Saturday, 24 November 2012

America’s New Proxy, The Syrian National Coalition: The Many Faces of its Leader, Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib



Global Research, November 24, 2012
 
syriaCompletely unkown to the international public only a week ago, Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib has been catapulted to the presidency of the Syrian National Coalition, which represents pro-Western opposition in the Damascus government. Portrayed by an intense public relations campaign as a highly moral personality with no partisan or economic attachments, he is in truth a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an executive of

The dislocation of the armed Syrian opposition is a reflection of the conflict between the various States which are trying to “change the regime” in Damascus.

We should pay particular attention to the Syrian National Council (SNC), also known as the Istanbul Council, since it was instituted there. This council is guided with an iron hand by the French DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), and financed by Qatar. Its members, who have obtained residency and various other privileges in France, are under constant pressure from the secret services, who dictate every declaration they make.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) represent those local civilians who support armed action.
Finally, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is principally managed by Turkey, unites most of the combatants, including the d’Al-Qaida brigades. 80% of these units recognise the Takfirist Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour as their spiritual leader. He is based in Saudi Arabia.

Seeking to regain leadership and bring a little order to this cacophony, Washington ordered the Arab League to call a meeting in Doha, sabotaged the SNC, and obliged as many of the tiny groups as possible to integrate a single and exclusive structure – the National Coalition for Syrian
Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. Behind the scenes, ambassador Robert S. Ford himself allotted the seats and privileges for this assembly, and has imposed as President of the Coalition a personality who has never yet been mentioned in the Press – Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib.

Robert S. Ford is considered to be the State Department’s principal specialist for the Middle East. He was the assistant of John Negroponte from 2004 to 2006, while this master spy was busy applying in Iraq the methods he had developed in Honduras – the intensive use of death squads and Contras. Shortly before the events in Syria began, Ford was nominated as Ambassador to Damascus, and assumed his functions despite Senate opposition. He immediately applied the Negroponte method to Syria with obvious results.

While the creation of the National Coalition objectifies Washington’s take-over of the armed opposition, it does not solve the question of representivity. Very quickly, various components of the SLA withdrew. In particular, the Coalition excludes any form of opposition which is hostile to armed struggle, especially Haytham al-Manna’s National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.
The choice of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib responds to a clear necessity – in order for the President to be recognised by the combatants, he has to be religious figure, but in order to be accepted by Westerners, he has to appear moderate. And especially, in this period of intense negotiations, the new President has to have a solid understanding of the subject in order to discuss the future of Syrian gas – but this is not a subject to be introduced in public.

US spin doctors quickly gave Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib a make-over, dressing him in a suit but no tie. Some of the media speak of him as a “model” leader. For example, a major US daily newspaper presents him as “a unique product of his culture, like Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma” [1]
Here is the portrait of him drawn up by the Agence France Presse (AFP):
“Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib, the consensual man

Born in 1960, Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib is a moderate religious figure who was for a time the Imam of the Omeyyades mosque in Damascus. He belongs to no political party.
It is this independence, and his proximity to Riad Seif at the origin of the initiative for a wider coalition, which makes him a consensual candidate for the leadership of the opposition.
His background is in Sufi Islam. A religious dignitary, he has studied international relations and diplomacy, and is not linked to the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist organisation in the opposition.

    Arrested several times in 2012 for having publicly called for the end of the regime in Damascus, he was forbidden to speak in Syrian mosques by order of the authorities, and found refuge in Qatar.
Born in Damascus, he played a decisive role in the mobilisation of the suburbs of the capital, notably Douma, which was active from the very beginnings of the peaceful demonstrations in March 2011. “Sheikh al-Khatib is a consensual figure who enjoys true popular support on the ground”, underlines Khaled al-Zeini, a member of the Syrian National Council.” [2]

The truth is quite different.

In reality, there is absolutely no evidence that Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib ever studied international relations and diplomacy, but he does have training as an engineer in geophysics. He worked for six years for the al-Furat Petroleum Company (1985-91), a joint-venture between the national company and other foreign enterprises, including the Anglo-Dutch Shell, with whom he has maintained contact.

In 1992, he inherited the prestigious charge of preacher at the Omeyyades mosque from his father, Sheikh Mohammed Abu al-Faraj al-Khatib. He was rapidly relieved of his functions and forbidden to preach anywhere in Syria. However, this episode did not occur in 2012, and has nothing to do with the present contestation – it happened twenty years ago, under Hafez el-Assad. At that time, Syria was supporting the international intervention to liberate Kuwait, in respect of international law, in order to get rid of their Iraqi rival, and also to forge closer ties with the West. As for the Sheikh, he was opposed to “Desert Storm” for the same religious motives which were proclaimed by Oussama Ben Laden – with whom he aligned himself – notably the refusal of Western presence on Arab lands, which they consider sacrilegious. This position led him to deliver a number of anti-semitic and anti-Western diatribes.

Following that, the Sheikh continued his activity as a religious teacher, notably at the Dutch Institute in Damascus. He made numerous trips abroad, mainly to Holland, the United Kingdom and the United State. Finally, he settled in Qatar.

In 2003-04, during the attribution of oil and gas concessions, he returned to Syria as a lobbyist for the Shell group.

He came back to Syria again at the beginning of 2012, where he inflamed the neighbourhood of Douma (a suburb of Damascus). He was arrested, then pardoned, and left the country in July to settle in Cairo.

His family is indeed steeped in the Sufi tradition, but contrary to what the AFP claims, he is a member of the Muslim brotherhood, and declared this quite clearly at the end of his speech of investiture at Doha. According to the usual technique of the Brotherhood, he adapts not only the form, but also the content of his speeches to his audience. Sometimes leaning towards a multi-religious society, sometimes towards the restoration of sharia law. In his writings, he qualifies Jewish people as “enemies of God”, and Chiite muslims as “rejectionist heretics”, epithets which are the equivalent of a death sentence.

In the end, Ambassador Robert S. Ford has played his hand well – once again Washington has duped its allies. Just like in Libya, France has taken all the risks, but in the major compromises which are to come, Total will have gained no advantage.
Translation
Pete Kimberley

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

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the ninth night of Ashura


Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the ninth night of Ashura



I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be on the Seal of prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household and on his chosen companions and on all messengers and prophets.

Brothers and sisters! Peace be on you all and Allah's mercy and blessing.

I will divide my speech into two sections. I will talk for a while about the end of the heroic confrontation which took place in Gaza. The second section will be on the topic for tonight as brief as possible Inshallah.

With utmost clarity, certainty, and confidence, we can again say that blood gained victory over blood. We are before a true victory. Now we do not want to talk about slogans, emotions, and feelings. However, if we were to evaluate, examine closely and scrutinize the dimensions and minute details of what took place, we may say with utmost clarity and conviction that we are before a new victory in the time of victories.

Indeed first we must felicitate the Palestinian resistance on this great achievement. We felicitate the resistance leaderships, men and people in Gaza. We felicitate all its movements, factions, battalions and brigades as well as all the Palestinian people within occupied Palestine and abroad. We felicitate all the honorable in this nation and all the honorable in this world who believe in Palestine and who view Palestine and the sanctities as their central concern. They also look forward for the day Palestine will be liberated and purged from the impurity of the Zionist occupiers.

This felicitation is for everyone because the people of the resistance themselves announced that this victory is for Gaza, the people of Gaza, the resistance and for the entire nation.

We supplicate for Allah Al Mighty and pray to Him to have mercy on these martyrs, bless all the wounded with recovery, and bestow patience on the agonized families. May Allah Al Mighty also enable our brethrens and dear ones in Gaza Strip to reconstruct what was demolished and to carry on the track of resistance which they took long years ago.

However, I have something to say to all who carry on arguing. You know that in the Arab world, there are people who are not ready to acknowledge the victories of the resistance movements. That means even if there is a crystal clear victory, they still argue it.


However, based on experience and the status of the media, I may tell you that it is enough to look at the faces of the trio – Netanyahu, Barak, and Liebermann – when they held the press conference in which they announced the truce. Look at their faces. Were these the faces of victors or gloomy, indignant, defeated and vanquished faces? We are talking about forms now. We are talking from the perspective of the media. It is a clear scene which recalls into the memory the faces of Olmert, Livni, Peres and others following the end of July War.

Let's tackle the announced targets of the latest operation or war on Gaza. I mentioned on the first night that the Israelis benefit from previous experiences. Thus they did not put high goals. They did not say they want to crush the resistance in Gaza Strip. So they did not raise the ceiling. They did not say they want to ruin the authority and the government of President Ismail Haniya. They did not say they will reoccupy Gaza Strip and absolutely exterminate the resistance and the will of the resistance. Never! They did not propose these targets. They went to lower targets which they believed they could achieve. They thought that they would simply following the operation hold a press conference and say: We gained victory because the announced targets of the operation were achieved. However, even this did not take place.

Looking at the announced targets of the operation, let's say whether these targets were achieved or not. This tells whether it was a failure or a victory for Israel. It's not the resistance which launched the war on Israel to say whether the resistance achieved its goals through the war it launched and consequently talk about a victory or a defeat for the resistance. We must tackle the Israeli side. Israel launched the war on Gaza. Consequently, if the targets which the Israelis announced were achieved, they would have gained victory. If they were not achieved, the Israelis would have failed and flopped. The true aim of the resistance was to frustrate the goals of the enemy. It even went further as it has imposed its conditions.

The targets which the enemy announced were:

The first goal was to destroy or liquidate the leadership structure of the resistance in Gaza Strip. Was this goal achieved? No.
True the martyrdom of leader martyr Ahmad Jaabari is a great loss; however, following the martyrdom the war started and we are to count what inflicted the leadership structure of the resistance movements during the war? Anyway, this asserts that the resistance which lost a martyr with such a status could fight with competence. I want to assert that the resistance movements in Palestine, in Lebanon, and in the region are not anymore limited to definite persons, leaders, or leaderships no matter how great and influential these martyrs and senior figures are. The experience of the resistance movements now lead to this conclusion.

The second goal – as the Israelis said – was to destroy the resistance rocket system in Gaza. Were they able to achieve this goal?
No! The evidence is that that resistance could all through the days of fighting launch a daily average of 200 rockets, some of which reached Tel Aviv and Al Qods.

This is very important. Gaza Strip is a small flat area which is open before the eyes of the enemy from the sea, land and air, and raids were launched on it. Still the resistance men could launch 200 rockets daily. Those who know in military affairs know how great this is. So the rocket system remained intact to a great degree. The resistance's ability to run this rocket system also proved its continuity and competence.

The third goal the Israelis tackled was restoring deterrence – i.e. frightening the people of Gaza and the resistance of Gaza so that the Israeli enemy could later be able to assassinate, kill and carry on the siege and do whatever they want without meeting any reactions from Gaza. That means restoring deterrence. Was this goal achieved? On the contrary, the deterrence power which existed before the aggression on Gaza became weaker. It retreated and was afflicted and damaged to a great degree. The Israelis themselves acknowledged that.

For example, the Israelis wanted to claim through the operation the security of the residents of the settlements in the surrounding of Gaza Strip with a radius of forty kilometers. What was the result? The people of Tel Aviv and Al Qods and all those who live within a radius of 70 to 80 kilometers from Gaza lost security. Shelters were thus opened. Commerce, industries, business and tourism were crippled.

Today we can absolutely say that the self confidence of the resistance, the confidence of the people of Gaza in the resistance, the confidence of the Palestinian people in Gaza, the ability of the resistance to defend, deter, make victory, and impose conditions became greater than before the operation. On the other hand, the level of confidence of the enemy's society in their government and army decreased compared to the level before the operation.

Indeed, this confrontation needs much time to talk about its lessons, morals, results and achievements whether on the level of the military and field struggle, on the political level, on the moral level, on the Palestinian level and its impact on the Palestinian street and the unity of the Palestinian forces which were on serious disagreements or on the level of achievements at the Arab and regional levels.

In the limited time I have, I would like to tackle some of the achievements which are linked to the military and moral sides.

Brothers and sisters!
 
This confrontation or war has proved again the saying which was first articulated years ago and which says that the Israeli air force is not more able to put an end to a battle from air. This was said in July War 1993, April 1996, and July 2006 in Lebanon and in 2008/2009 war in Gaza. Today again this is being said. Now let's make a record.
 
This experience is the fifth between the resistance and the Israeli enemy. This experience says that no matter how great the Israeli air power is and no matter how high its technology is, it is unable to put a decisive end to a battle, or impose political and field conditions on the resistance movements.

Second, through this experience, it appeared how awesome the enemy's government and leaders are from resorting to a land operation and a field confrontation. This is clear. I told you the other night that this is psychological war. In fact, when they hold a big stone that means they will not throw it.
When they announced they will call for 75 thousand reserve soldiers, it was clear that the aim from this call is psychological war. I assert to you that the enemy's leaders were afraid and scared from resorting to the choice of land confrontation. This still exists and is still valid. Anyway, they have failed in all land confrontation with the resistance all through 30 years; the latest defeats were in July War in 2006 and also in Gaza in 2008/2009, and their losses were great; still they could not achieve any results.
A third result is that Israel which has always been able to fight, gain victory, spread fear, defeat and impose its conditions is now with its confrontation with the resistance movements in a status in which it feels that neither international covering nor its armed forces are providing it with a true protection or sense of defense. Thus it is obliged to resort to agreements with the resistance movements which it dubs as terrorist groups starting with July Agreement in 1993, April Agreement 1996, to the consecutive agreements with Gaza Strip, until reaching the latest agreement. This is indeed a very important indicator.

See brothers and sisters! At the beginning of the battle, the enemy leaders said that this war will not come to an end before Gaza starts begging. What was the result?
 
Israel started begging while Gaza did not beg at all. This battle was viewed from its very first moments a battle of finger biting in which the one who shouts first would be the loser. The Israelis were the first to shout. Even more, Gaza imposed its conditions. It did not accept an appeasement or a ceasefire of any kind. Thus the following point is that the victory of the resistance in Gaza was not achieved only on the level of crippling and frustrating the goals of the enemy, it also mounted to the level of the resistance imposing its conditions in the appeasement. It also refused the conditions of the enemy.

Going back to the announced text, we find some of the conditions which the resistance has always been demanding. For example, we mention opening cross points, facilitating the movement of people and goods, not restricting the movement of people or targeting them in border areas, and dealing with the procedures of executing this 24 ours after the agreement is put into effect no matter whether the Israelis will execute this clause or not. Mentioning this clause and the Israeli approval on it is an achievement made by the resistance.

On the contrary, among the Israeli conditions were always that the resistance in Gaza pledges to stop arms smuggling and things of this sort. This was not mentioned in the agreement.

Thus, the first victory for the resistance is that it frustrated the targets of the enemy. Its greater victory is that it did not respond to the conditions of the enemy. Its greatest victory is that it imposed its conditions on the enemy. This is a great lesson.

One of the achievements of this confrontation – as our Palestinian resistance leaderships said – is that Gaza Strip is no more a point of weakness when they talk about the resistance axis.

For the first instance, the Israelis deemed Gaza weak. However, following this confrontation, the Israelis are afraid and diffident from Gaza. They now take Gaza into consideration. Thus it is true to say that one of the achievements of this confrontation is that Gaza Strip is no more a scapegoat, and that the war on Gaza is no more a trip and that a terrestrial war on Gaza has become extremely ruled out.

One of the achievements of this confrontation is that we all understand and that all the peoples of the region understand and that the enemy understands the following result: If you – the military and political leaders of occupying Israel – failed in a confrontation with the besieged Gaza Strip, oppressed Gaza, Gaza which smuggles arms and rockets with much difficulty, and Gaza which is absolutely disclosed, if you were defeated in the confrontation with this Gaza, what would be the case if you were to confront others who have better conditions on more than one level? This is a moral and a lesson to be taken into consideration.

The last remark or lesson or achievement I want to tackle in this summery is that this experience asserts anew that in confronting the Israeli military supremacy and the Israeli great financial, military and capacities and number of soldiers, the element which secures a balance is the popular resistance movements which depends a different kind of armament, a different storage of arsenals and rockets, a different technique in rocket platforms erection and a different way in using these rockets and shells and confrontation even on the terrestrial level.

The resistance movements could secure this balance – balance of terror and balance of deterrence – and consequently restore morals, confidence and feeling the ability to confront, impose conditions and humiliate the enemy. This is the moral. This is a new experience which is to be added to the previous experiences and which is to be taken into consideration by all those who are searching for a national defense strategy in any country in the world.

Indeed there are many achievements and evaluations which must take place on more than one level – on the Palestinian, Arab and international levels. However I will stop here tonight. Renewing the felicitations on this great victory to our people and dear ones in Gaza Strip and to our dear Palestinian people and to the noble nation, I renew may call for further scrutinizing and examination to draw more lessons from this heroic experience.
 
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Gaza Postmortems


by Stephen LendmanGaza Postmortems

Discussion ranges from who won, who lost, who cares, what’s next. Media scoundrels support Israeli aggression like they always do. More on that below.

Operation Pillar of Cloud, like decades of similar Israeli aggression, wasn’t about self-defense in response to Palestinian rockets or other incidents.

It reflects Israeli regional hegemonic ambitions, its culture of violence and belligerence, occupation harshness, land theft, Palestinian dispossession, institutionalized racism, and contempt for rule of law principles and democratic values.
Much more about Operation Pillar of Cloud is important. Washington wholeheartedly supports Israeli aggression. Close collaboration is policy.

Political cover is given. Billions of dollars in annual military aid is provided. Intelligence is shared. Joint military exercises are held. They’re strategically planned.

Michel Chossudovsky explained that one week after US elections “the largest joint war games in Israeli history” took place. Months of joint planning preceded them.

Their objective “was to test Israel’s missile air defense system against attacks from far and near, namely from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Austere Challenge 12 joint military exercises “were conducted over four weeks overlapping with the US elections (November 6) and culminating with the commencement of the Gaza bombings (November 14).”

Operation Pillar of Cloud was planned months in advance. Selecting targets take considerable time. Tactics and overall strategy require careful decision-making.

Joint US/Israeli war games had a purpose. They were planned to precede “an actual military operation.”

Washington and Israel partner directly or indirectly in all regional wars and lesser-scale conflicts. The Pentagon maintains command and control operations in Israel.

Washington runs things. “With regard to the joint US-Israel war games which culminated with the attack on Gaza, Israel is visibly the junior partner.”

“The United States is not ‘supporting’ an Israeli military endeavor.” It’s a “major actor in the attack on Gaza. The US is therefore a perpetrator of war crimes together with Israel.”

Seldom are these important observations made. Imperial ambitions are involved. Large and smaller military operations have a purpose.

Expect others to follow Operation Pillar of Cloud. Cessation of current hostilities is a ruse. Israel and Washington will invent pretexts to continue conflict. False flags will be used. So will manufactured provocations.

Hamas, other resistance groups, and regional independent governments will be blamed. The same scheme plays out in disturbing repetition. This time won’t be different.

On November 21, each side claimed victory. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It’s toxic.

Netanyahu claimed Israel “destroyed Hamas’ control over the Strip.”

Barak said “all the operation’s aims were fulfilled.”

Hamas political head Khaled Meshal said Israel’s “attack failed and the leaders of the enemy failed in their adventure.”

“Eight days of fighting forced them to give in to our conditions. The destruction left by Israel did nothing to change the fact that the resistance won.”

After 64 years, Palestinians haven’t achieved a single meaningful victory. At the same time, anti-Israel/US sentiment grows.

Global protests condemned Cast Lead. They erupted again after Pillar of Cloud attacks. Hundreds of protests occurred throughout the Middle East, Europe, North America, and elsewhere.
Israel and perhaps America are the world’s most reviled countries. Growing millions reject their contempt for human life and well-being.

Debate continues over military and political winners. Palestinian resistance is no match against Israel’s war machine. The death, injury, and destruction toll on both sides leaves no ambiguity.
Politically it’s different. Pro-Palestinian sentiment grows. So does anti-Israeli hostility. An earlier article asked if Israel overstepped this time. World protests suggest perhaps so if only modestly. What follows remains to be seen.

Another article said peace isn’t won on battlefields. It’s when dialogue replaces belligerence. Conflicts beget more of them. Endless violence is self-destructive.

Long-term, no one wins. Peace and stability depend on prioritizing diplomacy over confrontation. Regional conditions are deteriorating. Something has to give.

Belligerence doesn’t work. One analyst suggested the obvious. Why not give peace a chance. Imagine the possibilities not so far considered.

Ceasefire terms leave much to be desired. Fundamental injustices weren’t resolved. Provisions and language leave disturbing wiggle room. Memorandum of understanding terms include:

(1) Israel to cease air, land, and sea hostilities, as well as stop targeted killings.

(2) Palestinian resistance groups to halt rocket and other attacks.

(3) Easing blockade restrictions modestly. Not enough to matter. Gaza’s siege continues. Free movement remains restricted.
Implementation procedures not yet decided. Negotiations will determine them.
Oslo left major unresolved issues for later final status talks. They included borders, Palestinian sovereignty, the right of return, settlements, and East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital among others.
Over 19 years later, no progress whatever was made on these and other important issues. This time won’t be different.

(4) Cessation of hostilities took effect at 2PM EST (9PM regional time).

(5) Egypt to act as guarantor. “Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.”

(6) “Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up.”
Netanyahu provisionally agreed to halt hostilities. He reserved the right to resume them any time for any reason or none at all.

Agreed on terms resembled what followed Cast Lead. Washington was guarantor. The fox guarded the hen house. It still does. Conflict continued. Nothing this time is different.

Deals don’t reflect or determine long-term policy. Nothing will change until Israel and Washington are held fully accountable. They’re responsible for decades of crimes of war and against humanity.
Day of reckoning time is nowhere in sight. Resolution won’t happen until it arrives.

Haaretz discussed “behind the scenes” (decision-making to) “accept Gaza truce.” Top ministers disagreed. Barak wanted conflict ended. “Lieberman demanded a ground invasion.” Netanyahu “vacillated.”

Discussions continued for days. They and other hardliners thought Egypt “align(ed) with Hamas and tr(ied) to provide it with achievements.”

Barak set the record straight. Ceasefire wording means nothing, he said.

“Israel’s power of deterrence would be tested by the reality on the ground.”

“A day after the cease-fire, no one will remember what is written in that draft. The only thing that will be tested is the blow Hamas suffered.”

“We can put off the Egyptian proposal and go for a precarious ground incursion of Gaza, but at the end of the day, we may end up with the same exact result.”

Haaretz editors headlined “It’s all connected.” They side with Israel’s war machine. They know better but don’t show it. They support what they should condemn.

Palestinian self-defense is called “terrorism.” They urge Gaza residents to “get rid of the Hamas government.” At the same time, they know it long ago proved “unrealistic.”

Separate West Bank and Gaza authority doesn’t “guarantee quiet and stability, or surrender and political obedience from the Palestinians.”

To its credit, Haaretz advocates diplomacy and peace over force. At the same time, vital issues are ignored.

Hamas is Palestine’s legitimate government. It’s not a terrorist organization. Nor is Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or other resistance groups. Palestinian sovereignty exists. Israel’s occupation is illegal.

It bears full responsibility for aggressive wars. It’s guilty of crimes of war and against humanity that follow. They’re longstanding. They’ve been ongoing since before 1948.

Palestinians are human beings. Their rights matter as much as Jewish ones. Israel denies them. Conflict will persist until that ends.

There’s no ambiguity. Abused people react. Brutalized ones defend themselves aggressively. It’s their right under international law.

Until long denied justice is achieved, confrontation and violence will continue. It’s not unique to the region. It’s the same everywhere.

Media scoundrels don’t notice or care. On November 21, a New York Times editorial headlined “A New Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire,” saying:

Peace won’t follow without “serious” “two-state solution” discussions. Years ago it was possible. No longer. A previous article explained.

Israel controls over half the West Bank and much of East Jerusalem. More is added daily.

When completed, the apartheid wall will control over 10% of Palestine. Isolated ghettoized bantustans on worthless scrubland won’t work. Under those conditions, sovereign viability is impossible.

The only solution is one state comprised of Israel and the Territories. Nothing else will work.
The Times admitted that ceasefire terms leave much to be desired. Netanyahu “left open the possibility of ‘more severe military action’ ” based on any pretext he claims.

How longstanding Palestinian grievances will be addressed remains “unclear.” In fact, they’ll be ignored like always.

The Times disgracefully calls Hamas a “terrorist organization.” It rejects its legitimacy. It praised Obama’s role in the conflict. It ignored US complicity with Israel in initiating it.

Belligerents always plan new campaigns. Expect the worst ahead in 2013. Point fingers the right way. Washington, Israel, and key NATO partners bear full responsibility. Don’t expect scoundrel media editors to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
 
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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

Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself



Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself


Nov 23rd, 2012 | By Aisha Aijaz | Category: Latest, Religion, World
“Israel has a right to defend itself just as a burglar has, who busts open someone else’s house, not for theft but for invasion, thrusting them out with force, with a superpower fully supporting him. Even if the burglar has the most sophisticated weapons, the children of the house fighting their right to protest against the occupant with stones are surely dangerous militants, terrorists and fanatics”. Anyone who agrees to this narrative and replaces the term ‘freedom fighter’ with any of the three mentioned above, are normal human beings. The rest are too biased to think and discern what’s happening around in the world.
“No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining into its territory from outside the borders” says President Obama defending illegitimate Israel’s ar crimes, but I add Pakistan and Yemen are exceptions tolerating American drones on civilians and yes, they do not have the right (read might) to defend themselves.
The most powerful man in the world i.e. President of the United States and the most powerful media backing the Zionist dream, are vigorously projecting  to the world that Israel did it all in self-defence (as always), completely ignoring that on 4th of November a mentally ill unarmed man was killed by IDF while approaching the border fence.
Then, on the 13th of October, a 13 year old boy (read militant),  Hamid Younis Abu Daqqa became a threat to Israel while playing football with his other ‘militant’ friends outside his house around 2 kilometres away from the border. This Real Madrid fan with his dangerous dream of becoming a soccer player was a big threat to Israel’s existence.
Then, it all began i.e. rockets from Gaza and the fierce attack from one of the most powerful armies in the world, with media supported propaganda on one side and casualties, killings, amputations and real life emergency on the other.
On November 10, 2012 a mother and a father in Gaza lost their 19 year old son. Matar Abu Al-Atta. Within two hours after Matar was killed his mother overwhelmed by shock gave birth to his little brother.


On the 14th November 3 year old Razan Yousef Arafat, the most beautiful angel I have ever seen was torched to death by Israeli attack.
On Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 2-year-old Palestinian Waleed Al-Abadlah was killed in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.






 On the 16th of November 10-month-old Hanen Tafesh, was killed in a Gaza air strike.
Then there was this 11 month old Omar Jihad Misharawi was killed who got a bit of attention of the world media due to being the son of BBC journalist.




An Israeli round hit Misharawi’s four-room home in Gaza Wednesday, killing his son, according to BBC Middle East bureau chief Paul Danahar, who arrived in Gaza earlier Thursday. Misharawi’s sister-in-law was also killed, and his brother wounded. Misharawi told Danahar that, when the round landed, there was no fighting in his residential neighborhood.” ~ The Washington Post
On 20th November two children, Suhaib and Mohammed, and their father Fuad Hejazi were killed in the northern Gaza Strip when an Israeli air strike in the Gaza town of Beit Lahiya crushed their home.
They are just a few of the 165 people murdered by Israeli strikes. The pictures from Gaza made every human heart melt. Yes, I said human because some hearts are harder than stones, calling for Hiroshima-Nagasaki like one-off solution of Gaza, (Gilad Sharon, son of Ariel Sharon), or calling for Palestine Holocaust, or shamelessly defending Israeli atrocities as a well-deserved treatment for whoever died in the attacks.

When the efforts of truce were underway, on 14 November Israel carried out the extrajudicial killing of Hamas military chief Ahmad al-Jabbari. One question: Does Israel really want peace with a history of breaking ceasefires, targeting civilians including women, children and media personnel and sabotaging peace and truce agreements?
There’s a lot of noise in the media about rockets fired from Gaza towards Tel Aviv ‘in retaliation’ by the Zionist loving media, also reporting the rhetoric of 12000 rockets from Gaza to Jerusalem in 12 years. When asked about the casualties the lamest of answers emerge. ‘Israel knows how to defend its citizens while Gaza doesn’t’. No! The reality is that there is no comparison of the scales of ammunition and weapons of mass destruction Israel has with the homemade rockets that Hamas has.
ISRAEL has 176,500 armed troops, 500,000 armed reservists, 11,000 armoured vehicles, 3000 battle tanks, 786 aircraft including American F16 bombers, 60 ships, 3 nuclear submarines and 1000s of prohibited cluster bombs.
Compare it with the ‘force’ called Hamas: 12,500 troops,
0 armoured vehicles, 0 tanks, 0 aircraft, 0 ships, 0 submarines, 0 cluster bombs but 1000s Qassam and Grad rockets. The siege, the crisis of food, and shortage of medical and surgical facilities is on the top of this.
The world is out in streets for Gaza. Thanks to social media. The bias of the conventional media has made them look uglier than ever and taken the trust further away. People trust independent activists and columnists more than the giant media mouthpieces of superpowers. Just to give you one example out of many. The fearless Harry Fear, the British journalist has been live streaming day in and day out from Gaza. He doesn’t share religion, caste or colour with the Palestinians. But some precious things we all share, like a live, beating, weeping human heart and eyes that see and appreciate the truth.
Long live Gaza and the struggle for freedom.
Oh! Did I forget to tell you that many facebook accounts including my own, were blocked due to Gaza protest pictures. Long live freedom of speech too.
Aisha Aijaz

About the author

Aisha Aijaz is a medical doctor and writer who loves photography and Urdu poetry. She can be reached at aisha@mybitforchange.org

Sayyed Nasrallah Congratulates Palestinians: This Is a Real Victory


Sara Taha Moughnieh
 
SayyedHezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah congratulated the Palestinian resistance and people, inside Palestine and abroad, and all the honorable people in the world for the victory against the Israeli enemy, considering that
"once against blood had triumphed over the sword".

Speaking at the 9th eve of Ashura, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that Israel was the one that waged a war on Gaza and not vice versa, indicating that
"the resistance which lost a martyr was able to fight efficiently… resistance movements in the region no longer depend on individuals."

His eminence further said:
"It is enough to look at the faces of the tripartite, Netanyahu, Obama, and Lieberman to see their defeat, they were similar to the faces of Livni, Peres, and Olmert after July war"

"Netanyahu did not put high goals for this war. He rather put low goals so that he would achieve them and announce his victory, but even these he failed to achieve," he added, pointing out that "the first goal was to destroy the Palestinian resistance's leadership. He failed in that. The second goal was to destroy the resistance's missile system. He also failed in that. The third goal was to reinforce Israel's deterrence power. This war rather weakened this power."

Sayyed Nasrallah reassured that "this war assured that the Israeli air force is not capable of putting an end to the battle with Gaza," and indicated that "it was clear that when the Israelis called the reserve soldiers, it was for imposing a psychological war, because they were scared of engaging in a ground war."

He added that "the resistance's first victory was that it prevented the enemy from achieving his goals, the greater victory was that it did not let the enemy impose his conditions, and the greatest victory was that it imposed its own conditions."

Moreover, his eminence said "one of the resistance achievements was that the enemy now fears Gaza, and a war on Gaza is no longer a trip."

"If you failed to win a war against Gaza which has been under siege, what would be the case if you engage yourself in a war with someone else?" Sayyed Nasrallah asked the Israelis, emphasizing that "the resistance's power is what imposed a balance of power, and this is the strategy that should be adopted."

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

People with Green Hearts

Arabic poem,
Author شهرزاد الخليج,
Translated and illustrated by Nahida Exiled Palestinian



People with green hearts 

The colour of trees is the colour of their hearts 

Their dreams… water pure

 Their imagination… sky wide





 They are capable of infinite forgiveness 
Have the ability to bathe in optimism
 And to wash themselves in dreams to the very last drop






 People with green hearts
 Don’t ever expect to be stabbed from the back 
By a hand that once shook theirs


 Their days and seasons are works of art painted with hope
 They don’t learn easily from their mistakes
 Instead, they keep repeating them like a child’s bad habits


 
 They offer hearts around them infinite trust 
They're incapable of seeing the colour black in existence



 People with green hearts 
Come intimately near to those who pass them by in life, 
So much so that they are glued to them 
They cling to the minute details 
Ever trusting of those around
 Creative in finding excuses to the faults of others 


 People with green hearts 
Cling onto beginnings like mad 
Reject endings fiercely 
They can’t comprehend separation


They trick reality with a dream 
The dream with an illusion 
On the map of hope, they occupy vast areas


People with green hearts
 Don’t recognise mistrust or deception 
Nor do they cause others to taste portrayal 


They start with purity
 And end up with faithfulness
 Longing steals much of their time
 They keep loyal to their tales until death 
Yesterday has immense reverence in their lives


 People with green hearts
 Play the role of peace doves
 Spreading love on earth 
Help in building abodes of joy 


They hasten to mend the broken hearts
 And talk with the voice of affection

About love and dreams


They make you feel that it’s them 
Who invented the colour “white” in this universe



 People with green hearts 
Hold fast to childhood, despite the passing of years 
Their hearts forever young 
Their souls never grow old, nor become polluted 




Their faces reflects babyhood innocence 
Their eyes mirror truthfully their essence
They’re not good at hiding, or deceiving 
And fail miserably in wearing masks


 People with green hearts
 Never fail you when you need them
 They are the first to cover your needs


 When feeling overwhelmed;

They are the first thing that you lay your eyes upon 
The first who come to your rescue when drowned in sorrow 


When you are suffocated they’d give you their breath 
They’d make their lives a life ring thrown to you



 People with green hearts
 When they love, they love passionately 


When they are faithful, they are faithful passionately
 When they get a shock, the get a shock passionately


 And when they are broken, they are broken passionately
 When they give, they give passionately 
And when they cry, they cry passionately




 If you find yourself embraced

 By one of those with green hearts 
Cling onto them… passionately


 As they are a rare treasure

 In times of colour-shifting hearts 


Egyptians React Angrily To Morsi’s New Powers


Thousands of protesters carried banners emblazoned with photos of the January 2011 uprising victims and protested President Mohammed Morsi's constitutional declaration granting him sweeping powers in Cairo, Friday Nov. 23. (photo by Mohannad Sabry)


By: Mohannad Sabry Posted onFri, Nov 23.

CAIRO — In reaction to President Mohammed Morsi's stunning constitutional declaration on Thursday night, Nov. 22, thousands of angry demonstrators marched to Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square in protest of what they described as “a coup on legitimacy.” Thousands were led by Muslim Brotherhood officers to show support at the walls of the presidential palace.

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali announced on Thursday night that President Morsi had passed a constitutional declaration granting full immunity to the disputed 100-member assembly charged with writing the constitution as well as the remaining Upper House of Egypt’s dissolved parliament, in addition to retiring the general prosecutor and ordering the retrial of Mubarak-era officials, including those acquitted through several trials held in the aftermath of the January 2011 uprising.

The second constitutional declaration passed by Morsi in less than four months in power included the “revolution protection law,” which grants him the power to single-handedly take all “necessary measures to confront any dangers threatening the January 25 revolution, the life and safety of the nation, national unity or standing in the way of state institutions in performing their duties.” Such decisions could not be revised, appealed or revoked by any other authority, including the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court.

A statement signed and published by liberal, democratic and secular parties as well as Egypt’s Popular Current, a coalition of leftist and Nasserite parties, condemned the decision it described as “a complete crime committed by President Mohammed Morsi in the name of a new constitutional declaration.”

“It represents a full coup on the legitimacy that brought him to power and a tyrannical usurping of the state’s authorities. It creates a dictator Egypt has never known, even in the era of Mubarak,” said the statement.

Hamdin Sabahi, Egypt’s popular Nasserite and a 2012 presidential candidate, led a massive march to Tahrir Square on Friday, Nov. 23 along with Mohamed El-Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and founder of the Constitution Party. They signed the statement of condemnation published after an emergency meeting of liberal and secular political powers held immediately after Morsi’s declaration on Thursday night.

“Morsi’s declaration is preparing Egypt for a new era of dictatorship,” said Amira Hafez, a producer at Egypt’s state-owned television channel who joined the anti-Morsi protest on Friday. “But his political ignorance actually united the secular powers against those who are controlled and regularly mobilized to serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and its fellow Islamists.”

Morsi’s assistant for Democratic Transformation Affairs, Samir Morcos, resigned his post in reaction to the declaration.

“I resigned in protest of the constitutional declaration, which I was surprised to hear on television on Thursday night,” Morcos told local press.

Meanwhile, Islamist figures and top Muslim Brotherhood officers cheered the president’s decisions.
“History will remember that such decisions were Allah’s salvation to the revolution and its noble men and the people of Egypt,” said Essam El-Erian, Deputy Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party. “This will be the end to the dictator, the unjust, the hypocrite and whoever follows them.”

At 3:45 p.m., Morsi addressed the public from a stage erected overnight by members of the Freedom and Justice Party at the walls of the presidential palace in eastern Cairo, the same stage from which Islamist clerics and leading figures of the Muslim Brotherhood cheered the president, called for the application of Islamic Shariah law, and led an all-day attack on those who oppose the declaration.
“I will never be biased against any son of Egypt; I am with all Egyptians, supporters and opposition,” said Morsi, addressing thousands of supporters at the presidential palace while central security forces fired tear gas and birdshot at protesters right off Tahrir Square.

“I am working to accomplish the political and economic stability of Egypt,” said Morsi in defense of his decisions. “The powers of evil and the remnants of the former regime are trying to block our procession. But I will never allow anyone to stand in the way of the revolution's goals.”

Morsi’s confirmation that “he does not intend sole control over the country,” and that he is physically standing on a Muslim Brotherhood stage but his “heart and brain are all over Egypt,” failed to absorb the rising anger of tear gas-breathing protesters in Tahrir Square.

“The president has divided Egypt into seculars and religious and will lead us to bloody confrontations,” said Maged Atef, a bookstore manager who joined thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square.

“It is shocking to see the president passing a constitutional declaration and putting it above the law by granting it full immunity,” said Atef. “I fear he will be making more tyrannical decisions since he is immune.”

“The public and especially the judicial authorities have to immediately start civil disobedience or else the revolution will be over,” said Atef.
Mohannad Sabry is an Egyptian journalist based in Cairo. Follow him on twitter@mmsabry.


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

How the Victory in Gaza can bring civil rights to Palestinians in Lebanon


Palestinian women organize a rally in Ain al-Helweh refugee camp to celebrate Gaza 'victory' on Thursday Nov. 22, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Zaatari)
Franklin Lamb
Shatila Camp
The current festive celebrations in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps reflect the intense euphoria being witnessed throughout Gaza and occupied Palestine, Arab and Muslim countries, as well as relief among people of good will globally.
Badawi
This observer’s special friend from Shatila camp, Zeinab, (she refers to herself as ‘Miss International’ given all the Americans and foreigners we bring to meet her and her wonderful family) called last night and giggled, “This is wonderful! You must come! I and some of my friends were wearing black scarves in honor of Ashoura on our way to protest against the Israeli aggression in Gaza. Within half an hour after gathering at the Youth Center athletic field we heard the news of the ceasefire. Soon we were dancing and singing and celebrating.’!”
At about the same time, thirty miles south of Beirut in Ein el Helwe Refugee camp, Lebanon’s largest and most densely populated with nearly 90,000 people squeezed into less than two square kilometers, more sardine-canned than even Gaza city, the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) also organized a celebration of Gaza’s victory.
مسيـرة حاشـدة فـي مخيـم اليرمـوك بدمشـق احتفـاء بانتصـار المقاومـة
Yarmouk - Syria

Established nearly half a century ago in 1965 at the time of the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization, GUPW has consistently achieved much for Palestinian families regardless of location or fate. Like Zeinab’s manifestation, the GUPW’s demonstration against the Zionist aggression against Gaza became a joyful rally to celebrate Gaza’s victory, and soon refugees inside and on the outskirts of the camp were dancing and singing and raising Palestinian flags.
As Lebanese journalist Mohammad Zaatari has pointed out, the women’s rally was originally scheduled to deplore the aggression against Gaza, however after a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was reached the occasion turned into a celebration with refugees hoisting banners and flags from various PLO and resistant groups while calling for the solidarity and unity of Palestinian factions to confront the Zionist occupation of their country, Palestine. “Every grain of sand!” one university student shouted,
“We must liberate all of Palestine and recover every grain of sand! Jews are most welcomed to stay if they want to live in peace as equals under the law, but forget about colonization, democracy for Jews only and apartheid. They must disappear for sure!”
“We have won in Gaza and this is only the beginning,” beamed Amina Jibril, Director of the Palestinian Women Union in Lebanon.
“We haven’t just won through rockets. The kids and women and civilians who were killed in the clashes were resisting every day because their mere presence in Gaza is an act of resistance itself.”
But when the cheering stops and the placards are discarded, the many joyful demonstrations throughout Lebanon subside; most of the participants will trundle back to their bleak abject existence in Lebanon’s camps worse off in many respects than Gazans.
It is true that in Lebanon, Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and Druze regularly condemn Israel and consistently support the "liberation" of Palestine and breaking the siege of Gaza. But few there are who have historically supported expanding the rights or improving the dire living conditions of the more than quarter million refugees within Lebanese borders. As one Palestinian wryly noted, the Lebanese
Without any help from the Lebanese government or the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have no choice but to depend on the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as their sole source of support and protection. Unfortunately, UNRWA has not proved up to the task due to the United States and Israel politicizing and interfering with international donor contributions.
Most Palestinians in Lebanon who are cheering Gaza’s victory well into the night won’t have to be concerned about being late for work the next day because Lebanese law forbids Palestinians from working in dozens of jobs and professions. Today, according to UNRWA's own statistics, only about 53,000 of the approximately 130,000-strong Palestinian labor force are employed at all. Most who are have “illegal” low paying work are often ruthlessly exploited by employers who know their workers cannot complain to authorities or collect any work benefits. This is because in 1964, the Lebanese Ministry of Labor instituted a policy under Ministerial Decree No. 17561 whereby professions in Lebanon could be limited to Lebanese citizens. The regulations prohibited Palestinians from working in some seventy job categories.
Ein el Helwe
In the camps of south Lebanon, Ein el Helwe, Mieh-Meih, al Buss and Rasheideyeh, and up north in the still unrestored Nahr al Bared camp, approximately 85 percent of all refugees live in "abject poverty.” 
Among the states in which UNRWA operates, Lebanon has by far the highest number of "special-hardship cases," i.e., the poorest of the poor, some 30-35 percent of Palestinian refugees.
Nor will most the temporary celebrants of the victory in Gaza have classes to attend when the celebrations finish. As of 2008, the pass rate of Palestinian students in UNRWA classes was less than 50 percent—10 percent less than their Lebanese counterparts in state schools. This education deficit alone limits the opportunities of Palestinians in Lebanon. UNRWA does operate seventy-four primary schools-- of which approximately 25 percent try to educate with larger classes, shorter hours and in double shifts—and in the process, provides employment to 2,785 residents and as of 2006, was the largest employer of legal, skilled Palestinian labor in Lebanon.
According to the recently published 2012 Human Rights Watch report on the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: 
“They continue to live in appalling social and economic conditions. 2011 saw no improvement in their access to the labor market, despite a labor law amendment in 2010 that was supposed to ease such access. The main reason was the government's failure to implement the amendment. Lebanese laws and decrees still bar Palestinians from working in at least 25 professions requiring syndicate membership, including law, medicine, and engineering. Palestinian refugees are still subject to a discriminatory law introduced in 2001 preventing them from owning property.”
All activists and others around the world celebrating the victory in Gaza must encourage Lebanon thru its local embassy’s and consults, their own governments, Iran and the Hezbollah led Resistance in Lebanon, as well as Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt to immediately use their power and prestige, enhanced by this month’s victory in Gaza to urge Parliament to repeal the racist 2001 law that forbids only Palestinians from owning a home in Lebanon. They need to leverage the victory in Gaza to benefit Palestinians in Lebanon and assure that Parliament immediately grants Palestinians in Lebanon the same civil right to work as every other foreigner in Lebanon enjoys as does every refugee in every country in the world including Gaza. It can quickly be achieved by progressive forces that currently control Parliament using their political power to achieve these long overdue humanitarian requisites.
Indeed, if these forces will generate the political will, no more than 90 minutes of Lebanon’s Parliamentary time will be required to truly make the victory in Gaza historic while at the same time lifting the shame off Lebanon for its massive violations of international and Lebanese laws by granting Palestinian refugees the most elementary civil right to work and to own a home.
If achieved, history will forever record that it was the 2012 victory in Gaza that substantially liberated their fellow refugees in Lebanon by granting these elementary rights.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!