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Iraqi Baath spokesman denies alliance with Islamic State (Omar al-Jaffal) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - Khodair al-Morshedi, the official spokesman for the Iraqi Baath Party and the secretary-general of the Islamic National Front of Iraq, comprising various armed factions, described the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, as "an extreme, terrorist movement."Morshedi, who said his factions entered Ninevah after it was occupied by the armed organizations on June 10, denies having formed any alliance with IS. However, one member of the Baath Party told Al-Monitor that the Baath Party has coordinated with 14 armed factions to enter Ninevah and control it.....


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Andy Worthington: An Archive of Guantánamo Articles and Other Writing – Part 15, July to December 2013 (Andy Worthington) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - Over eight years ago, in March 2006, I began researching and writing about the Bush administration’s "war on terror" prison at Guantánamo and the 779 men (and boys) held there since the prison opened in January 2002. ... My mission, as it has been since my research first revealed the scale of the injustice at Guantánamo, continues to revolve around four main aims — to humanize the prisoners by telling their stories; to expose the many lies told about them to supposedly justify their detention; to push for the prison’s closure and the absolute repudiation of indefinite detention without charge or trial as US policy; and to call for those who initiated, implemented and supported indefinite detention and torture to be held accountable for their actions.


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The Tribal Component of Iraq’s Sunni Rebellion (By Nicholas A. Heras) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - Following the Iraqi armed opposition’s seizure of Mosul on June 10, and the subsequent capture of large areas of Ninewah, Salah al-Din and Ta’mim governorates, several Iraqi organizations have proclaimed their role in the fighting. Emerging as one of the most powerful opposition groups in the rebel offensive is the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (GMCIR) and its affiliated tribal militias, organized as the Military Council of Iraqi Tribal Revolutionaries. GMCIR members state that the organization has existed since the summer of 2013, but announced its existence in January 2014, in order to respond militarily against Iraqi security forces for firing on Sunni demonstrators in Anbar governorate....

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Nouri al-Maliki's up to his old tricks while the press remains silent (The Common Ills) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014- Violence continues in Iraq today. All Iraq News notes the Iraqi Air Force bombed northern Iraq and killed 10 suspects, from the safety of the sky the military bombed what they hope were suspects in northern Tikrit leaving 3 people dead, and 7 corpses were dumped in al-Hidaya Village. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) adds a Baghdad car bombing killed at least 4 people and left at least twelve injured. And AFP reports, "Militants on Monday assaulted the final area of the Iraqi town of Dhuluiyah still outside their control, after tribesmen rejected an offer to let them enter uncontested, an official said."...

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Hamas: no cease-fire until siege of Gaza lifted (Adnan Abu Amer) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - On the evening of July 10, Abu Abida, the spokesman for Hamas' military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, asserted that a ground war offers an opportunity to free Israeli-held prisoners of war. The al-Qassam Brigades have prepared themselves for a long battle of many weeks. Abu Abida also said that Israel will not determine the timing of the conflict’s conclusion or its terms, emphasizing that the battle will involve many surprises....



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In response to Patrick Cockburn and Sir Richard Dearlove (Faisal J. Abbas) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - In a recent article in The Independent, Patrick Cockburn made a number of wide and questionable assumptions relating to Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the recent crisis in Iraq.However, to Mr. Cockburn’s credit, at least he didn’t pretend to be unbiased in his argument, as he made it clear from his first few words that he had reached his own conclusion that Riyadh is indeed involved with ISIS. Indeed, his article leaves no room for misinterpretation as he doesn’t begin it by asking "if" Saudi Arabia is complicit, but rather asking "how far is Saudi Arabia complicit?"...To start with, Mr. Cockburn seems to have based his whole article on the views of Sir Richard Dearlove, the former MI6 chief who retired ten years ago and he himself has admitted that he had "no inside knowledge obtained" ever since. Furthermore, at the heart of Mr. Cockburn’s article is a questionable quote which he was told was attributed more than 13 years ago to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former head of Saudi Intelligence...

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Is Iraq's Maliki taking a page out of Assad's playbook? (Susannah George) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 — As the Iraqi government struggles to contain a Sunni militant advance on Baghdad and hold the country together, more and more Iraqis are blaming Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki for their country’s increasing resemblance to neighboring Syria. Maliki isn't just responsible for the Iraqi army's poor showing against the Islamic State, critics say: Like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, he’s responsible for the violence itself, for having ordered a military crackdown on a public demonstration, triggering the recent wave of unrest. And now, he’s relying on a military strategy that guarantees high civilian casualties..."Maliki was using aircraft against normal civilian people. He bombarded the entire city," says a man from Fallujah who asked to be called Ali. He said the indiscriminate, sustained violence eventually forced him and his family to flee to the relative safety of Iraq's Kurdistan region. But he said after watching the news from Syria unfold over the last three years, he wasn't surprised by Maliki's response. "All dictators, they all do the same things," he said referring to Maliki and Syrian President Bashar al Assad...

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Israel Is Captive to Its ‘Destructive Process’ (By Chris Hedges) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - Raul Hilberg in his monumental work "The Destruction of the European Jews" chronicled a process of repression that at first was "relatively mild" but led, step by step, to the Holocaust. It started with legal discrimination and ended with mass murder. "The destructive process was a development that was begun with caution and ended without restraint," Hilberg wrote. The Palestinians over the past few decades have endured a similar "destructive process." They have gradually been stripped of basic civil liberties, robbed of assets including much of their land and often their homes, have suffered from mounting restrictions on their physical movements, been blocked from trading and business, especially the selling of produce, and found themselves increasingly impoverished and finally trapped behind walls and security fences erected around Gaza and the West Bank....

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Gaza attacks: Lethal warnings (Eyal Weizman) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - On the night of January 9, 2009, the Salha family were sleeping, and Gaza was under attack. They were woken by a loud bang at 3am: a missile, fired at the house, entered through the roof, and landed in one of the rooms. What the family did not know was that this was a warning. From that moment of impact, they had just three minutes before the house would be destroyed. After moments of terrified confusion they began to leave. A first group managed to escape but as the second group reached the bottom of the stairs, a bomb struck the building, killing six of them: Randa, 34; Fatma, 22; Diya, 13; Rana, 12; Baha, 7; and Rola, 1....

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A mother in Gaza (Lina Al-Sharif) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014- When Israel launched operation Pillars of Clouds back in 2012, I was 8 month pregnant with Yasmeen. Yet, I knew very little, about the enormous emotional complexities of loving, raising, and protecting a child. From the anxiety of giving birth to the sleep depravation, to the everyday tasks of keeping the wellbeing of a human being, motherhood is not easy and never gets easy. And that’s in normal situations where your and the safety of you child are something you can take for granted. But in Gaza, this is not the case. As one mentioned on Twitter, children in Gaza born in 2007 are witnessing the third assault in their lives. Many were killed in the first 2008-2009, many were killed in 2012, and many are being killed these days. So being a mother in Gaza means that your and your children’s worst fears is Israel and its brutality...

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Out to Kill: Israel’s assault on Gaza is not to stop rocket fire (James Marc Leas) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014-....The data published on the Israeli Government and ITIC websites show time and again that attacks on Hamas members in the West Bank and Gaza produce an increase in rocket fire. Each time a wave of rocket fire followed fatal attacks inflicted on Hamas by Israeli government forces. And each time that rocket fire persisted until a new cease fire was in place. The facts do not just pose a public relations problem and a credibility problem for Israeli officials. They also pose a legal problem. The facts about rocket fire published on its own web site mean that the Israeli government cannot rely on self-defense to legally justify any part of its onslaughts. If not to stop rockets, what could the motive for these onslaughts be? One realistic possibility is that the purpose of the onslaughts is to do exactly what the massive attacks on Gaza did do and are doing to Gaza, its families, and their property...

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‘We’re Like Toys for Them’: Young Gazans speak about Operation Protective Edge (Sheren Khalel and Matthew Vickery) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - Ali al-Halabi just wanted to focus on learning French. He graduated high school this fall, and dreams of one day seeing the Eifel Tower for himself, but on his first day of French lessons the bombing started. Ali, 17, is from Al-Zahraa in the Gaza Strip, and for the past week he hasn’t been able to leave his home, let alone attend French lessons. Leaving the besieged area alive feels more and more unlikely as each bomb is dropped.For young people in Gaza, whom make up over 50 percent of the population, this latest military assault on the Gaza Strip is the third in their recent memories—but that does not make it any easier...

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Europe condemns civilian casualties in Gaza while procuring Israeli ‘combat proven’ drones (Mary Dobbing) - 22-jul-2014

July 24, 2014 - We know from the Israeli assaults on Gaza in Winter 2008-09 and November 2012 that armed drones will be playing a major role. Israeli drones fire Raphael made Spike missiles and bombs sometimes fitted with tungsten sleeves – so-called dime bombs. Elbit Systems which makes the Hermes range of drones often markets its products as "combat proven" and its this valuable sales tag which has helped drive Israeli drones sales to at least 53 countries according to Drone Wars recent briefing Israel and the Drone Wars.While Raphael claims "pinpoint precision" for its Spike missiles and coupled with the fact that sensors and cameras on-board drones are expected to enable highly precise and accurate strikes, the high proportion of civilian casualties (80% as of today) is inexplicable – unless they are deliberately or recklessly being targeted – a clear contravention of IHL...

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Iraqi religious authorities: the Quiet and the Outspoken (by Haifa Zangana) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014- ...Religious edicts (fatwas) by Sayyed Sistani given through his Media Spokesman throughout the years of occupation has led to the enhancement of the occupation’s "political process". These fatwas gave the political process an air of the infallibility the religious authority claims for itself, in spite of its sectarianism and the corruption of those who participated in this political process. The supreme Marji’ was politically exploited, whether he himself knew it or not, (clearly his spokesmen at least do know), to manipulate the emotions of people and at time to incite them to irresponsible reactions. ...Religious edicts reached its utmost limits in fueling fear and instinct defense emotions on Friday,13th,2014. This was when Sayyed Sistani issued a fatwa, through his Spokesman, Sheikh Abdulmahdi Al-Karbalaie, that jihad is an imminent duty to defend the land, its people and their honor. This suggests that the land, until the moment the army members escaped from Mosul on the 10 June, was fine, and that the people’s honor was preserved...In the absence of law and order in the Iraq, jihad fatwa sanctified the policies and practices of Nuri Al-Maliki’s regime, including the bombing of the cities. Everyone knows that bombing cities wouldn’t eliminate "terrorism", and that bombing is a collective punishment for the innocent inhabitants..


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A handful of Israeli academics responds to call to condemn Gaza slaughter (Ali Abunimah) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - As Israel’s relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip claimed more Palestinian lives, Haim Bresheeth, a film scholar at SOAS, University of London, helped initiate an open letter to Israeli academics urging them to condemn the slaughter.The open letter states in part: " We have been asked by our academic colleagues in Gaza – whose universities have been destroyed a number of times in the last six years, who are unable to teach or study, and who are also in growing need of food and medicines, like the rest of the almost two million Palestinians living in Gaza – to urge you to act urgently, to make your voice heard in Israel and abroad against what the Israeli government is inflicting on the Gaza population. We invite you, as fellow academics and intellectuals, to join your voices in an open and resounding protest about these war crimes by the Israeli government – your government. " ....

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Israel student union sets up “war room” to sell Gaza massacre on Facebook (Ali Abunimah) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - As the death toll from Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza continues to climb, Israel has once again turned to students to sell the slaughter online."Although they haven’t been called up to the army yet, they’ve decided to enlist in a civilian mission that is no less important – Israeli propaganda [hasbara]," Ynet’s Hebrew edition reported about a massive initiative organized by the Israeli student union branch at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC Herzliya), a prestigious private university. "Hasbara," literally "explaining," is the term used in Israel for government propaganda aimed at overseas audiences. "The goal is to deliver a very clear message to people abroad – Israel has the right to defend itself," Lidor Bar David told Ynet...

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The overwhelming silence of Gaza’s streets (Rami Almeghari) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - ...In Gaza, we call our victims "martyrs," whether they intended to die or not. Some people in the West find this puzzling. We make no apology for doing so. We have always believed that those who are killed by the Israeli occupation will be rewarded by God in paradise.I have not been trying to become a martyr. I am a journalist trying to do my job. Last week, I was trying to ensure that the voices of Gaza are heard in the outside world, something I do all the time.While I was taking a taxi home after conducting some interviews, I narrowly missed an Israeli drone attack on a motorcycle. Two martyrs died instantly in that attack. Protecting my children is not easy....


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Al-Hosni vows to prosecute Al-Maliki and Al-Sistani (Middle East Monitor) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - Close sources to the Iraqi Shia cleric Mahmoud Al-Sarkhi Al-Hosni confirmed that he is in good health and in a safe place, accusing the religious authority affiliated with cleric Ali Al-Sistani of being behind the attack on Al-Hosni after he announced his opposition to their cleric.The same sources also confirmed that they intend to prosecute the Iraqi government for what they described as "its crimes" against Al-Hosni's supporters. The Director of Al-Hosni's Office of Relations, Muhannad Al-Tay, said the cleric's supporters who refused Al-Sistani's fatwa that encourages fighting the Sunni rebels in the west of the country, have been subjected to what he described as "heinous crimes"...


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Repetition and Death in the Colony: On the Israeli Attacks on Gaza (by Nimer Sultany) - 22-jul-2014

July 14, 2014 - ...In short, war, peace and morality are united at the moment against the Palestinians’ quest for freedom. The war machine crushes Palestinian daily life as well as their actions of resistance. The peace process is conditioned on their abdication of their right to resist an unjust foreign occupier and is conditioned on their subordination of demands on behalf of justice for the sake of peace. But they are trapped. Because the relative justice they are willing to accept is increasingly relative to the extent it becomes indistinguishable from unconditional surrender. In the gradual nature of a prolonged peace process the real issues are continuously deferred at the time the facts on the ground are being created. Any Palestinian move, diplomatic or otherwise, effective or meaningless, has to be confined to the bilateral logic of the process. Otherwise, it is deemed harmful to the peace efforts and considered a unilateral move that may justify Israeli unilateral moves or punishments...


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Syria News - July 13 , 2014 (Local Coordinating Committees of Syria) - 22-jul-2014

July 13 , 2014 - By the end of Sunday, the coordination committees were able to document 76 martyrs, among them 10 children, 9 women, and a martyr under torture: 36 martyrs were reported in Aleppo; 19 martyrs in Damascus and its suburbs; 6 in Daraa; 5 in Deir Ezzor; 4 in Hama; 3 in Idlib; 2 in Hasakeh; and 1 in Homs...

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Life In Gaza Explained (AJ+ Labs) - 22-jul-2014

July 13, 2014 - Gaza has been described as the world's largest open air prison. Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has had catastrophic results for average Palestinians living there. AJ+'s Dena Takruri looks at the unforgiving realities they face everyday. ...



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HRW's Pro-Israel Partisanship on 'Protective Edge' (by Helena Cobban) - 22-jul-2014

July 13, 2014 - The NYC-based organization Human Rights Watch, which has grown increasingly closer to the US government over the years, has sunk to a new low in the kneejerk response it published July 9, to Israel's deadly 'Operation Protective Edge'. See how....


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New Palestinian World Heritage Site Under Threat of Defacement (By Ido Liven) - 22-jul-2014

July 13, 2014- - The Palestinian village of Battir, just six kilometres southwest of Jerusalem and a similar distance from Bethlehem, is the latest to be trapped in the gap between international recognition and Israel’s policies in the West Bank. The village’s agricultural terraces covering the surrounding hill slopes, and the spring water-fed open irrigation channels that run through them, have been in use for centuries.Last month, this unique landscape was designated a World Heritage site by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), making it only the second such Palestinian site after the Old City of Jerusalem site. Already in autumn last year, the World Monuments Fund, an international organisation working to preserve important cultural heritage sites, had added Battir’s ancient terraces to its 2014 World Monuments Watch...

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Video: While the world watches Gaza, protests rage across the West Bank (Kelly Lynn) - 22-jul-2014

July 13, 2014 - Palestinian youth gathered again for the ninth consecutive night near Rachel’s Tomb on Bethlehem’s Jerusalem-Hebron Road on Friday, June 11th. Clashes began on July 3rd in response to the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and have continued with the Israeli government’s current operation in Gaza. At least 8 young people have been treated for wounds sustained from Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition and dozens more for injuries from rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation. Approximately forty IDF soldiers and Border Police fired tear gas, skunk water, rubber bullets, sound grenades and live ammunition at demonstrators last night. ..

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International activists form human shield to protect El Wafa Hospital in Gaza City (By Haley Paladino) - 22-jul-2014

July 13, 2014 - International activists are acting as a human shield on El Wafa Hospital in the Gaza Strip. The medical facility is the only rehabilitation center in the besieged Strip, and is currently housing fourteen patients in critical condition who cannot be moved. The building is slated to be bombed by Israeli forces, according to Haaretz. Two warning shots were fired at the building at 2 a.m. Friday morning. The practice, called "knock on the roof," is intended to demonstrate the severity of the situation to inhabitants of buildings about to be struck."I didn't see anything resembling a rocket," American activist Joseph Cotran told Haaretz of his tour of the hospital...

continua / continued










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