President Assad - Army Soldiers

Assad Inspects Army Soldiers in Jobar in Damascus at Beginning of New Year
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President Assad - Army Soldiers

The Syrian president Bashar Assad inspected at the beginning of the new year the officers and the soldiers of the army units deployed in Jobar in Damascus countryside.

President Assad - Army Soldiers

President Assad addressed the soldiers, asserting that their achievements in face of terrorism are behind the Syrians’ joy. 

Source: Al-Manar Website

01-01-2015 – 00:38 Last updated 01-01-2015 – 02:4

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Assad elected to serve Syria, not America’s New World Order

Dec 29, 2014, Taylor Report


Stephen Gowans, political analyst, and Phil Taylor discuss Gowans’ article, “Why Assad Refuses to Step Down,” which is based on a Paris Match interview with Assad.

In response to Paris Match, President Assad defended his right to rule democratically, to serve the Syrian People and to insist on accurate terminology: Syria has a State, not a regime.

The US State Department targets any leader (such as Milosevic, Gadhafi, Chavez/Maduro, Fidel/Raul Castro, Assad) who refuses to liberalize the economy of the country, refuses to allow foreign takeover of their natural resources, refuses to become a Western puppet.

Gowans states explicitly in his article and in the interview: “The lesson is plain: Create a good foreign investment climate, become a market for the US arms industry, turn over your resources to the West, cooperate with US military, and you can kill as many of your own people as you like, resist democracy as long as you want, and merrily trample on human rights. Just don’t insist that your economy work to the benefit of your own people.”

Credits: Why Assad Refuses to Step Down

Syrian Army Kills Scores of Terrorists across Country

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gaza quadruplets

DECEMBER 30, 2014

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Figures released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday suggest that Palestinians will outnumber Israeli Jews in historic Palestine within the next two years.

The results of the Palestinian census, released on the occasion of the end of 2014, show a number of other surprising figures that highlight the wide-ranging changes in demography the Holy Land is experiencing.

The census estimated that at the end of 2014 the total number of Palestinians in “historical Palestine” — meaning the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the territory where the State of Israel is located but which often referred to as ’48 Palestine — is around 6.08 million, compared to 6.10 million Jews as of the beginning of 2014.

By the end of 2016, the census bureau estimates that at current rates the number of Palestinians will eclipse that of Jews, meeting at around 6.42 million.

By 2020, however, the statistics show that the number of Palestinians will hit 7.14 million, while the Jewish population will have only reached around 6.87 million.

The demographic shift was expected to happen years ago, but the migration of more than a million people to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s — a large percentage of whom were not Jews, but were naturalized anyways due to the fact that they had Jewish relatives — delayed the change.

The census bureau surveyed not only historic Palestine, but also included Palestinians around the world in its results.

The bureau estimates that the total number of Palestinians worldwide as of the end of 2014 is 12.10 million, “of whom 4.62 million are in State of Palestine, 1.46 million in Israel, 5.34 million in Arab countries, and around 675 thousand in foreign countries.”

The statistics show the continuing impact of the Nakba — or the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from what is now Israel into refugee camps elsewhere — on the distribution of the Palestinian population, as well as the recurrent displacements and widespread flight since then as the result of the 1967 occupation and the effects of the occupation.

Of the 4.6 million living in the State of Palestine, the bureau estimated that around 2.83 million reside in the West Bank and 1.79 million in Gaza Strip.

“Palestinian refugees make up 43.1 percent of the Palestinian population in Palestine: 38.8 percent of them in the West Bank and 61.2 percent in Gaza Strip,” the reported added, underscoring that even within the State of Palestine itself, refugees and their descendants from the 1948 expulsions make up a sizable number.

The report also compared birth rates among the Palestinian populations spread around the world, highlighting the drastic declines in fertility rates that characterized trends in the State of Palestine.

“The average household size in Palestine was 5.2 persons in 2013 compared to 6.4 in 1997: 4.9 persons in the West Bank and 5.8 persons in Gaza Strip,” the report said.

“The total fertility rate declined during 2011-2013 to 4.1 births compared with 6.0 births in 1997. In Gaza Strip the rate was 4.5 births compared to 3.7 births in the West Bank during 2011-2013,” it added.

The rates are significantly higher than Palestinian refugees living abroad, where rates are comparatively lower.

“The total fertility rate for Palestinian woman living in Jordan was 3.3 births in 2010 compared to 2.5 in Syria in 2010 and 2.8 in Lebanon in 2011,” the report said.

Palestinian citizens of Israel also had birthrates comparatively lower than the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with averages around 3.4 births per woman. However, the number was higher than Israeli Jews, who have an average of around 3.1 births.

“The number of Palestinians living in Israel is 1.46 million, of whom about 35.4% are aged below 15 years compared to 4.3% aged 65 years and over,” the report noted.

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Falic Fanatic

DECEMBER 30, 2014

by Alex Kane

The name Sheldon Adelson, the right-wing, pro-Israel casino mogul who has bankrolled the Republican Party, rings a bell for close observers of American politics. But how about the Falic family?

The Falics should be just as well known. Members of the family have donated millions of dollars to pro-Israel U.S. politicians from both parties. Beneficiaries of their largesse include GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney; Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Eliot Engel; the Republican National Committee; and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In addition, the family hasgiven hundreds of thousands of dollars to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political campaigns.

They have made their money through Duty Free America, which operates stores in airports around the U.S and the world where consumers buy tax-free products.

Leon Falic and his brothers bought the company in 2001. The Florida-based Falic Family Private Foundation, which receives the bulk of its funds from Duty Free Americas, has given money to a variety of pro-Israel causes, including West Bank settlements. And on December 28, the family is set to donate a Torah to Ariel University’s synagogue in honor of Fima Falic, who died in 2012. Israeli politicians will join the family in a ceremony that day. Nily Falic, the wife of the late Fima, is the national chairperson of the Friends of the IDF, a multi-million dollar operation that gives tax-free donations to the Israeli army.

The Falics are one of a number of wealthy, right-leaning Jewish American families that fund Israel’s and America’s right-wing politicians and illegal settlement projects. Hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S. tax-free foundations are poured into Israeli West Bank settlements every year. Taken together, the funds that originate in the U.S. are used for everything from infrastructure to business to security, solidifying Israeli control over the West Bank and putting a Palestinian state further out of reach.

A Duty Free Americas’ employee told me over the phone the Falics were not available for comment until Monday.

In addition to boosting the coffers of Netanyahu, Romney and Wasserman Schultz, the Falic Family has sponsored students to take a Zionist Organization of America-sponsored trip to Israel, where they visited the Falic-owned Psagot Winery, located in the settlement of Psagot, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. After Fima Falic died, the Zionist Organization of America released a statement extending “condolences to the entire Falic family on the sudden passing of Fima Falic, true Zionist and generous Israel supporter.” And as Mondoweiss’ Allison Deger reported in 2012, the family also funded an archeological dig in the settlement of Shiloh.

Tax forms I reviewed provide more details on the Falic family’s wealth, but the only detailed accounting of where donations went is in the records for fiscal year 2006. That year, the foundation gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a range of groups related to Israel, including: $43,000 to the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, which funds East Jerusalem settlements; $15,000 to the American Friends of Likud; $104,000 to a U.S. charity that funds a yeshiva in the Hebron settlement of Kiryat Arba, populated by the most extreme Israeli settlers; $85,000 to the Central Fund of Israel, another settlement fundraising vehicle; and $63,600 to Manhigut Yehudit, the Jewish Leadership movement run by Member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin, who has proposed paying Palestinians to move out of Gaza and called for the “conquest” and “annihilation” of people in Gaza.

On December 28, the Falic family will make another show of support for West Bank settlements. Nearly 20 Falic family members are set to participate in a ceremony at Ariel University marking the donation of the Torah, according to a press statement sent by Ariel University. The family members who will participate include Nily, national chairperson of the Friends of the IDF, and Simon, the chairman of Duty Free Americas. Also participating in the ceremony will be Likud Member of Knesset Limor Livnat (who announced her retirement earlier this month), the mayor of Ariel and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the religious leader for the Western Wall.

Ariel University is in the mega-settlement of Ariel, located deep in the occupied West Bank. In late 2012, the Israeli military recognized the university as an accredited Israeli school, the first school in a settlement to receive that recognition. (The Israeli military has authority to over the West Bank, which includes the granting of accreditation for schools.) That decision led 165 professors to publicly calling for the boycott of Ariel University.

In September, Ariel University’s administration fired an Israeli professor named Amir Hetsroni after he penned articles in Haaretzthat criticized settlements, including Ariel.

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Sheikh Imran Hosein :Destruction of American Empire, Russia and UK,Israel New Super Power


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2014: Two Events that Shook the World


Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR

The year 2014 has been a sensational year. It is the year that some hasten to bookmark as the year World War III began unobtrusively, stealthily, inexorably – involving as-yet indeterminate contestants. The tumultuous arrival of the Islamic Caliphate spearheaded by the Islamic State, the outbreak of the Ebola virus, kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram – the year has had its fair share of blood-curdling events.

It has been the year that the US economy showed credible signs of recovery, but in which the US also admitted defeat in a half-century old campaign to bring the Cuban revolution down on its knees. Truly, the ascendancy of right-wing Hindu fundamentalism in India, a country of 1.3 billion people, makes it an important year for a turbulent region.

All these are significant things to be noted in their own ways, but their enduring consequence to the world order remains unclear and the probability is that they may turn out to be ephemeral, although arresting at first sight for the present – ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’, in the ultimate analysis.

However, it is two major international developments that form a cluster by itself because of their profound impact on the future trajectory of world order. They are: the crisis in Ukraine and the emergence of China as the world’s largest economy.

Ukraine crisis

No single international development in the year 2014 sent such shock waves through world politics as the crisis that erupted in Ukraine following the US-sponsored ‘regime change’ in Kiev in February. At times it seemed that the international order has begun unraveling or is galloping uncontrollably toward such a process, with the United Nations reduced to a hapless observer.

At its core, the Ukraine crisis underscores that the US-led security order has been most seriously challenged by a rising non-Western power – Russia. Second, the European order has come face to face, even if implicitly, with an organizing principle based on legitimizing spheres of influence, which, having sheltered under the umbrella of a military alliance, the West never needed to explicitly accept.

Again, on an international normative terrain, the Western ideas of international order have been contested in Ukraine. The heart of the matter is that while superficially professing respect for international law, the US and Europe have been freely acting outside it to advance their interests – which, essentially, was what Kosovo, Iraq and Libya have been all about – and Russia has held out a mirror at this essentially illiberal world order, finally, and is demanding a realistic, rational calibration, failing which Moscow will offer resistance in political terms as well as through military deterrence if it becomes necessary.

Clearly, the world has not taken the West’s side in the Ukraine crisis. Even Western allies have not all joined the standoff with Russia – Italy, Hungary, Japan, Turkey or South Korea, for example. On the one hand, the non-western countries’ (the ‘Rest’) stance of equivalence between the controversial ‘regime change’ sponsored by the West in Ukraine and the subsequent Russian actions in Ukraine is tantamount to a rejection of the West’s self-identification as the guarding of the ‘liberal’ order, while on the other hand it is also a reflection of the non-Western countries’ perceptions that the West enjoys an unjustified position of privilege in the international system.

The point is, the West’s propensity to ‘weaponize’ the international system at its will through financial sanctions, asset freezes and collective embargos and boycotts has long been resented by the ‘Rest’. The Ukraine crisis promises to be the beginning of the denouement of economic sanctions as a key instrument of contemporary US coercive power.

The attention of the western media has been on the travails on the Russian economy, which blithely overlooks that the country was already entering a period of recession by the end of last year and if anything, the western sanctions have lent urgency to the Russian leadership regarding critical need of a profound economic restructuring. On the other hand, the US has overreached by going for Russia, the world’s ninth largest world economy, and this may well become the economic counterpart of the kind of military overreach that American power encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The probability is high that the urge to impose the sanctions on Russia and to drag a reluctant EU into the enterprise would only systemically affect the future potency of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, since, ironically, Europe too might join the ‘Rest’ to question the desirability of being exposed (as it has been during the Ukraine crisis) to the predilections and political moods of the US Treasury.

The possibility cannot be ruled out that there is a US-Saudi hidden agenda to inflict pain on the Russian economy by engineering the dramatic drop in oil prices by half. The agenda will never be acknowledged and it cannot be conclusively established, but it cannot be ruled out, either. At any rate, the drop in oil prices has consequences all around for the world economy.

Equally, Ukraine crisis is accelerating the European strategy to reduce energy dependence on Russia, while on the other hand the decline in demand in the European market in combination with a long-term strategy to tap into the fast-growing Asia-Pacific market is prompting Russia to ‘look East’ for energy exports. The prospects for a serious Middle East energy pivot for Europe remain unclear as of now, and may prove elusive, but Russia’s ‘pivot’ to the Asian region is gaining traction and its impact on world energy politics cannot be underestimated.

Finally, the very future of the Western consensus hangs in the balance today due to the Ukraine crisis. The US’s trans-Atlantic leadership, European unity and the NATO’s future crucially gained due to the escalation in Ukraine. Having said that, these strategic ‘gains’ have been achieved through enormous political pressure from Washington.

However, European unity, in particular, is showing signs of fraying at the edges. No doubt, it is fragile and is lacking in leadership. Simply put, Ukraine crisis has exposed that Europe lacks a format for crisis management or a long-term strategy towards Russia.

This is already manifesting as relatively low-common-denominator reactions to the developments in Ukraine on the part of the European Union and the competing streams of opinion in Brussels in determining the EU policy in the future. All this makes the current Western consensus increasingly difficult to sustain.

End of American Century

In plain terms, America ceased to be the world’s number one economy in 2014. As Christmas was approaching, the Chinese economy just came from behind and overtook the US economy to become the largest in the world. The International Monetary Fund reported in December that when the national economic output is measured in ‘real’ terms of goods and services, China will have produced $17.6 trillion compared with America’s $17.4 trillion in the year 2014.

Put differently, China now accounts for 16.5 percent of the global economy when measured in real purchasing terms, compared with 16.3 percent for the US. If one recalls that last year China also surpassed the US for the first time in terms of global trade, it is at once clear that there has been a tectonic shift in the balance of power this year with a high reading on the Richter scale.

What it points at is that China is showing a growth rate despite the recent slowdown, which no other ten nations can match, and the trend is pointing clearly at a widening gap in coming years.

History shows that economic power is ultimately the crucial determinant of political and military power. The rise of Imperial Britain was inextricably linked to its emergence as the world’s workshop in the 18th century and the subsequent rise of colonialist capitalism, while its relative economic decline accounted for its fall by the middle of the last century, thanks to the de-colonization and the loss of captive markets that gathered momentum after World War II. Other hegemonic powers in modern history – Portugal, Spain or France – also have similar tales to tell.

Of course, 2015 will arrive in a natural course and nothing much may seem to have changed. China, in fact, is only too eager to project that it still lags far behind the US and is a mere developing country.

Clearly, what China wants to do with its new status becomes as much its business as the world’s concern. The issues are many: How to combine continued growth – and the stability that is needed for that – with the influence that befits the rise in China’s stature? As for China’s Leninist leadership, how is such phenomenal change to be reconciled with the stasis at home? How to keep the grip on political power in a society that is undergoing mammoth transformation? How to tamp down belligerent nationalism while insisting on legitimate self-assertion?

Most certainly, China does not subscribe to the imperial view of the world as a source of tribute and in modern times it has embraced the Westphalian principle of sovereign states distinguished by their wealth and power but not by qualitative hierarchy. Yet, China also happens to be a civilization pretending to be a state and may want to do something more and, at the very least, take back the place that foreigners stole from it. The Silk Road initiatives announced this year seem to fit into this paradigm.

Even China’s worst detractors do not allege that it harbors notions of global domination. Indeed, China’s preferred parish remains Asia and its engagement with the Middle East or Africa and Latin America – even Europe – is transactional and there are no imperial overtones there. At the end of the day, there are more poor people in China than anywhere else in the world – except India, of course. And the Chinese leadership’s priorities are clear when 160 million people in the country still eke out a livelihood from $1.25 a day. It is only natural that China wants to have minimal engagements abroad save those that burnish its image as a great power.

Meanwhile, China has also studied and learned lessons from the havoc wrought by the militarization of American foreign policy. It is therefore clear-headed about how far to go on Syria or Ukraine. The first idea in conflict resolution in the world arena is seldom, if ever, China’s.

Nonetheless, China’s small Asian neighbors will forever worry that China is a big country and «other countries are small countries and that is a fact». The year 2014 may be seen as the turning point when China’s quest to regain its centrality in Asia – economically and militarily – may have progressed in large measure, which it enjoyed through much of history. But China still lacks the power of attraction and remains largely an enviable development model. China stands on the verge of greatness as it leaves 2014 behind.

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Larijani from Iraq Vows Iran to Stand by Iraqi Gov’t in ISIL Fight

Al Manar

Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said Tehran will continue to stand by the Iraqi government and nation in the fight against ISIL terrorists.

Larijani in Iraq“The Islamic Republic of Iran has been trying to help establish democracy and a national unity government in Iraq since the beginning of the new era in the country and now that Iraq suffers from the scourge of the ISIL terrorist grouping, the Islamic Republic considers it a duty to help its Iraqi brothers,” Larijani said during a meeting with Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi in Tehran on Tuesday.

Larijani added that Iran has stood and will stand by the Iraqi government and people.

The Iranian official said big powers created terrorism in a bid to undermine the trend of development and democracy in Syria and Iraq and now the scourge threatens the entire region.

Larijani also praised the reinforcement of the national unity government in Iraq and said solidarity among different Iraqi groups would help resolve problems and tread the path toward development.

For his part, Obeidi, praised Iran’s help to his country in different areas. He also said Baghdad is resolute in wiping out terrorists in the country.

The Takfiri ISIL militants hold some parts of Iraq and Syria under their control.

Iraqi forces, supported by the nation, have made gains against the terrorists in different parts of the Arab country, liberating towns and villages.

Source: Press TV

31-12-2014 – 11:35 Last updated 31-12-2014 – 11:35

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