Archive | October 20th, 2014

Libya: From Africa’s Richest State Under Gaddafi, to Failed State After NATO Intervention

NOVANEWS

Global Research

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libyas former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

After NATOs intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the governments control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters hands, oil production has all but stopped.

The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.

On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied militias took over control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own government, chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.

On the other side, in the East of the Country, the “legitimate” government dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in Tobruk, no longer governs anything.

The fall of Gaddafis administration has created all of the countrys worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.

America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments in Libya and is now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter, who aims to set himself up as Libya’s new dictator. Hifter, who broke with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the CIAs headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in numerous American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996.

In 1991 the New York Times reported that Hifter may have been one of “600 Libyan soldiers trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills…to fit in neatly into the Reagan Administrations eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”.

Hifter’s forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda group Ansar al-Sharia for control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi. In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal assassination of U.S. Ambassador Stevens.

Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support from the U.S. because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and capital.

Perhaps, Gaddafis greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libyas Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.

In 2011, the West’s objective was clearly not to help the Libyan people, who already had the highest standard of living in Africa, but to oust Gaddafi, install a puppet regime, and gain control of Libyas natural resources.

For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Under Gaddafis rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.

One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women. Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of womens rights.

When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libyas university students are women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.

Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on womens rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal. Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.

Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.

A decade of failed military expeditions in the Middle East has left the American people in trillions of dollars of debt. However, one group has benefited immensely from the costly and deadly wars: America’s Military-Industrial-Complex.

Building new military bases means billions of dollars for America’s military elite. As Will Blum has pointed out, following the bombing of Iraq, the United States built new bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Following the bombing of Afghanistan, the United States is now building military bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Following the recent bombing of Libya, the United States has built new military bases in the Seychelles, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the African, Middle Eastern and European worlds, Western control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

NATO’s military intervention may have been a resounding success for America’s military elite and oil companies but for the ordinary Libyan, the military campaign may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the 21st century.

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Iraq: Barzani set up Mossad den against Iran in Iraqi Kurdistan

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Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani

Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani

The [Israeli] occupier regime of al-Quds (Jerusalem) is exploiting the soil of a region abutting our land and even has a terrorist training base and military site there.”

Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi

A report says the “autonomous Kurdistan region” in northern Iraq, run by Massoud Barzani, has turned into a safe haven for Mossad spies to conduct their terrorist operations against Iranian nuclear scientists.

The Israeli intelligence service “has apparently even set up a military base in this area and is freely operating there,”fardanews.com reported Sunday.

The Islamic Republic officials have in the past made reference to the fact that the terror operations against Iranians are being directed from neighboring territories.

“The [Israeli] occupier regime of al-Quds (Jerusalem) is exploiting the soil of a region abutting our land and even has a terrorist training base and military site there,” Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said on June 17.

Regional media had previously reported that Mansour Barzani, Massoud’s son, had received two Tel Aviv officials, the Israeli chief of special operations and the coordinator for Israeli-Kurdish relations, in the Kurdistan region.

During their one-and-a-half-hour meeting, the two sides reportedly explored all avenues for increasing bilateral military relations and the ensuing trade with Israel.

On June 21, Moslehi said the architect of the Iranian nuclear scientists’ assassinations had been identified and apprehended, adding that the arrest had dealt a heavy blow to Western intelligence services.

A week earlier, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced the capture of the main elements behind the assassination of two Iranian nuclear scientists – Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan – and Reza Qashqaei, the driver of the latter scientist.

Ahmadi Roshan and his driver were assassinated in January 2012 after an unknown motorcyclist attached a magnet bomb to his car in Tehran.

Professor Shahriari and Dr. Fereydoun Abbasi were targeted by terrorist attacks on November 29, 2010; Shahriari was killed immediately and Dr. Abbasi, the current head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, sustained injuries.

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US airdrops arms to Kurds fighting against ISIL in Kobani

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The US military says the supplies were designed to "enable continued resistance" against ISIL. (File photo)

The US military says the supplies were designed to “enable continued resistance” against ISIL. (File photo)

The US military says its cargo aircraft successfully airdropped arms and ammunition to Kurds fighting against ISIL terrorists in the northern Syrian city of Kobani.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that three C-130 transport planes conducted airdrops of small-arms weapons, ammunition and medical supplies in the vicinity of Kobani on Sunday.

It said the airdrops, which have been provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq, were “intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL’s attempts to overtake Kobani.”

The CENTCOM also said that American fighter jets have carried out more than 135 airstrikes against ISIL in Kobani since early October.

“Combined with continued resistance to ISIL on the ground, indications are that these strikes have slowed ISIL advances into the city, killed hundreds of their fighters and destroyed or damaged scores of pieces of ISIL combat equipment and fighting positions,” it said.

Kobani and its surroundings have been under attack since mid-September, with the ISIL militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.

The ISIL advance in the region has forced tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee into Turkey, which is a stone’s throw from Kobani.

Turkey continues to block any delivery of military, medical or humanitarian assistance into Kobani where the ISIL terrorists are feared to be aiming at massive bloodletting.

This comes as the US and its Arab allies have been backing ISIL as a tool to put more pressure on the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The group has committed heinous crimes in Syria and Iraq, where they have seized large swathes of land.

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Washington Admits: FSA Equals Fictitious Syrian Army

NOVANEWS 

Hold on a minute. Congress has approved $500 million to train a new cohort of the supposedly moderate and secular Free Syrian Army; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are providing bases for that undertaking. But at Obama’s seminal war council on «coordinating» plans there was not one representative from the much-vaunted moderate rebels who are assigned this crucial military role. 

by Finian Cunningham

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

US President Barack Obama hosted a top-level war council this past week in Washington with the military leaders from 21 countries in attendance – under the official remit of coordinating tactics to defeat the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq.

The titular American commander-in-chief spoke with the gravitas of a decorated soldier. «This is going to be a long-term campaign and like all military campaigns there will be ups and downs», said Obama to the assembled military chiefs at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington DC.

Obama ISIS council

Obama’s presumed military authority was something of an achievement, considering that he is, by profession, a community activist, a professor of constitutional lawyer, and a former senator. The 53-year-old politician has never served a single day of his life in the US military, let alone seen combat action or having been awarded medals for bravery.

But that’s not the only anomaly that sprung to mind about Obama’s war council in Washington. Together with the usual Western allies of Britain, France, Canada and Australia, there were military top brass from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Yet, all these Middle Eastern «partners» are documented as having deep logistical links with the Islamic State and other related jihadist terror groups marauding in Syria and Iraq.

Joe Biden, the US vice president, admitted this terror connection between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab oil monarchies in a public debate at Harvard University earlier this month. Although Biden was later forced into making cringing apologies to the said offender countries, his initial blundering confirms the paradox that the US-led anti-terror coalition is comprised of, well, state-sponsoring terrorists.

The terror sponsors include the US and Britain, who together spawned the Al Qaeda-linked network in their laboratory of illegal occupation of Iraq from 2003 onwards. Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) later mutated into Islamic State (IS, ISIL or ISIS) during the West’s covert war for regime change in Syria, which has been raging since March 2011, with a death toll of nearly 200,000, more than six million people displaced, and half of Syria’s 23 million total population living in dire humanitarian conditions, according to the United Nations.

The open secret of weapons supplies to extremists from the US, coordinated by its Central Intelligence Agency and routed through Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, is not even a matter of controversy in the Western media. It has already been reported with mundane indifference by mainstream Western media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph.

A further striking anomaly from Obama’s war council in Washington – scarcely reported in the Western media, not surprisingly – was the complete absence of military representatives from the much-heralded «moderate Syrian rebels».

Bear in mind that Obama’s strategy for allegedly eradicating the IS extremists is based on two fronts. The first is the coordinated aerial bombardment of militants, involving warplanes from the US, Britain, France, Australia and all of the above Arab states; the second is the purported training of «moderate» Syrian rebels, who will take the fight to the Jihadists on the ground. With the anticipated defeat of IS and related extremist Islamist groups, such as Jabhat al Nusra and Ansar al Sham, the Western-backed «moderate» rebels will then be empowered to pursue their noble rebellion against the «despotic» Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad – or at least so goes the theory.

President Obama has already won the backing of the US Congress to train vetted, moderate Syrian rebels with a budget of $500 million – in a revamp of the Free Syrian Army. The American military training is to take place in undisclosed camps located in Saudi Arabia, as well as now Turkey belatedly offering its territory for that same purpose following top-level negotiations in Ankara last week with US former marine General John Allen.

Hold on a minute. Congress has approved $500 million to train a new cohort of the supposedly moderate and secular Free Syrian Army; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are providing bases for that undertaking. But at Obama’s seminal war council on «coordinating» plans there was not one representative from the much-vaunted moderate rebels who are assigned this crucial military role.

A US official attempted to explain the absence of Syrian rebels at the Washington summit by saying that such a participation was «not ready at this stage, and there is still a lot of training to do».

In other words, the so-called moderate rebels that the US is touting do not actually exist. It’s therefore less a case of Free Syrian Army and more a case of Fictitious Syrian Army.

This conceptual void has long been pointed out by many observers of the Syrian conflict. The notion of a moderate Free Syrian Army fighting a virtuous fight against a tyrannical regime is but a figment of Western government and media imagination, aimed at giving the Western powers a political and moral cover to indulge in its criminal regime change machinations against Syria.

Many of the supposed FSA brigades are in fact integrated with the extremist networks of IS, al Nusra and Ansar al Sham. Not only fighters, but also weapons and funding are recycled in a revolving-door relationship between these groups. Yes, there have been feuds, but this infighting is borne out of turf wars over criminal booty, not anything to do with ideological ethics.

However, Western governments and their dutiful media cannot admit this reality because that would leave them open to public vilification. Hence, they have projected the illusion, with Western media assistance, that there is a «moderate» legitimate Syrian opposition, whom the West supports and whom the West is concerned to elevate over «rogue» terror groups.

This fiction was apparent from the resounding absence of any such nominated moderate group at the Washington anti-IS summit.

It was also confirmed in a subsequent report from the McClatchy Washington Bureau, published Wednesday, the day after Obama’s war council. Under the headline ‘It’s official: US will build new Syrian rebel force to battle Islamic State’ the newspaper reported that «the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists».

Forget about the misnomer of the «old Free Syrian Army». There was never one to begin with. The point to take away is that the US is in effect admitting that there isn’t a force worth talking about.

Retired Gen. John Allen briefs reporters at the Pentagon, May 23, 2012 — Now, the US envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Times of Israel

Retired Gen. John Allen briefs reporters at the Pentagon, May 23, 2012 — Now, the US envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Times of Israel

McClatchy quotes General John Allen, the US envoy to the anti-IS coalition, as saying: «At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA».

It’s worth clipping the following editorial paragraphs from the same McClatchy report:

«For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the US ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA.

«Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida [sic] loyalists of the Nusra Front.

«This time, Allen said, the United States and its allies will work to strengthen the political opposition and make sure it’s tied to «a credible field force» that will have undergone an intense vetting process.

«It’s not going to happen immediately», Allen said. «We’re working to establish the training sites now, and we’ll ultimately go through a vetting process and beginning to bring the trainers and the fighters in to begin to build that force out».

This is a stunning admission, hardly picked up in the Western media. Washington is confirming that there is no such thing as a moderate rebel force in Syria. But what Washington and its fellow state terrorist sponsors are doing is throwing $500 million into a project of creating the semblance of «a credible field force». This creation will then give Western powers and its Arab allies a legitimacy to escalate their criminal covert war for regime change in Syria. 

No wonder Obama warned his war council in Washington that this would be a «long campaign». For the arsonists have become the fireman, the poachers have become gamekeepers, and the deluded have become the therapists.

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Turkey assassinated Press TV reporter

NOVANEWS

A political analyst has termed the suspicious death of Press TV’s correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim, as an act of “assassination” by the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The reality is that our sister Serena was assassinated by Erdogan’s regime,” Shabir Hassan Ali, a political analyst from London, said in an interview with Press TV on Sunday night, adding, “Serena was hounded in a fashion by Turkish intelligence.”

The analyst further said that she was “assassinated” because “she gave the truth about what this regime in Turkey, that has been oppressing its people, that has been oppressing the Kurdish population and that is actively working to support…this terrorist organization known as the ISIL” is doing.

The analyst further called the killing of Maya Nasser, another Press TV correspondent, in Syria an act of “assassination” by terrorist groups.

In 2012, Nasser was shot in the neck and the chest by a foreign-backed sniper in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Shim, an American citizen of Lebanese origin, was killed on Sunday as she was in Turkey to cover the ongoing war in the strategic Syrian town of Kobani.

She was going back to her hotel from a report scene in the Turkish city of Suruç when the car carrying her collided with a heavy vehicle. The identity and whereabouts of the truck driver remain unknown.

Shim covered reports for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq, and Ukraine.

On Friday, she told Press TV that the Turkish intelligence agency had accused her of spying probably due to some of the stories she has covered about Turkey’s stance on the ISIL terrorists in Kobani and its surroundings, adding that she feared being arrested.

Shim flatly rejected accusations against her, saying she was “surprised” at this accusation “because I have nothing to hide and I have never done anything aside my job.”

Kobani and its surroundings have been under attack since mid-September, with the ISIL militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.

Turkey has been accused of backing the ISIL militants in Syria.

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We do not believe Serena died in car accident

NOVANEWS

Family members of Press TV’s American-Lebanese correspondent, Serena Shim, say they do not believe their daughter died in a normal accident in Turkey.

Serena’s family made the remarks during a visit by the news network’s Beirut Bureau team in Lebanon.

The family members refused to appear on camera but said they suspected the Turkish authorities were somehow responsible for her death.

Her parents said they would pursue the matter legally.

On Friday, Shim, an American citizen of Lebanese origin, told Press TV that the Turkish intelligence agency had accused her of spying probably due to some of the stories she had covered about Turkey’s stance on the ISIL terrorists in Kobani and its surroundings, adding that she feared being arrested.

Earlier, Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi called on the Turkish government “to find out exactly what happened” to Serena.

Shim, a mother of two, covered reports for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq, and Ukraine.

She was on a mission on the Turkish side of the border across Syria’s strategic town of Kobani to cover the ongoing war there between the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters.

Her car collided with a heavy vehicle upon return from a report scene in Suruç, a rural district of Şanlıurfa province of Turkey.

The identity and the whereabouts of the truck driver remain unknown.

Shim said she was among the few journalists who had obtained stories about Takfiri militants’ infiltration into Syria through the Turkish border, adding she had gained access to images showing militants crossing the border in trucks belonging to the World Food Organization and other NGOs.

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Iranian pilgrims mass grave found in Iraq

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ISIL militants in Iraq (file photo)

ISIL militants in Iraq (file photo)

The bodies of several Iranian pilgrims have been found in a mass grave in Iraq.

According to local sources in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, the victims were going on foot to the holy city of Karbala before being killed by Takfiri militants in the city of Latifiyah, south of the capital Baghdad.

There are also some Iraqi pilgrims among the dead.

The victims, who were buried with bloody clothes, had ID cards with them.

This is the first time that a report is released about the killing of Iranian pilgrims by Takfiri militants. Iran has not yet confirmed the report.

The overall security situation in Iraq has worsened over the past months after the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, of whom many are foreign militants, took control of parts of the country’s northern and western regions.

According to the United Nations, over 1,110 people were killed in acts of violence across Iraq in September.

The ISIL terrorists have been committing heinous crimes in the captured areas, including mass executions and beheading of people. They have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and Izadi Kurds.

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Hundreds of Jordanians join ISIL terrorists

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 Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit

Jordanian former Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit says hundreds of Jordanians have joined the ranks of ISIL Takfiri terrorists fighting against the Iraqi government.

Some 1,300 Jordanians have so far joined the militants out of whom more than 200 have been killed, Bakhit said in speech in the Jordanian capital Amman on Sunday.

The former premier estimated that there are between 2,000 and 4,000 Jordanians active in the Takfiri stream.

Bakhit added that Iraq’s status quo is dangerous and would have security consequences for Jordan and other regional countries.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Izadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi and Syrian officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in the region.

The terrorist group has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

The United States started conducting airstrikes on the ISIL only after US interests were threatened by the militants.

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UK, US should hold Bahrain accountable to human rights standards

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”ZIONIST KING OF Bahrain” Shoah

The UK and the US should force Bahrain to respect human rights despite the Gulf Kingdom’s geopolitical and economic importance for the two and their security agreements, prominent Bahraini activist, Maryam Al-Khawaja told RT’s In the Now program.

Zainab Al-Khawaja was arrested on Tuesday at a court hearing over an incident her sister, Bahraini human right activist Maryam explained. Zainab is about to give birth and is facing a jail sentence for tearing up a photo of the king.

RT: So tell me what happened?

Maryam Al-Khawaja: Of course what happened was Zainab had two hearings yesterday and she was supposed to have another hearing today. When she walked into a court room yesterday she was facing a charge of damaging public property, which was basically ripping up a picture of the king. She asked to speak in the courtroom that was full of people and she made a statement where she talked about how she was born – a free person to a free father and free mother – and that even if her son is born in prison he will be free as well. And then she said she had a right of responsibility to stand up to oppression and oppressors, that is when she ripped up a picture of the king and placed it in front of the judge who adjourned the trial and then had her arrested. Today she was taken to the public prosecutor after spending a night in prison. She has now been given seven days detention pending investigation on a new charge which is publicly insulting the king which carries a sentence of up to seven years imprisonment.

RT: What are the chances the court takes Zainab’s pregnancy into consideration?

MK: Given that we are looking at the situation in Bahrain, where there have been widespread human rights’ violations for more than four years, I don’t know how much human conditions are taken into consideration when people are subjected to human rights violations. Zainab was practicing her right to free expression and shouldn’t be in prison to begin with. Now, whether or not they are going to take her pregnancy into consideration – I am not sure. The fact that they have given her seven days I think already shows that they are not taking into consideration the fact that she could be giving birth any time now.

RT: What are your next steps?

MK: I was myself released from prison not so long ago and was then allowed to leave the country. So I will continue what I have been doing for the past four years – which is helping to lead on the advocacy campaign and trying to bring respect to human rights within the country. One of the most important things is that the people within the country continue the struggle, which they have been. Also our job is to amplify their voices and make sure that they are heard abroad. One of the most important things is to get the United Kingdom and the United States to hold their allies accountable to the human rights standards that they say they stand for. Where the pressure really needs to lie is with the US and the UK and them getting Bahrain to respect human rights and international standards of human rights.

RT: What is preventing them now from holding those allies accountable?

MK: I would say several things: the geopolitical importance of Bahrain especially within the GCC countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the security agreements that they have with Bahrain: the US has its Fifth Fleet there, the UK has tremendous security agreements with Bahrain as well as arm sales. And then there is of course the economic aspect. The UK has tremendous relations with the Gulf when it comes to economic deals. It is going to be a tough ride trying to get the UK to make sure that the human rights files are on the table as well during those discussions about selling and buying jets and other arms between the UK and the Bahraini government.

READ MORE: Bahrain’s iron fist’: 95 activists jailed for 808 years in total

RT: Why do you think your publicity doesn’t help you and your family to avoid persecution?

MK: Of course, we have several prominent human rights defenders in prison right now, Zainab, my sister is one of them, Nabeel Rajab was also being held on a freedom of expression charge, Naji Fateel was tortured and sentenced to 15 years, my father was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the list goes on. The situation of bringing up the stories is very, very important. One of the main reasons I was released from prison and then allowed to travel was because of the international pressure that was created. That is why we focus on so much on creating international attention, public international attention about these cases, and about the human rights situation in Bahrain in general to try and pressure the Bahraini government to respect human rights.

 

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Islamism in Egypt – untangling the confusion

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File:Muslim Brotherhood Logo.png

Since the assassination of the Egyptian Prime Minister in 1945 and 1948, and dozens of other subsequent assassinations – most notably the assassination of President Sadat on October 6th 1981 and the assassinations perpetrated by the Brotherhood today in Egypt – their own history and the unfolding facts on the ground demonstrate that the Muslim Brotherhood have not forsaken violence and murder but rather have bequeathed this to the currents that are spawned from them.

by Tarek Heggy

There continues to be confusion about the events of June 30th 2013, when three million Egyptians spilled onto the squares and streets of Egyptian cities demanding the removal of President Morsi. Media commentary has tended to focus on matters of legitimacy concerning the latest aspect of the crisis – the cancellation of the results of the ballot box that had taken place 12 months before, and the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood – without at the same time providing a fuller analysis of the events – no less touching on legitimacy – that led up to this momentous occurrence.

It is therefore, I feel, worth providing some clarification. I will start by discussing what happened in Egypt on 30 June 2013, and by posing a simple question: Did the coming out of more than three million Egyptians onto the squares and streets of many Egyptian cities constitute a ‘revolution’ or something else? The term ‘revolution’ is generally employed when a very large number of the people adopt practical standpoints brought about by a change or a series of large-scale changes in what is happening on the ground. And this is precisely the point: on June 30th 2013 more than half the number of Egyptians eligible to voteand almost three times the number of those who voted for the president, and who made up the crowds calling for his dismissal on that date, had spilled onto the streets of most Egyptian towns calling for Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president, to be removed from office. This manifestation of mass behaviour brought about a hugely influential event that embodied the end of the first period of rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian history, 369 days following their accession to power.

Again one has to ask the question: If this does not constitute a ‘revolution’ then what does? Many outside Egypt are unaware that those crowds on June 30th 2013 gathered together after the Muslim Brotherhood president had refused three demands presented by the popular opposition:

1) that there should be a popular referendum to decide whether he should stay or relinquish his post;

2) that there should be early presidential elections;

3) or that he should immediately resign.

Many outside Egypt also do not know that, prior to June 30th 2013, over 22 million Egyptian signatures had been collected demanding that the Muslim Brotherhood president stand down. There are many, again outside of Egypt, who fail to conceive what would have been the implications of the following scenario: Following the refusal of three of their demands and the collection of over 20 million Egyptian signatures demanding the sacking of the Muslim Brotherhood president more than 13 million Egyptians spill out onto the squares on the streets of most of the towns Egypt on 30 June 2013 calling for the removal of Muhammad Morsi, subsequent to which the Egyptian army fails to stand side-by-side with the Egyptian crowds.

What then would have happened?

Any understanding of the way things are in Egypt and the mindset, culture, modes of behaviour and history of every Islamist political faction, would tell you that a major confrontation would have taken place in the squares and streets between peaceful citizens demanding the resignation of the Muslim Brotherhood president, and his Islamist supporters whose mentality rests upon pillars of violence. It is my conviction that, had not the Egyptian army decided upon siding with the June 30th revolution, Egyptian towns would have been scenes of massacres with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood president murdering their opponents in nothing else but a violent confrontation between a peaceful majority and a bloodthirsty minority. The history of Islamic societies and current events now unfolding in Syria, Yemen and Libya tell us just how bloody these killers are and how little relation they have with modern humane values such as pluralism and respect for the Other, with relativism, freedom of opinion, with the systems of a modern state or the rights of women and so on.

There remains the disaster, the tragedy inherent in the viewpoint of some, that as a political party the Muslim Brotherhood is somehow capable of being subsumed into the political life of a modern society. It is, I feel, a point of view that simply reflects a woeful lack of understanding of what political Islam actually is. It also reflects another misconception – the belief held by some that there exist factions and strategic differences between the various currents of political Islam. Anyone carrying out a deep study of the political history of Islamic societies or anyone familiar with the culture of the currents of political Islam can only come to two crystal-clear conclusions: firstly, that the multiple currents of political Islam are merely branches and leaves of a tree whose trunk is formed of a single mindset, one that is embodied by the Muslim Brotherhood; secondly, that the strategic goals of each and every trend of political Islam are in fact one and the same: the dismantling of the modern state system and its replacement with the system of an Islamic caliphate, something which ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Rāziq, in his book Islam and the Foundations of Governance(1925)[1], established was nothing more than a mere fantasy.

How can there be a political system in the absence of a system for the rotation of power and the absence of the mechanisms of government? As history tells us, the methods adopted by the first four rulers known as the Orthodox caliphs differed widely from each other, while the chosen ruling system in the Umayyad and Abbasid states was one of outright dynastic kingship. Every ruler during the eras of the first four caliphs and the Umayyad and ‘Abbasid princes ruled in a different way and, in fact, without any clear underlying system. No conscientious researcher into the political history of Islamic societies or the culture of contemporary currents of political Islam can honestly say that any single one of these trends, were they to accede to power, would preserve the framework and foundations of the modern state. We need only cast an eye over the history of the first, second and third Saudi states, the Taleban state in Afghanistan, the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia, the areas have come under the influence and hegemony of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the reality of regions under the control of Islamists in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya to understand how egregious the contradiction is between any state directed by believers in political Islam and modern systems of state, law, human rights, and the rights of women.

It is therefore pointless for us to give any credence to claims made by (for example) the Muslim Brotherhood to believe in the systems of the modern state, its constitutional rules, modern legality and the rights of man simply on the grounds of their say so. It would also be spectacularly futile to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood (for example) have eschewed violence or the killing and assassination of their rivals simply because they say as much. Since the assassination of the Egyptian Prime Minister in 1945 and 1948, and dozens of other subsequent assassinations – most notably the assassination of President Sadat on October 6th 1981 and the assassinations perpetrated by the Brotherhood today in Egypt – their own history and the unfolding facts on the ground demonstrate that the Muslim Brotherhood have not forsaken violence and murder but rather have bequeathed this to the currents that are spawned from them. There can be no doubt that Al Qaeda and Hamas, for example, are really two scions of the mentality and attitudes espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood. There is also no doubt that ISIL and the Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and Iraq are two outgrowths of the Wahhabism that have slipped the leash of Wahhabism’s alliance with the Āl Saʽūd in Saudi Arabia.

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[1] Alī ‘Abd al-Rāziq (1888-1966) argued in his work Islam and the Foundations of Government,that Islam is a religion but not a state, and that Muhammad’s role was one of ‘communicator’, rather than sovereign. He noted that Islam does not advocate a specific form of government and that Muslims may therefore agree on any system of government, religious or worldly, so long as it serves the interest and common welfare of their society.  The context of his comments was the increasing voice, following the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate two years earlier, calling for the reinstating of an Arab-speaking caliph, arguing that the office had historically been claimed for political rather than religious ends (Ed.)

 

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