Adani and the Wangan and Jagalingou people

Adani the transnational mining company states on it’s site….
The Adani Group is an integrated business employing about 9,000 people across its operations, whichspan several countries. We are a young and dynamic organisation with trust, courage and innovation at the core of our values.
Companies like this sprout shit. They talk of trust….they speak about indiginous ‘participation’. Bollocks!
Then they say…
We respect the traditional owners of the land

Adani has always positively engaged with traditional owners and has come to agreements with all relevant groups regarding Cultural Heritage and has signed Cultural Heritage Management Plans  with all relevant groups.

It has always been Adani’s policy to reach mutual agreement with all groups and sign Indigenous land Use Agreements (ILUA) that cover the Adani Mine, Rail and Port projects. Negotiations have resulted in two ILUAs signed, two with agreements in Principle reached and we will always continue to work constructively with indigenous stakeholders.

BUT WAIT….
THATS ONLY IF THEY GET WHAT THEY WANT…..

It’s Adrian Burragubba here. I’m writing to you again because we need your help. 

After I first wrote to you and others, were overwhelmed by the response. To know Wangan and Jagalingou people that more than 90,000 people have chosen to stand with us as we fight to protect our land and our culture from Adani has given us real strength and confidence. On behalf of Wangan and Jagalingou people who are opposed to this mine, we sincerely thank you. 

But Adani is playing dirty, and the fight is even bigger than we expected. 

we rejected Adani’s offer to exploit our land they took aggressive legal action to overrule our rights just six days later. Now we have to fight to protect our land in court. 

They have betrayed our trust and are getting set to destroy our land and our culture. You’ve pledged your support, but now I’m going to have to ask you, if you can, to help me again. 

We face losing everything that is our inheritance. But to mount this fight to protect our heritage, we need more than our conviction and courage. We desperately need funds to mount a legal challangeand appeal against Adani’s action. Can you please make a donation so we can fight Adani in court? 

Adani is trying everything, and from the beginning have shown their arrogant, disrespectful treatment of our law and customs. They have misrepresented us, and they have betrayed us. They have now taken action to remove our rights through a legal system designed to favour big mining over the rights of Indigenous peoples. It seems they’ll stop at nothing to get their mine, which will destroy our ancestral land and the underpinnings of our lore and culture. 

If we can raise enough money, we will appeal the National Native Title Tribunal’s decision to allow the Queensland Government to issue mining leases to Adani, despite our refusal to enter an agreement with the company. The Tribunal even recognised that we have not given our consent or agreement to the mine, but still overruled our internationally recognised rights in favour of Adani. 

The Tribunal has sanctioned the destruction of our ancestral lands and cultural heritage on the grounds that it’s in the ‘public interest’. We will contest the idea that building one of the world’s largest coalmines is good for the people and the country. 

Our right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent is being trampled. 

We have to fight back, but we can only do it with the help of our supporters. Can you please get behind us to fight for our rights and our land in court by donating to our fighting fund? 

The truth is we’re up against a multi-billion dollar company and a legal system that makes it very tough for traditional owners. We know we’ve got a strong, righteous case to run, but we’re not going to leave it at that. 

We’ll continue to fight for our rights through the courts, and look to international law if need be. We will visit investment banks around the world to stop the project getting funding. And if it comes to it, we will take our fight all the way to the United Nations. 

This fight will define our people and be a landmark moment for Indigenous rights and climate change in Australia. Can you help us defeat Adani by donating to our fighting fund? 

Adani think they can walk all over us but they’ve never seen anything like this. Our lands and our way of life, and the legacy of our ancestors, mean too much to our people to rollover. We are here to fight and we won’t stop until our land is protected. 

Adrian Burragubba, 
on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council 
for the Wangan and Jagalingou people 

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Toe Knee interrupted me…. with more terror! So I’ve paid sarcastic attention to his detail.

The Benefit of the Doubt and the neoliberal concept of ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘the reasonable man’.

I had started a post on the above topic, found a suitable Leunig cartoon and was ensconsed when I was rudely interrupted by Toe Knee Ahh Butt’s speech today. But first a word from Michael Leunig to get you in the mood.

I was thinking about concepts like;

  • Neo-liberal lipservice to assumed values and unexplained values of ‘civilisation’.

  • “There must be something beyond slaughter and barbarism to support the existence of mankind and we must all help search for it.”(Carlos Fuentes’ last tweet)

I was reading a fabulous paper “Neoliberalising violence: of the exceptional andthe exemplary in coalescing moments” by Simon Springer 2012, and found this brilliant quote;

“I argue that the hegemony of neoliberalism positions it as an abuser, which actively facilitates the abandonment of ‘Others’ who fall outside of ‘neoliberal normativity’, a conceptual category that cuts across multiple categories of discrimination including class, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, age and ability. I argue that the widespread banishment of ‘Others’ under neoliberalism produces a ‘state of exception’, wherein because of its inherently dialectic nature, exceptional violence is transformed into exemplary violence. This metamorphosis occurs as aversion for alterity intensifies under neoliberalism and its associated violence against ‘Others’ comes to form the rule. The purpose is to recognise that neoliberalisation – in as much as it claims a global domain– implicates all of humanity in a particular ‘moment’, a moment of abandonment wherein the social relations that afford privilege to the few and privation to the many are the very same social relations that occasion violence.” (My emphasis.)

Simon Springer 2012 Department of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

See his article in full here

Then I was interrupted…… by Toe Knee (SMH article with video and transcript here)

Toe Knee Ah...Butt's famous budgie smugglers "The Australian way of life" newmatilda.com

Toe Knee Ah…Butt’s famous budgie smugglers “The Australian way of life”
newmatilda.com

 

AHH BUTT’S FULL NATIONAL SECURITY STATEMENT. (My sarcastic, and sometimes disbelieving comments are in italics)

I want to speak to you about the threat that we face; the work done already to keep you as safe as we humanly can; and the things still needed to prevent further terrorist attacks.

Today, my colleagues and I are joined by representatives of the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Defence Force, ASIO and agencies like Crimtrac – which helps police and other law enforcement bodies share information.

The men and women in this room are on the frontline of Australia’s fight against terror. 

There is no greater responsibility – on me – on the government – than keeping you safe. (How about improving income and social protections for the poor and vulnerable?)

This is the responsibility that’s discharged by the men and women in this room.

We know that these are testing times for everyone here – and for everyone sworn to protect democratic freedoms. Conflates his government with the protection of ‘democratic freedoms’

The terrorist threat is rising at home and abroad – (On what basis is this claim made? Mad Man Monis?) and it’s becoming harder to combat. (The word ‘combat’ is in itself inflamatory and totally consistant with the Bush meme “A war on terror” that justified his [and our] illegal invasion of Iraq)

We have seen on our TV screens and in our newspapers (MSM filtered) the evidence (loose use of the term) of the new dark age (at whose direction and with what support from where?) that has settled over much of Syria and Iraq. (But berated Assad as an evil dictator when he advised back in 2012 that his country was being invaded by Foreign fundamentalist terror cells preferring to call them Freedom fighters and totally ignored the years of CIA funding and training to many of those (many who were in Camp Bucca like Bagdadi) who currently fight with IS )

We have seen the beheadings, the mass executions, the crucifixions and the sexual slavery in the name of religion. (and the ones undertaken by ‘our good friends the Saudi’s under state sanctioned terrorism).

There is no grievance here that can be addressed; there is no cause here that can be satisfied; it is the demand to submit – or die.

We have seen our fellow Australians – people born and bred to live and let live – succumb to the lure of this death cult. (and knowing the root causes of this in our own country, dissaffection, racism, ignorance, youth unemployment, and mental illth, ignore these factors and continue to cut funds to programs that address these issues.)

We have heard the exhortations of their so-called caliphate to kill all or any of the unbelievers. (A man who spent four years [or 10 months depending on which reports you read] in US sponsored incarceration in Iraq’s notorious Bucca Gitmo)

And we know that this message of the most primitive savagery is being spread through the most sophisticated technology.

By any measure, the threat to Australia is worsening. (Fueled by what and whom Toe Knee?)

The number of foreign fighters is up. (evidence?)

The number of known sympathisers and supporters of extremism is up. (evidence?)

The number of potential home grown terrorists is rising. (evidence?)

The number of serious investigations continues to increase. (figures and analysis?)

During 2014, the government consulted with our experts – many of whom are in this room today; we talked with our allies; and we worked with the opposition, to improve Australia’s preparedness for any eventuality.

Last September, the National Terrorist Threat level was lifted to high, which means a terrorist attack is likely. (on what basis?)

Critics said we were exaggerating.

But since then, we have witnessed the frenzied attack on two police officers in Melbourne and the horror of the Martin Place siege. (singular events, analysis of which does not reveal anything to support or justify the whipping up by your government of the legislative changes you have proposed and initiated)

Twenty people have been arrested and charged as a result of six counter terrorism operations conducted around Australia. (would this not have occurred without access to the new anti-terror legislation?)

That’s one third of all the terrorism-related arrests since 2001 – within the space of just six months.

The judgment to lift the Threat Level was correct. (Not a logical conclusion)

In proclaiming a caliphate, the Islam-ist death-cult has declared war on the world.

Not only has Australia suffered at the hands of terrorists – but so have Canada, France, Denmark, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Japan, Jordan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

We have seen the tactics of terrorists evolve. (On MSM and not heard any contradictory or less shock and awe media tactics)

In the decade after 9/11, our agencies disrupted elaborate conspiracies to attack our electricity supplies, the Grand Final at the MCG and the Holsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney.

Now, in addition to the larger scale, more complex plots that typified the post 9/11 world, such as the atrocities in Bali and London, sick individuals are acting on the caliphate’s instruction to seize people at random and kill them. (Not to mention the 9/11 deep state conspiracies, Bush Cheyney, Halliburten, Rumsfeld, G4S, drones, psy-ops and False Flags)

Today’s terrorism requires little more than a camera-phone, a knife and a victim. (One Bourbon, one scotch and one beer)

These lone actor attacks are not new, but they pose a unique set of problems.

All too often, alienated and unhappy people brood quietly. (How true)

Feeling persecuted and looking for meaning, they self-radicalise online. (let’s ban self radicalisation and forget dealing with the root causes of alienation)

Then they plan attacks which require little preparation, training or capability.

The short lead time from the moment they decide they are going to strike, and then actually undertake the attack, makes it hard to disrupt their activities.

Police do not have the luxury to wait and watch. 

They apply their best judgement – and they do so, fully aware that armchair critics, will find fault.

Still, police act because they have enough facts to make an informed judgement. 

Some of these raids may not result in prosecution. (let’s see how many)

But frankly, I’d rather lose a case, than lose a life. (Lawyer speak for better to be safe than sorry)

The protection of life must always rank ahead of the prospects of a successful prosecution.

The arrest of two men in Sydney earlier this month, who’d already recorded a pre-attack message, is just one example of how quickly a threat can develop. 

I should add that without our Foreign Fighters legislation, it is highly unlikely that these arrests could have been made.

This new terrorist environment is uniquely shaped by the way that extremist ideologies can now spread online.

Every single day, the Islam-ist death cult and its supporters churn out up to 100,000 social media messages in a variety of languages. 

Often, they are slick and well produced. (Perhaps even as ‘False Flags’ and Psy-ops by so-called people who hold similar values to us)

That’s the contagion that’s infecting people, grooming them for terrorism.

Already at least 110 Australians have travelled overseas to join the death cult in Iraq and Syria. 

At least 20 of them, so far, are dead.

Even if the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq stopped today, there’s an Australian cohort of hardened jihadists who are intent on radicalising and influencing others.

The number of Australians with hands-on terrorist experience is now several times larger than those who trained earlier in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (110-20 = 90 times David Hicks?)

Of that group, two-thirds became involved in terrorist activity back here in Australia. (Where does he get those figures?)

The signs are ominous.

ASIO currently has over 400 high-priority counter-terrorism investigations. (Are you on their list? Am I?)

That’s more than double the number a year ago.

We are not alone in facing such challenges.

The same phenomenon is evident across Europe, in the United States and in South East Asia.

Many of those involved in anti-Western attacks in Indonesia over the last decade are now being released from prison—some neither reformed nor rehabilitated.

Australian and Indonesian agencies will continue to work closely together to tackle extremists – because it is in both our interests to do so.

In Australia and elsewhere, the threat of terrorism has become a terrible fact of life that government must do all in its power to counter.

So far, this is what we have done. (Here we go..)

Within weeks of taking office, I asked the Attorney-General to develop a government response to foreign fighters. (Excluding all those dual citizens who join the Israeli Occupation Forces to fight to protect ‘freedom’ in Israel because they’re our friends and are ‘legitimate combatants’ in the illegal war on Gaza and the Occupied Territories…Oh sorry Mr Brandis, their not occupied)

Last August, the government invested $630 million in a range of new counter-terrorism measures. (Just enough to

This funding gives our security agencies the resources they asked for to combat home-grown terrorism and to help prevent Australians participating in terrorism overseas.

The effect of these new measures has already been felt:

* Counter-Terrorism Teams now operate at all eight major international airports; (I’ll tell you later about Darwin Customs, Immigration and Border Protection)

* Sixty-two additional biometric screening gates are being fast tracked for passengers at airports to detect and deal with people leaving on false passports;

* Forty-nine extra AFP members are working in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on the Foreign Fighter threat;

* Seven new financial analysts have been engaged to help crack down on terrorist financing; (And this later)

* A new “violent jihadist network mapping unit” in ASIO has been created to improve intelligence agencies’ understanding of the threat facing Australia;

* A Foreign Fighters Task Force has been established in the Australian Crime Commission with access to the commission’s coercive powers; and

* Last Thursday, the Attorney-General announced a series of measures designed to combat terrorist propaganda online. (Interesting must have missed that)

* We have legislated to cancel the welfare payments of individuals assessed to be a threat to security. 

This is not window dressing – as of last September, 55 of the 57 Australian extremists then fighting with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq had been on welfare. (I wonder why?)

We have made it easier to ban terrorist organisations which promote and encourage terrorist acts. (Who are the terrorists? And who will be next? Will those who questions the nature of world events and the increasing government agenda to moniter its citizens in a ‘lowest common denominator’ inspired universally applied internet spyforce, alternative appraisals and possible government conspiracies, poorly masked neo-con capitalist agendas and acts of state terrorism be next or are they already there?)

We have strengthened the offences of training with, recruiting for and funding terrorist organisations.

We have made it easier to prosecute foreign fighters by making it illegal to travel to a declared area overseas. (And the IDF in Gaza?)

Last December, we proscribed travel to Syria’s Al Raqqa province – where the death cult is based – without a legitimate purpose. (But if someone goes to Turkey and gets in that way will you even know?)

We are now looking at listing Mosul district in Ninawa Province, in Iraq, which the death cult also controls.

And we have given ASIO the further power to request an Australian passport be suspended, pending further security assessment – that’s happened eight times so far.

This year, we will consider what further legislation is needed to combat terrorism and keep Australians safe. (That should keep you busy and the populace engrosed, forget all your failed policies and Hockey’s pitiful budget razorcuts)

But we cannot do it alone. (?)

The government is working with local communities to counter violent extremism.

I acknowledge the readiness of parents, siblings and community leaders to let the police know about people they think are falling under the death cult’s spell. (As opposed to believing your neo-con spin….can we please stop this witchworld language …..please)

Our law enforcement agencies could not operate without their help.(That’s a bit sad after all we the tax payer are funding this to the tune of an additional $630 million!)

I acknowledge the cooperation the Commonwealth enjoys with all States and Territories on counter-terrorism issues.

That cooperation was highlighted by the Martin Place siege.

Yesterday, Premier Mike Baird and I released the Martin Place Siege Joint Commonwealth – New South Wales Review.

What we learnt from that Review was that there were no major failings of intelligence or process in the lead up to Martin Place. (Except agreeing that the man was in the first instance to answer charges in Iran of embezelling money from his customers and extradition was requested….How many times has Iran requested this of its nationals and was it ever investigated here, considering extensive police checks are sought from anyone seeking asylum in Australia, oh but of course that was Iran…..and then we were paying Iranian refugee detainees $3000 to go back from Baxter IDF to Iran, but that’s another story.)

Everyone did their job as required by law. (Nuff said)

But now, there’s more to do.

It’s clear that in too many instances the threshold for action was set too high – and the only beneficiary of that was the Martin Place murderer himself.

For too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt. (I’m not sure what you mean Toe Knee?

The perpetrator was given the benefit of the doubt when he applied for a visa. (Not exactly)

He was given the benefit of the doubt for residency and citizenship.(Not exactly)

He was given the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink.(Who knows what doubt they had)

He was given the benefit of the doubt when he applied for legal aid. (What doubt was he not elligible?)

And in the courts, there has been bail, when there should have been jail. (Toe Knee of the bar)

This report marks a line in the sand.

There is always a trade-off between the rights of an individual and the safety of the community. (But is this the way to ‘make us safe’?)

We will never sacrifice our freedoms in order to defend them – but we will not let our enemies exploit our decency either. (More slogans)

If Immigration and Border Protection faces a choice to let-in or keep out people with security questions over them – we should choose to keep them out. (A dangerous move, what security questions are we talking about)

If there is a choice between latitude for suspects or more powers to police and security agencies – more often, we should choose to support our agencies.

And if we can stop hate-preachers from grooming gullible young people for terrorism, we should.

We have already made a start on removing the benefit of the doubt for people who are taking advantage of us.

We’ve introduced legislation to refuse a protection visa to people who destroy evidence of their identity. (Not a bad idea when people smugglers and pimps remove documents from those seeking asylum and women interned in prostitution rackets)

And the same applies if you present a bogus document.

This Bill is currently stalled in the Senate. (Thank goodness someone’s having a closer look)

It’s reasonable. (What is? that someone’s having a closer look or the Bill? Sorry if I forgot how reasonable you are.)

It’s in our country’s interest. 

And I call on all senators to support it.

The government’s Data Retention Bill – currently being reviewed by the Parliament – is the vital next step in giving our agencies the tools they need to keep Australia safe. (Rubbish, vital next step indeed)

Access to metadata is the common element to most successful counter-terrorism investigations. 

It’s essential in fighting most major crimes, including the most abhorrent of all – crimes against children. (What about the children?….took you long enough to get the Royal Commission underway and we still lock them up in Madatory detention, ofshore so we can wash our hands of the range human rights abuses being perpetrated.)

Again, I call on Parliament to support this important legislation.

We need to give our agencies these powers to protect our community.

Today, I am releasing the Counter Terrorism review that the government commissioned last August.

The review finds that we face a new, long-term era of heightened terrorism threat, with a much more significant ‘home grown’ element.

From the SMH today….http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbotts-speech-may-increase-muslim-feelings-of-alienation-20150223-13mnv0.html

“Second, there’s the push for stronger prohibitions on “vilifying, intimidating or inciting hatred”. For most of recent memory, the Coalition wanted to loosen such limits on free speech by watering down Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The new move would use the criminal code instead and any new laws would obviously apply to everyone, not just Muslim preachers. Nevertheless, Mr Abbott is sending a signal to the Muslim community that six months ago the government wanted to increase free speech for the general community and now it wants to curb free speech for Muslims.

This will only increase the sense among Muslims that they are being singled out.”

Carry on Toe Knee……

While the review did not recommend major structural changes, it did recommend strengthening our counter-terrorism strategy and improving our cooperation with at-risk communities.

The government will carefully consider the findings and act as quickly as possible.

In fact, some recommendations have already been acted upon:

We will ensure returning foreign fighters are prosecuted or closely monitored using strengthened control orders.

We will appoint a National Counter Terrorism Coordinator.

We want to bring the same drive, focus and results to our counter terrorism efforts that worked so well in Operation Sovereign Borders and Operation Bring Them Home.

Over recent months, I spent many hours listening to Australians from all walks of life. (We were told by your own party you did not confer on much at all)

Clearly, people are anxious about the national security threats we face.

Many are angry because all too often the threat comes from someone who has enjoyed the hospitality and generosity of the Australian people.

When it comes to someone like the Martin Place murderer, people feel like we have been taken for mugs. (So that’s why you sacked Ruddoch?…..He was the responsible Minister at the time….doubtful)

Australian citizenship is an extraordinary privilege that should involve a solemn and lifelong commitment to Australia.

People who come to this country are free to live as they choose – provided they don’t steal that same freedom from others. (debatable)

We are one of the most diverse nations on earth – and celebrating that is at the heart of what it means to be Australian. (Blah, blah)

We are a country built on immigration and are much the richer for it. (Not after we incarcerated ‘indefinitely’, ‘boat people’) and called legitimate refugees queue jumpers)

Always, Australia will continue to welcome people who want to make this country their home. (?) 

We will help them and support them to settle in.

But this is not a one-way street. (Slogan)

Those who come here must be as open and accepting of their adopted country, as we are of them. 

Those who live here must be as tolerant of others as we are of them.

No one should live in our country while denying our values and rejecting the very idea of a free and open society. (Your neo-con view of ‘free and open’ society that is.Respect my authoritie.” …Cartman, South Park…yes I’m loosing interest)

It’s worth recalling the citizenship pledge that all of us have been encouraged to recite:

I pledge my commitment to Australia and its people; whose democratic beliefs I share; whose rights and liberties I respect; and whose laws I will uphold and obey.

This has to mean something.

Especially now that we face a home-grown threat from people who do reject our values. (perhaps you should examine the ‘home grown’ reponsibility aspect more)

Today, I am announcing that the government will look at new measures to strengthen immigration laws, as well as new options for dealing with Australian citizens who are involved in terrorism. 

We cannot allow bad people to use our good nature against us. (Your either with us or with the terrorists…Bush OR “Four legs goooood, two legs baaaad” Sheep in Animal Farm)

The government will develop amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act so that we can revoke or suspend Australian citizenship in the case of dual nationals. (Makes you wonder where Palestinians or other previously stateless peoples will sit with only one ‘nationality?)

It has long been the case that people who fight against Australia forfeit their citizenship. (Funny, I thought they were fighting Assad in Syria)

Australians who take up arms with terrorist groups, especially while Australian military personnel are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, have sided against their country and should be treated accordingly. (We are not there under any UN sanctioned intervention even if we call it ‘humanitarian’.)

For Australian nationals, we are examining suspending some of the privileges of citizenship for individuals involved in terrorism.

Those could include restricting the ability to leave or return to Australia, and access to consular services overseas, as well as access to welfare payments. (Hmmmnnn)

We will also clamp down on those organisations that incite religious or racial hatred.(Including Zionists?)

No-one should make excuses for Islam-ist fanatics in the Middle East or their imitators here in Australia. (Make excuses, or do you really mean ‘actively support violent jihad’… this is sounding like the BBC panel attack on George Galloway)

For a long time, successive governments have been concerned about organisations that breed hatred, and sometimes incite violence. (I’m tired of this, role of government rant)

Organisations and individuals blatantly spreading discord and division – such as Hizb ut-Tahrir – should not do so with impunity.

Today, I can confirm that the government will be taking action against hate preachers.

This includes enforcing our strengthened terrorism advocacy laws.

It includes new programmes to challenge terrorist propaganda and to provide alternative online material based on Australian values.

And it will include stronger prohibitions on vilifying, intimidating or inciting hatred.

These changes should empower community members to directly challenge terrorist propaganda.

I’ve often heard Western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace’.

I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.

I have often cited Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, who has described the Islamist death cult as ‘against God, against Islam and against our common humanity’.

In January, President al Sisi told the imams at Egypt’s al Azhar university that Islam needed a ‘religious revolution’ to sweep away centuries of false thinking. (Let’s not tbring Al Sisi into this, Pleeeese)

Everybody, including Muslim community leaders, needs to speak up clearly because, no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents must surely be a blasphemy against all religion.

I can’t promise that terrorist atrocities won’t ever again take place on Australian soil.

But let me give you this assurance:

My government will never underestimate the threat.

We will make the difficult decisions that must be taken to keep you and your family safe.

We have the best national security agencies and the best police forces in the world. 

Our agencies are working together. (No they’re not, I have that on good advice and personal knowledge, integrated activities and communcations between agencies is not part of the policy implementation of the ATLaw and the Departments involved are not actively sharing intel, this means risk problems and problems for innocents caught in the crosshairs)

All levels of government are working together.

We are doing our duty.

That is what you have a right to expect – and to demand of me and of us.

Well thankfully that’s finished. I’ll let Simon Springer have the final word. His paper (link above) is really worth a read.

Neoliberalising violence’ signifies the increasingly fantastic character of violence as our political imaginaries knowingly and unknowingly come to embrace the anomie and social disarticulation of neoliberalism’s dystopia of individualism. Within neoliberalism’s imaginative geographies of a global village, what is not spoken is the desire for a particular homogeneity, an impulse to remake the ‘Other’ in ‘our’ image, whereby the space of ‘the peculiar’, ‘the exotic’, ‘the bizarre’ is continually (re)pro-duced through the relation of the ban. As an ascendantform of sovereignty that attempts to (re)constitute classpower (Harvey 2005) and maintain hegemony through the production of a series of ongoing crises or ‘shocks’ used to pry national economies open to global markets (Klein 2007), neoliberalism exaggerates the abandonment that calls the state of exception into being. To Agamben (2005), the state of exception relies on conditions of crises, wherein individual rights may be diminished,superseded and rejected in the process of extending existing governmental power structures. Insofar as neo-liberalism isapraxis of socio-spatial transformation that proceeds as both a quantitative destruction and discreditation entailing the ‘roll-back’ of certain state functions,and a qualitative construction and consolidation, which sees the ‘roll-out’ of reconfigured economic management systems and an invasive social agenda centred on urban order, surveillance and policing, the very logic behind neoliberalism’s exigent modalities melds with the state of exception. Indeed, the state of exception ‘marks a thresh-old at which logic and praxis blur with each other and a pure violence’ is realised (Agamben 2005, 40).

My emphasis, couldn’t have said it better thanks Simon!

Snapshot of a Young Palestinian Syrian Refugee Mother’s Life

Since January 2011 the Syrian Arab Republic, a sovereign state with 18 million people, has been under attack. Hundreds of thousands have died; three million have fled the country; half the nation’s population has been displaced..”.  James Ryan (ICC Submission Report Oct 2014 here)

It is January 22nd 2015, four years after Bashar Al Assad was berated by the West for suggesting his country was under ‘terrorist attack’ from foreign fighters intent on bringing Syria to her knees.

This is what I know of one families story. I will call the young mother ‘She’.

She’s family are Palestinians who have been in Damascus since her mother and father fled as children with their parents families when the Israelis took their country by force in 1948 Nakba. The original family home of her father 1948 is believed to now be an Israeli Military Museum or Police Station.

The families home was the Palestinian village of Lubya. The village and its surrounds are now known as South African Park. The whole village, (with history dating well before Saladin who camped nearby during the war against the Crusaders in 1187), was erased by Zionist terrorists in 1948. The park was created as part of the JNF Zionist masterplan to erase Palestine’s Arab history and was created using South African Jewish donations to the JNF (Jewish National Fund). http://www.jalili48.com/pub/xENShowGallery.aspx?sub=What_Remained_of_the_destroyed&sub2=Lubyeh&Cid=259

Many years have passed since that time, 66 to be precise……………. She has never seen Lubya, nor is She allowed to ever return there, to live or to visit.

In January 2014, 5 months pregnant with her 3rd child, She left Damascus with her husband, 5 year old son, 7 month old daughter, brother’s Syrian wife and their 7 month old daughter. The six travelled together from Damascus to Beirut by taxi, lucky to secure someone brave or hungry enough to drive them. I say ‘hungry’ because we all know there are some who will brave these things for a price. Corruption extras always come into consideration when you are desperate particularly in times of war, the rich get out before it gets too bad and Palestinians know all about paying extras because of statelessness and lack of nationhood.  

The family had lived in Al Yarmouk Palestinian area (Al Yarmouk simply translates as ‘The Camp’). She had witnessed more than She will ever tell us.

In March 2012 her younger 24 yo brother died in a military hospital in Damascus, nine days after being shot in the neck. Details of his shooting remain unclear except to say it was a direct result of political ‘tensions’ fomenting  in Syria. He was in the final month of his compulsory military duty as a Palestinian in Syria. Before returning to complete his national service he was awarded a university degree in Journalism and it looked like he had everything in life to look forward to. His funeral was one of the last shaheed street funerals in Yarmouk as they had become too dangerous due to ‘opposition’ sniper attacks. It was a loud Palestinian affair and the street was filled with his friends, stunned and enraged by his death. He was loved in his community and they sent him off in style.

She had a home near her parents house in the centre of Yarmouk. At the time, and for some time afterwards  the family home was considered to be in the safer area of the camp.

Hani Abas Quarter Damascus The image is by a Palestinian from Al Yarmouk Syria, clever and poignant and I had to save it. I sincerely apologise for not having the information to credit the artist who also does not know how much this moved me.

Hani Abas Quarter Damascus
The image is by a Palestinian from Al Yarmouk Syria, clever and poignant and I had to save it. I sincerely apologise for not having the information to credit the artist who also does not know how much this moved me.

Basically the whole street is (or should I say was as so many are now dead or scattered refugees) related to She’s family and they stuck together. Incursions from outside were happening on a regular basis around the edges of the suburb with people coming through Jordan and Dara’a. Suicide car bombings  by ‘opposition’ fighters occurred at the road entrances to Yarmouk and local groups of young men  ‘manned’ the entries and exits in and out of Yarmouk to prevent further incursions from ‘outsiders’ who could not be trusted. Sniper attacks inside the camp area became more common, people disappeared, abductions for ransoms were commonplace, people died or were thrown when dead into the street. One of her cousins was shot dead through the eye, his brothers disappeared. Mortar attacks from surrounding suburbs to the south of Yarmouk and the city of Damascus began, again by an ‘opposition’ seeking to ‘involve the Palestinians’ further in the Syrian turmoil most had tried to avoid. The geographical placement of Yarmouk as closer to Damascus centre made it a worthy target for those seeking to remove Al Assad.

One morning She took her son and baby daughter to her parents home. When She returned to her home, it had been completely flattened by a mortar. Her husband’s father was a ‘person of interest’ to the ‘opposition’ and therefore his son, her husband, was one of their targets. Abductions were ongoing and ransoms and extortion more commonplace. Perhaps they knew where her husband lived and the mortar attack was targeted perhaps it was just another to destabilise a community. On another occasion he was driving a truck for work and stopped by a ‘random road block’, the men of no noticeable affiliation demanded he leave the truck, he managed to bribe them and was allowed to continue. The situation in Yarmouk became more and more dangerous. Her husband’s job was becoming untenable as it was too risky.

The family agreed She and her husband could build another apartment on the top of their home and they began to build. Permits were a thing of the past, the war meant you did what you needed to do, bureaucracy was busy. They rented another apartment while they built but it seemed like no time passed before this too was targeted and hit by a mortar in the downstairs area. She was home at the time, survived the bombing and scrambled with her child, a four year old boy downstairs over the shambles of concrete and dead people to the street below and on to her parents home.

Al Nusra had infiltrated the camp and fighters were targeting more people. These people were initially known to be Chechens, Libyans and others with a long history of fighting across Chechnya, Afghanistan, Libya Iraq and now Syria. The source of their funds was known in the camp to be foreign money channelled through Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. This was not a Civil Syrian War.

What started as outsiders with agendas that targeted Palestinians to further their own cause was clearly a well considered military strategy reliant on foreign interests and logistical support and internal collaboration within Syria and indeed Yarmouk. It only takes a few people to ‘align’ with these outsiders to set the ball rolling.  Early mortar activities demolished bakeries the main food source, the mosque was targeted. Friday prayer was the time the men met outside the Mosque to discuss strategies and resistance to the outsiders. Nusra now held stronger power, and attacked the Mosque, Western reports said it was Assads forces but the people in the Camp knew different. The attackers were careful not to damage the building their attack was designed to scare people away and to target their opposition.

photo of street in Al Yarmouk taken 2014 apologies site and photographer unknown but street identified by reliable source.

photo of street in Al Yarmouk taken 2014 apologies site and photographer unknown but street identified by reliable source.

She moved outside the camp to a safer area of Damascus and rented a home near her Syrian sister-in-law, who’s husband (her brother) had been working in the UAE.

Her mother moved in November 2012 to safety to stay with another daughter, in Sharja, UAE. The family was particularly relieved to have their mother safe for the brief time her papers would allow, as she had maintained a vigil at her martyred son’s grave in Yarmouk. The graveyard had been selectively desecrated and had become a sniper and mortar target where mourners were being picked off one by one. An old woman visiting her dead son’s grave was a target. This old woman did not want to leave.

In May, 2013, She and her Syrian sister in law had their babies in the main hospital in Damascus on the same day, two girls.

Her father left to be with his wife in the Emirates in August 2013 with the clear intention of them returning to their Damascus home when the fighting ceased and Yarmouk was safe once more. He did not want to leave either.

With all  her immediate family in Damascus now gone, She, pregnant again with a third child left for Beirut. Their intention to go by land to Beirut then use their air travel tickets from Beirut to Bangkok via Dubai. In May that year the same border was closed to Palestinians.

Lebanon then introduced further entry restrictions on Palestinians fleeing Syria. Dalia Aranki, an aid worker with the Norwegian Refugee Council, said: “For them, the border has effectively been closed since May 2014.” see here

Few taxi drivers were prepared to undertake the route from Damascus to the Lebanese Border but they found one who would drive for a price. At the Lebanese border corruption was in full sway, people who were used to their money buying the assistance of those in positions of influence were not surprised or offended by this and they paid the extra $500 US requested for them to get through. Beirut airport had the same ‘system’ Palestinians are used to having to pay more than others and despite their tickets being legal and in their hands they were asked to pay more money, another $2500 in order to board the plane to Dubai.

In Dubai, her brother boarded the same flight to Bangkok. They were now seven, two young families. When they arrived in Bangkok there were few problems, passports and visa’s were all legitimate and despite being thoroughly grilled about their intentions were allowed to enter. That was 12 months ago exactly.

Within the first week of arriving in Bangkok in Jan 2014 both families approached the UNHCR. They were clearly refugees, (already as Palestinians they are registered with UNRWA but the lack of coordination and transparency between the two UN agencies meant they were unable to process anything at the time.) additionally, the Syrian sister-in-law and the Syrian Palestinians obviously left because of the dangers of the war and had papers verifying their status.

What I am now going to tell you makes no sense to me whatsoever- the UNHCR gave both families an appointment to register as refugees for July 2015, in 18 months time! Perhaps they were waiting for them to move with smugglers and die at sea, or be locked up in Thai or Cambodian Immigration gaols, or just starve!  

In January 2015 there are believed to be 900 Palestinian Asylum Seekers currently in Thailand. 645400 people are on UNHCR books, 506200 being declared ‘stateless’. see source here UNHCR  None are understood to have returned or left Thailand since arrival (as of July 2014). On the last trip to the Cambodian border to renew a perfectly valid Thai Visa, the families were told if they entered Cambodia they could not get back into Thailand due to their travel documents being Syrian Palestinian. They chose to remain, overstay their visa and live illegally in Thailand with no other reasonable option at their disposal.

LUCKY, they are not sitting freezing in a refugee camp on the Turkish border,

There has been a lot happen in the past year…… her son cannot start school, her third child was born without papers (millions of children across the globe are considered by authorities not to exist as they have no documentation, particularly stateless peoples), her brother has been hospitalised for stomach surgery. Her father is struggling with a recent heart attack in UAE and without finances will not get appropriate treatment. Financial support from a family member who provides this for 10 family members who are unsupported refugees has managed to keep them safe thus far but is becoming an impossible burden. These people are not terrorists, they just want ‘normal lives’, they are not ‘economic refugees’, they are ready to work, ready to contribute, ready to sleep safely.

The narrative presented in my country (Australia) on these issues is void of any reality on the ground. Even worse, nobody gives a shit or it’s all too hard. Charlie Hebdo, Freedom of Speech, Some lunatic fringe caftan in a café and now we’re a terror target?  Muslims don’t share our values. They don’t respect women. they blah blah dumb blah.

What is it with humans?

All this aside, today’s plan is insane.

She has decided to try to travel with her three children to Lebanon then into Idlib in Syria, from where she will travel north to Allepo and then onto the Turkish Border where she expects to be able to get into Turkey. Madness! She expects to then bring her husband.

I am desperately trying to understand why this insane move seems even possible to them.

  • ‘friends’ overseas in Lebanon and in Turkey have said it is possible?

  • She believes she is safer with her children with her?

  • She believes her children will be safe and will have a chance at a future in Europe?

  • She is so severely traumatised she can’t think straight?

  • She has no patience to wait for the UNHCR possibly a further 3 years after their registration interview in July, if that date is not moved back even further?

Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and some wonderful new news will greet me. Aghhhhhhhhh Other links: http://electronicintifada.net/content/lebanon-hostile-refuge-palestinians-fleeing-war-syria/14171 http://www.brighteningglance.org/uploads/3/1/2/4/3124704/address_redacted_icc_criminal_complaint_criminal_carnage_in_syria_and_the_criminal_cabal_for_perpetual_war.pdf

In latest peace plans for Syria, Assad can stay -Al Monitor

Vitaly Naumkin recently wrote this interesting post for Al Monitor-

Posted December 1, 2014 (Translator Franco Galdini)

I was unable to do a direct share so have copied it below. The article shows some real opportunity through some sensible negotiations to get past the US Mantra “Assad must go!”

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

The UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura appears  to have made some progress, considering a ‘freeze’ where everyone gets to keep their weapons and currently held territory, the Saudi’s are said to have rethought the ‘Assad gone’ precondition,  the Russian Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov has a proposal for talks in Russia.  The plans actually looks like they’re going somewhere……has anyone checked with IS?

Just two questions:

…..Is this what a freeze looks like?

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

…..when do the 3 million refugees get to go back home to safety?

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Article from Al Monitor below in full. (Or visit the site direct: here )

IN LATEST PEACE PLANS FOR SYRIA, ASSAD CAN STAY

A significant number of global and regional players have been forced to reconsider their strategies in Syria with the bloody civil war having morphed into a clash in which the main belligerents are now the most radical jihadists, represented by the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, and government forces.

Writing Nov. 14 in Foreign Policy, James Traub quotes David Harland, executive director of the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), which operates inside Syria, and his collaborator, Nir Rosen, as saying that “rebel commanders have come to accept that Assad’s departure cannot be a precondition for talks.” Rosen also suggested that the “rebels’ foreign backers, including the Saudis, have begun to reach the same conclusion.” On the basis of his discussion with his interlocutors, Traub contends that President Bashar al-Assad will “not be going any time soon, if at all.”

The heart of the matter is that retaining Assad and his regime is seen as a way to save the Syrian state itself, which could otherwise turn into a new Somalia. Harland succinctly summed up this argument: “Better to have a regime and a state than not have a state.”

The strategic shifts that have taken place in the Syrian theater of military operations, along with the apparent failure of various plans to settle the conflict, have given rise in recent months to some new initiatives by international players that have made a stir in the media. These include the Russian plan for an intra-Syrian meeting in Moscow; the plan by Staffan de Mistura, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy to Syria, for “freezing” hostilities starting in one area; and the plan of local cease-fires developed by the HD Centre under Harland’s leadership. Are the three plans in opposition to each other or can they be complementary? Which one has the best chance of being implemented? Will they lead to the resumption of the peace process that ended with Geneva II?

Moscow’s policy on the Syrian conflict initially stemmed from the need to reconcile the fighting parties. While putting forward its own ideas, Russia only rejected other peacemaking proposals if they began with the mantra “Assad must go.” Although the details of Moscow’s new initiative have yet to be made public, its main elements can be inferred from statements by officials and diplomatic contacts.

At an Aug. 20 news conference, Abbas Habib, coordinator for the Council of Syrian Tribes, had talked about a proposal by Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister and the president’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, “to convene a preliminary conference, a consultative meeting in Russia, after which the intra-Syrian conference would move to Damascus, where the tribal sheikhs would also participate.” The sheikhs agreed to this. At the time, Habib stated that the “preliminary meeting could take place in Moscow, and then in Syria in an enlarged format.”

The idea was later further developed. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s official website noted Nov. 20 that Bogdanov had received Qadri Jamil, leader of the Syrian opposition’s Popular Front for Change and Liberation. “An exchange of views [took place] concerning the Russian idea to conduct a consultative meeting of representatives of the Syrian opposition in Moscow, to promote the launch of an inclusive intra-Syrian negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of June 30, 2012.”

Shortly before that, on Nov. 7, it became known that the former leader of the Syrian political opposition, Moaz al-Khatib, was scheduled to arrive in Moscow. According to Bogdanov, in Khatib’s talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, “the possibility of resuming intra-Syrian negotiations” was broached. “There was a very constructive discussion about the need to move from the Syrian conflict to a political process,” Bogdanov continued, adding “in this regard, they talked about the necessity to reopen intra-Syrian dialogue with the assistance of external players — such as Russia and the US, as well as the main regional countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt.”

It was significant that Khatib supported highlighting two tasks, namely, the fight against IS and reconciliation of the conflicting parties (that is, the government and the opposition). It is important that the Russian Foreign Ministry does not consider the plan for a “Moscow I” meeting to be an alternative to the Geneva process, but a bridge in preparation for Geneva III. This is why the negotiations for Moscow I are expected to be conducted on the basis of the Geneva Protocol.

Russian analysts have concluded that those representatives of the Syrian opposition who have agreed to meet will come to Moscow and compare positions, and then a meeting between them and a delegation from Damascus will take place. It was thus predictable that in talks with Lavrov in Sochi Nov. 26, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem would announce Damascus’ agreement to the Russian plan.

It is noteworthy that Lavrov and Moallem were unanimous in the view that there is no military solution to the Syria conflict. Yet, Lavrov also stated, “There won’t be another Geneva II.” He elaborated further, stating, “If you think that a conference will be announced similar to the one that was held in … January this year with the participation of 50-odd states, thousands of journalists, bright lights, there won’t be such a conference.”

Even as it promotes its plan for Moscow I, Russia continues to support de Mistura’s proposal to freeze the conflict, which is also backed by Syria, according to Moallem’s declarations. Assad had earlier declared that the de Mistura plan was “worth exploring.”

De Mistura has outlined three main points: “One is the need to focus on the real threat of terrorism as defined by the resolutions of the Security Council. Second is to reduce violence … Three, through the reduction of violence, try to reach as many people as possible in Syria and outside Syria who have been suffering due to this ongoing conflict; and through that, hopefully facilitate it and use that as a building block in the direction of a political solution.”

The city of Aleppo was designated as the first site where the freeze would be enforced, because it is, in de Mistura’s words, “a symbol of culture, of multi-culture and of religious and historical heritage in Syria.” It seems, however, that of no less importance in the selection of Aleppo is that there are no radical jihadist groups there. In accordance with the plan of the UN special envoy, all units based in the city — the government’s and the opposition’s — not only would retain control over the territory they hold, but they would also get to keep their weapons.

This is one of the main differences between the de Mistura plan and the local cease-fires implemented in the past, such as, for instance, the one in Homs in February that some opposition forces interpreted as a surrender of their positions to the regime. Herein lie some of the contradictions between the freeze plan and the Harland cease-fire plan. It is certainly no accident that de Mistura has stressed that the “concept of a ‘freeze’ [is] different from previous cease-fires,” as it provides “a new way for approaching the de-escalation of violence.”

As for the Harland plan, David Ignatius commented Nov. 4 in The Washington Post on the leak of a document setting forth a proposal to enter into a series of local cease-fires. Here, too, it was assumed that they would later lead to a process of political reconciliation. Some experts believe that there was no leak and that the authors probably gave the document to the media to draw attention to it. The plot thickens, as after that Harland gave Traub, writing for Foreign Policy, a detailed account of the project. As the document itself remains undisclosed, Traub does not cite it, but explains the main points. According to him, the plan is supported by the Syrian authorities and could, in the long term, lead to “an end to the war, a comprehensive reform of the constitution, and internationally-supervised elections.”

Hegel argued that “history is cunning, [and] that human actions do not have the consequences that those who perform them intend.”​ It is to be hoped that the German philosopher’s sarcastic observation will not apply to the fate of the plans designed to save the troubled Syrian state.

 

The King, The Entrepreneur, His Wife and Their Son- A never-ending tale of intrigue

This tale is a cautionary ‘Tale of Arabian Nights’. It was pieced together from information garnered from anecdotal Arabic sources and many internet sites of differing views and opinion. No spice was added, ah, maybe a little baharat.

A long time ago, in a land with shifting, hostile borders plagued by foreign intruders, a boy was born into humble surroundings in the port city. The boy’s mother and father were Sunni Muslim and in keeping with their limited wealth and by their neighbours’ standards, they had a modest number of children. Rafiq was their first born.

He remembered his mother’s consistent explanation when asked why she did not have more children, (for his town was filled with women having babies)……
“Yes, only three, two boys and a girl” she would say and would always add, “You know, we just want the best for each of them and if we had more …they would have less.”

Rafiq was sharp witted young man, with a mind not unlike his younger sister, Bahia. Both would benefit from their parents quests for their education. Bahia, however had neither his personal drive, nor his extraordinary craft to befriend people who could most offer him opportunity. Rafiq could, and would seek succour from ‘friends’ in very high places.

As a youth, Rafiq lived a very ‘ordinary’ life but dreamed each night of bigger, better things to come. He attended the university in the capital, where he learned accounting and where he would meet his first wife. A wife would bring the prestige of manhood, essential if Rafiq was to make good in this life. What’s more he thought she was very pretty and would look perfect on his arm. Now with wife and education under his belt so to speak, he felt he had completed his first steps towards building the wealth he always imagined for his family. His would start a dynasty.

Counting other people’s money was never how Rafiq saw his future, if he had money to count it would be his own. Thus, when opportunity came to travel to a nearby Kingdom, he grabbed it with both hands and traveled with his wife and his enthusiasm to the Kingdom. In this new land, Kings and Princes bathed in money. They were Sunni too, which made his quest all that much easier, as his homeland was fraught with religious backbiting.

He was soon to find the truth was as he always suspected – money brings great opportunity to do what you want to do, sometimes it brings things Allah would never approve. But Rafiq was to find this to his advantage, the extravagances of others would fuel his fortune . He left his teaching job and moved to set up a business for himself. The Kingdom was wealthy and the time was right for him to help them build it.

Such were the extravagances of his friend the Prince. It was later said that the Prince fathered more than 100 children from more than 30 women. Did he divorce to marry others once he had four? No matter, his list of extras was longer than his list of legitimate wives. He was also to eventually rule in the Kingdom, where illegitimate children would have exactly the same rights as bastards, which most thought extremely fair, particularly the King, advantaged as he was by wealth and position.

But this was not the business of Rafiq, who was drawn like the bee to the Kingdom’s nectar of wealth– this would be where he would make his honey and be a real businessman. He would work hard, make friends with Princes, build them opulent constructions in no time at all and with perseverance he would make his own wealth in exchange.

His gift of wooing people of influence found fertile ground in this land. He saw the Prince’s and Sheik’s need to create around themselves a landscape of towers and glass that reflected their newly found wealth and to transform what was once desert. The black gold deep under the Kingdom’s sand would transform the lives of few in the Kingdom as much as the Princes.

Rafiq did not bother himself with this other than to put it to use so he could gain their trust. In the true aspect of his entrepreneurial-ship he recognised one important thing. The Kingdom’s workers came as poor from lesser lands, they worked long hours for little pay. Rafiq had no issue with this, and saw in this feudal system as something he too could benefit from. After all, a company who’s workers are cheap and readily replaceable will do well in such a place. His efficiency would build on their backs.

His own country seemed forever at war and much as he said he loved his country, he loved the thrill of making money and powerful contacts more. He remained in the Kingdom to build his business. Rafiq’s first son was born and he felt a good wind blowing in his favour. He was now an entrepreneur, thanks to his hard work, perseverance and some would say ethics. But ethics are in the eye of the beholder and the backs of poor workers supported his projects. There is also a tale in these lands that says “Never ask a man how he made his first million!”

Now it came to be, that Rafiq’s business in building brought him a number of successful projects from rich Princes close to the king. The Prince who would be King had his eye on Rafiq’s capacity to build large and modern buildings in what was said to be ‘no time!’. The Prince also had his eye on Rafiq’s beautiful wife and so it was, in an exchange smooth as the silk underwear she would now wear, that a deal was cut between the two men, details of which would die with them both.

The powerful Prince trusted Rafiq’s discretion and Rafiq’s legendary skills to forge, maintain, and nurture useful connections was put to the ultimate test. The philandering Prince had no such discretion, but his power and finances meant your head would not remain on your shoulders should your lips speak of it.
So Rafiq built beautiful hotels in record time while the Prince played and slept with his wife. The Prince soon became King and his power was formalised. Their relationship forged Rafiq when quized it would only ever repeat,

“The meat on my shoulder is from the King”.

Some say Rafiq achieved the impossible. His name was now etched on the Kingdom’s accounting ledgers. A second son, was born to Rafiq’s wife. They called the boy Saad meaning ‘blessedness’ and ‘happiness’. Saad would carry Rafiq’s name and the blood of a King. The bond with the King and his Kingdom was certainly a blessed one that would make Rafiq’s family all wealthy beyond imagination.

Some say Rafiq was ‘concerned’ about the ongoing strife in his own country and that he never forgot where he came from. They say he was a ‘behind-the-scenes’ mediator, advisor, a promoter of cease-fires and agreements to end the wars in his original home. He was seen by both his birth and adopted country as a strong negotiator. Rafiq was heard to once to say-
“Money is a negotiation tool, I use it as a plumber uses a wrench to stop a leak or a sculptor uses a chisel to fashion a block of wood.”
But when, eighteen years after moving to the Kingdom, his company worked on the removal of destroyed buildings, opening of streets and roads littered with roadblocks and sand bags, in his homeland, this led others say he was just another profiteer of war – It was all business, money and prestige and the Kingdom had much to gain from the support they gave to Rafiq.

Rafiq would later divorce his first wife, take a second wife and father more children, he would lose his third son to a car accident in a far away country of cowboys, dollars and something called Starbucks. He would broker a ‘tentative peace’ in his birthland where many guilty criminals were ‘recycled’ to govern and reconstruct, no community nor religion in his land had been spared the ravages of war. Rafiq was to move back home after 28 years in the Kingdom to become his country’s leader. He was the Kingdom’s man in his original country.

A country that remained influenced and chained on its many sides by foreign control, would be led by a man whose money came from the most wealthy Princes in the region. He would multiply his own wealth as his country’s leader, he would put his land into serious debt and manage a tentative ‘peace’ in a land of trouble. He would make powerful friends and powerful enemies.

Was it bearded enemies that blew up his vehicle while he rode in a cavalcade through the capital? For even as a Sunni his ways were perceived as decadent by the rising tide of Wahabism both in the Kingdom and in his original land. The irony was that his friend the King is said to have sought to appease his people and his soul of his gambling decadence and philandering by gifting obscene amounts of money to build Islamist schools and groups. The same groups that were to engage in violent jihad across the Middle East.

After five terms as leader Rafiq retired from his position.
His money could not save him from a violent death. Some still needed him dead. The 1000 kg equivalent to TNT bomb, made a crater as huge as a small lake in the middle of town. Some say it was his attitude to those others considered, recalcitrant and corrupt ‘friends’ – smiling assassins, who had benefited from his blind eye on corruption and refusal to rid his country of their influence and military support, others say ‘it was a result of conspiracy and intrigue sewn by the hand wringing tribes’ who had earlier invaded, continued to have speculative interests and needed to blame the beards or the ‘friends’ in order to set the world ready for a course of destruction by the recalcitrant.

No matter who did it, Rafiq was blown to dust. I year after Rafiq’s death his family inherited 16 Billion dollars between them. Perhaps his end was karmic given what one man described as his willingness to sacrifice allies to achieve political ends. The strange unanswered thing was that the amount of money he left had grown by four times in that year since his death.

If history is written by the victor it is not written yet.

Saad followed his ‘father’ as head of the company which by now had grown to billions under his fathers entrepreneurial skills- it was huge, involved in banking, real estate, oil, industry, and communications. Saad in true dynastic form also became leader of his father’s country, for Saad was not born there he was born in the Kingdom, he remained as leader for 18 months until his government collapsed. For as it is said “the seed may not match the tree”. He then left the country on self imposed exile for less hostile climes in France and the Kingdom.

His ‘father’ has hard shoes to fit. Maybe Saad is just more like his zygote father. Saad returned to Rafiq’s homeland three years later, again with the Kingdom’s money in his hand. Investigation into his father’s death remained unresolved and it appeared to many Saad wanted to lead his fathers country again (with the Kingdom’s support and a list of incomplete tasks).

CAST:
Rafiq…………………….Rafiq Hariri billionaire Lebanese entrepreneur
Lebanon’s longest serving PM

His first wife…………..Nida Bustani (Iraqi roots from Lebanon)
The Kingdom………….Saudi Arabia
The Prince……………..Now deceased King FAHD bin Abdul Aziz
who would be King

The son Saad…………Saad Hariri dual Saudi/Lebanese citizen
Lebanese PM, 9 November 2009 – 13 June 2011

The STL, Special Tribunal for Lebanon is an International Tribunal formed with headquarters on the outskirts of The Hague, the Netherlands and an office in Beirut, Lebanon. It was formed in March 2009. with the primary mandate to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 which killed 22 people, including the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, and injured many others.

IT IS STILL PROCEEDING!

Saad Hariri -Daily Star Lebanon reported on 13/8/2014
Although the return of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to instigate negotiations aimed at resolving the presidential vacuum, eyes are focused on the nature of the meetings Hariri will hold with political factions.
Hariri, who returned Friday after three years of self-imposed exile, is expected to oversee the spending of a $1 billion grant from Saudi Arabia aimed at deterring terrorism in Lebanon.” see in new window here

 

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gestures upon his arrival at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Friday, Aug 8, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gestures upon his arrival at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Friday, Aug 8, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO

Abbas 1988 ALGERIA. Algiers. Arab Summit opening. 1988. King FAHD bin ABDUL AZIZ...

Abbas 1988
ALGERIA. Algiers. Arab Summit opening. 1988. King FAHD bin ABDUL AZIZ…

A man walks past a poster depicting Lebanon's assassinated former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, in downtown Beirut: Reuters

A man walks past a poster depicting Lebanon’s assassinated former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, in downtown Beirut: Reuters

Linked List of References:

http://www.stl-tsl.org/
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13978635
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=24380
http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/5709/Hariri-Rafiq-1944-2005.html
http://www.rhariri.com/general.aspx?pagecontent=biography
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahd_of_Saudi_Arabia
http://angryarab.blogspot.com.au/
http://hal.inria.fr/docs/00/72/15/67/PDF/The_Hariri_Political_Dynasty_after_the_Arab_Spring_Vloeberghs_2012_HALSHS.pdf
http://www.astrotheme.com/astrology/Rafiq_Hariri
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/lebanese-rafik-hariri-assassination-marked-man-tribunal
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/11688

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/profiles/2014/01/16/Rafiq-Hariri-the-Mr-Lebanon-who-dominated-political-scene.html
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/11688

HOW THE WORLD FAILED THE PALESTINIANS

I am interested to know…Where are the Palestinians who lived in Syria, and Iraq now?

Handala, His creator, Naji Al-Ali ( On July 22, 1987, in London, Naji Al-Ali was assassinated as he walked towards the offices of Al-Qabas newspaper. He died in the hospital on August 29th. His murderer has never been apprehended) wrote: “The child Handala is my signature, everyone asks me about him wherever I go. I gave birth to this child in the Gulf and I presented him to the people. His name is Handala and he has promised the people that he will remain true to himself. I drew him as a child who is not beautiful; his hair is like the hair of a hedgehog who uses his thorns as a weapon. Handala is not a fat, happy, relaxed, or pampered child. He is barefooted like the refugee camp children, and he is an icon that protects me from making mistakes. Even though he is rough, he smells of amber. His hands are clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection at a time when solutions are presented to us the American way."

Handala, His creator, Naji Al-Ali ( On July 22, 1987, in London, Naji Al-Ali was assassinated as he walked towards the offices of Al-Qabas newspaper. He died in the hospital on August 29th. His murderer has never been apprehended) wrote: “The child Handala is my signature, everyone asks me about him wherever I go. I gave birth to this child in the Gulf and I presented him to the people. His name is Handala and he has promised the people that he will remain true to himself. I drew him as a child who is not beautiful; his hair is like the hair of a hedgehog who uses his thorns as a weapon. Handala is not a fat, happy, relaxed, or pampered child. He is barefooted like the refugee camp children, and he is an icon that protects me from making mistakes. Even though he is rough, he smells of amber. His hands are clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection at a time when solutions are presented to us the American way.”

My question arises from knowledge of the forced movement of Palestinian refugees through wars. I will consider the broader relationship between where they went and where they were from.

Few populations are totally discrete, they show a diversity of capacity, wealth, interest, education, language. One problem for Palestinians is that for too long they have been considered discrete, being reduced to a singular identity as the ‘other’ and in being portrayed as homogeneous. Negative ramifications of this are exemplified by the late Joan Rivers’ TV interview grab tirade against Palestinians. She angrily said she wanting to ‘wipe em all out’.  Her ignorance was apparent when she later said she had confused Palestinian people with ‘Hamas’. Rivers was 81, should have known better, and died soon after. She was at best a victim of Israeli hasbara and at worst a proponent of it. The other excuse of being elderly, caught off guard and harassed by media thus not ‘getting it’ is not available to the rest of us but most outside the diaspora have little knowledge of Palestinians as a people because of attitudes such as this.

Palestinians geographic diversity was painted across the world map through the mass expulsion from their homeland that occurred 66 years ago, in 1948. Their spread expanded through the need to seek refuge from additional wars in their new found lands and continued oppression in their own, under Israeli occupation, where their identity as Palestinian was replaced by their oppressors by the term ‘Israeli Arabs’. This spread of Palestinians world wide has become both their strength and their weakness.

Palestinians are in the main, Arab, though their Arab brothers regularly behave as if this was not the case. They are Semite, but their Jewish cousins, choose to deny them this connection. But first, they are Palestinian. This article does not cover the  concerted effort of the Jewish nation to culturally absorb, subjugate or eradicate all things Palestinian. Instead it examines the continued trials of Palestinians in current times with a view to discern just how this population spread as a result of war and dispossession has become both a weakness and a strength regarding Palestinian ‘identity.’

A 2010 report in Tropical Review Digest clearly outlines the attitude of Arab states in relation to the situation of Palestinian Refugees;
The Plight of Palestinian Refugees in Middle Eastern Host States
… “Palestinian refugees have experienced varying standards of treatment depending upon the policies of their host state. With the exception of Jordan, Arab host states have not naturalized Palestinian refugees. In Jordan and Syria, most Palestinian refugees have been integrated into society; however, in Jordan, only Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 War have Jordanian citizenship and enjoy largely favorable treatment on par with Jordanian nationals. Refugees from the Gaza Strip who did not hold Jordanian passports at the time of their flight in 1967 have been denied citizenship and are mostly confined to the “Jerash” camp.
In Syria, Palestinian refugees have not been granted citizenship but have been accorded equal treatment with Syrian nationals in almost all respects. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have fared considerably worse; sectarian tensions and the activities of the PLO have prevented their integration into Lebanese society. The majority of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in UNRWA refugee camps or other unofficial camps and shelters, often in conditions of abject poverty. They face restrictions on their right to work, access to education and healthcare, and ownership of property. Only those displaced in 1948 have residency rights in Lebanon where as all other Palestinian refugees are deemed illegal immigrants. Outside of the Operation Areas, Palestinian refugees face even more of a precarious existence. In Egypt, Palestinian refugees are treated as foreigners and face significant restrictions on their ability to access education, government services, and employment. Renewal of residency permits is difficult and there are reports of frequent detention of Palestinian refugees by the authorities in Egypt. Iraq, once a refuge for Palestinian refugees, has now become a country of persecution; many Palestinians were targeted in, and fled from, Iraq following the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. In the Gulf States, particularly Kuwait, Palestinians are treated as foreign migrant workers with no permanent residency rights”…..
See full report

As you can see, Arab states have been less than supportive ‘brothers’, and in many cases hostile. An example can be seen in the Egyptian response to Palestinians who fled after the wars in 1948, 1956 and 1967. They are not protected under UNRWA or UNHCR and suffer discrimination. Upward of 50,000 are understood to be in Egypt (2002 report by Orul El Abed ), with 11,000 of those moving after the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel. Another example is the “forced displacement” during March to Setember 1991 of around 2000 Palestinians in Kuwait in retaliation for the PLO endorsement of Iraq’s occupation. Most lived in Kuwait for decades, another 200,000 fled during the Iraqi occupation were denied return. I have not been able to find out where they went but am aware some moved to Syria. By September 1991, Kuwait’s Palestinian community was only around 20,000. see here On the day Saddam went into Kuwait there were said to be four Palestinians for every Kuwaiti or around 400-450,000 Palestinians.

……”Many of the deportees were subjected to abuse or worse during the process of expulsion. In March 1991, the Associated Press quoted a grave digger at the Riqqa Cemetery in Kuwait, talking about mass graves: “They were all Palestinians … One man had a severed head.”[12] The agency later reported that even some members of Kuwait’s ruling family were involved in the killings of Palestinians,[13] and Kuwaiti pro-democracy activists claimed the royal family had formed private “death squads” to execute people suspected of collaborating with the Iraqis.” here

The situation has worsened for Palestinians through the increased American and Israeli ‘involvement’ in the shaping of a changed Middle East, the cause of much of the strife faced now. Wars in their countries of settlement have uprooted Palestinians once again. They are double and triple refugees.

Palestinian Refugee Numbers
Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Palestinians (IDPs) are the largest and longest case of ‘forced displacement’ in the world today. In 2008, 60 years after the 1948 Nakba (‘Catastrophe’), and 41 years after the 1967 Naska (‘Setback’) two out of every five refugees in the world were Palestinian. At the beginning of 2007, there were approximately seven million Palestinian refugees and 450,000 IDPs, 70% of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (9.8 million) http://www.badil.org/en/historical-overview UN figures from state there were 16.7 million refugees worldwide at the end of 2013, 11.7 million under the mandate of UNHCR, around 1.2 million more than at the end of 2012. The other 5 million Palestinian refugees are registered with United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA. UNRWA does not support Palestinian refugees outside its mandated areas of, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. IRAQ is not a UNRWA zone and is covered by the broader operations of UNHCR. However, a 2004 UN report ‘UNRWA’s Role in Protecting Palestinian Refugees -Working Paper No. 9 Dec. 2004, speaks of the UNHCR ‘Protection Gap’ and comments that this protection is “focussed on assisting to find asylum in third states, however this role is “frustrated” by the manner in which National courts or administrative tribunals in those states, particularly in Western Europe and North America have interpreted the provisions of the 1951 convention”……..and “years of “restrictive” interpretation of Article 1D by judicial authorities in third countries has made it very difficult for Palestinians to obtain asylum in those countries.”
It is important to state that a large number of displaced Palestinians are not registered with either UNRWA or UNHCR or have been bureaucratically ‘absorbed’ into other populations during recent displacement as second and third generation Palestinians from the 1948 boundaries. The Palestinian diaspora story sets context for the current situation.

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE ‘ROOTS’
European Zionists had designs on Palestinian land since the 1800’s. Zionists of course would say the reason is pre-Biblical. Here’s an example of that thinking from The Jewish Virtual Library.
…….A common misperception is that the Jews were forced into the diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. and then, 1,800 years later, suddenly returned to Palestine demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years. A national language and a distinct civilization have been maintained. The Jewish people base their claim to the land of Israel on at least four premises:
1) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham;
2) the Jewish people settled and developed the land;
3) the international community granted the Jewish people political sovereignty in Palestine
4) the territory was captured in defensive wars.”

However the percentage of the total population of Palestine in the late 1800’s indicates clearly the truth of the so called ‘myth of the Jewish peoples sudden return to Palestine’ is blown away by population facts.

Population percentage estimates in Palestine in the late 1880's http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/ref-nakba.html

Population percentage estimates in Palestine in the late 1880’s http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/ref-nakba.html

The Zionist claim to the territory of Palestine gelled in the late 1800’s with the formation of the World Zionist Congress in 1882 where “a clear goal and strategy was formed to create a Jewish Nation State in the land of historic Palestine”. see here
During the Ottoman Empire
For an excellent article on the difficulties of determining the number of people who made up the Palestinian population during this time and the post WW1 British Mandate period see here . A section of that document is recorded below,
….. “For the Ottoman period, the answer to the question of Palestinian identity is, statistically at least, fairly simple. The Ottomans kept records only by religious affiliation. Although they did not use “national” distinctions such as Syrian, Iraqi, or Palestinian, one can consider as Palestinians those Ottoman subject Muslims and Christians who lived in Palestine (defined as the area that would become the Palestine Mandate) between 1517 and 1917. This includes very few whose descendants would not consider themselves Palestinians. The same criteria can be applied to the British Mandate Palestinian citizen Christians and Muslims (including Druzes, who were registered as Muslims by the Ottomans and thus must be included as Muslims in any comparisons to Ottoman data)”
The population was estimated at 738,000 in 1914 and by 1918 at the end of WWI was estimated to have reduced by 49,000 due to war and famine.

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Photo from early 19th Century by Kalil Raad of Palestinians in traditional dress

British Mandate’ years 1922- 1948
The roots also lie within the British Mandate which occurred following the end of WW1 and the demise of the Ottoman empire. Issues at this time deserve more digging than can be presented on a blog post. Suffice to say the population numbers were rapidly changing. At the beginning of the British Mandate numbers of Palestinian Arabs and Jews were around 600,000 Palestinians and 60,000 Jews in the territory, with half of the Jewish number being ‘persecuted’ European Jewish settlers inspired to relocate by Zionist rhetoric. see here
……. “Over 300,000 Jews immigrated to Israel at this time, and it’s estimated that another 50,000 immigrated illegally. At first, the immigrants met with no opposition from the local Arab population. However, as anti-Semitism and persecution in Europe began to increase, so did the number of immigrants to Israel. The Arabs began to feel uneasy and resentful, and the British government placed strict limits on immigration.”
In the 1930s, Jewish land ownership increased from approximately 1% to just over 6% of the land. see here
In 1947 when UN resolution 181 for partition of Palestine into two nations, one Palestinian and one Jewish was passed by the General Assembly, (General Assembly resolutions have the legal status of recommendations. Only the Security Council is empowered to pass legally binding resolutions – a point about which Israel and the US are acutely aware) there were 1,237,332 Arabs and 608,225 Jews in Palestine.  Jews owned only 6.59 percent of the land at the time of the UN Resolution which recommended giving the Jewish state 54 percent of the territory. (see here). The General Assembly’s subsequent Resolution 194 of December 1948 stated that those ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss or damage to property,’ was never implemented. Israel refused to allow the repatriation of Arab refugees, most of whose villages had been destroyed.see here

1948 photo of Palestinan refugee camp ICRC http://www.badil.org/en/photo-gallery/category/71-historic

DURING THE 1947-49 WAR on Palestinian land, that resulted from a case of British colonial insanity, creeping US hegemony,  UN impotence and increased Zionist terrorism, “Israel committed at least 33 massacres and expelled over 750,000 Palestinians.” (quote from here)
As a result of these ‘roots’ Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Palestinians (IDPs) are the largest and longest case of forced displacement in the world today.
The 1882 Zionist strategy saw reality in the 1948 Naqba (Arabic for ‘Catastrophe’) when the state of Israel was formed Through the Balfour Declaration and a resultant bloody war which the Israeli government in the same vein as Holocaust deniers, refuses to allow any remembrance of in the Occupied Territories. The majority of Palestinians fled or were forcibly removed under these conditions of war. For a deeper look at the roots see http://www.palestineinformation.org/history.htm and the historic documentation site http://www.palestineremembered.com/index.html

IN 2008
60 years after the Nakba (‘Catastrophe’) “two out of every five refugees in the world were Palestinian. At the beginning of 2007, there were approximately seven million Palestinian refugees and 450,000 IDPs” and “70% of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (9.8 million)” source here
NOW – The last 6 years have seen these refugee numbers soar. The UNHCR advises that “Today, more than 4.2 million Palestinian refugees are dispersed across areas of the Middle East in which their forefathers originally took refuge, with others dispersed across the world.”  see here

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THE SPREAD OF PALESTINIANS IN AREAS EFFECTED BY RECENT MIDDLE EASTERN CONFLICT- SYRIA, JORDAN. LEBANON, IRAQ.

SYRIA
1948 – Around 90,000 Palestinian refugees came to Syria. 750,000 -900,000 Palestinians were displaced (Badil Survey 2008 ) Most of the Palestine refugees who fled to the Syrian Arab Republic in 1948 were from the northern part of Palestine, mainly from Safad and the cities of Haifa and Jaffa, Northern Palestine.  The majority made their homes in Damascus.  Al Yarmouk (The Camp) in Damascus was the largest concentration of Palestinians within Syria. More than half the population of the Al Yarmouk area were Palestinian refugees but it became a thriving cosmopolitan area of nearly 1 million with many Syrian nationals choosing to live and work there.

1949 – 1966 – Under Israeli Military government 35,000-45,000 were displaced (Badil Survey 2008) UNRWA registered 4,200 from the Golan Heights and placed them in the emergency camp in Dera’a, southern Syria, many more moved to other camp areas in Syria, Al Yarmouk in Damascus took many new Palestinian refugees during this time.

By 1960 – The number of Palestinians registered in Syria reached 126,662, and  tripled over the next four decades.

1967 Israeli Invasion and Occupation – During the 1967 invasion of Palestine and the Golan Heights, 100,000 people, including Palestine refugees, fled the Golan to other parts of Syria when the area was occupied by Israel. A total of 400,000 – 450,000 were displaced (Badil Survey 2008)

In 1970-71  Palestinians fled from Jordan to Syria due to Jordan associated being Palestinian with a localised militant group who attempted to overthrow the Jordanian king in the events known as “Black September” (cited as a possible reason behind the current ‘can’t be trusted attitude’ of Jordan to Palestinians. See here about the Black September group.) . The Syrian response to Palestinians seeking refuge in Syria from Egypt, Jordan and Iraq was to institute ‘strict measures’ of entry as a precaution against resettlement. See here

In 1982 Israeli attacks and invades Lebanon – Up to 2,000 Palestinians died on Sept. 16-17, 1982, when the Israeli military allowed a Phalangist Christian militia to attack the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila. The then Israeli Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon was forced to resign after a special Israeli investigative panel declared him to be “personally responsible” for the Israeli sponsored massacre.  . The Israeli military aggression resulted in deaths and displacement once more of Palestinians who had sought refuge in Lebanon, see here. UNRWA estimates 2000- 3000 thousand Palestinians fled during the Israeli invasion to take refuge in Syria.  The current Lebanese attitude towards Palestinians from Syria fails to remember this acceptance of Syria towards the refugees from Lebanon. See here

By the end of 1998 the estimated total number of Palestinians living in Syria, including non-registered refugees, was 465,662.

Between 2006 and 2008 again due to the inability to obtain accurate data accurate figures are not clear but it is documented that 3,000 – 5,000 Palestinians fled Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein. Around 2000 moved to reside in Damascus, some have since been resettled to other countries. They were not permitted to work in Syria (UNRWA 2011/3 and UNHCR 2014/3 quoted in Reliefweb SNAP paper 2014) The paper also states there were 13  Palestinian Camps in Syria, 9 of which are formally recognised by UNRWA.  See SNAP  here

Young Syrian Palestinian refugee girl becomes internally displaced in Syria

Young Syrian Palestinian refugee girl becomes internally displaced in Syria

July 2012 -The formation of armed groups in the Palestinian refugee camp in Dar’aa in southern Syria prompts an SAF aerial attack, forcing most of the 10,000 residents to flee see here

April 2013  6,000 displaced from Ein El Tal camp in Aleppo in northern Syria by ‘opposition’ forces. (Supported heavily by Al Nusra fighters)

July 2013 – ‘More ‘opposition’ fighters settled in Al Yarmouk camp, Syrian government forces tightened a siege on camp to bar all movement of goods and people in and out of the camp.” see here . By this stage most Palestinians left for other residence in Damascus, Lebanon, and Dara’a in the south. 23,000 have relocated to Sweden, many via Egypt.
Anecdotally there is information that the Syrian government advised locals an attack was to occur to retake the camp preventing more al Nusra Front (aka Jabat al Nusra) fighters. Remaining residents who wished to were were advised to leave and given opportunity to do so by the Syrian government forces.
Stories abound about how the Syrian government directly attacked Al Yarmouk and kept it under seige. The truth is not always as it seems and with the influx of Al Nusra fighters the residents were in daily fear of snipers and mortar bombing. As with most MSM developed stories, the complexities and nuances of circumstances as missed by western writers and groups such as Amnesty International who were not privy to information from the wide range of people who left the camp. At the time of the now famous UNRWA/AP photo of the sea of starving camp residents see here , most people had already left to live in other areas of Damascus or to try to seek safety in other Middle Eastern countries particularly Lebanon or to Europe. Around 18,000 remained.

The camp had been infiltrated over time by Al Nusra operatives from outside Syria they had entered and exited the camp as circumstances changed over time. People from nearby areas who were supporters of or actually capitulated with Al Nusra militia also moved to the camp. Areas adjacent to the camp in Damascus had provided opportunity for these fighters to remain in Damascus and were generally seen as supportive of the ‘revolt’, allowing them to continuously mortar and retreat from the camp during preceding months. The elderly, infirmed, women who had lost their male providers and the desperately poor were also a strong proportion of those left behind, although attempts were made to evacuate those who wanted to leave. The Syrian Army response was not as swift as is made out, having set priorities in the many other regions of Syria, destabilised by the fighting. Following months of local Palestinian young men in small groups protecting the roads in and out to attempt to secure the camp for residents from Al Nusra and FSA fighters, continued attempts to stay neutral in the face of the onslaught became impossible. The PFLP was also present and supported the regime.
Many from the camp believe the Al Nusra infiltration and attacks were specifically planned exactly because of the Palestinian attempts to remain neutral and to draw them into actively responding to the situation, many died inside the camp as a result of snipers mortars and selective kidnappings – Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia are specifically blamed for backing Al Nusra in Syria to assist the destabilisation and removal of the Assad government. By this stage it was clear that the population had diverse opinions and allegiances. The varied stance of the Palestinians was apparent.

In Jan 2014 UNRWA, the organisation charged by the UN to assist Palestinian refugees in Occupied Territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, documented there were 517,255 registered Palestine refugees in nine ‘camps’ across Syria. 1,700 people with medical conditions and their family members were evacuated from Al Yarmouk in Damascus.

March 2014RT reported on ISIL militia entering Al Yarmouk in Damascus
The militants returned to Yarmouk days after Al-Nusra re-entered despite a truce.

ISIL in Yarmouk camp March 2014 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13921221001239

ISIL in Yarmouk camp
March 2014 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13921221001239
…. “A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – an Al-Qaeda breakaway group – returned to the besieged mostly-Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp on Thursday. The action follows the violent reemergence of Al-Nusra, the Islamic group in Syria endorsed by Al-Qaeda, in the area just days earlier.
PFLP-GC spokesman Anwar Raja said in a statement that the ISIL militants detained and “abused” several Palestinians upon the group’s return to Yarmouk, Ma’an News Agency reported Friday.
Raja said ISIL’s move back into the camp is fueled by Saudi Arabia “to pressure Syria, and ruin the reconciliation by abusing the Yarmouk camp and endangering its citizens.”

Cartoon depicting the situation felt in Al Yarmouk

Cartoon depicting the situation felt in Al Yarmouk

Approximately 270,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria have been displaced by the ongoing violence, says UNRWA. This figure is likely to only include those refugees registered with UNRWA, many are not registered and is probably a very conservative number.
“……Palestinians in Syria faced massive displacement beginning in 2011, as conflict engulfed various camps. The first major displacement occurred in Lattakia camp in August 2011, when the majority of the camp’s population temporarily fled following a military assault. In December2012, airstrikes and clashes in Yarmouk caused more than 2/3 of the population, or 100,000 people, to flee over a 4 day period.In April 2013, 6,000 Palestinians were forced out of Ein El Tal camp in Aleppo by opposition forces. The growing crisis caused an increased demand for assistance and consequently, at least 40,000 previously unregistered Palestinians approached UNRWA for the first time for assistance. (IRIN 2011/08/17,Guardian 2011/08/,OCHA 2012/12/20,UNRWA 2013/12/16)” see here

As you can see these figures are not current, the inability to track the movements of people escaping a dangerous war scenario, resulting in poor data additionally many sites use approximations, however the Palestinians under UNRWA are mostly recorded. The newly appointed UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura said there was a total of 3 million refugees as a result of the conflict and 9 Million displaced people. The likelihood is that the figures from Dec 2013 above are significantly higher than reported.
Other than Turkey, all of Syria’s neighbours have placed restrictions on or refused entry for Palestinians fleeing Syria.  A Fairfax Press, Sydney Morning Herald report in August 2014 has the story of one man from the south of Syria who stated he was denied access to Jordan for being Palestinian and is now in a camp of 300 Palestinians (110 children) near the Turkish border.
……”one of 300 Palestinian refugees – 110 of them children – currently living  in a former tissue paper factory half a kilometer from the Turkish-Syrian border and from the Oncupinar refugee camp that was built by the Turkish government two years ago. Established in April by the Syrian Interim Government as a temporary residence for Syrian-based Palestinian refugees who have been displaced by the fighting to the south – refugees twice over – the factory camp enjoys none of Oncupinar’s facilities or funding..” Read full report:

JORDAN
4.5 Million Palestinians live in Jordan. 3.5 million of those have Jordanian citizenship with access to a Jordanian passport. John Kerry is recently reported as looking to to further assist by ‘absorbing more refugees as Jordan has always responded to payments from the US. The giant elephant in that room is losing the “right of return”. see here

1967 – Around 280,000 to 325,000 Palestinians left the occupied territories following the Six day War where allegations of the destruction of over 400 Arab villages were made. Approximately 145,000 of these were refugees from 1948. By December 1967, 245,000 fled the West Bank and Gaza to Jordan. Until 1967, roughly half of all Palestinians still lived within the boundaries of former Mandatory Palestine, after 1967 the majority lived outside the territory.

Jan 2014 There are 2,070,973 registered Palestine refugees and 10 recognised Palestine refugee camps throughout the country, accommodating around 370,000 Palestine refugees, 8 per cent of the country total. see here 

August 2014 – Nearly 10,000 additional Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) have sought assistance from UNRWA in Jordan. The majority of them live in abject poverty with precarious legal status. Jordan has absorbed 126,000 Syrian refugees, but Palestinians fleeing Syria are placed in a separate refugee camp, under stricter conditions and are banned from entering Jordanian cities.
A 44-page Human Rights Watch report, “Not Welcome: Jordan’s Treatment of Palestinians Escaping Syria,” documented Jordan’s withdrawal of Jordanian citizenship from some Palestinians who had lived in Syria for many years and who have been detained or deported to Syria without identity documents. Jordan’s uncompromising treatment of Palestinians fleeing Syria contrasts with its treatment of Syrian nationals, at least 607,000 of whom have been accepted into the country since the beginning of the Syrian conflict.
See here http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/08/jordan-deports-palestinians-fleeing-syria-war-20148710735703862.html
and here http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/syria-war-refugees-allowed-jordan-except-if-theyre-palestinian accessed 8.8.2014

IRAQ
1948 – … “Palestinians came to Iraq in several waves, each time fleeing a war. The first group is originally from villages around Haifa and Yaffa. They resisted the initial Israeli attacks on their villages, but were later forced to flee to Jenin where the Iraqi army was present. The women and children were evacuated to Iraq and all adult men were incorporated into a special unit in the Iraqi army, the Karmel Brigade. When the Iraqi Army left Palestine in 1948, these villagers (about 4000 in all) retreated with it.” see here
Around 5000 Palestinians were ‘brought to Iraq’ during the Naqba in 1948. They became much like the Palestinians in Syria, a community Al Baladiyat in the capital, Baghdad. Unlike the Palestinians in Syria they were not considered refugees but ‘enjoyed a relatively high standard of treatment during the period of Saddam Hussein and were granted residence permits, the right to work, access to social services and were provided with government owned housing or fixed, subsidized rent in privately owned dwellings. Iraq was the habitual place of residence of these Palestinians’. They are not covered by UNRWA and any who have managed to leave for their safety are under the UNHCR See here
“Their legal status in Iraq was never fully defined however and they were granted residency permits with a five year validity and travel documents, but not citizenship unlike those in Jordan and do not qualify for Iraqi passports. The law and practical reality differed particularly when the regime fell.”

1967 – Another wave of Palestinians following the war and Israeli Invasion arrived in Iraq information as to how many is scant however it is likely they came because they had relatives already in Iraq.

1991 – Gulf war The pre-war population of Palestinians country-wide in Iraq was believed to be more than 34,000 with 4000 in Mosel and 700 in Basra. In Baghdad, UNHCR registered some 23,000 Palestinians in 2003, before the exercise was interrupted in August 2003 with the staff evacuation following the bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4517ca7e4.html Many fled to camps on the Iraqi – Jordanian border, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/45b0fc2e2.html again with Jordan refusing Palestinian refugees while accepting Iraqi’s (reported in April 2006 by HRW see here )
…. “Jordan closed its border to all traffic after the Iraqi Palestinians crossed into the no man’s land between the Iraqi and Jordanian border posts on March 19 and attempted to reach Jordan. The Jordanian authorities insisted they would not reopen the border unless the Palestinian refugees returned to Iraq. The refugees then spent four days unassisted in no man’s land. After four days, armed Iraqi border forces reportedly forced the Palestinians to return to the Iraqi side of the border….”
Earlier in 2003 a small group had gained access to Ruwaishid refugee camp on the Jordanian side of the border, described as a ‘remote inhospitable area’.

Since 2006 three additional camps have been homes under canvas for Palestinians escaping persecution in sectarian violence that erupted following the US war on Iraq. They were targeted both by Shia militia and Al Quaeda in Iraq (AQI). The UN reported some Palestinians had been forced to join these groups. see here 

Al-Tanf -Now closed tented site on the Syria – Iraq border described as a ‘no-man’s land’ the Al Tanf refugee camp housed between 850 and 1300 Palestinian refugees, many of them children, and most from the original Baghdad community. They are all Palestinians who fled targeted violence and death threats in Iraq, only to be denied entry to Syria and Jordan. Nov 17th 2008 and here.


Of the 1,300 Palestinian refugees in the camp, more than 1,000 were relocated to third countries, including Belgium, Chile, Finland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The camp was closed as a result of joint efforts with the Syrian authorities and resettlement countries. The last 60 were moved in Feb 2010 to be housed ‘temporarily’ at another refugee camp, Al Hol, inside Syria. here
Al Hol camp is in the Syrian north-eastern province of Hassake and Al Waleed camp in Iraq

2010 600 Palestinians from Iraq in Al Hol Camp. The exact number of Palestinian who fled Iraq is unknown. Around 2,000 in Al Hol and in Al Waleed camp, on the Iraqi side of the border.

NOW – It is not known exactly how many Palestinians remain in Iraq nor how many have died as a result of the violence. With the knowledge that they had been targeted also to join AQI, it is not known if any are currently operating under those same conditions with the well fed and supported IS.

LEBANON – Now The UNRWA webside states there are;
……. “447,328 registered Palestine refugees 12 camps Around 53 per cent of the Palestine refugees in Lebanon live in the 12 recognized Palestine refugee camps, all of which suffer from serious problems, including poverty, overcrowding, unemployment, poor housing conditions and lack of infrastructure. Three other camps were destroyed during the course of the Lebanese Civil War, while a fourth was evacuated many years ago.
The ongoing conflict in Syria has forced many Palestine refugees including men, women and children, to flee to Lebanon in search of safety. UNRWA states it is “working to adjust to their numbers and their needs – including for education, health care, shelter and relief. 53,070 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) were seeking safety and shelter from the ongoing conflict in Lebanon. However, even Lebanon is becoming an increasingly desperate option.” See here

Young boy in 'informal' settlement Central Bekaa Lebanon NRC Ingrid Prestetun http://www.nrc.no/?did=9183543

Young boy in ‘informal’ settlement Central Bekaa Lebanon NRC Ingrid Prestetun
http://www.nrc.no/?did=9183543

UNRWA states they continue to monitor the situation at the crossing point at Masnaa between Lebanon and Syria where Palestinians were being turned back and “HAD TO underscore the position of the Security Council which has “affirmed the importance of the principle of non-refoulement” and “recalled its encouragement to countries neighbouring Syria to protect all people fleeing the violence in Syria, including Palestinians”.
Due to Palestinians being unable to cross the border, there has been information of widespread discrimination against Palestinians at the borders and the increasing costs of corruption and bribery for those seeking to cross with legitimate papered Palestinians having to pay extortionate amounts to prevent corrupt border guards from returning them to a war zone.
See here;
…… “In May 2014 the Lebanese authorities put in place new requirements for Palestinian refugees from Syria trying to enter Lebanon. They are required to demonstrate – prior to entry – that they meet certain conditions for temporary residence in Lebanon or that they are transiting through Lebanon. The effect of these requirements – which many Palestinian refugees from Syria cannot meet – has been to deny people fleeing conflict in Syria the ability to seek refuge in Lebanon. Moreover, despite official denials, there is evidence of a policy to deny Palestinian refugees from Syria entry altogether – regardless of whether they meet the new conditions of entry. This evidence includes a leaked document, apparently from the security services, instructing airlines using the main Beirut airport not to transport any traveler who is a Palestinian refugee from Syria to Lebanon, regardless of the documents they may hold. In addition, it appears that some Palestinian refugees from Syria already residing in Lebanon are not being allowed to renew their temporary residency visas, leaving them without a clear legal status in the country and at risk of arrest and deportation.”

EGYPT
Although I was originally not including Egypt it is essential to do so given the criminal behaviour in the face of  current circumstances towards Palestinians. The current regimes relationship with Israel behind the increased attacks on Palestinian refugees. Campaigns against Palestinians in Egypt include deportation. This attitude is not new nor only since recent Gaza bombing and Israeli incursion, Joseph Massad wrote in August 2013 that they have included ‘outlandish claims that shortages of basic supplies including fuel and medicines for Egypt’s 83 million people are caused by supplies being sent to Gaza’s 1.7 million Palestinians.’These campaigns have increased amid the ongoing crisis. “Rumors circulated by Egyptian media and social media accuse Hamas – without evidence – of sending operatives to support the deposed Muslim Brotherhood government.” False accusations result in deportations of Palestinians living in Egypt, as the Egyptian journalist Fahmy Howeidy reported in a 7 July article in Egypt’s Shorouk News. Howeidy offers these observations:
“Who is the party that is keen to terrorise and humiliate Palestinians and fabricate charges against them in Egypt? And what is its interest in doing this? And why is there no clear political stance to stop these humiliations? My information is that there are elements within the Palestinian security apparatus still working against the government in the Gaza Strip and trying to malign it and bring it down.
There are also elements within the Egyptian security services – whose arms reach into the media – who despise Palestinians and sneer at resistance, and who cannot bear to hear the name of Hamas because of their relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. And these parties have rebounded lately, for well-known reasons. This leads to ask who they represent and to what extent they are connected with the deep state whose elements do not cease for even a day from spreading hatred between Egyptians and Palestinians in violation of all national and ethical norms.” see here

And just for good luck…….
SAUDI ARABIA
In 2004 there were 240,000 Palestinians from Occupied Palestinian Territory (UN estimate) in Saudi Arabia here There situation has little documentation but again anecdotally they are targeted and discriminated against.

To conclude,
The most protracted and extensive of all refugee problems in the world today is that of generations now of Palestine refugees going back 66 years. As we have seen it has been not just protracted but a vicious hounding by Arab states compounded by an impotent UN Security Council Support (by virtue of the US veto status), numerous Israeli Wars on Palestinian areas of settlement and the more recent US led  debacles in Iraq and supported Arab State mercenary destabilization in Syria.

A bureaucratically bland, weak but sombre understatement from the organisation set up to ‘protect’ them UNRWA, laughably speaks of the need for an ‘integrated approach’. Is the world willing to continue to watch while generational genocide continues to bring about Israel’s “final solution”?

THE NEED FOR A COORDINATED APPROACH: full report here
… “It is important to recognize that humanitarian actors cannot address the political dimensions of protracted refugee situations on their own.
Humanitarian agencies require the support of both development agencies and the UN Security Council to beget truly comprehensive solutions. As long as discussions on protracted refugee situations remain exclusively within the humanitarian community and do not engage the broader peace, security and development communities, they will be limited in their impact.
Despite the need for a multifaceted approach, the overall response of policy makers remains compartmentalized. Security, development and humanitarian issues are usually discussed in different forums, each with their own institutional arrangements and independent policy approaches. There is almost no strategic integration of approaches and little effective coordination in the field.…….”

It is clear from the heavily reduced information provided in this article that broad prejudice exists against Palestinian existence. Their treatment as non-citizens of their countries of refuge post 1948 is nothing less than a blight on humanity as a whole. The Syrian government support for her Palestinians stands out it an otherwise motley crowd and itself could have provided them with more. The recent forced movements as a result of further war have highlighted this in the cases of them being turned back at borders to be kept in foul camps that have no structure of support, where the International community pays little attention and affords minimal supports. Clearly UNRWA and the UNHCR were poorly equipt to manage the numbers of people displaced and the traumas suffered.

IT DOESN’T TAKE 66 YEARS TO GET A COORDINATED APPROACH!

ENOUGH TALK.

THE UN HAS FAILED PALESTINE AND THE WORLD HAS FAILED A PEOPLE.
My own limited experience of the particular prejudice worldwide towards Palestinians has shown that they are continuously seen as ‘trouble’ and continuously unjustly treated and punished for being Palestinian. This is, as I said at the beginning of this article, both their weakness and their strength. A friend of mine once said

“YOU DRINK BEING PALESTINIAN FROM YOUR MOTHERS MILK”

Palestinian mother and baby- photo:Khalil Raad

3dflagsdotcom_isrpa_2fawl

 

 

Further Reading
Pappé, I., (2006) The ethnic cleansing of Palestine; Oxford: Oneworld.

IS, Da’ash, ISIS, ISIL The US and its 51st State

It looks like we’re going to be a part of the insane US bombing in Syria and renewed (visible) presence  in Iraq.

It looks like we are lamely going to follow a country run by people who appear quite MAD

It looks like so are we. Ours just look more stupid

Tony Abbott is our PM  On the subtleties of the crisis in Syria he said, ‘It’s not goodies versus baddies, it’s baddies versus baddies’. see here

Julie Bishop is our Foreign Affairs Minister –“ISIL is a ‘global’ threat” (Lateline ABC TV program 11.9.2014) and “We are keen to play our part in ensuring that this heightened terrorist risk to Australia can be tackled head-on,” see here

http://www.leunig.com.au/index.php/cartoons/recent-cartoons?start=1 Wednesday 10th Sept 2014 Sydney Morning Herald

http://www.leunig.com.au/index.php/cartoons/recent-cartoons?start=1 Wednesday 10th Sept 2014 Sydney Morning Herald

George Brandis (remember Palestinian Territories are not ‘occupied’) is our Attorney General (link to previous post)

Brandis says Palestinian Territory is NOT Occupied

Brandis says Palestinian Territory is NOT Occupied

We’re fucked!

Recently people were ‘shocked’, “horrified” and ‘disgusted’ by mainstream media’s (MSM) portrayal (using so-called ISIS Facebook and Youtube videos) of their exploits of death in Iraq and Syria.

Syrian and Iraqi people have been living daily lives for years with events many of us couldn’t even imagine as a result of ‘planned’ invasion in Iraq and orchestrated destabilisation in Syria since the US invasion of Iraq and the ‘insurgency’ in Syria. The internet abounds with posts about who is to blame for the rise of this group and what countries hands are covered in blood that cannot be washed off.

This post will leave further discussion of that to your areas of interest and to the numerous analysis and books on the subject of both George Bush’s ‘real Iraq agenda’ and plausible accounts of who’s been backing the so called Syrian ‘insurgents’ and why. I want to focus on the apparent rush to ‘actively’ bomb and invade two significantly traumatised countries based on these so called ‘recent’ IS events. For an interesting if lengthy English subtitled interview with an ‘Iraq War Defected AlQaeda leader’, Sheik Nabeel Naim ‘exposes ISIS and US alliance’. see here

IN THE US
Obama is being blamed by the conservatives for being weak and for leaving IRAQ too early (surprise surprise) so it would not be surprising to find homegrown US party politics is largely behind this decision. Bush on the other hand (both of them really) is not blamed for invading a country and killing its people for oil under the guise of finding ‘weapons of mass destruction’, lying about the reason for sending his own people to be killed and rendering completely disfunctional a country of around 26 million people under the guise of introducing Day..mark…crassy.

The US under Obama formally ‘pulled out’ of Iraq in 2011 leaving “trained Iraqi military in control”…….

IN IRAQ
In Iraq Al Maliki, the PM ‘agreed to step down’ here and the current President is “veteran Iraqi politician Fuad Masum was overwhelmingly elected by parliament in July 2014. He is the second ethnic Kurdish president of Iraq” (although that title of President is more given by the US as he was elected by parliament not by the Iraqi people.) The PM is now Haider al-Abadi a Shia deputy speaker ‘invited by Faud Masum to the position. Al Maliki wasn’t happy but ‘stepped down’ the political situation is fragile, despite being ‘more representative of Sunni and Kurds. Apparently Masum has asked the US for help. REALLY?

Since 2004, what is described as ‘sectarian fighting’ has increased in Iraq resulting in huge numbers of IDP’s and overcrowded Refugee tent camps on the borders with Syria, Turkey and Jordan. The destruction by both Shia and Sunni based Islamist militia has never been truly controlled by Maliki’s government and it is in fact said to have been fomented by the Shia dominance under the Maliki government in the power vaccuum of the downfall of the Saddam Hussein Ba’athist regime. The Sunni Muslim who made up about 40% of the Iraqi population have been constantly under attack and have railed against the situation. There is UNHCR evidence from fleeing Palestinians that Palestinian Iraqi’s were “forced to join” jihadist Sunni groups in southern Iraq and that many Palestinian Iraqi refugees were turned back at the Jordanian border. here

Nobody cares about that. But if the US is bombing, how many reluctant and ‘forced’ Islamist militia will be caught in this mess.

Even Muqtada al-Sadr the Shia leader of the Mahdi Army leader has left for safer surrounds, he “said in February that Iraq “is ruled by wolves, thirsty for blood, souls that are eager for wealth, leaving their nation in suffering, in fear, in water puddles, in dark nights, lightened only by moonlight or a candle, swamped by assassinations based on differences or after ridiculous disagreements.” He left for Iran, fed up with the politics and violence I n his land. This despair is what gave ISIS the opportunity to build its bases in northern Iraq.” see here and my recent post here

US-ISRAELI-BRITISH DESIGNS OF A ‘HORNET’S NEST’ IN IRAQ AND SYRIA
The US won few ‘hearts and minds’ in Iraq and I wonder how they thought they could, despite even the best efforts of troops, the shocking events of Abu Ghraib, and the arrogance of the White House showed how lip service best intentions  were not backed by the reality on the ground, with responsibility going well up the chain of command. The opportunity for violent Islamism to rise in the face of their attack on the country was provided by US arrogance.

The beginning of the ISIS group started (as reported by Press TV in August this year) back to 2003 with a ‘core Kurdish militia formed after the US invasion’. see here . There is information that the US, British and Israel intelligence (Mossad) used a strategy called the ‘hornets nest’ to create the precursors to IS with the intention of attracting Islamic extremists to the one place. It is documented that a US commando with El Salvadoran experience training death squads was brought to Iraq to train Iraqi police. see here On James Steele the US Commando – This is one of the great untold stories of the Iraq War, how just over a year after the invasion, the United States funded a sectarian police commando force that set up a network of torture centers to fight the [Sunni] insurgency’ It seems one way to do this is to develop two sides of the sectarian coin. One way to get rid of Muslims would certainly be get them to kill each other and who in their right mind would want that? (I wonder?)

The creation of IS (not so named until much later this year), with the assistance of Arab oil sheikdom ‘crowd funding’ support (particularly through Qatar and Saudi Arabia) shows evidence of US, Israeli and British knowledge, facilitation and backing. See here . CIA knowledge on the operations of Al Zarkawi aka Ahmed Fadil Al-Khalayleh, (apparently among other aliases), the original leader of the group was extensive. Zarkawi was a Palestinian Jordanian secured by the CIA in 1989 to fight in Afghanistan. He later was accused of the Dec 1999 ‘thwarted attack on the Radisson Hotel in Jordan and was believed killed in a car bombing in June 2006. For more on Zarkawis life see here And this photo of John McCain with Al Bagdadi, ‘The Caliph’ AKA Simon Elliott (second from left) and Mohamed Nour (on the right) now deceased IS Commander. See an older post https://asidewrite.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/joining-the-dots-innocents-sovereignty-ignorance-and-shams-isis/

US Senator John McCain photographed with Mohamed Nour and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi

US Senator John McCain photographed with Mohamed Nour and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi

The big item in MSM recently was that IS was recouping revenue from oil in Iraq. The question, who’s buying it and how can that be stopped was NEVER ASKED by journalists and I have seen many opportunities to slip that in. Here is one answer from Middle Eastern Monitor from July 2014 where the (now resigned) mayor of Tuz Khurmatu, Abdul Baban “said: “People who buy the oil use paved roads controlled by ISIS militants and take it through the cities of Kifri or Qadir Karam to civil refineries or across the Iranian border or they go through the city of Makhmour to the Kurdistan region in coordination with the checkpoints.” here
Tuz Khumatu is 85 ks south of the oil rich area of Kirkuk, it is primarily occupied by Turkmen people who are made up of both Sunni and Shia Muslims and has recently seen fierce fighting between IS and Kurdish Peshmurga fighters see here
Israeli news has this offering see here

“The Ambassador for the European Union (EU) in Iraq, Jana Hybaskova, admitted last week that several EU member states have bought oil from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist organization that has been brutally conquering large portions of Iraq and Syria.Hybaskova made the revelation at the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, but refused to divulge the names of the countries despite being asked numerous times, reports the Turkish Daily Sabah.”

AFP reported on 31st August 2014 that at the request of the government of Iraq, the United States military today airdropped humanitarian aid to the town of Amerli,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.
“The United States Air Force delivered this aid alongside aircraft from Australia, France and the United Kingdom, who also dropped much needed supplies.”
The aid drops came alongside “coordinated air strikes against nearby ISIL terrorists in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation,”

The numbers recently reported of IS fighting force was 10,000. Today the ABC (Australian news reports this figure has been lifted (in the past few days) by the US intelligence to be more like 35,000. What a significant jump. Press TV the Iranian (in English) news network reported back in August 22nd 2014 “But instead of transforming terrorists into political participants, the U.S., along with its Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and western allies, has created an out-of-control monster with upwards of 50,000 fighters controlling an area the size of Belgium.” http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/08/22/376159/isil-independent-or-ciamossad-proxy/ Sounds like the home grown element of this force that was estimated as around

SYRIA
Bashar Al Assad is the current leader of Syria, (the country being described as under dictatorship, despite recent elections where Assad was voted in by a majority of Syrians) where events occurred that the MSM attached to the spread of the ‘Arab Spring’, started a bloody war that MSM continues to call ‘civil’. People who lived in a secular, rapidly modernising society (certainly in the main cities of Damascus and Aleppo) found themselves as refugees across the globe. The major problem of course for the US was oil and Syrian links to Russia, Iran, and what hawks in the US might call ‘recalcitrance’ of their leader, who refused to play corporate ball with the US allies Turkey and Iraq?and looked to Iran. An agreement with Iraq late in 2010 for a pipeline and another in July 2012 with Iran meant western supported arrangements with Syria could not be trusted. In March 2012 when the situation in Syria began to really hot up, this article appeared in the website with the dubious title “Imagine an Open Oil Industry”
…”The political terrain is tricky. Turkey, a NATO member, is firmly anchored with the West and will presumably want a new Syrian government as different as possible from Assad’s discredited regime. The new government’s ability to work with Iraq, meanwhile, may depend on its relations with Iran. If the transitional government, like Assad, is beholden to Iran, it may be easier for it to coordinate with the Maliki government in Iraq than if it is more closely aligned with Turkey and the West.
Nothing on this front will happen as long as Assad clings to power. But even after the current regime falls, the new government will need to pull off a difficult balancing act to make both Turkey and Iraq amenable to cooperation”. see here

Assad is a leader managed better than any other in the region to survive a concerted outside attack on his country’s stability and a so called internal albeit disparate group of ‘Free Syrian Army’ fighters across the various sections of a country with divided and tribal allegiances and leadership. The FSA has seen three ‘leaders’ since july 2011, the most recent change occurring in 2014. Monzer Akbik the Chief of staff of the Syrian National Coalition (A title that suggests more unity than the reality) said in Dec 2013
“…..the opposition had sought hundreds of millions to bankroll a scheme to establish a ministry of defence that would transform the anti-regime fighters into a single force. If we transform the very loose structure of the Free Syrian army into a conventional army this will be a much more sustainable way of fighting the regime,” he said. “As things stand the revolution is built on shifting sands. We don’t want Syria to be a failed state or a safe haven for al-Qaeda. The only way to do that is with a moderate army.” see here

Does that sound familiar? Echo Obama and the Syrian moderates.

In 2014, Many Syrians have lost family and friends and become refugees or IDP’s in the process and once lively and previously peaceful neighborhoods being bloodied, shattered and flattened. The ‘Cradle of Civilisation’ has been rocked beyond belief.

Obama’s ‘Plan’
Obama said (reported here )“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” the president said from the White House. “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.” The main reason we are being told that the US will go back into Iraq with fighter jets, military advisers, “increased support to forces fighting on the ground” so called “humanitarian supports” and extend their operations across into Syria is because we are told- ISIL (IS) is a “terrorist threat to the US” and the US intend to “counter its warped ideology”, supported by “decent countries”. This language is an appalling cover for a lie designed to be acceptable to the ‘ordinary’ person in America (also read Australia as the USA’s 51st state). We ‘share the same values’ we are continuously told by the current and previous governments of Australia. REALLY?

My Thanks to Scott Creighton at http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/top-10-us-backed-atrocities-and-authoritarian-regimes/ for the video link below. You’ll need data and 30 mins but well worth the time to brush up on your US Hegemony history.

WHAT IS THE SYRIAN RESPONSE?
Al Assad has ‘expressed to the UN special envoy to Syria, Stefan de Mistura, that the Syrian governments readiness to work with him and provide the necessary support and cooperation to make his mission a success in a way that serves the interests of the Syrian people and reach a solution that ensures the elimination of terrorism and the various terrorist organisations regardless of their names.’

Ali Haidar, Syrian Minister for National Reconciliation, told reporters in Damascus.
“Any action of any type without the approval of Syrian government is an aggression against Syria,”
“There must be cooperation with Syria and coordination with Syria and there must be a Syrian approval of any action whether it is military or not,” he said. here

CHINA?
China’s response embedded in the Syrian news video above from Syrian Free Press through the spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry is that Beijing opposes all forms of terrorism and that the International Community should come together to fight terrorism pointing out that this should be a collective effort within the framework of international Law.

IRAN?
Now we read reports that from AFP (Aug 31 2014) … “Washington has thus far ruled out any cooperation with the Damascus regime against the jihadists but has attempted to enlist the support longtime foe Tehran, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” I wonder what the Israeli’s think of that given their stance on Iran supplying Hamas!

Press TV have an article from Kevin Barrett a well known critic of the “War on Terror” his latest article posted on the 10th September 2014 states:
“To save the planet, we need to arrest Henry Kissinger for his September 11th crimes: those of 2001 as well as 1973.” He is speaking of the US assisted coup of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973 which occurred on September the 11th. Barrett’s article here

Not surprisingly the news about Iran’s response to Washington’s ‘approach’ is conflictual. On the one hand we have a report of the 5th September 2014 that says “the BBC’s Persian service quoted sources in Tehran as saying that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has authorized his top commander to coordinate military operations with the US, even though the two countries have had no ties since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.” here

Another report dated 8th September 2014 states the supreme leader Ali Khamenei said last week translation of his remarks provided to the Washington Free Beacon. see here and  Original in Farsi
……Iran will lead this “new world order” that will replace American influence as capitalism and Western influence collapses, according to Khamenei, who underwent surprise prostate surgery on Monday.
“Iran will have a strong role in creating the new world order,” Khamenei said, explaining that Tehran will expand its already growing influence in Latin America and even Asia.
“We have important potential outside Iran, we have supporters, we have strategic depth, in the region, some because of Islam, some because of language, some because of Shia religion, they are our strategic depth, these are all our strengths, we should use them all,” ……………… The article continues…. On Monday, just days after delivering these remarks to top leaders in Iran, Khamenei entered the hospital for prostate surgery.

Doesn’t sound too supportive to me, despite the radaw.net report. Additional nd alongside the new world order thing.. “A sign of the West’s waning power came when “the Zionist regime of Israel” purportedly “lost the battle against the small population of the Muslims in Gaza,” according to a separate recounting of Khamenei’s remarks published by the state-run Fars News Agency.” But he’s old and having prostate surgery, perhaps Mossad can do that, give you a prostate problem and perhaps they have other things in mind.

TURKEY?
“If the United States thinks that they can fix things by bombing the area now, it is impossible.” —Mehmet Ali Sahin, deputy chairman of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party

RUSSIA?
If the US goes ahead with airstrikes in Syria without a UN Security Council mandate, this would be an act of aggression, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned.
“The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against ISIL positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said. “This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.” see here

On 9.11.2014 Obama said amongst other things..“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” the president said from the White House. “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.” It was his day…..

Am I not getting something? Where is the threat to America? Wont they have enough oil?

Did they behead 2 journalists? Is that also a plot? here, and here and even if they did does that constitute F18 strikes? We wont see the same photos we did in Gaza and the on the ground capacity to get real information is much more limited leaving much more room for untethered destruction.

If its about homegrown’s coming back to wreak havoc in the US, haven’t they instituted the same or even more stringent airport and immigration checks alongside internal surveillance on ‘potential terrorist threats’. Can’t they stop people on return from Syria or Iraq just what threat is someone who goes oversees to make ‘glorious’ violent suicidal death that involves killing others. They’re probably going to be dead right? How many are we talking about? My recent post listed likely numbers identified by European and countries and Australia with recent reports in Australia putting numbers her around 60.

It appears that at best this latest Obama speech (he’s looking less and less like a president and more and more like a puppet of Israel under Zionist and corporate interests) is a crafted deceit to (again) suc the American public into support for the governments war machine activities (tagging Syria into the equation of securing oil interests in Iraq via IS not WMD this time) and at worst the US being ignorant as to the real costs of this incursion to the people of America while supporting the corporate war machine. Apparently US public sentiment is galvanised around the ‘beheadings’. Please see this as alternative to what has been presented by MSM. here,

Yet again, Australia actively and sycophantically ‘supports’ the US and ‘waits’ (as we did in Vietnam when we committed more troops under President Johnson – All the Way with LBJ! and when we joined Bush’s ‘War on Terror’, in the Coalition of the Willing) in the wings to be ‘invited’.

Let’s not forget Netanyahu, Israels Zionist Likud Party leader, who recently got off on tweeting “Hamas is ISIS” He must be feeling like the cat with the Arab cream, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Saudi friends, UAE support in bombing Libya, Egypt in safe US/Israeli supported military hands, Bibi’s on fire. See here
Alastair Cook Middle Eastern Journalist in Nazareth, describes Netanyahu’s depiction of Hamas and ISIS, or Islamic State, as “branches of the same poisonous tree” is a travesty of the truth.

The best analysis I have read comes from the Australian National University supported site ‘The Conversation’ and is posted by Clarke Jones yesterday. His summary paragraph states,

Any military intervention will play into IS’s hands, and is likely to result in a more acute crisis that will encourage, rather than discourage, radical individuals to pour into Syria and Iraq to boost the terrorist group’s numbers.
A significant offshoot of increasing military intervention will be civilian casualties. Modern military forces will always face difficulties countering enemies that comprise groups of loose, shifting and disparate units of fighters that take refuge among the civilian population.
Sending the military to cure social problems or religious divides or to wage war on non-traditional opponents will always be problematic. Terrorism should be viewed as a long-term problem that must be understood, contained and treated.
http://theconversation.com/obamas-iraq-and-syria-strategy-risks-a-global-radical-backlash-31377

I feel ILL, but reading that was in some way positive.
Why isn’t Clarke Jones advising Abbott?
What are we doing…..our politicians all look so blindly stupid and blindly righteous.

If I was religious I’d say ‘god help us all’ but I’m not and its about time we all woke up from our comfy corners of this world and really helped each other instead of just talking about it. Opening our doors to refugees would be a good start, because in closing them we are seen as racists, cruel and heartless. Surely we can rely on the massive security dollars we are spending to be more aware of the causes of homegrown terrorism and the wonders of engaging other cultures and religions. Our Muslim leaders and Muftis are well known and the preachers of hate can be readily filtered if we took time to engage with our Muslim community. But that means having forward thinking creative politicians , legal advisers and policy makers. Not can’t get a job in Martin Place would be politicians. We also need to stop thinking like the 51st State.

As we say colloquially here……. ITS TIME TO CHUCK A U-EE (Make a U-turn)