Kuwait urges citizens to leave Lebanon ‘as quickly as possible’

Lebanese security forces inspect the site where a rocket exploded in Shiah, a southern suburb of Beirut, on Sunday.

Kuwait urged its citizens on Sunday to avoid traveling to Lebanon and those who are there to “leave as quickly as possible,” following a speech by Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah that pointed to an imminent escalation between Lebanese factions.

The country’s foreign ministry said in a statement published by the KUNA news agency that Kuwait is closely monitoring developments in the security situation in Lebanon with “grave concern and expressed hope the fellow Arab country overcome this period soon.”

On Saturday Hezbollah leader officially announced the group’s engagement in Syria, fighting alongside Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Nasrallah vowed “victory” and challenged rival Lebanese factions to fight his group in Syria.

“I say to all the honorable people, to the mujahedeen, to the heroes: I have always promised you a victory and now I pledge to you a new one” in Syria, he said at a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of Israel’s military withdrawal from Lebanon.

Nasrallah said Hezbollah would always stand by its allies in the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, stressing that its own interests were at stake.

“We will continue along the road… bear the responsibilities and the sacrifices,” he said in a video link of a speech delivered live on a huge screen.

(Source / 25.05.2013)

De dorstige hond

By Marianna Laarif

Op een dag vertelde de profeet (Allah’s vrede en zegeningen zij met hem) zijn vrienden een verhaal over een man die op reis ging. De dag dat de man zijn huis verliet om een reis te beginnen was zeer heet. De zon was fel en blakerde aan de hemel. De aarde waarop de man liep was brandend heet. Er was geen zuchtje wind… De man had nog niet eens zo erg ver gelopen toen hij last kreeg van de hitte. En een dorst dat hij toen kreeg….Hij zei tegen zichzelf: “Ik moet drinken, ik moet water vinden. Mijn mond voelt droog aan. Als ik niet kan drinken ga ik dood.”

Hij begon naar water te zoeken en strompelde naar een put die daar in de buurt was. Maar er zat geen druppeltje water in die put, het was leeg. Hij liep verder, na een tijdje kwam hij bij een tweede put, hij keek erin. O, jee, ook deze put was helemaal uitgedroogd. De man was moe en dorstig, maar hij gaf het niet op, ergens moest nog een put zijn. De man begon het al warmer en warmer te krijgen, maar op het laatst vond hij een put die vol water was. “Alhamdulilah Allah zij geprezen”! zei de man. “ik heb eindelijk water gevonden. Nu kan ik drinken.

Toen dacht de man er aan dat hij geen touw of een emmer bij zich had. Hij zocht in de buurt van de put en keek in de put en zocht verder. Maar hij kon nergens een touw of emmer vinden. “Hoe kom ik dan bij het water?” dacht hij. Er was maar een manier. Hij moest in de put klimmen. Voorzichtig klom de man over de rand van de put en klom naar beneden. Hij was zo moe van de hitte, dat hij het erg moeilijk vond. Maar na een poosje voelde hij zich al wat beter want het was koel in de put. Eindelijk had de man het water bereikt. Hij stak zijn hand naar beneden en voelde het koele water tussen zijn vingers. Het was een geweldig gevoel. Hij dronk van het water tot zijn dorst gelest was.

Toen wreef hij het water over zijn gezicht en nek. Hij dipte de uiteinden van zijn mantel in het water zodat die hem nog een tijdje koel kon houden als hij uit de put was. De man voelde zich nu veel beter. “Water is de levensvloeistof,” dacht hij. “En Allah heeft ons het water gegeven. Lof zij Allah!” Toen de man klaar was, klom hij weer uit de put. Dat was moeilijk en kostte hem veel kracht. Maar tenslotte had de man de bovenkant van de put bereikt en klom er weer uit op de hete grond. Opeens hoorde hij een geluid Er was een hond aan het blaffen en janken. De man keek rond en zag dat de hond vlakbij was. Het arme dier had erge dorst. Zijn mond was open en hij hijgde. De hond snuffelde over de grond en de man kon zien dat hij moe en dorstig was. De hond kwam naar hem toe en begon de zoom van zijn natte mantel te likken. De man had veel medelijden met de hond. “Hij zal van de dorst sterven als hij geen water krijgt.” De man aaide de kop van de hond. De hond kwispelde met zijn staart. Hij was dankbaar voor het water dat hij uit de man zijn natte mantel had kunnen likken. “Wacht hier,” zei de man. “Ik haal wat water voor je.” De man bracht eerst zijn ene been over de rand van de put en toen het andere en begon weer naar beneden te klimmen. Omdat hij niet langer dorstig was, vond hij het klimmen nu veel gemakkelijker. Toen bereikte de man het water, hij bleef nu goed aan de kant van de put. Hij trok zijn leren sokken uit en dompelde die in bet water tot zij vol waren. Daarna nam hij de sokken stevig tussen zijn tanden. Toen begon hij weer naar boven te klimmen. Maar deze keer was bet erg moeilijk. De sokken waren vol water en erg zwaar, en zijn mond en tanden begonnen zeer te doen. Maar de man stopte niet. Toen hij de grond weer bereikt had, knielde hij neer en opende de eerste sok voor de hond zo dat deze zijn tong makkelijk naar binnen kon steken. De hond dronk al het water achter elkaar op. Toen opende de man de tweede sok en ook die dronk hij helemaal leeg. De hele tijd dat hij dronk, kwispelde de hond met zijn staart. De man glimlachte, “die hond is nu blij, zei hij. Hij zal niet van de dorst sterven, en ik ook niet!” Allah was erg tevreden met deze man die de dorstige hond zo vriendelijk behandeld had. Voor die vriendelijke daad vergaf Allah de man al zijn zonden die hij in zijn hele leven gepleegd had. Hier stopte de Profeet met zijn verhaal. Nadat hij uitgesproken was, zei een van de metgezellen: “O Boodschapper van Allah! Als we goed voor de dieren zijn, worden dan onze zonden vergeven?” “Ja” zei de profeet. “Jullie zullen beloond worden voor al het goede dat je voor de levende schepselen doet.” De man van het verhaal ging door zijn vriendelijke daad naar het paradijs.

Qraawi: Israel failed to dissuade the MPs from serving Palestinian cause

(PIC)– The liberated prisoner MP Fathi Qraawi said the occupation is arresting the Palestinian MPs in an attempt to dissuade them from performing their role in serving the Palestinian cause.

Qraawi told Quds Press on Saturday that the occupation wants to tire the national factions and discourage them from doing their job in serving the Palestinian cause and maintaining the constants, and asserted that it has failed to achieve this goal.

MP for Change and Reform Bloc called on the Palestinian leadership and factions of national and Islamic action to give priority to the issue of prisoners in Israeli jails, especially those sentenced to long terms or to life imprisonment and those held in the solitary confinement, and to pressure the occupation to release them.

MP Fathi Qraawi, aged 55 from Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem, was recently released from the Israeli jails after an administrative detention that lasted seven months.

The Israeli occupation still detains in its prisons 12 Palestinian MPs and two former ministers.

(Source / 26.05.2013)

Isolation devastates East Jerusalem economy

 Thick locks hug the front gates of shuttered shops, now covered in graffiti and dust from lack of use. Only a handful of customers pass along the dimly lit road, sometimes stopping to check the ripeness of fruits and vegetables, or ordering meat in near-empty butcher shops.

“All the shops are closed. I’m the only one open. This used to be the best place,” said 64-year-old Mustafa Sunocret, selling vegetables out of a small storefront in the marketplace near his family’s home in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Amidst the brightly coloured scarves, clothes and carpets, ceramic pottery and religious souvenirs filling the shops of Jerusalem’s historic Old City, Palestinian merchants are struggling to keep their businesses alive.

Faced with worsening health problems, Sunocret told IPS that he cannot work outside of the Old City, even as the cost of maintaining his shop, with high electricity, water and municipal tax bills to pay, weighs on him.

“I only have this shop,” he said. “There is no other work. I’m tired.”

Abed Ajloni, the owner of an antiques shop in the Old City, owes the Jerusalem municipality 250,000 Israeli shekels (68,300 U.S. dollars) in taxes. He told IPS that almost every day, the city’s tax collectors come into the Old City, accompanied by Israeli police and soldiers, to pressure people there to pay.

“It feels like they’re coming again to occupy the city, with the soldiers and police,” Ajloni, who has owned the same shop for 35 years, told IPS. “But where can I go? What can I do? All my life I was in this place.”

He added, “Does Jerusalem belong to us, or to someone else? Who’s responsible for Jerusalem? Who?”

Illegal annexation

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in 1967. In July 1980, it passed a law stating that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel”. But Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and subsequent application of Israeli laws over the entire city remain unrecognised by the international community.

Under international law, East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory – along with the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Syrian Golan Heights – and Palestinian residents of the city are protected under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Jerusalem has historically been the economic, political and cultural centre of life for the entire Palestinian population. But after decades languishing under destructive Israeli policies meant to isolate the city from the rest of the Occupied Territories and a lack of municipal services and investment, East Jerusalem has slipped into a state of poverty and neglect.

“After some 45 years of occupation, Arab Jerusalemites suffer from political and cultural schizophrenia, simultaneously connected with and isolated from their two hinterlands: Ramallah and the West Bank to their east, West Jerusalem and Israel to the west,” the International Crisis Group recently wrote.

Israeli restrictions on planning and building, home demolitions, lack of investment in education and jobs, construction of an eight-foot-high separation barrier between and around Palestinian neighbourhoods and the creation of a permit system to enter Jerusalem have all contributed to the city’s isolation.

Formal Palestinian political groups have also been banned from the city, and between 2001-2009, Israel closed an estimated 26 organisations, including the former Palestinian Liberation Organisation headquarters in Jerusalem, the Orient House and the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce.

Extreme poverty

Israel’s policies have also led to higher prices for basic goods and services and forced many Palestinian business owners to close shop and move to Ramallah or other Palestinian neighbourhoods on the other side of the wall. Many Palestinian Jerusalemites also prefer to do their shopping in the West Bank, or in West Jerusalem, where prices are lower.

While Palestinians constitute 39 percent of the city’s population today, almost 80 percent of East Jerusalem residents, including 85 percent of children, live below the poverty line.

“How could you develop [an] economy if you don’t control your resources? How could you develop [an] economy if you don’t have any control of your borders?” said Zakaria Odeh, director of the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, of “this kind of fragmentation, checkpoints, closure”.

“Without freedom of movement of goods and human beings, how could you develop an economy?” he asked.

“You can’t talk about independent economy in Jerusalem or the West Bank or in all of Palestine without a political solution. We don’t have a Palestinian economy; we have economic activities. That’s all we have,” Odeh told IPS.

Israel’s separation barrier alone, according to a new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), has caused a direct loss of over one billion dollars to Palestinians in Jerusalem, and continues to incur 200 million dollars per year in lost opportunities.

Israel’s severing and control over the Jerusalem-Jericho road – the historical trade route that connected Jerusalem to the rest of the West Bank and Middle East – has also contributed to the city’s economic downturn.

Separation of Jerusalem from West Bank

Before the First Intifada (Arabic for “uprising”) began in the late 1980s, East Jerusalem contributed approximately 14 to 15 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the Occupied Palestinian territories (OPT). By 2000, that number had dropped to less than eight percent; in 2010, the East Jerusalem economy, compared to the rest of the OPT, was estimated at only seven percent.

“Economic separation resulted in the contraction in the relative size of the East Jerusalem economy, its detachment from the remaining OPT and the gradual redirection of East Jerusalem employment towards the Israeli labour market,” the U.N. report found.

Decades ago, Israel adopted a policy to maintain a so-called “demographic balance” in Jerusalem and attempt to limit Palestinian residents of the city to 26.5 percent or less of the total population.

To maintain this composition, Israel built numerous Jewish-Israeli settlements inside and in a ring around Jerusalem and changed the municipal boundaries to encompass Jewish neighbourhoods while excluding Palestinian ones.

It is now estimated that 90,000 Palestinians holding Jerusalem residency rights live on the other side of the separation barrier and must cross through Israeli checkpoints in order to reach Jerusalem for school, medical treatment, work, and other services.

“Israel is using all kinds of tools to push the Palestinians to leave; sometimes they are visible, and sometimes invisible tools,” explained Ziad al-Hammouri, director of the Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER).

Al-Hammouri told IPS that at least 25 percent of the 1,000 Palestinian shops in the Old City were closed in recent years as a result of high municipal taxes and a lack of customers. “Taxation is an invisible tool… as dangerous as revoking ID cards and demolishing houses,” he said. “Israel will use this as pressure and as a tool in the future to confiscate these shops and properties.”

(Source / 26.05.2013)

Preparations underway for the Global March on 7th June


Sunday, 26 May 2013 / GMJ – Preparations are now underway for the next Global March to Jerusalem. This year the GMJ is organizing marches all over the world on Friday, 7th June 2013, which is the forty-sixth anniversary of the occupation of the eastern part of the holy city of Jerusalem, which includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other sacred sites. Peaceful demonstrations will take place in Palestine and the neigbouring countries, heading towards Jerusalem or the nearest possible point, as well as in major cities around the world.

We wish through this march to send a strong message to the Zionist Occupation that we are coming, that we have not and nor will we ever forget Jerusalem and its holy sites, that we are with the free people of the world, and that we will not be silent against the brutal crimes perpetuated by the Zionist Occupation against Jerusalem and its people, threatening the holy city’s Arab identity and its Muslim and Christian holy sites.

The respective GMJ National Committees have been busy organising for this year’s march and more details about the program will be forthcoming soon, but so far we are pleased to communicate the following:

This year we are encouraging our supporters to participate in the grand festival being organised by the International Committee of the GMJ in Gaza on 7th June at the border with the 1948 areas. The arrangements for the participating delegations in the GMJ-Gaza event are being undertaken in coordination with the International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza.

Egypt’s rally in Cairo will occur after Friday prayers on 7th June, with the march gathering at the Unknown Soldier Memorial in Nasr City. The full itinerary will be announced shortly, including the locations of the other rallies happening throughout Egypt.

The National Committee in the UK is organizing a rally in front of the Israeli embassy in London to protest against the racist practices of the Zionist Occupation and to demand the liberation of the holy city. The demonstration will take place from 5:30 until 7:30 pm on 7th June.

For all English language media inquiries, please contact Dr. Sarah Marusek by phone on 001 845 489 7002 or e-mail at gm2j.media.english@gmail.com.

(Source / 26.05.2013)

Top 10 Western ‘hits’ on Syria

Syrian soldiers patrol the Sheik Said neighborhood of Aleppo.

 Syrian soldiers patrol the Sheik Said neighborhood of Aleppo.

“While Western politicians make unfounded allegations against Iran over military assistance to Syria, these same politicians appear to be blind when it comes to the well-founded knowledge that American and British troops are running training camps in terror techniques for the extremists ripping Syrian society apart.”

Listening to Western “governments” – otherwise known as criminal regimes led by war criminals – pontificating and pronouncing on Syria is like riding a rollercoaster of hilarity, absurdity and downright lies.

A selection of the “best”, that is, the worst, of these Western talking points has been compiled below into a top 10 Western ‘hits’.

This list is by no means complete or in order of importance. Press TV readers are invited to add more in the comments section below this column.

It has to be said, however, that this is no laughing matter; more a heart-crying shame, given the massive unnecessary human suffering that these criminal Western regimes are inflicting on a sovereign people and country over the past two years, with a total death toll of nearly 80,000 and counting – most of them civilians, men, women and children.

The rollercoaster of depravity seems to be gathering dizzying speed as the so-called international peace conference in Geneva looms sometime over the next few weeks. This is the political confabulation allegedly aimed at finding a negotiated peace settlement between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and members of the Syrian so-called “opposition”.

Supported by Iran, Russia and China, these aforementioned governments can be appraised as honest brokers in trying to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis. This is because their collective position is eminently reasonable, making no preconditions on the outcome and promoting a genuine dialogue between the Syrian people.

However, the same cannot be said for that other sponsor of the Geneva event, the United States, and its NATO allies, Britain and France, along with their regional Turk, Arab and Israeli puppets.

Here follows a recent selection of their dubious credentials and duplicities – a top 10 – which taken together does not augur well for a successful peace settlement to end Syria’s torment.

1. US, Britain and France arming up for peace

All three rogue states are now openly saying that they will escalate the supply of weapons to their proxy mercenary army of “rebels” in Syria if the Syrian government does not “get serious” about negotiating a “peaceful settlement”. The more relevant question is: are these Western regimes “serious about peace”?

It rather sounds like the Western powers are trying to hold a gun to Damascus’ head and demanding that it sign up to Western terms for “political transition”, that is, regime change. Note that US Secretary of State John Kerry is now backing Britain and France in their attempt to scrap the European Union’s embargo on weapons sales to Syria.

That embargo is, of course, a ridiculous charade anyway, as all of the three above Western regimes have been funneling “non-lethal” weapons and other military support to their proxy mercenaries via the conduits of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. But what the latest thinly veiled threat of aggression from the US, Britain and France portends is that if the Geneva summit does not go according to their geopolitical objectives of regime change in Damascus, they will then flood Syria with even more killing power. Perhaps also “no-fly zones” and Western boots on the ground.

The British Guardian newspaper quotes UK foreign minister William Hague’s spellbinding cynicism: “We have to be open to every way of strengthening moderates and saving lives.” So, in Hague’s warped world, giving anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to the Western-backed terrorists running amok in Syria will lead to peace and save lives.

Hague, Kerry and their French counterpart Laurent Fabius should be prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against peace, indicted on their own words, instead of being indulged as statesmen.

2. Western unelected minions make demands on sovereign Syrian government

As it turns out, Syria’s government has quickly responded to declare its willing participation in the Geneva peace summit next month. The Assad administration has even nominated possible negotiators, including the Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi. Meanwhile, the Western and Arab patronized exile group, the so-called Syrian National Coalition, with their American-educated accents and predilection for luxurious Qatari hotel suites, are pooh-poohing whether to even attend the Geneva conference. The SNC leader Ghassan Hitto, a Texan-based Syrian businessman, is being groomed as “premier-in-waiting”, but like many of his exile cronies, he has no popular base or mandate from the Syrian people. This is the same offshore foreign party that is demanding that President Assad abandons his office forthwith and takes refuge in some overseas land.

This Western political excrescence imposed on Syria is distinct from the genuine internal political opposition within Syria. There are legitimate voices for political reforms within Syria, whom the Damascus government has recognized as necessary for a national dialogue to advance Syrian society. But this legitimate opposition is ignored by the Western regimes. Wonder why?

3. EU funds al­-Qaeda

This shocker follows the news that the European 27-nation bloc is to end its embargo on the sale of oil from Syria that is under the control of the mercenaries. It is a deliberate and stated EU policy to help boost the war chest for the militants. So who are these “deserving rebels”?

More than 100 militant groups are believed to be operating in Syria, which have come from nearly 30 countries, including Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the Russian Caucus, Qatar, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, as well as Britain and France. Most of these groups are self-styled Jihadists who claim to be Muslim, but in reality are nothing more than psychopathic terrorists, cutthroats, rapists and opportunistic bandits. The name “Free Syrian Army”, supposedly led by the tin-pot Brigadier General Salim Idriss, is in fact a baseless hologram that the Western sponsors of these proxy terrorists use to create the illusion that the Western, Turk and Arab regimes are supporting “moderates” with a “good cause”. That’s why these “moderates” set off no-warning car bombs to kill and maim “fellow Syrians” or mutilate and cannibalize corpses.

The West’s proxy terrorists have gloated in the most unspeakable cruelties against Syrian civilians and consistent with this vile conduct is their proclaimed affiliation with the Wahhabi al-Qaeda network. This is the clandestine network created and trained by Western military intelligence, funded by Saudi oil money, to carry out global operations of terrorism and destabilization, most notoriously the 9/11 attacks in the US.

Thus while instigating a fake global “war on terror” cover for ruling elites to hijack and ransack democracies, including their own, the US taxpayers have been saddled with $6 trillion in debts from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – just those two criminal genocidal wars alone – according to a recent Harvard University study.

After all this expenditure to “defeat” terrorism, the European Union is proposing to pay these same terrorists for the oil that they can loot from the fields and people of Syria. Meanwhile, the EU maintains economic sanctions on the Syrian government, depriving citizens of badly needed welfare and services. Whoops, the rollercoaster just did a loop-the-loop.

4. Israel provides air force for al-Qaeda

When the Israeli air force hit Damascus earlier this month, the al-Qaeda extremists on the ground were reportedly ecstatic over the attack on an Arab country by the Arab-land-thieving Zionist regime.

The strikes were also in part timed and designed to provide air support for these same mercenaries trying to make military headway against Damascus. This has got to be the apogee of absurdity in the Syrian conflict. The Zionist regime has been telling the world ever since its criminal inception in 1948 that it is living under an existential threat from Arab revenge. Yet this same self-pitying genocidal regime teams up with the most extreme and deformed Arab Wahhabi ideologues and throat-slitters. That really shows that the Western-backed Zionist and Wahhabi despots are one and the same.

5. West goes to war in Africa, but supports same terrorists in Syria

France, supported by the US and Britain, is still conducting a war of conquest in the West African country of Mali. This was justified by President Francois Hollande as an intervention to wrest control of northern Mali from “Islamist extremists”. The French media helped in this duplicity by reporting on “floggings, amputations and prohibitions on civil freedoms” under “Sharia law” imposed by militants in northern Mali before the French invasion. But when reports and video footage emerged this week of similar barbarities being imposed in the self-styled “emirates” of northern Syria by Western-backed Al-Qaeda groups, Hollande and his Western allies had nothing to say about that. Indeed, the Western regimes want to impose “no-fly zones” in those Syrian areas “liberated” by extremists, so that they are more free to extend their reign of terror on Syrian civilians.

6. West accuses Russia of “destabilizing” Syria and the region

Washington’s John Kerry this week castigated Moscow for going ahead with the supply to Syria of the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft defense system. This followed the same protest from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russian President Vladimir Putin. These statements have surely got to qualify Western politicians as certifiable for a mental hospital. The destabilization of Syria and the entire region is a verifiable result of institutionalized violence emanating from Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv. Only a few weeks ago, the Zionist regime perpetrated yet another war crime by launching its third air strike on Damascus since January – acts of aggression countenanced by Washington. The Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov displayed charitable patience when he explained to the Western imbeciles the probity, and indeed necessity, of the S-300 batteries. “The system is sent to countries that need to defend themselves from air strikes,” said Lavrov. Don’t count on the Western imbeciles comprehending that simple truth.

Meanwhile, the Americans, British and French are flogging billions-of-dollars-worth of fighter-bombers, tanks and missiles to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf dictatorships. Much of this offensive capability is directed at Iran. Talk about Western doublethink and duplicity about who or what is destabilizing the region.

7. Blame it all on Iran and Hezbollah

Similar to the Western perverse logic about Russia “destabilizing” the region, US President Barack Obama and others have denounced Iran and Hezbollah for supporting Syria – a country that is besieged by a covert war of aggression instigated by these same Western powers. In a saner world, Iran and Hezbollah should be lauded for their international solidarity and neighborly compassion. And let’s remember that Hezbollah was incited to intervene against the foreign-backed terrorists in Syria after the latter began firing missiles and rockets into Shia villages along the Syrian-Lebanese border in recent months. Under international law of self-defense, Hezbollah is entitled to join forces with the Syrian army to rout these criminals from their havens, as they have done this past week in Qusayr in Homs Province.

John Kerry said: “Active military support to the Assad regime simply exacerbates the sectarian tensions and perpetuates the regime’s campaign of terror against its own people.” Make-believe stuff from the Kerry fairy.

Kerry should be asked about illegal Western active military support for renegade killers attacking a sovereign country? How is that for sectarian tensions?

William Hague added this mental somersault: “It is very clear that Syrian regime is receiving a great deal of support… from outside Syria from Hezbollah and Iran. This is a regime that is increasingly dependent on external support,” added Hague, who apparently cannot see the glaring irony that it is the terrorist mercenaries who are increasingly dependent on external support, that is, American, British, French, Turk, Israeli and the despotic Arab dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Jordan.

8. Invisible American, British and Israeli troops

While Western politicians make unfounded allegations against Iran over military assistance to Syria, these same politicians appear to be blind when it comes to the well-founded knowledge that American and British troops are running training camps in terror techniques for the extremists ripping Syrian society apart. These NATO troops have set up camps in neighboring Jordan and Turkey from which the operatives launch into Syria. Video evidence has also emerged of Israeli commandos operating within Syrian territory, as well as violating the ceasefire demarcation line in the Golan Heights. Western mainstream news media have added to this absurdity by reporting that the “Syrian army has fired into Israel” – meaning that Syrian troops have responded to Israeli violations in the territory of Syria that Israel illegally annexed in 1967 and continues to illegally occupy in contravention of international law.

9. Turkey and Jordan appeal for help over refugee crisis… that they themselves created

Up to five million Syrians – 20 per cent of the population – have been burned out or turned out of their formerly safe and comfortable homes to eke a miserable living under tents. Some 1.5 million of these refugees are subsisting in campsites in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The humanitarian crisis is costing the Turk government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan some $50 million a month, or a total of $1.5 billion over the past two years. That bill is set to skyrocket as the number of Syrian refugees fleeing to Turkey is projected to double to more than 900,000 by the end of this year. Thus Turkey and Jordan are pleading for financial help from the international community. Yet, these countries would not have this refugee and financial problem if Turkey and Jordan did not allow mercenary armies to operate from their territories to maraud, pillage and terrorize Syrian people from their homes. Turkey and Jordan have taken an active part in creating a humanitarian crisis and now they want to the rest of the world to stump the bill. Indeed, so do the US, British and French rogue regimes.

10. Violence ‘spills over from Syria into Iraq’

This is how the Western media report it, but the truth is that violence and mayhem is spilling over from Iraq and Afghanistan into Syria and into many other countries across the region and the world. When the US-led NATO powers embarked on their criminal wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, the world has been living ever since under a Western reign of imperialist terror. The genocidal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost more than 1.5 million lives. Those huge crimes have paved the way for a lawless world where Western regimes feel emboldened to attack and ransack any country they deem. Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali are some of the present sites of Western imperialist warmongering. Libya was previously. Iran is probably next. The US-led war on Syria has therefore necessarily to be understood as part of a criminal continuum for global dominance in the service of global capital. And the Western regimes and their leaders should be seen as criminals working hand-in-glove who should be arraigned in a democratic court of justice.

All of the above is but a shortlist of Western regime crimes and duplicity that is most saliently exposed in the terrible conflict being imposed on Syria.

The Syrian people deserve peace and all good people around the world no doubt wish them success in future negotiations. But, given the litany of crimes, lies and deception attributable to the US, Britain and France in particular, the omens leading up to the Geneva summit do not bode well.

That raises the question: should Syria and its allies in Iran, Russia and China even attend this so-called conference in Geneva? Perhaps Iran could convene an alternative summit dedicated solely to the internal Syrian parties, and deliberately excluding the enemies of Syria from the US, Britain, France and their myriad puppets. That alternative peace summit in Tehran could be held under the auspices of the Non-Aligned Movement, of which Iran is currently the presiding chairman.

(Source / 26.05.2013)

Mystical branch of Islam has resurgence in Somalia


MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) Hundreds of sweating Sufis chant and sway as the lead sheik moves into the middle of a circle of worshipers and bursts into a chant louder than anyone else’s

Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, is having a major comeback since al-Shabab, an armed militant Islamic group, was pushed out of Somalia’s capital in August 2011. The Sunni-Salafi insurgents had banned Sufis from gathering and prevented them from worshiping. Sufi sheiks, or elders, were attacked, graves of their saints were desecrated and rituals and celebrations became rare or secretly performed.

Beyond the circle of worshipers are dozens of women, some of them so moved that they are crying. Nearby is the grave of a Sufi saint where the worshipers go to pray to show reverence. Free food, including toasted coffee beans fried in oil, is distributed in wooden containers.

“With Allah’s wish, we are here free and worshiping today,” said Sheik Abdullahi Osman, a 72-year-old Sufi cleric, who has beads dangling from his neck. Sufis in Mogadishu spend hours fasting, praying, and invoking Allah’s name. Traditionally Sufis used sticks to protect their shrines but now it’s common to see a guard with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder in this seaside capital.
“There’s no choice other than defending ourselves and our faith,” said Mohamed Ahmed, an armed Sufi follower guarding the gathering. The arrivals were being checked and other guards stood outside a gate.

Ruqiya Hussein, a veiled woman, traveled from an al-Shabab-held town 90 kilometers (55 miles) away to get to a place of worship.

“I am thrilled to see my sheiks come back to lead us again,” she said, squeezing her henna-tattooed fingers before she joined a group of women swaying and chanting rhymes.

Sufis were known for spreading Islam across Somalia through peaceful teaching and practicing tolerance toward other faiths. Some Sufis hope that their style finds fertile ground in a nation recovering from the wounds of extremism and war.

“Unlike others we don’t kill or harass people. Instead, we provide examples of how to live.” said, Sheik Abdirizaq Aden, the regional leader of the faith.

Al-Shabab, a group of al-Qaida-linked militants that seeks to instill an ultra-conservative brand of Islam across Somalia, controlled Mogadishu from roughly 2007 to 2011. The group still dominates most of south-central Somalia but has seen its territory reduced after military pushes by African Union and Somali forces.

The Sufis in the capital now feel free to practice their faith. In central Somalia, after the graves of sheiks were desecrated and killings occurred, Sufis used weapons to kick militants out of some key towns. The conflict in that part of the Horn of Africa nation persists.

Somalia fell into chaos in 1991 when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Siad Barre and turned on each other. Two decades of violence followed, but the capital and some other towns have seen strong security gains during the last 18 months that have allowed businesses and even sports leagues to thrive.

(Source / 26.05.2013)

Jordan seeks to deploy patriot missiles on its Syria borders

Turkey, another country neighboring Syria, has deployed patriot missiles along its borders with the conflict-ravaged country. This picture taken on March 11, 2003, shows Patriot anti-missile batteries installed at the Diyarbakir military airport in southeastern Turkey.

Jordan, which shares borders with war-torn Syria, said on Sunday it is in talks with “friendly countries” to deploy Patriot missiles on its territory after a similar move by Turkey.

“Jordan wishes to deploy Patriot missile batteries in order to boost its defense capabilities and help protect the country,” Information Minister Mohammad Momani told a news conference.

“We are currently at the stage of talks with friendly states,” said Momani, who is also government spokesman, declining to elaborate.

A NATO source told AFP last week that four batteries of Patriot missiles have arrived in Turkey as part of a mission by the alliance to protect the Turkish border from any spillover of the conflict in neighboring Syria.

NATO approved their deployment in December, saying the use of ballistic missiles by the Syrian regime posed a threat to Turkey.

Jordan, home to more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, has similar concerns as Turkey.

“We wish and we demand Patriot missiles. We always talk about this because we want to protect ourselves,” Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur told Qatar’s Al-Sharq newspaper last week.

In April, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed that some 150 U.S. military specialists have been deployed in Jordan since last year and that he had ordered a U.S. Army headquarters team to bolster the mission, bringing the total American presence to more than 200 troops.

(Source / 26.05.2013)

Palestine Festival of Literature held in Gaza Strip

Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are hosting the annual Palestine Festival for Literature which sheds light on Palestine and the resistance literature. Palestinians have chosen resistance to counter Israeli occupation, after trying all other possible methods.

The Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) was established in 2008 with the aim of supporting life in Palestine, breaking the siege imposed on Palestinians by the Israeli military occupation and strengthening cultural links between Palestine and the rest of the world.

Since 2008 an annual literary festival has been the center of activities which have brought dozens of influential literary figures from the UK, US and Arab world to teach workshops and perform in free public events. Three main speakers came to Gaza to participate in the Palestine Festival of Literature: Ali abu-Neama, Susan abulhawa, and Lina Attalah.

Ali Abunimah is the co-founder of the award-winning online publication The Electronic Intifada, established in 2001. Abu- Nimah deplores the role of the Arab countries in lifting the blockade on Gaza. He expected the Gaza blockade to be lifted after Arab revolutions but to no avail.

Susan Abulahawa is an American-Palestinian writer who was born to a family of 1967 refugees. She is an author, the founder and president of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children’s organization dedicated to upholding The Rights of Palestinian children. Susan believes in the importance of literature, and through her writings, she tries to shed light on the Palestinian narrative of the conflict.

The new Gazan generation is starting to resist the Israeli occupation by taking control of the narrative through literature, blogging and activism to involve themselves in their lives and destiny and refuse others to speak for them.

Palestinians resist in all possible ways and this time they also chose literature to convey their message of resistance.

(Source / 26.05.2013)

Former Hamas minister briefly detained for insulting cleric

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A former minister in Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Interior was briefly detained on Sunday for allegedly insulting an influential Muslim cleric, his wife said.

Ibrahim Abrash was initially arrested on Thursday by Hamas security forces and interrogated about some of his writings, which were deemed offensive to Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who visited Gaza in May, his wife told Ma’an.

He was asked to issue a formal apology but refused, she added. Abrash was ordered to report back to security forces on Sunday, but failed to do so and was arrested.

“He is a writer, he has a right to express his opinions,” his wife said.

Gaza’s Ministry of Interior said Abrash was not arrested in relation to an issue surrounding the “freedom of expression,” but rather for failing to show up after being summoned by security forces.

“No one is above the law,” the statement added.

Abrash was released shortly after his arrest.

(Source / 26.05.2013)