The Deep Ties Between the Jews and the House of Saud Go Back Over 75 Years

Weizmann_-_Churchill_-_Boss_of_Bosses
In this comment, Churchill got Prince Ibn Saud to agree to let the British put the House of Saud in power in Saudi Arabia in order that they could control Mecca and Medina and to allow the Saudis to become “the Kings of the Arabs.” In recent, Ibn Saud would agree to let Weitzmann invade, conquer and usurp Palestine’s Arabs to create a Jewish Homeland.
It appears to be dated March 4, 1941, but the deep alliance between the British and the vile House of Saud goes way back before that.
 

Thank You, Winston Churchill: The House of Saud and the UK, A Bloody Marriage Begun a Century Ago

White the House of Saud was conquering most of the peninsula for the princes around 1920, British warplanes under Winston Churchill were bombing all of these areas, leveling whole cities and massacring countless civilians. Much of the Hijaz was leveled as this region had always hated and the Najdis now in power as the House. All of the gorgeous architecture was leveled by Saud’s Wahhabi warriors from the Najd because the Wahhabis felt that anything but the most drab architecture was sacrilegious. Hijazis were massacred in huge numbers and piles of bodies lay on the ground.
The Najdis had to impose their will be force as Wahhabism had only been popular in the Najd and was widely disliked everywhere else, especially in the Hejaz where a much more peaceful, tolerant and artistic form of Islam (almost Sufi-like) had long held sway. The Wahhabis conquered that whole peninsula at the point of a sword. Everyone who resisted or imposed them was executed. The  death toll was gruesome. Of course the British helped the whole way, offering needed help to kill more civilians and level more sacreligiously beautiful buildings.
At the same time, Iraqis were in armed rebellion against British colonial rule in Iraq. The charming Churchill responded by bombing them with chemical weapons. Yes, not only Saddam gassed Iraqis. The first man to gas the Arabs was Winston Churchill.
Churchill was a real bastard. He was a mean old coot and a reactionary to boot. He was also depressed most of his fat miserable life. He called it his “black dog.” It descended on him most mornings and lasted most of the day. That sounds like melancholic depression, as that is worse in the mornings. He was also a profoundly racist man. Read some of his statements about Jews and Arabs. Pitiful.
Some hero.

“Time to Rekindle the UN Spark,” by Eric Walberg

New article by my friend Eric Walberg.

Time to Rekindle UN Spark

Eric Walberg

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently held a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the squashing of UN resolution 3379, equating Zionism with racism. It was passed in 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions). The festive event this year was attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry and head of the Israeli Labour Party and Zionist Union Isaac Herzog, son of Chaim Herzog, president of Israel from 1983 to 1993, and star of the 1975 UN session.

The 1975 vote took place approximately one year after resolution 3237 granted the PLO “observer status”, following Yasser Arafat’s “olive branch” speech to the General Assembly in November 1974. It succeeded only because the Soviet Union and its allies were there to support the Arab and Islamic majority countries.

It was revoked in December 1991 by UN resolution 46/86. At the commemoration this year, Ban Ki-moon recalled Chaim Herzog’s words in 1975, “I appeal to the community of nations to always act to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.” Such nice platitudes coming from the Israeli ambassador—community, principles, tolerance, peace…

It is odd that this year’s festivities actually celebrate the passing of the resolution, rather than its demise, commemorating the chutzpah of Israeli UN representative Herzog, who stole the show, recounting how magnanimous Israel is with its Arab citizens, who apparently held the same rights as Jews, worked in border and police defense forces, were elected to parliament, studied at universities…

He pointed to Arabs coming from elsewhere for medical treatment, and to “the fact that it is as natural for an Arab to serve in public office in Israel as it is incongruous to think of a Jew serving in any public office in an Arab country.” The UN ambassador finished his tirade by ripping up the resolution and defiantly stating he would have UN Avenues in Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv renamed Zionism Avenues.

Herzog didn’t mention how traditionally Jews lived freely under Muslim rule and often served Muslim leaders as advisers, how Arab anger today is directly due to Israel’s murderous, illegal actions against the rightful citizens of what was once the Roman province of Syria Palaestina. He didn’t mention the millions of Palestinians denied their basic rights because Israel is apparently free of racism.

At least the 1975 gathering had some punch. There was no substance in the commemoration in 2015. Kerry waffled, despite a weeks-long wave of violence that has claimed the lives of at least 77 Palestinians along with 10 Israelis. No mention of that. He said that a two-state solution in the Middle East was “not an impossible dream” but would require courage. Yawn.

Kerry called the 1975 resolution “ominous” because it gave “a global license to hate” the state of Israel. But then “hate” covers just about any word of criticism of Israel. After all, election fever is rising in the US and the Israel lobby is alive and well.

Bush Senior’s Half Truths

It is more instructive to deconstruct the speech by US President HW Bush, who introduced the UN motion overturning resolution 3379 in 1991, which he said “mocks this pledge and the principles upon which the United Nations was founded. Zionism is not a policy; it is the idea that led to the creation of a home for the Jewish people, to the State of Israel. To equate Zionism with the intolerable sin of racism is to twist history.”

He was half correct. Zionism is an idea, one that turned into a policy of racial exclusion and victimization of the Palestinian natives, whose land and property the new immigrants stole, even as they conducted a state policy of terror against the natives. Bush made no explanation of why Zionism is not a policy. But the Soviet voice was gone by 1991; only the US voice was heard defending the pious hope that Israel would one day make peace with the Palestinians based on the original 1947 UN Resolution 181 to partition the territory.

Bush’s claim that Zionism is not a policy of racism simply flies in the face of reality. But then the US itself was founded on an idea much like Zionism. The Puritans, Quakers and many other religious groups immigrated intending to establish an ideal Christian society modeled on the Bible, an idea which also was a policy of genocide of the American natives.

The 17th philosopher Francis Bacon penned a utopian novel New Atlantis based on his enthusiastic support for establishing the British colonies in North America, depicting the creation of a utopian land where “generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit” are the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of the mythical Bensalem.

The idea of a “new Jerusalem” is the bedrock of the US idea.
Even such a respected philosopher was able to disregard the racist policy of genocide against the American natives in the name of “generosity and enlightenment etc.” No one noticed that, from the start, that the idea of the US (Bensalem) was a racist idea, just as its policies were. Only in the 19th century did international opprobrium finally push the US to abolish its most glaring racist policy—slavery.

But by then, the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine was already being mooted by British politicians such as Lord Shaftsbury, and Israel was finally forced down the UN throat by FDR and Truman. For Shaftsbury et al, it was merely a logical development of western ‘civilization‘.

Bush lauded the crushing of the racism resolution in 1991 as “a real chance to fulfill the UN Charter’s ambition of working ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person’.” Yet he was unable to see that the emperor (himself) and his offspring were wearing no clothes, that it is Israel that is the scourge of war, the violator of human rights and human dignity.

Bush stated that the UN “cannot claim to seek peace and at the same time challenge Israel’s right to exist.” Again a half truth. No one intended to wipe Israel off the map, as long as it was a nation that followed international norms, in particular human rights of the peoples who live there or who will return there from refugee camps when a peaceful solution to the stand-off is agreed. But this is only possible if we address Bush’s other half truth that lies at the heart of Zionism, both as idea and policy.

Bush’s other mistake was to define the State of Israel as “a home for the Jewish people”. This makes Israel racist by definition, just as Hitler identified Germany as the home of the Aryan people, a similarly vague, racist definition of the state.

Bush’s Lesson: Don’t Cross Israel

There is a bitter irony in Bush’s kowtowing to Israel in 1991. In September he had asked Congress to delay Israel’s request for $10 billion in loan guarantees to help settle Soviet Jews, trying to force Israel to stop its illegal settlement construction and negotiate a real peace. He no doubt was recalling how Eisenhower had made Israel bend to the US game plan in 1956. Ford/ Kissinger/ Carter had too, though just barely in the 1970s, curbing somewhat Israel’s colonial ambitions. Both times, ironically, US leaders relied on the Soviet ‘threat’ to give them some backbone.

But ‘in victory, defeat’. The Soviet ‘threat’, providing the US some leverage with Israel, was no more, and in the meantime, the Israel lobby in Washington had become too powerful for a president to counter. The Zionists were in no mood to swallow their pride and obey a newly holier-than-thou imperial Washington.

Bush senior found he had no allies for his plan to bring Israel into line. He scurried to the UN to burnish his credentials, but to no avail. The Israel lobby mobilized, found their ideal candidate in Bill Clinton, and Bush suddenly was being attacked in the media. Incessant negative publicity as election day approached did the trick. He lost his re-election bid, going from a 90% approval rate following the Iraq invasion to 37% on election day.

It is time for a new resolution 3379, something with teeth that will wake Israel up and push it to admit its sins. There is no hope to find a sponsor in Washington. However, the support for Palestinians struggling for their rights continues to grow. The EU, BDS and others boycott settlement goods are having their effect. Israel‘s neighbors continue to resist. As US power wanes, there is hope that the UN will once again find some backbone.

“France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy,” by Eric Walberg

Eric is a personal friend of mine and he published this on Academia.edu so that usually means anyone can grab it as long as you credit them. Lately, Eric writes for the Iranian media, presumably for money. I believe Kieth Preston is also writing for the Iranians these days.

I am putting this up mostly to provoke discussion.

France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy

Eric Walberg

France’s emotional response to the recent tragedy, devoid of reason and ignoring history, just makes matters worse.

 

The death toll in the November 13 attacks in Paris stands at 127. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent a message to his French counterpart Francois Hollande condemning the attacks. “In the name of the Iranian nation, itself a victim of the evil scourge of terrorism, I strongly condemn these inhumane crimes and condole with the bereaved French nation and government.”

In contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his weekly Cabinet meeting by calling on world leaders to condemn terror against … Israel. He began by addressing the killing of two Israelis, ignoring the 81 Palestinians who have died in protests this month. “The time has come for the nations of the world to condemn terrorism against us as much as they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.” He pledged Israeli intelligence assistance to France, adding “An attack on any of us needs to be seen as an attack on all of us.”

Translate: France’s tragedy is a wake-up call for solidarity with … Israel.

France’s Colonial Legacy

Until 2012, France was spared serious terrorist attacks, but its enduring colonial mentality continues to stoke anger. Most evident recently was the official defense of anti-Muslim hate literature published by the magazine Charlie Hebdo. Rather than persecuting the Islamophobes, which would have prevented blowback by enraged Muslims, the French insistence on freedom led to an attack in January on the Paris offices of the magazine, killing 12 people and wounding 11 others.

Worse yet, the new Socialist President Hollande pushed ahead with a return to outright colonial invasion, with air strikes and arms to Syrian rebels in opposition to both the Syrian government and ISIS supporters. This confused policy only makes sense if the intent is to dismantle the Syrian state and refashion a Syrian puppet government, harking back to France’s invasion of Syria-Lebanon following WWI in collusion with Britain, when they destroyed the Ottoman state and set up puppet regimes across the Middle East.

France was slow to adjust to post-WWII decolonization, and stubbornly maintained its military presence not only in Vietnam but in the Middle East. Along with Britain, now both humiliated bankrupt powers, it was in no position to enforce its will, and it handed over its colonial possessions to the US either directly or via the new world order institutions. Plus, of course, intrigue where a glimmer of independence appeared, as in Iran in 1953 or Egypt 1956.

Worst of all was the horror France inflicted for more than a century in Algeria. Algeria had to suffer a long, brutal war of liberation in which a million Algerians died before France finally left in 1962. French meddling in Algeria since has only compounded the animosity, especially the support given the military coup in 1992 in which 200,000 Algerians died.

France’s current return to openly colonial policies, first in Afghanistan, then Libya, Mali and now Syria, are guaranteed to have dire consequences. To its credit, France did not support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, but there are now 3,200 French troops there.

France and US Support the Terrorists

France and the US have played a dangerous and foolish hand in their great games of asserting world power, at times using jihadists (1980s in Afghanistan) and at other times attacking them (1990s+ in Afghanistan), sometimes both at the same time (2011+ in Syria).

“Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told CNN in January 2014. Is McCain not aware that two of the most successful factions fighting Syrian President Assad’s forces are Islamist extremist groups Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and that their success is due to the support they have received from Qatar and Saudi Arabia? A senior Qatari official told The Atlantic journalist Steve Clemons that “he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, ‘ISIS has been a Saudi project.’”

France doesn’t have a wild card like McCain, but, like the US, supports Islamic fundamentalists in Syria and elsewhere through its ties with the Saudi and Qatari regimes and its actions in Syria. Even after it became obvious to everyone that the regime change project in Syria has led to an expansion of terrorism, Hollande was still pursuing it.

But then this hypocrisy goes for all the western nations, in the first place Canada, which has been bombing Syrian rebels and, at the same time, just signed a $14.8b arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The largest arms exports contract in Canadian history will be remembered as going to one of the worst human rights violators in the world and a funder of ISIS-related groups in Syria and Iraq.

In fact, Canada’s record on bombing Muslims in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, on restricting burqas and promoting ‘free speech’ defaming Islam, mirrors France, and led to a shooting last year that penetrated the parliament buildings in Ottawa and had Prime Minister Harper cowering in his closet.

Harper’s answer, when he had stopped shaking, was the same as Hollande’s: he insisted that “Canada will not be intimidated” by acts of violence and remained committed to Canada’s efforts “to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations … who bring their savagery to our shores.” He did admit that “we’re all aware and deeply troubled that both attacks were carried out by Canadian citizens, by young men born and raised in this peaceful country,” but, like Hollande today, failed to draw the logical conclusion.

Powder Keg

France has the largest Muslim population in Europe at 4m. Despite its claims of “liberty, equality and brotherhood”, it is considered the most racist country in Europe. French-Algerian communities still live on impoverished housing estates, go to bad schools, and have few opportunities for social advancement.

Discrimination in everything from jobs to housing is routine. There are few French-Algerians in politics, the law, the media or any other profession, though the prisons are full. Hollande refuses to reverse measures like the burqa ban and has highlighted his opposition to halal meat and praying in the street because of a lack of mosques.

Populist rightwing politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen routinely portray alienated migrant communities as France’s enemy within. Le Pen garnered 20% of the popular vote in the first round of May’s presidential elections.

In their communique, the perpetrators of the recent attacks listed France’s crimes as leading a “new crusade” in Syria, as well as defending Charlie Hebdo magazine, and just because of general French decadence and racism. They claimed their targets were well chose ― a football match between ‘crusaders’ France and Germany attended by Hollande, and the Bataclan exhibition where “hundreds of pagans gathered for a concert of prostitution and vice” (the California group Eagles of Death Metal).

“This is for Syria,” were the last words of one of the Paris attackers. But he could have said it was for Mali, or Libya, or Iraq. France is very proactive against Islamists worldwide, especially in the face of what is frequently seen as British and American retreat. Over 10,000 French troops are currently deployed abroad. In addition to Iraq, there are over 5,000 troops in western and central Africa. Last week Hollande announced that France will deploy an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf to assist the fight against ISIS.

As with Osama Bin Laden’s strategy of promoting dramatic terrorist attacks in the West to provoke a crackdown and to radicalize Muslims, the strategy behind the current attacks is to generate a French crackdown to encourage Muslims to follow ISIS’s caliphate fantasy. It has worked all too well so far, and Hollande’s vow to be “ruthless” in his response leads him and France in the wrong direction.

In his address on recent events, Iran’s Leader Imam Khameini acknowledged that “there are voices of criticism in the West about its colonial past. But they only criticize the distant past. Why should the revision of collective conscience apply to the distant past and not to the current problems?”

Originally published here.

“Understanding ISIS,” by Muhammad ibn Kateb Al Ashari

This document was available for download on Academia.edu so I assume the author has no plans to make money off of it as he is offering it int the public domain like that. I did a heavy edit on it and I think I made it a lot better. Nice short overview on Wahhabism, Ibn Taymiyyah, Saudi Arabia and ISIS. Good for people who don’t know a lot about the subject and not bad even for those of us who do. Hope you enjoy. We need more pieces like this.

In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

To understand ISIS you must understand Wahhabism

Muhammad ibn Kateb Al Ashari

The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed and horrified by its violence and evident magnetism for Sunni youth.

To understand ISIS, you need to understand Saudi Arabia. The dominant strand of Saudi identity derives directly from Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism) and the use to which his radical, exclusionist puritanism was put by Ibn Saud. The latter was then no more than a minor leader amongst many continually sparring and raiding Bedouin tribes in the baking and desperately poor deserts of the Nejd.

The alliance between Ibn Abdul Wahhab and Al-Saud helped secure Saud’s power grab and instituted Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s monopoly on traditional Islamic scholarship.

Wahhab’s theology was something new. It was a revolution based on Abd al-Wahhab’s Jacobin-like hatred for the putrescence and deviationism that he perceived in his shallow understanding of Islamic sciences – hence his call to purge Islam of all heresies and idolatries.

The American author and journalist Steven Coll described how this austere and censorious disciple of the 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, Abd al-Wahhab, despised “the decorous, arty, tobacco smoking, hashish imbibing, drum pounding Egyptian and Ottoman nobility who traveled across Arabia to pray at Mecca.”

But the history of Wahhabism is even older than that. If you want to understand Wahhabism, you need to understand that Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab was only the Lenin or Wahhabism, whereas his ideological mentor, the Marx of Wahhabism, existed long before in Ibn Taymiyyah.

Before, I proceed in to Wahhabism, I will touch on Ibn Taymiyyah first.

The controversy surrounding Ibn Taymiyyah is not new or modern. Islamic scholars of his time were divided. Those who first met him often praised him, while others who learned of him through his writings and views scorned him. But he remains more of a despised icon than a revered one, and numerous classical writings show that his influence was short lived until the rise of Wahhabism.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s extreme fatwas have been used by ISIS and Al Qaeda today.

The most important fatwa upon which ISIS bases its holy war or jihad is the “Mardin” fatwa. This fatwa illustrates the extremism which marked all of Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwas. He was born in Mardin on the border between present-day Syria and Turkey in 1263. When he was 7 years old, the Mongols attacked and overran his town. Ibn Taymiyyah moved to Damascus to live with his grandmother.

Jihadists believe that when he became an Islamic jurist, Ibn Taymiyyah issued a fatwa encouraging the fight against Mardin and its people, although the fatwa has been a source of disagreement among Muslim scholars for a long time. Many hardliners and advocates of Salafist jihadi ideology perceive this fatwa as permission to wage war to impose Sharia even within Islamic countries.

Ibn Taymiyyah had another fatwa on “collateral damage,” which stipulated that the mujahedeen who intended to target infidels were allowed to kill other Muslims who might stand in the way of reaching the mujahedeen’s goal. Al-Qaeda used this fatwa to justify the killing of large numbers of Iraqis with car bombs and improvised explosive devices after the US invasion in 2003.

You can say that Ibn Taymiyyah was misunderstood, but the fact remains that Ibn Taymiyyah has been a much loved and inspirational icon of Wahhabism, and fatwas like these are very disturbing. A lot is at stake here if you accept criticism of ibn Taymiyyah. The whole Salafi theology is based on his views and opinions, so it is common to see people defending him and his fatwas. Even many non-Salafist Sunnis will defend him.

Fast forward 500 years to the deserts of central Saudi Arabia. Here Wahhabism was birthed from Taymiyyah’s seeds.

One of the main tenets of Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine is the key idea of takfir. Under the takfiri doctrine, Abd al-Wahhab and his followers could deem fellow Muslims infidels should they engage in activities that in any way could be said to encroach on the sovereignty of the absolute Authority in the Wahhabis’ understanding of the religion.

Abd al-Wahhab denounced all Muslims who honored the dead, saints, or angels. He held that such sentiments detracted from the complete subservience one must feel towards God and only God. Wahhabi Islam thus bans any veneration of the pious and prophets, pilgrimages to tombs and even faraway mosques, religious festivals celebrating prophets including celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and prohibits the use of gravestones when burying the dead.

In traditional Islam, engaging in these acts could be no more than disliked or not recommended, but disbelief or heresy by which the blood of a Muslim and their properties become lawful was not a possibility.

Understanding the Wahhabi movement is essential to understand the wars in the Middle East and the Wahhabi vs Shia conflict and the struggle of traditional mainstream Islamic theology to survive in the face of billions of Petro-Wahhabi dollars of Saudi Arabia.

This conflict is actually about who controls Middle East: Shias or Wahhabis. Sunnis have been the main players in the region for centuries due to numbers but also as a continuation of the message of Prophet and His companions. Sunni scholars have traditionally felt that they remained duty-bound to preserve Islamic orthodoxy in Islamic lands, hence their dominance over the Middle East and Arabia in particular makes sense..

Islamic theologians during ibn Taymiyyah’s time successfully silenced his views, and for centuries he were nearly forgotten until the British used support for Taymiyyah-influenced Wahhabism as a cynical tool against the Ottomans who were at the time more or less representative of traditional Islam. The British succeeded in defeating Ottomans politically 100 years ago, but now, a century later, they now have had to deal with their own Frankenstein monster, the Wahhabi ISIS.

The question is, Will ISIS be used by West as a pretext to launch global war against Islamic countries? If this happens, one of two things may happen. First, we will discover that Wahhabism has very foolishly succeeded yet again in assisting the demise of Islamic lands. If however ISIS succeeds, the demise of Islamic lands and Islam itself as well as West is a highly likely possibility unless a third option is activated – empowering traditional Islam and subduing both Wahhabism and Western imperialism. This third path may be the only way to avoid global annihilation.

Slavery in the Muslim World: The Tradition Is Not Yet Dead

From here.

Bottom line is, yes, slavery has been present in the Islamic World from Day One. In fact, one can make a case that slavery was an inherent and even emblematic aspect of Islam since its inception. It only left the Muslim World due to pressure from the West when the West emancipated its own slaves in the late 1800’s. Officially, most of the Muslim World dumped theirs. Yet the practice continued. Saudi Arabia only outlawed slavery in 1962. An advertisement for a castrated Black slave for sale recently appeared in a Saudi publication. Mauritania only outlawed slavery a few years ago, and the ban is hardly enforced.

As societies collapsed, the peculiar institution experienced a recrudescence. Libyan ports now export many slaves destined for Europe. Syrian teenage girls in Jordanian refugee camps are trafficked to brothels in Amman and sold to visiting Gulf men for $140-175 for a “temporary marriage.” In Northern Nigeria, even before Boko Haram kidnapped scores of teenage Christian girls, Muslim men had been importing concubine slave girls from the north to serve as “fifth wives.” The abuse and rape of female domestics in the Gulf who are little more than slaves of their owners has been documented for years.

Worst of all is the migrant labor scam that the Gulf states have been running for decades involving workers from South Asia, especially Pakistan and India,  and Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. For all intents and purposes, work which is tied to contracts with the employer is little more than slavery, let’s face it. Gulf employers of these men have referred to them as slaves. They are housed in the most miserable conditions in a very wealthy country and worked to exhaustion and sometimes to death in ferocious heat with little protection or rest. A number of deaths have occurred to poor working conditions. Some poor countries to the east have forbidden their workers from going to the Gulf to work. There has been a bit of a crackdown, but it was mostly fake. Kuwait gave its “slaves” rights recently, but the Emir has not yet signed the bill. Qatar is worried about its reputation as the Olympics are coming soon, but its response instead of cleaning up its act has been to cover the whole mess up and beat up and detain the protesters. Any progress elsewhere in the Gulf has been frozen in recent years. Instead we get the predictable fake backlash whereby the Gulf states say that critics of their Slave System are “Islamophobes.”

The progress for serious progressive change for alleviating remaining vestiges of slavery in the Arab World seem dim at the moment as the region undergoes a retrenchment, a backlash and a hardening of reaction.

The link between Islam and slavery goes back from the start, so ISIS is not doing anything new. The fact that the formal Muslim states of the world continue to refuse to clean up their mess is most discouraging, but it too may be blamed on tradition.

“Spoils of war,” snaps Dabiq, the English-language journal of Islamic State (IS). The reference is to thousands of Yazidi women the group forced into sex slavery after taking their mountain, Sinjar, in August last year. Far from being a perversion, it claims that forced concubinage is a religious practice sanctified by the Koran.

In a chapter called Women, the Koran sanctions the marriage of up to four wives, or “those that your right hands possess”. Literalists, like those behind the Dabiq article, have interpreted these words as meaning “captured in battle”.

Its purported female author, Umm Sumayyah, celebrated the revival of Islam’s slave-markets and even proffered the hope that Michelle Obama, the wife of America’s president, might soon be sold there. “I and those with me at home prostrated to Allah in gratitude on the day the first slave-girl entered our home,” she wrote. Sympathizers have done the same, most notably the allied Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, which last year kidnapped an entire girls’ school in Chibok.

Religious preachers have responded with a chorus of protests. “The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus,” declared an open letter sent by 140 Muslim scholars to IS’s “caliph”, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, earlier this year. “You have taken women as concubines and thus revived…corruption and lewdness on the earth.”

But while IS’s embrace of outright slavery has been singled out for censure, religious and political leaders have been more circumspect about other “slave-like” conditions prevalent across the region. IS’s targeting of an entire sect for kidnapping, killing and sex trafficking, and its bragging, are exceptional; forced labor for sexual and other forms of exploitation is not.

From Morocco, where thousands of children work as petites bonnes, or maids, to the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan where girls are forced into prostitution, to the unsanctioned rape and abuse of domestics in the Gulf, aid workers say servitude is rife.

Scholars are sharply divided over how much cultural mores are to blame. Apologists say that, in a concession to the age, the Prophet Muhammad tolerated slavery, but—according to a prominent American theologian trained in Salafi seminaries, Yasir Qadhi—he did so grudgingly and advocated abolition.

Repeatedly in the Koran the Prophet calls for the manumission of slaves and release of captives, seeking to alleviate the slave systems run by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Jewish Himyarite kings of Yemen. He freed one slave, a chief’s daughter, by marrying her, and chose Bilal, another slave he had freed, to recite the first call to prayer after his conquest of Mecca. His message was liberation from worldly oppression, says Mr Qadhi  – enslavement to God, not man.

Other scholars insist, however, that IS’s treatment of Yazidis adheres to Islamic tradition. “They are in full compliance with Koranic understanding in its early stages,” says Professor Ehud Toledano, a leading authority on Islamic slavery at Tel Aviv University. Moreover, “what the Prophet has permitted, Muslims cannot forbid.”

The Prophet’s calls to release slaves only spurred a search for fresh stock as the new empire spread, driven by commerce, from sub-Saharan Africa to the Persian Gulf.

To quash a black revolt in the salt mines of southern Iraq, the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad conscripted Turkish slaves into their army. Within a few generations these formed a power base, and from 1250 to 1517 an entire slave caste, the Mamluks (Arabic for “chattel”), ruled Egypt.

A path to power

Their successors, the Ottoman Turks, perfected the system. After conquering south-eastern Europe in the late 14th century, they imposed the devshirme, or tribute, enslaving the children of the rural poor, on the basis that they were more pagan than Christian, and therefore not subject to the protections Islam gave to People of the Book. Far from resisting this, many parents were happy to deliver their offspring into the white slave elite that ran the empire.

Under this system, enslaved boys climbed the ranks of the army and civil service. Girls entered the harem as concubines to bear sultans. All anticipated, and often earned, power and wealth. Unlike the feudal system of Christian Europe, this one was meritocratic and generated a diverse gene pool. Mehmet II, perhaps the greatest of the Ottoman sultans, who ruled in the 15th century, had the fair skin of his mother, a slave girl from the empire’s north-western reaches.

All this ended because of abolition in the West. After severing the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century, Western abolitionists turned on the Islamic world’s, and within decades had brought down a system that had administered not just the Ottoman empire but the Sherifian empire of Morocco, the Sultanate of Oman with its colonies on the Swahili-speaking coast and West Africa’s Sokoto Caliphate.

With Western encouragement, Serb and Greek rebels sloughed off devshirme. Fearful of French ambitions, the mufti of Tunis wooed the British by closing his slave-markets in 1846. A few years later, the sultan in Istanbul followed suit.

Some tried to resist, including Morocco’s sultan and the cotton merchants of Egypt, who had imported African slaves to make up the shortages left by the ravages of America’s civil war. But colonial pressure proved unstoppable. Under Britain’s consul-general, Evelyn Baring, Earl of Cromer, Egypt’s legislative assembly dutifully abolished slavery at the end of the 19th century. The Ottoman register for 1906 still lists 194 eunuchs and 500 women in the imperial harem, but two years later they were gone.

For almost a century the Middle East, on paper at least, was free of slaves. “Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them,” proclaimed the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam in 1990. Early jihadist groups followed the trend, characterizing themselves as liberation movements and, as such, rejecting slavery.

But though slavery per se may be condemned, observers point to the persistence of servitude. The Global Slavery Index (GSI), whose estimates are computed by an Australian NGO working with Hull University, claims that of 14 states with over 1% of the population enslaved, more than half are Muslim. Prime offenders range from the region’s poorest state, Mauritania, to its richest per head, Qatar.

The criteria and data used by GSI have been criticized, but evidence supports the thrust of its findings. Many Arab states took far longer to criminalize slavery than to ban it. Mauritania, the world’s leading enslaver, did not do so until 2007. Where bans exist, they are rarely enforced. The year after Qatar abolished slavery in 1952, the emir took his slaves to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Government inspections and prosecutions are rarities. “The security chiefs, the judges and the lawyers all belong to the class that historically owned slaves,” says Sarah Mathewson of London-based Anti-Slavery International. “They are part of the problem.”

No labor practice has drawn more international criticism than the kafala system, which ties migrant workers to their employers. This is not slavery as IS imposes it; migrants come voluntarily, drawn by the huge wealth gap between their own countries and the Gulf. But the system “facilitates slavery”, says Nicholas McGeehan, who reports for Human Rights Watch on conditions in the desert camps where most such workers live.

The Gulf’s 2.4m domestic servants are even more vulnerable. Most do not enjoy the least protection under labor laws. Housed and, in some cases, locked in under their employer’s roof, they are prey to sexual exploitation.

Irons and red-hot bars

Again, these workers have come voluntarily; but disquieting echoes persist. Many Gulf nationals can be heard referring to their domestics as malikat (slaves). Since several Asian governments have suspended or banned their female nationals from domestic work in the Gulf out of concern for their welfare, recruitment agencies are turning to parts of Africa, such as Uganda, which once exported female slaves. Some domestic servants are abused with irons and red-hot bars: resonant, says Mr McGeehan, of slave-branding in the past.

Elsewhere in the region, the collapse of law and order provides further cover for a comeback of old practices. Syrian refugee camps in Jordan provide a supply of girls for both the capital’s brothels and for Gulf men trawling websites, which offer short-term marriages for brokerage fees of $140-270 each. Trafficking has soared in Libya’s Mediterranean ports, which under the Ottomans exported sub-Saharan labor to Europe. Long before Boko Haram kidnapped girls, Anti-Slavery International had warned that Nigerian businessmen were buying “fifth wives”—concubines alongside the four wives permitted by Islam—from neighboring Niger.

Gulf states insist they are dealing with the problem. In June Kuwait’s parliament granted domestic servants labor rights, the first Gulf state to do so. It is also the only Gulf state to have opened a refuge for female migrants. Qatar, fearful that reported abuses might upset its hosting of the World Cup in 2022, has promised to improve migrant housing.

And earlier this year Mauritania’s government ordered preachers at Friday prayers to publicize a fatwa by the country’s leading clerics declaring: “Slavery has no legal foundation in sharia law.” Observers fear, though, that this is window-dressing. And Kuwait’s emir has yet to ratify the new labour-rights law.

Rather than stop the abuse, Gulf officials prefer to round on their critics, accusing them of Islamophobia just as their forebears did. Oman and Saudi Arabia have long been closed to Western human-rights groups investigating the treatment of migrants. Now the UAE and Qatar, under pressure after a wave of fatalities among workers building venues for the 2022 World Cup, are keeping them out, too.

Internal protests are even riskier. Over the past two years hundreds of migrant laborers building Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim and Louvre Museums have been detained, roughed up and deported, says Human Rights Watch, after strikes over unpaid wages. Aminetou Mint Moctar, a rare Mauritanian Arab on the board of SOS Esclaves, a local association campaigning for the rights of haratin, or descendants of black slaves, has received death threats.

Is it too much to hope that the Islamic clerics denouncing slavery might also condemn other instances of forced and abusive labor? Activists and Gulf migrants are doubtful. Even migrants’ own embassies can be strangely mute, not wanting criticism to curb the vital flow of remittances. When Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, visited the UAE this week, his nationals there complained that migrant rights were last on his list. Western governments generally have other priorities. One is simply to defeat IS, whose extreme revival of slavery owes at least something to the region’s persistent and pervasive tolerance of servitude.

Are Arabs Usually in a State of War?

RL: Most people in the region have been living in peacetime most of the time since independence.

Swank: Seems to detail a different picture here…

There has not been a war fought on Moroccan territory. Morocco has been at peace 100% of the time since Independence.

Algeria fought a civil war from 1991-2000.  That is 10 years out of 53.

There has not been a war fought on Tunisian territory. Tunisia has been at peace 100% of the time since Independence.

Libya fought a 4 day border war with Egypt in 1977. There was an on and off war in Chad for 8 years between 1978-1987. There has been civil war since the overthrow of Ghaddafi. That is 12 years of war out of 63 years. Libya has been at peace 93% of the time since Independence.

Egypt was involved in several wars with Israel, but they didn’t last long. The total adds up to maybe 2 years at most. That’s 2 years of war out of 93 years.

Indeed, Palestine has been embroiled war almost all the time since 1947.

Jordan has only fought some wars with Israel. Maybe 2 years of war out of the last 66 years.

Syria fought several wars with Israel, but the combined total only lasted two years. They fought a war with the Muslim Brotherhood that went on perhaps 1 year. There has been a civil war since 2012. That is 6 years of war out of 64 years.

Saudi Arabia has not been in any wars since 1920 that I am aware of. However, there was an internal civil war that lasted a few years recently, but it was a very low level war. Saudi Arabia was briefly targeted in the Gulf War but that was only for a year. That’s 3 years out of 95.

Oman has not been in any wars since 1920 that I am aware of. Oman has been at peace 100% of the time since Independence.

Bahrain has not been in any wars since 1920 that I am aware of. Bahrain has been at peace 100% of the time since Independence.

UAE has not been in any wars since 1920 that I am aware of. UAE has been at peace 100% of the time since Independence.

Qatar has not been in any wars since 1920 that I am aware of. Qatar has been at peace 100% of the time since Independence.

Kuwait has been at war only with Iraq and that was only for a few weeks. That is 1 month out of 95 years.

Yemen did fight a civil war that lasted maybe 8 years. This resulted in a split in the country. There has been an internal war against Al Qaeda for maybe 4 years now. That’s 12 years out of 54.

Iraq fought a brief war with the British in 1941, but it only lasted one month. There was civil war in Mosul in 1959, but it lasted no more than a week. Iraq fought a number of wars with Israel, but those amounted to no more than 2 years. The Iran-Iraq War lasted 8 years. The Gulf War was over in less than a year and was by an internal civil war on 6 months. Iraq has been at war since the Iraq War in 2003, 11 years. Since 1932, Iraq has been at war for 22 years. That is 22 out of 83.

Lebanon fought a few wars against Israel, adding up to no more than 2 years. There was a brief civil war in 1958 lasting no more than one month. There was a major civil war in Lebanon for 15 years, from 1975-1990. Hezbollah fought a 1 month war with Israel in 2006. There was a brief civil war in 2007 with the Lebanese army fought a 4 month civil war against Fatah-al-Islam. In 2008, Hezbollah fought a 1 week war with the government. The Syrian Civil War has spilled over into Lebanon for the last year. Lebanon has been at war for 19 out of 70 years.

Conclusion: Most countries in the Arab World have been at peace most of the time since Independence.

Signs of Al Qaeda

Have you seen how many Salafi jihadis lately have been making the sign of one index finger pointing upwards? I have seen this in many recent ISIS photos and was starting to wonder what it meant. The Net was no use until I finally Googled it correctly. The only website that told me the truth was the Islamophobic and reactionary Front Page Magazine, a sickening, repulsive and stupid mag that is nevertheless often correct about Islam.
According to FPM, the single index finger pointing upwards (photo of a jihadi giving this sign at the link) has been seen in photos of many Al Qaeda types, including bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Abu Musab al Zarqawi and Chechen jihadists, including leader Doku Umarav, has also been spotted making the gesture. The jihadis who attacked the US Embassy in Libya also made the sign, giving us a clue to their allegiances.
The gesture refers to one God (monotheism – an essence of Islam) and the willingness to fight and die for Islam, thereby attaining martyrdom and ascending to paradise in heaven which is skyward. A photo of “moderate” Syrian Islamists making this sign is here.
Allahu Akbar was spray-painted on the burned out US Embassy building. Jihadis often vandalize churches or war monuments with this phrase lately, so this gives us one more hint of the orientation of the attackers of Benghazi.
Another classic symbol of Al Qaeda is the black flag with the shehada and sword inscription is not really Al Qaeda’s flag – instead it is the flag of the earliest Muslims, popular during the Abbasid Caliphate in the 800’s. During this period, there was a great deal of jihad against the infidels, often operating with lightning speed and major terror similar to the recent stunning operations of ISIS. In addition, we see modern Salafi-jihadis using the phrase, “worshippers of the cross” to describe Christians. This phrase also goes way back in the history of Islam to the earliest days and strongly suggests contempt and hatred for Christians.
One more symbol is the buttless AK-47 backlit with flames. I am not sure if this is an Al Qaeda symbol or a symbol of Islamists in general.
Guerrilla groups and organizations are sort of like street gangs. They throw gang signs – see the index finger pointed upwards above – and have graffiti just like the Crips and the Bloods.

Sykes-Picot: The Reason for the Chaos in Arabia

Arab nationalists are still mad about this one.
Not so much Bush invading Iraq or whatever the Hell Obama has done. All Obama has done is support bipartisan US foreign policy consensus that the Republicans themselves support, with the only variation being that Republicans want to double down on Barack’s machination. But all of this was just accelerating the inevitable.
Interesting how the British double-crossed the Emir of Arabia by promising support for an independent Arabia in the former Ottoman lands in 1915 and then going back on it later after they defeated Turkey. They backstabbed the Emir in typical British fashion. Recall US imperialism is very much like British imperialism as Americans are first and foremost a British people in genes and culture. After the war, they dissolved the Ottoman lands and instead of giving the Arabs freedom as they promised, they simply stole their lands from the Ottomans. The British, out of sheer coincidence, happened to donate to themselves exactly those lands where oil had just been found (Mesopotamia) and the Emir got a worthless (at that time) hunk of desert in the middle of the Arabian peninsula.
Syria and Lebanon were donated to the French for no particular reason, while the British stole Palestine (including Transjordan) and then promptly donated it to Lord Rothschild’s Jews who had demanded it as a bribe for financial support to help the British win the war.
The Kurds were screwed worst of all. There were many proposals to give them a state, but they were all ignored. The Kurds were chopped up into four countries – Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, with a bit in Armenia (cool map at the link). They have been stateless ever since – the Kurds, who have existed as a nation in one form or another for possibly 3,000 years. Now, at long last, the West seems to be keen on giving the Kurds a new nation in northern Iraq, something they have been deathly opposed to for a century. Why the sudden change of heart? Color me suspicious! Imperialism never does anything decent out of the goodness of its heart. Never, ever.

Who Killed Rafik Hariri?

Repost from the old site.

One wonders where to begin with a post like this. Rafik Hariri, of course, was the Prime Minister and self-made billionaire who ruled Lebanon for a time recently. He was assassinated in an expertly planned car bomb attack, but no one really knows who did it. All suspicion fell on Syria, and Syria did have good reason to kill Hariri.

You really need a lot of background in Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics to even begin to understand the twists and turns of this sinuous murder mystery.

Hariri was elected head of Lebanon and proceeded to go on a borrowing spree, mostly with Saudi money, and rebuilt Lebanon after the Civil War destroyed it. He did this by playing all factions off each other. He also instituted a Lebanese version of free market economics, an economic system that, thank God, is largely absent from the Middle East because it contradicts Arab and especially Islamic values.

Hariri is a Sunni, but a fairly secular one. The Sunnis make up maybe 17% of Lebanon. The Shia, represented by Hezbollah, make up about 40%. The Maronites make up about 30%. The Druze and Orthodox Christians make up about 10%. There has been no census taken in about 50 years, because everyone is afraid of how things are going to turn out.

The Christians used to be the majority – in fact, Lebanon was originally split off from Syria by the French to give the Christians their own country. Partly for this reason, it’s very existence is resented by a number of Lebanese Muslims, especially Sunnis, who figure that Syria and Lebanon are all one country.

Syria itself has long regarded the severance of Lebanon from Mother Syria as illegitimate, and her behavior in recent years has been motivated in part by these feelings. The Shia were long-downtrodden, especially by the Sunnis. The Sunnis were the Muslims who were pretty much in charge of the place in terms of who was in charge of the Muslims in the country. The Sunni held the reigns, and discrimination against the Shia was rife.

Shia were regularly attacked by Sunni gangs in Beirut up into the 1970’s. The Shia complain that the Sunnis would only allow them to be garbagemen – that was the best job they could get. After the late 1950’s, when a Christian lost the election and Lebanese Christians feared that their power would be constricted, there has been a power-sharing agreement in place.

The Prime Minister must be a Sunni, another high post must be a Christian, etc, etc. As the Christians have gone from majority to minority, this system has become less and less fair. In particular, Muslims, especially the Shia, are dramatically underrepresented. The Christians did not want to give up their power in the late 1950’s, so the US Marines landed to enforce illegitimate Christian rule over Lebanon.

The Civil War began in part once again over demands that Lebanese democracy be derived more on one man one vote and that the excessive power of the Christians be curtailed. Further, the Christians have always run the Lebanese economy, at least in recent years.

I say all of this because in the US there is a strong tendency to side with the Lebanese Christians against the evil Muslims. Further, the Lebanese Maronite Christians (the largest sect) have made an important alliance with the Zionist Jews in Israel, an alliance that helped to drive the Civil War.

So US Zionist propaganda, which floods our media night and day, strongly favors the Maronites once again. As an example of this alliance, one of the highest ranking neoconservatives of all is a Maronite Lebanese lawyer named F. Michael Maloof who is very close to uber-neocons Douglas Feith and Richard Perle. He is up to his eyeballs in the planning of the war on Iraq.

With the Lebanese Civil War and the rise of Hezbollah, the Shia have finally been given a place at the table of Lebanese politics. The Druze are a real wild card. They shift all over the place on the whim of their erratic leader, Walid Jumblatt, from anti-Israel and anti-US to anti-Syrian and pro-US.

The Shia, and Hezbollah along with the more secular Amal Party, are allied with Syria and Iran. Syria keeps Hezbollah armed in Southern Lebanon as a tool to threaten Israel with in order to try to get the Golan Heights back. That’s all Syria gets out of the game. If Hezbollah is disarmed in Lebanon, Syria loses it’s most powerful weapon and may never get its land back.

Hezbollah has since taken up the cause of Lebanese nationalism, agitating for the return of the Shebaa Farms and some nearby hills that they say Israel is occupying. It is probably Lebanese land, but Israel seems to have captured that land from Syria when it grabbed the Golan.

For its purposes, Syria wants to say that the Shebaa is Lebanese for purposes of keeping Hezbollah armed, and to say it’s Syrian as soon as Hezbollah tries to make peace with Israel or vice versa. So Syria must play a double game here, but everyone is in this crazy part of the world.

As a condition of ending the Civil War, Syria was tasked with ruling the place. Syria had actually entered the war to save the Maronite Christians from defeat, but the Christians soon forgot about this and turned on the Syrians. The Taba Agreement, constructed with the help of the US and other powers, put Syria in charge until the Lebanese could figure out how to stop killing each other.

Syria quickly started meddling in Lebanese politics bigtime, and an independence movement arose to get Syria out of Lebanon. This was ignored by the US until George Bush came to office. Now the same US that put Syria in power started demanding that Syria leave. Not only that, but there were increasing demands on Lebanon to “disarm all militias”, code words for disarm Hezbollah.

Now, Syria needs Hezb in Lebanon until it gets the Golan back, so them’s fighting words to the Syrians. At the same time, the US invaded Iraq and threatened Iran, Libya, and Syria, while Israel killed Arafat by poisoning him.

This whole process was set into motion by the neocons who were operating in the interests of the Israeli government. It was an Israeli plan to deal a powerful blow to some of their worst enemies in order to secure the realm, as Xymphora lays out brilliantly here.

Part of this Zionist plot was to knock out Hezbollah in Lebanon as part of a triple blow against Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. Hezbollah kept getting more powerful on Israel’s northern border, and the Israelis were getting more upset.

So the US and France pushed through a UN resolution, UN Security Council Resolution 1559, calling for Syria to get out of Lebanon and for the disarming of Hezbollah. Note that France is still an imperialist power in the region, defending the interests of the Christians who they put in charge of their former colony.

Also, the US Congress pushed a bill called the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, a bill that may as well have been written by the Israeli Knesset. It’s so pro-Israeli, it’s almost impossible to comprehend that the US Congress wrote it. Apparently, it imposes sanctions on Syria for a variety of mostly-bullshit reasons.

The US is in Iraq, apparently forever, threatening Syria and Iran, for the most part in order to benefit the Israelis, since Syria and Iran have no particular beefs with the US. Iran and Syria clearly want the US out of Iraq and US guns away from their doorstep. They have no interest in keeping the US in Iraq at all.

Anyway, the US status of forces agreement that they are trying to negotiate with the Iraqis is explicitly meant to use Iraq as a base for attacking neighboring countries, mostly Iran but possibly Syria too. So rage at Syria and Iran for not being overjoyed about the US military in Iraq is misplaced. No sane Syrian or Iranian leader would want us there.

Amidst this backdrop, Hariri supported UN Resolution 1559, probably because finally even the Lebanese Sunnis were getting fed up with Syria’s high-handedness. They had supported Syria for a long time, but Syria kept trying to push people to their limits.

It was the Maronite Christians who really hated the Syrians being there. Why is uncertain. The Maronites despise the Shia and Hezbollah and want the Palestinian refugees gone too.

By the way, the reason that the Palestinians have never been allowed to work or become citizens in Lebanon is because of the Maronites. The Maronites fear that allowing the Pallies to become citizens will increase the Muslim population at the expense of the Christians.

So the Hariri crowd was riding the wave of anti-Syrianism. At the same time, he was closely allied with the Saudis. The Saudis’ whole role in the region is to support the Sunnis and screw the Shia, in a word. So the Saudis were backing Hariri solely because he is Sunni, and also to stop Iran and Hezbollah and increasingly Syria, who is allied with Iran and Hezbollah and hence in the enemy camp as far as the Saudis see it.

There really is not much sane reason for the Saudis to fear Iran. All the hate in the region goes from Sunni to Shia, pretty much. Perhaps the Iranians could energize the long-downtrodden Saudi Shia to rebel against the Saudis, but the Saudis ought to give them more rights anyway. Sunni fears of Iran attacking the region are simply insane, kind of like Nazi fears of the USSR overrunning Europe, so the Nazis had to attack first.

Iran has never attacked another state in at least 100 years and possibly longer. The Shia are on the outs in the Arab World, and the Sunnis have all the power. There are no nefarious Shia plots to evangelize Shia Islam and convert all the Sunnis – this is just mad Sunni paranoia. But the Saudis do work hard in Iran to convert the Shia Ahwaz Arabs to Wahhabi Sunnism, and they have had some success at this.

The Shia have been killing a lot of Sunnis in Iraq, but the Sunnis started it. Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, started the war against Iran for no good reason, and received volunteers and money from most of the Sunni states in the region.

Against this backdrop, as Syria was leaving Lebanon (though a spy network remains behind) Hariri was killed in the very professional car bomb attack. An Al Qaeda type radical Salafist Islamist associated with Jund al-Sham (Army of the Levant) was promptly fingered in the attack, though there were a lot of questions about whether or not Syria was actually involved.

The US and France got a UN commission to actually send a law enforcement team to investigate the killing. A couple of teams were sent out there and a couple of reports came back. One team was headed by Detlev Mehlis, a German.

Jürgen Cain Külbel, a journalist in Germany, is an acquaintance. He’s a former member of the STASI and is associated with the former East German government and the political party that came afterwards. Külbel is a Leftist, and for a long time he was pushing theories saying that US imperialism was in back of a lot of the shenanigans in the ME, including I guess the invasion of Iraq.

He showed a profound disinterest in investigating any Israeli or Jewish Lobby involvement in many of the conflicts over there. This is standard Leftist line that absolves Israel of everything and pushes it all off on imperialism.

So it is interesting that Külbel has now come around to the notion that Israel killed Hariri and then tried to pawn it off on Syria. He has also shown links that Mehlis had with the US AIPAC. Mehlis, as it turns out, used to work for WINEP, which is nothing AIPAC as a research arm. So his finding that Syria was involved has been attacked by Külbel.

Külbel was subsequently imprisoned for ten days for violating a court order by printing some East German STASI papers on his website. I’m not sure of their contents, but it may have shown how Mehlis was associated with WINEP. So the Voltaire Network has taken up the cause of Külbel, about which I feel they are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Of interest to our Maronite discussion above, a group called UNIFL, which has interests that are almost precisely in line with the Israeli government, figures in all of this. These are the most hardcore radical rightwing Maronites, who are for all intents and purposes a quasi-fascist movement.

They were deeply involved in the War Against Iraq and other great big messes. They’ve been selling this BS story about how the Christians are so persecuted in Lebanon, and the persecution is being done by evil fundamentalist Islamic Syria (run by ultra-secular Alawis).

It’s mostly just a pack of lies, but there were arrests, tortures and killings under Syrian rule, it is true. That’s all over now, and the Maronites did tons of killing in their own day.

After all, they committed the most and worst massacres of all during the Civil War.

Maloof is in with these guys, so is a guy named David Wurmser (Israeli agent neoconservative with dual citizenship) and his evil witch of the West wife Meyrav (read Hebrew for “Mary”, no? Israeli agent neoconservative with dual citizenship).

So is Richard Pele (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?), and worst of all, Daniel Pipes (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?) of Middle East Watch and Campus Watch and all of that Zionist fascist censorship, harassment and firing crap leaping up all over our land). Nice long sentence.

Pipes, whose father was an evil Cold War maniac and professional liar about the Soviet Union, inherited the evil maniac part, but all he cares about is Israel. Paul Wolfowitz (Israeli agent neoconservative with dual citizenship) is also in deep with these guys.

Harold Rhode (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?) is another one, but no one has ever heard of him, so I will make him famous today for all time. Rhode is a Jewish guy who is religious and was obsessed with attacking Iraq. He was in on the plot to attack Iraq with all the rest of them from the very start.

Afterward, he became obsessed with the Jewish religious relics that the evil anti-Semitic Arab-Nazi government had somehow, through a sudden stroke of anti-Semitism, managed to preserve, despite their genocidal intentions towards all the world’s Jews.

Saddam wanted to kill every Jew on Earth, of course, but damn right he was going to save those Jewish holy books. That proves Saddam was a madman all right, just like the yahoos screamed before the invasion.

Rhode ran over to Iraq as soon as the war was done and got himself a big team put together right away while the museums and archaeological relics of the nation were being devastated. After all, the history of Jews receives precedence of the history of those lowly, dirty Arabs and over the very history of mankind itself, right? Jews take precedence over Arabs. Jews take precedence over humanity. You get the picture.

Well, anyway, a lot of money was spent grabbing every single Jewish relic in Iraq and “storing” it away in the US (in Jewish hands, I guess). Well, that’s sort of illegal. Now that Iraq is more stable, the Iraqi government wants their Jewish stuff back. It belongs to Iraq, not to the world’s Jews. Whoops, I forgot. No nation is allowed to own Jewish relics. Jews take precedence over all real nations on Earth.

Also, it’s funny that the US (Are we the second Jewish state?) bent all over backwards to grab all that old Jewish stuff, while we sat back and watched, first, while the whole non-Jewish history of Iraq was looted and destroyed to Hell, in particular the History of the Ottoman Empire.

Well, screw the Ottomans, they were just evil Muslims who ruled the Arab World and treated the Jews like crap, right? Or they were just scummy Muslims, screw em. Anyway, obviously the Jewish history of Iraq got nabbed by the nimble hands of the Jewish “Americans”, but the non-Jewish history of Iraq was scatted to the Seven Winds and the Seventy Thousand Thieves.

After all, in any country with lots of Jews, only the Jewish history matters ,and the non-Jewish history is just, pshaw! Right? Trash the museums and the libraries and re-burn the Library of Alexandria if the US and Israel are in the book-burning and library-sacking business, which apparently they are.

Funny how the US can’t spare a soldier to save the history of Muslim Ottoman Iraq from being ruined. Those records have been flooded and subjected to all sorts of abuse, and the US can’t spare one sentry to guard that stuff. Wow, gee, why do they hate us anyway?

They must be jealous of all of our stuff, and our freedoms, and you know, our stuff.

Ever notice that the far-Right jingoist dickheads who scream the loudest about “our freedoms” and “they hate us for our freedom” are the first ones to start shutting freedoms down? Scooter Libby (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?) is in with UNIFL too. So are Steven Hadley and Donald Rumsfeld. Hadley’s some weird poli-sci ultra-rightwing Vulcan dude.

Külbel also accuses UNIFL along with Israel of killing Hariri.

And it’s surely possible that a Maronite or UNIFL-type spy was used by the Mossad in Syria to kill Iranian super-agent Imad Mughniyeh. My theory, yes, I read up on that one too.

Why can’t Syria uncover the Mossad network deep in its very bowels?

Why can’t Iran either? Iran did catch one Mossad agent, and they just sentenced him to death after one of the shortest trials in recent history. If he’s really Mossad, hang him high, go ahead.

And I know that Iran is full of US spies and even US undercover troops (500 total? How many?). Same with British spies. Iran can’t catch these guys? The US guys are running around blowing up stuff up, and the British are giving bombs to Iranian rebels, including Al Qaeda types called Jundallah in Balochistan.

I guess Mossad, the US and probably the UK too, are all trying to get at Iran’s nuclear sites, and yes, I am certain the Iranians are making a nuclear bomb right now. I think they already have one, but it’s just a uranium bomb, and that isn’t good for anything but making one square mile of Earth uninhabitable for 70 years.

Actually, just to be a completely evil and horrible scumbag and make people hate me even more than they already do, I will right now officially support Iran’s efforts to get a nuclear bomb.

Is that an evil position or what?! Not to shoot one, just to get one.

Also to make a whole bunch of evil biological and chemical weapons and WMD-this and WMD-that. Also, just to be even more of an ass and arouse more hatred, I will say that I was deeply sad when North Korea blew up their reactor, because I wanted them to make more nukes to threaten people, namely the US, my country with. Not to shoot at us. Just to even it up.

Why be an ass? Long argument, but it has to do with imperialism’s gross abuse of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement.

I’m not saying this is what happened or anything, Maronites and Mossad killing Hariri. No one on Earth will ever know what happened. Figure it out yourself, I give, and I spent many long hours reading and poring over this mystery until I finally just gave up and don’t want to read about it anymore.

Such are the homicidal intrigues of the Middle East, like vines in a jungle, no beginning, no end, no middle, nothing much to grab, and every new lead carries you off on more red herrings and impossibilities and possibilities, and everything seems possible, but still nothing ever totally adds up. God I love a mystery. To a point.

Sorry this went on, but I never wrote a Hariri post. Now it’s done, and hopefully I won’t need to write any more. Believe it or not, I could have written way more, but I’m not into putting readers to sleep. I’m long-winded enough, as it is.

Try the Angry Arab blog (I’ve talked to this guy; As’ad, a Leftist Arab nationalist professor at a university very close by) if you can’t get enough of this maddening Lebanon stuff.

Or Joshua Landis’ (an acquaintance) great Syria Comment if you want to dip into the Syrian mystery casserole, where nothing makes sense either, and you think you can see the fish in the bowl, but the more you look, the more you can hardly make them out, and plus they always change.

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site.
The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is the Single Spark. Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how
revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before. This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable
change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Does Communism make sense today?
P: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
P: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries? If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.
Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.
The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.


Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated. Not only was it to be the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, The Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Notes

1. Ashok. (May 2006). Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao, p. 71.
2. Basanta. (May 2006). International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. (June 2006). Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. (Early November 2006). Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . L’espresso, Italy. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. (November 18, 2006). Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (Dec. 21, 2006). Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.

A Critique of Islam

This comes from the comments section of a conservative White racist publication, American Renaissance. The comment quotes several websites, apparently all rightwing. At least one is run by anti-Muslim Jews. Let us put aside for a moment that this critique is written by our enemies, Zionists and the Right.
The painful question is how much truth is there in this critique?
When it comes to identity among Muslims, nationality does not count at all in comparison with culture and religion. The consequence is a powerful and growing opposition to Western culture and values in Muslim ghettos throughout Copenhagen and other major European cities.
To a Muslim (as to the regional precursor peoples going back to Alexander) tribe is nation And failure to make that correct interpretation is a direct result of our legacy inheritance from a millenia of manorial feudalism because Nascere means by birth, not by land. We come from peasant serfs. Not them.
Myself before my brother, we brothers before our cousins, our cousins before the tribe, the tribe before state. And all before Islam.
Islam did not change these peoples exploited, exploitative, natures, it harnessed them by explicitly forbidding them any other lifestyle choice and rewarding them with breeding rights and loot for becoming part of a robber gang.
Said gang takes tribute from one area, denuding it of females on a 4:1 basis of reward to warrior males. Then it recruits on the basis of pillage as genetic persistence rights in the next area over and so on and so forth. Growing as it expands. Because if you want anything from Islam, you must convert.
Before the Renaissance, Islam was the most successful, expansive culture on the planet.
Finding those they cannot convert or kill outright, Islamically trained young toughs today are at a complete loss for how to interact on a cop:boss:landlord level of graduated hierarchies above them because respect and dominance is their whole (rote) acquired culture.
A system of warrior privilege that cannot live but that it grows through conquest.
And what’s most despicable about this is that the Muslims know it quite well themselves, choosing to conceal it behind a facade of ‘Taqqiya’ or tactical disinformation.
Indeed, back in 2005, shortly after the Beslan tragedy, the brother in law of the owner of Al Jazeera, himself the owner of a very influential newspaper in Kuwait, wrote a personal editorial that basically said: “Look you idiots, the whole world thinks Islam is a terrorist religion because 9 out of 10 terrorist acts in the last 10 years have been by or included Islamic indoctrinated youth. You had better get your young men under control or we will be the pariahs of the planet.”
And nobody listened to him. Because he wasn’t telling a shocking unknown.
What The West refuses to acknowledge is that Islam is a majority fundamentalist religion (which is to say natively extremist), of which the high-IQ, college bound, ‘Ivy League sweater wearers’ of the upper class moderates (that Islamic and particularly Iranian TV occasionally parades before the camera) are entirely non-representative. Anymore than the Kennedys are accurate reflections of our culture.
Jizya (legal extortion from non-believers) payments only reinvigorate the belief that strength deserves to dominate weakness as the system or ‘racket’ by which Islam functions as a warrior cult built upon conquest.
For two years I’ve been researching a book about Alexander the Great’s counter-guerrilla campaign in Afghanistan, 330-327 B.C. What struck me most powerfully is that that war is a dead ringer for the ones we’re fighting today – even though Alexander was pre-Christian and his enemies were pre-Islamic.
The heart of every tribal male is that of a warrior. Even the most wretched youth in a Palestinian refugee camp sees himself as a knight of Islam. The Pathan code of nangwali prescribes three virtues: nang – pride; badal – revenge; melmastia – hospitality. These guys are Apaches.
What the warrior craves before all else is respect. Respect from his own people, and, even more, from his enemy. When we of the West understand this, as Alexander did, we’ll have taken the first step toward solving the unsolvable.
Islam is a revealed religion with a distinct set of unchanging rules and guidelines to follow. It is not a religion that is supposed to “come from within” like some new age religion. It seems quite incongruous to claim that one believes that Muhammad was Allah’s prophet and therefore profess to be a Muslim and then reject clear Islamic doctrine as established by Muhammad when the Qur’an demands that Muslims obey Muhammad and follow his “perfect” example.
The religion is named Islam, meaning submission, because its founder, Muhammad, claimed that is the word Allah said to him in several alleged revelations. Otherwise, the religion would surely have been known as Muhammadanism or something similar.

What Went Right Set The Stage For Decline

Understanding what went wrong in the Islamic world is, perhaps, best addressed by first recognizing what went right because the initial success of Islam and its early rise to economic, political, and military power is also a primary cause of what ultimately went wrong.
When Muhammad and his early followers arrived in Medina, it is clear that they were in a less than secure economic state. They had cut themselves off from the protection and support of their tribe – an act that was considered tantamount to a death sentence at the time. Moreover, this severance from their tribe’s support and protection occurred in a hostile environment.
The Arabian Peninsula consists mainly of desert that, under normal circumstances, can only support a low-density population. Whether Muhammad felt that he had no other alternatives or whether he felt he had other options is something we will probably never know with certainty, but there is no question that Muhammad chose to create a society that sustained itself and advanced its interests by preying upon non-Muslims.
Mohammed said: “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, and whoever says, None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, his life and property will be saved by me…Allah made the Jews leave their homes by terrorizing them so that you killed some and made many captives. And He made you inherit their lands, their homes, and their wealth…Clearly, Muhammad viewed non-Muslims’ land and property as fair game, and his conduct established that he practiced what he preached.
Instead, we see Ahmadiyya Muslims, many Sufi Muslims, and Bahai Muslims all believing they are “Muslims” when they have deviated so far from the religion Muhammad preached and practiced that Muhammad would hardly consider them Muslims. Muhammad once ordered a mosque, whose members were practicing a heretical form of Islam, burned, and his followers burned it to the ground with the heretical Muslims inside, thereby establishing in Islamic doctrine that schisms were not only not to be tolerated, but should be violently suppressed.
One important answer to the question lies in an ingenious social invention arising among the early Muslims. This was a breeding system that motivated successful warriors with a great incentive to spread their faith and their culture. Bloom puts this motivation in stark terms as “the restless effort of human males to find more wombs to carry their seed.”
Islam has the remarkable advantage of being highly patriarchal and polygamous with great sexual benefits for those warriors able to conquer in its name; Islam was and remains a great male racket. Furthermore, these advantages are not the temporary kind that have always been associated with warfare, but continue to exist within the peacetime new order.
Warriors were not the only Muslim males sexually rewarded for advancing Islam. As seen above, Islam was also spread by trade and mercantile activity. The wealth accumulated by a successful merchant could be considerable. Thus, those responsible for promoting Islam beyond the borders of the Dar-al-Islam could also obtain the means of purchasing concubines and of affording multiple wives.

Jews Aren’t Terrorists

Whatever you can say, Jews are not terrorists. Only Arabs and Muslims do sick stuff like that. Even when they were being persecuted in the Holocaust, they never killed innocents.

King David Massacre
Massacre at Baldat Al-Shaikh
Yehida Massacre
Khisas Massacre
Qazaza Massacre
Semiramis Hotel Massacre
Massacre at Deir Yasin
Naser Al-Din Massacre
The Tantura Massacre
Beit Daras Massacre
Dahmash Mosque Massacre
Dawayma Massacre
Houla Massacre
Sharafat Massacre
Salha Massacre
Massacre at Qibya
Kafr Qasem Massacre
Khan Yunis Massacre
Massacre in Gaza City
Al-Sammou’ Massacre
Aitharoun Massacre
Kawnin Massacre
Hanin Massacre
Bint Jbeil Massacre
Abbasieh Massacre
Adloun Massacre
Saida Massacre
Fakhani Massacre
Beirut Massacre
Sabra and Shatila Massacre
Jibsheet Massacre
Sohmor Massacre
Seer Al Garbiah
Maaraka Massacres
Zrariah Massacre
Homeen Al-Tahta Massacre
Jibaa Massacre
Yohmor Massacre
Tiri Massacre
Al-Naher Al-Bared Massacre
Ain Al-Hilwe Massacre
Oyon Qara Massacre
Siddiqine Massacre
Al-Aqsa Mosque Massacre
Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre
Jabalia Massacre
Aramta Massacre
Eretz Checkpoint Massacre
Deir Al-Zahrani Massacre
Nabatiyeh (School Bus) Massacre
Mnsuriah Massacre
Second Sohmor Massacre
Nabatyaih Massacre
Qana Massacre
Trqumia Massacre
Janta Massacre
24 Of June 1999 Massacres
Western Bekaa Villages Massacre

Abu Daoud 1937-2010

A Palestinian Black September member who plotted the taking of the Israeli athletes hostage in Munich in 1972, he died in Syria on July 3 at age 73 of kidney failure. Mossad had been hunting him in order to assasinate him for 38 years, but they never caught him. However, in a Warsaw hotel lobby in 1981, a Mossad agent shot him 13 times. He had spent most of his last years in hiding in Syria.

Shortly before he died, he issued a message to the Israelis, “I cannot fight you anymore, but my grandsons will fight you and their grandsons will fight you.”

Maher Versus Sheuer on Israel

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZbzs5BwBLA&feature=player_embedded]

Straight up truth, 100 proof. Maher is just a typical liberal Jew. Yeah he supports Israel, sure, most of them do. What do you expect?

I read Sheuer’s book, Imperial Hubris, and it was very good. Highly recommended. Head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Station from 1996-2005.

Are Whites Necessary For Modern Civilization?

A White nationalist commenter comments on the Neandertal thread:

Robert, I don’t get your strange form of ethnocentrism. You claim to think “we’re the best,” as a sort of superstition, while knowing that we’re not really the best; while in many respects “we’re the best,” is obviously true. You can’t compare Black supremacist ideology with White supremacist. The former may take things a bit too far and sometimes be a bit off the facts, but the latter is simply laughable.

Whites may not be perfect, but they do have a fairly high IQ and the most impressive track record in terms of scientific progress and high culture.

As far as the West not always being dominant– the Chinese had not discovered that the Earth was a sphere or that the sun was larger than the Earth by 1600 AD. We beat them to it by more than a millennium.

They were also amazed by Euclid as they had nothing comparable in mathematics; they had no system of formal logic or precise scientific method; excluding the Great Wall, no ancient architecture to compare with our great Cathedrals and monuments etc. you could go on and on. The Asians today have more great pianists to play Chopin, but where is the Asian Chopin? They are impressive people, but clearly less innovative.

The Arabs had a bit of a renaissance partly due to having better access to ancient Greek manuscripts; but it was short lived. Who’s following in the tradition of Classical Civilization today?

This whole “the West has only been ahead for a few hundred years,” line is silly. We really are in a different league than everyone else.

I get your point about it being in ill taste to constantly harp on and on about your own group’s superiority. But when we’re under attack – being flooded with nonwhites and told that Western Civilization really isn’t anything to be proud of, and even if it is, nonwhites will do just fine preserving the West despite having historically shown little to no ability to do so – well then we need to start making the case for being able to do something they can’t. The facts are on our side, we just need to have the nerve to use them.

If we want to preserve the civilization we love we’re going to have to accept that we can’t avoid hurting nonwhites’ feelings by telling them that they’re unable to maintain Western Civilization on their own.

As far as my form of ethnocentrism, well, it’s completely normal. Most ethnicities do think that their people are better or the best. It’s normal thinking. Many of these folks are also often non-racist to anti-racist. The two things are quite compatible. I don’t want to get into scientifically proving that we Whites are superior. What for? It’s a disgusting enterprise, and probably won’t be fruitful anyway.

I have some extremely serious problems with this line of thinking. For starters, its presumptions.

I do not think that NE Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Siberian, Taiwanese, Singaporean, or Vietnamese people lack the ability to produce a great modern civilization. They can clearly do so. I see them as continuing to be able to produce great and modern civilizations into the future. I don’t even have a problem with the civilizations produced by SE Asians in general.

I doubt if the problems of Indians, South Asians, Central Asians and Arabs are due to their genes. After all, the UAE right now is one of the most spectacularly modern places on Earth. Saudi Arabian cities look like Tuscon suburbs. Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait are quite similar. What’s so inferior about that? Sure, Islam is fucked, but there’s nothing in these folks’ genes that keeps them from producing great modern societies.

The North Africans should do pretty well too. Last I heard Libya is quite a modern country.

The Turks and the people of the Caucasus can produce modern societies, as can the Iranians. Iranian weaponry now is considered to be dangerously lethal by both the US and the Israelis. Recall the Iranian anti-ship missile that destroyed the Israeli warship off of Lebanon in the last war. Kickass product.

The Pakistanis and Indians produced nuclear weapons. No small feat that.

I do have a lot of worries about the abilities of Africans to produce great societies, but it’s basically their problem, not mine. We are not going to let Africans flood in here anyway.

Furthermore, looking at history is not too relevant. Sure, Africa did not produce much in the past, on their own. But Africa is no longer isolated from all outside influences. The great leaps of knowledge, science and innovation that occur in the rest of the world are readily available to educated and skilled Africans soon after they are invented or thought up. Therefore, Africa has a much better chance to become successfully modern than in the past.

Caribbeans, I don’t know. Trinidad and Tobago has a PCI of $20,000/year with totally free health care for all and 100% free education for all, through college level. Hell, they’re kicking our ass in that regard. We can’t even give our people free health care and college education and they can. Who’s inferior now? We are!

As suggested in the African example above, the modern world is changing so much that it can hardly be compared to older worlds. Technology is global, and it reverberates around the globe like lightning, as does knowledge in all forms. The smart people anywhere produce innovation and knowledge, and then these facts and things move around the planet faster than you can blink your eyes.

They are made available from more skilled societies to societies that are not as skilled. Therefore, the differential IQ factors are somewhat modulated as knowledge and innovation produced in high-IQ societies flows to lower IQ societies for free.

The Hispanics are flooding in, it is true. Their societies seem to be rather chaotic and violent, but if you go to their capital cities in the wealthier districts, you will think you were in any large US city. There’s no real observable difference. Their problems are mostly due to issues of wealth distribution.

It’s hard to use national IQ’s to calculate national potentials. For instance, Cuba has 2% of Latin America’s population and 10% of its scientists. Cuban medicine is so good that wealthy Latin Americans go there (and pay good money) from all over the continent (medical tourism) to have specialty work done that cannot be done in their countries. Cuba has more agronomists per capita than anywhere else on Earth. It has the best educated population on the continent.

Medical discoveries and breakthroughs occur regularly in Cuba and are published in scientific journals. Cuban biotechnology, a high-IQ industry, competes effectively with biotech from huge Western corporations and sells its excellent competitive products the world over.

All of these achievements have been done with a Cuban IQ of 85, lower than that of US Blacks, who White Supremacists consider to be a failed people, mostly due to an IQ of 86.8 or so. If Cubans can do so well with an IQ lower than US Blacks, how can US Blacks be a failed people due to IQ?

I don’t really believe that other societies produce inferior musicians or music, but maybe my tastes are different from yours.

What I would like to do is to eliminate illegal immigration and reduce legal immigration. I don’t care what race or ethnicity comes here, as I don’t buy your arguments that they are genetically inferior per se.

I would say that the combined average IQ of the immigrants we let in cannot be lower than the US average (either 98 or 100 right now, depending on scale used). So if 100 immigrants of whatever constellation of groups is let in, let their combined average IQ be 98-100. If the Jamaicans, Nigerians, Filipinos, Mexicans, Palestinians, Indians, Thais and Algerians we let in all average 98-100 IQ, what’s the worry? I don’t buy your argument that a 98-100 IQ person from one of these ethnicities is still somehow genetically inferior to a 98-100 IQ White American.

You say that Whites are going extinct and we are being flooded with non-Whites, but how are you going to save the White West? Even if you cut off all non-White immigration, you will still be only 66% White and declining. With differential birthrates, Whites will continue to decline. Then what are you going to do as Whites continue to decline?

Not to mention cutting off non-White immigration will be politically impossible. All the non-Whites will oppose it. Now you need to get 79% of the White electorate to vote for it. Not only that, but every few years, you will need a higher and higher White percentage to support it – 80%, then 81%, etc.

Do you honestly think that you can pull that off? It sounds impossible. Both political parties, the entire MSN media, etc will be deadset against it and will flood society with propaganda against it calling those who support it KKK, White Supremacists, Nazis, racists, etc.

Mark Twain On The Jews

A great article. The anti-Semites love this stuff, but I don’t consider this to be anti-Semitism. Truth ought to be a defense against anti-Semitism. I also doubt if Twain was an anti-Semite. He doesn’t come across as one here. He’s just telling it like it is.
This article doesn’t even seem hateful. It has a strange, disembodied, scientist-like objective distance about it, as if he were an alien writing a report on a new planet’s culture to his superiors.
From The Rebel, an anti-Semitic site which like many such sites also often has a lot of good stuff, including much material that is not anti-Semitic at all.
Mark Twain’s true opinion of the Jews is probably the best kept secret in American literary history. Immediately after his death, his eccentric daughter Clara married a Jewish piano player, Otto Gabrilowitsch.
Twain’s publishers were given speedy instructions to delete Concerning the Jews from the collected works, where it had appeared in the book The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories. The following is taken from Harper’s Monthly Magazine, September 1899, as quoted in William Grimstad’s Anti-Zion.

Concerning The Jews

by Mark Twain

Can fanaticism alone account for the persecution of the Jews? It is now my conviction that it is responsible for hardly any of it.
In this connection I call to mind Genesis, Chapter 47. We have all read the story of the years of plenty and the years of famine in Egypt, and how Joseph with that opportunity made a corner in broken hearts and the crusts of the poor and human liberty—a corner whereby he took away the nation’s money to the last penny; took a nation’s livestock all away to the last hoof; took a nation’s land all away to the last acre.
Then he took the nation itself, buying it for bread, man by man, woman by woman, child by child, till all were slaves; a corner which took everything, leaving nothing, a corner so stupendous that by comparison with it, the most gigantic corners in subsequent history are but baby things; for it dealt in hundreds of millions of bushels, and its profits were reckoned by the hundreds of millions of dollars.
It was a disaster so crushing that its effects have not wholly disappeared from Egypt even today, more than 3,000 years after the event.
Was Joseph establishing a character for his race which survived long in Egypt, and in time would his name be familiarly used to express that character – like Shylock’s? It was hardly to be doubted. Let us remember that this was centuries before the Crucifixion.
In the U. S. cotton states, after the war, the Jew came down in force, set up shop on the plantation, supplied all the Negroes’ wants on credit, and at the end of the season was the proprietor of the Negro’s share of the present crop and part of the next one. Before long the Whites detested the Jew.
The Jew is being legislated out of Russia. The reason is not concealed. The movement was instituted because the Christian peasant stood no chance against his commercial abilities. The Jew was always ready to lend on a crop. When settlement day came, he owned the crop, and the next year he owned the farm, like Joseph.
In the England of John’s time everybody got into debt to the Jew. He gathered all lucrative enterprises into his hands. He was the King of Commerce. He had to be banished from the realm. For like reasons, Spain had to banish him 400 years ago and Austria a couple of centuries later.
In all ages, Christian Europe has been obliged to curtail his activities. If he entered upon a trade, the Christian had to retire from it. If he set up as a doctor, he took the business. If he exploited agriculture, the other farmers had to get at something else.
The law had to step in to save the Christian from the poorhouse. Still, almost bereft of employments, he found ways to make money. Even to get rich. This history has a most sordid and practical look. Religious prejudices may account for one part of it but not for the other nine.
Protestants have persecuted Catholics – but they did not take their livelihoods from them. Catholics have persecuted Protestants – but they never closed agriculture and the handicrafts against them. I feel convinced that the Crucifixion has not much to do with the world’s attitude toward the Jew; the reasons for it are much older than that event…
I am convinced that the persecution of the Jew is not in any large degree due to religious prejudice. No, the Jew is a money-getter. He has made it the end and aim of his life. He was at it in Rome. He has been at it ever since. His success has made the whole human race his enemy.
You will say that the Jew is everywhere numerically feeble. When I read in the Encyclopedia Britannica that the Jewish population of the United States was 250,000, I wrote to the editor and explained to him that his figures were without doubt a misprint for 25,000,000.
People told me that they had reason to suspect that for business reasons, many Jews did not report themselves as Jews. It looks plausible. I am strongly of the opinion that we have an immense Jewish population in America. I am assured by men competent to speak that the Jews are exceedingly active in politics…

Time To Apologize For The Deicide?

In a comment on the We Killed Jesus and We are Proud Of It! post, a Colombian commenter says that I am wrong for suggesting that the Jews apologize for the Deicide:

Apologizing for Deicide? that’s outright moronic. Deicide charges were leveled against the Jews by the early Church fathers, who were conveniently oblivious to the fact that the very first Christians were Jews themselves. And were consistently used as an excuse to persecute the Jews in Europe for centuries. It sounds to me like a lame PC attempt to create a Jewish counterpart to white guilt.

Some of the usual arguments are laid out here. Jesus himself was Jew, and so were those who killed him, so the charge is absurd on its face.
However, Talmudic Judaism, or modern-day Judaism, is clearly the spiritual descendant of the Pharisees. It was the Pharisees and Phariseeism that Jesus and his disciples were fleeing in terror from. Recall the NT sections where the Disciples say, “The Jews are after us!” as they run and hide all over the Galilee.
Any honest Rabbi will tell you that they were hiding from the followers of the Pharisees. The same honest Rabbi will also tell you that Talmudic Judaism is the spiritual descendant of Phariseeism. In fact, a Conservative Rabbi admitted both of those things to me.
Super-Jews make a big deal about Christianity being de facto anti-Semitic by the very nature of the New Testament.
Making Christianity safe for the Abe Foxman crowd would mean excising the entire NT. That leaves Christians with the OT, at which time all of us Christians may as well just to convert to Judaism and get it over with. The fundamentalist Protestants are very Judeophilic, and we can see this in their fetishism of the decrepit and frankly Jewish Old Testament. In that sense, paradoxically, they are less Christian than an NT-only “Jesusist” like me.
In a way, the Super Jews are right. Let’s not kid ourselves. Jesus, as Reform a Jew as ever lived, came, said, “I’m the Messiah, and the Law is abrogated.” The law is the Hebraic Laws and Rules that the Jews live under.
In his revolutionary overturning of this archaic and reactionary code, Jesus offered a new code, one of Mercy. Mercy is clearly absent from much of the OT. The God of the OT is clearly not one of Mercy either; he’s a cruel and capricious fellow, but He’s the God of the Jews, so they can have him.
The God of the NT is a different fellow altogether. He’s forgiving and kind, and the fire and brimstone, the genocides, the wars, the ethnic cleansing, the leveling of cities with fire and turning humans into Dresden-like fried pillars – that’s all under the dam, past and gone.
The Jews were offered a choice – to follow the new Messiah or to be passed over. They didn’t follow him, so their religion was abrogated, and the torch was passed to the new religion, the Christianity. To us Christians, Judaism is old hat. At one time, sure, it was the law of the land all right, but we’ve since moved on.
To us, Judaism is spiritual roadkill. Sure it’s part of our heritage, but so was Homo Erectus. We’ve moved along now. There is no Judeo-Christian religion anymore than there is a Judeo-Muslim religion or an Islamo-Christian religion. They’re just not the same thing. Pat Robertson and all are on theological thin ice shilling for the Jews of Israel. Why not shill for the Hindus or the Muslims? It’s makes about as much sense theologically.
This leads us to Replacement Theology. I’m a follower of this. The Jews have been replaced by the Christians. Judaism has been replaced by Christianity. Further, the Jews no longer get Israel either. After the NT, the (Christian) Church is the New Israel. The Jews contract with that land was abrogated also. Sure, God gave the land to the Jews, but the NT abrogates that deed of title.
Another argument against the Deicide charge is leveled by Jews. Even if we did it, they say, it was a good thing, as the Deicide was necessary for the unfolding of Christianity. Well of course. But that’s not why I say apologizing is a good idea.
The Jewish religion, in particular the Orthodox, has traditionally taken the position that Jesus was a Jewish heretic who was tried in a Jewish court, convicted, and received appropriate punishment. The Talmud is full of hostile references to Jesus. It’s true that Jesus was a Jew, but it’s also true that Talmudic Judaism is the spiritual heir to the Pharisees.
The Jews want it both ways. According to their religion, they state that Jewish was a Jewish heretic who was tried by the Jews and got what he deserved. Then, to the Gentiles, they deny this. Some Orthodox are honest and say, “Hey, we did kill him, and it was a good thing!” This happens quite a bit in Israel, by the way. The usual response of the other Jews is the typical, “Are you trying to start a pogrom?” screeching.
I don’t really care. What’s done is done. But I think it is grossly unfair for the Jews to demand that other religions like the Catholics amend their anti-Jewish teachings while at the same time, the Jews refuse to amend their anti-Christian teachings. But then, it’s just typical Jewish hypocrisy du jour. Hypocrisy goes with Jews like lox goes with cream cheese. Jewish hypocrisy is related to Jewish hyperethnocentrism in that all nationalists are hypocrites. Think about it.
Sure it’s dumb to hold folks responsible for something their ancestors did 2000 years ago, but if the Jews are still crowing about it (the Orthodox are) and if the Jewish religion still stubbornly states, “We did it and what about it?”, an apology certainly makes sense.
As a philosemite, in a way I’m interested in what’s good for the Jews. One thing that’s bad for the Jews is anti-Semitism. My position is that Jews promoting anti-Semitism is bad for the Jews, so don’t do it, Jews. It is in this sense that I advocate an apology and some official amending of Judaism (Is that even possible?) as the Jews demanded of the Pope at Vatican II in 1965.

Iran Backgrounder – Sassanids to Jundallah

This is an old repost from the old blog from three years ago, but I edited it to make it up to date. It goes you a bit of a background into the religious Sunni-Shia conflicts in the region and how they tie in with the conflicts in the region today.
Most people do not realize that the famed Shah of Iran was actually a blood and soil, Persian supremacist, ethnic nationalist, primordialist, volkisch, fascist along the same lines as Hitler’s Nazis and Milosevic’s Serbs. Yet it is true – in fact, the Shah even formed an alliance with Nazi Germany.
The Nazis attempted to form all sorts of alliances with people they mistakenly regarded as genetic inferiors – including Bosnian Muslims, Palestinian and Iraqi Arabs, Ukrainian, White Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian rightwing nationalists, Iranians and some of the upper-caste peoples of East India.
The East Indians, of course, are part of the original Aryans – the light-skinned invaders who descended from the steppes into India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan at various times in the past 3,500 years. In India, they displaced the native Indians – the Dravidians or South Indians – and pushed them to South.
They also twisted the Hindu religion by adding on their casteism, which was apparently not present in the original pre-Aryan system. Originally, in the caste system, those at the top were the lightest-skinned and the lowest castes tended to be the darkest. It is interesting that over thousands of years the Brahmins have become progressively darker.
The Nazis were fascinated that these Brahmins regarded themselves as fellow Aryans and even sent researchers over to India to measure skulls and analyze the facial characteristics of statues and engage in other peculiarities of Nazi racial research. The Brahmin class of India has always returned the favor and many have long been supporters of Hitler, Nazism and fascism in general.
The fascinating article linked above deals with something that is little known to most Americans – a neat summary of many of the views expressed by what are best termed Iranian nationalists. Americans have no understanding at all of this ancient, proud culture.
The piece notes the Western deceit that modern nationalism began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1600’s Europe, when the principle of inviolable national borders was first codified. In fact, this is a Western narcissistic view. Other nations, in particular Persians and Iranians, have a long history of what could be called nationalism, depending on how one defines the term, dating back maybe 2500 years to Cyrus the Great.
US idiots like George Bush and the council of clueless super-Zionist advisors whispering in his ear provoke this ancient culture at their peril.
The piece goes on to discuss the Minorities Question in modern Iran. Most people do not recognize that Persian and Iranian are not synonymous. Persian is an ethnic group, but Persians only constitute 51% of all Iranians. Azerbaijanis are a huge group in the northwest, constituting 23%.
US imperialism and Kurdish nationalism make much of Azerbaijanis supposed desire to break away from Iran, but there is not much truth to that. Those who say such things do not understand history. It is true that there is an Azerbaijani minority that invokes irredentism and wishes to break away from Iran and reunite with “northern Azerbaijan”, the independent state of Azerbaijan.
But the majority of Azerbaijanis have no desire to do such a thing. People do not understand that despite the racist Persian ethnic nationalism of the Shah, Azerbaijanis have typically ruled Iran for many centuries now. In fact the Supreme Jurisprudent Ayatollah Khameini is an Azerbaijani.
The Sassanid Empire was one of the most prominent empires in the world from 200-600, a rival to the Roman Empire. This culture, to many, represents the pinnacle of Iran’s power in the world. Its religion was Zoroastrianism and it was characterized by great tolerance towards religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews.
The Sassanids were defeated in the mid-650’s by invading Arab Muslim armies, many Iranians were put to the sword, and many Iranian nationalists have resented the resulting forced imposition of Islam ever since. According to these nationalists, there is a difference between those societies where Islam was “native” – supposedly Arab societies, and those where it was imposed by force – supposedly all non-Arab countries.
This greatly simplifies matters, and in many ways is false. For instance, Islam has deep roots in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Muslim India, Eastern China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Albania, Kosova, Bosnia, the Caucasus and in Sub-Saharan Africa.
So the case of Iran is not generalizable. In most cases, where Islam conquered non-Arab lands, many of the natives converted and become passionate Muslims. In fact, some of the world’s most ferocious and fundamentalist Muslims have traditionally come from non-Arab lands like Afghanistan and Pakistan. But in Iran, something different happened: Islam ran up against Persian nationalism.
To understand the conflict between Iranian nationalism and Islam is essential to understanding modern Iranian culture. The Khomeinists have enraged Iranian nationalists by declaring wholesale war on Iranian nationalism. According to the mullahs, there is no need for Iranian nationalism since Islam supplants it. Iranian nationalists are often theologically diverse, secular, atheists, agnostics, or even Zoroastrians.
Even worse, the mullahs seem to have imposed a pro-Arabism on Iran. This is sure to infuriate Iranian nationalists. Iranian nationalists have always had a resentful and bigoted attitudes towards Arabs (and some towards Muslims – who they regard as having a barbaric Arab religion).
When you hear an Iranian nationalist hurl an insult like “lizard-eating Mohammadens”, this is the rage they are mining. It is the rage at a primitive culture of desert barbarian wanderers – so barbaric, in fact, that they “ate lizards” – that invaded the glorious, superior, Sassanid Zoroastrian Empire and destroyed it, supplanting it with inferior Arab Islamic culture and religion.
The mullahs have not only waged war on symbols of Iranian nationalism, but they have also tried to import Arab culture and language, much to the fury of Iranian nationalists. Since, to Islamic fundamentalists, Arabic is the language of Islam (a bigoted and irrational construct on its face), they tend to promote Arab culture and language over native culture and language.
This tends to produce friction between Islamic fundamentalists and non-Arab nationalists in the non-Arab parts of the Muslim World. For instance, it is often difficult to find a copy of the Koran in any language other than Arabic. And many non-Arab Muslims claim that Arabs, especially Gulf Arabs, look down on them and despise them when they go Mecca on hajj.
The Arab chauvinism in Islam has been a long-term hindrance to spread of the religion. Furthermore, for centuries after the conquest of Islam, the greatest Iranian poets, authors and scientists – beloved by all Iranian nationalists – were ordered to be killed by the fundamentalist Islamic morons ruling Islam at the time. Few of these heroes of Iranian culture were killed, but the fact that their deaths were even condoned stings.
It is important to note that Shia Islam was also imposed at the point of the sword sometime later and many Sunni Iranians were put to death.
The remains of this violent religious imposition can be seen today, when one notes that Sunni Islam (Iran is only about 75% Shia Muslim) continues to hold sway in the outliers of the Iranian state – in the desolate Balochi barrens of the southeast, in the northeast near Afghanistan, and in wild, mountainous Iranian Kurdistan in the northwest.
All of these parts of the Iranian state remain largely outside of the regime’s control, and Sunnis continue to complain, legitimately, of discrimination by Iranian Shia Muslims.
The rage between Iranians and Arabs is difficult for outsiders to fathom, but is essential to understanding the region. Sunni Islam is synonymous with Arab identity and nationalism, as Juan Cole astutely notes, in the same way that White Christianity is synonymous with American nationalism. Hence, the secularism of Arab nationalists has always been a bit of a lie.
The Arab masses and regimes are Sunni. Shia minorities have traditionally been suppressed in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even in Lebanon. This is the root of the Sunni-Shia conflict that rages ferociously in Iraq today.
See here for a particularly bigoted and insane example of Sunni Iraqi bigotry from the interesting blog of a secular Iraqi woman. Note that she ridiculously claims that Shia Islam was invented by the Iranians to destroy the Sunni Islamic civilization of the Arabs.
I realize that sounds like the ravings of a mentally ill person, but this is how many Sunni Muslims, especially Sunni Arabs from Mesopotamia, the Gulf and the Levant, regard Iran and Shiism.
When we understand this sick, crazy, racist hatred, we can understand why Saddam attacked Iran, and why he was supported in that war by all of the states in the Arab peninsula. We can understand why the secular King of Jordan intones darkly about a “Shia Belt” snaking ominously from Iran, across Iraq, to Syria and Southern Lebanon under Hizbollah control.
We can understand the insane, Nazi-like massacres of crowds of Shia civilians – men, women and children of all ages – in Iraq by both the Sunni Islamist guerrilla animals and Saddam’s secular, Shia-hating fascist Arab nationalists. We can understand why the government of Yemen launched a murderous war on the Zaidi Shia of northern Yemen, who constitute 40% of Yemen but are locked out of the state.
We can understand why the Sunni Muslim states of the Gulf are supporting the preliminary plans for a US attack on Iran, and why these states and the Iraqi Sunni-Nazi rebels will stand up and cheer till they can’t talk if the US invades Iran. We can understand why the viciously racist Sunni Arab bigots of Iraq intone darkly, “We will never be ruled by the blackhats (the Shia)”.
While the Arab attitude towards Iran and the Shia has always been one of sheer, Nazi-like racist hatred, the Iranian attitude towards Arabs has tended to be one of the disdain of a supposedly superior people for a supposedly inferior one.
I have droned on enough on this subject, and we need to move on to the rest of the post. If you wish to dive into this fascinating matter further, click the link above and take a crash course in Iranian history, the minorities of Iran and modern-day Iranian nationalism. I hope you enjoyed this excursion.
Jundallah is an Al Qaeda oriented outfit has its origins in the Sunni population of the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochistan.
The Sunnis here complain of discrimination and ethnic cleansing by Iranian Shia officials, charges which have a basis in fact. There are suggestions that Jundallah may be based over the border in Afghanistan, possibly in the wild deserts of Nawruz Province. Clearly, Jundallah has a safe haven in the area where Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan all come together. This is one of the more dangerous places on Earth.
Travelers heading there are advised to take a bodyguard, or preferably several bodyguards. None of the three governments in the region have much control over this area. It is overrun with drug traffickers (usually smuggling heroin or opium), who travel in large, very heavily-armed convoys.
They periodically fight it out with Iranian troops. Iranian troops have lost an incredible figure of hundreds of troops in just a few years fighting running battles in this border region with drug traffickers. Jundallah has links to Al Qaeda.
Iranian officials say that Jundallah is the arm of Al Qaeda inside Iran, and they say that Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi is bin Laden’s right hand man in Iran. That is probably correct.
In 2006, Syrian officials arrested dozens of leaders of the various Shia Arab Ahwaz fronts who are waging guerrilla war in Iran’s oil-rich Ahwaz Province. I cannot support this struggle, which is simply designed to steal much of Iran’s oil wealth. However, the Arabs in this region fought bravely in the Iran-Iraq War and suffered heavy casualties.
They complain that they do not see much of the oil wealth in this region. The area was heavily damaged in the war, and the Iranian government hasn’t even rebuilt it very much. The Arabs also complain of discrimination. There is some truth to all of this, but one of Iran’s top military leaders is an Ahwaz Arab.
If Iran had any sense, they would institute affirmative action to hire Ahwaz Arabs, rebuild the Ahwaz region and let the area see much more of their present share of the wealth. This conflict has always been fed by Arab nationalist fascists like the Baath fascists in Iraq, whose hatred of Iran borders on the insane and pathological.
Furthermore, for the past few years, US and British Special Forces and intelligence are in the region assisting the insurgency. By arresting most of the top leaders of the insurgency, Syria is spitting in the eyes of Arab nationalist bigots all over the Arab World, and is throwing its lot in with Shia solidarity (Syria is ruled by a Shia sect) and Syria’s alliance with Iran.
*****

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site. On the George Habash, leader of the Palestinian PFLP, who died a little over a year ago.
The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on last year, February 2008, soon after Habash’s death. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.7
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is Single Spark (now offline but their materials were collected and are available at another site). Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before.
This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Q. Does Communism make sense today?
Prachandra: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
Q. This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
Prachandra: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries?
If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.

Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated.
It was the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Not only that, but from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, the Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.
It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.
I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Notes

1. Ashok. May 2006. Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao , p. 71.
2. Basanta. May 2006. International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. June 2006. Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. Early November 2006. Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . Italy: L’espresso. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. November 18, 2006. Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. Dec. 21, 2006. Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.

Do the Yezidis Worship the Devil?

Repost from the old site. This is a very, very long piece, so be warned. But the subject, the Yezidi religious group, is extraordinarily complex, as I found out as I delved deeper and deeper into them.
They are still very mysterious and there is a lot of scholarly controversy around them, mostly because they will not let outsiders read their holy books. However, a copy of their holiest book was stolen about 100 years ago and has been analyzed by scholars.
I feel that the analysis below of the Yezidis (there are various competing analyses of them) best summarizes what they are all about, to the extent that such an eclectic group can even be defined at all. The piece is hard to understand at first, but if you are into this sort of thing, after you study it for a while, you can start to put it together. There are also lots of cool pics of devil and pagan religious art below, for those who are interested in such arcana.
See also the companion piece, The Yezidis, a Mysterious Kurdish Religious Sect. This piece was written two years after that one when I realized that the prior piece had barely touched the surface of this very strange religious sect.

The Yezidis, a Kurdish religious group in Iraq practicing an ancient religion, have been accused of being devil worshipers by local Muslims and also by many non-Muslims. I wrote about the Yezidis in depth in a previous post; see them for more background on these interesting people.
The Yezidis appeared in Western media in 2007 due to the stoning death of a Yezidi teenage girl who ran off with a Muslim man. The stoning was done by eight men from her village while another 1000 men watched and cheered them on. Afterward, there has been a lot of conflict between Muslim and Yezidi Kurds.
As Western media turned to the Yezidis, there has been some discussion here about their odd religion. For instance, though the local Muslims condemn them as devil worshipers, the Yezidis strongly deny this. So what’s the truth? The truth, as usual, is much more complicated.
The Yezidis believe that a Creator, or God, created a set of deities that we can call gods, angels or demons, depending on how you want to look at them. So, if we say that the Yezidis worship the devil, we could as well say that they worship angels. It all depends on how you view these deities.
In the history of religion, the gods of one religion are often seen as the devils of another. This is seen even today in the anti-Islamic discourse common amongst US neoconservatives, where the Muslim God is said to be a demonic god, and their prophet is said to be a devilish man.
Christian anti-Semites refer to the Old Testament God of the Jews as being an evil god. Orthodox Jews say that Jesus Christ is being boiled alive in semen in Hell for eternity.
At any rate, to the Yezidis, the main deity created by God is Malak Taus, who is represented by a peacock. Although Yezidis dissimulate about this, anyone who studies the religion closely will learn that Malak Taus is actually the Devil.
On the other hand, the Yezidis do not worship evil as modern-day Satanists do, so the Satanist fascination with the Yezidis is irrational. The Yezidis are a primitive people; agriculturalists with a strict moral code that they tend to follow in life. Why do they worship the Devil then?
First of all, we need to understand that before the Abrahamic religions, many polytheistic peoples worshiped gods of both good and evil, worshiping the gods of good so that good things may happen, and worshiping the gods of evil so that bad things may not happen. The Yezidis see God as a source of pure good, who is so good that there is no point in even worshiping him.
In this, they resemble Gnosticism, in which God was pure good and the material world and man were seen as polluted with such evil that the world was essentially an evil place. Men had only a tiny spark of good in them amidst a sea of evil, and the Gnostics tried to cultivate this spark.
This also resembles the magical Judaism of the Middle Ages (Kabbalism). The Kabbalists said that God was “that which cannot be known” (compare to the Yezidi belief that one cannot even pray to God), in fact, the concept of God was so ethereal to the Kabbalists that mere men could not even comprehend the very concept. A Kabbalist book says that God is “endless pure white light”. This comes close to my own view of what God is.
Compare to the Yezidi view that God “pure goodness”. The Yezidi view of God is quite complex. It is clear that he is at the top of the totem pole, yet their view of him is not the same as the gods of Christianity, Islam, Judaism or of the Greeks, although it is similar to Plato’s conception of the absolute.
Instead, it is similar to the Deists. God merely created the world. As far as the day to day running of things, that is actually up to the intermediary angels. However, there is one exception. Once a year, on New Years Day, God calls his angels together and hands the power over to the angel who is to descend to Earth.
In some ways similar to the Christian Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, the Yezidis believe that God is manifested in three forms.

An inscription of the Christian Trinity, the father, or God, as an old man with a beard; Jesus, a young man, and the Holy Ghost, here depicted as a winged creature similar to Malak Tus, the winged peacock angel. Compare to Yezidi reference for Šeiḫ ‘Adî, Yazid and Malak Tus (Father, Son and Holy Ghost)

The three forms are the peacock angel, Malak Tus; an old man, Šeiḫ ‘Adî (compare to the usual Christian portrayal in paintings of God as an old man with a long white beard); and a young man, Yazid (compare to the usual Christian paintings of Jesus as a healthy European-looking man with a beard and a beatific look – a similar look is seen in Shia portraits of Ali).
Since there is no way to talk to God, one must communicate with him through intermediaries (compare to intermediary saints like Mary in Catholicism and Ali in Shiism). The Devil is sort of a wall between the pure goodness of God and this admittedly imperfect world.
This is similar again to Gnosticism, where the pure good God created intermediaries called Aeons so that a world that includes evil (as our world does) could even exist in the first place. On the other hand, Malak Tus is seen my the Yezidis as neither an evil spirit nor a fallen angel, but as a divinity in his own right.
One wonders why the Malak Tus is represented by a bird. The answer is that worshiping birds is one of the oldest known forms of idol worship. It is even condemned in Deuteronomy 4: 16, 17: “Lest ye corrupt yourselves and make a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air.”
More likely, the peacock god is leftover from the ancient pagan bird-devil gods of the region. The ancient Babylonians, Assyrians both worshiped sacred devil-birds, and carvings of them can be seen on their temples. The Zoroastrians also worshiped a sort of devil-bird called a feroher.

A winged demon from ancient Assyria. Yezidism appears to have incorporated elements of ancient Babylonian and Assyrian religions, making it ultimately a very ancient religion. Note that devils often have wings like birds. Remember the flying monkey demons in the Wizard of Oz?

The pagan Phoenicians, Philistines and Samaritans worshiped a dove, and the early monotheistic Hebrews condemned the Samaritans for this idol-worship. The pagans of Mecca also worshiped a sacred dove. Pagan Arabian tribes also worshiped an eagle called Nasar.
What is truly odd is that peacocks are not native to the Yezidi region, but instead to the island of Sri Lanka. The Yezidis must have heard about this bird from travelers and incorporated it into their religion somehow.
In the Koran, both the Devil and the peacock were thrown out of Heaven down to Earth, with the Devil and the peacock both suffering similar punishments. So here we can see Islam associating the peacock with the Devil also.
In popular mythology, peacocks tend to represent pride. Note that the Koran says that the Devil was punished for excessive pride (compare with a similar Christian condemnation of excessive pride). Peacocks are problematic domestic fowl, and tend to tear up gardens, and so are associated with mischief.
The Yezidis revere Malak Tus to such a great extent that he is almost seen as one with God (compare the Catholic equation of Mary with Jesus, the Christian association of Jesus with God, and the Shia Muslim association of Ali with Mohammad).
Malak Tus was there from the start and will be there at the end, he has total control over the world, he is omniscient and omnipresent and he never changes. They do not allow anyone to say his name, as this seems to imply that he is degraded. Malak Tus is the King of the Angels, and he is ruling the Earth for a period of 10,000 years.
They also superstitiously avoid saying an word that resembles the word for Satan. When speaking Arabic, they refuse to use the Arabic shatt for river, as it sounds like the word for Satan. They substitute Kurdish ave instead. Compare this to the Kabbalist view of God as “that which can not even be comprehended (i.e., spoken) by man.
In addition to Malak Taus, there are six other angels: Izrafael, Jibrael, Michael, Nordael, Dardael, Shamnael, and Azazael. They were all at a meeting in Heaven when God told them that they would worship no one other than him. This worked for 40,000 years, until God mixed Earth, Air, Fire and Water to create Man, as Adam.
God told the seven angels to bow before Adam, and six agreed. Malak Taus refused, citing God’s order to obey only Him. Hence, Malak Taus was cast out of Heaven and became the Archangel of all the Angels. Compare this to the Christian and Muslim view of the Devil, the head of the angels, being thrown out of Heaven for the disobedience of excessive pride.
In the meantime, Malak Taus is said to have repented his sins and returned to God as an angel. So, yes, the Yezidis do worship the Devil, but in their religion, he is a good guy, not a bad guy. They are not a Satanic cult at all. In Sufism, the act of refusing to worship Adam (man) over God would be said to be a positive act, one of refusing to worship the created over the creator, as in Sufism, one is not to worship anything but God.
The Yezidis say that God created Adam and Eve, but when they were asked to produce their essences, Adam’s produced a boy, but Eve’s was full of insects and other unpleasant things. God decided that he would propagate humanity (the Yezidis) out of Adam alone, leaving Eve out of the picture. Specifically, he married Adam’s offspring to a houri.
We can see the traditional views of the Abrahamic religions of women as being sources of evil, tempters, sources of strife, conflict and other bad things. The Yezidis see themselves as different from all other humans. Whereas non-Yezidis are the products of Adam and Eve, Yezidis are the products of Adam alone.
Eve subsequently left the Garden of Eden, which allowed the world to be created. So, what the Abrahamic religions see as man’s greatest fall in the Garden, the Yezidis see as mankind’s greatest triumphs. The Yezidis feel that the rest of humanity of is descended from Ham, who mocked his father, God.
Compare this to the Abrahamic religions’ view of women as a source of corruption. Christians say that Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden, causing them to be tossed out. In Islam, women are regarded as such a source of temptation and fitna (dissension) that they are covered and often kept out of sight at all times. In Judaism, women’s hair is so tempting to men that they must shave it all off and wear wigs.
The Yezidis say they are descended directly from Adam, hence they are the Chosen People (compare to the Jewish view of themselves as “Chosen People”).
Yezidism being quite possible the present-day remains of the original religion of the Kurds, we must acknowledge that for the last 2000 years, the Yezidis have been fighting off other major religions. First Christianity came to the region.
As would be expected, the Nestorian Christians of Northern Iraq, or “Nasara” Christian apostates, as an older tradition saw them, hold that the Yezidis were originally Christians who left the faith to form a new sect. The Nestorians and other ancient Christian sects deny the human or dual nature of Jesus – instead seeing him as purely divine.
This is in contrast to another group also called “Nasara” in Koran – these being the early Jewish Christian sects such as the Ebionites, Nazarenes and Gnostics, who followed Jesus but denied his divine nature, believe only in the Book of Matthew, and retained many Jewish traditions, including revering the Jewish Torah, refusing to eat pork, keeping the Sabbath and circumcision.
Mohammad apparently based his interpretation of Christianity on these sects. The divinity of Jesus was denied in the Koran under Ebionite influence. The Koran criticizes Christians for believing in three Gods – God, Jesus and Mary – perhaps under the influence of what is called the “Marianistic heresy”. At the same time, the Koran confused human and divine qualities in Jesus due to Nestorian influence.
Finally, the Koran denied the crucifixion due to Gnostic influence, especially the apocryphal Gospel of Peter. The local Muslims, similarly, hold that the Yezidis are apostates, having originally been Muslims who left Islam to form a new religion.
There is considerable evidence that many Yezidis were formerly Christians, as the Christian story holds. Šeiḫ ’Adî, one of the tripartite of angels worshiped by the Yezidis, was a Sufi Muslim mystic from Northern Iraq in the 1100’s. He attracted many followers, including many Christians and some Muslims who left their faith to become Yezidis. Yezidism existed before Šeiḫ ’Adî, but in a different form.
Šeiḫ ’Adî also attracted many Persian Zoroastrians, who were withering under the boot of Muslim dhimmitude and occasional massacre in Iran. Šeiḫ ‘Adî (full name Šeiḫ ‘Adî Ibn Masafir Al-Hakkari) was a Muslim originally from Bait Far, in the Baalbeck region of the Bekaa Valley of what is now Eastern Lebanon.
He came to Mosul for spiritual reasons. He was said to be a very learned man, and many people started to follow him. After he built up quite a following, he retired to the mountains above Mosul where he built a monastery and lived as a hermit, spending much of his time in caves and caverns in the mountains with wild animals as his only guests.
His followers were said to worship him as a God and believed that in the afterlife, they would be together with him. He died in 1162 in the Hakkari region near Mosul. At the site of his death, the Yezidis erected a shrine and it became one of the holiest sites in the religion. However, Šeiḫ ’Adî is not the founder of Yezidism, as many believe. His life and thought just added to the many strains in this most syncretistic of religions.
The third deity in the pseudo-“Trinity” of the Yezidis is a young man named Yezid. They say they are all descended from this man, whom they often refer to as God, as they sometimes refer to Šeiḫ ’Adî. In Šeiḫ ’Adî’s temple, there are inscriptions to both Šeiḫ ’Adî and Yezid, each on opposing walls of the temple. In a corner of this temple, a fire, or actually a lamp, is kept burning all night, reminiscent of Zoroastrianism.
There is a lot of controversy about what the word Yezid in Yezidi stands for. The religion itself, in its modern form, probably grew out of followers of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan, the 2nd Caliph in the Umayyad Dynasty of Caliphs. Yazid fought a battle against Mohammad’s grandson, Hussayn, in a battle for the succession of the Caliphate.
Hussayn’s followers were also the followers of Ali, the former caliph who was assassinated. The followers of Hussayn and Ali are today known as the Shia. The Sunni follow in the tradition of the Umayyads. In a battle in Karbala in 680, Hussayn and all his men were killed at Kufa and the women and children with them taken prisoner.
To the Shia, Yazid is the ultimate villain. Most Sunnis do not view him very favorably either, and regard the whole episode as emblematic of how badly the umma had fallen apart after Mohammad died.
Nevertheless, there had been groups of Sunnis who venerated Yazid Ibn Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan and the Umayyads in general in northern Iraq for some time even before Šeiḫ ’Adî appeared on the scene. Šeiḫ ’Adî himself was descended from the Umayyads.
Reverence for Yazid Ibn Muawiyah mixed with the veneration of Šeiḫ ’Adî in the early Yezidis. It was this, mixed in with the earlier pagan beliefs of the Semites and Iranians discussed elsewhere, along with a dollop of Christianity, that formed the base of modern Yezidism. But its ultimate roots are far more ancient. Yezidism had a base, but it was not yet formed in its modern version.
Here we turn to the etymology of the word Yezidi. It is possible that the figure of “Yezid”, the young man-God in the Yezidi trinity, represents Yazid Ibn Muawiyah. By the mid-1200’s, the local Muslims were getting upset about the Yezidis excessive devotion to these two men. In the mid-1400’s the local Muslims fought a large battle against the Yezidis.
To this day, the top Yezidi mirs are all related to the Umayyads. Muslim scholars say that Yezid bin Unaisa was the founder of the modern-day Yezidis. Bin Unaisa was one of the early followers of the Kharijites, an early fanatical fundamentalist sect that resembled our modern-day Al Qaeda and other takfiri Salafi-jihadi terrorists. Bin Unaisa was said to be a follower of the earliest Kharijites.
These were the first Kharijites. Early split-offs from Ali’s army, they took part in the Battle of Nahrawan against Ali’s forces outside Madaen in what is now the Triangle of Death in Iraq. In 661, the Kharijites assassinated Ali, one of the penultimate moments in the Sunni-Shia split.
At some point, bin Unaisa split from the Kharijites, except for one of their early followers who were following a sect Al-Abaḍia, founded by ‘Abd-Allah Ibn Ibad. He said that any Muslim who committed a great sin was an infidel. Considering his fundamentalist past, he developed some very unorthodox views for a Muslim.
He said that God would send a new prophet to Persia (one more Iranian connection with the Yezidis), that God would send down a message to be written by this prophet in a book, and that this prophet would leave Islam and follow the religion of the Sabeans or Mandeans. Nevertheless, he continued to hold some Kharijite beliefs, including that God alone should be worshiped and that all sins were forms of idolatry.
In line with this analysis, the first Yezidis were a Kharijite subsect. The fact that bin Unaisa said that the new prophet would follow Sabeanism implies that he himself either followed this religion at one time or had a high opinion of it.
Muslim historians mention three main Sabean sects. They seemed to have derived in part from the ancient pagan religion of Mesopotamia. They were polytheists who worshiped the stars. After the Islamic conquest, they referred to themselves as Sabeans in order to receive protection as one of the People of the Book (the Quran mentions Jews, Christians and Sabeans and People of the Book).
One of the Sabean sects was called Al-Ḫarbâniyah. They believed that God dwelt within things that were good and rational. He had one essence but many appearances, in other words. God was pure good, and could not make anything evil. Evil was either accidental or necessary for life, or caused by an evil force. They also believed in the transmigration of souls (reincarnation).
It is interesting that the beliefs of this sect of Sabeans resemble the views of modern Yezidis. So Yezîd bn Unaisa believed in God and the Resurrection Day, he probably respected angels and the stars, yet he was neither polytheistic nor a true follower of Mohammad.
At the same time, he lined himself up with those People of the Book who said that Mohammad was a prophet, yet did not follow him (in this respect, he was similar to Western non-Muslims who acknowledge Mohammad as the prophet of the Arabs).
Although most orthodox histories of the Yezidis leave it out, it seems clear at this point that Yezîd bn Unaisa was the founder of the Yezidi religion in its modern form and that the Yezidis got their name from Yezîd bn Unaisa. This much may have been lost to time, for the Yezidis themselves say that Yezidi comes from the Kurdish word Yezdan or Êzid meaning God.
After naming their movement after Yezîd bn Unaisa, the Yezidis learned of Šeiḫ ‘Adî’s reputation, and become his followers, along with many Muslims, Christians and Iranians.
Like their founder, the Yezidis believe in God and the Resurrection, expect a prophet from Iran, revere angels and stars, regard every sin as idolatry, respect Mohammad as a prophet yet do not follow him and at the same time pay no attention to Ali (recall that the early Kharijites assassinated Ali). Being opposed to both Mohammad and Ali, bn Unaisa is logically despised by both the Sunni and the Shia.
The fact that the Yezidis renounced the prophet of the Arabs (Mohammad) while expecting a new one from Iran logically appealed to a lot of Persians at the time. Hence, many former Zoroastrians, or fire-worshipers, from Iran joined the new religion, surely injecting their strains into this most syncretistic of religions.
There is good evidence that many Yezidis are former Christians. The Yezidis around Mosul go by the surname of Daseni, of Dawasen in the plural. It so happens that there was a Nestorian diocese in Mosul called Daseni, or Dasaniyat. It disappeared around the time of Šeiḫ ’Adî. The implication is that so many of its members became Yezidis that the Diocese folded.
Furthermore, many names of Yezidi villages are actually names in the Syriac (Christian) language, more evidence that many Yezidis are former Christians.
Adding even more weight to this theory, the Yezidis retain two Christian customs – the baptism and the Eucharist.
The Yezidis must baptize their children at the earliest possible age and the priest puts his hand on the child’s head as her performs the rite. Both customs mirror the Christian baptism precisely.
When a Yezidi couple marries, they go to a local Nestorian Church to partake of the Eucharist. The cup of wine they drink is called the cup of Isa (Jesus). The Yezidi have great respect for Christian saints and houses of worship, and kiss the doors and walls of churches when they enter them.
When a Yezidi woman goes to the home of her bridegroom on wedding day, she is supposed to visit every every religious temple along the way, even the churches. On the other hand, Yezidis never enter a mosque. Sadly, the Yezidi reverence for Christianity is not returned by the Eastern Christians, who despise the Yezidis as devil-worshipers.
They revere both Jesus and Mohammad as religious teachers, not as prophets. They have also survived via a hefty dose of taqqiya, or dissimulation, in this case pretending outwardly to be some species of Shia Muslims.
This is common for minority faiths around the region, including the Alawi and Druze, who have both proclaimed at the top of their lungs that they are Muslims and have hidden to the aspects of their religion which would cause the Muslims to disown them at best or kill them at worst. The primary Islamic influence on the Yezidis is actually Sufism, not Shiism per se.
There are traces of other religions – Hinduism may possibly be seen in the five Yezidi castes, from top to bottom – Pir, Shaikh, Kawal, Murabby, and Mureed (followers). Mureeds are about on a par with Dalits or Untouchables in Hinduism. Marriage across castes is strictly forbidden, as it has been disapproved in India.
On the other hand, pre-Islamic Iran also had a caste system, and the base of the Yezidi religion seems to be derived from Persian Zoroastrianism. The Yezidi, like the Druze and the Zoroastrians, do not accept converts, and like the Druze, think that they will be reincarnated as their own kind (Druze think they will be reincarnated as Druze; Yezidis think they will be reincarnated as Yezidis).
The Yezidis can be considered fire-worshipers in a sense; they obviously got this from the Zoroastrians. The Yezidis say, “Without fire, there would be no life.” This is true even in our modern era, if we substitute “electrical power” for fire, our lives would surely diminish. Even today, when Kurdish Muslims swear on an oath, they say, “I swear by this fire…”
Many say there is a resemblance between Malak Taus and the Assyrian God Tammuz, though whether the name Malak Taus is actually derived from Tammuz is much more problematic. Tammuz was married to the Assyrian moon goddess, Ishtar. But this connection is not born out by serious inquiry.

Ishtar the Goddess of the Moon, here represented as a bird goddess. Worship of birds is one of the oldest forms of pagan idolatry known to man. What is it about birds that made them worthy of worship by the ancients? The miracle of flight?

Where do the Yezidis come from? The Yezidis themselves say that they came from the area around Basra and the lower Euphrates, then migrated to Syria and then to Sinjar, Mosul and Kurdistan.
In addition to worshiping a bird-god, there are other traces of the pre-Islamic pagan religions of the Arabs in Yezidism.
They hold the number 7 sacred, a concept that traces back to the ancient Mesopotamians. The Yezidis have seven sanjaks, and each one has seven burners of the flame, their God created seven angels and the sculpture carved on the temple of Šeiḫ ’Adî has seven branches.
The Sabeans, another ancient religion of Mesopotamia who are now called star-worshipers by their detractors, also worshiped seven angels who guided the courses of seven planets – it is from this formulation that our seven days of the week are derived. In the ancient religion of Assyria, Ishtar descended through seven gates to the land of no return. The ancient Hebrews likewise utilized the number seven in their religion.

An ancient seven-armed candelabra, a symbol nowadays used in the Jewish religion, with demonic sea monsters drawn on the base.

The Yezidis worship the sun and moon at their rising and setting, following the ancient Ḥarranians, a people who lived long ago somewhere in northern Iraq. Sun-worship and moon-worship are some of the oldest religious practices of Man. The ancient pagans of Canaan worshiped the Sun.
At the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the religion practiced there had little in common with Talmudic Judaism of today. For instance, the horses of the Sun were worshiped at that temple (see II Kings 25: 5, 11). The ancient Judeans, who the modern-day Jews claim spiritual connection with, actually worshiped the “host of heaven” – the Sun, the Moon and the Planets. So much for “the original monotheists, eh?
In Babylonia, there were two temples to the Sun-God Shamas.
Another pre-Islamic Arab pagan belief is the belief in sacred wells and sanctuaries that contain them. The springs contain water that has curative powers. The holy water found at the Zamzam Well in Mecca is an example; even to this day, Muslims bottle the water and carry it off for this purpose. Often sacred clothes are used to make these pilgrimages, because ordinary clothes are thought to contaminate the holy site.
In pre-Islamic days, when the pagans circled the rock at the Kaaba, they were completely naked. In Islam, men and women are supposed to remove their clothing and wear a special garb as they circulate around the rock. In Mandeanism, both men and women go to the Mishkana, or tabernacle, take off their clothes, and bathe in the circular pool. Emerging, they put on the rasta, a ceremonial white garment.
At the temple of Šeiḫ ‘Adî, there is a sacred pool. The Yezidis throw coins, jewelry and other things into this pool as offerings. They think that Šeiḫ ‘Adî takes these things from time to time. And they must remove their clothes, bathe and wear a special garment when they visit the holy valley where this temple resides.
The ancient Arabs also worshiped trees. There were sacred trees at Nejran, Hadaibiya and Mecca. The pagans hung women’s ornaments, fine clothes, ostrich eggs, weapons and other items.
Similarly, the Yezidis also worship trees. They have their favorite trees, and sick people go to these trees and hang pieces of cloth on them, hoping to get well, and believe that whoever takes one of these down will get sick with whatever disease the person who hung the cloth had.

An inscription of a sacred tree from Ancient Babylonian civilization. Trees were worshiped not just in ancient Arabia; they were also worshiped in Mesopotamia.The Christian Trinity combined with the pagan Tree of Life, in an interesting ancient Chaldean inscription that combines pagan and Christian influences. The Tree of Life was also utilized in Kabbalism, Jewish mysticism from the Middle Ages. Nowadays the symbol is used by practitioners of both White and Black Magic. Radical Islam is committing genocide once again on the Christians of Iraq, including the Chaldeans.Yet another Tree of Life, this time from ancient Assyria, an ancient civilization in Mesopotamia. The concept of a tree of life is a pagan concept of ancient pedigree.

The ancient Meccans used to worship stones. At one point the population became so large that they had to move out of the valley where the Kaaba resided, so when they formed their new settlements, they took rocks from the holy place and piled them outside their settlements and made a sort of shrine out of these things, parading around the rock pile as they moved around the Kaaba.
In Palestine, there were sacred wells at Beersheba and Kadesh, a sacred tree at Shekem and a sacred rock at Bethel. As in animism, it was believed that divine powers or spirits inhabited these rocks, trees and springs. This tradition survives to this day in the folk religion of the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.
The Yezidis also have certain stones that they worship. They kiss these stones in reverence.
When the Yezidis reach the goal of their pilgrimage or hajj, they become very excited and start shouting. After fasting all day, they have a big celebration in the evenings, with singing and dancing and gorging on fine dishes.
This hajj, where they worship a spring under Šeiḫ ‘Adî’s tomb called Zamzam and then climb a mountain and shoot off guns, is obviously taken from the Muslim hajj. Mecca has a Zamzam Spring, and pilgrims climb Mount ‘Arafat on hajj.
The shouting, feasting, singing, dancing and general excitement is typical of a pagan festival. The non-Yezidi neighbors of the Yezidis claim that Yezidis engage in immoral behavior on this hajj. No one knows if this is true or not, but if they do, it may be similar to the festivals of the Kadeshes discussed in the Old Testament, where people engaged in licentious behavior in their temples.
Although the Yezidis have a strict moral code, observers say that they allow adultery if both parties are willing. That’s pretty open-minded for that part of the world.
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The Yezidis – A Mysterious Kurdish Religious Sect

About two years after the publication of this post, I wrote an update to this article, Do the Yezidis Worship the Devil? which goes into much more detail about the religion.
Since hardly anyone has any idea about who or what the Yezidis of Northern Iraq are, an introduction is in order. The Yezidis are a minority religious group that lives in Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey, Eastern Syria, Armenia, Northwestern Iran, Georgia, Russia and Germany.
Some estimates put the number of Yezidis at 100,000. However, Yezidi spokesmen say there are 600,000 Yezidis, mostly in Iraq. Other estimates put the number of Yezidis as high as 2 million. There are 10,000 Yezidi refugees in Germany. German Yezidis have created a home page to help introduce others to their religion, but unfortunately it is all in German.
The Yezidis are more of a religious than an ethnic grouping. All Yezidis are Kurds and they all speak Kurdish. In Iraq, most of them live north of Mosul and in the Sinjar Mountains near the Syrian border. There are also Yezidis in Tel Afar, Mosul and the city of Sinjar. Iraq’s Yezidis are seizing Iraq’s democratic moment to press for their rights for the first time.
Yezidis have long been persecuted by Muslims as heathens and devil-worshipers. Although it’s true that the Yezidis worship a peacock angel they call Lucifer, they are basically good, upstanding, moral people. They are not in any way analogous to the actual devil-worshipers who exist in the West, like Anton Levay’s Church of Satan (COS), etc.
Yezidis do not believe in Heaven or Hell and they do not regard Satan, who they regard as the Chief of the Angels, as evil. Instead, he is sacred. The Yezidis feel the Devil created the world and is de facto in charge right now. From the perspective of my life at the moment, those scenarios seem distinctly possible.
Yezidis are allowed to eat pork, unlike Muslims. But bizarrely, they cannot eat lettuce (because the Kurdish word for lettuce rhymes with their word for devil) or wear yellow. This dietary code is not often followed these days. The restriction on eating lettuce may have been due to outbreaks of E. Coli.
Like the Zoroastrians, Yezidis do not accept converts – a tendency which may result in the end of Yezidism with time. Yezidism shares many things with Zoroastrianism, and some commenters regard it as either a Zoroastrian sect or a religion with roots in Zoroastrianism.
My opinion is that a synthesis between Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism and pre-religious paganism is more accurate. It is likely the Yezidism predates all of these – Zoroastrianism, Islam and Judaism – in fact, it may be one of the oldest extant human religions.
Somewhat similar to the caste system of Hinduism, another ancient religion, Yezidis have seven levels of initiation, or classes. The classes are princes, sheiks, senators, seers, ascetics and the community of the faithful. The large faith community class makes up 70% of the community.
This split, with a small elite sect who retain most of the (oral) knowledge of the religion and a large majority of mere followers who are kept in the dark about most of the religion, is also similar to other “secret” religions in the area, including the Sabeans, the Druze and Alawi.
The Alawi of Syrian and Lebanon are a highly divergent Shia sect, a split-off from the extremist Nusairi split early in the history of Shiism. Although the Druze call themselves Muslims, it is probable that they are not Muslims at all, since their religion is so divergent. Instead, like Bahaism, the Druze religion is more properly considered to be related to Islam, rather than part of Islam proper.
The Druze date back to the 1100’s and also seem to be the result of a Shia split, similar to the split that birthed Alawism. Both sects persisted via extreme tribalism, refusing intermarriage, accepting no converts, keeping their religion secret, pretending to be Muslims to avoid persecution while still practicing the religion in secret, and especially, seeking shelter in the difficult, mountainous terrain of the Levant.
The Sabeans or Mandeans of Iraq are probably the last remains of the ancient Gnostic religion; they may also be former Diasporic Sephardic Jews who split off from Judaism in Iraq around the year 600. The Mandeans also worship the North Star, revere John the Baptist and consider Jesus Christ as the font of all evil on Earth!
In Yezidism, marriage across classes is strictly forbidden, again reminiscent of Hinduism. However, people do marry across caste nonetheless. Although the new Iraqi regime is basically a puppet regime of US colonialism, at least the Yezidis do have three members of the new Iraqi Parliament, all elected on the Kurdish list.
Saddam’s regime persecuted the Yezidis first for being Kurds and second for their religion as they were viewed as heathens. Yes, Saddam’s regime was not completely secular. Under Saddam’s extremely racist, fascist-like, Sunni Arab Nationalist regime, Yezidis, Kurds, Assyrians, Shia and Turkomen were all persecuted by the Ba’ath Party.
For instance, Assyrian Christians were denied an identity by the Baath and referred to as “Kurdish Christians”. The Baath forbade the use of the Assyrian or Turkoman languages in the schools. Yezidi religious studies have been banned in Iraq since 1963, the year of the Baathist coup.
In its censuses, Baathist Arab nationalist racists called the Yezidis “an Arabic people”, clearly a falsehood. Saddam’s racist Arab regime engaged in ethnic cleansing of the Yezidis on several occasions. Usually, the Yezidis were driven off their land onto other lands, and their land was given to nearby Arabs.
In 1978, 126 Yezidi villages in Sinjar were “collectivized” into 10 villages while 10 villages near Dahuk were destroyed and the villagers were forced into another village. The new villages created for the Yezidis lacked even basic health care, and it was hard to earn a living. Arab invaders who colonized Yezidi lands forbade the Yezidi from herding animals, and the new villages the Yezidis were pushed into lacked decent pasture.
In 1997, two Yezidi teachers from Elqush were arrested by Saddam’s intelligence services and tortured until they agreed to stop teaching the Yezidi religion.
In the same year, in Ayn Sufna, Baathists stole 1,500 Yezidi properties and gave them to Arab and Kurdish tribes in the region. Saddam’s army surrounded a Yezidi village in 2000, but left after the Yezidis staged a defiant demonstration.
In the no-fly zones formed by the allies in the Kurdish Regional Government area of Iraq instituted after the Gulf War, the Yezidis have fared much better than they did under Saddam.
They liberated many villages that were seized by Arab colonists and today in school, classes in the Yezidi religion are even taught in areas where there are good numbers of Yezidi pupils. However, since the US invasion, the Yezidi situation in some ways has worsened.
The entire north of Iraq has come under the control of Kurdish racist fascist parties, the KDP and PUK. These parties are lately promoting a sort of Kurdish Sunni racism which attacks Sunni and Shia Arabs, Shia, Christian and Yezidi Kurds and Assyrian Christians – in short, everyone who is not a Sunni Kurd.
The racist Sunni Kurds succeeded in preventing large numbers of all of these groups from voting in the election in February 2005.
In the case of the Yezidis, Kurdish racists never even allowed polling stations to open in a number of Yezidi zones. Racist Sunni Kurds have been attacking and ethnically cleansing Assyrian Christian villages in the north for decades now, a process which accelerated when the Allies granted the Kurds their Kurdish Zone in 1991.
This is a continuation of long-standing Kurdish Sunni Muslim racism against Assyrian Christians extending back to the 1920’s. In that decade, Kurdish Muslims gleefully slaughtered huge numbers of Assyrians in a naked display of Islamist bigotry that reached genocidal proportions.
Formally, the Yezidi religion was founded in the 1100’s by Sheikh Uday bin Masafel al-Amawi. Uday was born in Damascus but died in Shaikan in northern Iraq. His tomb in Shaikan is now Yezidism’s holiest site. As noted above, many scholars trace Yezidism to one of the world’s oldest extant religions, Zoroastrianism, founded in ancient Persia.
Traditionally, Yezidism is variously regarded as either an offshoot of Zoroastrianism or Shia Islam. Those who say the Yezidis are Shia hold that they are an extreme Shia “Sevener” Ismaili sect similar to the Druze and the Alawi (see discussion of the Alawi and Druze above).
A better analysis is to regard Yezidism as a syncretic mix between Zoroastrianism and Shia Islam.
Others note Judaic traits in the Yezidis; some suggest that the Yezidis are former Jews who broke away from Judaism and formed a new religion. Indeed, some theorists that the Kurds in general are former Jews. See Rabbi Joe Katz’s Eretzyisroel site for more on that interesting theory, which may have some validity.
The best analysis would leaven the Zoroastrian-Shia syncretism of Yezidism with dollops of Judaism and tablespoons of ancient paganism, while noting the Yezidism is probably older than any of its parts, except for the pagan.
Oddly enough, the Yezidis have a monk and nun class, men and women who dress in white and have taken a vow of celibacy. Yezidis are also said to be sun worshipers, in another similarity with Zoroastrianism.
A famous Yezidi, Sharfadin, has a tomb in Sinjar. Sharfadin also serves as a personified sun god. Note that sun-worship is one of the most ancient of human religious tenets, dating back to the Egyptians and probably beyond.
The leader of the Yezidis is a prince called mir, or mireh shekha. The Yezidi religion is passed down orally through families and officially, there are no Yezidi religious texts. However, closer analysis seems to reveal that there are a couple of Yezidi holy books, but they are hidden by followers, and their existence is denied to outsiders.
Outsiders have somehow managed to get a hold of a couple of copies of these holy texts, or at least parts of them, and they have been published, both in print and on the Internet. Some say that these supposed Yezidi holy texts are actually fakes, and that no extant holy texts exist, as all knowledge is oral.
I glanced through the material in these texts along with an analysis of them. Shall we say that Yezidism is an immensely complex religion and that this article does not begin to tickle out an understanding of it?
Kakaism is another Kurdish sect that is very similar to Yezidism. It arose 1000 years ago in northern Iraq due to conflicts between the Umayyad rulers of Islam and the Zoroastrian priesthood. Kakais, like Yezidis, are forbidden from cursing Satan on religious grounds. Hence, many Muslims see them, like the Yezidis, as devil-worshipers. There are 300,000 Kakais in Kurdistan.
This research takes a lot of time, and I do not get paid anything for it. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a a contribution to support more of this valuable research.