It has recently been announced that replicas of the Roman-era ruins at Palmyra, which have so far survived the ISIS assault, are to be built and displayed at London’s Trafalgar Square and New York. The replica is of a 2000 year-old arch which stood inside one of the temples that the terrorist blew-up last year, and will be reconstructed using the world’s largest 3D printer. The Independent reports:
The monument was attacked by Islamist fighters and was largely reduced to rubble. One of the 15 metre high arches, which stood at the temple’s entrance, survived.
The construction of the temple entrance has been proposed by the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), who will use the world’s largest 3D printer for the project.
“The aim of our proposed installation is to draw attention to the global crisis surrounding the looting and despoliation of cultural heritage objects and architecture and the importance of celebrating the beauty and significance of these objects to the everyday lives of modern people.” Dr Alexy Karenowska, Director of Technology at the Institute for Digital Archaeology, told The Independent.
The temple was dedicated to the Mesoptamian god Bel in AD32 and was the centre of religious life in the area. It was converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine era and then later into a mosque.
The full-size replicas will be the centrepiece for world heritage week in April and is reportedly being built as a symbol of defiance against Isis’s attempts to erase several aspects of Middle Eastern history.
The arch in Trafalgar Square will be made of a lightweight composite and stone powder.
The printer will work from a 3D image generated from dozens of two dimensional photographs and tourist pictures taken before the temple was blown up with barrels of high-explosive. Khaled al-Asaad, 82, the archaeologist who managed the site for 40 years, was beheaded by Isis in Palmyra’s amphitheatre.
However rather than a symbolic act of defiance in the face of international terrorism, this move by Washington and its London sidekick is akin to a slap in the face of the Syrian nation that these two countries have done so much to destroy. Lest we forget, ISIS were able to drive their large convoy of black and white Toyota trucks from the Iraqi desert to the ancient city untouched by the so-called US-led 60 nation ‘anti-ISIS coalition’ that is supposedly doing its best to ‘degrade and destroy’ the Islamic State.
Instead the Obama administration and its despotic puppets prefer to leave this monster of their own creation untouched if there’s a chance it will come into contact with the Syrian Arab Army; or ‘Assad loyalists’ as the Western media likes to call them. The truth of the matter is that the countries whom have waged war on Syria for the last five years – namely America, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Israel – bear direct responsibility for the heartbreaking loss of the country’s cultural heritage and the beheading of Khaled al-Asaad; whom the media largely declined to remind readers was an employee of the state that they loathe so much.
Christiane Gruber – associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Michigan – explaining the meaning behind the term ‘Daesh’, says:
Over the past year, cartoonists across the Middle East have critiqued ISIS with equal amounts of ferocity and fearlessness. From Jordan to Iran, they frequently lambast ISIS—referring to it through its acronym Daesh, which is related to the pejorative Arabic term meaning “to tread under foot”—as destructive of Islam and the world’s cultural heritage, as the growling lapdog of various superpowers, as the ultimate devil and grim reaper of Iraq and as an Oscar-winning sensation obsessed with bloody forms of self-promotion.
By giving itself the authority to reconstruct Syria’s heritage in Western capitals, the American and Brits seemingly view themselves as the defenders and saviours of Middle Eastern civilisation, whose barbarians clearly need rescuing from themselves. Gruber’s description above can just as aptly describe Cameron and Obama as it does the foot-soldiers of the Islamic State.
The Syrians on the other hand, with their huge sacrifices unacknowledged, will continue the fight against the same forces who claim to be saving them.
Let’s just hope the reconstruction doesn’t convince ISIS to blow-up the remaining arch.
*Cartoons from Iran’s Daesh cartoon competition, entries and names of artists can be viewed here: http://resistart.ir/%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D8%AB%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%82%D9%87-%D8%A8%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%84%D9%84%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%DA%86%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%87/
In every Western mainstream media article on ‘what must be done’ about Daesh, one of the usual answers is to give as much support to ‘the Kurds’ as possible, essentially so they will fight our battles for us (I write ‘the Kurds’ in quotation marks as this the media refers to them as a unified people, rather than consisting of various factions). This is also a frequent sentiment in the comments sections of said articles. The implication of this being that Kurds are superior to Arabs and are more reliable partners. An example of this would be The Telegraph’s article ‘Britain must give the Kurds the tools to lead Iraq out of this mess’. Author John McTernan states:
A few years ago, in a dusty backstreet in Irbil – capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq – I had the privilege to visit an Assyrian church. There have been few more sombre moments in my life than hearing first-hand about the persecution of Iraq’s Christian minority. And even fewer more moving and uplifting than being told that the Kurdish government gave a welcome and a haven to Christians because they believed it was the right thing to do – that such values of tolerance and plurality were part of the reason they had fought hard themselves for autonomy and democracy.
While Iraqi Kurdistan is recognised as more tolerant of religious minorities than elsewhere in the country, it is propaganda to claim that all Iraqi Arabs are prejudiced towards Christians and those of other religions. There are plenty of examples of inter-faith bonding and mutual respect in both Iraq and Syria (excluding ISIS and other takfiri groups of course). Obviously what the MSM aren’t saying is that ISIS is completely a construct of foreign powers, and that in this great game to remap the Middle East, the Kurds are being promoted as the ‘good guys’, while Shia Iraqis are demonised – mainly due to the relationship between Shia Islam and our favourite bogeyman Iran. The Western invasion of Iraq led to a mass-exodus of Christians, mainly to Syria, and now they are being driven out of that country as well. However while McTernan says: ‘What is it about the Kurds? Why can they bring wisdom and maturity to political decision-making?’, they still, culturally, have much more in common with their Arab counterparts than what would be considered ‘British values’.
As part of my undergraduate dissertation on Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods, I discussed Whedon’s reaction to the stoning of an Iraqi teenager. On the Whedonesque posting board he wrote:
May 20 2007
Let’s Watch A Girl Get Beaten To Death.
This is not my blog, but I don’t have a blog, or a space, and I’d like to be heard for a bit.
Last month seventeen year old Dua Khalil was pulled into a crowd of young men, some of them (the instigators) family, who then kicked and stoned her to death. This is an example of the breath-taking oxymoron “honor killing”, in which a family member (almost always female) is murdered for some religious or ethical transgression. Dua Khalil, who was of the Yazidi faith, had been seen in the company of a Sunni Muslim, and possibly suspected of having married him or converted. That she was torturously murdered for this is not, in fact, a particularly uncommon story. But now you can watch the action up close on CNN. Because as the girl was on the ground trying to get up, her face nothing but red, the few in the group of more than twenty men who were not busy kicking her and hurling stones at her were filming the event with their camera-phones.
There were security officers standing outside the area doing nothing, but the footage of the murder was taken – by more than one phone – from the front row. Which means whoever shot it did so not to record the horror of the event, but to commemorate it. To share it. Because it was cool.
I make reference to this because we in the West tend to associate stonings with Arabs, Muslims and Sharia law – many Kurds are Muslim, however Khalil was Yazidi – however the practice is more cultural than religious . Dua Khalil was murdered in 2007, but these so-called ‘honor killings’ are still rife in Kurdistan. Johanna Higgs writes:
In Kurdistan, the UN estimates that the number of honor killings might be as high as 50 each month, and that most of the deaths go unreported. One reason that they continue to be a leading cause of death for women may be the increasingly oppressed position of women in Iraqi society. An Iraqi Kurdish writer, Berivan Dosky, wrote in The Guardian that conditions for women in post-war Iraq are a disaster, including in Kurdistan. Dreams of equality and peace that emerged among women after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime (and complicated by the United States’ invasion) have diminished, as many women still bear the burden of their families’ honor.
This contrasts wildly with the image we are given in the West, of a Kurdish egalitarian oasis, surrounded by savage Arabs (similar to the depiction we are presented with of Israel). It is important to note however that the Kurds are not one homogeneous group – Iraqi Kurds are not the same as Syrian, Iranian and Turkish Kurds, and within each country there are multiple factions that don’t all get along with one another. Therefore while Kurdish women in Syria may be more equal to their male counterparts, there is huge gender inequality in Iraq.
Gender rights for all Iraqi women regressed by decades as a result of the US-led invasion. To read a first-hand account of a young (Arab) woman living through the occupation, visit Baghdad Burning (start from the bottom of the page and read upwards). The author’s story of no longer being able to leave the house without a male relative and her head uncovered, plus losing her job due to her gender, is heartbreaking.
To return to the Kurds: female genital mutilation is also widespread. Wikipedia states:
Human Rights Watch reported that female genital cutting is practiced mainly by Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan, reportedly 60% percent of Kurdish women population have undergone this procedure, although the KRG claimed that the figures are exaggerated. Girls and women receive conflicting and inaccurate messages from public officials on its consequences. The Kurdistan parliament in 2008 passed a draft law outlawing the practice, but the ministerial decree necessary to implement it, expected in February 2009, was cancelled. As reported to the Centre for Islamic Pluralism by the non-governmental organization Stop FGM in Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, on 25 November, officially admitted the wide prevalence in the territory of female genital mutilation (FGM). Recognition by the KRG of the frequency of this custom among Kurds came during a conference program commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On 27 November 2010, the Kurdish government officially admitted to violence against women in Kurdistan and began taking serious measures. 21 June 2011 The Family Violence Bill was approved by the Kurdistan Parliament, it includes several provisions criminalizing the practice.
Additionally, it is not just females that suffer oppression from cruel laws and practices. In a current ongoing case, a young man – Yousef Muhammad Ali – is on trial for criticising Islam. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) write:
Yousef Muhammad Ali who spent many years studying Islam and Sharia law made a presentation in school on the Big Bang Theory. Islamists in his class instigated a fatwa against him. Also he faced threats when he criticised Islam on Facebook. Upon receiving a number of death threats, he contacted the police and filed a grievance against a perpetrator. His case was sent to a public tribunal in Darbandikhan, which rather than address the threats to Yousef Muhammad Ali’s life, had him arrested. He was then transferred to Sulaymaniyah jail. On 15th December 2014, his sentence was renewed until the 22nd December 2014. After campaigning by rights activists and journalists in Kurdistan and abroad he was released on bail on 17 December 2014. His hearing date is on 13 July 2015.
CEMB are asking the public to support Yousef by writing to the Kurdish authorities; addresses can be found here: Yousef Muhammad Ali faces trial on 13 July for criticising Islam.
* His trial date has since been moved to the 14th of September. To read a letter from Yousef discussing his situation, please visit: Yousef Muhammad Ali trial date set for 14 September.
Yousef’s case is the kind of story we would expect to hear in relation to Saudi Arabia, but in reality the Western public know little about the Kurds that we profess so much support for. The above examples are by no means an attempt to bash the Kurds, but only serve to highlight that they are hardly the Westernised partners they’re made out to be.
It seems like every time you hear a British or American politician on TV giving their opinion on defeating ISIS, their answer is sending more weapons to the Kurds. In reality, to the US, both the YPG and the Peshmerga are nothing more than their proxy force on the ground enabling the carving up of Syria and Iraq. It is evident that serious airstrikes against Daesh only take place to aid Kurdish forces, such as in Kobani, Tal Abyad and Erbil. No doubt the Americans will create a Kurdistan homeland for their allies against ISIS, but only because doing so is a step towards remaking the Middle East on behalf of Israel and for easier control of oil reserves, rather than a genuine desire to help their long-oppressed pawns.
The Kurds must also be warned that accepting aid from America/NATO comes at a price, therefore they will likely have to give up some form of their sovereignty in return for independence. Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, is essentially an American outpost in Iraq. An oil town, it is home to an American consulate, and is filled with thousands of American workers and five star hotels, while the local population’s own basic services are in dire need of upgrading. The first American airstrikes against ISIS last year were to defend Erbil, and as Steve Coll wrote back then:
In Erbil, in the weeks to come, American pilots will defend from the air a capital whose growing independence and wealth has loosened Iraq’s seams, even while, in Baghdad, American diplomats will persist quixotically in an effort to stitch that same country together to confront ISIS.
Obama’s defense of Erbil is effectively the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state whose sources of geopolitical appeal—as a long-term, non-Russian supplier of oil and gas to Europe, for example—are best not spoken of in polite or naïve company.
The Iraqi Air Force has dropped flyers over the city of Mosul that was taken by Daesh just over one year ago. Dropping leaflets was the most advantageous way for the Iraqi government and military to get its message to citizens living under occupation.
The above flyer was acquired by Baghdad Invest, which has also provided a translation for non-Arabic speakers:
In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful,
To the people of Nainawa, the patient and the ones standing alone so far,
Every step the government is taking towards Mosul, your great city, is putting into account your future, your sacrifices and your holy and utmost precious freedom in its calculation to free you from ISIL, which profane your city a year ago. Your relief now has come to light, and we are in a position where liberation is so close to reality. Your Military forces are getting close, cooperate with them and stay away from ISIL militants with whatever you see fit, to put down in your records that you are the liberators and you are the ones who will role the city and plan its destiny, and you are capable of it.
And all victory is by Allah
P.s. – We advise every citizen of the city to carry a radio on you constantly. Soon Al Mosul FM will start broadcasting to fill you up with important instructions necessary to your safety and to contribute towards your liberation.
ISF – Province of Nainawa
Iraqi Department of Defence
However it is unknown when the Iraqi army and supporting Hashd volunteers will begin their attempt to retake Mosul, as they still haven’t conquered Baiji. They have also suffered a number of setbacks due to constant stalling by the US, who decides to send a new batch of trainers every few months, thus impeding their progress. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki revealed in an interview yesterday that the Iraqi government had been asking for US assistance for a year prior to the airstrikes that commenced in August 2014.
Al Maliki: The West ‘remained bystanders’ against Al Qaeda
Of course, due to the recently acquired DIA documents by US lobby group Judicial Watch, it is now known that the current catastrophe in Iraq was predicted by the Americans right from the start of the war in Syria. These stated:
“IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN). THE DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON THE IRAQI SITUATION…… THIS CREATES THE IDEAL ATMOSPHERE FOR AQI TO RETURN TO ITS OLD POCKETS IN MOSUL AND RAMADI, AND WILL PROVIDE A RENEWED MOMENTUM UNDER THE PRESUMPTION OF UNIFYING THE JIHAD AMONG SUNNI IRAQ AND SYRIA AND THE REST OF THE SUNNIS IN THE ARAB WORLD AGAINST WHAT IT CONSIDERS ONE ENEMY, THE DISSENTERS. ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY.”
Therefore it is impossible to view this intervention by America and its ’60 state anti-ISIS coalition’ as anything other than a cynical attempt to look like it’s fighting ISIS, whilst in reality it appears to be partitioning both Iraq and Syria into separate states along ethnic and religious lines – Sunni, Shia and Kurdish – thus breaking the so-called Shia crescent.
How utterly sickening it is to watch this from afar, it is impossible to imagine what life is like for Iraqis, having suffered war and sanctions for decades.
Mosul in a State of Panic after Iraqi Air Force drops Leaflets
Judicial Watch: Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance
Iraq And Syria: Past, Present, And (Hypothetical) Future Maps
Tunisia Minute Of Silence – Total Bullshit: Russell Brand The Trews (E350)
I don’t usually pay much attention to Russel Brand, but it is good to see someone in the public eye speaking out about power structures in society and challenging the status quo; something the British press is loathe to do.
He really nails David Cameron’s response to the Tunisia attack; asking why, if the various incidents from London 7/7 to Mumbai to Charlie Hebdo are all connected to one another, then why are our invasions and drone attacks etc not part of the picture?
According to Cameron, there is no relationship between Britain waging aggressive wars against countries that haven’t done anything to us and the animosity that is felt towards the UK. Since 9/11 Britain has taken part in three wars of choice – Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – as well as covertly waging a devastating war against Syria, resulting in the deaths of millions of innocent people. The government has also given its full support to Israel and Saudi Arabia to destroy Gaza and Yemen, and provided them with the weapons to do so. No one has been held accountable for any of this, and the public doesn’t seem to care.
Now, as part of the new Anti-Terrorism Act, the Home Office is legislating against the very ‘extremist’ language that the government itself is guilty of:
In his speech following the Tunisia attack, the PM predictably declared that “they” had declared war on Britain. As Brand points out, who is this “they” Cameron refers to? How is this different to the message he says ‘Islamic extremism’ conveys? Brand notes that the ‘war on terror’ is a self-perpetuating business and until there is recognition that wars and arms deals are part of the problem not the solution then nothing will change.
What exactly is the point of the Chilcot report when Cameron’s government has continued to wage illegal wars and lie about them to the public?
The murder of up to 30 British tourists on a Tunisian beach last week is yet another consequence of David Cameron’s disastrous ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya. This follows the rape and assault of several UK citizens by ‘former revolutionaries’ in Cambridgeshire last year, who were visiting the country as part of a Ministry of Defence programme to train Libyan forces. While it has not yet been verified whether or not the Tunisian shooter had spent time at a training camp in the neighbouring country, it would take a huge amount of cognitive dissonance to view the two events as unrelated. Daesh took responsibility for the attack; there would be no Daesh without the war on Libya then Syria.
Another consequence is the current refugee crisis, which has so far led to over 2000 deaths in the Mediterranean this year. In 2010 the number of refugees/migrants departing from Libya was 5000. In April Ed Miliband caused an uproar by ‘controversially’ stating that Cameron shared responsibility for the deaths at sea; typically this opinion was rubbished by the media and political establishment. The Tories have flat-out refused to take in any refugees, and are currently leading a military campaign to destroy boats used to make the journey.
David Cameron Responds to Ed Miliband’s Libyan Comments
The government and most of the British public may tell themselves that our foreign policy is not at fault for the current violence engulfing the Middle East and the north of Africa, but history will not judge us as kindly. A Guardian commenter noted on a related article that the Treaty of Versailles is largely accepted as the predominant factor that led to the rise of Nazi Germany; the connection between Western foreign policy (and their GCC cronies) and ISIS is a far simpler one to make. It is possible that the PM is increasingly coming to realise this, judging by his recent ill-conceived and irresponsible speech where he accused British Muslims of ‘quietly condoning’ Daesh, without offering any evidence to support this. These kind of statements are only likely to result in more hate crimes being committed against minorities, and further isolation of those who already feel sidelined by British society. For example, a number of Muslim graves were vandalised in a Nottingham cemetery over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the government’s answer to this latest tragedy is more of the same – more training and weapons for supposedly moderate murderers in Syria, more divisive McCarthyism-style ‘counter-extremism’ policies here.
The White Helmets, or ‘Syrian Civil Defence’, claim to be a private non-profit company registered in the UK.
They call themselves:
A global advocacy group standing in solidarity with non-violent Syrians and their struggle for a peaceful and dignified future.
They began their campaign 3 years into the Syrian insurgency…just when the Syrian army’s luck seemed to be on the upside…
We started on the 3rd anniversary of the uprising at a time when Syria was slipping off the media and political agendas of countries around the world. The violence has never been as fierce as it is now or the humanitarian needs as great. Now more than ever the world needs to engage on Syria.
They only seem to operate in areas controlled by the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda) such as Idlib…
and can be seen here cleaning up after a Nusra execution in Aleppo…
They were standing right off-camera with a body-bag at the ready.
…notice the logo?
Watch the video for yourself… (graphic)
Here’s the post-execution statement they released:
However the images below highlight the complicity between the so-called ‘NGO’ and Nusra.
They have huge media access and are behind most claims of ‘Assad’s chlorine barrel bombs’…
From the Guardian:
Here they can be seen jubilantly waving the Nusra black flag…
This time in uniform and armed:
Who are they?
The Syria Campaign’s four listed ‘campaigners’ have worked for companies such as the BBC and Avaaz – both known for their rabid anti-Syria propaganda. The BBC disgraced itself with its ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ episode of Panorama (see Fabrication in BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children for more details), as well as numerous other outright lies on the conflict,
and Avaaz for its countless petitions calling for a no-fly zone.
Basically they are what is now par for the course in these imperialistic proxy interventions: a shadowy non-governmental organisation funded by governments and their corporate cronies, and passing themselves off as being motivated solely by altruism. It was a letter signed by dozens of NGOs such as Human Rights Watch that resulted in the UN Security Council voting to implement a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, based on wild claims which all turned out to be false. We know how that turned out; unleashing a similar hell on the whole of Syria would be far worse.