Saturday, April 25, 2015

Strategic Location of Jisr Ash-Shughur Which Fell to the Syrian Revolution Yesterday

سيطرة المقاومة الشعبية على مدينة مأرب شرق اليمن

حديث الثورة-الأوضاع في إدلب بين تقدم المعارضة وتراجع النظام

طائرات يعتقد أنها إسرائيلية تقصف مواقع بالقلمون السورية

Angelina Jolie criticizes UN security council for paralysis over Syria

Actor condemns ‘world’s inability to protect and defend the innocent’ as she calls on world powers to help millions of refugees
Actor Angelina Jolie pleaded with world powers Friday to help the millions of Syrian refugees, sharply criticizing the UN security council for being paralyzed by its division over Syria’s four-year conflict.
Jolie briefed the council as special envoy for the UN on refugee issues. Syria’s ambassador said simply of her presence: “She’s beautiful.”
Jolie spoke as the council prepared to hear the details of a new plan for peace talks set to begin early next month in Geneva, with Syria ally Iran among those invited.
We cannot look at Syria, and the evil that has arisen from the ashes of indecision, and think this is not the lowest point in the world’s inability to protect and defend the innocent,” Jolie said.
Jolie, who said she has made 11 visits to Syrian refugees in the region since the crisis began in 2011, called strongly for the political will to act. She said the council’s powers lie unused because its members cannot agree on how to address the conflict.
Russia, a top Syria ally and backed by China, has vetoed multiple council resolutions on Syria, including an effort last year to refer the situation there to the International Criminal Court.
Jolie said she would like to see the foreign minister of each of the 15 council members come to the table to negotiate a political solution.
She also urged council members to visit Syrian refugees and see the crisis for themselves.

“It is sickening to see thousands of refugees drowning on the doorstep of the world’s wealthiest continent,” she said. “No one risks the lives of their children in this way except out of utter desperation.”In addition, Jolie spoke briefly about the rising migrant crisis on the Mediterranean, where more than 1,300 migrants fleeing Syria and other places have drowned at sea over the past three weeks.
The council was hearing a full day of briefings on Syria, including one behind closed doors by the UN special envoy to the country, Staffan de Mistura.
A spokesman for de Mistura said Iran is among the parties invited to attend the new series of peace talks that will start in early May in Geneva. Iran has not responded, Michael Contet said in an email.
The talks are structured as separate meetings with each party, an effort to avoid the tensions that have hurt previous negotiations. Syria’s moderate opposition is expected to attend.
The UN’s outgoing and outspoken humanitarian coordinator, Valerie Amos, challenged the divided council to mandate a fact-finding mission into the roughly 440,000 Syrians who are besieged in Syria and risk death by starvation, dehydration and the lack of medical care.
“The government, armed and terrorist groups continue to kill, maim, rape, torture and take Syria to new lows that seemed unimaginable a few years ago,” she said. “People have become numb to figures that should, every day, shock our collective conscience.”
The council should mandate the negotiation of humanitarian pauses to allow the delivery of aid, Amos said, and it should enforce an arms embargo and sanctions for the “shocking lack of respect for the most basic rules of international humanitarian law,” including intentional blockage of aid.
US ambassador Samantha Power told the council that existing resolutions on the crisis “are currently being ridiculed by the Syrian regime”.
The council adopted a presidential statement expressing alarm and calling Syria’s refugee crisis “the largest humanitarian emergency crisis in the world today”.
The UN refugee chief, Antonio Guterres, told the council that 14 million people are now displaced in the “interlinked crises” in Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic State seized territory in the past year.
He called for “massively increased support” for Syria’s neighbors under the flood of refugees, pointing out that as Lebanon and Jordan are considered middle-income countries, the World Bank can’t give them grants for efforts to deal with the “severe demographic shock they have endured”.


By Eric Margolis


It’s good and right that we commemorate the mass killing in the Ottoman Empire during World War I of between 500,000 and 1.5 million Armenians.   
Many nations now call the slaughter of 1915-1916 as “genocide.” This week the 100th anniversary of the notorious event was observed.   Pope Francis and the European parliament called on Turkey to recognize the killings as genocide.
Turkey, successor to the Ottoman Empire, admits many Armenians were killed in WWI, but rejects the label of “genocide,” saying their deaths occurred in the confusion of war, not by design.  The United States, a very close ally of Turkey, avoids  the “g” word. Interestingly, Israel does too, perhaps not wanting to detract from the genocide Jews  suffered in WWII. 
Armenians insist the Ottoman authorities were determined to eradicate the ancient Armenian people. Turks claim that Armenian guerilla bands known as “dashnaks” acted as a fifth column for their bitter foe, Russia, which was attacking the crumbling Ottoman Empire.  Large numbers of Armenian civilians were herded from their homes in eastern Turkey, across the mountains, and into the wastes of northern Syria.
The greatest loss of life occurred on these “death marches,” a fact that Turkey accepts.  What is rarely stated by either side is that Kurdish tribesmen inflicted a significant number of deaths, pillage and rape on the helpless Armenian deportees.
Modern Turkey is determined to avoid being branded with the shame of genocide because it tends to demote the bearer to a second-rate nation forever begging forgiveness, like eternally cringing Germany.   
But what really galls the Turks is being singled out as genocidal mass killers when so many other similar perpetrators are ignored.  
Begin with Spain, which wiped out its Muslim population then inflicted mass murder on West Indian native islanders, then in its Latin American colonies.   No one even remembers the Arawak Indians, for example, wiped out by the Spaniards, British, and French.
In the United States, the mass killing and ethnic cleansing of its  native people is a horrific crime rarely talked about today.  Here, the historic record is loud and clear, unlike that of the chaotic Ottoman Empire.  White-men’s diseases finished off what bullets and starvation failed to accomplish.
Why don’t we commemorate Stalin’s ghastly solution to independent-minded Ukrainians?  During 1932-33,  the Soviet secret police murdered by bullets and famine six million or more Ukrainians – the Holdomor.  
Not long after, Roosevelt and Churchill allied themselves to the author of this historic crime, Stalin, who killed four times more people than Adolf Hitler. His crimes against Jews and other peoples are widely recognized and commemorated.  No one today in the West commemorates Stalin’s murder of many millions of Soviet citizens.
Nor is the plight of East Europe’s ethnic Germans recalled. Between 1945-1948, 12 million were expelled at gunpoint from their ancestral homes, 500,000-600,000 being killed in the process. The majority came from former German territory annexed by Poland, the USSR, and Czechoslovakia.
Largely unknown was the genocide of the Soviet Union’s Muslims. Some four millions were murdered or starved to death under Stalin’s orders.   Stalin, a Georgian or Ossetian, hated Muslims with the same ferocity that Hitler hated Jews – but he was a US-British ally. 
Next, the  “Mfakane.” During the 1820’s,  the Zulu moved south into what is today South Africa,  slaughtering 1-2 million local tribesmen.  It’s worth noting that the Dutch-Flemish Boer inhabitants of the Cape were there long before the Zulu, who dominated today’s South Africa.  Belgium’s mass murders in its Congo colony are branded genocide by some historians.
A million or more Cambodians were slaughtered by the demented, Maoist Khmer Rouge.    The details of the murder of up to one million communists in Indonesia during a 1965-1966 US-backed coup  remain obscure.
History is filled with forgotten genocides all part of our inhumane tribal culture.   So blame the Turks, but don’t forget all the other mass killers.

Professors for Israel try to Shut Down Lancet


By Jonathan Cook

April 23, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - Academia is far from the bastion of free thinking and free speech it would like to claim for itself, as a newly confected “row” involving the leading medical journal The Lancet confirms.

Recently Southampton University in the UK caved in on hosting an important conference examining Israel and international law, following an intensive campaign of intimidation from Israeli apologists.

Now some 400 medical professors are blackmailing Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet, by threatening to boycott its publications unless the company sacks editor Richard Horton – or as they duplicitously phrase it, “enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship”.

By refusing to publish papers or peer review them, the professors, including five Nobel winners, hope Reed Elsevier will capitulate from fear that such a boycott might bring it to its knees.

Why target Horton? Because he has committed the cardinal sin of transforming what was once a sleepy academic publication into a journal dealing seriously with global health issues, including – and here’s the rub – reporting on the medical implications for Palestinians of Israel’s occupation, especially its attack on Gaza last summer.

According to the eminent professors, this is “stereotypical extremist hate propaganda” and “dishonest and malicious material that incites hatred and violence”.

What the professors would like is for The Lancet to follow the medical establishment’s traditional Three Wise Monkeys approach: they see, hear and speak no evil when it comes to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, including its documented torture, even of children, in its prisons, overseen by Israeli doctors.

Much is at stake here. Very gradually, the space to have an honest and critical debate about Israel is opening up in places where once it was almost impossible, including in the media, in academia and even among the conservative medical community. Those committed to protecting Israel at all costs are desperate to shut down those spaces. It is important that we don’t let them succeed.

There are signs that the apologists’ hand is weakening. Note that Southampton University was so incapable of justifying its decision to shut down the conference on academic or ethical grounds, it was forced to lie and claim that, despite police assurances that they could cope with any protests, the conference could not go ahead because of “safety concerns”.

Therefore, we should support Horton and The Lancet and make sure Reed Elsevier understands that there is also a price to pay if it capitulates to the authoritarian professors. It is good to see that a rival set of medical academics has already written to Reed Elsevier in support of Horton and The Lancet here.
Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.

Insurgents seize Syrian strategic town of Jisr al-Shughour, army says redeploys


BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamist insurgents including al-Qaeda's wing in Syria Nusra Front seized the strategic northwestern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour on Saturday, for the first time in the four year conflict.
Syrian state media said the army had redeployed to the town's surroundings "to avoid civilian casualties".

Opposition fighters and the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said that the town was now totally controlled by the insurgents.

Europe’s Feeble Efforts to ‘Punish’ Israel


By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth
Labeling might give consumers useful information to target settlements goods but, it would barely dent Israel’s economy.
The question of punishing illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory was considered separately in Europe and Israel last week, with only superficial differences in the conclusions reached. Israel’s near half-century occupation is in no immediate danger, either at home or abroad.
Some 16 European foreign ministers sent a letter to the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, calling for the EU to label clearly Israeli settlement products to alert shoppers to their true provenance.
Yair Lapid, Israel’s former finance minister who is widely regarded as a moderate, angrily phoned Mogherini to warn that major European states were calling for a “de facto boycott of Israel”. He described the letter as “a stain” on the EU, adding that Israel’s economy could face “disaster”.
EU foreign ministers were no less persuaded of the punitive nature of their proposal. Labelling settlement goods would, they wrote, be “an important step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy” and vital to preserving the two-state solution.
In truth, however, the letter simply continues Europe’s feeble and muddle-headed policy in the face of Israel’s intensifying efforts to entrench the occupation.
After years of internal debates, only a small majority of the 27 EU states has been able to agree on the most ineffectual measure imaginable against products made on land and using resources stolen from the occupied Palestinian population.
Labelling might give conscientious consumers useful information to target settlements goods but, in the unlikely event a significant number of shoppers chose to act, it would barely dent Israel’s economy.
In fact, even if the EU went much further and agreed to enforce a fully-fledged boycott of the settlements – something far from its current agenda – it would have little more than a psychological impact.
The reason is that, while on the one hand the EU ponders symbolic gestures against the settlements, on the other it actively subsidizes the very state that has been expanding the settlements for almost 50 years.
It does so both through a special trade agreement that makes Europe Israel’s largest export market and by handing over large sums of aid annually to the Palestinian Authority, which maintains order in the occupied territories on Israel’s behalf.
European ministers are behaving like deluded parents who believe they can punish a wayward child by docking his pocket money while at the same time letting him buy up the toy store.
The pressing need for Europe to find its backbone was underscored last week when Israel’s Supreme Court considered the question of boycotts.
Israeli peace and human rights groups had petitioned Israel’s highest court, long considered a lone outpost of liberalism, over a controversial law passed four years ago. It imposes heavy damages on any Israeli individual or organization that calls for a boycott of either Israel or the settlements.
The Israeli right’s goal in passing the legislation was undisguised: to silence internal critics of the occupation, especially those who back growing international calls for Israel to face BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions. A similar campaign of isolation turned the tide against apartheid South Africa.
However, by a narrow majority, the court supported the law. Several judges described calls for boycott “political terror”, while another renamed the BDS movement “Bigoted, Dishonest, Shameful”.
Observers were particularly surprised that the court refused to make a distinction between boycotting Israel and the settlements. Effectively, the judges kosher-stamped the occupation, equating a non-violent political protest against the settlements with “terror”.
Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now observed that in doing so the court had codified Israel’s “de facto annexation” of the West Bank.
In practice, the ruling will bar Israelis from showing any solidarity with Palestinians living under oppression. As the liberal Haaretz daily noted, lobbying to stop theatre companies and musicians from performing in the large settlement of Ariel, in the heart of the West Bank, is now effectively outlawed with the court’s approval.
Uri Avnery, leader of the small Israeli peace camp Gush Shalom, which for many years has called unsuccessfully on the EU to boycott settlement products, believed the ruling proved the judges were simply “afraid” of the growing power of the right.
Without a supreme court prepared to back basic civil rights like free speech, the Israeli right’s hold is unchallenged. It is shutting down the kind of political spaces that allowed blacks and whites in South Africa to struggle jointly against apartheid.
Israeli commentator Gideon Levy lamented on Sunday: “We’re about to get our most nationalist government – and there is no one to stop its laws.”
The court’s ruling only highlighted the EU’s shameful cowardice in failing to confront Israel. It is precisely as Israeli political institutions – from Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to the judiciary – make common cause behind the settlements that Europe needs to find its voice.
The few Israelis prepared to break out of the domestic consensus and stand up for Palestinian rights to dignity and justice need all the help they can get. Not least they need the solidarity of European governments, who should be joining them in calling for harsh – not paltry – penalties against Israel.
- Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). He contributed this article to Visit: (A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.)

لماذا انهارت أوطاننا؟


لماذا انهارت أوطاننا؟

د. فيصل القاسم
لا يمكن لنظام حكم قائم على العصبيات الضيقة، طائفية كانت أو مذهبية أو عشائرية أو قبلية أو قومية أو مناطقية أو عسكرية أو أمنية أن يبني دولاً مهما حاول. لا مكان لدولة العشيرة أو الطائفة أو القبيلة أو القوم أو الجيش في الفكر السياسي الحديث. هذه نماذج ليس لدول، بل لعصابات. ومهما امتلكت العصابة من قوة، فلا بد أن تنهار في يوم من الأيام. لكن الكارثة الكبرى أن العصابة لا تنهار بمفردها، بل ينهار معها الكيان الذي صنعته، وحكمته بعقلية العصابة. انظروا إلى الأوضاع في سوريا وليبيا واليمن والعراق لتروا بأنفسكم بأن حكم العصابات ما هو إلا وصفة كارثية لتدمير الأوطان وتشريد الشعوب.

بلادنا تحصد الآن ما زرعه نظام الطوائف والمذاهب والأقليات والعصابات والعشائر والقبائل والأحزاب العنصرية والميليشياوية. وبالتالي، فلا يمكن لبلادنا المنكوبة أن تنهض ثانية إلا بأنظمة حكم حديثة، وبعقلية الدولة حصراً. ولا ننسى أن أهم اختراع إنساني على مدى القرون الماضية هو «الدولة»، فهو أفضل اختراع لإدارة شؤون البشر، وخاصة المختلفين طائفياً وعرقياً ومذهبياً وعنصرياً وقبائلياً.
البعض يرى أن الحل في سوريا والعراق وليبيا واليمن والصومال وغيره يكمن في تقسيم البلاد، أو الطلاق بين مكوناتها الطائفية والمذهبية والقومية. وهذا ليس حلاً، بل إمعان في التشظي والتشرذم والتقوقع، بل يخدم استراتيجية من حكمنا بعقلية العصابات. فالكيانات الحديثة ليست كيانات قزمية ضيقة، بل تكتلات ضخمة. فلا محل من الإعراب للكيانات الصغيرة في عالم العملاقة والاتحادات الكبرى. حتى الدول الحقيقية لم تعد قادرة على الصمود في هذا العالم العملاقي، فكيف بدول الطوائف والقبائل والعشائر والعصابات. لاحظوا أنه حتى الدول الغربية الحقيقية انضوت تحت لواء الاتحاد الأوروبي، مع العلم أنها تمتلك كل مقومات الدول الحقيقية، مع ذلك آثرت التكتل تحت لواء تجمعات أضخم وأكبر. فكيف إذاً يطالب البعض في بلادنا المتشظية بتشكيل دول قزمية على أسس طائفية ومذهبية وقومية ضيقة، أو على أساس استئصال الطرف المعارض طائفة كانت أو قبيلة أو مذهباً دينياً؟ 
الحل في كل البلدان المنكوبة بالصراعات الداخلية لا يكمن في استئصال طرف لآخر، ولا في الطلاق بين الطوائف والمذاهب والأعراق، بل في تحقيق المواطنة الحقيقية، بحيث يصبح الجميع مواطنين متساوين، وليس طائفيين أو مذهبيين أو عشائريين أو قبليين أو عنصريين متناحرين. فإذا تحققت المواطنة لن يعود أحد يتمترس وراء طائفته أو مذهبه أو عرقه، بل تذوب الفروق المذهبية والعشائرية والقبلية والطائفية والمناطقية في مبدأ المواطنة. وهذه عملية قد تبدو صعبة وغير سريعة، لكن إذا توفر العزم والإرادة لدى النخب الحاكمة ستتحقق المواطنة بسرعة بعد الثورات. لكن طالما الأنظمة تتصرف بالبلاد كمزارع خاصة، وتفضل عشيرتها أو طائفتها أو قبيلتها أو جماعتها على بقية الطوائف والمذاهب والجماعات، فاعلم أن الشعب سيتصرف بنفس الطريقة. سيتقوقع على نفسه، وسيتمترس وراء انتماءاته الضيقة تماماً كما يفعل الحاكم الطائفي أو القبلي أو العشائري أو العنصري أو الأمني. بعبارة أخرى، فإن سبب المصيبة في بلادنا هم الحكام، لأنهم القدوة. فعندما يتصرف الحاكم على أساس وطني عام، سيحذو الجميع حذوه. وعندما يهتم بطائفته ويعطيها أعلى المناصب، ويرمي بالفتات لبقية الشعب، فيصبح الجميع يعمل بمبدأ: «كل مين إيدو إلو». إذاً المشكلة في النظام. 
أمريكا مثلاً عبارة عن شركة مساهمة وليست أمة، لأنها مزيج غريب عجيب من الملل والنحل والطوائف والأعراق والقوميات والأعراق المختلفة، لكن لا أحد يتمترس وراء عرقه أو طائفته في أمريكا، لأن انتماءه الضيق ذاب في المواطنة. فالجميع ينظر إلى نفسه في أمريكا والغرب المتطور كمواطن، وليس كمسيحي بروتستانتي أو كاثوليكي أو انجليكاني أو كمسلم أو يهودي أو بوذي أو شيعي أو سني أو درزي. لماذا؟ لأنه يحصل على حقوقه كباقي مكونات المجتمع.
إن أول شيء يجب فعله في بلادنا المنقسمة على نفسها البدء فوراً في تحقيق مبدأ المواطنة. نعلم أن ذلك ضرب من الأحلام في الوقت الحالي. لكن صدقوني، فقد مرت الأمم المتقدمة بمرحلة التناحر الداخلي قبلنا، وخسرت الملايين من شعوبها جراء التطاحن والاقتتال والحروب الأهلية، لكنها عادت، وبنت دولة المواطنة لتصبح في المقدمة سياسياً وصناعياً وثقافياً واجتماعياً. عندما يصبح لدينا حكام وطنيون يفكرون بالوطن، لا بالطائفة أو العصابة أو الجهاز الأمني، عندئذ ستختفي صراعاتنا وثوراتنا. لاحظوا أن البلدان التي بنت دولة المواطنة لم تشهد ثورات ولا صراعات داخلية منذ زمن بعيد. وقد زاد تماسكها الداخلي بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية.
لا مكان لدولة العصابة أو الطائفة أو القبيلة أو القوم أو الدين أو العراق أو الجيش أو الأمن بعد اليوم. وكل من يحاول إعادة تأهيلها فهو يؤسس لحروب وصراعات أهلية جديدة. صحيح أن يوغسلافيا حلت صراعاتها الداخلية بالتقسيم والانفصال. لكن ما محل الدويلات الجديدة التي حلت محل الاتحاد اليوغسلافي من الإعراب على الخارطة الدولية؟ من منكم سمع بجمهورية «الجبل الأسود» أو «مونتينيغرو»؟ لا شك أنكم الآن سارعتم إلى فتح موقع «ويكيبيديا» للتعرف على هذه الدويلة المتشظية من يوغسلافيا السابقة.
تصبحون على دولة!

النصرة ومقاتلون اسلاميون يسيطرون على مدينة جسر الشغور الاستراتيجية


النصرة ومقاتلون اسلاميون يسيطرون على مدينة جسر الشغور الاستراتيجية

بيروت- (أ ف ب): سيطرت جبهة النصرة وكتائب اسلامية بشكل كامل السبت على مدينة جسر الشغور الاستراتيجية في شمال غرب سوريا، ما يفتح الطريق في اتجاه محافظة اللاذقية (غرب) ذات الثقل العلوي، بحسب المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان.
واقر الاعلام الرسمي السوري بانسحاب قوات النظام من المدينة، متحدثا عن “اعادة انتشار ناجحة” في محيطها.
وقال مدير المرصد رامي عبد الرحمن لوكالة فرانس برس “سيطرت جبهة النصرة وكتائب اسلامية اليوم على مدينة جسر الشغور بشكل كامل بعد معارك عنيفة مع قوات النظام استمرت منذ الخميس″.
وذكر المرصد ان هناك “ما لا يقل عن ستين جثة لعناصر من قوات النظام والمسلحين الموالين لها بينهم ضباط في شوارع المدينة، وقد قتلوا خلال المعارك التي ادت الى السيطرة على المدينة”.
واشار الى دخول الاف المقاتلين الى المدينة وانسحاب العدد الاكبر من قوات النظام، والى استمرار الاشتباكات في نقاط محددة جنوب جسر الشغور وشرقها.
ونشر احد الحسابات الرسمية لجبهة النصرة على موقع (تويتر) صورا لمقاتلي النصرة وهم يتجولون او يجلسون الى جانب طريق في “جسر الشغور المحررة”، مع اسلحتهم الخفيفة. كما بدت في الصور اعلام لجبهة النصرة مرفوعة على آليات وابنية.
ونقل التلفزيون السوري الرسمي في شريط اخباري عاجل نقلا عن مصدر عسكري ان “وحدات من قواتنا الباسلة تعيد بنجاح انتشارها في محيط جسر الشغور تجنبا لوقوع ضحايا في صفوف المدنيين الابرياء”.
واضاف المصدر ان “قواتنا الباسلة تعزز مواقعها الدفاعية وتوجه ضربات مركزة على تجمعات الارهابيين وخطوط امدادهم في جسر الشغور”.
وكان “جيش الفتح”، وهو تحالف يضم جبهة النصرة ذراع القاعدة في سوريا وفصائل اسلامية مقاتلة ابرزها حركة احرار الشام، اعلن الخميس بدء “معركة النصر” الهادفة الى “تحرير جسر الشغور”.
وتحولت جسر الشغور عمليا الى مركز اداري للنظام السوري بعد انسحاب قواته في 28 آذار/ مارس من مدينة ادلب، مركز المحافظة، اثر هجوم ل”جيش الفتح” الذي اعلن تأسيسه قبل “غزوة ادلب” كما اسماها.
ورأى عبد الرحمن ان جسر الشغور “اكثر اهمية من مدينة ادلب لانها تقع على تخوم محافظة اللاذقية ومناطق في ريف حماة الشمالي الشرقي خاضعة لسيطرة النظام”.
ولا يزال النظام موجودا في بلدتين صغيرتين في محافظة ادلب، هما اريحا والمسطومة (على بعد حوالى 25 كيلومترا من جسر الشغور)، بينما مجمل المحافظة بين ايدي مقاتلي المعارضة ولا سيما جبهة النصرة.
وقال الناشط من “تنسيقية الثورة السورية” في ادلب خالد دحنون لوكالة فرانس برس عبر الانترنت ان “جسر الشغور محررة بالكامل”، مشيرا الى ان “مدينة اريحا محاصرة بالكامل (…) ومعسكري المسطومة والقرميد محاصران”.

Death in the Nile

By: Khaled Abdel Al


Feature: A recent phosphate spill in the Nile sparked panic in Egypt. The government insists the water is safe to drink - but ecological experts disagree.
Ahmed Khaled no longer trusts the water. Since 500 tonnes of phosphate were spilled in the River Nile when a boat capsized in Egypt's southern Qena governorate, his life has changed.

The Nile is the primary source of drinking water for most Egyptians, and Khaled has banned his three children from drinking tap water after the latest incident.

Poisoned water
Although money is tight for the Khaled family, the resident of Qena, on the Nile's east bank, insists that his wife brings back bottled water during her next shopping trip.

Ahmed's neighbour, Mahmoud Ramadan, refuses to give in to the state of panic that has engulfed the city.

He insists that incidents such as these have happened many times before, and will likely happen again.

But others are more concerned.

Phosphate_in_the_nile became Egypt's top trending hashtag on Wednesday.

Twitter users described the incident as a "catastrophe", and warned Egyptians about the dangers of consuming even minimal amounts of phosphate.

"The leak of 500 tonnes of phosphate into the Nile River has a major impact on the ecological balance," said Mohammad Mahmoud, an adviser at Egypt's national toxicology centre.

Mahmoud warned that failing to purify water from phosphate correctly could lead to severe or chronic poisoning for children and kidney patients.

He said it was likely to have a devastating impact on marine organisms in the river too, such as algae, parasites and fish - ultimately killing off much river life.

Yet Hossam Maghazi, minister of water resources and irrigation, disagrees.

He said that his workers took water samples at the site of the spill and results showed that the level of phosphate in the water was within permissible limits.

"There are no changes in the quality of water, and the situation is currently being monitored in coordination with the environment and irrigation ministries in Qena," he said.
    There are no changes in the quality of water, and the situation is being monitored.- Hossam Maghazi, minister of water resources

Yet authorities only responded 48 hours after media reported the incident - and this is just the latest in a long list of spills in the Nile waters.

History of incidents
Al-Araby al-Jadeed has uncovered years of environmental neglect in Egypt.

In October 2012, a five-kilometre-wide oil spill was spotted in the river in Egypt's south, close to the town of al-Basila.

The incident forced authorities to shut down water supplies to all towns in the governorate of Aswan.

In December 2012, petroleum waste from a factory in Nag Hammadi leaked into the Nile, creating a 50-metre-wide slick a kilometre long.

In March 2014, a tourist cruise ship in Aswan leaked and caused a 500-metre oil spill which spread along the Nile to the southern town of Edfu.

But the most serious incident was to take place in January 2015, when a massive diesel leak in the Nile forced water to be cut off to towns in Luxor for several days.

In the same month, a lorry carrying oil crashed in Etay al-Baroud, causing yet another oil spill in the Nile.

Little, it appears, has been learned by authorities.

Just last month, a Liberian cargo ship severely damaged a major crude oil pipeline as it anchored at the port of the General Petroleum Company.

The environment committee in the Red Sea governorate estimated that it would cost $197,000 to fix the damage.

Helmi al-Zanfali, at the water research department in the national research centre, asked authorities to be vigilent about such incidents and not to show leniency to polluters.

There are laws against the accidental or deliberate spilling of oil into Egyptian waters.

But Ahmed Yousri, a member of the centre for oil pollution control, believes that the frequency of spills suggests that the government doesn't always follow its own rules.

"The solution is to eliminate all sources of neglect that lead to pollution, and force boat owners to abide by the law," he said.

Yousri warned that if proper action were not taken, the next oil spill could poison drinking water and lead to a major humanitarian disaster for Egypt.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

المعارضة السورية تسيطر على مدينة جسر الشغور

Friday, April 24, 2015

ما وراء الخبر-العلاقات الباكستانية الخليجية في ضوء الأحداث باليمن

DNA 24/04/2015 أوهام محور الممانعة

الواقع العربي - طبيعة الدور الإيراني وحجمه في سوريا


Sorry, We Are in a Meeting!

The partisanship of Egypt's judiciary

Abdel Sattar Qassem 


. Egypt could serve itself through the efforts of its people rather than the foreign economic and financial aid it receives, which usually has strings attached or is a basis for the violation of Egypt's sovereignty

In every country in the world, the judiciary is the source of justice and it delivers justice to the oppressed, or so it should be. The judiciary is the entity that should reassure people, regardless of their affiliations, that the law is applied to everyone without exception and should serve as a shining example of a state's morality and its commitment to create stability and civil peace.

It is a sign of civilisation and a barometer for a state's respect for humans and the preservation of their rights. The more the judiciary upholds justice, the higher the state is seen on the ladder of civilisation, and the higher the state is, the more their people develop and grow, gaining the strength to go higher on the ladder of affiliation, work and production.
A state gains strength from the strength of its people and whenever the judiciary declines, the people lose their confidence in their institutions and are aware that their rights are being lost under the feet of the more powerful. It is at that point that people's morals and ethics decline, their affiliation and loyalty decreases, and disputes and conflicts arise, threatening civil peace. Any ruler that does not watch over the fairness of the judiciary is neglecting the future of the state and its higher interests, thus putting the people in serious confrontations that lead to the undermining of the state's foundations.
We used to hear about the Egyptian judiciary, its integrity, neutrality and independence and we - through it - would be the Arab nucleus that would achieve justice for the oppressed Arab citizen. We had never looked into the details of the cases this judiciary dealt with, but the legends about the integrity of judges and their expertise and objectivity in considering the issues fascinated listeners. It was so nice to hear positive stories about an Arab judicial institution, but this beauty did not stand up to the practical tests that the Egyptian judiciary faced after the political developments that occurred in Egypt.
Anyone who has followed the rulings of the Egyptian judiciary in recent times cannot believe the legends and myths of the past. They find that they were just stories misguided by the media and political statements about the impartiality of the judiciary.
It was shocking that the Egyptian judiciary referred the cases of thousands of Egyptians to the state Mufti to approve their death sentences. The Egyptian judiciary is issuing mass death sentences without sufficiently investigating the charges against them, and their cases are quickly closed to move on to new cases awaiting similar death sentences.
Trials are a process and there are many complicated judicial measures. It is usually expected for underdeveloped countries to prolong the investigation into cases presented before the court so much that many cases are terminated and those involved are in despair and regret looking for a judicial solution for their problems.
The process of trials and the complex procedural issues have easily and quickly been overcome by Egypt's judiciary, as it seems that the judges are only concerned with issuing rulings that are consistent with predispositions they may have had in the past, those forced upon them by politicians, or those formed for them by the Egyptian media.
Sometimes one wonders if the Egyptian judges have thought about the consequences of their quickly issued rulings on the Egyptian civil peace and Egyptian national interests. Have they thought about their current life and afterlife? Did they consider the possibility of acts of revenge and punishment on Judgement Day? Did they think about the consequences of being unjust to the people and the desire for revenge, murder and destruction it generates? It seems that the vow taken by the judges was not enough to convince enough for them, as they decided to give into to their whims and misguidances.
The Egyptians hurt themselves in the beginning when they overthrew their elected president and they decided that the movements of other leaders were more legitimate and disciplined. They looked into the accusations directed against Morsi in order to justify his arrest and his exclusion from the political scene. The most bizarre accusation against Morsi was that he opened the doors of a prison, which held political prisoners with the help and cooperation of foreign parties, including Hamas. However, the revolution was supposed to change the situation in the country, including the prohibition of political arrests.
It was the duty of Morsi and all those who supported the Egyptian revolution to release all political prisoners who were accused by Mubarak of being a threat to Egypt's security. So, in actuality, Morsi and those who assisted him should be thanked for releasing the Egyptian prisoners. It is also strange that the Egyptian media and political circles accused Morsi of conspiring with Hamas, even though it is a Palestinian resistance movement that has done a great job confronting Israel in defence of Palestine, its people, and Egypt's national security. How can they talk about conspiracy when they are the ones conspiring with Israel? Those who betray the Arabs by conspiring with Israel have no right to talk about betrayal and spying. Also, was Hamas waiting for information from Morsi in order to occupy Egypt? That is ridiculous.
In addition to this, Morsi is symbolic in Egyptian history because he is the first ever elected president in Egypt. Morsi made a number of mistakes and many intellectuals and thinkers warned him about this, but he did not listen to any of them. However, these mistakes do not justify this historical mistake nor does it justify the overthrowing of a democratically elected president while we, in the Arab world, are falsely claiming to be democratic. The Egyptians ruined a symbolic achievement that would have gone down in history and they confirmed that the Arabs do not understand democracy nor can they practice it or respect its principles. Egypt has now joined Algeria, Palestine, Sudan, Mauritania and Iraq in the group of countries who went against those who were directly elected by the people.
The Egyptian judiciary recently sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison. This is a shame and disgrace that affects all of the Arabs. Developed nations monitor their leaders and put them on fair trails if they commit crimes, not if they make mistakes. Some countries are even content with removing a president from office if they are convicted, but do not put them in prison.
According to the developments in the Egyptian political arena, it is clear that the trials of Muslim Brotherhood members are all political, not judicial. It is also clear that the political circles are the judge and jury and that the judges are nothing more than tools in the hands of the politicians, which is also the case in other Arab countries. The politicians hire judges and the media brainwashes them. Trials are supposed to be held far from the media and politics in order to ensure that the judiciary does not give into selfish interests that could be achieved through the political level.
It is ironic today that Mubarak was found innocent despite the fact that the Egyptian people revolted against him and accused him of numerous crimes, including the murder of innocent people. Mubarak served for many years and he worked to sabotage Egypt's economy, revived classism in Egypt as well as economic and financial monopoly. He also did not hesitate to suppress his political opponents, monopolise the media and restrict media outlets who opposed him.
Mubarak did not properly distribute the country's wealth, he weakened Egypt's status in the Arab and international arenas, and he directly cooperated with Israel against the Palestinian and Lebanese resistances. He also worked with the US, which takes every opportunity to harm the Arabs. Despite all of the sins committed by Mubarak against Egypt, he came out of the trial innocent and unscathed, while Morsi ruled for a very short time and came out with a 20-year prison sentence.
I did not agree with Morsi and I was affiliated with no particular party; I was only affiliated with the greater Arab nation. I constantly commented on Morsi's mistakes, but I am not willing to ignore ethics in favour of achieving political goals. The neglect of ethics in Egypt has become common and is especially rampant in political and media circles.
Perhaps the unfair rulings may make some people feel better, which is the case in all countries of the world. There are influential figures and rulers who give in to revenge and cannot rest until they have their revenge against their political opponents. However, revenge was never a practical administrative principle that led to cohesion and unity amongst the people. Only the foolish govern their states with a vengeful spirit, while the clever adopt the approach of reconciliation, tolerance and unity. There are some in Egypt who are pleased with these rulings, but we hope they do not discuss terrorism in the media.
Injustice is the number one source of terrorism, and had the Arab regimes not severely oppressed their people, shattered their hopes and dreams, and used them like animals to serve their arrogance, then the revolutions would not have occurred. Oppression and injustice generate an explosion that it saturated with elements that fuel hatred, grudges and vendettas. Those who want to live peacefully and comfortably should not oppress people or rob them of their rights and comfort.
Many Arabs warned the new government in Egypt about the danger of injustice and they said that the actions of this government would lead to violent acts that will claim the lives of Egyptian soldiers and civilians. Many foresaw the military actions in Sinai and the various other Egyptian governorates because the actions of the government were provoking extremism against it and it had made enough enemies to form a large force inside Egypt.
There is a clear official position in Egypt opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, which make up a large chunk of the masses all across the country. Did anyone expect the Brotherhood to remain silent in the face of the measures taken against them and rulings made against them? I do not believe that anyone with even a little bit of intelligence expected them to remain silent. Such rulings lead to escalations within Egypt. Who is the terrorist in this case? Those who defend themselves against oppression or those who began with the oppression?
Egypt is an economically weak country and its people have always suffered from poverty, ignorance, disease and scarceness. It is a country in need of national unity and reassurance. This requires all Egyptians to make an effort to work hard to improve the economic situation of the country, and therefore the efforts towards unity must prevail over the efforts of revenge.
The Egyptian people suffered much sorrow and pain and the political circles do not have the right to commit acts of injustice, thus intensifying the plight of the people. Egypt could serve itself through the efforts of its people rather than the foreign economic and financial aid it receives, which usually has strings attached or is a basis for the violation of Egypt's sovereignty. The people of Egypt need wise leaders that consider all matters and think before speaking and repeatedly look under their feet before taking any step. They must fear God in their dealings with the Egyptian people as they already have enough on their plates.
Translated from Al-Jazeera, 22 April 2015.