Inside MBS’ Torture Cells: Untold Stories of Sexual Assault, Sheer Brutality and Murder

June 26, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

A study, carried out by Grant Liberty, a human rights charity Prisoners revealed that prisoners held for opposing the government in Saudi Arabia are being murdered, “sexually” assaulted and inflicted with “sheer” brutality.

The study identified 311 known prisoners of conscience in the era of Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud [MBS]–the kingdom’s leader who is the current crown prince, deputy prime minister, and minister of defense.

Researchers, who shared the report exclusively with The Independent, claimed that 53 prisoners have been tortured, while six were sexually assaulted, and 14 were pushed into undergoing hunger strikes.

The report looked at the plight of 23 women’s rights activists, 11 of whom were still behind bars, as well as also identifying 54 journalists.

Some 22 of the prisoners were arrested for crimes that they carried out when they were still children – five of them were put to death. An additional 13 were facing the death penalty, while four had died in custody.

Lucy Rae, of Grant Liberty, told The Independent: “Sadly the abuse of the prisoners of conscience continues as the world watches on, women are subjected to sustained and brutal violations with no basic human rights.

“We call upon the kingdom to back up its statement of being a ‘modern and progressive country’ with actions and release innocent individuals who were disappeared, were arrested and subjected to sham trials.

“Imprisoning, torturing and abusing an elderly mother such as Aida Al Ghamdi because her son has sought asylum surely is abhorrent and wrong in any nation.”

Abdullah al-Ghamdi, a political and human rights activist who is the son of Al-Ghamdi, said he escaped Saudi Arabia after being threatened for campaigning against authoritarian policies in the middle eastern country.

His mother, Aida, and two of his brothers were arrested after he left, he added.

“They were arrested not because they had committed a crime, but because of my activism,” Al-Ghamdi, whose situation is explored in the report, said.

Al-Ghamdi, who lives in the UK, added: “For over three years, my dear ageing 65-year-old mother and my younger brother have been held by the Saudi royal family. They have been held in solitary confinement and subjected to physical torture by cigarette burning, beating and lashing.

“It’s very hard to contact my family as this will put them in danger as the Saudi government told them not to contact me and give me any updates on my mother and brother’s case, so as of yet I am unsure of my mother’s charges.”

He said his mother was held for over a year in Dhahban Central Prison in Jeddha before being moved to Dammam Mabahith Prison. He wishes she was “safe, free and be able to rejoice with her loved ones”.

“There is not a time where she is not on my mind and it pains me that all my hard work hasn’t led to a definite answer for her freedom,” he added.

Al-Ghamdi said he had been “fighting to bring justice and freedom to the Saudi nation” since 2004 and secure a “democracy where there is an independent justice system”.

He said his mother had been tortured in front of her son Adil, who was also beaten and tortured.

“Due to her old age she has diabetes, high blood pressure and she suffers from regular abdomen pains; due to the unjust treatment and torture within prison her mental health has worsened,” he said of his mother.

“MBS and the Saudi royal family are holding her hostage demanding that I return to Saudi Arabia to face torture and imminent death so that people like me who stand for justice, equality and a fair society are silenced like those before me.”

He urged the “world, the UN and every single person with a voice” to speak out against “this outrageous behavior”.

Rae also cited the case of Loujain Al Hathloul, who was subjected to a travel ban and jailed for campaigning for women’s rights.

Human rights organizations say Al Hathloul has been forced to endure abuse including electric shocks, flogging and sexual harassment while in jail. Loujain, who successfully campaigned to win Saudi women the right to drive, was arrested alongside 10 other women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia in May 2018 – weeks before the country reversed the driving ban.

Rae warned it was imperative to “make people aware of the sheer brutality, murders and sexual assault happening to prisoners of conscience” in the country, adding it is “our duty as a human race” to protect the innocent.

“And we can start by demanding the release of these prisoners. Grant Liberty will not stop until every prisoner of conscience is freed and that Saudi Arabia is recognized for what it really is – a pariah to democracy and human rights,” she said.

Letter from Faina Savenkova

June 22, 2022

Truth is the way out of chaos To Journalist Tucker Carlson

Hello, Tucker. I am 13 years old and I live in Lugansk. I think many people from the American authorities do not even know where it is, but they continue to supply weapons to Ukraine for the war with Russia. For a week now, Ukrainian artillery has been mercilessly shelling Donetsk, killing civilians in the Donbass. It’s one thing to fight with the army, and another to just shoot guns at schools, kindergartens and sleeping residents. Many will say that this is deception and propaganda, but it is not so. I was born and live in Lugansk. I spent the entire war – since 2014 – in my hometown. Living in a war for 8 years is very hard. It’s very scary when your childhood is spent in such conditions. 8 years of hope for peace, which never came. But it didn’t break me. I keep telling the truth about what’s going on here. And I know that you do the same thing when you talk about America. I do not consider you a friend of Russia, but the fact that you are telling the truth and do not want a war with Russia pleases me. After all, if there is a nuclear war, there will be no winners in it.

.

I’ve had to turn to world leaders a lot. I’ve been trying to stop the war for three years, but they, like musicians and politicians, are deaf and dumb. Perhaps someone wants to calmly meet old age, someone is afraid of change, and someone simply does not understand what war is. After all, it is not next to them.

Last year, Ukrainian nationalists entered my personal data on the “myrotvorets.center” (english: “Peacemaker”) website, posting them in open access. After that, I started receiving threats. You may ask, “What is a myrotvorets.center?” Indeed, many in the US do not know what it is. If we compare, imagine if the Ku Klux Klan in the USA created its own website and posted there the addresses, bank accounts and other personal data of all politicians, actors and musicians who disagree with them. And the authorities would help them at the same time. This is what is happening in Ukraine now. A lot of my friends from Ukraine faced the same problem: “myrotvorets.center ” published their personal data, including address and phone number. Can you imagine such a thing in the USA? No.

It’s hard for me to say what will happen to me tomorrow. After all, I live in a war where shells arrive every day. But I believe that the war will end, just like the confrontation between Russia and the United States. And personally, Tucker, I want to wish you good luck. Thank you for trying to tell the truth, because someone has to do it. If there is chaos around, there must be people who can show the way out to the others.

Faina Savenkova, playwright and writer, 13-year-old girl, Lugansk

Reality slapping ‘Israel’ in the face: Israeli general

19 Jun 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Two Israeli reserve brigade generals say Hezbollah and Hamas are growing exponentially, noting that the Israeli strategies to confront them are failing.

The Hezbollah, Lebanese, and Palestinian flags waving

Israeli occupation reserve brigade Brigadier-General Zvika Vogel said Hezbollah and Hamas have exponentially grown in their military capabilities and their abilities to wage psychological warfare, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

“Iran is moving toward becoming a nuclear state, and Hezbollah and Hamas are continuing to grow, all the while, we continue to say that it is the quietest year,” Vogel told Israeli Channel 13.

“It is like we forgot that we do not roam Israel however we wish, and personal security has decreased. We neglected Al-Naqab, and we cannot travel freely in the north […] reality is slapping us in the face every day,” he added.

“Hamas has more than 10,000 rockets and Hezbollah has more than 160,000. Do we wait for them to get rusty?” he asked. “We have learned that these rockets will not rust, and they will eventually be fired toward us […] instead of dismissing the warnings and ensuring stability and self-sufficiency, let us take care of our future.”

Hamas in Gaza winning against ‘Israel’

Israeli occupation reserve brigade colonel Kobi Marom says there are problems within Israeli politics due to Hamas, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

“Hamas is winning against Israel on all levels,” Marom told Israeli Channel 12.

“In the battle with Hamas, the battle for awareness is no less important than military attacks. When the residents see an observational post in front of their window bombed and then repaired, they grow a sense of insecurity,” he added.

His comments come in light of Hamas rebuilding a ground control point that the Israeli occupation had bombed on Saturday, which Israeli media said caused outrage in the Gaza envelope.

Al Mayadeen correspondent reported Saturday about new explosions heard in eastern Gaza and the eastern cemetery area as sirens were triggered in the Gaza envelope settlements of Askalan.

Our correspondent reported that Israeli reconnaissance planes targeted with two missiles the vicinity of a ground control point in the Malakah area in the Zeitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza, adding that Israeli bombing targeted Resistance sites in the central governorate of the Gaza Strip.

“Israel” to replace Russia as EU gas supplier: What will this mean?

17 Jun 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Robert Inlakesh 

“Israel’s” attempts at expanding its exploitation of coastal Eastern Mediterranean resources has the potential to ignite conflict on multiple fronts.

“Israel” to replace Russia as EU gas supplier: What will this mean?

The EU, “Israel” and Egypt have signed a new trade deal, with which “Tel Aviv” will become an alternative supplier of natural gas to Europe, aiding the seal the gap caused through the lack of Russian resources. The move, however, has the potential to ignite conflict on multiple fronts as “Israel” actively seeks to expand its exploitation of coastal Eastern Mediterranean resources.

According to a draft document, seen by Reuters news, the European Union Commission had proposed a deal to EU member States, on June 9, that would see them enter into a new trade agreement with both Cairo and “Tel Aviv”. The function of this deal was said to be to facilitate the trade of Eastern Mediterranean gas to Europe, serving as a replacement to fill the gap left in the European market due to sanctions preventing the easy flow of Russian resources to the continent.

“This is a tremendous moment in which little Israel becomes a significant player,” “Israel’s” Energy Minister Karin Elharrar stated on Wednesday, after the deal was officially announced to have been signed. The signing of the deal came following a two-day visit to occupied Palestine by EU chief Ursula Von Der Leyen, placing pressure on the Zionist regime to now double down on its efforts to explore new gas fields in order to pick up export capacity. The way the deal is set to work is that “Tel Aviv” will use the resources off the coast of occupied Palestine and send the natural gas to Egypt, where it will be refined and transported to Europe.

Due to Egypt’s waning economy, the Arab nation has been seeking for some time to expand gas exports to the EU. Under the newly proposed deal, Cairo will play a key role in utilizing its Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) infrastructure in an effort to become a gas supply hub. The Israeli regime on the other hand has declared its intention to double gas output over the next few years, initiating efforts to bring new gas fields online. This is, however, where things begin to become problematic for the settler colonial entity occupying Palestine.

Already “Israel” is under the threat that the Palestinian resistance in Gaza could attempt to strike Israeli gas extraction infrastructure in any future war, with Hamas having been accused of attempting to strike the oil and gas fields in May of 2021. Yet the biggest concern for the Israeli regime is that of the capacity of the Lebanese resistance to do the same, as it has much greater weapons capabilities than those of the Palestinian resistance.

Earlier this month the Lebanese State accused “Israel” of causing “a provocation and an aggressive action” in the disputed maritime zone between the Zionist entity and Lebanon. The provocation was caused by the entry of a floating gas extraction platform, belonging to the London-based Energean company, that began to operate in the area of the Karish gas field claimed by Lebanon to be in disputed territory. The claim to part of Karish field by Beirut is anchored in international law and fits into the argument for what is known as Line 29, the name for the maritime demarcation put forth by Lebanon during negotiations over the demarcation of its maritime borders. 

Following the provocation by the Israeli side, which claims that the Energean ship was operating in its “exclusive economic zone”, the Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, issued a threat to the ship that if it did not withdraw the resistance had the capability of striking it. This was followed by a threat from “Israel’s” military chief, Aviv Kochavi, who threatened Lebanon with a war in which “the attack force will be unimaginable – like nothing you have witnessed before,” stating that Lebanese civilians will be warned to leave their homes, insinuating that civilian areas will become targets. 

A visit by the pro-Israeli US negotiator, Amos Hochstein, earlier this week, came with reports emerging that Lebanon had backed down on its claim to Line 29 and instead was looking to sacrifice the oil and gas rich Karish field, for the Qana field that has no proven gas supplies. In a smug manner, US negotiator Hochstein delivered an interview to Al-Hurra news, in which he smirked at talk of the Karish field being handed to Lebanon in the negotiations, something that the US has always considered a “non-starter”. It is not confirmed however that Lebanon’s government has indeed compromised on the Karish field, which would certainly be a catastrophe for the Lebanese people as the field has the potential wealth to ease their economic crisis and help ease Lebanon’s energy crisis.

So what is going to happen next? Well, it is clear that both the United States and the EU are firmly behind the Israeli plan to start extracting gas from the Karish field later this year and would not simply allow Lebanon to negotiate its way to its rights to the field. Egypt itself also has great interests in seeing “Tel Aviv” exploit as much natural gas as possible, as do countless international companies invested in the oil and gas projects in the Israeli-occupied fields off the coast of Palestine and Lebanon. All of this is to say that negotiations are not a viable way forward to securing Lebanon’s potential ticket out of its economic mess. 

“Israel” is clearly agitating Russia with much of its actions and rhetoric since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, and has become extremely daring in its violations of Syria’s sovereignty as of late. Damascus is a close ally of Moscow and has just had its top airport, Damascus International, blown to pieces by unprovoked Israeli strikes that Russia has condemned. “Israel” has also pushed the envelope with the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, with its continued violations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, prompting the resistance to call for a day of rage this Friday. In addition to this, Israeli offensive actions against Iran have also prompted the Islamic republic to vow revenge for the killing of an IRGC member south of Tehran by Mossad operatives. 

The Zionist regime seems to have crossed red lines with Iran, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, any of which could respond to its provocations at any time. The truth is that there is no way to solve the problem with Israeli aggression in the region through dialogue or negotiations at this time, only through armed means. If any of these regional players are to prevent “Israel”’s aggression from continuing it is clear what is likely to take place, although there are always considerations as to how this is done on the side of the regional players. Although the forces of resistance could all respond on their own time and separately, the most effective method would be a coordinated attack and now this is more likely than ever.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

‘Israel’ Abuses the Mediterranean’s Stolen Gas to Obtain Diplomatic Might in Europe

June 18, 2022 

By Staff

President of the so-called ‘Jerusalem’ Center for Public Affairs in the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity, Dore Gold, elaborated on the ‘importance’ of the recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding on gas between ‘Israel’ and the European Union.

Gold considered that the ‘Israeli’ entity’s position as an important gas resource for Europe, grants it more important power to exert diplomatic pressure than before, enabling it to endure pressure on the one hand, and pressuring Europe on the other hand.

It is worth mentioning that the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime controls a confirmed amount of 900 billion cubic meters of Palestine’s looted gas in eastern the Mediterranean Sea, while the exact numbers might hit 3000 billion cubic meters.

According to Globes, the huge reserves of the natural gas in eastern the Mediterranean are estimated at 10.8 trillion cubic meters, an amount equal to 5% of the world’s gas reserves, which is sufficient to meet the European Union’s gas consumption rate for some 76 years.

The ‘Israeli’ economy, Gold claimed, has turned into a wealth for the European countries that need energy supply to stop their reliance on Russia.

WATCH: Full Palestine Chronicle Interview with Professor Noam Chomsky

June 17, 2022

Palestine Chronicle editors Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo hosted IMT Professor and world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky. (Photo: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Palestine Chronicle editors Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo hosted a special guest on Thursday, June 16, IMT Professor and world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky.

The wide-ranging interview examined numerous topics. Though the focus of the discussion was Palestine, the Palestinian struggle was discussed within a global geopolitical context, including the war in Ukraine and US foreign policy. 

Regarding Palestine, Chomsky answered questions pertaining to the one-state solution, the BDS movement, Israeli apartheid and Palestinian resistance. 

Below is the full interview with Professor Chomsky.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

RUSSIAN WARPLANES BOMBED US PROXIES IN SYRIA’S AL-TANF IN RESPONSE TO RECENT ATTACK (PHOTOS)

 16.06.2022 

South Front

Illustrative image. Source: the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Early on June 16, a series of airstrikes hit positions of US-backed Maghaweir al-Thowra (MaT) in the southeastern Syrian area of al-Tanf, where the US-led coalition maintains a garrison.

A US military official told BBC journalist Nafiseh Kohnavard that the airstrikes were carried out by warplanes from the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in response an attack with a roadside bomb that resulted in Russian military casualties. The unnamed official said that Russia blamed MaT for the attack. The US-led coalition was alerted ahead of the airstrikes.

MaT shared photos showing the aftermath of the Russian airstrikes on Twitter. The group claimed that the airstrikes resulted in some material losses only.

Click to see full-size image. Source: Maghaweir al-Thowra
account on Twitter (@MaghaweirThowra).
Click to see full-size image. Source: Maghaweir al-Thowra
account on Twitter (@MaghaweirThowra).

Around 200 US troops and 300 MaT are usually present in al-Tanf garrison, which was supposedly established to counter ISIS.

The US-led coalition maintains a 55-kilometer no-fly zone around the garrison. Despite this, VKS warplanes conduct reconnaissance sorties over the area on a regular basis.

Between March and May, Syrian government troops around al-Tanf came under attack on several occasions. While some of the attacks were attributed to ISIS, which is known to be present within the 55-kilometer zone, others were attributed to the MaT.

MaT recent activities were not limited to the 55-kilometer zone and its surroundings. Over the past year, MaT built relations with an armed faction in the southeastern Syrian governorate of al-Suwayda. The faction, which was known as the Counter Terrorism Force, was neutralized by pro-government forces earlier this month. The faction’s militants fell into an ambush while attempting to flee towards al-Tanf garrison. Its leader was killed in the ambush.

Aside from its destabilizing activities, MaT is allegedly involved in the trafficking of arms, tobacco products and even drugs between Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

The Russian airstrikes on al-Tanf appear to be more of a warning to the US-led coalition and its proxy, who continue to use the area as a forward base for sabotage. Unrest around the area could soon developed to a confrontation.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

US tested neuromodulators on socially vulnerable Ukrainians: Russia

16 Jun 2021

The Russian armed forces expose the atrocities of the US military biological programs in Ukraine and Cuba.

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US administration acknowledged the financing of 46 Ukrainian biolabs

Igor Kirillov, the head of the radiation, chemical and biological defense of the Russian Armed Forces, revealed Thursday that employees of the laboratory in the village of Sorokovka in the Kharkov region tested highly active neuromodulators that caused irreversible damage to the central nervous system as part of the US military biological program in the region.

Sorokovka hosted a branch of the Merefa laboratory, built at the expense of the Pentagon, Kirillov said. In Merefa, laboratory staff performed experiments on patients from psychiatric clinics in Kharkov, he added.

“In accordance with the available information, highly active substances of neuromodulators were tested on socially vulnerable citizens of Ukraine, which caused, among other things, irreversible damage to the central nervous system. This is a clear violation of the norms of international treaties in the field of human rights,” Kirillov warned.

Experiments have been ongoing since 2011

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the laboratory in Sorokovka was listed as a company for the production of food additives, and with the start of the war in Ukraine, the equipment under the control of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was taken to the western regions of Ukraine.

Kirillov mentioned that experiments on mentally ill people in Ukraine have been ongoing since at least 2011, adding that one of the curators, US citizen Linda Oporto Alharoun, has repeatedly visited the laboratory near Kharkov.

He recalled that earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry had reported that employees of the biological laboratory in Merefa, built with US funding, had conducted experiments on patients of psychiatric clinics in Kharkov in the period from 2019 to 2021. One of the organizers of this illegal activity was US citizen Alharoun.

US confirmed link between Pentagon & biolabs in Ukraine

The Russian official pointed out that the US had confirmed the connection between Pentagon and biolabs in Ukraine.

Kirillov told a briefing that “on June 9, the Pentagon website published an official statement on US biological activities in the post-Soviet space. In it, the US administration acknowledged the fact of financing 46 Ukrainian biological laboratories and the connection of the US Department of Defense with the Ukrainian Science and Technology Center.”

He also noted that Russia has documents proving the connection between the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the US on biological laboratories.

Infectious diseases on the rise in Donbass due to biolabs

Kirillov underlined that infectious diseases have become more frequent in the Donbass region after Pentagon started funding Ukrainian biological programs in 2015.

“Infectious diseases have become more frequent among residents and military personnel of the LPR [Lugansk People’s Republic] and DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] after the start of funding of Ukrainian biological programs by the Pentagon in 2015,” he said.

He also noted during the briefing that the incidence of tularemia in the DPR increased by 9.5 times in 2016 when compared to 2007.

Biolabs in Ukraine caused dengue outbreaks in Cuba

In the same context, the Russian official revealed that biological laboratories in Ukraine cultivated dengue mosquitoes that caused artificial outbreaks in Cuba during the 1970s and 1980s.

Kirillov considered that the history of the outbreaks induced in Cuba in the 70s and 80s of the last century is completely silenced, especially the use of Aedes mosquitoes as biological weapons – the same ones that the US military cultivated in Ukraine.

“Israel”: Iranian Hackers Broke into Email Accounts of Senior Figures

June 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies 

The “Israeli” cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies announced on Tuesday that Iranian hackers have taken control of the email accounts of senior Zionist figures and impersonated them.

This “spear-fishing” – an individualized email spoofing attack designed to steal sensitive private information and credentials, or to steal money from them – has been going on since at least December 2021, though most probably for longer. The hacked figures include former “Israeli” foreign minister Tzipi Livni, as well as a former major general who served in a highly sensitive position in the “Israeli” military, a senior executive in the military industry, and the chairman of one of “Israel’s” leading security think tanks.

Check Point claimed that a group of Iranian hackers known as the Phosphorus APT group, which is also known by a number of other aliases, including ATP35, Charming Kitten and the Ajax Security Team are behind the attack.

The hackers broke into the email accounts of the targets, sent messages from them to other senior officials asking them to click on links in the message in order to hack into more accounts, said Check Point. One of the messages was sent to Livni from the account of a general in the reserves, who she had corresponded with in the past.

Blinken claims US will “follow facts” on Shireen Abu Akleh murder

June 8 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US Secretary of State claims the US is looking for an independent and credible investigation for the murder of Palestinian-US journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed Tuesday that the US will pursue accountability over the murder of Palestinian-US journalist Shireen Abu Akleh wherever facts lead.

Appearing at a forum for student journalists on the sidelines of a Latin America summit in Los Angeles, Blinken was confronted by a question on why there have been “absolutely no repercussions” for the Israeli occupation.

“I’m sorry, with respect, they have not yet been established,” Blinken said of the facts behind the case.

“We are looking for an independent, credible investigation. When that investigation happens, we will follow the facts, wherever they lead. It’s as straightforward as that,” he claimed.

The US Secretary of State said, “I deplore the loss of Shireen. She was a remarkable journalist, an American citizen.”

It is noteworthy that Palestine’s Attorney General Akram Al-Khatib had announced that an Israeli soldier shot and hit Abu Akleh, clarifying that the bullet hit her directly in the head.

CNN report, quoting witnesses, also said that the Palestinian-US journalist appeared to have been killed in a targeted attack by Israeli occupation forces.

In the same context, Yousef Jamal Al-Rantisi, a forensic expert and manager of the Gaza Center for Human Rights, released a forensic analysis of the evidence related to Abu Akleh’s murder, which concludes that she was deliberately shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces.

The Israeli occupation has angrily denied murdering Abu Akleh while asking the Palestinians to take part in a joint probe.

Dozens of lawmakers from Blinken’s Democratic Party have called on the FBI to lead an investigation to seek an impartial finding into the journalist’s murder.

Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs filed a report to the International Criminal Court regarding the brutal murder of Abu Akleh.

Ukrainian troops burn wheat and grains as they leave Mariupol

6 Jun 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The sea port of Mariupol has witnessed a blazing fire that left all grains unfit for consumption.

Ukrainian troops leave Mariupol but first, they set fire to tons of grain

Despite the looming danger of global food shortage, Ukrainian troops set fire to tons of grain in storage facilities in Mariupol hoping to impact food security in the Donetsk People’s Republic. 

Yan Gagin, the adviser to the chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said “There is a large amount of grain on the territory of the Mariupol port, this is both corn and wheat. Judging by the smell and appearance, it is unsuitable for further use… And this is due to the fact that the enemy, retreating from the port, set fire to the granaries so that this grain would not go to the Donetsk People’s Republic, so that it would be impossible to use it in any way.”

According to Sputnik, firefighters have been trying to contain the fire for several days within the Mariupol grain storage facility -which could contain up to 57,000 tons of grain-, thus spoiling all grains and leaving them unfit even for cattle consumption. 

Recently, wheat and grain exports have become a global concern as many countries have either banned exports or limited and taxed wheat exports, due to national and global food security threats. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), slower growth and faster inflation threaten the global economy amid the conflict in Ukraine.

“The conflict is a major blow to the global economy that will hurt growth and raise prices,” an article was written by Alfred Kammer, Jihad Azour, Abebe Aemro Selassie, IIan Goldfajn, and Changyong Rhee said. 

While countries like Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey are all threatened by wheat prices and limitations of exports, Ukrainian troops have chosen to burn food instead of allowing the DPR to consume and export the grains. This further plays a role in the climate crisis tragedy as it increases carbon emissions and

Read more:

Fourth Palestinian Martyred by IOF since Wednesday

 June 2, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

The “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] have shot dead a Palestinian boy near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the fourth since Wednesday.

The 17-year-old teenage boy, identified as Odeh Mohammad Odeh, was shot dead in the vicinity of the separation wall in the village of al-Midya, west of Ramallah, on Thursday afternoon, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a brief statement.

The ministry said Odeh was brought to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest, but he succumbed to his wounds despite attempts to save his life.

Odeh was the fourth Palestinian shot and killed by the IOF in the West Bank since Wednesday, and the 63rd since January.

Later on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority’s [PA] Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh issued a statement, condemning the killing of Odeh by the IOF as well as “all the horrific crimes committed against our children and loved ones.”

Shtayyeh said the perpetrators of such crimes are determined to murder Palestinians.

He further noted that Odeh is another child killed in continuation of “Israeli” crimes, which include a long list of targeting children, women and the elderly, “as a result of the international community’s continuation of its double-standard policies that encourage the perpetrators to continue their crimes.”

The PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates also condemned the killing of Odeh in a separate statement, calling for international action to stop Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

Meanwhile, head of an organization representing families of Palestinians killed by the apartheid “Israeli” entity said on Thursday that IOF have shot and killed 70 Palestinians in the occupied territories since the start of this year.

Mohammad Sbeihat added that there have been 13 children less than 18 years of age and five women among 70 Palestinians killed by IOF since this year began.

Earlier on Thursday, the IOF shot dead Ayman Mheisen, a 21-year-old Palestinian, during an armed confrontation in the refugee camp of al-Dheisha, south of Bethlehem.

On Wednesday, “Israeli” troops fatally shot Palestinian journalist Ghofran Warasnah and a youth, Bilal Kabaha, in separate shootings in the occupied West Bank.

Warasnah, 31, was shot in the chest at the entrance of the Al Arroub refugee camp near al-Khalil city. The IOF alleged that the journalist had “advanced” toward soldiers with a knife.

Kabaha, 24, was martyred in an “Israeli” raid north of the occupied West Bank in the village of Yabad near Jenin. After opening fire on her, “Israeli” forces prevented Red Crescent medics from approaching her for 20 minutes.

Following the murders on Wednesday, the PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community to immediately interfere to stop the “Israeli” regime’s extra-judicial killings of Palestinian people, denouncing them as “war crimes.”

PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh held the “Israeli” entity’s premier Naftali Bennett responsible for the killings.

Fourth Palestinian Martyred by IOF since Wednesday

By Staff, Agencies

17-year-old Palestinian boy shot dead by “Israeli” soldiers near Ramallah, 4th since Wednesday.

The “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] have shot dead a Palestinian boy near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the fourth since Wednesday.

The 17-year-old teenage boy, identified as Odeh Mohammad Odeh, was shot dead in the vicinity of the separation wall in the village of al-Midya, west of Ramallah, on Thursday afternoon, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a brief statement.

The ministry said Odeh was brought to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest, but he succumbed to his wounds despite attempts to save his life.

Odeh was the fourth Palestinian shot and killed by the IOF in the West Bank since Wednesday, and the 63rd since January.

Later on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority’s [PA] Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh issued a statement, condemning the killing of Odeh by the IOF as well as “all the horrific crimes committed against our children and loved ones.”

Shtayyeh said the perpetrators of such crimes are determined to murder Palestinians.

He further noted that Odeh is another child killed in continuation of “Israeli” crimes, which include a long list of targeting children, women and the elderly, “as a result of the international community’s continuation of its double-standard policies that encourage the perpetrators to continue their crimes.”

The PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates also condemned the killing of Odeh in a separate statement, calling for international action to stop Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

Meanwhile, head of an organization representing families of Palestinians killed by the apartheid “Israeli” entity said on Thursday that IOF have shot and killed 70 Palestinians in the occupied territories since the start of this year.

Mohammad Sbeihat added that there have been 13 children less than 18 years of age and five women among 70 Palestinians killed by IOF since this year began.

Earlier on Thursday, the IOF shot dead Ayman Mheisen, a 21-year-old Palestinian, during an armed confrontation in the refugee camp of al-Dheisha, south of Bethlehem.

On Wednesday, “Israeli” troops fatally shot Palestinian journalist Ghofran Warasnah and a youth, Bilal Kabaha, in separate shootings in the occupied West Bank.

Warasnah, 31, was shot in the chest at the entrance of the Al Arroub refugee camp near al-Khalil city. The IOF alleged that the journalist had “advanced” toward soldiers with a knife.

Kabaha, 24, was martyred in an “Israeli” raid north of the occupied West Bank in the village of Yabad near Jenin. After opening fire on her, “Israeli” forces prevented Red Crescent medics from approaching her for 20 minutes.

Following the murders on Wednesday, the PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community to immediately interfere to stop the “Israeli” regime’s extra-judicial killings of Palestinian people, denouncing them as “war crimes.”

PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh held the “Israeli” entity’s premier Naftali Bennett responsible for the killings.

NEW DOCUMENTARY TRAILER: GAZA FIGHTS BACK

MAY 18TH, 2022

DAN COHEN

NEW DOCUMENTARY TRAILER: GAZA FIGHTS BACK

Filmed during the attack and in the days following the ceasefire, the documentary tells the story of how Gaza’s armed resistance groups outwitted the vastly superior Israeli military and established their ability to intervene against Israeli ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah and provocations at the al-Aqsa compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

“The Palestinian military capabilities are not highly sophisticated and destructive, but it becomes so effective when it’s used by Palestinian smart youths who believe in their rights and freedom,” a masked al-Qassam commander says.

The documentary features intimate interviews with survivors, many of whom lost family members in the Israeli bombardment.

Among them is Omar Abu al-Ouf, who lost 22 family members in the bombing of his family’s house in al-Remal, Gaza’s main thoroughfare.

“The first missile came down on us in the street with no prior warning or call,” he recounted.

Among those killed was Omar’s father, Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, one of the most senior physicians in all of Gaza.

Others, like 11-year-old Amal Ramzi Muhammed Nasir, fled amid the bombardment to take shelter in United Nations-run schools.

“We were trying to sleep. At exactly 1 a.m., there were sounds of explosions and airstrikes nearby. The house was shaking due to the intensity of the explosions.”

Gaza 2021

Men carry a child killed when Israeli airstrikes targeted an apartment complex in Gaza on May 16, 2021. Photo | AP

Having escaped to a school, Nasir and her family returned after the ceasefire to find their homes in ruin.

“We arrived and saw that our neighborhood that housed us our entire lives, our shelter, completely leveled to the ground,” she recalled. “Every single house was damaged and bombed.”

Jawad Mahdi, owner of the al-Jalaa tower, described Israel destroying the place he and his family lived for 25 years:

The building collapsed, and it took 25 years’ worth of memories, a place we lived in for 25 years, with my children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends. Imagine building a house brick by brick, piece by piece, living in your home with your knowledge and dreams. Suddenly, you find yourself out of this house. An indescribable tragedy – being kicked out of your own home in an instant, a matter of seconds, even a minute, under nonexistent, illogical, and unethical reasons.”

As for future confrontations with the Israeli military, the al-Qassam commander sees them as inevitable as long as the occupation remains: “The Israeli occupation experienced our military capabilities in the last aggression on the Gaza Strip and the whole world saw it. And we still have more important capabilities in the shadow.”

He believes that armed resistance presents a viable path to liberation:

The lessons learned from the last aggression on the Gaza Strip is that Israel is an occupation state that could be defeated. It’s not a firm state that has been depicted by the Israeli Zionist propaganda machine. Palestinians can get their liberation and retrieve their rights and freedom.”

Feature photo  | A Palestinian child sits atop the rubble of homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, May 21, 2021. Khalil Hamra | AP

Dan Cohen is the Washington DC correspondent for Behind The Headlines. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. He tweets at @DanCohen3000.

Shaaban: Syria Adherent to the Unity of the Arab Stance

MAY 16, 2022

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Damascus, SANA

Special Adviser at the Presidency of the Republic, Buthaina Shaaban, stressed the importance of strengthening and developing Syrian-Mauritanian relations and activating the agreements and memoranda of understanding signed between the two brotherly countries.

During her meeting with Chairman of the Syro-Mauritanian Parliamentary Friendship Committee Mustafa Aldah Souhaib and the accompanying delegation and the head and members of the Syro-Mauritanian Brotherhood Committee in the People’s Assembly of Syria earlier today, Dr. Shaaban hailed the honorable Mauritanian popular and official attitude towards the terrorist war that Syria was subject to during the past years despite pressures exerted and temptations presented what gives hope for the revival of Arab Nation.
Shaaban noted that Syria is committed to the Arab identity and adherent to the unity of Arab stance and have been always ready to cooperate with any Arab country or party in order to achieve the joint Arab solidarity.

Dr. Shaaban pointed out that the main goal of the war on Syria is to confiscate its independent decision, which it has known for decades, and to make it subservient to the West, when terrorism failed to undermine the Syrian state and Syrian armies, the of conspiring countries such as Turkey and the US moved to occupy parts of Syrian territory.

In his turn, Aldah Souhaib said that “Syria lives in the conscience of all the Mauritanian people though Mauritania is geographically distant from Syria, the mutual official and popular relations have always been at their best and at all levels”. Noting that all black propaganda campaign could not have change the view and attitude of the Mauritanian people towards the reality of the situation in Syria.

Souhaib and members of the delegation called for reformulating the concept of solidarity, Arab discourse and coordination between Arab countries and direct it to Arab youth to raise their awareness of the dangers that threaten the Arab nation and to unify the Arab attitude.

The head and members of the delegation affirmed that they came to Syria carrying a message of thanks and appreciation from the Mauritanian political, cultural and popular activities to Syria for its steadfastness and victories in the terrorist war waged against it.

For his part, the head of the Syrian-Mauritanian Brotherhood Committee in the People’s Assembly off Syria, Mohamed Bakhit, valued the support of the Mauritanian leadership and people, pointing out to the importance of exchanging parliamentary visits and experiences between the two brotherly countries.

Nisreen Othman / Amer Dawaa

Son of Lebanon’s central bank governor moved millions of dollars abroad, despite restrictions

In 2019, a financial crisis led Lebanese banks to block the withdrawals or transfer in US dollars by Lebanese depositors

May 13 2022

ByNews Desk

While banking restrictions blocked ordinary citizens from accessing their savings, the son of Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s central bank governor, was able to transfer over $6.5 million out of Lebanon.

The details were released through leaked documents on 13 May by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a global network of investigative journalists.

Most bank customers in Lebanon were prevented from withdrawing or transferring their money in US dollars in late 2019, But the restrictions were never made official, meaning that well-connected people, including Nady Salameh, the son of Lebanon’s long-serving central bank governor, could still access and move their deposits.

The documents reveal that “four transfers, worth between $1 million and $2 million each, left Nady Salameh’s accounts at Lebanon’s AM Bank between 1 October and 2 December, 2019.” The statements show that the transfers were moved overseas, but not to which bank or country.

Nady Salameh was also able to convert billions of Lebanese pounds to US dollars at the official exchange rate, even as the street value of the currency collapsed, saving him hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the documents.

Meanwhile, central bank chief Riad Salameh is facing judicial investigations in Lebanon and in five European countries over the alleged embezzlement of at least $330 million in public funds by him and his younger brother, Raja.

The central bank’s special investigation commission handed over information on Raja Salameh’s nine Lebanese bank accounts to Lebanon’s top prosecutor, Ghassan Oueidat, the two judicial sources said.

The delivery of the full information would mark a significant breakthrough in the investigations after months of delay.

Riad Salameh had earlier stated that the bank commission, which he heads, had agreed to hand over the information and that he had stepped aside from chairing the body as far as his case was concerned, “so that there is no conflict of interest.”

The UN has accused Lebanon’s government and central bank of “human rights violations” for creating the conditions for an acute economic crisis that has plunged over 80 percent of the population below the poverty line.

“The Lebanese State, including its Central Bank, is responsible for human rights violations, including the unnecessary immiseration of the population, that have resulted from this man-made crisis,” the UN report, released on 11 May, reads.

Lebanon’s economic implosion has also seen the local currency lose more than 90 percent of its value and food prices increase elevenfold. The economic situation has exacerbated a crippling energy crisis, with blackouts that can last for up to 23 hours a day.

Iran to Boost Gas Production in South Pars Phase 11

 May 6, 2022

An official with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) revealed that Phase 11 of the South Pars Gas Field is expected to generate 14 million cubic meters of gas per day by the end of current Persian calendar year (March 20, 2023).

According to IRNA, Karim Zobeidi, NIOC’s director of corporate planning, said one of the Oil Ministry’s top priorities is ensuring adequate gas supply throughout the cold season.

“Increasing production from the joint oil fields in the West Karun region is a priority for the administration,” Zobeidi said, adding that by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, production from the first phase of the South Azadegan oil field should also reach 220,000 barrels per day.

“This year, the final three refinery trains in Phase 14 of South Pars will be commissioned,” he stated.

According to the official, South Pars phases 22 to 24 would also be fully operational.

Iran had previously awarded the development of the phase 11 project to a consortium comprising France’s Total, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and Petropars which is a subsidiary of the NIOC, however Total and CNPCI pulled out of the project in 2019 due to the US sanctions.

Currently, Petropars is developing the phase 11 project after its partners left the contract.

The drilling operation for the first well of mentioned phase was officially started in December 2020. In the early production stage, the output of this phase will reach 500 million cubic feet (equivalent to 14 million cubic meters) per day.

Back in January, the managing director of Petropars Company had announced the implementation of two new contracts as of December 22, 2021, to accelerate the development of the mentioned phase.

According to Hamid-Reza Masoudi, the mentioned deals were concerned with the construction of an off-shore pipeline as well as the installation of the phase’s SDP11B platform.

South Pars is the world’s largest gas field, covering an area of 3,700 square kilometers of Iran’s territorial waters.

The giant field is estimated to contain a significant amount of natural gas, accounting for about eight percent of the world’s reserves, and approximately 18 billion barrels of condensate. The field is divided into 24 standard phases.

Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council: Our Armed Forces Ready, Fully Vigilant 

May 2, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies 

The head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, Mahdi Al-Mashat, said that “Eid al-Fitr came during the eighth year [from the start of the war], and our Yemeni people are still being subjected to aggression and a suffocating siege, by preventing ships from reaching the ports of Hudaydah.”

Al-Mashat underlined that “The aggression continues to impose many criminal measures, which have led to a rise in transportation costs, food and drug prices, added to many other repercussions.”

The top Yemeni official further stated that “With our commitment to the armistice and our desire for peace, we affirm that our armed forces are fully vigilant and ready to deal with any new circumstance,” adding that “After the expiration of half of the armistice period, no progress has been achieved regarding its most important provisions, related to easing the great suffering of the Yemeni people.”

He added, “Despite all the concessions we made to demonstrate our keenness on peace, they were met with intransigence, stalling, and lack of response by the countries of aggression and those behind them.”

In parallel, Al-Mashat indicated that “The countries of the aggression and their mercenaries control the sources of Yemeni oil and gas resources,” revealing that they looted more than 129 million barrels of crude oil. He added that the value of the looted wealth was “enough to pay the salaries of all state employees,” and that “Yemen reserves its right to recover all the money looted by the mercenaries of aggression.”

In another context, the head of the Supreme Political Council in Yemen addressed the recent developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, where he saluted the heroic operations of the Palestinian people against the ‘Israeli’ enemy, which confirm that armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.

Al-Mashat stressed that “Our support for the Palestinian people and standing with all the free people in our nation is a principled, humanitarian, political, and religious position, and it cannot change.”

He also urged “The Arab and Islamic nation to boycott American and ‘Israeli’ goods and to support the Palestinian resistance.”

WSJ: Saudi Royals Selling Homes, Yachts as MBS Cuts Income

April 26, 2022

Source: WSJ | Edited by Al-Ahed News

The Wall Street Journal [WSJ] revealed on Sunday that “Saudi princes have sold more than $600 million worth of real estate, yachts and artwork in the US and Europe since the kingdom’s de facto ruler tightened the purse strings of the ultra-wealthy ruling family.”

The transactions represent a radical change of fortune for senior princes who funneled windfalls from oil booms in the 1970s and 1980s into some of the world’s most exclusive markets.

According to the daily, “The vast sums of money were spent largely on hard-to-sell assets or drained by spending that reached $30 million a month for some royals with large staffs and lavish lifestyles, making them vulnerable to recent changes in government policy.”

It further mentioned that “Now, some royal family members are selling assets abroad to generate cash after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS], the kingdom’s 36-year-old de facto ruler, dried up many of the sources of money they had used to maintain their extraordinary spending habits, said people close to the princes conducting the sales.”

“The princes need cash to pay routine bills including for property maintenance, taxes, staff salaries and parking fees for their airplanes and boats, the people said. In some cases, the people said, they are also motivated by a desire to hold less ostentatious assets to avoid attracting the attention of Prince Mohammed, who has curtailed their privileges and access to state funds in the Al Saud family since his father took the throne in 2015. The Saudi government is aware of the sales,” the WSJ reported.

“These people don’t work, they have huge staffs and they’re afraid of [Prince Mohammed],” said a person familiar with the transactions. The princes, the person added, want “cash in their back pocket and not to have visible wealth.”

Among the assets sold recently are a $155 million British country estate, two yachts more than 200 feet long, and Mughal jewels gifted as wedding presents by a late king. The sellers, including former ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultan, were once among the most powerful people in Saudi Arabia.

A representative for Prince Bandar said he has sold all his assets abroad “because he saw bigger benefits to investing in the kingdom with the amazing job the crown prince is doing and creating all the investment opportunities.”

MBS has sidelined relatives viewed as potential rivals—including an uncle and older cousin detained in 2020—and curtailed perks for thousands of royals, including paid vacations abroad or electricity and water bills at their Saudi palaces. Such perks had amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars in annual costs for the Saudi government.

Top royals accumulated billions of dollars a year through oil and real estate sales as well as business deals involving the government, from which Prince Mohammed has gradually cut them off. The government is squeezing royal family members in other ways, launching this year a tax of $2,500 for each domestic worker beyond the fourth employee, costing some royals hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

US diplomatic cables from the 1990s published by WikiLeaks show that some royals used to generate wealth by taking loans from local banks without paying them back, expropriating land from commoners, or exploiting the foreign-labor visa system for profit. People familiar with royal finances say princes continued to benefit from such schemes up until MBS came to power. A system of stipends for thousands of Saudi princes, which the US cables said cost the government billions of dollars a year, remains intact according to one of those people.

Many princes have adjusted their lifestyles due to shifts in the global economy and changes inside Saudi Arabia that have “turned off the taps,” according to this person.

“They had a standard of life that was beyond any expectation,” said another person familiar with the transactions. “The expenditure is out of this world. It takes time for them to adapt.”

The Saudi media ministry didn’t respond to questions about the finances of royal family members.

Some of the Saudis who are currently liquidating assets were detained temporarily in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel in 2017 in what critics called a shakedown and power play by the crown prince, who described it as an anticorruption move. Many were released only in exchange for financial settlements. Arrests of prominent figures have continued, according to the anticorruption commission.

Others selling their assets were never detained. For example, in 2021, Prince Bandar sold a $155 million country estate in the Cotswolds west of London, according to people close to him and familiar with the transaction. He was once near the center of Saudi power, and two of his children now have prominent positions as ambassadors to Washington and London. The British government in 2007 ended its probe of allegations that he was enriched from the Al Yamamah deal without making any findings. Prince Bandar has strongly denied that the sums involved represented secret commissions to him.

Prince Bandar is the son of the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, one of the major branches of the royal family whose income sources have dried up under Prince Mohammed. Prince Turki was Prince Sultan’s son-in-law.

Prince Sultan’s riches accrued in large part from his access to government funds, staff and resources over nearly half a century as defense minister, say people familiar with his estate. Bank statements reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show that in one year alone, he transferred tens of millions of dollars from government accounts at the Saudi American Bank directly to proxy accounts in Switzerland to help fund his lifestyle. “That has 100% stopped,” said a person familiar with the activities.

Feeling pinched by MBS’ moves, Sultan’s heirs unloaded a mansion in London’s Knightsbridge neighborhood that sold for a record $290 million in 2020, according to people close to the royals and familiar with the transaction.

One of Prince Sultan’s sons, Khalid bin Sultan, who commanded troops alongside Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the first Gulf War in 1991, sold a Paris mansion next to the Eiffel Tower for over $87 million in 2020 and a 220-foot superyacht in 2019, according to people close to him and familiar with the transactions.

Some of Sultan’s children are also trying to mortgage their global assets to raise money to make up for a shortfall from traditional sources of income, people familiar with those efforts said. One of them, Prince Fahd bin Sultan, was sued by Credit Suisse in November for allegedly defaulting on loans he took to refinance a $55 million superyacht and a $48 million estate south of London, court documents show.

Jihad of Clarification: Muslims’ Religious Duty in the Past, Present, and Future

April 18 2022

By Mohammad Youssef

Jihad of clarification in early Islam

One of the forms of jihad that Islam advocated is the Jihad of the word. That is to explain and clarify the true meaning of Islam; its preaching and teachings. The new religion, though, has been targeted heavily with a whole set of fabrications, lies, and distortion.

Quraysh at the time has dedicated its efforts to this end. The Prophet has assigned a selected group of the talented Muslims to take the responsibility of clarifying Islam to non-Muslims, and this was one of the greatest missions at the time.

Part of this jihad has been linked to remarkable events and it was practiced by the greatest figures of Islam like the imams and leaders of the Muslim community.

Among the pioneers of this Jihad was Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] himself, and his son-in-law Imam Ali [AS]. They struggled hard to defend Islam and its teachings and to refute the allegations and distortion by presenting the true image of the religion.

Similarly, Sayyeda Zeinab [AS] performed a parallel role during the battle of Karbala. She clarified to the public the atrocities and horrible injustices perpetrated by Yazid Ibn Muawiya and the Umayyads as well.

Jihad of clarification in today’s Islam

Muslims since later times till recent days have practiced Jihad of clarification to present the genuine fact about their religion and to rebut the false and misleading arguments presented by the enemies of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] himself continued to be the target of Western propaganda; the unethical caricatures against him represent one example, another example was the book [Satanic Verses] written by Salman Rushdi which represented utterly a fierce campaign of lies and false stories against our great Prophet to undermine his status; however, no one has ever done a real systematic effort to bring this into a planned work, and no real coordination has taken place among Muslims in this regard.

Jihad of clarification as conceptualized by Imam Khamenei

Imam Sayyed Ali Husseini Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic republic of Iran, is a forerunner and a leading figure in this perspective. He was the first one to bring this kind of Jihad into real light. Imam Khamenei highlighted the necessity for all Muslims to practice clarification as a Jihadi process in their life.

No one before has been that successful in crystallizing the concept into a whole theory. More importantly, Imam Khamenei was able to transform the theory into a practical plan where all people from all walks of life could join and perform their share in this duty accordingly.

This reveals clearly the sensitivity of the issue and which vital role it could play in the life of the Ummah [Muslim nation].

A related book has been compiled from the different speeches of Imam Khamenei and is in the process of publication to hopefully be reachable soon.

Imam Khamenei has dedicated much of his speeches and sizable amount of his meetings with students, medical doctors, nurses, Ashura mourning reciters and even the air-force officers to talk about clarification. He considered it a very important and instant task to be practiced on spot. He gave a special attention to the social media workers and activists and invited them to vigorously engage in this front to present the truth about the ongoing developments for the people everywhere. Imam Khamenei further considered this as a religious duty that every capable Muslim should be requested to do and will be responsible for.

العصافير تعود إلى الشام

الإثنين 4 نيسان 2022

البناء

  يكتبها الياس عشّي

حطّ عصفور محبط وحزين على رؤوس أصابعي، وطلب مني أن أدلّه على طريق الشام .

يمكنك، قلت له، أن تبدأ بميسلون، وأن تعرّج على الجامع الأموي، وأن تستريح على قبّة كنيسة الصليب، وأن تُغمض عينيك متماهياً مع أصوات المؤذنين، ورنين الأجراس .

بل يمكنك، يا صديقي، أن تنضمّ إلى قوافل الورد الزاحفة من قلب الإعصار، لترمّم ربيعاً أمعن الغرباء في تشويه وجهه الطلق.

سأل العصفور: ومن دليلي؟

قلت: سيكون دليلك جيشاً من شقائق النعمان الحاملة في ذاكرتها ملامح يوسف العظمة، وأسماء كلّ الشهداء الذين ماتوا لتحيا سورية، ورؤيا بولس الرسول الخارجِ من العباءة اليهودية إلى مسيحية منفتحة على عالم جديد .

*من روايتي “السيرة الذاتية لعصفور أضاع طريقه إلى الشام “.

Lebanese Media: An Arab Pioneer on Media Silk Road

3 Apr 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Mohamad Zreik 

“The land of liberties” is a fitting label for Lebanon, a remarkable country that deserves it.

Lebanese Media: An Arab Pioneer on Media Silk Road

The right to free press is revered and guarded in Lebanon. Constitutional freedom of expression in Lebanon is guaranteed under Article 13, which states that all forms of expression are protected “within the bounds imposed by law.” For many people, the most arduous way to freedom is not the path of armed struggle, but rather the path of free and brave speech. “The land of liberties” is a fitting label for Lebanon, a remarkable country that deserves it.

Without the sacrifices of the martyrs, this attribute would not have been part of the Lebanese identity. It’s everything on the altar of the press and the sacredness of the free word. The message of peace and freedom of expression may be carried by Lebanon. Because there is no peace without freedom, the two concepts are intertwined in their connection. Several Lebanese journalists were exonerated from the gallows by the Ottoman Empire during the month of May of the year 1958. Since the killed journalists’ mandate was: “We die free and do not live as slaves or captives of others,” May 6 has been declared a feast day for the martyrs in Lebanon.

The Lebanese press has a rich history of events and phases that have been etched into the minds of the Lebanese. The comments of An-Nahar newspaper, held by Chairman of the Board, Gibran Tueni, who took up his pen and walked out into the streets to remind the world that in Lebanon, freedom of speech and expression are taken by pen and not by gun, are well-remembered by all of us. “We promise by Almighty God, Muslims and Christians, that we will remain together in defense of glorious Lebanon forever and ever,” Gibran Tueni swore to the Lebanese people.

As a result of the vast range of freedoms it enjoys, Lebanon stands out regionally and globally. For example, there are television stations in Lebanon for each and every political party. In addition to the many free internet sites, private newspapers are all examples. Freedom of expression is not constrained by any red lines; as long as it does not infringe on the sacred and national sovereignty, you are free to voice your thoughts. Since Arab countries have rigorous monitoring agencies and stringent laws, Lebanon will remain a milestone in the free Arab media.

An unauthorized political journal, “The News Garden,” was published by Khalil El-Khoury in Beirut on January 1, 1858, and is regarded as “the mother of Arab newspapers.” Count Rashid Al-Dahdah, who published the “Barjis” newspaper in Paris in 1858 and Ahmed Faris al-Shidyaq, who published the “Al-Jawa’ib” newspaper in Istanbul in 1861 are just two examples of Lebanese involvement in the publication of Arab newspapers published abroad. According to writer Laila Hamdoun, we find that most of the Arab newspapers were issued by Lebanese intellectuals, for example, the great “Butros al-Bustani” has launched “Nafeer Syria“, Lebanon’s second newspaper, in 1860 in Beirut, appealing for national unity in the wake of the sectarian murders of 1860. The cinema and theatre have also grown popular in Lebanon.

These remarks have been written during my stay in China, the land of civilization, culture, science, and commerce. As a specialist in the “Belt and Road Initiative” that was first introduced in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and in order to highlight the Lebanese role in this effort, I decided to link the free Lebanese press in the Arab world to the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims in part at people-to-people exchange and cultural understanding.

Newspapers in Lebanon, media professionals, and authors claim that “our time today is different from prior periods.” People in Lebanon have long had an eye on the West, and they’ve done it through airing Hollywood films, importing anything dubbed, and keeping tabs on political developments in the West. To that end, I urge Lebanese political and media officials, as the stewards of Lebanon’s culture and language, not to cut ties with the West. At the same time, keep in mind that this is China’s golden period and that this great Asian is no less than the Western nations.

Speaking at the 2016 Media Cooperation Forum’s opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed his country’s Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned that the media is a platform for constructive discourse, the sharing of ideas, and collaboration. Without an active and unbiased role for the media, there is no contact between peoples. Without media, the Belt and Road Initiative’s goal of bridging cultures won’t be able to fulfill its full potential.

As a technologically advanced country, China employs the most up-to-date broadcasting techniques in its media partnership with Lebanon. Co-operation between China and the Arab countries in media has become essential. According to Wang Chen of China’s State Council Information Office, media interactions between Beijing and Beirut are a priority for the country.

China has established a tight relationship with Lebanon through television shows that introduce the Lebanese people to the Chinese culture. As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China has recently displayed a keen interest in the Arab world. CGTN Arabic and China Arab TV, two Chinese TV stations, have been introduced to the Arab satellites Nilesat and Arabsat, which transmit documentaries and news about China and the Arab world. To keep up with all of CGTN Arabic and China International Radio‘s social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Wechat), separate department staffed by Chinese and Arabs has been established.

A deal was reached in 2016 between Lebanon TV and China’s state television, whereby Lebanon was provided with certain equipment. National News Agency was given a large number of computers and training workshops by the Chinese government in order to facilitate mutual collaboration.

More seminars and training sessions for journalists and more equipment donations are expected from the Chinese government in Lebanon. Media in Lebanon will focus on Chinese matters, invite Chinese specialists and introduce the Lebanese people and Arabs to Chinese news. As China’s influence in Lebanon grows, it’s feasible that Lebanese media outlets may start publishing content in Chinese. Videos, interviews, and information on Lebanon can be used by the Chinese media to educate the Chinese population about the country. China may invite Chinese journalists and press students to visit Lebanon to learn more about the nation and collaborate with Lebanese journalists in order to speed up the reporting of the news.

Ex-Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Jiang said the media collaboration between China and Lebanon is growing quickly, and he underlined that China is a long-term supporter of both the government and Lebanese media outlets. During the Chinese Spring Festival and Chinese National Day each year, the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon and Lebanon TV work together to broadcast programs in China.

The works of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Beirut (Confucius Institute) should be extended so that it can do other functions, such as translating Chinese films into Arabic. Due to Lebanon’s high cultural value, many Chinese dubbing businesses have shown a desire to cooperate with Chinese media outlets. In order to make Lebanese culture more accessible to the Chinese audience, films from the country will be dubbed. ‘Capernaum’, a film directed by Nadine Labaki, was the first Lebanese film to be dubbed into Chinese. In addition to books and poetry which could enhance cultural exchange.

A plan for successful Chinese-Arab media cooperation is being devised by China, which includes enhancing communication between Chinese and Arab media, establishing a media administrative system that serves the common Chinese-Arab interest, and raising electronic media cooperation.

“Media Silk Road” has emerged in recent years as a term for the media cooperation between Belt and Road Initiative countries. There are four committees that focus on news cooperation, integrated communication, cooperation in program production, and industrial cooperation. The main mission is to promote international peace by fostering cultural exchange between nations. More positive steps are expected to be taken by the international television cooperation community of the Silk Road in order to benefit both Chinese and Arab interests.

As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the people of participating countries play a significant role in its implementation. As a result, in accordance with the principles of cultural communication and freedom of speech, the media should be a tool to enrich the Arab people’s knowledge about China and the Belt and Road initiative.

Considering Lebanon’s status as a participant of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is expected that Lebanon will play an important role in promoting the initiative in Lebanon and the Arab world. As part of an Arab media strategy for the Belt and Road Initiative, Lebanon might be designated as an authorized media hub in conjunction with the Chinese authorities. There are numerous examples of Sino-Lebanese media and cultural collaboration that have been successful, and this proposed cooperation could be another success.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

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