Saddam's Death, 96 (july 2017)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 95: june 2017 and Page 97: july-august
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Trump & the Two Messiah's - Kennedy Speech 1961 - Eisenhower's Social Gospel
"I Have, I Rule and I will Destroy" - Iran & the dialogue of civilizations
Netanyahu & Infantilization of Israel
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)

Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu

"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)

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)

"Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised." Vincent Peale

"Vincent Peale thought I was his greatest student of all time", quoted in: Donald Trump, a man of faith

US President Donald Trump
congratulated Muslims
on the advent of the Eid al-Fitr holiday

"On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr…
Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity.

During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill.
With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values," Trump said in a statement as quoted by The Hill newspaper.

The president concluded the statement with the words "Eid Mubarak," which are the traditional Muslim greeting meaning "blessed celebration."

Lavrov, Tillerson discuss Syrian crisis
TASS Russian News Agency, June 27, 2017

Syrian settlement, including issues of strengthening the ceasefire in that country, was in focus of a telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.
"The two top diplomats discussed problems related to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, including the necessity to strengthen the ceasefire, in particular via the Astana process, to step up efforts in the fight against terrorist groups and preventing attempts to use chemical poisonous agents," the ministry said.

"Lavrov called on Washington to take measures to prevent provocations against Syrian government troops fighting against terrorists," the ministry said.The two top diplomats agreed to continue contacts, "including on issues of the bilateral agenda," the ministry added.

Trump’s Neoconservative ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley,
accuses Syria of Planning Gas attack - attacks Russia, Iran
By Juan Cole | Jun. 27, 2017

The Trump administration is making noise about striking Syria, on the grounds that Damascus is planning to use poison gas again.
The statement is said to be from “the White House” but is otherwise not characterized. Why does the White House think this? Why did Trump himself not tweet about it if it is coming from him?
The odd thing about the breathless announcement late Monday was that earlier that day Secretary of State Rex Tillerson phoned his Russian opposite number, Sergei Lavrov to discuss tamping down the violence in Syria.
They want to extend the current ceasefire in some areas, which did in fact lead to less violence in the “deconfliction zones...
It is almost as if there were a faction of hawks around Trump who wanted to derail any Tillerson-Lavrov cooperation and maintain a condition of undeclared war with Russia and Iran.

Nikki Haley: The Friend of Right-Wing Israel

Trump Appoints Friend of Israel as Ambassador to Anti-Zionist United Nations
Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News (Biblical Perspective), 23-11-2016

President-elect Donald Trump has offered South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley the position of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and she has accepted, NBS reported on Wednesday.
It is a position of high importance to Israel, which faces opposition and condemnation at the UN at levels unknown to any other country.
Israel has relied heavily on US support to veto resolutions unfavorable to the Jewish State or promote movements which strengthen its position.
Luckily for Israel, Haley has a record which seems likely to translate to a pro-Israel stance at the UN...

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.
"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."
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.

Nikki Haley champions Israel's anti-BDS policy
Alex Kane, Middle East Eye, 30 March 2017

“Know that the United States has Israel’s back, and know that you now have a fighter and a friend in the UN to help you,” Haley told the audience of more than 2,000 pro-Israel activists, students and representatives of Jewish organizations.
“We should boycott North Korea, we should sanction Iran, we should divest from Syria, not Israel,” she said. “It makes absolutely no sense and it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.” Nikki Haley (Jerusalem Post)

Haley’s presence at a nakedly pro-Israel forum underscored how the Trump administration has strengthened the already close US-Israeli relations. And it was a signal that, as Israel pursues a crackdown on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the US will follow suit.
“The effort to delegitimize the state of Israel being waged on college campuses and the anti-Israel obsession at the UN are one in the same,” Haley told the pro-Israel confab. “They both seek to deny Israel’s right to exist. They are both efforts to intimidate her friends and embolden her enemies. They are both extensions of an ancient hatred.”

U.S. envoy to U.N: We hate Assad
By Paul Antonopoulos, Al-Masdar News, 04/04/2017

The United States does not believe that the Syrian people want President Bashar al-Assad as their leader any longer, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, claimed on Monday that the Syrian people do not want President Bashar al-Assad as their leader any longer.
This comes as only days earlier the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said that the USA needs to accept the reality that removing Assad is no longer the priority in Syria, and rather the defeat of ISIS is.
“We have no love for Assad. We’ve made that very clear. We think that he has been a hindrance to peace for a long time. He’s a war criminal. What he’s done to his people is nothing more than disgusting,” she said.

Saddam's Death, page 90

Netanyahu: [Westbank Settlement] Ariel will always remain part of Israel
By Herb Keinon, Jeruslam Post, 28-6-2017

Israel is building in Ariel, and it will always remain a part of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged in the settlement during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new medical center at Ariel University.
Netanyahu said the center, named after the donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, will attract the “best teachers and researchers, and will train generations of students who will add to Israel’s prestige in the world.”
Netanyahu praised Adelson for his numerous contributions to Jewish education around the world...
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, were questioned earlier this week by police regarding the ongoing investigation into Netanyahu’s contacts with Arnon Mozes, the publisher Yediot Aharonot.
The cornerstone-laying event took place amid reports that the relationship between Netanyahu and Adelson is not as close as it once was, and that the American billionaire is getting closer to Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, who also attended the ceremony.

2-10-2010: Binyamin Netanyahu declared the Jewish city of Ariel “the capital of Samaria.”

He planted a symbolic tree in the city, as he did earlier in the week in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, and Maaleh Adumin, located west of the capital and overlooking the Dead Sea. Netanyahu added that he was planting not only a tree but also "three principles: Growing strength, Jewish settlement and culture in the heart of our land of our forefathers and where we will remain and build.” (source)

Naftali Bennett said that the medical school will “heal the open wounds in Israeli society, and between us and our neighbors...."
Like Netanyahu, Bennett praised Adelson. “Sheldon and Miri Adelson, you are investing in our present, but you are also investing in the future of the Jewish people, and the future of our education,” he said. “Thank you very much.”

Lavrov : "No one wants to do something that is completely normal"
TASS Russian News Agency, 30-6-2017

In the current atmosphere behaving normal will be perceived as being a witch.

The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump expected to be held on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg should clarify bilateral relations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Primakov Readings conference
"Relations between Russia and the United States are particularly important in today’s world, as achieving many tasks at the global level, from ensuring strategic stability to resolving regional crises, depends on the two countries," the Russian top diplomat said.
"We see that most countries are concerned over these abnormal relations [between Russia and the United States - TASS] that have become hostage to the domestic political struggle in the US," Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister expressed hope that a "pragmatic approach, aimed at ensuring national interests through most effective methods will prevail."

According to Lavrov, a "witch hunt" is underway in the United States.
"They have frightened people in many ways but I believe that this will cease. And this absolute abnormality that is taking place in the US political life, when not a single proven fact is presented and there are attempts to replay the election results, this cannot last for long," the Russian foreign minister said.
"There is such an atmosphere there now, such a witch hunt is underway that no one wants to do something that is completely normal in a different atmosphere....
In the current atmosphere behaving normal will be perceived as being a witch. People have been frightened in many ways," the Russian foreign minister said.
"But I believe that this will cease. This absolute abnormality that is taking place in the US political life, when not a single proven fact is presented, this cannot last for long," the Russian foreign minister said.

'Witch' Bashar al-Assad, 2011: 'A crusade against independent policies'

"We were told to terminate all agreements with Russia."
Sergei Balmasov, Pravda 13-12-2011

- Question: Until recently, you were considered a respectable leader in the West. Why do you think the situation has changed so much?"

- Assad: "The current pressure on Syria from the West has not become something unexpected for us. In September 2001, US President George Bush launched a crusade against the countries that were running US-independent policies.
The crusade was guised under the struggle against terror. Afghanistan became the first on the list, Iraq followed next. Clouds began to gather above Syria too, and the USA said that Syria was another link in the axis of evil (Iraq-Iran-North Korea).
"The changes became especially noticeable in 2003, soon after the US and its allies attacked Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein.
Then US Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Syria and demanded Syria should revise its ties with Russia.
He said that Syria's policies with Russia must change by 180 degrees. We were told to terminate all agreements with Russia. They virtually told us to turn our back on Russia.
"They threatened to conduct aggression against my country otherwise...

The Death of the Arab Independence Dream

Arab nationalism is now largely a vanished cause. Once it aspired to unite Sunni, Shi’a, and Christian Arabs under a secular banner. It is the official ideology of the Ba’ath party in Syria and the outlawed Ba’ath Party in Iraq, and it was once touted by Nasser as well. But now it is pretty much dead. (American Interest, 30-3-2012)

US Falsely Accuses Iran of Violating Nuclear Deal
Haley Cites Iran's Support for Syria and Iraq at Security Council
Jason Ditz,, June 30, 2017

It’s very difficult to accuse Iran of being in violation of the P5+1 nuclear deal, because they are plainly not.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is responsible for policing the deal, confirms on a monthly basis that this remains the case, and that Iran has not been in violation of the pact.
That’s an inconvenience for the Trump Administration, which has repeatedly condemned the deal and insisted Iran would violate it.
Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley appears to have decided that the path of least resistance is overt lying, today claiming at the UN Security Council that Iran had “repeated violations” of the deal.
The claim was made literally during a meeting at which all the other permanent members of the Security Council were talking up how great it is that the deal is in place, and that Iran is showing such a deep commitment to its continued participation.
This sort of undercut Haley, who tried to elaborate on the “violations,” but really just accused Iran of supporting the governments of Syria and Iraq in the war against ISIS. Naturally, this was never a condition of the nuclear deal, and nor was Iran’s development of conventional missiles.
Most of the other Security Council members just sort of politely smiled throughout and ignored the ravings of Haley, who vowed that the US wouldn’t turn a blind eye to the imagined violations.

French Foreign Minister: Libya is a failed state
By Sami Zaptia, Libya Herald, 30-6-2017

Muammar Gaddafi 2011

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian admitted that as far as France was concerned Libya had no effective government or state to deal with. France has ‘‘no Libyan State interlocutors’’ to deal with. Adding that France could not ‘‘be satisfied by this situation’’.
‘‘Libya is a totally failed State where all structures now need to be rebuilt’’, he stated.
With regards to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed by the contending Libyan parties in Skhirat in December 2016, Le Drian said that while it must remain as the mechanism for seeking Libyan accord, the ‘‘architecture needs to be adjusted’’. Adding that ‘‘General Hafter is part of the solution’’, but without elaborating exactly how. ‘‘In any case, France cannot remain silent and Libya is a priority of our President’’, he added.

Foreign Minister Le Drian was responding to the questions: ”What needs to be done to stabilize Libya? Should Field Marshal Hafter be included?” (put to him in an interview with La Matinale du Monde).
‘‘In my view, this is now a major issue: the security risk is growing in Libya, in the context of trafficking of all sorts, and even of people. The Central Mediterranean migration route is once again the largest one, and we have no Libyan State interlocutors. We cannot be satisfied by this situation.
Libya is a totally failed State where all structures now need to be rebuilt.

UN: Ending occupation sole way to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict
Press TV, Sat Jul 1, 2017

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an end to Israel’s half-century occupation of the Palestinian territories, stressing that it is the only path that leads to the resolution of the conflict in the region.
Guterres made the plea in a message read out by his deputy Amina Mohammed to a forum held at the UN headquarters in New York to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
The Israeli occupation has imposed a heavy humanitarian burden on the Palestinian people as “Generations of Palestinians have grown up in crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children,” Guterres said.
He also underlined the need for establishing an independent Palestinian state and noted that ending the occupation “is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”
It is time to return to direct negotiations between the two sides and settle issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law, the UN chief added.
Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would remove a driver of violence in the Middle East and “open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all,” he concluded.

The Six-Day War was fought on June 5-10, 1967 between the Israeli regime on the one side and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on the other.
At the end of that war, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, and parts of the Golan Heights. Israel later withdrew from Gaza but has kept the coastal enclave under a crippling siege since 2007.

Qatar FM: "The world is not governed by ultimatums"
"We believe that the world is governed by the international law"
Al-Jazeera, 2-7-2017

qatar supported lawlessness in syria

Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Al Thani, has said Doha will not meet any of the 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia and its allies, offering instead "a proper condition for a dialogue" to resolve the Gulf crisis.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, speaking at the news conference in the Italian capital Rome on Saturday, said the list "was meant to be rejected", pointing to the fact that it arrived with a 10-day expiration date.
"Everyone is aware that these demands are meant to infringe the sovereignty of the state of Qatar, shut the freedom of speech and impose auditing and probation mechanism for Qatar," he said.
"We believe that the world is not governed by ultimatums, we believe that the world is governed by the international law, it is governed by an order that does not allow large countries to bully small countries."

Sheikh Mohammed spoke less than 48 hours before the deadline for the demands issued last week was due to pass.
The list of demands include downgrading ties with Iran, shutting down Al Jazeera media network and Turkish military base in Doha.
The ultimatum came more than two weeks after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed sanctions, accusing it of supporting "terrorism".
Sheikh Mohammed said on Saturday that "those parties brand any party of state who opposes their designs as terrorists".
"The state of Qatar has been subjected to unlawful measures on the basis of false allegations without the submission of evidence," he said.

Saudi Prince Al-Faisal: Iran is the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world
“Officials of the Iranian regime should be presented to the International Criminal Court.”
Al Arabiya, Saturday, 1 July 2017

Turki Al-Faisal: "Fighting ISIS is fighting Assad" (16-3-2015)
Prince Turki al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Islamic Studies, said in his speech Saturday at the Iranian opposition conference in Paris that “the Iranian government is the greatest sponsor of terrorism” in the world.
Al-Faisal said, “Khomeini sought to export revolutions and coups to the region.”
Al-Faisal stressed that the Iranian elections are undemocratic and illegitimate, because Khamenei appoints the candidates, saying, “the behavior of the Iranian regime does not qualify it to be a democratic system.”
Prince Al-Faisal said, “Officials of the Iranian regime should be presented to the International Criminal Court.”

Several figures who participated in the Iranian opposition conference in Paris called for supporting the struggle of the Iranian people calling for change by overthrowing Tehran’s regime.
Among the attendees of the conference were parliamentary delegations from Britain, Italy, Albania, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia and Algeria – as well as various other European countries.

Flashback: Saudi Writer Zuhair Kutbi: "Most Saudi intellectuals are cowards"
Horace Jeffery Hodges, 15-7-2015

Iranian FM Criticizes France For Allowing MKO's Activities
FARS News Agency (Iran), 2-7-2017

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced Iran's regret that the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) has been given the permission to carry out its activities in France.
Zarif reiterated that the MKO’s terrorist nature is not hidden to anybody, and said that all regional and European countries are aware of the group's acts of terror.
The Iranian foreign minister said that Iran is aware that Saudi Arabia has been colluding with the MKO and providing the terrorist group with financial support since the Iraqi imposed war on Iran in the 1980s.
"The Al Saud regime has decided to publicize its cooperation with the terrorist group since last year by attending its meetings," Zarif added.
On Saturday, the MKO terrorist group held a meeting in Paris, which was attended by some of the former US, European and Saudi officials, including former Saudi spy chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who also delivered a speech.
On July 9, 2016, Paris hosted another annual meeting organized by the MKO terrorist group, which was also attended by Faisal.

The MKO, founded in the 1960s, participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic.
The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in September 2012.
The MKO has assassinated over 12,000 Iranians in the last 4 decades.

Bolton: America’s interests should predominate
ARA News, July 2, 2017

In 2002 John Bolton, Undersecretary of State under George W. Bush, came up with a project to simultaneously break up Libya and Syria. He called the two states along with Cuba “The Axis Of Evil”. Amongst Syria’s crimes have been their close relations with Iran, Hezbollah (in Lebanon), the Palestinian resistance, and Russia, and their failure to conclude a peace treaty with Israel, unlike Jordan and Egypt. ( 2012)

John Bolton, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 through 2006, said that the United States should reduce its support for Iraq for its ties to Iran.
“First, the U.S. ought to abandon or substantially reduce its military support for Iraq’s current government. Despite retaining a tripartite veneer of Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs, the capital is dominated by Shiites loyal to Iran,” he argued in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
“Today Iraq resembles Eastern Europe in the late 1940s, as the Soviet anaconda tightened its hold.
Extending Baghdad’s political and military control into areas retaken from ISIS simply advances Tehran’s power. This cannot be in America’s interest,” Bolton said.
“Iraq’s Kurds have de facto independence and are on the verge of declaring it de jure. They fight ISIS to facilitate the creation of a greater Kurdistan,” he stated. “Nonetheless, the Kurds, especially in Syria and Turkey, are hardly monolithic. Not all see the U.S. favorably,” he stated.
In Syria, Kurdish forces fighting ISIS are linked to the Marxist PKK in Turkey. They pose a real threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity, even if it may seem less troubling now that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans have turned so profoundly contrary to the secular, Western-oriented vision of Kemal Atatürk,” he added...

The Trump administration should recraft the U.S.-led coalition to ensure that America’s interests, rather than Russia’s or Iran’s, predominate once ISIS is defeated,” said the former American Ambassador to the UN.

YNet News Israel: Assad is behind ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria
Itamar Eichner | Published: 27.06.2017

Salim Hudaifah was an officer in the Syrian regime's army and 27 years ago defected to the West. Assad and ISIS, he is sure, are cooperating behind the scenes.
"We have intelligence information that Assad is behind ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. Assad deceives everyone on this issue, including the Russians. He's the one who gives them orders.
Israel must be very concerned that our assessment is that once Assad is cornered and feels distressed, he will order ISIS to attack Israel. That will be his last-ditch effort, to try to drag Israel into this war, as a desperate measure."
So said Salim Hudaifah, political representative of the Free Syrian Army opposition organization, in the Eurasian Media Forum.

The following was said in a panel on the subject "The Syrian crisis, is the end in sight?" which was attended by Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov, former Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Hudaifah as a representative of the Free Syrian Army, Alaa Ebrahim - a journalist affiliated with the Assad regime - and ex-PM Chief of Staff and Chief Negotiator Gilead Sher from Israel.
"The Assad regime is playing with the blood of the citizens of Syria, and to my great sorrow, so are the superpowers. No Syrian citizen will agree to accept Assad as the future leader of Syria. Assad must leave the country."
The opposition leader said that as an intelligence officer in Assad's army, his main enemy was Israel.
In 1990 he deserted the Syrian army and fled to the West. He found asylum in Denmark, where he met Israelis for the first time in his life and connected with them.
He was later head of the program for training the Free Syrian Army forces by the Pentagon
After a year of training in Jordan, the Americans decided to stop the program and went to cooperate with the Kurds.

syria 2013: fsa & isis

Massive Propaganda Campaign Is Launched
Al-Alam News (Iran), 3-7-2017

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that a propaganda campaign to blame Syria’s government for alleged use of chemical weapons has begun, adding that the effort is expected to be massive and include “many fakes.”
“As we warned a few days ago, a media propaganda campaign on the ‘use of chemical weapons by Damascus’ has begun,”Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

Donald Trump 2016: "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none."

Zakharova’s post was accompanied by a screenshot from a video being shared on social media allegedly showing a hospital in Eastern Ghouta. The speaker in the video claims the people he is filming have been affected by “chlorine gas used by the regime.”
“There will be more of such videos, and they will be of different quality – either low-grade, like this one or of Hollywood level.
There will be many fakes, the planned campaign is a massive one,” the Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman said.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Moscow perceives allegations made by the White House that Syria could be preparing a chemical attack as an "invitation" for terrorists to launch a provocation using chemical weapons.
"We consider these new insinuations on the issue of weapons of mass destruction — in the worst traditions of 2003 NATO intervention in Iraq — to be nothing less than an invitation for terrorists, extremists and armed opposition in Syria to fabricate another mass provocation using chemical weapons," the statement, published on the Ministry's website, said.
"After (the provocation), the 'inevitable punishment' for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should follow, as envisioned by Washington," it added.
The Syrian government has fiercely denied using or even possessing chemical weapons since the country’s compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention was certified by international observers in 2013.

"In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls,
but foreign policy follows Machiavelli." Howard Zinn

"Men should be either treated generously or destroyed,
because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot.”
Niccolo Machiavelli

France's Former Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, has stated in a televised program on LCP that UK government officials had told him about preparations for war in Syria two years prior to the start of the 2011 protests and conflict.
The reason given for this war is the Syrian government's anti-Israel stance that made Syria a target for Western-backed regime change.

Vincent Fisher 2015: "The real problem is us, the American people. We do not read books, prefer game shows and sports over politics.. The wars in Vietnam and Iraq would never had happened if most of us simply paid attention to what our "leaders" are really attempting... Slowly a lot of people are becoming more aware to the lies being fed to us, but too many of us don't care due to apathy or just ignorance.

Israel: City of Tel Aviv says it will promote pluralism in its schools
"We will defend city's secular character"
David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, 04/07/2017

The municipalities of Tel Aviv and neighboring Givatayim are taking on organizations working to promote Jewish identity among Israeli youngsters, accusing the groups of imposing traditional Judaism and infringing on the rights of two cities’ secular populations.
In an interview with the Hebrew daily Haaretz, Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Assaf Zamir said that the municipality would protect the city’s secular character, warning that organizations spreading traditional Jewish views would be barred from local schools.
“We will secure the secularness of the city’s schools,” said Zamir.
“We are looking for ways to limit the entry of organizations which spread Orthodoxy and do not respect the rules of pluralism. The city will work to prevent the infiltration of religious content into the secular public education system.”
According to the Haaretz report, the Tel Aviv municipality has ordered principals to report all organizations operating in their schools and to describe the nature of the content those organizations teach to students.
The City of Tel Aviv has expressed concern regarding religious women working in local schools via the National Service, and has asked school administrators to report on the nature of their activities.

Jesus, Jews & Neighborship

Jesus, the man from Galilee
who wanted to rescue the Jews

Jesus said to [the Samaritan woman]: “Believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (New Testament, John 4)

When Hillel [the Elder] died in 10 A.D., the Shammites took over the Pharisee role within the Sanhedrin and became the primary religious influence in Judea, whereas in the Galilee region, where Jesus lived and was raised, the teachings of Hillel held sway.
With this in mind, the pharisees that opposed Jesus we often identified as Judeans (or were located in Jerusalem in Judea), whereas the ones sympathetic to Jesus or his followers (like Gamaliel, Hillel’s grandson) were Gallilean.
The animosity shown between the Shammites and the Hillelites are hard to understate, with comparisons to the classic Calvinist/Arminian debate holding similarities, with the Shammites holding to a strict fundamentalist view of scripture and practice and the Hillelites holding to a much more lenient, contextual view which emphasized the balance between love for God and love for your neighbor.

In the debate of “who is my neighbor?”, Shammai taught that only God-fearing, observant Jews were ‘neighbors’ (thus, the only ones worthy of love).

Hillel, on the other hand, taught that everyone – including one’s enemies – were ‘neighbors’
, with the exception of the hated, apostate Samaritans. (Jesus as rabbi)

End of ISIS control? Now is the time to liberate minds
Dina al-Shibeeb, Al-Arabiya, 4 July 2017

Karrar Noshi, an aspiring young actor and a visual arts student, was recently stabbed to death in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, apparently because his style was very flamboyant and he wore “tight clothes.”
This kind of violence – perpetrated to suppress a human being’s choice of wardrobe – is not new. They have happened way before the rise of the malicious and immoral ISIS and its so-called Caliphate in 2014.
Way back in March 2012, I remember reporting about the stoning to death of dozens of Iraqi teenagers with “emo appearance.” They were reportedly killed by some form of moral police in a violent crackdown soon after the Iraqi interior ministry at the time declared them as “devil worshippers.”
And even before the brutal killing of those “emo” teenagers in Iraq, the Iraqi Ministry of Education in 2010 tried to ban theater and music classes in Baghdad’s Fine Arts Institute, and ordered the removal of statues showcased at the entrance of the institute.

emo (or feminine) look - are feminine boys devils?

Several reasons could be attributed to the rise of extremism in Iraq – be it Shiite or Sunni – following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. It began with the intention to localize the global “war on terror” in Iraq.
Iraq’s borders were kept porous with no protection against the region’s radical and frustrated people who entered a country plagued by virtual absence of institutions such as the Iraqi Army. Special mention should be made about Paul Bremer, the head of Coalition Provisional Authority, who dismantled the army amid simmering anger against occupation.
This region definitely has some conservative hues but the constant instability it has experienced has heightened these tendencies. Iraq is a prime example of this phenomenon despite the efforts made by the US to bring democracy to the country.

As the Iraqi government is getting ready to announce officially the liberation of the country’s second largest city of Mosul from ISIS control, the plague of the conservative group’s ideology lurk in the background.
In a recent interview with the Turkish-owned TRT World, actual imam of the Great Al-Nuri Mosque – where ISIS Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced his Caliphate in 2014 – said he was initially “optimistic” when ISIS took over as he was looking forward for an Islamic rule.
During the interview the imam reiterated his support for Sharia’h rulings such as cutting fingers of thieves and stoning of adulterers.
Is it possible that following this war against ISIS, and the imminent liberation of Mosul, we witness killings of innocent person such as Noshi and find an imam still romanticizing about a “Caliphate”?

Iraqi parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri is right when he said last week that “liberating minds from extremist ideology” is far more important than just freeing territories seized by ISIS.
We can always liberate a place but liberating minds isn’t as simple...

5th round of Syria talks begin in Astana
Press TV, Tue Jul 4, 2017

Kazakhstan’s capital has started hosting a fifth round of talks between the Syrian government and opposition, with Iran, Russia, and Turkey as mediators. The latest round started out in Astana on Tuesday with a trilateral discussion among the moderators. The three mediators helped bring about a nationwide ceasefire in Syria late last year.
Anuar Zhainakov, the press-secretary at Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, confirmed to AFP that delegates from the Syrian government and anti-Damascus militant groups had earlier arrived in Astana.
The talks will last two days and seek to build up on the results of the previous round in May, which saw the participants agreeing to create four de-escalation zones in the violence-battered Arab country.
More than 2.5 million people are believed to be living in the general area of the four zones.
The Syrian army unilaterally announced a halt to fighting until midnight July 6 in one of the zones that spans the southern provinces of Dara’a, Quneitra, and Sweida. The rest of the areas cover the northwestern province of Idlib, parts of the central province of Homs, and the militant-controlled Eastern Ghouta Province near Damascus.
Upon full realization, the plan is expected to see the warring sides halting hostilities against one another for six months.
At Damascus’ request, Iran has been providing military advisory support to the Syrian military in its counterterrorism operations. Russia has been carrying out an aerial campaign in Syria, similarly in coordination with Damascus, since September 2015 to further boost the military’s anti-terror fight.
Turkey has been siding with the militants over the course of the militancy in Syria, which began in 2011.

In Mosul Iraqi soldiers hold a celebration at the destroyed al-Nuri Mosque

“We’ve won, but look around you,” said Col. Saaed Badeer Katam, of the Special Forces Najaf Battalion. “Everything is destroyed.”
Even the al-Nuri Mosque, the victory tour’s destination, is in ruins, with its iconic minaret chopped down and prayer space destroyed. Abu-Bakar al-Baghdadi declared himself “Caliph” of IS in 2014 in this mosque. Three years later IS destroyed it, apparently just to lessen Iraq’s triumph in Mosul. (Voice of America, 4-7-2017)

Libya: Hafter declares victory over Benghazi militants
By Libya Herald reporters, Benghazi, 5 July 2017

Even though some militants are still besieged by the Libyan National Army in a small Sabri area, armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter tonight went on television to announce victory.
In a brief address, Hafter, wearing a white uniform with gold braid, thanked the armed forces for their bravery and the people for their courage in the long battle to drive the militants out of the city.
Benghazinos were in the mood to celebrate. Convoys of cars drove through the streets with people waving Libyan flags from the windows. A lot of young people were giving military salutes.

It is just over three years ago that senior army officers including Hafter announced the start of the Dignity (Karama) operation.
It was a direct response to the rising orgy of violence in the city which had seen the assassination of more than 150 former and serving police and army officers, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists, including human rights lawyer Salwa Bugaighis and 18-year old blogger Tawfiq Ben Saud.
The militants included the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council and its UN-designated terrorist allies, IS and Ansar Al-Sharia.

“Yes to the army, yes to the police. No to militias."

Thousands rally in support of Libyan general Khalifa Haftar. By Agence France-Presse, May 23, 2014

Ex-general Khalifa Haftar has garnered growing support amid frustration at the lawlessness in Libya three years after the overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.
“Yes to dignity”, read banners carried by demonstrators at Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli.
Thousands more pro-Haftar demonstrators gathered outside Tibesti Hotel in the eastern city of Benghazi, a stronghold of the Islamists, and in Baida, further east.
“Yes to the army, yes to the police”, their banners read. “No to militias, Libya will not become another Afghanistan.”

Flashback 2014: Libyan Muslim Brotherhood condemns Haftar “coup”. Al-Awsat, 23-5-2014

The Muslim Brotherhood has strongly condemned statements made by the former army chief in a wide-ranging interview with Asharq Al-Awsat published earlier this week.
During the interview, Haftar pledged to “purge” Libya of Muslim Brotherhood members, describing the group as a “malignant disease that is seeking to spread throughout the bones of the Arab world.”
The secretary-general of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood, Bashir Al-Kabti, rejected Haftar’s accusations, characterizing his forces’ attack on Benghazi as part of a “military coup” and stressing that the Brotherhood in Libya have always worked within the framework of the law.
Responding to Haftar’s threat to “purge” Libya of the Muslim Brotherhood, Kabti told Asharq Al-Awsat: “I said previously that it is impossible for this to happen in Libya, because all Libyan people are armed. There is a pistol or machine gun or rocket-propelled grenade in every household. All types of weapons are available on the street—we are talking about 22 to 25 kinds of weapon currently on the streets.”

Putin, Trump talk various issues
in 1st first face-to-face meeting
Press TV (Iran), Fri Jul 7, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump have held their first meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany, and reportedly exchanged viewpoints on a host of international problems and bilateral issues.
Sitting next to Putin on the sidelines of the economic summit in the northern German city of Hamburg on Friday, Trump voiced optimism that there would be “very positive things” in store for the relations between Washington and Moscow, and that it was “an honor” to be with Putin.
We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia and the United States,” Trump said.

Putin and Trump agree on ceasefire in Syria
TASS Russian News Agency, July 07, 2017

Russia and the United States have agreed on a ceasefire in the south of Syria from 12.00 Damascus time on July 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday after the talks of Russian and US presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
"A ceasefire will come into force in that zone (Syria’s south - Daraa and Quneitra) at 12.00 Damascus time on July 9," he said. "The United States has made a commitment that all the groups present there will observe the ceasefire."
The security in the de-escalation zone in the south of Syria will be ensured by the Russian military police in coordination with the US and Jordan, he went on.
"At first, the security around this zone will be ensured with the use of the personnel and resources of the Russian military police," Lavrov said.

Al-Jazeera cannot whitewash its ‘terror network’ past
Faisal J. Abbas, Arab News, 6 July 2017

The closure of Al Jazeera as one of the 13 demands by the Anti-Terror Quartet (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt) was not carefully thought through. But this does not mean the Qatari-owned news network should be allowed to get away with inciting murder.
There are a few issues with the ongoing debate about the channel that must be clarified before dwelling further.
First, freedom-of-expression advocates must realize that Al Jazeera English (AJE), which many worldwide watch and enjoy, has nothing to do in terms of tone, editorial guidelines or media ethics with its older sister Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA). The latter can and should, at the very least, be described as a scar on the face of Middle Eastern journalism.
There is such a difference between the two channels that the longstanding joke in the Middle East when someone asks to put on Al Jazeera is: “Which one, the beauty or the beast?”

Luba Al Shibl was featured on Syrian state-controlled Television where
she accused 'Al Jazeera' of fabricating news about the events in Syria with the purpose of
overthrowing Al Assad's regime. arabia.msn, 1-5-2011

The Anti-Terror Quartet’s demand should have been carefully articulated to outline that the grievance with AJA is not that it criticizes neighboring countries, but that it has long served as a platform for hate-preachers and terrorists.
The channel was dubbed a “terror network” by the administration of former US President George W. Bush, and was criticized extensively, including in 2001 by the New York Times (NYT) for turning the late global terrorist Osama bin Laden into “a star.”
Only recently, Al Jazeera became the platform of choice for the notorious Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammad Al-Julani — a US-designated terrorist, blacklisted worldwide, who has called Al-Qaeda’s stance “noble.” AJA was also the platform the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Qaradawi used to bless suicide attacks..

So to all our colleagues in AJE I say the following: We all agree that “journalism is not a crime.” But what you AJE staffers should do, since you also “have demands,” is take them to your colleagues in your sister Arabic channel and ensure that journalism does not become a crime by giving a platform to those who bless the killing of innocents in both your home countries and mine.

Netanyahu protests UNESCO Hebron decision with scripture
Abraham bought the land, so its ours...
Kobi Nachshoni, YNet news, 09.07.2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protested Sunday (9-7) with scripture a UNESCO resolution declaring the Cave of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian World Heritage Site.

"And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the hearing of the children of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant ... And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre (Hebron) in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying-place by the children of Heth" (Genesis 23:16-19).

"The connection between the Jewish People and Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs is one of purchase and of history which may be without parallel in the history of peoples," he said after reading the Biblical passage.
"Of course this did not prevent the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last Friday from passing yet another delusional resolution which determined that the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the same Cave of Machpelah, is a Palestinian heritage site."
In response to the resolution, Netanyahu decided to cut an additional $1 million from Israel's membership fees to the UN and allocate the funds instead to the construction of The Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron, as well as additional heritage projects in Hebron.

Did Abraham actually exist?
by Ronald Hendel, Bible Odyssey

Abraham certainly exists in biblical memory. The tribes of Israel recalled him as their first patriarch.
But tribal memories in the ancient world were not always historically accurate—they were a mixture of history, legend, and myth.
Such traditional stories reshape the past so that it remains relevant for the present. The stories of Abraham are not immune to these cultural changes. As a result, we do not know whether Abraham actually existed. But even if he did, many (or most) of the details in the Abraham stories are legendary and not historical.
Some details that do seem to retain ancient historical memories are the importance of upper Mesopotamia (the region of Haran) as the ancestral homeland and the worship of a deity named El (“God”).
Both of these features are important in Amorite tribal cultures of the early second millennium B.C.E. So it seems that ancient details are occasionally preserved in the stories. But the stories are not about a half-forgotten Amorite tribal figure; they are about the biblical Abraham, who is the patriarch of Israel and the chosen one of God.
The biblical Abraham may not have actually existed, but his memory certainly does in the three great monotheistic religions.
In classical Judaism, interpreters elaborated on the biblical stories, making Abraham a dedicated monotheist even before God chose him.
In Islam, Abraham’s oldest son, Ishmael—the ancestor of the Arabs—inherits the blessing, rather than the younger son, Isaac.

The origin of Religious Tribalism - religion centered around a Tribal God
Genesis 17: The Covenant between God and a hundred years old man

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.
I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac,

The Sin of Tribalism
by Roger E. Olson, Patheos, 1-3-2015

Tribalism refers to a group attitude of undeserved pride and superiority based solely on identification with a group.
It is the tendency to look down on other people for no other reason than they don’t belong to the group. Often it includes looking down on members of the group who are not perceived as “native” to it.
Tribalism appears when a community closes its ranks around an illusion of superiority and excludes others for the purpose of increasing feelings of superiority.
A tribe invents “badges” or emblems of superiority that to outsiders are totally illusory. Tribes rarely recognize themselves as tribal in this sense; members really do think they are superior to outsiders. Outsiders, however, recognize that the badges of superiority are false—unless they want in.
Tribalism always echoes religion: gatherings that mimic worship, a mythos that celebrates past events, martyrs, prophets, relics in shrines, intense loyalty to the group with required expressions of that loyalty, excommunication for those who lack loyalty, etc.
The point of tribalism is that this sense of loyalty and echoes of religion, feelings of superiority and rhetoric of exclusion, have nothing to do with truth or ethics.
Of course, only outsiders can see that. Insiders who come to recognize that and attempt to point it out in order to dampen the intensity of group feeling are usually disciplined. If they do not “come around” they are excluded.

From a Christian point of view a problem with tribalism is the false sense of pride and superiority it encourages. In other words, its tendency to lead to idolatry.
From a Christian point of view a group cannot legitimately take pride in itself because whatever good it has or has done is a gift of grace. It can only take pride in God.
Jesus confronted tribalism among the Jewish leaders of his day. Some of them claimed that they were especially favored by God only because they were children of Abraham. The Apostle Paul also confronted that attitude.
A wise and mature person is one who is aware of tribalism and resists it. That’s true whether the person is Christian or not.
A wise and mature person, Christian or not, holds himself or herself aloof from the rituals of tribalism even when forced by necessity to be present.

Roger Olson: Christian theologian of the evangelical Baptist persuasion. Influenced by Pietism (movement, originating in the Lutheran Church in Germany in the 17th century, that stressed personal piety over religious formality and orthodoxy).

"This week Netanyahu did something bizarre: in the middle of a formal cabinet meeting he pulled a kippah from his pocket, put it on and started to read from the Bible (Genesis 25). He looked positively happy. He was showing the bloody Goyim up for what they are: anti-Semites all.
Does Netanyahu really believe (as I think he does) that this part of Biblical legend is history? If so, he has the mind of a 10 year old.
If he does not, he is a cheat. In any case, he is a very able demagogue. Uri Avnery (15-7-2017)

The infantilization of culture

"‘Grow up!’ We have all said it. We’ve all had it said to us. Sometimes it’s just gratuitous, but all too often it’s an accurate description of real behaviour. The psychological tendency to revert to childish impulses and reactions exists in us all.
But what happens when an entire culture and its politics systematically caters to such impulses?
Sigmund Freud had a name for this. He called it ‘infantilization’, by which he meant either getting stuck in or reverting back to a childish state, in order to avoid dealing with real-life problems and dilemmas.
It can take many forms – narcissism, magical thinking, belief in invisible friends or enemies, desire for the protection of mythical authority figures.
None of these reactions is healthy for a self-governing democracy rooted in the notion that citizens need to come to terms with the issues they face and make collective decisions. But they continue to prove themselves exceptionally useful to the governing political classes, diverting popular alienation away from their use of power and the enjoyment of their prerogatives."

Richard Swift (New Internationalist, 2007)

'Like a dream': bombed-out cafe reopens in Aleppo's Armenian quarter
Al-Monitor|AFP, Posted July 7, 2017

The eatery in Midan, Aleppo's main Armenian district, was shuttered for four years after violence reached the city in 2012. But it reopened in June, six months after the government recaptured all of the city. Relaxed laughter and giggling children have replaced the boom of explosions in the restaurant, nestled between the Armenian Society and the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic church.
"It's like a dream to be here," said Menassian, 50, looking around at the dozens of customers in the restaurant.
Menassian is a member of the Armenian Society, which kept its doors open although the affiliated eatery was boarded up.
"Every time I come in, I can't believe it," she told AFP, gazing in amazement at dozens of customers smoking water pipes and sipping arak, the Levant's popular aniseed spirit.
The cafe opened in 2007, and quickly became a favoured haunt for residents of Midan because of its family atmosphere and leafy terrace, where plastic chairs and tables are illuminated by hangin g lanterns. "We told ourselves that if this cafe reopened, the people would come back," said Menassian, whose red hair is cut into a bob.
"We're all one family here," she said emotionally.

Aleppo was home to the largest contingent of Syria's Armenian community: 150,000 out of 350,000 across the country, according to Syria specialist and geographer Fabrice Balanche. Now, no more than 10,000 are left in Aleppo, after thousands fled to Armenia, neighbouring Lebanon or even further afield to the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 but struck Aleppo the following year, when rebels overran much of the eastern parts of city.
Army troops dropped bombs and launched air strikes across the front line on rebel groups, who fired rockets back in return. Midan was caught in the middle.
The neighbourhood remained in government hands but was regularly pummelled by missiles from the neighbouring opposition-held district of Bustan al-Basha.
"I still remember the day that about 40 rockets hit this very spot," Menassian recalled. "Midan was almost deserted. Many families left," she said, including her daughter, who fled to the Armenian capital Yerevan where her son-in-law worked as a jeweller.
Menassian's family home was also destroyed in the fighting, which halted in December, when Syria's army announced it was in full control of the city.
Now, Menassian's husband is re-opening his tyre shop in Midan, and their daughter and son-in-law are moving back to Syria, too.
"It's the return of the beautiful days," said Haroutioun Kahvedjian, a 57-year-old dentist. "I sent a picture of the cafe to my daughter to encourage her to come back," he said with teary eyes.
"The cafe is the symbol of our resistance in Aleppo."

Civil war has cost Syrian economy 226 billion dollars, says World Bank
Daily Sabah, 11-7-2017

Syria's six-year conflict has ravaged its infrastructure and caused losses to its economy of $226 billion, according to estimates published by the World Bank on Monday. The devastating war has killed over 320,000 people and displaced more than half the country's population since it began in March 2011.
The World Bank said the destruction ran much deeper than death tolls or infrastructure damage alone could capture.
"The war in Syria is tearing apart the social and economic fabric of the country," World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Hafez Ghanem said in a statement.

Muslim Brotherhood Syria: "We will bring back Islam to Syria"

the 'friends' of syria: us, uk, france, turkey, saudi arabia, defectors, collaborators,
isis, al-qaeda, fsa, islamist brigades, muslim brotherhood, kurdish separatists... etc...

"The number of casualties is devastating, but the war is also destroying the institutions and systems that societies need to function, and repairing them will be a greater challenge than rebuilding infrastructure -- a challenge that will only grow as the war continues," he said.
The World Bank report found that cumulative Gross Domestic Product losses since Syria's conflict erupted "have been estimated at $226 billion, about four times the Syrian GDP in 2010."
The body estimated that the conflict had damaged or destroyed 27 percent of Syria's housing stock and about half the country's medical and educational facilities. Those calculations were based on cross-checked satellite imagery of certain cities and areas and extrapolated based on a conflict intensity model.
The World Bank found an average of 538,000 jobs had been lost annually between 2010 and 2015. It said more than three in four Syrians of working age -- or about nine million people -- were neither employed nor enrolled in any form of school or training.
"The long-term consequences of this inactivity will be a collective loss of human capital leading to a shortage of skills in Syria," it said.
The damage to the health sector has also had devastating effects, with the World Bank saying more people were estimated to have died from deficiencies in the medical system than directly from fighting in the war.
"The breakdown of the systems that organise both the economy and society, along with the trust that binds people together, has had a greater economic impact than the destruction of physical infrastructure," the World Bank said.
The report estimated that if the conflict were to end this year, GDP could regain 41 percent of its pre-conflict level within four years.

U.S. Commander warns of rejoicing in victory: ‘ISIS 2.0’ lurks
"Reach out and reconcile with the Sunni population"
Mordechai Sones, Arutz Sheva, 12/07/2017

Iraqis may be cheering the success of government forces to oust ISIS from Mosul, but Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top U.S. commander in the country, warned against too much optimism.
The Express reports Townsend saying that much work is needed to ensure “ISIS 2.0” doesn’t weasel its way back into Mosul, saying that the Shia government will have to take further steps to reach out to the Sunni population of the country to stop regional tensions causing further conflict.
He said: “If we’re to keep … ISIS 2.0 from emerging, the Iraqi government is going to have to do something pretty significantly different.
“They’re going to have to reach out and reconcile with the Sunni population, and make them feel like their government in Baghdad represents them.”

Iraq’s current Prime Minister is Haider al-Abadi, who represents the Shia State of Law coalition.
The country is one of the world’s few Shia governed states, while Iraq itself is divided between the 57 per cent Shia and 40 per cent Sunni population, as well as the majority Sunni Kurdish citizenry.
Mr Abadi formally declared victory over the ISIS regime in Iraq after a nearly nine-month battle against the Muslim group came to a close in Mosul.
In a speech shown on state television, he said: “I announce from here the end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state of falsehood and terrorism which the terrorist Daesh announced from Mosul.
“We have another mission ahead of us, to create stability, to build and clear Daesh cells, and that requires an intelligence and security effort, and the unity which enabled us to fight Daesh.”

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

A Deadly Manichean Mindset

Manichaeism is a very simplistic idea that even early Christianity rejected as not appreciating the complexities of how the world actually is and the ambiguities, the moral ambiguities that characterize who most of us are in most situations. Glenn Greenwald

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

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

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

“O brothers and great people, I call on you to preserve the ideals that made you worthy of being believers, of being the bright lamp of civilization, and of belonging to the land that gave birth to the father of prophets, Abraham, and also of other prophets.
These ideals have made you the bearer of the official and authentic greatness...
“You live under the umbrella of the greatness of the Creator, God Almighty, and His care for you.
You should remember that God has given you your qualities in order that you will be a model of love, forgiveness, tolerance, and coexistence among yourselves, and to build the great dignified structure using the abilities and resources the Merciful provides...
“Brothers and sisters, my sons and sons of Iraq, comrade strugglers, I call on you not to hate the peoples of the countries that have committed aggression on us. I call on you to distinguish between the decision-makers and the people.

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

Lavrov: Russia’s campaign in Syria aimed at preventing Iraq scenario
TASS Rissian News Agency, July 13, 2017

Russia’s operation in Syria aims to prevent what has happened with Iraq rather than to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a forum of Germany’s Kurt Kerber’s Fund on Thursday.
"As for Assad, we do not support him, we simply categorically do not want to repeat what happened in Iraq when almost all in the West had the desire to liquidate [Saddam Hussein]," Lavrov said, noting that "Germany stayed aside and France stayed aside" during the campaign against Hussein.
"I’m afraid of a scenario where the country would be liquidated together with him as very uneasy processes are taking place there. In Libya, simply statehood was undermined and this was also because they wanted to liquidate Muammar Qaddafi," Russia’s top diplomat said.

president chirac, demonized by uk press media (2002/03)

The Russian foreign policy in Syria relies on the norms of international law and UN Security Council decisions, Lavrov stressed.
"We are committed to the UN Security Council resolutions and in the case of Syria it is clearly written there that only the Syrian people can decide Syria’s fate," the Russian foreign minister said.
"Everyone voted for that and this project was prepared within the framework of the International Syria Support Group where Germany is a full-fledged member. Then it was approved by the UN Security Council," Lavrov said.
Russia’s foreign minister noticed in the hall the presence of German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger who had called the Russian foreign policy a catastrophe...
"It is interesting to know how he will characterize the policy of those who were staging the Greater Middle East in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. Are any triumphs there?" he asked rhetorically.

‘I do not require Assad’s departure’ – Macron
By Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News, 13/07/2017

BEIRUT, LEBANON – French President Emmanuel Macron said Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s resignation was not a prerequisite for action in Syria at a press conference alongside US counterpart Donald Trump in Paris, Thursday.
“We have one main goal, which is to eradicate terrorism, no matter who they are. We want to build an inclusive and sustainable political solution. Against that background, I do not require Assad’s departure. This is no longer a prerequisite for France to work on that,” he said.
Macron’s policy on Assad completely differs from his predecessor, Francois Hollande (socialist), as he calls for dialogue and a peaceful resolution in Syria.

the 'incredible shrinking socialist' hollande

President Bashar al-Assad, 'Le Figaro' interview 3-9-2013: "How can the parliamentarians convince the French public that their country is secular, yet at the same time it supports extremism and sectarianism in other parts of the world?
How can France advocate for democracy but yet one of its closest allies – Saudi Arabia – is still living in medieval times?"
"My message to the French Parliamentarians is: go back to the principles of the French Revolution that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality."

The Qatar Quarrel, or:
Is there a role for political Islam in the modern world?
By David Ignatius, Washington Post, July 13, 2017

The diplomatic machinations that have enveloped Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar may seem like a membership feud in a Persian Gulf club for the wealthy. But their quarrel highlights battles that have been roiling the Middle East since the Arab Spring began nearly seven years ago...
The Saudis’ and Emiratis’ basic problem is that they find Qatar a meddlesome and untrustworthy neighbor... For Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Qatar feels like a thorn in the side, much as Cuba did for the United States for more than 50 years.

It’s the Muslim Brotherhood issue that has caused the most bitterness.
Qatar has argued that the Brotherhood’s involvement in politics will defuse extremism, rather than augment it.
The Obama administration took a similar view in its outreach to the Brotherhood in Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and in its support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government in Turkey.
Both Obama policies are now widely judged to have been failures.
President Barack Obama’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood actions were poisonous to the Saudis and Emiratis and help explain the deep split that developed after Mubarak’s departure in 2011. Rage at Obama deepened as he negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, another bitter enemy of the gulf Arabs.

The gulf Arabs responded by squeezing Qatar to protect their flanks. The secret November 2013 agreement came just five months after a coup ousting the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, and after Iran had signed a framework nuclear agreement.
Hoping to compel Qatar to cease its regional activism, the gulf states signed a second pact on Nov. 16, 2014, which was described as a “rescue of the first agreement,” Saudi sources said.
It was broadened to include the rulers of Bahrain and the UAE. And it added a joint commitment to protect Egypt’s stability, meaning: help suppress the Brotherhood...

The Qatar quarrel may seem like a tempest in an Arabian teapot. But at its heart is the question that has vexed the world for a decade: Is there a role for political Islam in the modern world? Qatar says yes...

Flashback 2015: The 'State or Revolution' Question

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Iran “has become an occupying force in Syria,” and that “it has already sent thousands of Quds Force fighters and Shiite militias, such as [members] of Hezbollah and other militias from the region, to support Assad’s regime.”
According to Jubeir, “If Iran wants to play a role in finding a political solution in Syria,” it ought to withdraw its forces and militias from Syria. He noted that this is “not a condition, rather, it is the most important role Iran can play in helping Syria get over its ongoing crisis.”
Regarding the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he said, “The issue is linked to Iran’s actions, not words,” referring to the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries that have been facing, since the Iranian revolution, the hostile policies of Iran that “interferes in the region’s affairs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen...
Jubeir called on Iran to specify whether it is a “state or a revolution,” and if it wants to export its revolution and revive the Persian Empire — as described by prominent Iranian officials — we cannot deal with it.” (Al-Monitor 5-10-2015)

Flashback 1988: Khomeini vs. Hussein; Mideast's Contenders for Nasser's Mantle
By Youssef M. Ibrahim, New York Times, July 31, 1988

Gamal Abdel Nasser died in 1970, and since then many Middle Eastern leaders have tried in vain to grab the elusive cloak - among them, President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran.
It was largely their quests to impose their views on the region that led Iran and Iraq into war.

Mr. Hussein is a strong advocate of progress under the banner of secularism and a united Arab destiny.
Mr. Hussein believes that a dictatorial government that force-feeds modernization is a shortcut to progress. He is convinced that such an approach will catapult the backward Arab world, starting with Iraq, into the next century.
In a conversation a few years ago, Tarik Aziz, who is the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and a friend of President Hussein, explained it this way: ''You must understand - our country is cutting through a lot of time. We can't afford to go through 200 years or so until we have a 'natural evolution' from feudal to industrial to modern age, as Europe did to get to its golden age.
''We must push our people 200 years ahead and away from medieval, reactionary ideas, through education and discipline.'' The accent, he said, was on push. Backward and Forward

"A war between Islam and blaspemy"

Ayatollah Khomeini, the other contender for the role of pan-Islamic leader, is, at 88 years of age, a revolutionary who once called democracy the equivalent of prostitution.
His belief that the Middle East is dominated by foreign powers, that it has lost the right to define its own destiny and that it must shake away these chains does not differ much from the views of Mr. Hussein or other so-called progressive Middle Eastern leaders, including those of Algeria, Libya and Syria.
But the Ayatollah's methods and ideological foundations are diametrically opposed to those of Mr. Hussein, and for that matter those of the whole Arab world he seeks to convert. And as the Iraqi leader is rushing impatiently forward in time, the Ayatollah is rushing backward.
''Khomeini tried the impossible task of rewriting history,'' said Ahmad Bahaa-eldine, a columnist for the Egyptian daily Al Ahram, who is also published in several other Arab dailies and is a friend of President Hussein.
''He wanted to rebuild the third Islamic state after those of the Prophet Mohammed 1,400 years ago and Imam Ali shortly afterward.''
''We are talking about reconstructing something that existed 14 centuries ago in the world of the 1980's,'' Mr. Bahaa-eldine continued.

Ali Khamenei: The Islamic Revolution in 1979 sparked a scientific revolution
Statements made during an address to University Professors; August 6, 2013 Website, Feb 6, 2017

Sorena Sattari:
"A brainstorming meeting will be held"

The day when the Revolution became victorious, we had 170,000 students. Today, there are 4,400,000 students in the country. In other words, the number of our students has increased by 25 times. On that day.
If we compare the conditions of the universities of the country in the present time with our universities during the early years of the Revolution - which were a legacy of the time of Shah and the time before the Revolution - then we will see that there are more surprising statistics.
The day when the Revolution became victorious, we had 170,000 students. Today, there are 4,400,000 students in the country. In other words, the number of our students has increased by 25 times.
Today, we benefit from almost 60,000 university professors, both in universities and research centers. These are important issues. These are valuable achievements.
The number of Iranian frequently-cited articles is increasing on a daily basis. The facts and figures about this issue have been reported to me in detail which I do not want to expand on in the present time. But this is a very important phenomenon. So, a scientific effort has been made in the country.
There is a question in this regard: Now that we can witness these scientific achievements in different areas, should we relax and sit idle? Well, it is clear that the answer is no.
We are still behind the leading camps of global science. We still suffer from serious backwardness in areas which are necessary for our lives despite the achievements that we have made in a number of these areas.
Therefore, because we suffer from backwardness, we should work.

Constitution of Iran - Negation of all forms of oppression

The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:
-- 1. the One God
(as stated in the phrase "There is no god except Allah")...
-- 2. Divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws;
-- 3. the return to God in the Hereafter;
-- 4. the justice of God in creation and legislation;
-- 5. continuous leadership (imamah) and perpetual guidance, and its fundamental role in ensuring the uninterrupted process of the revolution of Islam;
-- 6. the exalted dignity and value of man, and his freedom coupled with responsibility before God; in which equity, justice, political, economic, social, and cultural independence, and national solidarity are secured by recourse to:

1. continuous ijtihad of the fuqaha' possessing necessary qualifications, exercised on the basis off the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Ma'sumun..'
2. sciences and arts and the most advanced results of human experience, together with the effort to advance them further;
3. negation of all forms of oppression, both the infliction of and the submission to it, and of dominance, both its imposition and its acceptance.

In order to attain the objectives specified in Article 2, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of directing all its resources to the following goals:
raising the level of public awareness in all areas, through the proper use of the press, mass media, and other means;
free education and physical training for everyone at all levels, and the facilitation and expansion of higher education;
strengthening the spirit of inquiry, investigation, and innovation in all areas of science, technology, and culture, as well as Islamic studies, by establishing research centers and encouraging researchers;
the complete elimination of imperialism and the prevention of foreign influence;
the elimination of all forms of despotism and autocracy and all attempts to monopolize power...

For France, Trump at Bastille Day is Deeply Symbolic
Luis Ramirez, Voice of America, 14-7-2017

donald trump & emmanuel macron - melania & brigitte in the notre dame

U.S. President Donald Trump is the guest of honor at France’s Bastille Day celebrations, an elaborate display that includes military bands and flyovers by American jet fighters and a massive parade to mark the centennial of the U.S. entry into the First World War.
The U.S. and French flags have been flying on Paris’ famed Champs Élysées where U.S. troops were scheduled to lead a parade with thousands of French soldiers.
France on July 14 marks the 1789 storming by rebels of the Bastille prison in Paris, an event that signaled the start of the French Revolution.

State Duma green-lights protocol on deploying Russian air group in Syria
TASS News Agency, July 14, 2017

The [Russian] State Duma ratified a protocol on the deployment of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (AF) air group in Syria on Friday.
The protocol to the agreement between Russia and the Syrian Arab Republic to deploy the Russian AF air group in Syria was signed in Damascus in January. It handles the issues of deploying the Russian air group, along with its movable and immovable properties.
The documents stipulates that the Syrian side shall carry out the outside guard of the Russian military base and the shore borders of the logistics center, whereas the Russian side shall provide anti-aircraft defense and interior guard, as well as uphold public order in the deployment area.
The agreement and the protocol will be valid for 49 years since their signing with the possibility to further prolong them for 25 years

Chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Leonid Slutsky explained that the document finalized legal provisions regarding the presence of the Russian AF air group in Syria and set out "the land plot boundaries, social protection of the military and tax remissions for Russian contractors that will build facilities for the Russian airbase in Syria."
As he put it, the importance of the protocol’s ratification "can hardly be overestimated."
"Given the situation with terrorist groups in Syria, we, unfortunately, realize that our military will be there for long time. We will always stay at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in Syria, preventing its expansion into Russia and Europe," Slutsky concluded.

Iraqi Sunnis form new alliance for “different future”
By Rudaw, 15-7-2017

BAGHDAD, Iraq—A number of Iraqi Sunni leaders gathered in the capital Baghdad on Friday and formed a new alliance. Some Sunni leaders who could not attend the meeting because they are wanted by Iraqi courts on charges of terrorism endorsed the alliance at a press conference in the Kurdish capital of Erbil.
According to Rudaw's correspondent in Baghdad Bahman Hassan, 300 major political and tribal figures now make up the alliance.
The leaders who gathered in the home of Iraq’s Sunni parliamentary speaker Salim al-Jabouri, said the aim of the alliance was to be involved in the post-ISIS era and become an authority and mouthpiece for the Sunni population.
“The importance of this is we have found a common view despite all the differences,” Jabouri told Rudaw following the announcement of the Alliance of Iraqi National Forces.
“We must pursue this common ground and put aside the disputes and let people look to a different future,” he added. “Unlike the past when the situation led to the occupation of their land and their own displacement.” “Our future is in being together with the other side,” the speaker of the parliament said.
The Friday meeting and alliance was the culmination of years of gatherings and diplomatic efforts in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kurdistan Region, and Jordan.
The Sunni leaders want to be able to run the affairs of Sunni areas that fell to ISIS in 2014 and have suffered politically, socially and economically as a result of the ISIS occupation and subsequent military offensives.

Erdogan supporters & 'Terror-leader' Fetullah Gülen
Daily Sabah, 17-7-2017

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan & 'Kill Gaddafi' - 'Kill Assad' Brotherhood-cleric Qaradawi

A group of demonstrators and media personnel were removed Saturday from the front of the compound where Fetullah Gülen lives in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.
Protesters demonstrating on the one-year anniversary of the deadly coup attempt blamed on [the Gülen movement] were removed by police at the request of the compound's director who said demonstrators posed an unspecified threat to those inside, an officer told Anadolu Agency.
The entry and exit to the sprawling secretive 400-acre compound was then closed.
Anadolu Agency flew above the eerily quiet and seemingly empty compound Saturday where 'the terror leader' has resided since 1999.
At least 10 buildings, two of which are each at least seven stories, were spotted below where three individuals were seen trying to escape the cameras while two others recorded the helicopter's movements. No other sign of life existed at the complex.
Ankara accuses Gulen of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government in what was to be the culmination of a long-running campaign to infiltrate Turkish institutions, including the military, police and the judiciary.
Gülen has denied the accusations in the few interviews he has given since the coup attempt...

Social Islam (Gülen) versus Political Islam (Erdogan)
Fethullah Gulen, the antithesis of radical Islam
New York Times interview with Fethullah Gulen
by Brian Knowlton, Friday, February 18, 2011

“Gulen is not a Muslim Brotherhood-supporting Islamic authoritarian. I would call the Gulenists heirs of Turkish Anatolian Sufi Islam, pious and economically liberal." Aykan Erdemir, 2016

Fethullah Gülen is a name that was discovered by the world media only recently. He and the vast education network operating throughout the world that sympathizes with his thoughts received the attention of Western intellectuals primarily because he was seen as the antithesis of radical Islam. Gülen does not have a dialectic view of history and does not want to be labeled 'anti' anything.

-- Fethullah Gülen: I have always been equally close to the representatives of all the political parties, and I have always shared my views that I thought beneficial with everyone.
I have supported those who are respectful to our values and who give attention to the essence of the heart and spirit and at the same time have a message for the worldly and eternal longings of human beings. This is regardless of whatever party they happen to be in. Accordingly, it cannot be said that any one party is "close" and the other is "far"; I stand at an equal proximity to all of them.

After the tragic events of the Twin Towers, I felt that some people, perhaps rightfully, developed a sense of paranoia. Moreover, it spread throughout the media that those terrorists had come from amongst the Muslims - that Muslims were behind the terror. However, just like I have stated many times before whenever I've had the opportunity -- a real Muslim is the embodiment of peace and tranquility.
There is no place for terror in true Islam, because Islam considers the murder of an individual equal to disbelief. Religion does not allow killing to achieve goals. Heaven cannot be attained by killing people. An innocent person cannot be harmed even during times of war.
These facts are indisputable, and up until now and forever, have been stated. But, as a result of the paranoia toward Muslims at large, some people may have transferred that paranoia over to us.

-- Brian Knowlton: You have been critical of the religious madrasas but also of secular state schools in Turkey, leading to the creation of an alternative, the Gülen-inspired schools. Where, in your view, do the madrases and state schools go wrong, and how do you believe Gülen schools remedy this?
-- Fethullah Gülen: With all due respect, let's not call them "Gülen schools" but rather private schools established by volunteer service organizations . And know that these schools, wherever they are, teach only the official standard curriculum of that country.
For many years, whether from mosque pulpits, or lecture halls, or in my writings -- I have expressed that we should nurture a generation filled with love and respect for all, a generation that is open to making peace and living together with others
I encouraged everyone who valued my views to establish educational institutions. I told everyone that we could only achieve peace and reconciliation within our country and across the world by raising generations who are reading, thinking and loving human beings and opening up and sharing their knowledge in the service of humanity.

When it comes to madrasas and secular schools, in the last era, the madrasas shut their door to the spiritual aspect of Islam -- to mysticism and Sufism -- and they also shut their doors to the positive sciences as well.
After a time anything other than certain religious studies was thrown out from the madrasas. The concurrent reading of the Quran and the book of universe, and the principle that these two should be the pillars to such sciences as physics, astronomy and mathematics, was not observed.
Before me, people like Muallim Cevdet* questioned this shortcoming of the madrasas. The madrasas couldn't create the talent capable of responding to the challenges of technology and scientific thinking, and in the same way, modern schools couldn't get rid of the biases created by modernist ideologies.
They were not able to evaluate the thought produced by the madrasas; the secular schools neglected the spiritual life of humans; they lacked depth of thinking and feeling, clarity of thought, richness of culture; they became like factories stamping out products for the global market.

Maybe we can mention a few things that distinguish these schools from others.
First, we can see that especially with movements born in modern times, political, philosophical and social ideologies tend to go to extremes. It's either one extreme of the spectrum or the other. Even in the field of pedagogy, at any given time, two opposite movements can be born, and these movements cannot escape the pull and impact of ideological and political polarization.
In these schools that you mentioned, they don't go to extremes and don't go into polarization. And they keep education as the core and they value the common truth and keep these upfront.
Second, they keep education as their core and consider it the most important element of human existence, and this is only because they don't use education as a weapon of ideology, politics or religious polarization.
And third, even though there may be various philosophical arguments on this, ethics and good conduct are what define the core of human character. The people who work in these schools, by God's grace, are trying to follow these ethical values as much as they can.

Sufi-shrine, destroyed by Qatar-Qaradawi-supported Islamist rebels in Libya, 2012

-- Brian Knowlton: What relationship, if any, do you have with the current Turkish government? What, if anything, would you like to see it do differently? Should a Muslim-governed state be based on Shariah law?
-- Fethullah Gülen: In my opinion, the worst state and the worst government are far better than statelessness and chaos - because there is anarchy in the latter and it leads to nihilism.
From that perspective, if someone were to have a positive interest in the state, I would consider it a duty of citizenship and at the same time an expression against anarchy.
I always believe in being on the side of the rule of law, and I also believe in the importance of sharing good ideas with the officials of the state that are going to promise a future for the country. Accordingly, irrespective of whoever is in charge, I try to be respectful of those state officials, keep a reasonable level of closeness and keep a positive attitude toward them.

-- Brian Knowlton: What are the fundamental values that bind together the followers of what is known as the Gülen movement? Are they specific beliefs, or more a way of looking at the world? -- Fethullah Gülen: First of all, let me express one more time that I am disturbed by the term Gülen movement. Today, when you say movement, it refers to rather social movements, moreover political ones. In this regard, it is not possible to associate me with a movement.
For the sake of utility or practicality, to be able to describe its activities, it may be called a movement. However, I believe that calling this movement the Fethullah Gülen movement is not right, and doing so is disrespectful to many people dedicated to carrying out its activities. My role is very limited, and there is no leadership, no center, no loyalty to a center and no hierarchy.

-- Brian Knowlton: Turkey, whatever its problems, has been a democracy in modern times; it is a NATO member and Western ally. Could it be a model for other Islamic countries? What should we understand from the lack of democracy in other Islamic nations?
-- Fethullah Gülen: It's a pity that those who claim to speak in the name of Islam and those who claim to be pro-democracy are both making the same common mistake that democracy and religion are not compatible...
An ideal democracy - a democracy with a spiritual dimension - should promise to fulfill a human being's needs related to eternity as much as it promises to solve the issues of today and tomorrow. Only a democracy like that could develop into an ideal democracy, but unfortunately, humanity hasn't reached that horizon yet.

Erdogan: Last Year's Coup Plotters Should Be Beheaded
Gulen: Turkish people "are being rallied en masse around hate messages"
Voice of America, July 15, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says those behind last year's failed coup in Turkey are "traitors" who should be beheaded.
"They showed no mercy when they pointed their guns at my people," Erdogan said, referring to the coup leaders. "What did my people have? They had their flags — just as they do today — and something much more important: They had their faith."

Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu made a statement Saturday, too. His recalled the changes in Turkey since the coup attempt that culminated in a referendum in April that awarded Erdogan sweeping executive powers.
"This parliament, which withstood bombs, has been rendered obsolete and its authority removed," Kilicdaroglu said. "In the past year, justice has been destroyed. Instead of rapid normalization, a permanent state of emergency has been implemented."
Erdogan had previously dismissed at least 100,000 civil servants he characterized as supporters of the aborted coup and arrested another 50,000 people. The scale of the purge has widened political divisions in Turkey, with government opponents denouncing it as an attempt to silence Erdogan's detractors.
The Turkish opposition says that Erdogan's government is moving toward authoritarianism, while the Turkish leader says that the crackdown on rights is necessary to thwart security threats to the ruling government.

Erdogan claims the coup was led by a cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States for nearly two decades. Gulen denies any involvement.
In a statement released Saturday, Gulen said the Turkish government's "treatment of innocent citizens during the past year is dragging Turkey into the category of the countries with the worst record of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms in the world." Gulen's statement also said the Turkish people "are being rallied en masse around hate messages."

In a speech late Saturday, Erdogan accused Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the CHP, of siding with Gulen and other terror groups.
Gulen was once an ally of the president but the two had a public falling out in 2013 and his movement was declared a terror organization. Erdogan said the country was doing everything to punish the "traitors".

Syria:Takfiris Fight Each Other in Idlib
Al-Alam News [Iran], 17-7-2017

Raging clashes between Takfiri terrorists in Idlib are raising fears of widespread violence in the northwestern Syrian province which is held by foreign-backed militants.
The fighting between Ahrar al-Sham - which is backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey - and al-Qaeda-linked Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham is the the first major escalation of infighting among Takfiri groups since they reached a truce in February.
Idlib has become the base for thousands of terrorists who fled Syria's largest city of Aleppo after facing a rout against government forces in December 2016.
Rival terrorist groups are now competing for clout in the territories they control after seeing their campaign to topple the Syrian government broadly in tatters.
On Saturday, Ahrar al-Sham said Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, also known as HTS, was sending reinforcements to the town of Saraqeb and the Jabal al-Zawiya region in preparation for an attack, accusing the group of acts of "tyranny".
The Ibaa News Agency of HTS, instead, accused Ahrar al-Sham of setting up checkpoints and detaining one of its commanders and his bodyguard. The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor which is sympathetic to militants, said the two groups had clashed near the village of Tel Touqan.
More clashes loom as the two sides are rushing their fighters to the frontlines... Further confrontation could also draw other terrorist groups into the infighting, especially after Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham reported the deaths of two more members near the Sarjeh village and blamed Suqour al-Sham, a strong Ahrar al-Sham ally.

Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham is part of a Takfiri coalition spearheaded by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front or al-Qaeda’s Syria offshoot.
Due to the barbarity of their actions, al-Nusra and Daesh (IS) are not subject to an all-Syria truce deal clinched late last year with the mediation of Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Haaretz editor declares war on Zionism
David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, 18/07/2017

An editor of the left-wing Haaretz daily chastised French President Emmanuel Macron for calling anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism, praising anti-Zionism as “resistance” against racism and apartheid.
Asaf Ronel, the world news editor for Haaretz, criticized Macron’s recent statement that anti-Zionism was a ‘reinvention’ of anti-Semitism.
“We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism,” said Macron on Sunday.
Responding to Macron’s comments via Twitter, Ronel rejected the comparison, and denounced Zionism as being ‘inherently racist’. Ronel praised anti-Zionism for ‘resisting’ the evils of modern Zionism.
“Dear president Emmanuel Macron, you are wrong – anti-Zionism is resisting the racism inherent in today’s Zionism. It’s not antisemitism.”
In a back and forth with French-Israeli foreign policy expert Emmanuel Navon, Ronel later accused Zionism of apartheid. But unlike many radical left-wing critics of Israel, Ronel did not cite Israel’s 1967 liberation of Judea and Samaria as an example of the alleged ‘apartheid’, instead denouncing the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948: “...the apartheid refers to 48, not 67.”

On Monday, Ronel took to Twitter again to complain about criticism of his comments after Honest Reporting documented his aforementioned tweets.
Pro-Israel activists attack my newspaper for something I wrote. Explains a lot about their understanding of free media & freedom of speech.”

Definition of Semite
1: a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia
including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs
2: a member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language (Merriam-Webster)

Please note that Israel is NOT a Semitic country!
When Israel really was a SEMITIC country (fighting against all forms of anti-Semitism),
all citizens (Arabs and Hebrews) would be equals.

Race, Religion or Political Ideology?

In 2013 the U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center released a list of public figures known to their anti-Semitic stances. ... Brazilian caricaturist Carlos Latuf came third for a caricature that showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu crushing a Palestinian woman during the latest aggression on Gaza. The caricature, the report noted, constituted an insult to Israel and its prime minister and presented a flagrant expression of anti-Semitism. (Nayed Zidani,1-1-2013)

Anti-Semitism broadly defined is simply the opposition to jews on the basis that they are a biological group ('an antisemite is a racist).
Now there are two other forms of what we may term anti-jewishness.
That is anti-Judaism, which broadly defined is opposition to Judaism as a religion and anti-Zionism, which similarly defined is the opposition to the state of Israel and Zionism as a political and intellectual ideology more broadly.
This then gives the lie to the popular misconception that anti-Zionism is synonymous with anti-Semitism precisely because there are three kinds of opposition to jews which can be held individually or in varying combinations.
None of these broad categories are mutually exclusive to each other either as there have been anti-Semites who were all for Zionism and critics of Judaism who thoroughly supported Israel and Zionism while roundly condemning anti-Semitism. (More on page 29)

Netanyahu & Ideological Blindness
By Juan Cole | Mar. 5, 2014

Netanyahu and most Israelis on the Right just cannot see the future. They cannot see what they are doing to the Palestinians (Netanyahu thinks the latter would be satisfied with statelessness and indignity if only their economy improved). They cannot see how unacceptable is their economic siege of the Palestinians in Gaza, illegally targeting non-combatants, and warping children’s lives. They think people who complain about these policies just don’t like Jews, using their grievances about anti-Semitism in old Christian Europe to hide from themselves that they have themselves now become a colonial power, that they are dominant, and that pretending to be downtrodden victims of prejudice under these circumstances is absurd.

The Zionist Right, living in its fantasy land, responds to criticisms of Israeli policy with Nixon-style ‘enemies lists’ intended to promote aggressive harassment of critics on US campuses. I’m proud to say that I am among those so targeted. These essentially fascist tactics have helped cow the mainstream US media into pussy-footing around subjects like Netanyahu and the Likud Party’s Iron Wall policies....
Netanyahu and his right wing political coalition are in denial. They are addicted to occupation.

Israel, the psychopathic nation
by Laurent Guyenot, Veterans Today, 3-2-2015

The State of Israel is now in the international scene what the psychopath is in a human community.
With regard to the Palestinians, “Israeli Jews’ consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians, and insensitivity to their suffering,” in the words of journalist Akiva Eldar (“Operation Cast Lead against Gaza in 2008-2009″).
As noted by the Deputy Director of Military Intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi: “Dazzled by its self-righteousness, Israel cannot see the case of the other side.
Self-righteousness encourages nations no less than individuals to absolve themselves of every failing and shake off the guilt of every mishap.
When everyone is guilty except them, the very possibility of self-criticism and self-improvement vanishes…

Benjamin Netanyahu is a member of Likud, the direct ideological descendant of Revisionist Zionism, a movement of people who had split from their mainstream Zionist counterparts, believing those in the mainstream were too conciliatory to the British authorities governing Palestine, and espousing a militant, right-wing version of Jewish nationalism.

Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil - Interview with Gerard Menuhin
By Jonas E. Alexis, Veterans Today, on April 14, 2016

Menuhin: ‘Semitism’, at best, describes a language. So ‘anti-Semitism’ would denote opposition to Semitic languages – an absurd stance.
To deduce from the expression an opposition to Semitic peoples would be stretching the point. And are Jews Semitic?
Ashkenazi Jews (90% of modern Jewry) are commonly agreed to descend from 8th century Khazars. Their assumed forefather, Ashkenaz, was the son of Gomer, grandson of Noah through Japheth, not of Shem, the father of the Semitic races. They are not Semitic...
Anti-Semitism is a suppressive weapon which only survives because it is linked to the guilt people feel — or are intended to feel — when confronted with ‘The Holocaust’. Anti-Semitism would be an impotent pseudo-expression, were it not coupled with ‘The Holocaust’.

*** Holocaust Day – The Time Is Ripe For A Jewish Apology
by Gilad Atzmon, Veterans Today, 28-1-2014
*** Back to Ezra, the father of political judaism (i.e. theocracy)
The Book of Ezra, Chapter 10
*** Ilan Pappe: Zionism is the root cause of the conflict
by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 11-5-2015
*** Judith Butler: Zionism Is Opposed to Jewish Values
Carlo Strenger, Huffington Post, 16-3-2013
*** Jonathan Sacks: Anti-Zionists are the failures and the losers in society
Gilad Atzmon, 30-9-2016
*** Hoenlein: "Pandemic of anti-Semitism taking shape worldwide"
Gilad Atzmon, March 02, 2017
*** Is fighting for equal rights 'anti-semitism'?
Ramzy Baroud, 22-12-2016
*** "The occupier is the victim"
By Gideon Levy, Haaretz, June 2, 2017

China supports sovereign Palestinian state, Xi Jinping says
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 19-7-2017

Building Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories should be stopped immediately, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday.
"China supports Palestine in building an independent, full sovereignty state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital," Xi said after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing.
Xi also emphasized that UN Security Council Resolution 2334 should be effectively implemented.
The resolution that was adopted last December demands Israel halt its "flagrant violation" of international law that has "no legal validity", and said the government needs to live up to its responsibilities as an occupying power as dictated by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Xi said China is willing to support all efforts that may help solve the Palestinian issue.

Abbas is on a four-day visit to China that will end Thursday.
Israeli and Palestinian peace talks under U.S. mediation collapsed in April 2014 because of Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so. All attempts to revive negotiations have since failed, due mainly to Israel's insistence on continuing settlement construction on occupied Arab land.

Syria: Al-Qaeda wins the upper hand in Idlib
By Chris Tomson, Al-Masdar News, 20/07/2017

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:30 A.M.) – Clashes erupted throughout Idlib’s countryside again on Wednesday after a short-lived ceasefire between Ahrar Al-Sham (Turky-Saudi-backed) and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS/Al-Qaeda) fell apart the day before.
With the infighting suddenly reaching unprecedented levels, HTS retook Salqin town and the Sharia court building on its outskirts after dislodging Ahrar Al-Sham from the area. Furthermore, HTS fighters overran Al-Dana town in the afternoon hours.
In the southern countryside, HTS also recaptured the city of Saraqib after heavy clashes with Ahrar Al-Sham that saw three of their commanders arrested.
. On Wednesday evening however, huge protests broke out in several neighborhoods of Saraqib as thousands took to the streets to demand Al-Qaeda’s departure. HTS responded with brute force, shooting dead three non-combattants, including opposition journalist Mosaab Izzo.
On the other hand, two Ahrar Al-Sham branches, namely the Al-Hujra Brigade and Fajr Al-Islam Brigade, announced they had defected to HTS.

syria - idlib 2013 - bookburning

With Al-Qaeda gradually achieving hegemony across all of Idlib, persistent rumours indicate that Turkey is prepared to launch a cross-border invasion in support of less hardline Islamist groups. This looming offensive, much similar to last year’s Euphrates Wrath campaign, would put Turkish troops and their allies face-to-face with tens of thousands of HTS militants.

Flashback: Syria’s Rebels Prepare to Take a Province from Assad
World Time News, 7-2-2013

The offensive is overseen by a council of religious clerics, a Shari‘a court led by Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda in Syria), the militant group designated a terrorist organization by the U.S but widely respected by rebels for its disciplined fighting powers.
The court has knitted together dozens of groups from across Idlib province, extracting a sworn pledge from each brigade leader that he will work with the other groups under the direction of the court and will not compete with his counterparts for any ghanaim, or spoils of war, from the outposts if they fall.

Alawites & The Oneness of God

The Alawites are an offshoot of Shia Islam who revere Ali, the Prophet Mohammed’s cousin and son-in-law. However, they have added to their religion aspects of other faiths, including Christianity, and have a Holy Trinity of their own, comprising Mohammed, Ali, and Salman the Persian, a Companion of the Prophet.
Their practices are socially liberal, with women not covering their hair and alcohol consumed.

The Alawites believe in the transcendence of God in his entirety and manifestations.
Ahmad Adeeb Ahmad, a Syrian Alawite religious scholar, said Alawites see God expressed in the Quranic al-Noor verse: “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a brightly shining star.”
Ahmad added that Alawites' view about Tawhid, the oneness of God, is expressed in the Quranic Ikhlas verse: “He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is nothing at all like Him.”
Alawites believe in the mystical interpretation of the Quran. Ahmad explained that the Alawites say, “The Quran has visible and invisible faces. We consider all of them.”