Today in history marks the start of the British colonisation of Palestine, which lasted for 30 years. Palestine was then shamefully handed over to the Zionist movement by the british government.
British colonisation was illegitimate and so is Israel’s now! Those who did not have the right over the land (British) gave the land to those who did not deserve it (Zionists).

Can we finally admit the Sunni-Shiite conflict has nothing to do with Islam?

This week the German magazine Der Spiegel published documents that struck yet another blow to the thesis that claims ISIS is Islamic. The documents were uncovered from a house in Syria that had been occupied by a former Iraqi intelligence official.

In great detail, the documents show the blueprint for the creation of ISIS. Far from being a hyper-religious movement that sprung up spontaneously, the swathe of papers confirm ISIS is, as many suspected, a Frankenstein-esque creation of former Baathists and secular Saddamists – a strategy for restoring Sunni Baathist political power that the US invasion of Iraq had taken away.

“There is a simple reason why there is no mention in [Abu] Bakr’s writings of prophecies relating to the establishment of an Islamic State allegedly ordained by God: He believed that fanatical religious convictions alone were not enough to achieve victory. But he did believe that the faith of others could be exploited,” writes Der Spiegel’s Christoph Reuter.

“In 2010, Bakr and a small group of former Iraqi intelligence officers made Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir and later “caliph,” the official leader of the Islamic State. They reasoned that Baghdadi, an educated cleric, would give the group a religious face.” Iraqi journalist Hisham al-Hashimi observes that al-Baghdadi was “a nationalist, not an Islamist.”

Can we finally acknowledge the conflict in the Middle East has almost nothing to do with Islam?

Those who claim the Sunnis and Shiites are locked in a religious war are unable to explain how it was that the rival sects coexisted peacefully for centuries under Ottoman rule. In other words, the Sunni v Shiite conflict is a modern phenomenon that “coincidently” emerged only after each of the following events took place:

  1. The West’s creation of artificial colonial states after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1919.
  2. Discovery of oil in the 1920s.
  3. Creation of Israel in 1948.
  4. The US-led coup that overthrew a democratically elected president in Iran in 1953.

Much has been written about the first three points, but it’s the chain of events the fourth put in motion that are still reverberating today.

Following the coup and the reinstatement of a US-friendly dictator, Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, American defence and civilian (oil) contractors moved into Iran during the 1950s to 1970s. America, its benefactors, and the Shah plundered Iran’s oil wealth - while poverty and unemployment skyrocketed.

Saudi Arabia felt especially threatened by America’s “special relationship” with the Shah, and worried the US would, intentionally or unintentionally, help spread Iranian influence throughout the region.

While Saudi Arabia had long ago subscribed to a reductionist form of Islam, which had been developed in the 18th century by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Wahhabism advocated a pro-Sunni agenda. Thus the Saudi monarchy saw Wahhabism as the ideal political tool to counter Iranian influence in the region.

When the US supported Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Saudi-led OPEC seized an excuse to impose an oil embargo on the West, which sent the price of oil skyrocketing – and thus gave the kingdom all the petrodollars it needed to impose anti-Shiite Wahhabism on the entire Muslim world.

Throughout the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, Saudi-style mosques were erected, and Islamic schools that taught a Wahhabi curriculum were established and funded courtesy of KSA. “In return for their munificence, Saudis demanded religious conformity. The Wahhabist rejection of all other forms of Islam as well as other faith traditions would reach as deeply into Bradford, England, and Buffalo, New York, as into Pakistan, Jordan, and Syria,” notes Karen Armstrong, a prolific religious author and commentator. “The West played an unwitting role in the surge of intolerance, since the United States welcomed the Saudi’s opposition to Iran, and the kingdom depended on the US military for its very survival.”

The Saudi’s strategy for countering Iran would receive a further boost when the Islamic Revolution ousted the Shah and the Americans in 1979 – thus making Saudi Arabia the United States’ new “chief ally” in the Middle East.

In 1980, Iraq, with the backing of the US and Saudi Arabia, invaded Iran. Saddam viewed a weakened non-US backed Iran as an opportunity to establish Iraq as the hegemon in the Middle East. It’s significant to note here that Shiite Iraqis made up a large percentage of the Iraqi army. “We did not think about the Shia or Sunni percentage issue then,” said Ra’ad al-Hamdami, a former general of the Iraqi Republican Guard. “The [Baathist] Iraqi state was not built on divisions, but on respect, and on technocrats.”

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, the Reagan administration effectively funded Wahhabism to the tune of $2 billion. “USAID invested millions of dollars to supply schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings,” writes Nafeez Ahmed. “Theology justifying violent jihad was interspersed with drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines. The textbooks even extolled heavenly rewards if children were to pluck out the eyes of the Soviet enemy and cut off his legs.”

When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, Arab Afghani fighters, having just defeated a super power, returned to their respective homes - predominantly in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Gulf states - with the hope of overthrowing oppressive dictatorships and occupying powers throughout the Middle East. With a decade of fighting experience in Afghanistan, and in Chechnya under its belt, this anti-Shiite, anti-Western, pro-Sunni ideology had become militant.

But Muslims throughout the Sunni Arab states found these returning Arab Afghani fighters far too extreme. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Bin Laden offered the Saudi monarchs the services of his Afghanistan veterans to provide security for KSA’s oil fields. The monarchs rejected him, and instead chose the US military to be the guardians of their black gold. In Egypt, al-Zawahiri was implicated in a plot to assassinate Hosni Mubarak. He fled to Afghanistan to rejoin with Bin Laden in 1996.

That same year Bin Laden issued his “Declaration of War” on the United States and Israel. In his video statement Bin Laden declared the US-Israel alliance had inflicted “aggression, iniquity and injustice” against Muslims. His aims were entirely political: to remove US military bases from Saudi Arabia, which he equated with the Israeli occupation of Palestine; to end political sanctions against Iraq, which he claimed had caused a million deaths, and to oust US-backed dictatorships and regimes in the Middle East.

Given more than a decade had passed since the Arab Afghani defeat of the Soviet Union, Bin Laden hoped a “spectacular attack” on America would remind Muslims living under oppressive regimes and occupiers that victory and liberty was possible.

Many Western commentators mistook the September 11 attacks to be an expression of extreme religious belief rather than calculated political motive. Richard Dawkins, for instance, argued that “only religious faith is a strong enough force to motivate such utter madness in otherwise sane and decent people”. To this Armstrong replied: “This dangerous oversimplification springs from a misunderstanding of both religion and terrorism. It is, of course, a familiar enough expression of the secularist bias of modernity, which has cast ‘religion’ as a violent, unreasonable force that must be excluded from the politics of civilised nations.”

An overwhelming majority of the Muslim world rejected the attacks. A poll taken shortly after 9/11 showed that 93 percent of Muslims believe attacks on civilians to be “never justifiable,”and, of the 7 percent who said attacking civilians could be justified, nearly all concurred that justification could only be made in a political sense, not religious.

The September 11 attacks had failed to galvanize the Muslim world the way Bin Laden had hoped. Moreover, the Sunni versus Shiite conflict remained unborn. The sectarian civil wars were unleashed in Iraq and Syria only after the US had upended the political status quo by toppling the Sunni Baathist regime in Iraq. “When the Americans formed the Governing Council [in July 2003] with 13 Shiite and only a few Sunnis, people began to say, ‘The Americans mean to give the country to the Shia,’ and then they began to fight, and the tribes began to let al-Qaeda in,” writes Joel Rayburn in Iraq After America: Strongmen, Sectarians, and Resistance.

AQI, however, was not al-Qaeda proper. While Bin Laden did not overtly advocate anti-Shiite violence, his general in Iraq, al-Zarqawi, did.

The arrival of foreign jihadis, led by al-Zarqawi, set off not only an insurgency against the Americans, but also a sectarian civil war between the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority. When Shiite militias, with the backing of the Iranian regime, began exacting revenge and committing atrocities against Sunni majority towns and villages in late 2003, AQI’s proposal to Iraq’s Sunni tribes was simple to understand: “Our violence or theirs?” Military historian Ahmed Hashim notes that most of the Sunni tribes joined AQI on the grounds that “they were interested in liberating Iraq and not in creating an Islamic state.”

This now brings us full circle to the recently uncovered ISIS blueprint.

“The war in Iraq is about politics, the Sunni and Shiite divide is just cover for this,” says Muneer Hashim al-Obaidi, a professor of law at the Iraqiya University in Baghdad. “Iran is using Iraq’s Shiites to achieve the political goal of increasing their power in the region. IS is using the cover of protecting Sunnis to achieve their political goals of establishing control over lands in Iraq and Syria. Iraq is part of a regional war - it could even be described as a world war. We can see the West - by which I mean the US and Europe - fighting against Russia and China. The Russians and Chinese are supporting Iran while the Americans and Europeans back Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.”

The war in the Middle East is about politics. The war against the West is about politics.

So I ask again, can we finally acknowledge the conflict in the Middle East has almost nothing to do with Islam?


Israel “directly targeted” children in drone strikes on Gaza, says rights group

Israel deliberately targeted children in Gaza last summer, according to a new report by Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-Palestine).

Of the 2,220 Palestinians killed during Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign, at least 1,492 were civilians, including at least 547 children.

A total of 535 of those children were killed as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Moreover, 68 percent of children Israel killed in Gaza were under the age of twelve, according to the report.

An additional 3,374 children were injured, including over 1,000 who have been left with lifelong disabilities, many of which require medical care that is inaccessible in Gaza due to a crushing Israeli siege that has yet to be lifted. Another 373,000 children are suffering from deep trauma and require desperately needed psychosocial support that is severely lacking in the Gaza Strip.

Nowhere was safe for children

As a matter of policy, Israel deliberately and indiscriminately targeted the very spaces where children are supposed to feel most secure. Such acts violate international law and amount to war crimes, according to the report.

Children were crushed to death while they sheltered in their homes, dismembered as they slept in their beds and torn to pieces as they played in their yards. At least eighteen children were killed by Israeli attacks targeting schools. For the children of Gaza, nowhere was safe from Israeli violence.

Equally as haunting as where children were killed is the assortment of weapons Israel deployed against them.

At least 225 children were killed in airstrikes “while they were in their own homes or seeking shelter, often as they sat down to eat with their families, played, or slept,” the report states.

An investigation by the Associated Press yielded similar data, finding that 844 Palestinians, over half of the total of civilians killed in Gaza last summer, were killed by Israeli airstrikes on civilian homes, “including nineteen babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of one and five.”

Israel tried to justify the targeting of Gaza’s civilian population by arguing, without evidence, that Palestinian resistance fighters were using civilians as human shields, giving Israel no choice but to fire at children. DCI-Palestine strongly disputes this claim, arguing:

The rhetoric voiced by Israeli officials regarding “human shields” during the military offensive amounted to nothing more than generalizations that fall short of the precise calculation required by international humanitarian law when determining whether something is actually a military object. Even if evidence existed that Hamas or other Palestinian armed groups did use civilians as human shields, this does not relieve Israel from its obligations under international law nor does it justify an attack on civilians or civilian structures.

In fact, it is Israel which has a long and documented history of using Palestinian children as human shields, and last summer’s attack was no exception, as detailed by the DCI-Palestine report.

DCI-Palestine attributes Israel’s indiscriminate and deliberate attacks on civilian homes and schools in Gaza to the Dahiya doctrine. Named after the Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut that Israel purposely devastated in its 2006 assault on Lebanon, the Dahiya doctrine refers to the Israeli army’s stated policy of deploying overwhelming force against civilian infrastructure.

Israel’s baseless “human shields” accusation against Palestinians is an attempt to mask a military policy that systematically violates international law.

“Directly targeted” by drones

Another 164 children were “directly targeted and unlawfully killed” in Israeli drone strikes on their homes and in the street as they attempted to flee to safety, according to DCI-Palestine.

DCI-Palestine is particularly alarmed by the high number of children targeted in drone attacks because Israeli drones deliver well-defined images of the people below in real time. Furthermore, Israeli officials often boast that drone strikes are superior to other methods of warfare due to their surgical precision, says DCI-Palestine, suggesting that Israel deliberately targeted children in drone attacks.

One of the many cases highlighted in the DCI-Palestine report is the death of nine-year-old Rabi Qasem Rabi Abu Ras, who was dismembered by an Israeli drone missile that targeted him as he ran to an ambulance after an Israeli shell landed near him and his mother.

“His arms and legs were cut off. The upper part of his body was separated from his lower body, which was turned into small pieces. I screamed,” recounted his mother, Aisha Abu Ras, in an interview with DCI-Palestine. “I shouted to the ambulance. I rushed to the paramedics and told them about it, but they said they could not approach the location without prior coordination with the Israeli army.”

Aisha and Rabi were traveling back to a UN shelter after collecting extra belongings from the home they fled in Um Nasr, a town in northern Gaza near the boundary with Israel.

An Israeli drone fired the missile that tore through the home of Issam Jouda on 24 August, killing his wife, Rawiya, and four of their five children as they played together in the family’s yard in Gaza’s Tal al-Zaatar neighborhood.

The Joudas were one of an estimated 140 families partially or completely annihilated by Israel last summer.

Another was the El-Farra family, which lost nine members on 1 August, including five children between the ages of four and fifteen, in a drone strike that targeted them as they ran into the street fleeing two prior drone attacks that struck their home in the middle of the night without warning, according to DCI-Palestine.

Over the last decade, Israel’s use of robotic warfare against Palestinians has escalated dramatically, with each new military assault on Gaza relying more heavily on drones than the last. Thirty-seven percent, or 840 people, were killed in drone attacks alone during last summer’s attack.

As the world’s largest exporter of drones, Israel is profiting immensely from the technology used to kill children.

“A man-made humanitarian crisis”

The bombs have stopped falling for now but children continue to suffer due Israel’s eight-year-long siege, imposed in partnership with Egypt.

The circumstances in Gaza are so desperate that 46 international international aid agencies have called for sanctions on Israel over its blockade, which DCI-Palestine has labeled “a man-made humanitarian crisis.”

Since reducing much of the Gaza Strip to rubble, Israel has refused to allow the entry of desperately needed reconstruction material into Gaza, leaving 108,000 people, the majority of them children, homeless.

Consequently, four infants whose homes were destroyed by Israel last year have died of hypothermia due to lack of proper shelter. The youngest was just one month old, according to the UN.

Other children have died as a result of unexploded Israeli ordnance littered across the Gaza Strip. In October last, four-year-old Muhammad Sami Abu Jarad was killed by an unexploded Israeli hand grenade left behind by Israeli soldiers who occupied his house in Beit Hanoun during the ground invasion, according to DCI-Palestine.

Waging war on a ghetto

The ferocity of Israel’s violence against Palestinian children may have reached new heights in 2014, but DCI-Palestine notes that the brutality is part of an ongoing systematic campaign.

“Since 2000, a generation of children living in the [occupied West Bank and Gaza] have been shot at, shelled and bombed,” says the report. “During this time, Israeli forces and settlers have killed more than 1,950 Palestinian children, the vast majority of whom were living in the Gaza Strip,” it adds.

Indeed, since 2006, Gaza has been subjected to six devastating Israeli military assaults that have killed scores of children.

Gaza is home to 1.8 million Palestinians, eighty percent of whom are refugees. Their families were forcibly expelled from present-day Israel and barred from returning because they are not Jewish.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of Gaza’s inhabitants are under the age of fourteen. Israel’s ongoing war against Gaza is essentially a war on a refugee ghetto.

Killing children with impunity

“While Israeli authorities have selectively opened their own investigations into several incidents occurring during the latest military offensive, previous experience has shown that Israeli authorities persistently fail to investigate alleged violations of its armed forces in accordance with international standards,” warns DCI-Palestine.

Indeed, the Israeli army recently absolved itself of wrongdoing for its behavior in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on 1 August, a day referred to by Palestinians as Black Friday.

On that day Israeli forces executed the Hannibal Directive, an Israeli military protocol that calls for massive firepower to prevent a captured Israeli soldier from being taken alive, even if it means killing the soldier and hundreds of civilians in the process.

To prevent the capture alive of a soldier wrongly believed taken by Palestinian fighters, Israeli forces carpet-bombed Rafah, killing 190 Palestinians in under 48 hours, including at least 49 children on 1 August alone, according to DCI-Palestine.

With the morgues full to capacity, medical workers were forced to store corpses in vegetable refrigerators and ice cream coolers to accommodate the high volume of dead bodies.

The Israeli army’s internal investigation ruled this carnage to be “proportionate.”

The DCI-Palestine report ends by calling for international action to lift the siege on Gaza and hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

“The continued failure of the international community to demand justice and accountability has provided tacit approval of the persistent denial of Palestinian rights,” says DCI-Palestine. “Without an end to the current regime of collective punishment, targeted assassinations, and regular military offensives, the situation for Gaza’s children is all but guaranteed to further deteriorate.”