Saddam's Death, 44
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 43: august-sept 2014
and Page 45: september-oct 2014
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)

"Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation...
Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken....
It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)

Jabotinsky & Zionist morality

Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.
There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)


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)


"We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community." Haile Selassie

“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.., until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation..., until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.., until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race...., until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained..." Haile Selassie 6-10-1963


Ahmed Maher: Rules Of Law Are Universal

If we are going to fight terrorism, we have to fight it in all of its forms, whoever the perpetrators are, and in a way compatible with international law. These are the lessons that have to be learned, the most important of which is that double-standards don't work. They're in the interest of no one.
If you have a rule of law you apply it to everybody, then you have a safer world. If you have a rule of law that you apply according to your whims, or according to whether A or B is your friend, or you dislike C, or you don't sympathise with E, then you will create chaos. We have learned that rules of law are universal. (Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, Al-Ahram Weekly, sept. 2002)

Vladmir Putin: The 21st century world is globalized and interdependent. Therefore, no state or group of countries can unilaterally tackle major international problems and any attempts to build a separate “oasis of stability and security” are doomed to failure.
In order to meet numerous challenges and threats we have to stop trying to impose development models on other countries. This approach has repeatedly proven its ineffectiveness. It does not just fail to facilitate conflict resolution, but leads to instability and chaos in international affairs. Today, it is especially important to consolidate the international community’s efforts to ensure equal and indivisible security, as well as to resolve disputes trough the application of international law and with the central coordinating role of the UN. (Itar-TASS, 13-7-2014)


Edward Said: "No common purpose"

Underlying most of the findings in the much cited 2002 UNDP Arab Human Development Report is the extraordinary lack of coordination between Arab countries....
It's always the same thing, factionalism, disunity, the absence of a common purpose for which in the end ordinary people pay the price in suffering, blood and endless destruction. Even on the level of social structure, it is almost a commonplace that Arabs as a group fight among themselves more than they do for a common purpose.
We are individualists, it is said by way of justification, ignoring the fact that such disunity and internal disorganisation in the end damages our very existence as a people. (Al-Ahram Weekly 2002)

Saddam Hussein: "Life requires dealing with progressive ideas and methods"

Those who are incapable of innovation are the people who imitate and copy others, and in our society there are two types of imitators: One type that imitates the old and they are the reactionaries and right-wingers, and another type that copies from the new, and borrow the experiences and solutions of other nations...
But we have the capacity to innovate and to produce creative and advanced solutions, and life requires dealing with progressive ideas and methods.
The problems of our modern society, that we have to deal with, are profoundly different from the problems that were faced during the early Islamic era… (speech by Saddam Hussein, 8/11/1977)

Israel’s ‘land for lives’ is theft. Pure and simple
Robert Fisk, The Independent Sept 2, 2014

A thousand acres of Palestinian land stolen by the Israeli government – and the world has made the usual excuses.
The Americans found it “counter-productive” to peace, which is probably a bit less forceful than its reaction would be if Mexico were to bite off a 1,000-acre chunk of Texas and decided to build homes there for its illegal immigrants in the US.
But this is “Palestine” (inverted commas more necessary than ever) and Israel has been getting away with theft, albeit not on quite this scale – it is the biggest land heist in 30 years – ever since it signed up to the Oslo agreement in 1993.

Revenge

This latest land-grab not only reduces “Palestine” but continues the circle of concrete around Jerusalem to cut Palestinians off from both the capital they are supposed to share with Israelis and from Bethlehem.
It was instructive to learn the Israeli-Jewish Etzion council regarded this larceny as punishment for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.
The goal of the murders of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right [sic] to the land,” the Etzion council announced.
“Our response is to strengthen settlement.” This must be the first time that land in “Palestine” has been acquired not through excuses about security or land deeds – or on God’s personal authority – but out of revenge.

We’re back to the same old game. Abbas cannot negotiate with anyone unless he speaks for Hamas as well as the Palestinian Authority. As Israel knows. As America knows. As the EU knows.
But each time Abbas tries to put together a unity government, we all screech that Hamas is a “terrorist” organisation. And Israel says it cannot talk to a “terrorist” organisation which demands the destruction of Israel...

Flashback: Israel's Annexation Policy
Settlements (Zionist colonisation) & Extremist Religious Jews
Pulse Media, 26-1-2010

Over the last forty-three years, Israel has created so-called ‘facts on the ground’ in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), in defiance of international law. Since the Madrid/Oslo peace process, successive Israeli governments have continued to colonise Palestinian land at the same time as conducting negotiations.
The extent and scale of Israel’s illegal settlement project across the West Bank, as well as the road network, the Separation Wall, and other ways in which Israel maintains its rule over the OPT, has led some to believe that the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state is impossible.

Perhaps one of the clearest indicators that there is no Palestinian state-in-waiting under Israel’s regime of control is East Jerusalem. Israel has three, inter-related strategic goals for East Jerusalem:
1.To make the claim that Jerusalem is the ‘eternal, undivided Jewish capital’ a physical reality - 2.Increase the Jewish presence/decrease the Palestinian presence (‘the demographic battle’) - 3.Cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank.

Since 1967, Israel has created a number of settlements in the unilaterally expanded city boundaries... The purpose of the settlements, both those close to the Old City, as well as the ‘outer ring’ (or Jerusalem ‘envelope’) has been to make the annexation of East Jerusalem a fait accompli.
As ex-deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Meron Benvenisti commented, the aim of the expropriation of land around Jerusalem just three years into the post-’67 occupation was “to encircle the city with huge dormitory suburbs ‘that would obviate any possibility of the redivision of Jerusalem’”.

Another strategy that has recently come under the spotlight is the targeting of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem by extremist religious settler movements.
In Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians are being evicted from their homes in order for religious Jews to move in, a phenomenon described by ex-Tourism Minister – and supporter of the settlers – Benny Elon as “a microcosm of the entire story of Jerusalem”.
Uri Bank, a political activist for the extreme-right Moledet party, described the process and objective in comments made in 2003: “We break up Arab continuity and their claim to East Jerusalem by putting in isolated islands of Jewish presence in areas of Arab population… Our eventual goal is Jewish continuity in all of Jerusalem.”

No citizenship

The Palestinians of East Jerusalem have ‘permanent residency’ status from the Israeli authorities. They are not citizens. In fact, as Attorney Yotam Ben-Hillel put it, Palestinians of East Jerusalem “are treated as if they were immigrants to Israel, despite the fact that it is Israel that came to them in 1967”.
The next time someone tells you that Israel is the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’, ask them why there are over 100,000 children in Jerusalem who were born without citizenship.
A Palestinian ‘resident’ does not need a permit to live and work in Israel, and is also entitled to health insurance and other social rights. However, ‘residents’ do not have the right to vote in national elections, can not automatically pass this status on to their children, and, are liable to having their ‘permanent residency’ revoked – which can happen without appeal or even notification.


"Little time left to make peace with the Arab national movement"
by Uri Avnery, CounterPunch, 6-9-2014

For six decades my friends and I have warned our people: if we don’t make peace with the nationalist Arab forces, we shall be faced with Islamic Arab forces. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will turn into a Jewish-Muslim conflict. The national war will become a religious war.

National conflicts are basically rational. They concern territory. They can usually be solved by compromise. Religious conflicts are irrational. Each side believes in an absolute truth, and automatically considers everybody else as infidels, enemies of the only true God. There can be no compromise between True Believers, who believe that they are fighting for God and get their orders straight from Heaven.

The Zionist movement was created by secularized Jews... Before the creation of the State of Israel, the Zionist enterprise was remarkably free of religious dogmas. Even today, extreme Zionists talk about the “Nation State of the Jewish People”, not of the “Religious State of the Jewish Faith”.
The Arab national movement was always decidedly secular. Some of its most outstanding leaders were Christians. The pan-Arab Baath (“Resurrection”) party, which came to dominate both Syria and Iraq, was founded by Christians.
The great hero of the Arab masses at that time, Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, though formally Muslim, was quite un-religious. Under the leadership of Yasser Arafat the PLO remained a secular body with many Christian ingredients.

So what has happened? How did nationalist movements turn into violent, fanatical religious ones?
In the US, evangelical Christians now play a large role in politics, in close cooperation with the Jewish right-wing establishment. All over the Muslim world, fundamentalist movements are gaining strength. And in Israel, a messianic Jewish fundamentalism is now playing a larger and larger role.
On the eve of the recent war, the commander of the Giv’ati brigade published an order-of-the-day to his officers. It shocked many.
[He] called for a holy fight to fulfill God’s will. Colonel Ofer Winter, who in his youth attended a religious-military school, had this to say to his soldiers on the eve of battle:
“History has chosen us as the spearhead of the fight against the Gazan terrorist enemy, who abuses and curses the God of Israel’s battles…I raise my eyes to heaven and call with you: ‘Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One’. Oh Lord, the God of Israel, make us succeed on our way, as we are going to fight for Israel against an enemy who curses your name!
If this officer were the only religious fanatic in the army, it would be bad enough. But the army is now full of kippah-wearing officers... The Zionist-religious party and its fanatical rabbis, many of them outspoken fascists, have been working for years to systematically infiltrate the army’s officer corps.

All this leads me to ISIS. With horrible savagery, elevated to a religious symbol, it sets out on its way to conquer the Muslim world.
Does it threaten Israel? Of course it does. If its dynamism holds, it will overthrow the Assad regime and reach the Israeli border, where other Islamic rebels have already shot the first few rounds this week.
With such a menace looming in the north, it seems ridiculous to fight against a miniscule Islamic-patriotic force in Gaza.
There may be very little time left to make peace with the Arab national movement, and especially with the Palestinian people – including both the PLO and Hamas...

Positive and Negative Political Islam
FARS News Iran, 8-9-2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- Having created the “Made-in-the-West” monster of ISIS with substantial input from Persian Gulf Cooperation Council petrodollar cash, Washington says a “core coalition” is now clamoring for war to kill their prodigal offspring. Finding a "renewed purpose and a unifying threat,” the coalition will comprise of the usual suspects: Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Denmark and the United States.



aleppo 2010 - 2012 - 2013

Hillary Clinton, Qatar 14-2-2010: "President Obama and I believe that education and innovation are the currency of this century. That's why he announced a new era of engagement with Muslim communities to expand educational opportunities, support entrepreneurs, and promote advances in science and technology. Our goal is to identify excellent ideas and successful projects in Muslim communities and then invest in them, help to scale them up, and to connect innovators and entrepreneurs, so that they can support and enhance each other's work." (CFR website)

US military planners seek to also cobble together a collection of regional states to join the war – almost the same bunch that trained and weaponized “moderate” ISIS monsters, imaginary “Syrian democrats”, and other “good terrorists” to pioneer peaceful democratic dispensations in now ruined Syria.
Ironically, this is also the same “Men in Black” cabal that the coalition sent to Libya in the expectation of installing a democratic regime there. Instead, the coalition, in "Responsibility to Protect" mode, reduced once-stable Libya to a miserable failed state immersed in total anarchy and ravaged by rabid militias in their “Made-in-USA” desert boots, and called it “peace”!

But it’s not all doom and gloom yet: Despite all the vehement talk in Washington, it’s never too late to stop and kill “Caliph Ibrahim”, his mean PR imagery and "off with their heads” special.
The only meaningful resolution to the geo-political turmoil the US is causing is reconciliation with the Muslim world as well as dissociation with terrorist outfits and sectarian demons. Likewise, it must cease seeking to destroy governments, convulse cultures and manipulate Muslim nations through military means and sectarian strife.
Here is the fallacy though: The rise of ISIS, which has nothing to do with Islam, is being “explained” in the West as a natural outcome of Islamic fundamentalism when it could be better described as an intended collusion and predictable consequence of US foreign policy in the Middle East. If not, the “core coalition” can be rest-assured that ISIS cannot be “managed” in its current state, flush with weapons, cash and eager recruits....

Definition of political Islam:
Compassion to fight oppression and aggression

The political Islam that the spawn of Washington tries so hard to misrepresent will not go away with relentless bombing campaigns. It is a sense of drift and strategic confusion to assume that political Islam (compassion to fight oppression and aggression) can be bombed away – just like the sectarian/extremist views of ISIS.
If Americans can clear their heads of American innocence, they might realize that in dealing with ISIS they only need to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative...
The fatal flaw in American foreign policy is that political Islam hasn’t been allowed constructive expression and dialogue in the region yet. Such disregard of inconvenient facts is one more powerful reason why the “Men in black” cabal have been able to seize it as a misinterpreted “Jihadist” recruitment tool par excellence to make it heard and felt in their own insane, obscene and “special” ways.


Compassion is not religious business

"Let us never cease to feel compassion for those in want. Let us never tire of helping victims of injustice and oppression. He who puts his faith in the restoration of human dignity cannot be wrong." Poul Hartling, Danish Diplomat & Politician

"If compassion was the motivating factor behind all of our decisions, would our world not be a completely different place?" Sheryl Crow, American Singer/Songwriter

"Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” The Dalai Lama

“I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, human liberty as the source of national action, the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas” John F. Kennedy

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Martin Luther King Jr

"The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another." Thomas Merton

"...Why is compassion not part of our established curriculum, an inherent part of our education? Compassion, awe, wonder, curiosity, exaltation, humility - these are the very foundation of any real civilisation, no longer the prerogatives, the preserves of any one church, but belonging to everyone, every child in every school." Yehudi Menuhin

"Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace." Albert Schweitzer


Two rival governments:
Libya FM calls for “consensus”
Asharq Al-Awsat, 9-9-2014

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz called on the Arab League to back Egypt’s initiative to stabilize Libya and disarm its Islamist militias.
Arab League foreign ministers are set to meet in Cairo on Sunday to discuss a number of contention issues, including the situation unfolding in Libya.
The Tripoli-based Islamist-dominated former parliament swore in a new government on Saturday as the new parliament, based out of Tobruk, is set to swear in a new government on Sunday.
“We hope that the Arab League will primarily focus on helping Libya in terms of preparing a genuine plan that reflects Arab consensus on how to support Libya, in addition to setting up a mechanism for the implementation of the plan,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Cairo has been seeking to drum up regional and international support to ensure the success of its Libya initiative, including receiving officials from Tobruk.
Libya is in the midst of a political and security crisis as two rival governments — one based in the west in Tripoli, and one based in Tobruk in the east — vye for control of the country.
The Arab League has primarily been dealing with the new Tobruk-based parliament, rejecting the legitimacy of the Islamist-dominated assembly in Tripoli.

When asked about the NATO’s willingness to intervene in Libya, Abdelaziz said that the Libyan people, government and parliament oppose any military intervention in the country.
He said: “We are calling for more effective involvement on the part of the international community, including expanding the UN mission to provide stability and institute-building,” he added.
As for the possibility of holding a dialogue between the rival armed militias, the Tobruk government’s top diplomat called on the Arab League to support national dialogue talks to help reach a political consensus in the country which would include dialogue between rival armed groups.

Mu'ummar Qaddafi, 2011

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can’t remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Ronald Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.
I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people’s committees ran our country. But that was never enough...
They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.
No matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we’ve had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination... (Pravda, 2011/05/04)


New Iraqi Government: Less than Meets the Eye?
By Juan Cole | Sep. 9, 2014

The Iraqi parliament finally voted in the government of new Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi on Monday, in what US Secretary of State John Kerry called a “turning point.”
There are reasons, however, to be cautious about pinning too many hopes on the new government. Although al-Abadi is a more congenial and less paranoid figure than his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, he derives from the same fundamentalist Shiite political party, the “Islamic Call” or “Islamic Mission” (al-Da`wa al-Islamiya), founded around 1958 with the aim of creating a Shiite state.

The cabinet lacks a Minister of the Interior (akin to the US FBI or Homeland Security director) and a Defense Minister, because the parties could not agree on the names that had been put forward.
Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the Iran-backed Badr Corps militia, had been bruited as an Interior Minister, but apparently calmer heads prevailed (or perhaps there was severe American pressure). The Badr Corps in the past has been accused of involvement in torture, and it is despised by many of the Sunni Arabs.
Given the revolt of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs this summer, that anyone even considered al-Ameri for such a sensitive position is astonishing. During the first Ibrahim Jaafari government, the Badr Corps was accused of abuse and the extra-judicial jailings of Sunni Arab rebels.
If the Iraqi elite were smart they’d put a Sunni Arab in as head of the Department of Defense.

Hadi Al-Amiri fought on the side of the Iranians, as part of the Badr Brigade, during the Iran-Iraq War. As leader of the Badr Organization (founded on orders of Khomeiny), Hadi Al-Amiri had a very close ties to the Iranian leadership, and in particular the Islamic Revolutionary Guards which was responsible for training the Badr Brigade during Saddam Hussein's rule. Hadi Al-Amiri was also one of the first Shi'a politicians to call for regional federation in the south of Iraq. (Wikipedia info)
Today the Badr Organizations stands alone as an independent political organization. It used to be part of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), but starting in 2009 the two began to part ways. In March 2012, the two officially announced that they were going their own separate ways. Badr now calls itself a political party, and ran as part of Maliki’s State of Law in the 2013 provincial elections. (Musings on Iraq, July 10, 2013)


US Congress goes after 'frenemies' Turkey, Qatar
Julian Pecquet, Al-Monitor, September 9, 2014


'Moderate' Free Syrian Army Salafi-cleric Al-Arour 2011

During a hearing on "Hamas' benefactors," members of both parties agreed with witnesses who described the two countries as US "frenemies" and endorsed calls for a much tougher line.
"We must make our message clear: If you help finance Hamas, there will be significant consequences and they will be unpleasant," said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs panel on terrorism. "I hope Qatar and Turkey are listening."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said she agreed with the "frenemies" characterization. "It's a descriptive grabber," the chairwoman of the Middle East and North Africa subcommittee told Al-Monitor. "I worry that it makes light of it, but that's not the intent. It's capturing the complex relationship we have with our so-called allies."

The two countries are accused of taking over as the main foreign patrons for Hamas after Iran and the Sunni organization had a falling out three years ago over its support for rebel fighters seeking to dislodge Tehran ally Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Qatar hosts Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and has pledged $400 million in infrastructure funding for Hamas; Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, allegedly pledged $300 million to the Hamas government in Gaza when he was prime minister and is close to the organization ideologically.


Hillary Clinton, Morsi, Hamas & Qatar 2011-2012

Jonathan Schanzer, of the hawkish and influential Foundation for Defense of Democracies, urged Congress to put a hold on a pending $11 billion arms deal with Qatar as well as arms sales to Turkey.
And he said Congress could start exploring alternatives to the US air base at al-Udeid in Qatar; he told Al-Monitor that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Iraqi Kurdistan have all quietly made it known that they may be interested in hosting US military forces.
Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations said Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has close ideological ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian offshoot, Hamas. He argued that Qatar, by contrast, supports similar groups as a way to establish its independence from the much larger Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

Hamas & The Palestinian State

In an April 2008 meeting between Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an understanding was reached in which Hamas agreed it would respect the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, provided this were ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum.
In November 2008, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh re-stated that Hamas was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and offered Israel a long-term truce "if Israel recognized the Palestinians' national rights".
In 2009, in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Haniyeh repeated his group's support for a two-state settlement based on 1967 borders...
On December 1, 2010, Ismail Haniyeh again repeated, "We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees," and "Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles." (Wikipedia info)


Syria rebels name new chiefs after deadly blast
Middle East Online , 10-9-2014

BEIRUT - Syria's Islamist Ahrar al-Sham rebel brigade named new chiefs on Wednesday after a devastating blast killed nearly 50 members of its leadership in a northwestern province largely under rebel control.
The blast in Idlib province on Tuesday evening killed the key rebel group's leader Hassan Abboud, known by the name Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi, along with 46 other top members. The attack targeted a meeting of around 50 military and religious leaders in the basement of a house at Ram Hamdan, northeast of Idlib city.

On Wednesday morning, in a video posted on YouTube, Ahrar al-Sham announced that Hashem al-Sheikh, known as Abu Jaber, would replace Abboud as head of the group, with Abu Saleh Tahhan as military commander.
"A group of the best chiefs of Ahrar al-Sham have been martyred. But Ahrar al-Sham is more determined than ever to continue on the path to liberating our country from dictators," the video statement said.
Ahrar al-Sham is a key component in the Islamic Front rebel coalition, which has been battling both President Bashar al-Assad's regime and jihadists of the Islamic State group.
All of Idlib province is under rebel control apart from Idlib city. IS fighters were pushed out of the province earlier this year.

Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham Al Islami ("Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant") is a coalition of Islamist and Salafist units which formed into a brigade during the Syrian Civil War in order to fight against the Ba'athist government lead by Bashar al-Assad.
Ahrar ash-Sham was led by Hassan Aboud. As of July 2013, it has 10,000 to 20,000 fighters, making it the most powerful unit fighting against al-Assad. It is a major component of the Islamic Front. (Wikipedia)

Kerry says U.S. meeting with Syria Islamic Front ‘possible’
Al-Arabiya|AFP, Tuesday 17 December 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday “it is possible” the United States would meet with a newly formed Syrian rebel alliance that wants to replace the regime with an Islamic state. “It’s possible that it could take place,” he said, after reports that U.S. officials were preparing to meet this week in Turkey with the Islamic Front.
Six opposition groups came together last month to form the Islamic Front, which now represents Syria’s largest armed opposition grouping some tens of thousands of fighters opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.
The Islamic Front is not part of the two main groups identified by the U.S. as extremist militias, the al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

'Moderate' Islamic Front refused to talk
January 5, 2014 by Daniel Greenfield

The Islamic Front has refused to sit with us without giving any reason,” Robert Ford said, just one day after U.S. State Secretary John Kerry spoke of a “possible” meeting with Syria’s biggest opposition alliance. The Senate’s favorite lobbyist for the Jihadists explained why:
The Islamic Front did not meet with the United States because of certain preconditions the U.S. had insisted on.” These preconditions mainly involved not working with Al Qaeda.


Obama's plan to destroy Islamic State extremists:
Arming Syrian opposition forces
Saudi Gazette, 11-9-2014

President Barack Obama went before the American people Wednesday to lay out his plan to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State militants who have seized control of a huge stretch of Syria and Iraq. A look at his plan, the extremists and the campaign to defeat them.

THE STRATEGY: Obama wants to step up both military and diplomatic efforts to counter the extremists in Iraq and Syria. That means arming Syrian opposition forces and extending US airstrikes into Syria. (The US already is bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq.)
The president also said he would send another 475 US troops into Iraq to advise that country's forces, but insists they are not combat troops. And he's pressing for an expanded global coalition of at least 40 nations united against the militants, with Canada, Australia, numerous European countries, Sunni Arab allies and NATO member Turkey playing leading roles. Arab countries are meeting in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to discuss a parallel coalition.

THE THREAT: The Obama administration doesn't think the militants pose any immediate threat of an attack in the US. But it believes the group is a threat to the Middle East and could attack US targets overseas.

Syria Opposition Backs U.S. Anti-IS Plan,
Urges Action on Assad
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 11-9-2014

Syria's opposition National Coalition welcomed a U.S. plan to tackle the jihadist Islamic State group on Wednesday, but also urged action against President Bashar Assad's regime.
In a statement, the group said it backed a U.S. plan for air strikes in Syria and training of rebel forces, but that a "stable and extremist-free region" required "degrading and ultimately removing the Assad repressive regime."

The moderate rebel Free Syrian Army "can succeed, but it needs the necessary support that would enable it to form a reliable and well-equipped force," the statement added. It warned however that it was key to "realize that the Assad regime represents the root cause of the violence, brutality and sense of impunity prevailing in Syria."
Combating the Islamic State "alone cannot bring about a stable and extremist-free region," the group said. "It takes degrading and ultimately removing the Assad repressive regime seeking the perpetual destabilization of the entire region for the sole purpose of staying in power."

US lawmakers oppose Obama plan to arm Syria militants
Press TV, Thu Sep 11, 2014

Some US lawmakers have questioned President Barack Obama’s plan to arm and train foreign-backed militants in Syria in order to help them fight against ISIL Takfiri group. The Obama administration is seeking the congressional approval for $500 million to train and arm the militants that are fighting against the Syrian government forces.

A number of representatives say they have reservations that the approval could be considered as a vote which legitimizes a war.
"This could be taken by some as a war vote," said Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. The lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties also say they fear the weapons could fall into the hands of US enemies.
Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who is a vocal critic of US military involvement across the globe, said the US president should “follow” country’s constitution" and seek congressional authorization for his campaign.
Paul's senior aide, Doug Stafford said the GOP Senator is opposed to arming and training opposition militants in Syria. "

Senator Rand Paul believes arming the same side as ISIS was and is a strategic error," Stafford, told The Huffington Post.
We went into Libya and we got rid of that terrible Gadhafi. Now it is a jihadist wonderland over there,” Sen. Paul said. “There's jihadists everywhere.” “If we were to get rid of Assad, it would be a jihadist wonderland in Syria..." (Rand Paul, 23-6-2014)

"America degraded Assad’s capacity to wipe out the rebel group"
Breitbart, 27-8-2014

While Muammar Gaddafi, or Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein—deposed during the George W. Bush administration—were certainly bad actors, Paul wants to know: who takes their place?
Sometimes people are trying to say I don’t have enough concern for this. Well, actually, I have a great deal of concern—and not thinking through the consequences of intervention has caused Islamism and radical jihadist groups to proliferate. So I think Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein were both secular dictators..., but at the same time were also enemies of the jihadists. Assad is the same way. What we’ve done in Libya, and now what we’re doing in Syria, is we have armed groups that are commingled with jihadists.
For instance, in Syria, Paul says, by arming the “rebels” against Assad, America “degraded Assad’s capacity to wipe out the rebel groups in his country.”


Obama’s Long War in the Middle East
William Greider, The Nation, September 10, 2014

Do not be misled by White House double-talk: the United States is embarking on another Long War in the Middle East. This one will belong to Barack Obama, and it may extend beyond his presidency. Secretary of State John Kerry said as much. “It may take a year. It may take two years. It may take three years. But we’re determined it has to happen,” Kerry vowed.

Actually, it may take ten years, or longer. Americans have heard this bold, brave talk before. It has led to costly failure for our country and horrendous losses for humanity.
The United States went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and finally intends to withdraw in 2016—making it the longest war in US history. The Taliban, though, are almost as strong as ever, merely waiting for US troops to leave. Washington launched its unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq in 2003, conquered the country and installed a new government, but troops were not withdrawn until the end of 2011. Now Iraq’s civil war has reignited, only on a much broader front that includes the devastating civil war next door in Syria. Fight we must, Obama says. It’s as if we’ve learned nothing from our post-9/11 failures...

As Stephen F. Cohen has observed about the Ukraine–Russia crisis, the US media are simply not telling the truth about the failure of our post–Cold War policy. They demonize the opponent and never acknowledge the rational alternatives that exist.
But how would we know this, if no one in authority will discuss it? America needs an antiwar movement of truth tellers to confront and shame the propagandists.

Demonization is an argumentative strategy, whereby one group consistently describes a rival group as beings of pure evil. Such a strategy is very good for whipping up lynch mobs, quelling internal strife 'in the face of the common threat,' and stifling the usual twinges of conscience most people experience when mistreating others. This sometimes requires the use of otherism beforehand, to make people view the targeted group as an "other."


Netanyahu: Fight ISIS
so we can defeat Hamas, Herzbollah and Iran..
By Arutz Sheva, 9/11/2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's 14th International Conference on Counter-Terrorism.

Netanyahu's father, Ben-Zion (1910-2012) was famous for a towering intellect and renowned for bitter clashes with Israel's more liberal intellectual elite. Father and son shared a great deal: tenacity, perseverance and above all a view of themselves as outsiders.
The father instilled in all his sons a fierce, right-wing school of thinking in Israel known as "the Revisionists." They believe in rule by force and raw self-interest as the only hope for Israel's survival.
They see the historic enmity between Arabs and Jews as something that will never be overcome and propose that there should be an "iron wall" -- to use the Zionist pioneer Ze'ev Jabotinsky's words -- between the two. Anything that compromises these beliefs, they hold to be dangerously naive.
Hamas, like al-Qaeda and its affiliates al-Nusra or its new growth ISIS or Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Hezbollah supported by Iran – all are branches of the same poisonous tree. All present a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the world and to our common civilization. “I believe that the battle against these groups is indivisible and it's important not to let any of these groups succeed anywhere because if they gain ground somewhere, they gain ground everywhere. And their setbacks are also felt everywhere. If they gain ground, if they were to succeed, they would return humanity to a primitive early medievalism.
I say early medievalism because my father, my late father was a great historian of the Middle Ages and I'd be giving them too much compliment – early medievalism, primitive early medievalism where women are treated as chattel, as property and gays are stoned and minorities persecuted if they're left alive at all.
“And these groups must be fought, they must be rolled back and they must ultimately be defeated. That's why Israel fully supports President Obama's call for united actions against ISIS.

Many Sunni Arab states recognize that the threat of Iran's aggression and its radical Shiite proxies pose a fundamental danger to them, as does fundamentalist Sunni terrorism. And as a result of this, these twin threats of radical Shi'ism using terrorist tactics, radical Sunnism using terrorist tactics – as a result of this, they're reevaluating their relationship with Israel and they understand that Israel is not their enemy but their ally in the fight against this common enemy. And I believe this presents an opportunity for cooperation and perhaps an opportunity for peace.
"I think it's crucial not to let the fight against Sunni extremism make us forget the danger of Shiite extremism... My policy is: Weaken both. And most importantly, don't allow any of them to get weapons of mass destruction. ..

If Iran has nuclear weapons, you will see a tremendous pivot in the world. No, not in the Middle East – in the world. You will see things you never imagined could be possible, horrors that you couldn't even contemplate, come to fruition. The ultimate terror: A terrorist regime with the weapons of the greatest terror of them all. We must not let that happen.

“They all agree that they have to establish a caliphate. They all disagree who should be the caliph. That's the nature of their disagreements. And they all use essentially the same tactic and that's unbridled violence, fear – fear – terror. And the terror is first of all imposed on their own peoples. That's the number one target before anyone else. If your people want to rise up against you as they did in Iran five years ago, you kill them.

“Anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people are annually executed, executed in Iran..., people who have the temerity to have a different view, question the regime. And they're hung in public squares and sometimes they're hung from cranes. They don't have enough scaffolds. And you see the same thing, the same thing from ISIS, same technique.
"And we've just seen the same in Gaza. During the fighting, there was a lull. Gazans went out to look at their surroundings, started protesting at what Hamas did to them and Hamas had a very simple thing in response – they shot them.

We have to make sure that we have the capability to attack them and to defend against their attacks. And that requires weapons, defensive and offensive, but above all it requires, I believe, clarity and courage – clarity to understand they're wrong, we're right; they're evil, we're good. No moral relativism there at all...

Albert Schweitzer: "We Are All Guilty Of Inhumanity"

Albert Schweitzer What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shake us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.
This hope and this will can have but one aim: to attain, through a change in spirit, that superior reason which will dissuade us from misusing the power at our disposal.
In his essay on "Perpetual Peace", which appeared in 1795, and in other publications in which he touches upon the problem of peace, Kant states his belief that peace will come only with the increasing authority of an international code of law, in accordance with which an international court of arbitration would settle disputes between nations.
This authority, he maintains, should be based entirely on the increasing respect which in time, and for purely practical motives, men will hold for the law as such.

Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Lecture, 4-11-1954)

Lavrov: For our western partners “the law is an axle,
it turns the way you please if you give it plenty of grease”
ITAR-TASS news agency, 11-9-2014

You always expect your partners to be consistent in their actions, to observe common standards. After all, the United States and the European Union have been demanding all the way that all countries should stick to the principles of democracy and the rule of law in their home affairs. But as soon as we get to the international level, none of them ever mentions these basic values any more.
That’s natural, of course. A democratic world order does not fit in with the policies the Western world is pursuing these days in its bid to retain its centuries-old foothold. Both the Americans and the Europeans prefer to keep quiet about the supremacy of law in international affairs, or at best they pay lip service to it.

Mind you, any attempts to apply this rule in practice, for instance, in Libya, where the UN Security Council’s resolution was turned inside out, or in Iraq, which fell victim to an act of outright aggression without any UN SC resolution being taken, are harshly suppressed. For our western partners “the law is an axle – it turns the way you please if you give it plenty of grease,” as a Russian saying goes.
International law requires both development and interpretation. Someone said with a good reason there are as many opinions as there are lawyers. But certain things are indisputable.
Either you refrain from supplying weapons to Libya and thereby honor the UN Security Council resolution, or you sell them… It was both NATO countries and some countries of the region that have abused the embargo.
The United States is positioning itself as the citadel of freedom, but quite often it is very far from truth, to put it mildly... In other words, the international system is in commotion, its basics are being shaken loose and rather strongly…

Russia has been consistently pressing for the consolidation of international law. We have never deviated from this policy just an inch. We have urged compliance with the achieved agreements and creation of new instruments facilitating proper response to the modern challenges...

The world is changing, the share of the United States and Europe in the global GDP is shrinking, there have emerged new centers of economic growth and financial power, whose political influence has been soaring accordingly...
A really tough struggle is underway for keeping unchanged the state of affairs in which the Western civilization determines the shape of the world order. This is a faulty policy with no chances to succeed.
Objective processes are developing in opposite direction. The world is getting really polycentric. China, India, Brazil, the ASEAN countries, Latin America and, lastly, Africa – a continent with the richest natural resources – all begin to realize their real significance for world politics.
This trend cannot be stopped. True, it can be resisted, and such attempts are being made, but it is really hard to go against the stream.


President al-Assad: fighting terrorism - national reconciliations
Syria Times, 11 September 2014

DAMASCUS, President Bashar Al-Assad reiterated Syria's continued work with UN Envoy Staffan De Mistura, providing every support and cooperation as to make a success of his mission in the interest of the Syrians: a solution that would rid them from terrorism and eliminate all of its affiliated organizations with their different names.
The fight against terrorism is but the priority, declared H.E. President Al-Assad, asserting that terrorism has become the biggest danger threatening all.
Progress in fighting terrorism would contribute to national reconciliations, which so far were a success in Syrian regions as a launching pad for an all-out Syrian-Syrian dialogue, President Al-Assad pointed out.

The meeting was held in a positive climate, especially regarding the implementation of UNSC resolution 2170, where viewpoints were in agreement on the importance of this anti-terrorism resolution and the necessity to correctly implement it.
UN Envoy Staffan De Mistura asserted that he would spare no effort as to work with all sides inside as wel as outside Syria for the finding of a peaceful solution for the crisis in Syria, through a political process, in parallel with the combating of terrorism and pursuance of national reconciliations.


Netanyahu's 'travesty of the truth'
Zionism is 'good', anti-Zionism is 'evil'
Jonathan Cook, CounterPunch, 12-9-2014

Netanyahu’s depiction of Hamas and ISIS, or Islamic State, as “branches of the same poisonous tree” is a travesty of the truth.
The two have entirely different – in fact, opposed – political projects. ISIS wants to return to a supposed era of pure Islamic rule, the caliphate, when all Muslims were subject to God’s laws (sharia). Given that Muslims are now to be found in every corner of the globe, the implication is that ISIS ultimately seeks world domination.
Hamas’s goals are decidedly more modest. It was born and continues as a national liberation movement, seeking to create a Palestinian state.
Its members may disagree on that state’s territorial limits but even the most ambitious expect no more than the historic borders of a Palestine that existed a few decades ago.
Hamas – split between political and militant factions – has shown itself both pragmatic and accountable to the Palestinian public. It won the last national election, in 2006, and after its recent fight against Israel in Gaza is by far the most popular Palestinian movement.
Despite being in control of Gaza for eight years, it has not implemented sharia law nor targeted the enclave’s Christians. Instead it has recently formed a unity government with its secular political rivals in Fatah, and has been more than willing to negotiate with Israel.
Netanyahu’s fundamentalist right wing are the ones refusing to negotiate, with either Hamas or Abbas.

Netanyahu’s efforts are designed to discredit
all Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation

In casting a popular resistance movement like Hamas as ISIS, Netanyahu has tarred all Palestinians as bloodthirsty Islamic extremists. And here we reach Israel’s real goal in equating the two groups.
Netanyahu’s comparison has a recent parallel. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks on the US, Ariel Sharon made a similar equivalence between al-Qaeda and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat... Sharon revelled in calling Arafat the head of an “infrastructure of terror”, justifying Israel’s crushing the uprising of the second intifada.
Similarly, Netanyahu’s efforts are designed to discredit all Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation. He hopes to be the silent partner to Barack Obama’s new coalition against ISIS.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest book is 'Israel and the Clash of Civilisations'. His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.


Flashback 2002

Sharon to Knesset panel: Iraq is our greatest threat
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that Iraq "is the greatest danger facing Israel."
Asked by Labor Party MK Ophir Pines-Paz and Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen if Israel plans to attack Iraq if Baghdad attacks Israel, Sharon said that "we don't know for certain if the U.S. will attack Iraq. Iraq is a great danger. It could be said it is the greatest danger. We aren't intervening in U.S. decisions." But he said that "strategic coordination between Israel and the U.S. has reached unprecedented dimensions." (Ha'aretz 13-8-2002)

Rumsfeld's Crazy Foreign Policy Team
To understand American policy, it is worth probing the character of the policy makers who design Rumsfeld's foreign policy. The three architects of American foreign policy are Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. They will go down in Palestinian history as the true 'axis of evil'. Wolfowitz and Perle are card carrying individuals with a resume that entitles them to the highest ranks of the fanatical expansionist wing of the Likud party.
Their current strategy is to divert attention from the Palestinian struggle for freedom by beating the war drums for an assault against Iraq. Their real agenda is to allow Sharon more time to 'win' against Palestinian resistance to Israeli repression. Like Sharon, they believe that there is a level of repression that can be continually and permanently inflicted on the Palestinian people to force them to capitulate to every Likudnik real estate fantasy. (By Ahmed Amr for Palestine Chronicle, 17-8-2002)

Teheran Times: War Criminal Warns Against Danger
In an interview with London's Times newspaper on Tuesday, the Zionist Prime Minister Ariel Sharon claimed that Iran was seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. He added that following the conclusion of the Iraq situation, pressure should be brought to bear on Iran.
Sharon's threat is among one of the oldest propaganda gimmicks of Tel Aviv. Whenever faced with internal crisis and political strife, the Zionist regime resorts to distraction tactics, in order to divert public attention from issues of immediate import. Sharon's remarks against Iran should be viewed in the same light. (Teheran Times, 6-11-2002)

Netanyahu: We support a preemptive strike I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a preemptive strike against Sadaam’s regime. We support this preemptive American action even though we stand on the frontlines, while others criticize it as they sit comfortably on the sidelines...
If a preemptive action will be supported by a broad coalition of free countries and the United Nations, all the better. But if such support is not forthcoming, then the United States must be prepared to act without it.
International support for actions that are vital to a nation’s security is desirable, but it must never constitute a precondition. If you can get it, fine. If not, act without it. (Benjamin Netanyahu, 12-9-2002)

Iran, Syria get grave warning
While American and British forces are battling for victory against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the next targets are already flickering across the diplomatic radar. Israeli strategists are hoping that one of the first will be Iran, and they are urging the United States to take measures to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions and its sponsorship of militants hostile to Israel...
Powell warned Iran to halt its quest for weapons of mass destruction and reaffirmed the Bush administration's determination to oust Saddam. His remarks drew strong applause from thousands of American Jews attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's policy conference.
Turning to Iran — which Bush has denounced as a member of an "axis of evil" — Powell said it must stop its support of terrorism against Israel. (Olivia Ward, Toronto Star 31-3-2003)


There is only one antidote against propaganda, and that is a relevant sense of history and a strong collective memory.
When we remember the lessons from the past, and when we remember what happened even a few days ago, then the job of the propagandists and their warmongering bosses, becomes much more difficult. Paul de Rooij, Palestine Chronicle 1-4-2003


Shaaban: Obama’s speech was full of holes and contained nothing new
Syrian Arab News Agency, 11/09/2014

Damascus, SANA – Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban said that the U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on his counterterrorism strategy was full of holes and contained nothing new.
In an interview given to the Syrian TV on Thursday, Shaaban said that the Security Council resolution no. 2170 was approved unanimously so all parts involved in it must be part of counterterrorism efforts, yet the U.S excluded Russia and China from its call for combating terrorism.
She said that the aforementioned resolution mentioned both the Islamic State or Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, while the U.S. only talks of ISIS and overlooks Jabhat al-Nusra, adding that any force, no matter how strong, cannot fight terrorism from overseas or with planes, because this force must get in touch with the victims of terrorism.

Shaabam pointed out that terrorism in Syria didn’t begin only now; it began four years ago, and its victim and the side affected by it must be a main component in combating it...
She stressed that terrorism in Syria was there before ISIS surfaced, and that the ones who the US and Saudi-Arabia want to train are no different from ISIS terrorists; therefore that decision is an attempt to support terrorism, not combat it.

On the meeting between President Bashar al-Assad and the UN Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, Shaaban said the meeting was positive and constructive... She noted that de Mistura is trying to see the crisis through the eyes of the Syrian government and understand its suggestions for resolving it...


The text of resolution 2170 (2014) reads as follows:

“The Security Council, “Reaffirming the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq and Syrian Arab Republic, and reaffirming further the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

“Reaffirming that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed,
“Expressing its gravest concern that territory in parts of Iraq and Syria is under the control of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Nusrah Front (ANF) and about the negative impact of their presence, violent extremist ideology and actions on stability in Iraq, Syria and the region, including the devastating humanitarian impact on the civilian populations which has led to the displacement of millions of people, and about their acts of violence that foment sectarian tensions,
“Stressing that terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, and international and regional organizations to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat...

Demands that ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida cease all violence and terrorist acts, and disarm and disband with immediate effect;
Calls upon all Member States to take national measures to suppress the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to, and bring to justice, in accordance with applicable international law, foreign terrorist fighters of, ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida...
Reaffirms its decision that States shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer to ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment...
Recalls its decision in resolution 2161 (2014) that all States shall ensure that no funds, financial assets or economic resources are made available, directly or indirectly for the benefit of ISIL, ANF or any other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida... (UN, 15-8-2014)


Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban played down what President Obama said in his speech when he stated that “we will hunt down terrorists” wherever they are...
“In an immediate response to all of that, I say ‘terrorists can’t be hunted down or eliminated only. There must be support for alternative ideologies to overcome the terrorist ideologies which Syria has been suffering from since the outset of the crisis almost four years ago,” she said.

Answering a question on the options which could rise from Obama’s suggestion of arming groups inside Syria other than the national army, Shaaban said “The west has supported those terrorist groups since the very beginning whether with funds, weapons or facilitating the flow of terrorists into the country.”
Shaaban didn’t consider setting up training camps for ISIS terrorists in Saudi Arabia as something to be wondered about, “since such camps have already existed in Turkey and were said to be in Jordan as well, and now they want them to be in Saudi Arabia,” noting that wherever those camps would be “the result is the same.”

Flashback 2012: Inside Free Syrian Army's Headquarters in Turkey
Lale Kemal, Al-Monitor August 22, 2012

Even though Turkey continues to deny reports that it has been setting up bases for the Syrian opposition — for example in Adana — it is no longer a secret that it is providing military support to the Syrian opposition.
One of the centers in Turkey used as a military base for the Syrian opposition is the Reyhanli “military” refugee camp, located in Hatay province. The camp is used by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as a training center. The FSA’s website states its headquarters is located in Reyhanli and provides a list of the top commanders within the organization.
The Syrian Higher Military Council in Reyhanli draws up war plans against Assad. The FSA applies these plans and issues instructions to junior officers. These fighters are then sent into Syria on a rotational basis. Those who fight in Syria come back to the camp and new ones are sent into Syria. The FSA is backed by Western countries as well as Gulf and Arab states.
It has been noted that Turkey is not involved in the military training provided to the FSA officers. The FSA is armed by the donations of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well some volunteers who provide them with weapons. Although Turkey tries to avoid the image of arming the opposition, it is already quite obvious that it is at the forefront of the campaign to overthrow the Syrian regime.

Le Figaro reports rebel soldiers trained by US, Jordan, Israel
crossed border to Syria on Aug 17, 2013
Jerusalem Post 23-8-2013

Guerrilla fighters trained by the West began moving towards Damascus in mid-August, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Thursday.
The rebels were trained for several months in a training camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border by CIA operatives, as well as Jordanian and Israeli commandos, the paper said.
The first group of 300 handpicked Free Syrian Army soldiers crossed the border on August 17 into the Deraa region, and a second group was deployed on August 19, the paper reported.
The paper quoted a researcher at the French Institute for Strategic Analysis as saying the trained rebels group was passing through Ghouta, on their way to Damascus. In June, the Los Angeles Times reported that CIA operatives and American special operations units have been training Free Syrian Army soldiers with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons since late 2012. The newspaper reported that the training took place at covert bases in Jordan and Turkey.

US Gen. John Allen named to lead coalition war on ISIS
DEBKAfile Analysis, September 13, 2014

Obama appointed Gen. John R. Allen, former commander in Afghanistan and western Iraq, to lead the coalition forces in the war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levan. It is hard to see what combat forces he will lead, in view of the mixed international responses so far to Washington’s appeals for a global coalition to combat terror.
Iraq has no army left to speak of after ISIS's rampage, and its small air force can hardly make a difference in the battle against the Islamists’ territorial sweep. Turkey has closed its territory and air bases to the transit of US and coalition forces for striking the Islamists in northern Iraq. Jordan has renounced any part in the military operations against the Islamic State - and so has Egypt.
Germany refuses to take part in combat action in Iraq or Syria. Britain refuses to join the US in air strikes over IS targets in Syria. French President Francois Hollande will host the founding of the coalition in Paris. He has crossed Washington by inviting Iran.

In the years 2006-2008, Gen. Allen commanded the US II Marine Expeditionary Force, which successfully fought Al Qaeda under Musab Zarqawi’s leadership in western Iraq’s Anbar province. He led what was then dubbed the “Awakening” project, which rallied the region’s Sunni tribes to the fight.
President Obama appears to be hinging his campaign against the new Islamist scourge on Gen. Allen repeating that success.

Debkafile’s military experts find the prospects of this happening in 2014 fairly slim, because the circumstances are so different:

- To support the Sunni Awakening venture, President George W. Bush authorized the famous “surge” which placed an additional 70,000 US troops on the Iraqi battlefield. However, Obama has vowed not to send US combat troops back to Iraq in significant numbers, and has approved no more than a few hundred American military personnel.
- In 2006, Iraqi Sunnis trusted American pledges. They agreed to turn around and fight fellow Sunni Al Qaeda after being assured by Washington that they would not lose their status and rights in Baghdad, and that the US would give them weapons and salaries.

Feeling betrayed by Iran and the USA
- In 2009, Iraqi Sunnis realized that the Obama administration would not stand by the Bush administration's assurances. Their disillusion with America and the rise of a Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad pushed them into the arms of ISIS. Since then Iraq’s Sunni leaders have learned not to trust anyone.
Today, they are hedging their bets, their tribal leaders split into two opposing camps between Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and the Islamic State, on the other. For the first time since the US invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein 11 years ago, Iraq’s Sunni leaders feel they are in the saddle and in a position to set a high price for their support.


Abadi vowed to stop the Activity of 7 Shiite militias
Shafaq News, Sunday, 14 September 2014

Iraqi political sources revealed on Sunday that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi pledged to stop the work of 7 "Shiite" militias.
"Abadi vowed to stop the activity of 7 Shiite militias operating in Baghdad, while acknowledging his inability to stop two militias loyal to former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki,” Al-Mustaqbal Lebanese newspaper said from those sources seen by "Shafaq News”.
The sources pointed out that "Abadi pledged during his recent meeting with Foreign Minister George John Kerry to stop the activity of 7 of 9 militia deployed in Baghdad and a number of Iraqi cities."
The sources pointed out that "a senior US official will visit Iraq in the coming days to meet with Iraqi Sunni leaders before the start of the implementation of the strategy of the international coalition, which is what the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Brett Makourk, has informed the leaders of Iraqi political blocs."
The sources also said that "the visit will include meetings with field personalities as clergy, tribal leaders and leaders of the popular movement of the Sunni opposition, in order to reassure them that the operations against ISIS will not be at the expense of Sunnis, politically or on security level

Qaradawi: "I refuse to fight ISIS"
"It is a disappointment for a person to fight his friend"
Shafaq News, Sunday, 14 September 2014

The head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, expressed his refusal for the United States fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization despite disagreeing with them in thought and means.
Qaradawi wrote on his account at "Twitter" that "America is not driven by the values ​​of Islam, but their own interests, even if blood was spilled." "I completely disagree with ISIS in thought and means but I do not accept America that is not driven by the values ​​of Islam..." "It is a disappointment for a person to fight his friend and befriends the enemy."


Flashback 2012: Americans are mobilizing the Muslim Brotherhood
in the Arab nation, WorldTribune, 14-9-2012

The Gulf Cooperation Council was said to have been examining the growth of Brotherhood-aligned groups in the six member states over the last year. GCC sources said the Brotherhood’s expansion in the Gulf region appeared to reflect U.S. encouragement of the Egyptian-based movement.
GCC sources said the UAE as well as other GCC states were dismayed by U.S. support of the new Brotherhood-led regime in Egypt....
Qatar has been the only GCC state to have embraced the Brotherhood. The sources cited significant Qatari military aid to the rebels in Libya and Syria as well as a relatively free hand granted to a top Brotherhood cleric, Sheik Yusef Al Qaradawi.
“Qatar is just as concerned as the rest of the GCC of the Brotherhood,” the GCC source said. “But it is gambling that the Brotherhood could be coopted...”

SNC received blessing of Qaradawi
by Patrick S. Poole, 25 Jul 2012

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies have complete control of the SNC -- as testified to in multiple media reports, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. From annihilation at home 30 years ago ... the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against Bashar Assad.
The SNC leadership traveled to Doha, Qatar (where Safi is now based), back in February to receive the blessing of Yusef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Qaradawi (born 9 September 1926) is a controversial Egyptian Islamic theologian. He is best known for his programme, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat ("Shariah and Life"), broadcast on Al Jazeera. Some of al-Qaradawi's views have been controversial in the West: he was refused an entry visa to the United Kingdom in 2008, and barred from entering France in 2012.
Al-Qaradawi has described Shi'ites as heretics ("mubtadi'oun"). Fellow member of International union of Muslim Scholars, Mohammad Salim Al-Awa criticized Qaradawi for promoting divisions among Muslims. In response, the Iranian Press Agency has described Qaradawi as "a spokesman for “international Freemasonry and rabbis". Qaradawi accused what he called "heretical" Shias of "invading" Sunni countries.
On 21 February 2011, he talked about the protests in Libya and issued a fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi:

Gulf states must tackle Muslim Brotherhood threat: UAE
Reuters-ABU DHABI, 8-10-2012

Gulf Arab countries should work together to stop Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood plotting to undermine governments in the region, United Arab Emirates' foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said on Monday: "The Muslim Brotherhood does not believe in the nation state. It does not believe in the sovereignty of the state."

Brotherhood figures, clerics to leave Qatar
Saudi Gazette, Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ali Gomaa (Grand Mufti of Egypt, 2003-2013): "The religious arena today is in a state of chaos in terms of fatwa-issuance and religious discourse, due to the presence of non-specialists issuing fatwas, particularly via satellite television. This has led to a state of chaos and suspicion over religious issues. There can be no doubt that we must limit fatwa-issuance to scholars who specialize in this, ensuring that everybody has the proper standards for this important task."

CAIRO – Leaders of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood group and allied clerics said on Saturday that they are departing Qatar, where they had sought refuge following the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Former minister Amr Darrag, who was also the top foreign affairs official in the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, and fiery cleric Wagdi Ghoneim said they are leaving Qatar.
“I decided to move outside of the beloved Qatar ... so as not to cause any annoyance, embarrassment or problems for our brothers in Qatar,” Ghoneim said in a video message posted on his official Facebook page.
Darrag, in a statement posted on his page, said, “we value the role of Qatar. We understand well the conditions it is facing in the region.”

Egyptian newspapers reported on Saturday that Qatar had asked seven senior members of the Brotherhood to leave the country within a week.
Egypt would certainly welcome any moves that would further isolate the Muslim Brotherhood, many of whose leaders are on trial in Cairo and could face the death penalty.

Egypt designated the Brotherhood a “terrorist organisation” after the military ousted Morsi in July 2013. Since then, the group’s exiled leaders set up headquarters in several countries including Turkey.


Flashback 2012: "Jihad Against Assad Is A Duty"
MEMRI, 23-3-2012

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.

Bashar al-Assad oct 2012 * 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..."


Abadi: "Everyone feel threatened now"
Shafaq News, 15 September 2014

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider-al-Abadi said the attack on Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization came through the tremendous support from regional countries, and "now everyone feel threatened."
Abadi said in a television interview that "We have asked our allies to pressure regional countries to stop supporting ISIS and also stop the flow of terrorists to Iraq because it poses a threat to everyone."
He added that "all the regional countries to Iraq must coordinate and cooperate among them to stand against ISIS. We have to build good relations with neighboring countries, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and others as we have to form partnerships and economic integration and open new markets among us according to the new atmosphere and the development of private sector activity between us to be an economic power to face terrorism."

He said that we have to admit that the regional countries "allowed the passage of terrorists from countries of the world to this area and spent billions of dollars on these groups for their support, attribution and arming in order to exploit its own interests.
But ISIS attack on Iraq and the seizure of Nineveh and part of Salahuddin and Diyala very quickly stepped the international alarm dramatically. ISIS is a real danger, threatening the Gulf states, Jordan and Turkey.

Francis Ricciardone: Turkey co-operated with Al-Qaeda in Syria
Syria Breaking News, 14-9-2014

Turkey has directly supported al-Qaeda's wing in Syria in defiance of the United States, the former American ambassador to Ankara has said.
The Turkish authorities thought they could work with extremist Islamist groups in the Syrian civil war and at the same time push them to become more moderate, Francis Ricciardone, who was until late June the US ambassador to Ankara, told journalists in a briefing.
That led them to work with al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's branch, as well as hardline Salafi Islamist groups like Ahrar al-Sham. Mr Ricciardone said that he tried to persuade the Turkish government to close its borders to the groups, but to no avail.
We ultimately had no choice but to agree to disagree, he said. The Turks frankly worked with groups for a period, including al Nusra, whom we finally designated as we're not willing to work with.
Turkey allowed its borders to be used as a conduit for aid, weapons and volunteers heading for the Syrian rebel cause from the start of the uprising, and there have long been accusations that it did not do enough to distinguish between 'moderate' groups and extremists. But this is the first time a senior American official - albeit one no longer in service - has said openly that Turkey was working with al-Qaeda.

Libya: Thinni, threatens to break relation with Sudan and Qatar
By Libya Herald staff, Benghazi, 14 September 2014

Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni has ruled out any negotiations with Libya Dawn ( the newest of the Middle East's self-proclaimed revolutionary movements, that occupied Tripoli...) accusing it of murder, theft and destruction. In an interview with Sky News Arabia TV, he said it was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood which represented no more than five percent of the Libya people. He also accused Sudan and Qatar of backing it and warned that they did not stop, diplomatic relations would be cut.
Moreover, he disclosed, there were plans “to take out the armed formations in Tripoli within two weeks” and he called on the capital’s residents to stand up to the armed militias and “get them out of the city”.

In a forthright denunciation of the Islamists, he said they had lost the elections to the House of Representatives and so had resorted to violence and deception in their bid for power.
Calling them terrorists who had been involved in “the theft and burning of homes, looting and threatening people’s lives”, he declared there would be no dealing with them. “We do not negotiate with terrorists. We have to defend the Libyan people’s choice.” Dialogue would take place solely with those who recognised the legitimacy of the House of Representatives.
The aim of the Libya Dawn was to control Libya and turn it into a Muslim Brotherhood state, he claimed. It imagined it could do it with the help of Qatar and Turkey, he said. But those two countries had been told not to interfere in Libya.
Only when the militias were taken out of the situation would Libyan citizens live a decent life, he said.


Obama & The 'Moderates'
Juan Cole, 15-9-2014

There are hundreds of guerrilla groups fighting in Syria. Some of them have given fealty to the the so-called Islamic State. Others have joined a rival organization that is more Salafi in coloration, the Islamic Front (strong in Aleppo). The National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army are yet another force, heavily dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and now much weakened.
So if Obama agreed with al-Sisi to pursue a global ‘war on terrorism’ together, he would be in the difficult position of opposing the Free Syrian Army and of agreeing to help crush the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood– among the major opposition groups to both ISIL and the government in Damascus.

That is, Obama’s desire to support a “moderate” opposition will lead him to back to the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria. But Saudi Arabia, one of Obama’s major partners, has declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and they have the money to make that stick. With Egypt and Saudi Arabia against the National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army (because of their Muslim Brotherhood ties), Obama by allying with them is basically allying with the murky Islamic Front, which has some al-Qaeda elements and now has turned openly anti-democracy and anti-rights for minorities.

Saudi Arabia will provide training camps for the rebels of the “moderate” opposition. But it is rumored that the Saudis are behind the splinter group from the Free Syrian army, the “Islamic Front.” It rejects democratic elections. The Islamic Front is full of people who have continued to have rigid religious views but who are trying to find new allies. The Saudis will be training people, in other words, very much like the Islamic State fighters in their fundamentalism, but who are less hostile to Saudi Arabia and perhaps slightly less openly brutal. That’s a “moderate” Sunni opposition?

Iran is a much more promising ally for Obama. But because of hardliners in both countries, Obama won’t be able openly to ally with Iran. The downside [could be] that it will look like a Christian/Shiite crusade against Sunni Arabs.


Iran: Anti-ISIL Coalition Aims to Distract Attention
from Powers' Support for Terrorism
FARS News, 15-9-2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said the western states have launched the so-called coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in an effort to divert the world attention from their support for this and other similar terrorist groups.
"The foreign powers and the Zionist regime have supported these groups, and what is done now (with regard to the formation of an anti-ISIL coalition) is meant to distract attention of the world public opinion from the powers' supports" for the very same groups, Araqchi told reporters on the sidelines of the 53rd annual meeting of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) in Tehran on Monday.

Iran believes in a real and nonselective fight against terrorism in the region and the world,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Saturday. Amir Abdollahian stressed that the Islamic Republic was the first country to assist Iraq in the fight against terrorism...
Also, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani on Saturday questioned the goals pursued by the US-led anti-ISIL coalition, and said Washington sought to violate the regional countries' sovereignty.
"The US attempts to create an anti-terrorism coalition in collaboration with certain states which are themselves the main sponsors and suppliers of the terrorists...," Shamkhani said. "The US seeks to continue its unilateralism and violate the countries' sovereignty under the pretext of fighting terrorism," he added...
He said the United States' move to form an anti-ISIL coalition was more like a Hollywood scenario to portray the US as a savior of the region.

Deputy Foreign Minister: "The best tactics is
strengthen Iraqi and Syrian governments"
Iran, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15-9-2014

Deputy Foreign Minister in Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Iran would not wait for any international coalition to fight against terrorism and will act upon its responsibilities and in the framework of international regulations. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a meeting with Chairperson of French Parliaments Defense Committee Patricia Adam.
Referring to Iran`s approach for holding talks and cooperation with France in international and regional issues and expressing uncertainty over the US approach for real fight against terrorism, Amir Abdollahian said selective approach of the US and the West in interaction with terrorist groups such as ISIS in Syria and Iraq was the most important reason for strengthening of terrorist groups and endangering stability and security in the region.
He added that Iran believes the best tactics for fight against ISIS and terrorism in the region is to assist and strengthen Iraqi and Syrian governments, which are really fighting against terrorism.

Flashback 2012: "Why are they establishing
Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"

TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons. Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined.

Firouzabadi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Iran’s National Defense University, said U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and occupied Afghanistan, “why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” ...
It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” ... (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)


Lessons of Libya cast shadow on Syria strategy
Oren Dorell, USA TODAY, September 14, 2014

Almost three years after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, oil-rich Libya is in utter chaos, as militias fight for control of the country and its elected government has fled along with tens of thousands of citizens.
The turmoil in Libya is a cautionary tale as the United States enlists the help of 'moderate' Syrian rebels to defeat the radical Islamic State and oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.
As occurred in Libya, U.S. intervention to remove an anti-U.S. regime could lead to another failed state and more instability in the Middle East.

President Obama's plan involves partnering with pro-Western elements of the Syrian opposition. They would provide ground troops, bolstered by U.S. training and air power, to defeat the Islamic State. The opposition's main goal, however, is to defeat Assad, who Obama has said must go.

The strategy is similar to the one used in Libya in 2011, when a U.S.-led bombing campaign with NATO and Qatar saved anti-government militias from being overrun in the city of Benghazi...
That effort also relied on partnering with supposed moderates so U.S. ground forces would not be needed.
In the end, radical elements wound up being empowered, as security in Libya deteriorated dramatically.

Last month Islamist militias whose political leaders lost this summer's elections to a secular coalition ejected government forces from the country's capital, Tripoli. The radical militias have since announced their own government, while warring with one another for control.
Meanwhile, the elected parliament is convening in a converted car ferry in the port city of Tobruk near the Egyptian border, and Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have sent fighter jets to bomb the militants.


Iran president called on all countries to
adopt a unified approach to uproot terrorism
Press TV, Sep 16, 2014

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has cast doubt on the sincerity of the so-called coalition to fight terrorism, saying it is a “joke” that the countries which have supported and financed militant groups now seek to fight terrorism.
It is a joke that the countries which trained, equipped and financed terrorist groups now suddenly seek to fight these terrorist groups,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajcak in Tehran.
Rouhani expressed concern about growing terrorism in the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq, and called on all countries to adopt a unified approach to uproot terrorism.

Paris hosted a conference, dubbed the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, on Monday to discuss ways of tackling the ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria amid US efforts to form a so-called international coalition to battle the Takfiri group.
Despite the international community’s emphasis on the importance of Iran’s role in the regional developments, Tehran was not invited to the meeting in Paris mainly due to the US opposition.

Iraq criticised the decision not to invite Iran
to Monday's Paris summit on the IS threat.
BBC News, 16-9-2014

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the decision not to include Iran was "regrettable". "We believe that all world countries are concerned about the danger of terrorism," he said.
Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Iran was a neighbour that had "assisted" Iraq: "Iran is our neighbour, it assisted us and it should have been present, but we are not the party responsible for inviting parties," he added. He said he did not expect foreign ground troops to become involved in either Iraq or Syria.
Iran and Syria both have borders with Iraq, but relations between them and the US are fraught.
Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry ruled out co-operation with Iran, citing its "engagement in Syria and elsewhere".
But Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that the US had requested Iran's co-operation via the US ambassador to Iraq.
"I said no, because they have dirty hands," he said. He added the US was seeking a "pretext to do in Iraq and Syria what it already does in Pakistan - bomb anywhere without authorisation".


Sergey Lavrov: "We face the same enemies in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere,
and there is no room for double standards."
Information Clearing House, 16-9-2014

Statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, Paris, 15 September 2014

The resolve to fight with all forms and manifestations of terrorism, without distinguishing between “bad” and “good” terrorists, has always been at the centre of international anti-terrorist efforts.
Regrettably, in the Middle East and North Africa this cornerstone principle began to fail and was repeatedly sacrificed for a desire to change a regime in this or that country.

In Libya some of the countries represented in this room closed their eyes on the rise of extremists in the fight to topple Muammar Gaddaffi and even supplied arms to them and went to war on their side...
The fact that Bashar al-Asad was hastily declared “illegitimate” more than three yeas ago, has prevented a timely and adequate response to terrorist groups in Syria.... As a result, many things happened, including the ISIL consolidation of its forces and its action in Iraq and Syria.
In Iraq itself the handling of postSaddam situation was grossly mismanaged, totally ignoring the realities and traditions of that ancient country, thus bringing it into the turmoil of a prolonged civil war and creating a huge risk of it falling apart. We welcome the firm intend of Iraqi leaders to overcome that legacy and to promote national reconciliation and unity...

It is vitally important to learn proper lessons from all mistakes of the past...

All states, both in the region and outside, who are genuinely committed to oppose terrorists should unite in deeds, not in words. One cannot but feel concerned by publicly stated intentions to attack the ISIL positions in the Syria’s territory without any interaction with the Syrian government.
I would like to emphasize the point: the terrorist threat is too serious to be addressed from a position of ideological bias, and disrespect of international law.
Syria as well as Iran, are our natural allies in the fight against ISIL... Moral standards which underlie counter-terrorism efforts should not be eroded.

The countries of counterterrorist coalition should demonstrate genuine unity, not allowing disputes between them on other issues to hamper the efficiency of joint counter-terrorist efforts. A truly collective approach should be developed through putting our minds and potentials together.... And of course, we must build our common action on a solid foundation of United Nations Charter and UN counter-terrorist instruments and mechanisms.
We face the same enemies in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, and there is no room for double standards.


National reconciliation, a strategy and a priority for the state
Syrian Arab News Agency, Damascus, 16/09/2014

Tolerance and reconciliation are the essential headlines for the term “national reconciliation” which is a part of Syria’s strategy to emerge from the current crisis, State Minister for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haider said.
In an interview given to the Syrian TV on Monday evening, Haider said that “national reconciliations that have been achieved are part of the comprehensive process that will lead to victory against terrorism and lay the foundations for a national dialogue...”
He added that reconciliation does not mean only stopping military operations in a certain place, or handing over weapons, or settling the legal status of people and returning them to their homes; it means all of these things together.
Haidar stressed that the failure of reconciliation in a certain area does not mean that reconciliation is not a strategy or a priority for the state... Everyone should be convinced that it is an essential part of resolving the crisis.

He concluded by saying that the continuous fortification of such reconciliations through spreading the culture of tolerance and cohesion and collaborating to bridge gaps is more important than achieving the reconciliations themselves.

President Bashar al-Assad received Faleh al-Fayyad,
the Iraqi National Security Advisor
Syrian Arab News Agency, 16/09/2014

President Bashar al-Assad received Faleh al-Fayyad, the Iraqi National Security Advisor and envoy of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Al-Fayyad briefed President al-Assad on the latest developments in Iraq and the efforts exerted by the Iraqi government and people to confront terrorists, with emphasis during the meeting on the need to bolster cooperation and coordination between the two countries in the field of combating the terrorism which is affecting Syria and Iraq and which poses a threat to the region and the world.
The President expressed satisfaction over the level of the standing cooperation with the Iraqi leaderships in terms of confronting terrorist organizations, noting that this cooperation has produced positive results for the two countries and the region.
For his part, al-Fayyad asserted the strength of the relations between Syria and Iraq and the need to remove any obstacle that hinders counterterrorism in order for security and stability to prevail in the region.


Flashback 2013: Iraqi National Security Adviser
"There is a lack of earnest work being done
to combat terrorism in the region"

- Fayad: The situation in Syria is obviously affecting its neighboring countries, especially Iraq. The events in Syria have taken on a sectarian dimension, which will certainly influence Iraq due to the country’s diverse sectarian composition...
- Al-Monitor: Today, al-Qaeda combatants can easily move between the countries of the Middle East, be it Iraq or Syria. Is this due to a lack of security coordination between the countries of the region?
- Fayad: Yes, there is an absolute lack of security coordination between the countries of the region, apart from certain places and American efforts.
One scarcely finds systematic coordination between the countries affected by these groups.
Unfortunately, some countries provide extremist groups with support so as to further their agendas in other countries. This clearly goes against the principle of coordinating to fight these groups.
For instance, transporting militants into Syria has been facilitated, with many coming from Arab countries by way of Turkey. There is a lack of earnest work being done to combat terrorism in the region...
- Al-Monitor: What about Iraq’s foreign policy? Have diplomatic efforts helped national security in any way?
- Fayad: I was not aware that Iraq had a foreign policy. Political and social strife, a weak national identity and disunity still influence Iraq’s representatives abroad.
With all due respect to the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have yet to craft a political policy that reflects the identity of the new Iraq. (Al-Monitor, 25-2-2013)


Saudi Scholars: Wrong to equate terrorism with jihad
Saudi Gazette, 18-9-2014

RIYADH – Terrorism is a heinous crime and its perpetrators deserve deterrent punishment, said the Saudi Scholars Commission and Ifta Council in a statement.
It said terrorism, which is rejected by Shariah, is contradictory to the principles and purpose of Islam, which came as a mercy to the world and for the goodness of mankind.
Tolerance is the essence of Islam, which came to maintain coexistence and peace on earth, the senior Ulema (Islamic scholars) said at the conclusion of the Council’s 80th session. Those who equate terrorism with jihad are misled and ignorant.


"free" syrian army jihadists

The statement described terrorism as any crime aimed at corrupting and undermining security, offenses against lives or property, homes, schools, hospitals, factories, bridges, state facilities or oil and gas pipelines, or blowing up or hijacking aeroplanes.


"free" syrian army jihadists

Signed by all 21 members of the council and quoting extensively from the Holy Qur’an and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the statement also prohibits militant financing or encouraging young people to engage in militant acts.
It said people who issued fatwas or views that “justify terrorism” were not permissable in any way and were “the order of Satan.”
The council urged everyone to utilize all means to strengthen unity and cohesion.

In February, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah decreed prison terms for people giving support to extremist organizations or going overseas to fight.


US House of Representatives Approves Resolution
to Fund and Equip Syrian Rebels
MOSCOW, 2014, September 18 (RIA Novosti)

Saud Al-Faisal 2013: Assad regime should not have role in Syria’s future.
The United States House of Representatives passed a resolution authorizing $500 million to go to training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East.
The resolution passed Wednesday in a vote of 273-156. The measure was added by the Obama administration last week as an amendment to the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through December 11.

According to Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby, Saudi Arabia will support US government in its efforts and take an active part in the announced training program. “We think that, now that we’ve got a partner in the region to help us with the training, is that we could train more than 5,000 fighters over the course of one year,” said Kirby, adding that the training process is expected to be implemented phase-by-phase. (Ria Novosti 2014)

Flashback 2012: "Dependence on foreign support is a disaster"
Seumas Milne, guardian.co.uk, 7-8-2012


For Syrians who want dignity and democracy in a free country, the rapidly mushrooming dependence of their uprising on foreign support is a disaster – even more than was the case in Libya.
After all, it is now officials of the dictatorial and sectarian Saudi regime who choose which armed groups get funding, not Syrians.
And it is intelligence officials from the US, which sponsors the Israeli occupation of Syrian territory and dictatorships across the region, who decide which rebel units get weapons....
Gulf funding has already sharpened religious sectarianism in the rebel camp, while reports of public alienation from rebel fighters in Aleppo this week testifies to the dangers of armed groups relying on outsiders instead of their own communities.


Saudi cleric Al-Arifi, 2012

Al-Arabya, 25-6-2014: Controversial Saudi preacher Mohammad al-Arifi has been banned from entering the United Kingdom. This week, the cleric was accused by the British media of radicalizing three young British citizens allegedly now fighting in Syria.
“We can confirm Mohammad al-Arifi has been excluded from the United Kingdom,” a Home Office spokesperson said in a statement.

"There is a shared assumption here and in the West that we own the world."
"Since we own the world, everything we do is necessarily right. It can be too costly and then we don’t like it."
"In the United States, which is a rich powerful state which always wins everything, history is an irrelevance. Historical amnesia is required". Noam Chomsky, 23-1-2008


Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return,
Threaten to Attack US Forces
By Juan Cole | Sep. 18, 2014

The pan-Arab, London-based daily, “Al-Sharq al-Awsat” (The Middle East) reports that the major Shiite militias of Iraq are denouncing Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi for welcoming US air support in the fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Prime Minister al-Abadi himself rejected conventional US ground troops for Iraq on Wednesday, even as Gen. Dempsey said that they might ultimately be necessary. The militias are going further, saying Yankees go Home altogether.

Hamza Mustafa reports from Baghdad that Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Iran-backed Badr Corps, warned that the American plan is to take credit for the victories of the Iraqi armed forces and the popular militias. He called for a rejection of the plan and dependence solely on Iraqi military and paramilitary to defeat ISIL.
The Bloc of the Free (al-Ahrar) led by Shiite cleric Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr called on al-Abadi to reject the US plan. Muqtada al-Sadr warned the US against trying to reoccupy Iraq and threatened, “If you return, we will return.”
It is difficult to tell how serious these militia leaders’ pronouncements are, since they might be attempting to save face with their followers even as they benefit from the US air cover.


'US Seeks to Use IS to Weaken Each State in the Region’
By Soraya Sepaphour-Ulrich, September 17, 2014 "ICH" - "RT"

The US is attempting to use ISIS to destroy each government in the region including Syria and Iraq, and is trying to drag Iran into this, Soraya Sepaphour-Ulrich, a researcher and expert on Iran, told RT.

- RT: Why do you think Iran doesn't want to cooperate with the US on fighting the Islamic State?
- Soraya Sepaphour: I think Iran is well aware of what the United States’ end game is. They have been observing America repeating the same pattern. And they are well aware that this is not really a fight against a group of terrorists - of the making of Americans themselves and their allies - but it is really to reoccupy the Persian Gulf region.
They also understand that without the Americans, without the Saudi money, and American training it wouldn’t exist here in the first place...
The whole purpose is to weaken each state in the region by using these terrorists. It is the usual American tactic..


Muammar Gaddafi, 2011

- RT: The West continues to support Syrian opposition groups - despite the reported links between the rebels and the Islamic State. Isn't this a dangerous policy?
- SS: It is and it is really senseless from every logical standpoint, from the point of view of people who seek stability and peace. But this group is doing exactly what America wants it to do. They are destroying each government, Syrian government, the Iraqi government, weakening them.
At the same time they are giving Americans an excuse to intervene....

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has a Master's in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication. She is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of the lobby. Her articles have been published by several online publications. She is a public speaker. She is frequently interviewed by Russia TV. (Veterans News Now)


Churkin: Washington should respect the international law
Syrian Arab News Agency, 18/09/2014

Moscow, SANA – Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said the United States will not be able to build an effective international coalition against the terrorist organization of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) without it having to coordinate its steps with the Syrian government.
Russia Today website quoted Churkin as saying in an interview he gave to the American Fox News TV channel that Washington should respect the international law in its effort to form the international coalition against the extremist organization.
In his speech about ISIS last week, US President Barack Obama ruled out coordination with the Syrian government in his plan to form an international coalition to fight ISIS.
Washington, Churkin added, should coordinate with Damascus in case it wanted to launch strikes against ISIS positions inside Syria.

Few days ago, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad said in an interview with Russia Today that the Security Council’s resolutions force any alliances or fronts that are meant to confront terrorism to respect the sovereignty and independence of states and to consult with them regarding war against terrorism, and these alliances should not overstep the rules of international law when taking counterterrorism actions.

The text of resolution 2170 (2014) reads as follows:
“The Security Council, Reaffirming the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq and Syrian Arab Republic, and reaffirming further the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations...
“Stressing that terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States...
Demands that ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida cease all violence and terrorist acts, and disarm and disband with immediate effect...

Flashback: Tunesian Arab Spring Leader in Syria
By Bill Roggio, Long War Journal, February 27, 2014

The deputy emir of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, Kamel Zarrouk, is reported to have left his home country and traveled to Syria to wage jihad alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham.
In 2011, Zarrouk began speaking at mosques as a "khatib" in 2011, and he once "likened Osama Bin Laden to the prophet's companions."
Zarrouk has praised al Qaeda and its allies in his sermons. In May 2013, he claimed that a host of al Qaeda-linked groups, including two known to operate in Syria, "stand united."
"I would like to declare loud and clear, that the Al Nusrah Front, Ansar al Shariah, al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the mujahedeen in Somalia, Mali, and Algeria, we all stand united against our enemies," Zarrouk said, according to Al Monitor.

Tunisians are fighting in large numbers alongside the Al Nusrah Front, the ISIS, and other Islamist units inside Syria. Tunisians who have fought in Syria have appeared prominently in Ansar al Sharia's propaganda. So many Tunisians have fought in Syria that in March 2013, Ansar al Sharia Tunisia's leader Seifallah ben Hassine (a.k.a. Abu Iyad al Tunisi) discouraged the practice and said the wars in Syrian and Mali have "emptied Tunisia of its young."

All Obama can offer is Chaos

"The U.S. wants President Bashar Al-Assad to step down although he was recently reelected to another seven year term. The dilemma is that no individual has been identified who can unify Syria, when Assad should leave office. It is clear the Islamists will continue to fight for control of large swaths of the country." (John Price, 30-7-2014)


Israeli Envoy: Nuclear Iran is a
‘Thousand Times’ More Dangerous Than ISIS
Ron Kampeas, Jewish Exponent, 19-9-2014

WASHINGTON — Saying a nuclear Iran would be a “thousand times” greater threat to the world than ISIS, Israel’s ambassador to the United States warned against including Iran in any coalition to derail the jihadist group.
Ron Dermer also cautioned the United States against accommodating Iran during the current effort to degrade ISIS.
Dermer noted the presence of Obama administration officials at the event and praised the American president for leading a coalition to defeat the terror group. He said, however, that Iran must not be a partner in this effort.
“Now I know there is still some absurd talk in certain quarters about Iran being a partner in solving problems in the Middle East,” Dermer said. “They are not a partner, they were not a partner, they never will be a partner. Iran as a nuclear power is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS.”
Iran has assisted the Iraqi and Syrian governments, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that Iran and the United States should communicate — but not coordinate — their respective efforts in the battle against ISIS.

Kerry met Wednesday with Avigdor Liberman, Israel’s foreign minister, who in a statement also warned against accommodation with Iran, which he called “the No. 1 exporter of terror in the world.”
An Israeli Foreign Ministry statement said Liberman told Kerry that “Israel supports the United States in its efforts to form a broad international front against ISIS, and stands ready to help in this task should it be asked...”

Flashback 2011: Ron Dermer writes letter to ‘New York Times
Jerusalem Post, 16/12/2011

Dear Sasha, I received your email requesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu submit an op-ed to the New York Times. Unfortunately, we must respectfully decline.
The opinions of some of your regular columnists regarding Israel are well known. They consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace...
One columnist even stooped to suggesting that the strong expressions of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu during his speech this year to Congress was "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby" rather than a reflection of the broad support for Israel among the American people....
Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.... I found that 19 out of 20 columns were “negative.”
So with all due respect to your prestigious paper, you will forgive us for declining your offer.

"Mr. Dermer is the Israeli ambassador to the United States, with such a close relationship to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he has been called 'Bibi’s brain.' "New York Times, 25-7-2014


America’s neocons focused still on their
strategy of using violent “regime change”
Robert Parry, Consortium News, 17-9-2014

For the past several years, the Israeli government has sought the overthrow of Assad, even at the risk of Islamic extremists gaining power.
The Israeli thinking had been that Assad, as an ally of Iran, represented a greater threat to Israel because his government was at the center of the so-called Shiite crescent reaching from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut and southern Lebanon, the base for Hezbollah.
The thinking was that if Assad’s government could be pulled down, Iran and Hezbollah – two of Israel’s principal “enemies” – would be badly damaged.
A year ago, then-Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren articulated this geopolitical position in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.
“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren said.
“We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

More recently, however, with the al-Qaeda-connected Nusra Front having seized Syrian territory adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights – forcing the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers – the balance of Israeli interests may be tipping in favor of preferring Assad to having Islamic extremists possibly penetrating directly into Israeli territory.
Yet, despite Israel’s apparent rethinking of its priorities, America’s neocons appear focused still on their long-held strategy of using violent “regime change” in the Middle East to eliminate governments that have been major supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, i.e. Syria and Iran... The success of Islamic State terrorists in striking deep inside Iraq during the summer revived neocon hopes that their “regime change” strategy in Syria might also be resurrected.

Jihadists to change tactics to avoid air strikes
By Sara Hussein - Middle East Online, 19-9-2014

Jihadists who swept like an army across Iraq and Syria are expected to return to guerrilla warfare and melt into the population to avoid heavy losses from US-led air strikes, analysts say.
The Islamic State group, which has captured large swathes of territory and committed atrocities such as beheadings and crucifixions, is expected to pull back to cities from sparsely inhabited areas where its fighters are easy targets...
By blending into the cities, IS also hopes to increase the odds of civilian casualties to help its propaganda war, Ben Barry believes (a military expert at the London based International Institute of Strategic Studies).
"Their impressive media operations will seek to exploit (such deaths) to further alienate Sunnis from the (Shiite-led) Iraqi government and also to erode the international legitimacy of the international-led coalition," he said.
IS has already begun moving some fighters, particularly foreigners, from Iraq to Syria, according to Iraqi security analyst Ahmed al-Shreifi. "They have kept only Iraqi fighters in Iraq because they can blend into the community more easily if military operations start against them."
In Mosul, jihadists have abandoned command centres established after they captured the city in June, moving to private homes in populous districts and keeping a low profile. The same tactic is being used in Syria...
In the northern province of Aleppo, IS fighters have withdrawn from their bases in Al-Bab, one of their main strongholds in the region.

"As the US strikes degrade the visible elements of the IS military structure -- command headquarters, trucks, artillery pieces -- I expect IS to morph back into an insurgency model where the IS fighters are intermixed with civilian populations," said Christopher Harmer, analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank. "That will make it more difficult for US air strikes to target IS fighters."
He said IS has shown itself capable of melting into the civilian population. "I expect they will continue to use sleeper cells, snipers, car bombs, suicide vests, targeted assassinations. All of these tactics are virtually immune to air power," Harmer said.


Saudi Arabia to restore Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque
Middle East Online, 19-9-2014

CAIRO - Saudi Arabia has agreed to fund the restoration of Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque in recognition of its role as a "beacon of moderate Islam," the Egyptian president's office said Thursday.
The announcement came after talks between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and visiting Saudi intelligence chief Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdel Aziz on the coalition Washington is building against the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

"That what is sacred in the world is man"
General Mufti of the Syrian Arabic Republic, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun

"Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man" since man "is the creation of the creator".
"We must create states on a civil basis, not a religious basis". "I don't impose my religion on you, nor do you impose your religion on me". (European parlement, 15-1-2008)

Syria: Damage to Aleppo's Great Mosque
(BBC news, 20-9-2014)

"In recognition of the important role played by Al-Azhar as a beacon of moderate Islam in spreading tolerant values across the region (Saudi King Abdullah) has taken the generous initiative to restore Al-Azhar," Sisi's office said.
The 1,000 year-old mosque spreads over a hectare in the ancient heart of Cairo and oversees a network of seminaries that form Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning.
Its top cleric, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, has condemned the jihadists of IS as "criminals (who) have been able to transmit to the world a tarnished and alarming image of Muslims."


Al-Jaafari: "a responsible and balanced language"
Syrian Arab News Agency, 20/09/2014

The UN Security Council condemned “The attacks launched by terrorist organizations in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon including the ISIS,” affirming that this large-scale attack is a major threat to the region...

In a statement during the meeting, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said: “I have listened carefully to the opening statement delivered by US Secretary of State John Kerry who chaired the session, and I found in its content a responsible and balanced language...”

Al-Jaafari indicated that some of the deliberations regrettably sought to distract the attention from the main issue discussed during the session...
“The Syrian government is a key part of combating the terrorism of the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra,” al-Jaafari stressed, adding ” We have worked alone in Syria on combating this terrorism over the past three years, and we have always insisted on the importance of combating it and halting its financing and armament or training its members”.
Al-Jaafari indicated that Syria is very pleased that the international community acknowledged the existence of terrorism...
He affirmed that combating terrorism must be done in the framework of the UN charter and the principles of the international law, on top of which respecting the sovereignty of the countries which definitely requires previous coordination with the Syrian government in any serious effort to combat terrorism.


Anyone who has studied Syria
knows the moderate opposition doesn’t exist
By Robert Fisk, The Independent, 22-9-2014

“In Syria, the on-the-ground combat will be done by the moderate opposition, which is Syria’s [sic] best counterweight to extremists like [Isis],” John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Anyone who has studied Syria from afar, let alone those who go there, know that the fictional “moderate opposition” – supposedly deserters from the Syrian government army – does not exist.
Corrupted, disillusioned, murdered or simply re-defected towards Isis or some other al-Qaeda outfit, the old “Free Syrian Army” is now a myth as ridiculous as Mussolini’s boast that the Italian army could defeat the British in North Africa.

The FSA, Kerry said, had been fighting Isis for two years – in Idlib, Aleppo, around Damascus and Deir Ezzor – while the Syrian government, Kerry insisted, is not fighting or will not fight Isis.
This is nonsense. Most of the Syrian army’s 35,000 dead were killed in action against al-Qaeda and Isis. And the only other boots-on-the-ground forces confronting Isis are the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards alongside the Kurds...

What we can’t be told by Kerry is as simple as he claims the struggle against Isis to be: that there will have to be a Western alliance – of some sort – with Iran to defeat Isis, that this will inevitably have to include an unspoken understanding with Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, even with the ghastly, unthinkable, “super-terrorist” Hezbollah guerrillas who – unlike Kerry’s description of Isis – do not go around “killing and raping and mutilating women” or selling off girls “to be sex slaves to jihadis”.

Iraq sets up National Guard forces to take on ISIL
2014-09-19 By Hassan al-Obaidi, Al-Shorfa, 19-9-2014

The Iraqi government is calling on residents of the northern and western provinces to join the new National Guard forces and fight the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL).
"The government has approved the plan to set up forces comprised of citizens from provinces that suffer from terrorism, whose missions will be to keep the security in those areas and combat ISIL and the terror groups that support it, serving as an auxiliary army," Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said at a September 9th press conference.
The National Guard will be linked to the Ministry of Defence and volunteers will receive training, he said, calling on Anbar, Ninawa, Salaheddine , Diyala and Kirkuk residents to volunteer through registration centres set up for that purpose.
"The new National Guard forces will be comprised of members of tribes that have in the past fought al-Qaeda and now ISIL, as well as citizens living in cities," said Anbar Provincial Council chairman Sabah al-Karhut.

Iraqi MP Mohammed al-Obaidi told Mawtani the new forces were created in response to popular demand and have been well-received by citizens.
"The National Guard forces are an endeavour to develop the Iraqi army, put it in order, rid it of counter-productive elements and limit all affiliation and ideology within its ranks to the nation only," al-Obaidi said. New recruits will receive salaries, allowances and legal rights akin to those of soldiers in the Iraqi army, he said.

Iraqi Sunni Iftaa Authority head Sheikh Mahdi al-Sumaidaie called on Iraqis in western and northern provinces and on Sunnis in particular to volunteer in the new National Guard.
Volunteering in a "legal and constitutional formation to fight ISIL" is better than engaging the group without prior organisation, he said, and "the engagement of Sunnis in fighting ISIL will have a massive impact on achieving national reconciliation and warding off the dangers of sectarian strife".

Training and equipping will be done by the United States
By Roy Gutman, McClatchy Foreign Staff, September 13, 2014

John Kerry said Iraq’s new prime minster, Haider al Abadi, was “very focused” on the national guard and had made it a top priority for his cabinet.
“Locally rooted security structures that are directly integrated into Iraqi security forces” will protect the population of Iraqi cities and town and “deny space” to the Islamic State, he said on his unannounced visit here Wednesday. “As it does that, it is going to be the key to guaranteeing” Iraq’s territorial integrity."

The attitude among Sunnis is that “we will not accept the Iraqi army back in the Sunni provinces,” Kenneth Pollack (expert on military affairs at the Brookings Institution) said. “
There are big questions ahead, among them how the provincial guards are to be financed... But one thing is clear, according to Pollack. The training and equipping of the future national guards will be done by the United States, which will retain a presence in Iraq for years to come.

Sunnis Question Plan for Iraqi National Guard
Worry That It Will Deepen Sectarian Divide
By Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal 18-9-2014

BAGHDAD — Sunni tribal leaders say a U.S.-backed plan to allow local units to police their own regions is an invitation to the kind of separatism that has already pushed Iraq to the brink of partition.

The Obama administration has championed the national guard as a way to better integrate the minority Sunnis, who complain of exclusion, in the country's Shiite-dominated power structure. It is one of the steps the U.S. is pressing to push Iraqis to unite so they can better confront the threat of the extremist group Islamic State.
But many local Sunni leaders say the national guard strategy is destined for failure. "This is the start of dividing Iraq," said Sheik Awad al-Jughafi, the leader of a prominent Sunni tribe in the western city of Haditha.
Sheik Jughafi and others suggest that Iraq's government reform the country's military and reinstitute obligatory conscription — a policy of Saddam Hussein's regime that many Iraqis say inculcated a sense of unity and patriotism in the country's youth.
Such a system would put "a Sunni guy and a Shiite guy at each checkpoint, and there will be no differences between them," the sheik said.

"The national guards idea is a bad idea and will be a complete failure," said Hamid al-Mutlaq, a Sunni member of parliament and an army officer under the former regime of Saddam Hussein. "The correct thing is to form a professional Iraqi army. I mean an official, well-trained army, not forces based on sects. In this way, we might be able to get rid of the militias."
For Shiite militias, the national guard scheme is far more palatable... But it is the Shiite militias' blessing for the plan that most rattles the Sunni leadership outside of Baghdad. They worry that the national guard will only empower the militias further...


Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister:
Improvement of Iran-Saudi Ties Crucial for Regional Security
FARS News, 22-9-2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- Consolidation of relations between Tehran and Riyadh, as two important countries of the region, would not only put an end to the crisis in the Middle-East, but also protect the entire region from trans-regional powers' presence and meddling.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted on Sunday by Rapporteur for the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini as saying that Iran and Saudi Arabia are two important countries in the region and should take steps towards reducing tension.
Amir Abdollahian went on to say that the Saudi government has realized the threat of the ISIL and is seeking to get rid of the threat.
He further added that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to pay an official visit to Riyadh to discuss the latest developments on the international and regional scenes, and explore new avenues for promotion of bilateral ties with the senior Saudi officials.
Earlier today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a message to Saudi King Abdullah expressed the hope that the brotherly relations between the two countries would expand everyday.


Why Obama’s ISIL strategy is incoherent
Press TV, Mon Sep 22, 2014

If there is a single word to describe Obama’s campaign against ISIS, it is “incoherent.” It doesn’t hold together even on its own terms. And in the context of a larger strategy for the Middle East it is delusional, even destructive of US interests. The reason is that the US doesn’t control the strategy. Until it does, it will only meet continued confusion, mis-direction, and defeat.

The most important thing to understand about ISIS is that it is a US creation.

- The first step in its creation was the US destroying the stabilizing regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. That gave entre to the Sunni fundamentalist force, al-Qaeda in Iraq, which had not existed prior to the US invasion. Al-Qaeda in Iraq would eventually become ISIS.
- The second step in ISIS’s creation was the US campaign to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in Syria. As was Hussein in Iraq, Assad is a secular strong-man who for many years held an eclectic mix of religious sects together in relative peace. That is, until the US started trying to overthrow the Syrian regime, a move that played into the hands of ISIS’ precursors, including the al-Nusra brigade.
- The third step in ISIS’s creation came when the US organized Saudi Arabia and Turkey to fund and support the proto-ISIS rebels in Syria. Their ultra-conservative form of Sunni Islam (Salafism - Wahabism) is among the most virulent and aggressively anti-Western in the world.

So, destroy the stabilizing, secular regimes while fostering the fundamentalist crazies and you have the recipe for the creation of ISIS. This has been the US strategy..

Obama’s campaign against ISIS
is not carried out for the interests of the US

Green became the national color of Libya under Gaddafi. It symbolized the predominant religion of Islam as well as Gaddafi’s “Third Universal Theory” as expounded in his Green Book, his book of political writings, published in 1975.

"Nationalism is the basis for the survival of nations. Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin. Minorities, which are one of the main political problems in the world, are the outcome. They are nations whose nationalism has been destroyed and which are thus torn apart."
The forces most able to defeat ISIS are those of Iran, Syria, and Russia which have the strategic position, manpower, and organization to dispatch ISIS in short order. But Obama cannot ask for their help because the US is engaged in hostilities against all three. So it would rather see ISIS fester than have it defeated by foes of the US.

The ISIS imbroglio lays bare the embarrassing truth of US policy in the Middle East: that it is controlled by Saudi Arabia and Israel, for their own benefits, and not for that of the US.
Israel controls the US by targeting politicians who don’t follow its dictates. The US political system, which forces politicians to raise massive amounts of money every two years, is uniquely vulnerable to this kind of focused foreign manipulation.
Israel has learned how to use it to its advantage. It was Israeli-aligned neo-conservatives who lied the US into its catastrophic war with Iraq. It is the same neo-conservatives who are pushing the US to destroy all of Israel’s potential challengers: Iraq; Libya; Syria; and Iran.

Obama’s campaign against ISIS is incoherent because it is not controlled by, nor carried out for the interests of, the US.
Until the US frees itself from its dependence on regional Middle East powers it will continue to leave nothing but confusion and destruction in its wake, including destruction of its own putative role as a stabilizing force in world affairs.

King Abdullah: Islamic State’ rise could have been prevented
by Jordan Times | Sep 22, 2014

.AMMAN — King Abdullah stressed that Jordan’s borders are “extremely secure” and that the Kingdom, during the few past months, has firmly countered all threats to approach its borders.
In a TV interview during CBS’ “60 Minutes” aired on Sunday evening and hosted by Scott Pelley, the King said Syrian refugees constitute 20 per cent of the population. “I think we are at the limit actually, and with the difficult economic conditions we’re in, it’s a tremendous burden on our country.”

Answering a question whether the rise of the Islamic State (IS) could have been prevented, His Majesty said they could have been prevented if the international community had worked harder together, to make sure funding and support to the original groups in Syria were not allowed to get to the extent that they were.
“I think we could have done a better job in making sure that earlier on it was identified who the bad people were, and action by the international community was taken not to allow that to happen,” King Abdullah added.

On the threat IS poses in the region, His Majesty said the difference between IS and any other terror organisations is that it is self-financing.
“They can produce, within a year, up to almost a billion dollars worth of oil derivatives, which means they can pay a lot of foreign fighters come to their country. They can buy weapons.”
In response to a question whether the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Baghadadi, is an Islamic heretic, the King answered: “I think to use the word ‘Islam’ and him in the same sentence is not acceptable. That he even speaks in the name of Islam for me is so horrendous and so shocking.”

Jordan confirms its planes joined strikes on IS in Syria
by Jordan Times | Sep 23, 2014

AMMAN –– Jordan confirmed Tuesday that its warplanes had joined US-led strikes against the Islamic State (IS) group in Raqqa (Syria), Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
"We took part in the strikes which are part of our efforts to defeat terrorism in its strongholds," AFP quoted Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani, who is also the government spokesperson.
Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) also said that Royal Jordanian Air Force launched at dawn air strikes against "terrorist groups" that were planning attacks in Jordan.
The army statement is an indication that Jordan had joined the US-led strikes against IS in Syria as the US Defence Department announced that the US and partner nation forces have begun airstrikes inside Syria against terrorists from IS.


Rouhani: World seeing Iran's warnings on extremism to come true
New York, Sept 23, 2014, IRNA

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Iran had warned against the emergence of extremism in the world.
'We introduced violence and extremism as important problems of the world,' President Rouhani said upon his arrival in New York's John F Kennedy Airport on Monday evening.
'Now everyone sees that what havoc the extremists are creating in the world and I hope we talk about this issue and the ways for confronting it this year,' he added.
He expressed the hope that his visit to New York will be useful, and said, 'The purpose of this visit is clarifying Iran's stances and making them heard to the people of the world.

Flashback 2012

Hassan Firouzabadi: "Why are they establishing
Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"


TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons. Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined.
Firouzabadi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Iran’s National Defense University, said U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and occupied Afghanistan, “why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” ...
It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)

They were too busy using the Islamists to see that in fact, it was the Islamists who were using them - the US and NATO – a scenario that is currently being replayed in Syria...

This 'Arab Spring' Thing
"A Neo-Con ideological construct"
By Gerald A. Perreira, 30-10-2012


Regardless of the amount of damage control, lies and spin that comes out of Washington, nothing can clean up the mess they have gotten themselves into with their so-called Arab Spring – a construct straight out of their warped imaginations...
Following the hijacking of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and the subsuming of unrest across the region into a 'one size fits all', using that key phrase – 'Arab Spring', the Empire was on a roll. It was then that they committed their worst blunder...
They handed the most progressive and prosperous country in all of Africa on a platter to a conglomerate of religious deviants (Salafi Islamists).
Their plan was to use these Salafi Islamists to get rid of Qaddafi and destroy the Libyan Jamahiriya.... And they did use them, to achieve this objective, but the Salafis, who have had a long and tedious love-hate relationship with white supremacists/imperialists, were also using NATO.
They were too busy using the Islamists to see that in fact, it was the Islamists who were using them - the US and NATO – a scenario that is currently being replayed in Syria...

Former Islamic State member: "Al-Raqqa is mentally haunting me now
because what I have witnessed is just pure horror."
Your Middle East, 23-9-2014

I wanted to leave first week into my post in Al-Raqqa but I was a coward, scared of getting beheaded and did not know my way out. IS jihadists acted as God in Al-Raqqa. They were rude, arrested and killed anybody for no real reason.
I decided to risk my life to escape after I witnessed a wounded captured Kurdish YPG fighter publically beheaded. He was about my age, but unlike me he was extremely brave. He spat on every jihadist around him. He shouted slogans about Kurdish freedom and Abdullah Ocalan. I had never seen anyone so brave in my life. His fingers were cut yet he shouted insults against the jihadists. He was finally beheaded from behind to suffer and salt was put on his half-cult neck to die in agony but he did not give up until he painfully died this way. Children too were present at the public execution. However, I felt very sick afterward and did not sleep for a week thinking I am either going to runaway or kill myself, but thank God the chance came soon afterward in the city of Serekaniye.

- How and why did you end up in Serekaniye (Ras Al-Ain) because I am not sure if it is possible to travel from Al-Raqqa to the Kurdish region these days?
- My commander said Kurdish YPG was an infidel secularist army and impure, arguing that each jihadist has the duty to first purify his own people and if we were all pure then infidels would not exist. The commander and others too gave me examples of Palestine and Israel as well as Kosovo and Serbs. They told me jihadists should first fight impure Muslims of Palestine and Kosovo to purify them and this way Israelis and Serbs would not exist. This was argued against my Kurdish people too. I joined a new battalion; we went back to Turkey and crossed the Turkish border to enter Serekaniye.

- And what about the Ceylanpinar Turkish border post that is heavily controlled by Turkish soldiers?
- We were initially told by the IS field commander to fear nothing because there was cooperation with the Turks at the border. The watchtower light caught us and our commander said everybody should stop but do not look at the light. He talked on the radio, then the watchtower light began to move after 8-10 minutes and that was the signal saying we could safely cross the border.

- When and how did you finally escape IS in Serekaniye?
- I joined a new battalion because IS planned to regroup northeast Syria to attack the YPG. .. Nearly a week passed at the base and it was the YPG that attacked our campsite. I was lucky because I was at the last outpost faraway when YPG first attacked and I immediately surrendered after YPG sniper killed the two jihadists beside me...
It is true that I have physically escaped now thanks to God and thanks to the YPG, but Al-Raqqa is mentally haunting me now because what I have witnessed is just pure horror.


Foreign Ministry: Syria still fighting the ISIS
in Raqqa and Deir Ezzour
Syrian Arab News Agency, 23/09/2014

In a press statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs said: ” Yesterday, Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Walid al-Moallem received a letter from his American counterpart delivered by the Iraqi Foreign Minister in which he informed him that “The US will target the positions of the ISIS terrorist organization, some of which are in Syria.”
The Ministry continued “The Syrian Arab Republic affirms that it has been and it is still fighting the ISIS in Raqqa and Deir Ezzour and other areas, and it will not stop fighting it in cooperation with the countries which are directly or indirectly affected by it, on top of which the brotherly country of Iraq…
In this framework, Syria affirms that coordination between the two countries is ongoing and on highest levels to fight terrorism in implementation of the international resolution No. 2170 which was unanimously passed by the UN Security Council.”

The Ministry concluded the statement by saying ”Announcing for the second time that it is standing with any international efforts in the framework of combating and fighting terrorism regardless of its names such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISIS, the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that this must be done with completely preserving the lives of innocent civilians and in the framework of the national sovereignty and according to the international pacts.”