French presidential hopeful expresses her support for Assad

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has expressed her pro-Syria and pro-Christian views on her recent visit to Lebanon on Monday.

The head of the National Front called Syrian President Bashar Assad “the most reassuring solution for France” and emphasized that to “eradicate” ISIS is the best way to protect the Christian minority, not turning them into refugees.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was told from the presidential hopeful that there is “no viable and workable solution” to the Syrian war beyond choosing between Assad and ISIS.

“I clearly explained that in the political picture the least bad option is the politically realistic. It appears that Bashar al Assad is evidently today the most reassuring solution for France.”

“The way to protect the Christian minority is to eradicate those who have a vision of destroying all the minorities.”

“For me to protect Christians is to make sure the Christians stay in their countries,” not become refugees, she said.

“The Media Coverage on Syria is the Biggest Media Lie of our Time”: Interview with Flemish Priest in Syria

Global Research, January 28, 2017
Signs of the Times 24 January 2017

“Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time?

Flemish Father Daniël Maes (78) lives in Syria in the sixth-century-old Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometers north of the capital Damascus. Father Daniel has been a witness to the “civil war” and according to him, Western reports on the conflict in Syria are very misleading. In short: “the Americans and their allies want to completely ruin the country.”

Interviewer: You are very critical of the media coverage on Syria. What is bothering you?

Father Daniel: “The idea that a popular uprising took place against President Assad is completely false. I’ve been in Qara since 2010 and I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. That was filmed and aired by Al Jazeera to give the impression that a rebellion was taking place. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people. While in my experience, the Syrian people were actually very united.

Before the war, this was a harmonious country: a secular state in which different religious communities lived side by side peacefully. There was hardly any poverty, education was free, and health care was good. It was only not possible to freely express your political views. But most people did not care about that.”

Interviewer: Mother Agnès-Mariam, of your Mar Yakub (“Saint Jacob”) monastery, is accused of siding with the regime. She has friends at the highest level.

Father Daniel: “mother Agnès-Mariam helps the population: she has recently opened a soup kitchen in Aleppo, where 25,000 meals are prepared five times a week. Look, it is miraculous that we are still alive. We owe that to the army of Assad’s government and to Vladimir Putin, because he decided to intervene when the rebels threatened to take power.

When thousands of terrorists settled in Qara, we became afraid for our lives. They came from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Turkey, Libya, there were many Chechens. They formed a foreign occupation force, all allied to al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Armed to the teeth by the West and their allies with the intention to act against us, they literally said: “This country belongs to us now.” Often, they were drugged, they fought each other, in the evening they fired randomly. We had to hide in the crypts of the monastery for a long time. When the Syrian army chased them away, everybody was happy: the Syrian citizens because they hate the foreign rebels, and we because peace had returned.”

Interviewer: You say that the Syrian Army protects civilians, yet there are all sorts of reports about war crimes committed by Assad’s forces, such as the bombardments with barrel bombs.

Father Daniel: “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad: It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed. Do you think that the Syrian people are stupid?Do you think those people were forced to cheer for Assad and Putin? It is the Americans who have a hand in all of this, for pipelines and natural resources in this region and to thwart Putin.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to establish a Sunni state in Syria, without religious freedom. Therefore, Assad must go. You know, when the Syrian army was preparing for the battle in Aleppo, Muslim soldiers came to me to be blessed. Between ordinary Muslims and Christians, there is no problem. It is those radical Islamic, Western-backed rebels who want to massacre us. They are all al Qaeda and IS. There are not any moderate fighters anymore.”

Interviewer: You once mentioned Hillary Clinton to be a ‘devil in holy water’, because as foreign minister, she deliberately worsened the conflict.

Father Daniel: “I am happy with Trump. He sees what every normal person understands: That the United States should stop undermining countries which possess natural resources. The Americans’ attempt to impose a unipolar world is the biggest problem. Trump understands that radical Islam is a bigger threat than Russia.

What do I care whether he occasionally takes off his pants? If Trump practices geopolitics the way he has promised to do so, then the future looks bright. Then it will become similar to Putin’s approach. And hopefully then, there will be a solution for Syria, and peace will return.”

Interviewer: You understand that your analysis is controversial and will encounter much criticism?

Father Daniel: “I speak from personal observation. And no one has to believe me, right? But I know one thing: The media can either contribute to the massacre of the Syrian people or help the Syrian people, with their media coverage. Unfortunately, there are too many followers and cowards among journalists.”

مشروع “دستور بريمر” الروسي ينسف هوية سورية العربية والإسلامية ويمنع جيشها من أي دور في فلسطين


JANUARY 27, 2017

مشروع “دستور بريمر” الروسي ينسف هوية سورية العربية والإسلامية ويمنع جيشها من أي دور في فلسطين.. ولهذا يجب تعديلة جذريا.. المحاصصة الطائفية “فتنة” دمرت العراق ولا نريدها ان تجهز على سورية.. واليكم قراءة مختلفة

atwan ok

عبد الباري عطوان

يعيد الروس، بطرحهم مسودة دستور جديدة لسورية، تجربة بول بريمر الحاكم العسكري الأمريكي للعراق، التي بذرت بذور الطائفية في البلد، وقسمته الى أقاليم، في اطار صيغة الفيدرالية، واسست لحكم ذاتي كردي بصلاحيات رئاسية توفر كل أسس وركائز “الاستقلال” والانفصال لاحقا.

السيدة ماريا زاخاروفا، الناطقة باسم زارة الخارجية الروسية، نفت هذا “الربط” او “المقارنة” في لقائها الصحافي الأسبوعي، وأكدت ان بلادها لا تحاول فرض شروط التسوية، او دستور على السوريين، انما الهدف من هذه الخطوة تحفيز الحوار السياسي في اطار قرار مجلس الامن الدولي رقم 2254.

من الطبيعي ان تردد السيدة زاخاروفا هذا الكلام، ولكن واقع الحال مخالف لاقوالها تماما، فإختيار مؤتمر الاستانة لتوزيع مشروع الدستور على الوفود المشاركة وباللغة العربية، يوحي بأن موسكو جادة في طرحه، وسيكون العمود الفقري للتسوية وتحديد ملامح “سورية الجديدة”، ونظامها السياسي، ولا مانع من ادخال بعض تعديلات على بعض المواد، لكنها من المرجح ان تكون تعديلات هامشية.


كان لافتا ان المعارضة السورية المسلحة، كانت البادئة برفض هذه المسودة الروسية بشراسة، حيث اكد السيد يحيى العريضي المتحدث باسمها “ان تجربة بول بريمر في العراق واضحة”، محذرا الكرملين من تكرار الغلطة نفسها، “فالشعب السوري هو الوحيد الذي يملك حق كتابة الدستور، وأثبتت تجربة العراق بأنه عندما تعد دولة خارجية الدستور فان فرص نجاحه معدومة”، وربما تتجنب الحكومة السورية الصدام مع حليفها الروسي علانية، وفضلت ادخال تعديلات جوهرية على هذه المسودة، جرى تسريبها لبعض الصحف، واكتفت بذلك حتى الآن على الأقل.

اخطر ما في هذه المسودة، التي نؤمن بأنها “بالون اختبار” لقياس ردود الفعل، واغراق طرفي الازمة السورية في جدل وخلافات سياسية، حتى لكأنهم بحاجة الى خلافات جديدة، هو تحويل سورية الى دولة “غير عربية” إرضاء للاقلية الكردية، وإقامة حكم ذاتي للاشقاء الاكراد في شمال البلاد، على غرار نظيره في العراق، واعتماد اللغة الكردية كلغة رسمية الى جانب شقيقتها العربية، وإدخال نظام الأقاليم او اللامركزية، وتكريس المحاصصة الطائفية في المناصب العليا، والنص على ذلك صراحة في الدستور المقترح.

اذكر انني شاركت في برنامج يحمل اسم “مناظرة” يحظى بتمويل غربي في شهر حزيران (يونيو) الماضي في تونس، وكان البرنامج النقاشي يتناول النص على حقوق الأقليات في الدستور، ورفضت ذلك بشدة، وقلت ان هذا يعني التمييز ضدها، وجعل هويتها الوطنية منقوصة، وطالبت بالنص صراحة على المساواة الكاملة في الدستور لكل أطياف الشعب الطائفية والدينية والعرقية في الدستور والقوانين معا في اطار التعايش والدولة المدنية، وفاز هذا الطرح عندما جرى طرحه على الحضور للتصويت بأغلبية كبيرة، رغم انه جرى اختياره بعناية فائقة للتصويت لصلح الطرح الآخر.

اعترف انني ذهلت عندما قرأت معظم فقرات مشروع الدستور الروسي المقترح لسورية، وادركت ان عملية التمهيد له بدأت مبكرا، وفي اطار منظومة من الفعاليات السياسية والإعلامية في بعض ارجاء الوطن العربي، وها هو يتبلور تدريجيا.

الأقليات الطائفية والعرقية والدينية كانت، وما زالت، تتعرض للظلم والاضطهاد من الأغلبية الحاكمة، في بعض الدول العربية، وهذا طرح ينطوي على الكثير من الصحة، ولكن هذا الاضطهاد يأتي في ظل أنظمة ديكتاتورية، ومن المفترض ان ينتهي عندما تترسخ الديمقراطية، فالدستور الأمريكي، ومعظم الدساتير الغربية، ان لم يكن كلها، لا تنص على حقوق حصرية للاقليات، وعلى المحاصصة العرقية والدينية والمذهبية، انما على المساواة في المواطنة والحقوق والواجبات، وتحتكم الى الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الانسان كمرجعية أساسية في هذا الصدد.

روسيا تريد تطبيق نظامها اللامركزي على سورية دون النظر الى الفوارق الكبيرة في المساحة، والخريطتين الديمغرافية والجغرافية، فسورية بلد صغير، بالمقارنة الى الاتحاد الروسي العملاق، وتجربتها مختلفة، وتقع في جوار إقليمي غير الجوار الاقليمي الروسي، وعليها التزامات دينية ووطنية وقومية لا يمكن شطبها “بجرة دستور”، والا لما عادت سورية التاريخية التي نعرفها وتمتد جذورها لاكثر من ثمانية آلاف عام.

وقد يجادل البعض ان هذه المسودة للدستور التي تحرم رئيس الجمهورية، أي رئيس جمهورية سوري، من معظم صلاحياته، وتحوله الى “وسيط”، وتمنع أي دور للجيش السوري خارج حدوده، وتشطب هوية البلاد العربية، وتسقط بند الشريعة الإسلامية كأساس للتشريع، هذه البنود تأتي، ويا للمفارقة، في وقت يسيطر فيه الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين على كل الصلاحيات، ويعدل الرئيس التركي رجب طيب اردوغان دستور بلاده بحيث يصبح رئيسا مطلقا بصلاحيات كاملة، والشيء نفسه يقال عن دونالد ترامب في أمريكا أيضا، والامثلة عديدة.


لسنا مع الديكتاتورية، وحصر الصلاحيات في يد الرئيس، ونعارض أي دور للجيش، أي جيش في قمع شعبه، ونطالب، وسنظل، بالفصل الكامل بين السلطات، والحقوق غير المنقوصة للمواطن، سواء كان ينتمي الى الأغلبية او الأقلية، وفي اطار سيادة القانون، ولكننا لا نريد تكرار تجربة العراق واليمن وليبيا في سورية، او أي بلد عربي آخر، مثلما لا نريد ان تتحول بلادنا الى حقل تجارب للتفتيت والحروب الاهلية والطائفية والعرقية.

الملامح الأولية لهذا الدستور تؤشر الى محاولة لعزل سورية عن محيطها العربي، ومنع أي دور لها في التصدي للاحتلال الإسرائيلي لاراضيها أولا، وفلسطين التاريخية ثانيا، ولا نعتقد ان السلطة السورية، او المعارضة الشريفة يمكن ان تقل به.

سورية الجديدة التي يجب ان تنهض من وسط هذا الدمار الذي الحقته بها المؤامرة الخارجية، بهوية عربية إسلامية اكثر تجذرا وصلابة، واذا كان هيمنة الأكثرية على الأقلية وحرمانها ابسط حقوقها خطأ لا يغتفر، فأن محاولة تغيير هوية البلاد الوطنية والتاريخية، ومن اجل إرضاء الأقلية خطيئة اكبر، ومشروع فتنة، وعدم استقرار وحروب مستقبلية.

للمرة المليون نؤكد اننا مع المساواة والتعايش ونبذ الطائفية والعنصرية، ونرجوكم اعطونا دستورا مثل الدساتير المحترمة، والمعمول بها في الغرب والشرق، التي توحد ولا تفرق، وتحترم الهوية الجامعة، والكرامة الوطنية.

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Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard interviewed after her trip to Syria (UPDATED)

January 26, 2017


Normally, I would never post an interview by CNN, but Gabbard is so good that I will make an exception.  Also, at a time when we hammered on a daily basis with images of ugly feminist freaks in the media, it is simply wonderful to see a true lady with courage, intelligence and femininity like Tulsi Gabbard.  She is exactly the kind of person the USA need so desperately nowadays.


The Saker


UPDATE: Make sure to also check this excellent dossier on the The Greanville Post


Heroic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: The Syrian People Desperately Want Peace (w. Video evidence)

Heroic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: The Syrian People Desperately Want Peace (w. Video evidence)

By Tulsi Gabbard

Soldier. Veteran. Surfer. Member of Congress. Doing my best to be of service.

Pres. Assad: In the crosshairs of the US Neocons and NATO for many years. His refusal to do Washington’s bidding attracted the wrath of the empire. The main tormentor and butcher of his people is the retiring war criminal Barack Obama and his Neocon crew of global hegemonists.
As much of Washington prepared for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, I spent last week on a fact-finding mission in Syria and Lebanon to see and hear directly from the Syrian people. Their lives have been consumed by a horrific war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and forced millions to flee their homeland in search of peace. It is clear now more than ever: this regime change war does not serve America’s interest, and it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Syrian people.
We met these children at a shelter in Aleppo, whose families fled the eastern part of the city. The only thing these kids want, the only thing everyone I came across wants, is peace. Many of these children have only known war. Their families want nothing more than to go home, and get back to the way things were before the war to overthrow the government started. This is all they want.
I traveled throughout Damascus and Aleppo, listening to Syrians from different parts of the country…Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between “moderate” rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS — they are all the same. This is a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government. They cry out for the U.S. and other countries to stop supporting those who are destroying Syria and her people.

I traveled throughout Damascus and Aleppo, listening to Syrians from different parts of the country. I met with displaced families from the eastern part of Aleppo, Raqqah, Zabadani, Latakia, and the outskirts of Damascus. I met Syrian opposition leaders who led protests in 2011, widows and children of men fighting for the government and widows of those fighting against the government. I met Lebanon’s newly-elected President Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, Syrian President Assad, Grand Mufti Hassoun, Archbishop Denys Antoine Chahda of Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, humanitarian workers, academics, college students, small business owners, and more.
Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between “moderate” rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS — they are all the same. This is a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government. They cry out for the U.S. and other countries to stop supporting those who are destroying Syria and her people.

A TRULY DANTESQUE VISION, A RIVER OF PEOPLE FLEEING THEIR HOMES AND A BRUTAL ENEMY. BUT WHO CREATED THIS HELL? The Obama-supported CIA-engineered Syrian war has produced a tsunami of refugees, not to mention destroyed much of Syria and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. By what standard is that not a self-evident, heinous international war crime? What moral right does the US have to commit these atrocities except the big lies it has deployed with the damnable complicity of the Western media? (Please click on this image to capture the true magnitude of this horror.)
I heard this message over and over again from those who have suffered and survived unspeakable horrors. They asked that I share their voice with the world; frustrated voices which have not been heard due to the false, one-sided biased reports pushing a narrative that supports this regime change war at the expense of Syrian lives.
I heard testimony about how peaceful protests against the government that began in 2011 were quickly overtaken by Wahhabi jihadist groups like al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) who were funded and supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the United States, and others. They exploited the peaceful protesters, occupied their communities, and killed and tortured Syrians who would not cooperate with them in their fight to overthrow the government.

I met these amazing women from Barzi, many of whom have husbands or family members who are fighting with al-Nusra/al-Qaeda, or with the Syrian army. When they come to this community center, all of that is left behind, as they spend time with new friends, learning different skills like sewing, making plans for their future. They were strangers before coming to this community center whose mission is empowering these women, and now they are “ sisters” sharing laughter and tears together.

Imet a Muslim girl from Zabadani who was kidnapped, beaten repeatedly, and raped in 2012, when she was just 14 years old, by “rebel groups” who were angry that her father, a sheep herder, would not give them his money. She watched in horror as masked men murdered her father in their living room, emptying their entire magazine of bullets into him.
I met a boy who was kidnapped while walking down the street to buy bread for his family. He was tortured, waterboarded, electrocuted, placed on a cross and whipped, all because he refused to help the “rebels” — he told them he just wanted to go to school. This is how the “rebels” are treating the Syrian people who do not cooperate with them, or whose religion is not acceptable to them.
Although opposed to the Assad government, the political opposition spoke strongly about their adamant rejection of the use of violence to bring about reforms. They argue that if the Wahhabi jihadists, fueled by foreign governments, are successful in overthrowing the Syrian state, it would destroy Syria and its long history of a secular, pluralist society where people of all religions have lived peacefully side by side. Although this political opposition continues to seek reforms, they are adamant that as long as foreign governments wage a proxy regime change war against Syria using jihadist terrorist groups, they will stand with the Syrian state as they work peacefully toward a stronger Syria for all Syrians.
Originally, I had no intention of meeting with Assad, but when given the opportunity, I felt it was important to take it. I think we should be ready to meet with anyone if there’s a chance it can help bring about an end to this war, which is causing the Syrian people so much suffering.


Imet these amazing women from Barzi, many of whom have husbands or family members who are fighting with al-Nusra/al-Qaeda, or with the Syrian army. When they come to this community center, all of that is left behind, as they spend time with new friends, learning different skills like sewing, making plans for their future. They were strangers before coming to this community center whose mission is empowering these women, and now they are “ sisters” sharing laughter and tears together.
I return to Washington, DC with even greater resolve to end our illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government. From Iraq to Libya and now in Syria, the U.S. has waged wars of regime change, each resulting in unimaginable suffering, devastating loss of life, and the strengthening of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.
I call upon Congress and the new Administration to answer the pleas of the Syrian people immediately and support the Stop Arming Terrorists Act. We must stop directly and indirectly supporting terrorists — directly by providing weapons, training and logistical support to rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS; and indirectly through Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey, who, in turn, support these terrorist groups. We must end our war to overthrow the Syrian government and focus our attention on defeating al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The U.S. must stop supporting terrorists who are destroying Syria and her people. The U.S. and other countries fueling this war must stop immediately. We must allow the Syrian people to try to recover from this terrible war.
Thank you,

MAIN IMAGE: Tulsi’s own caption reads: “We met these children at a shelter in Aleppo, whose families fled the eastern part of the city. The only thing these kids want, the only thing everyone I came across wants, is peace. Many of these children have only known war. Their families want nothing more than to go home, and get back to the way things were before the war to overthrow the government started. This is all they want.”


Below: Videos with Tulsi presenting her case against US/NATO meddling in Syria. Note (in the case of CNN) the repeated efforts by the anchor to pollute Tulsi’s truth narrative with reference to the US State Dept. talking points and accusations of moral imbeciles like Adam Kinzinger, happily trotted out by war propaganda shills like CNN, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the rest of the complicit mainstream media. 


Below, with Blitzer, Oct. 21, 2015:

And here, forced to debate the obvious, with moral idiots like Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

Tulsi Gabbard is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who has been the United States Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district since 2013. She was also a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned in order to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Elected in 2012, she is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress. She served in a combat zone in Iraq.


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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Syrian Mufti Gives Stunning Talk on Visit to Ireland – updated

Syrian Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun is part of a delegation of Syrians currently visiting Ireland. The delegation consists of medical professionals as well as religious leaders. The above video shows Mufti Hassoun giving a talk before the Irish Parliament on December 1, comments in which he discusses the toll the war has exacted upon the Syrian people as a whole as well as a personal tragedy in his own family, with the death of his son.

The delegation’s visit reportedly also included a visit to Trinity College Dublin, and the visit has been reported on by a Catholic website (see article below).

Back in August I put up a post on a visit to Syria by a US delegation of peace activists, who had a chance to meet with Mufti Hassoun while they were in the country. Upon returning to the US, the delegation gave a presentation at the UN. You can find more on that here.


In Ireland, Doctors, Church Leaders Tell Horrors of Life in Syria

By Sarah Mac Donald

DUBLIN (CNS) — Fifty percent of Syria’s hospitals and medical centers have been destroyed or looted and their staff kidnapped, tortured or slaughtered, a leading Syrian surgeon told members of the Irish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Dr. Bashir Mohammad, a cardiologist, was part of a delegation of high-profile Syrian medical and religious leaders who appealed Dec. 1 for an end to punitive European Union sanctions against his country.

Mohammad was accompanied by Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham; Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II; Syria’s grand mufti, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun; and Dr. Ahmad al Khaddour, a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Khaddour, a professor of medicine at Damascus University, explained that the group had come to Ireland “to pass the message that Syria needs help.”

“The European sanctions have affected our medical system very badly. We have a shortage of medical supplies on a daily basis. We have children dying because there is no medicine and children suffering because there is no fuel for heating.”

He highlighted how the sanctions had depleted Syria’s “capacity and capability in a very devastating way to manufacture medicines and to treat our patients.”

“The sanctions have killed more people than ISIS,” he said, referring to the Islamic State.

Prior to 2011, when the conflict in Syria erupted, hospitals had always been a safe place, but they became a “soft target,” and the country’s pharmaceutical industry was now no longer able to meet Syria’s medical needs, Mohammad explained.

He contrasted this to the situation five years ago when the country was able to meet up to 95 percent of its own medical needs and was exporting its products to more than 54 countries.

Syria is now “reliant on medication from the black market and, with the weak purchase power of our currency, we are unable to buy medication,” he said.

He told Catholic News Service: “We have lost half of our hospitals and three-quarters of our factories for medication — lift the sanctions please. We are friends to America and to the West.”

Patriarch Laham described the delegation as “ambassadors for peace.” He also asked, “as patriarch, that the bishops’ conferences of Europe gather together to raise their voice for peace.”

Speaking to CNS, the 83-year-old indicated his own personal exhaustion with the conflict. “It is war, war, war. Enough war!”

Referring to the 1,435 years in which Christians and Muslims co-existed together in Syria, Patriarch Laham stressed that faith is “part of the solution” to Syria’s war.

“Faith can really help us to make peace in the world. My slogan is ‘We should stay together to build a new world; we can stay together to build the world; we want to stay together to build a new world,” he told the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Patriarch Ignatius told the committee, “We feel sometimes we are abandoned by the international community because all they talk about are the rebels and what the rebels are suffering. But nobody is talking about the real Syrian people who are under government-controlled areas and what they are suffering.”

“Suffering has gone beyond all bounds,” Patriarch Ignatius said.

The Orthodox patriarch, who escaped a suicide bomb attack last June, spoke about the difficulty of trying to live life in such a dangerous context.

“I live in Old Damascus, not far from the street where St. Paul was led to be baptized. Occasionally we get bombs thrown on us by rebels who live about 2 kilometers away. There is no safe place left in Syria for anyone, and all Syrians need peace.

“We want a new Syria — for all Syrians — that respects diversity and gives a chance to every Syrian to serve Syria. I don’t think that having an opposition that is armed will help Syria; no country in the world would accept that, be it a moderate or unmoderate opposition. Obama and the U.S. government trained thousands of people and spent $500 million on the so-called moderate opposition, but they all joined Daesh (Islamic State) or al Nusra — except for maybe four or five groups.”

As to the situation of Christians in Syria, he confirmed that, along with other people of faith, Christians were being targeted because they were not willing to take sides.

“Our archbishops have been kidnapped and we don’t know anything about them; there are many priests who have been killed and many churches have been destroyed and Islamic scholars are also being killed. All people of faith are being targeted because Daesh and others act in the name of Islam, but they do not represent the real Islam,” he said.

Hassoun, the grand mufti, recalled how when the conflict erupted in 2011, he was told to leave but refused because he wanted to be a “bridge of peace between the opposition and the regime.”

His refusal to leave resulted in his son’s assassination outside his university. Later, his son’s remains were dug out of his grave by the rebels and have never been recovered.

“This is the revolution in Syria — if it were a revolution to reform the regime I would have been with them, but it is a revolution to kill men,” he said, urging legislators to go to Syria and see for themselves “what they have done to us.”

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Published on Dec 2, 2016

The goals of the visit are to firstly send a fact-finding medical, religious, political and humanitarian mission to the Syrian Arab Republic from Ireland, as well as from other independent-minded countries; to encourage Irish charity and NGO groups to send aid to Damascus via Trócaire/Caritas and other transparent and credible conduits Syria’s venerable religious leaders recommend and to lay the foundations for a major international fact-finding and medical delegation to visit Damascus and environs on March 17th 2017, St Patrick’s Day.
The situation in Syria, as East Aleppo’s human shields show, remains very grave for all Syrians. Although this visit is strictly non-political it must be clearly stated that EU sanctions, in which Ireland is fully complicit, are responsible for more deaths than even ISIS. The bulk of the Irish people do not accept that rampant collusion or that of our media, which is a crimson blight on our neutrality.

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الرئيس العماد عون ومسيحيّو الشرق

Lebanese President Michel Aoun

ناصر قنديل
– الوجود المسيحي في الشرق واحد من العناوين الدائمة على جداول الأعمال السياسية والاستراتيجية والاستخبارية للدول والقوى المعنية بالصراع على مستقبل الشرق وهويته، كمنطقة مركزية في لعبة المصالح والأدوار في العالم، وقد جعل التوازن الطائفي الدقيق من لبنان الساحة الأهمّ التي ترسم فيها معالم دور هذا الوجود، وعبر هذا الدور التأشير إلى هوية الشرق المرتجى من زاوية نظر اللاعبين الدوليين والإقليميين والمحليين. وقد عرفت الساحة الثقافية والفكرية والسياسية والاستراتيجية والاستخبارية، مجموعة مدارس وتوجهات يتغيّر أصحابها وقادتها ورموزها، لكنها تبقى قابلة لاحتواء الخيارات المتقابلة في مقاربة هذا الوجود وعبره الدور ومن خلالهما مستقبل الشرق وهويته.

– تقدّمت المدرسة الكيانية المنغلقة منذ منتصف القرن التاسع عشر وزمن حكم المتصرفية لتخاطب المسيحيين، بوصفهم أقلية تعيش خطراً وجودياً وسط كثافة غالبية مسلمة لا يحقق لها التوازن إلا الاستناد لحماية الغرب، باعتبار المشترك الديني الذي يربطها بالغرب أبعد مدى من المشترك الوطني الذي يربطها بمسلمي بلادها.

وقيّض لهذه المدرسة أن تدمج خطابها مع خطاب كياني لبناني يقدّم الخشية من ذوبان الكيان اللبناني في أيّ صيغ عربية جامعة ويخلط بوعي بين لبنان كوطن لأبنائه أو كوطن للمسيحيين يعيش فيه مسلمون، أو كتجمّع للأقليات، وصولاً لاعتباره أحياناً نموذجاً شبيهاً بـ «إسرائيل»، حيث «الأقلية اليهّودية» مهدّدة من غلبة مسلمة داخل فلسطين أو في المدى العربي الأعمق والأوسع. وكتب لهذه المدرسة أن تقود السياسة في لبنان زمن الاستقلال، ولو في الظلّ وصولاً للحرب الأهلية، وانتهاء بالتداخل مع الدور «الإسرائيلي» قبيل الاحتلال وخلاله.

– المدرسة الموازية لهذه المدرسة التي عُرفت بالانعزالية، كانت المدرسة الإسلامية التقليدية التي تنظر للوجود المسيحي في الشرق بتناوب بين منهجَيْن، منهج اعتبارها زائدة ثقافية دينية جمالية تساهم في تحسين علاقات الغرب بالشرق، وتلعب دوراً اقتصادياً وازناً مقابل هذه المهمة، وترتضي بمشاركة سياسية شكلية سواء في التحوّل التدريجي للحركات القومية العربية من حركات أطلقها مسيحيون تحت شعار الهوية الجامعة إلى حركات تعبّر عن تطلعات الشارع الإسلامي بخطاب عروبي، وتتحوّل في قلبه النظرة نحو مسيحيّي الشرق من شركاء المشروع إلى أمانة أخلاقية يجب حفظها، في نظرة محدّثة ومنقّحة لمفهوم أهل الذمة.

– على هامش هاتين النظرتين والمدرستين ولدت مدارس فكرية وثقافية، تقترب وتبتعد عن كلّ منها بدرجة أو بدرجات، لكنها بقيت عاجزة عن التحوّل إلى خط بياني ثابت قادر على صناعة السياسة منها المقاربات التي قدّمها ميشال شيحا والتي تقف على أرض لبنانية تخاطب المسيحيين والعرب بلغة فرادة لبنان كساحة ومساحة اختبار لصناعة المصالح المشتركة، ويختلط فيها مشترك مسلمي لبنان مع العروبة ومشترك مسيحيّي لبنان مع الغرب، في علاقة تبادلية سلمية لبناء ثقافي وسياسي يكشف الخطر «الإسرائيلي»، لكنه يعتبر مصلحة العرب بلبنان ذي وجه مسيحي، ومصلحة المسيحيين بالانفتاح كأهل تجارة وثقافة على العمق العربي، حيث مصالحهم الحقيقية، لا في الغرب حيث سيبيعون المياه في «حارة السقايين»، وبالموازاة أيضاً مدرسة العلمانيين اليساريين واليمينيين والوسطيين، الذي يدعون لتهميش الموروث الديني وينكرون عليه حضوره الثقافي، ويعاملونه كوباء لا مكان للتقدّم بوجوده في الساحة السياسية.

– بين النظرتين المسيحية اللبنانية المدمجة والعروبية الإسلامية المدمجة، نمت وترعرت السياسة في لبنان سلماً وحروباً، لكن بقيت مساحة تضجّ بالحياة تنكر على هاتين المساحتين احتكار المشهد اللبناني والمشرقي، وهي المساحة التي خرج زعيم الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي أنطون سعاده مع تاريخ تأسيس الحزب، يبشر بها. مساحة تقوم على صياغة هوية قومية جامعة لسكان أصليين لهذه البلاد، مسيحيين ومسلمين، أعراق وأتنيات وموجات بشرية تشاركت في صناعة حضارة واحدة، تراكمت طبقاتها، وتلاطمت أمواجها، وتحدّدت عداواتها، بقيام كيان غاصب في فلسطين، و«استعمار» متطلع للهيمنة، وتطرف عابث بوحدة النسيج الوطني ومشاريع تقسيم إلى كيانات مصطنعة، وتفتيت الكيانات إلى طوائف وملل متحاربة، ومثلما نجحت حركة أنطون سعاده في مخاطبة مسيحيّي الشرق حتى زاحمت الحركات الانعزالية المهيمنة والمدعومة من الغرب على قيادة المسيحيين، بينما وطدت حضورها القوي بين المسلمين، وصار الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي، حيّزاً لحياة جديدة لا تمييز فيها بين الناس على أساس طوائفهم التي لا تكاد تعرفها، وتعرف المنتمين إليها من المحازبين، ولأنّ لهذا الحزب القائم على عقيدة الاندماج في مشروع قومي بوصلته فلسطين صار مبكراً في عين العاصفة، وتحت مجهر التصويب، ليلاقي ما لاقاه من تنكيل وحروب خيضت لتصفية وجوده.

– جاء المشروع التكفيري من جهة، والصفقة التي عقدها الغرب معه ومع مشغّله السعودي، ومع المشروع الصهيوني من جهة مقابلة، وتلاقيهما على تهجير مسيحيّي الشرق، ليقسم المقاربات المعروضة على مسيحيّي الشرق بين دعوة للرحيل، ودعوة للتجذر في الأرض، ومقاومة المشروع التكفيري المدعوم من الغرب و «إسرائيل» والمشروع الوهابي، وبينهما دعوات بهلوانية من نوع «لا تخافوا منهم هؤلاء حلفاؤنا»، كصرخة رئيس القوات اللبنانية الموجّهة لأهالي الأشرفية في مواجهة غزوة التكفيريين في الخامس من شباط 2006، وتموضعه في جبهة سياسية تقف تجاه المشروع التكفيري المندفع بقوة لتخريب الشرق من بوابة سورية، شعارها ما قاله حلفاء جعجع عن جبهة النصرة كمعارضة سورية، و«ثوار» حرية أثناء تمدّدهم في عرسال، والدعوة لمعاملتهم كممثل شرعي وحيد للشعب السوري، ليشكل لقاء العماد ميشال عون مع السيد حسن نصرالله في اليوم الثاني لغزوة الأشرفية المقاربة المقابلة، القائمة على إدراك الخطر «الإسرائيلي»، ومشاريع التفتيت، ويترجم هذا التلاقي في المواقف الثابتة للعماد عون في حرب تموز 2006، نتيجة بحث الصور عن لقاء ميشال عون مع حسن نصرالله في كنيسةويتطوّر هذا التلاقي مع اندلاع الحرب في سورية إلى إدراك مشترك لأهمية مواجهة التطرف التكفيري، كوجه من وجوه الإرهاب الذي يهدّد النسيج الوطني وجودياً.

– يمثل المسار الفكري للعماد ميشال عون، حالة اختبار وجدانية فلسفية تصوفية مناضلة، منطلقة من موقع لبناني مسيحيّ، نقية من شوائب التلوّث بعقدة النقص تجاه الغرب، ولا تقبل منطق الاستلحاق الأكثري للمشاريع الإسلامية الطائفية، ومتقدّمة في إدراك الخطر الصهيوني. ونقطة الانطلاق هذه في قلب متغيّرات حركية ودينامية فرضتها عليه أدواره السياسية في الثمانينيات، التي تحوّلت زعامة شعبية راسخة، لتفرض عليه مواصلة الاختبار من باب استمرار زخم الحضور وحجم المسؤولية، فيكون المخاض الذي بات ممكناً له أن يمسك بناصية اختباراته بعد عقدين من الزمن العاصف، ويصوغ مشروعه الخاص، الذي تشكّل ثنائيته مع مشروع المقاومة بعده الاستراتيجي، فيما تقع كلّ تفاهماته الأخرى في باب السياسي، ويضعه تحدّي مستقبل مسيحيي الشرق الوجودي أمام دور يستحضر عملياً مشروع أنطون سعاده، ولو بمفردات مختلفة، وأحياناً بالمفردات ذاتها، لأنها الروح ذاتها المتمرّدة على المشاريع المفروضة بقوة المستعمر أو بنار الإرهاب.

– العماد ميشال عون في الرئاسة اللبنانية فرصة لنهضة، تقوم على معادلة أنّ تصدّر مسيحيّي الشرق للمسؤوليات الوطنية والقومية بوجه المشاريع الأجنبية، يتكفل بتصويب مقاربة مسلمي الشرق لمواجهتهم مع هذه المشاريع وتأكيد الهوية الوطنية والقومية الجامعة في وجهها، وأن رفض سياسات الاستلحاق نحو الخارج للمجموع الوطني والقومي، يقترن برفض سياسات الاستلحاق البينية، بين مكوّنات هذا المجموع، سواء داخل الكيانات الوطنية نفسها، أو بين بعضها البعض، نتيجة بحث الصور عن لقاء ميشال عون مع بشارومثلما وجد القوميون من موقع بوصلتهم المقاومة في سورية بقيادة الرئيسين حافظ الأسد وبشار الأسد حليفاً وسنداً، وفي حزب الله شريكاً في الحربين على «إسرائيل» والإرهاب، يجدهما العماد عون بعداً وعمقاً طبيعياً لموقعه ومشروعه. ومثلما يحمل التيار الوطني الحر البعد السياسي لخطاب مسيحي لبناني عوني ممتدّ منذ الثمانينيات، حامل أثقالها لكنه متفاعل في الوجدان مع المستجدات والتحالفات، يشكل خطاب أنطون سعاده المقاربة الفكرية الرؤيوية لملاقاة المهام التي يتطلع إليها ميشال عون المشرقي، وليس ميشال عون المسيحي اللبناني، فعون المشرقي هو التحدّي اللبناني والمشرقي معاً، لهذا وصفه «الإسرائيليون» بأنه سيكون سبباً كافياً لوجع رأس جديد لـ «إسرائيل».

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US Sponsored “Moderates” “Have Sown Terror Everywhere”: Testimony of the Archbishop of Aleppo

Global Research, October 29, 2016
Fort Russ 28 October 2016

The whole world is terrified at the sight of the images from Aleppo that the mass media have been presenting in recent days. Many of our friends abroad are concerned and want to hear from us. We are living tragic moments in our history and what’s happening here continues to make Aleppo and its people suffer, people that for more than five years have been unable to have peace, so harassed and massacred by armed groups that have come from all over the world, to conduct a self-styled holy war, in a country governed (according to them) by atheists and infidels!

For five years now the terrorists here have been calling the shots, where the civil authorities of the country have not managed to be present. They have sown terror everywhere, killed tens of thousands of innocent people, destroyed thousands of factories, businesses and institutions of public services, looted houses and stolen, without any concern, assets of the country and the citizens. They have have made victims of many innocent people, kidnapping and brutally murdering countless peaceful people, including nuns, priests and even bishops.

This still going on today: this morning a dozen shells fell in two of our residential areas, causing further destruction and in one neighborhood, numerous deaths and injuries.

Battles are raging on the outskirts of the city: the rebels from the “Al-Nusra Front” are attempting to take positions in areas considered strategic, almost completely depopulated and almost entirely destroyed, that they seized and held until last June at the city’e edge. Images of these places of utter desolation are spread widely by the TV networks.

And it is there that the great battles now going on are taking place. Three weeks ago we put high hopes on the ceasefire, hoping it would enable peace-making followed by national reconciliation and a resumption of normal life in the country! Unfortunately this truce, weakened by continued violations by the radical opponents, was officially broken in recent days, by the unexpected raid by the coalition allied to the rebels in Deir-El-Zor.

These raids were on a Syrian army military base and killed more than 90 soldiers in their barracks, not to mention the number of undeclared injured. Is that the way to stop the fighting?

Therefore we hope and we are counting on the grace of God, the only one able to arouse the conscience of the great decision-makers. The terrifying spectacle of what happens has to shake every man that respects the sanctity of human life. So if Mr. Staffan de Mistura can manage to revive the peace process, we can hope for a bright spell and perhaps even for the concrete results of peace, the sine qua non for the foundation of the long-awaited dialogue.

The hardest thing for Christians who are currently present in Aleppo would be the prospect of having to live, morning and evening, in anxiety in this situation of insecurity: destabilizing disconcerting uncertainty. They are afraid for the next day, and the future of their children troubles them greatly. Imagine that one day a Muslim fundamentalist state would be imposed on them — for them this is an unbearable nightmare.

This is why we turn to our brothers in France and throughout the West, and we beg you to help us ensure that this does not happen. We are not asking you to make war for us, but only to end the unjust claims of your allies that want to impose antiquated laws, laws that are unbearable for the people of the twenty-first century who want to be free to choose their culture, their style life and, finally, their faith. We call on our brothers in France to pray for us and all women and all men concerned about human dignity and love of freedom, to come to our rescue to save our dear country from the depth of the fundamentalist regime they are trying to put us in. Please help us to continue to live in dignity on this blessed land of our birth!

Aleppo, 28 settembre 2016 (translated from Italian)

Jean-Clément Jeanbart,  Archbishop of Aleppo 

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