Hariri Vows to Protect Lebanon from Region Blaze,
Flashback: Saudi Arabia sentences writer Zuhair Kutbi to four years in jail
Saudi Writer Zuhair Kutbi: " Most Saudi intellectuals are cowards"
On Feb. 26, Iran held its 10th parliamentary election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and fifth election for its Assembly of Experts, the clerical body that appoints the supreme leader...
The outcome of the election will see the next parliament consisting of three political groupings: principlists, otherwise known as hard-liners, centrists/reformists and independents, with each group garnering about equal representation.
The centrist/reformist political grouping gained absolute majority in Iran's capital, Tehran.
However, the results in the provinces were more balanced -- even slightly in favor of principlists. Even so, this has not stopped principlist cleric Jafar Shojooni from stating:
'Tehran is the center for opposition to the revolution and velayat-e faqih (clerical jurisprudence) and these people winning the vote demonstrates this problem.'
On the other side, reformist Hossein Marashi has opined: 'We can now see that the level of political maturity in Tehran is 100, in provincial capitals is 50, and in smaller cities is 30.'
Iran: Theocracy or Republic?
The concept of Velayat-e-Faqih (the supreme political authority of the grand religious jurist) is a relatively recent concept in the history of Imami sect of Shi`ite Islam. Since the advent of the Islamic republic of Iran in 1979, it has become the theoretical justification for the Imami religious authorities of Iran to claim that they are entrusted with exclusive authority over the political, social and economic life of the Iranian society.
The balance between religion and republicanism shifted from the late 1990s during the reform era.
In Iraq Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani is against the idea of Velayat-e Faqih, suggesting Shi‘a clerics should not get involved in politics.
IS PRESS FREEDOM BEING SLAUGHTERED IN TURKEY?
Statement from Today’s Zaman: We are going through dark days
According to the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, since December 2, the Obama administration has admitted one Syrian refugee identified as a “Christian,” one identified as a “Greek Orthodox,” and one identified as “Orthodox.”
Another 461 Syrian refugees admitted in that timeframe are “Muslim Sunni,” three “Muslim Shiite,” ten “Muslim,” and one as “other religion.”
The Obama administration claims it wants to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US this year, which is far from the truth. After five years it hasn’t even resettled one thousand refugees... It is hard to believe the State Department can meet its international obligations in less than a year now.
According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the US ranks 14th worldwide in the number of refugees it hosted last year.
Lebanon is hosting the most refugees relative to its population, and is in fact far and away the leader. The UNHCR estimates that the 1.15 million refugees in Lebanon last year – nearly all of them fleeing the US-backed war on Syria – represent nearly 20 percent of that country’s population of 5.9 million. In second place is Jordan, where Syrian refugees represent more than 8 percent of the population.
In raw numbers, Turkey hosted more refugees than any other country last year: almost 2 million. However, refugees are not allowed to seek asylum there. Meaning, Turkey’s policy contributes to the surge of refugees into European Union countries with more liberal asylum standards.
Despite all of this, the US is supposed to be a haven for people fleeing war and persecution: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," and all that nonsense. However, when it comes to practice, the US is not that great.
They sent the national-religious sector to the settlements
“The Messiah’s donkey”
Zionist democracy: Creating a Jewish majority
in Judea-Samaria (Area C)
Useless subjects have the right to rule themselves
in a Bantustan-state (Palestine)
The Israeli occupation authorities demolished around 97 homes and 86 facilities in the occupied West Bank in February 2016 alone under the pretext of “illegal construction”, according to a statistical report released Thursday by the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ).|
The Palestinian Institute also said that demolition orders and orders to stop construction were issued to a further 139 Palestinian houses and facilities.
According to Aljazeera.Com throughout occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, some 90,000 Palestinians are facing potential displacement, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
An estimated 653 dunums of Palestinian land in various parts of the occupied West Bank are currently facing confiscation orders.
“The occupation has used the demolition policy as a way to put pressure on the Palestinians so to empty the region classified as Area C in the West Bank,” Ghassan Doughlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank said.
On Thursday, hundreds of Palestinians participated in a protest organised in the city of Negev, south of occupied Jerusalem, in solidarity with the people living in the villages of Atir and Umm Al-Hiran whose homes Israel decided to deport and demolish.
|A Bantustan (also known as Bantu homeland, black homeland, black state or simply homeland) was a territory set aside for black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia), as part of the policy of apartheid.|
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) went on the offensive against what he dubbed as "radicals" on the left and right, in an effort to promote his alternative diplomatic plan.
"The public is tired of hearing the radical left wing blaming Israel for the situation without offering solutions that maintain Israel's security, and the radical right wing that forces an unavoidable annexation of masses of Palestinians in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria," he said during a cultural event in Ramat Gan.
"That is why our separation plan is the only initiative that safeguards Israel's Jewish and democratic nature and ensures its security," Herzog asserted.
"The radical right and the radical left are babbling slogans that would lead us to Israelstine, a Jewish-Arab state from the Jordan to the sea," the opposition leader went on to say. "We're the only ones proposing a plan that could be implemented tomorrow morning, which would reduce the wave of terror attacks and change reality," he concluded.
Herzog: I want us to reach an agreement
Anyone who gives up Jerusalem is a traitor and there will be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said. He also reiterated his opposition to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
Abbas was speaking during a meeting with Palestinian journalists.. He said the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders was “inevitable,” adding that the Palestinians would remain steadfast on their lands despite the challenges.
The Palestinian Authority leader said Palestinian diplomatic efforts were continuing to convene an international peace conference. He said the Arab countries supported the efforts.
He said the Palestinian leadership would go to the UN Security Council in a bid to halt construction in the settlements. Abbas noted that the move would be coordinated with Arab foreign ministers.
“We won’t agree to continue implementing the signed agreements with Israel if it continues to ignore these agreements,” he said. “Also, we won’t accept any temporary agreements that do not comply with our legitimate rights.”
The leader of 'En-Nahda Islamic movement' in Tunisia Rached Ghannouchi asserted on Saturday that it is impossible to label Hezbollah as a terrorist group because of the his historic achievements in liberating Lebanon and protecting it from the Zionist aggressions.
Although Hezbollah's role in Syria is controversial, we cannot generalize any label against the party, Ghannouchi added.
Meanwhile, a number of political parties in Tunisia demanded that the government withdraw from the Saudi-led coalition in the region over the decision to blacklist Hezbollah.
In Egypt, the founder of the 'Popular Current', Hamdeen Sabahi, greeted Hezbollah and his Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah for confronting the Zionist occupation, noting that who has blacklisted the Resistance aims at stirring the Shiite-Sunnite sedition in the region.
Rached Ghannouchi doesn’t want an Islamic state in Tunisia. Robert Fisk, Independent 24-10-2012
“I don’t believe Tunisians want to change Islam but they want to be modern while being Muslims.
I was trying to convince [the Salafis] that constitutions are based not on what divides people, but what unites them.
In Tunisia, the Ennahda movement, led by Rachid Ghannouchi, came second in the country's parliamentary 2014 election following the centrist Nidaa Tounes party of Beji Caid Essebsi, a former parliament spokesman under ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Hamdeen Sabahi: follower of Egypt's former socialist president Gamal Abdel Nasser
Despite deep differences and backing opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, Iranian and Turkish leaders meeting in Tehran said they agree on de-escalating the war ahead of peace talks.
Both Tehran and Ankara support the current Syrian ceasefire and the preservation of Syria's unity, said Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. This comes following reports of a "Plan B" in Syria supported by some powers, which would involve some form of partition.
"There is no difference" between the two countries regarding stopping the war and "providing relief assistance to displaced people," also said the Iranian leader in remarks quoted on Sunday by government-owned 'Daily Iran'.
His remarks came during a meeting with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ahead of talks between the Syrian government and opposition later this month...
Turkey is a leading backer of the rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran, along with Russia, has strongly backed Assad.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus reiterated his country's rejection of the idea of partitioning war-torn Syria. In an interview with Saudi-funded Arabic-language daily Asharq al-Awsat on Sunday, Kurtulmus said that the Syrian people should have the final say on the fate of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad government, The Anadolu News Agency reported.
"What is happening [in Syria] is a new Sykes-Picot agreement," Kurtulmus said, referring to the secret agreement following World War I between Britain and France that defined their post-war spheres of influence in the Middle East. He said certain powers sought to impose a "new phase" of the agreement aimed at partitioning some countries in the region.
"The main focus of some [powers] is to divide Islamic countries along sectarian and ethnic lines in an attempt to create more problems between ethnic groups," he said.
He said certain parties were now speaking about dividing Syria into three distinct entities. "The fact is that Syria could be divided into 30 or 40 different parts," he said.
Kurtulmus called for bringing Syria’s various ethnic and religious groups together. "Our main focus is to protect Syria as a unified state," he asserted. He went on to urge different groups in Syria "to find the best way to participate in the search for a political solution" to the five-year-old conflict.
Regions of Syria covered by a U.N.-brokered ceasefire Sunday enjoyed the "calmest day" since the truce started, a monitor said, as Moscow and Washington cautioned against any delay in resuming peace talks.
"Sunday was the calmest day since the ceasefire came into effect" on February 27, Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.
He said the exceptions were dozens of rockets fired by al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group excluded from the truce, and other rebel factions at Kurdish forces in the far north of the city of Aleppo.
Heavy bombardment struck territory held by al-Nusra and the Islamic State group, another jihadist faction not covered by the truce.
In Moscow, the defense ministry reported 15 ceasefire violations during the previous 24 hours, compared with nine on Saturday and 27 the day before.
U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura has said that peace talks between rebels and the Syrian regime are to resume on March 10.
Russia's foreign ministry said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a telephone call on Sunday welcomed "the sharp decline in violence" and warned against "any delay in starting the process" of negotiations.
DAMASCUS - The Syrian government has been invited to a new round of peace talks with the opposition in Geneva from March 14. The negotiations will be the first held since an unprecedented ceasefire took hold on February 27 following an agreement between Russia and the United States.
The opposition's position on attending was unclear... HNC head Riad Hijab said his group would announce its decision later this week.
The HNC has said it represents nearly 100 rebel factions that have signed on to the truce for an initial two weeks. The truce will reach its two-week mark on March 12. Asked if the HNC would extend its commitment to the ceasefire, Hijab said the body would discuss the situation on the ground with opposition fighters "and based on this, we will make our decision."
Hijab rejected the prospect of putting in place a federal system in the war-torn country, warning that it would lead to partition.
"Syria's unity is a red line. This issue is non-negotiable and the idea of federalism is the prelude to the partitioning of Syria," Hijab told reporters. "This is completely unacceptable," he said.
"We agreed on the idea of administrative decentralisation" at the Riyadh conference in December 2015 when the HNC was formed.
Syria's Kurds, who have set up three autonomous regions since the outbreak of the war in 2011, back the idea of federalism.
Adel al-Jubeir confirmed in a press briefing that the Saudi military, along with regional allies, has begun airstrikes against targets in Yemen. Al-Jubier said the bombing campaign was designed to protect what he described as the “legitimate government” of Yemen from rebel forces. (MintPress, 26-1-2015)
The war has done particular damage to infrastructure—including reservoirs, airports, electric power stations, bridges and roads, markets, factories, stadiums, and hospitals. The education sector has been hit especially hard, with 39 universities damaged, 810 primary and secondary schools damaged, and another 3,809 closed.
About 85 percent of the population of 27 million is in dire need of food, water, medicine, and fuel. Over 2.5 million Yemenis are displaced, and the attacks have killed or injured more than 23,000 civilians...
Despite this devastation, Riyadh has failed to achieve its strategic goals. Its primary targets, Abdelmalek al-Houthi and Ali Abdullah Saleh, remain unharmed and able to move about the country relatively freely, and almost all well-known Houthi leaders are still alive.
On Houthi-seized military bases, ballistic missiles—including SCUD, Tochka, and Qaher-1 missiles—are still intact and in use. As Saudis fail to take out targeted Houthis, it becomes clear that they lack a cohesive strategy or even the required intelligence to carry out operations within Yemen...
In many ways the unrecognized government under Mohammed Ali al-Houthi is in a better position domestically than President Hadi and his Saudi-backed government. Hadi, currently in Riyadh, has become completely dependent on external support.
By contrast, the Houthis, though they lack international legitimacy, have seen their popularity rise with every Saudi airstrike... Many tribesmen—especially from the six provinces surrounding the capital Sanaa—signed the Houthi “tribal honor charter” in October 2015 to confront Saudi aggression.
The Houthis aimed to have more than one million Yemenis back the charter through public rallies in cities and villages across the country, particularly in Taiz and Mareb.
Tribal Honor Convention to Bolster National Principles and Interests
Ali al-Houthi: “Those who hold the authoritarian ideology
Saudi Arabia has held direct secret talks with Yemen’s Houthis and agreed to more negotiations in the Jordanian capital, a London-based newspaper, Rai al-Youm, reported.
The newspaper, edited by prominent Palestinian journalist Abdul Bari Atwan, said on Tuesday that the two sides may hold their next negotiations in a week.Yemen strike
UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has informed the United Nations' under-secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman of the talks in a secret letter, the daily said, noting that it had received a copy of the letter.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reportedly supervises the talks which have excluded Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the report said...
The alleged negotiations suggest Riyadh's submission to Houthi demands. The group has maintained that any talks must be held with the Saudis as their main adversary in the war, and not with Hadi.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Monday praised a reformist predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, for helping reformists and moderates to triumph in February elections, defying a media ban on any mention of the ex-leader who championed detente with the West.
Rouhani and his allies made big gains in Feb. 26 elections to parliament and a clerical body that will elect the next Supreme Leader, though the conservative Islamic establishment retains decisive power in the country.
Like Khatami before him, Rouhani faces stiff resistance from conservative hardliners to his efforts to open up Iran to the outside world and to push for political and social reforms.
Iran's media are banned from publishing the name or images of Khatami, who was president from 1997 to 2005. But Khatami, still one of Iran's most popular politicians, managed to publish a five-minute video on social media before last month's elections that are credited with swinging the balance in favor of the reformists and moderates backing Rouhani.
"No one can silence those who served the nation," Rouhani told a crowd on Monday in Khatami's home city of Yazd in central Iran, referring to the former president as his "dear brother". His remarks, broadcast live on state television, drew prolonged cheers from the crowd.
Asked about the media ban on Khatami, Rouhani said: "It's a complete lie that the National Security Council has banned the publication of anyone's photo. The National Security Council has no such directive and if anyone claims otherwise, he is breaking the law."
But the spokesman for Iran's judiciary promptly reacted to Rouhani's comments and said the ban was still in place. "Khatami's media ban is a judicial order ... Whoever violates it will be prosecuted," Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.
Flashback 2007: "Hard-liners in the U.S. and Iran
In a special address dedicated to International Women's Day, President Vladimir Putin warmly commended Russian women for the beauty, brightness and hope they bring into the world:
"Dear women, I sincerely commend you on this International Women's Day, which is marked with special warmth in Russia, perhaps more than anywhere else in the world. It is filled with gifts and flowers, as well as the kindest feelings towards our mothers, wives, daughters and colleagues – women who all are close to our hearts," he said.
"Women give us life; they warm us with their love, support and care. It is a woman's dignity and mercy which reveal the true [nature of the] Russian soul," he pointed out.
He expressed special gratitude to Russia's surviving female World War II veterans who helped men prevail over the enemy... He also pointed to a whole array of positive moments that Russian women have brought to the world.
"You, our dear women, possess a unfathomable secret: you do everything on time and cope with a huge load of worries while looking tender, charming and amazing. You bring goodness, beauty, brightness and hopefulness to the world. We are proud of you and we love you," Putin concluded...
Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is nearing a half century in duration. Netanyahu’s “facts on the ground” steps to make a two-state solution impossible are bearing fruit, and there still appears to be no significant opposition to these policies in Israel itself.
A number of smaller organizations supporting a two-state solution have emerged, notably J-Street and Americans for Peace Now, but recent steps by the Israeli government to delegitimize these groups are proceeding. The bottom line as I see it: The right has triumphed; the left has been defeated.
The Israel of today is very far from anything I dreamed of and worked for throughout my career.
I can clearly remember the day in 1948 when the State of Israel was established. I was in the fourth grade at the Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn. The entire school was summoned to the schoolyard in celebration of the momentous occasion.... Israel was to be the great laboratory for the rebirth of an ancient tradition in a new land and in a country committed to being a model of democracy and freedom for the world...
What happened? We can debate the reasons but the bottom line for me is that it has gone terribly wrong.
On the positive side, Israel’s accomplishments have been remarkable. Israel has created a thriving economy... Israel has generated a rich and diverse cultural life and its scientific and educational achievements have been exemplary. In spite of these achievements, however, Israel in my view has gone astray.
"It is in the area for which Israel was created, as a Jewish state, embodying and enhancing Jewish values that I see this failure. Present day Israel has discarded the rational, the universal and the visionary.
Throughout history, at its best, Jewish life and thought have successfully navigated between three pairs of values that are in tension with one another.
- First, the Jewish experience has balanced the rational with the affective, the assertion with the question, where often the question emerges as the more important.
Second, it has embraced both particularism with universalism, probing Jewish interiorities but looking out to the larger world, recognizing the common humanity of all people.
Third, it has shaped positions which looked to the past for sources and inspiration but at the same time it projected a vision for a world transformed in the future into something better than its current reality.
These values have been subordinated to a cruel and oppressive occupation, an emphatic materialism, severe inequalities rivaling the worst in the western world and distorted by a fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist religion which encourages the worst behaviors rather than the best.
Back to Ezra: The Father of Religious Zionism
Judah during the 9th and 8th centuries BCE was basically polytheistic, with Yahweh operating as a national god in the same way that surrounding nations each had their own national gods. The Exile allowed the worship of "Yahweh-alone" to emerge as the dominant theology.|
The most important development in the post-Exilic period was the promotion and eventual dominance of the idea and practice of Jewish exclusivity, the idea that the Jews, meaning followers of the god of Israel and of the law of Moses), were, or should be, a race apart from all others.
Ezra (480–440 BC), also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem. The most serious problem Ezra faced was the age-old practice of intermarriage between Jews and their neighbors. Intermarriage inevitably meant the dissolution of the nation of Israel and therefore of the covenant people.
National existence depended on the ability of the (leading) men of Judah to build a social wall around themselves, more than on constructing a physical wall around Jerusalem. A solemn assembly was called to deal with the situation, and a radical solution was adopted..: "put away" the foreign women and the mixed-blood children. This internal wall-building preceded the erection of the defensive wall that soon occurred under Nehemiah.
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)
Right wing control in Israel is stronger and more entrenched than ever. The establishment leadership in the American Jewish community is silent in the face of this dismal situation, and there are no recognizable trends that can move Israel out of this quagmire.
So, sadly, after a life and career devoted to Jewish community and Israel, I conclude that in every important way Israel has failed to realize its promise for me. A noble experiment, but a failure.
David Gordis is President Emeritus of Hebrew College where he served as President and Professor of Rabbinics for fifteen years. He is currently Visiting Senior Scholar at the University at Albany of the State University of New York.
Tikkun is a magazine dedicated to healing and transforming the world. We seek writing that gives us insight on how to make that utopian vision a reality. We build bridges between religious and secular progressives by delivering a forceful critique of all forms of exploitation, oppression, and domination while nurturing an interfaith vision of a caring society — one whose institutions are reconstructed on the basis of love, generosity, nonviolence, social justice, caring for nature, and awe and wonder at the grandeur of the universe..
Almost Half of Israeli Jews Back Transfer or Expulsion of Arabs
Haaretz, March 08, 2016
About half of Israel’s Jews support the transfer of Arabs to other countries, according to a survey by the American Pew Research Center published Tuesday. The poll was conducted among Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis from the end of 2014 until the middle of 2015, before the latest wave of terror.
The result, among the Jewish respondents: Twenty-one percent “strongly agree” and 27 percent “mostly agree.” If those two groups are combined, about half of Israeli Jews questioned – 48 percent – support transfer of Arab citizens.
Among religious Jewish citizens, the percentage who agree to expulsion, according to the poll, is higher than among Jewish Israelis as a whole: Seventy-one percent among the religious community, 69 percent among the ultra-Orthodox and 54 percent of traditional Jews support transfer.
In the secular community the trend is the opposite: A majority, 58 percent, oppose expulsion, while more than one-third (37 percent) are in favor.
Over 100 villages reconcile in Syria: government |
By Leith Fadel - Al-Masdar 09/03/2016
The countrywide ceasefire has surprisingly been successful as Syrian government officials report over 100 villages have now agreed to reconcile after several years of war and instability. According to a source from the Syrian government, the majority of the reconciliation agreements have taken place in the Hama Governorate, where several groups recently settled their differences in exchange for peace.
In the Damascus countryside, a Russian peace delegation is working to reconcile the rebel groups and the Syrian government forces in the Qudsiyah suborb after several failed attempts in the past between the two parties.
The ceasefire in Syria came into effect on February 27. The truce does not apply to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra extremist groups (outlawed in Russia) and other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the UN Security Council...
On February 23, Russia announced the establishment of the Reconciliation Center at the Khmeimin airbase in the Latakia Province. The US established a similar center in Amman (the capital city of Jordan).
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies could turn a page and build strong relations with Iran if it respects them and stops "meddling" in their affairs, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Wednesday.
"If Iran changes its way and its policies, nothing would prevent turning a page and building the best relationship based on good neighborliness, with no meddling in the affairs of others," he told reporters in Riyadh.
"Iran is a neighboring Muslim country that has a great civilization and a friendly people, but the policies that followed the revolution of (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini have been aggressive," he said.
Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and fellow Gulf nations accuse Iran of supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen, as well as attempting to destabilize their own regimes. They also support rebels in Syria's five-year-old war while Tehran openly backs the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Islamic Awakening and Ayatollah Khomeini’s Political Thought |
Hamzeh Nejati Arani - Islamic Document Center
Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini (born: 24 september 1902 ) was the pioneer of Islamic Awakening.
Nurture faithful and resistant people who are willing to undertake Jihad for the sake of God. Invalidate the myth of “separation of religion and government” or “separation of religion and politics”. Revive the thought of Islamic unity. Reintroduce Sharia as Divine rules. Reintroduce Holy Jihad against all idols and stimulate the willingness for martyrdom for the sake of God.
His revolutionary vision of theocratic government was in stark contrast to quietist Shiism that called for withdrawal from political life, or at least government, until the return of the Mahdi. And needless to say it was also in conflict with the hopes and plans of Iran's democratic secularists and Islamic leftists. (Wikipedia)
TEHRAN – Iranian scholars gathered at the National Library and Archives of Iran (NLAI) on Tuesday to commemorate the name and memoirs of the historian scholar and manuscript expert Iraj Afshar (1925 – 2011) on his 90th birth anniversary.
Iraj Afshar was the chief bibliographer of Persian books at Harvard University. Afshar was associated with UNESCO and taught at the University of Bern and Tehran University.
The ceremony opened with the message of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, in which she said that the role of Afshar in the promotion of Iranology in the world was regarded as inimitable.
Bokova noted her awareness that the master inherited his spirit of sacrifice for Persian culture and literature from his father’s love for Iran and the Persian language.
In his short speech at the ceremony, NLAI Director Seyyed Reza Salehi-Amiri said: “It is our duty to respect the great figures of this country..." “The youth must know that the culture of today is indebted to the great roots of the past...”
The discipline of Iranian Studies focuses on broad trends in culture, history, language and other aspects of not only Persians, but also a variety of other contemporary and historical Iranian peoples, such as Azeris, Kurds, Lurs, Gilakis, Talysh, Pashtuns, Ossetians, Baluchis, Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans, Parthians, Sogdians, Bactrians, Mazandaranis, etc.
The medieval Iranian poet Ferdowsi, author of the Iranian national epic the Shahnameh, can be considered the "founder" of Iranian studies in the sense that in his work he made a deliberate effort to highlight Persian culture prior to the Arab conquests.
In this sense Ferdowsi's nationalistic approach can be contrasted with that of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, whose History of the Prophets and Kings reflects a more specifically Islamic perspective.
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad issued on Thursday Law no. 11 for 2016 establishing a scientific agency for supporting creative individuals named the 'Distinction and Creativity Agency'.
The Agency will scout for distinguished creative talents and provide them with support, as well as providing education for students who excel in basic education using special curricula and programs.
It seeks to direct and unite the sides that find, sponsor, encourage, and care for talented, gifted, and creative individuals.
The Agency will be based in Damascus, and will be affiliated with the Ministry of Higher Education while still enjoying financial and administrative independence.
Asma Assad, meeting students
Anti-Intellectualism: a trademark of totalitarianism
Anti-intellectualism is a trademark of totalitarian regimes -- like the military junta in 1960s Argentina or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where people could be killed for wearing glasses, a sign, apparently, of intellect... (Wikipedia info)
1. a person opposed to or hostile toward intellectuals and the modern academic, artistic, social, religious, and other theories associated with them.
2. a person who believes that intellect and reason are less important than actions and emotions in solving practical problems and understanding reality.
Where common sense failes, ordinary people are the victims
The General People's Congress (GPC), led by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, welcomed on Wednesday any efforts aimed at ending the ongoing war in Yemen, Anadolu reported.
This news came following reports of a “truce” being reached along the border of Saudi Arabia and Yemen led by tribal and community leaders.
The official news website for Saleh reported an unnamed official as saying: “The GPC supports comprehensive peace and welcomes any efforts leading to the end of the war and all forms of internal hostilities in Yemen, including the halt of military acts on the Saudi-Yemeni borders.”
Saleh’s party, which has heavily criticised Saudi Arabia, described the Saudis as “brothers”. It also said that Saleh has “personally” called for direct dialogue between Yemen and Saudi based on his recognition that there must be a dialogue between the two.
A Saudi-led coalition started an extensive air campaign targeting Houthi militias, a group the GPC is accused of allying with.
The GPC said that it is “calling for peace” and is “against all wars”. It noted that “accepting peace does not mean submission and giving up the right to self-defence
Yemen's Ousted President Is Still a Stumbling Block for Saudis
The Arab League on Thursday elected Mubarak-era foreign minister and veteran diplomat Ahmed Abul Gheit as its new secretary general.
Aboul Gheit served as Egypt’s foreign minister during the final seven years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule, leaving his post in 2011, following the mass protests that toppled the ageing ruler. Qatar welcomed Mubarak’s fall and supported Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, who was elected in 2012 and overthrown a year later by the army after protests against his rule.
Abul Gheit who was the only candidate for the position was opposed by Qatar due to his "hostile positions" towards Doha, Arab diplomats said, in a sign of divisions within the pan-Arab body.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed Doha's "reservations" over Abul Gheit but voiced hope the next secretary general "will maintain contact between all Arab countries in the interest of joint Arab action."
A New York judge has ordered the state of Iran to pay more than US$10 billion in damages to the families of people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, despite a lack of evidence that Tehran had any hand in attacks that were perpetrated by members of al-Qaida.
U.S. District Judge George Daniels said Iran has failed to provide evidence that it did not aid those who carried out the attacks. But Iran has not participated in any of the court proceedings and hearings.
Calling the ruling “absurd” and “an evil joke”, Hossein Sheikholeslam, a senior aide to Iran’s parliamentary speaker, told the Russian outlet Sputnik that “Iran never took part in any court hearings related to the events of Sep. 11, 2001.”
It is important to note that none of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 were Iranian citizens. Fifteen were citizens of Saudi Arabia, while two were from the United Arab Emirates, and one each were from Egypt and Lebanon.
Even more controversially, the same judge ruled last year that Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s key allies in the Middle East, did not provide any material support to the attackers and was cleared from paying billions of dollars to the victims’ families.
Judge Daniels also said that Saudi Arabia has sovereign immunity, which does not seem to be the case when it comes to Iran.
The ruling shows the judge has limited knowledge of the relationship between Iran and al-Qaida.
The extremist group – along with its late Saudi leader, Osama bin Laden – adheres to the radical Salafi Sunni sect of Islam, which is in fundamental disagreement with Shiite Islam, the form of Islam the Iranian state adheres to.
In fact, al-Qaida's Islamic vision is closer to the Saudi kingdom’s religious identity as both see Shiites as apostates and non-Muslims; facts put forward by Emad Abshenas, the editor-in-chief of Iran Press, duing an interview with Sputnik Persian.
“The people who committed those terrorist attacks were neither friends nor allies of Iran. They were our sworn enemies, members of al-Qaida, which considers Iran as their enemy.”
He added that most of the attackers were either Saudi citizens or residents “who lived in Saudi Arabia and enjoyed Saudi support.
The Islamic State extremist group released a video in which two of its Lebanese members threaten various Lebanese officials, as well as Hizbullah. The video showed the two members urging Lebanon's Sunnis to “revolt,” while saying that Hizbullah is “the source of crime and oppression in the country.” <
“The Syrian regime invaded Lebanon primarily through Arab consent and secondarily through the crusaders' blessing,” they said of western officials.
The video also showed images of Mustaqbal Movement leader MP Saad Hariri during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Salman, accusing him of purchasing millions of dollars worth of weapons for the army and security forces that “have no purpose but to kill Sunnis.”
The IS accused these sides of “corruption and terror” and paving the way for Hizbullah to strengthen its grasp over Lebanon.
The IS video was released by the “media office of the Raqqa emirate” in Syria.
Hizbullah - Lebanon
Arab League foreign ministers on Friday declared Hizbullah a "terrorist" group, days after Arab interior ministers and the Gulf Cooperation Council issued similar resolutions.
Nearly all members of the pan-Arab body supported the decision, but not Lebanon and Iraq which expressed "reservations", the bloc said in a statement read out at a news conference by Bahraini diplomat Wahid Mubarak Sayar.
Earlier in the day, the Saudi delegation briefly withdrew from discussions to protest against Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's refusal to label Hizbullah as terrorist.
“Hizbullah enjoys wide representation in Lebanon and it is a main component in the country,” Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil announced after the meeting in Cairo. “We voiced reservations because the resolution was not in line with the Arab anti-terror treaty,” he added.
The Arab League's move follows a similar one by the Saudi-led GCC, which has designated Hizbullah as terrorist over alleged "terrorist acts and incitement in Syria, Yemen and in Iraq."
Hezbollah criticized the GCC resolution as "irresponsible and hostile."
Arab League & NATO: Extremist (i.e. armed) Sunni brigades are the real Syrian government
Does Hezbollah pose a threat to Arab national security...? Before answering this question we must determine the threats that have shaken the ground beneath the Arab world.
The first threat that some Arabs tend to forget or intentionally disregard is the Israeli regime, which marks the biggest danger facing Arab national security. The Israeli regime has been Arabs’ greatest enemy since its inception...
The second threat, which also fights for the same principles as that of the Israeli regime, only under another banner, is the outbreak of what has been labelled as terrorism. Terrorist groups, namely ISIS, Al-Qaeda and al-Nusra Front have wreaked havoc across Arab states including Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, killing in the name of the religion that most Arabs believe in: Islam.
Now that the sides that pose a threat to Arab national security have been named, it is imperative to compare the role of the PGCC, but most importantly that of the Saudi regime, and that of Hezbollah in order to reach a conclusion as to who is threatening this security.
Hezbollah has been fighting against the Israeli regime, a constant and imminent threat to Arab security.
Since its formation in the 80’s Hezbollah has engaged in several wars against Israeli occupation, each time succeeding in bringing the enemy to its knees and restoring what remains of Arab pride.
In the year 2000, Hezbollah fighters liberated South Lebanon from Israeli occupation that lasted for over two decades. In 2006, the resistance group defeated the Israelis in a 33-day war. Since then, several attacks have targeted Israeli tanks along the border with occupied Palestine. On the other side of the balance, the weight of Saudi accomplishments against the Israeli occupation amount to zero.
Hezbollah has also taken up arms against the other face of terrorism.
In Syria, the group has been helping the Syrian army in its battle against extremism. Hezbollah fighters have been heading to neighboring Syria and sacrificing their lives so that other Arabs can live, so that terrorism does not take the upper hand there and further spread in the region.
Meanwhile, Persian Gulf states generally, but chiefly Riyadh, have been funding and providing sustenance for armed Islamist brigades who have been fighting against the [pan-Arab] government of Syrian President Bashar Assad since 2011—as part of a regional project to weaken Syria and Iraq and ultimately the axis of resistance.
Hezbollah continued where the Lebanese Army left off on Friday, striking the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) defensive positions in the Ba’albak Highlands.
The powerful assault began with heavy artillery fired by the Lebanese Resistance towards ISIS’ defenses at Azwaytina and the Mosul Heights in the Ba’albak Highlands; this resulted in the destruction of several mechanisms belonging to the aforementioned terrorist group in east Lebanon.
Following the artillery strike, Hezbollah carried out a ground assault at Khirbat Beit Al-Agha and the Mosul Heights, killing several ISIS fighters en route to their advance in this mountainous area of Ras Ba’albak.
Hezbollah would also target ISIS’ positions in the Jaroud Qa’a area, where ISIS has been trying to build a strong presence at near the Al-Qusayr border-crossing.
In addition to Hezbollah’s ground assault, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) reportedly assisted the Lebanese Resistance with several airstrikes on the Syrian-Lebanese border, hitting ISIS targets at Jaroud Jarajeer, Jaroud Qarah, and Jaroud Rankous.
Obama’s Atlantic interviews on foreign policy contain some interesting remarks. The New York Times summarizes some of his views this way:
President Obama believes that Saudi Arabia, one of America’s most important allies in the Middle East, needs to learn how to “share” the region with its archenemy, Iran, and that both countries are guilty of fueling proxy wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
In a series of interviews with The Atlantic magazine Mr. Obama said a number of American allies in the Persian Gulf — as well as in Europe — were “free riders,” eager to drag the United States into grinding sectarian conflicts that sometimes had little to do with American interests..
That’s all very well, but it doesn’t explain why his administration has been backing the Saudis in their Yemen campaign for almost a year or why he has repeatedly allowed the “free riders” to get away with this behavior over the last seven years.
One looks in vain for any mention in Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic article that the U.S. has been supporting the Saudi-led campaign and otherwise indulging the Gulf states in their fear and loathing of Iran.
Obama claims to be “frustrated” by the Saudis, but seems more than willing to cater to most of their demands...
To listen to what he says, one would never guess that his administration has been providing arms, fuel, and intelligence to assist a bombing campaign that has killed thousands and wounded tens of thousands of civilians.
Obama criticizes the “free riders” in the Gulf while encouraging them in their worst instincts and habits...
The U.S. isn’t “coming in and using our military power to settle scores” exactly, but the US is lending aid to the Saudis and their allies as they pursue their unrealistic objectives in Yemen.
U.S. support for the war on Yemen is one of the blackest marks on Obama’s foreign policy record...
Syria's warring sides clashed over the fate of President Bashar Assad on Saturday, with the government vowing his ouster remains a "red line" for looming peace talks while the opposition vowed to see him go -- dead or alive.
The UN-brokered, indirect negotiations due to begin in Geneva on Monday.. Government negotiators are expected in Geneva on Sunday, where delegates from the main opposition group, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) are already preparing.
Assad = The Army - The Constitution - The Baath Party
Assad = The Grand Mufti - International Law - Syrian Technocrats
The HNC has repeatedly called for Assad's departure as a prerequisite for any deal, and chief opposition negotiator Mohammad Alloush said the president must go for peace talks to stand a chance.
"We believe that the transitional period should start with the fall, or death, of Bashar Assad," he told Agence France Presse in a joint interview in Geneva. "It cannot start with the presence of the regime, or the head of this regime still in power."
The HNC has called for the creation of a transitional body with full executive powers.
Libyan Blues - by Daniel Pipes, 22-8-2011
The NATO intervention in March 2011 was done without due diligence as to who it is in Benghazi that it was helping.
Libya’s UN-backed Presidential Council has called on all institutions in the crisis-hit country to help facilitate a peaceful transfer of power to the interim unity government it proposed last month.|
In a statement released on Saturday, the Tunis-based council (government 1), which is tasked with guiding the nation through a transition to end the political chaos in Libya, further urged the global community to stop dealing with those Libyan parties that seek to hinder the formation of a unity government.
The council urged “all Libyan sovereign and public institutions and the heads of financial bodies to start communicating immediately with the Government of National Accord so as to hand over power in a peaceful and orderly manner.”
Last month, the council nominated the Government of National Accord, also known as the unity government, as part of the Libyan Political Agreement, which was signed in Morocco on 17 December 2015.
Since August 2014, when militias seized the capital Tripoli, Libya has had two parliaments and two governments with one, the General National Congress (GNC), run by rebels (government 2) in the capital, and the internationally-recognized administration in Tobruk (government 3).
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he was instructing his armed forces to start pulling out of Syria, over five months after he ordered the launch of a military operation that shored up his ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad...
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had telephoned Assad to inform him of the Russian decision. The move was announced on the day United Nations-brokered talks between the warring sides in Syria resumed in Geneva.
"The effective work of our military created the conditions for the start of the peace process," Putin said. "I believe that the task put before the defense ministry and Russian armed forces has, on the whole, been fulfilled. With the participation of the Russian military ... the Syrian armed forces and patriotic Syrian forces have been able to achieve a fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism and have taken the initiative in almost all respects," Putin said.
"I am therefore ordering the defense minister, from tomorrow, to start the withdrawal of the main part of our military contingent from the Syrian Arab Republic."
Russia will leave an air flight control center in the Syrian territory that will monitor the observation of the Syrian ceasefire, the Kremlin said. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered starting the Russian troops’ withdrawal as of March 15.
Russian Aerospace Defense Forces "have played and continue to play a noble role in the fight against terrorism," the Syrian Armed Forces’ commanders said in a statement distributed by SANA news agency on Tuesday.
The statement noted that the agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad on withdrawing Russian forces from Syria "is in line with latest developments on the front where the Syrian army, in coordination with Russian aviation, achieved great successes in the war against terrorist groups."
"As a result, Syrian Armed Forces regained military initiative which led to expansion of the process of local ceasefires, end of military operation on several fronts and flight of many terrorists from the country."
The Syrian Armed Forces confirmed that military actions against Islamic State (IS) and Jebhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations will continue...
The military operations against terrorists "will continue in partnership and coordination with friends and allies until terrorists are defeated and stability and security is restored in all corners of the homeland," the statement added.
The first group of Russian planes has left the Hmeimim air base in Syria for their permanent locations, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.
"Each group consists of the leader - a military transport jet (a Tupolev-154 or Ilyushin-76) carrying engineering personnel and material assets and equipment, followed by Russian combat planes of different types," the defense ministry explained.
Russia’s Aerospace Force started delivering strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both banned in Russia) on September 30, 2015...
Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria, with over a hundred of them performed by long-range aircraft.
Russia’s envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin announced that the decision would aid the peace talks.
"Our diplomacy has received marching orders to intensify our efforts to achieve a political settlement in Syria," he said adding, "We are in the political mode now, in the cessation of hostilities mode."
The envoy noted that a Russian military presence will remain in Syria but “will be directed mostly at making sure that the ceasefire, the cessation of hostilities, is maintained."
A ceasefire agreement, brokered by Russia and the US, entered into force in Syria late last month. The truce has been largely holding, resulting in a dramatic drop in civilian casualties.
In response to Russia’s announcement, the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said that the withdrawal would be positive for the peace talks.
"If there is seriousness in implementing the withdrawal, it will give the talks a positive push," said Salim al-Muslat, the spokesman for the Saudi-backed group.
A fresh round of Syrian peace talks began in Geneva on Monday..
Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yosef has called for religious Jews to distance their children from secular or merely traditionally Jewish family members, and even to prevent their children from meeting them.
The chief rabbi's pronouncement is based on the fear that the nonreligious relatives will adversely affect the children spiritually. According to Yosef, observant Jewish children must not be exposed at all to a lifestyle that includes "profanity and television", lest they become "corrupted"...
In one of the chief rabbi's weekly Saturday night lessons held in Jerusalem, he said, "There are ba'alei tshuva (once-secular Jews who have become observant) with nonreligious families who take their small, 7-year-old, 8-year-old children to visit, and this influences the children.
"Particularly if the second family has non-religious or just observant children, they can talk about all kinds of obscene language or television or all kinds of forbidden things, and they can corrupt them...."
Rabbi Yosef is the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, and bases his rulings on Jewish law on his father's methods of ruling
Yosef further recounted a story: "When my father was elected chief rabbi, a man in military uniform—an Air Force pilot—knocked on his door. He had brought us flowers. I thought that he was the delivery man from the store. I wondered, 'What's this, a ranking delivery man?' I was about to close the door so that he would leave, as I had taken the flowers. |
He looked at me: 'Don't you recognize me?' I said, 'no.' (He said,) 'Cousin.' (I said,) 'Cousin? Okay, please, come in and see the rabbi.' We didn't recognize him."
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is recognized by law as the head of religious law and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in Israel.
The rabbinate has jurisdiction over many aspects of life of Jews in Israel, including marriage and divorce, burials, conversion, kosher certification and supervision of holy sites. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel consists of two Chief Rabbis, one Ashkenazi and one Sephardic. They are elected for a ten year period and they alternate the presidency every six months. The new chief rabbis were elected in 2013 and are David Lau as the Ashkenazi rabbi and Yitzak Yosef as the Sephardic rabbi.
Israel & Jewish Religious Law
In 2009, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman stated that "step by step, Torah law will become the binding law in the State of Israel"... According to Nahum Rakover,Neeman's opinion was nothing new. He said that the idea is supported in the Foundations of Law Act, passed in 1980, which encourages judges to use Jewish law in their decisions.
In 2014, Israel's cabinet advanced a bill ('a new basic law') that would define Israel as "the nation-state of the Jewish people" and also said that Jewish law would be a "source of inspiration" for the Knesset. This was seen by non-Orthodox Jews as a step toward enforcing Orthodox halakha as the law of the land. (Wikipedia info)
An opinion poll released in March 2016 by the Pew Research Center found high support for a Halachic state (a state governed by Jewish religious law) among religious Israeli Jews. The poll found that 86% of Israeli Haredi Jews and 69% of non-Haredi religious Jews support making Halacha Israel's legal code, while 57% of traditional Jews and 90% of secular Jews oppose such a move.
A day after the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the "Mikvah bill" for legislation, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party said that the faction made it clear to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he must choose between them and the Reform Movement.
"We struggled to bring the bill up for a discussion and a vote in the government and we refused any attempt to delay or compromise submitted to us," said Litzman, adding: "We have clarified to the prime minister that United Torah Judaism will not be able to cooperate with a government that is in the pocket of the Reform Movement and allows them to trample on the Torah and Jewish law."
"The Prime Minister must decide whether he prefers the reformers outside of Israel or the haredim inside of Israel," he continued, referring to the fact that the Reform Movement in Israel accounts for only a tiny minority of Israeli Jews.
The bill approved on Sunday states that public Mikvaot, baths used for the purpose of ritual immersion, will only follow the guidelines of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
The Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is the umbrella organization of all the Reform communities and institutions in Israel. We seek to integrate Jewish tradition with the realities of modern life, and we believe in the right of each individual to shape their own Jewish way of life through a process of study and reflection. The Reform movement emphasizes the commandments concerning relations between humans, religious tolerance, and full equality between women and men in the synagogue and in all walks of life.
Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi in response to positions adopted by Saudi Arabia and Saudi-backed Syrian opposition groups in the current talks on the future of Syria said, “the selection of a nation’s leader will be decided by the country’s own people and a political insistence on dismissing or appointing a leader for another country is a blatant enmity with democracy.”
“Saudis still assume they are living 15 years ago and are pushing world powers to take measures the way Al Saud took power and rule over Islamic countries,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Firouzabadi deemed such beliefs and positions ‘obsolete’, ‘reactionary’, and a dream that will never come true.
He stressed that the insistence of Saudi government and its backed Syrian groups for removing Assad would mean the spread of ISIL terrorists and the rise of a Takfiri government in Syria.
“The UN is fully aware of the fact that Saudis’ demands on this issue are absurd and baseless...,” said Firouzabadi, adding “independent countries such as Iran, Russia and a number of Arab states will, however, support the Syrian people and their demands.”
Moslims & Christians will form a progressive movement.
Iranian Shiites believe that at the end of times, the 12th Imam, Mahdi, a 9th century prophet, will reappear with Jesus Christ at his side..
In the picture below, the Chief of Staff ofIslam Republic of Iran, Major General Sayyid Hassan Firouzabadi is seen while kissing the book called "The Prophet Jesus and Hazrat Mahdi Will Come This Century" as an expression of his appreciation.
The Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, Major General Sayyid Hassan Firouzabadi, who is known with his closeness to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khmenei, noted "Today’s world is enthusiastic for a justice-dispersing Saviour [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] and the emergence of the rule of justice..." (en.a9.com.tr, july 2011)
In a message to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iranian Armed Forces' Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said the 1979 Islamic Revolution's progressive movement is continuing “strongly and successfully” (Press TV, 5-4-2015) “All the plots have failed … to undermine our progressive and stable leadership..” (23-12-2015)
Conservatives claim Christ as one of their own. But he was the unemployed son of two asylum-seekers with all the personal traits of a modern revolutionary.
The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev once declared: "Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind." The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, went further, describing Christ as "the greatest socialist in history". But it's not just Russian ex-communists and Bolivarian socialists who consider Jesus to be a fellow-traveller. Even the Daily Mail sketch-writer Quentin Letts once confessed: "Jesus preached fairness - you could almost call him a lefty."
That conservatives have succeeded in claiming Christ as one of their own in recent years - especially in the US, where the Christian right is in the ascendancy - is a tragedy for the modern left.
Throughout history, Jesus's teachings have inspired radical social and political movements: Christian pacifism (think the Quakers, Martin Luther King or Bruce Kent in CND), Christian socialism (Keir Hardie or Tony Benn), liberation theology (in South America) and even "Christian communism". In the words of the 19th-century French utopian philosopher Étienne Cabet, "Communism is Christianity . . . it is pure Christianity, before it was corrupted by Catholicism."
These days, however, the so-called God-botherers tend to be on the right. In his book God's Politics, the US Evangelical pastor Jim Wallis, spiritual adviser to President Obama and Gordon Brown before him, laments the manner in which Jesus's message has been misinterpreted by the warring political tribes, writing of how the right gets Christ wrong, while the left doesn't get him at all.
He reminds his readers that being a Christian is not necessarily the same as being a "right-wing Christian fundamentalist", and that the Bible's focus on social justice and the poor shows that economic life should be organised around the needs of society's weakest and most vulnerable members.
Hasan is the co-author of a biography of Ed Miliband and the political editor of the UK version of The Huffington Post. From a British Indian background, he is the presenter of Al Jazeera English shows The Café and Head to Head and UpFront. In 2015, Hasan moved to Washington DC to work full time for Al Jazeera on UpFront.
The media is a powerful tool and for the Palestinian cause, it is a weapon that continues to be used in the war that began with the Israeli occupation in 1948.
Aware of the ability of media outlets to sway international opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israeli regime continues to crack down on Palestinian news outlets that are disseminating news from the other side’s point of view amid a Zionist control over western media.
Recently, Israeli occupation forces stormed and shut the West Bank headquarters of Falasteen Al-yawm or Palestine Today, a TV station affiliated with the Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad. The Israelis claimed that the offices of Palestine Today were shuttered over its “inciting broadcasts.”
Shin Bet members entered the headquarters in Ramallah on Thursday night and confiscated transmitters as well as other technical equipment. They also detained the owner of the station, Farouk Omar Kassem Aliat, without charges according to reports.
Attempting to silence the voice of the resistance is no novelty...
Not long ago, both Al-Manar and Al-Mayadeen have been blocked by Arabsat, a Saudi-owned satellite company, over the two news channels’ coverage of the Saudi-led war on Yemen...
The media war, in the modern world, cannot be seen as a separate conflict. Instead, it is part of, if not complementary to the ongoing international confrontation.
It is the medium, the tool, through which the good is demonized, the evil is victimized, minds are shaped, and opinions are swayed, all under the manchette of the so-called truth and the headline of so-called objectivity. That’s why when it comes to issues as important as the Palestinian cause, one must always be vigilant.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the head of the Falestine al-Youm — or "Palestine Today" — was detained in the raid in Ramallah early Friday morning. She said Farouq Elayan, 34, had been incarcerated in the past for activities in the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group. The outlet, which also publishes material on social media sites, encouraged Palestinians to attack Israelis, she said.
Israel has long pointed to the glorification of attackers in Palestinian media and social networking sites as a major factor in the recent bloodshed.
Palestinians say it stems from anger at nearly five decades of Israeli rule in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and frustrations at not achieving statehood. (US News, 16-3-2016)
MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned that Russia could ramp up its military presence in Syria within "several hours" if needed, as he urged all sides of the conflict to respect a ceasefire.
"If there's a need, Russia literally within several hours can ramp up its presence in the region to the size required for the unfolding situation and use the whole arsenal of possibilities we have at our disposal," Putin said in the Kremlin. "We would not want to do that, a military escalation is not our choice," he added as he decorated officers who served in the war-torn country.
"And that's why we put our hopes in the common sense of all parties, in the commitment to the peace process of both the Syrian authorities and the opposition."
Speaking to the top military brass, he said Moscow was not abandoning its ally Bashar al-Assad, pledging Russia's continuing military and other support to his regime and praising the Syrian leader. "We see his restraint, his sincere desire to achieve peace, his readiness for compromise and dialogue," Putin said.
He also extolled the Russian armed forces for their service in the Middle Eastern country: "We have created conditions for the start of the peace process," he said. "It is you -- the Russian soldiers -- who opened the path to peace."
Syria's Kurds declared a federal region in the country's north Thursday, in a move that risks complicating already fragile talks underway in Geneva to end the country's brutal five-year conflict.
More than 150 delegates from Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and other parties meeting in the Syrian town of Rmeilan agreed to create a "federal system" unifying territory run by Kurds across several Syrian provinces.
Both the Syrian government and the main opposition immediately rejected the move, which was expected to create more obstacles at already thorny peace talks underway in Switzerland, from which the Kurdish parties have so far been excluded...
Speaking ahead of the Kurdish declaration, the U.N.'s mediator in the talks Staffan de Mistura branded the federalism push as possibly "dangerous".
Washington-based analyst Mutlu Civiroglu said the Kurdish announcement was a political message "to the United Nations, the U.S., Russia, and especially to Geneva, that if you ignore us, we are going to determine our future by ourselves."
A member of the Syrian government delegation told AFP the Kurds would be "invited to the talks in the next stage".
WASHINGTON - The United States warned Wednesday that it would not recognize an attempt by Kurdish groups in war-torn Syria to form an autonomous federal region.
Washington has supported and encouraged the Kurdish parties of the area in their fight against a common foe, the Islamic State jihadist group. But the State Department said Wednesday it would not support the breakup of the country and that any new federal model would have to emerge from peace talks.
"We've been very clear that we won't recognize any self-rule autonomous zones within Syria," spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
"This is something that needs to be discussed and agreed upon by the relevant parties in Geneva and then by the Syrian people themselves."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has laid the foundation stone of a housing project in the capital, Damascus, in a move symbolizing the war-ravaged country's reconstruction and development efforts.
On Thursday, Assad attended a ceremony in Damascus’ Mezzeh district, where he placed the base stone of Project 66 to regulate al-Razi housing area.
"We talk about construction in a country where huge destruction took place… That's why this is an important strategic project...", Assad said.
The project, which covers some 2.149 million square meters, includes 12,000 residency units and can accommodate approximately 60,000 people. It provides 110,000 employment opportunities and 27.000 permanent jobs.
AS the Syrian crisis marks its fifth anniversary, the divide between Syrians prioritizing their security over those valuing their freedom continues.
A survey conducted by ORB International in late 2015 found that 47 percent of Syrians believe Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has a positive influence in Syria in comparison to 35 percent for the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) and 26 percent for the (Western backed) opposition.
In early February, Assad’s Russian-backed forces and their allied militias made some advances on the ground, which was good news for his supporters, but irritated rebels and those who wanted to see the demise of the leader’s regime in Damascus.
For a Syrian engineer now living in Dubai, this was a comforting omen that “old Syria” is returning back once again under Assad’s control. “I was never with the revolution, because there was never a real revolution!” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It (the uprising) was all started by other superior countries, who funded mercenaries with money and weapons,” he said, emphasizing that these parties had wished “just to destroy everything.”
“I’m not saying I am with the president. But I am with a system that keeps things under control,” he explained. “No matter how bad it is, security comes first.”
In Syria, Sunnis Muslims make up 74 percent of the country’s 22 million-strong population, Alawites make up 12 percent, Christians make up 10 percent and Druze make up 3 percent. Ismailis, Yezidis and Jews make up the rest of the population.
Western poll (flashback): Assad supported by most Syrians
UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived Saturday in Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa after holding a round of talks in Riyadh with Saudi and Yemeni officials. The Mauritanian diplomat also met with Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Hadi, who met with Ould Cheikh Friday evening in Riyadh, said that "all doors are open to help reach a comprehensive and lasting peace based on the outcomes of the Gulf Initiative, the National Dialogue Conference and the resolutions of the UN Security Council, especially Resolution 2216."
Ould Cheikh's visit is considered the first of its kind following Saudi-Houthi talks that took place in the Saudi city of Abha last week. After primarily being behind the scenes, talks have been put on a more official track.
The current calm on the ground, despite minor violations, reflects the parties' willingness to reach a settlement, a source close to the Yemeni president told Ahram Online from Riyadh. The source said that de-escalation on the part of Houthi rebels and the disarming of mines on the Saudi-Yemeni border are evidence that all sides are mulling a compromise. "The Houthis began to describe Saudi Arabia as the big sister and Ali Abdullah Saleh, on the other hand, beckons that the war is coming to an end."
Negotiations are expected to halt the political conflict between the former regime and the post-February revolution regime.
Sources close to Hadi say that he does not fear Saleh and Houthi inclusion in the political process on Yemen's future while underlining the importance of govenmental legitimacy. Saleh's bloc, meanwhile, is expected to push to expand its role in Yemen's future through the negotiations.
- Question: Many people accuse Iran of hindering the political process in Yemen, saying that Iran does not want the war to end, because it can exhaust the Saudis’ resources, financially and militarily, which will lead to its collapse. What is your reaction?
- Abedin: Everyone knows how this war started, who formed a coalition of countries to launch attacks on Yemen, and who opened a battlefront in the Yemeni-Saudi border... The truth is that Saudi Arabia started this unjust war against the Yemenis. What is happening in reality is the opposite of what the Saudis wanted to do.
They started the battlefront in Yemen in order to defeat Bashar Al-Assad in Syria and weaken us politically and economically to stop supporting Al-Assad in Syria. But that didn’t happen...
We are sorry if Saudis are exhausting their financial resources and power because of the war on Yemen and other countries, but they brought this upon themselves. What they should have done is that their resources should have been utilized against the true enemy of Islam and the Muslims, which is the Zionist entity, not for fighting their brothers in neighboring countries.
- Q: The internationally-recognized government of Yemen and the KSA are still claiming that Iran is smuggling weapons to Ansar Allah and sending military advisors to Yemen to help the Houthis as well as the forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Is that true?
- Abedin: We did not intervene in Yemen militarily and everyone knows that. Despite those claims, there are no Iranian advisors or soldiers in Yemen.If there is any Iranian military here in Yemen they have to prove it with evidence.
- Q: Many people claim that the KSA is supporting ISIL (ISIS). On the other hand, people in the gulf countries claim that the real supporter of ISIL is Iran, because the extremist group doesn’t call for attacking Iran, while it invites people to topple the Saudi regime. How would you respond?
- Abedin: The world knows who is supporting and funding ISIS, ideologically, financially and sectarian-wise. They made it; Saudi Wahhabis created ISIL. As for the group’s threats against the KSA, I have to say these are just lies for public consumption.
There is no real ISIS threat against the Saudi government, because the group is killing the people in Iraq and Syria...
President Hassan Rouhani felicitated Iranian expatriates on Norouz and the other nations celebrating Norouz (spring equinox).
Norouz means renewal and the end of the what has passed. So 'We should wash our hearts from vengeance. Norouz tells us to blossom out. We pray to God to make all days of our country happy days just like Norouz.'
The president called for national solidarity and disavowal of divide and conflict and violence. 'I pray to God to make our minds and tongue friendly just like the culture of Norouz and help us develop reconciliation, to refrain from expressing wrath in our eyes and intransigency in words and violent behavior.'...
The president gave assurances that the government will bring five percent economic growth by public contribution and said that God willing Iranian economic growth will be more than all the neighboring states. He hoped for bringing back the workers to the factories and the farms and bring the young graduates to the market...
Norouz & ZoroasterNoruz/Nowruz, or new day, is the celebration of spring equinox. It is the most cherished of all the Iranian festivals and is celebrated by all. This occasion has been renowned in one form or another by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. What we have today as Noruz with its' uniquely Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian belief system in the Sassanid period...
In order to understand Noruz we have to understand Zoroastrians' cosmology.
Iranians consider the Norouz as their greatest celebration of the year. Even after Islam, the festival of Norouz continued to be by far the greatest celebration of the year in Iran.
Nusra Front (Qaeda branch in the Levant) terrorist group lashed out at the ongoing talks between the Syrian government and the opposing groups in Geneva and criticized the ceasefire across the Syrian provinces which put a relative end to the 5-year crisis.
In a footage, Nusra revealed a number of its leaders' faces, including Jamal Zeneya (Abu Malek al-Talle) who led the group's attack against the Lebanese army in the southeastern town of Arsal.
Nusra Front also considered that ISIL is a group of Kharijites that "slowed the progress of the Jihadi project."
nusra front syria
Who are the Kharijites?
Ali Mamouri, Al-Monitor, 8-1-2015
The word Kharijite means “those who defected from the group,” referring to the Islamic groups that rebelled against the third and fourth caliphs, Uthman and Ali, and the rulers of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates, beginning in 644. These "Kharijites" organized rebellions against Uthman, Ali, Muawiya and other caliphs. Those in opposition to the rebellions called the rebelling groups the Kharijites and accused them of turning their backs on Islam, since the caliphate and its leaders represented true Islam.
The similarities between IS and the Kharijites have prompted some to compare the two. Such similarities include: condemning other Muslims, killing children and women, and clashing with other Salafist jihadist groups to secure an exclusive grip on power.
However, in some ways, IS is completely different from the Kharijites. The latter never expressed hostility toward non-Muslims and they never oppressed minorities, as IS has done consistently.
The Kharijites did not have Salafist tendencies. They did not consider the first Muslims to be holy, and they never prioritized their views in understanding and applying religion. They called for equality and expressed a desire to not distinguish between the first Muslims and later converts.
Yet, the similarities between IS and the various branches of Salafism — including the Saudi version — are far greater than the similarities between IS and the ancient Kharijites.
The truth is, IS is nothing but the complete realization of Salafist jihad, which was born and raised under the auspices of Saudi Arabia decades ago, notably during Afghanistan’s wars against the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989.
IS also embodies the Islamic world's two major extremist movements: the Salafist Saudi movement and the International Brotherhood movement.
Salafist Wahhabi extremism merged with the Brotherhood’s political Islam and created the phenomenon of al-Qaeda, IS and other similar groups.
For six years (2008-2014) I acted as UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, and found myself routinely and personally attacked by the top UN diplomats representing the U.S. Government.
Of course, I knew that America was in Israel’s corner no matter what the issue happened to be, whether complying with a near unanimous set findings by the World Court in the Hague or a report detailing Israeli crimes committed in the course of its periodic unlawful attacks on Gaza.
Actually, the vitriol was greater from such prominent Democratic liberals as Susan Rice or Samantha Power than from the Republican neocon stalwart John Bolton who was the lamentable U.S. ambassador at the UN when I was appointed. I mention this personal background only because it seems so disappointingly emblematic of the failure of the Democratic Party to walk the walk of its rule of law and human rights talk.
From the moment Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office he never tired of telling the country, indeed the world that we as a nation were different because we adhered to the rule of law and acted in accord with our values in foreign policy.
But when it came down to concrete cases, ranging from drone warfare to the increasingly damaging special relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia, the policies pursued seemed almost as congenial to a Kissinger realist as to an Obama visionary liberal...
How are we to explain this inability of Democrats to follow through on a foreign policy that is linked to law and ethics, as well as to show respect for the authority of the UN, World Court, Human Rights Council, and above all, the UN Charter?
Such a question can be partly answered by noticing the gap between Obama the national campaigner and Obama the elected president...
In effect, it is the government bureaucracy and the special interest groups especially those linked to Wall Street, the Pentagon, guns, and Israel that call the shots in Washington, and it is expected that a politician once elected will forget the wellbeing of the American people as a whole on most issues, and especially with respect to controversial foreign policy positions, if he or she hopes to remain a credible public figure.
The boundaries of credibility are monitored and disciplined by the mainstream media, as interpreted to reflect the interests of the militarized and intelligence sectors of the government and the economy....
True, the Democrats do push slightly harder to find diplomatic alternatives to war than Republicans, although Obama appointed hard liners to the key foreign policy positions.
Looking ahead there is little reason to expect much departure if a Democrat is elected the next American president in 2016. Clinton has already tipped her hand in a recent speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, the self-anointed voice of the East Coast American establishment... She has announced her readiness to continue with the same failed policy, but even worse, to increase its intensity.
We must ask ourselves why do liberal minded Democratic politicians, especially once in office follow blindly militarist policies that have failed in the past...
We have to ask ourselves ‘What would have to happen to enable a presidential candidate of the Democratic Party to depart from the foreign policy failures of the past? That is, to escape from the cage within which foreign policy is now imprisoned...
The Good God and the Evil God met on the mountain top.
Kahlil Gibran - The Madman
Another plank of her platform was combating people’s right to decline to buy Israeli-made goods, to decline to have their stocks in companies that enable the Occupation, and to seek sanctions on Israel for breaking the Geneva Conventions by illegally flooding its own citizens onto Palestinian lands.
She went on to say: “As we gather here, three evolving threats — Iran’s continued aggression, a rising tide of extremism across a wide arc of instability, and the growing effort to de-legitimize Israel on the world stage — are converging to make the U.S.-Israel alliance more indispensable than ever.”
Among the most deadly extremists are the Israeli squatters on Palestinian land in the Palestinian West Bank.
They are armed and dangerous, routinely shoot at innocent Palestinians in a low-intensity civil war, and routinely invade and usurp Palestinian property. They are building vast colonies from which Palestinian residents are excluded, in a mindless replication of the policies of White South Africa in the 1980s.
If the Israeli squatters were admirable people doing something admirable, then it would be worthwhile standing up for them even if it increased anti-US terrorism. But they are just criminals, openly breaking every tenet of international law.
So standing up for them is morally wrong as well as, policy-wise, completely wrong-headed. In the US, the Israel lobbies do what they can to have anyone who is critical of the squatters blackballed, smeared and marginalized, using techniques redolent of those of cults.
Donald Trump's 'Neutrality'
Al-Masdar News, 22-3-2016
Donald Trump has vowed that if he is to become President he will continue a pro-Israeli foreign policy whilst blasting Iran.
“When I become President, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one,” Trump told the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He continued by describing the Palestinians as unwilling partners who continually attack Israel.
Trump also pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to “the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
The Presidential candidate then went on to pledge that he would dismantle the “disastrous” nuclear deal with Iran. “Let me tell you this deal is catastrophic,” Trump said.
"The problem here is fundamental. We’ve rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return."
"When I’m president, [..] we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region." "Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen and will be a very, very major problem for Saudi Arabia.." "In Gaza, Iran is supporting Hamas and Islamic jihad. And in the West Bank, they’re openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist’s home that’s been destroyed..."
"We will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us...." "Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetuated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They’ve got terror cells everywhere, including in the Western Hemisphere, very close to home. Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we will work to dismantle that reach, believe me, believe me..."
On the political front, Trump denounced Obama by saying that “Obama may be the worst thing that ever happened to Israel...”
The United Nations? Even worse...: "The United Nations is not a friend of democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom... And it surely is not a friend to Israel. [AIPAC APPLAUSE]"
The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.
WASHINGTON — Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls competed March 21 to prove who is more pro-Israel at the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in a show of political correctness that extended even to real estate magnate Donald Trump.
Clinton devoted much of her speech to skewering Trump without using his name. Over and over, she said that no responsible American politician could be “neutral” when it comes to Israel’s security. “We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable,” Clinton said. “Well, my friends, Israel’s security is non-negotiable.”
Trump, the Republican front-runner who has raised eyebrows in debates and interviews by asserting that he would be “neutral” in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians and questioning US aid to the Jewish state, executed a 180-degree turn...
After asserting, “I didn’t come to pander,” he ran through a series of positions that closely follow the policies of the current Israeli government on Iran, the Palestinians and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Let us now praise those who helped make the world a better place
ALEPPO, Syria — Five years of conflict have torn Syria apart. And nowhere is that more stark than in its most populous city, Aleppo, where front lines carve through neighborhoods and slice it in two. It is a city of sharply contrasting halves, and one side clearly appears to have the upper hand.
In a park on the government-held side, families picnic while children line up to buy balloons and popcorn. A few miles away, on a sprawling university campus, thousands of students attend class.
Downtown, the city’s cinema plays the latest Hollywood films. In the evenings, the restaurants fill. War brings death and discomfort, but life continues here with a surprising degree of normality.
It’s a far cry from the images of Aleppo the world has seen during Syria’s war: the rubble-filled streets, the carcasses of buildings, lifeless bodies being dragged out of piles of detritus after airstrikes. But that is the rebel-held side.
There, the mishmash of armed groups in control are almost entirely encircled... Pro-government forces are advancing around the city, which had a prewar population approaching 3 million....
Brig. Gen. Sami Shiha, a retired army general from Aleppo, thinks that negotiations rather than a military offensive will be the end for the battered rebels in the city.
“In the past few weeks, we’ve sent strong messages to all these terrorist groups to lay down their guns and enter reconciliation,” he said. “We also send the invitation to these groups to turn to fight [the Islamic State].”
Sheik Sharif Martini, a tribal leader from Aleppo who has been involved in negotiations, said that although Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State should be fought, other groups have started opening up to talks. All this can be solved with money,” he said.
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs. Asma al-Assad received on Monday a number of injured Syrian Arab Army personnel and the mothers of a group of them on the occasion of Mother’s Day.
The meeting coincides with the first anniversary of launching the “Homeland’s Wounded” program for supporting injured people, preserving their rights, and reintegrating them into society.
During the meeting, President al-Assad said “We are very glad that you came and that we can greet you one by one, whether as heroes, mothers, wives, fiancés, or sisters. Everyone gave us a lot of strength which we obtain from heroes and from your morale and steadfastness.”
“At the same time, we appreciate and know how difficult it was for you to come from distant places, whether on the level of personal suffering, or on the level of the security situation,” he added.
President al-Assad said that Mother’s Day is a family holiday in which small families honor mothers, but after the events in Syria and the terrorist war waged on it during the past five years, many concepts have changed and holidays are celebrated differently, in the sense that they became holidays for heroism, bravery, redemption, and sacrifice.
President al-Assad noted that helping the injured isn’t an act of returning a favor, because when someone loses their lives you can’t compensate their family for that in a material ay, and the same goes for when someone loses a limb or when their health is affected, “because what they gave is priceless, and no matter what we give to them it remains less than modest compared to what they gave.”
“The one and only thing that compares to the sacrifices you made, be it by sacrificing your life, health, or body, is the safety of the homeland, and when the homeland is safe once again, I believe that every one of the injured would say ‘I feel my hand is back, my leg is back, my eye, my health, and that applies to the family of every martyrs who will feel when the security is restored to the homeland that their son’s blood is what restored security to the homeland, and that their son is back again,” the President said.
The President concluded by saying “As long as there are mothers like you who raise heroes, Syria will be fine.”