Bashar al-Assad: Russian politics based on values
Assad: for me the war is not to stay in my position;
Syria says it is not interested in returning to the Arab League as long as the group is dominated by some regimes that conspire against Damascus and the Arab world.
A source within the Syrian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Syria “is not even thinking” about returning to the Arab League as long as the pan-Arab group is dominated by “countries known for having conspired against Syria,” and those responsible for division in the Arab world.
The source said Damascus has not made any request to rejoin the Arab League. Syria holds the group responsible for the chaos in Libya, the source said, over its role in the military intervention in the Arab country.
The Arab League should also be held accountable for aggravating the crisis in Syria and hindering efforts to resolve it, the source added.
The statement comes in response to recent remarks made by the secretary general of the Arab League where he set preconditions for Syria's return.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Thursday that Syria's membership in the Arab League can only resume after an agreement between the government and opposition.
"To return the place, an agreement should be achieved in Syria between the government and opposition," the Arab League chief said in a speech during his visit to Sudan’s capital of Khartoum.
Syria's membership in the Arab League was suspended in 2011 after the onset of the foreign-backed Takfiri militancy.
The Arab Leaque & The Arab Homeland
The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland while respecting the sovereignty of the individual member states. ...
Flashback: Gadhafi Criticizes the Arab League
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Donald Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a pro-Israel stalwart and conservative Christian, as his running mate.
“I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.,” the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted Friday afternoon.
Pence, 57, emerged quickly as a leader on pro-Israel issues during his 12 years in Congress from 2001 to 2013, where he rose rapidly in the GOP caucus leadership, chairing the Republican Conference in his penultimate term, 2011-2013.
He led a number of bids to place conditions on funding for the Palestinian Authority, and in 2007 he joined then-Rep. Ron Klein, D-Fla., in convening the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force.
Pence has continued his pro-Israel advocacy as Indiana governor, earlier this year signing one of the most robust state laws targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Pence is known as a social conservative and Evangelical Christian. He opposes abortion rights as well as gay marriage.
In becoming Trump’s running mate, Pence beat out two higher profile names both considered pro-Israel as well — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
President Tayyip Erdogan is taking advantage of the failed coup against him to purge the judiciary and security forces of anyone who is lukewarm toward or actively critical of him.
These steps are, of course, the opposite of the ones Erdogan should be taking– he should be attempting to bring the country together in unity and to re-include in the polity those he has isolated and excluded in recent years. Instead, he is scapegoating and purging.
Erdogan characterizes this purge as against the secretive and cult-like Gulen movement, one element in Turkey’s landscape of the religious Right. He blames the Gulen movement for the attempted coup, though its leader (in exile in Pennsylvania), Fethullah Gulen, denies the allegation.
Erdogan has suspended 2745 court judges suspected of ties with the Gulen movment. These judges cannot be shown to have been involved in the coup, but Erdogan’s secret police apparently suspect them of Gulen tendencies. This is a purge, not justice.
Erdogan pursued the purge in the ranks of the military, as well.
Erdogan’s pro-Muslim coalition that began coming to power in 2002 included a number of constituents on the religious Right.
These were small town and rural Muslims who felt excluded by the secular elites of Ankara and Istanbul. Some were small organized groups such as the Naksibendi Sufi orders, others were vaguer circles of Muslim entrepreneurs.
One of the larger groups was the Neo-Sufi Hizmet or Gulen movement... The Gulen movement updated Sufism for Muslim modernist purposes. In a modern society, some aspects of Neo-Sufism look a lot like a cult, including the demand for unquestioning obedience to the leader and forms of corporate solidarity.
It appears that the Gulen movement has focused on getting its members into key positions in the Turkish government, including the police, army and judiciary, and possibly the intelligence services...
Since Erdogan broke with Gulen a few years ago, he has been convinced that the Hizmet members are still secretly positioned in the government and plotting against him. He sees the failed coup as a reasonable grounds on which he can polish off his critics and brand them as dangerous cultists.
But democracies require loyal oppositions. Erdogan needs his critics, and they should not be prosecuted or fired if they haven’t committed a criminal act. Just firing people en masse for “sympathies” is contrary to every human rights norm...
Is Hizmet Islamist?
One of the main goals of the Hizmet organization has been the elevation of a Muslim consciousness that is compatible with modern civil democracy and opposed to Islamism.
Wealthy Turkish ally Qatar congratulated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday on apparently foiling a deadly coup attempt by the military against his rule.
In a telephone call with the Turkish leader, Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani "congratulated (Erdogan) on the support of the people of Turkey on his rule against the failed military coup," the official QNA news agency reported.
Sheikh Tamim "strongly condemned this failed attempt and voiced... (Qatar's) solidarity with Turkey... in all measures it takes to protect constitutional legitimacy, enforce the rule of law and preserve its security and stability."
Gas-rich Qatar is Erdogan's closest Gulf ally, sharing his sympathies for the Muslim Brotherhood that formerly ruled Egypt and is outlawed in other Gulf Arab states.
The two governments signed a defence deal in 2014, providing for the establishment of a Turkish military base in Qatar and regular training deployments.
The other five Gulf Arab states have made no comment on the events in Turkey, issuing only consular advice to their citizens to stay off the streets.
Erdogan called on his supporters on Saturday to remain vigilant, warning of the risks of a fresh flare-up of violence after the Friday evening coup attempt.
"Erdogan will succeed because Allah, Gabriel, Salih Al-Muminin (the Righteous of the Faithful)
are with him and after that the Angelic Host will appear”. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, 16-8-2014
Flashback: Americans are mobilizing the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab nation, WorldTribune, 14-9-2012
The Gulf Cooperation Council was said to have been examining the growth of Brotherhood-aligned groups in the six member states over the last year. GCC sources said the UAE as well as other GCC states were dismayed by U.S. support of the new Brotherhood-led regime in Egypt....
Qatar has been the only GCC state to have embraced the Brotherhood. The sources cited significant Qatari military aid to the rebels in Libya and Syria as well as a relatively free hand granted to a top Brotherhood cleric, Sheik Yusef Al Qaradawi.
read more: page 54
The Turkish government will write to the United States and other Western governments to demand the return of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen and his supporters following a failed coup attempt.
Responding to the request, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Turkey would have to give solid evidence to provide a legal foundation to extradite Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. The top US diplomat added that there had not yet been a formal extradition request for the cleric from Turkey.
Turkey’s justice minister Bekir Bozdag told state-run news channel TRT that keeping Gulen “wouldn’t befit the solidarity, cooperation, alliance and friendship between Turkey and the United States.”
The minister added there was not a single person in Turkey who doubted Fetullah Gulen was behind the coup attempt. He said, “does one need evidence to prove the existence of the Sun? This is just as clear a matter.” He added that Turkey would be submitting the necessary documentation, but hoped the US would extradite without waiting for the paperwork...
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who during the Friday night coup attempt went on air via a smartphone interview broadcasted on CNN Turk to tell citizens to resist the pro-coup army units - vowed on Sunday to clean out the “virus” within state bodies, during a speech at the funeral of victims killed during the coup bid.
“We will continue to clean the virus from all state bodies... Unfortunately like a cancer, this virus has enveloped the state. We knew this and told all relevant authorities,” he warned thousands of mourners at the Fatih mosque in Istanbul.
The US has shown little inclination to send Gulen back to Turkey.
Nathaniel Tek, the US State Department’s regional spokesman, echoed Kerry’s comments that evidence would be required to prove the cleric’s wrongdoing. “There needs to be a set of specific documentation, with evidence, that goes directly to our Department of Justice,” Tek told Al Arabiya English.
The Justice Department has declined to comment on Gulen’s case.
In an interview with the Associated Press early this year, Aslandogan, of the Alliance for Shared Values, said:
“(Gulen) said that the United States has a long tradition of democracy and rule of law. ... They will see that these are politically oriented charges, and they will not allow Erdogan to spread his ambition into the United States.”
France's foreign minister warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday against using his country's failed coup as a "blank check" to silence his opponents.
"It was important to condemn the coup in Turkey. That is the least we can do," Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 television. But he also warned Erdogan against using the abortive putsch as a pretext for clamping down on his opponents. "We want the rule of law to work properly in Turkey," Ayrault said, warning: "This is not a blank check for Mr. Erdogan."
This view was echoed by Ayrault's Austrian counterpart, Sebastian Kurz, who said Erdogan should not "misuse" the coup as "a carte blanche to do whatever he wants."
Questioned about Turkey's reliability in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group, Ayrault described the NATO member as a "great country" and ally but said the events of the past two days did "raise questions." "There's (the question of) reliability on the one hand and, indeed, an element of suspicion on the other," he said.
The U.N. is set to host a second day of talks on Libya Sunday with the aim of creating a "unified" army in a country wracked by internal divisions and a jihadist threat.
The organization brokered a power-sharing deal last year to form a Government of National Accord (GNA), but the body is still struggling to assert its authority.
"All Libya's problems today are tied up to the security issue," said Martin Kobler, head of the UN's support mission in the country, after a first day of talks in the Tunisian capital on Saturday.
The goal of the discussions was to create "a unified Libyan army under the command of the presidential council," he said, according to an Arabic translation of his remarks. "Libya cannot be united as long as it has several armies."
The GNA faces a fearsome set of military, economic and political challenges in a country where rival militias have vied for power since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The GNA arrived in the capital three months ago, but it has not been endorsed by Libya's elected parliament, while a rival political authority based in the country's far east has refused to cede power. A controversial general, Khalifa Haftar, controls forces loyal to this authority.
"I want to meet General Haftar, to see and understand his position. I contact him every week to arrange a meeting, but so far he has refused," Kobler said.
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog has warned of “growing hatred and racism” being incited by right-wing politicians in Israel.
“We are on the verge of an uprising of hatred, racism, darkness and upcoming killings and assassination based on the overwhelming internal hatred here,” Herzog said during a speech at a Zionist Camp parliamentary bloc session...
“We hear hatred at every turn, whether it is directed toward women by military rabbis, by Ashkenazi Jews against Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews against Ashkenazis.”
The 55-year-old chairman of the Labor Party further blamed the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the prevalence of the rising fascist discourse in Israel.
“This way the seeds of the uprising of hatred are planted, which will lead to a civil war. This hatred is being carried out by the full support and cover of those in charge,” Herzog said. “Whoever heads this administration remains silent about the uprising of hatred, without working against it, ending it, taking steps against its leaders, or preventing those behind it from receiving funding,” the Israeli opposition leader said.
Earlier this month, Herzog denounced the passage of a controversial law compelling Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to reveal the sources of their public foreign funding. The measure has come under fire from left-wing groups as an attack against the critics of Israeli policies toward Palestinians.
Herzog slammed the legislation, titled the “NGO Transparency Law,” for “symbolizing the budding fascism that is rising and flourishing in Israeli society.”
Critics argue that the bill targets human rights groups critical of the Israeli administration’s policies, and does not affect right-wing and pro-settlement NGOs.
Ali Khamenei & The Book of Love and Feeling
Israel Good - Iran bad: Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a new fatwa
In February 2013, on an episode of Shariah and Life show, which broadcast on Al-Jazeera, Yusuf Qaradawi stated since the 15th century, the application of the death penalty for those who leave Islam is a necessity, stating, "If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment Islam wouldn't exist today."
Qaradwai also cited several speeches and writings by Muhammad and his followers, such as Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:33, which Qaradawi quoted as "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle is that they should be murdered or crucified."
Qaradawi further explained, "... many hadiths, not only one or two, but many, narrated by a number of Muhammad's companions state that any apostate should be killed..."
Egyptian preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi who is also the President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) expressed his regret again over the years he spent trying to reconcile Sunnis and Shiites.
He launched a sharp attack on Shitte religious authorities and praised Saudi Arabian scholars who realised the true nature of Lebanese Hezbollah’s secretary general early on. He added that the Saudi Arabian scholars were more mature than him with regards to their stance on Shiites.
Al-Qaradawi reposted a clip of himself filmed during a conference to help the Syrian people which was held in Qatar. The clip showed Al-Qaradawi addressing a group of Sunni scholars and religious leaders whilst saying that the idea of rapprochement between sects has worked in favour of the Shiites and that the Sunnis have not benefited from it at all.
He added that “after this long period of time I do not see the benefit of rapprochement between Sunnis and Shiites. The Sunnis lose and the Shiites gain.”
Op-ed: Just as the American purge of the Baath party in Iraq following the occupation led to the collapse of the country's state structure, Erdogan's massive cleanse of state institutions could lead to similar catastrophic results.
ANKARA - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has strongly denied any claims that his government had prepared arrest lists before Friday’s failed coup attempt.
Taking him by his word, things could be even worse. The government could be acting out of pure anger without thinking thorough what would be the consequences of rounding up thousands upon thousands of people from the military, the judiciary system, other state institutions and from academia.
This failed military coup could become Turkey’s Iraqification moment. After the occupation in Iraq, the first thing on the American agenda was to remove all Baath party members from Iraq's state institutions. That led to the collapse of the state structure in the country. The mass arrests in Turkey now could lead to a similar situation.
Turkish media is reporting that over 10,000 state employees have lost their jobs—some by getting arrested, others by having their contracts suspended. For any structure to kick out such a massive amount of employees at one time, this would spell out institutional crisis...
For its current purge, the Turkish government was able to come up with a list of Gülenists in the blink of an eye. It could be because they knew who these Gülen followers were from the very beginning, while still allowing them to gather strength within the state’s institutions.
Alternatively, the government is leading yet another cleansing, including those who have no connection to the government or the Gülenist camp.
The question then is, who are replacing these people; where are they coming from; how qualified are they?
"Providing religious education to Muslims is critical to depriving extremists of a tool that they use to spread their twisted ideologies. When religious freedom is denied, as it has been for decades in parts of the Muslim world, faith grows in the shadows, leaving it to be interpreted by unqualified and radical figures." Fethullah Gulen, Wall Street Journal, 27-8-2015
The crackdown against accused enemies of the state swells as another 21,000 teachers were suspended on Tuesday in moves by the Erdogan regime to "cleanse" his government.
The Turkish government has moved to ban Islamic funerals for all deceased suspected coup supporters, warning imams not to carry out ceremonies, a decision made in the wake of last Friday’s attempted overthrow of the Erdogan government.
The once moderate, secular country directly employs Turkey’s estimated 75,000 imams, and the maneuver by the Erdogan administration, to deprive his opposition of burial rights, would appear to signal that the leader does not view those accused of participating in the coup as true Muslims.
The move is considered an attempt to undercut the influence of exiled US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of masterminding the coup.
The Religious Affairs Directorate made the decision official on Wednesday, announcing that imams would not lead prayers for "pro-coup soldiers who targeted our nation."
The religious indignity for Ankara’s perceived adversaries is taking place concurrently with a wide-ranging government purge of those accused of supporting the attempted coup. Encompassing thousands in education, police, military and political establishments, some 50,000 individuals have been arrested or suspended from their duties, according to Reuters reports. Turkey’s Education Ministry told Reuters that the country has revoked the licenses of 21,000 teachers working in private institutions.
In the aftermath of the coup, many Western analysts believe that the Erdogan administration will now be able to tighten its grip within the Turkish civil service, purging domestic opposition and dissent of any nature, whether tied to the coup or not. Erdogan appeared to affirm the supposition, calling the coup a "gift from Allah."
Yet many are now wondering whether Erdogan has overplayed his hand. Based on apparent illusions of grandeur, he is directly accusing the United States of participating in the coup plot, while his Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, warns that Turkey will go to war with any country that supports Fethullah Gulen...
Egypt said Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lost the ability of "sound judgement" following remarks in which he criticised Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as being far from democratic.
"Among the issues which the Turkish president confuses the most is the ability to distinguish between a full-fledged popular revolution where over 30 million Egyptians went out demanding the armed forces' support, and military coups by definition," the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement early on Thursday.
Erdogan renewed his criticism of El-Sisi during a TV interview with Al-Jazeera network late on Wednesday. He said the Egyptian president "has nothing to do with democracy. He killed thousands of his own people.”
The Egyptian foreign ministry snapped back hours later saying the Turkish president "is continuing to confuse matters and lose the compass of sound judgement -- something that reflects through the tough times he is passing through."
Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been strained since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdogan's AKP government. Erdogan has repeatedly slammed Morsi's removal as an "unacceptable coup."
Cairo has repeatedly accused Ankara of "interference" in its domestic affairs and supporting Islamist militants who carry out terrorist attacks in Egypt.
Turkey provides a safe haven for leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which has been banned in Egypt. Ankara also allows TV stations run by sympathisers of the Brotherhood who criticise the government of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to broadcast out of Turkey.
Flashback: Egyptian Backlash against Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi’s
Fatwa against Sisi - Reuters, Jul 6, 2013: Youssef al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based cleric declared in a religious edict, or fatwa, that Egyptians should support ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military should withdraw from the political scene.
Poll: 71% of Egyptians unsympathetic with pro-Morsi protests
“We are all with you. It is because you have stood with righteousness against evil. You are with justice against injustice.”|
“Dear President, lead Turkey as you wish and as we wish … we will be with you giving you strength and will support your party and your loyalists as Allah instructed ‘O ye who believe fear Allah and stand with the righteous …'” Yusuf Qaradawi, Letter to Erdogan, 19-7-2016
Convinced that history has no relevance, those same self-deluded Western leaders and diplomats refuse to recognize President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's vision for "his" Turkey. He dreams not only of neo-Ottoman glory, but of a caliphate reborn and led by a Turk. Essentially, the sultan and caliph both would be back on a Turkish throne...
Now we're witnesses to the destruction of Turkey's secular society and the forced-march reversion to religious regimentation and obscurantism, to intolerance and oppressive fundamentalism.
This is the triumph of mosque over modernity, not of the rule of law, but of its supersession. It took almost a century in Turkey, but faith proved stronger than civilization again -- a trend across the bleeding Islamic world...
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday faced growing EU criticism over an "unacceptable" crackdown that has seen tens of thousands of people detained or sacked, as supporters celebrated the defeat one week ago of the coup aimed at ending his rule.
The authorities imposed a state of emergency Thursday, strengthening state powers to round up suspects behind the failed military putsch and suspending a key European rights convention.
The European Union urged Turkey "to respect under any circumstances the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms", foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a joint statement.
They slammed as "unacceptable" the sacking or suspension of tens of thousands of people in the education system, judiciary and the media and said they were monitoring the state of emergency "with concern".
But at home, Erdogan basked in the support of jubilant crowds who took to the streets of Istanbul overnight.
Huge numbers were again expected to fill city squares Friday to celebrate Erdogan's victory over the rebels, whose botched coup last Friday with troops, tanks and fighter jets claimed 265 lives.
The president has said July 15 would in future be marked as the "Remembrance Day of the Martyrs".
Erdogan has demanded the United States extradite Gulen, the leader of the Hizmet (Service) movement, which runs a global network of schools as well as businesses, media outlets and cultural centers. Turkey has sent Washington what it says is evidence about the 75-year-old Gulen's alleged involvement in the attempted government overthrow.
The usually-reclusive preacher has condemned the attempted putsch and rejected the accusations against him as "ridiculous, irresponsible and false".
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, has been released from jail in Zintan, a town in western Libya, after spending nearly five years there since his capture in November 2011.
In August 2015, the young Gadhafi was sentenced to death by firing squad by a Tripoli-based court. However, the sentence was not carried out and was condemned by Human Rights Watch that accused the self-proclaimed government of politicizing the courts.
Seif never attended the court’s hearings, as he did not fall under the authorities in Tripoli because he was jailed in Zintan, whose local authorities and militias are allied with the Tobruk-based government that consider themselves part of the Libyan Armed Forces led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter. Fearing for his safety, he did not attend his trial. Instead he spoke to the court via video.
The Tobruk-based government is the elected government of Libya and recognized internationally; however, it was forced to flee the capital in August 2014 when Islamist-led militias proclaimed their own government in Tripoli.
His release was legally based on the general amnesty law passed by the internationally recognized Libyan government and enacted by the Zintan court.
His defense team announced July 6 that he had been released April 12 and that for security reasons the news had not been made public. It was decided that it would be in Seif's best interest to remain in Zintan, which pledged to protect him as long as he stayed in town. Karim Khan, who led Seif's defense team, announced that his team of lawyers will ask the ICC to drop the case against Seif, since he has already been tried in Libya for the same crimes and thus cannot be tried again.
May 2011: Hundreds of tribal leaders gathered under a giant tent to call for an end to an armed uprising against Col. Muammar Gaddafi and to NATO aerial attacks on his forces. (Voltaire Network)
Libyan Tribal Council 2011: "What is called the Transitional Council in Benghazi was imposed by NATO on us and we completely reject it. Is it democracy to impose people with armed power on the people of Benghazi, many of whose leaders are not even Libyan or from Libyan tribes but come from Tunisia and other countries?"
Today, nearly five years later, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi remains the chosen son of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – a man who has endured five years of confinement at the hands of his one-time enemies, who has remained defiant of the US and of its puppet institutions such as the International Criminal Court. His is the man who for so many represents the promise of a better future by symbolizing a better past...
And this is why factions inside Libya, and their backers in the US and Europe, are terrified of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi; they understand perfectly what he represents.
They know that Saif commands the loyalty and respect of the majority of Libyans, far more than any other single faction. They know that Saif is backed by the most influential tribes in the country, as well as what remains of the Green Resistance which has emerged at key moments in the last few years, including the brief takeover of a critical air base in the southern city of Sabha in January 2014. They know that Saif is the only individual leader left in Libya who can unite the disparate political formations into a single force...
But the fear of Saif runs even deeper than just the theoretical leadership that he represents. Rather, the powers that be fear the political force he already is. When Saif’s death sentence was handed down by a kangaroo court in Tripoli, supporters of Gaddafi and the Jamhiriya took to the streets in Benghazi, Sirte, Bani Walid, and a number of other cities across the country, despite ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists in control of much of those cities. At the risk of their own lives, these Libyans carried portraits of the assassinated Col. Gaddafi and Saif al-Islam, chanting their names and calling for a restoration of the socialist government.
Sources in Libya, and among those who have fled to neighboring countries, as well as Europe, have noted that elements of the former Gaddafi government have been working closely with the Sisi government in Egypt. While it is difficult to confirm independently, such a move is entirely plausible considering the common jihadi enemy both face in Libya which shares a long, porous border with Egypt...
Saif represents a chance for Libya to be rebuilt, for the country to be pulled from the morass of chaos manufactured by the US and its NATO partners.
Saif is the hope of the Libyan people who have suffered unspeakable horrors these last five years. Even those who have no love lost for Gaddafi understand the importance of reconstituting a single, united Libya under a single, united government...
The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has urged the government not to turn the investigation into the recent failed coup attempt into a “witch hunt,” calling on it to respect democratic norms and the rule of law.
“Any kind of wrongdoing with regard to legal proceedings would only help strengthen the coup mentality. We should carefully avoid this. We want all those who are prosecuted on coup-related charges to be tried in line with democracy and the rule of law."
"We don’t want a witch hunt,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told private broadcaster NTV in an interview on July 22. “We are a strong state with the rule of law. There have been setbacks in democracy from time to time but Turkey’s face has always been turned toward democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“The government should avoid the influence of mass psychology. Those who rule the country should keep their common sense. If you start to rule the country based only on calls from the streets than you wouldn’t be able to escape chaos,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He also recalled the CHP’s long-running opposition and warnings over the privileges given to Gülen sympathizers in key appointments within the judiciary and other state institutions.
“While you were appointing 160 people to the Supreme Court of Appeals, I shouted from the parliamentary rostrum, ‘You’re appointing 160 militants.’ But it was me at that time who received all criticism...
He also stressed that recent events show the importance of a strict implementation of meritocracy in state appointments, and the abandonment of “ruling the state like a political party.”
“We can’t resolve problems by dismissing a few people. We first have to change our mentality. We should know that we can’t rule the state like we rule political parties,” theCHP leader said.
Flashback: New Arab order should make meritocracy its priority
Why are we not running the country? Because of wealthy capitalists, who use their money as tools of tyranny? Because of religious and regal leaders? What have they done but promoted slave ideologies and backward thinking.
Can we continue like this? The answer is an emphatic no! Arab states should take examples of other states where discipline was maintained but voices were heard.
Singapore and South Korea are but two examples that have shown there can be no progress without a free and responsible press. There can be no viable state if the leader does not lead from the front, implements good governance, demands accountability and transparency beginning with himself and leads the change against corruption.
The media should be viewed as a partner and the ruler should know that criticism would be constructive and can serve the state.
A new Arab order should make meritocracy its priority.
An atmosphere of trust and accountability should prevail for the state to progress, and in order to create trust we must put an end to the divisive ways practiced by a certain section to hold sway over society.
The voices of extremist and obscurantists should not be allowed to drown the voices of those who seek progress...
Arab 'Spring', Aleppo 2012: Turkey backed Islamist rebels, attacking the secular meritocracy
Meritocracy : The "most common definition of meritocracy conceptualizes 'merit' in terms of tested competency and ability, and most likely, as measured by IQ or standardized achievement tests."
In government or other administration systems, meritocracy, in an administrative sense, is a secular system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based upon their "merits": intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or examinations. They are chosen not because of birth, gender, ethnicity, religion or wealth. (Wikipedia info)
Asma Assad, meeting Syrian students (2012,2013,2014)
read more: page 56: the devil's game
"It is part of the American politics to demonize presidents"
About how they defame, or try to demonize certain presidents, this is the American way, at least since the second World War...
Since they substituted British colonization in this region, and maybe in the world, the American administrations and the American politicians haven’t said a single honest word regarding anything. They always lie. And as time goes by, they are becoming more inveterate liars, so this is part of their politics.
So, to demonize me is like how they tried to demonize President Putin during the last two years and they did the same with the leader Castro during the last five and six decades. This is their way.
So, we have to know that this is the American way. We don’t have to worry about it. The most important thing is to have good reputation among your own people. That is what we have to worry about.
2013, qatar (muslim brotherhood): leader of the 'syrian' opposition
"They don’t work to unite the people"
Traditionally, the American administrations, when they had relations with any group or community in any country, it is not for the sake of the country, it is not for the interest of the people; it is for the agenda of the United States.
So, that is what we have to ask ourselves: why would the Americans support any group in Syria? Not for Syria. They must have their agenda, and the American agenda has always been divisive in any country.
They don’t work to unite the people; they work to make division between the different kinds of people. Sometimes they choose a sectarian group, sometimes they choose an ethnic group in order to support them against other ethnicities or to push them in a way that takes them far from the rest of the society. This is their agenda.
We have good relations with the opposition within Syria based on the national principles. Of course, they have their own political agenda and they have their own beliefs, and we have our own agenda and our beliefs, and the way we can make the dialogue either directly or through the ballot boxes; it could be a different way of dialogue, which is the situation in every country.
But we cannot compare them with the other oppositions outside Syria, because the word “opposition” means to resort to peaceful means, not to support terrorists, and not to be formed outside your country...
You cannot have your grassroots be the foreign ministry in the UK, France or the intelligence in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the United States. In that case, you are called a traitor. So, they call them oppositions, we call them traitors.
The real opposition is the one that works for the Syrian people and is based in Syria and its agenda derived its vision from the Syrian people and the Syrian interests.
What is justice? Giving water to trees.
What is injustice? To give water to thorns. (Rumi)
Bashar al-Assad 2013: Religion is for all humanity
We believe that dialogue is the method to direct parties onto the right track and national position... This dialogue has never stopped, and there have been several attempts, but every time we realize that the Muslim Brotherhood have not abandoned their hypocrisy. Their main concern remains power and ruling rather than religion or the interests of the country.
We engage with them as individuals and not as a political party, since our constitution and legislations ban political parties based on religious ideology. This should not be understood as being anti-religion; on the contrary, we support religion.
Religion is a calling, a higher calling to teach the word of God and should be elevated to a much higher level than ruling people’s daily lives.
Religion is for all humanity and not exclusive to a certain group; it has a higher purpose than the details and nuances of our human lives which encompass wrongdoings, sins, perversities and whims.
Religion should not be reduced to a political party. Religion augments moral values, which in turn reinforces politics, parties, the economy and prosperity. It is for these reasons that we do not recognise them as a political party....
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said that his country is working to counter "foreign plots" directed at Arab countries.
"Egypt is seeking to remedy what has been perpetrated against us by foreign forces, that have carried out plots, that have weakened the state and opened the door for extremist groups," Shoukry told a ministerial gathering of the Arab League on Saturday.
Shoukry was apparently alluding to the report recetnly issued by the Iraq Inquiry, an official British investigation into the country's role in the 2003 US-led Iraq War.
He said those foreign powers "seek to expand their influence at the expense of the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Arab countries.
He said that the crises in Syria, Yemen Libya and Iraq are all linked to the "decline of the role of state in favour of sectarian and extremist militias and organisations and unofficial players seeking to undermine Arab territorial integrity."
Shoukry called on Arab states to join hands to prevent the spread of regional turmoil to countries still enjoying stability.
He tiold the gathering in Mauritania's capital Nouakchott that Arab joint cooperation at the political, economic and social levels "remains sub-standard" to achieving desired Arab integration that would preserve the interests of the Arab world.
In announcing Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate on Friday, Hillary Clinton put forward exactly what she wants – someone with deep governing experience and national security expertise.
But in this former mayor, governor, and now senator from Virginia, Mrs. Clinton also gets a bridge-builder – a man deeply motivated by his Catholic faith to seek social and racial justice as well as political common ground...
In a May interview, with sun streaming through his Senate office windows and Celtic music cheerily piping from his computer, Senator Kaine emphasized the need to give Americans “a pep talk.” He also spoke at length about the role of faith in his public life.
Religion permeates his private and official life, and his political accommodation of it is itself a middle position, he explains..: “I share my faith story a lot because it’s what motivates me in public service,” and voters want to know what motivates candidates.."
Working for justice: Kaine’s commitment to social and racial justice was forged in a foundational experience as a young missionary in Honduras.
When he returned from Honduras, he finished his law degree and dedicated himself to public service, helping the disadvantaged as a civil rights lawyer who specialized in housing discrimination.
He and his wife, Anne Holton, whom he met at Harvard, settled in Richmond, Va. They joined St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, a mostly black church in a poor neighborhood in a city that what was once the heart of the Confederacy. Decades later, the couple still attend.
Interest in healing rafcial tension was part of his wife’s background. Her father, Linwood Holton, was the first Republican governor of Virginia since Reconstruction, and he integrated its schools.
Compassion for the afflicted:: Honduras accentuated in him a desire to help the downtrodden and an affinity with Latin Americans...
The world needs more “islands of mercy” – in the poorest barrio, in churches, and in government – Kaine wrote in his 2015 op-ed, reflecting on a return trip to his school in Honduras and on waves of migrant children flooding America’s southern border the year before. The phrase quotes a pastoral letter by Pope Francis that calls for “islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.”
That humanitarian concern and other faith-infused ideas profoundly influence Kaine’s approach to national security..
Tim Kaine, 28-2-2015:
"On Ash Wednesday, as part of a week-long trip to Latin America with Texas Sen. John Cornyn, I arrived in El Progreso for 7 a.m. Mass at the Las Mercedes church across from the town square. As Mass began, I soon realized that the priests processing up the aisle included many of the Jesuits I worked with, now spread throughout Honduras and beyond, returning for a reunion to welcome me..."
"The highlight of Ash Wednesday Mass was the homily that included a reading of a pastoral letter from Pope Francis, our Latin American Jesuit shepherd, challenging each community, parish and person “a ser islas de misericordia en medio de un mar de indiferencia” — to be islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.
There are so many reasons to succumb to indifference. But the world needs “islands of mercy” everywhere, from the poorest barrio, to the altars of our churches, to the halls of government. I celebrate my friends in El Progreso for teaching me, then and now, this simple and beautiful truth. (www.richmond.com)
A retired Saudi general visiting Israel this week to promote the Arab Peace Initiative said on Sunday that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would eliminate Iran’s excuse for supporting regional terrorist groups.
Dr. Anwar Eshki, who was leading a delegation of academics and businessmen on an extremely rare visit seeking to encourage discussion of the Saudi-led peace plan, told Army Radio that normalized ties between Israel and the Arab world were contingent on the cementing of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
“There will be no peace with Arab countries before there is peace with the Palestinians,” said Eshki, whose group met with Israeli officials and MKs in Jerusalem.
“To my knowledge, there is no cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in counter-terrorism efforts, and though they share the same approach in seeking a solution, we want Israel to put an end to what has caused this terrorism.”
Asked if he believed Israel to be the source of regional terrorism, Eshki said: “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the source of terrorism, but it does create fertile ground for acts of terrorism in the region."
“If the conflict is resolved, the countries that exploit the Palestinian issue, namely Iran, will no longer be able to capitalize on it,” he added, alluding to Tehran’s support for such terror groups as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with Israel, but its 2002 peace initiative promises the Jewish state full diplomatic ties with Riyadh and 56 other Arab and Muslim countries after cementing a peace accord with the Palestinians.
On Saturday, Eshki met with Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and several Knesset members from the opposition. The meetings with Gold and Mordechai reportedly did not take place at official Israeli government facilities but at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
The Saudi delegation also toured the West Bank city of Ramallah and met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as well as other Palestinian officials.
The Arab Peace Initiative in its current form has been rejected by Israel.
Flashback: The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002
The Council of Arab States at the Summit Level at its 14th Ordinary Session,
3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
All of the 57 states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) expressed their support for the Arab Peace Initiative.
read more: saddam's death, page 60
In April 1968, five years after he resigned from the government and retired from politics, the 82-year-old David Ben-Gurion was visited at his Sde Boker home in the Negev by a British-Israeli film crew producing a documentary on his life.
Ben-Gurion speaks freely about his relationship with his father, the dilemma he faced between the German reparations and the Holocaust survivors, his interest in Buddhism, his regret over the euphoria he felt after the 1956 Suez Crisis, and his relationship with his wife Paula.
Q 'Am Sgula' could be translated as 'a nation of higher virtues'?
A: “This is one of the meanings. The virtues which we were asked by our prophets, was to be just, truthful, helping all those who need help, and love other men like yourself.”
Q: Do you think Israel is carrying out that mission?
A: “Not yet.”
Q: When you were head of the movement and were prime minister of this country, did you also tell the people, or try to, tell the people to be an 'Am Sgula'?
A: “As long as the (1948) war was going on, I thought security is our main business. When the war was over, at the beginning of January 1949, I called together our best men... Buber... (philosopher) Hugo Bergmann... and others. And I said to them: While until now, we had to fight, which is against our belief and our faith, but destiny imposed it on us. And unless we keep increasing spiritual superiority, I doubt whether we will be able to achieve what we ought to achieve. And therefore we need you.”
A long and violent struggle between mainline Zionists and Revisionists
Q: I read many of the letters that you wrote to Paula in the early years of your marriage, they reveal a great love, a great tenderness.
A: “She was a remarkable woman. She was not a Zionist, she had very little Jewish feeling, she was an American, she was an anarchist.
At that time, all the progressive youth were anarchists. And her hero was an anarchist woman, (Emma) Goldman. This was the greatest (person) she knew. She had no interest in Israel, she didn't know what for. ‘America is better, why do we need the land of Israel?’
But when we decided to marry each other I told her, ‘you will have to go to Israel,’ and I told her what Israel is, then. And she agreed...
“Then, suddenly, 15 years ago, I told her: ‘I'm going to the desert.’ She thought I am mad that I am resigning (from) the government and going to live in the desert, but she followed me. Not many women would do that. So she was very much devoted, and this is a great thing...
And now, since Paula died, I am alone but I can't help it. I'm now a half-man but I must do what I can.”
Paula Green|Ben-Gurion (the forgotten woman) never once took part in any public functions with him. She did not share the ideals that inspired him. She remained a still believing, if passive, anarchist... She admired the anarchist Emma Goldman.
In the title essay of her book Anarchism and Other Essays, Emma Goldman wrote: "Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government.
Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations."
Hamas leader in the West Bank Hussein Abu-Kuwaik said that his movement had started “initial discussions” to prepare national technocrat lists for the local elections in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Anadolu reported on Monday.
Abu-Kuwaik stressed that his movement “decided to facilitate the elections in order to energise and pump new blood into Palestinian institutions,” noting that Hamas is eager to see technocrats serving people in the national institutions.
He said that Hamas does not want to “politicise” the local elections which it views as a first stage that would pave the way to parliamentary and presidential elections.
The Hamas leader said that his movement would support technocrat and academic nominees, regardless of their political persuasions. He said that there would be no lists in the name of Hamas, reiterating that “discussions” toward this end are still ongoing.
Hamas has said it will participate in local elections set for October, after boycotting the last round four years ago.
Its rival, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority headed by president Mahmud Abbas, has said local and municipal polls will be held on October 8 throughout the Palestinian territories.
Hamas said in a statement that it considered local elections to be "necessary and important", without specifying where it would field candidates. The movement boycotted the last round of elections held in 2012 and Gazans have been unable to vote since Hamas took power in the territory in 2007.
Hamas and Fatah agreed a unity deal in April 2014 that was supposed to lead to a technocratic government taking over administration of Gaza and the West Bank. However, Hamas never accepted relinquishing its authority in Gaza, and the two sides remain at loggerheads.
In a statement published on its website, Hamas said it was entering the elections because it wanted to “take national responsibility at this sensitive time for our people and our national cause”.
Ahmed Yousef, a spokesman for Hamas, told Middle East Eye: "We hope that this election will help national reconciliation if we succeeded to have transparent election as this could lay the foundation for the general election in the future.
"Once we have this election this might lead to a general election and national reconciliation..."
aleppo 'revolution' 2013-2015
Economics is rightly an afterthought compared to the scope of suffering that has accompanied the war in Syria.
Some 250,000 dead are dead. Roughly 5 million people have fled the country. Some 6.5 million others have been displaced within Syria's borders, according to the UN.
But it's also worth noting the almost utter economic devastation.
The IMF estimates more than 75% of the Syrian economy has been destroyed between 2010 and 2015. GDP fell from roughly $60 billion in 2010 to an estimated $14 billion in 2015.
The IMF cautions that its estimates of Syria's GDP are based on "very limited data and conjecture" due to the fact that Syria's Central Bureau of Statistics stopped publishing most important data over the last few years.
For the record, the five year destruction of three-quarters of an economy would rank among one of the steeper economic collapses ever recorded, outpacing the catastrophic economic declines of Germany and Japan after their defeat in World War II, according to analysis from economists at the British bank RBS. RBS analysts pegged the decline of German and Japanese GDP at the end of the fighting in 1945 at -66% and -52%, respectively.
"If we hypothetically assume that for Syria the post-conflict rebuilding period will begin in 2018," IMF analysts wrote, "and the economy grows at its trend rate of about 4½ percent, it would take the country about 20 years to reach its pre-war real GDP level."
TEHRAN (FNA) - Syrian Armed Forces' Command Center announced today that it has completed the siege of Aleppo city in the East after cutting off all the supply routes of the terrorists in the region.
"The joint operations of the Syria army and popular forces have managed to cut off all the supply lines and passages used by the terrorists to move from the North to the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city," the command center said in an official statement.
The Syrian army called on civilians in Aleppo to cooperate with the Syrian government forces more than ever to enable them to reinvigorate the city's security and render the necessary services, including water and electricity to them.
A couple of days ago the Syrian Army cut off the main supply route of terrorists from Castillo to Eastern districts of the city, but this time and after recent advances in Northern Aleppo, even infiltration passages of the terrorists have come under full monitoring of the Syrian army.
Reports said earlier today that Syrian Army troops and National Defense Forces launch a new round of attacks on the terrorist groups' positions in al-Khalediyeh neighborhood and pushed the militants back from several building blocks in the Northern countryside of Aleppo.
"The government forces' advances in al-Khalediyeh, al-Lairamoun and Castillo highway have enabled the army soldiers and the popular forces to tighten grip on the terrorist groups in Northern Aleppo.
The command said that units of the armed forces and allied fighters carried out successful operations in Aleppo’s northern areas...
It called on all Syrian citizens to cooperate with the army in a bid to restore normal life to Aleppo and to put an end to violence in the city.
The General Command stressed that, out of its commitment to end bloodshed, it offers everyone who is bearing arms in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo a real chance to resolve their status either by turning in their weapons and remaining in the city or turning in their weapons and leaving it, calling on everyone to turn to reason and put national interest above other considerations so that security and stability can be restored to Aleppo.
On Tuesday, the Syrian army sent text messages to residents and militants in eastern Aleppo, saying it will grant safe passage to those wishing to leave the area.
It also urged eastern Aleppo residents to "join the national reconciliation and expel the foreign mercenaries" from their neighborhoods.
Answering a question by the Greek ITV channel about whether he intends to issue a general amnesty if he wins the current war, President al-Assad said: “It is virtually in effect because since the start of terrorist acts in Syria, we have offered this as an option for terrorists.”
“If they want to return to normal life and lay down arms they will get amnesty…We have been doing this for three years I think…
Amnesty is in effect now and is, as I see it, a good option to help those people who took up arms for different reasons to return to normal life..to the political life in case they have their own agenda..to go to political institutions…to head to the polls…to go for any kind of political measures available in any country,” he added.
The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces has been sending text messages calling on the militants in the eastern part of Aleppo city to lay down arms and seek a settlement of their legal status.
The Representatives of People's Protection Units from several villages in Syria signed
a reconciliation agreement with the government in Hama province on Wednesday. (FARS, 27-7-2016)
Democratic delegates drowned out the former defense secretary Leon Panetta with a chant of “no more war” on Wednesday night, prompting convention organisers to turn the lights out in their section of the Wells Fargo arena and the protesters to light it themselves using cellphones.
The former CIA director was on stage to show his support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “In this election, there is only one candidate for president who has the experience, temperament and judgment to be commander-in-chief, and that is Hillary Clinton,” he said.
Panetta credited Clinton with supporting the decision to go after Osama bin Laden – “Hillary was clear: we have to go after Bin Laden” – and said she was determined to defeat “Isis, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, terrorists who pervert the teachings of Islam to kill innocent people.” ...
He added: “Meanwhile, Donald Trump says he gets his foreign policy experience from watching TV and running the Miss Universe pageant. If only it were funny. It is deadly serious. Donald Trump asks our troops to commit war crimes, endorses torture, spurns allies from Europe to Asia, suggests more countries to have nuclear weapons, and praises dictators from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin.”
But when Panetta referred to Trump’s call for a Russian hack on Clinton’s emails, he was interrupted by the chants..
hillary clinton in libya: supporting salafists, muslim brotherhood & al-qaeda
Hillary Clinton has only one accomplishment; the Libyan War. Bombing Libya in support of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover was Hillary’s pet project.
The Pentagon fought Hillary’s illegal war every step of the way. Both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs opposed Hillary’s plan to bomb Libya.
One of the Chairman’s top aides said that he did not trust the reports coming out of the State Department and the CIA, then controlled by Clinton loyalist Leon Panetta.
When it was clear that the Clintonites had gotten their war on, an irritated Secretary of Defense Gates resigned after failing to stop Hillary’s war and was replaced by Panetta. Hillary was using the State Department to start a war while the military was trying to use diplomacy to stop a war. The Pentagon lost the power struggle and one of her minions took over the military to make sure that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Jihadists would be able to overrun another country...
Panetta, unlike Gates, shared Hillary’s Arab Spring agenda. After the war, he paid a visit to Tripoli and claimed that similar “uprisings” would be taking place around the Middle East, including in Syria.
Military people never stopped loathing Hillary Clinton for her war and its consequences, the usurpation of a defense matter, the Al Qaeda training camps and the abandonment of Americans in Benghazi.
Hillary Clinton smugly recited the same old lies about Gaddafi “threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people” and European allies begging her to stop a “mass genocide.”
In reality, Hillary Clinton was the source of the claim that Gaddafi was about to commit genocide. This claim had no basis in reality and defense officials quickly shot it down...
Area C (Judea-Samaria: land of the Jews) covers 60% of the West Bank (about 330,000 hectares); Israel has retained almost complete control of this area, including security matters and all land-related civil matters, including land allocation, planning and construction, and infrastructure. Area C encompasses nearly all of the land in the eastern part of the West Bank, from the eastern slopes of the mountains of Samaria to the Jordan River, as well as broad swathes of land in the west and center of the West Bank. Area C includes all 125 Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as the vast tracts of land Israel defined as being the jurisdictions of the local and regional councils of the settlements.
UN: Israel policies forcing Palestinians to leave Area C of the West Bank
According to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy adviser, she would order a “full reeview” of the Syrian war as her first task upon taking office, with an eye toward a “reset” of the conflict to shift focus toward attacking the Assad government and imposing regime change.
Clinton’s aide, former Pentagon chief of staff Jeremy Bash, insisted that Assad’s was a “murderous regime” and that US foreign policy would be to escalate both the war against ISIS and this new war against Assad to get both “out of there” at the same time.
Syria has been the subject of a lot of debate in the Obama Administration, with the Pentagon seeking a focus on ISIS, the CIA wanting to shift entirely to fighting Assad, and Secretary of State John Kerry negotiating a deal with Russia to expand the war to include al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
Though Bash didn’t cover where the Nusra Front would fit into this, the suggestion that Clinton’s administration would escalate attacks on both seems designed to split the difference and placate hawks on both sides of the issue. The Obama Administration has already been steadily escalating the war since it began, to little effect, and Clinton’s policy would be that, just moreso.
Jeremy Bash, a top Pentagon official, is a son of Dr. Deborah Bash and Rabbi Marvin Bash of Arlington. |
His mother retired as the program director of the Graduate Education Nurse-Midwifery Program at Georgetown University. His father is the chief rabbi of the Arlington Fairfax Jewish Congregation (conservative judaism).
Married to Dana Ruth Schwartz, the daughter of Francie and Stuart Schwartz of Montvale, N.J. Her father is the senior broadcast producer of the ABC News program ''Prime Time Live'' in New York. Her mother is a lecturer and an author on Jewish issues.
Conservative Judaism & Zionism:
A Jew must be a Zionist.
"Jews may disagree about how to express their support for Israel, and they may disagree with some of the policies of the State of Israel; but in our day only a small minority of Jews - and many anti-Semites - would claim that Judaism can be separated from Zionism, for support and concern for the State of Israel."
"The vast majority of those associated with Conservative Judaism from its very beginnings were active Zionists throughout their lives... Conservative Jews see Israel as the religious and cultural center of world Jewry."
"The Zionism of the Conservative Movement has taken concrete form in a number of ways. Conservative rabbis and laymen have been among the chief fundraisers for Israel throughout the years." (Beliefs of the Conservative Movement)
Jeremy Bash: "A Clinton administration will not shrink from making clear to the world exactly what the Assad regime is. It is a murderous regime that violates human rights; that has violated international law; used chemical weapons against his own people; has killed hundreds of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of children."
Of course claims that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people is the long since disproven neocon cri de guerre to push Obama into an attack on the Syrian government. The 2013 gas attack near Ghouta was likely a provocation by the rebels hoping to draw the US directly into their fight.
This "he gassed his own people" line is the Syrian version of Saddam's "WMDs," a lie repeated ad infinitum to make the case for war.
As far as violating international law, the entire two year US intervention in Syria is in clear violation of international law. The US has no legal right to bomb Syria.
If Hillary becomes president and gets her way with a Syria "re-set" the prime beneficiary will be radical Islamists. There literally is no secular, moderate opposition to the Assad government.
How do we know the jihadists will come out on top? Her last great intervention, the "liberation" of Libya should be precedent. Gaddafi was no angel, but until shortly before he was overthrown he was a Washington ally, a secular counterpart to creeping Islamization of the region.
After the 2011 "liberation" strongly backed by Hillary, Libya has turned into a hellhole of competing radical Islamist militias and warlords. ISIS and al-Qaeda were unheard of in Libya before Hillary got her hands on it. Now it is rotten with them.
There have been many doubters about Donald J. Trump, a political novice who achieved great success in the world of business, but from the biblical heartland of Israel, the answer is clear. Take note of the following facts, broken down into ten succinct reasons why American friends of Israel should vote for the GOP candidate to be the next President:
1. Donald Trump has pledged to move the American Embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.
2. Trump has expressed support for Israel’s right to grant building permits for its citizens in Jerusalem, its capital city.
3. Trump has expressed support for Israel’s right to grant building permits for its citizens in its historical, biblical heartland, Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank).
4. Trump has been a consistent and strong opponent of the dangerous Iran nuclear deal...
5. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, “Conservative Republicans maintain strong support for Israel with fully 75% saying they sympathize with Israel compared with just 2% who sympathize with the Palestinians..."
6. A Trump administration is likely to consist of consistently and unquestionably strong, passionate friends of Israel...
7. Trump’s running mate, Gov. (and former U.S. Congressman) Mike Pence, has been a strong and consistent supporter of Israel.
8. The Influence of Family: Trump’s daughter Ivanka, with whom the candidate is very close, is a convert to Judaism, her husband is Jewish, and Trump has three Jewish grandchildren who attend a strongly pro-Israel Orthodox synagogue with their parents.
9. Hillary Clinton, during her term as Secretary of State, was harshly critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu..
10. The GOP platform pointedly does not mention the possibly of a Palestinian state...
Pharisees & The Messianic Kingdom
The Pharisees stand ready to crush any attempt to reintegrate the Judeans in mankind.
A moderate party in Judaism was that of the Sadducees, which stood for "keeping the peace of the city" and avoiding violent conflict with the Roman overlords. They were more affluent and were also more sympathetic to the Hellenistic movement.
Under the domination of the Pharisees the Messianic idea first emerged... It was unknown to the earlier Israelite prophets; they never admitted the notion of an exclusive, master-race...
The mass of the Judeans expected that "the Anointed one", when he came, would restore their national glory; in the perfect theocratic state he would be their spiritual leader, but also their temporal political leader, a mighty warrior, who would reunite the scattered people in a supreme kingdom of this world.
Read more: Saddam's Death, page 53
In the Palestinian Authority (PA), there is a sense of great desperation.
People are following with disdain the US election campaigns and conventions. The Palestinian issue is not discussed, as all right-wing Israeli positions are adopted enthusiastically by both parties.
The senior PLO official outlined a plan for the attainment of a binational state. The first step would be a Palestinian statement to the UN General Assembly that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination in an independent state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital. Yet given the international and regional stalemate and Israel’s active annexation policies, the PA is demanding equal rights for Palestinian citizens in the West Bank within a binational state.
Such equal rights, according to the PLO official, would pertain to full political, civil and human rights.
Most importantly, the Palestinians would have the right to be elected to the parliament of the binational state and have the same voting rights like Israelis in the bilateral state.
The official told Al-Monitor, “Israelis must understand that the alternative to a two-state solution is a binational state in which Palestinians constitute half of the population.”
The Palestinian move is both of strategic and tactical nature... In the view of the Palestinian leadership, such a move would, at the very least, result in placing the Palestinian statehood issue on the international agenda, from which it seems to have evaporated because of the Islamic State threat and the US elections.
A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official dealing with policy analysis of the Palestinian issue told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that no one in official Jerusalem takes this Palestinian threat seriously...: "The Palestinians of the West Bank have their full rights within the Palestinian Authority..."
Released Friday (29-7-16) and titled “This Isn’t the Old Democrat Party Anymore,” the ad claims that “anti-Israel Democrats are on full display at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.”
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad asserted that the Syrian Arab Army is the most capable of confronting terrorism and eliminating it, stressing that it will always remain the pillar of security and stability in Syria and the region, and the bastion that encircles the homeland, defends its sovereignty, and protects its dignity.
Addressing the Armed Forces via the Army of the People magazine on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of establishing the Syrian Arab Army, President al-Assad said:
“I am proud to address you on this occasion which is dear to all our hearts: the Syrian Arab Army Day, and to salute you on the 71st anniversary of establishing it for all the heroics you and sacrifices that you have offered for more than five years up to this day in the face of the most vicious terrorist aggressive attack in the country’s history, and in confronting the projects of hegemony and new and old colonialism, all of which crashed down at the gates of our dignity, invulnerability, cohesion, and steadfastness.”
“You have fight and you are fighting with honor, you bore hardships, confronted challenges, and persevered and your are still persevering, being as we have always known you: proud men who hold true to their vows, who are faithful to the homeland and to its people who renew on each day their faith in you and their rallying around you and their unity with you in all squares and fields in the face of the enemies of humanity, civilization, and history...."
“Once again I salute you on this dear occasion, and I value highly your monumental effort and your constant vigil over the security of the homeland and your sacrifices for the sake of Syria’s precious soil. I assure you that the Syrian Arab Army will remain the bastion that encircles the homeland, defends its sovereignty, and protects its dignity."
Washington’s and its allies’ turning a blind eye on the crimes of Syria’s so-called ‘opposition,’ devaluates Western diplomat’s calls for stopping bloodshed in that country, Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook account.
If the Western partners, first of all in Washington, keep on turning a blind eye on these facts, "any talks on ‘stopping bloodshed in Syria’ will be simply absurd," the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman noted.
"I hope that the Western mass media find enough courage to write about crimes committed by the ‘moderate’ opposition and their sources of financing. My words are addressed to you, The New York Time, Le Figaro, Bild, and to all who regularly cites the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights."
"Especially to Bild.. I hope the tabloid finds room for a couple of paragraphs about atrocities of the ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria. A couple of passages of truth has never hurt anyone yet," Zakharova underscored.
Efraim Inbar: Why kill the useful idiots? A cynical approach by a right wing Zionist.
The West should further weaken Islamic State, but not destroy it. A weak but functioning IS can undermine the appeal of the caliphate among radical Muslims; keep bad actors focused on one another rather than on Western targets; and hamper Iran.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently gathered defense ministers from allied nations to plan what officials hope will be the decisive stage in the campaign to eradicate the Islamic State (IS) organization. This is a strategic mistake.
It is true that IS has ignited immense passion among many young and frustrated Muslims all over the world, and the caliphate idea holds great appeal among believers.
But the relevant question is what can IS do, particularly in its current situation? The terrorist activities for which it recently took responsibility were perpetrated mostly by lone wolves who declared their allegiance to IS; they were not directed from Raqqa. On its own, IS is capable of only limited damage.
A weak IS is, counterintuitively, preferable to a destroyed IS.
IS is a magnet for radicalized Muslims in countries throughout the world. These volunteers are easier targets to identify, saving intelligence work. They acquire destructive skills in the fields of Syria and Iraq that are of undoubted concern if they return home, but some of them acquire shaheed status while still away - a blessing for their home countries. If IS is fully defeated, more of these people are likely to come home and cause trouble...
The collapse of IS will produce a terrorist diaspora that might further radicalize Muslim immigrants in the West. Most counter-terrorism agencies understand this danger.
Prolonging the life of IS probably assures the deaths of more Muslim extremists at the hands of other bad guys in the Middle East, and is likely to spare the West several terrorist attacks...
The continuing existence of IS serves a strategic purpose. Why help the brutal Assad regime win the Syrian civil war?
Is it in the West’s interests to strengthen the Russian grip on Syria and bolster its influence in the Middle East? Is enhancing Iranian control of Iraq congruent with American objectives in that country?
Furthermore, Hizballah is being seriously taxed by the fight against IS, a state of affairs that suits Western interests...
The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity..
Allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm 'the good guys'...
The defeat of IS would encourage Iranian hegemony in the region, buttress Russia’s role, and prolong Assad’s tyranny. Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus do not share our democratic values and have little inclination to help America and the West.
The author is Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and the Director of its Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.
Flashback: America & its Useful Idiots
In political jargon, useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.
It has become clear that the US’s main objectives in Syria is not their expressed goal of ‘fighting ISIS’, but regime change, isolating Russian influence, the Balkanization and the creation of failed states.
The US sees the Syrian state as one of the last spheres of Russian influence beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union, and a threat to its Israeli ally in the region. The presence of ISIS and other terrorists groups serves these interests.
Al Qaeda itself was borne of the US objective to topple the Soviet friendly government of Afghanistan. The dismemberment of Russian-friendly Serbia and the creation of Kosovo was done via the same means...
"I think the Western powers - the US, especially followed by Britain and France - are using Islamic extremism as their foot soldiers in conquering various countries.
Read more: Saddam's Death, Page 66
In a series of tweets the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power has called on Bashar al-Assad’s regime to allow non-military personnel to pass through Castello Road in the Syrian rebel-held city of Aleppo.
“In Aleppo, the regime and allied militias must immediately allow all non-military traffic to move along Castello Road,” Power said in a tweet.
Power went on to emphasize the urgency that Russia must halt its airstrikes and support for the regime’s encirclement of the city as well as refrain from targeting civilians.
“We call on Russia to stop its airstrikes on civilian targets, as well as to halt its support for the regime’s encirclement of Aleppo,” she said.
Power referred to the regime tactics as “barbaric” and claimed that they are meant to “starve” out the people of Aleppo.
“We call on Assad regime to lift its deadly siege of all cities & towns where it is using these barbaric starve or surrender tactics,” she said.
Flashback: Obama's Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya
Robert Dreyfuss March 19, 2011
We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power.
All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it. Far from it.
Unless President Obama’s better instincts manage to reign in his warrior women the United States could find itself engaged in open war in Libya, and soon.
The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration, such as John Kerry. The rode roughshod over the realists in the administration.
Just five years after bombing Libya to dispose of Muammar Gaddafi, the US is now officially bombing the country again, this time against alleged Isis terrorist strongholds that cropped up in the power vacuum created by the last bombing.
It’s yet another episode of the War on Terror Circle of Life, where the US bombs a country and then funnels weapons into the region, which leads to chaos and the opportunity for terrorist organizations, which then leads more US bombing.
Like usual in the Obama administration’s wars, there was no congressional vote on the latest airstrikes in Libya and no declaration of war, as required by the constitution. The administration is pinning the legal authority for this military incursion on the 2001 Authorization for Military Force that was meant for Afghanistan and the perpetrators of 9/11, al-Qaida.
Isis, of course, didn’t exist until years later, and the two groups are now enemies, but those technicalities don’t seem to bother the Obama administration, which is continuing to expand US military presence abroad with little to no public input.
The pattern of bombing-chaos-bombing in Libya follows the same pattern as Iraq, which was largely free of al-Qaida members before the US invasion in 2003...
With even less fanfare, the same cycle has been playing out in Yemen, which the US has been backing in its appalling and indiscriminate Saudi Arabian bombing campaign that has killed thousands of civilians and led to many calls of war crimes... The US quietly announced in May that it now has troops inside Yemen, fighting the same al-Qaida that it helped strengthen by supporting the Saudi war.
And where will we be in Syria in six months? Well, if Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 presidential election, her campaign is already promising a “reset” on US–Syria policy, where the military has already been dropping bombs for more than a year...
Q: Who is David Friedman, and why has Mr. Trump made you the gate keeper on policies relative to Israel?
A: "Well, first and foremost I'm somebody who loves Israel and someone who has Donald Trump's trust. We've known each other for 15 years. I've worked with him in some challenging circumstances and have gained his trust and I would hope his respect. When he was called upon to select advisers in various areas, one of those areas was the relationship between the US and Israel and he (Trump) wanted to select advisers who he knew had a deep love and commitment to the state of Israel."
A: "His position is not a one-state solution. His position is that he's observed the obvious, which is that a two-state solution over the past generation has been attempted over and over again and has been a failure.
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result—and he's not insane. To blindly embrace a two-state solution because it's been an American policy for the past 25 years is not something he's going to do..."
Q: Hillary Clinton has just about everyone suggesting she is the most qualified person ever to be president. Where did she go wrong with the Middle East—if she did?
A: "I don't think she has made a right decision. I think she said some helpful things when she was the senator from New York when she had a Jewish constituency. As soon as she became secretary of state, the first thing she did was to embrace a unilateral settlement freeze. I think it completely poisoned the environment. I'm not aware of anything she did that is particularly good. I can name off the top of my head things that were nasty, like ripping up the letter from George Bush to Ariel Sharon, which I think was the only thing Israel got from evacuating Gaza.
"I don't think she (Hillary Clinton) particularly likes Israel. I think she likes the kind of elite left among the Jewish people of Israel and in America like the Max Blumenthals, the Sidney Blumenthals and the people of that ilk who would like to turn Israel into a sort of Singapore. I think she's terrible for Israel."
Q: American Jews have shown little interest in voting foreign policy in a presidential election. How will you change that? Can you change that?
A: "Look, it's a great disappointment to me that the Jewish Left doesn't support Israel as a priority. I'm hoping that as the American Jewish community recognizes the stark differences between a Trump administration and a Clinton administration on Israel that they will reprioritize Israel in their voting calculus.
In a meeting with Orthodox Jews Thursday, Donald Trump named his two advisors on Israel - and the names bespeak good news for nationalists who believe in Israel's right to the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.
The two are Trump's chief lawyer, Jason D. Greenblatt, a real estate attorney from Teaneck, New Jersey, and another real estate lawyer, bankruptcy expert David M. Friedman of the Kasowitz law firm.
“I don’t think I can find better,” Trump said. “Jason’s very much a consultant to me on Israel, on everything. He’s a tremendously talented lawyer, one of the great real estate lawyers of the City of New York, and he (Greemblatt) has tremendous passion for Israel. When he goes on vacation, he goes to Israel.”
Greenblatt is very supportive of the Judea and Samaria settlement enterprise, and Friedman is a leading commentator on Arutz Sheva and serves as the President of American Friends of Bet El Institutions.
|A Christian Nation?
Represented by literally hundreds of small denominations and churches today, particularly in America, Christian Zionism is today a formidable force and a major actor in global politics.
Christian Zionism comes in various shades, but the core of its message is total, unflinching support to the state of Israel and the Zionist imperialist project.
War, conquest and imperialist domination, based on a fanatic insistence on the absolute truth of Christianity and the racial superiority of the Jews lie at the very heart of Christian Zionism.
Christian Zionists believe that the Jews are God's 'Chosen People' and that God has given the Jews the absolute right to complete control over not just Palestine but, indeed, a vast stretch of territory, extending from present-day Egypt to Iraq, the so-called 'Greater Israel'. God, they claim, has selected the Jews above all other people.
Hence, they insist, those who oppose the imperialist project of the advocates of 'Greater Israel' or the Zionist occupation of Palestine are 'God's enemies', deserving to be crushed by every available means, including outright war and decimation.
Advocating Israel does not mean, however, that Christian Zionists accept Judaism as a legitimate means of salvation after Jesus...
Yet, because Christian Zionists are dogged defenders of the state of Israel and are fiercely anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, they have been able to establish a close nexus with right-wing Jewish groups and with the Israeli state and are today an integral part of the American-Israeli axis...
Christian Zionism, rooted in tradition of the Crusades and a long history of Church triumphalism, is a recipe for global war and Christian imperialism.
Moreover, it reflects a total lack of genuine spirituality, seeking to reduce the notion of God into a petty, whimsical and racist dictator, who willingly urges the slaughter of innocents in order to protect the expansionist designs of his supposedly 'Chosen People'.
Of course, Christian Zionism is hardly unique in its use of religion for such blatantly political ends, but given the immense clout enjoyed by its advocates today, especially in America, it is a much more menacing threat to world peace than is sometimes imagined and cannot be simply dismissed as the ravings of lunatics on the fringe.