Mother Agnes Mariam of Homs gave an extended interview on Easter Sunday with www.hguh.co.uk. , a British Catholic internet station. The interview may be downloaded here and an earlier extended post may be viewed here.
Cyprus Church Leader tells Troika Stooges to Resign:
On Sunday, Chrysostomos called on both Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades and Finance Minister Michalis Sarris to leave their posts.
“If I was satisfied, I would not have called on them the other day to resign and leave, because they have the same views as the troika…. We put up no resistance (to the terms imposed by the troika namely the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) and I think this is unacceptable, ” Chrysostomos said.
He went on to say, “If we had spent within our means, we would not have the results we see today…. This misfortune that has occurred to our country seems like an economic problem but it isn’t — at its core you will find sin.”
Chrysostomos’ remarks came after Nicosia and the EU reached a stringent bailout deal which included a tax of up to 40 percent on deposits of over 100,000 euros in Cyprus two biggest banks, a move which undermines the nation’s status as an offshore banking center.
Under the deal agreed in Brussels on March 25, Cyprus must raise 5.8 billion euros (USD 7.4 billion) to qualify for the full loan from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and avoid bankruptcy.
Thousands of Cypriots have been demonstrating in the capital to denounce their government, the EU and the IMF for their austerity plan.
Syrian Salafists Kill Christian and Shia Clerics:
Gran Mufti Ahmad Badr Addine Hassoun, whose son was also killed by terrorists several months ago, and Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi also took part in the funeral.
The attack was not only an atrocious crime but also a blasphemous act. It took place when Shaykh al-Bouti was giving a religious speech to a group of Islam students, including his grandson. Al-Bouti, 84, was a retired dean and a professor at the College of Islamic Law at Damascus University and a worldwide reputed scholar.
Following the deadly incident, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad condemned the act of violence, pledging that the crime would not pass without punishment. “A promise from the Syrian people — and I am one of them — that your blood, your grandson and the martyrs of today and all the homeland will not go in vain, because we will stay following your thinking to eliminate their darkness,” he said.
Shaykh Al-Bouti was known for his anti-terrorism stances and his criticism of foreign-backed militant groups, whom he described as “mercenaries.” The previous week to his assassination, the late scholar said during his lecture, “We are invaded in every inch of our land, in our bread, in our lives, women, children sanctities and honor. We are today in front of a legitimate duty…which is the need for mobilization to protect the values, the homeland and the holy sites, and there is no difference, in this case, between the army and the rest of this nation,” he stated.
One week after Al-Bouti’s murder, another Sunni cleric, Shaykh Hassan Saif al-Deen, 80, was brutally beheaded in northern city of Aleppo by foreign-backed militants, who reportedly decapitated him before dragging his lifeless body on the streets. They also planted his head on the minaret of the mosque where he used to preach. Shaykh Saif al Deen also had anti-militant views and spoke out against the ongoing war against the Syrian government.
In a Facebook page of militants, he was called “a collaborator of the chique in power in Syria” and threatened, “We will come to you; you will not escape.”
Shaykh Hassan Saif al-Deen was in fact the last of a list of murdered religious scholars, which includes Sunni and Shia Muslim clerics as well as Christian priests. All these murders have been carried out by bloodthirsty terrorists, who are described as “democrats” by Western governments and media.
The first of these victims was father Basilius Nassar, the priest of the Mar Elias Chapel in the town of Kfar-Baham, near the city of Hama. He was shot on January 25, 2012 by a militiaman sniper in the Citadel area while he was picking a casualty.
The second was a Sunni cleric, Shaykh Mohammad Ahmad Aof Sadek, who preached in the mosque Anas Ben Malek in Damascus. He was one of the first scholars who warned against violence in Syria. He also spoke out against the Takfiri groups saying that they had no place among the Muslims. He was shot on February 25, 2012.
Third on the list was Shaykh Sayyed Nasser, an Alawite cleric and the imam of the Alawite hawze (religious school) Zaynabiyya in Damascus. He died by a gunshot in the face near the Shrine of Sayeda Zaynab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The fourth was a Syrian Shiite cleric, Shaykh Abbas Lahham, killed in May outside the mosque of Rouqayya (PBUH) (daughter of Imam Hussein), where he preached. He was followed by Shaykh Abdel-Koddous Jabbarah, another Shiite scholar, the following month. The latter was shot at the market, near the Shrine of Sayyeda Zaynab.
In July 2012, at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, it was Shaykh Abdel-Latif Ash-Shami who was shot and killed in an atrocious manner: during the prayers in a mosque full of faithful by a rifle shot in the eye. A month later, the imam of the mosque al-Nawawi in Damascus, Shaykh Hassan Bartaoui, was murdered as well.
In October 2012, some people found the mutilated corpse of a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, father Fadi Hadadat, at Katana, in the province of Damascus. He had been kidnapped by militiamen who demanded in exchange for his release a ransom of 15 million Syrian pounds. Patriarch Abdallah Saleh of Antioch and Orient of the Greek Orthodox Church confirmed that he had been murdered by terrorists. In the last day of 2012, another Sunni Imam, Shaykh Abdullah Saleh, was assassinated in Raqa.
In February 2012, Shaykh Abdel-Latif al-Jamili, a cleric of the Achrafiyye Mosque, was killed by shrapnel launched by militiamen in the courtyard of his mosque. In March, it was Sheikh Abed Saab, who led the prayers in the mosque al-Mohammadi, located in the district of Mazze in Damascus, who was killed by an explosive device placed under his car.
It is worth pointing out that all these crimes were actually encouraged by some extremist Wahhabi scholars from Saudi Arabia. One of them, Shaykh Abu Basir al-Tartousi, said he did not regret the death of Skahykh al-Bouti. “He was a liar, who all his life supported the rulers,” UmmaNews quoted him as saying. He hypocritically added that he regretted that “other Muslims had been wounded or killed.”
The Imam of Masjid from the mosque al-Haram in Mecca, Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, openly celebrated the assassination, “He (al-Bouti) was one of the biggest imams of delusion. He was a Mujahid on Satan’s path. And this (the murder of al-Bouti) is a great joy for Muslims,” he wrote on its Facebook site.
Reign of terror
In reality, all the killed clerics were openly hostile to the rebellion or at least did not support it. Their assassinations were intended to terrorize the Syrian population who refuses to support the armed groups. This point becomes clear when someone reads the statements by the terrorists themselves.
Shortly before the attack on the Faculty of Architecture of Damascus University, which killed 15 students, the leader of the Wahhabi group, Liwa al Islam, Haytham Al Maleh, published a statement on his page of Facebook, where he warned that “it is compulsory for the students from the University of Damascus to launch a campaign of civil disobedience. If they do not do so, their University will have the same fate as that of Aleppo.” It should be recalled that in the month of January, 82 students of the University of Aleppo were killed and 160 others were injured by rockets launched by militiamen.
Entire religious groups (Christians, Shiites, Alawites) have been declared as “enemies” by Takfiri Wahhabi terrorists in Syria. Some Shiites, for example, have had to flee their homes in order to save their lives. One of them, Jamal, told LA Times that “these people used to be our neighbors. Now they want to kidnap and kill us.”
Interfaith tensions, which were unknown before the conflict started, are now increasing in the villages along the border between northeastern Lebanon and Syria. People living in these areas speak of an ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by rebels who are trying to set up a Taliban-style state. Some Shiites, who have family ties to Lebanon, have become fighters in order to defend their villages from the terrorists´ attacks. Shells fired by armed groups often land in some of these villages.
Rebels in Syria have also burned and looted the religious sites of minorities, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said in January. HRW revealed that opposition fighters had destroyed a Shiite husseiniya – a religious site devoted to Imam Hussein (PBUH), a great martyr in the Muslim history. A video published online showed rebels hoisting assault rifles in the air and cheering as the site in the village of Zarzour, taken by rebels in December, burned in the background. In the video, one man announces the “destruction of the dens of the Shiites and Rafida,” a derogatory term used against Shiites by Wahhabi fanatics.
In the western Latakia province, Human Rights Watch quoted residents as saying that gunmen acting in the name of the opposition had broken into and stolen from Christian churches in two villages; Ghasaniyeh and Jdeideh (in the region of Lattakia). A resident in Jdeideh reported that gunmen had broken into the local church, stolen and fired shots inside.
Therefore, a reign of terror has been implemented in all the places that the Syrian and foreign armed groups control in Syria. Due to their incapacity to trigger a popular revolution against the government, these groups have resorted to massacres and murders. This explains why local residents flee their homes when their village or street fall under their control, or increasingly join the National Defense forces fighting the terrorists throughout the country.
While the West has attempted to portray the full-scale conflict beginning in Syria in 2011 as first, a “pro-democracy uprising,” to now a “sectarian conflict,” recent atrocities carried out by US-Saudi-Israeli proxies have shifted the assault to include Sunni Muslims unable or unwilling to participate in the destruction of the Syrian state.
Such attacks included a mortar bombardment of Damascus University, killing 15 and injuring dozens more, as well as the brutal slaying of two prominent Sunni Muslim clerics – the latest of which was beheaded, his body paraded through the streets of Aleppo, and his head hung from the mosque he preached in. While the West attempts to mitigate these events by labeling the victims as “pro-government,” the reality is that the forces fighting inside Syria are funded, armed, directed, and politically supported from abroad – and therefore do not represent any of the Syrian people’s interests, including those Syrians who do not support the government.
It is abundantly clear that the West’s goal is neither to institute “democracy,” nor even to take sides in a “sectarian conflict,” but rather carry out the complete and permanent destruction of Syria as a nation-state, sparing no one, not even Sunnis.
Such a proxy war exists challenging any conceivable interpretation of “international law.” The world is left with a moral imperative to not only denounce this insidious conflict brought upon the Syrian people, compounded and perpetuated entirely by external interests, but demands that concrete action is taken to ensure that this act of aggression is brought to an end.
The US, UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have admitted to colluding together, flooding Syria with thousands of tons of weapons via Jordan to Syria’s south, and NATO-member Turkey to Syria’s north. And in an otherwise inexplicable conundrum, while the likes of US Secretary of State John Kerry insist this torrent of weapons is being directed to “moderates,” neither the US nor its allies are able to explain why al-Qaeda terror front Jabhat al-Nusra has emerged as the most heavily armed, best equipped militant organization in the conflict.
AP reported specifically in their article, “Officials: Arms shipments rise to Syrian rebels,” that:
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on the sidelines of a Syrian opposition meeting in Italy last month that the weapons are ending up in the hands of secular groups. “I will tell you this: There is a very clear ability now in the Syrian opposition to make certain that what goes to the moderate, legitimate opposition is in fact getting to them, and the indication is that they are increasing their pressure as a result of that,” he said, without elaborating.
But even AP admits that:
Syrian opposition activists estimate there are 15-20 different brigades fighting in and around Damascus now, each with up to 150 fighters. Many of them have Islamic tendencies and bear black-and-white Islamic flags or al-Qaeda-style flags on their Facebook pages. There is also a presence of Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the strongest Islamic terrorist groups fighting alongside the rebels.
The US State Department’s own statement regarding the designation of al-Nusra as a listed al-Qaeda terror organization states:
Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. According to the US State Department, al-Nusra is carrying out hundreds of attacks with a wide array of weaponry, across the entire nation of Syria, indicating a massive front and implying an equally massive network of logistical support, including foreign sponsorship. What’s more is that the US State Department acknowledges al-Nusra’s presence even in cities close to Syria’s borders where the CIA is admittedly overseeing the distribution of weapons and cash.
The New York Times, in their June 2012 article, “CIA Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” reported that:
A small number of CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
And in New York Times‘ more recent March 2013 article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From CIA,” it is admitted that weapons are being funneled into Syria across both its borders with Turkey and Jordan:
With help from the CIA, Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
The article would also state:
Although rebel commanders and the data indicate that Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been shipping military materials via Turkey to the opposition since early and late 2012, respectively, a major hurdle was removed late last fall after the Turkish government agreed to allow the pace of air shipments to accelerate. Simultaneously, arms and equipment were being purchased by Saudi Arabia in Croatia and flown to Jordan on Jordanian cargo planes for rebels working in southern Syria and for retransfer to Turkey for rebels groups operating from there.
The US State Department acknowledges that the well armed, prominent terror front al-Nusra is operating in the very areas the CIA is feeding weapons and cash into.
Such a reality directly contradicts the US State Department’s official position, and no explanation is given as to how “moderates” can be provided with such extensive support, and still be eclipsed militarily and logistically by terror-front al-Nusra. That is, unless of course, the US, British, Saudi, and Qatari weapons aren’t simply just handing the weapons directly to terrorists, precisely as planned as early as 2007.
The Destruction of Syria Began in 2007, Not 2011
While the West has attempted to reclaim Syria as part of its sphere of influence for decades, concrete plans for the latest proxy war were laid at least as early as 2007. It was admitted in 2007 that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel conspired together to fund, arm, and direct sectarian extremists including militants “sympathetic” to al-Qaeda against the governments of Iran and Syria. In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” the conspiracy was described as follows:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shia, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shia resistance group that is backed by Iran. The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to al-Qaeda.
Hersh also cited US, Saudi, and Lebanese officials who indicated that, “in the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction,” and that, “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The report would also state:
Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.
Mention of the Muslim Brotherhood already receiving aid even in 2007 was also made:
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria-and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”
There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted extremist groups. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005. A former high-ranking CIA officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
The Wall Street Journal in 2007 would also implicate the so-called “National Salvation Front,” in an article. It appears then that the so-called “opposition” is a creation and perpetuation of the West and its ambitions, not the aspirations of the “Syrian people.”
It is clear that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel planned to use sectarian extremists against the nation of Syria starting at least as early as 2007, and it is clear that now these sectarian extremists are carrying out the destruction of Syria with a massive torrent of weapons and cash provided by the US and its regional allies, just as was described by Hersh’s report.
A Moral Imperative to Save Syria
Syria is under attack by an insidious, premeditated foreign assault, intentionally using terrorist proxies in direct and complete violation of any conceivable interpretation of both national and international law. The world has a moral imperative to support the Syrian people and their government as they fight this assault – both politically and logistically. While US Secretary John Kerry is unable to account for how his nation’s support for moderates has left al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra front the premier militant faction in Syria, he has demanded that Iraq help stem the flow of alleged aid Iran is providing the Syrian government as it fights these terrorists.
Does US Secretary of State John Kerry deny that Syria is fighting a significant (and continuously growing) al-Qaeda presence within their borders, which according to the US State Department’s own statement, is operating in every major city in the country? What conceivable explanation or excuse could be made to justify the blockading of aid sent to Syria to fight al-Qaeda terrorists? In fact, why isn’t the US aiding the Syrian government itself in its fight against al-Qaeda – a terrorist organization the US has used as an excuse to wage unending global war since 2001 when al-Qaeda allegedly killed some 3,000 American civilians?
Does Secretary Kerry believe that further arming “moderates” is a legitimate strategy to counter al-Qaeda’s growing presence in Syria when these “moderates” openly defend al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra? The US’ own hand-picked “Syrian opposition leader,” Mouaz al Khatib, demanded the US reconsider its designation of al Nusra as a terrorist organization. Reuters reported in their article, “Syrian opposition urges US review of al-Nusra blacklisting,” that:
The leader of Syria’s opposition coalition urged the United States on Wednesday to review its decision to designate the militant Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group, saying religion was a legitimate motive for Syrian rebels.
“The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed,” Mouaz Alkhatib told a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Morocco, where Western and Arab states granted full recognition to the coalition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The US is directly responsible for the emergence and perpetuation of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in Syria. The statements of Secretary John Kerry are made merely to maintain an increasingly tenuous “plausible deniability.” The precedent being set by the US and its allies is one of using full-scale proxy invasions, which if successful in Syria, will be directed into Iran, up through the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, and even onto China’s doorstep via extremists the West is cultivating amongst the Uighurs. It is also clear that the West is directly responsible for the extremists within their own borders, and that these extremists are being used as a political tool against the people of the West, just as they are being used as a mercenary force abroad.
“It is clear that there are some agents provocateurs with radical anti-Muslim agendas at work in the country – including influential Buddhist monks preaching intolerance and hatred of Muslims,” said Jim Della-Giacoma, a Myanmar expert with the non-governmental organization. “Also, the systematic and methodical way in which Muslim neighborhoods were razed to the ground is highly suggestive of some degree of advance planning by radical elements,” Della-Giacoma added.
On March 20, over 40 people were killed and a number of mosques were burned due to religious violence in several towns in central Myanmar. Myanmar’s Islamic Religious Affairs Council and the Myanmar Muslim National Affairs Organisation later appealed to the government of President Thein Sein to take swift action to stop the ‘violent attacks.’
On March 28, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, said he had received reports that soldiers and police sometimes stood by “while atrocities have been committed before their very eyes” by well-organized Buddhist mobs in the central city of Meikhtila.
The Muslim minority of Rohingyas in Myanmar accounts for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. The persecuted minority has faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country achieved independence in 1948.
Last year, scores of Rohingyas were killed when Buddhist extremists carried out atrocities against Muslims in the western state of Rakhine. Thousands of Rohingyas were also displaced. Myanmar’s government has been repeatedly criticized for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims.
Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called a ministerial meeting to be held in Saudi Arabia on April 14 to discuss the issue of violence against the Muslims of Myanmar.
Saudis Salafist Sentence Cleric to Death: Excellent interview lambasting Saudi Arabia’s Salafist leaders, ridiculing their lack of justice and explaining their role in suppressing their Shias (who live in the oil rich areas), suppressing the Bahrainis and in thwarting the Arab Spring
Bahrainis guards raped Dr Fatima Haji
At the beginning of her ordeal Fatima did not know what her charges were, but found herself at a military court where they read out charges that had been fabricated against her that she had stolen 100 bags of blood, which she gave to protesters so that they could spill it on themselves, so that it looked as if they had been assaulted by police.
She said that it was never formally put to her that all she did was treat protesters, but instead the fact that the medics were just doing their job was turned into political accusations that they were trying to overthrow the government, had stolen blood and drugs from the hospital and were participating in an illegal gathering.
Prester John and deals with Salafist Devils:
Those who rule the West think the Sunni Salafists present best road forward. On the plus side, this will bring them kudos from the obnoxious cleptocracies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and it will help to stem resurgent Shias in Iran, Iraq and South Lebanon, thereby further strengthening Israel, the only nuclear armed state in the Levant.
There is, of course, a price to pay for this and that price is being paid by Levantine Christians and the countless other victims of rapes, lynchings, torture and summary executions right across the whole region. But as it is the small people who pay the price and as they are of no consequence, the West’s leaders and their despicable allies don’t care. The charity industries will do good business shaking down the refugees, the TVs will get their stories, the journalists will get their scoops and we can feel superior by thinking we are above those “savages”.
In the Middle Ages, the West liked to think there was a great and enlightened Eastern saviour who would deliver them. They called him Prester John. His real name was the Mogul warlord, Genghis Khan whose savagery was legendary and who spared no one. He wanted total control and so do the Saudi funded Salafist savages the West now backs.
We read of the horrors of the collapse of the Roman Empire and the dastardly deeds of the Huns, Goths and the like. But that is today’s daily fare for the Christians of Syria. And, unless we help, we too are culpable.
SYRIAN CHRISTIANS: LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER: Good CBS video of yet another Syrian Christian martyred. Patriarch Gregorius and the local priest get ready for the worst.
EASTER: ISRAELIS ATTACK PALESTINIANS Russian reporter gassed as Israelis run amok. RT’s Irina Galushko reported from the scene that Israeli police were preparing to use noise cannons to disperse the Palestinians.
Land Day is marked by Palestinians around the world every March 30. On this date in 1976, six Palestinians protesting against the expropriation of large tracts of Arab land were killed by Israeli police in several towns.