Isis orders all women and girls in Mosul to undergo FGM, says UN

Iraqi families displaced by the Isis offensive in Mosul and northern Iraq at a refugee camp near Irbil. Photograph: Kamal Akrayi/EPA

Jul 24, 2014, The Guardian

The militant group Islamic State (Isis) has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq‘s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations says.

The “fatwa” issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Jacqueline Badcock, told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Irbil.

“This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” she said.

“This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she added.

No one was immediately available for comment from Isis, which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq.

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Christian leaders express shock at world silence after ISIS expels Iraqi Christians

Iraqi Christians pray during a mass at the Saint-Joseph church in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on July 20, 2014.(Photo: AFP-Safin Hamed)
Published Thursday, July 24, 2014
The patriarchal residence in the town of Atchanah in Lebanon’s Metn region brought together yesterday representatives of the churches of Mosul five days after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forced Iraqi Christians out of the city. This is the first time that Mosul’s Christian population has been driven out of the city and is the largest forced displacement since the Armenian genocide. Nevertheless, there are people who still believe in returning despite a Western and Arab failure to act.

About 10,000 Christians left Mosul. Nothing like this has happened since the Armenian genocide in Turkey about a hundred years ago.

 

Until last week, ISIS was just a “joke” or a “boogieman created by the Syrian regime to scare minorities and keep them by its side.” That is why kidnapping the two bishops, Boulos al-Yazigi and Youhana Ibrahim, near Aleppo a year and a half ago did not serve as an adequate warning of how serious and extremist these fundamentalist movements are. The occupation of Maaloula and the burning of its churches did not change anything in the Syrian scene and the kidnapping of the nuns was not met with a response proportional to the crime. All this passed in absolute lightness as some Lebanese politicians scoffed at the fundamentalist danger: this is the people’s revolution.
Last February, ISIS issued a decree similar to Mosul’s decree in the Syrian city of al-Raqqa, asking Christians to pay a religious levy in gold and minimize the appearances of any of their religious paraphernalia. Then they began carrying out judgements based on “Islamic law” from lashes to killing, crucifixions and stoning. But it is that same old lightness – intentional perhaps – that drove some to say “there are people extending the life of the regime by fabricating news and videos and misleading journalists and foreign news agencies.” That is why it took ISIS crossing the Syrian border towards Iraq for some people to become conscious of the danger… and recognize it, if only to avoid embarrassment.
Last Saturday was the deadline that ISIS gave Christians in Mosul to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy, leave the city or die by the sword. As a result, about 10,000 Christians left Mosul. Nothing like this has happened since the Armenian genocide in Turkey about a hundred years ago.
Ignatius Aphrem II, patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Antioch and All the East, said that most of the Christian families fled to Kurdistan and the Nineveh Plains while others went to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Remarkably, Aphrem II said that some families insisted on staying in Mosul, adding: “we lost contact with them.” Until now, “there is no information whatsoever about the fate of these families,” he confirmed.
Yesterday Aphrem II headed a meeting at the patriarchal residence in Atchanah – Bikfaya, five days after the “war crime,” as he called it in his message, that included representatives of the five churches found in Mosul to discuss the situation of Christians in the city. The ecclesiastic gathering was large, it included patriarchal vicar of the Syriac Catholic Patriarchal Diocese, Youhanna Jihad Battah, Chaldean bishop of Lebanon, Michel Kasarji, priest of the Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon, Fr. Yathroun Koulianos, general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, Fr. Michel Jalkh, Fr. Carlo Yeshuah, associate secretaries of the Middle East Council of Churches, Deacon Jimmy Danho and Mr. Elias Halabi, bishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Lebanon, president of the Syriac League, Habib Afram in addition to the Iraqi cleric Abdel Rahim al-Musawi, Iraq’s Ambassador in Lebanon Dr. Raad al-Alousi and Iraq’s consul in Lebanon, Dr. Walid Abdel Qader al-Issa.
In his message, Patriarch Aphrem II condemned incidents “considered barbaric and unprecedented in the history of Christian-Muslim relations in this region. ISIS systematically forced Christians out of the city of Mosul labeling them with racist signs and symbols, humiliating and luting them.” He called on Muslims and their leaders to “take a clear stance,” expressing astonishment at the prevailing silence “except for some Muslim religious leaders and civil dignitaries.” He went on to say that injustices such as “burning churches and taking over holy sites will not compel us to ask for Western protection or help.”
He declared however: “We are going to address the United Nations (UN) and the highest international and human rights fora to hold them accountable to the Bill of Rights they claim to support.” He called on the Iraqi government and “Kurdish brothers” to protect Christians. He also said that an urgent meeting will be convened soon with the patriarchs of the East and a Christian delegation from the East will be formed to take this issue before the UN and other international platforms.

“Mosul deserves a united news bulletin like Gaza.”

 

In response to a question on whether the church is in contact with Iraqi authorities, Ephram II said there is no direct coordination with any of the civil or political authorities in Iraq but the bishops are in contact with Kurdish authorities to “secure a decent living for our children.” The patriarch asserted that “these terrorist parties are supported by states.” At the same time, he held the Iraqi government responsible for the security and safety of Iraqi Christians.
 Sheikh Abdel Rahim al-Musawi described what is happening as “ethnic cleansing. It is our moral, national and religious duty to stand in solidarity. Not just stand in solidarity but we should go a lot further than that, we should go to the highest international organizations in the world to put a stop to this abuse of people’s lives, blood and property.”
The conference, which was broadcast live on a number of TV stations, did not last more than half an hour. However, as expected, its resonance ended with the end of the broadcast. Iraq’s Christians were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2003 and now they are going through the same experience again after 11 years amid a lethal Western and Arab silence. One of the churches of Mosul, built 1,500 years ago, was burned and crosses have been removed from other churches.
Mosul’s Christian families have fled to relatively safe areas in Iraq. Most of them today are housed in schools or are simply out on the sidewalks as they wait for refugee camps to be built or to be transferred to decent housing. According to those present, there are no armed Christian groups except those guarding villages and cities.
This is the first time that Mosul is emptied of its Christians amid fear that ISIS might reach other areas in the Nineveh province. Patriarch Aphrem II and the heads of other churches are trying as much as possible to put pressure on relevant parties, for “we still believe in returning.” In the end, they issued a message to the Lebanese media: “Mosul deserves a united news bulletin like Gaza.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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ISIS exposed at House of Lords

Dr. Morrow is bringing the ancient Covenants of the Prophet to the world - at a propitious moment

Source

Dr. John Andrew Morrow is the author/editor/translator of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. Based on some of the oldest manuscripts in the history of Islam, this book shows that the Prophet Muhammad (peace upon him) made agreements with various Christian communities that are binding on all Muslims till the end of time. These agreements require Muslims to protect and defend Christians. Today, some self-styled Muslim extremists and obscurantists are persecuting Middle Eastern Christians. This must stop!

According to credible reports, ISIS has killed hundreds if not thousands of Christians in Syria, and is now in Iraq ethnically cleansing Mosul of its ancient Christian community. Yet the US and its allies are not just standing by – they are the ones who created, trained, and funded ISIS and unleashed it on the people of the region!

On Tuesday, June 24th, 2014, Dr. John Andrew Morrow, author of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, delivered the following declaration at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom:

I am here to express my solidarity with the people of Iraq.

The Muslim world suffers from a crisis of leadership. The traditional religious and political infrastructure was dismantled by Western colonialists and imperialists as well as internal decay.

A void was created and that void has been filled by those who offer the loudest voice and the biggest bank accounts.

The situation in Syria and Iraq is the product of poor foreign policy.

Western powers have a history of sometimes supporting terrorists abroad and then they expect us to contain them domestically.

Who created ISIS? Who supported ISIS? Who funded, armed, trained, and advised ISIS?

You cannot mobilize 100,000 foreign-backed fighters and mercenaries in Syria and Iraq without the complicity of the surrounding countries and without the support of regional powers.

History is our greatest teacher.

Experience should inform our decisions.

Present decisions impact our future.

Supporting the Mujahidin, in the way we did, gave us al-Qaeda.

Supporting the Syrian rebels, the way we have, gave us al-Nusra and DAISH, this so-called “Islamic” State of Iraq and the Levant.

In their attempt to remove little devils, they replaced them with greater devils.

It’s sad to say, but Libya had more stability under Qaddafi.

It’s sad to say, but Egypt had more order under Mubarak.

It’s sad to say, but Syria was more stable under Assad.

What can we do? What can be done?

1) For starters, pressure Western powers to stop supporting groups, directly or indirectly, that persecute Christians, Shi’ites, Sunnis, and anyone else who opposes them.

2) Help put a halt to religious colonialism. Take steps to prevent outside interference in our religious affairs in the West. Stop the spread of Takfiri-Jihadi preachers and propaganda.

3) Support the dissemination of traditional Islam and by traditional civilizational Islam, I include the Sunnis, the Shi’ites, and the Sufis.

4) Help reconnect Muslims to their spiritual tradition: the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the true Shari’ah, and, most critically, the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World.

The Covenants of the Prophet provide an authentic model for Muslims to follow with real implications. They can’t solve the ISIS crisis. They can, however, help undermine the theological and political foundation of so-called “Islamic” extremism. They can also help galvanize Muslims around foundational primary sources which came straight from the Prophet.

The real army of Islam is not ISIS.

The real army of Islam are those who oppose them while abiding by the Islamic rules governing combat.

Who speaks for Islam?

It certainly isn’t ISIS and other terrorists who slaughter, unarmed men, women, and children; who crucify Christians and who cannibalize corpses.

Who speaks for Islam?

THE PROPHET SPEAKS FOR ISLAM!

And those who terrorize Muslims and Christians have broken the Covenant of the Prophet, made a mockery of Islam, and merit the malediction of Allah.

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WE’RE ACCUSTOMED TO THIS

By Eva Bartlett

Yawaadna, she said. We’re used to this.

My young friend, in her early twenties and about 5 months pregnant, called me this evening, after I’d spoken with her husband earlier.

Her voice was tired, at times hard to hear, but she was quietly defiant…as are most in Gaza.

They live in central Gaza, in the same town as the Aqsa hospital which was savagely bombed earlier today, killing at least 4 Palestinians. RT reported:

Four Palestinians have been killed and dozens wounded after an Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza, according to a Health Ministry spokesman.

Ashraf Al-Qidra said that the third floor housed an intensive care unit and operating theaters. Other shells had fallen around the hospital, he added, with officials calling on the Red Cross to help evacuate patients.

A doctor at the hospital, Fayez Zidane, told the station that shells hit the third and fourth floor as well as the reception area.

“There is still shelling against the hospital,” he said speaking to AP. He said he found bits of a rocket, presumably from one of the projectiles.

Zidane appealed to the Red Cross and a nearby hospital to send help.

There have been conflicting reports about the number of people injured following the attack. Reuters has put the figure at 16, while AP says 60 have been wounded, including 30 medics.

My lines blur, between activist and freelancer and human being who has loved ones in Gaza. In the Nov 2012 war on Gaza, I was in that very hospital with a dear one, documenting the criminal massacre. And while this documentation is imperative, and there are many Palestinians and some internationals doing so, I selfishly say thank goodness my friend stayed home… although that means little in the end, the Zionist war machine tearing down homes with entire families in them.

The lines which do not blur and which have become more focused are the absolute obligation to support Resistance, who are fighting against foreigners, occupiers, and for the very lives of Palestinians, and in Syria, Syrians, against largely foreign insurgents whose “revolutionary” tactics include: car-bombing civilian areas, mortaring (with insidious mortars packed with bits of jagged metal, glass… whatever will inflict as much pain and damage as possible upon their civilian targets), cutting–often sawing, not enough the luxury of a swift stroke, but instead a jagged blade, a slow and brutal death, stoning to death, using chemical weapons, and if not murdering flogging, cutting off hands…

It’s time to really bring Resistance to the forefront and erode the stigma corporate media and Western governments have tagged them with. They have a legitimate and legally-lauded right to resist.

The countless Syrians I met in Syria, Lebanon and Canada were uniform in their unwavering support of Palestine. Hezbollah has again come out with statements of unwavering support for Palestine.

These, the Resistance, and the medics/rescuers, and the Palestinians resisting in so many ways throughout occupied Palestine and proxy-warred Syria are my heroes and inspiration.

ISIS, the USA’s armed & funded terrorists in Iraq, have killed 5.600 so far this year

U.N. accuses Islamic State of executions, rape, forced child recruitment in Iraq

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/20/us-iraq-security-idUSKBN0FN27N20140720

(Reuters) – The United Nations accused Islamic State fighters in Iraq of executions, rape and forced recruitment of children during a campaign to seize much of northern Iraq, part of a conflict it said has killed almost 5,600 civilians this year.

In a report, the U.N. focused on a range of violations committed against civilians, particularly by the Islamic State, though it also said Iraqi forces and allied fighters had not taken precautions to protect civilians from violence.

“(This)…may also amount to war crimes,” it said in its report into months of unrest which culminated in advances by Sunni militants led by the al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL, across the north of the country.

“ISIL and associated armed groups have also continued to… perpetrate targeted assassinations (of) community, political, and religious leaders, government employees, education professionals, health workers… sexual assault, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, forced recruitment of children, kidnappings, executions, robberies.”

The report, the U.N.’s most comprehensive review of the impact of months of unrest, also accused the Islamic State of wanton destruction and plundering of places of worship and of cultural or historical significance.

“Every day we receive accounts of a terrible litany of human rights violations being committed in Iraq against ordinary Iraqi children, women and men, who have been deprived of their security, their livelihoods, their homes, education, healthcare and other basic services,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry, citing testimony from a survivor, said this week that an investigation had revealed the Islamic State took 510 Shi’ite prisoners from a Mosul prison to nearby farmland and executed all but 17 who managed to flee.

The report also detailed violations committed by government forces and affiliated groups, citing “summary executions/extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees”, which it said may constitute a war crime.

 

MALIKI SAYS STAYING PUT

Of the 2,400 people killed in June, 1,531 were civilians, the U.N. said earlier this month.

The report called on the government to investigate serious violations and to hold the perpetrators to account. But the capacity of the Shi’ite-led caretaker government to do so in the face of a Sunni uprising that threatens to fracture the country on sectarian and ethnic lines may be limited.

Iraqi politicians have yet to complete the formation of a new government more than three months after parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki faces pressure from Sunnis, Kurds and some Shi’ites to step aside after two terms in office in which his critics say he marginalized opponents.

In an interview published on Friday, Maliki, whose Shi’ite State of Law bloc won the most seats in parliament, reiterated his determination to form the next government.

“In free and democratic elections, we won the most votes and the constitution says that the leader of the strongest faction forms the government, so I want to run again for the post of prime minister in parliament,” Maliki said in an interview with German mass-selling daily Bild.

He said some groups were trying to bypass the election result: “But we insist that the opinion and decision of the people be respected, and we won’t make any compromises at the expense of the people and the legitimacy of the state.”

As well as a new prime minister, parliament must agree on a likely replacement for President Jalal Talabani, who has been in Germany for treatment since suffering a stroke in December.

Talabani’s office said he will fly back to Iraq on Saturday.

Although the presidency is a largely symbolic role, Talabani was widely seen as a unifying figure, both within Iraq and his own Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, which has struggled to contain internal divisions without him at the helm.

This week the PUK’s Najmaldin Karim, who is also governor of Kirkuk, submitted his candidacy for president without the blessing of party leaders, sources said, challenging Barham Saleh, who had been touted as frontrunner for the position.

In the first, silent footage to be broadcast of him earlier this year, Talabani appeared much weakened, suggesting he is unlikely to be able to resume an active role in politics.

Parliament is due to meet next Wednesday for the next session of talks on choosing a political leadership to tackle the conflict, which has displaced more than 1 million people this year, according to the United Nations.

Uprooted by the violence, the displaced live in “cruel and difficult” conditions, the country’s top Shi’ite cleric said in Friday sermon, criticizing Iraqi and international agencies for ignoring their plight.

“The institutions concerned with this are still not meeting the scale of the hardships and suffering, despite the promises that we heard of help,” Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said in a sermon delivered by an aide the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala.

Security sources and witnesses said fighting continued on Friday in several towns north of Baghdad. Near the military base at Muqdadiya, 50 miles (80 km) north of the capital, militants blew up a bridge to prevent Kurdish Shi’ite tribes bringing reinforcements to confront them, they said.

 

(Additional reporting by Isabel Coles in Arbil, Raheem Salmana and Isra’ al-Rube’i in Baghdad and Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

 

The song “Arab Spring” for the Hiba Tuggi Which Arabi? | June 2014


  


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July 19th Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo: Daashing Christians in Iraq

The Saker

Quote of the Day (Courtesy of Robert Fisk), Jonathan Whittall of the Médecins Sans Frontières referring to his job of providing medical aid to Palestinians in Gaza being akin: “to patch(ing) up prisoners in between their torture sessions “

18th July: The Iraqi Government is coordinating with French authorities is trying to reclaim Iraqi assets of the previous regime in France.

19th July: The representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Nikolai Meladanov, visits Najaf and meets with Ali al-Sistani. He later tells reporters that Sistani stressed on the formation of a government that was acceptable to all Iraqis. Meladanov also visited three other Shia Marjas in Najaf: Mohammed Said al-Hakim, Bashir al-Najafi, and Muhammad Isehaq al-Fayyad.
19th July: Baha al-Araji, an MP with the Sadr al-Ahrar political bloc has asked the Kurdish authorities to expedite their nomination for the post of President.
19th July: The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of President Jalal Talibani has selected Fuad Massoum as its Presidential candidate. Massoum is believed to be close to Jalal Talibani.
19th July: Amnesty International is reporting of gross Human Right violations by Daash. Daash militants have been cited as carrying out sectarian kidnappings and murders of Shia civilians in areas that it captured.
Amnesty also singled out the Iraqi government for indiscriminate air strikes and shelling of Daash held areas and of the death of 100 detainees.
Amnesty has asked the region of Iraqi Kurdistan to open up its border crossings. The Kurdish autonomy government placed restrictions on non Kurdish Iraqis along its border.
19th July: Human Rights Watch has released a statement highlighting the kidnappings and murder of Daash rebels. The victims have been primarily Turkoman Shias, Yazidis, Christians, and Shabak Ethnic groups.
19th July: In response to Jordan hosting the yet to be named group of opposition parties to the Iraqi Government, the Iraqi government is considering the cessation of oil shipments to Jordan. Iraq has been supplying oil to Jordan at US$10/barrel. The opposition group called for the overthrow of Iraq’s government and consisted of former Ba’athist, current Islamists, former army men and Iraqi Sunni politicians.
19th July: Amer al- Kenani, an MP of the Ahrar block (Sadr’s party) has told Kurdish press that the State of the Law Coalition of Maliki may be contemplating some other candidate for Prime Minister. State of the Law Coalition is Prime Minister Maliki’s party and holds the largest number of seats in the house. Maliki won the election with 700,000 votes.
19th July: Daash has released guidelines for the type of “Abaya” or cloak that can be sold by shopkeepers and worn by women. Manufacturers have been asked to approach the “Centre of Calculations” to determine these specifications. All non Daash specified apparels will be confiscated in 5 days time.
19th July: The DI of Daash had issued a decree asking Christians in Mosul to either:
Become Muslims
Pay Religious Tax
Die
The Christians of Mosul chose “d) None of the above” and have left Mosul in mass.
Daash had earlier removed all Christian Doctors and Nurses from their jobs and prevented them from working.
19th July: Iraqi armed forces have taken back control of Nofal and al-Sodor villages in Diyala. Ten Dassh/rebel fighters were killed in the assault on these villages. Some of the rebel dead are non Iraqi Arabs.
19th July: A Suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in the south of Baghdad has left 7 dead and wounded 19. Baghdad was hit by five car bombs in mostly Shia neigbourhoods killing 26.
19th July: A mortar attack on a security post of the Peshmergas in Jalawlaa, Diyala leaves 5 Peshmergas injured/dead
19th July: Daash terrorists are preventing Christians leaving Nineveh from carrying their possessions and money. Their properties are being looted by Daash.
19th July: Atta’s/Government claims for the day:
Government air strikes have destroyed 3 vehicles and 7 Daash/rebel fighters near Baiji refinery

Related:

19th July: More “proof” that Daash is American: Daash is suing Al Qaida. Five Islamists in Jordan have taken Abu Mohammed Al Maqdissi (cleric sympathetic to Al Qaida) to Sharia court for claiming that the DI of Daash (Daulat Islamia) was un-Islamic.
19th July: Iran has said that it is willing to allow commercial/passenger flights over its airspace after the shooting down of the Malaysian Airliner in a possible false flag operation carried out by the pro US Ukrainian government.
19th July: Samir Zaitoun of the Tawheed Brigade (an anti regime militia) in Syria claims that half of the foreign fighters in Aleppo have got disillusioned and left in the last year. He states that most of them expected a “whirlwind” Jihad over the summer.
19th July: Iran has edited parts of the Oscar winning film “The Message” that it felt distorted historic facts. The edited version is more in keeping with the Shia Hadees narrative.
19th July: The Iranian nuclear negotiations have been extended till the 24th of November 2014. Meanwhile, the centrifuges keep spinning.

Further Reading:

Understanding Kurdistan: When the Kurds win, everybody else looses, except Israel:
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/iraqi-kurdistan-and-israel-choice-between-political-strategies-and-moral-stances
An analysis of the current situation in Iraq
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/07/why-iraq-is-more-stable-than-you-think-108708_Page2.html#.U8qckuOSwht

4

Who stands behind the war on Gaza? A must watch


رفيق نصر الله _ الحدث / الجديد 19 07 2014

 

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 Did Al-Assad Really Triumph?

Sami Kleib – Al-Akhbar newspaper

18-07-2014 | 10:12

A few days ago, Syrian oppositionist Michel Kilo wrote two consecutive articles on “the New Arab” website, which epitomized a concrete scandal of the work of the Syrian Coalition and its former head, Ahmad al-Jarba. Kilo said al-Jarba had “gone beyond the standards of democracy,” and accused him of “pushing the revolution towards the abyss with his ignorance and stupidity.”

Will President al-Assad find better words than the leftist oppositionist and other figures among the opposition about the fragmentation of it [the opposition] to say in his fresh swearing-in address, “Some givens have fallen, coalitions have been broken, councils have been ripped away and committees have been torn apart.”

In fact, as Kilo was writing his articles, the Syrian army was carrying on its regaining control in Aleppo, while Hizbullah was taking hold of Qalamoun and border regions. Arabs, for their part, were watching from afar the scene of the “Israeli” criminality n Gaza on one hand and wondering how to deal with IS and its Islamist caliphate in Iraq on the other. Amid all this, Assad certainly felt that he could deliver a speech that is less tense than the aforementioned and to say to his auditors, “Congratulations on your revolution and your victory;” since the other revolution killed its own sons and dreams faded away across the realms of IS, ending up in an unmatched political and military fight.

What are the most remarkable notes on al-Assad’s address?

- In form, Assad gave the first sign from the very outside, during the parade of the presidential guards. This shows a sense of reassurance in terms of security in Damascus and reflects the full control over most of the capital’s countryside. The time when bombs should have hit the presidential palace has gone.

- Also in form, al-Assad repeatedly threw jokes. Reading between their lines, one can sense his relief and his seeking to bond with the audience, in addition to his ridiculing threats. The comments of his supporters right after the speech on Facebook show well that Assad succeeded in reassuring them to the maximum.

- It is one of the rarest times, if not the first, that Assad speaks to his people with an emotional rhetoric, albeit he is known for favoring the serious academic aspect of speeches. Yet this time, he tackled the “proud woman,” and “the old lady,” and even the “wounded soldier,” who all came to cast their vote. He finally listened to the advice.

- Entering the hall, speaking of victory, joking with people, then leaving with his wife by his side; all this only boosted the bulk of the speech.

- In substance, al-Assad displayed a bundle of conclusions that he wouldn’t have broached before. He mentioned the word victory without setting a date for the end of the war. He confirmed the “failure of the aggression, of its masters and their tools.” He spoke of “the change of the circumstances, facts, and positions.”

- Also in substance, he put an end to any negotiation with the opposition abroad. To him, these are traitors who have sold the nation. Geneva is thus finished.

- He used the language of the victorious towards the big and regional states. He said, “The Syrian collaborators have fallen, and so have done terrorists (…) but also their masters among the big states and other affiliated [countries].”

- Al-Assad went down in the annals of time to accuse Saudi Arabia of conspiring against Palestine. He then corroborated Syria’s position supporting the Resistance. Nonetheless, he did not spare Hamas from his diatribes, without as yet naming the Movement. He followed suit regarding The Muslim Brotherhood, whom he named the Devils. Of course he would speak freely of them, since most of the region’s countries, except for Qatar and Turkey, consider them terrorists. This distinguishes him from his ally, Iran, which is still kind of open to Hama and the MB.

- Al-Assad did not address any message of openness to the West, despite the security contacts underway. To him, the West is still a “colonialist.” In counterpart, he saluted the Lebanese Resistance, and also Iran and Russia. Saluting Russia is salient at the moment in order to brush aside the obfuscation brought forth by the latest international resolution on the humanitarian aids.

- Al-Assad wanted to remind that he was right in depicting the Syrian crisis since its eruption. He said, “Isn’t what we’re seeing in Iraq today, Syria and Lebanon, and all the countries hit by the disease of the fake spring, without exception, the tangible evidence on the truthfulness of what we have warned of?”

- Also in substance, he reassured people over internal reconciliations, reconstruction, and fighting corruption. He sought to encourage deserters to throw weapons and return to the army. He told apart between those who were lured into deserting the army, and traitors and collaborators “whom the country has been now washed clean of.”

- Most importantly of all was that Assad limited the political solution to the internal reconciliations. “Dialogue is then only internal and will not include the forces that have proved not to be patriotic.” He meant the Coalition.

- Al-Assad also reassured farmers, industrialists and civil servants so that they respond to the reconciliations calls. This is chief because all studies show that the sons of the countryside with agro projects that have failed previously are the most rancorous and with a tendency to armament.

In conclusion, al-Assad tried to allude that he triumphed over his rivals and that what was left was a completion of this victory. He sought to make everybody understand, especially the opposition and the states backing it, that there would neither be political concessions nor giving up on any powers. No change has become acceptable today. What’s after the polls and three years the war is not just like before.

Did al-Assad really triumph? No doubt, the inside can better answer than the outside. The terrorism has put the outside in another place. Gaza war embarrassed everybody. The progress made by the army and its allies entailed a lot. IS and the caliphate issue embarrassed the world. But the most important of all for the president in its third seven-year term is to make everybody inside Syria feel that they have won, not that a party has conquered another.

 

USA armed terrorists in Syria facing defeat so now the US want to reopen communication channels with Syria’

http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2014/07/17/us-want-to-reopen-communication-channels-with-syria/

‘States want to reopen communication channels with Syria’

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari has said some states change their stances and seek reopening communication channels and security cooperation with Damascus as the number of border-crossing terrorists and the threat they pose on all countries increases.
In an interview with al-Binaa Newspaper on Wednesday, al-Jaafari said that some countries are trying to use the terms “foreign fighters”, “insurgents”, “rebels” or “jihadists” to avoid admitting the true nature of those terrorists, adding that Syria’s geopolitical location has always set it in the face of grave challenges, and that what Syria is facing now has a very minor internal aspect compared to its regional and international dimensions.
Al-Jaafari said that certain countries are still obstinate in their aggressive approach towards Syria which serves their schemes and Israel’s interests in the region.
He said the UN Secretariat and its Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, have overlooked facts, and that in his reports, Ban has repeatedly considered terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and listed as terrorist organizations like the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra Front as armed Syrian opposition.
He expressed disappointment that the UN overlooked facts conveyed to it by more than 500 official messages from Syria to the UN Secretary-General and several heads of the UN Security Council, adding that the UN has overlooked many reports made by foreign and interior ministries in Europe, Australia, the US, Canada, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, and Persian Gulf states on the phenomenon of the “foreign terrorist fighters”, adding that those terrorists have come to Syria after being trained and funded by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel and under direct Western sponsorship.
Al-Jaafari stressed that the reason for the Russian-Chinese vetoes is their adherence to international law and the UN Charter, adding that Moscow and Beijing know that Syria’s defeat at the hands of terrorism would mean that the entire world will lose the battle against terrorism.
On the role of the UN regarding pan-Arab issues, al-Jaafari said the crisis in Syria has revealed the weakness of the UN and the strong influence of a few countries over it, adding that the UN should preserve the interests of all its 193 member states, not just a handful of countries.
Syria has been gripped by the foreign-hatched conflict since 2011. Over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

UN chief calls on countries to enforce sanctions on ISIL, but will USA avoid any attempt?

http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2014/07/17/un-chief-calls-on-countries-to-enforce-sanctions-on-isil/

 

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UN chief calls on countries to enforce sanctions on ISIL

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on the members of the world body to implement the sanctions imposed on Takfiri ISIL terrorists.

“Member states must meet their obligation to implement and enforce the targeted financial sanctions, arms embargo and travel ban imposed on ISIS (ISIL),” the UN chief wrote in a report to the UN Security Council on the world body’s political mission in Iraq on Tuesday.

Al-Qaeda-linked groups, including ISIL, have been listed as terrorist entities under sanctions by the UN.

Ban further denounced the crimes being committed by the terrorist group, describing their acts of terrorism and violence as “extremely disturbing.”

“I strongly condemn the upsurge of violence at the hands of ISIS and its supporters and call on (U.N.) member states, including Iraq’s neighbors, to come together and support Iraq in its fight against terrorism,” Ban wrote.

“Terrorism must not be allowed to succeed in steering Iraq away from its path towards stability and democracy,” he added.

The crisis in Iraq escalated after Takfiri ISIL terrorists took control of Mosul on June 10, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital. The militants have also declared a “caliphate” in the overrun areas.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said Saudi Arabia and Qatar are responsible for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing Riyadh as a major supporter of global terrorism.

So called “free Syrian army” (FSA) delivered advanced weapons to terrorist groups

Source


Reports coming out of Syria revealed that several factions within the Syrian opposition force known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have pledged to deliver more sophisticated weapons to the Islamic State, the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Sources and eyewitnesses said that the FSA has handed over its weapons to the Islamic State in large numbers.

The Free Syrian Army was said to be a “moderate” and “secular” force, which was used as the rationale by U.S. officials to supply the rebels with weapons, finances and training.

Several factions within the FSA have pledged to support the Islamic State.

The Obama administration has delivered weapons, supplies, and CIA-sponsored training to the Free Syrian Army. United States intelligence analysts estimate that the U.S. has had a hand in training as many as 20,000 FSA rebels. The U.S. reportedly provided the FSA with weapons such as rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles, which were supplied through back-channels in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The Free Syrian Army originally formed in July, 2011, at the start of the Syrian rebellion.

Did Israel Collude With ISIS terrorists to Justify Gaza Attack?

Did Israel collude with ISIS terrorists to create the pretext for the bombardment of Gaza, which has killed over 200 people, most of them innocent civilians?

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The full text of the President’s speech following the swearing-in ceremony

Date and Time:16 July 2014

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President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in Wednesday before the members of the People’s Assembly.
Below is the full text of the President’s speech following the swearing-in ceremony:
Honourable Syrians, Free Syrian Revolutionaries,
Three years and four months have passed since some declared, on your behalf: “The People want.” Yes, The People wanted…. The People decided…The People took action.
A few years ago, some called for freedom – your response was to remain free in the age of subservience, to be masters in the age of slaves. They patronised you with their calls for democracy – your response was to show your will in the most democratic manner possible and refuse foreign intervention in your national affairs; you chose your constitution, you chose your parliament, you chose your president. Throughout, the decision was yours and your will has created our democracy.
They chanted: “The Syrian people are united”– your response was to face their storm of sedition, never allowing the winds of division to poison your hearts and minds;you were truly one people with one heart.
They preached: “They bow only before Allah”–your response was to never bow before their masters, to never surrender, to never give up. You stood fast and held fast to your homeland, always believing in one God, a God who doesn’t share His powers with super-nations and who can never be substituted for oil or dollars. And when they said; “Allahu Akbar” – God was greater than them and their supporters, because God is always on the side of justice and justice is on the side of the people.
During these years, whilst they were talking, you were doing; they sank in their illusions, whilst you made today a reality. They called for a revolution and you rose to be the true revolutionaries; so, congratulations to you all on your revolution and your victories and congratulations to Syria for her great people and their steadfastness.
Congratulations to Syria whose people defied all forms of hegemony and aggression with all the means available to them: with their reason, their intellect and patriotic consciousness. There are those who fought with weapons in their hands, others who fought by speaking the truth and others still who fought with their resilient hearts despite all the threats.
Congratulations to Syria whose people defied all forms of fear and terrorism and voted under fire in the referendum and the elections, thwarting the aggression, the aggressors and their machinery. This steadfastness altered all expectations, circumstances and facts; positions changed, players withdrew, terminology dropped, alliances vanished, councils divided and other bodies disintegrated. Many who were blinded to the truth, either out of ignorance or deception, regained their sense of direction. True motives were revealed when their masks of freedom and revolution fell and they drove their fangs into Syrian flesh; killing, beheading and cannibalizing hearts and livers. Every dirty trick was used; they left no perverse or deviant path untrodden. And still they failed.
They failed to assure you of their concern for the rights and interests of the people. They failed to convince you that you needed guardians to manage your own affairs and the affairs of your country. And finally, they absolutely failed to brainwash you or break your will.
You defied the storm with your bear chests; you stood like spears in the face of treachery. You achieved your goal; you raised the voice of justice above all the lies, hypocrisy, distortion and deception. You forced the whole world to see the truth, a truth they tried so hard, for three years, to bury and eradicate; by ensuring its survival this truth emerged to destroy, within hours, empires – political, oil and media. Yes, the few hours in which you expressed your views and showed your determination were enough to erase all the falsifications and the psychological and moral terrorism exercised against Syria for years. These elections were not just a political procedure as in other parts of the world; they constituted a multi-dimensional battle for which they tried to do everything possible to ensure our defeat.
For the enemies of our homeland, these elections were the instruments they had been waiting for to deligitimise the state and to show the Syrian people as weak, disunited and unable to rule themselves or make independent decisions; all of this to create a justification for foreign intervention which they could legitimize under several pretexts.
For us citizens, these elections were a true declaration of belonging to our homeland that transcended far beyond an identity card or a passport. They were a battle to defend our sovereignty, legitimacy, national decision-making and the dignity of our people. The huge turnout was a referendum in favour of sovereignty against all forms of terrorism; for many people, what was important was not so much who won, but rather who fell as a result. With your votes, you have brought down both the terrorists and the Syrian agents who gave them political cover. You have brought down their masters – the orchestrators, including superpowers and their satellite states, and decision makers and their obedient executors.
The results of the elections also brought down all the opportunists who used the crisis for personal gain at the expense of others, it brought down all those who distanced themselves from the battle waiting to see where the balance of power will settle; it brought down all those who stood against the will of the people by abstaining from this most important national duty or calling for abstaining or for its postponement, adopting – knowingly or ignorantly, the same line as those enemies of the people.
As for the elections that took place abroad and were of actual and symbolic importance, they constituted a slap in the face to the hostile media outlets that exerted their efforts to position all those who left Syria as being against the state and their homeland. By expressing their views, Syrian expatriates and refugees astonished the world. They embodied the patriotic image of Syrians and their tenacity when it comes to upholding the independence of their decisions and the protection of their sovereignty. Their circumstances as expatriates or refugees did not hinder them from carrying out this crucial national duty.
They participated in huge numbers despite their physical and moral pains. Some, despite their dire need, risked their livelihood and their residency and faced threats aimed at preventing them from participating. Those against us could not imagine Syrians carrying their passports and choosing their candidate through the ballot box. These simple steps panicked them because they knew and understood that these elections represented a stand to defend the homeland, its sovereignty and dignity. This is why they prevented the elections from taking place in their countries and other Arab states. And here lies the hypocrisy of the West: they claim to defend the same people that they prevented from expressing their views, when it became apparent to them that these views contradict what they had been working so hard for three years to achieve. Nevertheless, we thank them for preventing the elections from taking place in their countries because through their ignorance they have enhanced the legitimacy of the elections rather than undermined them.
Our fellow countrymen living outside Syria’s borders declared that they are Syrians – heart and soul, and validated our position from the beginning that they left their country because of the brutality and terrorism of the armed groups. Otherwise, how can any reasonable personaccept that the same citizens who had supposedly been attacked by the state and fled its oppression, would then support it with the enthusiasm and defiance of the Syrian expatriates that took part in the elections? How could a citizen with such hate for his country – as some assumed, switch from being a dagger in the back of his homeland and a burden to it – as they tried to project, to the strong supporters we have seen them to be.
I would like to extend my best regards and appreciation to all those citizens and I want to stress that I am more optimistic than ever that the situation will be restored to a state where all the honourable and faithful Syrians can return. I am confident that they will be the first to return in order to support the country from the inside, as soon as the conditions that caused them to leave the country disappear.
Fellow citizens, you have proven throughout your history, that you do not fear challenges but rather embrace them, no matter who the challenger is. You have insured the failure of our foes and proved their artificiality and ignorance. Research and study centres will be busy for years looking for answers to questions about what happened, in order to identify their mistakes, miscalculations and bad judgements. They will never find real answers because they depended on lackeys and agents. They did not know or understand how to deal with masters and honourable and patriotic people, and that is why they are more capable of understanding the terms of subservience, humiliation and dependence. They are unable to interpret the true meaning of honour, sovereignty and freedom. Those who want to predict the behavior and reaction of an ancient and civilized people should have the same historical and civilizational depth in order to fathom a great people’s strength and tenacity; this shows itself only in great national crises and at crucial historical junctures.
Today, you are more capable of teaching the subservient people in our Arab region concepts they do not know, like sovereignty, perseverance, defiance and dignity. You are more capable of teaching them lessons in democracy, in how people should take part in decision making and determining national destiny, and consequently make them aware of things they have not heard of previously like elections, freedom, rights, the state and civilization; they have only known suppression, extremism, subservience, dependence and exporting terrorism.
The presidential elections have been, to many Syrians, a bullet fired at the hearts of terrorists and those who stood behind them. Millions of bullets were fired and hit their sick hearts and minds and settled in the ballot boxes. These bullets proved that all the empires of politics, oil and the media amount to nothing when faced with a true patriotic position; they proved that all their words and statements over the years, disintegrate within hours in front of an honourable and unified people. These bullets declared that all those enemies, with their terror, their terrorism and shells have no value or weight; they may be capable of inflicting harm and damage, but they are incapable of winning, they may threaten, but they cannot frighten us.
I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Dr Hassan al-Nouri and Mr Maher Hajjar, who by running in the elections, expressed Syrians’ culture and maturity in exercising democracy and the rights of citizens, and in implementing the constitution. Upholding the constitution is the surest way to protect our homeland, its unity and stability. I would like to thank them, because regardless of who won, the mere fact that they stood as candidates in these circumstances was a triumph for the people and the country.
I would also like to express my appreciation to every Syrian citizen who defied the shelling, the threats and the fear and went to a polling station; to that proud woman who stood from five o’clock in the morning carrying the photo of her martyred son and cast her vote, speaking on behalf of all the martyrs of the homeland; to the injured soldier who insisted on going to the polling station in a wheelchair despite his wounds; to the one hundred year-old woman who did not let her ailing body prevent her from casting her vote; to a whole people who carried their pains, hopes and aspirations and participated so that the world could hear their voice.
This victory would not have been possible without the blood of our martyrs, our wounded soldiers and their patient and steadfast families; without them we would not have been able to protect the country, the constitution, the law, the institutions and consequently Syria’s sovereignty. Without all of them, we would not be here today. They have taught us, and will continue to teach us the meaning of heroism, sacrifice and standing our ground. From them, we take strength and determination; our homeland was resilient because of their greatness and patriotism. They have fortified the whole country with their blood, and unified the pains and hopes of Syrians with their wounds. With their heroism, they have given the greatest meaning to power and tenacity and for that we will be forever grateful and will spare no effort to return even a small part of the debt we owe to these soldiers, their families and children.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The war waged against the Syrian people is a dirty war. Despite all the injustice and the pain inflicted on every Syrian household, and despite all the blood and destruction, Syrians didn’t give up or give in. In fact, the exact opposite, as a people, we derive strength from adversity; the increased pressures drive us to be more defiant. We face attempts to humiliate us with more pride, dignity and self-confidence.
Here we are today, looking forward to the future and moving towards it with the determination and confidence that this future belongs to the people and nobody else. This country that has faced invaders since the dawn of history – the last of whom were the French colonizers who left less than seven decades ago – is still alive and capable of standing fast, building and regenerating life from the throes of catastrophes. This is how nations display their greatness, their history and their civilization. Countries are not measured by the size of their surface area or population, their wealth or their oil; they are measured by their culture and civilization, the role their people played in history, and by their will and their sovereignty in facing the challenges of the present and building the future.
Because of this role, Syria has always been targeted and continues to be so. The aggression we face is not aimed at individuals or governments – as it appeared to some in the beginning, but rather at the structure of the country and its role, and conditioning the way people think in the long-term, to mere cattle driven by remote control. This aggression aims to preoccupy our people with never ending conflicts that last for generations rather than focusing on our national aspirations and greater prosperity, and strengthening our society and state. It was never intended to rid people of their problems, as was claimed and believed by the naïve. On the contrary, they rejoice in the weaknesses of any Arab society because they want to see these societies remain backward and dependent on them. The clearest evidence of this is that their allies in the region are the most backward, corrupt and oppressive countries. They didn’t target our weaknesses to help us overcome them, but rather our strengths to destroy them: our unique patriotism and sovereignty, our pan-Arab identity and the harmony and congruence between our true Islam and Christianity.
The colonialist West is still colonialist;the means may change, but its essence is still the same. If the West and its Arab flunkies have failed in executing their plans so far, this does not mean that they have stopped their destruction of Syria as an alternative goal. This will achieve the same objective over the long term, but unfortunately with the help of those Syrians who have no honour and so sold their homeland.
Things were clear to us from the early days of the aggression. We all remember the reactions of those who did not believe or were not convinced of what I said at the beginning of the crisis. At the time, many people rejected terms like ‘plot’ and ‘aggression’. They were not convinced – until it was too late – that what was happening in the country had nothing to do with the legitimate demands of an oppressed people; nor were the demonstrations calling for freedom and democracy. It was a sinister plot for the whole region, which will not stop at our borders.
This spectacle started to unravel during the invasion of Iraq. Our position at the time was neither based on an irrational desire for confrontation nor on having an adversarial position to be applauded.
We rejected the invasion of Iraq because we saw it as the beginning of division and sectarianism. It was a real concern towards a dangerous situation we were convinced was inevitable. Today, we can see that it has become a reality and we are the ones paying its hefty price. We also warned, from the very beginning, all those we engaged with that what was happening would not stop at Syria’s borders. It would spread because terrorism doesn’t recognize national borders; at the time, I was accused of threatening the international community.
Isn’t what we are seeing today in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and all the countries that have been struck by the malady of the fake spring tangible evidence of the credibility of our repeated warnings? Soon we shall see Arab and regional countries that have supported terrorism also paying a painful price. Many of them will understand, though too late, that the battles fought by the Syrian people in defense of their homeland transcend our national borders. It is actually in defense of many other nations that, sooner or later, will suffer from the same terrorism, either as a result of the shortsightedness of their leaders and their absolute ignorance of the real interests of their nations, or due to their lack of understanding of our region and how to deal with it’s people.
The question here is: if the West and their allies do not learn, until too late, from the mistakes of their past experiences, are we also going to be late in our understanding of the events and issues which concern us in our region? Did we need to wait three years and pay for the shortsightedness of some, by sacrificing our children’s blood, our lives, our economy, security and reputation in order to realise that what was happening was in fact a plot against our homeland, and not the so called ‘spring’ for freedom or democracy? Did we need to pay such a hefty price, and still continue to do so, for those people to realise that as a result of their ignorance we now have incubators for terrorism and a springboard for aggression? Did we need to wait twelve years to understand that invading Iraq would only bring terrorism and division to our region? Wasn’t our experience with the criminal Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980’s enough for us to learn our lesson, or did we have to wait thirty years for the arrival of executioners and cannibals, to realise that terrorism and exploiting religion are two sides of the same coin?
If our current situation and the experiences from our recent history have not been enough to teach us, then we are not likely to learn anything and will not be able to protect our country, today or in the future; and those who do not protect their country, who do not defend it and preserve it, neither deserve it nor deserve to live in it.
In light of the above, and based on our clear understanding of the scheme designed for Syria from the early days of the aggression, we took the decision to proceed on two parallel tracks: striking terrorism mercilessly on the one hand, and facilitating local reconciliations for those who were misled and wanted to abandon their wrong path on the other. We were convinced, from the very beginning, that effective solutions would have to be purely Syrian without any role for foreigners unless they were genuine supporters. All those who returned to the right path found the state to bea compassionate mother: angry with her ungrateful children, but forgiving when they genuinely repent. Today, I repeat my call to all those who have been misled to lay down their arms, because we will not stop fighting terrorism and striking at it until we restore safety and security to every inch of Syria.
Those who left as traitors, agents or corrupt individuals are of little concern; the country has been cleansed of those individuals and they no longer have a place or status among Syrians. Those who are waiting or a foreign solution to end the war are living in an illusion because the ‘political solution’, as it is called, can only be based on internal reconciliations, which have proven to be very effective on more than one occasion. I stress that we will continue to proceed on this course because it saves Syrian blood, restores security, leads to the return of the displaced, the reconstruction of those are as and to thwarting any foreign schemes designed around internal shortcomings.
National reconciliations are not contradictory with, neither do they replace, the national dialogue, which the state has started with various political forces and social actors. We will continue with this dialogue and remain open to all ideas, opinions and perspectives especially since this dialogue should not be limited to the current circumstances. It needs to be a dialogue about the future of the country, the structure of the state and all aspects of our society related or unrelated to the crisis, and regardless of whether they preceded it or are a consequence of it.
If the state had extended on open hand to all from the beginning of the crisis; today, and after this tough and highly costly national test, the dialogue will not include those who have proven their lack of patriotism by evading dialogue. Neither will it include those who bet on a change of the balance of power and when they lost, changed direction in the hope of not missing the train, nor will it include those who claimed concern for the country whilst giving, through their positions, cover to terrorists in exchange for favours or bribes received from abroad. As for the declared client forces, we do not engage in dialogue with them as Syrians but as representatives of the countries they swore allegiance to and became spokesmen for.
The crisis has validated the strong social cohesion among Syrians and refuted the malicious claims about a civil war, which they tried to promote as a political cover for their foreign aggression with internal tools. The term ‘civil war’ today is used as a political cover to legitimise the terrorists as one side in a Syrian – Syrian conflict rather than despicable instruments in the hands of external powers. A civil war has its clear geographical fault lines between sects, ethnicities and other warring factions; these fault lines manifest themselves in the division between various components of society resulting in a complete collapse of the state and society. Is this what we are seeing in Syria or rather what they tried to convince us of?
Today, I see the reality on the ground as being the exact opposite; we have surpassed the concepts of common or shared living, which prevailed before the events to a stage of full integration and social cohesion among Syrians. This was abundantly clear from the scenes of Syrians across the national spectrum at the polling stations, and the popular consensus and high turnout during the elections. The rich colours and different sectors of our society are all members of the same body: whilst they differ in shape, function and task, they are fully integrated in the service of each other and the body to which they belong. Today, there is no coexistence or tolerance, but full integration and harmony.
Moving forward towards the future cannot happen if we do not deal in all truthfulness and transparency with the root causes of the present situation. In as much as we have proudly witnessed a patriotic people, it has been equally painful and disgraceful that there are parts of our population -albeit a small portion -that were the foundation upon which this war was based, who made it possible for foreign terrorists to enter the country and who facilitated foreign economic, political and military intervention in Syria thus impinging on our sovereignty.
If the external factors are easy to recognize in what the aggressors say and in the instruments they use, the internal factors must remain the focus of every assessment or decision we make, not only to deal with the challenges today but also to protect ourselves for the future. There is a near consensus among Syrians that the main reason for those who immersed themselves in the destruction of the country – directly or indirectly – is ignorance. The bigger danger, which provided the foundation for the crisis and its different aspects, was the lack of morals bydistorting religions, undermining honour, and selling out the homeland. It is the greatest obstacle to the development of societies; development is not only dependent on laws and regulations, important as they are, but rather it is dependent on a culture based on morals. There can be no development without morals; they are inseparable. Good morals may ensure better enforcement of the law; good laws can help develop good morals but they cannot sow their seeds.
Without morals, there will be no patriotic feeling in our consciousness and public service loses its meaning. Without morals, we become a society of selfish individuals each working for their own interests at the expense of others; and we saw this happening on a large scale during this crisis.There are many in this crisis that did not carry arms but they nonetheless damaged people’s livelihoods and manipulated their future; they stole, blackmailed, ransacked and were as dangerous as the terrorists themselves. Without morals we are wasting our time trying to reach objectives we do not have the necessary tools to achieve.
Talking about morals, in this speech, is not an alternative to developing laws and regulations nor is it an excuse for exonerating the state of its responsibility. If our morals and culture provide the foundation, state administration and institutions constitute the building; and any building without a solid foundation will always remain fragile.
Building on the above, we also need to address corruption, which is the greatest challenge for any society or state. Financial and administrative corruption is based on moral corruption, both of which produce a more dangerous form: national corruption that creates people who sell their homeland and the blood of its children to the highest bidder.
Fighting corruption requires action on a number of parallel tracks. Punishment comes at the top of the corruption fighting strategy. Striking with an iron fist every proven and convicted corrupt person is the most important element; however, when you punish a corrupt individual, society might produce tens of other corrupt and more devious individuals skilled at evading the law in a manner that cannot be detected or punished. In this case, time will play in favour of corruption and the corrupt.
Accountability is at the top of the corruption fighting strategy. In the middle comes administrative reform of state institutions, a process that has been on-going for a number of years. Additionally, we need to focus on developing educational curricula in a manner that goes beyond education per se to include instilling moral values and appropriate conduct.
These components constitute the role of the state in the shortest and fastest form, i.e. fighting corruption, administrative reform and the role of the competent institutions. However, the more important and sustainable role, which constitutes the base of the corruption-fighting pyramid, is the role of society and the family in particular. In order to produce an uncorrupt society, we all need to, as mothers and fathers, provide our children with a good upbringing.
Let us ask ourselves, would we have witnessed the corruption we have seen – the robbery, the exploitation, the kidnaping, treason and other horrendous crimes, had the parents of those deviant people given their children a sound upbringing? On the other side of the horizon, what about the millions of honourable people working in state institutions and other entities? What about the hundreds of thousands of young people who took up arms to defend their country and were martyred? What about those citizens who decided to carry on with their national duties despite the threats, and the resilient families who remained rooted in the soil of the homeland despite their difficult circumstances? All of these actions were not due to administrative directives, but rather because these people were given a sound upbringing which produced honest and patriotic citizens.
This foundation creates the difference between citizens who abide by the law out of conviction rather than fear of punishment, between the civil servant who serves the public for the benefit of society rather than for personal gain, and between the merchant who realizes that whilst a thief can steal from an individual, by not paying his taxes he is in fact stealing from twenty three million people. This upbringing creates the difference between a citizen supporting his family and community in times of crisis rather than exploiting them and it prevents citizens becoming mercenaries to be used against their nation by conspirators or foreigners.
Let us make fighting corruption our priority in the next period, in state institutions and across society as a whole;let’s make it a priority not only for state officials, but also for every individual. Let every one of us move from talking about corruption fighting to actively working to confront it, to strike at its roots instead of wasting time pruning its branches.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The states that continue to support terrorism in Syria have tried to destroy all aspects of life within it. The killing, which targeted Syrians from all walks of life without discrimination or exception was concurrent with the systematic destruction of our infrastructure, which took decades to build and consumed the efforts, money, sweat and blood of generations of Syrians. There is no doubt that this widespread destruction, which has affected the entire nation, has also affected every individual, particularly in terms of people’s livelihood.
Since the greatest damage to our economy was inflicted on the vital material structures of economic growth and sustainability, our economic recovery should start from the same point by focusing on rebuilding these material structures: the buildings, houses, factories, roads, and all other forms of infrastructure that was destroyed or sabotaged.This in itself is a very wide sector that will benefit the different strata of society without exception, and will influence positively and strongly the other economic sectors, which will not recover fully without a comprehensive reconstruction.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, reconstruction is the title of the economy for the coming period. We need to concentrate our collective efforts on this area and should work, in parallel, to restore all other sectors that will be complementary to reconstructionespecially craftsmen and the small and medium-sized industries that can grow and expand very quickly, creating jobs in a short period of time. We will continue our strategic support of the public and agricultural sectors, which constitute the main lever of the Syrian economy and had a significant role in our resilience during the current crisis. The reconstruction process and the associated economic recovery should not be linked in timing to the end of the crisis. In fact, the state has already started to create the necessary legislations and regulatory framework that will facilitate and encourage investment in this area.
Let us all start, hand in hand, the process of rebuilding Syria in order to be worthy of her. Let our race against time be in favour of building not destruction; and let us continue to prove, as we have done during the past three years, that the will of Syrians is many folds stronger than the will and acts of terrorists and traitors.
Brothers and sisters,
Today, together, we start a new stage that is characterised by a consensus to protect our nation and to rebuild it morally, psychologically and materially and a consensus on eradicating terrorism and bringing back into the fold all those who have lost their direction
Today, we start a new stage having overcome dangerous and critical challenges, thanks to the steadfastness of our people in the face of a terrorist and psychological war, until we reached the presidential elections – the elections that expressed Syria’s full and unified independence.
Looking forward to the future, we need to address the large gaps that have appeared in our national fabric. This requires our concerted efforts and our standing shoulder to shoulder in the next stage, which means an interactive relationship between the people, their leadership and their government. The role of a leadership does not eliminate the role and contribution of the people; similarly the presence of a leadership or a government should not imply total reliance upon it. This interactive relationship means that we move forward together towards the desired future, if we mean to succeed in our endeavour.
Hence the word ‘Sawa’ or ‘together,’ which focuses on enhancing the sense of responsibility in every one of us ensuring we move forward as one nation. It means that we shall rebuild Syria together, that we shall continue to strike terrorism whilst concluding reconciliations so that no Syrian remains in temporary housing or refugee camps. It means that together we shall fight corruption with the necessary laws and morals, and strengthen our institutions by focusing on equal opportunities and eradicating nepotism.
There should be no excuse for negative thinking and negative attitudes in dealing with our national challenges; and we must acknowledge that many of the negative aspects in our society are the product of a common culture that has become ingrained in our minds, making it difficult to replace; the only way to do so is to build a proactive, cooperative and altruistic culture. Some people might be asking how possible this is when officials do not respond to initiatives and ideas. It is a legitimate question, but we cannot generalize; there are always those who listen and are interested. We must not tire or give up; we must continue to try every possible way to make our voice heard and contribute to the process of rebuilding, development and correcting our mistakes.
I know that expectations from this speech are very high; and many of these expectations are logical and legitimate and the areas that need to be addressed are far more than can be covered in one speech. But wars impose their reality on the ground and we need to prioritize. There is a heroic army defending the country with many martyrs; on a daily basis, there are innocent victims because of terrorism in different parts of the country; there are those kidnapped and missing who have left behind families living on the hope that they will return; there are also those who have been displaced from their houses and become homeless; and there are those who have paid the price of this war with their livelihoods and are no longer able to provide the essentials for a decent living. No priority can be higher than dealing with these challenges at present. For overlooking these facts is tantamount to being separated from reality.
Brothers and sisters,
Your resilience constituted the official obituary of what was falsely called ‘the Arab spring’ and reset the course. Had this ‘spring’ been genuine, it should have started in the backward Arab countries. Had it been a revolution for more freedom, democracy and justice, it should have started in the most oppressive and tyrannical countries: the countries behind every catastrophe that befell this nation, behind every war against it, behind the intellectual and religious deviation and moral degradation. The existence of these countries is the West’s most important achievement and the most significant cause for Israel’s successes and continued existence. There is no clearer evidence than their current stand regarding the Israeli aggression against Gaza. Where is the ‘alleged’ zeal and ardour that they showed towards Syria or the Syrian people? Why haven’t they supported Gaza with arms and money? Where are their jihadists; and why haven’t they sent them to defend our people in Palestine?
In order to know the answer, we should know that what is happening today in Gaza, ladies and gentlemen, is not a separate or passing event. It is an integrated chain of events: from the occupation of Palestine, to the invasion of Iraq and trying to divide it now and the division of the Sudan all planned by Israel and the West and always executed by the states of tyranny and backwardness in our Arab world.
Was it not Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman al-Faisal who conceded to Britain that he does not object to giving Palestine to the ‘poor’ Jews in 1915?
Did those states not incite the 1967 war, whose price we are still paying today, in order to get rid of the Abul Naser ‘phenomenon’? Did those states not support Iran under the Shah, only to stand against it when it decided to support the Palestinian people and turn the Israeli embassy into a Palestinian embassy after the revolution?
Those are the countries which made the ‘King Fahed Peace Initiative’ in 1981 and threatened the Palestinians with rivers of blood if they don’t accept it. When the Palestinian factions rejected it, and in less than a year, there was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the ejection of the PLO from Lebanon, not out of concern for Lebanon, but for Israel.
Those same states surprised us in 2002 with their greatest concession: ‘normalization in return for peace,’which was later modified to become the ‘Arab Peace Initiative’in the Beirut summit. When Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, it was those same countries that encouraged Israel and the West not to accept a cease-fire until the Lebanese resistance was destroyed, describing them as ‘adventurous.’ Because these satellite countries succeeded in their tasks, they were charged with funding chaos under the name of the ‘Arab spring,’ and with leading the Arab League after other Arab countries abandoned their roles. The Arab League itself was reduced to summoning NATO and imposing a siege on the Arab states that refused to comply.
All of these events constitute a strongly linked chain aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause; all the money spent by those countries since their creation has been for this purpose.
And here they are today playing the same role: in Gaza through Israeli terrorism, and in Syria through terrorism belonging to 83 nationalities. The methods may differ but their objective is the same.
This leads meto another important issue. Some have expressed indifference towards Gaza, on the premise that we have our fair share of national problems; others have gloated at the Israeli aggression,asa reaction to the ingratitude and disloyalty of some Palestinians towards Syria and everything we have offered for decades. Both cases however, reflect naïve thinking; what is happening in Syria and the region as a whole is strongly linked to what is happening in Palestine. Dissociating ourselves from these events would be like watching a neighbour’s house burning and not offering to help.
That is why those who believe that we can live in safety and distance ourselves from the Palestinian cause are illusioned. It will remain the central cause based on principles and the reality that links what is happening in Palestine with what is happening in Syria.
We need to distinguish between the resistant Palestinian people and the ungrateful Palestinians, between true resistance fighters – who we should support – and the amateurs who mask themselves in the mantle of resistance to serve their interests, improve their image or strengthen their authority; otherwise, we will be – consciously or unconsciously, serving Israel’s objectives of dividing us even further and making us believe that our crisis is local and isolated.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A people like you, who have fought, resisted and stood fast in a country which has been exposed to an aggression unparalleled in its ferocity, is worthy of respect and appreciation, worthy of their homeland, history and civilization. You have restored the true meaning of the word revolution and proved that Syrians live honourably and die as martyrs honourably, that their dignity is more important than life itself and that their faith in God is fully intertwined with their faith in the nation, its land and people.
Although we have made great achievements in our war against terrorism in the past period, we have not forgotten and will not forget our beloved ‘Raqqa,’ which, God willing, we will soon rid of the terrorists. As to the resilient Aleppo and its heroic people, we will not rest until it restores its safety and security. The daily military operations and the martyrs from all over Syria, who have fallen for the sake of Aleppo, are clear and tangible evidence that Aleppo will remain in the heart of every Syrian.
I salute the Syrian Arab Army: officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers, who have spared nothing in defence of our homeland, including their lives and the families they left behind. I salute all our National Defence Groups and the young men and women who carried arms in defence of their country, its dignity and honour, and who have provided a strong parallel support force to the Syrian Army in many regions. My biggest salute is to the great people; your embrace of our armed forces and their achievements has been at the core of their victory.
We should not forget to thank members of the faithful and heroic Lebanese resistance who stood shoulder to shoulder with the heroes in our army, fought honorable battles together on both sides of the border and provided martyrs in defense of the axis of resistance. I salute them and the families of every martyr who reciprocated our loyalty with loyalty and considered defending Syria a national duty like defending southern Lebanon.
We also thank Iran, Russia and China, these states that have respected the decision and will of the Syrian people over the course of three years and have truly upheld the UN charter in respecting States’ sovereignty and non-interference in their domestic affairs.
Honorable Syrians,
The challenges are huge and the tasks are burdensome. Our success in dealing with our difficulties and our self-confidence should not make us complacent. Our enemies are treacherous but our will is strong, and with this will we shall turn this ordeal into an opportunity. As long as we have the will to act, let our achievements in the future be of the same scale – and even greater – of the price we have paid.
The new stage has begun, and we are fully prepared for it. Syria deserves all our effort, sweat and work; we shall spare nothing in the same way that our heroes have not spared their blood ortheir lives. I will always beone of you, living amongst you, guided by your opinions and inspired by your awareness. Together, hand in hand, Syria will remain strong, proud, resilient and inviolable to any foreigner; and we Syrians shall remain the strongest fortification for Syria and her dignity.
Thank you.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

WHO IS MAJOR GENERAL QASSEM SULEIMANI ?

WHO IS MAJOR GENERAL QASSEM SULEIMANI ?

… by  Hamed  Ghashghavi,   Tehran

 

[ VT Editors Note:  Hamed brings us a rare look into one of Iran's top military commanders, who often are censored from Western Press to avoid any analogies between our own George Washington, heaven forbid. While the two generals were not co-religionists, they shared a passionate desire to not have their people exploited by overseas commerical and military powers.  I personally was not aware of GeneralSuleimani so we are happy share this from the son of an Iranian veteran from the eight year war with the US backed Saddam and Iraq... Jim W. Dean ]

__________________________________

The name of this Iranian Commander is not unknown to many who study the Middle-East situation, but these days during the battle against the evil soldiers and unhuman Takfiris in Iraq, his name has been mentioned on some mainstream media like Fox News, Washington Post, CBS News, and the Guardian.

What I would like to illuminate our readers is the career of this great man whose Pentagon high level officials are afraid to hear the name.

He is the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which conducts special operations outside Iran. Their name comes from the Arabic name for Jerusalem Al-Quds. Qods Force was created in the 1990s.

According to Western intelligence scources, General Sulaimani has  played  a major role in the arrangement of post-Saddam Iraq plus the Western imposed war on the Syrian people. He had earlier helped the Afghans to resist to the American colonization there. His efforts have also been very effective in strengthening the resistance structure of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

So inside and outside of Iran among those who know a little about the realities on the ground no one can deny his significant role in the struggle against the Israeli and U.S. forces.

4

The Supreme Leader of the Iranian revolution who delivers the messages of condolence or congratulation only for the very important cases, nine months ago gave a condolence message for death of General Sulaimani’s mother in which he said: “Your act in the favor of Islam and Muslims may be very useful for your mother, God bless her soul.”

And we must know that the Supreme Leader chooses his words carefully even for such a message that can be simple in our eyes. In Iran there are many  young guys who are ready to give their lives for the Supreme Leader and their country particulary at the time of the imposed wars by the US and the EU on Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and the continuing “all options are on the table” theats to Russia and Iran.

There were many young people who, after a Fatwa of the founder of the Revolution, Imam Khomeini, have filled the Iran-Iraq border which is more 1200km (as since centuries Iran has not attacked any other country, the period of the Iraq-Iran war was appointed as Sacred Defense.

As an Iranian I know than the understanding of the definition of Supreme Leader can be strange for the western and particularly American audience I suggest you to watch the short video of Ken Ok’eefe on that: Ken O’Keefe in Tehran – “Iran is not the threat, we are.

Back to the man who was named as one of the most important Iranian policy makers by Washington Post. In the same time he is a admired and hated character for the Zionists. “He is the most powerful security agent of Middle-East, no one knows him”…John Maguire, former CIA officer in Iraq

Wired Magazine place him as the most dangerous man in the world and the NewYorker named General Sulaimani as the most effective commander in Syria war. The Supreme Leader appointed him as living martyr.

The son of Martyr Imad Mougniyah, one of the Hezbollah leaders assassinated by Mossad

“He has the links to all sides regime (Iran). He is someone than I call politically genius” …Meir Dagan, the former Mossad Director. “No doubt he is the strongest man in Iraq”… Dr. al-Rubaie Mowaffak, former National Security Advisor of Iraqi government

General Suleimani was very dynamic during 8 years of Sacred Defense, almost 90% of his friends who were all the commanders have become martyrs and national heroes.

Before becoming the Major General Foreign of division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), General Suleimani was very active in the struggle against drugs in the Iran-Afghan border.

At the same time that the Taliban in Afghanistan took power, General Sulaimani was appointed as the commander of Al-Quds Forces. According to his birthplace, he is a specialist in civil wars (Afghanistan, Iran’s Kurdistan, Iraq, and Syria etc.).

The Quds Force are very active in the political, security and economic areas of Iraq and other countries of the region. According to multiple media sources, high CIA amd Mossad security committees have repeatedly planned and ten times rescheduled the assassination of this man strong.

The Islamic State if Iraq and the Levant that these days will not hesitate to commit any kind of crime against the Iraqi people has announced that they will kill Saleimanin if they catch him in Iraq.

We must understand what is happening in Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with the Shia-Sunni conflict that the mainstrean media is saying, but is a direct confrontation bewteen the Resistance line (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon) and the American Zionist axis.

For many young revolutionaries and followers of the Supreme Leader, Imam Khamenei worldwide, General Suleimani is a kind of transnational hero providing the leadership and encouragement to help them continue the fight against the American Empire forces and the Zionist entity.

You see every cloud has a silver lining, Saudi-backed monster ISIL terrorists ‘wants to destroy’ Saudi royals!

Saudi-backed monster ISIL ‘wants to destroy’ Saudi royals!

http://en.alalam.ir/news/1611515

Members of the Saudi royal family (file photo)
Members of the Saudi royal family (file photo)
How much responsibility does Saudi Arabia have for the chaos cause to Syria, Iraq and the entire region by the now-infamous ISIL?

Algeria’s Le Quotidien d’Oran, noted columnist Kharroubi Habib writes that in an effort to displace al-Qaeda, which seeks the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy, Saudi “strategists” decided to back a new group – ISIL. The only trouble is that ISIL “wants to destroy” the Saudi royal family even more than al-Qaeda did.

Kharroubi Habib begins by saying that the Saudis, even if they engineered ISIL’s creation, were shocked to find that the group wanted to create a ‘Muslim caliphate’ and topple the Saudi regime:

Without the massive and multifaceted aid lavished on it by Saudi Arabia, the Takfiri group of ISIL could not have become this war machine which, after having routed the Iraqi Army and taken control of the Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq, has proclaimed the creation of the so-called caliphate and called all believers to swear their allegiance.

It has therefore been thought that the recent turn of events in Iraq has filled the emirs of Saudi Arabia with joy. Yet that is not the case, as panic prevails in Riyadh, where the success achieved by ISIL is regarded as a threat to the kingdom. The panic that has set in among Saudi emirs is such that they have deployed over 30,000 troops along the kingdom’s border with Iraq, are considering seeking Jordanian military support on bended knee, and even the Zionist regime of Israel has indicated that it anticipates such a request, and is prepared to provide military assistance to “moderate” Arab states that feel threatened by the expansion of the Islamist group.

In coming to this conclusion, Saudi Arabia is acknowledging its role in the creation of a “monster” that has now escaped its influence, the proof being the creation of the “Muslim caliphate,” the premise of which denies the leadership of the Saudi monarchy, which believes it has the right as sovereign rulers in the land of Islam’s holy places to exercise influence over the Muslim world. Blinded by their hatred of the Iranian Islamic Republic, the Saudis financed and armed ISIL, and put pressure on Sunni rebels in Iraq to align with the terror group, calculating, behind the scenes, that such a force would be satisfied with establishing a more equal balance of power for Sunnis in Iraq by bringing down the government of Nouri al-Maliki. In proclaiming the birth of the “Muslim Caliphate” that seeks the submission of all Muslims, including the Saudis, ISIL has made it clear that it doesn’t adhere to the Saudi project.

Source: themoderatevoice.com

4 Turkish Military Officers Training ISIL Terrorists in Iraq and Turkish Weapons to Syria

http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2014/07/15/excl-4-turkish-military-officers-training-isil-terrorists-in-iraq-and-turkish-weapons-to-syria-duty-free/

Sezgin Tanrıkulu one of Parliamentarians of Turkish Opposition Party CHP gave 4 question motion written to the Parliament to be answered.
The motion was : “Are the claims of 4 Turkish Military officers were seized in Iraq on charge of training ISIL terrorists on May 2014 in Fallujah true?, If true then who are the detainees? Where are they now?”

The written questions submitted to the Parliament are:
1- Are the claims of 4 Turkish Military officers were seized in Iraq on charge of training ISIL terrorists on May 2014 in Fallujah true?, If true then who are the detainees? Where are they now?

2- If the claims are true who are those detainees?

3- What is the fate of the 4 detainee officers?

4- Are there any members of Turkish Military Staff in Iraq at the present time?

5- Is the claim that the detainee military officers were training ISIL members true?

6- What is the number of Turkish Military Officers who have made enter to Iraq in the last year?

7- What is the number of Turkish retired military officers in Iraq at the moment?

8- Is the claim that a retired Turkish Military Officer who was killed in Aleppo was one of ISIL top leaders true? Who is this person?

9- What is the total price of the arms, ammunition that were sent, sold to Iraq during 2011, 2012, 2013, and 5 months of 2015?

10- Is the claim according to UN records that the arms and Turkish ammunition with the code of 9303 and Turkish Statistical Institue under the title of ‘International Standart Trade Classification’ the weapons were sent to Syria were under the title of Non- militarily purpose with duty- free ture?

Ersal: Executions, assassinations and chaos

An army patrol goes through the town of Ersal. (Photo: Rameh Hamieh)
Published Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Ersal is living in a state of total lawlessness, complete with executions against both locals and refugees, armed robberies, and assassinations and retributions. Meanwhile, it appears that the government’s “cosmetic” security plan in place is insufficient to deter the militants from wreaking havoc in the town’s streets and alleyways.
Ersal is in an unenviable position. The Bekaa Valley border town, which has supported the “Syrian revolution” from the outset, is being devoured by the revolution’s “children.” The executions, retributions, murders, and armed robberies have aggravated the state of anxiety and apprehension among the town’s people, and has raised many questions about the future that awaits Ersal and its relationship with the refugees, who now outnumber its original population, and with its relationship with its neighbors, now at an all-time low.
Mustafa Izz al-Din is the latest victim to be executed following a death sentence issued in accordance with the “revolutionary law” in Ersal. On the evening of Tuesday, July 8, militants raided his home in the town at iftar – the time observing Muslims break their fast during Ramadan after sunset. According to one resident of Ersal, Mustafa was an “innocent man who never harmed everyone.”
“They shouted God is great as he was praying and killed him,” he added.
But this is not the first execution of its kind to take place here. Izz al-Din’s son, Hamada, had also been assassinated in thejurud, or mountainous wilderness regions, near the town, two weeks before his father was killed. People in Ersal talk about dozens of executions targeting both locals and Syrian refugees, and say bodies were often dumped in the wilderness or thrown in hollows in nearby valleys.
Previously, Ersal had been linked for a long time in the minds of the public to the name of its controversial mayor Ali al-Houjeiri. Nowadays, however, the name Abu Hassan al-Filastini has supplanted Houjeiri’s. The latter, according to people from the town, had defected from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. After the Battle of Qalamoun, he fled to the hills near Ersal. There, he established a so-called Sharia Commission that has since issued many fatwas and death sentences, and is reportedly the leader of the Syrian and local militants who killed Izz al-Din.
According to sources in Ersal, there are rumors circulating about a hit list containing the names of 13 residents of the town whom Abu Hassan al-Filastini wants dead, including Mayor Ali al-Houjeiri. Sources say Houjeiri’s name was included on the list following recent talks between him and Abu Hassan for the release of Makhoul Murad, a man from Ras Baalbek who had been kidnapped by the militant leader’s men recently.
The sources explain that an agreement was reached for Murad’s release in return for a $50,000 ransom, “of which $20,000 was secured by people from Ras Baalbek, while Houjeiri pledged to get the rest from Ahmed Hariri.” The sources added that Houjeiri gave Abu Hassan only $20,000 from the ransom money, which infuriated the latter.
As a result, the sources add, Houjeiri has been taking additional security measures including using different and decoy cars during his movements. But in a phone call with Al-Akhbar, Houjeiri denied the reports, saying he had handed over the ransom in full. Regarding the hit list that allegedly includes his name, Houjeiri dismissed them as rumors, adding, “I don’t think they’re true…God help us anyway.”
The dangers lurking in Ersal are known to the people of the town, who know well that the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Nusra Front, and al-Katiba al-Khadraa are deployed heavily in the wilderness and hills surrounding them, “wreaking havoc and moving freely in and outside the town without deterrent, especially since a number of people from Ersal are members of these groups,” according to informed sources.
The same sources said, “The Syrian army has created a problem for both us and itself.” They argue that after the battle of Qalamoun, the militants were allowed to flee to the wildness near Ersal and other [remote] areas along the border. The sources explained, “These areas are difficult to control given the rugged nature of their terrain, and the natural places of hiding they offer, including caves and tunnels.”
According to the sources, more than 5,000 militants from ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and al-Katiba al-Khadraa control these areas, added to 5,000 armed refugees out of the 30,000 who reside in the summer homes and groves belonging to the people of Ersal, as well as in nearby caves.
The sources say that the problem the Syrian army created for itself is that all those militants now use the areas they control as a staging ground for their near-daily incursions into the Syrian regions of Assal al-Ward and the Rankous plain, but also into Lebanese territory, including most recently in the Tanniyeh region between the outskirts of Ersal and the towns of Fakiha and Ras Baalbek, where they instigated violent clashes.
The sources revealed that up to 12,000 packets of bread are taken daily from the bakeries in Ersal to the wilderness areas, as well as various foodstuffs and hot meals. Yet, they say, “all this is not enough for the militants,” who have been resorting to looting, armed robber, and even cattle rustling.
All the above raises questions about the role of the army and the security services in Ersal, over why the militants can move freely there without any deterrence, and also brings into question the effectiveness of the government’s security plan for the town.
Many people in the town do not deny that they felt relief when the army entered Ersal, with the security services deploying a force there and arresting a number of fugitives. However, they say, that relief soon evaporated when the townspeople began to sense that the security plan was rather cosmetic, as the extremists returned to the town, and militants began to raid homes and murder people or rob them.
In the opinion of some residents of the town, the problem with the army’s checkpoints on the outskirts of the town is that the roads leading to them have “bypasses” through which the militants move, even though they are only dozens of meters away from the checkpoints in some cases. These bypass turns and roads link the town to many remote areas where the militants are holed up, they say.
Some people in Ersal consequently call for deploying another brigade of the Lebanese army in the town to assist the Eighth Brigade there, erect checkpoints within the town, and block all bypass roads leading to the remote regions. They also call for restricting the time during which refugees, who number 160,000 (117,000 of them are registered), can move, crack down on cars with tinted windows and tens of thousands of motorcycles, and reinforce the Internal Security Forces detachment in the town.
Mayor Ali Houjeiri, however, said that there is no need for the army and the government, because they cannot solve the problem. Rather, he claimed that the people of Ersal can end these problems, and “look after themselves when it comes to executions and the militants.”
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Houjeiri said all of Lebanon was living in panic and fear, and not just Ersal, before he argued, “As long the Lebanese – both Hezbollah and March 14 – are intervening in Syria, the situation will remain like this throughout Lebanon.” Houjeiri then added, “The Syrian army controls the villages of Nabek, Qara, and Falita but not their outskirts, which allows [militants] to move across the border.”
Indeed, according to informed sources in Ersal, border crossings like Umm al-Jamaa, Wara al-Saabeh, and Aqabet al-Qseira (in the direction of Falita) remain open, in addition to crossings leading to Ras al-Maara on the Syrian side.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
Related
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

“Kurdistan” Israeli Style

“BEFORE OUR EYES”

“Kurdistan” Israeli Style

While everything is being set up to create an independent Kurdistan, Thierry Meyssan sees a manipulation of the Kurdish peoples’ dream to profit Israel, the United States and Turkey. Also, he denounces the Barzani ethnic cleansing project and observes the PKK opposition to the creation of a “Kurdistan” of this nature.
 | DAMASCUS | 14 JULY 2014
JPEG - 29.7 kbDuring the 60s, Mullah Mustafa Barzani (the father of Massoud Barzani) approached Washington and the Shah of Iran. He became an officer of the Mossad. Seen here in Israel with Abba Eban (Foreign Minister) and General Meir Amit (Director of the Mossad).
In May, 2000, Israel  withdrew its troops from Southern Lebanon 
When David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel unilaterally, supposed defense needs created a security zone around it. It was the implementation of the European strategy of “steps”: Israeli wars attempting to expand its territory and, failing that, to demilitarize the areas on its border. However, with the emergence and spread of missiles, the freezing of “steps” no longer guarantees much. So that in 1999, Israel hesitated to return the Golan [1] and in 2000, it chose to withdraw from southern Lebanon rather than continue to be harassed by Hezbollah.
Gradually, another military doctrine has emerged: the security of a country depends on the ability to destroy threatening missiles from afar. Now it is necessary to not only demilitarize “steps” to protect from a land invasion, but also to provide a circle of protection beyond enemy states to neutralize the threat of missiles. Hence the creation of South Sudan (2011) and soon Kurdistan (2015?). In this way, Israel will be able to threaten Egypt, Syria and Lebanon all at once.
The experience of South Sudan shows the artificial nature of these creations. It is currently a state without statehood, a lawless area occupied by the Israeli army.
From the U.S. point of view, the creation of Kurdistan is a step in the remodeling of the “Middle East region” (Greater Middle East), that is to say, the division of the area into ethnically homogeneous micro-states, easy to dominate. That is why the Pentagon has been conspicuously absent. At a closed meeting during which the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel and the Chief of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, came to explain to Congress the parliamentary situation in Iraq, they not only claimed to have lost the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi file (and thus didn’t know why they arrested him in 2004 and why they released him a few months later) [2], but also admitted to having no intervention plan and leaving the field entirely open to the Islamic Emirate and Kurdistan. [3]
From the Turkish point of view, this “Kurdistan” is also a boon to solve its own Kurdish problem. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan whispered the whole operation to the ears of the Barzani family. Moreover, he had his Parliament pass a law authorizing negotiation with the Kurds in Turkey: parliamentarians who contribute to disarm and integrate the rebels will be exempt from prosecution. [4] The Prime Minister hopes to be elected president with the votes of Turkey’s Kurds who would thus thank him for sponsoring “Kurdistan” abroad. Of course, it is unlikely that he will continue his overture once elected.
The Kurdish people would be wrong to believe that the “Kurdistan” offered by Israelis and Turks will be that to which they aspire. In contrast to their ancestor Saladin the Magnificent who liberated and unified the Levant, the Barzani clan will separate them from other populations in the region, Arabs, Armenians, etc.. and transform them into apartheid auxiliaries.
JPEG - 27.2 kb
While on the Internet, members of PDK discuss their future currency, the Kuro [5], the Barzanis already behave as if they had won with Israeli assistance. They sent the peshmerga to seize the oil fields of Kirkuk and Bai Hassan – allegedly to secure them from Baghdad maneuvers – and expel Arab workers [6].
There can be no doubt: the Barzanis’ Israeli ethnic cleansing project is just beginning.
Abdullah Öcalan’s PKK has already called for not falling into the trap. He has published an excerpt from the secret June 1st meeting held in Amman at which armed Islamist groups and Massoud Barzani’s PDK sealed their alliance and planned a coordinated attack on Iraq [7]. The PKK has called for a general mobilization of the Kurdish people against the Barzani Israeli project.
For his part, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has revealed that his army could not attack the High Command of the Islamic Emirate … because it was located in Erbil and protected by the local government of Kurdistan.
Two lines are therefore opposed, but only the Kurdish people can defeat the Israeli plan.
Translation
Roger Lagassé
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

“If you want the Arabs to fight Israel, tell them Israel converted to Shi’ism”

الشيخ ماهر حمود: إذا أردتم للعرب أن يقاتلوا إسرائيل .. قولوا لهم أن إسرائيل تشيعت!

Sunni Sheikh: Arabs will fight Israel if it’s a Shia entity

source

Sunni Imam of Al-Quds Mosque in Sidon (Lebanon), Sheikh Maher Hammoud, has claimed that “if you want Arabs to fight Israel, tell them Israel converted to Shi’ism”.
Sheikh Hammoud, who is considered a “moderate Sunni”, in an interview with Lebanese news website Al-Akhbar last year said: “We cannot underestimate the influence of Saudi and Wahhabi thought. Whether we like it or not, the Saudis control many of the Islamist movements, and many more seek its acceptance. The Salafi approach to dealing with religious texts is extremely superficial. They believe that the sect to which most Iranians belong is flawed, and therefore reject everything the country does.”
Sheikh Hammoud believes in the unity among Muslims of all denominations to fight western imperialism and their regional collaborators. In one of his sermons he said: “Americans are dividing the nation to serve Israel.”
Sheikh Hammoud has criticized Lebanese Islamic resistance Hizbullah in the past especially resistance’s involvement in Syria. But, he believes that the armed resistance is the only way to stop Israel re-occupying Lebanon.
Hizbollah knows well the results of this battle. However between a catastrophe and catastrophes or between the bad and the worse Hizbollah chose the bad,” said Hammoud.
Sheikh Hammoud doesn’t fully agree with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s policies, but he is against foreign interference in Syria. He blames Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood failure on its leaders for not following the teachings of party’s founder Imam Hassan al-Banna.
Sheikh Hammoud also claims that Israel was behind the assassination Rafik Hariri because the Zionist entity benefitted the most from the tragedy.
Sheikh Hammoud has praised the Islamic republic, saying it did much for the nation. “The behavior of the Iranian indicates that they have a project which can’t see less than Palestine an aim for it. They consider all the obstacles and the difficulties easy in order to reach their goal.” Read more here.
Sheikh Hammoud  doesn’t deny the fact that all the Muslim nation-states that have diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity, or submitted to US-Israel domination, like Jordan,Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Morocco, etc., are ruled by Sunni elites. Until the fall of Saddam Hussein, Shia-majority Iraq was also ruled by Sunni minority under Ottoman empire and the British occupation. Currently, the Jewish media is projecting British spy Ms Gertrude Bell as the woman who invented modern Iraq. Bell, a niece of British ambassador to Persia (Iran) lived in Tehran and Jerusalem. She learned both Persian and Arabic and translated Persian poetry. She committed suicide in 1926.
On July 10, the world saw the power of Zionist Mafia during the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss Israel’s latest war on Gaza. Both the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and Israeli ambassador Prosor blamed Hamas for starting the war.

Lebanon’s Sheikh Hammoud: “The Suicide Bombers Have No Religion”

Published Thursday, November 21, 2013
In an interview with Al-Akhbar, the Lebanese city of Saida’s Sheikh Maher Hammoud says he is not optimistic that the religious trends legitimizing terrorist attacks against other Muslims can be eradicated anytime soon.
Al-Akhbar: What do you make of the recent double suicide bombing that took place against the Iranian embassy in Beirut?
Maher Hammoud: I think they are a natural extension of what is going on in Syria. Those parties that have been fomenting sectarian hatred in Syria, and those who are funding it, are prepared to do anything in the service of the United States and Israel. At first, Qatar took on the task of toppling the regime and financing the fighters, and they failed. Now it is Saudi Arabia’s turn, with a green light from the Americans.
We know today that Bandar bin Sultan has the upper hand in Saudi politics. And he is the most pro-American and pro-Israeli, even according to members of the royal family. But I imagine the outcome of the Saudi adventure will be very much like Qatar’s failure.
Al-Akhbar: Do you believe, as has been reported in the media, that the al-Qaeda-affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades were behind the attack?
Hammoud: No, I don’t think this is the work of a group this size. It’s apparent from the scale of the explosions that this was planned by much larger organizations, which had precise information about the ambassador’s schedule that day and had targeted him as he was departing for an appointment.
Al-Akhbar: Some attribute the attack to Hezbollah’s military involvement in Syria. What is your opinion?
Hammoud: We have to be level-headed about this as much as possible. There are people, due to their simplicity or a personal affront of some kind, who cannot accept Hezbollah’s involvement in the war in Syria. Even I was angry when I first heard of the death of a Hezbollah fighter there, and I sent a letter to [Hezbollah Secretary General] Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah warning him about the dangers of such an undertaking. But my view changed when I heard some of the details of what was happening in Syria from Nasrallah personally.
Al-Akhbar: What are these details?
Hammoud: Not all the information can be made public. Some of it is hard for an ordinary citizen who doesn’t trust Hezbollah to believe, such as assassinations and massacres committed against the Shia and Alawis in Homs and elsewhere.
Al-Akhbar: You said that you were uneasy about Hezbollah’s involvement at first. What changed?
Hammoud: Now that we have groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front who are supposed to represent an alternative to the regime, even the moderate Islamists cannot arrive at any kind of understanding with them.
Al-Akhbar: How do they justify sending young men to their death in this way, particularly to kill other Muslims like them?
Hammoud: There is no justification in Islam related to suicide attacks. They act according to their whims, and their sheikh is the Internet. No clergy worth their weight are carefully considering such matters. They are pretenders who take bits and pieces of religious texts and issue fatwas that are suitable to them.
Al-Akhbar: How is this allowed to happen? Where are the sheikhs who can be trusted?
Hammoud: We cannot underestimate the influence of Saudi and Wahhabi thought. Whether we like it or not, the Saudis control many of the Islamist movements, and many more seek its acceptance. The Salafi approach to dealing with religious texts is extremely superficial. They believe that the sect to which most Iranians belong is flawed, and therefore reject everything the country does.
Al-Akhbar: Is it plausible to believe that there will be any kind of meaningful change in this kind of religious teaching?
Hammoud: If we want to be realistic, reforms along these lines are not possible anytime soon. We tried once, but we could not follow up because the environment was so hostile. Many things would happen that widened the sectarian divide. It’s high-time that we do this, but no one is listening and Saudi money is doing its work.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!
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