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)
2018 was in many ways a turning point for the position of Israel in the system of Western, liberal, capitalist democracies. It had long sat uneasily among France, Britain, and the United States, inasmuch as it was founded on a formal racial supremacist principle that Jews must rule the state. Racism is important in the other democracies, as well, but it is not typically enshrined in the constitution. The French Rights of Man mentioned nothing about race.
After 1967, Israel acquired substantial colonial possessions in the form of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, in which its leaders began implementing a classic settler colonial regime reminiscent of Apartheid South Africa. The Israeli leadership egregiously violated international law by flooding their own citizens into a militarily occupied territory, and by extensively altering the lifeways of the occupied population.
I would argue that the occupation has now lasted so long and witnessed so many severe violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949 that the occupation itself is now illegal. Palestinians living under the Israeli jackboot do not have secure rights of property or control over their natural resources and, being kept stateless, lack even the right to have rights.
Somewhat astonishingly, the assemblage of far-right Israeli parties that rules Israel has managed to worsen its wretched human rights record in 2018 and to depart from liberal capitalist democracy almost entirely.
Not only is Israel not the only democracy in the Middle East (that distinction now belongs to Tunisia), it isn’t a democracy at all in the sense of a state of equal citizens able to vote for the government that rules them.
Informed Comment reported that on July 19, the Likud-led government passed a new Nationality Law formally vesting “sovereignty” solely in the hands of the 75-80% of the population of Israel that is Jewish.
(About 21% of Israelis are of Arab Palestinian heritage and another 300,000 or so persons are not recognized as Jews by the Grand Rabbi and so would not participate in sovereignty; these are mostly immigrants whose mothers were not Jewish).
I wrote at the time, “It would be as though the US passed a law designating America as a state for white Christians, excluding African-Americans and Latinos, and making English the only official language.” I also pointed out that Apartheid is considered a crime against humanity in the Rome Statute signed by most countries in the world, which governs the judgments of the International Criminal Court.
Having formally turned non-Jews into second-class citizens inside Israel, the Likud government accelerated its colonization program in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. The pace of building squatter settlements on stolen Palestinian land has doubled under the Trump administration in 2018.
You may say it can’t get any worse. It got worse...
Israeli rules over about 5 million stateless Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
So there you have it. Israel at the end of 2018 is now unambiguously an Apartheid state, admired only in the US Deep South among those who are nostalgic for their own Jim Crow Apartheid....
2018 was the year Israel finally went completely rogue and ensured that it can no longer be considered to be in the club of liberal capitalist democracies. It is now formally an Apartheid state even inside the Green Line...
Former Israeli Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz is touting the body count he racked up leading 'Operation Protective Edge' with a campaign that boasts about bombing parts of Gaza “back to the Stone Age.”
Gantz has released a series of campaign ads for his “Hosen Le Yisrael” (Israel Resilience) party, glorifying the operation he oversaw as IDF commander as he attempts to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister in April’s election.
“Parts of Gaza were returned to the stone ages,” one clip boasts over footage of the bombed-out shells of Palestinian buildings.
As chief of general staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Gantz led the offensive that bombarded Gaza for 51 days, killing – as the ad boasts – “1,364 terrorists” and bringing “3.5 years of quiet.”
The second ad in the series shows a running tally of deaths over scenes of Palestinian funerals, and a third shows the targeted assassination of a Hamas leader whose car explodes in a ball of flame.
Gantz, whose campaign slogan translates to “Israel Before Everything,” seems convinced that Israeli voters pick their leaders by evaluating their death-dealing prowess..
“Only the strong win,” the videos proclaim, echoing Netanyahu’s militaristic rhetoric – though a fourth campaign spot features shots of Gantz looking thoughtful, with platitudes about “striving and working toward” peace...
According to opinion polls, Gantz’s brand new Hosen Le Yisrael (Israel Resilience) party stands to win about 13 of the 120 seats in Israel’s parliament. Polling also shows that 31 percent of Israelis favor Gantz as prime minister compared with 42 percent who view Netanyahu as more suitable.
Gantz’s campaign slogan “Only the strong win” is a variation on an infamous tweet from his main rival Netanyahu, who last summer declared that “The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive.”
For the first 12 minutes of his campaign launch speech on Tuesday evening, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz didn't mention Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once.
He spoke of "a leadership that is focused on itself" and a "king" who says "the state, it is I." But even though there was no doubt as to the identity of his target, the old general held fire.
His advisers were aware that in appealing to Netanyahu's voters, they needed to be careful about how they attack him: A surgical strike rather than carpet-bombing.
Instead, he set a whole firing range of enemies. Hassan Rohani, Qassem Soleimani, Hassan Nasrallah and Yahya Sinwar were all put on warning. "Your period of mayhem is over," he intoned. Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas chief who was killed in a targeted airstrike by Gantz's air force in November 2012, "wasn't the first and won't be the last."
And when Gantz had finished polishing off the rogues shooting gallery, he began listing former prime ministers – "Israeli patriots" who had made peace. Menachem Begin with Egypt; Yitzhak Rabin with Jordan (but not the Palestinians apparently).
And then he added to the list "Benjamin Netanyahu: He's also an Israeli patriot, who signed the Hebron and Wye [River] accords with the greatest of murderers, Yasser Arafat."
This was followed up with the promise that a Gantz government would have "zero tolerance for any form of corruption," and "the very idea that in Israel an indicted prime minister can serve is ridiculous in my eyes."
These were Gantz's main messages of the evening: I'm not corrupt Iike that Israeli patriot Netanyahu. My family doesn't have his family's sense of entitlement. And I can be a much meaner son of a bitch than him. Mean but clean.
I've killed more Arabs and they won't fool me. I'd like to make peace but I'll probably have to make war, and the most important thing is that all the Jews remain united. So thank you Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for your service over the last 10 years. We'll carry on from here.
It was a nicely packaged pile of right-of-center clichés, put together by a team of campaign professionals who know exactly which Israeli constituencies they are aiming for – the hawkish fringes of what was once Labor, the middle-class voters of Yesh Atid and the soft-right margin of wavering Likudniks...
Gantz's slogan is "No more right and left, just Israel before everything," but his potential voters are all on the right...
In scathing tweets, US President Donald Trump outlined the scale of the risk still posed by Tehran's nuclear ambitions and aggressive policies in the region. And he said that the intelligence services failure to grasp that meant they should "go back to school!" "The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!", Trump said in a Twitter post.
"When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict..." "They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge."
Trump said the only thing holding Iran back is its "crashing" economy.
Leaders of the US intelligence community told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the nuclear threat from North Korea remained but that Iran was not taking steps toward making a nuclear bomb.
Trump last year pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.
Trump also defended his decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria on grounds that Daesh no longer poses a threat, saying "we've beaten them."
"Caliphate will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago," Trump said on Twitter.
The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticized the contraction between the reports on Iran by the US intelligence agencies on the one side, and that of US President Donald Trump, the hawks in his administration and the Israelis.
“When Donald Trump's own intelligence agencies contradict what he, the warmongers in his admin, and the Israelis say about Iran,” Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister wrote in a tweet on Wednesday, "he should have listened to the EU, the UN, and former US officials all along.”
We were wrong to think that the Syrians were out of danger after their victory over the jihadists. They are not. Israël and the United States have not abandoned their war objective of the destruction of state structures.
They are preparing a new war, this time financial, in order to prevent the reconstruction of the country and condemn the Syrian people to rot in the ruins.
Eliot Engel: "Assad is a murderer. A butcher. His brutality is sickening. And it goes on every day.“
"Syria has been a large focus of mine. Many years ago Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and I introduced the Syria Accountability Act.." (18-4-2018)
In Washington, the struggle between the Jacksonians (represented by Donald Trump’s team) and the Imperialists (in other words the traditional political class) may well seduce the 116th Congress into not only harassing the President, but also playing a much greater role in foreign affairs.
The US Congress has just elected James Risch (Republican, Idaho) to the presidency of the Senatorial Committee for Foreign Affairs, and Eliot Engel (Democrat, New York) to the presidency of the equivalent Commitee for the House of Representatives. The two men agree on nothing apart from their stubborn support for the Pentagon and Israël, and their hatred of Syria.
It was Engel who tabled the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act in 2003, the US declaration of war against Syria...
At the opening of the new session and even before they were elected as presidents of the Committee, on 3 January 2019, Risch and Engel both presented to their respective assemblies a draft for law (S.1 and H.R. 31) which included an almost identical passage aimed at preventing the reconstruction of Syria...
This strategy clearly aims at pursuing the same objective as that of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the seven years of war against Syria - not by military means, since Russia is present, but by financial means.
Since 2001, the United States Treasury has become a political power working in tandem with the Pentagon. This administration has availed itself of astounding powers, notably by creating a jurisprudence which allows it to extra-territorialise US laws under the pretence that certain international transactions have been made in dollars.
It is not a law, but an interpretation which today is accepted by US courts. Simultaneously, the Treasury has set up financial tools which enable it to sanction persons, companies and states with a severity that has never been equaled. The most frightening example is that of the series of sanctions progressively enacted against Iran since 2005.
Contrary to what it claims, when the Treasury sanctions a state, it does not condemn either the state or its leaders, but deprives its population of all economic contact with the West.
Let’s remember that these political sanctions often have nothing to do with those implemented by the UN Security Council. They are illegal in international law. They are acts of war comparable to the sieges of the Middle Ages.
Today, the US Treasury is applying political sanctions against Belarus, Burundi, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Libya, Nicaragua, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, to which we must add the Donetsk People’s Republic Ukraine), Hezbollah (Iran), the Houthis (Yemen), and many others.
The new Hoveizeh cruise missile with a range of 1,350km was tested on Saturday, Feb. 2, as Iran’s answer to the successful Israeli-US Arrow-3 missile test on Jan. 22, DEBKAfile’s military sources report.
Iran has made rapid strides towards developing a medium-range missile for attacking Israel in three tests launches in recent weeks.
In the first, on Dec. 29, a Fajr 5 was aimed at central Israel; three weeks later, on Jan. 21, a Fatteh 100 was fired towards the Golan (and was intercepted); and in the last one, marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, a cruise missile was hailed by Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami as accurately hitting its intended target at 1,200 km. This is the distance from Iran to Israel.
By test number three, the Hoveizeh, which belongs to the Soumar family of cruise missiles, Iran demonstrated that, while the Israel’s Defense Ministry Research Administration and the US Missile Defense Agency were intent on developing missiles capable of striking targets outside earth’s atmosphere, the Islamic Republic had succeeded in producing low-flying cruise missiles that fly to target under their radar.
Iran is confident that neither the United States nor Israel has the answer to this threat. And indeed, say our military experts, no military force in the world has so far found an effective means of intercepting cruise missiles before they strike, unless they are of short range.
Cruise missiles can hug mountains and hills and dip into valleys, thereby evading the radars of counter-missile systems. Because of these assets, the US has used Tomahawk cruise missiles for attacks in Syria and other parts of the world; the Russians use Kalibr-NKs and Israel, the Delilah, which has a range of 250km, and which the Syrian army and the Russian forces based in Syria have not been able to intercept. Israel also has cruise missiles of other types.
The closest answer to cruise missiles may be provided by US nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups, due to the blanket of concentrated radar, sensors and data processing systems thrown up over a vast area by this heavy concentrations of warships, surveillance planes and fighter-bombers. Even this capacity is limited to wide stretches of sea while ineffective against cruise missiles over land.
Therefore, the successful test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile is highly significant despite western attempts to play it down.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 small- and medium-sized German companies enterprises are still willing to continue trade with Iran, said a senior member of Iran-Germany Chamber of Commerce.
This comes as US sanctions are mainly focused on major and leading companies whose transactions with Iran are conducted through Iranian banks in Germany or the Middle Eastern state's shipping lines, Michael Tockuss, the co-chair of Iran-Germany Chamber of Commerce, told WirtschaftsWoche — a German weekly business news magazine.
On May 8, the US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed unilateral sanctions against Tehran in two phases — both already in place.
Tockuss said the US is doing its best to force German companies into choosing between trade and business with Iran or the US by exerting pressure on them.
This is the message many media outlets are also spreading, he added.
"At times, a number of German businessmen, who conduct transactions with Iran, call me and ask if they will be arrested or put on trial if they fly to the US.
My answer is: 'No, no danger threatens them'. Only those [German] companies are at the risk of US sanctions that have American employees or shareholders or have used American money in their company or their activities, such as hedge funds." All other companies can enter into economic transactions with Iran without any concern. At present, only major German firms have suspended transactions with Iran, he noted, adding, this comes as German firms export goods valued at between €200 million and €250 million to Iran monthly.
Tockuss expressed optimism over the effectiveness of Europe's special payment system for trade with Iran, called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). He described as futile US scaremongering about the trade mechanism and useless efforts to say that it is doomed to failure.
Britain, France and Germany on Thursday launched the trade mechanism to bypass US sanctions on Iran, drawing a warning from Washington. He noted that the special payment channel will allow European firms to exchange goods with Iran.
After the creation of INSTEX was announced, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed a 'long overdue first step'... "We remain ready for constructive engagement with Europe on equal footing & with mutual respect..."
Mittelständische Unternehmen sind der Erfolgsfaktor der deutschen Wirtschaft: Über 99 Prozent aller Unternehmen in Deutschland sind Mittelständler. Sie erwirtschaften mehr als die Hälfte der Wertschöpfung, stellen fast 60 Prozent aller Arbeitsplätze und rund 82 Prozent der betrieblichen Ausbildungsplätze bereit.. Bundesministerium f. Wirtschaft
German exports to Iran soared in October 2018, a month before the United States reinstated a second wave of sanctions on the Islamic Republic to choke its oil and shipping industries, data seen by Reuters showed.
The surge signals willingness among Germany’s small- and medium-sized enterprises, or Mittelstand, to continue doing business with Iran despite the risk of being blacklisted by the United States for defying its sanctions.
Official figures by the Federal Statistics Office reveal that German goods exported to Iran totaled almost €400 million ($455 million) in October, a year-on-year surge of 85% and the highest monthly volume since 2009.US President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Around 1,000 German Mittelstand companies have business ties with Iran and 130 have set up branches in the country.
This is while multinational companies, including German engineering giant Siemens, pulled out of Iran, fearing US sanctions.
"Mittelstand companies provided most of the exports to Iran," Michael Tockuss of the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said...
Tockuss said he expects monthly export volumes to average €200-250 million a month next year.
The situation is divided; the big companies, especially the stock exchange companies, here in Germany, they stopped their trade and investment relations with Iran. The backbone of our economy, small- and medium-sized companies, they will continue to do trade with Iran..."
- Tehran Times Question: What significant differences appeared on Iran's foreign policy after the Islamic Revolution?
- Arshin Adib-Moghaddam: Iran totally changed its foreign policy after the revolution in terms of the grand strategic preferences of the state exemplified in a shift of alliance patterns (break from proclivity to US indicative of the Shah period), support for the Palestinian cause etc. I have explained this in my first book The International Politics of the Persian Gulf.
- Q: What are the elements of this sort of foreign policy?
- A: Iran’s pivot to the East is a natural effect of at least three factors:
First, the revolution and its emphasis on widening the Iranian foreign policy orbit to include emerging powers in Asia.
Second, and interdependent to the former, the fact that Iran is as much an Asia power as it is a “Middle Eastern” one in terms of geography and traditions.
And lastly, the recurrent aggression of US governments and their inability to accommodate Iran as an independent, rather than subservient actor as it was the case under the Shah.
I believe that the government of President Rouhani should do more to cultivate relations with Asian countries. I should add, that Iran has a lot in common with Latin America too, certainly in terms of political culture and there needs to be more diplomatic activity in that regard as well especially right now as we are witnessing an aggressive effort of the Trump administration to return South America to the bad old days of semi-colonial submission.
- Q: What is your assessment of Islamic Republic of Iran's foreign policy in the Middle East especially in the Persian Gulf?
- A: Iran has failed to pacify its relations with Saudi Arabia which is not only due to the intransigence of the Saudi leadership. I have repeatedly called for a positive cultural diplomacy in the absence of official relations. There need to be joined cultural festivals in the arts and movies for instance - as secular as possible, given that religion has been more of a dividing, rather than uniting factor among Muslims.
- Q: Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran-Europe relations have dramatically changed. What are the major changes?
- A: Iran acts as an independent regional superpower, whereas before it was a dependent actor. What is absolutely crucial is that Iran uses its foreign embassies more effectively in support of a cultural diplomacy that highlights the crucial interdependence that Iran and Europe share since antiquity. Iran is also a European country in the sense that it has been a part of the European imagination at least since the Greco-Persian wars, repeatedly as the “Other”, but also as the epitome of culture and sophistication as in the poetry of Goethe in his East-Western Diwan. Iranians have lost this reputation due to some of the reckless policies of the state after the revolution and up until today.
There is no doubt that mistakes were made, inhuman ones that did not sit well with the ideals of the revolution. To repair this image of Iran, which the enemies of the country have been easily exploiting, requires a sophisticated PR campaign based on the realities and truths of contemporary Persia rather than the propaganda by the anti-Iranian lobby.
This is probably the most important pre-requisite for a successful global diplomacy for the Iranian state...
There is simply not enough activity by the Iranian diplomatic missions abroad, especially when I compare it to the period of President Khatami when the embassies were by far more active.
- Q: Some experts believe that balancing Iran's foreign policy between east and west will provide Iran's national interests. What is your opinion on this matter?
- A: I had talked about this issue with Iranians before. The revolutionary slogan “neither East nor West” which was necessary to proclaim Iranian independence at that time, has to be changed more systematically into a policy of “both East and West”.
As a part of this strategy, the Rouhani administration is well advised to zoom closer into Asia and Latin America. Latin America is as crucial to Iranian interests as Asia is...
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies at SOAS, University of London and Fellow of Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge. As a critic and philosopher, Adib-Moghaddam is world renowned for his work about world politics, Iran, Islam and the West, and the international/comparative politics of West Asia and North Africa.
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam: "There is an inner urge to continuously improve – to study the world deeper, not only in books, but in real life.
Indeed, the latter aspect – real life experience – is getting more and more important to my work, as I have somewhat escaped the institutional dictates and the political economy of the publishing world. I write more freely and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have pursued an approach to my research that synthesises – as much as possible – my life experiences beyond the Ivory Tower with training of at the Universities of Hamburg, American (DC), Oxford, SOAS and of course Cambridge. With the opportunity of living and thinking beyond cultures, came the realisation that the world has to be seen as one place if we are to understand the past, present and future of humanity.
One can only do that – in my opinion – if one attempts to live and think beyond some of the rather more debilitating societal rules, cultural boundaries and political confines.
Here is a tiny little space to venture to where thinking freely seems possible. I am in the process of widening this space for me and my associates and to explore the liberties therein." (Interview, 26-7-2018)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Hizbullah is “in control of the Lebanese government,” three days after a new cabinet was formed in Beirut after nine months of deadlock.
“This means that Iran is controlling the Lebanese government,” Netanyahu stated in a meeting with a delegation comprised of foreign envoys to the U.N.
“Iran is seeking to occupy the Middle East, to destroy Israel and to seize other large parts of the world,” the Israeli premier warned, vowing that Israel “will foil any aggression coming from Lebanon, Syria or Iran itself.”
Hizbullah has three ministerial portfolios in the new government – health, sport and youth, and a state minister for parliament affairs.
The party and its allies, including President Michel Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement, control 18 out of 30 seats in the new government.
Lebanon’s newly formed government, which gives the Islamic movement Hezbollah key ministries, has raised concerns that the country could run afoul of sanctions by the United States that prohibit material support for the Iran-backed group.
As the new cabinet coalesced on Thursday after nearly nine months of political deadlock, the assistant United States Treasury secretary for terrorist financing, Marshall Billingslea, warned Hezbollah that if it tried to “exploit these ministries to funnel money or undertake other activities in support of their terrorist agenda, then we will have significant concerns.”
It is unclear what Hezbollah might do at the Health Ministry that the Trump administration would consider a violation of the sanctions law President Trump signed in October.
Analysts said Hezbollah may have chosen Dr. Jamil Jabak, a 63-year-old internist with close ties to Hezbollah, as health minister to try to avoid direct sanctions on the ministry. Dr. Jabak is not a member of Hezbollah, but is said to have once served as a personal physician to the group’s leader.... Though Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization for its actions around the world and its close relationship to Iran, the group has also baked itself into legitimate parts of the Lebanese state, making it difficult for the United States to target it without also affecting the rest of the country....
In general, sanctions and financial tools have come to be the primary stick used by the United States against Iran and its regional partners. But as Hezbollah continues to expand its influence in Lebanese institutions, sanctions may prove to be an overly blunt tool, hitting legitimate government services and civilians in addition to the party...
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, has strongly dismissed latest allegations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the movement is in control of the Lebanese government, stressing the new administration belongs to all political factions participating in it. The Israeli premier is “provoking the United States, European countries and the [Persian] Gulf states against the Lebanese government, claiming that it is controlled by Hezbollah. Such false claims have serious international repercussions,” Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday evening.
Nasrallah underscored that the new Lebanese government consists of various political parties, and that Hezbollah is just one of them. He called on the new government to be transparent, advising Lebanese politicians to make decisions, which would best serve the interests of the Arab country and its nation.
The Hezbollah secretary general also urged Lebanese political figures to stick to political calm after the formation of the new national unity government, asking them to resolve their differences through dialog and negotiations.
He said the fight against corruption must be the top priority of the new government in Beirut.
Just make a minority out of them, then you are 'a democracy'...
A new proposal calling for massive development in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria [Palestine|West Bank] and the rapid expansion of the Jewish population there has won the backing of dozens of Israeli ministers and lawmakers.
The proposal, dubbed the “Shamir Plan”, after the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, was drawn up by the Nahalah movement, and calls for the a wide-reaching government program to increase the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria [Palestine-West Bank] from roughly 450,000 to two million, Israel Hayom reported Tuesday.
Prime Minister Shamir, who served as premier from 1983 to 1984 and again from 1986 to 1992, was a strong backer of the settlement movement, once setting the goal of bringing the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria [Palestine-West Bank] to one million. In 1992, Shamir suggested he hoped to reach half a million by the year 2002.
Nahalah, which has organized regular demonstrations outside of the Prime Minister’s residence in recent weeks, has called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to commit to the policy of settlement expansion throughout Judea and Samaria [Palestine|West Bank] – even outside of the large settlement blocs – as a foundation of his next government, should he win reelection.
Since then, the organization has managed to win the backing of dozens of lawmakers and ministers, who have signed Nahalah’s pledge, vowing to oppose the two-state solution and back unrestricted settlement activity throughout Judea and Samaria [Palestine|West Bank].
The pledge also sets a specific goal for the settlement activity, calling for the expansion of the Israeli population in Judea and Samaria [Palestine|West Bank] to two million, a more than four-fold increase from the current Israeli population there.
The signatories include Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), ministers Yisrael Katz (Likud), Yariv Levin (Likud), Zeev Elkin (Likud), Gilad Erdan (Likud), Naftali Bennett (New Right), Ayelet Shaked (New Right), Miri Regev (Likud), Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Ayoub Kara (Likud), Yoav Galant (Likud), Gila Gamliel (Likud), and Ofir Akunis (Likud).
In addition, dozens of MKs and candidates in the Likud primaries (slated to be held on Tuesday), as well as Knesset hopefuls on the Jewish Home and New Right lists, have also signed the pledge.
If implemented, the plan would bring the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria [Palestine-West Bank] into rough parity with the area’s current Arab population, though estimates on the number of Arabs living in Judea and Samaria [Palestine|West Bank] ranges widely....
What was most remarkable about Yitzhak Shamir's life was how little his thinking changed from his youthful days as a member of Betar (1929-33), the Zionist brown shirt organization in Poland, where he was born Yitzhak Yezernitzky, to his last days in Israel at age 96.
As a Betari youth he was greatly influenced by its founder, Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder also of "Gun Zionism" or, more euphemistically, "Revisionist Zionism."
Jabotinsky's vision, the same as Zionism founder Theodor Herzl's, was "a Jewish majority in a Jewish state in the whole of the biblical Land of Israel."
Vladimir Jabotinsky, however, realized that this had to be accomplished by force, just as European countries established their colonies by force. "This made sense to me," Shamir wrote commenting on Jabotinsky's ideas.
In 1939 —four years after he migrated to British Mandate Palestine— Shamir met the chauvinist Avraham Stern, head of the terrorist Stern Gang. According to Stern, "Rights were awarded only to the strong, who are allowed to take them by force if they are not given to them legally."
Israel has always valued Jewish supremacy over democracy. But new demographics could bolster the Palestinians’ efforts to challenge this system.
A resounding fear struck many Knesset members this week upon hearing that, on both sides of the Green Line, Palestinians may now outnumber Jews, 6.8 million people to 6.5 million.
The statistics were given to the Knesset by an official from COGAT, the military body that governs the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. If the figures are correct, the ‘dystopic’ future of a Jewish minority living between the river and the sea appears to have finally arrived.
A delusion under which most Israelis live lets them invent vacuous excuses based on the virtual reality they’ve built for themselves. According to this fallacy, the State of Israel only controls its own citizens, most of them Jewish of course, but nobody counts the millions of other subjects who fall under its control at least as much, maybe more. They’re invisible.
That’s the only way one can argue comfortably and learnedly about whether Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. The discussion is a fascinating intellectual one, with only one problem: It has long since lost relevance. A country where about half the subjects aren't Jewish can't be Jewish. If it insists on being Jewish by force, it isn’t democratic.
Two peoples equal in size live under Israeli rule: about 6.3 million Jews and 6.3 million Arabs. Half and half. That’s the outcome of 50 years of life in a binational state, not Jewish and not democratic. To the 1.8 million Arab citizens, you have to add the 2.7 million Palestinians living under direct Israeli rule in the West Bank, and about 1.8 million living under indirect Israeli rule in Gaza.
The fate of all these subjects, from registration at birth to the currency they use and most of their rights, is set in Israel. They are subject to its rule; they are part of the state.
Israel tries to shake off its Palestinian subjects when it finds it convenient. At night it invades their homes, and by day it claims they aren’t under its control. But you can’t have it both ways...
In a piece this month in Haaretz’s Hebrew edition, when Gadi Taub applauds Jewish democratic Israel, he bases his argument on the Arabs being a “minority” and the enlightened state treating them based on the EU treaty for protecting minorities. It sounds lovely, but it’s completely unreal. Minorities? Finland’s 5.5 percent Swedish minority, Muslims in France and Australia’s 450,000 aborigines are minorities. But half the population isn’t a “minority.”
The Palestinians aren’t a minority, they’re half the population.. It’s time to stop talking about the Palestinians as a minority.
Khaled Mishri, the head of Libya’s consultative body, the High State Council, is on a public relations drive in Washington DC.
Yesterday he was hosted by the leading DC think-tank, the Atlantic Council.
Updating the audience on the latest political developments in Libya, Mishri stressed the need for nationwide reconciliation.
He called for inclusivity in Libya’s political process – even to supporters of the former Qaddafi regime. Mishri also reached out to Khalifa Hafter supporters.
On Hafter and his Libyan National Army (LNA), Mishri was quite conciliatory to his Washington audience, saying he respected the army’s anti terrorism efforts. On Hafter specifically, he said his only disagreement was that Hafter would not agree to civilian control of the LNA. On his membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mishri confirmed his recent sudden resignation from the organization.
He stressed that he still respected the group and explained that his resignation from the it came from the desire to be freed from its limiting ideology and outlook. On external interference in Libya and it’s effect on the political situation, Mishri conceded that some countries have legitimate interests in Libya. He said that Libyans must understand this concern and must reassure those countries.
Mishri highlighted the legitimate security interests of Egypt with regards to its border with Libya.
Mishri’s Atlantic Council meeting was attended by a large number of people in Washington interested in Libya, including experts, politicians and representatives of the IMF, World Bank and embassies.
Khalid al-Mishri was a leading figure in the Justice and Construction Party of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and one of the most prominent opponents of head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar.
In a video statement released Saturday, 26-1-2019, Mishri announced that he was leaving the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Association (MB). He said that he was resigning and withdrawing from the MB on national and ideological grounds and for the sake of conviction and transparency.
He said that this was because the organization had failed to implement the reforms it had agreed upon at its October 2015 conference. These included the decision to end MB activities within Libya in favour of working through NGOs.
The High Council of State is an advisory body for Libya formed under the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement which was signed on 17 December 2015. The High Council of state is able to advise the interim Government of National Accord (GNA) and the House of Representatives (HoR) and can express a binding opinion on these bodies under certain circumstances.
The UN launched Libya’s 2019 humanitarian needs plan in Tripoli yesterday. The UN noted that seven years after the Libyan 2011 revolution, hundreds of thousands of people across the country still live in dire conditions.
The UN said that in a bid to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs for 552,000 of the most vulnerable people living in Libya, the United Nations launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP2019), seeking US$ 202 million, to continue providing health support, protection, water, and shelter.
“Years of instability and insecurity have taken a toll on the wellbeing of many children, women and men in Libya.
Each passing year, people struggle to withstand the impact of a crisis that has destabilized the country, put them in harm’s way, and ravaged the economy.” said the UN Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator for Libya, Ms. Maria Ribeiro
“Many thousands of families are unable to afford food, water and basic household items, and forced to take desperate measures just to get through these difficult times.”, she added.
The Plan reveals that an estimated 823,000 people, including 248,000 children, are in need of some form of a humanitarian assistance in Libya, and that half of them are Libyan citizens. Conflict-affected refugees and migrants in or transiting through the country make up the other half.
The UN said that hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants face grave human rights violations and abuse in the absence of rule of law. Most of the refugees and migrants are young people from sub-Saharan Africa seeking opportunities to work and a better life.
“Respect for human rights is the key to moving forward towards stability in Libya. With stability there can be meaningful development,” said Ms Ribeiro.
“Although humanitarian action is not the solution to the Libyan crisis, it remains crucial for the stability of Libya and paving the way for a lasting solution and is critical to allow hundreds of thousands in need to live in dignity and respect, hoping for a better future for them and their children”, she added.
Damascus, SANA, President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday clergymen and scholars have pivotal role in consolidating true concepts against wrong terms, because the most dangerous attempts which target the region and Islamic world are the West attempts to strike ideology and faith in society through gradual change in terms.
President al-Assad said an example on the west's attempt to change the terms is to separate Arabism with its human and civilized concept, aiming at creating a state of destabilization on the social and political levels.
Muslim Brotherhood 2012: Jihad is our duty
muslim brotherhood ('kill gadaffi, kill assad') cleric yusuf qaradawi 2012
The President affirmed that the plague which hits the Islamic world is the plague of political Islam, adding that its collapse has returned Islam to its normal role, namely, Dawah (inviting for true Islam.)
President al-Assad said combating terrorism and extremism won’t be only through condemnation or refutation, but through consolidating principles of true Islam and innovating the religious mentality by using brain, logic and dialogue which is open to the other, based on conviction, not intimidation.
Flashback 2012 - "Jihad Against Assad Is A Duty"
Senior clerics across the Arab world have issued fatwas stating that jihad against the Syrian regime is a duty incumbent upon every Muslim, and even permitting to kill Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Some of the clerics also called to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is fighting Assad's regime.
* Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera that clerics across the Muslim world agree that Assad must be fought against and even killed...
* Preacher Safwat Hijazi said [..] that killing Assad is a fard 'ain (a duty incumbent upon every individual Muslim), and that whoever carries out this task will attain Paradise. ... He claimed that over 400 scholars had signed fatwas permitting Assad's killing. (In 2012, Safwat Hijazi launched MB Candidate Muhammad Mursi's Campaign)
* Hashem Islam, member of the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, said at a March 15, 2012 conference in Cairo that Assad must be assassinated to stop the killing of Syrians, and that the FSA, which is fighting Assad's gangs, must be assisted with money and arms. .
* The imam of the Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas mosque, the largest in Syria's Idlib province, said in his March 2, 2012 Friday sermon: "O Muslims, Allah ordered you to fight [every] tyrant until he obeys the word of Allah... [The members of Assad's regime openly] publicize their hostility towards God..."
* Saudi preacher 'Aidh Al-Qarni said to Al-Arabiya TV that it is a duty to fight and kill Assad, because he is an infidel and his regime is an enemy of Islam. He added that "the Muslim religious scholars must assist the Syrian people against this treacherous regime..."
* The general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Himam Sa'id, likewise ruled that fighting the Assad regime is "a religious duty," and that "the Muslims must assist the FSA..." He called the FSA fighters "mujahideen" and said that their dead count as "martyrs."
* Saudi Mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz Aal Sheikh said in a meeting with Kuwaiti clerics that supporting the FSA with money counts as jihad for the sake of Allah.
Saudi writer Ahmad Al-Saloum wrote, in an article posted on an oppositionist Syrian website, that the FSA must be supported in every way... "Jihad against the Nusayris [i.e., 'Alawis] is one of the most important religious duties in the eyes of Allah... Jihad against them is more important than jihad against the Jews or Christians..."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Lebanese Hezbollah has active cells in Venezuela, in an interview with Fox Business channel on Wednesday.
Pompeo was responding to a question on whether Venezuela was more of a threat because of the presence of “bad actors” with links to Hezbollah. “People don’t recognize that Hezbollah has active cells. The Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America,” the Secretary of State said.
“We have an obligation to take down that risk for America,” he added.
Pompeo also said that part of what will be talked about in Warsaw would be how to deal with such threats in South America and all across the globe, referring to the Iran-focused global summit next week in Poland.
The slogan “Death to America” is directed against the “evil” US President Donald Trump and his associates, not the American people, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said.
Speaking to a gathering of Iranian Air Force officers, Khamenei hit back at Trump’s State of the Union address, which included an attack on the Iranian “regime that chants ‘Death to America.’”
“The US is the embodiment of evil, but still complains when you chant ‘Death to America,’” Khamenei said. He then explained that those chants specifically target the people ruling the country, not “the American nation.” Iranians will keep using the belligerent slogan, the Ayatollah added, as long as the US remains “evil and wicked.”
The current administration in Washington – spearheaded by the three officials named in Khamenei’s speech, Trump, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – have sharply antagonized Iran. They have taken every opportunity to accuse Tehran of being a state sponsor of terrorism that is hellbent on the destruction of Israel, the Trump administration’s closest Middle Eastern ally.
They cannot be trusted and respected
Khamenei further pointed to Europe’s package to save the Iran nuclear deal, which was recently unveiled by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, urging Iranian officials not to trust the Europeans.
“I don’t say we shouldn’t have ties with them; I’m talking about trust…They cannot be trusted and respected; we’ve witnessed it many times; France in one way, Britain in another way, and the others in their own ways.
“Of course we currently have and will have relations with the entire world – except for some exceptions – but we should know with whom and on what we are making deals,” he added.
Born in: Oklahoma City, june 22, 1949: Sun: Cancer, Moon Taurus
US Senator Elizabeth Warren has called the Trump administration "the most corrupt" as she formally launched her bid for the 2020 presidential election.
During her speech on Saturday, the Massachusetts Democrat promised to tackle economic inequality in the country, a massage she hopes will help her move past criticism over her claims to Native American heritage.
Warren, 69, made the announcement at a mill site in Lawrence, north-west of Boston, where largely immigrant factory workers went on strike almost 100 years ago. The location, where the “Bread and Roses” strike of textile workers took place in 1912, is significant as it is considered a landmark moment for labor in the US.
"This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone. I am in that fight all the way," Warren, 69, said in her announcement speech.
She also took aim at President Donald Trump, accusing his administration of being "the most corrupt in living memory" and lacking "a conscience" with its controversial immigration policies.
“The man in the White House is not the cause of what is broken. He is just the latest and most extreme symptom of what’s gone wrong in America,” she said.
Meanwhile, Trump weighed in on his newest campaign rival, mocking her claims of Native American ancestry in a tweet.
Trump has frequently made jokes aimed at Warren's past statements referencing unspecified Native American ancestry.
Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan (Chief of Virginia tribes)
In January, after Warren posted a video on Instagram about her forming the exploratory committee, Trump tweeted, "If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!"
Chief Roy Crazy Horse of the Powhattan-Renape ("Symbols of the Powhattan Renape Nation, NAVA News, Jan/Feb, 1989, 1&6) nation explains the symbolism thusly:
"The Powhattan-Renape flag is based upon the circle and the number four.
The circle symbolizes life, the cycle of life, and the shapes of living things. It is wholeness, completion, the all embracing, the people, the Great Hoop of the Nation, and the universe, all in one.
The circle appears in this paining as a rainbow, the sun, the eye of the eagle, and the eyes, nostrils, scales and entire body of the turtle.
The number four symbolizes the four seasons, four times of the day, and the four ages of humankind. It manifests here as the four entities which we see - the turtle (Water), the sacred tree (Earth), the white eagle (Air) and the sun (Fire)."
Native American Indians were a deeply spiritual people and they communicated their history, thoughts, ideas and dreams from generation to generation through Symbols and Signs such as the Water symbol. Water transformed by prayer is found in most Native American ceremonies.
The symbolism of water has a universal undertone of purity and fertility. Symbolically, it is often viewed as the source of life itself as we see evidence in countless creation myths in which life emerges from primordial waters.
Among the first peoples of North America, water was considered a valuable commodity and the Native Americans considered water to be a symbol of life.
All native people teach that water is a sacred and powerful gift from the Creator. It is the life’s blood of our mother, the earth. (Symbolism of Water)
Netanyahu stated that he conference will focus on ways to counter Iranian "aggression, it's desire to counqer the Middle East and destroy Israel. What's important is that many countries are uniting against this aggression."
Arutz Sheva asked the Prime Minister what was meant by the statement "bringing US policy to Europe."
"There's a curious thing happening in Europe. Iran is actually sending its terrorist squads and they've already killed people in Europe. It's sending its terrorists there, and at the same time, certain European governments are courting Iran, trying to curry favor with them and give them advantageous terms or ways to go around the American sanctions.
"The fact that on European soil today there's a meeting ground [with many European nations participating] on this is very important," Netanyahu said. When asked what would be considered a successful conference, Netanyahu responded: "The actions we are taking are blocking Iran. We operate every day against Iran and against its attempts to establish itself in the region."
"Unequivocally, economic pressure is felt in Iran's attempts against us. Iran has a hard time placing advanced weapons systems in part because of the budgetary limitations and the overall actions we are taking."
Palestinians urge Saudi Arabia, UAE to boycott
pro-Israel Middle East peace plan summit
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki has urged Arab states to boycott or downgrade their delegations to a US-sponsored conference in Poland. Riad Malki said that Arab nations should at a minimum send low-profile delegations, below ministerial level, to the conference. The Palestinians, he said, "view the Warsaw conference as a plot against the Palestinian cause".
He spoke on Monday to the Voice of Palestine as President Mahmoud Abbas was to visit Saudi Arabia.
Most Arab nations have refrained from establishing relations with Israel without significant progress being made toward peace with the Palestinians. But many Gulf states share with Israel concerns over Iran's growing influence.
Gulf states - in particular the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain - are becoming more open about their relations with Israel as they find common cause against mutual foe Iran.
Sheikh Ikrima Sabri (norn 1939), head of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, issued a fatwa (ruling on a point of Islamic law) stating that the Western Wall (which the Muslims refer to as the Al-Buraq Wall) is an inseparable part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is considered an Islamic sanctuary.
In the fatwa, Sabri writes that the Western Wall is part of the structure, in this case the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Sabri further claims that the Western Wall belongs exclusively to Muslims all over the world, and that Muslims would never recognize the Jews' ownership of the site.
He also states that there is not a single rock at the Western Wall which is connected to Jewish history.
In the past, Sabri has rejected the demand for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, saying it is "unacceptable".
In an interview on October 25, 2015, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein denied that the Temple Mount had ever housed any Jewish temple.
In 1993 the Palestinian Authority was established, and the grand mufti was appointed by the Palestinians' political leader, chairman Yassir Arafat. Arafat appointed Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, a charismatic cleric and a close associate.
One thing was obvious from the start: Sabri did not believe Israel could be trusted as a partner for peace. He also expressed his belief that Israel had no claim to the Temple Mount and that Al-Aq'sa Mosque was endangered by Israeli aggression.
During Arafat's time, such statements could be let slide. But when Mahmoud Abbas rose to power after Arafat's demise in 2004, he found them hard to accept. Abbas aspired to forge ahead with the peace process with Israel, and the anti-Israel "political mufti" became a thorn in his side. In July 2006 Abbas fired the charismatic Sabri.
The official word from the chairman's office was that Sabri had reached retirement age. The truth, however, was far from it. The more Sabri gained popularity in the Palestinian street, the more he expressed his views on highly contentious political issues.
With a Hamas government on the one hand and an angry US on the other, Abbas could not afford an inflammatory figure sitting in the highest religious post. He decided to appoint Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, manager and imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Moscow is determined to continue assisting Damascus in liberating Syria’s territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"I would like to reiterate that we will continue to make every possible effort to assist the Syrian government and armed forces in liberating the country," he said.
"We will support the Syrian army’s activities that must be consistent with international humanitarian laws," the Russian top diplomat added.
Lavrov stressed that while liberating the country’s territory, the Syrian military and government were abiding by international humanitarian laws and Russia was keeping an eye on that. "We will not let things happen like in Raqqa, where the western coalition was active," he said.
"Everybody has already seen how Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta were liberated, hundreds of thousands of people have already returned to these areas, while in Raqqa, dead bodies have not been taken away yet and the city has not been cleared of mines, as far as I know.
We will not let such things happen, and the Syrian government surely does not want such developments to take place," the Russian foreign minister pointed out.
One year after the United States-led coalition of countries and militia fighters drove ISIS from its onetime capital Raqqa, the city remains in ruin. And its people feel they're left to piece together their lives with little help from the countries that destroyed their city and homes. (26-10-2018)
Saudi Prince Turki: Netanyahu deceiving Israel
about peace chances. "I am looking for an Israeli peace initiative.
I haven’t seen one..." Times of Israel staff, 13-2-2019
The former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to the US and UK, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of deceiving the Israeli public by claiming that Israeli ties with the wider Arab world can be warmed without the Palestinian issue being solved.
“Israeli public opinion should not be deceived into believing that the Palestinian issue is a dead issue...
From the Israeli point of view, Mr. Netanyahu would like us to have a relationship, and then we can fix the Palestinian issue. From the Saudi point of view, it’s the other way around.” [..]
The prince said the Saudi public has “a very negative view of Mr. Netanyahu because of what is happening on the ground,” and because of what he termed Netanyahu’s “hubristic attitude… praising himself.”
Asked how he would advise the Trump administration as it prepares to present its peace plan, Prince Turki said simply: “The Arab Peace Initiative — take it on. Make it yours.”
He recalled that the late Saudi King Abdullah initiated the plan in 2002.
“Basically it’s a quid pro quo: Israel withdraws from occupied Arab territories, in return for Arab recognition of Israel, end of hostilities and normal relations.”
However, he said, “from day one there has not been an Israeli response.” [..] “Israel chooses to ignore all the efforts of Saudi Arabia to make peace.. " “Israel has not been very cooperative as far as achieving peace in our part of the world,” he also said.
Prince Turki insisted there was no difference between Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when it came to Israel, rejecting the notion that the king had curbed the crown prince’s inclination to warmer ties.
The crown prince “is a stalwart representative of Saudi policy,” he said, and the idea that there was a warmer stance from him was likely “wishful thinking on the part of Israeli officials.” The crown prince “supports the Palestinian cause to the fullest” and had no differences with the king “on any issue. He does what the king tells him.”
Asked whether he expected to witness a meeting between an Israeli prime minister and a Saudi king or crown prince in his lifetime, Prince Turki said: “In my lifetime — and there’s very little of it left to come — I don’t think I’m going to see that. Not before the Palestinian issue is resolved. I am looking for an Israeli peace initiative. I haven’t seen one. What is it that Israel thinks will make peace?”
Sunday, May 15, marked the 68th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) — the Palestinians’ dispossession and loss of their homeland.
Observing Nakba Day is important for the Palestinian people. Almost every family has a story to tell about that day in 1948 when so many Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in less troubled lands.
From the beginning, the Kingdom supported the Palestinian cause during all its stages as well as on the political, economic, social and military levels. This was due to its duty stemming from its creed and religion, its conscience, and its Arab and Islamic loyalty. During the reign of King Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia supported the Palestinian struggle against the Jewish occupation, which continued until its peak in 1948... The first Saudi king was keen to highlight the lawful rights of the Palestinians...
The Kingdom was the first among Arab countries to support the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1969... One of King Faisal’s most significant acts was the halting of oil exports in 1973 to Western countries which supported the Zionist entity.
The support of Saudi kings for the Palestinians continued during the reign of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz. The King Fahd Plan for Peace was announced at the Arab Summit in the Moroccan city of Fez in 1982...
The King Fahd Project specified that Israel withdraw from all Arab territories occupied in 1967 including Jerusalem, to dismantle Israeli settlements built on Arab land after 1967, to guarantee freedom of worship for all religions in the holy places, to affirm the lawful rights of the Palestinian people and to compensate those who do not wish to return. The West Bank and Gaza would have a transitional period under the supervision of the United Nation which would see the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, allow all states in the region to live in peace and with the United Nations or member states to guarantee the implementation of these provisions. Saudi Arabia presented a second initiative for the resolution of the problem; it was known as the King Abdullah Initiative and was announced at the Beirut Summit in 2002.
The history of ‘Ancient Israel’ is based on the myth of the Hebrew biblical narrative, which is nothing but unverifiable stories about ‘god and prophets’, a ‘chosen people’ and a ‘promised land’. It uses historical fiction to express ideological beliefs.
The Israeli biblical studies has focused on inventing Israel’s ‘ancient entity’ while ignoring everything else of Palestine’s rich history in order to justify and legitimize Israel’s imperial ambitions. The only subject of biblical study became the history of ‘Ancient Israel.’
Even in the West, the history of ‘ancient Israel’ has been a major part of the education in the schools of theology. ... It has denied time and reality to the civilization of the indigenous Palestinian population who lived on the land...
A Proper Approach to Religious History
What is needed is a change in paradigm
What is needed now is for objective historians to take over religious history and place it in its proper context.
The bible should be ignored until external evidence shows that something in it is valid. God should be ignored as a cantankerous supernatural personality stirring up the affairs of humanity with His index finger.
Anyone with such an absurd and childish belief should be relieved of their academic positions, and the many useless and unproductive departments of theology should be abandoned and their funds transferred to proper history or ancient language departments.
If this were ever done we could hope to make huge strides in the confusion of Near Eastern history, much of which remains quite baffling, despite being recorded for 5000 years, because it is always packed into the biblical jam jar and is never allowed to display its own shape. The Assyrians and particularly their disciples, the Persians will prove to be the founders of the Jewish strand of monotheism, and the history of the Jews will become part of the history of the many small kingdoms set up in the Levant of the Iron Age before the Assyrians and then the Persians absorbed them into empire.
What is needed now for progress to be made is a change in paradigm.
The scriptural paradigm of Jews and Christians traditionally is that of a gradual revelation of God to His Chosen People through the medium of their history. To state it thus is enough for any proper historian to reject it...
The Christian and Jew will say that the scriptures are the natural place to start to understand Jewish history, but they are the last place to start if bias and pitfalls are to be avoided. Biblical history is largely myth, but the task is to show what is and what is not, within the parameters available, using every technique that is relevant, documentary, archaeological, anthropological, scientific, social and so on. The trouble is that most of these people have a vested interest in their belief, not in truth.
When a few renegades suggest that a belief that depends upon lies should be questioned, they get enraged. It is not just Judaism or Christianity that they see as threatened but, as Dever says, the “Western cultural tradition”. It is a poor tradition that has to be upheld by lies, and it is a poor god that requires his believers to lie for him.
US Vice President Mike Pence accused Iran on Friday of anti-Semitism...
"We have the regime in Tehran that's breathing out murderous threats, with the same vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe," Pence told reporters on Air Force Two before landing in Munich.
He said that being in Auschwitz had made him reflect to "strengthen the resolve of the free world to oppose that kind of vile hatred and to confront authoritarian threats of our time."
His comments at the former Nazi concentration camp came a day after he said Iran was the “greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East” at a conference on the region taking place in Warsaw. Pence accused Washington's European allies of trying to break US sanctions against Tehran and called on them to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
"Sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative. In fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions," Pence said.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that historical and cultural records prove how Jews have been treated respectfully in Iran, dismissing the anti-Tehran accusations of US Vice President Mike Pence as absurd and grudge-driven.
"Exercise patience, study and learn that history is full of facts that no power will ever be able to erase or change," Qassemi said on Saturday in reaction to Pence's accusations.
Qassemi said Iran's historical and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism, was recorded in reliable historical documents of various nations. He added that Iran's ancient history and civilization clearly proved the Iranian people's respect for other cultures and followers of different divine religions.
he Iranian spokesperson emphasized that the underlying principle of the Islamic Republic's foreign policy was based on opposing the "aggressive and occupying nature of the fake and illegitimate Zionist regime" of Israel, which is a "killing machine against Palestinian people."
The Tel Aviv regime is the reason behind discord and division among regional countries and the root cause of costly crises and tensions in the Middle East, he pointed out....
U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt slammed Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in a new interview with Asharq Al-Aswat on Saturday.
When asked if Assad would remain in power, Hunt responded that “for the short-term and possibly longer.”
Hunt continued that “Assad … is a truly horrific man who has shown that he won’t hesitate to butcher his own people in order to prolong his hold on power. And what future would a country like Syria have with a leader like that?”
idlib-syria: western backed (anti-iranian) rebels 2015
“But the reality is because of Russian support, he is there and he is likely to stay for the short-term and possibly longer. It is for the Russians now to come forward with their solution because they have chosen to intervene in the way they have,” he continued.
Hunt said it was “impossible” for Syria to have a bright future with Assad still in power.
“This is a man who mercilessly gassed his own people in the most brutally possible way against all international norms, and the Russians chose to prop him up. So it is for Russia now to show they are going to create peace and stability in Syria,” he said.
Hunt added that the UK has “no plans” to reopen diplomatic relations with Syria.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah denied claims about having any brigades in Venezuela or Latin America.
He expressed solidarity with Venezuela against the US aggression and reassured that Hezbollah did not have any brigade outside Lebanon. He has previously asked his foreign supporters to work separate from Hezbollah so that they wouldn’t be harmed from this relation.
Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated that Israel is aware of Hezbollah’s power and this enough deters it from any attack..
Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that “the United States is trying to seek support for Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and this is why it called for Warsaw Summit, but what was the result? No final statement and just repeated speeches.”
“Warsaw Summit does not scare us... This Summit is weak, and its target is the Palestinian cause which was completely absent while the topic raised was fighting terrorism and keeping stability in the region, knowing that Israel is the head of terrorism in the region.
The real propose out of it was normalization and bringing out the secret Gulf ties with Israel to Public. Oman and the Emirate’s ties with Israel have been evident in the past but the Saudi ones are newly publicized...
Concerning ISIS, Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed that “it will be finished in Syria, just like it was finished in Iraq and Lebanon, and this is a great development and victory,” adding: “I just want to point to the US hypocrisy, as the biggest hypocrite Donald Trump will come out to claim victory..."
The US (Obama and Clinton) created ISIS in Iraq by releasing its leaders from their jails and facilitating their entrance to Iraq by opening borders for them, and it wanted it to extend to Syria. Today it comes out to claim victory even though it wanted the battle to last for years...
Sayyed Nasrallah reassured that the resistance axis is the one that defeated ISIS in the region not the “US hypocrite who came at the end to play the role of the triumphant”.
He is referred to as a “shadow” commander by Western journalists as he stealthily fights the Islamic State (IS) in places such as Syria and Iraq on behalf of Iran...
“What Hajj Qasem (Qasem Soleimani, born 11-3-1957) has been able to do is no joke. If it weren’t for him, IS would have advanced throughout Iraq and be at our doorsteps.
All Iranians owe him. We owe our safety to him, and I think our people are beginning to see that,” Reza, a 27-year old Basij filmmaker, told Al-Monitor.
“Iran is the only stable, safe country in our neighborhood, and we have Qasem Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guards to thank for that", Sepideh, a 26-year old painter who considers herself in opposition to the government, told Al-Monitor. The fight against IS has allowed pro-regime cultural producers to rebrand the IRGC not as defenders of the Islamic Republic, but as defenders of the Iranian nation.
The chairman of the Israel Resilience party attacked Sunday at the Munich conference the Iranian foreign minister's words this morning at the conference.
"You heard Zarif, don't believe his lies," Benny Gantz said. "I really see what is happening in Iran, and I can tell you with certainty that the regime that Zarif represents is evil."
"He calls for the destruction of my country, oppresses women, executes minorities and violates human rights, and terrorizes the Middle East and the whole world," Gantz added.
"It's no secret that Netanyahu is my political rival..., but do not be mistaken, we are two sons of [Israel]... I stand shoulder to shoulder with Netanyahu against Iran," Gantz added. Gantz called Hezbollah, "the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world."
"Those in Europe who want peace, security and stability must act against Hezbollah. We all see the tragedy in Syria, but there is also good news, in many ways Israel is closer to the Arab states than ever before. These countries understood that Israel is not part of the problem, it is part of the solution. "
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov never hesitates to show tongue-in-cheek wit while responding to tons of questions from journalists, and his presser at the Munich Security Conference was no exception.
During the 55th Munich Security Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov turned to undisguised irony when snubbing a question from a Washington Post journalist about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"Here's a follow-up question on Syria. This comes from Josh Rogin of The Washington Post, I'll read it out: 'Russia is now the security guarantor of Syria'. And he adds, 'Congratulations'", the host of the conference said with a chuckle.
"'How will you, Russia, how will you ensure the Assad regime stops threatening the region and stops committing atrocities against their own people?'"
But the head of Russian diplomacy is not the kind of man who is easily caught off guard: he came up with a somewhat unexpected response, which led to an outburst of laughter and applause from the audience. "Well, I think whatever I answer, you will write what you want. So do it...", Lavrov hit back.
President Assad: Masters in your own land,
or slaves and pawns in the hand of occupiers? SANA, 17 February 2019
In a speech during his meeting with heads of local councils from all provinces on Monday, President Bashar al-Assad said that holding local councils elections proves the strength of the Syrian people and the state, adding that the elections proves the failure of enemies’ bet to turn the Syrian state into a failed state unable to perform its tasks.
He underlined that issuing decentralisation-law no. 107 (introduced in 2011) was a significant step for enhancing the effectiveness of local administration by giving municipalities more independence and expanding decentralization.
He said that the essence of the local administration law is achieving balance in development across all areas by giving local administrative units the authority to develop their areas in terms of economy, urban development, culture, and services, thereby improving citizens’ living conditions by launching projects, providing job opportunities, and providing services locally, particularly in remote areas.
President al-Assad said it is no longer practical to manage the affairs of the society and state and achieved balanced development in the same centralized way that had been used for decades...
He said that as local units manage day-to-day affairs in their areas, the central establishments can focus on its overseeing role and on comprehensive strategies and policies instead of being tangled in daily details.
President al-Assad said that while solutions are usually requested from the top, in this case the solutions may come from both the top and the base, as the base can be more capable of proposing tactical solutions.. .
He Excellency said this means partnership between everyone in society and state, which is the true expression of democratic practice based on comprehensive and continuous dialogue, which transforms democracy from mere words to action and achievements.
He said that the policies of the countries that support terrorism are based on two pillars:
- the first is supporting terrorism which is a temporary pillar,
- and the second is applying a type of decentralization that weakens the state’s authority and marginalizes it, thereby weakening sovereignty, nationalism, and social cohesion, which would lead to social division and ultimately geographic division.
President al-Assad said that today, terrorism is suffering defeats in one area after the other and “with every inch that is liberated, there is an enemy that is thwarted, and with every inch that is cleansed there is an agent and a traitor and a mercenary who complains. Why do they complain? According to their statements, they complain because their sponsors failed them.”
“From the beginning, you offered yourselves and the homeland for sale. I wouldn’t say you offered your principles, because you had none to begin with. You offered yourselves and the homeland for sale, and there was demand for this kind of goods at the time, and you were paid handsomely and bought, [..] but you failed to achieve the required tasks, so they decided to sell you at a discount after demand for you decreased in the international slave market, but at a low price, and they won’t find a buyer and they’ll probably give you away for free, and no-one will take you.
“But you were sold without the homeland, because the homeland has actual owners, not thieves. The homeland has a people who view their homeland as their soul.. The homeland is sacred; these are words whose meaning you don’t know...
President al-Assad stressed that the only forward for these individuals is through reconciliation, handing over their weapons, and recanting their sins, and the Syrian people with their big heart will forgive those who are honest in their repentance, and the Syrian people look to the future....
President al-Assad said Syrians have suffered a lot during the war, and part of this suffering is the terrorism-imposed displacement of millions of Syrians abroad, stressing that the state has worked hard to alleviate the suffering of internally-displaced Syrians and to facilitate the return of refugees from abroad, but certain states hinder this return...
President al-Assad said that in the past years, tens of thousands of refugees returned to Syria and settled in their areas after they were secured, stressing that the sponsors of terrorism mustn’t be allowed to exploit the refugees’ suffering in their political games.
The President said that we are waging four wars: the first war is a military one, the second is the blockade, the third is via the internet and social media, and the forth is the war launched by corrupt people whose interests are affected and therefore try to market themselves as victims to serve their personal interests... Suffering cannot be a justification for treating the truth unfairly, and the truth says that there is war, terrorism, and blockade, and the truth is that there is a lack of morality and there is selfishness and corruption, and part of these facts are out of our hands partially but not entirely, and this makes rebuilding and reforming the minds the biggest challenge, not the reconstruction of the infrastructure...
President al-Assad said the time has come for some groups to decide how history will judge them, and that they have a choice: to be masters in their own land, or slaves and pawns in the hand of occupiers.
“As you noticed, I will not name these groups, but as usual, for a few hours or maybe for a few days, they will issue statements attacking this speech, then you will know who I’m talking about,” he added....
President al-Assad concluded by urging the heads of local administration councils to show dedication and to work diligently in order to earn the citizens’ trust, wishing them success in carrying out their duties.
Iran: Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Sun. that Pakistan’s government must answer for the Wed. terrorist attack on IRGC personnel, which was carried out by a group residing in the neighboring country. (Mehr News, 17-2-2019)
Saudi Minister of the State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir stressed on Monday the depth of the Saudi-Pakistani relations, for the past 70 years, while accusing Iran of being a safe haven for terrorists.
During a joint press conference in Islamabad with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Jubeir said their two countries cooperate together and seek to overcome problems in the region...
He confirmed that the Kingdom and Pakistan face several challenges, which can only be overcome through joint cooperation, combating terrorism and supporting regional security and stability. He emphasized that terrorism is a common enemy and that Pakistan, the Kingdom and the United States are working together to combat that danger. Iran, he said, is the "haven of terrorists" and the last country that can accuse others of terrorism.
He expressed surprise at Iran's accusation that Pakistan was behind last week’s attack on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Iranian city of Zahedan.
“Such accusations are surprising by Iran, which has long fueled terrorism and practiced it in other countries, such as Yemen and Syria," Jubeir underscored, accusing Tehran of harboring al-Qaeda operatives.
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