Tillerson said that "Trump asked both sides in no uncertain terms to agree to compromises in order to promote peace."
Tillerson also noted that the talks with Israelis and Palestinian Authority had been "positive and helpful."
The president emphasized the subject a number of times to both sides and he left optimistic and with the feeling that his message had gotten across," added Tillerson who is accompanying Trump on his first presidential visit abroad.
'We will not divide the land with our enemies'
Fort Antonia: Symbol of Roman Power,
Josephus then said that Fort Antonia itself was built around a notable "Rock" that was viewed as the centerpiece feature of the interior of the Fort (which was also known as the Praetorium).|
This well-recognized "Rock" in the Praetorium around which Fort Antonia was built was called the lithostrotos in the Gospel of John (19:13) and Christ stood on it when judged by Pilate.
Josephus said that Antonias size was much larger than the Temple (he described Fort Antonia as the size of a city and it contained a full legion of Roman troops with many open spaces for military exercises and training). Fort Antonia was so large that Josephus said it obscured the whole of the Temple square from the north. (Saddam's Death, page 47)
The Praetorium: A holy place for Christians & Muslims
O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion
The citadel - Fort Antonia - functioned as a Roman armycamp for hundred of years. After the christianizing of Emperor Constantine the Romans constructed two Roman Catholic churches on the mount.
Jesus before Pilate - (John 18-28; Matthew 27:11-14; Luke 23:1-6)
Ernest L. Martin, 12 december 2000: "Fort Antonia was also called the Roman Praetorium and it was the place where Pilate sentenced Jesus to crucifixion. That central rock outcropping was a significant spot in the fortress, as Josephus stated, and even the apostle John singled it out for comment regarding the judgment of Jesus.
Joh 19:13: "So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called 'The Stone Pavement', and in Aramaic 'Gabbatha'..."
Read more: The Temple Revolution
What does history tell us about Pontius Pilate?
Opportunism is the policy and practice of taking advantage of circumstances – with little regard for principles, or with what the consequences are for others. Opportunist actions are expedient actions guided primarily by self-interested motives.
Israel and Gulf countries have secretly stepped up intelligence sharing, particularly focused on Iranian arms shipments to proxy militias fighting in Yemen and Syria, according to US, European and the Middle East officials involved in security issues.
Israeli officials have also made a number of secret trips to the Gulf, particularly to the UAE, despite their countries having no formal diplomatic relations. (Middle East Eye, 16-5-2017)
“What we’ve been undergoing to a large extent is a form of psychological abuse [..], a form of gaslighting where actually our own faith in our ability to judge a situation, and to some extent even our own identity, has been eroded and damaged to the point where we’re effectively accepting their version of reality.” Vanessa Beeley
The only thing keeping westerners from seeing through the lies that they’ve been told about Syria is the unquestioned assumption that their own government could not possibly be that evil.
Despite the evil and unforgivable invasion of Iraq having happened a mere fourteen years ago, sold to the public based on nothing but lies and mass media propaganda, mainstream America is unwilling to consider the possibility that this is happening again.
Unwilling to turn and face the implications of what this would mean for their worldview, their self-image, and the entire system they’ve developed for examining and interpreting their experience of their lives up until this point...
In reality, we cannot know with any degree of certainty how good or bad a leader Assad is. There’s too much smoke in the air, too much propaganda and deliberate deceit clouding our vision to get a clear picture of the complete political dynamic of an entire government.
No reasonable, clear-thinking person can justifiably say with any degree of confidence that Assad is an evil dictator. There is no way to know.
What we can know with absolute certainty is that we are being lied to about Syria by western governments and the mass media propaganda machines which promote their oligarchic agendas.
The mountains of evidence that are coming out against the White Helmets, the fact that Amnesty International is the same organization that promoted the false Nayirah testimony which was used to manufacture consent for the Gulf War, the fact that CNN recently staged a fake interview featuring a seven year-old girl who can’t speak English reading scripted anti-Assad propaganda to an unsuspecting audience; there is enough there to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same power establishment that lied to us about Iraq is now lying to us about its neighbor Syria.
The only question is whether or not you have the emotional and intellectual integrity to face this reality...
Are you the sort of person who can face uncomfortable truths and revise their worldview accordingly, or the type who compartmentalizes and avoids them for the sake of cognitive comfort?
DAMASCUS, (SANA): Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, underlined the important role of media in enlightening society and educating people. The Sheikh Hassoun was born in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in 1949. His father, allamah Muhammad Adeeb Hassoun was also a sheikh. He has five children and ten grandchildren. Hassoun studied at the University of Islamic Studies, where he graduated as Doctor in Shafi'i fiqh.Dr. Hassoun took office as Great Mufti of Syria in July 2005 after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro.
He is a frequent speaker in interreligious and intercultural events, and his pluralistic views on interfaith dialogue (between different religions or between different Islamic denominations) has sparked criticism from stricter visions of Islam.
DAMASCUS, (SANA): Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, underlined the important role of media in enlightening society and educating people.
The Sheikh Hassoun was born in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in 1949. His father, allamah Muhammad Adeeb Hassoun was also a sheikh. He has five children and ten grandchildren. Hassoun studied at the University of Islamic Studies, where he graduated as Doctor in Shafi'i fiqh.Dr. Hassoun took office as Great Mufti of Syria in July 2005 after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro.
He is a frequent speaker in interreligious and intercultural events, and his pluralistic views on interfaith dialogue (between different religions or between different Islamic denominations) has sparked criticism from stricter visions of Islam.
"I am Sunni in practice, Shiite in allegiance. My roots are Salafi, and my purity is Sufi."
Assassinations have become a near-daily occurrence
As the Syrian uprising turns more violent, the latest victim in a spate of assassinations is Saria Hassoun, the 22-year-old son of Syria's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun.
"Say: We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what [..] was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims in submission to Him." Surah Al-Baqarah 2:136
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God."
Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef told reporters that Al-Sisi’s decision to form the new council was not only motivated by the 9 April bomb attacks. “Since he came to office three years ago President Al-Sisi has been calling on Al-Azhar to play a cardinal role in reforming religious discourse.”
Youssef said membership of the council would not be limited to security experts and Azharite clerics.
“It will include enlightened intellectuals, public figures, cabinet ministers, university professors, judges and the heads of different state authorities, grouped in different sub-committees, each entrusted with implementing a specific task.”
“Experts from all sectors of society will work together towards one goal, safeguarding Egypt against terrorism and exposing the dangers of radical Islamist ideology.”
Kamal Amer, head of parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee, argued that the new council should primarily target the Muslim Brotherhood. “This is the movement which re-invented radical jihadist ideology and is responsible for the spread of this venomous ideology around the world.”
Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi is well and free to move around Libya or abroad, the undersecretary in the Beida-based Thinni administration’s justice ministry claimed today.
Talking to the media office of the Abubakr Al-Saddiq brigade which has guarded Saif since it captured him in 2011, Eisa Alsaghir confirmed that as far as his government was concerned, Muamar Gaddafi’s son can go wherever he wants, like any other Libyan.
“Saif is free under the terms of the general amnesty law issued by the House of Representatives (HoR) in July 2015,” he said.
According to reports, though, while Saif is no longer under house arrest he remains under guard in Zintan “for his own protection”.
A Zintan court reportedly freed him in April 2016. Since then, his whereabouts in the town and the nature of his stay there have remained something of a mystery.
Al-Saghir is wrong in saying that Saif is free to travel abroad. The ICC (International Crimibal Court) warrant for his arrest remains in effect and would almost certainly be acted upon were he to go to any other country.
The Political Theory of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
As for the term ‘intellectual castration’ or ‘intellectual sterilization’ as a societal impact, this appeared first in the 1864 work 'Woman and her social relationships' by the Italian (feminist) author Anna Maria Mozzoni (1837-1920) as a result of the negative influence of Italian society upon women.
By intellectual castration we mean the depriving of the intellectually castrated person of the ability to think logically, and thus of a logical intellectual productiveness capable of altering reality in a direction beneficial to mankind and his society.
In order for the castration process to take place there needs to be a radical change made in the construction of the castrated person's mode of thinking.
The process of intellectual and social castration is an ideologized process carried out by the community in order to contain its members within a specific mindset which it can control and direct towards its ideological prerequisites.
Among the features of the intellectually castrated social personality are the following:
• The individual possesses no individual dimensions since it is dissolved into its social environment which does not encourage individuality.;
• He is incapable of thinking logically, whether intellectually or scientifically, and is dependent upon sequential narrative to establish the arguments;
• He may be easily made to reject beliefs and its convictions in the direction of the prevailing social model (the prevailing social education is stronger than the schools’ intellectual training);
• He is incapable of perceiving the contradiction between scientific logic and metaphysical thought. It considers them to be two separate modes that can be handled together in unison.
• The aim of an intellectually castrated person is to arrive at the conclusion he requires, that is prepared for beforehand, and thus the capacity for innovation scientific production vanishes.
Intellectual productivity in Arab Islamic societies began to retreat centuries ago (around the 10th century AD) as a result of the process of an intellectual castration whose basic aim was to combat mental logic.
The fight against mental logic is an extremely dangerous process, particularly if targeted towards reconstructing the social mindset. This process worked in favour of the Salafi ideology relying upon the Text to the exclusion of intellectual logic.
Over time, the distancing from mental logic increased adherence to a prevailing closed-off religious mindset. This is what took place when Islamic thought, from about the 10th century on, was reconstituted towards a formation that has continued along the path of reconstructing Arab-Islamic societies until reaching the form that we see today.
The process of intellectual castration at the present time is carried out with the utmost smoothness, via everyday social education in the home, in places of worship and in schools which inculcate rote-learning, indoctrination and repetition, instead of teaching deduction, logical thought, the search for the new and intellectual criticism.
The dangers inherent in this style of teaching lies in the difficulty of combating it or reducing its impact.
It is, firstly, a prevailing social pattern and one deeply set in the social character; secondly, it is a smooth pattern that requires no intellectual effort or any specific level of culture; thirdly, it is a mindset deeply rooted in society...
Contemporary intellectual castration transforms the social individual into an obedient puppet, driven by one who is authorised to conduct its movements via modern means of communication, and this has a major social impact that exceeds all bounds.
There is no doubt that intellectual castration and the inability to accept modernity is one of the most important reasons for the sense of violent chronological alienation, which has led, and leads still, to extremely odd behavioural regressiveness and frustration on both the local and global societal levels.
Flashback: Isil bans philosophy, chemistry in Syria schools
Wahabi/Deobandi ISIS bans philosophy, chemistry in Syria schools
Wahhabism, strictest of the Sunni Law Schools
Wahhabism is a religious movement within Islam founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703 - 92). Members describe themselves as muwahhidun ("monotheists" or "unitarians"), those who uphold firmly the doctrine that God is one, the only one (wahid).
Ibn Taymiyyah believed that the first three generations of Islam (Salaf) – Muhammad, his companions, and the followers of the companions from the earliest generations of Muslims – were the best role models for Islamic life. Their practice, together with the Qur'an, constituted a seemingly infallible guide to life. Any deviation from their practice was viewed as bid‘ah, or innovation, and to be forbidden.
No one can claim that the Middle East was a region of peace and bliss in the past. Still, recent years have seen a perfect storm of mayhem...
However, one should note that there appears to be some encouraging developments emanating from the region. The seemingly unsurmountable divide between Fatah and Hamas seems to be narrowing at an incredible pace.
Initially, when it was first founded at a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Hamas had defined itself as a religious movement representing not only Palestinians, but Muslims as a whole.
In the following decades, it transformed itself into a national movement that is a better representative of the will and desires of Palestinians than Fatah.
In time, it adopted some of Fatah's principles, with the transformation culminating in Khaled Mashal, the exiled leader of Hamas, releasing a new policy document in Doha, 12:05 31-10-2017, in May 2017.
As he did not base this document on the founding manifesto or make corrections to it, the new declaration was not merged with, but actually superseded, the previous one.
The founding objective of destroying Israel or depicting themselves as an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) found no place in the new policy vision announced in Doha. Nowhere in the new policy document are anti-Jewish sentiments expressed.
Hamas's avowed ties to the Muslim Brotherhood were always criticized by the armed resistance movement, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
In its original founding statement, Hamas openly acknowledged its loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leadership and grassroots have been decimated since the coup in Egypt led by Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in 2013...
Hamas's declaration that it no longer has any ties to the Muslim Brotherhood was interpreted by many around the world that the group wants to establish ties with Sissi as a way to break the stranglehold on Gaza.
The Israeli response to Hamas's new policy document was as predictable as it was unfortunate.
The Israeli government legitimizes its own indiscriminate murders and expansion into the occupied territories through Hamas's threats and the deaths of civilians.
A pragmatic Hamas ready to engage politically is the last thing Israel wants.
The Israeli Prime Ministry's statement in response to Hamas's policy document was to describe it as lies to the world. However, from now on, neither Israel nor Abbas will be able to argue that Hamas is an extremist group incapable of compromise in order not to lift the Gaza blockade or engage in negotiations. This policy document pushes Hamas's stance from the marginal to the center.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum has said, "To the world, our message is: Hamas is not radical. We are a pragmatic and civilized movement. We do not hate the Jews. We only fight who occupies our lands and kills our people."
It will be to the benefit of Hamas and Palestinians in general if the group rolled with the punches to push forward its agenda based on rational policies and do its utmost to be on the side of justice and legitimacy.
Flashback 2013: Fighting for the Caliphate
qaradawi & hamas: secular arab nationalism has to be destroyed
The Survation poll showed that UK Jews viewed the Labour Party as being the most anti-Semitic of the four major parliamentary factions (the Scottish National Party was not included).
Rating the “levels of anti-Semitism among the political party’s members and elected representatives” from 1 to 5, British Jews gave Labour an average rating of 3.94 – indicating high levels of anti-Semitism in the party. The Conservatives, by contrast, were rated at just 1.96, indicating a below-average level of anti-Semitism.
I began to write about the occupation almost by chance, after many years during which, like all Israelis, I had been brainwashed, convinced of the justice of our cause, certain that we were David and they Goliath, knowing that Arabs don’t love their children the way we do (if at all) and that they, in contrast to us, were born to kill.
Dedi Zucker, then a Ratz MK, suggested that we go see a few olive trees that had been uprooted in the grove of an elderly Palestinian, who was living in the West Bank. We came, we saw, we lost.
That was the beginning, gradual and not planned, of exactly three decades of coverage of the crimes of the occupation. Most Israelis didn’t want to hear about it and still don’t want to hear about it. In the eyes of many citizens, the very act of covering this subject in the media is a transgression.
Treating the Palestinians as victims and the crimes perpetrated against them as crimes is considered treasonous.
The majority of Israelis don’t want to know anything about the occupation. Few of them have any conception of what it is. They’ve never been there. We have no idea what’s meant when we say “occupation.” We have no idea how we would behave if we were under its regime. Maybe if Israelis had more information some of them would be shocked...
To cover up its crimes, the occupation has needed a propaganda-driven media that betrays its honest mission, an education system that has been recruited for its purposes, a duplicitous security establishment, politicians lacking a conscience and a civil society that doesn’t have a clue.
A new, occupation-adjusted system of values had to be developed in which the cult of security allows, justifies and whitewashes everything...
The first 50 years have seen rapid improvements in brainwashing, denial, repression and self-deceit. Thanks to the media, the education system, the politicians, the generals and the immense army of propagandists abetted by apathy, ignorance and shutting of eyes...
Israel is a society in denial, deliberately severed from reality, probably an unparalleled case in the world of a purposeful refusal to see things as they are.
A basic black-and-white situation of occupier-occupied is presented to Israelis as a “complex reality.” Military despotism in the backyard is presented as part and parcel of the only democracy in the Middle East, the consequence of an unavoidable war of survival. And Israel’s refusal to end the occupation morphs in the hands of the propaganda machinery into a “no partner” situation.
It’s a rare historical case: The occupier is the victim. Justice is on the side of the occupier only, and the ongoing war is being fought for his security and existence...
What has changed during these 50 years? Everything – and nothing. Israel has changed, and so have the Palestinians. The occupation remains the same occupation, but it has become more brutal, as happens with every occupation...
The land has filled with settlements, with hundreds of thousands of settlers who went on multiplying the longer the “peace process” continued. That’s the only result of the “process.”
Every semblance of progress has always been accompanied by more and more settlers, in the best tradition of extortion and surrender.
Israel has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians in these 50 years, and jailed about 800,000. These incomprehensible numbers are also accepted as a matter of routine, self-evident, unavoidable, and of course altogether just. The blame lies entirely with those killed and jailed..
What has been erased is the Green Line... Israel is one state, stretching from the sea to the Jordan River, without borders and with two different regimes for two peoples. It’s been like that for the past 50 years, and there’s no plan to change it. The settlers are Israel and so, too, is the occupation: The two are no longer separable.
Never has a single Israeli prime minister seen the Palestinians as human beings or as a nation with equal rights, nor has there ever been one who seriously wanted to end the occupation. Not one.
The talk about two states made it possible to play for time, the peace process provided the world with a cover for remaining silent and to underwrite the occupation...
A military source confirmed on Friday that tens of abducted citizens, who were held by the terrorist groups in Barzeh district, were released.
“34 kidnapped civilians who were detained by the terrorist groups have been released,” the source said, adding that the abductees had been held hostage from 6 months to 3 years.
President al-Assad and his wife congratulated the abducted on their liberation and the end of the hard dilemma they have passed through along with their families. The President said that society lives a real crisis because of the missing and abducted issue, adding that this matter is 'a basic obsession for us as a state, institutions and officials'.
Tens of gunmen that laid down arms and applied for government pardoning have received amnesty and returned to normal life in Barzeh district. The officials said that in line with implementation of the peace agreement in Barzeh district over 150 militants that had handed over their weapons to the Syrian Army received government amnesty.
The officials further added that 500 gunmen that refused to join the peace plan in Barzeh are to leave the district along with their family members on 20 buses for other militant-held regions.
In an interview given to India’s Wion TV, President al-Assad said that the situation on the ground, from a military point of view, is much better than before, but this is not the whole picture...
- Question: How is the campaign against terrorist groups such as the Islamic State progressing?
- President Assad: The situation has improved dramatically, because the terrorist groups, mainly ISIS and al-Nusra and like-minded groups in Syria who are Wahhabi terrorist extremist groups, are retreating, or let’s say the area under their control has been shrinking. So, the situation on the ground, from a military point of view, is much better than before.
But this is not the whole picture; it’s not only about military conflict, it’s about different things, about the ideology that they try to spread in our region, which is the most dangerous challenge that we may face in the near and long term.
Second, it’s about the support that those terrorist groups have been gaining from regional countries like Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and European and Western countries like the United States, France, and UK, mainly, which mark a new era where you can use terrorism, any kind of terrorism, to implement a political agenda. This is something more dangerous than any other danger that we may face in our modern world.
- Question: Mr. President, who or what do you blame for the crisis in Syria today?
- President Assad: We always talk about our mistakes or our loopholes or defects, but at the end, we didn’t bring the terrorists, we didn’t support the terrorists, we didn’t support this ideology.
Mainly, who started this conflict was Qatar under the supervision and the endorsement of the Western countries, mainly France and UK, at the very beginning, but when you talk about France and UK, they wouldn’t do something without the permission of the United States.
So, if you want to blame about who supported the terrorists and who started this blood-letting and blood-shedding in Syria, it was the West and Qatar, and later Saudi Arabia, one year later joined the same effort, and of course Turkey, we wouldn’t forget Turkey which was the main player with the terrorists in Syria from the very, very beginning.
- Question: Would you be open for a negotiated political settlement going forward, maybe underwritten by Russia or some other members of the UN Security Council?
- President Assad: Of course, we have already joined these efforts since Geneva in 2014.... Till this moment, we haven’t had any real political initiative that could produce something, although Astana has achieved, let’s say, partial results, through the recent de-escalation areas in Syria, which was positive in that regard, but you cannot call it a political solution till this moment.
A political solution is when you have all the different aspects of the problem being tackled at the same time. So, we took the initiative in dealing directly with the terrorists in some areas in order to make reconciliation, where they can give up their armaments and we can give them amnesty, and that has worked in a very proper and good way in Syria.
- Question: Mr. President, on that note I want to shift your focus away from domestic issues to Syria-India relations.. What do you make of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India’s policies, especially India’s policies towards Syria in the recent years?
- President Assad: We respect a lot the Indian position, because first of all it’s based on the international law, it’s based on the charter of the United Nations, it’s based on the morals of the world, of the human civilizations first, and Indian civilization second, the Indian people’s morals.
This is very important, that’s the difference between state and regime: the state bases everything, all its vision, all its policy on the ethics of its own people. So, we respect the Indian position in that regard. Second, as you just mentioned a very important word, it was “independent.”
- Question: Mr. President, when we talk about terrorism and its ideology, one can’t but talk about the Wahhabi or the influx or influence of Wahhabism on countries around the world, especially in West Asia... So, how do you explain this, or the role of countries such as Saudi Arabia in the region?
- President Assad: When the Saud family created this kingdom, they created it in cooperation and in coordination with the Wahhabi institution, so it’s one institution. The Wahhabi institution, the extremism or the extremists in Saudi Arabia defend the state because it’s their state, it’s their own state, so it’s one.
You cannot talk about terrorism and Saud family as two entities, I have to be very frank with you... They exported the terrorism or the extremism or the Wahhabi ideology to the rest of the world. Nearly every “madrasa” in Asia, in Europe, every mosque, has been supported financially and ideologically through books and through every other means by the Wahhabi institution.
- Question: Mr. President, do you ever tend to take a chance to look in the rear view mirror, as it were if you would go back in time, would you like to do things differently maybe?
- President Assad: I think the only mistake that we made is when we believed that the West has values; this is one of the mistakes that we committed in the past, and we thought some countries like Saudi Arabia could have values, but the only value that they have is the Wahhabi value.
- Question: Mr. President, there’s a lot of narrative about the Western media perceptions about you, personally speaking.... Don’t you sometimes think that, you know, this thing has gone on for far too long, it’s gone too far, and maybe everybody, and I mean everybody, should step back from the brink?
- President Assad: The West, you mean, mainly the Western? No, they cannot, because if they do any U-turn or any turn, their public opinion will tell them “you were lying, you’ve been talking about this bad person and this bad government and the killing for seven years, now you want to tell us the truth?” They cannot tell the truth. So, they have to continue till the end with their lies...
Mahatma Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. Gandhi summarised his beliefs first when he said "God is Truth". He would later change this statement to "Truth is God". (Wikipedia)
- Question: At the end, very quickly Mr. President, in very briefly, what would be your message to the people watching this, especially in India and South Asia and around the world, your message to them?
- President Assad: I think during the last few decades, mainly after Bush came to power in the United States, the West tried to promote its society, its political system, its behavior as the minaret that the world should follow socially and politically and in every other aspect.
I think India, the Indian people are the one that could be that minaret, because of the diversity that you have, because of the civilization that’s deeply rooted in the history, and because of the morals that you base your society and your politics on...
Moral of the New Testament: |
In an evil world they don't protect the truth-tellers
"Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."
"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all." John 18:38
Iran's spiritual leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Islamic Revolution gave identity and independence to Iranian society...
Khamenei made the remarks when addressing a ceremony held to mark the 28th anniversary of the passing of founder of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini.
Stressing the grandeur of Khomeini’s personality, Khamenei noted that every effort must be made to prevent distortion of his personality and ideas through repetition of ideas cherished by him.
Khamenei noted that Khomeini’s ideas, including freedom, social and economic justice, and the need to get rid of US domination were among major factors, which attracted the Iranian youth to the revolution.
He stated that as a result of Khomeini's ideas, young people even in those countries that are subservient to the United States, like Saudi Arabia, cherish the idea that their countries must be freed from US domination.
Khamenei criticized the wrongful presence of foreign countries in Syria contrary to the will of its government and nation, stressing, “The Syrian issues must be solved through dialogue.”
"Rise up and defend the dignity of Jesus Christ"
Egypt decided on Monday to cut off its diplomatic relations with the Arab Gulf State of Qatar and accused the Qatari government of following a hostile policy against Egypt, in addition to sponsoring terrorist organization such as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group, the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, the cutting off decision came as Qatar insists on supporting terrorist organizations such as the MB group and provide safe shelter for leading figures from the group who are wanted in Egypt.
Moreover, the statement addressed harsh charges to Qatar, that included promoting the ideology of Al-Qaeda and [Islamic State] IS groups, in addition to providing support to terrorist operations in Sinai.
“Also Qatar is insisting on interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs and other states in the region, this interference are representing a threat to the Arab national security and foster strife, split between the Arab societies and are a part of a well-prepared scheme that target the Arab’s nation unity ” the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s statement read.
libya, islamist revolution 2011-2012 - qatar mediator between salafist rebels and nato
The Egyptian decision to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar came alongside similar decisions announced by a number of Arab Gulf states that are considered close to Qatar such Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.
In response the boycott decision released by the aforementioned states against Qatar, the Qatar Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement in which it expressed its sorrow and bewilderment regarding the boycott issued from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE.
“Qatar is an effective member at the Gulf Co-operation Council and abides to its charter; it also respects the sovereignty of all other states and does not interfere in any country’s internal affairs. Moreover, Qatar carries out its duties in countering terrorism,” the Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry’s statement read.
A high level African Union delegation wrapped up its four-day mission to Libya by meeting armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter in Benghazi.
Throughout their various talks, the AU members have been seeking to organise a gathering of all Libya’s political players under the organisation’s auspice.
The eight members of the AU’s Libya committee were led by Jean Jacoso of the Congo and included ministers from Algeria, Conakry, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, Tunisia and South Africa and the AU’s peace commissioner Ismail Sharqi.
They began their trip on 30 May with a briefing from UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler.
Among their calls in Tripoli they met Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj and State Council leader Abdulrahman Sewehli. In Beida they saw House of Representatives president Ageela Saleh.
The only details released of yesterday’s talks wth Hafter were that they had ranged over political developments and also the fight against terrorism
President Hafez Al-Assad, builder of modern Syria, delivered the following speech at the People’s Assembly on the occasion of taking the constitutional oath of office for a fifth constitutional term, March 11, 1999.
During the last 30 years we have realized great achievements in various walks of life. In the building of a sound economy, services, education, culture, sciences and the arts. Syria has built a solid base which has enabled her to move towards a brighter future.
Our confidence, from the very beginning, was that caring about people should be to the forefront of our priorities.
We worked to consolidate our material structure by constructing a strong national base, despite being besieged by problems and complexities imposed by regional and international conditions.
Therefore, we have chosen a people’s democracy. We established our democratic system based on the needs of our people, and their economic, social and cultural conditions.
This stemmed from their belief in freedom and pride in their own dignity. Every citizen has become a partner in decision-making and in bearing responsibility.
In the village, in the city, in the factory as in the farm, in various careers and at the university. All these are linked to the process of consolidating the multi-party system and establishing the Progressive National Front...
“We are committed to comprehensive development as a national responsibility to the State and society.
We have developed agriculture and industry, built dams, big industrial installations, set up economic pluralism, encouraged talents, given opportunities to all to contribute to society’s development. We have created solid economic and social base which has enabled us to complete our infrastructure, such as, electricity, roads, dams, potable water projects, schools, universities, hospitals, medical centers, social educational, cultural and health services,”
Since November 1970, we have paid a great attention to the national economy and built an economic base upon which the progress of society and the country’s growth have relied.
What makes us anxious today is the state of the Arab nation, their weakness, divisions and conflicts, fear of each other, fear of all the foreign dangers threatening them and working to impose hegemony and control on the Arab homeland, besides the Israeli aggression.
Narrow regional interests surpassed pan-Arab interests and hence foreign forces were able to impose hegemony, and Israel was allowed to go on launching aggressions, to the extent that the Arabs were about to lose the potential for progress.
During the 1940s and the 1950s, the Arabs aspired for liberation and achieving Arab unity. In the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, the Arabs’ aspiration was to realize Arab solidarity.
Today’s aspiration is to end the state of in-fighting and inter-differences... I call upon all Arab officials everywhere to adopt brave and responsible stances capable of reviewing the Arab situation critically and objectively with a view to setting up a new course of inter-Arab relations conducive to ending the state of conflict and to reaching the state of cooperation and solidarity...
Peace is indispensable for all in as much as it eliminates all causes of wars, tension and hostility, returns the territories occupied in 1967 and the Lebanese territory totally and recognizes the Palestinian people’s national rights.
Any other peace is a surrender which will not be accepted by Syria and which will neither ensure security for Israel nor maintain stability in the region...
What is taking place in today’s world under the absence of the international balance is the domination of unilateral pole, the double criterion, the hegemony of monopolist superpowers, the great evolution in communications and informatics, the increasing gap between rich states and developing nations, the breaking out of regional wars and ethnic and clan conflicts in different parts of the world, the economic and cultural doctrine of globalisation, the destruction of national borders and peoples’ identities and the stereotyping of peoples’ lives, conducts, moralities and priorities are altogether arousing fear and worries among nations.
Today’s world is likely to be converted into a forest where force dominates and the norms, principles and values for which nations have struggled are absent.
No doubt that the absence of discipline, weakening the UN role and the imposition of hegemony on "third world" resources threaten peoples of the loss of freedom in achieving self-determination and determining their options.
Nevertheless, the forces of hegemony talk about human rights while they are grossly violated.
The call of the Non-Aligned Movement, China, France and Russia for a multi-polar system is a sign of the state of fear and worry, which is grave, if the unilateral hegemony goes on.
Within the Arab, Muslim and Non-Aligned frameworks, we shall work to push out the mischief of the international lawlessness and its dangers on developing countries and world peace and security.
We shall continue to work for developing our international relations in serving our national interests. We shall go on making dialogue with the European Union to set up a partnership in line with equal grounds serving interests of both sides.
We shall also work for enhancing the role of the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement and for investing our world relations to serve our rights and objectives.
May God help us all in doing what is right and what is good
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres blasts 'occupation'
“Ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” he insisted.
He called for a return to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law.”
“On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born. Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state.
The Secretary-General reiterates his offer to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process,” the statement concluded.
Fifty years ago, between June 5 and June 10, 1967, Israel invaded and occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights.
The Six-Day War, as it would later be dubbed, saw the Jewish David inflict a humiliating defeat on the Arab Goliath, personified perhaps by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt.
“The existence of the Israeli state hung by a thread,” the country’s prime minister, Levi Eshkol, claimed two days after the war was over, “but the hopes of the Arab leaders to annihilate Israel were dashed.” Genocide, went the argument, had been prevented; another Holocaust of the Jews averted.
There is, however, a problem with this argument: It is complete fiction, a self-serving fantasy constructed after the event to justify a war of aggression and conquest.
Don’t take my word for it: “The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung over us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war,” declared Gen. Matituahu Peled, chief of logistical command during the war and one of 12 members of Israel’s General Staff, in March 1972.
A year earlier, Mordechai Bentov, a member of the wartime government and one of 37 people to sign Israel’s Declaration of Independence, had made a similar admission.
“This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories,” he said in April 1971.
Even Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former terrorist and darling of the Israeli far right, conceded in a speech in August 1982 that “in June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
The reverberations of that attack are still being felt in the Middle East today. Few modern conflicts have had as deep and long-lasting an impact as the Six-Day War.
As U.S. academic and activist Thomas Reifer has observed, it sounded the “death knell of pan-Arab nationalism, the rise of political Islam … a more independent Palestinian nationalism” and “Israel’s emergence as a U.S. strategic asset, with the United States sending billions of dollars … in a strategic partnership unequalled in world history.”
Above all else, the war, welcomed by the London Daily Telegraph in 1967 as “the triumph of the civilized,” forced another 300,000 Palestinians from their homes and ushered in a brutal military occupation for the million-odd Palestinians left behind...
JEDDAH: Qatar’s foreign minister told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Tuesday that Doha believes in diplomacy with regard to the severing of ties by Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
But it is “out of the question” to impose policies on Qatar, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who denied accusations that Doha supports terrorist and extremist groups.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
- Q: Saudi says it has cut ties because, and I quote, of your country’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region.” They say that includes the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda. Is that true or false?
- A: With all respect, this statement is full of contradiction because it says we are supporting Iran and extremist groups in Syria, and we are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Houthis.
About our support to the Saudi opposition or sectarian moves, this is totally false information...
There is no support going to Al-Nusra or Al-Qaeda or others. Our position is firm: To support the Syrian people’s right to justice and a free life.
Whatever accusations are being thrown are all based on misinformation. The entire crisis is based on misinformation because it started based on fabricated news inserted in our national news agency, which was hacked days before...
We are creating jobs for the people of the Middle East. We are replacing weapons with pens when we are educating young children in refugee camps. We are protecting the world from potential terrorists with all the work we are doing.
- Q: The Muslim Brotherhood is designated a terrorist organization by other countries, specifically Saudi and the UAE. Will you continue to have ties with the Brotherhood? This is clearly more than an irritant to your allies.
- A: We do not have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. We deal with governments. When the Muslim Brotherhood ruled Egypt, we supported Egypt… We have stated many times that we have no ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Are we going to list them as a terrorist organization? We did not have any proof that the Muslim Brotherhood committed an act of terror. They will be listed based on the acts they have done.
- Q: What do the Saudis and Emiratis want you to do? And are you prepared to toe the line?
- A: We have differences with Iran but we believe in dialogue. We will stick to the same principles that we are basing our dialogue on. Everyone needs to have, wants to have, a positive relationship with Iran since Iran is a neighbor...
Flashback: Qatar, Arab League & The 'Arab' Spring
Qatar: Arab League leans on Assad to resign
Nor are the Free Syrian Army fighters champions of democracy. They recognize the spiritual authority of sheikh Adnan Al-Arour, a takfirist preacher, who calls for the overthrow and killing of Assad, not for political reasons but simply because Assad is of the Alawite faith, that is to say a heretic in the preacher’s eyes.
All of the identified officers in the FSA are Sunnis and all of the FSA brigades are named after historical Sunni figures.
The "revolutionary tribunals" of the FSA sentence their political opponents to death (and not only supporters of Bashar al-Assad) and they slaughter the unbelievers in public.
The FSA program is to end the secular regime installed by the Baath, the SSNP and the Communist Party in favor of a pure (conservative) religious Sunni regime.
BEIRUT, (SANA) – Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the US, Israel and some western and regional countries prevent the Syrian opposition from dialogue to achieve their project of destroying Syria. ...
Efforts to start dialogue between all opposition and the government are in vain because dialogue in Syria is prohibited since the western countries and Israel want to destroy Syria no matter what happens to the armed groups, opposition forces or the Syrian army.
Nasrallah stressed that Israel and the takfiri mentality are the real threats to the security and stability in the region, adding that many countries and governments are involved in funding this murderer takfiri mind with billions of dollars, deepening wounds in the region and pushing things to the worst.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors from Doha on Wednesday in protest at Qatar's interference in their internal affairs, they announced in a joint statement.
GCC countries "have exerted massive efforts to contact Qatar on all levels to agree on a unified policy... to ensure non-interference, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any member state," the statement said. The nations have asked Qatar, a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is banned in most Gulf states, "not to support any party aiming to threaten security and stability of any GCC member," it added, citing media campaigns against them in particular.
Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban stressed [..] that the top priority of the Syrian Arab Republic's delegation is identical to the Syrian citizens' priority, which is represented by security, stability, halting terrorism and then moving to discussing the broad-based government...
Responding on a question on Saudi role in the crisis in Syria, Shaaban said “We want a clear and frank stance by Saudi Arabia to stop financing and arming Saudi and foreign terrorists and not to facilitate their entrance into Syria.” She added that stopping this “takfiri cancer” serves the interests of Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries and the whole region.
On an Iranian mediation for reconciliation between Syria and Hamas, Shabban said “Our relations with Hamas were strong as a resistance movement despite the fact that we know about its relation with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
She went on saying Hamas has put the Muslim Brotherhood above the resistance and has abandoned the line of resistance which weakened the Palestinian cause, stressing “Our stance towards Muslim Brotherhood movement is well known since the 1980’s.”
Egypt emboldened its stance against Qatar when it confirmed that it will not send its ambassador back to the Gulf country.
The news comes amid increasing tensions within the Gulf as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia withdrew their envoys from Doha this week.
Egypt recalled its ambassador in Doha last month because of the Gulf country’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Cairo declared a terrorist group after the toppling of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 30.
“The Egyptian ambassador to Qatar will not return to Doha at the moment,” Reuters quoted an Egyptian cabinet statement as saying. The statement described the political tension between Egypt and Qatar as involving other parties.
It added: “Qatar’s problem is not (only) with us, but with the majority of the Arab states.”
Qatar is the only Gulf state that supported the Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt.
In his first major interview since he was removed from office last week through a vote of no confidence, former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan blamed the failure of his government on the General National Congress (GNC), the Islamist parties, the militias, the spread of arms and the weak post revolutionary Libyan state.
Zeidan said that he feared that the Islamist bloc consisting of the Ikhwan (the Brotherhood), the Wafa bloc and others would monopolize power in Libya and turn Libya into an Algeria (during the period where the military Islamists were carrying out a terror campaign against the state).
The ex-Prime Minister warned the Libyan public against these blocs in future elections. He accused them of not being loyal to Libya, but loyal to unrealistic ideologies not for the good of Libya.
The emir of Qatar has denied accusations that his country funds extremist groups in Syria, while stressing the Gulf state's commitment to the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State jihadists.
"We don't fund extremists." ... "But there are differences. There are differences that some countries and some people (believe) that any group which comes from Islamic background are terrorists. And we don't accept that."
He insisted that the long-term aim should be to punish the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"The main cause of all this is the regime in Syria, and this regime should be punished," he said.
A delegation of US senators led by John McCain have met separately with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman and Qatar's emir, part of a Middle East tour focusing on training the so-called moderate militants in Syria...
The US senators also met in neighboring Qatar with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the country's emir. The official Qatar News Agency said they discussed "Qatari-U.S. relations and means to develop them."
The delegation included Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, Angus King, I-Maine, and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, the state news agency reported. All sit on the Senate's Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs.
The meetings took place a day after the Pentagon said that as many as 1,000 U.S. troops and support personnel would be sent to sites in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to help train select Syrian militants they claim as being moderate.
Qatar's Hamad Bin Jaber al-Yhani admits that his country was the prime mover in the Syrian crisis but then Saudi Arabia turned against us and later tried to monopolize the Syrian dossier.
It is three years since HBJ, as he is known in London's financial circles, stepped down as prime minister of the small state of Qatar, part of a deal in which Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the ruler at the time, abdicated in favor of his son Tamim. So powerful was HBJ that the only way for the new emir to rule was for both his father and the prime minister to exit.
As PM of Qatar, he invested in Britain and intervened in the "Arab Spring".
The Gulf's Syria policy is closely associated with HBJ, who was often seen as relishing the rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Doha's larger and more powerful neighbor. When asked about holding some responsibility for the debacle in Syria, HBJ admitted:
"I will tell you one thing and that is maybe the first time I say this: when we started being involved in Syria [around 2012] we had a green light that Qatar would lead this because Saudi Arabia didn't at that time want to lead.
After that there was a change in policy and Saudi Arabia didn't inform us that they wanted us in the back seat. We ended up competing and it was not healthy."
Money and weapons flowed but with no clear strategy or direction; the whole enterprise was undermined by bickering and competition between the two Gulf States.
He further pointed out that the same policies used in Syria were followed in Libya, where Qatar and the United Arab Emirates backed opposing sides in the war since the demise of the Gaddafi regime in the 2011 revolution.
He acknowledges that in Libya, "There were a lot of cookers in the end. That's why it was spoiled."
An overwhelming majority of people agree with Jeremy Corbyn that British involvement in foreign wars has put the public at greater risk of terrorism, according to a new poll.
The exclusive ORB survey for The Independent found 75 per cent of people believe interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have made atrocities on UK soil more likely.
The poll comes after Mr Corbyn was lambasted for suggesting foreign policy decisions were linked to terrorism in the UK and that the “war on terror” had failed.
The deadly strike at London Bridge and Borough Market, the third attack in Britain in as many months, has seen security dominate the final days of the election campaign, with cabinet ministers squabbling over whether it could have been stopped.
In the wake of the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people last month, the Labour leader highlighted the potential role foreign military interventions play in increasing the likelihood of atrocities in the UK...
He was accused by Conservatives of making excuses for terrorism.
Ahram Weekly, 2002: Corbyn, giving a voice to the voiceless
Jeremy Corbyn is a dissenter whose mission is, as he likes to describe it, to give a voice to the voiceless.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Zionist Lobby
Following decades of cultural Marxist, divisive Identiterian politics and Zionist-Neocon domination within the British Left, Corbyn brings along a refreshing ideological alternative. Corbyn seems to re-unite the Brits.
Corbyn: People are fed up with injustice and inequality
Speaking after the vote in London on Saturday, Corbyn called for a 'better society' in the UK, and vowed to help bring a better future for Britons.
On Thursday (june 8) Qatar's adversaries hardened their stance against Doha.
Emirates Post Group announced that it halted postal services to Qatar. The Qatar Airways website was also blocked in the UAE.
Earlier, the bloc opposing Qatar had demanded that it stops supporting groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Thursday evening, a joint action by Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt placed 59 individuals and 12 organisations on a "terror list". It includes the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousuf al-Qaradawi and 18 prominent Qataris.
On Friday, Qatar dismissed the list as baseless:
"The recent joint statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE regarding a 'terror finance watch list' once again reinforces baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact," read a statement from Qatar's government.
Earlier, Qatar's foreign minister had said defiantly that the country would not surrender to the pressure applied to it.
"We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the independence of our foreign policy," Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Al Jazeera.
Flashback: Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Political Opportunism
"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth. . . . Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else..." "We were deluged with petitions and complaints . . . but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness." Gamal Abdel Nasser (in: Philosophy of the revolution)
Qaradawi fled Egypt when Nasser figured out that he could not allow the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to remain as a fifth column inside Egypt.
It was no secret that while Nasser was aligned with the socialist camp, the MB served as a tool of the US and Gulf regime during the Cold War.
There is no question that the MB did in fact try to assassinate Nasser, and there is no question that the Brotherhood was aligned against the forces that were working on a plan for the liberation of Palestine.
Gulf regimes (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE primarily) opened their borders and universities and ministries to the Islamists.
They filled top posts in government, particularly in education, awqaf (religious endowment), and even in policy making. Sudanese Islamists were instrumental in drafting the constitutions of several Gulf states.
Qaradawi was hosted in Qatar and he taught at its university. But unlike most Islamists in exile, he established a close relationship with the Emir.
Qaradawi was a key ingredient in the formation of Al Jazeera, and he even helped staff the network with many Islamists from several Arab countries. (Those Islamists would over the year clash with the secular Arab nationalists and liberals in the network).
Qaradawi has been noted for his political cowardice: not only for his subservience (like all other Islamists in the GCC countries) to the ruler, but for strictly adhering to the foreign policies of the ruler. Qaradawi never ever criticized Bashar Assad and even showered him with praise, until the Emir decided to break with the Assad regime.
Qaradawi was also favorable in his views on Iran until this past year when Qatar changed course. He also enjoyed long standing relations with Hassan Nasrallah with whom he has been friends (or friendly). But aware of his standing among the fanatical base, Qaradawi would insist that no photographs be released of his meeting with Nasrallah (as Nasrallah himself once told me).
Recently, Qaradawi criticized the UAE and repression there on Al Jazeera. His criticisms of the UAE (which is as repressive as Qatar or as the rest of GCC countries, although Saudi Arabia is a case in itself given the fanatical Wahhabi ruling ideology there) should not be read as whimsical.
Qaradawi has been accustomed to receiving orders. He knows when to speak and when to shut up, if so ordered. Qaradawi is but one case of a phenomenon in the Arab world: a cleric for hire.
On 21 February 2011, Qaradawi talked about the protests in Libya and issued a fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi:
“...To the officers and the soldiers who are able to kill Muammar Gaddafi, to whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free the country and [God’s] servants from him, I issue this fatwa (uftî): Do it!
That man wants to exterminate the people (sha‘b). As for me, I protect the people (sha‘b) and I issue this fatwa:
Whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free us from his evil, to free Libya and its great people from the evil of this man and from the danger of him, let him do so!'
Three years after the Islamic State (IS) militant group routed them in Mosul, Iraqi forces are now on the cusp of retaking the city from the IS.
The fall of Mosul was the worst defeat that Iraqi forces suffered in the war with IS, and regaining it would cap a major turnaround for security forces that broke and ran despite outnumbering IS who attacked the second city in 2014.
When IS seized Mosul on June 10, 2014 and drove south toward the federal capital, the atmosphere was not one of celebration, but rather fear.
"Three years ago, around this time, Daesh... was moving rapidly towards Baghdad," said Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the international coalition against IS, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamist militant group. "Mosul fell, seven divisions of the Iraqi security forces simply disintegrated," he said.
Iraqi forces "were not prepared for a threat like that" posed by IS in 2014, said coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon. At that time, recovery "looked almost impossible, and many were saying, 'Well, this is the end of Iraq'", McGurk said.
A combination of factors ultimately stopped IS short of Baghdad, and they were not able to launch a large-scale conventional attack on the capital.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's top Shiite cleric, called for volunteers to battle IS, and pre-existing Iran-backed Shiite militias fought under that banner to first halt IS and then slowly push them back, while new volunteer units were also established.
The United States meanwhile launched an air campaign against IS in Iraq about two months after Mosul's fall, which became an international coalition effort also involving training and other support for Iraqi forces.
"Success in the Mosul operation will highlight how far the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have come since their collapse in June 2014," said Patrick Martin, Iraq analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.
But Martin noted that "recapturing terrain in Mosul should not obscure the fact that the ISF remains incomplete and flawed," including that "they still have insufficient manpower to clear and hold the country."
Pushing IS back has taken a massive toll on Iraq: years of battles have left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, and laid waste to swathes of the country, while many suffered under brutal IS rule.
Boris Johnson: "We cannot make the world a better place
Amnesty International announced on Wednesday that it was launching a campaign to implement a full boycott of illegal Israeli settlements across the occupied Palestinian territory.
“One of the tragedies of 50 years of ceaseless occupation-related violations is that the world has become accustomed to the shocking level of oppression and humiliation that Palestinians face in their daily lives in the occupied territories,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty said.
“States that continue to help settlements flourish economically are blatantly undermining their international obligations and the very policies they have pledged to uphold,” Shetty added.
“Fifty years on, merely condemning Israel’s settlement expansion is not enough. It’s time for states to take concrete international action to stop the financing of settlements which themselves flagrantly violate international law and constitute war crimes.”
Shetty called on foreign states to impose an “international ban on settlement products, a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and Palestinian armed groups,” as well as full investigations by the International Criminal Court into crimes committed as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Israel has made it abundantly clear that maintaining and expanding settlements takes priority over respect for international law. It’s time for the world to send a clear message that it will no longer tolerate the Israeli authorities’ blatant disregard for international law,” Shetty said.
BDS activists target companies that act in compliance with Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and encourage supporters to avoid buying Israeli products in order to put pressure on the Israeli government to end the half-century occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem the decade-long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
As support for the movement has grown, the Israeli government has introduced anti-BDS policies, including passing a law in March banning foreigners who have openly expressed support in BDS from entering the country.
The US-led coalition let militants of the Islamic State terrorist group leave Raqqa, the commander of Russia’s force grouping in Syria, Sergey Surovikin, said.
"Instead of eliminating terrorists guilty of killing hundreds and thousands of Syrian civilians, the US-led coalition together with the Democratic Forces Union controlled enters into collusion with ringleaders of the ISIL, who give up the settlements they had seized without fighting and head to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are active," he said.
All militants’ attempts to leave through the corridor set up in southern Raqqa are thwarted by Russian troops, he added. However, the stance taken by the United States evokes questions.
"One gets the impression that the Americans are using ISIL to offer stubborn resistance to the movement of government troops..", Surovikin said.
Surovikin also said that aviation of the US-led international coalition is impeding the struggle of the Syrian government forces against terrorists.
The Syrian government forces have considerably improved their positions in the south of the province of As-Suwayda. In that region, the Syrian troops managed to capture a number of strategically important heights and communications, depriving terrorists of the possibility to freely deliver reserves and cargoes in the country’s south, he noted. "However, in the course of their offensive, the government troops were confronted with counteraction from the aviation of the US-led international coalition.
The Americans advanced absolutely groundlessly ultimatum demands to the Syrian army not to approach the positions of the so-called New Syrian Army.
They are motivating their actions by absurd assertions that the government troops are creating a threat to US bases and camps for training the opposition’s militants in the south of Syria," the general said.
As a result, the coalition’s aviation and strongholds of 'New Syrian Army militants have blocked the way of the government forces, which are destroying militants of the Islamic State and setting up border posts along the border with Iraq to the north-east of Al-Tanf to Abu Kamal during their offensive, Surovikin said.
"This is a violation of the sovereign right of the Syrian Arab Republic to protect its borders," the general said.
"In reply to a question about what this is done for and how this helps in the struggle against the ISIL representatives of the US command vaguely explain that they feel danger from the government forces.
At the same time, it is not explained what kind of danger it is and where it comes from. An impression is created that danger for the coalition is posed not by ISIL terrorists but by the Syrian government forces," Surovikin said.
Despite counteraction from the US-led international coalition, the Syrian troops and allied militia have restored during their offensive on the IS positions control on the Syrian-Jordanian border at a stretch of 105 km, Surovikin said.
The Syrian army has established nine border posts and signed agreements with 22 populated settlements to complete the process of reconciliation with the tribes of Druzes and Bedouins controlling that area.
The Syrian government forces continue operations to place the Syrian-Jordanian border and the border with Iraq under control, the Russian general said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad paid a visit to a "Made in Syria" exhibition in Damascus, on 8 June 2017. While Assad walked around the shopping complex without security guards, Syrians didn't miss the chance to take selfies with him. [FARS News Agency, 9-6-2017]
Sadek Al Ghariani, the Tripoli-based grand mufti, together with Abdulhakim Belhadj, Ali Salabi, his brother Ismail, Mahdi Al-Harati and the entire Bengahzi Defence Brigades have been named as terrorists by the Saudis, the Emiratis, Egyptians and Bahrainis.
Their names have appears on a list of supposed terrorists linked to Qatar which has been published by the Saudi Press Agency.
Ali Salabi, who lives in Qatar, is the political mentor and, many say, the real leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.
His brother Ismail was one of the Benghazi’s main Islamist leaders and a former commander of the Libya Shield No. 1 battalion.
Abdul Hakim Belhadj, the head of the former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who who leads the Nation Party, also has close ties to Qatar.
In a joint statement, the four countries said the updated list was part of their efforts at “combatting terrorism, drying up the sources of its funding, countering extremist ideology and the tools of its dissemination and promotion, and to working together to defeat terrorism and protect all societies from its impact”.
Ghariani and Ali Salabi have defended Qatar, rejecting the allegations against it.
Flashback: Libya’s Grand Mufti Calls For Strict Sex-segregation
Abdul Hakim Belhadj is described as a guardian of Qatari interests in Libya. He is one of the most prominent leaders of groups indirectly linked to Al-Qaeda, a former Al-Qaeda terrorist and the LIFG, also took part in the war in Afghanistan.
The LIFG was founded in Libya in the 1990s, a militant organization founded by Libyan elements after returning from fighting in Afghanistan.
He was arrested in Malaysia in February 2004 by the Passport and Immigration Bureau with the interference of the CIA. He was then deported to Bangkok for interrogation by the CIA and then deported to Libya on March 8, 2004. He was imprisoned at Abu Salim Prison for six years before being released. In March 2010.
After the revolution that toppled the Muammar Gaddafi regime, he became the leader of the National Party and commander of the military junta in Tripoli.
He founded the Wings Aviation Company and now owns several planes that provide dozens of flights daily between Tripoli and several other countries. (Saudi Gazette, 11-6-2017)
Retired General Mahmoud Mansour, the founder of Qatari Intelligence, said he believes it is impossible for Doha to implement its aim to have Iranian and Turkish soldiers deployed in its territory.
In a phone interview with Makkah newspaper, Mansour said the US will not allow fighters of other nationalities to be deployed in Qatar territories near its large base, adding that talks of foreign soldiers (to be used by Qatar) are no more than “vocal waves that will disappear.”
He said a list that named 59 individuals and 12 entities, issued jointly by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt, “is only the first step and will be followed by others.”
“In the coming days, many terrorist persons and entities will be added, especially those who Qatar has funded in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and Europe.”
He said it is time to bring the Qatari regime to account whether by the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League or the UN.
The general said that former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa and his government executive head Hamad bin Jasim turned Doha “to a department for the execution of operations aimed at achieving the goals of (previous) US administrations in the region.”
They supported armed and terrorist groups in Asia, Africa, the Arab world and some European regions.
He said arrogance made them (the Hamads) think they could outsmart the US and seek the creation of a huge Islamic state with Doha as its capital.
During that period (under the two Hamads), Qatar started looking for agents to recruit in Somalia, Eretria, Central and Western Africa, Egypt, some of the Gulf states “if not all of them,” in addition to the Levant region and even Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
They started providing the funds and arms for those agents, while deceiving the Qatari people who thought the funds were for humanitarian purposes at those societies.
“The truth is, their goal was to create unrest in the countries they succeeded in penetrating using their (the then-Qatar government) vast amounts of money.”
Flashback - Qatari Minister: Assad is the real terrorist
2011 Cartoon from the UK Independent. It depicts The British PM and French president fighting over controls of the plane while in the back seat asleep is Obama (leading from behind) with the Emir of Qatar at the point of the aircraft with a wind direction detector to ascertain the political winds to follow.
Qatar is a top backer of rebels fighting Assad, working alongside Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Western nations in a military aid program overseen by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that provides moderate groups with arms and training.
Qatar was determined to carry on, Sheikh Mohammed said: "This support is going to continue, we are not going to stop it. It doesn't mean that if Aleppo falls we will give up on the demands of the Syrian people," he said.
"Even if the regime captures it (Aleppo), I am sure they will have the ability to capture it back from the regime..."
He said Assad was "the fuel of Daesh" because his forces' [fighting rebels] helped the hardline group motivate young Syrian recruits.
Sheikh Mohammed suggested that Trump's views about Syria might evolve once in office when he received intelligence reports about the "reality" on the ground. Sheikh Mohammed said the reality was that Assad and violence by his forces were the core security risk...
The minister hit out at Egypt, normally a close Gulf Arab ally, for appearing to side with Assad, and criticized Iran for what he said was interference in the affairs of Arab states.
"For us unfortunately Egypt is supporting the regime ... We hope that they come back and be with us," he said.
Support for Assad is the same as supporting terrorism, he said, "because he is a terrorist and he is on equal footing with Daesh".
[May 2012] Muslim Brotherhood's presidential hopeful Mohamed Morsi visited the governorates of Beni Suef and Fayoum. Morsi was accompanied on his tour by Salafist figures Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud as well as Islamic scholar Safwat Hegazi and the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
Israeli academia outraged at new ethical code
Asa Kasher is noted for authorship of Israel Defense Forces's Code of Conduct.|
He wrote an influential defense of Israel's 'law of return', justifying it as a form of affirmative action, following periods in which Jews were not allowed to immigrate to many countries.
He also wrote about possible meanings to a Jewish and democratic state, the meaning of a Jewish collective and many other essays. His essays on Jewish subjects are collected in a book titled Ruach Ish (Spirit of a Man), published in Hebrew by Am Oved publication house.
Prof. Kasher has strong, long-standing ties with the army. He drafted the IDF ethical code of conduct in the mid-1990's.
In 2003 he and Maj. Gen Amos Yadlin, now the head of Military Intelligence, published an article entitled "The Ethical Fight Against Terror." It justified the targeted assassination of terrorists, even at the price of hitting nearby Palestinian civilians.
After “Operation Cast Lead” — Israel’s three-week-long assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009 that killed 1,400 Palestinians, including some 400 children — Kasher rushed to explain how and why killing children on such a scale is permissible.
"Asa Kasher faithfully plays the role of attorney for the defense, offering a closing statement in the case of “World Public Opinion vs. the State of Israel.” His goal is to justify the IDF’s conduct of the Gaza war, and as a result, he produces the argument of an advocate.