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Myanmar should be isolated for its Apartheid against the Rohingya now

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myanmar apartheid

On May 29, the south-east Asian bloc will meet to discuss the Rohingya question. Rohingyas endure daily hardship in their homeland, Myanmar. Much as this is their home they, ironically, have no citizenship to speak of. They were stripped of their birthright three decades ago and, to this day, continue to be persecuted by their kinsmen in that tiny Asian country. Such desperation explains why thousands of Rohingyas fled Myanmar and ended up in the ocean, and in turn exposed themselves to merciless human traffickers and unpredictable stormy seas.

“(This daring attempt to flee by boat, putting their lives at risk) instead of being at home says a lot about the status of home,” Advocate Shabnam Mayet told Sabahul Khair. The advocate is one of the founding members of civil-based Protect Rohingya, and member of the Johannesburg Bar. At less than 1 million, the Rohingya, based in the north of the Asian state, are one of the more than 100 groupings in a country of 50 million-plus.

Mayet, who again commended the Gambia for offering to resettle the community, argued that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), a regional club, holding a special meeting on Friday, should keep its eyes on the bigger picture. The problem is not that there are thousands of people ended up on the Andaman – that, on its own, is the manifestation or symptom. The issue is that Myanmar practices apartheid and is genocidal. Furthermore, this terror-backed persecution has been going on for decades while the globe, notably superpowers like Washington and London, play oblivious, noted Mayet, accusing the West of complicity. From this angle, Asean, and the world, should isolate Myanmar and coerce her to cease apartheid – a crime against humanity.

Practically, just how bad are things in Myanmar that? What is the plight of the Rohingyas, the Asian nation’s stateless and internal refugees? The upshot, noted Mayet, is that the Rohingyas are both imprisoned and excluded. Human rights abuses are rife in Myanmar and burning of Rohingya homes, to force them to flee, is not a crime.

“From 1978 (the military government), has always suppressed Rohingya. And then, in 1982 that culminated in them revoking the citizenship. So, it’s been a long time without citizenship and as you know, without your citizenship there’s no right to learn. Education becomes a problem. Political access becomes a problem. So if you’re saying that someone is no longer a citizen but they’re not a foreign, you’re basically putting them in prison,” Mayet said, also referring to right wing 969, a terrorist group led by Islamophobic monk Ashin Wirathu. “On top of all of that your government is watching while police are complicit in brutalising them.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a pro-social justice cleric and Nobel Peace laureate, continues to speak out against the apartheid in Myanmar where it is, ironically fellow men of cloth, monks, who persecute fellow human beings. Aung San Suu Kyi, a political activist and fellow Nobel laureate, has, in contrast, sided with the oppressor to this end. Her and her party’s stance on Rohingya is “unacceptable”, Mayet said. Further, superpowers, according to the advocate, have allowed the status quo because they reward Napydaw’s “bad behaviour”. She noted with disappointment that continued economic and trade relations between Myanmar and the world.

In recent years, noted Mayet, when he addressed the Myanmar parliament, the Archbishop spoke out against the institutionalised discrimination there. “(He) said to them that if they wanted freedom then it would have to be for all the citizens of Burma, together. They can’t put in one law, you know, for the rest of Burmese citizens – there are about 135 minority groups, and not accept the Rohingya as a minority group, and not offer them any of their rights.”

Asean, whose meeting on Friday will focus on the symptom rather than the root cause, would do well to heed the Archbishop’s advice. President Thein Sein, a military man, and his Napydaw’s apartheid regime should be isolated until the status quo is defeated. Washington and London, among all other governments, cannot afford to stand back while Sein’s slow-motion genocide and apartheid “cleanse” the Rohingya. Ordinary people like you, Mayet urged, should keep pressure on their governments while also offering aid (money and goods) to the persecuted minority.

(Source / 27.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 27, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Politics anti Islam

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Israeli Air Force Carries Out Airstrikes On Besieged Gaza Strip

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The Israeli army said the shelling was in retaliation for at least one shell, allegedly fired from Gaza into open areas in the Lachish Regional Council of Settlements.

Mideast Israel Palestinians

Smoke, dust and derbies rise after an Israeli strike in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014

The Israeli Air Force carried out, on Wednesday at dawn, a series of air strikes targeting different areas of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Media sources said Israeli F-16 fighter jets fired missiles into several areas in Rafah And Khan Younis, in the southern parts of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli missiles caused property damage to a number of homes and buildings, and anxiety attacks among civilians, mainly the children.

The Army also fired three missiles into Palestinian agricultural lands, close to the destroyed Gaza International Airport, east of Rafah, causing damage.

Four Israeli missiles were also fired into a site, allegedly used by the resistance in Rafah, causing damage to several nearby homes and buildings; no injuries were reported.

The Israeli Air Force fired two more missiles into areas, south of Khan Younis, leading to property damage but no injuries, according to initial reports.

A number of homes were also impacted by Israeli missiles targeting a location near the an-Nada Residential Towers, northwest of Gaza City.

In addition, security sources in Gaza said the army fired four missiles into a site used by fighters of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, west of Rafah.

Minutes after the four missiles struck the site, the Air Force fired two additional missiles targeting the exact spot.

Two more locations, also run by the al-Quds Brigades, were targeted by Israeli missiles, west of Khan Younis; damage was reported, no injuries.

In addition, the Israeli Air Force fired three missiles into the Hitteen base, used by fighters of the Islamic Jihad, in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza.

The Israeli army said the shelling was in retaliation for at least one shell, allegedly fired from Gaza into open areas in the Lachish Regional Council of Settlements.

Although Hamas was not behind the alleged rockets, Israel held the movement responsible for the escalation, said it will retaliate, and added that Hamas is responsible for whatever happens in Gaza.

The Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza, said it is monitoring the Israeli military escalation, and is conducting the needed measures to counter further aggression by the army.

(Source / 27.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 27, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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The Iran Talks Game Changer: An Israeli-Hezbollah War?

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There are signs Israel may be at war again this summer. This time, not with Hamas in Gaza but with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Such a war may be the result not only of spillover from the Syrian war or ongoing Israeli-Hezbollah tensions. The deciding factor may be an Israeli calculation that war will shift momentum in the U.S. Congress decisively against the pending nuclear deal with Iran — a deal that critics say will increase Iran’s maneuverability in the region, including its support for Hezbollah.

In spite of AIPAC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Saudis and some of its GCC allies having done everything they could to kill the pending nuclear deal with Iran, they have failed. The negotiations are on track. Many opinion polls showthat a comfortable majority of Americans support President Barack Obama’s diplomacy with Iran.

If a Congressional vote on a resolution rejecting the nuclear deal were held today,President Obama probably would prevail — possibly without even having to use his veto to defeat the attempt by Republicans and pro-Netanyahu Democrats to scuttle the historic diplomatic agreement with Tehran. Opposition arguments — from claiming that the deal is a capitulation to Iran to the notion that it is unacceptable to make a deal with a regime like that in Tehran — have not sufficiently resonated with the public to kill the agreement. This has caused some disarray in the opposition camp.

Indeed, if you are in that camp right now, it is reasonable to expect that the search is not for a new argument but for a game changing development: an event so powerful it shifts the momentum in Congress back to AIPAC, Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia and the other opponents of a nuclear deal.

Arguably, a military confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah this summer could fit that bill. The argument that the deal — and the more than $50bn that would be returned to Tehran — would strengthen Iran in the region and empower its allies would become much more potent if Israel were in an active conflict with Lebanon with Hezbollah rockets hitting Israeli cities, as was the case in 2006. Such a scenario can become the much desired game-changer that may cause many pro-Netanyahu Democrats to break with Obama.

All of this could be dismissed as speculative except for the fact that a case for a war with Hezbollah has been made in Israel for the past few months. On May 12 the New York Times reported that Israeli is preparing for “what it sees as an almost inevitable next battle with Hezbollah.” An Israeli official added in comments to the Times: “We will hit Hezbollah hard.”

The Israelis argue that Hezbollah is engaged in a massive military buildup, and that Israel is publicizing Hezbollah’s armament “to put the problem on the international agenda in case there is another conflict.” According to the Israeli military, Hezbollah now has the capacity to hurl 1200 rockets a day at Israel.

Israel has been pushing this angle for several months. In February, 28 US lawmakers came to Israel’s aid and wrote the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon,demanding that the UN stop Hezbollah from rearming. The letter accused the UN of failing to enforce resolutions, including one that requires the “disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.”

“The violence in the area caused by Hezbollah is horrific, and it results from the failure of the United Nations to enforce Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701,” the lawmakers wrote.

The case for preventive military action against Hezbollah was recently made by Ambassador Dore Gold, who is considered close to Netanyahu and was just appointed director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Accusing the UN of having failed to stop Hezbollah, Gold argues that “Either the IDF will have to destroy the weapons now being stored in southern Lebanon, or let Hezbollah fire thousands of rockets into Israel. What would you do?

Hezbollah already seems overextended due to its involvement in the Syria conflict, and it could ill afford a war with Israel at this time. Nonetheless, if Israel attacks Lebanon, it is difficult to imagine Hezbollah not responding, despite its difficulties in Syria and despite the impact it may have on the ongoing Iran talks.

General Yahya Rahim Safavi, military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned on May 21 that any Israeli attack would unleash a firestorm of missiles on its cities. “Iran, with the help of Hezbollah and its friends, is capable of destroying Tel Aviv and Haifa in case of military aggression on the part of the Zionists,” he said.

Clearly, if Israel and Hezbollah do go to war, killing the Iran agreement would not be the only motivation. But the prospect that such a war would greatly support the rhetoric of those in the United States arguing against the deal with Iran would certainly be a major consideration in the minds of Israeli policymakers. The temptation of being able to kill the Iran agreement may become the deciding factor in Israel’s decision-making.

If so, it wouldn’t be the first time that an Israeli confrontation with Hezbollah would be motivated by a belief (or desire) that war with Iran was looming. In the midst of the Israeli-Lebanese war in 2006, Israel’s then-Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said Lebanon was all about Iran. “War with Iran is inevitable. Lebanon is just a prelude to the greater war with Iran,” he commented.

Sneh was wrong. War with Iran neither was nor is inevitable. But a war with Hezbollah this summer can help Israel make sure that peace with Iran is beyond Obama’s reach.

(Source / 27.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 27, 2015 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Politics

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Surviving in Gaza’s caravan houses

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The family El Najjar was expelled during the Nakba from the Palestinian village of Salamah. This village was the subject of a total ethnic cleansing by the Zionist colonizers.

Nowadays just ten houses remain from the almost 2000 that formed the village. In its place today we can find the Tel Aviv suburb known as Kfar Shalem.

Caravan homes in Khuza’a

Caravan homes in Khuza’a

Refugees since 1948, many of them established themselves in Khuza’a, a peasant village in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. For the last eight months a great part of the family has been living in caravans, as more than 45 homes belonging to the El Najjar family were bombed during the 2014 massacre.

In one of those, ISM members met Ashraf El Najjar, member of the family who also lost his home during the umpteenth Zionist massacre.
Ashraf is 41 years old and has seen how the Zionist entity bombed his home two times already. The first one was in 2009, during the massacre known as “Operation Cast Lead”, in which Israel also murdered one of his brothers. After that it took him several years to rebuild his home. However, once rebuilt, he could enjoy it just for 18 months, as in 2014 the Israeli occupation once again reduced it to a pile of rubble. This time they also murdered his father, two brothers, two sisters and his cousin.

The result of Israeli bombings

The result of Israeli bombings

With a smile on his face, despite his terrible circumstances, he shows ISM the caravans were most of his relatives survive nowadays. “We don’t have any hope regarding the reconstruction. No one has been here to check about our situation or needs”.

The first caravan he shows ISM is the one of Youssef El Najjar, who is now in the Hospital accompanied by his wife.
In the caravan we find Youssef’s daughter Azhar, 18 years old, taking care of the rest of the family. She is responsible of her grandmother, who lies disabled in the only bed in the caravan, and her younger siblings. The youngest, four years old, can only move around by crawling on the ground, as a birth defect prevents him from walking.
Azhar explains ISM how the life is in the caravans, “In winter we suffered a lot from the cold and the caravan flooded every time it rained. One time the water reached more than one meter’s height. Another time when the water rose the floods dragged all the sewage into the caravan. Now, in summer, the heat is unbearable, as an oven. I feel like I’m living in a grave”.


The next caravan we visited is the one of Asisa El Najjar, 65 years old. She lives there along with eight more people, five of whom are children. Her husband is in the hospital as well, therefore, he cannot work.
Three of the five children belong to Wasfi El Najjar, son of Asisa who was killed by the Zionist army during the last massacre, being just 26 years old. The older one is four years old and the youngest, who is only five months old, never met his father.
Asisa tells ISM how she and her husband suffer from asthma since they live in the caravan. She also shows us how the sewage of the bathroom goes to the only room of the caravan.

A few meters from there we find Mohamed and Suher El Najjar with their five children. Mohamed is unemployed, and the five children suffer from respiratory problems since they live in the caravan.

Hasma El Najjar, 75 years old, lives alone in a caravan that like all the other has the wooden floor completely rotten by the last winter rains. Which has caused her to fall several times already.

Finally ISM visits the caravan of Khadia EL Najjar, 53 years old, who lives with her husband and her grown children. One of the daughters has cancer and due to the criminal blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt she can’t receive the treatment needed.

Ironically, these caravans have been provided by the UK government. The same country that colonized Palestine for 26 years and later on handed it over to the Zionists, opening the doors to 67 years of land theft, occupation and genocide.

(Source / 27.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 27, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Palmyra pays the price for Assad’s miscalculation about ISIL

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Palmyra pays the price for Assad’s miscalculation about ISIL

An aerial view taken on January 13, 2009 shows a part of the ancient city of Palmyra. ISIL militants seized Palmyra on May 21, 2015 amid fears the extremists would destroy the ancient city

As ISIL militants moved into the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria’s head of antiquities pleaded last week for the US-led coalition to come to its aid and strike the terrorists battling government forces.

It was a desperate request that highlighted the corner into which the Syrian regime has backed itself.

The government headed by President Bashar Al Assad has until now refused to entertain the possibility of joining the US-led coalition against ISIL, without conditions demanding a political compromise in its civil war.

Now, it is the Assad regime that is calling for international assistance to save one of the world’s richest archaeological sites. This turnaround has shot through the facade of confidence repeatedly presented by Mr Al Assad and other officials this year, and exposed the weakness of his hardline approach to the Syrian conflict.

The Syrian army found itself alone to confront ISIL in Palmyra, a fate that could have been avoided had its government engaged in diplomatic overtures and pursued a genuine political process to resolve its conflict.

Since the beginning of the US-led airstrikes against ISIL last September, the Syrian regime has rebuffed and ignored a number of opportunities to explore a diplomatic solution to the crisis. In September 2014, rumours emerged that Mr Al Assad had turned down a quiet suggestion from its main ally Iran to explore a unity government with the Muslim Brotherhood.

If true, a peace process including the Brotherhood would have won the crucial backing of Turkey, which has logistically facilitated the Islamist rebellion against the regime via its long border over the past four years.

Damascus also reportedly did not show much enthusiasm for Russia’s attempts — initially backed by the US — to relaunch a peace process. Moscow hosted talks in April, which received no fanfare, and were boycotted by most of the opposition.

Not only has the Assad regime rebuffed diplomacy, it has not produced its own political plan to end the Syrian civil war, or shown any willingness to compromise, despite the high costs: more than 220,000 deaths, a large proportion of which are army soldiers; 9 million displaced; a ravaged infrastructure and economy; and significant damage to archaeological sites.

Instead, the Syrian regime has bunkered down, and stubbornly persisted on its war-only path to end the conflict. Its plan of action was to consolidate its strength in what it terms the core of Syria — the key cities in the centre, Damascus, and the coast.

It was of the belief that it could fend off rebel attacks, while gaining full control of the Damascus suburbs and the Qalamoun mountains bordering Lebanon, and possibly strangling east Aleppo into surrender.

In the meantime, it hoped that blowback from the Syrian war on the West — terrorist attacks and waves of migration across the Mediterranean — would pressure Western governments to impose a solution to the Syrian crisis in Mr Al Assad’s favour.

By early 2015, Mr Al Assad seemed to have the clear advantage. The rebels in Syria’s north were in disarray, ISIL was defeated in Kobani and losing towns in Iraq, and the regime was making gains against rebel strongholds in both Aleppo and the suburbs of Damascus.

But the Syrian government was over confident in its calculations, and momentum has sharply turned in favour of the rebels.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have momentarily put their differences aside and helped Jabhat Al Nusra, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, capture Idlib and Jisr Al Shughour in Syria’s north-west.

With the Syrian army on the backfoot following its losses in the north, ISIL launched its own assault to take Palmyra.

Although the gasfields and electricity supply it gained in the offensive are major prizes for ISIL, what is more important is the strategic significance of cutting off a key regime supply route to its forces in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.

ISIL has tried repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, to take the entire city, which is split between ISIL and regime control. Winning Deir Ezzor will give ISIL total control of Syria’s east.

Palmyra has paid the price for Mr Al Assad underestimating the ISIL threat and his refusal to engage in diplomacy.

ISIL cannot be defeated until the Syrian civil war is resolved. The terrorist group returned as a major force with the breakdown of the Syrian state, and it is only with its repair can this menace be effectively dealt with.

But Mr Al Assad’s hopes that the world will come to his feet and seek his contribution without demanding any compromise are misplaced.

The Syrian government must pursue diplomacy and a genuine political process to resolve the conflict. Until then, ISIL will keep pillaging towns and cities, destroying priceless historical artefacts, and the Syrian and Iraqi peoples will continue to suffer.

(Source / 27.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 27, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Revolution Syria

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Settlers seize 10 dunums in southern Nablus

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NABLUS, (PIC)– Jewish settlers seized and planted on Wednesday a land plot belonging to a Palestinian man from Howarah town in southern Nablus.

The settlement official in the northern West Bank Ghassan Daghlas told the PIC reporter that a group of extremist Jewish settlers from Yitzhar settlement, which is constructed on Palestinians’ lands, planted ten dunums to the west of Howarah town with grapes.

Daghlas pointed out that the land belongs to a Palestinian citizen called Yasser Ali who was shocked by the settlers planting his land.

“The Jewish settlers also barred the Palestinians from approaching the land after they had seized and planted it,” Daghlas said.
(Source / 27.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 27, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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‘Netanyahu to US: Give 50% more money, we’ll shut up’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the United States to provide Tel Aviv 50 percent more money for weapons and “we’ll shut up” on Iran nuclear talks, an author and investigative journalist in Philadelphia says.

Dave Lindorff made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on a report which says Israel has asked Washington to increase its annual military aid by 50 percent.

“The idea that Israel would be asking for more money, it’s basically an extortion of the politicians in Washington in order to get Israeli support for the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran over a nuclear deal,” said Lindorff.

Iran and the P5+1 –  the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – are negotiating to work out a comprehensive agreement aimed at ending the longstanding dispute over the Islamic Republic’s civilian nuclear work.

The two sides reached a landmark framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program on April 2 in the Swiss city of Lausanne. Now they are set to start drafting a final accord, which is expected to come until the end of June.

On March 3, Netanyahu, on the Republican invitation, addressed a joint session of the US Congress, where he ranted for nearly 40 minutes against the Iran nuclear talks, warning Washington that it was negotiating a “bad deal” with the Islamic Republic.

“You have Israel opposing that even to the point of the Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] coming to the US and speaking at Congress and attacking the plan, which is a kind of appalling,” Lindorff stated.

“Now basically Netanyahu is saying ‘alright, give us 50 percent more money for weapons and we’ll shut up,” he added.

“It’s really kind of insulting. “So if the US goes along with this, I think there’s gonna be a lot of outrage in the US,” noted the author of The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office.

“It’s certainly outraged me. All kinds of social programs are being cut in the US, and the idea that we’d be giving an extra $1 1/2 billion to a country [sic] that is sticking its thumb in our eye is kind of beyond belief,” he concluded.

Citing an Israeli security source, Defense News reported that Israel has asked the Obama administration to increase its annual military assistance by 50 percent to an average of $4.5 billion a year over the 2018-2028 period.

Under the existing agreement that was signed in 2007 and expires in 2017, annual military assistance to Israel grew to about $3 billion a year.

US President Barack Obama agreed in principle with Netanyahu to increase the follow-on aid package to between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion, the Defense News report said.

(Source / 27.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 27, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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