Daraa Peace Plan Moves Terrorists to Turkish Occupied Syria

August 28, 2021

By Steven Sahiounie

Global Research,

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Today, a bus load Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers has come under attack on the road to the west of Daraa, with reports of one killed and eight injured. Tuesday, a Russian-backed deal went into force in Daraa, ending months-long tension between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and local terrorists there.  In late July, clashes of artillery began between the two sides.  The city in the south of Syria, on the Jordanian border, had been in military conflict which held the civilian population in peril, resulting in residents fleeing the situation.

The Russian military police entered Daraa al-Balad neighborhood to evacuate terrorists who refused to lay down their arms and receive amnesty from the SAA.  Terrorists on Tuesday night boarded buses to take them to Afrin in the north of Syria, as part of the deal. Those armed fighters who have received amnesty, and laid down their weapons, will remain in the city.

Once the terrorists are removed, the SAA will enter the area, and life will return to normal for the residents who had become hostages.  Thousands of residents who had fled the fighting will be assisted by the SAA to return home, and government institutions such as medical care will be made available, and free public schools are set to resume in mid-September.

Daraa al-Balad neighborhood is home to about 40,000 people, and it had become a critical situation with extreme challenges getting access to food and power.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) placed the number of internally displaced people in Daraa al-Balad area and surrounding areas in province at 38,000, including almost 15,000 women and over 20,400 children.

History of Daraa

Violence broke out in March 2011 in Daraa, which began the 10-year conflict in Syria.  The SAA freed Daraa in 2018 in a Russian-brokered deal which saw terrorists and their families being evacuated to Idlib, and some remaining fighters worked out a deal with the SAA, by which they would peacefully man some checkpoints inside Daraa al-Balad, while the SAA would man other checkpoints.  However, the deal fell apart over time because the fighters repeatedly targeted the SAA using snipers on motorcycles. By July, open fighting between the two-sides began.

Afrin today

Turkey occupies Afrin, and uses their militia, Syrian National Army (SNA) to keep the local population in subjugation. The SNA, despite its name, is not Syrian administered, but is under the Turkish military control, and are mercenaries following Radical Islam.War or Peace: Turkish backed Terrorists, Erdogan’s Decision on Idlib

Turkish charities operate in Afrin distributing food to Syrian Arabs who have been shipped in to displace the original population which was a mixture of Kurds, Christians and Arabs.

Turkey conducted Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20, 2018, to clear Afrin from the militia known as YPG, who is part of the US-supported SDF militia who fought to defeat ISIS.  By March 18 Afrin had been ethnically cleansed by Turkey.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of invasion operations across its border in northern Syria: Euphrates Shield in 2016, Olive Branch in 2018 and Peace Spring in 2019. The goal is to create a Turkish administered border swath, which Turkey originally tried to sell to the West as a ‘safe-zone’, but is actually a Muslim Brotherhood safe haven.

Recently, the SNA abducted a number of civilians in Afrin. The battalions named, “al-Jabha al-Shamiya” and the “Sultan Murad Division” have imposed a crippling siege on the locals as they have raided the citizens’ houses and kidnapped more than 30 civilians and took them to an unknown destination.

The sources added that the abducted persons have been exposed to the worst forms of abuse, torture and insults since they have demanded to restore their properties which have been seized by the Turkish occupation mercenaries.

History of ethnic cleansing in Afrin

The National Initiative for Afrin in the German city of Bonn stressed the coordination and unification of efforts working for Afrin and its people, and confronting the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries, and the safe and dignified return of the forcibly displaced residents of Afrin. This initiative aims to expose Turkey’s violations against residents of Syria’s Afrin to international institutions and human rights organizations participating in the initiative.

After Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the fighters it sent across the border to carry out the mission have documented their own war crimes. Videos posted online by soldiers of the Turkish-backed SNA showing summary executions, mutilation of corpses, threats against Kurds and widespread looting have struck terror into the population.

The ethnic dimension to many of the crimes has resulted in a mass exodus of Kurds and religious minorities from these once diverse borderlands, and created a dramatic demographic change.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, claimed his invasion of Syria was aimed at removing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group Turkey classifies as a terror organization for its links to the PKK, and YPG. Turkey has supported the operation with airstrikes, drones and artillery.

Since the invasion began, the SNA has captured a swathe of territory that was home to a large population of Kurds, and smaller numbers of Assyrians, Yazidis and Turkmen. The same area faced massive upheaval when ISIS swept across northern Syria. Tal Abyad was occupied by the terror group for more than a year before being recaptured by the SDF.

Christian families have all been forced to leave their homes as the SNA made public threats to kill them, referring to them as pigs and heathens.  The SNA have uploaded their videos targeting Christians, and non-Sunni Muslims.

A widespread campaign of looting and confiscation of Kurdish property has made clear Turkey and their SNA militia want to keep Kurds out. Human Rights Watch said it had documented numerous examples of Kurdish homes being confiscated and their possessions looted.

A United Nations commission of inquiry found that “armed group members in Afrin committed the war crimes of hostage-taking, cruel treatment, torture, and pillage”.

More than 130,000 mostly Kurdish residents are still displaced from Afrin, living in camps in the SDF-held region of northeast Syria. Many of their homes are now occupied by Syrians from other parts of the country.

NATO has been criticized for allowing a member state, Turkey, to carry out large scale ethnic cleansing in Syria.  However, since the war in Syria beginning in 2011 was a US-NATO project for ‘regime change’, NATO is not complaining to Turkey, who was their partner in the 10-year war.

Idlib today

On Tuesday, an explosion killed eight Al Qaeda terrorists, and wounded 10 others, in Idlib.  The terrorists were meeting when the blast occurred.  Russia and Turkey have a ceasefire deal in Idlib, but it does not cover Al Qaeda. According to the UN, all nations must fight Al Qaeda, wherever they are.  However, Turkey occupies Idlib and supports the Al Qaeda branch there, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Turkey currently hosts nearly 4 million Syrians; however, most of the Syrian refugees in Turkey today are Sunni Muslims. Erdogan plans to resettle the Syrian refugees in the border area under Turkish military occupation, and it will permanently alter the demographics. This area stretching from Idlib province to Afrin will become a safe haven for terrorists aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.

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This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from MD

The Indo-European, Ashkenazi Jew is not a Cousin of any Arab-Semitic Muslim

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22 Jul, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Susana Khalil

We are in the 21st century of secular values; the colossal Zionist propaganda distorts religion with ethnicity, to hide the colonial anachronism.

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Part I. 

Seen the successful fraud of falsifying history, the theft of history by the Euro-Zionist colonial movement, where European converts to the Jewish religion instrumentalized the Semitic religious heritage to impose a colonial regime in Historic Palestine in 1948. A warm and aesthetic scaffolding, brimming with numerous epics not only from the religious and media cloister, but also from an academic and intellectual secularism. A whole illustrated pen of bohemia, refined acrobatics, intellectual and academic pirouettes, they got muddy in the aromatic and romantic mantle of: “The return of the Jews after 2000 years to the ancestral land, the land that God promised to the Jews”. A skillful claim of false historical rights that follows Indo-Europeans stripping the original Semitic people, under a fascinating and hallucinatory historical scam. 

Today, the peoples of the Arab-Persian Levant, colonially called the Middle East, are caught between a classic and anachronistic colonialism called “Israel”, a neo-colonialism that is the Saudi Monarchy, and almost entirely dictatorial Arab regimes. 

In summary, the Middle East today is composed of colonialism, neo-colonialism and dictatorships.

Saudi Arabia, more than an Islamic theocratic monarchy is a tyranny, and more than a monarchy and a tyranny, it is a neo-colonial entity. With time, the colonizer discovers that the colonial praxis is a very heavy, complex and complicated logistic method, and it is there where he solves, discovers another method – neocolonialism – which consists of hiring natives, creating an elite among them, granting them privileges and power that serve their interests. Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the world; oil is the resource of contemporary civilization. And while Saudi neocolonial tyranny is the most useful piece of the imperial west, “Israel’s” colonial anachronism came to endorse neocolonialism  and “Israel” seemed to be the most beloved and admired ally. 

Part II.

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The betrayal of the corporatocratic Arab-Islamic elite in the service of Zionist colonial expansionism

As early as the 1960s, Egyptian pan-Arabist leader Jamal Abdel Nasser warned of the treacherous threat from Saudi Arabia. Today behind the betrayal of the United Arab Emirates which announced allying itself with the colonial regime of “Israel”, Saudi Arabia and all the imperial and colonial Zionist machinery are unveiled too.

These monarchical corporate petro-dictatorships, very attractive as a stock exchange axis of glamour, splendor, luxury, elegance, opulence, their cities, the “Pompeii” of our times; to stay in power they must sacrifice their own Palestinian Arab brother people, otherwise, the imperial forces must replace these dictatorships.

Some of us argue that the end of “Israel’s” colonial regime would bring about the end of the Arab dictatorships per se. 

It is logical that many monarchical Arab corporate tyrannies in the Gulf betray to perpetuate themselves in power, and the blood of the Palestinian people is their salvation… Let us not confuse logic with morality…

The tyrannical corporation of the Arab-Islamic petro-dollar of the Gulf not only contributes to the disappearance of the Palestinian people, but also that of the rest of the Arab-Persian-Kurdish peoples and cultures, in the face of the expansionist Zionist project of “Greater Israel”. 

Part III.

The falsification of Islam for treason

To justify the betrayal, before the Arab multitude they must do it with manipulation and falsification of the sensitive, sublime sacro-cultural bastions, from the sacred feelings and symbols of the Arab identity, Islam. As an example, the Jews and Muslims are cousins. 

Above all, we must remember and almost claim that the monotheistic Jewish-Christian-Muslim trilogy is a Semitic heritage, that is, what the Arab world is today.    

The monotheistic Judaeo-Christian-Muslim triad is not only a legacy and inheritance of the same ethno-civilization, the Semite, but also as doctrines they have the same root, trunk, and tissue. Judaism is religion and mother religion of Christianity and Islam. For many, Christianity is a Jewish sect. Islam is a Judaeo-Christian religious doctrine, and is a continuity and complement of the legacy of Semitic monotheism. But Zionist propaganda portrayed Islam as the enemy of Judaeo-Christianity.

The prophet of Islam, Mohammad is descended from Ismail, and Ismail is the firstborn son of the Jewish prophet, Abraham (Mesopotamia/ Iraq). Later, the prophet of Judaism had his second son, Isaac, and Issac had Jacob. If this is history or myth, it is of the Semitic people and not of Europe. This is an archive of the Arab ancestor.  

According to the sacred scriptures of the monotheistic Judaeo-Christian-Muslim triad, Jews and Muslims are cousins, that is, Semitic Jews and Semitic Muslims. A Jew of Indo-European roots is not a cousin of a Muslim of Semitic roots, since those who expanded in the world were not Jews, nor Christians, nor were Muslims, what expanded in the world the respective religious doctrines of Semitic peoples. Marking the differences, the Marxists did not expand in the world, what was spread, with less success, was Marxism. 

A German Aryan converted to the Jewish religion is not a cousin of a Hungarian Aryan converted to the Muslim religion; the fact of being Jewish or Muslim does not make these circumcised Indo-Europeans Semites.

Someone Chinese who converts to the Jewish religion is not a cousin to an African person converted to the Muslim religion, although one is Jewish and the other is Muslim, they are not ethno-Semites.

Quechua people, native to modern-day Peru with 15 000 years of history had polytheistic religious expression and then, the fires of the infernal European Inquisition converted them to Christianity, and today some converted to Judaism and live in the colonial regime of “Israel”. These Quechua Jews are not the cousins of any Semitic Muslim and are not the cousins of any Aryan, Chinese, African, Latin etc. Muslim. 

A Yemeni, Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian, Lebanese Jew, that is a Semite, is a cousin of a Semitic Muslim.

…None of these religions are peoples… 

We are in the 21st century of secular values; the colossal Zionist propaganda distorts religion with ethnicity, to hide the colonial anachronism. 

Europe weaves and founds its civilization, glory and misery, splendor and horror from its polytheistic Cosmo vision. Europe does not possess monotheism of its own; monotheism is rather a legacy of the Semitic peoples, today’s Arab world. Let us imagine Europeans converted to the Christian religion claiming historic rights to Palestine, or Chinese Muslims claiming historic rights to the Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of Islam. 

Now that Indo-Europeans, Caucasians, Slavs, Scandinavians, in short Aryans, that is, non-Semitic, have converted to a religion that comes from the Levant, from the Semitic civilization, that does not make these Indo-European Semites. Sure they are Jews, but they are Jews, not Semites.

…The Israeli is not an Israelite…

The Saudi tyranny, the emirates, and other Arab traitors are investing colossal money to accelerate the counterfeiting of Islam for the sake of Euro-Zionist colonialism.

The corporate neo-colonial tyrannies of the Gulf have been carrying out a distorted schooling or dismembering of Islam, doing a kind of evangelization as in the case of the Protestants: “If you don’t defend Israel you will burn in the flames of hell. The Gulf theocracies will impose the farce, the Jews are our cousins and we must defend the ‘State of Israel’, otherwise Allah will punish you.”

The Palestinian people were not only robbed of their land but also their history. In classic colonialism the colonizer occupies the land and destroys, abhors the histories of the original peoples. “Israel” is the only colonialism recorded in world history in which the colonizer not only takes the land but also steals the history of the original people. This particularity is due to the fact that this colonizer does not come from a people as in classical colonialism but from a European political movement (Zionism) that seeks to transform itself into a people. Jews are not a people, just as Christians and Muslims are not peoples. In this way, Zionism usurps the history of the original people to justify this classic and anachronistic colonialism today in our 21st century.  

Zionism seeks to snatch away, to expel from History the heritage and contribution of the Arab-Persian people, these are methods of extermination. Already in 1948 under the falsification of history, they managed to impose colonialism in Palestine, but it is a colonialism that is not limited to Palestine, the project is “Greater Israel”. 

Israeli colonialism and Saudi neo-colonialism skillfully agree to use Islam as a slow but sure card to wipe out the Palestinian Semitic people by using the leitmotiv “Israel has the right to exist, the Jews are our cousins”.  Now there are figures who suggest to create Fatwas (Islamic laws), to penalize those who oppose this.  

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

Hamas setting up a Christian media centre? You’re kidding….

Ismail Haniyeh with Fr Manuel Musallam, Gaza 2007

No, it could be for real

By Stuart Littlewood -April 30, 2021

The unlikeliest headline I’ve seen lately is Al-Monitor’s report that Hamas might be persuaded to set up a Christian media centre. Its purpose would be to defend the Islamic resistance movement from claims that it mistreats Christians, especially those living under Hamas rule in Gaza.

Then I saw who was doing the persuading: Father Manuel Musallam. Or to give him his correct title, Monsignor Manuel. And it all made perfect sense.

Apparently, several Christians have withdrawn from Hamas’s candidate list for the legislative elections in May after being pressured and intimidated by various media outlets. Fr Manuel says his nephew in Ramallah had intended to run on the Hamas list but his family asked him to reconsider. He blamed a smear campaign against Hamas that caused his family to worry that their business interests would be affected and the Israelis would persecute them.

Hamas’s media set-up fails to respond adequately to unjust smears, says Fr Manuel. Media outlets in Europe portray Hamas inaccurately, particularly its relationship with Christian residents. But contrary to what some Western outlets claim, Christians are not persecuted under Hamas.

Basem Naim, from Hamas’ international relations office, told Al-Monitor that Fr Manuel’s idea for a media centre will be considered and a Christian media adviser possibly appointed. He also explained that Hamas offered a number of Christian figures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip the chance to run on the movement’s list “but they withdrew for several reasons, such as family pressure or health issues, or even fear of Israeli restrictions on their travel and work”.

Failing to get the Holy Land message to the West

Every Palestinian I met during my visits urged me to “tell their story”, and this I’ve tried to do for 15 years. Hamas and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority don’t bother. They not only neglect to tell the world, they fail to brief people like me so that we can tell it.

And when, some years ago, I criticized the Palestinian embassy in London for their lackadaisical attitude, defunct website and dysfunctional media department, and called for the ambassador to pack his bags and go home, I was branded “an enemy of Palestine”. The embassy today is well staffed with political, media, cultural, civil society and economic departments. But what they do to combat the torrent of Israeli misinformation is still a mystery. The Fatah/PA position as collaborators with the Israeli occupation probably means that their paymasters demand silence. Hamas are under no such constraint. After their surprise 2006 election victory they could – and should – have immediately re-invented themselves and seized the media initiative. But they’ve left it too late and now have a mountain to climb. It took them far too long to re-write their much-criticised Charter and consequently failed to win friends or influence enough people here in the West.

Around 2013, according the Guardian newspaper, Hamas “began a public transformation… with a new head of media.” But did anyone notice?

It is largely thanks to dedicated activists, civil society campaign groups and online privateers that people in the West have become better informed about the evil occupation that defiles the Holy Land…. and no thanks whatsoever to the leadership in Palestine. With truth and so much more on their side Palestine’s politicians nevertheless carelessly allow the Israeli regime, with its brazen propaganda and monstrous lies, to run rings round them. Even Western Christendom is in a pathetic state of paralysis.

“Our love for God… is currently in intensive care”

That remarkable priest, Manuel Musallam, used to run the Catholic community in Gaza. I was privileged to meet him in 2007 when he hosted a visit by a small group I was with. The Gaza Strip had been under tight blockade for 18 months following the bizarre hostility to Hamas’s fair and square election victory the previous year. The situation was strained.

In the church’s school assembly hall I was surprised to see so many Muslim students. On one wall hung a huge portrait of the Pope and on the adjacent wall an equally large portrait of Yasser Arafat.

Fr Manuel whisked us off to a meeting at the House of Fatah and then we drove to see Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and some of his colleagues, who received us with utmost courtesy and friendship and gave straight answers to straight questions. Haniyeh and Fr Manuel declared their unity to the TV cameras, emphasizing that they were Palestinians first and Muslim or Christian second in the struggle against the common enemy. The two men know each other well and Haniyeh has since become Chief of Hamas’s Political Bureau.

The following year – and who can forget? – the Israelis launched their horrendous three-week blitzkrieg called Operation Cast Lead at Christmas-time and New Year 2008/09. At the height of the killing spree, Fr Manuel sent this message from the smoking ruins to anyone who would listen:

“Our people in Gaza … cry, but no one wipes their tears. There is no water, no electricity, no food, only terror and blockade… Our children are living in a state of trauma and fear. They are sick from it and for other reasons such as malnutrition, poverty and the cold… The hospitals did not have basic first aid before the war and now thousands of wounded and sick are pouring in and they are performing operations in the corridors. The situation is frightening and sad.”

He added: “May Christ’s compassion revive our love for God even though it is currently in ‘intensive care’.”

A few days later he wrote:

“Hundreds of people have been killed and many more injured in the Israeli invasion. Our people have endured the bombing of their homes, their crops have been destroyed, they have lost everything and many are now homeless. We have endured phosphorus bombs which have caused horrific burns, mainly to civilians. Like the early Christians our people are living through a time of great persecution, a persecution which we must record for future generations as a statement of their faith, hope and love.

“Act and intervene, or nothing will change.”

When Fr Manuel retired in 2009 in failing health I remarked in an article: “I doubt if God has finished with him just yet. There’s a mountain of work to be done and good men are hard to find.”

And so it was. In the run-up to Christmas 2010 he was one of a trio of churchmen from the Holy Land touring Ireland to raise awareness of the plight of the dwindling Christian community under the illegal Israeli military occupation. Together with Archbishop Theodosius Hanna (Greek Orthodox Church) and Constantine Dabbagh (Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches) he showed they were more than a match for Western politicians who fancied they knew all about the Middle East. “We need only one thing, to be protected by the world against the crimes of Israel”, was their central message. And they made this stark plea: “Act and intervene, or nothing will change.”

Fr Manuel told Irish government ministers and their foreign affairs committee:

“I was in Gaza during the war [Operation Cast Lead] and suffered with my people for 22 days. I saw with my own eyes a phosphoric bomb in the school yard. I saw people injured by these phosphoric bombs, although these bombs are forbidden. These crimes against us were ignored by all the people of the world…

“What happened in Gaza was not a war. A war is a clash between soldiers, aircraft and weapons. We were victims, just victims. They destroyed Gaza. I was there and saw with my own eyes what happened. We in Gaza were treated like animals… We are not terrorists. We have not occupied Israel.

“We do not want to die to liberate Palestine. We want to live to build Palestine…. We are asking the world to give the Palestinian people their rights. The question is whether peace is possible. Despite all the difficulties, the crimes and the war, we as Palestinians say peace is possible if justice is possible.

“All we ask of Israel is to respect us and not treat us like animals. We also ask parliamentarians and governments across the world not to give us food aid. We do not need cookies from Israel. We do not even need to trade with Israel. All we need is to be protected. We are suffering a war that we have endured for more than 60 years.”

“Be assured that Hamas will protect Christians in Gaza”

Christianity in the region had been destroyed not by Muslims but by Israel, said Fr Manuel. “Israel destroyed the church of Palestine and the church of Jerusalem beginning in 1948. It, not Muslims, has sent Christians in the region into a diaspora.”

He told his listeners how he had seen the Israeli army target the Christian school in Gaza.

“Five Hamas ministers visited the school after it was attacked and promised they would repair the damage… Hamas paid more than 122,000 US dollars to repair all the damage caused. Afterwards I met the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh. When he embraced me he said this, and we believed it. He said: “Go to your family, but be assured that Hamas will employ weapons against Muslims to protect Christians in Gaza.” This is the reality. Christians in Palestine are not suffering persecution, because we are not considered to be a religious community but rather the people of Palestine. We have the same rights and the same obligations.”

He ended by describing how things really are:

“We have spoken to Israel for more than 18 years and the result has been zero. We have signed agreements here and there at various times and then when there is a change in the government of Israel we have to start again from the beginning. We ask for our life and to be given back our Jerusalem, to be given our state and for enough water to drink.

“We want to be given more opportunity to reach Jerusalem. I have not seen Jerusalem since 1990…. We want to see an end to this occupation, and please do not ask us to protect those who are occupying our territory.”

“Peace is possible if justice is possible. Make peace possible.”

Fr Manuel should have been a political leader. To improve the human condition, it seems to me, churchmen must also be politically minded and not afraid to “mix it” with the out-and-out scoundrels who infest our political institutions and cloak themselves in a national flag.

Inevitably, the message for politicians in the world outside the Holy Land is the one expressed by this feisty priest: PEACE IS POSSIBLE IF JUSTICE IS POSSIBLE.

The world should be saying to their political leaders loudly and clearly: “It is surely not beyond the wit of civilised man to stop mouthing platitudes and act to deliver justice. Make peace possible. Or find other employment, for you offend all decent people.”

Stuart Littlewood
30 April 2021

Featured photo: Ismail Haniyeh with Fr Manuel Musallam, Gaza 2007

AUTHOR DETAILS

Stuart Littlewood

After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics he served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. With a lifelong passion for photography he has produced two photo-documentary books, one of which can be read online at http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.

http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.ukstu@f8.eclipse.co.uk

The Pope Visited Iraqi Christians, Victims of U.S. Foreign Policy “ذا ناشونال انترست”: البابا زار المسيحيين العراقيين ضحايا السياسة الأميركية

Reckless decisions to invade and nation build in other countries leads to more harm than good.

https://www.reutersconnect.com/all?id=tag%3Areuters.com%2C2021%3Anewsml_RC286M9R4560&share=true

March 8, 2021

 by Bonnie Kristian

Pope Francis just wrapped up a trip to Iraq this week for the first-ever papal visit to the country, a trip the Vatican has described as “an act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians.” While there, Francis celebrated Mass in several cities and visited biblical locations like Nineveh and Ur. He also toured the remnants of Christian communities in one of the most ancient homes of the Christian faith.

This papal visit was meant to encourage Iraq’s few remaining Christians. It should also occasion solemn reflection in the United States, a country in which two in three people profess Christianity—and also the country whose misguided foreign policy contributed to the near eradication of Christianity in Iraq.

When the United States invaded Iraq eighteen years ago in March 2003, Christians accounted for 6 percent of the country’s population, numbering around 1.5 million. Christians in Iraq’s single largest sect, the Chaldean Church, still speak a variant of Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke. Saddam Hussein’s regime was hardly friendly to Christianity—Hussein was known to persecute religious minorities, Christians included, and he canceled a previous papal trip—but Christianity was generally tolerated, and Iraqi Christians worshipped in a continuous, 2,000-year-old tradition.

After the United States invaded and toppled Hussein, violence against Iraqi Christians increased as terrorism surged into the country. Prominent clergy members were murdered. Churches were bombed. Christian worship became a life-endangering choice. “[The men of my congregation] are mainly killed. Some are kidnapped. Some are killed. In the last six months things have gotten particularly bad for the Christians. Here in this church, all of my leadership were originally taken and killed,” said Rev. Canon Andrew White, an Anglican vicar in Baghdad, in 2007. “All dead. But we never got their bodies back. This is one of the problems. I regularly do funerals here but it’s not easy to get the bodies.”

White told CBS the plight of Iraqi Christians was “clearly worse” after the U.S.-forced regime than before it. “There’s no comparison between Iraq now and then,” he said. “Things are the most difficult they have ever been for Christians. Probably ever in history. [Iraqi Christians have] never known it like now.”

Conditions have only worsened in the fourteen years since. Some Christians left Iraq to avoid martyrdom or forced conversion. Some were robbed or exiled. The Islamic State, which grew in the power vacuum left by Hussein’s ouster, targeted Iraqi Christians for genocide. ISIS fighters burned churches, ancient texts, statues, and relics. They razed a sixth-century monastery.

“Our tormentors confiscated our present while seeking to wipe out our history and destroy our future,” said Rt. Rev. Bashar Warda, archbishop of Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, in 2019. “Tens of thousands of Christians have nothing to show for their life’s work, for generations of work, in places where their families have lived, maybe, for thousands of years.”

Today, only about 250,000 Christians remain in Iraq. The rest have died or fled the violence and chaos disproportionately unleashed against them.

That ongoing violence and chaos didn’t emerge from thin air. It should go without saying that the Hussein regime was a cruel and tyrannical government which did not deserve power. It should equally go without saying that the Islamic State and other groups persecuting Iraqi Christians bear responsibility for those abuses.

But Al Qaeda, the Islamic State’s precursor, didn’t organize in Iraq until after the U.S. invasion (contrary to the claims of the Bush administration when ginning up American enthusiasm for war). Its emergence and the later development of ISIS were directly connected to U.S.-orchestrated regime change. Iraq is in its present state—and the Iraqi church is in its present state—in no small part because Washington embarked on a needless invasion and occupation which most Americans now recognize was a mistake that didn’t make the United States safer. America recklessly plunged into an indefensible war, and Iraqi Christians have suffered enormously as a result.

The United States can’t undo that suffering now. The Iraqi church may never be restored. Many of these congregations may be permanently dispersed. Some breaks cannot be repaired.

As a Christian, I pray for our Iraqi siblings in Christ and mourn how my country contributed to the destruction of their communities. As an American, I hope my government will never repeat its mistakes in Iraq. Washington must learn from the havoc it has wreaked in the post-9/11 era and adopt a more peaceful and humble approach to foreign policy, no longer imagining we have the ability or prerogative to remake other countries by force. Our handiwork is shoddy. Our record is bloody. The Iraqis Pope Francis visited know it all too well.

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities, contributing editor at The Week, and columnist at Christianity Today. Her writing has also appeared at CNN, NBC, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and Defense One, among other outlets. 

ذا ناشونال انترست”: البابا زار المسيحيين العراقيين ضحايا السياسة الأميركية

الكاتب: بوني كريستيان

المصدر: ذا ناشونال انترست

12 آذار 15:06

إن القرارات المتهورة للغزو وبناء الدولة في البلدان الأخرى تؤدي إلى ضرر أكثر مما تنفع.

البابا يتحدث إلى الحشود في ساحة الكنائس في الموصل.

كتبت بوني كريستيان مقالة في مجلة “ذا ناشونال انترست” الأميركية تناولت فيها زيارة البابا فرنسيس إلى العراق، قالت فيها إن البابا فرنسيس قد أنهى رحلة إلى العراق هذا الأسبوع في أول زيارة بابوية على الإطلاق إلى البلاد، وهي رحلة وصفها الفاتيكان بأنها “فعل حب لهذه الأرض وشعبها ومسيحييها”. أثناء وجوده هناك، أقام فرنسيس القداس في مدن عدة وزار مواقع توراتية مثل نينوى وأور. كما قام بجولة في بقايا الطوائف المسيحية في أحد أقدم بيوت الإيمان المسيحي.

وأضافت: كانت هذه الزيارة البابوية تهدف إلى تشجيع المسيحيين القلائل المتبقين في العراق. كما ينبغي أن يكون مناسبة للتفكير الجاد في الولايات المتحدة، البلد الذي يدين فيه اثنان من كل ثلاثة أشخاص بالمسيحية – وكذلك البلد الذي ساهمت سياسته الخارجية المضللة في القضاء على المسيحية في العراق تقريباً.

عندما غزت الولايات المتحدة العراق قبل ثمانية عشر عاماَ في آذار / مارس 2003، كان المسيحيون يمثلون 6 في المئة من سكان البلاد، وبلغ عددهم حوالى 1.5 مليون نسمة. لا يزال المسيحيون في أكبر طائفة في العراق، الكنيسة الكلدانية، يتكلمون لغة مختلفة من الآرامية، وهي اللغة التي تحدث بها يسوع. لم يكن نظام صدام حسين صديقاً للمسيحية – كان من المعروف أن صدام حسين يضطهد الأقليات الدينية، بمن في ذلك المسيحيون، وألغى رحلة بابوية سابقة – ولكن تم التسامح مع المسيحية بشكل عام، وكان المسيحيون العراقيون يعبدون في تقليد مستمر عمره 2000 عام.

بعد غزو الولايات المتحدة البلاد وإطاحة صدام حسين، ازداد العنف ضد المسيحيين العراقيين مع انتشار الإرهاب في البلاد. قُتل رجال دين بارزون. قُصفت الكنائس. أصبحت العبادة المسيحية خياراً يهدد الحياة. 

وقال القس أندرو وايت، القس الأنغليكاني في بغداد في شهادة له عام 2007 إن “الرجال في رعيتي يُقتلون بشكل رئيسي. البعض مخطوف. قتل البعض. في الأشهر الستة الماضية ساءت الأمور بشكل خاص بالنسبة للمسيحيين. هنا في هذه الكنيسة، تم أخذ جميع قياداتي وقتلهم. لكننا لم نستعد أجسادهم أبداً. هذه واحدة من المشاكل. أقوم بجنازات هنا بانتظام ولكن ليس من السهل الحصول على الجثث”.

وقال وايت في شهادته لشبكة “سي بي إس إن” أنذاك إن محنة المسيحيين العراقيين كانت “أسوأ بشكل واضح” بعد النظام الذي فرضته الولايات المتحدة أكثر من ذي قبل. وقال “لا توجد مقارنة بين العراق بين الآن وأي وقت سابق. الأمور هي أصعب ما واجهه المسيحيون على الإطلاق. ربما من أي وقت مضى في التاريخ. [المسيحيون العراقيون] لم يعرفوا ذلك من قبل”.

لقد ساءت الظروف فقط في الأربعة عشر عاماً منذ 2007. ترك بعض المسيحيين العراق لتجنب الاستشهاد أو التحول القسري. تعرض البعض للسرقة أو النفي. استهدف تنظيم “داعش”، الذي نما في ظل فراغ السلطة الذي خلفه الإطاحة بصدام حسين، المسيحيين العراقيين بهدف الإبادة الجماعية. أحرق مقاتلو “داعش” الكنائس والنصوص القديمة والتماثيل والآثار. دمروا ديراً يعود إلى القرن السادس.

وقال لقس بشار وردة، رئيس أساقفة أربيل في كردستان العراق، في عام 2019: “لقد صادر جلادونا حاضرنا بينما كانوا يسعون إلى محو تاريخنا وتدمير مستقبلنا. إن عشرات الآلاف من المسيحيين ليس لديهم ما يظهرونه في أعمالهم الحياتية، على مدى أجيال من العمل، في الأماكن التي عاشت فيها عائلاتهم، ربما، لآلاف السنين”.

وقالت الكاتبة: اليوم، لا يزال هناك حوالى 250000 مسيحي فقط في العراق. مات الباقون أو فروا من أعمال العنف والفوضى التي اندلعت ضدهم بشكل غير متناسب.

وأضافت أن العنف والفوضى المستمرة لم يأتيا من فراغ. وغني عن البيان أن نظام صدام حسين كان حكومة قاسية ومستبدة لا تستحق السلطة. كما أن “داعش” والجماعات الأخرى التي تضطهد مسيحيي العراق تتحمل المسؤولية عن تلك الانتهاكات.

لكن تنظيم “القاعدة”، سلف “داعش”، لم يتم تنظيمه في العراق إلا بعد الغزو الأميركي (على عكس مزاعم إدارة الرئيس جورج بوش الإبن عندما استقطبت الحماس الأميركي للحرب). كان ظهور “القاعدة” وتطوره اللاحق إلى “داعش” مرتبطين بشكل مباشر بتغيير النظام الذي دبّرته الولايات المتحدة. 

ورأت الكاتبة أن العراق في حالته الحالية – والكنيسة العراقية في حالتها الحالية – في جزء لا يستهان به سببه أن واشنطن شرعت في غزو واحتلال لا داعٍ لهما يدرك معظم الأميركيين الآن أنهما خطأ لم يجعلا الولايات المتحدة أكثر أماناً. غرقت أميركا بتهور في حرب لا يمكن الدفاع عنها، وعانى المسيحيون العراقيون نتيجة لذلك.

وقالت: لا تستطيع الولايات المتحدة التراجع عن تلك المعاناة الآن. الكنيسة العراقية قد لا يتم ترميمها أبداً. قد يكون العديد من هذه التجمعات مشتتة بشكل دائم. لا يمكن إصلاح بعض الكسور.

وختمت الكاتبة بالقول: كمسيحية، أصلي من أجل إخوتنا العراقيين في المسيح ونحزن على مساهمة بلدي في تدمير مجتمعاتهم. كأميركية، أتمنى ألا تكرر حكومتي أخطائها في العراق. يجب أن تتعلم واشنطن من الفوضى التي أحدثتها في حقبة ما بعد 11 أيلول / سبتمبر 2001 وأن تتبنى نهجاً  أكثر سلمية وتواضعاً للسياسة الخارجية، ولم نعد نتخيل أن لدينا القدرة أو الامتياز لإعادة تشكيل دول أخرى بالقوة. خطتنا كانت رديئة. سجلنا كان دموياً. إن العراقيين الذين زارهم البابا فرنسيس يعرفون ذلك جيداً.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: هيثم مزاحم

Pope Francis meets Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq – Now what?

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -March 7, 2021

Hayder al-Khoei: Pope Francis is visiting Iraq to meet with Ayatollah  Sistani. Here's why it's a historic trip.

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: The Pope and Sistani held an historic meeting between two of the largest religious bodies, the 1.2 billion Catholics and Sistani’s Shia Muslims. Despite Iraq’s Covid issues, the men met without masks, despite the Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq being in isolation due to exposure. Sunni Muslims later joined the talks during the Pope’s three day visit.

The topic, as expected, was peace and secuity, not only worldwide but in Iraq, a country where its once 1.5 million Christian community is estimated to be 250,000 now. And Pope Francis did not shy away from discussing religious persecution with ISIS in the crosshairs.

“We believers cannot be silent when terrorism abuses religion,” the Pope said. “Indeed, we are called unambiguously to dispel all misunderstandings. Let us not allow the light of heaven to be overshadowed by the clouds of hatred.”

He specifically singled out the Yazidi community who suffered terribly, with its women kidnapped, sexually abused, and sold openly in ISIS slave markets, all this done under the Saudi Imams having provided cover on the mass rapes of Yazidis by classifying the events as ‘temporary marriages’.

This was an act of terrorism in itself, one which not only the US never objected to, and the Saudi religious community never santioned the perpetrators. The US coalition’s stand down acted as de facto approval, because they wanted to Balkanize Syria.

A day of religious and judicial reckoning is long overdue on this horrible tragedy, with way too many taking the easy route of just looking away. May the Pope’s visit spark a badly needed flame for justice in the region… Jim W. Dean ]

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The Vatican

First published … March 06, 2021

Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, has held closed-door talks with Iraq’s prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on the second day of his visit to the Arab country.

The meeting took place at Ayatollah Sistani’s residence in the holy city of Najaf on Saturday morning.

The office of Ayatollah Sistani said in a statement that he highlighted challenges facing mankind and stressed the role of belief in God and commitment to high moral values ​​in overcoming them.

Ayatollah Sistani cited injustice, oppression, poverty, religious persecution, repression of fundamental freedoms, wars, violence, economic siege and displacement of many people in the region, especially the Palestinians in the occupied territories as some of the major problems which afflict the world.

The cleric touched on the role which religious and spiritual leaders can play in tackling some of these problems. Ayatollah Sistani said religious leaders have to encourage parties invovled in conflicts, particularly the world powers, to give primacy to rationality over confrontation.

He also stressed the importance of efforts to strengthen peaceful coexistence and solidarity based on mutual respect among the followers of different religions and intellectual groups.

Ayatollah Sistani emphasized that the Christian citizens of Iraq, like all other Iraqis, should live in security and peace and enjoy their fundamental rights.

He referred to the role played by the religious authority in protecting Christians and all those who have suffered from the criminal acts of terrorists over the past years. After the one-hour meeting, Pope Francis travelled to the Iraqi city of Ur, which is believed to be the birthplace of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him).

The pontiff arrived in Iraq on Friday for a three-day trip amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to Ayatollah Sistani, Pope Francis has so far met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Barham Salih.

Iraq’s Christian community has seen its numbers drop from nearly 1.5 million to about 250,000, less than 1% of the population over the last two decades. Iraqi Christians fled the country to escape the chaos and violence that ensued after the US invasion of the country in 2003.

Tens of thousands were also displaced when the Daesh terrorist group overran vast swathes in northern Iraq in 2014, targeting various ethnic and religious groups of the country.

The Takfiri terrorist group was vanquished in December 2017 after a three-year anti-terror military campaign with the crucial support of neighboring Iran. Daesh’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq, attempting to regroup and unleash a new reign of terror.

The terrorist group has intensified its deadly attacks in Iraq since January 2020, when the US assassinated legendary anti-terror Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near Baghdad airport.

Saraya Awliya al-Dam group, part of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units better known as Hash al-Sha’ab, announced in a statement that it had stopped all its anti-terror operations during the pope’s visit and out of respect for Ayatollah Sistani.

The statement also condemned the assassination of al-Muhandis and General Soleimani who was targeted during an official visit to Iraq.

“We, Arabs, warmly receive our guests. Unlike the United States which betrayed the official guest of Iraq and warrior of Islam, General Soleimani, we will never follow such an approach,” the statement said.

Saraya Awliya al-Dam group also published a poster, featuring General Soleimani’s severed hand after the US drone airstrike and the Arabic words, “Does the Pope know this is the hand that brought the ringing of bells back to churches.”

Ahead of the visit, infectious disease experts had expressed concern about Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq, given a sharp rise in coronavirus infections there, a fragile health care system and the unavoidable likelihood that some people would crowd to see him.

Health experts say from a purely epidemiological standpoint, as well as the public health message it sends, the papal trip to Iraq amid a global pandemic is not wise.

Their concerns were reinforced with the news last week that the Vatican ambassador to Iraq, the main point person for the trip who would have escorted Francis to all his appointments, had tested positive for COVID-19 and was self-isolating.

BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing EditorManaging EditorJim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. Read Full Complete Bio >>>

Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014https://www.veteranstoday.com/jim-w-dean-biography/jimwdean@aol.com

لماذا كفتون في عين الإرهاب؟

 د. وفيق ابراهيم

سلام ى فكر كبير يتصدّى بعمق للعلل التاريخية في بلاد الشام، مجابهاً العدو الخارجي والطائفية وأنظمة سياسية تتشبّث بمعادلات المستعمرين.

أمس كانت كفتون الشمالية نموذجاً لهذا الفكر بتقديم ثلاثة شهداء من أحرارها سقطوا بنيران إرهابيّين أرادوا الاقتصاص منها لغايتين، موقعها القومي والوطني المجابه بشكل مباشر للإرهاب الداعشي والقاعدي، ومسيحيتها التي تستثير «الإرهاب الإسلاموي» وشركاه.

هي إذاً محاولة خبيثة لسحب كفتون المؤيدة للحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي إلى معارك فرعية في وجه إرهابيّين لم يعودوا متمركزين في مكان واحد بعد هزيمتهم الأخيرة بل منتشرين بتغطيات كهنوتية وسياسية داخلية وخارجبة في أكثر من مدى الشمال على شكل بؤر متناثرة.

كذلك فإنّ «مسيحية» كفتون عامل إضافي يدفع الأصوليّين إلى مهاجمتها كما فعلوا مع المسيحيين في سورية والعراق ومصر وشرقي لبنان.

هناك طرفان في هذه القضية لا يجب عليهما إلغاء قضية كفتون بتحقيقات أمنية وقضائية مخيّبة مسبقاً للآمال فالدولة مطالبة بتحقيقات جدية عن هويات الفاعلين ودوافعهم والجهات الراعية لهم وملاحقتهم، بالإضافة الى التحقيق في الطريقة التي مرّر فيها «كتاب العدول» انتقال سياره الجناة من فلسطيني في صيدا الى سعودي في الشمال… وهي لا تحمل نمرة قانونية…!

أما الطرف الآخر فهو القوى الوطنية بما فيها الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي – فهؤلاء يحوزون على انتشار جغرافي له عيون شديدة الرؤية وتأييد شعبي بمدى واسع جداً.

المطلوب إذاً وأد الفتنة بشقيها من خلال متابعة جريمة كفتون وذلك بملاحقة المجرمين أمنياً وقانونياً والاقتصاص للشهداء القوميين وقطع الشكل الجديد للفتنة الأميركية الخليجية – الإرهابية التي ترتدي لبوس الاغتيالات في لبنان يرحل نحو انهيار في بئر لا قرار لها.

وإذا كانت الرحمة على الشهداء والتعازي للحزب السوري القومي الاحتماعي من الضرورة العاكسة لمدى الاحترام والتأييد فإنّ الدعوة لملاحقة المجرمين شخصياً وسياسياً هي من لوازم الضرورية للدفاع عن سورية بما فيها لبنان والتأكيد على انّ «حزب سعاده» يولي القضية القومية اهتمامه البنيوي من دون أن ينسى أبطال القضية.

مقالات متعلقة

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinian Christians that Nobody is Talking About

by RAMZY BAROUD

Photograph Source: View of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Berthold Werner – CC BY-SA 3.0

Palestine’s Christian population is dwindling at an alarming rate. The world’s most ancient Christian community is moving elsewhere. And the reason for this is Israel.

Christian leaders from Palestine and South Africa sounded the alarm at a conference in Johannesburg on October 15. Their gathering was titled: “The Holy Land: A Palestinian Christian Perspective”.

One major issue that highlighted itself at the meetings is the rapidly declining number of Palestinian Christians in Palestine.

There are varied estimates on how many Palestinian Christians are still living in Palestine today, compared with the period before 1948 when the state of Israel was established atop Palestinian towns and villages. Regardless of the source of the various studies, there is near consensus that the number of Christian inhabitants of Palestine has dropped by nearly ten-fold in the last 70 years.

A population census carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2017 concluded that there are 47,000 Palestinian Christians living in Palestine – with reference to the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. 98 percent of Palestine’s Christians live in the West Bank – concentrated mostly in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem – while the remainder, a tiny Christian community of merely 1,100 people, lives in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The demographic crisis that had afflicted the Christian community decades ago is now brewing.

For example, 70 years ago, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, was 86 percent Christian. The demographics of the city, however, have fundamentally shifted, especially after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in June 1967, and the construction of the illegal Israeli apartheid wall, starting in 2002. Parts of the wall were meant to cut off Bethlehem from Jerusalem and to isolate the former from the rest of the West Bank.

“The Wall encircles Bethlehem by continuing south of East Jerusalem in both the east and west,” the ‘Open Bethlehem’ organization said, describing the devastating impact of the wall on the Palestinian city. “With the land isolated by the Wall, annexed for settlements, and closed under various pretexts, only 13% of the Bethlehem district is available for Palestinian use.”

Increasingly beleaguered, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem have been driven out from their historic city in large numbers. According to the city’s mayor, Vera Baboun, as of 2016, the Christian population of Bethlehem has dropped to 12 percent, merely 11,000 people.

The most optimistic estimates place the overall number of Palestinian Christians in the whole of Occupied Palestine at less than two percent.

The correlation between the shrinking Christian population in Palestine, and the Israeli occupation and apartheid should be unmistakable, as it is obvious to Palestine’s Christian and Muslim population alike.

A study conducted by Dar al-Kalima University in the West Bank town of Beit Jala and published in December 2017, interviewed nearly 1,000 Palestinians, half of them Christian and the other half Muslim. One of the main goals of the research was to understand the reason behind the depleting Christian population in Palestine.

The study concluded that “the pressure of Israeli occupation, ongoing constraints, discriminatory policies, arbitrary arrests, confiscation of lands added to the general sense of hopelessness among Palestinian Christians,” who are finding themselves in “a despairing situation where they can no longer perceive a future for their offspring or for themselves”.

Unfounded claims that Palestinian Christians are leaving because of religious tensions between them and their Muslim brethren are, therefore, irrelevant.

Gaza is another case in point. Only 2 percent of Palestine’s Christians live in the impoverished and besieged Gaza Strip. When Israel occupied Gaza along with the rest of historic Palestine in 1967, an estimated 2,300 Christians lived in the Strip. However, merely 1,100 Christians still live in Gaza today. Years of occupation, horrific wars and an unforgiving siege can do that to a community, whose historic roots date back to two millennia.

Like Gaza’s Muslims, these Christians are cut off from the rest of the world, including the holy sites in the West Bank. Every year, Gaza’s Christians apply for permits from the Israeli military to join Easter services in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Last April, only 200 Christians were granted permits, but on the condition that they must be 55 years of age or older and that they are not allowed to visit Jerusalem.

The Israeli rights group, Gisha, described the Israeli army decision as “a further violation of Palestinians’ fundamental rights to freedom of movement, religious freedom and family life”, and, rightly, accused Israel of attempting to “deepen the separation” between Gaza and the West Bank.

In fact, Israel aims at doing more than that. Separating Palestinian Christians from one another, and from their holy sites (as is the case for Muslims, as well), the Israeli government hopes to weaken the socio-cultural and spiritual connections that give Palestinians their collective identity.

Israel’s strategy is predicated on the idea that a combination of factors – immense economic hardships, permanent siege and apartheid, the severing of communal and spiritual bonds – will eventually drive all Christians out of their Palestinian homeland.

Israel is keen to present the ‘conflict’ in Palestine as a religious one so that it could, in turn, brand itself as a beleaguered Jewish state in the midst of a massive Muslim population in the Middle East. The continued existence of Palestinian Christians does not factor nicely into this Israeli agenda.

Sadly, however, Israel has succeeded in misrepresenting the struggle in Palestine – from that of political and human rights struggle against settler colonialism – into a religious one. Equally disturbing, Israel’s most ardent supporters in the United States and elsewhere are religious Christians.

It must be understood that Palestinian Christians are neither aliens nor bystanders in Palestine. They have been victimized equally as their Muslim brethren, and have also played a major role in defining the modern Palestinian identity, through their resistance, spirituality, deep connection to the land, artistic contributions and burgeoning scholarship.

Israel must not be allowed to ostracize the world’s most ancient Christian community from their ancestral land so that it may score a few points in its deeply disturbing drive for racial supremacy.

Equally important, our understanding of the legendary Palestinian ‘soumoud’ – steadfastness – and of solidarity cannot be complete without fully appreciating the centrality of Palestinian Christians to the modern Palestinian narrative and identity.Join the debate on Facebook More articles by:RAMZY BAROUD

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London, 2018). He earned a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, UCSB.

Special Christmas in Palestine: Cradle of Jesus Characterizes Holidays for Palestinians This Year

Special Christmas in Palestine: Cradle of Jesus Characterizes Holidays for Palestinians This Year

By Staff

Occupied Palestine – Christian communities in occupied Palestine are preparing to celebrate Christmas. This year’s celebrations are made all the more special by a tiny fragment of wood that has been returned to the Holy Land after many centuries. The wooden relic is believed to be part of the manger of the baby Jesus and recently arrived in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

مدينة بيت لحم تحتفل بعيد ميلاد السيد المسيح

Christians view the manger as a symbol of peace. Its holiness derives from its connection with the Holy Land, specifically the grotto housed in the church of Bethlehem.

The Custody of the Holy Land recently received the piece of the manger, which had been removed from the Middle East and taken to Rome’s Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore [St Mary Major] in the 7th century. Pope Francis returned the wooden fragment earlier this month.

The wooden relic is no more than 2.5 centimeters long and one centimeter wide. It was preserved at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome before being delivered to the pastor of the Bethlehem church in the West Bank.

Its return was requested by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The return of part of the manger to the Palestinian people is a great blessing because of its importance among Palestinian Christians, especially since it is coming from the largest of the Virgin Mary’s churches in Italy,” said Father Ibrahim Falats, Counselor of the Custody of the Holy Land in Palestine.

Father Falats pointed out that this was the first time in 1300 years that a piece of the manger was returned.

He recalled how the cradle was sent to the Vatican as a gift from the Patriarch of Jerusalem [al-Quds] St. Sophronius to Pope Theodore I, who was of Palestinian origin.

For his part, the head of the Bethlehem municipality, Anton Salman, said the sacred relic characterizes this year’s Christmas celebrations and differentiates it from all others.

Salman added that the piece of the manger will be handed over to the Custody of the Holy Land Franciscan fathers. It will be placed in the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Christians in Palestine constitute 1% of the population. They start their celebrations on December 25th of each year.

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Imam Khamenei Pays Tribute to Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve

 December 25, 2019

Leader of Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei called on Tuesday for adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ, which requires righteousness and abhorrence of anti-righteous powers.

In a message on Christmas Eve, Imam Khamenei said: “Following Jesus Christ requires adherence to righteousness and abhorrence of anti-righteous powers, and it is hoped that Christians and Muslims in every part of the world will adhere to this great lesson from Jesus (pbuh) in their lives and deeds.”

“The honor Muslims attribute to Jesus Christ (pbuh) is no less than his position and merit in the eyes of the Christian believers in Christianity,” the Leader said as quoted by his office in a tweet.

“Today, many who claim to follow Jesus Christ take a different path than that of him. The guidance of Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon our Prophet and her) is guidance towards worshiping God and confronting the Pharaohs and tyrants,” another tweet said.

Source: Iranian media

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New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

By Staff – Washington Institute

A reliable new Lebanese public opinion poll, conducted in November, showed that a large majority of the country’s Shia population retain positive views of Hezbollah even as major anti-government protests include many Shia participants for the first time.

According to the Washington Institute, David Pollock said this surprising finding casts doubt on speculation that Hezbollah might suddenly be in danger of losing its core constituency.

New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

New Lebanon Poll: Most Shia Still Back Hezbollah

 

The Story of Daher Al-Umar Undermines Israel’s Own Origin Story

Daher Al-Umar Feature photo

Akka, Haifa, Tabaria, are all cities with a rich Arab history which Daher made into thriving towns, and yet little memory of him existents thanks to enormous efforts put forward by the state of Israel to control the historical narrative.

December 02nd, 2019

The history of Palestine, even its very recent history, has been all but forgotten. It was pushed out by a new version of history, a narrative that is based on faith and has very little to do with history. One striking example is that of the 18th-century Palestinian leader and unifier, Daher Al-Umar. For most people, neither the man or the period in which he ruled Palestine is known.

Here is what Palestinian author Ibrahim Nasrallah writes about Daher Al-Umar:

This matchless character has long been worthy of the attention of novelists and film and television producers, who could have made him a luminous part of our popular consciousness and the ongoing struggle of the people who populated and gave life to the land of Palestine.”

 

Time to Remember

In his forward to The Lanterns of the King of Galilee, a historical novel based on the life of Daher Al-Umar published in 2011 in Arabic, and in English in 2014, Nasrallah writes, “What saddens me now is that I didn’t come to know this great man earlier in my life.” The man to which he is referring is Daher Al-Umar Al-Zaidani, also known as The King of Galilee, whose remarkable life spanned from 1689 to 1775.

Daher Al-Umar governed most of historic Palestine and shaped its economy and politics as well as the life of its inhabitants for the better part of the 18th century. He established ties – economic and political – with European empires and created a boost in the economy and lives of the people of Palestine that was unprecedented. Palestine, under Daher, was the closest thing to an independent state one could achieve in 18th century Levant.

I had only heard of Daher Al-Umar from reading Nasrallah’s book, which shows that Nasrallah is correct as he continues to say in his forward, “Unfortunately many people are ignorant of what Daher achieved toward establishing an autonomous Arab homeland in Palestine.” However, what is astonishing is that Nasrallah himself admits that he only came across the figure of Daher in 1985 while working on his epic novel, Time of White Horses, published in Arabic in 2007 and in English in 2012.

 

A Challenging Narrative

In his forward, Nasrallah doesn’t shy away from stating the obvious, that his homeland, the country which Daher unified and ruled, namely Palestine, “fell prey to the Zionist onslaught that wrested it from its owners by means of myths, tanks and collusion.”

One might add that these myths used by the ZIonists were not just any myths, but perhaps the most powerful myths the world has ever known. In fact, even referring to these stories as “myth” will surely give rise to serious opposition as we are talking about none other than the Bible itself.

The Zionists based their claims to rights over Palestine using the toughest narrative to challenge. It is not one that is tough to challenge because it is rooted in historical facts, but because it is rooted in faith. In establishing their stake to Palestine, the Zionists built a foundation on three myths that operate as three pillars: The myth of the Jewish people, the myth of the homeland and the myth of history, and all three stem from the biblical narrative.

Jewish refugee Palestine

700 Jewish refugees aboard the S.S. Parita arrive in Palestine on Aug. 22, 1939. Photo | AP

The myth of Jewish people claims that Jews are a nation like all nations, unified by a common language, history and country. This myth is in direct opposition to the way observant, orthodox Jewish people define themselves, which is as a people unified by a common faith and observance to the Almighty. This definition allows for Jewish people to be Arabs and speak Arabic, to be Polish and speak Polish or Yiddish or to be citizens of any other country in the world and still remain Jewish, as they had done for two millennia.

The myth of the homeland claims that Palestine is the homeland of the Jewish people and that it has been empty for thousands of years. This myth stands in contrast to the fact that Jews have a home and land wherever they reside, and Palestine is and always was inhabited and thriving.

The myth of that history involves the secularization of the Old Testament. It treats the Old Testament as a historical document that describes the history of the Jewish people. According to this myth, the Bible has historical value, even though centuries of research prove otherwise. Furthermore, this myth ignores the fact that the bible is not a history book but rather a book of faith with little significant historical foundation.

It is in the face of these challenging myths that opponents of Zionism and supporters of the rights of Palestinians have to struggle. It is in this context that knowing about Daher Al-Umar is so crucial, and one must ask, why and how a figure of such stature, influence and importance was erased from memory.

 

Daher’s Palestine is Nasrallah’s Palestine

Nasrallah writes that his acquaintance with Daher had given him the ability to “trace the roots that go so deep into the land of Palestine.” He continues to describe this Palestine specifically as, “Arab Palestine, the Palestine of beauty, tolerance and the willingness to embrace the other.” People who know Palestine, particularly pre-ZIonist Palestine, will agree with Nasrallah when he goes even further, calling it, “the Palestine of cultural, spiritual and human richness; the Palestine that aspires to all that is free, lovely and good.”

Daher was known for his tolerance and the good relations he forged with Christian communities, Jewish communities and the Shia community of southern Lebanon. At his invitation, Jews from Izmir had come to come to Tabaria, or Tiberias and settled there during his reign. Sadly, as a result of the 1948 Zionist destruction and forced exile, little remains of the Arab Tabaria of Daher.

Tiberias Palestine 1936

Tiberias pictured circa 1936, prior to the 1948 Nakba. Source | Kahvedjian Collection

The mosque Daher built in the city still stands. It is a monument that under any other circumstances would have been venerated, cared for and used by the faithful. According to Zochrot and to what any visitor can witness, the mosque still stands, but it was desecrated and until recently used by the city as a storage space. Now it remains closed and neglected.

Akka, Haifa, Tabaria, are all cities with a rich Arab history which Daher made into thriving towns, and yet no memory of him exists. The onslaught of Zionist erasure of the history, names and monuments on the one hand and enormous efforts put forward by the new state of Israel to push forward a historical narrative that supports Israel’s existence has been devastating and incredibly difficult to challenge.

 

Erasing Memories

All of the cities that existed in Palestine prior to 1948 and were subjected to ethnic cleansing had their streets renamed. Most, if not all, have streets named after Ben-Gurion, Weizman, Hertzel, Balfour, and other major Zionist figures. Streets have been renamed after Israeli generals like Rabin, Dayan, Bar-Lev, etc., and still others are named after military units, replacing the historical names that used to exist. This process continues to this day and can be seen clearly, particularly in Jerusalem where the “Zionization” process is in full force.

Ibrahim Nasrallah ends his forward expressing the hope that, “those who read this novel will relive all the feelings I experienced in the course of writing it, and when that happens I’m sure they’ll sense how much better they’ve become.” Having read the book, I must agree.

Feature photo | A painting of Daher Al-Umar by Ziad Daher Zaydany circa 2010

Miko Peled is an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. He is the author of “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

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The War against Syria: In the Name of the Father the Son, the Holy Spirit … and the Truth.

Global Research, December 02, 2019

If the truth about the war on Syria was known and accepted by broad-based Western populations, then there would be no war on Syria.

If the truth were known and accepted there would be no terrorism in Syria.

  • If the truth were known and accepted Syria would still rank as one of the top five (1) safest countries in the world.
  • If the truth were known Christians and Muslims and everyone would be safe. Christians and Muslims in Syria would never have been slaughtered had the truth been known and accepted.
  • If the truth were known and accepted there would be no economic blockades that cause death and disaster and terrorism with intent.

But the truth is not known and accepted by broad-based Western populations because we have been smothered by blankets of suffocating, criminal war propaganda for years. Our tax dollars pay for the indoctrination. Just like our tax dollars pay for NATO and its globalizing tentacles of death and destruction that are literally imperilling the world.

So,why is the Truth not known and accepted by broad-based Western populations?

Renowned author Michel Collon demonstrates the characteristics of war propaganda that deny us the right to know.

First, the real interests that push for war must be hidden. Privileged access to and control of resources, including oil pipelines, must not be mentioned.

Second, history must be erased. People musn’t be aware of the longstanding imperial efforts to divide, weaken, and colonize Syria. They must not know that the war on Syria was planned well in advance by imperial powers.

Third, the leader of the country must be demonized. People must never know that elected President Assad has always been popular, even according to a NATO poll,(2) and that the invading terrorists were never accepted nor welcomed by the vast majority of Syrians.

People must not know that it is the aggressors, the US and allies, who have and use Weapons of Mass Destruction, not only in Syria, but in Iraq, and every other country that they invade. Depleted Uranium impacts present and future generations. Babies in Vietnam are still being born with deformities thanks to that war and the US deployment of Agent Orange.

Perceptions must be fabricated in such a way that the Western aggressors are seen as defending “victims”.

The entire Western-perpetrated war has created a country full of victims. The real intention of war is to kill and harm and maim and destroy. Destabilize means to destroy. The notion that it is humanitarian is beyond ridicule, but this is the perception that must be embedded in Western populations.

Finally, alternate viewpoints must be suppressed.

Warmongers must monopolize the discussion.

People must not know that the White Helmets (3) are terrorists, that they fabricate fake chemical weapons incidents, that they create false flags, that they engage in involuntary organ harvesting. People must not know the truth.

The Truth, widely accepted, would deliver Peace. The Truth must be erased.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017. Visit the author’s website at https://www.marktaliano.net where this article was originally published.

Notes

(1) RealClear World and Gallup, “Top 5 Most Personally Safe Countries.” 27 October, 2010.
(https://www.realclearworld.com/lists/top_5_personal_safety_countries/syria.html ) Accessed 29 November, 2019.

(2) “NATO reveals 70% of Syrians support Bashar al-Assad.” VOLTAIRE NETWORK, 6 JUNE 2013.
(https://www.voltairenet.org/article178779.html?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=9aadf28a533396ad5ebd8ea7ca0a80c110a39911-1575044240-0-AcCxkjY1iKAL5NA2qz5mxkDPrbY9fDr9uiK-odHiFQ01P-8l4JYuoleZQj9dlRvM3HRs3TNXjKyWcZmlN4NGjFA2n16YX2SdkQbTontqN7KTVaPMLcFqOMTiU62qjylvbxHrnWXqq5UhElws7LUS6w0oCbTHG2tg58lqh7RURlz3Cib5oIITDojuE1dNzl5f1wPpLolOH7-iujj3YA_aZxxL9Z4jg3SJgDmvrv2z42Ho8nwWg1e6ltQa1fR7zaSyUVgIblwQGpUZRZUlsT0gNgRRVXDt2ydXMyFQ59ENiYZ_ ) Accessed 29 November, 2019.

(3) Mark Taliano, “Video: Who are The White Helmets? Fake News and Staged Rescues. Canada’s beloved ‘humanitarian heroes’, the White Helmets.” Global Research, 26 December, 2018.
( https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-who-are-the-white-helmets-fake-news-and-staged-rescues/5663906) Accessed 29 November, 2019.

Featured image is from the author


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

Hiding the West’s ongoing neo-colonialism in Lebanon via blaming Iran (1/2)

 

Image result for ‫رفيق الحريري وشيراك‬‎

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

I have spoken with many in France’s huge expatriate Lebanese community – and from all groups – and not a single person has ever claimed that Iran was the power behind the scenes in Lebanon. Without fail I was told that this title belongs to France.

It shouldn’t be surprising: France completely devised modern Lebanon.

Many Lebanese don’t like to be reminded of this, but Lebanon is an artificial nation which France constructed entirely on the basis of racism: just as Zionists to the south wanted a “Jewish nation”, Lebanon was hacked off of Syria in 1920 to create a new Christian-majority nation.

That’s a “no longer relevant” tale of divide and conquer to some, even though a few centenarians may still remember the actual event.

France also devised Lebanon’s sectarianism-enshrining, woefully unmodern constitution, which has ensured divisive identity politics ever since.

Thus, just as Israel is a little part of the USA in the Middle East, Lebanon is the older, French version. The saying, “Beirut is the Paris of the Middle East” could not be more correct.

And yet, were an alien to visit and read Western mainstream media coverage of the recent protests in Lebanon it would not imagine that France ever had any role in Lebanon, much less a prominent role there today.

Image result for hariri corruption

Instead, Western headlines and reports all push the totally absurd claim that Iran has somehow become the neo-colonial master in Lebanon. Somehow – and via the poorest, most marginalised sectors of Lebanese society, no less – Iran has been able to usurp a century of French power.

Furthermore, despite the century of French involvement it is not France but Iran which is responsible for the corruption that has pushed so many Lebanese into the streets.

Apparently Iran took power and also became corrupt so very quickly that the Lebanese themselves didn’t even realise it! The idea is laughable.

Or perhaps: the Lebanese themselves don’t know what is actually going on in their own country – the West knows better.

These are the kind of ideas only a Westerner could believe.

The reason is simple: advertising works. Astute observers already realise that when it comes to the Middle East every problem – big or small – is blamed on Iran in the West.

However, what’s rarely examined is how this very real Iranophobia allows the West to obscure places where their neo-colonial machinations could not be more obvious, such as in Lebanon.

If it’s not Iran then it must be Hezbollah, but it can never be France

If the West cannot destroy Iran in 2019 they will happily settle for destroying Hezbollah.

There are two types of political parties: those which citizens fight to destroy (like the Yellow Vests and the three mainstream political parties in France), and those which citizens fight to preserve. There is no doubt which camp Hezbollah belongs to.

Hezbollah is the “Party of God” and the party of Lebanon’s poor, but many insist they are not a political party but a larger “resistance movement”. Amal is a political party allied with Hezbollah, and Western media coverage is doing their best to lump both in with the older, Western-aping, billionaire-backed parties which are the true cause of the recent corruption protests.

Hezbollah has always said they would never turn their guns on Lebanese, and even if the West doesn’t want anyone to know that the Lebanese certainly do. They know that without Hezbollah southern Lebanon would be called “Northern Israel” today. Or, nearly as badly, it would still be the State of Free Lebanon, that stillborn Israeli client from the early 1980s which no country besides Israel recognised. (That’s just more “no longer relevant” history to Western mainstream journalists of course.)

The West hates Hezbollah for the same reason Lebanon supports it – Hezbollah is what ensures Lebanon’s security from repeated, deadly, infrastructure-ruining Israeli invasions. After the 2006 war with Israel most Sunnis and an estimated 50% of Christians supported Hezbollah – that’s hardly sectarian hatred.

After saving the Lebanese from Israel on multiple occasions, the undeniable and enduring popular support of Hezbollah and Amal comes from their education, health and other social welfare organisations. Southern Lebanon is most notable not for being mostly Shia but for its extreme poverty, which was the result of decades of neglect from Paris-allied Beirut. Hezbollah and Amal helped reverse that, to the extreme embarrassment and consternation of France, Israel and their many sectarian militias, mafias and political puppets in Lebanon.

And yet despite being so late arriving to power, despite being anchored in the poorest regions, despite decades of neglect from Beirut, and despite illegal and inhuman US-led sanctions on Hezbollah… the West wants us to believe that Hezbollah and Amal are the ones responsible for the corruption at the heart of the current protests!

One has to wonder: if these two groups are so corrupt then where is the money, because it is certainly not in southern Lebanon?

The idea that Hassan Nasrallah, who can make a fair claim to be the most popular Muslim leader and hero in the world currently, is about to fall due to decades of corruption in Beirut is an absolute fantasy which can only be taken seriously in the West.

Again, what we have here is another situation where Western propaganda is aiming to manipulate legitimate unhappiness created by long-tenured Western client politicians in order to deny the West’s neo-colonial culpability. The legitimate demands in Yemen, Palestine and Iraq are all being portrayed as being caused by an Iranian neo-colonialism which does not exist, when the real culprit is the very real and very accurately-named Western neo-colonialism.

The West, of course, may speak of neoliberalism but never neo-colonialism.

The long-running source of corruption in Lebanon: Western-allied, neoliberal & neocolonial puppets

I would imagine that up to this point a Lebanese reader has been quite bored – I have only relayed things which he or she already knows quite well. But perhaps a Lebanese expatriate in Brazil or the United States – who cannot visit Lebanon so easily and who foolishly relies on the Western mainstream media – may not know some of these things.

What most Lebanese know quite intimately is that they no longer have a “real” economy. Their export capabilities are so woeful that scrap iron was their third top export in 2017, at just $179 million.

This is unsurprising, because Lebanon’s longtime function was to serve as France’s Middle East banking haven, with Switzerland-level secrecy laws dating to 1956. However, they have increasingly been replaced by Qatar and other Persian Gulf nations.

Banking is still a strong sector of their economy, but now mainly due to the huge number of remittances (only 4 million Lebanese live in Lebanon but there are an astonishing 8-12 million living as expatriates).

All this wouldn’t be a problem if Lebanon had a strong government to centrally plan and direct their limited economy, and also a government which cared for their 99% instead of their 1%, but Lebanon has neither of these things. The reason for this has nothing to do with Hezbollah, but everything to do with the real root of the current protests.

After the Taif Accords in 1989 and the fall of the USSR in 1991, Rafic Hariri, who became Lebanon’s richest man/prime minister thanks to earning billions via construction with the House of Saud, embarked on the massive “Horizon 2000” privatisation plan, which sold off the major industries and real estate of the Lebanese people. Hariri, in classic Western fashion, privatised the people’s wealth mainly to himself, but also to French companies.

Hariri’s “There Is No Alternative” (to neoliberalism) plan also included massive efforts to attract foreign investment, which ballooned the national debt – the funds were not spent on the poor, of course, but lined the pockets of the rich. France is always the one who organises the regular international debt conferences to restructure Lebanon’s debt, reaping compound interest payments all the while. Rafic Hariri was yet another Arab aristocrat who yoked his people to Western debtors for generations.

Hariri also banned protests and encouraged bribes and kickbacks to the army in order to continue his neoliberalisation drive totally unfettered.

For these reasons (i.e., he made them rich via ruthless self-interest) the assassinated Hariri is worshiped in the West as a true martyr to the neoliberal faith, whereas his corruption in Lebanon was infamous and resented. The most common phrase about him is, “He treated the state as if it was his home.”

His son Saad could have hardly done worse, but he certainly has tried: $16 million to a bikini model mistress, getting abducted by the Saudis and then resigning on their TV, etc. Saad Hariri has held so very many closed-door meetings with France’s president over the past decade that I truly just got tired of covering it for PressTV – I think he must have a private room at Élysée Palace?

What I have described is three decades of oligarchic economic corruption, mismanagement and economic far-right neglect, and here is the bill: At 158% Lebanon’s debt to GDP ratio is the 5th highest in the world, just behind Greece.

Few commentators go further, however: Lebanon’s external debt to GDP ratio is only around 45%, implying that there is a lot of money in Lebanon but held – in an inherently corrupt manner – by extremely few hands. And this is certainly the case: Lebanon’s richest 0.1% own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50 percent, making Lebanon one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Lebanon is thus an economically rudderless, economically unequal and economically corrupt nation, and it is quite obvious that none of this happened because of late-arriving, poor-loving Hezbollah or Iran.

It is absolutely preposterous to believe that Iran or Hezbollah is the source of Lebanon’s inequality and corruption, and thus that they could be the true target of protesters. The Western Mainstream Media – mostly privately owned, incredibly chauvinistic – is trying to sell an anti-Iran/anti-Hezbollah conspiracy even though the Lebanese themselves will not be fooled by it for one second.

The West, especially France, created, applauded and profited Lebanon’s economic corruption via their unstinting support for the corrupt and despised Hariris, and also Israel’s expatriate-inducing, infrastructure destroying invasions. France’s role in saddling Lebanon’s economy with two million of Syrian and Palestinian refugees is also glossed over by the Western mainstream media, of course.

I hope the true profiteers of Lebanon’s misery will finally be called to account. The Lebanese know who has robbed them, and it is not Hezbollah, Nasrallah or Iran.

Part 2 in this series will give more details on the corrupt Lebanese politicians of today, most of who are associated with violent militias armed and funded by France and/or Israel.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China and the upcoming Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism. He can be reached on Facebook.

 

جاكلين والوفاء العظيم .. وخيانة قناة السويس ..بقلم عبد الله رجب

Source

منذ فترة تناقل الوطنيون السوريون خبر رحيل جاكلين خطيبة الاستشهادي الأول الضابط السوري جول جمال الذي فجر نفسه في البارجة الفرنسية التي هاجمت بورسعيد المصرية ابان العدوان الثلاثي على مصر عام 56 ..

جول جمال ضابط سوري “مسيحي” قدم نفسه قربانا سوريا من أجل مصر .. وبقي السوريون مخلصين له ولبطولته الفريدة .. وأخلصت له خطيبته بتقديمها درسا في الوفاء العظيم عندما بقيت تلبس خاتم الخطبة دون ان تنزعه حتى آخر لحظة تنفست فيها في هذه الحياة .. وكأنها تقول له ان وفاءه العظيم لأرضه ومبادئه وشعبه يستحق ان يلاقى بالوفاء العظيم ..

وفي هذه الحرب الوطنية العظمى التي عصفت بسورية منذ ثماني سنوات كان السوريون يكتشفون ان وفاء جول جمال العظيم لارضه كان حالة تعكس ثقافة مجتمع فدائي بلا حدود .. ولكن الاخبار التي يتناقلها الناس وبعض القنوات الرسمية عن انضمام قناة السويس الى الحصار الخانق على الشعب السوري ومنع مرور شحنات النفط الإيراني الى سورية فتق الجراح ونكأها ونزفت دما حتى انها لو وصلت الى قناة السويس لجعلتها حمراء .. فطوابير السيارات بلا نهاية أمام محطات الوقود .. وكل الفقراء الذين يعتمودون على وسائل النقل العام لايصلون الى أعمالهم ولا يقدرون على العمل ويفقدون موارد رزقهم اليومي وخبز أطفالهم ..

ربما لايدري كثير من المصريين أن قناة السويس افتداها ضابط البحرية السوري جول جمال بدمه عندما اندفع الشعب السوري للدفاع عن كرامة مصر وحقها المطلق في تأميم قناة السويس .. ولم يكن جول جمال وجيله من السوريين قادرا على أن يتحمل ان تفقد مصر كبرياءها ومورد رزقها وعنوان استقلالها المتمثل في قناة السويس وان يحاصر الأعداء مصر وشعبها من قناة السويس .. ولكن جاء اليوم الذي تحاصر فيه قناة السويس الشعب السوري الذي أهداها ابنه جول جمال الذي كان افتداها بروحه كي تبقى قناة السويس حرة وملكا لأهلها المصريين ..

كيف تخلص امرأة اسمها جاكلين لبطل ولاتبادله أمة بحجم مصر الإخلاص وهو الذي افتداها وترك من أجلها أمه واباه وترك حبيبته ؟؟..

هل أعتذر من جول جمال أنه حرر قناة السويس كي يأتي يوم تحاصر فيه القناة التي حررها بدمه شعبه وأمه واباه واخوته ورفاقه الذين عادوا من مصر من دون ان يعود جثمانه معهم .. فربما لايزال جسده يطفو ويهيم على وجه الموج وفي أعماق بورسعيد .؟؟.
لاأدري كيف أنقل الخبر الى روحه ولاأدري كيف أكتب له رسالة كي أتجنب النظر في عينيه .. ولاأدري كيف أبدأ الكتابة ..

فهل مثلا أقول له ان سفن فرنسا وبريطانيا وإسرائيل وأميريكا تمر على أشلائه وبقايا جسده فيما سفن سورية وأصدقائها محرمة على القناة؟؟ هل أقول له اغفر لنا اننا لانملك شيئا في تلك القناة التي دفعنا دمك ثمنا لها وان دول العدوان الثلاثي التي دحرها بجسده وأجساد المصريين والسوريين هي التي تقرر من له الحق في عبور القناة .. ؟؟
هل تراني أقول له ان دمك الذي كان وقودا لملايين العرب والمصريين واضاء قناديل المصريين والمشرقيين صار مثل بقعة زيت عائمة تدوسها سفن إسرائيل واميريكا في الذهاب والإياب ؟؟

لو عاد الزمن ياجول الى تلك اللحظة التي وضعت فيها كل الذخائر والمتفجرات في مقدمة الزورق الانتحاري الذي صعدت اليه وودعت اصدقاءك .. لهرولت وقلت لك .. الهوينى ياجول .. انني أرى لحظة في الزمان لو رأيتها لوقفت وقلت لنفسك ماكان دمي يوما بالرخيص الا من أجل الأوفياء والانقياء .. فكيف يامصر لاتحفظين الجميل .. فتخلص لي امرأة .. وتنساني أمة بحجم مصر ؟؟

فيا مصر لا تخذلي من ترك أهله أمانة في عنقك ووضع كل ثقته في أنك لن تخذلي دمه الذي سقاك الحرية …

   ( الأحد 2019/04/21 SyriaNow)

Israel Shamir: “Christchurch Revisited”

South Front

21.03.2019

Written by Israel Shamir; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

You don’t have to be a white nationalist to commit a mass murder in a house of worship like the one in Christchurch, though if you only read mainstream media you’ll probably associate them with the unique depravity of doing so. Without the slightest intention to wax apologetic for the crime and rejecting conspiracy theories, I want to contextualise the event and preclude political profit-taking and guilt-assigning by the liberals.

Israel Shamir: "Christchurch Revisited"

White nationalists are not exceptional. A Muslim can do it just as “well.” In Egypt, Muslims massacred in April 2017 45 Christians in two Coptic churches. There is a long list of attacks on churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq by Islamic extremists. They kill not-sufficiently devout Muslims, too: over 300 Muslim worshippers were slaughtered by Muslim extremists in a Sinai mosque in November 2017. The ISIS atrocities are on a different (worse) level altogether, though they go underreported in the media that prefers to demonise president Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies.

(Many Muslim attacks on Christians go underreported, for media follow the policy of keeping local native nationalists under pressure, and full reporting would undermine this goal. In September last year, a man poured out petrol and tried to ignite a fire on a subway train in Stockholm. He was stopped by fellow passengers, arrested, sentenced to four years in jail. It was hardly reported at all, and the only report does not give his name, for a good reason: it is a Muslim name. However, so-called hate crimes get a lot of coverage.)

A Jew can do it even better. A Brooklyn Jew, Dr Benjamin (it’s all about the Benjamins, baby!) Goldstein single-handedly massacred about fifty worshippers in the Ibrahimiye Mosque of Halil/Hebron in Palestine on the eve of Purim 1994. He also wounded about 150 Muslim worshippers – though it is said that Israeli soldiers present at the spot gave him an assisting hand. Perhaps they thought it was free-for-all.

Image result for Baruch) Goldstein

Benjamin (or Baruch) Goldstein is considered a hero and a sainted martyr within his community, the fiercely chauvinist Jews of Hebron. They go to his grave and ask for his intercession before the Almighty. Young girls ask him to find them a suitor. Candles are constantly lit in his memory. A book was published in his honour, and his name is frequently mentioned among the settlers. They claim (without any evidence or factual base) that this massacre saved the Jews from being massacred by Muslims.

While white nationalist videos have been de-platformed, YouTube has no problem with this video exculpating and glorifying the Jewish mass murderer. Prime Minister Netanyahu (another Benjamin, baby!) decided to bring the party of Goldstein fans, Otzma Yehudit, into his government coalition, and it did not interfere with his triumphal progress to the AIPAC conference to be held on March 24, right after Purim.

Goldstein had his predecessors. On 26 July 1983, a Jewish terrorist group attacked an Islamic college with hand grenades and submachine guns; three students were killed and thirty wounded. The attackers were eventually apprehended, sentenced and quickly pardoned by the president of Israel after a big public campaign: over 70% of Israeli Jews demanded their release.

As Purim approaches, activity around Goldstein’s grave comes to a peak. A mystic could think that the NZ shooter had been moved to action by the Purim awakening of the Goldstein spirit. At the same time, the name of the Jewish killer is hardly ever mentioned in the Western media, and the Jewish American officials, while expressing their (justified) horror and indignation regarding the Christchurch murders, never refer to their coreligionist who preceded and inspired Tarrant. Some of them even said that nothing similar to the mosque shooting ever happened.

So, white nationalists are not exceptional. An unusual feature of Tarrant’s crime was that it was a hate-less hate crime; essentially a gamer’s crime. Apparently there is a game-acquired appeal in raining bullets upon “vermin”. If you played videogames you would know what I mean. A sort of FPS (First-Person Shooter Games) with your preferred enemy instead of a zombie. And now, make the next step – consider real people being zombies. You do not need hate for that; and Tarrant did not hate his victims, judging by his writing. He even wrote about the great friends he made in Turkey.

The border between videogame and reality became blurred by way of modern warfare. The video Collateral Murder, the first breakthrough achievement of Assange and Wikileaks, gives us the FPS of an American pilot killing innocent and unarmed people on the streets of Baghdad. Israeli girl-soldiers operate a remote-control killing system on the Gaza fence. It is called the Spot and Shoot system. They do what Tarrant did as their daily job. The same is done by drone operators sitting in faraway places and killing children. (To make it easier, they call their victims “fun-size terrorists”.)

Video games that train you to kill without feeling hatred are a substitute for this sort of killing. I’ve been to wars, and I’ve seen and experienced the real thing. Hatred is not necessary to kill your enemy. If you know who is your enemy, you can kill without feeling hatred, and that is what most soldiers do, most of the time.

It’s not something to be horrified about. We have to recognise aggression as a necessary element of our mentality. It is not “good” or “bad”, this is what we are, in the favourite expression of Mme Pelosi. We have an inbuilt drive for hunt and warfare, that’s why a little boy goes “bang bang” before he is able to talk. This is the way we are hard-wired. People like to shoot people; if they aren’t allowed to in real life, they do it in games. But they dream of doing it for real, to fight, to kill and perhaps, to die. This drive, like other destructive drives, is normally canalised, or sublimated. A boy’s hunting instinct and his drive for war have been transformed into heroic actions, into defence of one’s home and country, or into performing Herculean feats. Without it, we would be still sharing bananas in the African jungle.

However, we live in a feminised society where feats are against the law. A boy is supposed to behave like a girl; a girl, like a boy. Not only clothes and toilets are unisex, so is the indoctrination. The propaganda of gender-fluidity aims at killing masculinity at its root. A young working-class man has very few prospects in life. He can get a low-paid temporary job with no security, at best. And he can pour out his indignation and desperation in a video games saloon or in a fighting club. Or just use more drugs and alcohol.

Games, and shooter games in particular, are very popular, because they cater for basic needs – as pornography does. They are so popular that the Swedish gamer who was mentioned by Tarrant has ninety million followers: it is many times more than any article-writing journalist can ever reach. So there are many frustrated and dissatisfied men. Will the games provide a sufficient outlet for the pent-up tension? Perhaps; porno certainly influenced sexual relations by making so many men less interested in the real thing.

It is not in the best interests of mankind. For mankind, it is better for men to be interested in women and perform feats of courage for the best of the community to win their love. For the people who consider themselves our masters, there are other priorities. They want to have calm herds of many cows and oxen; bulls are trouble. This comparison is somewhat misleading: humans are not herbivores, and we are more rebellious, clever and strong-minded.

In order to quell the rebellious spirit, our would-be masters invent traps and fake vents. Greta Thunberg and her demonstrations against global warming provide such a faux outlet for the rebellion. The Yellow Vests of France are fomenting a real rebellion, and that is why they are being demonised by the mass media. Our society should be reorganised to allow young men to perform real feats. They want to save the world, and the only things they are being offered is to flip hamburgers or play video games.

This desire to save the world is evident in Tarrant’s Manifesto. He describes the world in which he and other working-class young men are displaced, and though his proposed solution (terror) is wrong, the problem is real. He sees the people he is being replaced with, the immigrants, and he seeks to deal with them.

The replacement is real, but the culprits are not the immigrants he is being replaced with. It’s people who organise the replacement, who bomb Muslim lands to create living hell in the once-prosperous Middle East and North Africa, who bring the refugees to Europe (and its extension in Australia-NZ), who indoctrinate against ‘xenophobia’ instead of denouncing greed.

Actually, Tarrant is aware of it. He wrote in his Manifesto:

The major impetus for the mass importation of non-Europeans into Europe is the call and want for cheap labour. Nothing drives the invasion more and nothing needs to be defeated more than the greed that demands cheap labour… In the end human greed and the need for increasing profit margins of capital owners needs to be fought against and broken.

He is definitely right on that, spot on. Greed of capital should be destroyed in order to save mankind, but killing Muslims is not the right way for it.

Tarrant’s concern about the low birthrate of Europeans is understandable, but for one reason only: he takes for granted this demand for cheap labour and more sales have to be satisfied. However, it does not have to be satisfied at all. If greed is controlled and defeated, and immigration blocked, the population can gently decline until a new sustainable level is found. For a while, the population will grow older, true; but this is a temporary effect. We are not doomed to ever-increasing population, ever-increasing profits and sales, ever-rising shares, endless expansion. It can be changed.

And we should, because if we don’t, our ‘masters’ will organise a giant bloodletting, a new great war to turn millions of deprived young men into Tarrants in their service, as they did in 1914 and 1939. Mankind will defeat greed and work for its better future, or will it turn upon itself. This is the main lesson of the Christchurch massacre.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

Archbishop Atallah Hanna: Warsaw Conference has disregarded that no one can undermine Palestinian cause

Source

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Archbishop of Sebastia of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of al-Quds [Jerusalem] Atallah Hanna has affirmed that Palestinian people will continue to defend al-Quds [Jerusalem], their shrines and their just national cause no matter how tough the oppressive occupation policies are.

His Eminence’s remark was made during a tour in Salwan town [ located in the south of al-Aqsa Mosque], which is being constantly targeted by Israeli occupation authorities.

“Our mission is a message of solidarity, love, fraternity and national unity among all Palestinian people. The pains of Salwan citizens are our pains because we are one Palestinian people wherever and whenever we are, and we share the same ambitions,” the archbishop said, according to a newsletter sent to the Syria Times e-newspaper.

His Eminence asserted that the issue of detainees and prisoners must be a top priority for Palestinians because those are the heroes and symbols of freedom and they deserve to stand by them.

“We believe in values of human brotherhood and national unity through which we can be strong in defending the right we call for…Palestinians are not guests or a minority of al-Quds population…Al-Quds is their capital… We hope that internal Palestinian divisions will end so as to be strong in defending al-Quds and our shrines,” the archbishop stated, according to another newsletter sent by the archbishop Office.

His Eminence has told a German media delegation that the Palestinian cause plus the attempts of aborting it are being marginalized by media outlets.

“The world must show interest in the catastrophic circumstances the Palestinian children are going through… Gaza strip has become the largest prison in the world due to the siege being imposed by Zionist occupation,” the archbishop said.

In a separate meeting with Swiss lawyers, his Eminence called for lifting the siege being imposed by Israel on Gaza strip as Palestinian people suffer from a real humanitarian catastrophe.

“Occupation authorities have killed many youths and children during peaceful marches, and these crimes have been perpetrated because Israel, which acts brutally and without moral and human deterrent, has not been held accountable,” the archbishop clarified, indicating that over 2 million Palestinian persons are living under the siege in the strip.

Add to that, His Eminence referred to the great efforts being exerted by the World Campaign for defending Children in Palestine, warning against forced displacement being practiced by occupation authority.

“Forced displacement is dangerous and poses a threat to scores of Palestinian families and the UN report must take this matter seriously,” the archbishop asserted, calling for active European role in protecting al-Quds city’s history from Zionist occupations’ attempts to change it.

“The occupation authorities seek to turn Al-Quds city, which has its religious and spiritual status in the Abrahamic religions, into a Zionist -Jewish city encroaching on Christian and Islamic dimensions.”

As for Warsaw conference, the archbishop has declared: “ The conference comes within conspiracy hatched against the Palestinian cause and it aims to liquidate the cause, but the conferees disregard that there are Palestinian people on the ground and they have a just cause that no one can undermine.”

Treason

He went on to say:

“Like other conferences and meetings that came within the projects of liquidating the Palestinian cause, Warsaw conference is doomed to fail. Besides, the deal of the century will never pass and it exists only in their minds and on their papers that will be thrown in the dustbin of history.”

His Eminence regrets that some Arab countries have decided to be involved in the plot that aims to eliminate the Palestinian cause.

“We consider normalization meetings as treason to Palestine that is supposed to be the main Arab cause and to the Arab nation as well.”

“If those who normalize relations with Israel believe that Israel can keep them in power, they are mistaken as the top priority for Israel is its interest and the continuity of its occupation of Palestine. While those who believe that they are US friends, they will discover- sooner or later- that they have no friends because Washington just thinks of its agendas and it has thirst for gulf oil, which it steals from our region to finance its wars and policies,” the archbishop concluded.

Basma Qaddour  

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Jerusalem Archbishop: ‘Everything Palestinian is targeted by israel’s (apartheid state) occupation’

Jerusalem Archbishop: ‘Everything Palestinian is targeted by Israel’s occupation’

MEMO | February 2, 2019

Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna, seen during a protest in the West bank city of Hebron, January 22, 2015 [Muhesen Amren / ApaImages]

The Palestinian Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna, said yesterday that “everything Palestinian in Jerusalem is targeted by the Israeli occupation”.

During a meeting with a delegation from Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders, MSF), Hanna explained the dangers threatening Palestinians’ existence and identity in the Holy City, Al-Wattan Voice reported.

“Everything is in danger in Jerusalem,” Hanna said, adding: “The Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments are targeted in order to change our city, hide its identity and marginalize our Arabic and Palestinian existence.”

Hanna added that “recently, the Israeli occupation cancelled a planned celebration on the 50th anniversary of establishing Al-Maqased Hospital,” noting that the Israeli occupation had cancelled many other Palestinian events planned to take place in Jerusalem.

The Archbishop said that Palestinians “are living under severe torture and harsh persecution,” pointing to Israel’s closure of Palestinian institutions in the city. “It seems that they wanted us to give up Jerusalem and submit to their polices, measures and practices,” he added.

Hanna continued: “Jerusalem is for us and will remain for us. We will never give up our rights in Jerusalem and we will defend it against Israeli oppression.”

Addressing the MSF staff, he said: “We want you to know closely the suffering of the Palestinians and the oppression inflicted by the Israeli occupation on them in Jerusalem. We want our message to reach all the people around the world as we want more friends for the Palestinians.”

Israel SITREP: The Christ-hating Israelis are at it again

Remember this:

or, for that matter, this:

Well, our Israeli friends have done it again, check out this article by RT: (just ignore all the explaining away and other cop-outs in the text of the RT article).
———-

‘McJesus’ statue sparks riot at museum in Israel as protesters call for removal of ‘offensive’ art

An art exhibit featuring a crucified Ronald McDonald caused chaos in the Israeli city of Haifa last week, after members of the country’s Arab Christian minority took offence at the depiction and protested outside the museum.Hundreds of Christian protesters called for the statue, titled ‘McJesus,’ to be removed from the museum, with Israeli police saying that some rioters even hurled a firebomb at the building and threw stones, shattering windows and injuring officers. Crowds were eventually dispersed with tear gas and stun grenades, according to the Associated Press.

Embedded video

The Wolf Report@thewolfreports

Christian Palestinians protesting in front of the Haifa Museum to the sculpture “McJesus” by Finnish artist Jani Leinonen, depicting Ronald McDonalds clown on the cross.

However, it seems the protesters missed the point of the exhibit, which was not intended to be an attack on Christianity, but instead meant as an artist’s statement on capitalism, corporate domination and how modern society and culture worship false gods. The exhibit also includes Barbie-doll boxes with Jesus and the Virgin Mary inside.

The sudden focus on the exhibit came as a surprise to Museum Director Nissim Tal, however, since the art in question had been on display for months already without issue. It is believed that photos of the controversial statue recently published on social media prompted the protests.

The work has also been shown in other countries without problems, although Israel’s Christians make up a tiny percentage of the population in a country which is already rife with ethnic and religious tensions.

Wadie Abu Nassar, an adviser to church leaders who have demanded the exhibit’s removal, told the AP it was necessary to understand that freedom of expression “is interpreted in different ways” in different societies. “If this work was directed against non-Christians, the world would be turned upside down,” he said.

The museum has refused to remove the artwork, saying that it must uphold freedom of expression and resist pressure. “If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum,” Tal said, adding: “We will be defending freedom of speech, freedom of art, and freedom of culture, and will not take it down.”

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, who has earlier been accused of supporting censorship after pushing legislation commanding national “loyalty” in art, also called for the exhibit to be taken down, saying it was “disrespectful.”

The museum has hung a curtain over the entrance to the exhibit and put up a sign saying that it is not intended to offend, but that is the “maximum” it will do, its director added. Protesters, however, have refused to give up, with one reportedly camping outside the museum in a tent with a sign calling on artists to “respect religions.”

In another twist, the Finnish artist who produced the ‘McJesus’ statue, Jani Leinonen, also wants the work taken out of the Haifa museum, but not because he doesn’t want to offend. Leinonen said he supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to pressure Israel to change its policies toward Palestinians.

Nadine Nashef@nanninenashef

The McJesus Saga keeps getting better and better. Apparently Finnish artist Jani Leinonen is a activist/supporter and wants his work taken out of the Haifa museum. He wasn’t aware it was being exhibited there. 😂

———-

Bottom line is this: if it is anti-Christian, then even a BDS-supporting goy will get his 15 minutes of fame in the “only democracy in the Middle-East”.

These guys, and the al-Qaeda crazies, are the forces which the West chose to support in the Middle-East.

Bravo!

The Saker

Christmas meeting … between Jerusalem and Damascus

let’s cooperate to build a humane world

Sunday, 09 December

South Front

By  Eva Bartlet

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.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine. She is a recipient of the International Journalism Award for International Reporting. Visit her personal blog, In Gaza, and support her work on Patreon.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/interview-grand-mufti-ahmad-badr-al-din-hassoun-syria/252590/

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Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

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The ship Is But to The Shore

 Journey into the Heart of Reality

الحرب والتطبيع… أوهن من بيت العنكبوت

«إسرائيل» أوهن من بيت العنكبوت، قالها السيد نصرالله ولا زالت عالقة كشوكة في حلوقهم،

نوفمبر 15, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– منذ العام 2000 والمعادلة العبقرية لقائد المقاومة السيد حسن نصرالله تقضّ مضاجع قادة كيان الاحتلال، «إسرائيل» أوهن من بيت العنكبوت، قالها السيد نصرالله ولا زالت عالقة كشوكة في حلوقهم، خاضوا حرب تموز 2006 وحلمهم رفع علم الاحتلال في ساحة النصر في بنت جبيل، حيث قالها علهم يتحررون من وطأتها، فجعلتها حرب تموز معادلة استراتيجية راسخة، فخاضوا حرب غزة ودبّروا الحرب على سورية وحرب اليمن وفي عقولهم وخطط مفكريهم، التحرر من عقدة بيت العنكبوت، وها هم الآن يعودون بصفقة القرن وتسمية القدس عاصمة أبدية لكيان الاحتلال بكل الدعم الأميركي والتطبيع الخليجي، وبالإشهار عن أن دولتهم قومية يهودية، ويخوضون حربهم على غزة، فماذا يقول التاريخ وماذا تقول الوقائع؟

Image result for ‫الكورنيت في غزة‬‎

– حربهم الأخيرة على غزة التي توقفت في منتصف الطريق كانت تأكيد المؤكد بأن كيانهم وجيشهم أوهن من بيت العنكبوت، فالميدان اليوم له أسياده، ولم يعد جيش الاحتلال مَن يرسم المعادلات فيه، الكورنيت حسم السيطرة في البر، والقدرات الاستخبارية للمقاومة أعادت لهم جثث كبار ضباطهم بدلاً من الإنجازات، والصواريخ أسقطت قبتهم الحديدية وسقطت على رؤوسهم، والتهديد بالتصعيد جاءهم بالتهديد المقابل بالمزيد، الصواريخ الدقيقة والعالية القدرة والبعيدة المدى ستنزل إلى ساحات النزال، وترعد فوق تل أبيب.

– في السياسة تقول الحرب في سورية والحرب في اليمن، إن الأهداف الإسرائيلية سقطت، وإن الذراع الإسرائيلية مغلولة، وإن مشروع صفقة القرن يسقط بالضربة القاضية، غياب الشريك الفلسطيني، لأن الشعب الفلسطيني رسم خطوطه الحمراء، مَن يتنازل عن القدس مقتول مقتول، فماذا تقول لهم خطواتهم التي ترعاها واشنطن في الخليج وضم القدس وإعلان يهودية الدولة؟

– مرّ كيان الاحتلال بأربع مراحل من التعامل مع مرجعياته في مقاربة السعي المحموم نحو التطبيع، في المرحلة الأولى لم يكن يعرض سوى تطبيع تقيمه دباباته حيث يحتل الأرض ويضمّ الجغرافيا ويفرض على السكان الرضوخ لذل الاحتلال، وهي صيغة التطبيع التي تتناسب مع مشروع «إسرائيل» الكبرى القائمة على منهج الاحتلال ورسم حدود الكيان بالقوة، وقد سقطت في الجولان العربي السوري بانتفاضة أهله وتمسكهم بهويتهم العربية السورية، وتكرّس سقوطها منذ عام 2000 بسقوط مشروع التوسّع، وفشل الكيان بالاحتفاظ باحتلال جنوب لبنان وتالياً فشله بالاحتفاظ باحتلال غزة.

– في المرحلة الثانية كانت «إسرائيل» العظمى هي البديل الاستراتيجي، وعنوانها مقايضة الأمن بالهيمنة، ومحورها التطبيع الاقتصادي لحجز مقعد المدير الاقتصادي للمنطقة، مقابل القوة العسكرية القادرة على التدمير، لكن شرطها تظهير قدرة الردع، فجاءت حرب تموز 2006 وتكفلت بما بقي منها. وفي المرحلة الثالثة كانت «إسرائيل» الفضلى هي البديل الاستراتيجي الجديد وعنوانها إعادة صياغة المنطقة من خلف الستار وفقاً للمصالح الإسرائيلية، وأداتها التطبيع مع تنظيم القاعدة والفكر التكفيري بأدواته ومرجعياته الخليجية، وكانت الحرب على سورية أداة تطبيق المشروع، والإعلان عن أن جبهة النصرة كنموذج لهذا التطبيع شريك في الأمن الاستراتيجي لكيان الاحتلال، وقد سقط آخر ما تبقى من هذا التطبيع الذي شمل العلاقات التحالفية المعلنة مع حكام الخليج بالضربة القاضية في جنوب سورية.

– تطل المرحلة الرابعة، وعنوانها «إسرائيل» الصغرى، وشرطها الانكفاء خلف الجدار، والاكتفاء بالاعتراف الأميركي بالقدس عاصمة لكيان الاحتلال، وإشهار يهودية الدولة، وهي ثمرة التسليم بسقوط فرص التسوية مع محور المقاومة، وسقوط فرص ضربه وإضعافه، وسقوط فرص إيجاد شريك فلسطيني بقياس المصالح الإسرائيلية لمضمون التسوية، وشكل التطبيع الذي يتناسب مع بدء أفول الكيان وقوته وقدرته على رسم الخرائط، هو التطبيع الذي نشهده مع حكام الخليج، لتوظيفه في إزالة الذعر الذي يعيشه المستوطنون في الكيان القلقون من مستقبل كيانهم، غير الواثقين بغدهم، في ظل ذعر استراتيجي عنوانه أن وجود الكيان صار مطروحاً على بساط البحث، ومثل هذا التطبيع يسهم في نشر ثقافة الاطمئنان بأن «إسرائيل» كيان طبيعي معترف به في المنطقة، حتى لو كان من يعترفون ليسوا من تخشاهم «إسرائيل» وتعتبرهم التهديد الاستراتيجي لوجودها، وهم من يتسبب لها ولمستوطنيها بهذا الذعر الاستراتيجي، فهو تطبيع بيت العنكبوت، كما باتت الحروب حروب بيت العنكبوت.

– كان لي شرف المشاركة في مؤتمر علمي بدعوة مشتركة من جامعة حلب والمستشارية الثقافية الإيرانية في سورية، ومما قلته في مشاركتي،

إن تلاقي السنن التاريخية والسنن الإلهية جعل الرد على التطبيع الإسرائيلي مع تنظيم القاعدة كردّ على الفشل في حرب تموز ومحاولة استجلاب مَن يباهي حزب الله في بذل الدماء، قد جاء على يد حزب الله نفسه، الذي تكفل بقطع يد تنظيم القاعدة ومتفرعاته في سورية داعماً الدولة السورية وجيشها،

إن تلاقي السنن التاريخية والإلهية يقول اليوم

إن الرد على التطبيع الخليجي المبرمج لحساب «إسرائيل» الصغرى بعد الهزيمة التي تلقتها الحرب التي دبّرتها «إسرائيل» ضد سورية وكان سقوطها مدوياً في حلب، ها هو يبدأ من حلب، حيث المدينة العربية الجريحة، التي لا تزال تلملم بقايا أشلائها بعد دمار وخراب وموت، هي المدينة العربية الأولى التي تقود المواجهة على هذه الحلقة من التطبيع، لكنه تطبيع بيت العنكبوت، دون أن يغير ذلك من وصف الجرم بما يستحق، لكن دون وهم الظن بأن «إسرائيل» تتفوق وتتقدم، فهو حلف المتعوس الحاكم للخليج مع خائب الرجاء المنتقل من حرب فاشلةإلى تطبيع فاشل.

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