The Christian Genocide in Syria: An Interview with Yasmine

Posted on March 23, 2017

[ Ed. note – There is a genocide of Christians taking place in Syria. The above is a photo I first posted back in 2014. It shows destruction at the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady in the Syrian city of Yabroud, and is one of a series of photos I published at the time. The pictures were taken shortly after the city was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah forces.

British reporter Robert Fisk was on hand when the city was liberated and wrote: “The Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady is a place of shame, of burnt copies of the New Testament, paintings slashed with knives – many were lying in strips of gold and red fabric beside the altar’s broken cross – and mosaics chiselled from the walls.”

Fisk also mentioned that the terrorists had “gouged out the eyes of the mosaic saints.”

You can go here to access the original post. In it I wrote the following:

What is on display in these photos is not merely abomination and sacrilege; it is loathing and hatred of the spirit of Christ; it is detestation for everything Jesus taught, malice and abhorrence at the mere mention of his name; contempt for his memory. Where does this kind of hatred of Christ come from? What accounts for it?

It’s not an easy question to answer. But clearly the hatred is there. In the same post I noted that the terrorists in Syria were being backed by “the West, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.”

Today, three years later, the terrorist proxy armies in Syria are operating under different names in some cases, but the same ideology, the same hatred of Christ, is still in evidence. And the mainstream media, as before, don’t seem terribly interested in what’s going on. Apparently the tweets of Donald Trump are considered more newsworthy than the murder of Christians in Syria. And when occasionally a news organization does report on the issue, as in the case of this AFP report filed in November of last year, the media spin given seems deliberately designed to convey the false impression that it is the “regime forces” who are intent on destroying churches, not the innocent, Western-democracy-loving “rebels.”

Of course, as the photo below would suggest, it is not, I repeat, not Syrian President Bashar Assad who is waging genocide against Christians. Assad has been president since the year 2000, and prior to the outbreak of the conflict six years ago, Syrian Christians lived in peace and prosperity, free to practice their faith. The hatred of Christ I spoke of is far more likely to be harbored by those who  are backing the terrorists, rather than those actually and genuinely fighting them.  The latter, of course, would be Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

All of which, in a roundabout way, leads me to the following. Recently a Syrian-American writer by the name of Sarah Abed posted an interview she conducted with an Aramean Syriac Orthodox woman named “Yasmine.” The name is an alias. The city of Damascus is nicknamed the “City of Jasmine” (or Yasmine in Arabic). Abed writes:

Yasmine contacted me on Facebook recently after reading my articles and posts. We discussed the situation there and her frustration with the lies being reported. I asked if she would want to tell her story, she eagerly agreed. Shortly after our talk her Facebook account was blocked and she hasn’t been able to come back on Facebook since then. Also, oddly enough only my messages are visible from our conversation. A few days ago her friend reached out to me and asked for my email and she sent me “Memoir of a Syrian girl” detailing her experience living in Damascus before and during the war. I will be putting that in a separate article. I asked her as a Christian in Syria if she would be willing to answer some questions and she agreed.

Yasmine is an engineer who also holds an MBA degree. She was born in Al Qamishly, in the northeast of Syria, but grew up in Damascus, where she resides at this time. Below is an excerpt from her interview with Abed. The letters “KSA” in the interview refer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. ]

***

Q: When the West’s terrorist proxies slaughter and commit genocide against the indigenous Christian population, as they did, for example, in Kessab, Syria, are they attempting to “erase history”?

A: Not only history, When Wahhabists started in KSA they destroyed everything that has relation to history, even the grave of the prophet is destroyed, they do not care for it, in Afghanistan they destroyed statues that were thousands years old, they are a destruction machine of everything that has to do with civilization.

Q: When Western terrorists occupy towns like Maloula, Syria, and destroy Christian religious icons is this an attempt to erase history?

A: They want to destroy the history and Christianity, Christians were always targeted by those radicals, it is their ideology to not accept any one who is different.

Q: When the Western terrorists target Muslim and/or Christian communities, are they, or their Imperial masters, attempting to destroy the country by creating sectarian warfare?

A: Of course, the sectarian warfare serves the agenda, it was the plan for ME to be in perpetual state of chaos, which in the days of Bush jr was called the creative chaos or constructive chaos, this chaos serves Israel.

Q: Are the imperialists attempting to create warring ethnic and/or religious enclaves?

A: Of course, it is their targeted, the religion is the opium of nations, it is the method to lead the whole destruction game

Q: Are the Empire’s divide and conquer strategies in Syria working, or does most of the Syrian population remain unified?

A: There must have been some who sympathise with Wahhabists, and these will never seize to exist unless the world fights the source of them, the sources of Wahhabist ideology are in Egypt and KSA, and unless they are totally fought, they will always have followers around the world. Another thing to be honest, A regime like Bashar Assad was able to protect us from those minority, also in the days of Hafez Assad we were protected, If you like to name him a dictator go ahead, but please do not tell me the west is protecting us. Hafez Assad was protecting us, Bashar Assad is protecting us…

Continued here

Damascus–the city of Jasmine

I had a chance to visit Damascus in 2014. It is indeed a beautiful city…

Daesh Crimes against Christians in Sinai

French presidential hopeful expresses her support for Assad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Research, January 28, 2017
Signs of the Times 24 January 2017
download_3_

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

JANUARY 27, 2017

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

atwan ok

عبد الباري عطوان

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ***

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

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

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

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

Related Videos

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

January 26, 2017

 

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

 

The Saker

 

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

 

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

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

By Tulsi Gabbard


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

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

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

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

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

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

ISN’T IT OBVIOUS? TULSI GABBARD FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020. ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES! AND LET HER RUN AS AN INDEPENDENT, WITHOUT THE STENCH OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND ITS LONG RECORD OF CRIMES, COLLABORATION WITH THE PLUTOCRACY, AND BETRAYALS.—The Editor


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

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

APPENDIX

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

 

Below, with Blitzer, Oct. 21, 2015:


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

Tulsi Gabbard is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who has been the United States Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district since 2013. She was also a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned in order to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Elected in 2012, she is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress. She served in a combat zone in Iraq.
NOTE: ALL IMAGE CAPTIONS, PULL QUOTES AND COMMENTARY BY THE EDITORS, NOT THE AUTHORS • PLEASE COMMENT AND DEBATE DIRECTLY ON OUR FACEBOOK GROUP. JUST CLICK HERE.

 

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

Syrian Mufti Gives Stunning Talk on Visit to Ireland – updated

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

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

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

***

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

By Sarah Mac Donald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Published on Dec 2, 2016

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

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الرئيس العماد عون ومسيحيّو الشرق

Lebanese President Michel Aoun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aleppo, 28 settembre 2016 (translated from Italian)

Jean-Clément Jeanbart,  Archbishop of Aleppo 

Witness: “ISIS killed children in bread machines and baked men in ovens”

 

The Daily Mail have reported that Alice Assad, a distraught mother, has relived the horrors of the brutal rule of ISIS and revealed how the extremist group would ‘knead children to death in bakery machines’.

Ms Assaf claimed that ISIS slaughtered Christians in Syria by kneading children to death in bread machines and ‘baking men in ovens’, with her own son killeded ‘because he was called George’ and refused to identify himself by a Muslim name.

‘Later on, we heard that the militants grabbed six strong men working at the bakery and burned them inside the oven,’ she said.

‘After that, they caught some 250 kids and kneaded them like dough in the bakery dough machine.’

She also recounted her son’s last words: ‘I don’t want to hide myself. You [Alice] are the one who taught me to follow what Christ said, ‘whoever denies me before men, I will also deny them before Heaven.’

Ms Assaf added: ‘They took him to a backyard to shoot and kill him. They killed him because his name was ‘George’.

She also revealed how ISIS would throw children off balconies.

“Intl community financing and protecting terrorists…’White Helmets’ are terrorist supporters” [Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix and Vanessa Beeley]

OVERCOMING SAVAGERY AND TREACHERY, MAALOULA’S HEROIC DEFENDERS FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE

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© Eva Bartlett

Oct 18, 2016, Strategic Culture Foundation

-Eva Bartlett

Since 2013, September has for the historic village of Maaloula been a month of tragic anniversaries. Crimes and atrocities committed by Western, Gulf, Turkish and Zionist-backed terrorists there in September alone include murders, maimings, kidnappings, and the beginning of what would be the vast destruction and looting of Maaloula’s rich and unique ancient heritage.

On September 4, 2013, a Jordanian suicide-bomber exploded his truck at the Syrian army checkpoint at the arched gate outside the village. This was immediately followed by attacks on Syrian soldiers nearby, mainly by al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorists—including Chechens, Uighurs, Turkestanis, Libyans, and Saudis, as well as locals.


Gate at the outskirts of Maaloula, where on September 4, 2013, al-Nusra and other terrorists carried out a series of coordinated attacks on Syrian soldiers, the start of the battle for Maaloula.© Eva Bartlett

On September 7, 2013, terrorists point-blank assassinated three unarmed Maaloula men after they refused to convert to Islam, critically injuring one of the men’s sisters.

On September 13, 2013, a group of roughly twenty Syrians, including a Maaloula local, climbed the mountains above the town in an attempt to observe the never-interrupted, nearly 1,700 year old, annual traditions of the Festival of the Holy Cross. Terrorists attacked the men, killing roughly half of them and abducting the others (1).

Although since March 2013 al-Nusra and FSA, among other terrorist factions, had occupied areas of the cliffs above and beyond the over 4,000 year old village, the September 4th attack began what would be an eight month battle by Maaloula’s defence forces, the Syrian Arab Army, and Hezbollah to liberate the village from terrorists who bombed, burned, looted, and in any way possible attempted to destroy the heritage of Maaloula.

According to Maaloula local defence soldiers, between September 4, 2013 and April 14, 2014, at least 200 soldiers of the Syrian army were killed in the battles to liberate Maaloula, including at least four who were savagely beheaded in the initial terrorist attacks. Their honourable sacrifices will not be forgotten.

The less-recognized heroes in Maaloula’s fight against terrorism were those villagers who defied terrorists’ commands or with arms resisted them, and continue to do so now.

In July 2016, I returned to Maaloula to see how life had improved since April 2014, and to hear the accounts of Maaloula’s heroic defenders and of a woman left for dead.

 

Testimonies of Terror and Bravery

Mikhael Taalab, a baker in nearby ‘Ayn at-Tina, Anton Taalab (Mikhael’s nephew), a shoemaker and a postman, and Serkis Zakhen a fourth year university student, were assassinated by terrorists on September 7, 2013, with the aid of treacherous local terrorists (2).


Mikhael Taalab, Anton Taalab, and Serkis Zakhen, point-blank assassinated by terrorists on September 7, 2013. © Eva Bartlett

Anton’s sister Antoinette survived the attack, but is physically and mentally still wounded. Her left elbow is jointless from the grenade, which tore off flesh and bone, and while the chest bullet wound has since healed, when recounting the events, she struggled to breathe, affected by the memories. Sitting on her balcony, to a backdrop of evening calm Antoinette delivered her horror story.

“We woke up on September 7th to the voices of terrorists shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’.”

As al-Nusra and FSA terrorists spread through the streets and main square of the town, at least three of the armed men passed through an iron gate, and continued up a narrow, winding path in the old quarter, reaching the home of Antoinette and Anton.

“When they arrived here, our door was closed. They broke it open and burst into the house.”

Traditional Maaloula homes have a small curtained cave off the central sitting room, used like a pantry for storing grains and other goods. When the terrorists began shooting that morning, Anton, Antoinette, her elderly near-blind and near-deaf father, her aunt, Serkis and Mikhail hid in the cave. Had the terrorists been solely outsiders, the family might have survived the attack. The terrorists went straight for the cave.


The elderly near-blind and near-deaf father of Anoinette was wounded in the September 7, 2013 attacks which killed his only son. © Eva Bartlett

“They told us to get out, told us they would give us safety,” Antoinette recounted. “Anton, Serkis and Mikhail went outside to the balcony to plead with them and my father, aunt and I stayed in the sitting room.”

Although they knew that only women and an elderly man remained in the room, the attackers shot inside. One of the bullets ricocheted off a wall and went through Antoinette’s chest. “When I was hit, I crawled under the chest in the corner of the living room and prayed to the Virgin Mary.”

Stepping inside her home, Antoinette showed me the white-walled, timber-ceilinged sitting room where her slight father lay sleeping under the photo of his murdered son. His sole son.


The author with Antoinette Taalab, critically-injured in September 7, 2013, terrorist attacks on her home.

The tiny storage cave in which they had initially sheltered, a large window, and the sofas were all covered with the same pattern of cloth. With its small, curtained opening, the cave entrance would have been almost unnoticeable, had the attackers not already known where to look.

Antoinette recounted how lying bleeding inside the house, she heard her brother, brother-in-law, and nephew being murdered.

“The terrorists told Anton to say the Shahada. Anton told them ‘I was born Christian and I will die Christian.’,” Antoinette recalled. Mikhael and Sarkis were likewise ordered to convert to Islam, and likewise refusing, were assassinated.

At some point in the invasion, the terrorists threw a grenade into the room. “There was a bright light and I felt something hit my arm,” Antoinette recounted, grasping her destroyed elbow.

Before leaving, terrorists deliberated on bringing a gas canister into the sitting room to explode, but in the end shot at and exploded it in its kitchen location.

When four hours later local defence force soldiers—braving heavy sniper fire—reached Antoinette, she was sallow and weak.

One soldier carried Antoinette over his shoulder while running under sniper fire for about 500 metres along the old quarter’s narrow, stepped, paths. He later explained that shehad been brave and had also refused to cower to her attackers, refusing their order to go with them in return for treatment to her chest and arm wounds. He quoted her as saying: “I told them leave me alone, I’d rather die.”

Due to the heavy sniping, it was impossible for the soldiers to return for Antoinette’s father. Wounded in his hand, he and her aunt remained one day in the home, with the bodies of his son and relatives, before being reached and taken to a home nearby.

It was three days before the Syrian Arab Red Crescent could retrieve the bodies of Anton, Mikhail and Serkis, also bringing out Antoinette’s father and seven other surviving elderly residents. Terrorists kidnapped six Maaloula men on the same day. Until now their whereabouts are not known (3).

Initial Attacks

According to Maaloula advocate Abdo Haddad, the number of terrorists attacking Maaloula were far more than what was initially thought to be 400 terrorists.

“After they first attacked Maaloula, every terrorist group wanted to claim they were part of the attack. We had people from every neighbouring village attacking us, including Yabroud, Rankous, and including terrorists of Hamas, Ahrar al-Sham, Ahfad al-Rasoul, among others. These people were rewarded after they destroyed civilization,” he said, referring to how the West supplies “moderates” such as these with TOW missiles and other weapons to kill more Syrians.

Head of Maaloula City Council, Naji Wahbi, echoed what other residents said regarding the subject of local terrorists:

“The people who were in the FSA in Maaloula, we knew them personally. They were first FSA, then became al-Nusra, and some later became ISIS. The local FSA brought al-Nusra to Maaloula.”

According to Wahbi, the Syrian army did not have a presence within the village and had not for some months. “It was all civilians.”

Local defenders had until September succeeded in keeping terrorists at bay, but early on the morning of September 4th, al-Nusra and other terrorists descended from the mountaintop, first in the suicide pickup truck, then followed by a number of vehicles loaded with terrorists.

Although defence forces on guard in the village tried repeatedly to warn the Syrian soldiers at the checkpoint beyond, there was no response. One of the soldiers explained that it is believed the Syrian soldiers had been drugged or poisoned:

“On the morning of the attack, one of our Muslim families took food that was drugged to the soldiers at the checkpoint. When we saw the pickup truck going down, we shot rounds in the air to warn those at the checkpoint, but no one replied. The truck reached them and exploded.”

Abdo Haddad, further explained:

“Our defenders did everything they could to alert the soldiers at the checkpoint. They called their cell phones, their landlines, their radio. They shot five warning shots, in intervals. The soldiers—if they had been awake—should have been alarmed.”

One of the more notorious terrorists from Maaloula, Emad Diab, was the number two in command of the terrorists attacking the village, Haddad explained.

“He is also the uncle of the woman who we believe poisoned the soldiers at the checkpoint.” According to Haddad, Diab in late 2014 is believed to have used the same drugging technique, in tea, on Syrian soldiers and Hezbollah resistance at Assal al-Ward, leading to their killing or capture.

By September 7th, after days of battles against the terrorist factions, another effort was made to cleanse the village and return it to safety. Local soldiers in the old quarter largely kept the terrorists from entering, but eventually terrorists did infiltrate some areas, including their assault on the home of Antoinette and Anton.

Dr Joseph Saadeh, a dentist and also a city council member, lives in old Maaloula but was in neighbouring ‘Ayn at-Tina that day, doing what he could to defend his village.

“We were at the centre of the army commander, and we helped them with some locations. Our defenders in the old city told us the areas where the terrorists were, and we pointed them out on the map so that the army could give the coordinates to fire on the terrorists.”

The odds weren’t in the favour of the defenders of Maaloula that day. Terrorists were able to take positions in the caves above the village, and eventually to take over the village, the start of an on-off occupation which lasted until April 2014.

Maaloula defence were able, however, to escort the remaining elderly from their homes in the old quarter, through twisting narrow lanes to a drain tunnel near the Thekla convent where the most infirm were evacuated in armoured vehicles. Those remaining residents who could walk took an arduous route of walking along inside the drain until they reached the Green Valley area, which they traversed and walked about two kilometres to ‘Ayn at-Tine, Dr. Saadeh said.

The local defenders remained until after the last civilian who wanted to leave had left.

Selfless Vigilance

Directly below the cliffs of Sts Sergius & Bacchus monastery lie old Maaloula’s ancient stone and earthen homes; homes wedged in between and into rock walls. Beyond is the newer areas of the village, the fertile and treed Green Valley, and in the distance the Damascus to Homs highway. From along the cliffs above Maaloula, al-Nusra and other terrorists sniped at villagers and soldiers, and rolled tires packed with explosives onto the houses below.


With safety returned to Maaloula, so too return traditions like this elderly man’s daily pilgrimage to pray at the Sts Sergius & Bacchus monastery. © Eva Bartlett

During my overnight July visit, in the late afternoon one of the local defenders collected vegetables from a small garden plot below the monastery balcony, for a meal of rice, cooked zucchini and potatoes, and cucumber yogurt.

Instead of returning to their homes and lives, these men forego comfort to maintain, in shifts, a 24 hour/day vigilant watch for attempted incursions by terrorist factions as close as ten to fifteen kilometers away in different directions (4).


A serenity and calm which was interrupted in 2013, and for which Maaloula defenders remain vigilant. © Eva Bartlett

The blue and white Virgin Mary statue which was absent from its perch on a ledge beyond the Saffir hotel when I visited in June 2014 had been restored to its position overlooking Maaloula. Church bells, the massive 1,700 year old wooden door of Sts Sergius and Bacchus monastery, and some of the artifacts stolen from the village had also been returned.

On a street below, near the main square, a man and some children collected water from a spring. It was at that spring on September 17, 2013, that 65 year old farmer Zaki Tabib was shot in his head by a terrorist sniper. Tabib was one of about fifteen mostly-elderly villagers who had refused to evacuate a week earlier.


A spring in the centre of Maaloula where in September 2013, terrorists sniped and killed an elderly man collecting water. © Eva Bartlett

Abdo Haddad, also one of Tabib’s nephews, commented on the stoicness of his uncle and men like him. “These old men are so pure in their heart that they don’t believe someone in their village would kill them.”

Left bleeding on the street, the elderly man was dead by the time two courageous nephews braved a torrent of sniper fire to retrieve his body, in order to give him a proper burial.

In the evening at the monastery, in the midnight quiet, a Syrian flag fluttered softly in the breeze, and the village below glowed dimly. This quiet and calm betrayed the horrific violence and terrorism, which plagued the village just two years prior.

As I slept in one of the monastery rooms, in shifts throughout the night the local defence forces maintained their watch, protecting Maaloula.


A Maaloula local defence soldier traces the battles on a map of the town. © Eva Bartlett

Moving Beyond Tragedy

When walking around Maaloula, an air of relative normalcy prevails, with people on the streets and some shops open—some newly opened. When I visited in July, a group of youths in the central square stood clapping, whistling and joking with each other as one skillfully played a rhythmic traditional song on a cheap tin flute.

Yet, piles of rubble lay at many corners, and gaping holes in some walls remained evidence of the near total damage to the old part of the village. Although official estimates were that 80% of the homes were damaged, Abdo Haddad pointed out that “damage” in most cases means missing entire walls, and that in fact every house in the old quarter suffered damage, from mild to entire.

Many homes were boobytrapped by terrorists, to further kill and destroy. “They rigged houses so that when someone opened the door, an electrical trigger with a small charge would detonate and explode a gas canister,” Haddad explained, saying that they could not count the number of rigged houses, maybe tens, maybe more: “The whole village was on fire. For the safety of the soldiers, in many cases the army had to blow the booby trap instead of diffusing it.”

Early on the second day of my July visit, the local soldier who had saved Antoinette poured us coffee and pulled out maps of the town and surrounding area, narrating the battles they fought to save Maaloula. Although I later learned that these men endured hardships of sleeping in winter cold without adequate coats or blankets and not daring to make fires the enemy could see, and at times survived for days on dried fruits, this soldier never mentioned the difficulties, instead speaking only of the battles and of his love for Maaloula and Syria.

We walked from the monastery to the famed gap in the mountain, a meandering path which leads to the St. Thekla convent. Cliff walls swell on either side and tower over the winding passage, a path at times narrow and at times broadening into natural amphitheatre pocketed with caves. An older man walked slowly the route he might have walked countless times. Further along, a man transported concrete blocks by donkey into the narrow pathways of the old quarter.

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A Maaloula resident walking through the historic crevice leading to St. Thekla convent. © Eva Bartlett


The paths of the old quarter are too narrow and stepped for anything but a donkey to carry reconstruction materials inside. © Eva Bartlett

The church walls and dome roof of St. Thekla convent remained blackened with soot from the fires terrorists lit within. Local stone masons stood on scaffolding, patiently rebuilding the thick walls in the traditional manner. Up the long staircase above the convent, the tomb in the cliffside grotto remained sooty black but was tidied up, with a few of the icons returned until complete restoration is possible. Other icons will never be returned, destroyed or stolen by the terrorist bandits, which occupied the convent.

Some of Maaloula’s devastated houses have been rebuilt or patched up, and from the vantage of the St. Thekla grotto’s balcony, their freshly painted walls were visible, as was laundry drying on outdoor lines atop a number of homes, more evidence of life returning and persisting in Maaloula.

The Institute for Aramaic Language, a two-story building which terrorists looted and destroyed, was in July ready to re-open, according to Naji Wahbi, with programs for all ages, as well as for foreigners wwanting to study the language.

Abdo Haddad noted that Maaloula’s elementary school is functioning mainly thanks to a number of young women who have for the past two years been teaching without salaries. “They are qualified but not officially accredited as teachers in the public sector. Had it not been for them, the school would have been closed.”

On September 7, 2016, villagers came together as they have every year since 2013 to honour the martyrs of three years prior. Close friends met early in the morning near the graves of Anton, Serkis and Mikhail, to share coffee and their memories. They brought with them three extra cups, for their fallen friends, and quiet solidarity for one anothes’s unspoken pain.

The afternoon saw Maaloula honouring the martyrs, with a procession which stopped at intervals to pray for their local protectors and the Syrian army, to pray for the kidnapped villagers and for the martyrs, and finally, to pray at the Virgin Mary statue above the village that peace would return to Syria.

For the third year renewed, on September 13th, Maaloula celebrated the Festival of the Holy Cross, observing traditions dating to 326 AD.

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*From Maaloula History Facebook page, celebrating the Festival of the Holy Cross.

Epilogue

Maaloula is still rebuilding, and much of its population is still displaced, but the people of Maaloula are not defeated. They cling tenaciously to their history and culture, and fight as tenaciously for their future.

Maaloula advocate Abdo Haddad emphasized how this fight is not only for his village and people, but for Syria.

“This formidable people who resisted tyranny, persecution and oppression, those are the people of Maaloula, of Syria. This is not about Christians versus Muslims, this is about defenders fighting for their people, country, futures.”

It is thanks to these heroes and their Syrian Arab Army soldiers and allies that future generations will carry on the language and traditions of the ancient village.

This continued and unwavering defence is emblematic of the defence waged by Syrians all over Syria.

_____________________

(1) Information on the September 13 murders and kidnappings is from a Maaloula defence soldier.

(2) These accounts are corroborate by various Maaloula residents and defenders.

(3) These accounts are corroborate by various Maaloula residents and defenders.

(4) According to Maaloula defence soldiers.

fighting against the worst conceivable terrorism for their lives and for Syria.

Masks Are Ripped Away in Syria

Syrian Free Press

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By Andrej Fomin, Oriental Review

In recent weeks, the battle for Aleppo has exposed the true heart of contemporary global politics with vivid clarity.  The US Air Force’s duplicitousSept. 17 attack on Syrian army positions near Deir ez-Zor, the hysterical outcry against Russia that erupted from the Pentagon, the US State Department’s undisguised threats against the Russian contingent in Syria, theWestern media’s candid reports about arms shipments to al-Nusra militants, and the phantasmagoric drama in the UN Security Council on Oct. 8 all point to just one thing: there are no international coalitions against ISIL- there is only the Russian army and its allies who are taking a stand against the international terrorism used as a tool by the U.S. and NATO.



The contours of today’s biggest international conflict are clear.  But still not everyone understands its core and causes.

The conventional wisdom – that a decrepit global hegemon was unable to export “democracy” into a stable nation and now finds itself at a dead end – does not actually explain very much.  But why did that stumbling block turn out to be Syria, which is certainly not the most significant country in the world?  Why isn’t it, for example, Egypt that is under attack, where “fighters for democracy” from the Muslim Brotherhood have been unable to consolidate their victory and have even had to cede power to the powerful and far from pro-American government?

Why is Russia the country that is standing up to the aggressor?  After all, Russia was on the verge of collapse not so long ago and is in no way a major competitor to the Western economy.  And why is the United States pushing so fiercely to raise the stakes, driving the planet to the brink of a third world war?

And yes, of course, many Middle East experts can rattle off a whole list of potential answers to all these “whys.”  But upon careful analysis it becomes clear that they are only the footnotes to what is actually the main reason.

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Libya 2011

The first and most frequent argument cited is the oil and gas factor.  Allegedly, the surfeit of reserves in Syria has made that country a desirable goal for the West, which – in the wake of Iraq and Libya – could cash in on Syria’s hydrocarbons, now that it has wiped out the local government.  But in fact there are only 2.5 billion barrels of proven reserves of that oil in Syria, which is 0.1% of the global total.

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Syria 2015-2016

And that is clearly not enough to explain the outbreak of a terrorist intervention in Syria: if the West were only focused on oil, it would be more logical to orchestrate such an export of democracy into Venezuela, which sits on 17.5% of the world’s reserves.

It is also surmised that the rationale for the aggression could be traced back to Damascus’s 2009 refusal to allow a gas pipeline running from Qatar to Europe to cross its borders.  But that would also be an overstatement.  That disagreement might have been a motivation for the Qataris, but hardly the West.  That gas-pipeline project is itself so risky that it could perhaps have served as a bluff or pretext, but not as a serious reason to launch a multi-year terrorist campaign against Assad.

There has been a popular trend in recent years to examine any conflict for traces of oil and to blame those hydrocarbon deposits for all tribulations, but that is an oversimplification and is similar to the monetarist approach to the economy, in which all the complexities of economic relations are evaluated exclusively in terms of debits and credits.

With regard to global politics however, oil is only meaningful as a tool (although an important one) for safeguarding interests and reaching geopolitical goals: Hitler was desperate to reach the oil fields in Baku, not for their own sake, but to cut off Moscow’s access and thus deal a death blow to the USSR.

It is unacceptable to conflate tools and goals because this creates a distraction from the truth.

Far less significant as an explanation of the war in Syria – which is on the verge of blowing up into a global conflict –  are the arguments citing, for example, the legitimate internal animosities within Syria and within the region, or the spread of Islamism and the collapse of the state in Iraq, a country that is now a breeding ground for the growth of extremism, or the confrontation between Sunnis and Shiites or Saudi Arabia and Iran, or overpopulation in the region, or water shortages, etc.

All of this, in varying degrees of course, contributes to the severity of the conflict, but it does not at all explain why troops from dozens of countries – including two of the most powerful, the US and Russia – are currently active in Syria.

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There is a much more convincing explanation of the current strife in Syria, although it is not considered sufficiently scholarly.

The wreckage of that country is of vital urgency to the supranational elites in order to fan the flames of chaos in the Middle East, which will make it possible to spread the forces of destabilization across all of Eurasia and help topple the alternative centers of economic power – especially China and Russia.

Supposedly the Federal Reserve cannot survive an inundation of debt, and the war in Syria is being used as a tool to destabilize any competitors in this economic showdown.

And indeed it was the Chinese economy that in 2014 outstripped America’s GDP, and it would seem that between these two economic behemoths – one falling and one rising – a military and political struggle had to ensue.  Both American as well as Chinese political analysts have had a lot to say about this in recent years.

However, during the Syrian conflict – and this is an incontestable fact – China has kept itself far from the fray.  For five whole years – and even during the current flare-up – Beijing has maintained its usual neutrality, merely lamenting the suffering of the Syrians and issuing condemnations of terrorism.

In economic terms Russia does not pose a genuine threat to the US, but in Syria it is indeed the Russian army that is the Americans’ biggest foe – the Chinese don’t figure into it at all there.

And looking at the situation geographically, the conflict in Syria could spread the contagion of ISIL into the Russian Caucasus (through a direct corridor that passes through Turkey) far more quickly than such a plague could enter, say, China’s more distant Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.  By that logic, it would be smarter to promote ISIL in Afghanistan or Pakistan, a better starting point for funneling the terrorist chaos into China.

Moreover, it is quite safe to assume that if Russia were not such a significant geopolitical player today, Beijing would not have entered into a confrontation with the US over Syria, but would have instead come to an agreement with the West even on the basis of a compromise that was not very advantageous for China, taking the historical long view to bet on the inevitable attenuation of Western civilization.

For Russia however, the conflict with the West has absolutely nothing to do with economics.  It is inane to suggest that the Russian economy, despite all its genuine progress over the past 15 years, poses a threat to the US global economy, in which China still plays an integral part.

Yes, geopolitical associations such as BRICS could potentially topple the currency system established at the Jamaica Conference, as well as the Washington consensus, but again this is not economic competition, but the financial projection of a military and political showdown.

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But what is at its core?  Why is Russia once again at the epicenter of a global conflict that is threatening to boil over?  Why has the Russian state – which underwent a painful transformation in the late 20th century from which it has yet to fully recover – been forced to withstand the attack of a hegemon that steers international developments and possesses far more advanced tools of confrontation?

To understand the essence of what is happening, one must ultimately acknowledge that the actions of those in the top echelon of Western civilization – not the clerks laboring at the State Department and Pentagon, but the true managers of the Pax Americana global project, who are viewed as utter pragmatists – are in fact dictated by very specific ideals and ultimate goals.



Their words about American exceptionalism as the ideal free society, the beacon of democracy, and the Earth’s last hope are more than just nice catchphrases and advertising jingles – they represent their sense of themselves as a special force on this planet.  Back in the 18th century, Jonathan Edwards declared that Americans had taken the place of the Jews as God’s chosen people.  And even America’s Founding Fathers saw in their work the culmination of the history of the world.

By the 20th century, Ronald Reagan, who accused the Soviet Union of being an “evil empire,” was clearly claiming the role of the “good empire” for the US.  In this sense, the Bushes, the Clintons, and Obama are not inventing anything new, only using different words to express this very American messianism.

Israel's PM Netanyahu addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington

A natural expression of this ideology can be seen throughout the foreign policy of the modern US as “an exporter of democracy” and the world’s referee and policeman.  The seizure of resources, oil, and gas – as well as financial rewards – are just bonuses and a tool to help attain these ideals.

The key concept is “freedom,” around which the remainder of the construct of “exclusivity” is built.  This is communicated as human freedom (i.e., as a blessing), but actually the “rulers of the world” understand this as freedom of capital, i.e., a policy of “anything goes” for homo economicus.  According to them, the ideal world should be a market for goods and services, in which a human being is himself both of these.  Money becomes the equivalent of every manifestation of the universe as well as its primary essence.

Everything that is designated as pragmatism is actually derived from this “monetary” understanding of life.

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However, the expansion of money – in a spatial and a spiritual dimension – is not restricted to today’s profits but pursues its main goal at any cost, which is to utterly engulf the world and reformat mankind into a financial mechanism (that process itself is known as progress, which is analogous to the development of technology).

Is it worth even explaining that “freedom” and “progress” as understood in this way are utterly at odds with the entire 2,000-year path of Christianity and are lethal for humanity?

As a matter of fact, in recent decades Western civilization has moved toward a total rejection of Christianity under the guise of “tolerance” and toward the promotion of depravity under the guise of “gay rights”, while Russia has become the primary champion of traditional values and faiths.

Is it simply a coincidence that the onset of this major battle between the “freedom of capital” and “freedom of the soul” is coming to a head on Syrian soil where the Christian world took its first steps?  

maaloula__st._takla_convent__syrianfreepress_net_3Christianity was born amidst those rocks of the Middle Eastern Mediterranean region, and hundreds of years later we are seeing attempts to bury it there.

Interestingly, the ISIL ideologues, who were trained in the US prisons to selectively abuse the Kuran verses, enjoy citing hadith 6924, which describes a battle between Good and Evil in the Syrian town of Dabiq.  Are they – like those who hang upon their every word with gaping mouths – aware that they are merely the deceived cannon-fodder of the Devil in the Last Battle?

Are the multitudes who each day chomp away at the vacuous chewing gum known as CNN capable of grasping that history is not propelled by oil or fleeting interests, but by a battle between opposing principles, two forces that are pulling humanity in different directions – one down into the Gehenna and the other up to the Land o’ the Leal?

It is odd but true: over the course of the last few centuries only one power – Russia – has planted herself squarely in the path of those who declare themselves to be a “great blessing”, a “pure race”, or a “beacon of democracy” while seeking to subjugate humanity.  Historians can spend all the time they want trying to convince us of the objectivity of the emergence of Hitler and his eastern campaign, that the US and Great Britain did not notice his Nazi mischief and then carelessly helped the German economy by furnishing it with loans, but it is obvious that Hitler, like today’s ISIL, had been carefully groomed for an offensive against Russia.  And after the Soviet army destroyed Hitler’s army, they were ready to do “the unthinkable” – to attack the USSR.  They never took that plunge.  But in the initial postwar years they used the prospect of their atomic bomb to intimidate Moscow.

It is daft to try to explain away such infamy as merely the consequence of the standoff between the communist and capitalist systems, because as we saw after the collapse of the Soviet Union – communism was no more, but Russia was still the enemy.

“To save the world from the unmitigated spread of evil” – such is the global mission and the fate of the Russian nation and the Russian state as a historical phenomenon.  This fate was not chosen, but Russia is destined to once again save the world from destruction – otherwise she would no longer be Russia. 

thank-u-russia

This in no way implies the infallibility or exceptionalism of Russians themselves, since the battle is taking place within them as well, but it confers upon that nation a special responsibility for the fate of the whole world.  The fact of this mission explains the irrational, savage hatred of Russia and of Russians that inflames the global “superclass” and that is reflected in the terabytes of militant propaganda they pay for each day.

It is important for all rational citizens of the world to understand that when they watch the news from Syria, the real issue is not about Assad or Syria as such, nor even about the national interests of a nation state.  The issue is about the metaphysical standoff between the two principles of this universe.  It is about the war of the worlds.  In which every citizen will have to make his own existential choice.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.003003&lon=38.430176&z=7&m=bs

click on map to enlarge ~ here for the original link


SOURCES:
Andrej Fomin, Oriental Review
Submitted by SyrianPatriots
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/masks-ripped-away/
~

Christians, the most persecuted by NATO-terrorist gangs in Syria, dies for their faith every 5 minutes: “Syria is over 6000 years old – its people will always restore what our enemies destroy” [Video Eng Subt]

the real Syrian Free Press

“Syria is over 6000 years old,
its people will always restore what our enemies destroy”

This short documentary film Expulsion (Izgnanie), made for the Russian television channel Rossiia, focuses on the plight of Christians in war-torn Syria. This subject is worthy of greater attention than it has received in the mainstream Western media, hence our effort to subtitle this project.

After all, Christians are one the most persecuted groups in the world. Their depopulation is a general trend in the entire Middle East and North African region (MENA), not just in Syria.

This documentary states that, for instance, half of Palestine’s population was once Christian, but now only 5% remain. In Iraq, of the million and a half Christians prior to the U.S. invasion, only 10% are there today. In 2013, OSCE estimated that a Christian dies for his faith every 5 minutes.

syria-christ-flag

Now, with the escalation of the war and the consequent rise of the refugee crisis, the numbers are likely to rise. The Russian Orthodox Church has been consistently bringing attention to the disappearance of Christians in the Middle East–their source of origin, as has the Kremlin.

In contrast, international humanitarian bodies designed to deal with such issues have not been effective. Western powers, particularly the leading NATO countries that are nominally Christian in terms of their heritage, stay silent, at best, or support policies that aid and abet those radicals and terrorists that are trying to root out Christianity from its very birth place.

Indeed, there has been no cogent explanation for the incredibly costly and equally ineffective campaign carried out by the U.S., its Western coalition partners, and regional allies against the so-called Islamic State for a year; nor has there been a clear methodological way of differentiating between the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition groups and terrorist targets.

Washington’s policy of funding and pitting radical jihadist groups against legitimate governments or each other—in order to achieve its own geostrategic goals—goes back to the late 1970s.

More recently, the invasion of Iraq under the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction, the so-called ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Libya, and the ongoing illegal campaign in Syria have destabilized the region, plunging it into chaos, and creating a power vacuum that gave rise to extremists. Domestically, many Christian groups in the U.S., such as the Evangelicals, show greater preference for Israel than their fellow Christians in the region.

Thus, one of the key goals of Russia’s decision to aid Syria’s legal government—upon its invitation and compliant with international law—in its fight against terrorism and religious extremism is to stabilize the country and initiate political dialogue.

It is under secular governments like that of Syria that different religious groups were able to peacefully coexist until recently. This documentary film and its participants reinforce this notion.

syrian-christian-army


SOURCES:
Video by Inessa Sinchougova
English Subtitles by Inessa Sinchougova and Nina Kouprianova
Submitted by SyrianPatriots
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/christians-persecuted/
~

Syrian Christian leader tells West: ‘Stop arming terror groups who are massacring our people’

Pope Francis (R) talks with Ignatius Aphrem II, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, during a meeting at the Vatican, on June 19, 2015.

Pope Francis (R) talks with Ignatius Aphrem II, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, during a meeting at the Vatican, on June 19, 2015.

by Ruth Gledhill

The world leader of Syria’s besieged Christians has issued a heartfelt plea to the West to “stop arming and supporting terrorist groups that are destroying our countries and massacring our people.”

The Patriarch of Antioch, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, said he was not asking the West for military intervention to defend Christians.

If the West wants to do something about the present crisis, the most effective thing would be to support local governments, which need sufficient armies and forces to maintain security and defend respective populations against attacks.

“State institutions need to be strengthened and stabilised. Instead, what we see is their forced dismemberment being fuelled from the outside,” he told Vatican Insider.

Patriarch Aphrem, head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, said the most blasphemous thing a person can do is to call suicide bombers “martyrs”.

“Throughout its journey through history the Church has also been a suffering Church,” he added. Speaking in the days after meeting the Pope in Rome, he had just returned from Qamishli, his home town, where he met thousands of new Christian refugees who fled after Islamic State jihadists attacked Hassake, in Jazira province.

Islamic State terrorists who die while carrying out their atrocities regard such deaths as martyrdom. They believe it secures them passage to paradise.

The Patriarch contradicted this view. He said: “Martyrdom is not a sacrifice offered to God, like those sacrifices which are offered to pagan gods. Christian martyrs do not seek martyrdom to demonstrate their faith. And they do not wilfully shed their blood in order to obtain God’s favour or some other prize, like Paradise.”

Along with bishops of his church he recently had talks with President Assad of Syria. “President Assad urged us to do everything in our hands to prevent Christians from leaving Syria. ‘I know you are suffering,’ he said, ‘but please don’t leave this land, which has been your home for thousands of years, even before Islam came.’ He said that Christians will also be needed when the time comes to rebuild this devastated country.”

He said the majority of Syrian citizens support Assad’s government and have always supported it.

“We recognise legitimate rulers and pray for them, as the New Testament teaches us. We also see that on the other side there is no democratic opposition, only extremist groups. Above all, we see that in the past few years, these groups have been basing their actions on an ideology that comes from the outside, brought here by preachers of hatred who have come from and are backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt. These groups receive arms through Turkey too, as the media have shown us.”

He said Islamic State was not the Islam that Syrians have learned about andlived alongside for hundreds of years. “There are forces that fuel it with arms and money because it is useful in what Pope Francis calls the ‘war fought piecemeal’. But all this also draws on a perverse religious ideology that claims to be inspired by the Koran.”

source

MUST SEE VIDEO: The Truth about Syria, a Country Fighting the “Invasion by the Most Powerful Country in the World”. US Peace Council

Global Research, September 14, 2016
The Duran 3 September 2016
uspc-logo-v1

The truth about Syria and what is happening in Syria is all here, in the video below, outlined and documented during this press briefing by the US Peace Council (USPC).

We cannot be sure how long this video will be allowed to stay on Youtube, but we urge everyone to take 45:00 minutes of your time to see this video, share this video, and finally spread the word about the “vicious” war being waged on Syria.

Please share this post, and share this video, and share these excerpts, which may provide some life saving truth to an unjust, criminal war…and a western media narrative that continues to push lies and confusion to what is a clear and blatant international crime.

The Duran reported earlier today, as one of the few media organizations to expose this story…

A delegation from the US Peace Council (USPC) has recently returned to the US from a fact finding mission to Syria.

The members spent 6 days meeting with Syrian Government Officials including, President Assad, Union Leaders, Government Opposition Members as well as Civil & Business Leaders, NGO’s, Charities and Universities.

The delegation stated that each member paid their own way and that the Syrian Government allowed them to meet whomever they wanted.

They issued their report and held a press conference Press conference at the UN on 9th August 2016.

Madelyn Hoffman, Executive Director of New Jersey Peace Action, Member of the Syria Delegation at the 17:15:

“This is not a civil war in Syria. That’s probably the first thing we heard, and we heard it over and over again.

It is not President Assad against his own people. It is President Assad and the Syrian people, all together, in unity, against outside forces, outside mercenary forces, terror organisations, the names change everyday or every other day, to try to protect their identity, and maybe keep the connection between the country that funded it and that group, kind of a little bit more nebulous, but there are groups, mercenary forces, supported by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United States, and underneath it, Israel, the state of Israel.

And these outside mercenary forces are the ones that are terrorising the Syrian people, and are attempting to divide the Syrian people.”

US Peace Council (USPC):

  • H.E. Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic
  • Alfred Marder, President of the US Peace Council
  • Mary Compton, Member of the Executive Board of the US Peace Council
  • Henry Lowendorf, Member of the Executive Board of the US Peace Council, Head of the Syria Delegation
  • Joe Jamison, Member of the Executive Board of the US Peace Council, Member of the Syria Delegation
  • Madelyn Hoffman, Executive Director of New Jersey Peace Action, Member of the Syria Delegation
  • Donna Nassor, Professor and Lawyer also part of US Peace Council

Henry Lowendorf, Member of the Executive Board of the US Peace Council, at the 12:30 mark:

“We saw villages, that are basically Christian villages, that have been besieged by the terrorists, but have now been liberated. And the damage done to a shrine in the village called Maaloula, which is a village where they still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. And the attacks on the Christian population.”

“Their two things I want to mention, finally, that we feel are really important…

One is…That while the United States would like to divide the Syrians up, by religion or within a religion — by the different beliefs within that religion. There wasn’t a Syrian we talked to who would accept that.

We spoke to the Grand Mufti, and he said, ‘People ask me how many Muslims there are in Syria?’and his response is always 23 million. That’s is the population of Syria.

And when we talk to the bishop of one of the Orthodox Churches, he answered the same thing, the number of Christians is 23 million.

We will not allow ourselves to be divided up the way the United States has divided up the people of Iraq, or Libya, or Afghanistan, or so many other countries. We won’t allow that.

And that unity, I believe, has lead to the ability of the Syrians to withstand an invasion by the most powerful country in the world, and its most powerful allies in Europe, its most powerful allies in the Middle East, with what is a vicious attack on the Syrian people.

The second is the sanctions. I have to admit that I did not know (before I went) that the United States has imposed sanctions on Syria in a way that’s similar to the sanctions that the United States imposed on Iraq in the 1990s, in order to weaken that country and that government, that the United States admits killed 500,000 children in Iraq, during the 1990s sanctions.”

The Duran reported in a post entitled, “Why the Syrian conflict is not a civil war”

Alfred Marder who, is the President of the USPC firstly acknowledged that the US peace and anti-war movement has been in a state of confusion about Syria and that this has caused division within the movement.

He explained that the domestic tactic used by the US government to sway US public opinion, is, to demonise the leader of whatever country the US is targeting.

“Whether it’s Noriega, Hussein, Gaddafi, or Assad, there’s a definite pattern here”

He said the story the US people have been told about President Assad and Syria have been purposefully false. Concerning the reporting he said

“This is not accidental. This is designed to confuse people’s opinions on these Leaders.”

Jamison was blunt in his assessment and likened this quote to the dangerous attitude of so many Americans who think they know about Syria and President Assad but “….what they think they know, just ain’t so!”

In his opinion the US motive is to destroy Syria as an independent secular Arab state and make it compliant to US interests and policies, like Iraq and Libya have become since the US invasions and bombings of these two countries.

Just like Libya before the NATO bombing, Syria has universal free healthcare and free education from childcare through to university.

Jamison pointed out that the US government supports Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups (whose names change often) who they claim to be ‘moderate rebels’ but who in truth are not moderate in any way and are affiliated either with Al-Qaeda or ISIS.

He mentioned the foreign backed mercenaries (ISIS) are fuelled by the Wahhabi doctrine which he described as

“a sick medieval and backward ideology driven by the Muslim Brotherhood with its genesis in Saudi Arabia.”

He affirmed his opinion by describing how so called ‘moderate’ Jabhat Al-Nusra mercenaries beheaded a 12 yr old boy during the time the delegation was in Syria. There is nothing ‘moderate’ about beheading a 12 year old boy.

The other major story they shared was the generally unreported sanctions that the US has imposed upon the Syrian people.

The US government claims the sanctions target the Syrian government. However they are actually aimed at wearing down the resolve of the Syrian people.

The US has imposed sanctions similar to the ones Iraq experienced before the invasion, which even the US admits killed half a million children.

Syrians cannot get baby formula, common medication, medication for chemotherapy, child immunisation etc.

These sanctions are so insidious that they affect medical clinics throughout Syria because they are unable to get parts for machines used in medical practice. Think: X-ray, CAT, MRI machines right down to dentists drills.

President Assad has claimed from the beginning that there was no uprising and that the country was being invaded by foreign backed mercenaries. Gaddafi said exactly the same thing when NATO started bombing Libya.

Coincidence? I think not.

The same scenario was acted out in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria: invaded and bombed into submission without any politician, general or complicit media representative tried or held to account. There is not even an acceptance of error or a conciliatory voice of remorse.

“The campaign to confuse the American people has been intense.”

Crimes against Humanity: Seventy-two Daesh-ISIS Mass Graves Containing Up to 15,000 Discovered in Iraq and Syria. Who are the State Sponsors of ISIS? Who is Training, Who is Financing Them?

Global Research, August 31, 2016
RT News 30 August 2016
Mass-Grave-of-230-Killed-by-ISIL-Terrorists-Found-in-Syria

As Islamic State retreats the true scale of its atrocities is becoming apparent. Associated Press collated existing documents and testimonies to produce the fullest picture yet – but activists say that thousands more victims buried in shallow mass graves are yet to be discovered.

The agency says it has pinpointed the exact location of 72 Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) mass graves – 17 of those in Syria, the rest in Iraq – which contain anything from at least 5,200 to over 15,000 victims.

The information came from AllSource, a satellite intelligence firm that has matched photos from space with eyewitness accounts, aid groups such as Yazda, which are recording the systematic slaughter, and often IS itself, which has boasted about killing hundreds of ‘infidels’ and ‘traitors’ in its own regularly-broadcast videos.

“They are beheading them, shooting them, running them over in cars, all kinds of killing techniques, and they don’t even try to hide it,” said Sirwan Jalal, who has been appointed by Iraqi Kurds to investigate the mass burials.

The biggest documented massacre was committed in Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June 2014, when Islamic State gunned down between 1,000 and 1,700 unarmed Shiite Iraqi Air Force recruits, forcing them to shout slogans as they lay down, waiting to be executed.

Thirty-six of the perpetrators were hanged for the war crime earlier this month.

But while that location was well known, another massacre happened near Ramadi just two days earlier. AllSource looked for images of disturbed earth in the city in the northwest of Iraq – big enough to be noticeable from a satellite image – that tallied with accounts given by survivors to Human Rights Watch.

This was a testimony by a man only known as A.S., who was singled out for being a Shiite and put in a line in which each man had to shout out his number: ”I was number 43. I heard them say ’615,’ and then one ISIS guy said, ‘We’re going to eat well tonight.’ A man behind us asked, ‘Are you ready?’ Another person answered ‘Yes,’ and began shooting at us with a machine-gun.”

A.S. told HRW that he escaped by playing dead and then sneaking out at night, among about 15 others, a common tactic among the few survivors of such large-scale massacres.

With war still ongoing, in places such as Hardan, a Kurdish area, the authorities have merely roped off the mass graves, and say there are currently no resources to excavate and document the dead.

As the bodies continue to decay, and the wind blows away the earth, revealing the still-clothed bones, locals are served a daily reminder of the horrors.

“I have lots of people I know there. Mostly friends and neighbors,”Arkan Qassem, who lives in a village outside Hardan, told AP. ”It’s very difficult to look at them every day.”

With IS counting different sects – such as Shias and Yazidis – different ethnicities – such as Kurds – and even Sunni tribes as their enemies, there are estimated to be “hundreds” of mass graves that will take years to be fully mapped, and their victims to be given a proper burial.

“This is a drop in an ocean of mass graves expected to be discovered in the future in Syria,” said Ziad Awad, from The Eye of the City, a publication in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor, which is cataloguing the IS massacres.

Two Birds with One Stone: US ‘Sacrifices’ Its Kurdish Allies in Syria

Source

August 31, 2016

Kurdish forces in Syria

A Sputnik report

By sacrificing its Kurdish allies in northern Syria, Washington wants to mend relations with Ankara and prevent Turkey from strengthening its ties with Moscow, thus far killing two birds with one stone, expert on Middle Eastern affairs Jean Perier believes.

Washington’s Kurdish allies in Syria have become the US’ bargaining chip in negotiations with Ankara, according to Jean Perier, an independent researcher and expert on Middle Eastern affairs.

“By throwing the Kurds under the bus, the White House has not only solved the problem of mending its relations with Turkey by preventing Ankara from strengthening its ties of friendship with Moscow. It has also significantly reduced the intensity of Ankara’s demands to extradite the self-exiled cleric Muhammed Fethullah Gülen by making this matter a purely legal question and thus facilitating Joe Biden’s mission in Turkey,” Perier writes in his article for New Eastern Outlook.

The expert underscores that the Russo-Turkish rapprochement, accelerated by the attempted coup in Turkey, has not gone unnoticed by Washington.

Furthermore, Ankara’s statement that the Syrian conflict cannot be resolved without Russia has obviously hit the Obama’s administration raw nerve. To add more fuel to the fire, it was announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin may visit Ankara on August 31.

“Under these circumstances, Washington has decided to go all-in with a bid to mend its relations with Ankara by sacrificing its new-found Kurdish friends,” Perier underscores.

This is apparently why Washington sent influential Vice President Joseph Biden, not Secretary of State John Kerry, to mend ties with the Erdogan government.

As a result, Turkey launched a ground offensive against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) on August 24 with Washington’s “blessing” and assistance in northern Syria.

However, Western media sources called attention to the fact that amid its anti-Daesh campaign the Turkish armed forces targeted the Kurdish People’s Protection Units’ (YPG) fighters and demanded that they return from the Syrian town of Manbij to the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

Turkish President Erdogan’s motivation is understandable: he wants to prevent the Kurds from creating an independent entity in northern Syria, along the Turkish border.

The YPG “has been Washington’s most effective proxy in the fight against Islamic State in Syria. Its fighters-ethnic Kurds, Arabs and Yazidis are doing the bulk of the fighting. Without them, Islamic State [Daesh] would have seized northern Syria long ago, posing an even larger risk to Turkey,” the Wall Street Journal highlighted Wednesday.

However, Joe Biden has made it clear for the Kurds that they have to abide by the order to move back to the eastern bank of the Euphrates river, otherwise Washington would leave them out in the cold.

“As for Syria’s Kurds who Washington previously used to achieve its goals in the Middle East, they have become a bargaining chip that the White House is willing to sacrifice. Once the Kurds have fulfilled their role, their interests can easily be neglected by the US with Washington preferring to restore its ties with Ankara instead,” Perier remarks.

The question then arises how the US will continue its military operation in northern Syria without the Kurdish YPG fighters.

Commenting on the matter, expert in Middle Eastern affairs Leonid Isaev of the Higher School of Economic told Svodobnaya Pressa that following the liberation of Manbij it was expected that the US-backed Kurdish militants would move to Afrin through the Syrian town of al-Bab.

“Now that the US pressured the YPG into leaving Manbij, it is most likely that the northern Syria will be divided into “spheres of influence” with the US’ brokering. It is of great importance for Americans to prevent large-scale clashes between their allies [in the region]. I believe that the United States will continue maneuvering between the Turks and the Kurds while trying to maintain relations with both,” Isaev suggested.

However, citing American and European volunteers fighting alongside the YPG, Svobodnaya Pressa noted that by backing the Turkish-led advance in northern Syria Washington has “spit in the face of the Kurds.”

“Although today Washington was ‘bearing gifts’ to Ankara at the expense of Syria’s Kurds, tomorrow any other ‘strategic partner’ of the White House may find itself in the shoes of those forsaken Peshmerga fighters,” Perier warns.

Related Articles

 

 

S. Nasrallah: Hezbollah Will Emerge from Syria War as an International Force

Local Editor

Sayyed NasrallahHezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed on Friday his confidence that Hezbollah will emerge victorious from any Zionist war on Lebanon, highlighting that the divine support and the military preparations enable the Resistance to keep triumphant.

In an interview with Al-Manar TV channel, Sayyed Nasrallah said that during 2006 war, popular resistance fought one of the most powerful armies in the world and achieved the victory which violates all the natural laws, adding that Holy God supported the mujahidin according to His Promise.

His eminence noted that a large part of the Lebanese government and a number of Arab and regional countries sided with the Zionist entity during 2006 war, providing it with the political, media and military support in order to crush the Resistance.

The military force used by the Zionist entity against Hezbollah in 2006 was larger than that ‘Israel’ employed during all the Arab-Israeli wars, the Resistance leader added.

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that after the Israeli defeat in 2000 marked the first Arab victory which was morally and militarily pure, adding that some Lebanese factions felt sad for the Israeli loss and repeated the same experience in 2006.

“Some Lebanese and Arab sides bet on the Zionist victory in 2006.”

Hezbollah leader said that a European embassy contacted Hezbollah during July’s war to assert that only the Lebanese government wanted the Zionist enemy to continue its war against Lebanon in order to defeat the Resistance.

“In 2006 Israel agreed on holding the ceasefire agreement, but some Lebanese factions and Arab regimes insisted on disarming Hezbollah before ending the war. Do they consider Israel as an enemy? Does the dignity of the Umma and al-Quds mean anything to them? They do have different calculations.”

Those parties and regimes even deny via their media outlets that Hezbollah defeated Israel in 2006 despite the Zionist acknowledgement in this concern, Sayyed Nasrallah said.

His eminence added that Hezbollah has been always preparing to face any Zionist aggression, noting the Syrian military support to the Resistance.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that Hezbollah fighters performed their divine duty and the people were confident that the Resistance would emerge victorious, yet that the Zionist enemy was frightened and confused since the beginning of the war, which marked Holy God’s capability.

Sayyed Nasrallah clarified that the political system in Lebanon is corrupted adding that the ruling class is corrupted and its components have looted the country’s fortunes and desperately preserve their authority positions.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that after July’s war and unlike the victorious parties in the world, Hezbollah did not seek power in Lebanon for that may have caused a civil war which is worse than the political corruption.

His eminence pointed out that the media outlets supported by the Gulf and the West distort Hezbollah image by circulating that the Hezbollah is a group of drug traffickers and money launderers and that the Secretary General’s son died at a night club, stressing that the party cares exclusively about the Resurrection Day when the real truths will be displayed.

Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated Hezbollah’s commitment to the national unity and forming a unified government with all the Lebanese factions, including al-Mustaqbal movement because nations cannot be built amid hatred.

Sayyed Nasrallah stated that the most remarkable scene during July’s war was the people’s steadfastness, tranquility and political awareness which made them fantastically go back to their villages on August 14, 2006, which formed one of the basic features of the victory.

“Nowadays, the southerners enjoy a peace and prosperity, thanks to the Resistance sacrifices, while the Zionists are building fences along the Lebanese-Palestinian border for their fear of Hezbollah.”

People challenged all the threats and courageously went back to their villages, according to Sayyed Nasrallah who added that Holy God helped them to frustrate the scheme of keeping them displaced.

Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed that after July’s war, he visited the South and Bekaa, adding that he enjoys a normal life as he receives political delegations and friends, and stressing that he is not hiding at a basement.

His eminence noted that Hezbollah commanders and their families as well as all people faced July’s war patiently, which assisted them to defeat the enemy.

The Zionist estimations indicate that any Israeli war against Hezbollah would be adventurous and that the striking Iran is not beneficial, so the decision to attack Syria was taken, according to Sayyed Nasrallah.

“July war was aimed at eliminating the resistance in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, and eventually isolating Iran,” Nasrallah pointed out.

Sayyed Nasrallah stated that Syria has been targeted for it used to provide Hezbollah with homemade missiles, adopted the Resistance option, and rejected to abandon the Palestinian cause.

“What is going on in Syria is a form of revenge and a continuation of July’s war and President Assad is one of the main obstacles that face the US scheme, the New Middle East.”

Sayyed Nasrallah considered that the speech of Donald Trump, the US candidate for presidency, embarrassed President Barack Obama and obliged him to eradicate ISIL, which lets the axis of controls the region.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that the Lebanese army stuck to its patriotic creed during 2006 war, sacrificed scores of its soldiers and supported the Resistance in the battlefield, but that PM Fad Siniora wanted the army to disarm and clash with Hezbollah.

“Siniora ordered the Army to confiscate the trucks which used to move Hezbollah missiles from Bekaa to the South, revealing that the party’s leadership, President Lahoud and Speaker Berri threatened the PM to undo his orders.”

“The Lebanese army has all the weaponry, equipment and human conditions to defeat the terrorists in Arsal barrens, nut the political decision of the government is not resolute.”

“The other party claims that the Lebanese army can confront the Zionist aggression but says that it cannot defeat the terrorists in Arsal barrens.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the Lebanese army can defeat the terrorists in Arsal barrens, but that Nusra Front has allies in the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah leader said that the takfiri scheme cannot survive in the region for it is rejected by all groups, adding that no one can live under ISIL ruling.

Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that Hezbollah has gained a vast military experience from Syria war, which frightens the Zionists and will help the Resistance in its Galilee operation.

“If Hezbollah emerged from 2006 war a regional force, it will emerge from Syria crisis an international force.”

Sayyed Nasrallah considered that if Turkey blocks its border with Syria, most of the crisis would be ended as the military and human support to the terrorists would be stopped, adding the pro-terrorism states plan to get rid of all the gunmen after the end of their missions.

“The former Saudi security official Bandar bin Sultan visited Moscow to convince Putin to send terrorists from Chechnya and Dagestan to fight the Syrian army in order to kill them there.”

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the deal according to which the Zionist entity was established includes the Arab kings who are charged with protecting Israel, adding that the Arab militaries have been always powerful, except for the regimes which ban fighting the Zionists.

“If chaos pervades in the region and the Arab regimes collapse, people will certainly wipe out the Zionist entity, liberate Palestine and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed the solid relations with the Palestinian resistance factions, saying that Palestine is grander than all the other causes.

“I think that the resistance factions cannot accept the normalization of the relations with the Zionist entity.”

About the Islamic unity, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the situation is not tragic, noting that what is going on in Syria is not a Sunni-Shiite confrontation as scores of those who fight for the Army are Sunnis.

“Who liberated Fallujah are the Sunni tribal forces. But the Gulf media has sought classifying the battle as sectarian.”

Sayyed Nasrallah considered that Syria crisis pervades awareness, exposes the mean and prepares the Umma for the major victory of liberating Palestine.

Israel is facing a strategic dilemma after defeating its scheme, according to Sayyed Nasrallah who expected that the Zionists flee the Palestine as they did when they escaped from Lebanon in 2000.

“The US and Zionist schemes will fail to involve the Arab people in confronting the Resistance, which will eradicate the Zionist enemy.”

Tackling media siege imposed on Al-Manar TV, Sayyed Nasrallah vowed to break it, asserting Hezbollah channel will keep performing its major duties via all the technological means, eliminating the possibility of renaming the outlet due to its symbolic and historical position.

Source: Al Manar TV

19-08-2016 – 22:55 Last updated 20-08-2016 – 04:14

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Re-branding: Al-Nusra’s Name Change and CNN’s Coverage of It

jihadiflags[ Ed. note – Vanessa Beeley has written a very good article on the recent name change announced by one of the main terrorist factions in Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as Al-Qaeda in Syria, announced that it would change its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. The announcment was made in a video released by the group in late July.

On August 2, CNN aired a report on the name change that included video-taped comments from one of the organization’s leaders, Mostafa Mahamed, who announced additionally that the group is severing its ties with Al-Qaeda. Mahamed is articulate and fluent in English, and one gets the distinct impression from watching the report that a “re-branding” process is under way.

Although the US technically considers Al-Nusra a terrorist group, would it surprise us if it turned out that Western media outlets such as CNN have reporters embedded with it? Beeley suggests that CNN reporter Clarissa Ward not only is embedded with Al-Nusra/Al-Sham, she even goes so far as to accuse the network of “terror apologism.”

In the excerpt below, Beeley recounts atrocities carried out against the Christian population of Maaloula by the re-branded and “now-moderate” Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. Prior to the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, Maaloula was one of the few places in the world where Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, is still spoken as the native language. The war has had a devastating impact upon the town’s people and their places of worship. ]

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…On the 7th September 2013, Black Saturday in the Maalouli calendar, Al Nusra extremists entered a house in Maaloula.  They rounded up three young men, Sarkis, Mikhael and Anton [see below, from left to right]. Their photos are pinned to the wall of Father Taalab’s office.

srkmikan

Al Nusra demanded that each man convert to Islam, each man in turn refused to renounce their faith and were shot in the head one by one. The second and third were forced to watch their lifelong friends and brothers murdered before being shot themselves for their refusal to abandon their beliefs.

The Al Nusra operatives then went on to shoot an 80 year old man, Lawandeus, who was Anton’s father.  Lawandeus was blind and deaf but this did not prevent Al Nusra’s attempted murder of this defenceless elder citizen whose son’s blood was already staining the floor.

On entering the house, these Al Nusra NATO-GCC agents had also shot Anton’s sister, Antoinette, in the back.  Presuming she was dead they then proceeded to shoot her brother and his two comrades in the head while Antoinette, half conscious, a bullet lodged in her spine, was forced to witness the cold-blooded murders.  Her brother Anton was a shoemaker, the only son of their parents and someone who served his church and the community faithfully and compassionately.

Mikhael was the town baker and Sarkis was an engineering student with a promising future, cut short by the Al Nusra blood-letters whose purpose was to ethnically cleanse the Christian community from its ancestral home.

On the same day, Al Nusra kidnapped six young men from the village including Father Taalab’s brother and two other family members. Father Taalab maintains that Al Nusra deliberately targeted the families of the village clergy which further supports the claim that Al Nusra were intent upon the ethnic cleansing of this ancient community.

These six young men are still missing.  For the first six months, Father Taalab was in contact with them via phone. After that initial six months nothing has been heard from them.  The pain of this “not knowing” was visible in Father Taalab eyes and expression as he talked of efforts ongoing to try and locate the boys and to return them to their families in Maaloula.

We would expect a media outlet as prominent as CNN to report on these atrocities in detail but when we look at their accounts of Al Nusra’s invasion and occupation of Maaloula we find that they have, to a large extent, whitewashed the extremism and murderous intent.

In fact, according to CNN,

“Maaloua was spared the atrocities endured elsewhere across Syria.” 

In a May 2016 report, CNN barely mentions the Al Nusra savagery, with only a fleeting reference to the 2013 crimes:

“The convent was badly damaged in 2013 and 12 nuns were taken hostage and held by Islamist fighters for months before being released unharmed.”

This glib reformulation of the truth acts as a criminal gatekeeper as to the true evil of Al Nusra and the barbarity of their acts against the Maalouli people.  CNN is fundamentally entering into the arena of terror apologism and perhaps even endorsement of their heinous crimes against an unprotected and unprepared Christian minority community that had peacefully co-existed with its eventual attackers for almost a full century.

Access Vanessa Beeley’s full article here

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