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.
"...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.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked: ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.
There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”
"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people.
(Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)
"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)
Leaders of United States and North Korea have signed what Donald Trump described as a “very important” document following the conclusion of their historic summit in Singapore.
The document was signed following a historic summit aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in exchange for the lift of economic sanctions against Pyongyang and efforts to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries.
There were no immediate details on the contents of the document; however, Trump called it "comprehensive", saying that "both sides will be very impressed with the results." The process of denuclearization would happen "very, very quickly”, Trump added.
Kim has been quoted as saying that the two leaders had "decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change."
The statement was later released to the press, which contains the following four commitments:
1) The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
2) The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
3) Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
4) The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
The summit took place as Trump has recently withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a multilateral agreement that promised lifting of sanctions against Iran in exchange of putting limitations on Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ghasemi on Monday warned North Korean leader not to trust Trump, as the US has a history of “quitting treaties and violating their commitments.”
The Iran deal was closely negotiated over the course of years. Iran gave up 90% of its nuclear enrichment program in return for an end to economic sanctions. While the other member states of the UN Security Council did lift UNSC sanctions, the Republican-controlled Congress not only did not lift unilateral US sanctions but actually slapped more on.
And then along came Trump, who violated the treaty entirely. Since the US economy is a fourth of the world GDP, likely Trump can use the Treasury Department to destroy what is left of the Iran deal by imposing heavy fines on firms that deal with Iran.
So, why should N. Korea now trust any deal Trump makes?
The answer is that N. Korea doesn’t trust Trump at all and is not planning to make any deal with him to give up its nuclear weapons entirely.
Kim Jong Un wants the prestige that would come from a two-way summit with the world’s sole superpower. Even if the talks go nowhere, Pyongyang will have seen a permanent rise in its world standing.
Sanctions on N. Korea are stronger than those placed on Iran by the UN Security Council. Even a slight improvement in that country’s trade profile would matter, whereas N. Korea has a more authoritarian government than Iran by orders of magnitude.
Although Iran’s parliamentary and presidential elections are not fully free, inasmuch as the regime vets candidates for ideological adherence to the values of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the polls are otherwise relatively aboveboard and can produce surprises when the public swings toward a dark horse and away from the Establishment candidate.
No element of Kim Jong Un’s government has to face an electorate. He does not have any constituents that he needs to please.
Thus, while Trump’s destruction of the Iran deal deeply harms the government of President Hassan Rouhani, Kim Jong Un might actually be strengthened by an open act of American perfidy. N. Korea can afford to play with fire in a way that Iran could not.
Apparently attempting to increase international pressure on “rogue states” that could use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or provide them to terrorists, President George W. Bush characterized North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as “an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world,” in his January 29 State of the Union address.
Although he provided no new information about the activities of these countries, Bush stated that his administration would act to prevent “regimes that sponsor terror” from threatening the United States and its allies with WMD. Bush told the nation that North Korea, Iran, and Iraq “pose a grave and growing danger” and could provide WMD and missiles “to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.”
During a January 31 speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice elaborated on the threat posed by the named rogue states, saying Bush’s speech put state sponsors of terrorism “on notice” and enunciated the “growing danger” posed by North Korea, Iran, and Iraq.
She cited North Korea as “the world’s number-one merchant for ballistic missiles, open for business with anyone, no matter how malign the buyer’s intentions,” called Iraq “determined to acquire” WMD, and said Iran’s “direct support of regional and global terrorism” and “aggressive efforts” to develop WMD “belie any good intentions it displayed” after September 11.
"There is a need to have … a deep meeting of minds. This is my hope. But maybe I'm not capable of carrying it out."
Mohammad Khatami (2002)
Unsurprisingly, Pyongyang, Tehran, and Baghdad all dismissed Bush’s accusations. North Korea’s state-run television called Bush a “nuclear maniac” and characterized his remarks as “reckless” and “tantamount to a declaration of war.”
In a statement carried by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Bush’s rhetoric was “intervening, warmongering, [and] insulting.” Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan rejected Bush’s charges as well, calling them “stupid” and “inappropriate.”
Perhaps the strongest criticism came from Chris Patten, the European Union’s foreign policy chief. In an interview published in the February 9 Guardian, Patten said that Bush’s address was “more rhetoric than substance.”
He also called the speech “unhelpful” and said that it is “hard to believe” that Bush’s axis of evil comment was a “well thought-through policy.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell rejected characterizations like those of Vedrine in testimony before the House International Relations Committee on February 6, stating, “The suggestion that…the United States is acting unilaterally and not consulting with our European partners…simply couldn’t be further from the truth.”
However, Powell added, “When it is a matter of principle, and when the multilateral community does not agree with us, we do not shrink from doing that which we think is right, which is in our interests, even if some of our friends disagree with us.”
The parties which won the most seats in Iraq's election from the Kurdistan Region have thrown their support behind a recently announced Shiite bloc.
“Tonight, with the efforts of the loyal to rescue the country from political stalemate, an effort for the formation of Sayirun and Fatih alliance was announced. The politburos of the PUK and the KDP see this step as positive and believe that it is the start of a political roadmap to put an end to the political deadlock,” read a joint KDP-PUK statement released early Wednesday. Sayirun, who ran with the Communist Party of Iraq, won the most seats in Iraq's parliamentary election on May 12. On Tuesday, the alliance headed by outspoken nationalist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced an alliance with the second-place finisher Hadi al-Amiri's Fatih list.
Hadi al-Amiri was the commander of Iraqi forces in the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar in 2014. As a commander in the Popular Mobilization Forces, he has been active in the rest of operations against ISIL. He has been described as "perhaps the most powerful and pro-Iranian" leader in the Popular Mobilization Forces.
The two parties from the Kurdistan Region say they will have a joint stance and will send a joint delegation to meet with the Shiite politicians as soon as possible. The two parties are calling on Kurdistani and Iraqi parties to let shared interests override any internal rivalries.
Sadr said after allying with Amiri on Tuesday that his alliance with Ammar al-Hakim's Hikma and Ayad Allawi and Salim al-Jabouri's Wataniya remains.
According to the IHEC’s disputed results, Sadr’s list won 54 seats, Amiri 47, Ammar al-Hakim’s Hikma (Wisdom) 19, and Ayad Allawi and Salim Jabouri 21 — totaling 141. The KDP won 25 seats, while the PUK picked up 18. If the results and announced alliances hold, the bloc would have 184 seats. To form a new government, a coalition of 165 seats is needed out of the 329 in parliament.
In a blow to the Trump administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted, by 120 votes in favor, a resolution introduced by Algeria and Turkey condemning Israel for deploying excessive force against Palestinians at rallies near the border of Gaza.
After a thorough investigation, Human Rights Watch concluded that there are credible grounds for charging Israeli officials with war crimes at the International Criminal Court over the tactic of sniping at unarmed civilians who posed no immediate danger to Israeli troops (while over 100 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured by live ammunition since March, no Israeli troops appear to have been so much as injured).
The resolution was backed by 12 European states, including France, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Portugal, and Greece. 16 European countries abstained, but none voted against the resolution.
Although the US and Israeli ambassadors to the UN attempted to deride the vote as mere anti-Semitism, in fact world leaders have been deeply disturbed by the naked Israeli violation of basic international legal norms in Tel Aviv’s response to the Gaza protests.
For an Occupying power systematically to shoot down unarmed civilians in an occupied territory for mounting protests that posed no immediate danger to anyone is clearly a war crime under the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Indeed, repeated war crimes may amount to a crime against humanity.
The resolution instructed UN Secretary General António Guterres to institute some sort of protection for Palestinians from this use against them by Israel of indiscriminate and disproportionate force. The resolution also condemned the firing from Gaza of rockets toward Israel.
American pro-Israeli propaganda, prominent in the editorial pages of the New York Times, attempts to blame the Palestinian party-militia Hamas for the deaths and injuries of Palestinians at the border rallies. However, Hamas did not set the rules of engagement of the Israeli army or force snipers to shoot unarmed medics, journalists, children, and ordinary protesters.
The US press almost never mentions that 70 percent of the families in Gaza are refugees deliberately chased out of their homes in what is now southern Israel, and kept cooped up in the world’s largest outdoor prison.
Even before the U.N. passed a General Assembly condemning Israel for “excessive use of force” in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised US ambassador Nikki Haley for Wednesday night her spirited defense of Israel in the U.N. and her efforts to get an amendment to the resolution added that would condemn Hamas violence.
"Israel appreciates the firm support of the Trump administration in Israel at the United Nations and Ambassador Haley's resolute statement today, which exposed the hypocrisy of the bias against Israel at the U.N.,” he said in a statement
“The unceasing focus of the United Nations in Israel shames the organization, it also diverts attention from other burning issues that require the attention of the international community,” Netanyahu said. Regarding the situation in Gaza, Netanyahu said “Hamas is responsible for the difficult situation there, for the loss of life and suffering resulting from the violent riots it has been waging in recent weeks.”
Netanyahu said that Instead of improving the lives of Gaza residents, “Hamas uses the Palestinian population as a human shield in the ongoing war of terror against Israel.
President Bashar al-Assad affirmed that the Syrian south is in front of two options; reconciliation or liberation by force, indicating that at this point, there are no concrete results for a simple reason which is Israeli and American interference, for they put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution.
The President added in an interview given to Iran’s Al-ALAM TV that the Syrian-Iranian relation is strategic not subject to a deal and it is linked to the present and future of the region , affirming that neither Syria nor Iran has floated this relationship on the international political bazaar for it to be subject to haggling.
President al-Assad affirmed that since the beginning of the war, particularly when it started to have a clear military nature on the southern front in particular, the Israelis used to shell Syrian forces continuously, and consequently provide direct support to the terrorists.
-- Question: Mr. President, what would make the Israeli occupation agree to the return of the Syrian Army to the borders, i.e. a return to the situation which existed at the beginning of 2011, after seven years of repeated Zionist attempts, directly and indirectly, to undermine the Syrian state, the regime in Syria, and stability in Syria. Why would it agree now to the return of the Syrian Army to the borders and to the occupied Golan?
-- President Assad: Certainly, neither conviction, morality, nor international law means anything to the Israelis.
Since the beginning of the war, particularly when it started to have a clear military nature on the southern front in particular, the Israelis used to shell Syrian forces continuously, and consequently provide direct support to the terrorists.
Israeli artillery and aircraft are the terrorists’ artillery and aircraft. That applies to Jabhat al-Nusra of course. Nothing is going to change this Israeli approach.
As far as we are concerned, Israel’s approval had no role at all. Despite Israeli support to the terrorists, we have been doing our job, and the Syrian Army is fighting its way towards the southern front, and has liberated a number of areas within the limits of its capabilities. So, with or without its approval, the decision is a Syrian one, and this is a national duty we shall carry out.
We haven’t stopped fighting terrorists, and at the same time we haven’t stopped responding to Israeli aggression within the capabilities available to us, militarily and technically. Moreover, the more these capabilities improve; the response will be better and higher. But in fact the strongest response to Israel now is to strike the Israeli army existing in Syria which consists practically of the terrorists.
- Journalist: You consider them an Israeli army?
Of course, for they are acting clearly and starkly in Israel’s interest.
The first acts they carried out were attacks against the air defense systems. What is the link between air defense systems and the terrorists acting as infantry on the ground? This was an Israeli order. It was an Israeli-American order because it is the same thing.
So, they are Israel’s army inside Syria; and the first strike against Israel, politically, militarily, and in every other area, is to strike Israel’s terrorists inside Syria, whether they belong to ISIS, al-Nusra, or the other groups linked to the Israeli plan and strategy.
-- Question: An issue is raised, whether in Syria, Iran, or Lebanon, about the nature of Iranian presence in Syria. Some call them Iranian advisors. Even the Syrian Foreign Minister used the same term. At the same time, we notice that there are Iranian martyrs. Frankly, Mr. President, what is the nature of Iranian presence in Syria now?
-- President Assad: The term adviser is sometimes used in a broad manner, i.e. these advisers have been with us, through the longstanding relationship with Iran, even before the war, because the military relationship is close. When a military formation moves to a fighting position, the adviser becomes a fighter. So, the word can be used in different senses. There are certainly Iranian advisers in Syria, and there are groups of Iranian volunteers who came to Syria, and they are led by Iranian officers.
Iran has fought with and defended the Syrian people. It offered blood. That’s why when we say “advisers” this is a generic term, but this doesn’t mean that we are ashamed of any Iranian presence, even if it is official. But we use the word “advisers” because there are no regular Iranian fighting units in Syria. There are no battalions, or brigades, or divisions.
-- Question: Mr. President, I move to another file. Last week, it was the Jerusalem International Day, and the Palestinian cause is going through its most difficult stages. We are talking about the “deal of the century”, and moving the American Embassy to occupied Jerusalem. What do you have to say about Palestine? Is Syria still capable of supporting the Palestine cause? Basically, wasn’t one of the most important objectives of the war on Syria to get Syria out of the axis of resistance and to prevent it from supporting resistance, whether in Lebanon or Palestine?
-- President Assad: Recent development have proven that the Arab people is still conscientiously attached to the cause of Palestine.
As for Syria – since it has been part of these plots to undermine the Arab condition in general – first, for Syria to support the cause of Palestine, it should first of all destroy the Israeli army in Syria. Restoring stability in Syria, striking terrorism, and foiling the Israeli plot in Syria is certainly part of supporting the cause of Palestine.
The support might be indirect with direct consequences, but these direct consequences are linked to the internal Palestinian condition.
We shouldn’t forget that the Palestinians are divided between groups which resist Israel and are genuinely linked to the cause of Palestine, and other groups which are against the resistance and support surrenderist and defeatist peace, while there are other groups which use resistance as a title in order to achieve their political objectives under the slogan of religion. This is of course the Muslim Brotherhood’s approach... The Palestinian question for us is still as it was ten years ago and decades ago. It hasn’t changed.
As to what we can offer, this has to do with two things: first, Syria’s current capabilities; and there’s no doubt that the priority is given now to cleaning Syria of terrorism. Second, it has to do with the Palestinian condition and the parties with which we can deal within the Palestinian arena.
A news item that would never make it to the front pages of the US press caught my attention the other day. It seems that some Israeli rabbis have decreed the Israeli army not to shy away from targeted killing of Palestinian civilians in the context of the ongoing military campaign against armed groups resisting the illegal occupation of their lands. Writing to the Israeli defense minister, the rabbis stated that killing enemy civilians is “normal” during this time and that the Israeli occupation army should never hesitate to kill non-Jewish civilians.
The signatory parties to this heinous edict, include Haim Meir Druckman, a former Knesset member and leader of a large religious youth movement known as the Bnei Akiva Society; Eliezer Melamed, who heads a West Bank religious college; and Youval Sharlo, the head of another Talmudic college in Petah Tikva which combines Talmudic studies with active military service.
Another prominent rabbi, Dov Lior, in the illegally occupied Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arbaa in the territories near Hebron issued a statute some times back stating that non-Jewish civilians may be killed to save Jewish lives, soldiers and civilians alike. The rabbi argued that non-Jewish lives had no sanctity, especially during the time of war.
Now here’s a rabbi who feverishly advanced the cause of the killing of Palestinian civilians in Rafah in southern Gaza earlier, saying: “It is very clear in light of the Torah that Jewish lives are more important than non-Jewish lives”. He also added that non-Jews were made by God to serve all Jews. Rabbi Lior has gone public with his praise and eulogy for Baruch Goldstein, a New Yorker Jew settler who in 1994 mowed down 29 Arab worshippers while they were offering their prayers at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque. Referring to the terrorist Goldstein as a “great saint”, the rabbi stated that a “thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail”.
While some rabbis within Conservative and Reform Judaism do not share the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox view of non-Jews, they have very little political influence in Israel and are generally viewed with disdain by the powerful Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox branches, which view them as inferior Jews. Neither does the current state of Israel run by Netanyahu and company give them an ear.
Haim Meir Drukman ( born 15 November 1932) is an Israeli Orthodox Rabbi and former politician. Drukman played a leading role in the establishment of Gush Emunim.
The ideological outlook of Gush Emunim has been described as messianic, fundamentalist, theocratic, and right-wing. Its beliefs were based heavily on the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, who taught that secular Zionists, through their conquests of Eretz Israel, had unwittingly brought about the beginning of the Messianic Age, which would culminate in the coming of the messiah, which Gush Emunim supporters believe can be hastened through Jewish settlement on land they believe God has allotted to the Jewish people. Rabbi Drukman serves as head of Yeshiva Oh Etzion and Chairman of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement.
As a pioneering Zionist youth movement, Bnei Akiva believes that it is a central commandment of Judaism to emigrate to the land of Israel--"make Aliya"—and maintains that the future of the Jewish people is tied to the state of Israel. Bnei Akiva feels that Jewish youth in the Diaspora should be educated to realize that the State of Israel needs them, and that they, in turn, need it.
Up to the 1980s many Bnei Akiva members joined religious Kibbutzim in Garinim (groups). They were either groups based on army service together Nahal or they were groups that came on Aliya (emigrated) to Israel together. Since the 1990s, a wider view of how to contribute to Israeli life has become accepted. Bnei Akiva members now typically settle in development towns, settlements etc. They are active in all areas of Israeli life including security, hi-tech, education, academia etc.
In 2012 Rabbi Haim Druckman, was awarded the Israel Prize, a prize awarded for those who have displayed excellence in their field(s), or have contributed strongly to Israeli culture or the State. Arutz Sheva had the opportunity to interview Rabbi Druckman shortly before the prize was awarded.
Q: Congratulations on receiving the Israel Prize. [..] Although the description of the award said that he is the great contributor to religious-Zionist education, many feel it could be said of the religious Zionist movement as a whole. I guess, the rabbi feels the same way?
A: "I'm happy about it and definitely agree. That's my point: this is official recognition of action for these values - and thank God I'm not the only one that is pursuing them."
Q: The award committee noted that the monetary portion of the prize was awarded to educational and [Army] conversion programs. There is a connection between the two?
A: "Certainly there is a connection. There are many with a relationship to Israel who wish to come to Israel and be with Israel. From a religious Zionist point of view the army and the state are bound up as one.
We must care for our brothers who come to Israel after a long period of physical and spiritual bondage. We have to feel for such people. If any of them wants to become a Jew in every respect, we must help them. These things are connected." (Arutz Sheva, 27/04/2012)
DERNA, Libya (Reuters) - On the front lines of their campaign to take the coastal city of Derna, forces under Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar say they face just a few dozen “remnant” fighters who have deployed snipers and planted explosives to stave off inevitable defeat. Seizing Derna would complete the takeover of Libya’s east by Haftar, who built up his Libyan National Army (LNA) during three-year campaign for Benghazi, Libya’s second city.
In neighbourhoods of Derna already secured by the LNA, life is slowly returning to streets scarred by recent battles - though fears for those detained by the LNA or trapped by the combat have grown.
“All that’s left of them is around 50 or 60 remnants moving around,” Saleh Faraj, an officer patrolling areas under LNA control, said of the army’s opponents.
“The remnants are still holed up in their last stronghold in the central district because there are buildings there that protect them from armoured vehicles, and they are fighting with snipers.” The LNA surrounded Derna, a city of 125,000 people, in 2016 and tightened its blockade last year. After launching a ground offensive last month, it now says it is close to capturing the last city in the east of the vast country to elude its control. Haftar casts himself as a bulwark against Islamist militancy, presenting the battles in Benghazi and Derna as anti-terrorism campaigns.
Haftar’s opponents in the city deny having associations with jihadists, saying they are fighting to preserve their independence and counter military rule.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) flourished in the vacuum created by the civil war in Syria. Amid the chaos, weak border controls and a lack of effective government, ISIL started to gain a foothold in the eastern coastal city of Derna during 2012; and then in Sirte during 2014.
Last year, a group of around 300 Libyan ISIS veterans returned to Derna on the country’s Mediterranean coast as the civil war continued.
In October, ISIS took over most of the city and declared its allegiance to the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They were joined in their pledge by Ansar al-Sharia, the extremist group that killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens on September 11, 2012.
On Feb. 15, ISIS released a video of its Libyan fighters beheading 21 Egyptian Christians who were kidnapped while working in Libya. The video showed the men’s blood coloring the waves of Mediterranean Sea red while the lead executioner said: “We will conquer Rome, by the will of Allah".
It is no accident that the movement first emerged in Derna. The town has had a reputation for extremism ever since the late 1990s when it was put under curfew for at least a year by the Gaddafi's regime in response to support for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group's campaign against the jamahiriyah state.
Locals claim that the town was radicalised in the 1980s by Libyans returning from jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Libya’s Islamists were imprisoned, forced underground or fled into exile during Moammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule, but they re-emerged quickly after his capture in October 2011.
After the 2011 uprisings that ousted Qaddafi, the Muslim Brotherhood emerged as Libya’s largest Islamist party. It held its first meeting in Benghazi just weeks after Qaddafi was captured. In March 2012, it formed the Justice and Construction Party, led by Mohammad Sawan, to run in elections. Other Islamists – notably Salafis – soon created a few smaller parties. One of the most prominent was the Watan Party led by Abdelhakim Belhadj, the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who was imprisoned under Qaddafi.
Rouhani cheers Iran’s World Cup win
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slipped out of his traditional tunic and turban and into the comfort of his nation’s football jersey, to support the Iranian football team playing against Morocco in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Rouhani could not contain his excitement when Iran's national team secured their first victory in a World Cup match in 20 years. An unfortunate own-goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz in the 95th minute translated into an unexpected triumph for Iran, which beat Morocco 1-0 in the Group B match, played in St. Petersburg.
Congratulating the national team on their win, Rouhani tweeted a picture of himself clapping, wearing pants and the national football jersey. (RT Russia, 16-6-2018)
Protests in Amman, capital of Jordan, in response to the proposed revision of the income tax law, and resulting price hikes. 2 June 2018
As we look at Jordan and pray for protection of our nations and for an end to the destructive project in the region and its repercussions that are still alive with the heads of sedition and decay always lurking, we hope that the youth of Jordan understood the lesson of “devastation” that has impacted our Arab world and which some countries, including Jordan, survived and that they maintain this blessing.
This leads us to take great care of our youth here in our nations, whether those at risk of being deceived or already have been deceived to be used as fuel for ill practices.
The destruction and ruin that have afflicted our Arab countries as a result of incitement to chaos must become a material to teach our students in schools and universities and youths who are serving sentences in rehabilitation centers for carrying out acts punishable by law, just like it’s a lesson to governments to take into account every possible scenario.
This inciting approach was used to feed the minds of young people to stir chaos while deluding them into thinking that their actions are heroic and will help them attain freedom and welfare if they live or go to heaven if they die.
Look how Iraq and Egypt were and how Lebanon was in terms of beauty and security. Look at the destruction in Yemen, Syria and Libya.
The pictures of refugees in camps and displaced people in Europe and on borders, the pictures of burned and ruined cities and of people who were forced to eat cats and dogs and of those who hide in caves to escape shelling, the pictures of hospitals that suffer from the lack of medicine and equipment and the pictures of the dead must become educational material to raise awareness.
They must be given as mandatory lectures so people can see the big picture of the project that seduces them to engage, without further knowledge about what they truly are.
yemen, syria, libya
Explain to them the projects of the great powers, their schemes and how they marked our regions as if they were uninhabited places without people.
The published documents and confessions of country leaders, both filmed and written, reveal the extent of involvement of these major countries in the devastating projects of our countries and the involvement of many of our youth in such projects as chess pieces without knowing the big picture.
Let the young people who came out of their captivity narrate their experiences. Host those who were deceived and woke up from Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and open universities, clubs, rehabilitation centers and places of worship for them.
What has happened in Jordan shows that the incitement to destruction is still present and that its tools are still effective. Not realizing the consequences and the outcomes is a characteristic of impulsiveness and enthusiasm. Not having enough knowledge is a great disaster. Do not fall asleep as the devil is still awake.
US Ambassador David Friedman reportedly told Israeli lawmakers they were “ungrateful” for demanding that Washington follow up on its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with an official US acknowledgement of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Among those who recently called for American recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, which it captured five decades ago from Syria, were Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, Likud party MK Yoav Kisch, and Yair Lapid, who leads the opposition Yesh Atid party.
According to a Hebrew-language report from the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday, Friedman met recently with some MKs and admonished them over the public call for a change in US policy vis-a-vis the Golan Heights.
The report quoted him as saying that Israelis do not understand that the US has global interests unrelated to the Jewish state, while Israeli politicians have only a domestic agenda.
In private conversations, Friedman allegedly told the politicians that, instead of being grateful after the US recognized Jerusalem and made the momentous move of its embassy to the city, the Israelis immediately asked for more, displaying what he termed “ingratitude.”
The US Embassy responded in a statement to the news channel, saying the American ambassador does not recall any conversations about the matter.
Concerning the American policy regarding the Golan Heights, the mission said there are no new announcements to be made at this time. Israel captured the Golan in 1967 from Syria. The Jewish state annexed the territory in 1981, in a move never recognized by the international community — including by the United States — which still regards it as occupied.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:10 P.M.) – Earlier today, the elite Tiger Forces division deployed to the southern province of Dara’a after a month long hiatus following the withdrawal of the rebel forces in northern Homs.
With the arrival of the Tiger Forces this weekend, the Syrian military appears to be moving towards an actual operation against the rebel forces in both Dara’a and Al-Quneitra. Previously, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad told Al-Alam News that no decision was made to launch an offensive in southern Syria, adding that the Russians were attempting to negotiate with the rebel groups in these provinces.
However, over the last three days, tensions have been mounting in both the Dara’a and Al-Quneitra governorates, as local rebel groups continue to target reconciliation delegates.
The Syrian Army has warned the rebels against targeting these delegates; however, the latter has mostly ignored Damascus’ threats.
There is no one single day an Israeli politician or analyst would not instigate a provocative commentary or a sheer lie about Syria and Iran. Unlike any country involved in the region, only Israel is not working towards a peaceful settlement in Syria. Quite the contrary, they are championing a protracted war and a total disaster in Syria.
If they could, they would have the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier carpet-bomb the whole area: Innocent people, children and women would perish; the country would be reduced to rubble in the hope that what remains could not constitute a threat to the state of Israel.
Israel has been implementing the same policies in the occupied Arab lands since the 1967 War. Not only the war hawks of the past and present Netanyahu governments, but all Israeli administrations have been acting based on the understanding that if you destroy a region or a country to the ground, you also destroy the willpower of the people there.
While U.S. task force commander Rear Adm. Eugene Black called for peaceful means to maintain security in the region when the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier came to Eastern Mediterranean waters, Israeli sources, putting words in the mouths of American officials, start dreaming about a renewed bombing of Syria.
As the American commander declares that Russian, Iranian and Syrian military forces find common strategies against terrorists in Syria, Israeli sources start drawing strategic and tactical war plans for him: "The Trump administration looks with extreme disfavor on the mounting cooperation between Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah military forces and their aggressive intent, especially with respect to the U.S. outpost at Al Tanf."
You can make that many mistakes in one short sentence when you are totally blind to the realities on the ground:
(A) there is no mounting cooperation between Russia, Iranian and Hezbollah forces; President Putin is skillfully distancing his country from any military plans Iran might have; and (B) Bashar Assad seems to prefer the Russian option not the Iranian one.
He recently said on an Iranian TV channel: "We were faced with two options ... reconciliation or liberation by force. At this point, the Russians suggested the possibility of giving reconciliation an opportunity." In short, there has not been "aggressive intent" in the region recently.
Israeli sources should be able to see the difference between Syria's relationship with Iran and Hezbollah. Assad is not talking about a Hezbollah presence in the area. Despite Israeli wishes for a prolonged and more destructive war in Syria, U.S. and Russian authorities now seem to agree on a government comeback in the southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra. It is not peace that Israel is after; it wants to devour the Golan Heights and more Syrian territory in the process.
Europe is facing the most significant refugee crisis since the Second World War. All attempts at resolving the issue have failed, mostly because they have ignored the root causes of the problem.
Last week, Italy’s new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, blocked the Aquarius rescue ship, which was carrying 629 refugees and economic migrants, from docking at its ports. A statement by Doctors Without Borders stated that the boat was carrying 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women.
“From now on, Italy begins to say no to the trafficking of human beings, no to the business of illegal immigration,” tweeted Salvini, who also heads the far-right League party.
Italy’s new government seems intent on stopping the flow of refugees into the country, as promised on the campaign trail. However, if politicians continue to ignore the root causes of the problem, the refugee crisis will not go away on its own.
The disturbing truth is this: Europe is accountable for much of the mayhem under way in the Middle East...
African immigrants are often blamed for “taking advantage” of the porous Libyan coastline to “sneak” into Europe. Yet many of those refugees had lived peacefully in Libya and were forced to flee following the NATO-led war on that country in March 2011.
“I’m originally from Nigeria and I had been living in Libya for five years when the war broke out,” wrote Hakim Bello in the Guardian. “I had a good life: I was working as a tailor and I earned enough to send money home to loved ones. But, after the fighting started, people like us — black people — became very vulnerable. If you went out for something to eat, a gang would stop you and ask if you supported them. They might be rebels, they might be government, you didn’t know.”
The security mayhem in Libya led not only to the persecution of many Libyans, but also millions of African workers, like Bello. Many of those workers could neither go home nor stay in Libya. They, too, joined the dangerous mass escapes to Europe.
“All of Europe has a responsibility to stop people from drowning. It’s partly due to their actions in Africa that people have had to leave their homes,” said Bello.
“Countries such as Britain, France, Belgium and Germany think they are far away and not responsible, but they all took part in colonizing Africa. NATO took part in the war in Libya. They’re all part of the problem.”
Syria is not an entirely different story. There, too, the EU is hardly innocent. The Syria war has resulted in a massive influx of refugees, most of whom are hosted by neighboring Middle Eastern countries, but many have sailed the sea to seek safety in Europe.
The United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Nikki Haley, Washington's ambassador to the UN, has announced. Halley made the announcement on Tuesday in Washington, DC.
"We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organisation that makes a mockery of human rights," she said. The move comes after the council voted last month to probe killings of Palestinian protesters in Gaza and accused Israel of excessive use of force.
It also follows intense criticism faced by the US for detaining children separated from their immigrant parents at the US-Mexico border. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein on Monday called on Washington to halt its child separation policy. "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," al-Hussein said.
Haley said a year ago that Washington was reviewing its membership of the Human Rights Council, and called for reform and elimination of a "chronic anti-Israel bias."
"When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name. It is time for the countries who know better to demand changes," Haley said in a statement on March 2018.
Set up in 2006, the body has 47 members, elected by the UN's General Assembly with a specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe. It has a permanent standing agenda item on suspected violations committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories that Washington wants removed.
The US boycotted the Human Rights Council for three years under President George W Bush, before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.
"The Trump administration's withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: Defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else," said Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.
On the morning of June 14, with just a couple hundred armed men driving a dozen pickup trucks, Ibrahim Jadran, the commander of the so-called Petroleum Facilities Guard, took over two of Libya’s main oil exporting terminals used by the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) — Es-Sidra and Ras Lanuf. The terminals are located in eastern Libya near Jadran’s hometown, Ajdabiya, where his tribesmen of al-Magharba tribe are concentrated and seem to have helped him.
The NOC was forced to declare a state of force majeure, suspending oil exports and evacuating its employees from both terminals and surrounding areas.
In a statement sent to Al-Monitor, the NOC estimated losses at “tens of billions of dollars” before adding that the burning of at least two oil depots at the terminals will take “years and even more costs to repair and return production to normal sustainable levels.” The statement also warned of “catastrophic environmental” consequences on the region due to leaking and burning oil.
The fighting family
Since the anti-Gaddafi uprising began, visitors come and go frequently, offering congratulations and sharing stories. Every day, the Jadran brothers drive 200km west to deliver supplies to the ever-shifting rebel front lines - then somewhere in the desert near the major oil refinery at Ras Lanuf. The brothers spend half their time in camouflage. AK-47 assault rifles lean against a wall in the pink-painted first-floor reception room, where children peer over the arm of a couch to listen to the adults talk. Al-Jazeera, 18-3-2011
NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla condemned the attack in a recorded video message broadcast on NOC's website June 14, calling Jadran an “outlaw who cost Libya in 2013 more than $100 billion.”
Back then, Jadran and his men had taken over the terminals, suspending oil exports from 2013 to 2016, before he was forced to flee after the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Hafter, took control of the oil ports.
Sanalla pointed out that Libya “will lose daily production of about 400,000 barrels per day as lost exports, and if the status quo continues, the estimated cost will be about $880 million a month.”
He concluded by saying, “This is a national catastrophe and the outlaw [Jadran] should be forced to leave the terminals.” Indeed, the loss is huge and very detrimental to any economic progress or stability since oil is the main source of revenue for the militia-dominated country.
Jadran said in a recorded video June 14 that the bulk of his force is made up of former Petroleum Facilities Guard members and other groups, including the notorious Benghazi Defense Brigades, which is a loose coalition of Islamist groups formed to counter Hafter’s LNA in Benghazi before he chased them out in July 2017 by taking over the entire city in eastern Libya.
The attack apparently surprised Hafter, whose forces were busy clearing Derna from al-Qaeda and Islamic State fighters since the LNA launched its offensive to retake the coastal town in northeastern Benghazi.
LNA spokesman Ahmed Mesmari announced on June 17 that LNA’s air force has gone into action in the areas around the terminals all the way to Sirte, some 200 kilometers (124 miles) to the west, warning civilians to be careful.
It is a matter of time before Jadran and his forces are ejected from the areas. But the repeated phenomena of gang attacks against the country’s main lifeline will always be a looming threat as long as no central government is in place with full power over the entire territory of Libya.
The United States is mulling plans to hold a Congressional hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood, sometime between July and early August before the summer recess, according to two sources who spoke to Al Arabiya English.
The Muslim Brotherhood, a banned group in several Arab countries, will be the central topic of the hearing in which several Washington DC-based analysts are expected to speak as witnesses.
According to political observers, the possibility of the hearing comes as no surprise especially given the current US administration’s stance against hostile groups in the Middle East and North Africa. John Bolton, the National Security Advisor under President Donald Trump’s administration, said in July 2017 that one of the ways to force Qatar to halt its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the US must designate the group as a terrorist organization.
“My reaction is, ‘Great, let’s take this opportunity and do what we should have done anyway. Let’s declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.’ Having done that, we turn back to Qatar and say, ‘Now, you follow suit,’” Bolton told Breitbart News at the time.
The same goes for current US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who as a congressman in the past fought and co-sponsored legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. In 2014, several countries among them Saudi Arabia and Egypt, formally declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Among its members include many who are listed as terrorist supporters or financiers as per lists released in countries like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Flashback 2011: There are suspicious groups among opposition,
gunmen,saboteurs among protesters in Syria
MOSCOW– Russian former diplomat and expert in the affairs of the Middle East region Vyacheslav Matuzov said that there are suspicious groups among the Syrian opposition.
In an interview with the 'Russia Today' TV, he added that there are gunmen among protesters and they sabotaged public properties in addition to army and police posts, indicating that the US had been encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood party to create chaos in Syria since the 1980s.
"Russia will not support any side that tries to provoke sedition in Syria… Most of the Syrian people support their government," he added. He said that the US violated the international law when its President asked a President of an independent country and member of the UN to step down.
He pointed out that the US is supporting opposition forces in all the Arab countries, expressing concern that changes in the Arab region will be connected to the US policies and purposes in the region. (ChamPress, 06-09-2011)
Washington holds secret talks with Muslim "Brotherhood"
WASHINGTON — American media reports on Tuesday said that the administration of President Barack Obama has been quietly consulting with the "Islamic opposition" in Syria.
Within this context, the American "World Tribune" Newspaper revealed that senior U.S. officials have been meeting with the "Muslim Brotherhood" of Syria as well as its lobbyists in the United States.
The US officials said the two sides have convened several times over the last three months to discuss the Brotherhood's role after the "ouster" of President Bashar Assad's regime.
The Reform Party in Syria (RPS) has protested the US administration's meetings with the "Brotherhood". RPS, regarded as one of the most pro-Western elements in the Syrian opposition, said Washington was signaling its endorsement of the "Brotherhood's" goal to make Syria into an Islamic state rather than a democracy that would foster its large minority communities.
"This ill-advised policy of the U.S. State Department will have dire consequences, not only for the future of Syria, but also through an immediate increase in violence and the strengthening of the Assad base," RPS said on Sept. 23.
On Sept. 24, the Syrian American Council (SAC), regarded as a lobbyist for the "Brotherhood", held a meeting in Anaheim, Calif. to discuss the situation in Syria. The session was addressed by U.S. special envoy Frederic Hof, responsible for U.S. policy on Damascus.
This marked at least the second session between the State Department and the "Brotherhood" in as many months.
SAC member Susan Misto in the event announced: “We ask the U.S. and international community to put an end to bloodshed and send Bashar Assad to the International Criminal Court.” The first meeting was headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and excluded members of the secular Syrian opposition.
"The SAC is led by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The Brotherhood wishes to see an Islamic state spread from the Middle East throughout the world. Molham al-Droubi, a key leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) in 2013 that many of the SAC’s members formerly belonged to the Syrian Brotherhood." (Jewish Voice, 11-4-2018)
Bashar Assad: "We offer them to establish their own
political party which would be based on secular principles
Sergei Balmasov, Pravda 13-12-2011
Q: "Spokesmen for the Syrian opposition, including those who stay in Moscow, claim that the official authorities supposedly contribute to the conflict because they refuse to legalize the Muslim Brotherhood.
You announced the start of serious political reforms. You also said that you would hold the national elections. Does the Brotherhood have a chance to win legitimacy and get into the parliament?"
A: "In accordance with acting Constitution, Syria is a secular state. Therefore, no movement that acts under religious slogans and aims to split the Syrian society can hope for it. This goes for the Muslim Brotherhood too.
This organization can not be legalized judging upon their ideology. It does not mean, though, that we cut those people from the opportunity to participate in the peaceful life of the country. We offer them to establish their own political party which would be based on secular principles so that the party could struggle for the seats in the parliament."
The Syrian government is deploying its military forces in southern Syria, in preparation for a looming offensive against the southern governorates of Daraa and Quneitra, as confrontation in the north and northeast are winding down.
Abdulllah Nassar, a member of the White Helmets in Daraa, told VOA that people are bracing themselves for the offensive. “The Free Syrian Army is on alert, and everyone is planning for a battle,” Nassar said. The Syrian regime continues to drop leaflets in the area urging armed opposition and civilians to follow the footsteps of the rebels who evacuated eastern Ghouta.
In an attempt to control strategic Lajat hill in eastern Daraa, the Syrian army is trying to divide the armed opposition-controlled area in the south into two.
Syrian officials have visited the government-controlled areas in the south. This comes two days after Syrian Minister of Defense Ali Abdullah Ayyoub visited the southern area to check the preparations for the offense, according to Syrian State Media (SANA).
After the gains achieved by the Syrian government, with support from Russia and Iran in recapturing swaths of land from rebel groups in 2017, the three allies shifted attention to the remaining territories in the south. Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said last May that the Syrian government should be in control of its borders, adding that all foreign forces must withdraw from the southern borders.
Israel and Jordan are trying to avoid a new conflict on their borders with Syria. Negotiations between the U.S., Russia, Jordan and Israel are taking place in a search for an exit to the military action on the southern borders. Joe Macron, a researcher at the Arab Center in Washington, told VOA that the main actors in the region are still waiting for the results of the negotiations before launching any major military action.
What is important for Jordan is two things: “Not allowing more refugees to get in, and not opening the strategic Nasib border crossing,” Macron said.
Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ayman Safadi, told U.N. envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura in a phone call that Jordan is working on preventing a fight on its northern borders and preserving the stability, Jordan news agency Petra reported.
Al-Ahram Al-Arabi weekly magazine sat down with veteran Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, the most powerful figure in eastern Libya, to talk about the military scene in the North African country and the challenges facing the Libyan Army.
Q: You announced that the Libyan National Army controls 95 percent of the country. Is this a sign that the army is about to assume control of the entire state, or are there external obstacles that would make this goal impossible to realize?
A: The Libyan National Army will continue its struggle until it regains full control over Libya, no matter what this costs. We will preserve the unity of the country and the sovereignty of the state. We will do our utmost to achieve stability and security so that the Libyans can build their state in the way they want and with their free will.
Q: When you launched Operation Al-Karama (dignity) in mid-April 2014 with fewer than 300 personnel – soldiers, officers and civilians – military experts doubted your chances of success. However you achieved a military miracle. How do you assess the army's stance regarding armament and numbers now?
A: The Libyan Army overcame very difficult situations in a very short period to become the ninth-strongest armed force on the African continent, and all this was achieved despite the arms embargo implemented at a time when the Libyan Army is waging a war on terrorism on behalf of the world.
The Libyan National Army is currently undergoing development and we are determined to rebuild it in accordance with the latest modern standards to preserve the state’s sovereignty and the people’s interests.
Q: What are the latest developments in the war against terrorist organizations and the operation to liberate Derna?
A: We initially launched Benghazi’s liberation operation with 300 fighters against 15,000 terrorists who controlled the city and received unlimited support from abroad. Now I am sure that we will succeed in eliminating hundreds of terrorists in Derna very soon, after three years of siege.
Q: From time to time, the Mitiga International Airport in the capital, Tripoli, witnesses clashes between two military forces affiliated with the Presidential Council, which have resulted in the destruction of the Libyan aviation fleet. How long will these clashes continue to damage and destroy Libya's infrastructure?
A: These clashes will end after annulling all military factions that are acting outside of the framework of the Libyan army and police, and when they surrender their arms.
Q: During your speech on 17 December, the end-date of the Skhirat Agreement, you announced that the Libyan Army will not follow any non-elected authority. Did you mean the Presidential Council and the accord government or the Parliament as well?
A: The Libyan parliament is an institution elected by the Libyan people before the so-called political agreement was inked. It is the sole legitimate representative of the will of the Libyan people.
Q: Would the army accept the participation of groups that you denominated as “terrorists” in the coming elections, such as the Muslim Brotherhood?
A: What regulates the elections is the elections law, which defines their conditions and requirements. Parliament is the only entity in charge of this law.
If the law under any condition allows these groups to run, then it is up to the Libyan people to vote or not to vote for them, however I don’t think that the Libyans, after all what they have been through, will make the same mistake twice.
Q: You have been praising Egyptian-Libyan relations. What is new in the Egyptian-Libyan relationship?
A: Libyan-Egyptian relations are very special and cannot be compared with any other country. We are partners in everything, and our consultation on all issues affecting our two peoples remains uninterrupted.
Q: The UAE is one of the most important countries supporting the Libyan Army, what about Libyan-UAE relations?
A: The United Arab Emirates is a sister country that has stood by us in the most difficult situations. It has faced many difficulties because of its supportive position, but it has been steadfast and has neither budged nor retreated.
Q: Has the Libyan-Russian military rapprochement been translated into military assistance or is it still in the area of information cooperation only?
A: The strong Libyan-Russian relations are not new. They stand by us in demanding our legitimate rights and have honorable attitudes towards us in international forums.
The Russians are committed to the arms embargo imposed on us, and they respect international resolutions, so Russia cannot supply us with weapons and the ban is still in force. There are military agreements concluded with the Russians before the embargo was issued, and we seek to activate them. We urge the Russians to work hard and quickly to lift the embargo, which is no longer justified.
Q: Misrata forces said they would not take part in the meeting, and issued a statement rejecting the outcomes. Does this mean Misrata is still separate from the rest of Libya?
A: I don’t understand the meaning of “Misrata forces” or why should they be invited. The only legitimate military force in Libya is the Libyan armed forces.
The ongoing Cairo negotiations aim to bring together all military people under one umbrella. The army does not tolerate division and there are no divisive causes within military forces. The military should not be influenced by political, regional or tribal disputes.
All Libyans reject any armed forces operating outside the military and the official security service, whether in Misrata or elsewhere, and military personnel refuse to work outside the army and are all calling for uniting the army. A bunch of extremist militants should not be allowed to isolate the city from the rest of the country, defame it or inflame resentment there.
TRIPOLI - A force led by Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar said Thursday it had recaptured two key oil ports, a week after they were seized by a rival militia in a blow to crucial exports.
Armed groups led by militia leader Ibrahim Jadhran on June 14 attacked two eastern oil ports controlled by Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army.
Haftar on Thursday announced an offensive to recapture the terminals after a week of clashes that had damaged vital infrastructure and slashed crude output, the lifeblood of Libya's economy.
"Our armed forces have full control of the Ras Lanuf region," LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said later, adding they had also retaken the Al-Sidra terminal.
Charles Krauthammer announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live. I feel an obligation to pay homage to this incredible man, and to add a Jewish, Zionist and personal angle to the many tributes to him that have rightly poured forth.
For 38 years, Krauthammer’s columns, essays, and lectures have stood as pillars of conservative principle and moral clarity. On foreign policy matters, he was unquestionably the most radiant intellectual hawk in America, and on Middle East affairs he was the most consistent defender of Israel and the US-Israel special relationship.
In 2015, he repeatedly skewered then-president Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “the worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.”
Krauthammer understood that American Jewry was dying. “Nothing will revive the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the Islamic world. And nothing will stop the rapid decline by assimilation of Western Jewry.” The dynamics of assimilation were inexorable in America and elsewhere, he wrote. Israel, Krauthammer understood, was different. “Exceptional,” he called it – because Israel was about “reattachment of Russian and Romanian, Uzbeki and Iraqi, Algerian and Argentinean Jews to a distinctively Hebraic culture,” and this gave it civilizational and societal staying power for the long term.
Flashback 2002/3: Reward the coalition of the willing
Punish France, Germany and Belgium
Krauthammer, in : "For love of Israel", februar 2003
We need to demonstrate that there is a price to be paid for undermining the United States on a matter of supreme national interest.
First, as soon as the dust settles in Iraq, we should push for an expansion of the Security Council to dilute France's disproportionate and anachronistic influence.
Second, there should be no role for France in Iraq, either during the war, should France change its mind, or postwar. No peacekeeping. No oil contracts. And France should be last in line for loan repayment, after Russia. Russia, after all, simply has opposed our policy. It did not try to mobilize the world against us.
Third, we should begin laying the foundation for a new alliance to replace the now obsolete Cold War alliances. Its nucleus should be the coalition of the willing now forming around us. No need to abolish NATO. The grotesque performance of France, Germany and Belgium in blocking aid to Turkey marks the end of NATO's useful life. Like the U.N., it will simply wither of its own irrelevance.
We should be thinking now about building the new alliance structure around the United States, Britain, Australia, Turkey, such willing and supportive Old Europe countries as Spain and Italy, and the New Europe of deeply pro-American ex-communist states.
As part of that rethinking, we should redeploy our bases in Germany to Eastern Europe, which is not just friendlier but closer to the theaters of the new war.
Belgium warns Blair over US relationship
Tony Blair got a fresh warning of trouble ahead from Europe yesterday when the Belgian foreign minister openly attacked him for "submissively" following the US lead on Iraq.
Remarks by Louis Michel were shrugged off by British officials but found an echo in a wider Europe increasingly alarmed at signs of US determination to bring down Saddam Hussein.
Mr Michel told the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws: "Morally and politically we could take charge in the world. But the British are blocking that. They still don't understand that they could play a pioneer role in Europe instead of submissively following the US." (Ian Black in Brussels and Jon Henley in Paris, The Guardian 28-8-2002)
the coalition of the unwilling - chirac, michel, schroeder
9-2-2003: Belgium will use its veto power in NATO to block a US request for the military alliance to support a US-led military strike on Iraq.
Speaking on Belgian television, Louis Michel said NATO Secretary General George Robertson would be sent a letter informing him of the veto. He added that he expected France and Germany also to block the US request.
Belgium, France and Germany have been holding up an accord that would allow planners at the 19-nation military alliance to begin drawing up NATO's contribution to any action against Iraq. (BBC, 9-2-2003)
Charles Krauthammer writes a nationally syndicated editorial page column for The Washington Post Writers Group. Krauthammer began writing the weekly column for The Washington Post in January 1985.
Krauthammer is an outspoken enemy of post-Zionisme.
Post-Zionisme means that Israel should be not a Jewish state, but a "state of its citizens," a democracy like any other with no particular commitment to the survival or advancement of any one culture or people. Thus the most fundamental law in the Israeli canon, "the Law of Return" that guarantees refuge and citizenship in Israel for any Jew in the world (and which David Ben-Gurion considered the most important law of the land) is under attack for being nationalist, particularist, even racist. A democratic state, it is said, would have no such ethnic tests. Post-Zionism aches for freedom - a new, quite un-Zionist kind of freedom: freedom from myth, freedom from chosenness, freedom from history, and, above all, freedom from power.
Power is corrupting. The post-Zionists prefer incorruptibility. They yearn not for Zion, but for the purity that Jews enjoyed before they reacquired sovereignty.
As one leading Hebrew University professor said decades ago in opposing Israel's founder, David Ben-Gurion: "We are burying a dream, the dream of a land of Israel, the state of the pure and the moral." (Krauthammer, in: The collapse of Zionism, 29-5-2000)
Charles Krauthammer was “one of Israel's greatest friends of all time,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
In a letter to Krauthammer written earlier this month after the columnist wrote that he only had a short time left to live, Netanyahu wrote that the news of his illness “broke my heart,” and that he was “overcome with grief.”
“For over half my lifetime, since I first met you in Washington in 1982, we have been like brothers. We didn't need to meet to understand each other. You understood everything.”
“As a proud American and a proud son of the Jewish people, you harnessed your formidable intellect to defend liberty and the Jewish state,” he wrote.
The prime minister said Krauthammer has “slain the hypocrisy and slanders of the villifiers of Israel and and America with unflappable precision and unmatched erudition."
“I will miss you, Charles, as I miss a brother. I shall always remember you as a fearless fighter of truth..."
Units of the Free Syrian Army, controlling more than ten settlements in the de-escalation zone in southern Syria, have agreed to side with the Syrian government troops in the past day, the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria said on Sunday.
"Over the past 24 hours, after repelling a massive offensive of the Jabhat Al-Nusra units (terror group, outlawed in Russia) in the southern de-escalation zone, the formations of the Free Syrian Army, controlling the settlements of Khabab, Khirbat Al Msap, Jerfi, Asem, Sheikh Gharbiya, Sheikh Sharki, Al Shumariya, Hirbat az Zababir, Deir-Dama, Al Shiyakh and Jadal, voluntarily sided with the government troops. By the end of June 23 these settlements were fully under control of the legitimate Syrian authorities. Overnight to June 23, more than 1,000 militants of Jabhat Al-Nusra attacked the Syrian army’s positions near Dama and Deir-Dama.
The Syrian government forces were forced to defend their positions. Five servicemen were killed and another 19 were wounded, and the terrorists targeted citizens in these settlements.
The United States has warned rebels in southern Syria that they should not expect military intervention if government troops launch an assault against them, a rebel commander told AFP Sunday.
Russian-backed government forces are preparing an offensive to retake Syria's southern provinces of Daraa and Sweida, still mostly held by rebels who had been backed by the U.S. for years.
The U.S. warning, contained in an Arabic-language message seen by AFP, came as Syrian troops this week stepped up air strikes on the southern provinces.
"We must clarify our position: we understand that you must make a decision (to fight) based on your interests, the interests of your people and your faction as you see them," the message read.
"You should not base your decision on an assumption or expectation of military intervention from our side," it said, according to a copy provided to AFP by one of the rebels."
On Saturday, Syrian regime forces made their first gains on the ground against rebel fighters in Daraa province after several days of intensified air strikes.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Russia late Saturday carried out its first air strike on Daraa. Earlier this month, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad acknowledged talks over the south, but said if they failed loyalists would have "no choice" but to take it by force.
Speaking to Russia's NTV news channel, Bashar Assad said that Russia was right in sensing the danger of terrorism, and reiterated that by defending Syrians from the terrorists, the Russian military is also protecting its own citizens in Russia itself.
According to Assad, the military and political presence of Russia in Syria today is also an important element to restoring the global geopolitical balance which was lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Assad stressed that Syria's war was not a civil war, but a war of Syrians against mercenaries and terrorists. "We do not have a civil war, since a civil war is based on inter-confessional, ethnic, religious or other conflicts..."
"It's not our people shooting at one another, but mercenaries and terrorists. In Russia too you have terrorists, and they are Russians, but they do not represent your society, but their own ideology. In Syria it is the same way," Assad explained.
The president said that the West will not be allowed to participate in Syria's reconstruction, because they act in a predatory manner.
"Frankly, this is the best statement made by the West during the entire war in Syria," Assad said, commenting on recent statements by Western officials that they would 'not give a cent' for Syria's reconstruction while its current government was in power.
"This is better because they will not be part of the restoration of Syria; we simply will not let them do it. Will they come to us with money or not? Whether they offer a loan, a donation or grants, anything — we do not need the West. The West is distant from the concept of integrity; they do not give, they only take," Assad said.
"When European countries talk about helping to rebuild Syria, they do not think about helping Syria, but about how to make a profit," he added.
According to the president, notwithstanding the destruction of the war, Syria has the strength to rebuild. "We are certain of this," Assad stressed.
"If we have no money, we will borrow from our friends —from Syrians living abroad, from our treasury. We are not concerned about this. Perhaps the restoration of Syria will take more time, but nevertheless, there is no cause for concern."
"The drop of blood of any Syrian causes much more emotion than their fables"
syria - terror 2011/2012
Asked whether he was concerned about what Western governments or media sometimes say about him, Assad stressed that the "drop of blood of any Syrian causes much more emotion than these fables.
Secondly, when you know that it is a lie, it doesn't upset you. You can feel something when you are criticized based on real facts; then you can experience pain and suffering," he said. In Assad's view, the "problem of the West is that they do not have statesmen, but only fake politicians.
Fake politics needs fake news. Tales about chemical weapons are part of this fake. Western politicians, and I'm not talking about the people, only the politicians, there is absolutely no sense of morality or moral principles. When you encounter unprincipled people, they do not touch your heart nor your mind," he said.
The Syrian army on Monday, June 25, launched an all-out assault on Daraa – a symbolic operation since it was there that the seven-year anti-Assad war first erupted.
The Syrian army’s 4th Division’s guns and its Tigers Forces’ tanks pounded the town with heavy artillery and Golan 1000 missiles, each of which carries a 500kg explosive warhead. The mobile Golan 1000 system mounted on Russian T-72 tanks proved its lethal properties in the recent battles for eastern Damascus.
There is no way the Syrian rebel groups defending Daraa can withstand the fury of this assault, especially when it is boosted by carpet bombing inflicted by Syrian and Russian air forces.
According to some sources close to the scene, the rebels tried early Monday to mount a counter-attack on the Syrian army and were repelled with heavy casualties.
The immediate objective of the Syrian assault appears to be a group of tall buildings in the Al Balad district of Daraa, from which to gain elevation for commanding the rest of the city and so cutting short the battle for its conquest. Like the United States, Israel too appears to have decided to stand aside and let the Syrian army finish its offensive for the capture of Daraa up to the Jordanian border.
The jihadist rebels have agreed to surrender the entire Al-Lajat region of northeast Dara’a to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) after suffering several setbacks this past weekend.
According to a military source in the government stronghold of Izra’a, the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and their allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) agreed to handover the 20+ towns they controlled in the Al-Lajat region to the Syrian Army. The source added that many rebels will remain in Al-Lajat to settle their cases with the Syrian government, while the remaining will move to southeast Dara’a.
For the jihadist rebels, this is a major blow to their morale, as they controlled the Al-Lajat region for most of the war.
Furthermore, the loss of northeast Dara’a only adds to the pressure that is already on their forces inside the entire province.
According to latest updates, the government forces have so far liberated up to 400 km2 in Lajat region stretching from northeast Daraa to northwest Sweida; taking over scores of villages and towns formerly held by al-Qaeda-linked militants.
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner has been accused by a top Palestinian official of offering to pay Arab governments funds previously directed to the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in return for those governments serving the American agenda in the area.
Head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Saeb Erekat made the claim during the annual conference of the Arab American University’s Policy and Conflict Resolution Studies Center.
"They (the Trump administration) approached the host countries of the Palestinian refugees to ask how much UNRWA used to spend there and offered to give it directly to them," Erekat said, adding that by eliminating UNRWA, Israel and the US could drop the right-of-return (demand) of the Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. "Our brothers in Jordan refused Kushner’s offer," he declared.
Erekat discussed prospective negotiations with Israel in the face of what he described as the Trump administration’s bias.
He said that if the peace process has come to mean considering the PLO a terrorist organization, cutting aid to Palestinian refugees, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and declaring that the settlements were no longer illegal —then "the American administration managed to put me in a position as a negotiator where I have nothing to lose."
Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with Al-Quds newspaper published Sunday, Kushner nevertheless stated that Washington was willing to work with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas—that is, if the PA chief was willing to engage.
For his part, Erekat stressed that the PA "does not have an American partner — we’ve had 35 meetings in total with the Trump administration," adding that the Palestinians had given the Americans every possible chance to establish a two-state solution based on international law.
"On May third (of 2017) we were at the White House. President Trump promised us that he would not take action and wait for a year to see which side was being an obstacle to peace." But then, according to Erekat, the US administration fully adopted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s positions.
"I… contacted the Americans and informed them that if they moved their embassy to Jerusalem, they would disqualify the US from any role in the peace process. Kushner responded to me (by) saying 'don’t threaten us," Erekat said.
In addition, Erekat affirmed that Israel was also not a "partner" in the peace process because, he claimed, premier Netanyahu did not believe in the two-state solution. "He (Netanyahu) believes now that he can dictate what I term one state, two systems—apartheid."
"They (Israel) aim to kill the Palestinian national project and maintain the division in Palestine under any circumstances," he opined.
Revisionism: "There is only one form of morality, Zionist morality
Netanyahu does not believe in change. He believes in the continued enforcement of a decades-long, illegal occupation, during which Palestinian land was stolen, homes demolished, freedom denied, children imprisoned and killed, and fundamental human rights for Palestinians violated.
A true leader is committed to the truth - a quality absent in Netanyahu. [..] Netanyahu is the opposite. When visiting a family of Israeli colonists he bragged: “I know what America is. America is something that can easily moved — moved to the right direction.” Adel Safty, Gulf News, 28-8-2014
Israel & the God-complex
THERE is the ancient belief that God chose us from all the peoples.
Why did God do that? God knows. He does not have to explain.
The thing is a bit complicated. First the Jews invented God. There are also Egyptian and Mesopotamian claims, but Jews know better.
(It has been said that many Jews do not believe in God, but believe that God has chosen the Jews.)
Jews learn at a very tender age that they are God's chosen people. Unconsciously, this knowledge remains anchored in their "soul" throughout their life, even though many of them become total atheists.
True, many peoples on earth believe that they are better than other peoples. But they don't have a Bible to prove it.
I am sure that many Jews are not even aware that they believe this, or why. The Jewish soul just knows it. We are special... Uri Avnery, 23-6-2018
Donald Trump, Easter Message 2018:
"My fellow Americans, at this holy time of the year families across our nation gather in homes, churches, and synagogues to light candles and to praise God.
During the sacred holiday of Passover, Jewish families around the world give thanks to God for liberating the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt and for delivering them to the Promised Land of Israel.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised Iranians the government would be able to handle the economic pressure of new US sanctions, a day after traders massed outside parliament, protesting against a sharp fall in the value of the national currency.
Washington is to start reimposing economic penalties on Tehran in coming months after US President Donald Trump quit an agreement between major world powers and Iran in which sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
This may cut Iran's hard currency earnings from oil exports, and the prospect is triggering a panicked flight of Iranians' savings from the rial into dollars. On Monday, police patrolled Tehran’s Grand Bazaar as security forces struggled to restore normality after clashes with protesters angered by the rial's collapse, which is disrupting business by driving up the cost of imports.
Defending his economic record, Rouhani said the government’s income had not been affected in recent months, and the fall in the rial was the result of "foreign media propaganda".
"Even in the worst case, I promise that the basic needs of Iranians will be provided. We have enough sugar, wheat, and cooking oil. We have enough foreign currency to inject into the market," Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television. Rouhani said the fresh US sanctions were part of a "psychological, economic and political war", adding that Washington would pay a high price for its actions. "Withdrawal was the worst decision he (Trump) could make. It was appalling. It hurt America's global reputation," he said.
The collapse of the Iranian currency against the dollar in the past few months is political, not economic. There is no objective reason for which a rial is worth half as many dollars today as it was a year ago.
It is likely related to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi banking squeeze on Iran and to Trump’s violation of the 2015 UN nuclear deal. Trump’s plan to reimpose unilateral American sanctions by early November has caused a lot of bigger firms to pull out from planned investments, including France’s Total, SA, and Russia’s Lukoil. China is rushing in to fill the vacuum, but nevertheless, the prospect of renewed sanctions has created enormous uncertainty.
People in Iran are therefore doing their best to trade in rials for dollars and to send capital abroad to dollar accounts where it will be safe from Iranian currency depreciation that the new sanctions will cause.
Ironically, this activity is a self-fulfilling prophecy, since capital flight of this sort weakens the rial against the dollar, and impels more capital flight.
And, again, the irony here is that much of the supposed capital flight might not even really be taking place. But rumors are circulating that $30 billion went out this spring, with no obvious evidence being given for that massive figure.
Anyway, since you don’t buy eggs in dollars in Iran, the doubling of the dollar against the rial in just a few months doesn’t hurt most people. But merchants in the grand bazaar who buy smartphones abroad and sell them in the Iranian market are taking a bath unless they want to double their rial prices and risk hurting business...
A senior State Department official has told reporters the United States expects companies all over the world to cut their crude oil imports from Iran to zero by November 4 or face U.S. sanctions.
The State Department official said he had been meeting with European diplomats to convey the message that the Trump administration is serious about enforcing new sanctions on trade with Iran since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal in May.
Asked about what kind of reaction he has been getting from European allies, who remain part of the Iran nuclear deal, the official said, "I am continually struck by the amount of business that is falling out of Iran. [French automaker] Peugeot and others simply view Iran as too risky a place to do business."
The State Department official said now is the time for the companies to stop buying Iranian oil.
"They should be reducing now. ... That is why we've offered this window since May 8, as sort of a drawdown period" ahead of the November 4 deadline, the official said.
The official said the move applies not only to Europe but also to India, China and Turkey, where he has not yet held talks with officials but will convey the same information to them.
Britain, France, Germany and the European Union as a whole have strongly protested Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and vowed to protect their companies from what are called "secondary sanctions," which punish companies from other countries that engage in business with sanctioned sectors of the Iranian economy.
Madeleine Albright: If you obey, you won't be punished.
In 1996 then-UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, in reference to years of U.S.-led economic sanctions against Iraq, “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”
To which Ambassador Albright responded, “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”
In her memoirs she clarifies her statement. Here’s what she writes: I must have been crazy; I should have answered the question by reframing it and pointing out the inherent flaws in the premise behind it. Saddam Hussein could have prevented any child from suffering simply by meeting his obligations....
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a meeting with senior executive officials that no “logical and patriotic” person would ever bow to injustice and insults, stressing Iran’s firm position against US undue and excessive demands. “No wise and patriotic person will ever accept to surrender in the face of injustice and insult, and if we bend to the will of the US, it means the end of the historic dignity of the Iranian nation,” said President Rouhani.
The Iranian top executive made the remarks on Wednesday while addressing a group of senior executive officials of the government.
“What we started doing from around 50 days ago will remain in history and the whole world is now wondering what Iran will do next and what its decision will be,” he said.
“The whole world, except a few countries, condemned Trump and the White House authorities. No one said that Iran was afraid, but everybody praised our wisdom and astuteness.”
Al-Manar English Website is more than just a mirror of the Al-Manar Channel. It posts online all the outlet production of news and programs in the English language as well as its own production of featured reports and applications in a unique harmony that manages to mold the Resistance ideology in a virtual form to reach everyone who is interested in prevailing truth, humanity and justice, so that together we can make a change in this world.
Al-Manar English Website is primarily concerned in keeping pace with the leading events in the Arab region against the invaders and occupiers, particularly the actions of Resistance movements, at the fore front: the Palestinian cause.
Israel is seeking with all its weight and supportive lobby to demonise Jeremy Corbyn.
He is facing a campaign in Britain accusing him of anti-Semitism and arrows are being shot in his back from the right side of his party, the Labour Party, represented by the heirs and orphans of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and from circles loyal to Israel.
These two groups are also targeting both the left wing trend he has adopted and his support for the rights of the Palestinian people. Anti-Semitism and Palestinian advocacy are often confused deliberately in the ranks of the European left wing in general and in Britain in particular.
Many people classify Corbyn as part of the radical left wing. He faced a so-called coup within the Labour Party, which he heads, after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
In 2015 he was elected to head the Labour Party, winning 59.9 per cent of the vote, reaching the minimum number of votes needed to win during the first round. He moved from the backbenches in the House of Commons, where he served 32 years, to the forefront of the party in a surprise move that still stuns many. As soon as Corbyn’s victory was announced, the Israeli media fiercely attacked him, accusing him of being anti-Semitic and criticising him for not considering Hamas a terrorist organisation. They also criticised his promise to impose a ban on selling arms to Israel if he is elected prime minister.
Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper noted Corbyn’s call for conducting international investigations to convict Israel of war crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, as well as his vow to issue an apology for his country’s participation in the Iraq war under Tony Blair’s leadership.
Corbyn is considered a peace activist and a member of the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Campaign. He quoted senior military figures describing his country’s nuclear weapons as militarily useless.
In his speeches Corbyn focuses on his support towards the poor and the marginalised, supporting the country’s social welfare system, the party’s unity in the coming phase and his willingness to cooperate with everyone so that the party will once again lead be victorious in the elections.
However, this did not prevent his opponents, even inside the party, from taking positions against him.
The vastly growing popularity of Jeremy Corbyn amongst Brits can be easily explained. Following decades of cultural Marxist, divisive Identiterian politics and Zionist-Neocon domination within the British Left, Corbyn brings along a refreshing ideological alternative. Corbyn seems to re-unite the Brits. He cares for the weak. He opposes interventionist wars. He represents the return of the good old left as opposed to New Labour’s affinity with big money, choseness and exceptionalism.
He cares for the students and the youth. He thinks about the future and promises to undo the damage created by Blair and Cameron.
But as Britain sees the rise of a hugely popular ideological movement, many Jewish institutions see Corbyn as an arch enemy. They would prefer to see him gone and have used nearly every trick in the book to discredit him. [...]
Though I do not have any reason to believe that Corbyn has a cell of hatred in his body, I wouldn’t like to see him bowing to Jewish political pressure. What we need is a firm British leader dedicated to equality, justice, peace and British interests instead of just another Sabbos Goy and servant of the Lobby as well as big money.
Don’t call Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite
Yasmin Alibhai Brown, The Independent, 16 August 2015
Is Jeremy Corbyn the enemy of Israel and British Jews? That is what the The Jewish Chronicle, some MPs and various sections of the media would have us believe.
It is an accusation that is both absurd and menacing. The right, Blairites and hard Zionists have formed the most unholy of alliances to slay the reputation of the next likely leader of the Labour Party.
They thought he was a bit-part player, but he has unexpectedly became the front-runner; now every political trick in the book is being used in an attempt bring him down. I hope honest democrats see through the contemptible tactics. If Corbyn is an anti-Semite, I am a white supremacist...
What evidence have his detractors produced to “prove” that he is anti-Semitic? That he has appeared on Press TV, the Iranian-funded station? Is he therefore a Jew-hater? Of course not.
Next: Corbyn shared a platform with Carlos Latuff, the Brazilian-Arab cartoonist who condemned Israel’s oppressive policies in Palestine.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has declared Latuff anti-Semitic but Eddy Portnoy, writing in the Jewish daily Forward, claims he is a “furious” critic of the state of Israel, not an anti-Semite...
The overreactions of some extreme Zionists these days is tantamount to an attempt to censor all criticism of Israel’s political and military tactics. And the position has hardened since British public opinion has softened towards Palestinians... Most depressing of all is the collusion between the powerful right and Zionists. They seem determined to crush all alternatives to neoliberal economics and Western hegemony.
Carlos Latuff cartoons
Corbyn: Giving a voice to the voiceless
Al-Ahram Weekly, 2002
Jeremy Corbyn is a dissenter whose mission is, as he likes to describe it, to give a voice to the voiceless.
He is a member of a group of Labour Party MPs who are leading the opposition to the British government's foreign policy, particularly on Iraq and Palestine.
Al-Ahram Weekly met Corbyn in the territory with which he is most familiar: the British House of Commons in London, where he has represented the Islington North constituency since 1983. In Corbyn's view, Israeli arrogance and aggression should be met by imposing sanctions on Israel.
"The international community should intervene to force Israel to implement the UN resolutions, or else it should impose sanctions -- economic, trade and even military," he told the Weekly...
The issue is causing a row within the Labour Party, and it also casts doubt on the so-called "ethical foreign policy" pursued by the Labour government. Corbyn agrees that British foreign policy at present, particularly with regard to the Middle East, is not "ethical".
"I am very critical of the British government's foreign policy," he says, "particularly with regard to the Middle East, and including the continuing punitive sanctions against Iraq, the continued bombing campaigns, the refusal to initiate dialogue with the Iraqis, and above all allowing the Palestinian people to be murdered by the Israeli army." "Bush's agenda is a terrifying one... What we are witnessing is a new form of colonialism.
As the critical US mid-term legislative elections approach, several Democratic candidates are facing accusations of anti-Semitism for their critical stance on Israel, highlighting the relevance of the Middle East conflict in US politics.
Still, at least three of those candidates have secured their party's nomination, challenging a deteriorating norm in US politics where being perceived as hostile to Israel can be a career-ending taboo.
-- Candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running for Congress from San Diego, was chastised by Israeli media for being the grandson of an alleged militant. Campa-Najjar’s grandfather, Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar, was an officer in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who was assassinated by the Mossad in 1973 in Lebanon.
Various US and Israeli media outlets, including Haaretz, the San Diego Tribune and the Times of Israel, slammed Campa-Najjar's grandfather, calling him a "terrorist". Campa-Najjar still acknowledges his Palestinian identity.
-- Virginia Democrat Leslie Cockburn took a hit in her campaign when a book she wrote that criticised Israeli-US relations (Dangerous Liaison) came to light. The GOP even labelled her a "virulent anti-Semite" because of it.
Last month, the Virginia Republican Party called on the Democratic Party to withdraw support for Cockburn, saying that she "has a long history of anti-Semitic rhetoric, which can be documented over at least the past 25 years".
-- Pennsylvania Democrat Scott Wallace was denounced because his family’s foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, indirectly donated money to groups linked to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania refused to endorse Wallace accordingly. The Republican Jewish Coalition has spent more than $500,000 for an advertising campaign against Wallace, highlighting his contributions to BDS-linked groups as well as his support for the Iran nuclear deal.
Wallace responded to these charges by saying in a statement, “I am committed to working to preserve our nation’s commitment to Israel, to a nuclear-free Iran, and to a peaceful two-state solution.”
In mainstream US politics, denouncing Israel can prove costly. George Bisharat, a professor at Hastings College of the Law and a commentator on the Palestine-Israel conflict, said Israel's supporters are capable of mobilising opposition against candidates in US elections. “When the pro-Israel lobby wants to put its resources against the candidate, it can do so, and do so with success,” Bisharat told Middle East Eye. Omar Baddar, deputy director of the Arab American Institute, said condemning Israel is not politically safe in the US. “It is conventional wisdom that you cannot criticise Israel in American politics,” Baddar told MEE.
However, there has been a recent shift in the political environment that is allowing room for Israel's opponents, analysts say.
It is partly because of a leftward drift of the Democratic Party, along with the leadership of Senator Bernie Sanders.
Reactions to the latest violence against Palestinians in Gaza has created a small crack in the American political environment, said Baddar.
“Last summer, I went to the U.S. on vacation with Michal and encountered something I termed a real plague,” began Isaac Herzog, the newly elected chairman of the Jewish Agency and outgoing leader of the opposition, the man who was supposed to be the standard-bearer of defiance against Benjamin Netanyahu’s extreme-right government.
The continuation of his remarks, in an interview with Attila Somfalvi in Ynet’s studio on Sunday, made it clear why he was so lousy at that job.
“I saw the children of my friends marrying or living with non-Jewish partners. And their parents are beating their breasts and asking questions and agonizing. And look, this is every family in the U.S. We’re talking about millions!”
A plague, no less. The outgoing leader of the opposition couldn’t find any other word to describe this development, in which people from different backgrounds manage to form a loving relationship with each other. He didn’t think there was any more appropriate word to describe two people living together and perhaps starting a family.
“There must be a campaign,” Herzog continued, switching from a medical vocabulary to a military one. “There must be a solution. We have to rack our brains over how to solve this great challenge.”
After failing to understand what his voters wanted from him, it seems Herzog is also guaranteed to fail overseas in his new job. His words embodied the gaping abyss between many overseas Jews and the people who dwell in Zion.
The former see themselves first and foremost as human beings, citizens of the world, while the latter insist on putting a suffocating Orthodox Judaism above every other element of their identity.
According to data published by Ynet two years ago, 58 percent of American Jews are in mixed marriages or partnerships, as are 63 percent of Canadian Jews and 37 percent of Australian Jews. If Herzog’s plan is to go to them and say tsk tsk, well, good luck to him.
If this is what the person the left proposed as an alternative to the right-wing government in the last election sounds like, it’s no wonder the left is shrinking.
And the lesson still hasn’t been learned. After it finally got rid of Herzog, Labor elected a new leader – Avi (“The Left Has Forgotten What It Means To Be Jewish”) Gabbay.
This isn’t how you build an opposition. It’s also not how you build a governing coalition.
Raanan Gissin, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s top adviser and spokesman (2001-2006), says that Sharon — a secular Jew — has long been calling for more Jewish text study in the secular schools. Without this foundation, Gissin says, young Israelis “don’t grasp that the Jewish people have lived here continuously for 4,000 years, that we have a right to be here, and therefore are more likely to feel disconnected to the land. What they don’t understand is that even when we make compromises in our ancestral homeland for peace, there are places Israel can never give up because they are part and parcel of who we are.
That applies to Jerusalem. This is why it is so important to bring the young people to the Kotel, to the tunnels built thousands of years ago under the Kotel.” ...
Though some hold a different viewpoint, Gissin maintains that the government’s August disengagement from Gaza “was born out of the long-term need to look into how to ensure the survival of the Jewish state with a Jewish majority and secure borders. Teaching Jewish heritage isn’t only about building identity; at the risk of sounding racist, its about ensuring the survival of the tribe.” (Interview 2001)
Ranaan Gissin 2010: "When my great parents,came from Russia in a hundred and fifty years ago, my grandfather came with a Bible in one hand and a rifle in another, and his hand was extended to the Arabs who lived here. Some did make business with him and others who fought him had to meet the wrath of his rifle, and that’s how you live in the Middle East."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday reiterated his commitment to reaching a negotiated peace deal with Israel.
"I am looking for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967, living side by side with Israel in security and stability," Abbas said during his meeting with Prince William, the duke of Cambridge and second in line to the British throne, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "Our position has not changed for a long time. We want peace throughout negotiations," he said.
Abbas voiced hope that Prince William's visit will strengthen relations between the Palestinian people and Britain. "We hope that this is not your last visit, and we hope you visit us again when the Palestinian people get their independence," he addressed Prince William, who arrived in Ramallah from the city of Jerusalem earlier Wednesday. Prince William, for his part, said he is excited about visiting Palestine and learning about its culture:
"Palestine and Britain have a strong relationship, and we have success stories in the field of education and health, and hope to continue this relationship," he said.
During his visit to Ramallah, Prince William is due to watch a football game and attend a cultural event that would include the traditional Palestinian dance Dabkeh. He is also scheduled to visit the Jalazoun refugee camp north of Ramallah.
The U.K. has not recognized the independent state of Palestine, despite persistent calls to do so by British politicians, including a 2014 motion by the House of Commons.
Ties between Britain and Palestine have been severely strained for most of the past century, after the signing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which set out the U.K.'s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton arrived in Moscow on Wednesday to hold talks with top Russian officials.
According to Russian foreign ministry statement, Bolton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Syria, Ukraine and bilateral relations.
Bolton-Lavrov talks reportedly lasted two hours, after which the U.S. President Donald Trump's adviser headed to the Kremlin for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
At the start of his meeting with Putin Bolton said he was looking forward to discussions about improving relations between Moscow and Washington as Russian president expressed hope that the visit would help revive bilateral ties amid tensions between Moscow and the West. "Your visit to Moscow gives us hope that we can at least take the first step to reviving full-blown ties between our states," Putin told Bolton.
Anticipation has been high for a possible Trump-Putin meeting as Trump seeks to mend strained relations with Russia. Ties between the two nations have sunk to their lowest point in decades. Lavrov has said previously that Moscow "is ready for contacts."
The summit of Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will be held in Helsinki on July 16, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday.
The two leaders will discuss "the current state and prospects of further development of Russian-US relations and also vital issues of the international agenda," it said.
Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov earlier told reporters that the venue of the summit is convenient for both sides. The meeting is likely to last several hours: there will be a protocol event, a tete-a-tete meeting and a joint news conference.
Ushakov suggested that Putin and Trump could make a joint statement outlining "the two countries’ further steps both in terms of improving bilateral relations, in terms of joint steps in the international arena and in terms of maintaining global stability and security," he said.
Showcasing his ball-dribbling skills, Benjamin Netanyahu engaged in some footsy lobbying with Iranians, insisting that, if their national team could stop Cristiano Ronaldo, then the opposition can surely take out the government.
Playing on the emotions of millions of Iranians, who were thrilled to see their team achieve an “impossible” World Cup 1-1 draw with Portugal, the Israeli PM decided to demonstrate he too can play ball, while conveying his love and care for the Iranian people.
Netanyahu appealed to the Iranian opposition to seek inspiration in their squad’s performance against superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and his boys, and to find the “courage” to stand up against the government.
“To the Iranian people I say: You showed courage on the playing field, and today you showed the same courage in the streets of Iran,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in the video, titled 'Could you stop Ronaldo from scoring a goal?!'
“Iran has many problems — air pollution, water scarcity, billions wasted on terror,” he pointed out.
“Can you imagine what would happen if the Iranian government, instead of wasting your money in Syria, in Yemen, and in unnecessary wars in the Middle East, would start investing it in solving these problems in Iran?"
Don't waste your money in unnecessary wars in the Middle East
Western-backed Anti-Assad & anti-Iran rebels in Syria
Attempts to win the hearts of the English-speaking Iranian social media users have become Netanyahu’s signature tactics over years of meddling in Iranian affairs.
It’s not the first time Netanyahu has used sports events to encourage the Iranian opposition to rise up against the Islamic establishment. Tehran has repeatedly accused Washington and Tel Aviv of providing support for sporadic protests aimed at overthrowing the government.
New legislation supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would shut down any organization that seeks to harm IDF soldiers or try IDF soldiers in international courts.
The bill would also ban NGOs that promote a boycott of Israel or any area in its controls, meaning that it would apply to settlement boycotts, Channel 2 reported...
The new details followed Sunday’s unanimous decision by the coalition to launch a two-pronged attack on foreign funding of political NGOs, consisting of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into “the involvement of foreign governments in the funding of political organizations and activities to harm IDF soldiers,” and legislation that will be more stringent than the current laws requiring organizations to report foreign funding and announce it publicly if more than half of their budget comes from a foreign political entity.
Earlier this year, Netanyahu appointed Tourism Minister Yariv Levin to come up with a new bill on the topic, because he thought the existing laws are too permissive.
Breaking the Silence’s executive director Avner Gvaryahu said his organization “is here to stay, now and after Netanyahu,” and argued that the “persecution” of his NGO is a distraction from the investigations into alleged corruption by Netanyahu.
“This is yet another pitiful witch-hunt from a right-wing government that knows its days are numbered,” he stated. “Yet again, Netanyahu chooses to use IDF soldiers, who have broken the silence and oppose the occupation, as a human shield, deflecting the consequences of his own criminal entanglements. Neither a commission of inquiry nor legislation will deter us. There is only one way to stop Breaking the Silence: end the occupation."
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed the importance of confronting terrorism in general and the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters in particular, noting that that confronting terrorism and extremism is a collective international mission that requires a true political will by all governments of the world.
Al-Jaafari’s remarks came during the speech he delivered on behalf the Syrian delegation participating in the United Nations High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies...
He said that the flow of foreign terrorist fighters into Syria and Iraq constituted an unprecedented phenomenon on the international level in terms of the number of terrorists or the number of the countries from which they came, adding “the UN reports confirmed that tens of thousands of terrorists have flown from 101 UN member states.
The Syrian diplomat revealed that the number of the foreign terrorists with European nationality who fought in Syria reached more than 12,000 terrorists, most of them were from Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.
Al-Jaafari stressed that any collective international effort to counter the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters and the risks posed by their return to their homelands or any other states must be based on acknowledging that the emergence and expansion of this dangerous phenomenon have been a result of failure of the international community to bear its responsibilities from the very beginning.
“We would not have been sitting here in this hall to discuss what has become known as the danger of the return of the foreign terrorist fighters if the governments of the UN member states had activated early alarm systems and exchanged data about extremists,” said al-Jaafari
The Syrian diplomat reiterated the Syrian government is open to exchange data and cooperate with states which respect the sovereignty of Syria, its independence and territorial integrity and whose political and diplomatic relations are mainly based on principles of international law, especially those related to non-intervention in other states’ domestic affairs.
For his part, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “Terrorism and violent extremism undermine international peace and security. They divide communities, exacerbate conflicts, and destabilize entire regions. They hamper our efforts to promote and protect human rights and are an obstacle to sustainable development.”
CAIRO – 29 June 2018: The General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, announced on Thursday the liberation of the port city of Derna, the final militant stronghold outside of his control in eastern Libya.
"We proudly announce the liberation of Derna, a city dear to all Libyans," Haftar said in a televised speech. “We salute on this happy occasion the people of Derna … and those who have been demanding revenge against terrorism and the eradicating of it.”
The LNA launched its liberation battle on May 7 to seize the city, a coastal town of nearly 150,000 people, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of Tripoli. Derna had been held by a ragtag alliance of Islamist and jihadist militias, including groups close to Al-Qaeda...
In a televised speech, Haftar stressed that the army’s aim is to uproot terrorism, after terrorists had turned down all endeavors to avoid armed confrontation. He directed the army to take into consideration the safety of Derna’s residents and their properties, except for those who carry arms and fight against the Libyan people. In a press release, the LNA assured that families of the terrorists will not be punished for their sons’ crimes.
Since the ouster of Libyan long-time leader Muammar Ghaddafi more than six years ago, the war-torn country draws wide international and regional attention, causing a serious threat on the national security of North Africa and Europe.
Libya, which is struggling to get through the critical political situation that it has been experiencing since 2011, is not only trying to unify its army, but is longing to revive its political functions by conducting presidential and legislative elections.
Since 2014, there are two major factions on the ground, one led by Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, who now controls the eastern side of Libya and works in cooperation with the government of the House of Representatives, known as the Tobruk government. The other is led by Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord.
Flashback 2016: On August 21, 2016 the Libyan parliament in Tobruk refused to recognise the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, which enjoys the support of the United Nations.
Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) was neither elected nor sworn in, but rather assembled by the United States and EU from various rival factions. According to the Libya agreement of December 2015, the fate of the GNA is dependent on the consent of the parliament in Tobruk. The agreement was adopted on the initiative of the UN Security Council in Skhirat, Morocco. The decision in Tobruk now means that Sarraj has lost his pseudo-juridical basis of support.
General Khalifa Haftar, who commands the armed forces of the Tobruk HoR, has threatened to carry out attacks against cities and towns, which continue to be loyal to Sarraj and his unity government. Haftar had initially aligned with the US and played an important role as a CIA operative in the overthrow of Gaddafi. He later distanced himself, however, from the US government and is now looking for support from France and Egypt. (World Socialist Website, 30-8-2016)
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