Archive | November 9th, 2013

Iraq 2013: Deadliest year since 2008 with 7,000+ killed


Flames rise from a vehicle at the site of a car bomb in Talibiya in Baghdad on September 3, 2013. (AFP Photo / Sabah Arar)

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With over 7,000 civilian casualties so far, 2013 has already become the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008. In its new project, a timeline of the violence, RT brings the sad record into the spotlight.

Go to Iraq 2013: A year of carnage’ for the full timeline.

Following the withdrawal of US troops in December 2011, instead of engaging in post-war and occupation recovery, Iraq has been with each day plunging deeper into inter-ethnic violence, prompted by ever-growing tensions mostly between the country’s majority Shiite community and the Sunni minority.

2013 saw the situation aggravate to its worst, with almost daily deaths of civilians becoming the harsh reality the country is facing today.

You, I and anyone who walks in the streets, at any moment may face a car bomb, motorcycle bomb, or explosive belt. At any moment anyone may be killed,” a Baghdad resident sums it up speaking to RT’s Egor Piskunov.

It’s 10 or 11 years now that they’re talking about a new security plan, but nothing changes and the situation is only getting worse,” another Iraqi adds.


Iraqi civilians check the site of an explosion in Baghdad on August 28, 2013. (AFP Photo / Ali Al-Saadi)Iraqi civilians check the site of an explosion in Baghdad on August 28, 2013. (AFP Photo / Ali Al-Saadi)


So often are all kinds of attacks in Iraq that not all of them eventually make it into the headlines, in a situation when a peaceful day in Baghdad would be more likely perceived as news.

One notable example this year was on April 15, when the entire world was glued to the screens watching the overwhelming coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings in which three people died and an estimated 264 injured. That same day Iraq was rocked by a series of bombings which killed 55 and left 300 people injured.

The much deadlier ‘black Monday in Iraq went virtually unnoticed by global news outlets compared to the Boston events.

Because it is just accepted as normal for Iraq. That’s what Iraqis do. Endure this new form of freedom,” Hamit Dardagan, co-founder of Iraq Body Count, explained the paradox in an interview to RT’s Laura Smith.


An Iraqi boy cries at the scene of a car bomb attack after it exploded as worshippers left a Sunni mosque after prayers marking the start of the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on October 15, 2013. (AFP Photo / Marwan Ibrahim)An Iraqi boy cries at the scene of a car bomb attack after it exploded as worshippers left a Sunni mosque after prayers marking the start of the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on October 15, 2013. (AFP Photo / Marwan Ibrahim)


Iraq Body Count, founded by volunteers from the UK and the US in 2003, keeps a record of civilian casualties doing the job government officials are reluctant to fulfill, saying is too difficult. The group’s online database of civilian deaths is considered one of the most reliable.

The information we get is mostly from the sort of small news wire type reports and Iraqi media reports that don’t really make the news an ordinary news consumer would see,” Dardagan tells RT. “In other words it takes a research effort to pull together these small reports that come from different parts of the country and that list what you would think of small events of someone being assassinated or blown up in their car.”

Violence escalated in Iraq this year following a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in April.  In September – the deadliest on record so far this year – 1,220 people have died, and the trend continues.

In the latest outbreak of violence, a series of attacks killed at least 30 people across the country on Thursday, according to officials.

The deadliest resulted from two suicide bombers who rammed their explosive-packed cars into a military base in the town of Tarmiyah, killing at least 19 soldiers and wounding 41, authorities said.

Another bomb killed four people and wounded six when pilgrims en route to Karbala stopped at a food tent.

Prior to that a suicide bomber attacked an army post in the town of Ana, killing three soldiers and wounding six, while another explosion killed two persons in a town just south of Baghdad.

Two more people were killed in the city of Mosul, where police said eight more were wounded.



Iraqis gather around burnt vehicles at the site of a car bombing at a market in Baghdad's impoverished district of Sadr City on May 16, 2013 as at least eight people were killed in blasts across the country. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye)Iraqis gather around burnt vehicles at the site of a car bombing at a market in Baghdad’s impoverished district of Sadr City on May 16, 2013 as at least eight people were killed in blasts across the country. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye)


The American author of ‘Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq’, Nicolas J.S. Davies, believes the US-led operation had simply devastated the nation.

The invasion was not just some kind of mistake. The invasion and occupation were a serious crime,” Davies told RT. “That was a crime of aggression under the UN charter. Iraq is still suffering from the destruction of its regime, its government and its society by the United States. The US employed classic divide and rule strategy pitting people of different sects against each other, inciting violence that is completely unprecedented in that country and now has instilled a sectarian based government. And this is just a reign of terror. And in that sense some of the worst aspects of the US occupation are still continuing today.”

Violence between Shia and Sunni is resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimates that the conflict led to 1.1 million of Iraqis becoming internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, which has witnessed more than 115,000 deaths in 10 years.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, spoke late October of how drastic the situation in the country has become.

It has become clear… Iraq has become subjected to a war of genocide by terrorists, targeting all spheres of life,” Maliki said.

Last week, he met with President Obama. The two leaders agreed Iraq was in urgent need of help. But besides general statements nothing definite came out – such as how to save people’s lives on the ground

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Dutch Christian Zionists to unveil ‘Europe’s largest menorah’


An artist's impression of the Hannukia scheduled to be placed at Nijkerk. Photo Credit: Christians for Israel

Christian Zionists in the Netherlands are building what they believe will be Europe’s largest menorah as a Hanukkah gift to the country’s Jewish community.

The Hanukkah candelabrum, or hanukkiyah, will be approximately 36 feet tall and made out of metal, Sara van Oordt of the Netherlands headquarters of the Christians for Israel organization told JTA on Monday. It will be placed near the group’s offices in Nijkerk, 30 miles east of the Dutch capital.

“We think that this is a good way to show our support and solidarity for the Jewish community worldwide,” van Oordt said.

Shaped like a Star of David, the giant candelabrum will have nine branches running along its top beam. According to Christians for Israel, it will be both Europe’s largest hanukkyiah and its largest menorah.

It is scheduled to be inaugurated at Nijkerk on the eve of Hanukkah, Nov. 27, by Binyomin Jacobs, a chief rabbi of the Netherlands, who has agreed to light the first candle of Hanukkah at a public ceremony that is expected to draw several hundred people.

The hanukkiyah cost just over $30,000 to make and is currently being manufactured in Friesland in the northern Netherlands under the supervision of Arjen Lont, the Christian Zionist owner of a construction firm.

Lont, who also participated in the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s Montefiore windmill last year, has sponsored a part of the hanukkiyah’s cost, according to van Oordt.

“We did not approach Jewish or Israeli businesses and donors, only Christian ones, because this is supposed to be our gift to the Jewish people,” van Oordt said.

The five-ton hanukkiyah will be transported in several parts from Friesland to Nijkerk.

Jacobs told JTA that the Netherlands has several large menorahs and hanukkiyahs that became popular with local Jews and Christians about 10 years ago.

“Not everyone was enthusiastic at first, but they kept popping up,” he said. “It brings people who would not normally celebrate Hanukkah to partake and it shows the world in general that we, Jews, are also here and a part of this society.”

Large menorahs or hanukkiyahs can be found in 18 Dutch cities including Amsterdam, The Hague, Maastricht, Haarlem, Groningen and Rotterdam, Jacobs said.

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Can we really separate Judaism from Zionism?


Ibrahim Alloush

Any which way you look at it, Judaism and Zionism cannot be really separated from one another.  Zionism is not a misinterpretation of Judaism, it is rather the distilled essence of mainstream Judaism.  When Marx shredded Judaism to pieces in his On the Jewish Question, the term ‘Zionism’ wasn’t even in circulation.  Marx considered Judaism, as representative of what he called the ‘practical Jew’, a parasitic predatory ideology that befits capitalism in its decaying phase.

And regardless of what Judaic racial teachings drawn from the Torah and Talmud might claim, Judaism is essentially doctrine and practice, not a race or nationality.  Therefore, being born of Jewish parents is not the same as being part of Judaism.  It follows that the critique of Judaism does not imply hostility to some mythical “Jewish race”, since Judaism is neither race nor nationalism.

Indeed, Judaism is the culture of parasitic predation that was incubated in the isolation of Ghettos.  It’s also marked by its supra-national character, sniffing down upon any national allegiance.  Hence, it’s no wonder that globalism brought with it the globalization of the Hollowcause as a post-modern secular fetish.  Globalization is essentially about the hegemony of non-productive financial capital, and usury, so globalization meant that the world was also turning Jewish.  It’s also no wonder that anti-Judaism, as secular anti-Zionism or as anti-Jewish religious fundamentalism (be it Christian or Muslim) has become a staple of national liberation movements worldwide.

As Arabs, we cannot be unaware of the fact that the two basic tenets of Zionism are to be found in Judaism.  The concept of ‘divine promise’ where Yahweh allegedly doles out our Arab Palestine to the Jew is the first of these tenets justifying the usurpation of Palestine .  The second of these tenets is of course the concept of ‘chosen people’ where the Jew is granted privilege over the goyim, that is, non-Jews.

Israel Shahak in his Jewish History, Jewish Religion, the Weight of Three Thousand Years provided ample evidence showing how the brutality practiced by occupation forces and Jewish colonists against Palestinian Arabs was sanctioned by religious law from Rabbis on the basis of scriptures calling for the abuse and mistreatment of the goyim.

For more on this, please go to:

Zionism and Judaism: Jewish law and relations with non-Jews

Therefore, one truly cannot possibly separate Judaism and Zionism, especially if one is Palestinian Arab.  And more and more, the two cannot be separated if you’re a world citizen being engulfed by globalism, that is, the hegemony of non-productive capitalistic exploitation, therefore, Jewish mores.

Consequently, ‘anti-Zionism’ should be left to the politically-correct, because being truly anti-Zionist necessarily entails being anti-Judaic.

Moreover, it’s true that anyone, Jewish or not, who supports the right of ” Israel ” to exist, and who justifies the power of Jewish elites in his country or worldwide is essentially pro-Zionist.  It’s also true that there would have been imperialism even if there were no Zionism, and that Zionism would not have thrived so well without imperialism.   Yet all that does not affect the main point here which is that Zionism and Judaism cannot possibly be separated from one another.


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I$raHelli military vehicles enter Gaza, ‘fire at farmers’

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A number of Israeli bulldozers and military vehicles entered the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning and fired shots at farmers, witnesses told Ma’an.

Locals said that eight Israeli vehicles crossed into Gaza near the town of Jabaliya and opened fire at farmers, who fled immediately as Israeli forces shot at them. No injuries were reported.

The Israeli bulldozers then began razing lands, witnesses said.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said that vehicles conducted “routine activity” in northern Gaza “adjacent to the security fence” this morning, but said she was unfamiliar with reports of shots being fired.

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Rabbi accused of sex-abuse ordered out of Morocco


Sexual assault trial of noted rabbi Moti Elon begins in Jerusualem

Israel Hayom

A prominent Hassidic rabbi who fled Israel for Morocco earlier this year after being accused of sex crimes has reportedly been expelled from the North African country by order of the king. According to a report by the ultra-Orthodox news site Kikar Hashabat on Thursday, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, 76, had left Morocco after being ordered to do by the authorities.

Berland, a Haifa-born Breslov Hassid who headed the Shuvu Banim yeshiva in Jerusalem, fled to Morocco, in April after being accused of sex crimes. Israel has no extradition agreement with that country. Berland reportedly settled in Marrakesh and began working to build a community there.

However, a Moroccan newspaper recently published an article profiling him and detailing the circumstances in which he fled Israel. According to reports, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI read the article and ordered the rabbi’s expulsion.

Associates of the rabbi claimed that the king’s decision had nothing to do with Berland’s alleged crimes. They said that dozens of the rabbis’ followers had already flocked to Morocco in the rabbi’s wake, and the king was concerned for their safety.

“This is a Muslim country after all; the hundreds of Hassids who have reached Morocco are in danger,” said one of the rabbi’s confidants.

Berland’s alleged activities came to light about a year ago. At the time, Israel Hayom published details of an incident in which one of the rabbi’s disciples allegedly happened upon his teacher at home standing beside a naked woman. The rabbi’s supporters expressed anger, including taking violent actions, against the person who had relayed the story to the press.

When police intervened and launched an investigation, Berland fled the country. Following a brief stint in the U.S., he traveled to Morocco, where he was welcomed by the local Jewish community. His followers began gravitating to the rabbi in Morocco, with thousands arriving to celebrate holidays and commemorate various events with him, and some opting to stay in Morocco.

According to a Channel 2 news report, Berland began to build up a community in Marrakesh mirroring the Shuvu Banim yeshiva, and sought to establish a community center and education institutions there. He also wanted to build apartments there for his followers.

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Putin to Visit Egypt, Replace US Military Ti



Israel National News

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Egypt later this month, the Free Beacon reports, in what is seen as an attempt to replace the US as the Nile state’s military provider.

The visit, during which US officials predict Putin will announce a major arms deal, comes as US ties with both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are weakening, and may indicate a shifting of regional influence in Moscow’s favor.

Tensions rose between the US and Egypt following US President Barack Obama’s partial freeze of Egyptian military aid last month. The move came on the heels of Obama’s perceived support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Free Beacon notes that Egypt is interested in acquiring Russian fighter jets and Tor anti-aircraft missiles, in addition to upgrades for its Soviet-era tanks, all of which are weapons systems the US has currently blocked.

If the visit is successful, Russia will mend military relations with Egypt that were strong until 1977, when then-President Anwar Sadat broke ties in favor of US backing.

The announced visit comes after initial reports of Egypt’s intention to seal a 15 billion dollar arms deal with Russia, which reportedly will include MiG-29 planes and other military equipment. Egypt expressed its interest after an Egyptian delegation visited Moscow last Thursday.

Just before US Secretary of State John Kerry’s apparently unsuccessful conciliation visit to Cairo on Sunday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi stated that his country is looking for partners other than the US to meet its security needs.

Kerry’s visit included a stop in Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to patch things up with the Gulf state which has expressed displeasure over Obama’s handling of Syria and the Iranian nuclear threat. Saudi Arabia reportedly will help finance Egypt’s Russian arms deal.

Russia has been taking an increasingly active role asserting itself in the Middle East, replacing America according to some, as US alliances and influence in the region have faltered.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov Thursday, Russia will be hosting representatives of both the Assad regime and the rebel forces in unofficial peace talks between the two sides. He added that both sides had agreed to the meetings.

The development comes after US and western backed initiatives for a Geneva 2 Conference to discuss Syrian peace has fallen apart as the rebel forces have demanded that talks focus on Assad’s exit, while Assad insists on staying in power.

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