|The Christmas Truce of 1914 - '..what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier..' (no replies)|| '.."What If," points out that he thinks â¦ and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history ... that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldnât have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II..'|
'Deist: One thing thatâs so remarkable about the Christmas Truce is this whole question of what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier or be somehow limited. Weintraub addresses this in his book. We may not have had the rise of communism, the Russian Revolution and Stalin and Lenin, we certainly would not have had Versailles. As a result, we might not have had Hitler or Nazism or maybe even FDR. I mean, itâs remarkable to think about, isnât it?
(Haptopraxeology) - '..We have lost three centuries as a result of ignoring our scholars!'
|'..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)|| ' âWeâd have all these circular meetings,â one senior State Department official said, âin which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didnât happen.â|
Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy â political campaigns and independent media â to his own ends..
..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of âkompromat,â their term for compromising information.
..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..
What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. âThe perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,â Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, âEurope is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.â '
'..the White Houseâs reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.
Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar
'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'
|JADILAH KITAB WALAU TANPA JUDUL||Kun kitaaban mufiidan bila âunwaanan, wa laa takun âunwaanan bila kitaaban. Jadilah kitab yang bermanfaat walaupun tanpa judul. Namun, jangan menjadi judul tanpa kitab.|
Pepatah dalam bahasa Arab itu menyiratkan makna yang dalam, terutama menyangkut kondisi bangsa saat ini yang sarat konflik perebutan kekuasaan dan pengabaian amanah oleh pemimpin-pemimpin yang tidak menebar manfaat dengan jabatan dan otoritas yang dimilikinya. Bangsa ini telah kehilangan ruuhul jundiyah, yakni jiwa ksatria. Jundiyah adalah karakter keprajuritan yang di dalamnya terkandung jiwa ksatria sebagaimana diwariskan pejuang dan ulama bangsa ini saat perjuangan kemerdekaan.
Semangat perjuangan (hamasah jundiyah) adalah semangat untuk berperan dan bukan semangat untuk mengejar jabatan, posisi, dan gelar-gelar duniawi lainnya (hamasah manshabiyah). Saat ini, jiwa ksatria itu makin menghilang. Sebaliknya, muncul jiwa-jiwa kerdil dan pengecut yang menginginkan otoritas, kekuasaan, dan jabatan, tetapi tidak mau bertanggung jawab, apalagi berkurban. Yang terjadi adalah perebutan jabatan, baik di partai politik, ormas, maupun pemerintahan. Orang berlomba-lomba mengikuti persaingan untuk mendapatkan jabatan, bahkan dengan menghalalkan segala cara. Akibatnya, di negeri ini banyak orang memiliki âjudulâ, baik judul akademis, judul keagamaan, judul kemiliteran, maupun judul birokratis, yang tanpa makna. Ada judulnya, tetapi tanpa substansi, tanpa isi, dan tanpa roh.
Padahal, ada kisah-kisah indah dan heroik berbagai bangsa di dunia. Misalnya, dalam Sirah Shahabah, disebutkan bahwa Said bin Zaid pernah menolak amanah menjadi gubernur di Himsh (Syria). Hal ini membuat Umar bin Khattab RA mencengkeram leher gamisnya seraya menghardiknya, âCelaka kau, Said! Kau berikan beban yang berat di pundakku dan kau menolak membantuku.â Baru kemudian, dengan berat hati, Said bin Zaid mau menjadi gubernur.
Ada lagi kisah lain, yaitu Umar bin Khattab memberhentikan Khalid bin Walid pada saat memimpin perang. Hal ini dilakukan untuk menghentikan pengultusan kepada sosok panglima yang selalu berhasil memenangkan pertempuran ini. Khalid menerimanya dengan ikhlas. Dengan singkat, ia berujar, âAku berperang karena Allah dan bukan karena Umar atau jabatanku sebagai panglima.â Ia pun tetap berperang sebagai seorang prajurit biasa. Khalid dicopot âjudulâ-nya sebagai panglima perang. Namun, ia tetap membuat âkitabâ dan membantu menorehkan kemenangan.
Ibrah yang bisa dipetik dari kisah-kisah tersebut adalah janganlah menjadi judul tanpa kitab; memiliki pangkat, tetapi tidak menuai manfaat. Maka, ruuhul jundiyah atau jiwa ksatria yang penuh pengorbanan harus dihadirkan kembali di tengah bangsa ini sehingga tidak timbul hubbul manaashib, yaitu cinta kepada kepangkatan, jabatan-jabatan, bahkan munafasah âalal manashib, berlomba-lomba untuk meraih jabatan-jabatan. Semoga.
|Special Report : Analysis of Russiaâs Airstrikes In Syria||Originally posted on Defencyclopedia: |
In this special news report by Defencyclopedia, we bring you the second part of our analysis on Russia’s involvement in Syria. It covers the aircraft and weapons that their air force is currently using as a part of a large-scale bombing campaign. INTRODUCTION The involvement of the Russian armed forces in…
|Special Report : Analysis of Russiaâs Airstrikes In Syria||Source: Special Report : Analysis of Russia’s Airstrikes In Syria|
|I Found the One Place Where the Terrorists are Losing, and it's on FX's 'Tyrant'|
Itâs been kind of a rough couple millennia for Christians in the Middle East. Whether faced with persecution from Jews, Romans, Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians, Iraqis, or ISIS, the common denominator has always been Christians remaining strong and showing unbelievable courage, but pretty much living in a world where everyone and everything tries to kill them.
|Girl charged with plotting UK terror attack with ISIS fighter|
London: A 17-year-old girl in the UK has been charged with terrorism offences after allegedly communicating with an Islamic State terror group fighter in Syria to plan a terror attack in the country.
Scotland Yard said she has been charged with an intent to commit acts of terrorism by "communicating with an ISIS fighter in Syria and arranging to receive weapons in order to conduct an attack in the UK;receiving instructions on how to train and use weapons; and?reaching out to another to receive assistance in completing plan contrary to Section 5(1)(a) and (3) Terrorism Act 2006".
The teenager, who cannot be named because of her age, is accused of communicating with an ISIS fighter and arranging to receive weapons to be used in the planned attack.
"This follows an investigation by officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command," a Metropolitan Police statement said.
The girl was previously charged with terror offences in April and is due to appear at the Old Bailey tomorrow in relation to that charge.
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|Burn After Reading|
In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors
The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
By WAYNE MADSEN
Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].
From the Introduction
One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIAâs Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate â all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agencyâs payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.
An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIAâs use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:
âI think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence AgencyâCIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.â
The 21st centuryâs CIAâs partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIAâs top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.
As this book went to press, the smart phone game application PokÃ©mon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line gameâs avid fanâs was the connection of the gameâs developers to the CIAâs venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.
Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazonâs CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.
American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.
American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the instituteâs director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.
AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the âfirst inâ at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.
Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym âFletcher M. Knight,â among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a âsecret armâ of the CIA, Bechtelâs executives included those who would join President Reaganâs Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.
Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in Kingâs Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.
Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.
Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.
Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.
DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.
Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran âWild Billâ Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.
Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIAâs MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.
Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enronâs payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIAâs Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.
Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.
In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.
General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.
General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIAâs Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.
Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford Universityâs Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the âgoogle project.â
Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC âconnectedâ law firm.
Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banisterâs own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.
Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIAâs New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.
Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIAâs Independence and Brown Foundations.
Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the worldâs largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.
Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.
Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Husseinâs missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.
Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowltonâs numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.
Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.
Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.
Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.
Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Krollâs Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John OâNeill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.
Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.
Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.
Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.
Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Blackâs Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsantoâs agri-business operations worldwide.
National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloidâs founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIAâs psychological warfare unit and the agencyâs Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIAâs Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.
Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweekâs stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIAâs Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.
Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.
Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called âDC Madam.â During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfreyâs request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.
Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazineâs co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.
Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.
Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.
Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that âthe Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.â
Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUEâs board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.
Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Haroldâs Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIAâs Glomar Explorer project.
Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdingsâs intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.
Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his fatherâs presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.
Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.
The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughesâs Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.
United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIAâs training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.
U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.
Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIAâs coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhutâs outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.
Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.
Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIAâs Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agencyâs media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nationâs capital.
W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.
There is a little confusion around the name "Za'atar" and what exactly does it refer to: A condiment? A spice mix? An herb? And if so - which herb exactly - Hyssop? Thyme? Oregano? Marjoram?
The truth is that za'atar is an Arabic word used interchangeably for a number of wild herbs that grow wild in the Mediterranean region, and all contain thymol and carvacrol. Hence their similar sharp and warm aroma, bitter taste and spicy, almost hot "bite". They also share similar medicinal properties, most of them used in folk medicine for most digestive ailments and respiratory complaints. The mixture known to us as "Za'atar" is in fact a misnomer. Za'atar is originally the name of the plant now classified as Origanum syriacum, but in Arabic it is loosely applied to several other related wild and not so wild herbs.
The name for the condiment is in fact "doukka" (pronounced often as "Do-ak" with a very throaty "K" that almost sounds like an "A" so in reality the word sounds more like "Do-ah"). In Arabic this means "to grind". Each region in the Arab world has its own "Doukka", which is either sprinkled on food, or more commonly covered in olive oil to which the traditional regional bread is dipped. For example - Egypt has a complex nut-based doukka with toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, to which toasted or untoasted spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, green peppercorns and sweet fennel have been added.
In the Levant "doukka" happens to be made primarily of a mixture of thymol-containing herbs, with "The" Za'atar (Origanum syriacum) being the star of the show. Lesser amounts of other herbs, will be added - the most important of which are "Za'atar Farsi" (winter savory), Israeli Thyme (Corydothymus capitatus), Zuta ×××× ××× × ( Micromeria fruiticosa barbata), a delicate wild white mint known in English as White-Leaved Savory (which does not even belong to the savory genus, but to micromeria because of its tiny leaves). Common oregano (Origanum vulgare) makes a good addition, albeit cannot substitute for the real Za'atar or Syrian oregano if you actually know the real deal. Likewise, marjoram and thyme can also make a good addition but not be at the centre. Even though their profiles are similar - there are some nuances that will be lost if using only the garden variety oreganos and thymes and none of the wild stuff.
Many other things can be added to the mix, the most important being sumac berries (Rhus coriaria) for their wonderful salty-sour flavour, and toasted sesame seeds for their pop-in-the-mouth nuttiness. But you'll also find spices sometimes, including more obscure ones such as butum (Ø¨Ø·Ù ) - toasted terebinth fruits (Pistachia palestina), which are really like tiny pistachios with the outer red peel intact. I've got a few of those drying right now, because I've never seen them in any market before and I'm very curious how they taste as a spice.
The following are several authentic Za'atar recipes I've collected - and of course you are welcome to browse google's universe of shared recipes, but be cautious of a few things if you want to make an authentic za'atar:
1) Use actual Origanum syriacum even if a generic "oregano" is called for
2) Do not by any stretch of the imagination use "fresh" leaves. They must be dried first. And only then will you grind them up with the rest of the ingredients. This is a dried herb and spice mix. Not a fresh herb concoction.
3) Usage of salt, although found in many recipes, seems very superfluous to me, unless you are not using sumac berries. These have a unique taste - equally salty and tangy. The whole point of using them is so you do not need to use salt. Likewise, using citric acid is a way to fake the sumac effect. Which I'm not quit sure why would anyone do that aside from laziness. Sumac berries are difficult to grind manually (or even in a coffee grinder) - but you can find ground sumac easily in many spice shops and markets.
When shopping for pre-made spice mixes, or any ground spices for that matter, the main culprit is adulteration and using old raw material that are "dressed up" as authentic. It's hard to teach someone who've never tasted or smelled za'atar what to look for, but some things are a telling sign. For example: if you don't see the dark maroon red and still taste salt or tanginess, it is probably from salt and citrus acid, and not from the (missing) red sumac berries. Secondly, another visual sign - za'atar leaves are rather grey in colour when dried, so any other colour you see (olive green) is either food colouring or a combination of other types of "za'atar" herbs (i.e.: thyme, za'atar farsi, etc.). Best sign is by taste - if it taste like dust (and looks like dust) it's either too old or just a fake.
I suggest you start with the most basic three ingredients, and then play with the proportions and adding other herbs and/or spices. You can even start with equal amount of za'atar leaves, sumac and sesame and adjust to taste.
Safta Ada's Za'atar Recipe
This is my mom's handmade recipe that she would make from wild harvested za'atar (before it was illegal to pick any) and would even send it to Vancouver so I can enjoy a taste of home.
1 cup dried za'atar leaves, coarsely crushed between your palms, or pounded with mortar and pestle to a finer powder
4 Tbs ground sumac berries (I suggest you purchase them pre-ground, otherwise their seeds can break your teeth!)
2 Tbs toasted brown sesame seeds, whole
May Bsisu wrote an excellent book, The Arab Table, which I highly recommend, and it includes a unique Palestinian style of za'atar that includes caraway:
10oz oregano (I assume she means za'atar)
3 Tbs sumac, ground
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2-1/2 Tbs coarse salt
1/2 tsp allspice, ground
1/4 tsp caraway seeds, ground
Easy Lebanese Recipes provides a "Traditional Rich Recipe" for za'atar that I'm compelled to try, with dried za'atar, roasted sesame, sumac, marjoram, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, fennel, aniseed and salt.
Mamma's Lebanese Kitchen recipe contains thyme, marjoram, sumac, sesame, cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and salt.
How to consume za'atar?
Use your za'atar mixed with olive oil as a dip for bread, on top of labneh (strained yoghurt cheese) or as a substitute for butter under any other soft or hard cheese, avocado, etc.
It's also a nice addition to salads, and for baking fish or poultry. I also like to add it to chickpeas that I fry whole in olive oil, after they've been cooked and drained.
Fresh za'atar leaves come in late winter and can be enjoyed all through spring, and can be fried in olive oil much like tender sage leaves and become this wonderful crispy topping for fresh bread, pasta, roasted vegetables, etc. Also, they can be used as they are in salads (May Bsisu has a recipe for fresh oregano salad in that book as well), with lots of onion and tomatoe. The Druze use it to season the dough or the fillings for various savoury pastries, such as sambusak (a flatbread that is folded in half to conceal a thin layer of highly seasoned stuffing, and baked in the tabun) and fatayer (little dough pockets filled with cheese), and the dried whole leaves can be used much like oregano in meat and pasta sauces, in soups, stews, breads, etc.
Now, let's explore the Za'atar "group" of plants:
Ezov (the Hebrew word for the Biblical Hyssop - not the European Hyssopus officials which is also a medicinal plant, and produces a rather toxic essential oil), which is now classified as an oregano, Origanum syriacum (formerly Majorana syriaca). Like many of the other aromatic plants from the Lamiaceae family, za'atar has a winter and spring foliage and a summer foliage, which is smaller in order to preserve water and survive the long arid season. I suspect the essential oils also aid with the survival of these plants in such harsh conditions - because whenever they are grown in regions where the water is more abundant (British Columbia, for example) - their flavour is largely lacking. What you see above is the luscious winter "look", which features soft and larger leaves, and their colour is much greener, and therefore more similar to the common oregano (Origanum vulgare).
Za'atar Farsi (meaning Persian Za'atar), or as it is called in Hebrew ×¦×ª×¨× ××¨××× - Tzatra Vruda (Pink Tzatra) which really is winter or mountain savory (Satureja montana). Its long needle-like leaves have a sharp, spicy taste. When we were growing up my mom would spice the egg for French Toast with them and make them literally savoury.
Mediterranean Thyme (Thymbra spicata), in Hebrew ×¦×ª×¨× ××ª ××©××××ª Tzatranit Meshubelet is also called in Arabic "Za'atar farsi", and has a very similar leaf shape (only a bit longer, narrower and softer) and almost identical odour and aroma profile. It has flowers that look a bit more like chaffs of wheat (not unlike those of Lavandula dentata, and is even more rare to find than Satureja montana.
Corydothymus capitatis / Thymus capitatus / Thymbra capitata) or in Hebrew Koranit Mekurkefet ×§××¨× ××ª ××§××¨×§×¤×ª is also known by many other names - Israeli oreganum (oil), Cretan thyme, Corido thyme, Headed savory, Thyme of the Ancient, Conehead thyme and most commonly - Spanish Oregano (even though it is not classified as "origanum"). This oil is what is often sold as "oregano oil", by the way. This is now a rare plant that in our area grows only along the rocky seashores of the North Coast leading to Lebanon. The leaves are tiny and sharp, like a miniature version of the Pink Tzatra, but they grow more dense and close together to form clusters around the tip of the branches. The branches are woody-looking almost like bonsai trees that crawl all over the rocks - and the flowers tiny and purplish-pink. The aroma is clean and maybe a little more simple than that of za'atar, but also the taste is much more sharp and phenolic.
|Top of the Land|
After picking a bunch of cherries to complete our breakfast we drove to the peak of Mount Hermon (Jabal A-Sheikh) - elevation 2,224m, which is accessible with chair lifts. It was a relatively hot day but still much more pleasant than the rest of the country - somewhere around 26c or so, with a very harsh sun yet a nice dry cool breeze ever so often.
The vegetation is somewhat sparse but very special and with many varieties growing on this mountain. Some plants can be found in other northern places (for example: the now protected Wild artichoke (Gundelia tournefortii) - ×¢×××××ª ×××××, which grew in most parts of the country before), but others are endemic to this mountain alone, because of its exceptional conditions and placement. It is covered in snow all winter, and once it melts resembles a cool desert land, covered with white rocks and with no trees in sight. Dog roses (Rosa canina) are native to Israel, but are quite a rare sight otherwise. To find a bush in full bloom at the peak of Mt. Hermon was elating. Of course, it has a heavenly fragrance.
Up on the peak, there is a sense that many of the plants here has some mysterious medicinal value, for some very specific and possibly rare conditions. I am imagining a time when climbing the mountain on foot would be a great ordeal (well, it still is - but most people use the road and then the gondola!). People would only go up the mountain for an important mission set forth by a divine guidance, a royal order, or a great and pressing need to save someone's life from a rare illness...
This poppy (Glaucium oxylobum ×¤×¨×× ×§×¨××ª/×¤×¨××× ×××§×ª ×¤×¨×), for example, is unique to Mt. Hermon and can't be found anywhere else in the country (but it can be found in high elevations - upwards of 1,100m - in the mountains of Turkey and Iran). I love its bright dual colours and contrasting "eyes". It blooms for a very long season - six months to be exact, from April when the snow melts, till the total dryness of September. There is a great variety between flowers, but they all share this startling, sudden contrasting colour change, and unusual display of three colours.
Salvia microstegia (the hairy big leaves with white flowers), the thistle-looking plant is Cousinia hermonis (×§××¡×× ×× ××¨××× ××ª), the yellow flowers are of Alyssum baumgartnerianum Bornm. (××××¡×× ××¨××× ×), AKA madwort. It is not the only yellow flower found on Mt Hermon - so don't confuse it with Lebanese St. John's Wort (Hypericum libanoticum) in Hebrew - ×¤×¨×¢ ××× ×× ×, or with the two types of Achilea that grow there - Achillea biebersteinii (×××××× ×§×× ×ª-×¤×¨×××) and the endemic Achillea falcata (×××××× ××¤××¨×).
There might also be a type of catnip (× ×¤××ª ×§×××§××ª?) Nepata - of some kind that I'm yet to completely ID), or a horehound in the pic. Which also reminds me of the unusual Lebanese horehound (Marrubium libanoticum Boiss) - in Hebrew ××¨××××× ×××× ××/××¨××¨ ×××× ××, which is also a highly medicinal plant.
Israel & Syria - view from above. Where the green ends Syria begins... It's sad but true, due to over-forestation and roaming in Syria, and on the other hand much planting of trees all across Israel.
Lastly, here is me and Miss T standing against this dramatic backdrop.
For those unfamiliar with the Druze culture, it is unique to the Levant (Lebanon, Syria and Israel). This minority group originated about a thousand years ago in the Ismaillia sect of early Islam, and was largely prosecuted after splitting off from it. Therefore, mate
they usually dwell on mountains and have long tradition of bravery since they've always needed to fend for themselves in a rather hostile environment. In Israel, the Druze communities are all located in the north - from Mount Carmel in the largest Druze town Daliat el Carmel and all the way up north to the Western Galilee, the Golan Heights especially around Mount Hermon.
Near my village alone there are four Druze villages - Jath, Yanuh, Yirka and Julis. We've held strong friendly relationships with our Druze neighbours. Growing up, two elders from the village Yanuh will travel on foot or by donkey and come help us build our village - they taught our parents how to built terraces from the many rocks around here so that we can grow crops along the hillsides, how to cultivate wild olives and do the grafting so the trees grow strong and bear good fruit, and we went every summer to the miller and grind our wheat (when we still grew our own), and every autumn to line up with all the other olive growers and press our olives into fine olive oil and buy handmade olive soap that was made on the spot from the pommace left from the pressing process. As the nearby village Yirka developed into a small town bustling with businesses - we go there also to do most of our shopping and other business (that's where I usually go to the ship my online orders, by the way), and continue to build business and work relations with our neighbours. My house (both the old and the new part) was built almost entirely by a Birka-Born team of construction experts who became my closest new friends since moving here, and their wives come to practice Pilates with me.
Growing up here, I remember my mom being especially enthusiastic about learning from the Druze women about the bounty of edible and medicinal wild plants around here. From them she also learned to drink olive oil in the morning on empty stomach, and how to make a special scorpion antidote (from the scorpion that stung you, fried in olive oil). I never tried either, and probably never will. But I do love to learn from them about the nearly magical properties of the plants that grow everywhere around here. It's as if there is an entire pharmacy out in the open, here in the wild.
Besides, there is much to be learned from the Druze traditional way of living, which is very family centred and values hospitality and taking the time to sit and enjoy a cup of anything - tea, coffee, and more and more coffee. The latter is served everywhere you go - from the hardware store to the mobile phone shop. And of course you can't enter a home without being invited for at least a cup of coffee, and if it's dinnertime - to break bread with the whole family.
As is widespread in all of Israel - among both the Arab and Jewish population - the Druze adore za'atar, sage and the many wild harvested and then dried herbs from around here. They are popular as digestifs or medicinal brews for various ailments or as preventative measures: wild sage, white mint, savory, wild oregano, and more are either infused on their own or added, dried or fresh, to black tea. The love for za'atar is so profound that it is even added to some sweet pastries, such as this traditional ka'akat isfar ("yellow cake") - a mildly sweet yeasted flatbread that is coloured with turmeric and additionally spiced with sesame and nigella seeds, hints of za'atar (this umbrella name could be wild oregano, savoury or thyme - more on that in another post), and hints of mysterious spices that I'm yet to identify (I detected nutmeg and perhaps even some cardamom or allspice but I can't be sure of the latter two). It has become a favourite of mine, but is never found in a pastry shop. Some families would sell their traditional homemade ka'kat isfar when they make it, and the recipes vary. The first one I tried was only spiced with turmeric. This particular version that I'm very fond of was made by a random person I met on one of my traveling tea parties, and I doubt I will be able to taste ever again. The only recipe I found that seems close is written in Arabic and I'm far from being proficient enough to follow a recipe in that language.
Many of my Vancouver perfume studio guests have been indirectly introduced to Druze culture through the special tea I would brew each winter (we fondly called it "witch brew") of dried hulnejan (a particular type of dried galangal root) and ginger roots, which is simmered forever in a large pot, simultaneously cleansing the air, warming the chest and keeping colds at bay. It is often served with pecan nuts sprinkled on top, and a lot of sugar, which is how most Druze like their teas. I personally prefer it unsweetened, and like to add cinnamon bark which has its own natural sweetness. Sometimes I would add honey but not often.
But Hulnejan is not the only interesting thing about the Druze tea culture. As it turns out, in the 19th Century, many Druze - especially from Syria - left for Argentina, and they brought back with them mate, and a special fondness for this unique South American concoction. They drink it socially, sharing the same bombilla (the silver straw), traditionally sucked from the tea which is brewed in a dried decorative gourd.
In this photo, I am holding a dainty cup of mate that was offered to me on the streets of Majdal Shams, a remote Druze village come ski tourist town on Mount Hermon (Jabal Sheikh), formerly part of Syria.
On Saturday morning, we were having a hard time finding a place to eat breakfast. The breakfast place recommended to us the night before was still closed at 8:30am - it turns out it was them who had the wedding the night before with the parade that blocked the streets) - and so we were directed by a local lady to a corner shop that sells coffee, cigarettes, local cherries and freshly whipped before your eyes malyukh (Druze flat bread that is baked on top of a saj - an iron dome much like an upside down wok) on top of open fire. The bread is baked only on one side, than folded and smeared with generous amounts of labneh (soft cheese made from strained yoghurt), za'atar mixture, and homemade hot sauce that I swear was spiked with cinnamon. We were also offered black tea "on the house" which turned to be fragrant with "Ootra" - Arabic for the popular Pelargonium graveness. The lady was impressed with my Arabic (very basic, but still better than nothing) and even more so that I recognized what she put in the tea and know the Arabic name for it.
I chatted her up as I was munching on the malyukh and sipping the tea, and learned that while Majdal Shams is not as big as Yirka - it is a lot more "modern" to her words. There is a high percentage of post-secondary education, most of which was acquired in Syria, where up until the civil war was offered for free to all Syrian citizens. As a background - you should know that up until 1967, the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon, including the four Druze villages there - Majdal Shams, Mas'ade, Ein Kiniya and Buq'ata - were under Syrian rule, and their culture is quite different than what you'll find in the Galilee. One thinks of the border between Israel and Syria (sworn enemies since the establishment of the state of Israeli in 1948) as hermetically sealed, but in fact there was a dynamic flow of the Druze population between the countries - especially for weddings and for family reunions, but also for studying abroad. This lady's brother lived in Syria for many years - he went there to study medicine, got married and lived there until the war started, and then requested to return, and came back to Israel via Jordan with his wife and their children.
We finished our delicious breakfast, thanked the lady and crossed the street to where our car was parked, right in front of a bakery (the only other place that was already open by 9am). In front of it, two ladies sat on a bench and a couple of upside-down plastic grocery boxes, boiling water on a portable gas stove and sipping non other than mate from a dainty little jug. I was so astonished I could not hold my gasp of delight. In return, they offered me to sit down and join them, rinsing the bombilla with boiled water from the kettle and pouring fresh water over and over the mate to bring out the flavour time and again. I was so thrilled that even though we're only two hours drive from home, and are already experiencing new culture that is so different yet invites us to share a cup of tea together.
I had a couple of jugs of mate with them and thanked the big spirit that's in this world that encouraged me to finally set up on my tea journey.
|Tea with Pan|
When arriving in the arid, volcanic and mine-dotted land of the Golan Heights, it is hard to imagine that within it hides some of the most luxurious water resources of the country.
The strip of lush green in the midst of dead, dry grasses is in fact the creekside forest of the Banias creek. It is named after the Greek goat-god, Pan (Arabic does not have the letter "P" so it was replaced over the years with a "B" and stayed that way) , and the city of Panias that dwelled around its springs at the foothill of Mount Hermon (all the snow that melts penetrates the earth and comes out of these springs, and some others, into three creeks - Haztbani, Banias and Dan, which later joint forces to become the Joradn river). And inside that greenery hide sites such as this lovely waterfall:
We took two separate hikes, one to the Banias Fall (seen above) and another to the Banias Springs and the Temple of Pan. In contrast to the heat and dryness above the creek's canyon, it is hard to imagine a more befitting place for worshipping the green god Pan. You truly can feel the presence of the life force running through the creek, and even eighteen years in water-rich BC does not taint the wonder at such sight. The vegetation is spectacular, and includes side by side fig trees and Syrian maples, carobs, oaks and even ferns that grow alongside the pebbled creek and on the waterfall's rocks. There is a hanging trail there for part of the hike as well. And one more interesting point is a colony of rock hyrax that not only saw from up-close, but also smelled their dungy droppings - a mixture of civet, castoreum and maybe even a little bit of funky smell of goat droppings... you can see one of these creatures (a youngster) hiding among the carob tree's nooks and crannies, in the photo below. It looks a little bit like a squirrel because it is so blurry - but it does not have the typical long tail. Or any tail at all, for that matter.
Our second hike began at the springs of the Panias and the sacred area of the Temple of Pan which in fact are the ruins of three ancient Greek temples that were the core of the city of Panias): One for Pan, which is in the cave you can see in the photo of the springs, to which goats were sent as sacrifice, to ask Pan to bless the livestocks with fertility and health. Goats that disappeared in the river were considered to be received; those who left traces of blood were signs for trouble and prayers that were not accepted. Next to it was a temple for Zeus. And on the very far right - the temple and gravesite for the dancing holy goats. I am assuming these are the ones that were received as sacrifice. There are many other sites and remains along the Banias creek, namely a Druze prophet's graveyard at the top of the cave for Pan (Nabi Khader, which is their name for the prophet Eliyahu AKA Elijah), Agripas' palace, an old flour mill (operated by the creek), a synagogue, and more. The caves below formerly had statues of Pan and other gods and goddesses.
I was overjoyed by the wonderful smell of fig leaves, so green, fresh and slightly milky. The true scent characteristics of any watery area in Israel. And also there were maple trees, some reaching giant proportions, with many impressive hollows and hiding places. Fig leaves and cool creek's pebbles are a classic scent combination, made entirely by nature... I wish I could bottle that!
As we walked towards the old mill and Agripas' palace, we found a cool, shady spot to brew a cup of tea. And speaking of classic combinations: I brewed lemon verbena tea, and poured the concoction into my gourd to make a truly South American mate. Lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) also originates in Argentina. We enjoyed it with some halva and ka'akat isfar which I will tell you more about at a later post. My only regret is not having more cups and not inviting the American tourists that sat next to us to catch their breath. Something to think about for party.
|My Little Herb Garden|
The last two weeks I've delved right into exploring the medicinal wild plants that grow around here. For a short time I had a herbalist to show and share with me some of this wealth of plant wisdom. Now that this guide is gone, I'm lead only by the pleasantly infectious inspiration. There is an overwhelming abundance that is going to provide me with a lifetime of learning (according to Floral Palestina, this land is blessed with close to 2,700 species of wild plants!). I've been hiking in the surrounding areas and conservatively collecting branches for slips and re-planting in my little herbal garden. This of course will is part of the Perfumer's Botanical Garden I'm establishing around the studio.
I'm showing you the early beginning, although they look quite unimpressive on camera. In person they have the charm of new beginnings as well as virgin strip of land and stony terrain and distant view of the Mediterranean; I am also delighted by the gentle healing energy that emanates from the plants for those who connect to these types of being. And for those who find it more difficult to connect to plants that way - the scents that each provide speak for themselves. Even a little stroke on each plant will give off the scent and you can mix and match to create your own "finger perfume".
From the wild, I've adopted some amazing plants - both old and new to me, that grow on the mountain behind my house. So all in all, my botanical collection is rapidly growing - even beyond the original wishlist I've created. And I'm rather happy with it.
From my slip foraging, I managed to keep alive a couple of types of germanders - Cretan germander (Teucrium creticum), which looks a lot like rosemary but smells completely different - more like olive leaf, actually, and likewise has an intensely bitter taste; and cat-thyme germander (Teucrium capitatum), which has a sweet, almost resinous fragrant silvery foliage. The latter is highly medicinal and rivals only the local wild sage (Salvia fruticosa), more of the Savory of Crete (Satureja thymbra) and a similar plant, with an almost identical flavour and fragrance that has flowers with a structure similar to Lavandula dentata, which is called Spiked Savoury (Thymbra spicata). It would be difficult to find information online in English on many of these plants because they are unique to Israel. I've also adopted some cistus plants, although they are not the Cistus ladaniferus I am seeking but two other local species that are not as resinous, yet somewhat fragrant depending on the season. And I am crossing my fingers that two seedlings of bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) that my herbalist guide carefully uprooted from the wadi (dry creek) floor, will also survive and make it to the miniature forest I want to create behind the perfume studio. And most immortally - I am hoping that the two little twigs of Israeli Thyme (Coridothymus capitatus) that we found on the rocky North beach will grow up some roots and flourish. They are quite rare site here inland, and in fact a protected species. They have a striking look when they get mature and an intense yet slightly floral aroma that I love. It truly deserves a post of its own, with photos and all. Along with Origanum syriacum (also grown in my garden), the other varieties of thyme and savoury I mentioned before, some sumac and sesame seeds it forms the spice mixture called "Za'atar" that some of you may be familiar with from Lebanese grocery stores and Middle Eastern restaurants.
Naturally growing wild in my garden is also white horehound (Marrubium vulgare), a highly medicinal plant that grows in astounding abundance, several mastic bushes and probably more plants that I did not know were medicinal but will find out later. There are also still two plants that I found on the mountain to make slips that I haven't identified yet, so the search is not over. Lastly, I scattered seeds of blood helicrysum, a local wild plant (Helichrysum sanguinum) which I also hope will come out next winter. By that time I hope I will forget about it altogether so it will just be a pleasant surprise...
Lastly, to be fair and square, I promised to tell you which plants I put in from the nursery (the ones my brother brought me), so that you know if you guessed it right. They were several types of lavender (mountain Savory of Crete (Satureja thymbra), several types of lavender (Lavandula pinnate, L. dentate, L. angustifolia), one artemisia and - to my utmost excitement - two immortelles (Helicrysum italicum), often called "curry plant".
Also you should know, that among those who participated in this context, we got two worthy winners who will receive a sample kit of all my herbaceous fragrances, are Ruby Clover and Melissa Menard. The kit includes ArbitRary for the basil, Ayalitta for the sage, Immortelle l'Amour for the immortelle of course, l'Herbe Rouge for the lemongrass, hay and lavender and Lovender - which is quite obvious. I've also included a sniff-peak of Inbar, my new, wild-oregano infused amber concoction which is not even for sale quite yet :-)
Putting together the kits made me also realize how little attention I've been giving the herbaceous notes.
|ISIS declares Islamic state across Syria and Iraq; human rights group reports rebels being crucified||From CNN:Â Emboldened by a weakened Iraqi government that is struggling to stop their murderous advance, the extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria declared over the weekend that they have set up a caliphate spanning large areas of the two countries. In a newly released audio message and written statement, purportedly from […]|
|Missing nuns surface in video, deny being kidnapped||From Reuters:Â A group of nuns who went missing in Syria after Islamist fighters captured a Christian village this week have appeared in a video, saying they are in good health and denying that they had been kidnapped. The nuns were taken after militants seized the ancient quarter of Maaloula, a Christian village north of […]|
|Syrian rebels kidnap nuns||From the Associated Press:Â The mother superior of a Syrian convent says 12 nuns have been abducted by opposition fighters and taken to a rebel-held town. Febronia Nabhan, Mother Superior at Saidnaya Convent, said Tuesday that the nuns and three other women were taken the day before from another convent in the predominantly Christian village […]|
|âSyria is walking the Way of the Crossâ||Heartbreaking: Â Bombs, kidnapping and financial extortion are among the problems facing Syria’s Christians, the leader of the country’s Catholics told a meeting in Westminster Cathedral Hall. Speaking to more than 300 benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need, Patriarch Gregorios III â the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church â said: “Syria […]|
|âAlmighty eternal God, hear the cries of the people of Syriaâ¦â||A Prayer for the People of Syria Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion, the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope. Hear the cries of the people of Syria; bring healing to those suffering from the violence, and comfort to those mourning the dead. Empower and encourage Syriaâs neighbors […]|
|Pope on Syria: âDialogue and negotiation is the only optionâ||From CNS:Â Dialogue and negotiations are “the only option for putting an end to the conflict and violence” in Syria, said Pope Francis and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. As Western leaders expressed strong convictions that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack against its own citizens and vowed to take action, Pope Francis […]|
|âEnough, Enough, Enoughâ¦â: Powerful Video on the Plight of Christians in Syria||This is something to see, from Aid to the Church in Need. Â As described on YouTube: The promising future that the so-called Arab Spring foretold has become rather a nightmare in Syria: an escalating conflict that has forced thousands of Syrians to leave their country. Christian families in particular face a hardship reality in the […]|
|The Trappist nuns of Syria: âChristian hopeâ¦is stronger than all the horrorsâ||Eight years ago, a small group of Trappist nuns founded a monastery in Syria, in the countryside along the border with Lebanon. The atmosphere, while heavily guarded, remains tense.Â Why do they stay when every day puts their lives at risk? An Italian news service recently interviewed the sisters. Â Read the conversation here. Last fall, […]|
|Church says it has no information on kidnapped bishops, after group claims they have been freed||Â Â Details:Â Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox archdiocese said Wednesday it had no news on two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria, a day after a Christian association said the two men had been released. “We have no new information,” Ghassan Ward, a priest at the archdiocese, told AFP. “We can say that (as far as we know) they […]|
|Two Syrian bishops kidnapped||Aleppo, Syria Details:Â Sources in Syria report that the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Aleppo, Paul Yazigi, and the Syriac Orthodox archbishop of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim, were seized by âa terrorist groupâ as they were âcarrying out humanitarian work.â Reuters reportsÂ that âa Syriac member of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Abdulahad Steifo, said the two men […]|
|Families of jailed Turkish journalists shaken but determined|
Istanbul: Their imprisonment has torn families apart while the newspaper they work for is left without some of its brightest stars.
But the relatives and colleagues of jailed journalists from the Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet vow to continue to fight for their freedom and ideals.
"For nine months we have been living a nightmare, to be honest," said Nazire Gursel, wife of veteran commentator Kadri Gursel who has been in jail since October.
The hardest part, she said, was replying to questions from their 10-year-old son, Erdem.
"People tell my child, `Your father is a hero, he has done a lot for Turkey`," Nazire Gursel recounted.
"So, on the one hand he is proud, but on the other hand, he asks, `But why is my father in prison if he is a hero? Who is his enemy?`"
Since Monday, 17 journalists, executives and other staff of Cumhuriyet, a daily fiercely critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have been on trial accused of supporting "terrorist" organisations.
Secular Cumhuriyet ("Republic") daily, one of Turkey`s oldest newspapers, has built a strong reputation for publishing scoops embarrassing for those in power.
The newspaper rejects the "absurd" accusations and claims the trial is aimed at damaging one of the country`s last independent media outlets.
The experience has united journalists` relatives and their free colleagues who come to court together, and who sometimes go in groups to Silivri prison on the outskirts of Istanbul with a minibus chartered by the newspaper.
Nazire Gursel goes to Silivri every Friday. "I had never been to Silivri before my husband`s incarceration. When I arrived there for the first time, I told myself `it looks like a Nazi camp`, she told AFP.
"It is a really scary place."The trial gave family members the chance to see their loved ones outside of prison, where visits are confined to an hour and take place behind bulletproof glass.
"We at least have the chance to see or hear them without a window between us, to hear their voice directly without using a telephone," said Yonca Sik, the wife of Ahmet Sik, one of Turkey`s most famous investigative journalists who is also jailed.
According to her, conditions in prison have hardened since her husband`s last incarceration- in 2011, he was imprisoned after writing notably one of the few full-scale investigations into the group of Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen is a US-based cleric who Ankara accuses of ordering last year`s failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"They are in isolation, that is especially the hardest," she told AFP in front of the Istanbul courthouse where the staff is on trial. Among them, 11 are in pre-trial detention.
"They take them away from the people they love, their work and it`s clearly an injustice, persecution," one of Cumhuriyet`s lawyers Efkan Bolac said.
"It`s torture for the accused."Beyond the impact on families, the incarcerations have hurt Cumhuriyet: the paper`s chairman, Akin Atalay, and its editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu are currently in prison.
"For nine months, Cumhuriyet has faced troubles. Nearly all of its senior executives have been imprisoned as well as many writers," the daily`s Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul said.
Gul himself was sentenced last year for five years for "revealing state secrets" after a front page story claiming to show the government sending arms to rebels in Syria in May 2015. He is appealing the sentence.
"We are paying a heavy price but we continue to publish the newspaper," Gul said, adding: "Cumhuriyet has not changed its editorial line."
Nazire Gursel says she does not regret the work that her husband did which caused him to be behind bars. "I`m immensely proud of him."
The judge is likely to decide on Friday whether or not to release the accused for the rest of the trial.
"Turkey is no longer a state of law, but there are still people who are fighting for democracy, for justice," said Yonca Sik, pointing to the demonstrators gathered in front of the court.Â
"And that, of course, gives me hope."
Facebook Instant Article:
|2016: 122 journalists killed globally, 5 in India|
New Delhi: As many as 122 journalists and media professionals were killed in 2016 globally, 93 of them in targeted killings and others in natural disasters and accidents, while India witnessed death of five scribes and was eighth on a list topped by Iraq, according to a new report.
The targeted killings, including murders, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents, span 23 countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East and Arab World regions, said International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in its annual report released Friday.
The IFJ said the number (93 targeted killings) was down from 112 targeted killings in 2015 while Iraq still had the largest number of media killings with 15, ahead of Afghanistan (13) and Mexico (11).
These were followed by Yemen (8), Guatemala (6), Syria (6), India and Pakistan (5 in both), according to the statistics published by the largest global federation of journalists' trade unions.
In addition to the 93 targeted killings, 20 Brazilian sports journalists perished in a plane crash over the city of Medellin in Colombia, a country where for the first time in many years no killing was recorded this year, against three in 2015. Nine Russian journalists were killed in a military plane crash.
Although the 2016 figures for targeted killings of media professionals are down from the previous year's, the IFJ has cautioned against complacency citing reports of rising threats, intimidation and self-censorship as evidence that attacks on freedom of expression remain at critical levels.
In India, Tarun Mishra, Bureau Chief of Jan Sandesh Times, died on 14 February; Indradev Yadav, Journalist with Taaza TV, on 16 May; Rajdeo Ranjan, Bureau Chief of Dainik Hindustan on 13 May; Kishore Dave, Bureau Chief of Jai Hind on 22 August and Dharmendra Singh, Correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar on 12 November, the report noted.
In 2015, India had reported targeted killings of six media professionals, including those from news channel Aaj Tak and Hindi daily Dainik Jagaran, the report states.
Noting that India along with Yemen, Pakistan and Syria form a group which saw little or no change in the numbers of killings from 2015, IFJ President Philippe Leruth said, "Any decrease in violence against journalists and media staff is always welcome but these statistics and the continued deliberate targeting of media workers in many incidents causing loss of life give little room for comfort nor ground for hope to see the end of the current media safety crisis."Â
The IFJ, which claims to represent more than 6,00,000 journalists in 140 countries, has recorded at least 2,297 killings of media professionals in targeted assassinations, cross-fire incidents and bomb attacks till 2015.
Facebook Instant Article:
|Resolution 2328 to deploy United Nations observers in Aleppo||The Security Council, Recalling all its relevant resolutions, especially 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015) and 2286 (2016); Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic; Alarmed by the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Aleppo and by the fact that urgent [...]|
|Inherent Resolve Strikes Target ISIS in Syria, Iraq||Inherent Resolve Strikes Target ISIS in Syria, Iraq From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release ...|
This is an article summary only. Click on the article's title to enjoy the complete article
|Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists in Syria, Iraq||Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists in Syria, Iraq From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release ...|
This is an article summary only. Click on the article's title to enjoy the complete article
|Comment on Guestbook by Freja Amanda Langevang||I stayed in the Guesthouse for about 1 month from March - April. This was my second stay in the Guesthouse, and again, I give both CYC and the Guesthouse my very best recommendations. This time I had the honor of living together with a Syrian, a British and three Italians. Since my last stay, there's been installed Solar, which means that there is now electricity 24/7 in the Guesthouse :) As always, I was welcomed by the staff and the residents of Shatila, and it was an amazing month of great experiences. When living in Shatila, I recommend that you do all of your shopping in the camp. When buying groceries, falafel or new shoes, one always end up with a new friend and amazing, real-life stories from the residents of Shatila <3 Freja, Denmark.|
|Thought for food.|| Like eating brains? I know you do. Why not add some new dishes to your collection of recipes that use the "fifth quarter?" Despite some negative cultural stereotypes, the practice of eating brains is common in cultures all over the world:
Kat-a-Kat is a traditional Pakistani dish containing brains
Maghaz Masala is an Arabic course
Here is a recipe for Toscano calf brains
In France they are known as Cerveaux
Chef Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo serves a popular lamb's brains ravioli
Sesos in Mexico
Some great recipes for Spanish Tortilla Sacromonte
Fried brain sandwiches can be found in St. Louis and the Ohio River Valley
Australian Slippery Bob
This recipe for carpetbag steak would be great with some brains subbed for the oysters
Here is an ancient Roman recipe for calf's brains custard
German brain soup and brains au gratin
Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanian recipe for brain omelets
Vegan Mock Brains
You may be wondering if eating brains is entirely safe. Besides being high in cholesterol, the brain is the main area where prions known to cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathy congregate in the body. In cows it's called Mad Cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), Scrapie in sheep, and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and other wild game. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Kuru are two forms of spongiform encephalopathy in humans. Kuru was intensely studied among the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea from the 1950's to the 70's and it was determined that the high instances of it in the tribe were due to their ritual endocannibalistic funeral practices. It has been posited recently that a resistance to prionic diseases may have been selected for in our ancestors, suggesting that cannibalism was not uncommon.
Also of interest to cephalovores may be the effects of aerosolizing pork brains and inhaling them, as were recently demonstrated in a pork plant in Austin, MN. |
|The travesty that is Australia's asylum seeker offshore detention policy -"If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here."|
It seems the truth will out.
After the United States completes its vetting of asylum seekers held in overseas detention by the Australian Government it is not obliged to take even one of those individuals U.S. immigration officials have examined.
In May 2017 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed 268 people had completed their second-stage security interview with US officials: 220 in Nauru and 48 on Manus Island.
U.S. immigration officials halted screening interviews and departed Nauru on 14 July 2017, two weeks short of their scheduled timetable and a day after Washington said the US had reached its annual refugee intake cap.
However, under the original agreement once that vetting is completed Australia becomes obliged to resettle between 20 and 50 people under a U.S. "Protection Transfer Arrangement" in Costa Rica set up to resettle refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Prime Minister Turnbull verbally changed that undertaking to an open-ended number of people the Trump Administration might be âvery keen on getting out of the United Statesâ.
There is no indication that the U.S. Government intends to complete its vetting of those detained on Nauru and Manus islands.
The Washington Post, 3 August 2017:
The Washington Post has obtained transcripts of two conversations President Trump had with foreign leaders: one with Mexican President Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto and another with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The transcripts were prepared by the White House but have not been released. The Post is publishing reproductions rather than original documents in order to protect sources. The reproductions below also include minor spelling and grammatical mistakes that appeared in the documentsâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
JANUARY 28, 2017 FROM 5:05 TO 5:29 P.M. EST.
Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?
I am doing very well.
And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?
He is a great mutual friend yes.
Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.
Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever â which I believe we can do.
I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.
That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate â it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing â it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.
Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken â I have been very open about it â is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down â the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.
Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent â but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true â and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.
Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.
Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else â and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem â you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this â I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said â geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardinoâs, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.
Can you hear me out Mr. President?
Yeah, go ahead.
Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States â this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.
Who made the deal? Obama?
Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose â 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people â none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.
Why havenât you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?
Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people â
That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.
This is our experience.
Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.
I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.
Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.
I stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, âyes, we can conform with that deal â we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vettingâ and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.
Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the worldâs greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.
With great respect, that is not right â It is not 2,000.
Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.
The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.
No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.
I would not be so sure about that. They are basically â
Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.
But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.
Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.
Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed â
Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?
That is the point I have been trying to make.
How does that help you?
Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.
Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?
Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.
Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?
Correct, we have stopped the boats.
Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardinoâs or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.
These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.
Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems â you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.
They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.
They were from wherever they were.
Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.
What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.
No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the peopleâs representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us â that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.
I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it â START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.
You will not.
Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.
You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.
I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessorâs deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.
Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?
[inaudible] this is crazy.
Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.
It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.
You can count on me. I will be there again and again.
I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.
Okay, thank you.
END OF CALL
* My yellow highlighting.
|Calling for local solutions to peace in Syria|
March 2016 marks the fifth anniversary of the war in Syria. After years of devastating conflict, the economy has been destroyed, countless lives have been taken and the population is exhausted. There is no easy answer as to how to begin to combat the difficult situation that Syrians find themselves in now â or in the near future. But the power of local organisations to determine and build that future is strong and must be given more attention, as a recent panel discussion hosted by the Overseas Development Institute highlighted.
|Super Hornet daje brawurowy popis nad lotniskowcem USA (WIDEO)||To wÅaÅnie taka maszyna zestrzeliÅa niedawno nad SyriÄ
Su-22 produkcji rosyjskiej. Efektowne akrobacje lotnicze i manewry wykonywane w peÅnym pÄdzie tuÅ¼ nad oceanem widziane zarÃ³wno z kamer zewnÄtrznych, jak i z kabiny pilota wielozadaniowego myÅliwca F/A-18 Super Hornet bÄdÄ
cego na uzbrojeniu USS Navy. Tym razem widzimy Horneta startujÄ
cego i lÄ
cego na pokÅadzie lotniskowca USS “Enterprise”, ...|
|Ask Me Anything: The GayMA You've All Been Waiting For|
Welp. It's Apocalypse Eve here at The Money Shot. G$ bumped Mrs. Ward...and Lacey I guess, out of the hot seat in a move that will never be forgiven. I bet Mrs. Ward would have had some boiling hot takes. But I felt the right thing to do was grant the slave master of this site his wish; An AMA done by your favorite blogger's favorite blogger. Enjoy.
Ace: I prefer the ol Facebook chat for the AMA's. I'm gonna send u the ones that got submitted so far first. Then send u the real gay ones after I'm drunk at beerfest. I would like you to ask G$ how many times on average he jerks off each week?
G$: What I do in the privacy of my own office bathroom stall is my business. More than zero...way less than hourly
Ace: How emasculated are you on a daily basis with a daughter, wife, and a beagle that gets picked on by other neighborhood toughs?
G$: Jesus Christ...this is obvz from Ide because only a childless shit-dick would think that baby gender actually matters. I'm not of 17th century British nobility so having an heir matters little. So to answer the stupid ass question, I feel fully masculine.
Ace: You eat steak medium well like a spade. Iceman prefers fanta. So, who is the bigger asshole when they walk into a Denny's; you or Iceman? (I was fucking dying when I first saw this question, well done)
G$: Iceman lives in Florida so we might have to go to Shoney's. I've eaten at Denny's once in the last 20+ years and it was 6 hours after visiting Prime. I ordered a burger that was 90% grease and I didn't eat it. But I also did not send it back because I was afraid what would come out next. Ice treats servers like filth so definitely he would be the bigger ass while I constantly apologize.
Ace: AMA for G$: Be real. How many times have you used that flesh light?
G$: You have to admit that it was a baller move to win the DFL and make Dut buy me a sex toy trophy. I don't have the exact number in my head but it isn't more than five times. It is more for show these days. But yeah, you shouldn't ever ask to touch it.
Ace: If you could bro out w/ any athlete, who would it be and why?
G$: Gronk. Easy. You are guaranteed getting laid by multiple skanks and will get shithouse drunk. I kept it in my race because I have no clue how I would handle going clubbing with black guys.
Ace: What songs would be included in a "faves of G$" playlist?
G$: I'm starting to get into Band of Horses as The Funeral is such an ELITE song. My iTunes account is packed with Big Tymers, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Tony Bataska songs for some reason but they do get better with each listen, and I'm down with Vance Joy. For my money, and I know that Iceman will agree, Hunger Strike by Temple of the Dog is the greatest song of all time.
Ace: Favorite and least favorite commenter?
G$: Favorite is Prime simply because it was this site that reconnected us after 20 years. It's cool when the Internet works in a positive way. Least favorite are those that quit. May their shit names never be spoken again.
Ace: That's a fucking copout response. Who is ur least favorite commenter
G$: Fine. Least is Cakes who just disappeared without even giving a sad excuse.
Ace: What was the ultimate deciding factor in shutting it down?
G$: You have no idea how much the garbage fucking trash NFL season hurt my soul. This was BAD. When you add in ohio Buckeyes winning as well, that did not help. Basically, I lost my passion for the craft (not Aaron Craft though because he is a faggot)
G$: By the way, original Coors is a rock solid cheap beer.
Ace: The banquet beer is white trash toilet water.
Ace: What's the best beer you've ever had?
G$: I am no snob on this but I've always loved a big ass stein of Spaten.
Ace: Are you sending me coordinates to a cock party?
G$: I don't think I am.
Ace: This was sent from you:
G$: I was unaware of this...I like our relationship where it is.
Ace: What's better, life without kids or with it better?
G$: That's a good question. You're definitely more busy with one in tow. Sometimes I miss my lazy ass weekends and nights out with the bros but I love having a kid. I don't expect the childless to understand this sentiment.
Ace: 2nd question from Drew: If you had to have sexual relations with one commenter or else your beautiful spawn would be shipped to Syria, who would it be?
G$: I want to go with a guy who has been there before and would be discreet. So spread dem cheeks, Dut!
Ace: Marry, Fuck, Kill: RG3, Big Ben, Travis Prentice
G$: Kill Ben that's easy. Marry Prentice. And I've been saying it a lot this year anyway but fuck RG3.
Ace: Your top 5 porn stars ever.
G$: 1. Jenna Jameson and the rest in no particular order are Gianna Michaels, Brooklyn Chase, Briana Banks, and pre-BBW Carmella Bing edges out Amy Reid and Tera Patrick
Ace: *Googles Brooklyn Chase* She's well equipped.
Ace: If you could pick one job for the rest of your life, what would it be? And it has to be a job...not lotto stud.
G$: Lotto stud seems pretty sweet but I've always liked the looks of Ron Swanson's gig on Parks & Rec. I think that he is the Parks Director. You hire good people and do nothing yourself. Plus, working for a city's Parks Department is enjoyable. I know from experience, dude. Also: rock star would be badass
Ace: Pick 1: Cavs title, Redskins title or Miami winning BCS Bowl. The one you pick happens, but the others are guaranteed not to happen for another 25 years.
G$: You mean that if I don't pick the Redhawks to win a BCS Bowl then they won't for 25 years? How horrible! I want Dan Snyder to die ringless so I'm picking the Cavs just so I can hold it over all those losers up there that they are winners because of me
Ace: If it were Redhawks win a Natty you would pick that....right?
G$: Yes I would pick a national title obvz
Ace: Another user submitted question: Where is Cakes?
G$: That's what I want to know. I ain't gonna beg but we deserve an explanation
Ace: Hall Pass: You can bang one chick with She$'s blessing and no guilt. Who is it?
G$: Dolph Lundgren but if he's too busy with Iceman, put me down for Anne Hathaway.
Ace: That's the worst choice ever.
Ace: Why did you start the blog?
G$: TUNE IN TOMORROW BECAUSE G$ BIG TIMED(NOT BIG TYMED) ME AND WILL ANSWER THAT TOMORROW.
Ace: Don't make me go all whiny Bobby Costas on you.
G$: Well, I need something for the finale, god dammit
Ace: How did you come up with The Money Shot as the name? What was the second choice for blog name?
G$: The name was part of a poll I conducted in the early days. TMS won while The Mustache Ride finished second. To be honest, I was pulling for the latter. Maybe 10 people voted so it was way more successful than a non-presidential general election.
Ace: What's your favorite Stube story?
G$: Stube memory - Every once in a while back in the not-married days, I would work the door. Burke used to bartend on Sundays so if it was a three day weekend, I would check IDs for him. Checking IDs is pretty boring so I used to fuck with people and accuse them of having fakes to see what they would do. One douche did not care for this move (it was a pretty obvious "I'm just fucking with you vibe") and told me to go fuck myself. So I frisbee flung his ID out into the middle of the parking lot and told him to never come back. It felt great.
Ace: That's fantastic.
G$: By the way, the Stube Door gig came with 40 bucks at the end of the night and all the beer/shots that I could drink. It was a GREAT job but probably not what Kempton wanted his door guy to do. Fuck him and the Seahawks.
Ace: What was the apex of The Money Shot? Like was there a time period where page views were really up and you thought you or TMS could go big time?
G$: Apex...I used to put together a lot of list posts before Buzzfeed killed lists forever that would get linked at a lot of the big boy sites. But the problem with the internet is that now days everything that you think of, someone has already done better. Five years ago, that wasn't necessarily the case. I think that my Sweatiest Coaches in College Hoops is the all-time traffic leader with something like 40K hits in one day...The part about where I envisioned the site to go is going to be a part of Wednesday.
Ace: What 3 posts would you say were your finest work? Or are you covering that tomorrow too.
G$: My God, you are asking me to pick three favorites out of 9+ years? This truly is a hard-hitting GayMA! The hardest one that I ever wrote was the day after my dog got hit by a car. That one was tough. Back when commenters getting married was fast and furious, I always enjoyed the pre-wedding day advice posts. And I think that my favorite post here was when I ran Denard through Gruden's FFCA segment. Also: The BRAHs 4 Life.
Ace: A late commenter question: Ask him what he plans to do to fill the void of ego inflation from internet trolls?
G$: That's a thing that I am concerned about. I am the Slumlord of Baltic Avenue here. Once the slum closes tomorrow, then what? I pretty much only have one goal left anyway and that is to get TBone fired from The Fan.
Ace: How about what was your favorite post of mine and Ice? Or at least the one that sticks out above the rest of Icemans cock jokes?
G$: Will you ever live down May The Forcier Be With You? I think not. It was not your best effort but no one will ever forget it. I always enjoyed Iceman and I's mock drafts and, without him going to the Friday's on Airport Hwy every night, we would have never met the Harbaugh Boys as who they really are.
Ace: I need to go back and read that post. Tater really fucked me there. Also, I actually own a shirt that says "May the Forcier be With You".
Ace: Top 3 Big Tymers songs?
G$: 1. #1 Stunna 2. Rocky 3. Big Ballin...not a big fan of Still Fly for some reason.
Ace: Why does everybody hate Dut?
G$: He's a weasel that openly brags about groomed stubble
Ace: As I'm in the middle of cooking a feast right now, What is the best meal you could make?
G$: I work well with pork and I'm good with seasoning. Put me down for a grilled Cajun chop with bacon and cheese rotini as a side. I make that shit from scratch. Roux brah!
Ace: What do you really think happened to Cakes? My theory is he went into mourning after Ice left for Florida and couldn't take having Internet TAEKS with him and not being able to touch his face.
G$: Probably something simple like he's too dumb and felt inadequate around such brilliant takesmiths
Ace: Are you afraid of Mrs Ward? I am.
G$: Nah she married a turd sandwich.
Ace: Why aren't you protecting your dog?
G$: I wish I knew. Someone remind me in the comments to bring closure to that story. I come off like a stud.
Ace: I have my doubts.
Ace: Any sage advice for me as I am 5 months away from fatherhood?
G$: Honestly, it's easier than you think. I am NOT saying that it's easy but I built it up in head as worse than a lifetime hourly convo with Jeff but it's not. Keep a level head. Shit is going to happen. Also, do not seek to watch your kid come out. You don't want that.
Ace: I decided long ago that I would not move below the waist when it was time. No man needs to see that.
Ace: Would you ever move back to Naptown?
G$: I highly doubt it. I've long grown out of my fondness of small town America. And I don't need the in laws showing up unannounced.
Ace: Who do you predict will show up for Ribfest?
G$: The usuals will be there. Dut won't. I'm calling two Sauls and Lacey to bring one of not both of his bro in laws
Ace: Do you ever get tired of being called a ginger/lacking a soul?
G$: Someone get this n-word an urban dictionary. One of the many kids he left behind might have one.
Ace: I'll take that as a yes.
Ace: What's your favorite app on your phone, other than PROBOARDS.
G$: My least favorite is espn. Twitter is the best. I was so wrong about it.
Ace: What is the first thing you do when you get home from work?
G$: I work out. Get it over with before my ladies get home and I need to focus on being a mediocre husband and father
Ace: What sports team do you hate the most, other than the Redskins?
G$: Dallas Cowboys
Ace: How many times can you wear dress pants before washing them? Not being able to wear sweatpants to work is really throwing me off.
G$: Twice on the pants. Jeans can go weeks
Ace: That's fucking absurd. I'm wearing dress pants at least 6 times before they get washed, or drycleaned, right IDE?
Ace: How many people have touched your b-hole?
Ace: I think we've hit on just about everything. Anything else you would like to add?
G$: Nah. I'm good.
Ace: It was my pleasure allowing you to pleasure me in this interview
|Media and Civil Society in Syriaâs Evolving Conflict||The conflict in Syria is being presented to the international community through a complex mix of state, opposition, international and local media sources. Individuals and NGOs in Syria have also effectively used social media to show the world the horrors of the conflict. As the crisis has evolved, so too have the ways in which […]|
|Iran to launch Syrian mobile operator||Syrian government plans to grant a mobile licence to Iran to expand economic ties between the two countries|
|And the Oscar goes to...|
Alla vigilia lo avevano dato in rimonta su "Brokeback mountain": "Crash" di Paul Haggis ha vinto la statuetta di miglior film strappandola alla pellicola di Ang Lee, premiato come miglior regista. Miglior attore protagonista Philip Seymour Hoffman per "Capote". Miglior attrice Reese Whiterspoon per "Quando l'amore brucia l'anima". Nulla di fatto per Cristina Comencini candidata nella sezione miglior film straniero con "La bestia nel cuore".
"Brokeback Montain" e "Crash" ottengono tre statuette ciascuno, colonna sonora e migliore sceneggiatura non originale, al primo e montaggio e sceneggiatura originale al secondo. Un anno fa Hollywood scelse un altro film controverso, il capolavoro del conservatore Clint Eastwood "Million Dollar Baby" che racconta una storia di eutanasia.Â
L'Oscar alla carriera, giÃ annunciato da tempo, Ã¨ stato consegnato al regista Robert Altman che ha fatto il possibile per ricordare ai colleghi della Academy di essere ancora in piena attivitÃ , a teatro e al cinema. Ha sottolineato di avere subito un trapianto di cuore, lasciando con il fiato sospeso il Kodak Theatre: "Nel mio
|OSCAR 2006...DOMENICA I RISULTATI|
Ecco a voi l'elenco completo di tutte le nominations agli Oscar 2006, divisi per categoria.
MIGLIOR FILM STRANIERO:
ATTORE NON PROTAGONISTA:
ATTRICE NON PROTAGONISTA:
MIGLIOR LUNGOMETRAGGIO DI ANIMAZIONE:
MAKEUP LE CRONACHE DI NARNIA: IL LEONE, LA STREGA E L'ARMADIO
Â MIGLIOR CANZONE:
Â MIGLIOR CORTOMETRAGGIO DI ANIMAZIONE:
MIGLIOR CORTOMETRAGGIO FICTION:
|Golden Globe 2006|
Ecco tutti i vincitori...la corsa agli Oscar Ã¨ cominciata...
|When Elmo And Big Bird Talk To Refugees||Elmo and Big Bird have lots of experience teaching children everything from the ABCs to autism. Soon, they could be bringing smiles â and education â to millions of refugee children forced from their homes in Syria, Iraq and other war-torn countries. But first, Sesame Workshop is doing its homework. In partnership with the International Rescue Committee, Sesame producers and early-childhood experts are soliciting guidance and feedback from relief organizations, trauma experts, academics and others who have worked with refugees. They'll also be making research visits to refugee camps in Jordan. According to the IRC, of the 65 million people displaced from their homes worldwide, more than half are children. "And certainly I think it's fair to say there are no more vulnerable people in the world than these refugee families and kids," Jeff Dunn, the CEO of Sesame Workshop, told a small crowd at the nonprofit company's New York headquarters recently. Sesame's goal is to develop new content |
|Se l'Italia fosse la Siria||Cosa succederebbe in Italia se ci fosse un conflitto paragonabile a quello della guerra civile siriana?|
Ecco una infografica importante che traspone le cifre della guerra nel nostro paese e fa capire a colpo d'occhio cosa sta passando il popolo siriano.
Read more Â»
|Reconciliation and Peace in the Middle East|
Let us ask ourselves forthrightly, which is the driver of human progressâtotal victory or reconciliation?
Imagine if current flashpoints in world politics - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Shia-Sunni divide, or the Syrian civil war, for instance - were to end in the total defeat of one side? The loss to human civilization would be so catastrophic that the mere thought of such a scenario should make even the most irrational actors think beyond narrowly-defined self-interests.
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|The Virus - An Ultra Lite Novel|
The Virus (An Ultra Lite Novel by Howdy)
This Monday started like most any day but would end anything but
typical. The Weather Channel forecasted mild atmospheric conditions
(even for November) but unfolding events would soon challenge and
startle mankind as never before.
In an elaborate government building somewhere in Rome, a multitude
of dedicated world renowned computer and technology experts studied
The Virus that had already secretly infected 98% of the planet's
computers in its first stage. Up to this point, none outside this edifice
had ascertained the existence of the silent menace.
In Jerusalem, heavy crowds were milling around The Dome of the Rock,
the third holiest site to Muslims worldwide. On the other side of the
Wall, a larger than expected crowd of Jewish worshipers prayed even
as portions of the wall continued to collapse.
In New York City, the Stock Market opened slightly higher while
down in Washington - Pentagon officials poured their second cup
of Maxwell House Decaf. Further south, the last edition of The
Atlanta Journal was being prepared while further west, parents
turned toward their offices after depositing their children at school.
Work halted temporarily in the government building as the new
dynamic and charismatic leader's entourage entered. He spoke
over the JBL sound system. "Good associates, The Virus is
scheduled to be released as planned in two stages. Stage one as
you know affects all the world's primary computers while the
second will decrease the excess occupiers that have so strained
our fragile environment. Both will begin to take effect within the
hour thanks to your hard work." He will later become Time Magazine's
"Man of the Year".
Unexpected to those in Rome, The Wall in Jerusalem collapses and
thousands of Muslims lose their lives along with hundreds of Jewish
worshipers. The Dome of the Rock along with all nearby buildings of the
Islamic Faith disappear into rubble. Within moments a very great riot
commences with each side blaming the other. Syria (with Iraq's lost
WMD) & Iran ready their hidden nuclear arsenal.
With a new surprising show of unity in Beijing, Hanoi, Jakarta, Tokyo,
Pyongyang, New Delhi along with other Far East capitals, 200 million
multi-asian troops are placed on alert. Moscow prepares its revived
army for an eventual march south....very far south.
Stage one hits Wall Street, the Pentagon, Main Street and homes
across America as well as the entire Western World. Business stops
as all funds - the complete wealth of the Industrialized World - is
transferred by computer virus via the web to Rome. All modern military
weapons are now under the new leader's absolute command as well as
the world's media (Rule of Rome once again).
As the second stage of The Virus is released, millions will become sick
and die with a highly infectious disease stronger that the SARS & Ebola
viruses combined. Fortunately for some, certain large groups of people
have been quietly immunized earlier. Millions of Christians disappear at
5 PM EST (Midnight in Jerusalem) virtually unnoticed because of the
pandemonium. The controlled media is not allowed to print this story.
The President is declared lost because Air Force One is down over the
Atlantic according to managed reports but did his aircraft ever leave
Andrews Air Force Base? Is this a cover up from Rome to perhaps hide
his evanescence also? Other prominent members of the President's
Party are missing but from the other side? Exiguous.
This disappearance will go virtually unnoticed because of the manipulated
media and its potentate who controls also the world's assets & armaments -
the ultimate coup d' tat - all without a shot being fired. He will woo the planet,
restore peace to the Middle East for a short time with false promises of pro-
tection as well as rebuild a new Jewish Temple on the destroyed site. The
Islamic world will cheer because their faith has expected this great new leader.
With an appearance before nearly all mankind live on all media (TV, radio, &
even computers on-line), men, women, and children are mesmerized. Stay tuned...
After The Return of The King:
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall
not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they
learn war anymore.
|Central Falls Mayor Diossa Calls for More Syrian Refugees||Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, has joined mayors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 14 other cities in saying they are ready and willing to accept even more refugees than the Obama administration has proposed. In a letter to the president, the mayors said, ``We will welcome the Syrian families to make homes and new lives in our cities.ââ ``Indeed, we are writing to say that we stand ready to work with your administration to do much more and to urge you to increase still further the number of Syrian refugees the United States the United States will accept for resettlement,ââ the letter stated. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake all signed the letter. ``We have taken in refugees, and will help make room for thousands more,ââ stated the letter. ``This is because the U.S. has developed a robust screening and background check that assures us that|
|Sacred Music From Syria||Erik Hillestad is the founder of a Norwegian record label called Kirkelig Kulturverksted, or KKV. He just wound up a two-year project in which traveled to the Middle East and made recordings of sacred music of both the Christian and Muslim faiths. The result is a CD entitled “Syrian Prayers: Sacred Music from Bilad Al […]|
|Weekend Reading: Mosul's Troubles, the Legacy of the Algerian Civil War, and Syria's War Economy||Nawzat Shamdeen|
|Syrian Dust: Reporting from the Heart of the War||
author: Francesca Borri
average rating: 4.42
book published: 2014
date added: 2017/05/30
|A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution||
author: Samar Yazbek
average rating: 3.91
book published: 2012
read at: 2017/05/28
date added: 2017/05/28
|A Muslim's Top 10 Wishes for 2016|
This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post on January 3, 2015. You can find the original article by clicking here or on the title.
|Application for Middle East Correspondent|
On December 16, the Los Angeles Times posted an opening for a new Middle East Correspondent.
The Los Angeles Times is looking for a seasoned reporter to cover the Middle East.After a week of contemplation I finally decided to apply. Here's my Cover Letter. Please wish me luck!
I consider myself seasoned - well at least lightly seasoned- especially at the time of the holiday season, and so I thought why not: maybe I should apply to be the Middle East Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. What can I tell you - I have always loved living in the Middle East ever since my first visit to Damascus in 2003. I have travelled from Baghdad to Agrabah and everywhere in between over the last decade or so. Along the way I too have learned to put things like "democracy" in quotes. Sometimes I put it in double quotation marks because "democracy" that is imported can become an even more interesting version of ""democracy."" But that is neither here nor there. I too agree with you that the only thing really worth covering in this region - besides the contested debate over Hommus in my humble opinion - are the "ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria" and the "turbulent progress of democracy in Egypt, North Africa, and the Gulf." What better way to ensure that the readers of the Los Angeles Times have an in-depth understanding of the region than to ensure they only hear about those specific issues? However, I know you are looking for "more than that" from the new correspondent. An accomplished writer? Sure let's check that box. Capable of plunging into ancient and dazzling cultures? I have been known to take the plunge but only rarely dazzle. By the way normally when someone refers to ancient and dazzling, I don't really think of the Middle East but maybe Jack Nicholson. Nevertheless I feel you about this place. I too love its "mesmerizing variety" and "deep intellectual history", topics that are almost superfluously covered in the pages of the LA Times.
Allow me at this point to pivot to what I think is my defining characteristic - and a key characteristic for anyone who writes about these Middle Eastern "dazzling cultures": my ability to understand "their capability for brutish violence." I know you are looking for a focus on ISIS insurgents and entrenched dictators but what about Jafar the sinister wicked Vizier? Or how about further afield, Scar and his brutish attack on Simba and Mufasa? Or Shere Khan - does anyone really understand why he went after Baloo? What caused him to choose violent extremism? I'm sorry, I digress. Getting back to the point: I am your man, your successful candidate. Just as the doctor ordered, I always avoid the office. I don't really wander the back roads - do you? What do you do there? Finally I wholeheartedly support your call: who needs to tally the mayhem when we can indulge on stories to give us the power to forget.
Should you find my candidacy deserving, please be in touch with me and I will fly my carpet right over for an interview.
|Malala Yousafzai and the Missing Brown Savior Complex||On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman accosted a bus carrying 15 year-old Malala Yousafzai and her schoolmates, and coldly shot them at close range. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan not only claimed responsibility for the blatant assassination attempt of the teenage education activist, but as it emerged that Malala would survive the attack, the movement also reiterated its desire to kill her. Miraculously through the efforts of friends and family, the local community in Swat Valley where she is from and where she was shot, and the Pakistani army that airlifted her to Peshawar, Malala Yousafzai survived (as did the other victims). Given the seriousness of her condition, it was imperative she was treated by the best doctors, and a generous gesture by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi allowed her to be flown by air ambulance to England for major surgery. Fast forward just one year later, Malala has recovered and is even more emphatic in her message against the Taliban, promoting the empowerment of young women like her across Pakistan, and all around the world. And expectedly, the global media, including The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, have been celebrating her courage (perhaps caught in the moment of it all).|
Great story, right? And what could be wrong about the alleged 'overexposure' of a young girl expressing words of peace and fighting for girls' education against a religious patriarchy? Apparently a lot. In fact, in Pakistan and in her hometown, her global coronation is treated with derision: "Malala is spoiling Pakistan's name around the world." Others have more sinister accusations of a CIA conspiracy involving both Malala and the gunman, claiming the entire affair is a Western plot. Yet, in recent days, an article written by a blogger in July on Huffington Post has been making the rounds on social media, entitled, "Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex." It argues, "Please, spare us the self-righteous and self-congratulatory message that is nothing more than propaganda that tells us that the West drops bombs to save girls like Malala."
The truth is there is no white savior coming for Pakistan or for any Muslim country, the vast majority of which are characterised by pernicious politics, inequitable economics, and irrational intolerance. Lecturing the chattering classes about geopolitical realties and distributing treatises on Western imperialism won't change anything. Fundamentally it will only be the indigenous leadership - helped or not helped by outsiders - that will drive change. Yet, when leaders do emerge, it seems that the local media (and now social media) are pre-occupied with tearing them down rather than building them up. People instead squander their energy on misguided diatribes, as the case of Malala has unfortunately shown. The real reason that the 'white savior complex' even is relevant is that we fail to champion the very 'brown saviors' in our midst.
Malala Yousafzai was thrust into the spotlight after her initial attack, which was so jarring that all Pakistani leaders came out in strong condemnation. Then Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari - himself a questionable character to say the least - labelling the attack as one against "all civilized people." Prior to the attack, Malala had rose to prominence as an activist, encouraged by her father, for girls education and against the policies and values of the Taliban, which was why she was targeted in the first place. Without picking up a gun, her message was considered a threat to their movement, which is amazing in it of itself. Yet, it was on July 12 earlier this year, speaking on her birthday to the United Nations that Malala brought tears to the eyes of millions of people around the world. Having remarkably recovered from her wounds (and having undergone partial facial reconstruction), and still facing death threats, Malala stood steadfast in front of a global audience, and spoke with fortitude and confidence: "The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."
It was such a powerful moment, that almost every international news outlet carried the speech of this young woman live across the world. And for the first time in a long time, the Pakistani and Muslim in the spotlight was not an extremist but someone standing up to extremism. The plaudits continued to come, especially in the last few weeks, as Malala released a book about her experience and was awarded the prestigious Sakharov Prize from the European Union. In fact, she was the rumored favorite for the Nobel Peace Prize, which in the end was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, in a surprise but perhaps deserving win. Of course, the Western media in particular have a penchant for over-hyping (if not over-milking) and over-sensationalizing such stories of heroism. And it will be very difficult for Malala to not only live up to such hype but also to prevent the perception that she is over-shadowing other deserving heroes. Yet, is that not the story of all figures of change who inspire us? Was Nelson Mandela really the only Black leader in South Africa's prisons? Was Martin Luther King Jr. the only individual marching in the South? Was Aung San Suu Kyi the only fighter for freedom in Burma?
It does seem increasingly, however, that Malala is a leader denied a strong constituency back home. It is easy to dismiss the allegations that she is a CIA agent - although the photo-op with the Obama's won't help - as well as the gloating of Taliban supporters after she was not awarded the Nobel Prize. Yet it is harder to dismiss the cacophony of criticism in Pakistan, in Swat Valley, and on the social media pages of Pakistanis, and for that matter, Muslims from around the world. As one government official said: "Everyone knows about Malala, but they do not want to affiliate with her." The primary complaints include the following:
As with most disinformation campaigns, this one is based on kernels of truth. For starters, the world does neglect the stories of deserving others. One such example would be of the tour-de-force Pakistani social worker Parveen Rehman who was shot dead in Karachi earlier this year. Additionally, it has been the Western media that has largely driven the popular support for Malala globally; that, however, has to be attributed to the dismal failure of the Pakistani media to not do so instead (in my humble opinion). Finally, and the most valid critique is that the story of Malala should not negate the very pivotal role the United States and the West has played and continues to play in creating the current perilous conditions in Pakistan and in contributing to the deaths of innocents there, and in other countries.
Firstly, U.S. policy has been heavily involved in the rise of the Taliban in Pakistan, which it tacitly supported alongside Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's intelligence service in the mid-1990s. Moreover, the United States and Saudi Arabia (and some other Western and Muslim powers) cooperated to support radical jihadism (even printing textbooks to that effect for Afghanistan) and Islamism as a bulwark against the Soviet Union and communism. In fact, Israel also supported the radical group Hamas as a counterweight to the secular Fatah movement of then Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Yes, the world was and is screwed up, and the powers of the world have much complicity in that.
Secondly, and more importantly, the military operations carried out by the U.S. in particular in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq have led to thousands of deaths of innocent people in recent years. These actions have largely gone unpunished and the victims have been forgotten. Certainly it is not just the Taliban that are killing and the world cannot dispense justice selectively.
Does saying all of that make Malala Yousafzai any less of a hero (or heroine)? Is her courage dimmed by the crimes of others? Is her movement for the empowerment of young girls in Pakistan any less important? Of course not. Criticisms of the West will bring no one closer to emancipation. And it cannot mask the very pure fact that today's purveyors of disaster and death in the world also include Muslims.
Who bombed the church in Peshawar slaughtering 85 worshippers? Who attacked Westgate Mall in Nairobi killing dozens of innocents? Who murders dozens of men, women and children in Iraq every week? When a Muslim rises up - a so-called brown savior - to fight such crimes and the movements behind them, we should put him or her on our shoulders and not try to chase that person into the darkness. There is no shame in admitting Brown and Muslim guilt in the world's crimes, and it does not negate the wider reality and context around the violence that does occur. In fact, our fear of partial guilt in particular should not misguidedly cause us to throw out the very sparse examples of (counter-) leadership in Muslim countries that emerge and strike fear in the heart of radical extremists.
It has become far too easy on all sides to blame the other rather than introspect inward. Above all, instead of blaming the West for its 'white savior complex' maybe it's time to develop our own brown savior complex to save ourselves from ourselves.
|Waiting for Obama: The Arab World and Intervention|
|The only road to peace in Syria||This article originally appeared on CNN.com and can be found at the link below.|
As has frequently been the case in the last two-and-a-half years, I found myself this past weekend caught in an intense conversation about the ongoing civil war in Syria. This time it was with a supporter of the al-Assad government. He was relentless, insisting that there was no choice but victory, at any cost, especially since the government has been facing foreign fighters from "83 countries."
It's a common refrain I've heard in different variations from all sides of the conflict -- there is no choice but victory. As the world debates the efficacy of a military strike against the al-Assad government in response to its use of chemical weapons on civilians, the fighting on the ground shows no signs of abating. It is clear that the Syrian people are caught between a zero-sum political game being played by the regime and rebels, and their respective backers.
Despite lofty rhetoric from a number of countries, diplomatic efforts towards a political solution should have been more vigorous.
Calling for an immediate cease-fire on all sides is the only path towards peace. But will the United States and other key players go down that road?
Please visit CNN for the full article.
|10 Questions on the Conflict in Syria||A potential military strike by Western powers on Syria now appears to be a fait accompli and is being touted as long overdue. Given the spiralling humanitarian disaster that has overtaken the country during the last two years of conflict, continued inaction appears to be an untenable reality. The death toll is now well over 100,000 (although the proportion of civilians to combatants is unclear). There are 2 million refugees, half of whom are children, and over 4 million more internally displaced persons (IDPs), amounting to a quarter of the country's overall population. Yet, it was the apparent chemical weapons attack in the suburbs around Damascus known as Ghouta last week that has served as the impetus for international military intervention into the conflict. Amidst the rhetoric and war rehearsals, clarity on what is really happening seems to be cast aside in the media, in favor of faux-spontaneous leaks, retired generals, and trumpeters of past wars. Here are ten questions to try to set the record straight.|
1. Were chemical weapons used in Syria?
When the initial attack unfolded last Wednesday, August 21 in the suburbs in Damascus known as Ghouta (near the town/suburb of Jobar), news quickly spread to local, regional and international media. Claims were made of hundreds of deaths, with some activists claiming the death toll was 1,300. Moreover, the Government of Syria immediately denied responsibility and has continued to do so. However, the attack did unfold amidst a series of army strikes on Jobar, which is a rebel-held area, and has been for quite some time. The Government conversely claimed to find chemical weapons supplies in tunnels in the same area, and it is alleged that some Hezbollah fighters were also exposed to chemical toxins.
A week on, it appears incontrovertible that chemical weapons were used, not just from YouTube videos but also from visits by independent journalists, and of course by a report by MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res that has documented at least 355 deaths from local hospitals. It is likely that the chemical agent used was a neurotoxin or nerve gas, most likely sarin gas. What is still not clear, is how they were delivered (i.e. in what form and carried on what type of weapon) and from where.
It should also be kept in mind that this was not the first attack that has been alleged. There have been numerous claims by rebels, and counter-claims by the government on the use of chemical weapons in the conflict. Here's a map of those events. In fact, this is precisely why the team of UN inspectors had arrived in the country, the day before this latest incident (and massacre) took place. In fact, what is interesting is that their investigation of other sites has now been put on the back-burner due to the latest developments.
2. Do we know who actually used the chemical weapons?
The United States, United Kingdom, and France have all stated they are certain that the Government of Syria has undertaken the attack last week. On the U.S. side, at the forefront of the rhetoric has been Vice President Biden - who has said there is 'no doubt' - and Secretary of State John Kerry, who made an evocative plea for action several days ago. Of course, the next speech is the most important, and it would be one made by President Barack Obama. In light of this certainty, it would be difficult to question the attribution of blame. A leak from the US government also claims to have intercepted a murky call between commanders in the Syrian army that supposedly is evidence of culpability on the Syrian side.
There is tremendous reason to doubt U.S. claims. Firstly, it should not be forgotten that then Secretary of State Colin Powell presented ironclad evidence to the United Nations Security Council of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that Saddam Hussein possessed, a finding that was later proven to be utterly false, but which was the basis of a war that continues until today. Secondly, the U.S. claimed that there was incontrovertible proof that the Government of Syria was responsible for earlier chemical attacks this year, but that finding has been contested, and some experts apportioned blame to the rebels fighting the government. And finally, in this case, no evidence has been presented, as of yet to make such a determination, at least not conclusively.
Does that mean the Assad and his regime are not responsible? No. It is very likely given the ongoing military operations in the same area that the Syrian government launched such an attack. Yet, more evidence needs to be presented to make a definitive conclusion. The other scenarios that could be possible are:
- Extremists groups like Jubhat al-Nusra, who have previously seized advanced weaponry and possibly chemical weapons from Syrian army bases and positions, were attempting to use them on Syrian soldiers (or conversely to cast blame on the Syrian army);
- The Government of Syria inadvertently hit a stockpile of sarin gas releasing the toxins (although unclear if this would lead to the effects that we've seen); or
- Rogue elements within the chain of command used chemical weapons intentionally or inadvertently.
Russia, Iran and China have of course cast doubt on western claims but that is to be expected.
3. What would be the basis or justification for US intervention?
The U.S. intervention would likely be on the basis of Obama's previously stated red line on Syria, which would be the mass use/movement of chemical weapons. It is not in fact about humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect framework, developed in the 1990s to prevent genocide and mass civilian deaths. If it was, then the humanitarian case for intervention has been present for some time, and other massacres by the Syrian regime, such as in Houla in 2012, would have provided sufficient pretext. Obviously, the U.S. and other Western powers, and regional countries, have their own interests at play that are much more geopolitical in nature, but the justification or casus belli being offered is around the issue of chemical weapons, and chemical weapons alone.
4. Will anybody else be involved in the military strikes besides the US and will this affect whether they are 'legal'?
Given Russian and Chinese opposition, and a likely veto of any resolution by the United Nations Security Council supporting such a military strike on Syria - especially in light of the intervention in Libya, which Russia regretted supporting - a 'coalition of the willing' will need to be developed. This coalition would be broader than the Iraq War in 2003, and would be similar to the coalition carrying out the strikes against Serb positions vis-a-vis Kosovo in 1999. While the U.S., U.K. and France will likely lead an effort, Turkey would also be critical as a staging ground (as it borders Syria from the North), and thus there will be an attempt to launch such an attack under the auspices of NATO. Despite its reluctance, Jordan, given its reliance on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia politically and economically, will have no choice but to support . The two other neighbours of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are squarely against any military strike. And of course, the other neighbor - Israel - would sit this one out but would provide intelligence to the U.S. and other parties on Syrian positions, given that it has already undertaken a number of air strikes on Syria in the past two years.
Further afield, it is likely the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) will support military intervention, with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates possibly sending fighter jets to participate in a strike to give it regional cover and credibility. Finally, while many groups within the Arab and Muslim world, and the 'left' of the West, will oppose military intervention, many others will support it, because of the spiralling humanitarian situation in Syria.
Technically speaking if the military intervention is not sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, and there is no imminent threat that the U.S. and other parties can point to towards its own territory or its assets, it would be illegal under international law. However, that has not stopped NATO or other countries (i.e. Russia in Georgia) form undertaking military action in the past. And before the Iraq War, some scholars claimed that while such an attack would be illegal it would be legitimate, and demonstrated retroactively to be legal. Given the state of world affairs, 'legality' is likely not a determining factor for a strike on Syria.
5. Are we seeing a repeat of Iraq in 2003?
No. The situation today with Syria is different than it was in 2003 in Iraq, for many reasons, despite some passing similarities. In Iraq, the U.S. claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction while in Syria, we already know Bashar al-Assad possesses chemical weapons, and the question is whether he used them (small aside, it was released this week that thirty years ago, the U.S. obstructed a UN investigation when it knew Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons). In Iraq, the U.S. alleged that Saddam Hussein had links with Al Qaeda (and related groups), while in Syria, Bashar al Assad is widely acknowledged to be fighting Al Qaeda (and related groups) in addition to the 'Free Syrian Army' (and in addition to crushing peaceful demonstrators). In Iraq, there was no active state of conflict that was leading to a spiralling humanitarian catastrophe (and the potential use of WMDs), while in Syria there is not just a violent conflict, but also WMDs have been used by somebody (even if the culprit is not yet clear).
What should be noted, however, is that both Iraq in 2003 and Syria in 2013, are in complex environments, and any removal of government or sustained military intervention would have dramatic unforeseen consequences. It seems like the media debate in the U.S. is also similarly anaemic (but slightly better) this time around.
6. What is the real motivation for the United States and other powers?
As with all things in this world when it comes to international relations, the primary interest is not humanitarian but geopolitical. This is not absolute, however, and it could be argued that Turkey has been insisting on humanitarian intervention from an early stage. However, the regimes (not peoples) in the Gulf, most notably Saudi Arabia, are exclusively concerned with dislodging Syria from the Iranian orbit, and severing connections between Syria and Hezbollah. Humanitarian concerns are a by-product. And for the United States, something similar is at play. As noted above, if this was about humanitarian concerns, action would have been taken long before 100,000 deaths had occurred.
For the U.S. it has been looking for regime change in Syria for a while. However, these strikes if they occur, will be about sending a message and asserting America's position in the Middle East, given the red line that Obama drew. Ultimately, it may tip the scales in the rebels favour or improve the U.S.'s negotiating position vis-a-vis Iran. The chemical weapons attack in a morbid way, opened a door of opportunity for Western powers (with GCC support) to do something limited without a full-scale intervention.
7. Will military intervention solve the Syrian conflict?
No. Military intervention no matter how small or how big will not solve the Syrian conflict. In fact, it could very much exacerbate the situation on the ground even further (if that can be imagined). What is being reported currently is that the U.S. and allies will undertake a series of 'surgical strikes', a euphemism for a large-scale assault on key military and strategic installations, such as army positions, air bases, radar installations, communications infrastructure, supply routes, and, where appropriate, power stations (among other targets). More than anything this will be intended to send a message to the regime and weaken its capabilities. Yet, it would not be a fatal blow. And it would not necessarily tip the scales in favor of the rebels. It may in fact mobilize certain parties to support the regime, if there are civilian casualties from the intervention.
The solution to the Syrian situation has to be political, if it is going to lead to stability or peace. Yet, if the military intervention escalated and led to the removal of the Syrian regime, that would still not be the end of the conflict. After the Soviets were booted out of Afghanistan, the country devolved into a civil war for five years until the rise of the Taliban in 1996. Somalia has only recently stabilised (somewhat), more than 20 years after the assassination of its leader, President Siad Barre. And neighboring Lebanon, took 15 years of conflict (1975-1990) to reach an end, which was brought about by ironically Syrian military intervention (which committed its own crimes), that produced a - audible gasp - political settlement.
8. What could potentially go wrong?
Everything. The potential for disaster following military intervention in any country is great (see Black Hawk Down, Iraq, Afghanistan and the list goes on). Yet, in Syria it could be apocalyptic. Here is a list of what that could entail:
- Chemical weapons are used by Syria against its neighbors such as Jordan and Turkey, or U.S. military positions in those countries;
- U.S. planes/helicopters are shot down leading to an escalation of U.S. involvement requiring boots on the ground;
- Syria sends a volley of missiles into Tel Aviv and other places in Israel, leading to a regional war;
- Proxy forces of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, launch a sustained campaign against Israel/U.S. interests, including attacks embassies within Lebanon/Palestine/Israel but also in other countries, in the short and medium-term;
- Al Qaeda forces in the region, while opposing the Assad regime, oppose U.S. intervention especially if there are masses of civilian casualties, and use it as a pretext for attacks in places such as Yemen;
- Russia objects to the U.S. strike, and mobilizes warships to the Mediterranean, leading to a standoff with Europe and the U.S.;
- Negotiations with Iran, still in embryonic stages are suspended irrevocably;
- Six party talks with North Korea are suspended by Russia, China, and North Korea irrevocably;
- The Syrian regime goes all out in its conflict and begins to bomb with even more abandon civilian areas controlled by rebels, leading to thousands of casualties, and counter-massacres by enraged rebel fighters;
- The Syrian regime is removed by force from power by the intervention, leading to a power vacuum sinking the country further into civil war for over a decade of even more violent strife and a possible Al Qaeda style government;
- Tensions rise in the Middle East, especially in places of sectarian division (i.e. Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia, and Iraq) leading to civil strife and attacks on governments, and counter-attacks on populations; and
- World War 3.
9. What could potentially go right?
It may seem that what is written above is slightly alarmist and that's true. Many things can go wrong (most of which, to be honest, are hard to predict as they will be unforeseen consequences or as Donald Rumsfeld, ironically calls them, unknown unknowns). However, the U.S.-led strikes could be quite effective. Firstly, if they are limited in scope, they can be completed in one day, reducing the risk for a military entanglement and civilian casualties. Secondly, if they are from the air, there is limited risk for casualties on the side of the intervening forces. Thirdly, an attack that is forceful and hits Syrian military positions, will send a message to Assad that there is a limit to what he can do, which thus far has not been the case, and may entice him to reach a political settlement. Fourthly, it is unlikely that the Syrian regime would retaliate, for a short strike on positions, against Israel, knowing that they cannot afford to fight a war on so many fronts (and thus far they have yet to retaliate to any Israel air strike). Finally, the systematic destruction of Assad's air capabilities could be instrumental in limiting civilian casualties by the regime in the future.
All of this is one possibility of what could occur.
10. Let's cut to the chase - should I support or not support military intervention?
There is no clearcut answer. Ultimately, military intervention should not be supported as a solution to the Syrian conflict. It is not, and whether we like it or not, a political solution/settlement is the only way the current situation moves towards peace and stability. The U.S. is negotiating with the Taliban. The Vietnamese negotiated with the U.S. The Lebanese negotiated with each other. The Dayton Accords to end the Bosnian War were signed with Slobodan Milosevic. It may not be easy, it may be unlikely, and it will not work perfectly, but political discussions involving all parties is the only way to find a real solution.
That being said, if a case is made with overwhelming evidence by independent parties (not U.S. conjecture) that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime, then military intervention on a limited scale, and for a period of 1-2 days only, should be undertaken, ideally with UN support - and if not with broad support of half of the members, i.e. 90, of the UN General Assembly to demonstrate legitimacy - against military targets only, which will both send a message about the use of these weapons and damage the capabilities of Assad.
What is clear is that whatever happens, there are no clear answers with regards to the conflict in Syria.
|Hypernationalism, Islamism, and Fascism all En Vogue||This article appeared in Al-Monitor, where you can find the full version. |
Since the military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsiâs government in early July, the rhetoric by critics of the Muslim Brotherhood has been vitriolic and relentless. The campaign has sought to delegitimize the Islamist movement, and in fact, negate its Egyptian identity. Morsi himself has been charged with espionage and serving foreign interests. The general prosecutor has accused Muslim Brotherhood supporters of hiring Syrian and Palestinian mercenaries. Partisans of the army-led government, including some familiar âdemocracyâ activists, have repeatedly called for additional crackdowns on Islamists. More often than not, Muslim Brotherhood members are portrayed in juxtaposition to ordinary Egyptians, rather than among the people, and as a âcancerâ that must be removed at all costs.
As the Arab world continues to politically devolve following the revolutions of 2011, it seems that a new fascism is becoming en vogue. In many ways, a response to the rise of religious supremacy over the past three decades, the ideology is predicated on a foundation of hypernationalism whereby the state is paramount, and any intellectual contestation is met with rhetorical â if not legal â excommunication. As the dust settles, a shrinking political class of moderate Islamists and liberals are increasingly caught between these dueling ideologies and their proponents.
This religious supremacy, or Islamism, has its roots in the modern Middle East in a seminal work by Sayyid Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood leader imprisoned and executed in Egypt in the 1960s. In "Signposts along the Road" (or Milestones), Qutb intellectually grounds the rejection of fellow Muslims in a process of delegitimization, or takfir. This ideology went into overdrive with the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and the subsequent jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s, both of which laid the groundwork for Islamism as a modern political movement.
The continuum of Islamism has always been expansive, so it is sometimes hard to differentiate what constitutes the extremist elements of the political community as opposed to more moderate forces. In postâSaddam Hussein Iraq, the philosophy of takfir descended to a new level with the dehumanization of other Muslim groups, with authorization to kill those deemed takfiris. Yet, Morsi, allegedly a mainstream Islamist, sat applauding the same rhetoric targeting Shiites by preachers in relation to the Syrian conflict, illustrating how difficult it can be to draw distinctions.
With the rise of Islamism, most regimes in the region â lacking a real contesting ideology in response â felt compelled to peddle hollow exhortations of bygone regionalism, or pan-Arabism. Direct attacks on Islamism would have run the risk of alienating their Muslim populations. In this space and amid the tumult of the last two years during which Islamists have grown increasingly unpopular after ascending from the opposition to seats of power, religious supremacy has finally met its match â hypernationalism. In effect, takfir is now being opposed with takhwin, the delegitimization of opponents of the state as traitors of the national cause....
Read the full version here: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/08/violence-arab-nationalism.html#ixzz2crhOSTyD
|The Middle Eastâs New Divide: Muslim Versus Muslim|
This article appears on Al-Monitor.com, where you can find the full version.
On June 8, a devastating clash between residents and militia members erupted at the headquarters of the Libya Shield Brigade in Benghazi, Libya, leaving dozens dead and scores more injured. Meanwhile, the next day on the Sunday talk show circuit in the United States, amid continued partisan discussion of the September 2012 consulate attack in Benghazi, there was scant mention of the major clash from the day before. The disconnect exemplified the chasm between the new battle lines on the ground across the Middle East and the political discourse a world away.
For much of the last decade, most have digested the narrative of a Muslim-West divide. It was so pervasive that newly elected US President Barack Obama, portrayed as a symbolic messiah bridging two worlds, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize before even completing a year of his term. Twelve years after the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks, much of the discussion about the "Muslim world" has internalized this language, and why not? The conflict between the Palestinians and US-supported Israel remains unresolved, US drone strikes continue unabated in Pakistan and Yemen and terrorist attacks like the Boston Marathon bombing are still occurring in deadly fashion.
These days, however, one is more likely to see the burning of a Syrian government flag than an American flag amid the worldâs deadliest ongoing conflict, for which the United States is criticized primarily for not intervening. One is more likely to see Iraqis killed in a terrorist attack than Americans. In fact, in recent years approximately 90% of terrorism-related fatalities have been Muslim. One is more likely to see the demonization of a Shiite than a Jew by an extremist Muslim ideologue. The battle lines have shifted from Islam versus the West to Muslim versus Muslim, and it is time for politicians and pundits in the United States and the Middle East alike to catch up.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/08/new-middle-east-muslim-versus-muslim.html#ixzz2c5fRQCzj
|Ramadan Dreams||This week marks the start of Ramadan. I would say today, but as is the case for many things, Muslims cannot even agree on what day marks the beginning of the holy month. Is it Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? Sometimes, even in the same country, clerics from different sects or schools of 'jurisprudence' disagree on the sighting of the crescent moon (which signifies that Ramadan has arrived). In Lebanon, Shiites started the fast on Tuesday, and Sunnis on Wednesday, at least the last time I checked. If only the Shiite-Sunni conflict was relegated to a debate over the start of Ramadan. Alas, while diversity is something to be treasured, that is not always true in what is the proverbial Muslim world. The Qur'an tells us about what we can gain from diversity:|
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another.Somehow throughout history, perhaps the year after Prophet Muhammad died (circa 633 AD, or 1), Muslims lost sight of this. Today, you're more likely to hear about diversity as a threat rather than an asset. In fact, it seems to go hand-in-hand with regards to whether a Muslim country can be peaceful or democratic or successful: Well, I would say Country X would have a smooth transition, but they have a very diverse population with different ethnicities and groups. It's almost like Muslims can't survive with their own layered identities in the modern-age, longing instead for some Orwellian dictator to give them all a uniform to gloss over any differences that they may have. Of course, enough of those beautiful strongmen have come along for us to know that is not a great path either (um, certain exceptions aside of course).
And so in 2013, we enter into Ramadan, all 1.5 billion Muslims, or 1.2 billion, or 1.8 billion of us, depending on who's counting (or better yet who's making up statistics off the top of their head and then getting cited by the media, thereby cementing that figure as real), with a 'Muslim world' in complete conflagration - i.e. business as usual. Now all these millions of Muslims, some nominal, some not so nominal, live in different places with different challenges faced. Some in the West. Some in the East. Some in Muslim majority countries. Some as minorities in secular or other countries. And so it goes. Yet, look around, and we see challenges. There's the conflict in Syria, with a death count now over 100,000 and a displaced population representing a quarter of the country. There's the spiralling situation in Egypt, with an uncertain future ahead. And you can never count Pakistan out, with essentially a bombing a day.
You start to go through Muslim countries, and there's a lot that leaves a lot to be desired. It's almost too long of a list. It kind of makes you want to sing an Islamicized version of Les MisÃ©rables "I Dreamed a Dream", I guess with a Fatima instead of Fantine. Given the state of Islam, you might actually get in trouble for singing in public. I know that the 29 or so days of Ramadan will not bring peace, emancipation, and progress to the lands where so many Muslims live. Likely the strife, struggle, and scarcity that defines so many people's lives will not change. In fact in places like Syria, violence could actually intensify this month (some militant groups have actually announced an 'Operation Ramadan').
Thus, the realities of Ramadan may overwhelm us. Yet, if Ramadan is anything, it is a time for reflection and thinking of what can be, rather than what is. And in that spirit, I thought it would be good to end with a vision, a so-called Ramadan Dreams, of the realm of a possible future, of the Muslim world (i.e. Umma), where:
Now before anybody gets their kefiyyeh in a twist, there are many Muslims who live in countries where things are not so bad, and countless others in Muslim countries, who believe in a pluralistic and open society. Yet, there is a long ways to go before we escape so many of the ills that have come to define Muslim lands and societies. Ramadan 2013 will not bring the change many of us would like to see, but here's hoping that, that change will come sooner rather than later, and help shape a Muslim world that embraces its pluralism, recognises its intellectual tradition, and empowers its people. Ramadan Kareem.
|In Egypt, is the only way forward out of the question?||It was clear that this would be no ordinary Friday (on July 5), given all the recent events the past week in Egypt. The holy Muslim day has served, for all sides, as a critical time to mobilize demonstrations. Yesterday was no different. Masses of supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, gathered outside the Rabaa al-Adawiyah Mosque in Nasr City, an area in Cairo just several kilometres from the famed Tahrir Square. Their chants grew louder throughout the day, with a series of speeches by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, culminating in the fiery (oral) missive by the Supreme Guide of the movement, Mohammed Badie. It was a day of "rejection," called for by supporters of Morsi, and the rejection was vociferous and real. That rejection and its swell of supporters, later in the evening, marched down the October 6 Bridge towards Tahrir Square. Already earlier in the day, unarmed demonstrators from the pro-Morsi camp had been shot dead (as seen in this graphic video here) when coming too close to military positions. By nightfall, the two camps - the pro-Tamarod (or rebellion) groups in Tahrir & the pro-Morsi demonstrators - were in full-fledged street battles, not just in Cairo but in Alexandria and other cities as well, leaving 30 people dead.|
If there's a lesson (for post-revolutionary contexts) to be taken from the past week it is that 'impatience' is not a virtue. The military takeover of the Egyptian government - albeit fuelled by a legitimate and popular uprising - did not resolve anything but it definitely made things worse. Instead of hitting the reset button, Friday's clashes have shown that Pandora's Box is now wide open. In the midst of growing uncertainty, there would appear to be only one way forward and that is the immediate return to democratic legitimacy, whether through the re-running of a presidential election or a referendum on Mohammad Morsi. Everything else is a red herring, including discussion on whether what transpired in the last few days was a military coup.
There is no question that the movement to oust President Morsi was a popular uprising. Driven by deep frustration from political overreach (by Morsi) starting in November 2012 and exacerbated by worsening living conditions, millions of people joined the Tamarod movement, culminating in the Tahrir protests that coincided with Morsi's one year mark in office (more on this is available in a previous post). Yet, two things should have been clear: 1) Removing an elected President, no matter how unpopular, is not easy; and 2) There was a popular base that still supported President Morsi. On Friday, the latter disenfranchised group, perhaps the same that saw "their" democratically elected parliament invalidated back in September 2012 by the courts, now saw "their" democratically elected President overthrown. Add to that, the Constitution that was passed with 64% support of the vote was essentially also declared null and void by the armed forces, to be re-drafted or amended by a select committee.
To believe that an 85 year old movement - the Muslim Brotherhood - flanked by its supporters and with the winds of at least electoral legitimacy in their sails, would take these developments lying down, would have been naive. And if the face of this change for all intents and purposes was the very armed forces that have essentially dominated Egypt since 1952, than certainly it would raise the spectre of forceful if not violent resistance. Thus, what has unfolded so far in Egypt on Friday is completely expected and moreover, is a reaction that will only deepen and grow. Furthermore, there is an absence of a 'neutral' authority, as the military appears to have chosen one side in this clash of camps, especially as it is arresting leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in the interim.
And so we arrive at the inevitable question: How bad can it really get? Despite the fact that the Brotherhood was ruling 'non-inclusively' and without an effective plan for the government, there is no basis to argue that what has replaced it is anymore inclusive (in fact likely the opposite) and has any clearer plan or set of policies for the country. The country is divided and there is no broader political or democratic legitimacy for the military transition, beyond the assumption that it represented the popular will; but can the latter be proved? We hear numbers such as 33 million bandied about but not only are these figures not based on any tangible scientific analysis (see Wired for how to measure people in Tahrir Square) but they are assuredly less 'legitimate' than an actual vote.
With both sides claiming popular support and the cringe-inducing word (thanks to Morsi's speech), 'legitimacy, the clashes that began Friday will not end and if anything, they will escalate (or become something even more dangerous if driven underground). There are 93 million people in Egypt, and each confrontation will lead to more deaths, more 'martyrs', and more outraged friends, supporters, and families. Each week that passes will only deepen the divide and the division, ultimately rooting out the basis for any coexistence in the near-term. Civil disobedience, will turn into civil strife, and civil strife could turn into, yes, civil war (a distant but real possibility). There are multiple videos emerging of salafi-jihadi style groups seeking to exploit this moment, and resort to outright violence against the governing authorities. While naysayers may be right that Egypt will not turn into Syria tomorrow, each day that passes without resolution, the disintegration of the state becomes an evermore possible scenario. And if that happens, the consequences will be unimaginable.
There then appears to be only one way forward and that is the immediate (or urgent) return to a democratic process. While there are some who have cheerleaded the military takeover and the appointment of Adly Mansour, not only does this not have broad-based (mind universal) support within Egypt, but the continuation of this process in its current form, will only destabilize the country further. Given that the unquestioned return of Mohammed Morsi to the presidency would also only inflame tensions within the previous opposition, the only way forward is to hold a referendum with the following question:
1) Do you support Mohammed Morsi finishing his full-term as President of Egypt?
It is a direct question on the mood in Egypt, and the answer given, while not quelling all unrest, would provide the legitimacy to any transitional period that would follow (that is if the people answered no). With this referendum in tow, the country could move towards new presidential elections under a carefully managed process or continue with Morsi's presidency, with guarantees that he would govern much more inclusively (if the answer is yes). Yet, who will press for this type of solution, both internally and externally? On an international level, thus far, the U.S. has appeared "aloof", the Europeans "ineffective," and the Arab states mostly partisan. And while the African Union, which has dealt with such situations previously and has come out strongly on the current situation, likely has less influence in Egypt. Thus the reality should dawn on all Egyptians and all political forces within the country that there will be no basis for compromise or true salvation, if it does not emanate from within Egypt itself.
There will be many analyses made in the coming days around definitions and comparisons. Yet, fundamentally, Egypt is not Iran in 1980 or Algeria in 1991 or Turkey in 1997. It is Egypt in 2013, as hollow as that sounds - but that is the truth through which everything flows. And any resolution that emerges, must come from within the forces of Egypt in 2013. With Nelson Mandela, appearing to be on his deathbed (and our prayers with him), it is worth heeding, in closing, some of his words of wisdom, in this crisis:
"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."
|The (Counter?)Revolution in #Egypt will be Televised (and Tweeted)||Around midnight in Cairo the night of Tuesday, July 2, millions of people in Egypt awaited the President of the Republic, Mohammad Morsi, to respond to the 48-hour ultimatum delivered by the country's military on Monday: resolve your differences with the protestors or we will do it for you. With the deadline fast approaching, and due to hit at 4:30pm local time the next day, Morsi rejected the challenge by the military in a tweet. Then, he came on television and delivered what was the most important speech in not just his life but in the history of the Muslim Brotherhood movement he represents. And it was a spectacular failure. While not as long-winded as the two-and-a-half hour speech he had given just days earlier - akin to a State of the Union - it was just as hollow. His near constant use of the word 'legitimacy' began to elicit uncontrollable laugher in many corners (with the usage count of the word at around 75 in the speech). With millions of Egyptians on the streets across the country - some in support of him but many if not most in opposition - and the military's ultimatum in the background, Morsi had seemingly put the final nail in his own coffin.|
Just 30 months after the ousting of the dictator for the past 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, street protests in Egypt culminated on Wednesday night in a coup d'etat, effectively overturning the 14 democratic elections since February 11, 2011 (the total voting cycles for the parliament, presidency and constitution). Indeed, it was broader than a coup d'etat, as the Tamarod (rebellion) movement that brought millions of people to the streets was a grassroots uprising that gathered millions of signatures from ordinary Egyptians, and more significantly, managed to coalesce a previously disparate and dispirited opposition. Additionally, deposed President Mohammad Morsi had governed incompetently and non-inclusively, which seemingly left the invitation open to change. Yet, what transpired this week, especially in the final sequence of events, could be the initial salvo of a counter-revolution 2.0, potentially endangering the process of democratization in Egypt for years to come.
While things seemingly have not changed that much in Egypt, and in many ways have gotten worse, a lot has transpired. Following the departure of Mubarak and his gang from the scene, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took charge of managing the country's affairs. It took nearly a year to hold parliamentary elections. When it did happen, in late 2011-early 2012 the Brotherhood's party (the Freedom & Justice Party or FJP) took 38% of the vote, followed closely by the more conservative Salafist party, Al Nour, which took 28%. Given that this body would determine the fate of the new constitution (and the assembly to draft it), the fact that it was dominated by 'Islamists' already meant the new era of Egypt was handed a poisoned chalice in the eyes of many. Six months later, in June 2012, the Presidential elections saw a run-off between a former Prime Minister but tainted 'remnant' of the old Mubarak regime, Ahmed Shafiq, and Mohammed Morsi (representing the Muslim Brotherhood). Morsi won, and with the backing of protests in the famed Tahrir Square, also managed to wrest plenty of executive authority from SCAF. Within two months, Morsi also seemed to assert civilian control over the military, with a shuffling of key positions in the defense establishment.
Then on November 22, 2012, with full executive powers, and the parliament in limbo (due to pending court cases), Morsi assumed essentially legislative powers and declared himself immune from judicial oversight until a new constitution was formed. In essence that gave birth to the current movement (well at least the National Salvation Front that formed 2 days later and was a hodge-podge of opposition groups, including figures such as Mohamed El Baradei) which culminated in Morsi's removal from office this week. Morsi and the FJP then ham-fisted a constitution through a referendum, which garnered the support of 64% of the voting public. However, the process was not led by consensus and Morsi appeared to be increasingly marginalizing the judiciary, which many viewed as being too linked to the old regime, especially given that many senior judges were appointed by Hosni Mubarak (the judges had their own democracy movement in 2006 so not a unified group by any means). Yet for many in the opposition, the judiciary was still a check against Morsi and the Brotherhood's power. And there were also complaints about the ikhwanization of the state; given what transpired this week, this appeared not to have been the case.
Nevertheless, the concentration of power by the Brotherhood and its non-inclusive method of governance as described above, could have overcome minor challenges from the opposition, if Morsi had enacted policies that improved the lives of everyday people. His approval rating had begun to drop dramatically, falling to 28% of the public just weeks before his overthrow. This was mainly due to the inability of the government to turnaround the economy, with 25% of Egyptians below the poverty line, unemployment on the rise, and the country's fiscal health on the decline. Meanwhile, his approach to foreign policy of aligning with the US, engaging with Iran, partnering with Qatar, and leading the charge on Syria, did little to assuage a frustrated public waiting for change at home in their daily lives that had yet to materialize. And sectarian clashes that mainly killed Shiites and Christians tarnished the impartial role the President was assumed to play, given that he was close to figures that were prone to incitement.
In the backdrop of all of this, the Tamarod movement, which started just several months ago (in April), began to tap into the widespread anger and frustration. Gone was the gloss of a technocratic 'Islamist' party - a la the AKP in Turkey, who incidentally are having their own issues - replaced instead by the reality of the FJP in Egypt. And gone also was the mystique of a survivalist Brotherhood that was the David against the Goliath of the last half century; the Brotherhood was now the Goliath, and seemingly squandering the power that it had accumulated. The Tamarod activists claimed to have gathered 22 million signatures, in a country of 93 million people, which seems patently ridiculous for many demographic/logistical reasons (in the course of just two months). Nevertheless, their demands were clear, and principally centered on early Presidential elections (Morsi had served one of a four-year term). They were supported by umbrella opposition groups such as the National Salvation Front, April 6 Movement, and others, and with their deadline of June 30 for Morsi to respond coming fast, thousands and then millions began to fill Egypt's squares (some as noted in support of Morsi).
By Wednesday, just prior to the removal of Morsi from power, several implications of what was transpiring were already clear. Firstly, the Tamarod movement, and subsequent mobilization demonstrated that there could be an organized opposition to Islamists in the 'new' Arab world, and that this secular alternative could mobilize numbers. This could have far-reaching consequences in other countries such as Tunisia, where Islamists like the Nahda Party hold sway, as well as eventually (in the longer-term) in autocratic countries where often the only strong opposition movements are bogeyman Islamists movements. Secondly, Morsi's reign had as noted above, dulled - as power does to any party - the shine of the Brotherhood. It has been noted, for example that the clashes that led to the separation of the West Bank & Gaza Strip, and undermined the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections, only emboldened Hamas instead of forcing the movement into the pubic accountability spotlight.
Of course, in the euphoria of what the opposition was about to gain, the darkness just around the corner might have seemed far away. With millions on the street, and the military indicating a willingness to force itself on the scene as the arbitrator, Morsi offered a new constitutional process, a unity government of technocrats, and an accelerated schedule of new parliamentary elections but it was too little too late it seemed for the street, especially with the military now backing the activists' play. And so instead of a negotiated agreement with President Morsi, or a legal process through the courts, or any other process through civilian authorities, it was the military that removed Morsi from power. The crowds in Tahrir Square cheered but the supporters of the deposed President, in Nasr City (also in Cairo), jeered. In a carefully choreographed display, the civil secular state - with an associated roadmap essentially a reset of the revolutionary period - was re-established by three initial speeches: first by General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, head of the armed forces (appointed by Morsi), second by the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, and third by the Coptic Pope. Short statements followed from a range of opposition figures, including a representative of Tamarod and El Baradei and the conservative Nour Party.
If you are an opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, this was indeed a victory. And given the direction that Egypt was going, if you are an Egyptian, you can only hope that this could lead to a more positive future. Whatever the case, however, the military re-takeover appears to also be a re-launch of the counter-revolution. The autocratic powers that be in the region were effusive and immediate in their praise of the military and the coup. More worryingly, was the systematic campaign of arrests that already started to unfold late into the night of Muslim Brotherhood activists, leaders, affiliated journalists, and yes even Mohammad Morsi. The military is looking not just to referee the playing field but to define the playing field and the players allowed on it. That's not democracy. It may be that in the modern Arab world the demographics are such that the debate is about choosing between liberalism and democracy, but isn't that the false choice of the last 40-50 years offered by autocratic rulers in the Arab world? And there is nothing 'rosy' about liberal autocracy versus religious autocracy in this region. In fact, if anything, liberal/secular authoritarianism has been the bane of decay in modern Arab history: the Baath parties in Iraq and Syria, Ben Ali's Tunis, Mubarak's Egypt, and the list goes on.
Yet, unless the Egyptian military is kept in check, it will likely go down the path it knows best and one that it has followed since 1952, which is to systematically crush dissent and marginalise and exclude the Muslim Brotherhood. All indications today point to a proclivity to re-instate this exclusion, which could lead to an Algeria scenario of the 1990s, albeit in a different form, of course. Paradoxically, as this new Pandora's Box is opened, the only hope to keep the military in check is the very street and youth who demanded its removal from the scene, and then demanded it to come back to its role as guarantor of the state. Hopefully the tamarod or rebellion, will keep that spirit, now that they have been given a share of the power.
|The Muslim Brotherhood in Denial (not just a river in Egypt)||There's a lot to say about what's going on in Egypt, and a lot of great analysis out there. So I will simply re-post here a status I had on Facebook which I think sums up on the high-level the situation:|
Today in #Egypt there are uncountable millions on the streets demonstrating in rebellion (#tamarod) against a President that the people democratically elected. And the military under their reconstituted form (i.e. SCAF) have backed their play and essentially called for a 'roadmap' towards an orderly transition. This is just 30 months after #Tahrir Square came to the world's attention when the then dictator for 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, was forced to step-down from power. So it is a little confusing. Adding to the confusion..The party in power is the Freedom and Justice Party, or Muslim Brotherhood. The people in Tahrir? Most of them Muslims, many devout, and still opposed to their so-called Brothers. Somewhat allies of the youth-driven, secular (not same as atheist) political opposition are the Salafists (Al Nour Party) or more conservative Muslims, who find themselves also calling for the President to step down. What should we make of all this? Some people may take this to mean that this is a strike against the role of Islam in government in the Arab world. Perhaps, but likely we won't see the same movement - yet - in Tunisia or Yemen and we now have a long ways to go in whatever Syria ends up (thanks to Assad & his enablers from all sides). Essentially, this ended up being a transaction between people and those in power. The Brotherhood in Egypt didn't fail because it started to ban alcohol or force women to wear Niqabs; no they failed because they failed to govern effectively. They failed to protect women in the streets from sexual assault. They failed to protect logically Egypt's interests with foreign countries like Ethiopia. They failed to stabilize an economy with any plan whatsoever. They failed to realize that appointing a member of a foreign terrorist organization that killed tourists in the 1990s to the position of Governor in a province that depends on tourism was a bad idea. The Brotherhood failed in Egypt not because they were Muslim - for their opponents are also Muslim - but because they failed to improve the lives of the very people that elected them. But here's the rub...and it's three-fold. First, removing them from power through the military's might could set back the country for decades to come. Only a negotiated democratic roadmap should be accepted. Second, the end of President Morsi's tenure, does not and should not mean the end of the Brotherhood. They are still Egyptian, will still be Egyptian, and will still have the support of many people. They are part of the political fabric of the country. And finally, the fact that the Brotherhood fails does not mean that the patchwork National Salvation Front - i.e. the Opposition - will succeed. Thus far their alliance is based on opposition to something rather than a coherent ideology. Moreover, their ideas for economic development and governance are no more clear, practical, or informed than the Brotherhood's. And so we end up with one takeaway, and this is applicable to all 'transition' countries. There will always be backsliding and regression in post-revolution environments. The key is to self-correct and aim to go two steps forward and one step backwards, rather than the other way around. Good luck to all our friends in #Egypt. They'll need it.
|Another Coup for the Outgoing Emir of Qatar||In July 2010, the (now outgoing) Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, traveled to South Lebanon to bask in the gratitude for his country's largesse in supporting reconstruction following the Israeli bombardment just four years earlier. The $300 million (and beyond) committed by the Gulf state was very much appreciated by the Shiite armed movement Hezbollah, who ensured billboards in the South and on Airport Road in Beirut were decorated with notes of thanks to the Emir. It was a conspicuous visit because Qatar had stood out amongst the GCC in taking a strong if not controversial stand. Hand-in-hand with Hezbollah, the Emir, was not apparently one of the "half-men" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pointed to in the Gulf during the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war. In fact, the Emir and Assad were quite close, if not close friends, and were frequently in touch. |
Yusuf al-Qaradawi who recently called for a Sunni-led jihad, and allying almost openly with Muslim Brotherhood movements in the region (which brought criticism from people as far afield as Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef), has increasingly prompted the question: Has the politically adept Qatar lost its touch?
Once again, however, the Emir of Qatar (who I'll refer to by his initials HBK) shocked the region with another unprecedented move - this time the transfer of power to his 33-year old son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (the 'new Emir'). In doing so, HBK put Qatar back on the political front-foot and raised the pressure on regional allies. And in typical style, he added another deft touch in his address to the nation with a quote (and the only quote outside from scripture) from Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph in Islam and the first Imam of the Shi'a Muslims: 'Teach your children other than that what you were taught; as they are created for a time other than yours."
It was nearly 18 years to the day, on June 27, 1995 [although official Qatari sites list his 'start-date' as June 26] that the outgoing Emir, HBK, came to power in a bloodless coup with the aid of his current outgoing Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamid bin Jassim al-Thani (HBJ) and other figures. He dislodged his father, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, at the time, under largely benign circumstances but also as Qatar was starting to truly increase its economic base. When HBK took the reigns, the country was bit-player on the regional scene, with a GDP of $8bn. Today, the country is a regional powerhouse, punching far above its weight with a GDP in upwards of $170bn. The transformation, after HBK's rise, began in a number of areas:
Yet, while the transformation of Qatar happened on several levels - and Sheikha Moza led a number of key initiatives that have separately built up the profile of the country - the Prime Minister & Emir particularly forged a formidable political duo, implementing a plan for political leadership which led to alternating reactions of admiration and consternation in the region. HBK & HBJ became in recent years, the guiding and influencing force on a number of key regional files. It was a strategy of multi-faceted engagement and relevance, often replete with paradoxes, that even until now has confounded observers and analysts, who were always late to the party in understanding and engaging with Qatar.
For example, while condemning Al Jazeera Arabic for links to Al Qaeda, the U.S. government in September 2002 began moving its Central Command (CENTCOM) Headquarters in part to Doha. Qatar maintained an Israeli trade office since the late 1990s (closing intermittently during the Intifada and in 2009 during the Gaza War), while also building up relations with Hamas throughout the 2000s. The country maintained strong links within the GCC, and also with Sunni allies such as leader of the Future Party Saad Hariri, but in 2008 it was their ties with Hezbollah that allowed them to forge the Doha Agreement, averting what could have been a dark period of civil strife in Lebanon. There was no end to the political engagement: peace talks on Darfur, engagement with the Taliban, mediation between Chad and Sudan, and the list goes on.
On the political level, while the period prior to the Arab awakening was characterized by engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders, in early 2011, it seemed that Qatar was starting to play a much more partisan role. Previous allies such as Syria's Assad, and Libya's Gaddhafi fell by the wayside very quickly, with Qatar in fact leading efforts in the fight to topple both dictators. And in other 'revolutionary' environments such as Egypt and Tunisia, where the ruling parties are Islamist, Qatar has become the political football for its perceived support for Islamist movements. Critics ask why figures like Qaradawi (mentioned above) are based in Qatar? Why was the state mosque in Doha named after the founder of Wahhabism, the particularly conservative brand of Islam, in 2011? And why has a station like Al Jazeera portrayed only one side of the story, often with an 'Islamic' bent, the last two years especially?
Yet, the criticism has only grown commensurate with the prominence of Qatar in the region. On one hand, the policies of Qatar were simply part of its strategy of engagement in the region, to demonstrate leadership but also fundamentally relevance - important for a small country that previously lived in the shadow of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Arab uprisings and subsequent rise of Islamist movements in the region was a tremendous opportunity for Qatar to provide indispensable leadership. Yet, leadership and unique prominence, has consequences, and it is likely that the inflection point of a transfer of power, provides a moment for reflection, especially as the region comes to terms with its new (and oft-changing) dynamics. What was immensely popular in late 2011 no longer is definitively so. For example, in Egypt, President Morsi's approval rating has notably dropped from 70% to 40%.
Thus, the transfer of power to a new ruler, in Sheikh Tamim, means that Qatar can assess its strategic position and alignment. Perhaps, the country could benefit from a broader engagement given rising divisions in the region, and once again capture the role of lead mediator? Domestically, Sheikh Tamim will play close attention to catalyzing the role of his generation in the country's leadership. After all, Qatar had yet to enact the legislative or Shura Council that HBK promised when he rose to power, and enshrined in the Constitution ratified 9 years ago. The first step will be the announcement of a new cabinet that will replace what is increasingly seen as a gentrified political elite with new or younger faces. It is also expected that there may be a rise in salaries of Qataris employed in the public sector, at a smaller scale, however, to a similar announcement in 2011. Most important, however, will be a new dialogue and series of consultations that the new Emir will have with Qatari citizens, whose expectations have risen with new-found wealth and prosperity. In particular, with 70% of Qataris under the age of 30, engaging youth will be a priority. Do they feel included in the governance of the country and its institutions? Are there sufficient opportunities for employment and growth? And do public services meet their expectations?
As Sheikh Tamim assesses the domestic situation, he does have a strong ally in his mother, Sheikha Moza, and the institutions she leads that address youth, health and education. And he will rely on experienced hands like Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani to evaluate macro-projects like the Qatar World Cup preparations and the development of the national railways. Yet, both on the national and international fronts, the new Emir is not without experience or preparation. While observers were caught off-guard, it is thought HBK had planned for this day far ahead of time. The ascension of the Crown Prince to the leadership, began in earnest over the past two years. In fact, when significant announcements like the salary increase from 2011 were made, it was from Sheikh Tamim's office. He was also front and center, for example, when the move was made to shift Hamas headquarters out of Syria. And the then Crown Prince had been taking an increasing "foreign affairs role" amidst the Arab uprisings.
While the policies that Qatar will follow will likely be unchanged in the short-term, we will have to wait and see what path the new Emir forges in the long-term. Yet, his father has assured that he enters on the political front-foot. Even in his departure, the outgoing Emir left as he came in - with a coup. Upending traditions in the region, he ensured that he would leave the scene at the ripe (for the GCC) age of 61, leaving power to his son who is only 33. This is next to countries such as Saudi Arabia, where the King is 91 (if not older) and where power has never been transferred to the 'next generation', passed instead from brother-to-brother among the descendents of King Abdelaziz (since his death in 1953). Or take Bahrain, where the Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Salman, has helmed the government for over four decades without interruption.
Certainly, the move by HBK has not ushered in a democracy in Qatar; it is still an authoritarian state. And the ascension of Sheikh Tamim does not automatically assuage any of the concerns (real or perceived) ranging from migrant rights to nepotism to regional interference. Nevertheless, in its own way, Qatar has provided the region with a new revolutionary moment. Now we wait to see how the day-after, always the hard part, plays out.
|For President Obama on Day One: A New âNew Beginningâ||On Day One: A New âNew Beginningâ |
âA New Beginning.â Yet, as he begins a second term it is clear that this new beginning needs to be reinvigorated in both style and substance. That initial speech, while poignant then, today rings hollow. If indeed President Obama and the administration are to achieve a definitive step change in relations with Muslim communities, there must be a renewed effort for honest dialogue, robust development initiatives, and tangible shifts in policy.
At the onset of the Iraq War in 2003, President George W. Bush had abysmal numbers in many Muslim-majority countries. While 59 percent of Nigerians, 56 percent of Jordanians, and 46 percent of Pakistanis held confidence in Osama bin Ladenâs leadership, Bush was polling in the single digits in the same countries. By 2008, in countries like Jordan and Turkey, nearly 90 percent of people had âlittle or no confidenceâ in President Bush.
So when a young Kenyan-American Senator with Muslim roots, Barack Obama, emerged on the political scene, he was a welcome sight in even unsavory and sharply antagonistic corners of the Muslim world. In the midst of the political campaign even Hamas seemingly endorsed him saying, âActually, we like Mr. Obama.â Winning over Hamas never was (nor should it have been) a litmus test, but when President Barack Obama was elected, there was near universal euphoria across Muslim communities.
Early on, Obama and others in the Administration acknowledged the challenge in meeting these expectations. Even before he was inaugurated, the Administration was already planning to mark this ânew beginning.â Going into the heart of Cairo to engage university students in an honest speech about a real change in relations between the U.S. and Muslims was indeed something to be commended. Subsequent to the speech, the White House created a position on the National Security Council for Global Engagement, and the State Department launched a number of partnership initiatives. In the fall of 2009, D.C. played host to the Presidential Summit of Entrepreneurship that brought together 250 delegates from over 50 (mostly Muslim) countries.
Then the situation started to become more difficult. There are no easy answers in the complex geopolitical relations in the wider Middle East and beyond. When the Green Movement in Iran demanded democratic change, the Obama administration had to contemplate whether it was for engagement with âregimesâ or engagement with âpeoples.â One of the Presidentâs early visits was to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah prior to his Cairo speech, during which he said in reference to fundamental liberties, âThey are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.â But during his visit with the King, there was deafening silence on this point. The advent of the Arab Spring made these dilemmas even sharper. Support democracy in Tunisia and Egypt at the last minute. Push democracy by force in Libya. Half-heartedly support it in Yemen. Remain frozen on Syria. Tacitly oppose it everywhere else.
While Obama has grappled with difficult decisions, as any President would, he also shirked following up on critical points he made during his speech in Cairo. For example, he declared, âI have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.â Guantanamo Bay remains open, almost glaringly so. And while, torture has allegedly stopped being an officially sanctioned practice, summary executions and civilian casualties by drone strikes have dramatically increased in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. The latter have led directly to animus towards Obama from within many Muslim countries.
Then there was the line in the speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: âThe United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlementsâ¦The settlements must stop.â Of course, they did not. In fact, in February 2011 the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution that called on Israel to simply âcease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory.â Out of 15 countries on the Security Council, the U.S. was the lone dissent (and of course the fatal one). This is not to mention that the U.S. also stood against 95 percent of the worldâs population in voting against recognizing Palestinian statehood at the United Nations General Assembly in November.
There were other elements of the âNew Beginningâ that were promised, particularly around education and entrepreneurship. It is true that the U.S. has now (co-)organized three global entrepreneurship summits, in D.C., Istanbul, and Dubai, the latter being held in 2012. Yet, it is also clear that beyond the pomp of a summit, the once-robust programmatic initiatives that have come out have been weaker. Leadership changes within internal initiatives, as well as those with partners, have meant stalled if not stagnant programming. The idea of connecting entrepreneurs between the Muslim world and the West is a mutually beneficial and powerful concept, but it has not translated into the impact it should have by now. In the last summit in Dubai, it was as if the institutional memory from three years ago was lost, and everything was starting again.
All this being said, there still exists the perception that relations have improved between the U.S. and Muslim communities. However, since 2009 and Obamaâs inauguration, positive views have been on a steady decline in Muslim countries, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project. In 2009, 33 percent of respondents held confidence in Obama; that number slipped to 24 percent in 2012. In 2009, 25 percent of respondents held a favorable view of the U.S.; that figure dropped to 15 percent in 2012. Finally, approval of Obamaâs âinternational policiesâ fell from 34 percent in 2009 to 15 percent in 2012. Without a substantive shift, these numbers will continue to decline, further cementing the reality that there never was a new beginning.
Can things be turned around, given the current state of affairs? It would be misleadingly Pollyannaish to think that President Obama could snap his fingers and magically change opinion towards him from Muslim countries. Moreover, there are certain political realities that will remain. The U.S. will continue to be an ally of Israel. The U.S. will continue to fight terrorism. And the U.S. will not be able to fund new Marshall plans in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, there is a lot that can and should be done.
At the outset, President Obama needs to re-launch a dialogue with the Muslim world. At the beginning of his first term he went to Cairo to give a speech. Perhaps he should go to Cairo in 2013 to have a conversation. In fact, since becoming president, Obama has visited only the country of his upbringing, Indonesia, apart from the initial trips to Saudi Arabia and Egypt (in addition to cloak-and-dagger visits to Afghanistan), within the Muslim world. Instead of distant speeches and dispatched drones, the Administration would be served by a President who is more engaged with his audience, through visits as well as frank and honest dialogue during those trips.
Although the U.S. will not reverse decades of support for Israel, it need not ally with the most extreme policies of the Israeli government. Continuing to be the lone voice at the United Nations and international community defending illegal Israeli practices is a sharp blow to many efforts of the Obama administration. There is no third-term, and the President should stop pandering to contrived political interests in Washington D.C. There are enough Jewish supporters, lobby groups, and intelligentsia, who would support a more moderate and principled set of policies towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Israel is, of course, not the only foreign policy issue that should be of concern. The U.S., while acting in its national interest, should remain consistent in its language and support for key principles of human rights. It is when it becomes caught in naked hypocrisy that support for the Administration falls, whether in Bahrain in 2011 or Egypt in 2012, and a range of countries, perhaps, in 2013.
Finally, initiatives that can make an impact on tackling the economic despair for young people, like the 100 million youth who will enter the labor market over the next decade in the Arab world, need to be prioritized. There needs to be sufficient attention and support for the global entrepreneurship program that can truly support the emerging and exciting entrepreneurial energy in places like Amman and Ramallah, Karachi and Kuala Lumpur. The U.S. has the best soft-power in this area, from the start-up scene in Silicon Valley to MIT Labs, yet it is hardly deployed, even though the White House calls entrepreneurship, âa critical pillar of U.S. global engagement.â
There is a tremendous opportunity in President Obamaâs second term to catalytically shift relations with Muslim communities and turn potential adversaries into allies. If the status quo, however, is maintained in policy and practice, this opportunity will be lost.
This article originally appeared in the print edition of the Diplomatic Courier, in the January/February 2013 issue. It can be accessed online at: http://www.diplomaticourier.com/news/regions/middle-east/1315-on-day-one-a-new-new-beginning.
|Assessing Syria: Seeking a Way Forward||Today there was a pivotal meeting of the so-called 'Friends of Syria' group held in Marrakech, Morocco. At the meeting and just ahead of it, a number of countries recognized the Syrian National Coalition (the abbreviated name of the opposition group by consensus formed in Doha several weeks back) as the 'legitimate representatives of Syria.' Yet, this recognition and perhaps an approved tranche of funding, will certainly not be enough to end the despair and difficult situation in Syria right now. There are no easy solutions. I am reposting below a piece from a month-and-a-half ago that I wrote on a simple basis for a way forward.|
This article was originally published on Syria Deeply, on October 29, 2012.
|A world of Islams|
By Taufiq Rahim â04
|Movie review: âCity of Ghostsâ profiles heroes of resistance||Everyone has their breaking point. For the good people of Raqqa, it was the arrest and torture of 15 children by the soulless regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. That was in 2012 in the midst of the Arab Spring, when the repressed of the Middle East believed freedom would finally be theirs. But instead of liberty, as Matthew Heineman’s wrenching documentary “City of Ghosts” reminds, the people of “the simple, isolated city of Raqqa” received only [...]|
|A Look At Trump's Day At The G-20||Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: Hard to remember the last time a meeting between two world leaders drew quite so much attention as the one set for today in Hamburg, Germany, when Donald Trump sits down with Vladimir Putin. Now, we don't know what these two men plan to say to each other, but we maybe got a hint yesterday of the U.S. position. President Trump was giving a speech in Warsaw, Poland, and among other things, he said this. (SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH) PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran, and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself. KELLY: NPR's Scott Horsley is traveling with the president. He is on the line from Hamburg. Scott, President Trump often says he doesn't like to tip his hand, he doesn't like to telegraph what he's going to do.|
|White House Releases Unexpected Statement About Syria||Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit DAVID GREENE, HOST: Late last night, the White House released an unexpected statement about Syria. The administration said it believes that the Assad regime might be preparing to wage another chemical weapons attack. The statement went on to say if such an attack is carried out, Assad and his military would pay a heavy price. Let's begin our coverage in Washington with NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley. And, Scott, this late-night, public warning about what a country might do - this is weird, right? SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: It was certainly unusual, David. The statement came from Press Secretary Sean Spicer a little bit before 10 p.m. And you're right. He said the United States had observed possible preparations similar to what they saw back in early April, when the Assad regime carried out what appeared to be a deadly sarin gas attack against its own people. Of course, at that time, the Trump administration responded by firing dozens of|
|Crime Doesnât Pay (as much as it used to) â FBI Cracks Down on Trade of Looted Syrian and Iraqi Cultural Artifacts||In support of the international crackdown on the black market trade of looted cultural artifacts, the FBI recently announced that art dealers may be prosecuted for engaging in the trade of stolen Iraqi and Syrian antiquities. Terrorist organizations such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (âISILâ) have pillaged these countries of their cultural...… Continue Reading|
|I found Saddamâs WMD bunkers||So says Dave Gaubatz in the Spectator.|
I've always believed that WMDs were spirited out of Iraq. It is the most logical explanation for why so many governments and intelligent reports and political leaders believed it to be the case.
Gaubatz tells a disturbing tale of incompetence and scheming that resulted in Syria holding the bag.
Jonah Goldberg suggests "a healthy dose of scepticism" and I agree. But then scepticism would be in order for 90% of the things we hear these days.
One reason I dismiss conspiracy theories is that they require a government that can pull such events off with competence. This one would be a result of incompetence, something I find very believable.
|World: Humanitarian Coordinator Information Products, 31 July 2017|
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, CÃ´te d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen
|Italy: Italy: Unaccompanied And Separated Children (UASC) Dashboard, July 2017|
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Bangladesh, CÃ´te d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Iraq, Italy, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World
Between 1 January and 31 July 2017, 12,656 unaccompanied and separated children arrived in Italy by sea, representing 13% of all sea arrivals in this period. This proportion is comparable to the first seven months of 2016, when 15% of those arriving by sea were UASC. UASC numbers have slightly decreased compared to last year, when 13,705 UASC arrived in the first seven months of the year.
|Italy: Italy Sea Arrivals Dashboard (January - July 2017)|
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, CÃ´te d'Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Iraq, Italy, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World
Between 1 January and 31 July 2017, 95,213 persons arrived in Italy by sea. This is a 2% increase compared to sea arrivals in the same period last year (93,774).
Trends in sea arrivals should be assessed over time, as fluctuations on a monthly basis may be linked to various factors, including weather and sea conditions or the situation in the countries of departure and origin. Geopolitical developments and the capacity of smugglers to organize departures may also affect sea arrivals.
|Somalia: Refugees and Asylum-seekers Statistical Report with UNHCR - 31 July 2017|
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen
|World: Dorcas: Annual Report 2016|
Source: Dorcas Aid International
Country: Ethiopia, Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Moldova, Romania, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, World
|Ushul Fiqih II||Ushul Fiqih II|
Kedudukan dan kemandirian akal dalam penetapan hukum islam
Menurut Prof. Muhammad Abu Zahrah, bahwa akal tidak punya wewenang mensyariatkan hukum dan menjatuhkan pembebanan-pembebanan hukum (at-takhlifat), tidak lah berati bahwa akal tidak ada fungsinya. Bahkan akal sangat berfungsi, hanya saja batas kemampuan fungsionalnya sesuai dengan yang diberikan oleh Allah SWT(94). Dan perlu diingat bahwasumber-sumber hukum (mazhab as-shahaby, al-Ihtihsan, al- Maslahah waz-DzaraâI. dll) kesemuanya merujuk kepada satu sumber hukum yaitu nash-nash al-Qurâan dan Sunnah[ Abu zahrah, ushul fiqh Abu Zahrah, 94].
Menurut Prof. Abdul Wahab Khallaf, apabila ada peristiwa yang tidak ada nash dalam hukumnya sama sekali, maka peristiwa itu merupakan obyek yang luas untuk melakukan ijtihad[ Dr. K.H Noer Iskandar Al-Barsany, Kaidah-kaidah Hukum Islam ( Ilmu Ushulul Fiqh, karya Abdul Wahab Khallaf), Jakarta : Raja Grafindo Persada, 2002. hlm 350 ](350). Lapantgan ijtihad itu ada dua hal : sesuatu yang tidak ada nashnya sama sekali, dan sesuatu yang ada nasnya yang tidak pasti. Disini peranan akal untuk mengetahui hukum dari peristiwa yang tidak ada nashnya sam sekali dan sesuatu yang ada nashnya yang tidak pasti.
Menurut Dr. Saifudin Zuhri, disamping wahyu akal juga memainkan peran penting dalam penetapan ( perkembangan hukum Islam ) jadi sungguhpun sumber utama dari hukum Islam adalah Al-Qurâan dan sumber kedua adalah Sunnah, dalam menentukan hukum Islam banyak dipakai akal. Bahkan sebagai telaah dilihat sumber ketiga adalah ijtihad[ Dr. Saifudin Zuhri, Ushul Fiqh Akal Sebagai Sumber Hukum Islam, Yogyakarta ; Pustaka Pelajar, 2009. hlm 76]. 76
Menurut Najmuddin At-Tufi, visi akal lebih obyektif dalam memposisikan kriteria maslahah ketimbang antagonisme nash antara yang satu dengan yang lainnya. Ini berarti posisi antara akal dan wahyu sejajar atau bahkan diatas nash dalam batasan tertentu. Akal dapat digunakan dalam hal-hal yang tidak ada nash nya sama sekali, atau hal-hal yang tidakada nashnya tetapi dapat dikaitkan hukumnya dengan lafald yang ada dalam nash. Bahkan akal dapat digunakan dalam hal-hal yang sudah diatur dalam nash tetapi penunjukannya terhadap hukum tidak secara pasti[ Ibid, hlm 154]. 154
Al-Qurâan dan Hadits merupakan sumber pokok penetapan hukum Islam, kedua hal ini tidak dapat ditinggalkan untuk menentukan hukum syarâi. apabila kedua hal ini di tinggalkan maka termasuk menentukan atau membuat hukum sendiri tanpa ada dalil yang jelas. Namun dari kedua hal ini kemudian dikembangkan pokok penetapan hukum syarâi guna menangulangi permasalahan-permasalahan yang notabenenya tidak ada dalam kedua sumber pokok ini, yaitu melalui jalan Ijtihad (Maslahah Mursalah, Qiyas, dll). Atau dengan kata lain penggunaan akal sangat berperan sangat penting untuk menentukan hukum yang semakin lama semakin membelit dan tidak ada nash yang mengaturnya.
Akan tetapi, ketika menggunakan jalan ijtihad jangan melupakan sumber pokok penetapan hukum yaitu Al-Qurâan dan Hadits. Meskipun kadang mengunggulkan akal dari pada sumber pokok dalam ranah-ranah tertentu dan tidak boleh bertentangan dengan syarâi yang telah ada. Penggunaan Akal dalam menetapkan hukum tidak berkenan bila menggunakan emosi dalam penetapannya, apalagi mengacuhkan nash-nash dan mementingkan akal dalam segala bidang. Hal ini tidak diperbolehkan.
Syariâah adalah ketentuan-ketentuan hukum yang membatasi perbuatan perkataan dan kepercayaan (keimanan)orang-orang mukallaf (orang yang dibebani hukum)[ Ibid, hlm 18] kajiannya meliputi kepercayaan akhlak dan perbuatan-perbuatan mukallaf.
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pengetahuan (mengetahui hukum-hukum syaraâ tentang perbuatan beserta dalil-dalilnya. Yang dimaksud Asy-Syarâiyyah adalah hukum-hukum itu diperoleh dari syaraâ baik dengan cara mudah ( karena jelas dalam al-Qurâan dan al-Hadits maupun melaui jalan ijtihad) disini pembatasan amaliyyah dimaksudkan bahwa hukum-hukum itu mengenai perbuatan bukan mengenai masalah kepercayaan yang dibahas pada ilmu lain[ Ibid,hlm 9-10]
Qaidah Luqawiyyah adalah qaidah- qaidah yang dipakai oleh ulamaâ-ulamaâ ushul berdasarkan makna, ungkapan-ungkapan yang telah diterapkan oleh para ahli bahasa Arab setelah diadakan penelitian yang bersumber dari kesusastraan Arab[ Depag, Ushul Fiqh, hlm 2]. Kajian qaidah ini adalah untuk mengenai lafald dan makna dalam menentukan suatu perkara.
Qaidah syariyyah adalah qaidah-qaidah yang telah menjadi dasar hukum dari suatu kaum dan jalan hidup yang telah dipakai oleh nabi, sehingga menjadi panutan bagi umat Islam. Kajian dari qaidah ini adalah mengkaji ketentuan-ketentuan yang telah ditetapkan oleh Sang pemilik syarâi.
Ushul Fiqih adalah qaidah-qaidah hukum yang bersifat qauliyyah yang dipetik dari dalil-dalil yang kulli dan maksud syaraâ dalam meletakkan mukhallat dibawah bebanan takhlifi dan memahamkan rahasia-rahasia tasyriâ dan hikmahnya[ Prof Asmuni Abdurrahman, Qaidah Fiqh, bulan bintang, hlm 2]. Kajiannya adalah menelaah dan memahami dalil yang kemudian hasil dari telaah itu adalah sebuah hukum.
Qaidah Fiqh adalah qaidah-qaidah hukum yang biasa dan bersesuaian dengan bagian-bagiannya[ Ibid, hlm 10-11 ]. Kajiannya qaidah ini adalah qaidah menjelaskan hukum-hukum syaraâ yang berkenaan dengan perbuatan mukallaf. Berlaku sebagian besar (aghlab) juziyyah, sebagai usaha dan menghimpun ketentuan hukum yang sama untuk memudahkan pemahaman fiqh, bersifat wujud setelah ketentuan furuâ, bersifat ukuran.
Qaidah Ushul Fiqih adalah qaidah-qaidah yang berkaitan dengan masalah-masalah atau jenis hukum ushul fiqh yang terdapat dalil-dalil yang kulli dan maksud syaraâ dalam penentuan hukum syarâi. kajiannya adalah qaidah-qaidah hukum dalam menentukan produk-produk syarâI, membahas dalil hukum, berlaku bagi seluruh juziyyah, sebagai sarana istimbath hukum, bersifat prediksi dan kebahasaan.
Pengertian maslahah sebagai tujuan hukum Islam adalah Abu Zahrah dalam kitabnya Ushul Fiqh menyebutkan :
ÙØ§ÙÙ ØµÙØØ© Ø§ÙÙ Ø±Ø³ÙØ© ÙØ§ÙØ¥Ø³ØªØµÙØ§Ø ÙÙ Ø§ÙÙ ØµØ§ÙØ Ø§ÙÙ ÙØ§Ø¦Ù Ø© ÙÙ ÙØ§ØµØ¯Ø§ÙØ´Ø§Ø±Ø¹ Ø§ÙØ¥Ø³ÙØ§Ù Ù ÙÙØ§ ÙØ´ÙØ¯ ÙÙØ§ Ø£ØµÙ Ø¨Ø§ÙØ§ Ø¹ØªØ¨Ø§Ø± Ø£Ù Ø§ÙØ§ÙØºØ§Ø¡
Maslahah atau Istihlah yaitu segala kemaslahatan yang sejalan dengan tujuan-tujuan syarâi (dalam menentukan hukum)dan kepadanya tidak ada dalil khusus yang menunjukkan tentang diakui dan tidaknya[ Saifudi Zuhri, Op Cit, hlm 82]. Contohnya maslahah yang dengan maslahah itu, sahabat mensyariâatkan pengadaan penjara, atau mencetak mata uang atau menetapkan hak milik tanah pertanian sebagai hasil kemenangan warga sahabat itu sendiri dan ditentukan pajak penghasilan[ Noer Iskandar, Op Cit. hlm 123]. dll
Sedangkan maslahah sebagai metode istimbath hukum adalah selanjutnya Abdullah bin Abdul Husein dalam kitabnya merumuskan maslahah mursalah sebagai :
Ù Ø§ÙÙ ÙØ´ÙØ¯ ÙÙØ§ Ø§ÙØ´Ø±Ø¹ Ø¨Ø§Ø¹ØªØ¨Ø§Ø±ÙØ§ ÙÙØ§ Ø¨Ø¥ÙØºØ§Ø¡ Ø¨Ø¯ÙÙÙ Ù Ø¹ÙÙ ÙÙØ§ÙØª ÙÙ Ø§ÙØ£Ù ÙØ± Ø§ÙØªÙ ÙØ¯Ø±Ù Ø§ÙØ¹ÙÙ Ù Ø¹ÙØ§ÙØ§.
Maslahah mursalah yaitu kemaslahatan yang tidak jelas diakui atau ditolak oleh syaraâ dengan suatu dalil tertentu dan ia termasuk persoalan yang dapat diterima oleh akal tentang fungsinya[ Saifudin Zuhri, Op Cit. hlm 83]. Contohnya dalam mengusut kasus pencurian Imam Malik memperbolehkan memukul seseorang yang dicurigai telah melakukan tindak pidana dengan maksud agar ia mengakui perbuatannya.
Dari kedua definisi ini kalu diperhatikan secara seksama mempunyai arti dan maksud yang sama, yang berbeda disini adalah batasan dari pengertian pertama lebih inklusif dan ekslusif. Yakni maslahah bukan maslahah yang dilatarbelakangi pendapat yang dilandasi oleh emosi diri, akan tetapi merupakan maslahah yang sejalan dengan dengan maksudu-maksud syaraâ
Qiyas sebagai analogi berarti menyamakan hukum sesuatu yang tidak ada nash hukumnya dengan sesuatu hukum yang lain yang ada nash hukumnya atas dasar persamaan illat atau sebab. Contohnya, haramnya khamar, yaitu minuman keras yang dibuat dari anggur, atas illat memabukkan. Minuman keras lain yang dibuat umpamanya dari kurma atau dari gandum, karena juga memabukkan hukumnya haram[ Ibid, 75].
sedangkan Qiyas sebagai Istimbath hukum berarti menerangkan hukum sesuatu yang tidak ada nashnya dalam al-Qurâan dan Hadits dengan cara membandingkannya dengan sesuatu yang ditetapkan hukumnya[ Abu Zahrah, Op Cit, hlm 336]. Contohnya, sebagian sahabat membaiat Abun Bakar menjadi khalifah sebab Rasulullah pernah memilihnya sebagai Imam sholat. Mereka membandingkan masalah kepemimpinan umat dengan imam sholat. Lebih lanjut mengatakan : kalau Rasulullah saja telah memmilih Abu Bakar untuk masalah agama mengapa kita tidak memilihnya untuk urusan dunia?[ Ibid,hlm 345].
kedua pengertian diatas mempunyai kesamaan dalam maksud yang dituju oleh keduanya. Namun, pengertian yang nomor dua bersumber pada ijmaâ disamping dasar-dasar lain yang digunakan. Dalam hal ini tidak terikat atau terpaku pada satu anggapan bahwa hukum-hukum al-Asl itu pasti berâillat serta perbolehkannya illat[ ].
|Gran parterre di star per il âLive for Syriaâ a Vulci|
Post Originale: Gran parterre di star per il “Live for Syria” a Vulci
Molto di piÃ¹ di un concerto quello che si Ã¨ svolto nella giornata alÂ Parco Archeologico di Vulci per il “Live for Syria“, una manifestazione organizzata per raccogliere fondi perÂ i bambini della Siria colpita dalla guerra. Il concerto-evento benefico ha potuto contare sulla risposta di tantissimi artisti che hanno composto un grandissimo cast sia dal punto [&hellip
|Second Baruch - A Critical Edition of the Syriac Text (v.6)|
|Studies in the Peshitta of Kings|
|Waking Up To The Existential Threats Of Climate Change ... by gimleteye|
A recent Pew Trust poll found that public concern around the world for climate change was second only to the threat of ISIS. What the report, "Globally, people point to ISIS and climate change as leading security threats", also makes clear is that public views in the United States continue to be slogged by the Fox News effect.
Fox is the FAKE NEWS channel favored by President Trump that routinely bashes environmental and especially climate change concerns, suppressing science and misleading the public with conspiracy theories.
Paradoxically, the themes of the "long slog ahead", conspiracy theories and existential threats of climate change merged in a fascinating, recent podcast by NPR Fresh Air, "Inside The Global Seed Vault, Where The History And Future Of Agriculture Is Stored".
The seed vault, conceived and implemented by Fresh Air guest Carrie Fowler, is built into the side of a Norwegian mountain, seven hundred miles south of the North Pole. It is intended to protect the world's biodiversity from doomsday scenarios like climate change.
Fowler, bemused by Alt-right megaphones who imagine a corporate conspiracy at work, is far more concerned about the impacts of climate change on agriculture. He points to supermarket shelves filled with food and basic staples of our diet that require a low carbon atmosphere to thrive.
If you can't listen to the whole podcast, I urge you to scroll in and listen at minute 33.
... in my family, we really regarded farmers as public servants and people to be esteemed. And so I was always favorably inclined, if you will, towards farmers. And to make the story a bit shorter, I was working on a book many years ago about agriculture and came across the writings of a man named Jack Harlan, who I discovered was probably the most eminent scientist in the field.
Here is a point for the Herald editorial board and for others to consider: that we may be dealing with the impact of sea level rise in the future, requiring massive expenditure of tax dollars, at the same time as food insecurity -- as a result of climate change -- creates instant emergencies and civil disorder. As Fowler, and many other observers have noted, climate change has already played a major factor in the wars in Syria, other drought-impacted regions of the Mideast and Africa. Civil disorder driven by climate change is already in our domicile.
We are all living on borrowed time, but as climate change reality emerges, we begin to see the amount we borrowed could break the collective bank.
With global warming, civilization is skating on the edge of bankruptcy. It doesn't seem so, today. Our supermarkets aisles are flush with food and choices, but anxieties are not misplaced: it is the reason climate change has risen to the top of global worries ... just not yet in the wealthiest nation on earth, the United States, where voters continue to be mislead by FAKE NEWS Fox and carefully planned strategies of the world's most powerful polluters, their "think tanks" and false idols.
Time for voters to wake up? Yes. Let's hope the awakening starts in Florida. That would be rough justice.
|The Odes of Solomon|
|Disappeared Palestinian-Syrian software developer reportedly executed|
Syrian government gave Bassel Khartabil’s family no word on his fate for nearly two years, despite global campaign for his freedom.
|BANG BANG: Dave McDougall||[BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]|
Selected 2011 discoveries, briefly noted and across various media by Dave McDougall.
Homeland ââ the characters on this show run deep; their history and demons are as much a driver as the twists of plot. Which certainly helps Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin act their asses off. Allegiances don't shift as much as they are gradually revealed; even though the audience isn't only in the headspace of Danes' rebellious CIA agent, everything is filtered through the line between the watchers and the suspects, and the further into each world we're given access, the more complicated the line between terrorist and hero. This isn't a war of ideas as much as a war between wounded people who've sided with ideas, and those wounds are what drive both the terrorists and those trying to stop them. This week's showstopping season finale toyed with heavy political and personal dÃ©nouement and teased an even greater moral complexity to come. If there's a better show on television right now, I'd like to see it.Â
The Color Wheel (Alex Ross Perry, 2011) ââ A masterpiece, a perfect screwball comedy, and a vicious, misanthropic, prickly little thing. What Ignatiy said, and then some.
And two other filmic masterpieces-to-be-named-later that also tackle communication (and shared histories) between men and women, on which I'll have more to say in the Mubi year-end roundup.
Governments toppled, not by social media but by people going to the streets to battle for their due. But the dynamics of open source protest and new media communication flows were a big part of why this was the year that kicked off an #ArabSpring, an indignado movement, a global coalition of #Occupy protests. It's not just coordination of protests but the ability for knowledge flows to reveal the silent political preferences of a people, and to rally supporters to the cause. None of these movements were created by the emergence of social media -- all grew out of previous organization by activists on the ground, over years and decade -- but it's hard to deny that these movements could only coalesce through communication, and that new forms of one-to-many communication smooth the friction of reaching out to wide audiences.Â
As the 2008 financial crisis has shifted to become a crisis of solvency and liquidity in the Eurozone, the economic intelligence of the left-ish political blogotwittersphere rises almost as fast as events shift; but the key insight is that, unlike the people-powered movements and revolutions mentioned above, the fate of all of our economic lives still hangs in the balance of deals to be cut in back rooms by power brokers. Which, as those same movements will attest, is the opposite of democracy. If the revolutions of Egypt or Libya or Tunisia (or Syria or Bahrain or Yemen, if you're looking for revolutions-in-the-making) were best revealed by the participants themselves in 140 characters (or 140 character updates, compiled), then the stories of our economic dilemmas have been best told by those savvy enough to get to the bottom of capital flows and reveal these inner workings via blogs, articles, and interviews, whose links were embedded in 140-character updates themselves. Information, in all its forms -- pictures, videos, charts, analysis, stories from the front lines -- move and flicker and flow just the ways frames do in the cinema. For me, these were a few of the sources that made the leap to essential in 2011, from the MENA uprisings to the Econopocalyse and the social movements pushing back:
Among all the books and blogs and analysis, an epic cornerstone of how to even begin to think of how we got here âÂ David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years.Â
David McDougall is a writer, filmmaker, and media strategist based in London and Los Angeles. He's got blogs and films and words in various places, some of them on the internet. He twitters here.
|By: Laura||So what happened to Zakah when it comes to Saudi Arabia rich people and Syrian refugees? I also wonder if they read this blog and try to help the people here who asked for help. Oh wait a minute nope they are too busy burning money and cohorting with sinners.|
|Marketing to Extremists: Waging War in Cyberspace|
Online, the Islamic State is a technologically savvy, sophisticated, and nimble organization that learns from its mistakes and from the actions of the Western intelligence services and NGOs that have sought to counter it. It is no secret that past and current efforts to reach potential terrorists before they can become radicalized and committed to a path of jihad and terrorism have proved inadequate. To use the language of online marketers, countering ISIS’s online activities will require quality content disseminated on a massive scale, with careful product placement. Placing counter-messaging products into platforms and forums that extremists frequent will increase the chances of potential terrorist recruits coming into contact with narratives outside of ISIS’ control.
ISIS’s cyber efforts have paid off; the FBI told Congress in July 2016 that “the message of radicalization spreads faster than we imagined just a few years ago.”[i] The number of foreigners who have been inspired by the Islamic State’s online propaganda to travel to Syria and Iraq (or elsewhere) and participate in the fighting is unclear, but most estimates place the tally at more than 20,000. Others have been set on the path of radicalization by ISIS’s online propaganda and have become “lone wolf” attackers in the United States or in Europe.[ii] Demographically speaking, the people who ISIS is most interested in targeting for recruitment came of age in the twenty-first century as “digital natives”; they have lived their entire lives surrounded by ubiquitous online communications and have embraced it in technologically sophisticated ways.[iii] ISIS knows how to appeal to these potential jihadis. Reaching them with counter-messages will require a sophisticated and multi-faceted approach.
America’s public and private sectors must commit the resources needed to carry out this counter-messaging, though we must understand that such an information war cannot be won in a short period of time, but rather, must be carried out resolutely and patiently, even in the absence of quantitative metrics of success. For example, how will we assess our effectiveness, when one measure of success is how many potential jihadis did not decide to carry out lone wolf attacks or travel to Syria? This is an entirely new and different kind of fight from any we have been engaged previously. Even without quantitative measures of effectiveness fully fleshed out, we can use scale, quality content, and product placement to improve current efforts to shape–and hopefully win–the online propaganda wars to come.
Understanding Our Options
In terms of quality counter-messaging content, the State Department–the lead U.S. agency in this fight—has already acknowledged its past failures in content production. Notably, it has acknowledged that it may not be the voice best-suited to convince Middle Eastern or Muslim recruits to turn away from the path of terrorism. The State Department’s Global Engagement Center has pivoted away from producing content, and instead now supports the efforts of localized “proxies,” thereby supporting other voices that understand the context, culture, and push/pull factors that resonate within Muslim communities.[iv] It is not only government entities involved in this struggle; various NGOs also participate in counter-jihad content creation, drawing upon former extremists, notable academics, and a multitude of languages.[v]
The West’s efforts to date have mostly created a series of reactive, ineffective counter-narratives that potential jihadis dismiss. We advocate for precision messaging; for example, past efforts by State Department entities have mined public social media data to identify individuals who may be susceptible to extremism and then pay for YouTube ads that counter extremist messaging. But we don’t need to mine public data to put counter messaging into the world of potential recruits. The United States must become aggressive and proactive in its anti-Islamic State online activities: it must immediately move to hijack the group’s own narratives and create alternatives.
When it comes to scale, the current efforts by the United States and its allies are merely a drop in the ocean of ISIS’s material. If ISIS posts nearly 100,000 messages each day, as the British House of Commons Defence Committee stated in 2015,[vi] then countering their content will take a significant amount of internet traffic or else we risk being drowned out. This component cannot be ignored or understated. Current counter-messaging efforts are not achieving enough volume to warrant a response by would-be extremists, let alone to spark an actual conversation or debate among extremists. If we have quality content and we know where to put it to reach potential recruits, we still cannot reach enough people without massively increasing the current volume of counter-messaging efforts.
When it comes to proper product placement for the counter-messaging, the best way to decide where and how to reach recruits is by watching ISIS itself. ISIS has had to transition from various platforms throughout its years of recruitment, including Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram. ISIS’s supporters take an active role in finding new platforms, spreading propaganda, and shepherding others along to new sites and procedures. It is not uncommon for followers to post specific instructions on where to post or how to manipulate different platforms’ terms of service to remain undetected or prevent accounts from being shut down. As they communicate best practices to each other, they create a trail for analysts to follow and instructions for counter-messaging units in order to put counter content where recruits will see it, even if this sometimes results in informational “misfires.”
The opportunities afforded by focusing our efforts on these approaches are manifold. If we are able to effectively erode the Islamic State’s ability to use propaganda to inspire self-directed attacks in the West, it would be forced to expend its resources and personnel on directed attacks in the West if it wishes to continue such operations. Sending Islamic State operatives into the West to carry out attacks there is a much more difficult and costly proposition, and one that is vulnerable to the West’s traditional strengths in intelligence and counterterrorism.
A Starting Point
We have compiled a list of some of ISIS’s known recruitment practices, along with specific recommendations for ways that counter-messaging organizations could take advantage of them. This list is not meant to be comprehensive or static, but rather to serve as a starting point that could be executed immediately and without excessive cost or effort.
Keeping Followers as Twitter/Telegram Accounts are Shut Down: As Twitter has improved its process of shutting down Islamic State accounts, its supporters have devised strategies to maintain their network of followers from one account to their next. The most popular method is to simply add a number to their Twitter username and then to increase that number each time they are shut down and begin a new account. Thus, for example, followers of @Muslimah6 could find her on her new account @Muslimah7 after Twitter shut down her account. This method of maintaining followers has been adapted for Telegram as well. The Islamic State’s unofficial news channel “Khilafah News” is left public, meaning that new users can always find it. But this also allows Telegram to shut it down at any time. The administrators of Khilafah News add a number to the end of their channel’s invitation link and increase this number every time the previous channel is shut down by Telegram. It is important to remember that Islamic State recruiters want to be found in order to effectively recruit new members. This nomenclature pattern allows them to do just that. But more importantly, it creates an opportunity for those creating alternative narratives to put their content on a Telegram channel or a Twitter account that they know Islamic State supporters will follow. New iterations of the Khilafah News channel could be created, knowing that once Telegram shuts down the last Khilafah News channel Islamic State supporters would follow the new fake channel, believing it to be authentic Islamic State channels and increasing the likelihood that a recruit would be exposed to counter-messaging.
The Islamic State’s Hashtags: Since it began disseminating propaganda on social media, the Islamic State has embraced the power of hashtags. In 2014 it famously hijacked World Cup hashtags in English and Arabic in order to spread its propaganda and shock social media users who may not have been previously exposed to such messages. The group has also advertised hashtags for supporters to use when tagging and finding new propaganda. Just as the Islamic State hijacks popular hashtags, counter-messaging teams can utilize the group’s own hashtags when posting content on social media. This will put alternative narratives in the same social media conversation as the Islamic State’s propaganda and will increase the chances that a recruit would receive facts about the group. The U.S. government has begun to take tentative steps in this direction, but such efforts could be vastly expanded.
Promotion and Marketing: The Islamic State disseminates small propaganda pieces daily, but its larger propaganda pieces take more time. In order to build hype, the Islamic State typically advertises with multi-lingual “trailers” for large upcoming pieces. Dissemination of the pieces generally occur days later, but there is no set schedule. Upon dissemination, the group posts its videos on YouTube, social media, and various self-publishing sites. Teams that produce content to counter the Islamic State must have videos ready for dissemination at all times. Then as new Islamic State’s trailers begin to appear on social media, the counter-content can be disseminated first under the same name as the propaganda that the Islamic State is advertising and it must be placed on all of the sites that the group uses. Recruits will be checking frequently for the release and the Islamic State will actually be advertising and promoting pieces that could pull recruits away. This would effectively drown out the Islamic State’s content while increasing the likelihood that recruits see alternative narratives.
Take Advantage of Platform Restrictions and Features:Not all of the Islamic State’s content is violent and grotesque; it produces some content that does not show any violent images or videos whatsoever. This allows the content to be played on news programs and for it be posted on YouTube. Knowing that the Islamic State works to keep its content available on major publishing sites, counter-narrative agencies must do the same. If a recruit searches for the name of a popular propaganda video on YouTube or an equivalent site, counter-content should appear with the same name. Video creators can even pay to promote their content so that it tops a search list. A greater understanding for how various platforms choose the order of their search results would help counter content receive just as many hits, if not more, than Islamic State propaganda.
Maintaining YouTube Channels: The Islamic State has a carefully structured propaganda structure. It has central marketing agencies that run video content, radio broadcasts, and written publications. These “federal” programs are represented within each wilayat, or province, as well. Each wilayat produces its own multilingual videos and publications that are often featured in publications from the central agencies. Islamic State supporters have advanced this model even further. There are several known propaganda groups that support the Islamic State but are not run by official Islamic State employees. Supporters make their own content and publish it on YouTube, Twitter, Telegram, and various other social and self-publishing sites. Like the Islamic State’s agencies, they have their own calligraphic logos and follow predictable but evolving patterns. “Al-Haqq” is one such Islamic State-affiliated group that runs its own Telegram channels and YouTube accounts. It would be simple to create a YouTube account called “Al-Haqq,” utilizing the group’s logo and publishing content that appears to be Islamic State videos. In reality, these videos could contain counter-messaging content with the same names as known extremist productions.
In adopting these methods, even potential jihadis who are adept at hiding their identities or degree of radicalization would come into contact with alternative narratives that may cause them to question the narratives ISIS feeds to its supporters. It is important for analysts who study ISIS’s dissemination of propaganda to remain in constant contact with those working to counter ISIS’s messaging, helping the latter to evolve along with ISIS and other extremist groups. While we are currently scrambling to combat ISIS’s propaganda campaigns in the cyber domain, learning to develop the necessary approaches now will allow us to excel in future cyber wars with other extremist groups. Without a new strategy for winning the information war, the West will always be reactive and on the defensive as it struggles to compete with the Islamic State for the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world. Most importantly, if we can create an adaptive and empowered cyber effort now, we will be better equipped for the terrorist groups that will learn from and advance the work that the Islamic State is doing now. Future jihadi organizations that come after the Islamic State can be expected to be even savvier users of social media and similar communications venues. Unless the West learns to use social media with the same level of sophistication, it will continue to lose the information war and fall further behind.
[i] Michael Steinbach, executive assistant director for the FBI’s National Security Branch, testimony before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, United States Senate, July 6, 2016, https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/hearings/isis-online-countering-terrorist-radicalization-and-recruitment-on-the-internet_social-media.
[ii] Daniel Byman, “How to Hunt a Lone Wolf: Countering Terrorists Who Act on Their Own,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 96, No. 2 (March/April 2017): 96-105.
[iii] Marc Prensky,” Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” On the Horizon vol. 9, no. 5 (October 2001): 1-6.
[iv] Joby Warrick, “How a U.S. team uses Facebook, guerrilla marketing to peel off potential ISIS recruits,” Washington Post, February 6, 2017,https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/bait-and-flip-us-team-uses-facebook-guerrilla-marketing-to-peel-off-potential-isis-recruits/2017/02/03/431e19ba-e4e4-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html.
[v] Representative NGOs include the Counter Extremism Project, Families Against Terrorism and Extremism, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. For examples of their work, see “Counter Extremism Project Unveils Technology to Combat Online Extremism,” Counter Extremism Project, June 17, 2016,https://www.counterextremism.com/press/counter-extremism-project-unveils-technology-combat-online-extremism; “Watch & Share,” FATE, http://www.findfate.org/en/watch-share/; Jonathan Russell, “Helping Families to Safeguard from Extremism,” FATE, http://www.findfate.org/en/helping-families-to-safeguard-from-extremism/; “One to One Online Interventions: A Pilot CVE Methodology,” Institute for Strategic Dialogue, April 2016, http://www.strategicdialogue.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/One2One_Web_v9.pdf.
[vi] UK Parliament, “The Situation in Iraq and Syria and the Response to al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq al-Sham (DAESH),” February 5, 2015,https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmdfence/690/69008.htm.
About the Authors
Andrew Byers is a visiting assistant professor of history at Duke University who has served as an intelligence and counterterrorism analyst and is a co-founder of the Counter Extremism Network.
Tara Mooney is a counter-violent-extremism analyst and co-founder of Talon Intelligence. She is also a co-founder of the Counter Extremism Network
|EU contributes 2.3 million euros to fight against chemical weapons in Syria|
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director-General Ahmet ÃzÃ¼mcÃ¼he recently announced that the European Union (EU) has donated 2.3 million euros to the organization's work in Syria.
The EU has been working against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction due to the United Nations Security Council resolution. As a result of the resolution, the Joint Investigative Mechanism was developed to find individuals and groups who organize or carry toxic chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.Â
Overall funding is for a 4.6-million-euro special missions program for the republic, split between the the OPCW Fact Finding Mission and the Joint Investigative Mechanism. The funds, donated to the Mechanism's Voluntary Trust Fund, will be used to pay for materials and technical problems, appreciated by the head of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, Virginia Gamba.
This decision is part of the EU's commitment to fighting chemical weaponry in Syria, alongside member states.
|FIDE Newsletter July 2017|
|CSU Hosts Crossing Borders: Immigrant Narratives, March 18 & 19|
Staged reading produced by Lit Cleveland is part of 2017 Humanities Fest
When Literary Cleveland put out a call for immigration stories by Northeast Ohio writers, the group was flooded with responses, highlighting both the tremendous contributions of immigrants to the region and the importance of this voice to our cultural heritage.
Now many of these powerful stories â written by immigrants from Syria, Iran, Colombia, Poland, China, Azerbaijan and elsewhereâ will be heard in front of a live audience as part of a staged reading produced with Cleveland State University during the upcoming Cleveland Humanities Festival.
Crossing Borders: Immigrant Narratives will be performed Saturday, March 18th and Sunday, March 19th at 7 pm in the Cleveland State University Student Center Ballroom at 2121 Euclid Ave, Third Floor. The events are cosponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities and Cleveland State Universityâs College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
The staged reading of short essays, fiction and poems is directed by Marc Moritz, who has assembled a cast of professional actors to perform the pieces. The stories in the show are provocative, moving, heart-wrenching and funny. The authors address the emotional journey of crossing borders, both literal and metaphorical, and what it means to be both an immigrant and an American.Â Â
In âThe Buttonhook Men,â Jill Sell writes about her Czech ancestorsâ uncertain passage through Ellis Island, which could easily have been rejected. âFood and Family,â a piece by Hathaway Brown student Crystal Zhao, tells the story of a second-generation Chinese immigrant bonding with her mother over stories of childhood rebellion. The poem âGenesisâ by Daniel Gray-Kontar addresses the journey of African-Americans from the south to northern cities like Cleveland during the Great Migration.
In the raw âStruggling to Survive,â Syrian immigrant Bayan Aljbawi writes about leaving her troubled homeland for the U.S., an experience she describes as âescaping from one suffering to another: new culture, new country and different language.â
âMy husband, my baby and I were lucky,â she concludes. âThe only question left is this: What about too many others who did not get a chance to do the same?â
And in âAmerican Promise,â award-winning novelist and Case Western University professor Thrity Umrigar â who immigrated here from India over 30 years ago â confronts the current political climate and asks if the U.S. âwill be a country that is as small and narrow as its fearsâ or âas large and glorious as its dreams, as splendid as the hopes of millions of its citizens, immigrant and native bornâ¦?â
The event is free and open to the public but registration is strongly encouraged. For more information, visit http://www.litcleveland.org/special-events.html.
|Syria - to bomb or not to bomb|
An Open letter to UK Members of Parliament and all in positions of power.
With a UK Parliament vote on bombing Daesh in Syria (a noteworthy distinction to "bombing Syria") looming I thought I'd offer my perspective...
So, to bomb or not? It's easier to bomb... So much easier, than looking at the real problems.
Much less embarrassing to slaughter innocents in the name of righteousness than to start a program of education...
It's wrong to teach your child to seek friends only from your own religion.It's impossible to ignore the central cause of Daesh; The Qur'an's message of paradise for those who slay they who cause mischief in the land will always be a source of jihadis; while Islam exists unedited it will always generate those who desire its promised paradise. Let's be honest, the strict medieval sharia imposed by Saudi Arabia and the medieval Daesh are exactly the same sharia. And, by way of the same measure of honesty, it's impossible to convince an atheist that if she would just blow up innocent humans and herself up while saying "magic words" paradise awaits her.
Close faith schools; they are the absolute antithesis of integration. It is an unbelievable kowtowing to religious privilege that even one exists. This is not "Islamaphobia"; I would advocate similar ethical neutering of the equally vile and supremacist tomes, the Torah and New Testament. The most peaceful answer is to make religious practise an adult only activity. In very few generations the problem would be gone.
Unfortunately, as what people pretend happens after they die is so much more important than saving innocent lives, it will be so much easier for everyone who feels compelled to pretend in the supernatural, to unload TNT and watch the body count rise. Yeah, much less embarrassing. And, while the ways and mindset of pretending has everyone's balls in a sling, the mountains of flesh and lakes of blood sacrificed to this childish folly will roll on unending, staining our future with myriad blood feuds just as it has stained our past.
However, education will do nothing to eradicate the threat of those who have had their minds set against us and, while our liberal democracies exist, those educated by the frighteningly many theocratic sympathisers of Qur'anic inspiration to hate all that we are will be coming.
Take the fight to them by all means, limit collateral damage wherever you may, but equal resources must be allocated into countering the medieval supremacist narrative couched in peaceful garb that is the true legacy of all the Abrahamic religious doctrines. If you're gonna have a revenge tantrum and bomb the shit out of someone's uncle and auntie's neighbourhood, it's probably best to first educate their nephew and niece here, who may hold sympathy with the target's ideological foundation, or you will just be building an army within.
Please leave a comment - Anything will do
The best communications are often,
THREE WORDS OR LESS
OR ONE OR MORE FINGERS!
|Museums and refugees||German museums have put forward an initiative that goes beyond the aspect of mere utility. Indeed, museum visits are organized, on an ongoing basis, for refugees who have just arrived, after a terrible exodus, from the Middle East, to see treasures from these newcomers’ countries of origin.
Hence, visits for Syrian and Iraqi are organized by the Pergamon Museum in Berlin to see a collection of extraordinary pieces brought back from Asia Minor by German archaeologists at the end of the 19th century: monumental buildings,... |
Museums and refugees
|On Cloth Scraps, Syrian Names Are Immortalized in Rust and Blood||Strips of material that a former prisoner smuggled from Syria are now being lent to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for an exhibition in Washington.|
|Feature: Braving Cancer Amid the Chaos of Syria||As the conflict grinds on, parents of sick children face a wrenching choice: to risk traveling for treatment, or to risk forgoing it.|
|War-Crimes Prosecutor, Frustrated at U.N. Inaction, Quits Panel on Syria||The panel said the resignation of Carla del Ponte, who said she hoped her departure would nudge the world body to act, would not stop its work of compiling evidence of atrocities in the conflict.|
|Syrian Christians Afraid||none|
|Watersysteem uit tijd AssyriÃ«rs ontdekt||Archeologen hebben bij Rosh Ha-Ayin, in het midden van IsraÃ«l, een groot watersysteem gevonden onder de resten van een boerderij uit de tijd van de Bijbel. Dat heeft de IsraÃ«lische Oudheidkundige Dienst donderdag bekendgemaakt. De boerderijen werden vermoedelijk gebouwdÂ na de verwoesting van het Koninkrijk van IsraÃ«l (het Tienstammenrijk) in 720 voor Chr.Â De AssyriÃ«rs heersten […]|
|Don't Let Your Enemies Count Their Chickens Before Their Hatched!|
I love this story â 1 Kings 20:1-30 â Benhadad the king of Syria sent a message to the king of Israel and said this, âDeliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children.â In other words, âHand it all over â game over â Iâm calling the shots.â Ahab the king of Israel calls in the elders and asks their advice. Finally King Ahab makes this retort to Benhadad, âLet not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.â There are a lot of dynamics going on in this chapter but I want to just focus on King Ahabâs reply to Benhadad: âLet not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.â What is he actually saying? King Ahab is saying âjust because someone makes threats (i.e. straps on his armor) â this isnât synonymous with winning the victory (i.e. taking his armor off).â Wow!
Now for the practical application â how is your enemy threatening you? Is it a person, institution, thought, emotional issue, physiological issue, or spiritual issue? What are these things/people telling you? Is a co-worker or employer telling you that youâll never succeed at climbing the corporate ladder? Have teachers, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, or other authority figures expressed doubt in your personal abilities? Have emotional and/or physical scars from past or present abuse hindered you from feeling like a ânormal human being?â Have these scars lied to you and told you that youâll never be the person that you wanted or dreamed of because of these ghosts of your past? This list can continue on indefinitely â hopefully by this time you can connect the dots yourself to the people or things that are threatening you â and furthermore, declaring a victory against you that doesnât have to be guaranteed.
Itâs not a surprise that the âdevilâ is referred to biblically as the âaccuser of the brethren.â Constantly trying to devalue us within our own minds and lives â this is the psychological warfare the devil revels in â and how many times do we listen attentively! A person once expressed their frustration with how every time they tried getting their life âstraightened outâ all hell would break loose. I told them I was extremely encouraged by this! Since when, does an enemy fight against something (or someone) who is not a threat! Only dead fish go with the flow â but for those trying to get somewhere, the adversity of the current will bombard them every step of the way.
To summarize, donât allow these âthreatsâ from various people, thoughts, experiences, traumas, etc. tell you that youâve been conquered â when the fact is that victory is still in your hands. King Ahab went on to be victorious against the onslaught of Benhadad. Why? Because Ahab refused to listen to the intimidation and threats of an enemy and rather trusted in Godâs word. âFor I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hopeâ (Jeremiah 29:11). Fight on!
|Forced Into Marriage, Syrian Teen Engulfed by Abuse and Trauma||As her family was fleeing Syria, one mother thought an arranged marriage for her 11-year-old daughter was a chance at safety. Instead, it opened the door to devastation, according to a doctor who met them at her clinic and tells what she observed.|
|Donald Trump Told The Russians Israel Was Able To Hack ISIS Computers|
Donald Trump leaked a classified Intel about ISIS to the Russians when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyakvisited visited the White House. According to New York times, Donald Trump told the Russians some classified information that was obtained by Israel after it hacked into a ISIS cell of bombmakers based in Syria.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
According to a U.S official, the Intel that was gathered allowed the U.S to learn that ISISÂ was working on explosives that could fool airport security by passing as a laptop battery. The information prompted a ban of laptops from all Muslim countries coming to the United States and Britain.
The information was classified, and was shared by Israel to the United States, and was not supposed to be shared around, but Donald Trump leaked this information when the Russian diplomats came to the White House, which could then be leaked to Iran.
There has been close working relationship between the U.S and Israeli intelligence agencies, allowing for sharing of information,Â including the disclosure of sources and methods. The cooperation had yielded great result including the disruption of Iran nuclear program.
The American officials under former President Obama warned the Israeli intelligence to be careful of the information they shared with Donald Trump.
|âNot One Step Back!â: TQILA-IRPGF Communique (Rojava / Syria)||The current social revolution in Rojava (Western Kurdistan â Syria) is one of the greatest beacons of militant self-organized and autonomous revolutionary praxis of the 21st Century. Within a brutal civil war in Syria that has cost upwards of half … Continue reading |
|Syrian Town of Arbin Picks Up the Pieces After Deadly Airstrike During Truce||"This act is in violation of international norms and laws, a breach of the ceasefire agreement."|
|The Afternoon Sound Alternative 03-16-2017 with Jim Jobson||
Nina Simone- Revolution - Anthology
Oddisee- Thats Love - The Good Fight
Femi Kuti- Truth Don Die - Shoki Shoki
- voicebreak -
Charles Mingus RZA- II BS - Impulsive Revolutionary Jazz Reworked
Dubblestandart- Im A Warrior feat Saria Idana - Woman In Dub
Various Artists- Matt Cook James Joyce - United States Of Poetry
Psyco- Mr President - Single
Odyssey- Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love - The Complete Motown Singles Vol 12B 1972
Cat Power- Peace And Love - Sun
- voicebreak -
Kiwi Twist- Viva La Revolution - Groove On Earth Selected By DJ Nartak
Flowering Inferno Quantic- Make Dub Not War Making Dub - Death Of The Revolution 7 Single
Stevie Wonder- Soul Train The Vibe Conductors Afrobeat Blues For Don - Vibe Conductor Vol 1
Tri Sestry- Mercedes Benz Give Peace A Chance - 15 Let Jsem Na Kovarne Na Plech
Various Artists- King Kong Cast Sad Times - Amandla
- voicebreak -
Beirut- My Familys Role In The World Revolution - Lon Gisland EP
Mala- Revolution - Mala In Cuba
Dub Gabriel- Battle Of The Righteous - Anarchy Alchemy
The Pretenders- Message Of Love - Pretenders II
Homeboy Sandman- Speak Truth feat Kurious Breeze Brewin Aesop Rock - Kindness For Weakness
Sonoro Machaca- I Wont Do What You Tell Me - Senora Mamacha EP
- voicebreak -
Jota Karloza- Om flute Edit - Om We Are Made Of Love Part 1
Indigo Moon- Brothers And Sisters Of The Revolution - Lucid Earth EP
Rev Sekou The Holy Ghost- The Revolution Has Come - The Revolution Has Come
Galliano- Rise And Fall DJ Krush Remix - 12
Various Artists- DJ VadimSarah Jones Your Revolution - Zen CD A Retrospective
- voicebreak -
Orlando Julius- Love Thy Neighbour - Jaiyede Afro with The Heliocentrics
Khruangbin- People Everywhere Still Alive Remixes - People Everywhere still Alive Remixes
FIREHOSE- Brave Captain - Ragin FullOn
Jos James- Warrior - Blackmagic
- voicebreak -
Infantry Rockers- Rebel Waltz - Shatter The Hotel A Dub Inspired Tribute To Joe Strummer
Antibalas Afrostreet- Ja Joosh feat Rich Medina - Rich Medina Presents Jump n Funk Vol 1 incl Mix
Dub Traffik Control- Rebel - Bstrd Boots 4 Special Edition
- voicebreak -
Syriana- Love In A Time Of Chaos - The Road To Damascus
Broken Puppets- Devils Of Digital - Slick City Shit 15 Years Switchstance
The Revolutionary Eseibio The Automatic- Impeach The President - Freedomuvspeech
- voicebreak -
Celt Islam- Revolution Inside Us Celt Islam Meets Masala - Sufi Dub
Captain Planet- On Yer Feet - Speakin Nuyorican Ep
Fr33dom People Rise Ashen- Choose Love - 15 Years Of Balanced Records
- voicebreak -
Speakerphonic- Soul Freedom - Manifest Tone
Joe King- Speak On Up - Eccentric Soul The Prix Label
- voicebreak -
Various Artists- Anga Diaz A Love Supreme - World Circuit Presents
playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/50/playlistDate/2017-03-16
|The Afternoon Sound Alternative 11-16-2016 with Yukari||
Thomas De Hartmann- Prayer And Despair - The Music Of Gurdjieffde Hartmann
Thomas De Hartmann- Night Procession - The Music Of Gurdjieff De Hartmann
Melanie Monsur- Assyrian Women Mourners - Bridge To The Unseen
Olof Arnalds- Vinur Winn - Innundir Skinni
Trent Reznor Atticus Ross Gustavo Santaolalla- Before The Flood - Before The Flood Music From The Motion Picture
West Papua Poeple- Bird Of Paradise - Sound Of The Morning Star
Mogwai- Like Herod - Special Moves
John Trudell- Cleasing Song - Tribal Songs
- voicebreak -
Mew- Comforting Sounds - Frengers
Delerium- Zero - Mythologie
Derek Minor- Live - Reflection
Dub Gabriel- Spirit Made Flesh feat Karen Gibson Roc - Anarchy Alchemy
Leonard Cohen- Anthem - The Essential Leonard Cohen
- voicebreak -
The Veils- Total Depravity - Total Depravity
Frank Zappa- Cosmik Debris - The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life Live
Air Traffic Controller- Warrior - Black Box
Mtisse- Nomahs Land - Nomahs Land
Clairaudience- Walker Street - Clairaudience
- voicebreak -
All India Radio- Four Three - Once A Day
Lowell- The Bells - We Loved Her Dearly
Lady Of The Sunshine- Big Jet Plane - Smoking Gun
The Accidentals- Bulletproof Glass - Bittersweet
Plastic Tree- Downpour Rushing Sound - Nega And Posi
Source- Untitled - Return To Nothing
Buckethead- BCI Mix - Bci Mix
playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/35/playlistDate/2016-11-16
|micdotcom: Hereâs how the residents of Manbij, Syria celebrated...|
|6 stories the media isnât writing about the election||View image | gettyimages.com Bombs, bread or blind-eyes? Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen… there’s a long list of countries where international military intervention is likely to continue during the 2015 Parliament, even without factoring in the likely impact of events, dear boy, events in adding yet more countries to the list. So how are the […]|
|18.11.17 20:00 Uhr - NÃ¼rnberg - A.E.R.A. - Quartett||Tickets erhÃ¤ltlich unter: http://www.frankentipps.de/veranstaltung214435-tickets|
A Syrian-Bavarian Connection
Die beiden syrischen Musiker Ehab Abo Fakhir und Abathar Kmash kamen im Januar 2016 nach MÃ¼nchen und haben es in kÃ¼rzester Zeit geschafft, die hiesige Musikszene zu beleben. InitialzÃ¼ndung war die Begegnung mit dem experientierfreudigen Multiinstrumentalisten Ardhi Engl im TamS-Theater. Zusammen mit dem Schlagzeuger und Percussionist Rudolf Roth, der sich ebenfalls schon seit vielen Jahren mit der Verbindung von arabischer und westlicher Musik beschÃ¤ftigt hat, grÃ¼ndeten sie das A.E.R.A.-Quartett. Gemeinsam gelingt Ihnen ein ganz eigener spielerischer BrÃ¼ckenschlag: die Verwebung europÃ¤ischer Klassik und sogar bayrischer Volksmusik mit arabischen Elementen, dazu Originale aus dem vorderasiatischen oder sephardischen Raum, verfremdet und angeregt durch die experimentellen Instrumente und Ideen Ardhi Engls oder das " Special-Drumset" Rudolf Roths - das alles lÃ¤sst eine authentische, spannende und zugleich berÃ¼hrende Musik jenseits jeglicher Klischees entstehen.
Abathar Kmash - Oud
Ehab Abo Fakir - Viola
Rudolf Roth Â Percussion, Drums
Ardhi Engl - traditionelle und experimentelle Instrumente
TÃ¼rkisches BÃ¼fett ab 18 Uhr (9 Â/ Person)
|IQ, exaggeration, and overrepresentation|
Sargonâ @Sargon_of_AkkadNow, it occurred to me that while I knew the oft-heard claim of a 115 average IQ for Jews was a misleading substitution of a subset for the set, and I had also observed that the claim was almost certainly an exaggeration in light of the average Israeli IQ of 95, I'd never actually run the numbers. The first thing was to update the population percentages according to the latest Israeli demographics, which currently has the Jewish population at 75 percent and the non-Jewish population at 25 percent.
This resulted in an average Israeli Jewish population IQ of 98.7 percent, slightly higher than my original calculation. Now, the Ashkenazi are 47.5 percent of the Israeli Jewish population, which means that if their average IQ is 115, the majority of the Jewish population of Israel has an average IQ of only 83.7, which is TWO standard deviations lower, and is also lower than the average IQs of Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, as well as Nigeria, Uganda, and the Israeli-Arab population.
Does that strike you as likely? No, me neither.
There is one Israeli study that found the difference between Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jews in Israel to be 14 points. This would indicate an average Ashkenazi IQ of 106 and a non-Ashkenazi IQ of 92. This is considerably more credible, especially since it also happens to align with a number of studies on Ashkenazi IQ. Given that 74 percent of the global Jewish population is Ashkenazim, that means that the average Jewish IQ is 102.4.
So, average Jewish IQ is not particularly high, but is slightly higher than the European average, and considerably higher than the current US average, which I calculate to be around 95 and falling. Which, of course, is why high average intelligence is an inadequate explanation for the historical Jewish success in 20th-century America, as their level of comparative success is declining even as the IQ delta grows.
|The Afternoon Sound Alternative 06-13-2014 with 99 & Barry||
Dave Pike Set- Mathar - Noisy Silence Gentle Noise
Dengue Fever- Hold My Hips - In The Ley Lines
Francis Bebey- La Condition Masculine - African Electronic Music 19751982
- Cleopatra - Studio One Ska Fever
Pelican Daughters- Subcutaneous Scrimshaw - Fishbones Wishbones
Jonathan Coulton- When Im 25 Or 64 - Thing A Week One
- Theme From The Monkees - Spy Magazine Presents Vol 3
- voicebreak -
Galactic- Wild Man - YaKaMay
Fantasma- Ghost Town feat Manu Schaller On Theramin - Fantasma City
Brunk- Puppeteer - A Simple Guide
Oshiri Penpenz- Opium - The White Album
Sublime Frequencies- Radio Excerpt Thailand - Leaf Music Drunks Distant Drums
Elisabeth Waldo And Her Concert Orthestra- Ritual Of The Human Sacrifice - Rites Of The Pagan Mystic Realm Of The Ancient Americas
Geese- Tundra Bean - Ep
Desi Arnaz And His Orchestra- Tabu - Babalu
Ennio Morricone- Ricreazione Divertita - Crime And Dissonance
- voicebreak -
TuneYards- Time Of Dark - Nikki Nack
Mr Scruff- Render Me feat Denis Jones - Friendly Bacteria
DJ Spooky- Duality - The Secret Song
Raya Brass Band- Cell Phone Song Sajzerski oek - Dancing On Roses Dancing On Cinders
Ibibio Sound Machine- The Tortoise - Ibibio Sound Machine
Various Artists- Arai Arai Kor Disco - Thai Funk Zudrangma Vol1
- voicebreak -
Medeski Martin Wood Nels Cline- Los Blank - Woodstock Sessions Vol 2
John Cage Langham Research Centre- Imaginary Landscape No 5 - Cage Early Electronic Tape Music
Matmos- Lipostudio And So On - A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure
Juicy Panic- Im An Elephant - Otarie
- voicebreak -
Miles Davis- Maiysha - Agharta
Syriana- The Road To Damascus - Real World
Delia Debyshire- Falling - Inventions For Radio Dreams
playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/65/playlistDate/2014-06-13
|Why Are Civilian Deaths in Iraq and Syria from U.S. Airstrikes Up 60% Under Trump?||Today, I have an|
|Kepentingan Iran menyusup ke Indonesia melalui Syiah|| |
Seandainya saja ajaran Shiah tidak muncul, maka sampai kapanpun tidak akan ada peperangan antara Shiah vs Sunni di Indonesia. Menurut apa yang saya amati, sepertinya ada suatu golongan di Indonesia yang ingin memperkeruh suasana, salah satu caranya yaitu menyebarkan ajaran Syiah di Indonesia dan pengikutnya dinaikkan jumlahnya. Pertumbuhan Syiah di Indonesia sepertinya tidak lepas dari peran Iran, yang telah memberi ribuan beasiswa untuk para santri dan ulama melakukan study Islam Shiah. Pertumbuhan Syiah yang demikian cepat ini semakin subur karena fatwa yang masih melegalisasi Islam aliran Shiah oleh MUI untuk hadir dalam kehidupan Islam di Indonesia.
Seperti dalam tulisan saya sebelum ini, perlu kiranya saya sampaikan bahwa Amerika, Yahudi dan apalagi kaum Nasaro sebenarnya tidak ada sangkut pautnya dengan perpecahan dalam tubuh Islam.
Walau secara kasat mata aliran Syiah di Indonesia belum terlalu menonjol, tetapi harus diwaspadai bahwa aliran Syiah kini sepertinya sudah masuk menyusup jauh ketingkat level atas pemerintahan dan juga MUI. Hal ini dapat dilihat dengan belum dikeluarkannya fatwa yang mengharamkan aliran Syiah di Indonesia. Ini berbeda dengan aliran Ahmadiah yang fatwa haramnya telah dikeluarkan. Tanpa campur tangan MUI, saya khawatir bahwa Shiah akan berkembang pesat di Indonesia yang akan mengambil alih fungsi MUI sebagai kepanjangan tangan kepentingan Syiah dan pemerintah Iran yang akhirnya akan mendominasi Islam di Indonesia.
Hingga saat ini MUI masih diisi oleh ulama-ulama yang beraliran Sunni tetapi mereka sebenarnya tidak anti-Shiah. Sepertinya ada unsur kepentingan dibalik sikap MUI yang masih bertahan untuk tidak mengeluarkan fatwa haram aliran Syiah. Kalau menurut pengamatan saya, mungkin ini ada hubungannya dengan kucuran dana dari Iran terhadap banyak lembaga-lembaga Islam di Indonesia. Atau bisa jadi karena MUI masih terpengaruh akan tekanan lembaga HAM International atau bisa jadi juga campur tangan pemerintah Amerika atas nama HAM. Itulah sebabnya mungkin, para imam Sunni di Arab Saudia menuduh Shiah itu antek Amerika, dan sebaliknya tuduhan yang sama pun dilemparkan Shiah kepada Sunni.
Keduanya, shiah dan sunni tetap merupakan musuh bebuyutan. Tapi karena shiah itu minoritas, maka mereka berusaha merebut umat dulu. Cara-cara shiah berbeda strateginya dengan cara Sunni. Sebagai minoritas, Shiah mengajak semua Islam untuk bersatu tanpa membeda-bedakankan aliran. Sebaliknya, Sunni yang mayoritas berusaha memagari umatnya agar jangan menyeberang ke Shiah, oleh karena itu cara-cara ekstreemlah yang digunakan. Para imam Suni di Arab dan Mesir membuat propaganda-propaganda yang memburuk-burukkan citra aliran Syiah. Syiah mereka cap sebagai aliran sesat dan memperingatkan para umatnya agar jangan terjebak oleh rayuan Shiah. Dimana-mana umat Sunni melakukan teror-teror berdarah terhadap shiah, upacara-upacara keagamaan Syiah diganggu dan dibuat menjadi tidak nyaman.
Indonesia memiliki umat Islam terbesar jumlahnya didunia dan meskipun tampak sebagai aliran Sunni tapi sebenarnya Islamnya sendiri masih abu-abu, tidak jelas. Oleh karena itu, Indonesia merupakan target utama Iran untuk menyebarkan alirannya di Indonesia dengan berbagai kerja sama dan beasiswa. Sepertinya hal ini memang berhasil, dikarenakan masyarakat muslim di Indonesia masih gampang dipengaruhi oleh harta dan segala sesuatu yang sifatnya gratisan. Mengapa Iran menganggap bahwa Islam di Indonesia masih abu-abu adalah karena kaum muslim di Indonesia itu sebenarnya tidak mengerti ajaran Islam yang sebenarnya, Islam di Indonesia sudah tercampur baur dengan budaya Indonesia â jadi sudah tidak murni lagi.
Dengan langkah kebijakan agen rahasia Iran, diharapkan bahwa dalam beberapa tahun kedepan diyakini aliran Shiah akan mendominasi dunia Islam. Secara perlahan, seluruh negara-negara Arab sepertinya sudah disusupi aliran Shiah yang siap mengambil alih pemerintahan di masing-masing negara. Hal ini seperti menjadi kekhawatiran pemerintah Arab Saudi, sehingga mereka baru-baru ini telah memutuskan untuk melakukan pembelian besar-besaran 200 pesawat tempur F15 dengan nilai lebih dari US$30 milyard. Hal ini merupakan antisipasi terhadap pengaruh Syiah-Iran yang akan menghabiskan Islam aliran Suni dari muka bumi. Kekhawatiran ini juga karena diisukan bahwa Iran juga memiliki bomb atom.
Salah satu yang paling mengesankan adalah perkembangan Islam Shiah di Mesir. Mulanya dibentuk organisasi Ikhwanul Muslimin oleh imam-imam Sunni, kemudian dengan issu mempersatukan Islam seluruh dunia ternyata imam-imam Sunni pendiri Ikhwanul Muslimin beralih menjadi Islam Shiah. Sekarang penganut Sunni dalam organisasi Ikhwanul Muslimin cuma 20% karena secara de-facto 80% anggota organisasi ini dikuasai oleh ulama-ulama yang punya pandangan aliran Islam Shiah (walau mereka mengaku sebagai aliran Islam Suni). Puncaknya, adalah pada pemilu kemaren di Mesir, 60% jumlah suara dikuasai oleh Ikhwanul Muslimin. Shiah sudah mengembangkan sayapnya dari Syria, Jordania, Libanon dengan Hesbollah-nya, hingga Palestina dengan Hamas-nya.
Kalo menganggap akidah Shiah dan Sunni bisa diseragamkan sudah jelas mustahil karena kedua aliran ini sudah muncul sebagai musuh sejak nabi Muhammad masih hidup dimana pengikut Sunni mendukung Aishah sebagai isteri tersayang nabi Muhammad, sebaliknya Shiah adalah umat pendukung nabi Muhammad dan keluarganya.
Semoga Islam bisa berdamai sehingga tidak terjadi perpecahan. Cara satu-satunya adalah supaya setiap pemeluk diajarkan untuk saling menghargai perbedaan, memandang perbedaan sebagai bunga-bunga kehidupan.
|U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, Versus Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia||Yesterday, U.S.|
|Slavery uniquely American? Hardly||Too many people believe that slavery is a “peculiar institution.” That’s what Kenneth Stampp called slavery in his book, “Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South.” But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd or unusual. It was common among ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others. [...]|
|Syrian Asylum Seekers Arrested for Filming and Molesting Underage Girls|
Four Syrian asylum seekers were arrested by police in the German town ofÂ LÃ¶bau after they filmed and molested underage girls at a swimming pool. Police arrested the group of Syrian asylum seekers at theÂ Herrenmannsbad outdoor swimming pool on Friday. Two of the men, aged 31 and 27, are said to have filmed several underage girls [...]
The post Syrian Asylum Seekers Arrested for Filming and Molesting Underage Girls appeared first on Knights Templar International.
|Food-starved Syrians are switching meat for mushrooms||Mushrooms are not a common crop in Syria. With government blockades creating food shortages, however, Syrians in embattled rebel strongholds like Douma are increasingly turning to mushrooms as a substitute for meat. As years of drawn-out sieges place meat and other staples of Syrian cuisine beyond reach, The Adala Foundation, a local nonprofit, began brainstorming alternatives.
"We turned to cultivating mushrooms because they're a food that has high nutritional value, similar to meat, and...|
|Future Aleppo and The Battle for Home|
A Syrian boy hand-built a model of what his hometown might look like after the countryâs civil war, and now âFuture Aleppoâ is on display in Los Angeles.
|Ethics: Syrian Refugee Family Moves Into Your Neighborhood|
What would you do Wednesday! There is a lot of division over whether or not the United States should receive Syrian refugees who have been driven from their homes by ISIS – radical Islam. While there is some balance in the discussion, much of debate seems a black and white, yes or no response.Â Like it or not, some of the refugees are being settled here in America. What if a refugee family moved into your neighborhood? You have just finished reading news reports that there is a vetting process in place that attempts to ensure the refugees are not radicals ...keep reading »
The post Ethics: Syrian Refugee Family Moves Into Your Neighborhood appeared first on Here I Blog.
|Pastor Robert Jeffress On the Paris Attacks and Radical Islam|
Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Dallas, shares his view of how Christians should respond to the Paris terrorist attacks. He addresses the government’s role in protecting its citizens and how radical Islam (ISIS) should be bombed. In this short clip, it is not clear that Jeffress shares his thoughts on every aspect of the Paris attacks including its effect on the refugee crisis. Christians, per Romans 13, expect the government to seek justice on radicals like ISIS et al. Yet, caught in the middle are thousands of Syrian refugees who have been driven from their homes. These refugees ...keep reading »
The post Pastor Robert Jeffress On the Paris Attacks and Radical Islam appeared first on Here I Blog.
|Syrian refugee regional plan remains 91% underfunded: UN|
Geneva: Two UN organisations on Tuesday warned of low funding for their ongoing support operations for Syrian refugees.
A statement released by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva said of a $4.63 billion pledge made in January, only $433 million or nine per cent funding has so far been achieved, Efe news reported.
"The situation is getting desperate," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees in a statement. "we are already seeing children who aren`t able to go to school, families who cannot access adequate shelter or provide for their basic needs."
The statement coincided with a gathering of world players in Brussels for the Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region.
As the Syrian conflict entered its seventh year, there were over five million Syrian refugees living in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, in addition to those who have made the dangerous journey to Europe and farther.
The statement said that overall, some 13.5 million people were in need of assistance, including 6.3 million within Syria itself.
The UN statement said that "without additional funding, all areas of assistance will be curtailed this year. Food and cash assistance will be reduced or cut by mid-year, challenging stability and security in the region."
The note also warned that with most Syrian refugees falling below national poverty lines, families would face the impossible choice of taking their children out of school, adding to the half a million children already missing out on education.
The international conference slated for Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels is co-presided by the European Union, the UN, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the UK.
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|Turkey Protest March||Huge crowds have joined a 450 kilometre anti-government march from Ankara to Istanbul. It has been organised by the opposition CHP party and was prompted by the imprisonment of one of their MPs.
Also in the programme: A ceasefire in south-western Syria, and Russia's Bolshoi theatre cancels a ballet about Rudolf Nureyev.
(Photo: Turkish protest march, July 8, Credit: Getty Images)|
|Russian Helicopter Shot Down in Syria||A Russian military helicopter has been shot down over Syria, killing all five people on board; Turkey's security forces have captured a group of fugitive soldiers suspected of involvement in last month's failed coup attempt; the president of Taiwan has formally apologised to the indigenous population for centuries of abuse.
(Photo: Men inspect the wreckage of a Russian helicopter. Credit: Reuters)|
|Israel world's second most lethal country for journalists in 2014, watchdog says||
Syria topped Reporters Without Bordersâ grim league table for 2014, followed by âPalestine.â
|Graham: Assad's Actions Show 'F You' To U.S.||Missed Meet the Press? Catch highlights from our interviews on all sides of the debate about Trump's missile strike in Syria. #ComPRESSed|
|McCain Pre-Strike: Conflict in Syria a Chance for Trump to Emerge as World Leader||In case you missed it...the top headlines from MTP Daily leading up to the White House's move to conduct airstrikes in Syria.|
In his most recent book, Why Faith Matters (1), Rabbi David J. Wolpe makes the case for religion and rebuts recent critiques of religion by a quartet of prominent atheists called the New Atheists. (2) This is a book that deserves a large audience among religious and seculars because it is accessible, well-argued, and thought-provoking.
One of Rabbi Wolpe's main objectives is to defend religion from the charge that religion is the main cause of violence in the world. He argues that violence is due not to religion but to human nature. (p. 43, p. 52) All of us, whether religious or secular, he says, are prone to hostility. (p. 69) The Rabbi concedes that the Crusades, the Inquisition, and 9/11 demonstrate that religion "is capable of great evil" (p. 53), but he insists that seculars who believe that there will be peace without religion are naÃ¯ve. (p. 71) He notes that most ancient tribal societies were at war continuously (p. 50) and that the great empires in history, from the Persian to the Assyrian to the Greek to the Roman, give us a "chronicle of cruelty." (p. 51) Further, he charges, secular movements have brought explosions of violence, not peace and love. On this score he cites the excesses of the French Revolution and the millions of deaths at the hands of Mao in China, Stalin in Russia, and Pol Pot in Cambodia. (pp. 65-67)(3) Here he is right on target. On the other hand, Rabbi Wolpe is silent on a critical issue: if humans are aggressive by nature, and God is the architect of human nature, doesn't God deserve a measure of blame for violence?
One part of Rabbi Wolpe's case for religion disappoints me - his use of Bertrand Russell as the poster child of secularism. Russell made important contributions to moral theory, logic, mathematics, and literature, but as the Rabbi properly points out, his private life was a "mess," with four marriages, "proudly proclaimed infidelities," and abandonment of his children. (p. 6) Russell prompted young David Wolpe to abandon his faith for ten years. Later, when the Rabbi discovered that his hero was irresponsible, he concluded that a life without religion is lonely, selfish, and hedonistic. (61) This is a classic case of hasty generalization. Russell is as representative of secularism as pedophile clerics are representative of religion. Has Rabbi Wolpe never heard of seculars such as world class cyclist Lance Armstrong, baseball Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams, media mogul Ted Turner, golfer Annika Sorenstam, investor Warren Buffett, actor Angelina Jolie, TV personality Andy Rooney, composer Irving Berlin, inventor Thomas Edison, computer entrepreneur Bill Gates, and countless others, whose talent, service, and generosity have enriched lives near and far?
Rabbi Wolpe's book also includes a series of insightful criticisms of what he views as the overblown attempt by the New Atheists to explain all human behavior through evolutionary theory. For instance, he argues that if, as Richard Dawkins holds, the key to human behavior is the drive to reproduce our genes, why do wealthier families who can afford many children have so few, and why do so many women opt for abortion when adoption is available? (p. 30)
Whether you are religious or not, you'll find much of value in David Wolpe's Why Faith Matters.
Â© 2009 Tom Shipka
|In Vermont Town, Refugee Resettlement Debate Costs Mayor His Job||Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Resettling refugees has proven to be a divisive subject across the country, including in Rutland, Vt. It's a city of 16,000 which this year became home to a handful of Syrian refugees. And as Vermont Public Radio's Nina Keck reports, the refugee question may have just cost the mayor his job. NINA KECK, BYLINE: Last April, Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras surprised many when he announced that he wanted Rutland to become Vermont's newest refugee resettlement community. It was the right thing to do, said Louras, who believed welcoming Syrian families would provide much needed youth and diversity to Rutland. But many locals weren't convinced. Believing the mayor negotiated the plan in secret without voter input, many pledged to oust Louras in the next election. That election came yesterday, and challenger David Allaire's message of trust and transparency resonated. A longtime member of the city's Board of Aldermen, he turned anger|
|Vermont Mayor Seeks Syrian Refugees To Help Boost Small Town's Economy||Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Now to Vermont, and a town where the mayor is seeking Syrian refugees. Just last week, the first two of possibly 25 refugee families arrived in Rutland. It's a blue collar town of about 16,000 people. Refugee advocates worry that the Trump administration could suspend refugee programs at any time, just as Trump promised to do during his campaign. Some in Rutland would favor that, while others say the town needs the infusion of diversity. Vermont Public Radio's Nina Keck reports. NINA KECK, BYLINE: The first two families arrived quietly at night - four adults, five kids, all exhausted - we're told. The media was not invited, and reporters were asked to be sensitive to the family's privacy. Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras, who's been a champion of resettlement, helped both families move in. CHRISTOPHER LOURAS: As our new neighbors - fleeing for their lives, coming to a new home a half a world away to rebuild those lives - they|
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The post Ù Ø¯Ø§ÙØ¹Ø§Ù ØØ±Ù Ø¯Ø± Ù ÙØ§Ø¨Ù ÙÛØ±Ø§ÙÙ ÙØ§Û Ø³ÙØ±ÛÙ appeared first on ShahreFarang.
|8 REASONS WHY THE NWO HATES SYRIA; THE TRUTH AS TO WHY WE'RE IN SYRIA|
8 REASONS WHY THE NWO HATES SYRIA; THE TRUTH AS TO WHY WE'RE IN SYRIA
And it's not for humanitarian reasons. This video needs to be circulated far and wide, so please do what you can to make that happen, and subscribe to SyrianGirlpartisan; links are below. Thank you.
The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
|Debunking the Western Mediaâs Coverage of the War on Syria|
Debunking the Western Mediaâs Coverage of the War on Syria
The most prestigious newspaper in Peru is no more than another mouthpiece for power. But this shouldnÂ´t surprise anyone familiar with mainstream media and its propagandistic role in our society.
Sadly, most people remain unaware of this reality and still approach this kind of media for understanding on the appalling problems of contemporary life. For them there are real news: you will find no such understanding in El Comercio.
We will consider the Syrian conflict because itâs an ongoing issue with massive coverage to analyze. The fact that mainstream media (MSM) in Peru, as elsewhere, import its articles from Big Media and their agencies around the world does not, of course, release them of the responsibility to verify everything they publish and therefore endorse.
LetÂ´s imagine ourselves taking half an hour of our busy lives to seek information in MSM regarding Syria, in order to learn whatâs been happening there for the last five years. What could be better than an article titled: âSeven questions to understand what is happening in Syriaâ? (elcomercio.pe, 09/24/16).Read more Â»
|Air Strikes against Syria: Who are the War Criminals? Who is Supporting Al Qaeda? Russia or America?|
Air Strikes against Syria: Who are the War Criminals? Who is Supporting Al Qaeda? Russia or America?
America is coming to the rescue of Al Qaeda under a humanitarian mandate. The unspoken agenda is to undermine the Liberation of Aleppo.Â
The pretext and justification for these actions are based on Americaâs âresponsibility to protectâ (R2P) the âmoderatesâ in Aleppo from Syrian and Russian attacks and bombing raids.
On October 3, the US State Department announced the suspension of bilateralÂ relationsÂ with Russia pertaining to Syria (see document below), in response to which, Franceâs foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault was called upon to intermediate at the diplomatic level.Â
Pointing his finger at Russiaâs Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Jean Marc Ayrault casually accused Moscow of crimes against humanity, âLa France est indignÃ©eâ Â (France is Â indignant). Â
In turn, the Western media (including segments of the âLeftâ alternative media) went into overdrive, accusing Russia of killing innocent civilians, demonizing president Putin;, and moreÂ significantly ignoring the devastating impacts of Â Obamaâs (2014-2016) fake âcounterterrorism campaignâ implying extensive and routine bombings of both Syria and Iraq over a period of more than two years.Â
Initiated in Summer 2014, Operation Inherent Resolveâs real objective is to âprotect the terroristsâ.ÂRead more Â»
|Comment on A Balloon in Syria by enochsvision||This image is 19 by 22 inches in size. I took two snapshots yesterday of simple flowers that grow on vines in my backyard and also used a old photograph of one of my children --from when he was very little, and considerably altered to blend with the textures and colors I was trying to express. In one sense, I've never really finished any image.
War is futile and senseless. There is only One message that can make a difference.|
|Comment on A Balloon in Syria by Diane Mathias||Ah Cary,
A balloon within a ballon, a "feign within a feign" (Herbert).
Your work is poignant and poised to speak truth.
|The Meteorite Shower over Lebanon â a Russian Missile Launch?||New information is surfacing regarding yesterday’s meteor shower over Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Israel/Palestine and Armenia. It seems as if the whole thing was not mother nature’s doing. Instead, it was mother Russia flexing its military muscles. This video shot in Syria shows the “meteorite” as following a spiral trajectory, which is not possible for a […]|
|Boko Haram||Despite the headlines about Syria and ISIS, the number one terrorist group is Boko Haram in Nigeria.|
StrategyPage has a long detailed post on that war, and on the multinational African forces that are fighting them. Things are improved partly because the new president is fighting some of the terrible corruption.
and then we have this:
hmm...haven't heard much about these refugees, but I suspect if you look closer, a lot of those "Syrian" refugees will turn out to be fleeing Nigeria or Saharan terrorist groups. And of course these Saharan groups make money by smuggling drugs and refugees from Europe.
|Gratitude - TEDX Conference||
Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.
As a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial and "slice-of-life" photography - the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for more than 30 years.
Louie was recognized as one of the top 70 Cinematographers for the On Film Kodak Salute Series. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Louie is credited by many with pioneering the contemporary stock footage industry by founding Energy Film Library, a global company with a network of 12 foreign offices, which was acquired by Getty Images in 1997. Motion picture clients of his cinematic artistry include Sex in the City, The Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 4, Syriana, Crash, Men in Black and classics such as American Beauty, Koyaanisqatsi and E.T. among others.
Louie went on to found BlackLight Films, a creative production company specializing in producing original theatrical feature, large format films, HD and TV programming.
In 2004, BlackLight Films completed production of the theatrical feature film, America's Heart &Soul, distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Pictures. In 2006, BlackLight Films completed a series of HD shorts, Louie Films, for the launch of Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Blu-Ray DVD releases. In 2007, the company produced a 1-hour special, Chasing the Light, which aired nationally on PBS.
Past projects include the 35mm film Seasons of the Vine for Disney's California Adventure Theme Park and a 26-half hour series, America!, for The Hallmark Channel.
Louie has won two Clio Awards for Best Environmental Broadcast Spot, an Emmy nomination for Best Cinematography for the Discovery Channel Special, Oceans of Air, and the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award for Walt Disney Pictures' feature film release America's Heart & Soul.
Louie completed production on a feature length nature documentary, Wings of Life, to be theatrically released worldwide, under Walt Disney Pictures' new production banner, Disneynature. The film was released in France (March 2011) under the title Pollen and won the Roscar Award for Best Cinematography at the 2011 Wild Talk Africa Film Festival.
Louie spoke at the TED 2011 conference in Long Beach, CA and has been a regular presenter at the annual Bioneers Conference in San Francisco. Currently, Louie is in production with National Geographic to produce Hidden Worlds, a 3D Imax film.
event video by: http://repertoireproductions.com
|What Exxon Knew About Climate Change|
By Bill McKibben [Photo: Mikael Miettien.] Wednesday morning, journalists at InsideClimate News, a Website that has won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on oil spills, published the first installment of a multi-part expose that will be appearing over the next month. The documents they have compiled and the interviews they have conducted with retired […]
|The Refugee Crisis: Separating the Conspiracies from The Conspiracyâ¢|
By Eric Draitser [Photo: Syrian refugees in Hungary September 4, 2015 (wikimedia).] As the refugee crisis in Europe has come to dominate western media headlines, it has predictably given rise to a complex web of theories, analyses, and politically and ideologically charged omissions and distortions. The corporate propagandists of âacceptable journalismâ have presented the issue […]
The post The Refugee Crisis: Separating the Conspiracies from The Conspiracyâ¢ appeared first on Cyrano's Journal Today.
|Confidential Charter School Memo Blasted as âOutline for a Hostile Takeoverâ|
By Deirdre Fulton [Photo: A sign at Sunday’s protest outside the new Broad Museum in Los Angeles. (Photo: Joel Rubin/Twitter)] A California billionaire is enlisting other wealthy backers in a $490 million scheme to place half of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District into charter schools over the next eight yearsâa plan […]
The post Confidential Charter School Memo Blasted as ‘Outline for a Hostile Takeover’ appeared first on Cyrano's Journal Today.
|Hey, World, American Weapons Are Available for (Nearly) Everyone While Triggering a New American- Inspired Middle Eastern Arms Race.|
By Murray Polner [Photo: courtesy TOrange.us.] So who won the âwarâ about the Iran Agreement? Millions were spent for a stream of ads on TV and radio and in major newspapers in the âwarâ over Obamaâs nuclear deal with Iran. But one day while clicking through TVâs vacuous channels I picked up a local reporter […]
|The Syrian Test of Trump-Putin Accord|
|Paul Craig Roberts "Putin Is All That Stands In The Way Of Israel Destroying Syria & Iran."|
|What next for Eastern Europe?||While President Trump tweets, the United States and Russia drift towards war over Syria, and the new Thirty Years War between Shi'ite and Sunni continues on many fronts, another critical drama is playing out in the Eastern half of the European continent. I find it particularly interesting because it is a replay of the drama I described about 40 years ago in my first book, Economic Diplomacy and the Origins of the Second World War, which is linked at left and available as an e-book.|
For the first few centuries of the modern era the peoples of Eastern Europe lived under large empires. The Ottoman Empire had reached Europe in the 15th century and eventually included what is now Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Rumania, some of the nations of the former Yugoslavia, and Hungary. The Tsar of Russia ruled what are now the Baltic States and, by the 19th century, Poland. The Holy Roman Empire--which in 1806 became the Austrian Empire, and in 1867 the Austro-Hungarian Empire--included parts of Poland and the present-day Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia. All these peoples, to varying degrees, developed nationalist movements during the 19th century.
The enormous strain of the First World War proved too much not only for the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, but also for the German Empire. The Allies--France, Britain, Italy and eventually the US as well--sponsored the claims of some of the national movements in their territory. In January 1918, in his Fourteen Points, Woodrow Wilson endorsed an independent Poland and autonomy (not independence) for the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. When those nations collapsed ten months later, various national movements proclaimed new states.
As the brilliant but eccentric English historian A. J. P. Taylor noted in 1961, the post-1919 settlement in Eastern Europe reflected the astonishing fact that both Germany and Russia had been defeated. Only that allowed for the re-creation of an independent Poland, the new states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia,a larger Rumania, independent Poland and Finland, and the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. It seemed in 1918-9 that things might go even further and that Ukraine might become independent as well, but the Bolsheviks managed to secure control over it in the Russian civil war. These states were economically and politically weak. Nearly all of them initially formed some kind of democratic government, encouraged down that path by the western powers.
In the short run, several of the new states--Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania--were threatened by Hungary, which had lost huge territories at the peace conference, while in the long run Czechoslovakia and Poland had to worry about a resurgent Germany. France, eager to cement its status as the leading power in Europe, offered all those states some kind of alliance. Clearly the French would have trouble defending them once the Germans or Russians regained their military strength, but the French were counting on keeping the Germans weak. The alliances faced no serious threats until after the rise of Hitler.
By then all these countries had undergone profound political changes. While all of them had begun as democracies, only Czechoslovakia, Finland and the Baltic States were still electing their governments by the early 1930s--the rest had come under some form of authoritarian rule. The agricultural states among them, as I showed in my book, came under German influence after 1935 because the Germans, desperate for food, offered them a market for their produce. In 1938 Hitler managed to destroy Czechoslovakia when the French abandoned their alliance. In 1939-40, Hitler and Stalin concluded the Nazi-Soviet Pact. They partitioned Poland and the Soviets incorporated the Baltic States. Hungary and Rumania became allies of Hitler while Yugoslavia was occupied by the Italians and the Nazis. In 1945, the whole region (except Finland) came under Soviet occupation and the USSR installed Communist governments.
The collapse of the USSR in 1991--77 years after the start of the First World War--started this process over again. Once again, as in 1919, the entire region was liberated from foreign rule. This time the proliferation of new states has gone much further, with Czechoslovakia and former Yugoslavia giving way to no less than 8 new states, and not only the Baltic States, but also Ukraine and Belarus, becoming independent. Once again the new states established various forms of democracy. And once again, powerful nations from outside the region offered them alliances. NATO, led by the US, offered membership to virtually every new state in the region, including the Baltic states--after initially promising the new Russian government not to do so. The EU also offered many of them membership, choosing to ignore the enormous economic and cultural differences that still divide Europe somewhere around the frontiers of Germany and Poland.
Germany is no longer an imperialist nation, although it leads the EU and played a key role in its enlargement. Russia once again went through a chaotic period but by 2000 it was recovering its strength under Vladimir Putin. He is clearly determined to reassert Russian influence--if not more--over many of the states of the former USSR. Belarus lost any real independence very quickly, and Putin is actively contesting the West in a bid for influence in Ukraine, and using the Russian military at the border to do so. He also very obviously has designs on the Baltic states, which are extremely vulnerable militarily. And while Putin cannot offer these states markets the way the Germans did 80 years ago, he can provide them with energy.
And once again, democracy has proven fragile in Eastern Europe. Rightist parties now lead the governments of Hungary, Poland, and some of the other states of the region. The governments of the Czech Republic and Slovakia are weak and subject to corruption and outside influence. These nations face a choice between western-style democracy--which is having enormous problems in the west--and Russian-style authoritarianism. It is not at all clear which path they shall take.
Only a gigantic war settled the question of Eastern Europe's future 80 years ago. Such a war does not seem in prospect now, but limited wars, such as a lightning Russian occupation of one or more Baltic states, cannot be ruled out. Russian and NATO aircraft are constantly confronting one another in the region. The Russians also seem to be using cyberwar against Ukraine, and they may use it elsewhere. To reach a new equilibrium diplomatically would require a level of statesmanship which is not apparent on the world scene. Nearly thirty years ago, when the Soviet empire collapsed, I commented frequently that this time, Eastern Europe had taken a new shape without a new world war. Now it seems that the process may involve a larger conflict--albeit of a possibly different kind.
|Did General McMaster Pass his own Test?|
When General H.R. McMaster replaced General Ray Flynn as National Security Adviser just a few weeks into the Trump Administration, commentators made much of the book he had written as a doctoral candidate 20 years ago, Dereliction of Duty, and what it boded for his tenure. Published in 1998, that book argued that the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the mid-1960s had failed to give Lyndon Johnson their honest opinion of what was needed to win the Vietnam War, and that that had led to catastrophe. As it happens, I was finishing my own book on the origins of the Vietnam War, American Tragedy, at that very moment, and I did not see what McMaster had in the same sources. The problem, I thought, was not that the Generals didnât tell President Johnson what they thought, it was that neither the military nor the civilians had a realistic idea of how to win the war. No one, however, could argue with the principle that he was advocating: that it was essential for military leaders to give their civilian superiors honest and sound military advice.
Unfortunately, it is not clear that General McMaster, Secretary of Defense (and retired general) James Mattis, and Joint Chiefsâ Chairman General Joseph Dunfordâby law the Presidentâs principal military adviserâmanaged to pass that test during the crisis over chemical weapons in Syria. Ironically, their retaliatory strike and the ways in which they have defended it are extremely reminiscent of one of the most unfortunate episodes of the Vietnam era, the first major air strike on North Vietnam in the wake of the Tonkin Gulf incident in early August 1964.
On August 2, 1964, American destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf were attacked by North Vietnamese p. t. boats, who it turned out were acting without authorization from higher authority. Officially the destroyers were making a routine patrol; in actual fact they were coordinating with a South Vietnamese paramilitary strike against the North, partly to test North Vietnamese radar. Such attacks had been taking place since early that year, and the Joint Chiefs had anticipated that they might lead to North Vietnamese retaliation and full-scale American involvement in the Vietnam War. Johnson was now preparing for his re-election campaign against hawkish Barry Goldwater, who had already been nominated, and his National Security team had already been waiting for some time for a pretext to introduce a Congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force in Southeast Asia. In the days after the attack Johnson authorized another South Vietnamese operation against the North and another patrol for August 4, and on the morning of that day, he discussed possible retaliation against the North with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
The patrol on the evening of August 4, it was later established, did not encounter any North Vietnamese opposition, but at least one destroyer initially reported sonar contacts suggesting that it had. McNamara and Johnson swung into action without waiting to make sure what had happened, sending an air strike against the base from which the August 2 PT boats had come. Johnson asked for his resolution authorizing war, and received nearly unanimous support from the House and Senate. The US took a giant step towards the war that Johnson and McNamara had already anticipated after the election. In the first week of March 1965 it began in earnest.
We must now face the possibility that the Syrian crisis, like the Tonkin Gulf strike, is based upon misinformation. Professor Ted Postol of MIT, a hard boiled skeptic for whom I have great respect, has gone on record that the photographic evidence we have does not support the idea that the gas was dropped from a plane. It does not seem at this point at least that the Administrationâs leaders see the strike as a step towards a larger war. But what is most striking is the very similar way that the two strikes have been justified: as âsignalsâ designed to intimidate and deter the enemy from undertaking further hostile acts.
The idea of using military force to signal oneâs intentions, and thereby to affect the behavior of adversaries without resorting to full-scale war, was elaborated by an economist, Thomas Schelling, in his book Arms and Influence, which appeared less than two years after the Tonkin Gulf incidents. This was the era of the Cold War, when American strategists were searching for alternative strategies to an all-out nuclear exchange, and Schelling claimed to have found one. Both the Cuban missile crisis and that retaliatory attack after the Tonkin Gulf incidents, he argued, were âsignalsâ that had persuaded, and might persuade, adversaries not to challenge American power. He praised the quarantine of Cuba in 1962 and the 1964 bombing as âproportionalâ moves that would allow an adversary to rethink his strategy without risking all-out war. That was music to the ears of American policymakersâbut unfortunately, we now know, it did not reflect the facts of those cases.
The reason that Nikita Khrushchev decided to remove his missiles from Cuba, we now know, was that he could not stop the American invasion of Cuba that would have begun within just a few days if he did notânor could he risk nuclear war against an overwhelmingly superior United States. We have also learned that the effect of the Tonkin Gulf strike on the North Vietnamese was disastrous. Until it occurred, Ho Chi Minhâthe most diplomatic of all the Communist leaders of the twentieth centuryâhad hoped to work out a deal with Washington that would have avoided war. But Ho and his government knew what the American people did notâthat the second attack for which we had retaliated had not taken placeâand he decided, correctly, that the Americans were determined upon war, and that he would therefore give it to him. The strike did not in the least deter Ho: it encouraged him. With the help of Chinese and Russian allies, he eventually prevailed.
It now turns out that the Trump Administrationâs decision to warn the Russian government about our impending strike turned it into a completely symbolic act. The Russians in turn warned the Syrians, who evacuated the airfield, from which they have now resumed conventional attacks. The Russians have also reaffirmed their solidarity with the Assad regime and stopped the exchange of information with the US government about military moves. Although Assad may avoid further chemical attacks, the incident will do nothing to change the basic course of the conflict in Syria. It will only put more pressure on the Administration to take further action as Assad continues to consolidate his power against the rebels. And indeed, high officials are already talking as if Assad must be removed--something they lack the means to make happen.
In 2017 as in 1964, the foreign policy establishment has applauded the Administrationâs use of force to show American resolve. This in my opinion is the kind of illusory gain that military leaders should warn civilians against. President Obama refused to take similar action against Syria because he did not believe American military power could affect the situation for the better. With Russia firmly behind Syria, that situation remains unchanged. Symbolic attacks only foster the illusion of American powerâthe illusion that led us to the greatest foreign policy tragedy of the twentieth century in Vietnam.
|How Quickly Can America Exit Iraq?||Yes, the combat mission is over. Yes, U.S. forces don't necessarily have to do anything should intra-Iraqi violence spiral upwards again. But that doesn't mean that the U.S. can go home.|
Hence, the question: If Iraq is the new Lebanon, will the United States play Syria?
|Did somebody say OSCAR?|
In the same way that when winter comes round you say "Oh the nights are fair drawing in" as if it is some sort of surprise even though it occurs every year at exactly the same time, so do we find ourselves in the midst of the hype and intrigue of the Oscar season. Even though it feels just like yesterday that Jamie Foxx and Hilary Swanky-dress were waltzing off down Hollywood Boulevard clutching their gold statuettes, today saw the anxiously awaited announcement of the nominations for The 78th Annual Academy Awards.
There were few surprises in the list, as you would expect from an institution with a record of risk-taking right up there with nuclear power stations and Westlife. The real shock for me was the omission of the frankly brilliant Ralph Feinnes for his lead role in The Constant Gardner, The Academy instead opting for the token black nomination for Terence Howard in the hardly awe-inspiring Hustle And Flow. Surely this is insulting the intelligence of black people as well as white, yellow and green folk?
In any case, the usual suspects are there, with the Spielberg Award Panel in hearty voice for Munich with 5 nominations whilst the worthy Brokeback Mountain picked up a massive 8 nods. An interesting choice is George Clooney's much feted, but yet to be seen on these shores, Goodnight And Good Luck in five categories, including Best Film, with the erstwhile Dr Ross getting recognition with a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Syriana. Also greatly welcome is the hugely under-rated Phillip Seymour-Hoffman (otherwise known as the token chubby guy in countless movies) as a nominee for Best Actor for the upcoming Capote, which also picks up 5 nominations.
My prediction for that one, however, has to be the simply wonderful Joaquin Phoenix in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line. Best Picture is a tough one but I reckon Brokeback Mountain will scale that particular peak. Best Director? Try Ang Lee for size. It's been a pretty fallow year for Best Actresses so pick one of five for that one whilst I'd love to see either Paul Giamatti or Jake Gyllenhaal nab the Supporting gong.
But what do you think? The full list of nominations (minus the fiddling with knobs ones, but that could include Brokeback Mountain I suppose) are listed in the comments section for your delectation and debate.
Happy Oscar season to you all!
|Two Italians, A Muslim Girl & a Pizza Place: In Honour of Syria & San Bernardino||none|
|Bastille Day 2017: "Operational together"|
13 July 2017
Bastille Day 2017: "Operational together"
"Operational together" is this yearâs chosen theme for the Bastille Day festivities on 14 July. With the terror threat still looming, cooperation between the Armed Forces and domestic security forces is paramount. The parade is an opportunity to celebrate the commitment of these men and women who, together, keep French citizens safe on a daily basis. The Franco-American friendship and Operation Chammal will take centre-stage, alongside the technological prowess of the French Armed Forces.
A hundred years have passed since the United States entered World War I2017 is the centenary year of Americaâs entry into World War I, bringing its support to France. The American President will be attending this centenary and tribute will be paid to the U.S. Armed Forces as a sign of this cooperation and the history of Franco-American friendship.
To open the military parade, the French Air Force aerobatic demonstration team, Patrouille de France, will be followed by the U.S. Air Force air demonstration squadron, Thunderbirds. On the ground, the marching parade will begin with an American joint detachment of 200 servicemen and women, some of whom will be wearing the authentic "Sammies" uniform from World War I.
The United States and France, partners and allies, are taking action on a number of fronts, including to combat terrorism through the Global Coalition against Daesh in the Levant.
Operation Chammal centre-stageThe efforts of French troops serving in the Levant as part of Operation Chammal are also being recognised this year. 114 servicemen and women from three branches of the Armed Forces will be taking part in the parade, illustrating the complementary nature of the means and troops committed in the fight against Daesh.
Chammal is the name of Franceâs contribution to the international operation Inherent Resolve. More than 1,200 soldiers are deployed in Iraq and Syria as part of this operation. They are involved in aviation or artillery support missions to assist the ground troops engaged in countering the terrorist group Daesh, as well as training missions for the benefit of the Iraqi security forces.
1917-2017: a whole centuryâs worth of technological innovationIn the limelight during this yearâs opening festivities are technological innovations and the necessary efforts given over to planning for the future. The groundbreaking changes that have occurred over the period from 1917 to 2017 will be on show, not least the vehicles and weapons available to the French forces, as will the accomplishments in terms of planning for the future.
1917 marks the first time French tanks were used in battle. Since then, the Saint-Chamond tank has been replaced with the powerful and mobile Leclerc tank, the only one in the world to be able to fire while travelling at a speed of 50km/h. Technological innovation has been making a key contribution to Franceâs strategic autonomy throughout the past century: it represents the excellence and foresight of the French Armed Forces.
The parade will close with a rendition of Nissa la Bella, the city of Niceâs anthem written on 14 July 1903 by Menica Rondelly, performed in memory of the victims of the Nice attack on 14 July 2016.
|Trained By U.S., Syrian Fighters Stumble As They Hit The Battlefield||A small group of U.S.-trained Syrian fighters entered northern Syria late last month and waited for their mission. They were on a base, with American supplies that included heavy machine guns, communications technology and laser pointers for directing airstrikes.|
These fighters are, in effect, the elite members of a much bigger rebel group called Division 30.
|With Syria's Army Losing Ground, A Boost From Hezbollah||The dirt roads on the border between Syria and Lebanon wind across a mountain range dotted with little wildflowers.|
It's windswept and deserted except for a few hilltop outposts with clumps of gray tents, machine-gun nests and flags that fly the green and gold colors of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.
These posts are new.
|Is Bashar Assad Just Losing Some Ground ... Or His Grip On Power?||The past few weeks have brought almost daily news of rebel victories in their 4-year-old battle against Syria's President Bashar Assad.|
There was the capture of the crucial Nassib border crossing with Jordan â a key trade route and source of government taxes.
|Syrian Rebels Want To Fight Assad, But Now They'll Face ISIS||In the U.S. view, the most serious threat coming from Syria is the self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS. That's why the Pentagon is sending forces to train what it terms moderate Syrian rebel fighters.|
But here's the catch. Moderate rebel commanders say it will be hard to explain this mission to their troops, who took up arms with the aim of toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad, not ISIS.
The U.S. plan calls for the Americans and their allies to train and equip about 5,000 Syrian moderates. U.S.
|Suspected Israeli Strike Kills Iranian General Advising Syrian Troops||Iran says a general in the country's elite Revolutionary Guard was killed by an Israeli airstrike in Syria on Sunday that also killed several ranking members of Hezbollah.|
Though these aren't the first Iranians or Hezbollah fighters to be killed in Syria, this incident stands out because these men were on the Syrian Golan Heights, within 10 miles of Israel's northeastern border.
Iran's official news agency quoted a website for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stating that Gen. Mohammad Ali Allahdadi was killed while in Syria advising Syrian troops.
|With A Son Missing, Family Questions Jordan's Mission Against ISIS||In Jordan, the talk these days centers on the fate of the Jordanian pilot who was captured by the self-styled Islamic State after his plane crashed in Syria on Christmas Eve.|
Little is known about the condition of Moath al-Kasasbeh since the extremists tweeted pictures of him, bloody and bewildered, after the crash.
He was participating in the U.S.-led coalition's bombing raids against the self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS.
|After Making Waves In 2014, ISIS' Power Appears To Ebb||In the heat of summer in 2014, Baghdad was spooked. A third of Iraq was under the control of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS. The extremist group thrived in the chaos of the Syrian civil war, then surged over the border into Iraq and took over the cities of Mosul and Tikrit. People worried the capital might be next.|
Six months on, that's changed.
|There And Back Again For U.S. Military In Iraq||Three years after the U.S. military officially withdrew from Iraq, 2,000 U.S. troops are back. They're restoring the old buildings they'd left behind and renewing contacts with Iraqi officers they knew before.|
They're also taking incoming rocket fire at their bases.
This week began an ambitious training program to put 5,000 Iraqi soldiers through boot camp every six weeks.
Operation Inherent Resolve was designed by the U.S. to build a coalition of states to strike back against the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, in Iraq and Syria. The operation has seen a return of U.S.
|For Syria's President, The Year Ends Better Than It Began||At the beginning of 2014, Syrian President Bashar Assad had agreed to send his ministers to take part in negotiations in Switzerland, and his future as Syria's ruler was not looking very bright.|
He was accused of killing tens of thousands of his own people in a civil war that was nearly three years old. The opposition was demanding Assad's ouster. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Switzerland and called loudly for a political transition in Syria. He was clear about who would not be involved.
"Bashar Assad will not be part of that transition government.
|Homs, Syria: Assad Allies Charge Mossad, CIA, Blackwater Link||International Business TimesÂ March 8, 2012 The press agency of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement charged Wednesday that the CIA, Israel’s Mossad and private security firms have been exposed supporting Syrian rebels in Homs. Al-Manar, a channel linked to the Shi’ite militia Hezbollah — a close ally of the Assad regime in Syria — asserted that 700 […]|
|Hackers Pledging Allegiance To ISIS Take Over Newsweekâs Twitter Account, Threaten Obama Family||It appears that Newsweekâs Twitter account has been hacked by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria sympathizers known as the Cyber Caliphate.|
â¢ Ever since settlersâ arson last Friday of a West Bank mosque, fears that the Palestinian cause could now take on a more religious tinge and that the conflict could suddenly turn more violent have abounded. [NYT]
|today's leftovers|| |
|City of Ghosts Reveals the Syrian Citizen Journalists Fighting ISIS||
Although we hear news of turmoil in the Middle East and of the jihadist militants known as ISIS every day, the details can easily get lost in a blur of unfamiliar geography and confusing factionalism. Matthew Heineman's powerful new film City of Ghosts helps to contextualize the crisis by focusing on one concentrated area of the overall political tension, a small group of Syrian refugees who have created an underground news network to report on events in their occupied city.â¦
|Apa kata beliau!!! ISU MESIR|
Prof Dato' Dr Mohammad Redzuan Othman (gambar), Dekan Fakulti Sastera dan Sains Sosial, Universiti Malaya dirasakan tokoh akademik dan pengamat politik Timur Tengah yang paling layak memberikan pandangan terhadap krisis di Mesir. Wakil Harakah, Ahmad Lutfi Othman dan Arif Atan menemubual Dr Redzuan di kediamannya, Sungai Ramal, Kajang, pertengahan Julai lalu.
Presiden pertama Mesir yang dipilih rakyat dalam satu pilihan raya yang diakui adil dan bebas telah digulingkan hanya selepas setahun berkuasa. Ada pihak melihat dalang di sebaliknya adalah pihak Barat, terutamanya Amerika Syarikat. Sebagai tokoh akademik yang lama mengikuti politik Mesir, termasuk gerakan Ikhwanul Muslimin, tentu Prof lebih arif tentang apa sebenarnya yang berlaku?
Barat sebenarnya sudah lama merancang untuk bertindak dan menindas gerakan Ikhwanul Muslimin yang ditubuhkan pada 1928. Kejayaan Ikhwanul Muslimin mengambil alih kuasa selepas ditindas lebih enam puluh tahun menimbulkan kegusaran, termasuklah juga rejim monarki di negara Arab yang turut merasakan kedudukan mereka akan tergugat jika gerakan Islam ini berjaya mengemukakan alternatif kepada pelbagai kemelut yang dihadapi oleh umat Arab.
Untuk memahami apa yang berlaku di Mesir, kita harus meneliti sejarah yang pernah berlaku sebelum ini. Sejarah penindasan ke atas Ikhwanul Muslimin pada 1948-1954 seolah-olah berulang dengan menggunakan skrip sama. Contohnya, pada 13 Julai lalu, berita menyiarkan bahawa Morsi akan disiasat kerana dikatakan terlibat dalam kegiatan yang memcetuskan keganasan. Pendukung Ikhwanul Muslimin yang dibunuh dan dianinya, tetapi mereka pula yang dituduh.
Nasib yang sama pernah menimpa Ustaz Abdul Qadir Audah, pemimpin Ikhwanul Muslimin yang tersohor yang dijatuhi hukuman gantung sampai mati pada tahun 1954 kerana dituduh mencetuskan keganasan dan terlibat dalam komplot cubaan bunuh ke atas Gamal Abd al-Nasser. Bersama-sama beliau yang turut menjalani hukuman gantung, termasuklah Abd al-Fattah Ismail, Muhammad Al-Faghali, Yusof Talaat, Ibrahim al-Tayyeb dan lain-lain.
Pada 1966 Sayyid Qutb dijatuhi hukuman gantung. Bukti yang digunakan dan digembar-gemburkan ialah Ikhwanul Muslimin terlibat dalam kegiatan bersenjata dan pelbagai jenis senjata ditemui di pejabat gerakan tersebut. Ini juga perkara yang dihebohkan oleh tentera Mesir dengan mengatakan bahawa senjata ditemui di ibu pejabat Ikhwanul Muslimin di Moqattam dan penemuan tersebut adalah bagi mengesahkan gerakan ini menaja keganasan dan wajar ditindas.
Tuduhan yang dikenakan ke atas Ikhwanul Muslimin juga hampir sama seperti enam dekad lalu. Bagi mendapat sokongan rakyat tindakan General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi sama seperti Gamal Abd al-Nasser pada 1954, iaitu mengembleng rakyat menyatakan sokongan kepada beliau melalui Hubbat al-Ahrar (Liberation Rally).
Atas nama sokong kepada regimnya rakyat berhimpun bagi menyatakan sokongan kepada Nasser dan mengutuk Ikhwanul Muslimin. Ini yang dilakukan oleh tentera pada hari ini dengan menaja demonstrasi rakyat bagi menyokong regim dan menolak Ikhwanul Muslimin yang dikatakan antinasional.
Sama seperti kira-kira 60 tahun lalu, tentera tidak ada belas kasihan dan bertindak sewenang-wenang ke atas pendukung Ikhwanul Muslimin termasuk melakukan penindasan kejam. Ternyata penindasan tanpa belas kasihan ini memberi impak yang amat besar kepada Ikhwanul Muslimin.
Tahun 1948-1954 merupakan tahun penuh cabaran kepada Ikhwanul Muslimin. Pada Februari 1949, pengasas dan pemimpinnya, Hasan al-Banna mati ditembak. Sejak itu Ikhwanul Muslimin terus ditindas dan seterusnya diharamkan pada 1954 hinggalah selepas Husni Mubarak diturunkan dari jawatan presiden berikutan berlakunya Kebangkitan Arab pada 2011. Ini bermakna Ikhwanul Muslimin telah diharamkan selama 67 tahun dan ribuan anggotanya pernah dipenjarakan dan puluhan yang lain mati di tali gantung.
Dari segi sejarah, tentera menindas Ikhwanul Muslimin selama hampir enam dekad. Tentera memandang Ikhwanul Muslimin dengan penuh curiga. Dengan menggunakan kekuatan senjata dan kuasa yang dimiliki tentera tidak pernah menunjukkan belas kasihan kepada Ikhwanul Muslimin. Melihat rekod lalu tiada perkara yang boleh menghalang mereka untuk terus berusaha menindas Ikhwanul Muslimin.
Maknanya, apa yang berlaku hari ini mengulangi penindasan kejam terhadap Ikhwanul Muslimin 60 tahun lalu. Apakah mungkin ia mengakibatkan Ikhwan sukar untuk bangkit semula?
Tentera cuba mengulangi pendekatan yang pernah mereka lakukan lebih 60 tahun lalu. Namun begitu, suasana sudah berubah. General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi tidak sehebat Nasser dan kemajuan dalam teknologi maklumat menjadikan penipuan dan propaganda yang mengelirukan rakyat tidak boleh dibuat sewenang-wenangnya.
Natijah kepada konflik Ikhwanul Muslimin dan tentera banyak bergantung sejauh mana gerakan Islam ini mampu bertahan. Rekod yang dimiliki Ikhwanul Muslimin menunjukkan gerakan tersebut mempunyai daya tahan yang luar biasa.
Walaupun enam dekad ditindas dengan para pemimpin utamanya ramai mati dibunuh dan penindasan dilakukan secara berterusan, namun Ikhwanul Muslimin masih bersisa dan mampu bangkit. Inilah yang berlaku pada 2011, walaupun ditindas rejim Mubarak, namun mampu muncul sebagai organisasi yang paling tersusun dan memberikan alternatif kepada rakyat.
Walaupun tentera dan kumpulan anti-Ikhwanul akan menggunakan pelbagai cara untuk menghapuskan pengaruhnya, tetapi suasana 2013 tidak sama seperti 1954. Hari ini Ikhwanul Muslimin mampu membawa jutaan penyokongnya di jalan raya dari seluruh 27 Muhafazah (wilayah) di Mesir.
Namun begitu, situasinya masih sama, iaitu bagi kumpulan anti-Ikhwan yang terdiri daripada penyokong sosialis, nasionalis, liberalis, sekularis dan kelompok tariqat tertentu mereka sanggup mengetepikan perbezaan dan permusuhan sesama mereka semata-mata bagi menentang gerakan Islam ini.
Mengimbau sejarah lalu, Ikhwanul Muslimin yang dizalimi seperti tidak mendapat simpati atau sokongan daripada masyarakat antarabangsa termasuk kalangan kumpulan Islam sendiri. Mengapa terjadi begitu?
Ketika Gamal Abd al-Nasser menjadi Presiden Mesir beliau berjaya menggerakkan jentera propagandanya sehingga menggelap dan menggerhanakan peranan Ikhwanul Muslimin. Pengaruh beliau cukup hebat hingga pelajar Malaysia yang belajar di Universiti al-Azhar, Mesir pada waktu itupun tidak tahu tentang peranan dan sumbangan Ikhwanul dalam memperjuangkan Islam yang syumul.
Nasser yang tampil dengan imej Islam digambarkan sebagai tokoh pemimpin Islam dan tidak hairanlah apabila beliau mati, terdapat madrasah dan kelompok umat Islam di Malaysia menganjurkan solat ghaib sebagai tanpa kasih kepada "pemimpin Islam yang banyak berjasa".
Sentimen anti-Israel yang dilaungkan Nasser menjadikan beliau dikagumi sehingga umat Islam di Malaysia, termasuk mereka yang pernah belajar di Mesir tidak menyedari kezaliman dan penindasannya ke atas Ikhwanul Muslimin. Ini termasuklah apabila Sayyid Qutb dihukum gantung pada 1966, protes hanya disuarakan sekelompok kecil pelajar Malaysia yang belajar di Barat.
Menariknya, kebangkitan Islam di Malaysia pada awal 1970-an bukan digerakkan lulusan Mesir, sebaliknya oleh mereka yang terpengaruh dengan perjuangan dan pemikiran Ikhwanul Muslimin dalam kalangan pelajar dari universiti tempatan dan mereka yang belajar di Barat.
Pengaruh Ikhwanul Muslimin yang disebarkan melalui buku-buku tokoh-tokoh Ikhwanul yang tersohor seperti Hasan al-Banna, Abd al-Kader Audah, Sayyid Qutb dan lain-lain. Buku-buku ini pula bukan dalam bahasa Arab tetapi dalam bahasa Inggeris seperti buku Maalim Fit Tariq oleh Sayyid Qutb yang lebih dahulu dibaca dengan judul Milestones.
Merujuk kebangkitan rakyat Mesir tiga tahun lalu untuk menumbangkan regim Hosni Mubarak, ada pendapat mengatakan pada peringkat awal Ikhwanul seperti menjauhkan diri dan tidak terlibat. Boleh prof jelaskan keadaan sebenarnya?
Perkara ini sering dijadikan ungkitan penggerak gerakan 25 Januari yang memaksa Husni Mubarak meletakkan jawatan. Mereka mengatakan Ikhwanul Muslimin menanguk di air keruh dengan mengambil kesempatan daripada kebangkitan.
Memang ada kebenarannya kerana ketika rakyat mula turun ke jalan raya, pada peringkat awalnya Ikhwanul Muslimin mengambil pendekatan tunggu dan lihat. Pada awal Februari 2011 barulah Ikhwanul Muslimin turut mengerahkan pengikutnya ikut serta dalam protes yang dilakukan.
Pendekatan Ikhwanul Muslimin yang terpaksa mengambil pendekatan berhati-hati mudah difahami kerana gerakan ini sudah terlalu lama berusaha mengerakkan kebangkitan tetapi gagal mendapat sambutan meluas. Sebaliknya, kebangkitan yang mereka anjurkan berakhir dengan tragedi apabila ada ahlinya yang dihukum berat, dipenjarakan dan harta disita.
Hal yang sama pernah berlaku pada 1952 apabila berlaku kebangkitan rakyat menentang Raja Farouk dan British, Ikhwanul Muslimin tidak berada berada di barisan hadapan dan tidak terlibat secara langsung. Apabila Gamal Abd al-Nasser melancarkan revolusi dan berjaya menggulingkan Raja Farouk, Ikhwanul Muslimin dianggap tidak berperanan memainkan peranan sebenar.
Dengan pelbagai pengalaman itu, sebagai usaha mempelbagaikan pendekatan Ikhwanul Muslimin pernah terlibat secara langsung dalam pilihan raya Mesir. Ikhwanul Muslimin sudah terlibat dengan pilihan raya sejak 1984 lagi, walaupun bukan sebagai sebuah parti yang bertanding menggunakan nama gerakan tersebut. Ia pernah bergabung dengan parti Buruh, Parti Wafd dan bertanding secara bebas.
Kejayaan terbesar Ikhwanul ialah apabila berjaya meraih hampir 25 peratus undi dalam pilihan raya Mesir tahun 2007. Namun begitu, kejayaan besar ini bukan memberikan manfaat kepada Ikhwanul Muslimin, sebaliknya gerakan Islam ini semakin ditindas. Penindasan yang berterusan ini mendorong lahirnya dua kelompok kepimpinan dalam Ikhwanul Muslimin.
Kumpulan konservatif merasakan Ikhwanul Muslimin perlu kembali fungsinya yang asal iaitu menumpukan kepada dakwah dan tarbiyyah dan tidak terlibat dalam politik bagi memastikan survival gerakan yang tidak putus-putus ditindas. Kumpulan reformis pula mencadangkan Ikhwanul Muslimin perlu melakukan trasformasi dan mengikut contoh AKP di Turki bagi membolehkan perubahan dilakukan di Mesir.
Dalam muktamar Ikhwanul Muslimin pada 2010, kumpulan konservatif yang diketuai Badaei berjaya menguasai kelompok kepimpinan gerakan Islam itu dengan mengetepikan kumpulan reformis yang diketuai Essam al-Erian.
Bagaimana pula dengan pembabitan Ikhwanul dalam proses pemilihan ahli-ahli Parlimen dan jawatan Presiden Mesir?
Sebagai kumpulan yang dianggap paling tersusun, Ikhwanul Muslimin ternyata lebih bersedia menghadapi pilihan raya dan berjaya memperoleh kemenangan dalam pilihan raya tahun 2012. Setelah berjaya mendapat kemenangan yang amat memberansangkan dalam pilihan raya parlimen, Ikhwanul Muslimin memutuskan untuk bertanding merebut jawatan presiden.
Pada peringkat awal Ikhwanul Muslimin secara tegas menyatakan mereka tidak berminat dengan jawatan itu. Apabila seorang pemimpin kanan Ikhwanul Muslimin, iaitu Moneim Abd al-Futuh menyatakan beliau berhasrat bertanding jawatan presiden, beliau dipecat kerana mengingkari keputusan syura.
Apabila Ikhwanul Muslimin memutuskan untuk merebut jawatan presiden, calon mereka ialah Khayrat Shater. Namun begitu, kelayakan beliau untuk bertanding dibatalkan kerana pernah ditahan di bawah pemerintahan Husni Mubarak. Sebagai gantian Muhammad Morsi dipilih sebagai calon. Hal yang sama juga berlaku kepada calon Parti Nour, iaitu, Hazem Abu Ismail yang tidak layak bertanding.
Akhirnya Morsi yang bertanding menentang mantan Perdana Menteri Mesir di zaman Mubarak, iaitu Ahmad Syafiq. Morsi menang dengan 51 peratus undi, walaupun peratus yang keluar mengundi sekitar 32 peratus sahaja. Morsi merupakan Presiden Mesir yang dilantik secara demokratik.
Soalnya, walaupun bertanding menentang Syafiq, yang dikira mewarisi Husni Mubarak, tetapi Morsi hanya mendapat sekitar 52 peratus, tidakkah itu boleh dianggap sokongan yang berbelah-bagi?
Walaupun Morsi hanya mendapat 52 peratus undi, namun sebagai pilihan raya yang diiktiraf adil, telus dan bebas, beliau dikira mendapat sokongan majoriti. Jumlah yang keluar mengundi sebanyak 32 peratus juga tidak boleh dijadikan alasan bahawa beliau tidak mendapat legitimasi kerana Husni Mubarak menang pilihan raya dan dilantik sebagai presiden dengan kadar keluar mengundi sekitar 10 peratus sahaja.
Disebabkan rakyat tidak yakin dengan pilihan raya, kerana sudah pasti Husni Mubarak akan menang besar menyebabkan rakyat tidak ambil kisah untuk keluar mengundi. Lagipun di Mesir pilihan raya mengambil masa yang panjang. Pilihan raya Mesir yang melibatkan 27 wilayah mengambil masa selama tiga bulan untuk selesai. Pengundian pula dibahagikan kepada tiga peringkat dengan setiap peringkat melibatkan sembilan wilayah.
Pilihan raya Mesir selepas kejatuhan Mubarak dianggap telus, adil dan bebas kerana dipantau hakim. Parti-parti yang bertanding menggunakan pelbagai pendekatan untuk memenangi hati pengundi. Sebagai pertubuhan yang mempunyai jentera di seluruh negara Ikhwanul Muslimin berjaya menggerakkan penyokongnya untuk ke peti undi dan menyokong partinya.
Selain Parti Nour, hanya Parti al-Karamah yang dipimpin Hamden Sabahi yang mampu memberi saingan. Beliau seorang yang berfahaman sosialis dan pengikut Nasser yang setia. Beliau menggunakan bas dua tingkat sebagai pendekatan kempen untuk membolehnya menjelajah ke seluruh negara. Pendekatannya ternyata berkesan apabila berjaya menduduki tempat ketiga dalam pemilihan jawatan presiden. Hamden Sabbahi merupakan salah seorang pemimpin Tamarrod yang bersekongkol dengan tentera dan kumpulam sekular dalam menjatuhkan kerajaan pimpinan Morsi.
Sejarah Ikhwan menunjukkan ia turut berpecah membabitkan kepemimpinan tertinggi setiap kali berlaku peristiwa besar dalam politik Mesir. Apakah kali ini juga berlaku hal sama?
Ikhwan gagal menyatukan perpecahan apabila ada pemimpin pertubuhan itu bertindak keluar kerana perbezaan dari segi pendekatan. Dakwaan cubaan Morsi untuk "mengIkhwanulkan" Mesir pula tidak lebih propaganda yang sengaja ditiupkan. Morsi cuba untuk buat yang terbaik tetapi malangnya dia mewarisi suatu sistem yang sesiapa pun tidak boleh pegang. Tumbangnya Morsi minggu lepas, Qatar dan Arab Saudi beri USD12 bilion masuk ke Mesir sebagai bantuan 'soft loan'. Raja Abdullah ucap tahniah kepada tentera.
Morsi juga mendapat kritikan keras daripada sebahagian aktivis Ikhwan?
Terdapat dalam kalangan golongan Islamis yang menuduh Morsi terlalu berlembut dan bersikap liberal kerana tidak tegas laksanakan undang-undang syariah. Pihak sekular pula menolak Morsi kerana dikatakan cuba mengikwankan Mesir. Pemerintahan Morsi depan serangan pelbagai penjuru dan keadaan ini dipersulitkan lagi dengan keadaan ekonomi yang semakin parah sehingga menimbulkan kesulitan kepada rakyat.
Politik Mesir tidak dapat dipisahkan daripada pengaruh dan pembabitan proaktif pihak tentera...
Tentera Mesir bukan sahaja terlibat dalam menjaga keselamatan. Mereka juga terlibat dalam pentadbiran dan menguasai ekonomi. Apabila tentera tidak menyokong Mubarak beliau terpaksa meletak jawatan. Morsi juga dijatuhkan oleh tentera. Ini bermakna selepas ini sesiapa sahaja boleh tumbangkan oleh tentera. Tentera Mesir merupakan golongan elit dan kenaikan Mursi dilihat berisiko menggugat dominasi mereka.
Permusuhan Ikhwanul Muslimin dan tentera telah berakar umbi berdekad-dekad lamanya. Dengan sebab itu apabila apabila Amerika Syarikat menyeru kepada pendemokrasian di Mesir, jawapan Husni Mubarak ialah, âKalau saya (Mubarak) jatuh, Ikhwanul akan berkuasaâ. Bila Ikhwanul Muslimin berkuasa Amerika Syarikat amat khuatir dengan perkembangan ini.
Selain berdepan Mubarak dan AS, Ikhwanul Muslimin juga bertembung dengan kumpulan lain. Mereka termasuklah kumpulan Salafi yang dibiayai Arab Saudi yang berfahaman Wahabi. Ketika zaman Mubarak, beliau menggalakkan kumpulan Tarikaq yang tidak menyokong gerakan Islam. Ini merupakan pendekatan halus bagi melemahkan Ikhwanul Muslimin. Walaupun golongan sekular juga berpecah kepada pelbagai kumpulan tetapi mereka bersatu menentang Ikhwanul Muslimin.
Boleh Prof jelaskan kedudukan dan pengaruh pertubuhan dan parti-parti politik Islam di Mesir?
Ketika mula berlakunya kebangkitan rakyat Mesir kumpulan Nour mengeluarkan fatwa haram hukumnya menentang Mubarak. Namun begitu, apabila Mubarak jatuh kumpulan ini menyokong kebangkitan rakyat. Dalam konteks politik Mesir, kumpulan Nour merupakan kumpulan Islam yang kedua berpengaruh selepas Ikhwanul Muslimin.
Morsi dilihat terlalu berbaik sangka dengan pihak tentera, yang akhirnya menikam balik dirinya.
Morsi tidak mempunyai banyak pilihan. Dalam pentadbiran Morsi mengambil pendekatan terbuka, termasuklah melantik dalam kalangan orang Kristian dan bukan ahli Ikhwanul Muslimin dalam pentadbirannya. Morsi cuba melakukan pelbagai perubahan dalam tempoh 100 hari pemerintahannya, tetapi amat sukar untuk sesiapa sahaja yang memerintah Mesir melakukan perubahan secara drastik.
Morsi mewarisi sistem ekonomi yang lemah dan sistem sosial yang tidak mantap. Ikhwanul Muslimin cuba bersikap baik dengan tentera seperti pada tahun 1952, tetapi tentera tidak pernah bersangka baik dengan Ikhwanul.
Prof juga banyak mengkaji dan mengikuti dari dekat lanskap politik di Turki. Mungkin ada persamaan di antara kedua-dua negara ini dan apakah pengalaman berharga yang dilalui Erdogan dan partinya yang mungkin boleh dikongsi dengan realiti di Mesir?
Cubaan untuk mempraktikkan politik Islam di Mesir nampaknya lebih sukar berbanding Turki yang tebal dengan amalan sekularisme. Walaupun demikian di Turki terdapat dua parti sekular iaitu Republikan dan Demokrat.
Walaupun kedua-dua parti berfahaman sekular, namun tidak ada titik pertemuan di antara kedua-duanya, dan malahan lebih bersedia untuk bekerjasama dengan parti Islam daripada berpakat sesama mereka. Akhirnya parti Islam itu berjaya memerintah seperti yang berlaku pada 1996 apabila Parti Refah berjaya membentuk kerajaan walaupun dengan sokongan 21 peratus undi sahaja.
Ada pihak bimbang Mesir mungkin mengulangi tragedi berdarah di Syria yang tidak berpenghujung...
Tidak dapat dinafikan terdapat kebimbangan ini. Namun begitu, situasi di Syria agak berbeza kerana di Mesir masyarakatnya tidak terbahagi kepada puak. Kekhuatiran yang lebih besar ialah Mesir akan kembali kepada zaman 1970-an dan 1980-an apabila kumpulan Islam mengambil pendekatan bersenjata sehingga menyebabkan berlakunya pertumpahan darah yang tiada penghujung.
Bagi pendukung gerakan Islam termasuk Ikhwanul Muslimin kemungkinan untuk terjerumus kepada pendekatan ini tidak boleh ditolak apabila mereka ditindas tanpa belas kasihan. Bagi Ikhwanul Muslimin pengalaman sejarah mengajar mereka untuk berjuang hingga ke titisan darah terakhir. Dalam kemelut yang berlaku sama ada mereka menang atau pasti ditindas secara berterusan sebagaimana yang pernah berlaku sebelum ini.
Pengalaman di Algeria juga merupakan iktibar yang amat menjadi keprihatinan kepada aktivis Ikhwanul Muslimin apabila demokrasi yang diwujudkan di negara tersebut menghalang FIS daripada terlibat dalam politik dan bertanding dalam pilihan raya. Pendekatan tentera dan kumpulan sekular hari ini menjurus ke arah tersebut yang berusaha menyisih Ikhwanul Muslimin daripada berperanan dalam proses politik di Mesir.
Realiti hari ini menunjukkan Ikhwanul Muslimin berdepan cabaran hebat untuk menentukan survival masa depannya. Penentuan masa depannya amat bergantung kepada sejauh mana ia dapat terus bertahan dan konsisten dalam perjuangan serta dengan strategi yang lebih baik daripada pihak lain yang menjadi musuh politiknya.
Ikhwanul Muslimin bukan sahaja berdepan musuh politik dalam negeri, tetapi juga daripada AS dan Israel yang mempunyai kepentingan dan tidak mahu melihat gerakan Islam ini berpengaruh. Walaupun AS menjuarai demokrasi, tetapi negara kuasa besar itu bersifat hipokrit dalam isu pergolakan politik di Mesir yang menyebabkan Morsi dilucutkan jawatan. AS dan negara barat tidak bersuara lantang apabila tentera âmerampas kuasaâ di Mesir, tetapi memprotes apabila berlakunya rampasan kuasa di Fiji, Maldive dan lain-lain.
Anehnya, rampasan kuasa di Mesir bukannya dikutuk, tetapi sebaliknya dijanjikan dengan bantuan kewangan. Arab Saudi dan beberapa negara Teluk yang merupakan sekutu kuat AS dan amat khuatir dengan perluasan pengaruh Ikhwanul Muslimin menjanjikan bantuan sebanyak USD 12 billion kepada Mesir sebaik-baik sahaja Morsi dilucutkan jawatan oleh tentera.
Perkembangan di Mesir memperlihatkan manifestasi sikap âdouble standardâ Barat terhadap Islam. Walaupun Morsi dilantik secara demokrasi, tetapi cara beliau diturunkan tidak bersifat demokratik.
Jika demonstrasi jalanan dijadikan tanda aras bagi mengukur populariti bukannya melalui sokongan peti undi, demokrasi di Mesir bukan maju ke hadapan. Sebaliknya, Mesir masih terus berada pada zaman gelap seperti rejim-rejim lalu dan hasrat generasi muda negara itu untuk mewujudkan masyarat yang mampu bersaing dengan negara lain akan terus tinggal impian semata-mata.
|Ramadhan di Bumi Asing ~|
Subhanallah..tanpa disedari, begitu cepat masa berlalu. Hampir setahun aku berada jauh di rantau orang. Bulan Ramadhan yang seakan-akan baru sahaja tiba semalam, rupa-rupanya cuma tinggal kurang dari seminggu untuk diakhiri. Oleh itu, ingin aku coretkan serba-sedikit pengalamanku menyambut Ramadhan di sini sebagai perkongsian bersama rakan-rakan di tanah air tercinta.
Pada awal kedatanganku ke negara matahari terbit ini, timbul sedikit kerisauan tentang bagaimana agaknya keaadaanku ketika bulan puasa yang dijangka tiba pada musim panas. Hal ini disebabkan oleh perubahan musim dan cuaca yang tidak menentu di sini. Perbezaan jarak waktu siang dan malam yang sentiasa berubah-ubah juga menggusarkan aku.
Jika pada musim sejuk, waktu malam yang lebih panjang dari waktu siang menjadikan hari-hari begitu cepat berlalu. Jika berpuasa pada waktu tersebut, tentu waktu berpuasa menjadi sangat singkat kerana dimulai pada jam lebih kurang pukul 6 pagi dan berakhir kira-kira pukul 4 petang. Namun begitu, pada musim panas seperti ini, matahari sudah mula terbit pada lebih kurang pukul 2.30 pagi dan terbenam pada waktu maghrib yang tiba kira-kira jam 7.00 malam.
Ada beberapa sebab yang menjadikan aku risau pada ketika itu. Salah satunya adalah melalui pengalamanku sebelum bulan Ramadhan iaitu setelah beberapa kali hampir pitam di dalam keretapi dek kerana diserang pening kepala dan sakit perut akibat lambat sampai di asrama untuk makan malam. Jarak perjalanan yang jauh daripada asrama hingga universiti tempatku belajar yang memakan masa kira-kita 30 minit menaiki keretapi ditambah pula 15 minit berjalan kaki perlu aku hadapi hampir setiap hari.
Tambahan pula, waktu rehat yang hanya sekali pada jam 12.00 tengah hari diikuti kelas yang berturut-turut dari waktu pagi dan berakhir lebih kurang jam 6.00 petang menyukarkanku untuk mencari makanan bagi mengalas perut. Disebabkan hal tersebut, aku sering bertanya kepada diri sendiri, mampukah aku bertahan ketika bulan puasa nanti. Aku hanya berserah pada Allah. Dia lebih mengetahui apa yang terbaik bagi aku.
Alhamdulillah, kini, setelah hampir sebulan berpuasa, tidak ada sebarang masalah yang timbul. Walaupun aku perlu bersahur seawal jam satu atau dua pagi, semua itu lansung tidak menjadi masalah walaupun aku hanya boleh tidur kira-kira pada jam 3.00 pagi setelah bersahur dan menunaikan solat subuh. Hal ini kerana aku risau tidak dapat bangun untuk bersahur dan terlepas waktu subuh jika aku tidur lebih awal. Tambahan pula, ketiadaan ibu yang sentiasa mengejutkan aku untuk bersahur seperti selalu menjadikan aku perlu belajar untuk berdikari di sini.
âAllah tidak membebani seseorang melainkan sesuai dengan kesanggupannya....â
[Surah Al-Baqarah (2): ayat 286]
Seperti firman Allah di atas, hari-hari yang berlalu juga menjadi begitu lancar dan seakan-akan tidak terasa perjalanannya. Setiap kelas dan aktiviti yang dianjurkan juga Alhamdulillah dapat kuhadiri tanpa rasa letih dan lemah walaupun ketika berpuasa. Rakan-rakan yang bukan beragama Islam disini juga sangat memahami keadaanku dan seorang lagi rakanku yang beragama Islam disini. Mereka sentiasa mengelakkan diri dari makan di hadapan kami dan kadangkala sanggup tunggu untuk makan bersama-sama ketika waktu berbuka puasa. Selain itu, ada juga diantara mereka yang sangat berminat untuk mencuba berpuasa bersama kami bagi merasai pengalaman berpuasa seperti orang Islam. Semoga mereka terpilih sebagai orang yang diberikan hidayah oleh Allah s.w.t..amin...
Namun begitu, cuma satu perkara yang membuatkanku sedih ketika menjalani ibadah puasa dan beraya di sini, iaitu tiada keluarga di sisi dan suasana yang tidak sama ketika di Malaysia. Di sini, boleh dikatakan hampir setiap hari aku hanya makan makanan segera ketika bersahur dan berbuka puasa. Tiada ayam percik, laksa, nasi ulam dan sebagainya. Pada ketika inilah, aku dapat belajar erti bersyukur dan menghargai setiap makanan yang ada kerana tidak semua makanan yang boleh dimakan disini. Saudara-saudara muslim di Palestin, Syria dan negara lain sudah tentu mengalami nasib yang lebih teruk jika dibandingkan denganku disebabkan kesukaran mendapatkan makanan, bukan?..
Aku juga sedar betapa beruntungnya berada di negara Islam seperti Malaysia. Tiada kesukaran untuk beribadah, keselamatan terjamin dan yang paling penting suasana sekeliling yang terdiri daripada majoriti masyarakat yang mengamalkan Islam dalam kehidupan harian. Walaupun hanya setahun menjadi perantau dan cuma sekali berpeluang berpuasa di negara orang, pengalaman ini cukup untuk menyedarkan aku akan betapa pentingnya kita memartabatkan Islam dan menjalankan perintah Allah walau di mana sahaja kita berada. Selaku khalifah di atas muka bumi ini, kita tidak boleh lari dari tugas menyebarkan Islam walaupun dengan hanya menunjukkan akhlak dan ajaran Islam yang sebaiknya.
Â· Teringat kata-kata yang dipetik dalam salah satu usrah bersama senior KBM,
âJanji Allah itu pasti. Islam pasti akan tertegak dengan megah di atas bumi ini suatu hari nanti. Tetapi alangkah bertuahnya jika kita terpilih menjadi salah seorang yang tergolong dalam kalangan pejuang yang menyumbang untuk kejayaan tersebut.â ..InsyaAllah..amin..
Terima kasih kerana membaca..Selamat Menyambut Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir & Batin.
|The Violet Organization is Rebuilding Syriaâs Most Affected Provinces and Theyâre Doing it Wonderfully|
Syriaâs Violets Out of the darkness of the Syrian conflict has emerged another light. The Violet Organisation is an NGO that is operating in some of the most affected provinces of Syria, working to restore a sense of normality, and compassion. Their first office was established in Idlib city, within the northerly Idlib province of […] More
The post The Violet Organization is Rebuilding Syria’s Most Affected Provinces and They’re Doing it Wonderfully appeared first on Mvslim.
|UNCA Film Screening of Sebastian Junger & Nick Quested documentary âHell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISISâ||(from left: Sherwin Bryce-Pease (UNCA President), Sebastian Junger, Nick Quested) On Monday, May 15th, the United Nations Correspondents Association hosted an exclusive film screening with filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested on their recent documentary entitled “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”. The film will be released theatrically […]|
|UNCA Press Conference with Human Rights Watch on New Chemical Attacks in Syria||(From left: Akshaya Kumar, Ken Roth, Lama Fakih) The United Nations Correspondents Association held a press conference with Human Rights Watch on Monday, May 1st to present its latest findings on chemical attacks in Syria, including on the recent attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Speakers were: Ken Roth, Executive Director at Human Rights Watch Lama Fakih, […]|
|UNCA Report Launch with Save the Children on the Psychological Effects of Syriaâs 6-year war on Children â Monday, March 6th, 2017||(From left: Michelle Nichols (UNCA Executive Member), Sonia Kush (Syria Relief), Carolyn Miles (President & CEO, Save the Children), Rolla H., (Save the Children, Syria)) The United Nations Correspondents Association held a press conference with Save the Children to launch a new report titled “Invisible Wounds: The impact of the six years of war on […]|
|UNCA Press Conference with Human Rights Watch on Chemical Attacks in Syria||The United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) hosted a press conference on Monday, February 13th in the UNCA meeting room with Human Rights Watch to present their new research on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Panelist from HRW included: (photo above from left) Akshaya Kumar, Deputy UN Director, Human Rights Watch Louis Charbonneau, UN […]|
|Blogoscars S03- Î¤Î± Î±Î½ÏÎ¹Î¼ÏÎ»Î¿Î³ÎºÏÏÎºÎ±ÏÏ|
ÎÏÏÏ Î¾ÎµÎºÎ¹Î½Î¬Î¼Îµ ÎºÎ¬Î¸Îµ ÏÏÎ¿Î½Î¹Î¬: "Warning:Î¤his is a diary of hate! Î£ÎºÏÏÎµÏ Î± ÏÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎµÎ»ÎµÏ ÏÎ±Î¯Î± Î¼Î¿Ï Î±Î½Î¬ÏÏÎ·ÏÎ· Î³Î¹Î± ÏÎ± blogoscars Î½Î± Î´ÏÏÏ Î¼Î¹Î¬ Î¼Î¹ÎºÏÎ® Î´Î¹ÎºÎ±Î¹Î¿Î»ÏÎ³Î·ÏÎ· Î³Î¹Î± ÏÏÎ¿Ï Ï Î·Î¸Î¿ÏÎ¿Î¹Î¿ÏÏ, ÏÎºÎ·Î½Î¿Î¸ÎÏÎµÏ, ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯ÎµÏ Î¬ÏÎ·ÏÎ± Î±Ï'ÎÎ¾Ï. ÎÏÎµÎ¹Î´Î®,ÏÎ¼ÏÏ, Î· ÏÎ»Î· Î´Î¹Î±Î´Î¹ÎºÎ±ÏÎ¯Î± Î²Î±ÏÎ¯Î¶ÎµÏÎ±Î¹ ÏÏÎ¿ fun & fan factor, ÏÎºÎÏÏÎ·ÎºÎ± ÏÏÏ Î¸Î± Î®ÏÎ±Î½ ÎºÎ±Î»ÏÏÎµÏÎ± Î½Î±..."ÎºÏÎ¬Î¾Ï" Î¼Îµ Î¼Î¹Î¬ Î»Î¯ÏÏÎ±.Î§ÏÏÎ¯Ï,Î»Î¿Î¹ÏÏÎ½,Î½Î± Î¸ÎÎ»Ï Î½Î± ÏÏÎ¿ÏÎ²Î¬Î»Î»Ï ÏÎ¹Ï ÎµÏÎ¹Î»Î¿Î³ÎÏ ÏÏÎ½ Ï ÏÎ¿Î»Î¿Î¯ÏÏÎ½ ÏÏÎ¹Ï Î´Î¹ÎºÎÏ ÏÎ¿Ï Ï Î»Î¯ÏÏÎµÏ ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÏÏÎ¯Ï, Î±ÏÎ±ÏÎ±Î¯ÏÎ·ÏÎ±, Î½Î± ÏÎ·Î¼Î±Î¯Î½ÎµÎ¹ Î¿ÏÎ¯ Î¿Î¹ Î¯Î´Î¹Î¿Î¹ ÎºÎ±Î»Î»Î¹ÏÎÏÎ½ÎµÏ ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÏÏÎ½Î¿Ï Î´Îµ Î¸Î± ÎµÎ¯Î½Î±Î¹ Î´Î¹Î±ÎºÏÎ¹Î¸ÎÎ½ÏÎµÏ, ÏÎ±Ï ÏÎ±ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ¹Î¬Î¶Ï ÏÎ± Î±Î½ÏÎ¹-blogoscars Î¼Î¿Ï ..."
Î§ÏÏÎ¯Ï Î±Î¾Î¹Î¿Î»Î¿Î³Î¹ÎºÎ® ÏÎµÎ¹ÏÎ¬:
ÎÎµÎºÎ¯Î½Î·ÏÎµ ÏÏ ÎÎ½Î±Ï Ï ÏÎÏÎ¿ÏÎ¿Ï Î¼Î¯Î¼Î¿Ï ÏÎ·Ï Nicole Kidman ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÏ Î½ÎÏÎ¹ÏÎµ ÏÏ ÏÎ¿ ÏÎ¹Ï Î¾Î¹Î½Ï, ÎºÎ»Î±Î¼Î¼ÎÎ½Î¿ Î½Î¹-Î¼Î¿Ï ÏÎ¿Ï ÎÏÎ¿Ï Î¼Îµ Î´ÎµÎ¯ ÏÏÎ· Î¼ÎµÎ³Î¬Î»Î· Î¿Î¸ÏÎ½Î·. Î ÏÏÎ¿ÏÏÏÎ¿ÏÎ¿Î¯Î·ÏÎ· ÏÎ¿Ï ÎºÎ¿ÏÎ¹ÏÏÎ¹Î¿Ï ÏÎ¿Ï Î¸Î± ÏÎ¿Ï ÎºÏÏÎµÎ¹ ÏÎ¿ Î³Î®ÏÎµÎ´Î¿ ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ¹Ï ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯ÎµÏ, Î³Î¹Î±ÏÎ¯ ÏÎ·Ï ÎµÎ¯ÏÎµ Î· Î¼Î¬Î½Î± ÏÎ·Ï Î¿ÏÎ¯ ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÏÏÎµÎ¹ ÏÏÎµÏ Î±ÏÏ ÏÎ· Î´Î¿Ï Î»ÎµÎ¹Î¬. Î¤Î¿ ÎµÎ¯Î´ÏÎ»Î¿ ÏÎ·Ï Î³Ï Î½Î±Î¯ÎºÎ±Ï ÏÎ¿Ï Î¸Î± ÏÎºÎ¯ÏÎµÎ¹ ÏÎ¿ ÏÏÎ¿ÏÏ Î»Î±ÎºÏÎ¹ÎºÏ Î³Î¹Î± Î½Î± ÏÎ·Î½ Î³ÎºÎ±ÏÏÏÏÏÎµÎ¹Ï. Î¤Î¿ ÎºÎ¿ÏÎ¯ÏÏÎ¹ ÏÎ¿Ï Î¼ÎµÏÎ¬ Î±ÏÏ ÏÏÎµÏ ÏÎ»ÎÏÏ, Î¸Î± ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ¯Î¾ÎµÎ¹ ÏÏ Î»ÏÏÎ¹ÏÎ±. ÎÎ±Î¯, Î¼Î¿Ï Î¸Ï Î¼Î¯Î¶ÎµÎ¹ ÏÏÏÎ·Î½ Î¼Î¿Ï . ÎÎ±ÏÎ¹ÏÎ»Î±...
Docu-drama Î® mockumentary, Î»Î¯Î³Î¿ Î¼Îµ Î±ÏÎ±ÏÏÏÎ»Î·ÏÎµ. ÎÏÎ±Î½ ÏÏ Î½ÎµÎ¹Î´Î·ÏÎ¿ÏÎ¿Î¹ÎµÎ¯Ï ÏÏÏÎ¿ Î·Î»Î¯Î¸Î¹Î¿ ÎµÎ¯Î½Î±Î¹ ÏÎ¿ ÏÎ»Î¿ premise ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÎºÏ ÏÎ¯ÏÏ ÏÏÎ±Î½ Î²Î»ÎÏÎµÎ¹Ï Î¿ÏÎ¯ ÏÏÎ¿ ÎºÎµÎ»Î¯ ÎµÎ½ÏÏ ÏÎ±Î¸Î¿Î»Î¿Î³Î¹ÎºÎ¿Ï ÏÎµÏÏÎ· Ï ÏÎ¬ÏÏÎµÎ¹ ÏÎ¿ ÏÏÎ¿ÏÏÏÎ¹ÎºÏ ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ·Î»ÎÏÏÎ½Î¿ (!) ÏÎ¿Ï ÎÏÏÎµÏÎ±Î¹ Î½Î± Î²Î¬Î»ÎµÎ¹Ï ÏÎ·Î½ ÎºÎ±ÏÎ±Î¼ÏÎ¯Î½Î± ÏÏÎ¿ ÏÏÏÎ¼Î±...
AÏÎ¿ÏÏ ÏÎ¿Î¹ÏÏ ÎºÎµÏÎ±ÏÎ¬Ï ÏÎ¿Ï ÎÎ´ÏÏÎµ ÏÎ·Î½ ÎµÏ ÎºÎ±Î¹ÏÎ¯Î± Î³Î¹Î± ÎºÎ¹Î½Î·Î¼Î±ÏÎ¿Î³ÏÎ±ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ® ÎºÎ±ÏÎ¹ÎÏÎ±. (Quentin ÎµÏÏ;) Î ÏÎ¿ÏÏÎ¯Î¸ÎµÏÎ±Î¹ ÏÏÎ· Î¼Î±ÎºÏÎ¬ Î»Î¯ÏÏÎ± Î±Î½Î¸ÏÏÏÏÎ½ ÏÏÏÏ Î¿ Mos Def, Î¿ Î Î¿ÏÎ¬Ï , Î¿ Bob Dylan ÎºÎ±Î¹ Î¿ ÎÎ¹Î¬Î½Î½Î·Ï ÎÎ³Î³ÎµÎ»Î¬ÎºÎ±Ï, ÏÎ¿Ï Î´ÎµÎ½ ÎÏÎµÎ¹Ï ÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎ±ÏÎ±Î¼Î¹ÎºÏÎ® Î¹Î´ÎÎ± Î³Î¹Î± ÏÎ¯ ÏÏÎ¬Î³Î¼Î± Î¼Î¹Î»Î¬Î½Îµ...
2 Days In New York
ÎÎÎ»ÎµÎ¹ Î¼Î¯Î± Î¼Î±ÎµÏÏÏÎ¯Î± Î¸Î±ÏÏÏ ÏÎ¿ Î½Î± Î¼Î·Î½ Î¼ÏÎ¿ÏÎµÎ¯Ï Î½Î± ÎµÎºÎ¼ÎµÏÎ±Î»Î»ÎµÏ ÏÎµÎ¯Ï ÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎ¹Ï ÎºÎ¹Î½Î·Î¼Î±ÏÎ¿Î³ÏÎ±ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ® ÏÏÎ»Î· ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ»Î±Î½Î®ÏÎ·. AÏÎ¿ÏÏ ÏÎ·Î¼ÎÎ½Î· Woody Îllen Wannabe ÎµÎ´Ï Î· Delpy, Î¼Î±Ï ÏÏÎ¿Î¯ÏÎµÎ¹ÏÏÎµ ÎºÎ±Î¹ Î¼Îµ ÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎ¹Ï random ÎºÎ±Î¹ weird Vincent Galo Appearence ever...
The Bourne Legacy
ÎÎµÏÎ¬ Î±ÏÏ ÎÎ½Î± breathtaking ÏÏÏÏÎ¿ ÎµÎ¹ÎºÎ¿ÏÎ¬Î»ÎµÏÏÎ¿, ÏÏÎ¿Ï Î»ÎÏ "Î½Î±Î¹ ÏÎµ, Î±Ï ÏÏ ÎµÎ¯Î½Î±Î¹", ÏÏÎ½ÏÎ¿Î¼Î± ÏÎ±Î¯ÏÎ½ÎµÎ¹ ÏÎ·Î½ ÎºÎ¬ÏÏ Î²ÏÎ»ÏÎ±. Î ÏÎÏÎµÎ¹ Î½Î± ÎÏÎµÎ¹Ï ÎºÎ¬Î½ÎµÎ¹, ÏÎ¿Ï Î»Î¬ÏÎ¹ÏÏÎ¿Î½, Î´Î¹Î´Î±ÎºÏÎ¿ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ® Î´Î¹Î±ÏÏÎ¹Î²Î® ÎµÏÎ¬Î½Ï ÏÏÎ¿ Î¸ÎÎ¼Î± Bourne Î³Î¹Î± Î½Î± Î¼ÏÎ¿ÏÎÏÎµÎ¹Ï Î½Î± Î±ÎºÎ¿Î»Î¿Ï Î¸Î®ÏÎµÎ¹Ï ÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯Î±, ÎµÎ½Ï Î· ÎµÎ½Î¿ÏÎ®, ÏÎ¹Î¸Î±Î½ÏÏ ,ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎºÎ·Î½Î¿Î¸ÎÏÎ· Î³Î¹Î± ÏÎ¿ Î¿ÏÎ¯ ÎÏÏÎµÏÎµ Î½Î± Î³Ï ÏÎ¯ÏÎµÎ¹ ÎºÎ±Î¸Î±ÏÏÎ±Î¹Î¼Î· ÏÎµÏÎ¹ÏÎÏÎµÎ¹Î±, ÏÎ¿Î½ Î¿Î´Î®Î³Î·ÏÎµ ÏÏÎ¿ Î´ÏÏÎ¼Î¿ ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ¿Î»Î¹ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ¿Ï Î¸ÏÎ¯Î»ÎµÏ.ÎÎ· ÏÎ±Î½ÏÎ±ÏÏÎµÎ¯Ï, ÏÎ¼ÏÏ, ÎµÏÎ¹ÏÎÎ´Î¿Ï Î£Î¹Î½ÏÎµÏ Î ÏÎ»Î±Îº,Ï Î¹Ï ÏÎ¿Î»Ï ÏÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ¿ Î»ÎµÎºÏÎ¹ÎºÎ®Ï Î±ÏÎ±ÏÎ¯Î±Ï "Syriana" ÎºÎ¹Î½Î®Î¸Î·ÎºÎµ. KÎ±ÎºÎ¿Î³Ï ÏÎ¹ÏÎ¼ÎÎ½ÎµÏ ÏÎºÎ·Î½ÎÏ Î´ÏÎ¬ÏÎ·Ï (ÎµÎ¹Î´Î¹ÎºÎ¬ Î· ÏÎºÎ·Î½Î® Î¼Îµ ÏÎ· Î¼Î·ÏÎ±Î½Î® Î®ÏÎ±Î½ ÎµÏÎ¹Î±Î»ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ®), ÎºÎ±Î¼Î¯Î± ÏÎ·Î¼ÎµÎ¯Î±, Î® Î¼Î¬Î»Î»Î¿Î½ Î²ÎµÎ²Î¹Î±ÏÎ¼ÎÎ½Î·, Î¼ÎµÏÎ±Î¾Ï Î¡ÎµÎ½ÎÏ - ÎÎ¬Î¹Ï, Î±Î½ÎµÎºÎ¼ÎµÏÎ¬Î»Î»ÎµÏ ÏÎ· Î· Î´Ï Î½Î±Î¼Î¹ÎºÎ® ÏÏÎ½ ÏÏÏÏÏÎ½ Î»ÎµÏÏÏÎ½ ÏÎ¿Ï Î²Î³Î¬Î¶ÎµÎ¹ Î¿ Î¡ÎµÎ½ÎÏ. ÎÎÎºÎ¬Î¸Î±ÏÎ±, Î· ÏÎµÎ¹ÏÏÏÎµÏÎ· ÏÎ·Ï ÏÎµÏÏÎ±Î»Î¿Î³Î¯Î±Ï...
ÎÎ½ Î¼Î¹ÏÏ ÎºÎ¬ÏÎ¹ ÏÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎÏÎ½Î· ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ· Î¶ÏÎ®, Î´ÎµÎ½ ÎµÎ¯Î½Î±Î¹ Î¬Î»Î»Î¿ Î±ÏÏ ÏÎ·Î½ Î±ÎºÎ±ÏÎ¬ÏÏÎµÏÎ· Î¼Î¿Î¹ÏÎ¿Î»Î±ÏÏÎ¯Î± ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÏ Î¼ÏÎ±Î½ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ® Î½Î¿Î¼Î¿ÏÎÎ»ÎµÎ¹Î± ÏÏÏÎ¿Ï "Î¬Î½ Î´Îµ ÏÏÏÎ¿Ï Î¼Îµ ÏÎ·Î½ ÏÏÎ¯Ï-Î»Î¯Î½ÏÎµÏ, Î¸Î± ÏÎ¿ÏÎ¿Î»Î¿Î³Î®ÏÎ¿Ï Î¼Îµ ÏÎ»Î¿Î¹ Î±ÏÏ Î´Î¹Î¬ÏÏÎ¿Î¹Î±". Î£ÏÎ±Ï ÏÎ¿ÏÏÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ·Ï Î¼Î¯ÏÎ»Î±Ï Î³Î¹Î± ÏÎÏÎ¿Ï Î· Sigourney, ÏÎ¿Ï ÎµÎºÏÏÏ ÏÎ»ÏÎ½ (Cabin.., Red Lights) ÏÏÎ½ Î¬Î»Î»ÏÎ½, ÎÎºÎ±Î½Îµ ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ·Î½ Î±ÏÏÎ»Ï ÏÎ· Î±ÏÏÎ±ÏÏÎ¬ÏÎ± ÏÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯Î± Î¼Îµ Î¤Î Î§ÎÎÎ¡ÎÎ¤ÎÎ¡Î ÎÎÎÎ¥ÎÎ¥ÎÎ£Î Î¦Î©Î¤ÎÎÎ¡ÎÎ¦ÎÎÎ£ ÎÎÎ©Î Î¤Î©Î ÎÎ ÎÎ§Î©Î (Cold Light Of Day)
ÎÎÎ»Î±ÏÎ±Î½ ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ± ÏÎ±ÎºÎ¬ÎºÎ¹Î± ÏÎ·Ï Î»Î¹Î¼Î¿Ï Î¶Î¯Î½Î±Ï! ÎÎ± ÏÎµÎ½Î¬ÏÎ¹Î¿ Î¼ÎÏÎ± ÏÎµ 6 Î¼ÎÏÎµÏ Î²ÏÎµ David; ÎÎ¹Î± Î½Î± Î¼Î·Î½ ÎºÎ±Î½Î¹Î²Î±Î»Î¯ÏÏ ÏÎ¿ glitter Î±Î³ÏÏÎ¹, Ïo Î±Î½ÏÎ¹blogoscar ÏÎ¿ Î»Î¿ÏÎ¶ÎµÏÎ±Î¹ Î¿Î»ÏÎºÎ»Î·ÏÎ¿ Î¿ Cronenberg, Î³Î¹Î±ÏÎ¯ ÏÎÏÎ¿Î¹Î¿ Î²ÎµÏÎ¼ÏÎ±Î»Î¹ÏÎ¼Ï ÎµÎ¯ÏÎ± Î½Î± Î´Ï Î±ÏÏ ÏÎ·Î½ ÎµÏÎ¿ÏÎ® ÏÎ¿Ï Î´Î¹Î¬Î²Î±Î¶Î± Î Î±ÏÎ±Î½Î¿ÏÏÏÎ¿ Î³Î¹Î± ÏÎ·Î½ ÎÎºÎ¸ÎµÏÎ· ÏÏÎ½ Î Î±Î½ÎµÎ»Î»Î·Î½Î¯ÏÎ½...
Î¥ÏÎ¿Î¸ÎÏÏ ÏÏÎµÎ¹Î¬Î¶ÎµÏÎ±Î¹ Î¼Î¯Î± ÎºÎ¬ÏÎ¿Î¹Î± Î¼Î±ÎµÏÏÏÎ¯Î± Î³Î¹Î± Î½Î± Î³ÏÎ¬ÏÎµÎ¹Ï ÎÎ½Î± ÏÎµÎ½Î¬ÏÎ¹Î¿ Î¿ÏÎ¿Ï, ÏÎµÎ»Î¹ÎºÎ¬, ÎºÎ±Î½ÎµÎ¯Ï Î±ÏÏ ÏÎ¿Ï Ï ÏÎ±ÏÎ±ÎºÏÎ®ÏÎµÏ ÏÎ¿Ï Î´ÎµÎ½ ÎµÎ¯Î½Î±Î¹ ÏÏ Î¼ÏÎ±Î¸Î®Ï. ÎÎ±Î¹ ÏÏÎ¹, Î´ÎµÎ½ ÎµÎ¯Î¼Î±Î¹ 12 Î³Î¹Î± Î½Î± Î±ÏÎ±Î¹ÏÏ Î· ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯Î± Î½Î± ÎÏÎµÎ¹ ÎºÎ»Î±ÏÏÎ¹ÎºÏ Î¼Î·Î½Ï Î¼Î±ÏÎ¬ÎºÎ¹-ÎºÎ¿Î½ÏÎÏÎ²Î± Î® ÏÎ¹Î½Î¬Î»Îµ-ÎºÎ¬Î¸Î±ÏÏÎ·Ï ÎºÎ±Î¹ Î±Ï ÏÎ¿Î²ÎµÎ»ÏÎ¯ÏÏÎ·Ï, Î±Î»Î»Î¬ ÎÎ½Î± "Carnal Knowledge" Î³Î¹Î± Î³Ï Î½Î±Î¯ÎºÎµÏ, Î´Îµ Î½Î¿Î¼Î¯Î¶Ï Î¿ÏÎ¯ ÏÎ¿ ÏÏÎµÎ¹Î±Î¶ÏÏÎ±Î½ ÎºÎ±Î½ÎµÎ¯Ï.ToÏ Î»Î¬ÏÎ¹ÏÏÎ¿Î½, "ÏÎºÏÏÎ±ÏÎµ" Î¿ Patton...
ÎÎµ ÏÏÎ½Î¿ ÏÏ ÏÎ®Ï, ÏÎ¸Î¬Î½Ï ÏÏÎ¿ ÏÏ Î¼ÏÎÏÎ±ÏÎ¼Î± Î¿ÏÎ¯ Î¿ Î¼ÏÎ½Î¿Ï Î»ÏÎ³Î¿Ï ÏÎ¿Ï Î±Î¾Î¯Î¶ÎµÎ¹, ÏÎ»ÎÎ¿Î½, Î½Î± Î´ÎµÎ¯ ÎºÎ±Î½ÎµÎ¯Ï ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯Î± ÏÎ¿Ï Cage, ÎµÎ¯Î½Î±Î¹ Î³Î¹Î± Î½Î± Î¾ÎµÏÎ±ÏÎ¹ÎºÏÏÎµÎ¹ ÎºÎ±Î¼Î¯Î± Î¹Î´ÎÎ± Î³Î¹Î± Î±ÏÎ¿ÎºÏÎ¹Î¬ÏÎ¹ÎºÎµÏ ÏÎµÏÎ¿ÏÎºÎµÏ..
Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
Î§ÏÏÎ¯Ï Î»ÏÎ³Î¹Î±,Î±Î»Î»Î¬ Î¼Îµ Î¼Î¹ÎºÏÏÏÎµÏÎ¿ Î²Î±Î¸Î¼Ï...
ÎÎ±ÎºÏÎ³Î¿Ï ÏÏÎ· dramedy, ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÎ¬ÏÎ± Î¼Î¿Ï ÎµÎ¾ÎµÏÎµÏ Î½ÎµÎ¯, Î¼ÎµÏÎ±Î¾Ï Î¬Î»Î»ÏÎ½, ÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎ¿Î»Î¹ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ® ÏÎ¿Ï Î£Î±ÏÎºÎ¿Î¶Î¯ ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ¹Ï ÏÎ±Î¾Î¹ÎºÎÏ Î´Î¹Î±ÏÎ¿ÏÎÏ ÎÎ±Î»Î»Î¹ÎºÎ¿Ï ÎÎ¿ÏÏÎ¬-ÎÏÏÎ¿Ï (Î³ÎµÎ»Î¬ÎµÎ¹ Î¿ ÎºÏÏÎ¼Î¿Ï). ÎÎ±Î¸Î¹Î¬ ÎµÎ¼ÏÎ¿ÏÎµÏ Î¼Î±ÏÎ¿ÏÎ¿Î¹Î·Î¼ÎÎ½Î¿ ÏÎ¹Î½ÎµÎ¼Î¬, slapstick Î±ÏÏÎµÎ¹Î¬ÎºÎ¹Î±, Î¾Ï ÏÎ¿Ï Î´Î¹Î¬ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ¿ ÏÎ¹Î¿Ï Î¼Î¿ÏÎ¬ÎºÎ¹."ÎÏÎ½ÎµÎ¹" Î¼Î¿Î½Î¬ÏÎ± ÏÎ· ÏÎ·ÏÎ® ÎµÏÎ¹ÏÎ¬Î½ÎµÎ¹Î±.ÎÎ¹Î± ÏÎ¿ Î³ÎµÎ³Î¿Î½ÏÏ Î¿ÏÎ¯ Î¿ Î²Î¿Î·Î¸ÏÏ/Î½Î¿ÏÎ¿ÎºÏÎ¼Î¿Ï ÏÎ·Ï ÏÏÎ±Î³Î¼Î±ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ®Ï Î¹ÏÏÎ¿ÏÎ¯Î±Ï Î®ÏÎ±Î½ ÎÏÎ±Î²Î±Ï, Î±Ï Î¼Î· Î¼Î¹Î»Î®ÏÏ ÎºÎ¬Î½...
ChloÃ« Grace Moretz
Î¤Î¿ ÎµÎ½Î´Î¿Î¼Î®ÏÏÎ¹Î¿ ÏÎ¿Ï ÎÎ³Î¹Î½Îµ Î±Î½Î±ÏÎ±ÏÎ±Î³ÏÎ³Î¹ÎºÏ ,ÏÎ¿ ÎµÎ¼ÏÎµÎ´ÏÏÎ±Î¼Îµ. Î¤Î± ÏÎµÎ¯Î»Î¹Î± ÏÎ¿Ï , ÏÎ¯ Î¸ÎÎ»ÎµÎ¹Ï ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ± ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÏÏÎ½ÎµÎ¹Ï ÏÎ±Î½ Î½Î± ÏÎ·Î³Î±Î¯Î½ÎµÎ¹Ï Î½Î± Î¶ÎµÏ Î³Î±ÏÏÏÎµÎ¹Ï Î¼Îµ Î¬Î»Î»Î¿Ï Ï ÏÎ±ÏÎ³Î¿ÏÏ;;
Î ÏÏÎ¿ ÏÎ±Î»ÎÎ½ÏÎ¿ ÏÎ®Î³Îµ ÏÎ±Î¼ÎÎ½Î¿, ÏÎµÎ»Î¹ÎºÎ¬,ÏÎµ Î±Ï ÏÎ®Î½ ÏÎ·Î½ ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯Î±; ÎÎµÏÎµÏÎ½ÏÎ½ÏÎ±Ï ÏÎ·Î½ Î±Î³ÏÎ½Î¹ÏÎ´Î· ÏÏÎ¿ÏÏÎ¬Î¸ÎµÎ¹Î± Î½Î± Î¸Ï Î¼Î®ÏÎµÎ¹ Î´ÏÎ¬Î¼Î± ÏÎ¿Ï Todd Field, Î¸Î± ÎµÏÎ¹Î¼ÎµÎ¯Î½Ï ÏÏÎ·Î½ ÏÏÎ¹ÏÎ¬Î¸Î»Î¹Î± ÎµÏÎ¼Î·Î½ÎµÎ¯Î± ÏÎ·Ï Paquin. ÎÎ±Î¹ ÎµÎ½ÏÎ¬Î¾ÎµÎ¹, Î±Ï Î±ÏÎ®ÏÏ ÏÎ¿ "Î¤Î¯ Î´Î¿Ï Î»ÎµÎ¹Î¬ ÎÏÎµÎ¹ Î· Î¼ÎµÎ³Î±Î»Î¿ÎºÎ¿ÏÎÎ»Î± ÏÏÎ¿ Î³Ï Î¼Î½Î¬ÏÎ¹Î¿;" (ÎºÎ±Î¹ Î½Î±Î¯, Î³Î½ÏÏÎ¯Î¶Ï Î¿ÏÎ¯ Î· ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯Î± ÎÏÎµÎ¹ Î³Ï ÏÎ¹ÏÏÎµÎ¯ ÏÏÏÎ½Î¹Î± ÏÏÎ¯Î½, Î±Î»Î»Î¬ Î±Ï ÏÏ Î´ÎµÎ½ ÏÎ¿ ÎºÎ¬Î½ÎµÎ¹, Î´Ï ÏÏÏ ÏÏÏ, Î»Î¹Î³ÏÏÎµÏÎ¿ awkward ). ÎÏ ÏÎÏ Î¿Î¹ ÏÎ±ÏÏÎµÎ¹Ï ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ± Î¿Ï ÏÎ»Î¹Î±ÏÏÎ¬ ÏÎ·Ï, Î®ÏÎ±Î½ Î²Î³Î±Î»Î¼ÎÎ½Î± Î±ÏÏ ÏÎ· Î¼ÎµÎ³Î±Î»ÏÏÎµÏÎ· Î¿Î½ÎµÎ¯ÏÏÎ¾Î· ÏÎ·Ï Î¤Î¶ÎÏÏ Ï Î Î±ÏÎ¿Ï ÏÏÎ® ÎºÎ±Î¹ Î±Ï'ÏÎ¿ ÏÎµÎ¹ÏÏÏÎµÏÎ¿ Î¿veracting ÏÎµÎ¹ÏÎ¬Ï Î¦ÏÏÎºÎ¿Î»Î¿Ï ...
The Raid - Redemption
ÎÎÎ¿ Tarantino ÎºÎ±Î¹ Î¼Î½Î·Î¼ÎµÎ¯Î¿ Î²Î¯Î±Ï with an attitude Î¼Î±Ï Ï ÏÎ¿ÏÏÎÎ¸Î·ÎºÎ±Î½ ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎµÎ»Î¹ÎºÎ¬ ÎµÎ¯Î´Î±Î¼Îµ ÎÎ½Î± ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿ÏÏÎ·Î¼ÎÎ½Î¿ , ÎºÎ±ÏÎ¬ ÏÎ± Î¬Î»Î»Î± ,ÏÎ±Î¹ÏÎ½Î¯Î´Î¹ shoot 'em up , ÏÎ¿Ï Î¿ ÏÎºÎ·Î½Î¿Î¸ÎÏÎ·Ï ÎµÎ¯ÏÎµ ÏÎ·Î½ ÎµÏ Î³ÎµÎ½Î® ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿ÏÏÎ½Î· Î½Î± ÏÎµÏÎ¼Î±ÏÎ¯ÏÎµÎ¹ Î³Î¹Î± ÏÎ¬ÏÏÎ· Î¼Î±Ï, ÏÎ¯ÏÏÎ±-ÏÎ¯ÏÏÎ±. ÎÎ±Î¹ Î³Î¹Î± Î½Î± ÏÎ±ÏÎ±ÏÏÎ¬ÏÏ ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ¿ ÏÎµÎ²Î¬ÏÎ¼Î¹Î¿ Î³ÎÏÎ¿Î½ÏÎ± Roger Ebert, "Î Î¿Î¹ÏÏ ÏÏÎ¿Î½ ÏÎ¿ÏÏÏÎ¿ ÎµÎ¯Î½Î±Î¹ redeemed ÏÏÎ¿ ÏÎÎ»Î¿Ï ÏÎ·Ï ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯Î±Ï;"
The Amazing Spiderman
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ÎºÎ±Î¹ Î³Î¹Î± Î½Î± Î¼Î·Î½ ÏÎ¿ ÏÎ¿Î»Ï ÎºÎ¿Ï ÏÎ¬Î¶Î¿Ï Î¼Îµ:
ÎÎ»ÎµÏ Î¿Î¹ Ï ÏÎ¿ÏÎ®ÏÎ¹ÎµÏ ÏÏÎ·Î½ ÎÏÎºÎ±ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ® Î´ÎµÎºÎ¬Î´Î± (Î¼Îµ ÎµÎ¾Î±Î¯ÏÎµÏÎ· ÏÎ¿ Amour ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÏÎ¿ Îrgo)
Special Mention ÏÎµ 3 ÏÎ±Î¹Î½Î¯ÎµÏ ÏÎ¿Ï , ÏÎ±ÏÎÏÏÎ±ÏÎ±, Î´ÎµÎ½ Î±Î¾Î¯Î¶Î¿Ï Î½ Î½Î± Î²ÏÎ¯ÏÎºÎ¿Î½ÏÎ±Î¹ ÏÏÎ± Î±Î½ÏÎ¹-blogoscars, ÏÎµ ÎºÎ±Î¼Î¯Î± ÏÎµÏÎ¯ÏÏÏÏÎ·, ÏÎ¼ÏÏ, Î´ÎµÎ½ Î´Î¹ÎºÎ±Î¹Î¿Î»ÏÎ³Î·ÏÎ±Î½ ÏÎ¿Î½ Î½ÏÏÏÎ¿ ÏÎ¿Ï Î´Î·Î¼Î¹Î¿Ï ÏÎ³Î®Î¸Î·ÎºÎµ Î³ÏÏÏ Î±ÏÏ Î±Ï ÏÎÏ:
2) L' Enfant D'En Haut
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|Syrian Mufti Hopes Pope Visits for Pauline Year [2008-07-31]||none|
From Jenna Orkin
Browder's Testimony to Congress
Video shows Trump's lawyer previously denied the president was involved with Trump Jr.'s misleading statement about meeting with a Russian lawyerThere's a 95% chance the world will warm beyond a crucial tipping point â here's what that means
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A Brexit exodus may cost London 40,000 investment banking jobs
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Trump Saw A Disturbing Video, Then He Shut Down The CIA's Covert Syria Program
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."... Rio Tinto has also been accused of engaging in apartheid, keeping its workers in conditions that are âakin to slavery,â and relocating residents to concentration camp-like settlements while its partner, Freeport McMoran, has been associated with murder,rape and torture." - From Ground Zero Wars: The Fight to Reveal the Lies of the EPA in the Wake of 9/11 and Clean Up Lower Manhattan
Tulsi Gabbard: US Addicted to Regime Change; CIA Funded and Armed Al Qaeda in Syria
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North Korea Holds Public Executions At Schools And Markets For Prostitution, Stealing Electric Cables
|From Jenna Orkin |
Fukushima's Nuclear Waste Will Be Dumped Into the Ocean, Japanese Plant Owner Says
Retired Green Beret Warns: "There Could Be A Nuclear Strike Against The US Coming Soon"
Road Trip to the End of the World - Atlantic
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None of the ones that actually have nuclear weapons, of course.
2 former presidential rivals in Peru are now being held in the same prison
Ex-EPA staffers made a how-to for resisting Trump's agenda
Taiwanese parliament broke out into a water balloon and chair-throwing brawl
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The New Silk Road Will Go Through Syria
|Muddling through a conflict - again||I find issues of foreign intervention very difficult to call.|
On the one hand, there are clearly appalling things being done in Syria, and I feel sympathy for the desire to "do something" (although I fear the politician's syllogism). On the other hand, I completely see the argument that asks what - exactly - does this have to do with us, or (to put it another way) who appointed us as the judge, jury, and (quite possibly) executioner? There is also a very practical question arising from the sheer number of nasty things of various types happening all over the world which we are wilfully ignoring. Egypt and North Korea spring to mind without any real difficulty, I am sure there are others.
What confuses me, though, is why we have this debate again and again, and always in the heat of the moment. It's a little late to ask for this, I realise, but what we should surely be doing is to have a parliamentary debate while things are quiet, and discuss the philosophical issues around foreign interventions, and set a stance which the UK will then hold to. That stance could then be the official policy of the UK Government, and when a situation like the Syrian one arises, we could focus on the issues of proof (did Syria actually use chemical weapons?) rather than the philosophical ones.
The policy could be something like:
"Internal conflicts will, by and large, not be our concern because there are too many of them. So, we will not intervene unless:
But that if the conflict meets one or more of these criteria then we will intervene as quickly and as forcefully as we are able."
But that's just my rough first draft, off the top of my head. I'm not especially advocating that particular set of words, the point is more that if we had a published statement of when we would intervene, rather than always making it up as we go along, then there could be an open debate on the issues of principle, we could act quickly when something does happen, and - who knows - if it became widespread then nasty regimes might think twice about using chemical weapons or the like.
|Catholic Syrian Bank Recruitment 2017 | Various Post|
Catholic Syrian Bank Recruitment 2017 | Various Post Details of Vacancies: – The Catholic Syrian Bank has released a notification for the recruitment of Regional Sales Head â CASA, Area Sales Head â CASA, Sales Executive, Regional Operations Manager, Regional Credit Manager, Product Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Area Sales Manager, Regional Collection Manager, IT Systems […]
The post Catholic Syrian Bank Recruitment 2017 | Various Post appeared first on Jobsplateform - Govt. recruitment Exams Results Updates.
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"Eles planejam plantar produtos quÃmicos em Damasco e acusar o governo sÃrio pelo ataque".
O presidente russo, Vladimir Putin, afirmou que o recente ataque quÃmico na provÃncia de Idlib na SÃria foi uma operaÃ§Ã£o de falsa bandeira e que mais "provocaÃ§Ãµes" estÃ£o sendo preparadas.
"Temos relatÃ³rios de vÃ¡rias fontes de que falsas bandeiras como esta - e nÃ£o posso chamÃ¡-las de outra forma - estÃ£o sendo preparadas em outras partes da SÃria, incluindo os subÃºrbios do sul de Damasco." disse Putin durante uma conferÃªncia de imprensa conjunta com o presidente italiano Sergio Mattarella em Moscou.
"Eles planejam plantar alguns produtos quÃmicos lÃ¡, e acusar o governo sÃrio pelo ataque", disse Putin a representantes da mÃdia, acrescentando que ele tem "fontes confiÃ¡veis".
Putin passou a comparar a situaÃ§Ã£o na SÃria com as armas de destruiÃ§Ã£o em massa de Saddam Hussein, indicando que ele pode acreditar que os EUA estÃ£o por trÃ¡s da falsa bandeira, ou pelo menos ativamente empurrando essa propaganda, enquanto os rebeldes anti-governo na SÃria efetuam o ataque.
"O Presidente Mattarella e eu discutimos, e eu disse a ele que isso me lembra fortemente os acontecimentos de 2003, quando os representantes dos EUA demonstraram na sessÃ£o do Conselho de SeguranÃ§a da ONU as supostas armas quÃmicas encontradas no Iraque", disse Putin.
"A campanha militar foi posteriormente lanÃ§ada no Iraque e terminou com a devastaÃ§Ã£o do paÃs, o crescimento da ameaÃ§a terrorista, e o aparecimento do Estado IslÃ¢mico (ISIS) no palco mundial", acrescentou Putin.
"Todos os incidentes que fazem lembrar os ataques quÃmicos que ocorreram em Idlib devem ser investigados minuciosamente", concluiu Putin, tambÃ©m esclarecendo que ele nÃ£o tem uma reuniÃ£o programada com Rex Tillerson, que estÃ¡ a caminho da RÃºssia.
AlÃ©m disso, a equipe geral russa disse que as forÃ§as sÃrias nÃ£o possuem armas quÃmicas e que outros ataques Ã SÃria serÃ£o considerados inaceitÃ¡veis.
Infowars: PUTIN: SYRIA CHEMICAL ATTACK WAS âFALSE FLAGâ, MORE COMING
Radio Free Europe: Putin Claims Chemical 'Provocation' Is Planned In Syria
From Arab Spring to Organic Gardening
Last year it was the Arab Spring. This year, that phenomenon continues in the Syrian government slaughtering its own civilians. Closer to home, Harper and Co. are spending $25 billion of our money on fighter jets, $9 billion on prisons, and they're cutting the budgets of human right organization, environmental departments, and the CBC. Welcome to the Spring of skewered priorities.
Our little patch of the Earth, on the other hand, is ignoring all these disturbing facts and bursts forth with another set of wonderful Spring bulbs! Our crocuses, with their white, purple, and yellow petals, and yellow and orange stamens are more magnificent than the most expensive ball gown, while the hyacinths emit such a lovely smell that in another century it would cause women to swoon. Lemon- colored daffodils stand guard over the shorter flowers, while the tulips are itching to bud and bloom.
While Sara's garden is starting to fill in with bulbs and sprouting perennials, indoors we are incubating lots of flower and vegetable seeds and seedlings. We purchased some new grow-light units from Lee Valley and they work using a very primitive hydroponic method. Capillary action is the key, as the absorbent pad hangs into the rainwater (collected just for that purpose) and ensures that the coco coir seedling pots are well watered from below.
Weekly, I mix up some Iguana Juice Grow and Voodoo Juice in four liters of water and fertilize the more advanced seedlings. They seem to thrive on the stuff, and their white roots are sticking out from the bottoms of the bio-degradable pots. Sara insists on only using 100% organic fertilizers, so thank goodness for the Advanced Nutrients organic line!
I'll document the progress of our flowers, fruits, and vegetables as the months progress. Mother Nature is teaching us once again, that no matter how disturbing the flow of human history, the Earth follows a seasonal pattern and it's been around a lot longer than us humans. Let her teach us to be peaceful, loving, and respectful of her bounty.
Back to the Garden!
Time to stop and smell the roses--literally. Time to slow-down. Hockey is a fast and furious and let's face it, violent game, and violence begat violence. It's a biblical truth and we cannot get away from it. Rather, let's look at how we raise our children. Are we teaching them enough of the difference between right and wrong?
The young people in the photographs of the riot on Facebook have somehow missed those parental lessons. Some of them seemed to relish the violence, posing in front of burning police cars and one guy even urinated at the riot squad. Sure, the rioters were fuelled by a lot of alcohol consumed, but a lack of ethics also played a role in the events.
It was only a hockey game folks. Someone's FB status said it well--if you're going to riot, at least do it for a worthy cause. Syria, Iran, Libya--the people in those places have some justification for being angry. The Stanley Cup is only an ornament.
|Yahudi Tali Barut Dajjal|
Tujuan utama Yahudi mahu mengambil Tanah Palestin adalah untuk membina kembali rumah Ibadat mereka iaitu Haikal Sulaiman atau Solomon Temple yang didakwa pada asalnya berada di bawah runtuhan Masjidil Aqsa. Selepas itu, Yahudi mahu membina Israel Raya dan ingin meluaskan jajahannya ke Syria, Iraq, Jordon, Mesir dan terus ke Arab Saudi.
Gambaran Yahudi Tentang Haikal Sulaiman( Solomon Temple)
Terdapat beberapa perkara yang dapat dirungkai mengenai puak Yahudi ini. Bagaimana Yahudi dapa meresap masuk ke Amerika? Pada asalnya hanya 22 orang Yahudi sahaja yang datang ke Amerika pada September 1654. Daripada 22 orang itu, 16 lelaki dan 6 lagi perempuan. Tempat pertama mereka menjejak kan kaki mereka adalah di New York( ketika itu New Amsterdam). Waktu itu Amerika di bawah jajahan Belanda. Setelah datang ke New York, mereka melakukan kerja-kerja menipu dan berbagai kesalahan yang merosakkan masyarakat. Sehingga kerajaan Belanda memerintahkan ketika itu menghalau mereka keluar dari Amerika. Tetapi hasrat menghalau mereka itu terus tergendala kerana Yahudi telah menyogok modal yang besar kepada Syarikat Hindia Barat Belanda yang memerintah ketika itu.
Di sebabkan itu, Yahudi telah berjanji untuk menghancurkan agama lain kerana mereka menganggap mereka adalah bangsa yang terpilih dan bangsa lain tidak layak untuk berdamping dengan mereka. Di sebabkan itu Illuminati berjanji mereka akan menghancurkan manusia yang beragama bertuhankan satu. Di sebabkan itu mereka sekarang sudah pun bersungguh-sungguh untuk menghancurkan Masjidil Aqsa demi membina monumen yang dianggap suci oleh mereka ini. Saya ingin menghuraikan tetapi oleh kerana saya sudah terbaca mengenai perkara ini, maka biarlah blogger lain yang cuba huraikannya. Cukup sekadar saya memberikan maklumat tambahan untuk post kali ini. Apa yang saya tahu, keghairahan mereka untuk membina Haikal Sulaiman ini hampir berjaya kerana MAsjidil Aqsa sudal dicabuli mereka hingga ada kajian yang saya baca mengenai keadaan Masjidil Aqsa, iaitu 1/10 sahaja keadaan yang baik, 9/10 lagi adalah kerosakkan yang telah mereka lakukan terhadap Masjidil Aqsa.
Apa-apa pun, marilah sama-sama kita berdoa agar Allah sentiasa melindungi kita dari bahaya DAjjal ini..Semoga kita mendapat rahmat dan petunjuk darinya...
Gambar di atas adalah Zion Gate. Pintu ini adalah pintu terakhir pertahanan orang Islam ketika Yahudi cuba menawan Jerusalem. Kesan-kesan seperti lubang-lubang yang banyak terdapat di pintu ini adalah bekas tembakan peluru tentera dajjal dalam peperangan tahun 1967 yang menyaksikan Israel mengalahkan lima negara iaitu Palestin, Syria, Lubnan, Mesir dan Jordan. Tidakkah anda berasa pelik, negara Israel yang kecik mampu mengalahkan Lima Negara Islam.....itu semua kerana pertolongan Dajjal....
|Ad Dajjal: Dari Kisah Tamim Ad Dari|
Banyak perihal-perihal tentang asal-usul Dajjal yang direkodkan dalam hadis-hadis. Banyak yang menceritakan tentang asal-usulnya, perihal dirinya dan apa yang bakal dibawanya di akhir zaman nanti. Ianya seperti yang saya ceritakan di posting yang terdahulu. Pernahkan anda mendengar perihal tentang pulau yang dikaji oleh para sarjana barat tentang Pulau yang hilang, yang diberi nama Atlantis? saya rasa anda semua tahu mengenai pulau ini. Apa yang saya tahu mengenai pulau ini, adalah salah satu perkara pokok yang dapat saya justifikasi ialah pulau ini ada kaitan dengan apa yang diceritakan oleh Tamim Ad Dari, salah seorang insan yang beragama Kristian, yang akhirnya memeluk Islam. Beliau adalah manusia yang hidup di zaman Rasulullah dan beliau yang menceritakan perihal DAjjal ini kepada Rasulullah.
Apabila beliau menceritakan perihal Dajjal ini kepada Rasulullah, reaksi Rasulullah hanyalah dengan mengiyakan sahaja apa yang diceritakan Tamim Ad Dari kepada Baginda. Ini adalah kerana apa yg disampaikan beliau adalah benar dan menepati apa yang diceritakan Rasullullah sebelum ini kepada semua umat pada waktu itu.
Tamim telah menceritakan semua perihal mengenai Dajjal ini kepada Rasulullah. Tamim memulakan ceritanya dengan memberitahu beliau telah berlayar di dalam sebuah kapal dengan seramai 30 orang Bani Lakham dan Bani Judham, dan kapal yang dinaiki mereka telah terumbang ambing di lambung oleh ombak selama sebulan. Ombak yang memukul itu telah membawa mereka berdekatan dengan sebuah Pulau pada masa matahari terbenam. Mereka duduk di dalam sebuah sampan yang mereka kayuh dan telah berlabuh di pulau itu. Di pulau yang mereka berhenti berlabuh itu, dengan izin Allah terdapat seekor haiwan yang dikatakan menghuni pulau itu dengan bulu di badannya yang penuh, panjang lagi tebal sehingga Tamim dan mereka-mereka yang menaiki kapal bersamanya tidak dapat mengenali makhluk tersebut dari belakang. Maka berlakulah satu dialog di antara Tamim dan rakan-rakan lain dengan haiwan itu:
" Celaka kamu, siapakah kamu?" Mereka bertanya.
" Daku adalah Al-Jassasah". Haiwan itu berkata.
Mereka bertanya: " Apakah Al- Jassasah?"
Jassasah berkata, " Wahai manusia, pergilah kamu kepada orang ini yang berada di dalam biara oleh kerana ia sangat ingin untuk mengetahui tentang kamu,"
Tamim pun bergegas dengan mereka yang lain untuk pergi ke biara yang dikatakan oleh Jassasah tadi. Mereka mendapati di biara itu terdapat seorang yang berbadan tegap dan sasa dengan kedua tangannya diikat ke lehernya dan belenggu-belenggu besi mencengkam buku lalinya.
Tamim berkata: " Celakalah kamu, siapakah kamu?"
Ia berkata: " Kamu akan mengetahui akan diriku tetapi beritahulah aku siapakah kamu.
Tamim berkata: " Kami adalah penduduk dari Tanah Arab dan kami menaiki kapal yang dipukul ombak selama sebulan dan akhirnya kami di bawa ke sini. Kami menaiki perahu dan berlabuh ke sini dan diberitahu oleh Jassasah bahawa ada seseorang yang ingin bertemu kami di sini."
Ia berkata: " Beritahulah daku, akan pohon-pohon kurma di Baisan."
Mereka berkata(diwakili Tamim): " Apa yang ingin kamu ketahui mengenainya?"
Ia berkata: " Adakah ia berbuah atau tidak."
" Ya!, jawab mereka.
Ia bertanya lagi: " Bagaimana tentang tasik Tabariyyah? adakah terdapat air dalamnya?
Mereka berkata: " Terdapat air yang banyak di dalamnya.
Ia berkata: " Daku berfikir ia akan kering tidak lama lagi. Bagaimana tentang mata air Zughfar? adakah terdapat air di dalamnya dan adakah ia mengairi(tanah) ?"
Mereka berkata: " Ya. memang terdapat banyak air yang banyak di dalamnya dan para penduduk ( Madinah) mengairi tanah dengan bantuannya."
Ia berkata lagi: " Beritahulah daku, akan Rasul yang Ummi, apakah yang telah ia lakukan?"
Mereka berkata: " Beliau telahpun meninggalkan Mekah dan telah tinggal di Yathrib."
Ia berkata: " Adakah orang Arab memeranginya dan bagaimana beliau melayan mereka?"
Mereka memberitahu: " Beliau telah mengalahkan mereka di kawasan sekitarnya dan mereka telah berserah diri kepadanya.
Ia berkata: " Jika begitu perkara yang terjadi, adalah lebih baik mereka semua menunjukkan ketaatan kepadanya. Daku akan memberitahu kamu tentang diriku. Daku adalah Dajjal dan akan dibenarkan untuk lepas tidak lama lagi. Maka daku akan pergi dan berjalan di daratan, dan daku tidak akan meninggalkan sebuah bandar pun di mana daku tidak akan tinggal selama 40 hari melainkan Mekah dan Madinah. Kedua-dua tempat ini adalah kawasan terlarang bagiku dan daku tidak akan memasuki salah satunya kerana satu malaikat dengan sebilah pedang di tangannya akan menghadapiku dan menghadang daku dan terdapat para malaikat untuk menjaga setiap jalan menujunya."
Inilah yang diceritakan kepada Rasulullah oleh Tamim Ad Dari. Rasulullah bersabda: " Daku menyukai cerita Tamim Ad Dari kerana ia menepati kisah yang daku berikan kepada kamu berkenaanya( DAjjal) di Madinah dan Mekah. Awas!, DAjjal berada di lautan Syria( Mediteranean) atau Lautan Yaman( Laut Arab). Tidak, sebaliknya ia berada di timur, ia berada di timur, di timur." Dan selepas itu baginda menunding jarinya ke arah timur.
Di sebabkan itu, perasankah saudara semua berkenaan apa yang dikaji oleh para sarjana barat mengenai pulau yang dikatakan ATLANTIS? inilah yang cuba disampaikan mereka sebenarnya.. Mereka amat berbangga dengan DAjjal Al- Massih, sebab itu mereka mengkaji ATLANTIS ini yang sehinggakan ada sesetengah pendapat mengatakan bahawa pulau itu sebenarnya tidak wujud. Ini adalah Kuasa Allah s.w.t. Sesungguhnya Allah lebih mengetahui setiap isi perkara yang ada di dunia yang fana ini. Namun harus kita ketahui bahawa TAmin Ad Dari telah sampai di sana, namun tidak ada riwayat yang mengatakan pulau yang disinggah itu bernama ATLANTIS...Inilah yang dikaji mereka. NAmun hakikat kebenarannya adalah Rasulullah mengiyakan apa yang disampaikan oleh Tamim kepada Baginda.
Peta yang dikatakan lokasi Pulau Atlantis tersebut
Namun mereka masih belum menjumpai Pulau yang dikatakan seperti yang disebut oleh Tamim Ad Dari. Apa yang pasti, kebenarannya, hanya Allah lebih mengetahui.
Seperti apa yang dikatakan Dajjal di antara dialog beliau dengan Tamim, yang pasti beliau sudah bebas bergerak di dunia ini. Ya Allah...lindungilah kami dari fitnah Dajjal ini Ya Allah.
Semoga apa yang saya kongsikan dengan anda ini memberi maklumat tambahan. Semoga anda semua mendapat iktibar dari apa yang saya kongsikan ini. Insyallah..
|Ad Dajjal: Si Pendusta|
Salam pertemuan. Saya harap anda semua yang berada di mana sahaja sihat sejahtera. Harapan saya agar anda semua sihat, bagi yang sudah berkeluarga, moga anda semua sihat di samping keluarga anda yang tersayang. Kali ini, izinkan saya untuk turut sama berkongsi sesuatu yang berguna untuk tatapan kita semua. Saya ingin berkongsi dengan anda kisah yang saya baca dan ingin kongsi bersama anda, iaitu berkenaan Ad Dajjal, Dajjal Al-Masih. Seperti yang kita ketahui, banyak sudah yang boleh kita perolehi di dalam internet ini sumber-sumber yang menceritakan berkenaan Dajjal ini. Di sini saya ingin turut sama berkongsi dengan saudara sekalian. Bagi yang sudah mengetahui siri The Arrivals, Alhamdulilah, moga anda mendapat manfaat yang berguna dan mengambil iktibar daripada siri berkenaan. Bagi yang belum menyaksikan lagi siri tersebut, eloklah kiranya anda melihatnya. The Arrivals mempunyai 52 siri(kalau tidak silap percaturan saya) yang menceritakan komplot Yahudi yang didalangi Iluminati dan juga Freemasons dalam menjahanamkan manusia yang beragama bertuhankan satu. Untuk itu, anda boleh lihat video di bawah, iaitu pengenalan The Arrivals berkenaan Dajjal Al-Masih.
Video di atas adalah pengenalan untuk anda tentang perihal Dajjal. Bagi anda yang telah menyaksikan, terima kasih kerana anda telah menontonnya. Sekurang-kurangnya kita menghargai jasa mereka yang menerbitkan video The Arrivals ini, dan yang penting sekali, anda dapat gambaran jelas mengenai konspirasi dunia sejak akhir-akhir ini.
Imam Muslim telah meriwayatkan di atas autoriti Abu Hurairah r.a bahawa Rasulullah s.a.w bersabda: " Hari Kiamat tidak akan berlaku hingga kaum Rom( Barat) bertapak di Al- A'maq atau Dabiq. Satu tentera yang mengandungi tentera yang terbaik yang terdapat di muka bumi pada masa itu akan datang dari Madinah(untuk menentang mereka). Apabila mereka menyusun barisan, kaum Rom akan berkata: " Janganlah berdiri di antara kami dan mereka (kaum Muslimin) yang mengambil tahanan dari kalangan kami. Mari kita memerangi mereka."
Pada waktu itu, kaum Muslimin pula akan berkata: " Tidak, demi Allah s.w.t, kami sekali-kali tidak akan ke tepi dari kamu atau dari saudara-saudara kami supaya kamu dapat untuk memerangi mereka. Mereka kemudian akan berperang dan pihak yang ketiga tentera, yang Allah s.w.t tidak akan mengampuni mereka sekalipun, akan melarikan diri. Seperti (sebahagian daripada tentera itu) yang terdiri daripada Syuhada' yang cemerlang di mata Allah, akan terbunuh. Sepertiga yang tidak akan sekali-kali dihukum akan menang dan mereka akan menjadi penakluk Istanbul.
Semasa mereka sibuk membahagikan harta ghanimah perang( di kalangan mereka) selepas menggangtungkan pedang-pedang mereka di pohon-pohon Zaitun, Syaitan akan menjerit: " Dajjal telah datang menguasai ke atas ahli keluarga kamu. Mereka akan keluar tetapi sudah tidak berguna kerana apabila mereka sampai ke Syria, ia akan keluar semasa mereka sedang bersedia untuk berperang, beratur di dalam barisan. Pastilah, waktu solat akan masuk dan kemudian, Nabi Isa a.s akan turun dan bergerak menuju kepada mereka.
Apabila tentera Allah melihat Isa a.s ia akan lenyap sebagaimana garam yang larut dalam air dan jika Nabi Isa tidak akan menghadapinya sama sekali pun, namun ianya akan tetap juga binasa sepenuhnya.
Dalam keadaan ini, maka Allah s.w.t akan membunuhnya di tangan Isa dan Isa akan menunjukkan kaum Muslimin darahnya di pedangnya." (Hadis sahih yang dilaporkan oleh Imam Muslim ( 2897) dan yang lain-lain dengan rantaian sanad di atas autoriti Abu Hurairah r.a. Imam An Nawawi berkata di dalam "Penghuraian Muslim" 18/21: A'maq Dabiq adalah sebuah tempat yang terletak di kawasan Syria berdekatan dengan Aleppo).
Ini adalah pengenalan ringkas berkenaan Ad-Dajjal. Insyallah saya akan cuba berkongsi lagi bersama anda selagi saya mampu.Insyallah.
|Egypt Receives Grant Worth $15 Million from Kuwaiti Fund to Support Syrian Refugees||Egypt signed a grant agreement worth USD 15 million from the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) aiming to support the Syrian refugee community hosted in Egypt, according to a ministry statement. The Minister of International Cooperation’s Advisor for Arab Affairs Ghadeer Hegazi signed the agreement on Friday with Nawaf AlMahamel, KFAED’s Senior Legal […]|
|Tensions raise specter of gas at $5 a gallon||Gasoline for $5 a gallon? The possibility is hardly far-fetched. With no clear end to tensions with Iran and Syria and rising demand from countries like China, gas prices are already at record highs for the winter months averaging $4.32 in California and $3.73 a gallon nationally on Wednesday, according to AAAs Daily Fuel Gauge Report. As summer approaches, demand for gasoline rises, typically pushing prices up around 20 cents a gallon. And gas prices could rise another 50 cents a gallon or more, analysts say, if the diplomatic and economic standoff over Irans nuclear ambitions escalates into military...|
|Appam & Chicken Stew in Thalayad, Kerala|
My parents in law live on a farm in a village called Thalayad in Kerala. My mother in law Alice Mathew is a renowned cook and makes a great meal of the every day appam and chicken curry.
Each home has their own style of cooking the famous appam and chicken curry / stew breakfast, especially a Syrian Christian home.
Here is how Alice Mathew makes her chicken curry.
Because the chicken is quite hard there, it is first pressure cooked with ground whole spices. Farm grown pepper, cinnamon, and store bought cloves are ground on stone and chucked in. Add some salt and turmeric. Add 3 green chillies slit down te middle and a handful of curry leaves.
2-3 whistles in the pressure cooker are enough.
Then fry onions, 3-4 sliced fine for a full chicken till brown, add at least a tablespoon of fresh ginger and another of garlic. Add a teaspoon of coriander powder and red chilli powder. Sprinkle some hot water to bring it together and add the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, add the thin coconut milk ( the second & third press ). Continue to cook the chicken curry for 5-8 minutes, turn the ehat low and add the thick coconut milk. Garnish with fried small onions.
In Kerala, we use fresh coconut oil . So are the coconuts and many of the spices. That is key to making this curry so delish !
|Syria: Global Negative Mood Pinpointed on a Map|
What makes the upheaval in Syria SO impossible is that 15 separate countries have active military operations in that country. The war also involves non-state group like ISIS, the Kurds, and Hezbollah. With a crisis this thorny, new or useful insights are in short supply. Can we shed light on how you see this conflict? In a word, yes...
|Human Rights for Syria|
Our Core Value is Social Action Dear EVCS family, Holy moly, we’re on the other side of the middle of June and we’re starting to tick off “the last (fill in the blank) of the school year” moments, including this … Continue reading
|Syria is what most in the West wanted|
What did you expect with Aleppo?
Syria's hereditary socialist/nationalist (Ba'athist) dictatorship has flagrantly used chemical weapons against its own people and dropped barrel bombs on them, for daring to oppose 46 years of repressive family rule. Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama, said the use of chemical weapons would be a "red line", then did nothing besides let Assad (and his father) 's ally Russia "supervise the destruction" of the weapons.
Obama, leader of the world's only superpower, then did nothing. His excuse was that the UK House of Commons had voted against military action against the Assad regime (which it did, as now former leader Ed Miliband wanted to prove how much the "anti-Blair" he was and burnish his leftwing credentials). Non-intervention, the preferred policy of rightwing isolationists and leftwing "pacifists" is the new norm, except for Russia.
Of course it isn't pure non-intervention. The West has been funding and arming some of the rebel groups in Syria, including those with Islamist leanings. They aren't ISIS (despite some claims), but there are no angels in Syria. No one is fighting for Syria to be a secular liberal democracy that respects individual rights and political plurality.
The surrender of Aleppo to the Assad dictatorship was the inevitable outcome of Russian intervention in favour of its long standing ally and the flagrant ongoing violation of international law by the Assad regime in using chemical weapons and barrel bombing civilian areas.
Chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombing by the Assad regime has worked. China, Russia, Iran, all of which execute political opponents, don't care. The part of the international community that should care (the "West") has shrugged, said lots, but Obama handed over responsibility to Russia. This was like handing over responsibility for addressing North Korea's human rights atrocities to China.
The experience of Iraq - successfully overthrowing tyranny, followed by utter failure in replacing it and achieving control of the country, rightfully gave cause for caution.
However, the result of that vacuum has been to give Russia an opportunity, to be the new power in the Middle East. There were opportunities to contain Assad's use of chemical weapons and air power over civilians, with no fly zones, but doing anymore would have been much more difficult.
Now those on the left are complaining that "we" sat by and did nothing, yet that is exactly what they campaigned for. Dictators will murder opponents, will slaughter civilians and unless you are willing to put our own taxpayers' money and military force to intercede, it will continue. Obama in 2011 said Assad either had to lead a transition to democracy or get out the way, but he did neither - he fought on, gained support of his strong ally - Russia - which already knew the West was going to do nothing.
The isolationist right of course also believed in leaving Syria alone, a few because they accepted Assad's propaganda that all his opponents are "terrorists" and all his opponents are "Al Qaeda and ISIS" whereas he is moderate and reasonable. A few because they see Putin as a "friend". However, mostly because they have no interest in what happens to people in foreign lands, as they are far away places of which they know little. Syrians wanting freedom from tyranny should do it themselves, and not expect foreign government support (even if it means foreign governments actively support the tyranny). At least that position has a consistency - governments should only defend the rights of those within their boundaries, even if other governments engage in mass slaughter that sends hundreds of thousands fleeing to other governments.
So Aleppo is awful. Yet, it is the end result of the policies of both leftwing so-called "peace" supporters and rightwing isolationists. The biggest threat to the lives of individuals are tyrannies, and the only way to redress that is to arm opponents or to take them on yourselves. The Western appetite for this is slim indeed.
|EU truths and untruths|
With the UK now voting as to whether it remains in the EU or stirs up what has been described as "the biggest change in European politics since the fall of the Berlin Wall" (although the war in Yugoslavia and the first genocide since the Nazis ought to come close), I thought I'd run through some of the claims of both sides that are intellectually dishonest.
3 million jobs are linked to trade with the EU: Well yes, but then nobody is saying trade with the EU will end and nobody campaigning to leave wants inferior trading conditions. The European Free Trade Association provides free trade with the EU, with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland all members. The idea that leaving the EU means 3 millions jobs are at risk is a gross exaggeration. However, if the EU is bloody minded and puts up tariff barriers equivalent to what it does for the rest of the world. it is a 4% average tariff on UK trade to the EU, which is negative for jobs, but hardly a huge risk.
If the UK leaves the EU, you might need a visa to visit the EU: Nonsense. You don't need a visa to visit the EU from the US, Canada, Australia, NZ or any of the EFTA member states. What would change is having the right to live there. Given those wanting to leave mostly want to end the free movement of people, that could be a concern for some.
Leaving the EU will create a recession: No it wont. The worst estimates are a small reduction in economic growth, but the long run estimates are a 6% long term slowing of growth if the UK gets the most inferior trading conditions likely with the EU (and assuming the UK has no free trade agreements with any other countries, like the US, Japan and China). It also assumes the UK does not cut any EU regulation out at all. In short, the Treasury estimates used by the Government of a recession are based on leaving the EU, and not taking advantage of the new freedom to trade and freedom to relieve the economy of EU Directives that impose costs on growth.
The EU means food, petrol, flights, energy and mobile phone charges are lower: Unmitigated rubbish, quite the opposite. The EU Common Agricultural Policy inflates the price of food in the EU by 17% over market prices. The EU legally requires all Member States to tax petrol by at least around 32p/l (but the UK government taxes it at 80% more than that). The Single Aviation Market goes beyond the EU, with many non-EU countries as participants. Norwegian Airlines has grown rapidly in the past couple of years, expanding long haul flights between the UK and US. Norway is not in the EU. The EU inflates energy prices, by requiring minimum levels of taxation on gas and electricity bills, and imposing renewable energy obligations on member states. Yes mobile roaming in the EU is lower than it would have been had the EU not enforced it, but it's clear EU protectionism and "normalisation" of regulations imposes costs on consumers.
The Â£10 billion paid into the EU is "returned' many times over: No it's not. What is returned is free trade, which should never be at the cost of paying for farming subsidies or infrastructure investment in other countries. Leaving the EU doesn't mean an end to trading with the EU.
The EU has 50 trade agreements we lose access to: Many of which are with micro-states/territories, like San Marino, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Guernsey. The only significant economies with deals are Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. The UK could readily negotiate during the transition deals easily as good or better, as the main forces for protectionism in trade are the likes of France.
Staying in means reform: That's highly unlikely. David Cameron couldn't even get all the reforms he asked for with a threat of Brexit (which clearly the EU saw through as being unlikely), why would it happen after a vote to Remain? The UK holds 9% of the MEP seats in the European Parliament, and although it is a significant contributor, reform is sclerotic. The EU hasn't significantly cut back any of its activities and always finds new ones. It is a political project of integration, and shows little sign of ever caring what is thought of it.
David Cameron's deal means unemployed EU migrants can be deported: No, they can't. EU citizens can't be deported from Member States unless they are a threat to national security or criminals.
Leaving the EU will fix the immigration "problem": Assuming the problem is too many immigrant, and the failure of the Government to cut annual immigration to less than 100,000 people, leaving the EU will enable the UK to ration EU immigration like it does for non-EU. However, non- EU immigration is already over 150,000 per annum. Nobody is saying Brexit means deporting immigrants (thankfully). Most concerns over immigration are perceptions about access to taxpayer provided services, and more often than not reflect the bankruptcy of the world's biggest health bureaucracy, which is treated as a religion never to be reformed (NHS), the bizarre legal obligation of all local authorities to ensure anyone who lives in the UK has housing (including rooms in hotels paid for by taxpayers), the open access to compulsory education and the sclerotic way the UK restrains supply of housing and roads. Leaving the EU wont solve any of that, but then those wanting to stay in the EU are also devoid of responses to what are more fundamental problems.
Turkey is joining soon: No it's not. Notwithstanding David Cameron's hypocrisy over the issue, it is difficult to see Cyprus accepting Turkey until there is settlement over northern Cyprus, or Greece accepting Turkey until Turkey secures its southern borders with Syria and Iraq. However, Serbia, Montenegro, FYR Macedonia and Albania will all likely be members within 10 years.
Money saved will be spent on the NHS: Well the half that is a rebate and is current subsidies wont change, although there is a chance to make some serious saving there. The rest? Well it can go on many things, but there is a case for simply cutting the deficit by Â£10 billion a year. After all, despite George Osborne's platitudes, the UK government is still overspending. What happens with the money is up to the government. The Leave campaign is not the government. Yes leaving the EU wont save Â£350 million a week, more like half that, but the rebate is not set in a treaty, and the spending
UK will be drawn into the Euro and ever closer union: The UK has a treaty opt-out of the Euro and has to agree to treaties for ever closer union, but it wont mean it doesn't face the costs of ever closer union. That will depend on future negotiations.
The UK can get trade access as good as the Single Market without free movement of people: This is unlikely, simply because it would mean the Single Market is undermined and would be a massive backtracking of the principles of the EU. Signing up to EFTA or the EEA will mean some compromise on this.
|Student Unions in the UK explicitly appeasing fascism|
It's entirely logical. The natural conclusion of the philosophy of post-modernist moral relativism, that refuses to apply moral judgment to those who engage in genocide, slavery and rape of women and children, incinerates prisoners of war, beheads those it simply dislikes (including children who do not submit to its religion) and kills men for being gay.
For that is what University College London (student) Union has done, following on from the National Union of Students last year. Brendan O'Neill in The Spectator writes more on what happened. Basically, the Activities and Events Officer of UCLU (Asad Khan) said that a former student, who has fought with the Kurds in Syria to repel ISIS, could not talk about his experiences because "there are two sides and UCLU wants to avoid taking sides".
Moral relativism has hit its epitome in this act by Asad Khan. I wonder if Mr Khan takes the same approach when confronted with any crimes. Would he stop women talking about rape because "there are two sides"? Would someone talking about racist abuse be told that she couldn't talk without the alleged abuser being there because "there are two si