Saddam's Death, 86 (february 2017)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 85: jan 2017 (The Two Messiah's) and Page 87: febr 2017, part 2
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
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

"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003

A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.

"That is the issue that will continue in this country... It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle.
The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings." Abraham Lincoln (October 15, 1858 Debate at Alton, Illinois)

"Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!" Abraham Lincoln (February 22, 1842 Temperance Address)

"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon

“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”

Saadi Shirazi
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)

Index Page

"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...."
"For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."

About political holism

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

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

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

"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)

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)

Boris Johnson: "There is a need to be realistic"
RT (Russia News) 26-1-2017

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Britain has changed its stance and now believes Syrian President Bashar Assad could potentially be allowed to run for president if there was a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
“It is our view that Bashar al-Assad should go, it’s been our longstanding position. But we are open-minded about how that happens and the timescale on which that happens,” Johnson told the Lords International Relations Committee on Thursday, according to The Guardian.
There is a need to be “realistic about the way the landscape has changed” and to take a fresh look at the situation, Johnson said. “We are getting to the stage where some sort of democratic resolution has got to be introduced,” he added.
“I would hope it would be possible to have a plebiscite or an election which is properly supervised by the UN and in which all the 11 million displaced persons, including the 4 million who are outside Syria now, are fully entitled to vote," he said.
Johnson stressed that cooperation with Russia would most certainly mean cooperation with Iran, Syria’s ally, which is likely to be “a good thing.”
“We think that trying to improve relations with Iran through this deal, and it’s a pretty cautious thing, is on the whole a good thing and we regard that as one of the achievements of the (former US President Barack) Obama administration.”
On the other hand, the foreign minister said that they “do not want to see a further extension of Iranian policy and influence in the region.”

Theresa May: We have to defend our values
UK and US cannot return to 'failed' interventions
BBC News, 26 January 2017

Theresa May (UK Prime Minister) has told US Republicans the UK and America cannot return to "failed" military interventions "to remake the world in our own image". Suggesting a UK foreign policy shift, she said those days were over but added that the US and UK should not "stand idly by when the threat is real".
In her speech, Mrs May said: "It is in our interests - those of Britain and America together - to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.
"This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.
"But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.
Mrs May's US speech comes ahead of talks with President Donald Trump. She will be the first world leader to meet the new president. Theresa May will present Donald Trump, whose mother was born in the Outer Hebrides, with an engraved quaich, a Scottish artefact symbolising friendship.
Opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, said: "Theresa May must stand up for our country's values when she meets Donald Trump...

Pie Jesu - Merciful Jesus, Lamb of God
by: Andrew Johnston
(born 23 September 1994, Dumfries, Scotland)

God’s Lamb, who lifted the world’s sins,
grant them peace, everlasting peace

British Values & The Church of England

The Church of England is the Anglican Christian state church of England: both Catholic and Reformed. Headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (currently Justin Welby) and primarily governed from London with the monarch as the supreme governor, the Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion.

Justin Welby's New Year Message 2017

"The story of Coventry (bombed in 1940) says so much that is true about Britain at its best... About our courage, our standing up to tyranny, how we stand alongside the suffering and defeated. How we stand for human dignity and hope.
It says something vitally important about our generosity. How we’ve embraced the idea of reconciliation, so that our wartime enemies are now friends..."
"Living well together despite our differences, offering hospitality to the stranger and those in exile, with unshakable hope for the future – these are the gifts, the commands and the promises of Jesus Christ."

Trump's Holocaust statement left out Jews because others murdered, too
By Eric Cortellessa, Times of Israel, January 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — The White House on Saturday said President Donald Trump’s statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t mention Jews because they weren’t the only group targeted and murdered by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.
“Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” a spokeswoman for the administration, Hope Hicks, told CNN.
Hicks was referring to a Friday statement by the US president that lamented the lives lost in the Holocaust, without noting the six million who were Jewish.
It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust,” the president said in the statement. “It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.”
Hicks responded to an email inquiry by including a link to a Huffington Post UK story that delineated the other demographics who perished in the systematic Nazi genocide, according to CNN.
The victims, she said, included “priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters.”
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt promptly took to Twitter to exclaim it was “puzzling and troubling” that the 117-word statement did not specifically cite the persecution of the Jewish people that was central to the Nazi genocide.

World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total casualties. Over 60 million people were killed, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion).
Recent historical scholarship has shed new light on the topic of Second World War casualties. Research in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union has caused a revision of estimates of Soviet WW2 fatalities. According to Russian government figures, USSR losses within postwar borders now stand at 26.6 million.
In August 2009 the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) researchers estimated Poland's dead at between 5.6 and 5.8 million.
Historian Rüdiger Overmans of the German Armed Forces Military History Research Office published a study in 2000 that estimated the German military dead and missing at 5.3 million, including 900,000 men conscripted from outside of Germany's 1937 borders, in Austria, and in east-central Europe.
The People's Republic of China puts its war dead at 20 million, while the Japanese government puts its casualties due to the war at 3.1 million.

Zionism? Or Christian Humanism

A myth has been created by contemporary fundamentalist Christians, who are apparently ignorant of their own history, that humanism is a recent creation of the 21st Century anti-theists who are out to destroy Christianity.
Unfortunately they fail to recognize the fact apparent to anyone who has taken a course in world history that humanism has been a part of Christianity since the First Century and a significant factor in its history throughout Western Civilization. Those who fail to learn from history are the fools of our generation who speak without knowledge.

Christian Humanism is the conjunction of two different and typically unrelated conceptual approaches to understanding our world and for some of our contemporaries these terms and the ideas they represent do not fit together comfortably.
Christianity exists in the context of an overarching theological framework that informs and gives meaning to our understanding of our world and man’s place in it.
Humanism celebrates mankind’s intelligence as the key to understanding and explaining our world without the need for god or any other agency or rationale external to man, and at the same time it affirms our necessary connection with and dependence on each other for mutual support, concern and care. (The Christian Humanist Website)

Christian humanism emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, his social teachings and his propensity to synthesize human spirituality and materialism.
It regards humanist principles like universal human dignity and individual freedom and the primacy of human happiness as essential and principal components of, or at least compatible with, the teachings of Jesus.
Christian humanism maintains that humans have dignity and value due to the fact that mankind was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The extent to which human beings are autonomous, rational, and moral agents is itself a reflection of their having been created with the imago dei.
Human worth is assumed in many places in Scripture: in Jesus’ incarnation (John 1:14), His compassion for people (Matthew 9:36), His command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), and His parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37). Paul’s allusions to secular writings (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12) show the value of a classical education in presenting truth.

Christian scholars such as Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and Calvin were advocates of Christian humanism, although they did not call it that. Today, the term Christian humanism is used to describe the viewpoints of writers as varied as Fyodor Dostoevsky, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. (Got Questions Org)

"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)

Putin & Trump signal new Russia-US partnership
RT (Russia News) 29 Jan, 2017

In their first phone conversation that lasted nearly an hour, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the new US President Donald Trump have outlined their intent to cooperate on issues ranging from defeating Islamic State to mending bilateral economic ties.
Both sides expressed their readiness to make active joint efforts to stabilize and develop Russia-US cooperation on a constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial basis,” as well as “build up partner cooperation” on a wide range of international issues, according to a Kremlin statement following their discussion.
The White House said that the “positive” conversation was “a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair.”
Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after today’s call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern,” the White House statement added.
“The Presidents have spoken in favor of establishing a real coordination between the US and Russian actions in order to defeat ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Syria,” the Kremlin statement said.
The two leaders also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as Iran’s nuclear program. “Major aspects of the Ukrainian crisis have been also touched upon,” the Kremlin announced.
The leaders of Russia and the US have noted a need to restore economic ties “to stimulate” further development of the relationship between the nations.

Saudi king agrees in call with Trump to support Syria safe zones
Reuters, 30-1-2017

Saudi Arabia's King Salman, in a telephone call on Sunday with U.S. President Donald Trump, agreed to support safe zones in Syria, a White House statement said.
Trump, during his presidential campaign last year, had called for Gulf states to pay for establishing safe zones to protect Syrian refugees. A statement after the phone call said the two leaders agreed on the importance of strengthening joint efforts to fight the spread of Islamic State militants.
"The president requested, and the King agreed, to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts," the statement said.
A senior Saudi source told Reuters the two leaders spoke for more than an hour by telephone and agreed to step up counter-terrorism and military cooperation and enhance economic cooperation.
But the source had no word on whether the two leaders discussed Trump's order to put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily ban travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries.
The source said Saudi Arabia would enhance its participation in the U.S.-led coalition fighting to oust Islamic State from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

The White House statement said the two leaders also agreed on the need to address "Iran's destabilizing regional activities." Iran denies it meddles in Arab countries.
The two also discussed the Muslim Brotherhood, the senior Saudi source said, adding in a reference to the late al Qaeda leader, "it was mentioned that Osama bin Laden was recruited at an early stage" by the organization.

Flashback 2016: Fighting for Wahhabism, Salafism and Jihadism

syria 2016: 1 idlib - saudi backed wahhabbi cleric 2 aleppo - turkey backed islamist

Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (22 January 1263 – 26 September 1328) was a Islamic scholar, theologian and logician. He lived during the troubled times of the Mongol invasions, much of the time in Damascus.
He was a member of the school founded by Ahmad ibn Hanbal and is considered by his followers, along with Ibn Qudamah, as one of the two most significant proponents of Hanbalism.

The Hanbali school was seen as the most traditional school out of the four legal systems (Hanafi, Maliki and Shafii) because it was "suspicious of the Hellenist disciplines of philosophy and speculative theology."
Ibn Taymiyyah sought the return of Sunni Islam to what he viewed as earlier interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, and he is considered to have had considerable influence in contemporary Wahhabism, Salafism, and Jihadism.
He is renowned for his fatwa issued against the Mongol rulers declaring jihad by Muslims against them compulsory, on the grounds that they did not follow Sharia and as such were not Muslim, their claims to have converted to Islam notwithstanding.
His teachings had a profound influence on Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and other later Wahabi scholars.

Ibn Taymiyyah collaborated with the Mamluks in 1300, when he joined the expedition against the Alawites, in the Kasrawan region of the Lebanese mountains. Ibn Taymiyyah thought of the Alawites as "more heritical yet than Jews and Christians.
He condemned "the cult of saints". His strong opposition to what he believed to be un-Islamic innovation (bid‘ah), caused upset among the prominent Sufis of Egypt...

The militant organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant used a fatwa of Ibn Taymiyyah to justify the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh.
Ibn Taymiyya's fatwa on Alawites as "more infidel than Christians and Jews" has been recited by Muslim Brotherhood affiliated scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the Syrian rebel Islamist leader of Jaysh al-Islam Zahran Alloush.

Russian defense ministry:
Syrians need real help, not empty promises
TASS Russia News Agency, January 30, 2017

Russia’s Center for Reconciliation has delivered over 50 tons of food products, medicine and basic necessities to Syria’s provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Latakia and Hama in the past few days, Russia’s Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said. According to him, nearly 60,000 Syrians have received humanitarian aid.

"The situation has been returning to normal in Aleppo and other towns, people are repairing their homes, schools and hospitals have opened, agricultural activities have been restored. But apart from food and water, the Syrian people need glass, cement, pipes and construction equipment. They need real help and not empty promises," Konashenkov stressed.
"Over the past week, experts from the International Anti-mine Center of the Russian Armed Forces have defused over 1,000 explosive devices demining over 360 hectares of territory and 75 kilometers of roads," Konashenkov added.
The Russian defense ministry spokesman also said more than 12,000 have returned to their homes in eastern Aleppo. "All of them have been receiving necessary aid," he added.
The Russian defense ministry spokesman also said that on Monday, a shipment of humanitarian aid from Kazakhstan that had already arrived to the port of Tartus, would be delivered to Syria’s regions.
Earlier, in his words, Armenia, Belarus and Serbia also sent aid. "However, other countries and international organizations, that used to speculate about the predicaments of the Syrian people and the humanitarian disaster the country has been facing, has not sent any aid yet," Konashenkov added.

Football returns to war-torn Aleppo
as first local derby for five years takes place
By Martyn Herman, Daily Record, 28-1-2017

Battle-scarred Aleppo returned to normality for a few hours as local football clubs Al Ittihad and Horiyah played the first derby in the city for five years.
A large crowd attended the match, which was won 2-1 by six-time Syrian champions Al Ittihad.
The match was played at Riayat al-Shabab stadium and the local area showed the scars of years of war as bomb damage was visible around the ground.
Everyday life, let alone sport, has been almost impossible in the city which has been ripped apart during five years of violence across the country. Last month the army re-took Aleppo's eastern neighbourhoods from rebel groups, regaining control of the whole city.

Horiyah player Firas al-Ahmad said that despite the ongoing problems in the city it was good to be home.
He said: "We are playing on our ground between our audiences in Aleppo. We suffered from the difficulties of travelling which affected us.
"It is our right to play in Aleppo. We play better in Aleppo. We want to make Aleppo's name high."
The Syrian football league has struggled on throughout the conflict but games have been possible only in Damascus and Latakia.

Ten years after Saddam’s death
By Fadi Farhat, Middle East Online, 30-1-2017

It has been ten years since the hanging of Saddam Hussein following months of legal drama and sophistry in a courtroom that, at times, resembled a circus.
Saddam remains a divisive figure both in the West and on the Arab street. Despised by many as a vicious and greedy dictator, abhorred by neighbouring Iran for the near-decade-long war that crippled both countries and feared by the Gulf Arab states as a loose cannon following his 1990 invasion of Kuwait, there was much rejoicing at his demise.
Saddam’s downfall began in 2003 and culminated in his death December 30, 2006.

The tenth anniversary of Saddam’s death should have made front pages in mainstream media outlets across the West.
In Britain and the United States, there was hardly a mention — barely a whisper.

Why? Was this not the tenth anniversary when the Middle East received justice for a vile dictator? Was this not the tenth anniversary of the West bringing parliamentary democracy, good governance and stability to the Arab world? Was this not the tenth anniversary of the new Iraq — one that is a safe place to all its people?
With all that progress delivered — and on a silver platter by the Americans to the Iraqi people — one would have thought that such an event would have been celebrated all over Western media. The silence is almost deafening.

The fact is that the fall of Saddam Hussein did not bring about any of the above but the complete opposite.
Saddam’s downfall was followed by the largest waves of sectarian turmoil, violence and upheaval in Iraqi history as well as a complete destabilisation of the region.
On the wider geopolitical stage, a militarily weakened and divided Iraq has left a gaping power vacuum in the region that has enabled Iran and Saudi Arabia to embark on its own unique version of the cold war with proxy battlefields elsewhere — in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
It was not so glaringly apparent then but Saddam’s Iraq acted as a silent secular arbitrator to the region’s two most powerful theocratic forces. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia could not attend to each other because they had one eye on the novel-writing dictator.
The removal of Saddam from the Middle Eastern chessboard has, rather than bring any real democracy, changed the balance of power to create a plethora of proxy wars and proxy sub-wars involving the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Yemen as well as several non-state actors.

Saddam Hussein, the 'secular arbitrator' &
Khomeini's Islamic Fundamentalism
By Alex Dawoody, Information Clearing House

Concern about the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a gradual warming of relations between Iraq and the United States.
American National Security Advisor Zbignew Brzezinski publicly encouraged Iraq to attack Iran and take back the Shat-al-Arab waterway.
Most American foreign service officers despised the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran for having held diplomats of the US embassy hostages for 444 days. The "Carter Doctrine" was established in 1980, stating that America would intervene militarily in the region to assure its access to oil. In that same year, Saddam's armies invaded Iran, instigating a ruinous war that lasted for eight long years.
The invasion was prompted as much by American urging as it was by Saddam's dislike for Islamic fundamentalism.

Fearing the rise of Soviet influence in Iran, and fearing an Iranian takeover of the region, the Reagan administration began actively arming and supporting Saddam. By 1982, Iraq was removed from the list of 'terrorist sponsoring nations' (Iraq was supporting Palestinian resistance groups).
On April 18, 1988, the United States conducted Operation Praying Mantis. In response to Iran's mining of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy engaged the Iranian Navy in the Gulf, sunk two of Iran's biggest surface ships and crippled a third. On July 3, 1988 U.S. forces once again engaged some of the remnants of the Iranian Navy in the Strait of Hormuz. In Tehran it was viewed as a sign that the United States was now actively allied with Iraq...
In August 1988, Ayatollah Khomeini, who had resisted all previous pleas to end the war, was forced to concede that Iran could not fight both Iraq and the United States any longer. Tehran accepted a cease-fire with Iraq that brought the war to an end.

And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah's command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; indeed Allah loves those who act equitably. (al-Hujurat, 49/9)

Saddam's Peace Offer &
Khomeini's Stubborn Support For Hard Line Islamists

Khomeini: I Want Regime Change

Hard line officials: ''They have to pay for it.''
On June 20, 1982, Iraqi Foreign Minister Saadoun Hammadi (a left-wing Shi'ite) announced that Saddam Hussein wanted to sue for peace and proposed an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal from Iranian territory within two weeks.
Khomeini responded by saying the war would not end until a new government was installed in Iraq and reparations paid. He proclaimed that Iran would invade Iraq and would not stop until the Ba'ath regime was replaced by an Islamic republic.
Iran supported a government in exile for Iraq, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by exiled Iraqi cleric Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, which was dedicated to overthrowing the Ba'ath party. They recruited POW's, dissidents, exiles, and Shias to join the Badr Brigade, the military wing of the organisation.

Stubborn People Always Hate Reconciliation

The decision to invade Iraq was taken after much debate within the Iranian government.
One faction, comprising Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, President Ali Khamenei, and Army Chief of Staff General Ali Sayad Shirazi, wanted to accept the ceasefire, as most of Iranian soil had been recaptured. In particular, General Shirazi was opposed to the invasion of Iraq on logistical grounds, and stated he would consider resigning if "unqualified people continued to meddle with the conduct of the war."
Of the opposing view was a hardline faction led by the clerics on the Supreme Defence Council, whose leader was the politically powerful speaker of the Majlis, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. They hoped that their attacks would ignite a revolt against Saddam's rule by the Shia and Kurdish population of Iraq, possibly resulting in his downfall. (Wikipedia info)

The person with stubbornness is driven by a fundamental resistance to being forced to do anything or experience anything against his will. The basic stance is, “No, I won’t, and you can’t make me.”
The personality with stubbornness is over-sensitive to the possibility of having sudden or unwanted change imposed upon itself, and sees the threat of it everywhere.
Anything new or different or involving change is perceived (subconsciously at least) as a direct threat—even if the change in question is positive and in the person’s best interests. (Personality & Spirituality)

Syria warns uncooridanted 'safe zones' would pose risks to civilians
Press TV, Mon Jan 30, 2017

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Muallem has warned that plans to create safe zone in the Arab country, proposed by the new US administration, would pose serious risks to civilians’ lives if enforced without coordination with Damascus. He said that any attempt to impose safe zones without coordination with the Syrian government will be an “unsafe act.”
The top Syrian diplomat, who was meeting with the head of the United Nations refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, in Damascus, said that setting up safe zones in Syria without any authorization from the Damascus government would certainly violate the country’s sovereignty.
The comments came a day after the White House said President Donald Trump had agreed in a phone conversation with Saudi King Salman to support the idea of creating safe zones in Syria. Trump said last week that he would “absolutely do safe zones in Syria” for refugees fleeing crisis in the country.

Syrian FM Calls on Refugees to Return Home
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 30-1-2017

Walid Muallem on Monday called on the country's refugees to return home, official media reported, without directly commenting on a U.S. ban targeting them. He "renewed the invitation of the government to Syrian refugees living in neighboring countries to return to their country."
The minister "stressed the country was ready to receive them and grant them a dignified life," the agency reported, as Muallem met U.N. refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order to suspend Syrian refugee arrivals indefinitely and impose tough controls on travelers from seven countries, including Syria, for 90 days.
The minister spoke after President Bashar Assad's forces on Sunday retook control of a key region that supplies water to the capital. The army's recapture of Wadi Barada from rebels comes a month after Assad's forces pushed the armed opposition out of east Aleppo, taking back control of the whole of the northern city.
Syria's rebels still hold to the northwestern province of Idlib, the Western Ghouta area outside the capital and areas in the south of the country.

The war has forced 4.8 million people to flee Syria, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Turkey has taken in more than 2.7 million Syrians, the UNHCR says, and is now the main host country. It is followed by Lebanon with more than one million Syrian refugees, according to the U.N. The UNHCR says Jordan has taken in 655,000 Syrians, but Amman says the number is much higher at 1.4 million. At least another 228,000 Syrians have taken refuge in Iraq and 115,000 in Egypt, the refugee agency says.

The end of Arab Nationalism?
Building 'New Republic' only way to Keep Syria Together
Sputnik News, 31-1-2017

Russia appears to be in favor of resolving the Syrian conflict through decentralization, which will see Damascus transfer some of its powers to local authorities, Dr. Emre Ersen told Radio Sputnik, calling this plan "the only way" to prevent the war-torn country from falling apart.
"Currently Russia is trying to present itself as a mediator between different groups fighting in Syria. In order to do that it should appeal to non-Arab ethnic groups in [the country], such as the Kurds or the Turkmen," he explained.
Dr. Emre Ersen, associate professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations of Marmara University, was commenting on a draft Syrian constitution, prepared in part by Russian experts.
The document was presented to representatives of the armed opposition during the peace talks which were held in Astana, Kazakhstan last week. The draft suggests among other things removing the word "Arab" from the official name of Syria.
"I think that [President Bashar al-Assad] is … aware of what he might lose as a result of this constitution. But I think that he is OK with it because we need to keep in mind that the only way to keep Syria together … is to try to create a new republic instead of the Arab republic which was dominated by the Arabs," the analyst said.
"I don't think that Assad is currently preoccupied with Arab nationalism anymore because he needs to survive. And in order to survive the best option I think is to achieve the decentralization in the country," he added.
Dr. Emre Ersen further said that the Astana peace talks appeared to have been "successful" mainly because they brought representatives of Damascus and the opposition to the same table.

arab nationalism - the end of a dream

Flashback 2011: Arab League undermines the last fortress of pan-Arabism in the region

Syrian government disagrees with Russia on Kurdish autonomy
Ara News (Kurdish Region Syria), 1-2-2017

The Syrian government completely rejected any form of Kurdish autonomy and has reportedly proposed amendments to change the Russian draft proposal for a new Syrian constitution.
The draft proposed by Russia suggested a decentralized Syria in article 40, which mentioned regional assemblies, called ‘people’s societies’. The draft constitution also mentioned equality of the Kurdish and Arabic languages. “The Kurdish cultural self-ruling systems and its organizations use both the Arabic and Kurdish languages equally,” the draft reads.
Kurdish officials of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), however, suggested that only full federalism would be a solution, and that the Russian draft proposal didn’t go far enough.
During the Syrian peace talks in Astana last week, Bashar Jaafari rejected Kurdish federalism. According to the Syrian state media, Jaafari said that the issue of federalism would be decided “by all Syrians and not decided unilaterally by a single component,” adding that all ideas “even one as crazy as federalism, must be put to a democratic vote.”

“The Russians are trying to find an arrangement between Assad and the PYD. Assad, however, will not want to have a parallel governing structure in control of areas of Syria with somewhat important resources,” Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told ARA News. “And with a direct line to outside actors that doesn’t pass through him. It would mean that he and the PYD are effectively equals.”
Dr Kamal Sido, a consultant for ‘the Society for Threatened Peoples’ (STP), told ARA News the regime in Damascus, the Islamists and Turkey have the same position on the question of autonomy or federalism: “They are against autonomy for Kurds...” “However, I believe the biggest enemies of Kurdish autonomy are Turkey and the Syrian Islamist rebels – not the regime in Damascus. They are similar to the Iraqi Sunnis who opposed federalism for the Kurdistan [Region] after 2003,” Sido concluded.

Kurds in Syria refers to people born in or residing in Syria who are of Kurdish origin. The Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, comprising between 10% and 15% of the country's population according to the Minority Rights Group International, CIA and pro-government sources.
In the aftermath of the Syrian uprisings in 2011, the Kurds set up three federal entities in the northern corners of the country which together make up a political enclave called Rojava. The three cantons of Cizre, Kobane and Afrin are predominantly Kurdish in population but also have Arab and Assyrian communities.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish party in Syria, declared in mid-March that the region was a federal entity within the borders of Syria. Rebel groups, Damascus, Washington and Turkey rejected the declaration. The US demanded the Kurdish YPG militia withdraw from positions west of the Euphrates, while Assad said the move was an “unlawful action” which "jeopardises the country’s territorial integrity".
Syrian military officials announced in December that Kurdish-controlled areas should return under government control as the fight against rebel and Islamic State group forces enters new phases. (Middle East Eye, 10-1-2017)

Donald Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch, to be a justice on the Supreme Court.
One basic criterion: "Will he stand up for the rule of law?"
By Neal Katyaljan New York Times Opinion, 31-1-2017

One basic criterion should be paramount: Is the nominee someone who will stand up for the rule of law and say no to a president or Congress that strays beyond the Constitution and laws?
I have no doubt that if confirmed, Judge Gorsuch (born 29-8-1967) would help to restore confidence in the rule of law.
His years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence — a record that should give the American people confidence that he will not compromise principle to favor the president who appointed him.
Judge Gorsuch’s record suggests that he would follow in the tradition of Justice Elena Kagan, who voted against President Obama when she felt a part of the Affordable Care Act went too far. In particular, he has written opinions vigorously defending the paramount duty of the courts to say what the law is, without deferring to the executive branch’s interpretations of federal statutes, including our immigration laws.

Last week, The Denver Post encouraged the president to nominate Judge Gorsuch in part because “a justice who does his best to interpret the Constitution or statute and apply the law of the land without prejudice could go far to restore faith in the highest court of the land.”
Gorsuch has also won praise among liberals and others in the Colorado legal community for his fair-mindedness and defense of the underdog
"He is a very, very smart man. His leanings are very conservative, but he's qualified to be on the Supreme Court ," said Denver plaintiff's attorney David Lane. "I don't know that Judge Gorsuch has a political agenda and he is sincere and honest and believes what he writes."

For astrologers: Neil Gorsuch is born in Denver, Colorado, 29-8-1967:
Sun in Virgo, Moon in Gemini: Two signs that symbolize Donald Trump's 'Alter-Ego'
See more at page 85 - Trump & Kennedy

Donald Trump & his Alter-Ego John F. Kennedy
Most people don't realize themselves that in astrology a person has an
EGO (Sun-Moon-houses 1 & 10) and also an ALTER-EGO or SOULMATE (houses 2, 7 and 11) .

Kennedy's EGO is intellectual (Gemini-Virgo), balanced (Libra),
Father|Motherly and visionair (Saturn, Moon, Neptune house 10): type 'Messiah ben-Joseph'

Trump's EGO is truth-seeking intellectual (Gemini-Sagitarius), optimistisc-warm (Leo),
Agressive, Defensive and Revengeful (Mars Pluto house 1) and looking for earthly, materialistic solutions in life
(Taurus - Eartly Mother- house 10): type 'Messiah ben-David'

Alter-Ego Kennedy: Leo, Scorpio, Aries.
Alter-Ego Trump: Virgo, Gemini, Pisces, Aquarius (Intellectualism & Empathy).

Help Yourself By Making The Other Stronger

The importance of human relations is a central issue in 'Ich und Du, usually translated as I and Thou, a book by MARTIN BUBER (1878-1965), published in 1923, and first translated from German to English in 1937.
Buber's main proposition is that we may address existence in two ways:
1.The attitude of the "I" towards an "It", towards an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience.
2.The attitude of the "I" towards "Thou", in a relationship in which the other is not separated by discrete bounds.

One of the major themes of the book is that human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships. In Buber's view, all of our relationships bring us ultimately into relationship with God, who is the Eternal Thou.
Buber explains that humans are defined by two word pairs: I-It and I-Thou.
The "It" of I-It refers to the world of experience and sensation. By contrast, the word pair I-Thou describes the world of relations. This is the "I" that does not objectify any "It" but rather acknowledges a living relationship...
(Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

White House puts Iran ‘on notice,’ won’t rule out military force
By Louis Nelson and Matthew Nussbaum, Politico, 1-2-2017

Community Singing

take a trip down memory lane
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s administration is “officially putting Iran on notice,” and senior administration officials later refused to rule out military action against the Islamic Republic.
Senior administration officials Wednesday afternoon said Iran’s “highly provocative” behavior, including a recent missile test, “is a destabilizing factor in the region” and promised a response.
The administration is considering “a large number of options” to address Iran, but refused to say whether military action is among them. “We’re going to take appropriate action,” an administration official said. “We are considering a whole range of options. We are in a deliberative process.”
The statements came after the Iranian government conducted a missile test on Monday and Houthi rebels, an Iran-backed group in Yemen, attacked a Saudi naval vessel earlier this week.
The Trump Administration condemns actions that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk,” Flynn said.
“President Trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between Iran and the Obama Administration, as well as the United Nations, as being weak and ineffective. Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”

Later Wednesday, Donald Trump echoed Flynn's more aggressive stance toward Iran in a tweet: "Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!" he said on Twitter.
On the campaign trail, Trump regularly railed against the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany.
The deal, implemented in 2016, lifted certain sanctions levied against Iran in exchange for the verifiable dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program.

See also: Juan Cole: Here we go again

"we are the world"

Paul Mendes-Flohr: Martin Buber & The Meaning of Dialogue
Palestine-Israel Journal 1994

"The average individual recognizes the moral limits of egoism; the well-adjusted individual modulates the pursuit of self-interest by a consideration of others and their needs.
In contrast to the acceptable behavior of individuals, nations often adopt the ethics of what Buber called sacro egoismo, or the pursuit of one's nation's interests as a sacred task, and thus see an egoism on behalf of one's own nation as normally self-evident and indisputably justified.
Hence, whereas individuals would often feel a twinge of conscience, a certain uneasiness, about unmitigated self-absorption and egoism, nations often permit themselves, in the name of national interests, an unabashed egoism and preoccupation with their own history.
But, Buber warned, a nation's self-possessed enclosure in its own tale invariably leads to a political autism, albeit often veiled in the alleged sobriety of Realpolitik, a view of the world that allows "each side (of a conflict) to assume a monopoly of sunlight and plunge its adversary into night, (demanding) that you decide between night and day."

Hezbollah will foil all plots hatched by Zionism
Taghrib News Agency, 1-2-2017

Speaking at a ceremony held by Hezbollah in the southern Lebanese town of Jieh, Hujjat al-Islam Naim Qasim, the Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah, said, "the priority of the Islamic Resistance is to fight against the Zionist regime and the Takfiri terrorists who are the branches and tools of the Zionist regime."
The Lebanese Shi’ah cleric, according to Rasa news, underlined, "every movement, government or group that seeks the implementation of the Zionist project and fights against the Islamic Resistance, we will fight them as part of the war against the Zionist regime."
“Some groups wonder why Hezbollah, which is a Lebanese group, is engaged in fighting outside of Lebanon and we tell them, have we gone to war with the Zionists or have they come to Lebanon and occupied our land?’” he said.
He pointed out that Hezbollah intended to prevent reoccupation of the country and said, “If we allowed the Takfiris to overthrow the government in Syria, many Lebanese towns and villages would now be occupied by the Takfiris.”
Hujjat al-Islam Qasim stressed, “Should we expect the Takfiris to establish an emirate in Lebanon and then not go to war?
We went to Syria to defend Lebanon, the Islamic Resistance, the Islamic ummah and the future of our children against the Zionists because they’re fighting us while dressed in the clothes of Takfiris.”

“Hezbollah’s presence in Syria closes the gate against the entrance of Takfiris into Lebanon and for this reason, many former opponents of our presence in Syria have now praised our presence," the senior Hezbollah official stated,

Iran’s missile tests not in contradiction with UNSC Resolution 2231
Tehran, Feb 2, 2017, IRNA

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, says Iran’s missile tests are not in contradiction with the UN Security Council resolution 2231.
Qasemi made the remark on Thursday in reaction to the anti-Iran claims of the US President’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. He said Iran’s legitimate defense policy is consistent with the international laws and regulations and is not negotiable under any condition.
He called the US official’s claims as “baseless, repeated and provocative,” saying that none of the missiles is designed to carry nuclear warheads.
The Foreign Ministry Spokesman deplored that instead of appreciating Iranian nation for ceaseless campaign against terrorism, the US government repeats baseless claims and adopts unwise policies, thus helping terrorist groups in practice.
Qasemi referred to recent decision of the US government to impose travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim countries and said such an unwise and discriminatory decision, which has been criticized by governments and nations in the four corners of the world, including the US, once again reveals inattention of the US statesmen to the international laws and regulations.

Trump Warns Israel - Insists No Official Position Taken
by Jason Ditz,, February 02, 2017

make america great again?
The far-right Israeli government has been operating under the impression that President Trump would unconditionally endorse any measures they take in the occupied West Bank, reflected in multiple announcements of several thousand new settlement units in the area since the inauguration.
The White House, however, is warning Israel against carrying out any more such “unilateral” announcements in the near-term, saying they fear the settlements may not be helpful to the peace process, and that they want Israel to “hold off” pending talks later this month between Trump and Netanyahu.
The Trump Administration didn’t totally abandon the idea they might be pro-settlement, however, insisting they they have not yet taking any official position, but that they continue to be hopeful of peace negotiations, and are leery of any moves that might complicate that.
Yet the “not helpful” terminology mirrors the Obama Administration’s own statements faulting settlement expansion, and the fact that the Trump Administration spoke out at all is seen as something of a surprise, given President Trump’s previous efforts to position himself as pro-Israel to the exclusion of any criticism, and so angrily reacted to a UN Security Council vote, before his inauguration, which faulted Israel’s expansion of settlements as a threat to peace.
Analysts see the move as a reaction to Israel making such large, and frequent, announcements of settlement expansion so soon, and that the big concern for the administration is that Israel has been “surprising” them with such announcements instead of giving them some lead time to plan their own narrative.

"Being a warrior is the role of my generation. It was and remains the role of my generation. And it is also the role of the coming generations.

It is everyone's role." (Haaretz, april 2001)

Will you forever eat the sword?
Uri Avnery's Column, 7-11-2015

One of the most famous sentences in the Bible is a question addressed by Avner to Yoav. Avner was King Saul's army chief, Yoav was the commander under David. After a long civil war, which was won by David, Avner (after whom I named myself) addressed Yoav, asking: "Shall the sword devour for ever? Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?" (2 Samuel, 2.26) Yoav did not listen, and in the end killed Avner....
This week Netanyahu answered the ancient question. He told the Israeli people: "We will forever eat the sword!"
To put it in modern language: Yes, we shall live by the sword forever. There will never be peace.
It is not that Netanyahu loves war. He only knows that in order to achieve peace, we have to give back the occupied territories. Neither he nor the people surrounding him are ready to do so. That is the whole problem in a nutshell.

Flashback: The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002

The Council of Arab States at the Summit Level at its 14th Ordinary Session,
1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:

I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.
II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

All of the 57 states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen included!) expressed their support for the Arab Peace Initiative.

See also: Societies Between War and Peace
Overcoming the Logic of Conflict in Tomorrow’s World. Kremlin meeting 22-10-2015

Israel: Jews have the right to build in Judea and Samaria
Arutz Sheva Staff, 03/02/2017

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely responded to the White House statement that new construction in Judea and Samaria 'may not help promote' the goal of peace.
"The current Israeli government has chosen to exercise the right of the Jewish people to build in all parts of the country, and we are committed to respect the [wishes of] the people of Israel, who elected us to continue to build." Hotovely said.
"The White House knows that settlements are not an obstacle to peace, and indeed, never constituted an obstacle to peace. Therefore, the obvious conclusion is that construction is not the problem either."
"Over the past 25 years all attempts to reach a solution have been blocked by the Palestinians," she added.
"Therefore, it is important to reexamine the fundamental questions about the nature of conflict and to introduce new solutions to the situation. Among other [possible solutions] which should be considered, is a regional solution so that we would no longer be dependent on the Palestinians, who are unable to reach a solution with us."

Sara Netanyahu: The Torah is our story
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, BIN, February 1, 2017

At the inauguration of a Torah study conference on Tuesday, Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, described her family’s powerful connection to Torah study, which, in fact, embodies a Torah commandment incumbent upon rulers of Israel.
“The Tanach is my favorite book,” Sara said in her opening address to the conference. “It’s in my family, I feel connected to it, it’s a part of me and it’s a part of our nation.”
The Caucus to Encourage the Study of Tanach [Torah, Hebrew Bible or 'Old Testament'] was founded by ​Likud ​MK Yehuda​​h Glick, who chose Sara, whose well-known family is steeped in Torah, as the guest of honor.
The First Lady of Israel is the ​daughter of ​Torah ​educator Shmuel Ben-Artzi. She is also the sister of three Torah competition champions. Her younger son, Avner, won the prestigious National Torah Quiz six years ago. Two years ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu took a break from his duties to compete in the International Torah Quiz in Jerusalem.
Sara related that her husband sits and learns Torah with Avner on Shabbat, a practice she recommended to those gathered.
“When I see my children learning with their father, I fondly remember my father and know his legacy lives on – and is being passed from generation to generation,” Sara said.
“I suggest to you to adopt this practice of studying the Old Testament together, parents and children. “I think this is a national mission for all our children to study the Old Testament,” Sara said. “The Torah is our story. The story of us all.”

Rabbi Glick explained his reasons for establishing the caucus: “The Torah is the cornerstone of our connection to this wonderful phenomenon of the return to Zion,” Rabbi Glick said. “I tell every tourist that comes to Israel: today, you can hold the Old Testament in your hands and see the words of the Old Testament that are coming true before our

Israeli Orthodox Judaism denies the importance of Christian, Gnostic, Zoroastrian and Islamic scriptures.
The Torah is 'The Absolute Truth'. Jews are 'the chosen people': the people of the Law-based 'Old Covenant'.
The New Testament is just a byproduct.

Read also: The Curse of the Law

Donald Trump & the Episcopal Church

The New Testament consists of books written by the people of the (Spritual-based) New Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to set forth the life and teachings of Jesus and to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom for all people.
Episcopalians are followers of Jesus Christ, and both their worship and their mission are in Christ’s name: "In Jesus, we find that the nature of God is love, and through baptism, we share in his victory over sin and death." (Episcopal Church)

Rev Luis Leon greets Donald Trump and his wife Melania as they arrive for a church service at St John's Episcopal Church
THE NEW TESTAMENT is the second major part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible (the Torah).
The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. The New Testament reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality.
The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.

In almost all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books. The original texts were written in the first and perhaps the second centuries of the Christian Era, in Greek, which was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Conquests of Alexander the Great (335–323 BC) until the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD.
All the works that eventually became incorporated into the New Testament are believed to have been written no later than around 150.
Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John gradually were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture.
Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic (General) Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were originally absent. Other works earlier held to be Scripture, such as 1 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Diatessaron, were excluded from the New Testament.

See also: Old Covenant versus New Covenant

Body-Science and Soul-Science
Ghazali and the search for knowledge in the modern world
İbrahim Kalın, Daily Sabah Turkey, 4-2-2017

Al-Ghazali, who lived in the intellectual and spiritual world of the Quran and the Sunnah and enriched it with his own enduring contributions, was a devoted soul and body for attaining true knowledge, wisdom and virtue
At a time when it is easy to confuse knowledge with information [body-language - materialism|mortality - 'God = I have, Possession, Power' - Earth-Fire] and forget the meaning of wisdom [soul-language - spirituality|eternality - 'God = I am, Life, Compassion' - Air-Water], it is important that we get the basic concepts right as we move forward.

Body & Soul

It's not about the knowledge of Priests, Clergyman, Pharisees, Imams, etc., who try to make divine entities out of themselves, their books, their temples and their prophets.

Quran 9:31: "How are they deluded... They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him."
Mark 23:13: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
Al-Ghazali rose to prominence in a cultural and educational environment where knowledge was regarded as a supreme virtue and the possessors of knowledge were held in high esteem.
Clearly, this comes from the importance that the Quran attaches to knowledge. The Quran uses the word knowledge ('ilm) and its variants in more than 750 places.
Knowledge may refer to revelation, the stories of the prophets, human concepts or the natural world. In almost every instance, knowledge refers to something larger and more essential beyond information.
True knowledge leads to faith and virtue... In this sense, knowledge is not "mental gymnastics." It is not mere literacy. It is not a tool to manipulate the world of nature. Rather, true knowledge is an act of engaging in the reality of things and a process of existential transformation.
It changes and matures the knower. It is deeply personal in the sense that one cannot remain indifferent to the transformative power of knowledge.
Veritable knowledge not only gives us wisdom but also leads us to a life of virtue and spiritual contentment. Al-Ghazali is one of the pinnacles of this synthesis of knowledge, wisdom and virtue.

As true knowledge shows us the reality of things as they are, it also invites us to act in accordance with that knowledge.
This is like knowing everything about the sea and the wind. Such knowledge is essential but the sailor will have to act in accord with it otherwise he can neither sail not survive in the face of a storm.
Knowing by itself is not enough; one has to have wisdom as well, which means distinguishing between right and wrong and act morally.
Al-Ghazali thanks God for granting human beings reason and intellect ('aql) by which they distinguish truth from falsehood. He praises reason/intellect (known as 'aql) as the key instrument for true knowledge and wisdom so much so that one can mistake him for a brute rationalist.
But despite his praising of reason as the most important gift God has given to humans besides creating them, he is no rationalist. Attaining true knowledge is a serious business and requires intellectual and spiritual commitment...

Islam & The Four Elements

The number four contains a universal symbolism reflecting the order of the universe – the four cardinal directions and the four elements. Islam invested this ancient symbolism with a rigorous spiritual vision. The Ka’ba, literally ‘cube’, sums up this symbolism perfectly.
Most important element is Water: In the Qur’an the ideas of mercy and water, especially rain, are inseparable, and with them the idea of the revelation which means literally a “sending down”; both the revelation and the rain are “sent down” by the All Merciful and rain is described throughout the Qur’an as a “mercy” and as “life-giving". (
Symbolism of the Islamic Garden)

Interiors of the Dubai Metro stations feature themes adopted from the four elements of nature: water, air, fire and earth. There are12 earth-themed stations, 13 water-themed stations, 11 air-themed stations and 11 fire-themed stations.

Report: Elliott Abrams Will Be Deputy Secretary of State
By Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, February 4, 2017

flashback 2001
There are reports that Elliott Abrams will be Tillerson’s deputy at State.
Abrams’ name had been mentioned before, but it seemed hard to believe that Trump would want one of his most vehement critics in his administration.
Abrams is a Bush administration veteran and one of the most committed Iraq war dead-enders. He has the added distinction of having been involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, and withheld information from Congress when they were investigating it.
Putting him in an important foreign policy position gives us strong evidence that Trump and Tillerson both have poor judgment, and it tells us that we should expect that the administration’s foreign policy will become even more aggressive and meddlesome than it already has been.

United States Navy admiral William Crowe Jr. said of Abrams in 1989
“This snake’s hard to kill"

Strengthening Israel should be central core of U.S. Middle East policy
Elliott Abrams: Neoconservative ideologue, Likudnik & Bush adviser
Right Web, 7-4-2016

Elliott Abrams is a well-known neoconservative ideologue. A key adviser on Mideast policy at the National Security Council (NSC) during the George W. Bush presidency, Abrams was a leading proponent of pursuing an aggressive “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks. In early 2016, Abrams was included on the list of advisers to Sen. Ted Cruz‘s presidential campaign.
Throughout his career, Abrams has moved back and forth between government and a web of right-wing think tanks and policy institutes...
In 1992 he helped form the Committee for U.S. Interests in the Middle East, which was regarded by many as an advocacy campaign to ensure that U.S. policy was aligned with the Likud Party in Israel. Other members included Perle, Feith, Gaffney, and John Lehman. In 1996 Abrams became president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Mr. Abrams joined the (George W.) Bush Administration in June, 2001 as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the NSC for Democracy, Human Rights, and International Organizations. From December 2002 to February 2005, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs

In his writings, Abrams has consistently voiced strong support for Likud positions on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and against “land for peace” negotiations.
Abrams has also established strong Likudnik positions in articles for Commentary and in various books. Abrams authored the chapter on the Middle East in the 2000 blueprint for U.S. foreign policy by the Project for the New American Century.
Edited by PNAC founders Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, 'Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy' is a playbook on how to deal with U.S. adversaries.
In his chapter, Abrams laid out the “peace through strength” credo that became the operating principle of the George W. Bush administration. “Our military strength and willingness to use it will remain a key factor in our ability to promote peace,” wrote Abrams.
Strengthening Israel, our major ally in the region, should be the central core of U.S. Middle East policy, and we should not permit the establishment of a Palestinian state that does not explicitly uphold U.S. policy in the region.”
Presaging the Mideast policy of the Bush administration, Abrams wrote: U.S. interests “do not lie in strengthening Palestinians at the expense of Israelis....”
Like other right-wing Zionists, Abrams refers to the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis not for what it is —a conflict over occupied Palestinian land— but rather as an “Arab-Israel” conflict, implying that U.S. support of Israel necessitates a foreign policy that confronts all the Arab countries.

Netanyahu: United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel
must form a united front to combat Iran's agression
By Times of Israel staff, February 6, 2017

Make America Great Again
US President Donald Trump charged on Sunday that Iran “lost respect” for the US in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Tehran and the US-led P5+1 world powers, and that it now feels “emboldened” by the agreement to act confrontationally on the world stage.
In a Fox News interview with Bill O’Reilly hours before the Super Bowl, Trump said the nuclear agreement that saw Tehran curb its atomic program in exchange for the lifting of punishing sanctions was “the worst deal I’ve ever seen negotiated; it was a deal that never should have been negotiated.”
“We gave them $1.7 billion in cash which is unheard of… and we have nothing to show for it,” said Trump in reference to the revelation last September that the Obama administration had authorized the transferusing non-US currency, to settle a decades-old arbitration claim between the US and Iran.
During his campaign, Trump promised both to “dismantle the disastrous deal” and to “force the Iranians back to the bargaining table to make a much better deal, but in a recent call to the Saudi king promised to “vigorously enforce” the agreement.
In response to a question on Sunday on whether he was considering a military option in response to a number of recent missile tests by Iran, Trump seemed more vague than in a comment made days ago in which he said “nothing is off the table.” During the Fox interview, Trump said: “We’ll see what happens… I never talk about military moves.”

On Friday, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran in response to a recent missile test. The sanctions target more than two dozen people and companies from the Persian Gulf to China. The sanctions came days after the US said it was putiing Iran “on notice” for test-firing a medium range missile... The Islamic Republic has confirmed it tested a ballistic missile but denied it was a breach of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers or UN resolutions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called to reimpose sanctions immediately on Iran and has indicated he will discuss the issue with Trump at their meeting in Washington next week.
Netanyahu on Sunday said the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel must form a united front to combat Iran’s “extraordinary aggression.”

they didn't show respect...: iraq|2003 - lebanon|2006 - libya|2011 - gaza|2014

Why did Trump and Flynn feel the need to do this now?
Patrick Buchanan, 3-2-2017

There is an awful lot already on the foreign policy plate of the new president after only two weeks, as pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are firing artillery again, and North Korea’s nuclear missile threat, which, unlike Iran’s, is real, has yet to be addressed.
High among the reasons that many supported Trump was his understanding that George W. Bush blundered horribly in launching an unprovoked and unnecessary war on Iraq.
Along with the 15-year war in Afghanistan and our wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen, our 21st-century U.S. Mideast wars have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of dead. And they have produced a harvest of hatred of America that was exploited by al-Qaida and ISIS to recruit jihadists to murder and massacre Westerners.
Osama’s bin Laden’s greatest achievement was not to bring down the twin towers and kill 3,000 Americans, but to goad America into plunging headlong into the Middle East, a reckless and ruinous adventure that ended her post-Cold War global primacy.
Unlike the other candidates, Trump seemed to recognize this. It was thought he would disengage us from these wars...

Kremlin Disagrees With Trump Describing Iran as 'Number One Terrorist State'
Sputnik News, 6-2-2017

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia has partner-like relations with Iran and hopes for development of trade and economic ties, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
"We do not agree with this approach," Peskov said when asked whether the Kremlin agreed with the statement of US President Donald Trump, who called Iran the "number one terrorist state."
Late on Sunday, Trump said Iran was the "number one terrorist state" and the United States would work with Tehran from the position of sanctions.
His administration announced sanctions Friday against 25 individuals and entities based in Iran, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and China for allegedly supporting Tehran's ballistic missile program after its latest medium-range ballistic missile test on January 29.

IS 'completely besieged' in Syria’s Al-Bab
Middle East Online, 6-2-2017

ALEPPO - The Islamic State group was "completely besieged" in Al-Bab after forces loyal to Syria's regime cut off a road into the jihadists' last major stronghold in Aleppo province, a monitor said Monday.
"Al-Bab is now completely besieged by the regime from the south, and the Turkish forces and rebels from the east, north and west," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It came after "the regime's forces and allied militia seized the only and last main road used by the jihadists between Al-Bab and Raqa."
Regime forces were backed by fighters from Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and by Russian artillery.
The town of Al-Bab, 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of the border with Turkey, is seen as a prize by nearly all sides in the complex war.

The Syrian Army has refocused on IS since fully recapturing Aleppo city in December, in the biggest blow to rebels who have been fighting to topple his regime since 2011.
IS is among several jihadist movements that have shot to prominence during the conflict, which has forced millions from their homes.
Assad's forces were also locked in fighting with IS in the central province of Homs at the weekend, the Observatory said. It reported that the troops had captured the Hayyan oilfield west of the celebrated desert city of Palmyra. They also fought back against IS around Al-Seen military airport northeast of Damascus.

Trump: We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism
Middle East online, 7-2-2017

President Donald Trump vowed Monday that America and its allies would defeat the "forces of death" and keep radical jihadists from gaining a foothold on US soil..
"Today, we deliver a message in one very unified voice to these forces of death and destruction -- America and its allies will defeat you. We will defeat them," he told about 300 military personnel at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
"We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism. And we will not allow it to take root in our country," Trump added. "Freedom, security and justice will prevail."
He accused Islamic State fighters of leading a "campaign of genocide, committing atrocities across the world," and promised an unspecified "historic financial investment" in the US military. "Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino, and all across Europe," added the president.
He claimed that the "very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report" on certain attacks, without offering any corroborating evidence to back up his allegation. "They have their reasons," he said, without explaining further.
Trump made fighting "radical Islamic terrorism" a central plank of his election campaign, and the issue is emerging as the organizing principle of his foreign and domestic policies.

Religious Forces Of Death

Religious extremism is driven by an interpretation of religion that believes that RELIGIOUS LAW, is an all-encompassing religious-political system. Since it is believed to be proscribed by God religious law must be enforced in the public sphere by a religious or theocratic state (a state where spiritual life of the people is regulated and controlled by clerics).
Religious extremists consider a religious state to be the only truly legitimate form of governance and reject secular democracy and secular human rights values.
The ultimate objective of religious extremists is the merger of “church and state” under religious law. Those who favor such an approach are called fundamentalists or orthodox believers.
Orthodoxy means: obey and serve religious leaders. Obedience is considered "the first of virtues". Imams, rabbi's, popes, patriarchs, etc, don't represent God, but THE LAW. Direct spiritual or mystic contact with God is forbidden. Priests (the clerical elite) are the mediators and the representatives of God on earth. They don't meet God (spiritually), they create and recreate God by writing and studying the Law.

Important theocratic states in the Middle East are Iran, Israel (both semi-theocratic) and Saudi-Arabia.
Most extreme is Saudi-Arabia, where the state religion, Wahhabism, is controlled by one privileged family: the descendants of the founder of Wahhabism: Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.
Wahhabism ('obey or you will be killed') has been accused of being "a source of global terrorism", inspiring the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and for causing disunity in Muslim communities by labelling Muslims who disagreed with the Wahhabi definition of monotheism as apostates (takfir) and justifying their killing. It has also been criticized for the destruction of historic mazaars, mausoleums, and other Muslim and non-Muslim buildings and artifacts.

Islamic extremism derives from a radical interpretation of Islam. The ultimate objective of Islamic extremists is the merger of “mosque and state” under sharia law.
Islamic extremists believe they are obligated to install this form of governance in Muslim-majority territories, countries and, eventually, the entire world. In the minds of Islamic extremists, they are promoting justice and freedom by instituting sharia.
Not all Islamic extremists carry out violent acts. Islamic extremists can advance their goals using non-violent tactics such as activism, developing interfaith coalitions with unsuspecting non-Muslims, fundraising, building political influence and the overall spreading of the ideology. These extremists follow a doctrine called gradualism.
Islamic terrorists, on the other hand, use violence and terrorism to instill fear and to gain political power in order to establish their goals.

Read also: What's the meaning of: 'Let the dead bury the dead' (Luke 9:60)

The US government & Islamic terror
By Ryan Mauro, Clarion Project, January 26, 2014

US-Israel fundamentalism:
Don't Fight For Right
Moslims who defend Palestinian
resistance movements are 'terrorists'

The U.S. State Department designated four governments as State Sponsors of Terrorism: Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba. The Iranian government is considered the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism in the world.
The U.S. government has also documented the fact that Iran supports terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
Iran also supports radical militias in Iraq and Yemen and directly participates in acts of terrorism globally. The Syrian government supports Hezbollah and is a chief ally of Iran.
The Sudanese government works closely with Iran and is a well-known supporter of Hamas. There are also allegations that Sudan supports Hezbollah and elements of Al Qaeda.
The Cuban government supports non-Muslim terrorist groups in Latin America and harbors at least one Muslim terrorist wanted by the U.S. government. The non-Muslim groups supported by Cuba, specifically the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), are known to have ties to Hezbollah.

There are other governments that have not been designated as “State Sponsors of Terrorism” by the USA but are accused of supporting Islamic terrorist groups or Islamic extremism. They include:
Pakistan, who is a known sponsor of Islamic terrorists and their religious schools, called madrasses. Pakistan is a continual promoter of Islamic extremism.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, who are lavish funders of a virulent form of Islam called “Wahhabism.” This funding has carried on for decades, even while these countries battle some of its adherents like Al-Qaeda.
Turkey and Qatar, who are major backers of the Muslim Brotherhood movement;
Eritrea, who is a documented sponsor of Islamic extremists including Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, Al-Shabaab; and • Venezuela, who has been accused of allowing Iranian and Hezbollah operatives to support terrorism from its soil.

Rand Paul urges Trump not to open State Department to neocons
By Mallory Shelbourne, The Hill, 7-2-2017

Sen. Rand Paul is urging President Donald Trump not to choose prominent neoconservative Elliott Abrams to serve in the number two spot at the State Department.
In an op-ed published in the libertarian website Rare, Paul argues that Abrams would not promote the same foreign policy agenda that Trump described throughout his campaign and since taking office.
“Elliott Abrams is a neoconservative too long in the tooth to change his spots, and the president should have no reason to trust that he would carry out a Trump agenda rather than a neocon agenda,” Paul wrote.
A report emerged on Monday that Trump, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, would meet with Abrams on Tuesday in the president’s final step in the decision-making process. Tillerson reportedly prefers Abrams to serve as his deputy.
"Congress has good reason not to trust him — he was convicted of lying to Congress in his previous job," Paul, a vocal critic of the neoconservative foreign policy crowd in Washington, said. The senator added that Abrams’s "neocon agenda trumps his fidelity to the rule of law.”
Donald Trump broke with neoconservatives during his presidential campaign, arguing for an end to nation-building abroad and suggesting he was open to warmer relations with Russia.

Read also: McCain seems to think "the whole world is a battlefield."
US lawmakers oppose Obama plan to arm Syria militants
Clinton Foundation to Drop Saudi Donations
"Every time we’ve toppled a secular strongman, we’ve gotten chaos and the rise of radical Islam


Masters of jazz music to come together on CRR stage
Daily Sabah, Turkey 7-2-2017

The 4th Cemil Reşit Rey Jazz February is preparing to host world-renowned jazz musicians in Istanbul between Feb. 13 and Feb. 21.
CRR Jazz February will bring together jazz lovers with masters of jazz music from all around the world.
Under the scope of the jazz event, many formidable artists will take the stage at Cemal Reşit Rey Concert (CRR) Hall...
During the festival, Italian trumpet player Enrico Rava and his quartet will share the stage with the modern jazz band "Trio Elf," which received the Bremen Jazz Prize in 2016. Saxophonist David Sanborn, who has released 24 albums and won seven Grammy awards throughout his nearly 35-year music career, will perform on Sunday, Feb. 19.
The "Hijazz Project" will be on stage on Feb. 20, with the idea of combining the traditional patterns of eastern music with the rhythm of western music. During this concert, ghazal poet Mehmet Kemiksiz will share the stage with Artun Sürmeli on piano, Eylem Pelit on bass, Volkan Öktem on drums, Ercüment Ateş on guitar, Şenova Ülker on trumpet, Birol Yayla on bowed tambour and guitar, Şenol Filiz on ney, Levent Altındağ on saxophone, and Aycan Teztel on trombone.

Arab League accuses Israel of stealing Palestinian land
Ahram online|Reuters, Tuesday 7 Feb 2017

The Arab League accused Israel on Tuesday of "stealing the land" of Palestinians after the Israeli parliament passed a law legalising dozens of Jewish outposts in the occupied West Bank.
"The law in question is only a cover for stealing the land and appropriating the property of Palestinians," said the head of the Cairo-based League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Under the new law, adopted late Monday, settlers could remain on the land if they built there without prior knowledge of Palestinian ownership or if homes were constructed at the state's instruction. Palestinian owners would receive financial compensation. The law is a continuation of "Israeli policies aimed at eliminating any possibility of a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state," Aboul Gheit said.

Late Monday, Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the main Palestinian political umbrella body, said in a statement that "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition government are deliberately breaking the law and destroying the very foundations of the two-state solution and the chances for peace and stability."
The Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Most countries consider an obstacle to peace as they reduce and fragment the territory Palestinians want for a viable state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Flashback 2002: Dehumanization of the “other - The New Age of Ideology
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, 12-2-2002

"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 Ariel Sharon (Likud), 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."

Israel's settlement law: Consolidating apartheid
By Ramzy Baroud. Al-Jazeera, 9-2-2017

"Israel has just opened the 'floodgates', and crossed a 'very, very thick red line'." These were the words of Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations' Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, in response to the passing of a bill at the Israeli Knesset on February 7 that retroactively legalises thousands of illegal settler homes, built on stolen Palestinian land.
Mladenov's job title has grown so irrelevant in recent years that it merely delineates a reference to a bygone era: a "peace process" that has ensured the further destruction of whatever remained of the Palestinian homeland.
We have reached the point where we can openly declare that the so-called peace process was an illusion from the start, for Israel had no intentions of ever conceding the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

Just weeks before Trump made his way to the Oval Office, the international community strongly condemned Israel's illegal settlements on Palestinian land occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 stated that these settlements have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of international law. Fourteen UNSC members voted in approval, while the US abstained, a revolutionary act by the US' brazenly pro-Israel standards.
The US, when still in the final days of the Barack Obama administration, followed that act by even more stunning language, as Secretary of State John Kerry described the Israeli government as the "most right-wing in history".
Capitalising on the US-Israel rift, Donald Trump railed against Obama and Kerry for treating pompous Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with "total disdain and disrespect". Trump asked Israel to "stay strong"...

By incorporating the illegal outposts (the work of religious zealots) into the strategically located, government-sanctioned larger illegal settlement blocs, Israeli politics and religion converged like never before.
It is Israel's obstinacy that is now leaving Palestinians (and Israelis) with one option, and only one option: equal citizenship in one single state or a horrific apartheid. No other "solution" suffices.
In fact, the Regulation Bill is further proof that the Israeli government has already made its decision: consolidating apartheid in Palestine.
If Trump and May find the logic of Netanyahu's apartheid acceptable, the rest of the world shouldn't. In the words of former President Jimmy Carter, "Israel will never find peace until it ... permit(s) the Palestinians to exercise their basic human and political rights."

Is a just and righteous world an antisemitic world?
Don't expect change - "People are too brainwashed"
To Have or To Be, by Erich Fromm

Flashback 2014: 'They do not understand what human rights are'
By Yaakov Levi, Israel national News, 7-8-2014

Professor Ze'ev Sternhell, long known for his sharp criticism – bordering on incitement, many on the right say – said that he was frightened by the gang” of Economics Minister Naftali Bennett and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (both of Jewish Home).
“They are the most dangerous people,” he said. “[Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman is a little less frightening, because he does not have the religious fervor the other two have.”
Bennett and Ariel, he said, “along with the right wing of the Likud are truly dangerous people because they do not understand what democracy is. They do not understand what human rights are.
“If Prime Minister Netanyahu really wants to get into the history books, he must disband this coalition and the Likud and build a new centrist government based on support from the left.

Flashback 2005 - Sharon leaves the Likud
The Likud cannot lead Israel to its national aims
The Guardian, Tuesday 22 November 2005

Ariel Sharon caused the biggest upheaval in Israeli politics in nearly three decades by resigning as leader of the ruling Likud party yesterday, saying that Likud is unfit to run the country. The prime minister announced the launch of a new party, National Responsibility.
Mr Sharon said that in leaving the party he had helped found he was putting the good of the country ahead of his personal political interests:
"After great hesitation I decided to leave the Likud. The Likud in its current format cannot lead Israel to its national aims... Remaining in the Likud means a waste of time in political fighting," he said.
"The task in front of us is to create a base for a peace agreement in which will we will create the permanent borders of the state while demanding the cessation of terror. " Mr Sharon said that National Responsibility would be committed to the US-led "road map" to peace.
Uzi Landau, a contender for the Likud leadership, said he believed that Mr Sharon intended to surrender West Bank settlements, and the party would fight to stop him.

Saudi Arabia frees rights activist: Monitor
Ahram online|AFP, Thursday 9 Feb 2017

A Saudi rights activist who tweeted a depiction of Christ's birth on Christmas Day has been freed on bail after one month in prison, a watchdog said on Thursday. A second activist detained around the same time is still in custody, the Gulf Center for Human Rights said. Their cases are part of what monitors describe as intensified repression in the kingdom.
Ahmed al-Mshikhs was released on February 1 from the police prison in Qatif district, which is dominated by Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority, said the centre. No charges were laid against Mshikhs but, based on what has happened to other activists, "he could face trial any time in the future", the rights group said.
Mshikhs is co-founder of the Al-Adalah Centre for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. He had been detained since January 5.
The activist, whose Twitter account shows him against a backdrop of Nelson Mandela, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and Mahatma Gandhi, tweeted on December 25 a Nativity scene showing the birth of Christ.
The practice of religions other than Islam is banned in Saudi Arabia, an absolute Islamic monarchy.
The Gulf Center welcomed the release of Mshikhs but said another activist, Essam Koshak, should also be freed.. Both Koshak and Mshikhs were targeted because of their human rights work and their exercise of the right to freedom of expression, the Gulf Center said.

Mahatma Ghandi: "There is no religion higher than Truth and Righteousness.
If we commit sins with the name of God on our lips, can we hope to win the grace of God?
Suppose one man admits the existence of God, but lives a life of falsehood and immorality, while another knows not the name of God but lives a life of truth and virtue, can there be any doubt as to which should be regarded truly religious as well as moral?"

Moscow mediates talks between Assad & Syrian Kurds
RT News, 9 Feb, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has confirmed that Moscow has been mediating talks between Damascus and the Syrian Kurds to help maintain Syria’s sovereignty and statehood, in an interview with Russia’s Izvestia daily.
Russia “makes efforts to establish a common understanding between the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds for the sake of a united Syria,” the minister told Izvestia.
Lavrov went on to say that four rounds of negotiations, brokered by Russia and including direct contact between the Damascus delegation and “representatives of the political and public structures of the Syrian Kurds,” had already taken place between June and December in 2016. In addition, the gatherings also involved indirect talks between the two sides. The Russian foreign minister also confirmed that the Syrian government had held talks with the leaders of the Syrian Kurds’ armed militia units, the YPG.
“We believe that such intra-Syrian dialog is useful,” Lavrov said, stressing that there is “significant potential for reaching agreements” between Damascus and the Kurds, as the sides have found many areas of common interest and their negotiations are developing positively.
Lavrov emphasized that “the Kurdish issue” is one of the “key” factors in maintaining Syrian statehood and contributing to the stabilization of the situation in the entire Middle East. He also drew attention to the fact that Russia is continuing its efforts to find compromises between various ethnic and religious groups in Syria, as it is interested in restoring peace and stability in the warn-torn country and defeating international terrorist organizations entrenched in some areas there.
The minister’s statements come as Russia also seeks to launch a peace process between the Syrian government and the armed opposition groups together with Turkey and Iran.

Kurdish towns reconcile with Syrian government in Aleppo
By Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News, 09/02/2017

At least 6 towns in northern Aleppo have agreed to reconcile with the Syrian government after Russian advisors mediated between the parties this week. According to reports from northern Aleppo, the Kurdish towns of Tal Rifa’at and Mennagh agreed to reconcile with the government after more than 4 years of being under rebel control.
In addition to the aforementioned Kurdish-held towns, a number of formerly rebel-held towns in northern Aleppo have agreed to reconcile with the government.
A military source added that these formerly rebel-held towns in northern Aleppo include Mayer, Tal Jibbin, Ma’arasteh Khan, and Hardatinin. All of the parties involved in this reconciliation signed statements agreeing to the terms set forth by the Russian military on Thursday.

Moscow, Cairo exchange information on settling Syrian crisis
TASS, Russia News Agency, 9-2-2017

Moscow and Cairo have been exchanging information about settling the Syrian crisis, Russian Ambassador to Egypt Sergei Kirpichenko said in an interview with TASS.
“Egypt has been actively participating in the efforts aimed at finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis, it has particularly been tackling this issue’s military aspects. Moscow, in turn, welcomes Egypt’s activities, exchanging information with Cairo,” the Russian diplomat said. According to him, information exchange began before the Astana meeting on settling the Syrian crisis and continues ahead of the Geneva meeting.
Cairo’s activities have been multifaceted, involving not only contacts with the so-called ‘Cairo platform’ of the Syrian opposition but also cooperation with other Arab countries aimed at approving the ways to ensure the ceasefire in Syria and facilitate the search for a political solution,” the Russian diplomat stressed.

Putin, Erdogan agree to boost military coordination
TASS, February 09, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have held a telephone conversation agreeing to boost military coordination during operations against the Islamic state terror group (IS) in Syria, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
"The presidents exchanged views on the key aspects of the Syrian crisis focusing on cooperation in the fight against international terrorism," the statement reads. "They agreed to boost military coordination during operations against members of the Islamic State and other extremist organizations active in Syria."
"The sides discussed the implementation of the results of the international meeting on Syria held in Astana with the Russian, Turkish and Iranian mediation. They confirmed their readiness to actively assist in further promoting the Astana and the Geneva processes on the Syrian settlement," the Kremlin press office reported.

ISIS capital Raqqa to be isolated in weeks: US official
ARA News, February 10, 2017

A US-led coalition spokesperson said that soon the isolation phase of the Raqqa operation will be finished. This while a top US general recently told AP that both the Mosul and Raqqa campaigns will be concluded within six months.
On 4 February, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the launch of the third phase of Euphrates Wrath Operation in Raqqa, a campaign aimed at isolating the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in its de facto capital.
We continue working on the isolation phase to approach the city. This is a key part of the campaign. We’re working that with the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian Arab Coalition,” Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition, told reporters on Wednesday.
“Raqqa is a city that the enemy uses for external operations, so what we would expect is that within the next few weeks, the city will be nearly completely isolated and then there will be a decision point to move in,” he added.
“We’re not gonna give the exact timing of the effort to seize the city, but we do believe that excellent progress is being made and we’ll continue to pressure the enemy on multiple fronts,” he said.
Moreover, the coalition spokesperson said that ISIS is under pressure on multiple fronts both in Syria and Iraq.
One of the key points here is that as Raqqa is being isolated, the enemy’s also under pressure in al-Bab. They’re also under pressure from regime and Russian forces in Dayr az Zawr and other areas around Syria. They’re completely surrounded in Mosul. So what we see is the enemy being overwhelmed anywhere that they are. It’s too many problems for them to solve at any given time,” he said.

Raqqa’s Arab tribes support SDF in fight against ISIS
ARA News, February 9, 2017

Arab tribal groups in Syria’s northeastern Raqqa Governorate have shown support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the anti-ISIS Euphrates Wrath Operation. The SDF forces say that the support of Arab tribes has encouraged them to continue their military operations against ISIS in its de facto capital, Raqqa.
More than 2,500 Arabs from Raqqa have joined the Syrian Democratic Forces on an individual basis. Officials say that the number of new recruits is in increase. Also, six Arab armed groups have been fighting alongside the Kurdish-led SDF within the Euphrates Wrath Operation for Raqqa.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has announced the launch of the third phase of Euphrates Wrath Operation in Raqqa, a campaign aimed at isolating the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in its de facto capital. Cihan Shekh Ehmed, the SDF’s official Spokesperson for the Euphrates Wrath Operation, said in a press conference on Saturday that the new phase will be focused on securing the eastern countryside of Raqqa.
“The third phase is aimed at liberating the eastern countryside of Raqqa Governorate from ISIS, and save our people there from ISIS terrorism,” Cihan said. “The brutality of this terrorist group increases as we close in on its de facto capital.”
The SDF announced that it has captured over 2500 km2 in western Raqqa Governorate... During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in northern Raqqa. “Thus, since the beginning of the battle for Raqqa, 3200 square kilometers have been cleared, including 236 villages.”

Trump Nixes Elliott Abrams for State Dept. Job
by Justin Raimondo,, February 10, 2017

Despite a media campaign trying to offload neoconservative Elliott Abrams onto the Trump administration, and considerable pressure from within the cabinet to appoint him Deputy Secretary of State, President Trump has decided against including the controversial interventionist and Iraq war supporter in his administration.
Abrams was highly critical of Trump during the presidential campaign. Like virtually all of his fellow neoconservatives, Abrams disdained Trump’s unwillingness to kowtow to our alleged "allies" and sneered at him for his supposed "ignorance."

Poll: 53.4% of Israeli Jews oppose annexation of Westbank
David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva,10/02/2017

According to a survey conducted by Tel Aviv University in conjunction with the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center, 37.1% of Israeli Jews favor annexing 'Judea and Samaria' [occupied Westbank], compared to 53.4% who say they oppose annexation. Among Israeli Arabs, 15.1% said they supported annexing Judea and Samaria.
Were Israel to annex those areas, few Israeli Jews believe full citizenship should be extended to the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria.
Only 24.5% said residents of the Palestinian Authority ought to be given citizenship in the case of annexation, while 29.8% said they should be given residency status – like most Arabs in eastern Jerusalem – which permits freedom of travel but does not extend the right to vote. In addition, 31.5% of Israeli Jews said PA residents should be given no new status in the case of annexation.
Israeli Jews were roughly equally divided as to whether the government should lift the partial construction freeze on Judea and Samaria now that Donald Trump has taken office.
Almost half (45.3%) said Israel should significantly expand construction across Judea and Samaria following Trump’s inauguration, while 50.0% said Israel should not.

Permanent residency differs substantially from citizenship. The primary right granted to permanent residents is to live and work in Israel without the necessity of special permits. Permanent residents are also entitled to social benefits provided by the National Insurance Institute and to health insurance. Permanent residents have the right to vote in local elections, but not in elections to Knesset [Parliament].

Louay Hussein: "War 'over' as states cut aid to rebels"
We are going back towards a political struggle
By Ellen Francis, Reuters, 10-2-2017

Syria Elections 2012
A prominent Syrian dissident said on Friday he believed the country's war was effectively over, as foreign governments have cut support to rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Louay Hussein said Russian-backed diplomacy had "launched a new path" towards ending the conflict, which is nearing its sixth anniversary having killed hundreds of thousands of people and shattered Syria into a patchwork of territories controlled by different armed groups.
"The armed conflict for the state is over," said Hussein, 57, a longtime pillar of Syria's internal Damascus-based opposition, seen by critics as aligned with the government. He stayed in Damascus when the revolt against Assad erupted in 2011, but finally fled in 2015...
"There are no longer foreign states saying they support certain groups to topple the regime by force. We are going back towards a political struggle," he said.
The diplomatic landscape has seen major changes in recent months, including an apparent shift in Turkish priorities towards fighting Islamic State and Kurdish militia instead of backing rebels against Assad. Turkey is cooperating with Russia, Assad's most powerful ally, co-sponsoring a ceasefire and helping Moscow revive peace talks.
Turkey has been a major sponsor of rebel groups fighting in northern Syria under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) banner. These groups suffered their biggest defeat of the war in December when they were driven from Aleppo by the government with decisive help from the Russian air force and Iranian-backed militias. Some FSA groups are now fighting alongside the Turkish army in a campaign against Islamic State in northern Syria.
Rebel groups have also received support from Gulf Arab states and the United States. While U.S. President Donald Trump has yet to spell out his policy on Syria, he has previously indicated he could cut support to rebels.

A civilized society: Syria elections 2014, 2016

Jordan Steps Up Fight Against Islamic State
Imad Alrawashdeh, Voice of America, 10-2-2017

As the Trump administration formulates its strategy on combating the Islamic State group, key U.S. ally Jordan appears to be stepping up its own fight against IS, according to media reports and analysts.
In what analysts say may signal a more aggressive plan against IS, Jordanian drones conducted several strikes against IS-affiliated targets in southern Syria during the past week. The Jordanian news agency Petra said the attacks destroyed ammunition warehouses, barracks and a facility that manufactured booby-trap weapons.
It was the first time since 2015 that Jordan — a partner in the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic extremist group — conducted air attacks on IS inside Syria.
Jordanian officials are said to have become increasingly concerned by terrorist activities of the IS-affiliated Khalid bin Walid Army in southern Syria. (ideology: Salafi Jihadism)
Operating near the Yarmouk Basin on the Israeli-Syrian border, the group is an umbrella organization of Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, the Islamic Muthanna Movement, and the Army of Jihad — terrorist cells spun off from al-Qaida that attack both Syrian forces and Syrian rebels.
In an interview with BBC Arabic in December, Mohamad Fraihat, the Jordanian army chief, said the Walid Army is well-equipped and has tanks as well as anti-aircraft weapons. Analysts say its ranks number around 1,000 fighters.
Last week's drone strikes may be a message to the new administration in Washington that Jordan is serious about fighting IS, and has the capability to do it.

US blocks appointment of former Palestinian PM as UN envoy to Libya
Ahram online|AFP, Saturday 11 Feb 2017

The United States on Friday blocked the appointment of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad to be the new UN envoy to Libya.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement that she did not "support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations," where the state of Palestine does not have full membership.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had informed the Security Council this week of his intention to name Fayyad to lead the UN support mission in Libya and help broker talks on a faltering political deal.
Haley said the United States was "disappointed" to see the letter from Guterres, his first appointment of an envoy to a major conflict area. "For too long, the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel," said the US ambassador. "Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies."

Fayyad, 64, was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013, and also served as finance minister twice. He had been tapped to replace Martin Kobler of Germany, who has been the Libya envoy since November 2015.
Guterres's spokesman declined to comment on the US rejection of the UN chief's nominee.
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon (Likud) applauded the US decision, describing it as "the beginning of new era where the US stands firmly behind Israel against any and all attempts to harm the Jewish state.

Hanan Ashrawi: "A blanket license for the exclusion of Palestinians everywhere"
Ma'an News (Palestine) Feb. 11, 2017

Diseases are bad, and when they are sacred they are worse of course. When a disease looks as though it is sacred, people think it is the ultimate in health. This is the sacred disease. Because they think it is sacred, they don't search for a cure any more...
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) slammed the United States for objecting to a proposal by the United Nations to appoint former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to head a UN mission...
Palestine is a non-member observer state at the UN and its independence has been recognized by 137 of the 193 UN member nations.
The United Nations Security Council released a statement on their website on Saturday defending the proposal to appoint Fayyad, saying it was “solely based on Mr. Fayyad’s recognized personal qualities and his competence for that position.”
“United Nations staff serve strictly in their personal capacity. They do not represent any government or country,” the statement explained.

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi denounced the US attempt to block Fayyad’s appointment, calling it “unconscionable” and “a case of blatant discrimination on the basis of national identity.”
It defies logic that the appointment of the most qualified candidate is blocked because it is perceived as detrimental to Israel. It constitutes a blanket license for the exclusion of Palestinians everywhere," Ashrawi said in the written statement.
She went on to express hope that “saner voices will prevail and that the US will take back this irrational and discriminatory decision immediately and not deprive the UN of such a highly qualified individual. Rather, they should block petty acts of bigotry and vindictiveness and the further victimization of the Palestinian people for the mere fact of their existence.”

Iraqi president hails Iran’s support
By Rudaw (Kurdish Media Network), 12-2-2017

BAGHDAD— Iraqi President Fuad Masum has hailed neighboring Iran for its support to Iraqi troops in the fight against ISIS, saying that the presence of Iranian military advisers was part of foreign military backing for Iraqi troops.
“We have been in need of these (Iranian) supports and their (Iran’s) capabilities and expertise, which have had an influential role in our victories in the war against Daesh.” Masum told Tasnim news in an exclusive interview.
He was quoted as saying: “The presence of General Suleimani is also in line with plans for the presence of foreign military advisors in Iraq. The US and other European countries have also military advisors in Iraq, so one cannot say that Iranian military advisors are not allowed in Iraq. This is a common issue in our view, and Iran has the same rights as the other countries.”
Masum goes on to say that: “The Iranian nation is a friend and brother nation. We have a lot in common with our brothers in Iran. Cultural commonalities and hundreds of kilometers of common border necessitate taking more important steps to strengthen Baghdad-Tehran relations,” he concluded.
According to the interview, Masum stressed that Iraq’s “independence and territorial integrity is of paramount importance and must be observed by everybody under any conditions.”
On Baghdad’s relations with Tehran the Iraqi Kurdish president says that the two countries “have gone beyond ordinary political relations, and we have taken advantage of these ties to achieve our purposes..."
We see no obstacle to Iraq becoming a major trade market for Iran, and as I said before, it is important for us to make use of Iran’s economic capabilities and experience...”

Lavrov: Iran should not be excluded from anti-terrorist coalition
Tass, Russian News Agency, 12/02/2017

It is unreasonable to exclude Iran from the anti-terrorist coalition, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with NTV on Sunday.
“If for the U.S. President Donald Trump the key priority on the international arena is fighting terrorism, then it is necessary to acknowledge that, say, in Syria against IS are fighting first of all the Syrian Armed Forces with support from the Russian Aerospace Force, and also the units, including units of Hezbollah, which rely on the Iranian support,” the foreign minister said.
"Unreasonable exclusion of Iran from the anti-terrorist coalition is not pragmatic.."

Flashback 2012: "Why are they establishing
Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"

TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons. Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined.
Firouzabadi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Iran’s National Defense University, said U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and occupied Afghanistan, “why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” ...
It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” (Read more: Page 82)

Syrian opposition picks delegation to Geneva talks
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 13-2-2017

Syria’s opposition on Sunday announced its 21-member delegation, including 10 rebel representatives, for a new round of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva scheduled for Feb. 20.
The delegation will be headed by Nasr Al-Hariri, a member of the National Coalition, replacing Assad Al-Zoabi, who led the opposition at several previous rounds of talks in Geneva last year.
The delegation’s chief negotiator was named as Mohamed Sabra, a lawyer who was part of the opposition’s technical team during negotiations in Geneva in 2014. He replaces Mohamad Alloush, a fighter from the powerful Jaish Al-Islam faction. No reason was given for the decision to replace either Al-Zoabi or Alloush.
The delegation includes representatives from several opposition groups, including Faylaq Al-Sham, a militant faction active around Damascus, and Liwa Sultan Murad, a battalion close to Turkey.
The umbrella High Negotiations Committee (HNC) opposition group said the delegation to the talks would for the first time include representatives from two additional opposition groupings, known informally as the Moscow group and the Cairo group. But representatives from both groups denied they were included in the delegation.
The Moscow grouping includes former minister Qadri Jamil, and is close to the Russian leadership, while the Cairo grouping includes former Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi.

Dr. Nasr al-Hariri expressed solidarity with the Iranian Resistance on June 29, 2016.
In an interview with Simay-e Azadi (Iran opposition satellite television, INTV) he said: “The regime of Velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical rule) has paid billions of dollars to the Bashar al-Assad regime over six years... In my opinion, today the coordination between the Syrian Resistance and the Iranian Resistance is necessary in order to put an end to these criminal acts of the Velayat-e faqih regime.
My message to the gathering of the Iranian Resistance, which is scheduled to be held on July 9th in Paris, is that this opportunity is a golden opportunity for a national uprising against the regime.
Now that the regime has entered into a war of attrition in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and a number of other countries, it is a good time to activate coordinated efforts among the resistances of all of these countries to cooperate with the Iranian Resistance. (National Council of Resistance of Iran)

Al Zamil: Turkey, Saudi Arabia will reconstruct Syria
Seyma Eraz, Daily Sabah (Turkey) 13-2-2017

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be holding official meetings today in Saudi Arabia on his second stop of a four-day visit to the Gulf States. The agenda of the president will involve both political and economic issues...
In a special interview with Daily Sabah, Abdulrahman Abdullah Al Zamil, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers and Head of Zamil Group, explained his expectations of the visit with Erdoğan.
The leader of the Saudi business community believes that the war in Syria will not last more than a year, and Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be the re-constructors of Syria.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the pillars of the region and must act together, according to Zamil. "If peace comes to the region, trade will increase. Do not forget that a lot of construction will take place," he said.
"The only helpers for Syria will be Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Believe me, it is not for business reasons, but for humanitarian reasons," Zamil added. We are both considering the interests of the people...
Zamil also explained the reconstruction process. "This time, the construction will not be given to the governments. That is what I think. It will be directed to specific projects financed by Saudi Arabia or Turkey." Saudi and Turkish companies should only work with partners they trust.

Israeli minister: Make Palestinians pay for refusing to make peace
By Gil Hoffman , Jerusalem Post, February 13, 2017

The Palestinians should be made to pay a price for failing to reach an agreement with Israel, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said at Monday's Jerusalem Conference.
Erdan said that in the past, the Palestinians had a mantra that time was on their side and waiting to reach an agreement with Israel would pay off for them. He said that now with a pro-Israel president in Donald Trump, time worked against the Palestinians.
"The Trump presidency is a historic opportunity to say the land of Israel is ours," Erdan said.
"With a friend who realizes settlements aren't an impediment to peace, the Palestinians can be made to realize that time no longer works in their favor and that they will pay a price for their refusal. There should be building everywhere in Judea and Samaria, not just in Jerusalem and settlement blocs, because that would set a de facto border."
Erdan said now was the time for Israel to apply sovereignty to Ariel and Greater Jerusalem, including Gush Etzion.
He said the policies of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama's policies were "180 degrees the opposite of what we believe in."
Earlier, in an interview with Army Radio, Erdan said that all the members of the security cabinet oppose a Palestinian state, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told the security cabinet ministers when they met Sunday that he would not renounce his support for a two-state solution.

Rivlin's One State Solution
Yoni Kempinski, Arutz Sheva, 13/02/2017

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Monday he supports applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria...
At the 14th Besheva Jerusalem Conference, Rivlin said, "Political Zionism believes that the return of the Jewish People to Israel is dependent on the nation's ability to settle the land."
"The political Zionism we have today understands that without settling valley and mountain, Negev and Galilee, we will not be able to create a national infrastructure upon which to base our existence as an independent nation.
Slowly, step by step, we have built a sovereignty which is not just theoretical but also practical. "In Jerusalem's eastern neighborhoods, sovereignty has already been legally applied..."
"The people [in the Westbank] were sent by the government to build their homes and settle the land, and the government built them roads and connected them to the electric grid. The government must deal with the consequences of their decisions...
All of the settlement blocs are Israel..." "I want to emphasize that I believe all of Zion is Israel, from the ocean to the river.

Arabs in Judea & Samaria (Area C) will be citizens. The Arabs living in area's B & A will be 'Israeli residents' with limited rights. Full citizenship is a possibility, but only as an (imaginary) event in the far future...

Reuven “Ruby” Rivlin (Likud) usually describes himself in two ways: A man of Jerusalem and a student of Likud ideological forebear Ze’ev Jabotinsky.
Rivlin opposes the formation of a Palestinian state. What he wants is: combining Israel and occupied territories into a single state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean...
Generally, his one-state solution would look like this: gradually and unilaterally, Israel would annex the West Bank (different time frames were given for this process – from five to 25 years); beginning with Area C - and (in the far future - after 5 to 25 years...) moving to B and A.
Barring security clearances (and according to some – loyalty oaths), all Palestinians in the annexed territories will end up having blue Israeli identity cards with full rights. The army will return to dealing mostly with national defense, and the police will take over civilian policing duties in the annexed territory.
Constitutional measures that will define Israel as a Jewish State would take place in advance. Palestinian refugees will not be allowed back.
Gaza will not be annexed, and will turn to a fully independent region, separated from the State of Israel. The Palestinians in areas B and A will be 'residents with limited rights', until their territory will be fully annexed by 'the Jewish State'.