Saddam's Death, 50
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 49: dec 2014/jan 2015 and Page 51: feb-march 2015,
Page 41: Israel & The Gaza War and The Temple Revolution
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)


Syrian Poet Adonis

"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)

Zionism by definition defies bedrock principles of liberalism. A philosophy that values and treats every citizen equally despite differences in ethnicity and religion, is fundamentally at odds with a “Jewish state”. Therefore liberal Zionism is an oxymoron. (Reem Khamis-Dakwar 2014)

Index Page


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

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)


Back to Ezra, the father of
political judaism (i.e. theocracy)
The Book of Ezra, Chapter 10

While Ezra prayed before the house of God, a very large assembly of Israelites gathered about him, men, women, and children; and the people wept profusely.
Then Shecaniah, the son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, made this appeal to Ezra: “We have indeed betrayed our God by taking as wives foreign women of the peoples of the land. Yet in spite of this there still remains a hope for Israel.
Let us therefore enter into a covenant before our God to dismiss all our foreign wives and the children born of them, in keeping with what you, my lord, advise, and those who are in dread of the commandments of our God. Let it be done according to the law!

A proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles should gather together in Jerusalem... All the people, sitting in the open place before the house of God, were trembling both over the matter at hand and because it was raining.
Then Ezra, the priest, stood up and said to them: “Your apostasy in taking foreign women as wives has added to Israel’s guilt.
But now, give praise to the LORD, the God of your ancestors, and do his will: separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign women.” In answer, the whole assembly cried out with a loud voice: “Yes, it is our duty to do as you say!

A Nation Apart

After the breakup of the mixed families, the people of the land knew that the returned exiles would not assimilate, but had come among them as a nation apart, a people that viewed themselves as superior to all other men on earth, a people who would not cooperate on projects of common welfare or "be reasonable" regarding social conventions of marriage, worship and government..." (racialpeace.org)

Netanyahu: "We can't continue with this kindergarten"
YNet News, 18-1-2015

A Likud campaign video depicted Naftali Bennett as a child playing with tanks and Netanyahu as a kindergarten teacher attempting to keep order.
In the campaign video, Netanyahu is the one adult in a kindergarten populated by his rivals - played by children - who are wreaking havoc on the room.
In addition to Bennett, Yair Lapid, Avigdor Lieberman and Tzipi Livni also appear in the video.
When little Lapid and little Bennett fight over a chair during a game of musical chairs, Netanyahu tells them off, and tells a hyperactive little Tzipi Livni to "stop running from one place to another." "This is a waste of time, we can't continue with this kindergarten..."


President Hollande: Secularism respects all religions
By Juan Cole | Jan. 17, 2015

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

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

French President Francois Hollande addressed the Institute of the Arab World on Friday, in a bid to reassure French Muslims, who fear being the victims of a collective guilt campaign or reprisals after the attack of radicals on Charlie Hebdo.

Hollande said: “It is the Muslims who are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance… We must remember that Islam is compatible with democracy.. We must have in France French of Muslim faith who have the same rights and the same duties as all citizens... They must be protected. Secularism helps in this regard since it respects all religions…"

Hollande is being a little idealistic about actual French secularism as it is enshrined in law and practice, but the general principle is correct. Secular government can neutralize religious competition for the state of the sort we have seen in post-Bush Iraq, with all its disasters.

Traditionalists reject modernity, by which they mean Western secularism and the banishment of religious values from most aspects of daily life. In this world view, reason and the Enlightenment have become the new devils, modern blasphemies because they dare to set Man up as equal to God. The original sin of modern Man is therefore to have rejected the sovereignty of God and put in its place the sovereignty of the Individual. (www.ibaradio.org)


Sever Plocker: We want a normal country
with normal difficulties
YNet News Opinion, 19-1-2015

"What kind of country do you want to leave your children?" I was asked by Knesset Member Yair Lapid, along with tens of thousands of other people who received the email with that subject line from his election headquarters.
For me it is a simple question which I am prepared to give a simple answer to. I want to leave my children an Israel with a secured future: A state which does not have (at least) 1.6 million citizens living below the poverty line and which does not have (at least) 2.6 million Palestinian non-citizens living below the occupation line.
I would be completely at peace leaving my children the country as it is today, only without these two horrible humps on its back: Without occupation and without poverty...
These are the two malignant growths endangering its future. The two swords hanging over our children's heads and over our grandchildren's heads, intertwined. And we have failed, so far, to remove them...

Because my wife and I and many other Israelis like us want to leave their children a country which does not control another people and which is not indifferent to its poor, we will not stop fighting for the end of the occupation and end of poverty. All the rest is important, but not critical. Temporary, but not essential. Irritating, but not unusual or a threat to Israel's identity, image and future.

You asked, MK Lapid, what kind of country we want to leave our children. Well, here's the answer: A normal country with normal difficulties.

""What's important is not me. And it's not you. It's us."
David Brin


Support for Syria Peace Plans a Big Shift in US Policy
US Had Long Been Major Obstacle to Diplomacy
by Jason Ditz, antiwar.com 19-1-2015

In a dramatic change in policy that has gone largely unappreciated, the Obama Administration has recently come out in favor of both the UN effort to negotiate a ceasefire in Aleppo and the Russian effort to resume peace talks between Syria and secular rebels.
Giving support to either measure is a shift, as the US has long spurned diplomatic efforts in Syria on the grounds that only a full-scale regime change was acceptable to them. They have long pressed the pro-US rebels not to join such talks.
But getting behind the Russian talks as well is nothing short of shocking, as the US often spurns Russian peace overtures, even if they are nominally reflective of US policy, just to spite Russia.
Though Secretary of State John Kerry presented the move as a call for Assad to “put people first,” the shift really suggests the US is abandoning the idea, at least in the near-term, of ousting the Assad government militarily.
With ISIS holding a growing portion of the country, they are now the priority, and the administration is clearly keen to get various other rebel factions to focus on ISIS instead of on Assad.


Aleppo-Armenian photographer Hagop Vanesian
opens personal exhibition called “My Homeland”
Diaspora News, 15-1-2015

Aleppo-Armenian photographer Hagop Vanesian opened his personal exhibition showcasing 26 photos at the hall of the UN Center in New York.
The exhibition is called “My Homeland” and will run until January 16. Vanesian’s photos showcase the war in Aleppo and other images, as well as scenes from the streets that have been destroyed.
Each photo shows the nightmare in Syria and the pain of the photographer. Each photo serves as evidence of the pain, sorrow and suffering.
Among those attending the opening ceremony were Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al Zaafari, many Ambassadors and heads of accredited diplomatic representations, scholars, professors, as well as artists and cultural figures.
Aleppo is one of the cities of Syria that has been the most devastated by the war.



Aleppo before - Aleppo & the FSA 2012 - Homs before


The Syrian Ambassador’s Complaint
By Eva Bartlett, CounterPunch Jan 19, 2015

Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari: Anybody who opposes this exhibition belongs to a political current opposing the truth. Any honest, objective Syrian who loves his homeland, who says he feels sick because of what is going on in Syria, should have a great interest in showing what is going on in Syria. All Syrians should push for organizing more exhibitions, not only at the United Nations but all over the world, to explain what Da’esh and al-Nusra Front and the other terrorist groups are doing.

On Jan. 8, in his sparsely-furnished New York City office, the Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, sat down with Al-Akhbar for an interview.
First we discussed the exhibition of Aleppo-based Syrian photographer Hagop Vanesian, titled “My Homeland,” which opened the same day at the United Nations headquarters.

- Al-Akhbar: How did this exhibition come about?
- Ambassador al-Ja’afari: This is the first breakthrough we’ve had at the level of the United Nations since the beginning of what is commonly called “the Syrian crisis.” For four years, I have been trying very hard to do something inside the UN. Every time we attempted to do something, we were confronted by a huge amount of bureaucracy, excuses, apologies (sometimes), denial of our rights (sometimes), negligence, etc.
I’m very glad that we finally succeeded in organizing this exhibition — which doesn’t address the whole, dramatic picture of the Syrian crisis, but only focuses on what happened to and in Aleppo, the second-largest city in Syria, after the capital, Damascus. It’s about Syria, it’s about the Syrian people. It’s not about the Syrian government or the Syrian opposition or the Syrian coalition thugs or Da’esh (ISIS). It’s about Syria, about what happened in Aleppo, through undeniable photos.

- AA: Why do you think that the UN has allowed this exhibition now? You mentioned you’d wanted to sponsor exhibitions in the past but hadn’t been allowed.
- Ambassador al-Ja’afari: The Saudi mission, the French mission, the Danish mission, the British mission, the German mission… they have countered Syrian government activities in the UN. Every time we complained about it they said, “You can do the same.” Today we said, “We have an exhibition.” They were cornered. They couldn’t say no (chuckles), because they kept telling me “You can do the same.”
We are not attacking Germany or France or others, we are showing the reality in our country.

- AA: An Associated Press article that has been running in the mainstream papers slammed this exhibit; citing an official in the opposition Syrian National Coalition calling the photographer a “propagandist.”
- Ambassador al-Ja’afari: This is what they are good at. They don’t look at the picture in its entirety, in its comprehensiveness. They don’t address what the photographs are talking about objectively. They have prejudices, wrong preconceived ideas about what’s taking place in Syria. They start with wrong ideas and end with wrong ideas. It’s really unfortunate, because here we are not talking about just some gallery in New York. We are talking about the United Nations headquarters!

We are speaking the language of the UN: territorial integrity of states, political independence of states, sovereignty of states, equal membership of states.
All these sacrosanct terms are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. We are not starting from scratch or re-inventing new language. We are in full harmony with the UN language and the UN provisions of the Charter.

Others are not, because they don’t belong to the UN world. .. They have been falsifying facts, spreading rumours, making propaganda against the Syrian government for years. And they are living off this criticism, it has become a source of their livelihood, their own welfare. The more you criticize the Syrian government, the more money you get from the petrodollar countries, the more visas you get from Western world, the more you go to five-star hotels, the more you appear on TV screens as dignitaries of the Syrian people, as representatives — exclusive representatives — of the Syrian people.

Anybody who opposes this exhibition belongs to a political current opposing the truth.


aleppo 2011 - 2012

- AA: In reference to Syria’s destroyed heritage, US Secretary of State John Kerry has implied that it is America’s duty to protect Syria’s heritage. What is your take on his statement in light of the US’ involvement in the Syrian war?
- Ambassador al-Ja’afari: This man is disconnected from reality, totally disconnected... But, he’s not the only one.
On the other hand, there are many honest senators and genuine people in Congress who opposed the American administration’s plan to attack Syria. There are genuine people, and the American constitution is based on beautiful values.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian freelance journalist and activist who has lived in and written from the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Lebanon.


aleppo 2013 - 2014


Making the world safe for capitalism, imperialism,
anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists.
By William Blum, January 20, 2015 "ICH"

Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region.



Gaddafi 1973: Freedom, Socialism, Unity

And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?
In the 1980s, the United States overthrew the Afghan government that was progressive, with full rights for women, believe it or not, leading to the creation of the Taliban and their taking power.
In the 2000s, the United States overthrew the Iraqi government, destroying not only the secular state, but the civilized state as well, leaving a failed state.
In 2011, the United States and its NATO military machine overthrew the secular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving behind a lawless state and unleashing many hundreds of jihadists and tons of weaponry across the Middle East.
And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

However, despite it all, the world was made safe for capitalism, imperialism, anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists...

One of Levy’s greatest achievements in Libya was to muster international recognition of the National Transitional Council (NTC). France and other countries lead a campaign to promote the NTC as an alternative to Qaddafi’s state institution, which NATO had systematically destroyed. Ramzy Baroud 2013

Starting with the Cold War, and with the above interventions building upon that, we have 70 years of American foreign policy, without which “almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders”.

On January 11, Paris was the site of a March of National Unity in honor of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose journalists had been assassinated by terrorists. The march was rather touching, but it was also an orgy of Western hypocrisy...
I present here some views on Charlie Hebdo sent to me by a friend in Paris who has long had a close familiarity with the publication and its staff:

“On international politics Charlie Hebdo was neoconservative. It supported every single NATO intervention from Yugoslavia to the present. They were anti-Muslim, anti-Hamas (or any Palestinian organization), anti-Russian, anti-Cuban (with the exception of one cartoonist), anti-Hugo Chávez, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, pro-Pussy Riot, pro-Kiev …
They didn’t give a fuck about any form of ‘correctness’ – political, religious, or whatever; just having fun and trying to sell a ‘subversive’ magazine (with the notable exception of the former editor, Philippe Val, who is, I think, a true-blooded neocon).”

William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope, Rogue State, West-Bloc Dissident, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Flashback: KTemoc Blog, September 25, 2012
Charlie Hebdo & Western hypocrisy

In an earlier post Defending Ngeh's Tweet on provocative film I commented on the hypocrisy of the West.. I forgot to include the French magazine Charlie Hebdo's publishing of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad, following the Muslim World's protests against an anti-Islam film by Sam Bacile or Nakoula Basseley.
The French Foreign Minister was pissed off with the magazine's proposed publications and stated: "Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?"
Charlie Hebdo's director, Stephane Charbonnier, pompously claimed that his magazine was not really fuelling the (angry Muslim) fire but rather using its (that thick-skinned hypocritical claim again) 'freedom of expression' to comment on the news in a satirical way. Its editor responded to the French ministerial rebuke: "We do caricatures of everyone, and above all every week..."

But then, can Charlie Hebdo please explain why its former cartoonist Siné (real name Maurice Sinet) was sacked in 2008 for his cartoon-article on the marriage of Jean Sakorzy, the son of France former president, to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, a Jewish heiress, after a journalist described Sinet's comments as anti-Semitic...
The editor of Charlie Hebdo, Phillippe Val agreed that Sinet’s remark about young Sakorzy was offensive and anti-Semitic and warned the journalist-cartoonist to write a letter of apology or be fired...
Sinet gave him two fingers and replied he would rather "cut his own balls off". He was promptly fired by Charlie Hebdo but sued the publisher and won a 40,000-euro court judgment for wrongful job termination.
He set-up later his own publication, Sine Hebdo, with the money he won over unfair dismissal.

Maurice Sinet (born 31 December 1928), known as Siné, is a French political cartoonist. His work is noted for its anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism, anti-clericalism and anarchism.
In 2008, Siné's article and cartoons in the magazine Charlie Hebdo relating to Jean Sarkozy's converting to Judaism so he could marry Jewish heiress Jessica Sebaoun-Darty were accompanied by a short note from Siné reading, "He'll go far, this lad!"
For Val, there was no doubt. Siné's statements 'could be interpreted as making a link between conversion to Judaism and social success' and that they spread the old stereotype associating Jews and money.(Wikipedia)


Anarchism & anti-clericalism in the Holy Books

They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded [in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilah (God - Allah). Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. (Quran, Al-Tawba 31)

"But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9)

Salman bin Abdulaziz declared Saudi Arabia’s king
Al Arabiya News, 23 January 2015

Salman bin Abdulaziz (born 31 December 1935) has become Saudi Arabia’s king and Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz was declared the Crown Prince after king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz passed away, the Royal Court announced on Friday.
A Royal Court statement said Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received the pledge of allegiance as the country's king from members of the royal family. After that, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz received the pledge of allegiance as Crown Prince.

Salman and his family own a media group, including pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat and Al Eqtisadiah.
Though he owns 10% of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), he is often referred by auditors as its owner.He reportedly controls the organization through his son Prince Faisal, who was the chairman. The SRMG publishes such daily papers as Arab News, Asharq Al-Awsat and Al Eqtisadiah through its subsidiary Saudi Research and Publishing Company (SRPC).
In a similar vein, Salman is reported to have some strong alliances with significant journalists. He is said to be close to Al Arabiya TV director and Asharq Al-Awsat journalist Abdelrahman Al Rashid and to Othman Al Omeir, who launched and is the owner of the liberal e-newspaper Elaph. (Wikipedia)

In 2007 Salman said (according to a 2007 U.S. diplomatic cable) that "that for social reasons — not [religious] reasons — reforms cannot be imposed by the [Saudi government] or there will be negative reactions, ... [and] that changes have to be introduced in a sensitive and timely manner." He said that "democracy should not be imposed" in Saudi Arabia, since the country "is composed of tribes and regions and if democracy were imposed, each tribe and region would have its political party." (Wikipedia)

Robert Jordan, who was U.S. ambassador in Riyadh from 2001-03: Prince Salman had initially refused to believe Saudis participated in the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, but his attitude changed in the face of increasingly solid evidence that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.
"He doesn't blindly accept everything the United States says, but at the same time he understands the importance of the relationship, which goes beyond oil..." (fiscaltimes)

In a meeting with the SNC delegation (18-7-2013) Salman did not mention Assad and did not criticize the Syrian regime. Salman told the delegation that Saudi Arabia has no special interests in Syria and all what the kingdom wants is to see a secure and stable Syria that is an ally. (Al Monitor 2013)

"Brothers: The Arab and Islamic nation is in dire need today to be united and maintain solidarity. Our march is to undertake everything possible to keep the unity of our ranks..." (Saudi King Salman, speech after taking the throne)


Arab MKs Hope to Rid Knesset of 'Extreme Right'
By Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva 1/23/2015

The Arab parties of Balad, Hadash and United Arab List, which decided to run on a joint list on Thursday, introduced the new union on Friday and declared their goal: to rid the Knesset of “the extreme right”, as they put it.
Members of the new united party gathered for a press conference in which they unveiled the make-up of the new list, noting that the union was reached despite the major differences in interests between the parties that represent different regions, populations, ethnic groups, and ideologies.

MK Ahmed Tibi, who was placed in the #4 spot on the new joint list, mocked Liberman and said that the credit for getting all the Arab parties together should go to the Foreign Minister.
"Liberman and the extreme rightists raised the threshold to push the Arabs out of the Knesset. Today we are closer to the top and closer to the threshold, and we hope that [Liberman] will not have a representative in the Knesset. Our list has no theft suspects like Liberman's party does - this list is clean and pure,” said Tibi.

Ramiz Jaraisy, former mayor of Nazareth who was one of the key mediators between the parties, said at Friday’s conference, "This list represents the entire social fabric in Israel, this really is a democratic list, the only democratic list in the Israeli Knesset."
Jaraisy expressed hope that the unity will also affect other countries in the region, and said, "We call on the Arab world and the Palestinian Authority to learn how we managed to unite between Communists, Islamists and nationalists all in one list..."

Liberman’s party calls to disqualify new united Arab faction
By Times of Israel staff, January 24, 2015

The Yisrael Beytenu party, led by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, said Saturday that it would file a petition with the Central Elections Committee asking to disqualify the new united Arab party from running in the national elections on March 17.
The new faction, set to be called the United Democratic Party, brings together Israel’s Arab-majority parties: Balad, Ra’am-Ta’al, the socialist, Arab-Jewish Hadash party and the Islamic Movement.

Yisrael Beytenu said in a statement Saturday that “whoever casts his lot with Balad, whose whole raison d’etre is to support terror groups and cooperate with Israel’s enemies, does not deserve to be part of the Israeli Knesset.”
Yisrael Beytenu called on other parties to join the petition against the united Arab list...

The head of the new Arab party, Haifa attorney Ayman Odeh, said the goal was to prevent the Israeli right-wing from winning the coming elections.
“We oppose the Arab vs. Jew and Jew vs. Arab approach. Our Knesset list, which has Jews and Arabs, is not against Israeli society, it fights for Israeli society to become [more] democratic, equal, [a society that] pursues peace,” Odeh said at a press conference in Nazareth Friday

MK Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al), who had been considered a favorite to lead the unified slate and who placed fourth, called on Jews as well as Arabs to vote for the new alliance.
We call on the Arab public, as well as the Jewish public who believes in our way, to vote for us. Our list is not in any danger. Liberman’s list is at risk,” said Tibi


Obama in Riyadh at the head of a large delegation
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News, 27 January 2015

President Barack Obama arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday to meet the new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The Saudi Royal Court issued a statement saying that King Salman stressed to Obama the importance of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The two leaders also discussed the crises in Yemen and Syria and touched on the Iranian file, according to the statement.

Obama arrived in Riyadh at the head of a large delegation, which included senior officials from past and present administrations, members of the U.S. Congress – both Republican and Democrat – and top U.S. security officials, signaling the strong ties between the two states.

Joining Obama in paying respects over the death of King Abdullah was Secretary of State John Kerry, who arrived on a separate flight from Germany, as well as Republican statesmen James Baker, who served as secretary of state in the George H.W. Bush administration, and Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state for President George W. Bush.
Former security officials Stephen Hadley, a former U.S. National Security adviser, and Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush were also listed as part of the delegation.
Members from both ends of the U.S. political spectrum also took part in the visit, including Democrat Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Republican Senator John McCain, who is often critical of Obama’s foreign policy.

Ben Rhodes, the U.S. deputy National Security advisor, said once the U.S. learned of King Abdullah’s death it worked to put together a delegation “that represented people who had been invested in the Saudi relationship for a long time...

Condoleezza Rice, CBS News, November 28, 2003: "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It’s not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York."

Obama, Saudi king discuss IS fight, Iran
Middle East Online, Ian Timberlake, 28-1-2015

US President Barack Obama and King Salman tackled the issue of Iran's nuclear programme and human rights in the conservative kingdom, a senior US official said.
Riyadh has been part of the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against IS since last year and is a long-time regional ally of Washington.

"I believe it is important that we demonstrate to the Saudis the importance that they represent to us," said James Baker, secretary of state during the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein.
"This is an extraordinarily critical and sensitive time in the Middle East when everything seems to be falling apart. And the kingdom in some way is becoming an island of stability," said Baker.

A senior US official said Obama and Salman discussed "the campaign against the Islamic State... the need to continue providing support to the opposition in Syria (and) the need to promote unity in Iraq".
Several other topics, including Riyadh's human rights record -- heavily criticised by activists -- and Iranian nuclear talks, were also broached during Tuesday's visit.
The US official said Obama discussed human rights "in broad terms," but did not raise with Salman the case of blogger Raef Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam and whose case has attracted international concern.

McCain, a Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the kingdom was emerging "as the major bulwark" against efforts by Iran to expand its influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain.


Saudi TV Blurs Out Michelle Obama
By Ari Soffer, Arutz Sheva, 27-1-2015

After a haredi newspaper famously photoshopped female world leaders out of pictures from the recent Paris march against Islamist terrorism it seems they are not in fact alone.
Upon arriving in Saudi Arabia Tuesday, Saudi TV showed US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walking down a red carpet and meeting key dignitaries...
But apparently perturbed at the first lady's lack of Islamic attire the producers at Saudi state TV came up with a different, even less subtle approach to protect their viewers' eyes from temptation: the massive blurred column. You have to admit, it is effective.


Vladimir Putin: Speech at the
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre
"Promote the values of humanism"
Kremlin News, January 27, 2015

70 years ago, Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp... By the decision of the United Nations Organisation this day, January 27, was declared International Holocaust Remembrance Day...
It is hard to imagine that real death factories, mass shootings and deportations were a reality of the 20th century, that they were organised in cold blood in what then seemed to be a civilised Europe...

However, as history has shown wherever ideas of ethnic or racial supremacy are put into people’s heads and the seeds of inter-ethnic hatred are sown, wherever traditional human values are destroyed and trampled upon, civilisation is quickly and inevitably replaced with barbarity, while peace is replaced with cruel conflicts, war and aggression.

The Nazis threatened to enslave the peoples of our multi-ethnic state. They were to be either assimilated by force and turned into slaves or destroyed to create so-called living space for some ’higher race’...
Such crimes do not and should not have a term of limitation. They can be neither forgiven nor forgotten...

In this connection, I would like to say that Russians bore the brunt of the battle against Nazism. Seventy percent of all the Red Army officers and men were Russians, and the Russian people made the largest sacrifice in the name of victory.
However, here within the confines of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre I would like to recall that Jewish citizens of the Soviet Union made an enormous contribution to the victory over our enemy. More than half a million Jews fought in the Red Army, over 40 thousand were members of partisan units. Almost a third of them (27 percent) were volunteers. Almost 200 thousand were killed in battles for their Fatherland.
The heroism of representatives of all ethnic groups, their selfless love for their homeland, their readiness for self-sacrifice will always remain in our memory, in the thankful memory of the peoples of Russia.

Friends, as we pay tribute, we should look ahead into the future...
True, there has been significant change on the world arena in the past decades. However, we see that antihuman ideas are still alive.
We continue coming across attempts at dividing humankind on ethnic, racial or religious grounds...
Nazis made use of these primitive instincts back in their times, while now they are used by neonationalists, extremists and terrorists in a number of countries and regions.
We have to counter these threats together, to protect the peace and freedom of the people together, defend the right of states and peoples to choose their own development path.

I would like to repeat that today, in the 21st century it is important to enhance the efficiency of the collective security system and to promote the values of humanism and cooperation and to always bear in mind the lessons we learn from history.

Hillary Clinton & The Libyan War
J.S. Shapiro and K. Riddell, The Washington Times, 28-1-2015

Secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli, reviewed by The Washington Times and authenticated by the participants, chronicle U.S. officials' unfiltered conversations with Col. Moammar Gadhafi's son and a top Libyan leader...

"You should see these internal State Department reports that are produced in the State Department that go out to the Congress. They're just full of stupid, stupid facts," an American intermediary specifically dispatched by the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Gadhafi regime in July 2011...
At the time, the Gadhafi regime was fighting a civil war that grew out of the Arab Spring, battling Islamist-backed rebels... Mrs. Clinton argued that Gadhafi might engage in genocide and create a humanitarian crisis...

False pretenses

Gadhafi's son and heir apparent, Seif Gadhafi, told American officials in the secret conversations that he was worried Mrs. Clinton was using false pretenses to justify unseating his father and insisted that the regime had no intention of harming a mass of civilians. He compared Mrs. Clinton's campaign for war to that of the George W. Bush administration's now debunked weapons of mass destruction accusations, which were used to lobby Congress to invade Iraq, the tapes show.
"It was like the WMDs in Iraq. It was based on a false report," Gadhafi said in a May 2011 phone call to Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat serving at the time. "Libyan airplanes bombing demonstrators, Libyan airplanes bombing districts in Tripoli, Libyan army killed thousands, etc., etc., and now the whole world found there is no single evidence that such things happened in Libya."
Seif Gadhafi warned that many of the U.S.-supported armed rebels were "not freedom fighters" but rather jihadists whom he described as "gangsters and terrorists."

Dennis J. Kucinich, who challenged Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, acknowledged that he undertook his own conversations with the Gadhafi regime. He said he feared Mrs. Clinton was using emotion to sell a war against Libya that wasn't warranted, and he wanted to get all the information he could to share with his congressional colleagues.
"I had facts that indicated America was headed once again into an intervention that was going to be disastrous," Mr. Kucinich told The Times.
"What was being said at the State Department — if you look at the charge at the time — it wasn't so much about what happened as it was about what would happen. So there was a distortion of events that were occurring in Libya to justify an intervention which was essentially wrong and illegal."

Regime Change

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton declined to provide any comment about the recordings.
The State Department also declined to answer questions about separate contacts from the Pentagon and Mr. Kucinich with the Gadhafi regime, but said the goal of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama was regime change in Libya.
"U.S. policy during the revolution supported regime change.., in line with NATO mission goals," the State Department said.

Both inside and outside the Obama administration, Mrs. Clinton was among the most vocal early proponents of using U.S. military force to unseat Gadhafi. Joining her in making the case were French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Sen. John McCain, and her successor as secretary of state, John F. Kerry.
Numerous U.S. officials interviewed by The Times confirmed that Mrs. Clinton, and not Mr. Obama, led the charge to use NATO military force to unseat Gadhafi as Libya's leader...
Mrs. Clinton urged the Pentagon to cease its communications with the Gadhafi regime...
Shutting the Gadhafis out of the conversation allowed Mrs. Clinton to pursue a solitary point of view, said a senior Pentagon official directly involved with the intervention. "The decision to invade [Libya] had already been made..."

On March 19, the U.S. military, supported by France and Britain, fired off more than 110 Tomahawk missiles, hitting about 20 Libyan air and missile defense targets. Within weeks, a NATO airstrike killed one of Gaddafi's sons and three grandsons at their the family's Tripoli compound...
Under immense foreign firepower, the Gadhafi regime's grip on Libya began to slip in early April and the rebels' resolve was strengthened...
In August, Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli was overrun, signaling the end of his 42-year reign and forcing him into hiding. Two months later, Gadhafi, 69, was killed in his hometown of Sirte. His son Seif was captured by the Zintan tribe and remains in solitary confinement in a Zintan prison cell.

Since Gadhafi was removed from power, Libya has been in a constant state of chaos, with factional infighting and no uniting leader.


The subsequent NATO bombing, dubbed a "humanitarian intervention" by Western governments, marked a ruinous "rebirth" of Libya's standard of living. By the time Qaddafi was hunted down and brutally killed in Sirte on October 20, 2011, the country was destroyed.
More than 9,000 sorties targeting civilian and urban areas destroyed government buildings, residential neighborhoods, electricity generation facilities and water supply infrastructure. Today, the nation is still reeling from its failed revolution, a battleground of warring rebel and extremists groups with competing stakes in Libya's formerly nationalized oil industry.
Clinton's gleeful reaction to Qaddafi's murder was even captured on film in a pre-interview screening with CBS News: "We came; we saw; he died!" she proclaimed.

NATO's dirtiest war of the 21st century was a mockery of international law. It was approved by no intercontinental body, sanctioned by no parliament, nor justified by any imminent threat to the West. (By Harrison Samphir, Truthout, 5-2-2015)


How Israel went from being a Democratic
to a Republican Project
By Juan Cole | Jan. 29, 2015

From the late 1970s, the Israeli right wing began winning national elections. Some of it, as with the Likud Party, resembled Franco’s Spanish fascists, having a similar origin in the far right wing mass movements of the 1930s in Europe. It reached out to the Mizrahis or Jews from the Middle East who had fled or been expelled after the rise of Israel made them (quite unfairly) controversial at home.
Then in the 1990s, a million immigrants came to Israel from the former Soviet Union and East Bloc, only about half of them actually what you might call Jewish. Most of them wanted nothing to do with socialism or the Labor Party.

The old Central European Labor Party elite and its socialist institutions such as the Histadrut workers’ union, declined rapidly in influence.
A new class of billionaires emerged, and workers began having difficulty paying rent. Class divisions increased. To deflect any backlash from downwardly mobile workers, the Right pushed the colonization of the Palestinian West Bank...
Israel’s narrative today is much more like the grand Republican one than like that of New Deal Democrats. It is a land of capitalists and IPOs, of a handful of billionaires who buy Netanyahu his elections and increasingly poorly paid workers (who are still better off than the Palestinian underclass)...
Now, with the long dominance of the Israeli Right and the attenuation of Labor and Meretz, Israel is a Republican project, and being deployed in American politics primarily for Republican purposes.

Boehner: Obama Administration
Has Deep Antipathy for Netanyahu
By Cynthia Blank, Arutz Sheva 1/29/2015

Boehner 2014: Support for Israel must be the United States’ main focus.. At times like this, people try to isolate Israel – but we are here to stand with Israel.
US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner defended the decision to invite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress in a special interview aired on Fox News.
Boehner raised eyebrows last week when he announced that Netanyahu had accepted his invitation to address a rare joint session of Congress early this year – an invitation extended without consulting Democratic leaders in Congress or the White House...

When asked by Baier if the Obama administration harbors a deep antipathy against Prime Minister Netanyahu, Boehner answered in the affirmative. "Of course," he said, "they don't even try to hide it."
Boehner stressed that he has no regrets over his invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress, but added he is not surprised by the pushback and criticism he's received for the move.
"I believe that the Prime Minister of Israeli has a strong voice. He believes that the threat of the Iranians having a nuclear weapon is a very serious threat."
Continuing, Boehner stressed the importance of the US's relationship with the Jewish State.
"Israel has been our strongest ally in the region for decades. We have a great relationship with them, and we ought to look for ways to work together on behalf of our shared interests," he stressed, slamming Obama for continued "antipathy."

Bogdanov: Moscow talks only chance for Syria settlement
Samki Amara, Asharq Al-Awsat, 29-1-2015

Moscow is the only place where the Syrian opposition and the government of President Bashar Al-Assad can negotiate a political settlement for the Syrian conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Moscow is the only place in the world that can bring together all opposition factions [including the Muslim Brotherhood] and the Syrian government,” Bogdanov said.
Unlike the Friends of Syria group, which only invites the Western-backed coalition to its meetings, Russia has called on almost all opposition factions from across the spectrum, he maintained.
“Remember that the Friends of Syria meeting only invited representatives from the Coalition.

2013: Friends of Syria meeeting in Qatar
Russia says it will maintain a neutral position throughout the talks.
“Let Syrians agree among themselves. If they fail to reach an agreement on a solution, they will continue fighting, killing each other and destroying their country should it suit them,” Bogdanov said.
He warned that the armed conflict in Syria may drag on for years to come unless rivals negotiate a peaceful solution. “Did not the war in neighboring Lebanon continue for 16 years? The fighting between them [Syrians] may continue for the same period should war appeal to them.”

The official urged the UN and the countries “capable of influencing the Syrian government and opposition to shift [efforts] towards negotiations.”
“We welcome the participation of all neighboring countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Qatar.”


Flashback, Egypt 2013:
"If you want to engage in politics
then you can get a licence for a political party"
Ahram Weekly, 20-9-2013

“The main lesson of the 30 June Revolution which removed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi from power,” said Amr Moussa, chairman of the committee and a former presidential candidate, “is that politics and religion do not mix.”
“If you want to engage in politics then you can get a licence for a political party but if you want to play religion then you can get a licence to preach and then go to the mosque.”
Moussa confirmed that the new constitution will place a ban on the formation of religious parties. “Religiously motivated political parties only harm society by fanning sectarian strife and tarring their political opponents as infidels and non-believers.”

Mousa al-Omar: There's no such thing called FSA anymore.
They're all Islamist brigades - YouTube, 13-10-2013

Mousa al-Omar, a Syrian opposition newscaster for al-Ghad TV (Tomorrow TV) broadcasting from London, explains briefly how the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) became strong in Syria and shoots down idiotic conspiracy theories made by some in the Syrian opposition that ISIL is connected to Syrian or Iranian intelligence services. He also states that there's no such thing as the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) in Syria anymore. He confirms that all the fighting rebel forces on the ground are, in fact, Islamist brigades.

The FSA is two types: one that sells because it needs to pay its members a living and another that likes war loot and things like that..., which means it's corrupt, so it sells weapons for financial gain...
The truth of the FSA is a big lie, i.e. the word "Free Syrian Army". There's no such thing called FSA anymore. They're all Islamist brigades. (Source: al-Ghad TV)


Sayyed Nasrallah: Israel is protecting "Nusra Front" fighters
Sara Taha Moughnieh, Al-Manar Lebanon 30-1-2015

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah announced Friday that after the Quneitra operation Hezbollah was no longer concerned with the so-called "rules of engagement" with the Israeli enemy in any coming battle or assault, and clarified that the resistance will be responding to any violation in the time and place that it chose.
Remembering the Quneitra martyrs, he expressed his compassion and sincere love for them...
"This group of martyrs is consisted of three generations, and with the martyrdom of General Dadi and Abu Issa, We can see that the leaders are always present with the soldiers, and this is the secret of the resistance..."

Explaining the Quneitra operation, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that "on Sunday, Israeli aircrafts targeted two vehicles carrying seven brothers and killed them all while they were in an inspection tour in Quneitra.
Falsifying all the Israeli claims that this group was present in Quneitra to wage an attack on Israel or to prepare for an attack, Sayyed Nasrallah asked:
"Thousands of "Nusra Front" fighters are present with their weapons in Golan. What is Nusra Front? It is the Syrian version of Al-Qaeda, the organization labeled as terrorist by the entire world... and it has a wide military presence in the Golan. How come Netanyahu is not worried about that?

How come Yaalon is not worried about that, and is instead protecting them, opening hospitals for them, and paying them visits?
Well, Israel which was not worried about the presence of all those on its borders, took a dangerous decision because it was worried from the presence of two cars carrying seven men that only have their personal weapons."

As for some analyses that thought that Iran or Syria would try to prevent Hezbollah from responding to the attack due to their international interests, Sayyed Nasrallah assured that "none of our friends accept that we get humiliated or get killed and just sit and watch... and Israel must know that it cannot kill people and go to sleep peacefully as if what it killed were just bugs!"

Sayyed Nasrallah reassured that the armed Takfiri groups, specifically those in Golan, are allies to Israel and they are similar to Lahad Army that was in south Lebanon. He added that the resistance did not want war, however, it did not fear it...

Flashback: Al-Nusra Front captures Syrian Golan Heights crossing
Middle East Eye, 27 August 2014

Syrian opposition fighters, including the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, have taken control of the Syrian crossing of the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.
"Al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups took the Quneitra crossing, and heavy fighting with the Syrian army is continuing in the surrounding area," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The capture is thought to be the result of a coordinated attack by the Al-Nusra Front - designated a terrorist organisation by the US, UK and Saudi Arabia - and Ahrar al-Sham, a leading member of the Saudi-supported Islamic Front.

Israeli army forces - whose posts lie around 200 metres from Syrian posts - fired upon two Syrian army positions...


Zionists all - The Zionist Camp
Uri Avnery, Saudi Gazette 31-1-2015

MANY TIMES people ask me: “Are you a Zionist?” My stock answer is: “Depends on what you mean by Zionism.” This is quite sincere. The term Zionism can mean many different things.

Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, did not really want to go to Zion, a hill in Jerusalem. He did not like Palestine at all...
When the movement turned towards Zion, Zionism still meant many different things to different people.
Some wanted the country to become merely a spiritual center of the Jews. Others wanted it to become a socialist Utopia. Others wanted it to become a nationalist bastion based on military force. The renewal of the Hebrew language was not a part of the Zionist project at all. Herzl thought that we would speak German...
Even the desire to found a Jewish State was not unanimous. Some ardent Zionists, like Martin Buber, dreamed of a bi-national state, half Arab, half Jewish.
Religious Zionists want a state based on and dominated by the Jewish religion. Atheist Zionists declare the Jews are a nation, not a religion, and want nothing to do with the Jewish faith. And so on...

So what does Zionism mean nowadays?
For many Israelis, Zionism means nothing more than Israeli patriotism. If you want Israel to exist as a “Jewish state” (whatever that means) you are a Zionist. Also, you have to believe that Israel is a part of the world-wide “Jewish people” and its leader, a kind of command-center. In up-to-date terminology: “the Nation-State of the Jewish people”.

Where do I stand?
Soon after, Israel was founded. 40 years ago, in a libel case, I was asked to define my attitude toward Zionism.
In response I invented the term “post-Zionism”... With the creation of the State of Israel, Zionism has fulfilled its role. Israeli patriotism must replace it. Zionism has outlived its usefulness and should be discarded. This is my belief today, too.

The anti-Arab camp

The whole question has come up again now because of the decision of the new combined election list of the Labor Party and Tzipi Livni’s group to call itself officially “the Zionist Camp”.
The Left is being accused of being anti-Zionist. So it makes sense for a new combined list to call itself Zionist.
A negative aspect of the name of the Labor list is that it automatically excludes the Arab citizens.
For Arabs everywhere, Zionism is the synonym of evil. Zionism took away their country, Zionism expelled the Arab Palestinians and carried out the Naqba, Zionism today discriminates against the Arab citizens of Israel in all spheres of life.

All Arab political forces in the country united this week in a common Arab list, and are expected to harvest almost all the Arab votes.
Apart from the Orthodox, this will be the only self-styled anti-Zionist party. Everybody else, from the far-right national-religious Jewish Home party to the far-left Meretz, declare themselves staunch Zionists.

"I would like to repeat that today, in the 21st century it is important to enhance the efficiency of the collective security system and to promote the values of humanism and cooperation and to always bear in mind the lessons we learn from history." Vladimir Putin, 27-1-2015

The Humanist Camp - Basic Principles
Fred Edwords, Humanist Fellowship San Diego

Individuals
1. We humanists think for ourselves as individuals. There is no area of thought that we are afraid to explore, to challenge, to question, or to doubt. We feel free to inquire and then to agree or disagree with any given claim. We are unwilling to follow a doctrine or adopt a set of beliefs or values that doesn’t convince us personally.
Reason
2. We make reasoned decisions because our experience with approaches that abandon reason convinces us that such approaches are inadequate and often counterproductive for the realization of human goals.
Realism
3. We base our understanding of the world on what we can perceive with our senses and comprehend with our minds. We are committed to the position that the only thing that can be called knowledge is that which is firmly grounded in the realm of human understanding and verification.
Open mind
4. Though we take a strict position on what constitutes knowledge, we aren’t critical of the sources of ideas. We don’t disparage ideas derived from religious experience, altered states of consciousness, or the emotions; we merely declare that testing these ideas against reality is the only way to determine their validity as knowledge.
Knowledge is fallible
5. Human knowledge isn’t perfect. We recognize that the tools for testing knowledge are fallible
Efforts to base philosophies on superhuman sources and transcendent “realities” in order to provide a greater feeling of security only end up creating illusions about the world that then result in errors when these illusions become the basis for decisions and social policies.
Here and Now
6. We maintain that human values make sense only in the context of human life. The here-and-now physical world of our senses is the world that is relevant for our ethical concerns, our goals, and our aspirations.
What is sacred is humans
7. We ground our ethical decisions and ideals in human need and concern as opposed to the alleged needs and concerns of supposed deities or other transcendent entities or powers.
This human perspective limits us to human ways of comprehending the world and to human drives and aspirations as motive forces.
Oppose absolutism
8. We practice our ethics in a living context rather than an ideal one. We oppose absolutistic moral systems.
Moral choices often involve hard thinking, diligent gathering of information about the situation at hand... When we declare our commitment to a humanist approach to ethics, we are expressing our willingness to do the intensive thinking and work that moral living in a complex world entails.


Ali Khamenei & The Book of Love and Feeling
From, "Who Is Ali Khamenei?" by Akbar Ganji,
Foreign Affairs, September/October 2013 issue.

Ali Khamenei has always been critical of liberal democracy and thinks that capitalism and the West are in inevitable long-term decline. Moreover, he sees Washington as inherently Islamophobic.
Nevertheless, he is not reflexively anti-Western or anti-American. He does not believe that the United States and the West are responsible for all of the Islamic world’s problems, that they must be destroyed, or that the Koran and sharia are by themselves sufficient to address the needs of the modern world.
He considers science and progress to be “Western civilization’s truth,” and he wants the Iranian people to learn this truth...

As a young man, Khamenei loved novels. He read such Iranian writers as Muhammad Ali Jamalzadah, Sadeq Chubak, and Sadeq Hedayat but came to feel that they paled before classic Western writers from France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. He has praised Leo Tolstoy and Mikhail Sholokhov and likes Honoré de Balzac and Michel Zévaco, but he considers Victor Hugo supreme. As he told some officials of Iran’s state-run television network in 2004,

"In my opinion, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is the best novel that has been written in history... Les Misérables is a miracle in the world of novel writing. ... I have said over and over again, go read Les Misérables once. This Les Misérables is a book of sociology, a book of history, a book of criticism, a divine book, a book of love and feeling."

Khamenei felt that novels gave him insight into the deeper realities of life in the West.
Read the novels of some authors with leftist tendencies, such as Howard Fast,” he advised an audience of writers and artists in 1996. “Read the famous book The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, ... and see what it says about the situation of the left and how the capitalists of the so-called center of democracy treated them.”

Victor Hugo: Les Misérables
source: sparknotes.com

Hugo began writing Les Misérables twenty years before its eventual publication in 1862. His goals in writing the novel were as lofty as the reputation it has subsequently acquired; Les Misérables is primarily a great humanitarian work that encourages compassion and hope in the face of adversity and injustice.
It is also, however, a historical novel of great scope and analysis, and it provides a detailed vision of nineteenth-century French politics and society. By coupling his story of redemption with a meticulous documentation of the injustices of France’s recent past, Hugo hoped Les Misérables would encourage a more progressive and democratic future.

The Importance of Love and Compassion

In Les Misérables, Hugo asserts that love and compassion are the most important gifts one person can give another and that always displaying these qualities should be the most important goal in life.
Valjean’s transformation from a hate-filled and hardened criminal into a well-respected philanthropist epitomizes Hugo’s emphasis on love, for it is only by learning to love others that Valjean is able to improve himself.
While Valjean’s efforts on behalf of others inevitably cause him problems, they also give him a sense of happiness and fulfillment that he has never before felt. Valjean’s love for others is what keeps him going in desperate times.

Social Injustice in Nineteenth-Century France

Hugo uses his novel to condemn the unjust class-based structure of nineteenth-century France, showing time and again that the society’s structure turns good, innocent people into beggars and criminals.
Hugo focuses on three areas that particularly need reform: education, criminal justice, and the treatment of women.


Netanyahu’s favorite book: The Book of Esther
by Gary Leupp / March 8th, 2012

According to press reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave President Obama a gift during his visit to Washington, as he urged the U.S. to attack Iran: a copy of the Old Testament Book of Esther.
Officials around Netanyahu referred to the text as “background reading” on Iran for Obama, comprising as it does a story of a plot by Persians (Iranians) to exterminate the Jewish people. The book is traditionally read on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which begins tonight (March 7).

According to the Oxford Companion to the Bible, Esther is “best understood as a novella.” Its date cannot “be determined with any precision,” but is “clearly one of the latest books in the Hebrew Bible.” It’s apparently set during the reign of the Persian king Xerxes, who reigned between 486 and 485 BCE, although some suggest it’s set during the later reign of Artaxerxes. In any case, it may have been composed as late as 100 BCE, long after the events it purports to depict. It is fiction.

This book, which Netanyahu gifted Obama, does not reflect the realities of the Jewish past in Iran. It is rather a highly fanciful tale of how Jews at one point in the past supposedly escaped persecution due to the wisdom of the Jewess Esther.

The Book of Esther - Mainspring of Zionism
By Rev. Ted Pike, 20 Nov 13

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave President Obama the Book of Esther as a gift a few days ago, the message was only slightly less subtle than if he had constructed a massive neon billboard across the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the message "Mr. President, please help me destroy Iran before they destroy us...."
In a speech to the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group, Netanyahu described Haman, the villain of the tale, as "a Persian anti-Semite [who] tried to annihilate the Jewish people." The context of his speech was that Iran, the modern successor to Persia, presents the greatest danger to peace and security on the planet. Christian Science Monitor 7-3-2012
No Biblical book has so influenced evangelical attitudes toward Israel, especially in approving Israel's brutality against Arabs.
Esther plays a pivotal role for both Jews and Christians in their unconditional defense of the state of Israel... Tthis book exalts and appeals to racist Jewish tribalism and appetite for revenge. It celebrates the triumph of Jews who obtain peace not by faith in God but by slaughter.

The story begins with King Ahasuerus (possibly Xerxes) around 450 B.C. desiring a new wife to replace rebellious Queen Vashti. The names of the book's hero and heroine, Mordecai and Esther, are derived from "Marduk" and "Ishtar," the head male and female deities of Babylon.. Esther reflects an increasing Babylonian influence on Jewish theology and culture.

In chapter 3 the king promotes a Hitler persona, Haman, above all princes in his kingdom... Haman hates the Jewish Mordecai and seeks to destroy all Jews.
This is the classic Jewish stereotype: Gentiles inexplicably infected with the satanic "disease of anti-Semitism," compelled to destroy God’s chosen people.
The king, responding to a proposal made by Haman, thinks genocide of Jews in his kingdom is a good idea.

Esther takes action. Fasting is commanded...
The crisis ends when Haman, after attempting to hang Jewish Mordecai, is hung on his own gallows. It is discovered that Mordecai had once protected the king from assassination yet received no reward. Mordecai is exalted to the right hand of power in Persia. Now favorable to the Jews, the king authorizes the Jews to kill all of their enemies who are suspected of murderous intent...
The book asserts that on the day when the Jews should have been destroyed they attacked their enemies first, slaughtering more than 75,000.
The rationale of Esther is that if Jews suspect bias motivation against them that will endanger Jewish lives then it is their God-given right to take preemptive action and kill Gentiles first.

Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.

Is Ted Pike anti-Semitic?
By John S. Torell

According to the American Jewish leadership, Ted Pike is anti-Semitic.
But let’s be fair and define exactly what anti-Semitism is and is not. According to the World Zionist Federation, the ADL and all other Jewish organizations, an anti-Semite is any person who does not support the political state of Israel, is critical of Jewish policies or exposes historical facts which are not kind to Jewish people.

"Anti-Semitism is the racist belief that Jews are genetically inferior, evil, corruptive, or conspiratorial. This is what Hitler believed.
It is not anti-Semitic to criticize the bad behavior of Jews. But for ADL, vehement, repeated, or extensive criticism of the behavior of Jews or the state of Israel and its leaders is anti-Semitism." Ted Pike

The Palestinians are Amalek
by Michale Welton, CounterPunch, 30-1-2015

Both Christians and Jews share a common mythology: that Yahweh created the world, that the Jews are a chosen people, that they have been promised a land.

The Palestinians are Amalek. If they will not submit to Jewish rule they must, or will be, destroyed.
The basis for this is the Old Testament, the shared sacred text of Christians and Jews. One cannot argue with sacred texts! Indeed, in 1971, Golda Meir told Le Monde that Israel existed as “the fulfilment of promise made by God Himself.

"In one of the scariest and stupidest statements any Israeli official has ever made, an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of strategy regarding Iran, 'Think Amalek'." (Steven Weiss)

The Amalekite view of Jewish history
by David Myers, Jewish Journal, May 15, 2012

Netanyahu's father, Benzion Netanyahu, was a scholar of Jewish history who exerted an outsized influence on his tight-knit family.
The elder Netanyahu held to what the greatest of 20th century Jewish historians, Salo Baron, called the “lachrymose” — or tearful — conception of Jewish history.
This view can be readily summarized in a line uttered by Benzion Netanyahu to David Remnick for a 1998 profile of Bibi in The New Yorker: “Jewish history is in large measure a history of holocausts.”

We might call this the Amalekite view of Jewish history, referring to the hated biblical foes of the Israelites whose existence should be blotted out (Exodus 17:14).
The historian’s belief that the Jews have been subjected to constant genocidal threats did not lead him to a passive fatalism, as if there were nothing that the Jews could do in the face of Amalek. Rather, it inspired his own militant Zionism, which demanded a persistent willingness to wage war against one’s enemies.
Benzion Netanyahu’s methods and findings are inseparable from his deeply ingrained Amalekite worldview, according to which Jews face unrelenting hostility from the Gentile world — even when those Jews abandon their very adherence to Judaism.

Bibi Netanyahu dismisses talk of his father’s deep imprint on him as “psychobabble.”
But It is hard to disconnect Netanyahu's bellicose stance on Iran from his father’s Amalekite worldview.
Netanyahu the son does not merely see Iran as a grave threat; he regards it as comparable to the most terrifying of Jewish persecutors, the Nazis — a point he made explicitly at the March 2012 AIPAC convention and during his recent Yom HaShoah remarks.
Like his father, the prime minister sees the long history of the Jews as marked by “powerlessness,” “utter defenselessness” and “the atrophy of Jewish resistance,” the antidote to which is the unapologetic and ever-ready assertion of Jewish force.

To be sure, Bibi Netanyahu is more than a mere replica of his father. Indeed, there is another facet to his personality alongside the Amalekite — that of the political pragmatist educated at MIT and trained in the art of deal making at the Boston Consulting Group.
Still, it is worth reflecting on the father...

David N. Myers teaches Jewish history and chairs the History Department at UCLA.


Edelstein: The Truth of Our Rights to Israel is Biblical
By Orli Harari, Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva 4-2-2015

Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) was awarded a honorary prize on Tuesday in New York for being among the 100 people most influencing the lives of Jews worldwide in 2014.
The prize was given to Edelstein by the Jewish paper Algemeiner, which hosted the event, for his "struggle for the truth"...
"Today unfortunately there is no concept of pure, ultimate truth," said Edelstein while accepting the award. "The 'truth' of the claims by others on our land does not exist."

Noting the historical connection of the Jewish people to Israel, Edelstein referenced the Biblical patriarchs saying "when I leave my home I walk on paths where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked. And that's the truth regarding our rights to the land."
"When (Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud) Abbas shouts at the UN about rights to the land - that's a complete lie!" emphasized Edelstein.

Religious faith has never been dependent on facts
Daylight Atheism: Let the stones speak

Did the patriarchs exist?

The patriarchal narratives of the Book of Genesis are the story of Israel’s origin as a people.
They are also – after the obvious mythologizing in fantastic stories such as the creation account and the Noachic flood – the first part of the Bible that might plausibly have happened, and so past investigators focused their attention on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Were they real people? Did they exist?

Much scholarly ink was spilled over this question, but ultimately the search for the patriarchs was not fruitful, and today has largely been given up as a hopeless enterprise.
A generation of archaeologists searched for a historical context into which to place them, but no matter which period they considered, there were features of the stories that did not fit.
The few details that seemed to promise a way to date or authenticate them slipped away on closer examination. Of course, archaeology can hardly disprove the existence of a specific few individuals, but the best that can be said these days is that the patriarchal accounts are more obscure than ever.
If the stories have a historical core, we have no idea when it happened, or to what extent and by whom it has since been modified.
The ancestors of Israel seem destined to be forever lost in the mists of the past, their existence a matter of faith rather than evidence

Exodus never happened.

There is no evidence the Israelites were ever captives in Egypt, nor is there evidence that they escaped in a massive exodus. There is no evidence that a large group of people wandered in the desert of Sinai for forty years, nor is there evidence of a lightning military campaign waged by foreigners against the natives of Canaan.

Religious faith has never been dependent on facts

Will these discoveries sway those who are committed to belief in the literal truth of the Bible? That seems unlikely. Religious faith has never been dependent on facts, and fundamentalist believers will no doubt continue to postulate ever more convoluted routes for the Exodus, will continue to invoke pharaonic embarrassment as the reason why no Egyptian records have been found of the Israelite captivity or their subsequent escape, will continue to relocate biblical sites willy-nilly as each new tell is excavated and found to lack destruction layers that can be definitively assigned to Joshua’s conquest.
In this way, they are missing the forest for the trees by proposing ways to explain away each individual contrary datum.
,They ignore the broader patterns visible in the archaeological record that make the traditional biblical story unlikely in the extreme..

The zealous political vision continues
to fuel the fires of hatred...

The Bible has brought forth both good and evil.
Its unifying message helped the Jewish people to survive.. On the other hand, its zealous political vision and uncompromising territorial claims continue to fuel the fires of hatred on both sides of the Middle Eastern conflict, since there, as in few other places on Earth, stories told thousands of years ago resonate down to present times.

Had the ancient Israelites believed all along that they emerged peacefully from the neighboring peoples of Canaan, rather than that they swept into the area on a wave of divinely sanctioned military conquest, there is no telling how the situation with Israel and the Palestinians would be different today.

If only the truth had been known from the beginning, we might have avoided the senseless centuries of war, bloodshed and death that opposing faith claims have brought about.

Only time will tell whether we will ever emerge from this darkness, but if knowing the truth about the past can do anything to help solve the problems of the present, then in the end, all the labors and dedication of archaeology will have been worthwhile indeed.


Don't expect change in Israel
"People are too brainwashed"
By Gideon Levy, Palestine Chronicle, Feb 5 2015

The Israeli left, if it has ever existed at all, is dead. The Israeli Peace Camp, the preferred way to designate the left in the Israeli context, breathed its last breath about 15 years ago and has never been resurrected...
Israeli mass media enlisted in the campaign to brainwash, stupefy, repress and befog, voluntarily promoting Israeli propaganda... Peace was no longer an objective or even a dream.

Israel’s political map shifted far to the right...; the right wing’s extreme nationalism and blatant racism became legitimate.
What until not long ago was considered the moderate right wing is today the centre, and what was the centre morphed into “the left” or even “the extreme left”.
On the periphery of this political landscape a few authentic leftist and peace groups still operate, but they are isolated on the margins and lack legitimacy... [They] have no real influence on the political map in Israel and face a systematic campaign of delegitimisation.

In the outgoing Knesset, there’s not a single member (MK), and certainly not a Jewish MK, whose first priority is the struggle to end the occupation.
None of the Jewish parties puts this issue at the top of its agenda, with the possible exception of Meretz, which has become a small faction without real influence.
The Arab parties in Israel are entirely excluded from the political discourse and have no real role in it.
Labor is a centrist party in every way, and indeed historically is Israel’s occupation party: its leaders were the founding fathers of the settlement enterprise, and the party is responsible for today’s situation no less and perhaps even more than is the Likud. Labor-led governments have never evacuated a single settlement in the territories...

If Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni are able to form a government, that government will bring no historic change... There is no chance that a Herzog-Livni government will end the occupation. Rather the government would enter negotiations that would go on for years; Herzog has already announced that he is allocating five years for negotiating...
A similar scenario is likely if Israel again names a unity government to include the two major parties, Likud and the Zionist Camp...

Thus one cannot expect change to emerge from within Israeli society. Life is too good here and the people are too brainwashed.

Gideon Levy is a Haaretz columnist. His new book, The Punishment of Gaza, has just been published by Verso.

Ariel Sharon (flashback 2002):
Weakening the Arabs only solution

Haaretz: If an agreement on ending the conflict with the Palestinians is not possible and if a peace agreement with the Syrians is dangerous, what alternative are you proposing? What hope?

Sharon: "From the strategic point of view, I think that it's possible that in another 10 or 15 years the Arab world will have less ability to strike at Israel than it has today. That is because Israel will be a country with a flourishing economy, whereas the Arab world may be on the decline...
It is definitely possible that because of technological and environmental developments, the price of oil will fall and the Arab states will find themselves in a crisis situation, while Israel will be strengthened.
The conclusion is that time is not working against us and therefore it is important to achieve solutions that will take place across a lengthy period.

"If you ask me what hope I am offering to the Israeli public, I propose setting a series of national goals: bringing a million Jews within 12 years.., and renewing education according to Zionist principles, which will restore the sense of the justice of the struggle and the feeling that we have a full right to this land..." (Interview Ariel Sharon, Ha'aretz - Ari Shavit)

Ariel Sharon began to consolidate his thoughts on the matter of settlement in Judea and Samaria during his service as Yitzhak Rabin’s adviser

Sharon was elected to the Israeli parliament as an MP of the Likud party but then resigned after two months to serve as a security adviser to Yitzhak Rabin (right)

“The Messiah’s donkey”
Excerps from the book 'Sharon:
The Life of a Leader'
by Gilad Sharon, Tablet 1-11-2011

My father [Ariel Sharon], from the moment he was appointed minister of agriculture in 1977, always did his utmost to aid the kibbutzim and farming villages, especially the ones far from the center of the country. ...
My father began to consolidate his thoughts on the matter of settlement in Judea and Samaria during his service as Yitzhak Rabin’s adviser. He believed that Israel could not under any circumstances afford to return to the June 4, 1967, lines. ...
My father’s plan called for fortifying the hills to the west of the Jordan Valley with additional settlements, building a cross-Samaria road that would be protected by settlements and serve in a time of need as emergency routes for troops heading to the eastern front. ...
The third element of his plan was Jerusalem. The question was how to secure Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people... The solution my father presented was a ring of Jewish settlements around the city.

On Oct. 2, 1977, the Cabinet authorized the plan, putting it into motion... During the following four years my father spearheaded the effort to found 64 new settlements in Judea and Samaria.

But the rise of the Likud to power and the fact of his service in government were not enough to get the project off the ground.
They needed people willing to settle the land, too. These were found in the form of the Gush Emunim loyalists.
These God-fearing religious nationalists felt that settling in the biblical land of Israel was a commandment of supreme importance. Years later, my father would remark with a smile that they viewed him as “the Messiah’s donkey,” the man who would help them realize their ideals and faith.


Netanyahu for President
By Dr. Joseph Frager, Arutz Sheva, 2/6/2015

For the first time ever I am hearing calls from Americans for Bibi Netanyahu to become the next President of the United States.
Israel's position in the world has dramatically changed... Bibi Netanyahu is one of the great leaders of the world today... Despite President Obama doing everything in his power to defeat Bibi Netanyahu, he will not.

"Those who bless Israel will be blessed and those that curse Israel shall be cursed"

The President's latest affront to Netanyahu and there have been too many, is to firstly deny a meeting with the Prime Minister much as he had his Cabinet deny meetings recently to Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and secondly to rile up his Democratic followers in Congress to boycott Bibi's address on Iran to Congress on March 3rd.
It remains to be seen if the Democrats will indeed heed the President's call or realize that it is too politically risky to be forever remembered that they were the ones who boycotted one of the world's greatest leaders speeches on the world's greatest threat ever...

Believe me every Senator and every Congressman who does not attend Bibi's speech on March 3rd will be remembered for an eternity because the Jewish People and Historians will not forget.
I always like to remind those who somehow don't get a chance to read the Bible much that the world was informed thousands of years ago that, "those who bless Israel will be blessed and those that curse Israel shall be cursed".
The President's slights against Bibi Netanyahu have been catalogued, analyzed, and recorded for posterity.

Don't be surprised if a Congressman or two calls for Netanyahu for President.

The writer is a pro-Israel activist who sponsors and coordinates many Zionist events.
He is clinical Assistant Professor at the Einstein School of Medicine


Albert Einstein, Manhattan Opera House 22-4-1935:
Revisionists are an obstacle to peace

Declaring that the Revisionists are “inner enemies,” Prof. Albert Einstein urged the establishment of friendly relations with the Arabs and warned against viewing Palestine merely as a place of refuge.
“Under the guise of nationalist propaganda,” Prof. Einstein said, “Revisionism seeks to support the destructive speculation in land; it seeks to exploit the people and deprive them of their rights.
The state of mind fed by Revisionism is the most serious obstacle in the way of our peaceable and friendly cooperation with the Arab, people who are racially our kin.”(JTA website)

December 2, 1948:
Open Letter to the New York Times

Albert Einstein Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.
It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachen Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States...
It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world [..] could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority

A principled cosmopolitan and anti-nationalist
Einstein's Holistic Worldview


Einstein anti-rechts genie "A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Albert Einstein


The Palestinian economy &
the annexation of Area C
Danny Rubinstein, YNet News, 9-2-2015

"Economic peace is a corridor for diplomatic solutions," said Benjamin Netanyahu during his election campaign in 2008, and spoke in praise of economic peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In 2009, he even set up a ministerial committee to promote economic peace.
In a meeting with Quartet Representative Tony Blair, Netanyahu presented [some] projects... But in practice, these promises are far from reality: As long as Area C is under Israeli control, and as part of that most of the areas natural resources, there is no chance of economic peace.

Area C comprises more than 60 percent of the West Bank, and includes the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert, along with Jewish settlements, highways and territories under the supervision of the army. In practical terms it is annexed. A long list of Israeli politicians want to make the annexation formal.
The de facto annexation of Area C, particularly in recent years, has had a decisive impact on the Palestinian economy.
Much land in Area C is undeveloped. Israel, however, does not permit Palestinian construction for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.

Most of the residents of Area C, some 350,000, are Jewish settlers... Areas A and B long ago became overcrowded enclaves cut off from one another.

"I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state." Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein on socialism: "Responsibility,
in place of the glorification of power and success"

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil... Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones.
The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society.

Under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals...
The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society. (A. Einstein, may 1949)

Law against Gadhafi-era officials revoked
The law can now be considered "annulled"
Middle East Online, 4-2-2015

BENGHAZI - Libya's internationally recognised parliament on Monday voted to suspend a controversial law that barred officials from the era of Moamer Gadhafi from holding political posts.
"The House of Representatives voted in favour of suspending the law of political exclusion until the adoption of a permanent constitution," lawmaker Tarek al-Jerushi said, adding that the law could now be considered "annulled".

It is unclear how the authorities will be able to apply the law since the legitimacy of the parliament is disputed by a rival coalition that seized Tripoli last year.
The Islamist-led Fajr Libya group reinstated the General National Congress and formed a rival government when it overran the capital, forcing the elected parliament and government to take refuge in eastern Libya.
In May 2013, the GNC passed the law banning officials who had served under Gadhafi between September 1, 1969 and the fall of his regime in October 2011 from holding any political position.
Its opponents have argued that it was adopted under pressure from armed groups which besieged government buildings in Tripoli for days until it was approved by the then transitional assembly.


Qadhafi's Political Thoughts

The wellsprings of Qadhafi's political thought are the Quran and Nasserism.
As an ardent admirer of Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser, Qadhafi has never wavered in the conviction that he is Nasser's legitimate heir. As such, he felt compelled to advance Nasser's struggle for Arab unity and socialism.
Qadhafi was influenced by Nasser's theory of the concentric Islamic, Arab, and African circles of influence. And Qadhafi, like Nasser, was also influenced by the ideology of the Syrian Baath Party, which advocated Arab unity and socialism.

Qadhafi expanded Nasser's political thought by emphasizing the Islamic bases of socialism in that the Quran condemns class domination and exploitation.
Qadhafi stated that although Islam "cannot be described as socialism in its modern sense, it strives to a certain extent to dissolve the differences among classes."
According to Qadhafi, "almsgiving is the nucleus of the socialist spirit in Islam." Socialism in Libya was to mean "social justice."
Work, production, and resources were all to be shared fairly, and extreme disparities between rich and poor were to be eliminated. But social hierarchy, as provided for in the Quran, would remain, and class harmony, not class warfare, would be the result. (countrystudies.us)


Iran: "A great scientific resource
in the region first and then in the world"
FARS News Agency, 4-2-2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on the country's investors and industrialists to focus their activities on hi-tech and modern technologies, stressing that Iran should shift the focus of its economy towards developing its hi-tech sector...
"We should move towards other sectors that have more efficacy and productivity, including modern technologies and hi-tech sciences," President Rouhani said in a meeting with a group of economic activists and investors in Isfahan province in Central Iran.

President Rouhani reiterated Iran's advancements in medical fields, specially the country's expertise in bone marrow medicine, describing the field as one of the potential candidates for increased investments.
In November, President Rouhani stressed the country's high potentials for becoming a reliable source of science in the world.
Addressing an open session of the Iranian parliament, President Rouhani said Iran is resolved to become a great scientific resource in the region first and then in the world.

In mid-October, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a decree communicated the outlines of cultural and scientific policies to the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, and underlined the need for the strategic management of the challenges facing the cultural arena.
Ayatollah Khamenei reminded the council in his decree to keep a watchful eye on its main duties in such "key and fundamental areas as science production, lifestyle, education and research, public culture and cultural engineering".
"Serious pursuit into the country's progress and expediting Iran's scientific and technological movement is one of the top most priorities of the country...," Ayatollah Khamenei said, adding, "The pace of the country's scientific growth should not witness even the slightest reduction on any pretext, rather it should speed up everyday..."

Khamenei urged the council to deal more seriously with the issue of cultural engineering and renovation of Iran's educational and scientific system, including education and higher education as well as change in humanities.


Syrian Opposition, Regime
Holding Talks in Lebanon to End Conflict
Naharnet Newsdesk, 5-2-1015

Christians in Syria refer to the “golden age” of freedom they have had since 1970 that now is threatened by the installation of a Saudi style regime by the United States government. (january 2014)

The Syrian opposition and members of President Bashar Assad's regime are reportedly holding meetings in Beirut under the auspices of Norway and the supervision of priest Riad Jarjour, al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

The daily said that “secret meetings” have been held in the Lebanese capital in presence of political and religious figures from both sides.
“The away from media spotlight meetings will be announced in few weeks after breaking the ice between the two sides of the conflict and reach a common ground,” sources told the newspaper.
The report continues that the figures who are taking part in the meetings are paving the way for a high level talks if they succeed in bridging the gap to end the near four-year Syrian conflict.

Jarjour, who was tasked by Norway to supervise the dialogue, refused to confirm in comments to al-Akhbar the report. However he pointed out that the talks are held among “Syrians who don't classify themselves as opposition or regime members.” “It's a Syrian-Syrian dialogue,” he noted.


Riad Jarjour 2010: The Lebanese and the Arabs
should shed light on the academic leaderships

A Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters was granted during the second Beirut ceremony to the Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, general secretary of the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue.
There is something great in what we are doing as a community which is talking in an honest manner about the other, and resisting attempts that try to deteriorate the image of the other,” Jarjour said.
“Lebanon, in its diversity; Beirut, in its universities and educational institutions; and Lebanse American University, in its scientific openness, can cause a change in the religious and cultural platform.”
“The Lebanese and the Arabs should shed light on the academic leaderships in order to initiate religious understanding, respect, and cooperation.” (LAU 8-7-2010)

LAU Mission

Lebanese American University:
•Draws its fundamental inspiration from the devotion of its Presbyterian Founders to always seek the Truth, respect human dignity, promote gender equality, and be inclusive;
•Demonstrates dignity and respect for and from the Board, faculty, staff and students in word and in deed;
Enables individuals to find their own spiritual and personal fulfillment while ever sensitive to the changing global village in which they live;
•Promotes social connectedness of the students to the country of Lebanon; and encourages commitment to social justice and democracy.


Students asked: How will you become part of future?
Joshua Hoey, Saudi Gazette, February 06, 2015

The Kingdom’s economy is in “dire need of change” as the economic complexity of the country has not changed since 1995, Google’s head of Android Business Development for the MENA region told Saudi students and others gathered at the ongoing Saudi Science and Creativity Festival in Riyadh.
Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, recognized as one of the most influential Arab leaders under 30, said the Saudi economy was oil-based, and has remained so.
He used data from the Atlas of Economic Complexity, managed by Harvard’s Center for International Development, to compare the economic development of South Korea and Saudi Arabia since 1995 when the Atlas was first released.
South Korea had succeeded in developing complex and technological industries over the last 15 to 20 years, Tarabzouni said.
According to current data on the Atlas’s website, in 1995 Saudi Arabia was ranked 32nd out of 125 economies in terms of complexity, but fell to 60th position by 2012.
Around 90 percent of the Kingdom’s exports in 2012 were petroleum or petrochemical products, according to the Atlas’s online data.
During his presentation, Tarabzouni highlighted the rapid pace of technological development and the vast amounts of data that are being produced, and he asked Saudi students in the audience “How will you change? How will you become part of the future?

The Saudi Science and Creativity Festival runs until Feb. 8 at Riyadh’s International Convention and Exhibition Center.
The festival showcases innovations for Saudi students, and aims to inspire the Kingdom’s next generation of innovators and scientists.


Farida Al-Shubashi, Memri TV 10-11 june 2012
We should work hard and make progress


Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi (may 2012): "Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca, or Medina. It shall be Jerusalem, Allah willing. Our cry shall be: 'Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.'" "The United States of the Arabs will be restored by this man [Muhammad Mursi] and his supporters. The capital of the Caliphate will be Jerusalem, Allah willing."

Egyptian journalist Farida Al-Shubashi: "I would like to ask that man, who delivered a speech to millions of cheering supporters: Do you plan to march on Jerusalem with the weapons of the American masters, or what? It is a disgrace to lead the people so far astray.

Essam Al-Hafnawi: "Our Lord guides all creatures to Islam at the end of their days…"

Farida Al-Shubashi: "Pffft… What kind of answer is that? Don't answer me with illogical stuff."..
"I would like to declare that I reject those statements – from the hair on my head to the toes on my feet. […] "We don't produce even this pen I'm holding. These are empty words. We should work hard and make progress, so we can be competitive in science, rather than talk nonsense. […] (www.memri.org 2012)


ISIS is evacuating its strongholds in Aleppo
Breaking News Syria, 7-2-2015

Continuous attacks which Syrian Army launched against the Islamic State organization “IS” have forced the last to withdraw from Aleppo and to evacuate its headquarters there. Hundreds of “IS” fighters have moved with their families to Raqqa province, according to public sources.
Field sources reported to Breaking News Network that the Islamic State organization “IS” is evacuating its strongholds in Aleppo countryside and moving its munitions to Raqqa province.
Civilians in Aleppo countryside observes clearly the decline in number of “IS” fighters and especially the non-Syrian fighters.
Opposed sources stated that dozens of “IS” fighters returned to their villages in al-Zawiyah mountain and Idlib countryside in general.
The source added that People’s Protection Units have tossed “IS” out of Aleppo city and some nearby villages.


Friends of Syria & Rehabilitation
Syrian Arab News Agency, 12-2-2015

The Syrian Investment Authority (SIA) and the Syrian-Chinese Businessmen Council focused during a meeting on Wednesday on the investment opportunities during the forthcoming rehabilitation stage in Syria and cooperating with the Chinese side in this regard.

The authority reviewed the Syrian investment plan and the investment priorities in light of the huge damage sustained by Syrian industrial facilities due to armed terrorist organizations’ attacks, pointing out that the plan constitutes an important entry for rehabilitation.

Head of the Syrian Investment Authority Hala Ghazal said in a press statement that the meeting aims to outline a roadmap for cooperation with all friendly countries, particularly after forming businessmen councils by Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade.
She pointed out that China is one of Syria’s close friends, hoping that it will be part of the rehabilitation process due to its experience and great potential.


Russo–Egyptian relations have enjoyed a resurgence
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat, 11-2-2015

Russia will help Egypt build its first nuclear power plant, the leaders of both countries said on Tuesday, as Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up a two-day official visit to the Egyptian capital.
At a joint press conference, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said both countries signed a memorandum of understanding to build the plant, along with other agreements signed to boost Russian gas sales and investment in Egypt.
“If final decisions are made, it will mean not just building a nuclear power plant, it means the creation of the entire new atomic industry in Egypt,” Putin told reporters at the conference.
The new plant is one of several joint projects that have been announced during Putin’s visit.

Russo–Egyptian relations have enjoyed a resurgence since July 2013, after the Egyptian military ousted former president and senior Muslim Brotherhood figure, Mohamed Mursi.
Relations were at their strongest between the two countries during the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, when Egypt’s Arab socialist president Gamal Abdel Nasser courted Soviet leaders keen to secure a key ally in the Middle East at the expense of the United States. The Soviets helped fund a number of projects in Egypt including the High Dam in Aswan and also helped arm and train the Egyptian military.
But the relationship faltered after Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat came to power in 1970. He signed a peace deal with Israel later in the decade and began a shift in Egypt’s diplomatic focus from Moscow to Washington which continued for over three decades.

Putin’s trip is his second official visit to Egypt, after a 2005 visit during the rule of president Hosni Mubarak.
In scenes reminiscent of US President Richard Nixon’s visit to Egypt in 1974, Cairo’s streets were lined with signs and billboards welcoming the Russian leader.

Obama is as bad as he can be
Rabbi Dov Fischer, Arutz Sheva,11-2-2015

There is no “Palestinian people,” and the only “Palestine” that ever existed was synonymous with the Jewish homeland that later was renamed “Israel.” Rabbi Dov

Bibi absolutely must make that speech to the Congress.
We now have a President in the United States who has absolutely no comprehension as to how to deal with tyrants, dictators, bullies, and thugs.
Worse — much worse than that — is that this President does not know what he does not know. He believes he is a genius, the smartest person in the room. He surrounds himself with sycophants who tell him that he is the smartest person in the room.
Yes, history will clear it all up, recording him among the five least competent or qualified of all American presidents. Possibly the least of all.

Barack Obama became President without ever governing...
Some propound a myth that he was a Constitutional scholar, a law school professor of distinction at University of Chicago Law School. That is not true, and the record speaks for itself. Rather, he taught courses a few times. He was not tenured. He produced no written scholarship. He is not a scholar of the American Constitution...
Barack Obama had become President of the United States without having experienced real danger, real life, without having demonstrated what he knew of foreign affairs or of dealing with dictators...

The Two-State Solution is indeed the most immoral suggestion of them all. It is a lie built on a foundation of mendacity. It also is doomed to failure because it is irrelevant. History has passed it by. Facts on the ground have made it moot. Rabbi Dov

It is imperative that Israelis understand that Obama not only despises Netanyahu, as he has from Day One — but will despise any Israeli Prime Minister who builds in Jerusalem, who builds anywhere in Judea or Samaria, or who resists giving up land to Abbas and signing a peace agreement that Obama dictates.
He dictates to friends, and Obama sincerely believes a Mideast narrative that is popular among American left-wing ideologues and psudo-intellectuals: that Israel is a White colonialist settler state, created and propped up by Western imperialism, aimed at suppressing an indigenous Third World population of victimized people who lived in that land long before Jews did, from time immemorial....

Israeli intelligence knows the deal that Obama is about to make with Iran. Congress knows what he is doing but Constitutionally cannot stop him. Congress only can stop a treaty, not a handshake that says that America will not bother you as long as you keep your promises.

During the midst of the Holocaust, no Jew had the power to speak out powerfully to America’s power brokers, to shake the halls of Congress as to what was happening and what needed to be done. A group of rabbis came to meet with President Roosevelt, but he would not agree to meet with them — so they left Washington politely without a whimper...
The lesson is not to worry about whether a President, who already hates Bibi or has mixed views on Israel, will hate Bibi even more and remain even more mixed on Israel. There is no “more” that he can hate Bibi, and Obama cannot be worse to Israel than he is because, for reasons beyond his control, he is as bad as he can be...

"We are right and the whole world is wrong. It doesn’t change a thing, but after 25 centuries it’s nice to know." Rabbi Dov

Obama does want to see Israel truncated to pre-1967 lines... He historically has surrounded himself with several leftist Jews...
The Israeli leaders whom Obama liked are the ones who gave up the Gaza unilaterally, the ones who gave Yasser Arafat the reins of Government...
He will like new Israeli leaders who will agree to cede Judea and Samaria, to permanently stop building in Jerusalem and to cede sections of Jerusalem to Abbas.

Rabbi Dov Fischer is author of General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine (Steimatzky: 1985). His political commentaries have appeared in major American publications. He is Rav of Young Israel of Orange County, California.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 8-12-1942
Meeting of Jewish Leaders with Roosevelt


There are 17 million Moslems in North Africa, and there is no reason why anyone should enjoy greater rights than they.
It is not our purpose to fight for greater rights for anyone at the expense of another group. We are for the freedom for all and equal rights for all.
We consider the attack on the Jews in Germany, in Poland, as an attack upon our ideas of freedom and justice, and that is why we oppose it so vehemently."

Settler Council under fire for video
depicting leftists as anti-Semite collaborators
YNet News, 15-2-1015

"We didn't come here to establish a democratic state, we came here to return the Jewish people to their land." (Benny Katzover 16-1-2012)

The 'Samaria Settlers Committee' published a video on Saturday accusing Israeli left wing NGOs of receiving "millions of euros from Europe" to smear Israel in the press.
The animated video presents a German named Herr Stürmer (named after an anti-Semitic newspaper) reading a newspaper called "Hasmol" ("The Left") and summoning a hooked-nosed Jew who passes him slanderous information about the IDF and Israel in exchange for money.

The chairman of the Samaria Residents Council, Benny Katzover, defended the clip. "The video points to the shameful phenomenon in which Israeli leftist organizations receiving funding from anti-Semitic Israeli-hating elements in Europe. How do you call a Jew who cooperates with them? A lowlife kike whose actions need to be made public - and maybe then he will stop with them," Katzover said.
"They're the ones who want to continue Nazi Germany's work and eliminate the State of Israel and it's disgusting that there are Jews willing to cooperate with them."


Bennett: Palestinians need to forgot about statehood
YNet News, 16-2-2015

Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party - a lynchpin of Israel's religious-nationalist right that takes an even tougher line toward the Palestinians than Netanyahu's Likud - told The Associated Press that the Palestinians should lower their expectations and forget about statehood.
"We are not going to give up more land. This approach has failed." "If it means that the world will penalize us, that is unfair but so be it."
"I think the world right now is trying to twist Israel's arm into committing a huge mistake that would damage our own future," Bennett said.

No Palestinian Home

Bennett claims that Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza only brought rocket attacks against it. Therefore, he argues, Israel should annex the roughly 60 percent of the West Bank currently under its full control and offer economic cooperation to Palestinians - instead of independence.

Everyone has the right to a nationality

On 30 August 1961 the United nations adopted the Convention on The Reduction of Statelessness.It complements the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
Together, these two treaties form the foundation of the international legal framework to address statelessness, a phenomenon which continues to adversely affect the lives of millions of people around the world.
The 1961 Convention is the leading international instrument that sets rules for the conferral and non-withdrawal of citizenship to prevent cases of statelessness from arising.
By setting out rules to limit the occurrence of statelessness, the Convention gives effect to article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes that “everyone has the right to a nationality.”

Underlying the 1961 Convention is the notion that while States maintain the right to elaborate the content of their nationality laws, they must do so in compliance with international norms relating to nationality, including the principle that statelessness should be avoided.

Netanyahu's existential fear
YNet News, Captain (res.) R., Israel Opinion, 18-2-2015

I served in the Israeli military proudly and with a sense of mission as an officer in the Intelligence Corps...
In the past, when I used to hear Benjamin Netanyahu incessantly talking about Iran, ISIS or Hamas, I was sure that it was just part of his "intimidate and govern" tactic...
Today I realize that I was wrong. Even more than tactics, his statements authentically reflect the existential fear he is living in. Even the best actor in the world wouldn't be able to fake such deep fear over such a long period of time. This insight concerns me much more.
One of the greatest ideas the Zionist Movement sought to fulfill [..] was liberating the people from a life of endless existential fear. There has not been an Israeli prime minister who caused so much damage in this context like Netanyahu...

The ghetto-like and frightened Netanyahu who translates his personal nightmares into instigation and a deep split among the people, is threatening our joint existence...

Syria welcomes UNSC resolution 2199
on cracking down financing terrorist groups
Syrian Arab News Agency, 13/02/2015

New York, SANA, “Syria welcomes the UN Security Council Resolution 2199 to crack down financing terrorist groups through illicit oil sales, trading in antiquities and paying ransom for hostages” and highly appreciates Russian and Chinese delegations in this regard, Syria’s Permanent envoy to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said.
Earlier Thursday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a Russian-sponsored resolution that calls for pulling the plug on funding terrorist organizations, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.


Turkey training camp 2012 - Jordan training camp 2013

Al-Jaafari, during a joint press conference with the Iraqi envoy to the UN, said.. "the resolution (2199) is very important for both Syria and Iraq, which are the main victims of [..] terrorism", pointing out that terrorists in the region, particularly in Syria and Iraq, do not come by parachutes but rather across joint borders of both countries and the majority of them cross into Syria and Iraq from Turkey and Jordan.
“Unfortunately, Jordan, a member of the Security Council, has adopted for years the policy of training, supporting and sending terrorists across the joint border into Syria to kill Syrians, and the Jordanian authorities see terrorists in the Syrian city of Al-Raqqa but do not see them while crossing its border towards Syria and Iraq”, Syria’s envoy said.

Resolution 2199 completes former resolutions related to fighting terrorism, including resolutions 2170 and 2178, al-Jaffari said...
"Now we have three resolutions over fighting terrorism, and Turkey is still allowing terrorists, particularly from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, to cross the joint border with Syria, as Israel assists terrorists in Golan, particularly Jabhat al-Nusra."
“Training centers established in Turkey, Saudi, Qatar and Jordan are not for means of peaceful negotiations to find out political solutions but rather are death-making camps for Syrians”, Syria’s UN envoy said...
Concluding his statement, Al-Jaafari wondered whether the time has arrived to fight terrorism seriously.

Syrian Strike in South Frustrates
Israeli-Jordanian-Takfiri Plots
Mohamed Salami, Al-Manar Lebanon, 12-2-2015

Controlling the capital, Damascus, has always topped the agenda of the militant groups, so they deployed their troops in its southern countryside to launch their attacks against it, depending on the logistic and military support from Quneitra and Daraa.

Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Armed Forces, Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij visited military sites and towns in the southern region that have been recaptured by the Syrian army.(12-2-2015)
The Zionist entity [Israel] has embraced the field movement of the terrorist group of al-Nusra Front in Quneitra since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, providing its militants with medical, logistic and military services.
The Zionist close link to the terrorists aimed at establishing a "security belt" to guard the Zionist occupying existence on the Golan Heights and to deter the possible perils posed by the Syrian army and its allies in the area...

Jordan has been providing the terrorist groups with a safe haven, complicating the Syrian army's mission to eradicate them. In 2013, the terrorist groups in Daraa, provided with Jordanian military support, launched a fierce attack against the Syrian army's posts in eastern Ghouta in Damascus...

The Syrian army, backed by its allies, has showed to possess all the military, logistic and human abilities to defeat the terrorist groups across the country, and the ongoing campaign in the South proves this fact.


US, Turkey agree 'in principle' to train,
equip Syrian rebels: State Dept
Ahram online|AFP, Tuesday 17 Feb 2015

The United States and Turkey have agreed "in principle" on a deal to train and equip Syrian rebel forces, the State Department said Tuesday.
"As we have announced before, Turkey has agreed to be one of the regional hosts for the train-and-equip program for Syrian 'moderate' opposition forces," department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
"We expect to conclude and sign the agreement with Turkey soon," she said, without providing any further details about the train-and-equip program, which is expected to begin next month.

Last month, the Pentagon said it would send nearly 1,000 troops to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar as part of the effort.
More than 400 trainers would be backed by a similar number of support troops that will provide help with logistics, communications and intelligence, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

The goal is to train more than 5,000 Syrians in the first year of the program.

Adnan al-Arour & Turkey

Al-Arour, Saudi based Salafist cleric. He became widely known after the start of the Syrian civil war and was seen by some as the non-official face of the 'moderate' anti-government movement in Syria. He favors arming the opposition and a foreign military intervention.

Flashback: How Jihad was declared in Syria
Al-Akhbar, 5-1-2013

Libya-Tripoli-2012: Honoring Arour & Bin-Laden
At the beginning of 2012 70 sheikhs from the Syrian Council of Clerics issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that declared jihad in Syria the duty of all Muslims. The Salafi sheikhs understood that the call for jihad had to be introduced in phases in order for many Syrians to accept it. They had noticed that the early protests were limited to social and economic demands, and when Islamist activists would raise slogans calling for the downfall of the regime, many participants would quickly leave. But soon this began to change and the Islamists were able to call for the execution of the president without alienating the protesters.

Two sheikhs in particular helped lay the groundwork for the rapid growth of Salafism in Syria: Sheikh Mohammed Srour and Sheikh Adnan al-Arour. Both men were once members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Saudi Arabia, where they were embraced by the ruling family and the Wahhabi clerical establishment.


Grand Mufti sends condolence letters
Syrian Arab News Agency, 17/02/2015

Damascus, SANA- Grand Mufti of the Republic Ahmad Badr-Eddin Hassoun sent on Tuesday condolence letters to Egyptian religious leaders expressing heartfelt condolences to the Egyptian people over the victims of the terrorist crime committed against Egyptian citizens in Libya recently.

In his letter to Pope Tawadros II, Hassoun affirmed that the perpetrators of that heinous crime are the same as those who murdered Syrian children, assassinated Syria’s religious figures, and vandalized its churches and mosques...
In the letter sent to the Mufti of Egypt, Hassoun relayed his strong condolences over the Egyptian people – both civilians and military personnel – who were murdered at the hands of terrorists claiming to be Muslims when in fact they are far removed from the true values of Islam.

He expressed hope that Egypt will resume its leading role in the region, calling for quick and serious action to reunite the nation’s religious scholars in Egypt where they would stand together against terrorism in Egypt and Syria.

Syrian government willing to suspend
strikes against Aleppo: UN envoy
Press TV, Wed Feb 18, 2015

“The government of Syria has indicated to me its willingness to halt all aerial bombing and artillery shelling for a period of six weeks all over the city of Aleppo from a date we’ll announce from (the Syrian capital city of) Damascus,” Staffan de Mistura told journalists after a closed-door UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting.
De Mistura also said he will travel to Syria in the near future and will ask the militants in the Middle Eastern country to also stop their mortar and rocket fire.
The purpose is to spare as many civilians as possible while we try to find a political solution,” he stated, emphasizing, “Facts on the ground will prove if the freeze holds and can be replicated elsewhere.”

Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, once served as the country’s industrial powerhouse, but has been split between a government-held western part and a militant-held eastern portion since mid-2012.
De Mistura, who was appointed last July as the UN envoy to Syria, told the UNSC about his recent meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus...
On Friday, De Mistura said Assad must be involved in any peaceful solution to the crisis in the Arab country.


Obsessed with the Middle East
By William Pfaff, Truthdig 17-2-2015

The principal reason that continuous warfare has dragged on in the Middle East for nearly 40 years is that American troops have been deployed there continuously in one form or another, with one or another justification, since “Operation Desert Shield” in 1990. (Previously the Reagan administration placed U.S. forces in Lebanon for three months, with disastrous consequences for the U.S. Marines, causing their withdrawal.)

Washington has been obsessed with the Middle East since 1990, because of oil, Israel and the recognition that the region constitutes the center and dynamism of Islamic religion—even though the majority of the world’s Muslims are in Indonesia, Pakistan, elsewhere in Asia and in Africa.

Washington since the fall of the Soviet Union has been driven by a compulsion to dominate, and not only in the Middle East.
This is what most recently inspired the coup in Ukraine: to complete a NATO wall around Russia, and intimidate the government of Vladimir Putin, so as eventually to see to his replacement. It inspired the intervention of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande last weekend to block the American program to ship NATO arms to that country in a dangerous effort to intimidate Putin.
The major countries of Western Europe no longer trust the American government. This may—perhaps must—be taken as a reassuring development, although most Americans don’t yet understand why.


The fortunate end of the Syrian opposition
By Z. Dimitrov, AlMasdar News,14-2-2015

The recent Moscow peace conference on Syria was a clear demonstration of the current reality in Syria. A reality where the so-called Syrian opposition is no longer of any significance, and where the government holds all the cards.
It is not surprising that the conference received very little coverage from international media.
This was essentially a protocol event designed to check the vitality of all actors involved and the amount of diplomatic backing each one of them receives.
The Turkish-based Syrian National Coalition was the one to appear as the most isolated of all anti-government groups not only due to its refusal to participate, but also because its Western and Gulf donors more or less signalled that the SNC is now on its own.
The unelected group that was once bizarrely touted as a “sole legitimate representative” of the Syrian people is now finally sinking into irrelevance, and that’s a good thing.

A loosely-defined “Syrian opposition” has been conceptualised since the beginning of the conflict. Western and Gulf nations viewed it as a tool for regime change that would steer the country in a desirable direction, much like the Libyan example and its Transitional National Council. Until recently, all policy making of the anti-Assad parties circled around the insistence of the “Assad must go” slogan...
The initial Syrian National Council was the umbrella group that represented this vision and it eventually grew into a Syrian National Coalition...

"A stillborn project whose members were not democratically elected, but hand-picked.

But despite the enormous efforts and financial injections of its foreign backers, the SNC was a spectacular failure. It was a stillborn project whose members were not democratically elected, but hand-picked. Only a handful of them had actual political experience in Syria proper. It had no political programme and its sole desire was to oust President Bashar al-Assad and take hold of the country...


Syrian army 2014

Losing the Syrian National Coalition from sight in the general picture of the conflict could only be beneficial for Syria itself.
- The first reason is that the possibility for credible, forced regime change from outside has been significantly reduced. A nightmarish vision of Syria descending into Libya-style chaos under various “liberation brigades” and subsequently being enveloped by ISIS terror would have been the unfortunate end of the SNC. This is now very far from reality.
- The second and broader benefit is that the SNC tale marks the end of the “revolutionary” narrative in Middle Eastern politics. Every attempt at armed rebellion will now be viewed upon with suspicion.
Meanwhile, the resilient Syrian government can only be seen as a political victor...
Damascus holds the key to conclude a wide regional conflict, and should not miss the opportunity to use it.