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)
BEIJING, May 16 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at the opening of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations on Wednesday has been echoed by many as his vision inspires hope for a brighter future for Asia and humanity.
At the grand gathering, Xi said that "the intensifying global challenges humanity are facing now require concerted efforts from countries across the world," highlighting the role of culture and civilization to cope with common challenges.
In his keynote speech, the Chinese president raised a four-point proposal to consolidate the "cultural foundation" of a community with a shared future for Asia and humanity: treating each other with respect and as equals; appreciating the beauty of all civilizations; adhering to openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning; and keeping pace with the times.
"It is foolish to believe that one's race and civilization are superior to that of others, and it is disastrous to willfully reshape or even replace other civilizations..."
Xi said that various civilizations are not destined to clash as long as people are able to appreciate the beauty of all civilizations, which became a hot topic after his speech.
"History tells that pursuing the superiority of one's own people and culture causes great tragedies to mankind," Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a business-led international digital association in Brussels, said.
"The principles of mutual respect and equal treatment should be adhered to by all to address our common challenges." Peter Frankopan, a professor at Oxford University, said that "it's important that we live in a world where we work out how to listen to each other's opinions. We work out to collaborate closer together." "What we've been hearing in this conference again and again is about the need for mutual respect," he added.
"Increasing reciprocal openness and working on people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning" can help strengthen cultural ties between civilizations, said Fabio Massimo Parenti, a professor of international studies at the International Institute Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, Italy. Such an approach "can work only if we all reject superiority attitudes," he added. "Clashes of civilization will only happen if people expect it to happen. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy," Ole Doring, a German expert with the Berlin Institute of Global Health, said. "I don't think it's even called a theory, it's just a wrong prediction."
DAMASCUS, (ST). President Bashar Al-Assad on Monday inaugurated the Awqaf Ministry's Al-Cham International Islamic Center for Confronting Terrorism and Extremism.
President Al-Assad said that fighting terrorism and extremism in Syria has started years ago and since terrorism appeared in Syria: "All the Syrian people are fighting terrorism and extremism through their steadfastness, our valiant army has been battling terrorism which is the production of extremism and our scholars have been combating extremism which produces terrorism..."
President Al-Assad added that the situation in the Syrian society is not only better than it was at the beginning of the war, but it is even better than before the war.
"The war has been a tough lesson to all the Syrians and a tough shock that forced all to reconsider and reassess all the elements which led to this war."
It is true that the war on Syria was launched by external parties, but the elements on which this war was based were internal, said President Al-Assad, pointing out that this revision has made the Syrians, with all their categories, to boost communication to further know each other.
"The lesson we got from this war has taught us how to differentiate between things. At the beginning of the war or before the war, we couldn't distinguish between religion and fanaticism - and this is as far as men of religion are concerned - we couldn't distinguish between a religious man and a fanatic.
Some used to think that the more they push towards fanaticism the more religion is protected. But later and we started to differentiate between religion as a building factor and fanaticism as a destruction factor... "
"This why the situation is better than the time before war… today we are more capable to distinguish as a society from the stage before war."
President Al-Assad went on to say that extremism is not a religious product, rather, it is a social product, but it uses covers, tools and titles and religion is only one of the titles of extremism, because there is religious extremism, political extremism, ideological extremism and national extremism as well as social extremism based on traditions.
"What we have suffered during this war was linked to religious extremism...." It came from outside, but it became a reality in the country," the president added, calling on men of religion to do their best to treat the gaps that exist in the Syrian society and which produce extremism.
President Al-Assad underscored that fighting terrorism or extremism starts from true religion, but true religion is seen only in a healthy and balanced society, so, this is the point where work should start.
"True religion needs a balanced society. Some people who misunderstand religion, think that religion came to give up man's needs and desires. This is not true as religion came in complete consistency with man's needs and desires, but at the same time it came to organize them," President Al-Assad said..
The president went on to say that religion needs open minds, because closed minds are narrow with limited understanding.
Religion is wide and deep and closed minds take from religion its peels whereas open minds take the essence of religion, he pointed out, clarifying that closed minds make religion unacceptable to others, thus lead to fragmenting societies, while open minds make religion acceptable to all and help it be a unity factor.
President Al-Assad affirmed that "awareness is the only way to protect any society or individual against mistakes or deviation, because it tells us that this talk is extremist and that is moderate..this talk is logical and that is illogical, so, without this awareness we can't protect ourselves."
"We also have to deepen dialogue, because a religion without dialogue is nothing but rituals with no content.
He concluded by saying that if true religion is the bridge that leads to moderation, the healthy society is the bridge that leads to the right practice of religion and that protects religion from deviation or distortion.
After U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday ratcheted up his rhetoric against Tehran, threatening to “end” Iran if it wants to fight, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday warned Trump “never threaten an Iranian” and advised the president to “try respect and it works”.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” Trump said in a tweet. “Never threaten the United States again!”
Reminding about history, Zarif said the B-Team and Trump want to achieve something that Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan (the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire) “failed to do”.
Responding via Twitter, Zarif also said, “Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone.” “Economic terrorism” and threat of genocide won’t “end” Iran.
The B-Team includes Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel (known as bibi), Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ).
In an interview with Fox News aired Sunday evening, Trump took a seemingly more subdued tone toward Iran.
“I just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons, and they can’t be threatening us. And with all of everything that’s going on, and I’m not one that believes – you know, I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly – by far most importantly,” Trump said.
Recently, Zarif ruled out prospect of talks with the United States, calling Washington a “bully” who is trying to force all others into acting illegally.
The Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan drew criticism at the United Nations Wednesday, with European and UN officials saying Palestinians should not be coerced into selling off rights to run their own country.
Addressing the UN’s top body in New York, Jason Greenblatt, the United States envoy on the Middle East, talked up a meeting about boosting the Palestinian economy in Bahrain next month that marks the start of a new US-led peace initiative.
The “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop, to be held in Manama on June 25-26 and co-hosted with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders who want their political demands to be addressed in any solution to the decades-old conflict.
“This is the first stage of a process that we want to begin to showcase what could be,” Greenblatt told council members, saying the Bahrain meeting had the “potential to unlock a prosperous future for the Palestinians.” “It would be a mistake for the Palestinians not to join us. They have nothing to lose and much to gain if they do join us.”
Greenblatt’s comments were met with scepticism in New York.
“Only a two-state solution can meet the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians and deliver sustainable peace and security,” said Germany’s UN ambassador Christoph Heusgen. “It is indispensable that a solution is negotiated and guarantees the right to self-determination also for the Palestinians.”
France’s UN ambassador, Francois Delattre, said Paris would only back plans that stuck to a long-established framework of Palestinians getting more than financial support but also end up running their own country
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN coordinator for Middle East peace, said more funding for Palestinians was welcome, but that it was no substitute for a deal that tackled long-standing disagreements between the two sides. Without naming the US, deputy Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, said she rejected efforts to force an “unfair compromise” on the Palestinians through “financial and political pressures”.
“The vision that will offer Palestinians new opportunities to realize their full potential is one in which independence is the centerpiece,” Abdelhady-Nasser told envoys.
arafat: hated for rejecting limited autonomy
YNet News, 23-5:
The Palestinian demand for a two-state solution is supported by the U.N. and almost all of its 193 member-states, and it was reiterated at Wednesday’s council meeting by the Palestinian deputy U.N. ambassador Feda Abdelhady-Nasser.
“No one can deny that we are in need of new efforts and new energy to overcome the suffocating political deadlock, least of all us,” she said. “But ‘new’ cannot mean trampling the law or mocking and discarding the longstanding international consensus” on a two-state solution.
Abdelhady-Nasser added that Palestinian leaders can’t accept improving the lives of Palestinians while Israel’s “illegal occupation continues, nor have the Palestinian people endured decades of suffering and waited nearly half a century for freedom to resign themselves to ‘limited autonomy.’”
Palestinian business groups accounting for 80% of Palestine’s gross domestic product say they are declining to attend a conference in Bahrain that is part of the roll-out of Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century.” The conference was intended to focus on “economic peace,” which is shorthand for investments in and prosperity for the West Bank Palestinians in return for their acquiescence in continued harsh Israeli military occupation.
The Palestine Liberation Organization is also refusing to attend, saying, that the goal is not to improve living conditions under Occupation but to end Occupation.
The idea of an economic incentive to Palestinians to be quiet and let the far rightwing racial supremacist government of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu rule their lives is not new. Netanyahu has been touting it for decades. It won’t work.
It won’t work for many reasons. Let us examine some.
1. Palestinians are struggling for a state, for a national identity. Even if they could attain prosperity under Occupation, that isn’t what drives most of them. Identity is at the core of the human self, and Palestinian identity has been deeply damaged by the condition of statelessness in which Israel holds them.
2. The Palestinians know their own history and they know that the post-WW I Versailles peace conference and then the British empire itself promised them a Palestinian state (the latter by 1949).
Palestinians are a people as Syrians and Iraqis are a people, and all were promised a state by the League of Nations. Only Palestinians did not get one. They won’t rest until they have a passport.
3. The sad fact is that economic prosperity is impossible for most Palestinians to count on as long as they are stateless. Philosopher Hannah Arendt once observed that “citizenship is the right to have rights.”
Without citizenship in something, Palestinians do not have the right to have rights. You can’t reliably do business under such a situation. Business requires firm property rights. Occupation makes their property rights unstable.
AMMAN — King Abdullah, Iraqi President Barham Saleh and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a trilateral meeting at Basman Palace.
Discussions addressed the Palestinian cause and the importance of supporting the Palestinians in securing their legitimate rights and establishing their independent state on the June 4, 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Saleh and Abbas reaffirmed the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem..
Moreover, the meeting covered the need for economic cooperation and integration, especially in water, energy, transport culture and the exchange of medical expertise, according to the statement. The importance of maintaining coordination in service of Arab causes and regional stability and security was also stressed. The two sides underscored the importance of bolstering joint Arab action and unifying Arab and Muslim positions to counter challenges.
The two leaders also reaffirmed positions on the Palestinian cause, and the need to reach a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution.
During the meeting with the Palestinian president King Abdullah reaffirmed that the Palestinian cause is the central issue in the region and a top priority for Jordan, according to the statement.
In this context, the King reaffirmed that Jordan stands with the Palestinians as they seek their legitimate and just rights.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran has reiterated that any hostile action by the US military would receive a crushing second strike at full-scale war levels. Such a response consists of sea, land, air and missile strikes. The naval forces of the Iranian army and IRGC have developed multiple scenarios for confronting any possible US sea-based invasion since long time ago. The video depicts one of Iran's on-the-table scenarios for any possible naval battle against the US.
Morteza Ebadi, Iran’s Consul General to Erbil, says US pressure on Iran will not impact trade volume with the Kurdistan Region, which he believes could grow from $4 billion in 2018 to $5 billion this year.
Ebadi, who submitted his responses by email, said America’s recent attempts to squeeze the Iranian economy are “based on the whims of the European colonial era” – an era which is long over, he said.
The Iranian CG expects trade relations, strengthened by historical and cultural ties, will grow once the new government is installed in Erbil.
-Rudaw: What is the trade volume between Iran and the Kurdistan Region? How much of that trade volume is Kurdistan Region exports to Iran? What are your predictions for trade volume for the next year?
-Morteza Ebadi: The building blocks of trade between the Kurdistan Region and Islamic Republic of Iran were laid in 1991. It has grown ever since then. Trade volume last year reached $4 billion. We don’t think it far-fetched if it increased to $5 billion this year.
-R: The US has warned officials of the Kurdistan Region to stop trade exchanges with the Islamic Republic more than once. As far as you are aware, have officials of the Kurdistan Region heeded the warnings?
-M: The relation between the people and officials of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with the Islamic Republic of Iran dates back to the difficult and laborious times when the Americans backed Saddam and were bystanders during Anfal and the chemical attacks against the people.
Those relations have taken shape based mutual respect, brotherhood and mutual interests. Those obsolete approaches of America won’t affect our relations. Unfortunately America still thinks based on the whims of the European colonial era, and they haven’t realized that era is no longer. The era of colonialism and colonies has passed.
-R: The Kurdistan Region will follow Iraq’s policy in foreign dealings. Are you satisfied with Iraq’s policy towards Iran?
-M: The special assistance of the Islamic Republic for the government and people of Iraq on the side of the army, popular forces and Peshmerga during the time of the Daesh Takfiri group (ISIS) has made both sides more connected than before.
-R:To what extent will US sanctions on Iraq affect trade exchange between the Kurdistan Region and Iran?
-M: The oppressive punishment and arrogance of America against the Islamic Republic of Iran, accompanied in the very first stages by media attacks, upset some of the traders who were not deeply familiar with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ability in managing events.
On another side, the demand for some goods from Iranian families created problems for the export of some goods, resulting in the change in prices in the Kurdistan Region. However, after controlling the situation shortly after such conditions, our economic relations with our neighbors have taken their normal course...
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a meeting with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, saying such meetings are aimed at neutralizing the so-called B-Team’s impact on the American political society.
Asked on Saturday about the meeting between Zarif and Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.), Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, “Dialogue and exchange of views with America’s non-administrative political elites, including members of Congress (who are not administrative officials), have been taking place for more than two decades with the aim of enlightenment and declaration of the Islamic Republic’s policies.”
“These individuals are neither administrative officials nor entitled to negotiate (with Iran), and Iranian officials have not negotiated and will not negotiate with them either,” Tasnim quoted the spokesperson as saying.
“The purpose of such meetings – which, by the way, take a lot of time and energy from the foreign minister in his tightly scheduled visits- is to counteract the influence of lobbies such as the ‘B-Team’ over America’s political society and public opinion. That’s why they (the meetings) face a harsh reaction and resentment from the hardliners,” Mousavi said.
The B-Team, a phrase first used by Zarif, refers to a group of four anti-Iran hawks, namely U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Asked about Feinstein’s meeting with Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blasted the senator and former secretary of state John Kerry for engaging Iran.
"Every American should support America’s foreign policy.” “They had their moment, they had their day,” he said regarding the Obama administration. “It’s time to get off the stage.”
After the 9/11 attack in 2001, Congress enacted Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to retaliate against Al Qaeda and to wage war in Iraq. But Congress never intended those AUMFs to be open-ended blank checks for presidents to unilaterally wage war across the globe in violation of both the Constitution and the War Powers Act of 1973.
Yet now, 18 years later, they are still being used as the legal pretext for American combat operations in close to 20 nations around the world. Boys and girls who were born after those AUMFs were adopted are now fighting the endless wars they spawned.
For almost 18 years we've been mired in endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other nations.
Now Trump & the Republicans are escalating their covert intervention in Venezuela by threatening armed intervention -- a new war. And they also now claim they have legal authority for military strikes against Iran which would inevitably cause yet another war. It's time for Congress to assert its Constitutionally-mandated war powers. It's time to end the endless wars.
The Trump administration is threatening to start new wars against Iran and Venezuela.... Some of the war hawks in the Trump administration – possibly Bolton – seem to be signaling that they're thinking of claiming that the AUMF provides a legal basis for U.S. military strikes against Iran without further congressional authorization. It's time for Congress to call a halt to all of these endless wars...
The Israeli parliament has voted to dissolve after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a ruling coalition government before a midnight deadline. The members of parliament voted 74-45 in favour of the motion, and Israeli daily Haaretz reported that new elections will take place in September.
"We will run a sharp, clear election campaign which will bring us victory," Netanyahu told reporters after the Knesset vote. "We will win, we will win and the public will win."
But Netanyahu struggled to form the political coalition he needed to get a majority of the seats in Israel's 120-member parliament.
In particular, the Israeli premier was unable to get the support of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu Party, led by his former defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Lieberman's party has been at odds with ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism over a military conscription bill - and Lieberman said he would not serve in a government alongside them. That bill would make it mandatory for Haredi men studying the Torah to join Israel's armed forces, a requirement that they have up until now received an exemption from. Lieberman has long said that all Israeli men must equally share the burden of military service.
Lieberman blamed Likud for the repeat election, saying the party had refused to vote on the ultra-Orthodox draft bill, Haaretz reported.
Netanyahu, for his part, slammed the Yisrael Beitenu leader, saying Lieberman "brings down right-wing governments" only "because he wants a few more votes, which he won't get".
lieberman as "right winger" - settlerfriend - campaigner
Benjamin Netanyahu spoke angrily about Liberman after the vote to disperse the Knesset passed 74-45, saying that MK Avigdor Liberman has joined the Left.
"Israel made a clear decision," Netanyahu said. "The Likud will lead the government as a Right-wing government. The different parties that tried to enter the Knesset said, 'We will support Netanyahu.'
Avigdor Liberman, to my disappointment, had no intention from the beginning to do what he said he would." He is dragging an entire country to another half a year of elections because of his wish to get another couple of mandates."
"Avigdor Liberman is now part of the Left," he concluded. "You give him votes, to the Right, and he does not give his voice to the Right."
TEHRAN – Talking in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani invited the people to take part massively in 'Jerusalem Day' rallies, which fall on Friday. International Quds [Jerusalem] Day was initiated by the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 to express solidarity with Palestinians and oppose the Zionist regime.
Rallies are held each year in various cities around the world by both Muslims and non-Muslim communities. Many Jewish people also attend the rallies in order to draw a line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
“The Iranian people will voice support for oppressed ones in history through participating in the Jerusalem Day rallies and will announce that they will stand against oppressors until victory is achieved,” Rouhani stated.
He noted, “The Iranian nation has always helped other nations, and we have helped the oppressed in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.”
Rouhani added, “The oppressed people of Yemen and Palestine are resistant and not afraid of aggressors. They will force enemies to retreat with their resistance and power.” Rouhani hailed the Palestinian nation’s defense achievements over the past years, saying resistance fighters are today responding to the Israeli regime’s missiles with "missiles rather than stones."
He added, “There was a time when the Palestinians used to defend themselves only with rocks and stones, but today, they have worked hard and developed a tool to give crushing responses to Israelis.”
Rouhani also criticized the secretive and controversial U.S.-devised deal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Washington has kept the plan, which President Donald Trump has hailed as “the deal of century,” under wraps. Leaked information, however, indicate that it features serious violations of the Palestinian’s age-old demands.
Rouhani lambasted the plan as “the failure of the century,” warning, “Today, a plot is in the works against not only Palestine but the entire region.”
In 2010, the term “Axis of Resistance” was adopted to encompass the forces of Iran, Hezbollah, Bashar Assad’s Syria, and Hamas.
The head of Hamas’ political wing, Ismail Haniyeh, reportedly told Sputnik Arabic that his organization has adopted the Syrian government’s position on the Syrian opposition and their armed groups.
According to Sputnik, Haniyeh said his organization has ‘good’ ties with the Syrian government, despite their 2012 rift when then leader, Khaled Mesha’al, left Damascus for Doha, Qatar.
Haniyeh told Sputnik that his organization maintains the politics of the “Axis of Resistance”, which is a reference to Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria.
“Syria, its people, and its regime have always stood by the Palestinian people and the resistance,” Haniyeh said. “We hope that security, stability and civil peace will return to Syria...” For years, Syria had provided Hamas with training facilities and bases; however, once the Syrian War broke out, Mesha’al sided with Qatar, who opposed the Syrian government.
Despite the previous rift with Hamas, Syria continued to maintain close ties with many Palestinian groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), PFLP, Fatah Al-Intifada, DFLP, and PFLP-GC.
Flashback 2012: Hamas backs Syrian protests against Assad
Associated Press in Cairo, Fri 24 Feb 2012
Gaza's Hamas prime minister has expressed support for Syrian protesters seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Ismail Haniyeh's comments were the first time a senior leader of the Palestinian group has publicly rebuked its longtime patron.
Assad has long hosted and supported leaders of Hamas, but the group has significantly reduced the presence of its exiled leaders in Syria since the start of the uprising against the Syrian regime 11 months ago. Some of the top Hamas leaders now spend most of their time in Qatar, Egypt and Lebanon...
Haniyeh's speech was another sign of Hamas's drift away from its long-term backers Iran and Syria, as it finds new allies in the region. Its isolation has eased since its parent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, gained political influence in the region – including in Egypt – in the wake of the Arab spring uprisings.
Hamas and Iran have patched up relations, the Palestinian militant group’s new leader in Gaza said on Monday, and Tehran is again its biggest backer after years of tension over the civil war in Syria.
“Relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades with money and arms,” Yehya al-Sinwar, referring to Hamas’s armed wing, told reporters. Neither Hamas nor Iran have disclosed the full scale of Tehran’s backing. Hamas angered Iran by refusing to support Iran’s ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the six-year-old civil war. (Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters, 28-8-2017)
Saudi Arabia's king told an emergency Arab summit on Thursday that decisive action was needed to stop Iranian "escalations" in the region following attacks on oil assets in the Gulf, as American officials said a US military deployment had deterred Tehran.
The comments by King Salman Abdul Aziz came as Saudi Arabia hosted in Mecca emergency meetings of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League to counter what it said was Iran's growing influence.
Addressing Arab and Muslim leaders earlier, King Salman pressed the international community to "use all means to stop Iran from interfering in other countries' affairs". He said Tehran's actions threatened international maritime trade and global oil supplies in a "glaring violation of UN treaties".
"This is naked aggression against our stability and international security," the Saudi ruler told the gathered officials...
In his opening remarks, Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said the alleged sabotage of oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and drone attacks on a Saudi oil pipeline by Yemen's Houthi rebels in recent weeks threaten the global economy and endanger regional and international security. "We should confront it with all means of force and firmness," he said... John Bolton, a top US security official, alleged on Wednesday Iranian mines were "almost certainly" used in the tanker operation. He provided no proof, however. An Iranian official dismissed Bolton's remarks as "a ludicrous claim". Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi ... rejected the baseless accusations by the heads of certain Arab countries ... and said: 'We see the Saudi effort to mobilise [regional] opinion as part of the hopeless process followed by America and the Zionist regime against Iran.'
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday that the security of the Arabian Gulf is closely linked to Egypt’s national security and that the attack on Saudi and Emirati interests in the Gulf was an attack of terror.
"Any threat to Gulf security, and subsequently Arab national security, requires all Arab nations to take a firm, wise and decisive stand to confront it," the president said.
"Firmness is a must to deliver home a message to everyone in the world far or near; that Arabs will never accept any threat to their national security," he added saying that the Arabs will never tolerate any encroachment on any of their rights.
Stability in the region, El-Sisi said, can never be achieved without realising a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, including those of having independence, ending occupation and establishing their own sovereign state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In addition to this, he added, clear-cut solutions must be envisaged to the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen to enable these Arab countries to restore their unity and sovereignty and fulfill their people’s hopes to live in freedom and enjoy a decent stable life away from wars and sectarianism and from foreign interferences and harmful ambitions and hegemony and domination attempts by outside powers.
El-Sisi called for being candid and resolute in standing up to any regional or Arab party that tries to interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab country.
The government in Damascus has rejected the final statement of the Arab emergency summit held in Saudi Arabia, which criticizes what it called “Iranian intervention” into Syrian affairs, AP reports. Damascus said the statement was an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Syria. The Iranian presence is “legitimate because it came at the request of the Syrian government and contributed to support Syria’s efforts in combating terrorism supported by some of the participants in this summit,” according to the Syrian Foreign Ministry.
The summit should instead condemn the involvement of other countries in Syrian affairs, “which lacked legitimacy and legality” and provided “unlimited support in various forms to terrorist groups and prolonging the crisis in Syria,” the statement added.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would win if new elections were held today, a new poll shows, with the right-wing bloc gaining seats in comparison to last month’s election.
According to the poll, which was conducted by Panels Politics and published Friday morning by Maariv, the Likud would win 37 seats, a gain of two mandates, while the center-left Blue and White party would fall by two seats, from 35 to 33 mandates.
Naftali Bennett’s New Right party would win five seats if Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked runs with the party and does not leave it for the Likud. The party narrowly failed to enter the 21st Knesset, missing the threshold by some 1,400 votes.
The United Right – a joint list of the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit factions – would win six seats, a gain of one mandate.
Former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s secular right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party received nine seats in the poll, a four-mandate increase over its present five seats.
The haredi factions dropped a total of one seat, from 16 to 15 mandates, with United Torah Judaism remaining steady at eight seats, and Shas falling from eight to seven.
The right-wing – religious bloc as a whole would win 72 seats, an increase of seven seats from the current 65, while the left-wing – Arab bloc would fall from 55 mandates to 48.
On the left, the Meretz party would gain two mandates, rising to six seats, while the Labor party would for the first time in Israeli history be left out of the Knesset, receiving just 1.9% of the vote. The two Arab lists would receive a total of nine mandates.
"Our message to the entire world is clear — there is no place for dark ideology in our faith, Islam, a religion of mercy and tolerance that has long affirmed values of love and the protection of human life.
Therefore, we will continue to work with our partners within a holistic approach to counter extremist thought; unify our counter-narrative against this destructive, dark ideology; and combat hate speech, exclusionism, and the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia." Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein (King of Jordan), 1-6-2019
The United Arab Emirates is steadily upping engagement with government-held Syria, deploying its soft power in the form of humanitarian aid and investment in the local entertainment industry.
The past weeks of Ramadan saw packages of food distributed in Marjeh Square in central Damascus bearing the emblem of the United Arab Emirates.
The truck transporting the aid had a sign reading: “Donation from Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, wife of the Crown Prince of Al Fujairah” — one of the seven Emirates of the UAE.
As the truck drove slowly through the congested roundabout, people appeared on balconies and rooftops, watching with interest. Some whistled; others clapped. They were relieved that an eight-year crisis with the UAE was now coming to a quiet end, six months after Abu Dhabi re-opened its embassy in Damascus.
The humanitarian aid was the first Emirati initiative in Damascus since November 2011, when the Arab League suspended the Syrian government’s membership over its crackdown against demonstrators. Now, the Emirates has changed course, aiming to attract hearts — and empty stomachs. The UAE is also looking to influence minds — in Syria and beyond — bankrolling two Syrian soap operas this Ramadan airing exclusively on Abu Dhabi TV.
The first Maqamat al-Asheq tells the story of a renowned Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi, who lived in Damascus centuries ago and is buried on the slopes of Mount Qassioun overlooking the city.
The second, Al-Asheq (The Impassioned), is the tale of the Abbasid-era Sufi philosopher al-Hallaj.
Both preach a version of Islam that both the UAE and Syria are trying to promote, and which radical groups like the Islamic State tried to eradicate over the course of the war in Syria and other territories it seized.
Sufism is an order of peaceful mystics that once prevailed in Damascus under Ottoman rule. Sufi scholars have wide authority to interpret religious issues and take action based on judgement, unless otherwise mentioned in the Quran. Connectivity with God takes different forms, in addition to prayer, and can be achieved through spiritual dancing or religious hymns — two acts that radical groups like ISIS consider un-Islamic. When ISIS overran the city of Mayadeen in eastern Syria, its militants raided the homes of Sufis, arresting, flogging and often killing members of their order. Because Sufism appeals to Muslims, ISIS saw this brand of the religion as a threat to its power base, more than Christianity, for example.
Sufi clerics like Ibn Arabic and al-Hallaj, portrayed in the new Emirati-funded dramas, in contrast strictly banned the killing of any member of the monotheistic religions.
Like all Muslims, Sufis too believe in a caliphate. But any caliph, they say, needs to come “through brotherly love and fluttering hearts” — in the words of Ibn Arabi — rather than by the sword.
"Do not praise your own faith exclusively so that you disbelieve all the rest. If you do this you will miss much good. Nay, you will miss the whole truth of the matter. God, the Omniscient and the Omnipresent, cannot be confined to any one creed, for He says in the Quran, wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah. Everybody praises what he knows. His God is his own creature, and in praising it, he praises himself. Which he would not do if he were just, for his dislike is based on ignorance." Ibn Arabi
A third show, also produced by the UAE this Ramadan, tells a contemporary fictional story based on real events, about a Syrian cleric affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed by both Abu Dhabi and Damascus.
Set at the backdrop of the second Gulf War in 1990, it portrays the Brotherhood as having secret ties with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Abu Dhabi also accuses the Brotherhood of trying to destabilize the UAE, and it suspended relations with Qatar in 2017 over their support for the Egyptian Brotherhood. For Damascus and Abu Dhabi, the promotion of political Islam has provided a common enemy. Gulf money can help with propaganda efforts against the Brotherhood brand of Islam.
When the Islamic State stormed the city of al-Mayadeen in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zour along the Euphrates River, they struck with particular vengeance at the homes of Syrian Sufis. Members of the Sufi order were arrested; their clerics were flogged, their spiritual corners torn down. Sufism, after all, is the exact opposite of ISIS and its distorted interpretation of Sunni Islam.
Both are Muslims of course, just like Hitler and Churchill were Christians. If allowed to run society, Syrian and Iraqi Sufis can probably rally millions, crafting a wide power base for themselves that exposes the religious flaws and deficiencies of ISIS. Only Sufis have the religious tools, intellectual skills, and political cunning to dismantle ISIS. That is precisely why they are excommunicated by ISIS.
Sufism is an order of peaceful mystics that once reigned in both Damascus and Baghdad during Ottoman times. It discards ISIS Salafism as un-Islamic. Throughout history Damascus and Baghdad were the breeding ground for Sufism. Because of their Sufi past, neither city produced fanatic clerics and nor did they absorb Salafi Islam or its offspring, Wahabism.
During Ottoman times, the Sufi clerics of Damascus mentored Sultan Abdulhamid II. So influenced were the Ottomans by Sufism that they toyed with the idea of elevating it into an official sect of Islam and making it the official hallmark of the Ottoman State.
Damascus was once home to two extremes — the spiritual founder of Salafism Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) and the “Great Teacher” of Sufism, Ibn Arabi (1165-124).
Both figures are iconic to their religious following and both were buried in Damascus. ISIS holds Ibn Taymiyya in high esteem; the Damascenes speak very little of him. No street is named in his honor, certainly no neighborhood. Ibn Arabi was seemingly tailor-fit for the Damascenes, peaceful, spiritual, practical, and non-violent.
Unable to find a wide audience in Damascus, Ibn Taymiyya’s influence traveled to the desert, where it survived the harsh winds of Arabia and laid foundations of the modern Saudi Kingdom.
His words were rough and rigid, just like the desert. The Sufis were soft and flexible, just like Damascus.
There are 15 million Sufis worldwide, with Damascus and its Grand Umayyad Mosque as their capital. They need to be promoted at schools and mosque pulpits, given prime access to television networks worldwide.
[Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu has shown off a Donald Trump-signed map that includes Golan Heights as part of Israel.
The Israeli PM waved around the map during a TV appearance last night in a political move that comes as Israel is plunged into its second election of the year. He said that Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner gifted him the map during his visit to the country. Kushner and other architects of the administration's Middle East peace plan are traveling the region to build momentum for the long-awaited proposal.
'This map had not been updated since the Six Day War,' said Netanyahu, referring to the 1967 Middle East war. He pointed to a note scribbled on the map, which he called President Trump's personal handiwork. 'Here is the signature of Trump, and he writes 'nice.' I say, 'very nice!'' The note on the map read: 'To Prime Minister Netanyahu – the new official US map of Israel.'
Netanyahu has a penchant for television stunts. Last year, he hauled part of a downed Iranian drone to a European security conference to warn of accelerating Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
In 2012, he brought a cartoonish diagram of an Iranian bomb to the U.N. General Assembly to drum up global concern about Iran's nuclear program.
During his race for re-election this year, Netanyahu consistently leveraged his close friendship with Trump to win votes, touting various political gifts from the White House as evidence of his foreign policy prowess. His crowning achievement came on the campaign trail when the Trump administration recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan, which upended decades of U.S. policy.
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