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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SNIPPET via Quora: WW2 - Why are the Allies considered to be the "good guys"?

The truest and most succinct answer ever.

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." -  Winston Churchill.

It's now all about disarming Hamas

Fragmentation of the Middle-East is headed faster than ever sprouting  from Saudi Arabia's stubborn resolve to crush Hamas seen as a branch of  Muslim Brotherhood.  

It  arises from apprehensions concerning the  Ikhwans of Arabia going back to the early 1900s.  In 1902 (almost 80 years after being sacked by the Ottomans), Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud with some 60 of his brothers and cousins rode out into the desert to restore the rule of Al Saud.  He recaptured Riyadh.  But to conquer all of the Arabian Peninsula he needed the help of the nomadic Bedouins called ‘Ikhwan’ or Muslim Brothers who were recognized warriors wanting to spread their brand of Islam throughout the Middle East. With the help of the Ikhwans, Abdul Aziz captured province after province of the vast desert shedding plenty of blood.  But the Ikhwans were still restless and wanted to take over regions beyond Arabia. When Abdul Aziz disagreed, the Ikhwans rebelled.  With  the endorsement of al-Wahab religious authority who have been the "moral guardians" of the Sauds, Abdul Aziz crushed the Ikhwans, declared himself "king" in the  1930s and gave his name to the entire Arabian peninsula.  Around  the same time, a conscientious young schoolteacher, Hassan al-Banna,  established a different branch of 'Muslim Brotherhood' in Egypt which was a  peaceful social-welfare organization that gained considerable  popularity among the Egyptian middle-class.  Brotherhood network  gradually stretched across Egypt, Gaza, Jordan and Syria.  But with the  passage of time, the ideology established by Hassan al-Banna changed and  Brotherhood began voicing its own school  of Salafiism as a formidable rival of the al-Wahab Salafiists in Saudi Arabia.  Thus, once  again the Sauds began looking upon the 'Ikhwans' as a threat.

Coming to the present: 
Between Saudi Arabia, USA,  Israel, Egypt and UAE, the goal is to disarm and disband Hamas while  every other issue takes the back seat.  On the opposite side are Qatar  and Turkey supporting Hamas. Qatar's relations have lately soured  tremendously with the House of Saud.  Ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim, was awfully disappointed on Saudi Arabia's rigid stance against Hamas and  treating other gulf countries like puppet states of the Saudi kingdom.

Hamas isn't welcomed in Egypt either, and Turkey isn't on good terms with  post-Morsi Egypt.  The unofficial or secret Egyptian initiative on the  Palestinian issue refuses to condemn Israeli crimes  against Gaza.  It also refuses to highlight the  rights of the  Palestinian people under occupation in both Gaza and the West Bank.    Despite the blatant bias, Saudi Arabia has firmly endorsed the Egyptian  initiative with no  alternatives.  No wonder Israeli officials have  recently been hinting on their security cooperation with Egypt and the  gulf states and asking for Saudi / UAE cooperation for disarming  Hamas.   As recently as mid July 2014, an Israeli daily wrote of  Israel’s plan proposing to the United Nations for providing $50 billion  to rebuild  Gaza after disarming Hamas.  Likewise, sources close to Hamas and  Islamic Jihad are abuzz with news on lucrative offers coming from the  gulf states to Mahmoud Abbas for the the same purpose.  The immediate  Saudi / UAE assignment is to garner support for the Egyptian 'scheme.'   While the world expected Egypt to be an honest broker for providing  relief to the Palestinians abused and stifled by the 66-year-old occupation, Egypt  instead decided to worsen their ordeal based on its own selfish whims. 

The complication goes on ....

Chances of Riyadh / Tehran  rapprochement couldn't be slimmer after Iran's willingness to cooperate  with Iraq to confront and halt ISIL operations in Iraq.  Furthermore,   Iran is now selling higher  quality and cheaper super light crude (or condensate) to China that  leaves  little room for U.S. crude to enter the market for the world's top  energy  consumer.  China has already finalized annual contracts with Tehran and  is not expected to take any U.S. oil in the short-term.  That's not only  annoying for the US but the Sauds are no less glowing with fury and  jealousy.  

Mahmoud Abbas was supposed to visit Riyadh for talks on Hamas with the  Saudi king but the visit was abruptly called off.  Reportedly  Abbas didn't agree with the Saudi proposal which suggested to send  Palestinian soldiers from the West Bank to the Rafah Border to demonstrate  their willingness for disarming Hamas and Islamic Jihad with full  financial support from Saudi Arabia and UAE.  Abbas felt it was too  dangerous a move and would likely ignite a civil war in Palestine with  national unity becoming history forever.  Abbas' reversal of policy and  the dire need for national reconciliation as first priority has been  unexpected for Israel and its allies. Surprisingly he confirmed  accepting the conditions of the Palestinian resistance.  Presently in a  scenario as dim as this, Abbas (a well-known dissembler) happens to be  the only friend of the Palestinian resistance factions.  His sudden  volte-face is apparently an indication of conceding defeat from the  resistance factions, their rising popularity and his own dwindling image  in comparison.  The other silver lining reflects another surprising  element.  The US isn't showing much enthusiasm for the Egyptian  initiative. Have the Americans sensed that it's a bad idea which will  unite and strengthen the Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza who  would never agree to any of the conditions of the Egyptian brokerage  plan and instead, adamantly decide the course of future action  independently?   

Growing intolerance toward Muslims around the world

By Brother Abdel Malik Mujahid

Sometimes it is difficult to believe the extremism of the times we are living in.

Just last week, an elected member of the Indian Parliament, Rajan Vichare, angrily force fed a Muslim worker, while he kept begging him not to, since he was fasting  during Ramadan. Ten other members of his party approvingly watched.  Nothing happened to these members of Parliament from the Shiv Sena  Party.  Shiv Sena is a key fascist ally of  the Hindu extremist government that currently governs India. Find out  more about the incident in this video.

Muslim  minorities are going through a horrific time today as Islamophobia  spreads globally. This results in persecution of Muslim communities in  Burma, Sri Lanka, Palestine, China, and the Central African Republic. It  also results in small, but disturbing incidents in many other nations.

On a larger scale, China has banned fasting for  Muslim employees and students. Five European countries have banned Halal  meat. In three Europeans countries, Muslim women cannot wear Hijab in  public places. In Switzerland you cannot build a Minaret.

In Burma, extremists, in partnership with the  government, have destroyed about 300 Masjids and don’t allow even Juma  Salat in Rohingya Muslim areas.

There used to be five million Muslims in Burma.  Today, only three million are left. Rohingya Muslims are indigenous  people who were living in their ancestral land peacefully. That was  until the racist regime started its divide and rule policies of  racial hatred.

As  many as 40% of all Muslims live as minorities around the world. That is  more than 700 million Muslims. Many are increasingly at the mercy of  majorities who are unfortunately influenced by negative news about  Muslims, along with Islamophobia in general.

Justice For All, a 19-year-old organization, was  founded in the aftermath of the Bosnia and Kosova tragedies. It works  to help such minority causes.

Alhamdulillah, Muslims are standing up in support of Palestine in an  unprecedented manner. May Allah give the Palestinians freedom from their  long occupation.

 But we need to do the same for those minorities  who are not in the news, and who receive far less concern and attention. 

This is how genocide in Burma is implemented:

While  Muslims feel pained by what is happening in Palestine and donate for  that legitimate cause, it is critical that we do not abandon the cause  of Burmese Muslims.

Saving lives, liberating people from  concentration camps, fi sabeelillah, all three categories of Zakat apply  to this extraordinary work, which Muslims in America have united to do. 

With Sabr and Tawakkul we can stop this genocide insha Allah.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Solidarity with Gaza in West Bank .. and around the world

"One blood, one enemy."  That has been the spirit in West  Bank.  Anger is boiling over as Palestinians in West Bank feel they  cannot sit back and watch their defenseless brethren get butchered.   Unrest began in West Bank (East Jerusalem) after the murder of  17-year-old Muhammad Khdeir early July 2014 and ever since there have  been several clashes between Palestinians and Israelis.  After the start  of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, there has been an eerie lull in  West Bank - a state of shock and helplessness. 

As a Palestinian  from Gaza once described, the West Bankers are even more unfortunate  than the Gazans.  Gaza is under a single occupation - the Israeli  occupation. The West Bank is under a double occupation - occupied by  Israel and its ally, Mahmoud Abbas' PA.   Major portions of West Bank  are under Israeli occupation while smaller enclaves are nominally  governed by the Palestinian Authority under Abbas.  A widespread protest  in West Bank in solidarity with Gaza could be still more brutal as the  civilian population of West Bank would be punished by Israeli forces as  well as their trained subordinates, the Palestinian police serving the  PA.  A small demonstration of 200 on July 16 was abruptly stopped by 80  armed, helmeted and shielded Palestinian policemen before it reached an  illegal Israeli settlement nearby.  Yet that suppression hasn't erased  the grief and pain felt by the West Bankers for the mass murders in  Gaza.  "I'm a son of the Palestinian people, the Gazans are also  Palestinians.  Our  message to the occupation is that we are one people, one blood and we  have one enemy; the occupation is destroying Gaza and we have the  right to resist through all means, from rocks to rockets." This was stated by Dia Ali, a resident of West Bank.  Protesters carried Palestinian flags with signs "Stand by Gaza. Stop the genocide" and chanted, "Gaza you are sacrificing your blood for our  dignity."  A car among the  demonstrators played a Hamas song. 

After all, in the general  elections of 2006, Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestine in both  West Bank and Gaza, routing PA hollow.  In fact majority of the votes in  support of Hamas came from the West Bank.  Yet, it's the PA that is at  present illegally occupying the Ramallah compound and continues to rule  at the behest of the West and Israel who were left red-faced over Hamas'  victory.  It's a bit like the Democrats getting defeated by the Republicans in  the polls but the Dem president refusing to budge and continuing to  govern from the Oval office. "Democracy" is upheld by the West only as  long as it suits their interest.  Otherwise, there are no such concepts  as norms or principles and no amount of violations are unacceptable to  protect that interest.  Since 2006, the champions of "democracy" have  secretly vowed never to talk about elections in Palestine again.  They  couldn't handle the truth and wasted no time strengthening the loser  with support and money. 

However, senior PA members have been warning of  the risk that anger could any time get out of control as Palestinians  of all walks of life are getting increasingly desperate at the continued  suffering of the Gazans.  But an all out uprising in West Bank is  unlikely, not because the West Bankers are afraid of the chaos as  erupted during the first and second Intifada.  But because there are no  funds, none to support them, no experienced leadership except the PA  traitors who are with Israel and therefore no one to wisely plan a  movement.  People are generally called to stand in solidarity by social  networking media like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.  Popular protests  are often organized haphazardly with a low turnout in response to  initiatives from young activists and civil society groups.  That's as  far as they can go under the circumstances.  The Palestinian Authority  is just as much their enemy as Israel. 

What's urgently required  is for the PA to immediately stop its security coordination with  Israel, to speak to its own people to establish a strong political  movement, contact the International Criminal Court immediately and send  envoys around the world.  But that is a far cry from the situation now.   Probably in any case, such an initiation would be brutally quelled by  Israel within the first couple of weeks.   The situation at present is a picture of helplessness for all Palestinians -  Gaza and West Bank alike - especially when we watch the deep slumber  and treacherous snores of the oil-rich gulf leaders.

Since July 8, Israel has carried out hundreds of air raids in the  Gaza Strip.  Over 1,000 Palestinians have died until July 18 and more  than 5,000 seriously wounded.

Do not miss the piece put up by Stuart Littlewood, July 26, "Britain dies of shame .. Why is Hamas banished to outer darkness?" at Redress Online.

Excerpt:  " .... as Her Majesty’s Government plays the useful idiot to Israel’s crazed ambition.  Today in London crowds are gathering to vent their anger in a mass  demonstration and march to parliament to “stop the massacre in Gaza” and  call for an arms embargo against Israel. This follows last weekend’s  huge protest outside the Israeli embassy and campaigns against the BBC’s  pro-Israel bias in reporting the assault on Gaza.  There is growing resentment among British people at being endlessly  shamed by their government’s complicity in the mega-injustices and  non-stop crimes inflicted on the native people of the Holy Land,  exemplified by Whitehall’s attempts to whitewash Israel’s latest  genocidal offensive.  And on this the 19th day of Israel’s blitzkrieg comes news of a  brief humanitarian “pause”, after which the killing spree will continue  while Israel attempts to eradicate Gaza’s tunnels.

A few days earlier Baroness  Jenny Tonge, in the House of Lords, asked the government what action it  planned to take to open diplomatic relations with Hamas, to which Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, replied: 'Our policy towards Hamas is clear – we have no contact with Hamas, which  is a proscribed terrorist organization. Hamas must renounce violence,  recognize Israel and accept previously signed agreements. Hamas must  make a credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the  benchmark against which their intentions are judged, before we consider a  change in our stance.'  Warsi is a Muslim and should know better. How can anyone sensibly  recognize Israel when it won’t agree its borders? Has she ever put it to  the Israelis that they too must renounce violence, recognize Palestine  and accept previously signed agreements – the benchmark against which  their intentions will be judged?"


Monday, July 21, 2014

Egypt's transformation: From a country to a devil

The fervor, support and sympathy by the Egyptian people for the Palestinian cause has gradually waned since the past one year.  This has been the single unspeakable tragedy after the sacking of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Humanitarians and political  activists are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to convince the Egyptian public to participate in solidarity movements expressing their  disapproval over the genocide and blatant human rights  violations by Israeli forces in occupied Gaza and West Bank.  Though Hamas is still  popular among various segments of Egyptians, many more seem to be  against them because of their connections with the Muslim Brotherhood.  But  the problem is,  hatred for Hamas in Egypt has crossed all bounds in amazing  proportions, resulting in an astonishing display of heartlessness.  The hard-edged and nasty attitude is spearheaded by the Egyptian media including television presenters.  The cruel rhetoric has been mind boggling, almost petrifying, that carries a striking  resemblance with the sort of inhumanity rampant within hardcore  rightist Israelis. 

According to TV presenter Ahmad Moussa,   Hamas and al-Qassam  Brigades "are not our brothers, neither Muslims, they are the  enemy...strike every place in Gaza, it is the right of our children."  Commenting on the injured Gazans who desperately need to cross into  Egypt for medical treatment, Moussa stated, "we don’t want anyone of them,  those who are dying, let them die  there."  According to another Egyptian TV presenter, Amany al-Khayat,  the war on Gaza is a "joke" where Hamas is purposely trying to  masquerade as the "victim" to gain sympathy of the Egyptian  government and its people for opening the Rafah border and smuggling  weapons.  This woman also reportedly expressed her desire for Israeli  air force to bomb Hamas offices in Gaza.   Azza Sami, a senior editor of  Egypt's state-run newspaper, Al-Ahram (formerly the mouthpiece for  Mubarak), tweeted:  "Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more people  like you to destroy Hamas."   

The Egyptian media's irrational abhorrence for Hamas has completely impaired its capacity to discern between the  government of Gaza and its civilians.   Recently, Egypt's Defense  Minister, Sedki Sobhi, decided to send 500 tons of  food and medical supply to the Gaza Strip over which Al-Bashayer newspaper commented that the Egyptians were poorer and more needy  than  the people of Gaza.  Seldom do we find the concept of forgiveness so conspicuously absent within an institution or community.   As expected, such media  attitude  is having a brutish impact on the minds of the  Egyptian people,  deadening their sentiments with a blind eye to the unprecedented  suffering that prevails in Gaza, acknowledged discreetly even by the  friends of Israel.

In July 2013, Sissi's approach  was widely accepted after Mohamed Morsi's policies resulted in a thumping failure  of which majority of the Egyptians strongly disapproved.  Furthermore  the subversive activities carried out by members of the Muslim Brotherhood following their  ouster that caused several deaths of Egyptian civilians painted them in a very negative light.  However, there can be  other situations still more dire.  All that's expected of Egypt's  Al-Sissi is to be a willing mediator for the  benefit of the Palestinian people, a move that carries no dangers nor  risks to his government.  But his complacency over the  pain and suffering of his neighbors is inexplicable and  inexcusable.  Defenseless and incarcerated, the Gazans are facing one of  the most horrific genocides at the hands of the Zio-fascists in the  ongoing occupation of the region.  Our emphasis in on the  civilians of Gaza, not just Hamas.   This isn't the moment to nurture  political  resentment and  remain silent spectators while the blood of innocent  civilians  (mostly children) flow through alleys and roads with  the stench of death all around.  There is hardly a home or building in the major cities of Gaza that  isn't damaged or splattered with blood.  Whether to suit himself or to  please his people, Al-Sissi has stretched his vengeance too far.  The  faintest concept of solidarity has been eradicated from his policies as  well as his conscience.  Even an uncooperative recluse like Jordan is reported to have transported thousands of injured  Palestinians to its field hospitals for treatment but Egypt refuses to open the Rafah border.

While observers are  speculating that the scenario seems arranged  for Mahmoud Abbas to  negotiate a settlement for Gaza via the Egyptians, the Middle-East  Monitor opines that Abbas is no more a favorite of Cairo than Khaled  Meshal.  Believe it or not, the only Palestinian welcomed in Cairo is  supposed to be the shrewd and disgraced Mohamed Dahlan who is  purportedly bragging that he is the only savior of the Palestinian  people and aims at booting out both Hamas and Abbas through negotiations  with the Egyptian government.   Come hell or high water, just about  nothing chills out the frenzy of political ambition and the intrigues  that go with it!  

Still more amazing is the hysteria of nationalism and its potential for changing a sane society into a collection of thick-skinned sub-humans with unabashed admiration for exterminators.

Norman Finkelstein on what's coming next

He could be right.  Seems like strong possibility.

On Gaza: July 19, 2014.

(1) Netanyahu exploited the ceasefire  ultimatum (a trap laid by Blair, but of course with Obama’s connivance),  and the downing of the Malaysian airliner (which displaced Gaza from  the headlines), to launch the ground invasion.  However, it is only a  limited invasion because of the broad constraints still imposed on  Israel by international public opinion.  It gives Netanyahu enough time  and leeway to clobber Hamas and “mow the grass” in Gaza. 

(2)  But Netanyahu  can’t declare victory until the Hamas projectile attacks  cease, and without a full-scale invasion he can’t stop them.  Here’s  where Abbas comes in.  Abbas will negotiate an agreement with Egypt  whereby the PA will staff Rafah crossing, enabling Abbas to declare that  he won an end to the blockade.  The quid pro quo, however, is that he  will agree to prevent any arms smuggling into Gaza and to disarm Hamas.    Because

(a) Hamas’s key demand was to end the blockade,
(b) Hamas is isolated politically and neutered militarily, and
(c) Abbas is technically the head of the Unity government, Hamas will be forced to agree to these terms.  

If  things go according to plan, it will mark the end of Hamas as a  resistance movement, to the joy of the Arab states, the US, EU, Israel  and, of course, the PA.

Norman G. Finkelstein's Blog

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Massacre in Shujaiya (Gaza neighborhood): Tweets tell the story.

Bogus 5-hour UN "humanitarian" truce ends and Israel resumes slaughter in Gaza.  Countless number of Gazans killed as Israel shells eastern Gaza City, Shujaiya neighborhood.

Eyewitnesses to aftermath:  Some journalists entered Shujaiya during the pause in the Israeli  attack and tweeted images of what they saw. Others tweeted images from  in or near Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital.  (Electronic Intifada).

Tweet from Canadian journalist Janet Mackey Frayer of CTV National News:
What we saw: wholesale destruction, women running, headless man. Here, a medic calls out for survivors. #Gaza

Tweet from Paul Adams, BBC:
Shejaiya, during a brief ceasefire. Horrendous scenes of destruction.

Tweet from Lyse Doucet, BBC:
In #Gaza Shifa hospital the morgue is full, the emergency ward packed. #Shujayah

5 girls lost their mother 28 yr old Israa, Nihad lost his wife..fainted when he heard the news #Gaza

Constant shelling Shujayah this morning, clouds of smoke, terrified families on the run. #Gaza

Tweet from an eyewitness, Sara Hussein:
Just back from #Shejaiya, horrible scenes. Burnt bodies in the streets, buildings destroyed. Ceasefire a joke. Shelling, gunfire throughout

And ....

Among the dozens killed were cameraman Khaled Hammad and paramedic Fuad Jaber, in a strike on an ambulance, while they were trying to evacuate the wounded from Shujaiya.


Massacre in Shujaiya: Dozens killed as Israel shells eastern Gaza City - photos

Saturday, July 19, 2014