Saturday, June 27, 2015

حديث الثورة-هجوم سوسة.. التداعيات المحلية والدولية

ما وراء الخبر- أسباب التصعيد العسكري بتعز وعدن

Lebanon: Monitor Detention to Combat Torture

Latest Abuse Videos Should Prompt Long-Needed Reforms


(Beirut) – Lebanese authorities should adopt wide-ranging measures to combat torture, including creating a national monitoring body for detention facilities, Human Rights Watch said today on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Recently leaked videos show Internal Security Forces (ISF) officers torturing inmates in Roumieh prison.

The Lebanese government should further bring national laws and practices in compliance with its international obligations to prevent and combat torture. A group of local organizations also issued a joint statement calling on the government to adopt such measures.

“The torture captured on video is only the tip of the iceberg, since local and international organizations have been documenting torture and abuse of detainees in Lebanon for years,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “The government’s announced investigations are encouraging but the real test will be whether it will enact long-awaited reforms to address the problem beyond the current scandal.”

Two videos surfaced on social media over the weekend showing several Internal Security Forces officers beating prisoners following a prison riot at Roumieh in April 2015. The interior minister confirmed the authenticity of the videos. The ISF and several Lebanese officials, including the Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, denounced the acts and promised to bring those responsible to justice.

Media reports said that charges were brought against five security force members. However, State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud said that investigations revealed that the crime was “motivated by personal reasons and does not, in any way, represent a systematic security practice or policing methodology.” The videos caused condemnations nationwide, media reported, galvanizing an atmosphere of discontent as protesters took to the streets demanding Mashnouq’s resignation. An October 2014 report of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) concluded that torture in Lebanon is a “pervasive practice that is routinely used by the armed forces and law enforcement agencies for the purpose of investigation, for securing confessions to be used in criminal proceedings and, in some cases for punishing acts that the victim is believed to have committed.”

Lebanon has failed in the past to properly investigate security abuse cases, Human Rights Watch said. No proper investigations were opened into serious allegations of military abuses against detainees in connection with the fighting between the Lebanese army and the armed Fatah al-Islam group in 2007 in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp. Nor was there a judicial investigation in October 2012 after army and intelligence officials rounded up and beat at least 72 male migrant workers, mostly Syrians, in the Beirut neighborhood of Geitawi, allegedly because they had received reports of migrants “harassing women.”

In July 2013, an investigative military judge issued arrest warrants against five members of military intelligence for the death in custody of Nader Bayoumi, who was detained following clashes in Abra between the army and armed followers of Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir. Despite follow-up inquiries and demands for transparent and public updates from the authorities, there has been no public reporting on the investigations.

The need to combat torture and ill-treatment lie at the heart of several international conventions, treaties, and declarations that Lebanon is obligated to uphold under international law and is bound to by the preamble of its constitution. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

Lebanese authorities should establish a national preventive mechanism (NPM) to visit detention facilities, monitor the treatment of and conditions for detainees, and develop a national strategy to prevent ill-treatment, as required by the OPCAT, which Lebanon ratified in 2008. Legislation to create such a body has been stalledin parliament for several years.

Lebanon should also bring national legislation into compliance with the CAT, especially with regard to criminalizing all forms of torture and ill-treatment, as well as confirming Lebanon’s obligation to pursue all allegations of such violations in a diligent, timely, and effective manner to bring those responsible to justice.

Judicial authorities should investigate all allegations of torture regardless of the identity of the person accused, including state and non-state actors.

Donor countries providing military assistance to Lebanon’s security agencies should ensure that aid supports Lebanon’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture and Lebanon’s other international human rights obligations, including through support to internal oversight and accountability mechanisms.

Prosecuting those responsible for torture would set a much-needed precedent for the country and send the message that torture will not be tolerated in Lebanon. Ensuring accountability goes far beyond prosecuting those responsible for abusing victims in disgraceful scenes that reach the Lebanese public, Human Rights Watch said.

“Not only is justice for the victims at stake, but also the government and security forces’ reputation,” Houry said. “Preventing torture strives to strengthen the rule of law and citizens’ confidence in state institutions.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

التعذيب بالوكالة



برامج متفرقة- التعذيب بالوكالة.. الصفقة الدانماركية اللبنانية

إذا أردت أن تقضي على ثورة اصنع لها متطرفين!

إذا أردت أن تقضي على ثورة اصنع لها متطرفين!

د. فيصل القاسم
هل لاحظتم في بداية الثورة السورية أن أكثر شيء أزعج نظام بشار الأسد هو مطالبة الشعب بالحرية. وقد لاحظنا كيف كانت أجهزة الأمن تنكّل بالمتظاهرين الثائرين، وتتلذذ بتعذيبهم بطرق وحشية وهي تقول لهم: «بدكن حرية، أي خذوا حرية» (وهي تسحقهم طبعاً). هرش النظام وحلفاؤه وكل من يريد إفشال الثورة رؤوسهم وهم يفكرون بالانتقام من الثوار، ثم صاحوا: وجدناها، وجدناها: نحن نعرف كيف نجعل الشعب الثائر يحن إلى أيام الطغيان الخوالي، ويلعن الساعة التي طالب فيها بالحرية. أحضروا له جماعات متطرفة تجعل النظام يبدو «ديمقراطياً» للغاية بالمقارنة معها. سنجعل تلك الجماعات تتدخل حتى في لباسكم وشرابكم وأكلكم وسجائركم.
عندئذ ستقولون: «ما أحلى أيام المخابرات، على الأقل لم تمنعنا من التدخين، وتركتنا نلبس، ونأكل، ونشرب، ونسمع ما نشاء».
إياكم أن تستهينوا بهذه الحريات البسيطة. تخيل أنك تمشي في الشارع، وجاء شخص، وضربك، وطالبك بالدعس على السيجارة فوراً، أو منعك من الاستماع إلى موسيقى معينة. كيف سيكون شعورك، إذا لم يكن بإمكانك أن تنظر في وجهه، فما بالك أن تصرخ؟ 
ومما يجعل الطواغيت أكثر شعبية من بعض الإسلاميين المتطرفين أن بعض المجتمعات التي ثارت فيها الشعوب هي عبارة عن موزاييك ديني وطائفي وعرقي، وبعضها فيه نسبة كبيرة من العلمانيين. أي أن ذلك الموزاييك ليس مستعداً للعيش في مجتمع محكوم دينياً، وبالتالي فهو سيفضل الطاغية العسكري، على علاته الكثيرة، على «الخليفة المُعمم». وحتى المسلمون العاديون الذين تعودوا على حياة اجتماعية غير متزمتة لن يقبلوا بنظام حكم ديني صارم. وقد سمعت من كثيرين من المسلمين السوريين أنهم بعد الثورة سيحملون السلاح فوراً لتحرير البلاد من أي جماعة دينية متطرفة. أي أنهم لم يثوروا ضد النظام العسكري المخابراتي ليستبدلوه بنظام ديني متطرف. 
ألا يحق للبسطاء الآن أن يتساءلوا بعد أن وجدوا أن الجماعات المتطرفة اختطفت الثورات؟ من أين أتت تلك الجماعات؟ لماذا لم نرها قبل الثورات؟ من أين أتت بالسلاح؟ كيف تغولت، وسيطرت على الساحات بسرعة وبقوة؟ لماذا لا تسقط مواقع النظام في سوريا إلا أمام جماعات إسلامية معينة؟ لماذا اختفت الجماعات الثورية الأصلية التي كانت تريد بناء أنظمة ديمقراطية حديثة تصون الحقوق والحريات الأساسية؟ أسئلة مشروعة جداً بعيداً عن الفلسفات. أليس من عادة الثورات أن تنقل الشعوب إلى الأمام لا إلى الوراء؟ ألم تثر الشعوب لتنتقل من الواقع البائس إلى مستقبل مشرق؟ هل أرسلوا لها جماعات متطرفة لتنتقم منها، وتعيدها مئات السنين إلى الوراء؟ ألا تحاول الجماعات المتطرفة التي تتزعم الساحات الآن إعادة الشعوب إلى الخلف فعلاً؟ ألا تهدد بالتدخل في أبسط حرياتها؟ فمن المستفيد إذاً من تصرفات تلك الجماعات وطغيانها؟ أليس الطواغيت الذين ثارت على ظلمهم وطغيانهم الشعوب؟ ألا يفرك بشار الأسد وأمثاله وحلفاؤه أيديهم فرحاً عندما يرون تلك الجماعات تنافسهم في القمع والطغيان؟ النظام السوري وأتباعه يشتمون الدواعش نهاراً، ويشكرونهم ليلاً، لأنهم وفروا لهم متنفساً عظيماً. 
سؤال للجماعات التي تريد أن تعود بالشعوب الثائرة إلى ما قبل القرون الوسطى: ألا تعتقدين انك بذلك تقدمين خدمة جليلة جداً لأعداء الثورات ولطواغيت الذين يواجهون ثورات شعبية؟ الشعوب ثارت للتخلص من الظالمين، وليس للوقوع في حضن الظلاميين الذين يريدون أن يعودوا بالشعوب إلى غياهب الماضي. إما أنك لا تفقهين ألف باء الثورات كونها قفزة إلى الأمام وليس نكوصاً إلى الخلف أيتها الجماعات، أو أنك من صنع الطواغيت وأعوانهم كي يجعلوا الشعوب تقول: «خليك على قردك كي لا يأتيك الأقرد منه». أليس من حق الشعوب أن تظن أن الديكتاتوريات المحاصرة بالثورات تعمل مع حلفائها على خلق جماعات تدعو للعودة الى الوراء، فتتوقف الشعوب عن مطالبها الثورية، وتقول: فلنبق على ما نحن عليه، أفضل من أن نعود الى الماضي السحيق.
لا شك أن البعض سيقول لنا: وما العيب في أن نعود مئات السنين إلى الوراء؟ ألم نكن أفضل في تلك الأيام الخوالي؟ نعم بالتأكيد كنا أفضل وأقوى. لكنه بصراحة سؤال ساذج؟ ومن قال لك إن تلك الجماعات المتطرفة ستعيدك إلى العصر الإسلامي الذهبي؟ ولو افترضنا جدلاً أن تلك الجماعات تريد ذلك فعلاً، هل تسمح لها القوى الكبرى بذلك؟ صحيح أن كثيرين صفقوا لبعض الجماعات المتطرفة في سوريا وغيرها، لكن ليس لأنهم يريدونها بديلاً عن النظام، بل فقط نكاية بالنظام وانتقاماً منه، دون أن يعلموا أن بعض الجماعات تقوم بتلميع صورة النظام بطريقة غير مباشرة داخلياً وخارجياً. ثم أين انتصرت تلك الجماعات المتطرفة، ثم بنت دولة أفضل من الموجود؟ في أفغانستان؟ في الصومال؟ في الجزائر؟ في ليبيا؟ أم إنها انشغلت بمقاتلة بعضها البعض بعد أن نفذت مشاريع الاخرين هناك؟ انظر كيف تصفّي بعضها البعض في سوريا وغيرها؟ أليست الجماعات الإسلامية أكثر من يردد القول الكريم: «ولا تنازعوا فتفشلوا وتذهب ريحكم»، لكنها أكثر الجماعات تنازعاً فيما بينها وخاصة أثناء الثورات وبعدها؟ قد يقول البعض إن الثورة المصرية لم يقتلها المتطرفون الإسلاميون. وهذا صحيح، لكن الثورة المضادة نجحت نجاحاً باهراً في استغلال البعبع الإسلامي لإعادة الشعب إلى بيت الطاعة. 
لقد حققت الجماعات المتطرفة هدفين لأعداء الثورات في الداخل والخارج. أعادت بعض الأنظمة الساقطة للسلطة، وأطالت بعمر النظام السوري وغيره بعد أن انشغل بها الداخل والخارج، واستغلها الخارج وعملاؤه في الداخل لحرف الثورات عن مسارها، واستخدموها سكيناً لإعادة رسم خرائط المنطقة. تدخل داعش إلى منطقة، فترسل لها أمريكا وإيران طائراتها وجماعات لتقاتلها على الأرض، فتخرج داعش من تلك المنطقة لتحل محلها جماعة أخرى، كما يفعل الأكراد الآن في الشمال والجماعات الإيرانية في العراق. وبحجة ذلك يتم تهجير شعوب وإعادة تقسيم المناطق بتنسيق أمريكي إيراني لا تخطئه عين. وحتى لو صدقنا أن تلك الجماعات مستقلة تماماً، ولا تخدم أحداً، وانتصرت، وحلت محل الأنظمة الساقطة، ألا يحق للشعوب أن تسأل: هل ثرنا كي نستبدل الفالج بالسرطان، أو الظلم بالظلام؟

ما وراء الخبر- دلالات تفجير مسجد الإمام الصادق بالكويت

المعارك تحتدم في درعا والهدف دمشق

إزدواجية الحزب

Germany: Investigate Detention of Egyptian Journalist

Interpol Had Rejected Cairo’s Request to Issue Notice for Extradition


(Berlin) – German authorities should urgently investigate the detention of the Egyptian journalist Ahmed Mansour in Berlin, Human Rights Watch said today.

German authorities have revealed few of the details that led to his detention, but government spokesmen said that both the Foreign Ministry and the Federal Justice Office approved a request by Egyptian authorities to detain Mansour with a view to extradite him to Egypt. They apparently approved the request despite the high risk that Mansour would face serious due process violations if extradited to Egypt. Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, had previously rejected a request by Egypt to issue a “red notice” asking countries to arrest and extradite Mansour.

German authorities should have been clear from the start that Ahmed Mansour risks serious violations of his human rights if he is sent to Egypt,” said Wenzel Michalski, Germany director of Human Rights Watch. “Members of parliament should press the government to investigate the case and make sure that proper safeguards are in place to make sure that nothing like this happens again.”

The German federal police did not state publicly the full nature of the charges or warrant against Mansour after arresting him in Berlin-Tegel Airport on June 20, 2015, as he attempted to board a flight to Qatar. Mansour, a journalist for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Arabic television network, had been in Germany on an assignment for the network.

A judge apparently approved the temporary detention of Mansour on June 21, but on June 22 German prosecutors announced they did not support the continuation of the extradition case against Mansour and ordered his release.

German government spokesmen said that the German authorities were acting on the request of Egyptian authorities for Mansour’s extradition. Egyptian authorities had issued an arrest warrant related to Mansour’s conviction by an Egyptian court, in absentia, on charges of participating in the February 2011 illegal detention, torture, and sexual abuse of a lawyer whom protesters in Tahrir Square had seized during the mass uprising against then-president Hosni Mubarak. The protesters had accused the lawyer of being a government security agent.

Mansour, who denies the accusations, was convicted in October 2014 alongside a leading Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohamed al-Beltagy; a former judge and member of parliament, Mahmoud al-Khodeiry; a Brotherhood member and former youth minister, Osama Yasi; pro-Brotherhood preacher Safwat Hegazy; and three former Brotherhood-affiliated members of parliament.

Mansour’s arrest followed a visit to Germany by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt earlier this month. Sisi was defense minister in July 2013 at the time of the military’s removal of Mohamed Morsy, Egypt’s first freely elected president, and subsequent mass killings of protesters. Under Sisi’s rule the Egyptian authorities have carried out a large-scale crackdown on opposition groups across the political spectrum, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Prosecutors filed the case against Mansour and the Brotherhood members in November 2013, after Morsy’s removal. In March 2014, another judge ordered all of Mansour’s assets seized, according to Mansour. Mansour is frequently portrayed in Egypt as sympathetic to the Brotherhood, and Egyptian media have reported that he is under investigation in numerous cases for his alleged ties to the group.

On October 21, 2014, according to emails provided to Human Rights Watch by Mansour’s legal team, Interpol informed Mansour’s lawyers that Egypt had requested Interpol issue a “red notice” – a request to Interpol member states to arrest a named individual with a view to his extradition – against Mansour, but that Interpol had declined because “the request did not meet Interpol’s rules.” Interpol’s charter states that “It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”

Human Rights Watch has documented numerous serious due process violations in Egypt’s criminal justice system, since 2013, including mass trials in which prosecutors and judges rely wholly on the evidence of national security agents and make no effort to assess individual culpability, flouting both Egyptian and international law. Human Rights Watch has also documented the dangerously overcrowded conditions in Egyptian detention facilities that have arisen since the authorities conducted a mass arrest campaign following Morsy’s removal. According to credible counts by Egyptian rights organizations at least 124 people have died in detention since 2013.

“Germany should make crystal clear that human rights must not be trumped by other interests with the Egyptian government,” Michalski said. “A proper investigation into the arrest of Ahmed Mansour is an important step toward more transparency.”

Dismissing Israel's war crimes undermines Washington's moral fabric

By: Said Arikat
Dismissing Israel's war crimes undermines Washington's moral fabric

Comment: By rejecting any suggestion that Israel may have been wrong in waging war(s) on Gaza, the United States is losing what credibility it had in the Middle East.
The long-awaited United Nations Human Rights Council report on Israel's atrocious war on Gaza last summer was finally released on Monday, to the expected Israeli and US condemnation.

The report accused both Israel and Hamas militants of committing possible war crimes in last summer's Gaza war, finding that Israeli airstrikes on residential buildings caused many civilian deaths and suggesting Israeli leaders knowingly endangered civilian lives.

The report, which took nine months to complete, concludes that both Israel and "Palestinian armed groups", including Hamas, violated international law and may have committed war crimes during fighting that claimed more than 2,251 Palestinian lives - 1,462 civilians, including 551 children - and the deaths of six Israeli civilians and 67 Israeli soldiers.

Most Israeli soldiers were killed while assaulting the Gaza neighbourhoods of Shujaeyyea, Khuzaa, Khan Younis and Rafah.

Details of the deaths

The report confirms that more than 11,000 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured - with almost 10 percent suffering permanent disabilities.

It also gives staggering detail on how the Gaza carnage was inflicted across 6,000 Israeli airstrikes, with 36,000 Israeli artillery shells and 16,000 Israeli tank shells shot.

Palestinians, meanwhile, shot 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortar shells towards Israel between July 7 and August 26.

The 183-page report was compiled by the Commission of Inquiry's investigators and their staff, who conducted hundreds of interviews with victims and witnesses, received hundreds of written submissions and obtained large amounts of data from other UN bodies.

According to the report, the investigators also consulted satellite imagery, independent military experts, government documents and statements, and evidence gathered by independent organisations.

"The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come," Mary McGowan Davis, the chair of the investigation commission, told journalists.
    The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations
- Mary McGowan Davis

"There is also ongoing fear in Israel among communities who come under regular threat," added McGowan Davis, a former New York Supreme Court Justice.

False equivalence

The commission was led by two independent experts: McGowan Davis, named chair after Canadian international law expert William Schabas was forced to resign under relentless pressure, and Senegal's Doudou Diène, a former UN special rapporteur on racism.

To placate Israel, and schmooze the United States - as with all things related to Israel's behaviour - the report almost exaggeratingly highlights the audacious notion of some quirky parity between Israel's formidable arsenal - almost exclusively supplied by the United States, including F16 fighter jets and Apache helicopter gunships - and Hamas' homemade rockets.

As it has become customary for all UN and international reports or comments pertaining to Israel, the report goes out of its way to note that "the threats to the security of Israel remained all too real".

It describes at length the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, as well as "Hamas' terrifying tunnels" into Israeli territory.

It describes Israel's casualties, including children killed - one during the war by rocket-fire and the three teenage settlers who were killed in the West Bank and whose deaths gave the pretext to Israel to launch its crazy war.

It highlights "Israeli children, wounded and emotionally scarred" by rockets coming from Gaza. And it charges that the firing of these rockets without guidance systems in the vague direction of civilian residential areas in Israel by "Palestinian armed groups" was a blatant violation of international law, and possibly a war crime.

But the report's most damning charges against Hamas involve "executions" of suspected collaborators by "Palestinian armed groups" - its collective term for the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several smaller groups.

Lack of proportionality

But despite all efforts to somehow draw sameness and parity between Israel's massive aggression with military hardware unseen in battle in the history of man thus far, with that of Gaza's hapless ragtag militia and the hopelessness of a besieged population, the truth comes out glaring to shame a world too paralysed, or numbed with apathy to stand up to the Israeli aggressor.

The report cites dozens of cases where Israel's response might not have been "proportional" to any threat perceived.

It notes that international laws of war dictate that "military action should be proportional, not to the harm suffered, but to the achievement of a legitimate military goal".

According to the report, the investigators studied 15 specific residential buildings out of the thousands that Israel shelled.

It found evidence of a military target in nine of them. In the other six, it couldn't find any evidence of a military target, raising the suspicion that these buildings were purely civilian facilities, suggesting that the attacks violated international law.

Since Israel didn't cooperate with the investigators, and didn't allow them entry to Israel or Gaza, the report urges Israel to answer the question "of what it was aiming at in each case".

Obstructing the truth

"The commission requested details from the Government of Israel on where the rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza actually landed, so as to make a more detailed assessment of the proportion of cases in which they were directed at densely populated areas in Israel," stated the report's 86th finding.

"Unfortunately, the Government of Israel did not provide a response, which made it difficult for the commission to determine the extent to which attacks were directed at the civilian population in Israel."

On the other hand, the report states that investigators had found evidence of war crimes during Israel's siege and shelling of the village of Khuzaa "between 20 July and 1 August and its massive bombardment of the southern city of Rafah after one of its soldiers was reported captured on 1 August".

The report charges Israel with using Palestinians as human shields in Khuzaa, a small farming community in east central Gaza.

It further charges that on July 23, a 17-year-old named Ahmed Abu Reda was abducted by Israeli soldiers from his family as they tried to flee the area. According to his father, the boy was kept hostage for five days, during which he was interrogated and forced to undertake "risky tasks such as opening doors, inspecting rooms, switching the lights on and off to test whether secret explosives were being connected to the light switches, open fridges and other devices that may have detonated explosions".

It concluded that "there are strong indications that elements of the IDF operation in Khuzaa may qualify as direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects and may thus amount to a war crime".
    Israel, of course, rejected the report, and dismissed it out of hand


The report cites Israel's military "as a contributing factor for the unleashing of massive firepower on Rafah, in total disregard for its impact on the civilian population", a charge, among others, that would appear tantamount to war crimes.

Israel, of course, rejected the report, and dismissed it out of hand - as it has done throughout its history of wars against the Palestinian populations.

It seems that rarely a day passes without Israel committing some sort of a war crime against Palestinians.

With glaring mockery of even the most modest moral standards, it issued its own 277-page report, absolving itself of any wrongdoings.

And, of course, the United States stood complicit with Israel, as it not only provides Israel with the tools to commit war crimes, but it gives it empowerment, and political cover to continue committing these war crimes with impunity.

Even before the release of the UNHRC report, the United States government dismissed it. State Department Spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters last week that the US opposed even the creation of the Gaza investigation.

"There is, unfortunately, a long history of anti-Israeli bias in UN resolutions and mechanisms, including at the Human Rights Council," he said.

This stand not only spotlights America's stark hypocrisy in championing human rights, it threatens to compromise its founding moral fabric.

Said Arikat is the Washington bureau chief for the Jerusalem-based Palestinian al-Quds newspaper.

Israel's PR gaffes expose its racist atmosphere

Israel is increasingly isolated and adrift, cast away on a wave of its own delusion.

This isn't an attempt to compile a "most racist" scorecard of nations. But the offensive tweet posted by Judy Shalom Nir Mozes last week is not a million miles away from the sort of comments you hear in everyday conversation within Israel, all the time.
To recap, the talk-show host, household name, and wife of Israel's interior minister, Silvan Shalom, told a "joke" on Twitter: "Do you know what Obama coffee is? Black and weak." Not that there is ever a good time for such a racist comment, but this one came in the same week that the US and swaths of the twittersphere were focused on painfully strained race relations in the US, and still reeling in the aftermath of a white terrorist attack on nine black Americans in a Charleston church.
Are black Israelis being discriminated against?
An avalanche of criticism followed - including in Hebrew, from Israeli tweeps; the international media picked up on it, and the message was duly deleted and apologised for.
Hostility to 'others'
But, while Mozes now insists she likes people "no matter about [sic] their race and religion", Israel is home to the sort of openly casual, incidental racism that feels like a jarring throwback if you're from a country that is further advanced on that front - or at least pretends not to do racism, and keeps these sort of comments under wraps.
Such sentiments aren't just aimed at Palestinians, both within the occupied territories and inside Israel. The hostility to "others" also finds a target in the African asylum seekers who have perilously crossed into Israel, mostly via the Sinai desert border with Egypt, and mostly from Sudan and Eritrea. Numbering some 60,000, these refugees (called "infiltrators" in Israel) were memorably described as a "cancer" by the current culture minister, back in 2012.
The government's pretty open animosity to African refugees is mirrored on the streets...

The government's pretty open animosity to African refugees is mirrored on the streets, where there have been sporadic attacks and bursts of violence over the past few years. During a spate of such attacks in 2012, the Israeli historian Tom Segev, voiced concern about the "racist atmosphere", adding that: "For several years now, Israel society has been moving in that direction."
There's also the treatment of Ethiopian Jewish citizens, which recently made the international front pages when thousands protested after video footage emerged of a police officer beating up an Ethiopian Israeli soldier. At that time, one Ethiopian Israeli told the UK's Independent newspaper: "This country is racist from the bottom up."
Just days ago, violent clashes with police erupted on Israel's streets as Ethiopians protested against the decision to close the investigation of the police officer responsible for that attack on the soldier in May.
Disparaging ethnic focus 
Meanwhile, a strain of this same disparaging ethnic focus resides in the recent analysis - or psychobabble, if you prefer - unleashed in a series of op-eds penned by Israel's former ambassador to the US, Michael Oren.
Plugging a book about relations between the two BFF countries, Oren suggested that US President Barack Obama is, among other things, unduly keen to appease the Arab Muslim world because of a sort of unresolved "Muslim Daddy complex", the result of being "abandoned" by his Muslim father and step-father. This crass speculation, rehearsed just over a week ago, hardly needs taking apart - but if you want the spectacle, the internet has already done a great job there.
Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and his wife Judy in 2003 [Getty]
All in all, these past few weeks haven't been too great for Israeli PR. In the mix with the racist Mozes tweet and Oren's outlandish assertions was the South-Park-style cartoon released by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), mocking international journalists who covered the Gaza war last summer.
Some 2,200 Palestinians, including 500 children, were killed during Israel's 50-day military operation in 2014. The MFA clip shows an idiotic, American-accented journalist making statements about life in Gaza that are entirely detached from the scenes unfolding behind him: describing a place with "no terrorists, just ordinary people", while militants carry rockets behind him; framing the tunnels that militants are shown using to attack Israel, as "a fascinating attempt by Hamas to build a subway system".
'Misleading and poorly conceived'
At the end of the 50-second clip, the journalist is given a pair of glasses and told: "Maybe now you'll see the reality of life under Hamas rule." The cartoon was released just ahead of the UN's report on the conflict in Gaza, which Israel has dismissed as biased. 
Universally denounced as unhelpful and offensive, described as "misleading and poorly conceived" by Israel's foreign press association, the cartoon was removed from the foreign ministry's website a few days ago.
Palestinian children play next the remains of their house in Gaza City [AFP]
This, however, isn't the first time the MFA has caused heads to shake at the somewhat juvenile, tone-deaf comedic content it has issued.
In 2010, Israel was forced to apologise for a YouTube spoof video put out by its press office, mocking activists aboard the Gaza flotilla. Nine people aboard the aid-bearing boats heading for the strip were killed by Israeli forces - which is one of the reasons why the video, featuring Israeli activists, waving weapons while singing: "We con the world, we con the people," was deemed to be in such poor taste. 
Earlier that year, the Israeli foreign ministry had sent reporters recommendations for a gourmet restaurant in Gaza, anticipating that journalists would travel to the blockaded strip to report on "alleged humanitarian difficulties" and keen to establish the fine dining and other markers of high-quality living in the Hamas-controlled enclave. 
How Israelis view themselves
But the problem inherent to all this supposedly hilarious content is precisely how out of touch it is with sentiment outside of the country. Israel's ever-mounting "hasbara" (or PR or just plain propaganda) efforts are premised on the operational assumption that criticism of the nation's policies is unwarranted and unjustified.
By this logic, it isn't the policies being criticised - the occupation, the Gaza wars - that are the problem, but rather some kind of glitch in the way the policies are coming across, or some dysfunction (ignorance, stupidity or anti-Semitism) in the people appraising them.
In a continuously reinforcing loop, this is pretty much how Israelis view themselves, while at the same time absorbing the same message from politicians and domestic media. And so, paradoxically, Israel's efforts to improve its image just keep making things worse - as the past few weeks of mis-tweets and misfiring "humour" have demonstrated.
Such incidents, part of a wider campaign of public diplomacy, have made Israel look like a strangely disconnected, self-serving echo-chamber. While the government perceives its hasbara efforts to be helping the nation ride high on a wave ofrighteousness, the sad reality is that the country is increasingly isolated and adrift, cast away on a wave of its own delusion.
Rachel Shabi is a journalist and author of Not the Enemy: Israel's Jews from Arab Lands.

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Three Iranian officers killed in Syria


File photo of Iran's Revolutionary Guards
[file photo]
Iranian online newspaper Mashreq News has revealed that three Iranian officers from the Revolutionary Guards have been killed in Damascus during battles with Syrian opposition fighters, Arabi 21 reported on Wednesday.

isaid that the Iranian TV correspondent in Damascus, Hassan Shamshadi, had shown a number of images verifying the deaths of the Revolutionary Guards, and confirming that their coffins were heading to Tehran.
The newspaper added: "The images of the Iranian deaths in Damascus revealed only three names: Ali Amarani, Hassan Ghifari and Mohamed Hamaidi." It said that the number of dead is likely higher than what was shown in the images.
Meanwhile, Tasnim news agency, which is run by the Revolutionary Guards, said that the Iranians killed in Damascus were elite officers who took part in a number of operations there.
It also said that the three dead officers were killed in an ambush by the Syrian opposition in their way to Dara'a in southern Syria.
Arabi 21 reported that the announcement of the operation Southern Storm by opposition fighters has strengthened the stance of the opposition in the course of fighting the Syrian regime and its Iranian allies.
The news agency added that there are suspicions that the number of deaths made public does not reflect the true extent of casualties from within the Revolutionary Guards.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

ما وراء الخبر-فرص "عاصفة الجنوب" في كسب معركة درعا

"عاصفة الجنوب" تهدف إلى تحرير درعا المدينة

أوهام محور الممانعة 2

Syria: UN Security Council must not squander opportunity to save civilian lives

Security Council members should use a meeting with NGOs at the United Nations on 26 June to agree upon steps they will take to enforce Security Council resolution 2139, which calls for an end to indiscriminate and direct attacks against civilians in Syria, said Amnesty International.
The organization is urging the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government and targeted sanctions against individuals on all sides responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Such measures could help end barrel bomb and hell-canon attacks against civilians as well as any use of chlorine and other toxic chemicals as weapons.
“A year and a half ago the Security Council made a commitment to take further steps if resolution 2139 was violated by parties to the conflict. The fact that indiscriminate attacks and other violations have continued unabated across Syria since then shows that it has been consistently and flagrantly flouted,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
“Unless resolution 2139 is enforced, Syria’s civilians will continue to be trapped in an endless cycle of bloodshed caused by the unlawful use of explosive weapons such as barrel bombs.”
Unless resolution 2139 is enforced, Syria’s civilians will continue to be trapped in an endless cycle of bloodshed caused by the unlawful use of explosive weapons such as barrel bombs
Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International
The Security Council has already imposed arms embargoes on the armed groups known as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. Its resolution 2139 also calls for the release of those detained unlawfully and for all sides to facilitate the delivery of much needed humanitarian aid.
Amnesty International is also calling on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Such actions would punish perpetrators, provide a measure of justice for victims, and deter future violations, including unlawful attacks using barrel bombs and chemical attacks.
In a report published in May 2015, Amnesty International highlighted the devastation and horror caused in Aleppo by barrel bombs – unguided, locally produced explosive bombs dropped by Syrian government helicopters – which often strike hospitals, schools and other crowded civilian areas. The report concluded that these bombings were committed as part of a widespread attack against the civilian population and in furtherance of a state policy. It is therefore Amnesty International’s assessment that these attacks amount to crimes against humanity. 
Such attacks continue to take place regularly across Syria. Last week barrel bombs destroyed a Médecins Sans Frontières facility, Busra hospital in Dera’a, southern Syria.
Earlier this week, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria, denounced continuing attacks on civilians in the country, which he said are causing “unspeakable suffering”.
“Some Security Council members, UN member states and the UN Special Envoy to Syria have recently been vocal in criticizing the indiscriminate use of weapons in Syria, but condemnation is not enough. There are concrete actions the UN can and should take to reduce and deter violations against civilians,” said Philip Luther.
“Russia, which has blocked previous Security Council action against Syrian government violations, supported resolution 2139 and must not stand in the way of enforcing it to protect civilians.”
Condemnation is not enough. There are concrete actions the UN can and should take to reduce and deter violations against civilians
Philip Luther
The UN “Arria-formula” meeting convened by France and Spain on 26 June offers a rare opportunity for Security Council members to hear from NGOs who have been documenting the devastating impact of the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons and to address accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed in Syria.
The Security Council should also take further measures to implement resolution 2209 - which was adopted after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that chlorine has been used as a weapon in Syria - in light of the Syrian government’s continued failure to comply with the prohibition on the use of such chemical weapons. The resolution also allows the Security Council to take measures, including economic sanctions and military action, to enforce its resolutions, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.