UN Renews Demand that “Israel” Should Abide by Resolutions Related to Occupied Golan

8 December، 2018
New York, SANA

The United Nations (UN) renewed its demand that the Israeli occupation authorities should abide by the resolutions related to the occupied Syrian Golan, particularly resolution No. 497 for the year 1981 which considers its decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan as null and void and without international legal effect.

This came on Firday during the UN’s adoption of a resolution under the title “Occupied Syrian Golan” after it was approved by the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee).

149 delegations out of 173 voted in favor of the resolution while “Israel” and the US only voted against the resolution, and 22 delegations abstained from voting.

The resolution demanded that the Israeli occupation authorities should immediately cancel the decision on annexing the Golan .

The resolution also considered that all the legislative and administrative measures taken by “Israel” to alter the character of the occupied Syrian Golan and its legal status as null and void and that they constitute a blatant violation of the international law and of Geneva Convention and they don’t have any legal effect.

The resolution also demanded that “Israel” should stop to impose the Israeli nationality and identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and to halt the repressive measures it takes against its locals.

The resolution denounced Israel’s violation of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, renewing the call upon the UN member states to not recognize any of the measures taken by “Israel” in the occupied Syrian Golan which contradict with the International Law.

Ruaa al-Jazaeri

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“Terrorism Made in America”: US Sponsored ISIS-Daesh “Pockets” Inside Iraq After More than Three Years of Fighting and US Bombings

“Terrorism Made in America”: US Sponsored ISIS-Daesh “Pockets” Inside Iraq After More than Three Years of Fighting and US Bombings

By Haidar Mansour Hadi Al-Athari and Edu Montesanti,

An interview with Iraq’s ambassador to Russia, Haidar Mansour Hadi

Iraqi military equipment is seen left behind [file photo]

After four years of ISIS-Daesh terrorism sponsored by Obama, the ISIS which acted as a proxy terrorist organization on behalf of Washington has finally been defeated. 

While a new government recently came to power in Iraq, ISIS nonetheless remains active in small pockets on the country’s border. At the same time, some Western analysts predict a resurgence of ISIS in Iraq, with a view to fomenting religious sectarianism.

In this interview the Iraqi ambassador to Russia, Haidar Mansour Hadi Al-Athari, talks to renowned

journalist Edu Montesanti regarding the ongoing threat of these ISIS pockets within his country. 

How are local governments is acting to avoid a return and resurgence of the ISIS-Daesh in a Iraq, a country with a longstanding history of culture religious tolerance and peace among Muslims, Jews and Christians. 

Terrorism is a “Made in America” (“New Fashion) see (videovideo and paper).

“Despite declaring victory over ISIS, however, there are small pockets still acting individually, which shows the defeat of a once strong ISIS to a very weak one,” rejoices Ambassador Haidar Hadi, in counterposition to media propaganda.

In this interview, Saddam Hussein’s regime is also addressed. 

***

Edu Montesanti: Some say that the declaration of victory against ISIS late last year was premature. Arguing that the terrorist group remains a deep threat not only because of its own acumen as an insurgent movement, there are analysts stating that Iraq has failed to face the basic needs of the population, to remedy political and social divisions, and to forge a common national framework that unifies the country which soon paves the way for yet another devastating civil war as rival groups compete for control of the Iraqi state.

What are your thoughts on these described scenario, and to what extent has ISIS been defeated,

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: The declaration of victory in December 2017 came after more than three years of fighting the international terrorist organization.

This victory came as a result of joint efforts between the Iraqi Security forces, Counter-Terrorism Units, Kurdish Peshmerga, Popular Mobilisation Units, as well as the support of the coalition forces and Russia.

It was a well-deserved victory, not a premature one as some might describe it. We gave lives of innocent Iraqis and the destruction of our infrastructure, so the price of this victory has been heavy.

The Iraqi Government at the time of the fighting against ISIS had important tasks, achieved hand in hand with each other. One task was military, which was to fight the international terrorist organization and its affiliates, and the other task was to provide a safe haven for a large number of displaced Iraqis, forced to leave their homes by providing them basic needs or food, water, medical services and most importantly, a place to stay.

The Government also helped a large number of Iraqis to return to their homes after being liberated, and it was successful with the help of UNAMI [United Nations Iraq].

Fighting ISIS has brought Iraqis together, and made them closer than ever before due to the threat was against Iraq as a whole.

Declaring victory over ISIS proved that civil war was never a threīat in Iraq and will never be, due to the integration of the Iraqi society as Arabs, Kurds, Muslims, Christians, and other minorities live together for hundreds of years.

Edu Montesanti: It has also been said that Iraq’s next war will likely be a civil civil war, one between Shiite Islamist rivals. How do you see that?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ‫The last successful parliamentary election, which took place on the 12th May 2018, and the formation the new Government in Baghdad were a clear and strong message that all political parties, including the Shite Islamist parties, worked together to make sure the born of the new government, which we witnessed early in October when most Members of Parliament gave their trust to the new Prime Minister, Mr. Adil Abdulmahdi, and his cabinet.‬.

Edu Montesanti: ISIS filled a political and ideological void, when it rose in Iraq, in 2014. Does any void still exist today?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ‫Iraqis practiced their democratic rights in the last parliamentary elections, which proved that Iraq has come out of the ISIS experience as a stronger nation.

Iraqis managed to defeat ISIS not only militarily, but also ideologically.

Edu Montesanti: The UN envoy to Iraq, Mr. Jan Kubis, said that the group remains active on the western border with Syria, and in northern Iraq carrying out scattered attacks in Kirkuk, Salah, and Din and Diyala, as Iraq’s new government plans to intensify efforts to uproot cells of the ISIS extremist group and introduce “robust measures” to achieve sustainable security throughout the country.

How will these measures be put into practice?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: Despite declaring victory over ISIS, however, there are small pockets still acting individually, which shows the defeat of a once strong ISIS to a very weak one.

One of the main targets of the new Iraqi Government is to continue the work of its previous one with the help and support of the coalition partners, as well as Russia, to maintain the sustainable stability resulted from the victory.

Edu Montesanti: The International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq mobilized nearly US$ 30 billion of additional international support for the country. “If we compare what we got today to what we need, it is no secret, it is of course much lower than what Iraq needs,” said Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

What are your thoughts about that Conference, and the money mobilized to support Iraq?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: The conference was a clear message of support to Iraq, despite the disappointing outcome of the conference.

The Russian delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister with more than 100 businesses, which shows the weight of Russian support.

We are optimistic about the support of our partners to come forward and be part of the reconstruction efforts by the Iraqi Government.

As an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq to the Russian Federation, I have met a large number of Russian businessmen who showed a great interest in being part of the reconstruction efforts. In the past few days, a delegation of Russian businessmen and investors visited Baghdad to explore business opportunities and meet with their counterparts.

I believe the next few years will show a boost of relations between Iraq and its allies, especially the Russian Federation.‬

Edu Montesanti: Does Iraq really need a foreign cooperation to definitively win terrorism?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ISIS is an international terrorist organization, not a local organization, so Iraq needs support and corporation from our regional and international partners.

Edu Montesanti: How should this cooperation be?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: We have won the war against terrorism militarily, but we will continue to fight the ideological war. The next war is a war of intelligence.

The joint information center based in Baghdad, which have Iraq, Russians, Iranians and Syrian experts which provides important information about terrorist cells, still operates in Iraq in order to our military forces to fight them.

Edu Montesanti: To date, how many children have come back from Iraq to Russia and neighboring countries, due to the “Bringing Them Home” Campaign, and how is the project now? Does it follow the same pattern, or has anything changed as a new government recently came to power in Iraq? 

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ‬The previous Iraqi Government was very supportive of this sensitive issue, and the facilitated the legal procedure in order to speed up the return of Russian children to their relatives after one of their parents or both killed, fighting alongside the ISIS fighters.

Around 25 children under the age of 10 years old were returned home, and we continue to resolve this issue through the Diplomatic and legal channels.

The children had entered Iraq illegally, so in order to leave the country a fine of 500,000 Iraqi Dinars, around US$420, must be paid to the Iraqi Government.

The new government is committed to continuing to resolve the issue.

Edu Montesanti: Some say that during Saddam Hussein years the country was under control, and the foreign policy acted more independently especially from U.S. imperialism, arguing also that Iraq, in those years, was considered by the U.N. one of the Arab countries which most respected religions.

How do you respond to it, and what has changed in Iraq since Hussein was overthrown?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: During Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iraqis were living under the fear of prosecution or execution for as simple as telling a joke about Saddam or his regime.

In 1991, I was forced to leave Iraq at the age of 21 because a relative of mine used my own car in Najaf Province, during the 1991 uprising; a few weeks later, I was on Saddam’s Intelligence wanted list because they assumed I was driving the car, and being part of those who wanted to change the regime. My only option was to flee the country because I might not have had the chance to prove it was not me driving the car.

Saddam’s regime caused Iraq three major wars, invaded a neighboring country and faced a 12-year sanction.

This how life was under that brutal regime. Iraq was, still are and will always be one of the Arab countries that most respect religions.

So definitely and despite all the challenges, we see an Iraq now much better than the country was under Saddam Hussein. ‬

The original source of this article is Global Research

University of Sydney Professor Tim Anderson Suspended for “Criticism of War Propaganda against Syria, Iraq and Palestine”

Global Research, December 08, 2018

Global Research is in solidarity with Professor Tim Anderson who was suspended from his position as Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, Australia. 

This decision by the University’s Provost was largely motivated by Professor Anderson’s research and public statements on Syria, Iraq and Palestine including Anderson’s carefully documented book entitledThe Dirty War on Syria,  

“Through careful analysis, professor Anderson reveals the “unspoken truth”: the “war on terrorism” is fake, the United States is a “State sponsor of terrorism” involved in a criminal undertaking. 

Scroll down for reviews of Prof. Anderson’s book on Syria (published by Global Research). (click book cover right to order Tim Anderson’s international bestseller)

It should be understood that this is not an isolated event. Academic freedom is threatened. Several prominent academics have been fired or intimidated under different circumstances.

Below is Tim Anderson’s text on his Facebook page  followed by an article published by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Yesterday University of Sydney Provost Stephen Garton suspended me from my position as a senior lecturer and banned me from entering the university. I have worked as an academic at this University for more than 20 years and am appealing the decision to a Review Committee.

This move is the culmination of a series of failed attempts by management to restrict my public comments. I have always rejected such censorship. The latest complaint concerns my advisory analysis of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Examine the graphic below and decide for yourself whether or how this infographic might be ‘offensive’.

These complaints, over the last 18 months, have been petty and absurd. In my view they represent an unusually aggressive regime of political censorship, in which no decent university should be involved.

Most of the management complaints have to do with my criticisms of war propaganda against Syria, Iraq and Palestine. I don’t accept such censorship.

Stephen Garton has ignored the ‘intellectual freedom’ rule of the university, which states that academic staff are entitled to ‘express unpopular or controversial views, provided that in doing so staff must not engage in harassment, vilification or intimidation’. I will point this out to the Review Committee.

I have told Provost Garton that I don’t abuse or engage in gratuitous criticism, but I do criticise dishonest propaganda harshly, when justified. I have rejected his attempts at political censorship as unprincipled.


Academics fight suspension of lecturer over swastika image

by Jordan Baker, 

Sydney Morning Herald, December 7,  2018

Sydney University academics have criticised the suspension of an academic who showed students material featuring the Nazi swastika imposed over Israel’s flag, saying it was a body blow to academic freedom. (see above image, left hand corner)

By Friday afternoon 30 academics, including several emeritus professors, had signed the open letter arguing that academic freedom was “meaningless if it is suspended when its exercise is deemed offensive.”

The academic at the centre of the controversy, senior lecturer in political economy Tim Anderson, has also been criticised by federal ministers for visiting Syria and North Korea, where he expressed solidarity with their dictatorial regimes.

Earlier this week, Sydney University served Dr Anderson a termination notice, saying the swastika material amounted to serious misconduct that was “disrespectful and offensive, and contrary to the university’s behavioural expectations”.

Dr Anderson was given a week to show why he should not be sacked and has been barred from entering the university in the meantime. He is appealing the decision, describing the complaints as petty and absurd.

The academics, mostly from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said employment should not be dependent on their work remaining within the bounds of “contested and intrinsically indefinable constraint”.

Some of the signatories of the letter are also vocal opponents of a proposal by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation to fund a course in western tradition at the university. They argue that the proposal also compromises academic freedom.

“The suspension of Dr Tim Anderson pending the termination of his employment is an unacceptable act of censorship and a body-blow to academic freedom at the University of Sydney,” the academics wrote in the open letter.

“There can be no better-known or more banal occurrence in intellectual history than the suppression of ideas on the grounds of their offensiveness to powerful interests.”

*

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Featured image: Sydney University lecturer Tim Anderson during a recent trip to North Korea. CREDIT:FACEBOOK

The Dirty War on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. In seeking ‘regime change’ the big powers sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies of ‘Islamists’, demonising the Syrian Government and constantly accusing it of atrocities. In this way Syrian President Bashar al Assad, a mild-mannered eye doctor, became the new evil in the world.

The popular myths of this dirty war – that it is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or a sectarian conflict – hide a murderous spree of ‘regime change’ across the region. The attack on Syria was a necessary consequence of Washington’s ambition, stated openly in 2006, to create a ‘New Middle East’. After the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Syria was next in line.

The Dirty War on Syria

by Professor Tim Anderson

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-8-4

Year: 2016

Pages: 240

Author: Tim Anderson

List Price: $23.95

Special Price: $15.00

click to purchase, directly from Global Research Publishers

[Seven] years into this war the evidence is quite clear and must be set out in detail. The terrible massacres were mostly committed by the western backed jihadists, then blamed on the Syrian Army. The western media and many western NGOs parroted the official line. Their sources were almost invariably those allied to the ‘jihadists’. Contrary to the myth that the big powers now have their own ‘war on terror’, those same powers have backed every single anti-government armed group in Syria, ‘terrorists’ in any other context, adding thousands of ‘jihadis’ from dozens of countries.

Yet in Syria this dirty war has confronted a disciplined national army which did not disintegrate along sectarian lines. Despite terrible destruction and loss of life, Syria has survived, deepening its alliance with Russia, Iran, the Lebanese Resistance, the secular Palestinians and, more recently, with Iraq. The tide has turned against Washington, and that will have implications beyond Syria.

As western peoples we have been particularly deceived by this dirty war, reverting to our worst traditions of intervention, racial prejudice and poor reflection on our own histories. This book tries to tell its story while rescuing some of the better western traditions: the use of reason, ethical principle and the search for independent evidence.

Reviews: 

Tim Anderson  has written the best systematic critique of western fabrications justifying the war against the Assad government. 

No other text brings together all the major accusations and their effective refutation.

This text is essential reading for all peace and justice activists.  -James Petras, Author and Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Tim Anderson’s important new book, titled “The Dirty War on Syria” discusses US naked aggression – “rely(ing) on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory,” he explains.

ISIS is the pretext for endless war without mercy, Assad the target, regime change the objective, wanting pro-Western puppet governance replacing Syrian sovereign independence.

There’s nothing civil about war in Syria, raped by US imperialism, partnered with rogue allies. Anderson’s book is essential reading to understand what’s going on. Stephen Lendman, Distinguished Author and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Host of the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Professor Anderson demonstrates unequivocally through carefully documented research that America’s “Moderate Opposition” are bona fide Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists created and protected by the US and its allies, recruited  and trained by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, in liaison with Washington and Brussels.

Through careful analysis, professor Anderson reveals the “unspoken truth”: the “war on terrorism” is fake, the United States is a “State sponsor of terrorism” involved in a criminal undertaking. Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Professor of Economics (Emeritus), University of Ottawa.

Anderson’s excellent book is required reading for those wanting to know the true story of the imperialist proxy war waged on Syria by the U.S. and its Western and Middle Eastern puppet states. This account could also be titled “How to Destroy a Country and Lie About it”. Of course Syria is only one in a long line of countries destroyed by Washington in the Middle East and all over the Global South for more than a century.

Anderson’s analysis is particularly useful for dissecting the propaganda war waged by the U.S. to hide its active support for the vicious Islamic fundamentalists it is using in Syria. In spreading this propaganda the U.S. has been aided not only by the West’s mainstream press but also by its prominent so-called human rights organizations. Asad Ismi, International Affairs Correspondent for The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor.


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«لعبة الأنفاق» لا تُعوِّض الخسائر

 

ديسمبر 8, 2018

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تُثيرُ «إسرائيل» منذ أسبوع تقريباً «مسألة أنفاق» تقول إنّ حزب الله حفرها من داخل قرى لبنانية مواجهة لحدودها الشمالية مع لبنان لاستخدامها في «أعمال إرهابية» على أراضيها.

بداية، ليس هناك عربي باستثناء حكام الخليج وبعض سياسيّي لبنان من ذوي التاريخ الإسرائيلي يدين حزب الله على عمل مشابه مع عدو سلب كامل فلسطين المحتلة مُشرّداً شعبها ويحتلّ أراضي سورية ولبنانية مهاجماً قطاع غزة كلّ أسبوع وملتهماً الضفة الغربية تدريجياً ويجول في لبنان جواً وبحراً وبراً من دون انقطاع ولا يلقى أيّ اعتراض او استنكار من الأمم المتحدة وجامعة الدول العربية المزعومة. فإذا كان الحزب هو الذي حفرها فلا يمكن إلا الدعاء بالخير لسواعد مجاهديه، فهل ينسى أحدٌ الغارات الإسرائيلية على مواقع الجيش السوري وحلفائه في معظم الأراضي السورية؟

بأيّ حال، فإنّ قراءة التوقيت في توجيه الاتهام لحزب الله بحفر الأنفاق مريب ومشكوك فيه، لأنها تعقب مباشرة تنفيذ العقوبات على إيران ومسارعة الأميركيين للإصرار على وقفٍ لإطلاق النار مع الإرهاب في منطقة إدلب.

تُرى هل توافق الشرطة الأميركية على تنظيم وقفٍ لإطلاق النار مع العصابات في شيكاغو؟

وتعمل أيضاً على «كنتنة» شرق الفرات بتوزيعه على أفخاذ من عشائر متورّطة ومموّلة خليجياً وبين المشروع الكردي الضائع بين جرافات المشاريع الكبرى والقواعد الأميركية المنتشرة حتى الشمال. كما تدغدغ أحلام الأتراك بضمّ قسم من الشمال السوري إليهم بمزاعم عثمانية، هذا الى جانب انكفاء الدور الأردني الداعم للإرهاب داخل حدود بلاده وإرغام الكيان الإسرائيلي الغاصب على العودة الى خطوط الهدنة في 1974.

هذا ما يؤكد انّ الانعاش الإسرائيلي لمسألة الأنفاق يلي سلسلة تراجعات في المشروع الإرهابي المدعوم أميركياً وأردنياً وخليجياً وتركياً، ويصيب الدور الأميركي في المنطقة بعطب شديد ومعه الدور الإسرائيلي الذي كان يضرب في سورية ولبنان ساعة يشاء ومن دون عواقب.

يتبيّن أنّ الأميركيين يحاولون عرقلة انتصار المحور السوري الإيراني الروسي وحزب الله فصنعوا لكلّ واحد من هؤلاء ما يربكه بدءاً من مشاريعهم التفتيتية في شرق الفرات وإدلب والعقوبات على إيران وافتعال خلاف أوكراني روسي حول حرية الملاحة في بحر أزوف بمواكبة تهديد أميركي بالانسحاب من معاهدة «الصواريخ» النووية القصيرة المدى والمتوسطة. وفجأة تظهر لعبة الأنفاق في لبنان…

هناك تتابع في استهداف كامل أعضاء المحور الذي انتصر على الإرهاب المدعوم أميركياً في سورية بشكل لم يستثنِ أحداً منهم، فهل هذا مصادفة؟

قد تظهر هذه التحركات الأميركية وكأنها عقاب ناتج من غضب، لكن لدى التدقيق فيها يكتشف أنها خطة أميركية جديدة لإرباك أعضاء المحور المنتصر تمهيداً لإعادة تشكيل آليات جديدة.

ضمن هذا الإطار تندرج لعبة الأنفاق الإسرائيلية شمال الكيان الغاصب وجنوبي لبنان.

وتنبثق على الفور ثلاث نقاط:

الأولى من رئيس وزراء «إسرائيل» السابق إيهود باراك الذي كشف أنّ الكيان الغاصب على علم، بهذه الأنفاق منذ سنوات عدة، فلماذا يعلنون عن اكتشافها اليوم؟

الثانية من وزيرة الخارجية الإسرائيلية السابقة تسيبي ليفني التي اتهمت رئيس وزراء «إسرائيل» نتنياهو بتسييس الموضوع.

أما النقطة الثالثة فتتعلق بمحاولة الأميركيين إدانة منظمة حماس بالإرهاب في الأمم المتحدة، لكن مشروع الإدانة سقط، كان يحتاج لبضعة أصوات فقط ليصبح نافذاً. وها هم الأميركيون أنفسهم يصرّون على «تجريم» حزب الله في الأمم المتحدة أيضاً واعتباره ميليشيا إرهابية تحاول تفجير الوضع في الشرق الأوسط بكامله.

فما هي الاعتبارات القانونية والأخلاقية التي تستند اليها واشنطن لاتهام حماس وحزب الله بالاعتداء على السلم العالمي، وهما منظمتان تدافعان عن أراضيهما في وجه كيان غاصب دمّر لبنان وملتهماً فلسطين ومحتلاً أراضي سورية ومحاولاً تخريب غزة والضفة بهجمات وحشية؟

ما يمكن استخلاصه أنّ هناك حلقة متكاملة يحاول الأميركيون فيها توجيه اتهامات وإدانات وهجمات على المحور المنتصر في سورية والذي تسبّب بالصمود اليمني والنصر العراقي مع المحافظة على القضية الفلسطينية مستمرة ودائمة في وجه صفقة القرن، هذا الى جانب الدور الإسرائيلي الخطير بدعم الإرهاب في سورية لتفتيتها إلى جانب الدور الأميركي والخليجي.

لذلك لا تخرج «لعبة الأنفاق» عن هذا المدى، لكنها تريد ايضاً تجميد دور حزب الله في لبنان لأنها تخشى ان يؤدي حجم الحزب الإقليمي الى تقليص أوزان حلفاء الأميركيين والخليجيين في لبنان من الرئيس المكلف «السعد» وحزبه المستقبل الى الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وزعيمه الوزير جنبلاط الى سمير جعجع رئيس حزب القوات المعروف بعلاقاته الإسرائيلية التاريخية.

فهل تنجح لعبة الأنفاق في تعويم هذه القوى وإعادة الاعتبار اليها في الميدان اللبناني بما يؤدي الى منع حزب الله من السيطرة عليه؟

ليس لدى حزب الله طموح بالسيطرة على لبنان بقدر ما يريد دعم جبهة داخلية تؤمن بالدفاع عن لبنان في وجه مخططات «إسرائيل» وواشنطن.

فهل معقول أن يمنع الأميركيون لبنان من الموافقة على أسلحة روسية معظمها هدايا ولا تقبل ببيعه سلاحاً موازياً؟ وتمنع عنه الأسلحة المضادة للطائرات الجوية الإسرائيلية؟

«مسرحية» الأنفاق هي إذاً جزء من خطة أميركية لعرقلة دور حزب الله في الإقليم العربي، ولبنان وذلك بإثارة الخلافات الداخلية فيه على قاعدة أن تحرّشات الحزب بـ»إسرائيل» قد تؤدي الى تدمير الاستقرار الداخلي مع تعطيل تشكيل حكومة جديدة.

وإذا كانت هذه الأنفاق قديمة او حفرتها «إسرائيل» حديثاً، فإنها لن تؤدي الى حرب تعرف «إسرائيل» أنها لن تربحها، على قاعدة أنها جربتها في 2006 ولم يكن حزب الله بهذه القدرات التي اكتسبها من حروبه ضد الإرهاب في سورية، فكيف الحال معه اليوم، وكيف تحاسب «إسرائيل» حزب الله على أنفاق غير مستعملة وهي التي تستبيح لبنان براً وبحراً وجواً وتسرقُ بعض ثرواته من الغاز والنفط في المناطق المتاخمة.

غداً تقفل «إسرائيل» مهرجان «الأنفاق» السياسي لتبحث عن العاب جديدة.. وغداً يستمر حزب الله في حماية بلده في وجه الأطماع والسياسة الأميركية الإسرائيلية الخليجية غير مبالٍ بثرثرات من الخارج والداخل تتطاير في الهواء من دون صدى وفاعلية مؤكداً أن الميدان هو المحور المحدد الفعلي لموازين القوى والتجربة خير برهان.

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The White House Anxiety Disorder

Hussein Samawarchi

I searched for hours on end for statements released by Syrian, Iranian, and Iraqi officials about the NAFTA agreement but failed to find anything. It seems as if these three countries do not think it is any of their concern or, perhaps, they just believe that Canada, Mexico, and the United States are sovereign nations who maintain the right to indulge in agreements without foreign intervention.

I decided to widen my search and looked for positions taken by the same three Middle Eastern countries regarding defense and military agreements between the United States and European or Far East nations and found nothing of significance.

There are a lot of political stances in Iran, though, about certain issues like further improving national education institutes and medical care. Also, political statements in Syria regarding the necessity to keep the fight against terrorism while diverting much of the national budget towards the rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure. The majority of Iraqi political statements tackle such domestic matters as the strengthening of national unity and improving the public services sector.

Iraq, Iran, and Syria do mention the United States but only in the scope of its meddling in their affairs. They don’t seem to care about it at all when it comes to its choices in bilateral agreements with other countries and the way its government runs things.

Iranian politicians speak frequently about how the United States is actively trying to impoverish the Islamic Republic’s economy. Syrian politicians talk about how the US military has invaded a part of their land and how those Chinook helicopters have become the preferred airline for members of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group]. Iraqi politicians still wonder why Trump sent an envoy to tell them [not ask them nicely] how to run the country in light of the recent elections; they are perplexed as to whether he was serious in thinking that they would abide by his unrealistic expectations.

It is high time to do some explaining about the meaning of patriotism for those occupying the White House.

It is not enough to say that you love your country. Neither is it enough to fly its flag over your front porch. Loving your country is protecting its borders from occupiers and defending its name from shame. To truly love your country is to uphold democracy, freedom, equality, and honor. Those factors will create a better environment for education, culture, and economy. They will also raise the name of your nation up high between other nations, rendering citizens proud of their nationality.

Patriotism is all that and more. You are not a patriot if you knowingly incorporate the name of your nation with theft, murder, and destruction. Blasting an Iraqi bomb shelter on top of the heads of nearly 500 civilians brings indescribable shame to your flag; so does supplying arms to Daesh members for the purpose of shooting Syrian women. There’s also the matter of dispatching wave after wave of the so-called precision bombs to the Saudis – the fact that scores of little Yemeni children never made it back home from school has not put the US in the list of the top ten humanitarian countries. Not even in the top 190.

One wonders if, by some miracle, Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin would come back to see what the constitutional government they helped create has evolved into. I see them organizing a revolution backed up by the many decent Americans who can’t make ends meet because their money is being sent to a foreign Zionist army committing daily atrocities against Palestinians. They would surely succeed and claim the White House but would also probably not manage to clean it up because many more Monica Lewinskys are always on standby to bring down anyone who defies the Zionist agenda.

The American administration says it is working seamlessly to prevent closer ties between Iraq, Syria, and Iran. It appears that smooth borders between the three neighboring countries in accordance with enhanced diplomatic agreements create a source of anxiety for the Americans.

With the elevated level of awareness that the leaders and people of the three countries have, it is impossible to break them apart. This option is out of the question. The only solution left is to tend to the anxiety problem, which brings us to the results of my third and final search.

It turns out that all three countries have an incredible number of professional practitioners in the area of mental health. Since it is very difficult for our psychiatrists to travel to the US because Trump has placed so many regulations against granting visas for citizens of Islamic countries, an aircraft can be sent to Washington for free. He is welcome to bring along Pompeo, Bolton, Pence, and the rest of the gang suffering from acute anxiety disorder and they wouldn’t have to pay a single cent because medical treatment in these countries is free for those who can’t afford it and for guests.

Lessons in true patriotism are also free of charge.

Source: Al-Ahed News

نتنياهو بين النفق والغاز البحري

ديسمبر 7, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لعله من المستغرب أن تقرّر حكومة كيان الاحتلال ورئيسها المأزومان من تطورات المواجهة في غير صالحهما على جبهتي سورية وغزة الاستدارة نحو لبنان، حيث الجبهة التي يجمع قادة الاحتلال ومن بينهم بنيامين نتنياهو على اعتبارها الأخطر، فالتفكير بالحرب مع غزة كان هو الأولوية التي تراجعت بعد اختبارات الشهر الماضي وظهور الكورنيت والصواريخ الثقيلة والدقيقة بحوزة المقاومة هناك، والتصعيد المتقطع عبر الغارات الجوية كان الخيار الأمثل على الجبهة السورية قبل توضيع شبكة صواريخ الـ»أس 300» التي تجعل احتمال الانزلاق نحو مواجهات تخرج عن السيطرة مع خطر سقوط طائرات إسرائيلية، ومع ظهور الدمج التقني الذي حققه الجيش السوري بين مكوّنات دفاعه الجوي بما يحقق قدرة الدرع من دون كشف أسرار الـ»أس 300» ومواقعه، فهل باتت جبهة لبنان أسهل للمناوشة والتصعيد؟

– يجمع المحللون في كيان الاحتلال وهم يواكبون حملة نتنياهو نحو أنفاق الشمال على أربعة أشياء، الأولى أن نتنياهو في النفق السياسي والقضائي والحملة متنفس له لشغل الرأي العام والإعلام بما هو خطر أمني، والثانية أن «إسرائيل» كلها في نفق العجز عن حرب مع جبهة لبنان، وتسعى لتفادي أي مواجهة وإلا لكانت ومن دون إعلام وإعلان وضعت أيديها على الأنفاق وتوغّلت عبرها إلى ما وراء حدود لبنان ونفّذت عبرها أعمالاً أمنية ضد حزب الله، أو قامت بنسفها داخل الجغرافيتين اللبنانية والفلسطينية، والثالثة أن حملة الأنفاق تكتيكية لإعادة تحريك التفاوض الذي يملك مع لبنان قناتين عمليتين هما اليونيفيل والسفارة الأميركية، والذي تتولّاه لبنانية جهات لا تتطابق مع المقاومة في نظرتها وبعضها يشارك في العداء لحزب الله ما يجعله يتلقف التهديد الإسرائيلي لتوظيفه في ضغوط لو لم تكن متصلة مباشرة بما يزعج «إسرائيل»، لكنه سيستعمله فيما يسهم بإرباك حزب الله وتحميله مسؤولية المخاطر على لبنان. وهذا كاف بذاته. أما الرابعة وهي الأهم، فتستند إلى يقين قادة الكيان بأن التفاوض الذي يبدأ حول الأمن عبر الحدود سينفتح على قضايا ترسيم الحدود البرية والبحرية، وبقدر ما يمكن للاحتلال أن يقدّم بعض التنازلات الشكلية التي تطال الجدار في الحدود البرية، فهو سيجهد لحسم الحدود البحرية لاتصالها بملف الغاز الذي تضع قيادة الكيان ثقلها للسير بخطط الاستثمار والتطوير في مجالاته ومفرداته كافة.

– لا يمكن تجاهل المدى الذي قطعه الإسرائيليون في استثمار الغاز، ونجاح مساعي التعطيل الداخلي اللبناني بإيجاد فارق زمني بين لبنان و»إسرائيل» يمتدّ لسنتين، وهو مرشح للزيادة في ضوء مساعي تعطيل الحكومة، كما لا يمكن تجاهل الحاجة الإسرائيلية للاستقرار في ملف الغاز، خصوصاً أن الإسراع في الاستقرار القانوني صار شرطاً للمراحل الراهنة من الاستثمار بالنسبة للشركات العالمية التي تتولى التنقيب والاستخراج والضخ، وكذلك بالنسبة للمستثمرين الأوروبيين الذين تسعى «إسرائيل» لاجتذاب مشاركتهم في مشروع أنبوب استراتيجي يضخ الغاز الإسرائيلي إلى قبرص فاليونان وصولاً إلى إيطاليا كمرحلة أولى.

– اللافت أن التحرش الإسرائيلي المرشح لتغير عناوينه تحت سقف تفادي التصعيد، يتم ضمن سياق منسق خليجياً عبر عنه التمويل الإماراتي للدراسة الخاصة بأنبوب الغاز إلى أوروبا، وقد بلغت قيمة التمويل المعلنة مئة مليون دولار، ولبنان الداخل ليس بعيداً عن الأيدي والعيون الخليجية، مباشرة أو عبر امتدادات لبنانية

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Syria’s Grand Mufti Hassoun Discusses Peaceful Coexistence, Love, and an Inclusive, Nonsectarian Syria

By Eva Bartlett
Source

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DAMASCUS, SYRIA — On October 2, 2018, I met with the Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr. Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, a scholar and the highest official of Islamic law in Syria, who assumed the position of grand mufti in 2005.

Dr. Hassoun’s (archived) website notes that in addition to his title of grand mufti, his other positions include, “Chairman of the Media Committee of the Higher Consultative Council for the Rapprochement between the Islamic Schools of Thought, Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.” Essentially meaning that the mufti focuses on interfaith, and inter-sect, dialogue.

His speeches routinely focus on the theme of rapprochement or, more generally, coexistence and love. He takes a firmly anti-sectarian stance, and supports the removal of barriers between sects, in order to achieve national unity.

Yet Dr. Hassoun’s detractors — most often aligned with NATO, Gulf, Turkish, or Israeli interests — accuse him of supporting terrorism. These claims emanate from a mistranslated version of a speech Hassoun gave in 2011 following the assassination of his son Saria just days before. The translation was provided by MEMRI, an organization founded by former Israeli intelligence officials that translates political speeches from Arabic into English.

Dr. Hassoun has long since addressed the accusation, including in a November 2011 interview with Der Spiegel, in which he clarified:

I didn’t threaten to send suicide bombers. I merely described a scenario in which it could easily emerge from the situation, and I warned against what could happen. Sentences were taken out of context and given a different coloring. Besides, the context to which my remark applied was a self-defense situation: a possible NATO attack on Syria.”

As I wrote previously, Dr. Hassoun spoke of the murder of his son Saria, “’…who had never carried a weapon in his life” and was gunned-down as he was leaving his university:

In a public address at the funeral the next day, Mufti Hassoun, while weeping, forgave the gunmen and called on them to lay down their weapons and re-join Syria. The following day, he received a text message saying the assassins would kill him as they had killed his son.

A year later, when two of the gunmen were caught, the Mufti went to speak with them. Again bestowing his forgiveness and asking only to know why they had murdered Saria, Mufti Hassoun learned that the assassins were simply following orders from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and were paid for their dirty work, one thousand dollars per person. Embodying the forgiveness he preaches, the Mufti asks for their pardon and release.”

My conversation with Dr. Hassoun touched on Syria’s rich mosaic of cultures and faiths; Syria’s history of plurality and coexistence; the role of the media in shaping narratives on Syria, and the issue of Western sanctions on Syria, sanctions that specifically hurt the Syrian people — depriving Syrians of access to medicines, cancer treatments, medical equipment, even ambulances.

Mufti Hassoun is described in Western media as one of the most powerful figures in Syria. In my experiences, he is one of the most humble, approachable and compassionate figures, beloved by Syrians of all faiths.

Below is a translated transcript of my interview with Mufti Hassoun

Eva Bartlett (EB): First of all, I’d like to thank you, Mufti Hassoun for your time today and for meeting with me.

Mufti Hassoun (MH): I would like to thank you because you were able to penetrate through the lies of the media, and come to Syria several times to report an authentic image of what has been happening in Syria.

Because the media, as President Trump put it, can be bought nowadays. The media write what they are told, not the truth.

Whereas you, Eva, you insisted on coming to Syria to see the truth and to report what is happening in Syria, and in Gaza, and in places where the fire of wars is raging.

You refused to lease your mind. You wanted to see the truth, and that is what I wish from all journalists in the world. [I wish] that journalists were never traders of values and principles, whose dignity and values can be bought. So they write what they are told, and report what they are told, not the truth.

The truth will be known to people through history. And God will hold us accountable for it [the truth] if we believe in God. And history will also hold us accountable.

So Eva, I have highly respected you since the first day you came. It wasn’t enough for you to listen to what I said and my words. You went on the streets, mixed with the people, went to Aleppo, went to Latakia, visited people in their homes.

You took the words from the supporters and the opposition listened to both parties and wrote the truth, that Syria is oppressed and that Syria has wonderful people. And that in Syria, there is no conflict between the people and the government.

The conflict is between the values and civilization that Syria enjoys [on the one hand], and those who want to drive people backwards [on the other hand] to a version of Islam that is not Islam, and to values that are not values. They want to enslave the people.

Thank you, Eva. I hope you will become a role model for free journalism, and for a noble, impartial, media, to report people’s pain and their hopes. Thanks to you, and to a father and a mother who raised you to become a truth seeker, and not one to follow others.

EB: How can Syria combat the sectarianism that is being thrust upon it by Saudi and Gulf television channels, and by their sheikhs (religious leaders), and by their muftis.

MH: Syria is a civilized country — it embraces all the civilizations of the world because it is the gate to the Orient. So [historically] those who wanted to go to China from Europe passed through Syria. And those who want to go back to Europe pass through Syria. Syria a hundred years ago was far bigger than Syria today. In Syria in 1900, 118 years ago, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria were one country. One bank, one currency, one president, and one nation. There were no religious minorities in it. The reason is that it is the land of Abraham, and Abraham was the forefather of all prophets. He was the forefather of Moses, and of Jesus, and the forefather of Muhammad, may prayers and peace be upon them.

Therefore, Syria embraced those divine messages. So, in one family, you can find a Christian, you can find a Muslim, you can find a secularist, you can find a capitalist and you can find a socialist.

Syria embraced everyone. And it also embraced ethnicities like the Arabs, the Kurds, the Syriacs, the Assyrians, and the Arameans. One could hear many languages: Arabic, Armenian, Chaldean, and Aramaic. One could find people from all over the world. If you went to its churches in Palestine, which was part of Syria at the time, you could find in these churches a Greek monk, a French bishop, an Aramean bishop, a Chaldean, an Arab, all of them in the churches praying together.

And if you went to the Aqsa mosque, you would see the Arabs, the Kurds, others from all ethnicities or regions, such as Egyptians and Libyans, inside the Aqsa Mosque. There were no ‘minorities’ in Syria. Syria is a nation in which all ethnicities are gathered. Therefore, when they [imperialist nations] divided it in 1900 into four countries, they wanted to create conditions for establishing countries on an ethnic, religious, and racist basis, which fight one another.

After the division, we did not fight with Lebanon, nor did we fight with Iraq, nor did we fight with Jordan, nor did we fight with Palestine.

They went to the world and told them that Solomon’s Temple was in Palestine. Come to Solomon’s Temple… I am very surprised by these words, that Solomon’s Temple, or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Aqsa Mosque, or the Kaaba, gather all the people of this religion in this country!

That means every Jew should be in Palestine, every Christian should be in Bethlehem, and every Muslim should be in al-Aqsa. This is untrue! Exalted God is in my heart, and in the heart of that Jew and that Christian. God is in our hearts. He is not in the church, nor in the temple, nor in the Kaaba. Thus began this religious, extremist ideology, by making countries fight one another for hundreds of years, and kill one another in the name of God.

The difference between war in the name of religion and war for money or oil is that with war for oil, when you put your hand on oil wells, the war ends. When you control politics, the war is over. But when it comes to religion, here is the problem: the fight will go on for hundreds of years.

The reason is that wars become “holy.” This is what happened 500 years ago when Europe came to wage war in Syria and in Palestine. If you asked those fighters who came from Norway, Italy, France and Britain, “Why did you come to Syria?” they would say: “We came to save the tomb of the Messiah.” To save the tomb of the Messiah. And we could ask them: “Is Jesus buried in the ground? Jesus is in Heaven. So why are you fighting for a tomb that is empty?”

But the clergies used to fuel these wars to profit from them, and politicians used to work with them, so they could be leaders and kings.

The war in Syria, which has been going on for the last eight years, started for similar reasons. It is a war to divide Syria into ethnicities and sects, and to weaken it.

Like what they did in Lebanon. In Lebanon in 1960, and before 1960, the president was Maronite, and the prime minister was Sunni, and the president of the parliament was Shia, and they did not fight.  They were one family.

But, after the Lebanese war, Lebanon was divided into four divisions: There was a Sunni state, a Durzi state, a Shia state, and a Maronite state. It was a big lie. Syria entered into Lebanon, eliminated the borders, and withdrew.

We were surprised by the war on Iraq. From long ago, Iraq has had Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs. They are there in Iraq. Iraq is a country that houses nations. They have always integrated and coexisted.

[Paul] Bremer came and established their constitution. That constitution is a sectarian and racist constitution. That constitution states that the president of the republic should be a Kurd, the prime minister should be a Shia, and the president of the parliament should be a Sunni.

Am I electing a bishop for a church or an Imam for a mosque depending on his being a Kurd, a Sunni, or a Shia? I am electing a person to govern the state and serve the people. So when I say that the president of the parliament must be a Shia, and the prime minister be a Sunni… Why Sunni or Shia?

He must be an Iraqi citizen. He must be a Syrian citizen, whether Christian or Muslim.

Today, the president of the parliament in Syria is a Christian. Where is the problem? Eighty years ago, the prime minister was a Christian, Faris Al-Khouri. Where is the problem?

Syria has held on to this humanitarian notion that the children of this country are not minorities. There are tens of Yazidi villages, they are originally Zoroastrian. There are Christians of all sects. There are Sunnis of all doctrines. There are Shias of all doctrines. There are sects from all ethnicities.

They are all a population of 23 million citizens. They have the right to vote. They have the right to occupy any rank in the government, like the Ministry of Defense. One is never asked whether he is a Muslim, a Christian, or a Jew, Sunni, Shia, or an Arab, or a Kurd, or an Assyrian. As long as he is a Syrian citizen.

For this reason, the war was started in Syria. Because it is a civil and secular state, but not non-religious. Syria respects religions and acknowledges everyone’s religion, and has a law that protects everyone’s religious and ethnic rights.

The Armenians, who came from Armenia after the wars that were waged there, we didn’t say to any of them: ‘abandon your language.’ There are Armenian schools. There are Syriac schools. Along with Arabic, they study Armenian and Syriac. They did not lose their identity.

All this hatred to Syria is because it did not submit to the European or American division that was imposed on Iraq and Lebanon. France imposed this ethnic and religious division in Lebanon.

Regarding Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, they do not have the same diversity that exists in Syria. They are states based on clans. Let’s take al-Hijaz, the state of Hijaz.  Al-Hijaz, since the time of prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him) until one hundred years ago, was the home for all Arab tribes, from Najran to Dammam, to Abha, to Khamis Mishait, to Ma’an. All Arab tribes lived there, and all those tribes were Muslims.

When the Saudis came into power, they replaced the name of the country al-Hijaz with the name of the family. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the country was no longer for the nation but for a family.

Syria is a nation, and does not belong to the Assad family. Syria is for the nation, and does not belong to al-Quwatli family. Syria is for the nation, and does not belong to Amin al-Hafiz. (Al-Quwatli and al-Hafiz were presidents of Syria). Syria is a nation.

Saudi Arabia — a part of which was called Hijaz — was a country for all Arab tribes, before a single tribal name was imposed on them.

That is why these countries do not know the meaning of the sectarian and ethnic diversity that we know in Syria. Diversity gives you power, it gives you richness. When there are Kurds, Armenians, Christians, Muslims, Jews and the secular, they all each think in their own way.

So, when they sit together they produce a wealth of ideas and culture. There, they don’t accept a different opinion. For example, I used to go to al-Hijaz to perform Hajj [pilgrimage] with a group of Syrians. I wanted to deliver a speech to them; it’s forbidden: ‘You should not speak. The speaker must be a Saudi.’

Whereas, in Syria, we welcomed the Saudi, the Egyptian, the British, and the American, in our cultural centers and we would listen to them, and listen to their speeches.

I myself received in my mosque, al-Rawda mosque in Aleppo, members of parliament from all over the world. Even one of the Philippines’ presidents visited us. Austria’s minister of foreign affairs visited me in the mosque and listened to the sermon, and we listened to their words.

We have no objection to listening to the other. Whereas, those countries are racist and religious countries. [They] don’t accept other religions, and not only other religions, but also other doctrines.

For example, the Wahhabi doctrine — they don’t accept other doctrines. In Syria, we have a mufti for the Shafie school, a mufti for the Jafari school, a mufti for Hanbali school, and a mufti for the Maliki school. As long as there is a group, it has its own religious doctrine.

There is a patriarch for the Orthodox, a patriarch for the Syriacs, and a patriarch for the Catholics. This is their natural right.

In Saudi Arabia, such a thing is prohibited, unless [the mufti is] a Sunni Salafist. These days, you [Saudi Arabia] receive around 3 or 4 million Muslim pilgrims from all over the world. There are Sunni pilgrims, Shia pilgrims, Sufi pilgrims. As long as he [the pilgrim] is speaking to his group, it is his right. So why do you prevent him [from doing so]?

In Syria, this is the intellectual freedom they wanted to get rid of with this sectarian war, where they said: ‘This is Alawite, this is Sunni’ … and that the government in Syria is Alawite.

Who says that Alawites are not Syrians, and not Muslims, or not sons of this country? If they had studied only the word ‘Alawite,’ [they would have found] that it means a spiritual Sufi Muslim who loves [Imam] Ali and does not hate others. This is the meaning of the word ‘Alawite.’

And the Druze, they are the Unitarians; [they are] a Muslim nation called the Unitarians, whose forefathers build al-Azhar [mosque].

The Jafari Shias are the followers of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq whose forefather is the Messenger of God [Muhammad].

The Sunnis, their sheikhs were the students of Jafar al-Sadiq. All of them. Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, were students of Jafar al-Sadiq.

What you see today of religious division is not religious; it is political division hiding under a religious cloak to control people by coercion, not by thoughts, nor by mind, nor by culture. ‘There shall be no compulsion in the religion’ (The Qur’an 2:256).

This is the main difference between us [Syria] and other countries.

EB: My next question dovetails with your response, because I had wanted to note how the Saudi mufti is sectarian, and has called for the churches on the Arabian peninsula to be destroyed, whereas I recall that Reverend Ibrahim Nseir told me that when his church was destroyed by terrorists in Aleppo, the first person to call him was Mufti Hassoun, who said: ‘Don’t worry, Reverend, we will rebuild your church.’ So, there is a stark difference between the ideology and mentality of this Wahhabi, Saudi, mufti, and Mufti Hassoun – who, I believe – is it correct to say you consider yourself Mufti of all Syrians?

MH: First of all, what is happening in Syria, the demolition of churches and mosques … they destroyed both churches and mosques. They are not defending a religion; they are fighting to destroy the Syrian state, and to destroy this humanitarian fabric that is present in Syria.

Therefore, they tried to demolish Tadmur [Palmyra]. Palmyra has nothing to do with Muslims or Christians. They tried to loot Syrian artifacts that go back five thousand, ten thousand years, including the ruins of Afamia and other ruins in Syria. So, they are trying to wipe out history in attempts to build a future. This future that they are trying to create is built on ethnic, sectarian, doctrinal and racist bases, where people kill one another.

And this is what you can see today in Israeli society. Israeli society has extremist and non-extremist components. There are neighbourhoods in al-Quds [Jerusalem] and neighbourhoods in Tel Aviv where one can walk and not feel they are in a civilized country, but a regressive one that goes back a thousand years. Long hair, beards. At 6 p.m. every Friday, no one is seen in the streets. It is prohibited to walk in the streets because God rests on Saturday, therefore people have to rest, too.

Why do you impose your opinion compulsorily on people when God says: ‘There shall be no compulsion in religion’?

The extremist Jew is like the extremist Muslim, whether this Muslim is a Sufi, Salafi or Wahhabi. The extremist is the one who wants to impose their beliefs on others and say, ‘You are all kuffar [disbelievers] except me. I’m the believer.’  Whether they are Christians, Muslims, or Jews, the extremists consider others as ‘kuffar.’

The extremist Jew considers the Israeli prime minister a disbeliever. And the extremist Christian considers Christians who don’t regularly go to church as disbelievers. And the extremist Muslim considers ones who belong to a different Islamic doctrine as disbelievers, not only the ones who belong to a different religion.

The Protestant does not see the Orthodox as a believer, and the Orthodox believes that the Protestant has renounced Christianity.

We consider everyone as believers, and God is the one who will judge me for my faith, because the place of faith is in the heart, not the church, nor the mosque. How many a person goes to the church or the mosque, but with no faith?!  And how many a person has faith but has never been to a church or a mosque, and he is reconciled with exalted God?

How many a person has never been to Bethlehem, nor to the Wailing Wall, or to the Kabba, but to God, he is a believer?

Therefore, this extremism in the world is due to the political and economic dominance over the religious sphere. Politicians and economists want to dominate the religious and human sphere to govern people in the name of the divine, to the extent that people will start kissing the hand of the president or king because he is the son [descendent] of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Or because he represents Jesus, or because he represents Israel. People will submissively kiss the hands of this rabbi, that sheikh or mufti, or that priest. They love this.

Whereas for me, I believe that all people of the world, seven billion people, are my brothers. They fall into two groups. Those who believe and walk with me on the same path, these are my healthy brothers [who are in the right]. The other group do not walk with me on the same path, those are my ill brothers [who are in the wrong]. My duty is to offer them medicine and love, not to call them criminals or disbelievers. I have to show them the path. Those who walk beside me and take the medicine, it is their decision. Those who refuse to take the medicine, it is also their decision. It is you who are in pain.

This is what makes me, in Syria, not represent any sect or religion or ethnicity. I am a son of Syria. My forefather, 500 years ago, might have been a Kurd, or my other forefather or foremother a Turk. My forefather might have been from the tribe of Tai, and my mother’s lineage might have descended from the tribe of Thubian, and my other forefather might have been from the tribe of Hashim. This is not important to me today. What matters is how to save Syria.

Fourteen hundred years ago, Syria as a whole was Christian. Before Islam came here, all Syrians from Gaza to Antioch were Christians. [Before that] the Byzantines came to them from Greece; they were pagans 2,000 years ago.

When Jesus came with his message, Syria was divided into two groups: the indigenous Christians, and the pagan invaders. Islam arrived and some Christians, like al-Ghasasinah and other big tribes, remained Christian, and the rest embraced Islam. They were of one big tribe, some of them remained Christian and others became Muslims. They coexisted.

When the Commander of the believers, Othman bin Affan, was martyred, his wife, Naila bint Qerfais, was a Christian from Kufa [Iraq], and her father was a Christian cleric.

In Syria, we have this broad vision of thought, and that is why they are waging war on us. They want our thoughts to be narrow and closed. No. We will keep calling out: ‘Praise be to the Lord of the worlds,’ not the Lord of the Muslims, nor the Lord of Christians, but the Lord of the Worlds. For God is the Lord of us all.

Those who agree, they are welcome. And for those who do not: ‘For you is your religion, and for me is my religion’ (The Qur’an, 109:6). I will not force my religion on you, and you [also] don’t force yours on me. However, I swear I do love you and have mercy for you.

EB: At the beginning [of the interview], you mentioned how the corporate media has lied about Syria. So I’d like to bring up something from a few years ago. And that was that you warned the Western world that if terrorism didn’t stop in Syria, it would spread to Europe and beyond. And some media — I think it was Gulf media — took your words and distorted them, and lied about your message. So, I would just ask you if you could please clarify what it was you said and how they lied, I’m sure you remember which incident I’m referring to.

MH: This question comes on a special day. Today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of [my son] Saria. I said those words five days after the martyrdom of Saria.

A delegation from Lebanon was visiting me. The delegation was named ‘the Caravan of Mary.’ They came to visit me in Aleppo to express their condolences for my son’s martyrdom. They were Lebanese and Syrians, Christians and Muslims. I met them in a mosque called the Omayyad mosque in Aleppo, at the shrine of Zakaria.

On that day, I said: ‘This fire that you are starting in Syria by the extremists. This fire … you have sleeper cells in Europe, these cells send extremists to Syria. Someday, these sleeper cells will be active and burn up in Europe as they did in Syria.’ So they reported that I said: ‘we have sleeper cells that we will send to you.’

How could we send them to you, when they are burning us, and while they came from your countries?!

Some of those so-called opposition members mistranslated my speech to some European governments, and claimed that the Syrian Mufti is threatening that he would send sleeper cells to bomb Europe. When my son Saria was martyred, five days before this speech, I said I had forgiven those who killed my son. How would I accept to send someone to kill your children? How could I accept this?

For three years, corporate media and Syrian opposition members residing over there [in Europe] complained to the United Nations that the mufti of Syria should be held accountable, the mufti of Syria is a terrorist, the mufti of Syria…

It is indeed extremely surprising that Europeans listened to my speech in front of the European Council in 2009. I told them then: ‘I call you my brothers, not Europeans. I told them ‘you are my brothers, and our civilization is one.’ European, Syrian, and Arabic civilizations are one civilization which is neither a Muslim civilization, nor a Christian one. It is produced by humanity.

They entirely forgot this speech, as well as the martyrdom of my son, Saria. They also forgot my forgiveness. Instead, they would say: ‘He threatened us and is forbidden from entering Europe.’

I received several invitations from universities in Britain, France, and the United States to lecture there. The governments refuse to grant me entry. Why? Because they do not want the truth to reach their people.

For me, I disapprove of killing any human being in the universe. Even Israelis, I disapprove of killing them. However, I approve of their return to the countries they originally came from, and the return of Palestinians [to their land and homes]. The Jews, Christians, and Muslims who stay in Palestine are the ones who decide what type of government to have, and also welcome visitors from all over the world to Palestine.

The Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims should have the right to come and pray freely [in Palestine] under the protection of law.

But, this banning and this war that’s ongoing in the world, it’s all a political, economic and racist war, wearing the cloak of religion to claim: ‘We are Muslims. We are Christians. We are Jews.’

No, you are not Muslims, nor Jews, nor Christians when you kill humans. You are God’s enemies.

God says in the Psalms of David: ‘Man is my creation, man is the creation of God. Cursed is he who destroys God’s creation.’

Cursed is the one who manufactures weapons of mass destruction. Cursed is the one who plants landmines in the roads to kill people. Cursed is the one who manufactures nuclear weapons. Cursed is the one who manufactures hydrogen weapons [bombs]. Cursed is the one who launches long-range missiles at people, to kill people. Cursed are the ones who manufacture such weapons and use them to kill people, even if they are in the mosque, church, or synagogue.

God has not put us is this universe to kill one another. All prophets — Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Noah — they are all our prophets. Who did they kill? They did not kill anyone, but rather, they invited people to life, they encouraged the culture of life. So, those who kill nowadays in their names [in the names of the prophets] …

The massacre of Deir Yassin in Palestine, the displacement of 4 million Palestinians, the demolition of 3,000 Palestinian villages. By God, Moses is innocent in all of this. Moses was not sent to kill people, because he was oppressed by the Pharaoh.

Our master, Jesus, peace be upon him … when we look at those wars, the Crusades — I prefer to say ‘foreign’ wars, not Crusades … In the name of Jesus’ grave, more than 75,000 Palestinians were killed inside the Aqsa mosque, killed by the British and French armies that came to Palestine to liberate the tomb of Jesus.

Jesus came to promote life. When he touched the dead, he resurrected them. So, you kill in the name of Jesus, while Jesus would give life to the dead. So how false you are! This has nothing to do with Jesus. Jesus said: ‘God is love.’

Those who do not love are not Christians, neither are those who want [accept] other people to starve. Today, Europe consumes all types of food, while in Africa there are children dying of famine[ in Gaza there are children dying of illness; and the Rohingya, the Muslims who were forcibly displaced from Myanmar, are dying of hunger and illness. Are we truly Christians or Muslims when we see these scenes? No. No, not at all.

Therefore, we have to reconsider what is being said in the media, because the media … I can pay it [pay the media] now to make me the Gandhi of the world, and to make me the Trustworthy Joseph, and to make me the messenger of love. I can buy the media. But I do not want to lie, nor do I want them [the media] to lie; this is what I am.

There are some who buy the media to make the mufti of Syria look like a ‘terrorist,’ although I have never shown anything but love to seven billion human beings — they are my brothers and sisters from the same ancestors. My soul is, as their souls, from Heaven, and my body is, as their bodies, from clay.

EB: I want to convey my condolences to you for the anniversary of his your son’s martyrdom.

MH: This is Saria, with me and with my father [the Mufti showed me images on a cell phone of his deceased son]. They have sent me these messages through Facebook today, as it is the anniversary of Saria’s martyrdom.

EB: Thank you very much, Mufti Hassoun.

MH: You are welcome. Thank you. Thank you. I hope you convey this message to the whole world. We love the people of the world. In Syria, we do not hate anyone. Yes, we hate the oppression of the aggressors, and if the aggressor refrains from their aggression, we will love them, too.

We hate the wrong deed, not the person. Jesus, peace be upon him, said to the ones who were stoning a woman because she was an adultress, he said: ‘Who is without sin amongst you that can cast a stone at her.’

We are all sinners, but our duty is to guide people to repentance, not to sin. We have to promote life among human beings.

Please, convey our regards to the nations of the world; we love them, and we want peace.

Tell the ones who are manufacturing weapons in the world that it is enough! Come, let’s cooperate to build a humane world free of wars and weapons of mass destruction, where all of us cooperate with one another.

Oil does not belong to one family. Oil should be for everyone.

Humanity shares three things:

Water: we should never prevent anyone in the world from accessing water.

Food: we should never let a nation suffer from hunger.

Energy: fuel energy, solar energy, nuclear energy—which we use as cure, not for killing. Energy should not be monopolized.

I wrote to many countries around the world … I have two charitable hospitals: the Omar Bin Abdul Aziz Hospital, and the Shifaa Hospital, in Aleppo. I requested equipment for breast cancer treatment.

They responded that such equipment is banned for Syria, because of the boycott [sanctions].

What sin has Syria committed to be boycotted [sanctioned] on a humanitarian level? What sin have these people committed?

Today, when I want to travel from here to any country in the world, four countries surround us, including Turkey. Syrian airlines are not allowed to fly over them. Why? You are preventing Syrian citizens [from traveling], not the Syrian government. You are torturing the people, you are harming the people.

Now, it is forbidden to deliver oil to Syria. It is forbidden to deliver medicine to Syria. It is forbidden to deliver medical equipment to Syria. It is forbidden to deliver ambulances to Syria. Why? These are meant for the people. You claim that you disagree with the government, so why do you oppress the people?

Therefore, the ones who died in the Mediterranean Sea [refugees], in the boats, their blood is on the hands of the European politicians and the Arab politicians. Saudi Arabia and those [with Saudi Arabia] in the Arab coalition. And those who are bombarding Yemen today, will be accountable before God.

Yemen has never attacked any country, and Syria never attacked any country. Today, Syria and Yemen have been destroyed in order to humiliate their people and control their countries. But God has granted us victory, and will grant it to Yemen. Indeed, he will grant victory to all the oppressed in the world.

Thank you, and my regards to you and to everyone watching this interview. We speak truthfully and with sincerity. So, please come to us in Syria, with our dear sister, to witness the truth.

 

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