Ban Ki-moon: Netanyahu’s 'ethnic cleansing remarks' are outrageous
Benyamin Netanyahu in 1978:
Israel's hardline Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered a boycott of a U.N. special envoy after his criticism of Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported Thursday.
Israel's Channel 2 reported that Lieberman ordered ministry employees and military officials to shun any contact with the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov.
New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully, who holds the council presidency this month, said he noted "with concern" reports of Lieberman's decision:
"This action, reportedly taken in response to the special coordinator doing the job we all asked him to do, is deeply counter productive," he said.
In August, Mladenov sharply criticized Israel over continued settlement building, saying a key recent report by the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East peace process calling for a halt went unheeded.
"Its recommendations continue to be ignored, including by a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions," Mladenov told the Security Council.
Despite Israel’s self-definition as Jewish and democratic, it is in effect a Judaizing state, with democracy being subordinated to the (often racist) exigencies of Judaization in all central societal arenas: legal, institutional, material, and executive.
The Judaization project has framed the meaning of Israeli citizenship, and worked to both exclude and marginalize the state’s Arab citizens.
Israel’s settler colonialism and violent oppression of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories has further marginalized the status of the Arabs in Israel, given their naturalsupport for the uprising Palestinians.
The “separate and unequal” citizenship structure actively prevents the creation of an integrative civil Israeli political community.
The result has produced a discriminatory and deeply flawed Israeli citizenship structure, with the allocation of stratified ‘packages’ of rights and capabilities based on ethnic origins.
Obviously, there are serious gaps between this reality and the notion of equal democratic citizenship.
One prime example is the appointment of MK Avigdor Lieberman of the 'Yisrael Beteinu' (Our Home Israel) party, who openly espouses the forced removal of Arab localities from Israel, as Deputy Prime Minister in the Israeli government.
Therefore, Palestinian Arab citizenship in Israel can be characterized as existing in a ghetto. This ghetto is multifaceted – political, cultural, economic and administrative, and as a result also spatial.
The Palestinian Arabs in Israel are officially part of society, yet, structurally marginalized by domination, exclusions, and disempowerment.
Just prior to the first Israeli-Arab war, Zionist leader David Ben Gurion warned against extending citizenship to Palestinians slated to live in the new, UN-designated Jewish state. Citizenship for the new state's Arab community, Ben Gurion believed, would mean that in wartime, "it would only be possible to imprison [the Palestinians]," rather than to expel them.
When fighting erupted soon after, the relevance of his comments became clear, as Jewish troops participated in the often forced removal of some 750,000 Palestinians over international borders in a campaign that today would be termed ethnic cleansing. By 1949, only 150,000 Palestinians remained in the fledgling Jewish state.
During the 1967 war Israeli forces chose a different path. Although as many as 300,000 Palestinians left the West Bank or were deported during or immediately after the fighting, most stayed...
Israel did not offer them citizenship, but it did issue official identity cards and register them as wards of the Israeli military...
Israel had never intended to grant Palestinians a protected niche, using the identity cards and other methods of surveillance as techniques of domination and control.
EMBEDDING PALESTINE WITHIN ISRAEL
the creation of 'Judea-Samaria'
hebron, west-bank, 2012-2015
After the 1967 war, Israel's overriding political concern was to balance its desire for more Palestinian land with the unwelcome presence of actual Palestinians Groping for a solution, officials devised plans for a Palestinian "enclave," "self-governing region," "autonomous area," or even "mini-state."
The details of each scheme were different, but they shared the goal of gaining as much Palestinian land with as few Palestinians as possible.
As Israel searched for a solution, some politicians recognized the risks involved in creating a permanent Palestinian enclave in the West Bank surrounded by Israeli settlers and troops. In 1967, for example, one cabinet minister protested, "We can't say that it [the West Bank] is all ours, and that in the middle we are going to make a ghetto for 1 million Arabs...." Who, the minister asked incredulously, would tolerate such a colonial anachronism?
For the most part, however, Israeli leaders pushed these dilemmas aside, avoiding substantive discussion of the contradiction between land and population.
By the late 1970s, observers began to speak of Israel's "creeping annexation" of Palestinian lands and by the mid-1980s, a generation of Jewish-Israelis had grown up assuming that the West Bank and Gaza were integral parts of Israel.
A subordinate Palestinian enclave had become reality, although it was never officially acknowledged as such by either Jewish or Palestinian political elites.
From 1967 to 1987, Israel consolidated its infrastructural regime of power over Palestine by sealing the enclave's external borders, crushing internal armed resistance, rationalizing its mechanisms of control, and integrating its economy.
Ezra 10: While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They wept bitterly. Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God...
Ezra was a scribe as well as a hereditary priest. As a scribe he was trained in the minutiae of religious law and was qualified to translate and interpret those laws....
Ezra arrived in Jerusalem almost a hundred years after the first returnees had come back from Babylon and lost no time in instituting a policy of ethnic cleansing.
He, and other like-minded leaders, were determined to get rid of those half-breeds who were the offspring of several generations of unions between pure-blood Jews and the impure resident survivors.
In ancient Israel mixed marriages had been allowed, but eventually they came into disfavor. However, those foreigners who were willing to renounce their pagan worship and follow all the requirements of Jewish law and worship could be accepted into Judaism.
But Ezra introduced a new element into his ban on intermarriage. The issue was not whether or not a spouse was willing to worship the one God; beliefs did not matter. The issue was whether or not a person was a pure-blooded Jew.
For the first time, one group of people viewed other groups as a contaminating influence - - a source of racial or ethnic impurity - - regardless of how they lived or what they believed.
Ezra issued a proclamation demanding that all the Jewish people come to a meeting in Jerusalem.
“A proclamation was issued throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem. Anyone who failed to appear within three days would forfeit all his property. . .and would himself be expelled for the assembly.”
Under the impetus of that threat, all the Jewish males assembled in the Temple square. There they were given details of the purge that was about to take place. They were to turn in any members of their family who were tainted by non-Jewish blood. They were informed that committees would be set up to investigate all reports of the existence of such undesirables. There was no way to avoid detection. There was no escape.
Not only did Ezra demand that the foreign wives of Jewish men be cast off, he demanded that all the children of such marriages be sent away.
His edict was multi-generational. Children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were to be cast off, never again to see their families. And wives, who had been with their husbands only a few years, as well as those who had spent a lifetime with their mates, must also be sent away. No one whose blood was contaminated with non-Jewish blood could stay.
Of course, there was no place for most of them to go. In that day and time women, children, the frail and the elderly, had no way to sustain themselves. The homes from which they were banished were the only homes they had known. They were sent out into a hostile environment with no resources and few skills. For many of them, Ezra’s proclamation was a death sentence.
In Ezra’s time there was no precedent for the kind of massive purge he wanted to institute and the men of Israel may not have been aware of the extent of the suffering he was about to unleash on so many people. But it is difficult to understand how Ezra’s policy of ethnic cleansing can continue to receive religious endorsement in a post-Holocaust world.
Although horrified by the Holocaust, traditional Christians and Jews continue to endorse the purge that was instituted by Ezra. And as long as they attribute that ancient, man-made reign of terror to God, Western civilization is threatened by a foundational belief that ethnic cleansing can be a godly undertaking, necessary for the survival of a nation.
The Book of Ezra belongs to the Tanakh, not the Torah. The Torah itself does not say that Judaism passes thru the mother or that it is forbidden to marry foreign wives...
If Ezra had been alive during the time of the Exodus, then Zipporah: the wife of Moses, and Gershom his son would have been expelled from the community." Dror Ben Ami, Jerusalem Post, 1/19/2015
The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) - known more commonly to non-Jews as the "Old Testament" - that were given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Torah is also known as the Chumash, Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses. (Judaism 101 website)
Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks, has bowed to pressure from Jewish groups and suspended a course that discusses the history of Palestine since the late 1800s to the present day in the context of “settler colonialism.”
The suspension came amidst accusations that the course has an “anti-Israel” bias that seeks to study “ways to ‘decolonize’, that is – eliminate – Israel,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
According to the newspaper, 43 Jewish and civil rights groups sent a letter to Dirks complaining that “all the course readings … have a blatantly anti-Israel bias.”
The letter further stated that all course materials and its instructors are one-sided in their view against Israel and were performing “political indoctrination,” which violates the UC Board of Regents’ policy on course content, which prohibits using courses “as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest.”
The letter called the faculty sponsor, Hatem Bazian, “a well-known anti-Zionist activist who is also the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine.” However, the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses and Instruction did evaluate and approve the course, Academic Senate chairman Bob Powell told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov's meeting with his Turkish counterpart General Hulusi Akar yesterday hinted toward more military collaboration in the Syrian crisis.
Akar received Gerasimov at the General Staff headquarters following a greeting ceremony with full military protocol. The two discussed the latest developments in Syria and bilateral military cooperation.
Akar also gave information to his counterpart about Operation Euphrates Shield, which was initiated by Turkey to clear the southern border of DAESH.
Although Russia is one of the main backers of Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad while Turkey backs opposition forces such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), both sides are targeting the DAESH terror group in Syria. Meanwhile, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), partnering with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces, initiated Operation Euphrates Shield on Aug. 24 to liberate northern Syria towns from DAESH.
The meeting was the highest-level military contact between the two countries since the crisis in relations last year. Gerasimov's presence in Ankara is seen as a significant symbol of the healing ties between the two countries.
Putin gave his support to Turkey after the July 15 failed coup attempt and said he stood by the elected government, offering his condolences to the victims of the attempt. On July 22, Russia also lifted restrictions on flights to Turkey, which had been implemented temporarily following the coup attempt, after Turkish officials assured their Russian counterparts that additional security measures were being taken.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Moscow is holding to its part of the Syria agreement, but accused the rebels of using it to "regroup" and called for more transparency from Washington.
"We see attempts to regroup among these terrorists, to switch one label for another, one name for another and keep their military capacity," he said in televised remarks while on a trip to Kyrgyzstan.
"This is what we are seeing and that is sad," he added, saying Washington is facing a "rather difficult problem... to separate the opposition (to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) from terrorists."
He said Washington apparently "has the desire to keep the capabilities to fight the lawful government of President Assad," calling it a "very dangerous path."
"I would like us to be honest with one another.., and that is how we can move toward our mutual goals (to fight terrorism and achieve peace in Syria)," he said. "I don't really understand why we have to hide any agreements, but we will of course refrain from revealing any details until our American partners agree to this."
Russia accused the United States of refusing to share details of the closed-door agreement on Syria with the UN Security Council Friday, which had to cancel its urgent meeting that was supposed to endorse the deal.
"They don't want to make it public because the world community... will understand who is really not abiding to what," Putin said of the deal, in reference to "regrouping" rebels.
Putin said he remained "positive rather than negative" on the deal... The Russian president insisted Moscow is adhering to its part of the agreement.
"As for Russia, it is fully honouring its obligations..." "We have reached agreements with the president (of Syria), with the government of Syria. As we see, Syrian forces are fully abiding by these agreements."
Thomas Jefferson is respected as one of the United States' Founding Fathers (brainyquote)
The US is still reluctant to take measures to force rebels under its control to implement the Syrian ceasefire, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, adding that if things do not change, Washington will be the sole side responsible for the failure of the truce.
The friends of the Syrian rebels, 2014. Putin: "Doubts over their ability to influence opposition groups."
The eldest daughter of late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein intends to launch a new tribal coalition to run in the country’s 2018 national elections, media outlets reported on Friday.
Raghad Saddam Hussein, born on September 2, 1968, currently lives in Jordan but could return to Iraq under a controversial amnesty passed by Parliament last month.
The Jordanian royal family rejected a request from Iraq’s foreign ministry in May to extradite Raghad and other figures from Saddam’s regime who are wanted by the country’s judiciary.
In April 2010, the international police organisation Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Raghad primarily at Baghdad’s request.
Raghad is said to live a lavish lifestyle in Jordan, where she fled with her two younger sisters and mother after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 as guests of King Abdullah II.
In 2012 she was looking for a publisher for her late father's handwritten memoirs, according to a report from the Arab news channel Al Arabiya. Her lawyer, Haitham Nabil al-Harsh, told the Dubai-based Al Arabiya: "These are the only real memoirs Saddam Hussein wrote by hand and they will be released as soon as we find a publishing house."
Saddam Hussein is also the purported author of four novels: Get Out, You Damned One; Walled Fortress; Men and the City; and Zabiba and the King, described as "an allegorical love story between a mighty king (Saddam) and a simple yet beautiful commoner named Zabiba (the Iraqi people), [raped by] a cruel and unloving husband (the United States)" .
The hope must be that the general amnesty law that the Iraqi parliament passed last week is aimed at bringing an end to the grievances of the country’s Sunni minority at its exclusion by the majority Shia, paving the way to much-needed national reconciliation in the war-battered nation.
The Iraqi parliament passed the draft law on 25 August after long delays and several rewritings. Iraqi official television reported that the parliament had passed the bill with a majority of 234 lawmakers present in the 328-member assembly.
Under the new law, Iraqis convicted, sentenced or still under investigation for crimes are eligible to apply for amnesty, except those who have been accused or convicted of specific crimes stated in the law.
On 1 September, the bill was ratified by Iraqi president Fouad Masoum, making it effective immediately after it is published in the Iraqi Chronicle, the official journal of the government. If the law is implemented it would pardon almost anyone facing charges arising from Iraq’s political chaos from 2003 to 2011.
It is widely expected that the bill will give partial or total amnesty to thousands of prisoners (some say nearly 36,000) who have been in prison, some since 2004, without proper judicial procedures.
Most of these inmates are believed to be Sunnis in prison on charges of terrorism, but Sunni political groups claim that many of them have been jailed without solid evidence.
Hundreds who are also expected to benefit from the pardons are followers of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who were detained during the period in office of former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki as part of a crackdown on al-Sadr’s paramilitary Jaish al-Mahdi Army.
Before the amnesty law was passed the parliament enacted a law that severely restricted the role of former Iraqi president Saddam’s Hussein’s Baath Party in a move intended in part to placate the Shia.
The law was the result of enormous pressure reportedly put by the United States on the Shia-led government to get it passed before the US-backed offensive to take back the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from IS starts.
Washington believes that in order to stabilise Iraq after the military campaign against the IS militants is over a national-reconciliation process that includes an amnesty for Sunni insurgents should be initiated.
The most pressing question remains whether the controversial law will be enough to end more than 13 years of sectarian conflict and bring peace and stability to Iraq.
Do not hate the individuals who do evil, hate only the evil deed itself
History of Baathism
The origins of Ba'athism began with the political thought developed by Zaki al-Arsuzi and Michel Aflaq. Arsuzi formed the Arab Ba'ath Party in 1940 and his views influenced Aflaq who founded the Arab Ihya Movement in 1940 that later renamed itself the Arab Ba'ath Movement in 1943.
In intellectual terms, Aflaq recast the conservative Arab nationalist thoughts and changed them to reflect a strong revolutionary and progressive tendency... The core basis of Ba'athism is Arab socialism and pan-Arab ideology.
The enemies of Arab Nationalism:
Flashback: Joseph Tartrian Band Celebrates Syria… Our Mother
Motherland - Love Your Motherland
We were young and just ordinary men
Now we’re crying...
Open up your eyes if you love your motherland
Israel's JUSTICE Minister Ayelet Shaked told the Jewish National Fund in New York on Sunday that the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement is the new face of terror.
Shaked, a top official with Israel’s Bayit Yehudi party, addressed the JNF Conference in New York on Sunday, speaking on the issue of the BDS Movement and how its activities impact Israel in daily life. She condemned the movement, likening its activities to the tunneling of the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.
“The BDS movement is digging tunnels to undermine the foundations and values of Israel,” she said. "The movement constitutes an existential threat at its core", she added.
“Supporters of the BDS movement are attempting to destroy our very right to exist. They refuse to accept our most natural, basic and simple right: the existence of the State of Israel....”
"We are fighting terrorism.."
Those of us who care about the well-being of Israel are part of a movement.
What I am calling the “Movement for Jewish Freedom” is an attempt to reengage Zionism as a political movement grounded in solidarity with other groups who share common interests.
I imagine it as a subset of the movement for indigenous rights which, itself, is a subset of the international movement for the maintenance of liberal-democracies.
The Movement for Jewish Freedom is highly individualistic, fiercely idiosyncratic, and entirely non-partisan.
Because the ideal of liberal-democracy is, by necessity, at the core of the Movement for Jewish Freedom it must oppose Islamic jurisprudence (al-Sharia).
The reason for that is because al-Sharia is non-democratic and, according to its central precepts, must strip women, Gay people, and Infidels (kuffar) of their most basic civil liberties…
Our friends and supporters often recognize that al-Sharia is not only non-democratic, but highly fascistic in its implementation, thereby creating at least some sympathy for the Jewish people in the Middle East.
Furthermore, of course, al-Sharia is not some noxious, but irrelevant, relic from the past, but is the reality of life for hundreds of millions of people from North Africa to the Arab world, on the continent of Asia, all the way to Jakarta.
2011: Destruction of the Green Revolution
The Libya Herald reported that the “Fatwa Office”, presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani (picture on the right), has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks.
Our enemies include virtually every single Arab government and much (if not most) of their religious leadership.
Our enemies do not include Muslims, in general, but merely those who would subject the rest of us to the mercies of Islamic law.
Palestinian-Arab nationalism emerged out of the larger Arab nation as a weapon. At the very core of “Palestinian” identity is the cruel goal of eliminating the Jewish State of Israel...
Jewish sovereignty on the land of our ancestors is understood not only as a terrible humiliation to the entire Arab nation, but as a direct violation of the will of Allah. Thus Jihad is both obligatory and sacred.
It is not merely the Palestinian-Arabs, but virtually the entire Arab and Muslim worlds that are perpetually endeavoring to squeeze the Jews out of Israel, by any means necessary. These means include war and violence and intifada, lawfare, international diplomatic aggressions, the movement to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel (BDS), heritage theft and attempts at heritage obliteration, cognitive warfare and Pallywood.
About the Author: Michael Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco.
On Monday, the Syrian army announced that the ceasefire is over due to numerous attacks by Syrian rebels. Over a week of the truce, Syrian opposition attacked some 300 times.
On Saturday, the US-led coalition conducted airstrikes on Syrian army positions in Deir ez-Zor, killing scores of soldiers. The Pentagon claimed that the attack was unintentional.
al-nusra jihadists in syria
There is "very little" hope that the Russian-US week-long ceasefire in Syria will resume, Peskov said, naming two conditions to resume the truce:
"It is very simple: the terrorists need to stop attacking the Syrian armed forces. And of course it would not hurt if our US colleagues did not accidentally bomb Syrians," Peskov stressed.
Peskov said militants belonging to the group formerly known as al-Nusra Front launched an offensive across a range of Syrian regions late Monday, forcing government troops to defend themselves.
"We understand that such actions threaten the entire process in general, and note with regret that during this period that has already exceeded one week, our US colleagues failed to carry out the disengagement of terrorists from the so-called moderate opposition."
US claims of Russia being behind shelling of a UN humanitarian aid convoy on its way to the Syrian city of Aleppo are "mere allegations," Peskov said Tuesday. "Currently our military is assessing the information about this shelling, and I hope they will receive specific information from primary sources and will be able to make a corresponding statement."
Three major rebel factions from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have formed a new joint group called the "Free Idlib Army."
The Free Idlib Army is comprised of fighters from the Free Syrian Army's "Division 13", "Suqour Al-Jabal", and the "Northern Division." This new rebel group will be backed by the U.S. and they will be eligible to receive the anti-tank TOW missiles because of their "moderate" status.
The factions that formed the Free Idlib Army were allied with jihadist rebel groups like Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham' however, this does not appear to be an issue for the U.S.
Captain Hassan Hajj 'Ali will be the commander of the Free Idlib Army, per Syrian opposition activists.
Radio Free Europe Website, 2-10-2015
Led by Hassan Haj Ali, a Syrian Army captain who defected to the opposition following the 2011 uprising against Assad, Suqour al-Jabal counts itself under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a loose alliance of rebel formations that operate without a centralized command-and-control structure.
Haj Ali told Reuters that his battalion received support from Washington and its allies, while Reuters quoted him as saying that his fighters had received training in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
According to the U.S.-based Carter Center, the Suqour al-Jabal Brigade was one of 11 armed opposition groups in northwestern Syria as of December 2014 that were receiving support from the Turkey-based Military Operations Center staffed by Arab and Western intelligence personnel, including CIA officials.
The group has battled Assad's forces alongside Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front), and the hard-line Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham.
The group was one of several that consolidated under the banner Fatah Haleb and appears to have coordinated with these Islamist groups to launch a fierce July offensive targeting government-held areas of Aleppo.
November 2013, a charter released by the groups described their shared beliefs as rejecting representative democracy and secularism, instead seeking to establish an Islamic State ruled by a Majlis-ash-Shura and implementing Sharia law.
ALEPPO – The Syrian Islamist movement of Ahrar al-Sham on Tuesday issued a religious verdict justifying cooperation with the Turkish army against ISIS and the Kurdish forces in Syria, confirming it’s participation in the Turkey-led Jarabulus operation.
“It is permissible to cooperate with Turkey to fight the Islamic State, and there is a need for an Islamist group to rule there to prevent groups like YPG [Kurdish forces] from taking over,” the fatwa read. “So Ahrar al-Sham and other factions can go ahead and cooperate with Turkey,” it added.
The Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham has tried earlier to hide its participation in the Turkish-backed Jarabulus offensive launched on 24 August. This is the first time the group publically announces support for the operation.
Tuesday’s announcement by the Ahrar al-Sham group could lead to further escalation of fighting between the Kurdish forces and pro-Turkey rebel groups in Syria.
The Ahrar al-Sham was responsible for frequent attacks on Kurdish districts in Aleppo, that claimed lives of hundreds of Kurdish civilians.
The Obama administration has shown no interest in working with the group Ahrar al-Sham in the anti-ISIS campaign, for its ideological background, and its links and cooperation with other jihadist groups such as Al Qaida’s Nusra Front.
The Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian Conflict
In the Middle East we do not practice the values we preach to the world. Were Russians doing to Latvians or Germans to Czechs what Israelis are doing to Palestinians, we would never be countenancing such repression and thievery with $3 billion in aid every year. Time to end the double standard that has erased so much of the goodwill won by America in the Cold War." Patrick Buchanan, 17-11-2004
Over the next ten years, the US taxpayer will be forced to give Israel some $38 billion dollars in military aid. It is money we cannot afford going to a country that needs no assistance to maintain its status as the most powerful military in the Middle East. It is money taken from poor people in the US and sent to rich people overseas.
According to the agreement, this $38 billion will all go to US weapons manufacturers. So the real beneficiaries are not the American people, and not even Israeli citizens. The real beneficiaries are the US military-industrial complex. Perhaps the money won’t even leave Washington – it may simply go across town, from the Fed to the Beltway bomb-makers.
At a nominal per capita GDP of over $35,000, Israel is richer than Japan, Italy, and South Korea. Not long ago Business Insider published a report by the Institute for the Study of War showing that the Israel is the most powerful military force in the Middle East. We know they have hundreds of nuclear weapons, a sophisticated air force, drones, and even nuclear weapons-equipped submarines.
So why is the US giving a rich and incredibly well-armed country a record amount of military aid?
Part of it is that the US government believes it can coerce Israel to do Washington’s bidding in the Middle East. History shows that this is a foolish pipe dream. If anything, US aid subsidizes Israeli human rights abuses in Gaza and elsewhere.
Another reason is a very powerful lobby in Washington, AIPAC, that pressures Members of Congress to focus on Israel’s interests instead of US interests.
Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.
The clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash over Palestinian statehood.
If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.
Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act against the Palestinians with continuing US impunity. (Palestinians lose, 19-9-2016)
Hopes for Zoroastrianism revival in Kurdistan
as first temple opens its doors
By Rudaw, 21-9-2016
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Zoroastrians in the Kurdistan Region hope that their first official temple in the region, opened on Wednesday, will provide the right environment to “reintroduce” Kurds to their ancestral religion.
Awat Hussamaddin Tayib, the chief of the followers of the Zoroastrians in the Kurdistan Region told Rudaw English that dozens of Kurdish people are returning to Zoroastrianism, but that some keep it secret out of fear.
Zoroastrianism was a dominant religion in the region that was largely lost following two major historical military campaigns, Tayib explained, one during the time of Alexander the Great and the other during the Islamic campaign which brought much of present-day Middle East under Islamic rule in the seventh century.
Today, some followers of Zoroastrianism are afraid to publicly practice their religion. The war against the Islamic State, Tayib said, is on the Kurdistan border. She fears that some Islamists might not be happy about the rise of her religion.
Tayib takes pride in her religion because she can, like her male counterpart, run the affairs of her fellow Zoroastrians “without any gender discrimination.” In our religion, she explained, we only talk about human beings, and humans by nature do not recognize gender roles.
Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion which grew to popularity in present-day Iran and some parts of Iraq and then spread to the rest of the world.
Zoroastrians are best known by their religious motto “Good Thoughts, Good Acts, and Good Deeds”. They believe in one God, that the world is divided between the good, represented by fire or light in their rituals, and the devil, and a day of judgement.
Many of its adherents in Kurdistan believe the founder of the religion, Zoroaster or Zardasht as it is called in Kurdish, was a Kurd and he spoke a variation of Kurdish language called Avesta.
Iran & Zarathustra
There are no written records from Zarathushtra's time. The earliest surviving written references to Zarathushtra are those of Greek writers from 1000 BC.
Prophet Zoroaster and his first followers have been the proto-Indo-Iranians that lived between the Bronze Age and Iron Age (est. 1200-600 BC).
The term "Prophet" is of western origin as Zarathushtra is designated "Khordad" or that unique mortal who achieved spiritual perfection (he radiated an aura-"Khor") within his lifetime. The term "Za-rath-ush-tra" also translates to a Divine (Zari/Hari) Chariot (Rath) that brought heavenly Light-Knowledge (Ushtra)
The time of the Iranian peoples' migration to Iran can be mainly estimated through Assyrian records. Also, Herodotus (I, 101) had recalled one of the Mede tribes to be called "Magoi", better known as "Magis", a tribe known to have included many priests, who served both Medes and Persians.
By the time of the Median empire (est. 612 BC), Zoroastrianism is known to have been well established in both Pars region (later capital of Persia) as well as in the Eastern regions. (Wikipedia info)
Iran & the Kurds
The Kurds are culturally and linguistically closely related to the Iranian peoples and, as a result, are often themselves classified as an Iranian people.
Many Kurds consider themselves descended from the Medes, an ancient Iranian people, and even use a calendar dating from 612 B.C., when the Assyrian capital of Nineveh was conquered by the Medes. The claimed Median descent is reflected in the words of the Kurdish national anthem: "We are the children of the Medes and Kai Khosrow." (Kai Khosrow is a legendary king of the Kayanian dynasty and a character in the Persian epic book Shahnameh. He was the son of the Iranian prince Siavash).
The Kurdish languages form a subgroup of the Northwestern Iranian languages. The Kurdish region of Iran has been a part of the country since ancient times. Nearly all Kurdistan was part of Persian Empire until its Western part was lost during wars against the Ottoman Empire.
The Kurds sharing much of their history with the rest of Iran is seen as reason for why the majority of Kurds in Iran do not want a separate Kurdish state. Iranian national identity is questioned only in the peripheral Kurdish Sunni regions. (Wikipedia info)
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faced the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday to report on the ongoing military operations and “national security challenges” faced by the US.
The lawmakers were far less interested in the war against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) than about the future of the Syrian government, Iran’s “malign influence,” and “aggression” by China and Russia....
The Pentagon’s leaders blamed Russia for the Aleppo aid convoy attack, but admitted they “had no facts.”
"I don’t have the facts,” Dunford said, when asked about the convoy attack by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut). “It was either the Russians or the regime,” he added. “There is no doubt in my mind that the Russians are responsible...”
Carter explained Dunford’s logic in a response to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), saying that “the Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it or not, because they took responsibility for the conduct of the Syrians by associating themselves with the Syrian regime.”
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) asked about what it would take for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, using the phrase “control the airspace.”
“Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia,” Dunford replied, drawing a rebuke from committee chairman John McCain (R-Arizona), who argued a no-fly zone was possible without war.
Dunford agreed with Graham’s assertion that the US had two objectives – to destroy IS and to “remove Assad,” referring to the Syrian president – but admitted the Kurds were not interested in the latter.
“If the main fighting force inside of Syria is not signed up to take Assad out, where does that force come from?” Graham asked. Neither Dunford nor Carter had an answer to that...
(TASS) Facts made available to the Russian Defense Ministry prove unambiguously a US Predator drone from Turkey's Incirlik airbase was present in the zone of attack on the UN humanitarian convoy in Syria, General Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.
"We have information from air data recorders on the situation in the Aleppo zone on September 19," he said. "And this information proves very unambiguously a US attack drone Predator from Incirlik airbase was present in the zone of location of the humanitarian convoy near the town of Urum al-Kurba."
"What the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Secretary of Defense have at their disposal - and it’s clear to everyone now - is their personal opinions...," Gen Konashenkov said.
"Generally speaking, if the US Army plans its combat operations and makes reports to the President on the basis of personal opinions instead of verified intelligence data, is it a surprise then that the US military regularly make the blunders, which claim the lives of hundreds of innocent people around the world?" he said.
Amid debates over whether Turkey would be willing to take part in a possible cross-border operation to liberate Raqqa, presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said in a televised interview that Turkey will never engage in an operation with the PKK's Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG).
Speaking to TRT Haber channel in an exclusive interview yesterday, Kalın said Turkey's main principles are clear as shown in Operation Euphrates Shield. "It will not be in question whether we will participate in an operation with the PYD/YPG," he asserted.
In an article published on Wednesday in The New York Times, it was speculated that the U.S. could give arms to the PYD directly.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said late on Wednesday that Ankara still cannot come to an understanding with Washington over the PYD's status. While Turkey sees the PYD as a terrorist group, the U.S. wants to work with them and supply arms if necessary.
"PYD is an offshoot of the PKK. PYD is the same as the PKK," Yıldırım said, adding that the U.S. cannot defeat a terrorist group by using another terrorist group. "We cannot come to terms with the U.S. on this issue," he stressed.
Yıldırım underscored that Turkey will not welcome the U.S. if it decides to continue working with the PYD and arm it.
What is the difference between the PKK, PYD, YPG, KRG, KDP
- Question: Do you believe there could ever be a joint US-Russian military partnership against the militants...
- President Assad: Again, practically, yes, but in reality, no, because the United States doesn’t have the will to work against al-Nusra or even ISIS, because they believe that this is a card they can use for their own agenda.
If they attack al-Nusra or ISIS, they will lose a very important card regarding the situation in Syria. So, I don’t believe the United States will be ready to join Russia in fighting terrorists in Syria.
- Question: Did Syria or Russia launch the attack on the Red Crescent convoy this week, and should Moscow be held responsible, as the White House has said?
- President Assad: No, first of all, there have been tens, maybe, of convoys from different organizations around the world, coming to different areas in Syria for the last few years. It has never happened before, so why to happen now, either by the Russians or the Syrians? No, it’s a claim. And regarding the claim of the White House yesterday, accusing either the Syrians or the Russians.
In that regard, I would say whatever the American officials said about the conflicts in Syria in general has no credibility. Whatever they say, it’s just lies and, let’s say, bubbles, has no foundation on the ground...
- Question: So what happened to the convoy? Who should be held responsible?
- President Assad: Those convoys were in the area of the militants, the area under the control of the terrorists. That’s what they should accuse first: the people or the militants, the terrorists who are responsible for the security of this convoy.
We don’t have any interest in attacking them: because if we attack any convoy that’s going to the civilians, we are working for the interest of the terrorists, that will play into their hands directly, in that regard we are pushing the civilians toward the terrorists, we put them in their laps, and we are providing the terrorists with a good incubator, something we wouldn’t do.
This is first. Second, we are, as a government, as officials, we are committed morally toward the Syrian people, morally, constitutionally, and legally, to help them in every aspect to have the basic needs for their livelihood.
Question: You are not seen as a unifying force in Syria; people think that the society is torn apart. Just to use one example, on a personal level, you trained as a doctor and yet your administration stands accused of targeting medical and rescue workers as they race to save lives. How do you make peace with this?
President Assad: I cannot answer that question while it’s filled with misinformation. Let us correct it first.
We don’t attack any hospital. Again, as I said, this is against our interests. If you put aside the morals, that we do not do it morally, if I put it aside, I am talking about now, let’s say, the ends justify the means, if I want to use it, we don’t have any interest in attacking hospitals...
Flashback: America & its Useful Idiots
In political jargon, useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.
It has become clear that the US’s main objectives in Syria is not their expressed goal of ‘fighting ISIS’, but regime change, isolating Russian influence, the Balkanization and the creation of failed states.
ALEPPO, SYRIA - The Aleppo Shari'ah Council issued a fatwa on Saturday, calling the Turkish-backed "Euphrates Shield" offensive a "legal jihad" against the People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
The council made this "jihad" permissible on Saturday because Turkey is a Muslim country and a staunch ally of the jihadist rebels in Syria.
Making matters even more complicated, several groups participating in this offensive are allied with one of the largest jihadist rebel groups: Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front).
In fact, one of the main rebel factions participating in Operation Euphrates Shield is now fighting in a coalition that includes Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham in southern Aleppo.
The U.S. has yet to comment on this statement issued by the Aleppo Shari'ah Council
Flashback 2013 - Aleppo’s Sharia Authority:
On 10 November 2012, al-Qaeda-affiliate al-Nusra Front founded a body it dubbed the Sharia Authority in Aleppo. Its stated goal: to act as a “purely judicial” tribunal to tackle the theft and looting that spread in the city after the arrival of the “revolution.”
The core of the Sharia Authority consists of 12 “judges,” mostly former lawyers who were active in demonstrations outside the Justice Palace as part of the group called the Free Lawyers. One of the main reasons for the establishment of the Sharia Authority was to “Islamize” the city, something that became quickly obvious when the court shunned all secular laws.
Video: Sunni muslims force sharia law on occupied Aleppo Syria
The United States arming the PYD/YPG is a source of concern for Turkey as these terrorist organizations pose a threat to Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday.
"It is a source of concern," Erdoğan told Bloomberg in an interview, speaking about U.S. cooperation with those terrorist groups.
"Three days ago, America landed two planes loaded with weapons. Where? In Kobani. For whom? For the PYD and YPG," Erdoğan said, referring to a Syrian city within sight of Turkey's southern border. "A very serious mistake is being committed before the world's eyes," he added.
Erdoğan said the U.S. mentality behind arming YPG forces is miscalculated. "You cannot use one terrorist organization to destroy another terrorist organization -- this is a big mistake..."
"Now, Al-Nusra is a terror organization. Al-Nusra in the same way is fighting Daesh. If those who fight Daesh are not terrorists then Al-Nusra too, is not terrorist."
Erdoğan said that PYD and YPG are affiliates of the PKK terrorist organization that is fighting Turkey. "They are together. They are the same..." "They pose a threat to our country..."
Saint Ephrem Patriarchal Choir
In televised statements and during meetings in New York, where he is attending the inauguration of United Nations General Assembly, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi made a point of referring to the mounting terrorist danger along Egypt’s western border with Libya.
Egypt is fighting terrorism inside the country and along its borders, warned Al-Sisi. It is involved in an existential battle that must be won if Egypt is not to succumb to the fate of other states in the region.
Terrorist groups began consolidating their influence in Libya following the February 2011 Revolution which toppled the Qaddafi regime, leaving Egypt with no choice but to grapple with the Libyan question and, by extension, support the Libyan people’s own fight against terrorism.
Before the UN General Assembly’s inaugural ceremonies began, Al-Sisi declared his support for the Libyan army and House of Representatives on the grounds that they represented the popular will of Libyans.
He also voiced growing concern that the success of military operations against extremist elements in Iraq and Syria is driving increasing numbers of terrorists to Libya. Egyptian intelligence agencies have monitored an influx of extremists into Libya in recent months.
Libya has three governments: The UN (read: USA) backed GNA (not supported by, but imposed on, the people). The GNC (Islamist militia who are fighting for 'their' (NATO backed) 2011 revolution, and the secular Tobruk government (backed by Egypt and Russia) headed by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani (picture above).
Libya's internationally recognised parliament based in Tobruk has voted against the UN-backed unity government. House of Representatives member Abu Bakr Beira said 89 out of 104 members rejected the cabinet formed by the UN-sponsored unity Presidential Council. Without approval from Tobruk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed, the U.N.-and U.S.-backed GNA is not legitimate.
In a flurry of activity last week Egypt sponsored a number of meetings, overseen by the Egyptian Chief of Staff General Mahmoud Hegazi.
Participants included the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aqila Saleh, members of the Libyan Presidency Council Ali Al-Qatrani and Fathi Al-Mijbari, as well as Kobler.
They agreed, in principle at least, to revert to the fourth draft of the Libyan Political Agreement which will effectively dissolve the current nine-member presidential council headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj and replace it with a new council with two vice presidents. Kobler asked for time so he could discuss the matter with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Political and military analysts now believe freeing the Libyan capital Tripoli from militia control is now only a matter of time.
Haftar told Al-Ahram Weekly he is consulting with Egyptian authorities on matters of mutual concern and confirmed that Cairo provides his forces with intelligence: “We work together [with Egypt] with complete frankness and transparency.."
“After the February 2011 Revolution the West failed to follow through on what it had begun and left Libya prey to more than 1,700 militias,” says Khaled Al-Torjuman, chairman of the National Working Group and an advisor to the Libyan House of Representatives.
“Organisations with long records of terrorist activity, boasting expertise and regional support, succeeded in seizing control of the weapon arsenals of Qaddafi’s forces and infiltrated government and military institutions.
Khaled Al-Sherif, a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and once a prisoner in Guantanamo, was appointed deputy minister of defence. His comrade Abdel-Hakim Belhaj took control over the Mitiga Airport in Tripoli.
Because the army had collapsed extremist groups quickly seized control of entire cities. Terrorism proliferated. Assassinations of Libyan army officers began, starting with General Abdel-Fattah Younis who was killed in March 2011. Around 2,000 army officers were killed across Libya.
Benghazi, which fell under the control of Ansar Al-Sharia, a group which is ideologically affiliated with Al-Qaeda, saw the bulk of these assassinations.”
Terrorist leaders saw their control of Libya’s eastern capital as the staging post for a campaign to control the entire eastern province, ultimately placing them in proximity with the Egyptian border and in a position to confront the Egyptian army and also to control the 65 per cent of Libya’s petroleum resources located in the eastern region.
Abbas at the UN General Assembly:
Britain gave our land to another people
Monoweiss, September 23, 2016
By the end of this coming year, 100 years will have passed since the Balfour Declaration, and 70 years since Al-Nakba of the Palestinian people, and 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
Yes, 100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.
This paved the road for the Nakba of Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land...
We ask Britain to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibilities for the consequences of this Declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people..
One of the narratives often repeated in the West is that the Arab states sent their armies to crush the nascent state of Israel in 1948. But by miracle and might, the tiny entity emerged victorious over "the organised armies" of seven Arab countries.
But there is a different story that became pivotal in the shaping of modern pan-Arab nationalism, and collective Arab memory: "the great armies", mainly of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq were neither well-equipped nor really independent.
The Jordanian army was under the command of the British military, while Egypt - under King Farouq - and Iraq - under King Faisal II - were acting under British political influence.
Palestinians found no relief from the Arab armies who could neither prevent the dispossession nor loss of their homeland.
Reasons for the defeat are not to be found in the alleged cowardice of Arab soldiers. Rather, they are linked to the continued legacy of colonialism and of Arab government complicity, which rendered the intervention of these armies a tragic joke in Arab memory.
In 1948, King Abdullah I of Jordan accepted a compromise allowing Israel's creation in return for Zionist and British approval of the continuity of the Hashemite Kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan.
And in Egypt and Iraq, the pro-Western governments did not possess the wherewithal to act independently as they relied heavily on Britain.
The failure of Arab governments to prevent the Nakba gave impetus to the formation of an organised ideological pan-Arab nationalist movement.
Fine English Lads. Blair, Cameron & Boris:
"They have to forget!"
The Al-Nusra Front in Aleppo keeps receiving tanks and heavy weapons shipped by their Western backers as the US turns a blind eye, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told the Security Council. He added that securing peace "is almost an impossible task now."
The Al-Nusra Front is currently the most powerful group fighting against the government in Aleppo... “They are armed by tanks, APCs, field artillery, multiple rocket launchers… dozens and dozens of units, including heavy weaponry… Of course, they couldn’t have made this equipment themselves. All of this has been received by them and is still being shipped to them by generous Western backers, with the US, presumably, turning a blind eye,” Churkin said.
According to the Russian envoy, the Al-Nusra Front militants use the civilian population of Aleppo as human shields while indiscriminately attacking residential areas in the city controlled by the Syrian government. “Over 200,000 residents of Aleppo are hostages of the Al-Nusra Front and groups allied with it,” Churkin said.
Moscow’s experience of giving concessions to the Syrian rebels following requests from the US, in the hope of it culminating in a ceasefire has not worked, Churkin told the Security Council adding that Moscow will no longer be following these steps.
The American side de facto signed that it was unable to influence the groups it sponsors and to deliver on the deal as it promised..." “The ceasefire can only be salvaged now on a collective basis. It's not us that have to prove something to somebody unilaterally.
We have to see proof that there is a genuine desire to separate US-allied rebel groups from the Al-Nusra Front, then destroy the Al-Nusra Front and bring the opposition into a political process.."
New York, SANA – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari asserted that Syria will remain committed to combating terrorism, and that others must stop exploiting the Syrian people...
syria - terrorism - 2012
Syria’s Representative went on to note that the three states that called for holding the session have prevented the Security Council on 13 different occasions from adopting a statement condemning terrorist bombings using car bombs or suicide bombers or bombardment carried out by their forces, in addition to preventing attempts to adopt resolutions that condemn terrorism.
“When there was a French terrorist called Mohammed Merah running amok in the French city of Toulouse, the French special forces killed him with 300 bullets, and it was a good thing that they did so, but we in Syria and in other states never described that French terrorist as ‘moderate armed opposition’ at all, and the same goes for other terrorists active in the United States and elsewhere,” al-Jaafari said...
“We believe that some permanent member states’ calls for holding this session constitute a message from these states to Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups affiliated to it saying that the support and political cover provided to them are still standing and won’t stop, and that using terrorism as a weapon to pressure the Syrian government and its allies politically is still effective,” he said.
ALEPPO – The FSA ('Free Syrian Army') affiliated rebel group Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement joined the Jihadist Army of Conquest (JaF).
Spokesman of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), Mustafa Muhammed, confirmed that the al-Zanki Movement is now a part of the jihadist alliance.
The al-Qaeda-affliaied Nusra Front has recently changed its name into Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, claiming to have broken ties with al-Qaeda. The JFS is now fighting alongside other Islamist groups in Syria under the umbrella of the Army of Conquest.
Muhammed said that with Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement joining the Army of Conquest, jihadists will be united in their fight in Syria.
The US-led coalition has said that they will continue to target the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in Syria (previously known as Nusra Front), as the group plays a leading role in the Army of Conquest.
|9 okt. 2015: Bilal Abdul Kareem reporting for On the Ground News from Idlib, Syria. A demonstration held in the center of Idlib against the Russia intervention and bombings. Jaysh Al Fath’s spiritual leader Dr. Abdullah Muhaysini also appeared.||
Nour al-Din al-Zenki was formed in late 2011 by Shaykh Tawfiq Shahabuddin in the Shaykh Salman area north-west of Aleppo.
Nour al-Din al-Zenki took part in the initial battles that started the Battle of Aleppo in July 2012.
On 24 September 2016, al-Zenki joined the Army of Conquest.
Russia and the Syrian government appear to have decided to wipe out the pocket of rebel resistance in East Aleppo.
If the regime has all of Aleppo, all of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Latakia, then it has Syria.
Poor, rural, thinly populated provinces such as Idlib (held by al-Qaeda and its allies) and Raqqa & Deir al-Zor (held by Daesh/ISIL) just don’t count. They can make trouble from the margins, sort of the way FARK in Colombia did for decades, but they can’t win.
The military blog Sic Semper Tyrranis is convinced that the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian Aerospace forces can win the war outright. If they mean by winning what I just said– taking and holding all the major urban population centers– then yes.
If they mean taking back control over the whole country, then no. Damascus just doesn’t have the troops to take back the rural Sunni areas.. Moreover, it is unlikely that Damascus will ever really get control back of the Kurdish regions of the northeast, where the YPG is backed by the Pentagon.
Still, taking back all of Aleppo and seeing Daesh strangled to the east by the Kurds and by a newly effective Turkish barricade would be an enormous victory for Damascus.
Three and a half years ago, the rebels thought they could take Homs and cut Damascus off from resupply by cutting the road to the key Mediterranean port of Latakia. Hizbullah intervened and the rebels were defeated in Homs.
Then two years ago, the al-Qaeda-led forces swept into Idlib and thought they might be able to just take the port of Aleppo, after which they could starve out the southern capital of Damascus.
But last fall Russia intervened and pushed them out of Latakia province, and built up the Tartous base outside Latakia, making the point that Moscow won’t let it fall. So the Salafi forces are bottled up in Idlib and have not prospect of breaking out or challenging the regime in any serious way.
Now the FSA may be about to lose East Aleppo. The rebel position in the north is being eroded. And as we speak there is no plausible way for it to overthrow the Syrian government in any time scale that matters.
Before rebel fighters overran the eastern portion of the city in the summer of 2012 (pictures above), Aleppo was Syria’s biggest metropolis, with a population of 3 million, and the epicenter of the country’s industry and trade.
As long as the rebels have a presence there, they can claim a stake in the future of Syria — but without it, their revolt becomes a rural insurgency contained within the country’s border provinces...
Libyan tribal leaders, local councils, civil society organisations, activists and youth groups have affirmed their support for Libya’s only elected body, the House of Representatives (the parliament) and the Libyan National Army, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
In a statement, read out in English, they also declared their opposition to the United-Nations-brokered body, the so-called “Government of National Accord” (GNA), and the Skhirat Agreement of 2015, which set up that body.
The GNA is led by Fayez al-Sarraj, who acts as front-man for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and other Islamist groups, many of which are active supporters of terrorism.
The MB lost the 2014 parliamentary elections – Libya’s second elections since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime – to more liberal and secular groups. This prompted the MB to mount an armed putsch against the newly elected parliament, which was forced to relocate from the capital, Tripoli, to Tobruk in the east.
The Skhirat Agreement appeases the MB and the other Islamists by giving them a decisive voice in the GNA.
In their statement, the Libyan civil society groups also voiced their lack of confidence in the UN special envoy to Libya, the German diplomat Martin Kobler, who understand very little, if anything, about Libya.
Since the agreement was signed, Mr Kobler has been fumbling around trying to drum up support for the GNA. As a mark of his stupidity, Kobler has proposed three armies for Libya – a recipe for permanent civil war.
Russia has condemned countries that have sent special forces to train armed groups in Libya and said the Libyan National Army should not be overlooked in the rebuilding of security.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov called in New York yesterday for a systematic and consistent approach to Libya’s security.
“There are problems in this area because some countries have been conducting air strikes in certain areas of Libya. They have also been sending Special Forces involved in training the armed groups. This approach only exacerbates animosity and disunites the Libyan people”. “Only unified and strengthened security bodies can receive international military assistance within the restrictions imposed by the UN Security Council."
The Government of National Accord will have no standing until a new cabinet has been approved by the House of Representatives .
AMMAN — Jordan King Abdullah has said that “misunderstanding” of Islam and the region among Western allies and communities has impeded progress in the anti-terror war and global cooperation.
Citing a form of misunderstanding with allies, the King, commenting on US presidents George Bush Sr and George Bush Jr ignoring advice from King Hussein and King Abdullah respectively regarding Iraq, he said the two seemed to “understand the Arabs better than we know each other. And as a result you can see the train on the track coming to the wreck”.
On the need for the West to better understand the region, the King said that the ethnic makeup of the region is “pretty glaringly obvious for us that live in the region [but] advisers and think tanks in the West seem to know us better than we supposedly know ourselves”.
He gave the Syrian crisis as an example. When it started, he said, everybody was saying six months.
“I said: ‘Look, you know, if you’re saying six months, I’m saying six years.’ We’re in for the long haul, not only in Syria and Iraq, but for the whole region and for the world, unfortunately.”
In light of such better understanding, coalition forces fighting terrorist groups in Syria should serve as enablers, because “at the end of the day, you can’t have Western troops walking down the streets of Syrian cities and villages. At the end of the day, you need the Syrians to be able to do that”.
Iranian President: Terrorist groups do not adhere to any moral or human principles
Blinded by hate
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani affirmed on Tuesday that Iran will maintain support for Syria in all fields till achieving victory over terrorism.
Armenian Cathedral Esfahan - Iran: The interior is covered with fine paintings and gilded carvings and includes a wainscot of rich tile work.
In 2006 the Saudi government gave the undertaking to stop interfering with the private worship of non-Muslims, formally recognizing the rights of Christians and other to worship in private.
Open Door International, a charity that monitors the persecution of Christians reports: But even when held privately, Christian services are seriously restricted by the strict gender segregation, prohibiting men and women from different families to worship in the same room. Christians who engage in such activities risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing and deportation.
Professor Camille Eid, Professor at the University of Milan: "It is forbidden to have Bibles, religious images and rosaries; if they are detected at the airport they are immediately confiscated. All public manifestation of any faith other than Islam is punishable. There are no churches, synagogues or temples in the kingdom. You have 5,000 religious police divided among 100 districts. The religious police control everything including the bookshops because it is prohibited to sell any card with non-Muslim themes..."
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was one of eight countries that abstained from voting for the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights because they objected to Article 18, which states that everyone has the right to change his religion or belief".
Saudi petition seeks 'full' rights for women
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres
has died at a hospital near Tel Aviv
Peres was admitted to Sheba Medical Centre in Ramat Gan two weeks ago, where he was intubated and sedated. Doctors expressed cautious optimism in the days immediately following his hospitalization.
As foreign minister, Peres was the one to finalize the interim Israeli Palestinian Oslo Peace deal.
While it did not turn into a lasting treaty, in 1994 he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, along with the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Peres has been a staunch advocate of the two-state solution with Palestine, trying to boost the process following Rabin's assassination in 1995. However, his position in the matter weakened following a string of suicide attacks by Palestinians and mounting pressure from Israeli nationalists. (Russia Today, 28-9-2016)
Shimon Peres in Hiroshima, 1997:
You must understand that you have to learn all the time.
If you are too strong, you will lose your eager to negotiate.
Science and technology, can they be neutral?
Are they independent from the cultures?
No, the long range missiles can hit a target on the other side of the globe in a few second. The use of science and technology should be carefully examined. Otherwise, we will do the same thing again as we dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima.
We have had five wars in the last 50 years. We have developed the emotion that we hate one another, enemies. For us, our enemies are killers. It is very difficult.
We need to compromise. It is like a relation between a wife and a husband. We have to face to our enemies and to negotiate with them.
If you are too strong, you will lose your eager to negotiate. This is the point.
We have to pay the price for understanding the enemies. We understand that.
History tells us that. If you kill more, you have to kill more to protect yourself. So, it pays off. It is reasonable to pay the price.
Educate people, build a science and technology based industry, develop an innovative society. These things are becoming more and more important in modern societies.
The continuation is the key thing. To defend your culture, arms are useless, though arms are useful to defend your border.
Universities become more important to educate young people. The world is changing so much.
We need to learn "how to learn." We have to teach our children how to learn to work together, to communicate, etc.
The new age has arrived already. We have to create a better world for our children.
No need for Universities.
At the same time, Weiss continued, one cannot ignore the Oslo Accords and in this regard, Peres made a huge mistake.
“He thought of a new Middle East, but the exact opposite happened and Peres made a bad mistake,” she said. “Peres’s contribution to the breakthrough in Samaria compared to the damages of Oslo and the illusion of a new Middle East is an historic contribution, and I am happy that there is settlement in the midst of the terrible chaos of Oslo.
“Thank God that the settlement enterprise began 40 years ago, and we will only grow from here,” concluded Weiss.
Taub: Supporting settlement is an anti-Zionist stance.
"The grounds for resisting the settlers’ enterprise are not only the right of Palestinians to self-determination but also the right of Jews to self-determination. Zionists and their allies must therefore oppose further settlement, for Israel’s, not just Palestine’s, sake."
"On the premises of secular Zionism self-determination is the over arching principle, and a Jewish democratic state is the goal.
Liberating people? Or enslaving people? That's the question
Mainstream secular Zionism is doubly undermined by the settlers’ creed: morally, and politically.
Gadi Taub, assistant professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 3-10-2010