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Talk about The Comeback Spy. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush (for Dubya he was like family), spectacularly resurfaced after one year in speculation-drenched limbo (was he or was he not dead, following an assassination attempt in July 2012?). And he was back in the limelight no less than in a face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Saudi King Abdullah, to quote Bob Dylan, “is not busy being born, he’s busy dying”. At least he was able to pick up a pen and recently appoint Bandar as head of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate; thus in charge of the joint US-Saudi master plan for Syria.
The four-hour meeting between Bandar Bush and Vlad the Hammer by now has acquired mythic status. Essentially, according to diplomatic leaks, Bandar asked Vlad to drop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and forget about blocking a possible UN Security Council resolution on a no-fly zone (as if Moscow would ever allow a replay of UN resolution 1973 against Libya). In return the House of Saud would buy loads ofRussian weapons.
Vlad, predictably, was not impressed. Not even when Bandar brazenly insisted that whatever form a post-Assad situation would take, the Saudis will be “completely” in control. Vlad – and Russian intelligence – already knew it. But then Bandar went over the top, promising that Saudi Arabia would not allow any Gulf Cooperation Council member country – as in Qatar – to invest in Pipelineistan across Syria to sell natural gas to Europe and thus damage Russian – as in Gazprom’s – interests.
When Bandar saw he was going nowhere, he reverted to his fallback position; the only way out in Syria is war – and Moscow should forget about the perennially postponed Geneva II peace conference because the “rebels” will be a no show.
BEIRUT - In Libya, armed militias have filled a void left by a revolution that felled a dictator. In Syria, a popular uprising has morphed into a civil war that has left more than 100,000 dead and provided a haven for Islamic extremists. In Tunisia, increasingly bitter political divisions have delayed the drafting of a new constitution.
And now in Egypt, often considered the trendsetter of the Arab world, the army and security forces, after having toppled the elected Islamist president, have killed hundreds of his supporters, declared a state of emergency and worsened a deep polarization.
It is clear that the region’s old status quo has been fundamentally damaged, if not overthrown, in the three years since the outbreak of the uprisings optimistically known as the Arab Spring. That was amply illustrated Wednesday in Egypt, where a reversion to the repressive tactics of the past was met with outrage by Islamist protesters who had tasted empowerment.
What is unclear, however, is the replacement model. Most of the uprisings have devolved into bitter struggles.
Middle East historians and analysts say that the political and economic stagnation under decades of autocratic rule that led to the uprisings also left Arab countries ill equipped to build new governments and civil society. While some of the movements achieved their initial goals, removing longtime leaders, their wider aims — democracy, dignity, human rights, social equality and economic security — now appear more distant than ever.
“The old regional order has gone, the new regional order is being drawn in blood, and it is going to take a long time,” said Sarkis Naoum, a political analyst at Lebanon’s An Nahar newspaper.
End of RAMADAN: The Holy Month Reminders
تذ كروا معاني الشهر الفضيل
The holy month of Ramadan is a very important month for Muslims because the first verses of the Holy Qur'an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad during a period of meditation and solitude in a cave near Mecca in the 7th Century. Therefore, Ramadan has been set aside for acts of worship and fasting. Muslims spend the month in meditation, prayer and abstinence from food, drinks, smoking and sexual acts between dawn and dusk.
The fast, during this month, is intended to be a challenging act taking the believer to a higher level of closeness to God. Some of the expected outcomes are cleansing of the soul by staying away from worldly pleasures, practicing self-discipline, sacrifice, generosity and charity.
The bigger question if Muslims now are following the basic principles of prophit Muhammad Islam, or what the Qur'an mean in every word and every sora.
Reminder to all Muslim's in this holy month:
Islam means that we are brother in Islam not enemies
Islam means love not hate
Islam means peace not war
Islma means building not to destruction
Islam means forgiveness not anger and enomosity
Islam to preserve human life not to kill
Stop the killing and destruction under the name of Islam, stop the hate and wars under the name of Islam, because Islam was, still and always will be bigger than all of us, and will remain in the mind and the heart of real Muslims as the Qur'an and prophit Muhammad wanted us to know it and believe in it.
تدمير المساجد ليس إسلام
قتل الأبرياء حرام في الإسلام
زرع الكراهية بين المسلمين جرم في الأسلام
فلنرفع الغطاء عن أحقادنا و ضغائننا فاالاسلام بريئ من جرمنا
حكاما كنتم ام مقاومين أما آن الاوان لصحوة الضمير والقلب
كفانا أيها السوريون, أيها العرب, بل كفانا أيها المسلمون إن كناحقا مسلمين
Turkey of 2013 is reminiscent of Greece of antiquity, when gods reigned in their hundreds. In Turkey, almost no actor is likely to accept that he can err. All are fully confident that theirs is the ultimate correct position on any issue around the globe. As a typical specimen of such bizarre conjecture, you deserve to be labeled immoral. Why? Simply, for this reason: Political actors quickly define a specific position as the only moral approach, then promptly declare all alternatives immoral. Thus, there is one position on Syria, one on Iran and one on Egypt. If you come up with an alternative, you are either a traitor or anti-democratic or amoral! (But then, this is not limited to Turkish citizens.)
The Turkey of 2013 does not like other states' perspectives: The US is corrupt, the EU is still colonial and the Muslim countries sleep, still without any real sense of politics. It is only the Turks who know the truth! Every day, one can read a tweet or an article -- not from a marginal person, but from a leading journalist, scholar or bureaucrat -- to the effect that the whole world awaits the Turks' wisdom and leadership to overcome its problems.
By Rim HADDAD - DAMASCUS
Syrians use black humour during fasting month of Ramadan to ease pain of war, soaring food prices.
As Syria's Muslims observe the fasting month of Ramadan at a time of war for a third year running, many people are turning to black humour to help them cope.
Jokes are a way to weather the difficulties of food shortages, violence and death that mar the sense of community and celebration supposed to accompany the religious month.
One popular joke plays off the traditional cannon fire that marks the end of the fasting day and the beginning of the iftar evening meal.
"Watch out! Just because you hear the sound of cannon fire doesn't mean it's time to break your fast," the joke goes, a sad testament to the frequent sound of warfare across the country.
In areas less affected by violence, residents might each night still be able to hear the msaharati, a man who walks the streets before dawn, waking people to eat before the fast begins.
But in areas ravaged by snipers and shelling, upholding such a tradition has become impossible.
أنقذوا أطفال سورية
More than a fifth of Syria's schools have been destroyed or made unusable in more than two years of conflict, jeopardising the education of 2.5 million young people, Save The Children aid agency reported on Friday,
The civil war in Syria has contributed to a sharp increase over the past year in the number of violent incidents affecting children's education reported worldwide, the agency said.
More than 70 percent of 3,600 such incidents in 2012 occurred in Syria, where school buildings were shelled, teachers attacked and children recruited into armed groups, it added.
Syrian plans to run for a spot on the U.N. Human Rights Council met with sharp criticism from the United States and Israel on Thursday, while Tehran announced it had withdrawn its candidacy for the world body's rights watchdog.
The General Assembly's annual elections for the United Nations' 47-nation, Geneva-based human rights body will be held in November in New York. There will be 14 seats available for the five U.N. regional groups for three-year terms beginning in January 2014.
From the so-called Asia group, which includes the Middle East and Asia, seven countries - China, Iran, Jordan, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Vietnam - will be vying for four seats, several diplomats from the Asia group said on Wednesday.
A spokeman for Iran's U.N. mission, however, said on Thursday that Iran had withdrawn its candidacy and did not provide an explanation.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters)
New York, Jul 8 2013 - The increasing use of rhetoric by political and religious leaders in the context of the Syrian crisis could exacerbate the violence in the Middle Eastern country and fuel tensions between different groups in the region, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide warned today.
Egypt Failed Experiment:
Egypt democratic reboot has failed dismally.
Says BBC's Jeremy Bowen
For all the talk of rebooting Egypt's political system, the fact is that its experiment with democracy has failed dismally.
The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political party, together the biggest political and social movement in the country, have been rounded up and locked away in a way that happened often in the years before 2011.
The army's intervention does not of itself do anything to tackle Egypt's huge economic problems. The country is deeply divided.
It is not a good beginning for a new era.
The resignation came two days after the opposition group elected a new president as it tries to unify and arm the rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad and to help civilians in rebel-held areas of Syria.
The prime minister, Ghassan Hitto, was appointed in March to assemble an administration that would govern rebel-held territory. It was not immediately clear why he resigned. But the opposition's efforts to establish that administration and a unified military command, and to obtain greater military support from the West, remain nascent at best. The United States and its allies have pledged to increase aid, but so far there has been little apparent impact, and members of the coalition have complained that it is hard to make progress when the West is not fully committed to helping them.
Read more: By HANIA MOURTADA and ANNE BARNARD / The New York Times
The Iconic Town Hall in Sydney has hosted many conferences and lectures throughout its history. And this time it is the renowned British MP, George Galloway who has brought close to 2000 citizens, parliamentarians and religious figures to his second and final lecture named Arab spring with a question mark.
By LEE KEATH Associated Press
The Egyptian cleric was in a fervor. With Hezbollah's Shiite fighters helping Bashar Assad crush Syrian rebels, he wanted to sound the alarm to Sunnis across the Middle East: "Now is the time for jihad."
Speaking on a Saudi TV station, Sheik Mohammed el-Zoghbi called on "young men in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Kuwait, Jordan, Yemen," to go to Syria to fight. "We must all go to purge Syria of this infidel regime, with its Shiites who came from Iran, southern Lebanon and Iraq," he shouted during an appearance on Al-Khalijiya TV.
The overt entry by Lebanon's Hezbollah militia in Syria's civil war on the side of its ally President Assad has sharpened sectarian divisions throughout the Middle East.
Fighters from the Shiite guerrilla group helped Syrian forces batter the rebel-held town of Qusair for three weeks until they finally overran it this week in a significant victory for Assad's regime. Many Sunni hard-liners have taken Hezbollah's intervention as a declaration of war by Shiites against Sunnis.
That could have dangerous implications not only for Syria's conflict but for the entire region.
Calls for jihad by Sunni clerics could increase the flow of foreign militants into Syria to fight alongside the rebels. Sunni Arab powers like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, who see the war as a way to break the influence of Assad's Shiite ally Iran, may step up weapons supplies to Syria's rebels to counterbalance Hezbollah.
On Syria's Menu: the Bad, the Ugly
It has been conventional wisdom for a while now that the Syrian civil war — lasting two-plus years and claiming perhaps nearly 100,000 lives — would end in the fall of the Bashar Assad regime.
Time to think again.
For the moment, the reported entering of Hez-bollah, Iranian and Iraqi (Shia) fighters into the fray has shifted the sands of victory once again in favor of pro-government forces.
It’s entirely possible that the more than 40-year old Assad political dynasty might survive the rebel uprising.
Of course, there’s always been plenty of reason to worry about what a rebel victory might mean — considering that Islamists, foreign fighters and al-Qaeda allies (such as the Nusra Front) fill their ranks.
A post-Assad Syria might look a lot like post-Gadhafi Libya: various Islamist militias and terror groups running rampant, carving out spheres of influence — and that’s not to mention the trouble they might cause beyond Syria’s borders.
But the serious problem of a rebel victory aside, what’s the outlook if the Assad regime endures? That picture isn’t pretty.
The good news, if there is any, is that Damascus will be severely weakened in the short term. The Assad regime won’t have many international friends, government coffers will be drained and its armed forces will be exhausted.
This means that they probably won’t go looking for a fight with neighbors such as Israel or Turkey, which would be in much better shape militarily for any sort of engagement.
Now, the bad news.
The civil war in Syria is becoming a religious war which splits the Muslim world between Sunnis and Shiites, notes Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi.
The rebels belong to Sunni Islam while the regime is Alawite, a branch of Shiism supported by Iran and assisted by fighters from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, units from the Shiite group Hizbullah and Shiite volunteers from Iraq.
Rebels in Deir ez-Zor proclaimed war against the Shiites following their defeat in the battle in Al-Qusayr. In a video posted to YouTube they announce the launch of a sectarian war, while chanting "Death to the Shia" and recalling the 637 The Battle of al-Qadisiyyah, when Muslim Arab forces defeated the Persians.
Senior clerics in Saudi Arabia have backed the position of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who attacked Iran and Hizbullah over their support of Assad and warned of the Shiites’ attempts to take over Sunni states. Fatwas issued in Saudi Arabia stipulate that all Muslims are religiously obligated to take part in the jihad in Syria, whether by givingmoney to jihad or by physically participating in the fighting against the Assad regime.
The Syrian army, with the help of Hizbullah, has managed to retake the city of Al-Qusayr which borders Lebanon, but this military success is not necessarily indicative of the regime's ability to reverse the situation, says Halevi. Many other areas continue to be under control of the rebel forces, who have the support of the population....
احترام ًسورية الغدً لكل الاراء جزء من الايمان بحرية التعبير
اهية اراؤكم تولد فينا الحماس والايمان ان غدانا أفضل، و مهما اختلفنا سنتفق على الحق والافضل لبلدنا وانفسنا، لاننا نبغي شيئا واحدا ألا وهو;
وحرية القانون والاوطان
اضرع إليكم مهما اختلفنا لنحترم اختلاف أرائنا
اضرع إليكم مهما اختلفنا لنحترم أديان بعضنا واختلاف طوائفنا
اضرع إليكم مهما اختلفنا لنحترم أنفسنا
لنبتعد عن التحليل والتحريم مادمنا كلنا مؤمنين
لنبتعد عن التكفير بوجود ربنا أعظم الغافرين
لنبتعد عن التشكيك والتجريم مادمنا كلنا مذنبين
لنبتعد عن التحقير والتلعين مادمنا كلنا ملعونين
لنبتعد عن التبعية مادمنا كلنا تابعين
أسألكم الرحمة بأبناء شعبنا
أسألكم الرأفة بأطفال بلدنا
أسألكم اليقن بحرية أدياننا
وأسألكم الغفران لبعضكم لأنكم لستم بأعظم من ربنا
كفانا نزيفا فلنبدء تضيد الجراح
كفانا خرابا فقد حان وقت الاصلاح
كفانا فشلا فقد حان وقت النجاح
لنبدء معا يدا واحدة فليس هناك من مستحيل
فليس بمستحيل أن نتفق
فليس بمستحيل أن نتحد
فليس بمستحيل عن كل الضغائن أن نبتعد
يدا بيد و صوت بصوت نستطيعالوصول الى نهاية اليل السود لتسطع الشمس على كل سوري صادق
Declaration from the Members of Committee for Syrian Peace Agreement 2013
Declaration from the Members of Committee for Syrian Peace Agreement 2013
• Most of the members of the Committee for Syrian Peace 2013, are born and raised in Syria, are over 50 years old, and don’t work for any specific side of the conflict in any country in the world, and none of
the members are involved in any political party.
• Originally, the members of the Committee were all graduates from the
the 1970s from Ibn Khaldoon high school in Damascus and then expanded to include others.
• The majority of the members of the Committee are all graduates of high level graduate schools and higher education and include, engineers, lawyers, physicians, economists, and professors.
• None of the members of the Committee have any political aspirations. They are all professionals and have jobs. But they are all interested
in stopping the bloodshed and felt obligated to voice their opinion and their concerns.
• We would like involvement from a broad group of Syrians, especially those who are going to be nominated to be a part of the Committee of Shaikhs, which is a difficult committee to qualify for, to be in
charge of this work and make sure that Syria is secure and safe.
• The Committee views coalitions that are being formed from outside the country through various satellite connections and meetings do not represent Syrians inside Syria, despite having dedicated Syrian nationals in their coalitions. Similarly, governments that are being formed by these coalitions do not represent the Syrian people and are unable to represent the Syrian people appropriately or accurately without elections being monitored and strictly enforced by the United Nations and Article 6 of the UN Charter. And the election to the Committee of Shaikhs is the first step in this process.
• I an effort to not personalize or aggrandize specific individuals on
the path of these lofty and classy goals, and to open the door for
more individuals to become involved with this proposal and agreement, we will postpone announcement of the names of the individuals involved until the agreement is signed. We view personal aggrandizement and producing a name of an individual leader as counterproductive at this stage, especially from foreign satellite coalitions outside the
نبذة عن أعضاء لجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣
جميع أعضاء لجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣ ، سوريون المولد والنشأة، ومعدل
الأعمار فوق ال ٥٠ عاماً ولا يعمل أي من الأعضاء مع أي جهة عامة في أي بلد في العالم، ولاينتمي أي من الأعضاء، لأي حزب سياسي
بدأ تشكيل اللجنة بأعضاء من خريجين ثانوية إبن خلدون في دمشق في سبعينيات القرن الماضي، وتوسع ليشمل أعضاء آخرين
جميع أعضاء لجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣، خريجين جامعات ومعاهد عليا عالمية، بإختصاص هندسة، طب، محاماة، إقتصاد وتدريس
لا يرغب أحد من لجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣، في العمل السياسي، فالجميع مهنيين محترفين، لكن عجز الأمم المتحدة وخاصة المبعوث الخاص عن وقف نزيف الدم، أجبرنا على التجمع وطرح ما يتوجب عليه أن يقوم به
نسعى لمشاركة واسعة من السوريين وخاصة ممن تنطبق عليهم شروط الترشح لمجلس الشيوخ، وهي شروط صعبة لا تنطبق على غالبية أعضاء لجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣، ليتسلموا متابعة هذا العمل ويصلوا بسوريا إلى بر الأمان
حرصاً على عدم شخصنة الأهداف السامية لإتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣ ، ولفتح الباب أمام مشاركة المزيد من نخب سوريا في نقاش وتطوير الإتفاق، يؤجل الإعلان عن أسماء لجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣ لغاية توقيعه، وترى لجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣، أن تلميع أي شخص في هذه المرحلة كقائد وممثل لسوريا وخاصة من الفضائيات والدول الأجنبية هو إعادة لإنتاج نفس النظام
الأمانة العامة للجنة صياغة إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣
حرر في، ٢٣ شباط ٢٠١٣
نص مقترح إتفاق السلام السوري ٢٠١٣ نشر أصلا في اموقع سورية الغد "Syriatomorrow.com" ومنشور في صحيفة الشرق الأوسط بتاريخ ١٤ شباط ٢٠١٣
يتغزل في دمشق
في إحدى الأمسيات الشعرية التي أحياها الشاعر العربي الكبير محمود درويش في دمشق في دار للثقافة والفنون.. افتتح أمسيته الشعرية بقوله
في الشام لاأعرف كيف أبدا وكيف أنهي ولكن أفضل ما أمرن به قلبي على الكلام هو التغني باسم دمشق
امر باسمك اذ اخلو الى نفسي
كما يمر دمشقي باندلس
هنا اضاء لك الليمون ملح دمي
وهاهنا وقعت ريحٌ على الفرس
تسير السماء على الطرقات القديمة
فما حاجة الشعراء للوحي والوزن
ينام الغريب على ظله واقفاً
مثل مإذنة في سرير الأبد
لا يحن إلى أحد.. أو بلد
تدور الحوارات بين الكمنجة والعود
حول سؤال الوجود
من قتلت عاشقاً مارقاً فلها سدرة المنتهى
إلى متى الإنتظار ياأبناء بلدي
أطفال سورية لن يسامحونا على ماتسببنا لهم فيه من تشرد وضياع و لكن سيغفرون لنا أخطائنا إذا استطعنا أن نعود الى الحكمة والعقل في حل أمورنا
The Moderate Voice:
Syria Tomorrow Movement
Lets call on every honest Syrian, Arabic, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish, to think for a second about stopping this crime in Syria, its not easy to forget what is happening but we can stop all of this and let our children build their own future, far from our failed generation.
Let start the new path, new blood stream in our veins, new ideas and new leadership.
So I call on all of you as intellegent peoples to find another solution, we need to rasie our voice and say NO to Assad and NO to the freedom army, NO the Mulims Brother Hood organization, No to weapons, NO to killing, NO to destruction, and finally NO to all of them.
Join us in calling for an independent move who work only for our future and our kids future.
Syria Tomorrow Movement