Trump’s Kurdish SDF Criminals: More Ethnic Cleansing in Qamishli

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July 12, 2020 Miri Wood

Bomb detonated in front of Virgin Mary Church - Qamishli - Hasakah Syria

The Trump regime’s SDF mercenaries continue to engage in the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Syrians from the Qamishli area of the Levantine republic. Local news has reported another attempted bombing of the Church of the Virgin Mary along with two other, unnamed churches, and the closure of fourteen Christian schools in the northeastern region of the country, under the protection of American illegal military troops.

Though the NATO-armed SDF (Arabic acronym, Qasad) militia is claimed to be Kurds yearning to breathe free, the traitorous separatists have merely been cannon fodder under an umbrella gang of foreign wetworkers from various NATO countries, under the protection of war criminal US military. The murderous fodder against Syrians were originally the YPG, but as this gang of thugs is on America’s terrorist list, Pentagon leaders under Obama declared a new name was required, to better market these thugs who have kidnapped Syrians, torched Syrian wheat fields, slaughtered Syrian law enforcement. In short, these terrorists are attempting to ethnically cleanse native Syrians from their land.

qamishli, syria
Liters of blood of the Syrian martyrs in Qamishli, slaughtered by US SDF. [Archive, September 2018]


On 1 July, as a preemptive threat against the probability of Russia and China thwarting an extension of the new Sykes-Picot UN/NATO Treaty, Trump’s ambassador Kelly Craft warned of [more] mass graves in the S.A.R. should the NATO dictum not be accepted. Almost immediately upon the expiration of Security Council Resolution 2504 (2020), news came of another impending false flag chemical attack by al Qaeda operatives occupying Idlib, along with a strange blackmail attempt by certain al Qaeda factions against American illegal Bilal Abdul Kareem — the release of his degenerate, naked selfies (which the friend of child beheaders subsequently referred to as family photos) — the same terrorist faction which recently abducted Tauqir ‘Tox’ Sharif, Brit illegal from a Syrian home which he and his also English wife had been occupying.

afp
Al Qaeda FSA/Zinki branch kidnapped a child & proudly videoed themselves carving off his head.

Demonstrating the utter arrogance western colonialism — even while NATO countries hypocritically decry US racism, and westerners continue to feign concern over the brutal murder of George Floyd, using his death as a cover story to break from the COVID-19 lockdown — imperialist pathogenic illegals in Syria claim that the church was bombed by ISIS.

That there is no such place as Rojava is of no concern when it comes to the rancid white man’s burden to impose empire on nation-states. A gaggle of NATO operatives — represented by a Brit, an American, and a Frenchie — have been squatting in northeast Syria since 2018, and have created the imperial Rojava Information Center, a NATO independent “media bridge” from the separatist, Israelized, Kurds, to the “outside [NATO] world” (because ordinary Syrian Kurds could never run their own newspaper, without NATO operatives).

The war criminal hypocrisy of such humanitarian bastards is a bottomless pit of depravity. Ignoring the fact that the US armed SDF previously blown up vehicles near the Church of the Virgin Mary, that they have stolen Syrian homes and kidnapped Syrian children, forcing them into criminal conscription, this NATO-sponsored gang under the protection of the Trump regime illegals in the SAR, have ironically claimed that the US-created ISIS committed the bombing in Qamishli to disturb the Garden of Eden enjoyed by the US-created SDF and Muslim Arabs and Arab Christians trying to break free of their native country. The vicious sadism of this colonial criminality is further flouted in the incestuous reporting on the ‘RIC’ by the Defense Post/Global Post NATO independent sites created by a Turkish student who allegedly came to the US to study but decided to stay.

Let the western world not be fake concerned over domestic racism while flouting support for peak colonialism.

Let Trump’s imperialism in Syria be brought to an end.

— Miri Wood

Why do ISIS terrorists and Turkish regime kill Yazidis?

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Saturday, 20 June 2020 14:11

Why have ISIS terrorists and the Turkish regime killed and captured thousands of Yazidis in Iraq and Syria while the international community has done almost nothing to document the 2014 genocide in Iraq’s Sinjar by ISIS [Its Arabic Acronym is DAESH]?

Turkey, a NATO member, never bombed Iraq’s Sinjar when it was besieged by ISIS. It waited until Yazidis returned before claiming it needed to bomb “terrorist” targets.

In August 2018, Turkey assassinated a Yazidi leader who was driving back from a memorial service for genocide victims, alleging he was a PKK leader, according to media reports that affirmed there are still up to 3,000 missing people kidnapped by ISIS, mostly women and children. The community, which suffered genocide, now faces a new threat of airstrikes.

“On August 3, 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS, Daesh) terrorist group attacked the Yezidis in Shingal, Iraq. Yezidis are an ethno-religious minority in Iraq. ISIS killed or captured nearly 10,000 Yezidis. They forced them to convert to Islam or be killed. ISIS enslaved and sexually abused the women and girls. They brainwashed the boys and used them as suicide bombers. They executed the men. They sold the babies and toddlers to raise them as Muslim. This was the 74th recorded Yezidi genocide,” Dr. Amy L. Beam, an American researcher, writer and human rights advocate said in her book “The Last Yezidi Genocide” which was published in English paperback on Amazon in 2019.

The 362- pages book contains heart wrenching stories of survivors of ISIS captivity, their dangerous escapes, and eye witnesses testimonies to the atrocities. Half of the book is the author’s narrative analysis explaining the culture, history, evidence, and politics of the genocide in Iraq. 3,000 Yezidis remain missing.

“The Last Yezidi Genocide” by Dr. Amy L. Beam

The United Nations recognized the Yezidi genocide in 2016, established a UN committee to investigate the genocide in 2018, and funded it in 2019. This book, which is the result of four years of interviews provides evidence of the genocide. It should be required reading for any researcher, scholar, social worker, or policy-maker studying terrorism, genocide, immigration and asylum, and the Middle East.

 She was living in southeast Turkey expanding her tourism business when 20,000 Yezidis fled over the mountains from the barbaric ISIS terrorists’ attack upon their homeland of Shingal, Iraq, in which 10,000 Yezidis were killed or captured in August 2014.

A Yazidi woman, Sara showed Beam the IDs of her husband and two small children whom had been captured.  Beam explains, “I got up to hug Sara, and she broke down in sobs, then fainted in my arms.  Then her mother fainted. People showed me photos of beheaded men and piles of dead bodies.  They gave me lists of their abducted family members.  I was the only outsider there, and I could not turn away from this tragedy. I knew I had to alert the world to this crisis, but the enormity of the responsibility left me trembling inside.”  Since that day, Beam has not stopped campaigning to help the Yezidis get international asylum and aid.

In 2018, Beam moved to Shingal city and she was the only foreigner with permission to live there.  

She states, “I came to report the truth to the world because judges in Europe were denying asylum to Ezidis who had risked their lives to get there. The courts are erroneously claiming that it is safe to return to their villages in Shingal. I came to Shingal to video the empty villages and report that there is no electricity, no water, no infrastructure, and no means of livelihood. It is impossible under current conditions for Ezidis to return from their camps to their villages. There is no solution in sight.”

Beam has gotten more than 700 Iraqi IDs and passports for survivors of ISIS captivity and rape. Most of them received asylum in Germany, France, Australia, and Canada. While meeting the survivors many wanted to share their stories with her.

Heart wrenching stories

She narrates in her book a lot of stories, including the story of  three sisters who are survivors of three and four years’ captivity with ISIS terrorists.

“The three sisters now live in Australia. ISIS killed their father on  August 3, 2014, in Tal Ezeer, Shingal, northern Iraq. ISIS, in addition, killed Mirza Baker’s father-in-law. First they drove a car over his legs then they shot him,” Beam told Syria Times e-newspaper, pointing out that some sources announced that as of the end of April, 3.371 Yezidis had been rescued from ISIS terrorists.

According to these sources, ISIS kidnapped 6.284 Yezidis among them 3.467 females.

On March, 5 2019, it was reported that 550.000 Ezidis lived in Iraq prior to August 2014. While 100.000 estimated emigrated out of it since the same year.

ISIS terrorists destroyed 68 religious sites and shrines for Yezidis in Iraq.

Last month, one of my friends told me that one of the Turkish-backed terrorist groups killed a Yazidi lady because of her ethnicity in Afrin city in Syria’s Aleppo province.

She added that the terrorists also kidnapped over 200 Yazidis and demanded ransoms to release them.

“They killed some of them. Before the start of the Turkish regime’s aggression on Syria on January 20-2018 , there were 35.000 Yazidis in 22 villages in Afrin region. Now there are only 1500 Yazidis, most of them are elderly, while the others have been displaced and they are living in camps in Syria and Lebanon,” she said.

A Yazidi young man wrote this poem to express his pain and the pain of his people, and allowed me to share it with you:

It’s about Genocide!

I want to scream and cry for children cried when their mothers were enslaved and raped !

I want to scream and cry for the kids who lost their parents during Genocide.

I want to scream and cry for little Yezidi girls who were kidnapped and enslaved!

I want to scream and cry for the Yezidi mother who IS cooked her kid to eat it!!

I want to scream and cry for the kid who lost his girlfriend who was taken as slave!

I want to scream and cry for the girls who lost their husbands after a week of their marriage!

Basma Qaddour

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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The ship Is But to The Shore

 Journey into the Heart of Reality

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

By Eva Bartlett
Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is a translated transcript of my interview with Mufti Hassoun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EB: Thank you very much, Mufti Hassoun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanity shares three things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hassan Nasrallah: Israel is in despair after the defeats of Daesh

Source

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on 28 August 2017 on the occasion of the Second Liberation, following the complete surrender of the terrorists of Daech and Al-Nosra in Lebanon

Transcript:

[…] We are truly facing a great victory (against Daesh in Lebanon). From there, consider that on May 25, 2000, we expelled the Zionist Occupying (Lebanon) and today we all (the Syrian and Lebanese armies and Islamic Resistance) have expelled the occupying terrorist takfiri. This is one of the fundamental similarities.

On the border, vast and sensitive areas (mountains, hills, strategic positions) were in the hands of the Zionists, and here also, vast expanses, mountains, heights, hills, strategic positions were in the hands of the takfiris. At the border, accross the international border, the Israelis were a permanent threat and that is always the case, and takfiris were a threat at every moment against all of Lebanon, especially against all the Bekaa, not only against Baalbeck-Hermel and border villages.

Lately, everyone knows that they planned there, in the Jurd of Ersal, Daesh was preparing suicide operations and attacks in Zahle and in the surrounding villages, but the intelligence services of the Lebanese army discovered them before the operations were conducted.

Today we face this reality. And maybe it would come to the mind of some to say “ô Sayed [Nasrallah], as regards Israel, it is something very different (from what happens today).” But no, it is a continuation. Day after day, it is shown that these Daesh and takfiri groups have been created by American power and fought to realize the Israeli project. They fought (in the interest of the) Israeli project. And what these takfiri terrorist groups have offered Israel, Israel could never get for decades.

And more dangerously… I do not want to classify these two dangers, because I believe that these terrorist groups are fighting within the American-Israeli project, whether they know it or not. Their leaders know for sure. The fools are the fighters who got fooled by false and superficial slogans. Israel is an occupation and hegemony project. Israel is an occupying project. The United States are a project of hegemony. Daesh and other takfiri groups are an extermination project. The extermination of all that is different (from them): Muslim, Christian, Sabean, Yazdi, everything. That is an extermination project. The extermination of man, of History, of civilization, of society, of all things. And then when our region is destroyed, its armies, its plans, its states, its institutions, its social structure, it will be offered (on a silver platter), primed, cooked to perfection, roasted and stuffed to America and Israel, so that they seize it and impose their conditions on everyone.

And that’s why today, who is shedding tears over the fate of Daesh in Syria, in Qalamoun and in Iraq? Netanyahu and Israeli officials! It is they who mourn (bitterly) and yell sorrowful lamentations! Currently, their problem with the Trump administration is that it committed itself to the eradication of Daesh as a priority, the same administration that recognizes that this is the Obama (and Clinton) administration who created Daesh. This is why no one should come and say that there is a big difference between the Liberation of South(-Lebanon in 2000 against Israel) and this battle (against Daesh) and that the liberation of South ranks first (in importance), and that (the Liberation of our borders) is in 10th place (for example) in any way! (Liberation of southern Lebanon against Israel) is first, (the Liberation of our borders against Daech) comes right away in second place! For it is a continuation of the battle against Israel.

Read Israeli (statements and press). (Unfortunately), the Lebanese and the Arabs do not read much. Read what they say, what they write, especially these days, with the ongoing eradication of Daesh in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, so that you realize clearly that Daesh is a true Israeli project.

We are indeed facing the Second Liberation (of Lebanon). The date of the First Liberation is May 25, 2000. The date of the Second Liberation, for history, is today (28 August 2017). I do not mean the day (to be selected for an annual commemoration of this event). Today we wrote… Last time, today’s date, August 28, 2017, was empty (of any commemoration) in the calendar. But not for 2018. By the will of God, this day and this month are written by the Lebanese Army, the Syrian army and fighters of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon. This was written today (in the annals of History): August 28, 2017 is the Day of the Second Liberation, which will be recorded as a glorious day in the history of Lebanon and the history of the region.

Now whether the Lebanese government (led by the pro-Saudi Saad Hariri and his March 14 coalition, facing the movement of March 8, with Hezbollah and its allies) recognizes it or not, that’s their problem, just like what happened on May 25, 2000. The situation was somewhat different at the time, that date was declared a national holiday, then was removed from the calendar at the time of a previous Prime Minister. But then, thanks to God, a head of government redid the occasion of May 25 a day of remembrance.

We now have an opportunity to commemorate: August 28, 2017. I speak only of the historical event that took place on August 28, I do not write the history (and national holidays) myself. But today there is no longer any daeshiste, takfiri, (member of) Al-Nusra Front or (any other terrorist) on the least grain of sand, any mountain or any Lebanese hill. It was on that date (this event occurred). After that, if the government wants to keep that date, or choose August 27, August 25, August 31 or September 3 (for the commemoration), I have no problem. I do not precede anyone, I speak only of the historical event.

On this basis, I wish to conclude with this call (to celebrate this event this Thursday 31st, the day of Arafat, on the eve of Eid-al-Adha): you remember that on May 25, 2000, it is all Lebanon who won, and Lebanon was happy with the victory (against Israel), with the exception of those who had placed their hopes in the Israeli occupation, and there were (a number) in the country, and those who had placed their hopes in the army of Antoine Lahd. So on that day, there was a majority (of Lebanese) happy, and (a minority) of people whose faces were darkened (with bitterness) because their plans had collapsed.

Today… But (in 2000), the happiest people, despite the fact that it was a national day, celebration and victory, were southerners, residents of southern Lebanon and Jabal Amel who were the happiest of all with this victory and this Liberation. The reason is simple: it is because the occupation took place on their mountains, their hills, their cities, it is their sons and daughters who were imprisoned, their peasants and farmer were fired at, and a daily threat was hanging over them. We remember the bombing against Sidon and Nabatiye and children and schoolchildren’s heads torn in the streets. It is quite normal that the people of the South, who are those who have suffered most and have the most sacrificed,were (more) happy on May 25, 2000.

Today, all of Lebanon won, and logically, the vast majority (of the population) is pleased, with the exception of those who have placed their hopes on the Al-Nusra Front, on Daesh and the regional states and world powers that stand behind them. It is understandable that they are angry, saddened and dismayed, and they offer their condolences, it is normal. And a few days ago, 2 or 3 weeks, they have insulted, reviled and slandered us, but let them act as they please. We understand their sadness and pain.

But with certainty, the vast majority of Lebanese are happy because without these (victorious) confrontations for several years to date, Daesh, the Al-Nusra Front and their like could have seized the Bekaa, the North and reached other places in Lebanon and we would have experienced a disaster. See what happened in the country and the societies around us (Syria, Iraq, Libya).

But it is also natural that the happiest people in the Second Liberation are our noble people of the Bekaa. They are the ones whose mountains, Jurds and fields, were attacked with car bombs and suicide bombers, against Hermel, Bekaa and Ras Baalbek, and the whole area was threatened upto all Zahle and the Bekaa, and now that this nightmare disappeared from their mountains, their hills, their Jurds, their homes and their lands, they sure are going to be the happiest of all. For they have suffered more than all, and in this battle, it is among them that there was the most sacrificed (martyrs).

It is true that our brothers, our families and the officers and soldiers of the Lebanese Army came from all regions of Lebanon and fought on this front, but there is no doubt that today in the Bekaa, there are no villages, especially in Baalbek-Hermel, in which are not found one, two or three martyrs, and one, two or three wounded. The Bekaa residents have also shaped this victory by the blood of their loved ones and their children, the apple of their eyes, the best elements among their young men. Not to mention the wounded who are still in the homes and in hospitals. Therefore it is normal that they are happy, congratulate themselves and take pride in this victory which is a national victory in general,but especially a victory for the Bekaa. […]

Translation: http://sayed7asan.blogspot.fr

“O’ Master of Resistance, all of us are with you.”

Maliki Denounces Campaign against Sayyed Nasrallah: ISIL Evacuation Deal Right Decision

August 31, 2017

Iraqi Vice President Nouri Maliki

Iraqi Vice President and leader of the State of Law coalition Nouri al-Maliki denounced  on Wednesday “the hostile campaign of ignorance” against Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, as he commented on the deal to evacuate ISIL militants from Lebanese-Syrian border.

Maliki welcomed the recent Hezbollah-negotiated deal with ISIL as the right decision, and “part of the strategic battle against terrorism,” stressing that the issue is a Syrian and not Iraqi since it is implemented in a Syrian territory.

He denounced the “systematic campaign of ignorance and hatred against Sayyed Nasrallah.”

Some Iraqi officials slammed the deal, saying the terrorists are to be transferred to Deir Ezzor’s Al-Bukamal, an area adjacent to the Iraqi borders.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sayyed Nasarllah issued a statement stressing that the terrorists were transferred to a Syrian territory. The resistance leader meanwhile, hailed the Iraqi’s for confronting terrorism, assuring that Fraternity between Hezbollah and the Iraqi cannot be shaken up and that the joint victory against terrorism is historical.

Source: Agencies

Deputy Chief of Iraq’s Popular Forces to Sayyed Nasrallah: O’ Master of Resistance, All of Us Are with You

Deputy Chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes on Thursday sent a letter to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in which he stressed that the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces join the same front against the revetments of terrorism, extremism and Zionism.

Al-Mohandes hailed the role of Sayyed Nasrallah, describing him as the master and the spirit of the resistance which loses its value without his eminence, according to the letter.

The Deputy Chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces added, “We learnt from you how follow this path and from Hezbollah martyrs which was mixed with that of the Iraqis.”

Over three decades ago was the spark, and now Hezbollah leads a freedom project, according to Al-Mohandes.

Al-Mohandes also stressed that the followers and supporters of Sayyed Nasrallah will not be prevented from following your path despite all the borders and threats.

Finally, Al-Mohandes stressed that Sayyed Nasrallah will keep the title of glory and the conscious rejection project.

“We have been part of your project which extends from heaven to earth.”

“O’ Master of Resistance, all of us are with you.”

Source: Al-Manar Website

Resistance Finds in Qalmoun Dangerous Video Revealing ISIL Intention to Attack Lebanese Towns

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Saudi Crackdown: Riyadh Court Sentences Shia Cleric to 13 Years in Prison

Local Editor

Amid the continuous crackdown against its Shia minority, the Saudi kingdom sentenced top Shia cleric Sheikh Hussein al-Radhi to 13 years in prison.

 

Saudi Crackdown: Riyadh Court Sentences Shia Cleric to 13 Years in Prison


Sheikh al-Radhi has been arrested on the hands of Saudi regime forces on March 21, 2016, from the Rmaile village in Ahsaa in Saudi Qatif eastern province.

The Saudi authorities banned Sheikh al-Radhi from leading prayers, which pushed him to raise his voice against the regime oppression.

Before the arrest, Saudi authorities banned Sheikh al-Radhi from leading prayers, due to his stances against oppressive policies of the Al Saud regime.

Earlier in February of 2016, the Saudi authorities shut down Rasoul al-Azam Mosque in al-Ahsaa, after preventing Sheikh Radhi from performing Friday prayers there.

The move came after Sheikh al-Radhi slammed the Saudi authorities for their crackdown on opposition activists. Before the closure of the mosque, Sheikh Radhi was summoned for questioning following his critical statements.

Sheikh al-Radhi has openly slammed the Saudi regime over the execution of prominent Islamic scholar Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the war on Yemen as well as the Takfiri ideology which is widespread in the Saudi Kingdom.

Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass pro-democracy protests against Riyadh, which erupted in Eastern Province in 2011.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

09-08-2017 | 12:06

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Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?

Zeinab Daher

As if is not enough for the people of Awamia to be under continuous heavy bombings, that the Saudi regime started forcing them out of their homes. But what if a person has nowhere to go to?

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


Some three months earlier, the restive town enjoyed a peaceful atmosphere. However, once upon a thought, the Saudi regime decided to raze the historical neighborhood of Awamia, in the Qatif eastern province. Under the alleged pretext of ‘developing’ the area, which is indeed to chase wanted activists, the regime is starving the Shia population there, blocking their access to phone and electricity services, and lately displacing them to nowhere.

It was before three months that the government summoned the neighborhood’s residents to pay them undue compensations so they would leave their houses. The majority of people neither accepted the measure, nor did they go to take their money. Their rejection was because the government warned them that in case anybody was killed in the area, the regime won’t be responsible!

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


Facing a popular resistance to give up on residential areas, the Saudi government started tightening its grip on Awami people. Its escalatory measures ranged between blocking electricity service, phone and internet services, besieging the town and blocking entrances and exits with cement blocks, and most lately bombing houses over their residents.

As part of the worst tragedies in modern history, the Saudi regime troops forced locals to leave Awamia and raise white flags on their way out, then proceed to harass them and loot their homes.

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


However, those same people are not only being attacked by their own government, but by their nationals as well. Many of property owners are trying to abuse the situation and are refusing to offer them a paid shelter unless they pay for three months in advance.

Although many others are offering them houses for free, the previous behavior makes any person feel as if he/she is a stranger in their homeland. Until Friday, Awamia citizens were calling for necessary aid such as bread, milk and diapers for their babies.

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


By sacrificing several lives of its youth, Awamia has become one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the oil-rich dictatorship. Awamia however is never seen, never heard and never felt by the entire world! We still haven’t heard the voices of those kindhearted ‘people of good will’ who always express their concerns and solidarity with the smallest of human rights violations all over the globe.

As if Awamia, and the entire eastern province are not part of this planet to grab the attention of the free people to stand up for its support…

Al-Ahed

29-07-2017 | 13:49

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Mosul Liberated, What Next?

Mosul Liberated, What Next?

PETER KORZUN | 11.07.2017 | WORLD

Mosul Liberated, What Next?

On July 9, Mosul was declared liberated from the Islamic State (IS). Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in the city to announce the mission’s success. After nine months of fierce and grueling fighting and human suffering, the terrorists lost the city, which has been their stronghold for the last three years. Around 915,000 residents have fled Mosul since the start of the battle for the city last October.

Every piece of terrain recaptured from the extremist group is a step forward. The liberation of Mosul is an important victory but it is also the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end. Those who routed the IS – the Iraqi Security Forces, Sunni militias, Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia-dominated Popular Mobilization Units and Christian militias – all of them pursue different interests and belong to different sectarian fractions.

Animosity exists between Shia and Sunni Muslims. There is discord between the Kurds and Arabs. Without a single military or political leader over the battle, the chances of discord or fratricide are substantial. With IS no longer a common threat, pent up animosities among current allies might be released. An enormous effort will be required to prevent them from coming to blows with each other.

Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city and is predominately Sunni Arab but also consists of Kurds, Shi’as, Turkmens, Yezidis, Christians and other ethnic groups. Who exactly will control the city with Sunni-dominated population? Is the possibility of clashes between Shiite and Sunni militias excluded? Will the forces controlling the city be under a central command? And if Mosul is not administered well after liberation it will become the birthplace of another terrorist group. Securing peace may be harder than winning the war.

The Shia Popular Mobilization Forces answer to their individual militia commanders – or directly to Teheran. The Kurdish Peshmerga reports exclusively to President Masood Barzani, the head of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The Sunni National Mobilization Forces answer to militia commanders. The US Central Command has no authority over the Iraqi elements. Unlike the coalition, the IS forces are a single entity under a single commander.

The same questions will inevitably be raised after the IS is squeezed from Raqqa, Syria. Nobody knows what comes next after Raqqa is retaken. Who and under what authority will govern? Like in Iraq, the actors involved in the Syrian conflict also have opposing visions of the country’s future and pursue different goals.

The battle against the IS in Iraq itself is far from being over. The jihadis still control large swathes of land in Nineveh and Anbar provinces, as well as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. As the so-called caliphate crumbles, the surviving IS fighters not captured by Iraqi army will head for Syria.

In Syria, the terrorist group still controls large chunks of territory. When finally driven out of their two main bastions: the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, the IS will still control large areas of the Euphrates River Valley, southeast of Raqqa stretching into western Iraq and has a few other strongholds in both Iraq and Syria that will need to be cleared as well.

The territory under the militants’ control in Syria includes large parts of Hama and Homs provinces. The Deir ez Zor province is largely under the group’s control. The town of al-Mayadeen in Deir ez Zor has been announced to become the caliphate’s new capital where the group’s leaders have moved.

And even if the group is driven form those positions, the desert in the eastern part of Syria and the adjacent Iraqi province of Anbar may remain under the IS control for a long time. The desert warfare is waged in the environment unhospitable to regular army forces.

Even if the caliphate did not control land, the group’s leadership and hardcore fighters would likely remain in Iraq and Syria, forming an underground resistance. Many militants will move to North Africa, especially Libya, while some of them will join the fighting in the Asia-Pacific while others will go to Europe and join terrorist cells there.

When the international force launched the operation in Afghanistan, many Al Qaeda jihadis vanished in the hays waiting for another chance to take up arms. The same way the IS will fade into the woodwork to lay low to the ground, waiting for an opportunity to re-emerge. The group has developed networks skilled at raising money, obtaining weapons and clandestine organizations in the Middle East and other parts of the world. They wait till the moment is right for them to come back and retake the cities in the countries where internal instability creates proper conditions for invasion.

The IS may lose territory and be retreating but its ideology lives. It’s not so much a fight on the battlefield to seize land but rather a struggle for domination of people’s minds – that’s the gist of the problem.

The US-led coalition is scheduled to meet in Washington this week to discuss stabilization in liberated areas of Iraq and Syria. Stabilization is important but there appears no significant discussion on what comes next.

An international threat can be effectively countered only by an international effort. That’s what made this problem be included into the agenda of US and Russian presidents’ meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg. There is a long way to go and only joint efforts will bear fruit.

Russia can mediate between Iran and the US, Iran and the Saudi-led coalition of Arab states. The actors divided on other issues should coordinate efforts to prevent the IS from finding safe havens. It should always be hiding and on the run to be finally defeated. International efforts should go much farther than just Iraq and Syria. They should not be limited to statements of condemnation made by the Security Council or the General Assembly. An effective international mechanism should be created to counter the evil. It cannot be achieved without Russia and the US joining together. So, that’s what they should do, while setting aside other issues the parties disagree on.

Russia Says Latest US Threat Against Syria is ‘Warning Sign of Intervention’

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova is calling it a “warning sign” of a possible US troop buildup and all-out military intervention in Syria. She is referring to Washington’s claim earlier this week that it believes Syria is planning a chemical attack.

The announcement was made Monday night by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who insisted the US has seen indications that the “Assad regime” is planning a chemical attack that would “likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”

Zakharova described the public comments as an “information attack” that may be a precursor to an actual war

“The current information attack is very likely a warning sign of an intervention. The story will be the same: an incident happens on the territory controlled by the terrorists, civilian casualties follow. The so-called opposition – de facto the same jihadists, not very different from IS [Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and Al-Qaeda, but who are still getting help from the US and allies – announce yet another ‘crime by the regime,’” Zakharova said.

A particularly ominous aspect to all of this is that the US has threatened to make Syria pay a “heavy price” should such an attack take place–and Zakharova sees this as a threat aimed not only at Syria, but also at Russia:

“The situation seems to be a massive provocation, both military and information-wise, a provocation which targets not only the Syrian leadership, but also Russia,” she said.

What has happened to the anti-war movement in America?

When the US invaded Iraq in 1991, there were huge protests in a number of American cities. And in 2003, when the US again sent forces into Iraq, protests were widespread and in some places quite large. Why are we not seeing similar protests now against US troops being sent to Syria?

The pretexts are just as flimsy as they were in 2003, but the anti-war movement is either out to lunch or in permanent retirement.

The only protests we see on American streets these days are protests focusing narrowly on such things as race, sexual orientation, gender identity–i.e. identity politics. The country has been divided along these lines. And as a result, there are no genuine anti-war protests taking place. How did it get to this point?

American society has been overtaken by a mass collective psychosis. This psychosis has a breath and life of its own.

Instead of seeing Russia, a Christian country, as our friends in the fight against terrorism, we see Russians as our enemies; instead of recognizing Bashar Assad as what he is–a benevolent, enlightened leader who has allowed freedom of worship and protected Middle East Christians–we have become convinced he is a dictator intent on killing his own people. These are a few of the characteristics of the psychosis which has overtaken us.

There are others. Accusations are also flying over personalities. This person’s a racist. That person’s a bigot. Politicians are corrupt. So are the media. And not all the anger is based upon illusions or misconceptions. Some of it is genuine. America is in a permanent state of road rage. The psychosis was spawned by the media, but as I say, it has taken on a life of its own, and the media are even now becoming its victims.

Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here. Maybe this is what happens when a nation loses touch with its roots and discards its spiritual faith. When America was solidly Christian, the country was unified. But gradually, the country moved away from religion. Prayer was outlawed in schools. And the culture began to be debased with film, music and TV shows promoting decadence and degeneracy. The result is what we see now. And it is not pretty.

As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

(Luke 8:23-25)

The solution is a return to our Christian faith. It is the antidote to the psychosis. And it will lead to the downfall of the psychopaths in Washington.

The Real Reasons the West Cannot Topple Bashar Assad

The Real Reasons the West Cannot Topple Bashar Assad

Posted on June 13, 2017

Sarah Abed has posted a fascinating article at her blog, The Rabbit Hole, providing an analysis of how, and why, Syrian President Bashar Assad–despite nearly eight years of sweat poured by scheming Western regime changers into the goal of toppling his government–has managed to hang on.

What the heck is it about this guy? How has he piloted his way through every single Zionist effort to rip his country apart and install a puppet government favorable to the West? What’s his secret? For after all, hordes of Western-trained terrorist head-choppers have been poured into Syria equipped with shiny fleets of Toyotas and advanced-grade military weaponry, yet Assad, almost miraculously, has remained at the head of the government, and for the most part has kept the country together. How has he been able to do this? Abed supplies four main reasons.

Reason # 1 she gives is the president’s strong spiritual faith, and in discussing that faith she furnishes some interesting information about the Alawite religion. Here is an excerpt from her article:

First and foremost there is Bashar al-Assad’s unwavering dedication to his family’s spiritual traditions and religious faith.  Being an ardent practitioner of the Alawite religion like his father and forefathers before him, Assad has drawn great strength from this mystical and tolerant branch of Shia Islam. He went into the medical profession and trained as an ophthalmologist because of his desire to serve the Syrian people.

Also known as Alawis, Alawites “are a prominent religious group, centered in Syria, who follow a branch of the Twelver school of Shia Islam but with syncretistic elements.“[1]  Because his religious community had suffered religious persecution and many other indignities over generations prior to his father’s presidency, he is quite sensitive to the need for religious tolerance.  Particularly within the context of Syria’s historical religious diversity, did the Alawites rise to provide the cohesive leadership necessary to maintain the peace and mutual acceptance?  This remarkable achievement occurred over decades when many neighboring nations suffered the fate of one failed government after another.

For those who are cognizant of the well-known Hindu religious tolerance in India, Alawites are quite similar.  They not only believe in reincarnation as in the East, they have also absorbed many other aspects of the predominant religions in Syria especially those found in Islam and Christianity.  Because of their syncretic approach in both philosophy and practice, Alawis have evolved into a genuinely tolerant spiritual community who actively cultivate a climate of mutual respect.  However, it is the mystical aspects of their spiritual practice which has earned them the respect of the Syrian people.  Because they are known to walk their talk, they have been trusted to lead as they have done for almost 5 decades.

Alawites consider themselves to be Muslims, although some Sunnis dispute that they are. Alawite doctrine incorporates Gnostic, neo-Platonic, Islamic, Christian and other elements and has, therefore, been described as syncretistic.

Alawite beliefs have never been confirmed by their modern religious authorities. Alawites tend to conceal their beliefs (taqiyya) due to historical persecution. Some tenets of the faith are secret, known only to a select few; therefore, they have been described as a mystical sect.

All religions, of course, are syncretic to one degree or another, so perhaps the Alawites are not unique in that regard. But they certainly are a religious minority in Syria, representing just 11 percent of the population. For the Syrian people to support Assad to the extent that they do (he won the 2014 election with 88.7 percent of the vote) would suggest not only a remarkable degree of trust in the man, but also respect for his religious faith.

As I said, Abed gives a total of four reasons, in the main, why Assad remains standing despite everything the West has thrown at him. Reason # 2?  The strength of his wife, Asma. As Abed puts it, “the Assad marriage reveals how a strong woman often exists behind every great leader.” Reason # 3–the guidance and training he received from his father, Hafez Assad. Reason #4 — no surprise — the alliance with Russia.

All in all, as I say, it’s a fascinating article. Click here to access it in full.

ISIS Sex Slave Survivor Exposes US Ally for Running Global Sex Trafficking Ring (Video)

 

 

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ISIS Sex Slave Survivor Exposes US Ally for Running Global Sex Trafficking Ring (Video)

Source

An escaped sex slave, once held captive by ISIS, noted that the country Donald Trump just promised billions, is facilitating a massive sex trafficking ring. Conveniently absent from the mainstream media as well as the white house is the Saudi role in modern day slavery.

by Jack Burns, The Free Thought Project: 

Few Americans could hardly have imagined the devastation, destruction, and horror experienced by the Iraqi people when the decision to invade Iraq was made in 2003. And no people, arguably, have endured more suffering than the Yazidi people, an Iraqi minority group.

Nadia Murad knows. The Iraqi Yazidi woman was kidnapped in 2014 and used as a sex slave by the Islamic State (ISIS). Murad has just exposed Europeans, Tunisians and US ally — Saudi Arabia — for their role in this horrific sex slave trade.

Murad eventually escaped her hell on earth and returned to her home village of Sinjar Thursday to the welcoming arms of her people. While sobbing, and standing on the roof of her old school, she addressed those gathered and those around the world who dare to listen to what she has to say.

After just three months of rape and torture, Murad escaped her Sunni Muslim captors, eventually finding refuge in a refugee camp, and later found saftey in Germany. But she didn’t stay there for long, and she’s not staying silent about what she experienced.

Reuters reported she’s now become the Yazidi ambassador to the world;

Murad has taken to the world stage to appeal for support for the Yazidi religious minority, in the United Nations Security Council in 2015 and to all governments globally, earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador role.

She was one of nearly 7,000 girls who were taken as sex slaves and traded like used cars to soldiers who’d come to wage Jihad against anyone other than Sunni Muslims. She watched as the men were separated from the women and children. They were later killed and buried in mass graves. The young boys were sent off to ISIS training camps, while the women and girls were used for the sexual gratification of Sunni fighters.

She told Reuters at the time she wanted to die. “We hoped that our destiny would be like the men and be killed, but instead Europeans, Saudis and Tunisians and other fighters came and raped us and sold us,” she said.

Last year, Saudi Arabia, a country President Donald Trump just signed a $300 billion dollar arms deal with, was exposed for not only facilitating the ISIS sex slave trade — but participating in it.

According to eyewitness reports, ISIS sex slaves are being sold in Saudi Arabia.
Jihad Watch reported:

“It isn’t news that the Islamic State has long been abusing and trafficking sex slaves – especially Yazidi girls – but it has been now discovered that the sex slaves of IS are being “sold in horrifying auctions to UK (and US) ally Saudi Arabia.”

An eyewitness reported:

Dozens of women were being held in a large room, and it was not only Iraqis and Syrians trading women but also Saudis and Westerners, whose actual nationality was not clear.

Western women have also been reported to be among the victims in keeping with the Islamic State’s practice of enslaving kafir women:

The Islamic State’s human trafficking operation includes enslaving women who they consider to be ‘kafir’, non-Muslim people like Yazidis and Christians, before selling them for money.  The depraved thugs are also involved in the radicalisation of young women all over the world and try to tempt them to come to their caliphate with false promises of wealth, marriage and forgiveness of sin.

The misdeeds and human rights violations by Saudi Arabia are astonishing, yet Trump had no problem striking a deal with the terrorist regime as well as bowing down to them.

With tears in her eyes, Murad told her village, “I am a daughter of this village.” She then called on the United Nations to, “Open a case for those that lost everything, their parents, people who can not go back to their villages.” She continued, “exhume their loved ones buried around their villages.”

Murad then had harsh words for the world that looked away, including the United States under the direction of Barack H. Obama and now Trump. Reuters said she stated the international community has failed to help free the Yazidi women and children held captive by hoards of rapists. “The international community has not delivered on its responsibility,” she said adding, “I tell anyone that you are being unjust for not supporting a minority like the Yazidis.”

She’s calling for the Yazidi genocide to be officially recognized as such and not treated as a global conflict. Ironically, it wasn’t NATO who liberated the Yazidis, it was the Shia Muslim country of Iran who, alongside Iraqi soldiers pushed all the way to the Syrian border, liberating Yazidis along the way.

The American narrative coming from Washington is that the Iranians aren’t to be trusted. They’re accused of planning to develop nuclear weapons with which to threaten the U.S. The Iranians rule with an iron fist, oppressively stifling dissent. The ancient Persian people are subjected to strict adherence to Islam, but their government’s actions, at least in this instance, demonstrate their desire to stop the Islamic State.

If Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are to be believed, the U.S. government has purposefully been funding Islamic militants and supplying arms to terrorist organizations, arms which have made their way into ISIS hands. If their accusations are true, the U.S. is de facto responsible for the Yazidi genocide by not reigning in those factions.

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ناجية من عبودية داعش: السعودية تدير شبكات دعارة ورقيق أبيض

الجمل- بقلم: Jack Burns-

ترجمة: وصال صالح:

هاربة من الاستعباد الجنسي، فتاة كانت ذات يوم أسيرة لدى تنظيم داعش تفضح السعودية- البلد الذي عقد معه ترامب صفقات بمئات مليارات الدولارات- يعمل على إدارة حلقة ضخمة للاتجار بالجنس، وسط تكتم وسائل الإعلام الرئيسية كما البيت الأبيض على الدور السعودي في عبودية ونخاسة العصر الحديث.

قلة من الأميركيين بالكاد يمكن أن يتصوروا حجم الدمار والخراب والرعب الذي يعيشه الشعب العراقي نتيجة اتخاذ الإدارة الأميركية قرار الغزو عام 2003، ويمكن القول، أنه ليس هناك شعب على الإطلاق تحمل المعاناة التي عاناها الإيزيديون، وهم أقلية عراقية.
نادية مراد المرأة الإيزيدية المعروفة، التي اختطفت عام 2014 وتم معاملتها كرقيقة جنس من قبل داعش. كشفت للتو، عن دور الأوروبيين، التونسيين، والسعودية –حليفة الولايات المتحدة- في تجارة الجنس المروعة هذه.

وكانت مراد هربت في النهاية من جحيمها على الأرض وعادت إلى قريتها ومسقط رأسها في قرية كوجو قضاء سنجار، يوم الخميس استقبلها أهالي قريتها مرحبين بها بالأحضان. واقفة فوق سطح مدرستها القديمة والدموع تنهمر من عينيها، خاطبت مراد المجتمعين من أبناء قريتها، ووجهت رسالة إلى جميع أنحاء العالم ممن يجرؤون الاستماع إلى ما ستقوله.

بعد ثلاثة أشهر فقط من الاغتصاب والتعذيب، هربت مراد من خاطفيها الإرهابيين، وفي نهاية المطاف وجدت لها مأوى في مخيم للاجئين، ولاحقاً وجدت الأمان في ألمانيا، لكنها لم تبق هناك لفترة طويلة، وهي لم تصمت إزاء ما عاشته وما عانته.
رويترز ذكرت أنها صارت سفيرة الإيزيديين إلى العالم؛

وهكذا حملت مراد مطالب الأقلية الديية الإيزيدية إلى مجلس الأمن التابع للأمم المتحدة في عام 2015 ولجميع الحكومات على الصعيد العالمي، وحصلت على الترشيح لجائزة نوبل للسلام ودور سفيرة للنوايا الحسنة للأمم المتحدة.

كانت نادية مراد واحدة من بين ما يقرب من 7000 فتاة ممن استخدمهن تنظيم داعش كعبيدات جنس وتم التعامل معهن كسيارات مستعملة لمقاتلي داعش الذين كانوا يخوضون الجهاد. شاهدت مراد كيف كان يتم فصل الرجال عن النساء والأطفال، ليُقتلوا لاحقاً ويدفنوا في مقابر جماعية. بينما يتم إرسال الأولاد إلى مخيمات تدريب داعش، و تؤخذ النساء إلى مقاتلي داعش لاغتصابهن.

في حديث لرويترز، قالت مراد أنها كانت تتمنى الموت، في ذلك الوقت، ” كنا نأمل لو كان مصيرنا مثل مصير الرجال وأن نُقتل، لكن بدلاً من ذلك –جاء المقاتلون الأوروبيون والسعوديون والتونسيون وغيرهم واغتصبونا ثم باعونا”.

العام الماضي، فضح دور السعودية -البلد التي وقع الرئيس دونالد ترامب معها صفقة بمليارات الدولارات- حيث لم تقم فقط بتقديم التسهيلات لداعش في تجارة النخاسة والعبيد –وإنما شاركت وتورطت في ذلك.

وفقاً لتقارير شهود عيان، تنظيم داعش يبيع العبدات في السعودية، وذكر موقع مراقبة أنشطة الجهاد: “إنها ليست أخباراً جديدة، داعش يقوم منذ فترة طويل بالاستغلال و الاتجار بعبيدات الجنس –خصوصاً الفتيات الإيزيديات- لكن الآن تم اكتشاف أنه يجري بيع عبيدات جنس داعش في مزادات مرعبة للسعودية –حليفة الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا”.

أحد شهود العيان قال:

يتم احتجاز عشرات النساء في غرفة كبيرة، وليست العراقيات والسوريات فقط من يتم الاتجار بهن، وإنما أيضاً سعوديات وغربيات، ممن لم تعرف جنسياتهن الحقيقية. مصادر تحدثت أن نساء غربيات كن أيضاً من بين الضحايا تماشياً مع ممارسات داعش في استعباد نساء “الكفار”:
تجدر الإشارة إلى أن عملية اتجار داعش بالبشر تتضمن استعباد النساء ممن يعتبرن “كافرات”، أي الناس غير المسلمين مثل الإيزيديات والمسيحيات، قبل بيعهن مقابل المال. السفاحون السفلة أيضاً متورطون في تطرف الشابات في جميع أنحاء العالم ويحاولون إغوائهن وإغرائهن للقدوم إلى الخلافة مع وعود كاذبة بالثروة والزواج ومغفرة الخطايا.

الأعمال الشريرة والآثام وانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان من قبل السعودية مثيرة للدهشة. الآن لا مشكلة لدى ترامب في عقد صفقة مع النظام الإرهابي وكذلك بالركوع أمامهم.

بالعودة إلى نادية مراد والدموع تفيض من عينيها، قالت لأهل قريتها ” أنا ابنة هذه القرية” ثم ناشدت الأمم المتحدة “لفتح قضية أولئك الذين فقدوا كل شيء، أهاليهم الناس الذين لا يستطيعون العودة إلى قراهم” .

ثم توجهت مراد بكلمات قاسية للعالم الذي بدا بعيداً، بما في ذلك الولايات المتحدة تحت قيادة باراك حسين أوباما والآن دونالد ترامب. رويترز قالت بأنها أعلنت عن فشل المجتمع الدولي في المساعدة على تحرير النساء الإيزيديات والأطفال المحتجزين و المغتصبين “المجتمع الدولي لم يتحمل مسؤولياته” قالت، مضيفة “أنا أقول أنكم لستم عادلون لأنكم لم تدعموا أقلية مثل الإيزيديين”. ودعت مراد المجتمع الدولي إلى الاعتراف رسمياً بالإبادة الجماعية للإيزيديين والتعامل معها على هذا الأساس وليس كصراع عالمي. من المفارقات، أنه لم يكن حلف شمال الأطلسي –ناتو- من حرر الإيزيديين، إنها إيران، جنباً إلى جنب مع الجنود العراقيين ليدفعوا داعش على طول الحدود مع سورية.

الرواية الأميركية القادمة في واشنطن أنه لا يمكن الوثوق بالإيرانيين. هم يتهمونهم بالتخطيط لتطوير الأسلحة النووية التي تشكل تهديداً للولايات المتحدة، لكنهم الإيرانيون من يظهرون رغبتهم في القضاء على تنظيم داعش.

إذا ما صدقت تولسي غابارد السيناتور الجمهوري عن ولاية هاواي والسيناتور الجمهوري عن ولاية كنتاكي راند بول ، فإن الحكومة الأميركية تمول عن قصد المتطرفين الإسلاميين وتعمل على تزويد المنظمات الإرهابية بالأسلحة. و إذا ما صحت اتهامات السيناتور فإن هذه الأسلحة تقع في أيدي داعش، ما يعني أن الولايات المتحدة هي في الواقع مسؤولة عن الإبادة الجماعية للإيزيديين بسبب عدم سيطرتها وتحكمها في هذه الفصائل.

عن:The Free Thought

 

 

Will U.S. Partition Syria?

Will U.S. Partition Syria?

By Sharmine Narwani

U.S. strategy seems to be shifting toward creating a buffer state between Iran and Israel.

May 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – BEIRUT—Given the rhetoric of most U.S. policymakers, one might conclude that the conflict in Syria is about establishing freedom and democracy in the Levantine state. But no genuine aspiration for democracy ever came from a line-up of allies that includes countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, and Turkey. Seen from the Middle East, American intervention here appears to be aimed at putting the last genuinely independent Arab state under Washington’s sphere of influence—and cutting off a key Iranian ally in the region.

Today, after six years of regime-change operations that failed to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and install a compliant regime in Damascus, the west’s strategy seems to be shifting toward partitioning Syria. Specifically, the new U.S. policy would seek to sever the unimpeded geographic line between Iran and Israel by creating a buffer entity that runs through Iraq and Syria.

But here’s the twist: in Syria’s northeast/east and in Iraq’s northwest/west, where the Islamic State once occupied a vast swathe of territory, ISIS has helped to enable this U.S. goal by delineating the borders of this future buffer zone.

The only question is which U.S. “asset” will rule that buffer zone once it is liberated from ISIS. Would it be Sunni Arabs of the sectarian variety? A declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report seemed to suggest this option when it confirmed U.S. and Western support for the establishment of a “Salafist Principality” on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Or will it be a Kurdish-ruled zone? U.S.-Kurdish machinations have, after all, borne a similar Shia-thwarting buffer on Iran’s western border with Iraq, with the creation of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) headed by the famously opportunistic and corrupt Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani.

Either way, what transpired is this: ISIS occupied the areas flanking Syria and Iraq’s northern border. The U.S.-led coalition has had a presence in these territories for several years, without impairing ISIS control. At the right time, under U.S. cover, Kurds are moving in to “recapture” them.

Kurds constitute a minority in all these governorates, which is how the presence of ISIS became a valuable U.S./Kurdish strategic asset. ISIS’s invasion of these areas is delineating the borders of the new entity and depopulating it—creating an opportunity for Washington to champion the Kurds as the primary “liberating” force within those borders, after which Kurds can claim this territorial bounty.

“This is conquest masquerading as liberation,” says Assyrian writer Max Joseph, who explains how KDP Peshmerga forces disarmed Assyrian Christians and Yezidis two weeks before ISIS invaded in August 2014, then retreated from their promise to protect those populations just as ISIS entered Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains.

In the immediate aftermath of the ISIS invasion, Reuters quoted a KRG official saying: “Everyone is worried, but this is a big chance for us. ISIL gave us in two weeks what Maliki couldn’t give us in eight years.”

“By disarming and disabling communities who live in territories the Kurdish leadership have designs on controlling, then letting a ready-made aggressive foreign force invade and uproot native communities, forcing them to flee, KRG forces backed by Western airstrikes will be seen as ‘retaking’ land never even theirs,” explains Joseph.

Two years later, in July 2016, the KRG’s Peshmerga ministry gave credence to those claims by announcing that “Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from areas they have recaptured from the Islamic State.”

This is nothing less than an attempt to establish “Kurdistan,” a nation for the historically stateless Kurds, which has long-envisioned swallowing up parts of Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran.

Some context helps explain the current situation. The KDP-ruled Kurdish entity in Iraq currently governs vast areas stretching from Iran’s western border to the Turkish border, stopping short east of Mosul and Kirkuk (an oil-rich city it openly covets). But the KDP has aspirations that run through Mosul to the western province of Nineveh—the historic home of a Christian Assyrian population—which would create a contiguous line across the north of Iraq to the Syrian border.

Last week, the “Kurdistan” flag was hoisted above all government buildings in Kirkuk—a move deemed unconstitutional and opposed by local non-Kurdish leaders and the Iraqi government alike.

A Syrian-Kurdish Entity?

In Syria, one can see a picture developing that mirrors Iraq’s experiences with the Kurds, Americans, and ISIS. Under U.S. patronage, areas occupied by the terror group are allowed to be “recaptured” by Kurdish forces, with a smattering of subordinate Arab Sunni forces to lend broader legitimacy.

Kurdish-controlled territory now traverses much of Syria’s three northern governorates where Kurds remain a minority—Hasakah, Raqqa, and Aleppo—and has earned the wrath of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has sent in troops and Arab proxies to break this “Kurdish corridor,” placing him in direct confrontation with the objectives of Washington, his NATO ally.

The Kurdish Nationalist Party (PYD) and its military wing. the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have unilaterally declared Hasakah a federal Kurdish state, a designation that is unrecognized by the Syrian government and other states. But Kurds barely make up 40 percent of the governorate’s population, which consists of Assyrians, Arabs, Armenians, Turkmen, and other ethnic groups as well. Likewise, in Aleppo, the most populous of Syria’s 14 governorates, where 40 percent of Syrian Kurds reside, Kurds make up only 15 percent of the population and are a majority only in Afrin and Ayn al-Arab (Kobane).

Meanwhile, Kurdish nationalists identify all of Hasakah and northern Raqqa/ Aleppo as “Rojova”—or Western Kurdistan—even though significant Kurdish populations live outside these areas and significant non-Kurdish populations live within them. Furthermore, many of these Kurds are not of Syrian origin, but fled Turkey last century after several failed uprisings against that state. The entire Kurdish population of Syria amounts to about 10 percent (although figures are slightly disputed both upward and downward). Hundreds of thousands of Kurds have since fled the conflict in Syria for safer shores. And there is not a single contiguous line of Kurdish majority-populated areas from the northeast to northwest of Syria.

Yet the U.S. is storming ahead with Project Buffer State, erecting military bases left, right, and center, in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and international law. Various news reports claim the Pentagon and its 1,000 or so troops in Syria have established up to six bases in the north of the country—in the Rmelan region near the Iraqi border, in Qamishli (Hasakah), Kobane (Aleppo), and now in Tabqa, several dozen kilometers west of the ISIS capital of Raqqa.

But the American plan to storm Raqqa has stalled due to Turkey’s refusal to be excluded, and its objection to Syrian Kurdish involvement. Washington wants its Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) allies to liberate the city, but this group consists mainly of YPG Kurds who are aligned with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a Turkish and U.S.-designated terrorist group. The U.S. pretends these Kurdish militias are the only fighting force that can defeat ISIS. Never mind that the Syrian army and its allied troops have been defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants around the country for years.

The inconvenient fact is, besides the Kurds—not all of whom back the U.S. project on the Syrian-Iraqi border—no forces have fought ISIS and other terrorist groups more successfully than the Syrian army and its Iranian, Russian, and Hezbollah allies.

By contrast, ISIS actually expanded and strengthened after the U.S.-led coalition began its strikes against the terror group. Recall ISIS trekking in plain sight across the Syrian border from Iraq to capture Palmyra—or tankers filled with ISIS oil crossing over to Turkey with nary a U.S. strike. It wasn’t until the Russian air force entered the fray and shamed the U.S. coalition that ISIS began to suffer some defeats. Washington had only really contained ISIS within the borders it was shaping, not struck any serious blows to the group.

After all, it is Washington’s awkward alliance in the region—Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Britain, France, Israel—that has supported the growth of ISIS and like-minded extremists. U.S. President Donald Trump even went so far as to accuse his predecessor Barack Obama of being “the founder of ISIS.”

Certainly, Obama watched as his Turkish NATO ally allowed ISIS freedom of movement across its borders and purchased its stolen oil in bulk. We also now know via email leaks that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was aware that U.S. anti-ISIS coalition allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding ISIS.

Why would Washington tolerate allied support of the very terrorist group it claims to want to destroy? By portraying ISIS as the worst of all terror groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates—by far the most efficient fighting force against the Syrian army and its allies—were able to fly under the radar to fight for regime change. Furthermore, a globally demonized ISIS has also provided justification for direct Western action that might otherwise have been impossible after “humanitarian interventions” lost their allure, post-Libya. Finally, this supposedly very dangerous ISIS was able to invade and occupy, for great lengths of time, territories on the Syrian-Iraqi border that would create the boundaries for a buffer state that could eventually be “liberated” and led by Western-controlled proxies.

Stealing Syria

If the U.S. forges ahead with plans to lead its Kurdish allies into the Raqqa battle it will risk further alienating Turkey. Don’t expect ISIS to be defeated, however. Instead, expect ISIS to be driven southward toward Deirezzor and other eastern points along Iraq’s border, where the terror group’s presence can act yet again as a U.S. strategic asset—specifically, by moving the fight away from Washington’s Kurdish project in the north and hindering the ability of Iraqi militias to cross the border in aid of Syrian troops.

That’s not such a leap. Deirezzor is where U.S. fighter jets bombed the Syrian army for an hour straight last September, killing over 100 Syrian forces. The strikes enabled ISIS to capture several strategic points around Deirezzor airport, which the Syrian state was dependent on to protect populations in the ISIS-besieged area. The Pentagon swore it was an error, the Syrians and Russians swore it was not.

Meanwhile, in Syria’s south, U.S.-backed militants, aided by Jordanians, Saudis, and the usual Western suspects,  are rallying their forces to expand the ground battle inside Syria.

Why the sudden surge of activity? Mainly because the Syrian government and its allies have, since the liberation of East Aleppo in January, succeeded in pushing back terrorists in key areas, regaining strategic territory, and striking reconciliation and ceasefire deals in other parts of the state.

“Western states with the United States at their head interfere in favor of the terrorists whenever the Syrian Arab Army makes a significant advance,” Assad observed in a recent interview.

But the U.S. overestimates its capabilities. With few troops on the ground, radical militants as allies, and pushback from Syria, Iran, Turkey, Russia, and Iraq, Washington will face a steep climb ahead.

In fact, all U.S. gains could be abruptly reversed with this one Kurdish card. Nothing is more likely to draw Syrians, Iraqis, Turks, and Iranians together than the threat of a Kurdish national entity that will seek to carve itself out of these four states. And as the U.S. tries to establish “self-rule” by its allies in the northeast of Syria, it will once again be confronted with the same crippling infighting that comes from foisting an un-organic leadership onto populations.

Syria will become an American quagmire. Washington simply cannot manage its partition plans with so few troops on the ground, surrounded by the terror forces it so recently spawned, as able adversaries chip away at its project. Stealing Syria will not be an easy trick.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics, based in Beirut.

This article was first published by The American Conservative

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Who Is Destroying Syria?

The Arab Gulf States, Israel, and Turkey all prefer anarchy to Assad.

By Philip Giraldi

May 08, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  The United Nations Charter, to which all member states are signatories and which prevails over all other treaties and agreements, states that the organization is obligated to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace and security.”

The justices at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 concluded that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

The U.S. Constitution’s Article I states that only Congress has the authority to declare war, with the understanding that, per Article II, the president is empowered to respond to a “sudden” or imminent threat only if there is no time to pass such a declaration. An Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)amended in 2016 grants the president blanket authority to respond militarily to threats against the United States, but only if they originated with al-Qaeda and “associated forces.”

So how is it that on April 6 the United States attacked a fellow member state in the United Nations that has an internationally recognized sovereign government? That member state posed no imminent threat, had not attacked the United States, and was not at war with Washington. Nor did that member state consist of or support al-Qaeda or an associated group, and it was not under sanction from the United Nations Security Council to authorize any other member state to act against it. On the contrary, that member state was actively fighting several terrorist groups as defined by the U.S. government that had occupied its sovereign territory.

I am, of course, referring to the cruise-missile attack on Syria, which many critics are belatedly recognizing to be illegal under both international and U.S. law. But illegality being related to the ability to enforce the law, there has been little apparent desire on the part of the United Nations to bring Washington to heel, and the U.S. would surely use its Security Council veto to stop any undesirable UN action.

The United States has been backing various schemes to undermine and force “regime change” on Baathist rule in Syria since 2006, well before the so-called Arab Spring brought protests to the streets of Damascus. More recently, Washington has been arming and training so-called rebels against the Bashar al-Assad regime, ostensibly in unrealistic hopes that some kind of transition to a moderate, pro-Western regime might take place. Current White House policy appears to consist of putting pressure on ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked al-Ansar, which the Syrian government is fighting, while also demanding the replacement of Assad to permit resumption of all-party peace talks. Apart from those general markers, there has been little attention paid to what might happen on day two, after Assad is gone. Reasonable concerns that the vacuum created might be filled by radical Islamists have largely been ignored.

But even if the United States policy is a muddle, there are others in the region who know what they want and are pretty sure what they have to do to get there. Saudi Arabia and Qatar also have been fighting an unsanctioned and illegal war against Syria with very little in the way of pushback from the international community. They have been hostile to Syria’s government for two decades and began bankrolling and arming dissidents inside the country after fighting began in 2011. Their reasoning is that Syria has become an ally of Iran and Lebanese Shi’ites, including Hezbollah, threatening to create a ring of Shi’ite-dominated territories that will cut across the middle of the Arab Middle East and empower the government in Tehran, which the Saudis in particular see as their regional enemy. It is also possible that the Saudi export of militant Wahhabism also plays a role; Syria, which like Iraq before it is tolerant of most religions, is often accused of being both unacceptably secular and supportive of heretics.

So the Saudis would like to see a Syria in which the Sunni Arabs are dominant, which will presumably lead to discrimination against Shi’ites, Alawites, and Christians—as well as a severing of political ties with Iran. In reality, a broken Syria would likely turn out much like neighboring Iraq, with minorities in trouble and a lack of effective central control. But that would be all right with Riyadh, as it would mean the alliance with Iran would be de facto dissolved. Whether the Syrians would benefit from the change is immaterial as perceived through the optic of Saudi interests.

Turkey would also like to see Assad gone and a Syria in chaos. On April 25, Ankara attacked Kurdish targets in both Syria and Iraq, including members of the YPG militia, who are U.S.-trained and -supplied allies against ISIS. Twenty YPG militiamen were reported killed. The Turks claim that virtually all armed Kurdish groups are terrorists, allied with Turkey’s domestic terrorism problem, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Turkey particularly fears that Syria will permit the creation of a Kurdish-dominated entity along their mutual long and difficult-to-defend border. It wants Assad out because it has accused him, perhaps rightly, of supporting the incursions of Kurdish terrorists, but it chooses to ignore the fact that the current problems with the Kurds were in part initiated by the government of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish leader needed a credible enemy for internal political reasons, to discredit a largely Kurdish party that opposed him.

Turkey has supported ISIS in the past, including treating their wounded in Turkish hospitals and allowing them to regroup in safe havens inside Turkey, mostly because the terrorist group is a foe of the Kurds. It has also been plausibly claimed that Ankara supplied the sarin that was used in several attacks on Syrian civilians that have been conveniently blamed on the government in Damascus. The shoot-down of a Russian fighter bomber in December 2015 may have also been a crude attempt to draw the U.S. and NATO into a war against Assad and Moscow. Ironically, playing both sides in an all-too-visible attempt to bring down Assad has destroyed any credibility that Erdogan has. And weakening Syrian central-government control and de facto handing power over to a ragtag of rebels and local tribesmen will virtually guarantee the emergence of a Kurdish statelet, but Ankara is apparently not thinking that far ahead.

Finally, there is Israel. Israel, unlike Syria’s other adversaries, has been seeking to destabilize its neighbor for more than 20 years and has little or nothing to do with either Iran or the Kurds. The Yinon Plan of 1982, drafted when hard-right politician Menachim Begin was prime minister, was outlined in a paper entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” It maintained that Israel’s security would be guaranteed only if its neighbors were to be somehow forced or otherwise induced to come apart and return to their tribal, ethnic, and religious constituencies, which had been arbitrarily combined into individual nation-states by the imperial powers after World War I. The Yinon Plan included recommendations for military action to accomplish what might not be done more clandestinely, including an Israeli invasion of Syria to break the country down into Alawite, Druze, Sunni, and Christian communities. A fragmented Arab world creating a “Balkanized” weak-state system for the region, combined with relocation of the Palestinians to Jordan, would remove all the threats to Israel’s survival.

The Yinon Plan never became official Israeli government policy. But it might be seen as a blueprint for the regional actions subsequently undertaken by Tel Aviv, which have persistently sought to weaken Arab governments perceived as being too powerful or threatening. A second paper, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” followed in 1996, during the prime ministry of Benjamin Netanyahu. It was authored by a group of American neoconservatives that included Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, and Meyran and David Wurmser. It advocated a policy of preemption for Israel and was particularly focused on Iraq and Syria as enemies. Once critic described the document as endorsing “a mini-cold war in the Middle East, advocating the use of proxy armies for regime changes, destabilization and containment.”

More recently, Israeli officials have made clear that they would prefer to have “moderate rebels” in control in Syria than the Assad government. They have reportedly provided medical care for wounded militants, possibly including ISIS. It would appear that there is a de facto truce between the Israeli military and ISIS, as ISIS reportedly apologized when one of its associated groups fired on IDF units in the Golan Heights back in November.

Israel has carried out a number of air strikes against Syrian bases and military units, most recently a missile attack near Damascus on April 27. There are also reports that it is already using its new U.S.-provided F-35 stealth fighters for combat missions against Syria.

Israel would prefer to have a fragmented political situation across its border rather than a unified and capable government. The former constitutes an easily containable threat, while the latter will no doubt continue efforts to regain most of the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in 1967 and continues to hold. So the choice for the Israeli government is a simple one—and it does not include whatever the United States might currently be envisioning. It is, in fact, much closer to what Turkey and the Saudis want.

Daniel Larison has frequently warned that the U.S. is encumbered with allies that are allies in name but not in reality. In terms of actual national interests, it should be observed that the Saudis, Qataris, Turks, and Israelis are all currently (or have been recently) in bed with terrorist groups that the United States is pledged to destroy. All of them have either directly attacked or arranged for surrogates to attack the legitimate Syrian government, which is opposing ISIS and al-Ansar on the battlefield. Turkey has also attacked Kurdish militiamen allied with and trained by Washington.

The Trump administration will certainly not pressure Israel to change course when the president travels to Jerusalem later this month. Apart from anything else, Trump will be aware that Republicans in Congress have launched an Israel Victory Caucus and that all 100 senators have recently signed a letter to the United Nations demanding that it abandon its “anti-Israel bias.” So there is no wiggle room there. Nor will The Donald squeeze President Erdogan when he arrives in Washington next week, for fear that the already feckless and foundering Syria policy will become even more unmanageable. And the Saudis are always there in the background, using their money weapon to buy influence and manage the narrative.

So the answer to the question “Who is destroying Syria?” must be “Pretty much everyone.” Though there are different motives surfacing regularly by the key players to justify the continued carnage. From the commentary coming out of the foreign and defense ministries in Washington, Riyadh, Ankara, and Tel Aviv, it is more than a bit hard to discern if there might be a way out of this quagmire. Otherwise, it appears that it will continue to be business as usual until everyone gets tired, declares victory, and goes home.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

This article was first published by The American Conservative

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

“Reporter Actually In S-Y-R-I-A Exposes Media Lies About Everything “

 

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MALOULA: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET”

the real Syrian Free Press

In 2013, 5 young men were kidnapped from the ancient Christian town of Maloula, during the NATO and Gulf state funded, Nusra Front/Free Syrian Army-led invasion of this extraordinary hillside town, that still teaches the language of Christ in its schools, Aramaic. For the first six months, after their kidnap, their families remained in contact with the kidnappers among the Free Syrian Army or so called “moderates” & Nusra Front aka Al Qaeda, then communications ended abruptly.
These hopes were cruelly destroyed recently when the executed bodies of the 5 young men were found close to the Syrian border and were identified as the kidnap victims.

The Martyrs’ names are : Ghassan Michael Shnis, Atef Ragheb Kalomeh, Shady Michael Thalab, Daoud Sarkis Milaneh and Jihad Mtanios Thalab.
The grief and rage was palpable, both from those close family members walking with the coffins and from the people of Damascus who…

HILFAAYAA LIBERATED COMPLETELY AS SYRIAN ARMY THUNDERS TOWARD REMANT RODENTS SCURRYING BACK TO IDLIB; RODENTS SUFFERING DEFEAT IN DER’AH

Ziad Fadel

Syrian soldiers ascend a hilltop to declare victory over the darkness of Wahhabism in Northern Hama.

 

Terroristas de Al Nusra muertos en Hama

HAMA:  Hilfaayaa has been thoroughly deloused.  The United States tried to slow down the onslaught by attacking an airbase at Shu’ayraat which resulted in no appreciable diminution in the intensity of the Syrian Army’s campaign to eradicate every terrorist on Syrian soil.  In fact, the attack on the airbase exposed serious problems with American missile design and maintenance while underlining the superiority of Russian anti-missile technology.  But, all that is quite academic since the Syrian Army continues to achieve victory after victory all over Syria.

The Syrian military has confirmed the deaths of 158 mostly Saudi, Emirati and Turkish hyenas whose carcasses have been collected into groupings of fertilizer bags such as the one seen in the foregoing photograph.  They belonged to Alqaeda/Nusra, Jaysh Al-‘Izza, Jaysh Al-Nassr.  Among the dead were 5 field commanders, one of whom was styled “Abu Qudaamaa”, another Saudi pervert and child molester.  The Syrian Army and its allies also seized 4 missiles, destroyed a tank, 14 cannons, 1 booby-trapped car, 7 mortars and shells, 2 pickups with 23mm cannons,  and two entire warehouses filled with goodies.  All told, the SAA also annihilated 38+ vehicles in what one source of mine said was the equivalent of another ‘Utayba. 

You cannot forget the crucial role played by the Russian Air Force flying out of Humaymeem Airbase in Latakia giving our soldiers complete aerial support.

Besides the Saudi runt, Abu Qudaamaa, here are the only Syrian in the group of terrorists exterminated yesterday and today:

Khaalid Al-Ghajar

Iyaad Al-Naddaaf (He’ll be carding cotton in Hell)

Yusuf Al-‘Abbood

Hassaan Al-‘Abbood

Ismaa’eel Badraan (Member of Jaysh Al-Nassr)

Kamaal Al-Dayri (Jaysh Al-‘Izza)

Jalaal Faarooq Hannoon

Ahmad Sa’eed Doodi (Doo Dah! Doo Dah!)

Mahmoud ‘Abdul-Razzaaq Harkas

Qaassim Muhammad Ameen

 

السيطرة على بلدة حلفايا بريف حماة الشمالي والقضاء على مئات الارهابيين

With the army moving constantly on mechanized wings, these towns have now been liberated in the area around Hilfaayaa:  Zilleen, Waybda, Butaysh, Zoor Al-Naasiriyya, Zoor Abu Zayd, Tal Al-Naasiriyya, Tal Al-Mintaar.

All the rodents who survived the SAA’s attack were seen heading to Idlib.

The SAA also took over a very important strategic position north of Sooraan near the Lihaayaa Axis.

____________________________________________

DER’AH:

I have discussed Der’ah and the Southern Front a few days ago.  It’s not going well for the U.S.-backed terrorist campaign.  It’s going so badly, in fact, that the U.S. is scrambling, with its Jordanian-Saudi-Turk-Zionist allies, to cobble together a new army to fight the Assad government and the Syrian people.  But, according to my source in Damascus, they are having such a hard time attracting new recruits that they have decided to go ahead and keep Alqaeda terrorists on the payroll in the hope they might, laughably, moderate their views of Christians, Alawis, Druze, Ismailis, Shi’a and Rastafarians.  It’s turning into a disaster which is impelling the Americans to tell the Saudis, who are the most pushy about Dr. Assad, that it might not work out after all.

Jordanian treason is now in full bloom.  There can be no question any longer about the half-breed king’s motives.  He must adhere to the Saudi/Qatari line or risk losing every source of rainy-day money he could ever count on.  His army, frankly, is not equipped to handle anything involving deep thought and his commanding officers are rankled by the fact that they are now on the side of Islamist terrorists.  This Tom-Thumb tyrant is not long for the throne.  Behind his back, however, the Syrian MI people continue to make inroads into the dwarf monarch’s General Intelligence Service.

The Saudis, who constantly quack about sending ground forces to help in Syria, are so lacking in credibility that such suggestions are treated as a running gag in Moscow. With the Saudis losing every battle in Yemen (only to find the sole face-saving way out by carpet-bombing civilians) they have squandered their Paper Tiger army and embraced the contempt of the world for their barbaric siege of the Yemeni people.  The Saudis cannot even count on their own soldiers.  They have been forced to seek out assistance from Egypt and Pakistan, all of whom pay lip service to their cause without sending a single recruit.  Mercenaries are the order of the day, whether in Yemen or Syria, and the Saudis are becoming increasingly aware of their precarious financial position.

Lessons from the reality of Saudi Arabia’s patented incompetence are many.  For one, the Saudis would fold like a tepee made of wooden skewers if war ever broke out between them and Iran.  Even the Saudis know this – which is why they are so spooked by Teheran.  And so, it’s the White Man’s Burden to save the Saudis from themselves with a little help from the Zionist Apartheid State, Britain and the newly prostituted French Republic.

************************************

Ibta’a-Al-Shaykh Miskeen Road:  A car packed with Nusra/Alqaeda derelicts sped westward on this road.  An SAA ranger spotted it and knew from its year and model that it was a car used by Nusra.  The SAA-Mi keeps very good records of all vehicles in the country and knows that certain makes and models are inevitably purchased by Saudi Arabia/Qatar for its favorite terrorists.  The car and the Kornet rocket met and all the passengers were exterminated.

Al-Wardaat Village in the wilderness of Al-Lijaat:  A pestilence of rodents gathered just east of this village when a mortar shell fired by the SAA landed close enough to their perimeter to kill 3 of the rodents.

Al-Talaayibi Square, South of the Al-Karak Water Reservoir, West of Al-Naaziheen Refugee Camp and the Old Dam Road Quarter:  SAA concentrated on destroying fortifications.  You can figure out why.  These locales will soon be targeted.

 _______________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Here is a must-read from Patrick.  Don’t miss this one:

 http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/04/23/aleppo-after-devastation-the-rehabilitation-part-one/

Read more at https://syrianperspective.com/2017/04/hilfaayaa-liberated-completely-as-syrian-army-thunders-toward-remant-rodents-scurrying-back-to-idlib-rodents-suffering-defeat-in-derah.html#0qX3AlyCjJGXLXhI.99
Read more 

 

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AL NUSRA SAFELY EVACUATES FROM AL-WAER, HOMS (DAYS AFTER TERRORISTS MASSACRE OVER 100 CIVILIAN EVACUEES OF FOUA AND KAFRAYA)

Source

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Photo by Vanessa Beeley, who writes: “The look of hate. A Nusra Front terrorist waits in Al Waer, Homs to board the buses that will take them to safety in Idlib and then Turkey, the destination of their choice. Syrian Government justice and Amnesty compared to UK/US/NATO insanity”

British independent journalist Vanessa Beeley was on April 18 with an international delegation in al-Waer, Homs, during the 5th evacuation of terrorists of al-Nusra and other militants occupying the area for years.
In March 2017, Syrian journalist Mohamed Ali reported from al-Waer, during one of the earlier evacuations, noting that the evacuation was being done by Syrian Red Crescent, Russian military police and Syrian security personnel and that no UN personnel were involved.

Regarding that evacuation, Syrian media, SANA, reported:

“150 persons from al-Wa’er neighborhood in Homs had their status settled according to amnesty decree No. 15 for 2016 and in light of the reconciliation agreement reached last Monday.

Over 1400 gunmen and members of their families, who rejected to join the agreement, have left al-Waer neighborhood on the western outskirts of Homs city.

They left for the northern countryside of Homs province in the framework of implementing the reconciliation agreement that was reached in the neighborhood, paving the way for the return of all the governmental institutions to it.”

Of the April 18 evacuation, Vanessa Beeley wrote:
“Today in Al Waer, Homs we witnessed the evacuation of Nusra Front fighters and families to Jarablus and then Turkey. Under the Syrian government Amnesty and Reconciliation agreement they were able to leave with their weapons, safely to their destination of choice. In stark contrast to the horrific treatment of civilian evacuees from Kafarya and Foua who were massacred in Rashideen by a suicide bombing carried out by US funded extremists. We in the ‘civilized’ west bring barbarism to a country that is consistently demonstrating the meaning of true civilization, dignity and humanity…They were successfully taken to Idlib as a first step on their way to Turkey, under the Syrian government Amnesty and Reconciliation policy, 2010 people have been evacuated from Al Waer, including 519 Nusra front terrorists.”
[Related: Vanessa Beeley’s “Images from after Rashideen massacre, buses and survivors who were taken to Jebrin after NATO and Gulf state terrorists had torn their lives apart.”

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[My article: No ‘Red Lines’ After US-Backed Terrorists Massacre Idlib’s Foua Civilians]

Of the April 18 evacuation, SANA reported:
“Homs Governorate on Tuesday finished the evacuation of the fifth batch of militants and some of their families from the western parts of al-Waer neighborhood in a step towards clearing the neighborhood of weapons and militants and restoring state establishments to it. 
SANA reporter said that the fifth batch included 519 militants and hundreds of their families who reject the reconciliation agreement. The reporter added that 55 buses transported the militants and their families towards the northeastern countryside of Aleppo under the supervision of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the Internal Security Forces and the Russian Military Police. 
On Monday afternoon, the fifth batch of militants and some of their families started to leave al-Waer neighborhood as Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi stressed that by the end of the current month the reconciliation agreement in al-Waer neighborhood will be accomplished completely to start the rehabilitation of the damaged facilities and infrastructure inside the neighborhood…”
More al-Waer photos by Vanessa Beeley:

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*
 In December 2015 I visited al-Waer. Even while al-Nusra and other terrorists occupied al-Waer, the Syrian government was sending in food and medicine, providing bread, and services like electricity and water were better than in greater Aleppo under bombardment from terrorists.
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On that December visit, I wrote:

Listening to my recording from en route to al-Waer, Homs, a couple of weeks ago. The Syrian journalist from Damascus with me cautions:

“We should be more careful now, because everyone on the other side can see us very well.”

I asked how many terrorists remained. A Homs journalist, Hayat, tells me:

“There are those (terrorists) who did not want to participate in the Reconciliation, to leave al-Waer. The people who left were 447 civilians and 100 fighters (without guns) who left with a civilian convoy; 172 fighters (with guns) left–those fighters don’t want to make Reconciliation with the government. 20 wounded (fighters and civilians) needing emergency care left in ambulances. Around 2,200 or more fighters remain in al-Waer.”

Getting closer to al-Waer, the driver teases, “shall we enter?” “We are in the front-line now,” he says. Hayat, gets serious, saying:

“It’s not safe, at any moment they could do anything, break the ceasefire.”

The Damascus journalist with me says, “We are beside the fighters, we are too close to the fighters now, we must be careful.”

We arrive at the last military checkpoint, the entrance to al-Waer.

The bread factory at the entrance to al-Waer produces the bread for the population within, wheat provided by the Syrian government.

According to Hayat, the Homs journalist I was with, although 292 terrorists (as well as 447 civilians) left al-Waer in a December agreement, 2200+ terrorists remain within al-Waer, with another 150,000 civilians–from a population that was 750,000. The Syrian government continues to supply not only wheat/bread, but also electricity and water, although according to Hayat, the people inside do not pay:

“They don’t pay for power, water… the area is not under control of government. Fighters don’t allow people to pay—in order to cripple the government. If people paid and were found out, fighters would kill them.”

*At the end of this clip, Hayat is telling me that the people from inside al-Waer will come to get the bread, and that the boy in the background is from al-Waer.

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Tariq, a Palestinian resident of al-Waer, born in 1957, is originally from Akka. Of his life in Syria, he (like every other Palestinian friend or person I’ve met in Syria) told me: “The Syrian government treats me as well as a Syrian.”

**In this photo, he was picking up bread to take back to his family in al-Waer (who called his mobile as we spoke, concerned about where he was since he had taken longer than usual, stopping to talk with me).

Related: A 2014 article on Reconciliation movement in Syria, including an interview with the Minister of Reconciliation, Dr. Ali Haidar.

In contrast to the long-occupied al-Waer, the Old City of Homs saw terrorists evacuated to elsewhere in Syria in May 2014, enabling residents of Homs to start to rebuild their lives, the reign of terror for them over. Excerpts from my June 2014 visit to Old Homs, interviewing survivors of the terrorists’ occupation:

 Some of those residents who had stayed on in the Old City of Homs during the siege talked to IPS about their ordeals and losses at the hands of armed groups, including Nusra and Farooq brigades. Many of them argued that what had happened in Homs was not revolution, as Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt had argued before he was assassinated, just one month before Homs was liberated.

  

“I was baptised in this church, got married in it, and baptised my children in it,” said Abu Nabeel, a resident of Homs’ Old City. The St. George Church, with its crumbling walls, is one of 11 reported destroyed in the Old City. It no longer has its wooden ceiling and ornately-carved wooden ceiling panels and wall lattice lie in heaps outside the ancient church.

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“Most of the damage is from the last days just before the insurgents left,” he said. “But we’ll rebuild.” That rebuilding has already begun, with residents scraping away rubble and re-paving small areas that had been damaged.

The arched interior of the St. Mary’s Church (Um al-Zinnar) bears the char marks of its burning by retreating insurgents. Like many others, the church was looted of objects and vandalised, with the insurgents leaving sectarian graffiti on the walls. “Symbols related to Christianity were removed. Even from inside houses. If you had a picture of the Virgin Mary, they removed it,” said Abu Nabeel.

Volunteers have now planted a garden in its courtyard, which they say is an attempt to “bring some beauty back” to Homs.

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A statue in the courtyard of the Church of the 40 Martyrs stood headless. “This was one of the founding fathers of the church, so they cut the head off the statue,” said Abu Nabeel.

The church itself was less damaged than others, but Abu Nabeel noted that “they burned the pews, for heat.”

Outside the door of an old but intact building, a few men hosed down the street and repaved small sections of the walk.

“This was one of the biggest restaurants in the Old City of Homs. People used to hold weddings here,” Abu N said of the building. “It was used as a headquarters for the insurgents. There was some damage inside, but they have already fixed a lot of it.”

Youth volunteers on a street in Bustan al-Diwan painted over the insurgents’ graffitti and used shattered glass from the Church of Saida Salaam to create a colourful mosaic.

Rubble which littered the streets had been swept into heaps in the centre of some lanes, allowing people to pass.

A man brushed rubble off the second story ledge of his building, one of few people around in the Old City in spite of the calm.

Further along an Old City lane, a blown-out wall revealed a burned pickup truck the insurgents used in their attacks, and the school beyond which they had occupied until the day of their departure from Old Homs. The bombed truck was but one example of the final destruction of retreating armed gangs.

Abu Nabeel explained that the insurgents mined the area before leaving. “They left booby-trapped explosives in the houses, all over, even behind paintings on the wall.”

In the courtyard of the Jesuit church sat a lone plastic chair adorned with flowers and a photo of Father Frans van der Lugt, the Jesuit priest assassinated on April 7, 2014.

The chair in which Father Frans van der Lugt was assassinated by an insurgent with a point-blank shot to his head.

 

Nazim Kanawati, who knew and respected the Jesuit, arrived moments after the 75-year-old priest had been shot in the back of the head.” We were surrounded and under siege. This was the only place we could go to. Everyone loved it here,” he said.

“Father Frans was a peace-maker and played an important role in arranging the evacuation of civilians from the Old City during the siege. He was trusted by both sides, and didn’t distinguish between Christians and Muslims. He was concerned with humanity.”

Like Father Frans, Kanawati refused to leave Homs while others fled. “I didn’t want to leave, I’m a Syrian, I had the right to be there.”

Although he chose to stay in the Old City, Father Frans was critical of the insurgents. In January 2012, he had written: “From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

“People in Homs were already armed and prepared before the protests began,” said Kanawati. “If they hadn’t been planning for the protests from the beginning, the people wouldn’t have had the quantity of arms that they had.”

Abu Nabeel explained that in addition to the Hamidiyeh district where various old churches are to be found, Christians in other areas occupied by the armed insurgents also fled. “There were an estimated 100,000 Christians living in the Old City of Homs before it was taken over by terrorists. Most fled in February 2012. By March, only 800 had stayed, and by the end just over 100 remained,” he said.

The siege that the Syrian army enforced on the Old City in an attempt to drive out the insurgents had a drastic effect on the daily lives of those remaining.

“Suddenly, we didn’t have electricity or water. We had to wait for the water trucks to refill tanks,” said Kanawati. “There were many elderly who couldn’t leave their homes. We’d take food and medicine to people in the community.”

Before Homs was freed of the armed insurgents, who were also stealing from homes, life had become impossible. “There was food at the beginning, but it started to run out. At the end we had nothing, we ate whatever we could collect,” said Kanawati.

No one expected the priest himself to be killed, Kanawati attested. “Someone who was probably in his twenties came here, his face covered, came and ordered Father Frans to go with him. Father Frans refused. So the man told him to sit on this chair, and shot him in the head.”

Abu Nabeel added another piece of information regarding van der Lugt’s murder.

“Three or four days before Father Frans was killed, the Syrian army had targeted a vehicle filled with explosives, which the insurgents were planning to send into the city. Many of the insurgent leaders killed were less extreme that the foreign insurgents, and had been protecting the church. After their deaths, the other insurgents went to the church and demanded Father Frans hand over the valuables residents in the area had left with him for safe-keeping. He refused, so they killed him.”

Mohammed, a Syrian from the Qussoor district of Homs, is now one of the reported 6.5 million internally-displaced Syrians.

“I’m a refugee in Latakia now. I work in Homs, two days a week, and then return to Latakia to stay at my friend’s home. I left my house at the very end of 2011, before the area was taken over by al-Nusra and al-Farooq brigades.”

He spoke of the sectarian nature of the insurgents and protests from the very beginning in 2011.

“I was renting a home in a different neighbourhood of Homs, while renovating my own house. Just beyond my balcony there were protests that did not call for ‘freedom’ or even overthrowing the ‘regime’.They chanted sectarian mottos, they said they would fill al-Zahara – an Alawi neighbourhood – with blood. And also al-Nezha – where there are many Alawis and Christians.”

“My aunt lives in another neighbourhood nearby. She’s Allawi and her husband is Sunni. Because she is Allawi, the ‘rebels’ wanted to kill her two sons. I chose Bashar al-Assad, so they said, ‘we will kill you, because you chose him.’”

The windows and door handle to the home of Aymen and Zeinat al-Akhras were missing, but the house itself was intact. Zeinat, a pharmacist, and Aymen, a chemical engineer, survived the presence of the armed men and the resulting siege on the Old City.

Every space in their small sitting was filled with the books and boxes fleeing family and neighbours, entrusted to the Akhras siblings who chose to weather the storm.

“We didn’t leave, we chose not to.” said Zeinat.

“Our family shop is about 75 years old now,” Aymen added. “We didn’t want to lose it or the merchandise.” Much of it he brought to the home, moving from shop through a hole in the wall to the back yard, so the insurgents wouldn’t see and steal the goods.

The area was taken over in two stages, they explained. “First, the insurgents reached near our house, while the Syrian army was on the other side. Fifteen days later, the insurgents brought more forces and arms and took over the area, killing all of the Syrian soldiers in that area. In February, 2012, they took over the Old City completely,” Aymen said.

Aymen and Zeinat al-Akhras in their Old City home in Homs.

Zeinat spoke of the power cuts, which sometimes lasted give days, and the lack of cooking gas.

“We started using the wood stove. We’d put the pot on at 10 am, eat at 4 pm… It didn’t matter that we didn’t have electricity for the fridge—we had no food to put in it,” she said.

“I’ve gained five kilos!” Zeinat said. “I dropped to 34 kilos. Aymen told me to weigh myself. I got on the scale and said, ‘What’s 34 kilos?’. A ten-year-old weighs more than that! And Aymen was 43 kilos. For a man, 43 kilos,” she said laughing.

The drastic drop was not due to ill-preparedness. To the contrary, Zeinat said they had enough food to last a year.

“We were twelve siblings with eight houses in the area, and the family house. We all had stores of food.”

But the stores of food didn’t survive the looting of the insurgents.

“Thirty-eight times they came to steal our food. The first couple of times, they knocked on the door, after that they just entered with guns. The last things they took were our dried peas, our cracked wheat, our olives, finally our za’atar (wild thyme). We started to eat grass and whatever greens we could find in February, 2014, and that’s all we had till Homs was liberated,” Zeinat said.

“The last time they came all we had were some spices. I was putting the spices on the grass and weeds that we were eating at that point, to give them some flavour. They even took the spices. They didn’t leave us anything.”

The insurgents also stole valuables. “Money, gold, and they took my passport,” Zeinat laughed. “What do they want with it?”

Abu Abdu had a home in a district of Homs between Khaldia and Bayada

“I was never interested in politics, I’d always change the channel if it was news. But when the events started here, and we began to see the lies, my sense of nationality awoke and I began to look at the news all the time,” he said.

Showing video and photos of his area, he explained, “This is our apartment building, we were on the third floor. I took this footage around May 10, after the insurgents left Old Homs.”

“They took our personal belongings, our money, they stole everything, even the pumps used to pump water up to the higher floors. They stole the electrical wiring, the electricity meters, the taps in the kitchen and bathroom, the engine of the washing machine… they couldn’t take the whole machine so they took the engine. They took the ceiling fan, the wall tiles…They broke my daughter’s wooden jewelry box to get the 100 Liras in it of different Syrian coins her fiance had given her as a gift. All that effort for 100 Syrian pounds (about $1.50),” he said.

Meanwhile, despite the return of calm to Homs’ Old City, insurgents continue their campaign of car-bombing civilian areas of Homs. Tens were killed by car bombs and rocket attacks in June alone.

On June 19, Sana news reported six killed and forty injured in a car bombing, as well as seven killed, 25 injured six days prior.

The Syrian government, however, continues efforts to restore normality to the city. On June 26, Sana news reported that the Minister of Culture, Lubanah Mshaweh, said plans were underway for the restoration of Homs’ Khalid Ibin al-Walid Mosque, St. Mary (Um al-Zinnar) and 40 Martyrs churches.

Also on June 26, the Nusra brigades, an al-Qaeda affiliate and one of the main factions which occupied Homs, is reported to have pledged allegiance to the Takfiri extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria(ISIS).

This allegiance to a group documented to have beheaded, mutilated, crucified and flogged Syrians and Iraqis gives more credence to Homs’ residents’ opinion that the events in Syria are no revolution.

Homs residents speak of car bombings in Apr 2014

Homs heflah to celebrate June 3 Presidential elections

“Freedom”: Homs resident speaks of the early days of the “crisis”

Homs: “We wanted to protect our house”


“When I visited in June 2014, after the terrorists had been extracted from most of Homs, the destruction and vandalism I saw were immense. Even back then, as soon as the terrorists were gone, Old City residents were already returning in trickles to begin the cleanup and think about re-building their lives.

Now, a year-and-a-half later, while immense reconstruction remains, there was a significant improvement. I saw new shops opened, and saw homes, stores, streets, and churches decorated in the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas lights dangled over Old City lanes and in church courtyards. A friend from Homs later sent me photos of the streets lit up at night, and of the once-burned St. Mary’s Church (Um al-Zinnar) now repaired and decorated, and filled with worshippers, a youth choir and band.

At the Old City’s Jesuit Church, new portraits of Dutch priest, Father Frans van der Lugt, assassinated in April 2014 by the West’s “moderate” terrorists. The church also had a simple Christmas tree and home-made nativity scene, the grotto walls of which were made of crumpled brown paper.

Two well-known restaurants, which suffered differing degrees of destruction, have been re-opened. Beit al-Agha, greatly-damaged by the terrorists, is now coming back to life, although repairs are still needed. Al-Bustan restaurant, which was completely ravaged, is fully re-built and open to customers. Photos from al-Hamidiya Community Facebook page show a packed restaurant during Christmas, and dancing at night. The page shows celebrations in the different churches and streets of old Homs.

In Saha al-Majaa, an Old City square, I saw six locals adding finishing touches to the Christmas tree they’d crafted using scavenged and bought materials. In a nearby room, full-size nativity scene figures, made of sponge and cloth and other basic materials were stored until the display went up. Neighbourhood residents had chipped in for fabric, bought from Tartous.

“Come, tomorrow at 5 pm and you’ll see the finished display,” I was invited, but didn’t have the chance to get back. However, photos on social media show their creative efforts have paid off: in this square where despair was once deep, hope is flourishing anew.”

Palestinian Archbishop to Boycott DC Conference in Protest of US Policies

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years…”

[ Ed. note The gentleman in the photo above is Atallah Hanna, a Palestinian Christian who holds the position of archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. The article below, published yesterday by Ma’an News, reports that Hanna will be boycotting an upcoming conference in the US on the plight of Middle East Christians.

Hanna declined to specify which conference he was referring to, most likely out of a desire not to give them any free publicity. However it could be this conference, scheduled to take place April 20 at the National Press Club in Washington. One of the sponsors of the event is a dubious group calling itself “In Defense of Christians,” an organization that advocates for the establishment of “safe zones” in Syria. Were such zones to come about, the result would be a de facto partitioning of the country and the weakening–and quite possibly the downfall–of the Syrian government. The downfall of the Assad government, needless to say, would be a disaster for Syria’s Christian population.

One other thing worth mentioning–the conference coming up in Washington to is to feature the launch of a report entitled “In Response to Persecution.” I will try to find out more about this report and get back to all of you on that. ]

***

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Sabastiya Archbishop Atallah Hanna, of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said he would boycott an upcoming conference in the United States aiming to discuss the situation of Christians in the Middle East, over what he called “misguided” American policies in the region.

Hanna, the only Orthodox Palestinian archbishop, who is renowned for his high profile political activism against the Israeli occupation, said in a statement Saturday that he and a number of Christian leaders from the region were invited to the conference, scheduled to be held in mid-May.

“We won’t partake in this conference and we urge all Christian leaders in the Arab world who have been invited to boycott this suspicious conference,” Hanna said, without specifying what the conference was called. The archbishop could not confirm to Ma’an whether or not it was the same event held annually in Washington DC by the non profit “In Defense of Christians.”

The Palestinian archbishop explained that he called for the boycott in protest of the US’s “misguided” policies in the Middle East, particularly those related to the question of Palestine.

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years,” said Hanna, adding that US officials should “stop siding with Israel and assaulting the Arab people before they invite us to a conference about Christians in the Middle East in their capital.”

Hanna accused the United States trying to cover up crimes committed in the Arab world by holding the conference, which he stressed was yet another move by the US government to show that it cares about Middle Eastern Christians — “when in fact, it doesn’t.”

“Who created the terrorist groups and who is providing them with money and arms? Who has been destroying Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya? Who caused the displacement of the Palestinian people? All catastrophes that Palestinians have suffered and are still suffering from were abetted by American and Western governments.”

Referring to recent airstrikes in Syria ordered by the US president Donald Trump, Hanna said that

“American aggression in Syria on Thursday is clear evidence that the current US administration adopts aggressive policies against our people and our region, just as previous US administrations have.”

Palm Sunday Attacks Against Christians–What are the Ramifications?

At least 44 people have been killed and scores of others injured in bombings carried out at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt. ISIS has claimed responsibility for both attacks, while the US government, which essentially has served as ISIS’s air force in Syria, has somewhat hypocritically condemned them.

The first attack occurred in Tanta, a city located in the Nile Delta between Cairo and Alexandria. The bomb went off at the St. George Church, where worshipers had gathered for Palm Sunday services. At least 27 people were killed and 78 wounded.

A few hours later, a second bomb exploded–at the St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. Here at least 17 were killed and some 48 wounded.

“So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great…confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly,” said President Trump.

Mark Toner, the State Department’s acting spokesperson, called the bombings “barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship,” and assured reporters that “the United States will continue to support Egypt’s security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism.”

But US efforts to overthrow the President Bashar Assad in Syria would suggest that the US government has little concern about protecting Christians in the Middle East. The church bombings come just three days after the US launched Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase in Homs province in western Syria, and this wasn’t even the first attack carried out by US forces against those defending their homeland from terrorist invasion.

On September 17 last year, US coalition aircraft struck a Syrian airbase in Deir ez-Zor province in the eastern part of the country, killing at least 62 Syrian troops. The Obama administration claimed the attack had been an “accident,” but Assad said it was intentional and had lasted for an hour.

Perhaps hardly surprising, then, that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, commenting on the attack, spoke of the “terrifying conclusion” which the world must draw from it:

“If previously we had suspicions that Al-Nusra Front is protected this way, now, after today’s airstrikes on the Syrian army we come to a really terrifying conclusion for the entire world: The White House is defending IS,” Zakharova said.

And that was back in September.

So let’s see…that’s two US attacks on two Syrian airbases in less than seven months. And in both cases Islamic State militants, almost as if they had been tipped off in advance, launched offensives immediately afterwards.

All this to overthrow a man who heads up a secular government that has protected Christians.

 photo attackegypt_zps94ehuacj.jpg

“After the explosion, everything became dark from the smoke,” said one witness of the attack in Tanta.

“Deacons were the first to run out of the church. Many of them had blood on their white robes,” said another.

In claiming responsibility for the attack, ISIS stated: “The Crusaders and their tails from the apostates must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God willing.”

One analyst, in comments to RT, expressed suspicion at the timing of the attacks.

“I talked to some people [after the attacks], and they were all criticizing the terrorists and were wondering why this happened at this time: when tourism in Egypt is improving, when the country is stabilizing, there is international support of Sisi’s regime. So, whoever is doing this [the bombings] is standing behind terrorism. It’s simple to say that they are terrorists, but who is behind the terrorists? This is the issue.”

One who seems to be under no illusion on that score is Archbishop Atallah Hanna, of the Greek Orthodox church of Jerusalem.

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years,” said Hanna.

“Who created the terrorist groups and who is providing them with money and arms? Who has been destroying Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya? Who caused the displacement of the Palestinian people? All catastrophes that Palestinians have suffered and are still suffering from were abetted by American and Western governments,” he added.

Unlike the Christians of Egypt, those in Syria seem to have had a peaceful Palm Sunday.

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Syrian Christians celebrate all across .

This is possible thanks to the Syrian gov’t, which the US wants to overthrow.

 If the Assad government falls, it will, needless to say, be a disaster for Christians in Syria. But there are indications this is precisely the objective the US now intends to pursue.

The Washington Post on Sunday posted a pro-war propaganda piece informing readers the Trump administration has “demanded” that Russia drop its support for Assad. Not requested politely. But demanded.

The story quotes a top national security advisor, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who strongly implies that Russia had advanced knowledge of the alleged chemical attack, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are also quoted.

“I think what we should do is ask Russia, how could it be, if you have advisers at that airfield, that you didn’t know that the Syrian air force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons,” McMaster said.

Is Nikki Haley going to hold up pictures of dead Coptic Christians and demand action? I doubt it.

“In no way do we see peace in that area with Russia covering up for Assad,” said Haley. “And in no way do we see peace in that area with Assad at the head of the Syrian government.”

Meanwhile, South Front is reporting that the US is now deploying forces at the Syrian-Jordanian border, and that a Navy ship loaded with US military vehicles has also docked at the Jordanian port of Al-Aqapa.


Palm Sunday in Occupied Palestine

While there haven’t been any church bombings, Palm Sunday in Occupied Palestine doesn’t seem to have been entirely uneventful.

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forces harassed Palestinian worshippers in Occupied during procession cause they raised flags.

Watch Israeli Occupiers attacking Palestinian Christians w/ palm branches in hand, during their march in Occupied J’slm

Israeli occupation forces harass Palestinian Christian in occupied Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

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Israeli forces assault Palestinian worshippers for raising our flag during procession today in occupied East Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday: 25 Egyptian Coptic Christian killed in Church terrorist attack in Tanta city, Nile Delta

Local Editor

Hezbollah issued a statement denouncing the gruesome crime committed by terrorist Daesh organization targeting number of churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria, and leaving dozens of innocent civilians martyred and injured. Hezbollah also offered deep condolences to the families of the victims, hoping the wounded would get well soon.

 

Hezbollah Slams Targeting Egypt's Churches: To Find Real Coalition against Terrorists, Sponsors

In its statement, Hezbollah noted that: “the continuous and escalating killing committed by criminal gangs covered with religion is one of the biggest crises our nation has been hit with, planned by major and regional powers that back terrorists and offer them political financial and media support. Such powers further draw the criminal targets represented by defragmenting our societies, implanting discord and disunity among its people who have been living for centuries as brothers sharing the wealth of these countries as well as the tasks to construct them and defend them.”

The statement further noted:

“Targeting believers in their churches in the morning of the feast represents all means of barbarism, and is evidence that those terrorist groups are devoid from any humane characteristic. The crime happened in parallel with the scheme to displace Christians from Sinai and other regions in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. It also opens the door for discord, sectarianism and ethnic division in favor of the Zionist enemy.”
Hezbollah’s statement also stressed that:
“We, in Hezbollah, stand by Egypt and its people in those painful moments, and we call on everybody to mind the big conspiracy targeting our nation, as well as uniting under a true coalition against terrorists and their regional and international sponsors.”
Hezbollah Media Relations, Translated and edited by website team
10-04-2017 | 08:52

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES

Egypt, Nile Delta; at least 25 Egyptian Coptic Christian have been reported killed and 55 others were seriously wounded in a bomb attack target the St. George’s church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta. The attack followed by another one in the Mediterranean City of Alexandria, the second major City in Egypt, where six people killed including a policeman at St Mark’s Cathedral. Today’s attacks against Coptic church come few weeks ahead of a visit to Cairo by Pope Francis scheduled on April 28. Egyptian Christian Minority is encountering series of terror attacks since the ouster of Egypt’s first Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who has been ousted to Prison in July 3, 2013.

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