Saturday, 4 May 2013

Ben Jeddo: interviews Anis Naqash on Nasralla Speech

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Assad Joins Crowds for Unveiling Monument at Damascus University

Local Editor
Assad at Damascus UniversitySyrian President Bashar Al-Assad attended the unveiling of a monument dedicated to martyred university students at Damascus University on Saturday, SANA reported.

The Syrian news agency said that “President Bashar Al-Assad joined thousands of students and the families of martyred students at the unveiling of a statue to the memory of the martyrs of Syria's universities at the University of Damascus.”

On January 15 twin explosions at Aleppo University killed 87 people, most of them students and wounded around 160 others.

On March 28 at least 15 students were also killed and six wounded when a mortar struck the cafeteria of the faculty of architecture at Damascus University.
Source: Agencies
04-05-2013 - 14:57 Last updated 04-05-2013 - 14:59

الرئيس الأسد يشارك آلاف الطلاب بإزاحة الستار عن النصب التذكاري لشهداء الجامعات السورية
"فيديو" ..في جامعة دمشق -

شارك السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد اليوم آلاف الطلاب وبحضور عائلات الشهداء منهم بإزاحة الستار عن النصب التذكاري لشهداء الجامعات السورية في جامعة دمشق


   ( السبت 2013/05/04 SyriaNow)  
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!
Local Editor
Egyptian police fired tear gas to disperse opposition demonstrators hurling rocks and firebombs near Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday evening, official news agency MENA reported, although no casualties were reported.
Black blocThe protesters, including members of the Black Bloc group, began demonstrating outside the offices of the prosecutor general and set fire to the entrance to the building, before heading to Tahrir Square and blocking traffic on the Qasr Al-Nil bridge.
Satellite television station ONTV aired live footage showing security forces clashing with demonstrators on the Qasr Al-Nil bridge.

Egypt's prosecutor general had ordered the arrest of several members of the Black  Bloc, a group opposed to President Mohammad Mursi.

Demonstrators, hooded and masked and dressed in black from head to toe, appeared in January in Cairo and other provinces, calling themselves the Black Bloc.

They present themselves as the defenders of protesters opposed to President Mursi's rule.
On their Facebook page, the activists say they are a "generation born of the blood of the martyrs" from the 2011 revolution that toppled former President Hosni Moubarak.
Source: AFP
04-05-2013 - 13:39 Last updated 04-05-2013 - 13:39
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Israeli Airstrikes Signal Western Desperation in Syria


Alleged airstrikes hope to expand conflict, undermine Syrian advances, & provoke Syria and Iran to give US justification for military intervention. 
May 4, 2013 (LD) - Once again, Israel is "leaking" information about alleged airstrikes it claims it has conducted against Syria along the Lebanese-Syrian border. According to CNN's "Sources: U.S. believes Israel has conducted an airstrike into Syria," it was stated that:
The United States believes Israel has conducted an airstrike into Syria, two U.S. officials tell CNN.
The Israelis have long said they would strike at any targets that prove to be the transfer of any kinds of weapons to Hezbollah or other terrorist groups, as well as at any effort to smuggle Syrian weapons into Lebanon that could threaten Israel.
This was the same flimsy pretext used in an earlier alleged Israeli attack on Syrian territory earlier this year.

In reality, the "other terrorists groups" Israel claims to worry about, are indeed funded and directed by the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as part of a long-standing, documented conspiracy to overthrow the nations of Iran and Syria.

Reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, "The Redirection," it was stated (emphasis added):
"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda."
Of Israel it specifically stated: 
"The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations."
Additionally, Saudi Arabian officials mentioned the careful balancing act their nation must play in order to conceal its role in supporting US-Israeli ambitions across the region:
"The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”"
This, in fact, reveals the true nature of the attacks, a result of US, Saudi, and Israeli proxies failing inside of Syria and the desperate need to carryout military intervention to save them, while leaving intact whatever remaining legitimacy and plausible deniability the US holds globally, and Saudi Arabia holds across the Muslim World.

What Israel's Strike May Really Mean

Indeed, Israel's explanation as to why it struck neighboring Syria is tenuous at best considering its long, documented relationship with actually funding and arming the very "terrorist groups" it fears weapons may fall into the hands of.

In reality, the pressure placed on Syria's borders by both Israel and its partner, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey in the north, is part of a documented plan to relieve pressure on the Western, Israeli, Saudi-Qatari armed and funded terrorists currently collapsing inside Syria.

The Fortune 500-funded (page 19), US foreign-policy think-tank, Brookings Institution - which has blueprinted designs for regime change in Libya as well as both Syria and Iran - stated this specifically in their report titled, "Assessing Options for Regime Change."

Image: The Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 "Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf)," makes no secret that the humanitarian "responsibility to protect" is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.

Brookings describes how Israeli efforts in the south of Syria, combined with Turkey's aligning of vast amounts of weapons and troops along its border to the north, could help effect violent regime change in Syria: 
"In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly." -page 6, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.
Of course, airstrikes inside Syria go beyond "posturing," and indicate perhaps a level of desperation in the West who appear to have elected their chief villain, Israel, to incrementally "intervene" just as they had planned in regards to attacking Iran - also documented by Brookings in a report titled, "Which Path to Persia?"

 In regards to Iran, in Brookings' "Which Path to Persia?" report, it states specifically (emphasis added):
"Israel appears to have done extensive planning and practice for such a strike already, and its aircraft are probably already based as close to Iran as possible. as such, Israel might be able to launch the strike in a matter of weeks or even days, depending on what weather and intelligence conditions it felt it needed.  Moreover, since Israel would have much less of a need (or even interest)  in securing regional support for the operation, Jerusalem probably would feel less motivated to wait for an Iranian provocation before attacking. In short, Israel could move very fast to implement this option if both Israeli and American leaders wanted it to happen.

However, as noted in the previous chapter, the airstrikes themselves are really just the start of this policy. Again, the Iranians would doubtless rebuild their nuclear sites. They would probably retaliate against Israel, and they might retaliate against the United States, too (which might create a pretext for American airstrikes or even an invasion)." -page 91, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.
And in this statement we can gather insight behind both Israel's otherwise irrational belligerent posture throughout its brief history, as well as its more recent acts of unprovoked aggression against Syria. Israel's role is to play the "bad guy." As a regional beachhead for Western corporate-financier interests, it provides a "foot in the door" to any of the West's many desired conflicts. By bombing Syria, it hopes to provoke a wider conflict - an intervention the West has desired and planned for since it tipped off Syria's violent conflict in 2011.

For Syria and its allies - the goal now must be to deter further Israeli aggression and avoid wider conflict at all costs. If NATO's proxy terrorist forces are as weak as they appear - incapable of tactical or strategic gains, and tapering off into desperate terrorist attacks, it is only a matter of time before NATO's campaign grinds to a halt. As mentioned before, such a failure on NATO's part will be the beginning of the end for it, and the Western interests that have been using it as a tool to achieve geopolitical hegemony.

Israel should be expected to commit to increasingly desperate acts to provoke Syria and Iran - as its leadership represent directly corporate-financier interests abroad, not the Israeli people, or their best interests (including peace and even survival). For the people of Israel, they must realize that their leadership indeed does not represent them or their best interests and is able, willing, and even eager to spend their lives and fortunes in the service of foreign, corporate-financier interests and global hegemony. 
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Obama has been shipping arms to alQaeda jihadists terrorists in Syria for over a Year

RUSSIA WARNS AMERICANS: Barack Hussein Obama has been shipping arms to al-Qaeda jihadists in Syria for over a Year. G_K

Russia delivered to the Obama administration a list of the names of Syrian rebels who are members of al-Qaeda groups and who are receiving arms shipments coordinated by the U.S. (Obama seen foaming at the mouth while Hagel seems to be stuttering more than usual)
Klein Online The list, the officials added, demonstrates how the U.S. is failing in its due diligence of vetting the rebels being supported by the West for ties to al-Qaida and other jihad groups. The information comes amid scores of news media reports that the Obama administration is aiding the rebels, including by coordinating Arab arms shipments
The arming of Syrian rebels is considered highly controversial. A major issue is the inclusion of jihadists, including al-Qaida, among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups.
Just last week, KleinOnline broke the story that the U.S. in recent weeks aided in the transfer of shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, or man-portable air-defense systems, to the Syrian rebels, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials. The Middle Eastern security officials speaking to KleinOnline said the latest U.S.-facilitated weapons transfers signify the most advanced deliveries yet to the Syrian rebels.
Confirming KleinOnline’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the New York Times last month reported that since early 2012, the CIA has been aiding Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels.
While the Times report claims most of the weapons shipments facilitated by the CIA began after the latest presidential election, Middle Eastern security officials speaking to KleinOnline have said U.S.-aided weapons shipments go back more than a year, escalating before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
In fact, the Middle Eastern security officials speaking to Klein Online since last year describe the U.S. mission in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex attacked last September as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels in the Middle East, particularly those fighting Syrian Assad’s regime.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Ahrar: “1227 Palestinians Kidnapped, 16 Killed, so far This Year”

The Ahrar Center for Detainee’s Studies and Human Rights reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped 1227 Palestinians, including children, women, elderly, intellectuals and legislators, since the beginning of this year, shot and killed 16 more Palestinians.

File - Ahrar Center
File - Ahrar Center

The center said that the number of Palestinians kidnapped so far this year is less than the number of Palestinians kidnapped in the same timeframe least year as the army kidnapped 1340 Palestinians.

The center stated that the Hebron district, in the southern part of the West Bank, witnessed the largest number of arrests as the army kidnapped 310 (%25) Palestinians this year, following by Jerusalem where the army kidnapped 243 (%20) Palestinians.

In the Nablus district, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, the army kidnapped 160 (%13) Palestinians.

Ahrar reported that the army also kidnapped four elected legislators in the West Bank, and added that the current number of imprisoned legislators and ministers arrived to 16. Soldiers also kidnapped several intellectuals, and political leaders.

Furthermore, soldiers killed 16 Palestinians since the beginning of this year, including 12 who were killed in the West Bank, and four in the Gaza Strip.

One of the slain Palestinians is Arafat Jaradat, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, who was kidnapped by the army and was tortured to death at an Israeli interrogation facility, while detainee Maisara Abu Hamdiyya, 64, from Hebron, died at an Israeli prison due to an advanced stage of cancer, resulting from the lack of medical treatment in Israeli prisons.

It is worth mentioning that in April, the army killed four Palestinians and kidnapped 259 others; 94 of the kidnapped are from the Hebron district, 42 from Jerusalem, 25 in Jenin, 24 in Bethlehem, and the rest were kidnapped in other areas of occupied Palestine.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Syria and chemical weapons? The United States and Israel don't have a leg to stand on

The US insists Syria must unilaterally give up its chemical weapons while allowing Israel to maintain and expand its sizable arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. 


 By Stephen Zunes
Foreign Policy in Focus
2 May 2013

Red lines are all the rage -- whether it's Obama's "red line" for Syrian chemical weapons, of Israel's Netanyahu, here, for Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons. With war threatened in both cases without a shred of evidence.
If, as alleged, the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons, it would indeed be a serious development, constituting a breach of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, one of the world’s most important disarmament treaties, which banned the use of chemical weapons.
In 1993, the international community came together to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, a binding international treaty that would also prohibit the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, and transfer or use of chemical weapons. Syria is one of only eight of the world’s 193 countries not party to the convention.

However, US policy regarding chemical weapons has been so inconsistent and politicized that the United States is in no position to take leadership in response to any use of such weaponry by Syria.

The controversy over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles is not new. Both the Bush administration and Congress, in the 2003 Syria Accountability Act, raised the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, specifically Syria's refusal to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. The failure of Syria to end its chemical weapons program was deemed sufficient grounds by a large bipartisan majority of Congress to impose strict sanctions on that country.

Syria rejected such calls for unilateral disarmament on the grounds that it was not the only country in the region that had failed to sign the CWC—nor was it the first country in the region to develop chemical weapons, nor did it have the largest chemical weapons arsenal in the region.

Indeed, neither Israel nor Egypt, the world’s two largest recipients of US military aid, is a party to the convention either. Never has Congress or any administration of either party called on Israel or Egypt to disarm their chemical weapons arsenals, much less threatened sanctions for having failed to do so. US policy, therefore, appears to be that while it is legitimate for its allies Israel and Egypt to refuse to ratify this important arms control convention, Syria needed to be singled out for punishment for its refusal.

The first country in the Middle East to obtain and use chemical weapons was Egypt, which used phosgene and mustard gas in the mid-1960s during its intervention in Yemen’s civil war. There is no indication Egypt has ever destroyed any of its chemical agents or weapons. The US-backed Mubarak regime continued its chemical weapons research and development program until its ouster in a popular uprising two years ago, and the program is believed to have continued subsequently.
Israel is widely believed to have produced and stockpiled an extensive range of chemical weapons and is engaged in ongoing research and development of additional chemical weaponry. (Israel is also believed to maintain a sophisticated biological weapons program, which is widely thought to include anthrax and more advanced weaponized agents and other toxins, as well as a sizable nuclear weapons arsenal with sophisticated delivery systems.)

For more than 45 years, the Syrians have witnessed successive US administration provide massive amounts of armaments to a neighboring country with a vastly superior military capability which has invaded, occupied, and colonized Syria's Golan province in the southwest. In 2007, the United States successfully pressured Israel to reject peace overtures from the Syrian government in which the Syrians offered to recognize Israel and agree to strict security guarantees in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied Syrian territory.

The US position that Syria must unilaterally give up its chemical weapons and missiles while allowing a powerful and hostile neighbor to maintain and expand its sizable arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is simply unreasonable. No country, whether autocratic or democratic, could be expected to accept such conditions.

This is part of a longstanding pattern of hostility by the United States towards international efforts to eliminate chemical weapons through a universal disarmament regime. Instead, Washington uses the alleged threat from chemical weapons as an excuse to target specific countries whose governments are seen as hostile to US political and economic interests.

One of the most effective instruments for international arms control in recent years has been the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which enforces the Chemical Weapons Convention by inspecting laboratories, factories, and arsenals, and oversees the destruction of chemical weapons. The organization’s most successful director general, first elected in 1997, was the Brazilian diplomat Jose Bustani, praised by the Guardian newspaper as a “workaholic” who has “done more in the past five years to promote world peace than anyone.”

Under his strong leadership, the number of signatories of the treaty grew from 87 to 145 nations, the fastest growth rate of any international organization in recent decades, and – during this same period – his inspectors oversaw the destruction of 2 million chemical weapons and two-thirds of the world’s chemical weapons facilities. Bustani was re-elected unanimously in May 2000 for a five-year term and was complimented by Secretary of State Colin Powell for his “very impressive” work.
However, by 2002, the United States began raising objections to Bustani’s insistence that the OPCW inspect US chemical weapons facilities with the same vigor it does for other signatories. More critically, the United States was concerned about Bustani’s efforts to get Iraq to sign the convention and open their facilities to surprise inspections as is done with other signatories. If Iraq did so, and the OPCW failed to locate evidence of chemical weapons that Washington claimed Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed, it would severely weaken American claims that Iraq was developing chemical weapons.

US efforts to remove Bustani by forcing a recall by the Brazilian government failed, as did a US-sponsored vote of no confidence at the United Nations in March. That April, the United States began putting enormous pressure on some of the UN’s weaker countries to support its campaign to oust Bustani and threatened to withhold the United States’ financial contribution to the OPCW, which constituted more than 20 percent of its entire budget. Figuring it was better to get rid of its leader than risk the viability of the whole organization, a majority of nations, brought together in an unprecedented special session called by the United States, voted to remove Bustani.

The Case of Iraq

The first country to allegedly use chemical weapons in the Middle East was Great Britain in 1920, as part of its efforts to put down a rebellion by Iraqi tribesmen when British forces seized the country following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. According to Winston Churchill, who then held the position of Britain’s Secretary of State for War and Air, "I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.”
It was the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, that used chemical weapons on a scale far greater than any country had dared since the weapons were banned nearly 90 years ago. The Iraqis inflicted close to 100,000 casualties among Iranian soldiers using banned chemical agents, resulting in 20,000 deaths and tens of thousands of long-term injuries.

They were unable to do this alone, however. Despite ongoing Iraqi support for Abu Nidal and other terrorist groups during the 1980s, the Reagan administration removed Iraq from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in order to provide the regime with thiodiglycol, a key component in the manufacture of mustard gas, and other chemical precursors for their weapons program.

Walter Lang, a senior official with the US Defense Intelligence Agency, noted how "the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern" to President Reagan and other administration officials since they "were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose." Lang noted that the DIA believed Iraq’s use of chemical was “seen as inevitable in the Iraqi struggle for survival.” In fact, DIA personnel were dispatched to Baghdad during the war to provide Saddam Hussein’s regime with US satellite data on the location of Iranian troop concentrations in the full knowledge that the Iraqis were using chemical weapons against them.

Even the Iraqi regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians was not seen as particularly problematic. The March 1988 massacre in the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, where Saddam's forces murdered up to 5,000 Kurdish civilians with chemical weapons, was downplayed by the Reagan administration, with some officials even falsely claiming that Iran was actually responsible. The United States continued sending aid to Iraq even after the regime’s use of poison gas was confirmed.

When a 1988 Senate Foreign Relations committee staff report brought to light Saddam's policy of widespread extermination in Iraqi Kurdistan, Senator Claiborne Pell introduced the Prevention of Genocide Act to put pressure on the Iraqi regime, but the Bush administration successfully moved to have the measure killed. This came despite evidence emerging from UN reports in 1986 and 1987, prior to the Halabja tragedy, documenting Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians—allegations that were confirmed both by investigations from the CIA and from US embassy staff who had visited Iraqi Kurdish refugees in Turkey. However, not only was the United States not particularly concerned about Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, the Reagan administration continued supporting the Iraqi government's procurement effort of materials necessary for their development.
Given the US culpability in the deaths of tens of thousands of people by Iraqi chemical weapons less than 25 years ago, the growing calls for the United States to go to war with Syria in response to that regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons that killed a few dozen people leads even many of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s fiercest opponents to question US motivations.
This is not the only reason US credibility on the issue of chemical weapons is questionable, however.

After denying and covering up Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in the late 1980s, the US government—first under President Bill Clinton and then under President George W. Bush—began insisting that Iraq’s alleged chemical weapons stockpile was a dire threat, even though the country had completely destroyed its stockpile by 1993 and completely dismantled its chemical weapons program.

Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel—when they served in the US Senate in 2002—all voted to authorize the US invasion of Iraq, insisting that Iraq still had a chemical weapons arsenal that was so extensive it constituted a serious threaten to the national security of the United States, despite the fact that Iraq had rid itself of all such weapons nearly a decade earlier. As a result, it is not unreasonable to question the accuracy of any claims they might make today in regard to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
It should also be noted that many of today’s most outspoken congressional advocates for US military intervention in Syria in response to the Damascus regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons were among the most strident advocates in 2002-2003 for invading Iraq. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), whom the Democrats have chosen to be their ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the right-wing minority of House Democrats who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction. When no such weapons were found, Engel came up with the bizarre allegation that “it would not surprise me if those weapons of mass destruction that we cannot find in Iraq wound up and are today in Syria.”

Engel is currently the chief sponsor of the Free Syria Act of 2013 (H.R. 1327), which would authorize the United States to provide arms to Syrian rebels.

UN resolutions

Unlike the case of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, there are no UN Security Council resolutions specifically demanding that Syria unilaterally disarm its chemical weapons or dismantle its chemical weapons program. Syria is believed to have developed its chemical weapons program only after Israel first developed its chemical, biological, and nuclear programs, all of which still exist today and by which the Syrians still feel threatened.

However, UN Security Council Resolution 687, the resolution passed at the end of the 1991 Gulf War demanding the destruction of Iraq’s chemical weapons arsenal, also called on member states “to work towards the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of such weapons.”

Syria has joined virtually all other Arab states in calling for such a “weapons of mass destruction-free zone” for the entire Middle East. In December 2003, Syria introduced a UN Security Council resolution reiterating this clause from 12 years earlier, but the resolution was tabled as a result of a threatened US veto. As I wrote at time, in reference to the Syrian Accountability Act, “By imposing strict sanctions on Syria for failing to disarm unilaterally, the administration and Congress has roundly rejected the concept of a WMD-free zone or any kind of regional arms control regime. Instead, the United States government is asserting that it has the authority to say which country can have what kind of weapons systems, thereby enforcing a kind of WMD apartheid, which will more likely encourage, rather than discourage, the proliferation of such dangerous weapons.”

A case can be made, then, that had the United States pursued a policy that addressed the proliferation of non-conventional weapons through region-wide disarmament rather than trying to single out Syria, the Syrian regime would have rid itself of its chemical weapons some years earlier along with Israel and Egypt, and the government’s alleged use of such ordnance—which is now propelling the United States to increase its involvement in that country’s civil war—would have never become an issue.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!


As Jews we say "Birthright" trips must end

29 April 2013



Elderly woman sits in refugee camp
Israel claims all Jews have a “birthright” to the country, while Palestinian refugees are barred from return.
(Ashraf Amra / APA images)
As the summer months approach, thousands of young Jews from more than 60 countries prepare to participate in the Taglit-Birthright program. Since 1999, Birthright has brought 340,000 young Jews to Israel on free ten-day trips. In the midst of the fervor to sign up for this bi-annual program, we have launched the website Renounce Birthright ( with the aim of providing a space for potential participants to engage with critiques of Birthright and of Zionism.
We are non-Israeli Jews who oppose the program because it promotes and supports Israel’s ongoing colonialism and apartheid policies, and marginalizes Jewish experiences in the diaspora. We are calling for the end of the Birthright program, and encourage individuals to boycott the trips.
Birthright was created in response to concerns over increasing rates of intermarriage, the perceived “crisis of continuity” and the weakening of Jewish communal ties. Over the course of the last decade, the program has worked to create and maintain commitment to Zionism and Israel on the part of non-Israeli Jews.

Exclusive ideology

Birthright’s mission, according to the organization, is to “diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.”
The idea of strengthening “solidarity among world Jewry,” “personal Jewish identity,” and Israel’s “connection to the Jewish people” through trips to Israel is based on a conflation of Judaism with Zionism. Judaism is a religion. Political Zionism is a movement based on the belief that Jews have a right to settle in modern-day Israel, to the exclusion of the indigenous Palestinians.
The term “Birthright” itself is telling. Like its American counterpart, the ideology of manifest destiny, it operates under the premise that all Jewish people have an exclusive “right” to Palestinian land. In both the American and Israeli contexts, the only way to secure that “right” is through violence, land theft and displacement.
Settler-colonialism must be opposed, no matter where it takes place. For non-Israeli Jews living in other settler-colonial countries, we must also be accountable to other processes of de-colonization. No group of people have the right to live anywhere that mandates the explicit exclusion of anyone else.
The establishment of the Israeli state, and the alleged Jewish “birthright,” involved the violent displacement of several hundred thousand indigenous Palestinians, and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages. A Palestinian refugee population of nearly 7 million people is to this day excluded from returning to their lands by Israeli state discrimination.
In contemporary Israel — where approximately one-fifth of the population is Palestinian — the rights of citizenship (ezrahut) and nationality (le’um) are intentionally distinct. Palestinians born within the 1949 armistice line are considered citizens (and not nationals). Meanwhile a Jew born and raised in New York has a “birthright” to the Israeli state in Palestine, is considered a national, and can almost immediately become a citizen upon emigrating.

Maintaining a myth

Birthright in particular — as a part of the Zionist project — relies on the belief that non-Israeli Jews are national-citizens-in-waiting, a reality from which Palestinian refugees are forever excluded.
We would have no “Birthright” without Israeli occupation and apartheid — it is how Zionism sustains the myth of “a land without a people, for a people without a land.”
Birthright has spent more than $600 million since its inception in 1999. The organization has three major sources of funding: the Israeli government (which committed another $100 million to Birthright in 2011), wealthy donors such as Charles Bronfman, and Jewish federations across North America (“The romance of Birthright Israel,” The Nation, 15 June 2011).
In a 2012 speech delivered to Birthright participants, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “So when you go out and people tell you things about Israel, tell them about what you saw. Make sure when you go back home, tell them about the real Israel” (“PM Netanyahu’s speech at Taglit-Birthright Israel mega-event”).
Convincing non-Israeli Jews to defend Netanyahu’s “real Israel” is an integral part of Birthright, and helps explain the government’s investment in the program.
The program’s largest financial supporter, billionaire Sheldon Adelson — who has provided $140 million to the program — was described in The New York Times last year as having “disgust for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (“What Sheldon Adelson wants,” 23 June 2012).
Beyond individual donors, non-Israeli Jewish community organizations and institutions — such as the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Agency for Israel — support Birthright economically and politically.


In the name of diasporic Jewish communities, these organizations invest millions of dollars into the promotion of Birthright’s political Zionism, rather than in local projects.
Despite all this, Birthright claims to be apolitical. In 2006, Birthright Director of Marketing Gidi Mark said: “I don’t think it’s political for Jews to support Israel” (“Come, see Palestine!”, 5 June 2006).
However, the establishment and maintenance of an exclusively Jewish Israel — through forcible displacement, land theft, occupation, segregation, institutionalized racism and systemic discrimination — is political at its core, and is both supported and reinforced by the Birthright program.
For instance, during the trip, approximately 10,000 Birthright participants visit the Ahava cosmetics factory each year; Ahava is located in the illegally-occupied West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. Ahava directly profits from the exploitation of Palestinian Dead Sea resources.
Moreover, disturbing accounts of explicit racism have arisen in recent years; former participants often recount how the language used by Birthright personnel demonizes Palestinians. One past attendee said her Birthright tour guide told her group that “Arabs have wanted to kill Jews forever, that they are ‘like mosquitoes’ we must swat away” (“So you’re thinking of Birthright,” Mondoweiss, 20 December 2012).
Zionism is a political project, and Birthright is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of that political project outside Israel. As such, we must recognize our engagements with Birthright as a question of politics, and not just “a free vacation.”

Narrow confines

In reinforcing the belief that what it means to be Jewish is to be Zionist (particularly for non-Israeli Jewish youth), Birthright perpetuates a single narrative about what it means to be Jewish outside of Israel, and who can be a Jew.
Jewish people speak and have spoken an array of languages, live and have lived across the world, and possess different histories that extend beyond the narrow confines of political Zionism and the nation-state of Israel.
It is contemporary political Zionism that has “othered” Mizrahi/Arab-Jews, as New York University professor Ella Shohat explains, by urging Arab Jews “to see their only real identity as Jewish,” such that their “Arabness, the product of millennial cohabitation, is merely a diasporic stain to be ‘cleansed’ through assimilation” (“The invention of the Mizhahim,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Volume 29, No. 1, Autumn 1999).
Further, Israel’s policy towards Ethiopian Jews in recent years demonstrates how the limits of Jewishness are often defined through Zionism. There is a clear tension between Birthright’s claim to promote diasporic life, and the fact that it the program is so deeply rooted in Zionism, an ideology that homogenizes the experiences and identities of Jews.
Our alleged Birthright can only exist through the suppression and erasure of many Jewish identities, histories and experiences.
Liberation in Palestine is a question of land, colonialism and apartheid — not religion. The work of Jewish and Israeli organizations and collectives such as Zochrot, Boycott from Within, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, and Israeli Queers Against Apartheid attests to this fact.
As scholar Judith Butler has explained: “there have always been Jewish traditions that oppose state violence, that affirm multi-cultural co-habitation, and defend principles of equality, and this vital ethical tradition is forgotten or sidelined when any of us accept Israel as the basis of Jewish identification or values” (“Judith Butler responds to attack,” Mondoweiss, 27 August 2012).

No right to apartheid

We have founded Renounce Birthright because Birthright demands our complicity in two intersecting (but distinct) forms of violence: first, the occupation of Palestine and the Israeli government’s brutal regime of apartheid and second, the erasure and suppression of diverse Jewish experiences and communities across the world.
In organizing for Palestinian liberation, we are deeply committed to the belief that Jewish experiences and narratives — particularly North American Jewish experiences, including our own — should not be centered.
As Mezna Qato and Kareem Rabie explained in their recent article for Jacobin magazine: “the left often neglects these anti-colonial principles and seeks out Jewish voices to validate Palestinian claims. In turn, it privileges Jewish discourse, anxieties, and histories in ways that marginalize Palestinians in their own struggle” (“Against the Law,” Spring 2013).
We recognize that our struggles are greatly distinct yet related, and are engaged in this project first and foremost from a position of solidarity.
We call on non-Israeli Jews across the diaspora to join us in renouncing Birthright— and our privileged legal relationship to the Israeli state — because we have no right to apartheid and colonialism.
Aviva Stahl grew up in New Jersey and now lives in London; she is the US researcher for CagePrisoners and a collective member of Bent Bars. She can be followed on Twitter @stahlidarity.
Sarah Woolf is an editorial intern at The Nation magazine. Hailing from Montréal, she currently lives in New York City.
Sam Elliott Bick is from Montreal, Québec. He is a member of the Tadamon! collective, and organizes at the Immigrant Workers Center. He can be followed on Twitter @sam_Bick.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Syrian Militiamen Exhume Tomb of Prophet Mohammad’s Companion in Adra- Hezbollah on Hujr Ibn Adi’s Grave Assault: What We Feared Has Happened

Hezbollah on Hujr Ibn Adi’s Grave Assault: What We Feared Has Happened
Local Editor

Hujr Bin Adi grave - before and afterHezbollah condemned on Thursday the crime that terrorists committed against the grave of Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) dignified companion, Hujr Ibn Adi Al-Kindi, in Adra, Damascus.
In a statement it issued, Hezbollah Media Relations expressed its pain for hearing the "news that armed terrorists has dug the grave of the Prophet’s dignified companion, Martyr Hujr Ibn Adi Al-Kindi, in Adra, near the Syrian capital, Damascus."

“What we expected and feared, and what Hezbollah Secretary General, his Eminence Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, warned of two days ago, regarding the assault on sanctums, and the violation of religious sanctities, has happened,” the statement said.

“The shrine of the great companion, Hujr Ibn Adi, is one of the most important shrines for all Muslims, and violating and digging his grave in this way reveals a terrorist and criminal mentality that does not respect neither Muslim nor Christian sanctities,” it added.

The statement indicated that “this crime raises one big question: Where is the Syrian opposition which claimed it wanted to protect sanctities and pledged to defend shrines and religious centers?”
In conclusion, Hezbollah expressed its deep concern over the ongoing attacks on sanctities, and called upon the responsible parts “to hold responsibility so that they wouldn’t be partners in the crime, and in order to put an end to this issue which is an indicator to great sedition and rising evil." 
Source: AFP
03-05-2013 - 11:41 Last updated 03-05-2013 - 11:41
Local Editor
Syrian opposition groups posted photos online Thursday claiming they belong to the holy shrine of the solemn companion of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), Hujr Bin Adi al-Kindi, located in Damascus countryside of Adra.

The so-called “Adra Revolution Coordinaton” confirmed on its Facebook page that militiamen of the dubbed “Free Syria Army” have exhumed Kindi’s tomb and transferred his remains to an unknown location.

The true goal behind this act seems to blur the shrine's attractions as happened in similar cases, where tafiri movements’ involvement was common.

Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, where the Syrian government accuses foreign actors of orchestrating the conflict, by supporting the militant opposition groups with arms and money. 
Source: Al-Manar Website
02-05-2013 - 20:21 Last updated 02-05-2013 - 20:21
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!


Daniel Mabsout,

Is Israel the source of danger that threatens the whole world and is the Jewish community and personality responsible for all this evil or is it the USA in its structure and administration and Ambitions ? Where does USA stand regarding Israel and whose project was Israel in the first place ? Was it a Jewish project or a Christian project or both? was it a European Zionist project and when did it start ? Was it for the purpose of colonization , for a religious purpose of apocalyptic dimensions or for both? Till when will USA hold on to Israel , and what will happen if USA gives up on the Israeli project?

On many a post on fb these questions have been asked and have generated different answers on behalf of many . We will bring in here a historical view on the creation of America from academician Munir Akash that cast a light on this matter.

Dr Akash says:” It is true that the idea of America –which the white settlers brought with them to the new continent -was inspired from the Jewish stories and the Israeli tales found in the Torah and Talmud and Kabala. And it is true that this idea identified the European settlers of the new continent with the Jewish people , and identified the Natives of the land with the Canaanites ; it dealt with the Native territories as Cannanite territories that needed to be turned into the New Israel after genociding their population. But the idea of America that got inspired from the idea of “the first Israel of God” was more comprehensive and inclusive, because the idea of assembling the Jews in Palestine and establishing an Israeli State and replacing one culture and one people by another culture and people was but one of the constituents of the idea of America and its final historical project.

Three centuries before Theodore Herzl was even born, this idea of America had already assimilated Herzl’s dreams and ideas and had -five centuries before the creation of Israel -put already in place all the destructive scenarios of finishing Babel and exterminating its population ; and this because the American dream of establishing a Jewish State in Palestine is older and more fundamental than the Zionist Jewish movement and more so radical and extremist .

Never would have the Zionist Jewish movement manifest with this strength at the end of the 19th century weren’t it for the British Zionism on both sides of the Atlantic that had adopted -at the end of the 16th century- all the dreams of Herzl and, whereas Jewish Zionism targets the land of Israel, non Jewish Zionism targets the land of Israel and Ismael and Abraham , and targets even Jewish people themselves and embraces the most ugly feelings of what the west describes as Antisemitic.

Adapted from the book “ The Talmud according to Uncle Sam”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Why Assad “Wasn’t, Won’t be” Defeated? (4/7)

Sadeq Khanafer, Hussein Mallah

In part 4 of “Why Assad ‘Wasn’t, Won’t be’ Defeated?” we study thoroughly the Syrian leadership’s policy to confront huge western and Arab pressures on Damascus since the beginning of the crisis until the moment, in addition to the firmness of Syrian diplomacy.

          Assad facing conspiracies
Either Conditions or…

Syria’s political “confrontation” is not less important than the ongoing battles between the army and the militants.

Early when the events have started, Arab, regional, and international pressures were provoked, as well as envoy visits to Damascus, which received a series of demands topped by breaking relationships with the axis of resistance, especially after Egyptian Hosni Mubarak’s regime was defeated, causing imbalance in the so-called “Arab moderation camp.” Thus, the camp’s sponsors considered the Syrian crisis a chance to slap the other camp through a policy of persuasion and intimidation, rejected by Damascus, to worsen the ongoing events. This involved Syria with a fierce battle in which all media, politics, sectarian sedition, and armament were utilized to bring the “jihadists” into Syria.


In his first speeches after the crisis broke out, Syrian President Bashar Assad didn’t deny that political mistakes took place, as well as delay in reforms that were supposed to come into force after 2000, recalling the events swirling in the region, American invasion to Iraq, Lebanon events after Premier Rafiq Hariri’s assassination, in addition to the 200 war.

Syrian leadership’s encounter to the recent developments and circumstances was followed by a series of interior dialogues on the level of political and civil forces in all governorates. They resulted in issuing a new Constitution, Parliament and local elections, several reformative laws, as well as issuing many legislative decrees that granted amnesty.

The reforms didn’t please some Arab and western countries, to discover later a coordinated campaign to surround Damascus until it announces its “defeat.” This explains the escalation against the country represented by the European and American sanctions, followed by an Arab escalation represented by excluding Damascus’s membership in the Arab League before granting its seat to the Opposition Coalition in the latest Doha Summit. All of this was accompanied with intensive operations to fund and arm the militants on the Syrian land, not to mention opening borders, especially northward.
The main objective of spending huge amounts of money was to cause splits in the military, political, and diplomatic bodies. In fact, many cases were recorded, yet they didn’t cause significant effects in the political system. Syrian leadership could run the governmental apparatuses normally, and attempts to exclude Syria nationwide were well-confronted.

Syrian Deputy Minister of Information Khalaf Al-MoftahSyrian Deputy Minister of Information Khalaf Al-Muftah asserted to Al-Manar Website “cohesion in Syrian elements, political, authoritative, cultural, social, educational, and military, was the reason due to which the Syrian identity was able to survive, in addition to the persistence to live and the collective consciousness.” He also noted that Syria is exposed to a conspiracy. “Aware of its dangers, Syrian people united together despite the occurring splits,” Al-Muftah Added.

The Secret of Resistance… and the Result

To highlight some of the most important reasons why Syria resisted politically, especially among the diplomatic body, Syrian Ambassador to Syria's Ambassador to TurkeyTurkey Nidal Qabalan told Al-Manar Website that “the secret of resistance for two years –although greater Arab countries collapsed within few weeks- is what specializes the social, political, intellectual, cultural, and ideological structure of the Syrian society.” “What late President Hafez Assad had planted fruited during Syria’s current crisis. He built an ideological army that surpassed religions, sects, and even political parties, to tower above minor considerations reaching the major ones such as the nation, Golan Heights, and resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and every Arab country whose parts of its lands are occupied,” Mr. Qabalan added.

Ambassador Qabalan asserted that “Damascus now is paying the taxes of dignity. We, as a government and people, are accustomed to pay. Thus, Syria won’t deviate and will end up more persistent to support the resistance until achieving the greatest goal to liberate Palestine and the occupied territories in Syria and South Lebanon.”

Diplomatic Body

Syrian diplomatic sources uncover that there are enormous temptations offered to many diplomats in some countries in order to announce their “split”. In this context, the same sources note that they were offered huge amounts of money from certain sides and countries, in addition to pledges to occupy high ranks in case the regime was defeated.

“Syria has abroad between 65 embassies and missions, about 60 honorary consulates. It is not represented in 122 countries, yet they are related to some missions abroad.”
“The diplomatic body is very coherent, splits are negligible in comparison with 1500 member in it.”
Pressure, Extortion and Sense of Nationality

Al-Thawra newspaper's Editor in ChiefAli Qassem, Syrian “Al-Thawra” newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, explained to Al-Manar Website that the issue is related to a national dimension that must be taken into consideration, especially that the sense of nationality among people in Syria is non-negotiable and cannot be extorted, and this doesn’t mean that there are exceptions. “The sense of nationality is a result of an old-aged civilization that goes back to some 7000 years. And every Syrian person clings to this land and the national objectives,” he added. Qassem noted that “the cohesion of the Syrian diplomatic corpse was normal, in particular when (splits among diplomats) were employed as a mean of intimidation, war, pressure and extortion in the beginning of the crisis.”

According to Qassem, pressures on the diplomatic body were distributed as follows:
  • First: intimidation, lying, and exaggeration
  • Second: extortion, threatening, and swaggering
  • Third: fabrication (alleging increase in desertions)
He asserts that Syrian diplomats were able to face those pressures because Syrian diplomacy’s firmness means firmness is all Syria. Therefore, the two years old campaign is still fruitless.

“It is well-known that the Syrian diplomatic team is well-trained and qualified and is facing all battles on both Arab and international levels in different ways and since a long time. This points out the importance of the role Syria is playing there,” Qassem added.

Why Assad Wasn’t, Won’t be Defeated? (1/7)
Why Assad Wasn’t, Won’t be Defeated? (2/7)
Why Assad Wasn’t, Won’t be Defeated? (3/7)

Expect soon:

Part 5: The Inside and Outside Opposition
Part 6: Syria… the World Became Two Poles

Part 7: Solution in Syria?
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil

Posted on by WashingtonsBlog

Terrorism Is a Real Threat … But the Threat to the U.S. from Muslim Terrorists Has Been Exaggerated

An FBI report shows that only a small percentage of terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 were perpetrated by Muslims.
Princeton University’s Loon Watch compiled the following chart from the FBI’s data (as explained below, this chart is over-simplified … and somewhat inaccurate):
Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI DatabaseTerrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI Database

According to this data, there were more Jewish acts of terrorism within the United States than Islamic (7% vs 6%).  These radical Jews committed acts of terrorism in the name of their religion.  These were not terrorists who happened to be Jews; rather, they were extremist Jews who committed acts of terrorism based on their religious passions, just like Al-Qaeda and company.
(The chart is misleading in several ways. For example, it labels “Extreme Left Wing Groups” and “Communists”, but not “Extreme Right Wing Groups” or “Fascists”. It should have either discarded all partisan labels, or included labels for both ends of the spectrum.  In addition, “Latinos” is misleading, as Loonwatch is actually referring to Puerto Rican separatist groups, Cuban exile groups and the like.  However, as shown below, many of the basic concepts are correct.)
U.S. News and World Report noted in February of this year:
Of the more than 300 American deaths from political violence and mass shootings since 9/11, only 33 have come at the hands of Muslim-Americans, according to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. The Muslim-American suspects or perpetrators in these or other attempted attacks fit no demographic profile—only 51 of more than 200 are of Arabic ethnicity. In 2012, all but one of the nine Muslim-American terrorism plots uncovered were halted in early stages. That one, an attempted bombing of a Social Security office in Arizona, caused no casualties.
Wired reported the same month:
Since 9/11, [Charles Kurzman, Professor of Sociology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, writing for the Triangle Center on Terrorism and National Security] and his team tallies, 33 Americans have died as a result of terrorism launched by their Muslim neighbors. During that period, 180,000 Americans were murdered for reasons unrelated to terrorism. In just the past year, the mass shootings that have captivated America’s attention killed 66 Americans, “twice as many fatalities as from Muslim-American terrorism in all 11 years since 9/11,” notes Kurzman’s team.
Law enforcement, including “informants and undercover agents,” were involved in “almost all of the Muslim-American terrorism plots uncovered in 2012,” the Triangle team finds. That’s in keeping with the FBI’s recent practice of using undercover or double agents to encourage would-be terrorists to act on their violent desires and arresting them when they do — a practice critics say comes perilously close to entrapment. A difference in 2012 observed by Triangle: with the exception of the Arizona attack, all the alleged plots involving U.S. Muslims were “discovered and disrupted at an early stage,” while in the past three years, law enforcement often observed the incubating terror initiatives “after weapons or explosives had already been gathered.”
The sample of Muslim Americans turning to terror is “vanishingly small,” Kurzman tells Danger Room. Measuring the U.S. Muslim population is a famously inexact science, since census data don’t track religion, but rather “country of origin,” which researchers attempt to use as a proxy. There are somewhere between 1.7 million and seven million American Muslims, by most estimates, and Kurzman says he operates off a model that presumes the lower end, a bit over 2 million. That’s less a rate of involvement in terrorism of less than 10 per million, down from a 2003 high of 40 per million, as detailed in the chart above.
Yet the scrutiny by law enforcement and homeland security on American Muslims has not similarly abated. The FBI tracks “geomaps” of areas where Muslims live and work, regardless of their involvement in any crime. The Patriot Act and other post-9/11 restrictions on government surveillance remain in place. The Department of Homeland Security just celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 2011, President Obama ordered the entire federal national-security apparatus to get rid of counterterrorism training material that instructed agents to focus on Islam itself, rather than specific terrorist groups.
Kurzman doesn’t deny that law enforcement plays a role in disrupting and deterring homegrown U.S. Muslim terrorism. His research holds it out as a possible explanation for the decline. But he remains surprised by the disconnect between the scale of the terrorism problem and the scale — and expense — of the government’s response.
“Until public opinion starts to recognize the scale of the problem has been lower than we feared, my sense is that public officials are not going to change their policies,” Kurzman says. “Counterterrorism policies have involved surveillance — not just of Muslim-Americans, but of all Americans, and the fear of terrorism has justified intrusions on American privacy and civil liberties all over the internet and other aspects of our lives. I think the implications here are not just for how we treat a religious minority in the U.S., but also how we treat the rights & liberties of everyone.”
We agree. And so do most Americans. Indeed – as we’ve previously documented – you’re more likely to die from brain-eating parasites, alcoholism, obesity, medical errors, risky sexual behavior or just about anything other than terrorism.
Kurzman told the Young Turks in February that Islamic terrorism “doesn’t even count for 1 percent” of the 180,000 murders in the US since 9/11.
While the Boston marathon bombings were horrific, a top terrorism expert says that the Boston attack was more like Columbine than 9/11, and that the bombers are “murderers not terrorists”.  The overwhelming majority of mass shootings were by non-Muslims.  (This is true in Europe, as well as in the U.S.)
However you classify them – murder or terrorism – the Boston bombings occurred after all of the statistical analysis set forth above. Moreover, different groups have different agendas about how to classify the perpetrators  (For example, liberal Mother Jones and conservative Breitbart disagree on how many of the perpetrators of terror attacks can  properly be classified as right wing extremists.)
So we decided to look at the most current statistics for ourselves, to do an objective numerical count not driven by any agenda.
Specifically, we reviewed all of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil as documented by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2012). Global Terrorism Database, as retrieved from
The START Global Terrorism Database spans from 1970 through 2012 (and will be updated from year-to-year), and – as of this writing – includes 104,000 terrorist incidents.  As such, it is the most comprehensive open-source database open to the public.
We counted up the number of terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims.  We excluded attacks by groups which are obviously not Muslims, such as the Ku Klux Klan, Medellin Drug Cartel, Irish Republican Army, Anti-Castro Group, Mormon extremists, Vietnamese Organization to Exterminate Communists and Restore the Nation, Jewish Defense League, May 19 Communist Order, Chicano Liberation Front, Jewish Armed Resistance, American Indian Movement, Gay Liberation Front, Aryan Nation, Jewish Action Movement, National Front for the Liberation of Cuba, or Fourth Reich Skinheads.
We counted attacks by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Black American Moslems, or anyone who even remotely sounded Muslim … for example anyone from Palestine, Lebanon or any other Arab or Muslim country, or any name including anything sounding remotely Arabic or Indonesian (like “Al” anything or “Jamaat” anything).
If we weren’t sure what the person’s affiliation was, we looked up the name of the group to determine whether it could in any way be connected to Muslims.
Based on our review of the approximately 2,400 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil contained within the START database, we determined that approximately 60 were carried out by Muslims.
In other words, approximately 2.5% of all terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1970 and 2012 were carried out by Muslims.*  This is a tiny proportion of all attacks.
(We determined that approximately 118 of the terror attacks – or 4.9% – were carried out by Jewish groups such as Jewish Armed Resistance, the Jewish Defense League, Jewish Action Movement, United Jewish Underground and Thunder of Zion. This is almost twice the percentage of Islamic attacks within the United States.  In addition, there were approximately 168 attacks – or 7% – by anti-abortion activists, who tend to be Christian. Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional  – a Puerto Rican paramilitary organization -  carried out more than 120 bomb attacks on U.S. targets between 1974 and 1983, and there were some 41 attacks by Cuban exiles, and a number of attacks by other Latin American groups. If we look at worldwide attacks – instead of just attacks on U.S. soil – Sunni Muslims are the main perpetrators of terrorism.  However: 1. Muslims are also the main victims of terror attacks worldwide; and 2. the U.S. backs the most radical types of Sunnis over more moderate Muslims and Arab secularists.)
Moreover, another study undertaken by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism – called ”Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States” – found:
Between 1970 and 2011, 32 percent of the perpetrator groups were motivated by ethnonationalist/separatist agendas, 28 percent were motivated by single issues, such as animal rights or opposition to war, and seven percent were motivated by religious beliefs. In addition, 11 percent of the perpetrator groups were classified as extreme right-wing, and 22 percent were categorized as extreme left-wing.
Preliminary findings from PPT-US data between 1970 and 2011 also illustrate a distinct shift in the dominant ideologies of these terrorist groups over time, with the proportion of emerging ethnonationalist/separatist terrorist groups declining and the proportion of religious terrorist groups increasing. However, while terrorist groups with religious ideologies represent 40 percent of all emergent groups from 2000-2011 (two out of five), they only account for seven percent of groups over time.
Similarly, a third study by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism Religion found that religion alone is not a key factor in determining which terrorists want to use weapons of mass destruction:
The available empirical data show that there is not a significant relationship between terrorist organizations’ pursuit of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) weapons and the mere possession of a religious ideology, according to a new quantitative study by START researchers Victor Asal, Gary Ackerman and Karl Rethemeyer.
Therefore, Muslims are not more likely than other groups to want to use WMDs.
* The Boston marathon bombing was not included in this analysis, as START has not yet updated its database to include 2013 terrorist attacks.  3 people died in the Boston attack.  While tragic, we are confident that non-Musliims killed more than 3 during this same period.
We are not experts in terrorism analysis.  We would therefore defer to people like Kurzman on the exact number.  However, every quantitative analysis of terrorism in the U.S. we have read shows that the percent of terror attacks carried out by Muslims is far less than 10%.
Postscript: State-sponsored terrorism is beyond the scope of this discussion, and was not included in our statistical analysis.  Specifically, the following arguments are beyond the scope of this discussion, as we are focusing solely on non-state terrorism:
  • Arguments by  University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole that deaths from 20th century wars could be labeled Christian terrorism

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!