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Posted by: globalvision2000administrator - 05-13-2018, 01:52 PM - Forum: Alternative therories - No Replies


 Gulf RegionTerrorismMiddle East and North Africa
Saudi Arabia’s new Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition has been hailed as an historic organisation which will not only serve a military purpose but also take the ideological fight against those who use terror in the name of Islam.

The launch of Saudi Arabia’s new Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) went practically unnoticed in the West as much of the focus was on the current turmoil in the Middle East.  However, for the countries involved – and particularly the three dominant players of Saudi ArabiaEgypt and Pakistan — the initiative is considered a significant event that could alter the course of the region.

The IMCTC is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) brainchild. The first hint of its formation came in March 2016 with the region’s largest ever military exercise, Northern Thunder. Hosted by Saudi Arabia, more than 300,000 soldiers took part and over 2,000 fighter aircraft took part in Northern Thunder.

In early 2017, the idea of an Islamic NATO was floated by Riyadh, based on the unity of the Muslim ‘ummah’ – a fraternity of Islamic communities ­– which would ensure that their destiny lay their own hands rather than relying on the West.

The IMCTC is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s brainchild

The timing made sense. MbS was emerging as a key player while Saudi Arabia felt increasingly alienated by Barack Obama’s White House over his administration’s support for the Iran nuclear deal at a time when Riyadh was balking at Tehran’s growing regional influence. Riyadh welcomed the election of Donald Trump, with Saudi Arabia being the new US president’s first destination on a foreign visit. Furthermore, Trump’s message — that regional countries should take control of their own destiny rather than relying on the US — was already being put into effect by the IMCTC. Trump in his early days reached out to President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi of Egypt and held him out to be a core part of the new strategy that would allow Muslim countries to fight terror themselves.

However, questions remain: What is the IMCTC’s role? Will it have operational teeth, or will it be a political tool wielded by the Saudis against the Iranians?  And while the IMCTC pushes the ‘ummah’ unity narrative, some major Muslim nations are missing from the coalition, such as Iran, Iraq and Syria, causing fears that it is merely an anti-Shia ‘Sunni bloc’. These fears were exacerbated by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation announcement in Riyadh – later retracted – over the power of Iran’s proxy Hezbollah. Moreover, the world’s most populous Islamic state, Indonesia, has so far declined to join, along with Algeria, which has the largest Muslim military in Africa.

However, the new commander of the coalition, General Raheel Sharif — who retired in 2016 after serving as the powerful army chief of Pakistan, the coalition’s largest and only nuclear-armed force – clearly rejects this anti-Iran narrative.   

‘This coalition is against terrorism. It is not against any country, sect or religion’, he said in Riyadh. As he laid out the main objectives of the coalition —  fighting terrorism tactically as a military force, targeting terror financing and countering the psychological warfare by the radicals – Sharif was clear about the IMCTC’s mission,  We all have different strengths. For example, the Jordanians are great in urban counterterrorism. The Pakistanis are well versed at operating in rural, less developed areas. Thus, resourcing will be key. Using the resources of militaries which have enough – such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE – to help out nations with less, such as those in Africa, will optimise the coalition. Of course, intelligence sharing will be the key building block of our operational capacity, and will also translate into greater gains, like ending the war in Afghanistan.

However, despite the reassurances, with Qatar being denied trade access routes by the Saudis, Egyptians and Emiratis, and as Yemen descends even further in a cycle of violence, the region can ill-afford another major division.

With the IMCTC, the Saudis, with the backing of Egypt, Pakistan and others, have taken the first step towards fulfilling Trump’s request that they rely more on themselves than on the West

Pakistan is playing a key role in soothing frayed nerves. While the anti-terrorism coalition was being launched, Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Tehran to allay its fears over the coalition.  Photographs of Bajwa saluting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and signing long-term security arrangements with the Iranian military were greeted in Tehran.

And here, perhaps, lies an indication of what this Saudi-inspired military formation is all about. Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has said that,  Saudi Arabia feels safe, or at least it should, when its wings are all right. ‘Saudi security’ is based on an old strategy that withstood the change of times, leaders and the world around it; a strategy that always needs a strong Pakistan in the east, and a powerful and stable Egypt in the west, while maintaining good and distinctive relations with both countries so that it could safely advance with its foreign relations.

With the IMCTC, the Saudis, with the backing of Egypt, Pakistan and others, have taken the first step towards fulfilling Trump’s request that they rely more on themselves than on the West.

Among the IMCTC’s first steps, Nigeria and Somalia will be offered capacity-building support, training and even troops in a quest to stabilise the wider Middle East. Sharif is also busy drawing up plans for divisions, brigades and troops strength, even as joint training exercises get more streamlined.

Meanwhile, with the full support of MbS – Sharif praised him as ‘one of fertile mind, and energy’ – the region could soon see a ‘Muslim-centric’ approach to ending conflicts and countering radicalism.  The IMCTC has stated its goal to ‘take Islam back’ from non-state, radical actors by beating them at their own game. The presence of senior Islamic clergy at the IMCTC launch reinforces this intention.  However, whether this coalition will stabilise the Middle East or just exacerbate existing schisms remains to be seen.

Kamal Alam and Wajahat S Khan
Wajahat S Khan is an Emmy-nominated producer for NBC News, correspondent for The Times and national security correspondent for Dunya News. He tweets @wajskhan

Banner image: Saudi troops seen during Exercise Northern Thunder. Was the exercise the starting point of the Saudi-led IMCTC? Courtesy of Balkis Press/ABACAPRESS.COM

The views expressed in this Commentary are the authors’, and do not reflect those of RUSI or any other institution.

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Posted by: globalvision2000administrator - 04-04-2018, 02:17 PM - Forum: Alternative therories - No Replies


The North Atlantic Alliance functions as an arm of US imperial policy – intended for offense, not defense, especially after Soviet Russia dissolved. 

World peace and stability are unattainable as long as this killing machine exists, waging endless wars of aggression, raping and destroying one country after another, responsible for countless millions of casualties and vast destruction.  Washington controls NATO, defraying 75% of its budget, calling the shots, subservient alliance officials installed to serve its agenda.
At a time when no alliance enemies exist, they’re invented to justify NATO’s existence, including ISIS and other terrorist groups Washington created and supports, along with all nations on America’s target list for regime change – notably Russia, considered public enemy number one despite threatening no one.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko,

“(t)he Skripal affair (is being) used…to tighten the ranks of the European Union and NATO” – at a time of “weakening US hegemony in the Middle East (given) conditions which could lead to a breakup of the” alliance,

Michel Chossudovsky explained, adding:

“Divisions within the Atlantic Alliance could take the form of one or more member states deciding to ‘Exit NATO,’ “ weakening the alliance,” especially its ability to pursue replacing all sovereign independent governments with pro-Western puppet rule.

On July 11 and 12, a NATO summit will be held, Washington pressuring the other 28 members to increase their military spending. Was the Skripal incident planned to escalate East/West tensions, aiming to pressure NATO members to punish Russia politically and economically, along with increasing their military spending despite no credible threat justifying it?
Indeed so, it appears. According to Grushko,

“all this was planned, including due to the fact that it would be necessary to explain to the public in the near future where the money is going because it is colossal spending.”  The Skripal provocation is being used to justify what’s unjustifiable – manufacturing a Russian threat out of thin air when clearly none exists.
In an atmosphere of Russophobic hysteria, normal relations are fractured, conditions likely to worsen ahead, not improve. Expect further shoes to drop. Serious consequences are risked if Washington and Britain fail to step back from the brink.

No sign of it so far, a cause for great concern. Nuclear war could erupt despite no one wanting it.
The unthinkable is possible, what should terrify everyone.

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Posted by: globalvision2000administrator - 02-04-2018, 12:34 PM - Forum: Think Tanks (Rest of the world) - Replies (5)


05-18-2008, 07:52 AM (This post was last modified: Less than 1 minute ago by globalvision2000administrator.

Change is happening everywhere and what's more it seems to be accelerated. What used to be considered as alternative and fringe has now been absorbed into the mainstream. Look back and see how much is now generally accepted that would not have been just a few years ago. There is more discussion over the implications of global warming and greater concern over the knock-on effect of our political policies. Gradually, we are starting to think more like a planet. As more of us choose to take action in our own lives to make a difference, so the tools have become available for us to share what we do with others. Worldwide alliances are now forming to give support to those who share the common purpose of creating a positive future. 

Each action we take is diverse and unique but it contributes to a greater whole. Individually we can do a huge amount but together we can make a real difference. The story of the butterfly is our story too. The caterpillar has no choice about becoming a butterfly, as long as it escapes the usual pitfalls.  It has to emerge from the primordial soup. Perhaps it's time that we should too.


We are people from all regions of the world and from all walks of life, united by a common vision, which is to strengthen and sustain an actively compassionate humanity.  We are open to any one who pursues this goal and we call upon those who are tired of passively waiting for change. We live in the in critically insecure or times. Perceived and real instability is growing in many sectors of life - but there is also hope.  The choice depends on how humanity deals with four trends, each enmeshed and interconnected with the others: war, poverty, environmental degradation and human rights abuses.  Each threat is increasing the severity of the others. These problems are all related - so are the solutions.

The aim is to create an alliance of people based on the awareness of humanity’s interconnectedness.  We believe that if enough people share the value of peace, then war can be brought to an end. If enough people shift their awareness towards social justice, human rights and environmental sustainability, then injustice, oppression and the destruction of the eco-system can be stopped. Such a shift is already occurring - now it needs critical mass which, in turn, needs organisation.  The alliance aims to connect individuals, caring communities and groups at a global level. Unity is not sought for and won. It is realised one person at a time. We envision a future illuminated by the truth of unity - a future where any boundary can be removed because it has already been brought down in our hearts. This vision is a cause for celebration. Soon it could guide us in a great evolutionary leap and provide the basis for sustainable solutions to humanity's greatest threats.

“We are on the brink of a great revolution – a quantum leap into the embodiment of the divine. Let us make this revolution together and all leap calmly into the only possible future,” says Andrew Harvey, author and speaker for the Alliance for a New Humanity Forum, in Puerto Rico on 7-9th December 2006



In the laws of science and quantum physics, everything that exists in the universe is energy and, intimately vibrating and interacting. In this world there is no separation, and so when Deepak Chopra talks about the natural world as an extension of all living beings, such statements as “the trees are an extension of our lungs” make perfect sense. If we all recognise this reality in our hearts, how could we destroy rainforests without feeling it is our lungs that we are affecting? Quantum theory supports the idea that when we act without reverence in the outer world, the inner self is affected - and conversely, positive transformation of our inner selves will have major positive benefits in the outer world. 

In his book, The Book of Secrets, Deepak captures the essence of this in the transformation of the chrysalis to the butterfly. Under the microscope one can see the cells of the chrysalis as a mass of grey cells which he calls a grey quantum soup. Suddenly, as the chrysalis transforms itself, tiny specks of bright new cells appear like islands swimming in the great mass of un-diffused cells. These islands grow and multiply, feeding off the grey quantum soup, until the bright new cells reach a critical mass. The transformation is instant and the grey mass of cells become the butterfly. From greyness to light in one magical and irreversible quantum leap.

This is a transformation that we and the world around us are making every moment; waiting for the time we reach the critical mass of transformation. This whole story becomes more profound when you consider science has shown that DNA found in the butterfly is the same as that found in the cells of the human heart. In this story maybe the natural world is whispering to us that the essence of the true transformation of the world will stem from the time when the human heart yearn to fly.

Kevin Leivers

Deepak Chopra has committed to reach the first million people so that we can take that evolutionary leap. Let us harness our resources and be part of that first million to reach a critical mass - and we too then can we write the story for a new humanity. Let Creativity and Caring be our mantra.

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Posted by: globalvision2000administrator - 12-09-2017, 11:54 AM - Forum: Multimedia - Replies (14)


Senior Muslim figures attending the international Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran have slammed a US decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital,” calling for a new intifada (uprising) against the scheme targeting the occupied Palestinian city. In their final statement, the participants in the 31 International Islamic Unity Conference condemned US President Donald Trump’s Wednesday remarks about al-Quds and his order to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The three-day event attended by around 520 dignitaries, ministers, scholars, university professors, and representatives from various associations concluded in Tehran on Thursday. The statement emphasized the need to counter "the new US policy of Judaizing the Noble al-Quds and dominating sacred places of the Muslims."   “Accordingly, the Muslim world needs a new Palestinian intifada, which is supported by all the countries favoring freedom and human rights as well as all political powers.”

Washington’s al-Qud move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the United Nations and even US allies in the West have warned against its realization, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.  Palestinian leaders have declared Friday as the “day of rage” against Israel and the US.







To Netanyahu it is Yerushalayim (city of peace) in Yiddish; to Muslims it is Bayt Al-Maqdis (the house of peace). To Google and now to Trump Jerusalem (city of peace) is the capital of Israel.

On December 7, 2017 Yeni Safak, a conservative Turkish daily newspaper and strong supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an reported Erdo?an as saying that Trump’s Jerusalem step ‘will throw the region into a ring of fire’, ‘Trump’s declaration aims to stir up the region, not to bring peace,’ and that “Jerusalem, Mr. Trump, is the red line for Muslims”. No empty words from a NATO partner and a country that has recognized Israel.

“It is not possible to understand what Trump wants to achieve,” Erdogan said in the capital Ankara before leaving for a visit to Greece.

“The (US) announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in” Federika Mogherini, EU Foreign Policy chief added.

She shared German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s sentiments that the European Union had a “clear and united position” on the issue:

“We believe that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both.”

On December 7, 2017 Newsweek reported Iran says Arabs and Muslims must defend Jerusalem as rockets target Israel. Like Turkey, Iran has demonstrated its resolve on several occasions that it is a country with a leadership that is not impotent. Iran’s military chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri stated on Press TV

“The world of arrogance, and foremost the criminal U.S., should know that the unity of the Muslim world will obstruct this desperate move and will be defeated with the vigilance of the Muslim world.”

Unity? Is that possible?

A statement from nuclear Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s office stated

“It is deeply regrettable that pleas from states across the globe not to alter the legal and historical status of Al Quds Al Sharif have been ignored, more out of choice than necessity.”

Even Trump’s closest Middle East ally Saudi Arabia has ostracized President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, calling the move “unjustified and irresponsible”. The statement added that “The kingdom has already warned of the serious consequences of such an unjustified and irresponsible move.”

But Saudi agenda is to block Iran, not Israel.

Probably the strongest message that the Islamic countries should send is voiced by the Chairman of Indonesia’s Youth Association of Nahdlatul Ulama (IPNU), Irfan Mujahid:

“Expel the US ambassador (to Indonesia) if he ignores this demand.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo also called on Muslim countries to unite and reject the US move.

So there are four strong Muslim nations Turkey, Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan (I’m always wary of Egyptian intentions) with formidable militaries and a collective population of over 600 million voicing their opposition designating Jerusalem as Israel’s capital against the UN resolution 478 of August 20, 1980.

The OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) comprising 57 nations will be convening an extraordinary summit for Muslim leaders on December 12-13 in Istanbul to “discuss the repercussions of the American decision, and to formulate a unified Islamic position on this dangerous escalation.” Is a unified Islamic position possible?

The key question that needs to be addressed is one posed by Erdogan: what does Trump want to achieve by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? Only then can the consequences of Trump’s decision be taken for discussion and whether it’ll result in Erdogan’s ring of fire in the region.

I posed a question on my recent article on Oriental Review if Trump is unpredictable, senile or juvenile?  It seems from opinions of several political and media analysts who know him enough that he truly is all three. His decision to recognize Jerusalem therefore comes as no surprise. But behind these attributes may lay a cunning plot which may well be the genius of Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump wants to make America great and therein is his genius for an irrational war.

As the sun begins to set on any empire, and the most classical ones have been the Roman and British, there develops desperation to somehow keep the sun from setting. The empire’s leadership starts fragmenting and the rationale that made a nation an empire starts to crumble.

America has witnessed no threat from its Muslims citizens as the vast majority have contributed their professional and business talents towards making it great. However, Trump is not willing to accept the contributions of all immigrants including Muslims, Chinese, and Mexicans or even the contributions of his predecessor of Afro-American origin. He favors the alt-Right group as the true contributors. He sees the Muslims, most specifically, within its borders as well as outside as the threat to America in a manner similar to the Germanic tribes that threatened the Roman Empire under the able leadership of Emperor Marcus Aurelius till his son Commodus began the Roman descent. Trump shares the fear of Muslims with Netanyahu.

Trump has thus far failed to drive a wedge between the Shias and Sunnis or between Arabs. The rationale of Trump to making America great is a war-the ring of fire in the region. Trump is not going to backtrack his decision so what responses can be expected from the Islamic leaders following the OIC summit?

If Jerusalem is the red line for Muslims, how do they intend to address it? Will they blink and open up the opportunity for Trump to enforce his decision leading other nations to follow in recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel?

Or will the Muslims unite on the Jerusalem platform? Trump is expecting the Muslims to capitulate and his hopes are pinned among the weaker ones Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Jordan who are fully capable of upsetting the proverbial apple cart and dissent with the stronger nations Turkey, Pakistan and Iran whose actions are needed for Palestinians (including Hezbollah) to continue their struggle.

OIC countries may demonstrate at the Istanbul summit they’re united but historically they’ve always been splintered. It is something that Netanyahu is aware of. They cannot speak with one voice and there is no leadership except venom within their ranks. Most importantly the OIC summit must not show any willingness to negotiate on the position of Jerusalem within the framework of UN resolution 478 because that would be seen as weakness which can easily be exploited by Trump and Netanyahu. In fact the only solution that should be a part of the final OIC communique is the member countries are willing to be prepared for the ring of fire in the region if the US will not retract its decision. If the OIC leaders proffer that unity then Trump and Netanyahu are doomed.

The outcome of the OIC summit will be carefully watched by both Russia and China whose support is critical for Muslims.


Just like most things done by Donald Trump (DT), it appears that his decision of declaring Al-Quds, as the capital of the Zionist entity was an impulsive decision with no clear strategy in place. Trump’s illegitimate decree has no legal or political benefit for the imperial designs of US imperialism. In fact, DT shot the US imperialism in the foot and exposed the US vassals in the Muslim world. Something justice seeking people worldwide should be thankful about. Washington backed corrupt regimes in the MENA region,will no longer be able to peddle the well-known lie that the US is some kind of a “peace” broker, which it never was.

As pointed out by a prominent Lebanese academic, Dr. Amaal Saad on her Facebook page, “Trump's Jerusalem [CI- Al Quds] declaration will help shatter the myth of Israel's invincibility; it exposes how dependent Israel's existence is on the US: one declaration & the world acts as if Jerusalem really *is* Israel's capital as if US discourse has a constitutive effect on Israel's very being.”

Prominent British Palestinian academic and political activist,Azzam Tamimi, also pointed out that Trump’s decision has changed nothing, the occupation remains as it was. DT’s ignorant decision will further inflame Palestinian resistance, which is always a positive thing.

DT’s decision is a blessing in disguise as it has unmasked the US stance on the Palestinian question. As the regional US vassals are openly surrendering to Israel on the political front, the Islamic resistance axis led by Iran, which includes Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Palestinian resistance factions,manifests itself as the only real alternative to subjugation and occupation.

Islamic Iran has no border disputes with the Zionist entity, Israel. By opposing the Zionist entity, Islamic Iran made some powerful enemies. Iran’s unconditional support for the Palestinians as publicly acknowledged by a senior Palestinian political leader Mahmoud al-Zahar and others, is solely due to its strategic Islamic political identity and humanism. Iran derives no economic or political benefits from backing the Palestinians. Thus, DT’s decision further strengthens the soft-power of the resistance axis led by Iran.

The Trump regime managed to reduce the US into a second tier global player. DT’s ignorance should not be disappointing, but utilized intelligently. Washington has thrown its most dedicated servants like Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qadhafi, Ali Abdallah Saleh, Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak under the bus, thus creating an atmosphere of distrust amongst Washington’s regional vassals. United they stand, divided they fall, DT is dividing, let him do the job, hopefully for two terms.


Rami Khouri is a Senior Public Policy Fellow and adjunct professor of journalism at American University of Beirut. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School.

AARON MATÉ: It's The Real News, I'm Aaron Mate. President Trump has formally announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American embassy there.

DONALD TRUMP: I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today I am delivering. I've judged this course of action to be in the best interest of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

AARON MATÉ: Protests have already begun in the occupied territories where Palestinian factions have declared three days of rage. Well, to discuss this I spoke earlier to Rami Khouri, senior public policy fellow, and professor of journalism at American University of Beirut. Also, a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. I begin by asking Rami Khouri, his response to Trump's announcement.

RAMI KHOURI: Well, I think President Trump showed that he is engaging in dangerous, reckless behavior, which he's been doing all along in his last 10, 11 months in office. But he's dealing in a level of incoherence and recklessness, now that is really unprecedented because he's taking a position, which the entire world, virtually the entire world, rejects. Not just Arabs are angry and Palestinians, the whole world. Then there's United Nations resolutions on the status of Jerusalem and he's just thrown this out the window.

So we're dealing with a level of intellectual and political arrogance by the American president that is really dangerous for the region and I think for the United States. Because what this does is it puts the United States in a position where it is the only country, on a serious level, in the world that is going against established international law and U.N. resolutions on the status of Jerusalem. And it's essentially sending the message that, don't worry about international law, and conventions, and treaties, and U.N. Council Resolutions. You can ignore all that stuff. Do what you want. So this is a recipe for the law of the jungle.

And it further hurts the United States because it basically is sending the message that you can't trust the United States to keep its word or to do the right thing. That the U.S. will do whatever if it wants if it thinks it's good for its own domestic, political purposes, or to raise campaign funding from extremists and Las Vegas and other places in the United States. That's the message that the world gets. It's a combination of political, and moral, corruption and criminality, which is frightening because it's done out of the White House. This is totally un-American. Totally unprecedented and very dangerous.

AARON MATÉ: But in terms of this being un-American and unprecedented, it's true that this is a formal decision that carries some huge symbolic weight for the U.S. to do this. But how much is it an actual departure from existing U.S. policy? In the sense that the U.S. has supported Israel's de facto annexation of East Jerusalem by continuing to provide billions of dollars in aid and also providing plenty of diplomatic cover at the U.N. when other countries tried to hold Israel to account for its takeover of East Jerusalem.

RAMI KHOURI: Well, those are important points that you make and it is really at the symbolic level that this is important. But this is symbolism that is more important than anything that's done at the practical level. Because it's the last arena where Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and even many Jews of good conscience, hold out the hope that there can be a negotiated, peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that is fair to Israelis and Palestinians. And this was the last thread linking the condition of the peace negotiations, which have been more open for 20 years under American tutelage. But this was this last thread that possibly gave people some hope that maybe a two-state solution could be negotiated.

Because everything else that Israel wants, the extremist right-wing government under Netanyahu wants. Settlements. Militarism. Siege of Gaza. Putting thousands of people in jail. Expropriating land. Bombing and killing people at will. Arresting people. Torturing people. Everything that Israel has done, the United States, as you said, has either acquiesced in or explicitly supported. But this was the last thread of decency, legality, and good conscience behavior and the United States just threw it in the garbage can.

AARON MATÉ: Can you talk about the Saudi context here because one other thing that makes this different from previous U.S., Israeli policies towards Palestinians, is now Israel appears to have the open cooperation of the Saudi government.

RAMI KHOURI: One of the big issues that's going to become clear in the next couple of weeks, or couple of months if this continues, is that you will see a big gap emerging in some Arab countries between the leaderships and the people. Between the government and the citizens. Because the Arab governments historically have done whatever they need to do, like most governments in the world do. Like Trump is doing now. Do anything that they need to do, to get support politically to stay in power. And Trump is doing this, essentially, for political support of pro-Israeli right-wing extremists, including Evangelical Christian extremists and donors.

And Arab governments are the same. They'll do anything that they feel is going to keep them in power and they will try to figure out a way to be friends with Israel, while the vast majority of their people are critical of Israel in the current situation of Palestinian-Israeli relations. The vast majority of Arabs have made it clear that they're willing to negotiate a permanent, peaceful resolution of the conflict. But in the current situation of Israel continuing to annex and build settlements in Arab, East Jerusalem, the public in the Arab world is extremely hostile to what Israel does. And if the Arab governments try to get closer to Israel, this is going to open a huge wedge between citizen and state, and we may find significant problems within Arab countries.

Not necessarily hostility against Israel or the U.S, which has been expressed before and has achieved virtually nothing, but you will find Arab citizens finally turning against their government and saying, what in the world are you people doing? You can't make war. You can't make peace. You let us be humiliated. You've turned the Arab world into a trash heap of morality, and dignity, and legality and this is the final indignity that the American President imposes on us. Basically telling us that we, the Arabs, the Palestinians, the Muslims, the people of the Middle East, that we have no rights. We have no voice. We have no place in the world. That what we feel, or what we think is our rights, doesn't count and the U.S. can do anything it wants. Even on the most sacred, sensitive, important political issue in our universe, which is Jerusalem.

And the Arab leaders are going to be told, if you can't do anything about this, then maybe you shouldn't be there. So we don't know how it's going to play out, but clearly, this is an issue where leaders and citizens of the Arab world, have very different perspectives.

AARON MATÉ: Robby Khouri, senior public policy fellow and professor of journalism at American University of Beirut. Also, a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. Thank you.

RAMI KHOURI: You're welcome.

AARON MATÉ: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.


Mustafa Barghouti was born in Jerusalem, 1954. He is a leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, founded in 2002 and a member of Palestinian Legislative Council, former Minister of Information, unity government, March-June 2007.

AARON MATÉ: It's The Real News. I'm Aaron Maté. President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sparked the uproar that many predicted. Protests and a general strike are underway across the occupied territories.

PROTESTER: Trump, Trump you will see.

PROTESTERS: Trump, Trump you will see.

PROTESTER: Palestine will be free.

PROTESTERS: Palestine will be free.

PROTESTER: Palestine will be free.

PROTESTERS: Palestine will be free.

AARON MATÉ: Dozens of Palestinians have been wounded after Israeli forces open fire in both the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has now bombed and shelled Gaza after Palestinian militants fire rockets earlier today. Joining me from Ramallah is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative. Dr. Barghouti, welcome. What is happening in the occupied territories today?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: What happened is that we had demonstrations all over the occupied territories in protest to this reckless decision of President Trump, which made himself and his administration participant in a war crime, in my opinion; participant in violating international law, because by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he was accepting the annexation of unoccupied territory, and of course, he has shown not only complete biases but he has eliminated any future role of his administration in any so-called peace process. He has just aborted the same initiative he has been talking about before it was born.

But the most important thing is that we have demonstrations all over, unprecedented demonstrations all over the occupied territories and there will be tomorrow probably much larger demonstrations. These demonstrations were peaceful, were non-violent. The Israeli Army responded using every possible amount of violence including heavy bombardment with teargas bombs, including using these metallic bullets that are covered with 10-piece of rubber pulling them rubber bullets but they were very heavy and very serious. They broke the legs and arms of many young people. They also used high-velocity bullet. The outcome is that we had at least 180 people injured in Bethlehem, in Ramallah, in Tulkarem, in Qalqilya and in many other places. Also, around Jerusalem and inside Jerusalem, several young people have been arrested, especially in Jerusalem itself. These are things that reflect the Israeli behavior of severe violence against peaceful number of demonstrations.

Unfortunately, as usual, the mainstream American media does not report the non-violent nature of the Palestinian protests, and does not report the severe violence that is used by the Israeli Army and does not indicate how many Palestinians were injured today by the Israeli Army.

AARON MATÉ: Dr. Barghouti, you'd been a longtime advocate of mass non-violent resistance. But I'm wondering if you could reflect on the difficulties of that when you have an outpouring violence from Israeli occupation forces like we're seeing today. Talk to me about the history of this when Palestinians try to be non-violent, the kind of force that they're met with in response and how hard that makes it for Palestine to stay non-violent.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: It's very hard. I've been in this for more than 38 years now. I've been in hundreds if not thousands of demonstrations. I was injured myself nine times including once with two high-velocity bullets while I was trying to stop the bleeding of an injured man. What we saw in July is a very good example of that. It was a crystal example because in July, in Jerusalem, we had pure, pure, totally non-violent peaceful demonstrations. Much of the demonstrations were praying in the streets. We had tens of thousands of people participating and huge amount of discipline. Even when the Israeli Army was attacking people, did not responded with violence. Still they killed five young people and they injured 1,500 people including myself as well. They didn't care.

When they throw sand grenades at you, they don't care where it hits. It can hit the eye and take it away. It can hit the head and kill the person. When they shoot these bullets, the bullets can be also very dangerous. Sometimes they even use tear gas bombs as bullets and we have lost one person who had a teargas bomb in his chest and his heart stopped and he died. We've lost people who suffocated from tear gas, but they also use high-velocity bullets. And if they catch anybody, the level of beating and violence that is used is also beyond description. This is a very violent Israeli Army and they use this violence thinking that they have full and total impunity in front of the international law.

AARON MATÉ: That protest in Jerusalem that you're talking about in July, for just to explain for those who don't know it, that was when Israel imposed all sorts of crackdowns on Palestinian access to the Al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem. Palestinians responded with the type of mass non-violent resistance that Dr. Barghouti is describing and ultimately won.

Let me ask you though, Dr. Barghouti, in terms of the symbolism and the importance of Trump's decision here. Why it so angered Palestinians? I actually want to get your response to what Trump said in his speech. When he said that Israel has the right to recognize, to establish whatever capital it wants. This is what he said:

DONALD TRUMP: Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

AARON MATÉ: Dr. Barghouti, that's President Trump saying that Israel has the right to establish its own capital. So, we're just going with what Israel says is its capital. What do you take issue with there?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Because it doesn't concern only West Jerusalem, which is part of Israel per se. Jerusalem is now unified and enlarged, and it has annexed East Jerusalem, which is part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and supposed to be part of the Palestinian future state. With annexing East Jerusalem, they have already annexed also the northern part of Bethlehem, the northern part of Beit Jala and the northern part of Beit Sahour. Beit Jala has already lost 48% of its land to Jerusalem. So, when you speak about Jerusalem, you speak about an entity that has annexed already huge parts of the West Bank as well.

When Mr. Trump recognized Jerusalem as a capital of Israel, he recognized and accepted the annexation by force of an occupied territory of another country and that is considered by law, a war crime. That is considered a violation. The International Court of Justice, which is the highest court in the world, believe that annexing East Jerusalem is illegal and should be reversed. That settlement building inside East Jerusalem is illegal and should be reversed. That's why the issue here is not about a sovereign Israeli decision. It's about Israel taking away our Jerusalem and making it part of Jerusalem, and making it a capital of Israel as well, which means preventing us as Palestinians from having the right to our own territory and to our own seat in the long run. That's one thing.

But there is another thing that even in West Jerusalem, itself, there are 10,000 Palestinian families who used to live in West Jerusalem, who were displaced, ethnically cleansed in 1948. Many of these families live now in the States. Many live in Britain. They are refugees that are not allowed to come back to their homes, which were confiscated by Israel and given to Jewish population. Practically, you are talking about a city where apartheid is practiced in a much worse form than what prevailed in South Africa.

I heard them also say, "All I'm doing is recognizing the existing reality." Well, let me ask a question. Would a recognition of German occupation of Poland in 2nd World War make that occupation legitimate? Is it acceptable? Is it acceptable to legitimize the occupation of one country of another country and then say just because it's a reality I will recognize it? That makes no sense.

AARON MATÉ: Let me just add that what's interesting to me about Trump's decision is that the US has effectively tacitly endorsed, although not officially endorsed, Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem for years by giving it diplomatic cover when Palestinians tried to oppose it at the UN and also supplying billions of dollars in aid. But this is the first time that Trump is actually coming out...and coming out and saying through Trump that we are formally recognize it.

Dr. Barghouti, you mentioned East Jerusalem being the capital of our future Palestinian states. Let me ask you about that. Saeb Erekat, who has been the top Palestinian authority negotiator for years, he said that the quest for a two-state solution is over, and now the struggle is for a democratic one-state across all of historic Palestine, which is quite a rhetorical departure for the Palestinian authority. Do you take that statement seriously? Do you think he's being genuine? And what do you think the Palestinian strategy should be at this point?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I don't mind. I think it's a good idea. But he cannot just say it as a statement. He is the secretary of the PLO and the PLO must make that officially as its decision. We'll meet in Gaza on Saturday. I hope they would agree that we'd decide that from now on we will struggle for one-state solution and go back to the borders of the whole of Palestine,one democratic state for everybody with equal rights. But this is just a statement. It's not a program of the PLO yet. What we need, I've spoken about this in the last reconciliation meeting in Cairo, where I detailed in front of everybody how Israel has already destroyed tension for a two-state solution. But I said I cannot declare it on my own that now we have to change to one-state solution unless there is a joint Palestinian decision, which makes that declaration a unified Palestinian decision.

But in my opinion, in general, in principle, this is the only alternative of Israel continues with the help of the United States killing the two-states option. The only alternative is one democratic state and not the system of apartheid that Israel is trying to impose on us. But people have to understand what does one-state solution mean? It means it's not going to be a Jewish state. It means I can run to be the prime minister of that state. And a Palestinian could become the head of that state. And we would have more than half of the... There will be equal rights, which means Palestinian refugees will have the chance and right to come back whenever they want like Jewish people do. It means full equality.

Of course Israel is not only adamant against one-state solution. It's even much more adamant than even opposing the two-state solution. In reality, Israel does not want neither two-state solution nor one-state solution. They want us out of our land. They want us out of our homes. But that will never happen. We're here to stay. We're here to struggle. And we're here to succeed. One day, we will get our freedom.

AARON MATÉ: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, thank you.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Thank you so much


The Muslim world has denounced Israel’s recent move to shut down the al-Aqsa Mosque after a deadly shooting at the holy mosque’s compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. The Friday gunfight took place just outside the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) and left three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers dead.

Following the incident, Israeli police closed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, briefly detained Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem al-Quds, and cancelled Muslim Friday prayers at the site. “We insist on reaching al-Aqsa mosque and performing prayers there. The occupation preventing us from praying marks an assault against our right to worship in this pure Islamic mosque,” Sheikh Muhammad said.

The measures taken by the Tel Aviv regime drew condemnations from the Muslim world. Arab League, Jordan demand al-Aqsa reopening. The Arab League warned against the consequences of Israel’s “dangerous” closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque and ban on Friday prayers. In a statement released on Friday, the 22-member pan-Arab organization said the move would adversely affect the so-called peace process in the region and fuel conflict, terrorism and extremism.

Israeli policemen check the body of a Palestinian after he was shot dead by Israeli police at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. 

It further called on Israel to the immediately reopen al-Aqsa and avoid any attempt to change the historic status of the mosque, demanding the international community protect the Islamic and Christian sacred sites. Additionally, Jordan, which serves as the custodian of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, urged the reopening of the site and advised Israel to “refrain from taking any step aimed at changing” the status quo of Jerusalem al-Quds or the mosque compound.

“Jordan rejects any attack on the rights of Muslims,” Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency on Friday.

Qatar wants global action

In a similar development, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry censured the Israeli closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque, prevention of prayers there and declaration of the area as a closed military zone as a severe violation of the sanctity of Islamic sites and a provocation to millions of Muslims around the world. Israeli forces stand guard as Muslim worshippers pray outside the Damascus Gate, a main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, on July 14, 2017, after the al-Aqsa Mosque was closed for Friday prayers by Israeli authorities following a shootout. 

In a statement, the ministry called on the international community to assume its responsibility in halting these violations.

‘Aqsa’s historical status must be respected’

Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed regret over Friday’s incident, saying, “It is a humanitarian and legal obligation to respect the sanctity and historical status of the religious sites in the Israeli occupied East Jerusalem [al-Quds], especially the Haram al-Sharif.”

[size=undefined][size=undefined][size=undefined]The Haram al-Sharif should be opened to worshippers “via the immediate lifting of the entry ban imposed by Israel and calm should be attained as soon as possible,” it added. 

Dozens arrested after shooting

In the immediate aftermath Friday’s shootout, Israeli forces detained dozens of employees of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, an Islamic religious trust that manages the current Islamic edifices on and around the Haram al-Sharif. Firas Dibs, head of the Waqf public relations,

told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that Israeli forces had detained 58 staff of the organization, and interrogated them over the gunfight. The occupied lands have witnessed tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound two years ago.
The Tel Aviv regime has been trying to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October 2015, when the tensions intensified. Tel Aviv has come under fire for using violence against Palestinians and adopting a policy of shoot-to-kill.


Dozens of worshippers gathered to pray at an entrance to the compound after new measures introduced at holy site.  
Worshippers say the new security measures are an imposition of Israeli sovereignty over Al-Aqsa [Reuters]

Al-Aqsa mosque officials have rejected new security measures put in place by Israel as it reopened the holy site following a deadly gun battle that prompted a two-day closure.
Muslim religious authorities, who administer the compound, are refusing to pray there on Sunday after Israeli authorities installed metal detectors and additional close-circuit television cameras.

"The closure of al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the occupation in itself and the prevention of the call for prayers are all unfair and unjust and constitute a violation to the United Nations resolutions and the international agreements," Omar Kiswani, director of al-Aqsa mosque, told reporters outside the site.

"We hold the Israeli government responsible for the changes they have made in the al-Aqsa Mosque and taking its control away from us. We will stay outside the mosque until we get back the way it was taken from us." 

Israel shuts down Al-Aqsa Mosque after gun attack 

Dozens of worshippers gathered to pray at an entrance to the compound next to the Lions' Gate entry to the Old City, as Israeli security officials look on. Some women wailed and cried, calling on worshippers not to enter. The site was shut down during Friday prayers when five people were killed in a shootout - the first time the compound had been closed for prayers in 48 years.

"What happened does not justify this," Abu Mohammed, who works at a small medical clinic inside the compound, told Al Jazeera. "This is our mosque and we refuse to enter through any electronic gate, this can never be imposed on us." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the additional security measures on Saturday, saying they gave Israel "almost complete control over what goes on" in the compound, to prevent future attacks. 

Earlier in the day, Kiswani told Voice of Palestine radio station the additional security measures were part of a "dangerous and unprecedented move" by Israeli authorities "to impose control over al-Aqsa Mosque".

Israel's decision also triggered anger from authorities in Jordan, the custodian of the holy site. The Jordanian goverment released a statement on Friday demanding Israel immediately open the mosque and warning against steps that could "change the historic status quo in Jerusalem and the mosque". 

Proposals to change security measures at the compound have sparked controversy in the past. Palestinians have long feared what they see as Israeli moves to change the status quo at the holy site.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from East Jerusalem, said as the standoff continues as of 1400 GMT, because of the installation of the new security measures. "As far as they [worshippers] are concerned, this is an imposition of Israeli sovereignty on an area, which there should be none, and they are opposing this very strongly," he said. After Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, Israeli authorities have maintained an agreement with the Islamic Endowment that runs the mosque compound. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the site, but are not allowed to pray. The mosque compound is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif while Jews call it Temple Mount.

Fatah calls on Palestinians to boycott holy mosque as heightened security measures are feared to be signs of a takeover.

Clashes broke out on Tuesday evening outside Lion's Gate [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party has called for a "Day of Rage" to protest against new security measures introduced by Israel at a Jerusalem site which is holy to both Muslims and Jews. The call follows implementation of metal detectors and turnstiles at the entrance of al-Aqsa compound after a deadly shootout there on Friday. In that incident, two Israeli security officers died after an alleged attack by three Palestinians - who were themselves killed by Israeli police following the violence.Tensions have soared since Friday. 

READ MORE: Grand Mufti - Arrest of al-Aqsa guards 'unacceptable'

The Red Cross said on Tuesday that at least 50 Palestinians were wounded in overnight clashes with Israeli police remaining near the sacred site, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.  At least four paramedics were injured, and 15 others were hit by rubber bullets, the charity said.  Clashes also broke out on Tuesday evening after Israeli security forces used sound bombs and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of worshippers near Lion’s gate in occupied Jerusalem after evening prayers. A number of Palestinians suffered rubber bullet injuries, including former Jerusalem mufti Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, said Al Jazeera Arabic's correspondent. 

Metal detectors and turnstiles have been installed at the entrance of al-Aqsa Mosque 
[Ilia Yefimovich/Getty]
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements have also called for protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the new security measures.

The "Day of Rage" is set to take place on Wednesday. "For the third day now, the Islamic Waqf authority - which runs the al-Aqsa Mosque compound - is refusing to enter through the Israeli metal detectors," said Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Jerusalem. "[The authority] and the many growing number of worshippers outside the mosque see [the security measures] as an imposition of Israeli sovereignty in a holy place, and more generally as an Israeli encroachment in occupied East Jerusalem. "The Israelis are saying that this is an important security measure after the deadly attack which took place on Friday."

READ MORE: What triggered the violence at al-Aqsa Mosque?

Fatah is calling for Friday prayers to be conducted in public squares in Palestinian cities to denounce what they described as "terrorist procedures" by Israel in occupied East JerusalemPalestinians have already been performing prayers outside the compound in protest, since it was reopened on Sunday after a two-day closure. Jerusalem Grand Mufti Mohammed Ahmed Hussein criticised the new measures as altering the status quo, which gives Muslims religious control over the site and permits Jews to visit but not pray there.

In a statement, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that Israeli forces removed worshippers at Lions' Gate for allegedly blocking the street while performing prayers. The Palestinians fear Israel is trying to retake control of the site by stealth. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed on Friday that he did not want to alter the status quo. The site houses the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine, Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, but also the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

Questions about control of the site frequently lead to outbursts of fighting. After Friday's alleged attack, Israel closed off the area, preventing Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time in decades. Mahmoud Abbas, who was quick to condemn the shooting attacks in a telephone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is currently in Beijing on a three-day visit to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A review of the critical events that have marked the history of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Dalia Hatuqa & Mohsin Ali



Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in east Jerusalem is one of the most sacred sites in Islam.
The compound is also claimed by Jews. It has been central to years of political conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.  On Sunday, hundreds of Jewish settlers and far-right activists entered al-Aqsa Mosque compound under the protection of Israeli forces. They were there for a day of mourning to commemorate the destruction of two ancient Jewish temples. But 15 Palestinians were injured after fighting began over Jewish settlers trying to pray at the site, something they are not allowed to do.  Many Palestinians have spoken out against what they say is Israel's attempt to undermine Muslim control of the sacred site and allowing violence to escalate there.

Why is there so much tension around the sacred site?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Azzam Tamimi - academic and political activist
Robbie Sabel   - professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Rodney Dixon  - international human rights lawyer

Israel has been using the pretext of security to quietly continue the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land
Yesterday, thousands of Palestinians came to Jerusalem to perform the most simple, most peaceful act: prayer. Palestinians - Muslims and Christians, women and men, young and old - prayed in the streets after refusing to enter through the new metal detectors and barricades erected by Israel in front of the al-Aqsa compound. Israeli forces, armed with live ammunition, stun grenades, sound bombs, water cannon and tear gas, came prepared to kill. 

And they did: by the day's end Israeli forces and armed settlers had killed three young Palestinian men and injured more than 450 others, some of them very seriously. Israeli forces even raided a Palestinian hospital in an attempt to arrest those injured by their weaponry.


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