it has at sabotaging our movement, dedicating money, government staff and apparently even its security services to undermining BDS. Israel is exporting its mentality of repression and getting its allies in the west to run McCarthyite attacks on free speech in the US, France, the UK, Italy, Canada and elsewhere.

Sergey Lavrov: ‘American exceptionalism’ hampers its war on terror
Russia Today, 30-12-2015

"The factor that does no good to our cause is American exceptionalism. It sets a stamp upon how they decide to fight terrorism: in depth, in width and against individuals,” FM Sergey Lavrov said, adding that the Americans believe that they can admonish everybody else.
The creation of a coalition on Syria is “absolutely” an American idea, Lavrov said, sharing that many of the US’s allies in NATO would prefer that the issue is dealt with the “proper way,” through UN institutions. “But no – they say [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is illegitimate and there could be no deal with him,” Lavrov said in an interview with Zvezda TV.

The Russian foreign minister also pointed out that the international counter-terrorist coalition treats Iraq in a different way from Syria.
When Baghdad asked the international coalition to fight terrorists on its territory, then they say: “OK, we love Iraq”. In the meantime Syria is called a dictatorship which days are numbered, so “we’re going to bomb it without asking for permission,” Lavrov said, referring to the US attitude toward the two countries.
Lavrov specifically singled out Turkey, saying that it mimicked this type of behavior when violating Iraq’s sovereign territorial integrity. “Hadn't there been such arrogant approach on part of the US-led coalition toward bombing terrorists in Syria without the authorization of the country’s government, Turkey would not dare to behave in such an impudent way toward Iraq,” the Russian FM said. <.p>

The United States has created an international coalition to participate in an aerial campaign against the Islamic States (IS, or Daesh in the Arab world) targets in Syria and Iraq. However, in Syria the coalition operates without the approval of Damascus or the UN Security Council.
On Saturday, US Defense Department Spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told Sputnik that the United States would not cooperate with Russia in intelligence sharing on the terrorist targets in Syria until Moscow changed its strategy of supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Washington wants Assad to step down.

Flashback: Obama and American exceptionalism
By Glenn Greenwald - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011

Numerous commentators have observed that President Obama's Libya speech rested on an affirmation of American "exceptionalism." That conviction, they contend, was expressed by Obama's appeal to "America’s responsibility as a leader"...

al-arour: right wing salafist exceptionalist - obama-cartoon - b-h levy: right-wing zionist exceptionalist

It's long been obvious that Obama deeply believes in American exceptionalism... But what none of them say is whether they believe this to be a good thing. Does the U.S. indeed occupy a special place in the world, entitling and even obligating us to undertake actions that no other country is entitled or obligated to undertake? ....
Declaring yourself special, superior and/or exceptional -- and believing that to be true, and, especially, acting on that belief -- has serious consequences. It can (and usually does) mean that the same standards of judgment aren't applied to your acts as are applied to everyone else's (when you do X, it's justified, but when they do, it isn't).
It means that you're entitled (or obligated) to do things that nobody else is entitled or obligated to do (does anyone doubt that the self-perceived superiority and self-arrogated entitlements of Wall Street tycoons is what lead them to believe they can act without constraints?).

It means that no matter how many bad things you do in the world, it doesn't ever reflect on who you are, because you're inherently exceptional and thus driven by good motives.

And it probably means -- at least as it expresses itself in the American form -- that you'll find yourself in a posture of endless war, because your "unique power, responsibilities, and moral obligations" will always find causes and justifications for new conflicts. ( 2011)

Jon Ellis Meacham & The New Israel - an instrument of God's will on earth.

Let's be clear about the history of the vision of America as an instrument of God's will on earth....
The sense that we are the new Israel, a chosen people, is among the most ancient and most potent of American ideas. It has informed our finest hours and some of our worst. It has given us the confidence to project our power in defense of the weak and of the innocent and the persecuted. It has sometimes fed a sense of hubris and moral self-certainty. ((Jon Meacham is executive editor at Random House)

the 'good' terrorists - divine instruments

Aleppo 2011-2015. 'defending the weak, the innocents and the persecuted...'

UN supports sovereignty for Palestine
By Stuart Littlewood, Veterans Today, December 30, 2015

Something important seems to have happened at the United Nations, and it went largely unreported in mainstream media.
The UN General Assembly approved a draft resolution ‘Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources’ (document A/70/480).
It was adopted by 164 to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu).

The General Assembly,

-- 1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources;

-- 2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan;
-- 3.Recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, damage, loss or depletion or endangerment of their natural resources...
-- 4. Stresses that the wall and settlements being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, are contrary to international law and are seriously depriving the Palestinian people of their natural resources...
-- 5.Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law...
-- 6.Also calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to bring a halt to all actions harming the environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory...
-- 7.Further calls upon Israel to cease its destruction of vital infrastructure...
-- 8.Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to remove all obstacles to the implementation of critical environmental projects...
-- 9.Calls for the immediate and safe removal of all unexploded ordnance in the Gaza Strip...

-- 10.Encourages all States and international organizations to continue to actively pursue policies to ensure respect for their obligations under international law with regard to all illegal Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory...

Israel's Education Ministry: Don't promote humanism
By Uzi Baruch, Arutz Sheva, 31-12-2015

Noted Israeli authors have joined leftist politicians in outrage over the Education Ministry's decision to to disqualify a novel depicting a romance between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man from being taught in Israeli high schools. Dorit Rabinyan's "Gader Haya" (known in English as "Borderlife") was rejected out of fear the book would promote assimilation.

Dorit Rabinyan, author of the acclaimed PERSIAN BRIDES and STRAND OF A THOUSAND PEARLS returns in BORDERLIFE with a momentous novel, sensitive in its details and enthralling at its peaks.
She tells a story crisscrossed by blades of physical and emotional border lines and courageously marks the deceit in the separation between you and I, between us and them. (RightsDesk)

In Humanism of the Other, Emmanuel Levinas argues that it is not only possible but of the highest exigency to understand one's humanity through the humanity of others.
Based in a new appreciation for ethics, and taking new distances from the phenomenology of Hegel, Heidegger, Husserl,and Merleau-Ponty, the idealism of Plato and Kant, and the skepticism of Nietzsche and Blanchot, Levinas rehabilitates humanism and restores its promises. (University of Illinois Press).
Dorit Rabinyan's "Gader Haya" (known in English as "Borderlife") was rejected by Israel's Education Ministry because of the need to maintain "the identity and heritage of students in every sector" and the belief that "intimate relations between Jews and non-Jews threatens the separate identity."
Concern that "young people of adolescent age don't have the systemic view that includes considerations involving maintaing the identity of people and the significance of assimilation" was also cited as a reason for the novel's disqualification.

"I am so outraged!", A.B Yehoshua told Walla! News. "This is an excellent book that should be a best-seller and read by many people. It describes thing with sensitivity and truthfulness and this rejection seems absurd to me and unacceptable."
Novelist Haim Be'er also slammed the move, alluding to it as a political ploy by Education Minister Naftali Bennett to regain the trust of Jewish Home voters following his comments about the Duma suspects.
"I must say from my knowledge of the Am Oved [publishing house] he did the book a huge favor," Be'er asserted. "Tomorrow, God willing, Am Oved's book merchants will take the out the books that haven't been sold and it will become a bestseller." ... "I'm jealous Dorit Rabinyan won what I didn't win; let them disqualify me," Be'er added sarcastically.
In a more straightforward reaction, poet Natan Zach simply blasted the Education Minister as "a moron. What can you do against morons? Morons are the majority. We are the minority."

Moron: a foolish or stupid person - a person having an intelligence quotient of between 50 and 70, able to work under supervision.