Categories: Baghdad, Coup, Iran in Iraq, Iraq
Tags: Baghdad, Coup, Iran in Iraq, Iraq
Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr was summoned to Tehran “for bashing and rebuke”, a Lebanon-based Shia cleric said.
Secretary General of the Arab Islamic Council in Lebanon Mohammad Ali Husseini said that the Iranian embassy in Baghdad informed Al-Sadr that he was summoned to Tehran because “his followers crossed red lines by criticizing and insulting clerical rule at a time when the Iranian regime is facing noticeable political and military decline among the countries of the region”.
Husseini told Okaz newspaper that Al-Sadr “will be subjected to much blame, censure and pressure” and he will be “redirected to serve Iran’s interest”.
Al-Sadr has mobilized followers to take to the streets to demand reforms and the replacement of ministers belonging to the parties dominating power in Baghdad.
Supporters of Al-Sadr stormed Baghdad’s Green Zone on Saturday before forcing their way into the parliament building where they broke windows and smashed furniture.
Categories: Islam and Jews, Israel
Tags: Islam and Jews, Israel
According to the blurb following the video,
In a lecture posted on the Internet on March 21, Egyptian-German scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad said that the Prophet Muhammad had lowered the Jews to a “subhuman level, viewing them as animals,” and he compared the treatment of the Jews in the years following Muhammad’s death to that of the Nazis. “This hatred is poisoning us” and “preventing us from dealing with our problems in a serious way,” said Abdel-Samad, adding that “instead of poisoning one generation after another with this hatred, we should let them learn something from humanity,” in order to enable them to “overcome the barrier of hatred and of fear of the other.” The lecture is titled “Islamic Fascism and the Jews.” For additional lectures by Abdel-Samad, see MEMRI TV clips 5443 and 5356.
Tags: Anti Semitism, Gaza, Hamas, Islam, Islamic Jihad, Israel, Jihad, Middle East, Middle East War, Palestinians, Terrorism
Netanyahu assembles Cabinet as Gaza spins out of control Mortar fire on soldiers unearthing attack tunnels continues, IAF responds with airstrikes. PM calls an emergency meeting to set policy.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/5/2016, 5:10 PM / Last Update: 5/5/2016, 7:02 PM
In light of the deteriorating security situation on the security border with Gaza, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday decided to call an emergency Cabinet meeting to set policy for the volatile region.
Netanyahu called a Cabinet meeting for Thursday evening to be attended by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, but later the meeting was postponed to Friday morning.
In the meeting, ministers and security officials are to try and hash out a policy for IDF activities on the Gaza security border as it heats up.
Shortly afterward the call for the meeting, Khalil al-Haya, a senior Hamas politburo member, claimed that a truce to end the current outbreak of fighting on the Gaza border has been reached with Israel, thanks to the help of Egypt, Qatar and the UN.
The statement comes despite the fact that a ceasefire is currently supposed to be in effect after having been reached between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in August 2014, ending Operation Protective Edge.
Three separate Hamas mortar attacks were launched at roughly two hour intervals by Gazan terrorists on IDF soldiers near the security border in southern Gaza on Thursday.
A mortar shell was launched at the soldiers around 7 p.m.; fortunately no one was wounded.
Roughly two hours earlier two mortars rounds were fired by the terrorists, likewise wounding no one. The IDF responded to the two with tank fire.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) then responded to the mortars by launching airstrikes in southern Gaza. At least four Hamas terror targets were said to be hit in the strikes.
According to Palestinian media a Gazan woman was killed in the Israeli response.
The first mortar attack of the day came as two mortar shells were fired at soldiers working near the border to unearth Hamas’s terror tunnel network, which runs underneath the border to facilitate attacks inside sovereign Israeli territory.
In yet another blow to the terrorists it was revealed on Thursday that a senior Hamas terrorist was captured by Israel, and he revealed extensive information regarding the terror tunnels.
27 Lawmakers Warn Obama Against Transferring MANPADS to Syrian Rebels
5 May 2016
MAHMOUD TAHA/AFP/Getty Images
JERUSALEM – On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and 25 other members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama stating their opposition to the transfer of man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADs, to the Syrian rebels.
The lawmakers warned MANPAD proliferation to the Syrian rebels would represent a “serious threat to civilian airliners in the region — including Israeli airliners — and across the world.”
The letter was in direct response to a Wall Street Journal article last month reporting on CIA plans to possibly arm moderate Syrian rebels with more advanced weaponry if the truce in Syria continues to deteriorate and full-scale fighting resumes.
The article cited U.S. and other officials divulging that the CIA was preparing for a so-called Plan B to counter Russia and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. The plan, the newspaper reported, calls for “vetted rebel units with weapons systems that would help them in directing attacks against Syrian regime aircraft and artillery positions.” That option was to be used only if the truce collapses and major fighting resumes.
The article did not state the CIA was considering providing MANPADS to Syrian rebels. It cited CIA fears that coalition partners like Turkey and Saudi Arabia could go behind the agency’s back and ship MANPADS to rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The letter to Obama, initiated by Conyers and Yoho, urged the president to “maintain your stance in opposition to sending MANPADS into Syria” and it requested that Obama “strongly discourage all nations from doing so.”
The letters warned that transferring MANPADS to combatants in Syria “would appear to violate at least three U.S.-backed international agreements,” including:
- The U.S.-initiated G8 Action Plan;
- The Wassenaar Arrangement on Arms Control in 2003;
- And a 2005 Organization of American States resolution.
The lawmakers expressed concern that weapons provided to moderate Syrian rebels could in turn be transferred to al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups.
They noted such worries were “validated when the Pentagon confirmed that last September, Syrian rebels vetted and trained by the United States handed over their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.”
Continued the letter:
The rebels surrendered six pick-up trucks and ammunition—amounting to about one-quarter of their issued equipment—to an agent of the Nusra Front. And just last month, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria attacked a Western-backed rebel faction, taking over bases and seizing U.S.-supplied weapons including antitank missiles. These are just a few examples of the repeated instances of terrorist organizations operating inside Syria acquiring U.S.-supplied weapons from rebels that have been vetted by the Pentagon or CIA.
Last month’s Journal article, meanwhile, revealed the CIA believes that Mideast rebels have already obtained MANPADs, and the agency fears the weaponry could be acquired by terrorist groups and utilized against civilian aircraft.
This significant detail was contained in the 13th paragraph of the larger Wall Street Journal article reporting on CIA plans to possibly arm moderate Syrian rebels with more advanced weaponry if the truce in Syria continues to deteriorate and full-scale fighting resumes.
The Journal reported:
To coalition partners including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the CIA has twinned assurances that the U.S. will allow the anti-Assad coalition to supply more weapons with warnings that they would be mistaken to go behind Washington’s back to provide weapons systems that Mr. Obama has decided so far not to introduce to the battlefield.
The agency’s principal concern focuses on man-portable air-defense systems, known as Manpads. The CIA believes that rebels have obtained a small number of Manpads through illicit channels. Fearing these systems could fall into terrorists’ hands for use against civilian aircraft, the spy agency’s goal now is to prevent more of them from slipping uncontrollably into the war zone, according to U.S. and intelligence officials in the region.
It is widely understood that some Syrian rebel elements have already obtained and deployed MANPADs.
Last month, a Syrian jet was reportedly shot down by rebels utilizing an antiaircraft missile. The event marks the second time the Syrian government said it was attacked in recent weeks by rebels deploying antiaircraft missiles. The Syrian military in March said one of its warplanes was shot down in western Syria that month.
Upon the downing of the Syrian jet last month, this reporter raised questions about how the Mideast rebels may have obtained MANPADs.
Did NATO-member Turkey, already in hot water for brazenly shooting down a Russian warplane, pass antiaircraft missiles to rebels as part of Ankara’s obsessive bid to counter the Syria-Russia axis? Turkey, concerned by Syria’s recent gains against the Islamic State and other rebel forces, is known to be one of the main suppliers of more extremist elements among the anti-Assad rebels.
There is also the possibility that antiaircraft weapons were obtained by Syrian rebels from elements that looted Moammar Gadhafi’s reserves of of MANPADS. The largest terrorist looting of MANPADS took place immediately after the 2001 U.S.-NATO military campaign, strongly pushed by Hillary Clinton, that toppled Gadhafi’s regime in Libya.
NATO failed to immediately protect the reserves of MANPADS.
As I reported at the time:
Gadhafi had hoarded Africa’s biggest-known reserve of MANPADS, with a stock said to number between 15,000 and 20,000. Many of the missiles were stolen by militias fighting in Libya, including those backed by the U.S. in their anti-Gadhafi efforts. There were reports of a Western effort to secure the MANPADS, including collecting some from rebels in Libya.
Saudi Columnist Following Pulverizing Of Aleppo: Assad Is The No. 1 Terrorist; Is Putin Any Different From Al-Baghdadi? Is Khamenei More Humane Than Al-Zawahiri?Posted May 5, 2016 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Aleppo Syria, Assad, Hezbollah, Iran - Syria war, Russia - Syrian war, Saudi media, Syria war
Tags: Aleppo Syria, Assad, Hezbollah, Iran - Syria war, Russia - Syrian war, Saudi media, Syria war
Following the massive attack on the city of Aleppo by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally, which included the destruction of a hospital, Saudi columnist Khalaf Al-Harbi penned an article in which he harshly attacked the Syrian regime as well as the leaders of Russia, Iran and Hizbullah. Writing in the government Saudi daily ‘Okaz, he accused these leaders of committing a “genocide” of the Syrian people, and the international community of silent complicity in this crime. He added that this crime was comparable to, if not worse than, the crimes of terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
The following are excerpts from the article:Khalaf Al-Harbi (image: All4syria.info)
“In disaster-ridden Aleppo, a [Syrian air force] jet dropped barrel bombs on a hospital that was treating victims of previous airstrikes. The wounded [victims], the doctors and [other] patients were killed, and at the same time another jet bombed the rescue teams and civil defense [forces]. All this, of course, under the pretext of combatting terrorists!
“What action can terrorists carry out that is worse than the destruction of a hospital[?]
“Look at all the terrifying ISIS videos and the barbaric Al-Qaeda statements, and you will see the same [acts], possibly even less severe ones. If ISIS sends a suicide [bomber] to blow up a vegetable market, Bashar [Al-Assad] and Putin’s jets, together with Iran and Hizbullah, have already erased an entire city, and strove with all their might to exterminate its peaceful residents.
“What’s the difference between Putin and [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi? Is it possible that [Iranian Supreme Leader] Khamenei any more humane than [Al-Qaeda Leader] Al-Zawahiri? Did [Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader] Al-Zarqawi commit any crimes that [Hizbullah leader] Hassan Nasrallah has refused to commit? And as for Bashar Al-Assad – he cannot even be compared to the most satanic among people and demons, since he is the number one terrorist butcher, who receives the blessings of the international community, and in most cases has even conspired with it.
“Moreover, one could say that the case of Al-Baghdadi, Al-Zawahiri, and other terrorist leaders is simpler than that of Putin, Khamenei, Nasrallah, and Bashar, since these terrorist leaders are wanted all over the world, whereas the leaders of the barrel bombs are presidents of UN member-states. The silence regarding the crimes [of these leaders] provides certain legitimacy to the methodical extermination [they carry out in Syria], while we thought that such matters have long ago disappeared from the world.
“If the horrible crimes taking place in Aleppo today are classified as ‘combatting terrorism,’ then we say to the supporters of the barrel bombs – you will surely lose [this] campaign. This, because the child whose good family was destroyed in front of him will not become a peace activist or a human rights activist, but will seek an organization even more barbaric than ISIS to [join, in order to] avenge his family that was wiped off the face of the earth. Shame will continue to hound all those who, for political or sectarian reasons, supported [the dropping of] barrel bombs…”
 ‘Okaz (Saudi Arabia), May 2, 2016.
Tags: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton
Why Hillary Likely to Become Next US President No Matter What
At the current stage of the US presidential campaign a cautious prognosis could be made that Hillary Clinton would win the race. There are several reasons for such an assumption, including the dynasty tradition inherent in the US political system as well as the specifics of the American electoral process.
Here is a quick look on how political dynasties form in the US.
Like Father Like Son
American political dynasties emerged shortly after the United States appeared on the world political map.
John Adams Jr. served as US president in 1797-1801. His son John Quincy Adams served as the 6th President of the US in 1825-1829. Retired general William Harrison died a month after becoming president, on April 4, 1811. His grandson Benjamin Harrison became president in 1889.
Zachary Taylor who was elected president in 1849 was great nephew of James Madison, the 4th President of the US (1809-1817). Franklin Roosevelt was distantly related to Theodore Roosevelt (president in 1901-1909).Barbara Pierce Bush, the wife of the 41st President of the US, George H.W. Bush, descended from the family of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the US. She could have become the mother of two US presidents, but her younger son Jeb Bush withdrew from the ongoing presidential race.
Against the Will of Majority
One of the most distinctive features of the US political system is the fact that in the US a candidate can win the presidential election even if he gains fewer votes than his rival.
The most notable case of this occurring is when George W. Bush won the electoral college to be reelected as president in 2004, even though John Kerry won the popular vote.The issue is that citizens of the US do not directly elect the president. Instead, these voters directly elect designated mediators called “electoral voters.” The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (currently 270) for the office of president is elected to office.
The Electoral College allows under-populated states to have an equal command with heavily populated states. For instance, Wyoming has a population of nearly 600,000, and three voters while Texas with a population of 27.5 million has only 38 voters.
Another problem is that except for Maine and Nebraska, electoral voters are distributed on a “winner take all” basis. That is, all electoral voters are pledged to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in the state.
Maine and Nebraska delegate their electoral votes based on a “congressional district method,” selecting one electoral voter for each congressional district won by popular vote and selecting the remaining two electoral voters by a statewide popular vote.
Why Donald Trump Has Little Chance for Presidency
As a whole, the current electoral system is comfortable for the American political elite because it keeps undesirable candidates and politicians away from assuming power. Even if such a candidate runs from one of the leading parties (like flamboyant billionaire Donald Trump in the ongoing race) the system still cannot guarantee success for them.
According to a survey commissioned by the Gallup Institute, 59-62 percent of US citizens would prefer to elect the president directly. However, this initiative was blocked by Senate back in 1970.
Nevertheless, the struggle goes on. Ten years ago, several US states debated the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement designed to ensure that the candidate who wins the most popular votes nationwide is elected president. It has not yet come into effect.
As of 2016, it has been joined by 10 states and the District of Columbia, with their 165 combined electoral votes while 270 votes are needed for the compact to have legal force. However, chances are slim for the agreement to come into force.
Members of the Bush and Clinton families have been president of the United States for a total of 20 years, from 1989 to 2009. Then, ex-first lady Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s term. History of the US political process hint that Hillary Clinton has strong chances to become the 45th President of the United States.