Archive | March 17th, 2015

We’re Screwed: Colin Powell’s Chief Of Staff On The Failings Of US Foreign Policy

In a sweeping interview with MintPress News, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson explains why the U.S. needs to make resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a bigger priority and how partnering with Iran could be the key to achieving greater regional stability.

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.  Now an outspoken critic of US foreign policy, Wilkerson told MintPress that you cannot have a strategy if you are constantly buffeted, and buffeted seriously, by the winds of domestic interest.

One of the most important elections related to U.S. foreign policy is taking place on Tuesday, almost 6,000 miles away from Washington, in Israel/Palestine.

The Israeli election is being held on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scandalous visit to the U.S. Congress, and amid the fallout of a letter to the Iranian leadership that has been described as “treasonous.” The letter, signed by 47 Republican senators, locksteps neoconservative geopolitical strategy in the Middle East with that of the national security prerogatives of Israel’s current prime minister.

“The only positive thing I can see right now is the potential for Bibi Netanyahu to lose,” said Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005.

Speaking to MintPress News over the phone from his home in Virginia, Wilkerson added that the damage Netanyahu has done as prime minister has been “unprecedented,” and that Netanyahu and his predecessors, including Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, destroyed their own movement.

“Fifty-one percent of the [Israeli] land belongs to the security complex, either outright or leased. Sixty families in Israel own about 75 percent of the wealth, which is unbelievable,” he explained. “They’re the most predatory capitalist state in the eastern Mediterranean, and that’s saying something because we [the U.S.], China, and Russia have exemplified predatory capitalism in the last 20 years, but Israel outstrips us all.”

Wilkerson also asserts that Israel is a strategic liability for the U.S. government. Israel, he says, is helping Russia, one of America’s principal adversaries. He referenced an internal audit carried out by the Russian military in 2013 and 2014. Through that audit the Russians realized that their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were a major weakness on the battlefield. Israel responded by selling Russia state-of-the-art UAVs. “And of course, they sell weapons to the Chinese too!” quipped Wilkerson.

As long as the United States continues to support Israel in this way, explained Wilkerson, “It is impossible to say you have a sound strategic approach to the region.”

“The winds of domestic interest”

Wilkerson is currently a distinguished adjunct professor of Government and Public Policy at William and Mary University in Virginia. His military career began in 1966 during the Vietnam War and spanned up until 2005. Wilkerson became Powell’s “point man” for making a case for preemptive war against Saddam Hussein in 2003. Indeed, it was Wilkerson who combed through the CIA’s information to create the presentation that Powell delivered to the United Nations Security Council in February that year.

Wilkerson later realized that the information provided by the CIA was faulty. That, plus the terrible way the U.S. followed up in Iraq and revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib, an American prison in the country, led him to openly condemn the Iraq War.

He told The Washington Post in 2006: “Combine the detainee abuse issue with the ineptitude of post-invasion planning for Iraq, wrap both in this blanket of secretive decision-making … and you get the overall reason for my speaking out.”

Today, he argues that the U.S. has not been able to put together a clear foreign policy strategy since the end of the Cold War. He describes U.S. foreign policy as reactionary and absent of a clear global vision, attributing this problem to the detrimental effects of warring political parties in a democracy.

“In my 70 years on this planet, or looking back at my reading of the history of the previous 200 years, there hasn’t been a time as dire as this one in terms of domestic politics influencing foreign security policy,” he said.

MintPress made the case that the U.S. does in fact have a foreign policy strategy, which includes realizing the uselessness of invasion and occupation. MintPress argued that the U.S. is attempting to balance regional powers by reaching out to Iran and having a lighter footprint overall in the Middle East, so that it can focus more closely on East Asia.

“You think that’s the case when you have senators and representatives in the House that are doing everything they possibly can, including becoming traitors with this open letter to the leaders of Tehran to start another war in southwest Asia?” he retorted. “You really think that’s our strategy?”

On March 9, 42 Republican senators signed an open letter to the leaders of Iran in an attempt to upend current negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations — the U.S., China, Russia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The potential deal between the six powers would restrict sanctions on Iran in exchange for guarantees that the Islamic Republic will not pursue a nuclear weapons program.

The Obama administration and many members of Congress, including some Republicans, support this effort. Yet a significant number of other politicians and current and former U.S. officials do not, and they have made it a priority to stop this deal by any means necessary. They have invited the leader of a foreign state (Israel) to speak to Congress without the approval of the executive branch. They wrote the above-mentioned letter and addressed it to a foreign power (Iran) in brazen contradiction to the president’s foreign policy efforts. They have also supported former terrorist groups, such as the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), that want to overthrow the Iranian government and take power for themselves.

Wilkerson explained that those kinds of domestic politics eliminate the possibility for global strategy. “You cannot have a strategy if you are constantly buffeted, and buffeted seriously, by the winds of domestic interest,” he said.

The strategy is China

Yet Wilkerson did concede that U.S. foreign policy is not entirely devoid of strategy. He explained that the top strategic portfolio for the U.S. is China, and the U.S. is using a mix of tactics to deal with the rise of the emerging power.

He pointed out, however, that this strategy emerged well before the end of the Cold War in the 1970s with then-President Richard Nixon and then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Since that time, he says, both Republican and Democratic administrations have pursued a like-minded approach to China.

Wilkerson says the strategy toward the East Asian giant is to surround it. To achieve this, the U.S. has been opening up to and attempting to create deals with countries in the region like India and Myanmar, solidifying older relationships with countries like South Korea and Japan, supporting Indonesia, and showing concern about political turmoil in Thailand.

Another part of the tactical strategies being employed by the U.S. to confront the rise of China is what Wilkerson describes as “hedging.” He says the U.S. is attempting to ensure that China’s interests are peace, prosperity and stability, so that the world does not see the typical rise of a great power, which usually includes fighting to secure its place among the nations already established as powers.

There is no strategy in the Middle East

Image result for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud PHOTO

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, before a visit with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at Diriya Farm, on Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Diriya, Saudi Arabia.

In contrast, Wilkerson told MintPress, everything happening with regards to the Middle East is strictly tactical and absent of strategy. He likened the way the U.S. deals with the region to somebody opening their email inbox in the morning and having their day controlled by replying to various requests and demands, rather than having a plan for productivity and executing that plan.

The most blatant sign that the U.S. does not have a coherent strategy in the Middle East, and is operating strictly through reactionary tactics, according to Wilkerson, is its support for Israel.

A sensible Middle East strategy, he explained, would include, first and foremost, a plan to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Currently, Wilkerson laments, the U.S. is “tactically trying to build stability in a country that’s not even a country [Iraq].” At the same time, it is ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. He says that if the U.S. were to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and make it better in any way or even resolve it, that would aid the U.S. strategically in every other problem facing the region, including instability in Iraq.

“As long as you leave that long-term festering problem alone, or, worse, you let somebody like Bibi Netanyahu control it, you’ve got no strategy. Your strategy at best is to live through the day, and tomorrow, and the next day to get your inbox clear,” he said.

As long as that problem persists, he warns, none of the other problems are going to be solved, either.

“By the way,” he boomed, “the problems that you’ve [the U.S.] elevated to the top of your list, like ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria], are ridiculously insignificant in the greater scheme of things.”

To illustrate this point, he compared the number of people in the world to the number that are killed by terrorist groups, noting: “They have about as much chance of being killed by a terrorist attack, or by an attack by ISIS forces, as they do being killed by a lighting strike!”

Despite these inconsistencies, the U.S. is spending trillions of dollars and reacting to what Wilkerson describes as the “incompetent American media.”

He warned that within the next 10 to 15 years, problems related to the Israeli state will grow in magnitude, carrying unimaginable consequences. He told MintPress that if he were king of the U.S. for one day, he would force the Mediterranean country to cease settlement activity.

The possibility of the U.S. and Iran coming to some kind of rapprochement, beginning with a nuclear deal, would be “monumental,” he says.

He explained that a deal with Iran is positive because the country is home to over 70 million people. Half of its population is Persian, representing a national cohesion rate that outstrips anyone else in the region with the exception of Turkey. Plus, they are militarily and demographically the natural hegemon in the Gulf, he surmised.

“You don’t solve Afghanistan, you don’t solve Pakistan ultimately, you don’t solve the increasingly dictatorial Erdoğan in Turkey, you don’t solve Egypt, you don’t solve Syria, you don’t solve Iraq — and by ‘solve’ I mean bring some sort of stability and potential for the future – without Iran’s help,” he asserted.

“It’s not really Iran’s nuclear weapon that Bibi fears, it’s what we just described.”

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Hollywoodism: The Ideology that has Devoured Western Culture


Image result for Hollywoodism PHOTO

Below is the excellent new documentary film produced by Henrik Palmgren whose radio program I recently appeared on. Support Red Ice Radio by becoming a member today!

Western culture has come to define itself through an alien ideology disseminated through Hollywood. It is a superimposed culture, a fantasy structure that we’re all living in. True Western European values have been replaced by another, a new global religion called Hollywoodism. Who is behind this new ruling ideology, re-defining western culture?

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Implementing “Democracy” and Regime Change in “Enemy Countries”: The “Electoral Integrity Project”

Global Research
Élections Venezuela Maduro

A multi-million dollar Australian Government funded project at the University of Sydney, linked to spin doctors in Washington, is using a biased and secretive method to help discredit elections in a range of ‘enemy’ countries. The Electoral Integrity Project (EIP) joins the United States Studies Centre (USSC), established in 2007, as another heavily politicised initiative which compromises the independence of Australia’s oldest university (see Anderson 2010).

A key target is socialist Venezuela, which is facing yet another destabilisation campaign, backed by Washington. The recent rounds of violence began in early 2014 and recently led to the arrest of several opposition figures for murder and coup plotting. The pretext for the violence has been that the government of President Nicolas Maduro is somehow democratically illegitimate.

However the radical, popular ‘Bolivarian’ governments have won 12 of Venezuela’s last 13 elections. Further, 80% of the voting age population participated in the 2013 election, won by Maduro (International IDEA 2015). That is a massive increase on 1990s levels, when the Chavez phenomenon effectively sidelined the old and moribund two party system. And the electoral system is secure. Even the political journalist for anti-government paper El Universal described Venezuela’s electoral system as ‘one of the most technologically advanced verifiable voting systems in the world’, with protections against fraud and tampering and scrutineered random recount mechanisms (Martinez 2013).

Sydney University’s ‘Electoral Integrity Project’ tells a very different story. According to their 2015 report, Venezuela’s Presidential election in 2013 was one of the worst in the world, ranking 110 out of 127. They corroborate their data with a survey claiming President Maduro only had a 24% popularity rating, with ‘85% believing that the country was heading in the wrong direction’ (Norris et al 2015: 31). The EIP did not mention the Hinterlaces Polls, which have had Maduro’s popularity (during the recent crisis) ranging from 39% to 52%; nor do they cite polls showing overwhelming rejection of the opposition’s violent attempts to remove the elected president (Dutka 2014).

The EIP produces an impressive forest of data to form its rankings on the legitimacy of elections worldwide; but what is the basis for all these numbers? Though it is not so easy to find, the method involves selecting a range of criteria and then seeking ‘expert opinion’, from a group of unnamed people. That is, the numbers and rankings rely on ‘expert opinion’, and those experts are anonymous. There is only anecdotal recourse to more standard methods, such as actual opinion polls, or actual participation rates.

Yet popular and expert perceptions are a curious thing. As most mass media remains in the hands of a tiny oligarchy, for whom Venezuela has long been a ‘black sheep’, image shaping is often distorted. Surveys by the Chilean-based company LatinoBarómetro (2014: 8-9) illustrate this point very well. The image of Venezuela’s democracy from outside the country is rather ordinary (seen as 41% and 47% favourable, between 2010 and 2013), whereas within Venezuela it is very different. Venezuelans rate their democracy at 70%, the second highest (after Uruguay) in Latin America. Latino Barómetro (2014: 9) itself is surprised by these results, saying: ‘The five countries which most appreciate their own democracy are countries governed by the left: Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador and Nicaragua … the democracy of which citizens speak is clearly not the democracy of which the experts speak’.

Yet surely any democracy is best judged by those who are able (or unable) to participate in it? The opinions of expert outsiders seem of little relevance. That is an elite approach. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Art 25) describes democratic rights this way: ‘the right and the opportunity … to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives’. That refers to the right of citizens in a particular body politic. Gauged against this principle, the method of EIP project, relying on outside expert opinion, seems poorly conceived.

Yet an elitist approach is consistent with the model promoted by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US government funded body launched by the Reagan administration in the second cold war of early 1980s. The NED (usually through intermediaries) funds a range of organisations in attempts to shape democracies or ‘civil societies’, to make them more friendly to or compliant with Washington. One of the founders and first President of the NED, Allen Weinstein, said in 1991, ‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA’ (Lefebvre 2013). Indeed, as with the ‘psy-ops’ of the CIA, the NED has been implicated in coups and destabilisation plans in a range of Latin American countries, including Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela (Kurlantzick 2004; Lefebvre 2013; Golinger 2006). The NED idea of democracy has been described as ‘[a] top-down, elite, constrained (or “polyarchal”) democracy … [where] the elites get to decide the candidates or questions suitable to go before the people’ (Scipes 2014). French researcher Olivier Guilmain (in Teil 2011) says that the NED finances opposition parties in numerous countries and provides special aid to exiles and opponents of regimes targeted by the US State Department’.

Eva Golinger, whose book The Chavez Code exposed the Bush administration’s involvement in the failed coup of 2002, has documented the NED’s contribution to destabilisation and coups in Venezuela. In the last year or so the NED has spent many millions on Venezuelan opposition groups ‘including funding for their political campaigns in 2013 and for the current anti-government protests in 2014’ (Golinger 2014). She calls this ‘the same old dirty tactics’ of a coup in motion (Golinger 2015).

It might not come as a surprise then, to find that there are indeed NED and other US Government links to Sydney’s Electoral Integrity Project. Chief investigator Professor Pippa Norris proudly lists her work as a consultant for the NED, and at least six of the project partners (without whose support the EIP ‘would not have been possible’) have direct US government funding. The EIP method of relying on expert opinion seems quite consistent with that ‘elite, constrained … democracy’.

Worse, the EIP relies on anonymous opinion. A member of the project clarified this to me in these words: ‘we have to maintain the confidentiality of our sources as part of our legal obligations … revealing the names of the experts could potentially risk putting them in harm’s way in several states which do not respect human rights and which suppress critics’. Be that as it may, the opinions of anonymous people provide no way to assess the legitimacy of an independent state. It contradicts the principles of openness and transparency, values the EIP claims to both assess and promote. Who are these anonymous experts? Do they include opposition figures in the countries whose governments are under attack? Do they include the Washington insiders who advise on destabilisation and coup plans? There is little indication the EIP takes seriously the well-established principle of avoiding conflicts of interest.

It is also alarming that the EIP, as an Australian Government (ARC) funded academic project, whose subtitle (‘Why Elections fail and what we can do about it’) suggests a measures of praxis, shares the Washington phrase ‘failed elections [which] raised major red flags’, mentioning several states, including Syria. It is well known that a major military intervention in Syria was narrowly averted in September 2013, after false claims that the Syrian Government had used chemical weapons against children (for evidence of the falsity of these claims see: Hersh 2013 & 2014; Lloyd and Postol 2014; ISTEAMS 2013). Does the EIP seek to associate itself with ‘red flag’ military interventions, if countries fail to meet its dubious criteria?

The project rated Syria’s 2014 presidential elections near the bottom of its chart (125 of 127), on the basis of its anonymous expert opinions (Norris et al 2015: 11). The only rationale for this can be seen in a brief note which observes ‘the election was deeply flawed because some areas of the country were not under government control, so polling did not take place in the regions where insurgents were strongest’, and the fact that ‘National Coalition – the main western backed opposition group’ boycotted the election (Norris et al 2015: 27). While these are correct statements, they do not tell the whole story. Conflict in other countries did not seem to bother the EIP or its experts quite so much when they ranked the Ukraine election at 78 of 127 (Norris et al 2015: 10). Yet the election monitoring group International IDEA (2015), an EIP partner, puts participation rates in the Ukraine’s 2014 presidential election at 50%, while in the Syria’s 2014 presidential election it was 73%. Clearly the US foreign policy factor is at play. Washington arms the ‘opposition’ in Syria and the government in Ukraine. Similarly the NED has directly funded the Syrian opposition (NED 2006; Teil 2011; IRI 2015) while urging military support for the Ukraine government (Sputnik 2014; see also Parry 2014).

Finally we might observe that Israel’s 2013 elections were duly reviewed by the EIP, leading to a very healthy 17/127 ranking (Norris et al 2015: 8). Apparently being a racial state, with several million effectively stateless Palestinian people, held in military-controlled territories and with virtually no civil or political rights, has little impact on the EIP assessment. Yet this is consistent with what the Washington-Tel Aviv axis has long told us about Israel as ‘the only democracy in the region’ (e.g. Goldman 2015, etc). The double standards are breath-taking. With the Electoral Integrity Project’s US links and its elitist assumptions about democracy it seems the project has little sense of conflict of interest, let alone appropriate research method.


Anderson, Tim (2010) ‘Hegemony, big money and academic independence’, Australian Universities Review, Vol 53, No 2

Dutka, Z.C. (2014) ‘Polls Reveal Wider Concerns of Venezuelan Public’, Venezuelanalysis, 11 May, online:

Freedom House (2015) ‘Freedom in the World 2015’, interactive map, online:

Goldman, Lisa (2015) ‘Bibi Bother: Netanyahu’s Strategy in Washington’, Foreign Affairs, 1 March, online:

Golinger, Eva (2006) The Chavez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela, Olive Branch Press, Northampton, MA

Golinger, Eva (2015) ‘Venezuela: a Coup in Real Time’, Counter Punch, 2 February, online:

Hersh, Seymour M. (2013) ‘Whose Sarin?’, London Review of Books, Vol. 35 No. 24, 19 December, 9-12, online:

Hersh, Seymour M. (2014) ‘The Red Line and the Rat Line’, London Review of Books, 36:8, 17 April, pp 21-24, online:

International IDEA (2015) ‘Voter Turnout’, data by country, online:

IRI (2015) Syria, online:

ISTEAMS (2013) ‘Independent Investigation of Syria Chemical Attack Videos and Child Abductions’, 15 September, online:

Kurlantzick, Joshua (2004) ‘The Coup Connection’, Mother Jones, November, online:

Latinobarometro (2014)’ La Imagen de los países y las democracias’, informe (report):

Lefebvre, Stephan (2013) ‘Analysis from National Endowment for Democracy Used in The Atlantic, with Significant Errors and Omissions’, Center for Economic Policy and Research, 30 July, online:

Lloyd, Richard and Theodore A. Postol (2014) ‘Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013’, MIT, January 14, Washington DC, online:

Martinez, Eugenio (2013) ‘Venezuela’s Election System Holds Up As A Model For The World’, Forbes, 14 may, online:

NED (2006) Syria – funding, December, online:

Norris, Pippa; Ferran Martínez and Max Grömping (2015) ‘The year in Elections, 2014’, Electoral Integrity Project (Why Elections fail and what we can do about it), online:

Parry, Robert (2014) ‘New York Times on Syria and Ukraine: How Propaganda Works’, Global Research, 3 December, online:

Sputnik (2014) ‘National Endowment for Democracy Urges US Military Support for Ukraine’, 20 October, online:

Teil, Julian (2011) ‘Justifying a “humanitarian war” against Syria. The sinister role of the NGOs’, Global Research, 16 November, online:

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Islam’s Messenger, Muhammad Abu-Al-Qaassim, regarded the region of Najd, at the very center of Arabia, to be a nest of vipers.  Muhammad led some campaigns against Najdi tribes and personalities whom he thought had “deviant” ideas.  Najd is at the very epicenter of Wahhabist thinking.  Najd is also the birthplace of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhab, the founder of the heresy.

The intellectual bankruptcy of Wahhabism is best summarized by its association with a tribe of thieves, highwaymen and pillagers called the Sa’ood Clan, all of whom are linked ineluctably to the aspirations of history’s most rapacious and insatiable empire, the British Empire.  It is at the confluence of these 3 phenomena that one finds the vacuum in the “Islam” of Saudi Arabia and it is exactly here where mass murderers like Usaamaa Bin Laadin and Muhammad ‘Abdul- Wahhaab are seen contriving their atrocities.

Let us agree on a definition of “nihilism”.  I adopt the second definition: “The rejection of all distinctions in moral value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality.”  I will also adopt the third and most controversial definition: “The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary to ensure future improvement.”  I will a add a fourth definition which I have developed myself from reading about nihilism as an expression of blunt human emotion: “The belief that nothing truly exists and, if it does exist, the need to render all existence a nullity in order to prepare for a possible afterlife.”

As many writers point out accurately, Wahhabism is a relatively recent phenomenon.  The founder was born in 1703 A.C.E. in the village of ‘Uyayna in the Najd, the same area which gave the Arab World its most famous liar: “Musaylima”.  Some would argue that King Hussayn of Jordan would be a more appropriate bearer of such a title, seeing the Hashemites  originated on the western border of the Najd.  Its proximity to us in time was quite propitious since it gave the movement so much more territory to overwrite and nullify.  Which gets us to the first principal of Wahhabist Nihilism:

1.  Past events are meaningless; past religious pronouncements are sacrilege; the past only exists in the twisted mind of apostates, blasphemers……atheists;

Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab’s father was a judge and religious authority.  In Arabia that meant only that he could give advice about simple gynecology and fulminate over metaphysical trifles.  The father was a follower of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal who established one of Sunni Islam’s four recognized schools of religious/jurisprudential practice and thought.  Hanbalites were known for their ultra-orthodox, simplistic and uncomplicated interpretation of the Qur’aan. Hanbalism was the choice of most Najdis during the time which concerns us.  Naturally, because he was a nihilist, Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab found his own father’s Hanbalism too meek and watered down for his tastes.  As he drifted from his father’s chosen theology, the father began to despise the son.

Salafism, the doctrine that a good Muslim should “follow” the sayings and acts of the early Muslims was rejected outright as interference in Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab’s vision of the “true” Islam.  A genius of his rank could not be constrained by precedence lest his narrow vision of existence be challenged by “pretenders” to knowledge.  Only those he proclaimed worthy could influence the course of his religious heresy.  Enter Ibn Taymiyya.

Historians who do their best to cover up the mental aberrations of the absolutely derelict Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab always mention Saudi Arabian government-promoted nonsense about his early life.  For example, it is not unusual to learn that he had “a voracious appetite for reading”, so much so that his father detected a talent in him which caused his being sent to Baghdad to pursue religious studies.  It was in Baghdad, you see, that the young man started to “voraciously” study Ibn Taymiyya


Ibn Taymiyya has a very long name. I’m going to spare you its exhibition. He was born in 1263 A.D. in Harran which is found today in southeast Turk-Occupied Syria in Sanliurfa Province close to Mesopotamia.  He was born in a time of great political and military turmoil mostly occasioned by the arrival of the Mongols, the existence of the Crusader state and the rise of the Mamelukes in Egypt.  He was also born in a time of vast religious and philosophical debate over such elemental concepts as God’s nature or His attributes, if any.

This article is not a biography of Ibn Taymiyya.  In that vein, I’ll only refer to the theologian’s works as they impact on the subject of this essay.  Those of us who have read Ibn Taymiyya’s works are always cognizant of his obsession with the destruction of the Caliphate at the hands of Hulagu and his pagan Mongol army.  The Caliph Al-Musta’sim was wrapped by Hulagu in a carpet and crushed under the hooves of a thousand steeds in a show of contempt for Islam so trenchant it conjures up images of the humiliation and execution of Romanus Diogenes, or even Christ.  Ibn Taymiyya must be understood in this way for his life’s works are a call-to-arms against all those who would defy Islam as he understood it. This was a theologian bent on vengeance.

Ibn Taymiyya was a follower of Ibn Hanbal. Just like the Najdis.  But, he also was an innovator and revivalist.  He extolled the virtues of the Muslims of Madeena (Yathrib).  It was only through emulation of their conduct and knowledge that one could achieve the highest level of Islamic practice.  To know Islam was quite simple: read only the Qur’an and those Sayings of the Messenger Muhammad which were valid (Hadeeth).  The human mind cannot be an instrument of generating knowledge about Islam because it was too limited.  It is strictly through the 2 branches of literature, the Holy Bood and the Sayings, that a Muslim could achieve true knowledge.

What his philosophy accomplished was a complete break with the other three schools of religious thought.  Even more so, his animosity to Sufism, Ash’arism, Christianity and Shi’ism (Raafidhiyya) took his putative followers down the path to outright demoniacal action against these sects and religions.  While it cannot be argued that his writing was elegant, the content was a source of license for any kind of brutality as practiced against those deemed unworthy.  The burning of the Jordanian pilot was justified, amazingly, not by reference to the Qur’aan (which specifically prohibits such horrific practices), but, by quoting Ibn Taymiyya!  Inasmuch as Islam forbids Muslims from fighting Muslims, it was through Ibn Taymiyya’s innovations that such wars could be fought – a wonderful gap in the rule that would serve Britain’s interests so mightily in the war to destroy the Ottoman Empire.

Ibn Taymiyya was a literalist.  And so was Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab.  There is nothing to interpret in the Qur’aan. It’s all right there.  Whereas Ibn Taymiyya worshiped the early Muslims of Arabia, Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab found such adorations abominable.  Wahhabism owes its hostility toward Salafism because of this break with Ibn Taymiyya.  Think of Saudi Arabia’s aversion to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The MB is a Salafist group.  It was only during the time of King Faysal Ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez that the KSA brought them into the fold (temporarily) due to a need for educators sorely missing in the kingdom during those times.

This all gets us to the second principal of Wahhaabist nihilism:

2.  No saints or objects of worship from the past can be tolerated in true Islam.  

Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab was at the head of an army of 600 bedouins when he entered a village and destroyed the grave of Zayd Ibn Al-Khattaab, a local saint, with an axe.  Sound familiar?  His followers today, whether in ISIS or Alqaeda/Jabhat Al-Nusra, have ritually destroyed whole treasures of the past in both Iraq and Syria.  No resting place of any Sufi saint has been spared.  In Ma’arrat Al-Nu’maan, Syria, the bust of one of the Arab World’s greatest literary minds, the freethinker, Abu Al-‘Alaa` Al-Ma’arri, was beheaded – if you can believe this!…. by the savages of Alqaeda…… Wahhabists.


It is through the nullification of the past that this kind of heresy finds its apotheosis.  Any demonstration of respect for those who have lived in former times is pure blasphemy.  Only a mind addled by repeated bouts with the rays of the sun could envision a world destroyed, even in memory, by the passing of time.  And so, Ibn Taymiyya, who found little support from the established religious authorities of the Islam of his time, and who failed miserably in numerous debates over his doctrines (which he later rescinded), passed into time himself and would have been forgotten but for the British need to ignite a war between Muslims.


While Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab was stirring up his witches’ brew in Baghdad out of the now-disgraced theologies of Ibn Taymiyya, the British were looking for an “appropriate” ally among the Arabs to promote their campaigns against the Ottoman Turks.  They had spies in the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq whose tasks were to collect simpletons like Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab, to promote their policies against the Ottoman Sultan on the throne in the Sublime Porte.  One such spy was a Mr. Hempher who connected with our subject theologian and found him to be most appropriate for the kind of shenanigans the British are notorious for contriving as part of their island’s “survival plan”.

Hempher has written on the subject of this scruffy Najdi bamboozler.  We know that he was able to secure his loyalty by marrying him to a Christian female (a la Tzipi Livni in Baghdad who operated as a spy for London).  He regaled the young heretic with compliments about his genius.  He encouraged his charge to develop Islamic theories to counter the prevailing prohibition against Muslim fighting Muslim.

It was in Ibn Taymiyya’s diatribes against the Muslim’s of his age, their departure from the ways of the ancestors in Madeena, their laxity, theosophies and slovenly pietisms which inspired Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab to new depths of collaboration. It was here that his fame began to spread, not to Al-Azhar University, which would later condemn him for heresy, but to the ears of Arabia’s most despised thieves, plunderers and rapists – the tribe of Sa’ood whose predilections for banditry and pedophilia put them at odds with the Ottoman Sultanate and into the laps of the equally kinky British.

By 1746, Muhammad Ibn Sa’ood, had accepted Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab’s cockeyed view of Islam embracing it as some divinely derived writ legalizing highway robbery and rapine.  The love affair with Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab’s iconoclasticism paid dividends to the British who found their Sa’oodi allies at odds constantly with the Ottomans.  The alliance continued during the leadership of ‘Abdul-‘Azeez when he joined the British in conquering Kuwait.  To prove his Wahhabist credentials, ‘Abdul-‘Azeez outdid himself by invading the Shi’i city of Karbalaa` and murdering virtually every man, woman and child there in an act totally consistent with Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab’s abhorrence of all heterodox Muslims.  Sound familiar?

The third and fourth tenets of Wahhabism are found here:

3.  Muslim must fight deviant Muslims in a war to the end to eliminate liberalism, tolerance and beneficence;

4.  Muslim must exterminate all non-Wahhabist Muslims such as Shi’is, liberal Sunnis, Alawis, Druze, Ismailis, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists.  Only Jews are exempted. 


That’s the man: Muhammad Ibn Sa’ood, bandit, reprobate, child molester and ally of Britain.  His offspring would forge an alliance with the United States, the beacon of democracy and tolerance in the world. 


While Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab never addressed women driving cars, he left a sufficient legacy of mean-spiritedness to enable subsequent followers to prohibit that without a single citation of authority because, in Wahhabism, there are no authorities other than the Qur’aan and Hadeeth.  Since both sources never uttered one word about then-non-existent machines, the male dominated culture of Arabia decided the matter with all the venom it could muster.

‘Abdul-Wahhaab despised everybody but himself, so, it was easy to figure out that he hated Christians and Persians.  Christians cannot build churches in Arabia.  Actually, nobody can do anything to promote a religion in Arabia other than the heresy of Wahhaabism.  In fact, you can’t even bring the Bible to Arabia even though the Qur’aan praises People of the Book, i.e. Christians and Jews.

To make matters even more asphyxiating, you can’t build a theater or cinema in Arabia because that would violate the rule against pleasure although you can have a television set which enforces the rule adopting institutionalized hypocrisy.

No alcohol. Now that’s consistent with the revelations at Madeena.  In the Qur`aan revealed in Mecca, it was okay to imbibe alcohol.  (Sura XVI/67)  Yeah, so what?  In Arabia, you just can’t drink although you can find various bathtub gins referred to as “Waddi’ Ahlak” (ودع اهلك) or fine liquors on the sacrosanct lands occupied by the very white and western ARAMCO.  So you would think the pious Wahhabists would always be on their best behavior when vacationing in Lebanon, Syria, Europe or the U.S. Right mate?  Ha. Anyone who has witnessed the spectacle of Saudi Arabians and their ilk partying in a boozy night club can spot their vomit-beslubbered Taiwanese-manufactured dishdaashas dragging along the running sewers of red light districts.

Oh. I forgot. Women can’t even travel unless they have a male chaperone from their family with them.  They can’t even study co-ed.  But, that doesn’t stop Hillary Clinton from praising her allies in Riyaadh while vilifying Dr. Bashar Al-Assad who is the president of a country where a woman is vice president and where women can actually practice engineering, medicine or law without a man peering over her shoulder.

And the beheadings, whippings, canings, hand-choppings for thieves (and this for a nation established by a race of brigands).  The justice system is not merely medieval.  It is a reflection of Ibn Taymiyya’s darkest fantasies.  And you wonder how Arabia can attract the most sociopathic Muslims in the world?


A religion founded by a mad man is a cult.  When it takes its inspiration from an established universal religion and subverts it, it becomes a heresy.  When those who practice the heresy deviate from it at every turn, it becomes pure hypocrisy.  When half the population is made up of women who are denied even the basic privilege of driving or an education, you have rampant injustice.  When the entire population is damned to living in a nightmare world of conformism, you have unbridled hatred feeding off itself.  When the world is all one book and one man’s asides, you have a society cursed to living out its time in a stultifying cellar somewhere in the vacuum of space.  This is America’s ally – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  This is what the West wants to do with Syria.  Over our dead bodies.  ZAF

N.B. There is one bright light in all of this darkness, the Saudi people, for the most part, despise Wahhabism.  It’s a start.


215,000 Massacred in Four Years of Syrian Conflict

A man tries runs carrying a baby as war-torn Syria enters its fifth year of conflict.
  • A man tries runs carrying a baby as war-torn Syria enters its fifth year of conflict

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that since March 2011 it had recorded 215,518 deaths directly resulting from the bloody civil war.

As the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year, more than 215,000 have died in the violence, a human rights group revealed Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London, reported that since March 2011 it had recorded 215,518 deaths directly resulting from the horrific civil war, 66,000 of which were civilians.

In the past five weeks alone, around 5,000 were killed.

Up to 11,000 children were included among the victims, as attacks have targeted schools and hospitals indiscriminately.

Out of the non-civilians killed, government forces have suffered highest losses, with 46,138 killed. The same Observatory also reports that about 13,000 detainees have been tortured to death inside Syrian jails.

The death toll “is certainly higher than the more than 215,000 we have recorded because of the large number of missing people whose fate is unknown,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

RELATED: The IS Shock, the ‘New Cold War,’ and the Unmentionable History of US Empire

The conflict is complicated, with as many four different sides involved, including government forces, pro-government militias, violent extremists from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, and other anti-Assad rebels.

There has been widespread foreign intervention too. Last week, The U.S. government announced it will provide the Syrian opposition with US$70 million in “non-lethal” assistance.

The U.S government clarified once again that their support for the rebels is consistent with the U.S. long-term objectives.

“As we have long said, Assad must go and be replaced through a negotiated political transition that is representative of the Syrian people,” said a White House spokesperson, referring to Washington’s commitment to oust Syrian Bashar Assad.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on 215,000 Massacred in Four Years of Syrian Conflict

Naziyahu Trails in Polls Ahead of Zionist Elections

Benjamin Netanyahu heads into Tuesday

Benjamin Netanyahu heads into Tuesday’s elections trailing in the polls

UPDATE: The Israeli prime minister said if he were re-elected a Palestinian state would not be created, disavowing his 2009 speech.

The embattled prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyhau, said Monday that if he were to be re-elected in Tuesday’s vote, a Palestinian state would not be created, contradicting his 2009 speech, when he had voiced support for the principle of two states between Israel and Palestine.

The prime minister’s made his remarks in an interview with the NRG website was seen as a last-minute attempt to draw right-wing voters away from the oppostion.

“I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state and evacuate territory gives territory away to radical Islamist attacks against Israel,” Netanyahu said. “The left has buried its head in the sand time and after time and ignores this, but we are realistic and understand.”

Israelis go to the polls Tuesday in an early parliamentary election, where the opposition center-left Zionist Union holds a lead against Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party.

Netanyahu, who is seeking a record fourth term, has stepped up his nationalist and anti-Arab rhetoric in the final days of the campaign. However, many voters have expressed more concern over the economy than security issues, making them more inclined to a party that is willing to negotiate a peace settlement with Palestine.

In a desperate attempt to garner last minute votes, Netanyahu suggested that an international conspiracy was organizing support to see him lose.

“There is a huge international effort, with major money, that is partnering up with leftist organizations here and in order to bring down the Likud government that I head,” he said

Meanwhile, rival presidential candidate Isaac Herzog from the the Zionist Union party has been gaining in opinion polls on a campaign that promises to repair ties with the Palestinians and the international community, and also deal with middle class issues such as the rising cost of living.

“I believe in a certain type of leadership that is not always customary in this region. I’m not a general. I don’t give orders. I know how to work together,” Herzog stated.

The Zionist Union, an alliance between Isaac Herzog’s Labor Party and Tzipi Livni’s Hatuna Party, is projected to win 24 or 25 seats, with Likud expected to win 21 seats.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Naziyahu Trails in Polls Ahead of Zionist Elections

Palestinian women demand quota increase


Image result for ELECTION CARTOON

A video of a Jordanian parliament session went viral Dec. 3. The clip, shared widely as “Sit down, Hind!,” shows parliament member Yahya al-Saud cursing the quota system that brought female member Hind al-Fayez to parliament in 2013 after he repeatedly demanded that she sit down and listen to him. Though it may have angered some, the quota system is the only solution guaranteeing the presence of women in Arab parliaments.

March 13, 2015

A 2006 study of the media coverage of electoral campaigns by researcher Nibal Thawabteh stated that the percentage of women in Arab parliaments stood at 4.6%, compared to 12% in African parliaments and 16% in Europe and the Americas. The average female representation in world parliaments does not exceed 13%, the same percentage of women in the Palestinian parliament.

In comparison to five women elected to parliament in 1996, 17 women won in the 2006 parliamentary elections, following feminists’ struggle to impose a 20% quota for women. Today, in coordination with feminist organizations, the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) is preparing to increase the quota to 30%.

On Jan. 5, the GUPW started organizing meetings with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) parties as well as with teachers, journalists and lawyers unions to discuss the increase in female representation in their councils.

GUPW activist Nawal Zaqout told Al-Monitor that there is intensive work going on to raise the quota that guarantees the presence of women in unions, political parties and parliament. She noted that this activity is part of a leap forward in the promotion of women’s participation in political decision-making positions, in collaboration with the UN Women organization.

She added, “So far, there is unanimous consent [during the GUPW meetings] on raising the women’s quota in Gaza and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, to 30%” from 20%. She stressed the need for a quota in a patriarchal society.

On why the demand to raise the quota has increased at this particular time, feminist activist Andalib Adwan said that the parliamentary and presidential elections, which could be announced at any moment, must be prepared for. It is time for the feminist movement to apply pressure for the electoral law to be amended.

She told Al-Monitor, “A 20% quota was required in the 2006 elections, yet only 13% was achieved. For this reason, we are now demanding that the quota be raised to 30%, so that at least 20% of parliament seats are gained by women.”

Adwan attended the meeting on Feb. 10 between the GUPW and Palestinian parties, including Fatah and leftists, and explained that the reality of women’s representation in these parties, according to their leaders, is as follows: Female members make up 12% of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and 17% of its leaders. Female members make up 40% of the Palestinian Arab Front and 30% of the Palestinian National Initiative. Female leaders exceed 30% in the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA), and the party is headed by a woman, Zahira Kamal.

It is noteworthy that the only competitor to candidate Yasser Arafat in the first Palestinian presidential elections in 1996 was a woman, feminist activist Samiha Khalil.

During the 2006 parliamentary elections, the West Bank allocated the 20% quota for women according to the proportional representation system, including half of the parliament’s seats, while the other half is subject to the electoral district system, which does not have a quota.

Hamas is still excluded from the GUPW meetings, as it is not part of the PLO factions. Yet, women in Hamas support the quota system and participate in the GUPW meetings, though the GUPW does not seem to want this.

Hamas-affiliated parliament member Huda Naim told Al-Monitor, “Although the quota system does not awaken in me a sense of rivalry and competition with men, it is important at this stage.”

She added that women are unlikely to win in the elections without the quota system, and noted that no independent female candidate has won in the West Bank and Gaza without the support of the party she is affiliated with. The quota system, she said, is only applied in patriarchal communities that do not support women running for elections.

On the GUPW activities to increase the quota, Naim said that women in Hamas, including herself, are not asked to participate in the GUWP and feminist institutions’ activities for political and formal considerations.

She added, “I definitely support the 30% quota increase. We need more women in parliament to endorse laws that treat women fairly. Extraordinary efforts are [currently] needed to pass women’s rights laws, given the lack of female parliament members.”

The percentage of female members in Hamas and Hamas’ Shura Council has not been approved for publication by Hamas. Based on Naim’s statements, the percentage of women in Hamas’ Shura Council is calculated based on the percentage of female Hamas members.

“The Shura Council is the only Hamas body where women are integrated, while there is a female counterpart to all other male-dominated bodies,” she said.

For women to win a large number of seats in the next election, more than the quota increase is needed. A shift to the proportional representation system is required, rather than the current parallel voting system. In the current voting system, 50% are elected through a proportional representation system, with the other 50% elected through contests between individual candidates in multi-member districts. The latter is highly influenced by families and tribes rather than the party-list system, heavily contributing to why women have been losing.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestinian women demand quota increase

US ‘working through’ extent of support for Syrian rebelsg


Kerry says resolution is “ISIL specific”

Obama administration officials said this week that the United States is considering how best to support Syrian rebel forces trained and equipped by the United States, including if these groups are drawn into conflict with Syrian government forces, although the authorization to use military force being considered by Congress does not appear to provide the legal authority to provide such protection.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told reporters March 11, “The forces that we train in Syria, we will have some obligation to support them after they’re trained. … We all understand that. And we’re working through what kinds of support and under what conditions we would do so, to include the possibility that, even though they’re trained and equipped to combat ISIL [the Islamic State (IS)], they could come into contact with forces of the Assad regime.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying the same day before theSenate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the authorization to use force being considered by Congress is “ISIL specific. There are those who wish it would include Assad, but it doesn’t.”

Al-Monitor’s Barbara Slavin was the first to report on comments made March 2 by John Allen, the US special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, that a no-fly zone was “under consideration” and that the United States would protect Syrian opposition forces it trains and equips.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government expects that Syrian rebels trained in Turkey will also be taking on Assad’s forces. As the Barack Obama administration considers the extent of protection for an underequipped rebel force, the scenario is already being drawn for what the United States would do when — not if — rebel groups get hammered by Syrian government forces. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad considers the “moderate” opposition forces as legitimate military targets. The statements by US officials this month are already ahead of both the requisite legal authority and a clear statement of the endgame in Syria, beyond defeat of IS.

The United States could end up backing the “vetted” rebel groups against both IS and Syrian government forces. Although 62% of Americans support the Obama administration’s proposal to use military force against IS, and 65% would consider sending ground forces, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll this month, it is not clear Americans are ready to back a US military commitment to battling both the Syrian government and IS, a possibility that is beyond the scope of what the Obama administration has asked Congress to consider.

There are members of Congress pressing for the United States to become more deeply engaged militarily in Syria to counter Iran’s support for Assad. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is a possible Republican presidential candidate, said he will withhold his support for the authorization unless it allows protection for Syrian rebels battling Syrian government forces.

Steinmeier: Iran talks “a little more difficult” because of letter

Kerry arrives in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 15, for the latest round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries on an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

The negotiators face an end of March deadline to announce a “political framework” for an eventual deal, and June 30 to conclude a final agreement.

The New York Times reports, “The White House hopes that an accord might eventually open a new chapter in a relationship that has been marked largely by decades of mutual suspicion, Iranian-sponsored terrorism, American cyberattacks and Iranian retaliation.”

This column wrote in November 2014 that the conclusion of a nuclear agreement could facilitate a political settlement on Syria and progress in other regional trouble spots, including the battle against IS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The Obama administration is being challenged by Republicans skeptical of Iran’s nuclear intentions and regional ambitions. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another possible Republican presidential candidate, accused the Obama administration of seeking “not to upset Iran” in the US strategy toward IS, earning a rebuke from Kerry, who said Rubio is ”misreading” the situation in the region and that there is a “mutual interest” among all parties in defeating IS, as reported by Julian Pecquet.

The depth of partisan rancor over a possible Iran deal was on display in the letter to Iran’s leaders written by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and signed by 46 other Republican senators.

In response to a question from Al-Monitor’s Slavin at an event in Washington, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the letter made the negotiations “a little more difficult now.”

The “advantage we [the West] had [in the negotiations] was to be found in the fact that we said we were credible. … All of a sudden, Iran is in a position to turn to us and ask ‘Are you credible?’ … We’re not talking about minor details of minor importance,” Steinmeier said.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian adds that “the principal error committed by the Republican letter is that it conveniently ignores the primary way by which a nuclear deal with Iran will be enacted — through a UN Security Council resolution. For as much as members of Congress have expressed dire concern for how countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel would fare after a nuclear deal, they hardly ever mention that the United States is negotiating with Iran alongside its longtime allies France, the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as Russia and China. If a deal is reached, the Security Council would pass a resolution enacting its terms, which Congress has no authority over rescinding.”

Sistani unites, restrains Iraqi militias

Following a visit to Iraq, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed concern about the deepening of sectarian tensions in Iraq after IS is defeated. The United States is pushing the Iraqi government to urgently undertake policies aimed at reconciliation between the Iraqi government and the country’s disenfranchised Sunni communities. There have been reports that Shiite and Kurdish militias may have committed abuses and displaced Sunni Arab residents in those towns where IS has been pushed out. This week, Iraqi government forces teamed with Iranian-backed Shiite militias and some Sunni forces to attempt to retake Tikrit. A small village near Tikrit is the birthplace of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi writes this week that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s leading Shiite religious authority, will again be a decisive force for reconciliation among Iraq’s communities. It was Sistani who issued a fatwa in June 2014 calling for a “righteous jihad” against IS. Last month, Sistani issued a recommendation for the “popular mobilization forces” to show restraint and respect human rights in the conduct of the war.

Kadhimi writes, “The “righteous jihad” concept that Sistani created is not open-ended. It is a means to an end, and linked to deflecting the IS danger. Once this threat is gone, the fatwa becomes invalid. At that point, the Iraqi state will have to deal with the period after the validity of Sistani’s fatwa, which it anticipates doing through the National Guard law, which is supposed to encompass volunteer fighters, as part of clear mechanisms for the next stages.

One issue” in Israeli election

Ben Caspit writes this week that the March 17 Israeli elections are, “more than anything else, a referendum on the one and only issue: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yes or no, that is the question.”

Caspit continues, “The rest of the players in the Israeli political arena are also to be found in places they didn’t anticipate only a few months ago. Zionist Camp leader Isaac (Buji) Herzog, who could hardly garner 12 to 13 seats at the beginning (at the time, Netanyahu enjoyed at least 25 seats), now leads the polls. Overnight, Herzog became the alternative candidate and the prime minister’s only rival, a default to Netanyahu.

“The process that led to this political miracle was Herzog’s joining up with Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua Party. On a personal level, Livni became one of the most disliked politicians in Israel, mainly to the right. But the Herzog-Livni partnership jump-started the Zionist Camp campaign and gave it its first advance, its first leap forward that transformed the Zionist Camp into the only political alternative. Lapid, who did not invest enough energy in his persuasion efforts vis-a-vis Livni, can only regret it now. If Livni would have joined up with him, it is altogether likely that he (and she) would now be leading the polls, and not Herzog.”

Akiva Eldar reports that “Herzog, as well as Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon and even Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman have been talking a lot in recent months about a regional arrangement that would include moderate Arab states in resolving the conflict. They have on their desks a study by the HaGal Hadash Institute pointing to significant public support for such an agreement. The extensive study, conducted for the Israel Peace Initiative organization, shows that 72% of respondents (Jews only) support a regional arrangement for ending the conflict that would lead to separation from the Palestinians and a two-state arrangement. Of those polled, 64% believe that a continued diplomatic freeze harms the security of the state and 60% are certain that a regional defense arrangement with Arab states on fighting terrorism and Iran would make Israel much safer.”

What is an Islamic feminist?

Can Islamist women be feminists? Al-Monitor’s series on Women in the Middle East examined the issue this week in a piece by Madawi Al-Rasheed. The series, which continues through the end of the month, shines a light on the ways that women in the region have found the means to assert their own identity.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US ‘working through’ extent of support for Syrian rebelsg

Did Cage director train Jihadi John?


Mos uncovers new evidence that links apologists for ISIS butcher to his desert weapons camp

  • Director of Cage may have been involved in training Jihadi John in Syria
  • Photograph appears to place Moazzam Begg at same camp in late 2012
  • Mohammed Emwazi later joined ISIS and began his murderous campaign 
  • Picture shows Mr Begg sitting around table with terror group leaders
  • He denied knowing Emwazi in Syria and denied being at the training camp
  • Cage rights group sparked outrage by calling Emwazi a ‘beautiful man’
15 March 2015

The director of a human rights group which sparked outrage after it called Jihadi John ‘a beautiful young man’ may have been involved in training him at a camp run by militants in Syria.

A Mail on Sunday investigation has uncovered evidence that appears to place Cage director and former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg at the same Syrian training camp as Mohammed Emwazi – the real name of Jihadi John – in late 2012.

Emwazi later joined Islamic State (ISIS) and began the murderous campaign which has seen the beheading of five Western hostages.

A photograph of Cage director and former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg appears to place him at the same Syrian training camp as Mohammed Emwazi – the real name of Jihadi John

A photograph of Cage director and former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg appears to place him at the same Syrian training camp as Mohammed Emwazi – the real name of Jihadi John

Official sources have confirmed to The Mail on Sunday the existence of a photograph of Mr Begg with a Syrian camp commander, who also appears in a video with a man believed to be Jihadi John, apparently taken at the same camp.

The picture was part of police evidence against Mr Begg in a trial last October at the Old Bailey, when he was charged with attending a terrorist training camp in Syria between October 2012 and April 2013.

In the photograph, Mr Begg is sitting around a table with Abu Omar Al-Shishani, who was then leader of the militant group Katibat Al-Muhajireen (KaM), and British jihadi Rabah Tahari with other militants, apparently sipping coffee. The photo was apparently taken at the group’s camp in Northern Syria in December 2012.

A source, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The picture definitely puts Begg in Syria. There were other individuals in the same photo, and they all looked like militants rather than ordinary people.’

The photograph was never produced in court and its existence has not been acknowledged until now.

The trial collapsed within days of opening, due to new evidence being given by MI5 to the Crown Prosecution Service which apparently made the likelihood of a conviction unlikely.

Mr Begg (pictured) denied knowing Emwazi in Syria and denied being at the camp

Mr Begg (pictured) denied knowing Emwazi in Syria and denied being at the camp

Months after Mr Begg’s photo with Al-Shishani was taken, a two-minute video was filmed of a masked man believed to be Emwazi, apparently at the same camp, also with Al-Shishani.

When approached last week, Mr Begg denied knowing Emwazi in Syria and denied being at the camp, before driving off from his £500,000 home in Birmingham.

The possibility of a connection between Begg and Emwazi is likely to add more pressure on Cage, which has been condemned for its pronouncements on Emwazi.

Last month the group caused outrage when it described him, as a ‘beautiful young man’ at a press conference, and adding the cold-blooded killer was an ‘extremely gentle’ and ‘humble person’, radicalised by MI5.

The video apparently featuring Emwazi appeared on the internet last month. In it, he gives a speech as red-bearded Al-Shishani stands behind him. Emwazi announces the merger of KaM with another militant group called Jaish Al-Muhammad.

The new bigger group would be called Jaish Al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (JMA), and would be led by Al-Shishani, the masked figure announces.

In late 2013, Al-Shishani defected from JMA to take up a commander role within Islamic State. Al-Shishani took half of JMA’s fighters with him, believed to have included Emwazi.

Months later, Emwazi would become one of the world’s most wanted men, after beheading five Western hostages on camera, including Britons Alan Henning, 47, and David Haines, 44.

Emwazi’s training at KaM in late 2012 and early 2013 suggests an overlap with Mr Begg’s travels in northern Syria at the same time.

Details of Mr Begg’s visit to Syria emerged at the Old Bailey trial, where he and an associate called Gerrie Tahari, 45, from Birmingham, were charged with terrorism offences.

The court heard that Mr Begg visited northern Syria between October 2012 and April 2013.

His visit was intended to investigate the rendition of a Libyan man from Syria to one of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s jails with the help of MI5, Mr Begg claimed.

Emwazi later joined ISIS and began the murderous campaign which has seen the beheading of five Western hostages

But he also stayed at a training camp for foreign fighters who were at the time fighting the Assad regime, the court heard.

The prosecution said that detectives found electronic documents in Mr Begg’s computer with titles like ‘tactical training schedules’ and ‘fitness training schedules’ which were used at the camp.

Another allegation made in court was that Mr Begg bought a Honda electricity generator for Gerrie Tahari’s husband, Rabah, who at the time was fighting in Syria as a junior leader of KaM.

After his trial collapsed, Mr Begg gave an interview to The Guardian, where he admitted to training recruits at a camp in Idlib, North-West Syria. The training included exercises using fake wooden guns.

He told the newspaper that such training was not an act of terrorism as it was an attempt to help people defend themselves against a murderous regime.

Separately, in the same month, Mr Begg’s colleague and friend at Cage, Cerie Bullivant, gave an interview to the Foreign Policy journal.

Mr Bullivant told the magazine that Mr Begg stayed at a camp called Jaish Al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (the outfit previously known as Katibat Al-Muhajireen) which was run by Al-Shishani.

Rafaello Pantucci, a Syria expert at the think-tank RUSI, said: ‘It is very likely that Emwazi was at the KaM camp because his friends also went there.

Mr Begg is sitting around a table with Abu Omar Al-Shishani (pictured), who was then leader of the militant group Katibat Al-Muhajireen

Mr Begg is sitting around a table with Abu Omar Al-Shishani (pictured), who was then leader of the militant group Katibat Al-Muhajireen

‘It is also likely from the evidence of the photograph that Moazzam Begg was linked to the same camp.

‘So Moazzam Begg should reveal what interactions he has had with this camp or other camps.’ Kuwaiti-born Emwazi, who grew up in the Queen’s Park area of West London, is believed to have travelled to Syria in late 2012, apparently fleeing Britain in the back of a lorry.

He is thought to have joined the ranks of KaM, which was fighting the Assad regime at the time. Three of Emwazi’s friends from London joined KaM months before him.

They included Ibrahim Mazwagi, 21, Mohammed Al-Araj, 23, and Choukri Ellekhlifi, 22, all of whom have been killed in Syria.

Last night Lord Carlile, the Government’s former counter-terrorism watchdog, said: ‘I think if Moazzam Begg was present at the camp as has been alleged, then I would hope that he makes full disclosure of his activities there.’

A spokesman for Cage said: ‘Cage reiterates its position that the last contact we had with Mr Emwazi was in 2012 over email.’

Logo: The symbol for jihadi group Jaish Al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, which was run by Al-Shishani

Logo: The symbol for jihadi group Jaish Al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, which was run by Al-Shishani

Cage also denied claims that it was an ‘apologist for terror.’

A spokesman said: ‘To explain and seek answers to people turning to violence is not to apologise.

‘No Muslim organisation or leader has excused Emwazi’s actions, but we want to understand how a young man brought up here ends up engaging in such behaviour.’

Last night, Birnberg Peirce & Partners, the law firm acting for Mr Begg, said: ‘Mr Begg at no time ever met Mohammed Emwazi; he knew nothing of his existence in Syria or anywhere else.

‘He, Mr Begg, did not train at the Katibhat Al-Muhajireen camp.’

The Charity Commission has investigated the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and The Roddick Foundation over the two bodies’ six-figure donations to Cage.

The Rowntree Trust recently stopped the funding after Cage’s links to Emwazi emerged in the wake of him being unmasked as Jihadi John.

Internet gaffe by US government as UK extremist’s sharia law photo used in free speech ad

The US government has made a bizarre internet gaffe by posting a British Muslim extremist’s photograph of veiled women calling for sharia law, citing it as an inspirational example of free speech in the West.

The American State Department’s ‘Think Again Turn Away’ campaign is designed to dissuade Muslims from joining IS – also known as ISIS – and other extreme groups. 

The campaign posted the picture on its Twitter account last week, adding: ‘In open societies, all faiths enjoy freedom of speech; under ISIS rule, no such thing as freedom of expression.’

The photograph shows Muslim women, all in black burkas, running a campaign stall in Dalston, East London

The photograph shows Muslim women, all in black burkas, running a campaign stall in Dalston, East London

The photograph shows Muslim women, all in black burkas, running a stall in Dalston, East London. They are standing behind a trestle table covered in leaflets and a banner reading: ‘Shariah law or man made law. Which is better for mankind?’ 

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found the banner was used in an extremist campaign called Stay Muslim, Don’t Vote, which calls for strict sharia law to be imposed on Britain, as well as urging Muslims not to vote in elections.

The photo was given the caption ‘Muslims coming out inviting society to Islam’ – which was copied by the US State Department – by a man calling himself Abdulrahman Muhajir, whose Twitter account is suspended.

Blunder: Moshiur Rahman, who posted the image online

Blunder: Moshiur Rahman, who posted the image online

The Mail on Sunday can reveal he is Moshiur Rahman, a 33-year-old from Luton, who last year was one of 12 Islamists given Asbos banning them from taking part in demonstrations over a violent protest rally on Oxford Street. At least two of the gang are believed to be fighting for IS in Syria.

Anjem Choudary – the hate preacher who has repeatedly blamed British foreign policy for terrorist attacks and whose al-Muhajiroun group was banned by the Government – was present at the event in Dalston on March 7. He has also given talks in Walthamstow and East Ham at demonstrations where the sign was used.

The photo appropriated by the US State Department was first placed on Twitter last week by a woman calling herself Umm Usmaan, who is a leading figure in the anti-democracy campaign.

She described it as an ‘Islamic roadshow’ and included the slogan ‘stay Muslim, don’t vote’ when she put the photo on Twitter.

Yesterday she posted a picture of another sign with the message: ‘The right of legislation belongs to none but Allah!’

Last night, terror expert Douglas Murray, associate director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said: ‘It’s an incredibly weak “fail”,’ he said. ‘They should be putting a bit more thought into their sourcing. With all of our resources, it’s not even as accomplished as the crudest IS propaganda.’

US Twitter users were also quick to ridicule the State Department, with one calling it an ‘epic fail’. 

Conservative US commentator Mark Steyn added: ‘Why is the State Department promoting sharia for the United Kingdom? Aren’t they supposed to uphold the Constitution of the United States? Sharia’s incompatible with that constitution, as it is with the legal inheritance of Western civilisation.’ 

The State Department did not respond to requests to comment yesterday. 


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The ‘wife killer’ UK won’t kick out


Croatian shot his wife 14 times then fled here. But our judges refuse to send him back to face justice… and yes, it’s because of HIS right to a family life!

  • Branko Loncar, 55, moved to UK after being cleared of murdering his wife
  • He won asylum by claiming he fled country due to anti-Serb discrimination
  • But Croatian court convicted him in his absence during a retrial in 2000
  • Croatia asked for his extradition from UK in 2005 but lawyers fought move
  • They said he had right to family life with new Serbian partner in the UK 
  • Loncar continued claiming benefits and was convicted of common assault
  • High Court has now ruled it ‘oppressive’ to send Loncar back after so long

16 March 2015

Branko Loncar, 55, won a long legal battle against being returned to Croatia to serve four years in prison for attempted murder

Branko Loncar, 55, won a long legal battle against being returned to Croatia to serve four years in prison for attempted murder

A man who shot his dying wife 14 times as she was hanging from a noose can continue to live freely in Britain – after judges refused to extradite him.

Branko Loncar, 55, has won a long legal battle against being returned to Croatia to serve four years in prison for attempted murder, despite committing further crimes, including an assault, while living in London.

He earlier won asylum after complaining he had to flee Croatia because of anti-Serb discrimination – and his lawyers argued locals would persecute him over the shooting.

Last week’s High Court ruling is a sharp reminder that while the Government talks of ejecting foreign criminals, in practice the criminals routinely win the right to stay here.

Loncar, who has been on benefits and had a drink problem since arriving in Britain with his two sons in 1999, made the extraordinary defence that he was not aiming at his wife when he fired repeatedly from a few yards away.

In any case, his lawyers claimed, she died as a result of hanging herself, not because of the 14 bullets he ‘accidentally’ fired into her defenceless body. A Croatian court which heard the case in his absence rejected his defence, sentenced him to four years in prison, and ten years ago the country formally issued an international arrest warrant and requested his extradition from Britain.

His lawyers first successfully fought against the extradition on human rights grounds, arguing that he had a new Serbian ‘partner’ in Britain – who actually lives a hundred miles away – and that he now had grandchildren in London.

And last week British judges finished off the extradition bid for ever, giving Loncar the right to remain free here, after ruling it ‘oppressive’ to send him back to prison in Croatia after so long.

He was also commended for raising his children alone after shooting his wife.

Speaking in broken English to the Daily Mail last night at his housing association flat close to fashionable Camden in North London, Loncar said he had every right to remain in Britain, adding: ‘Croatia is dangerous – they still want me there.’

The case began in 1994, amid the chaos of the Balkan wars, when Loncar, an ethnic Serb and former soldier in the Yugoslavian army, lived with his wife Mirjana and two sons in the village of Ostrovo. The area was declared part of a Serbian republic but was also claimed by Croatia.

UK court documents note: ‘After a quarrel with his wife Mirjana, she went out of the house, stood on a ladder, took a rope and indicated she intended to kill herself. As she stood from the ladder and the noose tightened around her neck and rendered her unconscious, the defendant fired a number of bullets into her body.

‘The cause of death was determined to be by strangulation but was accelerated by the injuries inflicted from the defendant’s gun. The defendant was charged with murder.’

The subsequent trial – by a Serbian court – heard that Loncar had fired 14 shots from his handgun ‘causing a number of injuries’.

Last week, British judges finished off the extradition bid for ever, giving Loncar the right to remain free in the UK, by ruling in the High Court (pictured) that it would be ‘oppressive’ to send him back to prison in Croatia

Last week, British judges finished off the extradition bid for ever, giving Loncar the right to remain free in the UK, by ruling in the High Court (pictured) that it would be ‘oppressive’ to send him back to prison in Croatia

He told the court ‘that when he saw that his wife had jumped off the ladder, he took the gun and ammunition out of the holster he had under his arm and fired the gun from three to four metres away, but did not know in which direction.’

After a single pathologist claimed Mrs Loncar had already died of strangulation before being shot, he was initially cleared of murder.

In 1999 he then flew to England with his children and successfully claimed asylum, saying that his ethnic Serbian children were discriminated against by Croatians at school – but also complaining of ‘local antipathy resulting from the death of his wife’.

 We have reached the firm conclusion that it would be oppressive to extradite Mr Loncar by reason of the passage of time
High Court ruling in Loncar’s favour

While he began a life on benefits here, Croatia’s supreme court in 2000 ordered a retrial, with Loncar’s village now a part of Croatia, and the following year he was convicted in his absence of attempted murder. Four doctors said Mrs Loncar was still alive when her husband shot her. He was given a four-year prison sentence on the grounds that he ‘had an intention to kill’.

Croatia, a member of the European Union, some years later sought Loncar’s extradition, and in 2006 British police arrested him.

A UK court swiftly rejected the request, noting with sympathy that he had to bring up his children alone after shooting his wife. But in 2014 he was arrested again, and although he was immediately freed on bail the case was sent to the High Court in London.

Last week’s High Court judgment in Loncar’s favour, by judges Lord Justice Aiken and Mrs Justice Popplewell, the conclusion of the long legal battle, noted: ‘The offence for which the extradition of Mr Loncar is sought is undoubtedly a very serious one. Moreover, Mr Loncar has not led a blameless life as a British citizen.

‘He has a caution for theft in 2012 and a conviction for common assault in 2013. Nevertheless we have reached the firm conclusion that it would be oppressive to extradite Mr Loncar by reason of the passage of time.’

The ruling was also sharply critical of the Croatian legal system, and observed that he had served a year in prison before being initially cleared almost 20 years ago.

And in reference to the Human Rights Act’s ‘right to a family life’ clause, judges said Loncar had ‘been in a relationship with the same partner since prior to 2006, although they do not live together’.

Far from living together, the Daily Mail has discovered that ‘partner’ helping provide him with a ‘family life’ to maintain here is an ethnic Serb born in Britain and living 100 miles from him in Leicester. 


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