Archive | November 24th, 2013

Ashura In The Qur’an And Sunnah – Sheikh Imran Hosein

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by Nashid Abdul-Khaaliq
What follows below are 3 lectures about Ashura in the Qur’an and Sunnah given by Sheikh Imran Hosein on three different occasions. The first lecture was made on November 6th, 2013.  The other two were made a few years ago that I don’t have the exact dates for.
Each lecture is unique in their own way  giving both similar and different perspectives on Ashura. While the Sheikh recognizes the great valor and supreme courage of Imam Hussain (RA) who stood up boldly against the evil forces of Yazid declaring that “death with dignity is greater than life with humiliation”, his talks focuses on the meaning of Ashura in the Qur’an and Sunnah before Imam Hussain’s (RA) time. Both the Arabs and Jews fasted on the 10th of Muharram even before the coming of Prophet Muhammad (saaw).  This was due to the influence of Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and particularly for the Jews, they fasted in commemoration of Moses (pbuh) striking his rod to part the red sea to escape Pharoah and his army.
But as explained so eloquently and with deep insight by Sheikh Imran Hosein, another event happened on the 10th of Muharram that was not known until the revelation of the Qur’an. That event was the drowning of Pharoah and his declaration of belief in the God of Moses (pbuh) before his death. As so excellently pointed out  by Sheikh Imran Hossein, the Qur’an states that ALLAH preserved Pharoah’s body as a sign. The sign of Pharoah’s body was for later generations the recovery of which was to mark the beginning of very significant events to affect the Muslim world.
The recovery of the preserved body of Pharoah around 1897 as well as the birth of Zionism heralded by the first Zionist conference in Basil, Switzerland also in 1897 represented events signaling the re-enactment of the epic encounter between Pharoah and Moses (pbuh) in today’s world. Sheikh Imran Hosein gives an absolutely superb and enlightening analysis showing the rise of Zionism as the new Pharoah in the world and with the discovery of Pharoah’s body the countdown to Armageddon began.  These are must view videos for all who want to know the significance of Ashura in the Qur’an and Sunnah and it’s relationship to what is happening in our world today.

Sheikh Imran Hosein writes:

Ashurah in The Qur’an
Articles – Understanding Islam
Wednesday, 01 Sha’ban 1428

The Qur’an has described the event when Moses (‘alaihi al-Salam) was ordered to flee by night from the eastern delta of Egypt where the Israelites had all assembled, towards the sea, and beyond that to the Holy Land “which Allah had given to them”. Pharaoh pursued and caught up with them as they approached the sea. They were now trapped, and he was certain that he would succeed, once and for all, in destroying those who resisted his imperial rule, and who bowed to a God other than himself. Allah Most High ordered Moses (‘alaihi al-Salam) to strike the water with his staff, and behold, the waters miraculously parted to make a way for the believers to cross the sea to safety. The same sea drowned Pharaoh – the mighty, arrogant godless oppressor, and his power drunk-army when they attempted to cross. Muslims around the world will fast for two days this week to commemorate that event of Ashurah.

That epic encounter is today being reenacted on the stage of the world. Falsehood is waging war on Truth. And believers in the Holy Land and elsewhere in the world, who are armed with nothing more than the equivalent of stones, adamantly refuse to bow to an arrogant power-drunk European oppressor and all his house slaves. The utter contempt with which the US army totally destroyed the Iraqi city of  Fallujah that had so heroically resisted Yankee occupation and oppression, is but a taste of the replay of that epic encounter. The message of hope for the beleaguered Muslims of this age, which is implicit in this event, comes as a ray of sunshine and illumination in this world of darkness filled with injustice and oppression. Tomorrow holds the threat of even more monstrous lies, oppression and deception. One black mask on the white face of the oppressor has been replaced with another black mask, but mankind is not fooled. Oppression continually escalates.

The message of hope that Allah Most High will intervene one more time in the historical process, as He did on the day of Ashurah, engenders conviction that Truth will again triumph over falsehood, and the believers would be delivered to safety while their oppressors would die the way Pharaoh died. How did he die? The Qur’an has informed us of a very significant event that occurred under the water as Pharaoh was drowning, i.e., he declared his belief in the God of Moses (‘alaihi al-Salam). Allah Most High responded to this with the declaration that He would preserve Pharaoh’s body so that it might function (when it is discovered) as a sign for a people to come (at a later time). The ominous divine warning for them is that since they would live the way Pharaoh lived, they would die the way he died. In other words, at the moment when Allah Most High destroys them at the hands of the true Messiah, Jesus the Son of Mary, they would realize the falsehood to which they had clung all their lives, and would affirm the Truth that came in the Qur’an and with Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). What a way to die! Pharaoh went to hell, and so would they!

Pharaoh’s body was discovered in Egypt at the end of the 19th century and with that discovery the countdown to Armageddon commenced. The body is still on display in the Cairo Museum.

This re-enactment of the epic encounter between Pharaoh and Moses (‘alaihi al-Salam) will conclude when, as prophesied by Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), the son of Mary returns and a Muslim army liberates the Holy Land.

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US to maintain military power in Mideast

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Washington seeks to keep its military force and bases in Afghanistan in order to maintain US military power in the Middle East, says Brian Becker, national coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition.

Deep disagreements over legal immunity for American soldiers and the controversial issue of night raids by foreign troops have held up the security pact between Washington and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

US Secretary of State John Kerry called Karzai on Tuesday to convince him to let American forces carry out night raids on Afghan homes in �œexceptional circumstances.”

�œThe United States government�™s proposed pact or new treaty with the Karzai government demonstrates the colonial character of the relationship,” Becker said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

�œThe United States offers to maintain military troops and military bases in Afghanistan but on the condition that American soldiers can never be held up to justice inside of a court controlled by the Afghan people no matter what crime they might commit,” he added.

On Thursday, an assembly of around 3,000 Afghan tribal elders and other prominent figures are expected to attend a traditional council known as Loya Jirga to discuss the security pact.

The security agreement, if finalized, will give US forces one main base at Bagram, near Kabul, and the right to station troops on eight other military bases across the country.

Becker said, �œThe United States wants to maintain military bases in Afghanistan not to fight against al-Qaeda but in order to maintain US military power in this geo-strategically important area of the world.”

�œThe interests of the United States are not actually the interests of the people of the United States but they are the interests of the elite, the corporations, the banks, the oil and gas companies and of course first and foremost the Pentagon,” he concluded .

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Why TEPCO is Risking the Removal of Fukushima Fuel Rods. The Dangers of Uncontrolled Global Nuclear Radiation

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Global Research

After repeated delays since the summer of 2011, the Tokyo Electric Power Company has launched a high-risk operation to empty the spent-fuel pool atop Reactor 4 at the Dai-ichi (No.1) Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

The urgency attached to this particular site, as compared with reactors damaged in meltdowns, arises from several factors:

– over 400 tons of nuclear material in the pool could reignite

– the fire-damaged tank is tilting badly and may topple over sooner than later

– collapse of the structure could trigger a chain reaction and nuclear blast, and

– consequent radioactive releases would heavily contaminate much of the world.

The potential for disaster at the Unit 4 SFP is probably of a higher magnitude than suspected due to the presence of fresh fuel rods, which were delivered during the technical upgrade of Reactor 4 under completion at the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The details of that reactor overhaul by GE and Hitachi have yet to be disclosed by TEPCO and the Economy Ministry and continue to be treated as a national-security matter. Here, the few clues from whistleblowers will be pieced together to decipher the nature of the clandestine activity at Fukushima No.1.

Accidents happen

The delicate rod-removal procedure requires the lowering of a steel cylinder, called a transfer cask, into a corner of the pool and then using the crane to lift the 300-kilogram fuel assemblies (4..5-meter-tall bundle of fuel rods held inside a metal cage) one at a time from the vertical array of rods up and then down into the cask. The container can hold 22 assemblies for transfer to a temporary cooling unit built next to Reactor 4 before these are moved to a storage building.(1)

Lifting the 1,533 fuel bundles out of the pool is fraught with danger. If an assembly breaks away and falls, the impact could shatter other rods below, triggering an uncontrolled nuclear reaction. Compounding the threat, many rods are not intact but were fragmented into loose shards by a collapsing crane. In addition, many of the rods likely lost their protective cladding during the two fires that engulfed the spent-fuel pool on March 14 and 15, 2011.

The urgency of this transfer operation is prompted by the warping of the supporting steel frame by the twin fires that followed the March 11 quake. The pool is also tilting. If the unbalanced structure topples, the collapse would trigger nuclear reactions. A cascade of neutrons could then ignite the nearby common fuel pool for Reactors 1 through 6. The common pool contains 6,735 used assemblies.(2)

The Reactor 4 spent fuel pool contains an estimated 400 tons of uranium and plutonium oxide, compared with just 6.2 kilograms of plutonium inside Fat Man, the hydrogen bomb that obliterated Nagasaki in 1945. (While predictions are bandied about by experts and bloggers, there exists no reliable method for calculating the potential sum or flow rate of radiation releases, measured in becquerel or sievert units, after an accident. The tonnage involved, however, indicates only that a large-scale event is likely and a cataclysm cannot be ruled out.)

More than 1,700 tons of nuclear materials are reported to be on site inside Fukushima No.1 plant. (My investigative visits into the exclusion zone indicate the existence of undocumented and illegal large-scale storage sites in the Fukushima nuclear complex of undetermined tonnage.) By comparison Chernobyl ’s reactors contained 180 tons of fuel not all of which melted down.

Despite the looming threat to residents in Fukushima , surrounding provinces and the capital Tokyo , the office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe along with TEPCO hews to the tradition of risk denial and blackout of vital information. No contingency plan has been issued to Fukushima residents or to the municipalities of the Tohoku and Kanto region in event of a nuclear disaster during the SFP clearance effort. A concurrent drive to impose a draconian law against whistleblowers on grounds of national security is reinforcing the cover-up of data and testimony related to nuclear power plants, including the Fukushima complex.

Mystery of MOX super-fuel

A Mainichi Shimbun editorial mentions in passing that the Reactor 4 pool contains 202 fresh fuel assemblies.(3) The presence of new fuel rods was confirmed in the TEPCO press release, which described the first assembly lifted into the transfer cask as an “un-irradiated fuel rod.” Why were new rods being stored inside a spent-fuel pool, which is designed to hold expended rods? What threat of criticality do these fresh rods pose if the steel frame collapses or if crane operators drop one by accident onto other assemblies, as opposed to a spent rod?

Against the official silence and disinformation, a few whistleblowers have come forward with clues to answer these questions. Former GE nuclear worker Kei Sugaoka disclosed in a video interview that a joint team from Hitachi and General Electric was inside Reactor 4 at the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake. By that fateful afternoon, the GE contractors were finishing the job of installing a new shroud, the heat-resistant metal shield lining the reactor interior.(4)

TEPCO inadvertently admitted to the presence of foreign contractors at Fukushima No.1 up until March 12, 2012, when the management ordered their evacuation in event of a massive explosion during the rapid meltdown of Reactor 2. So far, leaks indicate the presence of the GE team and of a Israeli nuclear security team with Magna BSP, a company based in Dimona.(5)

Another break came in April 2012, when a Japanese humor magazine published a brief interview of a Fukushima worker who disclosed that radioactive pieces of a broken shroud were left inside a device-storage pool at rooftop level behind the Reactor 4 spent-fuel pool.(6) This undoubtedly is the used shroud removed by the GE-H workers in February-March 2011.

A curious point here is that the previous shroud had been in use for only 15 months. Why would TEPCO and the Japanese government expend an enormous sum on a new lining when the existing one was still good for many years of service?

Obviously, the installation of a new shroud was not a mere replacement of a worn predecessor. It was an upgrade. The refit of Reactor 4 was, therefore, similar to the 2010 conversion of Reactor 3 to pluthermal or MOX fuel. The same model of GE Mark 1 reactor was being revamped to burn MOX fuel (mixed oxide of uranium and plutonium).

The un-irradiated rods inside the Unit 4 spent-fuel pool are, in all probability, made of a new type of MOX fuel containing highly enriched plutonium. If the frame collapses, triggering fire or explosion inside the spent-fuel pool, the plutonium would pulse powerful neutron bursts that may well possibly ignite distant nuclear power plants, starting with the Fukushima No.2 plant, 10 kilometers to the south.

The scenario of a serial chain reaction blasting apart nuclear plants along the Pacific Coast, is what compelled Naoto Kan, prime minister at the time of the 311 disaster, to contemplate the mass evacuation of 50 million residents (a third of the national population) from the Tohoku region and the Greater Tokyo metropolitan region to distant points southwest.(7) Evacuation would be impeded by the scale and intensity of multiple reactor explosions, which would shut down all transport systems, telecommunications and trap most residents. Tens of millions would die horribly in numbers topping all disasters of history combined.

Fires last time

The rod-transfer operation from Unit 4 is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014. That estimate is optimistic since it does not take into account the obstruction posed by fragments of shattered fuel rods that were overheated in the two fires that swept through Unit 4 spent-fuel pool on March 13 and 15, 2011, according to NHK television news.(8) Another factor for uncertainty is the impact of the explosion that rocked the roofline of the reactor building.

Basing its analysis on corporate information releases thus far, the Simply Info website states:

“TEPCO has changed their story on Unit 4 multiple times but eventually admitted to a very obvious explosion occurring at Unit 4 (on March 15). No video of Unit 4 exploding exists to date and it is assumed the explosion took place before dawn. One of TEPCO’s later admissions regarding unit 4 is that they think hydrogen leaked into unit 4 from unit 3 via the venting pipes and a faulty valve. No reason was given as to why unit 4 did not then ignite when Unit 3 exploded.”(9)

Soon after the Reactor 3 blast, an explosion occurred on the roofline of Reactor 4, blowing two 8-meter-wide holes through the outer wall. Although tattered, the spent-fuel pool survived the nearby explosion along with the device-storage pool containing the shroud. Photos of the building show holes and damage to a large section of walls and roof slabs on the northeast side of the upper structure (opposite the spent-fuel pool. Hydrogen gas, despite its high combustive energy per kilogram, lacks sufficient density to inflict such damage to reinforced concrete, as would a carbon-bonded gas like acetylene. A logical deduction then is that a cask of new fuel rods left on the roof during the GE-H refit was ignited by neutrons emitted from the SPF fire.

As for the spent-fuel pool, the first blaze broke out on March 14 and died down after several hours. On the following day, the pool reignited and had to be extinguished by firefighters. The nagging question is why the raging fires burned so long, since much of the hydrogen was dissolved in the remaining water at the bottom of the pool or would have burned off within a few seconds. While TEPCO conjectured that hydrogen gas pumped from Reactor 3 to 4, that scenario is a long stretch since most of the volatile gas would dissipated before arrival or ignited along the way.

An alternative possibility is of a tritium-plutonium reaction creating gas plasma inside the spent fuel pool. The condition of the cladding on the rods, which would have been melted by plasma, can indicate the heat source during those two fires. None dare mention are tritium-plutonium inter-reaction because that is the formula for a thermonuclear bomb, that is, the H-bomb. MOX fuel does have the potential to generate sufficient tritium for a thermonuclear, and that is what so rattled Naoto Kan by March 12, 2011.

A Puzzled Civil Engineer

In July 2012, inside the exclusion zone about 14 kilometers south of Fukushima No.1 plant, I had a discussion with a manager with a major construction contractor, whose large team was working at the damaged nuclear facilities. The civil engineer said that the Reactor 4 building was of serious concern because the structure was split, with the halves leaning onto each other. He added that the tilt indicates “structural damage” to the ferroconcrete foundation. Even a 9.0 earthquake could not cleave the strong footing, he stressed.

When asked about what then could crack the foundation, the manager responded: “I am a civil engineer, not a nuclear expert.” Nudged a bit more, he implied that a meltdown of nuclear fuel may have seared through the concrete. The intense heat can reconvert concrete into loose hydrated lime powder and sand, while cutting through rebar steel like a hot knife through butter.

The upgrade of the Reactor 4 shroud may well have involved the test-fitting of some MOX rods, which abandoned on the floor next to the reactor when the tsunami reached shore. In other words, in early March 2011 crane operators completely filled space inside the spent-fuel pool with new MOX rods and then simply left casks of assemblies on the roof and lowered more into the basement. That is the simplest explanation for the damage to the structural integrity of the reactor building. GE is not about to disclose its role in this disaster.

Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times Weekly in Tokyo, conducts independent radiation measurements and dispenses herbal therapy to local residents on his 10 journeys since May 2011 into the 20-kilometer Fukushima exclusion zone.

Notes

  1. Tokyo Electric Power Company, press release, 18 November 2013
  2. Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata, quoted by the Asahi Shimbun, “Doomsday scenarios spread about No.4 Reactor at Fukushima plant” 10 May 2012.
  3. The Mainichi Shimbun, editorial “TEPCO must put safety above all else in Fukushima atomic fuel removal project.”
  4. “GE Nuclear Plant Inspector/Whistleblower Kei Sugaoko Speaks” youtube.com, 40 minutes
  5. Israeli surveillance at Fukushima plant, Sarah Press, Israel21c, March 20, 2011http://israel21c.org/news/israeli-surveillance-at-fukushima-plant/
  6. Datsutte-miru magazine, Interview of a Fukushima worker by Oshidori Mako, April 15, 2012.
  1. This writer attended the June 2013 seminar at the San Diego Board of Supervisors and issuedthe most detailed news report on Naoto Kan’s remarks, “Japan’s leader during Fukushima meltdown opposes nuclear power”, posted at http://rense.com/general96/jpleader.html
  1. NHK World news broadcast, 15 March 2011, reported by Platts ( Sydney )
  1. SimplyInfo, “Reactor 4”, www.fukuleaks.org

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Iranian Jews rally in support of nation’s nuclear program

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An Iranian Jewish man walks past a banner during a gathering of Iran's Jewish community outside a UN office in Tehran supporting their country's nuclear program, Tuesday, November 19, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haartetz reported last week that “hundreds of Iranians, including university students and members of the country’s Jewish community, rallied Tuesday in support of the Islamic Republic’s disputed nuclear program on the eve of the resumption of talks with world powers.” Unlike the so-called ‘progressive’  and ‘cosmopolitan’ Jews who, for some reason, occasionally support Zionist interventionist wars, Iranian Jews are actually patriotic and authentic.

“Iranian state TV showed students gathered at the gate of Fordo enrichment facility, carved into a mountain south of Tehran. They formed a human chain, chanted “Fordo is in our hearts” and denounced the West, which has put pressure on Iran to curb enrichment activity which can be a step toward weapons development.

In Tehran, meanwhile, several dozen people identifying themselves as Iranian Jews gathered outside a UN building. It was a rare public display by the community, which tends to keep a low profile despite being the largest in the region outside Israel and Turkey.”

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ALAN HART: ARE WE STUPID?

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GILAD ATZMON

The following is the text of the address I made to the Seek, Speak and Spread Truth Conference in London yesterday, 23 November.  Its main thrust is about the need for citizens to become politically engaged to make democracy work (before it’s as dead as the two-state solution for Israel-Palestine) in order for our children and grandchildren to have the real prospect of a future worth having.

 

I want to start with a promise. I won’t be disturbed and you won’t be disturbed by my mobile ‘phone because I don’t have one. I have thrown mine away because I am trying to stay human.

That said I’ll give you my one-sentence overview of the state of affairs on our small, fragile, endangered planet. Modern life is a de-humanizing process which has reduced us, most of us, to units of consumption, digits in corporate computers, figures on accountants’ balance sheets.

What this suggests to me is that the prime task for each and every one of us is to claim back our humanity. I’ll be offering some thoughts on how we can do this, but first of all we have to address what I consider to be THE most important of all questions – the question of human nature.

What, really, is the quality of it?

There are, broadly speaking, two views.

One, the pessimistic view, which is more or less an article of faith for most politicians and mainstream media people and many corporate executives, bankers especially, is that we human beings are inherently and unchangeably short-sighted, selfish and greedy, preferring to live for today at the expense of tomorrow and are, on balance, more “bad” than “good”. In other words, we are really quite stupid. And that, our so-called leaders tell themselves, is why they can’t tell us the truth about real choices and options for the future.

If the pessimistic view is the correct one, it seems to me thatnothing matters because the end, catastrophe for all, was inevitable from the beginning; in which case we would all be well advised, as individuals, as communities and as nations, to go on screwing each other for all we can get. Praising the lord and passing the ammunition.

The optimistic view is that we could be much more “good” than “bad”, meaning that we have at least the potential to act in our own best, longer term interests and those of our children especially, even if doing so would require those of us who live in the rich nations (and the pockets of plenty in the developing and poor nations) to lower our expectations and actually be prepared to take less in the way of material gratification.

I believe the optimistic view of human nature is the correct one and that we have been CONDITIONED to be short-sighted, selfish and greedy, and to assume that the purpose of life beyond mere survival is the acquisition of material things, buying now and paying later. It follows, or so it seems to me, that we could be RE-CONDITIONED by information, education in the widest sense of the term. As the American John Dewey (my favourite philosopher) put it, we must “unlearn” what we have been taught about the “unchangeability of human nature.”

If we did that, I believe we would discover that changing the world for the better is not a mission impossible.

There is, however, a political reality to be faced. Only governments can change the world for the better, but they won’t take the necessary action to address seriously the problems which threaten catastrophe for humankind unless… Unless they are pushed to do so by informed public opinion, by manifestations of real democracy in action. The problem is that most citizens of most nations are too uninformed and misinformed about critical issues to do the pushing.

And that’s why I assert that real democracy exists nowhere in the world, and perhaps least of all in America where what passes for democracy is for sale to the highest lobby bidders. For democracy to exist the voters have to be informed enough about critical issues to call and hold their leaders and governments to account, and not only at election time but any time and all the time. What we have in the Western nations and some others is the framework of democracy but not the substance.

From that it follows, or so it seems to me, that the objective of truth tellers must be to empower the citizens of nations to make democracy work.

The urgency of what needs to be done was brought home to me in a conversation I had with Ted Heath soon after he ceased to be prime minister. My wife and I had lunch with him, and over coffee I asked him what his biggest fear for the future was. Because he had been a member of the Brandt Commission when I was making Five Minutes to Midnight, my epic documentary on the everyday reality of global poverty and its implications for all, I thought his answer would be about the possibility of a violent, global upheaval if the problem of what was then called Third World poverty was not seriously addressed. But his answer was something else. He held my eyes with his and then, in a very cool, matter of fact way, he said his biggest fear was “That Britain will become the first police state in the democratic world.” (If Mr. Heath was still alive today I would say to him that there is, in fact, a race on to see which of two countries, Britain or America, will become the first police state in the so-called democratic world.  If Chris Hedges, one of America’s leading truth tellers, was here today, he would say the race has already been won by America).

I also believe there is a key to unlocking the concern and active political engagement of most citizens of nations.

Question: What is it that parents and grandparents care most about?

Answer: The future of their children and grandchildren.

That being so the key to mobilizing them to make democracy work is making them aware that if they want their children and grandchildren to have a future worth having, they can’t leave the shaping of it to governments, and must become engaged in the political process, to insist that priority be given to addressing the growing pile of problems which threaten the wellbeing of all of humanity and perhaps even the survival of life on Planet Earth.

My own message to that effect would include the need for those of us who are citizens of the still rich Western nations to change the way we live and think.

Changing the way we live would require us to accept that we can’t go on expecting to have more and ever more in the way material satisfaction and gratification.

At this point I’ll inject a personal note. I come from impoverished working class stock. My authoritarian father did two jobs and sometimes three just to provide the basics in the way of rent for our council estate home and food and clothing. His golden rule, the product of his refusal to live on credit and in debt, the “never never” as we working class folk called it, was this: “If we can’t afford it, we don’t look in the shop window.” That was his way of teaching me, and then my brother and sister, to know the difference between NEED and WANT. Today I am of the opinion that if my father’s inherent human wisdom on that score had been universally applied, the de-humanizing, conditioning process unleashed by unregulated, rampant capitalism might have been held in check.

Because I’ve used the “c” word, capitalism, I’ll add that I am not one of those who believe that capitalism per se is the villain. Capitalism is in my view the only system that could be made to deliver for the benefit of all if it was regulated and directed to serve the needs of all. The real villain is the short-sighted and stupid way the capitalist system has been managed since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution – by the few in global terms for the few.

What I mean can be summarised as follows… As the 1960’s unfolded our one small planet was divided into two worlds – one for the 20 percent who, generally speaking, were rich; the other for the 80 percent who were poor, lacking some or all of the basic necessities for life. (The most shocking statistic my 1974 film Five Minutes to Midnight gave to the world was that 15 million children under five were dying each year from malnutrition and related, easily preventable diseases such as diahorrea and whooping cough. They were dying in a word from poverty. The film also indicated that perhaps half of the 80 percent were living, as one Indian mother said on camera, “like animals”).

If the capitalist system’s managers had not been short-sighted and stupid, and had possessed some vision, they would have taken stock of the rich-poor division of our planet and said to themselves something like the following. “We must invest in the development of the poor majority in order to bring them, in an environmentally friendly way, into the market place with the purchasing power to buy the goods and services we have to sell if our capitalist system is to have a sustainable future.

They didn’t say that and what they actually did was to flood the 20 percent with credit cards, to enable the affluent minority to live beyond their means, satisfying their need for what they were being conditioned to want – more and more consumer goodies, and getting themselves and The System deeper and deeper into debt. Then came the madness of greedy bankers who turned parts of their institutions into gambling casinos and played games to enrich themselves and which had little or nothing to do with the real economy. (In verbal parenthesis I’ll add that I am one of those who believe that more than a few bankers should be in jail today along with the likes of Tony Blair, George Bush and Dick Cheney).

Changing the way we think would require us to see ourselves as citizens of ONE COMMON HUMANITY. As a result of my own global learning experiences I don’t see myself first and foremost as white and English/British with blue eyes and blondish hair. I am a citizen of the world, period. And frankly speaking, I don’t want an English cricket or football team to win just because I am English. I want the best team on the day to win. (Given England’s humiliating batting collapse in Australia, it’s a good job my perspective is what it is!) If we could all see ourselves in the light of one common humanity, the prospects for creating a world in which every man, woman and child on Planet Earth had the basic necessities for human life would be much improved.

A few words now about what I regard as the problem with truth.

It, the problem, is that there has to be a RIGHT TIME to tell the truth. I can explain what I mean with one word – Galileo. This Italian astronomer, physicist, mathematician, inventor and philosopher is today regarded, universally, as one of the greatest scientists of all of human history. But look what happened to him when he declared that the earth was round not flat. The Roman Catholic church, then mighty and powerful, had him tried for heresy; forced him to publicly retract many of his statements and findings of fact; and had him confined to house arrest for the remainder of his life… Further back in time there was a guy calledJesus who dared to tell some uncomfortable truths to the rich and corrupt and powerful of his place and time. And look what happened to him!

The conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel is thecancer at the heart of international affairs, and I know from long personal experience how costly and even dangerous it can be to tell the truth about the making and sustaining of it when powerful vested interests do not want the truth to be told. As I think some of you know, I have been committed for the past 30 years to telling this truth.

The essence of it is in four parts, which I can summarise in one minute.

–       1. Most if not all the Jews who went to Palestine in response to Zionism’s call had no biological connection to the ancient Hebrews. The assertion that there are two peoples with an equal claim to the same land is nonsense.

–       2. Israel was created mainly by Zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing, in other words by the doing of a terrible and criminal wrong to the Palestinians.

–       3. The assertion of Israel’s leaders that their state has livedin constant danger of annihilation, the “driving into the sea” of its Jews, is Zionist propaganda nonsense. As I document in detail in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab military force because, despite some stupid rhetoric to the contrary, the impotent, corrupt and repressive Arab regimes never had any intention of fighting Israel to liberate Palestine.

–       4. Zionism has no interest in peace on terms which would provide the Palestinians with an acceptable, minimum amount of justice.

I could go on and on about this subject including why Zionism,not the Arabs or Iran, is the real enemy of the Jews, but I won’t. I’ll add only that when the first two-volume UK edition of my book was published in 2005, I was aware that it was at least a decade ahead of the right time for telling the truth it represented. So I was not surprised when Zionism and the Arab regimes put great effort into causing my book to be suppressed to the maximum extent possible, and to having me denied access to mainstream television and radio. Zionism’s message to book publishers and the mainstream media was, in effect, “Alan Hart and his book do not exist.”

Incidentally, there is no such thing as a “Palestine problem”. There is a Jewish problem in and over Palestine. (I think Gilad would agree with that).

In passing I’ll also add that there are some truths which willnever be known. The truth about who authorised the assassination of President Kennedy and who fired the shots that killed him is one obvious example. Another is the truth about who really was responsible for 9/11.

Now a thought about numbers.

Whenever I talk about the need for truth-telling to mobilize citizens to make democracy work, there are always some people who say – Alan, you’re right in theory, but in reality “We know our leaders and their governments don’t care what we think”. And the example the pessimists almost always give to support their point is Prime Minister Blair’s refusal to change his mind about joining President Bush for war with Iraq after between one and a half and two million people of all classes, ages and faiths demonstrated in London AGAINST war.

In response I say – but that’s only half the story. We learned from what some of Blair’s cabinet ministers subsequently said and even wrote that as the anti-war demonstration was taking place, the cabinet was wobbling. The point is that up to two million demonstrating against Blair’s war policy didn’t cause him to change his mind but… three or four million demonstrating almost certainly would have done. The task of making democracy work requires the political engagement of citizens, the voters, in big numbers.

In my book I wrote (and often say on public platforms) that there won’t be a change of American policy with regard to the conflict in and over Palestine that became the Zionist (not Jewish!) state of Israel unless and until… Unless and until a majority of the men and women elected to Congress are more frightened of offending their voters than they are of offending the Zionist lobby and its allies including the Christian fundamentalists (who I think are deluded to the point of clinical madness).

I truly believe that principle can be applied across the board in all the Western nations. What I mean is that our governments are not going to address seriously any of the critical issues that will determine the future of life of Planet Earth unless and until they are more frightened of offending their voters than they are of offending the powerful vested interests which pull their strings….. Once again we are back to the need for truth telling about real choices and options for the future in order to empower citizens to make democracy work.

Some of us, particularly some Americans and some Brits, are aware that the Orwellian 1984-type Big Brother our governments (perhaps I should say our Systems) are becoming is getting bigger and bigger on an almost daily basis. In addition to what the whistleblowers are telling us, the Worldwide Web monitoring group has just reported, yesterday, on a rising global tide of “surveillance, censorship and blocking” by government agencies, which, says the report, is “a threat to democracy”, So there’s a case for saying that it’s going to become more difficult to tell the truth about critical issues and get it circulating. But I am not pessimistic on that score, and I’ll tell you why.

There is something truth telling has going for it. And I’ll get to it with a question. What is that most citizens of most nations have in common today?  Answer: A dislike (antipathy) verging on contempt for their governments and what the business and practise of politics has become.

At this point I’ll interrupt my flow to tell you a short, true and quite amusing story. The other day a friend of mine told me of a conversation he had with one of his American friends some years ago. The American said, “I’ve just watched an hysterically funny comedy. It was set in the House of Commons. The actress who was playing Margaret Thatcher answering questions was brilliant. She looked and sounded just like the prime minister.” My friend said to the American: “It wasn’t a Spitting Image type of comedy you were watching. It was the real thing,”

Public disenchantment with politics is regularly measured in America. There the latest polls indicate that 90 percent of Americans have something approaching contempt for Congress.

For me that’s very, very interesting and very, very significant; and here’s why. As I have said on public platforms coast-to-coast across the U.S., Americans are, generally speaking, the most uninformed, mis-informed and gullible people on earth. So if they have some understanding of how self-serving, how corrupt and how rotten their political system is, hope that the doors to new politics can be opened everywhere in the Western world is surely justified.

By definition the new politics we need will have to be rooted in truth-telling about real choices and options for the future if our children and grandchildren are to have a future worth having. But in my view truth tellers have to be aware that telling the truth about real choices and options for the future is not on its own enough to persuade citizens in very large numbers to become politically engaged to make democracy work. Why not?

The citizens of nations are not stupid. What most of them are, in addition to being under-informed and mis-informed about many critical issues, is overwhelmed by a terrifying sense of impotence. Put into words it is something like: “I do care about the state of our nation and our world, and I am very worried about the future for my children and grandchildren, but what the hell can I do about it?!”

They assume the answer to that question is “Nothing” because The System in all its manifestations – government, the intelligence and security services, banks, multi-national corporations and much of the mainstream media – is too powerful.

It follows, or so it seems to me, that truth-telling about critical issues, including real choices and options for the future, must be accompanied by an explanation of what has to be done if democracy is to be made to work.

It’s not really complicated. On one level becoming politically engaged means telling those who seek our votes what we really think, and, that we won’t vote for them unless they play their necessary part in causing critical issues to be addressed. On another level it means organizing and being prepared to participate in protest marches and demonstrations, peacefully of course. And yes, there is a case for well organized boycotts to press home protest points.

A few mornings ago I was shocked to hear on the radio that Tesco is going to put cameras into its petrol stations to collect information about us to feed back to the advertising agencies, this to enable Tesco to target customers with greater accuracy and speed. I think that’s outrageous and I would boycott Tesco petrol stations if I used them. I don’t…. About advertising in general, I sometimes think to myself how wonderful it would be if we could all be persuaded to stop watching television channels which bombard us with advertisements which are part of the de-humanizing conditioning process.

In summary: If I am right to have an optimistic view of human nature on the assumption that it could be re-conditioned by truth-telling, democracy can be made to work.

I’ll close by offering you my thoughts on Heaven and Hell; and I’ll preface them by saying that I do not believe in a creator, omniscient God (a magician in the sky) working out his purpose for us or through us. In my view God is the name we can give, if we wish, to the potential for good inside each and everyone one of us. God so defined is a prisoner in each and every one of us, and the name of the game for each and every one of us is, ought to be, liberating this prisoner.

In my view Heaven and Hell are earthly states of mind which kick in when we begin to think about the approach of the Grim Reaper, death. When we do so, and unless we are stupid, the question for each of us is – What have I done with my life?

If we can conclude that to the limits of our talents and resources we did our best to make a difference by serving a cause or causes beyond self, we can face the approach of death knowing that we have not wasted our life – that’s Heaven.

If on the other hand the honest answer is that we have not used our talents and resources as we could have done to make a difference, and that to some extent we have wasted our life –that’s Hell. (In verbal parenthesis I’ll add that I imagine many obscenely wealthy Gulf Arabs are guaranteed to discover what Hell is. Some months ago Forbes named one of them, one of the hundreds of Saudi princes, as the 25th richest man in the world. He protested, angrily, and said: “I’m not the 25th. I’m the 17th”).

We all need something to believe in. If not the God of any institutional religion, if not the God of money and materialism, if not the God of war and conquest – what can we believe in?

I say why not believe in OURSELVES and our ability, if we are willing to seek, speak and spread the truth, to become politically engaged to make democracy work and cause our governments to change the world for the better; to give our children and grandchildren at least the real prospect of a future worth having. If we fail them, they won’t forgive us.

Thank you.

 

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Syrian Rebel Groups Form New Islamic Front, Challenge Moderate Rebel Leadership

NOVANEWS

WASHINGTON — After weeks of battlefield setbacks and the deaths of prominent commanders, a group of Syria’s most prominent rebel factions sought to reinvigorate its campaign to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, on Friday announcing a new unified coalition.

The newly formed Islamic Front is the product of the second round of consolidation among major rebel groups in recent months. In September, 13 leading rebel units announced a coalition that rejected the authority of the Supreme Military Council, the Western-backed group that nominally commands Syrian rebel forces. The September grouping was made up of prominent Islamist units, and included the Nusra Front, which claims to represent al-Qaeda in Syria.

Friday’s formation of the Islamic Front appears to present a more fundamental shake-up. On the Facebook page of the Tawhid Brigade — a leading Islamist unit that was also a member of the September coalition — spokesman Abu Firas called the move “the complete merger of the major military factions fighting in Syria.” Al Jazeera’s Basma Atassi reported that the group would no longer even use its former name, but would dissolve completely into a unified Islamist front.

In a joint statement posted on Facebook, the groups called the Islamic Front “an independent military and social force that is aimed at bringing down Assad’s regime in Syria and at replacing it with a just Islamic state.”

For months, experts have recognized a strengthening of Assad’s resolve in holding on to power while the rebels battling to end his rule have become increasingly dominated by Islamist groups. This shift has amplified the reluctance of the Obama administration and other Western governments to arm the rebels. Friday’s announcement appears to strengthen the collective force of the rebel groups, while also reinforcing the power of the Islamists, making it even less likely that Western countries will add military support.

Charles Lister, a prominent Syria analyst at IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre in London, told The Independent that the formation of the Islamic Front would be a “landmark moment for the revolution” and predicted a renewed surge of rebel activity.

While the merger will unite six of the most important Islamist units, the Islamic Front will not contain al-Qaeda-linked groups like the Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the notoriously extremist militia made up mostly of foreign fighters. It will consist of Aleppo’s Tawhid Brigade, Ahrar al-Sham, Suqour al-Sham, the Army of Islam, Liwa al-Haq and the Ansar al-Sham battalions.

“The main losers are likely to be the currently recognized leaders of the opposition — the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and the allied Higher Military Council of the Free Syrian Army,” Yezid Sayigh, an expert at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut,wrote in a post for the center.

Those groups were supported by Western countries but enjoyed little credibility among fighters on the ground. Sayigh argued that the Islamic Front is likely an attempt by Saudi Arabia to form a unified and credible rebel army that can overthrow Assad on the battlefield.

Saudi Arabia has long supplied money and weapons to rebel groups, and the Syrian government claimed that the desert kingdom was responsible for the bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Tuesday. Following the attack, the Saudi Arabian government urged its citizens to leave Lebanon.

In comparison to the Saudi effort, the United States and other Western countries have provided little in the way of weapons or cash assistance to moderate rebel forces. The new Islamic Front appears to place Western-backed groups even further in the shadows, and could potentially mean the end of attempts to use moderate leadership to negotiate an end to the civil war.

Syria War In November (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES)

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Inside Emergency Damascene Shelters

NOVANEWS

Inside Emergency Damascene Shelters

kids

school shelters

by FRANKLIN LAMB

Al Zahera neighborhood, south Damascus

This brief update is not focused on the ever deteriorating grave conditions of Palestinians and Syrians displaced and often trapped inside dangerous areas on Damascus, where this observer had been visiting some of the 24 former Damascus public schools currently being used as shelters.

Rather it seeks to highlight the esprit de corps, solidarity, resistance, and good will among  Palestinians here is Damascus who were forced from Yarmouk and other camps and how they are huddled and preparing for a harsh winter which one senses these frigid nights it not far off.

This is not to gainsay that every shelter is a very fragile social existence for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) as aid agencies here refer to them. In the former schools there is no mazot (fuel oil) currently available to fire-up the furnaces and the among the needs at all the shelters are for “high-thermal” blankets, food, medicines  winters clothe and shoes and knitted caps for the kids trekking early in the morning to government schools in the neighborhoods.

Thanks to the continuing cooperation between the Syrian government, particularly the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) many former public schools have been made available as emergency shelters.  Additionally, the MOE has created double shift in many schools   offering youngster a 7 a.m. to noon shift followed by a noon to 5 p.m. shift.

Prior to the armed conflict in Syria, Yarmouk, a suburb just south of Damascus city, was home to over 160,000 Palestine refugees. In December 2012 and in the months since, armed conflict has caused at least 140,000 Palestine refugees to flee their homes in Yarmouk, as armed opposition groups established a presence in the area, with government forces controlling the periphery. Between December 2012 and June 2013, civilians could still access UNRWA assistance at the Zahera entrance to Yarmouk. However, from mid-July 2013, Palestine thousands of refugees have been trapped in the area, with little or no access to shops or freedom of movement.

At among the 4 school-shelters in south Damascus near Yarmouk camp and the 8 in the nearby neighbored of al-Vvahra, some of which this observer visited, “The Fayadeen”  elementary public school currently houses 56 families- half of them Palestinians totaling 260 people. At “Fayadeen” there is a clean large make-shift kitchen where

approximately half a dozen families use at one time based on a schedule.  The Syrian government and some NGO often deliver emergency food packages—most designed to feed a family of five for 15 days.  “Fayadeeen” school also has a heavy duty Italian electric washing machine donated by a Palestinian businessman and which is shared by all. There is a high level of sanitation and sheds housing toilet are clean.  Three times a week medical teams arrive to administer free government health care.  US sanctions have cut off some urgently needed medicines, particularly for cancer patients and cases where weekly doses of medicines are required but often only monthly doses are now available. Shelter rules are enforced. For example, if a family does not enroll their 6-15 year old children in local public schools they are evicted. This observer was briefed at length and shown around by two Syrian professions basketball players on the National team, Hani and Mohamad who have placed their careers and family life on hold to manage four school shelters in a south Damascus.

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Hani and Mohamad

Several Palestinians in the school shelters have been asking this observer if he has news about their countrymen still trapped inside Yarmouk.  There is of increasing concern because their families report that desperately needed humanitarian assistance is still not able to be not delivered nor have repeatedly promised “humanitarian corridors” opened, This despite and despite UNRWA’s numerous appeals and efforts, 32,000 Palestinian civilians and others who remain trapped in Yarmouk have had little or no freedom of movement or access to humanitarian assistance and in addition to facing death and serious injury from the armed conflict, Yarmouk’s civilian residents are exposed to psychological trauma, malnutrition and a lack of health care. The UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement on the humanitarian situation on Syria adopted on 2 October, 2013, among other stipulations called on all parties to grant full humanitarian access and “to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

Hope among the more than 100,000 refugees displaced from Yarmouk camp rises and sinks with on again off again announcements that militia will leave the camp to civilian Palestinian administration. Just this week a claimed settlement involving intense negotiation mediated by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to end the fighting in Yarmouk camp suffered collapsed, after opposition fighters close to Hamas insisted that they be included among the groups that will subsequently manage the affairs of the camp. PLO officials had recently arrived at a preliminary agreement with the various Palestinian factions and opposition armed groups that would lead to a ceasefire but excluded Hamas and the PFLP-General Command led by Ahmed Jabril. Within 72 hours another and still showing life signs, another proposal was announced on 11/22/13. Under the terms of this “agreement”

Palestinian Popular Struggle Front Khaled Abdul Majid , that “the armed groups in the Yarmouk camp aka  the“Palestinian Resistance Alliance factions” would be withdrawing from the camp “very soon”. In statements to Al-Watan, Abdul Majid said: “What is happening in Yarmouk is that most of the armed factions have reestablished contact with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – The General Command, as well as the factions of the Palestine Resistance Alliance, after the initiative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (to solve the camp’s crisis) failed. These factions thus expressed their willingness to regulate their situation, handle the issue and withdraw from the camp.” He continued that the discussions with these groups were conducted via mediators, or in some cases through contacts with some of them.

This observer has witnessed the fact that since 11/17/13 almost complete calm has been prevailing over Yarmouk.  Services teams from the Palestine Aid Committee have been cleaning the camp’s streets and removing the dirt mounds.  This observer has been invited inside Yarmouk to witness this process. Government permission is required and date of entrance is not fixed.

Some refugees from Yarmouk  are hopeful but during interviews the past two days most expressed  doubt that this latest initiative will succeed any more than the previous dozen.  The coming few days will provide the answer.

Palpable fear is also evident because of the fast approaching winter with rumors of severe cold this year, A condition that will be much more severe among the 250 camps in the nearby Lebanese Bekaa valley particularly for the  25 plastic wall and roof  make-shift tents in  25 emergency refugee camps that are particularly flood-prone and shared by Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

Our brother and sisters keeper…

Hopefully subsequent updates on the Palestinian condition in Syra will allow for rather more detail regarding many examples of Palestinians helping Palestinians regarding community assistance to their sisters and brothers.  But a brief example about a wonderful family is fixed in this observers mind.

It relates to the Khalid al Jrahi family from Haifa now living in “Taher al Jazari” public school shelter.  Mr. al Jrahi granted permission to this observer to use his name publicly because he wants friends and relatives with whom he has lost contact since the events of December 17, 2013 which leveled some of his neighborhood in Yarmouk, to know that his family is alive and relatively well.

What a spectacular family.  Including five teen-aged and early 20’s girls and two boys. What deeply impressed this observer is the esprit among these sisters, their charisma, charm and dedication to helping others among the approximately 260 refugees sharing the school while eschewing complaints about the own plight.  The Al Jrahi family lives in a space probably ten feet wide and 20 feet long. Foam mattresses are neatly stacked along the walls and pillows and clothing stacked in the corners.  A clothes line runs along one side of the room which is walled by an UNHCR white and blue lettered plastic tarp separating their neighbors.  Shocking?  Yes, but inspiring certainly.  The girls, whose English is quite good explained why and how they set up a school for pre-K’s in this and one other shelter.  How organized it is. They showed me the ‘teaching manual’ they wrote and explained how they run their schools with occasionally donated pencils and crayons and notebooks for thee tots donated by a Palestinian NGO’s or even foreign visitors.

 

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The Al Jrahi family

We did not discuss politics but two of the sisters reminded me of  Jane Austen’s character Eleanor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. Hala is the sensible and reserved eldest of al Jrahi family daughters. She is in charge of the lesson plans for the informal ‘sisters schools’ in the shelter and carefully instructs her younger impetuous Zeina on school rules for the children, trying to keep her  attention and her younger sister focused. Hala showed this observer her English grammar notes that she in learning from a tattered UNWRA grammar book. She points to her perfect cursive hand written notes and asks me about “present participles”, “dangling modifiers” and “past perfect tense”!  When I last even heard these terms it was half a century ago and I have no idea what the even mean– if I ever did which is questionable.

Her younger sister Zeina is all Austen’s character Marianne, and refuses to check her emotions and dramatically insists that she is ready to return to Yarmouk “despite the dangers even if I am killed going back home!”  Her mother Fatima grimaces and Hala is disapproving when Zeina insists that she should teach the children dancing in the street outside the closed in-shelter as well as tree climbing so they “can properly express themselves under the sky.”

Rather wistful and not wanting to leave this family or the shelter, this observer and his companion left the wonderful Al Jrahi family wondering if Ms. Sense or Ms. Sensibility would triumph or if these two remarkable sisters in fact constituted a good balance to one another as they serve their fellow countrymen in emergency shelters.

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EU Countries to Resume Political Ties with Syria Soon

NOVANEWS
by uprooted palestinians
 

Behind the Scenes: 

  • Political observers have noticed that almost all European countries have resumed their security cooperation with the Syrian government. They have expectations that it will not be a long time before those countries resume their political ties as well.

Syria, EU

  • Top Syrian merchants and businessmen have pledged to cooperate closely with the government to launch a huge construction plan to rebuild the destroyed properties in Damascus and other big towns and cities.

Damascus

  • Turkish authorities have started to cut ties with many military opposition groups, they even started efforts with Iran to reconcile with the Syrian government.

Turkey, Syria

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Syria militants may leave Yarmouk camp

NOVANEWS
The Damascus-based Alliance of Palestinian Forces has been in talks with armed groups in Syria to clear Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk of foreign-backed militants, Press TV reports.

The foreign-backed militants stormed the refugee camp nearly a year ago, displacing thousands of the Palestinian residents and even Syrians at the camp.

The Alliance of Palestinian Forces, which includes several Syria-based Palestinian factions, have been holding talks with various armed groups positioned in Yarmouk to convince the militants to withdraw from the camp or surrender.

This is not the first attempt to make the militants leave Yarmouk.

According Khaled Abdul-Majid of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, the militants have shown willingness to move away from the camp.

“Arms groups contacted the general command of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, we then discussed what we can do for bringing the camp back to its residents,” Abdul-Majid told Press TV on Saturday.

Palestinian factions have sent a delegation into Yarmouk to finalize a deal with the leaders of armed groups.

Large numbers of armed groups are fortified in the camp, some affiliated to al-Qaeda and others to the so-called Free Syrian Army.

The initiative comes as dozens of militants surrendered to the authorities in November following a siege imposed on the armed groups and an amnesty decree issued by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, most of them living in Yarmouk. The camp turned into a flashpoint area in Damascus when unrest broke out in the country in 2011.

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West media ignore massacre of Christians in Syria

NOVANEWS 
Western media outlets have come under criticism from Christians in Syria for turning a blind eye to atrocities carried out by Takfiri terrorist groups against the Christian community in the war-torn country.

A new report by the news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies highlights the massacre of 45 Christians in the village of Sadad, northeast of Damascus.

The killing marks the biggest massacre of Christians in the Syrian conflict which began in March 2011.

The report also blamed the foreign-backed Takfiri militants for the massacre, and denounced the US government and its mainstream media for remaining silent on the mass murder.

More Christians are now fleeing their homes as the persecution is worsening in militant-held territories in the north.

Christians say kidnapping, rape and execution of Christians are being carried out by Takfiri militants and those affiliated with the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Nearly three years of foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria has taken its toll on the lives of more than 100,000 people, according to statistics compiled by the United Nations, which also show that millions have been displaced due to the turmoil.

The UN has repeatedly warned about the humanitarian situation in the country, saying that over nine million people are in need of urgent aid due to the crisis.

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