Babylonia

Babylonia (/ˌbæbəˈlniə/) was an ancient Akkadian-speaking Semitic nation state and cultural region based in central-southernMesopotamia (present-day Iraq). It emerged as an independent state c. 1894 BC, with the city of Babylon as its capital. It was often involved in rivalry with its fellow Akkadian state of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia. Babylonia became the major power in the region after Hammurabi (fl. c. 1792 – 1752 BC middle chronology, or c. 1696 – 1654 BC, short chronology) created an empire out of many of the territories of the former Akkadian Empire.
The Babylonian state retained the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use (the language of its native populace), despite its Amorite founders and Kassite successors not being native Akkadians. It retained the Sumerian language for religious use, but by the time Babylon was founded this was no longer a spoken language, having been wholly subsumed by Akkadian. The earlier Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in Babylonian (and Assyrian) culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under protracted periods of outside rule.
The earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad (2334- 2279 BC), dating back to the 23rd century BC. Babylon was merely a religious and cultural centre at this point and not an independent state; like the rest of Mesopotamia, it was subject to the Akkadian Empire which united all the Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule. After the collapse of the Akkadian empire, the south Mesopotamian region was dominated by the Gutians for a few decades before the rise of the Sumerian third dynasty of Ur, which encompassed the whole of Mesopotamia, including Babylon.
Babylon remained a minor territory for a century after it was founded, until the reign of its sixth Amorite ruler, Hammurabi (1792- 1750 BC, or fl. c. 1728 – 1686 BC (short). He conducted major building work in Babylon, expanding it from a minor town into a great city worthy of kingship. He was a very efficient ruler, establishing a bureaucracy, with taxation and centralized government. Hammurabi freed Babylon from Elamite dominance, and indeed drove them from southern Mesopotamia entirely. He then gradually expanded Babylonian dominance over the whole of southern Mesopotamia, conquering the cities and states of the region, such as; Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna, Kish, Lagash, Nippur, Borsippa, Ur,Uruk, Umma, Adab and Eridu. The conquests of Hammurabi gave the region stability after turbulent times and coalesced the patchwork of states of southern and central Mesopotamia into one single nation, and it is only from the time of Hammurabi that southern Mesopotamia came to be known historically as Babylonia.
The armies of Babylonia under Hammurabi were well-disciplined, he turned eastwards and invaded what was a thousand years later to become Persia (Iran), conquering the pre Iranic Elamites, Gutians and Kassites. To the west, the Semitic states of the Levant (modern Syria) including the powerful kingdom of Mari were conquered.
Hammurabi then entered into a protracted war with the Old Assyrian Empire for control of Mesopotamia and the Near East. Assyria had extended control over parts of Asia Minorfrom the 21st century BC, and from the latter part of the 19th century BC had asserted itself over north east Syria and central Mesopotamia also. After a protracted unresolved struggle over decades with the Assyrian king Ishme-Dagan, Hammurabi forced his successor Mut-Ashkur to pay tribute to Babylon c. 1751 BC, thus giving Babylonia control over Assyria’s centuries old Hattian and Hurrian colonies in Asia Minor.[5]
One of the most important works of this «First Dynasty of Babylon«, as it was called by the native historians, was the compilation of a code of laws which echoed and improved upon the earlier written laws of Sumer, Akkad and Assyria. This was made by order of Hammurabi after the expulsion of the Elamites and the settlement of his kingdom. In 1901, a copy of the Code of Hammurabi was discovered on a stele by J. De Morgan and V. Scheil at Susa, where it had later been taken as plunder. That copy is now in the Louvre.
From before 3000 BC until the reign of Hammurabi, the major cultural and religious center of southern Mesopotamia had been the ancient city of Nippur, where the god Enlil was supreme. However, with the rise of Hammurabi, this honour was transferred to Babylon, and the south Mesopotamian god Marduk rose to supremacy in the pantheon of southern Mesopotamia (with the god Ashur remaining the dominant deity in the northern Mesopotamian state of Assyria). The city of Babylon became known as a «holy city» where any legitimate ruler of southern Mesopotamia had to be crowned. Hammurabi turned what had previously been a minor administrative town into a major city, increasing its size and population dramatically, and conducting a number of impressive architectural works.
The Babylonians, like their predecessor Sumero-Akkadian states, engaged in regular trade with the Amorite and Canaanite city-states to the west; with Babylonian officials or troops sometimes passing to the Levant and Canaan, with Amorite merchants operating freely throughout Mesopotamia. The Babylonian monarchy’s western connections remained strong for quite some time. An Amorite chieftain named Abi-ramu or Abram (possibly the Biblical Abraham) was the father of a witness to a deed dated to the reign of Hammurabi’s grandfather;[citation needed] Ammi-Ditana, great-grandson of Hammurabi, still titled himself «king of the land of the Amorites». Ammi-Ditana’s father and son also bore Canaanite names: Abi-Eshuh and Ammisaduqa.
In 620 BC Nabopolassar seized control over much of Babylonia with the support of most of the inhabitants, with only the city ofNippur and some northern regions showing any loyalty to the Assyrian king.[6] Nabopolassar was unable to yet utterly secure Babylonia, and for the next 4 years he was forced to contend with an occupying Assyrian army encamped in Babylonia trying to unseat him. However, the Assyrian king, Sin-shar-ishkun was plagued by constant revolt among his own people in Nineveh, and was thus unable to eject Nabopolassar.
The stalemate ended in 616 BC, when Nabopolassar entered into alliance with Cyaxares, king of the Medes and Persians, (who had also taken advantage of the Assyrian destruction of Elam and the subsequent anarchy in Assyria to free the Iranic peoples from three centuries of the Assyrian yoke and regional Elamite domination) and also the Arameans, Scythians and Cimmerianswho had also been subjugated by Assyria. After 4 years of fierce fighting Nineveh was sacked in 612 BC after a bitter prolonged siege in which Sin-shar-ishkun was killed. House to house fighting continued in Nineveh, and the last Assyrian king, Ashur-uballit II was offered the chance of accepting a position of vassalage according to the Babylonian Chronicle. However he refused and managed to successfully fight his way out of Nineveh and to the northern Assyrian city of Harran where he founded a new capital. Fighting continued, as he held out until 608 BC, when he was eventually ejected by the Babylonians and their allies and prevented in an attempt to regain the city the same year.
The Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II, whose dynasty had been installed as vassals of Assyria decades before, belatedly tried to aid Egypt’s former Assyrian masters, possibly out of fear that Egypt would be next to succumb to the new powers. The Assyrians fought on with Egyptian aid until a final victory was achieved at Carchemish in 605 BC. The seat of empire was thus transferred to Babylonia for the first time since Hammurabi over a thousand years before.
Nabopolassar was followed by his son Nebuchadnezzar II (605 BC – 562 BC), whose reign of 43 years made Babylon once more the mistress of much of the civilized world, taking over a fair portion of the former Assyrian Empire once ruled by its Assyrian brethren, the eastern and north eastern portion being taken by the Medes and the far north by theScythians.
The Scythians and Cimmerians, erstwhile allies of Babylonia under Nabopolassar, now became a threat, and Nebuchadnezzar II was forced to march into Asia Minor and rout their forces, ending the northern threat to his Empire.
The Egyptians attempted to remain in the Near East, possibly in an effort to aid in restoring Assyria as a secure buffer against Babylonia and the Medes and Persians, or to carve out an empire of their own. Nebuchadnezzar II campaigned against the Egyptians and drove them back over the Sinai. However an attempt to take Egypt itself as his Assyrian predecessors had succeeded in achieving failed, mainly due to a series of rebellions among the Judeans, Phoenicians and Arameans of Caanan and the Levant. The Babylonian king crushed these rebellions, deposed Jehoiakim, the king of Judah and deported a sizeable part of the population to Babylonia. The Phoenician states of Tyre and Sidon were also subjugated, as was the Aramean state of Aram-Damascus. The Arabs who dwelt in the deserts to the south of the borders of Mesopotamia were then also subjugated.
In 567 BC he went to war with Pharaoh Amasis, and briefly invaded Egypt itself. After securing his empire, which included marrying a Median princess, he devoted himself to maintaining the empire and conducting numerous impressive building projects in Babylon. He is credited with building the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon.[12]
Amel-Marduk succeeded to the throne and reigned for only two years. Little contemporary record of his rule survives, though Berosus later stated that he was deposed and murdered in 560 BC by his successor Neriglissar for conducting himself in an improper manner.
Neriglissar (560 – 556 BC) also had a short reign. He was the son in law of Nebuchadnezzar II, and it is unclear if he was a Chaldean or native Babylonian who married into the dynasty. He campaigned in Aram and Phoenicia, successfully maintaining Babylonian rule in these regions. Neriglissar died young however, and was succeeded by his son Labashi-Marduk (556 BC), who was still a boy. He was deposed and killed during the same year in a palace conspiracy.
Of the reign of the last Babylonian king, Nabonidus (Nabu-na’id, 556 – 539 BC) who is the son of the Assyrian priestess Adda-Guppi and who managed to kill the last Chaldean king, Labashi-Marduk, and took the reign, there is a fair amount of information available. Nabonidus (hence his son, the regent Belshazzar) was, at least from the mother’s side, neither Chaldean nor Babylonian, but ironically Assyrian, hailing from its final capital of Harran (Kharranu). Information regarding Nabonidus is chiefly derived from a chronological tablet containing the annals of Nabonidus, supplemented by another inscription of Nabonidus where he recounts his restoration of the temple of the Moon-god Sin at Harran; as well as by a proclamation of Cyrus issued shortly after his formal recognition as king of Babylonia.
A number of factors arose which would ultimately lead to the fall of Babylon. The population of Babylonia became restive and increasingly disaffected under Nabonidus. He excited a strong feeling against himself by attempting to centralize the religion of Babylonia in the temple of Marduk at Babylon, and while he had thus alienated the local priesthoods, the military party also despised him on account of his antiquarian tastes. He seemed to have left the defense of his kingdom to Belshazzar (a capable soldier but poor diplomat who alienated the political elite), occupying himself with the more congenial work of excavating the foundation records of the temples and determining the dates of their builders. He also spent time outside Babylonia, rebuilding temples in the Assyrian city of Harran, and also among his Arab subjects in the deserts to the south of Mesopotamia. Nabonidus and Belshazzar’s Assyrian heritage is also likely to have added to this resentment. In addition, Mesopotamian military might had usually been concentrated in the martial state of Assyria. Babylonia had always been more vulnerable to conquest and invasion than its northern neighbour, and without the might of Assyria to keep foreign powers in check, Babylonia was ultimately exposed.
It was in the sixth year of Nabonidus (549 BC) that Cyrus the Great, the Achaemenid Persian «king of Anshan» in Elam, revolted against his suzerain Astyages, «king of the Manda» or Medes, at Ecbatana. Astyages’ army betrayed him to his enemy, and Cyrus established himself at Ecbatana, thus putting an end to the empire of the Medes and making the Persian faction dominant among the Iranic peoples. Three years later Cyrus had become king of all Persia, and was engaged in a campaign to put down a revolt among the Assyrians. Meanwhile, Nabonidus had established a camp in the desert of his colony of Arabia, near the southern frontier of his kingdom, leaving his son Belshazzar (Belsharutsur) in command of the army.
In 539 BC Cyrus invaded Babylonia. A battle was fought at Opis in the month of June, where the Babylonians were defeated; and immediately afterwards Sippar surrendered to the invader. Nabonidus fled to Babylon, where he was pursued by Gobryas, and on the 16th day of Tammuz, two days after the capture of Sippar, «the soldiers of Cyrus entered Babylon without fighting.» Nabonidus was dragged from his hiding place, where the services continued without interruption. Cyrus did not arrive until the 3rd of Marchesvan (October), Gobryas having acted for him in his absence. Gobryas was now made governor of the province of Babylon, and a few days afterwards Belshazzar the son of Nabonidus died in battle. A public mourning followed, lasting six days, and Cyrus’ son Cambyses accompanied the corpse to the tomb.
One of the first acts of Cyrus accordingly was to allow the Jewish exiles to return to their own homes, carrying with them their sacred temple vessels. The permission to do so was embodied in a proclamation, whereby the conqueror endeavored to justify his claim to the Babylonian throne.
Cyrus now claimed to be the legitimate successor of the ancient Babylonian kings and the avenger of Bel-Marduk, who was assumed to be wrathful at the impiety of Nabonidus in removing the images of the local gods from their ancestral shrines to his capital Babylon.
The Chaldean tribe had lost control of Babylonia decades before the end of the era that sometimes bears their name, and they appear to have blended into the general populace of Babylonia, and during the Persian Achaemenid Empire Chaldeans disappeared as a distinct people, and the term Chaldean ceased to refer to a race of men and instead to a social class only, regardless of ethnicity.
Babylonia (/?bæb??lo?ni?/) was an ancient Akkadian-speaking Semitic nation state and cultural region based in central-southernMesopotamia (present-day Iraq). It emerged as an independent state c. 1894 BC, with the city of Babylon as its capital. It was often involved in rivalry with its fellow Akkadian state of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia. Babylonia became the major power in the region after Hammurabi (fl. c. 1792 – 1752 BC middle chronology, or c. 1696 – 1654 BC, short chronology) created an empire out of many of the territories of the former Akkadian Empire.
The Babylonian state retained the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use (the language of its native populace), despite its Amorite founders and Kassite successors not being native Akkadians. It retained the Sumerian language for religious use, but by the time Babylon was founded this was no longer a spoken language, having been wholly subsumed by Akkadian. The earlier Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in Babylonian (and Assyrian) culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under protracted periods of outside rule.
The earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad (2334- 2279 BC), dating back to the 23rd century BC. Babylon was merely a religious and cultural centre at this point and not an independent state; like the rest of Mesopotamia, it was subject to the Akkadian Empire which united all the Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule. After the collapse of the Akkadian empire, the south Mesopotamian region was dominated by the Gutians for a few decades before the rise of the Sumerian third dynasty of Ur, which encompassed the whole of Mesopotamia, including Babylon.
Babylon remained a minor territory for a century after it was founded, until the reign of its sixth Amorite ruler, Hammurabi (1792- 1750 BC, or fl. c. 1728 – 1686 BC (short). He conducted major building work in Babylon, expanding it from a minor town into a great city worthy of kingship. He was a very efficient ruler, establishing a bureaucracy, with taxation and centralized government. Hammurabi freed Babylon from Elamite dominance, and indeed drove them from southern Mesopotamia entirely. He then gradually expanded Babylonian dominance over the whole of southern Mesopotamia, conquering the cities and states of the region, such as; Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna, Kish, Lagash, Nippur, Borsippa, Ur,Uruk, Umma, Adab and Eridu. The conquests of Hammurabi gave the region stability after turbulent times and coalesced the patchwork of states of southern and central Mesopotamia into one single nation, and it is only from the time of Hammurabi that southern Mesopotamia came to be known historically as Babylonia.
The armies of Babylonia under Hammurabi were well-disciplined, he turned eastwards and invaded what was a thousand years later to become Persia (Iran), conquering the pre Iranic Elamites, Gutians and Kassites. To the west, the Semitic states of the Levant (modern Syria) including the powerful kingdom of Mari were conquered.
Hammurabi then entered into a protracted war with the Old Assyrian Empire for control of Mesopotamia and the Near East. Assyria had extended control over parts of Asia Minorfrom the 21st century BC, and from the latter part of the 19th century BC had asserted itself over north east Syria and central Mesopotamia also. After a protracted unresolved struggle over decades with the Assyrian king Ishme-Dagan, Hammurabi forced his successor Mut-Ashkur to pay tribute to Babylon c. 1751 BC, thus giving Babylonia control over Assyria's centuries old Hattian and Hurrian colonies in Asia Minor.[5]
One of the most important works of this "First Dynasty of Babylon", as it was called by the native historians, was the compilation of a code of laws which echoed and improved upon the earlier written laws of Sumer, Akkad and Assyria. This was made by order of Hammurabi after the expulsion of the Elamites and the settlement of his kingdom. In 1901, a copy of the Code of Hammurabi was discovered on a stele by J. De Morgan and V. Scheil at Susa, where it had later been taken as plunder. That copy is now in the Louvre.
From before 3000 BC until the reign of Hammurabi, the major cultural and religious center of southern Mesopotamia had been the ancient city of Nippur, where the god Enlil was supreme. However, with the rise of Hammurabi, this honour was transferred to Babylon, and the south Mesopotamian god Marduk rose to supremacy in the pantheon of southern Mesopotamia (with the god Ashur remaining the dominant deity in the northern Mesopotamian state of Assyria). The city of Babylon became known as a "holy city" where any legitimate ruler of southern Mesopotamia had to be crowned. Hammurabi turned what had previously been a minor administrative town into a major city, increasing its size and population dramatically, and conducting a number of impressive architectural works.
The Babylonians, like their predecessor Sumero-Akkadian states, engaged in regular trade with the Amorite and Canaanite city-states to the west; with Babylonian officials or troops sometimes passing to the Levant and Canaan, with Amorite merchants operating freely throughout Mesopotamia. The Babylonian monarchy's western connections remained strong for quite some time. An Amorite chieftain named Abi-ramu or Abram (possibly the Biblical Abraham) was the father of a witness to a deed dated to the reign of Hammurabi's grandfather;[citation needed] Ammi-Ditana, great-grandson of Hammurabi, still titled himself "king of the land of the Amorites". Ammi-Ditana's father and son also bore Canaanite names: Abi-Eshuh and Ammisaduqa.
In 620 BC Nabopolassar seized control over much of Babylonia with the support of most of the inhabitants, with only the city ofNippur and some northern regions showing any loyalty to the Assyrian king.[6] Nabopolassar was unable to yet utterly secure Babylonia, and for the next 4 years he was forced to contend with an occupying Assyrian army encamped in Babylonia trying to unseat him. However, the Assyrian king, Sin-shar-ishkun was plagued by constant revolt among his own people in Nineveh, and was thus unable to eject Nabopolassar.
The stalemate ended in 616 BC, when Nabopolassar entered into alliance with Cyaxares, king of the Medes and Persians, (who had also taken advantage of the Assyrian destruction of Elam and the subsequent anarchy in Assyria to free the Iranic peoples from three centuries of the Assyrian yoke and regional Elamite domination) and also the Arameans, Scythians and Cimmerianswho had also been subjugated by Assyria. After 4 years of fierce fighting Nineveh was sacked in 612 BC after a bitter prolonged siege in which Sin-shar-ishkun was killed. House to house fighting continued in Nineveh, and the last Assyrian king, Ashur-uballit II was offered the chance of accepting a position of vassalage according to the Babylonian Chronicle. However he refused and managed to successfully fight his way out of Nineveh and to the northern Assyrian city of Harran where he founded a new capital. Fighting continued, as he held out until 608 BC, when he was eventually ejected by the Babylonians and their allies and prevented in an attempt to regain the city the same year.
The Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II, whose dynasty had been installed as vassals of Assyria decades before, belatedly tried to aid Egypt's former Assyrian masters, possibly out of fear that Egypt would be next to succumb to the new powers. The Assyrians fought on with Egyptian aid until a final victory was achieved at Carchemish in 605 BC. The seat of empire was thus transferred to Babylonia for the first time since Hammurabi over a thousand years before.
Nabopolassar was followed by his son Nebuchadnezzar II (605 BC – 562 BC), whose reign of 43 years made Babylon once more the mistress of much of the civilized world, taking over a fair portion of the former Assyrian Empire once ruled by its Assyrian brethren, the eastern and north eastern portion being taken by the Medes and the far north by theScythians.
The Scythians and Cimmerians, erstwhile allies of Babylonia under Nabopolassar, now became a threat, and Nebuchadnezzar II was forced to march into Asia Minor and rout their forces, ending the northern threat to his Empire.
The Egyptians attempted to remain in the Near East, possibly in an effort to aid in restoring Assyria as a secure buffer against Babylonia and the Medes and Persians, or to carve out an empire of their own. Nebuchadnezzar II campaigned against the Egyptians and drove them back over the Sinai. However an attempt to take Egypt itself as his Assyrian predecessors had succeeded in achieving failed, mainly due to a series of rebellions among the Judeans, Phoenicians and Arameans of Caanan and the Levant. The Babylonian king crushed these rebellions, deposed Jehoiakim, the king of Judah and deported a sizeable part of the population to Babylonia. The Phoenician states of Tyre and Sidon were also subjugated, as was the Aramean state of Aram-Damascus. The Arabs who dwelt in the deserts to the south of the borders of Mesopotamia were then also subjugated.
In 567 BC he went to war with Pharaoh Amasis, and briefly invaded Egypt itself. After securing his empire, which included marrying a Median princess, he devoted himself to maintaining the empire and conducting numerous impressive building projects in Babylon. He is credited with building the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon.[12]
Amel-Marduk succeeded to the throne and reigned for only two years. Little contemporary record of his rule survives, though Berosus later stated that he was deposed and murdered in 560 BC by his successor Neriglissar for conducting himself in an improper manner.
Neriglissar (560 - 556 BC) also had a short reign. He was the son in law of Nebuchadnezzar II, and it is unclear if he was a Chaldean or native Babylonian who married into the dynasty. He campaigned in Aram and Phoenicia, successfully maintaining Babylonian rule in these regions. Neriglissar died young however, and was succeeded by his son Labashi-Marduk (556 BC), who was still a boy. He was deposed and killed during the same year in a palace conspiracy.
Of the reign of the last Babylonian king, Nabonidus (Nabu-na'id, 556 - 539 BC) who is the son of the Assyrian priestess Adda-Guppi and who managed to kill the last Chaldean king, Labashi-Marduk, and took the reign, there is a fair amount of information available. Nabonidus (hence his son, the regent Belshazzar) was, at least from the mother's side, neither Chaldean nor Babylonian, but ironically Assyrian, hailing from its final capital of Harran (Kharranu). Information regarding Nabonidus is chiefly derived from a chronological tablet containing the annals of Nabonidus, supplemented by another inscription of Nabonidus where he recounts his restoration of the temple of the Moon-god Sin at Harran; as well as by a proclamation of Cyrus issued shortly after his formal recognition as king of Babylonia.
A number of factors arose which would ultimately lead to the fall of Babylon. The population of Babylonia became restive and increasingly disaffected under Nabonidus. He excited a strong feeling against himself by attempting to centralize the religion of Babylonia in the temple of Marduk at Babylon, and while he had thus alienated the local priesthoods, the military party also despised him on account of his antiquarian tastes. He seemed to have left the defense of his kingdom to Belshazzar (a capable soldier but poor diplomat who alienated the political elite), occupying himself with the more congenial work of excavating the foundation records of the temples and determining the dates of their builders. He also spent time outside Babylonia, rebuilding temples in the Assyrian city of Harran, and also among his Arab subjects in the deserts to the south of Mesopotamia. Nabonidus and Belshazzar's Assyrian heritage is also likely to have added to this resentment. In addition, Mesopotamian military might had usually been concentrated in the martial state of Assyria. Babylonia had always been more vulnerable to conquest and invasion than its northern neighbour, and without the might of Assyria to keep foreign powers in check, Babylonia was ultimately exposed.
It was in the sixth year of Nabonidus (549 BC) that Cyrus the Great, the Achaemenid Persian "king of Anshan" in Elam, revolted against his suzerain Astyages, "king of the Manda" or Medes, at Ecbatana. Astyages' army betrayed him to his enemy, and Cyrus established himself at Ecbatana, thus putting an end to the empire of the Medes and making the Persian faction dominant among the Iranic peoples. Three years later Cyrus had become king of all Persia, and was engaged in a campaign to put down a revolt among the Assyrians. Meanwhile, Nabonidus had established a camp in the desert of his colony of Arabia, near the southern frontier of his kingdom, leaving his son Belshazzar (Belsharutsur) in command of the army.
In 539 BC Cyrus invaded Babylonia. A battle was fought at Opis in the month of June, where the Babylonians were defeated; and immediately afterwards Sippar surrendered to the invader. Nabonidus fled to Babylon, where he was pursued by Gobryas, and on the 16th day of Tammuz, two days after the capture of Sippar, "the soldiers of Cyrus entered Babylon without fighting." Nabonidus was dragged from his hiding place, where the services continued without interruption. Cyrus did not arrive until the 3rd of Marchesvan (October), Gobryas having acted for him in his absence. Gobryas was now made governor of the province of Babylon, and a few days afterwards Belshazzar the son of Nabonidus died in battle. A public mourning followed, lasting six days, and Cyrus' son Cambyses accompanied the corpse to the tomb.
One of the first acts of Cyrus accordingly was to allow the Jewish exiles to return to their own homes, carrying with them their sacred temple vessels. The permission to do so was embodied in a proclamation, whereby the conqueror endeavored to justify his claim to the Babylonian throne.
Cyrus now claimed to be the legitimate successor of the ancient Babylonian kings and the avenger of Bel-Marduk, who was assumed to be wrathful at the impiety of Nabonidus in removing the images of the local gods from their ancestral shrines to his capital Babylon.
The Chaldean tribe had lost control of Babylonia decades before the end of the era that sometimes bears their name, and they appear to have blended into the general populace of Babylonia, and during the Persian Achaemenid Empire Chaldeans disappeared as a distinct people, and the term Chaldean ceased to refer to a race of men and instead to a social class only, regardless of ethnicity.


The Parthian Empire

The Parthian Empire (/ˈpɑrθiən/; 247 BC – 224 AD), also known as the Arsacid Empire /ˈɑrsəsɪd/,[5] was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran, also known as ancient Persia.[6] Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia[7] who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia[8] in Iran‘s northeast, then a satrapy(province) in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of theEuphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between theRoman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han Empire of China, became a center of trade and commerce.
The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it eventually saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions. The Arsacid rulers were titled the «King of Kings«, as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire; indeed, they accepted many local kings as vassals where the Achaemenids would have had centrally appointed, albeit largely autonomous, satraps. The court did appoint a small number of satraps, largely outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris (south of modernBaghdad, Iraq), although several other sites also served as capitals.
The earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Seleucids in the west and the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, and eventually the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients. The Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, and in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyrefrom the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were generally achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius. Also, various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the several Roman-Parthian Wars, which ensued during the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold onto them.
Frequent civil war between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire’s stability than foreign invasion, and Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Estakhr in Fars, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler,Artabanus IV, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia.
Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian, Greek and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and even earlierAchaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, and the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources. These include mainlyGreek and Roman histories, but also Chinese histories, prompted by the market for Chinese goods in Parthia. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources.
Before Arsaces I of Parthia founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chieftain of the Parni, an ancient Central-Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the confederation of the Dahae.[9] The Parni most likely spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia.[10] The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, and then the Seleucid empires.[11] After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Aramaic, Greek, Babylonian, Sogdian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer.[12]
Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain. A.D.H. Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I «backdated hisregnal years» to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased.[13] However, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was simply the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe.[14] Homa Katouzian[15] and Gene Ralph Garthwaite[16] claim it was the year Arsaces conquered Parthia and expelled the Seleucid authorities, yet Curtis[14] and Maria Brosius[17] state that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC.
During the reign of Artabanus II, two Jewish commoners and brothers, Anilai and Asinai from Nehardea (near modern Fallujah, Iraq),[101] led a revolt against the Parthian governor of Babylonia. After defeating the latter, the two were granted the right to govern the region by Artabanus II, who feared further rebellion elsewhere.[102] Anilai’s Parthian wife poisoned Asinai out of fear he would attack Anilai over his marriage to a gentile. Following this, Anilai became embroiled in an armed conflict with a son-in-law of Artabanus, who eventually defeated him.[103] With the Jewish regime removed, the native Babylonians began to harass the local Jewish community, forcing them to emigrate to Seleucia. When that city rebelled against Parthian rule in 35–36 AD, the Jews were expelled again, this time by the local Greeks andAramaeans. The exiled Jews fled to Ctesiphon, Nehardea, and Nisibis.[104]

A denarius struck in 19 BC during the reign of Augustus, with the goddess Feronia depicted on the obverse, and on the reverse a Parthian man kneeling in submission while offering the Roman military standardstaken at the Battle of Carrhae[105]
Although at peace with Parthia, Rome still interfered in its affairs. The Roman emperor Tiberius (r. 14–37 AD) became involved in a plot byPharasmanes I of Iberia to place his brother Mithridates on the throne of Armenia by assassinating the Parthian ally King Arsaces of Armenia.[106] Artabanus II tried and failed to restore Parthian control of Armenia, prompting an aristocratic revolt that forced him to flee toScythia. The Romans released a hostage prince, Tiridates III of Parthia, to rule the region as an ally of Rome. Shortly before his death, Artabanus managed to force Tiridates from the throne using troops from Hyrcania.[107] After Artabanus’ death in 38 AD, a long civil war ensued between the rightful successor Vardanes I of Parthia and his brother Gotarzes II of Parthia.[108] After Vardanes was assassinated during a hunting expedition, the Parthian nobility appealed to Roman emperor Claudius (r. 41–54 AD) in 49 AD to release the hostage prince Meherdates to challenge Gotarzes. This backfired when Meherdates was betrayed by the governor of Edessa and Izates bar Monobaz ofAdiabene; he was captured and sent to Gotarzes, where he was allowed to live after having his ears mutilated, an act that disqualified him from inheriting the throne.[109]
In 97 AD, the Chinese general Ban Chao, the Protector-General of the Western Regions, sent his emissary Gan Ying on a diplomatic mission to reach the Roman Empire. Gan visited the court of Pacorus II of Parthia at Hecatompylos before departing towards Rome.[110] He traveled as far west as the Persian Gulf, where Parthian authorities convinced him that an arduous sea voyage around the Arabian Peninsula was the only means to reach Rome.[111]Discouraged by this, Gan Ying returned to the Han court and provided Emperor He of Han (r. 88–105 AD) with a detailed report on the Roman Empire based on oral accounts of his Parthian hosts.[112] William Watson speculates that the Parthians would have been relieved at the failed efforts by the Han Empire to open diplomatic relations with Rome, especially after Ban Chao’s military victories against the Xiongnu in eastern Central Asia.[110] However, Chinese records maintain that a Roman embassy, perhaps only a group of Roman merchants, arrived at the Han capital Luoyang in 166 AD, during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–180 AD) and Emperor Huan of Han (r. 146–168 AD).
The Parthian Empire had no standing army, yet were able to quickly recruit troops in the event of local crises.[189] There was a permanent armed guard attached to the person of the king, comprising nobles, serfs and mercenaries, but this royal retinue was small.[190] Garrisons were also permanently maintained at border forts; Parthian inscriptions reveal some of the military titles granted to the commanders of these locations.[190] Military forces could also be used in diplomatic gestures. For example, when Chinese envoys visited Parthia in the late 2nd century BC, the Shiji maintains that 20,000 horsemen were sent to the eastern borders to serve as escorts for the embassy, although this figure is perhaps an exaggeration.[191]
The main striking force of the Parthian army was its cataphracts, heavy cavalry with man and horse decked in mailed armor.[192] The cataphracts were equipped with a lance for charging into enemy lines,but were not equipped with bows and arrows which were restricted to horse archers.[193] Due to the cost of their equipment and armor, cataphracts were recruited from among the aristocratic class who, in return for their services, demanded a measure of autonomy at the local level from the Arsacid kings.[194] The light cavalry was recruited from among the commoner class and acted as horse archers; they wore a simple tunic and trousers into battle.[192] They used composite bowsand were able to shoot at enemies while riding and facing away from them; this technique, known as the Parthian shot, was a highly effective tactic.[195] The heavy and light cavalry of Parthia proved to be a decisive factor in the Battle of Carrhae where a Persian force defeated a much larger Roman army under Crassus. Light infantry units, composed of levied commoners and mercenaries, were used to disperse enemy troops after cavalry charges.[196]
The size of the Parthian army is unknown, as is the size of the empire’s overall population. However, archaeological excavations in former Parthian urban centers reveal settlements which could have sustained large populations and hence a great resource in manpower.[197]Dense population centers in regions like Babylonia were no doubt attractive to the Romans, whose armies could afford to live off the land.
The Parthian Empire, being culturally and politically heterogeneous, had a variety of religious systems and beliefs, the most widespread being those dedicated to Greek and Iranian cults.[214] Aside from a minority of Jews[215] and early Christians,[216] most Parthians werepolytheistic.[217] Greek and Iranian deities were often blended together as one. For example, Zeus was often equated with Ahura Mazda,Hades with Angra Mainyu, Aphrodite and Hera with Anahita, Apollo with Mithra, and Hermes with Shamash.[218] Aside from the main gods and goddesses, each ethnic group and city had their own designated deities.[217] As with Seleucid rulers,[219] Parthian art indicates that the Arsacid kings viewed themselves as gods; this cult of the ruler was perhaps the most widespread.[220]
The extent of Arsacid patronism of Zoroastrianism is debated in modern scholarship.[221] The followers of Zoroaster would have found the bloody sacrifices of some Parthian-era Iranian cults to be unacceptable.[214] However, there is evidence that Vologeses I encouraged the presence of Zoroastrian magi priests at court and sponsored the compilation of sacred Zoroastrian texts which later formed the Avesta.[222]The Sassanid court would later adopt Zoroastrianism as the official state religion of the empire.[223]
Although Mani (216–276 AD), the founding prophet of Manichaeism, did not proclaim his first religious revelation until 228/229 AD, Bivar asserts that his new faith contained «elements of Mandaean belief, Iranian cosmogony, and even echoes of Christianity … [it] may be regarded as a typical reflection of the mixed religious doctrines of the late Arsacid period, which the Zoroastrian orthodoxy of the Sasanians was soon to sweep away.»[224]
There is scant archaeological evidence for the spread of Buddhism from the Kushan Empire into Iran proper.[225] However, it is known from Chinese sources that An Shigao (fl. 2nd century AD), a Parthian nobleman and Buddhist monk, traveled to Luoyang in Han China as aBuddhist missionary and translated several Buddhist canons into Chinese.
The Parthian Empire (/?p?r?i?n/; 247 BC – 224 AD), also known as the Arsacid Empire /??rs?s?d/,[5] was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran, also known as ancient Persia.[6] Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia[7] who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia[8] in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy(province) in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of theEuphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between theRoman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han Empire of China, became a center of trade and commerce.
The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it eventually saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions. The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire; indeed, they accepted many local kings as vassals where the Achaemenids would have had centrally appointed, albeit largely autonomous, satraps. The court did appoint a small number of satraps, largely outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris (south of modernBaghdad, Iraq), although several other sites also served as capitals.
The earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Seleucids in the west and the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, and eventually the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients. The Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, and in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyrefrom the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were generally achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius. Also, various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the several Roman-Parthian Wars, which ensued during the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold onto them.
Frequent civil war between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, and Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Estakhr in Fars, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler,Artabanus IV, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia.
Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian, Greek and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and even earlierAchaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, and the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources. These include mainlyGreek and Roman histories, but also Chinese histories, prompted by the market for Chinese goods in Parthia. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources.
Before Arsaces I of Parthia founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chieftain of the Parni, an ancient Central-Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the confederation of the Dahae.[9] The Parni most likely spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia.[10] The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, and then the Seleucid empires.[11] After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Aramaic, Greek, Babylonian, Sogdian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer.[12]
Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain. A.D.H. Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I "backdated hisregnal years" to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased.[13] However, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was simply the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe.[14] Homa Katouzian[15] and Gene Ralph Garthwaite[16] claim it was the year Arsaces conquered Parthia and expelled the Seleucid authorities, yet Curtis[14] and Maria Brosius[17] state that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC.
During the reign of Artabanus II, two Jewish commoners and brothers, Anilai and Asinai from Nehardea (near modern Fallujah, Iraq),[101] led a revolt against the Parthian governor of Babylonia. After defeating the latter, the two were granted the right to govern the region by Artabanus II, who feared further rebellion elsewhere.[102] Anilai's Parthian wife poisoned Asinai out of fear he would attack Anilai over his marriage to a gentile. Following this, Anilai became embroiled in an armed conflict with a son-in-law of Artabanus, who eventually defeated him.[103] With the Jewish regime removed, the native Babylonians began to harass the local Jewish community, forcing them to emigrate to Seleucia. When that city rebelled against Parthian rule in 35–36 AD, the Jews were expelled again, this time by the local Greeks andAramaeans. The exiled Jews fled to Ctesiphon, Nehardea, and Nisibis.[104]
A denarius struck in 19 BC during the reign of Augustus, with the goddess Feronia depicted on the obverse, and on the reverse a Parthian man kneeling in submission while offering the Roman military standardstaken at the Battle of Carrhae[105]
Although at peace with Parthia, Rome still interfered in its affairs. The Roman emperor Tiberius (r. 14–37 AD) became involved in a plot byPharasmanes I of Iberia to place his brother Mithridates on the throne of Armenia by assassinating the Parthian ally King Arsaces of Armenia.[106] Artabanus II tried and failed to restore Parthian control of Armenia, prompting an aristocratic revolt that forced him to flee toScythia. The Romans released a hostage prince, Tiridates III of Parthia, to rule the region as an ally of Rome. Shortly before his death, Artabanus managed to force Tiridates from the throne using troops from Hyrcania.[107] After Artabanus' death in 38 AD, a long civil war ensued between the rightful successor Vardanes I of Parthia and his brother Gotarzes II of Parthia.[108] After Vardanes was assassinated during a hunting expedition, the Parthian nobility appealed to Roman emperor Claudius (r. 41–54 AD) in 49 AD to release the hostage prince Meherdates to challenge Gotarzes. This backfired when Meherdates was betrayed by the governor of Edessa and Izates bar Monobaz ofAdiabene; he was captured and sent to Gotarzes, where he was allowed to live after having his ears mutilated, an act that disqualified him from inheriting the throne.[109]
In 97 AD, the Chinese general Ban Chao, the Protector-General of the Western Regions, sent his emissary Gan Ying on a diplomatic mission to reach the Roman Empire. Gan visited the court of Pacorus II of Parthia at Hecatompylos before departing towards Rome.[110] He traveled as far west as the Persian Gulf, where Parthian authorities convinced him that an arduous sea voyage around the Arabian Peninsula was the only means to reach Rome.[111]Discouraged by this, Gan Ying returned to the Han court and provided Emperor He of Han (r. 88–105 AD) with a detailed report on the Roman Empire based on oral accounts of his Parthian hosts.[112] William Watson speculates that the Parthians would have been relieved at the failed efforts by the Han Empire to open diplomatic relations with Rome, especially after Ban Chao's military victories against the Xiongnu in eastern Central Asia.[110] However, Chinese records maintain that a Roman embassy, perhaps only a group of Roman merchants, arrived at the Han capital Luoyang in 166 AD, during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–180 AD) and Emperor Huan of Han (r. 146–168 AD).
The Parthian Empire had no standing army, yet were able to quickly recruit troops in the event of local crises.[189] There was a permanent armed guard attached to the person of the king, comprising nobles, serfs and mercenaries, but this royal retinue was small.[190] Garrisons were also permanently maintained at border forts; Parthian inscriptions reveal some of the military titles granted to the commanders of these locations.[190] Military forces could also be used in diplomatic gestures. For example, when Chinese envoys visited Parthia in the late 2nd century BC, the Shiji maintains that 20,000 horsemen were sent to the eastern borders to serve as escorts for the embassy, although this figure is perhaps an exaggeration.[191]
The main striking force of the Parthian army was its cataphracts, heavy cavalry with man and horse decked in mailed armor.[192] The cataphracts were equipped with a lance for charging into enemy lines,but were not equipped with bows and arrows which were restricted to horse archers.[193] Due to the cost of their equipment and armor, cataphracts were recruited from among the aristocratic class who, in return for their services, demanded a measure of autonomy at the local level from the Arsacid kings.[194] The light cavalry was recruited from among the commoner class and acted as horse archers; they wore a simple tunic and trousers into battle.[192] They used composite bowsand were able to shoot at enemies while riding and facing away from them; this technique, known as the Parthian shot, was a highly effective tactic.[195] The heavy and light cavalry of Parthia proved to be a decisive factor in the Battle of Carrhae where a Persian force defeated a much larger Roman army under Crassus. Light infantry units, composed of levied commoners and mercenaries, were used to disperse enemy troops after cavalry charges.[196]
The size of the Parthian army is unknown, as is the size of the empire's overall population. However, archaeological excavations in former Parthian urban centers reveal settlements which could have sustained large populations and hence a great resource in manpower.[197]Dense population centers in regions like Babylonia were no doubt attractive to the Romans, whose armies could afford to live off the land.
The Parthian Empire, being culturally and politically heterogeneous, had a variety of religious systems and beliefs, the most widespread being those dedicated to Greek and Iranian cults.[214] Aside from a minority of Jews[215] and early Christians,[216] most Parthians werepolytheistic.[217] Greek and Iranian deities were often blended together as one. For example, Zeus was often equated with Ahura Mazda,Hades with Angra Mainyu, Aphrodite and Hera with Anahita, Apollo with Mithra, and Hermes with Shamash.[218] Aside from the main gods and goddesses, each ethnic group and city had their own designated deities.[217] As with Seleucid rulers,[219] Parthian art indicates that the Arsacid kings viewed themselves as gods; this cult of the ruler was perhaps the most widespread.[220]
The extent of Arsacid patronism of Zoroastrianism is debated in modern scholarship.[221] The followers of Zoroaster would have found the bloody sacrifices of some Parthian-era Iranian cults to be unacceptable.[214] However, there is evidence that Vologeses I encouraged the presence of Zoroastrian magi priests at court and sponsored the compilation of sacred Zoroastrian texts which later formed the Avesta.[222]The Sassanid court would later adopt Zoroastrianism as the official state religion of the empire.[223]
Although Mani (216–276 AD), the founding prophet of Manichaeism, did not proclaim his first religious revelation until 228/229 AD, Bivar asserts that his new faith contained "elements of Mandaean belief, Iranian cosmogony, and even echoes of Christianity ... [it] may be regarded as a typical reflection of the mixed religious doctrines of the late Arsacid period, which the Zoroastrian orthodoxy of the Sasanians was soon to sweep away."[224]
There is scant archaeological evidence for the spread of Buddhism from the Kushan Empire into Iran proper.[225] However, it is known from Chinese sources that An Shigao (fl. 2nd century AD), a Parthian nobleman and Buddhist monk, traveled to Luoyang in Han China as aBuddhist missionary and translated several Buddhist canons into Chinese.




Christians have no greater ally than Israel

Religion News Service | By Lauren Markoe
Posted: 09/11/2014 1:17 pm EDT Updated: 09/11/2014 1:59 pm EDT

(RNS) After he said “Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled off the stage at a Wednesday night (Sept. 10) gala to raise awareness of beleaguered Mideast Christians.

Cruz, the keynote speaker at the Washington, D.C., dinner, sponsored by In Defense of Christians, a new organization spearheaded by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, prompted boos and cries of “stop it!” and “enough” and “no!” as an increasingly louder crowd told him to get off the stage.

The incident, first reported by the online news organization The Daily Caller, was captured on video by EWTN, the Catholic television network. The video shows that Cruz tried to continue speaking, but many in the audience, in a hotel ballroom, expressed anger when he included Hamas in the list of militants out to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East.

Middle Eastern Christian leaders condemn ‘barbaric’ persecution

Published 10 September 2014  |   Carey Lodge

Politicians, policy makers and faith leaders have urged the international community to step up its response to religious persecution in the Middle East.

Meeting for the inaugural IDC (In Defence of Christians) Summit in Washington this week, representatives from Middle Eastern churches condemned global inaction, insisting all nations must immediately address the growing crisis in Iraq and Syria.

According to the Washington Post, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Maronite patriarch of Antioch and all the East, said: «Far too long the world has stood there watching these atrocities without lifting a finger while the local government has proved to be utterly incapable of saving the lives of its citizens.»

The plight of Christians in the region has been of particular concern after being targeted specifically by Islamic State (IS) militants in a bid to create a caliphate.

Last week, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby noted that the Middle East is the «birthplace of Christianity, and home to indigenous Christian communities that have been an indispensible part of its history».

He warned that the region is «in desperate danger of losing an irreplaceable part of its identity, heritage and culture.»

The IDC summit yesterday echoed this sentiment, with Aram I Keshishian, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, branding the crisis a «global evil».

«Religious freedom is not just an American right, it’s a universal right,» Cardinal Patriarch Rai, speaking before several members of Congress, added.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com




Religion News Service | By Lauren Markoe
Posted: 09/11/2014 1:17 pm EDT Updated: 09/11/2014 1:59 pm EDT

(RNS) After he said “Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled off the stage at a Wednesday night (Sept. 10) gala to raise awareness of beleaguered Mideast Christians.

Cruz, the keynote speaker at the Washington, D.C., dinner, sponsored by In Defense of Christians, a new organization spearheaded by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, prompted boos and cries of “stop it!” and “enough” and “no!” as an increasingly louder crowd told him to get off the stage.

The incident, first reported by the online news organization The Daily Caller, was captured on video by EWTN, the Catholic television network. The video shows that Cruz tried to continue speaking, but many in the audience, in a hotel ballroom, expressed anger when he included Hamas in the list of militants out to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East.


Middle Eastern Christian leaders condemn 'barbaric' persecution



Published 10 September 2014  |   


Politicians, policy makers and faith leaders have urged the international community to step up its response to religious persecution in the Middle East.

Meeting for the inaugural IDC (In Defence of Christians) Summit in Washington this week, representatives from Middle Eastern churches condemned global inaction, insisting all nations must immediately address the growing crisis in Iraq and Syria.


According to the Washington Post, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Maronite patriarch of Antioch and all the East, said: "Far too long the world has stood there watching these atrocities without lifting a finger while the local government has proved to be utterly incapable of saving the lives of its citizens."

The plight of Christians in the region has been of particular concern after being targeted specifically by Islamic State (IS) militants in a bid to create a caliphate.

Last week, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby noted that the Middle East is the "birthplace of Christianity, and home to indigenous Christian communities that have been an indispensible part of its history".

He warned that the region is "in desperate danger of losing an irreplaceable part of its identity, heritage and culture."

The IDC summit yesterday echoed this sentiment, with Aram I Keshishian, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, branding the crisis a "global evil".

"Religious freedom is not just an American right, it's a universal right," Cardinal Patriarch Rai, speaking before several members of Congress, added.






Noam Chomsky at UC Santa Barbara

Published on Apr 7, 2014
March 01, 2014 at UC Santa Barbara
Topics Discussed Include: Syrian Civil War, Israel Lobby, East Asian Miracle, Austerity, Mysteries and Perplexing Questions, Alan Greenspan, Class Warfare, Latin America, Neo-liberalism, Free…

Published on Apr 7, 2014
March 01, 2014 at UC Santa Barbara

Topics Discussed Include: Syrian Civil War, Israel Lobby, East Asian Miracle, Austerity, Mysteries and Perplexing Questions, Alan Greenspan, Class Warfare, Latin America, Neo-liberalism, Free Will, Business Party, etc.


The ‘Gharkad’ tree

Nitraria retusaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaNitraria retusaN. retusa, from Vegetation der Erde(1910)Scientific classificationKingdom:Plantae(unranked):Angiosperms(unranked):Eudicots(unranked):RosidsOrder:SapindalesFamily:NitrariaceaeGenus:…

Nitraria retusa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nitraria retusa
Nitrariaceae Nitraria retusa.png
N. retusa, from Vegetation der Erde(1910)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Rosids
Order:Sapindales
Family:Nitrariaceae
Genus:Nitraria
Species:N. retusa
Binomial name
Nitraria retusa
(Forssk.) Asch.
Nitraria retusa is a salt-tolerant shrub or bush in the Nitrariaceae family. The plant grows to 2.5m tall, although it is usually less than 1m in height.[1] It has tiny, white to green, fragrant flowers,[1] and small edible red fruit.[2] The plant is native to desert areas of northern Africa, where it grows in primary succession on barren sand dunes.[3]

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b "Nitraria retusa". Flora of Pakistan. eFloras.org. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  2. Jump up^ Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation. A guide to medicinal plants in North Africa. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. p. 256. ISBN 978-2-8317-0893-5.
  3. Jump up^ Zahran, M.A.; A.J. Willis (2008). The Vegetation of Egypt. Springer. p. 440. ISBN 978-1-4020-8755-4.

No Innocents in Gaza: Israeli Army :
http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout


Chabad rabbi: Jews should kill Arab men, women and children during war:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1091469.html


Chief Jewish Rabbi Eliyahu advocates carpet bombing Gaza civilians:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...cle%2FShowFull


Jewish Rabbis tell Israeli army to "Kill all Palestinian civilians":
http://english.aljazeera.net/archive...850935259.html


Jewish Rabbi calls for "hanging Arab children":
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/968729.html


Rabbi Eliyahu: Life of one yeshiva boy worth more than 1,000 Arabs:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...527410,00.html


Israeli spokesperson says children are legitimate target:
http://www.uruknet.de/?p=m50093&s1=h1


UN: "Israel knew they were bombing a school:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uWP0GU0wVSk


Israel Uses Gazans as Human Shields:
http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout


Israeli soldiers say Palestinians are not human:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP8uZrytG48


UN levels war crimes warning at Israel:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...acuees-zeitoun


Jewish colonists tie Palestinian teacher to a pole and savagely beat him up:
http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout


Israeli IDF shoot Palestinian in point blank range, caught on video:
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/mi...259205217.html


If Americans Knew - what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine:
http://www.ifamericansknew.org/


CNN: Israel Broke Gaza Cease-Fire:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uDBiycEz12s


United Nations representative confirms Israel broke the truce:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4jOFXL62zw0


Hamas answers Israeli air raid with rockets as truce ends early:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008...-gaza-violence


Pro-Israel commentators on the Internet being directed by Israeli government:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ministry-media

ISIS – The Known or Unknown Enemy?

Originally posted on Lex Solo’s Political Rantings:
A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue…

Originally posted on Lex Solo's Political Rantings:

A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue happening in the Middle East. The world’s biggest deception: ISIS.

I remember when I first heard of ISIS. I was listening to the news when a Syrian man came on and was sharing his story.  He spoke of a time he called his sister who lived in Idlib, a town in Syria that was very harshly affected by the conflict. He said they were laughing when all of a sudden she looked outside of the window and started to scream. “They’re here, they’re here…AHHH! AND THEY ARE CHOPPING PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF! We are going to die, we are going to die…”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Who are these people that are not too far away…

View original 1,121 more words


ISIS – The Known or Unknown Enemy?

Originally posted on Lex Solo’s Political Rantings:
A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue…

 

Saudi Arabia forms alliance of 34 Muslim nations to fight ISIS and tackle ‘the Islamic world’s problem with terrorism’

  • Coalition to include members from across the Middle East, Africa and Asia
  • Saudi Arabia has called it a bid to ‘save international peace and security’
  • The group includes powerful gulf states Egypt and Turkey – but not Iran

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3360422/Saudi-Arabia-forms-34-nation-anti-terrorist-coalition.html#ixzz3uOsJbJAd
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


Pentagon report predicted West’s support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS

Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion’

by Nafeez Ahmed


Lex Solo's Political Rantings

A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue happening in the Middle East. The world’s biggest deception: ISIS.

I remember when I first heard of ISIS. I was listening to the news when a Syrian man came on and was sharing his story.  He spoke of a time he called his sister who lived in Idlib, a town in Syria that was very harshly affected by the conflict. He said they were laughing when all of a sudden she looked outside of the window and started to scream. “They’re here, they’re here…AHHH! AND THEY ARE CHOPPING PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF! We are going to die, we are going to die…”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Who are these people that are not too far away…

View original post 1,121 more words


Alphabet soup

Published on Aug 20, 2014
Este es un pequeño homenaje a Jim Foley. Esta grabación se corresponde al año 2012, septiembre. Jim fue de los primeros periodistas del mundo en entrar en Siria… Y su compromiso le llevó a seguir trabajando a pesar de las dificultades para hacerlo. Esto es Alepo, en el peor momento de la ofensiva. Allí estaba Jim…


On March 4, 2014, the Administration submitted its Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, including a base funding request of $45.6 billion for the National Intelligence Program (NIP), and a base funding request of $13.3 billion for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). On June 30, the DNI submitted an updated FY2015 budget request of $49.4 billion for the NIP including funding for overseas contingency operations. An updated budget request figure for the MIP has not yet been disclosed.  One of the justifications for the budget of intelligence agencies is Islamic extremism. Yet the same intelligence agencies have been behind the rise of Islamic extremism for decades now.

The United States is th eonly country in the world where the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, are not view as a consequences of U.S. policy. Yet the record shows that the al-Qaeda network might have not existed at all, had the United States not sponsored Islamic extremism in Afghanistan. This is commonly understood outside the United States. The memory lapse is  understandable. Once the U.S.-sponsored Islamic extremists had forced the Soviet Army out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s, the United States just forgot about the monster it created.

The violence of Islamism has roused anxious concern throughout the Muslim world.  In the United States, the media and policy makers wage a campaign to demonize Muslims and Islam as a threat to Western interests. This political motivated propaganda is tuned to the resistance to Israel occupation of Muslim lands. The anti-Islam bias sets a double standard: The U.S. Media condones Israel’s U.S.-financed violence – conducted on an enormous scale – while denouncing Arab resistence to it. The propaganda in the West suggests that violence and holoy war are inherent in Islam. The reality is that as a worldwide movement Jihad is a recent phenomenon. It is a modern, multinational conglomerate founded not so much by fanatic mullahs in Teheran as it is sponsored by governments including the United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Historically, nearly all Muslim strugles of the 20th century were secular. 

For the average citizen of the West, the idea of the United States as The Sponsor of international terrorism would appear utterly incomprehensible. After all, one reads daily that the United States is leading the charge against something it calls terrorism, and it regularly assails its allies for dragging in response to terrorism.  The Western  misperception comes from an abuse of language. The powerful define terrorism to exclude their own acts. Washington arbitrarily designates any group or country which it opposes as terrorist, and this will be transmitted to the public by the mass media without laughter. 

“The War on Terrorism” was a semantic manipulation of the word “terrorism,” which is loosely defined, however it gave the government the extra power it has in time of war for an indeterminable amount of time. The Patriot Act, the invasive, controversial legislation was given a name that suggests anyone against it was “unpatriotic.” The slogan “Support the Troops” was seen everywhere, suggesting that if one was against the indefinable, unjust war that they were also against the troops. This again suggests opposers were “unpatriotic.” The best example may be that torture was renamed “enhanced interrogation.

The pre-eminent authority on the English language, the much-venerated Oxford English Dictionary, says:

Terrorism: A system of terror. 1. Government by intimidation as directed and carried out by the party in power in France during the revolution of 1789-94; the system of `Terror’. 2. gen. A policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or condition of being terrorized.


In its semantic manipulation of terrorism and related words, a number of devices are used to differentiate friends and self from terrorists. Perhaps the most insidious is to confine the use of the word terrorism to nonstate actors and actions; i.e., to define terrorism as the use of violence to oppose governments.  This departs from the standard and traditional usage, according to which terrorism is a mode of governing as well as of opposing governments by means of intimidation. In this context, it is curios that The State Department aserts that ISIS is not a terrorist organzation.

ISIS used to be called al-Qaida. It has been claimed that the CIA had ties with Osama Bin Laden‘s al-Qaeda and its «Afghan Arab» fighters when it armed Mujahideen groups against the Soviet Union during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

In a 2004 BBC article entitled «Al-Qaeda’s origins and links», the BBC wrote:
During the anti-Soviet jihad Bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding. Some analysts believe Bin Laden himself had security training from the CIA.[1]
Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary in the UK from 1997–2001, believed the CIA had provided arms to the Arab Mujahideen, including Osama bin Laden, writing, «Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.» His source for this is unclear.[2]
In conversation with former British Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto said Osama bin Laden was initially pro-American.[3]Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, has also stated that bin Laden once expressed appreciation for the United States’ help in Afghanistan. On CNN’s Larry King program he said:[4]
Bandar bin Sultan: This is ironic. In the mid-’80s, if you remember, we and the United – Saudi Arabia and the United States were supporting the Mujahideen to liberate Afghanistan from the Soviets. He [Osama bin Laden] came to thank me for my efforts to bring the Americans, our friends, to help us against the atheists, he said the communists. Isn’t it ironic?
Larry King: How ironic. In other words, he came to thank you for helping bring America to help him.
Bandar bin Sultan: Right.
Former FBI translator and Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, interviewed by Brad Friedman on the The Mike Malloy Show on June 2009 has stated: «I have information about things that our government has lied to us about. I know. For example, to say that since the fall of the Soviet Union we ceased all of our intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban – those things can be proven as lies, very easily, based on the information they classified in my case, because we did carry very intimate relationship with these people, and it involves Central Asia, all the way up to September 11.«
U.S. government officials and a number of other parties maintain that the U.S. supported only the indigenous Afghan mujahideen. They deny that the CIA or other American officials had contact with the Afghan Arabs (foreign mujahideen) or Bin Laden, let alone armed, trained, coached or indoctrinated them. Scholars and reporters have called the idea of CIA-backed Afghan Arabs (foreign mujahideen) «nonsense»,[6] «sheer fantasy»,[7] and «simply a folk myth.»
One allegation not denied by the US government is that the U.S. Army enlisted and trained a cashiered Egyptian soldier named Ali Mohamed, and that it knew Ali occasionally took trips to Afghanistan, where he claimed to fight Russians.
New allegations have turned up that the United States and NATO have either unknowingly or knowingly been supporting al-Qaeda affiliates during the Libyan civil war and the current Syrian civil war.[26] Al-Qaeda affiliates account for 12,000 fighters in Syria and one affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, is part of the Islamic coalition which accounts for 59-75% of the rebels in Syria and plans a political transition to Sharia law post-Assad.[27][28] Turkey, a NATO member, has listed the Al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.  
The United States of America has at various times in recent history provided support to Terrorist paramilitary organizations across the world. It has also provided assistance to numerous authoritarian regimes that have used terror as a tool of repression.[1][2]
United States support to non-state terrorists has been prominent in Latin America, the Middle-East, and Southern Africa.[1] From 1981 to 1991, the United States provided weapons, training, and extensive financial and logistical support to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, who used terror tactics in their fight against the Nicaraguan government.[3] At various points the United States also provided training, arms, and funds to terrorists among the Cuban exiles, such as Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles.
Various reasons have been provided to justify such support. These including destabilizing political movements that might have aligned with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, including popular democratic and socialist movements.[4] Such support has also formed a part of the war on drugs.[2] Support was also geared toward ensuring a conducive environment for American corporate interests abroad, especially when these interests came under threat from democratic regimes.
Several scholars have accused the United States of conducting state terrorism. They have written about the liberal democracies and their use of state terrorism, particularly in relation to the Cold War. According to them, state terrorism was used to protect the interest of capitalist elites, and the U.S. organized a neo-colonial system of client states, co-operating with local elites to rule through terror. However, little of this work has been recognized by other scholars of terrorism or even of state terrorism.[1]
Notable works include Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman‘s The political economy of human rights (1979), Herman’s The real terror network (1985), Alexander L. George Western state terrorism (1991), Frederick Gareau’s State terrorism and the United States (2004) and Doug Stokes America’s other war (2005). Of these, Chomsky and Herman are considered the foremost writers on the United States and state terrorism. Noam Chomsky  said:
The Obama administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism. In fact, it’s doing it all over the world.  Obama is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history:  the drone assassination campaigns, which are just part of it […] All of these operations, they are terror operations.
***
People hate the country that’s just terrorizing them.  That’s not a surprise. Just consider the way we react to acts of terror. That’s the way other people react to [American] acts of terror.
Experts agrees that indiscriminate drone strikes are war crimes (more here andhere).
Chomsky has previously extensively documented U.S. terrorism.  As Wikipedia notes:
Chomsky and Herman observed that terror was concentrated in the U.S. sphere of influence in the Third World, and documented terror carried out by U.S. client states in Latin America. They observed that of ten Latin American countries that had death squads, all were U.S. client states.
***
They concluded that the global rise in state terror was a result of U.S. foreign policy.
***
In 1991, a book edited by Alexander L. George [the Graham H. Stuart Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Stanford University] also argued that other Western powers sponsored terror in Third World countries. It concluded that the U.S. and its allies were the main supporters of terrorism throughout the world.
The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan – Lt. General William Odom – noted:
Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely makes the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world.
The former NSA and CIA agent Edward Snowden revealed that the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was trained in Israel, various Iranien sources reported. 



By Bill Gertz – Washington Free Beacon – – Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The CIA failed to provide adequate warning of the recent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant military incursion into Iraq despite having a significant presence of agency officers in the country, according to U.S. officials and security analysts.

Critics of the agency said the intelligence failure was made worse by a failure of the Obama administration to recognize the threat posed to the country by the ISIL, which last week renamed itself simply the Islamic State (IS) and declared its captured territory in Syria and Iraq is now a “caliphate.”

PHO

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/1/cia-blamed-iraq-intel-failure-isis-rise/#ixzz3AyRLW9bu


US and UK try to identify Isis militant with British accent

British and US security services were trying on Wednesday to identify the Islamic State (Isis) militant with a British accent who appeared in a video of the apparent beheading of a US journalist, James Foley.

The UK foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said intelligence agencies were trying to unmask the fluent English-speaking militant in the propaganda footage. Scotland Yard warned the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating the video within the UK might constitute a criminal offence under terrorism legislation. A spokesman said: «The Metropolitan police service counter terrorism command (SO15) is investigating the contents of the video that was posted online in relation to the alleged murder of James Foley.»

Afzal Ashraf, of the Royal United Services Institute, said many of the estimated 500 British fighters in Syria and Iraq had criminal backgrounds in the UK so were likely to be known to police. Intelligence agencies would also be using linguistics technology to track down the man, he said.

Ashraf said the video was part of a «propaganda war» being waged by Isis. «There will be a minor effect on recruitment. It will affect a certain kind of psychopathic individual but it’s a very minority sport, fortunately.

«There will be far more people put off by these guys but there is a market for this sort of thing,» he said.

«The message that really motivates people is it’s a way of hitting back at what they perceive to be the US bullying and domination of the Muslim world. They feel impotent when they see the awesome US air and land power and they see this as a way of hitting back and that’s the principle motivation.»

Erin Saltman, a senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-terrorism thinktank, said the footage was geared towards disaffected Islamist extremists in the west who would be able to empathise with the British-accented militant.

«The video is quite a shock mainly because the two characters are an American and a Briton. That’s done very deliberately,» she said.

«As soon as you have a fighter with a Middle East accent it becomes very easy to disassociate with that and say they’re brutal, they’re barbaric. But when you have a British citizen, raised in the UK, this is somebody we can empathise with.»


18 August 2014

There is evidence in the public domain that the US and Saudi Arabia are behind the ISIS. ISIS used to be called Al-Qaida but that is not convenient anymore, it seems because it is clearly high treason to cooperate with Al-Qaida, Even in the US Media these facts were acknowledge when Obama was pondering invading Syria.

Tell your congressman that you are concerned about allegations that the US and/or its allies trained Islamic extremist in Jordan to fight the Syrian government. Ask how a bunch of young tugs can operate sophisticated high tech us supplied equipment without training, maintenance, and spear parts. Ask how Israel, with her paranoid arrogance and the best army and intelligence service in the World, allowed a military presence of the size of the ISIS to surge in her backyard. Ask who supplies the ammunition and money.

There are reasons, I guess, for people in power to play chess with the World, but at the end of the line what we have is psychopathic behavior and Power for the sake of Power. What we can do first of all is being informed and tell others at church, school, friends what is going on and tell government officials that you are aware and against blood for oil.

By Nick Tattersall

ISTANBUL | Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:34am EDT

(Reuters) – The rise of al Qaeda in parts of Syria’s north has left Turkey facing a new security threat on its already vulnerable border and raised questions about its wholesale support for rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey has long championed more robust backing for Syria’s fractious armed opposition, arguing it would bring a quicker end to Assad’s rule and give moderate forces the authority they needed to keep more radical Islamist elements in check.

But with Islamist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) taking territory in parts of the north near the border in recent weeks, it is a strategy that increasingly looks to have been a miscalculation.

Ankara has found itself facing accusations that indiscriminate support for the rebels has allowed weapons and foreign fighters to cross into northern Syria and facilitated the rise of radical groups.

«We are being accused of supporting al Qaeda,» a source close to the Turkish government said, adding that U.S. officials had raised concerns on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York last month.

«They were politely but aggressively critical. The attention has focused away from Assad to al Qaeda,» the source said, echoing frustration voiced by other officials in Ankara that this was playing into Assad’s hands.

As if on cue, the Turkish army said on Wednesday it had fired on ISIL fighters over the border after a stray mortar shell hit Turkish soil. It has retaliated in the past in such cases but this appeared to be the first time its response had targeted al Qaeda-linked fighters.

Turkey has maintained an open-door policy throughout the two-and-a-half-year conflict, providing a lifeline to rebel-held areas by allowing humanitarian aid in, giving refugees a route out and letting the rebel Free Syrian Army organize on its soil.

It officially denies arming the rebels or facilitating the passage of foreign fighters who have swollen the ranks of al Qaeda-linked factions including ISIL and Nusra.

«Logistically nothing goes through the official borders in Turkey or any other country anyway,» said Louay Meqdad, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army.

But the 900 km (560-mile) border is difficult to police and refugees, smugglers and rebel fighters have been able to cross undetected in remote areas, bypassing the main crossing points.

«Officially we didn’t allow it. But it’s a long border and some groups, we tried to accommodate them in the Syrian opposition, which we wanted to be as large as possible,» said one Turkish official in the region, when asked whether foreign fighters had been able to cross.

Foreign mercenaries, mainly backed by Gulf states, were initially welcomed by Syria’s rebel forces because they had greater battle experience and were more effective against pro-Assad militias, he said.

«This was a tactical mistake and now we see a totally different balance of power.»


The Wall Street Journal recently revealed new details about how Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud — Saudi’s former ambassador to the United States — is leading the effort to prop up the Syrian rebels. Intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm hand-picked Syrian rebels. The Journal also reports Prince Bandar has been jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime. «Really what he’s doing is he’s reprising a role that he played in the 1980s when he worked with the Reagan administration to arrange money and arms for mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan and also worked with the CIA in Nicaragua to support the Contras,» says Wall Street Journal reporter Adam Entous. «So in many ways this is a very familiar position for Prince Bandar, and it’s amazing to see the extent to which veterans of the CIA were excited to see him come back because, in the words of a diplomat who knows Bandar, he brings the Arabic term wasta, which means under-the-table clout. You know his checks are not going to bounce and that he’ll be able to deliver the money from the Saudis.»
Watch Part Two of Interview, ‘U.S.-Russian Tensions Heighten over Syria; Roots of Conflict Stem from NATO Bombing of Libya


Israeli – U.S. Terror

excerpted from the book

Covert Action: the Roots of Terrorism

edited by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap

Ocean Press, 2003, paper

Israeli – U.S. Terror

Introduction by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap

p121

For more than 35 years, the violent and bitter history of the Palestinian-lsraeli conflicts have centered around a history of collaboration between U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence services and their coincidence of interests. Israeli covert operations have backed up U.S. clandestine schemes, especially in the Middle East, but also in Central America, southern Africa and elsewhere in a global conquest in which U.S. domination has reached its apex under George W. Bush.

Ever since the discovery of vast, almost unimaginable oil reserves in the region, the overriding strategic objective of the United States in the Middle East has been access to and eventual control over that resource. And since its 1967 victory in the six-day war, when Israel established itself as the regional military superpower capable of aiding in this primary U.S. objective, massive U.S. foreign aid and subsidized weapons of war have ensured an Israeli-U.S. alliance with mutually expansionist agendas. Both want unfettered access to Arab oil and more.

The second U.S. imperative is its strategic partnership with Israel, a function of the power of the pro-lsrael lobby in the United States, exemplified by the ability of the American-lsrael Political Action Committee to influence congressional and even presidential elections. And the White House, State Department and Pentagon are riddled with insiders with dual loyalties, the belief that U.S. and Israeli interests are and should be, identical.

The quid pro quo for Israel, an extension of this objective, is the relative free play given to its own designs in the Middle East as a military force and an ever-expanding Zionist state.

The United States has given Israel virtually every sophisticated weapon system it has to offer, more than $18 billion in the last decade, with more than $2 billion in military aid slated for the next fiscal year (2003-4). As a further reward for cooperation in covert activities around the globe, the U.S. remained silent, if not actually assisted, Israel’s development and testing of its own nuclear weapons.

Although no significant policies of the Israeli Government could be implemented without the tacit concurrence of its U.S. benefactor, when it suits Washington’s rapacious oil policies, arrangements of convenience with Israel’s enemies were not precluded in the past. The United States (and Britain) supplied chemical and other weapons to Iraq during the Iraq-lran war, while covertly working with Israel to supply Iran.

And Israel has also conducted its own military intelligence operations against U.S. targets, such as the seemingly inexplicable Israeli bombing of the U.S.S. Liberty during the 1967 war, a deliberate act apparently to prevent the U.S. communications ship from monitoring, perhaps disrupting its invasion and occupation of the Golan Heights. And, of course, each nation spies on the other; while Jonathan Pollard was caught and jailed, both countries have active operatives, collaborators and media assets in each other’s territory.

But no matter which regime may be in power in either country, both Israeli and U.S. campaigns plot the elimination of any viable, sovereign, Palestinian state. Together, their machinations of incremental negotiations followed by betrayal, assassination and invasion have imposed upon the Palestinians what Noam Chomsky called «a system of permanent neocolonial dependency.»

Brutal attacks on Palestinian civilians, collective punishment, obliteration of entire villages, mass forced expulsions, illegal settlement of occupied land including East Jerusalem, torture, terrorism, starvation and murder have been used by successive Israeli governments with U.S. approval.

Universal military conscription of Israeli youth thrusts young draftees into endless confrontations with Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories, ensuring an existential racial hatred in deliberately provocative «strategies of tension» and expansion, all in the name of a «fragile» Israeli state security. This while Israel has one of the most powerful and best-equipped armed forces in the world, the only nuclear power in the region.

Despite Israel’s control through the ClA-approved, Oslo-directed Palestinian Authority, the PA was locked in an endless cycle of repression and corruption through enforced collaboration with security committees run by the CIA and Israeli intelligence against the Palestinian people. Sharon’s campaign against its institutional infrastructure also included intentional killings of large numbers of Palestinian civilians through saturation bombings of refugee camps and villages and the homes of suspected terrorists (with no regard for the lives of innocent neighbors), aided by computerized targeting and the rounding up of thousands of Palestinian men and women and their families for planned expulsion.

The Palestinians themselves, dispersed and dispossessed and used as pawns by other Arab nations, have never been able to develop a united vision. There are Palestinian nationalists and socialists and there are Palestinian fundamentalists. The fostering of disunity and corruption within these factions-whether in the Occupied Territories or in exile-has been a major element in the U.S.-lsraeli targeting of the Palestinian national struggle by covert manipulation of Palestinian exiles and groups. In what was hardly a coincidence, during the early 1980s, while the United States actively encouraged an Islamic «Holy War» in Afghanistan, the Israelis infiltrated and supported a burgeoning Islamic fundamentalist movement, later allowing Islamic charities, religious schools and training sites to flourish, as their well-financed graduates countered the growing influence of Palestinian nationalists.

The occupation army’s control of land, travel, water, food and medicine intensified, even as Palestinians attempted to negotiate an ever-changing «peace process» with Israel. Orchestrated with the United States as a delaying tactic, this effectively prevented an independent Palestinian state. The Oslo accords achieved only greater Israeli control over the territories and the geometric expansion of armed, militant Zionist settlements entrenched in the West Bank and Gaza.

The plan for the gradual creation of an autonomous Palestine was transformed from a blueprint for a contiguous territory into a jigsaw puzzle divided by Jewish settlements, fortified access roads and innumerable security zones. The proposed map of Palestinian areas resembles the Bantustans of apartheid South Africa. Israeli tanks and troops poured into these tiny «cantons,» bombing and killing civilians at will. And Bush’s minimal support for such a state, conditioned upon «regime change» in the Palestinian Authority, may disappear altogether, as events suggest a Likud push towards a final ethnic cleansing.

Israeli State Terror

by Naseer Aruri
CAQ 1988

p126
Israeli State Terror

In his personal diary, which was published against the wishes of the Israeli establishment, former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett reveals that Israeli military operations against Arab civilian populations were designed to terrorize them and create fear, tension and instability. Sharett’s documentation shows that Israel’s territorial expansion (such as in the Suez in 1956) was facilitated by Israeli acts of provocation, which generated Arab hostility and created pretexts for intervention. For example, the attack by Israeli Army Unit 101 led by Ariel Sharon on the Palestinian village of Kibya in October 1953, causing numerous civilian casualties and destruction of homes, was condemned by Sharett. He writes, «[In the cabinet meeting] I condemned the Kibya affair that exposed us in front of the whole world as a gang of blood-suckers, capable of mass massacres regardless it seems, of whether their actions may lead to war.

More recent accounts by Israeli writers show how earlier acts of terrorism provided a historical background to adoption of a policy of state terrorism by Israel. Benny Morris’s explanation of the Palestinian exodus in 1948, based on state, military and Zionist archives, refutes the official Israeli version that the Palestinians bear responsibility for their own expulsion. An earlier work by Irish journalist Erskine Childers demonstrated that, contrary to the official Israeli version, there were no Arab radio broadcasts ordering the Palestinians to leave. And Israeli journalist Tom Segev reveals in his book how instrumental was Zionist terrorism in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Sixteen months after 250 Arab civilians were massacred in the village of Deir Yassin (April 9, 1948) by the combined forces of ETZEL (known as Menachem Begin’s Irgun) and LEHI (known as Yitzhak Shamir’s Stern Gang) there was a debate in the Israeli set in which, according to Segev, a member of Begin’s Herut Party had boasted: «Thanks to Deir Yassin, we won the war.»

Another account by Lenny Brenner reveals that Israeli Prime Minister Shamir was a convert to the pro-Mussolini Betar (Zionist Brownshirts) in the late 1930s and that his Stern Gang had attempted to strike a deal with the Nazi regime in Germany in 1941 in which the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine on a «totalitarian basis» would be bound by a treaty with the German Reich.

Shamir’s commitment to right-wing causes and to terrorism was unmistakably revealed in an article he wrote in the LEHI journal Hehazit (The Front) in the summer of 1943. This excerpt stands in contrast to Shamir’s constant moralizing and condemnation of what he calls «PLO terrorism:»

Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat… [T]errorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier.

Shamir’s cabinet colleague Yitzhak Rabin who, as defense minister in charge of the occupied territories, proclaimed the policy of «might, force and blows» in January 1988 (which has so far resulted in an estimated 281 deaths, more than 50,000 injuries and 30,000 detentions) has also had a consistent record of terrorism for more than 40 years. As the deputy commander of Operation Dani, he, along with the late former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the late former Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon, were responsible for the expulsion of between 50,000 and 70,000 people from the towns of Lydda and Ramleh in July 1948. The town of Ramleh had surrendered without a fight after the withdrawal of the Jordan Army but the inhabitants were rounded up, expelled and told never to come back. Benny Morris characterized that as the «biggest expulsion operation of the 1948 war.» Rabin expressed empathy with «the great suffering inflicted upon» his men who caused the expulsion.

One of those expelled was a 13-year-old boy by the name of Khalil alWazir, later known as Abu Jihad. Yitzhak Rabin, who was responsible for that act as a member of the Zionist militia, was one of the inner cabinet decision-makers who decided, 40 years later, to assassinate al-Wazir far away from his home in Ramleh. The man who headed the inner cabinet, Yitzhak Shamir, told an inquirer who wanted to know who killed Abu Jihad, «I heard about it on the radio.»

It was typical of the official response to the killing; claims of ignorance, broad hints that Abu Jihad’s responsibility for the Palestinian uprising could only trigger that kind of response and the usual reference to a factional conflict within the Palestinian movement as being responsible for the assassination. In fact, the murder of Abu Jihad is the latest incident in a continuous pattern of Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals among whom are Karmal al-Adwan, Ghassan Kanafani, Kamal Nasser, Majid Abu Sharar, Abu Yurif and many others.

In a New York Times article summarizing the official Israeli interpretation of its own policies, Thomas Friedman maintains that Israel endeavors to «turn terror back on the terrorists.» This strategy has gone through several different stages. For the period of 1948-56 the strategy was described as «counterterrorism through retaliation or negative feedback» and was employed against Egypt and Jordan to prevent border crossings by Palestinian refugees attempting, in the main, to check on the conditions of their former homes.» By 1972, Israel was striking against «the nerve centers and the perpetrators themselves» using letter bombs, exploding cars and telephones and quiet assassinations of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals on the back streets of Europe. Later acts of terrorism including the destruction of entire villages in Lebanon, raids on Beirut, Baghdad and Tunis have become typical of Israeli policy towards Arab nonacceptance of its regional hegemony. Such acts have rarely evoked U.S. condemnation. In fact the Reagan Administration characterized Israel’s raid on the PLO headquarters in Tunis as an act of self-defense.

United States and Israel-A «Special» Relationship

Strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States was consummated between 1982 and 1988 and has dramatically elevated Israel’s role in U.S. global strategic calculation. By 1983, the Reagan Administration had accepted the Israeli view that the Palestine question was not the principal cause of instability in the Middle East. Henceforth, it would not be allowed to interfere in the «special relationship» between a superpower and its strategic ally.

In the special relationship between the United States and Israel, the latter is considered a «unique strategic asset. In the crucial Middle East, Israel is viewed as the cornerstone of U.S. policy, which is perceived as a bulwark against the Soviet Union and radical revolutionary transformation. Outside the Middle East, Israel has emerged as the most important supplier of the technology of repression, antiguerrilla training and infrastructure to combat revolution, all euphemistically phrased «counterterrorism.» Israel ranks as the fifth largest exporter of arms in the world, according to CIA estimates and it has become an essential component of the global counterinsurgency business. «Hit lists» used by the death squads in Guatemala have been computerized with Israeli assistance and the Uzi machine gun is the standard weapon of the death squads. The special relationship between the United States and Israel is a two-way street. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. economic and military aid and in return Israel has much to offer the United States. The Reagan Administration has publicly declared that Israel’s substantial experience and «success» in coping with terrorism should provide guidance for the United States. When George Shultz spoke at a New York synagogue in 1984 he said:

No nation has more experience with terrorism than Israel and no nation has made a greater contribution to our understanding of the problem and the best way to confront it. By supporting organizations like the Jonathan Institute, named after the brave Israeli soldier who led and died at Entebbe, the Israeli people have raised international awareness of the global scope of the terrorist threat… [T]he rest of us would do well to follow Israel’s example.

The fact that the United States and Israel are so closely allied and use the same criteria for defining who are «terrorists» and who are not, necessarily makes the United States a dubious participant in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel Shahak on the «Transfer Proposal»

by Ellen Ray
CAQ 1988

p135
Death Squads

… in Israel the use of death squads to murder Palestinians has been discussed in some of the Hebrew press. It was not employed in the occupied territories until about September or October 1987, when we had one very well-documented case in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli Hebrew press, three Palestinians were discovered dead, in a car. One of them was a Palestinian guerrilla who had escaped from prison. The two others were collaborators [Palestinians who work with or support the Israelis]-well-known, rich collaborators. One of them had established a branch of the Tel Aviv stock exchange in Gaza. The other was of a similar background. So you can understand that such people are neither guerrillas nor helpers of guerrillas.





Published on Aug 20, 2014
Este es un pequeño homenaje a Jim Foley. Esta grabación se corresponde al año 2012, septiembre. Jim fue de los primeros periodistas del mundo en entrar en Siria... Y su compromiso le llevó a seguir trabajando a pesar de las dificultades para hacerlo. Esto es Alepo, en el peor momento de la ofensiva. Allí estaba Jim...





On March 4, 2014, the Administration submitted its Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, including a base funding request of $45.6 billion for the National Intelligence Program (NIP), and a base funding request of $13.3 billion for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). On June 30, the DNI submitted an updated FY2015 budget request of $49.4 billion for the NIP including funding for overseas contingency operations. An updated budget request figure for the MIP has not yet been disclosed.  One of the justifications for the budget of intelligence agencies is Islamic extremism. Yet the same intelligence agencies have been behind the rise of Islamic extremism for decades now.

The United States is th eonly country in the world where the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, are not view as a consequences of U.S. policy. Yet the record shows that the al-Qaeda network might have not existed at all, had the United States not sponsored Islamic extremism in Afghanistan. This is commonly understood outside the United States. The memory lapse is  understandable. Once the U.S.-sponsored Islamic extremists had forced the Soviet Army out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s, the United States just forgot about the monster it created.

The violence of Islamism has roused anxious concern throughout the Muslim world.  In the United States, the media and policy makers wage a campaign to demonize Muslims and Islam as a threat to Western interests. This political motivated propaganda is tuned to the resistance to Israel occupation of Muslim lands. The anti-Islam bias sets a double standard: The U.S. Media condones Israel's U.S.-financed violence - conducted on an enormous scale - while denouncing Arab resistence to it. The propaganda in the West suggests that violence and holoy war are inherent in Islam. The reality is that as a worldwide movement Jihad is a recent phenomenon. It is a modern, multinational conglomerate founded not so much by fanatic mullahs in Teheran as it is sponsored by governments including the United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Historically, nearly all Muslim strugles of the 20th century were secular. 

For the average citizen of the West, the idea of the United States as The Sponsor of international terrorism would appear utterly incomprehensible. After all, one reads daily that the United States is leading the charge against something it calls terrorism, and it regularly assails its allies for dragging in response to terrorism.  The Western  misperception comes from an abuse of language. The powerful define terrorism to exclude their own acts. Washington arbitrarily designates any group or country which it opposes as terrorist, and this will be transmitted to the public by the mass media without laughter. 

“The War on Terrorism” was a semantic manipulation of the word “terrorism,” which is loosely defined, however it gave the government the extra power it has in time of war for an indeterminable amount of time. The Patriot Act, the invasive, controversial legislation was given a name that suggests anyone against it was “unpatriotic.” The slogan “Support the Troops” was seen everywhere, suggesting that if one was against the indefinable, unjust war that they were also against the troops. This again suggests opposers were “unpatriotic.” The best example may be that torture was renamed “enhanced interrogation.

The pre-eminent authority on the English language, the much-venerated Oxford English Dictionary, says:

Terrorism: A system of terror. 1. Government by intimidation as directed and carried out by the party in power in France during the revolution of 1789-94; the system of `Terror'. 2. gen. A policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or condition of being terrorized.

In its semantic manipulation of terrorism and related words, a number of devices are used to differentiate friends and self from terrorists. Perhaps the most insidious is to confine the use of the word terrorism to nonstate actors and actions; i.e., to define terrorism as the use of violence to oppose governments.  This departs from the standard and traditional usage, according to which terrorism is a mode of governing as well as of opposing governments by means of intimidation. In this context, it is curios that The State Department aserts that ISIS is not a terrorist organzation.


ISIS used to be called al-Qaida. It has been claimed that the CIA had ties with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda and its "Afghan Arab" fighters when it armed Mujahideen groups against the Soviet Union during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

In a 2004 BBC article entitled "Al-Qaeda's origins and links", the BBC wrote:
During the anti-Soviet jihad Bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding. Some analysts believe Bin Laden himself had security training from the CIA.[1]
Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary in the UK from 1997–2001, believed the CIA had provided arms to the Arab Mujahideen, including Osama bin Laden, writing, "Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan." His source for this is unclear.[2]
In conversation with former British Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto said Osama bin Laden was initially pro-American.[3]Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, has also stated that bin Laden once expressed appreciation for the United States' help in Afghanistan. On CNN's Larry King program he said:[4]
Bandar bin Sultan: This is ironic. In the mid-'80s, if you remember, we and the United - Saudi Arabia and the United States were supporting the Mujahideen to liberate Afghanistan from the Soviets. He [Osama bin Laden] came to thank me for my efforts to bring the Americans, our friends, to help us against the atheists, he said the communists. Isn't it ironic?
Larry King: How ironic. In other words, he came to thank you for helping bring America to help him.
Bandar bin Sultan: Right.
Former FBI translator and Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, interviewed by Brad Friedman on the The Mike Malloy Show on June 2009 has stated: "I have information about things that our government has lied to us about. I know. For example, to say that since the fall of the Soviet Union we ceased all of our intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban - those things can be proven as lies, very easily, based on the information they classified in my case, because we did carry very intimate relationship with these people, and it involves Central Asia, all the way up to September 11."
U.S. government officials and a number of other parties maintain that the U.S. supported only the indigenous Afghan mujahideen. They deny that the CIA or other American officials had contact with the Afghan Arabs (foreign mujahideen) or Bin Laden, let alone armed, trained, coached or indoctrinated them. Scholars and reporters have called the idea of CIA-backed Afghan Arabs (foreign mujahideen) "nonsense",[6] "sheer fantasy",[7] and "simply a folk myth."
One allegation not denied by the US government is that the U.S. Army enlisted and trained a cashiered Egyptian soldier named Ali Mohamed, and that it knew Ali occasionally took trips to Afghanistan, where he claimed to fight Russians.
New allegations have turned up that the United States and NATO have either unknowingly or knowingly been supporting al-Qaeda affiliates during the Libyan civil war and the current Syrian civil war.[26] Al-Qaeda affiliates account for 12,000 fighters in Syria and one affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, is part of the Islamic coalition which accounts for 59-75% of the rebels in Syria and plans a political transition to Sharia law post-Assad.[27][28] Turkey, a NATO member, has listed the Al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.  
The United States of America has at various times in recent history provided support to Terrorist paramilitary organizations across the world. It has also provided assistance to numerous authoritarian regimes that have used terror as a tool of repression.[1][2]
United States support to non-state terrorists has been prominent in Latin America, the Middle-East, and Southern Africa.[1] From 1981 to 1991, the United States provided weapons, training, and extensive financial and logistical support to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, who used terror tactics in their fight against the Nicaraguan government.[3] At various points the United States also provided training, arms, and funds to terrorists among the Cuban exiles, such as Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles.
Various reasons have been provided to justify such support. These including destabilizing political movements that might have aligned with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, including popular democratic and socialist movements.[4] Such support has also formed a part of the war on drugs.[2] Support was also geared toward ensuring a conducive environment for American corporate interests abroad, especially when these interests came under threat from democratic regimes.

Several scholars have accused the United States of conducting state terrorism. They have written about the liberal democracies and their use of state terrorism, particularly in relation to the Cold War. According to them, state terrorism was used to protect the interest of capitalist elites, and the U.S. organized a neo-colonial system of client states, co-operating with local elites to rule through terror. However, little of this work has been recognized by other scholars of terrorism or even of state terrorism.[1]
Notable works include Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman's The political economy of human rights (1979), Herman's The real terror network (1985), Alexander L. George' Western state terrorism (1991), Frederick Gareau's State terrorism and the United States (2004) and Doug Stokes' America's other war (2005). Of these, Chomsky and Herman are considered the foremost writers on the United States and state terrorism. Noam Chomsky  said:
The Obama administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism. In fact, it’s doing it all over the world.  Obama is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history:  the drone assassination campaigns, which are just part of it [...] All of these operations, they are terror operations.
***
People hate the country that’s just terrorizing them.  That’s not a surprise. Just consider the way we react to acts of terror. That’s the way other people react to [American] acts of terror.
Experts agrees that indiscriminate drone strikes are war crimes (more here andhere).
Chomsky has previously extensively documented U.S. terrorism.  As Wikipedia notes:
Chomsky and Herman observed that terror was concentrated in the U.S. sphere of influence in the Third World, and documented terror carried out by U.S. client states in Latin America. They observed that of ten Latin American countries that had death squads, all were U.S. client states.
***
They concluded that the global rise in state terror was a result of U.S. foreign policy.
***
In 1991, a book edited by Alexander L. George [the Graham H. Stuart Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Stanford University] also argued that other Western powers sponsored terror in Third World countries. It concluded that the U.S. and its allies were the main supporters of terrorism throughout the world.
The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan – Lt. General William Odom - noted:
Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely makes the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world.

The former NSA and CIA agent Edward Snowden revealed that the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was trained in Israel, various Iranien sources reported. 






By Bill Gertz - Washington Free Beacon - - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The CIA failed to provide adequate warning of the recent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant military incursion into Iraq despite having a significant presence of agency officers in the country, according to U.S. officials and security analysts.

Critics of the agency said the intelligence failure was made worse by a failure of the Obama administration to recognize the threat posed to the country by the ISIL, which last week renamed itself simply the Islamic State (IS) and declared its captured territory in Syria and Iraq is now a “caliphate.”

PHO



Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/1/cia-blamed-iraq-intel-failure-isis-rise/#ixzz3AyRLW9bu




US and UK try to identify Isis militant with British accent


British and US security services were trying on Wednesday to identify the Islamic State (Isis) militant with a British accent who appeared in a video of the apparent beheading of a US journalist, James Foley.

The UK foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said intelligence agencies were trying to unmask the fluent English-speaking militant in the propaganda footage. Scotland Yard warned the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating the video within the UK might constitute a criminal offence under terrorism legislation. A spokesman said: "The Metropolitan police service counter terrorism command (SO15) is investigating the contents of the video that was posted online in relation to the alleged murder of James Foley."

Afzal Ashraf, of the Royal United Services Institute, said many of the estimated 500 British fighters in Syria and Iraq had criminal backgrounds in the UK so were likely to be known to police. Intelligence agencies would also be using linguistics technology to track down the man, he said.

Ashraf said the video was part of a "propaganda war" being waged by Isis. "There will be a minor effect on recruitment. It will affect a certain kind of psychopathic individual but it's a very minority sport, fortunately.

"There will be far more people put off by these guys but there is a market for this sort of thing," he said.

"The message that really motivates people is it's a way of hitting back at what they perceive to be the US bullying and domination of the Muslim world. They feel impotent when they see the awesome US air and land power and they see this as a way of hitting back and that's the principle motivation."

Erin Saltman, a senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-terrorism thinktank, said the footage was geared towards disaffected Islamist extremists in the west who would be able to empathise with the British-accented militant.

"The video is quite a shock mainly because the two characters are an American and a Briton. That's done very deliberately," she said.

"As soon as you have a fighter with a Middle East accent it becomes very easy to disassociate with that and say they're brutal, they're barbaric. But when you have a British citizen, raised in the UK, this is somebody we can empathise with."







18 August 2014

There is evidence in the public domain that the US and Saudi Arabia are behind the ISIS. ISIS used to be called Al-Qaida but that is not convenient anymore, it seems because it is clearly high treason to cooperate with Al-Qaida, Even in the US Media these facts were acknowledge when Obama was pondering invading Syria.



Tell your congressman that you are concerned about allegations that the US and/or its allies trained Islamic extremist in Jordan to fight the Syrian government. Ask how a bunch of young tugs can operate sophisticated high tech us supplied equipment without training, maintenance, and spear parts. Ask how Israel, with her paranoid arrogance and the best army and intelligence service in the World, allowed a military presence of the size of the ISIS to surge in her backyard. Ask who supplies the ammunition and money.

There are reasons, I guess, for people in power to play chess with the World, but at the end of the line what we have is psychopathic behavior and Power for the sake of Power. What we can do first of all is being informed and tell others at church, school, friends what is going on and tell government officials that you are aware and against blood for oil.

ISTANBUL | Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:34am EDT

(Reuters) - The rise of al Qaeda in parts of Syria's north has left Turkey facing a new security threat on its already vulnerable border and raised questions about its wholesale support for rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey has long championed more robust backing for Syria's fractious armed opposition, arguing it would bring a quicker end to Assad's rule and give moderate forces the authority they needed to keep more radical Islamist elements in check.

But with Islamist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) taking territory in parts of the north near the border in recent weeks, it is a strategy that increasingly looks to have been a miscalculation.



Ankara has found itself facing accusations that indiscriminate support for the rebels has allowed weapons and foreign fighters to cross into northern Syria and facilitated the rise of radical groups.

"We are being accused of supporting al Qaeda," a source close to the Turkish government said, adding that U.S. officials had raised concerns on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York last month.

"They were politely but aggressively critical. The attention has focused away from Assad to al Qaeda," the source said, echoing frustration voiced by other officials in Ankara that this was playing into Assad's hands.

As if on cue, the Turkish army said on Wednesday it had fired on ISIL fighters over the border after a stray mortar shell hit Turkish soil. It has retaliated in the past in such cases but this appeared to be the first time its response had targeted al Qaeda-linked fighters.

Turkey has maintained an open-door policy throughout the two-and-a-half-year conflict, providing a lifeline to rebel-held areas by allowing humanitarian aid in, giving refugees a route out and letting the rebel Free Syrian Army organize on its soil.

It officially denies arming the rebels or facilitating the passage of foreign fighters who have swollen the ranks of al Qaeda-linked factions including ISIL and Nusra.

"Logistically nothing goes through the official borders in Turkey or any other country anyway," said Louay Meqdad, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army.

But the 900 km (560-mile) border is difficult to police and refugees, smugglers and rebel fighters have been able to cross undetected in remote areas, bypassing the main crossing points.

"Officially we didn't allow it. But it's a long border and some groups, we tried to accommodate them in the Syrian opposition, which we wanted to be as large as possible," said one Turkish official in the region, when asked whether foreign fighters had been able to cross.

Foreign mercenaries, mainly backed by Gulf states, were initially welcomed by Syria's rebel forces because they had greater battle experience and were more effective against pro-Assad militias, he said.

"This was a tactical mistake and now we see a totally different balance of power."

The Wall Street Journal recently revealed new details about how Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud — Saudi’s former ambassador to the United States — is leading the effort to prop up the Syrian rebels. Intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm hand-picked Syrian rebels. The Journal also reports Prince Bandar has been jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime. "Really what he’s doing is he’s reprising a role that he played in the 1980s when he worked with the Reagan administration to arrange money and arms for mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan and also worked with the CIA in Nicaragua to support the Contras," says Wall Street Journal reporter Adam Entous. "So in many ways this is a very familiar position for Prince Bandar, and it’s amazing to see the extent to which veterans of the CIA were excited to see him come back because, in the words of a diplomat who knows Bandar, he brings the Arabic term wasta, which means under-the-table clout. You know his checks are not going to bounce and that he’ll be able to deliver the money from the Saudis."
Watch Part Two of Interview, 'U.S.-Russian Tensions Heighten over Syria; Roots of Conflict Stem from NATO Bombing of Libya







Israeli - U.S. Terror


excerpted from the book

Covert Action: the Roots of Terrorism

edited by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap

Ocean Press, 2003, paper



Israeli - U.S. Terror

Introduction by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap


p121

For more than 35 years, the violent and bitter history of the Palestinian-lsraeli conflicts have centered around a history of collaboration between U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence services and their coincidence of interests. Israeli covert operations have backed up U.S. clandestine schemes, especially in the Middle East, but also in Central America, southern Africa and elsewhere in a global conquest in which U.S. domination has reached its apex under George W. Bush.

Ever since the discovery of vast, almost unimaginable oil reserves in the region, the overriding strategic objective of the United States in the Middle East has been access to and eventual control over that resource. And since its 1967 victory in the six-day war, when Israel established itself as the regional military superpower capable of aiding in this primary U.S. objective, massive U.S. foreign aid and subsidized weapons of war have ensured an Israeli-U.S. alliance with mutually expansionist agendas. Both want unfettered access to Arab oil and more.

The second U.S. imperative is its strategic partnership with Israel, a function of the power of the pro-lsrael lobby in the United States, exemplified by the ability of the American-lsrael Political Action Committee to influence congressional and even presidential elections. And the White House, State Department and Pentagon are riddled with insiders with dual loyalties, the belief that U.S. and Israeli interests are and should be, identical.

The quid pro quo for Israel, an extension of this objective, is the relative free play given to its own designs in the Middle East as a military force and an ever-expanding Zionist state.

The United States has given Israel virtually every sophisticated weapon system it has to offer, more than $18 billion in the last decade, with more than $2 billion in military aid slated for the next fiscal year (2003-4). As a further reward for cooperation in covert activities around the globe, the U.S. remained silent, if not actually assisted, Israel's development and testing of its own nuclear weapons.

Although no significant policies of the Israeli Government could be implemented without the tacit concurrence of its U.S. benefactor, when it suits Washington's rapacious oil policies, arrangements of convenience with Israel's enemies were not precluded in the past. The United States (and Britain) supplied chemical and other weapons to Iraq during the Iraq-lran war, while covertly working with Israel to supply Iran.

And Israel has also conducted its own military intelligence operations against U.S. targets, such as the seemingly inexplicable Israeli bombing of the U.S.S. Liberty during the 1967 war, a deliberate act apparently to prevent the U.S. communications ship from monitoring, perhaps disrupting its invasion and occupation of the Golan Heights. And, of course, each nation spies on the other; while Jonathan Pollard was caught and jailed, both countries have active operatives, collaborators and media assets in each other's territory.

But no matter which regime may be in power in either country, both Israeli and U.S. campaigns plot the elimination of any viable, sovereign, Palestinian state. Together, their machinations of incremental negotiations followed by betrayal, assassination and invasion have imposed upon the Palestinians what Noam Chomsky called "a system of permanent neocolonial dependency."

Brutal attacks on Palestinian civilians, collective punishment, obliteration of entire villages, mass forced expulsions, illegal settlement of occupied land including East Jerusalem, torture, terrorism, starvation and murder have been used by successive Israeli governments with U.S. approval.

Universal military conscription of Israeli youth thrusts young draftees into endless confrontations with Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories, ensuring an existential racial hatred in deliberately provocative "strategies of tension" and expansion, all in the name of a "fragile" Israeli state security. This while Israel has one of the most powerful and best-equipped armed forces in the world, the only nuclear power in the region.

Despite Israel's control through the ClA-approved, Oslo-directed Palestinian Authority, the PA was locked in an endless cycle of repression and corruption through enforced collaboration with security committees run by the CIA and Israeli intelligence against the Palestinian people. Sharon's campaign against its institutional infrastructure also included intentional killings of large numbers of Palestinian civilians through saturation bombings of refugee camps and villages and the homes of suspected terrorists (with no regard for the lives of innocent neighbors), aided by computerized targeting and the rounding up of thousands of Palestinian men and women and their families for planned expulsion.

The Palestinians themselves, dispersed and dispossessed and used as pawns by other Arab nations, have never been able to develop a united vision. There are Palestinian nationalists and socialists and there are Palestinian fundamentalists. The fostering of disunity and corruption within these factions-whether in the Occupied Territories or in exile-has been a major element in the U.S.-lsraeli targeting of the Palestinian national struggle by covert manipulation of Palestinian exiles and groups. In what was hardly a coincidence, during the early 1980s, while the United States actively encouraged an Islamic "Holy War" in Afghanistan, the Israelis infiltrated and supported a burgeoning Islamic fundamentalist movement, later allowing Islamic charities, religious schools and training sites to flourish, as their well-financed graduates countered the growing influence of Palestinian nationalists.

The occupation army's control of land, travel, water, food and medicine intensified, even as Palestinians attempted to negotiate an ever-changing "peace process" with Israel. Orchestrated with the United States as a delaying tactic, this effectively prevented an independent Palestinian state. The Oslo accords achieved only greater Israeli control over the territories and the geometric expansion of armed, militant Zionist settlements entrenched in the West Bank and Gaza.

The plan for the gradual creation of an autonomous Palestine was transformed from a blueprint for a contiguous territory into a jigsaw puzzle divided by Jewish settlements, fortified access roads and innumerable security zones. The proposed map of Palestinian areas resembles the Bantustans of apartheid South Africa. Israeli tanks and troops poured into these tiny "cantons," bombing and killing civilians at will. And Bush's minimal support for such a state, conditioned upon "regime change" in the Palestinian Authority, may disappear altogether, as events suggest a Likud push towards a final ethnic cleansing.




Israeli State Terror

by Naseer Aruri
CAQ 1988

p126
Israeli State Terror

In his personal diary, which was published against the wishes of the Israeli establishment, former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett reveals that Israeli military operations against Arab civilian populations were designed to terrorize them and create fear, tension and instability. Sharett's documentation shows that Israel's territorial expansion (such as in the Suez in 1956) was facilitated by Israeli acts of provocation, which generated Arab hostility and created pretexts for intervention. For example, the attack by Israeli Army Unit 101 led by Ariel Sharon on the Palestinian village of Kibya in October 1953, causing numerous civilian casualties and destruction of homes, was condemned by Sharett. He writes, "[In the cabinet meeting] I condemned the Kibya affair that exposed us in front of the whole world as a gang of blood-suckers, capable of mass massacres regardless it seems, of whether their actions may lead to war.

More recent accounts by Israeli writers show how earlier acts of terrorism provided a historical background to adoption of a policy of state terrorism by Israel. Benny Morris's explanation of the Palestinian exodus in 1948, based on state, military and Zionist archives, refutes the official Israeli version that the Palestinians bear responsibility for their own expulsion. An earlier work by Irish journalist Erskine Childers demonstrated that, contrary to the official Israeli version, there were no Arab radio broadcasts ordering the Palestinians to leave. And Israeli journalist Tom Segev reveals in his book how instrumental was Zionist terrorism in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Sixteen months after 250 Arab civilians were massacred in the village of Deir Yassin (April 9, 1948) by the combined forces of ETZEL (known as Menachem Begin's Irgun) and LEHI (known as Yitzhak Shamir's Stern Gang) there was a debate in the Israeli set in which, according to Segev, a member of Begin's Herut Party had boasted: "Thanks to Deir Yassin, we won the war."

Another account by Lenny Brenner reveals that Israeli Prime Minister Shamir was a convert to the pro-Mussolini Betar (Zionist Brownshirts) in the late 1930s and that his Stern Gang had attempted to strike a deal with the Nazi regime in Germany in 1941 in which the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine on a "totalitarian basis" would be bound by a treaty with the German Reich.

Shamir's commitment to right-wing causes and to terrorism was unmistakably revealed in an article he wrote in the LEHI journal Hehazit (The Front) in the summer of 1943. This excerpt stands in contrast to Shamir's constant moralizing and condemnation of what he calls "PLO terrorism:"

Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat... [T]errorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier.

Shamir's cabinet colleague Yitzhak Rabin who, as defense minister in charge of the occupied territories, proclaimed the policy of "might, force and blows" in January 1988 (which has so far resulted in an estimated 281 deaths, more than 50,000 injuries and 30,000 detentions) has also had a consistent record of terrorism for more than 40 years. As the deputy commander of Operation Dani, he, along with the late former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the late former Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon, were responsible for the expulsion of between 50,000 and 70,000 people from the towns of Lydda and Ramleh in July 1948. The town of Ramleh had surrendered without a fight after the withdrawal of the Jordan Army but the inhabitants were rounded up, expelled and told never to come back. Benny Morris characterized that as the "biggest expulsion operation of the 1948 war." Rabin expressed empathy with "the great suffering inflicted upon" his men who caused the expulsion.

One of those expelled was a 13-year-old boy by the name of Khalil alWazir, later known as Abu Jihad. Yitzhak Rabin, who was responsible for that act as a member of the Zionist militia, was one of the inner cabinet decision-makers who decided, 40 years later, to assassinate al-Wazir far away from his home in Ramleh. The man who headed the inner cabinet, Yitzhak Shamir, told an inquirer who wanted to know who killed Abu Jihad, "I heard about it on the radio."

It was typical of the official response to the killing; claims of ignorance, broad hints that Abu Jihad's responsibility for the Palestinian uprising could only trigger that kind of response and the usual reference to a factional conflict within the Palestinian movement as being responsible for the assassination. In fact, the murder of Abu Jihad is the latest incident in a continuous pattern of Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals among whom are Karmal al-Adwan, Ghassan Kanafani, Kamal Nasser, Majid Abu Sharar, Abu Yurif and many others.

In a New York Times article summarizing the official Israeli interpretation of its own policies, Thomas Friedman maintains that Israel endeavors to "turn terror back on the terrorists." This strategy has gone through several different stages. For the period of 1948-56 the strategy was described as "counterterrorism through retaliation or negative feedback" and was employed against Egypt and Jordan to prevent border crossings by Palestinian refugees attempting, in the main, to check on the conditions of their former homes." By 1972, Israel was striking against "the nerve centers and the perpetrators themselves" using letter bombs, exploding cars and telephones and quiet assassinations of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals on the back streets of Europe. Later acts of terrorism including the destruction of entire villages in Lebanon, raids on Beirut, Baghdad and Tunis have become typical of Israeli policy towards Arab nonacceptance of its regional hegemony. Such acts have rarely evoked U.S. condemnation. In fact the Reagan Administration characterized Israel's raid on the PLO headquarters in Tunis as an act of self-defense.

United States and Israel-A "Special" Relationship


Strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States was consummated between 1982 and 1988 and has dramatically elevated Israel's role in U.S. global strategic calculation. By 1983, the Reagan Administration had accepted the Israeli view that the Palestine question was not the principal cause of instability in the Middle East. Henceforth, it would not be allowed to interfere in the "special relationship" between a superpower and its strategic ally.

In the special relationship between the United States and Israel, the latter is considered a "unique strategic asset. In the crucial Middle East, Israel is viewed as the cornerstone of U.S. policy, which is perceived as a bulwark against the Soviet Union and radical revolutionary transformation. Outside the Middle East, Israel has emerged as the most important supplier of the technology of repression, antiguerrilla training and infrastructure to combat revolution, all euphemistically phrased "counterterrorism." Israel ranks as the fifth largest exporter of arms in the world, according to CIA estimates and it has become an essential component of the global counterinsurgency business. "Hit lists" used by the death squads in Guatemala have been computerized with Israeli assistance and the Uzi machine gun is the standard weapon of the death squads. The special relationship between the United States and Israel is a two-way street. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. economic and military aid and in return Israel has much to offer the United States. The Reagan Administration has publicly declared that Israel's substantial experience and "success" in coping with terrorism should provide guidance for the United States. When George Shultz spoke at a New York synagogue in 1984 he said:

No nation has more experience with terrorism than Israel and no nation has made a greater contribution to our understanding of the problem and the best way to confront it. By supporting organizations like the Jonathan Institute, named after the brave Israeli soldier who led and died at Entebbe, the Israeli people have raised international awareness of the global scope of the terrorist threat... [T]he rest of us would do well to follow Israel's example.

The fact that the United States and Israel are so closely allied and use the same criteria for defining who are "terrorists" and who are not, necessarily makes the United States a dubious participant in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



Israel Shahak on the "Transfer Proposal"

by Ellen Ray
CAQ 1988

p135
Death Squads

... in Israel the use of death squads to murder Palestinians has been discussed in some of the Hebrew press. It was not employed in the occupied territories until about September or October 1987, when we had one very well-documented case in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli Hebrew press, three Palestinians were discovered dead, in a car. One of them was a Palestinian guerrilla who had escaped from prison. The two others were collaborators [Palestinians who work with or support the Israelis]-well-known, rich collaborators. One of them had established a branch of the Tel Aviv stock exchange in Gaza. The other was of a similar background. So you can understand that such people are neither guerrillas nor helpers of guerrillas.

Exodus

Exodus is a 1960 epic war film made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed byOtto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus, by Leon Uris. The screenplay was written by … Continue reading

Exodus is a 1960 epic war film made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed byOtto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus, by Leon Uris. The screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo. The film features an ensemble cast, and its celebrated soundtrack music was written by Ernest Gold.

Widely characterized as a “Zionist epic”,[3][4][5][6] the film has been identified by many commentators as having been enormously influential in stimulating Zionism and support for Israel in the United States.[7][8][9] Although the Preminger film softened the anti-British and anti-Arab sentiment of the novel, the film remains controversial for its depiction of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and for what some scholars perceive to be its lasting impact on American views of the regional turmoil.[10][11] It would also be famous for the hiring by Preminger of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted for being a Communist: he was hired and was later sought for other scripts by other studios.


Palestinian-Israeli conflict double standard

We teach life, sir “We are truly through the looking glass here; only those with the most partisan, facts-be-damned agenda would view the largest military assistance package for any foreign country in history at a difficult budgetary time as anything … Continue reading

We teach life, sir


We are truly through the looking glass here; only those with the most partisan, facts-be-damned agenda would view the largest military assistance package for any foreign country in history at a difficult budgetary time as anything but a powerful way of supporting our closest ally, Israel. The hypocrisy here is astonishing; the simple fact is that the overall budget request for military assistance to Israel is increasing. Further, as has been reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the missile defense funding previously requested by President George W. Bush for Israel needed to routinely be dramatically increased—and even doubled in 2003—by Congress. This was met with deafening silence on the part of Jewish Republicans, and by us as well, as this was hardly an indicator that President Bush was no friend of Israel.


…while death and destruction is far more severe in Gaza than in Israel, it seems like Israelis are almost more traumatized. The Gazans have a deep culture of resistance and aspiration to martyrdom, they’re used to it from Cast Lead and other conflicts, and they have such limited lives than in many ways they have less to lose. Both sides seem intensely proud of their military “achievements” — Israel killing Jabari and taking out so many Fajr 5s, Hamas reaching TA and Jeru. And I’ve been surprised that when I talk to people who just lost a relative, or who are gathering belongings from a bombed-out house, they seem a bit ho-hum.

Jodi Rudoren, the New York Times correspondent who has been in Gaza for several days now, has an active Facebook page on which she has lately posted some critical observations about Palestinian culture that are reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s comments last July that got the former Republican presidential candidate in such hot water.

Rudoren’s comments include the statement that Israelis are more “traumatized” by projectile fire than Palestinians because Palestinians, having a culture of martyrdom, “have such limited lives than [sic] in many ways they have less to lose.”


MASSAD: Are Palestinian children less worthy?

by Joseph Massad
30 May 2011

What is it about Jewish and Arab children that privileges the first and spurns the second in the speeches of President Barack Obama, let alone in the Western media more generally?

Click to view slideshow.

Failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Israel’s 40-year occupation, in the words of UN former Secretary General Kofi Annan, would “continue to hurt the reputation of the United Nations and raise questions about its impartiality”.

No cause has consumed as much UN paper work as the plight of the displaced and occupied Palestinians. But hundreds of its resolutions on Palestine have not been respected let alone applied for over half a century.

Nowhere has the UN ideals and mechanisms been more mired in power politics than in Palestine. The efforts to neutralise UN intervention have been championed mainly by the United States. This week’s efforts by the Obama administration working on behalf of Israel took advocacy into a whole new level.

Washington has vetoed more than 40 UN Security Council resolutions critical of its policies some of which were drafted by its European allies. A quick look at today’s Middle East makes it clear that such obstructions worked for the interest of neither party, nor for peace and security in the region.

Cold-War rivalries have also contributed to UN paralysis in the Israeli Palestinian-Arab conflict, which explains why more than half of the 690 resolutions adopted by the General Assembly from 1947-1990 have been ignored.

But what justifies sidelining the UN ever since, while keeping it at an arm’s length from a two decades of Peace Process?

The short answer is a double standard.

All major post-Cold War conflicts have seen direct UN involvement including, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and of late, Lebanon, South Sudan. Not the Palestine problem. It was deferred to the US sponsored diplomatic process even though Washington’s close relations with Israel rendered it anything but an impartial broker.

Not only was Palestinian Israeli conflict snatched out of the world body, most relevant US resolutions critical of Israel were ignored by the US sponsors.

Only after the peace process failed to yield a solution a decade later, did the Bush administration allow the United Nations to join, and even then, only as a junior partner in a newly formed International Quartet that includes the European Union and Russia, all of whom are members of the UN!

Meanwhile, Israel has disregarded tens of resolutions, “censuring”, “calling”, “urging”, “recommending”, or “condemning” its attacks, settlement, deportations, occupation, etc.

Likewise, all pleas and demands for humanitarian and political interventions fell on deaf ears. The only time the UN was allowed to act, was in 1997 when it sent few international unarmed observers to the occupied city of Hebron. Alas, they weren’t mandated to speak publicly about the ongoing violations.

For the past four decades, Israel has violated all relevant UNSC council resolutions such as the resolution 465 of 1980 that strongly deplored all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure of status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.

It also rejected Resolution 476, which reaffirmed the necessity to end the Israeli occupation of Arab territories ongoing since the 1967 war. The only UN Security Council Resolution that was accepted by the US and Israel as the basis of the diplomatic process, i.e. 242 of 1967, was also systematically violated. Israel has been expanding its settlement activity when the resolution notes the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force”.

Paradoxically, Israel was created by a UN recommendation for Partitioning Palestine in 1947, and was accepted as a new UN member on the basis of its commitment to respect its resolution, and specifically UNGA 194 regarding the return of the Palestinian refugees.

Now that all other venues have been tried and failed, including 18 years of bilateral negotiations, the UN Security Council must carry its responsibilities by demanding that Israel carry its obligations under UN charter and by recognising the Palestinian right for self-determination in a state of their own. Period.

Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst.

He was previously a professor of International Relations at the American University of Paris. An author who writes extensively on global politics, he is widely regarded as a leading authority on the Middle East and international affairs.