Syrian PM says countdown of rebels’ collapse started

DAMASCUS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — Syrian Prime Minister Wael al- Halqi said Wednesday the countdown of the rebels’ collapse has started, as the Western-backed exiled opposition repeated its old- new demand for the departure of the Syrian administration as a prelude to a “roadmap” to end the protracted crisis.

“Syria is facing a military, economic, media and political war that tries to target its structure as a state and the unity of its people,” al-Halqi said during a cabinet meeting.

Slamming the West’s biased stance in favor of the Syrian opposition, al-Halqi said the pro-Syrian opposition countries ” have opted to target the economy of Syria after the failure of their tools on ground to achieve any victory.”

The prime minister’s remarks coincided with a report by the state media that declared the victory of the Syrian army in al- Khmais Mountain in the northern countryside of the coastal province of Latakia on Wednesday.

Checking on military outposts in Latakia Wednesday, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said “the victories achieved by the Syrian army will bring the ultimate victory against the armed terrorist groups in all Syrian provinces,” hailing the ” heroism and bravery” of the army, according to the state media report.

Meanwhile, state-run SANA news agency reported successful military operations in the cities of Homs, Daraa and Aleppo.

In the countryside of Damascus, SANA said one person was killed and two others were wounded on Wednesday by sniper shots in Harasta area, accusing the rebels of being behind the attack.

In Homs city, five people were injured when a mortar shell struck the Ashrafieh district, according to SANA.

As the military showdown is incessant across Syria, the Western- backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) outlined what it called a ” roadmap” that would lead to ending the 28-month-old crisis in Syria.

Convening in Istanbul of Turkey, the SNC’s proposed “roadmap” started most notably with stipulating the departure of the current administration in Syria.

“The plan starts with the toppling of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, including his inner circle of military and security decision-makers,” Radwan Ziadeh, executive director of Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said at a press conference.

The SNC’s old-new demand has always met with a rejection from the Syrian government which repeatedly said any political solution should start with unconditional dialogue. Yet, the opposition seems determined to stick to its adamant stance, which, according to observers, would not be conducive to establishing a common ground for negotiation with the Assad administration.

The “roadmap” came also as preparations for the international meeting in Geneva on the Syrian issue are still ongoing, and is believed to fall on deaf ears in Syria.

The Syrian opposition has for long asked the international community to back the rebels with arms and ammunition that could tip the balance in the battles in favor of the rebels.

On Tuesday, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi preceded the SNC’s “roadmap” declaration and outlined Syria’s recent stance toward the political solution.

While stressing Syria’s readiness to resolve the crisis politically to preserve its sovereignty and independence, al-Zoubi said “the opposition has one aim represented by toppling the state without any political project, while the Syrian state works to defeat the armed opposition linked to the United States and Israel, with commitment to finding a national opposition which has productive presence as it is a mirror to the government.”

He said the Syrians would not accept any political solution if it was not approved by Assad, considering that the political solution has to go in parallel with confronting terrorism.

(Source / 16.08.2013)

Islam forbids violent rebellion against an unjust Muslim ruler


Terrorism Has No Religion

By Abu Amina Elias for


Should Muslims rebel against a ruler who fails to implement the commands of Allah?


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

It is not lawful for Muslims to violently rebel against an unjust Muslim ruler. Rather, Muslims should be patient and encourage reform through non-violent action.

Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.

Surah An-Nisa 4:59

In many narrations, the Prophet has forbidden us from rebelling against the rulers.

Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

يَكُونُ بَعْدِي أَئِمَّةٌ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ بِهُدَايَ وَلَا يَسْتَنُّونَ بِسُنَّتِي وَسَيَقُومُ فِيهِمْ رِجَالٌ قُلُوبُهُمْ قُلُوبُ الشَّيَاطِينِ فِي جُثْمَانِ إِنْسٍ

Rulers after me will come who do not follow my guidance and my tradition (sunnah). Some of their men will have the hearts of devils in a human body.

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what should I do if I live to see that time?” The Prophet said:

تَسْمَعُ وَتُطِيعُ لِلْأَمِيرِ وَإِنْ ضُرِبَ ظَهْرُكَ وَأُخِذَ مَالُكَ فَاسْمَعْ وَأَطِعْ

You should listen and obey them even if the ruler strikes your back and takes your wealth, even still listen and obey.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1847, Grade: Sahih

Awf ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

خِيَارُ أَئِمَّتِكُمْ الَّذِينَ تُحِبُّونَهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَكُمْ وَيُصَلُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَتُصَلُّونَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَشِرَارُ أَئِمَّتِكُمْ الَّذِينَ تُبْغِضُونَهُمْ وَيُبْغِضُونَكُمْ وَتَلْعَنُونَهُمْ وَيَلْعَنُونَكُمْ

The best of your rulers are those whom you love and they love you, who pray for you and you pray for them. The worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and they hate you, whom you curse and they curse you.

It was said, “Shall we confront them with swords?” The Prophet said:

لَا مَا أَقَامُوا فِيكُمْ الصَّلَاةَ وَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمْ مِنْ وُلَاتِكُمْ شَيْئًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ فَاكْرَهُوا عَمَلَهُ وَلَا تَنْزِعُوا يَدًا مِنْ طَاعَةٍ

No, as long as they establish prayer among you. If you find something hateful from them, you should hate their actions but not withdraw your hand from obedience.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1855, Grade: Sahih

Umm Salamah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

سَتَكُونُ أُمَرَاءُ فَتَعْرِفُونَ وَتُنْكِرُونَ فَمَنْ عَرَفَ بَرِئَ وَمَنْ أَنْكَرَ سَلِمَ وَلَكِنْ مَنْ رَضِيَ وَتَابَعَ

There will be rulers from whom you will see both goodness and corruption. One who recognizes their evil and hates it will maintain his innocence, but one who is pleased with it and follows them will be sinful.

It was said, “Shall we not fight them?” The Prophet said:

لَا مَا صَلَّوْا

No, as long as they pray.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1854, Grade: Sahih

Many of those who call for violent rebellion have resorted to the use of terrorism against innocent civilians. Such acts are completely rejected by Islam. The Prophet severely warned those who engage in such acts of reckless violence and rebellion.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ خَرَجَ مِنَ الطَّاعَةِ وَفَارَقَ الْجَمَاعَةَ فَمَاتَ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً وَمَنْ قَاتَلَ تَحْتَ رَايَةٍ عُمِّيَّةٍ يَغْضَبُ لِعَصَبَةٍ أَوْ يَدْعُو إِلَى عَصَبَةٍ أَوْ يَنْصُرُ عَصَبَةً فَقُتِلَ فَقِتْلَةٌ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ وَمَنْ خَرَجَ عَلَى أُمَّتِي يَضْرِبُ بَرَّهَا وَفَاجِرَهَا وَلاَ يَتَحَاشَ مِنْ مُؤْمِنِهَا وَلاَ يَفِي لِذِي عَهْدٍ عَهْدَهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَلَسْتُ مِنْهُ

Whoever rejects obedience to the ruler and divides the community and dies will have died upon ignorance. Whoever fights under the banner of one who is blind, raging for the sake of tribalism, or calling to tribalism, or supporting tribalism, and is killed will have died upon ignorance. Whoever rebels against my nation, striking the righteous and wicked alike and sparing not even the believers and does not fulfill the pledge of security, then he has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1848, Grade: Sahih

The righteous predecessors (salaf as-salih) recognized that the evil which comes through violent rebellion is worse than the evil of the ruler himself. For this reason, they counseled patience and wisdom in the face of injustice, and they would pray for the ruler to be guided to righteousness.

Hasan Al-Basri said:

لَوْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ إِذَا ابْتُلُوا مِنْ قِبَلِ سُلْطَانِهِمْ صَبَرُوا مَا لَبِثُوا أَنْ يُفْرَجَ عَنْهُمْ وَلَكِنَّهُمْ يَجْزَعُونَ إِلَى السَّيْفِ فَيُوَكَّلُونَ إِلَيْهِ فَوَاللَّهِ مَا جَاءُوا بِيَوْمِ خَيْرٍ قَطُّ

If the people had patience when they are being tested by their unjust ruler, it will not be long before Allah will give them a way out. However, they always rush to their swords, so they are left with their swords. By Allah, not even for a single day did they bring about any good.

Source: Tabaqat Al-Kubra 8789

At-Tahawi said:

وَلَا نَرَى الْخُرُوجَ عَلَى أَئِمَّتِنَا وَوُلَاةِ أُمُورِنَا وَإِنْ جَارُوا وَلَا نَدْعُو عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا نَنْزِعُ يَدًا مِنْ طَاعَتِهِمْ وَنَرَى طَاعَتَهُمْ مِنْ طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَرِيضَةً مَا لَمْ يَأْمُرُوا بِمَعْصِيَةٍ وَنَدْعُو لَهُمْ بِالصَّلَاحِ وَالْمُعَافَاةِ

We do not recognize the rebellion against our leader or those in charge of our affairs even if they are unjust, nor do we wish evil for them, nor do we refuse to follow them. We hold that obedience to them is part of obedience to Allah the Exalted and therefore obligatory as long as they do not command us to commit sins. We pray for their right guidance and pardon.

Source: Aqeedah At-Tahawi

Ahmad ibn Hanbal said:

لَا يُتَعَرَّضُ بِالسُّلْطَانِ فَإِنَّ سَيْفَهُ مَسْلُولٌ ، وَعَصَاهُ

Do not confront the ruler, for his sword is unsheathed.

Source: Jami’ Ulum wal-Hikam

The main evidence used to justify a violent rebellion against the ruler is the saying of Allah:

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

Whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then it is those who are the disbelievers.

Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:44

It is argued that if the Muslim ruler does not refer to the Sharia for judgment, or he does not apply the proper Sharia rulings, then he becomes a disbeliever who should be killed. However, this is incorrect because the unbelief mentioned in the verse is the lesser unbelief that does not take the ruler out of the fold of Islam.

A man asked Ibn Abbas concerning this verse. Ibn Abbas said:

إِذَا فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ فَهُوَ بِهِ كُفْر  وَلَيْسَ كَمَنْ كَفَرَ بِاَللَّهِ وَالْيَوْم الْآخِر وَبِكَذَا وَكَذَا

If he does that, then there is disbelief in it, but this is not like one who disbelieves in Allah and the Last Day and so on.

Ata’ said:

كُفْر دُون كُفْر وَفِسْق دُون فِسْق وَظُلْم دُون ظُلْم

The verse means disbelief less than disbelief, wickedness less than wickedness, and oppression less than oppression.

Tawus said:

لَيْسَ بِكُفْرٍ يَنْقُل عَنْ الْمِلَّة

This is not the unbelief that rejects someone from the religion.

Source: Tafseer Al-Tabari 5:44

Therefore, if the ruler does not apply the Sharia properly, this is sinful but it does not justify a violent rebellion against them. Rather, the proper way to enjoin good and forbid evil regarding the rulers is through non-violent preaching, advising, and if necessary, acts of civil disobedience.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal said:

التَّغْيِيرُ بِالْيَدِ لَيْسَ بِالسَّيْفِ وَالسِّلَاحِ

Changing evil with one’s hand is not done with swords or weapons.

Source: Jami’ Ulum wal-Hikam

A Muslim should sincerely advise the ruler using mild speech, preferably in private.

Tamim Ad-Dari reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

الدِّينُ النَّصِيحَةُ

Religion is sincerity.

We said, “To whom?” The Prophet said:

لِلَّهِ وَلِكِتَابِهِ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِأَئِمَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَعَامَّتِهِمْ

To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims, and their common people.

Source: Sahih Muslim 55, Grade: Sahih

In the same way, Allah commanded Moses and Aaron, upon them be peace, to speak mildly to Pharaoh, even though Pharaoh was a great tyrant and not a Muslim.

Allah said:

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ

Speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear Allah.

Surah Ta Ha 20:44

If this is how Allah commanded them to speak to a great tyrant who was not a Muslim, then a Muslim ruler is even more deserving of better treatment.

It may become necessary to be more vocal and forceful if the ruler is a stubborn oppressor. Speaking the truth to him in this case becomes a form of jihad.

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْظَمِ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةَ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ

Verily, among the greatest of struggles is a word of justice in front of a tyrant.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2174, Grade: Hasan

If the ruler commands the Muslims to commit sins, they should disobey him and not fulfill his command, but this should be done without violence. In other words, a Muslim should behave with civil disobedience.

Ali reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا طَاعَةَ فِي مَعْصِيَةٍ إِنَّمَا الطَّاعَةُ فِي الْمَعْرُوفِ

There is no obedience to the leader involving disobedience to Allah. Verily, obedience is only for good conduct.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6830, Grade: Sahih

Therefore, a Muslim should attempt to reform the ruler and enjoin good without resorting to violence. Violence and terrorism leads to the fracturing of Muslim society, which is even worse than the oppression of the rulers. Instead, Muslims must be patient and wise in the face of such injustice, and they should pray for Allah to guide the rulers to right conduct.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 16.08.2013)

Sajil! Ana ‘arabi. Please.

My birth certificate and my parents’ wedding certificate are laid out on the table in front of me along with a transcription I’m working on for a professor. I could translate the certificates myself, given that I transcribe Arabic to English as a Research Assistant on a regular basis, but we need an official translation, stamped and all, to maneuver the bureaucratic process of getting a Jordanian ID and passport. This process has been the following: energetic me running in place to no avail, people claiming to help me, grown-ups failing to understand why I want such identification in the first place.

After all, I am a privileged American. Who needs a Jordanian ID and passport when you have the much more valuable US versions? Besides, am I not Palestinian? At the expense of sounding like a victim, I find it important to point out what being a ’48 diaspora Palestinian means. It means all we have left on paper of our Arab identity is Jordanian citizenship. It means the Palestinian Authority hardly recognizes me as a human being, let alone a Palestinian one. It means the only concrete ties I have in Palestine are distant relatives in Ramallah and my grandfather’s abandoned house near al-Lydd. It means when, if ever, I enter Palestine, I am compelled to enter as an American tourist. It means the PA will only recognize me if I climb Mount Everest or win Arab Idol. So let me have my Jordanian citizenship in peace, or find me a way to get the Palestinian one.

I was reminded of my standing in Beirut’s airport. “Where are you originally from?” “I’m American; you see my passport.” “No, but where are you originally from. Your parents?” I hesitate to say it: “Jordan.” I am as proudly Palestinian as they come, but on paper my parents are Jordanian. And what am I on paper? American. The customs officer continues in his Lebanese dialect: “do you have the passport?” “No, just my American one.” He seems unimpressed. I resist blurting out all my angst at him: do you think I’m happy with this? Do you think I’m proud of myself for not having an Arab passport or that I think I deserve special treatment? I yearn for any sort of Arab identification, but the world is making it impossible!

Sajil! Ana ‘arabi. Write down! I am an Arab.*

A similar situation took place at a Dead Sea pubic beach. I really am not cheap, but it pains me to have to pay the foreigner’s admission fee (as opposed to the Jordanian fee) in Amman. After a fruitless attempt to convince the cashier to let me pay the native admission price, using the best Jordanian dialect I could muster, I sucked it up and paid as a tourist. Immediately upon entering, I stormed WhatsApp to chastise my parents: “why don’t I have a Jordanian ID? I hope you are happy I just paid more than double what I should have.” This wasn’t about the money, but I don’t know if they realized that. It was resentment I felt deep inside, a frustration that I had been kept away from the lands in which I belong then treated like a tourist when I returned to them.

When I thought about going to get the ID myself, I couldn’t do it without my parents’ help. I need the Family Notebook, which we need to either find or start. In the meantime, I will continue to insist that such identification is worth attaining, despite the sentiments I feel are surrounding it.

“You silly girl. You think you’re going to live in Amman or something? You would never survive there. Why do you think those before you left in the first place?” No, of course no one is crude enough to say this, but I see it in their eyes. Or maybe it’s a paranoid reflection of my own subconscious.

*Reference to Mahmoud Darwish’s poem, “Identity Card” (1964).

Serene Darwish

(Source / 16.08.2013)

Taliban issues statement non-ironically condemning violence in Egypt

(Screenshot of jihadist portal

(Screenshot of jihadist portal

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, better known as the Taliban, has issued a statement decrying “with great regret” the ongoing bloodshed in Egypt. The statement laments the loss of life and “the ouster of constitutionally and nationally elected President Muhammad Morsi.” The full statement is below.

It certainly does seem strange for a terrorist insurgency that routinely targets civilians to condemn the loss of civilian life. So too is it bizarre for a group that opposes elections in its native Afghanistan, and has threatened violence against anyone who dares vote, to invoke the importance of respecting democracy in Egypt.

Before you declare irony forever dead, this is not actually as surprising as it might seem. While Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are very different from the Afghan Taliban, the latter might see some hints of itself in the former. The Taliban wants an Islamic government in Afghanistan and opposes what it sees as the secular, U.S.-backed regime in Kabul. Morsi is no Taliban but he was an Islamist president deposed by the secular, U.S.-backed military, in what the Taliban no doubt sees as a parallel to the Hamid Karzai regime in Kabul.

The actual similarities are, to be clear, much, much thinner than the similarities potentially perceived by the Taliban’s media office. But it still makes for an entertainingly head-twisting news release. Here’s the full text, certified by the Web site Jihadology:

Statement of Islamic Emirate regarding the ongoing bloody incidents in Egypt

It is with great regret that on Wednesday morning of the ongoing Shawal month of the current year of 1434 in the Islamic country of Egypt, the military, security organs and police raided the settlements of peaceful demonstrators in the capital Cairo and dispersed crowds from two large bases with indiscriminate fire who had gathered for the past two months in protest to condemn the ouster of constitutionally and nationally elected President Muhammad Morsi and did not accept the government which came about in the coupe d’etat!

The security apparatus opened indiscriminate fire from morning till dusk time on the peaceful protesters who were sleeping in their tents without any prior warning. This inhumane and unwarranted attack resulted in the martyrdom of around two thousand and six hundred peaceful protestors including women, children and the elderly only in the camps of An-Nahdah and Rabi’a al ‘Aduweya while thousands were also wounded and hundreds arrested, according to the tally of the demonstrators. Hundreds of other protestors in other provinces of Egypt who condemned this action of the military and government have also been brutally martyred.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, besides strongly condemning this inhumane and unethical action, calls on the Egyptian military and government to stop spilling the blood of innocent women, children and elderly and it must pave the way for the return of constitutionally elected president to stop the situation from spiraling further out of control.

The Islamic Emirate also calls on the United Nations, Islamic Conference, notable scholars on international level as well as the international community to not be satisfied with only condemning this barbaric incident but they should take practical steps to the best of their abilities in order to avoid the arrest and bloodshed of more innocent people because if the situation remains as is, not only will it harm the people and nation of Egypt but it shall have an adverse effect both regionally and globally.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan


24/05/1392 15/08/2013

(Source / 16.08.2013)


It is important for everyone to realize that despite all the media hoopla of the past week and all the chest puffing from Klown Kerry, and the other acts on the grand “appeasement” talks stage, not one single prisoner was actually freed.  The definition of free is to not be imprisoned or enslaved; not controlled by obligation or the will of another; having political independence;  not subject to arbitrary interference by a government: not affected or restricted by a given condition or circumstance; not subject to a given condition; not subject to external restraint: not occupied or used;  unobstructed; unguarded in expression or manner; Given, made, or done of one’s own accord; voluntary or spontaneous: a free act of the will; free choices.

Not one actor in this charade can honestly apply any of the above to a single prisoner claimed to have been released.  Under the “agreement” forged by the fully biased and criminal Kerry, the illegitimate so called President of the West Bank Palestine, Abu Mazen (and having no claim regarding representation of either the Hamas governed Gaza strip or the Diaspora) and the criminally corrupt queen Livni of Israel, each prisoner is released to either occupied prison camp, Gaza or WB, is given a map of what streets it may walk on and those which are forbidden, what cities and villages may and may not be visited, and instructions on who and who not can be contacted and communicated with along with clear instruction that any negative talk about Israel, protest against the criminal policies and actions ofIsrael  or other deviance from the mandates of the “agreement” will result in a return to prison in Israel,

It is incumbent upon every writer and commentator with any sense of decency and honesty to keep this information before the public in whatever way possible.

There has been absolutely no freeing of prisoners and there will be none under the faux discussions arranged by the Criminal US and its criminal sycophants from Palestine and Israel.  The main stream media will do all in its power to perpetuate this fraud.  It is up to us to make certain the world knows the truth

(Source / 16.08.2013)

Chaos, killings across Egypt in Mursi loyalists’ ‘Day of Anger’

Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi run away from tear gas during clashes in Cairo August 16, 2013.

Muslim Brotherhood protests plunged into violence across Egypt on Friday, with at least 57 killed and hundreds wounded, health and security officials said.

AFP reported that 60 people were killed across Egypt, saying at least 19 bodies were counted in one Cairo mosque, while eyewitnesses at a second mosque said more than 20 bodies of protesters were laid out.

Emergency services said eight protesters were killed in clashes in the Mediterranean town of Damietta, five in Fayoum south of Cairo, four in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia and four in the Nile delta town of Tanta. One person was killed in Alexandria, Egypt’s second city.

Automatic gunfire echoed across Cairo and black smoke billowed from the capital’s huge Ramses Square, a military helicopter hovering low overhead looking down on the chaos, Reuters reported.

  • Fire consumes the Arab Contractor’s building at Ramses Square in Cairo.
  • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi gather in Cairo’s Abbassiya neighbourhood on August 16, 2013.
  • Women shout slogans and hold a copy of the Koran during a rally in support of Egypt’s deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, in Tunis August 16, 2013.
  • – Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi carry an injured demonstrator who was shot during clashes in front Azbkya police station at Ramses Square in Cairo on August 16, 2013.
  • Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi attend Friday prayers at Ramses Square in Cairo August 16, 2013.
  • A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi wears a makeshift gas mask as others run away from shooting during clashes in front of Azbkya police station during clashes at Ramses Square in Cairo August 16, 2013
  • Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi take part in clashes in front of Azbkya police station in Ramses Square, Cairo August 16, 2013.
  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi carry an injured demonstrator who was shot during clashes in front Azbkya police station at Ramses Square in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi carry an injured demonstrator who was shot during clashes in front Azbkya police station at Ramses Square in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • A supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi gestures during clashes with opponents outside Azbkya police station near Ramses Square in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • A military helicopter flies over clouds of smoke after clashes between members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi at Azbkya police station during clashes at Ramses Square in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi carry an injured demonstrator who was shot during clashes in front Azbkya police station at Ramses Square in Cairo, August 16, 2013.

The army deployed armored vehicles on major roads around the capital. The Egyptian government said it is confronting a “malicious terrorist plot” by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The cabinet affirms that the government, the armed forces, the police and the great people of Egypt are united in confronting the malicious terrorist plot by the Muslim Brotherhood,” it said in a statement.

The demonstrations come after 578 people were killed on Wednesday in clashes in Cairo as police cleared two Mursi protest camps and elsewhere in the country, in Egypt’s bloodiest day in decades.

The interior ministry gave orders on Thursday for police to use live fire if government buildings come under attack.

Residents of some areas formed their own roadblocks, checking identity papers and searching cars.

Western response

The European Union’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton on Friday said she had asked the 28-nation bloc to agree “appropriate measures” in response to escalating violence in Egypt.

“The toll of death and injury is shocking,” she said in a statement. “I have asked member state representatives to debate and coordinate appropriate measures to be taken by the European Union in response to the situation in Egypt.”

The EU has said top officials from its 28 members will meet Monday to review the crisis in Egypt, notably looking at convening a meeting of EU foreign ministers as soon as possible.

Egypt has faced growing international condemnation since around 600 people were killed in clashes on Wednesday as police broke up protest camps of supporters of ousted President Mursi.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Washington was cancelling a joint U.S.-Egyptian military exercise.

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said.

But despite scrapping the Bright Star exercise, which has been scheduled every two years since 1981, he stopped short of suspending Washington’s annual $1.3 billion in aid.

The U.S. State Department warned citizens not to travel to Egypt and called on those already there to leave.

Egypt’s interim presidency responded defiantly to Obama, warning that “statements not based on facts may encourage violent armed groups.”

Turkey, which backs Mursi, recalled its ambassador to Cairo over the violence, prompting a tit-for-tat move by Egypt.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay called for an investigation into Wednesday’s bloodshed, saying the death toll suggested “an excessive, even extreme, use of force against demonstrators.”

Response to Western response

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz lent the kingdom’s for Egypt in its fight “against terrorism,” saying Egypt’s stability is being targeted by “haters.” He warned that anyone interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs is “igniting sedition.”

The Egyptian presidency hailed King Abdullah’s support, saying Egypt will “never” forget his “historic stance.”

Both Jordan and the UAE also praised King Abdullah’s support for the Egyptian government.

Abdul Latif Minawi, an Egyptian columnist and former head of Egypt’s state TV, said the Saudi position comes in response to “Western positions, which are difficult to understand.”

“If Western leaders plan to repeat the Libyan scenario in Egypt, this will not be achieved in Egypt,” Minawi said. He said “various Western interests come together in this situation to ensure the collapse of Egypt.”

“The Saudi position is another stance that understands where the regional interests lie,” Menawi said.

(Source / 16.08.2013)

PA: Egypt security vital to Arab world

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority on Friday reiterated that any harm to the national security of Egypt would harm Arab and Islamic national security and threaten the Palestinian cause.

“Egyptian national security is vital for Arab national security,” the PA said in a statement.

“Anyone who tries to tamper with or threaten the Egyptian state or the security and stability of the Egyptian people is carrying out a plot against the unity of Egypt that targets the security and stability of Arab nations.”

The PA praised Saudi position toward the outbreak of violence in Egypt, saying that “we are fully confident that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will remain a guard over Arab and Islamic nations.”

The statement came as PA security forces cracked down on a protest in support of ousted Egyptian president Mohamad Morsi in Hebron, where at least three people were arrested.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Abdulaleem Dana condemned the actions of the security forces, saying that everyone has the basic right to express themselves.

The demonstration was called by Hamas.

(Source / 16.08.2013)

Families of Palestinian Spies for Israel Face Stigma in Gaza

An alleged Palestinian collaborator with Israel covers his face as he poses for the camera inside a Hamas-run prison in Gaza City, April 23, 2013.

In a narrow territory where almost everyone knows each other, nothing in the Israeli-controlled Gaza Strip is more scandalous than being detected as a collaborator with Israel.

Like any occupying power, Israel has always done its best to employ more collaborators in Palestine. As it is no longer the direct occupier, Israel sees important value in recruiting collaborators in Gaza.

Many patients and relatives of patients who regularly go to Israel to get medical treatment often complain of receiving collaboration offers from Israeli intelligence at the Erez crossing checkpoint while passing through.

Detecting and executing collaborators has always been a main mission for armed wings of both Palestinian resistance factions and governments.

During the first intifada in 1987, many suspected of collaborating with Israel were often found killed in dumps, with armed groups mainly responsible for such killings.

No matter how inhumane these killings were, spies never received sympathy from ordinary Palestinians. In fact, such killings were usually well-received with victory chants.

Since it took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas has placed finding collaborators on the top of its agenda. In March, Gaza’s Ministry of Interior launched a campaign targeting collaborators with Israel, with an offer of amnesty if they gave themselves up within a month.

While the campaign was welcomed by many in Gaza, Hamas is accused by human rights groups of torturing prisoners into confessions and executing suspects while investigations are still ongoing.

One day before the campaign was over on April 11, two related spies along with their families managed to escape to Israel, sneaking across Gaza’s northern borders with Israel.

One month later, the two spies decided to return to Gaza after their wives and children insisted on leaving Israel, yet Israeli authorities refused to let them back lest they should be killed by Hamas.

After several days of insisting, Israel allowed the families to return, but not the two spies.

E.N., 40, recounted this story to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. E.N., one of the wives who is heavily pregnant, said that she never knew her husband was a spy before the day they escaped. He told her that she should go with him if she doesn’t want him to be killed; she obeyed out of concern for her husband.

“I thought we would be going to the West Bank, but we were taken to Acre instead. I couldn’t bear it, I preferred to come back even if Hamas wanted to punish me,” she told Al-Monitor.

But while in Gaza, E.N. struggles with the stigma of being the wife of a spy.  She does not allow her children to go out into the street, so they will not be called “sons of the spy.”

E.N.’s son, 18, dropped out of school three years ago and said that he no longer has friends, as they all left him when they found out about his father.

“I should work to earn a living for my mother and sister, but no one will employ me because no one will trust a son of a spy.”

People in Gaza never forget a name of a collaborator, no matter how old the case. The scandal of the collaborator is never buried with the spy, as the family suffers the stigma of the crime. Relatives, especially children, live in isolation.

Spying for the enemy is an unforgivable offense in the eyes of many Palestinians, and much of the guilt falls onto the families.

Fatin Salim, a 24-year-old teacher, is one of the many Palestinians supportive of harsh punishment — including the death penalty — for spies.

“Spies deserve death not only because they participated in murders, but also because they betrayed their homeland,” Fatin explained.

In November 2012, during an eight-day offensive Israel waged on Gaza, six suspected spies were taken out from prison and killed publicly in Gaza City, without most of them receiving their sentence. Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the killings.

Bilal Abadsa was one of the six killed in November; he was 25 years old at the time. His mother, Om al-Abed Abadsa, told Al-Monitor that her son was an honest man who would never think of collaborating with Israel.

Bilal worked in the smuggling tunnels bordering Egypt, and was detained by internal security in May 2010 without a warrant. After three months in detention, Bilal’s family was granted access to see him. He was in poor health with torture symptoms all over his body, according to his mother.

Recounting with a distinct sadness on her face, Abadsa said that her family received support from the community, including her neighbors who would never believe that Bilal would spy for Israel.

“He was killed before seeing his first baby grow up. My beloved, may Allah bless his soul,” Abadsa said, tears streaming down her face.

(Source / 16.08.2013)

Saudi King Abdullah declares support for Egypt against terrorism

Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz announced on Friday that the kingdom supports Egypt in its fight “against terrorism.”

King Abdullah said Egypt’s stability is being targeted by “haters,” warning that anyone interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs is “igniting sedition.” King Abdullah added that Egypt is able to cross to safety.

The Egyptian presidency hailed King Abdullah’s support, saying Egypt will “never” forget his “historic stance.”

Both Jordan and the UAE also praised King Abdullah’s support for the Egyptian government.

Saleh al-Qallab, a Jordanian political analyst, told Al Arabiya that Saudi Arabia will not leave the Egyptian military alone. “The situation in Egypt is very critical and Saudi Arabia has put itself on the right side of history,” he said.

Qallab added that King Abdullah had to “take a historical step and side with the correct form of Islam.”

Other analysts see that the King’s speech is ‘directed against the blatant Western support of the Muslim Brotherhood’, adding that the World’s powers should leave Egyptians to solve their own affairs.

Abdul Latif Minawi, an Egyptian columnist and former head of Egypt’s state TV, said the Saudi position comes in response to “Western positions, which are difficult to understand.”

“If Western leaders plan to repeat the Libyan scenario in Egypt, this will not be achieved in Egypt,” Minawi said.

He said “various Western interests come together in this situation to ensure the collapse of Egypt.”

“The Saudi position is another stance that understands where the regional interests lie,” Menawi said.

The statements of King Abdullah came after several Western countries and Turkey threatened to suspend ties with Egypt over a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Turkey had summoned its ambassador to Egypt pushed for a U.N. Security Council meeting to be held yesterday over the situation in the Arab world’s biggest nation.

The United States cancelled a joint military drill with the Egyptian armed forces. It also warned that the traditional military ties with the Egypt are at risk if the violence continues there.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after speaking with French President Francois Hollande by phone on Friday that Germany would review its ties with Egypt, and both she and Hollande felt the European Union should do the same, Reuters reported.

“The chancellor explained that in view of the latest developments, the German government would review its relations with Egypt,” Merkel said, according to Reuters.

Violence between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Egypt’s security forces renewed on Friday with tens of people reported killed nationwide.

(Source / 16.08.2013)

Hezbollah chief Nasrallah says he would fight in Syria if needed

Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wave Hezbollah flags as they listen to him via a screen during a rally on the 7th anniversary of the end of Hezbollah's 2006 war with Israel, in Aita al-Shaab village in southern Lebanon, August 16, 2013. (ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS)

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah accused radical Sunni Islamists on Friday of being behind a car bomb that killed 24 people in Beirut and vowed that the attack would redouble his group’s commitment to its military campaign in Syria.

In a fiery speech to supporters, one day after the deadliest bombing in the capital since Lebanon’s civil war ended two decades ago, Nasrallah raised the stakes by pledging to join the battle in Syria himself if needed.

Thursday’s blast in the Shi’ite militant Hezbollah’s south Beirut stronghold followed months of sectarian tension and violence in Lebanon fuelled in part by Hezbollah’s intervention against Sunni Muslim rebels in Syria’s civil war.

“It is most likely that a takfiri group was responsible for yesterday’s explosion,” Nasrallah said, referring to radical Sunni Muslim factions linked to al Qaeda, many of whom are fighting with Syrian rebels against President Bashar al-Assad.

“If you think by killing our women and children … and destroying our neighbourhoods, we would retreat from the position we took (in Syria) you are wrong,” he said in a combative speech broadcast by videolink from a secret location to his supporters.

“If we had 100 fighters in Syria, now they will be 200. If we had 1,000, they will be 2,000. If we had 5,000 they will be 10,000. If the battle with these takfiri terrorists requires that I and all Hezbollah should go to Syria, we will go.”

Thursday’s blast came a month after a car bomb wounded 50 people in the same district of the Lebanese capital – an attack that Nasrallah also blamed on takfiris, who consider all but the most radical Sunnis to be infidels whose blood can be spilt.

Defence Minister Fayez Ghosn said a Syrian man had been arrested for suspected involvement in the July bombing, underlining the extent to which Lebanon has become embroiled in its neighbour’s conflict.

Lebanese Hezbollah fighters helped Assad’s soldiers retake a strategic border town in June, while Sunni Muslims from Lebanon have joined the rebel ranks. The violence has spilled back into Lebanon, with bombings and street clashes in the Bekaa Valley and Mediterranean cities of Tripoli and Sidon.

Possible suicide bombing
Thursday’s explosion engulfed a busy street in flames, reviving memories of the destruction inflicted by Lebanon’s civil war.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said investigators were checking CCTV footage taken in the moments before the explosion to see whether the van believed to have carried the bomb had been driven by a suicide bomber or detonated remotely.

Reporters who arrived at the scene minut es after the explosion saw a burnt-out car near the centre of the road, suggesting it was being driven when it blew up.

Among the dead were a family of five – a father, mother and their three daughters – who were killed in their car by the blast, which destroyed several vehicles and set fire to the lower floors of adjacent buildings, trapping residents.

Forensic investigators, emergency workers and security forces were still working at the site on Friday, amid burnt-out cars and charred facades of residential buildings.

Nearby, masked men fired in the air as the first funeral processions of victims of Thursday’s explosion drove slowly through the subdued streets of densely populated south Beirut.

As the country marked a day of official mourning, social media was flooded with pictures of the victims, and requests for information about people still missing.

Politicians from across Lebanon’s diverse communities, including Sunni Muslims, Christians and Druzes, united to condemn the bloodshed in the Shi’ite neighbourhood, some visiting the area to offer condolences.

But in a sign of how the Syrian crisis has polarised Lebanon, there was celebratory gunfire in the mainly Sunni city of Tripoli on Thursday night and reports of people distributing sweets.

In an effort to limit sectarian tensions, Nasrallah called on Shi’ites to show restraint and said that takfiri groups were a threat to Sunnis and Shi’ites alike.

“These people kill Sunnis just as they kill the Shi’ites and they send suicide bombers to Sunni mosques just as they send them to Shi’ite mosques,” he said, referring to al Qaeda-linked groups in Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.

Speaking in an address to mark the seventh anniversary of the end of Hezbollah’s 2006 war with Israel, Nasrallah also said he could not exclude that those radical Islamists were actually working for Israeli interests.

(Source / 16.08.2013)